Pages v-xxv

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 1, 1586-1588. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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The present instalment of this series extends from June, 1586, to June, 1588, a period of twenty-five months. Since the publication of the last volume some alteration in the arrangement has been rendered necessary. The mass of material in the two series "Holland" and "Flanders" has become so unwieldy that it has seemed desirable to deal with it in a volume apart, which will be published as supplementary to the papers contained here. Consequently these last present only a partial view of the scene, from which the chief activities of the English government abroad, and the mainspring of much action elsewhere, are almost entirely excluded. An introduction dealing exclusively with the material of the volume must of necessity be no more than a half told tale, strictly limited in its scope. The chief interest centres in Elizabeth's relations with the French king and the king of Navarre, including her share in the ill fated expedition of the German reiters into France, and in her relations with Spain, leading up to the sailing of the Great Armada.


The menacing power of the League in France and the possibility that the king might become a mere tool in their hands, made it necessary to seek help from outside if the Protestant cause in France was to be saved. Some 18 years before, in 1568, a German force had entered France to help the Huguenots. An appeal to the Evangelical Princes of Germany and to the Protestant Swiss to save their coreligionists in France from extermination seemed to promise the best results. Elizabeth was not prepared to offer more than a limited subsidy and so the success of the appeal depended chiefly upon the public spirit of the German Princes themselves and the sacrifices which they were prepared to make for the cause. As was natural, Pallavicino, who had charge of the negotiations, addressed himself first of all to the chief among the Protestant Princes, the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, of whom the former had only recently succeeded to the title. He found a friendly and sympathetic reception but no disposition to venture anything for the common cause. They took no real interest in matters outside Germany, they were fearful of doing anything to offend the emperor, and would take no independent action, so that no step could be taken unless after a consultation among all the princes, which would be too long and cumbrous a process to allow any hope of effective assistance (pp. 16, 39). Brandenburg, whom Pallavicino visited second, spoke to practically the same effect as his son in law, and it was evident that they had arranged between them what their reply should be (p. 26). They professed to be waiting for the result of a mission sent by the German Princes to the French king to recommend the interests of the Huguenots ; if that failed, they would be ready to take resolute action and succour for the Protestant cause in France would be forthcoming from every quarter of Germany (p. 61). The hollowness of this assurance soon became apparent, for though the German mission was treated with unexampled contumely by the French king, the rebuff had no apparent effect upon the attitude of the German Princes.

Disappointed in his hopes Pallavicino joined with the ministers of Navarre to induce John Casimir, of the Palatinate, who had led the earlier expedition, to raise a force of Germans and Swiss and take it into France to fight the League. He had only 100,000 crowns to offer, or one half that amount if other contributions should be forthcoming from Germany or Denmark (p. 111). For this sum he asked for a force of 8,000 reiters and 14,000 foot, to be ready to march in four months, to be commanded by Duke Casimir himself or by a prince of the empire and that they should undertake not to leave France until the King of Navarre had been succoured, the liberty of the chuches restored and a good peace established (p. 141). If Elizabeth was sparing of her money and determined to get good value for it, Casimir, backed by the Navarrese ministers, meant to extract all they could out of her, confident that the peril of her position would force her to be more liberal, and ready, if necessary, to play upon her fears. Thus Casimir, while apparently consenting to the terms suggested, wrote to Guitry, Navarre's minister, that the proposals were utterly unreasonable, that the queen could not ask for more if she was furnishing the entire cost of the expedition, and the amount offered was quite inadequate (p. 124). At another time he told Guitry that if Pallavicino should fail in a single one of his promises, he himself would fail in all (p. 149). Under such circumstances it is hardly surprising that Pallavicino found the duke very difficult to deal with, grasping and elusive, constantly causing fresh delays, yet unwilling to supply any reason for them (p. 149). He is so irresolute, so feeble and so mistrustful, the agent told Stafford, that he is as one dead, besides which he desires to do nothing unless he can engage other princes, for he wishes to gain in any case and so do all those around him (p. 159). Throughout the negotiations Pallavicino complained that he received no help from the King of Navarre's ministers, who only sought their own selfish ends and he suspected that they were in collusion with the duke to get what they could out of England (pp. 151, 182). They resorted to all manner of tricks to extract more money, without a thought for the queen's interests, and because Pallavicino resisted and thwarted their efforts, they subjected him to all manner of slights and petty vexations (p. 160). Things reached such a pitch that the negotiations seemed on the point of breaking down altogether, and Pallavicino seriously contemplated throwing the whole thing up and opening fresh negotiations with some one else (p. 149). Finding that nothing was to be done with the agent Casimir ultimately signed an undertaking in January, 1587, though he asked that it might be kept secret (p. 187). Almost immediately after he despatched his minister La Huguerie to England to see what he could do to induce the queen to open her purse strings, without taking Pallavicino into his confidence in the matter (p. 237). La Huguerie, described by Stafford as being 'as broiling a merchant as any in France,' proceeded to justify this character by the hectoring tone he adopted, intimating that his master had been led into a difficult and dangerous position by delusive offers made to him (p. 282). He demanded further supplies of money and threatened that the duke would withdraw altogether if these were not forthcoming. His instances were supported by Guitry, on behalf of the King of Navarre, who held out the brightest hopes of success if sufficient supplies were provided (p. 293). They found, as they might have foreseen, that they could get no more satisfaction from the principal than from the agent. Burleigh sent back La Huguerie with a moderately worded letter to Duke Casimir, explaining that the queen herself was so assailed by enemies on all sides that she found it more necessary than ever to look to her defence at home. He intimated that the Princes of the Empire might suitably employ their wealth in defence of the principles they professed (p. 293). Baffled in his hopes Duke Casimir grumbled and complained that the queen had deserted him (p. 330), but he made a virtue of necessity and the levy went forward. By August the German Swiss army was ready and marched into Lorraine. Its career proved brief and inglorious, in a few months the force had been completely dissipated. Walsingham observed with some justice that the money furnished by England had served only for the glorification of the League (p. 638).

