Simancas: January 1570

Pages 225-233

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

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January 1570

1570. 9 Jan. 172. Guerau de Spes to the King.
On the 4th instant I received your Majesty's letter of the 18th November, written in answer to mine up to the 21st of September. Shortly afterwards your Majesty will have received many of my letters reporting the imprisonment of the duke of Norfolk, and the unfavourable issue of affairs, resulting in much injury to many persons. His great friends, the Catholic earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, had been conspicuous in encouraging him not to return to Court, but to take up arms, and, as the Queen already bore them no great good will, they were summoned on many occasions to appear before her. They excused themselves and delayed in various ways, and, in the meanwhile, raised the Catholics with the help of their friends, intending to restore the Catholic religion and reform the Government. The Queen lost no time in ordering their arrest, and Westmoreland, being surrounded in a castle by the royal officers, Northumberland went with a larger force to relieve him. Thereupon all the people of the northern province began to rise, and they published their intention by the proclamation which I sent your Majesty, thinking by this means to raise the other Catholics, many of whom had already pledged their words. No movement, however, was made to aid them, and less still when their second proclamation was published announcing their intention to free the duke of Norfolk and the other imprisoned lords. The Queen mustered her army promptly, and, on their approach, although Westmoreland wished to fight, the other earl and many gentlemen, seeing their troops were few and badly armed, and that they were without artillery, decided to take refuge in Scotland. Northumberland went to the house of Lord Hume, and the other to that of the earl of Argyle. It is thought that, as these noblemen are powerful and friendly to the earls, they will not deliver them up to the Queen, who is pressing the Regent with great urgency to capture them, and hand them over, offering him, it is said, in return, his sister the Queen. The Regent, by order of this Queen, came to the border of Scotland with three thousand men and six hundred horse, to forward matters, but as he is a Scotsman, they are not without fear of him, and have reinforced the castle of Berwick and other border fortresses. The Catholics are somewhat ashamed that their enterprises should have turned out so vain. The earl of Warwick is ordered to return, and Sussex remains there in command.
If the duke of Norfolk had been kept informed, or these earls could have stood firmly, it would have gone badly with the Queen, as the people of Norfolk and Suffolk were preparing to rise and come in force to London to liberate the Duke, having made an uncle of his their captain, though against his will. But the conspiracy was revealed by two of them, and many there are now being arrested. If they had been able to join with the northern people they might have succeeded. All these enterprises are lost by bad guidance, and although they are undertaken with impetus, they are not carried through with constancy.
Irish affairs have been going badly for the Queen this summer. The brothers of the earl of Ormond, a son of John O'Neil, and many others, had disturbed the greater part of the island and taken many places which were under the Queen's rule. The pretended cause of the rising was the bad government of the country, in which they include the question of religion. On the arrival of the earl of Ormond there, who had been sent by this Queen, his brothers decided to submit to the Viceroy on certain conditions, and one of them remained a prisoner, with the expectation of a prompt release. As soon as he obtained more freedom the other Catholic brother went forth again with his followers and is now raising his friends in revolt. Thomas Stukeley, of whom I have written to your Majesty, had sent word to me that he wished to serve your Majesty, and would be a party to delivering the island to you, but he was arrested with many others by the Viceroy on suspicion, and was subsequently liberated. He served in the German wars under the Emperor, and, I believe, under your Majesty afterwards. He is a Catholic of high position in the island, and sent a Venetian merchant resident there to me in order to arrange, through a nephew of his, to whom he gave a cipher, to learn whether your Majesty would accept his services in such an enterprise. This is also pressed upon me by letters from the archbishop of Armagh in prison, who knows nothing of Stukeley. He considers it a very easy thing, but as the duke of Alba prudently gave me orders to leave all such negotiations for the present, I have not proceeded further in it, and as the arrival of the earl of Ormond caused a suspension of the disturbances, there has been nothing fresh to report upon the subject. The said Earl is expected here, it is said, to complain of the Viceroy. The Catholics are very numerous there, and heresy is weak except in Dublin and the fortified places.
