Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 3, 1580-1586. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1896.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.
The documents calendared in this third volume are drawn mainly from similar sources to those dealt with in the previous volumes, namely, the correspondence of the Spanish agents in England, and other papers relating directly to English affairs preserved in the Spanish Archives at Simancas.
The documents in the present volume against which no marginal reference is placed are contained in packets numbered 833 to 839 of the papers belonging to the Secretaria de Estado of the Archives in question ; but it will be observed that a considerable number of the papers dealt with are derived directly from the National Archives in Paris. This arises from the fact that during the Peninsular war most of the documents in the Simancas Archives relating to France were abstracted by the orders of Napoleon and conveyed to Paris, where they still remain. As after the expulsion of Mendoza from England in January 1584 English affairs were managed from Paris by the same ambassador, the letters from the King to him during his residence in London were included by mistake in the papers taken to Paris. The correspondence relating to England written whilst Mendoza was ambassador in France are of course in the Paris Archives, and it has therefore been necessary to seek them there. The "Simancas papers" in Paris relating to Scottish history of the date covered by this volume, were edited by M. Teulet, in Spanish with a French summary, for the Bannantyne Club in 1851, and most of Mary Stuart's letters in the same Archives were printed in Prince Labanoff's collection. They have, however, been included in the present volume in order that the whole of the documents may be before the reader. As practically all of the correspondence was originally in cipher no distinctive type has been adopted to mark the fact.
The year 1580 opened full of anxiety for Elizabeth. Mendoza had carefully fostered her alarm at the ostentatious preparation of Philip's fleet, the Irish insurgents, she knew, were being actively supported by Spain and the Pope, the seminary priests were busy all over England, and the adherents of Mary Stuart were daily gathering courage and confidence. For the first time almost in her reign the Queen's own popularity had suffered an eclipse in consequence of the repulsion of her people at the projected marriage with the duke of Alenon. Her position was full of difficulties and dangers, which no person but herself could adequately appreciate ; and it is now evident that the only policy by which she could be extricated was that of profound dissimulation with regard to her matrimonial intentions which she successfully adopted. Orange, unwavering in his object, the only inflexible element in the situation, was determined to attract once more to the national cause the Catholic Flemings and Walloons whom Parma's diplomacy had drawn to the Spanish side. Elizabeth, powerful supporter as she was with his Protestant Hollanders, was a hindrance rather than a help to him, so far as the Catholics were concerned ; the archduke Mathias had turned out a broken reed, and, as the only means of saving his cause, Orange persisted in his intention to call in the Catholic French prince to assume the sovereignty of the States. Elizabeth had threatened and cajoled in vain, William of Nassau was as firm as a rock, and the English queen had to turn the difficulty she could not banish. A French domination of Flanders would have been far more injurious to English interests than the continuance there of the Spanish power ; and Elizabeth had more than once declared that she would sacrifice her last shilling and her last Englishman to prevent it. It was therefore imperative for her to contrive that if Alenon went to Flanders at all, he should go under her patronage and influence, and with the support of the French Huguenots. With this object her aim was to prevent a complete reconciliation between Henry III. and his brother, and between the former and the French Protestant princes ; whilst, on the other, hand she could not afford to widen the breach so far as to drive the French king into the arms of Spain, which would have ruined the cause of Flemish liberty, and have united France, Spain, the Guises, and the League, in support of Mary Stuart's ceaseless intrigues to obtain the crown of England. Her obvious course therefore was to beguile Henry III. with the idea of his family aggrandisement, and perhaps eventual dynastic predominance, which might ensue from a marriage between his brother and the queen of England. It would have been moreover an advantage to him if he could thus peacefully have got rid of his turbulent heir presumptive, and kept the Huguenots busy out of France ; and it suited him, and especially his mother, to keep up the pretence of a belief in the sincerity of the marriage negotiations, although at the time the present volume opens they were quite aware of the real purpose underlying them. The aged king of Portugal was on his death-bed, and Philip claimed the succession. The increase thus to accrue to the power of Spain could best be met by a closer understanding between England and France, and the rendering of Philip powerless in Portugal by causing a recrudescence of the troubles in Flanders. Alenon, for his part, had his own game to play. Orange and the Protestant States had given him clearly to understand that the duchy of Brabant and the sovereignty of Flanders would only be offered to him in consideration of the additional support he could bring to the national cause, and for the moment it appeared that he would be more likely to obtain such support from Elizabeth than from his brother. He was moreover dazzled with the idea of so brilliant a match as that suggested to him, was clearly outwitted by Elizabeth's feminine tactics, and was himself hoping against hope that she was really in earnest. In any case it was important for him to convince the Hollanders that the queen of England would certainly marry him and aid him with all her power in Flanders, whilst he dared not appear too acquiescent in the matter of religion for fear of alienating the very men whom he was principally intended to conciliate, namely, the Catholic Flemings and Walloons.
It will thus be seen that the contending interests were many and complicated ; but it has been necessary to define them broadly, in order that the allusions contained in the letters which commence the present volume may be the better understood.
At the end of November 1579 Simier, after much importunity, had been sent off to Alenon and the King with Elizabeth's amended draft conditions for the marriage, but at the last moment she characteristically insisted upon the insertion of a new clause which left her a loophole for escape. The articles were to remain in suspense for two months to enable the Queen to overcome her people's repugnance to the marriage ; and, as an additional means of introducing obstacles to the conclusion of the match, she sent Sir Edward Stafford, with Simier, with instructions to say that still further amendment would be required in the articles before they could be finally accepted. The first letter in the present volume shows how these dubious tactics were received respectively by Henry III. and his brother. The King understood the objectas he wrote to his ambassador at the timeand could afford to appear accommodating. If, he said, his brother would agree, the English who had drafted the articles might amend them. He would consent in any case. Alenon dared not say thus much. He sent Stafford back with an eager letter, in the seal of which was embedded a fine emerald, pretending to believe that all was settled, and suggesting his speedy coming to England, in the hope, doubtless, that his personal presence might, as on his former visit, influence the Queen's judgment in his favour. The Prince had learnt o Leicester's deadly feud with Simier, and of the Earl's and Walsingham's constant opposition to his suit. He therefore sought by every means to attract Leicester to his side. Leicester at first stood aloof, and refused all advances, which he described as "nothing but French chatter," until Stafford arrived. The earl then apparently thought the matter was settled, and hastened to make the best terms for himself (page 2) and his belief was apparently shared by Mendoza.
On page 4 of the present volume is an important letter from Philip's ambassador in Paris, Juan de Vargas Mejia, which opens out an important new element of intrigue directed by the Guises against Elizabeth's policy, their unfortunate cousin Mary Stuart being made their prime instrument to her own eventual destruction.
Beaton told Vargas that Guise was trying to prevent an agreement between Alenon and the Huguenots, and then confidentially came to the real object of his visit. He impressed upon the Spanish ambassador that Guise and himself (Beaton) had prevailed upon Mary Stuart "to place herself, her son and her realm, in the hands and under the protection of his catholic Majesty unreservedly ; sending her son to Spain, if his Majesty wishes, and having him married there entirely according to his Majesty's pleasure." This meant, of course, the detachment of the Guises from French interests, and Vargas at once saw its importance. "Such," he says, is the present condition of England, with signs of revolt everywhere, the Queen in alarm, the Catholic party numerous, the events occurring in Ireland, and the distrust aroused by your Majesty's fleet, that I really believe that if so much as a cat moved the whole affair would crumble down in three days beyond repair. ... If your Majesty had England and Scotland attached to you, directly or indirectly, you might consider the States of Flanders conquered, in which case you ... could lay down the law for the whole world." Guise's adhesion made all the difference, because his influence would prevent France from interfering, and thus the main power that had held Philip's ambition in check would be paralysed. Mary herself was unfortunately only too ready to join in any plot for the destruction of her rival. Beaton assured Vargas that she was determined not to leave her prison "except as queen of England, and he assured me that her adherents and the Catholics were so numerous in the country that, if they rose, it would be easy even without assistance, but with the help of your Majesty it would soon be over, without doubt" (page 13). These approaches through Beaton and Guise on behalf of Mary Stuart were seconded by the despatch of Fernihurst by D'Aubigny to Spain, and by the efforts of Englefield in Madrid ; and Philip was eager, in his non-committal way, to accept the tempting offers made to him. He would, he said, lovingly welcome the king of Scots to Spain and treat him as his own son, and would help and assist the Queen when the time arrived (page 23), the arrangements for the capture and deportation of James being left in the hands of his mother, and the matter scrupulously kept secret from the French. The disgrace of Morton, however, made the plan unnecessary for a time, and the death of De Vargas in Paris in July 1580 suspended the negotiations, which were subsequently revived under more favourable auspices, as will be seen in the course of the correspondence. From this first suggestion of armed intervention in England by the aid of the Scots Catholics, until the full plan of the Armada was developed, the project of the invasion is traced step by step in the present correspondence more fully than elsewhere. No point is more curious to follow than the gradual alienation and elimination of the Guises from the plot, as James Stuart's right to the succession is pushed into the background by Allen and the English Catholics, and Philip's claim to the English Crown cautiously brought into the forefront.
Whilst the Scottish Catholics, the Guises, and the Spaniards, were busy with intrigues which, if successful, would have made Great Britain an appanage of Spain, humiliating, and perhaps dismembering France, and crushing protestantism in the Netherlands, Mendoza, who was afterwards to become the arch plotter of them all, was principally concerned in London with the ever increasing power of England on the seas.
Rumours had reached England some months previously of Drake's devastations in the Pacific, and the Spaniards were now fully aware of the gigantic booty which had rewarded his boldness. Whither he had gone afterwards no man knew, and the long delay in his arrival in England was causing great anxiety as to his fate. Relief expeditions were fitted out to seek him in the Atlantic, and Mendoza had agents in the English western ports eagerly watching for his coming with the plundered treasures of the Spaniards. The ease with which the great captain had swept the seas, and the abject terror with which the privateers had inspired the Spanish merchantmen, had already swollen high the "terrible insolence" of the English seafarers, and their ultimate monopoly of the carrying trade is foretold by Mendoza in a letter to the King on 20th February 1580 (page 8). Philip could not entirely prohibit the export the teeming products of southern Spain and so ruin his country ; but Mendoza begs him earnestly to render the trade capricious and precarious, in the hope that the English may therefore cease to build ships. "It (the Spanish trade) is the principal source of their wealth and strength, which consists mainly of the great number of their ships. They are daily building more ; but the moment the Spanish trade fails them and they are not allowed to ship goods in Spain they will stop building, as they have no other trade so profitable, both on account of the vast sums of specie they bring ... and the richness of the merchandise they carry. This makes them almost masters of commerce in other parts as well, as they have the monopoly of the shipping, whereby they profit by all the freights. ... The principal reason why they have grown so rich in the last ten years being that they have had the carrying trade of Spanish goods" (page 8). British enterprise, however, was not entirely confined either to plunder or to Spanish trade. Mendoza mentions (page 20) that the London merchants trading with Muscovy and Persia had fitted out "two small ships to try to discover a road to the kingdom of Cathay by the northern coast of Muscovy, the exact opposite of the voyage attempted last summer by Frobisher in which he found so much difficulty. No doubt this attempt will encounter similar obstacles, as no passage has been found beyond the river Obi. This is the river that Strabo Dionysius, the poet, and Pliny believed ran out of the Caspian sea, and according to all arguments of astrology and cosmography, the sea there must be impassable in consequence of the excessive cold, as much as 70 or 80 degrees, the nights lasting, as do the days, many months" (page 20). On a subsequent page (365) Mendoza gives an extremely interesting account, furnished by an ingenious friend of his named Baron Gaspar Schomberg, of the English attempts to open up a trade with Persia and the East Indies by way of the White Sea, the Dwina, the Volga, and the Caspian, thus avoiding the Mediterranean and diverting the Eastern spice and drug trades from the Venetians. At the same time the Turkish and Levant trades were to be tapped through the Don, the sea of Azov, and the Black Sea. The Don and the Volga, we are told, were not more than a German league apart at one point where a dept and means of transport where to be established pending the cutting of a canal. This same German baron describes to Mendoza (page 368) his invention of a revolving cannon with seven barrels, of which the recoil, apparently by a screw action, was to bring each barrel successively uppermost.
