Simancas: April 1581

Pages 91-103

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

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April 1581

6 April. 76. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
After M. de Méry arrived in France the Commissioners were more speedy in gathering at Calais than the Queen had expected, the prince of Condé's man (fn. 1) not being with them in consequence of illness, as was said. The Queen, therefore, did not write, as I had advised your Majesty, that she wished a Prince of the Blood to accompany them, and Alençon begged his brother to send the Prince Dauphin, whom the rest have been awaiting in Boulogne and Calais. As soon as they were ready a great Council was held here as to the advisability of sending them passports, which had not been done. There was much difference of opinion about it, many thinking that it would be better that they should not come over, or at all events not with so large a train. (fn. 2) With the news, however, that the health of the king of France was much broken, and the belief here that he will not live long, the Queen said that it would not do to offend Alençon, nor arouse the suspicion of the French, and consequently that a passport should be sent in very general terms. This was done, the wording of it being that they gave safe conduct to come and go for all princes, dukes, counts, barons, and gentlemen, without mentioning any "princeps legationis."
They are working away furiously at the building of a gallery in the houses at Westminster wherein to entertain them, and 14 coaches have been ordered for the ladies. A great joust has been arranged for the 16th, and 10,000l. sterling of silver plate is being made to divide amongst the ambassadors. This is being taken from the bars brought by Drake. The Queen has ordered one of her houses to be prepared for them, where they will be splendidly lodged. Much desire is being professed to them that the marriage should take place, which however is quite incredible to most Englishmen. Leicester is of this opinion, and is very suspicious that the coming of these Frenchmen may be a plan of his enemies to undo him. I am told that he assured the Queen that Alençon's object was only to weaken her power at the instigation of his brother and your Majesty, in order that this country might be submitted to the Catholic church, which he told her was evident from the fact that Alençon had sent to ask the Pope's permission to marry her. There was no better way of weakening her, he said, than to lead her into heavy expenditure, and drain her treasury ; and the sending of this great company was all part of the artifice. This and other things that he said have aroused the Queen's suspicion, and she has ordered the expenses to be restricted, saying that as the king of France did not pay the expenses of ambassadors sent from here until they arrived in Paris, it would not be dignified of her to act otherwise. By this means she excuses herself from finding them horses and entertainment from Dover hither.
Lord Cobham, as Warden of the Cinque Ports, the earl of Pembroke, and other lords, have been ordered to meet them ; and the peers who were attending the Parliament have been ordered to remain here with their wives. They are also collecting all their servants and trains, both for the sake of ostentation, and because, being a suspicious folk, they fear some disturbance, particularly Leicester, who is making greater efforts than anyone to collect a large company of kinsmen and servants. All this is being judged of differently according to partialities, since Ireland being disturbed, and relations with Scotland strained, people in general think that the coming of the Frenchmen can bode them no good, because from the cradle they are brought up in enmity with them and their old allies the Scots. This was represented to the Queen lately by the archbishop of York, and she replied that the French, it is true, had promoted former disturbances in Scotland, but he was mistaken in supposing that this was the case with the present troubles, which were the work of the Spaniards.
Besides this, not only Englishmen but others judge this embassy to be pregnant of such great results that the end thereof can hardly be predicted. Even in case the Queen should decide not to marry, which is the opinion of everyone, even of the French themselves ; and that the design is to form an offensive and defensive alliance against your Majesty, it is noticed that Marchaumont is careful to conceal from the French ambassador here what he is negotiating with the Queen. The ambassador himself, who, however, in the French fashion, often speaks lightly, declares publicly that these Commissioners do not come from the King but from Alençon, with the consent of his brother and mother, and that when any treaty has to be made they will find that Alençon is not the king of France, and cannot arrange such a thing.
