Simancas: February 1569, 16-28

Pages 108-132

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

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February 1569, 16-28

18 Feb. 79. The King to Guerau De Spes.
By your letters to me and to the duke of Alba, up to the 9th January, we have learnt how the ship of Lope de la Sierra and the cutters with the money from Spain, together with other vessels, Biscay and Portuguese, had been detained in England, and the steps you have taken in consequence, both with the Queen and her ministers, in order that this money and property might be allowed to proceed to Flanders. Instead of this, you say they had placed a guard over your house and detained you. Both of these proceedings ceedings are strange, and very incompatible with the ancient friendship which the house of Burgundy has hitherto held with the English crown. The step taken by the Duke in consequence of your information, in detaining ships and goods of English subjects in Flanders, was appropriate, and a similar step has been taken here. At the same time orders have been given that no ship is to sail for those parts without my orders, and I shall be guided in my future action by the nature of the reply brought by Councillor D'Assonleville from the Queen, as this will prove whether she wishes to regard me as a friend or foe. Until this reply comes to hand I cannot give you further instruction, excepting to refer you to the duke of Alba, as he, being so near and informed from hour to hour of what passes, can the better direct you as to the best course to take, and you will follow his orders If what you mention about taking the crown away from the Queen were successful, it would be certainly of great moment, and I would assist it most willingly in order to redress religion and shelter and console the good Catholics, who I am persuading are very numerous. You will endeavour to learn all about this thoroughly and advise me very fully and in detail, and you will also do the same to the duke of Alba, as usual, who will give you my instructions. I am now writing to him my wishes on the subject.—18th February 1569.
80. The King to the Duke Of Alba.
Both in the matter of the seizure of the money and ships and the placing of guards over Don Guerau de Spes in his house, it seems to me that the queen of England is proceeding in a way which may cause me misgiving. I believe, with you, that she will not dare to declare war with me or acknowledge me as an open enemy, but that the heretics and evil councillors have egged her on to this action. It was, however, very desirable to clear up the question, and learn something of her intentions by sending D'Assonleville, and ordering the seizure of all English persons and property in the States. In accordance with your advice I have taken the same course in these realms, and have ordered that no ship shall be allowed to leave for England until further permission be given, which will depend upon events there. Don Guerau points out in my letters and yours the good opportunity which now presents itself to remedy religious affairs in that country by deposing the present Queen and giving the crown to the queen of Scotland, who would immediately be joined by all the Catholics. It will be well for you to inquire what foundation there is for this, and what success would probably attend such a design as, if there is anything in it, I should be glad to carry it out ; as it appears to me that, after my special obligation to maintain my own States in our holy faith, I am bound to make every effort in order to restore and preserve it in England as in former times. If there is any foundation for the suggestion, no time more opportune than the present could be found for carrying it out, and, in order not to miss it, I have thought well to refer it to you. If you think the chance will be lost by again waiting to consult me, you may at once take the steps you may consider advisable in conformity with this, my desire and intention, which would certainly give me great pleasure. I have so much confidence in your good sense and prudence that I am sure I can safely leave the matter in your hands. Please keep me well informed.
It will be also desirable for you to send me the document you were drawing up of what I am to say if the queen of England sends a person here to make any representation or excuse to me, as she tries to do in the proclamation of which you send copy. As no doubt in England and elsewhere they will place their own construction on the punishment meted out by Don Martin Enriquez to John Hawkins and other pirates whom they found in a port of New Spain, I send a true statement of what happened, for your information and the transmission of a copy thereof to Don Guerau de Spes, that he may know all about it if they mention the matter to him.—Madrid, 18 February 1569.
81. Extract of a Statement of the Conversation of an Agent (fn. 1) of the King of France with the Duke of Alba, Saturday, 19 February 1569.
He then went on to give his Excellency an account of the plot hatched by the queen of England in Dieppe, in which many of the burgesses and 40 soldiers were implicated. The commander of the fortress had offered to surrender it for 100,000 crowns, of which the Queen was to pay one half at once and the other half when the place was surrendered. Four of the soldiers had repented, and divulged the plot to the King, all the rest of them having been arrested and confessed. He said that the Queen-mother was furiously angry and grieved, and wished for nothing so much as to be revenged on the queen of England. By way of complaint he then began to talk of the dishonesty of that Queen, and said it was hard she could not rest satisfied with the freedom she enjoyed and the subjection in which she held her people, without interfering as she did in other folks' affairs ; but that sometimes God allowed men to meddle in affairs that brought with them their own punishment, and this might happen in her case. He had seen here (in Flanders) such a good company that, if his Excelleucy would throw a part of his men into England, and Anjou were to enter on the other side, they could take away the Queen's crown in a very few days. He did not dwell very emphatically on the matter, but soon started off on another tack with his usual gestures.
29 Feb. 82. Guerau De Spes to the Duke Of Alba.
On the 18th instant I received your Excellency's letter of the 9th, and that of the 14th by D'Assonleville's courier. On the same day, D'Assonleville was given permission to communicate with me, and we determined to request the Queen to send a secretary or a member of the Council to speak to D'Assonleville, when he would communicate the decision which had been sent to him. They replied cautiously that the Council was here and would receive him. A reply was sent to the Queen, and we have decided to act for the best, in accordance with your Excellency's orders. I will not request to be allowed to be present at the audience with the Queen. Hitherto, Cecil has ruled the whole business, and he was strongly in favour of declaring war, but he could not get the Council to agree. Some days ago, two of the principal Councillors, the duke of Norfolk and the earl of Arundel, sent Roberto Ridolfi, a Florentine gentleman, a great friend of theirs and mine (with whom they have given me a safe cipher), to tell me that the money and ships would be returned entirely, and that they had only consented to my detention and Cecil's other impertinences because they were not yet strong enough to resist him. But, in the meanwhile, they were gathering friends, and were letting the public know what was going on, in the hope and belief that they will be able to turn out the present accursed Government and raise another Catholic one, bringing the Queen to consent thereto. They think your Excellency will support them in this, and that the country will not lose the friendship of our King. They say that they will return to the Catholic religion, and that they think a better opportunity never existed than now. Although Cecil thinks he has them all under his heel, he will find few or none of them stand by him. I have encouraged them, and I write this to your Excellency in order that you may promptly give me your opinion, and I beg you will do me the favour of sending this letter itself to His Majesty, as the messenger will not carry more than one. Cecil, in the meanwhile, is bravely harrying the Catholics, imprisoning many, for nearly all the prisons are full. The Spaniards are in Bridewell, to the number of over 150, and a minister is sent to preach to them, who promises them gifts if they will become converts to his sect ; but they are firm, and, although I constantly beg that the minister may be withdrawn, the matter is passed over.
