A Leter sent from the Prince of Parma vnto the Borrowmaisters, She­rifes, and Magistrate of the Towne of Anwerpet Also to the great Counsayle called Den Breeden Raedt, and the Fra­ternities of the same.

Wherevnto is adioyned the Aunswere of the sayde Borrowmay­sters, Sherifes, Treasurers, Receiuer, and counsaile, with the common con­sent and generall aduow of the Whole Towne.


Printed at London for Edward Aggas. 1585.

Alexander Prince of Par­ma and Playsance, Gouernor, Lieue­tenant, and Captaine generall, &c.

DEarely and welbeloued, The tediousnesse of this inward war & desolati­on which this Countrey hath sustayned, haue gi­uen you sufficiently to vnderstād, and as it were palpably to feele the small duty that you ow vnto the causers of the same, who in respect of their own passions and perticuler interest, haue procured the destruction of the poore people. It is not therefore necessarye to repeat vnto you all such things as haue passed since the beginning of these troubles, sith euen the moste ig­norant haue euidently perceiued that the stirrers vp of these wars bent not their indeauour to the maintainance of common commodity and quiet, but rather to whatsoeuer tended to the perticularities of their dāgerous de­uises. [Page 2] For in case wee should begin to rip vp their dealings we should finde first that the late of Orange sought no other but a continuall confusion of all things, and neuer cared for succoring any one of those towns which my L. the Kings army besieged & cōquered. The like may we report of ye Frenche, for your selues are to testifie how they purposed to entreat your wiues and children in recompence of such and so many honoures as you strained your selues to heape vpon them. Now that God hath ben serued in calling out of this world as wel the one as ye other, and that thereby you doe on the one side find your forces decay, and on the other do perceaue your Kings greate power togither with such happy suc­cesse as it pleaseth God the Creator dayly to graunt vnto him to increase, it were more then time for you to haue some respect to your own safegard, & the discommodity of your pore people [Page 3] oppressed & enuironed with so manye mischiefs, wherevnto in the end they shal be forced to stoope. A Cause that being moued by priuate zeale whiche we beare to the countrey, as well in respect of the place from whence wee be discended, as also of such courtesies as we there tasted in our youth, wee haue hertofore by our letters endeuo­red to represent vnto you, euen as wel to you perticulerly, as also generallye to al other ye townes & prouinces such meanes as in God and our conscien­ces, did vnto vs seeme most expedient for the restoring of the whole country to peace and quietnes, but in as much as the late of Orange and others (who sought only by the destruction of the country & blood of so many innocents to intrude thēselues into the gouern­mente and dominion of the same) did wickedly deteine & suppresse our sayd letters, we thought it good now for a final conclusion to write yet this one [Page 4] vnto you, wherin we desire you with al feruēcy & zeale possible to take pitty vpon your wiues, children, & desolate countrie. Once againe call to remem­brance & loke back vpon such rest and felicitie as euery mā hertofore did en­ioy vnder the obedience of his Maie­stie, & contrariwise consider of the de­struction and extremitie wherinto at this present your countrey is reduced, which yet daily (if the war continue) wil more & more encrease, vnto ye very tipe & vttermost periode of the same. Hēceforth stop your eares against the lying inuentions & suttle perswasions of those which do maintain & feed you with this error of mistrust of the goodnesse & sincerity of the king your natu­rall prince, which neuertheles is such that notwithstanding the iniuries be bitter & hard to digest, yet doth he not stand vpon thē, but offreth you perfit & perpetual obliuion. Furthermore in case you be disposed, according to the [Page 5] desire of more then half your Bnrge­sie of Antuerpe (as by such aduertise­ments as dayly and hourely from all parts we do vnderstād) to enter com­munication & parlie, we do promise ye that for our parts we wil in such wise concurre with you in whatsoeuer ho­nestly and reasonablye you maye pro­pound, that you shall effectually per­ceaue that wee bee rather led by a fa­therly affection and vnfayned good will ye we beare to your priuate bene­fite and tranquilitie, then any other our own interest and particuler passi­on, or mistrust of the successe of oure enterprises. Whereas contrariwise if you do purpose to be obstinate & stub­borne, your selues will procure ye em­payring of all conditions of reconsili­atiō: furthermore protesting that our selues are altogither blamelesse in the shedding of so much innocente blood, as also of whatsoeuer calamities may hereafter ensue. To the end therefore [Page 6] that hereafter no man pretende cause of ignoraunce of this our good wil to­gither with suche offers as wee make vnto you, we do write our Letters to the same effect, vnto the great Coun­sayle called Den Breeden Raedt, and o­ther the Fraternities: beseeching the Creator so to touch the harts of those that may do most among you, that the wealth & quiet which you are hereby to hope for, maye according to our hope, shortly ensue. And so praiing the Lord to haue you most dearely & wel­beloued in his holy & worthy protecti­on, we cease. From our Campe at Sta­brocck this 13. of Nouemb 1584.

Signed Alexander, and somewhat lower, Garnier. The superscription, To our dearely and vvelbeloued the Bor­rovvmaisters, Sherifes, and Counsaile of the tovvne of Antuerpe.

