Simancas: May 1569

Pages 144-156

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

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


May 1569

9 May. 95. Guerau De Spes to the King
I wrote to your Majesty on the 23rd ultimo, and you will have heard since from the duke of Alba that the Hamburg fleet left here and has been forced by contrary winds into Harwich. Seven of the Queen's ships were prepared to accompany it, but it seems that only four of them went, as the other three were short-handed and it is believed they will remain to guard the coast. This fleet carries great cargoes of cloth, woollens and kerseys. An embassy has arrived from the town of Embden complaining that this trade was not continued with them as had been agreed, or, at least, that four ships with cloth have not been sent every year. But the fleet will nevertheless go to Hamburg where Cecil and the lord keeper his brother-in-law have many connections. It is notorious that they send much of their money thither, thinking to keep it in safety there. The other fleet for Rochelle, it seems, will bring back wines and salt. It sailed from the Isle of Wight on the 2nd inst., and the Queen told the French ambassador she could not avoid its going, as an agreement had been made with certain merchants in Rochelle. They promised the ambassador that, in the treaty for restitution, both parties shall be represented, and they have proclaimed that all persons claiming that the French have robbed them are to give information to the admiral. In the meanwhile they are watching the progress made by the army of the duke of Deuxponts. In the new ship which took the five sloops from Plymouth to Rochelle have returned many rebel Frenchmen, the Vidame de Chartres and his wife, M. de Saint-Simon and others, who have brought letters from the queen of Navarre, as they call her, for this Queen and Council asking for help. I have written to your Majesty that the duke of Norfolk and the earl of Arundel have sent messages to me on many occasions through Roberto Ridolfi, a Florentine, and John Suygo, a Milanese, who have entrance into my house, expressing their wish to serve your Majesty. They gave me a form of proclamation which they desired that the duke of Alba should publish, thinking that, with this and the restriction of trade, the people would rise, and they might change the Government and restore what had been stolen. The duke of Alba published the proclamation in a good, but slightly different, form from the draft, but they say that the convenient time has not yet arrived when they can do what they wished, because, with this fleet going to Hamburg, Cecil and his friends have made the public believe that the damage done by the suspension of trade with Flanders will be made up. They (i.e., Cecil and his party) also exaggerate greatly the rising of the Moriscos of Granada and other fibs and fictions which they publish every day. They boast of the impossibility of your Majesty making war against them, and enlarge upon the alliances which they have in Germany, and thus the people are kept in suspense. Oil, iron, and spices were beginning to fail them, but in the sloops which they have captured large stocks of these were found, and they are now supplied from this source and with consignments which are always secretly being exported from your Majesty's dominions. Although they (Norfolk and Arundel) distinguished themselves by opposing the insolent answer to the Duke's proclamation which had been drawn up by Cecil, they have not made any move, as they declared they would, towards having Cecil arrested, reforming the Council and restoring the stolen property. They say they are hindered by the fact that many of the Council are deeply pledged in the robberies and fear restitution, so that they dare not oppose Cecil. For my part I believe that they have had very little courage, and, in the English way, want things to be so far advanced that, with little trouble and danger, they may gain your Majesty's rewards and favours. They have hitherto done no harm whatever. It is true that for the last two months they have been telling me through these men how much they are spending, and must spend, in the business, and begging me to let them have a sum of money, as the Duke and the Earl are deeply in debt. As Lord Lumley, son-in-law of the one and brother-in-law of the other, is also concerned in it, I do not see any great objection to take their pledge. The duke of Alba, however, replied that it was better not to give them anything until they had done some service, but that I could offer them future remuneration and reward. Their importunity was such that Lumley, thinking perhaps that Suygo had not pressed the matter sufficiently, sent me a note signed with his own hand, saying as follows:—
"Rogo tuum dominationem ut credas istum nostram amicum Juanem Suygo instalibus meis negociis quod traditi tan quam tue ipsum.—Lumley."
