Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 3, 1580-1586. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1896.
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Paris Archives, K 1447. 177.
288. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Your last letter of 8th September brought a full account of the imprisonment of the king of Scotland, and a letter from his mother to you, as well as the instructions taken by Lord Cary (fn. 1) and the triumph and pride of the queen of England at the affair. It is a great pity the business has had such a downfall, just as it seemed going so prosperously, but not much decidedly can be said about it until we see how it all ends, and I leave for another letter the detailed answer on this and other subjects. This letter is mainly to assure you of my regret that your indisposition has gone so far and that you are suffering so much from your eyes. I will therefore very shortly send you the permission you seek to take your leave. In the meanwhile, however, even if I did not enjoin you to do so, as I do, I am sure you will exercise your usual diligence in all that concerns my service, and keep me well informed of all that passes there. As it is very important that I should know about the ships being fitted out in Holland and Zeeland for Don Antonio, you will have very minute inquiries made on the point, both as to the burden of the ships, their character, their ordnance, their stores and victuals ; and also what troops are to be shipped, who is paying for them, and all other particulars you can learn, for my information.—Lisbon, 1st November 1582.
289. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
After I had written the enclosed two letters, news has arrived from Scotland confirming what Foster, the Warden of the Border, wrote to the Queen, saying that sixteen of the principal Lords and Barons had met and demanded to know whether the King was a prisoner or not. When this came to the knowledge of the conspirators who were detaining him, they sent persons to confer with them and with the duke of Lennox. The latter has sent to request this Queen to grant him a passport for himself and eight horsemen to pass through England to France, which I am told she would be very glad to grant if she were sure he would use it.
I can only imagine that he is requesting it in order to keep her in hand, because, although the Queen has ordered one of her armed ships to go from Ireland towards the castle of Dumbarton, to capture him if he goes by sea, there is no reason for him to be alarmed if he is decided to go to France. So far as can be judged the position of affairs in Scotland will not force him to go, since so many lords are demanding that the King should be set at liberty. This Queen is informed that the king of France has sent a gentleman to the king of Scotland, with orders to address him as King. I am hourly expecting letters from Dr. Allen and the priest who went from Scotland, who will doubtless inform me the reason of this gentleman's going, which your Majesty will already have learnt from Juan Bautista de Tassis. A man whom I sent to Zeeland has at this moment returned. He tells me that the sailors are already being dismissed from the ships, which were being armed there, and only one vessel will sail, of 150 tons, under the Piedmontese Captain Lucchese, a great pirate and heretic, who serves Orange. He says he is going to seize some booty to reimburse him for the cost of fitting out the ships. Three of these vessels were at Ramequin and the others in the port of Flushing, without spars or sails.—London, 1st November 1582.
290. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
M. de Fontenay, the Grand Chancellor of the queen of Scotland, is leaving for the purpose of giving your Majesty a verbal account of certain matters with which I have acquainted him. The queen of England gave him permission to see his mistress, and I humbly beg your Majesty to receive him and give him credence, as his mistress informs me that he is a person in whom the fullest confidence may be placed. (fn. 2)—London, 1st November 1582.
291. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I have received your Majesty's orders to communicate to the prince of Parma the plots that are being hatched here against the Netherlands. I continue to do so with all possible minuteness, but I am unable to maintain these people in the humour your Majesty desires, as they are obdurate in their determination that I shall not have audience of the Queen ; and I cannot request an audience after having received the reply which I conveyed to your Majesty on the 15th and 21st May, to the effect that until you had given her satisfaction about Ireland she could not receive me, out of consideration for her own honour, since I was your Majesty's Minister. I have tried every possible means, overt and covert, to get into relations with the Queen's Ministers, but they fly from me as if I were a rebel subject of hers, and things have reached such a point now that no one will speak to me or even to my servants, as Don Juan de Idiaquez will have informed your Majesty. The only way, therefore, in which I can serve your Majesty here is to communicate the information I receive from my second confidant, (fn. 3) as I have not heard a word from the first (fn. 4) for the last eight months. I should have lost the second if I had not cast myself at his feet and begged him not to leave Court, and gave him 500 crowns, with a promise of 1,000 crowns a year pension, which he accepted, although he said that when I went away he could not well correspond with any one else, and must relinquish the pension when he could do nothing for it. I can assure your Majesty that he is extremely zealous and gives me twice a week the most confidential and minute account of all that happens. He may therefore be dealt with in the manner I recommended, and your Majesty commanded, and I have intimated the same to him, but I gather that he accepted the offer chiefly in order that your Majesty should bear him in mind in view of what may occur in England rather than for immediate personal gain. The first confidant must again make himself useful for some years before your Majesty can be expected to make him another grant, since he is so very silent now. I understand that his reticence is caused by Leicester, who has quite terrified him.
