Simancas: December 1582

Pages 420-432

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.


December 1582

13 Dec. 300. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
When the conspirators (in Scotland) heard from the Queen to the effect which I wrote to your Majesty on the 10th ultimo, respecting the custody of the person of the King, they told the latter that it was necessary for him to be guarded by a force of horse and foot against his many enemies. He replied that he was much surprised to hear this, as a few months before he did not know he had an enemy in the country. They said his enemies were those who flattered him, under the pretext of urging him to govern absolutely, whilst they were really his mortal foes. He asked them to point out who they were, so that the law might punish them, and said, if they did not do so, they would be failing in their duty as loyal subjects, and hiding the treason of the others. Lord Ruthven replied that their plots were not yet fully brought to light, but would shortly be so ; he must, however, have a guard both for the safety of his own person, and for that of his Council, as otherwise they could hardly restrain the seditious spirits of certain persons, who, for ends of their own, would not endure so just and beneficial a government as the present. The King said that if he decided to follow this advice it would displease his subjects, as it would indicate distrust of them, in addition to which the revenues of Scotland would not support a half of the guard they mentioned. They then told him that the queen of England, who was so close a friend and kinswoman, would help him with a loan, whereupon he asked why he should burden his crown with debt in time of peace for the support of armed forces, without which his ancestors, and even he himself, had managed to live so long in quietude and repose. They concluded by pressing him to sign a certain order for this guard, but he stoutly refused to do so ; protesting before them all that he would never accept a guard from the queen of England, in order that the world might not think that he was a prisoner. Last advices report that the earls of Glencairn and Mar were ill-friends, and it was feared that an outbreak would result, because, although the King had reconciled them, they still remained snarling. The conspirators had sent Lord Boyd to the duke of Lennox with an order for him to embark and leave the country instantly. He replied he would not do so until he learnt the reason for his expulsion, and had purged himself of the charges brought against him. At the same time he received a secret letter from the King, saying that if he loved him he was to prove it by not leaving Scotland.
The gentleman who, I wrote, had arrived in France from Scotland, travelled there in company with the man who had taken over the horses which the duke of Guise had presented to the King. The latter writes in his own hand to Guise, thanking him for the present and saying he doubted not that he would learn the state in which he was, and for the rest, he referred him to the bearer, who would make known his feelings and intentions. He (the messenger) says there is no doubt that, if the King be succoured he will recall Lennox to his former position and punish the conspirators, but if this cannot be done soon, it would not be bad for Lennox to leave the country, confiding the custody of Dumbarton Castle to one of his own kin. The King might then summon parliament, and by the aid of his people escape from the hands of the conspirators. This Queen learns from the governors of Ireland that the Catholic insurgents had been reinforced, and had now a select force of infantry and 300 horse, the best ever seen in the island, who had roughly treated the conspirators in a garrison and had declared that aid from his Holiness would shortly arrive. This news has caused the Queen to push forward the levy of the 3,000 infantry I mentioned, and she has also ordered the earl of Ormond to start for Ireland at once. Lord Grey has been relieved of the government, and the Treasurer told him, in the Queen's presence, that in the time of Henry VIII. he would have paid with his head for what he had done, for, not only had he squandered the Queen's treasure, but had destroyed the soldiery and entirely alienated the Irish from England.—London, 13th December 1582.
301. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
By the Portuguese from Terceira, most of whom had embarked, I wrote to your Majesty on the 29th ultimo. With regard to your Majesty's orders of 1st November that I should report respecting the arming of ships in Holland and Zeeland, I have already written that the affair has ended in smoke. I have recently heard that the stores and victuals have now been taken out of the ships, and that two of the latter at Texel, after they were discharged, had gone with the other sloops to Spain for salt, there being no rumour of an armed fleet. I have a special man both in Zeeland and at the Sluys to keep me well posted on the points of which your Majesty desires to be informed.
The Queen has written to her ambassador Cobham, instructing him to make himself acquainted with the disposition of the king of France with regard to the second condition she had proposed for the marriage, and also what security she was to have for the money she had advanced to Alençon. The King replied to the first point, that the Queen was only seeking pretexts to avoid the marriage, and he could go no further in the matter, or the world would laugh at him and his brother. As to the second question, he said that, as Alençon had embarked in the Netherlands enterprise entirely on her account and at her instance, and had spent therein ten times as much money as she had given him, she had no reason to expect any further security for the money than his brother's sincerity and goodwill, of which he had so often given proofs.
