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Letters from Henry IV of France to Sir John Norris concerning the Brittany campaigns

[Fol. 12r]

Monsieur the General, I praise God for the happy victories which it has pleased Him to grant me in the occasions which have been presented to me only recently in what has taken place for my service and for my country Brittany and do not wish to conceal from those who have served me during the aforementioned occasions the happiness that I have from their services and from the good duty which they have performed. I know how much you have worked here and the share which you merit and have in the honour and glory for all that then took place. I also wish to affirm well the happiness which I derive from those who speak to me of it in one continuous wish to reward you with all that is available for your good happiness. The good correspondence which has existed between my cousin the Marshall D'Aumont and you during the said time has won the aforementioned happiest and most easy of victories. If there should be any alterations in your friendship, I do not doubt that it will produce effects to the contrary, which leads me to pray that as much as you love my happiness and wellbeing and the advancement of my interests that you wish - in all that depends upon you - to maintain between my said cousin and yourself, the good friendship and correspondence which is required here for the good of my interests. Thus I explain to may said cousin, to fulfill his role as I assure myself he will do, and that you bring from yourself all that I can expect in the continuation of your zeal and the affection which you have always makes to appear to the good of my aforementioned service. Upon this assurance I pray God that he has you. Monsieur the General, in his holy watch this 10th day of November at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

Henry

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Letters from Henry IV of France to Sir John Norris concerning the Brittany campaigns

Author
Henry IV of France
Date
1592-1594
Medium
Manuscript

In April 1591 Sir John Norris was commissioned Captain-General of an army raised by Elizabeth I to be sent to Brittany in support of Henry IV's bid for the French throne (List & Analysis of SP Foreign, vol. 2, pp. 26, 325). Norris's stay in Brittany would prove a long and frustrating one. It was to be dominated by Henry IV's failure to fulfil his promises of French reinforcements and Elizabeth's subsequent refusals to further reinforce Norris with troops and supplies. Sir John's time in Brittany was also marred by personal tragedy. His youngest brother Maximilian, who was serving under his command, died in November 1591 (TNA SP 78/26, fol. 188). These letters, written in French, from Henry IV to Sir John chart the course of Norris's service in Brittany, 1592-1594. Folio 12 is a letter written entirely in the King's own hand and probably dates from November 1594 at the close of Norris's successful campaign to destroy a Spanish fort at Crozon before Brest. Norris's victory here proved to be the final act of his three year service in Brittany. Norris and his army were recalled by Elizabeth on 21 November (MS. St. Amand 8, fol. 63). Folio 8r is a letter from an as yet unidentified correspondent.

Transcript

[Fol. 12r]

Monsieur the General, I praise God for the happy victories which it has pleased Him to grant me in the occasions which have been presented to me only recently in what has taken place for my service and for my country Brittany and do not wish to conceal from those who have served me during the aforementioned occasions the happiness that I have from their services and from the good duty which they have performed. I know how much you have worked here and the share which you merit and have in the honour and glory for all that then took place. I also wish to affirm well the happiness which I derive from those who speak to me of it in one continuous wish to reward you with all that is available for your good happiness. The good correspondence which has existed between my cousin the Marshall D'Aumont and you during the said time has won the aforementioned happiest and most easy of victories. If there should be any alterations in your friendship, I do not doubt that it will produce effects to the contrary, which leads me to pray that as much as you love my happiness and wellbeing and the advancement of my interests that you wish - in all that depends upon you - to maintain between my said cousin and yourself, the good friendship and correspondence which is required here for the good of my interests. Thus I explain to may said cousin, to fulfill his role as I assure myself he will do, and that you bring from yourself all that I can expect in the continuation of your zeal and the affection which you have always makes to appear to the good of my aforementioned service. Upon this assurance I pray God that he has you. Monsieur the General, in his holy watch this 10th day of November at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

Henry

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