Simancas: January 1582, 21-31

Pages 266-280

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 3, 1580-1586. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1896.

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January 1582, 21-31

21 Jan. 200. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I wrote on the 17th four letters, duplicates leaving the same day. On the same night the Queen sent to summon Simier to see her at the usual hour and in the usual gallery of which he has a key. When he arrived she was walking in the room with Alençon, and, amongst other things, she told the latter that she had given orders to three of her Councillors to confer with me as to the re-establishment of her ancient alliance with your Majesty, and to endeavour to come to a satisfactory arrangement as to the complaints I had made on your Majesty's behalf. She said she did not desire that any prince should have reason to complain of her behaviour. Alençon was much disturbed at this, and, on relating the circumstances afterwards to Marchaumont, told him that he could not imagine for what reason the Queen had said it, unless it were to leave him floundering in the swamp into which she had led him, which he had no doubt she would do after all. Whilst the Queen was conversing with him Simier entered by the private stair, and the moment she saw him she retired, saying that she did not wish to stand between master and servant. Alençon asked him whether his tarrying here was caused by a fear that he would have him killed when he arrived in France. He replied that, for his part, this was not the reason, although there was some ground for the fears that his enemies might attempt it. Alençon answered throwing upon him the whole blame of the present hopelessness of the marriage negotiations, and also of the failure of his attempt to help in the Netherlands war, which depended entirely on the marriage. Simier pressed him to specify what act of his had caused such a result, to which he replied that his discrediting the earl of Leicaster, the greatest and most powerful friend he had, had prevented him from influencing the Queen as he desired. Simier repeated this afterwards to the Queen, and also said that every one was astounded that she should show so much favour to Leicester, after he had tried to deceive her, and had assured her that he was not married, although it was publicly known that he was. She answered that she could hardly find a place in which she could overthrow him, as he had taken advantage of the authority she had given him to place kinsmen and friends of his in almost every port and principal place in the kingdom. This is quite true, and, she said, that until she had time to get some of these places out of their hands she could hardly disgrace him.
On the following day the Treasurer said to the Queen that an arrangement had been made with the French Commissioners to the effect that, if the marriage took place, Alençon should be allowed to have mass said, but now, even without the marriage, there were three masses being said daily at court, one for Alençon, another for the Prince Dauphin, and the third for Marchaumont, and this was causing great dissatisfaction amongst the people. She pacified him and told him to have patience, for in a very few days they would all be across the seas and their masses with them. A council was called to consider the concessions made by the king of France. Cecil, Leicester, Hunsdon, Hatton, and Walsingham were there, but Sussex feigned illness. When the papers had been considered, the Treasurer told the members that the Queen wished for their opinion as to the best answer she could give to Alençon. He said that they must bear in mind the Queen's own desire, and the course which the business had taken, the long delay in the negotiations having been for the purpose of gaining points in the Queen's favour. These had now all been conceded, and there was nothing more to be demanded, but that if any Councillor could devise a way for the Queen to retire from the affair, without loss of honour or danger to the security of the country, he would be glad to hear it. No one was ready with an expedient, and the Council rose without coming to a decision. The Treasurer's remarks were evidently for the purpose of dissembling further in the direction which I described in my former letters, and in order that Alençon might hear indirectly of what had been said at the Council.
The same night when the Queen was with Alençon she tried to dissuade him from the Flemish war, saying that the matter was a grave and troublesome one for him, besides being dangerous for two reasons : first, that if the marriage was not effected he would get no help from his brother, as he might see by his fresh declaration, whilst his own forces would be insufficient for the purpose, especially if the aid of the rebel States themselves failed him. She said they were as tired of Orange as he was of them, and it was very unlikely, therefore, that they would promote his interests, or look to France for their liberty. The second reason was that, if she were to marry him, her people and Ministers would not consent to contribute any sum of money to the waging of a war against so powerful a sovereign as your Majesty, and all this tended to dispose her to find some peaceful solution of the situation, rather than to furnish means for carrying on the war. She said that consideration of these two points would prove to him how little he had to gain in the enterprise, whether she married him or not. Alençon was excessively perturbed, and replied, amongst other arguments, that it was more important for her and her country than for anyone else that your Majesty should be kept busy. He instantly went and saw Leicester, to whom, doubtless, he gave an account of what had passed, as he had also been told that Sussex was advising the Queen to desist from disturbing your Majesty, and to avoid taking upon herself the heavy responsibility of contributing to the war.