The long expected arrival of Drake at Plymouth with his booty took place in October 1580, almost at the same time as the landing in Ireland of the Papal forces despatched from Spain to the aid of the insurgents ; and during the rest of the time that Mendoza remained at Elizabeth's court, these two standing subjects of complaint were for ever being pitted one against the other, whilst the ambassador's relations with the Queen and her people became more and more acrimonious. As soon as Drake arrived Mendoza sought audience of the Queen to claim the restoration of the plunder, but he was told that until she had got to the bottom of the Spanish aid to the Irish insurgents she could not receive him. This was a good excuse to avoid his importunities until the treasures were landed and disposed of, although it is clear that some of the more timid or disinterested members of the Queen's Council were apprehensive at the magnitude of the injury done to Spain. Mendoza was warned by the Council that he was talking too freely about the matter, and "Leicester also sent a secretary of his to say that my talk about Drake's robberies was causing much fear amongst the merchants that your Majesty would declare war about it, and this would oblige the Queen to send all her ships to sea and raise foreign troops. In view of present circumstances he would leave me to judge whether it would be advantageous for your Majesty's interests for the Queen to arm at this time, now that the French were urging her to marry Alenon and bind herself to them. He therefore thought that it would be better to come to some arrangement about Drake. I told him that until I had seen the Queen and conveyed your Majesty's message to her, I had nothing to say upon the matter of Drake ; and as for the rest, I would only say that, in my capacity of a simple soldier, whose weapon was his arm rather than his tongue, I had done my best to keep the Queen from provoking your Majesty to lay hands upon her ; and as for her marrying Alenon and joining the French, that concerned me little, as I was sure that both parties would understand the importance of not offending so powerful a monarch as your Majesty" (page 61). It was this hectoring tone that Mendoza henceforward adopted towards the Queen and her Ministers, until his final expulsion from England ; but a report from Captain Cabreta to Philip in the present volume (page 56) shows how powerless Spain really was at the time to resent English naval aggression. The King is told "At present the coasts are in such a condition that it cannot be said that your Majesty's position at sea is strong, since people presume at any time to offend you with impunity. Be it understood that this arises from the great lack of all sorts of marine requisites and especially seamen and gunners." But, clamour as Cabreta might for ships of the "new invention" and for greater naval expenditure, Philip's hands were full of care, and his treasury empty of doubloons ; and Mendoza could only chafe and storm about his master's strength, until the English merchants were panic stricken with fears of reprisals, and put pressure upon the Court to make some sort of restoration of the plunder. The Spanish merchants who had been robbed were also anxious to come to terms, by which they might get, at all events, some of their property back, and sent one of their number, a man named Zubiaur, to London to negotiate, the King himself being favourable to this mode of procedure. But Mendoza, haughty and jealous, would have no such knuckling down (page 73), and stood out for full and complete public reparation through him as ambassador ; and in the end the Spaniards got nothing. Drake's successful return gave a great impetus to further expeditions from England. In his first announcement that the plunder had been landed (page 55). Mendoza says that "Drake had arranged to return with six ships, and offers to adventurers for every pound sterling subscribed to return them seven within the year. This has so great an influence over Englishmen that everybody wants to have a share in the expedition." By January 1581 it was decided that Drake with ten ships should return to the Moluccas by way of the Cape of Good Hope ; young Knollys was bound for Brazil with six vessels, and then to try to get through the Straits of Magellan to join Drake in the Pacific ; Humphrey Gilbert was to go and plunder Cuba, Santo Domingo, and the Spanish Main ; and Frobisher was once more to search for a north-west passage to Cathay. "Doubtless," says Mendoza, "these people will meet with great obstacles in the execution of their various designs, but the success of Drake encourages them to make light of them all." Mendoza's one unceasing remedy for it was that every English ship encountered should be sent to the bottom and not a soul spared ; but Spanish sailors were few and panic stricken, and Spanish ships were old and slow, so the swift privateers still swept the seas unmolested. Drake, moreover, had discovered by chance what the Spaniards did not yet know, namely, that Tierra del Fuego was an island, and that, whilst the Spanish war ships were waiting for him in the Straits of Magellan, he could get round the Horn. The news is conveyed by Mendoza to his master in an interesting letter dated 20th April 1582 (page 340). This discovery had been kept very secret, and was only learnt by Mendoza at great trouble and expense a year and a half after Drake's arrival. In the meanwhile Drake was naturally in high favour with his sovereign. "He is," says Mendoza, (page 74), "squandering more money than any man in England, and, proportionately, all those who came with him are doing the same. He gave to the Queen the crown which I described in a former letter as having been made here. She wore it on New Year's day. It has in it five emeralds, three of them almost as long as a little finger, and two round ones worth 20,000 crowns. He has also given the Queen a diamond cross of the value of 5,000 crowns as a New Year's gift. The Queen shows him extraordinary favour and never fails to speak to him when she goes out in public, conversing with him for a long time. She says she will knight him on the day she goes to see his ship. She has ordered the ship itself to be brought ashore, and placed in her arsenal near Greenwich as a curiosity." All this time Mendoza was excluded from the Queen's presence and had to content himself with threats and violent language meant to frighten the merchants and indirectly to reach the ears of the Queen. He was offered a bribe of 50,000 crowns to moderate his tone, but replied that he would give much more than that to punish so great a thief as Drake. However much his threats might alarm the merchants, the Queen and her Ministers were too well aware of Philip's position to attach very much importance to them. Elizabeth repeated the policy she had successfully adopted when she had seized the Spanish treasure in English ports (see Volume II. of this Calendar) and demanded explanations and redress from Philip before entertaining the question of restoration. The papal forces in Ireland had by this time been ignominiously slaughtered at Smerwick. Fitzmaurice and Sanders were dead, the Irish Chiefs were falling out amongst themselves, and the rebellion was being crushed by Lord Grey's ferocity. Elizabeth was greatly shocked that her "good brother" the king of Spain should help rebels, seeing how vulnerable he was to attack on that side himself, and steadily refused to receive Mendoza until excuses or apologies were sent. Philip's hands were full in Portugal, where he was, with the aid of Alba, conquering his new kingdom ; and Elizabeth well knew that he could not now spare a man nor a ducat to injure her. She and Catharine de Medici moreover were once again united in their opposition to Spain ; and she was managing the Alenon marriage negotiations with more consummate address than ever. Mendoza relates (page 14) how Castelnau, the French ambassador, waited upon the Queen on the very day when the two months' delay expired and peremptorily requested an answer as to whether she would marry Alenon or not. When she began to fence, as usual, he threatened, much to her indignation, that the prince would publish her love letters in his own defence if she did not marry him. The Queen was much disturbed at this and, as Mendoza relates, summoned the Archbishop of York and Cecil to advise her. "Here am I," she said, "between Scylla and Charybdis. Alenon agrees to all the conditions I sent him and is asking me to tell him when I wish him to come and marry me." If I do not marry him, she continued in effect, I shall make him my enemy, and if I do I shall lose all the advantages of my present position. What shall I do? She could get no decided advice from the Archbishop, but upon pressing Cecilwho was probably as much mystified as everyone elsehe replied that she should either marry Alenon or give him a decided answer declining him. This is exactly what she did not wish to do, and in a few tart words let Cecil know as much (page 15). Circumstances as usual aided her. On the day before the ambassador saw her, envoys arrived in London from La Noue, the great Huguenot chief in the service of the States, and from the Prince of Cond, asking her to aid Alenon in Flanders. This meant that, in despite of the Guises, Alenon and the Huguenots had come to terms, and, so long as Alenon was principally supported by Protestant forces, she had nothing to fear from his presence in Flanders. She seized the opportunity with avidity and promised all sorts of help, being perfectly sure that Alenon would not be unduly importunate about the marriage if he could hope for her co-operation without it. At the same time the pretence of marriage negotiations was kept up more actively than ever in order to save appearances and disarm the French Government. On the receipt of a letter from Alenon on 7th March, announcing that he only awaited her permission to send Marshal de Coss to settle the final conditions, she took the very unusual course of visiting the French ambassador, and by every means sought to bring about an understanding with the French Government before she pledged herself too deeply with Alenon in the troubled affairs of Flanders. It was all very well to have Alenon and the Huguenots under her thumb, but she must make sure she did not drive Henry III. into the opposite camp. This did not suit Alenon, who knew full well that, if Elizabeth could arrive at a cordial understanding with his brother, neither party need trouble very much about him or his plans, or risk a rupture with Spain by helping him. He therefore began to grow ardent again, and for the next few months he and Simier kept pouring out to the Queen their fervent protestations of affection, their heartrending entreaties, and threats of vengeance if the prince were jilted. To all these letters, says Mendoza, replies containing many sweet words but no decision were sent, and "in this way both parties are weaving a Penelope's web simply to cover the designs I have already explained to your Majesty" (page 31). But in May a terrible disaster happened to the Protestant cause in Flanders, which altered the position of affairs. La Noue was routed and taken prisoner by the Spaniards. Orange then gave Elizabeth to understand that, unless she married Alenon, and threw all her weight into the scale, the Flemish cause must collapse. Alenon, too, redoubled his importunity, and hinted that, if she did not help him, he would accept the offers of the States and enter Flanders independently of her. This would not have suited her at all, and a council was hastily held on the 5th June ; requests being sent off at once to the King of France for a special embassy to be despatched to England. At the same time Stafford was sent to Alenon to obtain his co-operation. But he found the prince in the sulks. He knew that a formal embassy from his brother would be more likely to lead to an alliance than to his marriage on terms satisfactory to his ambition, and he only grudingly gave his consent to the embassy on condition that it should be empowered solely to negotiate his marriage and not a national alliance. When at last all was arranged to Alenon's satisfaction, and he informed the Queen that the embassy would soon leave for England, she again began to cool. There was no great hurry, she said, for the ambassadors to come unless the king of France made peace with the Huguenots and countenanced Alenon's plans in Flanders. She was determined in any case not to be drawn single-handed into opposition to Spain. Thanks to her pressure, and the efforts of Alenon and his mother, the peace