Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 9, 1569-1571. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1874.
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CONTENTS OF THIS VOLUME.
|Dates of Principal Events||xlvii|
|Calendar, Foreign Papers, Elizabeth—1569–71||1|
|Topographical List of Documents||632|
The period covered by the documents herein calendared, is of the same length as that contained in the last volume, and consists of the years 1569, 1570, and 1571. The documents have been brought together from numerous different collections contained in the Public Record Office, for the purpose of their arrangement in one chronological series.
In accordance with the system determined on, many of the documents contained in the volumes entitled "Border Correspondence," are treated as foreign, on account of their intimate relation with the affairs of the neighbouring kingdom of Scotland. They consist principally of letters and despatches from the Earl of Sussex, the Lord Lieutenant of the North, Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon, Governor of Berwick and Lord Warden of East Marches, and Sir William Drury, Marshal and Deputy-Governor of Berwick. They give some account of the great northern rebellion under the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, and the subsequent revolt of Leonard Dacres; but are chiefly interesting as throwing light on the intrigues of the English council with the conflicting parties in Scotland. That the information relating to these events is not more copious, is owing to the fact that a great number of the more important documents relating to the Northern Rebellion have been removed to the Domestic Series. Beyond the accounts of the ordinary border business, there is little worthy of note in the correspondence till towards the end of the year 1569, when in the month of October 200 trained men were despatched from the garrison of Berwick (fn. 1) at the Queen's command to assist the Regent of Scotland in the suppression of "evil doers," being the first armed intervention by England in the affairs of that country since the operations against Leith in the time of Mary of Lorraine.
This was followed by the breaking out of the Great Northern Rebellion, of which a full account will be found in the Domestic Calendars. Valuable aid was rendered by Murray in its suppression, (fn. 2) who having in his hands many and good hostages of the Border clans taken by him in his late expedition into Liddlesdale, was able to entirely paralyse the action of those amongst them who would otherwise have assisted the rebel Earls, and who had actually promised to send to their aid 4,000 horsemen. (fn. 3) The Regent still further heightened the obligations under which the English Government lay towards him by his energetic proclamations against the rebel Earls, and the efforts which he personally made for their apprehension after their flight into Scotland. (fn. 4) It was whilst he was on his way from Stirling to meet Sir Henry Gates and Drury, upon Her Majesty's affairs, more especially for the surrender of the Earl of Northumberland, and for the suppression of those Border clans who sided with the Queen of Scots, that the Regent met with his death in the streets of Linlithgow. On the night of the death of Murray, Scott of Buccleugh and Kerr of Ferniehurst, together with Westmorland and other English fugitives accompanied by the raiders of Tivydale to the number of 2,000, made a furious foray into England, (fn. 5) carrying off great spoil of cattle and prisoners, and destroying and burning and behaving with great cruelty wherever they came. It was observed that the English fugitives were the most vindictive in this raid, their passions being stirred up by the sanguinary military execution of their friends and relatives after the late insurrection.
This great inroad was followed by several minor but destructive forays, the Scots invading nightly, and in a systematic manner pushing on as far as Morpeth, (fn. 6) and even threatening Newcastle, whilst the few English Borderers who remained loyal, despairing of effective protection, took up arms on their own account and considered that they might lawfully ride upon and spoil the rebels and their abettors. In the meanwhile Leonard Dacres, of Naworth, suspecting that steps would be taken for his arrest on account of his complicity with the late rebellion, assembled all his friends and retainers in arms under the pretence of resisting these inroads; but before he could form a junction with his Scottish sympathisers, Hunsdon with the Berwick garrison attacked him, and after a short but sanguinary engagement totally defeated him and compelled him to take refuge across the border. This trifling and obscure skirmish from its results deserves to rank with many more famous battles, as from the condition of the country Hunsdon's defeat would inevitably have been followed by the uprising of the whole of the Catholics throughout the north of England, who would have been assisted from Spain and France, and the Crown would have been lost to Elizabeth, and the reformed doctrines stamped out throughout the whole island. Under these circumstances Hunsdon, seeing how important it was to follow up his success, desired that a sufficient force might be levied in the south of England, as he could not depend on the inhabitants under his charge, whom he describes as being all traitors. That the peril of the position was not underestimated by the English Government, is shown by the despatch of Sussex towards the frontier with a force of 3,000 foot and 1,000 horse, with instructions to do his best for the apprehension of the rebels who had fled into Scotland, and the punishment of those who had succoured them. As the main object of these forays had been to embroil England in a formal war with Scotland, and thus furnish a pretext for the interference of France and Spain, the English Government did not fail to make use of the opportunity for crushing those of the Borderers who upheld the cause of the Scottish Queen. (fn. 7) The manner in which Sussex carried out his instructions is graphically described in his despatches to the Queen and Cecil, (fn. 8) "not a castle, town, or tower left unburnt" in Tivydale until they came to Jedburgh. Ferniehurst, which they could not blow up, they so tore with labourers that "it were as good lay flat." Branxholme they found as cruelly burnt by Buccleugh as they could have done themselves, so they had to content themselves with blowing up the ruins. "It was a very strong house and well set, and very pleasant gardens and orchards about it, but all destroyed." The whole of this mischief was effected with very slight resistance on the part of the Scotch, the chief damage on the English side which is mentioned being a very severe cold in the head, which the Lord Lieutenant took with "lying on the cold ground and hard rocks in Home and Tivydale." In a paper entitled "Raids into Scotland," (fn. 9) the total destruction is given as ninety castles or strong houses and 300 villages and towns blown up or burnt. There were also other incursions by Hunsdon, Drury, and the Wardens of the Marches, which were attended with similar results to the partisans of Mary. In that which was conducted by Drury the whole country of the Hamiltons, in Clydesdale, was laid waste with fire and sword, and the expedition reached as far as the walls of Dumbarton, where the leader nearly lost his life during a parley through the treachery of the governor, Lord Fleming, or the revengeful passion of the Hamiltons, who garrisoned that fortress. (fn. 10) By these energetic measures the power of the French and Catholic party in Scotland was so curtailed as no longer to offer any serious danger (fn. 11) by active co-operation with the discontented party in England; and the Protestants who governed the country in the name of the young King James VI., who were threatened with total extinction on the death of Murray, so strengthened as to be able, with the aid of a little pecuniary assistance from England, to keep their adversaries well in check. The letters from Drury chiefly concern events passing in the struggle between the King's and Queen's parties in Scotland, and contain earnest requests for assistance from the former. Drury, an old experienced officer in the northern wars, recommends that this should take the form of troops rather than money or munitions, (fn. 12) lest the Scotch should acquire experience in war and habits of discipline, which might become dangerous in the future. Hunsdon, entertaining similar opinions, (fn. 13) recommended that a large force should be at once sent to the assistance of the King's party, who, notwithstanding all the countenance and aid which had been furnished to them, were in imminent danger of being completely overthrown (fn. 14) at the period at which this volume closes, Dec. 1571. The despatches of the Earl of Sussex contain enclosures and copies of a volumnious correspondence with Grange, Maitland of Lethington, and other Scottish noblemen, which throw a very clear light on the political situation in Scotland, and are well worth a careful perusal.