The result of the conference was that Alençon went the next day after dinner to see the Queen, and complained bitterly to her of Sussex, who, he said, had been bought over by your Majesty, not only to hinder the marriage, but to serve you in all things, even against the interests of the Queen herself. He said that the King, his brother, had heard this through his Ambassador in Spain. The Queen replied, defending Sussex, of whose loyalty and fidelity she said she had no doubt, especially as he was her kinsman and councillor. She dismissed Alençon, and at once sent for Sussex, to whom she repeated what had passed, saying that she would never again trust such a person as this (Alençon), as he behaved in this way to his truest and most intimate friends.
I am assured by my second personage, (fn. 1) who desired greatly to serve your Majesty, that when Sussex related this, he wept with rage, swearing to be revenged in every possible way for such wickedness.
Alençon yesterday pressed the Queen very urgently for a final reply to his brother's communication, and after much talk, she replied to him in the way that I have already reported to your Majesty was arranged, namely, that unless Calais and Havre de Grace were surrendered to her and garrisoned by English troops, to be held by her as a pledge for the King's promise to maintain the war in the Netherlands, and an offensive alliance against your Majesty and other princes, she could not consent to the marriage. She said she could not put up with any less pledge, as princes often, for their own ends, broke their promises. Alençon was much dissatisfied at this, and although he again pressed the Queen upon the matter, it was at last understood that this was the ultimate resolution and only reply she could give him, whereupon he left the room much offended. The Queen instantly ordered the ships which were to convoy him, to be got ready ; and although there is no certainty of any resolution of the Queen's, as she changes from one moment to another, I have thought well to advise this, as there is more appearance of stability about it than usual.
The coming of the Commissioners who I wrote that Orange was sending to Alençon in the name of the rebels, was a device of Walsingham's, by means of St. Aldegonde, with the object first of expediting Alençon's departure, and thus pleasing the Queen, and secondly to give him an opportunity of urging upon her to lend them some money, seeing that the need he is in is so great. In view of past events, they are much surprised that she should so openly and urgently press Alençon to abandon the enterprise. I can say no more on this point, only that she seems determined to get him away from here, and to banish every pretext he might seize upon for staying. If she has any other object in view we shall see later.—London, 21st January 1582.
24 Jan. 201. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
The Queen's reply to Alençon had such an effect upon him that he at once called a secret council of his closest adherents here, namely, the Prince Dauphin, Marchaumont, Quinsé, and others, to whom he made a great speech, to relate only the heads of which to your Majesty will necessitate my being somewhat diffuse. He said that, after the long negotiations and infinite letters and promises which they knew had been exchanged with regard to his marriage with the Queen, and the communications which had passed with his brother, he was at last entirely disillusioned, and saw that the Queen would not marry him. This was a great blow to his honour and reputation, about which he must dissemble, until he was in a position to exact satisfaction, as her help and favour were necessary, in the meanwhile, to enable him to be revenged on the first cause of all the trouble, namely, the King, his brother, who, he said, he had learnt by reports from other countries than France and had seen from his own long experience was full of envy and malice against him, and had always tried to stand in the way of his advancement and aggrandisement. For this reason, in the fear that the marriage might enable him (Alençon) to curb his private and domestic actions, he had sent Simier here, who was a person high in the Queen's favour, for the purpose of impeding the marriage, under cover of a desire to gain his favour once more. He said that a generous spirit could hardly fail to resent this, or avoid seeking means to revenge himself for such an injury done to him by a malicious tyrant, and abetted by the terrible disposition of his mother, the Queen, who had plotted against his prosperity and against the marriage, in order that she might be able to keep him in France and make use of him the more to oppress his brother.
