Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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132. Bishop Quadra to the King.
On the 5th May I advised your Majesty of the decision arrived at here about the sending the representatives to the Concilio, and I sent copy of a letter I had written to M. Robert by which your Majesty will see, in detail, all that has passed in this business. He has since tried to appease me, but with arguments of little weight. Cecil also came to excuse himself and tried hard to make me believe that if it had not been for the Irish events caused, they say, by a papal Nuncio who is still there amongst the rebels and has published certain addresses from the Pope, the Queen would have been pleased to receive the Abbeé Martinengo and to have made some arrangement about the Concilio. I have made clear to both of them that so far as your Majesty is concerned I have no reason to be aggrieved ; they having been the originators of the negotiations were at liberty to discontinue them as they alone had begun them. I nevertheless laid the blame on Cecil rather more and complained of his want of sincerity, and the heat with which he has taken up the religious question which he himself confessed he did not understand. I thought best to treat the matter in this way as it will be easy afterwards to appear more aggrieved if your Majesty wishes it.
Cecil asked me to speak to the Queen urging her to marry, but I excused myself by saying that I did not feel I had sufficient authority to persuade her in so important a matter, and thus withdrew without declaring myself. In conformity with your Majesty's orders I am endeavouring to let the Catholics know all that passes and your Majesty's desire to help them, which they wish you to do by other means. They have pressed me much in this particular lately as your Majesty may deign to hear personally from Pedro de Oviedo, a servant of mine who left here on the 21st ultimo by sea, to whom I have told something of this without mentioning names. I have endeavoured hard to understand thoroughly this recent negotiation with me, and I have come to the conclusion that the foundation of it was to prevent the Queen of Scots from marrying into your Majesty's family, as they knew that with that claim, and the Catholic party with you as well as your Majesty's own forces, a great change could suddenly be brought about here. To check this and get time to provide against emergency they thought necessary to make a great show of wishing to amend their ways as regards religion, and subject themselves to the devotion and protection of your Majesty, from which intention the Queen herself probably was not averse, particularly if she saw herself driven in a corner by this business of the Queen of Scots and by the other people in Germany and France, and above all, if Vendome and his heretics were less powerful in their country than at present.
This was the reason why they proposed this business of Robert's to me shortly after the death of the king of France, thinking to befool me with it for a long time, but they have not succeeded, as the coming of the Nuncio has forced their hand. Whilst this has been going on they have been pushing their affairs hotly in Germany and scheming in Scotland for the Queen not to marry a foreigner, which was the object of M. James' (fn. 1) visit to France, and finally with the intention which I stated at the time, they sent the earl of Bedford to ally them with Vendome and the other French heretics. I have no doubt this has now been effected because, in addition to many other signs I have seen, the French ambassador himself signified it to me very clearly, and as he is a strong partisan of the Guises he could not keep silent about it. When they thought their business was secure they were emboldened to declare themselves which however, as I have said, they did not expect would be so soon.
With the object of preventing any disturbance in the county this summer which could give an excuse for the interference of their neighbours they have thought fit to apprehend all the Catholics they could lay hands on, and so to make sure of them. Any cause, however small, has sufficed for their imprisonment and even in cases where nothing is proved against them but hearing mass, the punishment for which on the first occasion is only a fine of 200 ducats, they have shut them up where no one can see them, and refuse to punish them according to the law as they are determined to keep them fast. They have used great efforts to find out whether I was doing anything against the Queen so as to be able to complain to your Majesty and make it an excuse for arousing the indignation of those in Germany, but up to the present they have found nothing of what they sought. During Loughborough's examination they asked him if he had been in favour of Queen Mary of blessed memory appointing your Majesty as her successor ; as if that were a crime, and they have put questions of this sort to all of them. As they can discover nothing and fear I may do them a bad turn, and as they want to make people think that a good understanding exists between your Majesty and the Queen, they have now agreed to write to your Majesty the excuses and promises contained in the letter herewith enclosed, which the Queen ordered to be handed to me in the presence chamber before a great many people and herself at the same time expressed much friendship and affection for your Majesty and our lady the Queen. These artifices, however, would be of little avail if the people here were such as they ought to be and if she did not avail herself of force as she does.—London, 3rd June 1561.
Spanish MS. Brussels Archives. B.M. Add. 28,173a.