Amongst minor matters worth noticing in this series is the name of Sir Thomas Lucy, (fn. 15) the original of Shakespeare's Justice Shallow, which occurs as receiving communications from Scotland.
The prevalence of epidemic disease over the north of England in 1569–70 is frequently alluded to by Hunsdon, (fn. 16) who terms it the "hyves," and describes it as being "akin to the small-pox and a younger son to the plague."
Hunsdon (15 August 1569) (fn. 17) also notices the existence of a nest of coiners at Berwick, but as they confined their ingenuity to imitating the Scottish currency (fn. 18) he does not regard their offence with much severity, and subsequently alluding to them as the "poor men," desires their release as they were good soldiers and had families. This method of turning their leisure time to profitable account seems to have been popular with the Berwick garrison, as there are frequent allusions to this practice in former volumes, in which officers of as high rank as the Master of the Ordnance and the Captain of Wark were implicated. The condition of the Borders at the end of the year 1571 is described by Hunsdon as being very bad (fn. 19); notwithstanding the sharp lessons which had been given to the Scottish borderers, they made daily and nightly excursions across the Borders, and joining with the disaffected English, carried their depredations as far as Bishops Auckland with impunity, as the strong houses which were formerly kept by the Earl of Westmorland and other gentlemen, with their retainers, were now empty, and that part of the country "clean waste," whilst, as for the Bishop of Durham, they made but small account of him.
The period comprised by the documents relating to Scotland, though not of such dramatic interest as that contained in the last volume, is still very important, being that in which the great Catholic reaction took place, and the struggle on the part of the papacy to recover its lost supremacy in Britain began to assume formidable proportions. It is impossible to avoid being impressed with the apparently slender chance of success that the reformed doctrines had in Scotland through the treacherous and factious conduct of the nobility. Whilst the ministrations of Knox and other earnest preachers had been very successful amongst the trading and industrial population, it is but too evident that the adherence of many of the nobility to the cause of the Reformation was in exact ratio with their expected shares in the spoils of the ancient church and the confiscated estates of its supporters. On the other hand, many were kept on the side of the Queen of Scots through fear of the English supremacy, and hatred of their ancient enemies, joined with the receipt of pensions from France. Both parties were, however, unanimous in the endeavour to assemble parliaments or conventions of the nobility of their own side, for the purpose of declaring their adversaries traitors and confiscating and sharing their estates; and it is to these unceasing efforts to plunder one another that the increased bitterness and exasperation of the struggle may be attributed.
Murray, who was the leader of the reformed party, was so greatly suspected of schemes of personal ambition that it was considered necessary that Elizabeth should pledge her word as a prince as to his good faith and integrity in a letter (fn. 20) addressed to the Earl and Countess of Marr, the guardians of the young King of Scots.
After his return from England, where he had come to a good understanding with the Queen and her advisers (fn. 21) and obtained a loan of 5,000l. in order to carry out his plans, he issued a proclamation declaring that he and his party, having been charged with treason, had proved to the Queen of England their entire innocence, but that in so doing they had been compelled to make manifest the complicity of the Queen of Scots in the murder of her husband. The attempts at reconciliation between the conflicting parties were not simplified by the interference of Elizabeth, even if the issues on which they differed had not been too broad to admit of compromise. On page 74, (fn. 22) will be found a plan for the compounding of differences and for the government of Scotland; and on page 161, (fn. 23) the copy of a bond signed by Murray and eight other noblemen requesting that Mary may be allowed to return to Scotland, and promising to provide for her estate as a Queen, and disclaiming any sinister meaning of shortening her life. These negociations were cut short by the death of the Regent. Although this event is usually ascribed to the wild revenge of Bothwellhaugh and a very romantic legend told on the subject, there is no doubt that the murder was decided on long previously by the opposite party, and it was only the want of an opportunity and a fit agent that caused its delay. As far back as February 1569 it had been determined to kill him by the way on his return from the conference at York. A letter from Norris, the English Ambassador in France, (fn. 24) mentions the current report that the Cardinal of Lorraine was the instigator of the murder. In a letter from Kirkcaldy of Grange, (fn. 25) allusion is made to a woman who is charged with being cognizant of the crime. This was probably Christeane Schaw, the relict of Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, who was "delaited arte and pairt" of the murder (see Pitcairn's State Trials). Randolph accuses Mary of connivance with this crime, and warns Cecil that the Queen of England had as much need to look unto herself as the Regent had, as he found in Scotland more evil intended against them than France and Spain could do, provided they were "quit of the cumber that that unhappy generation brought them." (fn. 26)
This suggestion had been already made more explicitly in a letter from Knox to Cecil, in January 1570, (fn. 27) telling him that if he "struck not at the root the branches that appeared to be broken would bud again with greater force." This curious letter is signed by the venerable reformer, "John Knox with his one foot in the grave," and was written immediately after the failure of the Great Northern Rebellion, whilst the inferior agents were being executed by the score with the most merciless rigour. From this period the suggestions as to the advisability of the destruction of Mary became common. Besides numerous applications for her freedom, made by the French Ambassador in the name of his master, there are several notices of plots for her deliverance, some of which are rather curious. (fn. 28) One mentioned by Norris was to be carried out under the superintendence of Chapin Vitelli, Marquis of Cetona, who was to embark with 30 or 40 swift horses in two ships, and landing as near as they could to where she was, were to carry her off whilst she was out hunting or hawking. All these plans appear to have been thoroughly well known to the English Government, and there is no account of any attempt to put any of them in execution. The notices contained in this Volume about Mary are not very full, as the papers relating to her captivity have been separately calendared by Mr. Thorpe. A copy of the declaration of the Earls of Huntley and Argyle as to what passed at the Conference at Craigmillar, charging Murray and Lethington with being the authors of Darnley's murder is given on page 16; and a copy of the examination of Nicholas Hubert, alias French Paris, will be found on page 109. It was taken in the presence of George Buchanan, Mr. John Wood, and Robert Murray, and if authentic, and not the production of terror or torture, would be conclusive of Mary's guilt.
