Simancas: September 1580

Pages 51-52

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

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September 1580

4 Sept. 42. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
A gentleman from Scotland has come to the Queen and has informed her that the King had renewed his alliance with France and on the occasion a present had been sent him by the duke of Guise, who addressed the letter to him as King, which he has not hitherto done, out of respect for his mother. The same reason prevented the king of France years ago from having a Scots ambassador in his Court. The news has caused great suspicion here, because they think that Guise would not do this without the French king's consent, and that the French must be therefore sure of Scotland. This suspicion has been much increased by the assurance brought by this man that D'Aubigny and Morton had joined hands, and that Morton had been reconciled with the French, and had broken entirely with this Queen, in consequence of his having asked her to lend him 4,000l., to which she had replied that she would only lend it on security. On receiving this answer he made friends with the French through D'Aubigny, who daily becomes more powerful in the country, so much so that they say it is again suggested that he should be recognized as heir to the Crown, in defect of issue to the King. Some time ago this Queen tried to divert Morton from such negotiations with grand promises and new hopes, but he refused to lend ear to them ; he is so greedy, however, that doubtless if the French are less profitable to him than this Queen, he will turn Englishman again.
After a skirmish in Ireland between the insurgents and the English in which a brother of the earl of Desmond was killed, the Queen is informed that the insurgents had unanimously sworn to sacrifice their lives and property in defence of the Catholic faith. (fn. 1) The Viceroy with the English reinforcements which had arrived was marching overland to besiege Desmond, who was on the coast opposite Spain ; Captain Winter being also there with the four Queen's ships and the other four which I said had been sent to join them, and which left Plymouth ten days since. The Queen is also told that a Spanish ship had been discovered which had come to reconnoitre the position of the insurgents.
Alençon wrote to the Queen that the commissioners would soon be here, to which she replied that if the siege of La F`re was to go on and the king of France would not help him to go to the aid of the rebels in the Netherlands, there was no reason why the commissioners should come so hurriedly. This has greatly cooled the negotiations with the French, aided by the suspicions I have mentioned that there is an understanding between them and the Scots.
The Portuguese who came from Don Antonio offered Leicester the collar of precious stones which he had brought, but he (Leicester) would not accept it. He gave Secretary Wilson some jewels aud is negotiating with him and Walsingham, who have almost convinced him that any aid which might be given to him here would be too late to be of any use in Portugal ; and that, so far as concerned the Indies and the Azores, it would be more important that English ships should go thither. This, as I wrote your Majesty, is the object of these people. The Portuguese, who went from here to Antwerp, has negotiated with Orange, who writes to the Queen that if she will help Don Antonio in this enterprise, he, Orange, will contribute 22 armed ships from Holland and Zeeland to the same end.—London, 4th September 1580.


  • 1. This was doubtless the engagement mentioned by Lord Grey in his letter to the Queen, dated 2nd August (Cotton MS., Titus, B. XIII., p. 305), in which James of Desmond was captured by Sir Cormack McTeig, lord of Muskerry.