Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 2, 1568-1579. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.
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18. Guzman de Silva to the King.
Nothing fresh from Scotland. I believe these people have a good understanding with the Regent and his government, in spite of this Queen's attempt to conceal it. Their carelessness about the frontier and laxity at Berwick are a good argument of this, and it is further confirmed by a letter that this Queen has written to the king of Denmark (copy of which I enclose) against the earl of Bothwell, no doubt at the request of the Regent and his friends. I am told that the details of the partition of some of the lands of John O'Neil amongst certain English persons have arrived in Ireland, and that an uncle of his, who is also called O'Neil, has joined with a neighbour named O'Donell, determined to resist the division, and it is feared that greater dissentions will result than in the past. This O'Neil is married to a daughter of the earl of Argyll, and it is said that he will therefore have the aid of the Scotsmen of the adjacent isles. This would somewhat disturb these folks, but much more if the Queen of Scots should gain her freedom. I had an appointment for an audience this afternoon, when I intended to speak to the Queen about the export of bread stuffs to Biscay and Asturias, but when I arrived at the gate of the palace I met a gentleman sent by the Queen to ask me to put off the interview till to-morrow, as she was somewhat inconvenienced with some medicine she had taken. Almost immediately afterwards another courtier came to say that the Queen, having heard that I had arrived, would make an effort to receive me. I went up to the presence chamber where I learned from her doctor, whom she had sent to entertain me, and from others, what her condition was, and refrained from importuning her in consequence. I went to the Council with Cecil to despatch certain private subjects' business, and the Queen sent thither to say that she would be glad if I would return to-morrow, as I had not cared to see her this afternoon. After I had done my business, the Secretary asked me what news I heard from Flanders. I told him, in short, that the duke of Alba, having received information that some show of disturbance was being made on the borders of Gueldres, had sent troops to Maestricht and Namur, and was still continuing the necessary measures to punish the disturbers. It was certain, however, that all would end as the similar attempt did some months ago, as it could have no support, and there was no one in Germany or elsewhere who would, for the sake of other people, undertake so dangerous and fruitless a step as to show himself an enemy of your Majesty's states. Cecil replied that he agreed with me, but he had been informed that great hatred had been aroused in Germany at the rigorous measures of repression which had been adopted by the duke of Alba in the States, as it was alleged that the Spaniards wished to expel all the natives therefrom and take possession of everything. I said it was no new thing for rebels against their sovereign to invent such stories as these to cause hatred and envy. He laughingly said, no it was not, only that the Spanish nation was a strange one, and wanted to be mistress of the world, and it was currently reported in Flanders that the Spaniards were coming over to this country tempted by the riches of the sea, but if they did, he said, they would find they had some queer cattle to deal with. I told him I did not believe, nor should he, that there was any such talk amongst Spaniards, who were a very temperate and modest people, especially as they had not the same amount of liberty as the English, who are allowed with impunity to say whatever they like. He said that some persons had certainly spoken in the sense he had mentioned, but they were not party men. I replied that doubtless those who spread such tales were the rebel scamps who came hither from Flanders, against whom I had not yet complained, as he knew, to the Queen and Council, but I could assure him that it was my intention to represent to the Queen that, in the interests of herself and her country, she should take care that those who took refuge here should not be allowed to return, alone or with others, to commit fresh offences in the States. I said it was quite enough, surely, to receive them here, without their making of this friendly country a centre from whence they could sally for the purpose of insults such as these, and then be received here again as before. I thought this should be altered as, from small beginnings, great troubles ensued. He thought that it would be very proper and just to remedy the matter, and the Queen ought to give it her best consideration. Although I do not know what will be done or how, I should be glad of some step being taken which would moderate somewhat these impudent Flemings here. A man has arrived here from the Regent of Scotland. Cecil tells me that his only errand is to arrange about the thieves that infest both sides of the border. He (Cecil) says that his Queen cannot endure the treatment of the Queen of Scots, and her imprisonment in the name of the Regent, and of the child they call King. I do not believe him on either point, and think they are still at their plots and combinations, and that it is all a blind, although the Queen has several times said the same to me as the Secretary.—London, 1 May 1568.