They have returned the queen of Scotland to Tutbury under the guard of the earl of Shrewsbury, and some Englishmen say that the duke of Anjou wanted to marry her, which your Majesty knows better than anyone might be inconvenient.
The French ambassador has promised to favour the earls of the north, and tells me that the King will shortly send a special ambassador to demand the release of the queen of Scotland, and who will then proceed to Scotland to try to arrange favourable terms for her with the Regent.
A French ship recently arrived at Colchester, and her crew have been arrested on the charge that they were sounding the port and reconnoitring the coast by order of the king of France and the duke of Alba. It was said by a sailor in joke, but the greater part of the crew have been brought to London for it.
The queen of Scotland has written me a letter asking me to try to carry into effect your Majesty's instructions to me of the 12th of January last year, and deliver to the queen of England the letter which your Majesty wrote regarding her release. I replied that I would willingly do it when I could.
John Killigrew has been twice to Germany since I have been here. His principal negotiations are with the elector Count Palatine, although he has seen all of the other electors. He is accompanied by Dr. Christopher Mundt, an Englishman resident in Germany, of whom I wrote to your Majesty on the 24th August. He is a medical man, and lives in Strasburg. Out of the money obtained for the goods in Hamburg, the portion which the Queen desired for the purpose of aiding the Duke de Deuxponts to enter France was paid there. It is understood that Killigrew's last return was in consequence of an offer made by the Duke Hans Casimir that, if this Queen would give him a large sum of money paid in cash down, he would enter France, which offer they decided here to accept; but when Killigrew was ready to go, he was ordered to remain, in consequence of the rising of the north.
A Secretary of the Council informs me that they have engaged in Germany 6,000 foot and 10,000 (?) horse in case they should be required here. The Secretary says that this league of Princes is, up to the present, only defensive, and there is no talk in the Council of openly offending the Netherlands States, but only to harass them with the pirates. It was certainly very extraordinary for the Queen, after she had promised so decidedly not to allow M. De Dupin to leave, to subsequently give him liberty to do so with full warlike equipment for land and sea, with the apparent intention of fortifying himself in the isle of Texel, or in the gulf of Embden, as he attempted to do. The said Secretary also assures me that there is no agreement with their friends in Germany to invade your Majesty's dominions.
They have given the post of Controller to James Crofts, a very honourable Welsh gentlemen, who received a pension from your Majesty, and is believed to be a Catholic. He will be a member of the Council in virtue of his office. He sends to say that in whatever thing he can honestly serve your Majesty he will do so. They have chosen him for the office because he understands more than the others of warlike affairs, and because the earl of Pembroke urged it greatly, not much to Cecil's satisfaction.
The bishop of Ross has just sent me copy of a letter from the queen (of Scotland) advising him that the earl of Westmoreland had arrived at her castle of Dumbarton, in Scotland, where he will be safe, and that the earl of Northumberland is a prisoner of the Regent on parole, but will not be given up to this Queen.
She also says that the earl of Huntingdon has informed her that, if she will marry the earl of Leicester, arrangements shall be made for her release, to which she has replied that she will not have anything to say about her marriage with anyone until she is free.
She affirms that Huntingdon assures her that this Queen has offers from many people in the Netherlands to the effect that, if she will send 10,000 men, they will all rise and murder the Spaniards. It may be brag and yet be true.
The Corsairs have left this coast, taking with them the Venetian ship. They have also captured three Easterling sloops on their voyage from Flanders to Spain.
The negotiations being carried on by Thomas Fiesco and the parties interested, as regards the rescue of the merchandize here that remains, which is a very small portion, have not yet resulted in any decision, and the same may be said with regard to the money and the attempt to settle some form of carrying on trade ; but as it is a matter of great profit to the English, I think they will come to some agreement, at all events partially.—London, 9th January 1570.
