Simancas: August 1581

Pages 152-164

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.


August 1581

12 Aug. 119. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In accordance with the laws, which I said had been passed in this Parliament, they have now 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 in the gaols. The clergymen they succeed in capturing are treated with a variety of terrible tortures ; amongst others is one torment that people in Spain imagine to be that which will be worked by Anti-Christ 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, who, with the other, was recently captured. 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 and humility. At the end of last month they martyred a clergyman who would not acknowledge the Queen as head of the Church, of which only three years ago he had been an heretical minister, and had been converted by conversation with Catholics, and confirmed in the faith at the seminary of Rheims, and there ordained a priest. He returned here voluntarily, to aid the imprisoned Catholics, and say mass for them secretly. He died with invincible constancy and fortitude, greatly to the edification of the Catholics, and the surprise of the heretics themselves. The great number of Catholics there are and their fervent zeal are proved by the fact that two days after his martyrdom there was not a bit of ground left which had been touched by his blood, it having all been taken by the faithful, who also offered large sums of money for his garments.
None of the Irish insurgents have submitted to the Queen's fresh pardon. It is reported that the Viceroy, seeing that John O'Neil would not declare for the Queen, had favoured O'Neil (?), who is his enemy. They were going together to attack John O'Neil on one side, whilst Captain Malby was to attack him on the other. John O'Neil was awaiting them in his own country with a large force, and it is thought that he will now consequently openly declare himself against the Queen, as he hears that Desmond and his men are coming to his aid. The Viceroy has given so much license to the English in the slaughter of Irishmen that they not only kill men, women, and children, of the insurgents, but they treat their friends in the same way. I am told that a councillor, condemning this behaviour, said that they had intelligence that one of the most intimate captains of the Viceroy had invited 17 Irishmen to supper, and as they arose from the table he and another man had stabbed all of them to death.—London, 12th August 1581.
120. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
When I took leave of the Queen the last time I saw her, I said that if every time I had to ask for audience there was to be all this discussion I should like her to tell me so verbally at once, and if she did not mean in future to give me audience as freely as she formerly did, I would salute her and take my departure. She replied that I should have audience as often as I desired, and that when she came back from hunting, in a few days, I could return and she would tell me the names of the Councillors she would appoint to deal with the matter of Drake's robbery. On this pretext I sent and asked for audience, and she replied by the Lord Chamberlain what I conveyed to Don Juan de Idiaquez for your Majesty's information on the 23rd ultimo. I allowed a fortnight to pass after her return from hunting, and then sent word to the Vice-Chamberlain, as the Lord Chamberlain was absent, that I had business to communicate to the Queen, and wished to know, in conformity with the message they had sent me, whether she would give me audience or not. The Vice-Chamberlain replied that the Queen did not well see how she could receive me, since your Majesty had not paid her the compliment of writing to her, explaining the affair of Ireland, but only sent a message by one of your servants as if to slight her. If I had such important business I might communicate it to two of her Councillors. As I understood that the Treasurer, when he had been asked why audience was not granted to me, had replied that he did not know that such was the case, but that he did not think it wise that I should be refused ; and as he is the most important of the Ministers I thought well on receiving this reply, to send and tell him the answer I had received from the Queen. I said that it was not for me, or any other ambassador, to object to monarchs referring affairs to their Ministers, and consequently I would not refuse to do as she said, but if any other business were shortly to need my communicating with the Queen and she refused to see me, referring me to her Ministers again, I wished to be prepared at once for it, and should like to see him, Cecil, as such a reply would indicate a desire on the Queen's part that I should leave the country. He replied that, while he was absent from Court, he had heard that I asked for audience, but did not know what reply had been sent ; he, however, would convey my message to the Queen, and would see me on the first opportunity.