I have written what your Majesty orders to the queen of Scotland, and have received from her the letter I enclose. (fn. 5) I write to her to say that I am sending to Madrid the letters she requests. The priest who went from Scotland to France is now in Paris. He is a prudent and sensible man, and sends to say that Hercules (fn. 6) and the queen of Scotland's ambassador blame Lennox for being so unprepared after the constant warnings they had given him of the need for vigilance.
The duke of Lennox embarked for France by order of the King, but, whether in consequence of bad weather or by his own wish, he returned to Dumbarton, where he was joined by the principal people of the country. When the conspirators learnt this they again compelled the King to order him to leave the country. The King did so, but as he wrote in the letter that he still looked upon him as his good friend, the conspirators themselves and Robert Bowes the ambassador tell this Queen that they are not by any means sure whether he, Lennox, will go, and if she wishes the King still to be retained she must send money to pay 100 horse and 300 foot. She also hears from them that Lennox is bringing pressure to bear upon his friends in France, but that nothing will be decided there until she makes up her mind about her marriage. Robert (Bowes) tells her that the conspirators would not agree to the King's going to England, nor to what she requested about his person, which is thought to mean poisoning him.
The conspirators had arrested George Douglas, who contrived the escape of the Queen from prison, (fn. 7) and at the request of this Queen they had tortured him, to extract from him the mission upon which he had been sent by the King to the king of France and the duke of Guise, and the answer he brought back. Robert (Bowes) was also pressing for the prosecution and beheading of the earl of Arran, but it was uncertain whether it would be done. They also report that on the 13th the King wished to ride into the country, and asked them to let him mount one of the horses which had been sent to him by the duke of Guise. They refused him, whereupon he flew into a great rage, and said he would issue a proclamation saying that they were keeping him prisoner, and would call his people to release him. When Lord Ruthven heard this he had a pony brought for him, and the King said he would reward him for it some day. I understand that when Walsingham related this to another Councillor, he said that matters there would soon come to an issue, either the conspirators would poison the King or he would escape and they would lose their heads.
Since the arrival of this intelligence the Queen has received advice from Foster, (fn. 8) one of the Wardens of the Border, saying that the conspirators would have come to terms with D'Aubigny, but for the ministers who had prevented it. The French ambassador has received through France a letter from the king of Scotland for his mother, thanking her for the act of association, which he accepts, and looks upon himself as her lieutenant, bound to use his new powers the better to be able to release her, which he says he will attempt even at the risk of his own life. He says he will give her no account of his present position in order to save her pain. It would seem from this and the ambassador's words that the king of France either has addressed or will address him as King.
It appears that the conspirators in Scotland are largely outnumbered by their opponents, and people who are best able to judge of the matter say that the reason no demonstration is made is to avoid giving this Queen an excuse for interfering by force in favour of the conspirators, which would turn the scale and make the conspirators the stronger party. They are also afraid of driving the conspirators to desperation, which might force them to kill the King and upset everything. Parliament there had been prorogued until the 1st January, as the conspirators had refused to summon it. Catholics here tell me that although they are assured by your Majesty's gracious message through me that your Majesty favoured their desire for an English Cardinal to be appointed, the Scotch revolution was bringing home to them strongly the inconvenience of there being no leader or head for them to look to here, and they therefore wished again to approach your Majesty through me, to beg that you would not lose sight of their petition, but would forward the selection of some such person as they desire, as it would be a great alleviation to the persecution with which they are afflicted. I see that not they alone, but even the Protestant adherents of the queen of Scotland are much confused, as they cannot correspond with her, and her son is a prisoner. They are badly in want of a head to whom they could look, and with whom they might take counsel as to the best means of saving the life of the mother and son. They also beg me most earnestly to convey the same to the Pope. I have written to Count de Olivares about it.—London, 1st November 1582.
292. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I wrote on the 17th ultimo the reply that this Queen had given to the French ambassador. Since then nothing fresh in the matter has happened, except that when Hatton asked her how she meant to get out of it, if the king of France sent the signed document she requested, she answered that she would do so with words, which were the best current coin amongst Frenchmen, and that when a campaign was long and hotly contested, the soldiers could always find some means of slipping away. When Hatton related this to a friend of his, he said that he had never had any fear of the marriage but once, when the Queen had given Alençon the ring ; but even then, after he had spoken to the Queen, he said, he was reassured. Cobham in his last letters assures her that the king of France was resolved to help his brother energetically to maintain himself in the Netherlands. He had sent two wagon-loads of money to Cambrai for the purpose. The Guises were much dissatisfied by the Queen-mother's negotiations with Alençon, although she pretended to wish to conciliate them. But notwithstanding this, she said that she would never trust them nor cease to strive to avenge herself upon your Majesty, for which reason she was urging the King hotly to break with your Majesty altogether.
Lord Willoughby (fn. 9) who went to Denmark says that one of the points of his instructions was to ask the king of Denmark on no account to ally himself with your Majesty, or do anything which might bring about the retirement of Alençon from the Netherlands. He was also to be urged not to allow any ships or artillery to be brought out through the Sound for your Majesty's service. He has agreed to their requests, and engages to take the part of this Queen against all the princes in the world.
Don Antonio has been aided in the way I described in my last. When Leicester and Walsingham again pressed the Queen, on behalf of Don Antonio's factor and the man from Terceira, to help him with money, she replied that when the forces which were to go to his aid had been got together, she would assist by giving him money and ships.
I understand that the ships that are to go to Terceira with men and stores have not yet sailed, and in consequence of the last news received, Leicester is having some wheat shipped in them. I learn that four other ships are leaving Havre de Grace and Honfleur with stores and provisions for Terceira.
The fleet being fitted out in Flushing and the Sluys is being paid for by the rebel States, which have bought some of the ships of the owners on the pretence that the cost is being defrayed out of the dues imposed by Don Antonio. I understand that the affair is proceeding very slowly lately, and there was a lack of sailors. Pedro de Oro, who was the Consul of the French at Lisbon, had returned to Antwerp, where he was ill. He said that when these ships left they would go to France to embark infantry.
An English gentleman (fn. 10) who owned the largest of the ships that went to the Moluccas has fitted out another, which he has despatched to Newfoundland, where it has committed the damage which is set forth in the enclosed paper in Portuguese. (fn. 11) I heard of it through the arrival of another ship of his here, and addressed the Council on the subject. Walsingham replied that the gentleman in question had suffered some injury in Spain, so that no surprise need be felt that he should seek satisfaction and revenge. His grievance was, that the large ship that has now gone to the Moluccas was at Cadiz two years ago and did not wish to enter the port. The mayor of the town gave orders that she should either enter port or go away, as she had more the appearance of a pirate than of a merchant vessel. The captain refused and the galleys were informed of it, whereupon he set sail and returned to England, and one of his men who was on shore at the time was therefore detained in Spain. He has in revenge captured the property set forth in the document enclosed, and the English affirm that in addition to this he had captured the fish from eighteen other vessels belonging to your Majesty's subjects engaged in the fisheries, which he himself does not deny. He claims to have licenses from the duke of Alençon, the prince of Orange, and Don Antonio, and signifies also that he has authority from some of the members of the Council. I am trying to elucidate this, but it is quite hopeless to expect the restitution of the property they have brought hither, seeing the answer given by Walsingham on behalf of the Council, although I have advised the consuls of the Portuguese in Antwerp to send powers and claim the goods.—London, 1st November 1582.
293. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The French ambassador has received a reply from his master to the communication sent by the Queen. He writes that her fresh demand was quite different from the arrangement made with the commissioners. She then only required that she and her country should be relieved of the cost of the war in the Netherlands ; whereas she now demanded not this alone, but that the king of France should take it entirely on his own shoulders, which made it not one demand but two. He said he could not on any account accede to it, as he would have in such case to openly avow himself, and help his brother in the Netherlands undisguisedly ; instead of, as now, doing so with all possible artifice. She wanted him to break with your Majesty before the marriage took place, and before the perpetual alliance which was to be made between France and England was signed. The King, moreover, wished that the aid he was to give to his brother in the Netherlands should be purely voluntary on his part, and not to be imposed upon him as a matter of obligation, which it would be if he agreed to relieve the Queen of all responsibility and took the war on his own shoulders. For these reasons the King could not agree to the Queen's new demands, although, in accordance with what had formerly been settled, to the effect that she should be relieved of the cost of the war when she married Alençon, he sent her signed and sealed the document as formerly requested by her. It came in the form of a parchment, countersigned by Pinart, and with the great seal of France appended. I have this from a person who has read it and also the letter sent by the King to the ambassador, at the end of which were words to the effect that if the Queen was not satisfied with this she must be temporised with for the present. The rest was in cipher which my informant could not understand.
I can only imagine that when they say "temporise for the present" they must mean until they can get some money from her, unless the king of France means to propose some terms for an agreement with your Majesty, as was done before. My reasons for this belief are that, at a meeting held recently three leagues from the Court, between the French ambassador, Marchaumont, and Bacqueville, they unanimously agreed that it was absolutely necessary, in order to obtain some money from the Queen, that they should blame her very strongly for the discredit she was bringing upon Alençon by not marrying him in the face of this new document. Marchaumont told one of the Ministers, directly he arrived, that Alençon had collected 25,000 men in the Netherlands, and they must now consider how they were to be paid and the war carried on.
The French ambassador went to the Court with his despatch on the 4th in the afternoon, and immediately he arrived he and Marchaumont gave notice to the earl of Leicester, saying they wished to see him. He replied that he would come and visit them at once in Marchaumont's apartments. The three of them were together there for an hour and a half, and the Frenchmen told Leicester that the object of the despatch was to get the Queen to resolve promptly, as was fitting, either to marry or to conclude an offensive and defensive alliance with France against your Majesty. Leicester agreed with this, and advised them to press the Queen warmly upon it. He promised also to speak to her the next day, but he failed to do so, and went 30 miles away from the Court, to the annoyance of the ambassadors, who say that the Queen's move is to get them to break with your Majesty, whilst she remains neutral, instead of declaring war jointly with the French.
The ambassador is still at Court, and as soon as he returns, and I learn the reply he brings, I will report to your Majesty. I understand that the ambassador wrote to the King, saying that it was of the greatest importance that no person should be sent to Scotland excepting through this country, as otherwise it would make the Queen very jealous. This has caused them to detain the man who was going, (fn. 12) and was already on the road, and they have instructed M. de la Mothe Fénélon, who was formerly ambassador here and in Scotland, to make ready for the journey through England as soon as he recovers from a fever from which he is suffering.
Cobham writes that immediately after the king of France returned to Paris he had Salcedo again examined in his presence. (fn. 13). He retracted the deposition he had made at Bruges ; but in letters since received Cobham says that he had subsequently been informed on good authority that this news had been concocted by the King in order to pacify the Guises, who he fears might make a demonstration, as they have in the neighbourhood of Paris 2,000 horsemen attached to them. He had therefore taken the aforementioned step, and had recalled Marshal de Biron from the frontier in order to have an experienced soldier at his side if the Guises should raise a disturbance. A member of the King's Council writes to the French ambassador saying, that if he dared to trust the messenger he would write him a terrible account of the treasons hatched in Spain and confessed by Salcedo. The Lord Chamberlain Sussex is consumptive, and cannot attend to business, and I hear that the Treasurer told the Queen she must choose two more councillors in his place, but they must belong to his party, because now that Sussex is away it is impossible to oppose Leicester and his gang.—London, 10th November 1582.
294. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
In one of my former letters I related that the Scots lords had met and demanded to know whether the King was a prisoner or not. They came to the Court and convened a meeting of nobles, as they call it, those who are in favour of the duke (of Lennox) proposing that the King should be set free. The heads of the conspirators, Lords Ruthven and Mar, replied that the King was, as he always had been, at liberty. Lord Herries thereupon said that, if such were the case, it would be advisable that they should leave the Chamber and the King be allowed to say what he liked. They (the conspirators) then made a movement as if to leave the chamber, but the King called them back and smilingly said : "There is no need for you to depart, whilst I admit that all you have done has been with my great goodwill and for my honour and security, and therefore," he continued, still laughing, "these lords may approve of it as well done." After this the King proposed that they should all consider the question of his marriage. The matter, however, was not discussed, but referred with other affairs to the Parliament.
The duke of Lennox has gone from the castle of Dumbarton to the neighbouring castle of Rothsay on the west coast of Scotland, of which the governor is a member of the house of Stuart, who is making much of Lennox and the earls of Huntly and Argyll, who are with him, together with other lords and gentlemen. It may be gathered from this that he has taken refuge there by the King's desire, as indeed the conspirators themselves affirm. This Queen has sent to the latter to tell them to retain the King as they have done hitherto, and in reply to their request for help to increase the King's guard, she asks them to consider whether it will be better to keep the former guard, whom she would pay, or for her to send cavalry and infantry from Berwick. She leaves the decision to them, and has sent orders to Berwick for the troops to go if they request them. She has also granted a passport to the duke of Lennox, and promises him good treatment on his journey through. They have been lately discussing here the affairs of Ireland, and, in view of the evil methods adopted by Lord Grey and his officers to punish the past disorders, and for the purpose of mollifying the Irish, who are much offended at the multitude of abuses which have taken place, the Queen has appointed four Commissioners to inquire into the matter, and in the meanwhile to administer the government of the island. (fn. 14) Those who are to go from here are James Crofts, Controller of the Household, and the earl of Ormond, who have to choose the other two from the Irishmen who are there. These Commissioners are instructed to use every effort to bring Desmond to submission, and in order that it may not appear that they are moved by fear to approach him with terms of settlement, the Queen has ordered 3,000 fresh soldiers to be sent over. It is understood that when the work of the commission is ended James Crofts will remain as Viceroy.
Two ships which I mentioned as being fitted out to go to the coast of Brazil with merchandise have now been joined by others, and they were all ready to sail some time ago in Plymouth. They are the "Primrose" of London, 300 tons, the "Mignon" of 180, the barque "Hastings" of 100, a flyboat of 160, two vessels belonging to Francis Drake of 100 tons each, a pinnace of 80, and two little long boats of 12 oars a side, which are taken to pieces and stowed on board the ships. The intention is to plunder what they can get, and, if possible, to touch at the same island of San Thomé, sailing thence to the Moluccas. The commander of the expedition is William Hawkins, brother of John Hawkins the former pirate. There is another ship in the river ready to sail, called the "Susannah," of London, master John Pearie, which is going to Constantinople. The Queen is sending a grand present of cochineal (fn. 15) and other things to the Turk with letters, the purport of which I have been unable to learn, except that it is prejudicial to your Majesty's interests. If, therefore, the ship should touch in any of your Majesty's ports, it would be well to seize her papers and prevent her from making the voyage.
From Terceira there has arrived here a ship belonging to one Chester, (fn. 16) which had been fitted out under letters of marque from Don Antonio by the merchants trading with Spain. They say here that her booty is valuable, but they have not yet decided to land it as they think of taking it to Flushing. The ships which were being fitted out in the latter place, the crews of which had left them, will not sail till the spring. They have much stores and munitions on board and four or five sailors to guard them.—London, 10th November 1582.
295. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I received news to-day of the arrival on the 11th at Southampton, in an English ship which left Terceira with Don Antonio, of the persons whose names are set forth in the enclosed memorandum. The rector of the Company of Jesus sent me advice of their arrival by Francisco de Henao, who reports that, as soon as the English ship-master found himself separated from Don Antonio's fleet, he forced all the Portuguese who were on board to sign an undertaking to pay him 13,000 ducats within so many days after their arrival in England, and in case of nonfulfilment of the same, to pay 8,000 ducats additional. When the rector and the other Jesuits arrived at Southampton, they were examined by the officers of justice. I have sent a report of their arrival to the Council, and asked for permission for them to come hither, and that passports may be given to them enabling them to go to Portugal, whither I will try to have them sent immediately.
