220. Guerau de Spes to the King.
In my previous letters I reported that Secretary Cecil and Walter
Mild may were to go to the queen of Scotland with certain proposals
and to discover her feeling. They left on the 27th ultimo,
and the bishop of Ross followed them. I have tried to learn what
the proposals are, and have set them forth in the enclosed memorandum.
They are intolerable, and I think that the journey is
only taken to waste time. The queen of England also gave a
passport for the coming hither in safety of some of the ten lords
who had joined together in Scotland in their Queen's favour,
promising a cessation of hostilities on the frontier for a month.
They have only license for 14 days.
I enclose a copy of the reply from his Holiness to the queen of
Scotland, although the servant who brought it from Rome stayed
in Paris. I shall learn from him now what are his Holiness's
intentions as to helping movements here.
Two French ships have arrived at Dumbarton loaded with
powder, wine, flour, and other stores, although in no great
quantity. Walsingham has returned from France, and says that
the Christian King insists urgently upon the release of the queen
of Scotland. The people who accompanied Walsingham hither
speak of the discontent of the Catholics in France with the peace,
which, it is believed, will be of short duration. It is announced
that Sores has taken a Portuguese galleon and a ship from Seville
with a large quantity of cochineal.
The commissioners are now hurrying, and Spinola and the other
man are entertaining them by saying that if the treaty is a final
one they will disclose to them other plunder of great value. They
are asking them that particulars of this should be revealed to them.
They will do their best, and will leave shortly.
There is nothing new about the Lancashire conspiracy, as the
investigator who went thither was a Catholic himself and has
greatly absolved the culprits.
A ship from Spain for Flanders ran aground on this coast, and
the sailors, thinking that she was foundering, went ashore, leaving
the ship and cargo. I have sent to Lord Cobham, who has possession
of the ship, and crew, to see what can be done about it.—
London, 5th October 1570.
221. Guerau De Spes to the King.
On the 10th instant I received your Majesty's letter of the 16th
ultimo. I have in former letters dwelt at length on the facilities
existing for the subjection of Ireland to your Majesty, and I will
make minute inquiries as to the revenue which this Queen now
receives from that island, which I know to be very small, and insufficient
for the expenditure she incurs, in consequence of the
greater part of the island refusing allegiance to her, whilst the
part she holds is but little cultivated, though there is an abundance
of cattle, which is better than the English. There is no work on
the seacoast, as it seems that the English wish to keep it as it is,
so that no other prince should enter into possession, the island
being so suitable as a point from which England could be subjected,
and they have no desire to civilize it, because they think
that it thus might become more populous and powerful than this
island. Those who have held offices there assert that there are
many mines of silver, lead, alum, and other similar things, and
that if the island were brought into civilized quiet, its great
fertility would make it very valuable to its sovereign. I will
report to your Majesty all I learn upon this subject.
In my previous letters I related that Secretary Cecil and Walter
Mildmay had gone to the queen of Scotland to negotiate personally
with her, and to propose certain measures, of which I gave an
account in a memorandum I sent. It now appears that Cecil has
somewhat modified these conditions, and the present enclosure
contains the proposals as they were handed to the queen of
Scotland. Cecil remained there somewhat longer than his leave
stated, whilst the queen of Scotland was considering the proposals
which still contain hard and dangerous conditions, and will not
be accepted by the Scots without difficulty.
The bishop of Ross sends word to me by a servant that he will
be here within a week, and will then tell me his mistress's wishes
I now know for certain that the duke of Anjou will send a servant
to see the queen of Scotland and ascertain whether she is willing
to marry him. It may be that the Queen may consent, but it
would not please the majority of English people, and it certainly
does not please me. The Catholics are not much in favour of
the marriage with the duke of Norfolk, as they are uncertain about
his orthodoxy, although the earl of Arundel and Lord Lumley
affirm that he will be obedient to the Catholic Church. His desire
to reign might well wean him from bad paths to good ones. The
said Duke himself has been very lukewarm about this marriage,
but he now seems to wish to renew the project, particularly as he
expects shortly to be at liberty, in accordance with the Queen's
promise to him. If your Majesty's wishes have to be manifested
equally with those of the French, the bishop of Ross will be a good
negotiator, and I could conduct the matter with him or with
Roberto Ridolfi, who has been in communication with them, and,
if it should be necessary for the duke of Norfolk to bind himself
apart to other things, measures might be taken, even now, in the
matter. Your Majesty will send me your orders, as it is certain
that the release and marriage of the queen of Scotland carries with
it the tranquillity of Flanders and the restoration of religion in
this country. I will follow the orders that the duke of Alba may
send me, as your Majesty commands. The Catholics would prefer
a Catholic foreign prince to marry the Queen, with your Majesty's
approval, but if the matter is neglected some unfortunate event may
In the meanwhile the earl of Lennox makes every effort to get
general recognition as governor, and confirmation for the execution
of 33 persons of the queen of Scotland's party.
M. de Lumbres, who has been always the agent here of the
prince of Orange, has obtained permission from the Council to
go in the pirate ships and do what damage he can to Flemish
vessels, seeing how rich M. d'Aloin became last year in this
way. He will leave soon. Vessels from the Netherlands arrive
here every day, and are well received. The ships detained from
Flemings have in many cases been restored to them on some
sort of surety, which they will not do for Spaniards on any
The memorandum of the treaty arranged by Antonio Fogaza
was only concerned with William Winter's marque, but since the
king of Portugal has seized two ships belonging to Christmas, an
Englishman, they have established another marque,and the agreement
for trade will now be more difficult.
The commissioners, doubtless, have given an account to the duke
of Alba of the bad proceedings here, and, as it is now clear from the
English memoranda that these people are beginning to let out about
money which they have taken from the ships, besides what the
Queen seized, and the amount of such money is known to be much
larger than they confess, it would not be undesirable for your
Majesty to order that all people in your Majesty's dominions who
had been robbed by Englishmen, or pirates hailing from England,
within the last two years, should declare the amounts of their losses,
on the assurance that they shall not suffer your Majesty's displeasure,
or other danger, by so doing, even though they had
exported without a permit and had not paid the dues on the property
they had lost.
Since the fleet carrying our Queen passed, the pirates have
captured a Portuguese vessel which had run aground, the cargo of
which belonged to your Majesty's subjects, and another that had
gone ashore at Ipswich loaded with salt ; in addition to which I
have just learnt that they have taken into the Isle of Wight a ship
with a very rich cargo of wool, and I am sending to the Court to
see whether I can arrange that they shall not sell their booty. If
ships continue to come freely in this way trade will simply be to
enrich the heretics.
Cardinal Chatillon bade farewell to this Court with great
banquets and presents given and received, all at the expense of
the seafarers. In order to flatter the earl of Leicester in return for
the obligation he is under to him, he told the Queen that she could
not marry any one who would be more acceptable to the Protestants
than Leicester. He received news whilst he was still
tarrying here that all the principal Protestants in France were to
gather at La Charité, and afterwards meet at Rochelle with Madame
Vendome, who awaits them.
Henry Cobham writes from Spires that he was coolly received
by the Emperor. He broached the subject of the Archduke
Charles' marriage, but they have deferred a reply until after the
marriage of Princess Elizabeth. (fn. 1) He believes that the Emperor
would consult your Majesty, and would communicate with me to
learn whether this proposal was sincere or not, before giving a
reply.—London, 15th October 1570.