Simancas: August 1568

Pages 63-70

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

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August 1568

2 August. 44. Guzman De Silva to the King.
I wrote on the 31st ultimo, saying that the duke of Alba being busy in Friesland, Don Guerau would be detained in Flanders for some days. I see that his coming has been published here, and its object, by means of many letters from merchants resident in Flanders, and I thought best to speak to the Queen about it, and to discuss the other matters which your Majesty orders, so that she might be prepared for Don Guerau's coming. I accordingly left London to-day for this place, in order to be near Hatfield where the Queen is. I had sent to ask for audience in order that I might have the reply when I arrived here. I am to have audience to-morrow, as the Queen says that she wishes me to be present at an entertainment to be given to her at the house of a neighbouring gentleman. When I had nearly arrived here I met a courier from the Christian King on his way from the queen of Scotland with letters for this Queen. He handed me the letter he brought for me from the queen of Scotland, copy of which is enclosed.
The edict ordering no person with arms to go from this country to Flanders was published, and coming after the news of events in Friesland and St. Valery, the rush of these rebels to get across has ceased, although it is of no great importance, as the ports on the coast were well prepared for them.
I am still advised that the contribution of the twentieth part of ecclesiastical revenues is proceeding, as also is the other subscription. —Barnet, 2nd August 1568.
9 August. 45. Guzman De Silva to the King.
I was with the Queen on the 3rd and 4th instant, at Hatfield, 17 miles from here, in order to tell her of the coming of Don Guerau de Spes, which had been published in various parts. She showed more sorrow than I expected, and, changing colour, told me that she was grieved from the bottom of her heart that your Majesty should make any change, as she was so greatly pleased with my mode of procedure in affairs. She had, she said, always shown how pleased she was, and she hoped to God that there was no mystery behind this change. She dwelt so much upon this that, in order to banish suspicion, I threw the blame upon myself, assuring her that your Majesty had decided to give me leave at my own supplication and importunity, my sole reason being my poor health, which I was sure this climate did not suit. I said she knew this herself, and there was no other mystery behind it. She was somewhat quieter at this, but complained greatly of me for wanting to leave her. I spoke to her also respecting the league, and she seemed satisfied, as she was, indeed, before, in consequence of my many conversations with her on the subject. She also seemed to be reconciled about John Man, and with regard to what I told her of your Majesty's orders touching Dr. Illescas' history which she was anxious should be amended.
On my return to London, I talked with Cecil and told him of the coming of Don Guerau and my departure, whereat he expressed sorrow and assured me that the Queen would be greatly pained, especially as it would seem to confirm what had been conveyed to him from several quarters, that Cardinal Lorraine had arranged a treaty with the duke of Alba, respecting this country and the queen of Scots ; which had been negotiated through me, as the French ambassador here could not be trusted. It was said also that the queen of Scotland herself was in communication with me and sent me letters for your Majesty, and it was asserted that, now that I had arranged what was wanted, I wished to leave in order that my successor, and not myself, should witness the carrying out of the plan. It was known that I had a person at Dieppe to advise people in France of these matters, and that Don Francés de Alava never left the side of Cardinal Lorraine. My own belief is that Cecil invented the whole of this, although he told me he would show me letters saying it, because I am told that the letter that the queen of Scotland wrote to me with the letter for your Majesty, together with another for the French ambassador, fell into Cecil's hands. I therefore replied that, as for arranging anything of the sort between the Cardinal and the Duke, I looked upon such a statement as a silly joke, and the vain talk of idle men, and I could assure him that the assertion that any such treaty had gone through my hands was absolutely false. If I had done such a thing against the Queen, I should be worthy of great punishment from your Majesty, and even from the Queen herself. I said that it would have been entirely opposed to my instructions, and that I, in my life, had never seen, written to, or in any way communicated with the Cardinal, nor he with me, and I was quite sure that the Queen would not believe such nonsense. It was true that the queen of Scotland had, since her arrival in this country, written me some letters and sent servants of hers to me, whom I had received as officers of a princess who was on friendly terms with your Majesty, but nothing had passed touching the affairs of this Queen, and I had only fulfilled my office as ambassador, which obliged me to receive all kinds of people. I said that he would recollect that when Melvin, the Scotch gentleman, was here, he, Cecil himself, had sent him to me to ask me to write to the queen of Scotland and her husband, when they were at discord, recommending them to make friends ; and I had done this, I wish I could say successfully. He said it was quite true that he hoped to have arranged such a reconciliation through me, and that I might be quite certain of one thing, namely, that the Queen had so much confidence in me, and was so satisfied, that she had told him several times that she knew of no one whose opinion coincided with hers so well as my own, and that she did not like to praise me openly in her Council, in order not to arouse the jealousy and suspicion of certain of the members. He did not know what sort of a person Don Guerau was. I praised him very much both to Cecil and the Queen, assuring them that he would be a gracious and pacific minister.—London, 9th August 1568.
