7.2.1. Oxford and the ships for Spain, 1573-74


Oxford and the ships for Spain (1573-1574)




When Alan H. Nelson, an unscrupulous ideologist and a dismal historian, presents his "monstrous" Earl of Oxford, he does so with the following lines:

On 17 January 1574 Ralph Lane, then in Greenwich, addressed a deliberately cryptic letter to Burghley, concerning ship traffic with Portugal [no, with the Spanish Netherlands] and three individuals: Antonio de Guaras, a Spanish agent [no, the provisional Spanish ambassador between 1571 and 1577]; one ‘R. B.’ [The Mystery Man is Richard Bingham as Professor Nelson could easily have discovered]; and Lane himself. The Privy Council [no, ‘their honoured lordships’ are Lord Edward Oxenforde and Lord Edward Seymour] had offered a lieutenancy first to R. B., who declined, then ‘soodenly resolued vppon another Agent for them, which ys Rowlande Yorck’, overlooking Lane, who was considered too hot in spirit.

Three errors and an omission in one sentence: a somewhat disappointing performance but fully in keeping with Nelson's track record. Fortunately he did not understand the section of Ralph Lane's letter which he quoted. He didn't even take the trouble to copy the entire letter. Had he done so, he would have come across Lane's bold comment where he says that the young Lord [Oxenforde] must take care not "to acquaint too much with foreign intelligence, yet the same may turn him in time to much hurt; and a Western Spanish storm may, with some unhappy mate at helm, stir his noble bark so much to the Northward, that unawares he may wrack".

Nelson was very close to catch the young Earl red-handed in an attempt to intervene between Antonio Guarás, the provisional Spanish ambassador and the English agent Lane, during the negotiations for the delivery of six warships, complete with crews, to the Spaniards (!) -- thereby extracting a higher sum than Lane had originally requested.

Was the young Earl of Oxford a covert Catholic who wanted to sell out to the Spaniards?

No, because his offer is in conformity with the directives from Admiral Lincoln, the Earl of Leicester, Lord Burghley, Sir Henry Sidney, John Hawkins - and Queen Elizabeth. 

At that point in time, English volunteers were supporting William of Orange (1533-1584) in his fight against the Spaniards. What on Earth could possible make the English want to approach the Spaniards with such a ludicrous scheme?? 

With the secret approval of Queen Elizabeth, English captains had transported English volunteers to Holland and Zeeland. Was this a plan to betray them, so demonstratively? (Among those fighting for William of Orange , we find: Humphrey Gilbert, Roger Williams, Rowland York, Thomas Morgan, Walter Morgan Wolf and Edward Chester, as well as the soldiers poets Thomas Churchyard, Barnabe Rich and George Gascoigne.)

The answer is a resounding: No.

Queen Elizabeth hated every form of uprising (and that in Holland was no exception), but she hated the Spanish King, who with the help of Mary Stuart was trying to steal her throne, even more. Along with the religious question, this hatred motivated Elizabeth to unofficially allow English volunteers to fight alongside the forces of William of Orange, even though she could not openly support them. At that point in time, she was trying to negotiate a settlement with Spain whereby they would not only desist from encouraging Mary Stuart to usurp her throne but also desist from actually invading England. There were also French aspirations concerning the Dutch shores which had to be dampened.  As the bride and housekeeper of the State, Elizabeth cut all unreasonable expenditure, be it for goods or for soldiers. She invested tentatively in Holland to keep the Spanish and the French at bay but she went into a rage whenever Dutch pirates [the watergeuzen] came too close to English ships.

In 1572 was the year when the Netherlands made its struggle for freedom (after the liberation of Brill on April 1 - the initial military phase). By this time, most of the English volunteers who had hurried to Holland’s aid, had returned to England in autumn and winter of 1573/74, after the payment of their wages had been discontinued and food was no longer available. In an attempt to use this forced evacuation to their own political and financial gain, the opportunistic Lord Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and the Lord High Admiral Edward Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, came across the bright idea to conduct their own clandestine negotiations with Spain and offer them a secret collaboration. The negotiations were conducted by Ralph Lane, an employee of Lord Burghley. He claimed that the motivation for the withdrawal of the English forces from Holland had been the Anglo Spanish friendship. As further proof of this friendship Lane offered the Spanish a small Armada of five or six fully manned ships at a bargain price. This "offer" was in fact nothing but a tissue of lies. The intention was merely to pacify Spain.

This correspondence between Lane and Guarás, which was originally written in Spanish and remained untranslated for 442 years, is now available (for the first time) in English. It is breath-taking to see how the dangerous Spaniards, represented by Duke Alba and the somewhat more refined Don Requesens were well and truly lead all the way up the garden path for months. There is a certain similarity between the “Spanish Negotiations” and Queen Elizabeth’s “French Marriage” to Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon. In both cases, England maneuvered her potential enemies into accepting an illusion that some sort of alliance was in the making.

It must be said that Don Antonio de Guarás, the Spanish negotiator  in London, was a very gullible man. As late as April 1574, when it was perfectly obvious that the transaction was not going to take place, Sir Henry Sidney convinced him that England intended to place 6000 soldiers at Spain's disposal.  Guarás even believed, in all seriousness in Richard Bingham's offer to storm Rotterdam on Spain's behalf! And he considered Bingham (later known as the butcher of Ireland) to be a good Catholic!

Oxford only played a small dramatic role in this historical drama. Although his friends; George Gascoigne, Rowland York and Humphrey Gilbert were fighting for William of Orange, in the middle of January 1574, he suggests that Guarás pay 6000 pounds sterling for the legendary warships. Oxford offers his own estates as guarantee.  Until then only the sum of 4000 pounds had been discussed. (See Ralph Lane's letter to Lord Burghley, January 17, 1574). Ralph Lane was no longer to act as negotiator, this task was to be taken over by Oxford's friend Rowland York. The very same Captain York who had taken the fortress of Goes from the Spaniards in 1572.

And how was the transfer of the ships supposed to take place?

According to Lane’s plan of 12th October 1573; they were to secretly dock in a Dutch port disguised as grain transporters. Once arrived, they were to be taken over by the Spaniards and refitted according their wishes. - Of course this plan left plenty of possibilities to cheat the Spaniards. The Dutch pirates as well as the English troops in Holland could be informed, meaning that the ships would have been captured, burned or sunk before they even reached Holland. And Guarás had no opportunity to secure the English deposit (Oxford's estates) in the event of the ships not being delivered. (In April 1574 Sir Henry Sidney offered 6000 English soldiers to king Philip II. Thatʼs a comparable case, see below.)

After reading Lane’s letter from 17th January 1574, Lord Burghley put an end to the whole circus; he was worried that his son-in-law was going to forfeit his estates. And Ralph Lane hastened to warn Guarás that "it would be more than premature to deal with these erratic young men, as their behaviour seemed to be both secretive and inconsistent" (che non è cosa piu precipitosa, che de impacciarsi con quelli sfrenati giovani, li quali truovarete molto insecreti et inconstantissimi).  - On 26 January 1574  Antonio de Guarás informs Don Requesens of his justifiable indignation: "It is all just fabrications and lies. In my entire life I have never exchanged so much as a single word with the Earl of Oxford, I doubt if he even knows me" (y es todo invencion y falsedad, porque en ini vida no hable al Conde de Orsfort, ni creo yo que el me conoce).


Those who still have doubts concerning the young Earl of Oxford’s position in the matter are referred to a poem (from the ‘Tableau Poétique’, dedicated to Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford) written in 1572  by the painter and poet Lucas de Heere (1534-1584). He was a known protestant who fled to England in 1567.

Dieu m’a donné cest heur, au lieu de me pourvoir
De trop des biens mondains que tout le monde adore,
Que iay este fourny, comme ie suis encore,
D’autant de bons amis qu’un homme puisse avoir.
Car bien que la rigueur m’en garde d’en avoir
En ma propre patrie (ainsi quelle y devore
Tout ce qui est du bon) vous Seigneur, que i’honore,
Me servez des amis de richesse & pouvoir.
Et me vault beaucoup plus vostre courtois bien fait
(Tant i’ayme la faveur d’un Seigneur si parfait)
Que tout ce que m’a prins ceste Espagnole rage:
Qui s’abuse par trop me pensant empirer
Quand elle me contraint de fuyr & retirrer
Au desirable port de vostre bonne grace.

God gave me this golden hour, instead of  furnishing me
With too many worldly goods which so many people worship,

To have graced me, as still I am,
With as many good friends as one can possibly have.
For though hard times prevent me from having them

In my own country (from which all good things are being expelled)

You, Sir, whom I honour, endows me with wealthy and mighty friends

And more than that with your courteous perfection

(so much do I love the favor of so perfect a Lord)

That all that Spanish fury has robbed me of:

It is much mistaken to think it would harm me,

When it forces me to flee and to withdraw

To the longed-for port of your good grace.


And why should we document with such detail a hitherto unknown, apparently insignificant chapter in English-Spanish relations?

Because it is an historical drama in which the young Oxford (alias Shake-speare) plays an active role. The story is exemplary for the diplomatic intrigue and hypocrisy, from which the playwright Shake-speare draws his political knowledge.

The young man gained first hand experience in the cynical tactics which were typical for the times in which he lived!  He became practiced in the precise use of language which later proved to be so useful in his plays. We are reminded of  Don Juan, of Iago, Edmund, Lady Macbeth, Richard III - and not least of the professional ethereal trickster, Hamlet.


Don Antonio de Guaras (1520–1579), was a Spanish merchant and the deputy ambassador of Spain to England between 1571 and 1578, during the reign of Elizabeth I. - In January 1571, when Don Guerau de Spes was expelled from England, following the Ridolfi Plot, Antonio de Guaras was appointed chargé d'affaires. In October 1577, Guaras was apprehended for being an informant to Mary Stuart, his house was searched and he was brought to the tower, where during the 18 months that proceeded, his health and fortune went to ruin. He was expelled from England in May 1579.

(Sir) Ralph Lane (c.1530-1603), first governor of "Virginia," was born in Lympstone, Devonshire, England, the son of Sir Ralph Lane (d. 1541) and his wife Maud Parr of Northamptonshire. He is believed to have been a cousin of Edward Dyer, the poet. In 1563 he entered the service of Queen Elizabeth as equerry and did a variety of court tasks, including searching Breton ships for illegal goods in 1571. In 1573 Lane supported the Protestants during the siege of La Rochelle. In general, however, Lane was better suited as a soldier than as a courtier. After serving as sheriff of County Kerry, Ireland, from 1583 to 1585, he was invited by Sir Walter Raleigh to command an expedition to America. He sailed on 9 Apr. 1585 under Sir Richard Grenville, with whom he soon began to quarrel. Towards the end of June, they arrived at Wococon on the North Carolina Outer Banks and established a colony with Lane as governor. He was knighted by the Queen in 1593.

(Sir) Thomas Morgan (died 1595) Colonel Thomas Morgan, 'the warrior,' was the younger son of William Morgan of St. George's and Pencarn. He was apparently about thirty years of age, and had probably seen active service in France or Scotland, when he was appointed in April 1572 captain of the first band of English volunteers that served in the Low Countries under William of Orange[1]. He landed with his company, three hundred strong, at Flushing [2] on 6 June, in time to take part in the defence of that town. He took part in the abortive attempt made by Jerome van T’seraerts [de t Zereerts] to besiege Tergoes [3]; and when, owing to the refusal of the inhabitants of Flushing to readmit them into the town on account of their cowardly behaviour before Tergoes, he was exposed to a night attack by the governor of Middelburgh, he displayed great bravery, and was wounded in charging the enemy at the head of his men. But after a second and equally futile attempt against Tergoes, he returned to England with Sir Humphrey Gilbert and the rest. - But failure had not dispirited him, and in February 1573 he returned to Holland with ten English companies, and took part in the attempt to relieve Haarlem and in the fight before Middelburg ; but owing to a disagreement as to the payment of his regiment, he returned to England early in January 1574, and 'being mustered before her majesty near to St. James's, the colonel and some five hundred of his best men were sent into Ireland, which, in truth, were the first perfect harquebushiers that were of our nation, and the first troupes that taught our nation to like the musket' (Roger Williams, The Actions of the Lowe Countries, ed. 1618). - In 1578 he again volunteered for service in the Low Countries under Captain (afterwards Sir) John Norris.

(Sir) Richard Bingham (1528-1599) In the Ottoman–Venetian War, Bingham fought under John of Austria on the side of the Venetians. During this campaign he was engaged in efforts to save the island of Cyprus, and at the crucial naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571. - In 1573 and the following year Bingham was in the Low Counties, communicating to Burghley the details of the struggle with Spain. - In 1576 he attempted peace negotiations with Don Juan on behalf of the Estates General [4] and, when the negotiations failed, fought valiantly for his employers at the Battle of Rijmenam. In 1579, Bingham was sent to Ireland to aid in the suppression of the Second Desmond Rebellion. Four years later, he was given a commission to apprehend pirates in the narrow seas; the queen told Burghley to instruct him to seize Dutch ships for debts due to her, under colour of looking for pirates. In 1584 Bingham was appointed governor of the Irish province of Connacht. He was knighted at Dublin Castle in 1584.