19. The King to Don Juan de Zuniga. (fn. 1)
Draft headed : Respecting the departure of the English ambassador here.
Having heard that the ambassador from the Queen of England resident here did not conduct himself in a way fitting to his office and the interests of his sovereign, and that, in his conversation and actions, he did not proceed with due respect to religion and veneration to the holy see; and, bearing in mind the difficulties that might arise from his presence in this court and the danger of contagion to others from his bad example, I have resolved to order him to leave my court and await outside of it the orders of his mistress. It seems to me needful for the service of God and the public welfare to banish such a person from my court and from conversation with my subjects, and nothing in the world, however great, no consideration however grave, shall ever make me waver in the slightest degree in my determination to avoid the least offence to God Almighty ; whose service and the observance of whose holy faith I place before all my interests and acts, and prefer to everything in this life, even my own existence. I have thought well to advise you of this, in order that you may report the same to His Holiness in my name, giving him the letter I write to him in your credence. You will tell him the resolution I have taken, of which I am well satisfied and am sure His Holiness will be so, as I desire so earnestly that my actions and proceedings may content one whom I love, esteem, and reverence as a father. —Madrid, 8th May 1568.
Postscript in the King's hand : The letter for His Holiness does not go, as it is unnecessary. The above says that I have ordered the man to leave here and wait outside the orders of his Queen. I have written to her and asked her by my ambassador to recall him, and if not, I shall be obliged to expel him.
20. Guzman de Silva to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 8th, saying I had received on the 6th the despatch of the 6th April, and that the Queen had fixed an audience for me on the 9th instant. I went, and, handing her your Majesty's letter, watched her countenance closely whilst she was reading it. When she came to the latter part, about the ambassador, she changed colour, and seemed somewhat annoyed, asking me what it meant. I related the matter in accordance with your Majesty's instructions, in general terms, without reciting details, concluding by saying that, considering the man's conduct, he might more fittingly be called a perturber than an ambassador. She said she was much surprised at what I told her, but asked me for particular instances for her information. I replied that I had already told her that your Majesty had ordered a gentleman of your household to be despatched, who would give her such information as would enable her to judge of the whole case with full knowledge, and in the meanwhile, she might be assured of the love and affection with which your Majesty had always regarded all that concerned her, and the consideration and gentleness with which you proceeded towards your friends. As an instance, which would enable her to see the way her ambassador had acted in other things, I might tell her, however, that a person in whom I had full confidence had written to me that, at a dinner at which many persons, Spaniards and others, were present, he presumed to say, publicly and impudently, that only your Majesty defended the papal sect, and that in the end the prince of Condé and his followers would prevail ; that the Pope was a canting little monk, and other expressions of a similar sort. She replied that these were very insignificant matters, of which no notice should be taken. I said, in Spain, on the contrary, they were so important that, if the man had not been a public person and her minister, his punishment would have been exemplary ; to which she replied that, even if there were reasons why your Majesty would not receive him personally, he still might remain in the court as before. She said, when the bishop of Aquila was plotting against her and the peace of her realm, of which she was fully informed, she had seized some letters of his from the courier, but had refrained from opening them, except in his presence, and had shown him what he himself had signed, and yet she had taken no further steps against him. She was therefore grieved that her ambassador should be treated as he had been, especially as, at this time, suspicious and comments would arise therefrom, and this way of treating ambassadors was the forerunner of greater unpleasantness, particularly coming, as it did, on the top of the news about the league, and I should hear the next day what would be said in London about it. I answered that, as to the comments and opinions which would be current everywhere, they might easily be disposed of by her at once appointing another ambassador, as your Majesty asked ; some person to whom you could show the true love and friendship you felt towards her, as your Majesty had always done, and in the meanwhile the matter might be kept secret, as it should be by me. She said, when she sent this ambassador, she considered him rather an adherent of the old religion than a Protestant, and she was therefore the more surprised that he should not have acted sensibly, but she had been told that some of the ambassadors she had sent there had not lived according to the English laws. I said her former ambassadors had acted prudently by avoiding all cause for scandal, and her servants might well learn discretion from her own wise moderation in these matters here. This man, however, no doubt, had been carried away by passion, or had been ruled by orders from elsewhere. The Queen asked me what I meant by that ; did I mean that he had acted under the instructions of others? I said that, judging from his actions, it might be so suspected.
