Simancas: April 1582, 1-15

Pages 321-339

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.


April 1582, 1-15

1 April. 236. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
With your Majesty's last despatches replied to in the four letters herewith, I received your Majesty's instructions to endeavour to procure the release of Fogaza, and to pay, from the proceeds of the three thousand crowns credit recently sent me, not only the twelve hundred ducats which he owed here, but if necessary the four hundred ducats for his maintenance in the Tower. Knowing the humour of these people I did not lose a moment, after receiving your Majesty's instructions, in taking action, which I did through a certain Portuguese doctor here called Hector, (fn. 1) who was attending Fogaza. He represented to the authorities Fogaza's age and infirmity, and begged for his release without my appearing in the matter, because if it had been openly done by me these people would not have liberated him for a long time. Their insolence, moreover, is such that they would have thought that they were doing a great favour in the matter to your Majesty's minister, and would have looked upon it as a full return for all the injuries they have done your Majesty. Hector managed it, and obtained an order from the Queen, by which he undertook, on his own security of 500l., to send Fogaza to Portugal by the first ship which offered, which I promised him, in the presence of Antonio de Castillo, should be done. Fogaza was therefore allowed out of the Tower, and I have placed him in a lodging, having arranged that his creditors shall not arrest him. I have not let him know that your Majesty has ordered me to pay them, because the moment any of them got wind of this they would all know it, and the suspicion of these Councillors would increase to such an extent that they would claim not only the cost of maintenance, which he has not yet paid, but also that of some other necessary things which were supplied to him there, and in default they would imprison him again, under the impression that he was an important personage in your Majesty's service, as we were paying his debts so suddenly, particularly as Antonio de Castillo, who was a minister of your Majesty, has been here for years unable to pay his own debts, which has given rise to much talk already. For this reason I have only told Fogaza that, out of my own small means I shall be glad to help him to get away to Portugal, where I am sure your Majesty will favour him, to which end I will give him letters begging, on my own part, that it shall be done. As soon as I see him on shipboard I will discharge his debts, for which I am already responsible.
As Antonio Fogaza has corresponded with the duke of Alba, the Grand Commander, Don John, and Gabriel de Zayas, the favour your Majesty shows him has been well deserved. The charity is really a great one, and will still be greater if your Majesty deigns to grant him some small means by which he may live the few years left to him ; but I should not be doing my duty towards your Majesty if I did not say that, after the first year Fogaza was here, most of his advices were vain and foolish discourse, with but little foundation, as he had not facilities for hearing anything important. He is moreover an extremely tiresome person, whom I have merely endured out of sheer pity, and Dr. Hector himself assures me that whilst Fogaza was in the Tower, he asked him to go to Don Antonio, and beg him to send some confidential person to see him as he had most important intelligence to communicate, whereupon Hector told him that he would have nothing to do with affairs of State. A Portuguese also, who goes to Castillo's house and was in the habit of visiting Fogaza in the Tower, was asked by the former why he had ceased his visits to the latter, and he answered that he had done so in order to avoid being requested to go with messages to Don Antonio.—London, 1st April 1582.
237. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
On the 25th ultimo at night a clergyman brought me from Scotland letters and reply to that which I said I had written to the duke of Lennox by Father William Holt. The substance of Lennox's reply is to refer me to the letters which will be written by Fathers Holt and Creighton, the latter of whom is the Rector of the Company of Jesus in Lyons, and, as I understand, a very wise and virtuous person. They write saying that, in consequence of the great vigilance on the Borders and the many spies which the Queen had in the Court of Scotland, they dared not trust to letters or ciphers, or even to verbal messages, except from the lips of one of themselves, to inform me of the details of their conferences with Lennox and the rest of them. They have therefore decided that Creighton and Holt should themselves go to Rouen in France, of which they hasten to advise me, so that I might go over and see them! The good men coolly say this, as if I could do such a thing without special orders from your Majesty, and as if my sudden departure from here would not immediately arouse the snspicions of this Queen and her ministers. They ask me to set out at once, as they have a ship ready to take them over to Scotland again as soon as the weather serves, and they say that, unless I can confer with them personally they considered it difficult to effect the conversion of the country ; and that it is necessary that there should be a minister of your Majesty with whom they could confer in France, they having some objection to the present minister, (fn. 2) as he has not yet been concerned in the negotiations, whilst Lennox and the rest are so willing to correspond with me. They say that Lennox is extremely well disposed towards the affair, and that, although he was a Frenchman, I had no reason to be suspicious of him. They had therefore given him a copy of the key to the cipher in which the Fathers corresponded with me, in order that he might communicate with me direct. They ask me to write to the queen of Scotland and advise her, in my cipher, to send immediately to her ambassador in France two letters of credence, one for Alexander Seton to deal with his Holiness as ambassador, and the other for John Seton to go with a similar mission to your Majesty, sending them at the same time instructions as to the heads of the negotiations which they would have to undertake. They say that, if it be not possible for me to go to Rouen, I should send them an order for the provision of money to enable Creighton to go and see your Majesty in Spain.
They ask me, unless there be something of the greatest urgency, not to send anything over the Scotch border excepting by the priest they send me, who came in the guise of a toothdrawer, travelworn, and footsore, as he had come on foot for over three hundred miles, any other way of travelling making it extremely difficult for him to pass. He left Edinburgh on the 12th ultimo, things there being quiet. Arran is now tranquil and at Court, Lennox and the rest having patched up a friendship with him in order the better to carry out their objects.