Conceived and carried out as it was the expedition had very few chances of success at any time. Stafford, the ambassador at Paris, who naturally looked somewhat askance at an expedition which rendered his position at the French Court rather ambiguous, pointed out from the first the difficulties in the way. The country was so bare that a considerable army would perish for lack of supplies. The French king's own armies, though divided up into a number of small bands, found it extremely hard to get supplies. If the reiters came and found a great lack of victuals, as they certainly would, he feared that they would mutiny and go home (pp. 147, 151). Something very like this actually happened, as the force was oppressed by hunger and an intolerable shortage of supplies, causing a great deal of sickness and desertion (p. 617). The engagements undertaken by the promoters had never been kept. Instead of 8,000 horse and 14,000 foot, there had never been more than 4,000 reiters (p. 492). Duke Casimir had undertaken either to lead the force himself or to provide in his place a prince of the empire of one of the noblest houses, who would be under the same obligations. When the time came the duke pleaded the duties of his guardianship and that he could not safely leave the Palatinate. The Duke of Bouillon, who was willing to take charge and who would have been a suitable commander, proved unacceptable to the Germans, and the command ultimately devolved upon the Baron Fabian von Dohna, a person of quite minor importance (pp. 579, 619).

The conduct of the King of Navarre was not free from ambiguity. It can be understood that he would not be eager to bring a foreign army into the middle of France. While the levy was in negotiation he used it somewhat unscrupulously to strengthen his position. The King of France was amazed at the stiffness of his attitude, in spite of his apparent weakness, and at his determination not to ask for peace (p. 37). Stafford believed that he meant to wait until the succour was actually arriving and that he would then show the world that he was readiest to make peace when he was strongest (p. 2). On the other hand he intimated to England that circumstances might compel him to make peace (p. 118). It was represented that he had no hope save in this help from Germany (p. 163). It was said to be urgent that it should arrive soon, as the king's affairs were in the greatest extremity, not so much from the enemy as because a great number of his best men had died of the plague (p. 223). What the king most wished was that the reiters should remain in Lorraine, where they would create a useful diversion and by ravaging the province would inflict the maximum amount of injury on his chief enemies, the Guises (p. 362). He had no wish to unite his forces with theirs, and made no serious effort to do so, although after his victory at Coutras it should not have been difficult. He only hoped to derive advantage to himself from the damage they did and the terror of their name (p. 480).