M. de la Mothe Fénélon arrived here on the 29th ultimo, and the moment Walsingham heard of it in one of his own houses, he started for the Court in a great fright. The earl of Ormond was with the Treasurer when the latter received the letter announcing the arrival, and Ormond says he was much upset at the news. When Ormond remarked that La Mothe's journey to Scotland could bode no good for the Queen, Cecil replied that when new friends failed they must embrace the old ones again, and the dance would end without fear of strife. I understand that M. de la Mothe's mission consists mainly of two points, which have been conveyed to me by a confidant of his. First, to conclude, one way or the other, the long-drawn-out marriage negotiation by telling the Queen clearly that the king of France will pledge himself no further than he has already done in the document he sent. If the Queen is not satisfied with this she may seek a husband where she will, and will perhaps repent of it yet ; but if notwithstanding this she chooses to effect the marriage with his brother, he will conclude an offensive and defensive alliance with her against any prince. The responsibility for breaking off the marriage must rest upon her, and, if it do not take place, he and his brother will be free to choose their own course. The second point refers to Scotland, and is in the same spirit. He is to tell the Queen that, if she do not cease to foster trouble and dissension in Scotland, holding the King prisoner in the hands of his own subjects, who had already taken the crown from his mother for their own ends alone, he, the king of France, as an old ally and kinsman of the crown of Scotland, would endeavour to prevent the success of her designs for the sake of his own reputation and that of all Christian princes, who were deeply interested in stopping so dangerous and evil a thing as the imprisonment of a king by his vassals. He is to assure her that if she persists in so unjust a course as this, he will aid the king of Scotland with all his might to punish his subjects ; and he marvels much what can be her object in thus trying to ruin a king, and her own kinsman, who has never done her any harm. He advises her also not to furnish an occasion for the world to believe that all the evils that have befallen his mother have arisen and been guided by rancour and malice. If the Queen says that she has acted for the good of the Scottish King, La Mothe is to reply that an act whereby a friend is placed in peril of his life, liberty, and crown cannot be looked upon as a proof of affectionate solicitude for his welfare. If she refuses to give him permission to proceed on his embassy to Scotland, he will try other means elsewhere to get there, and would prevent the continuance of the sedition which is causing the ruin of the King and country. He would clear up the aims of the conspirators, who under the shadow of this Queen were bent upon destroying both mother and son, with the object of afterwards elevating a sovereign of their own making. (fn. 1)
He is also to ask permission to visit the queen of Scotland on his way, but he is not to press this point very warmly, in consequence of the letters the queen of Scotland has written to the king of France through her ambassador. When he arrives in Scotland he is to endeavour to elucidate past events, and thereafter take the most desirable course in view of the same, bearing in mind that, if any fault is attributable to the King, it should be laid to his tender age, and if his subjects should have offended, he is to intercede for them. Finally, he is to use every effort to get the King restored to full liberty, without which the king of France will make no conditions whatever.
If any of the Scotch lords urge that Lennox should leave the country, La Mothe is to inquire into the reasons for this, and if he finds him blameless, he is to try for him to remain, if not as a Scot, then as a Frenchman and his subject and ambassador. He (La Mothe) is on no account to leave Scotland until the King (of Scots) is in a position to choose any adviser he may wish. If, as may be suspected, the conspirators, at the instance of this Queen, refuse La Mothe a safe-conduct to enter the country, and persist in this course, he is to warn them against what they are doing, as the king of France will not allow them to oppress their King, but will punish such disrespect more promptly than they expect. The confidant asked La Mothe how the King intended to do this, and he said he would immediately send the duke of Guise or Mayenne to Scotland with 5,000 foot soldiers ; the duke of Lorraine having offered, if necessary, to conduct the expedition in person, in order that people may not think that the failure to undertake so necessary a task arose from any want of valour. I am given to understand from other sources as well that the above is the exact mission confided to De la Mothe ; but although he may be instructed to use such words, I see no manifest signs that the French will back them up with deeds, but that the real object is to comply in appearance with the Pope and the queen of Scotland in face of the world, whilst under cover of this they frighten this Queen into giving money to Alençon to maintain himself in the Netherlands. I am led to this opinion by the fact that the king of France shortly before had instructed his ambassador here to speak to the Queen about Scotch affairs to the same effect as La Mothe is instructed to do, but the ambassador begged to be allowed to defer it until a better opportunity, in order that the Queen might not be angry with him, and therefore fail to send to Alençon the rest of the money she had promised. The ambassador was under the impression, when he wrote this, that the King would agree, and would delay La Mothe's departure, but the latter had already left. The queen of Scotland heard of it, and wrote to the ambassador, complaining that solely in Alencon's interest he should obstruct a step so advantageous to the crown of France.
