Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 2, 1568-1579. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.
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62. Guerau De Spes to the King.
By the ordinary courier to Flanders I wrote to your Majesty at length on the 4th inst., and advised the arrival of two cutters and another vessel with money on the coast of this island in great peril, and since then all the others have arrived, with certain vessels from Spain loaded with wool. Amongst them was one loaded in San Sebastian with wools by Miguel de Berroes, and this was captured by Courtney, an English pirate, in company with two Frenchmen. Besides this, two very rich sloops, on their way from Flanders to Spain, were taken by Hawkins another English pirate, with some Frenchmen, and all these vessels have been brought into Plymouth and the neighbouring ports as prizes, where the booty was at once sold. Up to the present two cutters and one other vessel have arrived safely in Antwerp, and for the rest of them Benedict Spinola asked me to intercede. At the same time that I received news of them I requested audience of the Queen, which was granted on the 29th, and the Queen consented to give me a passport for the money to be brought overland, or to lend one of her own ships to convoy the vessels in safety, of which I gave notice to the duke of Alba, from whom I have received no answer. In the meanwhile, I warned the captains of the vessels not to move, and had letters from the Queen sent to the officials of the ports, ordering them to defend the ships, which was highly necessary as, although in the cases where the ships could get shelter near to the towns they have done so, the pirates have attacked them, and some of our men have been killed in defending their vessels, with a greater loss still on the part of the corsairs. The Mayor himself was badly wounded in trying to pacify them. Many people have advised the Queen to seize the money, and the Vice-Admiral has written to this effect from Plymouth. I am in hourly expectation of the Duke's order for these ships to proceed on their voyage. The French pirates have about ten ships with 1,200 men, besides seven or eight more ships which will join with them. I have heard of the capture of the two sloops and the Biscay ship since I saw the Queen on the 19th ultimo, and I at once wrote to her what had happened, beseeching her for prompt and rigorous action as the case demanded. I also wrote to the earl of Leicester, who is with the Commissioners nearly every day at Westminster discussing with great fervour the affairs of the queen of Scotland. He said he would come and speak to me, but subsequently sent to excuse himself ; whereupon, after having informed Cecil, and waited two or three days, I sent to beg that they would receive me, and also asked for audience of the Queen. I conversed with them at length yesterday about these pirates, when they promised to take measures at once and to write more pressing letters to the royal officers in those ports. These are now being sent off, but in all things Cecil showed himself an enemy to the Catholic cause, and desirous on every opportunity to oppose the interests of your Majesty, who is the head of all Catholics and possessor of this noble title. He has had to be dealt with by prayers and gentle threats in all this. I have also begun to discuss with them the king of Portugal's affairs, and, after having spoken to the Queen, I will see whether some settlement cannot be effected.
Winter, with six of the Queen's ships, has left for Rochelle. It is not known whether he is ordered to leave the stores and money (although some say he carries no money), or whether he is to first ascertain how the rebels are going on. Although they have promised the English to deliver some strong place to them, I do not believe they will be able to do it. Every day the nine Commissioners for the Queen meet in Westminster, and many of them want to condemn the queen of Scotland, although her agents protest. In addition to the criminal charge of homicide, they accuse her of having formerly raised this country against the Queen, so that there is little chance of her getting her liberty, excepting by some secret succour or contrivance, such as is being aimed at. The queen of Scotland asks permission to come here to justify herself before the peers and ambassadors, but as she has many friends here it will not be granted to her. Things are in such a form that, if this Princess could count upon support, it might be easy for her to change from a prisoner to sovereign of this country.
