Rome: 1571, May-June

Pages 406-431

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Vatican Archives, Volume 1, 1558-1571. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


1571, May–June

Vat. Arch.
Borgh. I.
vol. 607. ff. 338d–39.
Corsini Palace,
33. E. 13. f. 437.
768. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
… “An English ambassador [Henry Cobham (fn. 1) ] has arrived, not to reside but to transact business. Of this I have just advised the King, who will cause him to have a care (as they say) to his hands, (fn. 2) his own and his people's, and that without fail. It may be supposed that his mandate is to treat of the concord, the restitution on either side of the goods detained, but as yet I know not the particulars.”
5 May, 1571. Madrid. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 64.
769. News Letter.
“We learn from England that that Queen had sent the brother of Milord Cubam [Cobham], who is her admiral, to take the Bastard of Brederode, an exile from these countries, and chief of the Huguenots that did so much damage by sea, and that the Bastard had been brought prisoner into the port of Jours [Dover] in England with eight others his chief accomplices; which disposes us to think that the Queen is likely to agree to the accord with these States.”
5 May, 1571. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 141.
770. Pope Pius V to Philip II, Catholic King of Spain.
“Dearest son in Christ, &c. This our letter will be delivered to your Majesty by our dear son Robert Ridolfi, who, God helping, will in person expound to you in person some matters which nearly concern the honour of Almighty God and the interest of the Christian commonwealth, touching which We charge and implore your Majesty earnestly in the Lord to repose in him unhesitating faith. Which by reason of your exemplary piety to Godward We crave the more earnestly of your Majesty, in order that, undertaking with courage and zeal the business about which he is to negotiate with you he may deem it his duty to subserve its accomplishment with all the means and resources that he may consider to be at his command. In craving this of your Majesty We would have you understand that We leave the business itself entirely to your Majesty's sound judgment; and in the meanwhile We with our whole heart will supplicate our Redeemer in His mercy to accord a happy issue to an enterprise designed to promote His glory and honour.”
5 May, 1571. Rome. Latin. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. xliv.
vol. 3 f. 107d.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 493.
771. Michael Bonelli, Cardinal Alessandrino to Mary Queen of Scotland.
“Either from the bearer of this letter, or from the letter of the nuncio who brought us your Majesty's letters of the 16th of Feb. and 20th of March, your Majesty may be certified and fully informed of his Holiness' concern for you and all your affairs. Be your Majesty therefore assured that the Pope is in the last degree zealous for all your interests, and is resolved to spare no pains or resources, so far as God Almighty shall enable him, in their defence and furtherance; and in like manner he hopes the Catholic King will also most willingly do his part. But of this you will be instructed much more subtly and explicitly by the nuncio, who had no difficulty in discovering the bent of his Catholic Majesty's mind in regard of this matter. I therefore refer your Majesty to his message, which has my approval. Most earnestly do I entreat and beseech our Lord Jesus Christ to keep your Majesty safe to utmost length of days, and ever to assure you that firmness and constancy of mind which to the most signal glory of Almighty God He has hitherto accorded you despite most cruel usage by most unjust men.”
8 May, 1571. Rome. Latin. Draft for cipher, and decipher.
Note.—This may also serve for the Duke of Norfolk, the terms Excellentissime Domine and Excellentia Vestra being used throughout.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 494.
772. Michael Bonelli, Cardinal Alessandrino to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.
To the same effect mutatis mutandis as the preceding letter.
8 May, 1571. Latin. Draft for cipher, and decipher.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. xliv.
vol. 3. ff. 106–7.
vol. ii. f. 492.
773. The Same to [John Leslie,] Bishop Elect of Ross.
“By word of mouth from the nuncio who brought me your letter, dated 20 March, you will readily understand what he can promise you as to the Pope's will and power in regard to the enterprise which you have resolved to accomplish. So to sum the matter up as briefly as may be, I say that the Pope was in the last degree gratified to learn that the Earls of Arundel and Derby, Viscount Montacute and Baron Lumley are so prompt and zealous to offer their services for the accomplishment of those matters which concern the Catholic faith and the Apostolic See. To them therefore you will be liberal in assurances of his Holiness' most ready good will to lend them all the aid he can, and meanwhile you will sustain and confirm them in their laudable design and intent by hope, to wit, of a happy and prosperous consummation by God's aid of their pious projects and purposes. Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve you long in safety.”
8 May, 1571. Rome. Italian. Draft for cipher, and decipher. Signed.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. ff. 497 et seq.
774. Examination and Confession of Charles [Bailly], servant of the Bishop [Elect] of Ross.
1. “of what letters were you the bearer to Francis Englefield, and from whom? And what answer did he make, and what converse had you with him?
2. “Of what letters were you the bearer to the Countess of Northumberland, and from whom? What answer did she make? And what converse had you with her? Who was in her company when you were with her?
3. “What letters have you for Englishmen in the Low Countries?
4. “What passed between you and Robert Ridolfi, and what are the contents of his letters to the Bishop of Ross and the other two lords? How many lines were there in each of his letters? With whom did you leave these letters of Ridolfi when you came thence?
“These questions were sent me in writing, and I was bidden on pain of death to tell the truth in writing.
“My answer was as follows:—
1. “I was the bearer to Mr. Englefield of a brief letter from my lord by way of credential, that Englefield might cause certain books to be delivered to me: also of a small sheet of paper with my lord's request that he would forward it to an address that was in cipher. The answer he gave me was that the books were not in order, and this by reason that it had not been possible to get the Duke of Alba's licence to print them, the Duke and his council saying that they would in no wise hear of it, lest thereby they should give his Majesty occasion for displeasure; and so they had sent to Lyesa [Liège] to have part of the books printed there; and meanwhile he bade me go to Brussels to see if the said licence could be procured by means of [Secretary] C[o]urtevile; and so I did; but he told me that the Duke had refused it altogether.
“In like manner I went to Louvain, where I found the books. And this was all the converse I had with him [Englefield].
2. “I was the bearer of no letters to the Countess of Northumberland, albeit in truth I know not if in the packet that I delivered to Englefield there were not some for her, for he told me to go to see her, and tell her that I was the servant of the Bishop of Ross, and that as to writing to him or others, I should await the commission that she would give me. Such converse as she had with me was merely as to the treaty, whether it was making way and bade fair to be effective; whereto I replied ‘Yes and without a flaw.’ On this occasion I found no one with her; but on my way back hither I found the Earl of Westmorland and a chaplain and some others.
3. “The letters aforesaid are all that I had except a note for the Prior of the Carthusians of Bruges, and another for Mr. John Hamilton.
4. “When Ridolfi found me at Brussels he asked me when I was minded to leave, and being informed, told me that he had found me in the nick of time, and much to the purpose to aid him to write two letters besides one which he wanted to write to my lord jointly with me, as he did; and therein he apprised him of his safe arrival at Brussels, and that he had craved audience of the Duke, giving him to understand that he had certain instructions to show him, and that the Duke had referred him to C[o]urtevile, in order to be certified of them by him. He also said that in the audience the Duke had received him well, and being apprised point by point of his instructions, had asked him where the port was situate, and if it were convenient for landing; and though he gave him no definitive answer, yet he bade him go with all speed to the Pope and then to the King of Spain, by whom he assured him he would be very well received; and in the meantime he told him to write so that all should be kept very secret, and that on his return from Spain he (the Duke) would take the affair in hand to the best of his power. In one of the letters Ridolfi stated that the Duke had a suspicion that he was no good Catholic. In the letter written to the Bishop of Ross he begs him to forward the two other letters one of which was marked with the number xxx and the other xL. The two letters might contain 25 or 30 lines, and that for the bishop 8 or 10. I left a packet of letters at Calais with Captain Mo[n]s. de Gordan, and know nothing [more] of Robert Ridolfi.
