Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 3, 1580-1586. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1896.
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109. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
In accordance with your Majesty's orders in the despatch of 28th May, I have communicated to the heads of the Catholics here the favourable reception you have given to their request ; this has been a great consolation and encouragement in the persecution which afflicts them so heavily, and they hope that God will, through your hands, extricate them from their cares. I understand they have written to his Holiness on the matter, and they will, on their part, do their best to maintain the Cardinals. From what I can gather, I believe it will be of the greatest advantage in converting this kingdom, for them to see their own countrymen in such a high position, and it seems as if God himself had inspired them to beg this favour of you, although they did it so timidly that they feared even that I would refuse to send the petition to your Majesty.
In pursuance of the Act of Parliament they have made inquiries in the parishes of London as to those who absent themselves from church, and they find that 1,500 people refuse absolutely to attend. In addition to these, there a great number schismatics, who listen to their preachings, although they know they are false, rather than incur the penalty, although this place is more infested with heretics than any in England. Some of the imprisoned Catholics are allowed to go to their homes, but under such terrible conditions that they prefer to remain in prison. The first is that they should pledge themselves to go to the preachings once a month, under penalty of 20l. for each time they fail ; second, that they may not go more than three miles from their homes ; third, that they are not to converse with any other Catholic, even though he be a relative ; fourth, that they are to have no Catholic servant, and they may not even converse with any clergyman or other person who may have come from Rome, nor may they harbour or associate with any one who may have given shelter to such a man. All this is to be punished as high treason, but nevertheless God allows the same to happen here as we read of in the early Church, and there are people, even though they be heretics, who are so faithful to the many priests who are here in disguise that, for their sakes, they disregard wives, children, and possessions, saying that they are good people and they will not betray them. There has not been a man hitherto who has denounced any of them as Catholics.
The viceroy of Ireland has been in treaty through the earl of Ormond for the reconciliation of a gentleman who had taken up arms. Ormond had pledged his word, on behalf of the Viceroy, that he should be pardoned when he presented himself. The Viceroy, distrusting him, placed an ambuscade of 300 men on the road by which he had to pass. This being discovered by the gentleman's troops they attacked them, and the Viceroy with the rest of his men came to the help of his ambuscade. But the Irishmen fought with such fury that the Viceroy had to retire with the loss of over 200 men and part of his baggage. If it had not been for Captain Fuller (?), an Englishman who held the rear guard and was wounded, not a man of the Viceroy's force would have escaped. Ormond is much annoyed that, under shelter of his word, such a thing should have been done, and he is on bad terms with the Queen's people. Lord Grey is said to be so unpopular that the Queen thought of recalling him, but Leicester and his party, being as great heretics as he is, have insisted upon his retention, and have persuaded her to send another general pardon. The Queen has written to France, offering a large sum of money if they (the French) will openly break with your Majesty whilst she stands on the expectant. She has news that the king of France had seen Alençon, which has caused her much surprise and increased her suspicions about Scotland.—London, 4th July 1581.
110. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
On the 26th ultimo I informed your Majesty that I had requested audience, in consequence of the suspicions I entertained that Don Antonio had arrived here. At the end of my last audience the Queen was very gracious, and told me that, when I saw her next time, I could speak to her of the various other affairs. Since then some other Ministers have altered her so that the reply she sent to me was a refusal, in a very different tone, the earl of Sussex giving the message to my servant publicly. In consequence of this I determined to have no more pros and cons through third persons, because I see that their method is simply to talk nonsense and then repudiate what they say, throwing the blame on the messengers. I judged that the change had been brought about by Leicester, Hatton, and Walsingham, who are those most interested in Drake's robberies, and endeavour to persuade her not to allow a Minister from your Majesty at her Court, as she had none resident in yours. I therefore resolved to write her a letter, copy of which I enclose, conceived in the same spirit as her answer to me, so that she might be obliged to show it to her Council, where, I was sure, some of the members would point out to her the danger she was running in refusing to receive me, and thus irritating your Majesty. Cecil, particularly, who is the person upon whom the Queen depends in matters of importance, had seen me a few days before, and had said how sorry he was that these things should occur, and that he should be unable to remedy them, as he was sure that I could not avoid being offended. I told him that I had fallen ill in consequence of the message sent to me.