With this end therefore, to solder the breach in his honour, and bridle his brother the King, there were two roads open to him ; first to continue the war in Flanders, or again to raise war in France. The first, he said, could not be done unless this Queen aided him effectually, whereas she had not only become lukewarm in the matter but had cooled entirely. He had no doubt that this process would continue daily, in consequence of the secret communications they were holding with me, and of the constant protestations of her ministers that they would not allow France to get possession of the Netherlands, unless the marriage were to take place. As for any help that his brother might give him in the war, that was not now to be expected, as he was certain that he would rather diminish his power by hundreds of pounds than increase it by as many grains. It could not be hoped, moreover, that the States themselves could contribute much, as they were already so exhausted.
The other expedient of renewing the intestine war in France, would be greatly aided by the present dissatisfaction of the Huguenots, who were only wanting a head to again awaken the war, which had been allowed to slumber, not so much for want of will to continue it as for lack of money. He said that this Queen would willingly help the matter with the sum she had offered to the Prince of Bearn, when he wanted to wage war against the king of France ; and he even expected that she would give more, in the belief that she could thus recompense him somewhat for her refusal to marry him. Leicester had assured him that he will get a good sum of money as a salve for his reputation, even though he did so by making war against his brother.
He said that your Majesty also would be sure to give him some help, in order to divert him from the Netherlands, and that the reiters and German cavalry would only be too glad of the opportunity, as they had not been paid nor the promises made to them fulfilled, and they would thus have the chance of getting their pay at the sword's point. This would enable levies of cavalry to be made with much facility. These aids to be expected outside France were important whereas, in the country itself, the Queen his mother would not be sorry to see the enterprise undertaken, as it would insure that the King would not turn her out of the government, as he had done on other occasions, greatly to the loss of her credit and reputation, she having been at the head of affairs so long. The towns and Huguenots of France were so dissatisfied at the heavy taxes, that they would contribute both money and men to the war, and he would be joined by Catholics and Huguenots alike, who would come with their lives and persons to fight for freedom from oppression.
The lords and great personages of France, too, would take his part, if only to repress the pride of the house of Guise, who were every day getting more haughty and powerful, and ruling all things in accordance with their own appetite, whilst they were secretly in league with your Majesty and would, if they were not checked, cast out of France all the Princes of the blood and become sole masters of the country. He also assured them that directly there were signs of war in France he would have surrendered into his hands, besides the towns he already had, Havre de Grace, Orleans, Toulouse, and Brouage. Either of these two roads would lead to a reinstatement of his reputation, but money would be required for either, although not so large a sum for France as for Flanders, the rebel States being gnawed to the bone, and the country bare of provisions sufficient to feed an army, excepting at great cost. In France, on the contrary, the people were rich, and the country fat enough to maintain an army ; and for this reason it would be best to abandon all idea of the war in Flanders, re-shuffle the cards and boldly commence a war in France. He concluded finally, by saying certain exceedingly bad words of his brother, swearing with terrible oaths, that he would never cease to make war upon him until he either lost his life, or the kingdom was divided equally between the two brothers, and the house of Guise totally abolished.
Marchaumont and Quinsé approved of the speech and encouraged him in his enteprise, but the Dauphin said not a word, until Alençon begged him to give his opinion. He besought Alençon not to command him to do so, but he pressed him again and he thereupon opposed the resolution. He said that his person, his estate, his children, and his life, were at Alençon's disposal, to make war against any foreign prince, or any French subject, but not against his brother, who besides being his natural King and liege-lord had a special claim to his personal fidelity. He doubted not that those who advised him to so perilous, difficult, dishonourable, and unjust an enterprise, would run the risk of losing their heads. When Alençon heard this, he tried to lead him apart to a window recess, to prevent him from discouraging the others, but he would not move from his place, and requested license to return instantly to France, whereupon Alençon, with great caresses, begged him not to go.
As soon as Secretary Pinart learnt what had passed, either from the prince Dauphin or from the spies he had placed behind the back door of the room in which the conference took place, he went to the Queen, and warned her not to allow herself, on any account, to be persuaded to help to make war in France, in violation of the treaties that she had with his master. He said that if she did so his master would unite with all her enemies and ruin her completely. The Queen replied with a multitude of oaths that such a thing had never been spoken of to her, and thereupon Pinart sought to increase her fear by assuring her how ready many Princes would be to receive the king of France with open arms for the purpose of making war upon her. He did not relate to her what Alençon had said, but went at once to the latter and told him to think deeply before he risked his life and fortune, without the hope of getting any profit but a vain and transitory shadow. This greatly discomposed Alençon, who assured him that he had not done anything wrong. Pinart replied that he must not think he was such a fool as not to know what he and the rest were about, and that he, Alençon, had better take care that he did not fall beyond recovery as he certainly would do, unless he behaved with the firmness and good faith which was fitting in a Prince like himself. Alençon was much confused and upset that his design had reached the ears of Pinart so soon, and was quite overcome with grief.