Randolph, in a letter to Cecil, 15th October 1570, (fn. 29) mentions the discovery of a bond subscribed by Murray and three or four other persons, promising to concur and assist one another in Darnley's death. This Randolph unhesitatingly pronounces to be a forgery, and declares his conviction in Murray's guiltlessness, mentioning another occasion when his signature had most undoubtedly been counterfeited.
On page 70 will be found a long letter to Cecil from one Peter Adrian, of Rye, (fn. 30) who was serving in the King of Denmark's navy, and who had contrived to insinuate himself into the confidence of Bothwell, detailing a very curious conversation between him and that nobleman. Thomas Buchanan, who had been sent into Denmark with commission to desire the delivery of Bothwell up to justice, also informed Cecil in January 1571 (fn. 31) that Bothwell had daily practices with the Queen of Scots, who had sent certain writings to him, desiring him to be of good comfort, and also that a page had been sent into England with certain writings for Mary, whose tenor he describes in these remarkable words, "which if they come to her hands may be prejudicial and hurtful to both our countries and to the discontentment of the Queen's Majesty of England."
After the death of Murray and the accession of Lennox to the troublesome office of Regent, the affairs of Scotland fell into a worse state of confusion than ever, and the history of that period resolves itself into a tedious series of plots, confiscations and desultory attacks of one party on the other, varied by attempts at reconciliation, which their mutual distrust rendered unavailing. Lethington, "the flower of the wits of Scotland," (fn. 32) who had for some time been growing cold towards the English alliance, and had even gone so far as to say that he would make the Queen of England "sit on her tail and whine," (fn. 33) turned completely over to that of France and persuaded Kirkcaldy of Grange, the Governor of Edinburgh Castle, to do the same. This he had the less trouble in doing as Grange's patriotism was deeply hurt by the proceedings of Sussex and his lieutenants on the Borders, and by the fact of Lennox being suspected with good reason of being little else than Elizabeth's nominee. The letters of Grange and Lethington (fn. 34) to Sussex contain their reasons for their change of policy, and also their plainly expressed opinions of the characters of their late associates. Grange in a letter to Randolph, (fn. 35) whilst he protested his determination to avenge the death of Murray, pathetically laments that his gray hairs have let him understand what truth and conscience there is in the Scottish nobility, and that since the Regent's death he was minded not to subject himself over far to any that were left behind. This low estimate of the characters of his adversaries is corroborated by frequent passages in the confidential despatches of the English agents to their Government. The defection of Grange who held possession of the important fortress of Edinburgh seemed destined to prolong indefinitely the struggle between the two parties which was waged with increasing bitterness on both sides, quarter being rarely given to any prisoners, Lennox setting the evil example by hanging two officers and thirty-two unfortunate soldiers who fell into his hands by the surrender of Brechin House. (fn. 36) The hopes of the Queen of Scots' party were further kept alive by the receipt of large sums of money and munitions, (fn. 37) and by the promises of speedy assistance from France and the Low Countries, officers being sent by Alva to sound the coasts and havens in the neighbourhood of Aberdeen (fn. 38) to prepare for the arrival of the promised succours.
The prospects of the Queen were, however, much injured in April 1571 by the unexpected capture of Dumbarton Castle by Captain Crawford, of Jordanhill, a full account of which gallant enterprise will be found in a letter from Drury to the Privy Council. (fn. 39) James Hamilton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, who was taken in the castle, was executed in the course of a few days after a hurried trial. (fn. 40) In the following September occurred another dashing enterprise, known as the "Raid of Stirling," of which a graphic account was sent by Grange and Lethington to Drury. (fn. 41) In this letter the blame of Lennox's death is imputed to his own party, who are accused of using the opportunity given by the tumult for obtaining that which they had long sought after, and with having made overtures to the writers to concur in his destruction. Drury as early as the preceding January (fn. 42) had informed Cecil that there was some intention to have some sacrifice shortly for the sins of the people, but whether this remark refers to Lennox or to some other is not quite plain. Captains George Bell and James Calder, (fn. 43) who had been taken prisoners on the retreat from Stirling were, by torture, compelled to confess that they had special instructions from the Hamiltons to slay the Regent. Calder's confession is significantly signed "James Calder with my hand laid on the pen because I cannot write." The historian George Buchanan, was one of those who assisted at these examinations, and his name occurs as being present on another similar occasion where a good deal of "persuasion" (fn. 44) seems to have been necessary to induce the culprit to make the desired admissions; his name also appears appended to the copy of Nicholas Hubert alias French Paris' confession on page 109. (fn. 45)
After the election of Marr to the Regency the Scotch papers contain little of interest down to the end of the Volume, relating chiefly to efforts on the part of the Queen of England's agents to compound the differences of the two conflicting factions. (fn. 46) The constant expectation of assistance from the continent (fn. 47) entertained by the Queen of Scots' party, and the greedy avarice of her opponents, (fn. 48) who could not be induced to forego the possession of the estates of their adversaries (fn. 49) which they had seized upon, rendered all these negociations futile. That portion of the Queen of Scots' party which was in arms was well fortified in the town and castle of Edinburgh, with a sufficiency of ordnance and munitions and a force of armed men estimated at 700, in good spirits and determined not to treat with the opposite party, whom they declared they could not trust, (fn. 50) and merely desired non-intervention on the part of England to secure a successful issue to their resistance.