45A. Statement made by Don Cristobal De Salazar, Secretary of the Ambassador Don Diego De Guzman De Silva, respecting the Ambassador's departure from England.
I, Cristobal de Salazar, secretary of the very illustrious Señor don Diego de Guzman de Silva, of his Majesty's Council, his ambassador in Venice, et cetera, truly testify that on the 9th day of the month of September last year, 1568, the said illustrious gentleman, my master, left the house where he resided, which was called the house of my Lord Paget, in the parish of St. Clement's outside the walls of London, to go to Spain. He went first to take leave of the Queen of England in company with Don Guerau de Spes, who had arrived recently as his successor in the post of ambassador. After having taken leave of the Queen in the presence of the ambassador, Don Guerau de Spes, and without any further detention, he departed for the port of Portsmouth without returning again to the said house, and embarked for Spain in the said port as he had been ordered by his Majesty, in the presence of the following witnesses : Martin de Robles Ximenez, Alonso de Zuñiga, and Alonso Pantoja, servants of the ambassador. I, Cristobal de Salazar, notary public apostolic, was present at all of this.
Cristobal De Salazar, Notary.
16th August 1570.
45B. Extract from the Instruction given to Don Guerau De Spes (fn. 1) as Ordinary Ambassador in England, dated in the Escorial, 28th June 1568.
First of all you must know that the ambassador from the Queen who has resided here lately, called John Man, is a heretic so pernicious and evil-minded that, ever since he came to my Court he has acted differently from what he ought to have done, and has in many things exceeded the limits of his position, and broken the promise he gave on his arrival to the duke of Alba, and subsequently to others of my ministers who told him the conduct he would have to observe. This was only the same as had been observed by his predecessors, both in the Emperor's time and my own. Not having complied therewith, but on the contrary having very scandalously and indecently dared to exceed in many things, his insolence and boldness could be tolerated no longer ; but, as it was not desired to punish him otherwise, he being a minister of the Queen, with whom I am on friendly terms, I sent a special courier to inform his mistress of it through Don Diego de Guzman, my ambassador, in the form which you have seen by the copies of letters exhibited to you. I asked the Queen directly and through Diego de Guzman to recall John Man, whom I had declined to receive any more or allow in my Court, and to name some other person in his place who should behave with proper modesty. Pending the receipt of the reply, I ordered John Man to leave my Court, which he did, and is now at Barajas awaiting the orders of his mistress. Diego de Guzman delivered my letter to the Queen, and he writes to me that, although the Queen was somewhat disturbed at first, she afterwards became tranquillised and took the matter in good part, saying that she would recall John Man and would send another person more to my satisfaction, as you will have seen by Guzman's letters shown to you. As I promised the Queen and also Diego de Guzman to send a fuller and more complete statement of the things in which John Man had transgressed, and the scandalous, bold, and disrespectful words which he had allowed himself to use in condemnation of our holy Catholic faith and in contempt of the Pope and the holy apostolic See, you have had handed to you with this instruction a statement of Cardinal Espinosa, president of my Council of Castile and Inquisitor-General, containing the evidence of trustworthy witnesses against John Man. You will take this statement in order that you may convey to the Queen of England the details it contains in fulfilment of my promise. You will proceed in this in accordance with the advice and instructions given to you by the Cardinal Inquisitor-General, and will communicate everything to Diego de Guzman, in order that the Queen may remain entirely satisfied that the action taken towards the ambassador was rendered necessary entirely by his own bad behaviour and departure from the conduct observed by his predecessors ; that his action was of such a character that I could not avoid doing as I did, and that it was only with great reluctance that I adopted this course, having regard to the respect and goodwill I bear to the Queen. You will set forth all this with the fair words and arguments which you and Diego de Guzman may consider suitable.
