Simancas: March 1568

Pages 12-17

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

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March 1568

14 Mar. 10. Guzman de Silva to the King.
The earl of Sussex was with the Queen yesterday. I sent to greet him, and he replied that as soon as he had done his business with the Queen and Council he would come and see me. The news he brings has not yet transpired, but, doubtless, it is only what Chantonnay wrote, and these people will make up some fresh story to throw dust in the eyes of the public, and avoid the sudden confession that the negotiations for marriage with the Archduke have been broken off.
Orders have been given to release the people who call themselves members of the pure or apostolic religion, on condition that within 20 days they conform to the religion of the State or leave the country. It is looked upon as a mere excuse for dissembling with them. News has just arrived from the duchy of Lancaster, where nearly all the people are Catholics, that many people of position have been arrested for refusing to take the "Lord's supper" and attend the services, and also, they say, because mass was celebrated in their houses. It is quite possible that this and other similar things may cause disturbance, although these folks are peaceably inclined.—London, 14th March 1568.
20 Mar. 11. The Same to the Same.
The Queen has expressed to me her great satisfaction at the good reception and treatment of the earl of Sussex, but did not even drop a hint about the marriage, although there was ample opportunity for her to do so on the 15th instant, when I spent the whole afternoon with her in the country. She did not refer either to the league, about which I have written, but she spoke shortly on French affairs, and the arrangement now being discussed between the King and his rebel subjects, as she had done on a previous occasion at the beginning of the disturbances ; only that she now said she did not know how such an arrangement could be made compatible with the King's dignity. I said that at least, so far as she was concerned, the King had not been prevented from having satisfaction on the rebels, and carrying through the business with the advantage that kings usually have over their subjects, as she had been so firm and steadfast in refusing aid to them or countenance their attempt against their sovereign. She replied that what I said was perfectly true, and assured me that when she sent troops to Havre de Grace in the former disturbances she did so principally because she was persuaded that the Guises wanted to get the King into their power and govern the country at their pleasure. They had also designs against her, as the Queen of Scotland was then married to the French king, and had declared that when the time came for restoring Calais they would not give it up. She went on to say that, with regard to the intention of the Guises to take the King and Queen, not only was it publicly stated, but she had received a letter from the queen of France, which she still kept, telling her of it. The prince of Condé had risen in consequence of this, and if she had not understood it in this light she said she would never have sent her forces to France, as she had refrained from doing on the present occasion. I replied, praising her very much for what she had done and was doing, and said she was being commended for it everywhere, seeing the pressure that had been used to cause her to do otherwise ; whereupon she showed great pleasure.
She also expressed her disapproval of the Count Palatine's action in detaining the money and goods belonging to the merchants, and she had said as much to the Count's representative here. I also praised her for this, adding that it was understood that most of the property belonged to persons who were coming to this country, and that this would have a very bad effect on the prices of merchandise here, besides causing her a loss of customs dues. It is said that most of the property belonged to the Easterling merchants from the maritime cities who are established here. I wrote to your Majesty that the Queen had told me that she had been requested, on behalf of the countess of Egment, to write to your Majesty respecting the Count, but that she did not wish to interfere in the matter. She has since told me that they write so pitifully to her that she cannot help feeling compassion, and she thinks of writing to your Majesty, but that she wished me to see the letter before she sent it. I understood her intention to be to write very circumspectly and carefully, and therefore replied that she could well do so in the way that friends ask favours of one another, and grant them out of kindliness and mutual affection, and that many neighbours liked to be besought in honest causes for divers reasons. The earl of Sussex tells me that he is gratified because the Emperor was fully satisfied with the negotiations, and he is convinced that the marriage will be carried through. He said he had made every effort in his power, passing lightly over some points that could not be avoided, and bringing into prominence others where agreement was assured. As regards the question of religion, upon which assurance was sought on the part of the Archduke, that he and his household should not be coerced, Sussex said he made such declarations on behalf of the Queen as satisfied them ; without the need for