“All this confession I made by the advice and at the instance of Dr. Stone, who witnessed the treatment I received and was apprised of the manner in which they purposed to treat me. I have not confessed so much but that Milord Burle [Burleigh] gave me to understand that he knew much more of Ridolfi's journey. In fact, there must be some traitor or spy about you in Flanders who supplies much intelligence as to our affairs.
“They have brought here the traitor Herle, and he is sometimes in the Court: I think it is only to humour you and quiet your minds. I have borne as much suffering as I could; and but for the assurance I received from Dr. Stone that I should go at large immediately upon making the confession which, verily to my great sorrow, I have made, I should have suffered much more even to the loss of my life, if they had been minded to take it.
“I pray you, if you should write to me, to have a care into whose hands the letters may fall.” (fn. 3)
10 May, 1571. Decipher. Spanish.
translated from the French. Received on 31 May.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 131.
775. [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino to John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“The bearer of this, M. Robert Ridolfi, who comes upon a business to be negotiated with his Catholic Majesty, has a commission from his Holiness to confer with you, that you may counsel and aid him, as far as you can, with that address and secrecy which the importance of the matter requires; which I am so far from doubting that your prudence will effect, that I shall not be at the pains to enlarge thereon, but merely enjoin you to say nought thereof to any but those who shall be named by the said Ridolfi, in whose hands I place myself in this respect, the business being of the importance that you will discover from him, and in particular from the two instructions that accompany this in cipher; and that you may know in what way you are to give effect to the sense of his Holiness in converse with his Majesty, I send you also herewith a copy of the brief brought by Ridolfi, from which you must never deviate; and so farewell.”
11 May, 1571. Rome. Italian.
Vat. Lib
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 62.
776. News Letter.
“We learn from England that the Scots had taken a place called Dumbarton, and made prisoner the Bishop of St. Andrews charged with an offence against the Regent of Scotland, and that the Queen of Scotland was still in captivity.
“It is understood that the Gheusi [Gueux], exiles from these States, have made common cause with the Huguenots of France, and are under three leaders, to wit, M. Sciatiglion [Châtillon], nephew of the quondam Cardinal, M. de Cordes, and the Count of Nassau, brother of the Prince of Orange; and that jointly they have taken of late some twelve ships laden with salt, seven of which they have liberated because they were of Osterlengh, and that the Queen had allowed them three ports in which to take shelter, they and the French.
“The [Count of] Fi[e]sco has of late gone to England, on business, it is said, connected with the accord with these States. As to the coming of the Duke of Medina Celi from Spain, we have no further intelligence.”
14 May, 1571. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Pii V. Ep. ad
vol. xix. f. 362.
777. Pope Pius V to [Mary] Queen of Scotland and [Thomas Howard] Duke of Norfolk.
“Glad as We were upon his own account to see our dear son Robert Ridolfi, who brought Us your Majesty's and the noble Duke of Norfolk's letters of 20 March, yet much more glad were We to learn those matters which in your name and the Duke's he imparted to Us. But as the man and all his mission are sufficiently commended by the cause which prompted his coming hither to Us, it is needless to be prolix on this matter with your Majesty, to whom We need but say that We have done the office which you craved of Us with the Catholic King of the Spains, and have left the matter to the judgment of his Majesty, as better versed in these matters than Ourself, to decide; nor shall We hereafter neglect any means whereby We may in any manner lend aid to the business. If, however, it should be impossible to take action this summer, your Majesty must not on that account lose heart, but, until the opportunity of action presents itself, bear the delay in patience. For We shall ever be of the same mind.”
16 May, 1571. [Rome.] Latin. Draft of 5 Hay put into cipher on 16 May.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii.
F. 495.
778. Fragment.
“When your Lordship has detached the ciphers annexed hereto you should deliver them to the bearer, M. Robert Ridolfi, that he may make use of them in his negotiation which he is to conduct with your aid, the matter having been put into cipher the better to ensure his safety and the secrecy of the business in hand.”
[May,] 1571. Italian. Copy.
The following documents probably represent the enclosures referred to in the foregoing Fragment.
f. 482.
779. I. List of English Nobles Favourable or otherwise to the Plot.
1. Friendly:—Duke of Norfolk, Marquis of Vincestri, Earls of Arandel, Oxford, Huestmorland, Nortumberland, Scialusberi, Darbi, Vorcestrie (Wurseter), Cumberland (a child), Pembruc, Sudampton, Viscount Montacute, Barons Awardt [Howard], Abergaveni, Audelai, Morlei, Cobam, Clinton, Dodelei, Ogle, Latimer, Scrupp, Montegle, Sandes, Wuxt [Vaux], Vindesor, (fn. 4) St. John, Brugh, Mordant, Paget, Varton, Riche, Stafford, Dacre, Darsi of the North, Astinge, Barchelei, Cromuel, Lomelei.
2. Hostile:—Earls of Untinton, (fn. 5) Bedeford, (fn. 5) Arford, (fn. 5) Viscount Ferrei (sic) de Erford, (fn. 5) Barons Ventuuard (fn. 5) [Wentworth], Burlei, alias Cecil. (fn. 5)
3. Neutral.—Marquis of Norampton, (fn. 5) Earls of Rodeland, (fn. 5) Susex, (fn. 5) Barle [sic Bath], (fn. 5) Leicester, (fn. 5) Varuic, (fn. 5) Viscount Bindon, (fn. 5) Barons Zouche, Grai de Vilton, Mongioi, St. John de Bletso, Eure, (fn. 5) Nort, (fn. 5) d'Arsi de Cherchei, (fn. 5) Viloughbe, Candoz, Buchorst, Undesdon.
Catholics 33
Doubtful 15
Heretics 16
Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 483.
780. II. Manifesto by Robert Ridolfi of the Results to be Achieved by his Conspiracy.
“1. Advantage to religion not only in the three kingdoms but in all the neighbouring states, France included.
“2. The Prince of Scotland in the tutelage of the King [of Spain] to be brought up as a Catholic.
“3. The possibility of his marrying, upon his accession to the throne of the three kingdoms, one of the Infantas.
“4. The frustration of the Queen of England's marriage [with the Duke of Anjou], which could not but be pernicious, and the security given to Flanders, where it is now necessary always to keep a garrison at a great cost, the King having, so to say, his shoulders so far from secure: besides which there is a perpetual influx from that country of evil doctrine and evil disposition of a kind to infect Flanders with heresies.
“5. The advantage which Flanders will reap in respect of trade, when it is free and secure.
“6. La Rochelle deprived of its main succour and refuge, and the Huguenots of the fostering which they now receive as well by victuals, munitions and other commodities as by incitement and encouragement.
“7. The deliverance from peril of the Fleet of the Indies, which it is already known that the English aspire to control jointly with the folk of La Rochelle, (fn. 6) which peril concerns not the Catholic King alone but all Christendom.
“8. The dislodging of that great number of Flemish rebels that reside in England, and, raising subscriptions among themselves, are ever sending aid and fervent appeals and instigations to Orange and Germany, that they should follow and favour them.