14 Jan. 173. Guerau De Spes to the King.
Since my long letter of the 9th, news has arrived that the pirates have captured another Venetian ship called the "Vergi," of a thousand tons burden, which left here with a cargo of kerseys worth a hundred thousand crowns, as well as much lead, tin, or pewter, and I have taken this opportunity of reporting it to your Majesty by a ship leaving for St. Jean de Luz. It is feared that they will capture the other two Venetian vessels, which are valuable and ready to sail, although they are trying to get an escort of two of the Queen's ships for them.
Nothing more is known of the Earls and gentlemen who escaped to Scotland. Leicester has received 15 days leave to go to his estates, and it is suspected that he wishes to make some arrangement with the queen of Scotland, who is there. I believe I shall know what is done and will immediately report to your Majesty.
A secretary of the Count Palatine has arrived here, and has had secret audience of the Queen, it is believed for the purpose of seeking aid for the Duke Hans Casimir to enter France, but they have not yet decided to give it him. Count Charles Mansfeldt, brother of Volrad is here, and presumes to say that as soon as the western sea is navigable he will go home that way, and will, with the prince of Orange, again enter France to aid Admiral Chatillon. It seems, however, that they are not vapouring against the States of Flanders, but only against the Christian King.
According to the duke of Alba's orders I am dissembling about the rescue of the merchandise, and Cecil and Leicester are both favourably inclined by reason of the presents they hope to get for it, although the English merchants somewhat hinder the matter by their complaints that the cloths siezed in Antwerp have been sold and delivered by order of the duke of Alba.—London, 14th January 1570.
18 Jan. 174. Guerau de Spes to the King.
I wrote at length in previous letters, and am now hourly awaiting the return of the courier sent on the 9th, bringing me the duke of Alba's instructions. Diego Pardo, one of the merchants here who are dealing for the ransom of the merchandise, leaves with this letter to consult with the Duke on certain difficulties that have arisen in the exchange or ransom, in consequence of their having heard here that the cloths belonging to the English have been sold or consigned to certain merchants in Antwerp. Pardo will return when he learns what truth there is in this, and obtains the Duke's instructions.
As the Queen is about to leave for Hampton Court, and Leicester has not returned from his journey, there is little to add in this letter.
The Queen has sent urging the Regent to make great efforts to capture the earl of Westmoreland and the other gentlemen who escaped with him, offering very good rewards for them. It is understood that all the Scotch nobles are determined that Northumberland shall not be delivered, and that the rest of the fugitives shall not be pursued.
Henry, the brother of the earl of Northumberland, who, with the son of Secretary Cecil, married two sisters, daughters of Lord Latimer, has been strongly opposed to his brother in this business. He has come to Court and has been very well received. He begs the favour of being allowed to take charge of the two sons of his brother, which has been granted, and it is believed that he will be well rewarded.
The bishop of Ross informs me that most of the principal Catholics in this country have sent him word not to desist from his first intention, for that as soon as they learn that they will have the help of foreign princes, and a good arrangement is made for help to reach them, they will all rise in a day and persevere until this country is again Catholic, and the succession is assured to the queen of Scotland.
The Bishop also tells me that the Catholics here wish that his Holiness would publish a Bull in some place whence its purport would reach here, absolving them from the oath of allegiance they have taken to this Queen, as she is not a Catholic and calls herself head of this Church. This, they think, would be desirable, and would add prestige to their claims.
It would have the same effect in Ireland, where, I am informed by the archbishop of Armagh, the English entered by virtue of a grant given by a Pope to Henry II. of England, and that the conditions of this grant instead of being fulfilled are entirely violated.
The queen of England, although she will not declare a successor, is bringing up with much more state than formerly the two children of Hertford and Catharine. Cecil even proposed lately to call the eldest the duke of Somerset, which has not yet been decided upon.
The earl of Huntingdon is greatly damaged by having no children, and but little following, whilst Lady Margaret, who deserves every good thing, has less still. Lord Strange is another claimant for the succession. He is the heir to the earl of Derby, and his claim is founded on that of his wife, from whom he is separated, although he has children. He is therefore a Protestant against the wish of his father and brothers, and is a man of small personal worth.