It is evident also that this Queen in her dealing with the matter is paying more attention to ostentation and details of no moment than to points of importance for the conclusion of a treaty. For instance, she has been delaying the coming of the Commissioners by asking that certain persons should be appointed who have no experience in such matters, and are not of a quality for her to willingly await them for so long. She may be sure that the king of France will not thus be drawn by the solicitations of the French and the Flemish rebels into deciding the manner of Alençon's invasion of the Netherlands, notwithstanding the extremity of Cambrai and the importance of not giving time for your Majesty's forces to be strengthened, whilst the rebel resources were more rapidly dwindling every day. If any treaty is to be made, these are points of the most pressing moment, and yet the Queen takes less notice of them than she does of whether there are any new devices in the joust, or where a ball is to be held, what beautiful women are to be at Court, and things of similar kind. She has even issued an order in Council that shopkeepers are to sell all their stuffs, cloth of gold, velvet, and silks, at a reduction of one quarter from the price per yard, as she says she wishes them to do her this service in order that the ladies and gentlemen may be the better able to bedizen themselves. This seems an evident sign that her only object is to satisfy her own vanity and keep Alençon in hand.
Her ambassador, Cobham, writes that Casimir had obtained a pension of 6,000 ducats from your Majesty, on the condition that he is to raise as many horsemen whenever he is required to do so. They tell me that when Walsingham read the letter he said that two of the four pillars of their Church had failed them ; one of them, Casimir, had bent, and the other, Morton, had been broken. He prayed God that the two that remained, namely Leicester and Orange, would stand firm.
Captain Perrin, whom the Queen had sent to Don Antonio in France when his arrival there was first announced, has returned hither. He says that Don Antonio remained at Angers with 12 Portuguese, the Bishop de la Guardia being amongst them. He brings letters for Leicester and Secretary Wilson, begging them to induce the Queen to find him some money. She sent Souza to France, providing him with the means for the voyage from the Treasury. I am told that he bore instructions from Leicester to invite Don Antonio to come hither. On his departure Leicester gave him a chain, two others being given by Walsingham and Wilson, with orders that they were to be conveyed by one of the ships that brought the Commissioners over, by which it may be gathered that they were a present to Don Antonio, particularly as Souza has left all his own people here, and only travels with one English servant of Walsingham's.
I am informed from Antwerp that the Archduke Mathias wrote a letter to a physician of the Queen's by one of his chamberlains, which letter was intercepted by the rebels there and delivered to Sr. Aldegonde, who deciphered it. After this had been done they sent to the Archduke and asked him for the key. The substance of the letter was to ask the physician to propose marriage with the Queen, and to point out some of the evils which might befall her if she married Alençon. The Archduke gave up the key, and said they should not take it amiss that he negotiated for his marriage since they did not do so. They have informed him that he can go away when he likes, and the States would undertake to pay what he owed in Antwerp. This is a plot of Orange to get him to renounce the government, and to demand the Count de Buren and La Noue in exchange for his person.—London, 6th April 1581.
77. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
In your Majesty's duplicate of the 14th of November, I received a warrant issued by the Council of the Indies on the 12th of January, saying that if a good opportunity offered to arrange a compromise for the recovery of Drake's plunder it was not considered fitting that it should be done through me, but rather by Pedro de Zubiaur. I have written to your Majesty that I see not the slightest chance of any such compromise, nor can I imagine that Zubiaur can have any ground or reason for advising such a possibility, until I speak with the Queen, both on the subject of your Majesty's own property and that of private merchants. Zubiaur has seen me every day and he has not hinted at such a thing to me, only saying that, unless your Majesty's Minister takes the matter up, not a farthing will be recovered. I am unaware whether, under cloak of this, he writes differently to Spain in hope of making profit for himself by getting at all events something, rather than have to return with empty hands. If he were dealing with people of influence for the compromise, and the plunder amounted to 30,000 or 50,000 crowns, it might be possible. But as the plunder is so tremendous, and has been seized by the Queen without the intervention of any Minister, Drake having given her 100,000l. sterling besides what she has in the Tower, it cannot be believed that she will be contented with arranging with the merchants only, without satisfying your Majesty as well. This is evident, because she thinks, from what I have said, that most of the money belongs to your Majesty's patrimony. My view of the case is strengthened by the fact that, when an English pirate captured an Indian ship with 80,000 crowns in the time of King Edward, they lodged the plunder in the Tower although it was nearly all private property, and the owners, sending special powers here to recover it, restitution was not made until nearly eight years afterwards ; and then the restitution was only partial, and was made on the intervention of the Emperor's ambassador here. If the consulate at Seville has petitioned your Majesty to allow them to compromise the matter, they do not understand events here, even in the recovery of booty of small importance ; in which cases the owners can never obtain their property, however strong their proofs or just their claims may be. The person negotiating for them looks after his own interest, and, as his share is usually a third of what he recovers, his only anxiety is to get what he can for himself and give a receipt to the pirates, who are thus protected against any attempts on the part of your Majesty's Minister to have them duly punished. The Queen's officers say that, if the owners of the property are satisfied, there is no more to be done, and thus your Majesty's subjects suffer, whereas the English and French go scot free. As soon as pirates of either nation have had anything captured by the others, they request and obtain letters of marque from this Council or the king of France to enable them to make reprisals on goods of the other nation, and they thus pay themselves in kind. Your Majesty's subjects do not make similar requests of your Councils, and consequently are not granted the same facilities for recouping themselves for their loss. They do not even do as was the case in Flanders in the time of the Emperor, when, as soon as it was proved that Englishmen had captured Flemish goods, a similar amount of English property was seized in Flanders, and this caused the English to appoint commissioners to summarily punish the robbers and restore the booty. The publication by the consuls in Seville of the statement that your Majesty had given them leave to compromise, has not done and will not do them any good, as the English have heard of it, and have already said that the matter is nothing to do with your Majesty nor your ministers, as the property belongs to private people who will come to an arrangement with Drake.