Yesterday, Martin de Mellica, master of a sloop carrying a courier despatched on the 20th ultimo by the duke of Alba to your Majesty, advised me that he was at the Isle of Wight afraid to proceed, and I will, with the Governor of the island and the earl of Leicester, see what best can be done for his prompt departure. Whenever Flemish matters are calm, and your Majesty and the French King choose to stop English commerce, without even drawing the sword, they will be obliged to adopt the Catholic religion, and if the French ambassador were to notify it to them first, and afterwards your Majesty's ambassador and those of other Catholic Princes, I believe, seeing the position of the country, that they would be forced to come to reason by pressure from their own people, who are largely Catholics. I have drawn up a sketch of what might be said to the Queen in such a case, and send herewith triplicate copies thereof, so that secretary Zayas may correct it and it may be ready when your Majesty may desire it.
With this letter I send to Newport, Isle of Wight, letters from the Queen to the Governor of the island, ordering the sloop to be dispatched in the best way possible, and her Majesty has also sent me the letters I requested for the captains of the ports. A man is going to provide for the safety of the ship that is in Southampton with so much money, and the letter for the sloop at Plymouth is also being sent authorizing them to disembark the money if they wish.
The Council is sitting at Court night and day about the queen of Scotland's affairs. Cecil and the Chancellor would like to see her dead, as they have ready a King of their own choosing, one of Hertford's children. I am informed to-day by Ridofi, a rich Florentine, that Gresham, this Queen's factor, has asked him for a letter of credit on Germany for 12,000 ducats for a gentleman whom this Queen intends to send thither. I expect they wish to raise as many powerful enemies to us in Flanders as they can.— London, 12th December 1568.
63. Draft of Proposed Address from Guerau De Spes to the
Queen of England, apparently that referred to in the
I have to address your Majesty on the most important subject which can be in the world, not on my own behalf, but in the name of the most powerful of Christian Princes, a kinsman, friend, and ally of your Majesty and of this most noble realm. No consideration of self-interest moves him to this, but the welfare and tranquillity of your Majesty and your dominions, with which those of his Catholic Majesty are united by ancient bonds of alliance and friendship. His Majesty is moved to this also by the great valour, talent, and gentleness of your Majesty, which good qualities on a former occasion disposed him to act effectively for your benefit. He, therefore, hopes that you, the more easily than anyone else, may be able to judge of the true road to salvation, and will permit your subjects to return thereto, they having been astutely and violently forced therefrom by persuasion and intrigue. My own intention is to serve all parties and do what good I can, and I will not, therefore, discourse as a theologian, such not being my profession, and this having been done already by so many learned Catholics. I will speak simply as a minister of my King, a friend and sympathiser of this kingdom, and will propose for its benefit the things that my King and other Catholic Princes consider necessary for the happiness and welfare of your Majesty and the needful unity of Catholic Christianity, so vital to the interests of your Majesty and your subjects. Our fathers, grandfathers, and more remote ancestors were as good men as we, and desired to go to heaven as we do. They obeyed the Catholic universal Church, and recognised a supreme pastor therein. We must not condemn them, nor, on the strength of mere words from vain people, consign them to hell. A fine thing would it be, forsooth, to say that St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Gregory, and other successors of the Apostles, men famous for their virtue, were mistaken, whilst in these miserable days of ours the truth was found in the mouth of vile apostates like Zingler, Calvin, Beza, and others. Who would leave the unity of the Catholic faith, confirmed as it has been by so many general councils and by universal consent, to follow new preachers, each one of whom speaks differently from the other? No maze has so many paths as the new religion has conflicting sects, and, to our misfortune, all these sects find followers and defenders, particularly the worst of them, whereby God's justice is seen upon our manifold sins.
