Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 2, 1568-1579. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.
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The Spanish State Papers published in the former volume of the present Calendar exhibited with great clearness the gradual change of the relations between England and Spain which took place during the first nine years of the reign of Elizabeth. The English policy of promoting dissention and division in neighbouring countries whilst openly joining neither of the rival powers, had succeeded, perhaps better than even Cecil, its great advocate, had expected. The hands of the Queen and her government had become firmer as the powerlessness of their potential enemies became more apparent, and although the Queen's calculating fickleness and ambiguity of expression continued to confuse her rivals, she had, in the tenth year of her reign, when the papers in the present volume commence, finally thrown in her lot with the Protestant party, and had practically become the leader of the reformed faith throughout Europe. It is true that Catholics abounded all over the north of England, and that a strong party in her own Court was attached, more or less strongly, to the old religion. But the Queen was personally popular, and sought to increase her popularity with a persistence which would not be denied, and had also, by a policy of alternate severity and leniency, convinced the English Catholics that their future treatment depended mainly upon their gaining her goodwill. They had, moreover, persuaded themselves now that Philip, slow and little-hearted as he was, would not, even if he could, come and re-establish their religion again in England at the point of Spanish pikes, as they had hoped at the beginning of the reign. Nor had the behaviour of these same pikes under Alba in the Netherlands tended to increase their popularity, even amongst Catholics, in England. By the beginning of the year 1568, therefore, the Queen was able to assume an attitude towards Spain which she would not have dared to take up ten years before. Philip's hesitancy and avoidance of risk were understood now to be a characteristic weakness of the man himself, and were seen not necessarily to hide any terrible danger behind them, as was formerly feared. His wars with the Turks, the rising of the Moriscos in the south of Spain, and the troubles in the Netherlands, kept his hands full of care and his treasury empty of doubloons. Nothing, therefore, was to be feared from Philip alone, whilst the king of France and the Emperor were, so far from being able to help him in a crusade against the reformed faith, themselves almost at the mercy respectively of the Huguenots and the German Protestant Princes. It is true that the Catholic League, which years before had been established to extirpate Protestantism the world over, still existed on paper, but the only signatory who was able, or even desirous, of carrying out its objects was the Pope ; because he alone had joined it for religious rather than political reasons. Cardinal Lorraine and the other Guises were, as usual, plotting to bring the Catholic powers together again for their own ends, and, as Norris writes from Paris (15th December 1567, Foreign Calendar), were urging the Queen-Mother to utterly crush and ruin Cond, Coligny, and the Huguenots, either by force or treachery, in order that France, Spain, and the Pope might together invade England and place Mary Stuart on the throne of a united Catholic nation. It was but a dream now, and all saw that it was so but the besotted priests who urged it. Mary herself was a disgraced prisoner at Lochleven. Catharine de Medici feared and hated the dominion of the Guises little less than she did that of the Huguenots, whilst Philip of Spain, even if he had been able to do so, was not the man to risk everything by going to war with the great Protestant power, whilst his own Netherlands were ready to burst into flame at any moment, for the purpose of placing Mary Stuart on the throne of England and Scotland with a French uncle at her elbow ; and so give to France again the predominant power in Europe. Religion apart, it was better for Philip's policy that England should remain Protestant than that this should happen ; always provided that he could keep Elizabeth friendly, and either frighten or cajole her into a position of neutrality towards his own rebellious Protestant subjects in the Netherlands. He no longer attempted to dictate to her, but only sought to gain her good will ; and both parties were fully cognisant of their changed position towards each other. Overbearing Feria had hectored and threatened the Queen, and treated her ministers as if they were still subjects of his sovereign ; Quadra had gripped firmly under his velvet glove, until, deserted by his master and despairing of combating Cecil's bold craftiness with Philip's sole weapons of feebleness and procrastination, he died defeated and broken hearted. Guzman de Silva's task was more difficult than that of either of his predecessors, but he was well chosen to perform it. His manner and appearance were amiable and ingratiating, as a glance at his portrait in Hampton Court Palace will prove, and he became a prime favourite with the Queen, whom he flattered to the top of her bent. His Castilian pride sometimes revolted against the work he had to do, and his letters to the King contain many complaints that his flattery and suavity and "the show of simplicity and frankness," which he says he habitually adopted, and by which he had gained great influence over the Queen whilst he was with her, were counteracted by the "heretics" who surrounded her, and who were for ever whispering in her ear distrust of him and his master. His geniality seems sometimes even to have disarmed Cecil himself, notwithstanding the alarmist and exaggerated reports of Philip's sinister intentions constantly being sent by Norris in Paris and the English spies in Spain and Flanders ; most of which reports are proved to be unfounded by the letters in the present volume. A good example of Guzman's adroit bonhommie in dealing with Cecil will be seen on page 38. Cecil was in a furious rage about the unceremonious expulsion of the English ambassador from Madrid on the pretext of his religious indiscretion, to which further reference will be made, He inveighed volubly and indignantly on the slight thus put upon his mistress, and denounced Guzman himself for having made mischief in the matter. Guzman met the outburst very characteristically. Relating the scene to the King he says : "I let him talk on, and, when he had done, "I waited a little for him to recover somewhat from his rage, and then went up to him laughing and embraced him, saying that I was amused to see him fly into such a passion over what I had told him, because I knew he understood differently, and that the affair was of such a character as to be only as good or as bad as the Queen liked to make it. She could take it as a good sister and friend, as I hoped she would, and had shown signs of doing which was the easiest, most just, and even necessary way, since it was only right to take the actions of a friend in good part, at least until bad intention be proved, or she could, for other reasons, look at it in a different light, which might make it more difficult, to the prejudice of his Queen and of your Majesty. I did not believe, however, that any sensible man who had the interests of the Queen at heart would do this, and it was for this reason, and because of my zeal to preserve this friendship, that, as soon as I heard of it, I wished to let him know so as to be beforehand with the mischief makers, and because I knew him to be faithful to the Queen and well disposed towards your Majesty's affairs. I meant him to make use of my information privately in favour of the objects I had stated. He asked me whether I had not told him in order that he might convey it to the Queen and Council, to which I replied no, that I had only told him as a private friend, and with this he became calmer." The ambassador then cleverly presents the Spanish view of the case, and "at last he (Cecil) seemed more tranquil." At the date of the opening of the present volume this cloud had not yet arisen, and England was more peaceful and assured than she had been since the Queen's accession. The standing danger from Scotland had disappeared for the first time for many years. Mary was a prisoner, with a dread suspicion hanging over her, and Murray, sustained by English money and English forces, was the bounden servant of Elizabeth. France was aflame with civil war, and the royal house divided against itself by the bitter jealously and distrust of the King for his brother Anjou, prompted by the Queen-Mother ; that she might the more effectually hold the balance between the rival parties in the State. Disaffection had been ruthlessly crushed in the Netherlands by Alba, but was still glowing beneath the surface with dull ferocity, as Philip well knew ; and his powerlessness for harm, alone, was made clear by the attitude of his ambassador in England, whose one object for the moment was by flattery and cajolery to induce Elizabeth and her councillors to refrain from damaging Spanish interests by countenancing the Flemish Protestants or aiding English voyages to the Spanish Indies. Under these circumstances Elizabeth could afford to drop the hollow negotiations which had been lingering for so long for her marriage with the Archduke Charles. Sussex, perhaps the only prominent person who really believed in the sincerity of the negotiations, was himself at last undeceived and was begging for his recall from Vienna, in deep disappointment and resentment against Leicester and his party, upon whom he laid the blame of the failure of his mission. A decent pretence was assumed on both sides that the project was still pending, the Emperor was given the Garter with great pomp, but the affair was practically at an end in February when Sussex left Vienna, to the relief of Philip who, for years past, had lost faith in the Queen's sincerity in the matter, and whose interests were daily drifting further away from those of his Austrian cousins. But this state of tranquil security did not last many weeks. Immunity from danger made the reforming party in England bold, and already in February (1568) steps were being taken again to worry the Catholics, in reprisal, to some extent, for the atrocities committed by Alba's troops on the Flemish Protestants, who were flocking into England by thousands with their stories of cruelty and oppression, and deeply stirring the resentment of their co-religionists here. Whilst all Protestant England was thrilling with sympathy for the oppressed Flemings, the victims of Alba's cruelty, the Queen was strongly desirous of clearing herself from the suspicion of helping them, and she seems to have gone out of her way to reassure Guzman on the subject. With her usual clever evasion of responsibility, she assured Guzman that she knew nothing of the archbishop (Parker) of Canterbury's new attempt to force the oath of supremacy on the ecclesiastical lawyers of the Court of Arches. Guzman writes to the King (2nd February 1568, page 4) : "This appears to be the case from what she said to me about it, and what afterwards happened, which was that she was angry with the Archbishop and rated him on the subject, although subsequently the earl of Bedford, Knollys and Cecil pacified her and gave her to understand that it would be unwise to be severe on the Archhishop for fear of encouraging the Catholics too much." He writes again on 16th February 1568 (page 7) : "News comes from Scotland that some of the principal people have risen against the Regent and the Government, and when I asked the Queen whether it was true, she said it was, and they even wanted to throw the blame on her, as some malicious people had also tried to do respecting the disturbances in France, and even those of Flanders, which she said was entirely unfounded, as she is strongly opposed to such proceedings of subjects against their rulers, and particularly in the case of your Majesty and your dominions, which should never be molested by England, at least whilst she was Queen. I said that she was quite free from any such suspicion, seeing the loving goodwill your Majesty bore her, and she, like the great Princess she was, could not fail to reciprocate it, as I constantly advised your Majesty she did. As the malice of the heretics is continually exercised in arousing her suspicion, no opportunity must be lost to dissipate it."