I wrote to your Excellency that they had brought 95 boxes of money to the Tower. Cecil has had it all counted in his presence, and put into sacks of 20,000 to 30,000 reals each, the boxes being broken up. He would like to have had it melted, but those I have mentioned on the Council have prevented it. In the meanwhile, he sent the governor of the Isle of Wight to Southampton to bring the money taken from Lope de la Sierra's ship. The reason why the ships which were on this coast could not get away was that, before your Excellency placed the general embargo in Flanders, they had taken away the sails and rigging from the ships, and they made Lope de la Sierra discharge his cargo of wool and give up his ship by telling him that the pirates were in league with the holders of the forts, and that the ship would be attacked in the night. He therefore relinquished his ship and took his ordnance on shore. What are of most value are the 14 sloops which have put in here from Spain since the embargo, believing that they were entering into friendly ports, some of them wishing to continue on their voyage ; but the Vice-Admiral's ship pursued them like a pirate, and made them re-enter the port, where they are detained. On the 13th instant they took away the guards posted in the wooden sheds they had erected in the garden here, which sheds were then destroyed. I think it was more in consequence of the severe weather than anything else. The garden gates are still fastened up, and the gentlemen who guard me remain in the porter's lodge at the principal gate, which is well guarded. I do not hear for certain that they have sent anyone to Spain or that they will do so. The Queen herself is much confused. Cecil, the Admiral, and Bedford urge her to war, although the Admiral's object is simply robbery, and he will turn round to the party that suits, him, according as events may go. He is no lover of fighting. The other members and the public desire peace. These gentlemen (i.e Norfolk and Arundel) tell me not to distress myself about my detention, and that it was ordered to prevent any Catholic from communicating with me. They say the Queen knew very well I had not written to Bruges, and they were all quite satisfied with His Majesty. They cast all the blame on Cecil.—London, 29th February 1569.
27 Feb. 83. Guerau De Spes to the King.
By many previous letters I have informed your Majesty, as best I could, of the insolence perpetrated on me and of the ill-will of these people. I have also reported the arrival of D'Assonleville, who has now been here for a month, but whom the Queen has hitherto refused to receive, although they have tried by divers artifices to discover what his errand was. The Marquis of Northampton and Cecil have given him a confused answer, as D'Assonleville will write to your Majesty, the effect of which is that, before the Queen restores this money, it is necessary for your Majesty to newly confirm the treaties now in force, and settle all points left open at the Bruges conference ; the bad treatment extended to me being, as they pretend, counterbalanced by the treatment of John Man by your Majesty. Whilst Cecil governs and guides these people, their policy will be to delay the affair and keep the money, as the Queen was in want of it. They will thereby be able also to detain 22 sloops, which, unfortunately for them, since my detention, put into these ports; besides which, if German affairs turn out to their liking, they will do their best to inflict some great injury in Flanders, whereas, if a better opportunity presents itself in France, they will try to damage the Christian King in a similar way. The object is to strike a blow at the Catholic party somewhere, so that they may still remain rich and contumacious heretics for many years longer. With regard to your Majesty sending some other person to treat on the matter, seeing the bad way in which they have behaved with the Duke and D'Assonleville, and knowing, as I do, the bad disposition of Cecil and the deceit of all these people, I think it will not be conducive to your Majesty's dignity to do so, as I understand that, whilst this Government lasts, they will continue to give the same answer as they have to D'Assonleville; but your Majesty will decide, much better than I can, that which is most advantageous. There are many means here by which these people may be punished and this pernicious state of things reformed. As I have written, the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Arundel, and all their friends offer to serve with this end. They are the largest party in the country, without counting the great multitude of Catholics who are preparing to strike, under the pretence of obeying the general order for warlike preparations which has been proclaimed. The stoppage of trade with Flanders is of so much importance here that the mere fact of its prolongation will contribute largely to change the present state of things. The only thing needful in the interim is to take care that no damage is done in Flanders, and the prudence and valour of the Duke will provide against this. The duke of Norfolk and the others who are treating with me advised me of the answer to be given to D'Assonleville, and said it would be well that we should appear satisfied with it, as that would enable them to open out somewhat to the Queen, and let her know their feelings. They are all extremely cautious in their proceedings, as they know that, although some of my guards have been removed, the number of spies has been increased, even to dog the steps of the servant who goes errands for me, and to watch all people who approach the door of my house by night. I shall, however, soon have better means of communicating with those of whom I speak, and shall be able to arrange with them what is best to be done. I will advise the duke of Alba of it. After having despoiled some 200 Spaniards, they have put them into Bridewell, and, in spite of everybody, still insist upon a minister preaching to them every day, respecting which there have been many disputes between the Council and myself through these gentlemen who guard me, who are a fine set of heretics, and, although they say they will alter it, the minister still goes to Bridewell frequently.
The queen of Scotland is kept much more strictly than I am. All the Commissioners on both sides have been allowed to return to Scotland except the bishop of Ross, whom they guard closely, as no doubt they feared that he might go to the Continent and report the wickedness which is going on here. Their anxiety is so great that, actually, Cecil sent this evening to the French Ambassador to ask him to give him an assurance that he would not take letters on any account from the Spanish ambassador or from D'Assonleville. They are very anxious for the French not to stop their trade, (fn. 2) but it is of the greatest importance that this should be done, and especially as regards Spain, because, without oil and alum, they cannot carry on their cloth manufacture, by which the greater number of the people of the country live. If they cannot work, or there is any obstacle to the disposal of their goods, they usually take up arms ; and at the time of the Bruges negotiations, when the stoppage of trade was only to the Netherlands, the Queen was forced to buy cloths from the towns at a loss, in order to keep things going. They are bragging now about sending cloths to Hamburg, and they are packing some already, although many people think that they are only doing it for show. The effect will soon be seen.—London, 27th February 1569.
Holograph postscript : By the letters from me to His Majesty and from D'Assonleville to your Excellency, you will know what is passing here. I shall not know the intention of the Lords until to-morrow, but will write to your Excellency when I do. By the memorial you will see that I have given the Council here an account of the robberies that have, recently been committed. Another sloop has just arrived at Southampton, and has been detained. The courier Florian comes in her, with many letters from the merchants of Lisbon, and some servants of Montigny and of Counts Egmont and Horn who were in Madrid. (fn. 3) Your Excellency should send recalling D'Assonleville, as that will be necessary in the interests of the negotiation.
Note.—This letter was doubtless sent open to the duke of Alba for his perusal before he forwarded it to the King.
84. Document endorsed : "Copy of" statement made to Don Frances de Alava by the English ambassador resident in France, respecting what had passed with Don Guerau de Spes concerning the money and the arrest of his person in his house. Sent by Don France's to the Duke, with the letter from the Queen to His Majesty enclosed."
At the end of November last Her Majesty the Queen received reports from her governors and officials in the west of England, namely, in certain ports of Cornwall and Devon, that some ships had arrived there on their voyage to Flanders, and that there were certain armed French ships at sea, for fear of which neither they nor the English merchants dared to put to sea, particularly such as desired to go to Bordeaux for wine, and the said ships on their way to Flanders.
Her Majesty, thereupon, seeing that she was already informed by petition that her subjects could not trade with Bordeaux as usual, ordered some of her own ships to be fitted out for the defence of her subjects, and she sent promptly to order William Winter, who had command of her ships there, to extend the same protection to the subjects of the king of Spain, both at sea and in the ports, as he would extend to her own subjects. He had previously determined to steer his course direct for Bordeaux, but, understanding that the said Spanish ships were in certain ports of Cornwall and Devon, first went thither and gave them promises of protection. After he had been there a short time, the French ships entered the ports, and he ordered them expressly to avoid molesting the Spanish ships, and to be gone out of the ports, which they did. Notwithstanding which, they secretly returned in the night and robbed the Spaniards, but were expelled by Winter and many of them wounded.