In a few days, he sent to say that he had come from the Court to Leicester House in order to see me, his gout having prevented him from coming further. I went thither, and found him and Leicester together. The first thing they said was, that I had sent to ask the Queen, when she could not receive me herself, to order some of her ministers to hear me ; and in accordance therewith, the Queen had sent them to see what I wanted. I replied that I had not for a moment thought of saying such a thing, but since they were here I was glad of the opportunity of ascertaining whether the Queen had decided to give me audience or not, notwithstanding that she had told me, the last time I saw her, that I should have audience whenever I desired it. Cecil took up the conversation, saying that the Queen had refused to receive me, pending the receipt of a letter from your Majesty giving her satisfaction about Ireland, in the belief that I should have requested your Majesty to write. All this was said with a lengthy rodomontade, as if to make out that it was my duty to write and ask your Majesty to send such a letter, and that it was through my own fault that the Queen had not received me for so many months, the letter not having arrived. I saw which way he was tending, and taking advantage, as I always do, of his own perverseness, I answered that, although I was most desirous of serving the Queen, I could not do so to my own detriment ; and after your Majesty, ten months ago, had instructed me what to say upon the matter, I was not so thoughtless or foolish as to write to your Majesty again about it. I had done quite enough, I said, in waiting so long in order that the Queen might ascertain, as she said she would, about Ireland, and I, consequently, had nothing more to write upon the subject. They again returned to their former point that it was my duty to write as they had said, and I replied as before. I said that, as we were together, they might tell the Queen that the reason why I wished to see her was to learn what course she was going to take about the restitution of Drake's plunder. It ended in their saying that they would convey my remarks on both points to the Queen, and would send me her reply. I thought well to raise first the question of Drake, as it is the worst matter against your Majesty now in hand, and I do not wish them to think that we have forgotten it, particularly as all other things hang upon this. People here are in great fear, lest your Majesty should order the seizure of English goods in Spain and thus stop trade, which they will feel more than anything else, and about which they will clamour loudest. The damage thus done will fall upon all of them, whereas the profit of the robbery comes only to a few individuals. I did not care to urge the matter of the ships they are arming, as the preparations are going on slowly ; more for appearance sake than any other reason, until they see how the French alliance turns out, upon which will depend whether they help Don Antonio or not. Whatever step I might take before then would be fruitless, and only make them think that your Majesty was distrustful of the Portuguese ; since I was alarmed at a few ships and small forces, such as these. They cannot have them ready, moreover, in time to prevent the necessary steps, and in the meanwhile your Majesty's letter demanding the surrender of Don Antonio will arrive, and will strengthen my hands when the moment for action comes. I am however working always with muffled tools to prevent these people from helping Don Antonio. On the 6th instant the Queen ordered that no ships or goods should sail for Spain without forther orders. This step has been taken at the request of the merchants, in order that single ships should not go, but that they should sail together ; and the merchants in the meanwhile have sent to ask the council whether they may safely send merchandise to Spain. The reply was that they were to wait for a fortnight, when the information they requested should be sent to them ; the meaning of this being, no doubt, that they expected to know in the meanwhile the decision about France. The general stop was therefore decreed to prevent ships from leaving other ports until the London merchants were informed.—London, 12th August 1581.
121. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
On the 19th ultimo I wrote to your Majesty the reason of the Queen's delaying Walsingham's departure, After he had left she received a letter from her ambassador, Cobham, saying that the question of the alliance with the French King was now so far advanced, that it would be well to send an experienced person to draft the articles, and a person of greater parts than Walsingham. This has aroused great hopes, now that they see the King of France will not stay his brother from going to Cambrai, with greater probabilities than before of his breaking with your Majesty. They consider this view to be confirmed by Cobham's information that the King of France was recalling his ambassador from Spain, and replacing him by an agent.