But disclaim it as she might, Protestant feeling in the country was deeply moved and was becoming aggressive instead of merely seeking toleration ; and distrust and resentment against Philip and the Catholic league were being industriously fanned by the English agents in France and Germany, who constantly reported the intended invasion of England and its reduction to Catholicism. The attempt of England to assert equal international and religious rights with Spain and the Catholics, seems to have been precipitated at first accidentally, and resulted in a breach which grew ever wider until the final triumph of England over the Armada. In January 1568 the vicious lunacy of the miserable boy Don Carlos had reached a pitch which necessitated his isolation. Philip entered his room at 10 o'clock on the night of the 18th January and arrested his only son and heir with his own hands. It was known that he had had communications with the discontented Flemings ; and John Man, the dean of Gloucester, who was English Ambassador in Madrid, thought the event of sufficient importance to dispatch a special messenger, one of his own secretaries, post haste, to carry the news to England. He arrived in the middle of February and gave an account of what had happened. In the course of conversation he told the Queen that the ambassador's household were not allowed to perform divine service according to the reformed rites, even in their own house, and Elizabeth immediately wrote to Man (21st February 1568, Foreign Calendar) peremptorily ordering him to demand the free exercise of his religion in accordance with international rights, saying that if this were refused she would at once recall him. Unfortunately, on the same day, both the Queen and Cecil also made the same request of Guzman (page 9), and Philip was therefore forewarned of the demand which was to be made by the English ambassador. That the hated heresy, which struck at the very root of the principle by which he ruled, should raise its head in his own capital, even in the house of an ambassador, was too much for Philip. The demand for international recognition of the dreaded thing alarmed him and he determined to forestall it, Before the am- bassador could formulate his complaint, he had a series of accusations drawn up against Dr. Man, and a number of the English Catholic refugees who lived in Madrid, mostly on Philip's bounty, were called to testify to unbecoming words pronounced by the ambassador against the Catholic religion and the Pope, at the dinner table and elsewhere in private conversation. An English spy called Robert Hogan or Huggins, who betrayed both Spain and England in turn, writes to Cecil (30th March 1568, Foreign Calendar) that he, like others, had been forced to testify against Man, who, he says, will certainly get into trouble, although entirely by his own fault and foolishness, and his "too liberal tongue." It is mainly the duke of Feria's doing, he says, as he is Man's deadly enemy ; although elsewhere Hogan calls the Duke the friend of the English, which he certainly was not in any sense. Man was never afforded an opportunity of making his complaint. Philip saw him no more ; he was hurried out of Madrid to a village called Barajas and thence contemptuously packed off to England, without being allowed even to take leave of the King. Guzman smoothed the matter over as best he could, with many loving messages from his master to the effect that another English ambassador who was more modest and respectful to the Catholic religion would be welcomed with open arms ; but the blow was a heavy one to the pride of Elizabeth and her Protestant advisers, and their wrath was nursed silently until ample revenge could be taken. They were revenged a hundred-fold as will be shown, although the exaction of their retribution gave rise to events which, it is not too much to say, in the end left their indelible mark upon the fate of christendom.
In the meanwhile the rising of the Catholic lords in Scotland against Murray and the belief that French forces would be sent to aid them if the Huguenots were disposed of had caused more countenance to be given by the English Government to Cond and the Huguenots on the one hand and to the Flemish Protestants on the other, whilst the English Catholics were more vigorously prosecuted than they had been for some time. Guzman mentions a rumour (10th April 1568) that Cardinal Lorraine was raising 1,200 harquebussiers to send to Dumbarton, and this, together with the passage of a French envoy to Scotland, deeply alarmed the Queen, notwithstanding the solemn assurance of the king of France and his mother that, out of gratitude for Elizabeth's neutrality in the French troubles, they would not allow any French force to be sent to Scotland ; a covert threat that if she openly helped Cond they would retaliate by helping Mary. The apprehension was immensely increased by the news of Mary's escape from Lochleven (after her first unsuccessful attempt of which an interesting account is given by Guzman, page 26), but the policy which had been so successful before was promptly adopted again. Fresh encouragement was given to the Huguenots. Protestantism in the Netherlands was accorded a more hearty sympathy than ever, and expeditions of refugee Flemings were allowed to fit out in English ports to go over and help their compatriots. Against this Guzman protested over and over again, but only got vague promises of redress or hypocritical professions of ignorance ; and when at last orders were given for the prohibition of such expeditions, they were easily evaded, and the current of help and sympathy still flowed, as it flowed for many years afterwards, from the Protestants in England to their struggling co-religionists across the North Sea.
On the 21st May 1568 news reach Elizabeth and her advisers which, whilst increasing their perplexity and danger, changed the base of trouble and brought it nearer to their own doors. The battle of Langsyde had been fought six days before, and Mary was already a fugitive, and practically a prisoner, in England. Guzman, at this point, represents Elizabeth as being desirous of treating Mary as a sovereign, which, considering her views of the royal state, was probably her first impulse. He says (22nd May), "If this Queen has her way now, they will be obliged to treat the queen of Scots as a sovereign, which will offend those who forced her to abdicate, so that, although these people are glad enough to have her in "their hands, they have many things to consider. If they keep her as in prison, it will probably scandalise all neighbouring princes, and if she remain free and able to communicate with her friends, great suspicions will be aroused. In any case it is certain that two women will not agree very long together."
If it were ever Elizabeth's intention to receive her unfortunate cousin as a sovereign the idea must have disappeared promptly on the reports received from Drury and her other officers in the north of England. All the country side, they said, Catholic to the backbone, was in a ferment of excitement and rejoicing at the arrival in their midst of the Catholic princess, upon whom their hopes were fixed. Norris in Paris (4th June, Foreign Calendar) writes to say that an effort will be made to carry Mary to France, "but he is assured that Cecil will rather, as he writes, help and counsel the Queen to make her profit of her there than consent to her coming hither." In any case Elizabeth did not hesitate long as to the course which would best serve her own interests. Her unceremonious treatment of Mary's envoys, Herries and Fleming, is fully detailed by Guzman, for whom and the duke of Alba they brought letters from their fugitive mistress. The envoys complained bitterly of their treatment, and threatened if aid was refused by England to appeal to "France, your Majesty, or even the Pope." "The Pope," said Bedford, as if shocked with the bare idea. "Yes," said Herries, "and even the Grand Turk, or the Sophi, seeing the need my Queen is in." Such talk as this was too dangerous to be endured for very long, and on the 24th June Guzman writes to the King, "The Queen has given a decided answer to Herries and Fleming, and has refused to give leave to the latter to go to France respecting the Scotch queen's affairs. Her answer is that she has ordered their Queen to approach nearer to her, and has sent word to the Scotch government to send representatives to the same place, whither she herself will also send persons to treat with both parties. If she is assured that their Queen was not an accomplice in the murder of her husband, she will help her, and if she was privy to it, she will try to reconcile her to the government." Herries and Fleming conveyed this answer to Guzman, and asked for his advice, which he gave, as follows (26 June) : "I replied that their Queen should show full confidence in this Queen, and should act, at present, in such a way as to give to the latter no reasonable excuse for not helping her and treating her well. She should be very careful, I said, to avoid all suspicion that she had any pretensions to the crown during this Queen's life ; and, as regards satisfying her respecting her husband's death, their Queen should say that she herself desired to do so, loving her as she did as a sister and friend, but by other means than by judicial action and question and answer with her own subjects, which would be a derogation of her dignity and unfitting to her rank." The first portion of this sound advice Mary, unfortunately for herself, did not follow, very different counsel being given to her subsequently by those who succeeded Guzman as her advisers, but the latter portion, no doubt, led to her sudden change of front in refusing to acknowledge an investigation for which she had formerly professed herself anxious. Guzman had a long conversation with Elizabeth on the 29th of June about Scotch affairs, particularly with reference to the answer which had been given to the special envoy from the king of France, M. de Montmorin. Elizabeth told him that there were difficulties in the way of her giving armed help to restore Mary to the throne, and the result of such an attempt would be uncertain, and she thought the best course would be to come to terms with Murray. "These terms she said must be hard, as Murray and his gang would never be safe if the Queen returned as a ruler, even though she pardoned them now, as she could easily find an excuse afterwards to be revenged on them." She said very emphatically that on no occount would she allow Mary to go to France, and, as for sending her back alone after she had placed herself under her protection, that would be a great dishonour for her (Elizabeth) and her country. Seeing also the pretensions she had to the English crown, it would be dangerous, she said, to allow her to be free in this country, as she might take opportunities of satisfying people here about past events, and gain them over. She therefore had determined to bring her to some place in the interior of England, both that she might be safer from her enemies, and also in order that, if she attempted to escape clandestinely to Scotland, her flight should be made longer and more difficult ; as between Carlisle and Scotland there was only one small river which could easily be crossed." The determination thus early expressed by Elizabeth to keep her cousin under guard for good was no doubt prompted by the knowledge that Mary was clamouring for foreign aid on all hands, and that the people of the north, forgetting her misdeeds, were burning to help her. Norris was persistent in his alarmist reports of Popish plots in her favour and Murray himself begged Drury to warn Elizabeth to keep people from access to his sister, "as she has sugared speech in store, and spares not to deal part of it now."
Guzman says that Fleming is constantly coming confidentially to him about his mistress's affairs ; but neither the instructions nor the peaceful disposition of the ambassador allowed him to hold out hopes of Spanish help. He says "I have shown him great goodwill, and have, in general terms assured him of your Majesty's sincere affection for his Queen, as I am letting the Catholics, her friends, also understand." But at the same time he took great care to keep in the good graces of Elizabeth, who appears to have been sincerely attached to him.