As I have already advised, they continue to fit out ships here for the Indies, but it is decided that Drake himself shall not go, although, no doubt, he has arranged the matter through other hands in order that he may not be too conspicuous. Captain Bingham is to command. He is considered a good sailor, and was the man who entered the fort in Ireland to slaughter the soldiers of his Holiness. They say that they will not leave until September, but they are preparing with furious haste ten ships in port, beside those already known, and it is understood that if Bingham were not ill he would have sailed before this.
On the 4th instant the Queen went to a place a mile from Greenwich (fn. 3) to see Drake's ship, where a grand banquet was given to her, finer than has ever been seen in England since the time of King Henry. She knighted Drake, and told him there she had there a gilded sword to strike off his head. She handed the sword to M. de Marchaumont, telling him she authorised him to perform the ceremony for her, which he did. Drake, therefore, has the title of "Sir" in consideration of the lands he has purchased, and he gave her a large silver coffer, and a frog (fn. 4) made of diamonds, distributing 1,200 crowns amongst the Queen's officers.—London, 6th April 1581.
78. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since I wrote to your Majesty, news comes from Scotland that the King had appointed D'Aubigny, his Lieutenant-General and protector of his person, Lord Chamberlain and President of the Council, whilst Lord ..., (fn. 5) one of the Hamiltons, who was in prison, is made Lord Admiral, and the Earl of Mar guardian of the English border. He has effected a truce between the Scotsmen who are called of the "mortal feud." These are people who entertain terrible bands and refuse all quarter to each other. They are to be ready for the service of the King whenever they may be summoned, and the truce is on both sides being agreed to for fifteen months. Angus, the nephew of Morton, has been ordered to retire to the Highlands, which is explained away by some of this Queen's officers by saying that this was at his own request, but it is really a punishment. Randolph, the Queen's minister, has again pressed his three points, namely, that Morton should be legally tried ; that D'Aubigny should be expelled the country as a seditious person ; and that the troops collected on the English border should be withdrawn. The queen of England, he said, did not wish to disturb his country, but to preserve her friendship with the King. Randolph was told that the Scottish nobles had been summoned to deliberate a reply to these three points, which in due time they did. They said that Morton's affair would be dealt with according to the laws of the country, as the Queen had already been assured ; with regard to the exile of D'Aubigny, as he had come from France to serve the King willingly, when he was summoned, leaving a country so rich and fertile to come to sterile Scotland, it would be a poor return if the King expelled him. D'Aubigny deserved very much more than he, the King, had given him, both on his own account, being his nearest kinsman, and for the loyalty with which he had served him. To the third point, with regard to the Queen's desire that his country should not be disturbed, they said that her acts proved to the contrary, as she had called to arms all the border men under the command of the earl of Huntingdon and Lord Hunsdon, and the King, seeing so large a force on his frontiers, had increased his own forces there. As his men were on his own territory the Queen had no ground for complaint, and they would remain where they were until she withdrew her soldiers from the border.