My secretary handed her the letter at the end of last month, when she was coming from hunting at Eltham, in a very good humour, Marchaumont, Leicester, and Hatton being with her. She seated herself and read it twice over, and it was generally noticed that it caused her to look very sad. Hatton replied to the man who delivered it that if, in consequence of my own health, or any private reason connected with your Majesty's interests, I wished for my passports, the Queen would give them to me, but that, for her part, she had not the slightest desire that I should leave her Court or that she should break with your Majesty. He told him to return the next day for a reply as to when I could have audience. They ultimately fixed the audience for 3 o'clock, but as soon as the servant had gone this fickle folk sent after him to call him back in a great hurry. They made him wait for an hour, whilst they hastily held another council, the result of which was that they confirmed the reply which they had given him.
The Queen received me in her private chamber, to which I was conducted by a secret staircase. She ordered the room to be cleared of all but Leicester, Sussex, Hatton, and Walsingham, and her first words were that it was not much to expect your Majesty to write to her giving some satisfaction about Ireland, this being said in the course of a long speech to me. I replied that she should recollect that she had, through me, sent a letter to your Majesty last July on that matter, and that your Majesty had commanded me to reply thereto that the affair really concerned the Pope alone. I had for the second time requested audience, saying that I had fresh letters from your Majesty for the purpose of giving her this reply and for other business, this being at the end of October last, and to my request she had sent a reply that she would not receive me or any other of your Majesty's Ministers until she had thoroughly investigated what troops had gone to Ireland, and whether they went by your Majesty's orders. This message was confirmed by the two secretaries on the 22nd October when they came to see me, and I had therefore given her time to make such inquiries. She immediately called Sussex and Walsingham, and began to speak loudly to them, saying that she had not sent such a message, and called Walsingham to witness that she had said that, until I could tell her something about the matter in your Majesty's name, she would not receive me, and she thought that she had not done me any disservice in keeping silent with regard to the answer I had given her, which she considered was prejudicial to your Majesty's interests, as she believed your Majesty would also think. I replied that if I had failed in my duty to your Majesty, I had a head to pay for it, and although, as your Majesty's Minister, I was bound to render an account of my actions, God had granted me such an honourable descent that this alone would prevent me from failing in my duty to my King, if for no other reason but to leave unsullied the escutcheons of Coru˜a (fn. 1) and 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 the things that were done in their interest, and I said that it was no small service that I had rendered her to await her pleasure so long. I reminded her that at the last audience I had said, in answer to her interrogation as to the capacity in which I spoke, that I spoke as your Majesty's Minister. She said that ambassadors often invented fictions out of their own heads for the purpose of their mission, to which I replied that I always spoke the truth, as she had seen during the three years that I had been here, and I would on no account say a thing in my capacity as Minister which was not in accordance with my instructions. If, I said, I had no such instructions, I was not such a simpleton as to be unable to say that I knew nothing about the matter.—London, 4th July 1581.
111. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In addition to the conversation reported in the enclosed letter, the Queen asked me during the audience, what I had to say to her in virtue of the letters which I had received from your Majesty. I signified that I had heard of Don Antonio's arrival here, and repeated your Majesty's instructions to me with regard to his arrest and surrender. She thereupon summoned the Councillors to hear what I said. She asked me how it was possible that your Majesty could know that he had arrived here, to which I replied that as his agent, Juan Rodriguez de Souza, had from the first been so much caressed by her, it might well he supposed that when Don Antonio embarked at St. Ubes he would come hither. She wished thereupon to know the dates of the letters I had at the time that I had asked for the first audience, and where your Majesty was at the time. I told her that they were dated on the 28th of May, but that that morning I had others dated at Villafranca on the 12th ultimo, which was partly true, as with the duplicate of that of the 28th I had received a note from Don Juan de Idiaquez of that date, although I said it was from your Majesty. She replied that she knew couriers ran, but she was sure they did not fly, and that what I said was impossible. I pointed out to her that, from the 12th of one month to the 5th of another, was 21 days, and that it was nothing miraculous for a courier to come from Lisbon hither in 14 days. Don Antonio had not been in such a hurry to come to England that advice could not arrive of his departure from Portugal, as he embarked on a Flemish sloop at St. Ubes, and, on approaching the coast of England, offered them two hundred crowns to be put on shore at Plymouth. After having been some days in Calais, he embarked for Dover on the 22nd ultimo. I said I was not so thoughtless as to speak to her on the matter unless I was sure he was here ; they might tell her any man was Don Antonio, but that would not do for me, as I knew him by sight. She said that, as I gave so many particulars, he might be in her country, but that your Majesty had entertained the earl of Westmoreland, who was her rebel subject, and had taken part in the duke of Norfolk's rising with the intention of depriving her of her crown and giving it to the queen of Scotland. Notwithstanding that she had many times written to your Majesty about it, Westmoreland had not only been received but maintained and pensioned. She said she did not know yet whether she should help Don Antonio or not, but she would not arrest or surrender anyone to be killed ; and, if she did not think fit to give him up, she would not be the first who had broken the treaties of alliance she had with your Majesty. Whereupon I repeated the formal words, as I had been ordered, calling upon her to fulfil the engagements to which she was bound. She replied that such a request could not be made verbally by the ambassador, which view, if I mistake not, was founded on Article 5 of the general treaty, which says that any demand for the surrender of a rebel or outlaw shall be made by letter, and that, within a month of its presentatioon, the prince shall expel him from the country on 15 days'notice ; and if not, may proceed against him as if he were a rebel against the country in which he had taken refuge. If this be the case, it would be well for your Majesty to have a written demand sent for the surrender of Don Antonio, because, even though she may not consent to fulfil the treaties, it will be a great check upon her aiding him in any other way. When I was in the Netherlands in the time of the Grand Commander (Requesens) a similar matter was discussed on your Majesty's behalf, when it was advanced that, if the persons declared to be rebels by this Queen were expelled from those States, they might be properly received in your other dominions, as the treaties were only with the House of Burgundy, whereupon this Queen's envoys replied that the treaties did not refer to one but to all of your kingdoms, as the clauses stated that such rebels could not be received in any of your territories. I thought well to state this point to your Majesty, and to say that in the treaty with Portugal the matter was not mentioned. Antonio de Castillo tells me moreover that there is no treaty in the Tower of Tombo touching upon the matter, so that Don Antonio must be demanded by virtue of the treaty with the Low Countries.
He is here ; and although they say that the Bishop de la Guardia came with him, the signs do not confirm this, as the oldest man in the company is tall and thin and wears glasses, and may therefore be Diego Botello. I am quite certain about Don Antonio, even if the Queen had not confessed it, as I have seen a person who has spoken to him. The rest of them have changed their names and keep close, like their master. When they passed through Rochester he went to see the Queen's ships, and gave the man who took him only once round in a boat, 40 crowns, and 4 to the oarsmen. I do not hear that he brings much money or jewels, as they have had even to supply him with shirts here. There are six or eight men with him, for whom cloths and silks have been brought for clothing, part being paid for in cash and the rest owing, a thousand crowns being all that has been spent hitherto. The Queen has had him lodged two miles from Greenwich at a place called Stepney in the house of an alderman who was Lord Mayor (fn. 2) last year. I understand that Leicester and Hatton went there to see him, at night, when the Queen was at Eltham, at the end of last month, and he went secretly to see her the next day. In the afternoon he was with Leicester and Walsingham ; and Captains Drake, Winter, and Hawkins, who are pirates and seamen, were present, and a conversation took place about their going to the island (Terceira?) encouraged by the hopes which Don Antonio held out to them. The matter of the succour has been dealt with very energetically in consequence of the arrival here of a ship with letters from St. Michael, dated 11th ultimo, from the Bishop of Angra for Antonio de Castillo : saying that the Terceira people are still obstinate, having refused to admit the Governor sent by your Majesty with a general pardon for all, excepting only the Mayor of the island and two other persons. The other islands have submitted to your Majesty, and the English sailors who come in the ship confirm this. They are determined to send help thither at once in four vessels which Winter had got ready to go with Drake, which are now at Plymouth ready to sail. I told the Queen, in order to alarm her, about the galleons and troops which your Majesty had ordered to be sent to Terceira and I am doing my best to stop the sending of this succour, although I cannot imagine by what artifice I can contend with these people, as I find them different every day ; their venom being such that they only think of troubling your Majesty by every means. Notwithstanding all my efforts, the only thing I succeed in doing is to retard somewhat the execution of their designs, and this gives me time to advise your Majesty and for a remedy to be adopted, or for events to change. In order to stop their fury in sending assistance to the Indies, it is important that your Majesty should instantly write to the Queen regarding the surrender of Don Antonio, sending the letter hither with all speed. Although I have known that Don Antonio was here for five or six days, I have delayed writing until I sent an account by this special courier of what passed at my audience.
