Simancas: July 1570

Pages 258-262

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

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July 1570

1 July. 195. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have reported in former letters respecting the ships that were leaving Rochelle to meet the Indian fleet and do other damage. This Queen has received news of the expedition, although they speak of only ten ships from England. Persons who saw them, however, affirm that there were fifteen, and Hawkins is being hurried in his preparations for a similar voyage. He will have six fine ships ready in a fortnight, and asserts that he will be revenged for the injury the Spaniards have done him. The other pirates, to the number of forty sail, are round about the Isle of Wight, and mostly before Dover. They stop in port for days together, sallying forth whenever they see a sail. Their fleet is largely reinforced by English harquebussiers, so that the Queen depends upon them to defend her coasts, and told the Council that she had no need of other defence.
The illness of the Queen is caused by an open wound above the ankle, which prevents her from walking. She has received the present sent to her by the queen of Scotland, of two little caskets, and told the Scotch and French ambassadors that when she was assured of the wishes of the Scotch people she would arrange about the Queen's release. To persuade her to this M. de Rambouillet is coming from the Christian king, and will go on to Scotland. I expect this Queen wants an excuse, in case the settlement should fall through, to throw the blame on the Scots themselves. She has withdrawn her troops, and dismissed the northern men, putting the rest in garrison. This has been done on the promise of the French ambassador that his King will not send soldiers. There seems now a better chance of the peace in France being effected, as Cardinal Chatillon complains that, in consequence of the necessary money not having been provided in Germany for the Reiters to go, his brother will be obliged to make peace, though Cecil says it will only be for six months. They are pressing on the settlement with Portugal, and seem to be agreed about the marques. Forgaza claimed that they should abandon the Guinea trade, which they refused, and I understand that he is sending to Portugal to consult on the matter. It is most important that this settlement should be impeded.
It seems that it had been arranged in Norfolk that at a certain fair on St. John's day, the people should meet in great numbers and take up arms. Three gentlemen, servants of the duke, have been arrested. They say their rising was to have been against the Flemings, who live there, and who deprive them of all their gains. It is thought they will bring them here. John Wyatt, an English pirate, has arrived here, who, having had some of his people killed on the coast of Hispaniola, and seeing that he could not trade there, came hitherward, and on his way back captured a ship which had belonged to Hawkins, with a cargo of wine from Jerez. He says that three other English ships were trying to trade in those parts.
I have craftily obtained a copy of the treaty made by Antonio Fogaza, and will send it in Spanish if possible by this courier. My friend warns me to be very circumspect, as Cecil and the Chancellor are dealing very treacherously with me. I shall not be able to find out very well to what he refers, as they are very close there (i.e., at Court), and vigilant.—London, 1st July 1570.
3 July. 196. Guerau De Spes to the Duke of Alba.
The queen of England told the French ambassador that she had a letter from the Emperor informing her of the marriage of our Queen, and saying that he was still in hopes of seeing her (Elizabeth) married to the Archduke Charles. He said also that 13,000 horse were in Casimir's country, which he would try to prevent entering France. I have endeavoured to discover whether there is any truth in this letter, but can find no signs of it. I believe the Queen invented it all to frighten the French. Your Excellency will learn of it through other channels.
People here will not believe in events at Granada, nor anything else that is favourable to us, because they think that everything must necessarily go according to their wishes. They are saying now that the foundations of the fortress at Antwerp are wrong (mined ?), and are talking of the murder of one of the gentlemen of your Excellency's chamber. It is necessary to observe the greatest caution in living here, and I have ordered all my servants to refrain from walking in the streets. My house is surrounded with spies, and they are even turning me out of it because it has too many doors.—London, 3rd July 1570.
26 July. 197. The King to Guerau De Spes.
I have been informed of events in England by your letters to me, and others sent through Don Francés de Alava and Zayas. I thank you and am satisfied with your diligence in this respect, particularly as to the pirate ships which were to go to the Indies, this being one of the things of which you must be most careful. If Bartolomé Bayon fulfils his promise, he shall be willingly supplied with what he asks ; but as matters of this sort are generally very easy to say and more difficult to do, they usually turn out vain, and it will be well for you to come to closer quarters with him, and find out the exact way in which he thinks to do what he promises. You will send full particulars of this for my decision.
Although you do well in trying to discover the state of things in Ireland, and in sending your views with regard to what might be undertaken in that place, which is important, yet nothing must be said about it until we see what will be the result of the negotiations for the restitution of the property seized. If they do not act properly in this, other steps must be taken, and it is consequently very desirable that you should continue to advise me minutely of events in England, Ireland, and Scotland. You will urge the queen of Scotland, on no account, to allow herself to be deceived by the queen of England, or to agree to the terms which you say they propose, which are of such a nature that, if she accepts them she will lose much of the esteem with which, hitherto, Christian princes have regarded her, whilst, if she perseveres in her noble and holy determination, God will extricate her from all trouble, and turn it into great happiness.
When you speak of Ireland, you say that Thomas Stukeley had written a letter to the Queen, but you do not tell me what it contains. It will be well to find out and let me know, and also whether they have taken his property or made any declaration against him. Also, what they think there of his coming to Galicia, where he is now. You will also advise the duke of Alba of all this.