Suygo dwelt upon the great expenditure that these gentlemen had to keep up, and said that if I would advance them a sum of money, the Duke, the Earl, and Lumley would jointly bind themselves by ordinance to repay it, so that I might be the more secure, and he begged me to send him an answer in my own handwriting. In conformity with the Duke's orders I answered as follows:—
"Illustris Domine, Juani Suygo nomine dominacionis tue fidem habui habeloque etiam ut bonus talium virorum animus catholice magestatis inotescant pro eo que in pendendis offitiis liberaliter satisfiat nulla alia cura restat nisi debiti progressus honeste que conclusiones."
I do not know whether this will satisfy them much, and they now send to say that the Duke and Earl, or one of them, would like to go to Spain, but they had not yet decided. It is true that the Council have delegated to the earl of Arundel the duty of the recovery and preservation of the property stolen and detained from your Majesty's subjects, whilst the duke of Norfolk is to act similarly for French property, and they have therefore, sent a message from the Council to me, saying that, if I like to appoint commissioners, the Council will appoint others in order to agree as to the salvage of what remains, and decide what is to be done with that which of necessity must be sold. This is nothing but a trick, because these commissioners, who have hitherto been in charge of the business, returned three days since, and it seems they have discovered both the robberies and the robbers, and say they can now identify all the cargoes and what is missing from them. This latter is a large proportion, and it has been sold and distributed by order of the Council. A difference has arisen between the Council and the commissioners with regard to the sale, in consequence of each party wanting to arrange for its own friends to buy. For this reason, I think, the commissioners have really returned. I replied that what I demand is the return of all the properties stolen and detained, at least what was stolen before the Queen's decree and in contravention of it. I wish to see what they will do about new commissioners, and to learn the reason why they do not act upon the report of the others showing what was stolen and who were the robbers. Anything that may be in favour of the merchandise I will accept readily, but there must be no trickery. I believe that it is all contrived in order that the members of the Council who have had part in the robbery may not suffer and may yet look well in the eyes of the people. I will try to learn the objects, but I cannot believe them to be good. The duke of Norfolk told Ridolfi that it was certain the Queen had alliances in Germany against Flanders, and that it was true that Killigrew had ten thousand men ready there. Perhaps he says it to enhance the value of his own services when he renders them. It is true that they have troops ready in Germany, and it is thought that these ships from Hamburg will bring some back with them. It will not be very difficult to punish these people. It will suffice for privateers to be armed for the purpose of stopping trade with Hamburg, Denmark, and Rochelle, and at the same time, keeping watch that no provisions or supplies shall come hither from the continent, for the people themselves to rise, and no acts of the government can prevent them. If your Majesty were to arrange this with the king of France, and chose seriously to attack this island with a good fleet, you would find no resistance, as they have no troops, and they are at issue among themselves, and so much alarmed that they are already crying out that they are ruined because the French have taken four of their ships. The slightest warlike demonstration in Spain would prevent this Hamburg fleet from sailing, and even if it arrived at Hamburg, I do not think it would bring them much profit. In their voyages backwards and forwards much damage might be done to them, and I am told that even in the river itself they might be assailed, of which I have advised the duke of Alba. As Hamburg and Bremen have, against the decision of former diets, left the Augsburg confession and have gone over to Calvinism, the Emperor might surely punish them. I advised your Majesty that it was believed that Duke August (fn. 1) was to make a great movement in Germany, and I also advised the duke of Alba and Chantonnay. The duke of Norfolk and the earl of Arundel will, I believe, openly declare themselves when your Majesty pleases to signify your approval. The earl of Northumberland also has verbally promised the same. He is a very worthy gentleman, and there are numberless others with the same desires. All the north and Wales are, for the great part, Catholic, and many of the people are attached to the queen of Scotland, although the heretic portion fear her because she is a Catholic. The members of the Council here are well satisfied because there is not one to contradict them. I advised your Majesty also that the Regent James in Scotland had arrested the duke of Chatelherault, and it now seems that it was an arranged thing, as you will see by copies of the queen of Scotland's letter sent herewith and copy of the earl of Huntly's letter to her. It