281. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have not written to your Majesty since the 19th (29th ?)
ultimo, in consequence of the difficulty of sending letters, the
English courier himself having been stopped although he carried a
The French ambassador with Guido Cavalcanti had audience
with the Queen last Sunday, and I am told, conveyed to her his
master's thanks for the kind reception given to M. de Foix,
respecting which he gave her a new letter of credence from the
King, and assured her that the duke of Anjou would accept the
marriage treaty with the modification of one of the clauses which had
been sent from here after M. de Foix had left, to the effect that the
Duke's foreign servants, although they were ordered not to exercise
any other religion here than that of this country, should not incur
any personal or pecuniary punishment if they did so. He told the
Queen therefore that she could now send to France the personage
she had promised to send when the King should have agreed to
this clause, and the whole of the questions submitted to the
Council by M. de Foix could then be discussed. He then said
something about the severity with which the queen of Scotland
was being used, but the Queen burst into a most furious rage at
this and dwelt very strongly upon the evils which she said were
being brought upon this country by the queen of Scotland. She
afterwards went on to speak of the plots which she and the duke
of Norfolk were weaving jointly with your Majesty to turn her (the
queen of England) off of her throne, and afterwards to make war on
France. She screamed all this out with so much vehemence that
almost everybody in the palace could hear her. She said also that she
would have the king of France to know that some of the principal
members of his Council were offering great sums of money to her
officers to prevent the marriage of the duke of Anjou and the
projected alliance ; by which it is conjectured that she referred to
Cardinal Lorraine. The end of it was that she promised the
ambassador to let him know shortly the name of the person whom
she intended to send to France, and the same night the Queen had
a private interview with Cavalcanti and afterwards discussed with
some of her Council the means to be adopted to get me out of the
On the same day also Lord Cobham and his brother Thomas
were arrested at Court and lodged in the house of Secretary Bernard
Hampton. Fresh prisoners are being brought to the Tower every
day and Lord Burleigh and four or five other Councillors have been
here for some time past taking their declarations. Yesterday the
Chancellor convoked a meeting of the Lord Mayor, aldermen and
principal merchants in the Guildhall, and told them to give thanks
to God for having preserved them from infinite danger, as a plot
had been discovered to murder the Queen which had been in preparation
for the last three years, and that recently, through good
friends which she had in all parts of the world, the Queen had
obtained possession of a letter written by the Pope to the duke of
Alba urging him to take in hand the conquest of this island,
towards which he promised great help, and enclosed him a full list
of all the people in this country who would co-operate with him.
He said also that the Queen had obtained a copy of the duke of
Alba's reply to his Majesty (Holiness ?) with a draft of the agreement
to be made, the plot being to hand over the island to a certain foreign
prince whose name he, the Chancellor, did choose to not mention. In
order to alarm them the more he told them that six Englishmen had
been captured who had agreed to set fire to the city at various points
simultaneously on a certain day, with artificial fire, and at the same
time to raise the people and sack the houses of the richer citizens
He said that the plot had been mysteriously discovered, and he had
no doubt that it was connected with the bills which had been found
in various parts of the city lately at night, calling the apprentices
to arms and denouncing the imprisonment of so many noblemen by
the Council, who were characterised as tyrants. He therefore gave
them this account of the need that the Queen had found to arrest
the persons who were now in prison, for her own safety, the
welfare of the public, and the preservation of their common
religion. He advised them not to send their merchandise in future
to the dominions of suspected enemies, either openly or under
cover of others' names. He also set forth the endeavours that the
Queen was making to satisfy the Hamburg people relative to the
recovery of the plunder taken from them by the pirates. This
speech was listened to with pleasure by the Protestants, although
some of them and the Catholics know well that it was only a
device to bring the people round to their view and incense them
against your Majesty. In the meanwhile the city is being guarded
strictly and no one dares to walk the streets without being obliged,
the people fearing even to speak to each other.