As John Man is so malicious as to have signified that the duke of Feria, out of regard for the Duchess and her English relatives and friends, has been the origin of this treatment, you may know that this is pure malice and meanness on the part of John Man, whose only accusers have been his own bad deeds and evil conscience, which were so flagrant that they could not be concealed. It is necessary for you on every occasion to banish this suspicion of the Duchess' relatives from the Queen's mind, whilst assuring her that the Duke has never said anything to me against John Man, but, on the contrary, has invariably shown a desire to benefit and promote his interests. I ask and beg the Queen, therefore, to graciously show all possible favour to the relatives of the Duchess, which will be for me a great satisfaction. You yourself will make the acquaintance of them, and do your best on all occasions to help them, as you know well the claims the Duke has upon my thanks and affection.
You will also try to learn what arms and gunpowder the English have received from abroad, because they neither make nor possess these things themselves, but usually provide them from Flanders and Germany through Embden. You will advise the duke of Alba of what you learn, so that he may keep his hand on the export of these things from the States, such course being of great importance to my interests.
When you arrive at the court of England you will go straight to the lodgings of Diego de Guzman, my ambassador, to whom you will show this original instruction and deliver my letter to him. He will inform the Queen of your arrival, and arrange the day and hour when she is to receive you. You will go together to the audience, and you will give the Queen my letter, saluting her gaily and graciously from me, saying that I have appointed you the successor of Diego de Guzman to reside near her as my ordinary ambassador, with instructions to serve and gratify her on every possible occasion, as, in fact, I wish you to do ; trying to keep her on good terms, and assuring her from me that I will always return her friendship as her good neighbour and brother. In these generalities and compliments, giving her news of things here which can be fittingly told, you can pass the time of the first audience, without saying anything about business, unless she wishes to commence that subject. The first matter that you will discuss with her must be about John Man, giving her an account, as set forth in the statement, of his excesses and bad behaviour ; first because I have promised her, and next because I wish her to be well informed of the truth, and thoroughly satisfied that all possible gentleness was used towards him, and that any other person she may send will be welcomed and well treated, if only he will conduct himself with the same modesty as all previous ambassadors have done. You must deal with this point in such a way that it may be smoothed over now, once and for all, and you will promptly advise me of all that passes on this subject with the Queen, as well as everything else that from time to time may occur, sending your letters to Flanders, whence my letters to you will also generally be sent. You may also sometimes, when opportunity offers, send your letters by way of Don Francés, or by sea when a passage by ship is obtainable with a trustworthy person, sending such letters to Juan Martinez de Recalde of Bilbao. (fn. 2)
10 July. 46. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have written what passed on the road, to Secretary Zayas, the last letter being from Bayonne. Approaching Bordeaux I was assailed by many people, who threatened us, in consequence of eight (Spanish ?) sloops having endeavoured to enter the Garonne to burn the flotilla which had come from Florida. Crossing the river, my boatmen pointed out to me the six ships which they say had avenged the murder of their friends in Florida, and the captain is swaggering bravely here about it. It is said he has received ten thousand crowns for the artillery he brought, with other things of great value. The whole road has been rendered dangerous by the ill-will of the French, both Catholics and heretics, against the Spaniards, and, in some places, the King's soldiers themselves took arms against us and called us Spanish hogs. (fn. 3) In another place, on this side of Blois, they tried to stab Jacques, postmaster of Bruges, who was with me, because they, thinking he was a Frenchman, saw him in the company of Spaniards. Everywhere they made us pay extravagantly, and Spaniards are in danger all through the country. Even Captain Jordan de Cuellar, who served this King, was stabbed to death the other day.
Lies are afloat everywhere with regard to Flanders, and these were brought daily by their couriers, so I was anxious in case there should be any truth in the reported loss of Maestricht and the defeat of Count Meghen.