“9. The obligation under which his Majesty will lay all the grandees of those realms, and the Queen, the lawful successor.
“10. Nothing to be apprehended on the part of the French, as it can be given out that the enterprise is the Pope's in the interest of religion, and for the execution of his sentence.
“11. The service that will be done to God, which must ever be the principal and pre-eminent object and consideration, though it has the final place in the writing as being the final cause.
“12. The satisfaction and obligation that it will be to his Holiness.
“13. The honour and reputation that it will bring to his Majesty to succour an oppressed, ill-treated Queen, to chastise her that has made so little account of the obligation under which she lies to his Majesty, and of his friendship, and to have a second time reclaimed those realms to religion.”
Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 446.
781. III. Memorial by Robert Ridolfi.
It seems that the enterprise would prosper if carried out in the name of the Pope, and that in the righteous cause of executing his sentence the succour would be provided. (fn. 7)
“The nobles of England, to avoid that matter which might give umbrage to the Germans and French, will forthwith announce that their motive is the reinstatement of the Queen of Scotland, to whom of right belong the three crowns, as they can afford at the outset to dispense with raising a cry for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, seeing that it is certain that the furtherance of the title of the said Queen of Scotland will have the result of furthering the cause of the Catholic religion.
“For the departure of the succour, it seems there are no places more convenient than Flushing or Middelburg, directly confronting as those places do the port of Harwich in Norfolk; and the passage can be made in a single night; and the said port [of Harwich] is well able to admit all sorts of ships, and a far greater number than the enterprise requires.
“The same ships that will disembark the succour in the said port of Harwich can continue their voyage, the same wind holding, to the coast of Scotland and in a day reach St. Andrews or Edinburgh, and at one and the same time disembark what succour is deemed to be needed in Scotland.
“With the said succour that is to go to Scotland there must be sent the Earl of Westmorland, [Leonard] Dacre, and other nobles that are in Flanders; because, as these gentlemen's estates are in the North country, and on the Scottish border, the following which they have among the folk of that part, who are all Catholics, will enable them to reinforce the said succour, and, in better array than when they rose the last time, to come with another regular army after and to the support of that which should be already in the field under the Duke of Norfolk.
“It remains for whoso shall have charge of the enterprise to consider whether it were more to the purpose that the succour that is to go to Scotland should enter the country by Dombertrand [Dumbarton], which faces the Irish channel, and on that side enter England, where there are still many Catholics.
“The said two succours being provided, to wit, the one of six thousand men, arquebusiers all, at Harwich, and the other of two thousand men armed in like manner in Scotland, 40 or 50,000 crowns sent to Scotland will suffice to raise so numerous and goodly a force, both horse and foot, as will make two great armies, which, if need were, could speedily unite. But the design is that the army which shall be formed in Norfolk with the said succour of 6,000 arquebusiers and 25 pieces of artillery march forthwith upon London, or wherever Queen Elizabeth and her counsellors may be, to the aid of those in whose power they should by that time already be; or if the capture of the said Queen Elizabeth should not have been effected, that it march upon her, wherever she may be, to attack her before she have time to procure succours; and that the other army that is to come from Scotland, should follow suit, uniting by the way with the friends that will rise, and escorting the Queen of Scotland; the safety of whose person can be counted on, first, because it is guaranteed by the custodian of her person, and again because, there being one army in the field on the side of Norfolk, and on the opposite side towards the Irish Channel, all the country of the Earl of Derby that borders on Wales, where the people are all Catholics, being in insurrection, it follows that there will be no way left open by which Queen Elizabeth might advance to harass the said Queen of Scotland, who with the support of the other army that will come, as I have said, from Scotland, at her back, will be able to push forward, and, with such forces at her disposal, to aid, if need be, the rest, and in the meanwhile to possess herself unopposed of all the country through which she passes, and also, if need be, to entrench herself.
“Enterprises so important as this, in which many people are concerned, cannot but by dalliance come to be discovered or interrupted, especially if those on whom it rests to carry them into effect be not sure of support and succour in any event; wherefore Ridolfi entreats his Majesty to be pleased to make his mind up as to this matter, and to let his decision have effect as soon as possible, and this for several reasons, first, lest by delay the business be frustrated, secondly, that, in view of its being carried out, the favourable opportunity for action, which may be of infinite advantage to the enterprise, be not lost, thirdly, lest, if his Catholic Majesty's good intention be not speedily communicated to those nobles, the result should be action precipitate and without concert on the part of so many nobles, to the grievous loss of an enterprise so fraught with good for all Christendom, and in particular for his Majesty's States; and therefore it were well that whatever it shall please his Majesty to determine be as soon as possible imparted to the said nobles by such means as his Majesty shall see fit to use.
“This discourse is based by Ridolfi upon instructions and conferences dating from the time of his departure from England, and has reference to the state of affairs at that time; but as the course of time may bring with it many contingencies and new counsels which cannot be foreseen, it behoves his Catholic Majesty to give his principal ministers in Flanders and England, who are to have the supervision of this affair, a liberal commission to come to an understanding with the Duke of Norfolk and the Bishop of Ross on behalf of the Queen of Scotland, in order that, as well on their part as on that of his Majesty's succours, action may be taken and arranged in point of time and place and otherwise in such manner as shall jointly be deemed opportune.”
Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm. ii.
vol. 100.
(Polit. 99.)
ff. 130–38, 139–52.
782. IV. [Robert Ridolfi] to Philip II, King of Spain.
“The opportunity which now presents itself to your Catholic Majesty is such that methinks one may conclude for certain that it has been accorded by the Lord God in furtherance of the desire which many a time you have told me you have for many a year harboured in your soul; to wit, that you should be the cause and contriver of the emergence for the second time of the realm of England from such darkness, and its reclamation to the true Catholic faith and religion. For seldom or never does it befall a Prince that cherishes so Christian a desire, so holy an intention, that when the time is ripe there is not afforded him by the Lord God at once the power, the opportunity and the means to give effect to that lofty and glorious desire, which, not for his self-interest, but solely for the benefit of Christendom, he has conceived, that over and above the merit of his good intention he may also by his achievement merit in heaven, together with life eternal, a crown of glory.
“Behold how vast a number of men of that realm, not yet abandoned by the grace of God, already loathe that life incongruous with the name of Christian! They can no longer endure the unjust laws, the perfidy, and the welter of schism and heresies that prevail in that realm. No longer can they withstand the goad of their own conscience, or reconcile themselves still to live without relief of their sins, or any sort of spiritual consolation. Already the most holy sacrifice of the altar and the other divine sacraments are desired by the more part of the realm. Already Elizabeth, who styles herself Queen of England, is become odious to the realm and the world, and fallen as she is from the grace of God, abandoned to the dictates of her desires, heavy-laden perchance in her own conscience, seeing that she has been the cause of the ruin of so many souls, as if with some foreboding sense that the hand of God, and therewith the reward of her grievous sins, is all but upon her, is distraught, suspicious, disquieted, and a prey to terror and vacillation of mind.