The Queen has appointed commissioners to reconcile the Hamburg
people. They have gone to Dover and have detained on the coast
some of the pirates, and others who have purchased the stolen
property. They have seized, in the name of the Queen, all the
plunder which still remains on hand, but they confine their claims
to merchandise purchased after the 4th December last, which I
think was the time that cardinal Chatillon died, he having had
authority granted to him for these pirates to rob in his name.
I send your Majesty copy of the letters given to the commissioners,
and you will see that something is said in them about the license
recently given to M. de Lumay to arm ships. He will leave
shortly with five or six ships and M. de Lumbres will surrender
to him the post of Admiral, as he wants to go back to France
and buy a barony, he having become very rich on his spoil.
Frobisher also has left, under license from the Court, with four
well found ships after having given some sort of security as a
matter of form.
Beside the ships captured which I recently reported, there are
many more vessels seized and now in the Downs. The Portuguese
property in some of them is claimed by Christmas in virtue of the
letter of marque under which he has taken so much Portuguese
merchandise, and he has now gone to the Downs to urge his claim.
All this goes to the profit of the earl of Leicester.
The French ambassador has not yet received information as to
the person to be sent by this Queen, but it is said that when Lord
Burleigh can finish the process against the duke of Norfolk with
which he is busy the answer shall be given. In the meanwhile
they are professing great friendship for the French ambassador and
Killigrew is making ready to go to France. He is a person of
inferior rank but a brother-in-law of Burleigh, a badly inclined
man and a strong Protestant. I sent to tell the French ambassador
that ships belonging to French subjects were being captured in the
mouth of the Seine daily with great quantities of merchandise,
mostly the property of your Majesty's subjects. He replied that,
besides having reported this to the Council, he had written a report
of it to his King, who had answered him that he had spoken of the
matter to Admiral Chatillon, and the latter had promised to exercise
his authority if the King would allow him to redress the evil
complained, of as regards ships taken into Rochelle and the French
ports. The King had thereupon authorised him to carry out his
office, but I do not believe that any redress will result from this.
There are now two French war-ships off the Isle of Wight, which it
is announced, are going to the Indies, the master of one is called
Poitier and the other Nicolas de Lavals.
There is much mistrust here about Ireland as they see that Fitzmaurice
is gaining strength every day, whilst the Queen will not
find money to pay the captains that have come from there or those
that are going thither.
They are coining money in the Tower with great haste from the
cash belonging to your Majesty.—London, 13th October 1571.
282. Document labelled in the handwriting of Zayas as follows :—
"This contains so perfect a representation of all the matters
brought by Ridolfi, that, without doubt, it has been
declared by someone connected with the discussion of the
Salutem in Christo.
The godly and the evil-minded delight in opposite things ; the
godly in seeking and maintaining truth, the wicked in concealing it.
It follows therefore that the declaration of the truth pleases the
godly and displeases the wicked. I, understanding that the majority
of people at this time do not know for certain the cause why the
duke of Norfolk and many others are prisoners in the Tower, and
being sure that the godly will be glad to know the truth which the
wicked are trying to hide and destroy, I could not conscientiously
refrain from setting forth what I will now say for the satisfaction
of the godly and the stopping of the lies from malicious tongues of
First it is known that the duke of Norfolk for some years past
has been negotiating for his marriage with the queen of Scotland
without the knowledge of our lady the Queen.
It is also known that the queen of Scotland has been the most
dangerous enemy in the world to our Queen, as she tried to deprive
her of the crown immediately after the death of Queen Mary.
Item.—It is known that, when she found that strength and craft
were alike powerless to compass this, she solemnly promised to
acknowledge the right of our Queen to the crown as the legitimate
daughter and heiress of King Henry VIII. her father, and as such,
entitled to succeed her brother Edward and her sister Queen Mary,
as fully as any other sovereign of England of past times, besides
being a Princess so worthy for her clemency and goodness. It is
also known that the queen of Scotland has not hitherto kept her
promise, but has rather delayed doing so by vain excuses, nor is her
promise of any value even if she did fulfil it, as no act of hers could
improve the perfect title of our Queen, particularly as she, the
queen of Scotland, could not obtain this country when she claimed
it, nor keep her own in peace when she had it, besides which, no
promise of hers could be looked upon as sincere but rather to be
kept or broken, as she might consider desirable.