I arrived here on the 17th, and was well entertained by Don Francés de Alava. I have consulted with him as to my instructions, and we went, by appointment, this morning to Little Madrid here to salute the King, the Queen, and duke of Anjou. Cardinals Lorraine, Guise, and Bourbon and the dukes of Nemours and Guise were there. I complimented them from your Majesty as ordered. They recommended the affairs of the queen of Scotland strongly to me.
I told the Queen of the bad treatment we had received, and she ordered the offenders to be punished. She also said that the Florida affair had been without her knowledge or wish, and the artillery, which is known to belong to your Majesty, has been ordered to be returned to Spain. She said we knew, moreover, that the King was not obeyed in those parts, and they had even refused to admit M. de Vielleville into Rochelle. It is reported here that the duke of Alba was going to Friesland in great force, and a successful issue may now be expected. With God's help. I leave here to-morrow for Brussels, where I will fulfil my instructions and see the duke of Alba, and will then leave to continue my service in England.
Holograph postscript : The Scotch ambassador here, who is very ill, has just sent two gentlemen to me to recommend his mistress's affairs to my care. She appears to found all her hopes on your Majesty's favour, and I have told him that I have orders, on my arrival in England, to do what I can for her.—Paris, 19th July 1568.
25 Aug. 47. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty from Paris and to Secretary Zayas from Brussels that I was sending a special courier to the duke of Alba with his despatches. He was then at the extreme end of Friesland with his victorious army, and I informed him that I would go to Bois le Duc, where the Council was, and consult with them what had to be arranged, according to my instructions, and then would await his orders as to whether I should go to Friesland or not. He answered directing me to remain in Bois le Duc, but afterwards told me to come to Utrecht, whither the Council also went. The Duke arrived there on the 16th and was for some days so busy with the affairs of the war that he could not discuss the business I was ordered to communicate to him. He afterwards decided to go to Bois le Duc, where he told me he could attend to me, which he did ; so that I am now fully informed of the grievances suffered by your Majesty's vassals, both in the States and Spain, at the hands of those who disregard alliances, ancient friendships, and good neighbourship. The damage done by this exceeds the sum of three hundred thousand ducats a year. The Council had all its papers in Brussels, but as the necessary documents had been sent to Guzman de Silva the Duke writes to him by me, telling him to deliver them, or copies of them, to me. Dr. D'Assonleville will also draw up for me a full statement of the injuries we receive and the terms which were to have been arranged by the Conference at Bruges, and which, no doubt, would have been carried out but for the troubles and disturbances in the States. I have come to this place, and after having provided some necessary things, I shall leave for England in a day or two at most, whence I can write more fully to your Majesty after having obtained further information from Guzman de Silva as to the remedy to be adopted.
I received the despatch from your Majesty, dated 27th ultimo, which was delayed in consequence of the death of the courier in France, and was directed either to Guzman de Silva or myself. By this I learn of the death of our lord the Prince, whose soul is now in heaven. I pray that God will give your Majesty the rest and consolation that your subjects desire for you, and many other sons and successors. I closed the letter again and sent it on to London by the courier that was leaving, advising Guzman de Silva that I should be with him in a few days.
Antonio de Guaras has sent me two slanderous papers printed in England, which the heretics of that country have made up to entertain their gang, and to endeavour to diminish the favour your Majesty extends to the Catholics, and the justice and equity which you maintain in your States. If your Majesty wishes, they can be copied and sent to you in Spanish. I shall be glad to be directed as to whether I should speak to the Queen about these insults, since she seems so much offended at the "Pontifical History," or whether it will be better to leave it as unworthy of so great a sovereign. As to John Man, the road seems now clear. I read my instructions to the Duke and he thought they were perfectly sufficient, but made several remarks on them for my guidance.— Antwerp, 25th August 1568.


  • 1. Don Guerau de Spes, the new ambassador, was a native of Lerida, and a son of Don Jaime de Spes, one of Ferdinand the Catholic's gentlemen of the chamber. He was a knight of the order of Calatrava, and had rendered himself conspicuous in Spain by his strong Catholic views.
  • 2. Juan Martinez de Recalde was the King's commissary at Bilboa, and was subsequently one of the principal captains of the invincible Armada. He was considered one of the first seamen of the time.
  • 3. "Españoles marranos." This term of approbrium was usually applied to Jews and outcasts or unclean people.