About the same time the Spanish ambassador, having received notice of the arrival of the said Spanish ships, begged her Majesty the Queen to order her officers to defend them whilst in the ports and to give a passport, authorising certain monies which came in them to be brought over-land to Dover, or otherwise, that she would allow some of her ships to convoy them in safety to Antwerp. The Queen replied that she already had news of the business and had ordered her officers to look to the defence of the money, and said that she would give guards, and permission for it to be safely carried by land or sea, wherever was required. To this the ambassador answered that he would write to the duke of Alba, and on receipt of his decision, would accept one of the two offers made by her Majesty. The Queen, for greater security, wrote fresh and more pressing letters, ordering Winter and all other officers to attend particularly to the defence of the said ships, and ordered that the treasure should be put on shore, to the satisfaction of the persons who had charge of it. At the same time she sent special letters to Winter again ordering him to guard the said ships against all violence. A fortnight after this, Winter advised the Queen that it was urgent that he should sail for Bordeaux to convoy the English merchantmen, to the number of 80, which were awaiting on the coast ; but that he had taken such measures in the ports that the Spanish ships should be well protected by the land forces. Those in charge of the ships, seeing that William Winter was leaving, also petitioned the officers of the ports and certain gentlemen of those parts who had been authorised to bring the treasure on shore, to the same effect; the money in the meanwhile being on shore in charge of the Spaniards themselves, aided by certain companies of Englishmen for its greater security. Whilst this was passing in the West her Majesty learnt of another Spanish ship in Southampton loaded with wool, and some treasure, and that the same ship was also in danger from armed Frenchmen, who were near the port between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. She thereupon ordered the Governor of the island, who was at Court at the time, to go post to Southampton to see if the Spanish ship was in danger or not, and if so, to warn the owners and endeavour to provide against it. According to the letters writt n by him it appears that he not only enjoined the French to depat without molesting the Spanish ship, but also gave orders to certain forts in the island to fire their cannon on the French, in case the latter attacked the Spaniards. After this French offered a large sum of money to the Governor if he would only refrain from helping the said ship in case they, the French, attacked it by night taking little account, it would appear, of the guns of the forts. The Governor, for the sake of his own honour, refused the proffered money, and, in fulfilment of the command given by the Queen to protect the ship, informed the master, one Lope de la Sierra, who, seeing the danger in which his ship was, begged the Governor, in writing, to help him to place the treasure on shore, which was done three or four days before Christmas, and it was put into a safe place under the seal of Lope de la Sierra himself, so that no portion of it could be touched without his consent. On Lope de la Sierra requesting that one of the boxes should be opened that he might take a sum out for his own expenses, this was done, and in this box as in other parts of the ship, documents were found proving that the money belonged to certain merchants, and was not the property of the king of Spain. About the same time other documents of a similar nature were received from Devon and Cornwall with respect to the money in the cutters that were there, which documents upon being examined proved also that that treasure was private property and not that of the king of Spain. This was confirmed by the statement of some of the Spaniards who came with the treasure, to the effect that it belonged to certain merchants ; besides which, letters were received from Antwerp dated 16th December,reporting that the money belonged to some Genoese merchants resident there, and that as they were sure they would be paid a fair interest, they were willing that the Queen should have the use of it for a year, or longer, if she desired. Thereupon the persons who gave this information were requested to negotiate with the Genoese merchants to this effect. Whilst her Majesty was awaiting the reply, the Spanish ambassador came to Court on the 29th December, asking that all the treasure should be removed from the places where it was; affirming that it was all the property of the king of Spain, and, in order that greater credit should be given to his assertion, he handed to the Queen a, letter of three or four lines from the duke of Alba, which simply asked that credit should be given to the ambassador, without any mention being made of the money or anything else. Her Majesty having considered this and compared it with the information she had received, to the effect that the money belonged to merchants and not to the King, replied that, what she had already done, if the money belonged to the King, had been done in order to guard it against the French, and gave him an account of some of the efforts of her officers with this object. She, however, was now informed, she said, that the money belonged to merchants, and, as in four or five days she would have further particulars, she assured him on her word that nothing should be done which could displease her brother the King, and she would prove what she said within four or five days when she saw him again. The ambassador took his leave without any sign of being dissatisfied with this reply. Her Majesty afterwards received news from the west country where the cutters were, fully confirming the previous information and proving conclusively that the money belonged to the merchants. On the 3rd of January, which was the fifth day after the ambassador saw her, he having in the interim not seen the Queen or requested a reply, she learnt that Count Lodron had called together all the numerous English merchants residing in Antwerp on the 28th December, and told them that the duke of Alba had given orders for the arrest of all their persons and property. This was the day before the ambassador had his answer, so that on the following day, the 29th, when the ambassador received it, as aforesaid, a general arrest of all English subjects in Antwerp had been ordered, and all of them were lodged in a house and guarded by a company of soldiers. It must also be noted that, after the ambassador had received his reply at Hampton Court on Wednesday the 29th December, he left on Thursday for London and immediately despatched one of his servants named Marron, who is called his secretary, by way of Dunkirk, who had all the English of whom he could learn thrust into close imprisonment, and forbade all persons to go over to England. In Bruges also, all English subjects and property were embargoed and he (Marron) urged the Governors of the town to employ greater cruelty to the English people than was considered advisable by the Governors themselves, who apparently understood the evils which might arise from such a bold course.