Of the 30,000l. which I mentioned in my last, 8,000l. were sent to the rebel States and 22,000l. were taken by Walsingham, the assertion being that they would be used to bring over to their wishes some of the ministers of the King of France ; but this is only an artifice of Walsingham and the rest to induce the Queen to give the money, in which she would have been very hard if they had asked her for it openly for Alençon, but on the excuse that it was to buy ministers, in order to get the King of France to break with your Majesty, she would consent more easily, as this is her most cherished design. Now that Walsingham has got the money it will find its way into the hands of Alençon, on the plea that it was necessary to give it to him for the succour of Cambrai.
At the time of Walsingham's departure a great show of haste was made in the arming of many ships by Don Antonio. A large number of captains for the raising of infantry were appointed, and preparations of meat, biscuit, and other provisions made. Eight waggon-loads have been sent from the arsenal here for the ships which are being fitted in Southampton, as well as some arms, such as muskets and harquebusses ; as well as those sent to Bristol. They have brought out eight bronze pieces from the Tower, to ship on the "Galleon," a merchant vessel formerly belonging to the Queen which they have sold to Don Antonio. All this is to prove to the King of France the Queen's intention of succouring Don Antonio and breaking with your Majesty, if the French would join her with that object.
The real fact is, however, that Don Antonio has bought certain ships, for which he has paid in part here, and undertakes to pay the rest at Terceira, whilst for others he has given security for the payment here within a year. He has likewise freighted other ships, and Leicester has paid sums of money belonging to the Queen, on the pretence that they are his, to some captains to raise a few troops. It is all being done slowly, and it is clear that the 25 ships will not be ready to leave so quickly as they say. The provision of meat and biscuit has been made with the money sent from France in the name of Souza, which I mentioned in a former letter, and as this is not the time of year in which meat salted now can be kept, it is evident that they do not intend to make a long voyage. Four ships have started down the river, saying that they were to meet at Southampton and ship their stores there, but there will be some difficulty about it, as fourteen of such ships are to go thither in all, and it seems strange that they should go so far for victuals, to a place where they are much dearer than here, particularly if they had been bought in the Queen's name, in which case Don Antonio might have got them at the cheap price which she pays. From all this I deduce that not a half of the 25 ships will be ready to leave on the 20th, as they say.
On the 5th the captains who had been selected to raise troops met and went to Don Antonio for the purpose of asking him to tell them clearly whither he wanted them to go, who was to be their general, how much they were to be paid, and to whom they were to look for payment. He replied that, as to the place he was going to with the fleet, he had arranged that with Drake, who was to be the Admiral, and was the only person who was to be informed of the destination ; whilst as to the other questions he would discuss them with the Queen and let the captains have an answer before they left. They have begun to grumble at this, and most of them say that they will not go under Drake unless their pay is secured. So far as I can understand, Don Antonio's destination is still undecided, excepting that they have discussed going to succour and fortify Terceira, and thence sailing to Brazil, where they think they can do more without resistance than elsewhere. This view is confirmed by the fact that, however much they may hurry in the fitting out of the ships, they will not leave, even if the weather serves, until the beginning of next month, at which time of year they could hardly attempt any other voyage than that mentioned. It is generally admitted that they will not carry stores for more than three months, and the evident intention of most of the Englishmen is simply to plunder under the name of Don Antonio, as, indeed, they openly state. Some of them have even sent to tempt me to give them passports enabling them to capture the property of the Flemish rebels, with my assurance that they may take their prizes safely into Spanish ports for sale, as here and in France, they would not allow them to do so, and there is no harbour for them at Gravelines. They say that if I would do this they would desert Don Antonio. I have kept them in hand, saying that M. De la Motte (fn. 1) gave such passports by your Majesty's orders, and that when I am authorised to do so, I doubt not that most of the men contracted by Don Antonio will leave him for the other side, which offers a more assured profit than he can do. The English will by this means be embroiled with the rebels, seeing the damage that they will do them. The jewels which Don Antonio has tried to dispose of here are 150 pearls, of the value of 12,000 crowns, and seven diamonds set in gold, worth 7,000, as well as other diamonds and rubies estimated at 6,000 ducats. They summoned a Portuguese silversmith here named Amador Rodriguez to value all these. As I knew this man in Antwerp, he refused to go without my consent, and assures me that they are not worth more than 25,000 ducats, and were formerly all the property of the Infanta Maria, in whose possession he had seen some of them. Don Antonio brought with him a diamond formerly belonging to the King Don Manuel, weighing 80 carats, but it is not limpid, being rather turbid, and they are told that there will be no sale for it here, although Don Antonio values it at a great sum.