Antonio de Guaras to The Duke of Alba[5]

London, June 16th 1573

In accordance with the promises made by Lord Burghley and the Earl of Leicester[6] that no English soldier will be allowed to set out from here to the States of Holland furthermore, Her Majesty and the Privy Council have determined that no English ships will be allowed to put to sea from English harbours. This order goes, in particular to Captain Greene whose ship is currently docked at Harwich with 400 soldiers on board. The same order was dispatched to Captain [Thomas] Morgan who is preparing to mobilize 600 soldiers as I wrote[7]. Furthermore, I was promised that the Queen has commanded that Captain Chester[8] along with all other English troupes should prepare for their withdrawal. Yesterday, two Dutch Captains arrived from Holland having been sent by [William of] Orange, I think from Lille; their mission was to bring cargo and letters to the gatherings of our heretics and rebels, promising them considerable financial support. They were further informed that Orange is currently engaged in a military campagne whereby he is utilizing every possibility to rally support both on land and at sea to help Haarlem.


Colonel Thomas Morgan to Lord Burghley,

Flushing, September 12/13, 1573.

The enemy for divers causes (as because their beer on shipboard was sour, and they drank water and the same not good for six days afore their departure, also upon some contention between Beauvoir and Mondragón[9]) hoisted up sail on the 26th August, but were so near pursued that no other way was than to run their vessels aground, whereby they lost six hoys [barges] and a hulk, which were brought into Flushing and Terveer[10] [Veere]. Altogether they have lost 17 vessels, whereof nine are men-of-war and the rest victuallers. The ships taken were freighted with corn and victuals, so that it is judged that they have not victualled the towns. They departed to Antwerp and there stay. There fell a mutiny among the Walloon soldiers of Mondragón at Arnemuiden for want of victuals, to whom they have sent letters that if they would come out with their furniture, they should either serve the Prince, or have licence to depart wherever they would. There have arrived 400 Scots at Zierikzee, who made an attempt on Barrow [Bergen-op-Zoom], but the Dutch who should have backed them having fled away they had to retire. They are determined to attempt Arnemuiden by land and sea with 4,000 men.—Flushing, 12 September.

The passages by land for letters are so dangerous that he cannot by post use that often writing which he would do if letters might pass safe. The Duke of Alva has been at Haarlem. About 25th August he was besieging a fort by Amsterdam with 100 ensigns, but through a great quantity of water broken out of the sea it will be all the winter unsiegeable on the land side. He has 25 great ships at Amsterdam, which cannot come forth unless he first win that fort and weigh up certain ships that are sunk there. He has besieged Alkmaar, to which town the Prince has sent 1,000 men. Leiden had like to have been betrayed, to the enemy by certain burghers, but advertisement was given to the Frenchmen who kept the town, who very politicly provided against the enemy, and met them on the way and slew 200 of them, who are reported to be natural Spaniards, and took certain officers and men. Count Ludovic [11] has sent 1,400 foot men into this country. [CSP Foreign, Elizabeth, Vol. 10]

Geertruidenberg, a town in Brabant three Dutch miles distant from Dordrecht, was taken the last of August by Monsieur Poyet[12], whom the Prince had sent thither the night before with 10 ensigns. This town, if it be well victualled, is not to be won. It standeth al the mouth of a river, and from thence the most part of the fresh fish in Holland was charged to serve Antwerp and other towns in Brabant. It was gotten by all likelihoods through some treason first practiced with some of the inhabitants.

The exploit was done by 100 soldiers (the rest lay short of the town in ambush) which 100, who with scouts [Dutch vessels] and ladders came to the ditches, scaled the walls, entered the town, came to the first gate where they found nine watchmen, half sleeping half waking, whom they slew. The watch slain, they did fetch a smith out of his bed, whom they forced to break open the town gate, and let in the rest of their company. All this was done without any alarm, until they had marched into the town so far as the Captainʼs house, where the alarm was first given. Being resisted a little by that small garrison that was there (which they slew with divers other of the town), they possessed the town quietly, and sent word to the Prince the same morning, who went thither his own person, and remained there until the next day. No spoil was made other then the town to pay the soldiers a monthʼs pay and to keep 800 men garrison.

Montgomery[13], of Scotland, is come to the Prince to make offer of service with 2,000 light horse. Two hundred Scots have arrived in Zeeland, who say that seven ensigns more are coming. The Prince lies at Dort. The country is very poor and out of money, and unless some prince of better ability takes the matter in hand, the writer thinks that the cause will not long be maintained.


Antonio de Guaras to The Duke of Alba

London, October 12th 1573

The gentleman called Lane, cavalry lieutenant of the Queen, waits for a response from Your Excellency, with regard to the withdrawal of the English troupes currently stationed in Holland and Zeeland. The said Lane sent me this memorandum[14], and we met at court three or four days ago to discuss the matter. I was given to understand by way of suggestion and innuendo that the Earl of Leicester and the Admiral [Clinton][15], using Lane as a middle man, wished to offer the services of their fleet in the efforts against the rebels of Flushing. Their plan is to dispatch five or six well armed Royal ships[16] of two or three hundred tons, disguised as a grain transport from Danczig [Gdansk] and Liubice [Lübeck], furthermore five or six ships, likewise well armed. The ships will dock in whichever Dutch dike or port your Excellency chooses to name. Under the command of your Excellency, the ships will then be stocked, manned by Walloon and Flemish soldiers and put in the service of His Majesty [Philip II]. Your Excellency may then decide how best to distribute the English soldiers.

Lane said that the ships will be carrying cast iron canons and will be manned by crews of well equipped sailors. He also says that we had to use all available tricks to avoid the war ships being recognized as such once they had docked at the harbor. Their presence could be explained as an emergency stop or a short stop over. I know from conversations with Leicester that the Admiral deeply regrets not having been able to accept the offer which I conveyed to him from your Excellency.Lane said that he intended to give me a detailed written description of the exact number of ships, their dimensions, the cargo, the number of seamen etcetera, whereby he incorporated that he considers the offer to be generous and he feels that the costs are within the limits of reason.

Obviously everybody here is agreed that the armada should be placed in this way under the control of your Excellency; and the friends of Lane, of Orange and the people of Flushing, will not take offense if the armada thus ends up in the service of His Majesty. Experience has shown that the English promise is little to be trusted; however it is in our own interest to see the matter through. When I have confirmation that that they are truly committed to this undertaking I shall inform your Excellency accordingly so that you can send a negotiator who can bring the matter to completion.

The said Lane showed me a letter from an English captain dated 3rd October, which relates a discourse between the Prince of Orange and two English captains; Colonel Chester and Colonel Morgan. The captains demanded that their wages be paid, whereupon the Prince informed them that the only thing he could give them at that point in time was a princely promise, but that the spoils of the next victory would put him in the position to bestow, not only his immense gratitude upon the soldiers but also the monies due. He intended to pay the wages for the coming month in Delft and he intended to pay the wages for the month after that, in another unnamed location. The Englishmen stormed out in a rage.  In the same letter it was reported that the combined Dutch and Zeeland forces intended to break through to Arnemuiden with food supplies. Also, in a separate message which I received from a friend, it is reported that a hundred horses had been shipped from Holland to Zeeland, where they were fitted out with reins and saddles. (..)

The said Lane also sent me another memorandum, accompanied by letters from Zeeland, in which it was stated that the Spanish held town of Arnemuiden[17] (which was occupied by Spanish troops) was besieged by a 4000 strong [Dutch] army, but that the siege had been interrupted by the arrival of the Spanish fleet from Antwerp[18]; that the besiegersʼ supplies were totally depleted, but that William of Orange had procured replenishments; and that Serras[19], the commander of Geertruidenberg, was murdered by his soldiers; that there were sufficient provisions in Alkmaar to meet the requirements of a thousand [Dutch] soldiers for a period of nine months; that certain French troops whom William of Orange had sent to besiege us, could not get through; that there was a lot of disharmony among the English troops; that 1200 Scotsmen had landed in Zeeland and that 100 Scottish horsemen, under the command of Lord Cacaquet[20], the infantry general, were expected; and that Monsieur Lumey [de la Marck][21], one of William of Orange’s generals had been freed and was restored to his former rank and reputation.

London, October 12th 1573.


Richard Bingham to Ralph Lane

Delft, October 15, 1573

Asks pardon for not sending intelligence, as the doings since his arrival have been of small value, besides that the reports here are so "current and eke so unjust" that it would bring a man in doubt to deliver forth the things that he has not seen with his eyes. On the 11th October the Prince received letters from his brother Count Ludovic advertising him that he had taken up in Germany 200,000 ducats, and also levied 4,000 reiters. 1,600 Scots have arrived in Holland and Zeeland, and the Lord of Caker [Lord Alan Cathcart] is bruited to be coming with 1,000 horsemen. The league between the Prince and the Scots grows very great, and there is motion of marriage for the young King of Scotland to the Prince's daughter. The enemy are forced by foul weather and the overflowing of the waters to abandon the siege of Alkmaar, and to fire their tents and sink much artillery, as the ground is unpassable. On the 11th the flood tide was a yard higher than it has been these two years, with which the town of Middelburg was much drowned. On the 28th September they retired from Flushing to refresh themselves, for they had long endured all for two months, never lodged but in the churches or on the dikes, and very evil fed.

The poor men in Middelburg being brought to great extremity by the floods, many have come to Flushing and given great intelligence to the governors with promise from them of the town for the taking of the same, and therefore Poyet[22] has gone towards it with 2,000 men, but of very spite and malice has left them behind to keep them from the honour and gain of things easily achieved without blows. On the 10th the Duke took a castle and abbey near Geertruidenberg. [CSP Foreign, Elizabeth, Vol. 10]

Upon the 14th day of this month, the Prince discharged the Colonel Chester, and had made him his passport for him and his men only, but Mr. Chester refuse it, and would have it made for himself and for all the captains that were gone from the Colonel Morgan, which have been since, as it were, under Mr. Chester. His passport is now granted for him and for these captains aforesaid, with all their trains and companions.

Now, if they will abide by their word, that is to depart without pay, well and good, but I much doubt it; but, to this extremity the Prince doth now put them to, to lease the pay for six months behind, which they have served for, nor not much better doth be [the] deal that the Estates dealt with the Colonel Morgan. We are now making up our accounts with them, and, as he and they say, we shall be then discharged, but I think be will not offer us that which he hath done to Mr Chester. We have far better assurance for our pay then they have, or I think as sure as law can make it, for all our regiment.

The Count de la Marck has fled, and Bingham is of opinion that it is with the assent of the Prince, notwithstanding that he sent to stay him, as he has with him four or five of the hoys [barges] and fly-boats that serve the Prince, and which were sent to take him. Desires him to communicate the intelligence in this letter to Burghley and other noblemen.— Delft, 15 October 1573.


Antonio de Guaras to The Duke of Alba

London, October 16th 1573

I heard that Geronimo de Arceo[23] has the opportunity to come to my house, away from noise, enemies and Frenchmen. This will enable us to consult with the aforementioned Lane, who as a perfect gentleman has a good command of Italian, both spoken and written, which facilitates our communications considerably.

The English colonel Chester who (as I heard) secretly came here, has seized the three-masters of Holland and Zeeland in the port -in lieu of the money that Orange owes himself and his soldiers. Some of his captains approached me with the offer that, should Your Excellency so wish, the English soldiers would switch sides and fight for Spain. I gave them a few words of gratitude and encouragement and promised that they would receive an answer within a few days. I would be grateful to know how Your Excellency decides on the matter…


Antonio de Guaras to The Duke of Alba

London, October 20th 1573

On the 16th of this month I dispatched a letter to Your Excellency per express messenger, who departed to Antwerp. As of yet, I have received no answer from Your Excellency.

Two days later, Captain Lane sent me this paper[24] and I met with him; he is most eager to bring our undertaking to an agreeable conclusion; furthermore, it is implied in his communication that he is acting on behalf of the Queen and the Privy Council. Their instructions to him were that nine or ten ships are to be sent from the north along with the same number of ships from the west to ports of Your Excellency’s choice. The ships are to be fully manned, with provisions for three months, furthermore the artillery and ammunition required (to secretly convert them to warships) will be delivered.  He says that the four of Her Majesty’s ships will be armed as if they were on an expedition to hunt for pirates, and that he will give the order for the ships to dock in the ports determined by Your Excellency, in an orderly fashion. He imparted this to me in a manner which was so unclear and dark that it was out of keeping with his usual manner. In view of the difficulties that may arise as a result of the religious practices of his people and sailors, he has included this handwritten memorandum[25].

The negotiations take on a simpler and more understandable nature as it is clear that this gesture of good will was undertaken in the belief that His Majesty [Philipp II] intends to visit the Netherlands- as Lord Burghley said to me yesterday at court: “The Queen has it from a reliable source that His Majesty will be coming to Flanders.”  I said that I did not know anything of it and that it would please God, if it were so. Lord Burghley told me that he had heard that Your Excellency intends to go to Spain and that the Duke of Medinaceli[26] has already returned. But later, he added that he did not expect the departure of Your Excellency, but rather expected the arrival of His Majesty the King who, of his knowledge, would be arriving after travelling through Italy, accompanied by the Grand Commander of Castile [Luis de Zúñiga y Requesens], with a very large number of cavalry and infantry. For this reason this armada can be offered without any particular expediency. Your Excellency can decide if the uncertainties involved necessitate a negotiator, as I have written, or not.