The nephews of Cardinal Pole are thought very little of, and the rest of the people turn their eyes to the queen of Scotland, although the heretics fear from her a change of religion, which makes many of them her opponents, or at least very lakewarm friends.
A captain has arrived from Ireland, bringing news that the Viceroy had subjugated all that part of the island towards the south, and had sentenced to death three or four gentlemen, many more being kept prisoners, although they were persons of small account. He requests more troops and money to go against the west and south, which are both in revolt. The brother of the earl of Ormond is still in prison, and the other brother is with the enemy.
I advised your Majesty of the arrival here of a secretary of the Palatine in search of money. The Queen would only give him 30,000 crowns, which he thinks very little, although many of the Council advocate his having more, and even the Vidame de Chartres, who is here, produced recent letters from the Palatine, asking him to solicit a large sum of money, as he could not hope to enter France with a small amount.
A servant of the duchess of Vendôme arrived here two days ago, it is thought on the same errand.
It is true that the capture of the two Venetian ships may be of great advantage to the Protestants, the vessels having already arrived in Rochelle. The Venetian consul here has a letter from this Queen to the duchess of Vendôme, pressing her very urgently to get these ships returned, but I expect it is all double dealing. Great fear is entertained for the other three ships. The pirates carried into Rochelle with the two Venetians four Easterling sloops.
The Council have not yet given any reply to Thomas Fiesco about the re-opening of trade, nor is there much hope that they will give a favourable one.
Two ships have arrived from Cape Arguim in the kingdom of Fez, loaded with sugar, and the King of the country writes to the Queen that he had arranged the dispute that he had with some English merchants, and had assured them of safety for their dealings. English ships will, therefore, shortly sail thither. They usually carry large quantities of arms in exchange for merchandise.— London, 18th January 1570.
22 Jan. 175. The King to Guerau de Spes.
Your various letters have been received by which, and by Chapin Viteli's letter to the Duke, I have been informed of the progress of events and negotiations up to the 6th of December last. As I am sending my will and determination on all points to the Duke, it will not be necessary for me to give you any particulars here, excepting to enjoin you to scrupulously follow the Duke's instructions. It will hardly be necessary to urge upon you to give us the most detailed account of what happens as often as possible, as you already do so to our satisfaction.
A letter from the bishop of Ross accompanies yours of 4th November. I was glad to learn that the queen of Scotland was firm and in good heart. The answer to the letter is not sent as it could not go in cipher, but you may tell him, if he be still there, to assure the Queen that I desire, and will try, to secure her release and happiness as much as if she were my own sister, as she will already have been assured from the duke of Alba and yourself.— Talavera, 22nd January 1570.
23 Jan. 176. Guerau de Spes to the King.
M. de Monluc sent by the King of France, as the ambassador had already told me, arrived here to-day. He comes to beg the Queen not to favour the French rebels as he did not help the English ones ; and also to request the release of the queen of Scotland. I am to see the two ambassadors to-morrow, and I will report to your Majesty what I hear. With the same object the bishop of Ross has seen me with a letter of credence from his mistress to ask me to write to your Majesty begging you to send a gentleman to this Queen to intercede for the queen of Scotland, since I had no authority to explain yet your Majesty's wishes nor to give a letter on the subject. He also requested troops from your Majesty to deprive the Regent of the Government, in which the king of France would help. In answer to both of these requests I told him that there would be difficulties in the way, seeing the present state of affairs, but that I would write. It certainly appears a most desirable thing to depose the Regent, but it would be better that it should be done by native enemies, and the Bishop thinks there are good means of effecting it. Your Majesty will order what is best for your service.
The Council is determined not to let the queen of Scotland go for any exchange, and I do not believe they will do so at the intercession of anybody. They offer money to the Regent for the earl of Northumberland, and the former, finding the nobles of the province opposed to the delivery of him, is taking measures to capture him by force, by means of some armed ships which will approach the castle. Westmoreland and the others are free.
