Simancas: January 1583

Pages 432-443

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

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January 1583

6 Jan. 306. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As I foresaw, M. de la Mothe left here the day after he received the letter from the queen of Scotland, and I hear of nothing fresh from there.
I understand that they are sending from here, for the Queen-mother's fleet in France, some iron artillery and other arms, 400 corselets having been brought out of the Tower, with pikes, harquebusses, and 40 large cast-iron pieces ; all of which are shipped and awaiting the wind. Marchaumont said to Leicester that it would be a great favour to his master if some ships were armed here under his license to capture the two Venetian ships that were taking the Portuguese, as well as another that arrived subsequently, all of which are now in the port of Margate awaiting a fair wind to sail, they being large well-armed ships which would be very useful for the Queen-mother's fleet, and money might be made of the tin with which they are loaded. Leicester instantly sent Ughtred, who I said had been plundering in Newfoundland, to Southampton and the Isle of Wight to fit out ships for the purpose. I have informed the Venetians of this to put them on their guard, and told them to sail in company.
Marchaumont also heard that some ships here were loading salt for St. Omer, where it was wanted, and suggested to Leicester that they should be captured on their voyage. He ordered it to be done, and sent to take them only two miles below Gravesend, with orders that they were thence to be taken over to Flushing. I have warned the masters, and told them not to sail unless they are sure of their weather.
As the ships bound for the Levant are still awaiting a fair wind, the Queen sent a man four days ago overland to Constantinople. He is to go first to France and communicate his despatches, continuing his journey from there. She writes privately to the Turk, telling him that efforts should be made to prevent Larache from falling into your Majesty's hands, for many reasons, which she sets forth, saying that she had sent similar messages to Malouc and the king of Algeria, but has thought fit also to advise the Turk. The best way, she says, to prevent these things will be to send fleets against your Majesty this summer, and she and her brother, the king of France, will endeavour to stand between him and the Persian, in order that he (the Turk) may be free to do this.
They are trying here to raise a large capital to sustain this Levant negotiation, and not only have the richest merchants and Companies contributed largely, but the Councillors and the Queen herself. 80,000l. has already been got together, and it will be seen at once how prejudicial this will be to the navigation and trade of the Venetians, who will thus find their drug and spice business taken out of their hands by the English, as ships are being sent especially to Alexandria, Tripoli, and Constantinople, loaded with tin, lead, and kerseys, which they can sell much more cheaply than the Venetians, and easily bring back return cargoes of goods, by virtue of the ample safe conduct granted to them by the Turk. Even though they may lose on the trade at first, the capital behind them is so large that they can afford to continue it. Although it is so injurious to your Majesty that the English should have so large a trade in the Levant, I have not ventured to write to Cristobal de Salazar (fn. 1) telling him to warn the Venetians, until I have your Majesty's instructions.
There recently arrived at Southampton two ships, which they say left Terceira in company with Don Antonio. From one of them there landed eight or ten Portuguese, who claimed to be captains, but who were so poor that they could not pay for their food for the two days they stayed in a hostelry there. They have now come hither, and amongst them is a Franciscan friar dressed as a layman, and a page of Don Antonio, both of whom went in Don Antonio's own vessel when he sailed from Terceira for Madeira. They say that Don Antonio had gone in another ship to France, and they profess to have received letters announcing his arrival there ; the rumour is current here that he is in this country, and has seen Diego Botello at Court. I am trying to discover the truth of it. Some say he is at Southampton, some at Dover ready to go to Elanders, and some that he is hidden in one of Leicester's houses, which seems likely. A month ago there took refuge in Plymouth from a storm a French ship, bringing with it a Spanish vessel which it had captured off Cape Blanco loaded with fish, and of which they kept the Spanish crew prisoners and unable to speak to anyone. I addressed the Council on the matter, requesting them to order the men to be set at liberty, and their property restored to them. The Judge of the Admiralty here was ordered to have justice done in the case, and this was immediately followed by another order that nothing was to be done, and that no proceedings were to be taken against the French. I have returned to the matter, but they will not hear me, nor do justice to your Majesty's subjects ; the whole of the Ministers favouring those who ruin and despoil them. They only gave me a passport for the Portuguese, with an evil mind, because they thought to get them gone quickly, and prevent them from spreading the news of Don Antonio's behaviour at Terceira, which would have set the people against helping him.—London, 6th January 1583.
