Simancas: December 1562

Pages 273-276

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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December 1562

6 Dec. 199. The Same to the Same.
I send herewith the copy of reply given by the Queen to the representations and protest presented by the French ambassador recently. I was unable to enclose it, as I said in mine of the 22nd ultimo, as great efforts were made here to prevent me from obtaining it, and they went to the length even of getting the ambassador's word that he would not give me a copy. They are right in trying to hide it from people, as it is a most irrelevant document and in some respects very prejudicial, especially where it says that those princes who do not approve of this Queens action in France are her enemies, which is plainly directed at your Majesty. Notwithstanding all these vapourings and the preparations being made to send fresh ships, troops and munitions to Havre de Grace, and the diligence in obtaining money they are showing in all possible ways, they are trying to keep the peace negotiations on foot, and there is no doubt that the conditions which I set forth in my previous letter would be very acceptable to this Queen. I said recently in a despatch to your Majesty that the Queen-Mother had written an autograph letter to this Queen, which had been delivered to her by the French ambassador. I have since heard that it is not true that the Queen-Mother wrote the letter herself. The fact is that the Ambassador Smith, either persuaded by the Cardinal de Ferrara or instructed by his mistress, spoke with the Queen-Mother on the day she left Rouen for Paris, and proposed that negotiations for peace should be opened. He says that he found her very well disposed towards it, and desirous that this Queen should send some personage to interpose between the King and the prince of Condé, and told him that she would write to this Queen about it. This having been repeated it was magnified into the statement which I heard and transmitted to your Majesty that the autograph letter had actually come. In conversation since with the French ambassador he tells me that the Queen-Mother only writes to him to the effect that Smith had spoken to her and proposed peace, which she at once agreed to, on condition that the terms were such as to be acceptable to the King, her son. In addition to this she (the Queen-Mother) says that Smith had requested permission to send a man to the prince of Condé, but that this had been refused, and he was told that if he wished to write to Orleans he should hand his letters to Secretary Bordin, who would send them by a herald. She concluded by saying that Smith had urged her greatly to write to this Queen, requesting her to intervene in the interests of peace if she desired that these tumults in France should be settled in a friendly way rather than by warfare. The Ambassador says that the Queen-Mother replied that she had no reason to write to this Queen on that or any other subject until the latter had withdrawn her troops from Normandy and evacuated the fortress of Havre de Grace. She would, however, certainly listen to any proposals the Queen had to make, and would give them every consideration, always on the understanding that the proposals were directed to the interests of her son. From what Smith wrote the Queen's Council have sent a secretary of the Council named Somers to the French ambassador to ask him whether he had a letter from the Queen-Mother to the Queen, or instructions to treat of the proposed agreement and the sending of a personage to France. The Ambassador replied that he had neither, but simply an advice of what Smith had proposed, and showed some of the paragraphs of his Mistress' letter on the subject, whereat he says Somers was much astonished, and they have not said anything to him since. However it may be, my own opinion is that both of these Queens would like to come to an agreement, and if they do not stick on the question of Calais, which is a troublesome one, I do not believe the other points will present any difficulty, as I have already told your Majesty. I hear also that there are certain disputes between this Queen and the prince of Conde, and Montgomeri has gone back much aggrieved and scandalised at the scant courtesy he met with here. It happened that as soon as he arrived here one of his servants walking in the streets killed an Englishman, for which he was taken to prison. The dispute having arisen out of insulting words used by the Frenchman and the Englishman towards their respective countries it is surprising what a strong feeling was caused on both sides, and if the christian King agrees with his rebellious subjects without the intervention of the queen of England—which is quite probable if it be true that the prince of Condé is on bad terms with this Queen—I do not see how she can persevere in her enterprise, or come to an agreement without damaging her prestige. But those who rule here care nothing about this so long as they can keep heresy afoot in France, by which means they think, in the long run, to compass all they desire.