I have been endeavouring to find means of sending the despatch to the queen of Scotland, which is now difficult by reason of the guards which this Queen has again placed around her. I repeat to her what the Fathers told me, and point out the impossibility, which she must see, of my going to Rouen to confer with them, and learn what they had arranged. I asked her to inform me if she wishes for them to communicate with your Majesty's minister in France, and I do this as the Queen virtually manages all these matters, and the Scots are unwilling to conduct them otherwise than by her instructions and directions. I therefore think best, since, by God's grace, I have already contrived to overcome so many obstacles, not to offend her, nor introduce more people into the business than she desires.
I have also written in cipher to Father Persons in Rouen, telling him to detain there the two priests who have gone thither from Scotland, and who doubtless will have arrived, until I can send them the instructions of the Queen, pending which they are not to do anything, but that they may safely let me know what they have arranged by a special messenger whom I will send to them for the purpose. My object is that I may be able to advise your Majesty of the instructions which are to be taken by the men going to his Holiness and yourself before they arrived. I have ordered, however, that if it should be necessary for Creighton to leave before this reply, money should be given to him for the voyage. I will instantly report what the queen of Scotland and they reply, but I have no doubt that the decision of Lennox and his friends to send ambassadors to Rome and your Majesty arises from their having seen my letter, which will have banished the distrust they entertained of receiving any help from the Pope and your Majesty, and that, being now satisfied on the point, they are anxious to lose no time, and not to allow the matter to be frustrated prematurely by the intrigues of this queen (of England) in Scotland.
I send enclosed copy of a letter just received from the queen of Scotland, which displays clearly the straightforwardness with which she treats me, as she lets me know instantly anything she hears touching your Majesty's interests, and she is extremely well informed of everything that passes at this Court. The Queen is sorry for the reconciliation between D'Aubigny and Arran, and says that the King made a speech to them before the reconciliation showing much understanding, and pointing out how injurious it was in the eyes of foreign princes that dissensions like this should exist in the country. This was settled by D'Aubigny.—London, 1st April 1582.
238. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I have received your Majesty's instructions of 12th February, ordering me to report to the prince of Parma the plots which may be hatched here against the Netherlands. I have done so constantly ; and have sent couriers to him whenever necessary, but I have had no reply to any letter of mine since August last, and only a short notification from the Prince of the surrender of Tournai. With regard to your Majesty's orders, that I should use every effort to prevent the Queen and Councillors from assisting the Duke of Alençon, I may say that they are so tempestuous with me, that, although I have used every artifice to get on good terms with some of them, they all turn their faces from me, and particularly the Treasurer, (fn. 3) whom I formerly used to see, the rest of them being openly inimical. Only lately I sought an opportunity of approaching him again, and sent to say that I had some business which I wished to discuss with him. He replied that his colleagues looked upon him as very Spanish in his sympathies, and therefore he could not venture to see me alone, except by order of the Queen, and I had better communicate my business through Secretary Walsingham in the ordinary course. My hands are thus tied, as I can only get personal conference by extraordinary means, and their dislike to me has reached such a point that when I send to Walsingham for passports, or about other trifling affairs, they keep my servant there from morning till night, without even reporting his presence to Walsingham, and he can therefore only address him when he comes out in public. This and the fact that all my business is looked upon askance at Court has made my first confidant (fn. 4) so suspicious that he hardly dares to speak, excepting upon very rare occasions, to the person through whom he was in the habit of communicating with me. If I had not got intimate with the second personage, (fn. 5) who is more vigilant than I can well express in letting me know all that occurs, I should not be able to learn anything, and I am therefore preserving his friendship and entertaining him until I receive your Majesty's reply, in order not to remain entirely in the dark.
Your Majesty will understand by this how the venom of these people against your Majesty's interests has grown. Within a day after they learned the news about Orange they arrested two Spanish merchants who were entering my house, on the charge that they were accomplices in the affair, which they said I had arranged. One of these men was Pedro de Zubiaur, who in consequence of the failure of a correspondent of his in Seville, had left here shortly before and gone to Gravelines. The English merchants went to the Council and requested a passport enabling him to come back, in order that they might examine into his accounts with them. This passport was given in the most ample form for three months, in the name of the Queen, signed by Cecil and Walsingham, and was accompanied by two letters from the same ministers, assuring him that his person should be inviolable. No fuller assurance could have been given by a Prince, and yet they broke it, seizing him at one o'clock in the morning with all his papers ; the fact of the offence (i.e. the attack on Orange) having been committed since the safe conduct was given being the only satisfaction they would give him. It is very necessary that such a scandalous abuse as this should be spoken of to the Queen, but until I receive your Majesty's instructions I am, so to speak, holding the wolf by the ears, because if I ask for audience I am afraid I shall be refused, and yet it will be a great breach in your Majesty's interests if this matter be not laid before her. This greatly perplexes me, and I am at a loss to know how to act in the face of so much malice, since I have full proof that not only do these people break the divine faith, by persecuting the Catholics as they do, and feeding the abominations of the heretics, but they also violate the laws of man, first by stealing the boy from me, and now by disregarding their own passport. (fn. 6)
Leicester, whilst supping the other night with his sisters, sisters-in-law, and many kinsfolk, said openly that I had caused Orange to be shot, and that the man who shot him had been seen leaving my house a month ago. He said that, under cloak of reticence I was weaving the most pernicious plots that ever a minister had done, and he would therefore endeavour by all means to get the Queen to expel me. He went so far in the matter that, out of sheer pity for me, his sister-in-law the countess of Warwick said that she had always noticed that I had acted with great modesty whenever she saw me at Court.