of Fleix between the King and the Huguenots and Henry of Navarre was signed in November, and the horizon of Alenon began to brighten somewhat. Tempting offers had been made to him from Spain if he would abandon his enterprise, and Elizabeth learnt this from Simier. This fact, and the conclusion of the peace of Fleix, at once smoothed over all difficulties, the embassy should now be cordially welcomed, and the Queen promised, as soon as conditions were settled, to give Alenon 200,000 crowns of Drake's plunder, as well as subsidising Hans Casimir and his mercenaries to cross the frontier and co-operate with him. But it was not easy to settle with Henry III. the personality and powers of the embassy. Cobham was trying his hardest in Paris to lure the King first into a rupture with Spain on the pretext partly of Catharine de Medici's claim to the Portuguese crown. But Henry III. and his mother were wary, and would make no move until Elizabeth did so. During the long drawn out negotiations with regard to the preliminaries of the embassy, Alenon himself sent an embassy to England to look after his interests. The principal ambassador was Clausse de Marchaumont, who for a considerable period afterwards was a prominent person in the English court, deep in the Queen's confidence. Much piquant information is given in the present letters as to his proceedings with the Queen in forwarding his young master's lovemaking, and this should be read side by side with his extraordinary correspondence in the Hatfield Papers (Vol. 3, Hist. MSS. Com.), especially the series he signs with the pseudonym "Moine." Alenon's frequent references in his letters to the Queen (Hatfield Papers) to her "bele jartiere" is explained in a letter from Mendoza to the King (page 101) as follows :"Marchaumont also sent by De Mery a "purple and gold garter belonging to the Queen, which slipped down and was trailing as she entered Drake's ship. Marchaumont stooped and picked it up and the Queen asked for it, promising him that he should have it back when she reached home as she had nothing else with which to keep her stocking up. Marchaumont returned it, and she put it on before him, presenting him with it when she got back to Westminster." Mendoza gives a curious piece of information about the knighting of Drake on the occasion of the Queen's visit to the "Pelican" at Deptford, on page 95. "On the 4th instant the Queen went to a place a mile from Greenwich to see Drake's ship, where a grand banquet was given to her, finer than has ever been seen in England since the time of King Henry. She knighted Drake, telling him that there she had a gilded sword to strike off his head. She handed the sword to Marchaumont, telling him she authorised him to perform the ceremony for her, which he did. Drake, therefore, has the title of 'Sir,' ... and he gave her a large silver coffer and a frog made of diamonds, distributing 1,200 crowns amongst the Queen's officers." It is impossible to follow step by step within the limits of this Introduction the everchanging aspects of the marriage negotiations ; but by reference to the letters in the present volume it will be seen that Mendoza, keenly alive to the importance of the matter, kept his master fully informed of every movement. The pompous embassy from Henry III. which came in April 1581, and of whose splendid reception Mendoza gives an account, was considered by Philip and De Granvelle to portend rather a national alliance than a marriage, and this was clearly the Queen's aim (page 110). Don Antonio, the Portuguese pretender, was now a fugitive in France, and active negotiations were being carried on by his adherents both with Elizabeth and Catharine de Medici for aid to restore him to the Portuguese throne. An alliance, therefore, between England and France would have been a terrible blow to Philip, who was already hardly pressed enough ; and Mendoza in London was working ceaselessly and secretly to arouse public feeling in England against the French ; and especially against the Alenon match. Whilst Elizabeth was fencing with the French special embassy with a view to bringing about an alliance, and pledging Henry III. to war with Spain, without burdening herself with a husband, the French King and his mother were exhausting every means, threats, entreaties, and cajoleries, to dissuade Alenon from his intended entrance into Flanders. On the issue of a proclamation by Henry III. ordering that all levies in France for the service of his brother should be dispersed by force of arms, Mendoza reports (5th June 1581, page 126) that Alenon suddenly embarked at Dieppe and appeared secretly in England, where he was recognised by the son of Sir James Crofts, who was in the pay of Spain, and Mendoza was informed of his arrival. This fresh escapade of Alenon deeply chagrined the French ambassadors, who plainly saw, and said, that the Queen was playing with them and begged leave to depart. Not a word is said in their correspondence about Alenon's alleged visit on this occasion ; and, so far as I have been able to ascertain, the present Calendar is the only authority for it, excepting some enigmatical references in the letters of "Moine" in the Hatfield Papers.
During the presence of the French envoys in London hints had been given to Mendoza to induce him to request an audience ; but he was cautious and feigned illness, seeing that the Queen's object was to get better terms from the French by making out that the Spaniards were courting her. At length, on the 4th June 1581, an event happened which forced his hand. Some time before, two Hollanders had approached Mendoza in London with a proposal to betray Flushing. The ambassador jumped at the bait and parted with a considerable sum of money to them, besides giving them important information. The whole affair was a trick, and the Spanish force from Gravelines which was to co-operate with the Hollanders was entrapped and sacrificed. One of the Hollanders had left his son with Mendoza as a hostage, and at nine o'clock at night on the 4th June, in the ambassador's absence, his house was forcibly entered by London constables, accompanied by a secretary to the prince of Orange, and the boy taken away. Mendoza arrived just in time to prevent bloodshed, and was told that the constables were acting under the authority of the Council. Mendoza, thinking this a good opportunity for obtaining an audience on favourable terms with a new grievance, began to bluster and threatened to return to Spain at once unless full reparation were made for the violation of his domicile. Elizabeth exerted all her feminine arts of flattery and cajolery to defer such an interview until the French embassy had left, and in the end had her way (page 133). At length she received the ambassador in private audience in a gallery overlooking the river at Whitehall. A full account of the interview is given by Mendoza to the King in his letter of 24th June (page 134). Lightly brushing aside the Queen's complaints about Ireland, Mendoza claimed immediate redress for the violation of his ambassadorial privileges. Elizabeth promised strict inquiry into the matter, and then again reverted to the Spanish aid sent to the insurgent Irish. She pretended to have been informed that Mendoza wished to see her for the purpose of offering an apology, notwithstanding the persistent assurance of the ambassador that the affair concerned the Pope alone. "It is impossible," he wrote, "to express to your Majesty the insincerity with which she and her Ministers proceed. In addition to repeating to me the very opposite of the message she had sent me, she contradicts me every moment in my version of the negotiations. ... If I had not shown spirit, which is the thing that moves the Queen and her Ministers most, I have no doubt, such is their insolence, that I should never have been able to get conference with them. This alone has enabled me to hold my own with them until now." It is clear that Mendoza got the worst of the interview, as although the Queen was compliant on the unimportant matter of the abducted boy, she had assumed the position of the injured party about Ireland, and left the ambassador no chance of making a formal reclamation about Drake's plunder. But soon afterwards a much more serious grievance against Elizabeth was found. Rumours of all sorts had been afloat as to the movements of Don Antonio for many months past. First he was said to be in Barbary, then in the Azores, some of which islands were in his favour, afterwards he was reported to be in France, in Brazil, and elsewhere. But the Queen's physician, Dr. Lopez, was very busy and important, at the end of June 1581, running backwards and forwards to Dover ; and Mendoza's spies soon learnt that a party of Portuguese had landed, amongst whom was a certain man "under the middle height, with a thin face, and very dark, his hair and beard somewhat grey and his eyes green." This man Mendoza at once guessed was Don Antonio himself, and before even he had time to verify his suspicions, he demanded audience of the Queen to complain of her giving asylum to the Pretender. He was peremptorily refused by Sussex ; and, as he says (page 140), "was determined to have no more pros and cons with third persons, because I see that their method is simply to talk nonsense and then repudiate what they say, throwing the blame upon the messengers." He therefore wrote a haughty letter to the Queen direct, threatening to leave England unless he was accorded immediate audience. After some apparent hesitation the Queen received him next day, and, before he could say a word, again began to complain about Ireland. She succeeded in getting up a wrangle upon this subject, and in answer to some haughty vapouring from Mendoza, "She screamed out louder than before at this, saying that I was to blame for everything that had happened, and I smilingly told her that she was speaking as a lady ; those of her sex usually displaying most annoyance at things that were done in their interest." She fenced and quibbled about Don Antonio. She did not know, she said, whether he was in England or not, "but she would not arrest or surrender anyone to be killed." Had not Philip, she asked, sheltered the earl of Westmoreland and other rebels of hers? Besides, according to the old treaties, a formal written application must be made for the surrender of a rebel. So Mendoza had to retire discomforted, and a similar result attended his numerous other attempts in the same direction. Don Antonio lodged with the ex-Lord Mayor at Stepney, and as he had plenty of jewels of great value was soon busy borrowing money upon them, and fitting out expeditions for the Azores. Elizabeth blew hot and cold upon him, as the exigencies of the moment demanded. If he were to succeed she wished him to be beholden to her and not to the French, but at the same time she was willing for Catharine de Medici to find most of the money and incur most of the responsibility for his attempts. The dealings of the Queen and her Ministers, especially Leicester, with poor Don Antonio and his jewels, as disclosed in the present Calendar, certainly present them in anything but a favourable or magnanimous light. Philip himself wrote to the Queen, and again and again instructed Mendoza to press before anything for the expulsion or surrender of the Pretender, but all to no purpose ; Don Antonio was sheltered and caressed so long as it suited the Queen, and he had money to spend.
It was evident to the Queen in July 1581 that she could hardly lure the French King into hostility to Spain unless she previously married Alenon ; which, for all her love-lorn professions, she had no intention of doing. Her Protestant subjects were deeply moved and distrustful at the idea of it, and Mendoza gives particulars of the increased severity used to the Catholics for the purpose of re-assuring their opponents at this juncture. "They have now," he says, "begun to persecute the Catholics worse than ever before, both by condemning them to the 20l. fine if they do not attend church every month, and by imprisoning them closely. The clergymen they succeed in capturing are treated with a variety of terrible tortures ; amongst others is one torment which people in Spain imagine will be that worked by Antichrist, as the most dreadfully cruel of them all. This is to drive iron spikes between the nails and the quick, and two clergymen in the Tower have been tortured in this way, one of them being Campion of the Company of Jesus. I am assured that, when they would not confess under this torture, the nails of their fingers and toes were turned back, all of which they suffered with great patience."