This Francisco de Henao is a man of medium stature, dark, with a sparse black beard. He tells me that he has been thrice to Terceira with letters from your Majesty, and that the marquis of Santa Cruz had recently left him at St. Michael's with instructions to proceed to Terceira to take certain action ; and he had accordingly brought over to your Majesty's interests the constable of the castle of St. Sebastian, whose name is something Fraile, and who has charge of the whole of the artillery. He had many secret meetings with him at Santa Catalina, and had given him 156 cruzados, in return for which he had pledged himself in writing not to load his cannon with ball on the approach of your Majesty's fleet. Henao says that he had to throw this paper and many others into the sea, in order to avoid their being discovered by the English. He also arranged with the constable that when your Majesty's fleet approached he would have ready 20 quintals of biscuit, and as much powder and other munitions as possible, to enable the fortress to hold out, and would mask the gate of the fortress with an earthwork. He also undertook in the event of the captain of the castle removing him, or insisting upon seeing whether the cannons were charged with ball or not, that he would take care that the pieces were not aimed at the fleet but over it. Henao had also won over the constable of the artillery in the fort of San Antonio, who is a shoemaker. He gave a written undertaking, signed by another man for him, as he could not write, not on any pretext to fire a cannon loaded with ball. He promised on the arrival of the fleet to try to kill the captain of the fort if opportunity offered. Henao says he gave this shoemaker seven moyos (fn. 17) of wheat. He also gained to your Majesty's service a former Franciscan friar called Friar Melchor, who now dresses as a layman, and has charge of a rampart over the creek, where many troops may be landed, as it is in some places 11 fathoms deep, and is 5 fathoms deep close to the fort. This Friar Melchor gave him a document binding himself to surrender the rampart to any boat belonging to your Majesty that might arrive. He has there 13 cast-iron pieces, and his condition for the surrender is, that Henao should bring him a written pardon from your Majesty for his past offences, by the 1st April next, with knighthoods for the two artillerymen. Henao says that he went from St. Michael's to Santa Maria, where he knew there were some boats in the service of Don Antonio, with the intention of going over to Terceira in one of them. They were arrested by a large ship, and he and another Portuguese were taken before Don Antonio, who made minute inquiries of him respecting the state of affairs at St. Michael's, and the number of men remaining there. As they were more numerous than he had expected, he ordered that Henao and his companion should not be allowed to communicate with anyone that night, but should be confined in a room in his own house to prevent the intelligence getting wind. As the room was near that of Don Antonio, Henao heard him tell Diego Botello at night, that he could not return to England without taking with him money to pay his debts there, and there was not much safety for him in France. He said, therefore, that as soon as he arrived in France he must inform the Queen-mother of his need for money, sending her the pearls he had to smooth the way ; but if they (the French) received him coldly he would, as a last resource, go to Cape de Gue (?) and try to get help there offering to the queen of England the island of Terceira in payment. The next morning Don Antonio released the men, but ordered them, on pain of death, not to tell their news to anyone.
Henao begs me to send him to Lisbon to give an account of these things to your Majesty, as it is desirable that he should return to Terceira at the time agreed upon. Pending the opportunity of finding a boat to take him, I have thought well to give an account of what he tells me, and am sending this letter to overtake in the port the courier I despatched yesterday, who will be delayed by the weather. I have no further knowledge or assurance about this Henao than he himself gives me, and I do not give any further account of affairs in Terceira from his relation, as six Jesuit fathers who left Terceira in another English ship were put ashore at St. Ubes, and will have given your Majesty a trustworthy statement.—London, 15th November 1582.
296. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As I was about to hand the accompanying letter to the courier I learnt that the French ambassador had arrived from Court, and I have therefore delayed the despatch until I could learn what answer the Queen had given him. The ambassador made her a very long speech, and showed her the sealed document by which his master conceded the Queen's demands. She read it two or three times, and then began to express extreme astonishment that the King should refuse to take upon himself the whole cost of the war, as it was natural that he should desire the aggrandisement of his brother, although it would appear that he did not do so, considering the answer he had given her. The ambassador replied that, if the marriage did not take place, the King, his master, would be blamed by all the world for going even as far as he had done, and would be called an ambitious prince, but they would blame him much more if he gave way any further, and conceded her demands for the sole purpose of gaining for his brother a crown, which in a short time he would be obliged to relinquish.