I have requested a reply from the Council about the sugar that came from Terceira to Bristol. They have continued to say every day that I shall have a reply to-morrow, but yesterday, after a month's delay, Walsingham sent and asked me to have patience, as the Council had not met to consider the subject. The whole object is to procrastinate, so that the merchandise may be distributed. With regard to Drake's business, the Council has assured me, that they would reply favourably to the statements I had sent them with regard to the robberies, Walsingham himself saying verbally a month ago, that as soon as the reply was copied out fairly it should be sent to me, but yesterday he sent me another message saying that the paper had been lost, and that the Queen intended to consider the matter herself, and consequently a reply could not yet be sent to me. I will try to obtain an interview indirectly for the purpose of speaking to her on the matter.
Diego Botello has left Plymouth with Don Antonio's ships. Until my man comes back, I do not know whether all have sailed, as Leicester and Walsingham, after sending the first order, dispatched another, enabling him to take the "White Bear" as well. I hear that Botello wrote complaining that he was going short-handed as the men had deserted. I do not know whether the ships for the Moluccas, have gone though the weather is favourable.—London, 1st April 1582.
239. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I wrote on the 21st reporting that Orange had been shot at Antwerp on the 18th, and although I sent the despatch post through France, and a duplicate by sea, the ports are so closely watched that no foreigner, even though he have a passport, is allowed to leave, and I fear that the news will not reach your Majesty as quickly as it ought to do. The man who was to go through France was detained by two officers at Dover who told him that they had orders not to let any person pass with letters even though he bore passports. It was therefore necessary for him to give the despatch to a sailor to take it to Calais, whilst the packet I sent by sea, although the weather was so fine that it could have reached Lisbon in six days, was stopped at Plymouth.
It is reported that Alençon almost entirely lost heart as soon as he learnt what had happened to Orange, and he is now much discouraged and discontented to find himself in the power of the rebels, who blame the French for any disturbance that takes place. In addition to this, when he asked them for some money to pacify a riot in one of the towns, they would only give him, after much importunity and discussion, 6,000 ducats, and Alençon was obliged to provide some himself. As soon as the Queen heard the news, she sent off a gentleman of her chamber, begging Alençon to leave the States instantly, but when Walsingham heard her determination he told her to consider well what she was doing, because if Alençon came she would be forced to marry him, or the arms of all Catholic princes would be against her.
He enforced this with so many arguments that she changed her mind, and the following day she sent for the French ambassador and told him that as she was an honourable Princess, she had determined to marry Alençon and wished to tell him other things of great importance for him to convey to his master. He (the ambassador) replied that, as she had slighted him in the notorious way she had by making him so often write things she had no intention of fulfilling, he begged her not to do so again. She replied in a way which caused him to write, and he has since said publicly that, as the Queen wished him to go on deceiving people, he still had paper and ink for the purpose.
Leicester, Hatton, and Walsingham, I understand, are complaining much of the Queen's proceeding, and amongst themselves agree that as they are sure she does not mean to marry, they are afraid that this fresh demonstration of hers, coming after the others, will irritate the king of France so much as to alienate him altogether. Sussex is always of the same opinion, that if the friendship of France is not gained by means of the marriage, it will be better to renew the alliance with your Majesty.
I understand that the Treasurer has been earnestly pressing upon the Queen lately to adopt measures for the declaration of an heir to the throne, unless she wishes to ruin the lives and properties of all her subjects. I am endeavouring to discover what the proposed measures are.
As the weather did not serve for the conveyance to Flanders of the 15,000l., of which I wrote, orders were given for it to be detained, and for a "writ," as they call it here, to be drawn for the remittance in the same way as the previous 15,000l. The writ was drawn hy Leicester, Walsingham, Knollys, and another Councillor, but as the official thought that the sum was a large one, and the authority insufficient, as the Queen and the Treasurer had not signed, he asked the Lord Chancellor about it. The latter told them that the accounts could not be passed with these five signatures alone. The despatch was therefore delayed, and I have not learnt that the Queen and the Treasurer have signed, although Leicester is urging them to do so.
Alençon wrote recently to the Queen saying that, in order to raise sufficient money and men in France to maintain the war, unless his brother would break with your Majesty, it was necessary that he (Alençon) should go in person to France, and he intended to do so. Marchaumont tells some of his confidants here that this is the excuse he is making for leaving Antwerp. The Queen sent a gentleman to him approving of his determination, and to visit Orange, but she writes to the rebels secretly that they are on no account to let him go, or they will never see him again.
The shooting of Orange has been reported in detail to the Queen as follows, not differing greatly from the intelligence which I first sent to your Majesty. A servant of Gaspar de Añastro, a lad of eighteen years, born at Bilbao, and named Jauregui, son of a swordmaker of that place, as I am told by a servant of mine, who knows him, went to see Orange at dinner on Sunday the 18th. When Orange rose from the table he went and seated himself on a stool in one of the corners, and then beckoned the lad to him with a movement of his hand, the lad no doubt having previously desired to speak to him. When he reached him, he took a pistol from under his cape, as if it were a roll of paper, and fired it off close to his head. When Orange saw it, he suddenly turned his face away and the ball entered between the jaw and the right ear a little beneath the jaw-bone, issuing under the left eye. The lad remained perfectly calm and Orange fell at once to the ground crying out "Help" in Flemish. The youth, however, apparently could not fulfil his intention, as a pistol without a sheath was found in his pocket, and he seems to have overcharged the pistol he shot which burst in his hand and blew away his thumb. A bastard son (fn. 7) of Orange who was in the room at once stabbed him, and then the rest ran to him and dispatched him in a moment, afterwards quartering him in the Place, exposing the four quarters on the gates, and his head on the castle.