Her reply was that she greatly regretted that her ambassador should have said or done anything to offend your Majesty, as that was quite against her wish and instructions to him, and, if it be so, that she will have him punished in a way that will prove to your Majesty her goodwill and friendship ; but you must allow her not to condemn her minister until she had the whole case before her and had heard him in his defence ; as until then she was compelled by her position not to condemn him or to admit that he had offended. Perhaps, she said, your Majesty has had a one-sided or untrue account given to you, as is often the case with sovereigns, as she well knew from her own experience. Here she stopped, and I continued : "And I will add in your Majesty's name that, if you find the ambassador to blame, you will send for your ambassador some such a person as my King suggests." She replied : "Yes, yes, I say so and I will do it." She was annoyed at first, but became calmer afterwards, and seemed satisfied with what I said from your Majesty about the league. In addition to what your Majesty directed me to write about it on the 6th, I also showed what was said in your Majesty's letter of the 12th, which came very appropriately.—London, 11th May 1568.
21. The King to Guzman de Silva.
Such of your letters as require reply will be best answered by telling you that, on our resolution as to the English ambassador's banishment from here being conveyed to him, he decided to go to Barajas, where I ordered a lodging to be provided for him, and his house here is still considered to be in his occupation. It will be well that the Queen should learn this from you, as if casually on your own account, so that she may see the respect and kind treatment accorded to him, in his character of her minister, he himself having richly deserved to be burnt at the stake, as will be seen by the report borne by Don Guerau de Spés, a Catalonian knight of the order of Calatrava, whom I have appointed for the mission and have sent for to come here. I may tell you openly that I am sending him with the intention, if matters are settled satisfactorily, of appointing him to succeed you there. Bearing in mind your services and my satisfaction with you, I have decided to send you to Venice to continue in that republic your duties as my ambassador. Don Guerau takes with him the necessary instructions and information, so that, after he is informed of the position of things there, you can leave when you like. It will be well, however, for you to keep this secret until due time for many good reasons, and I have only had the duke of Alba informed of my intention in this respect. You will also keep him informed of what is done, for his guidance.—Aranjuez, 13th May 1568.
22. Guzman De Silva to the King.
At 10 o' clock yesterday morning the courier arrived that your Majesty sent by sea on the 6th ultimo, and at the same time arrived Dr. Arias Montano and Harrington who crossed in the same vessel. Bad weather had driven them into an Irish port called Youghal, which accounts for their being so long delayed. The despatches for the duke of Alba I will send by the ordinary to-morrow, as there seems no need for greater haste, the duplicates having already reached him.
On the afternoon of the 11th, the person sent by the Queen's ambassador arrived here, as your Majesty informed me he would, and he was for more than an hour with Cecil on the same evening in London. The next day Cecil went to Greenwich, where there have been many council meetings. I have been unable to discover the account the man brought to the Queen, although I have a person on the look-out for it ; but I learn that the ambassador is returning and begs urgently for his recall. I detain the courier until I see the result of this man's coming, in order to advise your Majesty, seeing that I have already sent by way of Flanders an account of what passed between the Queen and me on the matter, and send copy of the same herewith to Don Francés de Alava. I think these council meetings are about Scotland, as I am told they are much annoyed at the liberation of the Queen of Scots. A gentleman sent by the latter to visit this Queen, and give her an account of her successful attempt, arrived here three days ago and came to see me to-day on his Queen's behalf. He said he did not bring me a letter from her, as she was always accompanied by people before whom she could not write, but had instructed him to inform me of her deliverance, as she knew I should be glad to hear of it, and in order that I might convey the intelligence to your Majesty. Now that she is free, she says, she will take steps to show how blameless she was in the events which are attributed to her in the past, and that those who had kept her in durance were the principal culprits, as she will more fully inform your Majesty and the Christian King. She begged me to advise and enjoin her what she ought to do, and she would esteem it a favour as she always used to do. I replied suitably, as I thought, both as to the pleasure with which your Majesty would hear of her liberation, and your personal esteem of her and desire for her welfare ; and also as to myself, that I should be very glad to use my good offices in her interests in consideration of what I understood to be your Majesty's goodwill towards her and her affairs. This man assures me that she is as firm and constant in the Catholic faith as ever, and that she has need to be very careful now how she proceeds. I asked him if she had resources to stand against her enemies, to which he replied that she had, as a great part of the lords and nearly all the people were on her side, and that the earl of Argyll had already sent to her offering his services. If she were not so poor in consequence of all her jewels and property having been taken from her, and her having escaped with no other clothes but the servant's garb she wore, all would be well. This man begs me to write to the duke of Alba to ask him to seize and detain the Queen's jewels in case they should have been taken to Antwerp for sale. La Mothe is coming here for French ambassador but not until July. He is considered to be a Catholic. I have no reply yet about the exportation of breadstuffs.—London, 14th May 1568.
