Simancas: February 1571

Pages 293-294

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

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February 1571

6 Feb. 235. Guerau de Spes to Zayas.
It is no good to say anything to this Council about the pirates for they will not refrain from welcoming them. M. de Lumbres is now arming a Spanish ship which he captured, without any hindrance, and the Council are thinking again of stirring up trouble in Flanders, and either bringing the Christian King to their will, or once more trouble his kingdom. They think with this bait of the marriage of the duke of Anjou with the Queen that we shall be afraid of offending them, and they therefore are delaying the queen of Scotland's business. It is true that so far as the Catholics are concerned matters were never more favourable than now. I did not dare to accept their offer in the face of the duke of Alba's instructions, but whenever his Majesty wishes, a great service can be done to God, and, at the same time, the safety of the Netherlands secured and the throne of Spain aggrandised. The position of its ambassador here will not, add much to its dignity unless some prompt steps be taken. I have suffered more than can be imagined, and, on Purification Day, the doors of my house were surrounded by those who came to arrest the persons who had attended Mass, of whom they captured three or four, all Spaniards. At night they were released on bail and the payment of a fine.— London, 6th February 1571.
12 Feb. 236. Guerau de Spes to the King.
This Queen is entertaining the ambassador and commissioners of the queen of Scotland with the hope of the arrival of the earl of Morton, and says she will send a special man thither to hurry him. In the meanwhile she wants to draw them into another negotiation about the restitution (of prisoners?) on both sides, but they will not deal with that matter separately.
The secretary of Cardinal Chatillon is expected from France. He is the promoter of the marriage with the duke of Anjou. The Cardinal for his trouble has received through Veluti (Velutelli?) ten thousand crowns. By way of France news has arrived that his Holiness had granted the kingdom of Ireland to your Majesty, and that you would in consequence send Thomas Stukeley with fourteen or fifteen companies of Spaniards. These people are already beginning to discuss the measures to counteract this. The pirates have brought to the Isle of Wight three sloops of great value belonging to your Majesty's subjects. One was lost on its arrival. I am sending there now with letters from the Council to try to recover them. Cecil told my servants that, if the merchants of Antwerp would pay for two of the Queen's ships to be fitted out, they should be sent to stop these piracies, upon which he was told that, whilst the pirates themselves were armed here, there was little use in such a remedy as that.
A Flemish ship loaded with spices and sugar has entered Portsmouth. I think it is an arranged thing as Philip Asselier, the master, is here, and in communication with the Council, but Rotendal's ship has been allowed to go on his declaration that she belonged to the fleet which accompanied our Queen.
The merchants are very pleased with the hope of a settlement as they can hold out no longer, although they get some relief by the goods stolen by the pirates.
Postscript : I am advised that, as soon as Buckhurst learned on his arrival in France of the Christian Queen's illness, he sent back to his mistress to know whether he should proceed, but on a letter being produced by Cardinal Chatillon from the Queen-mother, saying that he was not to abandon his voyage in consequence of the Queen's illness, orders have been sent to Buckhurst to proceed on his journey.—London, 12th February, 1571.
18 Feb. 237. Guerau de Spes to the King.
I have reported to your Majesty that Parliament has been called together, and is to meet on the 2nd April. The lists of property of those who have fled the country are now ready, as the principal subject to be dealt with is the sale of such property, and the infliction of punishment upon those who refuse to take the oath acknowledging the Queen as head of the Church, the only other thing is to ask for money The earl of Morton and Vunderec (Sir James MacGill?) of the Scotch Council arrived here last night, and we shall now see the intention of the English with regard to the Scotch Queen. The French ambassador saw this Queen yesterday, in order to intercede for the Queen of Scotland in his master's name. He was not so well received as before, although he promised that the Frenchmen who were in possession of the castle in the earl of Desmond's country should be punished if the Christian King could get them into his hands, as they had acted without his authority.
The arrival of the commissioners to be sent by the duke of Alba to witness the restitution is awaited here with anxiety, although these people will not be satisfied if the restitution is not followed by a re-opening of trade. The Council have sent the English commissioners to me to-day with the Judge of the Admiralty, in order to arrange for the security of eleven ships which have recently been brought hither by fate and the pirates. Their principal reason, however, is doubtless to hear what I should say about commerce. I altogether avoided the subject.—London, 18th February.