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.
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.
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
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,