Simancas: October 1570

Pages 280-284

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

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October 1570

5 Oct. 220. Guerau de Spes to the King.
In my previous letters I reported that Secretary Cecil and Walter Mild may were to go to the queen of Scotland with certain proposals and to discover her feeling. They left on the 27th ultimo, and the bishop of Ross followed them. I have tried to learn what the proposals are, and have set them forth in the enclosed memorandum. They are intolerable, and I think that the journey is only taken to waste time. The queen of England also gave a passport for the coming hither in safety of some of the ten lords who had joined together in Scotland in their Queen's favour, promising a cessation of hostilities on the frontier for a month. They have only license for 14 days.
I enclose a copy of the reply from his Holiness to the queen of Scotland, although the servant who brought it from Rome stayed in Paris. I shall learn from him now what are his Holiness's intentions as to helping movements here.
Two French ships have arrived at Dumbarton loaded with powder, wine, flour, and other stores, although in no great quantity. Walsingham has returned from France, and says that the Christian King insists urgently upon the release of the queen of Scotland. The people who accompanied Walsingham hither speak of the discontent of the Catholics in France with the peace, which, it is believed, will be of short duration. It is announced that Sores has taken a Portuguese galleon and a ship from Seville with a large quantity of cochineal.
The commissioners are now hurrying, and Spinola and the other man are entertaining them by saying that if the treaty is a final one they will disclose to them other plunder of great value. They are asking them that particulars of this should be revealed to them. They will do their best, and will leave shortly.
There is nothing new about the Lancashire conspiracy, as the investigator who went thither was a Catholic himself and has greatly absolved the culprits.
A ship from Spain for Flanders ran aground on this coast, and the sailors, thinking that she was foundering, went ashore, leaving the ship and cargo. I have sent to Lord Cobham, who has possession of the ship, and crew, to see what can be done about it.— London, 5th October 1570.
15 Oct. 221. Guerau De Spes to the King.
On the 10th instant I received your Majesty's letter of the 16th ultimo. I have in former letters dwelt at length on the facilities existing for the subjection of Ireland to your Majesty, and I will make minute inquiries as to the revenue which this Queen now receives from that island, which I know to be very small, and insufficient for the expenditure she incurs, in consequence of the greater part of the island refusing allegiance to her, whilst the part she holds is but little cultivated, though there is an abundance of cattle, which is better than the English. There is no work on the seacoast, as it seems that the English wish to keep it as it is, so that no other prince should enter into possession, the island being so suitable as a point from which England could be subjected, and they have no desire to civilize it, because they think that it thus might become more populous and powerful than this island. Those who have held offices there assert that there are many mines of silver, lead, alum, and other similar things, and that if the island were brought into civilized quiet, its great fertility would make it very valuable to its sovereign. I will report to your Majesty all I learn upon this subject.
In my previous letters I related that Secretary Cecil and Walter Mildmay had gone to the queen of Scotland to negotiate personally with her, and to propose certain measures, of which I gave an account in a memorandum I sent. It now appears that Cecil has somewhat modified these conditions, and the present enclosure contains the proposals as they were handed to the queen of Scotland. Cecil remained there somewhat longer than his leave stated, whilst the queen of Scotland was considering the proposals which still contain hard and dangerous conditions, and will not be accepted by the Scots without difficulty.
The bishop of Ross sends word to me by a servant that he will be here within a week, and will then tell me his mistress's wishes fully.
I now know for certain that the duke of Anjou will send a servant to see the queen of Scotland and ascertain whether she is willing to marry him. It may be that the Queen may consent, but it would not please the majority of English people, and it certainly does not please me. The Catholics are not much in favour of the marriage with the duke of Norfolk, as they are uncertain about his orthodoxy, although the earl of Arundel and Lord Lumley affirm that he will be obedient to the Catholic Church. His desire to reign might well wean him from bad paths to good ones. The said Duke himself has been very lukewarm about this marriage, but he now seems to wish to renew the project, particularly as he expects shortly to be at liberty, in accordance with the Queen's promise to him. If your Majesty's wishes have to be manifested equally with those of the French, the bishop of Ross will be a good negotiator, and I could conduct the matter with him or with Roberto Ridolfi, who has been in communication with them, and, if it should be necessary for the duke of Norfolk to bind himself apart to other things, measures might be taken, even now, in the matter. Your Majesty will send me your orders, as it is certain that the release and marriage of the queen of Scotland carries with it the tranquillity of Flanders and the restoration of religion in this country. I will follow the orders that the duke of Alba may send me, as your Majesty commands. The Catholics would prefer a Catholic foreign prince to marry the Queen, with your Majesty's approval, but if the matter is neglected some unfortunate event may occur.
