Simancas: February 1570

Pages 233-237

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 1570

9 Feb. 178. Guerau de Spes to the King.
I send your Majesty enclosed a copy of the Queen's answer to M. de Monluc and the French ambassador. The former returns with the answer.
Cardinal Chatillon continues his great efforts to obtain the subscriptions for the expense of the Germans who are to be raised, and the Flemish rebels living here promise him that if the army is to be against their country they will at once give thirty thousand crowns, and eight thousand crowns a month for eight months. If it is against France they offer twenty thousand crowns, and the Frenchmen here a similar amount. All this is being discussed with great warmth and impudence, and I believe it has been settled. In the meanwhile the Queen has arrested the bishop of Ross, and he is well guarded in the bishop of London's house.
They talk of a Parliament here with the object of legally confiscating the possessions of the northern people, and in order to get the usual grants voted, although the Queen is much afraid of having members sent from all parts of the country. In the meanwhile the people are being hanged in the north daily, and the number will certainly exceed seven hundred. Four brothers, gentlemen named Norton, who are strong Catholics, are believed to be in danger.
As they have captured the man that the bishop of Ross despatched, I have not been able to learn what has happened in Scotland since the death of the Regent, although I understand from the Court here that they have released Lord Herries and Lethington, but that the duke of Chatelherault is not yet free because of his relationship to Robert Hamilton who killed the Regent.
This Queen would like the earl of Morton to be Governor, as he is a great heretic and an enemy of the queen of Scotland. Neither side trusts the other bastard brother of the dead man. I am without letters from Flanders for the last six weeks, although I send hourly reports of what happens here.—London, 9th February 1570.
13 Feb. 179. Guerau de Spes to the King.
I have given your Majesty in previous letters full information of events here, but as I have received no letters from Flanders for some time and the couriers have not returned, I have been uncertain as to whether my letters had been received there. I have, with your Majesty's permission, given license for some merchandise belonging to Dr. Nuñez, a Portuguese resident here, to be conveyed to Biscay, so that this despatch with duplicates of former letters may be freely left in one of the ports there, and your Majesty may thus have news.
The principal point is that the Regent of Scotland has been killed by a musket shot, fired by Robert Hamilton two days previously, the murderer escaping.
This Queen has many envoys there trying to retain the government in the hands of the Protestants, and in those of the greatest enemies to the restoration of the Queen. I have given full information to the duke of Alba, knowing how important it is that the government should be in your Majesty's interests. The bishop of Ross has sent to exhort the friends of his mistress with this end, and although the bishop is now detained closely in the house of the bishop of London, which hinders affairs greatly, they may, perhaps, after this affair blows over, relax his guard somewhat.
I am informed to-day that the Queen has ordered the earl of Sussex to return to the north with three hundred horse and five hundred foot, with twelve captains, to raise the troops necessary to encourage the Scotch Protestants.
These Englishmen think that the Duke Hans Casimir and the prince of Orange will be able to enter Flanders by aid of the money which M. de Dupin took from the ships stolen from your Majesty's Flemish subjects, from the proceeds of the goods sold from the Venetian ships at Rochelle, the fifty thousand crowns which the Queen contributes, and the sums subscribed by the Flemish rebels, the churches, the English and other aids from England and Germany. The Cardinal is energetically at work about it. When the forces are ready, and they find there is little chance of doing harm in Flanders, they may fall upon France, especially if the Queen helps them with the money detained here, for which they are pressing much and perhaps will succeed in obtaining.
They are putting off Thomas Fiesco with empty words about the safety of this money as they are doing with the merchants about their goods, so that those who were here with the Duke's leave to deal in the matter have gone back to give an account to him. English goods in Flanders and Spain at present are of more value than what is left of the goods here, apart from the cash. The plague looks as if it were breaking out again here, but nothing will persuade them to restore what they have stolen.—London, 13th February 1570.
25 Feb. 180. Guerau De Spes to the King.
On the 21st instant I received your Majesty's letter of the 26th December, to which this is a reply. The earl of Morton, the earl of Mar, the earl Marshal, and others are in Edinburgh contriving to settle the Government to their liking. They are on the side of this Queen, and are working in accord with Mr. Randolph and other envoys who have gone from here to Scotland. The duke of Chatelherault and the earl of Northumberland are still prisoners.
The earl of Huntly and others are at Dumbarton opposite Ireland with many troops, and the earl of Westmoreland and other English exiles are with them. These men wish the Government to be in the name of the queen of Scotland. It had been suggested that all should agree to the appointment of the earl of Lennox who is now here, father of the late King, for Governor, but the queen of England does not like him.
The earl of Sussex, who has to go to the north with troops, has not left yet, as the Queen is always slow in giving money ; but he will go soon. In the meanwhile Leonard Dacre has occupied a castle almost on the border line inland, and although Lord Hunsdon from Berwick, and Lord Scrope from the other side came to besiege him, they found him so well placed that they returned. Sussex has orders to try to drive him out, and afterwards to enter Scotland to favour the friends of this Queen.
Some troops are being raised for this purpose here, and I am advised by my friends in the Council that the Queen has news from her ambassador in France that a fleet is being equipped there to aid the Scots, as she also has been advised by the men she has sent thither. They therefore wish to prepare here all their sea forces, particularly now they have learnt that the duke (of Alba) is equipping fifteen vessels in Holland.