Although Elizabeth was doing her best to introduce a foreign army into France her relations with the French crown remained friendly, at least in appearance. The assumption was that Henry of Navarre was the true friend of the crown while the League were enemies and rebels. Stafford's nightmare was an understanding between France and Spain to the detriment of England. The League on their side left no means untried to induce the king to break away from England. On the other hand popular feeling in France was very strong against the Spaniards and they took no pains to conceal their regret at the news of any Spanish success (p. 50). They would have been much more ready to enlist English help against Spain (p. 147). What the French most dreaded was an understanding between England and Spain and the report of peace negotiations between the two countries excited their liveliest apprehensions. The value of this state of mind was appreciated in England and Stafford had instructions to feed French jealousy by encouraging reports of negotiations. At the same time the danger of a breach remained. The chronic lawlessness at sea on both sides was a constant source of irritation. More definitely there followed the trial of Mary Queen of Scots for her share in the Babington conspiracy, with the ill success of Bellievre's mission in her favour. Almost immediately after this came a charge against the Ambassador Chateauneuf and his secretary Des Trappes of being concerned in a conspiracy against the queen with a refusal to receive the ambassador in audience and the imprisonment of the secretary, finally news arrived of the execution of the Queen of Scots. This rapid succession of events undoubtedly brought a breach very near. The queen's execution aroused a passion of fury in France (pp. 227, 229), so general that there was scarce any, no matter what their opinion, who did not condemn it in the strongest terms. The fury was directed against the queen. I never saw all so desperately bent against her as they are, wrote Stafford (p. 236). The French king smiled incredulously when told, that the execution had been carried out against Elizabeth's will, for the rest his chief objection was that a sovereign and an ex-queen of France should die by the hand of the common executioner (p. 252), it was also deplorable because it gave favour, pretence and colour to Guise and the League (p. 289). Henry was much more concerned about the treatment of his ministers. Froude has treated the charge against Des Trappes as a pure fabrication of Elizabeth, for some purpose not explained. These papers hardly bear out that view. The king took the matter seriously enough. On receiving the news he ordered that all English ships and goods in French ports should be seized; guards were set at Stafford's house and he was confined there (p. 214). When Elizabeth sent over Waad to explain matters, the king refused to see him and Waad even ran some personal danger. Before he would listen to anything Henry demanded that Chateauneuf should be re-admitted at Court and that Des Trappes should be sent to France to be dealt with there. For a time Elizabeth steadfastly resisted these demands, being further incensed at the asylum which her rebels found at the French Court and at the king's refusal to deliver them up to her. Stafford became seriously alarmed that the queen's obstinacy combined with the unremitting efforts of her enemies to make the king break with her would end by driving him headlong into their hands (p. 272). He pleaded that it was no time to be stiff upon small matters and that such an attitude would gratify no one so much as the queen's ill wishers (p. 265). His representations supported by Waad finally prevailed and Des Trappes was sent over and Chateauneuf received at Court again.

The crisis passed Henry seemed inclined, if somewhat furtively, to look for help to England. His faults of character had brought him into a situation from which it was difficult to find a way out. In turn he had deceived his mother, Navarre, Guise, Montmorency, Epernon, Joyeuse (p. 95). When civil war had reduced his country to such a plight that thousands died of hunger and in some parts the people were eating grass his interests seemed to require that no one party should prevail over the other, which would mean a perpetual state of civil war. He hated the League with a deadly hatred and would have been glad to see all their throats cut (pp. 66, 481). Joyeuse passed as his favourite and was supposed to be sent by him against Navarre; but before Coutras he declared that if Navarre should be beaten the state was lost (p. 385). He feared nothing so much as a possible reconciliation between Navarre and Guise (p. 38). Even the defeat of a foreign invader on French soil was a disaster for him. He complained that he had looked to the reiters to defeat the League and thereby make it easier for him to bring about a religious settlement in France, but the mismanagement of that expedition had upset his plans (p. 521). With regard to Navarre, he made a point of that prince's conversion to Catholicism, declaring that he could have but one religion in France; yet if Navarre became a Catholic he would lose his hold on his present following and so become less useful to the king, while as next heir to the throne he would be personally much more dangerous and ten times more hateful to the king than if he remained a Huguenot (p. 148). Yet the king seems to have come to the conclusion that this was the only way out. Already in May, 1587, Villeroy had suggested to Stafford that the queen should use her influence to persuade Navarre to be ruled by the king and obey his will (p. 303). Nine months later, when the toils were closing about the king he sent for Stafford to meet him at a secret rendezvous at night. There he definitely asked for the queen's mediation to bring about peace in France, to induce Navarre to become a Catholic and unite with him to prevent the League from ruining him and France as well. It would really seem that in this most important interview the king expressed his real feelings upon the situation (pp. 519–27). His weakness appeared in his insistence that it should be kept absolutely secret, declaring that he would repudiate the whole thing if anything were made public. That the appeal was genuine is indicated by the minister Pinard returning to the charge a few weeks later. In response to a letter which Stafford had read to him, purporting to come from Elizabeth, he exclaimed that he would to God that the king and all of them were as wise as the Queen of England. Of the condition of France he expressed the most dismal view declaring 'Nous sommes tous perdus; sommes point capables de raison.' (p. 582). Stafford himself entertained no illusions; he expressed the opinion that nothing could be done with the king, because the Queen Mother could make him do whatever she liked (p. 584). The Leaguers were not so sure and even after the king had fled from Paris, leaving Guise in possession, strenuous efforts were made to wean him from England. On this side all hope was not abandoned of inducing Henry to adopt a more manly course, and in May, 1588, Sir Thomas Leighton came over to urge that Guise and all his faction should be declared traitors and dealt with as such (p. 633). The king received this mission in the most friendly spirit, declaring that he found more kindness in his good sister the Queen of England than in all the princes, his friends and allies, beside (pp. 637, 643).