The Earl of Leicester went this morning to see Don Antonio, and told him what had passed between the Queen and me. He (Antonio) said that he was at Tomar at the coronation of your Majesty, and the taking of the oath of allegiance to the prince ; and that he had spent 20,000 crowns upon those who concealed him and contrived his escape, which he said was most difficult and dangerous, as he was being hotly pursued. All this is only to persuade them that he has many adherents in Portugal, although he confesses that the duke of Alba pressed him so closely that he could hide himself no longer, and he therefore had to escape under such perilous conditions.—London, 4th July 1581.
112. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I wrote on the 4th instant by special messenger an account of what had passed with the Queen about the surrender of Don Antonio. I hear that he and his people say that they were hidden for a long time in St. Ubes, before they embarked, and had left Bishop de la Guardia there. The men who accompany him, are known are Manuel de Silva and Diego Botello. It is said that after they had sailed they were nearly forced back to port again by contrary winds, and although Don Antonio had not disclosed himself to the ship master, when he saw his determination to put back, he had him told who he was ; and four hundred crowns were given to him not to return to St. Ubes or to any of your Majesty's territories. He was also promised a perpetual pension of 2,000 crowns if Don Antonio was successful. The master thereupon made great efforts to keep at sea, and brought him to a port between Boulogne and Calais, where he landed, and the Dutch sloop continued her voyage. Antonio then went to Calais, and this gave rise to the idea that he had come all the way by land. He is now here publicly, as any one may see him, although the Portuguese avoid him unless they are forced to meet him by the rest. He has sent one of the servants who came with him, to Vimioso in France ; and is trying to insure there, at Antwerp, and here, 200,000 crowns which it is said are coming for Don Antonio in two ships, from the island of Terceira, in the name of an Italian merchant, with whom Vimioso has made an arrangement. Although I have tried my best to discover the name of this Italian, and what is the amount of the loan, I have been unable to find out anything, which makes me believe that it is all a fiction, and that they will lose the ships and claim the amount. There will be some difficulty about this, however, there being but few merchants who would insure it, as they know little of Don Antonio, and he could hardly pay them the premium in cash, as is usual in some places, and this would amount, on the 200,000 crowns, to at least 25,000.
There is also some talk of his giving letters of marque against your Majesty's subjects, and to leave here with a fleet, of which a statement is now enclosed. He has already paid in cash for three or four of the ships, and has agreed for the fleet to be ready on the tenth of next month, which is hard to believe, notwithstanding that the Queen may assist him warmly. I cannot help suspecting that when they put to sea they will rather go to the coast of Brazil, than anywhere else, as Don Antonio says that there are no forces there to withstand him. He signifies to the Queen, and to Leicester and Walsingham, who manage the business, that he left more than a million in money and jewels hidden in the hand of his friends in Portugal, and I gather from certain ambiguous words that it is in St. Ubes and Oporto, and may be transported with ease in small skiffs, and then sent overland.
