Simancas: December 1578

Pages 623-626

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

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December 1578

8 Dec. 538. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I wrote to you on the 22nd ultimo. The queen of Scotland's affairs are in such a critical condition, what with the doubts and suspicions of these people, that it is very difficult to discuss them without the greatest caution and care, as any false step might jeopardise the life of the poor lady. For this reason I cannot advise his Majesty of the decisions arrived at with so much promptitude as I should like. They tell me that the queen of Scotland has been much grieved at the death of Don Juan, and for two days after she heard the news was almost without food.
I am doing my best for the release of Antonio de Guaras, but his brother wants to take up the matter in a French fury, notwithstanding all I have said to him, to the effect that these people are not to be dealt with in this manner. I fear that unless he desists from discussing his brother's business with so many people, he will make matters worse for him than before. His coming has been of no advantage hitherto, since the talk on the Exchange is that he is a man worth two hundred thousand ducats, and has come to release his brother, and this has caused some of them to be on the alert to make some money out of the business, of which they had not the slightest hope before, or even that they would be paid what was owing. As this is a thing which appeals even to the highest people here, I am afraid that it will cause a delay rather than otherwise.
The spectacles which you request for an age of seventy years are sent herewith, although only eight pairs, as the workman has made no more.—London, 8th December 1578.
13 Dec. 539. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
As the secretary to the French ambassador who takes this packet as far as Paris is leaving hurriedly, I have only time to say that I wrote on the 8th instant, and that since then, Leicester, whom I had addressed on the matter of Antonio de Guaras, sent to tell me that he had spoken to the Queen and I was to ask for audience respecting it, which would be granted on Sunday when she would come to a decision. I have done so, and God knows how glad I shall be to get the matter over. I have had to deal with it very cunningly, as I will fully explain to you when Guaras is clear out of the country, which I hope will be soon.
Leicester is very careful to oblige me in all matters that he can, and, for my part, I lose no opportunity of thanking him and gaining his goodwill, so as to use him for more important things.
It has been said lately that Drake, the pirate that went to the Indies, was coming home with valuable prizes, and certain, news has now arrived from him at Court. When he arrives I will be on the alert.—London, 13th December 1578.
31 Dec. 540. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 13th and sent duplicate viâ France on the 22nd. The English ambassador in France writes to the Queen that a bastard brother of the earl of Morton had arrived there from Scotland and had been warmly welcomed and entertained by the King. He says that, pending the reason of his visit being discovered, it would be desirable that the Queen should send some one to the king of France to make an excuse for M. de Simier's coming being delayed. She has therefore sent Philip Sidney, which has had the effect of stopping Simier, who is understood to have arrived at Calais. The ambassador has also written several times and now confirms it, that the King of France is one of the sovereigns who have entered into the league formed by your Majesty and the Pope and this news greatly disturbs the Queen.
He also tells her that a gentleman has departed very secretly from the court of France to Germany, in order to hasten the levy of four thousand horse for this spring to assist M. D'Alençon, if he keeps a footing until then, in the States. She emphatically insists upon this, although some of her Council think that these forces may be required by the King on account of affairs in his own country, where indications are directly pointing to another appeal to arms.
As I have already reported, the Queen has sent to her ambassador in Scotland telling him to endeavour to have ready for the spring four thousand Scots to send to the help of the Netherlands. He tells her that the Scotch nobles are opposed to this and do not wish troops to leave the country, which has greatly annoyed her and her ministers, particularly as Morton's brother is in France at the same time, and her suspicions, which were already great, have thus been increased that the French and Scots may become closer friends. Hunsdon, the commander of the frontier also advises her from Berwick that Morton and the Scots are not so friendly with him as formerly.
Parliament, which was to have opened on the 22nd of January, has now been further prorogued until March, in order that Simier may come first, as it is said that it will be better for Parliament to meet after the marriage and alliance have been arranged. Signs are evident, both on the part of the Queen and ministers, that they desire to carry the matter through, although it is difficult to believe, for other reasons, that it will result in anything. A house has been prepared where the Queen will entertain Simier and his people, and he will be served by the Queen's own household. They will be much feasted as the Queen has ordered the Lords and gentlemen of the kingdom to be at Court during the time.
I spoke to the Queen on the 14th about the release of Antonio de Guaras, when she promised me that the business should be promptly disposed of. She afterwards asked me with great earnestness if I thought that peace would be made in the Netherlands. I replied that I could not give her any certain assurance in the matter, only that some of the people in the States were saying that her ambassadors had not advised them to agree to it, as their reconciliation with their enemy would be that of the lamb with the wolf. I repeated this and other points of the instruction which your Majesty sent me and she changed countenance when she heard me, and said that the rogues who espoused the French cause were always making up something of this sort to excuse their own tricks, but that she was not fit to discuss similar matters then as she had a very bad cold. I made no reply to this, thinking that what I had said would be enough, and she then, in the course of conversation upon other points said that we Spaniards knew how to put what we wanted to say very cleverly. She has ordered her people to be armed in the manner which you will see by a copy of her instructions which I send herewith.
The merchants of London are opposed to the Hamburg people who reside here enjoying the privileges which they have, and similar steps have been taken in Hamburg towards the English residents there, and the effect aimed at is, apparently, to stop them from having any business in those towns at all. The Council are trying to settle the matter although they have not yet been able to do so. The Flemish merchants resident here are being much pressed for the payment of a certain imposition, and, in order to escape therefrom, they have given an account of the matter to the Archduke Mathias and the States, requesting that they will send someone here to settle the question. This was done but the man has returned without effecting anything, and they are now asking that a person of more importance should be sent to assist them in the matter.—London, 31st December 1578.