When the shooting of Orange was known in Antwerp, the Flemings believing he was dead raised the cry of "death to the French," but as soon as Orange recovered his senses he sent word to the Burgomasters that the duke of Alençon had come thither at his request to defend them, and as he was so great a prince and of the Blood Royal of France, they should duly respect him and fittingly protect his person. As for him, he said, his day had come, but they must not think that any suspicion attached to the French in the matter of the pistol-shot, as he was quite sure that the matter had been ordered by your Majesty. This pacified the people, although they all say that if the lad had only waited until the evening, when there was a great banquet to be given by Alençon, the latter would have been killed, and every Frenchman in the place. It is impossible to exaggerate the grief which the affair causes to the Queen and her ministers. They are so sad and disheartened that on the day that the news came it was the same as if she had lost the crown and they were all ruined.
I have kept back this despatch until I could send positive information as to the character of the wound. The last news received by the Queen, dated the 25th, say that before the fifth day, fever had supervened and the wound was inflamed, the cheek beneath the eye being swollen in a way which showed that the injury caused by the ball was greater than had at first been perceived. They had bled him twice for the fever and inflammation, and although he was somewhat better on the seventh day, the date of the advice, he was very weak with the bleeding, and the doctors did not consider him out of danger, they being unable to say, until after the eleventh day, whether the bullet had injured an artery in its passage. A well-known surgeon of Herenthals is attending him.
When the news of his slight improvement came, the Queen dispatched a gentleman named Gabriel to Orange, who was instructed to say that she sent him to congratulate him for having had his life preserved, and hoped that he would shortly recover perfect health. She assures him that she will never fail to assist him against his enemies and try to avenge his injury, whilst she warmly thanked him for his care in enjoining the rebels to be careful of Alençon's safety and dignity. She also sends to the latter, saying that he was not to waver in the war for she would help him in the way he wished, and certainly would marry him. As I have said, under cloak of this she advises Orange and the rebel States to detain him whilst she gives him nothing but words.
Some arrests have been made at Antwerp on suspicion, but as they write to the Queen such a variety of things about the confessions of the prisoners, I do not presume to repeat them to your Majesty.
Letters have arrived from the king of Denmark for the Queen respecting a certain expedition that the English are making to Muscovy by the Frozen Sea. He tells her that this voyage must not be made, as he is determined to prevent it, and will send to the bottom all ships which may in future try to go thither. No answer has yet been sent to him.—London, 1st April 1582.
3 April. 240. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since writing on the 1st, my man has come from Plymouth, and tells me that Don Antonio's ships left there on the 18th. There were two of them and one pirate vessel, of 100, 120, and 140 tons respectively. They do not carry more than 150 persons of all sorts, a very poor array, and with victuals for not more than a week. The weather is so bad that I am told they will be driven to the coast of Ireland before they can make France, and will have to re-victual there. Leicester's fly-boat which had been with them and the "White Bear" have remained on the English coast to plunder, and they tell me that the "White Bear" has already captured a ship. If Leicester and Walsingham had not made extraordinary efforts and brought great pressure to bear upon the earl of Bedford, who is the Governor of the place, and a great Protestant, Botello would never have got the ships out, but they managed to counter-mine all my obstacles which, nevertheless, delayed the ships here for months and have resulted in their sailing in such poor case and short-handed.
I am informed to-day that Botello had returned to court, but I cannot affirm this, because my man tells me that he saw him go on board.
The Queen has news from Antwerp of the 27th, saying that Orange was worse rather than better, as great quantities of blood had issued through the nostrils, and they would not now let him see even the colonels of Antwerp, which looked very suspicious.— London, 3rd April 1582.
4 April. 241. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Last night I wrote reporting the condition of Orange, and whilst I am writing this, I learn that on the 1st instant, the fourteenth day after the attempt, he had lost two pounds of blood from the wound, and was at the last gasp, the doctors having abandoned hope. The Queen has been informed that he is dead. I will report instantly, if it be confirmed, but to judge from the descriptions of the wound, it may be taken now as certain that he will die, and we may give infinite thanks to God for having been pleased to visit with such a punishment so abominable a heretic and rebel.—London, 4th April 1582.
6 and 8 April.
242. The Queen Of Scotland to Bernardino De Mendoza.
I have received through the old channel your letters of 2nd ultimo, and from the last address I gave you your other letters of 26th ultimo came to me. I think best to send you a prompt reply, especially with regard to the overtures made to you from Scotland for the re-establishment there of the Catholic religion, upon which the duke of Lennox is now resolved, if I approve of it, as you will see by his letter of which I send you a copy. Now, to carry this extremely desirable enterprise to a successful issue, two points only are needful : first, to learn whether the Pope and my good brother, the Catholic King, your master, will approve and aid it ; and, secondly, that in Scotland itself everything should be carefully prepared and arranged for the successful attainment of the object, in accordance with the goodwill which exists towards it on the part of so many great personages and others there. I myself can do much towards this second point, as soon as I am assured with regard to the first one, upon which everything must depend. I have therefore most affectionately to beg you, with all diligence, to convey to his Holiness and to the King, your master, intelligence of the favourable appearance now presented for the successful establishment of religion in this island, commencing with Scotland ; and to learn from them both at what time, and to what extent, in forces and money, they will be willing to help those who undertake the said enterprise. I have no wish to rashly and fruitlessly draw them into risk, or to let them precipitate themselves to their ruin, as I recently wrote to you. You will observe by the copy of the duke of Lennox's letter to me, that he is persuaded that the force to be sent will amount to 15,000 men, which is the first I have heard of such a thing. It will be necessary, in order that they may not deceive themselves, that he and the others shall be soundly informed, in as much detail as possible, of the aid and support which his Holiness and my good brother the King may be pleased to contribute ; but I will nevertheless negotiate, with all circumspection, in order to encourage and strengthen the party in Scotland, and to have the necessary ports and harbours appointed for the reception of the foreign contingent, as well as the fortresses inland, which will be on their side. I will give you due advice on these points, as soon as I receive the reply from his Holiness and the King your master, or will have you informed by the principal intermediaries in Scotland, so that a perfect understanding may exist between you and them, as I am desirous, by all means, that the affair should only be managed by you. I will at once write to the Archbishop of Glasgow, my ambassador in France, that he is not to convey any intelligence to your colleague in France, but to act in the matter entirely through you alone. For this reason I send you a cipher key, by means of which you may in future write to the Archbishop of Glasgow, and he to you. I am sending him orders to this effect in the letters I enclose for him, and which I beg you will be good enough to forward to him by the first opportunity.