At the same time, all over Flanders the greatest cruelty was used towards Englishmen, poor mariners and others, who were all cast into the public prisons, with less consideration, even, than is employed in time of war. Her Majesty was kept informed of all this, and being moved by her natural solicitude and care for her faithful subjects, ordered by public proclamation in London on the 7th January, that all commerce and trade with Flanders should cease until the intention of her brother the King should be known in thus arresting her subjects, and sequestrating their property. She also ordered that all the subjects of the king of Spain in her dominions, and their goods, should be detained in consideration of the prior embargo that had been placed on her subjects abroad. Her Majesty in doing this, had not followed the severe example set by the officers of the king of Spain in Flanders, and by the ambassador, in sending the orders he did by his said servant, as may be seen by the various moderate regulations made in the royal decree already mentioned. Her Majesty, moreover, having heard of the bad opinion universally formed by her subjects of the person of the Spanish ambassador, in consequence of his action in this matter, and the cruel persecutions prompted on the other side by his secretary Marron, which were much more severe than those ordered by the duke of Alba or Count Lodron in Antwerp, thought necessary, both for the safety of the ambassador himself, and, at the same time, to tame him somewhat, and satisfy her poor subjects who had been so cruelly maltreated, principally by his instrumentality, to order him to remain in his own house and that none of his people should be allowed outside, except for the necessary provisions. For this purpose her Majesty appointed certain gentlemen discreetly and prudently to arrange this, and to remain in the house with the ambassador, without cost or annoyance of any sort to him. To put this into execution she had sent the right honourable Lord Clinton, Lord Admiral, and Sir William Cecil, principal Secretary of State, both members of her Council, who informed the ambassador of her Majesty's resolution. When they saw the ambassador they proceeded as follows : The Admiral spoke first and briefly said in French that he and the secretary had been sent by the Queen, but that as he did not speak much Latin the secretary would communicate her Majesty's message in that tongue, which he (the Admiral) understood, although he had little practice in speaking it. With this the secretary, in fulfilment of the Queen's orders and the decision of the Council, told the ambassador that the Queen considered it very strange that a general arrest and embargo of all her subjects and their goods had been ordered in Flanders with extreme severity, and she desired to learn if he had any knowledge whether the duke of Alba had received special orders from the King to act in this way, and also whether he, himself, had express commands to do what he had done. To this the ambassador replied that the Queen ought not to consider it strange that the Duke should have acted as he had, as the cause of his doing so was that he considered the King's treasure had been wrongfully detained. As to whether the Duke had received special orders from the King, he thought that he had not done so, but had acted as Governor and Captain-General of Flanders. As regarded himself, the ambassador said he had no express command from the King, nor had he done anything in the matter except to report to the Duke what he had negotiated. He was thereupon told that, in the first place, the detention of the treasure was in order to secure it against the French, as was well known by him and others, and to whomsoever it belonged therefore, her Majesty should be thanked for having detained it. He also knew how reasonable had been the reply given to him on the 29th December, from which nothing could be deduced which could arouse any mistrust, or from which any blame could be imputed to the Queen, since she had assured him that she would do nothing which could displease the king of Spain, as he would understand within four or five days when she saw him again. Her Majesty, therefore, could not help holding the duke of Alba as the author of what had been done, since no trace of its having been ordered by the King existed, and as the ambassador himself confessed that he had no special orders on the subject, yet, nevertheless, it was easily discerned that he, the ambassador, had intervened very rigorously in the affair, and the Queen could not help considering that, thereby, he had exceeded the terms of his commission, he having been sent hither to aid in the preservation of the treaties of friendship and ancient alliance and commerce between the kingdoms, and not to destroy them suddenly of his own action. To prove that he had intervened in this way, against what he asserted, he was informed that he had on a certain day despatched his secretary Marron beyond the sea, and the cruelties which the said secretary had there perpetrated in his name were cited to him. To this the ambassador answered at first that he had no such secretary, but on his being told that Marron was so considered and so styled in the letters, he replied that it was true that there was a servant of the King thus called, who had been here and had been despatched with letters to Flanders, but that even supposing Marron had used his name beyond the sea, his authority was not sufficient to carry any weight there. Notwithstanding that Marron's acts were clearly proved to him, he thought by answering in this way coolly to pass the matter over, even though letters found from Antonio de Guaras, a great friend of the ambassador, and other Spaniards, proved clearly that the ambassador had sent Marron to act as he had done. After this the ambassador was told that, for the reasons already stated, her Majesty had determined to order him to remain in his house under her protection, in order that he might be secure against the irritation of the people. For this purpose three gentlemen were presented to him, namely, Francis Carew, Henry Knollys, and Henry Knyvett. He said he was content to accept the Queen's decision, but could not help protesting that he ought to be allowed the rights appertaining to an ambassador. To this he was answered that, as this embargo and violation of treaties had been his own doing, without orders from his King, he himself had not thus acted as an ambassador, and the Queen did not intend to prejudice in any way by what she did her friendship with the king of Spain nor any privilege due to his ambassador. On the contrary, she desired to maintain such amity, so long as he did not wish otherwise. The ambassador, with some heat, again repeated his words of protest that his ambassadorial privileges should be respected, and he was told that much more than was now being done to him had been done to Mr. Man, the Queen's ambassador in Madrid, which action also the Queen did not attribute to her good brother the King, but to some of his officers or ministers. Mr. Man was expelled the town where he lived and sent to a poor village three leagues off, where he was placed under a guard and confined in a very small lodging without liberty to speak to anyone, and was not permitted to enter the presence of the King to answer the charges against him, although he promised that, if he could not clear himself, he would be content to suffer the displeasure of his Majesty. The ambassador replied to this, that it was well known that Man had been so treated because he wished to exercise his own religion in Spain, which could not be tolerated, and thereupon the ambassador was told that the queen of England's ambassador, had as much right to exercise the religion of his country, without interfering with the King's subjects, as he, the ambassador, had to attend mass here ; because the queen of England is a sovereign princess equal to any, and a subject to no other person. He was told that he was also to be blamed in this matter as he was not content to exercise this privilege for himself and his household, but connived at the attendance of the Queen's subjects at religious ceremonies which are forbidden by the laws of this country. Towards the end of the conversation the ambassador asked authority to send some person to Flanders for money to provide for his daily expenditure and maintenance, and was told that it would not be necessary for him to do this as he would not fail to obtain the necessary provisions, and would have more credit here than the bishop of Aquila had who was here before Don Diego de Guzman, in whose praise some well-merited expressions were used. Whilst the Bishop lived here he had bought on credit both goods and provisions from many poor persons, for which nothing hitherto had been paid, and these poor creditors had never ceased since his death to beg for payment, both through the Queen's ambassadors in Spain and through the King's ambassadors here. Although promises had been given that these debts should be paid, no part of them had been received, and many poor people had been ruined thereby. The ambassador said that this money had been paid, which, being contrary to the truth, he was told so. He was subsequently told that if he wished to write to the duke of Alba or to any other person to report the cause and manner of his detention, he might give the letters to be read before closing them to the English gentlemen who remained with him, and if he would write a letter in his own hand, that the bearer of them should pass safely when he arrived beyond the sea, a man would at once be sent with his letters direct to the duke of Alba, since experience had shown that otherwise no Englishman could land in Flanders without immediately being arrested and cast into prison, it is presumed through the action of his secretary Marron. To this the ambassador only replied that he would consider it, and this is all that passed on that day, without a single word having been uttered more harsh than those set forth, as can be testified by various English gentlemen who were present and heard all the conversation, although the ambassador has since written to a different effect. It is true that the admiral and the secretary had instructions to set forth divers things done by the duke of Alba since he has been in Flanders, at which her Majesty has cause to be displeased and aggrieved, seeing the good offices she has performed during the disturbed period when she might by many ways have injured the Duke and his affairs, which, however, she would not by any means do, notwithstanding the great