This week Lord Robert wrote to M. de D'Anville, son of the constable of France, telling him that if he would come here and the Constable was willing to make an honourable peace he was sure the Queen would be pleased. I think that, apart from other designs, this is directed at the separation of the Constable from his friendship with the duke of Guise. The letter was taken by a German captain named Dees, the companion' of a certain Christopher Prundhomme, who was arrested at Valenciennes lately, respecting whom I have written to the duchess of Parma, telling her what I hear. Both of them came here lately with the pretext of serving Lord Robert and the Queen, and I think they do so but with small benefit to the interests of your Majesty or to the cause of the French Catholics.
They have news here this week that the English, having gone out of Havre de Grace to prevent the troops of the Rheingraf from constructing a fort near that place, the French fell upon them, and it is said inflicted great injury, hundreds of English being killed. As a counterpoise to this bad news Cecil publishes that the Prince of Condé had entered into Corbeille, routing and taking prisoner Marshal St. André with 4,000 men he had there. The Catholics here are very disconsolate at the news.
The French ambassador tells me that this Queen is sending to Antwerp for money, and although he did not say it in so many words, I think they are aggrieved that she should be allowed to raise money in your Majesty's dominions, and he is quite scandalised to see that they have compelled seven or eight Flemish ships bound to Bordeaux and to Spain to discharge their cargoes of wheat here to grind into flour for the supply of Havre de Grace. In this matter, however, he knows I have done all I could to prevent the discharge, and that the injury is done to merchants who are your Majesty's vassals.
The earl of Lennox is at Sion House with his wife, and it seems that his release from the castle was rather a change of prison than a liberation. Arthur Pole has confessed that he was going to France with the view of serving the Guises, so that if the queen of Scotland should inherit this kingdom she might give him the dukedom of Clarence, which he claims to be entitled to. This is the meaning of the passage in the Queen's reply, copy of which is enclosed, speaking of the Guises having an understanding with rebels and enemies of the Crown in this country.
The Marquis Treasurer is about to resign both his treasurership and his office as Councillor, as he says that on two subjects of grave importance they have rejected his advice, and he is not willing that they should reject it a third time. He and others are deeply dissatisfied. I think these Catholic gentlemen are arranging between them how they can defeat the proposals which are to be made in the present Parliament, and of which they do not approve, and I believe they will content themselves with trying to prevent any more harm being done than is already effected, as they say they have not strength enough, though they lack not the will, both to remedy existing evils and prevent further ill being done. They are awaiting the issue of events in France between hope and fear in great suspense of mind.
The ships which are being fitted out will be told off, five of them to guard the coast from Cornwall to the Isle of Wight, and from thence to the Downs four more. The other two with two small vessels will sail next week for Guinea, notwithstanding the representations made here on behalf of the king of Portugal respecting these expeditions.—London, 6th December 1562.
13 Dec.
simancas, B.M. MS., Add. 26,056a.
200. Bishop Quadra to Cardinal De Granvelle.
One evening I went to speak to Cecil as a neighbour and unannounced for the purpose of begging his help for a poor man. I caught him unaware in his study, and found that he had a large portrait of Count Egmont there. I could see he was vexed that I had caught hiin red-handed in this way, and when I asked him whose portrait it was (and I really did not know) he seemed somewhat confused, as he told me that it had been given to him. I did not like to see it where it was, for by putting this fact together with other little things they are saying in the streets, I am made rather anxious and cannot refrain from mentioning it to you.— London, 13th December 1562.
Simancas. B. M., MS., Add. 26,056a. 201. Statement of Nicolas De Lauda-Verde, a Biscay mariner, master of the ship "Nuestra Senora de Sesto," giving an account of his having taken refuge from bad weather in the port of Falmouth and being there attacked, and the ship captured by the pirate Timberleg (Francis Le Clerque). Gives evidence of having heard Timberleg's men give an account of other piracies they had committed, and of his having seen other ships attacked by the same pirates.