126. Guerau de Spes to the Duke of Alba.
By my letters to his Majesty you will see that, in preventing the
sailing of the sloops and deciding to restore the badly sold boats,
the Government have taken favourable action. I am sending tomorrow
to Court to know on what day I can go and salute the
Queen. I will speak gently to her, as your Excellency orders, and
will report the result. They say that orders will be given that my
letters may come in safety, I believe that they will do as I ask in
my memorial, namely, to bring them under cover marked O, with
certificate from Antonio or Leonardo Tasis that they are for me.
All these matters are referred to Mr. March, formerly the governor
of the English in Antwerp. He was at Court when my servant
was there and was consulted about my request, but has not yet
returned to approve of it. In the meantime please send letters by
Calais or by the ordinary post.
I have disposed of the six thousand crowns in the way I wrote
to your Excellency, and I see they will produce great fruit, and this
much and more, which we can promise and pay, will be gained on
the merchandise. Norfolk and the other adherents of the queen of
Scotland are very busy trying to get her declared the Queen's
successor, and this Queen is already somewhat suspicious of the
Duke. There certainly will be some turmoil about it. The Duke,
the earl of Arundel, and Pembroke, are pushing the business
forward, with the support of Northumberland, Cumberland,
Westmoreland, Derby, Exeter, Montague, Morley, and others, and
they all assert that if they succeed, religion shall be restored.
Leicester says that he will be with them in the matter of the
succession, and Cecil says he will not prevent it, but these two are
not trusted by the others. The earl of Huntingdon, if he were a
bold man, would greatly profit by the support of the heretics in the
The Hamburg people have arrested John Brug of Amsterdam
for piracy, as he had even robbed the English themselves.
The prior, Don Hernando, writes to me in favour of Hernando de
Frias, asking me to try to get his merchandise away from here, in
exchange for a similar service that he will do to an Englishman
named Smith in Antwerp. It is not a bad idea if the matters
cannot be otherwise arranged ; and if a general power could be
given for all merchandise to be exported under security, in case of
war breaking out, it would be convenient. The Queen, however,
will not trust to security at all, but insists upon ready money
which is a very bad way.—London, 1st August 1569.
127. Fragment of Summary of Letters from Guerau de
Spes to the King and the Duke of Alba of 10th,
17th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, and 30th July, and 1st and 2nd
Although he had ordered his servant not to discuss the question
of giving him audience, but to answer, if they menioned it to him,
that, if the Queen ordered him to go he would go, Cecil asked him
if his master had received letters from the King since his detention,
and, upon his answering that he had, Cecil said that whenever he
wished to see the Queen he could do so. On the following day
Don Guerau decided to send and ask for an appointment. Don
Guerau understands that the reason of so much gentleness is that
they know that the duke of Norfolk, and the greater part of the
nobles are united for the purpose of getting the queen of Scotland
declared successor to the Crown, and it was said that when the
reply came from the Regent they would openly tell the queen of
England so. She and the duke of Norfolk have already had words
about it, when he replied fittingly to her and is now suspicious and
surrounded by friends.
128. Guerau de Spes to the King.
Since my last letter of the 30th ultimo, I sent to Oatlands, where
the Court is, a servant of mine with George Speke, to make sure
that the four sloops which havé been fitted out should not be
allowed to sail, and that the boats which they had taken here at so
low a valuation should be returned to their owners, and also
that the commissioners should not be allowed to proceed to sell
anything. I also desired that passports might be given whenever
I wished to send despatches, and letters to me should be properly
secured against being opened. All this, with the aid of adherents
of your Majesty there, with whom I had arranged, was fortunately
granted as I desired. I gave orders to my servant to say nothing
about asking for audience, and if they mentioned it to him he was
to say that, if the Queen sent for me to kiss her hand, I was ready
to go. Cecil asked him whether he was sure that I had letters
from your Majesty since my detention, and when he said that I
had, Cecil said in the Queen's name that it was at my own option
when I came to see the Queen, and that I should be very well
received. I shall ask my friends to-morrow to arrange an appointment
for me. I think the hurly-burly here about the duke of
Norfolk and the nobles wanting to declare the queen of Scotland
heiress to the throne is at the bottom of all this gentleness. With
this object the nobles have united, and have mutually given each
other their signatures. When the reply comes from the Regent, they
have decided to tell the Queen firmly, and to request her to summon
Parliament for the purpose stated.—London, 2nd August 1569.