appears to be very desirable that she should be helped to retain what little power she has left, so that the heretics may not be entire masters of Scotland, which would be a great evil. No doubt James wants to make himself King, and the child will be in danger if God in His mercy do not protect him. On other occasions I have sent your Majesty copies of the Queen's letter begging you to receive her son, as in case of your Majesty thus favouring her, she would find means to get possession of him. As I have not a reply from your Majesty about it, I have not been able to send her news. I sent her your Majesty's letter by one of her servants and hourly expect a reply. The servant dared not trust it to anyone else, and it was therefore delayed a fortnight The bishop of Ross is here trying to get his Queen liberated He says that he will come here at night to let me know the answer. All your Majesty's subjects here are being maltreated and Don Lope de Ugarte has died in the west of sheer ill-usage. I have tried to manage the escape of 150 of them or more in French and other ships, and I am still endeavouring to do so although they are being kept very Strictly. They are treating all Catholics with great rigour, and the prisons are full of them. At midnight last night many armed royal officers entered the house of Antonio de Guaras in search of him. They have sealed and sequestrated in the Queen's name all his property, and have closed the house, after having taken therefrom a great number of religious images and crucifixes, as well as figures of our Lady and the Saints beautifully carved in bulk and gilded. They carried them through most of the streets in the morning, as if in procession, with great mockery and laughter, saying that these were the gods of the Spaniards. There were great crowds of people, as they waited until it was market-day before they did it. Cries were raised that all the foreigners and those who owned the images should be burnt. They burnt half of these images piled on a cart-wheel before Guaras' house, and the other half they burnt in the market-place. Many good people sent fuel to prove their devotion. If any foreigner breathed a word of disapproval they took him prisoner, and tbey arrested a servant of mine, the only one who is allowed to leave the house, who had not said a word, although these gentleman who guard me afterwards got him out of prison as he was not to blame. All this could not have been done without the Council's orders, as the bad members of it dislike Guaras and his house was sequestrated before, on the 3rd of January. This is against the Queen's decree ordering that foreign property should not be touched. From the beginning of these disturbances Antonio de Guaras has been in my house with others, for if they found him abroad they would play him some trick. I have just received a letter from the queen of Scotland advising receipt of your Majesty's letter. I had written to her saying that I had received no reply from your Majesty about the Prince and other matters. Suygo, also, from Lord Lumley, has returned me the note I gave him, and has received back his own from me. These gentlemen are much grieved not to have received a sum of money at once, and it seems to have cooled them somewhat, although I keep them in hand with promises as best I can. This does not satisfy them, however. Your Majesty will please decide what is best to be done, and instruct me. The commissioners, who have returned from the task of identifying the goods detained and stolen, have also been here to-day, and promised to give me a written report in three days, in order that I may decide if it will be advisable to appoint other commissioners, and what arrangements are to be made as to the sale of perishable goods. The Queen went on the 6th to Greenwich, and I have already written to your Majesty that the two Venetian ships had been detained here by orders of the Council, which has given rise to a great quarrel between Ridolfi and Benedict Spinola, the latter having written to Venice saying that Ridolfi had incited the Council to take them for its own service, of which the Signiory complained. The quarrel between these two men and the fears of a rupture with Venice have made them restore these two ships, one of which is of a thousand tons and the others a little less. This will be injurious, because large quantities of cloth will be shipped on board of them in the names of Venetians. I do not think they will leave until some time in June, and if they touch in a Spanish port they may easily be detained. It would be very advantageous that the Venetians should abandon trade with this country at present, and that the Duke's proclamation should be respected in all your Majesty's dominions. Your Majesty in your wisdom will decide for the best. If the government is not changed in this country your Majesty can only hope for treachery and wickedness, but they will give way on the slightest pressure, as they themselves well know. I have given full information of the true state of things in Granada, but they will not believe me, and cry out that other provinces of Spain have risen against your Majesty, little knowing the fidelity of the Spaniards.—London, 9th May 1569.