The number of Portuguese who have joined him hitherto do not exceed 20 persons, of no note. There arrived in a ship from Lisbon recently a young Commander of St. John named Silva, and Vimioso sent from France another young man named Geronimo de Silva, who has a sword mark on his left cheek and another wound on the right. With him came a Portuguese pilot named Gaspar Alvaro, a little man of 50, and they both returned to France together two days afterwards.
The insurance which I wrote they were trying to effect on property being brought from Terceira is again being attempted, the insurers being Simon Centurion, a Genoese, on behalf of another Genoese, Biagio Rinaldo, who lives in Terceira. The insurances are on the merchandise, gold, silver, pearls, and jewels, coming in the ships "Pelican" and "Jacques de Ocana" to Bordeaux, or any port in Brittany or England. Some merchants here have already underwritten 2,000l. of it at 8 per cent. premium, on condition that if these ships should be seized by your Majesty's fleet they are not to pay. As this is not a great business centre they will not get much more underwritten here.
Whilst I am writing this the afore-mentioned silversmith tells me that Don Antonio himself showed him another table diamond of the purest water, weighing sixty carats, from which he took the lead in his presence. He has pawned it to a Genoese with the 150 pearls for 30,000 ducats, as the money he was expecting from Terceira has not arrived, and he has to make some payments here. The man tells me that this diamond is worth more than 50,000 ducats, and says that Don Antonio sent him with a letter to Dr. Lopez, telling him to allow the man to take the lead from the 80 carat diamond and from another of 90 carats, both of which must be in the possession of Leicester, as Lopez told the man that it was necessary to speak to him first, and that he would have to go seven miles off to see the stones. Don Antonio also showed him a perfect pearl, weighing 26 carats, which he valued at 3,000 ducats. It is not yet decided whether Don Antonio himself will go in the fleet nor what number of soldiers will be sent, the only provision being made are some stores, ostensibly for the 25 ships already mentioned, and Orange is being requested to help Don Antonio with some ships, but I cannot learn that any are being fitted out in Holland or Zeeland.—London, 12th August 1581.
122. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
After writing the enclosed letters, I learn that the Queen has received a dispatch from Walsingham, reporting what had passed with Alençon, to whom he had said that, as he had declared himself so openly against your Majesty, she could not now marry him without adopting a similar course, which the people of her country opposed, and recommended her rather to make masked war on you, with other things of the same sort. Alençon answered Walsingham that he did not accept this as an answer, and would receive none as regards the marriage, excepting from the Queen's own lips, for which purpose he would come to this country as soon as he had finished the business he had in hand. He was quite sure, he said, that such messages as this were not in accord with the Queen's own will, judging from what she had said and written to him many times. He also said that, even if his brother made an alliance, unless he married the Queen, he, Alençon, would break it. He went to such a length that Walsingham reports that if the Queenmother had not been present he thinks he would have lost his composure entirely. (fn. 2) I am told that when the Queen heard this she wept like a child, saying that she did not now know what to do, nor into what trouble Leicester had drawn her. She sent Lord Howard to Alençon to mollify him, writing most sweetly, so as not to lose him altogether. Walsingham also reports that the king of France was much annoyed that, after having sent so many personages here, Walsingham alone should be sent to him in return, and that if he could manage to have him put out of the way he would attempt it. They have agreed, in view of this news, that Don Antonio's armaments shall be delayed until they hear more from Walsingham. —London, 12th August 1581.