Certain Englishmen and Portuguese are going over in vessels being sent for cargoes of oranges ; they are to serve as spies and take letters, and it will be to your Majesty's interests that every ship from France or England should be strictly overhauled on arrival, and the persons on board examined, with the letters they bear. Two days since Don Antonio sent a Fleming, who is very well versed in Portuguese and Spanish, to Lisbon with letters. I have not discovered particulars about him, as my informant only saw the money and despatch given to him at night time in the house Gonzalo Jorge who is the father-in-law of Dr. Lopez, and helps Don Antonio and Souza. This Gonzalo Jorge corresponds with a son of his called Jacob Anes (fn. 3) who is married in Lisbon, as well as with Henry and Paul Sebastian, Portuguese. This man will probably take letters for some of them, as I am told that letters have already passed through Jacob Anes to Don Antonio and Souza. An Englishman named Botolph Holder who lives in Lisbon will say who these persons are. He has sent many letters from Don Antonio under cover to Wilson, and as he has therefore offended since the general pardon, he will deserve punishment. Another Flemish lad bred in the Azores has also been sent by Don Antonio with letters to Terceira.
I understand the Queen gave a draft for 5,000l. a week ago, which I am assured is for the purpose of fitting out this fleet, and munitions are being secretly brought from the Tower for the same. Leicester has sent his silver plate to Don Antonio for his use, and said that the King Don Antonio was very welcome to England, as from what he, Leicester, understood, he had a better right to the crown than your Majesty, and would find in England 100,000 men willing to help him in his claim. He said that there was no question of treaty rights in the matter, as a King was not a rebel, and your Majesty could therefore not claim him. Don Antonio very frequently sees the Queen, and Walsingham instantly sends to him any news they get from Portugal. Although I pointed out to the Queen what a good opportunity she now had of obliging your Majesty by surrendering Don Antonio, and how important it was to her that no help should be given to him here, such is the insolence and arrogance of the Queen and these people that I cannot describe the effrontry with which they speak of it. I have represented this to Cecil and to other ministers with every possible artifice, and have done everything that a human being can, but as they receive and welcome Don Antonio as publicly as if they were doing nothing against your Majesty, it will be necessary to treat the Queen in a different way ; and it will be well for your Majesty to write to her making this clear. Up to the present, she has not imagined that your Majesty would resent anything she thinks fit to do, on her bare assurance that she knows nothing of the matter, and says that your Majesty has more need of England than of any one else. Besides this helping of Don Antonio, not a day passes without boat loads of Englishmen going over to Holland. The Ghent people have taken from here 4,000 crowns worth of cast iron artillery, and when I complain they tell me that the Queen considers the States her friends.
They have sent John Hawkins to Plymouth, Drake and Souza accompanying him for one day on the journey in order to expedite the succour for Terceira. From the latter place there arrived here on the 8th a ship loaded with sugar, and with her one of those mentioned on the 12th May as having gone from here with powder and munitions, which she discharged there. They report that Esteban Ferreira de Mello, (fn. 4) and his son-in-law, who had been released from prison in Lisbon by your Majesty in consideration of the services they promised to render as natives of the island, had arrived at Terceira on the 13th ultimo. They were met by a French ship with 50 Frenchmen, which the Mayor of Angra had sent out for the purpose, with orders to capture them. This was done and the Mayor delivered them to a French captain there that he might take them over to France in his caravel and surrender them to Don Antonio, and if he were not there to Brito Pimentel, who sent the French ship to Terceira. The caravel bringing these Portuguese was sighted near the English coast by one of the ships which arrived here, and Ferreira and his son-in-law told another Portuguese on board that they were taking them to Nantes. I have advised Juan Bautista de Tassis of this, to try and get them released, as they were serving your Majesty.
The arrest which I obtained of the property of the Terceira Portuguese at Lyme, was raised as soon as Don Antonio arrived, by a private letter from the Queen's attorney, notwithstanding the injustice of the proceeding, as an attorney on my behalf will prove to them, it being against the laws of the land as the debt for which the embargo had been placed was acknowledged. It was ordered that, even if the goods were not detained, the embargo should only be raised on surety being given, but they decided that the embargo should be raised unconditionally, to the surprise even of the Judge of the Admiralty himself, who said that it was a manifest injustice. This will prove how they help Don Antonio's interests, and I have no doubt that he will get possession of this property.—London, 14th July 1581.
113. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
As soon as I had my last audience with the Queen, some of the London merchants asked me to give them passports to send ships with goods to Spain. I told them, that until I saw the form in which the Queen was going to restore Drake's plunder, I would give none, as I understood that unless it were promptly and wholly restored, your Majesty would accede to the request of the Consulate at Seville and order the seizure of all English goods, without detention of persons, to recoup the loss of Spanish property. They went and told Walsingham that if I would not give them a passpart as usual they could not safely send their ships and merchandise to Spain ; and, as this was the time when the wine harvest was being prepared for them, they wished to know whether the Queen was going to do justice in Drake's affair, as, without my passport, they would not send their ships to Spain. He told them to do very little trade this year, and they replied that they would not do either little or much, excepting on the guarantee of the Queen and Council, and all the merchants trading with Spain would meet and tell him so. He ordered them not to discuss the subject until they received a further answer from him, and said that the Queen would appoint Commissioners to examine the documents I had against Drake. My reply has had a great effect upon the merchants, who have also set the sailors saying that they should like to know how they are to live, if trade with Spain is stopped. This is the only way to make the Queen restore the plunder, and I have therefore adopted it. If this fails your Majesty should order the arrest of all English goods, that the loss may be recouped, which is of the greatest importance at this time, as those who persuade the Queen to keep the booty argue that with this money she may keep your Majesty at war for two or three years ; and then a peace may be made in which in all she has done against you will be forgotten ; whereas if there be no war in the meanwhile, her offences against you cannot be passed over. They think that upon this plea the Queen will keep the plunder, and that Drake's principals will get most of it.—London, 14th July 1581.
114. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Since I sent my last intelligence about Scotland the King has convoked Parliament for the 16th proximo, and has summoned thither the earl of Angus, Lord Carmichael, (and) the two bastard sons of the Regent Morton, for the purpose of their exculpating themselves from the following four accusations, namely, that they were accomplices in the murder of the King, that they attempted by force to release Morton from Dumbarton Castle, that they fortified Tantallon Castle, which was the King's property, and that they confederated with the earl of Huntingdon, Hunsdon, Thomas Randolph and Robert Bowes, to capture the King and dispose of his person. They are to free themselves of these charges or the King will hold them as rebels and traitors to his person and realm. Most of them are on the borders of England with but little credit or company.
Secretary Walsingham says that the king of Scotland has restored the property of certain Scotsmen who had fled, they being Catholics. I do not know whether it is true although I hear from France that some of them have left there on the strength of it.—London, 14th July 1581.
115. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Juan Bautista de Tassis has written by special courier to say that the despatches that I sent on the 4th to your Majesty by Paris had been lost, the courier who had gone from there with them having been rifled. Duplicates had already been sent by sea ; I now send third copies enclosed.
Since I wrote on the 14th, bills of exchange on merchants here have arrived, payable to Juan Rodriguez de Souza, "Ambassador of the King of Portugal." One of them, I know, is for 1,000 crowns drawn by a Portuguese in Paris named Capay, on Hypolite Beaumont, and although I have not been able to discover the total amount, I do not think that it is large, as the men upon whom the bills are drawn are not very wealthy. In order that funds may not reach Don Antonio in this way, I have had these men informed at secondhand, that they are exposing themselves to great danger in accepting or paying such bills, and from what other merchants are already saying about it I expect there will be some difficulty in recovering even these amounts, as they are payable to the "Ambassador of Portugal." The furious hurry in the fitting out of the ships continues, and Don Antonio has bought, to send to Terceira, 700l. worth of muskets, harquebusses, and some balls and powder. The Queen and Council have also secretly ordered 500 men to be raised for the expedition, who, I understand, will be recruited and shipped in the neighbourhood of Plymouth.