In February 1568 Guzman, who had been complaining of ill-health for some time, begged the King to withdraw him from London. All, he said, was now quiet and friendly, and another person could easily fill his place. Unlike the bishop of Aquila he was a wealthy man, but his means were nearly exhausted with the great expense of the embassy, and the poverty or penuriousness of the King. Philip was not in the habit of taking into account the personal wishes of his servants, and if it had not suited him to remove Guzman he certainly would not have done so. No answer to the ambassador's request was sent until 13th May, when, as has been shown, the whole aspect of matters had changed and the prospect had become anything but "quiet and friendly." Philip was evidently in great trepidation as to the way in which his high-handed treatment of the English ambassador would be received, and it is possible that when he saw the apparent submissiveness of the Queen under the blow, he may have thought that a rougher tongued representative than Guzman would be more likely to serve his purpose. He may have considered, moreover, that Guzman was too tolerant and yielding to the "heretics" ; particularly as the ambassador gives as one of the reasons for desiring his recall, the danger to which Catholics are exposed who dwell long amongst "heretics," and witness their laxity in religion, and their freedom from restraint (page 10). Be that as it may, Philip appointed as his successor a man diametrically opposite to him ; a firey Catalan knight called Guerau de Spes, as haughty and intolerant as Feria himself, a man, as it afterwards turned out, entirely wanting in discretion at a time when, of all qualities, discretion was that most needed. At first sight it is difficult to understand why so close an observer of men as Philip appointed such a firebrand as this to represent him, unless he had determined to adopt an aggressive policy towards England, contrary to that which he had thitherto followed, and it has been usually assumed by English historical writers that this was the case. Norris' letters of the time certainly give colour to the assertion that Philip sent Don Guerau with instructions to forward a Catholic conspiracy in England in union with Cardinal Lorraine and the duke of Alba, for the purpose of expelling Elizabeth and crushing the Protestant power ; but Norris, zealous Protestant as he was, eagerly accepted and repeated all the news his spies could bring him that was damaging to the Catholics, and was ignorant of or underrated Philip's difficulties. The present letters, for the first time, show clearly that, whatever may have been the wish of Philip's heart, it was absolutely impossible for him to embark upon a war with England, beset as he was on all hands. Guerau de Spes was doubtless sent with the idea that a less complaisant envoy than Guzman would be able to exert more influence over the Queen by fear than by suavity, an idea encouraged doubtless by the quiet way in which she had accepted her ambassador's contemptuous dismissal. As will be seen, however, Don Guerau did not stop at rough words or haughty demeanour ; like the hot partizan he was, he began more or less overt plotting with the disaffected as soon as he arrived in the country, and probably even before. The ostensible reason for Don Guerau's coming was to give explanations about the expulsion of Dr. Man, but Elizabeth, full of Norris' sinister reports, was much perturbed by the withdrawal of her favourite Guzman. "She hoped to God," she told the latter, "that there was no mystery behind this change," and reproached him personally with her usual coquetry for wanting to leave her. Cecil was more outspoken and professed to believe that Guzman himself had arranged the plot ; which we now know Norris had informed him, Cecil, that Don Guerau was engaged in. Guzman was surprised and indignant, he, at all events, having had no hand in the matter, as Cecil indeed well knew. Guzman tells the story to the King in his letter of the 9th August 1568 :"On my return to London, I talked with Cecil and told him of the coming of Don Guerau and my departure, whereat he expressed sorrow and assured me that the Queen would be greatly pained, especially as it would seem to confirm what had been conveyed to him from several quarters, that Cardinal Lorraine had arranged a treaty with the duke of Alba, respecting this country and the queen of Scots ; which had been negotiated through me, as the French ambassador here could not be trusted. It was said also that the queen of Scotland herself was in communication with me and sent me letters for your Majesty, and it was asserted that, now that I had arranged what was wanted, I wished to leave, in order that my successor, and not myself, should witness the carrying out of the plan. It was known that I had a person at Dieppe to advise people in France of these matters, and that Don Francs de Avila (the Spanish ambassador in France) never left the side of Cardinal Lorraine. My own belief is that Cecil invented the whole of this ... because I am told that the letter that the queen of Scotland wrote to me with a letter to your Majesty, together with another for the French ambassador, fell into Cecil's hands." Guzman repudiated the accusation with much spirit and evident truthfulness, and doubtless confirmed Cecil in his knowledge that, whatever were the instructions of the new ambassador, the main object of the departing one was to preserve peace and amity between the two nations. A perusal of the substance of the instructions to Guerau de Spes (page 66) will show how limited was the mission confided to him. He was to satisfy the Queen about Dr. Man, beyond which his functions were mainly to send to the duke of Alba and the King constant reports of all that was passing in England. He is instructed, over and over again, that he is to do nothing without the orders of the duke of Alba, and, indeed, so far as can be gathered from his instructions and the letters sent to him, his functions were more those of a spy than a minister. The following sentence from the instructions will prove that it was not Philip's desire at the time to break with England : You will give the Queen my letter, saluting her gaily and graciously from me, saying that I have appointed you the successor of Diego de Guzman to reside near her as my ordinary ambassador, with instructions to serve and gratify her on every possible occasion, as, in fact, I wish you to do, trying to keep her on good terms and assuring her from me that I will always return her friendship as her good neighbour and brother."
At a time when the bad faith of Elizabeth in seizing the specie destined for the pay of Philip's troops, and the indiscretion of Guerau de Spes had embittered the relations of the two governments to the last degree, the correspondence in the present volume between the King and the duke of Alba proves indisputably the (perhaps necessarily) peaceful attitude of Philip towards England and the fear entertained both by the King and his Viceroy of the indiscretion and meddlesomeness of the ambassador. As the letters in question were confidential and there was no fear of their being seized they certainly contained the real sentiments of the writers. It will be seen by reference to them that so hardly pressed were the Spaniards for money and so beset with difficulties, that their only desire at the time was to recover the Spanish property seized in England and re-open their suspended trade, leaving the idea of vengeance for a future time. Alba several times complains that Don Guerau's zeal is outrunning his discretion, and that he allows himself to be drawn into compromising positions by exceeding the instructions sent to him. This correspondence is mentioned here out of its chronological order to enforce the view that the treasonable plots in which Don Guerau was certainly concerned during the whole of his residence in England, and his complicity in which contributed largely to the subsequent bitterness between the countries, were entered into by him in the first place in violation of the spirit of his instructions and of his master's desire ; and that the secret aid afterwards given by Philip to treason in England was bestowed in consequence of the misleading reports sent by the ambassador with regard to the strength and resources of the disaffected. These reports, indeed, as will be seen in the present volume, were evidently pervaded more by the zeal of the partizan than by the dispassionate scrutiny of the minister. A further proof that Guerau de Spes was not sent by Philip for the purpose of plotting the overthrow of Elizabeth in favour of Mary is afforded by the letter from the King to the duke of Alba, dated 15th September 1568 (page 71), written at the time when De Spes had just arrived in England. In it the King refers to Mary's letter to him complaining of her imprisonment and invoking his aid, with earnest professions of her Catholicism. "I have," he says, "refrained from taking any decision or answering her autograph letter, of which I enclose a copy, until you tell me what you think of her business, and in what way, and to what extent, I should assist her. I therefore beg and enjoin you to write to me on this by the first opportunity, and to encourage the Queen from there" (i.e., the Netherlands) "as best you can, to persevere firmly in her good "purpose," (namely, to remain a firm Catholic) "as it is clear that whilst she does so God will not abandon her." Guerau de Spes arrived in Paris in July 1568 after suffering much insult and maltreatment on his way through the south of France, of which he complained to the Queen-Mother, who told him that the King was not obeyed in that part of the country. He does not mention that he saw Cardinal Lorraine privately, but merely says that he and Cardinals Guise and Bourbon, with the dukes of Nemours and Guise, were present at the audience, and "recommended the affairs of the queen of Scotland to me." The bishop of Glasgow, Mary's minister in France, was ill, but, says De Spes, "he sent two gentlemen to recommend "his mistress' affairs to my care. She appears to found all her hopes on your Majesty's favour, and I have told him that I have orders on my arrival to do what I can for her." However strong may have been De Spes' sympathy for the queen of Scots, it is clear from these general expressions that he was charged with no deep plot in her favour by his master, as has been assumed on the strength of the information sent to England by Norris and others. The account he sends of his interview with the duke of Alba bears out this view, as it principally refers to the commercial grievances existing between England and the Netherlands, still left unsettled by the provisional agreement of Bruges. In this letter, however, written before he arrived in England, he shows how different are his methods from those of Guzman de Silva, who invariably palliated and minimised points of difference. "Antonio de Guaras," he says, "has sent me two slanderous papers printed in England, which the heretics of that country have made up to entertain their gang, and to endeavour to diminish the favour your Majesty extends to the Catholics, and the justice and equity which you maintain in your States. If your Majesty wishes, they can be copied and sent to you in Spanish. I shall be glad to be directed as to whether I should speak to the Queen about these insults." Needless to say that on his arrival in England the queen of Scotland's friends approached him, and thenceforward a constant correspondence was carried on between him and Mary through them, most of which correspondence was, of course, well known to the English Court through their spies. On the 30th October 1568 (page 81) when he had only been in London about seven weeks, writing to the King propos of the meeting of the Commission in York to settle Scotch affairs, he says, "I am of opinion that this would be a good opportunity of handling successfully Scotch affairs, and restoring this country to the Catholic religion, and if the Duke were out of his present anxiety and your Majesty wished, it could be discussed."
On the 6th November he wrote :"It appears as if the time was approaching when this country may be made to return to the Catholic Church, the Queen being in such straits and short of money. I have already informed your Majesty of the offer made by Viscount Montague's brother-in-law on condition that they may hope for protection from your Majesty." These are the first suggestions of a design to overthrow Elizabeth, and, as will be noted, they do not come from Philip, but are only tentatively made to him by his ambassador. In a letter dated 12th December 1568 (page 85) he assures the King that "whenever Flemish matters are calm, and your Majesty and the French king choose to stop English commerce, without even drawing the sword, they (the English) will be obliged to adopt the Catholic religion ;" and he enclosed for the King's approval a draft of a long address of exhortation which he proposed to deliver to the Queen, thinking thereby to convert her to Catholicism (page 85). Philip, who knew well the tremendous forces, arrayed against him, may well have smiled at the simplicity of his envoy in supposing that a turgid speech from a hotheaded bigot could revolutionise the consummate statecraft of Elizabeth and Cecil. With such an ambassador as this, it was naturally not long before matters between England and Spain reached an acute stage. Cardinal Chatillon was at Elizabeth's Court arousing sympathy and obtaining aid for the Huguenots in France ; the Flemish refugees were spreading abroad a feeling of indignation against Alba's atrocities in the Netherlands, and money was being sent daily across to help their brethren against their oppressors ; privateers, and pirates who called themselves such, were already swarming in the Channel, and few vessels bearing the flag of Spain escaped their depredations. Early in December, Cecil wrote to De Spes (Foreign Calendar) complaining of practices of his which had been discovered, and the envoy retaliated by almost daily complaints, couched often in very intemperate language, of the piracies in the Channel. Norris and others, as usual, were reporting unceasingly the terrible things which were to be done in England as soon as the Netherlands were quieted and the Huguenots suppressed. The Queen told De Spes himself (18th December 1568, page 89) that "she knew that, after the king (of France) had pacified his country, he would turn upon her for the sake of religion, as she was assured by persons in her favour who were members of his Council." Similar ideas had been current in Guzman de Silva's time, but he wisely and adroitly laughed them aside. Guerau de Spes, on the contrary, fanned the flame by his manifest plotting with the Catholic party ; and at the interview referred to above, told the Queen that whilst she allowed the Huguenot privateers to enter her ports, it would be very difficult for her to preserve her friendship with the States of Flanders. In view of the fears thus engendered and encouraged by the indiscretion of the envoy, it is not to be wondered at that when chance threw into the way of the Queen a means of crippling her enemy and averting the threatened danger, she should have adopted it, even at the expense of honesty and international rights. She herself was hardly pressed for money to fit out a fleet to help the Huguenots and defend her coast, and had not only borrowed to the full extent of her credit, but, says De Spes (page 83), had pledged some of her jewels to raise the required sum.