23. Guzman de Silva to the King.
Secretary Cecil has sent to say that two places have been appointed where the persons who have been authorised to export grain for Biscay and Asturias will find most convenience for doing so, and he promises me a list of the persons so authorised, who will have to take an oath not to go elsewhere.
The details and mode of proceeding in this business I will learn later. I have always been of opinion that it would be made profitable to English subjects, as it usually is, but still if they carry food in sufficient quantities it will also be of advantage to Biscay and Asturias.
A person has arrived from Berwick who says that the earl of Murray the Regent has 3,000 men, and that 900 only still stood by the Queen. The castle of Hamilton where the Queen is, is not considered strong, but the Queen of Scot's servant tells me she can go to Dumbarton, which is stronger and near the sea. The folks here are anxious about this business, and the Council is for ever sitting. I do not know what they will decide to do.
The reports about the Scots having crossed over from the islands to Ireland are still current, and, if true, they cannot fail to disturb people here.
Secretary Cecil has sent me, by the Queen's orders, the enclosed copy respecting what was written by a certain Dr. Gonzalo de Illescas in a "Pontifical and Catholic History," and asked me to read it and say what I thought of it. I replied that it appeared to me to show great indiscretion and disrespect on the part of the writer, and I was quite sure that, if your Majesty heard of it, you would not only have the book altered, but would punish the author. I referred the note to Arias Montano as I did not know anything of this Gonzalo de Illescas. He tells me that he understands he is a person of little prudence, and that the book had been examined by Father Pedro Juan de Lastanosa by order of the Council, and he would report upon it. As it is a question that touches the honour of a marriageable princess of high lineage and gifts, if only God would make her a Catholic, I have thought well to inform your Majesty, although I said to the man who brought me the note that if I made a grievance and wrote to your Majesty of all the scurrilous things they say in this country about your royal person I should have to write nearly every day. I said that great Princes, as they could not shut everybody's mouth, had to content themselves with doing their duty and taking no notice. They could not help difference of opinion amongst men. I expect when I have audience to-morrow the Queen will mention the matter to me, and, in that case, I shall tell her that her ambassador who sent her the paper might well have had the evil remedied in Spain, without troubling her about it, and that in matters of this sort "the reciter is as bad as the rhymer."
The statement of what happened at the escape of the Queen of Scots made by her gentleman here is enclosed. (fn. 2)
With regard to my request to the Queen that she would order such means to be adopted in the ports as will prevent those from the Netherlands who have taken refuge here from returning to the States to do damage, the enclosed decree has been issued.—London, 16th May 1668.
24. The King to Guzman de Silva.
I note what passed when the ambassador of my nephew the King of Portugal went to speak with the Queen, and I am glad you accompanied and guided him in the interests of his embassy. I am greatly displeased that the Queen and her courtiers should have treated him with the coolness you describe, as the Latin letter does not seem to me to contain any expressions which justify such treatment, and I am of the same opinion as you, that they made this a pretext to pick a quarrel so as to avoid coming to close quarters with him about the demands he has to make of them. I had a copy sent at once to the Portuguese ambassador here, Don Francisco Pereira, that he might send it to the King, my nephew, that he may take such course as may be necessary.
