178. Guerau de Spes to the King.
I send your Majesty enclosed a copy of the Queen's answer to
M. de Monluc and the French ambassador. The former returns
with the answer.
Cardinal Chatillon continues his great efforts to obtain the subscriptions
for the expense of the Germans who are to be raised,
and the Flemish rebels living here promise him that if the army is
to be against their country they will at once give thirty thousand
crowns, and eight thousand crowns a month for eight months. If
it is against France they offer twenty thousand crowns, and the
Frenchmen here a similar amount. All this is being discussed with
great warmth and impudence, and I believe it has been settled. In
the meanwhile the Queen has arrested the bishop of Ross, and he
is well guarded in the bishop of London's house.
They talk of a Parliament here with the object of legally confiscating
the possessions of the northern people, and in order to
get the usual grants voted, although the Queen is much afraid of
having members sent from all parts of the country. In the meanwhile
the people are being hanged in the north daily, and the
number will certainly exceed seven hundred. Four brothers,
gentlemen named Norton, who are strong Catholics, are believed
to be in danger.
As they have captured the man that the bishop of Ross despatched,
I have not been able to learn what has happened in Scotland
since the death of the Regent, although I understand from the
Court here that they have released Lord Herries and Lethington,
but that the duke of Chatelherault is not yet free because of his
relationship to Robert Hamilton who killed the Regent.
This Queen would like the earl of Morton to be Governor, as
he is a great heretic and an enemy of the queen of Scotland.
Neither side trusts the other bastard brother of the dead man.
I am without letters from Flanders for the last six weeks, although
I send hourly reports of what happens here.—London, 9th February
179. Guerau de Spes to the King.
I have given your Majesty in previous letters full information
of events here, but as I have received no letters from Flanders for
some time and the couriers have not returned, I have been
uncertain as to whether my letters had been received there. I
have, with your Majesty's permission, given license for some merchandise
belonging to Dr. Nuñez, a Portuguese resident here, to
be conveyed to Biscay, so that this despatch with duplicates of
former letters may be freely left in one of the ports there, and your
Majesty may thus have news.
The principal point is that the Regent of Scotland has been killed
by a musket shot, fired by Robert Hamilton two days previously,
the murderer escaping.
This Queen has many envoys there trying to retain the government
in the hands of the Protestants, and in those of the
greatest enemies to the restoration of the Queen. I have given
full information to the duke of Alba, knowing how important it is
that the government should be in your Majesty's interests. The
bishop of Ross has sent to exhort the friends of his mistress with
this end, and although the bishop is now detained closely in the
house of the bishop of London, which hinders affairs greatly,
they may, perhaps, after this affair blows over, relax his guard
I am informed to-day that the Queen has ordered the earl of
Sussex to return to the north with three hundred horse and five
hundred foot, with twelve captains, to raise the troops necessary to
encourage the Scotch Protestants.
These Englishmen think that the Duke Hans Casimir and the
prince of Orange will be able to enter Flanders by aid of the
money which M. de Dupin took from the ships stolen from your
Majesty's Flemish subjects, from the proceeds of the goods sold
from the Venetian ships at Rochelle, the fifty thousand crowns
which the Queen contributes, and the sums subscribed by the
Flemish rebels, the churches, the English and other aids from
England and Germany. The Cardinal is energetically at work
about it. When the forces are ready, and they find there is little
chance of doing harm in Flanders, they may fall upon France,
especially if the Queen helps them with the money detained here, for
which they are pressing much and perhaps will succeed in obtaining.
They are putting off Thomas Fiesco with empty words about
the safety of this money as they are doing with the merchants
about their goods, so that those who were here with the Duke's
leave to deal in the matter have gone back to give an account to
him. English goods in Flanders and Spain at present are of more
value than what is left of the goods here, apart from the cash.
The plague looks as if it were breaking out again here, but nothing
will persuade them to restore what they have stolen.—London,
13th February 1570.
180. Guerau De Spes to the King.
On the 21st instant I received your Majesty's letter of the
26th December, to which this is a reply. The earl of Morton, the
earl of Mar, the earl Marshal, and others are in Edinburgh contriving
to settle the Government to their liking. They are on
the side of this Queen, and are working in accord with Mr. Randolph
and other envoys who have gone from here to Scotland. The
duke of Chatelherault and the earl of Northumberland are still
The earl of Huntly and others are at Dumbarton opposite
Ireland with many troops, and the earl of Westmoreland and other
English exiles are with them. These men wish the Government
to be in the name of the queen of Scotland. It had been suggested
that all should agree to the appointment of the earl of Lennox who
is now here, father of the late King, for Governor, but the queen of
England does not like him.
The earl of Sussex, who has to go to the north with troops, has
not left yet, as the Queen is always slow in giving money ; but he
will go soon. In the meanwhile Leonard Dacre has occupied a
castle almost on the border line inland, and although Lord
Hunsdon from Berwick, and Lord Scrope from the other side came
to besiege him, they found him so well placed that they returned.
Sussex has orders to try to drive him out, and afterwards to enter
Scotland to favour the friends of this Queen.
Some troops are being raised for this purpose here, and I am
advised by my friends in the Council that the Queen has news
from her ambassador in France that a fleet is being equipped there
to aid the Scots, as she also has been advised by the men she has
sent thither. They therefore wish to prepare here all their sea
forces, particularly now they have learnt that the duke (of Alba) is
equipping fifteen vessels in Holland.