Late in November 1568 several vessels carrying a large amount of treasure from Spain to Flanders were chased by pirates in the Channel, and for safety put into the ports of Southampton, Plymouth, and Falmouth respectively. The money, on its arrival in the Netherlands, was to be advanced to the king of Spain by its owners, certain Genoese bankers, for the purpose of paying Alba's troops and enabling him to continue his operations for the suppression of the Protestants. Two of the cutters, shrewdly suspecting that they were in as much danger from the English on shore as from the pirates themselves, boldly left port the day after they had taken refuge there and ran the blockade of pirates, arriving duly at Antwerp. The rest, consisting of a large vessel with 31,000l. in Southampton and three or four cutters in the western ports, continued to be assailed or threatened by the privateers, even whilst in harbour, and, ostensibly for the protection of the treasure from their depredations, it was landed and placed in safety by the shore authorities. The transaction is related diversely by the two parties interested, and both sides of the question are set forth in the present volume ; but there seems to be no doubt that Spinola, the great I lorentine banker in London, who was charged with the forwarding of the money in case it came to England, informed the Queen that it was being conveyed to its destination at the risk of the lenders, and could not be rightly called the property of the king of Spain until its arrival in the Netherlands. Prior to this information being given the Queen had signed (12th December) passports and safeconducts for the money to be sent overland to Dover, or under convoy by sea from the ports, but on learning the state of affairs from Spinola, orders were given for the landing of the money, which was done on the 21st. There is no doubt that it had been determined at this time to retain the money if, on examination, Spinola's statement were confirmed, as on the 24th Horsey, the Governor of the Isle of Wight, writes to Cecil (Foreign Calendar), giving him an account of his examination of the specie from the ship in Southampton which had satisfied him that it was still the property of the bankers, and asks whether he shall send the treasure up to London at once. It was a mere technical excuse for taking the money, of course, as it was undisputed that it was destined as a loan for the king of Spain ; but it enabled Elizabeth to make the seizure without openly committing an act of war. De Spes was violent and headstrong as usual, and immediately wrote to the duke of Alba urging him forcibly to seize all British subjects and their property in the Netherlands, and to recommend Philip to do the same in Spain. The seizure was made in the Netherlands on the 29th, as soon as De Spes' letter reached the Duke, but on various pretexts, no definite refusal had yet been given to De Spes by the English Government to restore the money. On the 29th Elizabeth told him that she might as well borrow it as his King, as she was quite as responsible and able to repay it, principal and interest. De Spes' precipitancy had put him again in the wrong in urging Alba to make his seizures before the intention of the Queen to keep the money had been officially declared. Even on the 29th she left the question ostensibly open, although her intention was clear, but when news arrived of the seizure of all English property by Alba she at once made this an excuse, not only for retaining the money she had landed, but for seizing all Spanish property in England as well, the amount of which was great in excess of the value of Alba's seizures ; and a great show of indignation was made at the illegality of Alba's action. It will thus be seen that Elizabeth had put herself technically in the right, however wrong she might be morally. The principal effect of her action was to make her for the time rich, whilst Philip's sorely shrunken exchequer was the more depleted and his power for evil greatly diminished. Philip and Alba, as will be seen in the letters in the present volume, were well nigh in despair. The Gueux crushed on land, were swarming on the sea, and made maritime communication between Spain and northern Europe almost impossible. Trade was paralysed and credit dead. The moral effect of Philip's poverty and powerlessness was very marked. Alba's task in the Netherlands became more and more difficult, as the bankers became increasingly chary of lending money to a King who could not even retain his own treasure or punish those who plundered him, and the unfortunate, sorely-beset and over-weighted King could only hand the whole question over to Alba with the arbitrament of peace or war. In a letter to the Duke (18th February 1579) he says that De Spes informs him that the opportunity is now ripe for deposing the Queen and placing the queen of Scots on the throne of a Catholic England, and leaves Alba to undertake the business without further consulting him if he thought proper. But Alba had a very poor opinion of De Spes and his recommendations, and was in closer touch with the difficulties than was Philip, immersed in his papers at the Escorial, and wrote to the King on the 10th March as follows :"I do not know whether an open rupture with England at the present time will be advantageous, considering the state of the Treasury, and these States being so exhausted with the war and late disturbances, and so bereft of ships and many other things necessary for a fresh war, whilst it would certainly be a grave loss of dignity to again return to the old negotiations. All things considered, I think it would be best to adopt a gentle course, writing to the Queen that, seeing the close friendship and alliance that have so long existed between the countries, particularly between her father and the Emperor, and your brotherly affection for her, even though she should desire to quarrel, you will not consent to do so, and that it shall never be said that the knot that binds you together has been loosened. She should be asked to say in what way she considers herself aggrieved, and your Majesty will be ready to give her every satisfaction in consideration of your tender love for her, and will not pursue the same course as with any other prince under similar circumstances. I thought well to set this forth to your Majesty in case she should send anyone to you before the definite opinion is forwarded to you from here, and you can thus go on temporising, and, afterwards, adopt the course you think best. There will be means for fully satisfying your Majesty by-and-by if you desire it." This was the tone of Alba's recommendations to the King during the whole of his stay in the Netherlands, and Philip never wanted much persuasion for him to adopt a temporising policy. Necessary as such a policy may have been, it was a clear evidence of weakness to the English, who took higher ground than ever. De Spes, in impotent fury, wrote a foolish flighty letter (page 105) to one of the Spanish officials in the Netherlands. The letter was of course intercepted, and the ambassador was placed under arrest for his insolence. He stormed and appealed in vain. Philip and Alba answered him in the same way as the bishop of Aquila had been answered under similar circumstances eight years before. He must make the best of it and endure everything patiently for the King's service. Alba's first step was to send over the pedantic and wordy Flemish councillor D'Assonleville, but the Queen refused even to give him audience and would not recognise the duke of Alba in any way. D'Assonleville himself even was surrounded with restrictions and had to return empty handed to the Duke. Thenceforward for years the same policy was pursued. Envoy after envoy was sent from the Netherlands to England to negotiate for the restoration of the property seized. Cajolery, bribery, and appeals to honour were tried in vain ; the owners of the property and the bankers interested did their best to get private restitution on any terms, but Elizabeth and her ministers knew well that they held the strong position and refused to agree, except on conditions which it was impossible for Philip to accept, as they included the settlement of long outstanding claims made by the English on account of confiscations by the Inquisition in Spain, and the past and future treatment of British subjects there in relation to religion. In the meanwhile the property dwindled and was jobbed away, and in the end but little of it ever reached its legitimate owners. For many months De Spes was chafing under the galling restrictions which had been placed upon him, all his letters read and his every action followed. His indiscreet reference to the Queen in the letter already referred to had alarmed and annoyed even the earl of Arundel, favourable though he always had been to the Spanish domination of England, and ever ready to plot for the overthrow of the existing order of things. He wrote to De Spes (16th January 1569, Foreign Calendar) saying that he blamed him quite as much as did any other of the councillors for his expressions about the Queen, and "wished that a wise and well-meaning man were here for the good of both sovereigns." Arundel's annoyance can be easily explained by the fact that he, with the duke of Norfolk, Lumley, Westmoreland, Throgmorton and others, with the treacherous connivance of Leicester, had adopted this question of the seizure of Philip's money as a lever by which to overthrow Cecil, and anything which prejudged the question, or put Spain in the wrong, was likely to frustrate their designs. In March 1569 De Spes was still under arrest, but with less strictness than at first, and writes to the King urging him "to punish these people in a way which shall make them realise their offence. It is," he says, "disgusting to hear Cecil talk about his Queen being a monarch, and that no other Christian prince is a monarch but she. I have heard that they are going to publish a decree ordering every person to take an oath to this effect, which will mean a butchery of Catholics if God in His mercy do not prevent it." This was evidently to inflame Philip's mind and induce him to show sympathy with the cabal that was plotting the ruin of Cecil. Later in the same letter, De Spes says that Norfolk and Arundel have been in close communication with him through a trustworthy person, and acknowledged the offence committed by the Queen and Council, "but that hitherto everything has been over-ridden by Cecil, and they have not dared to resist him or even to point out to the Queen his bad government, until they felt their way with other nobles and with the people. They have now done this and have many sure pledges." They promised that all Spanish property should be restored, the Catholic religion established, and much else besides, which it was obvious could not be done except by the deposition of the Queen. "They only ask that your Majesty should stand firm in the stoppage of trade, as well as the king of France, so that the English shall have no commerce with either country. The people are already beginning to murmur, and these gentlemen will find means to raise them and punish the evil-doers. To add strength to the enterprise they sent me the draft of a proclamation for me to forward to the duke of Alba for publication. It contains a statement of the motives which they desire the public to know, which are similar to what I have already written about the tyranny of some members of the government, of the non-fulfilment of the passport given, of the favour shown to pirates, and the support given to rebels. I have sent it to the duke of Alba and assured him of the goodwill of these gentlemen and their power here. They wish the affair to be conducted very secretly for the present, for the Queen and Cecil are suspicious even of the birds of the air."