In the meanwhile the earl of Lennox makes every effort to get general recognition as governor, and confirmation for the execution of 33 persons of the queen of Scotland's party.
M. de Lumbres, who has been always the agent here of the prince of Orange, has obtained permission from the Council to go in the pirate ships and do what damage he can to Flemish vessels, seeing how rich M. d'Aloin became last year in this way. He will leave soon. Vessels from the Netherlands arrive here every day, and are well received. The ships detained from Flemings have in many cases been restored to them on some sort of surety, which they will not do for Spaniards on any account.
The memorandum of the treaty arranged by Antonio Fogaza was only concerned with William Winter's marque, but since the king of Portugal has seized two ships belonging to Christmas, an Englishman, they have established another marque,and the agreement for trade will now be more difficult.
The commissioners, doubtless, have given an account to the duke of Alba of the bad proceedings here, and, as it is now clear from the English memoranda that these people are beginning to let out about money which they have taken from the ships, besides what the Queen seized, and the amount of such money is known to be much larger than they confess, it would not be undesirable for your Majesty to order that all people in your Majesty's dominions who had been robbed by Englishmen, or pirates hailing from England, within the last two years, should declare the amounts of their losses, on the assurance that they shall not suffer your Majesty's displeasure, or other danger, by so doing, even though they had exported without a permit and had not paid the dues on the property they had lost.
Since the fleet carrying our Queen passed, the pirates have captured a Portuguese vessel which had run aground, the cargo of which belonged to your Majesty's subjects, and another that had gone ashore at Ipswich loaded with salt ; in addition to which I have just learnt that they have taken into the Isle of Wight a ship with a very rich cargo of wool, and I am sending to the Court to see whether I can arrange that they shall not sell their booty. If ships continue to come freely in this way trade will simply be to enrich the heretics.
Cardinal Chatillon bade farewell to this Court with great banquets and presents given and received, all at the expense of the seafarers. In order to flatter the earl of Leicester in return for the obligation he is under to him, he told the Queen that she could not marry any one who would be more acceptable to the Protestants than Leicester. He received news whilst he was still tarrying here that all the principal Protestants in France were to gather at La Charité, and afterwards meet at Rochelle with Madame Vendome, who awaits them.
Henry Cobham writes from Spires that he was coolly received by the Emperor. He broached the subject of the Archduke Charles' marriage, but they have deferred a reply until after the marriage of Princess Elizabeth. (fn. 1) He believes that the Emperor would consult your Majesty, and would communicate with me to learn whether this proposal was sincere or not, before giving a reply.—London, 15th October 1570.
20 Oct. 222. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have thought well to report to your Majesty regarding the negotiations between these two Queens by the opportunity of a boat to Laredo, and when the bishop of Ross arrives I will send final advices with the same diligence. The Queen's 10 ships have been taken out of commission, the captains being contented, and almost astonished, with the liberality shown to them. Our Queen's voyage, according to all accounts, has been as short and prosperous as could be wished.
The Biscay ship loaded with wool and iron, taken by these pirates near Conquet, in which port four other similar ships took refuge, has been brought into Portsmouth, and I have sent a man thither with a letter from the Council ordering the ship to be embargoed if it can be taken.
The Queen's new ship is already in the river to carry Cardinal Chatillon to Rochelle.—London, 20th October 1570.
28 Oct. 223. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The intention here is to molest the Netherlands, (fn. 2) these people believing in this way that they will escape annoyance in their own country. They are expecting here Count Ludovic, of Nassau, and the quantity of ordnance which they are putting on board these Flemish and English pirate ships is marvellous. The Queen has promised a hundred pieces, and forty are now being shipped to be taken to the Isle of Wight, where M. de Lumbres, who calls himself Admiral for the Prince of Orange, is with fourteen or fifteen fine ships, and expects as many more from Rochelle. It would be well at this time to have some good spies at Rochelle, as all the bad plots are hatched between there and here.—London, 28th October 1570.


  • 1. Elizabeth of Austria who was about to marry Charles IX., the young king of France.
  • 2. Note in the King's handwriting "Notice!"