So extreme is the evil that there are sectaries who even dare to advocate the making of a new law, with fresh precepts and rules of life, on the ground that that which we follow is old. Others read a translation of the Koran of Mahomet with so much fervour that, if another Geneva were to urge them thereto, I understand that many of them would adopt the doctrine therein set forth. I am informed by persons of great position and responsibility that, by this means, the Protestants thought to persuade Soliman, Prince of the Turks, to come to their aid, showing him how little difference there was between his creed and theirs. For more than fifteen hundred years our holy Catholic Church has flourished under a supreme pastor, and, although it has suffered before as it does now, it has still remained pure and will so remain, by the grace of Him who founded it. Calvin and Luther, like Arrio and Donato before them, claimed to speak in the words of God and follow His scriptures, and will usurp His power as their predecessors tried to do. This is the vain artifice of heretics, and only used in order to exalt them. Omnipotent God, by His goodness and through His only Son, gave us this divine law, authorized by the blood of the Giver, preached and published through the world by His holy Apostles and their successors. For its perfect and stable maintenance it pleased Him to leave the Church as His regent, lieutenant, and governor, without which it would be vain to hope that the Christian peoples themselves would agree on a common symbol and law of life, so that the necessity is clear and acknowledged for the existence of a supreme universal pastor as successor in the office and dignity of the holy St. Peter, and to deny it would seem to question the wisdom of Christ himself. If we banish from our hearts all the hatred and rancour which blind the human mind, if we cast out the yearning for a life of licence and offer ourselves in faith and good works to Him who by love redeemed us, the truth of this will be evident to us. It is said that jealousy is hard to root out, for the jealous always think that their suspicion has some foundation, and so it is, and worse, with heresy. But all the greater will be the glory of conquering an enemy so terrible, so subtle, and so intimate. The glorious Augustine, although at one time a contumacious heretic, and Cyprian, who was a public invoker of demons, were, nevertheless, afterwards saints and defenders of our faith ; and not they alone, but great princes and others have, many times, seen their error, and with sweet tears have returned to the bosom of the holy Catholic Church.
Truly, when my King considers the prudence and the wisdom of your Majesty, the eloquence, knowledge of languages, affability, and really royal carriage you possess, virtues so rarely united in one person, he has every hope that this country, by your Majesty's orders, may yet return to the Catholic Church, and all the new errors be cast out therefrom, and their promoters punished as they deserve. This is anxiously looked for in other Christian countries, and even in your own, where, I believe, the greater number of people are still Catholics. And so much, surely, is due to the memory of the pious tears of Queen Mary and of so many Catholic predecessors of your Majesty, as well as to the host of good just Englishmen who have been true martyrs of Christ. The time seems now opportune for such a return to the faith, and is crying aloud to your Majesty. In all that has passed, the moderation shown by you has been conspicuous, in sustaining the churches and preserving to the clergy their ecclesiastical vestments, as well as maintaining a large portion of the Catholic observances, the veneration on the altar of the figure of the cross on which our Lord died, and the checking of the mad and furious insolence of those unhappy men, vulgarly called ministers, but who really are coarse clowns and charlatans. Your Majesty is now begged to end this business as it deserves, accepting and ordering to be observed in your dominions the decisions of the council of Trent, in which your action will be recognized as prompted by the Holy Spirit, and this country, formerly so Catholic, will regain its ancient renown and lustre. This will be effected without scandal and without bloodshed, by the sole good will of your Majesty, whom I am sure all your subjects will willingly obey. Here are the arms of all Christian Princes, especially those of my lord the King, ready to support, defend, and aid your Majesty, whose crown will be protected by him with as much zeal as his own kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, to which I pledge his Catholic Majesty's word. I will also promise in his name that whatever declarations, pardons, or indulgences may be necessary from the Holy See for the security and welfare of your Majesty and your country in this conversion, His Majesty will endeavour to have granted in such a form, where possible, as to be without injury to anyone, unless they be already conceived in general terms. If your Majesty will not agree to what is now requested, or should refer the question for discussion, as was done, on a former occasion, in a certain Parliament, which, in affairs of faith, should have no authority, it would be contrary to the confidence which my King, the other Catholic Princes, and many worthy people in this country have in your Majesty, and it is certain that communications between this country and Catholic countries will be fraught with much difficulty, as it is acknowledged that when the malady is at its worst it is most contagious, and contact must be avoided. There is no doubt that the conversation of one who has left the holy Catholic faith is more dangerous than that of an infidel who was never beneath the banner of Christ.