In the meanwhile, you will aid the ambassador to the best of your ability whenever opportunity occurs, and will promptly give me an account of all that is done and happens, as I am as much interested in my nephew's affairs as my own, indeed I consider them as such, as my affection for the King is that of a father for his son. —Aranjuez, 20th May 1568.
25. Guzman de Silva to the King.
I have already written to your Majesty that, although it would have been possible for me to send back at once the courier that brought me your letters of 6th ultimo, as I had discussed with the Queen the matter of her ambassador, I thought better to delay his departure until I could see her again, and learn what she had heard from the man the ambassador had sent hither, and whether she had come to any decision. After having spoken to her on several other subjects and purposely avoided this one, in order to see whether she would broach it first, she referred to it in almost the same words as when I discussed it with her before ; expressing regret that any minister of hers should have acted in a way displeasing to your Majesty, whereas she had no greater desire than to gratify you. She nevertheless requested your Majesty to allow her to keep one ear open to obtain full information, as was her royal duty, and said that she would not retain a person near your Majesty who was unable to please you. She thought this man would have done so, as he was considered moderate in religion and had no love for the French, and this is why she had sent him. She was therefore much surprised that he had acted contrarily, although he had recently sent her a special messenger to say that after your Majesty had appointed many audiences for him, and he had gone to the palace, (fn. 3) you had not received him, either on the plea that you were indisposed or busy ; whereat he was much surprised, as he did not know what he had done to deserve your Majesty's displeasure, and assured her that there was nothing he would wish for better (if he were not an ambassador fulfilling a public office) than to be put into prison and tried, so that his innocence might be proved or he be punished for his offence. She said that, although he wrote to this effect, she did not learn either from his letter or the statement of his messenger that your Majesty had actually refused to receive him or had sent him out of Madrid ; and she wished you had let her know if you were unwilling to treat with him, rather than allow him to go so many times to the palace for audience and return without it, as she said he had done nineteen times. I do not know whether she made a mistake of ten. (fn. 4) She could only believe that your Majesty's displeasure must have been caused by tales of somebody inimical to the ambassador or herself, and suggested that it might be the duke of Feria (fn. 5) in consequence of what had passed with him respecting the earl of Arundel. I begged her to believe that your Majesty had not acted without just and sufficient reasons, the extreme gentleness, moderation and consideration, with which you proceeded with all persons being notorious, and, above all, with the ministers of such a good friend as she was. It was quite foreign, I said, to your royal spirit and dignity to take offence without ample cause, and I did not believe that the duke of Feria was inimical to her, indeed, he had rather proved otherwise by the care he took to honour and entertain her subjects, nor would he be prejudiced against her ambassador, unless, indeed, he thought the latter was not serving her successfully. She replied that certainly he (the duke of Feria) had never been friendly towards her since she gave him the answer she did about the marriage with your Majesty, and he (the Duke) had told her himself that he should never in his life forget her reply. As for the duke's kindness to her subjects, that was owing to the Duchess, and she knew he was offended with her ambassador about the earl of Arundel's affair. I said the ambassador had shown a lack of perspicacity and prudence in writing as he had done, and that he might far better have smoothed the matter over, instead of making mischief between two persons of such position as theirs. She tried to exonerate him by saying that the earl had heard of it from other sources, and not from the ambassador, and that she had told me herself at the time that she had been informed of it. I said, to convince her that the matter had not arisen from any ill-feeling on the part of the Duke or any other person, but from the fault of the ambassador, I had a letter from Prince Ruigomez (fn. 6) in which he writes to me, with his own hand, that the ambassador had acted in a way that made it impossible to treat him otherwise than had been done. She would understand, I said, from the reticence, calmness, and moderation, with which the Prince always spoke, that these words conveyed much more than I could venture to imagine or describe. The Queen checked herself for a moment and then said the ambassador had written that Prince Ruigomez had always shown him great kindness and a good disposition towards her affairs, no doubt carrying out in this your Majesty's wishes, and she greatly appreciated the care and uprightness with which, she was assured, he proceeded. She carried the matter no further, and I afterwards discussed it with Cecil, who said almost the same as the Queen about inimical persons having influenced your Majesty against the ambassador. He said, perhaps these persons were some of the Englishmen resident in your Majesty's court, who may have spoken with undue freedom of the Queen and this country, and the ambassador may have deemed it necessary to reply to them. I said it was quite unnecessary, knowing him as I did, for me to say more than that it would be best for this man to come home, and much to the Queen's advantage to send another person, even if for no other reason but your Majesty's wish ; and if I were one of the Queen's councillors, this reason would be sufficient, without seeking any other, because the person least fit to uphold the dignity of two brother sovereigns was one who was hateful to one of them. Cecil said he was of opinion, and always had been, that it would be better to choose some other person to replace the ambassador, although he was sure the man had not misconducted himself, at least intentionally, and again cautiously hinted at suspicions of the duke of Feria, which suspicions I tried to allay.—London, 21st May 1568.