13 Aug.
Paris Archives, K 1447. 61. Latin.
123. The King to Queen Elizabeth.
Has been informed that his rebel subject Don Antonio has taken refuge in her country, and there continues his machinations against the tranquillity of his (Philip's) dominions. Has specially instructed the ambassador Bernardino de Mendoza to request her to surrender him. Signed, Philip. Countersigned, J. Idiaquez.—Lisbon, 13th August 1581.
[Note.—This letter was enclosed in the following one to the ambassador.]
14 Aug.
Paris Archives. K. 1447. 62.
124. The King to Bernardino de Mendoza.
I note what passed between the Queen and you about the audience both before and since the departure of the French embassy, as well as your letter to her when she postponed the audience, and the answer you gave to her complaints about Ireland. You have acted well in all this, and especially in frightening them with the fleets that have sailed from here, and so checking the corsairs, who are fitting out in England. Do your best for the continuance of the steps taken by the merchants in their own interest, to prevent the Queen's ministers and others from sending expeditions towards the Indies, and use all your efforts in every way with this object. As you say nothing about the recovery of Drake's plunder, I suppose nothing has been obtained yet, and every day diminishes the chance of it, as the money is doubtless being spent.
I am glad to hear your news from Ireland, and that the King of Scotland is plucking up heart and making himself respected. Adopt the best means you can of letting the queen of Scotland know how pleased I am at this, and try to keep her well disposed, and her son also, through her. Assure them of my goodwill and point out to the mother what a signal mercy it would be, if God were to bring about the conversion of her son to the church, and urge her to strive for this with all her influence.
You did well to pass over the matter of taking the Hollander's son away from you, since the first steps having been so fruitless, any subsequent action would doubtless also have been in vain. All this would be forgotten if you could induce the Queen to give up Don Antonio, or at least to expel him. As she said the matter must be dealt with in a letter from me to her, and you also think I should write (in accordance as you say with a clause in the treaties), I send you the enclosed letter which you will deliver to her and address her in support of it. Press upon her how much she would please and oblige me, if she will accede to my request, and paint in vivid colours my displeasure if she refuses ; both on account of the offence to me, and also on account of the foolishness of leaning upon such a weak reed as the vain hopes of these people. As you think well to keep her in fear and anxiety, you can adopt the course you deem most likely to be successful. If she again tries to retaliate by complaints of the reception of some of her outlaws in Flanders, you may give her every satisfaction, and so cut away this cause of complaint. Indeed you will meet her in every way, for the purpose of managing this business of Don Antonio, of which you see the importance. (If you cannot get her to accede to my request you may tell the Queen that, even though she do not wish to break with me, if Don Antonio leaves her country for any of my dominions, or to injure any of my subjects, I shall understand it to be a declaration of war. This is so important that I need not urge it further upon you) (fn. 3) Send me full and frequent reports of all that may be done or discussed in favour of Don Antonio.
You have been written to about the fleets I have sent to Terceira, and as the news sent to England about the damage that they have received will probably reach there distorted and exaggerated, I think well to send you a true account of what has happened. Don Pedro de Valdes landed 300 men, who did great damage to the enemy, but were afterwards withdrawn as their number was so small, one half their number having been lost. Don Pedro, however, was still cruising round the island and Don Lope de Figueroa will now have arrived with the other fleet, which by God's help I hope will make matters smooth.—Lisbon, 14th August 1580.
23 Aug.
Paris Archives. K. 1447. 66.
125. The King to Bernardino de Mendoza.
I send herewith the letter you request for the queen of England, but have thought well to send you two separate letters, (fn. 4) one stronger than the other, and you will use the one you think most appropriate, as you know the temper and disposition of those people so well. I leave the matter to your discretion, but will only observe that in addressing the Queen firmly and haughtily, you may take higher ground, if at the time this letter arrives the aid for Don Antonio should not have sailed, and you think that your more emphatic action may stop it. But if the fleet for him you mention should have gone, it will be better for you to moderate your tone, and to smooth things down, so that I shall not be obliged to make a greater demonstration than the time and circumstances may render advisable.—Lisbon, 23rd August 1581.