This, your Majesty, I beg before all these illustrious persons you will deign to receive in the spirit with which you are credited, and that you will, with your admirable talent and prudence, be pleased to order it to be carried into effect. Such a course is hoped for by my King and all faithful Catholics, and thus, by your benign hand, the Catholic Church will again become one solid stock, and will obey one supreme pastor, to the eternal glory of the unconquered house of England.
64. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have given advice on the 27th and 29th ultimo, and 4th, 11th, and 12th instant, to your Majesty of the arrival of vessels on this coast, and as it was known that they carried large sums of money, it was a wonder they were not taken by French and English pirates, of whom there are many. As it was they attacked them, and men were killed on both sides. This Queen offered some of her ships as a guard and convoy, or a passport if the money was to be brought overland. This was against the wishes of many of her Councillors, who wanted to take the money. One ship and two cutters have already arrived safely in Antwerp, and I await orders from the Duke and parties interested with regard to the others. In the meanwhile the money is safe, with the Queen's letters and authority to land it if necessary, but, notwithstanding this, Courtney and Cercen (Hawkins?), two English pirates, with some Frenchmen, have captured two sloops and a ship belonging to subjects of your Majesty, and persons have been sent to take measures to recover them, if possible, although Cecil, wherever he can, favours the pirates, both on account of religious partiality and of the great profit he derives from it. He and Cardinal Chatillon are the judges in all these depredations, and settle everything in their own way.
I received your Majesty's letters of 4th, 14th, and 15th October, all on the same day, and on the 14th I communicated to the Queen, during my audience, that God had been pleased to call to Him our Lady the Queen, (fn. 1) now in heaven. She naturally expressed great sorrow, and, I suppose, will have the exequies carried out in her own fashion. I also fulfilled your Majesty's orders in persuading her not to favour the rebels against the Christian King, alleging the reasons, which seemed suitable. She replied to the same effect as at Windsor, and called to witness the late French ambassador here as to what she had done for his King and Queen. She had never declared herself against them, but said the house of Guise, which now ruled, were her enemies, whilst the Chatillons were her friends. She said that she knew that, after the King had pacified his country, he would turn upon her for the sake of religion, as she was assured by persons in her favour who were members of the Christian King's Council. I tried to satisfy her about all this, assuring her that no prince would interfere in her affairs if she did not provoke it herself ; that the house of Guise wished to serve her, and that these Chatillons, (fn. 2) if it suited their purpose, would be the first to turn against her, for, if they could not be loyal to their own sovereign, much less would they be loyal to her. She will still continue to be made distrustful, but her answer seems confused when she says that she will not be against the Christian King, and yet will not abandon the Chatillons nor the cause of her religion. I tried to persuade her that this war was not about religion, but was founded simply on rebellion and disobedience. I will inform the duke of Alba and Don Francés de Alava of all this, as your Majesty orders, and, in relation with this, I told the Queen of the great objection there was to her allowing the French pirates in her ports, and that Englishmen should join them in their robberies, committed both on Frenchmen and on our own people. I said it would be a terrible thing to tolerate them, especially as they did not contribute to the principal object of the war, whereas the damages and robberies would be infinite. Whilst she let them remain here it would be very difficult for her to preserve her friendship with the States of Flanders. She said she would punish them, although I have no great confidence about it. I also discussed with her the affairs of the King of Portugal, pointing out to her the great expense incurred by him in guarding the extremes of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and the benefit received by all India by instruction in the Christian faith. I said it would be very unjust to hamper the King and spoil his commerce, and agreed with her that, as the Portuguese ambassador had requested audience, she would appoint persons to discuss the matter with him and with me, and would give him audience on Sunday. I will then try to have these affairs settled on the best possible terms.
