Simancas: June 1679

Pages 678-681

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 1679

9 June. 578. Bernardino de Mendoza to Zayas.
I thank you sincerely for the news you send me that the Duke's (of Alba) business is in a good way. There are few things I could hear with more pleasure.
The man who goes to Portugal has tarried here, as you will see in the letter to his Majesty, and Cavendish will not now accompany him. He will, however, take with him a Florentine called Pedro Caponi, who is one of the outlaws concerned in the Duke's conspiracy, and has taken refuge here.
I am told that Edward Wotton will remain a short time in Portugal, in order to give an account of the state of things there, for their guidance here, although some of these councillors are of opinion that, if his Majesty takes the matter in hand vigorously, no one will be able to hinder him. Notwithstanding this, I have no doubt that both they and the French will do so as far as they are able, as they are raising doubts and suspicions wherever they can. It is my belief that this is one of their principal reasons for their reviving the talk about the Queen's marriage.
Horatio Pallavicini has made great efforts to get them to send this ambassador through Madrid, in order that he may treat of his affairs, and particularly about the Englishmen who were arrested in Alicante. Although Wotton told me that he was going that way, I am afraid they have changed his instructions.
With regard to the English arrested in Alicante, the Queen has asked me a second time to write to his Majesty, and as the intermediary is a person I wish to please, I have been obliged to give letters for the King and you, although I beg you that they may not be looked upon in any sense as an intercession, as Horatio behaves in a manner which does not merit any consideration, and he has given sureties to release the Englishmen safe and sound, so that it would not be bad to condemn them in a pecuniary punishment for disobedience, as Horatio would have to pay it. He said in conversation the other day that his Majesty's officers tried to catch him, but they were too late.
The Queen has appointed the Commissioners whose names are enclosed, for the matter of the seizures. I am told that four of them will meet every day for the dispatch of the affair, they having power even though the rest be absent.
I send enclosed account of the extraordinary expenditure, which has consumed 1,000 ducats of the credit sent me. Pray send me another, and, if necessary, please advise Doña Anna, in order that she may get some one to solicit it.
The Englishman who is going (to Spain) on behalf of the merchants is a person recommended to them by Lord Burleigh, to whom they wish to refer the whole business. I suspect that one of the reasons why he was chosen was because he was a fit man to inform them as to what was passing there, and by his stay could kill two birds with one stone.
Rochetaillé, Alençon's equerry, leaves to-day for France, without any particular mission but to return to his master.—London, 9th June 1579.
10 June. 579. Bernardino de Mendoza to Zayas.
As I wrote at length yesterday I now only enclose the letter for the King.
Rochetaillé has tarried until to-day, but they say he is certainly now leaving. I believe he is taking some hackneys back in return for the Spanish horses he brought.
Amongst the ships which left in October to plunder on the way to the Indies I have discovered that there was a very small vessel belonging to one of the Queen's Councillors, a tremendous rogue and a terrible Puritan, who has been just appointed as one of the commissioners. His sole reason for fitting out the ship was to send in her a minister who spoke the Spanish tongue. I have not been able to find out the name of this preacher, but will endeavour to do so with all diligence, as it is most important that such a pestilence as this should be prevented from entering those countries.— London, 10th June 1579.
20 June. 580. Bernardino de Mendoza to Zayas.
I have received to-day your letter of the 5th ultimo about the imprisonment of the English. The men who came hither said they were not imprisoned in respect of the alum, which they had been assured by the people in Alicante. The Queen and Ministers therefore, when they spoke to me about it, did so very gently, by way of petition that I would beg for their release. I sent to tell them that they had been liberated, and they are very grateful. I will also refer to it when I see the Queen. In conversation with Horatio, I plainly saw from what he said about the help given to him by Lorenzo Spinola in his business that this alum had plenty of protectors. The two ships about which I wrote to the King were not detained in Cadiz, as you say, in consequence of the opinion of the financial authorities. The alum in the ship sent by Horatio to Middleburgh has, I am told, gone to Amiens, where it will be employed like the rest.
The Queen sent a man to Denmark to apologize for the burning of the ship I mentioned in my last by the English corsairs. They do this because their ships are obliged to pass through that country as through a turnstile, and they do not wish to offend them.