14 Jan. 307. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I advised Don Juan de Idiaquez, in a postscript to my letter to your Majesty of 6th instant, that the duke of Lennox had arrived at Berwick, and he is expected to-night at Battle Bridge, two miles from London. He is accompanied by two Scots gentlemen and some captains from Berwick, who do not allow either him or his companions to speak to anyone. He was brought by a different road to that taken by La Mothe Fénélon. I understand, that in order to facilitate his departure from Scotland, the conspirators sent him 3,000 crowns as a present from the King, with a promise that he would send him 2,000 more as soon as he entered England. This was in answer to his message that he had not the means to travel overland in accordance with the Queen's passport. The French ambassador instantly left here for the Court on the news of d'Aubigny's arrival. I am told that he will ask for permission to see him. In order not to arouse suspicion, as he is surrounded by so many watchful eyes, I consider it best that I should make no attempt to communicate with him whilst he is here, unless he provides some very trustworthy means for me to do so, because, as soon as he arrives in France, I shall learn from the priests there what his intentions are, and the state in which he has left affairs in Scotland. The queen of Scotland will be much grieved at his leaving, unless he has done so by arrangement with the King and his friends, in order to reassure the conspirators and enable the King to summon Parliament, which they have strenuously opposed. D'Aubigny's friends might then rescue the King from the hands of the conspirators and set him at liberty. It may be supposed that Lennox had not enough force behind him to remain in the country himself. I will send your Majesty instant advice of his movements here.
I have been informed that the Queen has sent orders to Captain Hawkins, who is the Quartermaster-General of her fleet, to report secretly to her what will be necessary for the purpose of arming four of her own ships and six merchantmen to go and assist the fleet being raised by the Queen-mother in favour of Don Antonio. The going of the latter to Flanders is confirmed.—London, 14th January 1583.
20 Jan. 308. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
At daybreak to-day there arrived news here of a great disturbance that had taken place between the French and the townspeople of Antwerp respecting the attempts of the former to take possession of the land, and as I am writing this at midday, the letter I enclose in Flemish has been delivered to me from Flushing confirming the news.
I learn from other advices that Orange had sent to Antwerp one of his guard warning the magistrates to keep a good watch on all the towns, and the guards were accordingly doubled immediately, the French ships there being arrested, and their crews being cast into prison with much violence and ill-treatment. The whole of their papers were seized, and amongst them were found certain despatches which Alençon was sending hither to Marchaumont and Bacqueville. These were opened and read, and then, still unclosed, sent under cover to a French merchant here for delivery to Marchaumont and Bacqueville, who had already taken leave of the Queen, and were booted and spurred for their journey to go on board a ship which the Queen had ordered to convey them to Antwerp.
The sailors on board the ship which brought the news say that on their voyage they spoke to another vessel from the Sluys, near Bruges, and were informed that the burgesses of that town had turned out the French garrison. I have no further confirmation or certainty of this than their word, but I am instantly sending men thither, and am causing letters to be written from here stirring up the burgesses in view of these events.
I will at once send a special courier by sea with this news to your Majesty, as I am sure the prince of Parma will not get the intelligence so quickly or surely as we do here owing to the weather. I am taking the opportunity afforded by the going of a private person post to Rouen to send this despatch also to Juan Bautista (de Tassis) begging him to forward it.
