Simancas: September 1571

Pages 334-339

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


September 1571

7 Sept. 276. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In former letters I have reported the arrival and dealings of M. de Foix who left here yesterday afternoon on his return to the King, carrying with him presents of plate to the value of thirteen hundred crowns and loaded with fine promises. From what I can learn of the decision he bears, it seems that the Queen insists that the duke of Anjou should not exercise the Catholic religion at all here, and they cast the blame upon the ambassador Walsingham if he has been promised otherwise. Foix might well be sure that the intention of the Queen is not to carry the marriage into effect, excepting under the most urgent necessity, but that her real aim is to gradually bring the French into the offensive and defensive league in which many of the German princes and the duke of Florence are said to have joined. By this means and with the help of the adherents they think they have in the Netherlands, they believe they can trouble the States greatly, and gradually bring the Christian King round almost entirely to Protestantism. They depend greatly upon the present Council in France, which they see now consists largely of people of their way of thinking as indeed it would appear, seeing how they have abandoned the queen of Scotland and her interests. The better to carry all this through, Lord Burleigh is going to France, and it is said will depart as soon as Foix's report is received from there. In the meanwhile Killigrew will go to help Walsingham in the business, and Burleigh will be accompanied by Guido Cavalcanti.
It lately happened that some money which was being forwarded to Scotland by a secretary of the duke of Norfolk was captured, as your Majesty will see in detail by the enclosed statement. The secretary is now in the Tower, and his master more closely guarded. It is said that some of the Councillors are coming to take his declaration. If they put him in the Tower it will somewhat hinder. matters, especially now that the second son of the earl of Derby is there ; but the Catholics are many though the leaders are few, and Lord Burleigh with his terrible fury, has greatly harrassed and dismayed them, for they are afraid even of speaking to each other. The whole affair depends upon getting arms into their hands and giving them somebody who shall direct them what to do, though the Protestants have as many good leaders in warlike affairs as the Catholics. The great confidence of the Protestants is that the French will come to their protection, and that between one and another they will be able artfully to contemporise without making restitution whilst they molest the Netherlands and keep their sea infested with pirates until the formation of a league allows them to undertake a war.
The Scots suspect that M. de Foix has been making mischief about the duke of Norfolk's affair, although La Mothe appears now to be favourable.
George Fitzwilliams has just arrived, and Hawkins writes me from Plymouth that he will be here presently. Fitzwilliams thought that I had already received instructions from your Majesty as to what was to be done in this business, and he expects that the instructions will shortly arrive. In the meanwhile I have told him to go to Lord Burleigh to get permission to visit the queen of Scotland, in order to endeavour to obtain the release through her of the imprisoned Englishmen (in Spain), and he is also to ask Cecil for leave to negotiate with me on the subject. I have advised the duke of Alba of this immediately, so that he may know what is passing.
M. de Lumbres is in Dover with seven ships, and he and the rest of them are preparing to continue ther robberies.
A servant of mine has just come in saying that he has met the duke of Norfolk in the street being taken to the Tower with two or three gentlemen guarding him secretly,—London, 7th September 1571.
9 Sept. 277. Guerau De Spes to the King.
By my last letter your Majesty will have learnt that they have lodged the duke of Norfolk in the Tower, and although he was taken without a regular guard and at an unexpected hour, the concourse of people was so large and the shouts so general that a very little more and he would have been liberated, although he was very gay. It may well happen that this popularity of his amongst the common people may be of little advantage to him with the Queen.
He has two secretaries of his in the Tower with him, and Mr. Douglas, a Scotsman, was taken yesterday, and interrogated about these moneys which were being sent to Scotland, but as he did not reply to their liking they liberated him. The Florentine ambassador has been twice questioned about it. The fact is all England is much disturbed. Some suspicion exists that Foix advised the Queen to make sure for the present of the Duke, although M. de la Mothe makes great professions to the contrary, but the Scots are well informed in the matter. The French, or the duke of Florence, have given some information to this Queen about the objects with which Roberto Ridolfi went to Rome, as she remarked that she knew that the duke of Alba had sent to his Holiness a list of those who are on his side or on that of the duke of Norfolk. When Thomas Fiesco was taking leave of her recently she also said something about it, and although it is not credible that the duke of Florence should have mixed himself up in the business, still, after Ridolfi left Florence on his way to Spain, a Florentine named Burgiam Tadei (sic), who is established in Calais, left Florence by post for London, he not being a man who could afford such an expense, and on his arrival here he had a conference with Lord Buckhurst, who went to France for this Queen, and is consequently well versed in these affairs. M. de Foix was also accompanied hither by another Florentine named Alfonso Dalbene. It would be well to learn from Ridolfi if he mentioned anything about this list to the duke of Florence, or whether any hint has come from there (Madrid) or from Rome about the French or the Duke having sent such a report to the Queen.