Item.—It is affirmed with probability that the queen of Scotland
was the principal cause of the rebellion in the north, by means of
which certain nobles, some of whom, or their ancestors, had served
valiantly against the Scots, were, by the cunning of this Scots lady,
seduced, to the ruin of themselves and their houses, with many
other English lieges.
Item.—It is a notorious fact that our lady the Queen is far from
being vindictive, and that she endeavoured to restore the queen of
Scotland to her throne, and, indeed, saved her life after the murder
of her husband, by promoting an arrangement between her and the
King, her son, and the Governors and people of her realm, in the
hope thereby to finish the civil wars which were raging in it.
Item.—It is known that the queen of Scots, when the duke of
Norfolk was first arrested, renounced in writing to the Queen all
ideas of marriage with him, setting forth at the same time that she
herself would never have conceived the project, of which she did
not approve ; and the Duke himself, by means of many messages
and letters to the Queen, humbly and penitently acknowledged his
error in trying to marry the queen of Scots ; promising faithfully
under his hand and seal never to treat of the matter again or to
have any future dealings with that Queen.
It is now certain that the afore-mentioned plot between the Queen
and the Duke has been formed in violation of their faithful promises
and renunciations, and has been continued without interruption,
secretly, through badly intentioned persons during the whole time
that the Duke was first in the Tower, and subsequently whilst he
was arrested in his house, until the present time, when he is again
lodged in the Tower.
The danger which might arise from the continuance of these
secret dealings and the intention to effect this marrying against
the will of our Queen is best shown by the perilous negotiations
which have accompanied the plot, which negotiations have been
miraculously discovered by the goodness of Almighty God, for the
safety of the royal person and the welfare of the realm.
It was decided that a new rebellion should be raised near London
which should take possession of the city, and whilst this was being
done a great force of armed foreigners would be brought by sea from
the Netherlands to one of the principal ports of this country, and
the two bodies of enemies and rebels would thereupon unite with
objects which I think best not to mention at present.
These plans were not only discussed but were actually reduced to
writing and agreed upon, and messengers were sent beyond the sea
in Lent last with full authority and writings to testify to the determination
of those who were to be the leaders of this rebellion ; so
that, the whole arrangements being settled, were approved of there,
and letters were written in all haste for the Queen (of Scots), the
duke of Norfolk, and especially for that wicked priest, the bishop
of Ross, who is the originator of all the Duke's calamities and the
sower of treason in this realm. It was directed that this enterprise
should be kept very secret, especially from the French, for reasons
of great importance until the messenger should have gone post to
Rome to the Pope for money, and to the king of Spain for orders
and directions for troops and ships. The queen of Scotland, the
Duke, and others, gave letters of credence to the messenger for the
Pope and the king of Spain, and the man, after arriving in Rome,
returned a reply from the Pope at the beginning of May for the
Queen, the Duke, and others.
The letter to the Duke was in Latin commencing with the words,
"Dilecli fili salutem," but truly the Duke might say that he sent
no salutem to him but rather perniciem. The Duke received the
letters and read them at the request of the said wicked priest, and the
contents of them were to the effect that the Pope approved of the
enterprise and would write to the king of Spain to help it, but that
the present costly war against the Turk had made them short of
money for that summer, but notwithstanding this, his unfortunate
Holiness, in his usual manner, comforted them all and told them not
to despair. It would thus appear, either that God inspired him to
be so very zealous against the Turk, which was certainly good,
or that the coffers of his Holiness are not at present so full of money
as they are of bulls. We are thus brought to the conclusion that
want of money was the cause of this perilous treason not having
then been carried out, and it is to be hoped that by similar
goodness of God future crimes will be diverted from us.