“On the other hand the nobles and the larger and more powerful party among the gentlemen and grandees of that realm, many for that they desire to live in the true faith of Christ and the Catholic religion, others swayed by the just claim of Mary, Queen of Scotland, the lawful heir to those kingdoms, and incensed at the captivity in which Elizabeth so impiously and unjustly keeps her; others again actuated by resentment of wrongs that they have sustained, and some by particular enmities which they have against the Earls of Hertford and Huntington, who, after the Queen of Scotland, lay claim to the crown; and all by disgust at the little account that is now made of them, wont as they were to govern everything, and now finding themselves degraded and despised, and hated and suspected by Elizabeth; and seeing in contempt of the nobility all the control of the government of the realm in the hands of the commons, folk by nature, spirit, faith alike ill-conditioned, and the laws and the ancient customs of the realm changed and trampled under foot—for this, I say, and many other reasons they are, as your Majesty knows, already again in insurrection, but this time in better order and greater number, and resolved, as it were, with arms in their hands to shake off so grievous and iniquitous a yoke; and that they may do so more justly and with a clearer conscience they have recourse to our Lord the Supreme Pontiff as the head of the holy church and the Catholic religion, and to your Majesty as the nearest and most potent prince, and as claiming to support with justice the great name of Catholic King and defender of the faith of Jesus Christ.
“This, O truly Sacred Majesty, is an enterprise worthy indeed and well beseeming your title and profession. I know indeed that in every undertaking that is proposed, and especially in those that are important, many things have to be considered, and that particularly in this it beseems your Majesty's great prudence, before you enter on it, to have regard as well to the justice of the enterprise as to your forces and those of the allies on the one side and the adversaries on the other, and lastly to the probable end and result of the enterprise; for were it unjust, it would not be favoured by God; if the forces were inadequate, it would be rash to enter upon it, and if it were not likely to achieve its end and results, it were altogether in vain.
“But what more just cause can there be, nay, be imagined, than this? For no other purpose has God given forces to Princes than that they may safeguard the just and punish the evildoer. There are in that realm numberless good souls, Catholic at heart, who against their will and proper conscience, yielding to sheer force and fear, make a show or rather a profession of being Protestants, for such is the more honourable designation of the heretics; many there are, both bishops and archbishops and other ecclesiastics, of excellent life and most holy doctrine, who by this new Jezabel (sic are persecuted, imprisoned, cruelly slain in the most infamous dungeons, merely for refusing to abandon the Catholic faith and conform to her impious sect; of whom great part (like new martyrs) elect to suffer rather than to apostatize from the faith of Christ. These men neither look nor hope for any other end of their woes than death or the succour and forces of Catholic Princes. Elizabeth is a notorious heretic, a favourer of the sectaries, a persecutor of the Catholics, obstinate and incorrigible, and as such declared and proclaimed by the Supreme Pontiff; an unlawful usurper of the throne, excommunicate and as a putrid member cut off and eradicated from the mystical body of Jesus Christ, to wit, the holy Roman Church. Then what in the world can be more just than to oust her from that kingdom which she so ruthlessly infects and destroys, and from that authority which she so impiously abuses?
“Sacred Majesty, to defend religion, to succour the Catholics, to chastise the heretics, to avenge so many wrongs done to Christ our Lord is a cause which touches all so nearly that not only is it lawful for any Christian and especially for Princes to take action therefor; but it is unlawful and most unjust for those that can to be slothful and remiss in so doing.
“The right of Mary, Queen of Scotland, is known to your Majesty, and to all that have any knowledge of the affairs of that island; since those kingdoms not being, like that of France, subject to the Salic Law; and the direct legitimate line of Henry VIII, the first author of such grievous evils, having failed, the title devolved upon the collateral line, to wit, that of the said Henry's sisters, and upon the direct line of the first of them, whose granddaughter is the present Queen Mary, she being the daughter of James VI [sic V], King of Scotland, son of the said first sister; and by another way Henry, Milord d'Arle [Darnley] the late husband of the said Mary and father of the Prince of Scotland, at present a boy, descended from the same first sister but by her second husband, Douglas by name, Earl of Angus: so that in the person of the said Prince [of Scotland] there is a union of several rights; and so without doubt the just title belongs to the Queen of Scotland and her son; which Elizabeth of England well knowing keeps her in prison and ill-treated, scheming daily and seeking occasion to cause her either by poison or by steel miserably to die; and would before this have given effect to her evil purpose but for fear lest a deed so impious should give rise to some insurrection, the more so that her design would perchance be incomplete, if she were not able also to compass the death of the Prince of Scotland, the said Queen's son, whom she is likewise endeavouring to get within her clutches for this infamous purpose, because, illegitimate and odious to the more part of the kingdom as she knows herself to be, she fears that even during her lifetime the nobles and people, partly, as it is said, for the sake of the Catholic religion, and partly on behalf of the just title of the Queen of Scotland, may rise against her, because it seems that by a certain natural instinct peoples, and especially the nobles, prefer their own lawful superior to any that is illegitimate. What work then can be more just and acceptable to God than to defend a widow, aid a child, and succour the oppressed?
“Furthermore: just cause has your Majesty to succour the more and better part of those nobles and others of that realm, who, not in rebellion against a rightful authority, but, as I have said, to shake off a manifest tyranny, to enable themselves to be Christians indeed, to reunite themselves with the holy Roman Church, outside of which no soul can be saved, and lastly to get a king, to restore the laws and ordinances, under which their realm was wont to be peaceful and opulent, and in a word to live under lawful government, are now resolved with the help of God and your Catholic Majesty to be up and stirring: and who can fail to see how just and pious a thing it is to further these designs, and relieve so many people from such grievous burdens and violences?
“And this may be added: that to be the minister of God in the punishment of this lady pertains to your Majesty rather than to any other, inasmuch as to you more than to any other she has evinced all imaginable ingratitude and inconsiderateness.
“It is well known that your Majesty in the time of the truly blessed Queen Mary, your late consort, showed Elizabeth favour and ever supported her, nay, by what I have learned from many, saved her life; and since then you have ever maintained so good a friendship with her, done her so many favours and courtesies, and borne her such respect as sometimes was perchance by some deemed excessive; and nevertheless she, careless of the friendship and respect that are due to so great a King, and in contravention of the ancient treaties, not only has taken ships, merchandise and money to a great amount from many merchants and subjects of your Majesty, and perchance some of your own moneys; but, instead of making amends for the wrong, she has treated of restitution ever with false intent, and deluded your Majesty with words and cajoleries so long that it is now evident that she practises deceit, and that, had she the desire, she has no longer the power to make restitution, seeing that, having been from the beginning of the same mind, she has dispersed and dissipated them by a thousand hands, so that she herself, as is apt to be the way with ill-gotten goods, finds herself little or nothing profited thereby; and mere simulation has served her turn, as it will to the end, if no remedy be applied. Behold the faith of the impious, the friendship of a false friend! And how much better would have been an open enmity of many years duration! For then there would not have been the impoverishment, under the delusive appearance of friendship, of so many subjects of your Majesty and others, and the enrichment of her followers, enemies of God and your Majesty. From these and other considerations, which for the sake of brevity are omitted, it is manifest that the cause is just and the enterprise a worthy one.
“But if we turn our attention to the forces of your Majesty and the ease with which the enterprise may be carried out, it declares itself to be such that without rising, as one is wont to say, from the chair it is assured of facile success, considering how near to that island are the States of Flanders, so that it is possible to make the passage thither in six hours; in which States is the Duke of Alba, a captain so valorous and experienced and renowned that his name and reputation alone are sufficient to ensure the success of this operation.