At the same time Walsingham was sent to France to endeavour once more to draw the King into an alliance against Spain without the Queen's marriage with his brother, and he took with him a large sum of money to bribe French ministers, and as a sop to Alenon to enable the latter to enter Flanders and relieve Cambrai. In the meanwhile Don Antonio was ostentatiously aided in his hostile preparations, and Mendoza was treated with marked disrespect and audience denied him, the object evidently being to impress the king of France with the Queen's readiness to break with Spain (page 156). Walsingham failed utterly in France, and found Alenon more violent and intractable than ever (page 159). He did not believe, he said, that the Queen had sent him such a message about the marriage, and would again come to England to see her. She was much disturbed at this, and as usual railed at Leicester and Walsingham as the cause of her troubles. Some of the stories of her violence, to Walsingham especially, related in this Calendar, are almost incredible. Knave and puritan seem to have been common terms of opprobrium she applied to him when she was put out, and on one occasion referred to (page 573) she threw a slipper at him and hit him on the face, not, says the writer, an extraordinary thing for her to do. At length, in the middle of August, Alenon decided to force the hands of the Queen and his brother, and crossed the frontier of Flanders with 12,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. The position was changed in a moment. Henry III. was afraid of being compromised and drew back. Elizabeth feared that the Catholics and the Guises after all might be at the bottom of the movement, withheld her open support, and only sent grudging and secret money aid. The Protestant States, seeing her hesitation, themselves held aloof. Alenon had no money. His troops melted away, and he entered France again early in September. Despairing of getting aid from the Queen by other means, he again came to England at the beginning of November, and a more vivid description of the extraordinary proceedings of the Queen and her lover during his visit is given by Mendoza than is to be found elsewhere. Few men were better informed than the Spanish ambassador, for, although the Queen would not receive him, he had spies everywhere, and more than one privy councillor was in his pay. The Queen's aim, he says, was to avoid offending Alenon, and "to pledge him so deeply in the affairs of the Netherlands as to drive his brother into a rupture with your Majesty, which is her great object, whilst she keeps her hands free and can stand by looking on at the war." Through all the intricate and shifting phases of the negotiations detailed minutely in the present Calendar, the Queen's object, thus well summarized by Mendoza, never changed. Alenon's hopes and fears waxed and waned day by day. Privately the Queen pledged herself to him to his heart's content, but would have nothing said publicly. At length the scandal of this trifling became too much for Henry III. and his mother, who let Elizabeth know that she could not draw them into a war with Spain unless she declared herself first and married Alenon. Either because she was driven into a corner, or once more her passion overcame her, she unhesitatingly replied to the French ambassador, "You may write this to the King : that the duke of Alenon shall be my husband, and at the same moment she turned to Alenon and kissed him on the mouth, drawing a ring from her hand and giving it to him as a pledge. Alenon gave her a ring of his in return, and shortly afterwards the Queen summoned the ladies and gentlemen from the presence chamber to the gallery, repeating to them in a loud voice, in Alenon's presence, what she had previously said" (page 226). Leicester and Hatton were in dismay, but the Queen was playing her own deep game, which they could not fathom. By taking the extraordinary course she did at this juncture she secured three points in her favour first, further delay without offending the king of France ; secondly, she bound Alenon personally to her, come what might, and, most important of all, she sowed the germs of discord between him and his brother ; which enabled her to hold the balance and manage both of them. The expedient was a desperate one, but it succeeded. For the rest of Alenon's life Elizabeth posed as being willing and anxious to marry him if only the King would be reasonable and consent to the terms demanded by the English Parliament. Henceforward, with the exception of one occasion, when Catharine de Medici turned the tables upon her (page 261), she remained mistress of the situation, and Alenon was a helpless puppet in her hands, and bitterly resentful of his brother (page 269). The Queen's strenuous attempts to join France with her in her hostility to Spain were naturally met by Mendoza's intrigues with the English and Scots Catholics. The former had appealed to Philip, through his ambassador, in April, to secure the appointment of an English cardinal (page 97), and a sympathetic reply had been sent to them ; but to satisfy the Protestants, who feared the Queen's marriage with Alenon, the religious persecutions in England had been recommenced with terrible severity, and the Catholic party were now completely cowed. Campion and his fellow priests were executed with heartrending cruelty (page 231), most of the active Catholic nobles were in exile, and it was clear that no Catholic rising in England was possible without armed aid from Spain (page 169). But in Scotland matters were entirely different. Notwithstanding all Elizabeth's and Randolph's efforts, Morton had been sacrificed, and the star of D'Aubigny (Lennox) was still in the ascendant. It is true that, being half a Frenchman, D'Aubigny was at first looked upon with some suspicion by the Spaniards, but, as he was presumably a Catholic, Mendoza thought he might be approached on purely religious grounds. He therefore began operations through the brothers Tresham and other leading English Catholics (page 169). "I pointed out to them," he says, that in view of the present position of neighbouring countries, and of the Netherlands, the first step to be taken was to bring Scotland to submit to the Holy See. This I said would cause this Queen more anxiety than anything else." The hint was taken, and six English Catholic lords met and swore to devote themselves to the task indicated. They sent a priest (Creighton) to Scotland to sound James and D'Aubigny, and promised that when the king of Scots submitted to the Pope they would raise the English north country and demand the restoration of the Catholic church in England, proclaim James heir to the crown, and release his mother. The lords assured Mendoza that they were "Spanish and Catholic at heart, and did not wish to have anything to do with France" (page 170). Creighton was well received by Lennox, Huntly, Caithness, Seton, and the other Scottish nobles, who promised that priests and friars should be welcomed in Scotland to preach the faith, "on condition that they brought money for their own maintenance" (page 194). Father Persons was secretly in London when the priest returned, and at once went to Rheims to settle with Allen who the new missionaries were to be. Henceforward Mendoza in London was the centre of the Catholic propaganda in Scotland, professing purely religious objects to those associated with him, but openly discussing in his letters to the king of Spain the political aims which underlay them. Nothing is more curious indeed than the frequent resigned but contemptuous reference to the unpractical ineptitude as conspirators of the priests whom he was forced to make his instruments. This was late in the autumn of 1581, but as early as April of that year, before the execution of Morton, Mary Stuart had opened up negotiations with a similar object with Tassis, the new Spanish minister, in France. "Things," she said (through Beaton), "were never better disposed in Scotland than now to return to their ancient condition ... so that English affairs could be dealt with subsequently. The King, her son, was quite determined to return to the Catholic religion, and much inclined to an open rupture with the queen of England." She begged for armed aid from Philip, to be landed first in Ireland and then to go to Scotland when summoned, after the signing of a treaty of alliance between Spain and Scotland (page 98). The Queen again renewed her approaches to the Spaniards late in the year, begging for a definite answer ; but apparently being distrustful of the intermediaries, and having heard of Mendoza's efforts through the priests in Scotland, she wrote to him early in November (page 215), informing him of her resolution "to follow as far as I can in the conduct of my affairs the wishes of my good brother the king of Spain," and saying that she had acceded to the recommendations of the French king, and had decided to associate her son with herself in her sovereignty. In the meanwhile events were advancing apace in Scotland. Father Persons and five or six Jesuit colleagues were busy there, and the young King himself told them "that though for certain reasons it was advisable for him to appear publicly in favour of the French, he ... in his heart would rather be Spanish." Mendoza at the same time was warning Philip that on no account must the French, or even Beaton, learn that the new Catholic revival in Scotland was being fomented by a Spanish minister (page 236). This is one of many instances in the correspondence of the secret character of Philip's diplomacy, one minister rarely having an inkling of what was being done by another. Mendoza's jealousy and domineering spirit are evident in his letters, and, as will be seen, he succeeded later in centering in his hands the whole of the intrigues in favour of Mary Stuart, whose great confidant he became. By order of Philip, Mendoza had written asking Queen Mary to co-operate in the conversion of her son and his country, and on the 14th January 1582 she wrote a long and important letter to him (page 257), in which she says she has had her son carefully approached but the "poor child" is so surrounded by heretics that she had only been able to obtain the assurance that he would listen to the priests she sent him. She had ordered Beaton to go thither "to lay the foundation of a re-establishment of religion in that poor realm, now so corrupted," but she does not appear to be very sanguine of success. The real object of the letter however was to repeat her confidence in Philip, and to declare her intention to bind her son entirely to him in future. But she complains she has not yet received any definite pledges from the Spanish king, whom she prays to grant some gifts and pensions to the principal persons around James. "The greater part of them may be won over in this way, and I have certain assurance that the duke of Lennox himself may be made instrumental in this, as he is only seeking his personal aggrandisement." In the same letter she gives a long account of her interviews with Beal, sent by Elizabeth to discuss Scotch matters with her, and to discover, if possible, what negotiations she was carrying on with France or Spain. It is clear, in fact, that the English were aware that something was going on through D'Aubigny in Scotland ; and during Alenon's stay in England Mendoza had artfully put Cecil off the scent by hinting that Mary was plotting something with the French. This seems to have caused some alarm, and led Cecil to make advances, which came to nothing, towards a reconciliation with Spain (pages 213 and 249).
So secret had been Mendoza's action that when Father Holt was sent to London by the Scottish Catholic nobles, early in February 1582, the Treshams being in prison, he was directed to an English priest who, greatly to his surprise and alarm, took him to Mendoza. Up to that time not even the jesuits themselves (with the exception of Persons, and perhaps Creighton) knew that he was the moving spirit in the affair (page 291). Holt's message was an extremely important one. It was to present four courses of action to which the Scottish nobles were pledged and to beg for guidance thereupon. First, they intended to seek the conversion of the King by persuasion and preaching ; secondly, if the queen of Scots would allow it, "so to manage matters in the country that if the King be not converted he should be forced to open his eyes and hear the truth ; but they will not put their hands to this without her express order ... and always with proper respect and reverence for the royal dignity ; thirdly, that if the queen of Scotland should consider it necessary to carry the matter through by whatever means, since the salvation of the Prince is involved in addition to his worldly grandeur, they would transport him out of the kingdom to a place that she might indicate, in order that he might be converted to the Catholic Church. The fourth expedient is that if the queen of Scotland should be determined to convert the kingdom, as a last resource they would depose the King until she arrived, unless he would consent to be a Catholic." To enable them to take action they requested that a force of 2,000 troops, preferably Spaniards, but to prevent jealousy of the French, perhaps Italians under Spanish and Papal auspices, should be sent from Friesland to Eyemouth. These proposals of the Scots Catholics were secretly conveyed in a softened form to Mary by Mendoza. "I avoid," he says, "detailing the proposals to transport her son, or depose him, which might possibly cause her motherly tenderness to shrink from them." At the same time he wrote by Holt to the Scots Catholics, for the first time, as he says, disclosing himself, assuring them of Spanish support, and to Philip he strongly recommended the sending of troops to Scotland, "with the support of whom the Scots might encounter her (Elizabeth) ... and the whole of the English north country would be disturbed, the Catholics there being in a majority, and the opportunity would be taken by Catholics in other parts of the country, to rise when they knew that they had on their side the forces of a more powerful prince than the king of Scotland" (page 294). Philip was at Badajoz on the Portuguese frontier at the time, and affairs in Madrid were being managed by the aged Cardinal de Granvelle who sent to the King notes and recommendations on all letters received. On page 309 it will be seen that he warmly seconds Mendoza's recommendations. "The affair," he says, "is so important both for the sake of religion and to bridle England, that no other can equal it, because by keeping the queen of England busy we shall be ensured against her helping Alenon or daring to obstruct us in any other way." For her part Mary Stuart was just as emphatic in her approval of the proposals, urging that all should be kept secret until the foreigners were landed ; but it is evident that her view ranged far beyond the conversion, or even the sovereignty of Scotland, for she writes to Mendoza (page 314) : "In the event of the Scots having aid at their backs and this Queen attempting action against them, which might cause the English Catholics to rise, it would be necessary to have the latter part of the business arranged beforehand, but in such a way that they should not understand what is intended and should be told nothing until everything was ripe and the matter ready to burst forth." To this end and to obtain information at Court Mendoza suggests (page 315) that the powerful house of Howard should be gained by the payment of a large bribe to its most influential member Lord Henry Howard. This was done, and Lord Henry became henceforward the principal Spanish spy at Elizabeth's Court.