The firmness with which Pinart spoke to the Queen in pointing out to her what the king of France would do had such an effect that, hearing that Alençon was on the river, she at once took barge and went in search of him. She persuaded him that it would be best for him to accede to the importunity of the commissioners sent by the States, and go thither in person ; and when he was there he could take what course he thought best, either to stay or to leave them, she offering him 30,000l. in cash for the journey and a regular subsidy for the war, to be paid to the person whom he might appoint. Alençon accepted the proposal, but with coolness, and the next day he presented to the Queen the Commissioners who had come, when it was decided that he should leave to-morrow for Flushing.
The Queen saw that Alençon was still tardy about going to Flanders, notwithstanding his acceptance of the offer, and she told the rebel Commissioners not to cease urging him until they got him out of the country. They may well do it, but he displays no delight in going. The Queen also sent Sussex to speak to Alençon, and tell him that after he had left here, she would not have any communication with him, excepting through Simier. He replied, that until Simier had justified himself before Montpensier he did not wish to have anything to do with him, and said that Simier could hardly forget what had passed. The Chamberlain replied that it could not be believed of such a person as Simier. Alençon expressed to him great sorrow at the reply of the Queen about Calais and Havre de Grace, and also said that his brother was not so anxious for his advancement as to give up two of his most important fortresses for his sake. Sussex rejoined that whether the King would give them or not, nothing less could be demanded for the Queen's assurance. They took leave of one another without rancour.
What I have told your Majesty here proves again how much the Queen is influenced by spirited treatment of her ; since after she had been so ardently persuading Alençon not to go to the Netherlands, the moment Pinart spoke to her firmly she changed her course, and even offered Alençon money, which is the hardest thing in the world for her to do, as all her Ministers confess. The sum, too, was a large one, and a draft on the Exchequer was instantly signed. It is quite evident that I was right when I assured your Majesty that Simier had been sent here with the connivance of the king of France, and that he has been giving reports of everything that passed with the Queen.
Knowing the humour of the Queen and her Ministers as I do, I fancy that they are all embroiled with one another about the business of the marriage, and although the day for Alençon's departure is fixed and everything ready, he will doubtless still linger here, in the first place because he is so remiss about going himself, and also because Pinart wishes him to be detained longer, no doubt in accordance with orders from France.
Diego Botello arrived here on behalf of Don Antonio on the night of the 21st. He has done nothing yet excepting to see Leicester, with whom he is early and late. I understand that his first desire is that the Queen will allow his ships now in the hands of Englishmen to go to France.—London, 24th January 1582.
202. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Since my last advices about Scotland I learn that the duke of Lennox, the Lord Chamberlain, and the earl of Arran, Captain of the Guard, have had words with regard to who should have charge of the King's person, and the place where the guards were to be posted. The question was submitted to the Council, the King himself being present, when it was resolved that the Captain of the Guard was responsible for the placing of sentinels in the chambers and doorways leading to the King's apartment, whilst the Lord Chamberlain was to have guards posted at the doors of the palace, and at such places as he thought fit outside. The agreement did not prevent the continuance of the ill-feeling between them, and on the occasion of an entertainment being given by Lennox to the King, in a house called Dalkeith, which formerly belonged to Morton, Arran sent to ask which was to be his chamber, as he was coming to the feast ; to which Lennox replied that the room for him was not yet built in the house. He was much offended at this, and, returning to Edinburgh, said that the duke of Lennox was a Papist, and as such wanted to seize the King to make him a Papist too. He then took the field with three hundred horse and eight hundred footmen, although the King tried to pacify him. When d'Aubigny heard this he sent heralds to Edinburgh to proclaim that he was no Papist, but would conform to the religion of the country, and had no designs against the person of the King, as was alleged by Arran. The disturbance was thus calmed.