26. Guzman de Silva to the King.
As soon as the arrival of the queen of Scotland in this country was known, the Council met to consider what was to be done with her ; whether she was to be treated in accordance with her present or her former position. It is said that this Queen took the part of the queen of Scotland, but her views did not prevail as a majority of the Council was of a different opinion. The duke of Norfolk and the earls of Arundel and Leicester were ordered to be summoned, so that a full Council might decide what was to be done. I think they must be somewhat embarrassed, as this Queen has always shown goodwill to the queen of Scots, and the Council, or a majority of it, has been opposed to her and leant to the side of the Regent and his Government. If this Queen has her way now, they will be obliged to treat the queen of Scots as a sovereign, which will offend those who forced her to abdicate, so that, although these people are glad enough to have her in their hands, they have many things to consider. If they keep her as if in prison, it will probably scandalise all neighbouring princes, and if she remain free and able to communicate with her friends, great suspicions will be aroused. In any case it is certain that two women will not agree very long together. I am informed that orders are to be sent to Berwick for 50 harquebussiers to leave there to serve as a guard to the queen of Scots. I have seen a letter from the earl of Bedford to the Regent in favour of the gentleman whom this Queen sent thither, named Leighton. He requests that he be very well received, and since the French ambassador was allowed to see the Queen, that he (Leighton) might also see her. He (Bedford) recommends the Regent to use every effort to prevent the Queen from slipping out of their hands, and now that she had, as was reported, taken refuge in Dumbarton and was well surrounded, measures should be taken at once to cut off supplies. He said they should do very promptly what had to be done, in order that the Queen and her friends might not escape and join with foreigners, whose presence in Scotland would embarrass them, and, if they succeeded in succouring the Queen and remained in her service, they would certainly pull down religion, which must be borne in mind. Other things to the same effect were contained in the letter, which was very remarkable as coming from a councillor, as such persons do not usually speak at random on these matters like private people.—London, 22 May 1568.
27. The King to Guzman de Silva.
After the enclosed had been written, your letter of the 19th April was received, and we are sorry you still continued unwell, although we trust in God, since you so willingly devote yourself to His work and the interests of religion, that He will restore you to perfect health. For the reasons you give it was quite right of you not to speak to the Queen about the export of grain to the coast of Spain, and the more especially as, thank God, it will be no longer necessary, since the season is so propitious that a very abundant harvest is expected everywhere. However, if any parcels have been sent, those who bring them will lose nothing, as it will be willingly bought up to supply the demand pending the gathering of the new harvest.
As to the marriage of the Archduke to the Queen, I am becoming more confirmed every day in my belief that it is nothing but a trick and pastime from beginning to end, and that she is deceiving Sussex and Leicester as well as she does others.
The English ambassador told Zayas that the audience he had requested of me was for the purpose, amongst other things, of showing me the enclosed paper copied from a book called "Pontifical History," which was recently printed by a Dr. Illescas, and, as the book bears the statement that it was issued with my license, the Queen had supposed that I had read and passed it. Zayas undeceived him as to this, and gave him to understand that these matters are disposed of by my council without my seeing them, and assured him that I knew nothing about it, but that if I had seen the expressions I would not have allowed them, which is true. This quieted the ambassador, and, on Zayas referring the matter to me, I ordered notice to be given to the Cardinal-President, who had already ordered all copies that could be obtained to be withdrawn in consequence of certain other impertinent things contained in the book, and that it should be reprinted at Salamanca, leaving out all objectionable portions, and amongst others the contents of the paper, and any other expression touching the dignity and estimation of the Queen. It is well that you should know this, so that, if she or her ministers should mention the matter to you again you may satisfy them by telling them the truth as stated above.— Aranjuez, 23rd May 1568.
