Simancas: June 1571

Pages 317-321

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

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June 1571

15 June. 258. Guerau De Spes to the King.
George Fitzwilliams (fn. 1) arrived to-day from your Majesty's Court, greatly desiring to see the queen of Scotland, with some rings which he had of hers from the duchess of Feria and Thomas Stukeley, and he communicated with me certain matters he had discussed with Zayas and the duke of Feria, respecting the service which John Hawkins offers to render to your Majesty with fourteen ships of the fleet, and other ships if necessary. All this matter has been dealt with honestly both by Fitzwilliams and Hawkins. I have put Fitzwilliams into communication with the queen of Scotland, on the pretext of asking her for letters of favour for him to your Majesty, entreating for the freedom of the English in Seville, and with the same excuse, he has been given leave by this Queen to return to Spain. As I have no orders from your Majesty about this, I have not cared to accept any offers from him or enter into particulars with him or Hawkins, nor have I prevented his returning to Spain, knowing well that if it were your Majesty's wish to punish these people here and bring this country into subjection to the Catholic Church, it will be a good step to make use of English ships both to occupy Ireland, take possession of English ports, to burn the Queen's fleet, and assail the pirates who infest the channel, and who are now ready to leave for Rochelle. The task is an easy one, and opportune from all points of view. Your Majesty will consider it and act for the best. M. de Zweveghem and Thomas Fiesco are still here discussing with the English commissioners the question of the caution money, in the hope that other points may be settled and that some day or other the English may be got to restore what little is left. The matter is being greatly delayed, as they would not enter into the question of restitution until they learn the result of Cobham's journey, and whether your Majesty was so offended as there was reason to fear you would be. They think that recent events (fn. 2) will cause some coolness between your Majesty and the French, and this is their great hope, for they will not accept the marriage with Anjou, excepting as a last resource, although the king of France's fall and illness make them more anxious. The people in the part of Ireland nearest to Spain have rebelled and have expelled the Governor John Parret. The Queen's friends are prevailing in Scotland.—London, 15th June 1571.
20 June. 259. The King to Guerau De Spes.
Your letters of 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 30th April were received together on the 22nd May. There is little to say to you about the coming of Henry Cobham and his errand, beyond a statement which is sent to you containing details of his proposals and my reply thereto. All this is sent for your information, so that, in case you should be spoken to there on the matter, you may reply to the same effect. If nothing is said to you, you will not open the subject, as the less discussion we have with such people as these, the better it will be in all respects. You will, however, cautiously endeavour to discover what statements are made by Cobham, and how the Queen takes my reply. You will advise me and the duke of Alba of this. Although the principal reason, as we judge, of the coming of this Cobham was to delay the treaty for restitution and put off the matter, and we suppose that M. de Zweveghem will not have settled anything, still if, by chance, he should have been able, with the aid of Thomas Fiesco, to come to any terms, you will give us full particulars thereof, with a complete statement of the monies, goods, and merchandise actually in existence, which we may hope to recover. You will also send a statement of the merchandise seized from the Portuguese, as I should be pleased for them also to be recovered. You did right to send me the copy of your reply to the King (of Portugal), as you will be also to serve him and help his subjects, wherever you can.
Roberto Ridolfi has not arrived here, and if the particulars of his errand have got wind it is greatly to be feared that it will be the death blow for the queen of Scotland and the duke of Norfolk, as it may be considered certain that, if she of England learns of it, she will make it an excuse to wreak her ill-feeling on them, and with ample cause. We are still not without suspicion that the whole thing may have been an invention of hers, with this very object. You will be as vigilant as possible in this business, proceeding with all due caution and a close understanding with the duke of Alba.
Notwithstanding all you say about the negotiations for the marriage of the duke of Anjou with the Queen, I cannot persuade myself that there is anything in it beyond the objects aimed at in former similar negotiations. Don Francés writes the same in all his letters, especially in that of the 1st instant, where he says that, although there was very much talk about it and gold and silver stuffs and other adornments were being bought in consequence, he knew from a trustworthy source that the business is at an end. Still you will be watchful, and report what you hear.