“The succour craved by the confederates is but a few men, a few arms, and a little money. There are the valorous Spanish veterans and many Walloons, disciplined in the late wars, already assembled and under arms; the time and the season are most opportune; the ships are ready, and matters in such a position that, though it were observed that troops were being embarked, it could not arouse any suspicion in England, as it might be given out that they were being embarked, either, as it is done every day, against the Corsairs, or to escort the Duke of Alba, who, it is already rumoured, is to return to Spain, or for other reasons. As regards the island, the ports are open, undefended by a single fortress, the party of the Queen of Scotland is great and powerful, the insurgent nobles are the greatest and most powerful in the kingdom, very numerous themselves and with very numerous adherents ready to serve them in the field; and they offer, should it be expedient, to lead the way and take up arms before your Majesty's troops are in evidence, and they are bold enough by themselves with but their own forces, if your Majesty's succour should fail them, to run the hazard of the enterprise.
“In Scotland the ports and fortresses that are loyal to the Queen will be in the hands of your Majesty's people, and all that realm and the greater part of England favourable. Ireland likewise desires and awaits but opportunity to deliver herself from that tyranny, and has long been appealing to your Majesty; and throughout the country the Catholics are more numerous and valorous than the heretics.
“On the other hand Elizabeth is at fault in all the matters essential to defence, alike in counsel, troops, money and fortresses; and one sees not whereon she can rely, unless perchance on that populace of London, among whom more heresies are rife than in all the rest of the island. But well we know the value of a populace unused to arms, given to tumults, confusedly blended, leaderless, disorderly, when suddenly attacked. God knows, scarce a man would make resistance. Great indeed is your Majesty's wisdom; you have seen the place, you know the people and the forces that are there; it is therefore needless to say more to convince your Majesty that this enterprise is both easy and safe. But to me, unversed, inexperienced as I am in these matters, it seems a great sign of weakness on Elizabeth's part that, though on a former occasion these same nobles, nay, rather a mere part of them, rose to deliver themselves from her tyranny, and moving untimely were by her detected, and, the plot being discovered, some of them were imprisoned and the design defeated, but nevertheless the plot went on and has never, as often happens, been altogether abandoned; nay, of late she has had abundant evidence, and all but proof at least in general of this present design, nevertheless it seems that she cannot help herself; which can but proceed from fear lest, if she so much as stir a finger, there be up against her in the said kingdom forces greater than her own; and perchance already sin is hurrying her to her doom.
“To come now to the end of the matter: it is manifest, Sacred Majesty, that of this work there may be anticipated a consummation most glorious and consequences most useful: for the reclamation of those realms to the Catholic faith is not only fraught with safety and tranquillity for them and the salvation of innumerable souls in the said realms, but also with peace and comfort for their neighbours. The heresies which make in these sad times for the liberty of the flesh (held by those who either, being ignorant and simple folk, are deceived, or being evil and restless spirits, and incorrigible sinners, are burdened with such grave offences that they are, as it were, abandoned by the grace of God, or the like persons) are received with such readiness that there is no pestilence so sudden in its attack; so that from that kingdom by reason of its proximity, trade and continual commerce, it must needs be that as from an infected member the distemper should spread to France and to Flanders; nor would Spain be immune, but for the great vigilance which your Majesty practises, and moreover the notoriety of your firm and inflexible Christian resolve neither to tolerate nor to connive at the least suspicion of such an offence against God.
“England has been a source of most grievous trouble and loss to the crown of France in these late civil wars by the countenance and aid which the Huguenots and rebels against their King derived and still derive thence: in England, as in an asylum, have taken refuge many Flemings and other rebels against your Majesty of those States of the Low Countries; as also fugitive heretics from Flanders, who not only are perpetually by letters, ambassages and other means endeavouring to corrupt and contaminate the others that remain, but also make conventicles and collections among them to furnish the Prince of Orange and his brothers and fautors with moneys and other aids, thereby to make him the more alert and active and pertinacious in perfidy and rebellion; and, as is the wont of exiles and desperate men, they leave no stone unturned to excite tumults and foment disquietude. From England also aid and constant encouragement are given to those of La Rochelle, who, besides their other iniquities, with Elizabeth's help and a band of Englishmen, and the advantages which that country affords them, as well in ports suitable for this design as in arms, ships, victuals, munitions, most experienced corsairs, and all further aiding and speeding that they desire, are plotting to do your Majesty an enormous wrong, to wit, to attack and seize one day the fleet of the Indies; which God in His mercy forbid, because, besides the loss to your Majesty, if so much silver and gold as is wont to be carried in those fleets should fall into their hands, they would have the means to harass and would harass all Christendom to its irreparable loss. So that by this enterprise now proposed to your Majesty you relieve yourself of all these embarrassments at once: you safeguard Flanders, where it is now necessary, at great cost to your Majesty and much inconvenience to the people, ever to keep a large garrison, your shoulders, so to say, being, as things stand in England, so far from secure: you deliver the Channel from the corsairs; you open the traffic, without which Flanders, entirely devoted to trade as it is, would suffer so grievously that in a brief while it would be ruined; you recover what has been lost; you make good the losses of the merchants and subjects of your Majesty; you renew the ancient conventions between that kingdom and the house of Burgundy, and you attach to yourself in perpetuity the Queen of Scotland, and her successors, and all the nobles of those realms.
“And how greatly would it redound to the advantage of the Catholic religion and the peace of those States if that Prince, the Infant of Scotland, were delivered from the hands of the heretics and Christianly instructed among Catholics! Assuredly that child in his tender years would be grateful for an upbringing among Catholics, and especially in this your Majesty's Catholic Court, since the Queen, his mother, proposes and seems to desire it; and it would be a source of strength and stability to the Catholic religion in those islands, and of incredible felicity to him and his States, because, besides the Christian life and code of honour which are here learned, your Majesty would conceive affection and love for him, and as his guardian and father would defend him and his realms against all wrong and violence that might be done to them; and those realms, being under such tutelage reclaimed to the faith, would return to their pristine glory, and become more peaceful and prosperous than they have been for a very long while.
“Worth considering also seems to me the marriage treaty which is now in negotiation between Elizabeth of England and the Duke of Anjou, albeit many prudent and practised men find it difficult to believe that the negotiation will achieve its purpose, considering the natural enmity between the two nations, the freedom in which Elizabeth has ever delighted, and which she has enjoyed so long, the slight inclination which she has ever manifested to subject herself to the marital yoke, the precedent of the former negotiations which came so near a conclusion, such were the hopes she gave to the Archduke Charles. They have judgment and experience on their side when they argue that, though Elizabeth has continually been pressed by the Parliament of the Realm to marry, she has always amused them with hopes; and that as the words she then gave to the Archduke Charles were but meant to relieve herself of the pressure and importunity of a general Parliament of the Realm that was assembled at that time, so now in sowing the seed of hope for the Duke of Anjou she does but seek her own peace and deliverance from the fresh pressure and all but force which this last Parliament has put, and perchance still puts, upon her. These, I say, and other considerations make it difficult to believe that she is in earnest in what she says, and that she means to make the match at all. Nevertheless, it is not impossible; nay, as she now sees the realm in agitation, for well she knows the temper of many of the grandees and the favour in which the Queen of Scotland is held, it might very well be that in self-defence she might incline to that which until now she has abhorred like one that in the like straits should, as the saying goes, attach herself to hot irons, not to say a young Prince of such promise, brother of a King of France, and adorned with all good qualities.
