Simancas: September 1570

Pages 273-280

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

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September 1570

2 Sept. 212. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In my last I reported to your Majesty that this Queen was sending Henry Cobham to welcome our Queen, although it would have been more appropriate if she had sent some lord or person of higher position. He is to try to arrange for his going to Spain, and to throw out a feeler with regard to re-opening the negotiations for marriage with the Archduke Charles ; not that it will be carried through, for nothing is further from this Queen's thoughts than marriage, but only to keep the matter on hand. In the meanwhile, they talk of calling Parliament together in October in order to raise money. Cecil wants to adopt a new rule forbidding the towns to elect members excepting from residents in the towns themselves, and he is making lists of those he wishes elected, all of whom are strong Protestants.
The English gentleman who sent hither the man Mathew, who was detained in San Sebastian, is called Robert Hoggins. He reported to this Queen that your Majesty was certainly in communication about Irish affairs, and had sent certain persons to reconnoitre the country with a page of the marquis of Cerralbo, an Irishman by birth. The lad (Mathew) has been about London, but with this confusion of the plague I have not seen him lately. I think this Mathew told me that the man who sent him was tall and not stout, of ruddy complexion.
There is another man here called Swinfield who has some sort of provision from your Majesty in Naples, and goes backwards and forwards to different places for this Queen. He was sent to Cologne to try to bring round the elector there to the side of the Palatine, and it was said that he wished to go to Spain, as he makes himself out to be a Catholic, although my friends on the Council tell me he is a spy. He is a tall man with little beard, and when he is here he carries his sword belt hung from his shoulder.—London, 22nd September 1570.
2 Sept.
B. M., Add. 26,056b.
213. The aforegoing letter has the following additional passages in this transcript.
I am entertaining the queen of Scots, as your Majesty instructs me, with letters praising her religious constancy and declaring your Majesty's desires for her liberation, as upon it and her marriage depend the restoration of the Catholic religion in this country. It is well your Majesty should know that since the publication of the bull of his Holiness, the Catholic gentlemen here, feeling themselves absolved from their oath of allegiance, are trying with more earnestness to shake off the yoke of the heretics, and the bishop of Ross has come to me twice, with letters of credence from his mistress, to say that the sons of the earl of Derby, and particularly Thomas Stanley the second son, with the gentry of Lancashire, who are Catholics, have determined to rise and seize the person of the queen of Scots. They tell me that this would be connived at by one of the sons of the earl of Shrewsbury who guards her, and they can raise 10,000 foot and 1,000 horse, the only thing wanting being a supply of harquebusses and some money for the horses, not a large sum. They are, however, against the marriage with the duke of Norfolk, as he belongs to the Augsburg confession, and they only wish to have to do with a real Catholic. The bishop of Ross tells me that the Duke, either out of timidity or for some other reason, does not wish to leave the prison, where he is only guarded by a single gentleman ; but Montague, Southampton, Lumley, and Arundel, and many others, the moment the Lancastrians take up arms, will join them or act independently, as may be advised, against this city. The earl of Worcester and his country will also rise, and it is decided that the first thing will be to obtain possession of the queen of Scots, and a fleet might approach Lancashire or the Isle of Man and take her off whilst the matter was being settled by arms. As the affair is so important, I have given him no answer, in conformity with the duke of Alba's orders.
... The Queen was very angry when they brought for her signature the warrants for 30,000l. spent on fitting out the fleet, and she has put off signing them, so that the equipment is now entirely stopped, except the ten ships which I have already mentioned as being ready. As they are short of men the pirate ships are fewer in number but better armed than before, and manned wholly by Englishmen.
It is said they had great understandings in Calais with the soldiers there, who are in great need. Much merchandise was therefore being taken thither, and the French ambassador has gone to Court to complain of it.
I have already advised your Majesty that Captain Hawkins had offered to abandon his voyage to the Indies, but I cannot bring myself to believe it.
I sent your Majesty the duplicate letter of the Portuguese pilot Bartolomé Bayon, petitioning for your Majesty's favour ; but as I have burnt all my papers again I only recollect that he begged to be allowed to take negroes or goods to the Indies, and that your Majesty should give him some honourable employment.—London, 2nd September 1570.