The Queen and her Ministers show no present indications of a desire to seek your Majesty, all their talk in that direction hitherto being only for the purpose of influencing the French, but they would certainly do so earnestly if their friends in France saw any intention on the part of the King to open his arms to Scotch affairs. I thought, on the occasion of La Mothe's arrival, to draw them out somewhat, and make them seek me, in the fear that I might withdraw from the country ; and the moment I received your Majesty's despatch I published that, in consequence of my indisposition, your Majesty had promised to give me leave. But they did not move a hair, and from this and the action of the French ambassador, I can only conclude that the French are merely using the Scotch business as a lever to compel the Queen to help Alençon, and the Queen-mother's tricks, whilst this Queen is holding off as long as possible, so as to keep her money, and at the same time to settle affairs in Scotland to her own liking. She will then be able to continue to disturb your Majesty by helping the rebels, upon which course she bases her own tranquillity. I understand that M. de la Mothe brings four blank grants of pensions from the king of France, two of 2,000 crowns, one of 1,000, and one of 500. With the two largest they will tempt Lord Hunsdon and James Crofts the controller, who are needy persons, and the 1,000 crowns pension they have offered to my second confidant, (fn. 2) who has refused it, saying that there is no need for resorting to such means to pledge him to French interests. He says this, in order not to break off his communications with the French, which enable him to give me minute accounts of everything they do, without anyone dreaming of such a thing, as he never asks for any information from me, except after your Majesty's health.
As soon as La Mothe arrived the Queen sent to ask him to come to Court, saying that he must stay a week with her, this being another trick to give her time in Scotland, whither she instantly sent a courier.
Marchaumont presses the Queen warmly to allow him to leave. He is offended with his master for not paying him his expenses here, or sending money for his maintenance. I am told that he is in closer correspondence with the King than with Alençon, and that quite recently Montpensier, the Prince Dauphin, who is now duke of Montmorenci, complained that at a banquet here Alençon had said that the king of France was siding with the house of Guise against the princes of France. The King told him to be careful in future what he said, and not stir up evil humours. Servants of the duke of Medina Sidonia in San Lucar and Cadiz wrote hither a month ago that the Duke had had 10,000 men ready to go over by your Majesty's orders to take possession of Larache. (fn. 3) The Queen hearing of this sent Jan Sympcote (fn. 4) a week ago with letters to the Sheriff to prevent it, offering him such aid and munitions as he may require. This Sympcote is a merchant, a man of 55, of good constitution, and wears a grey beard. He takes in the ship a quantity of powder and some arms. The man who I said had gone to Constantinople is, I am told, to reside there, and the Queen gave him a service of silver plate for use and 1,000l. a year. He shipped his servants and household as if they were passengers, and left alone himself afterwards as a merchant's servant.—London, 13th December 1582.
16 Dec. 302. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I hear that La Mothe Fénélon has had an audience of the Queen. In addition to the two points upon which he was instructed to address her (which I described in my last) he asked the Queen to fulfil her promise, and state the number of ships and men with which she would assist the Queen-mother in the fleet she intended to raise. He also raised the point of the depredations of English pirates on Frenchmen. The Queen burst out, saying that under his professions of friendship the king of France was the greatest enemy she had, which was evident, as the Prince Dauphin and Marshal de Biron had been so long on the frontier, but had not entered Flanders ; besides which she knew very well the negotiations that were going on between the king of France, your Majesty, and the Pope, about Scotch affairs, although she gave him (La Mothe) no particulars. The next day her Council met, and remained in conference from morning till night, deciding that La Mothe should be kept here on the excuse of discussing the marriage affair. On the 14th, accordingly, Walsingham went to tell La Mothe (who was with the ordinary ambassador) that the Queen desired nothing so much as to marry, and he might remain here until the matter was concluded. Both ambassadors replied that the negotiations must be carried on by the Queen and Alençon only, and that La Mothe had nothing whatever to do with them, as his mission was to go to Scotland. They had much pro and con on this, and the result of it has been that La Mothe has delayed his departure, and has not again pressed for leave to go.