“Now, whether by this marriage, should it come to pass, Christendom would gain or lose, none can pronounce for certain, but all depends on the unerring providence and omnipotent hand of God; but certainly there lack not human considerations by which it seems that good fruit thereof is matter rather of doubt than of hope; seeing that it is more likely that that lady in her own realm should draw a youth to her own sect, in which liberty to indulge the flesh and licence of life prevail, than that she, inveterate in evil doing, should be drawn to the Catholic religion, to fasts, to confessions, to penances, to the maceration of the flesh. And if it be true, as it is reported, touching the tenor of some conventions and articles which are in negotiation in this affair between the parties, that the negotiation was initiated by the quondam Cardinal Sciattiglione [Châtillon] with the concurrence and counsel of his brother the Admiral, and in concert with others that favour and support the Huguenot party, there is all the more reason for doubt.
“And in like manner whether this match is likely to prove advantageous or disadvantageous to the States of your Catholic Majesty I presume not to judge, but you with your great sagacity may readily comprehend that which I could not so much as guess at. But as regards France, seeing the present plight of affairs in that realm, and considering the great disparity of age, the poor health of the lady, and the very slight hope of offspring, one may well surmise that when Elizabeth dies, and the general opinion is that she will not live long, it would be an easy matter to inspire a young and valiant soldier, who had been a king, and borne the title of King of France, as is the wont of Kings of England, with disgust at the idea of returning to France to resume the position of M. d'Anjou: nay, before that time, especially if there should be offspring of the marriage, it might happen that the Huguenot party, so powerful and sagacious as it is, and bent on nothing else than the dismemberment of that realm of France, would approach the new King, and instigate him with the foment of their proffered aid to turn his thoughts (Flanders being out of the question) to France, availing himself of the claim to the restitution of Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer, and other places which are alleged to belong of right to England. So God grant that, if this match come about, it be not also the rock of offence in the realm of France itself, which, being distraught and convulsed, must needs, being so central, propagate suspicion and trouble to its neighbours, with, in the end, notable prejudice to Christendom at large.
“All these perils are obviated and all these benefits secured if your Majesty seize the opportunity which now offers.
“I am not disposed to deny that the initiation of this enterprise, the sight of Spanish troops in England, might occasion some bad feeling in France, especially as the affairs of that realm are in such a plight that it seems impossible that they can remain as they are; so that it seems inevitable that war should either be renewed between the Catholics and the Huguenots, or find its vent and break out in some quarter outside the realm. But I affirm that this would not suffice to prevent the accomplishment of the work, because, as your Majesty knows, that must be so ordered that action may be over before intelligence of it can reach France, which being taken with the required suddenness, France, though she had the will, would have neither time nor means at her service to hinder it, especially as slender forces and arrangements made on the spur of the moment would not suffice to withstand so many insurgent nobles and people combined with your Majesty's forces and backed by the authority of your royal name.
“And should it be said that, even supposing the enterprise to be accomplished, the French would seize the occasion to make war elsewhere against your Majesty, my answer would be in the first place, that one does not so readily resolve to make war upon a Prince, whose superior or equal in power I see not in Christendom, and even though the war must needs come, it were well to have been beforehand with this; and, moreover, what ground would the King of France have so to act? If, after deposing Elizabeth and finishing the work, your Majesty were to keep such large forces in England that it might be surmised that you purposed to make yourself master of the island, the King of France might be jealous of so great an augmentation of your power. But if he sees that your Majesty has been actuated neither by greed of fresh dominions nor desire of new sovereignties, but that, solely at the request and entreaty of the Queen of Scotland, and the nobles of the realm, you have ordered your troops to lend her aid and restore the Catholic religion, and having delivered a Queen from unjust oppression, restored to her her proper state, and established the true and lawful Prince upon the throne, then to return home; herein of a surety the King of France would find no just cause of resentment, nay, rather cause to thank your Majesty, for what could more redound to the advantage of that crown of France than to diminish the forces, the succours, the patronage of the Huguenots, deprive them of their refuge and its conveniences, and put a stop to the evil designs of those rebels and enemies to that crown?
“Who is Mary Queen of Scotland but she that, reared from infancy with her brother-in-law his Most Christian Majesty, has been Queen of France, born of a French mother, a near kinswoman and descendant of most noble lords and princes of France, ever leagued with and most friendly to that crown? In which good will she is probably so firmly rooted that nothing can ever happen, save perchance this of which I am about to speak, that may avail to cause her to change her mind; so that on the one hand by reason of her leaning towards France, and on the other by reason of the infinite obligation under which she will be to your Catholic Majesty, she will ever strive to the full extent of her power to prevent an outbreak of war between these two crowns upon any account, and especially upon account of a benefit conferred upon her, whereby she must needs acknowledge that she owes to your Majesty her life, her States and her all. And this argument seems to me so true and trenchant that I think that, if she were to see the crown of France move against your Majesty, especially if it were by reason, as I have said, of the great benefit conferred by you upon her; then, unless she were minded to be most ungrateful, not being able to devise any other impediment, she would be compelled by the law of gratitude to rupture her friendship with and relinquish altogether her leaning towards France, and do all in her power to safeguard and serve her deliverer. Besides which France is not in such a condition as that there is no counterpoise of wills: there will be no lack of wise men who will understand how much to the advantage of that country it is that England should be Catholic; nor is the party of the Queen of Scotland so small in France but that her friends, her kinsfolk, nay all the Catholics are prepared to moderate every sinister bias that might be given to the King's mind on account of this great boon conferred upon her and her son. And this same bond of gratitude will, if the men be not inhuman, constrain the nobles and all the realm [of England] to be ever leagued with your Majesty against every other power; for, as it will be manifest by the event that you had no other purpose than to aid and free them, to re-establish the just title of the Queen of Scotland with a view to her wedding one of themselves, who should be made their King, no foreigner but one of their own nation, which is a matter to which they attach infinite value, and that, in fine, all will redound to their advantage, they will on every account be secured by an indissoluble knot and a perpetual obligation.
“Of Germany I say nothing, because, though all the Protestants were friends of Elizabeth, and would be grieved that their sects should be expelled from those kingdoms, yet it is notorious that that nation never rises for any cause but money and that in plenty, and of that Elizabeth is very short; besides which at the beginning of the month of September that sea becomes in a manner unnavigable, so that there is not the least cause for anxiety in that quarter.
“And so, Sacred Majesty, there is to-day proposed to you an enterprise, just, pious, easy, safe and fruitful in the last degree, productive of inestimable benefit, of fame and of glory infinite; for what crown more glorious can you gain in this world, what higher dignity and reputation, and, finally, what greater gratitude can you ever show to God for so many realms, such great power, and so many other favours than by becoming the cause and chief instrument of the salvation of souls without number, the restitution to three kingdoms of the true faith of Christ, their ancient and good laws and customs and their wonted glory of tranquillity? What higher task can there be than as the arbiter and administrator of justice to depose the tyrant, and, as it were with your own royal hand, to install the rightful Prince? What act more lofty and generous than to succour a lady, a Queen, lawful and Catholic, oppressed, an exile from her own realm, in prison under duress and woefully harassed; to liberate an infant Prince from imminent extremity of peril, to instruct him in the true faith, and to maintain his just cause! These are matters not unworthy to be rehearsed again and again. What enterprise worthier and more delectable than to protect from most grievous harm, alike spiritual and temporal, so many gentlemen and nobles that one and all throw themselves into your Majesty's puissant embrace, and thereby to save their estates, their lives and their souls!