provocation she had received. They were also told to mention to the ambassador the grievance done by the printing and publishing in Spain of certain books attacking the King, her famous father, and insulting her with obvious lies and falsehoods. Although complaints had been made of this, and redress promised, the evil was renewed by the printing and publishing of other things worse still. The bad treatment also of the ambassador, Mr. Man, was to have been set forth in detail, the action in this case having been effected with so much discourtesy that the Queen could not believe that her good brother the King was the origin of it. They were also directed to declare divers grievances which had been caused to her Majesty's subjects in Flanders recently in many ways, as for instance, in new taxes having been imposed upon them, in violation of the agreement made in Bruges within the last four years. But the admiral and the secretary, seeing that the ambassador was disturbed with what they had previously said, and they having to go to the Court the same night, eleven miles off, the hour being already late, they thought best to defer the last-mentioned matters for the present. All this passed on Saturday the 8th January. Three days afterwards, the 11th, the ambassador sent to Henry Knollys and the other gentlemen a packet of letters directed to the duke of Alba, which Mr. Knollys returned to him saying, that if he wished to advise the Duke of anything regarding his position, and what he wrote was in accord with the truth, and he would give letters assuring safe passage to the man who took it, the said packet would be sent. To this he replied that, as to the first, he would duly think it over, and with regard to the second, his letters would have no authority as a safe conduct. Notwithstanding this, shortly afterwards he sent some of his servants to Henry Knollys with the aforementioned letters open, saying that after he had read them and had them sealed up, they might be sent to the Court as promised. Whilst the letters were being read he sent again to say that if they liked they could send them to the Court open, which, having regard to some expressions in them, Knollys thought he ought not to refuse to do. When they were seen by certain members of the Council the latter were much displeased at them, not only in consequence of what they contained, they being written in a very unseemly way for a person in the writer's position, but especially for the insolence and presumption he had shown in ordering them to be sent to the Court open. (fn. 4) When the rest of the Councillors heard of this and had had the letters interpreted to them, they could not help being gravely offended, both at the contents and at the insolence of sending them open, and it was unanimously agreed to write a letter to the ambassador informing him of the reasons which they had for complaining of him and his letters. To this letter of the lords, dated on the 14th, he replied by another written on the 16th, which reply being entirely unsatisfactory, seeing that the best excuse he could make was that in consequence of their ignorance of the Spanish tongue, in which his letters were written, they had misunderstood what he said, although their Lordships had no reason to believe that they had been deceived by the translators, yet they caused some native Spaniards to read them, and found that no other meaning could be attributed to the words used than that which had already been understood. The lords therefore sent Bernard Hampton, whom it is believed the king of Spain will know, as he was Spanish secretary to the Queen Mary, and William Winter, Captain of Artillery in the Queen's fleet, both being discreet persons well versed in the Spanish tongue, that they might ask the ambassador what other possible meaning or interpretation could be placed by him on his letters than that which their Lordships had placed upon them, confirmed by discreet native Spaniards. The ambassador replied that it was true that anything, no matter how well written, could be twisted to an evil meaning, but, as regarded what he had written to the duke of Alba, saying that all, great and small, in this country were dissatisfied with the Government, he had never, for a moment, intended to allude in this to the lords and others of the Council ; but that when in Spain the expression of "great and small," having said or done this or that, is used, it is understood to mean that such a thing has been commonly said or done. He also, wishing to report that the people were generally dissatisfied, had used these words ; but it was not his intention in saying "that great and small were dissatisfied with the Government," to indicate that they were generally dissatisfied with the government of the State, but only with this affair of the detention of the King's money. Regarding the letter which he wrote to Geronimo de Curiel, saying that he was a prisoner of Queen Oriana, he said it seemed very strange that their Lordships should misunderstand his meaning, seeing that any person who has been, or conversed in the Court of Spain, would have understood it, and taken it in good part, because when they want there to refer to any lady of singular and excellent person they call her queen Oriana, and, indeed, the ladies and gentlemen of the Court used to amuse themselves by calling the queen of Spain by that name, and other ladies by other names out of the famous fable of Amadis. He affirmed that he had never thought of writing anything injurious or disrespectful of Her Majesty the Queen, for whom he had the great esteem, which was due to so virtuous and excellent a Princess. As to what he said in his letter about Archelaus being still alive, he said he had no intention of indicating any particular person here, but that, only following the course of the fable, he mentioned Archelaus amongst other personages therein without any other intention than the afore-mentioned.
28 Feb. 85. The King to Guerau De Spes.
I have little to add to the enclosed, excepting that they have acted very badly, after arresting you to seize the letter you wrote to me. Both are acts of open hostility, but, nevertheless, you will not make any move beyond what the duke of Alba orders you. We expect advice of the reply that the Queen will have given to D'Assonleville in order to decide how to proceed, in conformity with the intentions manifested therein. If the Queen has the understanding, which you say she has, with the princes of Germany and particularly with the Palatine, to induce them to arm and jointly attack my Netherlands, it will be a decided proof that she is my enemy. You will endeavour to discover this thoroughly, and write to me by all opportunities, and also to the duke of Alba, as you will see how important it is to the interest of the States.— Madrid, 28th February 1569.
86. Document endorsed : Statement made by Councillor D'Assonleville of his mission to England, upon which he was sent by the duke of Alba.
On the 22nd February 1569 Mr. Mildmay, a councillor, and Secretary Cecil, came and declared that they had been commissioned by the Queen to hear, in substance, what I had to say, in order that they might communicate it to her, to which course they said I had already consented.
I said it was true, and, as the Queen so wished it, in order to please her and expedite matters as to my audience with her, I would make the statement they requested, which I did, reserving for myself the right of stating to the Queen personally points that were for her private ear.
They said they would listen to my statement, and asked me whether I had any other point I wished to mention ; to which I replied that I had, but only in case the Queen satisfied me on the first matter, and they thereupon left.
On Friday, 25th February, I was requested by Thomas Gresham to attend after dinner at the Chancellor's house, where some of the councillors awaited me. When I arrived there I found the marquis of Northampton, the Admiral, Mildmay, and Cecil, and the marquis first addressed me saying, that the Queen had been informed by the gentlemen now present of what had passed with me a few days before, and, as the duke of Alba, in whose name I spoke, had treated her with great ingratitude, Her Majesty was determined to have nothing to say to him or to me as his representative, so that it would be superfluous for. me to address her personally on this or any other matter, but that Secretary Cecil would more fully state her intentions. Cecil then said that Mildmay and he had convey ed what I had said to the Queen, and after she had heard it, she had directed them to speak to me as follows :
First. With regard to the desire expressed for the continuance of the friendship existing between the King and their Queen, the duke of Alba having stated through me that he would maintain the same, she was very pleased thereat, and she on her part had done all she could to reciprocate the good will of the King. As far as concerned the Duke, however, she had not heard that he had taken any trouble to preserve such friendship, but rather to the contrary, that he had done what he could to break and violate it in several ways, and recently especially, by violently and unjustly ordering the arrest of the persons and goods of her faithful subjects. It is true that seizures had been made on former occasions by both parties, but it had always previously been done in proper form, and in accordance with the treaties which, in this case, have been entirely disregarded ; the Duke having thus proved himself not only ungrateful for the good offices the Queen had performed, but had used her subjects iniquitously and unjustly.
As regards the money which is alleged to belong to the King, he said that, in order to acquaint me with the matter, he would state fully what had occurred, which in effect was in accord with what he had already told me at the Council, and is contained in the published statement. He concluded by saying that the Queen never refused to return the money, but had told the ambassador that as she understood the money did not belong to the King but to private merchants, which she could prove by notes which had been sent to the ambassador requesting him to take steps in relation to the money, which he was told he could say belonged to the King. It was also proved by other letters and documents from merchants, and also by the fact that the bills of exchange for the remittance of the money had been paid through the bank of Leon, all of which evidence would be produced. But, notwithstanding this, she had not refused to pay the money, but promised to give a reply within four days.