129. Guerau de Spes to the Duke of Alba.
I will go to see the Queen, as she has sent me orders to do, but
I will not enter into any details with her, and, if the Councillors say
anything to me afterwards, I will at once advise your Excellency.
Thomas Fiesco thought that I ought to speak to the Queen, so that
her Ministers should be obliged to answer me, but I will follow
your Excellency's orders. Cecil and the others seem more agreeable.
I believe this arises from the fear they are in that this country will
revolt on the question of the queen of Scotland.—London, 2nd August
130. Guerau de Spes to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 2nd instant by the duke of Alba,
and soon after the courier had left I had a letter from Spinola, who
had come from the Court with secret orders to the commission
here to sell merchandise belonging to your Majesty's subjects, to the
value of 3,000l., which I was very sorry to learn, seeing that few
hours before, the Council had assured me they would act quite
differently. These commissioners were so willing that they began
to sell and deliver the goods to the buyers on the spot. I sent the
same servant of mine to Court in all haste, where they detained
him a whole day. The end of it was that the Queen sent for him
to the park, and put aside the question of merchandise by saying
that they would not proceed further with the sales, and that they
had sold what they had merely because they were informed that
the goods were being spoilt. Cecil said, by the Queen's order, that,
if I liked to come to Guildford on Wednesday, I could, but
that, before I spoke with her, I must confer with the Council, and
prove to them that your Majesty had ordered me to treat on these
affairs. My servant said that he had no instructions to reply to
the proposal, whereupon Cecil detained him and came hither with
him. I informed him that I had power from your Majesty to
listen to whatever they liked to say, and what was necessary to be
considered I would communicate with the duke of Alba, to whom
your Majesty had referred all this business. As for the rest, I said,
as the Secretary himself and the Lord Chamberlain had told my
servant that I could go and kiss her Majesty's hand whenever I
wished, I would go when her Majesty ordered me to do so, and that
nothing else was necessary. Cecil returned this morning. I have
not heard that he did anything else whilst here, except speak with
certain aldermen ; but on his way he called to see the earl of
Pembroke, who is suspected of belonging to the duke of Norfolk's
party. They are full of meetings and conferences. The Duke's
party and those who favour the success of the queen of Scotland are
incomparably the greater number. The Duke and the earl of Arundel
intended, after I had seen the Queen, to take me to Nonsuch, but
now that my visit has fallen through, they will take some other
course ; but in any case I believe there will be some great event
soon, as the people are much dissatisfied and distressed by want of
trade, and these gentlemen of Nonsuch have some new imaginations
in their heads.
I have given leave to those who hold powers of attorney from
merchants to petition the Council, and endeavour to persuade them
to desist from disposing of merchandise, on condition of security
being given, and to prevent, as much as possible, the injury which
may be done them if these commissioners continue their proceedings.
As your Majesty knows full well, affairs here are like
the rising and the falling tide, fluctuating from one moment to
another. This is the reason why I write so differently in my
The Council is pressing forward the Hamburg voyage, although
they have not yet begun to load the ships, which, however, they
say, will be loaded on the 18th. Cardinal Chatillon is asking that
the four sloops and three other ships which are fully armed on the
coast, mostly commanded by rebels from France and Flanders,
should be allowed to sail, and says that they will not do any
damage to your Majesty's subjects. As he rules Leicester and
Cecil, he will settle it all with them. Winter has taken the sails
away, and promises to do all he can to prevent the vessels from
leaving. If they sail they can only make any profit by plundering
your Majesty's subjects. Three ships from St. Jean de Luz have
put into Bristol loaded with Biscay iron, and are now leaving for
their own country with a cargo of cloths, pewter, and other things,
all of which are destined to be taken into Spain. The want of oil
here is so pressing that they are getting oil from rape seed to dress
their wool, and they say they can manage with it. There is little
of the seed, however, yet, and no matter how active they may be
in sowing it, the out-turn of cloth by means of it will be small and
poor. They are trying also to utilize the oil which they obtain
from boiling sheep's feet. Their great hope is to get soap and oil
from Spain through France, and from the Easterlings, who, I am
told, have already left for the purpose.
The Catholics in Ireland have reached the neighbourhood of
Dublin, spoiling the country on their way. The heretics have
caught an Irish bishop coming from Italy, and have put him in
prison. They say they will put him to torture, to learn whether
he has spoken to the Pope.
They have ordered Winter to cease the sales of Portuguese goods,
and they want by this means to arrange their differences with the
king of Portugal, in order to try to import spices into this country.—
London, 5th August 1569.