When the Queen entered her privy chamber after La Mothe had gone, she said he used to be a lamb, but had now come back converted into a fox, though he might find he could not do his errand so easily as he thought.
I am informed that, as soon as the Queen learnt that the king of France intended to send her the document for which she had asked, she wrote him a letter in her own hand, saying that if he, the king of France, would declare war against your Majesty, and assist his brother in the Netherlands, she would declare Alençon heir to the crown of England, by virtue of the authority given to her by Parliament (which is true) to adopt as her successor any person she might choose. The French have jumped at the idea, and La Mothe has instructions to discuss this point, and the assistance to be rendered by the Queen to the Queen-mother in the raising of a fleet, with greater warmth than Scotch affairs. I have sent word of this to the queen of Scotland and her ambassador in France, as it is of the most vital importance to her, the Parliament being unable to prejudice her rights as legitimate heiress ; and I am desirous also of letting her see how little she can trust the French.
I understand that Leicester is on the look out to marry his son to a grand-daughter of the countess of Shrewsbury, who is in the same house as the queen of Scots with her grandmother. The most learned lawyers consider that, failing the queen of Scots and her son, this young lady is the nearest heir to the throne. (fn. 5) Leicester is trying to arrange this, with the idea that the conspirators will put the king of Scotland out of the way, and the Queen, his mother, will afterwards be disposed of here. In accord with this, when Leicester arrived at Court on the coming of La Mothe, Lord Hunsdon told him that, however much the Papists and Frenchmen might say that the king of Scotland would alarm this Queen, and try to intimidate her about him, he would soon be deprived of the power of doing her harm. The Queen has received letters from the Scots conspirators, saying that they had intercepted certain despatches coming from France to the King and the duke of Lennox, to the effect that, not only would the king of France, moved by pity for his state, send him assistance in men by the duke of Guise and his brother, but the Pope and your Majesty also would do so. Cobham writes that there are many signs that the house of Guise were preparing for some enterprise, although the exact nature of it was not known. The man sent by this Queen to Scotland was a private person who had instructions to communicate verbally with Lord Ruthven, who is her greatest confidant and a terrible atheist. It is clear that, until the Queen gets a reply, La Mothe will come to no decision.— London, 16th December 1582.
29 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1560.
303. Juan Bautista De Tassis to the King.
The Scots' ambassador has given me the two memoranda enclosed (fn. 6) of the latest news from Scotland. As he has received nothing from the duke of Lennox, and the news is so scanty, we are still in ignorance of the desires and capabilities of the prince and Lennox ; and the ambassador confesses that neither he nor Hercules knows what had better be done. This is quite true, because until we know the actual facts of the case we can only proceed blindfold. This must also be the case with the queen (of Scotland) herself in what she now writes, because she can get no more enlightenment where she is than we can here. It would be a bad business if the project of giving the Prince an English guard were effected, as it would make his chance of escape much more difficult, and the ambassador thinks would increase the risk of his being carried off to England in the event of the duke of Lennox taking forcible measures to liberate him.
The ambassador also tells me that there is a man here from the queen of Scotland in whom she trusts, although he is a Frenchman. Being informed of what is going on, he has her orders to proceed to Spain to solicit your Majesty's aid, and is directed to Englefield. He (the ambassador), reverting to what I have said on former occasions, as to the risk incurred in this business by reason of its being communicated to so many people, and bearing in mind that the Jesuit had been sent thither and was expected back, is of opinion that this man should not proceed on his journey ; and asked me what I thought about it. I replied, that if the man was going for the purpose of asking your Majesty to take the matter up, there was no need for him to take the trouble, as he (the ambassador) had heard from me that your Majesty was not lacking in goodwill or desire to help the queen of Scots, and the restoration of religion in those parts. If, on the other hand, the man was being sent to treat of the manner in which the affair was to be effected, he (the ambassador) had confessed to me that matters were so doubtful that those who were particularly concerned were unable to arrive at any decision on that point, and he might therefore judge how useless and inopportune the going of the man would be with that object. I said your Majesty was not a monarch to decide such a question on mere smoke, and the resolution would depend only upon the reports which emanated from Hercules. (fn. 7) It therefore behoved them to obtain very full information of the state of affairs, and when they had done so, and had made up their minds as to what course it would be best to adopt, it would be sufficient to advise your Majesty thereof by letter, and not to risk sending a special man without any necessity, and thus incurring the danger of discovery. I therefore gave it as my decided opinion that this man should on no account be allowed to proceed, as I thought it was very bad that this business should pass through so many hands, and discovery could hardly be avoided under such circumstances. The ambassador agreed with me in this. He also told me that a Florentine, whose name he could not discover, or where he wrote from, had written to the Queen-mother, saying that two Jesuits (fn. 8) had gone, one to Spain and the other to Italy, to endeavour to alienate Scotland from its alliance with the house of France.