28. Guzman De Silva to the King.
By a letter from Secretary Gabriel de Zayas I learn that, on the 20th ultimo, he had conveyed to the English ambassador in Spain your Majesty's message respecting the course you had thought well to adopt towards him in accordance with the communication I had made to this Queen on the subject from your Majesty. As I thought the ambassador would send an account of the matter hither, and it was desirable for me to know what had been decided about it, I took the opportunity afforded by Cecil's coming from Greenwich last night to call upon him early this morning, with the excuse of asking him for particulars of the persons who were to take breadstuffs to Biscay, and as to the assurance they would carry it thither, and to no other place. I told him that I had heard that Secretary Zayas had conveyed the message to the ambassador, and he (Cecil) thereupon flew into a great rage. He said such a proceeding towards the ambassador of a friendly prince had never been heard of before, except when a pretext for war was sought, and it was a great piece of disrespect and insult towards his Queen, showing a desire to pick a quarrel with her, as had been already stated in certain quarters, and it now befitted the Queen to be prepared. He said it would have been only right for your Majesty to have advised the Queen that you were dissatisfied with her ambassador and desired his recall, giving particulars of his transgressions before taking such a course as this, in order that the Queen herself might punish him, instead of your Majesty's doing it, as no superiority could exist between equals. He asked me whether I had told the Queen this, and said the members of the Council would take the matter up, as they thought it should not be passed over. He said it had been decided to recall the ambassador and the letter was already written, but he did not know now how it would end. He knew that the ambassador's enemies had influenced your Majesty, as one of them, when in a passion, had threatened him (the ambassador) that they would do so. He (Cecil) recollected when the Emperor, your Majesty's father, was dissatisfied with two ambassadors from the King (Henry VIII.), and with one, to such an extent, that he said that, but for respect to the King, he would have had him thrown out of window. He nevertheless took the course of requesting the King to recall them, without having made any public demonstration against them. He (Cecil) asked me to tell him what had moved your Majesty to do as you had done, and said that he was informed from Madrid that I had been making mischief from here against the ambassador, and had been instrumental in angering your Majesty with him ; and asked how should I feel if anyone were to act in that way towards me ? He said he had also been told that, since your Majesty had shown your displeasure, the Inquisitors had examined certain Englishmen against the ambassador, threatening them to compel them to say what was required of them. I let him talk on, and, when he had done, I waited a little for him to recover somewhat from his rage, and then went up to him laughing and embraced him, saying that I was amused to see him fly into such a passion over what I had told him, because I knew he understood differently, and that the affair was of such a character as to be only as good or as bad as the Queen liked to make it. She could take it as a good sister and friend, as I hoped she would, and had shown signs of doing which was the easiest, most just, and even most necessary way, since it was only right to take the actions of a friend in good part, at least until bad intention be proved, or she could, for other reasons, look at in a different light, which might make it more difficult, to the prejudice of his Queen and of your Majesty. I did not believe, however, that any sensible man who had the interests of the Queen at heart would do this, and it was for this reason, and my zeal to preserve this friendship, that, as soon as I heard of it, I wished to let him know so as to be beforehand with the mischief makers, and because I knew him to be faithful to the Queen and well disposed towards your Majesty's affairs. I meant him to make use of my information privately in favour of the objects I had stated. He asked me whether I had not told him in order that he might convey it to the Queen and Council, to which I replied no, that I had only told him privately as a friend, and with this he became calmer. I said, as to its being a demonstration, such things were only done in time of war or as a pretext for it, as he had said, but this was out of the question in this case with the present friendship and alliance and without any cause, and particularly as your Majesty was desirous of seeing in your Court some fitting man as a successor to this ambassador, as I had told the Queen and him, and the sooner such a man was sent the sooner would friends and enemies see the good reception your Majesty would give him, and how much you honoured and loved his mistress. As to the idea that the ambassador's enemies had influenced your Majesty, I said he was to believe no such thing, and that your Majesty was not to be persuaded except of the truth, as would in due time plainly appear, and, with