The Duke of Lennox has gone to the Court, and he has advised me by a secret channel that he will send to me his secretary, who is a very trustworthy person, and give an account of the state in which he left affairs in Scotland, as he cannot possibly come and see me himself.
As I was closing this letter I was informed that the Queen has sent orders to Captain William Russell, who commands the ship which was ready to carry Marchaumont and Bacqueville across, that he is to sail instantly and bring Alençon to England. My informant saw the Queen's letter handed to him, and was present when he read the orders.—London, 20th January 1583.
23 Jan. 309. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since mine of the 20th reporting what had happened at Antwerp, several confirmations have been received, each one further magnifying the event. They assert that the number of Frenchmen killed by the burgesses exceeds 2,000, as after they were driven from the ground, they were hunted into the houses where they were lodged and made to jump out of the windows. What has become of the duke of Alençon is not known, but they say that most of the nobility were killed. The Queen has sent the eldest son of the earl of Bedford to visit Alençon, and to beg him in any case to come over in the ship she has sent for the purpose.
A special courier has come from Burges with a confirmation of the news that the French garrison had been expelled that town, as also from Nieuport and Ostend, and, it was said, from Brussels. From what can be learnt, the design of the duke of Alençon was to get possession of the country, disarming the burgesses and making them pay his army, whether they liked it or not, to save themselves and their towns from sack such as had been committed in Dunkirk. A week before, at a banquet which he gave to the colonels, captains, and officers, Alençon had promised them that they should be paid within eight days.
He had caused 800 or 1,000 Frenchmen quietly to slip into Antwerp, in addition to his ordinary guard, these men being lodged in various places. This coming to the ears of the colonels of Antwerp, they ordered on the night of the 16th that all the burgesses should hang out lanterns at the doors of their houses, on pain of death for neglect thereof. The order was so rigorously enforced that some of the townspeople were scandalised, and asked what was the meaning of such an innovation. They were told there were 800 more Frenchmen in the town than usual, and that it behoved them to be on the watch. When Alençon left the town to hold a review, he left all his guard at the gate called Burgerhout, with many more Frenchmen stationed on the bridge over the moat. They would have obtained possession of the country if the burgesses had not captured two pieces of artillery near, by means of which they drove from the gate those who were holding it, and then, closing the castle, the whole populace charged upon those who remained inside the town and slaughtered them. (fn. 2) I will keep your Majesty constantly informed.—London, 23rd January 1583.
24 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1561.
310. The King to Juan Bautista De Tassis.
With regard to Scotland, I am glad to see by your letter and the copies that came with it, that all hope is not abandoned that the duke of Lennox may still be able to remain in the country and rescue the King from his imprisonment. You acted very wisely in your dealings with the ambassador on this matter, and in detaining the man who was coming hither from the queen of Scotland. It is quite true that in a business so thoroughly discussed and understood as this is, the coming of special envoys can have no other effect than to cause publicity, which is no small inconvenience. It will therefore be best that anything they wish to communicate to me should come through you, and if affairs should assume such a position as to cause Hercules to ask for the 10,000 crowns, you may at once pay him the sum entire, and the 2,000 crowns which I had destined for the seminary at Rheims will be provided out of other funds. You did well not to cast any doubt upon this point, and to express so much regard for Hercules' views. I am so anxious for the success of this business that I have ordered another 10,000 crowns to be sent to you in a letter herewith, and you may pay the alms to the seminary out of this sum, and reserve the rest to aid the matter in hand, in accordance with instructions which will be sent dependent upon your news. As the Pope signifies that he is providing money for the same purpose to the Nuncio there, you had better find out how much he is sending, and the instructions which accompany it. Report to me.—Lisbon, 24th January 1583.