written obligation, which it would have been difficult for him to give, for many reasons, particularly as there were people here who for their own ends wished to obstruct the business. The Emperor, nevertheless, urged him to send Cobham to the Queen on the matter, as he did, although he was sure that no written obligation would be entered into, as in effect was the case. He said that he thought what he had done in the matter would be quite sufficient, as he, being so faithful a servant of the house of Austria, would never have pressed the Archduke to come if he had not felt certain that the match would take place, and his verbal assurance be sufficient. The Emperor and the Archduke himself, however, were so resolute about the assurance, in accordance, they said, also with your Majesty's opinion, that he was obliged to send Cobham. Notwithstanding this he had discussed certain matters with the Emperor, which, if the Queen agreed to them, as he hoped, would enable the Archduke to find a good excuse for coming, which the Emperor had promised. He (Sussex) had left a private cipher with the Emperor, so that whatever was arranged might be absolutely secret, and nothing known until the business was concluded. He had avoided telling the Queen the substantial part of his negotiations pending the arrival of the duke of Norfolk, in whose presence he wished the matter to be discussed. He had spoken since his arrival, he said, with the earl of Leicester, about the Emperor's and the Archduke's pretensions respecting religion, in order to gain his support, which he had promised, but that, if he did not fulfil his word and the Queen would not agree, in consequence of the views of certain persons, he (Sussex) was determined to publish the names of those who had stood in the way of the match, so that the country might know how he and others had striven to bring it about, for the public good, and who had prevented it. Still, he said, he had every confidence that it would be carried through successfully. I replied that I approved of his intention, and was not surprised that M. de Chantonnay was firm in his opinion that the Archduke should insist upon an assurance as regards religion, which was a point of the greatest importance, especially that, since he (Sussex) left here, more rigour had been shown on the subject than previously, which, of course, would be known verywhere, and many persons probably might think that these demonstrations were made for the very purpose of preventing the marriage, by arousing the distrust of the Emperor and his brother, and causing them to demand further assurances, which the people here know would not be given, and so the affair might be upset. He knew, I said, how these people had always tried to prevent it, and how I had striven to bring it about, continually and unreservedly, except on one point alone, namely, that there should be no cause for resentment between the Queen and your Majesty if the match did not take place, as I knew your Majesty held her friendship so dear that it was my duty to refrain from anything that might jeopardise it. He said that M. de Chantonnay had always said the same. I took the opportunity of mentioning the league which certain people here profess to be effected between your Majesty, the Pope, the Emperor, the king of France, and other princes, against this Queen, with the object of separating her from her friends, and said that, as the news had come from Germany, he could say how false it was, and I asked him not to fail to satisfy the Queen that it was so, in order that her suspicions might be allayed. He replied that he had heard something of this, and had inquired into the matter in Germany, both from friends and foes, and had learnt that such a league really had been proposed by certain princes, but not with the intention stated, and with a different object. The rest, he said, were simply fables and market-gossip, as he would assure the Queen.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 8th instant that the duke of Alba had reported on the 3rd a certain plot which these people had made in Calais to recover the town with the aid of one of the King (of France's) officers there, and the preparations which were being made slowly with that object. The day fixed was to-day, I am assured, but the matter has cooled ; perhaps owing to the certainty now held of peace being made between the King and his rebels, as they are watching here very closely what is going on in France, and I am told receive advices from hour to hour. I, too, am on the watch about this Calais affair, in order to report to the duke of Alba. I have just been informed that the two vessels that had been fitted out and manned, as was said in the council at the request of the Regent Murray, to capture the earl of pothwell on his way from Denmark to France, and the duke of Chalelherault who was going from Dieppe to Scotland, were really intended for another purpose, namely, to encounter the ships conveying the Count de Buren. This having come to the ears of the Queen, she made a show of anger that such a thing should be attempted against your Majesty, and ordered the ships to be dismantled immediately, which was done. It is quite possible that they may have desisted from their intention owing to the Count de Buren alone going in the ships, as they thought other persons were going as well. These are very little people to attempt such a thing as this, but I have my information from a good source.