The Queen, seeing that her efforts were without result in their object of inducing Morton's friends to raise a civil war, has resolved to send Commissioners to be present at Morton's trial, and to withdraw her troops ; reinforcing the garrisons, however, with double their usual strength, which will enable her to delay matters without an open rupture with the Scots. She has been moved to this by the grant of 40,000l. made by the Scots to the King to keep his troops on the borders. Randolph writes that the Scots have taken advantage of the delay in answering him for making ready gallantly, and, in his opinion, are more likely to injure the English than the English them, if they came to blows now. He therefore thinks that it will be well to temporise with them by means of their friendship with the French.
The viceroy of Ireland writes to the Queen that the O'Mores, whose lands march with those of Desmond, whom they support, have taken up arms. The Viceroy has urged them to submit, on the assurance of Ormond that the terms granted to them shall be fulfilled. He had given them thirty days to make up their minds, which time expires at the middle of the month, when if they do not submit and lay down their arms, he will proclaim them rebels. He writes that if they do not submit he could not hold out in the ordinary fortresses, unless they sent him 4,000 more men, and said that the Council could judge from this what number of troops would be necessary to take the offensive and conquer the insurgents. —London, 6th April 1581.
79. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The English Catholics, with whom, in accordance with your Majesty's orders, I keep up communication, have sent to tell me by certain energetic gentlemen whom they look upon as their chiefs, that in addition to the troubles, miseries, and imprisonment that I myself have witnessed for the last two years, it is now evident to them that God is about to punish them with greater calamities and persecutions than ever. Up to the present they have had only to suffer in their estates, and with the irksomeness of imprisonment, which is a mere shadow of what now portends. As they cannot leave the country, they will be afflicted, unless they consent to forget God and accept the errors of these people, with the loss, not only of liberty, estate, patrimony, and life, but will be branded with infamy to be handed down to their children. This is the outcome of the law the Queen has passed in this Parliament, and of which I send your Majesty the details. Although these people, however weakly, have put the case in the hands of God and offered their lives to be employed where necessary in His service and the exaltation of the Church, they cannot help feeling, as men, the opprobrium which will remain as a stigma upon their descendants as traitors to the Queen. And all the more so, that the result may be to entirely root out the Catholic religion in this country, if God in His infinite mercy do not provide a remedy for their ills by postponing the rigorous execution of this unjust law. The heretics have made every possible effort with the Queen to this end, with the object of crushing the Catholic religion, representing to her that the Catholics not only desire freedom for their faith, but to change the sovereign ; against whose person they are plotting, for the total ruin of England, and other similar lies and fictions. These are supported by the testimony of the heretics of many provinces, and although the Catholics have done their best to prove to the contrary, offering lately, even, 150,000 crowns to the Queen if these statutes were not passed, they have been unable to prevent it. They therefore approach your Majesty as the buttress and defender of the Catholic Church, humbly beseeching you to turn your eyes upon their affliction and succour them, until God should complete their liberation. They seek the notification to his Holiness, of the great importance, in order to prevent the vile weed of heresy from quite choking the good seed sown here by the seminarists, that an English cardinal should be appointed. There are two persons, Dr. Sanders, (fn. 6) and William Allen, who is in the seminary at Rheims, whose virtue and learning are such as to render them worthy of the dignity. So far as I am able to judge from the state of things here it would be a step of great moment in the interests of God and your Majesty that this petition of the Catholics should be granted, as, if they have no leader, the new statutes, their own modesty, and their inability to leave the country, will cause them to lose heart, with no one to encourage them. The principal men amongst them are therefore very earnest about it, and I am assured that a Catholic gentleman here has promised a thousand crowns a year to aid in maintaining some such personage. If he be not a Cardinal, whatever his other rank may be, he cannot assist them as they desire, for the reasons which they set forth, and may well be understood.—London, 6th April 1581.
10 April.
Paris Archives, K 1559.
80. Juan Bautista De Tassis to the King.
On the 7th I last wrote to your Majesty. The Scots ambassador having returned hither from a lengthened stay in Paris came to see me yesterday, and conveyed the following message to me on behalf of his mistress.