26 Jan. 311. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
On the 14th I reported the arrival of the duke of Lennox. He and his people were closely guarded, as I said, until he saw the Queen, which he did four days after his arrival. She received him well, and ordered him to be covered, as he was the first duke (of Scotland) but he refused. She complained greatly of him in many respects, and I set forth here the principal accusations and his replies thereto :—1st. That he had gone to Scotland at the order of the duke of Guise. 2nd. That he had requested an ambassador she had sent to Scotland to show him his instructions before he would allow him to enter the country. 3rd. That he had issued a proclamation in Scotland ordering that no person should trade with England. 4th. That he had refused access to the king of Scotland to Captain Errington (fn. 3) whom she had sent from Berwick. 5th. That he had conferred with four Jesuits who had been sent by his Holiness to that country. 6th. That he had always been an enemy to the Ministers. 7th. That he had generally endeavoured to weaken the new alliance between England and Scotland, and to renew the old relations with France. Lennox replied to the points as follows :— He had, he said, been summoned to Scotland by his cousin the King, with the permission of the king of France. The duke of Guise was present when the order was given to him, and he (Lennox) had told him that he was going to embark at Havre de Grace, although he had already decided to go by Dieppe. It happened that the duke of Guise went to the latter town shortly afterwards, and found him there, whereupon he conceived the suspicion that he had purposely misstated his place of embarkation. To the second point, he said, as she well knew that those who went from England always gave notice of their coming on their arrival at Berwick, as the envoy she mentioned had done, he, Lennox, had then sent to ask him whether he came as an ambassador or as a messenger with letters, which question the officer had refused to answer. He had thereupon been asked to show his instructions, not for the purpose of learning their contents, but only in order that, if he were an ambassador, he should be received with due honour ; of which she had no reason to complain. To the third complaint, he said he knew of no such proclamation having been issued. To the fourth point he replied that Captain Errington had not been allowed access to the country in consequence of the parliament being in session. He denied ever having conferred with the Jesuits ; and, on the sixth point, he replied that he had failed in no particular whilst he was in Scotland to fulfil his religious duty, nor had he borne any hatred against the Ministers, although he had opposed their attempt to abolish the bishoprics and turn their revenues to secular uses, as he thought it might give rise to disturbance in the country. He had, moreover, never tried to break the alliance with England, but had invariably represented to the King the deep obligation he was under to the Queen, and how important it was to maintain his friendship with her, but not in a way which would interrupt the connection which for so many centuries had advantageously existed with France. He again assured her that he would use all his influence with his master, the king of Scotland, to maintain the alliance with England. The Queen thanked him, and assured him that she would be guided by his conduct in France as whether she would favour his return to Scotland or not.
The next day Lennox returned to London, coming to lodge near the house of the French ambassador with Lord (?) Cary, whom the Queen has ordered to accompany him. As he was treated with less suspicion than before, being banquetted by the French ambassador, and his people free to go about as they liked, I thought best not to refrain from sending a message of greeting, and thus to open the door for him if he desired to communicate anything to me, there being no risk in such a step. I therefore sent him a welcome by an English Catholic gentleman, an intimate friend of mine, who could speak to him without the slightest suspicion. He appeared to be greatly pleased, and sent word that his secretary should come and speak with me, as he personally could not do so, much as he should like to give me a full account of affairs in Scotland. The secretary brought me a letter of credence in his master's own handwriting, with two lines of the cipher we had used, as a countersign, referring me to the bearer. He told me that Lennox had been obliged to leave Scotland, in the first place to comply with the promise which had been given by the King to this Queen, at the instance of the conspirators, to the effect that the Duke should leave the country. In the second place, he did so for the King's safety, in consequence of the failure of a certain plot which he, Lennox, had arranged to rescue the King from the hands of the conspirators, on his coming to the castle of Blackness. This had been divulged by the King's houndsman a day before it was to be executed, and, although the number of the duke of Lennox's party was superior, it was unadvisable to take the King by force of arms, as the conspirators had the strength of the queen of England behind them. (fn. 4) It had therefore been unanimously agreed by his partizans that the duke of Lennox should leave the country ; by which means the King would comply with his promise to this Queen, and the following method would then be adopted, by means of which the king of Scotland might be set at liberty without disturbance. It was arranged by Master John Graham, (fn. 5) who was the channel of communication between the King and Lennox, that, as soon as the King heard that the Duke was in France, he should sign a proclamation calling upon those whose names were mentioned in it, to come and set him at liberty by whatever means, and, if no other course was available, they were ordered to take up arms for the purpose. It was also to command Lennox to return and occupy his former position near the King's person. Lennox had left this document signed by himself and many others ; and the King, at the time agreed upon, would issue it, and would afterwards order Lord Erskine, the constable of the castle of Edinburgh, in whose fidelity he had entire confidence, to invite them (i.e., the Ruthven party) to dinner in the castle. After dinner the King would retire to a private chamber, and desire Erskine to guard his person, the troops in the castle being all devoted to the constable. The rest of them would then leave the castle, and the King would send an order to the townspeople of Edinburgh that no gentleman should be allowed to reside there without his express permission. The conspirators would therefore be obliged to leave the town, and the King would summon those who have signed the document, by which means he would be safe.