I have received a letter from the queen of Scotland, in cipher, copy of which I enclose. I know this Queen has great connections here, and it is quite possible, seeing the wickedness of people, that some attempt may be made against the person of your Majesty, upon whom alone depends the preservation of the Catholic Church, against which and its defenders many here are furiously and rabidly opposed, and are capable of any perversity for their end. Your Majesty, in your great prudence, will have this looked into, and, in the meanwhile, I will manage to send one of my servants to the Queen, as she asks, in order to learn more of this business from her. The bishop of Ross has shown me letters from this unhappy Queen, saying that many of the supporters of the Regent James have gone against the castle of Dumbarton, which is in that part of Scotland opposite to Ireland. Their intention is to prevent victuals being taken in, and as the Castle is on the coast the queen of England's ships can go thither at any time. The Queen was in want of money to revictual and aid this place, from which she could always escape. Your Majesty will decide for the best in this. The factor of this Queen is taking credits here on Germany, and has already one for fifty thousand ducats in Nuremburg and Frankfort, in the name of Christopher Mundt. I do not know whether it is to help Orange, or to pay the troops being raised for Condé.—London, 18th December 1568.
65. Guerau De Spes to the Duke of Alba.
I have just received advice from Lope de la Sierra, who is with his ship at Southampton, that the Queen has sent orders for his money to be discharged. The Captain of the Isle of Wight has therefore discharged it, and, against Lope de la Sierra's wish, has entrusted it to the keeping of the Mayor, as you will see by Lope de la Sierra's letter enclosed. I believe they have done similarly in all the ports by orders of the Council. I was in fear of some such pitfall as this, as they were making enquiries as to whether the money belonged to his Majesty or to private persons. As Benedict Spinola had put his own money in safety, he has been slack in the dispatch of these other ships, although he was authorised to spend a thousand pounds sterling in the transit. He thought this was not enough, and sent for authority to spend a larger amount, which authority, he said, he expected hourly, although I believe it has been nothing but a subterfuge. I am now sending to give an account of the matter to the Queen, and shall ask for audience, in conformity with her reply. I also write about the Marseilles ship.
Whilst I was writing the above, I have received your Excellency's letter of 15th instant. It is not for me to advise you but to follow your orders, but I do not like this way of beginning here, and it is my opinion that all English ships and merchandise should be at once seized in the States, and particularly in Antwerp, news of it being also sent swiftly to Spain as there are valuable English ships at Bilbao and Laredo.—London, 21st December 1568.
66. Guerau De Spes to the Duke of Alba.
Last night I dispatched a courier to your Excellency reporting that the money had been taken out of Lope de la Sierra's ship, and wrote to the Queen and Cecil asking them to return it to the custody of those who held it before, requesting audience for myself at the same time. Cecil was very grave about it, as also was the earl of Leicester. Sometimes they said they were guarding it for his Majesty, and sometimes that it belonged to other persons ; but they would not say whether they had sent similar orders to Plymouth and Falmouth. Their refusal to declare themselves on the point, however, proves that they have done so. They consulted the Queen and then said that the money was in safe keeping and no other answer could then be given. I pressed for an audience and they told me to ask again after dinner, they in the meanwhile being closeted with the ambassador of the prince of Condé, so that I could get no reply from them. The Chamberlain was requested to go and ask the Queen which he went in to do at once, and came out very much irritated, saying he had not ventured to ask her Majesty for audience as she was not in the habit of granting it on such days. The affair is thus in a very bad way and these people are determined to do any wickedness, so this money will not be recovered. I pray your Excellency do not fail to seize all English property and send word to Spain instantly for them to do the same there. Please also instruct me as to what I am to do. As I am writing this in great haste to catch the courier at Dover, I do not write to the King. Please have this copied and forwarded to him, although I fear they will stop courier and letter too.
Leicester said they knew your Excellency was very ill and my servants assured him you were quite well. They will again ask for audience to-morrow, and one of my men shall stay there until he learns about the queen of Scotland.—London, 22nd December 1568.