That Navarre might become a Catholic was evidently considered quite an open question. In 1586 Buzenval declared that he had received an offer from the King of Spain of 50,000 crowns a month if he would change his religion and come over to him. The minister claimed great credit for his master for having declined a proposal so obviously advantageous (p. 48). By adhering steadfastly to his faith he was jeopardising his chances of succeeding to the finest kingdom in Christendom (p. 47). The pope was well disposed and quite ready to recall the bull of excommunication and to receive the king back into the bosom of the Church; knowledge of this caused considerable searching of heart among the members of the League (p. 489). With so many inducements to go over it was believed that jealousy of the Prince of Conde was the chief reason which kept him faithful to the Huguenots (p. 530), from fear that the Prince would succeed to his greatness if he should fall away. Consequently when Condé died suddenly, with strong suspicion of poison, it was felt that the cause of the Religion had lost its surest prop (p. 532). These feelings about Henry of Navarre were very widely shared (p. 544), so that serious misgivings were felt when it became known that Michael de Montaigne had been sent by him on a secret mission to the King of France, without the knowledge of the leaders of the party (p. 510). This brief appearance on the stage of the famous essayist is one of the interesting features of these papers.


Though relations between Spain and England were strained to the breaking point, peace negotiations of one kind and another were on the carpet for the whole period. Conversations between Don Antonio Castillio and Dr. Hector Nunez seem to have come to an untimely end in the autumn of 1586 the Babington conspiracy having created an atmosphere unfavourable to such negotiations (pp. 79, 83, 98), though the threads seem to have been taken up a few months later by the Duke of Parma (p. 280). Prince Doria was quite willing to continue the work he had begun, but he did not receive much encouragement from Spain (p. 11). Before listening to any proposals from England Spain required the evacuation of the Netherlands and the payment of compensation for the damage wrought by Drake in the Indies (p. 40). As no satisfaction was offered on either of these heads, the negotiations from this quarter seem to have died a natural death, also in the autumn of 1586. Another active move was made at this time by the King of Denmark, who was anxious to see peace established in the Netherlands and who sent a mission to Spain to this end. No particular notice of this move seems to have been taken in England at the time, but in the following year, when Parma had the negotiations in hand, Denmark's mediation was formally accepted in a letter of the queen, written in June (p. 323), though with reservations which made Denmark doubt whether the acceptance was intended seriously (p. 336). A few weeks later Rogers was sent to Denmark to explain that any hesitation shown in England was due to the reluctance of the States to enter into negotiations, and they were the parties chiefly concerned. He was to intimate that the chief difficulty would probably be about religion, and if no satisfaction could be obtained on this head Denmark should not only come forward to assist the Netherlands but induce the German Princes to join in defending the common cause (p. 370). The point is of importance in view of Froude's statement that Elizabeth was indifferent about religion in the Netherlands. (fn. 1) On the other hand a report was current that the queen intended to force the Dutch to come to terms (p. 421). But it is doubtful if the English government ever believed that Parma's negotiations were seriously intended. A series of questions addressed by Walsingham to Powle, his agent at Venice indicate his feelings on this subject, and the answers sent by Powel could only serve to confirm the secretary's impressions (p. 451). The negotiations were chiefly useful as a check upon France, where they were regarded with extreme jealousy, not to say irritation (p. 552) and where they tried their best, by intrigue, to upset them (p. 533).

That Spain was preparing some extraordinary expedition against England was suspected at an early date. In the summer of 1586 the Spanish party at Paris went about boasting that the queen would soon be attacked in her own realm (p. 49). Philip himself was not eager for the enterprise, but was egged on by his Cardinals and clergy (p. 12). His dominions were indeed in no case to furnish a great enterprise without excessive strain. He was at his wits end to find money and disaffection was rife among his troops for lack of pay and among his people from over taxation; corn was dear so that the people went hungry; trade was stagnant and a proclamation forbidding trade with England caused much murmuring and discontent. Drake's raids in the Indies had caused immense confusion, disorganising commerce and, what was worse, depriving the Spaniards of a quantity of guns, a loss they could not replace. Recognising the superiority of English guns the Spaniards tried hard to get hold of some. The supply of competent sailors was also a difficulty and to man the fleets it was necessary for the most part to fill up the crews with country clowns (pp. 12, 56–8). An informant of Stafford who saw the Spanish fleet at Lisbon at this time declared that six good English merchantmen would beat them all (p. 93). The English government tried to prevent supplies for the equipment of this fleet from reaching Spain. A schedule, issued by the Lords of the Council, of goods which must not be transported to Spain or the Spanish dominions, supplies a list of what was considered contraband of war at the time (p. 90). The prohibition excited the usual protests from neutrals.