There was a skirmish recently in Scotland favourable for the Queen's party, and under colour of this M. de Verac, the French ambassador, has been released, as well as the Scotch lord Hume. They entered the castle of Edinburgh, but, both sides being pressed, a truce was afterwards agreed to.
Your Majesty will learn from the duke of Alba the settlement which Thomas Fiesco was able to make with the commissioners. This was the best which could be done for the present, and it will be well to put into execution promptly.
Fitzwilliams has gone to Court, but he will find it difficult now to obtain leave to go to the queen of Scotland.—London, 9th September 1571.
14 Sept. 278. The King to Guerau De Spes.
Your letters of 28th July and 8th and 18th of August were received on the 7th instant, and Zayas has also told us what you have written to him. You did well in giving us full reports, and particularly as regards the good heart and firmness with which the duke of Norfolk and the queen of Scotland's friends continue. Nevertheless we approve of your not having given them Ridolfi's letters, or telling them that you had them, such being the duke of Alba's orders. This course was the best for my service and the successful conduct of the business, all details being left to the Duke for him to arrange with the zeal, devotion, and prudence which we are sure will enable him to carry it to a good issue. We again repeat that you will most precisely and punctually act in accordance with his orders, without exceeding them in the slightest degree.
The duke of Alba will inform you of the death of the duke of Feria, and of what you have to say to John Hawkins in order to assure him that the arrangement agreed upon with him shall be fulfilled without default or failing if he complies with his promises, which we hope he will, and shows in action the same goodwill with which you credit him. We are glad to hear your opinion of him. and you will tell him so to encourage him, but you must proceed with him in the manner and form prescribed by the Duke, whose instructions you must not overstep.
I note what you say of the great demonstration of welcome made to Foix, both in lodging him in the palace and entertaining him as they did, but, notwithstanding all this, I do not believe that the treaty of marriage between the duke of Anjou and the Queen will end in anything. It would, however, be bad enough if they were to conclude the supposed league. You will continue to report what you hear about the progress of events in Ireland, as well as what is done respecting the restitution, which, seeing how they are delaying it, we have but little hope they will carry out, or do anything else good, of their own free will.—Madrid, 14th September 1571.
20 Sept. 279. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In previous letters I have reported to your Majesty the pretext under which the duke of Norfolk has been again lodged in the Tower. Lord Burleigh came on the 12th instant to interrogate him, and three secretaries of his and others of his servants, all of whose declarations were taken with much solicitude several times, but there is no rumour of Cecil's having obtained the information he expected. They do not trouble themselves much now about the money they seized, but are insisting that Roberto Ridolfi was sent to his Holiness and your Majesty. From certain words dropped by the earl of Leicester, it is suspected that they have received information of this from Florence, as I wrote to your Majesty.
They have dismissed with great severity all those who served the queen of Scotland excepting ten persons, and even her secretaries had been ordered to go away, although the Queen's exclamations and protests had prevented their departure. The Scotsman who left here with a passport for the purpose of taking some packets of letters to her, had his papers taken away from him in spite of the passport, and they were returned by Killigrew to the French ambassador, with a message to the effect that the queen of England begged he would take this action in good part, as the safety of her States had made it necessary. The Scotsman, however, saved the greater part of his packets by hiding them in a rock two leagues before he got to the place where the Queen was staying. The queen of Scotland writes that she had seen these packets and amongst them, I believe, is included the advice I sent her of the ten thousand crowns which the duke of Alba was handing to Mr. Beaton.