The "trustworthy person" who was the medium of communication between De Spes and the conspirators was Ridolfi, the Florentine banker and papal agent in London, of whom mention will be made later on, and before very long he was pressing urgently in their name that a sum of money might be sent to them as an aid to the cost of their conspiracy. Philip had but little money to squander, and Alba instructed the ambassador to put the lords off with promises and fair words. For the next month or two the professions of loyalty and adherence to Philip on the part of Arundel, Lumley, and Norfolk became constantly more emphatic and precise until late in June, when 6,000 crowns were sent by Alba to be given to them. In the meanwhile things had gone badly with the Huguenots in France and the Guises were again paramount, so that it behoved England to feign friendship for Spain ; and accordingly De Spes was released, and pretended negotiations were opened for restitution through a wealthy banker in Antwerp named Thomas Fiesco, who came over provided with large sums of money to bribe Cecil and Leicester. Approaches were even made to De Spes, who was ordered by the King and Alba to avoid all reference to unpleasant subjects and to be "very gentle." Alba writes, 2nd July : "I again press upon you that on no account in the world are you to listen to any proposals about Ireland or other parts, as I can assure you that such a course might ruin everything and you also would run a personal risk, for which I should feel truly sorry. You may, however, at unsuspicious hours, listen to the servants of the queen of Scots. I must again repeat most emphatically that you are not on any account to entertain approaches to you against the Queen or her councillors, or anything touching them. On the contrary, if people come to you with such talk you must be so reticent that they shall never be able to say that any minister of the King has given ear to it." Notwithstanding the constant repetition of similar instructions, De Spes never ceased to lend a ready ear to real or pretended conspirators, of which Cecil was fully informed by his spies. Ridolfi, the bishop of Ross, Stukeley, Lumley, and others were for ever begging that money should be sent from Spain to promote disaffection ; but the 6,000 crowns already sent had been wasted, the conspiracy against Cecil having failed through Leicester's treachery and Cecil's vigilance. The bishop of Ross gave De Spes the story of the failure (15th June 1569) :"The Bishop told me that the duke of Norfolk and the earl of Arundel had always informed him of their desire to serve your Majesty, and ... that their intention was in April last to arrest Cecil, and give me complete liberty, restoring all the property stolen and detained belonging to your Majesty's subjects. He said that on three occasions, when the project was about to be carried out, the earl of Leicester softened, and said that he would tell the Queen. This prevented the execution of the intention three distinct times ... and these delays gave Cecil an opportunity of discovering the plot against him." The manner in which Cecil cleverly circumvented the conspirators is then told (page 167), but undeterred by this fiasco, and by the precise instructions sent to him, the ambassador, in the same letter to the King, mentions that Lord Dacre had sent him a message proposing the marriage of the duke of Norfolk with the queen of Scots and the conversion of England to the Catholic faith, and adds :"He (Dacre) now says that, whenever your Majesty pleases to send an army to this country, he and his friends will undertake "to provide 15,000 selected troops for your service." From the tone of the correspondence it is quite clear that Philip's only present desire was to stir up the Catholic party in England in order to embarrass Elizabeth and prevent her from aiding the Protestants in the Netherlands, but, in pursuance of his invariable policy, he desired to do so without in any way appearing or incurring responsibility, whilst at the same time both he and Alba feared the impetuosity and indiscretion of the envoy they employed The letters in the present volume prove more decisively than hitherto the treasonable intentions of the duke of Norfolk in his design to marry the queen of Scots. It is probable that at first he did not realize to the full extent the objects of those with whom the project had originated; most certainly those Protestant councillors who sided with him at the beginning did not do so. Guerau de Spes, however, never deceived himself about it. On the 25th July 1569 he writes to the King :The bishop of Ross came to me at three o'clock this morning to assure me of the wish of the duke of Norfolk to serve your Majesty. He said he was a Catholic, and has the support, even in London, "of many aldermen and rich merchants." On the 1st August, he says, Norfolk and the other adherents of the queen of Scotland are busy trying to get her declared the Queen's successor, and this Queen is already somewhat suspicious of the Duke. There certainly will be some turmoil about it. They all assert that if they succeed, religion shall be restored. The ambassador duly notes that, in the face of this powerful combination of nobles against Protestantism, and indirectly against the Queen and Cecil, he is being treated with more gentleness, and that fresh advances are being made to him about a restitution. These negotiations went so far as the appointment of a more formal and dignified embassy than had previously been sent, namely, that of Chapin Vitelli, marquis of Cetona, a famous Italian general, whose mission, prepared with scrupulous care and circumspection by Philip and Alba, was as fruitless as others had been, for reasons which will be mentioned in due course. On the 27th August De Spes wrote to the King reporting a further development of the Norfolk project : "The Council has decided, at the instance of the duke of Norfolk and his friends, that the queen of Scotland shall be set at liberty on condition that she marries an Englishman, and the signatures of all the principal people in this country have been obtained to this effect. The matter of her marriage also is so far advanced that the French ambassador has been reconciled to it, and, within a day or two, I understand that the Duke himself, or some leading personage, will come and request me to write to your Majesty to learn your wishes on the "subject." The ambassador urges Philip to bless the union as it could not now be avoided, which the King does somewhat distrustfully, on condition that the duke of Norfolk be sincere in his religious professions. The King's tone was doubtless inspired by Alba's repeatedly expressed opinion that De Spes was being tricked and betrayed. Early in September the Queen vetoed the project of Norfolk's marriage with Mary, but the ambassador tells his master that the Duke will not desist from his enterprise on this account. He says (17th December 1569) : A stronger guard has been placed around the queen of Scotland, although I understand that she will nevertheless soon find herself at liberty, and this country itself greatly disturbed. All the north is ready and only awaits the release of the queen of Scotland, and the latter is anxious to give your Majesty a full account of everything, as events are now coming to a head ; but I await until I see the affair commenced before writing at length. Your Majesty can then decide what will be best for your service. Perhaps God is now opening a wide door which shall lead to the great good of Christendom." On the 27th September 1569 the ambassador advised the King that Norfolk had raised his standard, and says that he has refrained from throwing any doubt of his Majesty's favour being extended to the Duke's party. "They were about to dispatch some one to inform the duke of Alba fully, and the queen of Scotland intends to do the same," and in his next letter, dated the 30th, ignominious collapse of Norfolk is foreshadowed. "I do not know," he says, what will happen, but I understand, considering the number of the Duke's friends in England, he cannot be ruined except by pusilanimity, and the queen of Scotland has sent to urge him to behave valiantly and not to fear for his life, which God would protect. She and the Duke wished to send a person to the duke of Alba, but it was not possible, as the "ports were closed." A week afterwards Norfolk had surrendered and was a prisoner, and Northumberland at once entered into communication with De Spes and asked for a few harquebussiers, "after they have released the queen of Scots." They will, he says, restore the Catholic religion in England, and will be ruled in all things by the king of Spain. Northumberland and Westmoreland were in arms in the north, when news came that Chapin Vitelli, the successful soldier and a large company were coming across on their peaceful mission about the restitution. This was considered suspicious, as Cecil's spies had told him that Chapin had a half hundred experienced officers with him. He was, therefore, detained on the road, and forced to proceed to the Court alone, leaving all his company at Dover well watched. It was not surprising, under the circumstances, that he was politely got rid of as soon as possible without effecting anything. Emissaries were sent by the rebel lords and the queen of Scots to Alba, recommended by De Spes, begging for aid, and the close connection of the Spanish ambassador with the Queen's enemies is clearly seen in the correspondence; but little active help or comfort could be obtained from Philip or his Viceroy, as the latter refused to take any step without direct authority from the King, and invariably urged the need for temporising, whilst the former was too far away and too slow in his decision for his help to arrive in time. How inadequate was Philip's timid wavering policy to the circumstances is seen in every letter of his to the duke of Alba. It has already been pointed out how his credit had been spoiled, his exchequer emptied, and his subjects ruined. His ambassador has been imprisoned and his special envoys contemptuously dismissed, and yet, after a year of hesitancy, when the Catholic party in England was really at last in arms, and only wanting prompt aid probably to be successful, the King writes to Alba (16 December 1569), as follows : English affairs are going in a way that will make it necessary, after all, to bring that Queen to do, by force, what she refuses to reason. Her duty is so clear that no doubt God causes her to ignore it, in order that by these means, His holy religion may be restored in that country, and the Catholics and good Christians thus be rescued from the oppression in which they live. In case her obstinacy and hardness of heart continue, therefore, you will take into your consideration the best direction to be given to this. We think here that the best course will be to encourage with money and secret favour the Catholics of the north, and to help those in Ireland to take up arms against the heretics and deliver the crown to the queen of Scotland, to whom it belongs by succession. This course, it is presumed, would be agreeable to the Pope and all Christendom, and would encounter no opposition from any one. This is only mentioned now in order that you may know what is passing in our minds here, and that, with your great prudence and a full consideration of the state of affairs in general, you may ponder what is best to be done." Events marched too quickly for pondering, and the northern rebellion was stamped out by the promptness and vigour of Elizabeth's government whilst Philip was ruminating. The complete collapse of the formidable and dangerous insurrection in the north was another triumph for the Protestant party in Europe, and a closer union was at once effected between the Queen and the German princes. Hans Casimir, Count Volrad, and other mercenary leaders, were busy raising troops, subsidised by England and the Huguenots, for the purpose of again entering France and avenging Cond's rout. In the meanwhile, Sussex and Hunsdon did not let the grass grow under their feet, but harried both sides of the Scotch border to stamp out the last embers of rebellion and strike terror into the Catholic fugitives. Murray, on his side, was ready enough to help, for he was smiting his own enemies whilst he attacked those of the queen of England, and the Scotch Catholics were as dismayed as were the English, utterly despairing now that Dacre had fled. Murray was murdered on the 23rd January 1570, but this was not the heavy blow to the English party that it would have been a year before, for the queen of Scots was in Elizabeth's hands, Chatelherault was in prison, and the Catholic party in Scotland ruined, and divided in their objects, so that the disappearance of the Regent was but a momentary check to Elizabeth's policy. The German armaments went on, the privateers in the Channel grew ever bolder and more numerous, and Chatillon was still a welcome guest at the English Court ; Philip saw his commerce swept from the seas and his power derided, but still did nothing but enjoin secrecy, accumulate information, weigh, ponder, and consider, until the opportunity for action went by. Hardly a letter is written by De Spes that does not contain some suggestion for striking at the enemy. The queen of Scots might be captured by a coup de main and carried to Spain, as she herself suggested. The bishop of Ross assures him that a few Spanish troops sent to Scotland might easily overturn the new Regent. A small force sent to the Irish" rebels would enable them to expel the "heretics" and "it" looks as if the enterprise might be effected in both islands at the same time, as in Ireland most of the nation will rise as soon as they see your Majesty's standard borne by ships on their coast, and no resistance would be "made excepting in Dublin and some other fortresses" (12th June 1570). To all this,Philip had but one invariable reply, when he replied at all, namely, that his envoy must scrupulously follow the orders sent to him by the Duke of Alba, who refused to act without special orders, and whose letters show the deepest distrust of both the French and English, Catholics and Protestants alike. The long distance between the King and his Viceroy, the tedious discussion and consultation on points of procedure, and the cumbrous methods by which alone Philip arrived at a resolution, made all prompt action impossible. At one time, it looked as if real help would be given to Stukeley to invade Ireland. He was effusively welcomed and splendidly entertained at Madrid, and De Spes shows his satisfaction in his letters ; but the King, after long study, thought he was not strong enough for the task, and sent him off to obtain what comfort he might from the Pope, whose help, such as it was, enabled him to get no nearer to Ireland than Portugal with "two leaky old ships."
The English Catholics had been for some time begging Philip, through De Spes, to obtain from the Pope a bull of excommunication against the Queen. No reply was sent, but when the Pope was induced by others to promulgate the bull, and its appearance was announced by De Spes (page 251), in the evident belief that it had been procured by Philip, the latter was extremely angry and blamed the Pope roundly for his action, at which he was alarmed and distrustful. Philip's reticence and slowness in avenging himself appear even at times to have excited the alarm of Elizabeth and her friends, who were surprised at their own immunity. If Guaras is to be believed (28th July 1570), a perfect panic seized upon them when they learned of the powerful fleet being fitted out by Alba to conduct Philip's fourth wife to Spain. To add to their fright, a peace had been patched up in France, affairs were once more disturbed in Scotland, and the Catholic party in England was again raising its head, thanks mainly to the activity of the bishop of Ross. But Elizabeth promptly procured money, fitted out a strong fleet, and stood on the defensive until the Spanish flotilla had passed harmlessly by.