It is most necessary that you should endeavour to learn the real truth respecting the number of ships collected by the corsairs and pirates, and what help and facilities are being given to them by the Queen ; what route they take and from what port they intend to sail, and when. You will report with the necessary speed upon all this. You will also advise what you can learn of the proceedings and designs of Huggins, who has shown an inclination to serve me, and as he is, as he says, a Catholic, it is natural that I should look upon this with satisfaction.
You will also keep me informed as to what Antonio Fogaza is doing there, with whom he mixes, and in what esteem he is held ; what friends and connections he has, and how you and he stand towards one another.
Certain safe conducts which have been given by you for ships and goods of private persons have been complied with, but I have told Zayas to inform you very urgently that which you will have seen in his letters. You will comply with this, as it is necessary to take this course until we see how our negotiations with the Queen end.—20th June 1571.
23 June. 260. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have already reported the disturbances in Scotland. The hundred soldiers which the queen of England was sending thither as a guard for the Prince have been detained at the request of the French ambassador, and the marshal of Berwick had entered the country with the excuse that he desired to reconcile both parties. Both sides were convoked for a conference, where, the number of the rebels being the larger, they seized Lord Hume in the presence of the Marshal, and killed a bastard brother of the duke of Chatelherault, an abbot, who had been elected for archbishop of St. Andrews. The rest of the company escaped, with the loss of some few, into Lisleburg. On one of the prisoners was found a letter from Mr. Beaton, a Scotch gentleman who has been with the duke of Alba and in the court of France, setting forth the distrust existing there with regard to sending the aid to them from France, and the cold replies which the Queen-mother had given, advising the Scots to endeavour to obtain the help of your Majesty. This letter has been brought here. (fn. 3)
The queen of Scotland is more closely kept than ever, and the bishop of Ross is well guarded in one of the Bishops' houses.
By a courier who arrived yesterday from France I have learned that the Queen mother writes to her ambassador in her own hand, saying that the clauses sent thither respecting the duke of Anjou's marriage left much to be desired, but that the English ambassador was coming to her, and she hoped he would have power to moderate them.—London, 23rd June 1571.
29 June. 261. Guerau De Spes to the King.
Certain servants of the French ambassador here and the English ambassador in France have arrived with news that M. L'Archant, captain of the guard of the duke of Anjou, is coming here with Guido Cavalcanti to settle difficulties with regard to the matrimonial treaty, on the understanding that, if things go well, the conclusion shall be carried through by the coming here of the duke of Montmorenci and others. There are therefore great hopes that it will be arranged, although doubts still exist as to whether the Queen will ever marry. The members of the Council who are Protestants are much exalted at this, together with the promises made by the duchess of Vendome and the Admiral, and they think, already, that the States of Flanders will fall into their hands. They believe that the Christian King will help them powerfully towards this, for the sake of the Duke, his brother, and these hopes prevent the French from interfering in Scotland or saying a word in favour of the Queen, who is now much oppressed ; excepting in a very lukewarm way, through the ambassador here. The English, instead of settling with the commissioners from the duke of Alba, are proceeding so tardily and even deceptively, that they have sent three commissioners to the west country to sell a certain part of the merchandise there, and find out whether there is any money amongst it, and it is announced that the Queen has made a grant of all the proceeds to the earl of Leicester. Some of the pirates are in the Downs, and some off the Isle of Wight, supplying themselves with victuals. It was said that most of them were going to Rochelle, but the weather has been unfavourable to them for the last six weeks. I will report to your Majesty what happens, and now enclose the printed book of what has been done in this Parliament. In it will be seen things against the Roman Church and the English absentees, and in defence of the title of this Queen, all of them very strange and many of them contrary to international treaties, which treaties have not been confirmed by Parliament before it closed, contrary, it is said, to the usual custom.—London, 29th June 1571.


  • 1. George Fitzwilliams was a relative of the duchess of Feria, she being a daughter of Sir William Dormer.
  • 2. i.e. The settlement of religious differences in France and the rise of Huguenot party.
  • 3. Andrew Beaton had been sent early in the year by the Papal Nuncio in Paris with a large sum of money for the queen of Scots (140,000 crowns), which he conveyed with letters from Ridolfi to his mistress, and thence returned to Paris, where, with his brother the bishop of Glasgow, he represented the Queen's cause. Full particulars of his movements are given in the depositions of the bishop of Ross in the State Triale— Duke of Norfolk. The letter referred to here was used at Norfolk's trial.