Simancas: February 1578

Pages 560-561

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 1578

16 Feb. 477. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I wrote on the 10th from Valladolid, and I have been unable to write again until my arrival here at Irun to-day, in consequence of the most dreadful weather, rain, ice, and snow, in addition to which the relays of horses were very poor, and from Burgos hither little diligence was displayed. I now find that Franco de Eraso has left here with six horses, which has been the cause of delaying me until to-morrow, when I hope to go forward, as Domingo de Iralta assures me that the road is clear. I have given him your letter, and we have arranged how my letters are to be sent to him by sea. The English ambassador (fn. 1) has sent to tell me by a courier from France that he would wait a week for me in Paris. I am sorry that I shall not be able to reach him in time.—Irun, 16th February 1578.
26 Feb. 478. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I wrote to you on the 16th from Irun, and arrived at this place this morning, not without trouble, both in consequence of the heavy rains and because the flight of M. D'Alençon (fn. 2) has put the whole of this country in turmoil, and might well cause difficulty to a travelling foreigner. I have been also much delayed by the bad supply of horses, but, although I have been so tardy, I have found here no letters from Don Juan. I send him the letter from his Majesty by Franco de Erasco, who, as he has a passport, will go quicker than any courier. I write to his Highness that I expected to have found a despatch from him here, and after I have visited their Majesties, I shall leave Paris and tarry on the road until I have received his Highness's reply, since the recent victory (fn. 3) cannot fail to have altered the position of affairs in the States, and it will be well for me to understand matters before I speak to the Queen. I have decided not to stay here, so that the Flushing people may put no spies upon me.
Between Bordeaux and Poitiers I met M. de Muisan, who is the lieutenant of the prince of Bearn. He was accompanied by some French gentlemen, and amongst them an Aragonese highwayman from the mountains of Jaca, who asked me whether I had met large numbers of Burgundian Frenchmen in companies on their way as pilgrims to Santiago. I told him that I had, and he replied that it was a serious matter that so many should go together, most of them being young and strong, with their wallets and staves new, which I had already noticed, as I had met many bands of them as far as Poitiers and beyond. I have thought it not sufficiently important to write to his Majesty about, as I had nothing else to say ; but you may tell him. I have not yet asked for an audience of the King, as I am hardly yet out of the saddle, and just write to say that I have arrived. The English ambassador passed through here to Calais without stopping.
As I was sealing this I learnt that the Queen had been expecting me in England for some time, and if I had received Don Juan's instructions, it would be well that I should hurry forward, as Thomas Wilkes has done, in order that they may not be forearmed with his information.—Paris, 26th February 1578.


  • 1. Thomas Wilkes, who was returning home to London.
  • 2. The duke of Alençon had fled from Paris and had joined the Huguenots and Germans in the north-east of France, where he was openly defying his brother's authority. This had aroused the Protestants all over France, and, at the moment, seemed to portend a re-commencement of the religious wars in a worse form than ever.
  • 3. The battle of Gemblours, 31st January 1578.