The request sent to you by those Jesuits, that you will go and see them at Rouen, will prove to you how far their experience in matters of State is from corresponding with their zeal in religion ; and it will be necessary, therefore, to keep them well and frequently instructed, as to how they are to conduct themselves in all that concerns State affairs, for these good people may blunder seriously unless they have wise counsel and advice. You may judge of this by the proposal they make to me to send Lord Seton's two sons as commissioners, in the form of ambassadors, both of them being so young and quite inexperienced in matters of such importance as this. It is quite out of the question that they could be entrusted with such a negotiation, in which, if they were discovered, my own life and the whole future of my son would be imperilled. Besides this, it is my intention that these negotiations shall be conducted in such a way that it shall never be discovered that they were undertaken with my authority ; but if it should be necessary for me to intervene, I have ready very much more fitting means of doing so than this.
You may therefore inform these Jesuits that I will, on no account, allow that anything concerning this matter shall be done in my name, or with my authority, unless necessity should demand it. For this reason I do not approve of sending anyone on my behalf to negotiate with his Holiness and the King your master, especially before I am assured of their co-operation.
I send you a little packet to forward to the duke of Lennox, whom I am advising to stay in Scotland, and I disapprove entirely of his suggestion for raising forces in France, or of his own voyage thither, which, whilst it will necessitate his abandoning my son, will not be of the slightest advantage to the affairs of Scotland, because, as he is a subject of the king of France, the latter may retain him and compel him to declare what he knows.
I thank you for the good information and advice you have given him in the interests of my son's safety and his own. I am ordering him to be carefully on his guard, but you will greatly forward matters if you will kindly send him word, in the name of my good brother the King, in your next letter, that they are to proceed promptly in the matter of the association of my son with myself in the crown of Scotland, about which I have sent to them, as all future negotiations must be based upon this, telling him, at the same time, that without such association you see no chance of help coming from the King your master, who will not listen to any treaty with them, except on my account, and that without my authority the projected enterprise would be simply a rebellion against my son, whilst you will promise all your good offices to me in the matter. I will say no more but to pray God to have you in his safe keeping, and that he may grant just vengeance against the Prince of Orange and all his fellows, the enemies of religion and public peace.—6th April 1582.
Since I wrote the above letter, a despatch from Walsingham and Beal has arrived here, containing in substance, after some excuse for the long delay in the sending of their mistress' reply, that, she has given favourable consideration to the remonstrances addressed to her by Beal, on my behalf, on his return from here. In order to give me a proof of her goodwill touching my state and treatment here, she grants me all necessary exercise for the maintenance of my health, within the park surrounding this house, and outside the same, so far as may be permitted by the earl of Shrewsbury at her instructions. Two physicians, as I had requested, will be sent to assist at the treatment which I have decided to undergo immediately after Easter. In order that I may be able to arrange certain matters touching my dowry in France, one of the men of my Council there is to be allowed access to me. As regards the journey of my Secretary to Scotland to treat of the overtures placed before my son and myself, although my Secretary's voyage would be mainly for the purpose of promoting the proposals made to me by Beal, with the object of establishing a sound understanding and friendship between the two countries, which the Queen and her Council show some desire of bringing about, the Queen intended to proceed in the matter of the journey with a due regard to her honour and safety. My son having recently refused entrance into Scotland to Captain Errington, (fn. 8) whom the Queen had sent to him, she could not consent to send any other person to him until he had given her some satisfaction for refusing to receive her envoy, and Beal has requested me to write to my son advising him to send an apology. As this was only a matter of ceremony I have made no difficulty in consenting, and, in order to banish all suspicion, I have sent them the letter to forward to my son.
On the second point, as to the assurance of the Queen and the confirmation of the promises and remonstrances which Beal had addressed to her in my name, either by a writing under my hand or verbally to the earl of Shrewsbury, as the promises were in general terms and might be interpreted very broadly, I have thought best to send them immediately to the said Earl, accompanied by the various conditions and limitations which I have imposed in conference with Beal when I made the promises, so that if these conditions were not complied with by the Queen I should remain free and absolved from the fulfilment of my promises. In the meanwhile I am not pledged, as I understand was their intention. This is mainly what has passed in the matter, and as affairs progress, although I do not intend to make use of ..., as you will judge it is very necessary, and I will not omit to let you know about it, in order to obtain your good advice and counsel which I pray you will give me freely. Above all, you will do me a great favour by having the enclosed little packet sent to the duke of Lennox with all diligence, so that he and my son may be acquainted with what they have to do in the matter before my son receives my open letter sent to him through Walsingham. I shall be glad if you will send me ample memoranda of all that you think necessary to be arranged in Scotland, so that my secretary may be ready. I can assure you of his efficiency and trustworthiness, both in religion and my affairs. The enclosed letter is an addition to the duke of Lennox's despatch. Pray send to him at once the part that is for him, as it is so important to me.—8th April 1582.
Enclosed in the aforegoing letter is the following headed :— "Copy of the last letter written to me by the duke of Lennox which you sent to me the 7th March 1582."