Lennox himself, now all powerful in Scotland, sent Creighton in March to Tassis in Paris with a letter of adhesion to the plan (page 317) in which he says that he is informed that the Pope and the king of Spain wish to make use of him in their design to restore the Catholic religion and release the queen of Scotland. "In the belief that this enterprise is undertaken for the advantage of the Queen and her son, and that the latter will be confirmed and maintained on his throne by his mother's consent, I am prepared to employ my life and estate in the carrying out of the same, on condition that I am supplied with all the things set forth in a statement taken by the bearer." He also says that as the affair cannot be effected without his going to France, he holds himself in readiness to go as soon as a favourable reply is received. On the same day, Lennox wrote to Queen Mary in a somewhat similar strain mentioning that the Jesuits had told him that he was to be the head of the army, the foreign troops were to be 15,000 in number, and that he (Lennox) was to go to France to raise French infantry (page 333). Up to this point Tassis, the Spanish ambassador in France, had been a stranger to the matter which had been entirely managed by Mendoza, and when Creighton handed him Lennox's conditions, and said that the duke of Guise had been consulted, Tassis stated the whole matter to the King as a new business (page 373). At the same time the Jesuit fathers, who had found it difficult to communicate with Mendoza across the Scotch border, had conceived the brilliant ideas of sending two of their number to Rouen, where they thought Mendoza could go over and see them, and of despatching Persons and Creighton to the Pope and Philip respectively. The whole project was thus thrown into confusion ; and both Mary and Mendoza were full of scorn and annoyance at the muddle caused by the ineptitude of the priests (pages 322 and 331). It was especially annoying to the Queen that her name should have been introduced into the matter. "You may inform these jesuits that I will on no account allow that anything concerning this matter shall be done in my name." Creighton, moreover, had no authority whatever to promise 15,000 or any number of men, and the idea of Lennox's leaving Scotland, above all to raise French troops with the idea that he was to be allowed to command the foreign force, was on the face of it absurd from a Spanish point of view. Philip was alarmed, too, at the large number of persons who had thus been informed of the project, and wrote to Tassis deprecating over zeal, and directing that no fresh steps should be taken until further instructions were sent. Instead of the modest support at first requested by the Scottish Catholic lords, Lennox now demanded 20,000 foreign troops paid for 18 months, a large quantity of war material, a subsidy in money to pay Scottish troops, 20,000 crowns for fortifications, the command of the army for himself, and a guarantee against personal loss if the attempt should fail (page 371).
The inclusion of Guise in the project also soon began to produce its result. He considered that he should take a prominent part, and travelled to Paris to meet Tassis secretly at Beaton's house. He was full of far-reaching but ill-digested plans, but his main desire, evidently, was to prevent Spanish troops from being sent to Scotland, to avoid, as he says, the jealousy of the French. His idea was that a large mixed force should be sent from Italy to Scotland by the Pope, whilst he, Guise, made a descent with Frenchmen on to the coast of Sussex (page 378). Lennox's inflated demands and Guise's crude ideas, however, were submitted to the keen scrutiny of Granvelle, when Father Persons arrived in Madrid and conferred with Sir Francis Englefield. In a memorandum to the King (4th July 1582, page 382) Granvelle lays down clearly the course to be followed, which in the main is naturally that wisely planned by Mendoza and Mary, of whom he says, "She must have some very intelligent person near her who writes her letters, and it is impossible to lay down with greater clearness the lines upon which the affair should be conducted, the support that will be necessary, and the kind of forces required." Granvelle proposes that the Pope be asked to find most of the money, but that he should not be told yet "about the plans repecting England, so as not to come down upon him too heavily at once, as we may hope that, as soon as Scotland is in arms, and the Queen can guide it in her way, as she says, England of its own accord may rise to shake off the tyranny that oppresses it."
Whatever may have been in Philip's secret mind at the time, it is worthy of note that up to this period Cardinal de Granvelle, at all events, had no ulterior plans for the political subjugation of Great Britain by Spain, or of the assertion of Philip's right to the English crown. Speaking of the fear of the Scots that the landing of a large foreign force might be a danger to their liberties, he says : "This is not what his Majesty wants, nor do I approve of it, but that we should loyally help the king of Scotland and his mother to maintain their rights, and, by promoting armed disturbance, keep the queen of England and the French busy at small cost to ourselves in comparison with what she would have to spend, and so enable us to settle our own affairs better. If it had no other result than this it should suffice, but very much more so when we consider that it may lead to the re-establishment of the Catholic religion in those parts. It is evident that, when we strike there, the Irish Catholics will pluck up courage ... and it is very advantageous that the matter should be taken in hand by the duke of Guise, as it will ensure us from French obstruction. Since we cannot hope to hold the island for ourselves, Guise will not try to hand it over to the king of France to the detriment of his near kinswoman" (page 383). He also speaks of the probability of the queen of England's coming to terms with Spain, on being secured in the throne during her life, and the re-establishment of the old alliance between the two countries. Thus far then, the aims of Spain were legitimate and honest under the circumstances. We shall see in the course of the correspondence how, mainly through the jealousy between the English and Scottish Catholics, more selfish counsels gradually prevailed.
The first note of this is struck in the memorandum of Granvelle just quoted, where he says that Englefield is very distrustful of the archbishop of Glasgow, with whom he has ceased to correspond, and he would be sorry that he (Beaton) should be made privy to this business, which ... he would immediately divulge to the French (page 384).
Mary and Mendoza promptly perceived the confusion into which the affair was drifting, and the former laid the whole of the blame upon Tassis. The principal merit and praise are due, she says, entirely to Mendoza, in whom in future alone she will confide. She knew nothing whatever, she asserts, of Persons' and Creighton's proceedings until Beaton wrote to her, and "I can assure you, that the taking of Tassis into council was not done at my instance. I gave no instructions to my ambassador to do this, and my cousin Guise ... was ill pleased with his first conference with him and ... will not address himself to him again unless he is obliged to do so" (page 392). Her hopes were high if only the aid were promptly sent, and she had consequently resolved not to enter into any sort of agreement with Elizabeth. She had instructed Lennox to stay in Scotland, but money must be sent to him at once to equip the fortresses.
All this negotiation did not, of course, escape the spies of Elizabeth, who said that "she would oppose much more cunningly than they think the carrying out of their design." This was not very difficult, for Lennox was a poor specimen of a conspirator, and the earl of Angus with the protestant nobles on the border were quite willing to avenge the murdered Morton and gain the upper hand for themselves at the expense of the English Queen. The very threat of violence towards himself says Mendoza, reduced him (Lennox) to a terrible state of fear. "His position, indeed, is so wretched that it is reducing him to a deplorable condition ... How anxious she (Mary) is to keep him there will be seen by her words ... that if it be necessary for the succour to be delayed 'the fact must be hidden from him,' and I must write and entertain him, as indeed I have done" (page 396). But no "entertaining" could put spirit into the wretched Lennox, and by the end of August he was a fugitive at Dumbarton and the King in the hands of the protestant lords.
Mendoza's activity in this matter had not escaped the notice of Elizabeth ; and the relations of the ambassador with the Court became more and more strained. He was, as he said, quite isolated, none dared to speak to him, and even the children in the streets hooted and stoned him (page 397). He was suffering from cataract, and almost blind, and begged Philip again and again to allow him to retire from his unpleasant post. His last important audience of the Queen had been in October 1581, at Richmond, and he gives an interesting account of it on page 186. He complained bitterly of the countenance she and her people gave to the Portuguese pretender, and of her support of Alenon in Flanders. The Queen was defiant and Mendoza hinted that cannons would bring her to reason. "She told me that I need not think to threaten or frighten her, for if I did she would put me in a place where I could not say a word. In future, I could communicate my business to the Council and be satisfied with remaining in the country, as she had no ambassador in Spain." Mendoza rather tardily tried to appease her by flattery, referring to her as "a lady so beautiful that even lions would crouch before her. She is so vain and flighty that her anger was at once soothed at hearing this."
But she once more opened her budget of complaints and would listen to nothing about Drake until explanations were sent by Philip with regard to Ireland. "She had," she said, "been first offended, and should be the first to receive satisfaction." But she sighed heavily as Mendoza left her, and said half audibly in Italian, "Would to God that each one had his own and was at peace." Mendoza laid most of the blame upon Leicester, Hatton, and Walsingham, to whom he attributes a fixed policy of making his stay in England impossible (page 193), and he consequently kept aloof from the Court, in order to give them as little chance to insult him as possible. He suggested to the King that his successor should be sent not ostensibly to replace him, but on a special mission respecting Drake's piracy, with joint powers, so that Mendoza might retire at any moment he thought opportune, and leave his successor in possession. Mary Stuart, however, begged earnestly that he should remain, and Philip was in no hurry to withdraw him ; and so matters drifted, Mendoza in the meanwhile being informed of everything that went on through his many spies, and particularly by Sir James Croft and Lord Henry Howard, and continuing his protests and reclamations against Don Antonio's letters of marque and the ceaseless depredations of the privateers on Spanish shipping.
After an immense amount of trouble and anxiety the Queen had succeeded in getting rid of her too importunate suitor early in February 1582. She had fooled him to the top of his bent, had showered endearments, money, and promises upon him, swore solemnly to marry him in six weeks, accompanied him to Canterbury, and tore herself away from "her husband" at last in a simulated agony of tearsanything to get him across the sea without marrying him. She had insisted upon Leicester going to Antwerp with him, but the favourite felt not over safe away from the Queen and in the power of this rival lover, so he escaped at the first opportunity and slipped over to England again, bringing the news that Alenon had been ceremoniously crowned duke of Brabant. Elizabeth affected to be shocked and annoyed at the news, and had a great quarrel, real or pretended, with Leicester about it. She told him that he had only gone to Flanders for his own ostentation, and had no business to be present at the investure of Alenon and so to pledge her. "She used the most scandalous words to him and ended by saying that he was a traitor, as was all his stock, and that it was a planned thing between him and Orange" (page 311). Leicester sought to minimise the matter by flattering the Queen and ridiculing Alenon, whom he had left, he said, like an old hulk run ashore on a sand bank, and that the oath of allegiance was nothing but a joke and a mockery (page 310). Marchaumont complained to the Queen that his master should thus he made a laughing stock, whereupon "she swore that no such ceremony had been performed, and that the States would not think of doing such a thing until they had informed her," which, says Mendoza, "is all nonsense." Henry III. also repudiated his brother's action as strongly as did the English Queen, and perhaps more sincerely. Both of them were anxious to see how Philip would take it, and Elizabeth seized the opportunity of the late Portuguese minister desiring to take leave (his functions having ceased on the death of the Cardinal-King) to admit Mendoza once more to her presence to introduce him. The interview took place on the 24th February 1582, soon after Alenon's arrival in Flanders, and it is probable that the Queen had already received news of Alenon's investure, although Leicester himself did not arrive until the 26th. In any case his intention of assuming the sovereignty of the States was already public. The Queen received Mendoza coldly, but was anxious to prove to him her impartiality in the matter of Portugal, and Mendoza gave her some particulars of the aid given to Don Antonio in England. Up to this point her manner had been at least polite, but she suddenly changed and harshly told him that this was no time to deal with such matters. Mendoza says that Hatton (who had treated him with marked rudeness when he entered the presence chamber) was standing behind him, and that a sign made by him was probably the reason of the Queen's change of tone. We may be permitted to surmise, however, that when she found that the old Portuguese grievancein which she was sure of the support of Francewas to be the chief cause of complaint, she could afford to be rude. Doubtless her principal fear for the moment was how Philip would regard Alenon's assumption, under her patronage, of the sovereignty of a part of his patrimonial dominions, in which matter if war with Spain had resulted she would have probably found herself alone.