What your friend tells you of the two letters written recently by the Queen to me is probably a fiction, as I have received no such letters, and you can say as much to your friend, if you think it necessary, to get more out of him.
You did well in reporting what the man Matthew told you about his master Robert Huggins, as we have had a very poor opinion of the latter for some time. Steps shall be taken in the matter, but do not trust Matthew with this or anything else of importance, but humour him with generalities in order to get from him what he may know.
I cannot well understand from your letters what negotiation it is that is being arranged by the English with the Portuguese regarding trade. The statement which you mention did not come with your letter, and it would be well to find out the whole particulars, with terms and conditions, as it is important that I should have full information.—Madrid, 26th July 1570.
28 July. 198. Antonio De Guaras to Zayas.
The ambassador who has come hither from France is called M. de Poigny, and comes to beg this Queen to release the queen of Scotland, in which it is understood he will be unsuccessful. He has been at Court, but they have delayed his reply, and it is considered certain that he will shortly leave without having effected anything. This arises from the fact that the Queen has been able so to influence the Scots, that those of her way of thinking will shortly meet in Parliament and appoint the earl of Lennox, grandfather of the Prince, as Governor. Lennox is now in Scotland, and the meeting will take place at once.
The Earl is, as you know, a Catholic, and if at any future time we have any claims, we could not wish for a governor more suitable for us, because, although this Queen wishes to make him and his wife, Lady Margaret, her creatures by the appointment, she has kept them always imprisoned and in disgrace for the cause of religion and other reasons. She can do no more against them, and is forwarding his appointment as governor to disarm any future enmity from him. She thinks that because he has his wife, son, and estate in this country, she can be assured that he will govern as her instrument.
The queen of Scotland is well, but with only liberty to go beyond one doorway, and even then must be well accompanied.
These French, Flemish, and English pirates unite to capture their prizes, and have recently taken three very valuable sloops going from Spain to Flanders, which, having stood upon the defensive, have in consequence lost all their crews, and their cargoes are now being sold in these ports. They have armed these sloops, together with two other prizes, captured since, so that if they be not hindered they will soon have a powerful fleet, which will not only make them masters of the Channel, but will enable them to molest us elsewhere.
At least 50 sail are now anchored in these ports as friends and helpers of the English, and to give a further confirmation of the bad intentions of these people, I may say that Hawkins is pushing forward the arming of more ships in which he will embark over 800 men. His object is to join the French fleet which has gone to Florida. He takes with him the Portuguese pilot Bayon, and will leave next month. He carries no cargo, but victuals, guns, and stores.
The man who represents the king of Portugal here has agreed about the conditions for trade with his country, subject to the King's approval. The English demand liberty to go to the king of Portugal's Indies to trade, but he told them that it was simply waste of time to discuss it.
As they have been greatly disturbed here by the excommunication they continue to cast into prison with great severity all persons who they think were concerned in it, and have even put some to the torture who have declared certain things which are not easily understandable. The Catholics are being greatly persecuted. God comfort them.
Persons of weight and authority here were formerly much concerned at the possibility of the country being troubled by foreign powers, but lately all classes of people, and in every part of the country, are expressing the same fear, and publicly at the Court itself, nothing else is spoken of. They say that his Majesty is going to revenge himself upon them in such a way that they will be utterly undone, and they speak as confidently about it as if they already saw a great fleet of armed ships on their coast and foreign squadrons on land. Their fear is such that they do not even discuss their means of defence, although in order to do what they can, six of the Queen's ships are being fitted out, and 500 men-at-arms are being raised in this town to put on board of them. A great muster of 2,000 mariners is being made here for these and other ships, and fearing trouble, as people should who know how they have offended his Majesty, they have sent to Ireland 2,000 harquebusses, and much ammunition, all of which have gone to Chester and Beaumaris for shipment to Ireland. Such is their alarm that the first defence they think of is to wreak their vengeance on the ambassador and us few subjects of His Majesty here, but God will be pleased in due time to give us the satisfaction of avenging ourselves on these wicked enemies of ours.
These people thought to receive the help of the king of Denmark, but despatches have come from him saying that he would never take up arms against the King, or break his alliance with him. We since learn that this Queen who thought to collect 300,000l. by loan and revenue before Michaelmas has not received 200,000l.
The fleet being prepared in Flanders for the passage of our Queen greatly alarms them, as they fear the fate which, please God, will come to them.
The duke of Norfolk is still imprisoned, and, since the attempted rising in his county, they keep him more closely guarded. They have arrested about 20 of the principal people of the county, whom they are examining. They are still in Norfolk.
The Cardinal is still at Court, persuading them that his brother will prevail, and urging them to find money for him, whilst he, the Cardinal, encourages the soldiers to rob with the same object.
They gave a reply to Poigny, saying that there was no reason either for them to release the Queen or for him to go to Scotland, but that they would give him a safe conduct to visit the Queen and return to France by way of London. (fn. 1)
They have arrested the Scotch ships, which they found here, although the cause is not known.
In future we shall know little in London of what goes on at Court, because, in consequence of the plague, they have given an order forbidding, under pain of death, any one going from London thither.—London, 28th July 1570.


  • 1. Mary wrote a letter in October to the Duke de Nemours saying that the letter she had written to him with the intention of sending it by Poigny had not been sent as she could get no means of conveying it to him whilst he, Poigny, was in London.—See Lettres inedites de Marie Stuart, Labanoff.