Madam. Since my last letters a Jesuit named William Creighton has come to me with letters of credence from your ambassador. He informs me that the Pope and the Catholic King had decided to succour you with an army, for the purpose of re-establishing religion in this island, your deliverance from captivity, and the preservation of your right to the crown of England. He says that it has been proposed that I should be the head of the said army. Since then, I have received a letter from the Spanish ambassador resident in London to the same effect, through another English Jesuit. For my own part, Madam, if it be your will that anything should be done, and that I should undertake it, I will do so, and am in hopes that, if promises are fulfilled, and the English Catholics also keep their word, the enterprise may be carried to a successful issue, and I will deliver you out of your captivity or lose my life in the attempt. I therefore humbly beg you to inform me of your wishes on the matter, through the Spanish ambassador in London, with all speed, and I will follow your instructions if you approve of the enterprise. As soon as I receive your reply I will go to France with all diligence for the purpose of raising some French infantry, and receiving the foreign troops and leading them to Scotland. I will feign to be going solely on my own private affairs, for six months, and as for my return, do not be troubled about that, for I promise you on my life that when I have the army which is promised to me, of 15,000 men ... of Scotland and England I will land. Courage! then, your Majesty, for you shall find servitors determined to offer their lives in your cause. For myself I ask nothing of you, only that if this enterprise be successful, your son should still be acknowledged as king. It is unnecessary to communicate to him anything about the business yet or to the lords, until the army be assured and ready, because, when I arrive with it, I am sure that I shall be joined by twothirds of Scotland, seeing the forces that I shall have. They dare not declare themselves now because they fear to lose their property if the plan were discovered. This letter is only to learn your wishes on the enterprise and I will do your bidding.—Dalfair reity (sic), 7th March 1582. (fn. 9)
9 April. 243. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
In case your Majesty should not have received my previous advices about Orange, I may say that on the 1st instant, the fourteenth day after the attempt, he was apparently at his last gasp, but by means of the remedies adopted to staunch the blood, the last of which was to cauterise the wound with gold, the bleeding was reduced for a time, and so continued until the morning of the 7th, when they wrote from Antwerp that during the preceding night he had lost so much blood as to be almost dead, the doctors saying that he could not live beyond dinner time, as he was pulseless and unconscious. Letters from Flushing written the same night report that he was dead, and the news is believed here, as it has been since the fourteenth day, but God was pleased to delay the end in order to punish him with more terrible sufferings than they say were ever undergone by man. From the time he was wounded until the end his pain hourly increased, especially after the fifth day, when the blood began to flow, and on the fourteenth day, when the vein again burst ; at which time Alençon was with him, as well as his wife ; and they were playing with one of his daughters.
He has enjoined the rebel States to respect Alençon as a Prince whom God has sent them to uphold their liberty of conscience. This message was briefly written by him, as also was his will. I have thought well to advise your Majesty instantly of the news ; and will now add that Juan Diaz de Caraballo, a gentleman of Terceira, has been here to see me. At first, seduced by the false news of your Majesty's death, which was sent by the Chamber of Lisbon, he took the side of Don Antonio, but when he found by later letters the untruth of it, he served your Majesty with zeal and loyalty and abandoned the Chamber of Lisbon, which he had always advised the Terceira people to regard as their guide. He says that the Jesuit Fathers of Angra and several other persons (whose names are given), who left the island in December with him, will confirm this, they having mainly at his instance left there on pretence of his going to see Don Antonio. He has now come hither for the purpose of conversing with me.
He has given to Antonio de Castillo and me an exact account of affairs in Terceira as they were on the 5th of March when he left, and I send a full statement enclosed in my packet despatched by special courier through France. As he appears a sensible man, well informed about the island, I have decided to dispatch him at once to your Majesty that you may hear from him verbally, before the departure of the fleet, a full relation of what has happened. I am sending him away also to avoid his being shot, as I hear that Diego Botello, who had returned through bad weather to Plymouth, had tried to entice him on board the ships and carry him to France, but he feigned illness and refused to be caught. Botello thereupon wrote to the agents of Don Antonio to press Leicester and Walsingham to send him at once to France, as he was one of the principal persons at Terceira, and was well informed of affairs there. For these reasons, and because it is necessary for your Majesty to have information before the fleet leaves, I send him by sea without loss of time, accompanied by a servant of mine called Hans Oberholtzer, who is a good linguist, and a person whose trustworthiness is beyond doubt. I pray your Majesty to favour Juan Diaz, who will be very useful in the enterprise (of Terceira), and to send Hans back to me by land as I need him much, and would not send him but for the importance of the errand.—London, 9th April 1582.
11 April 244. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since I wrote last there is no fresh news from Antwerp, only that many letters of the same date from there and Flushing confirm the death of Orange.
Three days since this Queen sent a gentleman named Norris to Antwerp with letters for Alençon, in which she makes him a thousand promises, which her own Councillors say she has not the slightest intention of keeping. He has also orders to treat secretly with Prince d'Epinay, St. Aldegonde, and the rebel States to prevent Flushing, Middleburg, and the rest of the places in Zeeland from falling into the hands of the French. I hear that Marchaumont said, when he learned what the Queen had written to Alençon, that if the latter had believed his brother and Councillors, and the promises of the christian princes, he would not have reduced himself to having need of the queen of England.
The French Ambassador has addressed the Queen in the name of the queen of Scotland, to request permission for her to send a gentleman to Scotland for the purpose of renouncing in favour of her son all her rights and claims whatsoever, as she wishes to divest herself of them entirely, leaving her body alone to suffer her afflictions and imprisonments, and so by banishing the Queen's jealousy to induce her to treat her with greater gentleness. She replied that she would not give any such permission until the king of Scotland had given her satisfaction for having refused to grant a passport to the gentleman (fn. 10) whom she had sent thither when the Parliament was sitting. Besides this, she did not wish to consent to a matter which it was so very doubtful would be advantageous to the mother, for the benefit of the son, whose conduct was so questionable, and which certainly could bring no profit either to herself or her kingdom. She did not, moreover, consider it would tend to its tranquillity for this to be done whilst the king of Scotland was ruled by the duke of Lennox.
The Queen has granted permission for two English doctors to visit the queen of Scotland and consult on her maladies.
News comes from Ireland that Desmond and the insurgents had captured a castle, and massacred therein Captain Fenton and all his company. This is another blow to the English, and, as there are now so few soldiers there, they are arranging in the Council here to send some fresh troops.
The ship which I said had gone to Barbary with timber to build galleys, bringing back a return cargo of sugar, has been wrecked in the river Thames at a part where a ship has never been lost before. It looks like a judgment of God for their sin.
On the 2nd instant one of the priests who were condemned with Campion was martyred at Chaford (?) in the county of Sussex.(?) He died with the greatest fortitude, and asked the Judge to exhort the Queen not to spill innocent blood, which was great sin. It is a matter of infinite thanks to God to see the large number of conversions which these martyrdoms bring about. The man who guarded Campion, who was a most terrible Puritan, was won over, and is now firmly resolved to suffer martyrdom, if necessary, for the Roman Catholic religion.—London, 11th April 1582.
245. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
After closing the accompanying letters, at the hour I am writing this—six o'clock on Wednesday evening—news has arrived from Antwerp dated the 9th. The report is that Orange was still alive, but the bleeding could only be restrained by pressure upon the vein, and this the doctors kept up in one hour relays all through Sunday the 7th. The doctors even express surprise that he should have survived the day, but say that it is humanly impossible that he can last much longer. They had treated him as if he were a dead body, for they had gashed open his right cheek from the mouth to the cartilage of the jaw, to see whether they could close the vein with a plaister. The severed vein is one of the four principal vessels of the throat. It may be looked upon as a judgment of God that his sufferings are thus prolonged, as they say again that the pain is terrible. They are convinced here now that he must die in a few hours, as Alençon is assured by the doctors.—London, 11th April 1582.
246. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I wrote on the 9th to your Majesty by Hans Oberholtzer, my servant whom I sent with Juan Diaz de Caraballo by sea, in order to avoid the danger of his going by France. I arranged for them to freight a small boat at Plymouth or Southampton, according to the weather. Diaz had fled from Terceira, where he was looked upon with suspicion, as being well affected towards your Majesty ; the keys of the city of Angra having been taken from his custody and his murder advocated from the pulpits, on the ground that he was a Castilian. He had temporised until he could find an opportunity of leaving the island, in the hope of being able to be useful to your Majesty prior to the departure of the fleet. He left in company with Bartholomew Fernandez, a merchant of the island, and came hither to see me. They arrived on the 6th, and at once sought an interview with Manuel Martinez Suarez, of St. Michael's, who has lived here for two years past, and who they knew was a faithful servant of your Majesty's. This Martinez has never ceased to write to his friends and kinsmen in the islands, urging them to submit, and both Antonio de Castillo and I can bear testimony to the good services and information he has rendered to us about the islands, all of which will be confirmed to your Majesty by the bishop of Angra, and the Jesuit Fathers from there, He at once advised me of the arrival of Diaz and Fernandez, and I had them brought to Antonio de Castillo's house, which was a quieter place for me to see them in than my own, and would enable me to learn more about them from Castillo. We have found them loyal and true subjects, and see that Juan de Diaz Caraballo is a man of understanding, whose services and information may be very important in the matter of Terceira, before the departure of the fleet, and for that reason I despatched him instantly.
They report that Manuel de Silva arrived on the 24th of February at Terceira in a French ship, accompanied by not more than 50 men in all. He took with him six men of the Order of Christ, amongst whom was a noseless mulatto, but no soldiers. He bore ample powers from Don Antonio, both in lay and ecclesiastical affairs, as no doubt during his stay in England he (Don Antonio) had caught the trick of making himself Pope. They received him (de Silva) with a canopy and procession, as if he were a king, in consequence of his claim that he came as the King's lieutenant. He bore the title of Count de Torres Vedras, and had a large revenue from Portugal.
Four days after he arrived he beheaded Juan de Betancourt, who died serenely, as he knew that he was defending the cause of God and your Majesty, and upholding truth and justice. On the same day Silva went to the Misericordia, and he was begged to suspend the execution of Betancourt, but he ran out of the church to avoid granting it. He was proceeding against other prisoners whose lives were in danger, although the people were much displeased at Betancourt's death. Silva had knighted the sailor who took Stephen Ferreira to France, and many others ; he had indeed been so liberal with "habits" of knighthood that he had ordered a whole piece of red stuff for them, as well as a vast number of certificates and warrants of nobility, offices, prelacies, abbacies, and the like. They had decided to send the Jesuit Fathers to the island of Santo Domingo, and had established a mint with the intention of coining the silver taken from the churches and from private persons, who are ordered to carry it thither on pain of death, as he (de Silva) had not brought a real with him.
The Governor of Terceira was extremely angry at finding himself deposed by the arrival of de Silva, as also was Captain Jean Carloix the chief of the Frenchmen there, who on visiting de Silva was only invited by him to be seated on an ordinary bench.
He gave leave to two merchants to load two cargoes of woad, but when they had the cagoes on board he seized them both for Don Antonio. They raised a great outcry at this and took their wives and children to him to pray for mercy, whereupon Silva made them give a written undertaking that they would deliver half of the woad in Antwerp to the factors of Don Antonio. When these merchants arrived in Plymouth they saw Diego Botello, who had returned thither by reason of foul weather, and on their complaining to him of the way in which they had been treated by de Silva, he made them give bills on themselves and Manuel Enriquez, a Portuguese merchant, who he thought had property in Antwerp the bills being payable at sight, for 3,000 ducats. They, being cooped up in their ships, were obliged to do this, and one of them had also to undertake to pay the cost of three culverins in Antwerp to Duarte de Castro (one of Don Antonio's factors there).
The merchants came hither and told me what had passed, whereupon, as the ships were still detained by contrary weather, I ordered them to be brought up the Thames, in order to prevent Don Antonio's factors from seizing the woad by virtue of the documents they had signed, and to prevent the 3,000 ducats falling into the hands of Don Antonio. At the same time I sent word secretly to Antwerp, ordering Manuel Enriquez, in your Majesty's name, not to accept bills coming from Terceira, or to acknowledge that he had any property in the island.
There has arrived here also Gonzalo Pereira, a native of Fayal and first cousin of Manuel Pereira, who was a secretary to your Majesty. He is the richest and most important person in Fayal, and tells me that he has your Majesty's pardon, allowing him and six men to remain there. I knew him here two years ago, when he came to tell me that he would bring the island to submit to your Majesty, whenever necessary, as he had the sworn support of 60 of the principal men there, who would sacrifice their lives for him. He pretended that he was coming to visit Don Antonio on behalf of the people of the island, for which reason they gave him leave to come and letters of recommendation. He and the friars, learning that Botello was in Plymouth, went to France. The commission he brought was to ask Don Antonio for 400 men and 60 pieces of artillery, with which, and the two thousand fighting men they had in the island, they said they could hold it against the world. Gonzalo Pereira came to see me and Antonio de Castillo after writing a letter to Don Antonio requesting a reply to the demands from the island, and saying that he was too unwell to visit him in France. He gave us full information of the state of things in Fayal, and the neighbouring islands, and although it will be easy to bring them to submission, yet as I hear that Silva is sending 400 men to the island and an equal number to the neighbouring islands, it will be necessary for some men in your Majesty's interests to be there, in order to prevent the spoilation of the place by these men, and I have therefore, as your Majesty's minister, given to this Pereira a patent as Captain of the Island, pending fresh orders from your Majesty, and am sending him off thither. I doubt not that this step will greatly animate the people to defend themselves against any force sent from Terceira, and that they will at once declare themselves on your Majesty's side. I also give them letters for the Governors of St. Michael and the captains of the six ships which your Majesty sent thither, asking them to render the necessary assistance to Fayal. I instruct them, if they find the Terceira people too strong for them, to surrender until they have news of your Majesty's fleet, when they are to send a letter, which I also give them, to the Marquis de Santa Cruz, submitting to your Majesty. This will be useful, as there is a port there, and victuals and other things can be obtained for the use of the fleet, whilst the Terceira people will be deprived of their support. As the people of the island appear to have a great reverence for the name of Ambassador, I have taken the liberty of extending the patent to Pereira in my capacity as such, for which boldness I beg your Majesty's pardon.
I have received advice that in a ship which Botello has dispatched from Lyme to Terceira, there has gone a Dominician Friar who was with Don Antonio in France. His name is Friar Juan del Espiritu Santo, thirty years of age, a man of good appearance and fair face, the son of a low official in Lisbon. He takes letters and decrees of Don Antonio for the islands of St. Michael and Madeira, in which he promises (and gives on paper) wealth untold. This Friar bought a great quantity of poison of an apothecary at Plymouth, whom he told that he was going to poison the preserves which they make in the island of Madeira, and particularly those which are made for your Majesty's guard there. This, and much worse things may well be believed of this Friar, judging by accounts given to me of him by these Terceira people, who say that he is no Friar at all, and that his behaviour there has been worse than that of the devil himself.
Antonio de Vega has left here in great need of money to go to Don Antonio, and Diego Botello was actually in want of food on board the ships, many of his men having deserted from sheer famine, the whole of them would have gone if they had not been strictly guarded. I have no doubt that by this time he has arrived at Rochelle.
Diego Botello earnestly begged Gonzalo de Pereira, as a man of wealth and credit, to buy here three culverins, for which Don Antonio would pay him in the island, as this Queen would not supply them without the money. He said that Alençon and Orange would help Don Antonio with twelve Flushing fly-boats, well armed, as well as thirty hulks, but I cannot find that they are fitting out any ships in Zeeland or Holland, excepting the three at Flushing which Francisco Antonio is trying to purchase. Two ships have left there for Terceira to bring the merchandise which de Silva has taken from people in the island.
It is probable that the death of Orange will stop the fitting out of such ships, if it has commenced. The principal business of Don Antonio's factors here is to grant letters of marque, but they have sent from here to Terceira a quantity of a metal similar to tin for the purpose of coining false money. I send this by special messenger to Paris in case the weather should prevent the prompt arrival of the despatches sent by sea.—London, 11th April 1582.


  • 1. Dr. Hector Nuñez.
  • 2. Juan Bautista de Tassis.
  • 3. Lord Burleigh.
  • 4. Sir James Crofts, the Controller of the Household and a member of the Council.
  • 5. Lord Henry Howard.
  • 6. The failure of Zubiaur's correspondent in Seville, Pedro Martinez, had caused the insolvency of Zubiaur in England, Zubiaur was a prisoner for debt for a long period.
  • 7. Maurice of Nassau, according to Strada.
  • 8. Sir Nicholas Harrington, who was a distinguished English officer stationed at Berwick.
  • 9. Both of the above important letters were printed as appendices in Mignet's "Histoire de Marie Stuart." They are not contained in Labanoff's collection.
  • 10. Captain Errington. See Queen Mary's letter of 6th April 1582, page 332.