The other party had a slightly more numerous body of soldiers in their pay, but their want of necessary munitions rendered any attempt on their part to reduce the castle perfectly hopeless. (fn. 51) They had but seven pieces of artillery with from 40 to 60 shot for each gun and a very scanty allowance of powder. In the North the Gordons who had embraced the Queen's side to the opportunity of attacking their hereditary enemies the Forbes, (fn. 52) whom they nearly exterminated, besides overthrowing a force of 200 harquebussiers, with the loss of their officers who had been sent to their assistance by the Regent. Such was the deplorable condition of Scotland at the end of 1571, which was most aptly described by Hunsdon in a letter to Lethington and Grange as "A pleasant and profitable time for murderers, thieves, and such as live only by the spoils of true men." (fn. 53) At the same time he exhorted them in the name of his mistress to put an end to this deplorable state of affairs by conforming themselves to the King of Scots obedience, assuring them in case of their refusal of the Queen's intention to intervene and bring them to it by force.
Amongst the minor matters noticed in this volume is the execution by burning of Sir William Stewart, Lion King-at-arms, (fn. 54) on the charge of conspiring the death of Murray by sorcery and witchcraft; a very pathetic letter from this unfortunate gentleman will be found in the British Museum amongst the Cotton MSS., Calig. IX., p. 272. The "Earl of Cassilis' handling of the Abbot of Crosragnel," mentioned in a letter from the Laird of Bargany to Lennox is given at length by Bannatyne, and consists of the Earl's twice nearly roasting him to death before a fire, in order to extort from him the title deeds of his abbacy. (fn. 55) This proceeding of the Earl is mentioned by Sir Walter Scott as suggesting to him the idea of the scene between Front de Bœuf and Isaac of York, in the novel of Ivanhoe. On page 373 there is a complaint that the Regent Lennox's soldiers have destroyed John Fleming's deer in his forest of Cummernauld, (fn. 56) and also the white kye and bulls of the said forest to the great hinder of the commonweal for that kind of kye and bulls has been kept there many years in the said forest, and the like was not maintained in any other part of this isle of Albion, as is well known." On page 348, there is a curious letter from Randolph to Cecil, (fn. 57) in which he evidently alludes to a golden symbol mentioned by M. de la Motte Fénélon (25 Oct. 1570), representing the Scottish lion overcoming the English leopard, and which purported to be a present from the Lady Fleming to the Queen of Scots. This emblem fell into the hands of Randolph by means of Archibald Stewart, (fn. 58) and being forwarded to Leicester was by him shown to Elizabeth, and had the effect of greatly irritating her against the Queen of Scots at the very time when the negociations at Chatsworth for her release were progressing favourably. A curious collection of black letter ballads printed at Edinburgh, by Robert Lekpreuik, are bound up with the Scotch correspondence. (fn. 59) They are of a political character, and are extremely quaint in their metre, language, and ideas. In No. 665, which was written on the occasion of the murder of Murray, the peacock and the popinjay are exhorted to put on the plumage of crows in token of mourning; and the pelican to prepare its beak and grind it sharp and long, in order to avenge the death of the Regent. There is another ballad in MS., ridiculing the reformed party, and especially John Knox, which is too indecent to print, and of which the modern meaning of the adjective in its endorsement, "A lewd ballet," most aptly describes the contents.
In France the third civil war for religion was at its height. The Huguenot party under Condé and the Admiral held possession of the south and western provinces of France, whilst in the east the Duke of Zweybruck at the head of a formidable army of German reiters was advancing to their assistance. They were further encouraged by supplies of artillery, munitions, and money from England, which were brought to them by way of Rochelle through which port also came many English volunteers to aid the cause of the reformed religion. (fn. 60) The opposite party were commanded by the Duke of Anjou and the young Duke Henry of Guise, who had besides the native French levies, a strong force of Swiss, and Italians who had been furnished by the Pope. Although in many of the minor operations the Huguenots were successful, yet in all the important actions they were as usual unfortunate; the battle of Jarnac, fought on 15 March 1569, in which the Prince of Condé was slain, being followed in the autumn of the same year by a sanguinary engagement at Moncontour, in which they were completely defeated. (fn. 61) They were not more fortunate in their siege operations than they were in the open field, for whilst the Admiral was compelled to raise the siege of Poitiers which was gallantly defended by Henri of Guise, the town of St. Jean D'Angeli was after a stubborn resistance yielded up to the Duke of Anjou. Notwithstanding these defeats the war was carried on with equal fury on both sides beyond the Loire, till the month of August in the following year when a peace was concluded at St. Germains, which was on the whole favourable to the Huguenots. The despatches of Sir Henry Norris, the English Ambassador at the French Court, are full of accounts of skirmishes waged with varying success on both sides, and of the miserable condition into which the country was brought by these intestine struggles. (fn. 62) So angry were the Catholics with the concessions granted to the Huguenots by the treaty, that Norris informed Leicester (fn. 63) of the apprehensions which were entertained, that they would resort to poison or other treason for the purpose of removing the King, in order that they might set up his brother Anjou, who was more earnest in their cause. The conclusion of peace in France put the position of affairs in England in great peril; the arrival of Spaniards to aid the Queen of Scots' party, with, of course ulterior views against England, was daily expected in Scotland; at the same time that jealousy of the purposed aggrandisement of Spain caused Charles IX. to make most strenuous endeavours in Mary's behalf through his ambassador De la Motte Fénélon, threatening an armed intervention in case of her further detention. The number of German, Swiss, and Italian mercenaries who had been thrown out of employment by the peace, joined to the numerous French whom the war had ruined and unfitted for any other than a military career, made this a formidable menace. (fn. 64) Matters were made still more serious by the Cardinal of Lorraine, who having more leisure to attend to the designs which he had formed in favour of his niece procured some sharp and threatening letters from the King to Elizabeth in her behalf; (fn. 65) though Charles remarked very significantly after the Cardinal's departure, that if he himself had the Queen of Scots prisoner, or was in the place of the Queen of England, he well knew what he would do. In addition to this, De la Roche, an officer at the devotion of the House of Guise was, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the English Ambassador, suffered to arrange an expedition in Brittany, with which he sailed for Ireland, for the purpose of assisting James Fitzmaurice, who was in arms against the Queen. (fn. 66)