De Spes' active participation in what is called the Ridolfi plot is fully proved in the letters in the present volume, as well as the connivance of the duke of Norfolk. In his letter to the King (2nd September 1570, page 274) the beginning of the conspiracy is set forth, and the communications on the subject are continued in many subsequent letters, although the matter for a time was cooled in consequence of the information wrung by torture form the kidnapped Dr. Storey us to the duke of Alba's intentions. So far as may be seen, Dr. Storey had not really very much to tell beyond the fact that the Duke had received agents from the Queen of Scots and the Catholic lords, to both of whom he had sent sums of money and messages of sympathy. His intentions, however, were bad enough, and the information Cecil obtained put him on the alert. On the 25th March 1571 the vigilance had somewhat relaxed, the bishop of Ross and Norfolk were again at liberty, and Ridolfi was dispatched on his mission. Guerau de Spes thus writes to the King on the subject (page 300): "The Queen of Scotland and the Duke of Norfolk, in the name of many other lords and gentlemen who are attached to your Majesty's interests and the promotion of the Catholic religion, are sending Rodolfo Ridolfi, a Florontine gentleman, to offer his services to your Majesty, and represent to you that the time is now ripe to take a step of great benefit to Christianity, as in detail Ridolfi will set forth to your Majesty. The letter of credence from the Duke (of Norfolk) is in the cipher that I have sent to Zayas for fear it should be taken." The ambassador gave a letter of introduction for Ridolfi to the King's secretary Zayas on the same date worded as follows : The bearer is Roberto (?) Ridolfi whom the duke of Norfolk and the queen of Scotland are sending to his Majesty. It is necessary that he should have audience of his Majesty with the utmost secrecy, which your worship will be able to arrange on so important a matter as this. I beg you will favour and forward him to the best of your ability, as he has been an agent of his Holiness here, and is a person of great truth and virtue, and an intimate friend of mine, besides being entrusted with a negotiation which well merits favour." The Duke at his trial strenuously denied that he was privy to the mission of Ridolfi to Philip and Alba, as had been confessed by the bishop of Ross and Barker, and this accusation was by far the most serious which Norfolk had to meet, as it amounted to a plot for the invasion of England by a foreign power. These letters prove conclusively that the Duke was as false in this as in his religious professions, and rightly died the death of a traitor. In April the bishop of Ross' secretary was captured with cipher letters on his way from Flanders, and, although by the connivance of Thomas Cobham at Dover, the secret despatches he bore for the Bishop, the queen of Scots, the duke of Norfolk, and De Spes, were spirited away and replaced by waste paper, the poor fellow himself was put upon the rack and confessed all he had learnt from Ridolfi in Flanders. The duke of Florence also got wind of the plot from one of his agents, and at once sent the news to Elizabeth ; and the capture of Norfolk's servants with the money being sent to the north, put all the threads of the intrigue into Cecil's hands. De Spes at first expressed his belief that the discovery of the plot would be of no consequence, as the blow would be struck before measures for its prevention could be adopted, but he was soon undeceived. No blow fell, but active negotiations were at once opened for the marriage of the Queen with the duke of Anjou; the Flemish and French privateers were helped and sheltered in England more than ever, and matters were settled in Scotland by the lavish expenditure of money in bribery. And then the toils began to be spun round De Spes himself. He was told he was no ambassador as he had to consult the duke of Alba upon every point, and the Queen refused to recognize him. Henry Cobham was sent to Spain to make formal complaint of him, and Philip's treatment of Dr. Man was cited every day as a pretext for the flouting of De Spes. The long spun-out negotiations for the return of the seized property in England were once more contemptuously brought to an end, when the Spaniards had hoped that all was arranged, and the connection with the French Court became daily closer, as envoy after envoy sped backwards and forwards with conditions of marriage and alliance. In the meanwhile De Spes, helpless, mortified, and bitter, outwitted and discovered, could only rail, and urge his master to revenge. He writes (12th July 1571) :"As all of Lord Burleigh's tricks have turned out well for him hitherto he is ready to undertake anything and has no fear of danger. They and the French together make great fun of our meekness. ... But, in any case, I will serve him (the King) in such a way as shall prove my goodwill and determination that he shall be acknowledged everywhere for the great Prince he is, and his interests respected by friends and enemies alike, but, as I have said, one must dissemble here and at times be a very Proteus. I will, however, try to bring due punishment on the heads of these people for their insolence." Whilst he was assuring the King how easily England could be conquered, notwithstanding the discovery of Ridolfi's plots, he was again being hoodwinked by Hawkins and Fitzwilliams (a cousin of the duchess of Feria) who, he was firmly persuaded, were willing to help Philip to invade England with a powerful fleet of English ships. Philip himself was never very sanguine of Hawkins' sincerity in the matter, but the plan succeeded to the extent of Hawkins' desire, namely, the release of the English prisoners of the Inquisition in Seville, and the restoration of certain property of his own withheld by the same tribunal. Meanwhile, Cecil was carefully informed of every particular, and was piling up such evidence of De Spes' intrigues against the Crown as would enable him, in due time, amply to avenge Philip's treatment of Dr. Man. At last the blow fell in December 1571 ; Norfolk was in the Tower, all his friends prisoners or fugitives, and the whole conspiracy laid bare. The terms of the French alliance had been settled with De Foix and La Mothe Fnlon, and Elizabeth thought it would be a good object lesson to her new friends and would show her power if she took this opportunity of summarily expelling De Spes and the Flemish envoys who were negotiating about the seizures. She told Cavalcanti (21st December 1571, page 359) that, the King of Spain thought he had it in his power to separate her from the alliance whenever he pleased, but however accommodating he might show himself in the negotiations about the property seized, and however ready to agree to terms favourable to the English, she said she would never trust Spaniards again, seeing the trouble they had prepared for her in Ridolfi's plots with the Pope. ... She said the king of France might see how little she cared for the king of Spain by the way she had ordered his ambassador to be gone without delay. She would have liked Cavalcanti to have seen him already on the road, but under some excuse or other about money matters, he was here for a day or two longer, though she could assure him he should not stay in the country, and she did not care very much whether another came or not." De Spes was peremptorily ordered to be gone on the 14th December. In vain he pleaded for delay in order that instructions might reach him, but was told that Dr. Man was not allowed to justify himself, no more should he. He owed money here, he said, and must wait for a remittance, which they said was not necessary, as they would lend him the money and deduct the amount out of the Spanish property in their hands ; in any case, he must leave the country within three days. He vapoured, of course, about his master's grandeur and his privileges as an ambassador ; all his protests were answered by reference to the treatment of Dr. Man, and after a week of bickering, he was hurried off to Canterbury ; there to await the instructions from Alba, without which he would not leave. To make matters worse his secretary, Borghese, who was probably a tool Cecil's was arrested on a charge of plotting to poison the latter, and De Spes himself was evidently in danger of being accused on Borghese's confession. It was a relief to all parties when at length he took his departure, after having sown the seed of more dissension than ever minister of foreign prince before. If, instead of his indiscretion, his rudeness and his bigotry, a minister of the adroitness and tolerance of Guzman had represented Philip in London during these critical years, it is highly probable that much of the hatred which culminated in the Armada would have been avoided. How little he understood the growing strength and spirit of England will be seen by the "relations" and reports which he wrote after his arrival in the Netherlands (pages 363, 367, and 386), in which, amongst other things, he proposed terms for the restitution of the property seized, calmly ignoring the fact that very much more favourable conditions had been scornfully rejected more than once by the English Government, and he still urged Philip to make himself master of England and Ireland, although, at the time the report was written, namely, in the spring of 1572, Brille was in the hands of the Gueux and half the Netherlands in open rebellion. Philip himself well knew that with the failure of Norfolk's conspiracy his chance of revenge, for the present, was gone. In November 1571 he was sending a new Viceroy (Medina-Celi) to replace Alba in the Netherlands, and there is a passage in his instructions (page 349) which proves that Philip had at one time really made up his mind to aid the Ridolfi plot and not even yet quite lost hope, depending, however, as usual, more on the chance of divine action than his own.
For months before his departure De Spes had been protesting in vain against the privateers which hovered between the Channel and Rochelle, principally under Schonvall and De Lumbres, but when matters were reaching a crisis with him he reported (21st October and 22nd November 1571) that the ships were now being concentratedat Dover under Lumay, Count de la Marque. He (De Spes) says (page 386) that he had informed the duke of Alba six months before the event that their intention was to capture Brille, and he certainly mentions as early as 31st October 1571 a project for the taking of Sluys by the privateers. The letters now published show, first, that the capture of Brille by de la Marque was not so unpremeditated an affair or so unsupported by the English as it is usually represented, and, secondly, that the ostensible reason for Elizabeth's warning the privateer fleet away from Dover was not in order to satisfy Philip's demands, since De Spes had already left and she had just offended Philip beyond forgiveness, but to satisfy the Hamburg merchants who were complaining of their depredations. In any case, the capture of Brille and the almost simultaneous rising of the rest of Zealand aroused great enthusiasm in England. Men and money in abundance were sent undisguisedly for their support for it was as clear now to Elizabeth as it was to Philip that Spain had once more been out-manoeuvred by agility and boldness and was again impotent for harm.
For more than five years after the expulsion of Guerau de Spes no Spanish ambassador resided in England. A Spanish merchant or banker named Antonio de Guaras, who had lived in London for many years and had continued to send information to Alba, was instructed to look after Spanish interests informally. He was a man who appears to have had a perfect passion for intrigue and whose ruling desire was to play the statesman. He was fond also of placing on record in the form of newsletters or rough histories the public events which he witnessed, but to judge from his acts and writings must have been both superficial and unstable. His letters were neither so full nor so frequent as those of a regular minister would have been, and are almost entirely missing for the years 1573 and 1574. They have, however, a certain simple naturalness which makes them interesting, the character of the writer showing through them with quite undiplomatic artlessness.
The Walloon noble Zweveghem and the merchant Fiesco. who had been negotiating in London for the restitution of the seizures, had been packed off at the same time as De Spes ; but although it did not suit Elizabeth to disgorge what she had taken, the stoppage of the great cloth trade between England and Flanders, and of the importation of produce from Spain was causing great distress in the country. A cloth staple had been set up at Embden and an attempt was being made to introduce cloths to the Continent through Hamburg, but the cloth weavers of the eastern counties were clamouring for the free outlet for their wares such as used to be offered by the rich markets of Antwerp and Bruges. In March, approaches were made to Guaras from Cecil for the re-opening of trade (page 376), and many hypocritical professions of amity were made on both sides. The negotiations resulting therefrom are quaintly related by Guaras in his letters, and were, after a long interval, partially successful, inasmuch as they led to a re-opening of trade and the patching up of some sort of balance of accounts in respect of the seizures by means of the appointment of a joint commission. Guaras was, of course, no match for Cecil in diplomacy, and quite believed that the desire for a settlement arose from a sincere feeling of friendship towards Spain, notwithstanding that Cecil constantly repeated to the Spaniard that he was well aware of the duke of Alba's plots to injure England, against which he said the Queen was fully armed. During the course of these negotiations Guaras gives a curious account of his first interview with the Queen (page 381).