Master John Graham, when he was arranging this with the King, urged him very strongly to sign the proclamation before Lennox left Scotland, but he refused to do so, saying that he did not wish this to be made a pretext for him (Lennox) and the others to appeal to arms, and cause him (the King) to break his word to the queen of England to send Lennox to France. He said that he had not promised that he should stay for ever away from Scotland, and he assured him that he should be brought back within six months at latest, and that he would sign the proclamation at the time agreed upon.
I asked the Duke's secretary whether his master would profess Protestantism in France, and he answered that he had been specially instructed to tell me that he would, in order that I might signify the same to his Holiness, your Majesty, and the queen of Scotland ; assuring them that he acted thus in dissimulation, in order to be able to return to Scotland, as otherwise the King would not recall him, and the queen of England would prevent his return, by means of the Ministers, on the ground that he was a Catholic, as in his heart he was. He said that he would make this known also to the king of France. He assured me that the only way by which the King could be brought to submit to the Catholic religion, would be by force of arms and foreign troops, drawing him on to this with the bait of their aid being necessary for him to succeed to the throne of England, to his own aggrandisement. He would have to be told that this would only be possible if he allowed the foreign troops the free exercise of their religion, and this would lead to the English Catholics (in Scotland) enjoying the same privilege ; the Scots Catholics gradually joining with them, and the matter thus progressing by degrees. He assured me of the affection the King had for Lennox, which I have also heard from other quarters, and is confirmed by two letters which the King wrote to him in his own hand before he left. Lennox was unwilling to go until he had been judged and absolved by parliament from all charges brought against him, religious and others, but as the conspirators were anxious to get him gone, they requested the King to give him a certificate of his loyalty under his hand and the Great Seal, of which certificate and two letters I send copies. The secretary gave me a letter from Lennox to the queen of Scotland, asking me to forward it, giving her an account of everything, as the letter simply referred her to me for information. I replied in general terms, and said that, from what had happened, the Duke could well perceive, that the conversion of the country (in addition to the saving of so many souls, which was the motive of your Majesty and his Holiness) would be of the greatest advantage to himself and his house, which, indeed could only be benefited by these means. I did not enter into particulars, because I was not acquainted with the negotiations that may be going on between Juan Bautista de Tassis and Hercules (i.e., the duke of Guise), but in order to avoid making him at all suspicious of me, under the impression that I was treating him drily, I said that of the steps I had taken both towards your Majesty and the Pope, at the request of the queen of Scotland, and of the present state of the negotiations for aiding the enterprise, I would say nothing now, but would refer him to Hercules, who would give him full information when he arrived in France. I thus avoided saying anything which Hercules might not wish him to know or tell the king of France.