In spite of all the difficulties Philip continued to push on with his preparations, raising a large loan from the Fuggers to enable him to proceed (p. 141). All through the winter of 1586 rumours were circulating of his levies of money, troops and munitions against England, for an expedition in the spring (p. 152). Richard Gibbes, an English shipmaster, being at Lisbon, was closely questioned about English and Scottish ports and soundings by Santa Cruz, who took him for a Scot (p. 231). A Spanish memorandum in favour of the enterprise represented that the prowess of the English at sea had been much exaggerated and that they had been the first to turn tail at the action of San Miguel (p. 342). But Santa Cruz, the victor on that occasion, cherished no such illusions. He showed almost as much reluctance to set out as his successor was to do later. He told the Archduke Albert that if the king would spare him at home, as he was an old man, he would give half the land he had (p. 373). On the few occasions when he ventured to sea his ships returned to port in a shattered condition. Froude remarks that the Armada had a good chance of success if it had sailed in January, (fn. 2) but this was not the opinion of Santa Cruz himself, who said it was much better to allow the Queen of England a little time to make ready than to risk the loss of the whole fleet by putting to sea in the rigour of winter (p. 513). Death came to relieve the veteran commander of a responsibility which he evidently did not care to face.

Meanwhile Philip continued to amass his great force at Lisbon, stripping his dominions of ships and men in order to furnish forth the fleet. To make up his crews he even offered free pardon to all outlaws and robbers (p. 329). Not satisfied with his own resources, vast as they were, he tried to enlist allies. When Henry III. of France was approached on the subject he replied that he would not hinder any enterprise of the pope or the King of Spain, but he was unable to further the same, being too much pressed in his own country (p. 453). Tuscany was drawn upon to supply ships and men, and it was reported that the pope had applied to the republic of Venice to take part. Sixtus personally seems to have entertained a real admiration for Elizabeth. On one occasion at least, when speaking in the most contemptuous terms of Philip of Spain and Henry of France, he declared that she was the one prince in the world to show any courage, and that he would give all the treasure that he had gathered together that she should become a Catholic (p. 365). But as the head of Christendom he considered it his duty to further a crusade to put down heresy thinking that it would be a glorious thing to restore England to the Catholic Church (p. 562). At Rome the utmost confidence was expressed in the success of the expedition. When Bandini, as envoy of the King of France, visited the city at Christmas, 1587, and laughed at the idea of the King of Spain conquering England, the Cardinals told him that before he got back to England he would find it done and England quite destroyed (p. 552). With the new year the hour seemed to have arrived and many Italian gentlemen left Italy for Flanders to serve as volunteers in the expedition and to share the plunder (pp. 572, 641). In Paris Mendoza assured Westmoreland and the English exiles that they would soon be restored to their country and goods and that they should go to join Parma to attend the hour (p. 597); so they also set out for Flanders. Of what was being done on the English side to meet the attack these papers have little to tell. Some of those who send information betray impatience at the apparent tardiness in preparing for the danger. From France there came a memorial setting forth what were considered the best measures to take. Among other things it advocates the employment of German reiters and landsknechts (p. 518), a curious recommendation in view of the recent fiasco in France. There seems to have been no special attempt to secure allies except a curious appeal from Harborne, the ambassador at the Porte, to the Sultan to join in the war against Philip (p. 508), an appeal which seems to have become known almost immediately in Europe (pp. 504, 562). That the English government was on the alert was shown when the forces of the League under Aumale made their attempt to seize Boulogne. Outside the port Aumale found a strong squadron of English ships commanded by Lord Admiral Howard himself. When the duke enquired whether he was there as a friend or an enemy Howard told him roundly that he must forbear from attacking a town of the king, his master, and that if he did not remove upon that warning he might, ere long, have cause to regret it. An unfavourable wind drove Howard away from the port directly afterwards, but the defenders were able to save the town without outside assistance. It is obvious that Boulogne would have afforded a most useful base for the Armada, when it sailed, and that in the hands of the League it would have been absolutely at their service. At the end of his report Howard expresses his satisfaction with the sailing qualities of the royal ships (p. 613).