10 May. 96. The Duke Of Alba to the King.
I have written to your Majesty the opinion of the Council here and myself on English affairs, and the answer that should be given to the Queen pending the recovery of the property she holds ; as afterwards, if your Majesty wishes to obtain satisfaction, there will be means of doing so. Until we get restitution and certain other matters of greater difficulty are settled (of which I will give your Majesty an account in answer to your letters now received), on no account should we break with her (the queen of England). Two men from the queen of Scotland have arrived here, with whom I am negotiating with much caution. After having heard them, I will give your Majesty an account of their mission and my reply thereto, in conformity with your Majesty's orders that I should manage this business from here. I will advise Don Guerau as to what I think would be best. I send your Majesty some letters of his, although I fear you will not gather much light from them.—Brussels, 10th May 1569.
15 May. 97. The King to the Duke of Alba.
Commencing with England, which is the most pressing matter and demands the most speedy remedy, I ordered the letter you sent me in French and D'Assonleville's report to be translated into Spanish, and, after the Council of State had privately read them, I ordered the Council to be summoned next day, and presidents Hopperus and Tiznach to attend. The course to be adopted was then carefully considered and after much deliberation it was decided that it was undesirable to embark upon a war with the Queen, as, however great the damage we may do her ; she will not by this means restore what she has taken. We think that she should be treated with a certain show of gentleness, united with an attempt to arouse her fears and suspicions that, if she does not make the restitution, we may declare war. This is in accordance with the recommendations you sent from there, and in pursuance of this end it seems well that I should reply to the letter the Queen sent me (and of which I enclose copy) explaining away all the excuses she makes, and remonstrating with her to the effect that none of these pretexts justify her in making the seizures. I have therefore had the letter drawn up which is enclosed in the despatch sent to you in French. Both of them were first drafted in Spanish, every word being weighed carefully in that intended for the Queen. There is nothing to add to it but to say that we think here that D'Assonleville should not be sent again on the business, but a person of more ability and standing, as I understand he is not thought much of there. The choice of the person is left entirely to you and you will instruct him as the state of affairs may demand.
You ask for a letter of credence for yourself, and although the letter for the Queen, as you will see, is very full in that respect, I send you besides three credential letters to make quite sure, one for yourself personally, another for the minister you may send, in which it is stated that I have appointed him here in order that they may not have the excuse of saying they will not deal with you, and a third letter, also in blank, in case you should send more than one envoy. I beg you will use all diligence and dexterity in order to recover this money as soon as possible, as otherwise the damage will be so wide-spread and will affect so many people that there will be a general collapse of credit and property, and we shall not be able to get a real to meet necessary payments. Pray also send me frequent and full reports of the progress of events. In order to anticipate any possible demand the Queen may make, for the purpose of settling the matter promptly, I am having sent to you the general power in the form you request ; so that we shall certainly not fail for want of care.—Aranjuez, 15th May 1569.
98. The King to the Queen of England. Draft without date.
I have received your Serenity's letter, together with the document in Spanish referred to therein, containing the discourse respecting the detention of the money and the events resulting therefrom. The duke of Alba, my governor of the Netherlands, has also sent me a full report of the matter, and I have been deeply grieved that, in the face of the true friendship and kinship between us, derived from our ancestors, confirmed by to many treaties and mutually renewed by so many acts of kindness, anything should have happened to produce just cause of quarrel or raise any impediment to the continuance of this friendship, which is so necessary to the advantage of ourselves and our dominions. As the detention of this money has been the origin of what subsequently occurred (which money was in truth destined for our service, having been borrowed from merchants here and sent for the service of my army in the States), I note your Serenity's