It was also decided by the inventors of these plots that the
kingdom of Ireland should be assailed at the same time in order to
weaken the Queen's forces and divert them from the defence of her
Now it would be better that this tree of treason should be rooted
up for once and for all, since it is certain that it has branches of its
own growth in various parts, such, for instance, as the talk of the
release of the queen of Scotland, sometimes disguised, sometimes by
force and rebellion, with the object of raising her to the throne of
England. It was also said that her son was to be stolen from
Scotland and sent to Spain, and other inventions of the same sort
were set afloat with the object of disturbing this country, which was,
and is, praise God, quiet and tranquil.
Some people may say that many of these things are doubtful, or
changed in the telling, either by malice or credulity, but, verily, all
that I have said, and much more, has been reported to me so faithfully
by persons of credit who are not in the habit of relating falsehoods,
that I can confidently affirm that it is all true ; and if it be
found otherwise, it is to be believed that some of the Councillors
will reprove me for it when this relation is read. If so I will
patiently suffer correction for my credulity. If these things are
true, as I have said, although they be not all discovered yet, time
will shortly confirm them, when her Majesty causes the prisoners
publicly to reply to them according to the law, as she will no
doubt do in the exercise of her benignity, and so God keep her
under his special care, as he has miraculously done hitherto to
reign over us in peace.
Since writing this I am induced the more to believe in its truth,
because on this very day the Lord Mayor of this city, with many
of the governors of the same, were before the Council, where I am
informed by some who heard it, that the statement made to them
by the Council respecting the duke of Norfolk were, in substance,
the same as I have set forth here, with many other things which I
have not related.—At London, 13th October 1571.
Your loving brother-in-law, R.G.
283. Guerau De Spes to Zayas.
I sent yesterday to the duke of Alba a duplicate of the enclosed
letter for his Majesty, and I cannot exaggerate the confusion which
reigns here. They have just brought to the Tower three other
gentlemen, inhabitants of the part of the country where the queen
of Scotland is. The people are all astounded, and if there were
only a leader, some great disturbance would arise, but as it is, Lord
Burleigh triumphs over all. Perhaps they will aim a blow at me
presently : patience!
I should like to see all our resolutions carried through with more
expedition and we should succeed in our enterprises ; otherwise I
certainly fear we shall have many evils to encounter, especially if
the people in Flanders be not quieted from their apprehension
about the tenths ; (fn. 1) but where the duke of Alba is I do not think
there will be any want of council or prudence.—London, 14th
284. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In my last I wrote an account of the speech made by the Keeper
to the Lord Mayor and aldermen of this city respecting the imprisonment
of the duke of Norfolk and the other nobles, and
attacking your Majesty and the duke of Alba respecting the
invasion of the country. The Lord Mayor has to-day summoned
the constables and many other citizens, to the number of nearly
four thousand men, to the Great Hall for the purpose of speaking
to them to the same effect, in order that each of the constables
shall do the same in his own district to-morrow. The Council
believes that, by such means as these, they will sustain their
Burleigh arranged with the Mayor for some of the aldermen to
go to the Queen and beg her to increase her guard, and this is
being made an excuse for the palace to be protected by a large
number of troops and the whole city to be very strictly watched.
It is said that Killigrew will be shortly sent to France, and they
have arranged to-morrow for Burleigh and Leicester to see the
ambassador to enter into details about the proposed marriage or
league. I have been assured by a member of Burleigh's household
that he has read a letter from the duke of Florence to the Vidame
de Chartres, promising to enter into this alliance, as he considers it
necessary to resist the greatness of your Majesty, which he says
seems to increase every day. Since Burleigh has this letter he will
certainly have others from the same Duke to a similar effect, and
the English are now treating the matter without concealment.
Guido Cavalcanti is here, very willing, as usual, to take part in
anything directed to the prejudice of your Majesty and the injury
of the Catholic religion. They have done nothing fresh to me yet,
although I am told that they are seeking an excuse for doing something.
My secretary has not left the house for ten days, in order
to prevent their arresting him on some feigned excuse.
Lord Cobham has been taken to the Tower and the earl of
Sussex is also in danger, being neither a prisoner nor free, for
Leicester and Burleigh seem to be in accord, for once, that the
enemies of both of them should be molested, so that there are
people of both ways of thinking in prison.