133. The transcript of the aforegoing letter in the Brussels
Archives has the following additional paragraphs at the
What they are doing here now is to make themselves strong in Ireland, the earl of Sussex has gone thither with 3,000 men and a great quantity of artillery and stores. They announce that it is for the purpose of punishing the Grand O'Neal and other leaders of those savages who will not consent to the religion being changed, but as that matter is not worth the expense the Queen is being put to, especially now that the earl of Kildare and other Irish lords under suspicion have been brought here, it is more likely that these preparations are being made in the fear that if a fleet should be sent from Spain to Ireland the passage to Scotland would be open to it, and thence the entry into England easy. It is to be concluded that this idea is not only founded on the marriage of the Scotch Queen, but also upon a prophecy that is very current amongst these Catholics to the effect that the ruin and destruction of this line of kings of England is to commence in Ireland. They sent out three ships lately on the pretence of seeking the pirates that infest the Channel, but they really went to Ireland to overhaul the ships that arrived at that island, and in the meanwhile the robbers have returned and commit their depredations every day, whilst the only excuse these people can give me is that the pirates are Scotsmen and they cannot come across them.
The marriage affair is being pushed forward with all diligence, and some people think it will soon be brought about, and the duke of Norfolk will put up with it. It is quite possible, and that this state of affairs may continue so long as no one quarrels with these people, but it seems incredible to me that they can hold out, considering how badly this affair is looked upon. Great sorrow has been caused here by your Majesty's orders that no foreign ships should be loaded in your kingdom (Spain), and I am given to understand that the loss to them in freight alone on the goods they have to bring from Spain will be 150,000 ducats a year. When the subject was being discussed by some members of the Council in the presence of some French gentlemen (hostages) in the presence chamber, the earl of Bedford said that they would use the money in fitting out ships to take those that came from Spain in the Channel, as it will be licit for them to provide themselves with what they need. If they do not carry out this threat it is certain that they use it, and it is as much talked about in London as if it were to be really undertaken to-morrow.
134. Bishop Quadra to the King.
On the 3rd instant I gave your Majesty an account of affairs here since the decision of the Queen about the visit of the Nuncio, and the news now is that Walgrave and his wife and Warton (fn. 2) and some more of the Catholics, recently arrested, have been sentenced to the penalty provided by the statute for hearing mass. Although the sentence was pronounced at Westminster with all the solemnity usual in cases of treason, nothing was found against them but the hearing of mass. They also degraded five or six clergymen as wizards and necromancers, in whose possession were found calculations of the nativity of the Queen and Lord Robert, and I know not what other curiosities of the sort, but all of small importance except in the hands of those who were glad to jeer at them.
On the day of St. John the Queen ordered me to be invited to a feast given by Lord Robert, and, touching these sentences, I asked her Majesty whether her councillors and secretaries were not nearly tired of mocking Catholics, and if they had done any great service to the State in the efforts they had made to discover plots. She replied that the secretary was certainly not to blame, and the others might say as they pleased, but it could not be denied that your Majesty had done good to all and harm to none in the country, and much more to the same effect. I still showed that I was offended and dissatisfied at her Council in general, and advised her to take care what she did, and not to surrender herself to men so fanatical as these, and especially in what concerned religion, directly or indirectly, because if she did she would never succeed in pacifying her kingdom. I said much to the same effect which she listened to with her usual patience and with many thanks. In the afternoon we went on board a vessel from which we were to see the rejoicings, and she, Robert, and I being alone on the gallery, they began joking, which she likes to do much better than talking about business. They went so far with their jokes that Lord Robert told her, that, if she liked, I could be the minister to perform the act of marriage, and she, nothing loth to hear it, said she was not sure whether I knew enough English. I let them jest for a time, but at last spoke to them in earnest and told them that if they listened to me they could extricate themselves from the tyranny of the councillors who had taken possession of the Queen and her affairs, and could restore to the country the peace and unity it so much needed by re-instating religion. If they did this they could effect the marriage they spoke of, and I should be glad, in such case, to be the minister to perform it, and they might punish severely those who did not like it, as they could do anything with your Majesty on their side. As things were now I did not think the Queen would be able to marry except when and whom Cecil and his friends might please. I enlarged on this point somewhat because I see that, unless Robert and the Queen are estranged from this gang of heretics that surround them, they will continue as heretofore ; and if God ordain that they should fall out with them I should consider it an easy thing to do everything else we desire. I think of persevering in this course because, if I keep away from the Queen and discontinue these conversations, it will only leave a clear field to the heretics and play their game ; whilst, by keeping in with her, I not only maintain her friendliness to your Majesty, but have still some hope of persuading her, especially if these heretics do anything to offend her. I know they are furious at my having the Queen's ear and keeping friendly with Lord Robert, and in case your Majesty should think that this course might in some way prejudice the Catholics, I beg your Majesty to be reassured in that respect, and to believe that if I have any understanding at all I am employing it in keeping this business well in hand, as may be seen any day by the affection these Catholics have for your Majesty, whom they greatly desire. Only three days ago the persons of whom your Majesty has heard on other occasions sent to inform me that their party was never so strong as now, and that of the Queen never so unpopular and detested.—London, last day of June 1561.