Although the English government had concluded a treaty with Scotland in July, 1586, for the defence of the reformed religion and providing that neither party should join a foreign power against the other, France and Spain both continued to look to Scotland for assistance against England in case of need. The Bishop of Glasgow, envoy of Queen Mary and afterwards of James, was busy at Paris intriguing with the papal nuncio and the Spanish Ambassador Mendoza for the overthrow of English influence at Edinburgh (p. 94); James even went so far as to send to France to ask for help in the case of his mother, in prison and in danger of her life (p. 174). When the queen's head fell all Scotland united to demand vengeance, while from France King Henry tried to egg James on and urged him not to accept any satisfaction for his mother's death (p. 320). James, however, subordinated any private feelings he might have had to his obvious interests, for he saw clearly that his best chance of succeeding quietly to the English throne lay in keeping on good terms with Elizabeth, and in purchasing the goodwill of the people, since if war was to ensue between the two countries, his only hope of becoming king of England would be by conquest (p. 247). Accordingly he adhered steadily to the policy of cultivating friendly relations with Elizabeth since he perceived that nothing could do him more hurt than a quarrel with England (p. 277). With regard to the unfortunate affair of his mother he professed to have no ground of offence with the queen, whose hand had been forced, or with the people, but only with the councillors who had signed the death warrant (p. 259).

The importance of Scotland in any plan for the invasion of England was too obvious to be overlooked, though Philip's chances of enlisting any help from James were seriously prejudiced by Mary's recognition of him as her heir, to the exclusion of her own son. The Spaniards were certainly busily intriguing with both king and people. Spanish partisans in both France and Flanders freely boasted that there was an arrangement with James to land the forces for the invasion of England in Scottish ports (pp. 411, 454), and at the end of 1587 it was reported that the Spanish fleet had actually sailed for Scotland (pp. 416, 439). The Spaniards undoubtedly tried hard to spread the idea that their attack would be made by way of Scotland, perhaps only as a blind, though from the cross questioning of Gibbes by Santa Cruz it would seem that the project had been seriously considered. A report actually got abroad that hostilities had broken out between England and Scotland, and obtained so much credence that the King of Denmark wrote offering his mediation (p. 486). But as it became clear that Spanish hopes of Scottish co-operation were doomed to disappointment, Mendoza and the band of English exiles who frequented his house began to speak ill of the Bishop of Glasgow and of James, who had grown afraid, they said, of admitting a large foreign army into his country lest they should quarter themselves permanently there (p. 598).

The negotiations for the marriage of James to a Danish princess seem for some reason, not too obvious, to have been kept as secret as possible (p. 349), though without conspicuous success. Elizabeth, while approving of the alliance resented having been kept in the dark about it (p. 369). Her humour was to object to all love affairs (p. 86), if this could be called such, but her objections in the case in point were somewhat premature since the alliance did not take place for another two years.