The treaties, and particularly that of 1495, lay down clearly when reprisals of seizure may be adopted, and the treaties on this occasion have not been fulfilled, as the arrests were made in Antwerp on the 29th December last, on the very day that the ambassador came to ask for the restitution of the money, in virtue of a letter of credence from his Excellency, containing only four lines ; in contravention of the usual form of such letters to princes. It was thus evident that there could have been no refusal of restitution before the arrests of Antwerp, and, moreover, even the previous day, the 28th, Count Lodron had told people in Antwerp that he had orders to make the seizure of all English persons and property, so that, in any case, the order for the arrest must have been given by his Excellency several days before the ambassador had asked for the restitution of the money. With reference to my request that the money should be restored and the arrests cancelled, on condition that the same thing should be on the Duke's part, the Queen replied that she had been very badly and injuriously treated, and could not be expected to relax before those who had commenced the seizures.
There were, moreover, many other grave and notable injuries inflicted upon the Queen and her ambassadors, and many of her subjects were imprisoned in Spain, as well as in Flanders, the last treaty of Bruges being entirely disregarded. When she had complained on this account her arguments had been contemned and her letters rejected, besides which, arrests of Englishmen, she learnt, had now been commenced in Spain itself, where the Duke had no power. It was therefore necessary, since matters had gone so far, that both questions should be settled together and not separately.
This could not be done with me, as I had no power or commission from his Majesty, but if the King would authorize some one to deal with the whole of these differences, myself or another, she would willingly hear him, but not otherwise ; and this was the answer he gave me in the name of his mistress. Having thus heard what he had to say, I replied on each point as follows :—First, as regards what the Marquis had said, I was much surprised at the reply, as both the Admiral and Cecil who were present would recollect what I had said in my last communication with them on the 20th, namely, that my mission could only be submitted to the Queen, as was customary and demanded by the dignity of my King and the reputation of his lieutenant-general, and even that of the Queen herself. All first interviews and replies, I said, were given by princes, or, at all events, in their presence, if they are minors or wards, which is obviously not the case with the Queen, who is so wise and prudent, speaks languages, and is in the habit of personally treating with ambassadors. Messieurs Mildmay and Cecil had only asked me for a summary of my commission for communication to the Queen, and on this understanding I had given it, that she should be the better informed before my audience with her. I said I had merely given a summary, reserving to myself the task of explaining and enlarging as well as answering any questions or objections which might be put to me. There was, I said, a great difference between making a simple statement and making it circumstantially, which was the reason why state affairs were more satisfactorily despatched by an ambassador than in writing, and, to prove what I said, I had not yet delivered the letters of credence and commission which I had offered to hand to the Queen in the usual way. In short, I saw that she declined to hear my errand and refused me international rights, adopting this strange mode of proceeding and declining to listen to me. As she had taken this course I protested that, if anything untoward should occur, which God forbid, between sovereigns so closely united, his Majesty would be exonerated before God and the world, as also would be the duke of Alba.
They replied that it was true I had given them an account of my commission under the reserve mentioned that I would explain it more fully to the Queen personally, but as the substance of it only was the restitution of the money and the raising of the arrests on both sides, auything I could say in addition would simply be persuasion, which the Queen did not now wish to hear, as I had no commission from the King to deal with the matter. As regards refusing me audience, which I said was a new thing and against international rights, they said the King had first adopted this course, having always refused to receive the Queen's ambassador, although he had been requested to do so many times. It need not therefore appear strange, and the Queen was as much mistress of her realm as the King was master of his. I said I knew nothing about all this, and, even if were as they said, some reasons must have preceded it which I did not understand. I then protested that I did not consider what they had said as a reply, but only as a refusal to grant me audience, and went on to say that I did not understand what ingratitude they referred to from the Duke to the Queen, nor the bad offices they imputed to him, and' begged that they would particularize them more, in order that I might give an account to the Duke, as I was quite sure they had been wrongly informed and that these were simply calumnies invented by evil-minded people.
They said the Queen was well informed on the matter, and had, some time ago, given a statement to the ordinary ambassador, to which no reply had been given ; but I could get no further particulars from them of the alleged ingratitude, unless, indeed, they referred to what they mentioned before about the welcome and salutation she had sent to the constable of Navarre at Dover.
As regards the money, I said that I had listened to the discourse they had addressed to me on two occasions, and as it was a matter which closely concerned the ordinary ambassador, I should have wished him to be present, in order to give an account of what passed. I fully believed that the Queen and Council only spoke the truth, but that an ambassador (such men being chosen for their good sense and prudence) ought also to be believed, as they have to act alone and cannot call witnesses to corroborate them. This, I said, was the reason why I had pressed so much for the presence of the ordinary ambassador, as is customary. If he had been here he would have been able to answer everything, but it was evident that these innovations were only intended to confuse matters.
When we had got thus far, I was desirous of making it clear that we did not recognise that we were in the wrong, or that his Excellency had acted in contravention of the treaties, and told them that it was evident that two months had passed after the detention of the money in England before the seizures were made on our side, namely, November and December, which, being the months fixed for the payment of troops, the Queen might understand that the matter was one that did not admit of delay.
They declared that the Queen made no detention of his Majesty's money before the general seizure on our side, nor refused to let it be forwarded. On the contrary, the detentions in England had been effected at the request of the ambassador to protect the money from pirates and Frenchmen who intended to enter the ports and steal it, which they would have done if they had not been prevented by the Queen. They had even offered her Vice-Admiral a bribe of 50,000 crowns to shut his eyes and let them do as they liked, and offered another captain 25,000. They said that the ambassador had never asked for the restoration of the money before the 29th December, but had asked them to guard it safely until he learnt from the Duke whether it was to be forwarded by land or sea.
I replied that I had understood very differently, and that the ambassador had previously demanded the money, the sole request for which, by the treaties, and particularly that mentioned by Cecil, (1495), was a sufficient cause for the counter-arrest. Even, however, which I did not admit, if things were as they said, I asked them whether they thought it was a just reason why they should keep the King's money?
They replied that the money did not belong to the King, as they could fully prove. I said as the King my master said to the contrary and his lieutenant-general the same, which statement was confirmed by the clearance notes, and the money was coined in his mint and exported from his country, fuller credit should be given to him than to the other arguments they adduced.
Furthermore to upset this reasoning I said that, even if this money belonged to private persons, which it did not, they could not detain it without a clear infraction of the treaties, which provide that subjects of both princes may enter and leave the ports of either country with ships and goods without any let or hindrance, and especially could foreigners enter the ports and leave freely for the country of either of the two sovereigns, as in the case of these ships freighted for Antwerp, which they themselves confessed.
They said I was right about the treaties, but that the money had not been demanded of them, except as being the property of the King, for which reason the Queen might refuse to restore it ; which, however, she had not done previous to the seizures on the other side. I said the money belonged to the King, for the reasons alleged by me now, to show that, in any case, they were doing him an injury in detaining his money which he needed for the maintenance of his Netherlands States.