At the same time all travellers were stopped and their letters taken from them ; amongst others they took my packet of the 12th instant, which is all in cipher, and they have been sending me messages for the last three days, saying that they will return these letters to me presently. They now confess that they have been sent to the Court, and as the man who was carrying these letters bore a regular passport, I have sent to the Court about it, and will report the reply to your Majesty. I now enclose a copy of the letter which I wrote to lord Burleigh on the subject, and also a true relation of the death of the earl of Lennox, which certainly has been a most successful enterprise. The whole of the queen of Scotland's enemies were captured, and the matter would have been ended there and then, but the plundering infantry was so busy robbing that the prisoners escaped, and the only one who paid the penalty of his bad government was Lennox. They have appointed in the meanwhile for governor the earl of Mar, who has the Prince in his possession, and holds the castle of Stirling, although he declines to interfere in the matter. This Earl is bringing up the Prince without any religion, or rather with the bad instead of the good one. His wife is a Catholic, but dares not, I am told, speak openly about it. One of the worst evils connected with such a bringing up is that the Prince should be fed upon such vile milk as this.
The queen of England has received M. de Lumbres very well, and helped him with money. She is trying to get the congregations of rebels also to raise funds for him, and he is getting ready to put to sea, harquebusses and ammunition being now on their way to the coast for him. It is believed that the number of pirate ships ready will be forty-four.
One of them, a Frenchman named the "Jacques de Boulogne," captured a French ship loaded with textile goods lately on its way to Spain. It is worth more than sixty thousand crowns, but they cannot get more than twelve thousand crowns offered for it at Torbay, where it is. All this property belongs to Spaniards, and, in addition to this, a hundred thousand crowns' worth of woad has recently been captured from your Majesty's subjects in French bottoms.—London, 20th September 1571.
29 Sept. 280. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In my former letters I have advised your Majesty of the extremity in which the queen of Scotland now is, and the great difficulty she experiences in sending or receiving letters. Her life is also not safe, as is proved by a letter which was found in Scotland written by the queen of England to the earl of Lennox, directing him and his party to demand the surrender to them of the queen of Scotland in the interests of peace, to which demand the queen of England promised she would accede if she were asked, and almost commanded him to have the queen of Scotland killed when they got possession of her, but Lennox himself was killed on the very day that he received the letter. Perhaps these people will try the same thing with the new Regent.
The prosecution of the duke of Norfolk is being pushed on with great vigour, and the councillors have communicated the proceedings to the Chief Justices, without whom the Council cannot condemn him. The charges are said to consist of three points ; first, that he attempted to marry the queen of Scotland against this Queen's command ; second, that he provided money to the opposite party in Scotland ; and, thirdly, that he had attempted to rebel with many others, with the object of receiving and welcoming the duke of Alba into this country. There appears to be no proof of the first allegation about his attempt to marry the queen of Scotland, as this Queen has ordered that charge to be dropped, as also that of having carried on a correspondence with the queen of Scotland. On the second charge of helping the Scots the Duke excused himself by saying that this was out of England and without prejudice to it. Of the third charge they say there is little or no proof, and the queen of Scotland was greatly enraged with the Judges when they made these charges known to her, whereupon they were much intimidated. Fresh prisoners are being taken every day to increase their evidence, and Secretary Smith and Wilson do nothing else in the Tower but this.
Lord Lumley was sent to the Tower yesterday from Richmond, where the Court is, and the earl of Arundel was ordered to remain under arrest at Nonsuch. It is said that the same course will be taken towards Lord Montague.
I learn that Lord Burleigh suggested in the Council that it would be well to send me away from here, and although he has not been able to find any handle for doing this in the proceedings he is carrying on, he says that for the sake of the Queen's safety it is necessary that I should be expelled. They are now considering the matter, although it seems that one of them said it would be better to await the return of Thomas Fiesco and the execution of the powers by the Queen for the league with the king of France, the Count Palatine, and other princes of the Empire, all of whom will be represented in France. Killigrew will leave here at once with this as Walsingham reports that the matter is favourably decided there.
There is no reply about the marriage as M. de Foix delayed a long time before he arrived at the Blois.
Another ship loaded with sugar from Barbary belonging to subjects of your Majesty, has recently been captured, (fn. 1) and four other ships on their way to Brouage for salt, some of the crews of which have been thrown overboard. I have sent to report the matter to the Court, and Lord Cobham has been ordered in future to provide against such disorders. It will be all in vain, however, as it has hitherto been. I also informed them that M. de Lumay and Courvoisier are arming six war ships, and I have set forth the excesses which Winter's ships had committed at Teneriffe. Everything here is directed to your Majesty's prejudice and the injury of your subjects, with the ultimate object of causing even greater evils.—London, 29th September 1571.


  • 1. Note in handwriting of Zayas : "This is a fine way by which to expect restitution."