The alliance between England and France was settled at Blois on the 19th April 1572. The Netherlands were to be partitioned and the old rivals were never to quarrel again, but together were to resist the arrogance of Spain. Navarre was to be married to the King's sister, Montmorenci was to go in great pomp to England for the ratification of the alliance, the Guises were beaten, and Elizabeth for the moment could scoff at Alba's futile plots and Philip's leaden pondering. But not for long. The Emperor, the Pope, and the Venetians sent to remonstrate with the eldest son of the Church, Charles IX., for joining rebels and heretics. Catharine de Medici, with the Biragos, the Gondis, and the Guises around her, was getting alarmed at the complete dominance of the Huguenots. So, very soon the messages sent to England got cooler and cooler, and Charles IX. begun to cry off his bargain about the Netherlands. Things were not going well either in the Netherlands themselves. Genlis and his French Huguenots had been routed and massacred by Alba's son, Fadrique. Elizabeth, therefore, seeing that Charles IX. was not to be depended upon, again smiled upon the Spaniards, and all Englishmen serving with the rebels in the Netherlands were ostentatiously, but fruitlessly, recalled. But it did not suit Catharine de Medici to lose hold of the English alliance altogether, particularly in view of what was being plotted for Navarre's wedding feast ; so she brought forward the farcical project of a marriage with her youngest son Alenon, whom she hoped yet to job into the sovereignty of a part of the Netherlands. A young lad named La Mole, one of the "mignons," was sent to do the vicarious love-making, and all was going prosperously when, on the 29th August 1572 (page 409), there fell like a thunderbolt upon the English Court the appalling news of St. Bartholomew. Guaras, when he gave news to the duke of Alba (30th August 1572), could find no word of reprobation for the great crime. He says, "God grant that it may be true, and that these rebel heretics have met with this bad end." Its consequences, however, strike him at once. "Since then there is no intelligence of English soldiers going over to Flanders, and this last news will give them something else to think about ... As may be supposed, if this news from Paris be true, the league between these people and the French will come to nothing, as people are already murmuring that they cannot trust Frenchmen." Elizabeth felt that she, too, had been betrayed. The French had tried their hardest to get her openly to break with Philip with the intention of leaving her in the lurch, and the treachery had only failed owing to her own wariness. La Mole was hastily dismissed and the French ambassador treated with conspicuous coldness. Orange was in arms in the States, and was obliged to depend mainly upon England for money now that France had deserted him. The readiness and dissimulation with which the support was sent to him will be seen by the letter of advice to Alba from London (page 415), and by many other similar letters in the present volume; but it was necessary that whatever was done for Orange now must be done without causing an open rupture between England and Spain, so that when, after long delay, Guaras received a reply from Alba about the terms of the proposed settlement respecting trade, he was welcomed by Cecil almost effusively. He says (6th October 1572): "I at once left for the Court, which is now away from here, and Lord Burleigh summoned me and told me that on that very day and other previous days the Queen had said to him she wondered why Guaras did not come to Court with the reply to the message given to him. He said they were surprised they had received no reply to the offer made by the Queen and Council to recall the Englishmen, who, they said, went there to resist the Frenchmen who might try to set foot in Flanders. ... When I told him I had a letter for the Queen he seemed greatly delighted thereat and asked me to show it to him. When he read the superscripture, he said, 'Although it comes tardily and the Queen is unwell, I will take it to her at once, because I know she will be pleased to learn that you have come with the message.' It is curious to observe all through this protracted negotiation that the main difficulty was the treatment to be extended to Englishmen in Spain by the Inquisition, and Cecil's claim for toleration was regarded from the first as preposterous ; it was, indeed, the only point upon which, in the end, he did not have his own way.
The gaps left by the loss of Guaras' correspondence are mainly filled by a remarkable series of letters in the Cotton MSS., directed to the Flemish Viceroys. I identify them as the writing of a Portuguese spy named Antonio Fogaza, who subsequently fell into poverty and was imprisoned for debt in London in 1579, when, no doubt, his papers came into the hands of the authorities. His information respecting armaments and aid to be sent to the rebels in Flanders is extremely full, and he was for the time in closer touch with sources of intelligence than was Guaras. It was owing to this fact that his ruin was brought about. He was the agent in London of the king of Portugal, but was secretly thwarting the Portuguese negotiations in the interests of Spain. Some letters from Alba to him were sent through Guaras, who opened them and learned for the first time that he was a valued Spanish agent and was giving important information to Alba. Fired with jealousy, Guaras denounced him to the Portuguese authorities as a traitor to them, and he was dismissed. Philip, as we have seen, was a bad paymaster, and for years Fogaza was begging the Spaniards for help and charity.
The almost open enlistment of men in England for the prince of Orange, the constant collection of funds from all classes of the people for the support of the war, and the constant fear that Elizabeth would at last be induced by the arguments and persuasions of Orange to openly espouse his cause and assume the protectorate of Holland and Zealand (see page 455), brought down Alba's pride, and he consented to the re-opening of trade with England early in 1573, on terms immensely favourable to Elizabeth, since her subjects again obtained a free market for their cloths, whilst she practically kept the bulk of what she had taken. This agreement alone would prove how completely Philip's cumbrous policy had failed when applied to a disjointed empire such as his. His selfish dread of responsibility and his constant aim of making catspaws of others, had alienated from him every power which could help him except the Pope and the Venetians, whose objects were not identical with his. The Emperor was held in check by the German Protestant princes, whilst the support given to the French Huguenots at Rochelle and on the sea had rendered the king of France as impotent for harm as was Philip. All the attempts of the Pope and Cardinal Lorraine to patch up the Catholic league again had failed ignominiously, and an instance of the nervous desire of the king of France to conciliate Elizabeth at this time is seen in Fogaza's letter to Alba of 17th November 1572, when the presence of Cardinal Ursino, the Pope's envoy in Paris, is almost apologised for by the French ambassador, who sought to counteract it by inviting the Queen to stand sponsor for the King's newly-born daughter.
Alba's fleet under Bossu was completely defeated by the prince of Orange in the autumn of 1573. Orange still held Holland, Zealand, and the best part of Flanders, and the Spaniards could make but little headway against him. Alba himself was more bitterly detested than ever, his troops were unpaid and mutinous, his exchequer empty, and he, old and ailing, was obliged to confess that his policy of blood and iron had utterly failed. Medina-Celi had never been allowed to assume the governorship, and when, in September 1573, Alba laid it down, he was replaced by Don Luis de Requesens, whose task it was to accomplish by suavity what Alba's severity had failed to perform. Whatever policy was adopted by the Spaniards in the Netherlands, Elizabeth had gone too far now to turn back, and it was clear that if Philip were ever allowed to rule undisturbedly over his Flemish dominions again, she would be the next object of attack. More support than before therefore was given to Orange, both on land and sea, and, as will be seen by the letters of Fogaza and Guaras in the present volume, some of Elizabeth's best officers were already employed openly on the rebel side.
In the meanwhile Guaras, in somewhat more humble fashion than De Spes, was immersing himself in intrigues on behalf of Spain, many of them, doubtless, undertaken sincerely by those who broached them to him, but others mere traps set for him by Cecil's connivance, into which he easily fell. Captains Chester, Pool, Haselby, Bingham, and other persons were for months in negotiation with him, some for the betrayal of Flushing, Caunfer, and other strong places, some for the murder of the Prince of Orange, some for the capture of the young king of Scotland, and some for the release of his mother. These advances were apparently received with cold caution by the King and Alba. Guaras' discretion was apparently not thought much more of than that of De Spes had been, and when anything of the sort had to be arranged it was considered best to do it without his help (see orders to Zubiar, page 469). Late in the autumn of 1575 the position of the prince of Orange became critical. His mercenary troops were worse than useless when they were unpaid, and money was running short. Requesens' mildness had conciliated the Catholic Flemings and weakened their sympathy for the rebellion. Orange, despairing of obtaining more effective aid from Elizabeth than she had thitherto given, which had always stopped short of an open national espousal of his cause, had approached the French Huguenots. The new King, Henry III., a blinded bigot, had thrown all his weight on to the side of the Guises and the Catholics ; which action had been met by the diplomatic Queen-Mother by putting her favourite son, the duke of Alenon, at the head of a moderate Protestant party, in order that she might still hold the balance. As early as July 1575 Guaras reported that Orange had offered to send his daughter to France to be married to Alenon or any other French prince, which proposal naturally was met in London by a resuscitation of the plan to marry Alenon to the queen of England. All through the summer Guaras was hinting that a joint enterprise might be undertaken in Flanders by the English and Cond in union, the object of which would be the expulsion or massacre of all Spaniards ; but if ever this were intended, Elizabeth's agile policy was at once changed when she saw that the king of France and the Queen-Mother were to be parties to the arrangement. Then she took fright and smiled upon the Spaniards again. She sent off Henry Cobham to Spain in August, charged with many loving messages, and appeals for favour towards English subjects in the hands of the Inquisition, but the real object of his mission is seen (page 506) in the desire to open Philip's eyes to the intrigues of Orange with the French Court. A fleet of Spanish transports for the Netherlands also touched Dartmouth and the Isle of Wight in November, and was received with marked courtesy by Elizabeth's orders. This softened aspect towards Spain had the effect which was doubtless desired. Alenon had fled from Paris, and was now in the field with Cond with a strong force, and Catharine de Medici, who was increasingly apprehensive of Spain and the Pope since the battle of Lepanto, saw that, if only Elizabeth could be conciliated, the Huguenot force might be used against Philip in the Netherlands, the trouble diverted from France, and her favourite son aggrandised. Elizabeth had the satisfaction, therefore, of finding herself wooed on all hands. In the beginning of the year 1576 the king of France (or Catharine de Medici) sent La Porte and La Mothe Fnlon, together with an envoy from Alenon, to beg her to marry the latter and join forces with the Huguenots to invade the Netherlands for their joint benefit. Orange sent Aldegonde, Paul Buiz, and others to urge her in the same direction ; whilst Requesens, the Viceroy of the Netherlands, sent the great Catholic noble Champigny (Cardinal de Granvelle's brother) to entreat her not to join with the French to injure "her good brother the king of Spain." But Elizabeth had succeeded too well in her balancing policy for her to adopt any other, and she still dexterously held the scales. Champigny got soft words, Orange got English volunteers with a mere affectation of concealment and Alenon was coyly encouraged, when the death of Requesens on the 6th March again somewhat altered the position. The Spanish soldiery were now quite out of hand ; all discipline was dead, and they pillaged and massacred Catholics and Protestants alike. Walloons and Flemings who had stood faithful even through Alba's cruelty could not stand this, and the revolt became once more national rather than purely religious. The appearance of Don Juan of Austria as Viceroy followed, and Elizabeth began to take up stronger ground. The States, north and south, were united now against a common enemy, and could dictate terms to the new Viceroy. The Spaniards were all to leave and Flemings only were to govern, and upon these humiliating terms alone was Don Juan allowed to enter Brussels. Now that the States were winning, Elizabeth did not want to be left out of account. She sent Sir John Smith to Philip to ask him to grant the terms of the Flemings and to offer her mediation, and at the same time made no secret of her intention to raise a strong national force and help them if their demands were refused. The truth is that nothing would have suited her less than a pacification, and