Cardinal Chatillon went to Hampton Court two days ago. He is very pressing that the Queen should give a sum of money to Hans Casimir and the prince of Orange to enter France, but she, on the plea that she is short of money, does not yet offer more than fifty thousand crowns.
It is said here that Orange went to Heidelburg to forward this project, and thence went post to negotiate on the subject with duke August. On the other hand, there are hopes that an agreement may be come to in France, of which their ambassador is very sanguine.
They have commenced the sale in Rochelle of the Venetian property, so I suppose the letter from this Queen to the duchess of Vendome asking for the return of the ships, arrived there too late. The third ship escaped the Corsairs, thanks to its cannon.—London, 23rd January 1570.
30 Jan. 177. Guerau de Spes to the King.
On the 23rd instant, Hamilton, a kinsman of the duke of Chatelherault, who is a prisoner in Scotland, knowing that the Regent was leaving Edinburgh with one hundred and fifty horse and that he had to go through a narrow pass, stationed himself in a house convenient for the purpose and fired upon him with a harquebuss, loaded with several balls, and wounded him in the stomach. It was at first thought that the wound might not be mortal, but according to the news this Queen has received, the Regent has since died. Hamilton escaped by a back door of the house, where he had horses in waiting. This Queen was much grieved, and yesterday broke forth in great exclamations, saying that this would be the beginning of her ruin. She has sent a gentleman thither to endeavour to get the Protestants and other enemies of the queen of Scotland to select persons of their own faction as governors, and offers to provide a sum of money, if it be necessary, for them to defend themselves. Westmoreland, Markinfield and other Englishmen to the number of 600 horse are free in Scotland, only Northumberland having been taken, in consequence of his having returned to fetch his wife who had entered Scotland after him. He is now in the castle of Lochleven, as I have already written.
As this news is of the greatest importance, and may turn out for the good of Christendom, knowing that I should not be able to obtain a passport as soon as I wished, I send this despatch by a boat to the duke of Alba, that he may give me instructions.
They have sentenced a hundred and fifty persons to death in the north, but none of them persons of any account ; they are pursuing Leonard Dacre who is a powerful person there, although he did not take up arms against the Queen. He is guarded by a troop of horse, and it is believed will pass over the border. There are means by which the queen of Scotland may be released, and her wish has always been to take refuge in your Majesty's dominions. If Scotland is not pacified with this last event, I expect she will persevere in that intention which it appears might be fertile of good results for your Majesty's interests.
This Queen has offered Hans Casimir and the prince of Orange fifty thousand crowns for troops with which to enter France, and the Council is trying to devise means to get her to give more without prejudicing herself. Cardinal Chatillon himself has been round the French Protestant churches lately to ask for aid, and has received promises of so much from each. I also understand that certain Flemings allege that large sums for the purpose will be secretly sent from Flanders. The Cardinal took with him when he went on his errand, a letter, which he said was from the prince of Orange himself, assuring the return of what they now gave, as well as their former contributions as soon as he had received two payments in the Netherlands. I am trying to discover who are those in Flanders that will give such help as they say.
The Cardinal is well guarded here, the Corsairs being sixteen sail strong and well equipped, divided into two equal squadrons, one on one side and one on the other. Orders have been given here that no goods, excepting those which were usually shipped thither before these detentions should be despatched now through any of the custom houses.
They have also ordered by letter to the Flemish and other foreign churches that no bills of exchange shall be given for your Majesty's dominions. The merchants are told to have the cargo ready for Hamburg during next month, so that they are in full preparation, and seeing the lack of zeal to prevent them, they will doubtless sail this year as they say.
The going of Leicester to his country was with the object of fortifying a place of his called Kenilworth, for which purpose he has taken with him a certain Julio Spinelli an Italian who was recently in the castle of Antwerp. Leicester told him that he greatly feared civil wars in this country.
A week ago there entered into this river six Breton ships loaded with oil, coming from Andalucia. They arrived very opportunely, and, by interesting the commissioners, they have obtained license to sell. I am told that similar cargoes have arrived at Bristol.— London, 30th January 1570.