The Queen again promised that, if the King would grant her conditions, she would immediately marry ; and asked the ambassador to expedite the matter with his master, and to write to Alençon to the same effect. When the ambassador pressed her to speak frankly, and give her final decision, in order that a firm and binding treaty might be concluded between the two crowns, against your Majesty, she became very angry, and said that if the marriage did not take place she was not so silly as ever to trust Frenchmen again, protesting with terrible oaths, and curses on herself if she did not marry directly the King accorded what she requested. She called the Treasurer, who was present, to witness her resolve, and the promise she made, and used such dreadful oaths that the ambassador says he shuddered to hear them. When Cecil was leaving the room he said to Lady Stafford, the mistress of the robes, that if the king of France agreed to the demands and the Queen then refused the marriage, God would punish her by sending her to hell for the oaths she had taken.
As regards the treaty, the ambassador replied by referring to what Leicester had said on the point ; whereupon the Queen said that, as the Earl did not wish for the marriage, he brought up the other question, which, however, could not be settled without the marriage. I understand that the ambassador says that this reply will entirely open the eyes of the King and his brother. Marchaumont says he will leave shortly. The Treasurer went the the other day, on the Queen's behalf, to request the ambassador to press his master for a prompt reply, and told him that he (Cecil) had advised the Queen not to marry, except on the condition named, in order to avoid a repetition to her of what happened to her sister when she married your Majesty ; on which occasion the commissioners promised Parliament that England should be relieved of the cost of the war then being waged by the Emperor and your Majesty against the French, but the undertaking had not been fulfilled, owing to its not having been made in writing.
I send herewith a letter I have received from the queen of Scotland. I understand that by orders or prompting of this Queen (Elizabeth), the king of Scotland is to have a Council of 32 persons, eight peers, eight lairds, eight gentlemen, and eight ministers. The object of this is to give the conspirators the preponderance, as Lennox has on his side the greater part of the nobles.
I hear that the ships that were going to Terceira have returned to this coast through contrary wind, and that Don Antonio has sent to ask for two Englishmen here who are great adepts at coining false money, so that they may go and make some at Terceira. The Queen has again replied to his agent here who presses her for aid to the island, that as soon as she learns what the French are going to contribute she will consider what forces she may send.—London, 15th November 1582.
297. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The Queen has given an order for the Portuguese who arrived from Terceira at Southampton to be allowed to come freely to London. (fn. 18) Some of them have arrived here, and tell me there are nearly a hundred of them, many being the principal people of the place, whom Don Antonio forced to embark and accompany him on his Madeira enterprise. The English ship in which they were, deserted him and came to this country, and I understand that, in addition to the sufferings they have undergone, they are in great want, as Don Antonio would not allow them to take anything with them but food, of which the Englishmen immediately despoiled them, as well as of their personal belongings, and treated them very badly. In your Majesty's interests, I am helping them as best I can, alleviating their hunger and nakedness, and furnishing medical aid to those who are sick. I will provide them with a safe ship and victuals for their voyage as soon as possible. The moment Walsingham heard of their arrival he sent secretly some of the Portuguese adherents of Don Antonio here to them to sound them.—London, 18th November 1582.
Paris Archives, K. 1560.
298. Extract of a Letter from the Queen Of Scotland to
her Ambassador, dated 18th November 1582.