They said, moreover, that the Queen might receive and hold this money, as the bankers of Leon did, to which I replied that it was not for the bankers but for the King, and, in any case, the treaties provided that goods in transit should not be arrested, so that they ought to allow the money to go to its destination. I could get no further reply to this.
I then passed on to the relaxing of the seizures, as they called it, and asked that the Queen should relax first and adding that the Duke would maintain that the King's money had first been seized in England, long before arrests had been made in the Netherlands. But, I said, the way to settle the business was not to talk about who should move first or second, but the thing might be done simultaneously and everything put into its former position.
They replied that it was well to know which side had been in the wrong, and I said that I saw very clearly in the meanwhile they were going to keep my master's money. They said they would not touch it, and it would be in safe keeping, but, said I, in the meanwhile the King cannot employ his own funds, and I asked them whether they thought such a proceeding was worthy of a neighbouring princess who professed so much amity, and if friendship generally produced such results as these?
The only reply they made to this was that things had arrived at such a stage that it was necessary for a general agreement to be come to.
I replied that all the grievances they alleged had nothing whatever to do with the matter in hand, which was a seizure of property on both sides, in consequence of the detention of the King's money by the Queen ; and, on this point, I was ready to expound my commission and negotiate in conformity with it. To this they again replied, as before, that the whole matter must be dealt with simultaneously.
I then proceeded to speak of my powers, which I said were ample, proceeding as they did from his Excellency, who they knew was Governor-General with powers to deal with all matters touching his government, such as this was. I had, I said, already proved this so clearly by examples that the Queen had sent word that I was right, for which reason I was all the more surprised that they should again assert to the contrary. They replied that the question now was not simply one of the government of the Netherlands but of Spain, from which the Queen had received many wrongs and grievances which had not been remedied. I asked them what wrongs and grievances? They replied that books had been allowed to be printed and sold in Spain, wherein the Queen had been injuriously treated as regards her person, honour, and reputation, and redress had been demanded for this and granted by the King, but, nevertheless, no effect had been produced and the books were printed worse than ever. Many persons, too, they said, were being detained there, and injury was sought to be done to them without any just cause for such action.
I asked them whether they referred to the Inquisition, to which they replied that they did.
Various points also were mentioned where the treaty of Bruges was being broken, and respecting which redress would have to be given at the same time. I asked them for particulars of these points, whereupon they said that there were so many that they could not recall them, but they had written about them and no notice had been taken. I again urged that all these differences had nothing whatever to do with the retention of his Majesty's money, which they ought at once to return, and the other questions could then be dealt with.
They said that they had heard that seizures had also been made in Spain, and I replied that if this were so (of which I was ignorant) it was only accessory to the seizures in Flanders, and when the latter point was settled, the Spanish part of the matter would be easily arranged. The Duke, if necessary, would undertake to obtain his Majesty's assent. To this they replied that it was uncertain, and in the meanwhile the money would go out of their hands. It was much better to deal with all pending questions at once under the King's own authority, especially as they believed there were many things being done both in Flanders and Spain of which the King was unaware, and of which it was fitting he should be informed. This was the only opportunity of communicating everything to him, and it must not be lost.
Seeing that all this was mere impertinent subterfuge, alleged as a pretext for detaining the King's money, I said, "Well, gentlemen, then the Queen means to say, in short, that she will not restore his Majesty's money." They replied that she did not refuse, but wished first that all pending questions between them should be settled, for which purpose she offered to negotiate with any person who was duly authorised by the King. I said that this was a very unjust and iniquitous reply, and I did not believe if the Queen had heard me that she would have given me such an answer. There was no sovereign Prince in the world, however insignificant, who would not feel seriously aggrieved at such treatment, and she might well imagine how much more it would offend such a King as mine, when he was informed that I had protested in vain (as I did now again), that if anything happened, which God forbid, between such fraternal princes, his Excellency was exonerated before God and man from responsibility, he having sent me with the offer I had made them. This I asked them to convey to the Queen. I said that, so far as I was concerned, I had not been listened to or granted an audience, which fact of itself proved the Queen's intentions towards his Majesty and the Duke ; so there was nothing for me but to return and give an account of my mission. I said I saw very well what the object was. They wished, in the words of the proverb, to "complain with their hands full," and I would leave them to judge whether their action was just or reasonable or such as could be tolerated by my King.
They said they did not wish to be blamed for what they had told me. They had simply repeated to me the commission entrusted to them by the Queen, who had submitted the matter to her Council. The Queen, they said, had not taken the King's money to keep, but held it and the other goods she had seized as a set-off to the arrests made by the duke of Alba. I said that neither by right nor reason could they thus suddenly change the ground of their seizure subsequent to its having taken place, particularly as the seizure of this money had been the origin of everything that had followed. What had been the principal cause could not thus be made into an accessory fact subsequently as they wished it to be, in violation of all right and reason.
They said yes, it could, and as I could get nothing else from them, the conference ended, after I had told them that, as I had determined to return home, I wished again to speak with the King's ambassador. They said they would inform the Queen and let me know
Continuation of D'Assonleville's Statement :—On the same day, 27th February 1569, Gresham came to tell me that, on his requesting the Queen for a passport in my name, he had taken the opportunity of saying how sorry I was that I had not been granted an audience, as I had come on so good an errand from the King, and that I could hardly believe it, as she had on former occasions treated me so kindly and received me so frequently. He said I had hoped that if I had seen her Majesty I should have received another sort of answer, and events would have followed a different course. He had been discussing the matter with the Queen, he said, for an hour, and she had ordered him to tell me that she knew me well and considered me an honest man, as she had always been satisfied with my mode of proceeding ; I had not however come on this occasion with a commission from the King but simply from the duke of Alba, who had treated her so badly and oppressed her subjects in the Netherlands. She said she declined to receive me as she had nothing to do with the Duke, and repeated to him the complaint about the letter of credence of three lines, which, she said, proved that he did not esteem her. On the contrary he disliked her and was anxious for war, and the Duke's officers and soldiers were already partitioning her kingdom, like hunters who divide their prey before they capture it. She told Gresham to convey this to me that I might communicate it to the Duke and tell him that she was Queen and mistress of her own realm as her predecessors had been and disposed of the same resources as they had done. As regards the King, she was attached to him and would do her best to keep the peace with him. If she had wished otherwise she could easily have prevented Flemish affairs from passing over so peacefully, and the Duke would never have seen the end of them if she had acceded to the request of Orange, Egmont, and others. She had acted as she had in order to keep the money safely, and the money did not belong to the King as was proved by the bills of lading and confessions of the merchants and mariners. She spoke also about the letters she had sent and the treatment of her ambassador in Spain, respecting which point Gresham said he had replied in accord with what he had heard me say, namely, that the Queen was satisfied about the King's treatment of her ambassador. She replied that she had not been spoken to about it, much less satisfied.
Finally she said that, if I had any commission from the King or anything else to say to her, except in the name of the Duke, she would willingly hear me.