Although the Catholics were indignant at the concessions made to the Huguenots by the Treaty of Pacification at St. Germains, (fn. 67) these latter were no better satisfied with their position, knowing by past experience the extreme improbability that any terms would be kept with them. It was under these circumstances that the idea occurred to the Huguenot leaders of again proposing a match between the Queen of England and the Duke of Anjou, which, if carried out, would remove one of their most formidable enemies, and even if abortive would spread confusion and mistrust in the councils of their adversaries. This plan appears to have been first broached through the Marshal Montmorency to Sir H. Norris, (fn. 68) and was by him communicated to Cecil in the end of November 1570, but it was not till the following March that any definite negociations between the two Courts were opened. (fn. 69) Notwithstanding the caution which had been used to keep the matter secret, Walsingham, who had succeeded Norris as ambassador at the French Court, was informed by a personage of very high rank, whose name he does not disclose (23 February 1571), (fn. 70) that the Cardinal of Lorraine had become aware of the scheme, and was using every endeavour to thwart it by bringing about a match between the Duke of Anjou and his niece, for whose escape preparations had been made. Charles IX., who had for some time regarded his brother with jealous suspicion on account of his great popularity with the Catholics, embraced this opportunity of getting rid of him with eagerness, and indulged in the most furious menaces against all who offered the slightest opposition to its success. (fn. 71) Elizabeth, to whom the prospect of marriage was always distasteful, was so alarmed at the gloomy appearance of the political horizon, and by the representations of her councillors, that she was forced to yield a reluctant assent though availing herself of every circumstance which would delay the match. To Burghley and Walsingham the marriage seemed to offer a tolerably safe issue out of impending evils if sufficient guarantees were provided for the security of the reformed religion in England, (fn. 72) as they considered that it would put a stop to all future interference on the part of France in behalf of the Queen of Scots. Anjou who had at first been rather favourable to the proposal, was so worked upon by the representations and offers of the Cardinal of Lorraine (fn. 73) that after a very stormy interview with the King his brother, and a tearful one with his mother, (fn. 74) he wrote a polite but firm letter to Elizabeth, respectfully declining the honour of her alliance, 31 July 1571. (fn. 75) Whatever may have been the feelings of the principals in this negociation their agents were thoroughly in earnest in desiring its success, (fn. 76) and the letters both of Burghley and Walsingham contain gloomy apprehensions of what would happen in the event of its failure. In a despatch dated 8 October 1571, Walsingham encloses an extract from a letter written by Cardinal Pelleve in the preceding March declaring the Duke's aversion to the proposed match with Elizabeth, but saying that he was well disposed to one with the Queen of Scots, (fn. 77) which would be of great advantage to the Catholics of England, and would not be difficult of accomplishment if the Kings of France and Spain would accord. In this despatch Walsingham states that Catherine de Medicis is much better affected towards the Queen of Scots than she formerly was, and recommends great caution to Burghley as Mary had so many friends that nothing was kept secret from her. The increased influence of the Huguenot party at Court, (fn. 78) and the great jealousy felt towards Spain having diminished (fn. 79) the chances of a coalition against England, joined with the flat refusal of Anjou, the marriage project was suffered to fall through under the pretext of inability to agree on the point of religion, and the alliance between the two sovereigns took the form of a proposed enterprise, having for its object the invasion and partition of the dominions of their good brother the King Catholic in the Netherlands. During the progress of these negociations Walsingham recommended that a present should be given to the Duchess of Uzes, a lady who was high in the favour of Catherine de Medicis, (fn. 80) because she had stood earnestly in defence of the Queen of England's honour, (fn. 81) to whom she had considered herself much bound because she had once written to her. As the Catholic party had not hesitated to bring the grossest charges against the private character of Elizabeth in order to hinder the Anjou marriage, so their opponents did not scruple to retaliate by using the same weapons for the purpose of preventing any interference on the part of the French Court on behalf of the Queen of Scots. On page 570 there is a letter from Robert Beale, Walsingham's brotherin-law and secretary, recommending the dissemination of "some of Buchanan's little Latin books" in the French Court, as they would serve to good effect in disgracing Mary, (fn. 82) against whom he however disclaims all malice, merely describing her as a pernicious and viperous enemy to the Queen of England, (fn. 83) who for her own safety was bound to disgrace her as much as she justly might. The chief obstacle to a firm league between England and France is given by Henry Killegrew (fn. 84) in an account of conversation with the Huguenot leaders, MM. Cavagnies and Teligny, who very plainly told him that the life of the Scottish Queen was the greatest impediment to the weal of the three realms by reason of the House of Lorraine standing in expectation of her greatness and succession to the Crown; they further marvelled that she was suffered to live, considering the danger into which she had lately brought the Queen of England, and offered to Killegrew a discourse to prove her worthy of death on condition that the Queen of England would put it into execution, as otherwise they knew the Court too well to send such matter thither. The despatches of Norris and Walsingham contain frequent notices of Spanish intrigues and "Romish practices," (fn. 85) having for their object the invasion of Ireland at the instigation of the Earl of Thomond; those from Norris contain enclosures from Robert Hogan, an English agent in Spain, giving an account of the proceedings of Stuckley and the Bishop of Cashel, (fn. 86) and the preparations in the north of Spain for a descent upon Ireland.