“It rejoices me to put you in mind of that memorable day, albeit I know it not of sight but only by hearsay, when, while your Majesty reigned in England, the deputies and chief men of all the realm, a most numerous body, having been summoned to the general assemblies, (fn. 8) it was proposed to re-establish the religion, and return to the obedience, of the Holy Roman Church; and although that matter had already with due prudence been discussed and decided, yet on that day of so numerous a conclave and congregation, your Majesty's heart by reason of much piety and zeal and great yearning for so notable a work knew no little suspense and trepidation; but that never-enough-praised Queen Mary, then your consort, took you by the hand and turning towards her most holy oratory, said to you: ‘Sire, let us go and betake us to the King of Kings, to whose omnipotence and goodness it is a slight matter to move the hearts of men and make the proud and harsh pitiful and tender, let us commend to His Divine Majesty, and lay at His most holy feet, this His own cause which to-day is in debate; and let not your Majesty be afraid that He will leave our just and pious prayers unanswered.’ With these and other most devout words upon her lips they went (oh! happy couple) and remained ever in prayer, kneeling before the Most Holy Sacrament till they were rewarded by the announcement of the desired result, which tidings most excellent they heard not without many a tear of gladness, piety and jubilation, and lifted up their voices in thanksgiving and praise of the Lord, the author and giver of that and all other blessings. Now imagine, your Majesty, that that glorious spirit, whose influence is the mightier that erstwhile queen on earth she is now blessed in Heaven, again presses your hand and says: ‘Ah, King truly Catholic, it is the same cause of God, it is the same kingdom, and it is the same instrument, yourself; and though you lack my presence, yet the same Divine mercy and omnipotence is still with you; nor lack you justice declared by pronouncement of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, nor yet the prayers in heaven of many glorious saints that were martyred in that kingdom alike in ancient and in recent times; and on earth the prayers of many a good Christian soul, and tears and groans in plenty of Catholics in prison in the same kingdom; and above all you lack not this most holy Pastor, Vicar of Christ, whose fervent, unremitting and most heartfelt entreaties reach the ears of his Lord. Fail not, pious Prince, to seize so good an opportunity; the method will be different but the end will be the same; the unerring providence of God employs not always the same means; but if formerly His procedure was more gentle, it is meet that now He make use of the strong hand to save by your aid His people from the new Pharoah.’
“Very probable it is, Sacred Majesty, that that celestial spirit desires, with such desire as may be in blessed souls, that these words may strike a chord in your Majesty's spirit and be graven on your heart. Up then! embrace with royal spirit this great opportunity which God sends you of defending His faith; make this enterprise, so worthy of your most Christian soul, your own; display your banners, so much desired, in that island. Let your great name resound in that realm, striking terror into the evildoer, bringing comfort and consolation to the good. Be your dignity enhanced by this glorious memory, your great name made yet greater by this immortal fame; win for yourself among men a most precious crown and with God superabundant merits and eternal rewards.”
1571. Italian. Draft and Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 235.
783. News Letter.
“In Consistory at St. Peter's:—His Holiness said that while on all hands it was supposed that perfect peace prevailed, and that all the world was at rest, it seemed to him that all Christendom was perturbed and agitated in the extreme, because, to say nothing of the wars between Norway and Denmark, the King of Poland and the Muscovites, and also between Transilvania and the Emperor (for he thought that betwixt the two last peace was now made), the Turk, having composed his domestic garboils, tranquillized the affairs of Asia and the Sofi, and finding himself secure on all hands, was now, it appeared, about to direct all his strength against us, and his most powerful and numerous armada was already on May 12 thought to be about to put out from its place of rendezvous, Modone [Methoni].
“The turmoils in Corsica were also, he said, of no little consequence; and he could but think that this armada, so numerous as it was, must have in view some design of importance, and that as with the rest of the Princes of Christendom the Turk was either at peace or in truce, it must needs be that it comes to do hurt either to us or to the Catholic King. The armada was strong, and the Turks were brave men and fought for glory and dominion, and also for their false religion; but there was a matter which gave us yet more cause for apprehension, to wit, our slender resources and the disunion of Christendom. From the beginning of his pontificate there was nought he had had more at heart than union between the Catholic Princes, and he had striven might and main to effect it, not deeming the union which exists between the Kings of France and Spain sufficient, if as regards the others and them there be none, but that it is necessary to do away with all manner of discord or rivalry that is betwixt them. He had not been able to achieve his purpose in face of the opposition of those whom it most concerned that it should be accomplished. He called God to witness that he had not failed of his duty, and that it had not been, nor was, nor would be his fault if at length they should not effect this union, which the Catholic Princes had opposed, lest the heretics should grow suspicious and take up arms. They would not allow the war against the Turk to be mentioned in the Council, nor yet the enterprise against the Queen of England, and had prevented proceedings being taken against the Queen of Navarre. And, alas, for our times and princes! They had not only not favoured his designs, but had obstructed them. However, as past errors may be censured but cannot be rectified, he would fain hope that by religion, by glory, and also by the perils, which were great indeed, the Princes would at last be induced to do their duty, but there was nothing that was more to be feared than our sins, which God was minded to punish by depriving Princes of understanding, that we may not only suffer loss but suffer it by our own fault.”
18 May [1571]. Rome. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. ff. 40–40d.
784. News Letter.
“By letters received by Cardinal Rambouillet it is understood that the Huguenots in the Duchy of Lorraine had conspired to take one of the principal fortresses of that State with intent to quarter therein some companies of Germans that were on those borders; but that, the plot being discovered, the Duke had put many of the ringleaders to death; and that the ambassador of the Queen of England, who had arrived at the Court of France, had in his Queen's name presented the King's brother, M. d'Anjou, with four very fine horses.”
24 May, 1571. Rome. Italian. Copy.
f. 248.
785. News Letter.
… “It seems that by way of Germany there are tidings that the exiles of Flanders increase greatly in numbers both by sea and by land; and that in some parts of Germany there are signs of preparations, so that some disturbance is apprehended, the more so by reason of a report that the Queen of England is making great preparations.”
24 May, 1571. Rome. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Lett. di
Princ. e Titolat.
vol. xxx. f. 272.
786. Margaret of Austria to Pope Pius V.
“Most Blessed Father.—Well may all Christendom render infinite thanks to your Holiness for the formation of the Holy League, seeing that it was indeed concluded by means of your infinite goodness and transcendent virtue and prudence, whereby you have surmounted every difficulty; and without your most holy zeal it would have been impossible to accomplish so goodly a work, on which most cordially I congratulate your Holiness, praying God that, as He has been pleased to intervene with His own holy hand in so opportune a union, so He may do likewise in every enterprise against the foes of His holy faith, and grant you the grace soon to see the happy results thereof which Christendom needs, and which may reasonably be hoped. And so doing my reverence as what I am, your devoted slave, most humbly kissing your most holy feet with prayers for your prolonged and happy life and the fulfilment of all your most holy desires, and craving your most holy benediction, I remain your Holiness' most lowly slave and daughter.”