3 Sept. 214. Guerau De Spes to the King.
Since closing my packet for your Majesty yesterday I have received letters of 26th July. As regards expeditions going to the Indies, I have already reported to your Majesty the promise given to us here that they would desist from the voyage. Cardinal Chatillon has been informed from Rochelle that Captain Sores sailed for the Indies with eight well-equipped vessels, whilst seven others of his company remained on the coast of Spain to do what injury they could. These are now being expected at the Isle of Wight with their prizes. The Cardinal's secretary there awaits them, where he is also receiving his dues from the other pirates.
The man who captured the last wool ship which belonged to one Ribera and hailed from Laredo is young Winter. I am informing the Duke of Alba in order that he may send me instructions what representations I have to make to the Council respecting it.
I will negotiate with Bartolomé Bayon as if of my own accord, and will report what I make of him.
There is no doubt that Robert Huggins is up to no good, according to a very minute statement given to me by Mathew, which cannot be either feigned or false. There can be no objection to his being imprisoned nor to Swinfield being deprived of his allowance. I hear from a kinsman of the duchess of Feria, who brought me letters from the Duke, that this man is of ruddy complexion and has the appearance of a gentleman. He has served as a spy to the Council for some time past. I will find some excuse for seeking and summoning Mathew.
Since Thomas Stukeley left Ireland the Queen has taken a very unfavourable view of Irish affairs, and a certain Don Juan de Mendoza who came in the ships from the Indies was imprisoned in Dublin Castle for having conversed with him. Stukeley's property has been seized, but he has not been proclaimed here as a rebel. This queen publicly told the French ambassador that Stukeley was leaving the country in order to live elsewhere with freedom of conscience. They are in great alarm about Ireland, because the Queen's shortness of money causes preparations to be tardily carried out, and I am told by Captain Lotini, a Lucchese, that there are not twelve hundred Englishmen in all Ireland, and those that are there are badly paid. All the people wish to be subject to your Majesty, and it is believed that Stukeley went to beg you to accept the island.
I sent copies to your Majesty of Antonio Fogaza's treaty with the Council, limiting Winter's marque and restoring commerce with Portugal. I send another copy herewith.
This Queen told the French ambassador that the earl of Sussex would not enter Scotland, and that he was on the border because she had news that Lord Dacre would try to enter England. She said she would not fail to negotiate for the release of the queen of Scotland, although it would have to be accompanied by hostages of high personages and castles, for the complete security of the queen of England. Her intention is evidently to put off with words those who are treating of this business.
This morning the Admiral went down the river to the ships, and will take out the ten that are ready. With him went, as ambassador, Charles Howard. He has his look-out on the hill close to Margate, and when our Queen's fleet is sighted they will go out to salute and receive her.—London, 3rd September 1570.
215. Antonio De Guaras to Zayas.
Since my letter of the 22nd ultimo, things have been in such suspense that I shall have little to say in this letter. I have reported that the faithful subjects of the queen of Scotland are in arms against the rebels. Since then the earl of Sussex, the English general, with three thousand foot and six hundred horse, has entered Scotland to help the rebels. The earl of Westmoreland with the Englishmen who follow him are on the side of the faithful, but Northumberland remains in prison. The queen of Scotland is still closely kept, but well.
The English have nine ships at the mouth of the river, and near Margate thirteen others, which are being fitted out with the utmost speed, and to which have been taken all the seamen they can get together. As they are short of meat and biscuit, however, they are not ready yet. The Admiral is at Court, and great surprise exists that he should be absent from the fleet at this time, respecting which absence there is much diversity of opinion. There are many pirate ships, about eighteen, collected at the Isle of Wight, as well as others off Dover, and thirteen in the straits. All the English sailors have been withdrawn from them, as far as possible, but there are still two hundred English on board, some seamen and some common rogues.
Seven or eight of the men implicated in the Norfolk rebellion have been condemned to death, although it is said that some will be pardoned. They are some of the principal people in the county. The Duke is still kept under close guard.
Dr. Storey is at present very strictly imprisoned, and is being examined. The man who betrayed him is also under arrest in order to make the people believe that he did not betray him. Many burlesque verses have been printed about the kidnapping of Storey. Much discontent exists here at the agreement made in France, (fn. 1) and it is whispered that this bad Cardinal Chatillon will leave here in consequence. Above all are these people dismayed at the agreement between his Holiness, your Majesty, the Venetians, and other powers, but what is giving them most anxiety is the return of our fleet after the Queen's voyage. All the people are talking of it, and they have little hope of security as they understand that there is a grcat number of powerful ships and many soldiers on our coast without counting those at Granada. They fear that some evil may befall them from Ireland, and all this alarm will cause them to keep well under arms at great cost.
