Simancas: February 1569, 1-15

Pages 106-108

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 2, 1568-1579. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


February 1569, 1-15

5 Feb.
B.M. Cotton, Galba, C. III. Original. French.
77. D'Assonleville to the Queen.
Begs to be allowed to communicate with Guerau de Spes the ambassador, and requests a passport for a courier. He assures the Queen that if she will give audience to the ambassador he will be able to fully satisfy her respecting the accusations made against him.—London, 5th February 1569.
14 Feb. 78. Guerau De Spes to the King.
By several previous letters I have informed your Majesty of the insolence of these Englishmen in daring to detain me and in persisting therein up to the present. They have done the same with Dr. D'Assonleville, whom the duke of Alba sent with just and reasonable instructions, and who they have not allowed to see the the Queen. It has been necessary to consult the Duke, and we await his reply. In the meanwhile D'Assonleville is in the house of the sheriff, well guarded. Cecil does as he likes in the Council, and, as he is such a heretic and fears that the country may return to the Catholic Church, it may well be believed that he desires to disturb everything. Some people say that he has all his money safe in Germany, so that if he does not like the look of things here he can repair thither. The money from the west, 95 boxes, entered here to-day, but that from Southampton has not yet been moved. They have detained five or six more very rich sloops from Seville, and the value of what they have seized (besides the money) exceeds 700,000 ducats, without counting what the pirates have stolen, which is worth 200,000 more. It is advisable to stop the coming to this country of oil, alum for their cloths, sugar, spices, and iron from Biscay. The iron they bring from Germany is not so easy to work as it might be. The Queen came to London on the 8th, and told the French ambassador two days before, that when she arrived she would give me audience, but not D'Assonleville, who came from the Duke, and therefore she would on no account receive him, or, at all events, not until he had given an account of his object to the Council. I believe before doing either they will await the return of this courier who goes to the Duke. Your Majesty can never trust this country whilst the present Government lasts, and even if they now return the money and goods detained, which I doubt, it will be only because they are not quite ready, or cannot obtain from their confederates the help they require. They have sent a gentleman named John Killigrew to Germany, besides others despatched previously.
It seems they intend to send 20,000 pieces of cloth and more to Hamburg and Einbden, and that 16 cargo ships and four of the Queen's ships will go thither. The cloths are already being packed. I will try the best I can to keep the Duke informed, but the strictness of the guards has not been relaxed in the slightest degree. Your Majesty will understand also that, if the matter is settled, they will be glad to have some other ambassador here whom they can manage better than they can me, whereat I shall not be sorry, because I doubt whether the Council is well disposed towards your Majesty, and even if they make full restoration, I do not think they deserve an ambassador from your Majesty here at all, but only an agent, so that when they make captures, reprisals may be at once adopted and their commerce stopped, which is the only thing that alarms them. Your Majesty will please consider this, and order what you think fit. For my part, I will continue my work without thinking of the danger. I wrote to your Majesty that they had taken the queen of Scotland to Tutbury in spite of her tears and protests, the excuse being that they had found certain letters written to her subjects by the Catholics, urging them to rise against the heretics. These people do nothing without a highly coloured excuse, and this was the one the Queen gave to the French ambassador.
I wrote to your Majesty that the queen of Scotland greatly wished your Majesty to take her son and bring him up properly, which seems as if it would be a great service to God. Your Majesty will please consider and instruct me. (fn. 1)
Three hundred of the Spaniards who came in the cutters and ships that have been taken in the ports have arrived here, but the guards will not let them approach my door. I have tried to find means to give them alms, and 70 or 80 of them have been put into Bridewell, where a knavish Spanish minister goes to preach to them every day, and has given them a book and other papers in Spanish full of heresy. I sent for the papers, and had the men told not to read such things or listen to the preacher, and I gave an account of what I did to my guards, so that they might report it to the Council, the affair being so scandalous an example. To-day, the 13th, at four o'clock in the afternoon, they brought the 95 boxes of money here from the west country under a strong guard, and they have put it in the Tower, whereat the populace are much pleased, in the belief that this money will be a great thing for them, and that it will be coined anew. It is believed the same will be done with the money from Southampton. Hawkins has come from the Indies, and entered here with four horses loaded with the gold and silver that he brings, which, however, I believe, will not pay the costs. He left 240 men in Florida, which these people think they are going to colonize.
Cardinal Chatillon has signified to the Queen that he will arrange for Havre de Grace and Dieppe to be handed over to them, and they have attempted it, but as the plot has been discovered they are much confused. They are greatly petting the French ambassador just now, because they do not wish the King to declare himself entirely against them.
I have to-day, the 14th, received advice from Plymouth that there have entered that place 14 Flemish sloops on their way from Spain with rich cargoes, and some of them had fought with the French pirates and belaboured them sorely, but fortune was against them, and when they thought they were taking shelter in friendly ports, they found themselves in a land of enemies, and they have all been arrested. The Spaniards have been so illtreated in the ports that it is impossible to exaggerate it. They could not have been worse treated amongst Turks.—London, 14th February 1569.


  • 1. A note in the handwriting of Secretary Zayas says, "No such letter has been received here."