27 May, 1571. Cività Ducale. Italian. Holograph.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. i. ff. 79–80.
787. Vincent Lauri, Bishop of Mondovi, Nuncio at the Court of Savoy to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“Here by the latest advices from the Court of France we understand that they are still in the thick of the negotiation for the marriage of the Queen of England with the Duke of Anjou. The terms are that the nuptials be celebrated in the Catholic way, that the Duke be crowned King of England, and that both parties live after their own fashion; that the Apostolic See may have a nuncio at the Court, though he is not to meddle in matters of religion, and that Calais and the county of Guisnes be restored. I, as I told her Most Serene Ladyship, who by letter of the 26th of last month affirmed all this save the restitution of Calais, would not believe a word of it without the said restitution; and on her replying that, if there were no other impediment, the King would make no difficulty about the restitution of Calais and Guisnes, I rejoined that, as upon account of the trade Calais was worth to the English more than the third of the revenue of their realm, that nation had reason to be satisfied with its restitution upon any terms; but I could not guarantee Monsieur's life for many months unless he had about him a colony of French Catholics, who, however, would never be tolerated by that nation. Thereupon Madam became very anxious and alarmed; and perchance she might write to that effect upon occasion; and God grant us the miscarriage of such a negotiation; for, proposed as it was by the quondam Cardinal Castiglione [Châtillon] and afterwards continued by Guido Cavaleanti, there is nought to be expected therefrom but evil and machination against religion and against France.
“And the occasion seemed to me meet for discussing with Madam the match with the Princess of Portugal in the hope that the Pope might bestow the crown and investiture of the sovereignty of England upon husband and wife as co-equal in authority, so that the one should succeed to the other; by means of which match we might hope for the speedy recovery of that realm, a perpetual union between the two Kings, the aggrandisement of Christendom, and the ruin of the Turk, more especially now that this holy league is formed. All which Madam seemed to approve, though not without evincing surprise that the Catholic King had not endeavoured to prevent the said English match by proposing some other: whereto there was a ready answer, to wit, that the said match was not one that could be displeasing to Spain, by reason of the restitution of Calais and Guisnes, from which Flanders has less to fear under English than under French rule, besides which the Spaniards may very well reckon on the astuteness and guile of the English in the negotiation of such a match.”
5 June, 1571. [Lucca.] Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 72.
788. News Letter.
“We learn by recent letters from the Court … that MM. d'Anville [de Damville] and Fois [Foix] were about to take ship for England, whence it was understood that the Queen had caused two physicians to be hanged on suspicion of having administered poison to the quondam Cardinal Sciatiglione [Châtillon].”
13 June, 1571. Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Princ. e Titolat.
vol. xxx. f. 224.
789. Don John of Austria to Pope Pius V.
“Most holy Father.—Great indeed is the grace and favour which your Holiness has done me by the brief under your own most blessed hand of 27 May which a courier delivered to me in Calatayud on the 9th inst., while I was on my way to this city whence I purpose to embark. That by your Holiness, my lord the King, and the Republic of Venice I am appointed captain general of the League which by the grace of our Lord God has been formed against the Turk, the enemy of our holy Catholic faith, is a great gratification to me; and so I hope in His Divine Majesty that by His favour and aid the confidence which your Holiness evinces in me, that I shall do my duty, will not prove ill founded: at any rate I will endeavour to the best of my abilities that it shall not prove so. The delay which there may be in assembling his Catholic Majesty's fleet, in the time that your Holiness seems to desire, is chiefly occasioned by incertitude as to the accomplishment of this holy work; for, true though it be that at the beginning of the year order was given by my lord the King to raise soldiers in Spain, Germany and Italy, and to collect munitions, victuals and other supplies for the enterprise, and notable expenditure was made on this account; nevertheless, being apprised by letters and advices of his ministers that the business of the League had taken such a course that it was not possible to be confident as to the conclusion, by reason of the negotiations for arrangements which the Venetians had on foot with the Turk, he did not continue to push forward the preparations with the same speed with which they had been begun; and thus as soon as his Majesty received the advice of the formation of the said League, to wit, on the 6th inst., the very same day he bade me quit the Court, as I did post-haste to embark from this shore, giving orders that the galleys that were off Andaluzia and the island of Mallorca should make forthwith hither, where I hourly expect them: and the King has bidden me so hasten and expedite my departure that if the Princes of Bohemia, his nephews, had not upon arrival of intelligence of the formation of the League quitted the Court to go to Italy and thence to Germany, I make no doubt that he would bid them tarry for this year so that I should not be slack; so that all possible diligence has been and is being used in hastening my departure; and I hope in our Lord God to be in Genoa at the beginning of the month of July. Meanwhile I have sent despatches to all parts where it seemed to me meet, urgently commanding that the men, victuals and munitions that are to be taken on board be ready in the ports of Italy at which I shall touch; and your Holiness need have no doubt that as far as in me lies, there will not only be no slackness on my part in effecting my junction with the fleet of the League, but that I shall use all possible extraordinary diligence, since, were there no other obligation upon me than my affection for your Holiness, to whom I well know how my lord the King desires to give satisfaction, that alone would suffice to keep me on the alert in regard to this matter. I humbly beseech your Holiness to direct that on the part of the Venetians all preparations be duly made, and most of all that this so holy work be unceasingly commended in prayer to our Lord God, and that He be entreated to give me grace to serve therein in such sort that distressed Christendom may be alleviated, as I will ever, as I do, supplicate His Divine Majesty to guard for many years your most holy person for the conservation and augmentation of His Catholic Church.”
18 June, 1571. Barcelona. Spanish. Holograph.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 78.
790. News Letter.
“We expect here in the course of three or four days M. de Nor, who goes to Constantinople as the King of France's ambassador resident. From the Court we understand that little was said of his Majesty's going to Brittany; that it was deemed certain that the Queen was enceinte; that it was believed that the marriage of the Duke of Anjou with the Queen of England would take place, and also that of the King's sister with the Prince of Navarre.
“There is a rumour that Count Louis of Nassau, brother of the Prince of Orange, is raising troops to attack Flanders.”
28 June, 1571. Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xiii. f. 5.
791. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“As by the advices to hand at Court I am disposed to believe that Cardinal Alessandrino has already taken his departure, I write this time to your Illustrious and Reverend Lordship. Though the courier, who, I am informed, is just about to start, avoids for reasons of prudence the direct route to Rome, I have decided to send by him this letter, which I hope will arrive safely, to inform you that a few days ago M. Robert Ridolfi arrived here (as he also writes in the letter enclosed), and that I have received the despatch of which he was the bearer, and read all the instructions that it contains for me, as to which I defer writing until the next courier goes.”
30 June, 1571. Madrid. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 83.
792. News Letter.
“By the ordinary of Lyon we learn that the Most Christian King was at Gaillon near Rouen in Normandy, and was out of his mind in consequence of the injury to his head which he sustained while hunting the stag; that M. de Malaras, the ambassador designate, had quitted the Court for his house, whence he was to proceed to Rome; that they were still busy with the match between M. d'Anjou and the Queen of England, and in place of MM. d'Anville [de Damville] and Foix it was intended to send Marshal Montmorenci to England about this affair.”
30 June, 1571. Rome. Italian. Copy.


  • 1. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1571, p. 471; Venetian, 1558–80, p. 468.
  • 2. Aver cura alle mani, to be on one's guard against an attack.
  • 3. Cf. Hist. MSS. Comm., Rep. Cecil MSS., Pt. i. pp. 498 and 534; also Cal. State Pap., Scotland, 1509–1603, vol. ii. pp. 898–9.
  • 4. Deleted in MS.
  • 5. Distinguishes the heretics. Cf. list printed on p. 400 supra.
  • 6. Cf. p. 420 infra.
  • 7. The lines italicized are cancelled in the MS.
  • 8. The reference of course is to the Parliament which assembled on 12 Nov., 1554.