I can clearly discern that, notwithstanding the uncertainty in which the ambassador is with regard to events in Scotland, they (i.e., Beaton and Guise) are on the alert, so that directly they hear anything definite they may send what may be necessary to help Lennox. They are depending for this upon the 10,000 crowns, which they are confident I shall hand to them at any time they may ask for them. The ambassador has let me know plainly that Hercules is counting upon this with certainty, and I have not cared to indicate anything to the contrary ; in the first place, because they may ask for the money for a purpose in conformity with that for which your Majesty sent it, in which case I cannot refuse it ; and, in the second place, because if I were to raise difficulties about it already they would at once suspect that your Majesty had changed your good intention, and we should run the risk of cooling Hercules' friendship, which, from your Majesty's last letters, I understand you not only desire to retain but to cultivate further. Quite apart from the public matter, I am certainly of opinion that, on the ground of the question of his friendship, it will be well to fulfil what was promised when he desires it, and even to give him more (money) if he asks for it. As I am very anxious to know what decision is arrived at in this matter, I must earnestly beg your Majesty to send me orders, not forgetting that I was instructed to give 2,000 of this 10,000 crowns to the Seminary at Rheims. This 2,000 crowns has not been paid yet, because the priest has not arrived, and the matter may be kept pending until your Majesty's reply comes. I have taken care to impress on the (Scots) ambassador that the views which most influence your Majesty in Scotch affairs are those which emanate from Hercules, in order that, when the latter hears of this, he may think more of your Majesty's friendship, and increasingly depend upon it. I will persevere in this course, as I think it is the one most likely to secure his goodwill, and I should be glad of the opportunity of seeing him sometimes in order to gradually fashion the iron into the form we desire, but as he is very careful to avoid me, I am obliged to content myself with signifying your Majesty's goodwill towards him through intermediaries, and to assure him thus of the royal support he may count upon from you. In order to ingratiate myself with him the more, I continue to hint that I avoid meeting him personally for the reason above stated. I will repeat this now on the occasion of the receipt of your Majesty's last letter, which has arrived very opportunely, as I hear that the Queen-mother is anything but amiable with him and his people, and is even desirous that they should retire to their seats, as she understands it is they who are inciting the King not to face a rupture (i.e., with Spain).— Paris, 29th December (new style) 1582. (fn. 9)
30 Dec. 304. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
On the 16th I wrote what had passed between the Queen and La Mothe, and the steps the Council had taken to detain him here. In consequence of a despatch he had from France he saw the Queen on the 21st, and told her that if she did not instantly give him a safe-conduct to Scotland he would return to France the next day, and the King would send another personage to Scotland, if, indeed, he had not done so already. The Queen was much disturbed at his firmness, and in the course of many rejoinders, said that he was acting in obedience to the intrigues of certain of her subjects, whose activity she would soon stop, as she would that of the queen of Scotland, who was the channel through whom these humours were stirred. She said she marvelled much that the king of France should prefer the Scotch connection to the security of the queen of England, the destined wife of the heir to the crown of France. M. de la Mothe pointed out to her that the alliance with Scotland had existed for centuries, and that it was most undesirable that the world should see so bad an example as subjects arresting the person of their sovereign. Some conversation passed on this point, and the end of it was that the Queen gave him the passport to go to Scotland, on condition that La Mothe should be accompanied by Davison, who was formerly her agent in the Netherlands with the rebels. (fn. 10) She begged him also most earnestly to manage affairs in the same spirit as animated her in all she did, whereby the king of France would benefit, and she would always be his good friend.