Lord Buckhurst, who was sent over in February 1571, about the Anjou marriage, sends news of the proceedings of the French Court, (fn. 87) which he describes as very gay and joyous, and where he was received with great honour and courtesy by the King.
On the 1st March they had a day's sporting at Vincennes, where, after coursing hares and hawking for partridges, Buckhurst, (fn. 88) who had brought over a leash of greyhounds; at the King's request put them on some deer, who, however, "ran better for their lives than the dogs did for pastime." After this His Majesty and his courtiers entertained his lordship with a new manner of hunting, chasing the whole herd of deer into a thicket, where being entangled, they fell upon them with their drawn swords indiscriminately. It is probable that it was whilst he was enjoying this pastime that Charles met with the accident mentioned in Cavalcanti's letter of 8th June 1571, by striking his head against the branch of a tree. (fn. 89) Walsingham mentions the jealousy of Spain felt in the Court of France, and assigns as one of the chief reasons of their dislike the strong belief of the Queen-Mother and the King, that their daughter and sister Isabella had been poisoned, (fn. 90) in which they were confirmed by her physician who had come into France.
Under the date of 21st June 1571 will be found a passage of interest, as throwing some light on the subject of alleged offers for reconciliation from the see of Rome to the English Court. It occurs in a despatch from Walsingham to Burghley, informing him of a conversation held with the Queen-Mother Catherine de Medicis for the purpose of removing all scruples as to the use of the Anglican liturgy by the Duke of Anjou in the event of his going to England, (fn. 91) in the course of which he told her that he had delivered to M. de Foix an English prayer book, "which form the Pope would have by Council confirmed if the Queen would have acknowledged the same as received from him." The authority is given by a note in the margin, "An offer made by the Cardinal of Lorraine as Sir N. Throgmorton showed me." It is possible that this may refer to a conversation "with a learned Papist of great reputation in France," in which the question of tolerating the Anglican liturgy was favourably discussed, though no mention is made of any direct offer from Rome (Throckmorton to Cecil, 28 December 1561). It must be borne in mind that the Cardinal was the Papal Legate in France, and was therefore in close communication with the Bishop of Viterbo, the Papal ambassador.
Amongst the names incidentally occurring in these papers is that of Daniel Rogers, (fn. 92) who was tutor to Sir Henry Norris' sons, "very well learned in the Greek and Latin," whose father was burnt for the religion. There are also two touching letters from Petrus Ramus, or La Ramee the scholar, (fn. 93) to the Cardinal of Lorraine, in which he reminds him of their ancient friendship as fellow students, and fruitlessly begs his intercession to prevent his expulsion from the College of Presles. (fn. 94) Under 11th August 1569 is a letter from Norris, sent with a presentation copy of the Scriptures to Elizabeth from Robert Etienne the printer, "who for his religion is forced to abandon his country." (fn. 95) At the end of the year 1569 is an undated document, giving a most singular account by a French gentleman of his courtship with Mary Windebank, in which the young lady is accused of having robbed him of jewels and other valuables with the connivance of Lady Sidney and her husband, Sir Henry.
In January 1571, is a notice of a project of marriage between the Queen of Scots and Don John of Austria, (fn. 96) which was offered by the Cardinal of Lorraine to the Duke of Alva, in order to induce him to break off with the English court and assist the Irish rebels.
The papers in the Flemish series relate chiefly to the stay of goods belonging to the English merchants in the Low Countries, in retaliation for the seizure of the Spanish treasure ships in the west of England, and the negociations which followed for mutual restitution. On page 133 there is a list of the train of Chapin Vitelli, Marquis of Cetona, who was sent over by the Duke of Alva (fn. 97) under the pretext of completing these negociations, but most probably for the purpose of assisting in the insurrection which was shortly expected to break out in England. He was accompanied by a suite of nearly 50 persons, trained captains and engineer officers, who were intended to organise the new levies of the rebels, and instruct them in the art of fortification and warfare. This design was frustrated by peremptory orders which were sent to Dover to detain them all with the exception of eight at that town.
Vitelli's name occurs again in the following spring in connexion with a plot for delivering the Queen of Scots by carrying her off whilst hunting (fn. 98) to the nearest sea-coast, where two ships would be in readiness to receive her. It also mentions that a similar enterprise had been once already attempted but had failed without being discovered.