The fears they entertain have caused them to order Hawkins to stay on the coast at Plymouth with his fleet, but in the meanwhile, the pirates are still capturing what they can, and recently took a ship with 120 bales of wool from Santander belonging to Pedro de Ribera. These captures occur every day, and the plunder is sold in the Isle of Wight and other ports with the full sympathy and countenance of the people there. It is understood that some of the English traders in Calais had formed a plot with certain soldiers to deliver the town to the English, but it was discovered.
Order has been given to-day from the Court that the Thames boatmen are to be pressed for service on the fleet, and that all persons who have been appointed shall join the ships at once. Whilst writing this I have learnt that the reason of this order is that they have received news of the arrival of our Queen at Antwerp, where she would embark immediately, and await fine weather to sail. The Admiral is still at Court, and in his place, they have sent to the ships a son of the Lord Chamberlain, named Howard. ViceAdmiral Winter and other captains are on board.—London, 3rd September 1570.
11 Sept. 216. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In my former letters I reported to your Majesty the promise that Hawkins had given me not to go to the Indies, and I have since learnt that three of the sloops that he had ready for the voyage will now go to Rochelle to carry picks, spades, and other building tools, as they intend to make that the port of call whence the Indies may be molested. Captain Jolis, a Frenchman, with three very well armed ships will shortly leave there, his crew being for the great part English, and excellent sailors. He takes no cargo to barter, which is a sign that he wishes only to capture the ships he may meet. Letters from Rochelle say that Sores had maltreated the Spaniards in Florida, but I have no news from the Court of this. This Queen replied to the ambassadors of France and Scotland that the earl of Sussex had crossed the border without her orders, though, as he had done it in her interests, she approved of it, but notwithstanding this she will negotiate for the release of the Queen.
The secret negotiations between the people in Derby and Lancashire, and those of the West, are to the effect that, if they can count upon some help and assurance of support from your Majesty, they will take up arms to restore the Catholic religion in this country and will adopt the course which your Majesty may think best. It is clear that they wish if possible not to bind themselves to the French. I have not allowed them to negotiate with me, but the understanding has been made with the bishop of Ross, and they hope to bring into it the duke of Norfolk. The captain of the smack which brought Dr. Storey is called "Cornelius Hadria," (fn. 2) who, I do not think is a Bergen man. He is swaggering about here very impudently. He arranged the matter with March, the English commissioner, and others whose names I am ascertaining.
The Queen's ten ships now await our Queen's fleet, whilst the pirates to the number of five-and-twenty, are cruising on the coast.
The Vidame de Chartres has now permission to return to France and Cardinal Chatillon is requesting the same.—London, 11th September 1570.
16 Sept. 217. The King to Guerau De Spes.
There is little to reply to your letters and to those which you have sent to Zayas, but, seeing the amount of preparation being made there on the fleet, and the ships, and that the earl of Bedford was in Plymouth (fn. 3) to sail with fifteen hundred Englishmen provided with the requisites for colonisation, it was well for you to write me minutely as you did about it, in order that we might take here, as we have done, the necessary precautions. Don Francés de Alava writes that the English ambassador in France had assured him that no English ships would go to the Indies or attack our ships coming home. In this, however, not much trust can be placed, and you will continue the vigilance you have hitherto exercised in discovering everything and sending reports to me, as also with regard to the negotiations with the Portuguese respecting trade. If the treaty is concluded you will send me a copy of it.
In the matter of restitution of property detained, there is at present nothing to say until we know the result of the coming and going of the Commissioners, which, however, seeing how the business is being delayed, I do not expect will end in anything good.
I also wish you to learn thoroughly the exact position of affairs in Ireland ; what forces and troops the Queen has there ; what profit she gets from the island ; and how much is the ordinary revenue and in what manner it is collected. You will send me a statement of all this drawn up as clearly as possible.—Madrid. 16th September 1570.
19 Sept. 218. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have taken care, in fulfilment of your Majesty's instructions, to deal with Bartolomé Bayon, as if on my own account, in order to get him to make clear how he thinks he could best serve your Majesty. I told him, in order to get him to open out, that I would communicate on the subject through a friend of mine who was a secretary of the council of the Indies. The result was that I got him to make the statement which I enclose herewith, and it seems to me undoubted that he is a man who could serve with advantage, and whom it is important to separate from the English and the pirates, who think by his help to make great progress in the Indies. It is true that some of the clauses in his document need moderation ; but if he sails only with your Majesty's subjects, your Majesty will always be able to punish him or modify the agreement at your discretion. His request to be allowed to take victuals without present payment and without giving security in Seville, appears somewhat impertinent, but the rest of his demands, after abating the export of negroes, and the taking of merchandise from here, do not seem to be objectionable. Your Majesty will consider it and give me your instructions.
