Simancas: April 1570

Pages 242-244

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

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April 1570

19 April. 186. Guerau De Spes to the King.
As I have informed your Majesty, the army of this Queen now amounts to 5,000 infantry and 1,500 horse, without counting the garrisons in the castles. The army is now at Newcastle, and all the stores have been sent thither by sea. The earl of Sussex has dismissed some cavalry in which he had no confidence, and he has consulted the Queen with regard to certain difficulties concerning his proposed entry into Scotland. One of these is that the arrival of the French envoy here had excited somewhat the friends of the Queen (of Scotland), and he therefore thought it would be dangerous to enter with so small a force, and to take a very much larger one he would need great stores of provision. He also says that he had received news, although not through the English ambassador, that four French vessels with infantry and stores had arrived at Dumbarton.
Orders have been sent to him from here to raise the troops he thought necessary, and to ascertain the truth of the news about the French troops, as, in case of its being true, it would have great influence on the decision to enter Scotland. It appears that the earl of Sussex has some hope that they will deliver the earl of Northumberland to him. He writes that Westmoreland had wounded himself in the hand carelessly with a pistol.
The excitement and annoyance caused to the gentlemen of the country by Privy Seal's letters of demand are remarkable, but still, most of them find the money, and it is thought that more than four hundred thousand crowns will be collected, notwithstanding that less than a year ago sixty thousand pounds were obtained.
The nobles are also dissatisfied, and the people, for other reasons, are the same, as they will prove on the first opportunity. But Cecil goes his way, and it is even feared that he will have Lord Montague arrested. The latter has been advised of this by some of the members of the Council.
The departure of the Hamburg fleet is being pushed forward. Cardinal Chatillon complained that the 50,000 crowns had not yet been paid in Germany, and the Queen said, "If there be no peace in France I will give that and much more, so that want of money shall not stand in the way of the cause ; but if an agreement is come to, I shall have need of my money."
I have been informed that the Council was discussing the selection from amongst the corsairs' ships of some to go out and meet the fleet from the Indies, (fn. 1) and although no decision has been come to, it is possible that Captain Sores may do this on his own account, as he is not now in the Channel, although some of his followers are, and bring prizes every day into the Isle of Wight. They took another cargo of salt from the sloops which came into Falmouth. (fn. 1)
I have reported the arrival here of Bartolomé Bayon, a Portuguese, (fn. 2) who has been made much of by the merchants and some of the Councillors, as no one could have come more apt for their designs. They invite him to return with a good number of ships to Guinea, and some of the Council have communicated with him about the project which was discussed here before, to occupy and colonize one or two ports in the kingdom of Magallanes, in order to have in their hands the commerce of the southern sea, and that of Guinea and the coast of Africa, as well as getting as near as they wish to Peru. It is a matter of much importance, and as this Portuguese is friendly with a doctor who comes to my house, I have consented to see him, and now recognize that he is a good cosmographer with regard to those parts. He is a man of good judgment, who might either do good or evil, and I do not think it would be bad to attach him to your Majesty's service, unless there be some reason to the contrary of which I am ignorant. If nothing else was done by this it would take him away from here, which would be something gained. He is in debt and asks for aid to carry negroes to the Indies, as your Majesty may see by the copy of his letter to me enclosed, some portions of which letter, however, might have been expressed more moderately. Your Majesty will order me what is fitting to do. I also send copy of a proclamation of this Queen respecting the present war against Scotland, in English and French.—London, 19th April 1570.
25 April. 187. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In my previous letters I have reported the arrival of a French ambassador in Scotland who is called M. de Seurres, a knight of the order of St. John, who was formerly ambassador here. By means of promises of companies-of-horse, pensions, and the order of St. Michael, he has won over many of those who were opposed to the queen of Scotland, so that, by common consent, the earl of Westmoreland and other English of the same party were welcomed in Edinburgh, and the English ambassador was obliged to return at once, he having been placed in safety at Berwick by the earl of Morton, or otherwise they would have captured or killed him. Discussions are now going on in Edinburgh with regard to the Government, and it is believed that in future it will be carried on in the name of the Queen. In the meanwhile the earl of Sussex penetrated a few miles into Scotland to see whether adherents would join him, but as he saw no one, he retired to Berwick, and awaits instructions from here. The members of the Council here are much confused to see how badly their undertaking has commenced.
The considerations which occur in connection with this is that the queen of Scotland might be liberated by the French, and upon her marriage subsequently would very greatly depend the evil or good of the Catholic faith, the security of the Netherlands, and the trade of the Indies. Your Majesty will consider and give such orders as may be best for your service.
The duke of Norfolk has all the Tower for a prison, and four of his servants have access to him, so that, with little difficulty, he could be liberated. If he wishes to raise the country it would be in his power to do it, seeing the discontent alike of nobles and people, both on account of the forced loans and for other reasons.
I have pointed out to Cecil, Leicester, and the Controller, in accordance with the Duke's orders, how bad it appeared for them persistently to welcome here the piratical rebels against your Majesty, and allow them to sally forth from these ports and return hither with their plunder. I will report their reply duly to your Majesty. They have letters from the English ambassador in France saying that the hopes of peace have now disappeared, whereat these people are very glad.
Postscript.—I have received a letter from the queen of Scotland, copy of which I enclose. I will reply in general terms as your Majesty orders. All the printed copies of the proclamation respecting the troops for Scotland have been taken from the bookseller by Cecil's orders. The Hamburg fleet is going down the river.—London, 25th April 1570.


  • 1. In the King's handwriting, "Let Vasquez have a copy of this and all similar references."
  • 2. In the King's handwriting, "And of this also, and the Portuguese ambassador may be given a copy of what concerns him."