23 Aug.
Paris Archives. K. 1447. 65.
126. The King to Bernardino de Mendoza.
I note the minute intelligence you send about Don Antonio, and the ships and men being prepared for him. I sent you as requested the letter for the Queen, asking her to surrender or expel Don Antonio, but in view of your opinion that I should write to her strongly myself, and not refer the matter to your credence only, I send you enclosed another letter which you may deliver, and you may address her in the same tone, if the first letter shall not have sufficed. If they both arrive together, it will not matter as you can deliver them in their order. You will take such a position as you may consider advisable to alarm her and the merchants with the fear of a rupture, and this is a much greater reason for it than was Drake's robbery, about which you frightened them before. If the Queen adopts the attitude foreshadowed by Leicester, in saying that the case does not come under the treaties as a King cannot be a rebel, you will meet it with the arguments you know of, namely, that Don Antonio was always reputed and acknowledged to be a bastard. (A full statement of the case against Don Antonio here follows.)
With respect to the ships being fitted out for the islands, I hope to God they will do but little, if they go thither, because, in addition to my other two fleets there, I have a fleet of 20 sail and 3,500 men in Seville, which will sail at once to meet the ships you mention. Use this intelligence as you think best to stop Don Antonio's aid. Scotch affairs are tending well for the King's popularity, and the discrediting of the queen of England. Continue your assurances to the queen of Scotland and her son.—Lisbon, 23rd August 1581.
27 Aug. 127. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I wrote on the 11th instant saying how slowly the armament of Don Antonio's ships was proceeding. Recently the Queen openly remarked in her chamber that things never came to her ears until they were on the point of being effected, and this had happened with regard to the fitting out of Don Antonio's ships. She said that none of her people were to enter the service of Don Antonio, the object of this being that it should be made public ; which is an ordinary artifice of hers when she wishes things to be known. In view of this display on the part of the Queen a Council was held, and it was decided that the three ships which Don Antonio had bought, namely, the galleon "Buena Ventura," of 600 tons, and two others of 160 and 150, with a pirate ship commanded by Vaughan now in the Isle of Wight, and four of those fitted out by Drake in Plymouth, should be allowed to sail, with Drake as admiral. After this decision had been adopted, and the last preparations for the sailing of the eight ships were being completed, a change was made, and Drake, with his ships, was ordered not to go, but only the two of Don Antonio's and the pirate ship, which were however slow in making ready for sea. I understand they only carry stores for two months, and not more than enough men to plunder unprotected ships at sea.
As I wrote before, I did not move on the mere appearance of great armaments being fitted out, as I knew these people and understood their object. It is often to your Majesty's interests that they should be allowed to proceed without interference, but I had men spread amongst the sailors and shipmen to convince them how much safer it was for them to go on their ordinary voyages for merchants, and this has not been without its effect. I have at secondhand also approached the ministers with a similar end, as I was sure that, if only to oppose Leicester, they would dissuade the Queen from a business which he was advocating. I am informed that the Queen and Councillors have expressed their surprise that, in the face of the marriage negotiations and the arming of the fleet, I should be so serene as not to have spoken to the Queen. If affairs in France do not alter, it may be concluded that even the four ships I have mentioned will not leave, as the admiral has not yet been appointed.