Richard Bingham to Lord Burghley

Dortrecht, October 24, 1573

On the 22nd inst. there happened a great day of service betwixt the garrison of Geertruidenberg and those of the Castle of Oosterhout, which was lost from the Prince ten or twelve days before; there were divers prisoners of good account taken on both sides. Those of Geertruidenberg, willing to recover those whom they had lost, sent to M. La Mole[27], but the trumpeter returned with the information that they had hanged them all before his coming, upon which they of Geertruidenberg hanged 30 of theirs, as well captains and gentlemen as common soldiers, and Mons. Plessis, who was taken prisoner four months before, was by the Prince's commandment hanged at Leyden. Those who killed Serras [Jerome van T‘seraerts] were executed, some at Geertruidenberg and some at the Hague. It is reported that those of Amsterdam have imprisoned the Duke and his son in the town. It is thought here that they have conceived that the towns of Middelburg and Arnemuiden are not able to hold out, wherefore, say they, "If we revolt in time from the Duke we shall recover our ships, which now rest under Middelburg and Arnemuiden, being 80 great hulks, laden with salt and other goods." They had good hope hitherto that the Duke would so thoroughly succour the towns that they could have brought the ships away. It is thought here that the Prince will execute the Count Bossu[28], for that he has been his mortal enemy, and the right hand to the Duke, and also that all the gentlemen taken with him shall be executed. The Count de la Marck is at Flushing. Victuals grow very dear in all places in Holland, for want whereof they have sent the greater part of their forces to Utrecht and Guelders [Geldern]. [CSP Foreign, Elizabeth, Vol. 10]

The Colonel Morgan, Mr Chester, nor any other of the English captains that be here, can come to any accord or agreement with the Prince and the States for our entertainments. They will not allow us according to the contracts, neither come to account with us in any reasonable sort, neither yet will they muster us and give us passports as we demand. A passport they gave Mr Chester, 8 or 9 days past, and neither will they muster him, nor give him any money. I think in the end we shall be all driven to depart without any satisfaction.

About the 10th or 12th the ships of Enkhuizen fought with those of Amsterdam, and gave them the overthrow. Gives a list of ships and artillery taken, together with the names of Count Bossu and other principal prisoners. —Dortrecht, 24 October 1573.


Antonio de Guaras to The Duke of Alba

London, October 31st 1573

The last time that I wrote to your Excellency was on 20th of this month. Since then I have received no reply from Your Excellency.

In the meantime I spoke to that Captain Lane two or three times at court. It is still his desire that the negotiations come to a fruitful conclusion, and he asked me to enquire after Your Excellency's decision. Recently he said to me (in the hope that Your Excellency would accept the services offered) that he believed that the departure of certain ships which were under discussion could be delayed and that they could be fitted out with artillery, ammunition and provisions without further cost. In the hope that Your Excellency would take this gesture of goodwill into account, he wishes to be of service to you.

The last time that these negotiations were discussed before the Privy Council, English interests also carried a certain weight, as the Gentlemen were convinced that we [the Spaniards] were making progress in Holland and Zeeland; otherwise we would not have been treated with proper consideration. A few months ago, just after we lost Fort Rammekens[29] and I asked about their decision, they deviated from their original plan and informed me in the light of these recent events and with a view to the mutineering soldiers in Haarlem (events which occured simultaneously), that matters in Holland should be regulated on the request of the rebels. The same change of mood may have been brought about by our recent failures in Holland, i.e. the defeat of the Count of Boussu  and his fleet[30]. At the royal court and among the population [in England], rumors are circulating that the enemies have a permanent advantage, may the devil take them! This recent news leads me to believe that they could have overturned their intentions, and that is because, as I wrote, Lane is still interested in the negotiations. I feel that it would be an unfortunate decision to send a further person. Rather would it be advantageous to negotiate with him directly in accordance with your Excellency’s instructions and then, should the need arise; seek the advice of a third party when the matter is resolved, so as to ensure the success of the undertaking.


Ralph Lane to Antonio Guaras [in Italian language]

[London] 5th November 1573

Signor Guaras, I thank your Honour for your news that the Duke [Alba] finds himself most well, contrary to that reported here; and when your Honour does write that at any time a reply regarding our affairs is expected, your Honour may know that I am most surprised to have hitherto heard nothing, as 20 days have already passed since your courier left (from Dover, if I have understood correctly), and that it is disconcerting that no message was sent during this time. The matter is of tremendous importance to the service of the Most Catholic Majesty, as your own insights will tell you, particularly in times like these; thus I believe a special obstacle to have been put in place, in order to hold everything in abeyance for so long. 

As far as I am concerned, speaking forth as I would to a friend, I am most jealous that your courier is not so interfered upon as is mine: it was not desired to let him pass through, despite the fact he was declared as being in the king’s service. What makes me even more suspicious is that I spoke to a Gentleman Pensioner of Her Majesty this morning, a Fleming, Master Terlinge, who told me that a merchant friend of his had arrived in London from Antwerp two days previously; therefore, I believe, your Honour, that if the negotiations were to have gone well, some sort of message must have already been received, even wishing to allow time for the definitive answer. That is why I wanted to write to you, and to remind your Honour of that what you asked me at my home in London, namely that upon conclusion of the negotiations, I would also implement them in full and in the timeframe agreed, respective of your request, which I hereby promise again.

I ask of your Honour in confidence, that if, owing to your special circumstances or by reason of your knowledge of the situation in Flanders, you believe the offer may not have been accepted by His Excellency [Alba], you be so good to inform me urgently, so as to bring an end to my concerns, since my troubles do not serve the Most Catholic Majesty and is to my detriment. Allow me to say, your Honour, what I believe before God: I see no reason why this well thought-out service, which is in accordance with God, ought not be enough to make up for all the King’s past losses, which have arisen from his subjects. Even if one puts aside what the strengthening of forces through such a great number of sailors and soldiers means for the army of His Excellency, there is another discernible advantage, that if four or five of our Royal warships line up for battle, none of our enemies will be able to enter the strait as quickly as the aforesaid ships of Her Majesty, or those of Flanders. If the enemy be forced to battle with artillery, we too will deploy artillery in such a way that the approaching ships will before long go down, and with them their hopes. I needed no other reason for my decision to serve your Most Catholic Majesty and to do that what may please God and bring honour to a King of such distinction and Prince so accommodating.

Therefore, I am daily readied, and assure you that I will be able to deliver on these conditions in strength and number of ships – indeed a third more still of men and ammunition than is necessary – at the time prescribed and without difficulty, and I will do it so long as the whole thing need not be deferred for the reasons stated above. Since a start has already been made on the matter, it would please me greatly to conclude it in the glory of His Serene Highness, the King [of Spain], and His Esteemed Viceroy (and to my own honour, too).  Nevertheless, should your Honour believe the mentioned negotiations impossible, or bound with too greater difficulty, I wholeheartedly ask that you may share this with me in no uncertain terms, yes, as a favour would I regard this: with respect to the reduced expenditure of scudi (it is imperative this be provided and that it continue to be provided) and primarily because I cannot trust anyone with this matter, the exception proving the rule, and for this reason alone. The mentioned expenditures, existing as they do, are, as I said, little in value, that the King may at the very least realise our goodwill. However, a delay would make matters worse still – as would something else, which I care not to write about now. The only thing I am certain of is that this undertaking will scorch the feathers of the enemy and secure new friends for our Most Catholic King, should the campaign indeed take place. For my part, I am prepared to do something never before attempted. I speak so not without reason, and made this request at length in order to emphasise that I support the cause to the Glory of God, Our Lord. On that, I would like to end, and take leave in good faith, your Honour.


Colonel Thomas Morgan to Lord Burghley

Delft, November 12, 1573

The rumour of the Duke of Alva being in Amsterdam straightly used by the burghers is but according to the old use prognostications of his victories. There is no better likelihood but that this state will be much weakened through the ill government and unskilful dealings in their martial affairs. The Hague, a very fair and pleasant unwalled town, was by the advice of M. de St. Aldegonde [31] begun to be fortified, for the guarding whereof were placed five ensigns Dutch and one Walloon, who upon intelligence of the enemy's coming retired to Delft without resistance. The enemy, who are 4,000 strong under Julian Romero [32], are entrenched at a stone bridge half way between the Hague and Delft, and have cut off the passage between that town and Leyden. The Prince has burnt the houses outside the walls of Delft towards the Hague, together with a fair mansion house which might very well have been kept with 200 men, and much annoyed the enemy. Maesland Sluice [Maassluis], which was begun also to be fortified, was lost on the 4th inst., together with a very pretty fisher town called Ulerdingh [Vlaardingen], for the said six ensigns which came from the Hague fled immediately upon sight of the enemy and left the place, which 300 men might well have kept against 1,000. There was taken by the enemy M. de St. Aldegonde and 130 soldiers, and now they are in great possibility to do much hurt upon the Maes, and to visit the islands for his provisions. The Prince's camp is broken up by reason that Holland did not victual them sufficiently; they have left the trenches before Middelburg, and at their departure the enemy pursued them. [CSP Foreign, Elizabeth, Vol. 10]

The Prince (about the 6th of October) sent for me hither from the land van Strijen and Westmaas (an island by Dordrecht, where I was lodged with my soldiers, when we were sent out of Zeeland, as the other nations were for lack of victuals). His Excellence willed me to make up my accounts, for that he was determined to discharge me. The cause why, he saved there were others that would serve him better cheap, and without any such assurance as he had made unto me. According to His Excellence his will, I made up my accounts and exhibited them the 13th of October for all things, except my soldiers’ pay which (according to the martial orders) I referred to the musters: since which time I have been kept here, through the delays and uncertain answers of the Estates and the commissioners whom the Prince had assigned to deal with me. The circumstances of their unjust dealings and evil usage (although I have been thus bold) yet are they too long to be written or too much to trouble Your good Lordship withal: only thus to conclude, their good cheap soldiers serve them thereafter. Our nation that were disarmed at the overthrow before Haarlem [13 July 1573] have not yet been furnished again, nor put in service, and such companies as remain with me, being strong between 500 and 600 soldiers, are rather suffered to eat upon the poor inhabitants of the said island than now in this necessity employed. What order they mean to take with me and mine, know not, but very shortly I think I shall be constrained to retire with my charge, and humbly to beseech Your good Lordship’s favorable countenance towards the recovering my right, according to justice; for here is neither credit, nor profit to be gotten, such are their daily disobediences, divisions and dishonorable dealings. Myself, my friends and a great many good soldiers have entered so far into this cause and seen so much as we would be very glad to save ourselves or to be some reasonable losers.

Great and intolerable taxes have been raised and continually paid by the commons, and yet neither soldier or merchant has been satisfied. M. de Poyet [Lieutenant of William of Orange] has been evil used by the Governor of Flushing, and the Walloons in Zeeland do much grudge at the Frenchmen. Julian Romero lies still at the Hague, and has sent divers letters to the Prince, and requires earnestly to talk with him. The Count de la Marck is prisoner at the [Fort] Rammekens, and the Walloons and seamen murmured much thereat, saying that the Prince and the States do him wrong.— Delft, 12 Nov. 1573.


Ralph Lane to Antonio Guaras [in Italian language]

[London] 14th November 1573

Signor Guaras, my Dear, since your Honour has not yet received any information regarding our negotiation, 27 days already having passed since, as you told me, your courier left for His Excellency [Alba], and mindful of what North[33] shared with me the day before yesterday, that if no news arrived by Wednesday, you might begin to worry, I wanted to send this letter to your Honour, wherein I would like to intimate to you my sadness that both services that I had offered to your Most Holy Catholic Majesty – one of which expresses my great affections towards both His Majesty and yourself, and the other of great importance because it relates in large to the recovery of an affair, which in this very hour remains in gravest danger - causing me not in the slightest vexation, should I state (contrary to my and your expectation), that it might appear, owing to the silence entered, as if both services I have offered are considered by His Excellency small.  

In respect of the first service, and in accordance with the promise I made to His Excellency, The Duke, and your Honour in Rochester, I later sent out a young nobleman to Monsieur [Adrien] de Gomicourt [34], with a letter and the charge to find His Excellency, whereupon did he [the nobleman] not only not receive horses from Antwerp to Amsterdam, as was promised, but also received no permission to go through the relevant territory. And because he said he was going to His Excellency [Alba], was he looked upon badly and was forced to surrender his weapons. On the other hand, since I had reckoned on a friendly reception (and in order not to lose any time and not to break my promise), at the same time I had sent a fast envoy to Zeeland with a letter and the charge that the captains should be daily readied to receive my commands; out of this did arise that dispute between the Prince [of Orange] and them; the friends of Orange do remonstrate against what ensued, as they had to face the loss of the Prince’s outstanding payments in full, every dime [= 10 pennies]. I speak here not of the many who know nothing about the matter, but of several important leaders, who have links to each side and whose favour depends on their creditor, and this affects my honour and payment.