In the summer of 1585 representatives of the Hanse Towns came to England to arrange terms for mutual trade and to try and obtain the restoration of the ancient privileges of their confederacy. The English government made it clear that they were not prepared to go beyond a mutual arrangement of give and take, and after some negotiation an offer was made at Nonsuch on the 3rd October that if the Hanse would restore the Merchant Adventurers at Hamburg to all the rights and privileges from which they had recently been excluded, the queen would allow the Hanse the same liberty of traffic as they had enjoyed at any time since the beginning of her reign (p. 102). An assembly of the Confederacy held at Lubec to consider this offer, broke up without any conclusion. The prevalent feeling at this meeting seems to have been opposed to any agreement with the English unless all the old Hanse privileges were restored. The English government had made it clear that it would only treat on terms of equality, involving mutual concessions on equal terms. This point was insisted upon in a letter written by the queen to the King of Poland, who had written to her on behalf of Danzig (pp. 59, 172). The confederacy hoped by offering a firm front to profit by the difficulties in which England was involved, and to recover their former monopoly. But the days had gone when the Hanse could be certain of acting as one body and with one voice. The important city of Hamburg, breaking away from the rest, decided to act independently and to accept the queen's offer. Accordingly they wrote asking that an embassy might be sent to discuss and settle details (p. 75). In England the company of Merchant Adventurers received these advances favourably. Their efforts to establish marts for the sale of their wares in the empire had not turned out very well. At Middelburg trade suffered too much from the war. At Emden, owing to dangers by sea and land, they had found their sales very restricted (p. 409), chiefly because of the opposition of the emperor and German Princes, so strong that Count Edzard, ruler of East Friesland, declined to renew the privileges of the Company unless the queen would promise him protection (p. 7). Under these circumstances the English Company sent a mission to Hamburg in the summer of 1587. In the discussions which followed they found that the Hamburghers were by no means of one mind about the establishment of trade and the concessions to be made to secure it. Agreements made with the principals one day were revoked when referred to the burghers, or else the terms were raised. The Hamburgers in particular insisted on their right to charge tolls for entering the Elbe because of their charges in keeping the river open and they were unwilling to concede a residency until the privileges offered at Nonsuch had been definitely secured. The merchants, who desired a monopoly for their Company, and not free trade, found themselves very much hampered in their negotiations by interlopers from their own country and especially by a patent to Sir Walter Raleigh, granting him the faculty to export cloth, because the existence of such things made the Hamburgers doubt their competence to fulfil any agreement they might make. Soon after their arrival at Hamburg the merchants had sent a deputation to Stade on the other side of the Elbe to see if any arrangement could be made there. The men of Stade were perfectly willing to come to an agreement, but they refused to enter upon any negotiations unless those with Hamburg were first broken off. Meanwhile the conversations continued at Hamburg, for although there seemed little prospect of arriving at a definite settlement they were anxious to make some temporary arrangement which would allow them to sell the cargoes which they had brought with them. Even this was denied them, for after such an arrangement had been made it was rejected by the burghers. Somewhat late in the day, and in contradiction to their earlier procedure, the Hamburgers now began to say that they could not act independently of the rest of the Hanse, a change in attitude supposed to have been inspired by their fear of the King of Denmark. The merchants fancied that other hostile influences were at work, for they found the Hamburgers extremely pro Spanish in their sympathies and they imagined that much of the stiffness they had met with was due to prompting received from the Duke of Parma. Consequently after treating to no purpose for two months, they suddenly broke off all negotiations and departed to Stade. There they speedily came to an agreement to last ten years, on terms much more favourable than any that had been offered at Hamburg, for Stade claimed the right to free navigation of the Elbe. This arrangement was promptly ratified by the Council in England. As soon as this became known the Hamburgers were much concerned, and they lost no time in trying to re-open negotiations on the basis of the Nonsuch offer. In the same breath they ominously announced their determination to uphold their rights in the Elbe (p. 398). They received little satisfaction from the English government. The reply sent told them plainly that for the arrangement made with Stade they had no one to thank but themselves. Their traffic with Parma would have justified the breaking off of all relations, nevertheless the offer made at Nonsuch would remain open if they were ready to fulfil their part of the bargain (p. 429). The Hamburgers preferred to try other means and fitting out a strong war fleet they prepared to enforce their claims. English and even Dutch ships were attacked at Stade and compelled to go to Hamburg to unlade, while a ship of war was stationed in the channel to prevent any trading with Stade (p. 646). But the English had anticipated some such development and came out in equal if not greater force. They found seven or eight Hamburg men of war in the river, but the German admiral, judging the English to be too strong, spoke them fair and suffered them to discharge their cargoes unmolested (p. 644). Other forces were invoked to abate the pretensions of the Hamburgers. The Bishop of Bremen announced his intention to maintain and defend his jurisdiction on the Elbe and he issued orders forbidding the Hamburgers to use violence (p. 612). An appeal from Stade to the Imperial Chamber drew from the emperor a decree commanding the Hamburgers to withdraw their ships of war and to revoke their newly imposed tolls, restoring what they had unjustly taken away (p. 646).


Matters of minor importance call for a brief reference here. Both the Spaniards and the French counted with some confidence on the outbreak of disaffection in England. The Spaniards also hoped that the way might be made plain to them by the queen's assassination (p. 18), though Philip, to his honour, refused to soil his hands with any such thing (p. 181). The English refugees in France received pensions from Spain (p. 284). Many plots, real or imaginary, against the queen's life are referred to. Walsingham expressed the belief that the execution of the Queen of Scots made the queen safer as the papists could no longer hope to advance their religion by her removal (p. 242, 276). The volume contains a considerable amount of material bearing upon Stafford's position in Paris. He had his differences with Walsingham and his troubles with his secret agents, and a very virulent enemy in the Abbot Del Bene, but the impression of his integrity and devotion conveyed in previous volumes is here fully maintained. He professed himself an admirer of the King of Navarre, but he did not get on well with that king's ministers, whom he accuses of trying to embroil the kingdoms of England and France, contrary to their own best interests.

The execution of the Queen of Scots naturally made a great stir on the continent. Pictures of the queen, emanating from Rome were on sale at Venice, with verses commending her virtues and calling down vengeance on Elizabeth (p. 455). The reputation won by Drake by his exploits in the Indies and elsewhere is illustrated by the rush to see a portrait of him brought to Ferrara from France (p. 572).