131. The Duke of Alba to the King.
Your Majesty will understand, by the enclosed letters from Don
Guerau and Thomas Fiesco, the state of English affairs ; which, in
my judgment, is very unfavourable, and I have no doubt whilst
they (the English) hold the booty in their hands, as they now do,
they will delay matters as much as they can to avoid restitution.
I have written several times to Don Guerau to suspend negotiations,
as I plainly see that they are tricking him, so as to get all they can
out of him, and then to say they have negotiated without authority.
When I receive the letter your Majesty is to send me, I will try to
settle the business in the best way in my power. Don Guerau is
zealous in your Majesty's service, and wishes to end the questions
at issue, but, as he is inexperienced, he allows himself to be led
away, and is ruining the negotiation. I earnestly wish he had not
said that there was a letter from your Majesty, or gone beyond my
instructions, but he will not do as I tell him.
In the meanwhile, I beg your Majesty to order that no English
goods are to be received in any port of Galicia, as I am informed
that there was a ship in Vigo selling cloths and buying things
which are beginning to fail in England. I wish also your Majesty
would order the arrest of all ships in Spanish ports bringing
English goods, as they have recently taken to shipping their cloths
in Venetian and Ragusan bottoms, and I am told that some of the
Portuguese in Antwerp are in secret league with those of their race
in England, to whom they will transfer the spice trade thither, and
so encourage the English in their evil intentions.
If your Majesty thinks well you might speak a word to the
Portuguese ambassador, so that the King may order his subjects to
desist from such negotiations. I have no doubt many of them
would like to go thither (England) to live in the law of Moses.—
Brussels, 8th August 1569.
132. The Duke Of Alba to the King.
I advised your Majesty some time ago of the coming of a
gentleman sent by the queen of Scotland to discuss matters with
me. He and another secretary of the Queen have returned hither,
and they both beg your Majesty to help her with 30,000 or 40,000
ducats, and although I have no commission to do so from your
Majesty, I have ventured to send her 10,000 ducats, seeing the
great need in which her affairs are, in order that some at least
of them may be attended to. I beg your Majesty to send me
instructions.—Brussels, 8th August 1569.
133. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 5th, and the only thing now to
add is that the duke of Norfolk and the earl of Arundel have sent
a gentlemen to inform me that the decision of the Queen with regard
to the audience was different from what I had been told, and that
she was desirous of seeing me. I have sent Luiz de Paz to them to
let them know that I am still, as I have said, willing to go and kiss
her Majesty's hand, whenever she commands me to do so, but that
it was quite unnecessary for me to speak to the Council first or
anything of the sort.—London, 10th August 1569.
134. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The day before yesterday a gentleman arrived at Court from the
Regent of Scotland bringing his master's answer, saying that on no
account will he or the nobles enter into any discussion for reconciliation
with the queen of Scotland, and he was sure that what had
been written to him had not originated with the queen of England,
but had come from certain friends of the Papists in her Council.
He said that the Queen and the majority of her Council had told
him, when he was here, what was best to be done in the matter, and
that he would follow it. He also refused to raise the siege of
Dumbarton and to return the property of the bishop of Ross and
other subjects who have been deprived of it in consequence of their
attachment to the Queen. He has, on the contrary, sent certain
important gentlemen to more strongly enforce the blockade of
Dumbarton. The bishop of Ross went to Court to-day to learn the
resolution that this Queen will take in the matter, and what are the
intentions of his mistress's friends.
The greater part of the ships which were expected from Hamburg,
together with some others belonging to the Easterlings, have arrived
loaded with goods, on the north coast, and no sooner had they done
so, than they began to ship cargo for a new voyage. All this sea is
crowded with pirates. Luiz de Paz has returned with the Duke of
Norfolk's gentlemen, and bringing word from Cecil, in the Queen's
name, that she will be pleased for me to go and see her, but she
would like me to show some of your Majesty's letters, written since
my detention, to certain members of the Council whom she will
appoint. I refer this question to the duke of Alba to learn his
opinion upon it.—London, 13th August 1569.
135. Guerau De Spes to the Duke of Alba.
Just as Fiesco was leaving, Luiz de Paz and the duke of Norfolk's
gentlemen arrived, and it seems that Cecil interposed in the conversation
with them. It was resolved that the Queen should say
that I could go to Basing, a pleasure house of the lord treasurer,
but that some of the Council thought I should show letters from the
King in order that they might satisfy themselves that they were sent
after my detention, but they would do this simply as a point of honour
and nothing else. Luis de Paz told them that he had not come with
that errand, and your Excellency will therefore do me a great favour
if, as soon as you receive this and have heard a personal account
from Fiesco, you will send me a courier with your opinion upon this
point. If the letter, come addressed to me they will let them pass.