She heartily congratulated your Majesty on your success in Portugal, and pointed out that so great a power should not be employed solely in maintaining your own dominions but should be exercised for the benefit and advancement of Christendom in general. She had been much grieved and condoled with your Majesty on the death of our Queen, (fn. 7) but as it had been God's will, it was to be hoped that your Majesty would find consolation in your children. The earl of Morton was still a prisoner, and no rising had taken place in his favour or that of the queen of England, although the latter had sent a body of men on to the Border to encourage her partisans in Scotland. Things were therefore never better disposed in Scotland than now to return to their ancient condition, and to be satisfactorily settled, so that English affairs could be dealt with from there subsequently. The King, her son, was quite determined to return to the Catholic religion, and much inclined to an open rupture with the queen of England, which he would certainly not avoid as soon as he could be sure of substantial help and support. She hoped your Majesty would afford him this, both on her account and to counterbalance the proposed alliance between England and France, from which, to a certain extent, arose Alençon's designs on Flanders.
The Queen begs your Majesty earnestly to send this help to her son, and recommends that it should first be landed in Ireland, and remain there until it was summoned to enter Scotland, after the treaties of alliance between Spain and Scotland had been signed. She requests that your Majesty should send some person to Scotland, under a pretext, to arrange this.
She declares it to be her intention that her son should go to Spain ; both to forward the marriage which has been mentioned for him, and to complete his conversion to the Catholic religion, whilst at the same time ensuring himself from the plots his enemies are weaving against him.
She instructs the ambassador to write to Lord Ogilvy, (fn. 8) who is doubtless one of the intimates of the king of Scotland, urging him to exert all his influence to persuade the King to the course she desires, and particularly as to his going to Spain ; and to exhort him to continue his opposition to the queen of England, with the certainty that help will come from your Majesty. She adds that a person ought to be sent to your Majesty to request the said assistance, in the first place to secure the passage of her son to Spain, and secondly to guard and defend the country against England during his absence, even if no open war takes place. She says that the king (of Scotland) must provide some port on the Argyll coast for this purpose, as well as some fortresses or places that may be fortified inland for the quartering of the foreign troops. She desires him to thank your Majesty most sincerely for the honour you do them in entertaining the proposed marriage, for the care your Majesty has for her safety, and for the favours you extend to her subjects ; and promises her perpetual friendship to your Majesty, of which the going of the King to Spain will be a pledge, to be followed by a firm alliance. She desires that he (the proposed envoy) should go and learn your Majesty's pleasure on these points, and conclude the negotiation ; and if this embassy be not promptly sent from Scotland he (the Scots ambassador in France) is to try to get the negotiations entrusted to him.
She says she is desirous, after the conversion of her son to the Catholic religion, of bringing England back to the faith, and adopting the cause of the English Catholics, but she thinks that Scotland ought first to be brought into a thoroughly satisfactory condition, and completely devoted to your Majesty, as the other affair could then be undertaken with greater security.
She also instructs the ambassador to urge the Nuncio to beg his Holiness to send her son assistance in money, as he promised to do when a good opportunity offered, as it does at present.
The ambassador told me all this ; and even showed me the deciphered letter of 4th March, mentioning his mistress' letter, and asking me to convey the contents to your Majesty, which I venture to do, as in a conversation with Cardinal de Granvelle before I left Madrid he told me to lend ear to and report what might be said to me on this matter.
I notice certain contradictory points in this communication, such as the suggestion that your Majesty should send an envoy to Scotland to conclude the negotiation, and that a man should be sent by them to Spain for the same purpose ; and again, the project for the King to leave the country, whilst they say he is inclined to break with England, at which time it would be most necessary that he should remain at home. The assertion, too, that there are no signs of risings in favour of Morton and the queen of England hardly tallies with one of the reasons given for his going to Spain, namely, to escape the plots of his enemies to seize him and deprive him of the crown ; from which it may be inferred that not much security exists, and it is somewhat strange to ask your Majesty to send assistance at once, without having discussed any particulars of how or whither. It is no wonder, however, because the Queen being a prisoner she cannot be expected to discuss matters so clearly as those who are in the midst of affairs. I judge from all this that her object is to impress upon your Majesty that the present is a favourable opportunity for you to help her, either openly or otherwise, and at the same time to promote injury to England.
I asked what was the attitude of her son towards the matter, and the ambassador replied that he could say nothing for certain on that point, except that he had sent his reply to the Queen, and he (the ambassador) is informed by private persons that the King is entirely in accord with his mother's wishes in the matter.
I also asked how it was that M. D'Aubigny came to agree to it, since he, being a Frenchman, would presumably be but little pleased with this proposed friendship with your Majesty. He replied that M. D'Aubigny would do as the Queen wished, and that he was displeased with the King and Queen (Mother) of France, with whom he held no communication.
