Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.
Simancas, B. M. M.S., Add. 26,056a.
55. The Bishop of Aquila to the Emperor.
Baron Preyner will have informed your Majesty that the affairs of this country are in a very bad way, as the Queen has thought to weaken the French by dragging them into a war in Scotland and fomenting religious discord in that country and even in the State itself. She favours the duke of Chatelherault with whom she thought of marrying, and it is difficult to see now how she can prevent her own house catching fire. I have no doubt the king of France will very soon be able to dispose of this country with the same troops that he will send to subdue Scotland. He is at present submitting to any conditions for the purpose of separating these people from their alliance with the Scotch rebels, and then, after he has punished the latter, he will turn his army into this country.
This danger is enough to decide the Queen to marry the Archduke, which would rescue her and give the country peace and strength, but her religious feeling runs so high that she and her Councillors will never dare to trust his Highness. They think it would be taken as a sign tbat they had some secret understanding with my King both in religion and in other matters. In addition to this they are so taken up with the idea of their power and strength that it is impossible to open their eyes although their feebleness is notorious, and they have neither money nor fortresses in the country, they are divided amongst themselves and have a wilful woman for a monarch.
My King has had all this clearly pointed out to them, but to no purpose, notwithstanding that all the country is crying out that salvation can only come from a marriage with the Archduke. Perhaps time and the pressure of danger may bring the Queen to consent to it, and if it do not then we shall not have lost much by having patience and waiting six months.—London, August 1559.
56. The Bishop of Aquila to the King.
Since writing on the 14th instant I hear that the Queen has sent all along the coast as far as Cornwall ordering men to be mustered and those who have charge in time of war to be prepared in various places as customary. They say it is done that, in case your Majesty by stress of weather should be obliged to land on her coast, all honour should be done to you, and in order that I may believe this they have sent people to tell me so in the course of conversation. Many believe these men are being mustered out of fear of your Majesty, and to have them ready to embark if necessary in the ships that are ready, to the number they say of 35 good vessels. The principal reason, however, is to help in the Scotch business and prevent the passage of the French thither which will be necessary if it be true that the French are already embarking troops. There is great excitement in London, and they say that the French refused admittance into Calais to an English ship although they admitted the passengers who were Flemings and others.
I received the other day a letter from your Majesty ordering me to ask the Queen for the restitution of a ship which certain Englishmen had stolen from some Portuguese and Flemings with her cargo of sugar.
With this letter was enclosed one for the Queen herself. I heard that the man who made this capture was one Strangways who has become a pirate, and consequently it is needless to ask for restitution as he is not under the Queen's control. I therefore decided only to speak of the safety of navigation and the punishment of pirates and others and to keep the letter for a better opportunity. The Queen told me that she had sent out six ships in search of the pirate in question, and if it cost her ten thousand pounds she would get hold of him and have him executed, as he had been captured on previous occasions but had been pardoned through the bought favour of her sister's chamber-women and upon this she enlarged considerably. The truth is that the Admiral and his companions having heard that this man had made captures to the extent of fifty or sixty thousand ducats they at once sent to take him, not for the sake of catching him but to enrich themselves with the booty as they have done. He was captured on the coast of France and the Admiral has taken part of the plunder and divided the rest as he thought best, and they are selling the goods publicly in London ; the Admiral meanwhile interceding for the thief as he says he wants sailors for the war. I, being informed of all this, at the solicitation of these merchants decided to send your Majesty's letter to the Queen and not to go myself as I had already spoken about the subject to her. By another letter I recommended the affair to Cecil, who answers me that he has not been able to hand your Majesty's letter to the Queen as she is indisposed. The man who took my letters says that as soon he gave them to him the latter said he would take the letter to the Queen and try to get it attended to at once, without saying anything about her being indisposed, and then after being inside with her for two hours, the Council were summoned, and this answer was sent me. I have thought best to send to your Majesty copies of all the letters in order that you may see how these people proceed and in what fashion. Cecil told the petitioner that the Queen had spent so much money in sending after this pirate that what they found in his ship would not cover the cost incurred. In his answer to me he says nothing about restitution nor is it to be expected from them, and I have therefore thought fit to advise your Majesty fully so that if your Majesty pleases you may provide some redress to these poor merchants. It is really pitable to see how cruelly they are treated here.
A servant of the ambassador Throgmorton has been arrested in Paris, and they are keeping him where he cannot be spoken to, and great complaints have been made about it. I think that Throgmorton is doing ill service to the king of France under the pretext of religious affairs, and I have heard the same opinion from French heretics here.
I have no doubt also that he knew all about the going of the duke of Chatelherault or earl of Arran (for he is called by either name) about whom no more is known except that he is here.
The earl of Bedford came here three days ago to tell the ambassador that the affair of the Archduke's marriage was in a very good way and he expected it would be settled, and he afterwards said what I have written above, namely, that the Queen has sent many gentlemen to the coast in order that your Majesty might be received in safety and honour if by chance you landed on her shores. My own belief is that he really only came to say this, and the talk about the marriage was merely an excuse for coming. What he says about it is nonsense.
The said earl of Bedford sent Guido Cavalcanti here to tell me the same thing as if of his own accord two clays before, and afterwards a brother of Cobham repeated it to me. As I see they are trying to convince me that these preparations are compliments and friendship I think well to inform your Majesty so that you may know of them, whatever they may be.
The Swedish ambassadors are leaving much aggrieved and offended, as I believe it was brought to their notice that they were being made fun of in the palace, and by the Queen more than by anybody. I do not think it matters much whether they depart pleased or displeased.
Some Flemings in business here have asked for my help to obtain exemption from the payment of the taxes paid to the Queen by agreement and ancient custom. I have done so, but have asked for a list of them to see whether there was any heretic amongst them, and if so to take the opportunity of speaking to him, and at the same time to advise the others that they will be taken care of. Those who have obtained exemption are all Catholics and have promised that if any one of them is known to go to a heretic sermon they will undergo any penalty. I have learnt that the principal preacher they (i.e. the heretics) have is a Zealander who was a canon in his own country, a young and unlearned man. The bishop of Ely has sent to say that he has asked for leave to come and see me sometimes, but they have refused him. (fn. 1) It is certain that they all stand more aloof from me than from the French. I think they are vexed at losing their pensions and this, together with our different views in religion, causes genuine enmity, although I have always avoided opportunities when offence might be shown to me to the detriment of your Majesty's service.
These Irishmen still solicit me. They say that the earl of Clanrikarde, who was routed by the earl of Desmond, and not captured as they said here, has already been reconciled to Desmond by means of some of the Bishops and will be of the same opinion as the rest in the proposed business. The earl of Sussex goes thither soon and has ordered Parliament to be convoked on Michaelmas Day when the change of religion is to be proposed.—London, 18th August 1559.
57. The King to the Bishop of Aquila.
I have ordered the claims of the Flemish merchants against the English for merchandize taken from them to be looked into, but no decision could be arrived at prior to my departure, and I have therefore commanded that the matter should again be carefully discussed and considered ; but I think that before any step is taken it will be advisable to address the Queen again on the subject as you will learn in detail from the letter of the Duchess (fn. 2) my sister, whom I leave as governess of these States. I command and desire you to fulfil the orders she may send you on the subject with the same zeal, goodwill and care as if I wrote myself, and to take whatever steps may be fitting, and she may dictate with the Queen and Council in the forwarding of this business, which, as it closely touches the interests of my Flemish subjects, I shall be glad for you to urge in accord with the Duchess in the same manner as if I were here.— Flushing, 22nd August 1559.
58. The Bishop of Aquila to the King.
Friar Rodrigo Guerrero has heard from me your Majesty's gracious promise and will go and kiss your Majesty's hand, trusting in your promise and not venturing to place any further conditions on your Majesty's goodness. I am sure, moreover, that he will have nothing to fear, as he sees your Majesty wishes to reward him for the services of himself and his forbears.—London, 23rd August 1559.
59. The King to the Bishop of Aquila.
Having been absent from my Spanish dominions for so many years, during which time my lord the Emperor has died, we have decided to return to them, moved thereto by their need for our presence, and by our desire to repay their great love and fidelity towards us, and we have therefore this day embarked on the fleet which we had ordered to be mustered for the purpose and with fair weather are now about to set sail on our voyage with the help of God. I thus advise you so that you may know where to write to me in future which you will do in the same manner as hitherto giving me full details of all that happens. You will use the private cipher which you have for secret communications or else the general cipher which I enclose. Advise the Queen of my departure and assure her that wherever I may be I will look to her interests and try to please her in all things.
As I leave my sister the Duchess, Madam Margaret, Governess of these States, you will keep her well informed of all things touching my interests in English affairs. You will perceive how important it is that she should know from day to day what happens, and she will take care to answer and iustruct you.
Francisco de Vargas to go as Ambassador to the Emperor, with whom good relations and correspondence are to be kept up, as also with Senor de Xansone (Chantonnay ?) Ambassador to France.— Without date.