In the meanwhile, I intend to answer the Queen thanking her for
the favour done me in offering an audience, and excusing myself
from going so soon on account of indisposition, and also in order
that she may, if she wishes, learn anything from me in the interim,
as I do not intend to discuss business with her on that occasion. In
the meanwhile, your Excellency's orders may arrive. On the one
hand the audience may be useful in stopping the injury they are
doing, and on the other, it would be perhaps more dignified and
likely to alarm them if no notice were taken of the offer. Your
Excellency will decide what is best for his Majesty's service. News
from Ireland is that affairs are in a very bad state, and they are
raising 800 men here to go thither.—London, 13th August 1569.
136. Guerau de Spes to the King.
In my last letter of the 20th, I reported that the sloops were going
down the river to join three other vessels on a piratical voyage. I
have since heard that the bastard of Brederode was to join them
with three other ships. By a spy I have amongst them, I learn that
they were talking of doing some damage in the islands of Zealand,
but I expect they will find them prepared, and that their designs
will fail. The Easterlings resident here have drawn up a statement
of complaint, because the people on these sloops are denouncing them
and the Hamburgers for having beheaded John Brug of Amsterdam
there (at Hamburg). They have petitioned the Queen to detain
these sloops, but still, I expect, they will sail, because the earl of
Leicester is much in favour of the expedition.
The rest of the ships from Hamburg have arrived, with others
from Muscovy, bringing a quantity of whale-oil, wax, and skins,
From Hamburg they bring a great stock of merchandise which was
much needed here. Randolph, this Queen's ambassador in Muscovy,
has returned, and with him comes a Muscovite ambassador. They
entered London to-day and were received with great discharges of
artillery. I understand their business relates to merchandise and
the duties thereon. The Queen is at Basing, intending to go to the
Isle of Wight, although it is believed for certain here that she will
go direct to Windsor in consequence of the affairs of the queen of
Scotland. She took a fortnight to consider her definite reply, and
hopes in the meanwhile to receive that of the Regent.
The Council has decided, at the instance of the duke of Norfolk
and his friends, that the queen of Scotland shall be set at liberty,
on condition that she marries an Englishman, and the signatures of
all the principal people in this country have been obtained to this
effect. The matter of her marriage, also, is so far advanced that the
French ambassador has been reconciled to it, and, within a day or
two, I understand that the Duke himself, or some other leading
personage, will come and request me to write to your Majesty to
learn your wishes on the subject. The bishop of Ross, on behalf of
his mistress, is to come and see me about it, and has already communicated
to me by John Hamilton. The business is so forward
that it will be difficult now to prevent it, but I think it will be
better that it should be done with your Majesty's consent, which
cannot fail to be of great advantage, as it will bind them more
closely than ever to your Majesty's service.
The queen of Scotland says that, if she were at liberty or could
get such help as would enable her to bring her country to submission,
she would deliver herself and her son entirely into your Majesty's
hands, but that now she will be obliged to sail with the wind,
although she will never depart from your Majesty's wishes, either
in religion or other things. I believe this, and that the affair will
be conducive to the continued respect of your Majesty here, and also
to the recovery of the stolen and detained property. I will advise the
duke of Alba of all that happens, and will follow his instructions.
They are constantly springing upon me some new plan to sell the
goods belonging to your Majesty's subjects here. I put them all off as
well as I can by artifice, but, as Leicester and Cecil are the only
councillors now at Court, they had ordered all to be sold by the
commissioners themselves, although I have been able to stop it until
the Queen's return to Windsor ; where the question is at issue
between the two queens of England and Scotland will be considered.
They have loaded 30 ships for Hamburg. They carry 30,000 or
40,000 pieces of cloth and other goods, and so much haste has been
made that I believe they will sail from here to-morrow, two of the
Queen's ships accompanying them. To extend their trade the more,
they have arranged with the French ambassador that certain commissioners
should value the (French) goods that have been stolen,
and that in the meanwhile commerce should not be stopped. They
are therefore loading five or six ships for Rouen with cloths, which,
I understand, are promptly to be introduced into Spain by way of
St. Jean de Luz, or some other route.
The 25,000 crowns received by the queen of Scotland come from
certain confiscations in France, valued at 100,000 ducats.—London,
27th August 1569.