67. Guerau De Spes to the Duke Of Alba.
By my letter of 21st and that of 22nd, which I sent after the courier, I have advised your Excellency that the Queen had ordered the money to be discharged from Lope de la Sierra's ship at Southampton, and had placed it in the keeping of the Mayor. I have since learnt that they have also detained the cutters and have sent to Plymouth and Falmouth, where I have two men with a passport. I do not yet know how the thing happened, but I do know that, at the instance of many of her Councillors, and the instigation of the bishop of Salisbury, a great heretic, the Queen has determined to take the money, saying that God has sent it to defend His gospel. Dr. Junio, (fn. 3) agent of the Count Palatine, was at once dispatched, his errand here having been to persuade the Queen that although his infantry had been maltreated this year, his cavalry had gained great distinction. The Palatine is to be told by him about this money as he promises to go back to the States more powerful than before, and the Queen fears that all the responsibility will fall upon her, as your Excellency will have learnt from the prisoners of the help she has extended to the rebels. Cecil and Leicester tell her so, and she thus wishes to declare herself openly against his Majesty in the belief that, if she makes herself mistress of the sea, and another army goes by land to attack the States, the task will be easy, especially as they think the French will be disturbed if trade is suspended. I pray your Excellency do not doubt this determination. I again importuned for an audience, and they said that either to-morrow or the next day I should have one. I have a servant at Court to learn whether it is to-morrow and to take a lodging for me. I fully expect the Queen will give me a temporising answer and delay the matter until she sees how your Excellency takes it. This is the reason that has moved me to write so urgently that you should seize all English property and advise the King, in order that the same step may be taken in all his dominions. If the Queen restores the money and the vessels and other property stolen it will be easy to return English property to its owners. English merchants are already taking fright and are writing to their correspondents in the Netherlands advising them to transport all they can. These four cutters and Lope de la Sierra's ship are worth 400,000 crowns, and there are three more cutters due to arrive. The sloops and ships seized are worth more than 200,000 crowns.
I have received your Excellency's two letters of recommendation. I will do my duty in speaking bravely to the Queen and Council, and will convey to them what your Excellency instructs me about the robberies and the pirates.
I have sent the man to the queen of Scotland and will advise your Excellency on his return.
I believe that Dr. Junio has gone to the Netherlands, and, if diligence is exercised, he may be caught, and, whenever your Excellency thinks fit, the queen of Scotland's affair can be raised. It will be well that everything should be decided before the spring.
Certain Gallicians have just informed me that their ships have been arrested because they bring some Portuguese merchandise.
Continuation of the aforegoing letter :—The ordinary courier
has arrived without bringing any letters from your Excellency,
although I have letters saying you are at Mons. This Queen has
postponed my audience until to-morrow, and many merchants of
the city have gone to Court to beg her to return our money to us, as
they fear that their property may be seized in the States. No reply
will be given to them until after my audience. I pray your Excellency
to take the usual course (i.e., of reprisal), and, if these people do us
justice, it will be a warning to them for another time. When the
money is recovered we may ask the Queen, in conformity with our
treaties, to restore the sloops, of which I am told there are five and
the Spanish vessel, as well as the property in the Marseilles ship.
Your Excellency might order to be drafted the protests or demands
that I shall have to present to the Queen, for it is really unreasonable
that these heretics should no impudently steal the
property of his Majesty's subjects.
I send enclosed a copy of the passport which the Queen granted with letters to the captains and governors of all the ports on the very day before she ordered the seizures. I think it would be a right thing to seize Benedict Spinola's property, as he, being the representative of these merchants, and desirous of ingratiating himself with Leicester and Cecil, has shown to the latter letters he had received from the individuals, and has told them the marks and parcels belonging to each. He is a great spy who is kept here by the members of the Council to inform them of what is going on in the States, and it is fitting that such scamps should be taught that it will cost them dear to offend a sovereign so powerful and so good as our King. He and Giacomo Pascual are in partnership at Antwerp.