The secretary returned a second time to thank me, in the name of Lennox, for the goodwill with which I had aided the affair, of which he had been assured also by letters from Hercules, to whom he was glad to be referred, as nothing could be done without him, and whose orders, he, Lennox, would scrupulously follow, giving me immediate information of his interviews with him and the king of France. He sailed on the 24th, the Queen having ordered for him a ship with 50 harquebussiers.
The conspirators told the king of Scotland, as soon as the duke of Lennox entered England, that he had better send a gentleman to the Queen to ask her to receive him well, and said that a certain Combie (fn. 6) would be a fit man for the mission, he being a close confidant of them all, and able to make some verbal communications from them to the Queen. The King sent him, and on his way he met La Mothe, whom he told that there was no need for the king of France to make such a display of sending to visit his master, as the country had never been more contented and quiet than it was. If, he said, he was going simply to give his master the title of King, he could assure him he had been a king for years past, as much as the king of France himself was in his own country, whereas, if his errand was to make a fresh alliance, or renew the former ones, the King would conclude no such arrangements without the consent of the queen of England. He assured him, moreover, that he would only obtain audience of the King in public, and he would not stay in Scotland two days, so it would be much better for him to return to France. La Mothe replied that he was not going to abandon his master's mission on his opinion. When he, La Mothe, arrived at Berwick, he met another messenger from the king of Scotland, who begged him not to take the trouble to go any further, as so far as the King's person was concerned, there was no need for anything of the kind, the country being content and pacific, which he, La Mothe, might tell the king of France on his return. La Mothe, answered that he would not neglect to fulfil the instructions which had been given to him by his master, and asked them to inform him definitely in writing whether it was the King's will that he should enter his realm or not, in order that he, La Mothe, might be relieved of responsibility. No news of the answer has yet reached here.—London, 26th January 1583.
312. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since mine of 23rd the Queen has received letters from Orange and the town of Bruges, the purport of which is to magnify greatly the plot which Alençon had intended to carry out, which they say has been brought upon them in consequence of the Queen's wish to get out of the marriage, and divert the French tempest on to the Netherlands. They say that Alençon had not paid to the soldiers the sum of money she had sent him from France, and this had given rise to great disorders, with the sole design of finding a pretext for seizing Antwerp, which he would certainly have effected if Orange had not foreseen his plan. When he expressed to Alençon the distrust of the States at seeing so many troops being brought in, without his being able to pay those who were already there, he replied that, so long as he was a representative of the queen of England, and her lieutenant in that enterprise, he should never lack money, particularly as his brother the king of France also would help him to pay all those soldiers, who, moreover, did not come without the King's special license and countenance. He assured him that the Queen was his wife in the eyes of God and the world, and could not abandon him in the war without bringing greater danger upon herself and her realm. He thought the reason for bringing so many troops to the States was, that your Majesty's forces could not otherwise be dealt with.
He (Orange) also says that Alençon has been making use of the Queen's name to get money from people who are attached to her interests, but he (Orange) in his various conversations with Alençon had always observed that he expressed extreme rancour against her, and a desire to avenge himself for the slight she had put upon him by refusing to accept him as her husband. It was believed, he says, that Alençon's action in attempting to obtain possession of the towns must have been prompted by your Majesty, and this idea was aided by a letter which had been intercepted from the court of the prince of Parma ; (fn. 7) besides which, Marshal Biron had always refused to serve Alençon until this enterprise. It is true, he says, that they have not reached the root of it yet, but he (Orange) cannot help thinking that the plan was aimed directly at injuring the Queen, and as her affectionate servant he advised her of it, begging her humbly not to abandon them whilst they were in so troublous a condition, but to favour them, in case the king of France, in the interests of his brother, should attempt an invasion of their States.
The Bruges people explain to the Queen their expulsion of the French by saying that, as they heard on the 16th what they intended to do the next day in all the towns, they were obliged to turn them out of their territory without bloodshed, and they begged her not to blame them for this, or to withhold her help to them against your Majesty.