I have tried by every means to ascertain the offers made by Don Antonio to the Queen, and whether their ideas were directed against any particular point. I find, however, that nothing but generalities have as yet passed between them. They say that if she aids him, your Majesty will be disturbed and obliged to spend a great sum of money, and to this end he pretends to have a large number of Portuguese on his side and speaks of the power he formerly possessed in the country. With relation to this he told the Queen that Antonio de Castillo had been his councillor years ago, whereupon she sent an Italian, through the earl of Loicester, to tempt Antonio de Castillo, and tell him that Don Antonio was greatly in want of councillors and persons of quality, and that if he would be on his side he would not only oblige the king of France and herself, but Don Antonio would reward him much more highly than your Majesty. He told the messenger, a Lucchese named Velutelli, who is a creature of Leicester's, that if he were not an old acquaintance he would throw him out of the window for having dared to bring him such a message, and that he was to tell Leicester that in the mountains, from whence the Castillos came, no traitor was ever known, and he for all the world would not be one. He was to tell the Queen that he would not be a Protestant for the two hemispheres, and that his having followed your Majesty's side was because God had chosen you for his sovereign, and of right the throne belonged to you. He understood this so well that he would prove it legally to any lawyers whom she might appoint, or the king of France either. He thus answered as a good vassal should ; but doubtless the reason why these people thought they could tempt him was that they saw he was needy and had left the shelter of my house, although he had done so without my wish. Since then I have offered him what I possess, as he has not received his wages as your Majesty ordered. I humbly beg you to favour him, and grant him his petition that he should be allowed to leave here. This would not only be a favour to him, but would be greatly to your Majesty's own interest.
There was some talk of attacking the island of Madeira with the fleet which was to leave here, after it had succoured Terceira. It is believed, to judge by the talk of Portuguese who favour Don Antonio, that they have some understanding there, and it is thought they would go thence to the coast of Brazil. As the initial project has now fallen through, the others must naturally cease, but it may be worth while to advise the Madeira people to be on the watch.
Don Antonio sees the Queen nearly every day with Leicester. He goes from London in a boat, with two or three men. I am told that he is beginning to complain that the Queen is cooling towards him, and that he would like to get possession again of the diamonds he entrusted to Leicester.—London, 27th August 1581.
128. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The Queen has received advice of the entry of Alençon into Cambrai, neither she nor her Council being so pleased at the news as was expected, although she is sending to congratulate Alençon, who informed her of the intelligence by a gentleman of his, and begged her for 300,000 crowns, (fn. 5) as he had spent all his own money in the relief, and neither the States nor his brother would give him a real. If she did not provide him with the money he should be obliged to return with his army to France without going any further. I will report what reply she may send him, but she is very suspicious that the relief of Cambrai may have been effected on an agreement that Alençon should return from there to France, as she was informed by Walsingham. This suspicion has been confirmed by the seizure by the king of France of the best town possessed by the Marquis de Turenne, in accordance with his edict proclaiming all those who went to the Netherlands as traitors, and also because the King had allowed 400,000 crowns to pass through France for payment to the prince of Parma, which he certainly would not have done if he had meant to break with your Majesty in union with this Queen. Alençon advises that they had fixed up to the 1st proximo as the period when he and the king of France's Commissioners, with Cobham representing the Queen, should discuss the question of the alliance, which, Alençon says, will mean the ignoring of the marriage negotiations and the contract made here by the French Commissioners.
The Queen has not yet sent me a reply to what I had conveyed to her ministers, and I have sent to ask them whether they had been able to communicate with the Queen on the points. I am temporising as much as I can whilst maintaining fitting dignity.— London, 27th August 1581.


  • 1. The Governor of Gravelines for the king of Spain.
  • 2. This interview took place at La Fère in Picardy, and a full account of it and Walsingham's other negotiations during his visit to France will be found in the "Walsingham Correspondence." Consult also Le Laboureur's addition to the Castelnau Memoirs.
  • 3. The passage in brackets has been added to the draft by the King.
  • 4. The two draft letters in Latin, for the Queen, accompany the above letter, both protesting against any aid being furnished from England to Don Antonio, but one much more strongly than the other, and threatening to consider the furnishing of such help as a declaration of war.
  • 5. The request that Elizabeth would furnish this sum to Alençon had first been made to Walsingham at La Fère by Turenne, before Alençon entered Flanders.