assurance that the first intention was the safe forwarding of the money, but the delay in the subsequent delivery of it to the custody of your officers shows a change of such intention. From this it might be inferred that a different motive was beneath it, and the duke of Alba was fully justified in the course he took thereupon in the States ; which course has also been followed in the rest of my dominions. Thereupon your Serenity's treatment of our subjects, friends and servants, and their property followed ; and, subsequently, the behaviour adopted towards Don Guerau de Spes, my ambassador, and towards D'Assonleville of my Council, the envoy sent by the duke of Alba, this behaviour having been extraordinary and conspicuous. The foundation of our friendship being sincere, sound and firm, it is not necessary to discuss as to the justification or cause of dispute, nor as to the relative share of blame, since the remedy and redress of all difficulties depend entirely upon our own will on both sides to abolish the cause by raising mutually the embargoes of persons, money, goods, and merchandise, and restoring everything to its original position, as D'Assonleville recently proposed to you. This would bring about a complete cessation of the cause of quarrel and all impediment to our friendship, which would thereby be assured and confirmed. If, on the other hand, this should not be done, or any delay should occur in doing it, it would clearly demonstrate that another object had been in view, which cannot be believed of your Serenity, whose friendship I hold so dearly. I cannot believe, either, that your Serenity will listen to the advice of persons who, for their own ends and passions, may try to perturb public peace, and introduce division and difference between old friends to the prejudice of all, and only to the advantage of certain neighbours who desire such opportunities. By virtue of the powers and authorities given by us to the duke of Alba, our Lieutenant-General and Governor of the Netherlands, he is empowered to negotiate in this matter fully, as well as we ourselves could do, without further instructions ; but, in order to avoid all occasion for objection or delay, we send him a new commission authorising him to proceed without scruple or difficulty to the prompt, favourable, and final settlement of the dispute, and I am confident that your Serenity will negotiate with him, animated by the same friendship, affection, and brotherhood in the matter as I feel towards you, and in full consideration at the same time of the evils which otherwise would result to both parties.
23 May. 99. Guerau de Spes to the King.
The Queen went to Greenwich without deciding as to the restitution of the stolen property, and the duke of Norfolk and earl of Arundel, who told me they expected to bring the Queen to do as she ought, excused themselves by saying that they thought the people would rise ; but that as no check has been put upon either the Hamburg voyage or the Rochelle expedition, and they are allowed to rob freely every ship that passes through the Channel, the people are waiting in surprise to see what will come of it all. For this reason, the Duke and the Earl say they have had no opportunity of serving your Majesty as they wish. They have constantly importuned me also for money, promising that they would have everything that has been stolen restored, however distracted and ruined the country might be. The duke of Alba, however, understands it much better than I, and is of opinion that nothing should be given to them until they have done something more than make professions, although they assert that they are in much need. They have taken full advantage of the fact that the Queen has not declared herself plainly, and they have somewhat curbed Cecil's power. I believe that when they see an opportunity they will not fail to act in your Majesty's service. I think that the intentions of the earl of Arundel are good, both as to changing the Government and restoring the Catholic religion, whilst benefiting himself somewhat, as he is very needy. Norfolk is the same, as he spends all he has, but it is certain that in the matter of these robberies their hands are not soiled like those of the rest of the Council. The duke of Norfolk has not hitherto shown himself a Catholic, and seems to belong to the Augustinian creed, but both Arundel and Lumley, the brother-in-law of the Duke, believe that they will convert him. They have got the French ambassador to write to his King saying how important it would be if he would issue a proclamation like that of the Duke of Alba, the draft of which was sent from here at their request. The ambassador says that it will be published in France, which will greatly forward the affair, as these Englishmen want to be very sure of their ground before moving.