Had my nobleman only kissed the hands of His Excellency and were my goodwill for His Serene Highness, The Most Catholic Majesty, shared through His Excellency’s worthy commitment, I would be made entirely satisfied and not need to wait on the cordialities promised of Monsieur de Gomicourt – with regard to the benevolent acceptance of His Excellency, whose marvellous gratitude, beyond his other greatest virtues, is worthy of the highest distinction.

In respect of our present negotiating, Signor Guaras, it appears more than strange to me that it should have little weight, since, besides what has already been negotiated, yet more, unexpected advantages are unfolding to the greater benefit of His Most Catholic Majesty. I will provide you with many conveniences, the offer of which I would certainly have withheld – had I not reached the firm decision to intercede in this affair (with the reverence requisite of a loyal servant of my Lady, The Queen) for His Serene Highness, The Most Catholic King. Since, given the large number of seamen and the 25 English warships[35], four of which Royal, anyone can recognise the power plainly obvious of the English leaders, well-organised, from whom one can expect more benefits than harm, and who, although still remaining on the other side, these [Dutch] people will treat as ungrateful friends so deserve, namely in challenging them to battle.

Moreover, one can contrive ways so as to not have to venture into the extensive trade of ammunition and food in Flushing, from which point free passage is possible in honour of our people, who still remain in their service [= in the service of the Dutch]. These could, in accordance with my first offer, kindly be removed thence, and more still: the primacy of English warships, generally headed by a few Royal ships, over French and even Flemish warships should not be underestimated; I speak from experience. Their canons are able to sink a laterally positioned ship, and therefore the enemies will not be able to do much with their hulkere or hoye basse, neither come close, nor board; we can leave the rest to the experienced seamen. 

All of this is being properly considered by the fine judgement of His Excellency, whose prudence is based thereon. I can play a large part in this and am greatly surprised by this whole silence. Yes, this silence has made me most discouraged to offer His Serene Highness, His Most Catholic Majesty, any future service, if I cannot come to the conclusion that this circumvention owes itself to one of the following reasons: firstly, that the current turbulent events occupy his thoughts with more important matters; or secondly, according to the words His Excellency used in relation to North, since the entire matter was called into question, if something else should be behind this offer, and due to the sway of another power, as His Excellency said, a false promise could be being made. North said your Honour consider me true, for which I thank you, but His Excellency, to whom I am little allied, may have good reasons to take his time in making a decision.

Of course, Signor Guaras, in our case two things must be considered. Firstly, the nature and condition of the services on offer, that is to say, whether the offer can be withdrawn of him who risks his life and his honour. Secondly, it is about our nations and their shared Christendom, which is split into two groups, those faithful to the Pope and the Protestants. Our government consists solely of Protestants, who have their own law and their own Princes – opposing them are those faithful to the Pope, of whom some are suspicious to the government. The view of these factions, one embraced by government, the other suspicious to it, is of significance, if one is to understand what both factions’ offer, as both are of equal rank and power, but of different religion; one should hope for the absolute and secure fulfilment of promises, and one must assume a mutual respect of honour, as is deserving of noblemen. It is certain that a more prudent judgement will come from the Protestants than those faithful to the Pope. Although they have primacy over the Protestants in terms of convention and property, they do not have it where the dealing of weapons on land and sea is concerned. The self-righteous opinion that the Catholic Party has of itself is continually shown in its reservations towards the Protestant Party, whom continually find it a simple affair to derail any proposal undertaken by someone in the military sector.

If this great, whoever it may be, faithful to the Pope, or not, were to have made the promise without good faith, I would be little surprised, but I would find it abhorrent were his imprudence so self-righteous as to offer something to the representative of such a great King [Philip II.], in an affair that he, with certainty, could subsequently never fulfil.

In respect of present negotiating, there is nothing that you should be afraid of, for it is perfectly laudable and in no way wrong, if the Spanish Crown does have by its side an age-old ally [= England]. Here, the Prince reigns and the subject obeys: under written law, without which the Prince may not take action against anyone, are neither life nor property concerned. As, then, our intention is legitimate, it cannot fail due to fear of the law.

This obstacle, please it God, will not prevent me from our negotiating, since, as your Honour knows, I am neither admired, nor am I popish, and as someone suspicious of the state, one would never put weapons at my disposition.

Still, by no means do I want my name to be known in connection with the service of His Most Catholic Majesty, since this would make me most suspect, so that I would lose all credit and the reputation necessary to be of any further use in any important matter.

His Excellency may like to be assured that I offer my service against those [Dutchmen], who call themselves Protestant. I think not though, that the Flemish question is to do with religion. Rather, it solely concerns matters of government, in which they are at fault in their wish to defy the authority of their King, and I do not see any cause for scruples, if I am also to believe several of them Lutherans and Anabaptists, and that the Prince does consider himself more a Lutheran than anything else.

In view of that which concerns me as a nobleman and servant of the mentioned Queen, my Lady, I have great reason to counter the suspicion that Her Majesty [Elizabeth] expressed, amongst other things, that in the past year [36], I did take up arms against His Serene Catholic Highness - so that reasons of honour might precipitate a desire, to dissuade my Lady from their mistake, by service to His Most Catholic Majesty. I do not deserve the suspicion, for simply arming myself against Strozzi, who, as it was said, deployed himself at sea against Flanders, just as the Admiral [Duke of Mayenne] [37] did on land. It was not my plan to make for the coasts of Flanders with my 20 ships, but only the coasts of France[38], as appeared clear, and that Strozzi’s deployment (mascaria) on La Rochelle[39], not Flanders, was regarded as support for the lamentable Admiral[40]. As I left the army immediately afterwards and returned to court (without myself or my troops having hurt the Spanish in the slightest), I do not deserve my service to be reprimanded so harshly by Her Majesty, yet I still justified myself before Her Royal Person, so that according to the protestations of my noble friends, in particular those of the Lord High Treasurer [Lord Burghley] and the Master of the Horse [Earl of Leicester] it took only months to fully reconcile with Her Majesty and to gain her favour.

The above mentioned public and private reasons – but also, to prove to The Holy Most Catholic Majesty that the rare glory of this so thankful and great King did attract so many benevolent minds of Protestant noblemen in England, and did equip them for even greater service (thanks to Her Majesty The Queen, My Lady) – these reasons, so say I, make me every day more desire that the negotiating in question may advance, whereby I now find myself far better equipped than after my earlier promise. And so that His Excellence [Alba] can find time to think it over, considering the integrity shown in similar cases to date, or even if it be not favoured at this time, but rather at a later point, I once more offer your Honour, despite the high expenditures I have already paid out for His Most Catholic Majesty, to make available until the coming 6th January the mentioned 25 ships at the said ports within five weeks of a contractual commitment, unless wind or sea should make it impossible, according to God’s will, under the condition that His Excellency gives the tenderer 4,000 pounds sterling, whereby I use this 4,000 pounds only as a loan and only then keep if the delivery of ships does in fact take place; should His Excellency however no longer require this delivery for whatever reason, I then offer to pay back the mentioned sum of money to any envoy of His Excellency. With these words I most affectionately conclude and take leave your Honour.

From court in Greenwich, 14th November 1573.


Antonio de Guaras to The Duke of Alba

London, November 15th 1573

… As I wrote to Your Excellency, the said Lane has offered his services with the honest intention of fulfilling Your Excellency’s wishes. Since then I have often spoken with him in court and he always makes a reliable impression; he is most desirous of hearing Your Excellency's decision as he has to hold his ships back until such time as he receives an answer from Your Excellency. This gentleman, who obviously values his honor highly, is on familiar terms with the Queen and enjoys a good reputation among members of the Privy Council He is unlike the other Englishmen with whom one conducts negotiations and he offers proof that he will be true to his word; furthermore, it is clear that he is acting with the approval of the Queen and the Privy Council, when he offers his services. (...) While I was finishing my letter Chevalier Lane sent me the letter [of 5th  November] that I herewith enclose. His intentions seem to be good; only time will tell. Frobisher[41] sent me word that he will be in Dunkirk in a few days with his men and some of his ships.

London, November 15th 1573


Antonio de Guaras to The Duke of Alba

London, November 24th 1573

I wrote last on the 15th of this current month to Your Excellency. I then received what your excellency sent me from Grave[42] from the 6th of the month - the answer concerning the instructions to the Chevalier Lane with whom I met shortly thereafter. I conveyed all of the information concerning the details as determined by Your Excellency. So as to circumvent certain difficulties (one of which being general gossip) he will either write me within two or three days or he will send two gentlemen to advise Your Excellency of his decision. [43]

The Prince of Orange is said to have stated that he expects a large number of cavalry from his brother Louis of Nassau[44], as well as horses and soldiers from Scotland.

To the best of my knowledge, the said Lane will submit the following offer to you by means of the two messengers. He will withdraw 3000 soldiers currently in the service of the Prince of Orange and try to persuade them to enter the service of His Majesty [Philipp II]; the 3000 soldiers being made up of 1200 Englishmen, 800 Scots, 1000 French and Walloons.

I have no new messages from Frobisher, although the fact that someone from within his company withdrew their service, gives me cause for hope.

London,  24th November 1573


Antonio de Guaras to The Duke of Alba

London, December 15th 1573

I have last written Your Excellency on 5th of this month[45], and since then I have received no answer.

This Chevalier Lane who wishes to actually carry out the services, which he has offered, has often tried to arrange a meeting with me at court, so as to learn of Your Excellency’s answer. When I told him that I have not yet received an answer he was most surprised and he assured me again that as soon as his offer is accepted; he will put it into practice. However, the manner in which he discusses the matter gives cause for uncertainty. Sometimes he seems to be describing things in an exaggeratedly optimistic manner, on other occasions it is as if his words were intended to obscure the truth rather than provide concise information. Sometimes he says that he can dispatch the ships without knowledge thereof reaching the Queen; in less cautious moments he says that they will all be disguised. He is a gentleman of high standing at court and a favorite of the Queen with whom he is on very familiar terms.

London, December 15th 1573


Resumé of a letter sent from Antonio de Guaras to Spain

December 30th 1573

Chevalier Lane sent a letter to Guarás on 25th of this month, in which he says that he has sent many trustworthy people to Zeeland and Holland who, in accordance with his offer, have instructed the British forces to leave the service of Orange and return to England.  What would have had as a consequence thereof, 700 men have already returned to England with Captain Bingham, their Colonel. (Bingham had informed Lane of the above in a letter,  a copy of which went to Guarás- who then sent the copy to Madrid.) It follows from all of the foregoing that the British seemed to be happy to be rid of the Dutch and their ruses; that Holland was left behind in a very vulnerable condition and that Orange was retreating from Delft to Zeeland in great haste. Lane claims that the English soldiers returned to England as the result of his promising them a reward for doing so. Spain has not yet paid this reward to the said English soldiers. - With the promised return of soldiers to England, Lane is of the opinion that he has proven himself worthy of the service [to the Spanish king]. As for the warships, he is still prepared to provide them as soon as [the governor of] Flanders gives the command. 


Antonio de Guaras to  Luis de Requesens [46] 

London, January 15th 1574

... then I met with Chevalier Lane and informed him of the order, which Your Excellency sent to me[47] concerning the warships that were offered. In reply he told me, in no uncertain terms, that the approval of Her Majesty the Queen was completely out of the question, both publicly and privately. He says that he is certain that her Majesty has many good reasons to like this venture but because of the general feeling at the royal court, she could never openly approve.  But as I imparted to His Excellency, The Duke of Alba in a letter; the said Lane is prepared to dispatch his warships to the designated ports, even before he receives money, as he is sure that Your Excellency has the required sum at his disposal, ready to keep up your side of the bargain. As for the British soldiers, whom he has brought back from Holland (in accordance with the promises made to Monsieur Gomicourt[48]), he says that he would soon be sending a gentleman to Your Excellency with more concise information concerning his intentions. (...)

An English captain named Chester[49], who left his 200 soldiers in Holland, came here to recruit even more soldiers for the service under Orange . (...) I have got the letter from Your Excellency dated London, January 2nd  of this month, wherein is mentioned the Englishman who intends to enter into your service with his ships. I have forwarded Your Excellency's answer to him,  he wants to put his intention into practice, but will not accept remuneration.- Please find enclosed the letter which the said Lane has sent to me in the meantime. [50]

As Lord d'Aubigny[51] and I have already reported, an English captain by the name of Hawkins has offered the services of several warships, provided that the Queen gives her permission. It is hoped that Your Excellency will mediate thereby. Hawkins does so on his own initiative as he accepts that you could not submit such a petition directly to the Queen and even if you did so, her Majesty would not be in a position to grant her permission.

 London, January 15th 1574

Whilst I was finishing this letter, a gentleman came from Chevalier Lane, who wished me to inform Your Excellency that, with little associated danger, he can send two or three  three-masters to Arnemuiden[52] complete with supplies. He is a man of honour who wishes to fulfill his promise. Signor Lane and he request a speedy reply.


Ralph Lane to Lord Burghley [53]

London, January 17, 1574

Right Honourable, the matter I opened unto his lordship [the previous] night, I understand since, was broken with Guaras two days before R. B. [= Richard Bingham] was sent for. And as I hear he hath entertained it, but hath, at all, no opinion in it. Their honoured lordships[54] having offered R. B. the place of Lieutenant to them both with great promises, he has very honestly and wisely disabled himself, in two reasonable respects: The one for that he said his last service on the contrary part would but make their lordships’ meanings suspected to the D. [Duke] and so be rather a hindrance (than otherwise) unto their lordships’ purpose. The other, which touched himself, was that the whole companies lately retired[55], have reposed their trust upon him for the recovery of their pays by law, which amounting, besides all deductions, to six thousand pounds sterling, which were utterly lost, if he entered as yet into any doings against them. This his excuse well accepted, they suddenly resolved upon another Agent for them, which is Rowland York[56]. For myself, being proponed, I was suddenly refused, and termed to hot in spirit for this voyage. The conclusion was, that without all delay, Guaras must have a fresh charge immediately upon his return from the Court; land to be pawned, six thousand pounds forthwith to be taken up, 12 hundred men and six ships in all speed to be armed; and rather than delay of Guaras for lack of commission (wherewith he has once answered them) should make loss of time, my Lord E[dward, Earl of Oxford][57] was of opinion that three thousand pounds borrowed of Guaras upon the said pawn might serve the turn. And with this resolution the council brake up. And now one councillor more (by your lordship) than was looked for, or than I think will be desired, to the conference being entered, I hope their lordships shall be employed about some more convenient services for their own prince elsewhere, and as much to their own satisfaction, and to less danger everyway.

If your lordship do send for Guaras immediately upon his return, for fear of some maygames to be carried over by this messenger that lately is come, and to put him out of all doubt that nothing can escape your intelligence touching any my said Lords’ dealings since your interest is such in him as it is, it will cut off not only this, but any other advantages that foreign factions may seek to take of his young unstayed mind.

Truly, sir, besides my duty unto your lordship and my affection towards himself, the reasonable mistrust that I do conceive, that the acquainting of him too much with foreign intelligence, (though no harm meant of his part nor done) yet the same may turn him in time to much hurt; and a Western Spanish storm may, with some unhappy mate at helm, stir his noble bark so much to the Northward, that unawares he may wrack, as some of his noblest kinded hath done, the more pity of their fault, and to be plain with your lordship, if her majesty take not some order some way to employ him well, he is like enough at one time or other to employ himself abroad, without his best friends’ advices. And therefore to draw him from this humour lately crept into him, if your lordship do think of some employment to him in her majesty’s service, if it were to accompany my Lord Deputy into Ireland, and there to bestow this summer, this only motion of your lordship with such hope of further employment hereafter in greater matters, as your lordship may add thereto, will peradventure be sufficient of itself to quench this vapour newly kindled, and especially when he shall understand of your lordship that you are not ignorant of this present match.

Thus, sir, my hearty dutiful affection unto your lordship whom I know his case doth touch, hath made me to bewray my folly in advising your lordship, but I know your lordship will not condemn my good meaning, although peradventure the substance of my opinion deserves no better.


Ralph Lane to Antonio de Guaras [in Italian language]

18th January 1574

Your Honour may be aware of the fact that I had an audience with the Lord High Treasurer [Burghley] last Saturday[58]. Among other things he told me that it has suddenly come to his information that my Lord the Earl of Oxford, my Lord Edward Seymour[59] and your Honour collectively suggested a certain undertaking to the governor of Flanders [Requesens].  His Lordship [Burghley] informs me that it could be taken amiss if anyone favored secretly the fantastic moods of this young man  in such an important matter, and that there cannot be and will not be any such negotiations without the participation of the Lord High Treasurer. His Lordship is informed that the said Earl intends to borrow the sum of £ 6000 from your Honour for the desired services and offers you as a security the mortgage of some of his lands at the same value. The Lord High Treasurer wishes to discuss these matters with you as soon as you return to court. In the meantime, speaking as your friend, I would have you know that it is more than premature to allow oneself to be drawn into undertakings with these high-spirited young men (sfrenati giovani) who seem to be acting in a very divulging and fickle manner (molto insecreti et inconstantissimi). In addition, there is not a soldier in the country, neither is there a sailor at sea who would dare to partake in such a scheme. The only answer that you can give is that nobody can secure the services of the Queen’s armed forces without Her Majesty's express permission. My advice to you would be to ensure that these gentlemen neither do nor say anything that could give your servants cause to speculate and gossip. Out of respect for the Lord Treasurer [Burghley], but also to watch the Earlʼs activity most vigilantly, and to protect your cause (although our discussion contains nothing, even in regard to the services of the Catholic King, which is not to the glory and great satisfaction of Her Royal Highness, my Lady, and not least to avert any suspicion of you, if I have occasion to come to your house or to send written communications in the future, I shall do so as rarely as possible. And if you have reason to warn me of the return of our friend, send your servant to Greenwich to the cavalry, and ask without reservations, especially since you can be certain that our dealings will be successful, and I am now more certain of the matter than before, and I ask you that if you receive letters intended for me, please forward them to my accommodation at Charing Cross or here to Greenwich. And so I commend your grace with all my heart.  

From Greenwich, 18th January  [1574].


Antonio de Guaras to  Luis de Requesens

London, January 26th 1574

The Baron D'Aubigni [Gilles de Lens, Baron d’Aubigny] had come to visit the Queen from the Grand Commander (Requesens) and had been better received than ever an envoy was before. A lord and seven or eight great gentlemen had gone out to meet him, who had housed him well and accompanied him to the palace, in the great hall of which the Queen awaited him surrounded by her nobles. She received him very kindly and seemed pleased at his visit. The more to honour him they took him to the Queen's privy chamber when he took his leave, and the Queen, having been informed by him that some of her subjects wished to go and serve his Majesty on sea and on land, she said they could not go as she had promised Orange that she would send no force against him, and she wished rather to be an intercessor to bring Orange with his territory of Zeeland and Holland to submit to his Majesty, as Burghley had several times told Guaras.
Many Englishmen are endeavored to serve the King, and they would do so if they were allowed, although it is believed few will do so against the Queen's will. On the other hand, it is said that by her express order and permission, men, victuals, and munitions are going in great numbers to Zeeland for the help of Orange. It is thought, indeed, that she has ordered her Vice-Admirals to prevent any victuals, stores, or men from going over for the King's service.
On the other hand, it is said that by her express order and permission, men, victuals, and munitions are going in great numbers to Zeeland for the help of Orange. [CSP, Spain, Vol. 2]

Another English gentleman has offered his service for a fee. However, if the Englishmen who requested it were allowed to sell the spoils of war from the fight against the rebels from Holland and Zeeland, they would have their own profit; they would chase them, and put the guns and ammunition into the service of their Majesty [Philip II], and hand the important prisoners over to the judicial authorities. (As I write, they are trying to have a warship, heading for Holland, change course to Dunkirk.) Baron d'Aubigny and I have encouraged the Englishman concerned to carry this project out, and assured him of Your Excellency's gratitude as well as a financial reward.

Please find enclosed: a letter from that cavalier Lane [dated January 18, 1574]. Since receiving it I have had two audiences with Lord Burghley but he has made no mention of the letter’s contents. It is all but invention and falseness, because in all of my life, I have never had occasion to exchange a single word with the Earl of Oxford, I don’t think he even knows me. I have never even seen or met the other Milord [Seymour] and I have certainly never offered to them the money of which they speak of to anyone. I have not seen Lane since then. It is all treacherous and evil behavior, and I cannot imagine what should prompt them to write such a thing that never even crossed my mind, such a thing as I cannot imagine and to which I was never instructed. I have never acted on behalf of the state without express instructions from the proper authorities.

Those who are not our friends are very anxious to keep in touch with this court and the Dutch people, so that by the support of Orange with money and other Middelburg and Arnemuiden will be lost; And under great secrecy they send money to the William of Orange along with ammunition and food, as I have written.

Although the English Colonel Chester has so far not been allowed to increase the number of 200 soldiers who have remained in Holland to go to Vlissingen, I am informed by a friend that he will get permission, when it is known that Orange is not defeated, as is now rumoured…

London,  26th January1574


Antonio de Guaras to  Luis de Requesens

London, January 31st 1574

Guaras knew that Captain Chester was going to Flushing [Vlissingen] in 10 days with 600 soldiers, and 300 had already gone, and he spoke to Lord Burghley about it to urge him to have the Queen's promise to the Baron fulfilled. He promised him that it should be done if possible, and that they would do their best to stop the men, but Guaras could see that their desire was to get possession of Middelburg. Guaras is told that they will go over separately and secretly to the number of 1,500, with the intention of enriching themselves with the spoils of Middelburg. He had also heard that some English soldiers were being shipped from Newcastle for Holland as well as a number of Scotsmen, so that help is going secretly from all parts. - Guaras had heard that the Flemish rebels in England were raising a subscription of 100,000 crowns as well as 30,000 escudos to help Orange to increase his force. [CSP, Spain, Vol. 2]

That cavalier Lane is waiting for response to the letter which he had delivered to Your Excellency by a nobleman. - Yesterday I spoke with Milord Edward Seymour, who offered to provide His Majesty [Philipp II] with an impressive number of ships. As he is a young cavalier I thanked him for his generous offer. I did however emphasize that Your Excellency would only accept the ships if the undertaking had the express approval of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whereupon he insisted that he could assemble the ships and dispatch them- just as he could place them in the service of the Prince of Orange. Telling him that this was not the right procedure, without the Queen's consent, I thanked him again for his obligingness and left.


Antonio de Guaras to  Luis de Requesens

London, February 17th 1574

In my room I spoke with the said Lane and assured him of your good will. He expressed his gratitude and offered his services to whatever extent lay within his possibilities. Please find enclosed, a letter from him to Your Excellency.[60]

With regard to the warships which he has offered is, in spite of the fine words, there little hope that he can provide you with them, when he asked of the price, he did not receive an answer. Furthermore, I have heard that there are factions at court who are adamantly opposed to his plans and that they have the power to stifle them.

He claims that Monsieur de Gomicourt had promised him financial remuneration if he withdrew English soldiers from Holland. He claims further that the said promise can be confirmed by the Duke of Alba and that he regrets not having received the said payment. 

On the subject of aid to Middelburg [to supply the city with food] [61] I negotiated with various people, with dealers as seafarers, even with half the pirates who have nothing to lose, but neither one nor the other offer this service because the members of the Privy Council would take them to task if they secretly took wheat without a license , above all, not for aid such as this. It would be even more difficult to take the cargo from here and deliver it to Arnemuiden; all the more so as we know that even an attempt to provide such assistance is punished harshly. (...)

I have I spoken with said Chevalier Lane specifically about this assistance, which, according to the agreement that his follower Thomas Heron[62] had met with Juan de Ysunça[63], could be implemented. When I read the agreement that I have received, I come to the conclusion that it has no validity, because Lane cannot offer a guarantee, he is not the person who would take ten escudos. He is a good, even a noble man, yet he is without  property and he is not credit worthy; and therefore, if I look at the order and the Commission to be linked with a secure guarantee, it is not possible to conclude the agreement as it is here described. Should Your Excellency decide to accept the services offered then the risk of an increase in cost must be taken into consideration: To begin with, the grain has to be purchased, loaded and transported secretly by English seamen (who are not particularly trustworthy). Ralph Lane and I have devised the following plan: I give the Englishman -an honorable man- the necessary funds. Together with Thomas Heron, he buys the agreed amount of grain -300 Liters - and loads it on to two three-masters, for which he also pays. He commits himself for the sum of 3000 Escudos, which I offered Lane, to buy the grain at a good price in spite of the lack of the license and to entrust it to honest seamen who will do their best to deliver it to Arnemuiden and Middelburg. However, as I already mentioned, there is a risk that the delivery may not reach its destination resulting in a loss of money and effort. Should Your Excellency deem the project to be necessary, in spite of the risks, we shall carry it out with the maximum possible caution. Desirous of being of service to Your Excellency, Thomas Fiesco[64] could secure a loan of 1500 Escudos from [Horatio] Palavicino[65], an Italian, which could be drawn upon whenever required. In view of the fact that the help offered is so valuable, I hope that Your Excellency is therewith adequately provided for. Should this manner of grain delivery not be possible, I do not know of any realistic alternatives.

In the meantime, Lord Burghley told me nothing of his future plans. His hope is that Queen Elizabeth will somehow bring Orange to submit to her will. If he imparts any information to me then I shall report to Your Excellency accordingly. Please be asured that I will not act independently in the matter and that I will always follow Your Excellency's instructions. I shall listen if I hear anything then I will tell you. However, I will not allow these people to provoke me.

On the subject of Captain Bingham: I do not understand why he wants to go there [to Holland]; he seems to be insulted because he did not receive any payment after he had drawn his troops out of Holland; he says that Lane had negotiated that he and the other captains would be rewarded.

In accordance with Your Excellency's instructions, I will not ask any Englishman to act against our [Dutch] rebels- as this is incompatible with service to His Majesty.


Substance of Guaras' Letters.  April 1574

Bingham is still persisting in doing the service he offers. He and all his officers are Catholics, which inspires confidence in them.[66] One of the officers he was taking with him was a close friend of Guaras, who knew him to be a serviceable man, and he had offered Guaras to take Rotterdam. Guaras did not enter into this, in order not to embarrass the original design.
Bingham will try to gain over Walter Morgan[67] who has already been paid 1,000 crowns to take 500 soldiers to Holland or Zeeland, and it is believed that he will sail with them in six weeks. [CSP, Spain, Vol. 2, p. 478]


Philip II, king of Spain,  Précis of despatches from Antonio de Guaras, April 1574.

Sir Henry Sidney[68] had asked to see Guaras and spoken in great secrecy to him, and offered that he had a way to serve His Majesty with 6000 chosen English soldiers; and since Guaras expressed two or three times his belief as to the difficulty of doing so with the Queen’s will, and even more without, he replied as many times that His Majesty should have knowledge of this his good desire, and that as security for the fulfillment of it he pledged his only heir who is also heir to the Earldoms of Warwick and Leicester and whose name is Philip whom His majesty lifted from the font. [BL, MS Add. 28/263 fol.2;  Katherine Duncan-Jones, Sir Philip Sidney, p. 88.]


Philip II, king of Spain, Précis of despatches from Antonio de Guaras, 25 July 1574.

In a report from England, Guarás relates, among other things, that Lord Burghley has told him that the Queen was willing to help the [Spanish] King to secure the subservience of the Dutch rebels. She says that if they resist, she will utilize her fleet to force them to see reason. This is an opening, which Requesens did not want to believe, knowing that this queen was to be expected to have religious feelings.

(Correspondance de Philippe II sur les affaires des Pays-Bas [1558-1577]Tome III, Bruxelles 1858, p. 123.)


Substance of letters from Antonio de Guaras. London, July and September 1574

[July:] Bingham had come back from Orange very sad, as he would not admit him to his service, saying that he did not want Englishmen. He [Bingham] is a good and honest efficient person and was resolved to go and ship on His Majesty’s [Philip II] fleet.

[September:] Orange refuses to employ Englishmen, and therefore five or six captains have offered to serve His Majesty and to bring mariners with them. The principal of these is Bingham who, Guaras asserts, is a useful man who has a design about Flushing which Guaras sends, as well as his [Bingham's] opinion about a landing in Ireland, in which enterprise he offers to take part.
Haselby had returned from Holland with Chester, and had told Guaras that the Scotsman still remained inside Bommel, but he does not know of the arrangement made with the Scotsman. They talked amongst themselves, however, about Captain Ellis[69] going to Bommel and there arranging with Colonel [Henry] Balfour[70] for him and his men, when they leave there, to go to Rotterdam or Delft, or wherever Orange might be, in order to capture or kill him. They would also surrender one of those towns, and on their doing these two things the colonel and the captains were to have 20,000 crowns each, and as much more for the men. In case they fail to capture Orange but surrender the town, they are only to receive 15,000 crowns amongst the whole of them, whilst, if on the contrary, they capture him and do not surrender the town, the are to have 30,000 between them. [CSP, Spain, Vol. 2, p. 483-484.]




Roger Williams, The actions of the Lowe Countries. [London ed. 1618]

George Gascoigne, The Fruites of War [Posies, London 1576] – See 7.2.2 Gascoigne.

Thomas Churchyard, A generall rehearsall of warres, called Churchyardes choise. London 1579.

Emanuel van Meteren, A true discourse historicall of the succeeding governours in the Netherlands : London 1602.

Luc[as] Jean Joseph van der Vynckt, Geschichte der Vereinigten Niederlande von ihrem Ursprunge im Jahr 1560 an. Zürich 1793.

J. M. B. C. Kervijn de Lettenhove, Les Huguenots et les Gueux (6 vols) Bruges 1883-1885.

Robert Fruin, The Siege and Relief of Leyden in 1574. The Hague 1927.

Charles Wilson, Queen Elizabeth and the revolt of the Netherlands. Berkeley 1970.

Duncan Caldecott-Baird (ed.), The Expedition in Holland 1572-1574: The Revolt of the Netherlands: the Early Struggle for Independence. from the manuscript by Walter Morgan [Wolf]. London 1976.

Anna E. C. Simoni, 'Walter Morgan Wolff: An Elizabethan Soldier and His Maps', Quaerendo 26 (1996): 58-76.

David J. B. Trim, FightingJacobʼs Wars’. The Employment of English and Welsh Mercenaries in the European Wars of Religion: France and the Netherlands, 1562-1610. (Diss. London 2002.)

Peter J. Arnade, Beggars, Iconoclasts, and Civic Patriots: The Political Culture of the Dutch Revolt. Cornell University Press 2008.

James Tracy, The Founding of the Dutch Republic: War, Finance, and Politics in Holland, 1572-1588. Oxford 2008.

Rory Rapple, Martial Power and Elizabethan Political Culture: Military Men in England and Ireland, 1558-1594. Cambridge 2009.

David Trim,  The Huguenots: History and Memory in Transnational Context. Brill Academic Publishers 2011.



Relations politiques des Pays-Bas et de l'Angleterre, sous le règne de Philippe II, publiés par [Joseph] Kervyn de Lettenhove, Tome VI, Gouvernement du Duc dʼ Albe (5 octobre 1570 - 29 novembre 1573). Bruxelles 1888. https://archive.org/stream/relationspolitiq06nethuoft#page/846/mode/2up

Relations politiques des Pays-Bas et de l'Angleterre, sous le règne de Philippe II, publiés par [Joseph] Kervyn de Lettenhove, Tome VII, Gouvernement de Requesens (29 novembre 1573 - 25 octobre 1575). Bruxelles 1888. https://archive.org/details/relationspolitiq07nethuoft

Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 10, 1572-1574, Allan James Crosby (editor) (1876)  http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/foreign/vol10

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Vol. 2, 1568-1579, ed. by Martin A. S. Hume (1894)  http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/simancas/vol2/pp472-474

Correspondance de Philippe II sur les affaires des Pays-Bas [1558-1577], Tome III, Bruxelles 1858. https://archive.org/details/correspondancede03phil



[1] William of Orange. William the Silent, William I, (1533–1584), Prince of Orange, founder of the House Orange-Nassau and the Netherlands as a state.

[2] Flushing. Vlissingen. - The Battle of Flushing was a naval battle of the Eighty Years' War, fought on April 17, 1573 near the city of Flushing, Netherlands. The Spanish fleet was led by Sancho d'Avila, the Dutch fleet by Lieven Keersmaker. The Dutch fleet initially left Flushing, but returned when the Spanish fleet was hit by the city's cannons. Five Spanish ships were seized, but the remainder managed to reach the cities of Middelburg and Arnemuiden.

[3] Goes. A city in the southwestern Netherlands on Zuid-Beveland, in the province of Zeeland. - In Autumn 1572, Goes, in the Spanish Netherlands, was besieged by Dutch forces with the support of English troops. The siege was relieved in October 1572 by Spanish Tercios, who waded across the Scheldt to attack the besieging forces.

[4] the Estates General. We may introduce an essay of Robert Detobel (2017).

"John Lothrop Motley, in his classic study, The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 3 vol. vol.II, New York 1864, p.651, writes -

'[William] Orange's sovereignty was from the estates, as legal representatives of the people, and, instead of exercising all the powers not otherwise granted away, he was content with those especially conferred upon him. He could neither declare war nor conclude peace without the co-operation of the representative body, the appointing power was scrupulously limited. Judges, magistrates, governors, sheriffs, provincial and municipal officers were to be nominated by the local authorities or by the estates, on the triple principle. From these triple nominations he had only the right of selection by advice or consent of his council.... With respect to the great principle of taxation, stricter bonds even were provided than those which already existed. Not only the right of taxation remained with the states, but the Count [here William in his quality as Count of the province Holland] was to see that, except for war purposes, every impost was levied by unanimous vote.'

The meaning of the whole passage is not immediately clear. Sovereignty was no longer a consequence of a king's divine right but lay with a representative body in each province called "estates", the assembly of all of the provincial estates being called the estates general. Were those estates general the same as the 'states' with which the right of taxation remained? Otherwise put: were 'states general' and 'estates general' identical? And was the notion 'estates general' identical with those 'estates general' whose opposition to King Louis XVI triggered the French Revolution in 1789? The answer is: on principle yes, but with the qualification "more or less".
Actually, they were not so different from assemblies in other political systems such as the diets in the Holy Roman Empire, Parliament in England, or Cortes in Spain, also based on a tripartite view of society: clergy, nobility, lower nobility/commoners, only with this difference that the English system evolved into a house of lords and a house of commons (as did the Netherlands in 1815, having become a kingdom).Though quite different from the estates general in the centuries before, the system (house of representatives and senate) continues being so called nowadays.
The states or estates general in the Low Countries were a representative body inherited from the Dukes of Burgundy, more particularly from Philip III of Burgundy, also known as Philip the Good (1396-1467), who created the States-General in 1464, mainly in view of centralizing the taxation at a time his dukedom had expanded, through inheritance, marriage and conquest, far beyond its original borders, to encompass the whole of what today are the Benelux states (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and part of Northern France (Artois), on the model inaugurated by the French King in 1302.
The change from monarchy to Republic ensued in several steps. Firstby means of the Union of Utrecht in 1576, which, though clearly directed against the Spanish domination still recognized Philip II of Spain as sovereign. In 1581, however, this too was formally rejected.
Plakkaat van Verlatinghe, literally 'placard of abjuration'), was the declaration of independence of the provinces of the Netherlands from Spain in 1581, during the Dutch Revolt.
Signed on 26 July 1581 in the Hague, the Act formally confirmed a decision made by the States General of the Netherlands in Antwerp four days earlier. It declared that all magistrates in the provinces making up the Union of Utrecht were freed from their oaths of allegiance to the King of Spain. The grounds given were that Philip II had failed in his obligations to his subjects, by oppressing them and violating their ancient rights (an early form of social contract). Philip was therefore considered to have forfeited his thrones as ruler of each of the provinces which signed the Act. The Act of Abjuration allowed the newly-independent territories to govern themselves, although they first offered their thrones to alternative candidates [Duke of Anjou, in a sense the Earl of Leicester as governor].When this failed, they formed the Dutch Republic, the predecessor of the modern state of the Netherlands."

[5] The Duke of Alba. Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, Duque de Alba (1507–1582), known as the Iron Duke in the Netherlands. He is best known for his actions against the revolt of the Netherlands, where he instituted the Council of Troubles, and repeatedly defeated the troops of William of Orange and Louis of Nassau in the battle of Jemmingen (1568) during the first stages of the Eighty Years' War. He is also known for the brutalities during the capture of Mechelen, Zutphen, Naarden and Haarlem. In spite of these military successes, the Dutch revolt was not broken and Alba was recalled to Spain in December 1573.

[6] Earl of Leicester. Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, Knight of the Garter (1532–1588) was the favourite and close friend of Elizabeth I's, from her first year on the throne until his death. The Queen gave him reason to hope, and he was a suitor for her hand for many years. For the first 30 years of Elizabeth's reign, until Leicester's death, he and Lord Burghley were the most powerful and important political figures, working intimately with the Queen. Robert Dudley was a conscientious privy councillor, and one of the most frequently attending. - Until about 1571/1572 Dudley supported Mary Stuart's succession rights to the English throne. He was also, from the early 1560s, on the best terms with the Protestant lords in Scotland, thereby supporting the English or, as he saw it, the Protestant interest. - On 5 March 1573 Leicester and the Lords of the Council ordered the stay of all ships of Flushing and Zeeland, and the seizure of their crews and cargoes, in consequence of wrongs inflicted on English merchants and others.

[7] Captain Morgan who is preparing to mobilize 600 soldiers. Colonel Thomas Morgan was appointed in April 1572 captain of the first band of English volunteers that served in the Low Countries under William of Orange. He landed with his company, three hundred strong, at Flushing on 6 June. Morgan returned home in November 1572 with Sir Humphrey Gilbert and the rest, only to return to Holland in spring 1573 with ten English companies (c. 600 soldiers). – Guarás seems to be a  victim of deliberate false information.

[8] Edward Chester (died 1579), was the fourth son of Sir William Chester, Lord Mayor of London in 1554-55. Edward Chester's first known military service was as a captain in Gilbert's regiment in Zeeland in 1572. He took over the second draft of the regiment, some three hundred strong, in July. He soon linked up with Gilbert and campaigned with the rest of the regiment thereafter. - Chester raised two companies of his own in 1573, but they were subsumed into Morgan's newly-commissioned regiment. In August 1573 Colonel Morgan's regiment and several Scots companies were repulsing the attack of a detached Spanish division on Delft and other places between Rotterdam and Leyden, in which service Captain Chester highly distinguished himself at the head of two hundred English men-at-arms, for which he was promoted by William of Orange to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Mid-October 1573, Colonel Chester was to quit the service of William of Orange but he and the Prince formed a new alliance. He returned to England to recruit new troops for the fight against the Spaniards (see note 67.) - In March 1574 he then obtained a commission for a regiment of his own. Though he faced some difficulties, he was able to fill his contract and transport the troops to the Netherlands in March 1574, as the Spanish were aware. But its poor performance outside Leiden in Maye 1574 led to it being disbanded. Chester kept his own company in Dutch pay and kept on good terms with William of Orange and presumably had a good chance of regaining a colonelcy. However he drowned whilst en route from England to Holland in November 1577. (See David J. B. Trim, Fighting Jacob's Wars (Diss. London 2002, p. 378).

[9] Philippe de Lannoy (c.1510-1574), Seigneur de Beauvoir, a commander of the Spanish army. - The Spanish general Cristóbal de Mondragón (1514-1596) was a prominent military figure of the sixteenth century, and was colonel of the Tercios of Flanders under the Duke of Alba, Luis de Requesens and Alexander Farnese. He fought against the armies of William of Orange first and after Maurice of Nassau. His talent as a strategist led to important victories by the Spanish troops in Flanders and the Netherlands in a time of decline of Spanish domination in this region. - In 1572 he raised the siege of Goes by a bold foot-crossing of the water, and in reward was appointed Stadhouder of Zeeland by the Duke of Alba.

[10] Treveer alias Campheer is identical with the Dutch town of Veere on Walcheren island.

[11] Louis of Nassau (1538 – 1574) was the third son of William, Count of Nassau and Juliana of Stolberg, and the younger brother of Prince William of Orange Nassau. - Louis was a key figure in the revolt of the Netherlands against Spain and a strongly convinced Calvinist, unlike his brother William, whom he helped in various ways, including by arranging the marriage between him and his second wife Anna of Saxony. In 1569 William appointed him governor of the principality of Orange, giving him an indisputable position in French politics.

[12] Bertrand de Poyet, the lieutenant of the Dutch army who planned together with Captain Walter Morgan Wolf (see note 67) the Capture of Geertruidenberg (Span. Saint-Gertrudsbergh) on August 28, 1573. - The capture was by a English, French Huguenot and Flemings force led by Colonel de Poyet. An small assault force led by Walter Morgan captured the main gate which enabled complete surprise on the garrison and most were put to the sword.

[13] Gabriel, Comte de Montgomery, seigneur de Lorges (1530–1574), a French nobleman, was a captain of the Scots Guards of King Henry II of France. He is remembered for mortally injuring King Henry II in a jousting accident and subsequently converting to Protestantism, the faith that the Scots Guard sought to suppress. He became a leader of the Huguenots. He was one of the few refugees to survive the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre after a wounded Huguenot swam across the Seine to warn him that rioting had begun. He took control of Bourges and during September and October defended Rouen from the Royal Army. A price was put on his head, but he managed to escape to England.

David J. B. Trim, Fighting Jacobʼs Wars (Diss. London 2002, p.130): “In January 1574 Montgommery began to gather troops in the Channel Isles, under pretext of giving up war to live quietly in the islands, but actually to invade France. In March (around the time Charles IX died), Montgommery invaded Lower Normandy where he had immediate, if limited success. His invasion took place at the same time as the intended escape from the French court of Henry of Navarre and the duke of Alençon (youngest brother of Charles IX and Henry Ill and, at this stage, a member of a coalition of Huguenots and moderate Catholics), who planned to join troops led by Count Christopher of the Palatinate and Louis of Nassau on the Rhenish border of France -- escape plans the English government had helped to formulate. - At the end of May 1574, Montgommery was isolated in Domfront castle with a small force and captured. On 26 June 1574 he was executed in Paris.” (See Leon Marlet, Le Comte de Montgomery (Paris: 1890).

[14] this memorandum. Lane's first 'memorial' from the beginning of October 1573 is not conserved.

[15] the Admiral. Edward Fiennes de Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln, Knight of the Garter, (1512–1585) served as Lord High Admiral under King Edward VI from 1550 to 1553, and again from 1559 to 1585.

[16] five or six well armed Royal ships. As the further correspondence show, the number of the ships offered varies. See note 34.

[17] the Spanish held town of Arnemuiden. Arnemuiden and Middelburg (Spanish: Ramua) were occupied by the Spaniards until the end of January 1574. The Spanish occupation was antagonized by a siege, in a row with hunger and suffering.

[18] Antwerp. Spanish: Enveres or Amberes.

[19] Serras. Jerome van T’seraerts [J. de t Zereerts] (1540-15.7.1573). Orange’s governor for Flushing, captain of Geertruidenberg. He was killed by his own troops when he tried to prevent the iconoclasm on the main church .

[20] Lord Cacaquet. This is a reference to Alan 4. Lord Cathcart (1537-1618). Richard Bingham calls him “Lord of Caker” (see letter from October 15, 1573).

[21] Monsieur Lumey. William II de la Marck (1542 – 1578) (Dutch: Willem II van der Marck) was Lord of Lumey and initially admiral of the Watergeuzen, the so-called 'sea beggars'. On 1 April 1572 – the day of the Capture of Brielle – the Sea Beggars were led by De la Marck, and by two of his captains, Willem Bloys van Treslong and Lenaert Jansz de Graeff. After they were expelled from England by Elizabeth I, they needed a place to shelter their 25 ships. As they sailed towards Brill, they were surprised to find out that the Spanish garrison had left in order to deal with trouble in Utrecht. On the evening of 1 April, the 600 men sacked the undefended port. As they were preparing to leave, one of the men said there was no reason they should leave where they were. - On 9 July 1572 he executed the Martyrs of Gorkum, 19 Dutch Roman Catholic priests and religious. - Having conquered South-Holland and controlling North-Holland and Zeeland, on 20 June 1572 Lumey was appointed stadtholder of Holland and consequently Captain General, i.e. military Commander in Chief of the conquered territories. It has never been evidenced that Lumey recognized either the authority or the seniority of the Prince of Orange, who was eventually recognized as the leader of the Low Countries' uprising against the King Philip II of Spain. In 1576 Lumey was banned from the Netherlands, either by the States of Holland or William of Orange.

[22] Poyet. See note 12.

[23] Geronimo de Arceo. The secretary of the Duke of Alba.

[24] Captain Lane sent me this paper. Ralph Lane [London] to Antonio Guaras, October 18, 1573. (“Intre le altre convencioni una è specialissima ... per le ditte nostre legge.”)

One particular condition, that, in haste, I forgot to mention in my letter to His Excellence [Alba], concerns the matter of religion, and so: that His Excellence may promise to allow our seamen on your ships and boats to say prayers, both customary to you, and those appropriate to English law… In respect of the royal ships, that the army of Her Serene Majesty [Elizabeth] are presently recruiting, it may please His Excellence that therein no ceremony take place, as is banned according to our law. 

[25] he has included this handwritten memorandum. See note 24.

[26] Juan de La Cerda y Silva, 4. duque de Medinaceli (c.1510-1575). Wikipedia: In 1557, King Philip II of Spain appointed him Viceroy of Sicily, a position he held until 1564. During that time he besieged with a fleet the North-African harbour of Tripoli. The force, including ships from Spain, Genoa, Tuscany, the Knights of Malta and the Papal States, was however nearly destroyed in the Battle of Djerba (1560). In 1567 he was appointed Viceroy of Navarre supposedly staying there till 1572. - In the spring of 1572 Philip II sent Medinaceli to the Netherlands as governor. According to Henry Kamen, Medinaceli reported to the king that “Excessive rigour, the misconduct of some officers and soldiers, and the Tenth Penny, are the cause of all the ills, and not heresy or rebellion.” One of the governor’s officers reported that in the Netherlands “the name of the house of Alba” was held in abhorrence. Medinaceli lobbied the King for the removal of the Duke of Alba as military commander. Deciding that the views of Medinaceli and Alba were not compatible, Philip II removed both and replaced them with Requesens.

[27] Joseph Boniface de La Môle (1526 – 30 April 1574) was a French nobleman. La Môle was the Provençal lover of Marguerite de Valois, among others, during the early part of her marriage to Henry of Navarre, the future king of France. He served François, Duke of Alençon, Marguerite's brother and youngest son of King Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici. He represented the Duc d’Alençon during marriage negotiations with Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1572. In 1574 he was implicated in a Malcontent conspiracy against the reigning king, Charles IX, who was gravely ill, supported by the duke of Alençon. He was accused of making an attempt on the king's life when a wax figurine pricked with needles, which he had obtained from the astrologer Cosimo Ruggieri, was found in his possession. After being subjected to questioning and torture, he was condemned to death.

[28] Maximilien de Hénin-Liétard, Count of Boussu (1542–1578) was a soldier and statesman from the Habsburg Netherlands. During the Eighty Years' War Boussu (or Bossu) was the royalist stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht from 1567 until he was made a prisoner of war during the Battle on the Zuiderzee in October 11, 1573. After being freed under the terms of the Pacification of Ghent he changed sides and became commander in chief of the forces of the States-General of the Netherlands.

[29] just after we lost Fort Rammekens. English volunteers helped in the capture of Fort Rammekens (near Middelburg) in August 5, 1573, and in the great sea-fight, when the Zeeland ships attacked the Spanish fleet from Antwerp, with supplies for Middelburg.

[30] the defeat of the Count of Boussu and his fleet. The Battle on the Zuiderzee (October 11, 1573) was a naval battle in which a Dutch fleet destroyed a larger and better-equipped Spanish fleet on the Zuiderzee.

[31] Philips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde, Lord of West-Souburg (Dutch: Filips van Marnix, heer van Sint-Aldegonde, French: Philippe de Marnix, seigneur de Sainte-Aldegonde; 1540 – 1598) was a Flemish and Dutch writer and statesman, and the probable author of the text of the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus. In 1572 he was sent as William of Orange’s representative to the first meeting of the States-General assembled at Dordrecht. In November 1573 he was taken prisoner by the Spaniards at Maaslandsluys [Maassluis], but was exchanged in the following year.

[32] Julián Romero de Ibarrola (1518 – 1577) was one of the few common soldiers in the Spanish army to reach the rank of Maestro de Campo. Romero fought in the Siege of Mons (1572), where he nearly succeeded in killing William the Silent, Prince of Orange, in a daring raid against the Dutch camp. He was also present at the Spanish Fury at Naarden and the Siege of Haarlem, where he lost an eye. In 1574, he failed to relieve Middelburg after losing the Battle of Reimerswaal, and in 1576 he was present at the Sack of Antwerp.

[33] North. Probably John North (c. 1550-1597), the eldest son and heir of Roger, second Lord North. He travelled on the Continent for two years between the autumns of 1575 and 1577. He went out and back through the Netherlands, but passed through both times without engaging in military service. In 1579, after the union of Utrecht, North went to the Netherlands with Sir John Norris, and took service as a volunteer in the cause of the provinces. He obtained Anjou's commission for a regiment of foot in 1582 which he raised and commanded in the Netherlands up to 1584.

[34] Adrien de Gomicourt, heer van Cunchy, Lignereule en Mazières, Knight of the Order of Santiago,  was commander of the artillery in the Spanish camp. In March 1580, he succeeded Francisco de Mendoza as the military governor of Maastricht.

[35] 25 English warships. On 12 October Ralph Lane spoke of “five or six well-armed royal ships, further more five or six ships, like wise well-armed”, on 5 November he spoke of “four or five Royal warships” - now (on 14 November) surprisingly, there is talk of 25 ships. On 17 January  negotiations return to six ships.

[36] in the past year. February-March 1573 (=1572 old style). From the 12th century to 1752, the civil or legal year in England began on 25 March.

[37] just as the Admiral did on land. Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne (1554–1611), also named Charles de Guise, Duc Dumain, was a French nobleman of the house of Guise and a military leader of the Catholic League. (Shake-speare used his name for the figure of Dumain in Love’s Labour’s Lost.) - Charles was absent from France at the time of the massacre of St Bartholomew, but took part in the siege of La Rochelle in the following year, when he was created duke and Admiral of France.

[38] It was not my plan to make for the coasts of Flanders with my 20 ships, but only the coasts of France. See David J. B. Trim, Fighting Jacobʼs Wars (2002, p. 121): “Victuals and munitions would have been sent from England in any case; indeed, royal ministers coordinated such efforts from an early stage, for they, too, were well aware of La Rochelle's strategic significance. However, it was Montgommery who began mustering a relief expedition in the southwest of England over the winter. - The expedition, which led to the employment of English soldiers in hostilities in France in 1573, was, even so, the fruit of cooperative action. Despite royal denials to foreign ambassadors, privy councillors such as Burghley and Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, knew of and were sympathetic to the actions taken by Montgommery -- for example, the transportation of soldiers, as well as powder and victuals, on the relief fleet -- and were thus complicit in the mustering of troops.“

[39] Strozzi’s deployment on La Rochelle. Filippo di Piero Strozzi (1541 – 1582) was an Italian condottiero, a member of the Florentine family of the Strozzi. He fought mainly for France. - Wikipedia: In 1557 Strozzi entered the French army. Starting from first battles in Piedmont, he fought in numerous of the battles of the 16th century. In 1558 the took part to the siege of Calais against England, in which his father was killed. In 1560 he was sent to Scotland to fight for the then regent Mary of Guise against Henry VIII of England, and was made lord of Épernay. Three years later he became colonel of the Royal Guards. In 1564 he came on help to Emperor Maximilian II during the Ottoman invasion in Hungary, and the following year he faced again the Ottomans at the siege of Malta. From there he moved to Rome, called to counter the Turk menace in the Adriatic Sea, distinguishing himself in the defence of Ancona. - Returned to France in 1567, he fought against the Huguenots. Two years later he became the sole Colonel General (commander-in-chief of the army) of France, and subsequently took part to the long siege of La Rochelle. In 1573 he fought alongside the House of Orange against the Spaniards.