regard to the Emperor's action with King Henry's ambassadors, no doubt the reasons were different from the present case, and I thought he (Cecil) would agree with me in this, knowing how carefully and considerately your Majesty always acted, and it should suffice for the Queen, the Council, and all the world that your Majesty had ordered a certain course to be taken to be sure that just and ample reasons existed for doing so without my justifying it. The inquisitors, I assured him, were not in the habit of obtaining evidence by threats, but with the greatest gentleness, and, as for the statement that I had made mischief about the ambassador, that was absurd. I had in fact no knowledge that anything was being done against him, and knew nothing at all about the matter until I received your Majesty's despatch ordering me to inform the Queen. I had indeed been very sorry that your Majesty had been compelled to take the course you did, more sorry, perhaps, than any member of the Queen's Council that her ambassador had given cause for it, being, as he was, a minister of hers. In reply to his question as to whether I had told the Queen when I spoke to her about it that it was your Majesty's intention to take this course with the ambassador, I said yes, I had, and him (Cecil) as well. He said he did not recollect that I had told him, and I replied that he must have forgotten it amidst other matters.
He gave me to understand that the Council regarded me with suspicion, and blamed him greatly for giving credit to all I told him, hinting that the Queen did the same. I said he knew full well, from long communication with me, how mistaken the Council was in this, how many good offices I had done, and how straightforwardly I had always acted with him. As regarded the Queen (whom I knew they had been trying to persuade that I was deceiving her), if I did not know her and had not experience of her great talent, I should be grieved to think that she might allow herself to be misled by them ; but I know well that no one would make her believe anything about me against her own knowledge and experience of the attachment with which I had always served and advised her for the best. I said she was the best witness, and, in continuance of my good offices, I desired to conduct this business in a way to prove that nobody had been in fault except the ambassador himself, and so to banish any contrary suspicion. With reference to his question as to how I should feel if I were treated in the same way, I said, that although I should grieve, being a minister of your Majesty, if the Queen were to do it without any fault of mine, yet, if I were to blame, I would endure it with patience. I told him he was the only person to whom I had communicated the banishment of the ambassador from the court, without desiring him to convey the intelligence to the Queen and Council because I had understood already that they had decided to recall the man, and I did not wish that the recall should be delayed on this account ; but I am quite sure he will at once tell the Queen and Council what passed between us. In the course of the conversation, he said that the English complained that they could never get justice done to them (in Spain), and, even though your Majesty issued decrees for it to be done, they were not obeyed, and no notice was taken of them by the officers of justice, whereat he said he was much surprised. I said that was new to me, and asked him for a statement of complaints. At last he seemed more tranquil.—London, 24th May 1568.
29. Guzman de Silva to the King.
I have already written to your Majesty the answer given to the Portuguese ambassador, and do not again refer to it here except to say that, when he again requested audience of the Queen to discuss the reply, she referred him to the Council. They confirmed the answer previously given; whereupon the ambassador was again offended, and told them that, if they did not agree to what his master demanded, they would have a war on their hands. I understand that they made light of this, in the belief that the forces of Portugal cannot do them much .harm, in which I think they are mistaken, for, considering the state they are in, a smaller power still could make things uncomfortable for them. The warrants were dispatched yesterday for those who have been appointed to take breadstuffs to Biscay, &c, and, at the same time, three licenses were given for Spanish ships which are here to load food for the same destination. It is not much, but under cover of these permits, with a little scheming (without which nothing can be done here), they will take as much as they can ship.
The queen of Scots is at Carlisle on the Scotch frontier. The Council has been considering lately what they shall do with her, but I do not know that any decision has been arrived at, although it will not be long delayed. The French ambassador, who went to Scotland, came the day before yesterday to my lodging, and told me that this Queen had asked him to assure his master, from her, that the life of the queen of Scots would be safe here. The servant of the Queen's ambassador (in Spain) is leaving from day to day, but still does not start. They say he bears the ambassador's letters of recall.—London, 31st May 1568.