Elizabeth's anxiety in the matter was redoubled a month after this by the reception of the news in the evening of the 20th March that Orange had been shot on the 18th by a Spanish youth. The wound was not mortal, although it was for a long time believed to be so, and the Prince's terrible sufferings are dwelt upon in detail and with great unction by Mendoza, who gives a fuller account of the surgical aspect of the case than I have seen elsewhere. In the first moment of panic it was believed that the affair had been prompted by the treachery of Alenon and the French, and doubtless a wholesale slaughter of the latter would have taken place, but that the wounded prince emphatically repudiated the idea, and said that he was quite sure that the attack had been ordered by Philip (page 328). There is nothing in the correspondence to prove the complicity of Mendoza ; but only the day after the reception of the news in London Pedro de Zubiaur, who had just returned from Flanders, and another Spanish merchant, were arrested as they entered the ambassador's house, on the charge that they were his instruments in the attempt (page 320) ; and Leicester openly declared that the murder had been planned by Mendoza, whom the assassin had, he said, visited a month before. Mendoza was bitterly indignant but powerless, constantly expecting his expulsion, but determined not to provoke it whilst he had the Scotch plot in hand. Whether Mendoza was directly implicated in this attempt upon Orange it is difficult to decide, but he evidently approved of it, and says that the Prince's prolonged sufferings may be looked upon as a judgment of God, who, he says, "was pleased to delay the end in order to punish him with more terrible sufferings than were ever undergone by man" (page 334). Mary Stuart, too, "praised God for this, seeing the advantage which may accrue to His Church and to the King, my brother (Philip), who is now its principal protector" (page 342).
When Philip heard the news of the "Raid of Ruthven," and the flight of Lennox, he saw that the Scotch enterprise was hopeless for a time. Guise was to be conciliated by every means, but it is clear that Philip wished to confine his (Guise's) attention principally to France. He was told how dangerous it would be for him to leave France with his enemies the Huguenots in possession, and was emphatically assured of Spanish support in his own ambitious designs against Alenon and the Bearnais (page 402). Guise was pleased and flattered at so much deference being paid to him, but he could hardly be expected to look upon Scotch affairs entirely from Philip's point of view. The fall of Lennox was rightly ascribed to English intrigue and La Mothe Fnlon was sent to England and Scotland with instructions to warn Elizabeth that the French would aid James VI. if she interfered in Scotland, and to remonstrate with the Scottish Protestant lords for keeping their King in durance. It is probable that the real purpose of La Mothe's mission was to use Scotch affairs as another lever to bring Elizabeth to the marriage with Alenon ; but with La Mothe was associated young De Maineville, who took separate instructions from the Guises to revive the plot for a landing of foreign troops in Scotland. Beaton in Paris was equally eager to keep the matter afoot with Tassis, and Fontenay was sent by Mary to Madrid to urge for armed aid in Scotland. But the conspiracy was already too well known to please Philip. Elizabeth and Ruthven, too, were well warned. Fontenay was therefore stopped at Paris for a time by Tassis, and it is plain from Philip's letters that after Lennox's feeble surrender of power he had lost faith in the enterprise, and only kept up an appearance of negotiation in order to maintain his hold upon the Guises, and to prevent their undertaking anything except under his patronage.
When Lennox arrived in London on his way to France he secretly sent his Secretary to give Mendoza an account of affairs in Scotland and his version of the "Raid of Ruthven." He also acquainted him with the plans he had formed for his own return with James' connivance, and for an invasion of Scotland by foreign troops (page 438). Mendoza, however, like his master, was now distrustful of success, and treated the matter coolly ; and Lennox went to France, where he died in a few months. Mendoza punctually sent to the queen of Scots an account of all that Lennox had told him, and evidently exhibited jealousy that he had been kept in ignorance of the recent negotiations between Guise and Tassis in Paris. Mary in her reply (page 446) complains just as bitterly that she herself has been told nothing, and throws the whole of the blame upon Beaton, of whom she expresses deep distrust. She was distrustful also of Tassis, and for the future decided to carry on the plot exclusively through Morgan and Mendoza, whom she asked Philip to transfer to Paris. Mendoza, for his part, was eager to get away from his unpleasant post in London, and was ceaselessly begging Idiaquez to move the King to withdraw him. He was rapidly going blind of cataract, and was suffering from the effects of the mysterious malady which we now call influenza. Shunned and suspected by the English, and, as usual, kept in the dark as to Philip's designs, he ceased for a short time to be principal pivot upon which turned the plans against England. De Maineville was busy in Scotland making friends and ingratiating himself with James, whose extraordinary duplicity was even thus early the wonder of both the political parties who were competing for his favour (page 455). De Maineville's reports to Guise were not favourable to immediate action in Scotland, and on the 4th May Guise informed Tassis that he had made arrangements to begin operations with the English Catholics. The Queen was first to be murdered and the country raised, but in order to be well prepared beforehand Philip and the Pope must provide him (Guise) at once with 100,000 crowns (pages 464, 475, and 479). A similar message was at the same time sent to the Nuncio in France for his Holiness.
Guise's intrigues were, of course, not ignored in France and England, and the result of the knowledge is seen in the almost simultaneous negotiations opened by Elizabeth, through Beal, at the instance of the French ambassador, for the release of Mary Stuart, on terms which would have disabled her for future harm. Mary asked for Mendoza's opinion on the proposal. He was shocked at the idea, and wrote, as he says, "with all possible artifice" certainly with great circumlocutionto persuade her to remain where she was. To his master he gives his real reason. "Nothing could be more injurious to your Majesty's interests and to the hopes of converting this island, than that the French should get their fingers into the matter through the queen of Scotland, and turn it to their own ends" (page 465). Philip in reply to this asked him whether his objection applied also to the association of the duke of Guise in the affair, he being a Frenchman. To this an interesting reply was sent (page 492), saying that if Guise depended, as he would, entirely upon Spanish support and being a kinsman of Mary, there was no objection to him, but above all Mary must be kept in England. Elizabeth, he says, must be deposed or rendered impotent, which can best be effected whilst the queen of Scotland is in the country.
When Lennox had died and De Maineville had returned to France, Guise saw the present impossibility of effecting the Scotch enterprise by force of arms. Beaton's nephew was sent to Scotland with Spanish and Papal money to bribe some of the nobles, "who are all very venal and may be gained easily by money," and renewed attempts were to be made to convert James ; but Guise's principal plan now turned to a regular invasion of England. His plans however, as usual, were vague and inchoate (page 482), and again too many people were made privy to them. Father Allen and the English Catholic exiles were in deadly earnest, and thought that "all this talk and intricacy were mere buckler play." They could not forget, moreover, their national jealousy of the French and Scots, and "they (the English) suspected a tendency on the part of the Scots to claim a controlling influence in the new empire, and, as the Scots are naturally inclined to the French, they would rather see the affair carried through with but few Spaniards, whilst the English hate this idea, as their country is the principal one ... and should not lose its predominance." This tendency of the English Catholics to cling to the Spaniards alone was eagerly seized by Philip's Ministers, and from this time forward French co-operation even under the auspices of the Guises, was gradually eliminated from the plans of invasion, so far as the English exiles could influence them. The English Jesuits had a plan of their own in competition with that of the Guises ; the English north country was to be raised simultaneously with the landing of a Spanish force in Yorkshire, accompanied by the exiled Catholic nobles under Westmoreland and Dacre, with Allen as Nuncio and bishop of Durham. There was also an extreme Catholic party even in Scotland, led by Lord Seton, who distrusted Henry III. as a King who could not maintain catholicism in his own country, and they made a direct appeal to Philip for aid (page 488).
In the meanwhile, in accordance with an arrangement made with De Maineville before he left Scotland, James had cleverly thrown himself into Falkland, extricated himself from the guardianship of the Protestant lords, and taken the reins of government into his own hands. That he was fully cognisant of Guise's plans, and approved of them, is shown by some characteristic letters from him to the Duke on pages 502 and 517, and a still more extraordinary communication of his to the Pope (page 518). Guise appears finally to have adopted a combination of the plans of the English exiles and his own, and sent a priest named Melino to Rome and Madrid with particulars thereof (page 504). The Spanish forces were to land at Fouldrey, Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire, simultaneously with the raising of the whole of the north of England, and the Scots Catholics on the borders were to join them. Guise himself was to cross the channel with 4,000 or 6,000 men and land in the south of England, and in August 1583 Charles Paget was sent by Guise to England in disguise to ascertain what forces would join him there, and where he could land. One passage particularly in Guise's instructions to Paget is marked by Philip with a note of exclamation and warning, which shows what was then passing in the King's mind. "Assure them (i.e., the English Catholics), on the faith and honour of Hercules (i.e., Guise), that the enterprise is being undertaken with no other object or intention than to re-establish the Catholic religion in England, and to place the queen of Scotland peacefully on the throne of England, which rightly belongs to her. When this is effected the foreigners will immediately retire from the country, and if any one attempts to frustrate this intention Hercules promises that he and his forces will join the people of the country to compel the foreigners to withdraw" (page 806). No wonder, when Philip heard particulars of Guise's plans, he again found that they were not sufficiently matured, and deprecated undue precipitation. He was annoyed, moreover, at the priest Melino having obtained a promise from the Pope to contribute a certain amount to the enterprise. Philip had no idea of allowing any more priestly meddling with his diplomacy, and no doubt had already in his mind the vast projects of the conquest and domination of England on his own account, which he afterwards developed, and for which he expected the Pope would pay. In the meanwhile matters were coming to a crisis with Mendoza in England. His letters for the autumn of 1583 are unfortunately missing, but, on the 26th November 1583, he wrote to the King in a way that proves his deep complicity with Throgmorton's plot. When Charles Paget had come to England from Guise, Francis Throgmorton had been the person through whom he had communicated, and Mendoza was of course informed by Guise and Morgan in Paris of everything that was being arranged. Walsingham, as we now know, had spies everywhere, and patiently awaited the moment to deliver his blow. When it fell in November and Throgmorton was in prison all fingers were pointed at Mendoza as the moving spirit of the plot, and at last a good pretext existed for ignominiously expelling him from England. At first he hoped once more to weather the storm. "Fresh gentlemen," he says, are being seized every day and the Catholics are quite cowed. One paper only was found on Throgmorton, containing a list of the principal ports in England and particulars with regard to them and the chief gentlemen and Catholics dwelling therein. For this they at once carried him to the Tower, and it is feared that his life is in danger, although he informed me by a cipher note, written on a playing card and thrown out of the window, that he denies that the document is in his handwriting, the caligraphy being disguised. He told them that some person had thrown it into his house for the purpose of injuring him, and assures me that he will endure a thousand deaths rather than accuse anyone, which message he begs me to convey to his Catholic friends with whom I was in communication. I have written to the lady in prison, encouraging her and begging her not to grieve over the matter to the detriment of her health, but the business, it may be feared, may imperil her life if the negotiations in France are entirely discovered" (page 510). Tassis in Paris was even less sanguine ; and, notwithstanding the assurance of the English exiles that the arrests in England had no connection with their plans, he feared what the rack might wring out of the prisoners. And with reason ; for Mendoza's activity with the conspirators, and his letters to Queen Mary, were soon proved to the satisfaction of the English Council. On the 19th January 1584 a formal summons for him to attend the Privy Council was delivered to him by Beal, and he was informed that, as his intrigues with Guise, Queen Mary, Northumberland, and Throgmorton were now known, he must leave the country within fifteen days. Mendoza shifted and prevaricated in vain, and, when he saw they were in earnest, assumed a haughty tone, and said he would only be too glad to leave when he had received his master's instructions to do so. They replied that he must not wait for this, but must leave at once, "explaining their past acts with impertinences that I dare not repeat to your Majesty." When they told him he ought to be thankful that the Queen had not punished him, his patience gave way, and the haughty Castilian temper broke out. "As I have apparently failed to please the Queen," he said, "as a minister of peace, she would in future force me to try to satisfy her in war." And he was as good as his word. For the rest of his active life, until blind and broken, the brilliant soldier, diplomatist, and historian was shrouded in the monk's gabardine, Elizabeth and her country had no enemy so bitter, persistent, and rancorous as Bernardino de Mendoza.