The Aunsvvere.

MY Lord, your Highnes Letters of the 13, of this Moneth, respec­tiuely writtē vnto the Magistrate, ye deanes of Fraternities, & the great Counsaile of this Towne haue bene receaued & read, as well by our College, as by all the members of our towne in the great counsaile of ye same expresly assembled to that end: Wher­vnto of one consent we haue resolued for aunswere to shew to your highnes in all reuerence, that the exhortatiō to vs made that we should cōsider of the entent of those that haue bene procu­rers of this inward warre, wee haue accepted in very good part as procee­ding from your highnesse good affec­tion that you beare to these countries, which you do wishe to bee reduced to some better quietnesse, as our selues [Page 8] do also hartily desire the same, and in consideration thereof do most humbly thanke you. But vnder your correcti­on, it seemeth that your highnesse are not sufficiently enformed of the true o­riginall and fountaine of this warre▪ for it is manifest to all the World that against our willes, and to our greate greefe we were forced thereto by the driftes and practises of those, who for their owne priuate purposes, and to the end to establish in these countries a dominion in effect more than roial, haue vnder pretence of religion, with their sinister informations procured at ye Kings Maiesties hāds (vnto whom as also to all other the high and migh­ty Princes his predecessors, these coū ­tries haue euermore borne as faithful and true obedience, as euer any other nation in the world did beare to their Prince) generally against al the inha­bitants of the country, of whatsoeuer estate, condition, age, or kind, the erec­tion [Page 9] of the most horrible & cruell perse­cutions ye were euer herd of or practi­sed, togither with infinite confiscati­ons of goods, proscriptions, banish­ments, and bloody executions, by fire, sword and halter, against al sortes of pore, honest, and innocēt people, who euen vnhearde in their iust & lawfull defence, haue ben without imposition of any crime condemned, only for ga­thering together to pray and call vp­on one God, through our onely medi­atour Jesus Christ, according to his owne word and commaundemente: wherevpon contrary to the treaties, agreements and edictes, so firmelye made and published by the Ladye of Parma, your Highnesse mother, with the aduow and consente of the whole counsaile of estate, yea euen in ye kings name, vnder his authoritie and seale, haue ensued such tirannicall executi­ons by the late Duke of Alua, and the Spaniards, not against the pore com­mons [Page 10] only, but also against the prin­cipall gouernours, Lords, Barons, & Nobles of ye coūtrie, of whom his ma­iestie had receaued most notable ser­uice: ye manifest infringing of al rights customs & priuileges, sworne vnto by al Princes of these coūtries: ye subuer­sion of all seats of Justice, which haue bene committed vnto such men as by all auncient lawes & priuileges of the countrie, were vtterly vncapable of ye same. The raising of diuersforts, and vntollerable, vniust, & vnlawful exac­tions, togither with the vtter oppres­sion of all ye liberties of ye whole coun­trie. Which things being so notorious­ly cōmitted against al ordinary forme of Justice, could not possibly bring forth any other fruite then this mise­rable war which haue ouerwhelmed vs in this floude of mischiefes & sea of calamities. We do therefore beseeche your highnesse to beleeue that we ne­uer entred into this war of any plea­sure [Page 11] neither by the motion or perswa­tion of the late Lord the P. of Orange of famous memory, who came not he­ther, but at the instant request of the estates, as well of the Prelates, as of the Nobles & towns, neither vsurped any other authority then with greate importunity was layd vpon him. But that of meere extremitie, and ineuita­ble necessitie we were forced and con­strayned to take Armoure, and to enter into these Conflictes, whereof wee desire nothing in this Worlde, more earnestly, then some good end by a happye peace and generall tran­quilitie.