Another Englishman has gone to Barbary to treat with the king of Fez about the fulfilment of the agreement between the English and his brother, in accordance with his promise. He was to pay in saltpetre for the arms and munitions sent from here, but the King now does not wish the saltpetre to be exported. (fn. 1)
James Fitzmaurice, the Irishman, is now said to be on the coast of Cornwall with a ship of 800 tons and two small ones, with which he has captured a Bristol vessel, throwing all the crew into the sea. In consequence of this, Humphrey Gilbert, who was robbing on the coast, has been ordered to go in pursuit of the Irishman, who, although he has so few ships, is causing them some anxiety.
The Queen and Council have kept Rochetaillé here from day to day, giving him constant audiences. It is confidently stated that Alençon is coming, and that the arrangements for the visit are being discussed. It is said in Paris that his mother has provided him with money for the voyage. It is well that time should undeceive him, as a fresh turn is given to the business every day.
As regards Santa Cecilia and his pardon, pray do not forget it, as I am extremely anxious about it in order to save his soul, as he also is to find himself on the right path, and will willingly give up his pension from the Queen.—London, 20th June 1579.
24 June. 581. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I wrote on the 20th, and on the following day M. de Rochetaillé left here. The Queen and Council kept him here about ten days, telling him constantly that they would decide about Alençon's coming. It appears that the decision he bears is a passport for Alençon, drawn up in the form of a grant, as they call it, under the Great Seal, which is the strongest security they can give, unless hostages are sent. Although there is no binding undertaking about the marriage, the Queen gives every sign of being most anxious for it, and affirms that she will never marry a man whom she has not previously seen. She is burning with impatience for his coming, although her councillors have laid before her the difficulties which might arise, the other side, having her support, has carried the day. She herself is largely influenced by the idea that it should be known that her talents and beauty are so great, that they have sufficed to cause him to come and visit her without any assurance that he will be her husband. Those who wish to please her tell her this, and ask her what harm can come from his visit, since the French offer to come according to the conditions laid down for them here, and it is of great advantage to her, they say, to be friendly with them, at this time, in order to embarrass your Majesty about Portugal, which the French desire to do as much as the English ; and also to hinder the agreement in the Netherlands by means of Alencon's people there.
Some are of opinion here that Alençon's coming may cause disturbances in this country, as the people are not favourable to the affair, and, indeed, they generally hate it. The talk in this direction, however, is so lacking in courage that there is but little hope of its being efficacious. I do not fail to encourage them, pointing out to them the dangers that may arise from the match, in accordance with his Majesty's orders.
They say that if Alençon decides to come they will bring the queen of Scotland to London, which they consider safer as she has so few adherents here, being a Catholic. The earl of Shrewsbury they say, has built especially for her the new house he has here, and has spent large sums upon the work, which is considered a sign that the Queen will be brought hither, as the earl is a man who prefers to keep his dollars rather than spend them on buildings.—London, 24th June 1579.
582. Bernardino de Mendoza to Zayas.
Although the coming of Alençon hither would be a great absurdity, as you will see by the letter to the King, yet his having been foolish enough to go to the Netherlands must be my excuse for begging you (if the news of this new folly is confirmed from France) to have me advised as to the conduct I am to observe. I have hitherto not seen or visited M. de Simier, in consequence of his having arrived here when his master was in arms against his Majesty, and, although the business is a long and difficult one, yet the French are treating it in such a way as may lead them to undertake this folly with the same levity with which they have committed others, and, in such case, I should find myself in great embarrassment if I did not know how to bear myself towards him.
Respecting Santa Cecilia, I beg you to have the matter despatched, as I greatly desire to save this soul. Pray also get the decision about the controller, as he is being driven by necessity more and more. He suffers it all in his Majesty's interests, and I am obliged to give him fair words and good hopes, as I see how sincerely he works for all that concerns us.—London, 24th June 1579.


  • 1. A copy of the letter of the king of Fez, in answer to this embassy, dated 22nd August 1579, will be found in Nichols' "Progresses of Queen Elizabeth."