Whilst writing this I hear that Diego Botello is negotiating with the Grocers of London for the sale to them of three hundred casks of sugar, which I said had been brought by the pirates Robert and Bingham from Terceira. I believe this, because the Councillors are delaying the matter, in order that time may be given for the merchandise to disappear, although I am pressing for a reply to my demand that it shall be embargoed. I am doing everything that is humanly possible, but such is the malice of these people that I can get no satisfaction,—London, 24th January 1582.
27 Jan. 203. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
If this Queen's resolutions did not go beyond her Ministers I might well avoid troubling your Majesty with an account of all of them, but as they are duly published, and their execution put in hand, I am obliged to write hourly the changing moods of the Queen and Alençon, so that my letters become more like the pleadings in a lawsuit than a diplomatic correspondence.
I understand that on the 24th, the date of my last, Secretary Pinart had a despatch from his master telling him that, if he wished well to him and to France, he was to make every effort to detain Alençon here. The latter, although he had promised to leave next day for Zeeland, kept throwing every obstacle in the way of his departure, added to which he was unwell. It may well be supposed that, when Pinart saw how efficacious had been his previous action in frightening the Queen, in view of the letters he had received, and seeing the ships quite ready to take Alençon over, he again went at once to the Queen, and represented to her in a long discourse the risk which would be run by her person and by England in consequence of the change in the position of affairs in Scotland, which was evident to her as to others ; and also by reason of the alliance which would be made between France and Spain to exact satisfaction for past events. He dwelt at length upon these two points, and said that although his master might not care to purchase his brother's marriage at such a high price as the surrender of the fortresses she demanded, she must bear in mind that he might seize the opportunity of joining with Spain, and thus both crowns might obtain full redress for the injuries done to them by England. It would, therefore, be much better for her not to demand, as a pledge for the fulfilment of his promise, the two towns she mentioned, but that hostages should be given instead. This had such an effect upon the Queen that she immediately ordered the sailors in the ships to be dismissed, and said that it would be better that Alençon should stay until further orders.
I am assured that the Queen was so alarmed at Pinart's talk that she did not sleep all night, and constantly woke Lady Stafford, who sleeps in the same room. Her agitation was so terrible that in the morning she was in a high fever. Pinart afterwards went to Hatton, who is the person who is most opposed to the marriage, to whom he repeated what he had said to the Queen, but he was obstinate, and would only reply that, besides the evil which might befall him by the Queen's marriage, it was to be feared that it might cause a change in what they call their" evangelical" religion, and be a grave danger to the person of the Queen, by reason of the multitude of Catholics in England, who would rise when they had a chief of their own faith. Pinart replied by setting forth the favours and good works which the Protestants had received from Alençon, and said the Catholics never took arms against their legitimate sovereign, and the two separated very bad friends.
After dinner, whilst she was still in bed, the Queen summoned Sussex to tell him the trouble in which she was, swearing with great protestations that she must marry Alençon, forced by the dangers by which she was surrounded, as stated by Pinart. Another reason for the marriage, she said, was to have a companion in the government to enable her to bridle the insolence of her favourites, which she could not do by any other means. Sussex besought her, as she had once told him not to speak of the matter again, to refrain from ordering him to do so now, as he could only pray her to follow her own inclination, and to govern her subjects accordingly. The Queen told him to consider Pinart's proposition to substitute hostages for the two towns as a pledge, as it was most important for her security, and it was more easy for the king of France to grant. Sussex replied that he was of opinion that the demands for the towns should not be waived, with which he left the Queen in suspense. She ordered the Council to be summoned to consider it, and Leicester therein opposed the marriage for three reasons. First, that it would be against God's service, since Alençon was of a different religion to the Queen ; second, that the marriage was so unpopular that, if it were effected, a general tumult might be feared ; and, third, that as Alençon could be put off with money, there was no urgent reason for the marriage to proceed. Hatton was of the same opinion, saying that if he were obliged to give his reasons for opposing the marriage he should never finish talking. Sussex held the contrary view, and in answer to Leicester said that the marriage could not be prejudicial to God's service, since universal peace would be the result ; whilst the love of her subjects was such that nothing which the Queen desired could fail to please them, especially this, which would assure the State, by furnishing the Queen with such a support as would banish all fear of possible enemies, and particularly secure her against the power of your Majesty. This could not be done excepting by the marriage, and it was not to be believed that a person such as Alençon could be put off with money, as he had always declined to treat of anything else but the marriage. He, Sussex, and Leicester, came to words about it, and the Treasurer had to separate them, saying that the business was in the hands of the Queen, and that she had only given orders for them to consider the question of security to be demanded, in case she should decide to marry. The Council rose without settling whether it should be towns or hostages, and they went to give an account to the Queen, with whom Cecil remained alone, and it ended in her again ordering the ships to be got ready.