They sent a courier yesterday telling Count Charles Mansfeldt
to make ready six thousand foot and five hundred horse, and
decided with Cardinal Chatillon that the Queen would give a
hundred thousand crowns within three months, and security in
Germany to pay another hundred thousand in two years, on condition
that Admiral Chatillon should not accept the treaty of peace
and should persevere in his enterprise. The Cardinal is therefore
sending to his brother about it, and is writing to him the list of
contributions promised here. He exaggerates it a great deal,
because he adds the money obtained from the sale of the stolen
My friend on the Council tells me that if the Queen's fleet
could take some places in Scotland they would do so, and that
negotiations were being carried on with the Regent James before
his death for him to give up the province, on payment to him of an
income of fifty thousand crowns from England. Although his death
stopped the matter Cecil is still much set upon it.
They are greatly in want of money, and will not restore what
they have detained except by force. They hold up their hands to
heaven at the offers made by the Genoese through Thomas Fiesco,
and with regard to the merchandise no good will be done.
The Cardinal is very proud of the plan he proposed to the
Council, by which, without cost to themselves but to their profit,
they might become masters of the Channel. The privateers land
unmolested every day, and have recently captured a Flemish sloop
with a cargo of fruit from Portugal.
The sentences against persons and property in the North are
being carried out with great rigour, which will again force them
into revolt. All the other Catholics are on the watch for help
from abroad, but so much alarmed that they dare not trust one
What would probably be a very successful enterprise is to
capture the queen of Scotland, and take her to your Majesty's
dominions, as she herself suggests. I am sending the man who
wishes to undertake it to the duke of Alba shortly, in order that
the Duke may, if he thinks well of it, take such measures as may
The depositions and interrogatories administered to the duke of
Norfolk, the earls of Arundel and Pembroke and Lumley will, I
am informed by their agents, give but little proof of their intentions
to the Council, as they were extremely cautious in the answers
they gave. Hitherto the bishop of Ross alone has inculpated one
of those in the north, and on this ground, or rather because of his
cleverness and diligence, they keep him prisoner.
Five days ago a servant of the prince of Orange arrived, and is
lodged in Cecil's house. I should not have known who he was but
for my friend, who tells me that he is pressing urgently for large
help to be given to his master against Flanders. The forces here
are not sufficient for this purpose, particularly with these Scotch
troubles, and they are therefore keeping him while they discuss
ways and means, announcing that he is a servant of the Count
John Hawkins is here, and came to see me the other day, to seek
my intercession for the liberation of his hostages and the rest of his
company left in Florida.
No fleet has left this country for the Indies, except three medium
sized ships which sailed for the Guinea coast, where they always
go on their way to the Indies. Two others have gone to Cape
Arguim so that the 22 sail which were sighted at Cape St. Vincent
were not from here. I will always advise your Majesty as fully as
I can on this point.
Antonio Fogaza has returned from Portugal with the three ships
he took with him, bringing spices and other goods. Although he
concealed from the ambassador Don Fernando Carillo the object of
his voyage, I knew it well, and for that reason, refused to give him
letters in favour of the treaty of commerce between England and
Portugal. He brings with him certain clauses, and the members
of the Council await him with impatience. They have sent him
instructions that he is not to speak to me whilst his illness confines
him to his bed, and prevents him from seeing them. I will report
all I can learn. He had but little acquaintance with those in the
north and only knew some private Catholics.
The brother of the earl of Ormond has been set free in Ireland,
and, with the other two, is now routing and robbing on the roads
without being able to get a body of troops together. The Queen
has imposed a heavy fine or tribute on the place, but this may turn
out to be an advantage as the road to greater things. The island
lacks husbandmen, and is short of food.—London, 25th February
181. Guerau De Spes to the King.
By an English ship bound for St. Jean de Luz, I write this letter
to your Majesty, consigned to Juan Martinez de Recalde. Leonard
Dacre has fought with Lord Hunsdon ; the killed on both sides
being 400 men, most of them, say this Queen's friends, being their
opponents. After the encounter, Dacre passed over the border
to Scotland with 300 horse, and there are now there 2,000 English
horsemen and many footmen against the queen of England. Orders
to equip have been given here and sailors are being got together,
but I am informed from Rochester that nothing fresh is being
done with the ships. They are, however, making ready at their
own homes large numbers, both of cavalry and infantry.
They cannot persuade the Queen to call Parliament together, as
she fears they will compel her to appoint her successor. They are
I reported in previous letters the arrival here of seven French
ships loaded in Cadiz and its neighbourhood with oil and soap
which were very welcome. As I understand that the English have
arranged with the masters to make another similar voyage, I send
the names of ships and masters in order that your Majesty may
take such measures as you think desirable.
The "Phoenix," of Havre de Grace, Master Andreu Henchare.
The "Ventura," of Havre de Grace, Master Jaques Lucas.
The "Charité," of Havre de Grace, Master Jean Lie.
The "Esperance," of Quilvit, Master Roger Pautoe.
The "Robert," of Havre de Grace, Master Pierre Godin.
The "Geneta," of Havre de Grace, Master Nulet Martelet.
Orders have been given to the merchants who are to ship goods
for Hamburg to have all their cargo loaded before Easter. The
corsairs have captured and plundered a great Dantzig ship of
1,300 or 1,400 tons on her voyage from here to Portugal.—London,
27th February 1570.