Gresham told me all this in the presence of my host, adding that he had been talking with the Queen for an hour on these matters, and she wanted nothing but peace with the King ; but if anyone wished to make war on her, they would find her ready ; which she enjoined Gresham to tell me. I asked him whether he had anything more to say to me, to which he replied that I had better think over what he had told me, as it was late, and he would come to-morrow for the answer. On the last day of February Gresham returned, and I told him that I was much surprised that the Queen should still remain under the impression that I had not come from the King, as I came on his business, from his country, for his money, and on account of his subjects ; that I was one of his Majesty's councillors and bore a commission from his Lieutenant-General in the King's absence, in the ordinary form employed on both sides in matters touching the Netherlands.
As regards the ill-will which she says the Duke bears her, and the other things she alleges, I replied that these were some false tales told her by the enemies of peace, and of my King and the Duke. I should like to know who were the partitioners of her kingdom, indeed, it was necessary that I should know, as I was to convey it to the Duke. I begged her to be undeceived, and assured her that, if I had spoken to her I would have convinced her that the Duke had not ordered the arrests without good reason, as the King's money, of which he was in such great need, was being detained. I said that, even if I had come on another errand, an audience ought not to have been denied me, and she was doing herself great injury by proceeding in this way.
I was glad, I said, to hear of the friendly feeling she had towards the King, and was sure nobody deserved it better than he ; but I should like to remind her of what she had told me to convey to his Majesty on former occasions, and to which I did not wish to refer more definitely as it was not meet that everyone should know it.
As regards her late ambassador in Spain, I could only say that the Spanish ambassador had told me, only the day before yesterday, that he had renewed the explanations which he had presented to the Queen and she had appeared satisfied, as I am sure she would be if she would hear me. As regards the audience, I said it was evident the Queen saw that if I could not speak by virtue of my commission I could not speak without it. In answer to the next point I said yes, I had something else to say, but as that which came first in order on my instructions had been refused, it would be in vain for me to address her on other points.
Notwithstanding this, I begged Gresham, on my own behalf, to say to the Queen that it was a poor proof of her friendship for the King, especially in the present state of his affairs, to keep the money which he wanted to pay to his troops.
I added that I understood that in addition to the seizures made by the Queen's ships of our vessels which approached or entered her ports, our men, after having been plundered, were maltreated or arrested, which were acts of hostility and not merely of detention. Personally, I humbly thanked her for her good opinion of me, and Gresham promised to convey all I said to the Queen, adding that she herself desired peace, but that the nobles and the people wished for war with the Spaniards. The English had a good and populous country, with money, victuals, and munitions, besides which the riches of the Netherlands were, so to speak, at their doors, and they could draw 500,000 ducats from Hamburg in a week, and if the Queen liked to borrow from her merchants at 12 per cent. interest, she could have at once a million sterling. They (the English) had in former times captured part of France and Spain, and had fought some great wars, and, as the Duke had fought France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands, he had better try his hand now against the English.
I did not care to reply a word to all this extravagant bombast, excepting only to ask whether they were desirous of war, to which he replied no, and that war would cause differences here for which they would be sorry.
On the 1st of March Gresham came again to say that he had had another interview with the Queen, and, when he had asked her if she knew who were the Spanish officers who had discussed the partition of her realm, in order that they might be properly dealt with, she answered him that she was a woman, and had been told so. I said that he had also told me that she did not wish for war with her brother the King, and would never commence it, but that if she were forced to it she had means to defend herself.
Gresham replied to this that the Queen could muster 50,000 men immediately, that she had money, and that she was better supplied with men-at-arms, artillery, war vessels, munitions, victuals, and warlike stores, than any three of the other European sovereigns together. Notwithstanding this, however, she did not seek war, but was quite resolved to have nothing to do with the duke of Alba, since he had slighted her so, although all consideration would be shown to anyone who came with a power from his Majesty.
Referring to my statement that I had heard that the Queen's ships forcibly made (Spanish ships) which they met at sea enter her ports, she said she had not heard that this was done and she would not allow it. He (Gresham) handed me my passport, and said the Queen had heard that I had caused certain Englishmen to be imprisoned at Dunkirk, from which I exonerated myself, and said that a very false statement of the matter had been made to her. I begged her to tell me the author of the falsehood that I might make him retract it, and I urged Gresham to convey this to the Queen, which he promised to do.
He then said that the Queen had instructed him to say that she heard that the ordinary ambassador had written to the Duke that Benedict Spinola had informed her that this money did not belong to the King but to Genoese merchants, and she assured me, on her word of honour, that Spinola had said nothing of the kind. He was, on the contrary, entirely innocent, which I could make known in the Netherlands, especially as she was willing for Spinola in persom to come and clear himself to me, and that Luis Lopez de la Sierra would inform me how she had learnt it, which was through certain notes being found in the boxes naming the merchants to whom the money belonged. In conformity with this, Spinola came to me together with many other Spaniards and Italians, amongst whom was Sierra, and, in the presence of Gresham, made a long speech in his justification, all of which I said I would report. He (Spinola) told me apart that he still had in his possession the passport granted by the Queen for the transport of the money to Flanders, which he said would greatly exonerate the ambassador. Gresham concluded the interview by urging me to use my good offices to preserve peace. I said I was not in the habit of using bad offices, but I did not know how the King would take the detention of his money at such a critical time as this, and the different treatment extended to his lieutenantgeneral and ambassador from that formerly employed towards them. He replied that the Queen had said that she could not act otherwise, as they had not paid any more respect to her, and the Duke had so gravely slighted her Majesty.
On the 2nd of March Gresham came again to repeat the same thing, namely, that the Queen desired peace, and would not fail on her part to maintain it. He also said that the Queen had been badly informed about me, and that it was not I, but someone else who had had her people imprisoned at Dunkirk.
La Sierra and others informed me of the amount of money seized, and I had a note delivered to him (Gresham?) setting forth that the total sum exceeded 300,000 crowns.
I was informed that there were 150 Spaniards, Biscayners, and others in Bridewell prison, whose ships had been taken from them, and who were living on charity, and that an apostate Spanish heretic came there every day and preached to them for the purpose of leading them astray, which was a barbarous, exhorbitant, and intolerable thing. I therefore addressed a request to the mayor of London, who has charge of the prison, that he would have the matter remedied, as otherwise I should have to complain to the Queen.
The next day the Mayor sent me word that he had summoned the said Spanish preacher before him, and was assured by him that he had done nothing but distribute alms amongst these prisoners, and say the "Paternoster" in Spanish. Since, however, I objected, the Mayor had forbidden him to go to the prison again, although the consequence would be that the prisoners would suffer more privation than before. I said that did not matter, and that the Queen, who was keeping them there, would not let them die of hunger, but would treat them as subjects of his Majesty should be treated. I let the prisoners know this, whereat they were greatly rejoiced.
The next morning the principal gentleman of the French ambassador came to say good-bye, and to express the ambassador's sorrow that he could not come himself, as he had not permission to do so.
I left London on 5th March, escorted by Gresham and William Alderson.


  • 1. The identity of this agent is not indicated in the document.
  • 2. In the King's handwriting : "It would be well to reinforce this, so that nothing shall go thither. Tell Juan Vazquez to write to the ports again."
  • 3. In the handwriting of the King : "Look to this, although I know nothing of such servants being here."
  • 4. See Note, p. 99.