She gave him also a document for the king of France, relating to the marriage negotiations, saying that when he granted her conditions and enabled her to satisfy her subjects, she would give Alençon such an answer as should not displease him. The substance of her demand is, that she shall be relieved of the cost of the war in Flanders, and that the King shall definitely set apart a certain monthly sum to enable Alençon to carry it on. La Mothe replied that she had proceeded in this affair and in the matter of Flanders in a way which proved that her only desire was to procrastinate. This was of no importance to the king of France, unless, under cover of it, she settled things in her own way in Scotland, which the King would prevent with all his forces. The Scots, he assured her, were men like the English, and for every soldier she sent thither he (the king of France) would send four, and all other assistance in a like proportion. The Queen replied that she did not wish for a war with France on any account, and requested La Mothe to continue his former good offices to maintain friendship between the two crowns. La Mothe assured her that even if the King refused to openly break with your Majesty, the Queen-mother would resolutely make war upon you. But notwithstanding this, the Queen would not declare herself as to the number of ships and men she would contribute to the fleet which is being raised in France.
On the day before La Mothe saw the Queen she learnt what his errand was to be, and she ordered the Council to consider whether it would be well to give him a passport or not. Although the rest were all in favour of not letting him pass, Leicester voted to the contrary. This was done purposely, in order that it might reach the ears of the French, and that they might, out of gratitude to him, again have recourse to him in their affairs, they having abandoned him since the marriage was promoted through Sussex. The latter is consumptive and not expected to live, so that he has ceased to act. The fact that the Queen has given a passport to M. de la Mothe, after she had from the first declared she would not do so, appears to have been caused by a letter written to her by Cobham, saying that the King had sent another man by sea, (fn. 11) and it was therefore of little moment whether she detained La Mothe or not. Her partizans in Scotland also told her that it would be as well to let him pass, as, if he did not agree to what they wanted, they would take up arms, which would give her an opportunity of coming to their aid, and she could settle matters to her liking before a single man could come from France. Notwithstanding all this, experienced men assert that the Queen will still find some pretext for stopping La Mothe on the road. He came to London on the 23rd with his passport, saying that he would start after the holidays. The reason he had not done so, I am informed, is that he is awaiting a reply from the queen of Scotland, to whom he and the ambassador secretly wrote as soon as he got the passport. From the fickleness with which these people (the French) are proceeding, it is difficult to believe that they will do anything until they see it effected by someone else, and no doubt the Queen will still try to entertain La Mothe until she gets a reply to the courier she sent to Scotland as soon as La Mothe came. The instructions taken by the courier were that the King, and an Earl whose name I am unable to discover, were to be poisoned. This confirms what I wrote to your Majesty had been said by Lord Hunsdon.
On the occasion of M. de la Mothe's coming hither I know from a trustworthy source that the Council was in secret conference for a long while, debating whether it would be more advantageous for them to continue their friendship with the French, or again seek that of your Majesty. Walsingham argued strongly that they could never trust you, but notwithstanding this they unanimously agreed that it was needful for them to approach your Majesty. Such is their falseness, however, that I am not without fear that even this may be an artifice, adopted, like Leicester's move was, in order that it might reach my ears. I see no signs in them of a sincere desire to carry out the policy suggested, and within three days they decided that, in view of Orange's letter, it was necessary that she should send Alençon some money. The Queen agreed to send him 20,000l., although the orders for the payment have not yet been signed. The letter from Orange I refer to was written to Walsingham, lamenting bitterly that he and Leicester, in order to upset the Queen's marriage, had thrown such a heavy and profitless burden upon him (Orange) as the duke of Alençon. He said he was at a loss to know how he could keep him there, out of consideration for the welfare of the country, or expel him out of consideration for his dignity and safety ; and he begged Walsingham, therefore, very earnestly, to press the Queen to send him some money, as otherwise the States would be ruined and seized by their enemies, owing to their own poverty and Alençon's weakness. In a subsequent letter he asks him to beg the Queen to invite Alençon to England to pass the Christmas holidays with her. I hear that, when Walsingham spoke of the matter to his friends, he said that he did not care to undertake the commission, and he had no wish to lift the burden from Orange's shoulders to put it upon those of himself and his friends, by bringing Alençon here. Orange had been suffering from a high fever and was out of health.