The larger plans for the invasion and final subjugation of Great Britain were now developing in the slow mind of Philip, but he must do it in his own time and his own way. There must be no more wide-spread ramifications, no more of Guise's vague management or of priestly blundering, the secret of how, when, and where, all the springs of action, must centre in one cell in the Escorial, and to that point all channels of intelligence must be blindly directed. Facts, information, pledges, were all that Philip demanded, whilst he communicated as little as possible in return. Mendoza was transferred to Paris, and the whole English "enterprise," so far as it was to be managed in England and France, was handed over to him. Before Tassis left for his new post in Flanders, however, he wrote to the King an important memorandum (page 521) strongly advocating the views of the English Catholics that the invasion should be made in the north of England in conjunction with a subsidised rising of Catholics there, in contradistinction to Guise's newly revived plan for a landing first in Scotland, now that hopes were again entertained of James' conversion. But Philip had evidently by this time made up his mind to keep the management of matters in his own hands and to have no more of Guise's meddling. The latter was to be flattered and made much of, but that was all. When the Pope received the appeal of James VI. and Guise for help (page 518) he naturally referred it to Philip saying that he (the Pope) would contribute to the enterprise the sum he had promised in the previous autumn to Guise's envoy Melino. But this did not at all suit Philip's new ideas. The Pope was told that it would be unwise for Guise to leave France, and in any case his going to England with so small a force as he could command would probably end in disaster. "I am not asking his Holiness to do impossibilities, but if anything is to be effected he must contribute very largely, and must find ways and means through his holy zeal to do much more than anyone has yet imagined." The "enterprise of England," in fact, although slowly advancing, was yet distant in Philip's mind, and much had to be laboriously settled before it could be actively undertaken. Time, as he knew, was working in his favour. The English Catholics were daily growing more suspicious of a Scottish domination of England under French auspices, and were drifting closer to the Spanish side. Allen and the jesuits were already saying that they "wanted no other patron than your Majesty" (page 526), and in an intercepted letter from one of Mendoza's spies in England, enclosing an urgent appeal from Mary Stuart that the enterprise should be carried through without delay, the writer in a few pregnant words places before Philip the position, over which, doubtless, he had often pondered. "If she (Mary) perish, as is to be feared, it cannot fail to bring some scandal and reproach upon your Majesty, because as your Majesty after her is the nearest Catholic heir of the blood royal of England, some false suspicion might naturally be aroused at your having abandoned the good Queen to be ruined by her heretical rivals in order to open the door to your Majesty's own advantage" (page 530). As this idea of Philip's own claim to the crown gradually developed, the interference of the French in the affair became more and more dreaded. The French ministers in Paris approached Mendoza in June 1585 with a proposal that France should join in any action that was contemplated against England ; but Philip saw "much artifice behind it all. They would like by this means to free themselves from pressure and embark us upon a business which they who suggest it would afterwards prevent" (page 539). Philip's one remedy for all such approaches was to seek information and pledges from those who made them, and this course was generally effectual. Guise at the same time was constantly warned that he had quite enough to do in France, and "that he would never be safe until he had first dispersed his rivals and broken the Huguenots." Philip's aim clearly was that he should by civil war in France paralyse Henry III. and the Huguenots from interfering in favour of Elizabeth, and render Guise himself powerless to promote the interests in England of his cousin James Stuart. The Vatican especially was the arena of struggle between the two parties with regard to Great Britain. The new Pope Sixtus V. had been raised to the throne by a series of extraordinary intrigues, which ended at last in a compromise. He found his treasury empty and his revenues anticipated, robbery and anarchy rife in the eternal city itself, and the college of Cardinals a nest of corruption. His master-hand soon subdued all to his wise guidance, but during these first years of his papacy the Cardinals who surrounded him ceaselessly pushed the interests of their respective patrons. Medici, d'Este, Gonzaga, Rusticucci, Santorio, and others, were the mouthpieces of the French interest, which sought an arrangement with Elizabeth and James, and desired, above all, to exclude Spanish influence from Great Britain ; Cardinal Sanzio led the party of the Guises, whilst the Secretary of State, Cardinal Caraffa, with Sirleto, Como, and, of course, Allen, were in favour of Philip. Every move of Sanzio to urge that the Pope should consent to no undertaking that did not include Guise ; or of d'Este counselling his Holiness to strive first for the conversion of James by moral pressure, was at once counteracted by Philip's ambassador Olivares or by one of the Spanish cardinals. Sixtus himself leant more to the side of moderation, and had no wish to render Spain politically predominant, but was ambitious, as he said, to signalise his papacy by some great enterprise in favour of the faith. A good specimen of the manner in which he was cajoled by Olivares to bear a great share of the expense of the invasion of England, whilst leaving Philip a free hand, will be found in the important despatch to the King on page 560. No point was missed by the facile diplomatist ; the name of religion was invoked all through as being Philip's sole motive, inconvenient questions were pushed into the background or left indefinite, with the certainty that Caraffa would subsequently define them in a sense favourable to Spain, and above all, the Pope was deceived about Philip's own designs upon the crown of England. "His Holiness is quite convinced that your Majesty is not thinking of the succession of the crown of England for yourself, and told Cardinal d'Este so, as I relate further on. I did not say anything to the contrary. He is very far from thinking that your Majesty has any views for yourself, and when the matter is broached to him he will be much surprised. "However deeply he is pledged to abide by your Majesty's opinion, I quite expect he will raise some difficulty," (page 563). It was only after persistent chaffering, and with much misgiving, that Sixtus at last pledged himself to Olivares to contribute one million crowns to the Armada, leaving Philip untrammelled with inconvenient conditions. This was the main point for which the King had been waiting, and now the preparations for the Armada were undertaken in earnest. Mendoza's principal function in Paris was to keep up a constant stream of intelligence from England. The false Portuguese who surrounded Don Antonio sent news to their friends in Spanish pay in France ; the English exiles who lived in Paris and elsewhere on Philip's bounty were unceasing in providing information about England ; Morgan in the Bastile was still able to keep up an active correspondence, fatal as it turned out, with queen Mary ; pretended Flemish Protestants, and Spanish agents in the French embassy in London often sent secret notes to Mendoza. But Philip was insatiable for information about Drake, Raleigh, Grenville, and Cavendish, and drove his ambassador to the verge of desperation, at times when every port was watched by Walsingham's spies, and when, as one of his informants says, "not even a strange fly can enter an English seaport without its being noticed." Charles Arundell, who had fled with Lord Paget to France on the arrest of Throgmorton, came to Tassis before the latter left Paris, and suggested that he could bribe the new English ambassador, Sir Edward Stafford. When Philip was informed of this he expressed his incredulity and the matter dropped, but after Mendoza was well established in his post Arundell, who had already given him several items of information, proposed again to buy over Stafford, and the bargain was effected. Thenceforward, whilst Stafford remained ambassador in France, such English diplomacy as passed through him was no secret from Mendoza and his master.
But Mendoza was burning to revenge himself for the personal indignities he had suffered at the hands of Elizabeth and her ministers, and the transmission of endless information failed to satisfy his active rancour. He became in Paris, as he was in London, the centre of all plots against the Queen, and, as he more than once explains, he had no misgiving about it now, for Leicester was at war against Spain in Flanders with the Queen's troops, and Elizabeth had assumed the protection of Philip's patrimonial dominions. She was consequently at open hostility with his master, and he might fairly seek her destruction.
On the 12th of May 1586 he wrote with his own hand to Idiaquez, the King's secretary, that a person (Ballard) had been sent to him from England to advise him that four courtiers had sworn to kill the Queen, either by poison or steel, and to beg for Philip's countenance and support after the deed was done. Not another living soul but Mendoza was to know of it (page 579). This was the first word of the Babington plot, and Mendoza gave to the priest, Ballard, who brought the message, only a diplomatic and general answer until the plans were more advanced. So the matter remained for two months. In the meanwhile at the end of June, Mendoza received the important letter from Mary Stuart (page 581), which is already known to historical students. The unhappy woman was hastening to her doom. She had been for eighteen months almost shut off from communication with her friends, but at last Morgan had again devised a means of conveying letters, and the first use she had made of it was to entrust William Paget with a mission. She proposed that Philip should take her entirely under his protection, and she would by will disinherit her son (of whose conversion she saw but little hope), and leave her rights to the crown of England to Philip, "considering the public welfare of the Church before the private aggrandisement of my posterity." On the day that this letter was deciphered Mendoza had undergone an operation for cataract, but blind and ill as he was, he dictated a letter which was sent off post haste to the King, in which he did not fail to attribute to his own efforts the important resolution at which the Queen had arrived (page 586).