The publication of this volume has been delayed by the prolonged illness of Mrs. Lomas. She had passed the whole of the text for press and had compiled part of the Index; and it was hoped that she would return after a few months and finish her work. This hope having been disappointed, it was, with her consent, completed by Mr. A. B. Hinds, M.A., who has also written the preceding part of the Preface. It is much to be regretted that Mrs. Lomas with her intimate knowledge of the period and of the papers she had edited has not been able to write her own Preface or at least to supply notes for those cases where she had promised information in the Introduction. Two of these, at pages 19 and 248, relate to what appear to be holograph letters of the King of Navarre, and it would be idle to speculate what comments the Editor intended to make on them. The third case, at page 673 relates to the date of the document there printed, and is a comparatively simple matter. The paper is a communication from the Prince of Wallachia and at page 675 it refers to letters of the 28th November received on the 26th January, which spoke of the death of Mehemet Bassa. This will be no other than Mehemet Sokolli, the Grand Vizier of Turkey, murdered on the 11th October, 1579. (fn. 3) In the Foreign Calendar for 1580 there is a letter from France of the 9th April stating that the Prince of Wallachia is returning to Turkey. (fn. 4) The date of the paper will, therefore, be some time between 26th January and 9th April, 1580, probably nearer the former than the latter date.

A further note in the text refers to the Index for the identification of the names in a list of supporters of the King of Navarre at pages 516–7. The list presents considerable difficulties and these were not lessened by a somewhat faulty transcription. One or two only of the persons mentioned had been identified by Mrs. Lomas in the portion of the Index which she prepared. It is difficult to identify satisfactorily a large proportion of the names, which are in all cases the names of fiefs with no further clue beyond the province to which the nobles belonged and occasionally a governorship which one or another held. It is probable that a good number of them were cadets.

Although no attempt has been made to revise Mrs. Lomas's text, a certain number of errors have come to light in the compilation of the Index, and these are all tabulated in the Corrigenda. The most considerable of these mistakes are the dating of two papers, occuring at pages 179 and 260. The first is a letter from Dr. Marta to the English Ambassador, left undated and conjectured to belong to the beginning of 1587. This Marta was a Neapolitan Professor at Padua, and a familiar of Sir Dudley Carleton and afterwards of Sir Henry Wotton, ambassadors at Venice in the time of James I. (fn. 5) The letter refers to the Duke of Mantua amusing himself at Verona, and this gives the necessary clue for dating it. In 1613 it was proposed that Carleton should go on a visit of friendship to the Duke of Mantua, who had only recently assumed the dignity. The duke made some difficulties and also pleaded illness. But on the 22nd October of that year he went to Verona, for a few days only, (fn. 6) apparently in order to meet Carleton on neutral ground. The "From the casa Dominica" of the letter should read "From my house, Sunday." It may then be assumed with some confidence that the Sunday in question was the one next following the day of the duke's journey to Verona, which was a Tuesday, and so the correct date of the letter would be the 27th October, 1613.

The other misdated paper, at page 260, is a letter from Don Gonzales de Cordova to the Swiss Cantons. The date is given as 1587 March 29—April 8, without brackets. The only original date on the paper is April 8, without the year. The date 1587 is in pencil on the back in a modern hand and presumably the conjecture of the official who last arranged the file. Gonzales de Cordova was the Spanish governor of Milan up to August, 1629. In the spring of that year he had been besieging Casale, from the neighbourhood of which this letter is dated. The siege had been raised at the end of March. Oliver Fleming, from whom the copy of the letter was received, according to the endorsement, was acting as resident with the Swiss at this time. As Cordova does not seem to have had a camp near Casale at any other time, it is fairly safe to date the letter in the year 1629. The redating of these two papers has necessitated some rearrangement of the files to which they belong; and so far as this rearrangement affects the present volume, the alterations are included among the corrigenda.

These lapses from the habitual care and accuracy of Mrs. Lomas are to be attributed to the deterioration of health which has so unhappily brought to a close her work on this Calendar.


  • 1. History of England, Vol. XII., page 40.
  • 2. History of England, Vol. XII., page 327.
  • 3. Von Hammer: Geschichle des Osmanischen Reichs, Vol. IV., pages 78, 700.
  • 4. Cal. S.P. For. Elizabeth, Vol. XIV., page 225
  • 5. Pearsall Smith: Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton, Vol II., page 472.
  • 6. Venetian Calendar, Vol. XIII., page 59. The letters of Carleton's secretary, Gregorio di Monte, written at this time, also refer to the duke's visit to Verona and his diversions there, though he had only recently pleaded indisposition. S.P. For. Venice.