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.
605. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
The Englishman who I said was to accompany Richard Graveton (to Spain), I am informed is being sent at the express instance of Walsingham, who proposed to the merchants to send him. They, knowing him for a great rogue, said the cost would be very heavy, and they were told that they would of course be reimbursed for his expenses (by the Council). He is instructed to return at once hither and bring an account of what he can learn, and I am told that he has been to Spain three times this year for the same purpose ; this being how he gets his living. No doubt, to worm out something there, he will speak frankly about matters here. I have thought well to report this, although I am sure, after what I have said, that he will be treated with caution.
A Spanish ship from Santoña with wool for Calais, was driven by storm into Sandwich, where it was at once seized and advice sent to the Council, which gave orders that she should be discharged to see what she brought, and, if she contained no prohibited goods, she should be allowed to sail. This is quite a new departure and a breach of the treaties with his Majesty, for which reason I have resented it, and they now say she was seized in error ; but, in this and other things, I plainly see their bad intentions. There have been terrible storms here for the last fortnight which have cast many ships upon these coasts and those of Brittany.—London, 3rd October 1579.
606. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The proclamation I sent on the 29th, instead of mitigating the public indignation against the French, has irritated it and fanned the flame. Another book confirming the arguments of the former one has been issued and the Queen thereupon summoned the whole of the Council to again give her their opinion with regard to the marriage. They met many times, and, on the 7th instant, were in session from eight o'clock in the morning until seven at night, without stirring from the room, having sent the clerks away, which, as I have told your Majesty, is very rarely done, and only when something very secret and important is being discussed. Their decision was that, on no account, ought the Queen to marry Alençon or any other personage of the House of France ; this being the opinion of all, with the exception of Sussex and Burleigh. They appointed the Lord Chancellor and the earl of Arundel to give an account of their decision to the Queen, to whom they said that, after having met and considered the subject on many occasions, they were of opinion that, for the security of her person, the tranquillity of her realm, and the preservation of her Crown, it was not fitting that she should marry any member of the House of France. They pointed out the many objections to the entrance of Frenchmen into the kingdom, they being ancient enemies ; as well as the danger from the Scots who were the same. If she were to die, as might be feared if the French were to obtain control of her person, they would take possession of the country, with the aid they would get from Scotland, without the English being able to prevent it. They set forth also the other things that might occur, and showed how much opposed public opinion was to the marriage, although she had been so popular with her subjects in consequence of her actions during the years she had reigned, whilst on this matter they showed such bitter hatred. They said that, even if she did not desire to foresee the evil results which they placed before her, and insisted upon marrying Alençon, it was nevertheless their duty to cast themselves at her feet and die there, as they believed she would die if she did this thing. To these words she gave no reply but was moved in a way that made them pause a little, and they added afterwards that, in consequence of the general dislike of the people to the coming of the French, they thought Parliament should not be summoned yet, in order to avoid disturbance and sedition, but should be delayed until later. If she still desired to marry, they should have time to persuade the people of the country to agree to it before Parliament was summoned. She said she would prorogue it without fixing a date, as she wished to reserve the latter point for her own decision. She remained extremely sad after the conversation and was so cross and melancholy that it was noticed by everyone who approached her. Many documents have been sent to her lately dissuading her from the business. This has been managed by Leicester and Hatton through whose hands most of the papers have reached her. They (the documents) gave her to understand that when she proposed to marry, Parliament would urge her to declare an heir to the Crown, as the people did not wish, in case of her death, to find themselves in the present position with their enemies within their own gates. She has been greatly alarmed by all this, as she has been given to understand that as soon as a successor is appointed they will upset her. It is understood that the Chancellor, who is considered a great orator, was instructed to press this point very warmly, knowing her pusilanimity and fear in any adversity.
Simier has announced that he has leave from his master to depart. The Queen favours him as usual but he is very discordant with the Ambassador, in consequence of something which he said about him to the Queen. The negotiations for an alliance with the French to impede your Majesty in Portugal and to break up the conference of Cologne, still continue and most of the heretics are agreed to this. They meant to have sent the Garter to the king of France but have deferred it owing to his indisposition.
Alençon's agents are making great efforts with the people of Ghent, Antwerp, and the States, &c., to get them to recall him thither, and with this object have spread abroad the writing which I enclose, and also that which the States that met at Utrecht have published, prohibiting the reading of the clauses for the treaty of peace which had been discussed at Cologne ; the reason of this being that the States saw that the majority of the country were inclined to accept the conditions.
The Queen's viceroy in Ireland (fn. 1) has died of sickness and the ships that carried over the reinforcements have returned. A letter of the 3rd from there reports the capture of the fort erected by the men who landed, (fn. 2) they having retired with the Irishmen to the woods. The earl of Desmond had left them and again joined the the Queen's side.—London, 16th October 1579.
607. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
The Queen has received a special swift post from Antwerp, reporting that his Majesty had ordered the arrest of all the English vessels, and orders have been consequently given here in all the ports that no ships are to leave without further orders. The Antwerp heretics, for the purpose of arousing the indignation of those here, write that we were not content with seizing the ships in Spain, but we clapped all the crews into the galleys. This is no doubt to divert the Hollanders from agreeing to the peace, as they are inclined to do.
As I was closing this, I was informed that the Queen is greatly irritated with anyone who opposes the marriage, saying not once, but many times, that she had never broken her word yet and she will keep it now. Speaking to Walsingham about it she told him begone and that the only thing he was good for was a protector of heretics. Knollys who is a great heretic and the treasurer of the household, married to her first cousin, asked her how she could think of marrying a Catholic, she having forbidden Protestants to do so. To this she replied that he might pay dearly for the zeal he was displaying in the cause of religion, and it was a fine way to show his attachment to her ; who might desire, like others, to have children. She had another squabble about it with Hatton, and he was a week without seeing her. It is difficult to see whether all this is artifice or whether God intends to blind her in order to bring her to submission.—London, 16th October 1579.