120. Minute of Letter from Bishop Quadra to the King.
Contents of the letter from Bishop Quadra to His Majesty of
15th October 1560.
It relates the manner in which the death of Lord Robert's wife
happened, the homage immediately paid to him by the Councillors
and others, and the dissimulation of the Queen.
That he had heard they were devising a very important plan for
the maintenance of their heresies, namely, to make the earl of
Huntingdon King in case the Queen should die without issue, and
that Cecil had told the Bishop that the succession belonged of right
to the Earl, as he was descended from the house of York.
They fear that if the Queen were to die your Majesty would get the
kingdom into your family by means of Lady Catharine, and Cecil, to
sound the Bishop on the subject, said to him one day that it would
be well to treat of a marriage between her and one of your Majesty's
relatives ... (fn. 1) would succeed by virtue of the will of
king Henry, and although the Bishop passed it over without
appearing to attach any importance to it, yet he asked him if, in
such case, the Queen would declare her (Lady Catherine) heiress to
the Crown. Cecil answered, "Certainly not, because, as the saying
is, the English run after the heir to the Crown more than after the
present wearer of it."
That Lady Margaret and her husband had complained to the
Bishop, that not only did the Queen treat them as prisoners because
they were Catholics, but she was trying to injure their claim to the
succession by helping the duke of Chatelhérault. They begged that
your Majesty would help them, as they were sure, with your
favour, to recover what rightly belonged to them, and restore
religion in that country by the aid of their friends. The Bishop
listened to this as if they referred to what might happen in case the
Queen should die, but they did not mean it in that way, but to
attempt to overthrow her at once. The French have been in treaty
with them, but they do not trust them, and he (the Bishop) fears
that they may be led by passion to do something rash.
They asked him, if in case they were pressed hard, your
Majesty would allow them to go to Flanders, to which the Bishop
replied, that he would write to your Majesty and get your
answer on the point. He begs that this answer may be sent
He encloses a genealogical tree of the kings of Scotland, with a
statement of the rights of the various claimants to the succession.
That the prior of St. Jo(hn) (fn. 1) of Scotland had arrived here
. . . (fn. 1) to France, to beg the King to ratify the . . . (fn. 1)
but he does not know how he can do it as regards the . . . (fn. 1)
they wish to have with the Queen . . . (fn. 1) change of
He sends copy of the treaty between the French and Scots, and
that between the English and Scots. He sent the other, between
the Queen and the French, some days since.
That certain Germans had returned to negotiate with the Queen,
and he fears all their designs are directed against your Majesty, and
to try to disturb Flanders by means of religion. They think some
of the cities will declare themselves free and others will be occupied
by Germany ; and although he does not know for .... *
he learns beyond doubt that this is what the Queen thinks
. . . * besides having become insolent on account of
past . . . * she has gone so far as to say that whilst
she has a drop of blood in her body she will not cease to seek
revenge on your Majesty, and that she has something settled with
the Germans. This information is given in order that your Majesty
may take necessary steps.
That Cecil had told him that, seeing that the Queen had decided
not to many Lord Robert, as he had learnt direct from her, he
thought the Archduke's matter might be proposed. The Bishop
replied that when the Queen returned to London he would remind
her of what she had promised Count Helfenstein, to the effect that
when she had resolved to marry she would inform the Emperor.
Cecil was in a hurry to do it, and that did not serve his turn, as the
Bishop understood that his only object was to arouse the suspicion
and jealousy of the French. The cardinal of Lorraine told Throgmorton
that if the Queen did not many an Englishman the best
match for her would be the prince of Sweden.
That Cecil having told him that some people suspected that the
Spanish folk were going to send a fresh army in favour of the
French, he satis . . . * on the point. They all ask him
about your Majesty's return to Flanders, and other things, which
clearly indicate that their designs are making them suspicious and
Endorsed : London, 14th October 1560.
(This document, which is much mutilated, is called by the Spanish
archivists a minute or draft of letter, all in the handwriting of and
signed by Bishop Quadra. It appears to me, however, to be rather
a summary of a letter drawn up in Spain for the King's use after
the receipt of the original.)