The only decision arrived at here, as I have said, is for the Queen to send the son of the earl of Bedford. I understand she is perfectly furious with the news, and says dreadful things about Alençon and everyone who persuaded her to the marriage, as she says he is a faithless tyrant like his mother, for they neither keep faith with God or man. But, notwithstanding all this, I see no signs of any desire to seek your Majesty, either on the part of the Queen or her Ministers. It is evident that, in order not to lose the Queen, Orange wishes to make her believe that Alençon was in communication with your Majesty and the prince of Parma, but, as I hear that most of the heretic Flemings here say it is a plan hatched between Orange and Alençon, for the latter to seize some towns in Brabant and Flanders, in order that the former may be the more secure in Holland and Zeeland, I have taken care to set fire to the train underhand, and am having this view published here, and written from Antwerp.
Marchaumont is here (and Bacqueville as well), although the Queen has taken leave of him and given him his present (a casket of 200 crowns), and he dares neither see her again nor set out on his journey. The people speak ill of Alençon with great freedom, although it is threatened that the Queen will issue an order forbidding it.—London, 26th January 1583.
29 Jan. 313. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The last letters from Antwerp report that Alençon had formed the plan of going from Duffel to Terremonde, and sent to have boats engaged above St. Bernard near to Willebroeck, but the States hearing of it gave orders for armed vessels to go and prevent his passage, and withdraw all the other boats. When Alençon received intelligence of this he travelled towards Vilvorde, where he duly arrived, the English, Scots, and Reiters in the rebel service, who accompanied him and were present at the review, (fn. 8) having deserted him. He therefore only had with him the Swiss and French, who, as they write from Antwerp, were so pressed with hunger that they had actually begun to slaughter horses for food, and he was being followed up by your Majesty's soldiers. Orange has again sent three Commissioners to him, Dr. Longorius being one of them. I hear that this Queen has sent word to the son of the earl of Bedford that, if Alençon do not voluntarily offer to come over, he is not to press him to do so. She is very desirous for this earl's son to come back, in order to know how Orange and Alençon are proceeding, and the position of affairs there. Marchaumont has written to her from London, saying that pure necessity had forced Alençon to take the step he did, and begging her not to condemn him until she received letters from him.— London, 29th January 1583.
314. Bernardino De Mendoza to Don Juan De Idiaquez.
I forgot to say that the Colonel in His Holiness' service, who was a prisoner in Ireland, was being so badly treated in gaol that I, out of compassion as well as for other considerations, helped him underhand to escape. (fn. 9) This was some time ago, and he has arrived safely to join the prince of Parma with another Italian. By help that I have secretly supplied, all the prisoners are now gone except one captain named Alexandro. (fn. 10) —London, 29th January 1583.


  • 1. The Spanish Ambassador in Venice.
  • 2. This is a very imperfect and one-sided account of what happened on the eventful 15th January 1583. See Strada's spirited description in De Bello Belgico, Book 3.
  • 3. Sir Nicholas Harrington.
  • 4. Robertson and other Scottish historians say that the reason for Lennox's apparently purposeless stay in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh is unknown. The present letter explains it.
  • 5. John Grahame, laird of Hallyards.
  • 6. Probably Mr. John Colvill, who was subsequently (1589) a Scottish ambassador in England, and who is mentioned by Sir James Melvil as having been sent to England on a mission at about the time this letter was written.
  • 7. It is true that active negotiations were being carried on between the prince of Parma and Alençon for the surrender of the towns to the Spaniards.
  • 8. The pretended review of the French forces in the neighbourhood of Antwerp on the 16th January, when the attempt was made to seize the town.
  • 9. Colonel Sebastiano di San Giuseppe, who had commanded the papal troops at the fort of Ore, Smerwick.
  • 10. Captain Alessandro Bertoni, an Italian, who was the "camp master" or Lieutenant-Colonel, and second in command at Smerwick. It was he who first came out to parley with Lord Grey.