On page 331 there is a letter from Mr. Henry Cobham, who had been sent to the Emperor Maximilian giving an account of the proceedings of the English Catholic refugees at Bruges and Louvain, (fn. 99) in which he regrets that the manner of Dr. Story's kidnapping had been divulged, as otherwise it might have been possible to have obtained possession of their leader, John Prestall, by similar means. On 12th August 1571, Walsingham wrote to Burghley a very long despatch informing him that he had had an interview with Prince Louis of Nassau, (fn. 100) who told him that he had several secret conferences with the French King and his mother and certain of his council, at which he had exposed a most treasonable practice of the Cardinal of Lorraine, which had for its object the establishment of the Inquisition in France, and after showing them the great disaffection caused by the establishment of that tribunal in the Low Countries, and by the tyrannical measures of the Duke of Alva, declared that the subjects of both religions were ready to avail themselves of any foreign aid to help them to shake off the intolerable Spanish yoke. He declared to Walsingham that he found the French Court quite ready to undertake this enterprise provided the Queen of England would join, to whom he was prepared to offer the sovereignty of Zealand and the neighbouring islands as the price of her assistance. The Princes of Germany were also willing to assist if the French King would be contented with Flanders and Artois as his share of the spoil, and that Brabant, Gueldres, and Luxembourg should be re-united to the Empire. At the end of the Volume will be found a collection of Flemish papers which, unfortunately, escaped notice until after the preceding Volume had gone to press. They belong to the year 1568 and describe the harsh proceedings of Alva and the increasing disaffection in the Low Countries. (fn. 101) On the 25th April mention is made of the condemnation to death of more than 600 persons, and on 2nd May, of a plot to assassinate Alva and his son, (fn. 102) by a M. Chiarlot and a gentleman of the Count Egmont's. In the early part of June there were great executions of gentlemen, both Catholic and Protestant, at Brussels and elsewhere, amongst whom perished the Counts of Egmont and Horne. (fn. 103) The extreme rigour of Alva's rule is further shown by two proclamations on page 593, (fn. 104) imposing extraordinarily severe penalties on all rebels, and by another on page 598, calling on all fugitives to appear before the Council of Troubles within 30 days on pain of forfeiting all hope of pardon for the future. (fn. 105) On page 591 is an amusing account of a brawl which took place between one Master John Smith and a certain Captain Maria, at the table of Count Ladron, Governor of Antwerp. (fn. 106) It arose out of a discussion on the merits of the character for "valiancy" of the English nation which was carried on with great heat and violence on the part of the Englishman and most provoking coolness mingled with a certain sly humour by the captain. On page 599 there is a long account of the movements of the Prince of Orange, in the campaign in which he was completely out-manœuvered by Alva, so that his army fell to pieces from its very numbers, in which is described the absence of discipline and the terrible destitution of the soldiers, and the consequent destruction and ravages wrought by them. The writer, whose name is not given, amongst other curious matters, says that he saw at the passage over the Meuse two Spaniards whom no shot of harquebuss could hurt, though they had no armour, but as soon as they were struck by a sword they yielded, and confessed that by a writing of sorcery which they carried were they saved, they were however, hanged by their captors. In a subsequent skirmish 200 prisoners, who had been taken by the Duke, were put into a house and burnt to death in the presence of both armies. Many of the Prince's reiters who on this occasion fled, were slain without mercy by the enraged peasantry in revenge for the mischief that they had done. In addition to their other troubles the writer complains that the waters were poisoned and "meal infected with sorcery and witchcraft." All this season they burnt town and village, church and chapel, and left nothing standing which might be overthrown, because the country people fled away with all provisions. So great was the want that the soldiers deserted, refusing any longer to serve in such misery and wretchedness, and such was the terror spread by their numbers and the devastation they committed, that the French inhabitants of a district twentyfour leagues in length, deserted their habitations, pulling down all the bridges on the high roads leading towards Paris. In this collection there are two passing notices of Don Carlos contained in Italian news-letters from Antwerp, but they in no way help to clear up the mystery which shrouds his fate.
The relations between England and Spain were at this time in a most unsatisfactory condition; the seizure of the Spanish treasure ships and the retention of their cargoes in December 1568 being followed by an embargo which was laid by Alva on all English property in the Low Countries, and this in return led to similar measures being taken with the goods of Spanish subjects in England, and the consequent stoppage of all commercial transactions between the two countries. Don Guerau D'Espes, (fn. 107) the Spanish Ambassador resident in England, immediately published a manifesto in London, 10th January 1569, which gave great offence to the Privy Council, as it threw the blame of all the inconvenience caused by this state of affairs on the proceedings of the Queen of England and her advisers. Means were accordingly taken for its suppression and for the punishment of those who had been instrumental in its distribution. Amongst the names of the witnesses examined on this occasion before the Lord Mayor occurs that of John Stowe, merchant, "a collector of chronicles." (fn. 108)
The suppression of legitimate traffic by these procla- mations, and the civil commotions in France and Flanders, had the result of filling the narrow seas with English, Flemish, and French privateers, or rather pirates, for they seem by the frequent complaints made against them to have preyed on the commerce of friends and foes indiscriminately. A proclamation was issued by the Duke of Alva that no vessels should sail unless they were sufficiently manned and armed to resist the pirates, (fn. 109) and in order to render the masters and mariners more circumspect, all insurances were forbidden; and although another formal proclamation against piracy was issued by Elizabeth, 27th April 1569; its provisions were disregarded, as the officers whose duty it was to enforce them were amongst the number of offenders. Neither these precautions nor the remonstrances with the English Court were of any avail in lessening this evil, and the Spanish correspondence throughout the Volume is full of complaints of the depredations committed by pirates and of the difficulty of procuring redress, which was often avoided by the plea that the captors were regular commissioned cruisers sailing under the flags of the Prince of Orange or Condé. On page 58 (fn. 110) there is a commission, dated at Westminster, and signed by the Cardinal of Chatillon, authorising an English sea captain to cruise against the enemies of the religion, which, though it would hardly save his neck if he fell into the hands of any of the other side, would give a sufficient colour of legality to entitle him to reasonable succour in England, and enable him to dispose of his plunder.
The inhabitants of Dover were particularly active in these proceedings, (fn. 111) sailing over to the opposite coasts of France and Flanders and capturing vessels, the cargoes of which they afterwards openly disposed of in their own town, carrying their insolence so far as to fire on a fleet bearing the King of Spain's flag, which had been fitted out by Alva for the suppression of piracy. In some palliation of these outrageous proceedings, it must be remembered that both Alva and the resident Ambassador in England were doing all they could to encourage the numerous and powerful malcontents in England to insurrection, and that, though this fact was perfectly well known to the English government, it was for many obvious reasons very difficult to take any open action on the information that it possessed. It is true that the first overt act of hostility was commenced by England by the unwarrantable seizure of the Spanish treasure, but it was well known by the Queen's advisers that it was intended for the pay of Alva's troops, and to enable him to carry on offensive operations with such vigour as would almost inevitably have resulted in the annihilation of all armed resistance throughout the Netherlands, and so have given Alva the opportunity of turning his undivided attention and resources to the affairs of England and Scotland.
The proceedings of Don Guerau D'Espes, the Spanish Ambassador who was sent over in June 1568, did not tend to increase the harmony between the two Courts. The action taken by him in writing to the Duke of Alva recommending him to retaliate for the seizure of the treasure ships gave great umbrage to the Privy Council, who took him sharply to task (14th January 1569), reproving him for having written a "letter composed of fantasies" (fn. 112) taken from Amadis de Gaul, in which he likens the Queen to the fairy Oriana, for which they intended to treat him as a person unfit to come into their presence; also that he had sent false information to the Duke of Alva by telling him that the nobility and commonalty of England were ill-affected to the Government; and wound up by expressing their regret that such an unworthy person, with so little discretion, should have been appointed Ambassador.
