Simancas: December 1570

Pages 286-289

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

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December 1570

5 Dec. 227. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have already reported to your Majesty that two commissioners are coming from Scotland ; they are the bishop of Galloway (fn. 1) and Lord Livingstone, and the bishop of Ross is leaving here to be present when they reach their Queen, although the excuse he gives for going is that she is very ill. It is true she is not well, and is in much greater fear for her life than formerly, in consequence of a warning that she has received from a doctor, astrologer and sort of conjurer, to the effect that they are going to give her poison in her food, and who even goes so far as to indicate the day when it is to be done.
The queen of England complains that these commissioners are not of sufficiently high position for the purpose, in view, and says she would much have preferred that some of the Earls themselves should have come ; but as she complains of the latter for treating with other foreigners for aid, it is suspected that if they had been persons of higher position they would not have got a passport.
The earl of Sussex has come from the frontier after dismissing his forces. He insists that the present is a very favourable time for the Scotch enterprise, but they will not listen to him in consequence of shortness of money.
Two days ago the ambassador from the duke of Saxony arrived with a Frenchman, coming by way of Hamburg. They have been referred to the Gouncil here. I do not know yet which duke of Saxony he comes from, or whether his visit is only to obtain the money that this Queen has to give to the Reiters in exchange for the salt brought from Rochelle, which money she has not hitherto paid. I will advise your Majesty of this, and also as to the action of the Governor of the Isle of Wight respecting the recovery of the six smacks ; in which I have not much confidence.
A son of the earl of Derby and other gentlemen of Lancaster, who were summoned by the Queen, have appeared, and their statements have been taken. I'do not know whither they will be lodged in the Tower, but if so, it will be a great sorrow for the rest of the Catholics.—London, 5th December 1570.
13 Dec. 228. Guerau De Spes to the King.
On the 10th instant I received your Majesty's letter of the 2nd ultimo, brought by Henry Cobham, who also gave the Queen the letter your Majesty wrote her. I know nothing more of Cobham's arrival, excepting that the Emperor sends advice to the Queen that she should remain friendly with her neighbours.
Lord Buckhurst is leaving to congratulate the Christian King on his marriage. The Scotch commissioners are expected, although I do not think that any settlement will be come to by their means.
The gentleman who came from Duke August with a present of some little caskets and some pistols for the earl of Leicester belongs to Augsburg, and I think he served your Majesty at the battle of St. Quintin. He petitions to be made a pensioner of this Queen, and also requests the payment of the rest of the money for the Reiters, with aid for Rochelle if necessary. He does not come to renew the alliance, although it is expected that this will be done in time.
The smacks taken by the pirates, to the number of eight, of which I have written, were taken into the Isle of Wight. The Governor of the island publicly proclaimed in the presence of the man I'sent that all Englishmen must leave the armed ships that were there, three and a pinnace, which they did to the number of three hundred and fifty, although I believe that most of them have returned to the ships again. The property which came in the captured vessels wag all dispersed, and papers were shown proving that part of the property belonged to the French, and, with this, the man I sent was dismissed. The other five pirate ships are in the Channel, and are to be joined by a pirate ship which is now leaving this river for the purpose of going to Cape de Verd and the island of Santiago, whence they will proceed to your Majesty's Indies. I believe some of them will leave next month, and, notwithstanding the orders that I have given, they are shipping coloured kerseys, cutlery, and the usual goods they carry there for barter.
They are detaining the son of the earl of Derby without putting him in prison, but Dr. Storey has been lodged in the Tower, and confronted with the man who brought him. He is accused of having plotted with the duke of Alba ; they are putting him to the torture to-day, and I expect it will go badly with him. God help him! All the Catholics pray for him.
I have to-day been told that the vessels arrested have been returned to the Flemings, on security being given. They will soon return hither loaded with goods from your Majesty's dominions, three or four having already sailed for Spain with that object. It would be desirable to prevent this.—London, 13th December 1570.
20 Dec. 229. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The commissioners expected here on the queen of Scotland's business have not arrived, and little confidence is placed in a settlement being arranged. This Queen is shortly sending Walsingham as her new ambassador to France, as she thinks he is more likely to raise dissensions than any other man. Lord Buckhurst will follow him to congratulate the King and Queen on their marriage. He will be accompanied by the earl of Rutland, who is a lad, and goes to see the country. I understand that some sort of negotiation will be opened to get the duke of Anjou to ask for this Queen in marriage, in order that they may make use of this for their own ends. There are some people who advocate a similar embassy being sent to Spain in order to complain of the Emperor's reply about the maniage of the Archduke Charles, but they are not decided on this.
They are very seriously discussing the making of Count Ludovic of Nassau (fn. 2) head of the pirates, to the number of thirty-five sail, as they think that by this means they may not only molest the Netherlands and your Majesty's territory, but also send ships to the Indies, although those who are fitting out the ships declare that they are only going to Cape de Verd. Wherever they go it is very desirable that they should be punished, and also that the Flemish ships that have gone to Spain from here with English goods should be detained, and prevented from returning with Spanish goods. French vessels are constantly bringing Spanish goods hither. A gentleman named James Fitzmorris has gone over to France leaving a fort which he had in the earl of Desmond's country in the hand of 14 French soldiers.
They have taken another smack with fish off Dover : they are so used to robbing now that it will be very difficult to teach them honesty again.
The ambassador from Duke August and his house say that his master is not desirous of an alliance with this Queen, as he does not wish to incur fresh expenses and responsibilities This Queen says the same, so that they are both entertaining each other with words.—London, 20th December 1570.


  • 1. The alternative name of "Candida Casa" or White House, is given to him in the text.
  • 2. The brother of the prince of Orange.