it was accordingly the last thing she was seeking. There was no surer way of preventing a pacification than by pressing her intervention. She had heard, and Guaras himself repeats the story more than once, that Don Juan was giving terms to the Flemings in order to invade England, marry Mary of Scotland and rule over a Catholic Britain. Philip had learnt the story too, and was more afraid of his bold brother even than Elizabeth was, as Escobedo found to his cost, but their policy in face of the danger was as opposite as usual. Philip had his brother's principal adviser secretly murdered, and crippled Don Juan by starving his resources ; Elizabeth openly equipped a strong force for attack or defence, and laid a heavy hand on to Mary and the English Catholics. Guaras himself had been intriguing with all and sundry for a long time past, closely watched by Cecil, and had written in very uncomplimentary terms of the Queen and her Government. It was advisable that the Catholic party in England should again see how little she cared for the power of Spain, to which they were looking for help ; so at midnight on the 19th October 1577 Antonio de Guaras was arrested, his house occupied, and he imprisoned, at first in the house of the Sheriff of London and afterwards in the Tower, where, in constant fear of the rack, he was kept for eighteen months, broken in health, ruined in fortune, and treated with calculating contumely, to be afterwards ignominiously expelled the country penniless, that all men might see how little power to injure the Queen had her "good brother," who could not either keep his own treasure or protect his own servants. Although Don Juan had acceded to the humiliating terms dictated by the States, and was making a show of withdrawing Spanish troops, he was still regarded with deep distrust, even by his own Flemish Council of State in Brussels. The Catholic Walloons and Flemings of the south were now almost as hostile as the Protestants in the north, and Don Juan, at last, tired of the sullen obstruction which met him at every turn, denied the necessary resources by his jealous brother, and despairing of winning over the Flemings by concessions, took the bit between his teeth, threw over the Edict of pacification, seized the citadel of Namur, and defied the States to do their worst. Philip was dismayed at such bold action, and saw that if the Flemings, united as they were now, could get any help from abroad before he could overwhelm them with Spanish and Italian troops again, his Netherlands patrimony would, indeed, be lost to him. Elizabeth had sent a Secretary of the Council, Thomas Wilkes, to Madrid in December (page 549) to urge the King to withdraw Don Juan and the Spaniards, and let the States govern themselves on the terms of the Edict. It was gall and wormwood to Philip to be obliged to brook Elizabeth's interference between himself and his rebel subjects, and he treated Wilkes in a very high and mighty fashion, on the pretence that he was not of sufficient rank for such a mission. But he could not afford to offend the Queen, who now made no secret of her intention to uphold the Flemings with all her force in their demand for liberty and toleration. So, hard on the heels of the returning English envoy, he sent Don Bernardino de Mendoza, a Spanish noble of the highest lineage, as his resident Ambassador in London. No apology for the expulsion of De Spes or the seizure of the treasure had ever been sent, Guaras was a close prisoner in the Tower, threatened daily with torture, but Philip was obliged to swallow his pride and send, almost a suppliant, to beg Elizabeth not to help his revolting subjects. The change of position between England and Spain since the beginning of Elizabeth's reign is nowhere more clearly seen than by a comparison of the instructions given to Mendoza (page 553) with the attitude of Feria and his master as displayed in the former volume of the present calendar. Mendoza's instructions are almost piteously apologetic. Don Juan and the Spainards shall be withdrawn. It is entirely a mistake about the abrogation of the Edict ; the States shall have all they desire if they will only be loyal and Catholic, and Elizabeth is to be entreated not to interfere. Mendoza is told to "endeavour to keep her in a good humour and convinced of our friendship, banishing the distrust of us which she now appears to entertain, and for which we have given no good cause." The English ministers were all to be bribed, and, at any cost, English neutrality was to be secured. Mendoza passed through Paris at the end of February 1578, and found the Court in dismay. A fortnight before, Alenon had escaped again, and was now with a great force of Huguenots and Germans on the frontier of Flanders, in defiance of his brother's authority, in open treaty with the Protestant Flemings to enter the country as their champion, in rivalry with the Archduke Mathias, who had been invited by the Walloon and Catholic nobles. Don Juan also had just won the great victory of Gemblours, and was known to be plotting with the Guises, although it was thought in England, incorrectly, that he was doing so with the connivance of Philip. The new ambassador therefore, found Elizabeth in perplexity between two fires. On the one hand D'Havrey, the envoy from the States, was assuring her that unless she made up her mind at once to send over her army under Leicester or his brother, they would be obliged to hand themselves over to Alenon and his Frenchmen, which, at any cost, she was determined to prevent ; whilst, on the other hand, she was informed from all quarters, that the kings of France and Spain, the Pope, Don Juan, and the Guises were now united and determined to crush her for once and for all. Her diplomacy at this juncture was as masterly as usual. At her first interviews with Mendoza (page 564) she flattered him personally, although she said she knew he had been sent to injure her. She pressed her mediation on behalf of the States and urged that the terms of the Edict should be confirmed to them. If this were done and they were not contented she would send her army to support Philip against them, whereas if it were refused she should be obliged to help them, and, moreover, was determined that the French should not get a footing in the country. Mendoza was a man of vast ability, suave and courtly, and soon managed to get on good terms with the Queen, since, in face of the new position she had taken up, it was obviously to his master's interest that she should be conciliated.
An interesting account is given by Mendoza of Frobisher's voyages in his letters to the King, who was evidently deeply interested in them, and several references are made to the progress of Drake's plundering expedition to the Pacific of which reports, incredible as they seemed at the time, were then reaching Europe. The protracted negotiations for the release of Antonio de Guaras and the tempestuous efforts to the same end made by his wealthy brother Gombal de Guaras, are related at length, although the release of the prisoner was not effected until May 1579. During his various negotiations for the neutrality of England in the States for the protection of the Spanish Colonial trade and the release of Antonio de Guaras, Mendoza's suavity towards the Queen rarely deserted him. He made frequent reports as to the project of buying over the Queen's ministers, although, as usual, Philip was more ready to demand impossible pledges than to pay for them. There is no doubt, however, that eventually Burleigh and Sussex received presents to the value of 3,000 crowns each, Sir James Crofts 2,000 crowns in money, and Leicester some handsome jewels and horses (Mendoza to the King, 3rd May 1579). Dexterously as the Queen managed to hold out hopes that under certain circumstances her troops might be sent to the support of the Spaniards in Flanders, large bodies of men under experienced officers were allowed to slip over, with more or less secrecy, to help Orange and obviate the necessity for his appealing to French aid, whilst money and supplies were sent in a never ceasing stream, notwithstanding Mendoza's expostulations. The Queen at the same time was on the worst possible terms with Catharine de Medici, to whom she attributed the renewed Catholic activity in Scotland and the design to checkmate her in the States by means of Alenon. So alarmed was Elizabeth at the apparent danger from this quarter, that Catharine's envoy Gondi was dismissed insultingly and refused permission to go to Scotland, and at last it seemed as if Elizabeth's hand was to be forced. She sent Walsingham and Cobham to Orange to warn him against the French connection, and to Don Juan to say that if the French entered the country she would send over twenty thousand men to help the Spaniards, and if these were not enough for the purpose she would send over every man left in her country and avail herself of the forces of all her friends and allies"(21st May 1578). To all remonstrances against the going over of English volunteers she had but one reply, namely, that they went to prevent the country falling into the hands of the French, and were in Philip's interest rather than against him. Orange told the Queen that he would fight to the end against the Spaniards and must seek aid where he could get it. If she would not support him effectually he must, and would, appeal to the French. Orange was invariable in his object and inflexible in his method. This was the only attitude against which Elizabeth's agile feminine policy was ineffectual, and English help had to be sent more boldly than ever, always, as Elizabeth was careful to assure Mendoza, in order to prevent the dominions of her good brother from being overrun by the French. The position was not one that could endure very long. In September 1578, a few weeks only before the death of Don Juan, French envoys were sent both from the King and from Alenon, with offers of marriage from the latter to the Queen, confirmed by his brother, in order that joint action in the Netherlands might be undertaken for their united interests. It is doubtful whether the Queen would have given the ready ear she did to this, except for her knowledge that Philip, under cover of the Pope, was subsidising a Catholic invasion of Ireland under Fitzmaurice, but in any case, she did listen to it willingly and for many months Mendoza sent his master constant accounts of the progress of the courtship. Philip himself was never deceived by it. "It "is all pastime,"he said, "she is not in earnest about it, "and will never take a husband." Under cover of it however, Alenon entered the States, and Elizabeth's countenance immediately changed towards his agents in England. "Before she would proceed with the marriage treaty he must retire," she said, and in the face of the cold welcome he got from the Flemings themselves he was constrained to do so in December 1578. And then the marriage negotiations began in earnest. Mendoza's letters tell the story of Simier's mission to and captivation of the Queen, and of Alenon's stolen visit to her, but not so fully as the Hatfield Papers published by the Historical MSS. Commission, although Leicester's advocacy of the marriage when he thought it was feigned, and his bitter resentment when he found the Queen was at last in earnest, are fully set forth in the present volume, and we catch a glimpse of Simier's ample revenge upon him by divulging his marriage with the countess of Essex. In the last letters in the present volume another element of intrigue is brought upon the scene, which served to bring closer together the interests of Elizabeth and Catharine de Medici, namely, the succession to the Portuguese crown, claimed by Philip, to the manifest prejudice of the other maritime powers, and this, with the raising of a great fleet by Philip in the autumn of 1579, considerably modified Elizabeth's attitude towards the Spaniards. The long threatened invasion and rising in Ireland took place in August of that year, and the Queen told Mendoza that she could not believe his master would help rebels or wished to make war upon her, and hinted her uneasiness about Philip's fleet. Mendoza saw she was alarmed and gave her but cold comfort, saying, that if his master went to war with her it would not be with insignificant forces such as these (page 686). At the end of December these fears on the part of the Queen had become acute, and Mendoza says (27th December 1579) that as he did nothing to allay them, but had avoided her, she sent for him. After, in her usual fashion, overwhelming him with blandishments, she told him the sinister news she was receiving from all parts. He tells the King, however, that he left her more alarmed than ever, although he hints that the armed preparations she was making were as much to guard against her own people's discontent at her unpopular marriage as against his master's fleet. At the end of 1579 the more hopeful prospects of the Catholics are reflected in Mendoza's letters. The prince of Parma was more than holding his own in the Netherlands and he had managed to separate the Catholic Walloons and Flemings of the south from Orange and the Hollanders. D'Aubigny had already taken Scotch politics in his grasp, and his coming predominance was foreseen ; Ireland was in ebullition, but, above all, the seminary priests were flooding England and, as Mendoza says, increasing the number of Catholics every day. The English people was anticipating with loathing the marriage of the Queen with a Frenchman of less than half her age, and Mendoza's glee was undisguised at the trouble in store.
There only remains to add that the letters in the present volume are drawn from similar sources to those in the last, and that, as they were practically all originally written in cipher, no distinction has been made in the type to indicate the fact.
Martin A. S. Hume.