Philip and the English Catholics were thus getting their own way in all things, whilst Guise, Beaton, and the Scottish Catholics were taking a subordinate place in the scheme. This of course did not please them, and they made another attempt to take the lead, which was within an ace of being successful, and nearly changed the whole plan of the Armada. On the 16th July 1586 Guise wrote to Mendoza (page 589) saying that for a long time he had been laying the foundation of an enterprise, to which at last he had brought the Scottish Catholic lords to agree. Beaton was charged to tell Mendoza what this scheme was. Huntly, Morton, and Claude Hamilton had sent a Catholic gentleman named Robert Bruce to France with three signed blank sheets of letter paper which Guise was to fill up over the signatures with letters to Philip, appealing to him to come to the aid of the Scottish Catholics. Bruce was then to go with the letters and a recommendation from Guise to Madrid, and to present to the King the demands and conditions of the Scottish nobles. A copy of Bruce's instructions sent to Mendoza will be found on page 590, where it will be seen that the nobles undertake to restore catholicism, release James and his mother, compel the former to become a Catholic, and bind himself to Spain. But the most tempting offer was "to deliver into his Majesty's hands at once, or when his Majesty thinks fit, one or two good ports in Scotland near the English border, to be used against the queen of England." In return for all this they only asked for 6,000 foreign troops paid for a year to enable them to withstand the queen of England, and 150,000 crowns to equip Scottish soldiers. For secrecy and safety Bruce went to Spain by a circuitous route without passing through Paris, and does not appear to have arrived in Madrid until September. In the meanwhile the Babington plot was ripening in England. Mendoza's vague but sympathetic message to the conspirators in May had encouraged them to sound the principal Catholics in the country, and already the plot had spread its ramifications all over England. Gifford arrived in Paris in August, and gave Mendoza full particulars of the whole business. The information was sent to the King (page 603), and by it and the accompanying statement we may see that the conspiracy was far more widespread and dangerous even than has usually been acknowledged. There was hardly a Catholic gentleman, or even a "schismatic," who was not more or less implicated ; and Philip's curt autograph notes on the document demonstrate characteristically his distrust and disbelief in the success of a plot known to so many personsand above all to those who were not strict Catholics. It is true that Gifford told Mendoza that only six courtiers, with Babington, and two of the principal leaders, were privy to the intended murder of the Queen, but Philip expresses his disbelief of this. Mendoza, however, for once, allowed his hatred of Elizabeth to overcome his prudence, and wrote a strong letter to the conspirators, approving of their plan "as one worthy of spirits so Catholic, and of the ancient valour of Englishmen" (page 606). "If they succeeded in killing the Queen," he said, "they should have the assistance they required from the Netherlands, and the assurance that your Majesty would succour them." Mendoza went even beyond this, and urged them to seize Don Antonio and his adherents, to capture the Queen's ships, and to kill Cecil, Walsingham, Hunsdon, Knollys, and Beal. Even Philip, who cannot be accused of undue scrupulousness as to the sacrifice of life, remarked in a marginal note that it did not matter about killing Cecil, "as he is very old ... and has done no harm."
Philip's reply is very characteristic (page 614). The affair is so much "in God's service that it certainly deserves to be supported, and we must hope that our Lord will prosper it, unless our sins are an impediment thereto." He for his part will do all that is asked of him, as soon as "the principal execution" is effected. Above all that should be done swiftly. "They are cutting their own throats if they delay or fail, and you will therefore urge despatch and caution, upon which all depends." Philip very rarely reproved his agents, but, in this case, he blamed Mendoza for his outspoken letters to the conspirators, and evidently feared the effect of such widespread knowledge of the plot. He went to the length of keeping it even from Parma, by sending to Mendoza two letters for the Prince, one to instruct him to prepare the forces to be sent to England, but without telling him their destination, and the other to be sent after the Queen's murder, giving him final orders. The King's letter was written on the 6th September, but before Mendoza received it the bubble had burst, and Walsingham's heavy hand, long poised, had pounced upon the conspirators. The priest, Ballard, who had first gone to Mendoza in May, had confessed on the rack what had passed at their interview. All the unfortunate Mary's letters had been intercepted and copied, and what Walsingham called, "the most deeply rooted conspiracy which had been formed in her Majesty's time" was detected and defeated. In Mendoza's letter to the King of 10th September (page 623) on this subject he rather enigmatically refers to Raleigh as one of the six courtiers who had sworn to assassinate the Queen. On the face of it this would appear incredible, but it is certain that early in the following year offers of service were made to Philip by Raleigh, particulars of which will be included in the next volume of this Calendar. In the same letter Mendoza says, "I am of opinion that the queen of Scotland must be well acquainted with the whole affair, to judge from the contents of a letter which she has written to me" (pages 624 and 629). If the letter referred to by Mendoza was that of 27th July (page 596) or of 2nd August (598), there does not appear to be any warrant in either of them for the assertion that Mary was actually cognisant of the intention to assassinate Elizabeth. That she was fully aware, and was the guiding spirit of, the "enterprise" of England is, of course, undoubted, and her correspondence with Babington, Morgan's letter of 29th June (Hatfield MSS.), and Nau's declarations, seem to prove that she must have had a very strong suspicion, at least, of the design against the person of the Queen. Her own solemn and persistent denial of such knowledge, and the absence of direct proof of it, would certainly tend to show that her profound diplomacy and caution, of which many instances are given in this Calendar, caused her to avoid any positive statement to or by her, of Babington's intentions in this respect. On the discovery of the plot Mendoza at once concluded that Mary's life was in danger, and this fear was also felt in the French Court. Instructions were therefore sent to the French ambassador to take such steps as he considered necessary in Mary's favour. The already much-talked of Spanish naval preparations, the approval given by Mendoza to Babington's plot, and the recent arrival of Drake with the spoils of the West Indies, had made Henry III. fearful that Elizabeth could not avoid war with Spain, and he was chary of pledging himself too deeply to her. The English Catholic exiles in Paris were therefore secretly warned by Villeroy to disappear for a time to avoid arrest at the instance of Stafford, who himself doubtless gave prior information of his instructions in this respect.
The repeated failures of Catholic conspiracies in England had now made Philip distrustful of effecting the "enterprise" except with overwhelming forces of his own. When, therefore, Robert Bruce submitted to him the proposals of the Scottish lords he was full of vague sympathy, and sent the envoy back to Paris "with fair words" in plenty, but with the suggestion, which he knew was impracticable, that the Pope should find the money. He was not anxious, moreover, for Guise's co-operation outside of France, although it was less to be dreaded than formerly, now that James was disinherited by his mother, and was a confirmed "heretic." At the same time the Scottish offer of two safe ports near the English border was a tempting one, and not to be cast aside hastily, so Parma and Mendoza were instructed to report to him fully as to the advantages of the scheme, whilst Bruce, Guise, and the Scottish nobles were "to be kept in hand." In accordance with these instructions, Mendoza wrote, on the 15th October 1586, to Parma strongly urging that the offers of the Scots should be sympathetically entertained in order that they might afford a diversion in Philip's favour when he invaded England, but that their strength should be ascertained by a series of inquiries to clear up doubtful points before definite pledges were given to them. Cautious Parma would not, however, go even so far as this until he knew what were Philip's intentions with regard to England. He thought the plan would fail unless it were part of a concerted scheme of invasion. He would appear to have been somewhat resentful at his having been kept in the dark as to Philip's ultimate plans (page 664), and this feeling may possibly in part account for his extraordinary behaviour when the Armada at last appeared. Parma's cool irresponsiveness had more than once been objected to by Mendoza, and his reply on this occasion was almost vehemently combated in an extremely sagacious State Paper written to the King on 24th December (page 681). By inquiry from Bruce, on his return to Paris, Mendoza had satisfied all his doubts, and was now hotly in favour of the scheme. His arguments in favour of the invasion of England being undertaken through Scotland, read by our knowledge of the disaster of the Armada, sound almost prophetic. "It is of advantage to the English that they should rather be attacked by a force which needs great sea fleets for its transport and maintenance, both on account of the immense sums of money which must be spent on such an expedition, and the great quantity of material and time necessary, as well as the many opportunities which occur during the delay and preparation for impeding the progress of such armaments. They are also subject to much greater disasters than are land armies, for in most cases the mere death of the leader is sufficient to frustrate their design ... and, in the event of the loss of a great fleet, the owner sees himself bereft at one blow of forces, ships, and guns, for they are things hard to replace." It is plain now that, all through this able document, the old soldierthe last of the disciples of Alba, as he calls himselfwas right in his appreciations, and that Philip made a fatal mistake in not following his advice.
But whilst all this was being discussed, the fate of Mary Stuart was trembling in the balance. After the execution of Babington and his accomplices (of which some curious detail is given on page 641), Sir Edward Stafford stated to Henry III. the heads of the indictment against Mary, and the King begged him to use his influence in her favour. But shortly afterwards Henry Wotton was sent on a special mission, as Mendoza says, to alienate French sympathy from Mary by showing how entirely she was wedded to the Spaniards, and that she had by her will left the crown of England to Philip. Wotton took with him also the draft of Mary's letter to Mendoza indicating Philip as her successor, and a letter from her to Babington, with such other compromising papers as were likely to incense the French against her. In reply, Henry said that he would send his Minister Bellivre to England to address Elizabeth on the subject, but neither Mendoza nor his master believed for a moment that Henry and his mother really desired to save Mary, or that Elizabeth meant to sacrifice her, but that Bellivre was to use the pretext in order to put pressure upon the English Queen to reconcile Henry of Navarre and Cond with the King, whilst Elizabeth's supposed design was ostensibly to sell Mary Stuart's life to the French in exchange for favourable terms of alliance against Spain (pages 660 and 680), and the lukewarm tone of Bellivre's address to the Queen tends strongly to show that the Spaniards were right (page 691). Up to the date when this volume closes, indeed the general opinion out of England seems to have been that Mary's life at least would not be forfeited. That such was not the opinion in England is seen in the letter of the Portuguese spy, Vega (page 676) ; and long afterwards, when the unhappy Queen was in her grave, Mendoza received her touching letter, dated 23rd November, written after her condemnation to death, by which it is clear that she herself had no hope that her life would be spared (page 663). Surely a letter more sad or more beautiful than this has rarely been penned. Whatever the crimes of the unhappy woman may have been, the noble resignation, the queenly dignity, the plaintive gratitude which the letter expresses, go far to explain the secret of the extraordinary fascination she exercised upon those who came in contact with her. She clearly regarded herself as a martyr for the Church and faith she clung to so steadfastly. With the fear of immediate death before her eyes, with the sounds, as she thought, of the erection of her death scaffold in the next room ringing in her ears, she denounced as a "great falsehood" the assertion of her accusers that she had plotted their Queen's death, "For I have never attempted such a thing, but have left it in the hands of God and the Church to order in this island matters concerning religion."
Thus closes the year 1586, with Mary Stuart waiting hourly for her death, with the French and Scottish envoys trying to buy her life as cheaply as possible, whilst Elizabeth sought to sell it at the highest price she could get for it ; with the Spanish dockyards already busy with the preparations for the great Armada, whilst the armed privateers, which were to defeat it, were cowing Spanish commerce on every sea. The recluse of the Escorial was still for ever asking for informationmore information, more reports,securing himself absolutely, on paper, whilst other men, and above all women, were acting with the energy, agility, and decision, which had already damaged, but eventually were to ruin, him and his cause for ever.