I understand that Pinart has orders to watch the Queen's behaviour with regard to Alençon's going to the Netherlands, and if he sees that she is advising him to go and promises him help, he is to declare to her in the presence of Alençon, at the leave taking, that his master not only entirely disapproves of the enterprise, but will instantly issue proclamations declaring rebels all his subjects who may serve in the war, thus openly showing himself his brother's enemy in that business. It is unworthy of Alençon, he says, to set such an example as to aid the vassals of any sovereign in rebelling against him if he does not please their humour. If, on the contrary, the Queen lets Alençon go his own way, without inciting him, Pinart is not to make this protest. I see signs of this, besides hearing of it from a trustworthy person, as Pinart, when he heard that some of the French gentlemen here were going to the Netherlands, told them not to be in such a hurry, as they might regret going thither, and would have to return very quickly, if they ever wanted to go to France again.
The night before last the Queen told Sussex that, although she had promised 30,000l. to Alençon, it was only to facilitate his departure, and that she did not mean to give it to him, as it was more important for her to employ the money in her own affairs than to spend it in Alençon's pleasures, for whom she would do quite enough if she gave him 20,000 ducats for his expenses here. A Frenchman was sent by Orange to urge Alençon to expedite his coming, and at last the Queen arranged with him that he should go at the end of this month to Flushing, she giving him 70,000l. She ordered two drafts on the Exchequer for 10,000l. and 20,000l., which with the other 30,000l. are now ready, and she has ordered Leicester and Lord Howard to accompany him. They are having new liveries made in furious haste, and the ships are being rapidly made ready. The Queen told Alençon that, if he thought fit to leave the rebels, he could come back with Leicester in a fortnight. Leicester managed to get appointed to go with him, in order to gain credit with the heretics, whom he gives to understand that he has been the cause of his departure, and he is also moved by his greed for the presents which he will get from the towns.
Alençon has told friends of his that, although he does not show any dissatisfaction, if the Queen gives him no further security than before for the fulfilment of her promise to marry him, he will let her see before he goes how displeased he is, and in a way for which she will be sorry. Sussex advises him to detain Leicester in Flanders all the time he is there, and, with this end, not to let him go in any ship but the one that conveys him (Alençon), since Leicester says that he will embark at Norwich and Alençon at Dover, one of the Queen's ships having been sent to Norwich with this object.
Pinart went last night to take leave of the Queen, on the ground that his coming only related to the marriage, and as this negotiation had ceased his mission was at an end. I understand that she asked him to stay, but he says still that he will leave at once.
What I have here set down is at present to be taken as their latest resolution, but it is impossible for me to repeat the subterfuges the Queen adopts to get rid of Alençon. The coming of Orange's envoys was all managed by her, and she has had Alençon and the French told that I have been with her secretly, discussing alliances with your Majesty. I am, underhand, doing all I can with her, her ministers and the French, to prevent injury to your Majesty's interest.—London, 27th January 1582.
204. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
In my former letters I explained the reasons for the delay in sending the priests to Scotland, and I am now awaiting the reply from Dr. Allen and Father Persons as to the best means to be adopted for expediting their departure, as I have sent a man specially to them to discuss the subject. It seems as if the delay were a special providence, in view of the dissensions, which I mentioned in one of my letters of the 24th, between Lennox and Arran. In giving them (the priests) the two thousand ducats now sent by your Majesty, I will be ruled by your Majesty's instructions, and in accordance with my action when I asked the queen of Scotland to help in this affair. The greatest caution, indeed, is being exercised in the management of it, and the Catholics here are being constantly encouraged and helped by me as much as possible. They have been greatly scandalised at the Abbé de Véry, who came with Alençon, having attended one of their Protestant services at Westminster, where he took a seat next to the Dean, whom he afterwards asked what they were singing and reading from the books. Some of the Frenchmen too have attended the Queen's chapel, and the heretics have taken advantage of this to influence the principal Catholics now in prison, to whom the so-called bishop of London sent to ask them why they need refuse to go to church, since those who were admittedly Catholics attended. By the blessing of God the bad example has not seduced any one.
The contract to ship timber, which I mentioned as having been made by two Englishmen who had arrived at Bristol and intended to ship it from there, was stopped by the earl of Leicester as soon as he heard of it. (fn. 2) He has the monopoly of the export of timber from the country, and they meant to pay him a sum of money for his license, but he chose rather to send the timber on his own account, and the men, therefore, sent to Holland, where I understand they are trying to get some cargoes, but as my other man is not here at present I cannot get particulars, excepting that they had sent one shipload, bound for the port of Santa Cruz, and their agent has letters from Morocco of 10th December saying that the ship had arrived at Larache.—London, 27th January 1582.
28 Jan.
B. M. Add. MSS. 28,702.
205. Memorandum of Cardinal De Granvelle to the King on English affairs.
The letters from England are deciphered, and will be enclosed herewith. Don Bernardino spoke in very good terms about the arrested ships, for which the bastard Don Antonio had given patents, and his action cannot fail to have some effect, as the Queen and her Council are in fear of the merchants, and it is evident that they are influenced by this. Don Bernardino has done well in advising the prince of Parma of all of Alençon's plans for entering Dunkirk, and in secretly arousing the suspicion of the Antwerp and Flushing men against Alençon. I do not see what else we can do here in the matter but await events. The marriage is ending in smoke, as I have said it would, for a long time past. All these demonstrations between the Queen and Alençon produce nothing, if it be true that, whilst the marriage has been broken off, no alliance has been effected and no money obtained. Without money he will not be very welcome in the States. Some Catholics write saying that the Queen has detained Alençon and his people on the pretext that she wishes to have Calais restored, and the money owing to her paid. This does not seem very likely, although it is the sort of trick which Englishmen often play. They tried it with the late Emperor and his father, King Philip. But as Don Bernardino does not mention it, it is probably not true in this case. The Scotch news is very good, and every effort should be made to promote the matter, and to encourage the insurgents in Ireland, who will probably be the more bitter against the English now that the blood of their kinsmen has been spilt, and they have arms in their hands and the Queen's castles are short of supplies. I think it would be well for Briceño, (fn. 3) through intermediaries, to wake up his Holiness in this matter and in the Scotch affairs, and try to get him to take them in hand energetically. Cannot your Majesty do something to help that poor man imprisoned in the Tower? (fn. 4) —Madrid, 28th January 1582.
28 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1447. 123.
206. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
We have received advices from Dutch sailors arriving here ; and especially from the captain of a hulk coming from Ramua (Middleburgh) which arrived at Belem in the middle of January, that Drake had sailed from England with twelve ships, manned with soldiers and colonists, and carrying bricks, lime, and other building materials for forts, bound for the Straits of Magellan. As we have no report of this from you we cannot believe it, but the doubt causes anxiety. (fn. 5) If it be true, however, they will meet there (i.e. in the Straits) some one who will give them a more lively reception than they expect. Still we hope it is not true. Please report very carefully all you can learn about armament of ships, and whether any have left or are expected to leave this spring. In order that you may be the better able to make these inquiries, I send you copy of a letter from Cabrera, Judge of the Canaries, to the President and Judges of the Chamber of Commerce of Seville, giving an account of the corsairs which were cruising in the neighbourhood in search of plunder at the end of last summer. Discover whether these ships were French or English, and report everything to me with the utmost clearness and detail. This may appear impossible, but you must learn as much as you can, as it is most necessary we should know. We hear that Don Antonio has sent Diego Botello to the Queen. If this be so, we count upon your discovering his errand.—Lisbon, 28th January 1582.