On the 16th instant the ships conveying the Count de Buren passed the Downs in sight of Dover, and with the present wind will have already cleared these coasts.
These heretics are saying that their doctrines are being preached in many parts, especially in Navarre on the French borders, and, although this is not a fresh assertion, they are insisting more upon it lately. I do not believe it, as the Inquisitors have not discovered it, nor have I been able to obtain particulars, although I have tried to do so.—London, 20th March 1568.
27 March. 12. Guzman de Silva to the King.
I received yesterday your Majesty's letter of the 19th ultimo, by which I learn that mine of 10th January had come to hand. The favour your Majesty desires to show to the archbishops of Cashel and Armagh is of a piece with your Majesty's action in all things fitting for the service of God and the universal church, for which your reward will be long years of great happiness on earth and an endless eternity in heaven. As I wrote to Secretary Gabriel de Zayas, the business of the former prelate presents great difficulty, and it appears imprudent to mention it to the Queen just now as little good could come of it, seeing the usual suspicions of your Majesty which are rife among these heretics ; besides which it might be a source of grave inconvenience to the church in places where this Queen has full power. It will be necessary, therefore, if he designs to go and take up his functions, that the utmost circumspection and caution should be used, as the only way in which it could successfully be done is for him to be secretly hidden amongst Catholics and safe from molestation by the heretics.It is true that, for the sake of peace, the Catholics in certain parts of Ireland are tolerated, but there is great vigilance used to prevent the exercise of any authority by bull or order of his Holiness. I will, however, carefully enquire and see what safely can be done to comply with your Majesty's wishes, and the same shall be done with regard to the imprisonment of the archbishop of Armagh. I am anxious about this as they keep him closer than ever, and in bad case for one of such poor health as he. The worst of the matter is that your Majesty's favour for these good folks does them more harm than good, so that it is necessary to act with the utmost caution.
The Catholics of this country are numerous, but much molested. I have been endeavouring lately, by means of a well-informed Catholic, to get the names, not only of the principal party men, but also of the private persons in the provinces, with a note of the number of Catholics and Protestants in each county. I have been pressing him for the list so that your Majesty may know the state of the country, and, if he delays giving it to me, I will send the best statement I can obtain.
I have been unable to learn anything about the Archduke's match further than what I have written. I am told that the duke of Norfolk will come hither to discuss it. I wrote to your Majesty that I had been told by the earl of Sussex that a man had been secretly sent hither by the prince of Condé and the Admiral. He has now gone back. I do not know whether he will be captured on the way, as they are on the alert to catch him all along the coast, and to learn the particulars of his negotiations, although the copy in French of the letter he brought to the Queen from his principals, which I now enclose, lays bare the cause of his coming. If Hawkins does not obey the Queen's orders about going to your Majesty's Indies, steps shall be taken to have him punished. Advices from Scotland say that those who are against the government were still trying to obtain the Queen's release. The Regent was to go and visit the Queen soon, and as the people here suspected that he might givé her some extension of liberty, they have written requesting him not to do so.
I have just been informed that, in addition to what is contained in the enclosed copy of letter, the prince of Condé sent to say to the Queen that, even if she would not help them with money or men, she might make a demonstration of religious zeal. This has given rise to some extraordinary proceedings, and, amongst others, the arrest of one Wilson, who, I am informed, had authority from the Pope to absolve and admit to the church those who became Catholics, and who also was trying to collect subscriptions from Catholics in aid of those who have taken refuge in Louvain. Of these contributions he kept a list in a book with the names of the donors, which book has been found on him, and much harm may be done thereby. I am much surprised that this man did not come to me as other good men come, I having been one of those who recommended this subscription and promised my part. I will advise your Majesty of the result.
A certain Emmanuel Tremelius has been here lately on behalf of the count Palatine. He is a heretic who was formerly in one of the universities here called Oxford, (fn. 1) and in the pay of the Queen. He is the son of a Jew of Mantua. It is said he comes for the purpose of arranging a league with this Queen, and will go on to Scotland to discuss a similar matter with the Regent and his government, taking letters from the folks here.—London, 27th March 1568.


  • 1. John Emmanuel Tremelius was Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge.