Simancas: June 1582

Pages 379-382

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

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June 1582

11 June.
Paris Archives, K. 1447.
271. The King to J. B. Tassis.
The two Jesuit fathers who spoke to you about the Scotch affair must have been full of zeal, but the carrying of the matter so far as they did, and the communication of it to so many persons may militate greatly against keeping it secret. In order that the affair may be kept as quiet as possible, if the priest who was to come hither has not started yet it will be well to detain him. You can tell him as if on your own account, that to prevent the project being known it will be better that no action should be taken until you get a reply from me. You may reply to the duke of Lennox to the same effect, dealing with the matter in a way that will not lead them to think we are throwing difficulties in the way for the purpose of refusing the aid they request, but only in order that it may be managed on such solid foundations as to ensure its success, for which we should all strive, as it is so greatly in the interest of God and the public welfare.—Lisbon, 11th June 1582.
29 June. 272. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I wrote on the 19th by special courier, and I have since heard that this Queen is warmly promoting, with the consent of the French, a marriage between Alençon and the daughter of the king of Sweden. Her age is 14 years, she is good looking, of dark complexion, and has been brought up a Catholic. Alençon asks for no other dowry but that the Princess should be sent to the Netherlands at their cost, and that any money which would have been given to her should be employed in gaining over German princes to his side, whilst Denmark and Muscovy should be on the look out in order that he may be supported by a fleet in Holland and Friesland, if your Majesty should attempt to conquer those provinces by sea. I understand that the Queen is negotiating this business with the utmost secrecy, as she wishes to have it well advanced before Alençon sends ambassadors. In order to facilitate matters, they are both offering to help the king of Sweden in his election as king of Poland, the present King having no hope of succession ; and Alençon promises, by means of his mother, to win over the Palatines of Poland, with whom the king of Scotland is in alliance. The plan is to make a new treaty between the kings of Sweden, Poland, and Denmark, which this Queen and Alençon undertake to bring about. On this foundation, the principal aim of which is to maintain Alençon in the Netherlands, they build great hopes, and the Queen thinks also that by this marriage she will have as firm a hold over Alençon as if she herself married him. It is true that there are many difficulties in the way of reconciling and uniting these three monarchs, but Alençon will be a good match for the king of Sweden's daughter, and doubtless Alençon will not refuse, so that both this and its effect on the affairs of the Netherlands will necessarily produce evil results to your Majesty's interests. To obviate and retard the matter as much as possible, having no other means and delay being prejudicial, I have been obliged to make use of Baron Gaspar Schomberg. He is now in France, but I have written to him about it, telling him to represent that, although it may appear at first sight advantageous for Alençon to marry the king of Sweden's daughter, yet when the affair is considered, it will be seen to be fruitful of great danger for the kingdom of Poland, and that the close friendship between the two crowns (i.e. France and Poland) would thereby necessarily become relaxed.
I remind him of points we have discussed together, and say that, as he was going to Poland, it would be well for him at once to influence the Palatine Lasqui and other of his friends to obstruct the project, pending his arrival there, when he could tell them verbally how unstable a foundation were this Queen and Alençon upon which to rear a permanent edifice.
By Schomberg's sincerity and straightforwardness with me, and his devotion to your Majesty, I am convinced that he will do his best, and will give your Majesty time if you consider desirable to take other steps. As, however, no suspicion can exist with regard to Schomberg's faithfulness, and his first steps may be efficacious, I have given him a cipher to correspond with me, if your Majesty should think fit to employ him, either in the matter of the trade with the Northern countries or this affair of Sweden.—London, 29th June 1582.
273. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In addition to the letter written by Alençon to the Queen asking for money, mentioned in my former letters, he has again written to the same effect, and as he sees that his efforts are fruitless, he is complaining of Marchaumont who, he says, does not know how to negotiate, and as soon as he has relieved Oudenarde he will come over himself to settle his affairs and arrange the regular subsidy that this Queen is to give him. He says the Queen is not to be told of this, as he wishes it to be kept secret, and to take the opportunity which she has offered him by writing to say that she wished to see him and inviting him to return. The Queen has not decided anything of importance with regard to him, but is awaiting the result of the second embassy she is sending back to Alençon by Belièvre. Englishmen are daily slipping over to Flanders, and are being lodged at St. Bernard near Antwerp, awaiting arms and money. Those who were brought from Friesland for the relief of Oudenarde would go no further when they were landed opposite Flushing until they were paid what was owing to them. The reason why Alençon arrested the Chevalier Breton was because he had advised the Baron Viteaux, an enemy of Fervaques, that the latter was going to raise troops in France, and he could revenge himself by killing him on the road. Alençon wrote about it to his brother, complaining bitterly and asking that the Baron should be taken and punished. I understand that the king of France let the Baron know, and he thereupon took measures to prevent any trick being played upon him by Alençon.
Some of the ministers in Scotland have been preaching against d'Aubigny, and the King being offended thereat twenty of them fled to Berwick, the Queen being informed of this by the man who I said had arrived secretly at Leicester's house. She feared that it might be some stratagem and ordered that they should be taken to the neighbouring villages inland. I am told also that they are discussing a marriage between the king of Scotland and the sister of the prince of Bearn, (fn. 1) which was being negotiated by de la Roche, who is a creature of the duke of Guise, and this makes it the more suspicious.
News comes from Ireland that 600 Irishmen, who were in the Queen's pay, have been dismissed by the Viceroy without payment of the wages owing to them. They have therefore gone over to the Catholic insurgents, and have sent a defiance to the Viceroy. At the instance of Leicester fresh charges have been brought against the earl of Kildare. His business has therefore been again under discussion, and it is believed that his imprisonment will be prolonged more than was expected.
News comes that the ships of the king of Denmark had sunk the English ship "Mignon" on her way to Muscovy. The Queen instantly ordered the arming of two fresh ships to accompany those that were going to Muscovy. These are the ships that I wrote were going to plunder on their way to the Indies, the captain of them being a son (?) of Walsingham.
The eldest son of the earl of Hertford, who is one of the pretenders to the crown, has made a love match with a lady of much lower quality than himself. (fn. 2) He escaped for the purpose from a castle where his father was keeping him to divert him from his courtship, and was hidden for ten or twelve days, during which period there was a great outcry that he had fled the kingdom. The Queen has ordered him, and the gentleman in whose house he was married, to be arrested.—London, 29th June 1582.


  • 1. Castelnau de la Mauvissière, the French ambassador, writing to his King on the 25th June, mentions this project of marrying James VI. to Catharine de Bourbon, and that Lord Willoughby D'Eresby son of the duchess of Suffolk is being sent to Henry of Navarre by the Queen. Castelnau says that the intention is simply to "amuse" the king of Navarre on the point, as the Queen dreads nothing so much as that the prince of Scotland should be married into any family which might afford him aid as he is full of ambition.
  • 2. Lord Beauchamp had married Miss Honora Rogers. The gentleman in question appears to have been Mr. Thomas Howard. See Cal. Dom. 1st July 1582.