28 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1447. 121.
207. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
I was much pleased to learn that the priests who had gone to Scotland had had an interview with the King, by whom they were so well received. As the matter is so important in God's service, it is to be hoped that He will guide it to a good end. I thank you much for the trouble, diligence, and care you display in the matter, and I beg you to continue your action with all secrecy, as hitherto. Believe me, you can do me no greater service than this. Your understanding with the queen of Scotland will be very useful, as well as with the other persons you mention, who I am glad to hear are people of quality.
I grieve to learn of the punishment inflicted on the Catholics by the viceroy of Ireland. Advise what effect this has had on the insurgents, whether Desmond is still in the field, what has become of Baltinglass, and whether the death of Dr. Sanders is confirmed.
The order you obtained for Don Antonio's ships to return to port was good, and I hope you have obtained the embargo and deposit of the merchandise from Terceira, in the hands of some safe person. Advise me when the ships for the Moluccas or any other ships sail.—Lisbon, 28th January 1582.
28 Jan. 208. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As I was sending off the courier with the accompanying letter, I was informed that the Queen had summoned Pinart, and I detained the man until I could learn the reason. It appears that it was to press him to declare the instructions which she said she knew he had secretly received from the King to convey to her.
He replied that it was not his duty to disclose his instructions, until she had definitely resolved one way or the other about the marriage. The Queen thereupon besought him most urgently with many entreaties and endearments, but fruitlessly. She afterwards asked him to advise Alençon to desist from the war in the Netherlands, which was so dangerous and troublesome for him. Pinart replied that the favour she had extended to him was the cause of Alençon's embarking in the enterprise, and it was, therefore, her duty to dissuade him therefrom. The Queen denied that she had ever provoked him to the war, until after Alençon had commenced it, and she now considered it advisable that he should retire from it rather than persevere to his own shame and dishonour.
After this, a friend of Pinart asked him how he found Alençon disposed in the business ; to which he replied that he was very perplexed and irresolute, as without the aid of England he could do nothing in the Netherlands, and even if he had such help he would be obliged in the end to retire.
The Queen told Alençon yesterday that she had ordered Dover Castle to be made ready, so that she might go there and await his return from Flanders, which would be at most within twenty days, when the marriage might take place, as in the meanwhile he might decide whether it was best to continue the war, or advise the rebels to make terms with your Majesty, or, on the other hand, advise them to submit to another sovereign, he, Alençon, retiring from the country and leaving them. Although Alençon displayed much pleasure at this, and thanked her warmly, I am told that he at once retired with Marchaumont to his cabinet and wept bitterly, swearing that he would never rest contented until he had revenged himself on the Queen, and he saw now that be should have to change his course with this object, and make friends with his brother, as he was sure that his mother was more on his side than ever.
With regard to the money, different opinions are rife, because although the Queen has promised the 60,000l., some of her Councillors say that she did so subject to their approval, and the Treasurer asserts that he will never consent to a larger sum being given to Alençon than an equivalent to the expenses of his visit, and the presents he has given, as to grant him anything more would neither be reasonable nor wise. He is also opposed to Alençon's departure being delayed, and the resources of the country diminished, as no successful issue of his efforts can now be anticipated. Even if he were to succeed, he, the Treasurer, thinks that it would be prejudicial to England, as the Queen could not now trust such a friend, when he was absent, seeing that she had tried to deceive him when he was present.—London, 28th January 1582.


  • 1. In the King's hand :—"I do not know who this is." The person referred to was apparently Lord Henry Howard ; the principal Spanish spy at Court being the Controller, Sir James Crofts. As an example of the extreme care with which Philip II. read the despatches, it may be mentioned that wherever Simier is mentioned at about this time—the name being much distorted—the King in a marginal note asks for information as to the person referred to.
  • 2. The man who appears to have obtained the contract for exporting timber to Barbary was a certain John Sympcote of London.
  • 3. The Abbé Briceño was Philip's ambassador in Rome at this time.
  • 4. Antonio Fogaza. See Volume II. of the present Calendar, and letters Nos. 182 and 214 of this volume.
  • 5. The report of the Dutch captain, saying he had met Drake off the Isle of Wight, is enclosed.