I asked him whether this matter was being broached by him with the co-operation of the duke of Guise. He said that when he was instructed by his mistress to bring it before Juan de Vargas, (fn. 9) it was done with the intervention of the duke of Guise ; but as the latter at that time exhibited some coolness about it, the Queen had ordered that nothing of this should be communicated to him, so that he knows not a word of the present message. I await your Majesty's instructions as to how I am to reply, as I will not mention the matter until I receive them. I asked him also how his Queen dared to attempt such negotiations whilst she was a prisoner in England, to which he replied, the stronger the king of Scotland became the more careful would they be not to do harm to his mother.—Blois, 10th April 1581.
11 April. 81. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The Queen yesterday received advice from Randolph of his arrival at Berwick. It is understood that he has come on the pretext of wishing to be there during the settlement of the raids on either side, but really in consequence of the discovery of a plot he had arranged with the Earl of Angus to murder D'Aubigny, which, as I have already reported, he had orders from here to attempt by every possible means. Randolph was informed that D'Aubigny was aware of the plot and Randolph was advised to escape at once or his life would be in danger. He accordingly fled to Berwick ; and, whether from fear or because it really happened, he asserts that he was followed by horsemen and that a shot was fired at him from a distance. He asks the Queen to consider whether, in view of these events, it will be fitting for him to return thither. He believes that this affair will expedite the condemnation of Morton, and it is also, he urges, another proof that if the King were not certain of French help, if necessary, he would not so strongly have manned his frontiers ; nor would he have swaggered as he has done, unless he had your Majesty behind him likewise. They (the Scots) were assured that it is so, by a Scotsman who had come from the Spanish Court, where he had been entertained during the whole of the time that he had been banished from Scotland by Morton, and where the King had been very kind and gracious to him. (fn. 10) All this had caused the King of Scotland to take up a position which had never been assumed before. He had ordered that on pain of death no Scotsman should carry provisions to Berwick or any of the frontier places. As soon as the Queen received the news she sent a speedy courier to Huntingdon and Hundson, ordering them to hasten the withdrawal of the troops from the borders, and at the meeting to settle about the raids that they were to be as conciliatory as possible, in order to give no excuse to the Scots for breaking with them.
She also dispatched De Mery with a letter in her own hand, written without the knowledge of any of her ministers, to Alençon, in answer to one that he had written to her by De Mery. Marchaumont also sent with it a purple and gold garter belonging to the Queen, which slipped down and was trailing as she entered Drake's ship. Marchaumont stooped and picked it up, and the Queen asked for it, promising him that he should have it back when she reached home as she had nothing else with which to keep her stocking up. Marchaumont returned it and she put it on before him ; presenting him with it when she got back to Westminster. This and all other signs seem to indicate a real intention to effect the marriage.—London, 11th April 1581.
16 April. 82. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since my last of the 11th I have ascertained the truth about the news that the Queen has heard from Don Antonio. One Brito who came to France in his name some months ago with some boxes of sugar, invented the other reports the Queen had received, and which I communicated to your Majesty ; the object being to entertain this Queen and the King of France, in order to prevent them from cooling in Don Antonio's cause, on the assertion that Don Antonio was in France, although his identity could not be declared until the arrival of Count Vimioso. The latter now says that Don Antonio was in Mazagan in Barbary. After he had left him there he, Vimioso, had returned to Spain, and had landed disguised as a priest, saying that he was going to Rome, and so passed into France. The moment the Queen received this despatch she sent another to her Ambassador Cobham, directing that Souza should confer with Count Vimioso and Brito, for the purpose of arranging the coming of Don Antonio to France and deferring until his arrival there the settlement of the best method of aiding him in annoying your Majesty ; as up to the present time no resolution has been taken with regard to the Indian project, although a meeting has taken place between Walsingham, Leicester, Drake, Hawkins, Winter, Frobisher, and Bingham, all the latter being experienced mariners, in order that their opinion might be gained as to what may be done in that way.