Summary of another letter in continuation of the aforegoing :—
The last letter from Don Guerau was dated 30th December, and in it he writes that he had audience of the Queen, who made him a long harangue excusing her action about the money. She said that, in order to prevent the corsairs from capturing it she had ordered it to be taken care of, and other groundless things of the same sort. The ambassador thanked her and handed her a letter of credence from the Duke, by virtue of which he requested her to release the money and to lend two ships under a trustworthy person to convoy it to Antwerp. She replied that two Genoese had told her that the money did not belong to the King but to private persons, in proof of which they had shown her letters from Spain and she therefore had decided to avail herself of it. Don Guerau assured her several times that it belonged to the King, and that, if the marks on the boxes showed otherwise, it was owing to the persons through whose hands it had passed who were collectors or farmers of his Majesty's revenues. Notwithstanding all these assurances, Don Guerau says they are determined not to return the money, and he has heard this from the secretary of the Council. By the aid of this money they will equip themselves to harass the States by troubling us at sea, and preventing, so far as they can, commerce with Spain.—London 27th (?), 29th (?), and 30th December 1568.
68. Guerau De Spes to the King.
On the 21st inst. I informed your Majesty that two days previously the Queen had had the money which came in Lope de la Sierra's ship taken out, over twelve thousand crowns, and that they were going to Falmouth and Plymouth to do the same with the four cutters, the Queen having given a passport on the day before she ordered this to be done, which passport I sent to the vessels. She would not give me audience until to-morrow, and I understand her intention to be to keep this money, as her friends are in great alarm and will not be reassured by anything that can be said to them from your Majesty or the king of France. This alarm is incited by Cardinal Chatillon, the agent of the prince of Condé, and the Count Palatine, who offers to return this year with a larger force against the States of the Netherlands. As soon as the money was detained Condés agent, a certain Dr. Junio, of Malines, went off post haste to his master. It is decided that this Queen shall molest your Majesty's states by sea, whilst Orange and the Palatine will return in strength to Flanders. To do this, since the Queen has little credit in Antwerp and Frankfort, she dares to show such treachery to her alliance and friendship with your Majesty and thus breaks her word, twice pledged to me, her own letters and orders in our favour and the passport which she signed the day before she gave this infamous order. They have appointed to-morrow or the next day for my audience with her, and I am endeavouring to get it for to-morrow. I learn from a secretary of the Council that she will retain the money and will declare herself wholly against your Majesty, so that, I have written to the duke of Alba, it would be advisable that your Majesty should order the seizure of English property in your dominions, and, when they return the money and the ships that these English and French pirates have stolen, your Majesty might restore what you had seized, otherwise they will have the advantage of the money, and will make trade with Flanders difficult or almost impossible. It is therefore necessary to take timely measures. After I have spoken with the Queen I will write to your Majesty more fully what I hear. I pray your Majesty do not consider the safety of my person, for I will suffer cheerfully any trouble or danger in your service.
On the 14th inst. I spoke to the Queen about the king of Portugal's business, and she promised me that her answer should be more favourable, and she would send some of her Council to discuss the matter with me. On the 19th she told the Portuguese ambassador that she did not see how she could improve her answer, and that her Council were of the same opinion, and she evidently wished to end the matter here. I will see if anything more can be done, but I doubt it, for these people are very exalted just now, and have lately ordered the detention of three Portuguese ships at the instance of George Winter, the brother of the man whose ship the Portuguese captured in Guinea. They have also detained two Gallician vessels. I will speak about this to-morrow to the Queen. They wish to have as much booty in their hands as possible, so as to be prepared for what may be done in Spain and Flanders, where, I understand, there are many rich English ships, as there are also in the Canaries.
From the queen of Scotland I have received advice, as I have already informed your Majesty, of the plot being formed in Venice against your Majesty's life. I have a faithful servant with the Queen, and when he returns I will send him to your Majesty with the full information, and by these means and through the queen of of Scotland, whenever your Majesty chooses, the queen of England can be attacked.—London, 27th December 1568.