They sent a courier yesterday telling Count Charles Mansfeldt to make ready six thousand foot and five hundred horse, and decided with Cardinal Chatillon that the Queen would give a hundred thousand crowns within three months, and security in Germany to pay another hundred thousand in two years, on condition that Admiral Chatillon should not accept the treaty of peace and should persevere in his enterprise. The Cardinal is therefore sending to his brother about it, and is writing to him the list of contributions promised here. He exaggerates it a great deal, because he adds the money obtained from the sale of the stolen goods.
My friend on the Council tells me that if the Queen's fleet could take some places in Scotland they would do so, and that negotiations were being carried on with the Regent James before his death for him to give up the province, on payment to him of an income of fifty thousand crowns from England. Although his death stopped the matter Cecil is still much set upon it.
They are greatly in want of money, and will not restore what they have detained except by force. They hold up their hands to heaven at the offers made by the Genoese through Thomas Fiesco, and with regard to the merchandise no good will be done.
The Cardinal is very proud of the plan he proposed to the Council, by which, without cost to themselves but to their profit, they might become masters of the Channel. The privateers land unmolested every day, and have recently captured a Flemish sloop with a cargo of fruit from Portugal.
The sentences against persons and property in the North are being carried out with great rigour, which will again force them into revolt. All the other Catholics are on the watch for help from abroad, but so much alarmed that they dare not trust one another.
What would probably be a very successful enterprise is to capture the queen of Scotland, and take her to your Majesty's dominions, as she herself suggests. I am sending the man who wishes to undertake it to the duke of Alba shortly, in order that the Duke may, if he thinks well of it, take such measures as may be desirable.
The depositions and interrogatories administered to the duke of Norfolk, the earls of Arundel and Pembroke and Lumley will, I am informed by their agents, give but little proof of their intentions to the Council, as they were extremely cautious in the answers they gave. Hitherto the bishop of Ross alone has inculpated one of those in the north, and on this ground, or rather because of his cleverness and diligence, they keep him prisoner.
Five days ago a servant of the prince of Orange arrived, and is lodged in Cecil's house. I should not have known who he was but for my friend, who tells me that he is pressing urgently for large help to be given to his master against Flanders. The forces here are not sufficient for this purpose, particularly with these Scotch troubles, and they are therefore keeping him while they discuss ways and means, announcing that he is a servant of the Count Palatine.
John Hawkins is here, and came to see me the other day, to seek my intercession for the liberation of his hostages and the rest of his company left in Florida.
No fleet has left this country for the Indies, except three medium sized ships which sailed for the Guinea coast, where they always go on their way to the Indies. Two others have gone to Cape Arguim so that the 22 sail which were sighted at Cape St. Vincent were not from here. I will always advise your Majesty as fully as I can on this point.
Antonio Fogaza has returned from Portugal with the three ships he took with him, bringing spices and other goods. Although he concealed from the ambassador Don Fernando Carillo the object of his voyage, I knew it well, and for that reason, refused to give him letters in favour of the treaty of commerce between England and Portugal. He brings with him certain clauses, and the members of the Council await him with impatience. They have sent him instructions that he is not to speak to me whilst his illness confines him to his bed, and prevents him from seeing them. I will report all I can learn. He had but little acquaintance with those in the north and only knew some private Catholics.
The brother of the earl of Ormond has been set free in Ireland, and, with the other two, is now routing and robbing on the roads without being able to get a body of troops together. The Queen has imposed a heavy fine or tribute on the place, but this may turn out to be an advantage as the road to greater things. The island lacks husbandmen, and is short of food.—London, 25th February 1570.
27 Feb. 181. Guerau De Spes to the King.
By an English ship bound for St. Jean de Luz, I write this letter to your Majesty, consigned to Juan Martinez de Recalde. Leonard Dacre has fought with Lord Hunsdon ; the killed on both sides being 400 men, most of them, say this Queen's friends, being their opponents. After the encounter, Dacre passed over the border to Scotland with 300 horse, and there are now there 2,000 English horsemen and many footmen against the queen of England. Orders to equip have been given here and sailors are being got together, but I am informed from Rochester that nothing fresh is being done with the ships. They are, however, making ready at their own homes large numbers, both of cavalry and infantry.
They cannot persuade the Queen to call Parliament together, as she fears they will compel her to appoint her successor. They are seeking money.
I reported in previous letters the arrival here of seven French ships loaded in Cadiz and its neighbourhood with oil and soap which were very welcome. As I understand that the English have arranged with the masters to make another similar voyage, I send the names of ships and masters in order that your Majesty may take such measures as you think desirable.
The "Phoenix," of Havre de Grace, Master Andreu Henchare.
The "Ventura," of Havre de Grace, Master Jaques Lucas.
The "Charité," of Havre de Grace, Master Jean Lie.
The "Esperance," of Quilvit, Master Roger Pautoe.
The "Robert," of Havre de Grace, Master Pierre Godin.
The "Geneta," of Havre de Grace, Master Nulet Martelet.
Orders have been given to the merchants who are to ship goods for Hamburg to have all their cargo loaded before Easter. The corsairs have captured and plundered a great Dantzig ship of 1,300 or 1,400 tons on her voyage from here to Portugal.—London, 27th February 1570.