Leicester has been pressing the Queen very much to consider deeply before marrying Alençon. She replied that as the matter was so far advanced, if she placed before the commissioners the reasons for not effecting the marriage, greater evils might result than if she told them to Alençon verbally, as she was sure that he would accept them without offence in consideration of his being able to count upon her friendship under any circumstances. For this reason she had written asking him to come a few days after the arrival of the commissioners, and to bring but a small company with him. This has partly re-assured Leicester, who is now much more intimate with Marchaumont than he was.
The earl of Sussex and other advocates of the marriage confirm what the Queen said to Leicester, in order to reconcile him and his friends, and to prevent their making any effort to stop Alençon's coming. They say at the same time, that if he do come they are quite certain that she will marry him, and both the Queen and Sussex have signified this to Marchaumont, who I am told, however, has conveyed it to the commissioners, saying that if they are not perfectly satisfied within a few days after their arrival that the marriage would take place, it will not be advisable for Alençon to come, so that if the Queen do not distinctly promise them that she will marry, they, if they are of the same opinion as Marchaumont, will not let Alençon come. This will enable the Queen, if she pleases, to seize upon that as an excuse, saying that if he is not here, she cannot marry him without the advice of her Council, many of whom, as they know, oppose it. She will thus infer that the business has not fallen through from any fault of hers. The Commissioners arrived in Dover yesterday.—London, 16th April 1581.
20 April.
Paris Archives, K 1447 44.
83. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Lisbon is greatly in want of wheat. If you can induce the English merchants to send some cargoes thither they shall be welcomed and well treated. Do not ask the Queen, but treat only with the merchants.—Tomar, 20th April 1581.
24 April.
Paris Archives, K. 1447. 43.
84. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
The only letters of yours unanswered are dated 27th February and 14th and 17th ultimo. We approve of all you have done as related in them. Report everything you hear, and especially about Ireland, and whether you think there is any probability of the Catholics there coming to terms with the Queen, as it is asserted here that some negotiations are going on with the Viceroy. Advise us also of movements in Scotland, and whether you have discovered the falseness of that proclamation you sent attributed to the queen (king?) of Scotland and summoning the estates. It cannot be true.
You did well in advising the arrival there of Marchaumont, and the steps he was taking on behalf of Alençon with the Queen and her Ministers. Keep me well posted as to all you hear about it, and investigate whether the real object of his coming is to seek money for Alençon to go against Flanders. If you have any means of correspondence with the queen of Scotland, it will be very advisable to entertain and preserve her in her attachment and friendship towards me, and, through her, to lead her son in the same way.
Tell me what has become of Drake, and what you hear of arming ships, their number, destination, stores, and crews. It is most important that I should know all this.—Tomar, 24th April 1581.


  • 1. In the King's hand :—"He must mean Condé himself."
  • 2. This splendid embassy was accompanied by a suite of 200 persons and consisted of Prince Francis de Bourbon, Dauphin d'Auvergne, son of Montpensier; Charles de Bourbon, Count de Soissons, the youngest of the Condés ; Marshal de Cossé ; the Counts de Sancerre and Carrouges, Lansac, Barnabé Brisson, the famous president of the Parliament of Paris, La Mothe Fénélon, who had formerly been ambassador in England, Claude Pinart, Baron de Valois, the Secretary of State to Catharine de Medici ; Pierre Clausse, Seigneur de Marchaumont ; Jacques de Vray, Alençon's chief secretary ; Bodin, the well known writer, and several courtiers of high rank.
  • 3. Deptford.
  • 4. Although the decipherer has written the word "rana" frog, this may possibly be a mistake for "rama," spray ; or it may have reference to Alençon, whom the Queen jokingly called her "grenouille."
  • 5. The King in a marginal note remarks that the name is left blank in the cipher. The writer was probably confusing the unfortunate earl of Arran, head of the Hamilton's, with the King's new favourite, James Stewart of Ochiltree, who had just been made earl of Arran, the rightful possessor of the title being confined as a lunatic.
  • 6. See note to the reply to this letter, 28th May. Sanders died miserably in Ireland soon afterwards.
  • 7. Anne of Austria, Philip's fourth wife, who had died on the 26th October 1580.
  • 8. This perhaps again refers to James Stewart of Ochiltree, the new earl of Arran, whose influence over the young King was boundless. There seems to be no particular reason why Ogilvie should have been written to.
  • 9. Juan de Vargas Mejia, the Spanish ambassador in France, who had recently died.
  • 10. Sir James Balfour? He is called Bedford in letter No. 64.