697. Summary of a Memorandum from Father Cresswell to the
King, with regard to the answer to be given to the English
1. The answer should include some general reference to the
pretensions of the earl of Essex, so as to open the door to an
arrangement by which he may be gained to the service of God
and your Majesty.
2. The answer should be so worded that even if it fall into the
hands of enemies, it would help rather than injure the cause of the
claimant favoured by your Majesty. This may be effected by
setting forth, with full arguments, the reasons why it is considered
desirable here that the Catholic Sovereign of England should
proceed with mildness and without violence, the fault being not
so much personal as national. That it will be unjust, therefore,
to treat heretics as they are treated in Spain, or as they were treated
in England by queen Mary. Conversion may best be forwarded by
caring well for working people, and by winning the people by
suavity and mildness. Philip II. saw this, and his advice moderated
the zeal of queen Mary and her Council.
3. Such an answer will banish many difficulties and attract many
4. The answer should state that it has been considered by the
Council and approved by your Majesty.
5. In addition to the above general answer, there should be
another particular answer, communicated to few, nominating the
Infanta Isabel for the succession. This will open the door for her
and the Archduke to take similar steps to push their claims to those
being carried on by the king of Scotland.
6. To satisfy powerful people, who would rally to the Infanta, it
will be necessary to let it be known privately, that your Majesty
will acknowledge her claim ; and, if possible, support her by a large
force when the Queen dies. This is necessary, in order that they
make due arrangements for welcoming such a force.
7. It is most important that no time should be lost, as otherwise
these powerful people will rally to the king of Scotland, and he will
succeed. Delay alone is responsible for making Vendome king of
8. Any new Sovereign of England, unless he is under obligation
to your Majesty, will be worse for you than the Queen, because by
granting freedom of conscience he will conciliate a certain faction in
Rome, and will prevent the Catholics from looking to your Majesty.
This has happened in France.
9. My own opinion is that God has hitherto preserved the Queen's
life, in consequence of the prayers of so many faithful ones that your
Majesty should be prepared before she dies.
10. If God grant children to the Infanta, the submission of
England to Spain will be perpetual, by means of family alliances,
etc. This is what the Catholics aim at, to re-establish religion, and
a permanent brotherhood between the nations, Spain being always
the elder brother.
11. Even if the Infanta die without children it will be no small
thing to have taken the Crown out of the hands of heretics.
12. On all accounts it is most necessary to succour Ireland.
13. The acknowledgment of the Infanta, and the preparations
mentioned, will do much to bring honourable peace to your Majesty
and the Catholics.
The above memorandum is accompanied by a draft of the proposed
answer to the English Catholics, written and signed by Father
Cresswell. It embodies the points detailed in the memorandum,
only that, as an alternative to the Infanta, it hints at the acceptance
of one of the daughters of the earl of Derby, or Arabella Stuart ; and
promises to hold in readiness certain forces (in blank) to be used
when needed in favour of the Catholic party.
Father Cresswell concludes by again begging the King for a
The Council of State reports to Philip III., with regard to Father
Cresswell's communications, that an answer should be now sent
without further delay. They generally approve of his suggestions,
but are of opinion that no other candidate than the Infanta should
be mentioned ; and that the forces to be held in readiness should not