To this rebuke Don Guerau cleverly replied (fn. 113) that he was surprised at their answering letters that were not addressed to them, without first understanding them, and that as from their ignorance of Spanish they had entirely misunderstood his meaning, offered to send a person to explain it to them. Cecil, after this passage of arms, seems to have thought it best to leave him alone till the end of the year 1571, having obtained conclusive evidence connecting him with the designs of Ridolphi for the marriage of Norfolk with the Queen of Scots, and the invasion of England by Alva, he obtained his dismissal from the Queen; at the same time writing a letter of complaint to Philip, (fn. 114) and making a formal declaration to Don Guerau of all his misdeeds, (fn. 115) who is accused with being the instigator of rebellion and foreign invasion, and with having procured and divulged certain bulls from Rome.
The letters of Oliver King, (fn. 116) an English officer, who had been in the French King's army, and on the conclusion of peace had passed into Spain to seek fresh service, contain an account of the proceedings of the adventurer Stuckley, and of the preparations in the north of Spain for the invasion of Ireland. Stuckley, who had dubbed himself Duke of Ireland, was living in great bravery on King Philip's allowance; but his levies are described as "but rascals, the most part beggarly and ill armed, like Bezonians." Their captains, however, were old beaten men of war, under the command of Julian Romero. King declares that on his refusing to serve against his Sovereign, Stuckley sought his life first by means of the inquisition and afterwards by assassination, and compelled him to fly the country. Information of events passing in Spain was also furnished by Robert Huggins or Hogan, an English merchant, whose letters were forwarded through the English Ambassador in France to Cecil. They contain notices of Stuckley, the Bishop of Cashel, and other refugees, and also of designs against Ireland, together with accounts of the war with the Moriscos in Grenada. (fn. 117) A curious letter from Mahomet Aben to Don John of Austria, will be found on page 102. (fn. 118) Huggins communications were brought to an abrupt termination by his being found out, when he was thrown into prison, from which, however, he was fortunate enough to escape with his life.
A summary of the provisions of the Holy League between the Pope, the King of Spain, and the Venetians, (fn. 119) is contained in this collection; as is also a long account of the battle of Lepanto, written in Italian.
On page 276 is the formal protestation of Maximilian II. to Pius V. against the coronation of Cosmo Duke of Florence at Rome, as Grand Duke of Tuscany, as being against the rights and privileges of the Holy Roman Empire, and therefore null and void. (fn. 120) In answer the Pope complained that this representation was made at a very inopportune time, (fn. 121) when by reason of the threatened attacks of the Turks union was so necessary to Christendom, and affirmed that a saving clause respecting the rights of the empire had been inserted in his letters apostolical.
In the present Volume we have further signs of the increasing communications between England and Russia. Sir Thomas Randolph, on his return from his embassy to Ivan Basilovitz, bringing with him a Muscovite nobleman, duly accredited from the Czar to the Queen of England. From certain expressions (fn. 122) which he uses he appears to have regarded the Ambassador as little better than a savage, and not to have been more favourably impressed with the country from which he was sent. Though Ivan had treated her subjects with great favour and had granted them valuable and exclusive privileges of trade, (fn. 123) the Queen received his advances with such coldness (fn. 124) as to call from the irritable monarch a very angry letter, complaining of the discourteous reception of his Ambassador, and the bad behaviour of such of her subjects as had come to his country. (fn. 125) Anthony Jenkinson, who had been sent over as envoy to the Czar, describes the calamities with which Muscovy was afflicted at this period, 1571, by famine, pestilence, and the sword, besides the great cruelty exercised by Ivan, (fn. 126) who, by sundry torments had put to death a great number of his subjects, nevertheless winding up his letter with the remark that it was a just punishment for such a wicked nation. He corroborates the Czar's bad opinion of his fellow countrymen, whom he terms "abjects and runagates," and attributes the withdrawal of the privileges which he had granted mainly to their "spiteful practises," joined to the bad report brought over by the Muscovite ambassador of his entertainment in England.
The letters of Thomas Bannister, who had been sent over to enquire into alleged malpractices of the agents of the Muscovy company, afford valuable testimony of early English enterprise and travel, and are full of accounts of dangers manfully and skilfully overcome. (fn. 127)
Bannister and his company started from Vologda, and passed down the Volga to Astracan, sustaining on their way a furious attack from a tribe called the "Nogays," whom they defeated with great slaughter, but had thirtysix out of forty-one men killed or wounded on their own side. They arrived at Astracan in time to take part in its successful defence against a vast multitude of Tartars and Turks, and after narrowly missing shipwreck on the Caspian sea, and having passed through parts of Asia, where never any English had travelled before, encountering innumerable perils and privations on the road, they arrived at Casbin, in the province of Irak and afterwards at Shamaki (Samarcand), from whence Bannister's last letter is dated. Though regarded as interlopers by the merchants already trading to these countries, and being occasionally attacked by marauders, they were well received by the Prince who is termed Emperor, who took them into his protection, and granted all their requests, except permission to pass on to India. The Emperor treated Bannister very courteously, admitting him to an interview, and conversing with him on the condition of the different countries of Europe. Anthony Jenkinson, who was accredited as ambassador to the Czar of Russia in July 1571, had also some years previously made exten- sive travels into Tartary and Bochara in his endeavours to find an overland passage to Cathay.
The preceding remarks have been reduced into as brief a compass as possible, the object being not to write history or evolve theories, or correct the errors of others, but merely to point out the contents of the volume, as by the chronological arrangement of the documents the reader will easily be able to trace the intimate connexion of events passing in different countries, and understand the political significance of many transactions which it has been usual to ascribe to individual caprice or accident.
A. J. Crosby.
Rolls House, 30th June 1874.