We doe also most humblye thanke your Highnesse for such Parley as at this presente you doe offer vs the fru­ition of, and can not sufficiently com­mend & extol your magnanimity, who hauing more then any other Gouer­nor your predecessors, made profe of [Page 12] your vertue and valiauncie in armes, do neuerthelesse so curteously offer to accompany the same with all gentle­nesse and clemency: a vertue vndoub­tedly most commendable, euen in the greatest Princes and Monarks. So that hauing before time ben thus per­swaded of your highnesse, if we could haue bene certefied that you had suf­ficiently ben authorised to haue graū ­ted vnto vs whatsoeuer accerding to your wisedome & discretion, you had knowne necessary for the establishing of a good and perfite peace, we would neuer haue so long delayed the com­mitting of our selues into your protection: neyther would we haue soughte to enter into any other communicati­on and conditions then youre High­nesse of your own discretion, togither with your clemencie & courtesie. shold haue thought reasonable, as nothing doubting but that willingly ye wold haue followed & moued the King like­wise [Page 13] to followe the path of the Noble and commendable examples of other the great kings and princes his Pre­decessors, who in ye like disease hauing more nearely searched out the roote of the mischiefe, haue found it vnpossible to attain to the perfite cure thereof, & to the maintaining of their subiectes in a stedfast peace & firme quietnesse, accompanied with al faithful dutie & obedience to their superiors, without graunting them libertie of their reli­gion, wherof at al times they offered to giue account to any vnsuspected or not partial Judges, in all free assem­blies & lawful synodes. For in this re­spect haue they found the especial and most soueraigne remedie for all these mischiefes to consist in moderate con­discending vnto the iust & lawfull re­quest of their subiectes, as appeareth by the examples of the moste victori­ous & mightye Emperours of famous memory Charles the v. Ferdinand and [Page 14] Maximilian in Germany, also of ye most Christian kings in Fraūce, & the kings of Polland, in their dominions. But when as by infinite testimonies, & euē by sundry declarations whiche youre highnes haue made vnto vs, we were certainly aduertised yt it lay not in you any way to dispose of yt point, whiche neuertheles is the only ground & prin­cipall piller wherevppon this peace or war doth consist, yea & that the King finding himself subiect to the Spanishe Inquisition, & the Pope of Romes com­mandemēts, had neither autority nor liberty to graunt to his christian sub­iects the same which the Pope & sun­drie Italian Princes doe permit to the Jewes & Turkes, & without ye which it is vtterly vnpossible to turne from the people a cōtinual course of al sorts of calamities, we foūd our selues past al hope of attaining vnto any thing ye might breed our assured rest, the same necessitie which forced vs to enter in­to [Page 15] these wars, did also constrain vs to continue the same, thereby to defende our selues from so vntollerable & wic­ked oppression, so ye after infinite most humble supplications, petitions, de­clarations & protestations as well by writing as by our deputies sent into Spaine, besides the manifold interces­sions & mediations of diuers christi­an kings & princes in vaine prosecuted for the space of 20 yeares or more, we wer finally compelled to haue our re­course to forrain Princes: And at this present pondering the great & singuler wisdome, equitie & moderation wher­by the most christian King doth main­tain his subiects as wel of the one as the other religion in al rest & tranqui­litie, & finding also our selues in suche want & necessity, we cannot dissēble wt your highnes, but must needs giue yē to vnderstand ye al the vnited prouin­ces which are confederat with vs by a general & vniuersal resolution haue [Page 16] already had recourse to the most chri­stian Maiestie, & most humbly haue besought him to take our cause in hand, & as his subiects to receiue vs into his protection, to ye end to defend vs from so extreme rigor & crueltie: wherein he hath giuen vs so curteous audience & good hope that according to the dutie wherein solemnely & generally we all stand now bound vnto him, it is no lō ­ger in vs to enter into any communi­cation or Parlie ye may neuer so little bee preiudicial to our offer & promise, vnles we wold willingly incur a iust reproch of the greatest vnstedfastnes & ingratitude in the world. Moreouer as we are but one member of the sayd generalitie, also ye by solemne oath we haue bound our selues not to enter in­to any parlie or treatie of peace with­out the general consent & agrement of al others ye vnited prouinces, we can­not, though we would, accept your highnes offer before we haue obtay­ned [Page 17] the consent and good will as well of them, as of the sayde most Christian Maiestie. Herevpon doe we therefore most humbly desire your Highnesse; ye according to this your fatherly curte­sie & clemency which so freelye you of­fer vnto vs, it may please you not to mislike that before we enter into any Parlie we doe according to our dutie, send your highnes letters vnto ye sayd vnited prouinces, & by their consent & agrement do likewise exhibite thē vn­to his sayd most christian Maiestie, to the end ye sith it hath pleased him to do vs so much honor as to hearken to our most humble complaints which in o­ther place haue bene reiected, wee doe nothing without his leaue & tollerati­on, least we should giue him iust cause to cast vs of as deceitfull, inconstant, & vnthankfull persons. As concerning the protestation which it pleaseth your Highnes to make toward the ende of your letter, we do vndoubtedly beleue [Page 18] that your self are not the cause of she­ding so much innocent blood, neither of such mischiefs as may insue, for that the originall of this warre proceedeth from an other foundation. But with­all wee doe most humbly pray you to consider that for our parts we are not iustly to be blamed, as being entered only into defensiue war, not tending to any other then the maintaining of our selues, our wiues & children in life & libertie of conscience & in the free cal­ling vpon the name of God, through our only Sauiour & mediatour Jesus Christ, & that therefore for our partes we wold willingly cease from al shed­ding of blood, in case it might likewise please your highnes in effect to prose­cute ye moderation & clemency whiche in letters it pleaseth you to shew vnto vs, by staying the same likewise on your side, to the end ye by the verificati­on of this beginning, we may iudge of the assurance of the rest: farther besee­ching [Page 19] your highnes to beleeue that we do both admire & loue your vertues, & withall our harts doe desire to yeelde vnto you most humble seruice in what soeuer our honor, Oath & conscience, (which we praye that we may reserue to God only) may any way permit. Herevpon my L. most humbly kissing your Highnes hands, we beseech God to send vnto you whatsoeuer may be most for your health.

Of your Highnesse The most humble at commaund. The Borrowmaisters, Sherifes, Treasurers, Receiuer & counsail of the Town of An­tuerp, hauing imparted the same to others the members assembled at Breeden Raedt, and the Fraternities of the same Tovvne. By their decree and signed, B. Berlecom. The Superscription, To his Highnesse.

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