[40] was regarded as support for the lamentable Admiral. Strozzi supported Mayenne from the sea during the Siege of La Rochelle.

[41] Frobisher (Span.: Forbuxar). Sir Martin Frobisher (c.1535–1594) was an English seaman, explorer and licensed pirate who made three voyages to the New World to look for the Northwest Passage. – In 1554, he joined a trading expedition to Guinea. In 1569, he caused the merchants of Rye to petition the Privy Council for special protection against his harrying of French vessels carrying Rye merchandise: “no six of their ships were fit to cope with Frobisher.” From the close of his Guinea voyage until 1573, Frobisher’s rise in prestige and worldly influence followed the pattern of Elizabethan England’s myriad daredevil, swashbuckling, fortune-seeking marine careerists. In 1571 and for a year or two after, he was employed by the queen herself in her campaign to subjugate Ireland. Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, brought Frobisher to the favourable attention of members of the Privy Council who, in December 1574, recommended to the Muscovy Company that it grant him a licence for a northwest exploration. (Dictionary of Canadian Biography.)

[42] Grave. A municipality in the Dutch province North Brabant.

[43] he will either write me within two or three days or he will send two gentlemen to advise Your Excellency of his decision. This dispatch includes Lane's letter of 14 November 1573, signed with “écujer de la Reine d'Angle­terre” [Esquire to the Queen of England].

[44] Louis of Nassau. Louis of Nassau (1538–April 14, 1574) was the third son of William, Count of Nassau, and the younger brother of Prince William of Orange Nassau. – Wikipedia: After the Watergeuzen had captured the city of Brielle in 1572 and claimed it for William, Louis quickly raised a small force in France, and entered Hainaut on May 23, capturing Mons. Suddenly Alva found himself held between two enemies with his own army rebellious and unpaid. William tried to relieve his brother at Mons but after an attempt on his life from which he barely managed to escape, he was unable to come to Louis’s aid. Alva was now able to bring the surrender of Mons on good terms and on September 19, 1572 Louis and his army left Mons with the honors of war. Diverting Alva’s attention to Mons had made it possible for the North to strengthen itself and although he may have regained Mons he had lost Holland, which was now strong enough to resist.

[45] I have last written Your Excellency on 5th of this month. The letter of 5 December is not conserved.

[46] Luis de Zúñiga y Requesens (1528–1576) was a Spanish politician and diplomat. – Wikipedia: In 1571 he accompanied John of Austria during the Lepanto campaign, his function being to watch and control his nominal commander-in-chief. Afterwards Philip named him Governor of the Duchy of Milan, a post usually given to a great noble. Requesens was only a gentleman, though by the kings favour he was grand commander of the military order of Santiago in Castile. - In 1573 Requesens was called by Philip II to succeed the Duke of Alba as governor of the Spanish Netherlands, then in revolt against the Spaniards. - He was rather moderate in comparison to Alba, requesting Philip to grant a general amnesty to all, with the exception of persistent heretics, and to permit the emigration of those who would not comply. The king wished to pursue a more conciliatory policy, without, however, yielding any one of the points in dispute between himself and the revolting Dutch. His situation was aggravated by the empty Spanish treasury. Requesens came to Brussels on 17 November 1573 and launched a new military campaign.

[47] the order, which Your Excellency sent to me. The content of Requesensʼ letter (2 January 1574?) is not known. Requesens probably suggested that English soldiers fight under Spanish command.

[48] Monsieur Gomicourt. See note 34.

[49] An English captain named Chester. See note 8.

[50] the letter which the said Lane has sent  to me in the meantime. Laneʼs letter is not conserved.

[51] Gilles de Lens, Baron d’Aubigny. A member of the order of Knights of Saint André, established in July 1570 by Philip II of Spain, “so that the natural children of the Netherlands, who have given good service, can be convinced of the King's good will to honor and favor them, and to utilize the property of the rebels for the good of the country”.

[52] Arnemuiden (Span. Ramua). The cities Arnemuiden and Middelburg, which were occupied by Spanish forces, yet besieged by the rebels, needed provisions.

[53] Ralph Lane to Lord Burghley. Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, 159/80.

[54] Their honoured lordships. As can be deducted from Lane’s letter to Guarás of 18 January, this is a reference to Milord Earl of Oxford and Milord Edward Seymour. When Lane later goes on to speak of “my Lord E.”, he means Lord Edward Oxenforde. Lord Edward Seymour is excluded from further considerations as he does not have the assets required to offer any sort of securities.

[55] the whole companies latley retired. English merchant companies who traded with the Netherlands.

[56] Rowland York. Rowland York (c.1553-1588), the ninth of ten sons of Sir John York, in his youth a narrow friend of Oxford, volunteered for the Netherlands under Captain Thomas Morgan in 1572. He embarked at Gravesend on 19 March that year with his two companions, the poet George Gascoigne and William Herle, but their ship was nearly lost on the coast of Holland owing to the incompetence of the Dutch pilot. Reaching the English camp in safety, York took part in August that year in the attack on Goes under Captain (afterwards Sir) Humphrey Gilbert and William of Orange's captain Jerome Tseraerts.

[57] my Lord E. See note 54.

[58] last Saturday. The Saturday in question was the 16-01-1574.

[59] Lord Edward Seymour (1548-1574) was the youngest son of the former Lord Protector Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, and an uncle of Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp (1561-1612), a potential Successor to the throne of Queen Elizabeth. - Lord Edward Seymour and his friend Oxford set out for Flanders on 1st July 1574. Neither of them had secured the necessary permission to leave England. They parted in Flanders and Seymour continued his journey to Paris. Seymour probably died in 1574, the circumstances and the wherabouts of his death are unknown.  – See 7.2.3 Oxford in Flanders, note 5.

[60] Please find enclosed, a letter from him to Your Excellency. Lane’s letter is not conserved. - One year later, in January 1575, Ralph Lane (in agreement with Queen Elizabeth, Lord Burghley and Leicester) applied to the Spaniards to fight for them against the Turks. (See Ralph Lane to Lord Burghley, London, January 19, 1574-5. In: BL, Landsdowne Manuscripts; Vol. XIX, No. 19, 48). Govenor Don Requesens, meanwhile suspicious, gave a negative reply. On February 20, 1575, Dr. Thomas Wilson from Antwerp wrote to Lord Burghley: “And here upon he took an occasion to speak of the Queen’s Majestie’s letter in Mr Lane’s behalf, of which offer he made very little account, and took it as nothing, considering the distance of place and the bare service of the men who should spend their allowance of sower months before they came there. And, as for the ships, he thought them to be nothing worth in those seas, he himself having experience of the same heretofore.”

[61] On the subject of aid to Middelburg. One day later, on 18 February 1574, the Spanish General Cristóbal de Mondragón surrendered in Middelburg.

[62] Thomas Heron, one of Lord Burghley's agents, was appointed ‘Marshal of the Exchequer’ in 1587. - On 3rd January 1573 Heron sent two letters which were taken out of a vessel from Dover to Dunkirk.

What goodwill they bear to the state who be fled the realm as well for rebellion as for Papistry does well appear, but he thinks that there are a shrewd number within the realm who are more to be feared than these who are abroad, and prays that there be not some in the Court. The new governor procures all he can to relieve Middleburg which is sore distressed, and not able to hold out long.—Antwerp, 3 Jan. 1573.

[63] Juan de Ysunça, acted as the secretary of the Duke of Alba from time to time.

[64] Thomas Fiesco. A wealthy (Genoese) banker in Antwerp.

[65] Palavicino (Span. Palavesino). Horatio Palavicino (c. 1540-1600), financier and diplomatist, born at Genoa, was the son of Tobias Palavicino, a member of the wealthy, aristocratic banking family in Northern Italy, which was closely connected with most of the powerfull italian banking firms. The family business was based on handling the Papal monopoly in alum, a commodity greatly in demand in the Netherlands and England for the cloth trade. When his family crossed financial swords with the Papacy, and his brother was captured and tortured, Horatio became a declared Protestant. - In 1578 Horatio sold the family stocks of alum at Antwerp to the Dutch rebels in return for an import monopoly which excluded all future farmers of the Papal alum monopoly (used in dying and processing wool and tanning). The Dutch did not par cash: Queen Elizabeth underwrote the loan in arder to keep the Dutch revolt against Spain alive. In other words, she borrowed from Palavicino £29,000. (Tudorplace.)

[66] He and all his officers are Catholics, which inspires confidence in them. A huge misjudgement.- Rory Rapple (2009) comments: “Throughout 1574, Richard Bingham (a future president of Connacht) tantalised the excitable ambassador [Guaras] with an offer to seize Rotterdam (William of Orange’s base at that time) on his master’s behalf. Consequently, Guaras informed Philip that Bingham, as well being ‘good and efficient’, was a Catholic surrounded by Catholic officers, ‘which inspires confidence’”. – See note 70.

[67] Walter Morgan. See David J. B. Trim, Fighting Jacobʼs Wars, p. 452f.: “The Walter Morgan who served in the Netherlands in 1572-73 has been positively identified with the engineer and cartographer, Walter Morgan Wolf, who served there in the 1580s and after, by Anna Simoni. - It is well-known that Morgan was a captain in the Netherlands in 1572, for he wrote a detailed, illustrated manuscript history of the first two years of the opstand, which has attracted much notice, while his service was also recorded by Roger Williams. Morgan remained in the Netherlands over the winter of 1572/73, taking part in the efforts to save Haarlem, though not as a captain -- in what capacity is unclear. He joined Thomas Morgan's regiment in 1573 as an individual gentleman volunteer, but left it in the late summer and autumn to Join William of Orange's Huguenot general, de Poyet, who was campaigning in Brabant and Zeeland. Walter Morgan went to England by February 1574 and wrote his narrative, which he presented to Burghley.- Morgan returned to the Netherlands in April 1574, leading a company for which he had contracted independently of Chester's regiment. It served until the autumn, having not been involved in the debacle at Leiden. The following year, 1575, he was one of the captains that took money to Condé in the Palatinate. His 'brother' de Poyet was there and Morgan stayed on into 1576 and served with the princes Henry de Condé and John Casimir in the campaign that won the fifth civil war, before returning to the Netherlands with de Poyet. - His career thereafter is obscure. He passed into royal pay by 1587 at the latest, when he seems to have been serving as an engineer, and in the1590s he commanded royal troops in France and the Netherlands. In the early years of the seventeenth century he was practising, possibly in States' pay but perhaps privately, as a cartographer.’

[68] Sir Henry Sidney. Once the 6000 soldiers arrived in Holland with “orders” to fight for Spain, the letter of the proposed contract would have been fulfilled and Guarás would have had no claim to the security. However, he had no guarantee that the men would not deflect to the Dutch forces. The "guarantee" was the fact that Sir Henry offered his son Philip Sidney as a hostage (who was out of reach). - See Katherine Duncan-Jones: “De Guaras’ letters, whose sensational contents the King summarized, were dated 11 and 29 April 1574. At this time Philip Sidney was in the final weeks of his sojourn in Padua and Venice, and may not even had been told of this extraordinary scheme.” (Katherine Duncan-Jones, Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet, New Heaven and London 1991, p. 88.)

[69] Ellis. David J. B. Trim writes: “Steven Ellis (fl. 1574-85) was captain of a company in Chester's regiment in 1574. He is one of the captains mentioned in the reports of the Spanish agent de Guaras as being willing to betray the Dutch, but the initial dispatch simply records the claims of Ralph Haselby. The only direct evidence that Ellis was conspiring with the Spanish is from well after Ellis's return when he was associated with Richard Bingham, who at this stage was certainly an agent provocateur. Ellis was later reported by Spanish intelligence as one of the captains accompanying Bingham and Stafford to the Prince of Condé and John Casimir in 1575.”

[70] Balfour. Guarás has not learnt anything.- “Henry Balfour, when is called ‘a Scottish gentleman of prudence and experience in warfare’, received a Commission, William, Prince of Orange, to arm and equip a ship and to levy soldiers for the same, to go to the coasts of Spain and Portugal, in order to attack the Prince's enemies and do damage to their persons and goods. Balfour served as a captain at the Battle of Haarlem in 1572. It was he, in January 1573, that commanded the troops that cut their way over the frozen lake, with eighty sledges laden with munitions and food. It was Balfour who, on the 15th of April, with his Scots made a 'camisade' or night attack on the Spanish lines at Rustenburg (near Alkmaar), forced them, defeated a large body of troops, and carried back four standards. (Practically the whole of this first company perished in June 1573, when the Spaniards entered Haarlem; Balfour, the commander, escaping the general massacre by falsely declaring that he was willing to assassinate the Prince of Orange.) He was appointed, by William, Prince of Orange, 15 June 1574, to be colonel and superintendent of all the companies of Scots footguards in his service. He comanded the unit until his death in 1580.” (Papers Illustrating the History of the Scots Brigade in the Service of the United Netherlands 1572-1782, Vol. 1, Edinburgh 1899.) – This is the same Henry Balfour who, according to Haselby and Chester, wanted to go to Rotterdam or Delft to assassinate William of Orange.