The commissioners appointed here have been very slack in their task. The document they have given me, which is translated from English into Spanish, does not give me the particulars of the masters and cargoes of the ships nor the details of the crews. I am insisting upon this information being furnished. The Councillors have evidently recalled the commissioners because they could not agree about the sale of the merchandise, all of them wanting to get the profit for themselves and their friends. Cecil is pressing me to consent to appoint three commissioners, and they will appoint a similar number, the object of which is to restore only that which now remains in hand. I have replied with all due caution that they must first restore all that which they have captured in a hostile manner, and I will then appoint commissioners to deal with the preservation of the rest, but without relieving the Queen from the obligation to a general restitution. I send enclosed a copy of the reply I gave them, slightly changed from what I previously said I would write, in consequence of my having received, in the interim, the report of the late commissioners. I believe that Cecil is only doing this to make people think that something is being done on their side, and, indeed, the little negotiation they have already had with me has elated all the country. They also keep the people in suspense by spreading news to suit their own purpose. I have received no letter from the Duke this month, and await his instructions. The fleet for Hamburg has had very prosperous weather for the last three days, and I suppose will have sailed, especially as the brigantine "Giles Grey" has returned from Hamburg and the coast of Holland with news that the fleet was being anxiously looked for in Germany, and there were no signs of arming in Holland. Besides the 40,000l. that this Queen is to receive as soon as this fleet arrives, they are moving heaven and earth to get this city to lend the Queen another 40,000l., and are in constant council with the aldermen about it. I believe that the documents are already drawn up asking for a loan from the whole country. No doubt she will give good help to Deuxponts. Besides this money she has seized 40,000 ducats which came in the last four sloops, and she has some portion of the money that came in the others, although most of it has been stolen by some followers of the Admiral and by the French. It is believed that the money in the Tower has not yet been touched. They are making great efforts to get sworn declarations from your Majesty's Flemish subjects revealing the property of each other, and I am told that the oath they administer contains divers enormities, which I have not been able to get in writing. The Venetian ships have been released, but as they only offer them 500 ducats each demurrage, for the time they have been detained, the masters prefer rather to leave it than to take it. They have loaded on board of them the kerseys, which had been bought by the Venetians before these detentions and robberies took place. I will try to prevent anything else being shipped by them, and to get them gone soon. The most important thing is that the six Venetian ships which are expected, and which will touch in Spain, should be detained there or should be made to give security that they will not go to England or ship English goods ; and if these two should put into a Spanish port, they also should be detained and discharged. I have no letter from your Majesty since the 12th March, in which you order me to advise how the Crown can be taken away from its present wearer. I wrote your Majesty, that, first English ships should be attacked, and that care should be taken to prevent the coming hither of the things necessary for this country, a list of which I sent to your Majesty with a copy of the proclamation. This would certainly cause a rising of the people in spite of any attempts of the Government to deceive them. Privateers might also be armed in Spain and Holland, as numerously as possible, to attack their ships, and any others that trade with them. If, in addition to this, the French would only stop trading with them, it would bring the country to anything your Majesty wished. If these gentlemen did their duty, the successful issue would be the more prompt, although it could be done without them, if necessary ; and, if your Majesty thought fit to assail the island with a strong fleet, it is certain that all the Catholics would rise for your service on the spot. In the meanwhile, it is important that efforts should be made to prevent the Regent James from entirely mastering Scotland, as it appears that many people are still attached to the Queen. I have sent copies of her letters and those of the earl of Huntly to the Duke, and copies are enclosed herewith, together with one written by the bishop of Ross, who is in London, to me. They are dangling vain hopes of liberty before this lady, although I am sure they will not release her, except by force. She has been ill lately, and if she were free it would be important for us, if only that her life, which is now in danger, might be safe in case of a rising. As regards the help she begs for, your Majesty will decide for the best and give me orders. If this country does not change its religion, or at least its government, your Majesty may in future count with certainty upon receiving from it nothing but evil and trouble, insolence, and robbery. A French ship came recently from Biscay with iron, of which they have much need here. Iron, oil, and soap are the things which it is important should be stopped from coming from your States, and if they are shipped for other countries, security should be given that they will not be brought hither. The six Venetian ships should be prevented from coming in any case. Captain Jones, who sailed for the Azores, has returned with a Norman ship loaded with sugar coming from Barbary. I do not know whether he will now continue his voyage. The Vidame de Chartres is being entertained in the country ; he will shortly arrive in London, where a house has been prepared for him. Brissac's death has caused great rejoicing here, and the fictions and lies invented daily against Spain are most notable. I am advised that the Hamburg fleet left Harwich on the 19th with fair weather. In Ireland the Viceroy, with four thousand men, is pursuing the baron or earl of Hereferte (Fitzmaurice?), who is a Catholic, and has risen against the Queen. Franç,isco Diaz, who came in the cutters that brought the money, takes this letter, and can give your Majesty an account of the ill-treatment and robberies committed here, as he has been through it all. He will also say how much alarmed the heretics are, and how full of hope are the godly ones, although nothing stops the incessant robberies, and not a ship, great or small, can pass without its being captured. I wrote to your Majesty lately how a servant of the earl of Leicester and another of the earl of Pembroke had recently captured a valuable sloop belonging to your Majesty's subjects on its way from Barbary, and another pirate on its voyage from Canaries. There were two friars of the order of Trinity in one of the eight sloops they captured in the Channel. They were on their way to Paris to the general chapter, and went on board at St. Ubes. When attacked they promptly threw overboard their habits and papers, and although the English suspected they were clergymen they have not been able to prove it. Their names are Garcia Mendez de Prado and Alonso de Leiva. They have been imprisoned at Harwich, and, since their arrival here, have been in jail. When I learned who they were I got them out on bail as mariners, and hid them in my house. I will try to send them to Flanders. The Catholics are being persecuted here more fiercely than ever, and the preachers are terribly anxious that this Queen should take up arms in favour of their religion, assuring her that otherwise the Papists will take the country.—London, 23rd May 1569.