The duke of Lennox has written assuring me that, notwithstanding his detention, my son perseveres with the greatest constancy in his duty towards me. He favours as usual, but secretly, Lennox and all those who are on the right side, whilst he hates extremely Ruthven and the others who detain him. He is determined to escape from them by any possible means, as he had already attempted and was still planning to do. The duke of Lennox confirms what I had heard from various quarters, namely, that the conspirators were few in number and of much inferior strength to our side ; so that, but for the fear he had hitherto entertained of imperilling the life of my son, he would already have collected an army and have frustrated the designs of the conspirators by force of arms. He was, however, dissembling, in order to give time for my son to escape to some place of safety ; and with the object of throwing the others off their guard he was pretending to wish to retire to France. He is at present in the castle of Dumbarton or its neighbourhood, awaiting until he gets possession of my son or foreign troops arrive. A convention has been held at Lisleburg, in which the miserable traitors have made my son approve of their enterprise as having been undertaken for the security of his person and the welfare of the realm. Not content with this even, there having been very few nobles present at the convention, they have decided to summon Parliament by the end of next month, in order to get their treason ratified with greater solemnity. This is a plan of this Queen (Elizabeth), as I see by her own letters to my son, which she has not been ashamed to have shown to me. The further the conspirators go the weaker they become, as they can make no way with my son, and although he dexterously agrees with them, he does so only with the determination of escaping from their hands. In fear of this happening they have obtained from this Queen a guard of 200 English harquebussiers, who, they say, are already waiting at Berwick to cross the border as soon as they can persuade my son to accept them, which he has hitherto declined to do. He is consequently striving by every means to inform the Spanish ambassador resident there (in Paris), so that he may convey the above intelligence to the Catholic King, his master, and implore him in my name for his aid and favour, and for prompt support to the enterprise now in hand.
299. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
On the 18th I gave an account of the arrival here of some of the Portuguese who had come to Southampton, whom I had helped in a way to show them that, not only did your Majesty's power reach the four quarters of the earth, but that your grandeur and liberality to an even greater extent pervaded every corner of it. I have thus sheltered them from the wrongs and injustice which were attempted against them in England, by reason of the shipmaster having forced them, after they had been four days at sea, to ransom the 100 Portuguese on board for 14,000 crowns, under a regular deed of sale signed by all of them. I have maintained them and provided passage and victuals for the voyage on board of two Venetian vessels, but I have not spent more than was necessary to cover the nakedness of some of them and prevent them from dying of cold and hunger, or be driven to the other side by the need of begging of Englishmen from door to door. They arrived here without a real, as Don Antonio forbade them to take with them any money or valuables, under pain of death. The cost of this has been 120 crowns, without paying the expenses of the sick in Southampton, who are obliged to remain here, amongst whom is one Jesuit father, four having died. I told them, as they were all in the same case, I would give them a general letter for your Majesty, with a memorandum attached stating the particulars of each one. They were mostly not contented with this, but asked me for individual letters, which I have given to some of them. Those who are deserving of favour, by their merits and services, will already be known by the reports of your Majesty's officers and the statement of the Rector of the Jesuits, whilst proofs will exist of any judicial action or confiscations from which they may have suffered. In the case of Jorge Cabral, who was condemned for life to the galleys for the service he rendered your Majesty, in liberating the 22 Spaniards to go to St. Michael's to notify the departure of Don Antonio and his fleet from Terceira, he merits some signal favour. It is also most important that the people of the island should know of it, in order to encourage them to be faithful, and in consideration of his having risked his life. I did my best to detain the two Venetian ships, which were ready to sail, as they were well armed and large, and fit for the carriage of these people, and I avoided the objection to sending them by an English ship, which might have given them up to Don Antonio again, these Englishmen being very ill-disposed in the matter. This is proved by the fact that the moment it was known that these Portuguese were appealing to me, the enclosed document was fixed on the pillars of the Royal Exchange here, so that if I had not acted as I did, not only would they have been endangered, but the world would have judged that your Majesty's representative here was unable to send such people in safety to your dominions.
Amongst these Portuguese goes Cristobal Lemos de Faria, who was Captain of the fortress of St. Sebastian. He tells me that he had already sent Martin Yañez, a Biscayner, to tell your Majesty that the moment he was assured of the arrival of your Majesty's fleet, he would surrender the fortress, and he recently sent the same message to the Marquis of Santa Cruz by Colonel Hector. As he received notice that Don Antonio intended to withdraw him from the fortress at the request of Manuel de Silva, he saw that he would be unable to surrender it, and therefore decided to leave the island, in order to arrange for its capture, which he says he can do with 20 soldiers.—London, 29th November 1582.