I am informed also that Orange and the rebel States have again been pressing the king of France to help them in the war, and to declare himself openly against your Majesty. He replied that, hitherto they had only given themselves up to his brother, whereby no advantage could accrue to the crown of France ; but if they came and delivered themselves freely into his hands, he might with better reason, and to the satisfaction of his country, come to their aid. I at once gave notice of this to the prince of Parma.
The Turk has written a letter to the Queen, full of endearments, in consequence, as he says, of his being told that she was so strong an enemy of your Majesty, as he also was. She answers him in the same spirit, and refers him to her ambassador.
They write to her from Ireland, begging her to hasten the sending of the troops, as letters from Desmond have been intercepted saying that assistance from his Holiness would arrive next summer.— London, 30th December 1582.
31 Dec. 305. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The answer to the despatch sent by the Queen to the conspirators in Scotland on the arrival of M. de la Mothe was to the effect that they had caused the King to write to the duke of Lennox, ordering him under pain of high treason to leave the country with the passport his aunt, the queen of England, had sent him. The Duke, on receiving the order, at once set out, and after having travelled 20 miles towards the English frontier he had halted, with what motive was not known. The conspirators had therefore collected a force, and were going towards the Duke to dislodge him.
The conspirators also assure the Queen that M. de la Mothe shall not speak to the King except in their presence, and they give her to understand that no design or plot he may attempt to their prejudice or hers will succeed, as they had taken all necessary measures. Although the King publicly approved of their proceedings, they perceived in him much falsity and cunning, which caused them to be vigilant.
Ruthven wrote to the Queen in his own hand, but I am unable to learn what he says, except that it is about poisoning the King and the other Earl, because, directly the Queen received the letter, she asked what was the reason for La Mothe's long delay in starting, since he had received his passport. I am told that his reason is to await a reply from France to the letter he sent at first, saying that he had been refused a passport ; but I am of opinion that he has been expecting the queen of Scotland's letter, telling him how he is to proceed, which letter I know he received yesterday. The Queen has again summoned the Council to discuss the removal of the queen of Scotland from the earl of Shrewsbury's house. The Treasurer was greatly opposed to her being removed from where she had remained for 15 years, especially as Shrewsbury had not failed to carry out any point of his instructions. He said her removal would scandalise the country.—London, 31st December 1582.


  • 1. It is asserted by Duplessis-Mornay (Mémoires) that De Maineville, who was La Mothe's associate in the embassy, took separate instructions from the Guises to prepare for a Spanish descent upon Scotland. De Maineville's public instructions, which are preserved in the archives of the D'Esneval family, do not differ materially from those of La Mothe, published as an appendix to Robertson's "History of Scotland" ; and Henry III. specially instructed Castelnau to inform Elizabeth "que c'est une chose du tout contraire à la verité de dire que le sieur de Meyneville eust une seconde et particulière secrette instruction" (Bibliothèque Nationale, Bethune, No. 8811). The papers in the present Calendar, however, seem to favour the idea that Maineville may have been sent by the Guises for the purpose of forwarding the plans of the Spanish party in Scotland, which we now know were in progress unknown to the king of France.
  • 2. Lord Henry Howard.
  • 3. In the King's hand : Let Zayas send a copy of this to the Duke. If it be true let him tell his people not to write. See if this man can be caught.
  • 4. Jan Sympcote was an important Barbary merchant in London, of whom frequent mention is found in the English State Papers.
  • 5. Lady Arabella Stuart, daughter of Darnley's brother, Charles Stuart, by a daughter of the Countess of Shrewsbury (Bess of Hardwick).
  • 6. One of these is the letter of 18th December from the queen of Scots, and the other a report from the governor of Nantes to the duke of Guise, containing news of no importance as regards English affairs.
  • 7. In the King's hand : This was very good. The man's coming would be very inopportune now.
  • 8. Holt and Creighton.
  • 9. The Gregorian calendar had been adopted in October of this year. The letters from England, of course, continued to be dated according to the old style, 10 days earlier. This must be taken into account in calculating the dates of letters in the present Calendar.
  • 10. Davison's letters whilst on this important embassy to Scotland will be found in Cotton, Caligula, cvii, and cviii., and Harl. 291.
  • 11. This was De Maineville. See note, page 422.