I learn from Hamburg that they have brought from there powder for these ships, it having been bought by a merchant in the name of the Queen. Don Antonio has sent to Orange one of Dr. Lopez's men, and he has been informed that ships are being fitted out at Rochelle to join him. The only Portuguese who came with him, besides Diego Botello and Manuel de Silva, are Constantine de Brito and Tomás Cachero who they tell me are his private servants Four Portuguese arrived yesterday with letters from Vimioso, and I am told they brought a tremendous packet.
The Queen-mother sent orders to the French ambassador here to visit Don Antonio on her behalf, which he did two days since. Don Antonio had already sent to salute Marchaumont but not the ambassador.—London, 17th July 1581.
Paris Archives, K 1447. 55.
116. The King to Bernardino de Mendoza.
With regard to the French embassy to the Queen, and the negotiations being carried on, there is nothing to say but again to enjoin you to discover whether, underneath all this, there is any private league or understanding between them, and if so, for what purpose, and what forces they would employ. The arrest of Morton in Scotland was of good augury, but things seem to have slackened since. If you have no other means of helping forward our interests in that country, you will at least miss no opportunity of assuring the Queen of Scotland of my goodwill towards herself and her son. Urge her to keep her son on the alert for himself, and to submit to the Catholic Church, making himself master of his kingdom and curbing and keeping in order those who oppress it. Assure her that she will always find support and help from me.
Continue to advise about Ireland, the number of the insurgents, and of the Queen's troops, and how long the former will be able to hold out without being compelled to submit or come to terms.
You did well in not pressing for the audience, on the excuse of illness, whilst the French embassy was there, and I trust you will have been able to adopt the best course with regard thereto since their departure. I again urge upon you not to leave there, if you can stay without flagrant objection, at least until a successor arrives. We shall remain quite in the dark about affairs there if you, who manage things so well, absent yourself, and the new man would arrive quite uninformed and unintroduced if you went away before he came thither.
I thank you for your private advice with regard to the qualities needed in the person who may be appointed to succeed you, and will keep it in view. In order that the absence of the person of whom you speak as giving you such valuable information should not be necessary, I send enclosed a credit for 2,000 crowns, which you may give him in one or more instalments and as you think convenient, promising him continued reward commensurate with his services.
You did well in making public the intention of sending our fleet to the Straits of Magellan, in order to alarm the corsairs. You can act in the same way, so as to detain Drake and the other expeditions if necessary, with regard to the ships I am sending to the islands. The first fleet, under Pedro de Valdez, consisting of six ships and a good force of infantry, has already arrived there, and the other under Don Lope de Figueroa will take 27 sail, and the flower of the Spaniards and Germans who had served in Portugal. We expect to hear shortly that all these matters at sea are at last amended.
According to our news from France your information about Alençon's secret arrival at the English court must be incorrect. The news that Antonio landed at Calais on 11th June with the intention of going to England has arrived here by some Dutch sailors. You will doubtless have obtained information of this and sent it by special courier, advising me also of the reception he gets from the Queen, the aid he requests, and what he offers in return, the treatment he receives, whether they are going to aid him to make an attack, and, if so, when, where, with what forces, and with or without the co-operation of France and Orange.
Advise me on all these points, and as much more as you can learn on the matter, with the utmost vigilance, promptitude, and dexterity.
You did well in reporting the entrance of forbidden books in this country, and you will continue to do so in any future case. Due action has been taken to avoid the evil.
I thank you also for your action in respect of the provision of wheat for Lisbon, and, if it be necessary, to do as you suggest and ensure the English merchants a certain price, secured by bond and bills of exchange for the wheat they may bring, we will advise you in order that you may take action.
I note the plan suggested to you by the Hollanders about the island of Walcheren, and the arrangement you had made with them, as you have advised the Prince of Parma, in order that he might send the necessary troops ; and also that the affair had been discovered and had failed. I also note how the secretary of the Prince of Orange and others of his company had taken out of your house the son of one of the Hollanders who had been left as a hostage. Although the plan has failed I recognize your zeal, diligence, and care ; and thank you highly for them. I approve also of the resentment you show at the outrage they have committed. We shall see whether the Queen takes any step in the matter, even out of compliment, for we can hardly expect more.—Lisbon 22nd July 1581.
117. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Since my letter of the 17th, M. de Vray, who had been sent by Marchaumont to France has arrived here. On his arrival he and the Ambassador saw the Queen and requested an answer, as the six weeks had expired. They said if the marriage took place the king of France would accede to anything she might desire for the conclusion of an alliance against your Majesty, and they wished to know whether she would marry or not, without any further delay. Although the Queen gave them to understand that the reply should be given to them, she has now decided to send Walsingham with it to France. When she told the Ambassadors this, they instantly dispatched a courier with the news.
M. de Vray brought letters from the King, the Queen-mother, and Alençon, for Leicester and the other Ministers, who also received letters from the French Commissioners who were here, the substance of all of them being to beg them to continue their good offices in favour of the marriage.
I understand that Walsingham is going to prevent the marriage negotiations from being broken off, and to represent to the King and his brother how important it is for their ends that the need for the immediate settlement of the marriage question should not stand in the way of the prompt relief of Cambrai and the projected invasion of Flanders, instead of delaying it until the end of September. The reason why the Queen has chosen him for the mission (much as she needs him in England) is that he was in France before, and is therefore the most fitting person to inform her as to the feelings of the King and his brother, and whether the show of preventing the relief of Cambrai is sincere or not, which Walsingham, through the Huguenots, could elucidate better than anyone. He is also to ascertain what foundation there is for hopes of a rupture between the King and your Majesty, and for the assistance to be given to Don Antonio ; Walsingham and Leicester being the persons who press this most upon the Queen, and persuade her that she can only insure her own safety by troubling your Majesty in all ways, and preventing peace in the Netherlands and your other States. Only the other day they both of them said that, whilst the queen of Scotland lived, and I was in the country, the Queen could not be sure even of her personal safety, much less of that of her crown.
I recently wrote to the Mayor of the Province of Guipuzcoa to forbid, in virtue of the edict of your Majesty, the loading of an English ship called the "Salamona," which belongs to Alderman Bond here. My reason for this was that the owners are dreadful heretics and make every possible effort to injure your Majesty, with the aid of their kinsman Walsingham. Although the authorities refused to let the ship load at St. Sebastian, she came to the coast near Fuenterrabia, and there shipped her cargo, with 40,000 ducats in cash, of which only 6,000 are registered. The ship has now returned thither and will bring (if she be not confiscated for her last voyage) another equally large sum. As it is greatly against your Majesty's interests that these large amounts of money should leave the country, I write to the Mayor of the Province, saying that he should on no account allow this ship to load, and should carefully watch whether she went to St. Juan de Luz, and there received her cargo in pinnaces, and, above all, that she should not be allowed to ship coin, as she has done before.—London, 23rd July 1581.
118. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Since I wrote on the 23rd, this Queen received a despatch from France which caused her to delay Walsingham's departure, although he was quite ready to leave. Nearly every point of his instructions has been changed, and, after a Council with Leicester, Cecil, and Sussex, the Queen had orders sent with great secrecy to Alderman Martin to pay 50,000l. of the Exchequer moneys, on two warrants for 20,000l. and 30,000l. respectively. Before Walsingham left, they brought out from the Tower the 30,000l. in gold, secretly, at night by water, and I have been unable to ascertain if Walsingham took this sum with him to Calais or whether it went to Flanders ; except that the constable told a friend of his that Orange had now money to help Friesland, and the French to relieve Cambrai. It may therefore be inferred that the 50,000l. will be divided between them. I have written to Juan Bautista de Tassis about it, because, if Walsingham is taking this money in specie, its weight will be so great that it will be impossible for him to conceal the fact. I believe that most of it, if not all, will be for Alençon, as Marchaumont has been more pressing about money for him than anything else, but the Queen had refused to accommodate him, until she learnt that the King of France was not apparently earnest in his attempts to stop his brother from going to Cambrai.—London, 29th July 1581.