The commissioners have ended their investigations on the coast and will now continue them here. They will no doubt finish in about a week. They have discovered a vast number of robberies, since the inventory was made by the English themselves. I have learnt by letters from a favourite lady of the Queen that the latter has heard of the movements in Lancashire and Derby through a pensioner of hers, the son of a Catholic gentleman, who is concerned in them. She has learnt that they were in league with the western people and intended to have mass publicly performed. I do not know yet what steps she will take to prevent it.
The earl of Desmond and a brother of his, Irishmen who have been for many years in the Tower in consequence of religion and a rising in the time of John O'Neil, have been released on small sureties, and are now in Selliger's house. They all three desire to serve your Majesty, and speak highly of Thomas Stukeley, who they consider to be a man capable of great things both in Ireland and here.
Vandenberg, who was in prison in a private house, has been released on the pretence that he had escaped.—London, 19th September 1570.
25 Sept. 219. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have written in former letters respecting Bartolomé Bayon's proposals to protect our trade in the Indies, and I will now speak more fully respecting Ireland. I send your Majesty enclosed a memorandum drawn up by Selliger, a good Catholic gentleman, with the advice of the earl of Desmond and his brother, who are in his house under sureties of 1,500l. This Catholic (Desmond) is a great gentleman in Ireland, and although he is not much of a warrior, but they say this his brother is fit for anything. Whenever your Majesty wished they could be set free from here without great loss.
This Queen has sent an investigator to Lancashire to unravel the new Catholic conspiracy, from which, if it were well conducted and aided, great advantage might be derived to the cause of God and the security of the Netherlands. If this country were Catholic it would be a good friend of your Majesty, but whilst it is Protestant the fear and hatred with which you are regarded will make the people try more and more to damage and distress you.
The queen of England has summoned the bishop of Ross to Reading in order to push forward the arrangements she wished to make with his Queen for the delivery to her of the Prince, the hostages, the fortresses, &c. Some Catholics advise the acceptance of this treaty on condition that the hostages should be mutually given on both sides, and that the Prince should be brought up by persons chosen by his mother, the whole treaty to be limited in point of time. The French desire this settlement in order to save themselves men and money, and because they fear that the first disturbance that occurred here would cause the queen of Scotland to lose her head, as has been already agreed upon by the Council of this Queen. In accordance with what the Bishop tells me I will report to your Majesty on this subject.
The Vidame de Chartres has left for his home, and Cardinal Chatillon will sail for Rochelle in three days, summoned thither by the Admiral, with all the principal Protestants in France, for the purpose of collecting the fifth part of their property, which they have promised to the king of France, and other things. Chatillon told the Queen that the prince of Orange's proposed enterprise against the Netherlands could hardly be carried through without money.
The English are not hurrying the corsairs (fn. 4) since they have been here, though they, on their part, are doing their best, taking such particulars as these people are willing to give them. They are given to understand quietly that, when a general settlement is effected, much stolen money in cash will be revealed to them.
Six ships are being sent to Hamburg, although the profit is little or nothing. The flotilla has come from Muscovy, but brings little of value. It is true that some spices have begun to arrive from there, to the value of ten thousand crowns, brought from the Caspian Sea through the land of the Sophi, but they will cost more than the spices from Portugal.
People are very sorry here that our Indian fleet of so great a value has arrived safely at Seville, and that the king of Portugal's vessels have come into Lisbon. They are complaining that Captain Sores has wasted too much time in taking little ships. Cardinal Chatillon has dined with the French ambassador, and the Vidarae came to bid him good-bye.—London, 25th September 1570.


  • 1. The treaty of St. Germain en Laye, signed 8th August 1570.
  • 2. His name is given by Carte as Cornelius de Eycke, and Storey was enticed on board of his smack at Bergen Op-Zoom by one Parker who was afterwards thrown into prison "by the craft of Storey'a friends." The matter is referred to at length in Vol. I. of the present Calendar, page 323n.
  • 3. Note in the King's handwriting : "I think he said he was only there for the preparations and not to go to the Indies."
  • 4. In the handwriting of the King : "He means Commissioners. Look at the cipher."