100. Guerau De Spes to the King.
Since writing to your Majesty on the 9th instant I have no fresh news, excepting that the gentlemen who is here from the queen of Scotland informs me that he and the bishop of Ross went to Greenwich to learn the decision of this Queen in regard to the liberation of his Queen. She referred them to the Council for an answer, and when they met, a long discussion took place on the reasons alleged why the Queen should be released. When they thought the matter was taking a favourable turn, Cecil said that the Queen had received news that the bishop of Glasgow, acting under a power granted by the queen of Scotland, had renounced all her claims to the crown of England in favour of the duke of Anjou, and that the queen of Scotland must clear herself of this first. This gentleman has therefore gone to obtain letters from her upon this matter. I believe it is only for the purpose of delaying the business. I wrote to your Majesty that the Council is pressing me greatly on the appointment of new commissioners respecting the property stolen and detained. Seeing that a great part of the property is already lost, and that the commissioners they send are not over zealous in the business and do not execute their orders to view the property, I think it is nothing but a trick to deceive the people, of whom the Council are much afraid. It has not therefore appeared to me advisable to consent, excepting in such a way as is set forth in the memorial which I send to your Majesty, providing that the property stolen in a hostile manner shall be restored at once, as well as that which has been detained in contravention of the Queen's decree, and if they send to me to-morrow, this is the reply I shall give them. The Council seems somewhat mollified and are in great anxiety in consequence of the silence or dissembling of your Majesty, so much so, that the gentlemen who guard me go to great lengths to discover whether your Majesty intends to make war on them. As they are at issue amongst themselves, they fear that their own discord will bring about their ruin, and though it is true the duke of Norfolk and the earl of Arundel have not done so much as they said, yet Cecil and his friends have seen their object, which is, that there should be no war on any account, and that the stolen and detained property should be entirely restored, all deficiencies therein being made good by the parties inculpated, and in default of their property, by the Queen. I think they will soon try to make some arrangement, and these gentlemen (Norfolk and Arundel) have sent to tell me so, and that they have not been able to carry out their original intentions for want of opportunity, and because the duke of Alba had made no demonstration. They say, however, that they would still try to get restitution by other means, and will not fail to fulfil their first promises as soon as an opportunity occurs. Being Englishmen, as they are, we must take what they will give us. The fleet for Hamburg is still kept in Harwich by contrary winds. The weather is better to-day, but, if either going or coming, any misfortune of another sort should happen to this fleet, the people will grumble in good earnest, and may even be driven to make some movement. Captain Jones with one good vessel and another fair one, has started again for the Azores. Captain Franchot, a Lucchese heretic, and four or five other Italian merchants, are about to fit out ten ships with the support of the earl of Leicester. I do not think, however, that they will be able to do it, there being a great lack of sailors. It was said that they were going to Madeira, but they can hardly start under three months. A gentleman has just arrived from the fleet in Harwich. —London, 23rd May 1569.


  • 1. Of Saxony.