They are already repenting having taken so many seamen from
the pirates, and at the instance of M. de Lumbres, have determined to
leave the rest of them on security. They are trying to calm the
Easterlings by other means, being in great fear for the property
they have sent, and are sending, to Hamburg.
The more I see of Hawkins and the closer I watch him, the more
convinced I am of his faithfulness in your Majesty's interests. The
members of the Council would like to trick the queen of Scotland by
means of him and Fitzwilliams. They have never given the latter
permission to see her. Hawkins and Fitzwilliams are anxiously
awaiting the decision of your Majesty, they having already incurred
great expense in fitting out their fleet which is now nearly ready.
The Queen wishes to send to Ireland Captain Malby and the
son of Secretary Smith. I could easily bring Malby round to
your Majesty's service if I had orders to do so before his departure.
There are many like him in office here, very desirous of serving
your Majesty.—London, 15th October 1571.
285. Guerau De Spes to the King.
As the duke of Alba has not yet sent me the despatches that he
has received from your Majesty for me (keeping them, as he says,
for certain good reasons), I have nothing to answer in this letter
but only to report the great uneasiness in which this Queen and
her Council are ; tortured by their own consciences more than by
the actual proof that they have against the duke of Norfolk, and
still less of the proposed invasion of which they are in fear. The
only information they have to go upon in this latter respect are
the declarations made by Carlos, the servant of the bishop of Ross,
who was the first prisoner made in this business. Carlos is now in
the Tower half crazy. To gain the people over they are still
publishing the little books of which I send your Majesty a copy in
Spanish, not very well translated for want of time. From this
letter and copy enclosed of my letter to the duke of Alba your
Majesty will understand the state of things here.—London, 21st
286. Guerau De Spes to the King.
Since my last advices I have to report that Killigrew left here
yesterday with a servant of La Mothe, bearing powers to discuss the
terms of the alliance proposed with France. On the same day the
bishop of Ross was taken to the Tower, without any respect for his
special safe conduct and his quality of ambassador. Lord Burleigh
told him that his mistress was a Queen no longer, as she had
abdicated in favour of her son and was a prisoner. He therefore
could not be considered as an ambassador and would consequently
be sent to the Tower and put to the torture.
I learn that the duke of Norfolk is very ill. I do not know
whether in consequence of anything they are giving him in his food,
but if so we shall soon see. It is understood that the proofs against
him are of little weight.
The castle of Edinburgh was besieged on the 6th instant, and
much ammunition has been sent from here to the besiegers.
The pirates are now off Dover, and in order to satisfy the Easterlings,
they have not recently been so openly supplied with victuals
as before, but they are secretly furnished at night with all they
want, and, what is worse, they are now openly victualled from
France, and consequently the pirates have recently returned to the
French some of the prizes they have taken.
M. de Lumbres has gone to France with over a hundred thousand
crowns in cash intending to buy a barony. Schonvall remains in
his place. He has a brother of the habit of St. John in Antwerp
and this might be a means of converting him and his fleet to your
They have just brought an Irishman a prisoner to the Tower,
who they say has come hither from Spain as a spy. They are
incensing the people with this.—London, 26th October 1571.
287. Guerau De Spes to the Duke Of Alba.
I believe your Excellency will have received my despatches
carried by the courier on the 21st inst., and also those of 24th, and
26th. It will not be unadvisable to capture Hieronimo Salvago, a
Genoese, who usually lives at Rouen. He left here from Spinola's
house on the 8th, carrying a packet from M. de Zweveghem. He
arrived safely at Antwerp and personally delivered Zweveghem's
letter, but my letters of the same date (8th) taken by him had not
been delivered on the 23rd to Leonardo de Tassis. If this packet
of mine, which contained two letters in cipher, does not appear, we
will see whether Spinola has stolen it, and if it was by comparison
with my cipher that the queen of Scotland's letter was recently deciphered
in the Tower. If it be so it is high time that such insolence
were punished. Your Excellency, knowing how important it is to the
service of his Majesty, will doubtless put your hand to the matter
Besides the little books that I have sent to your Excellency they
have brought out a long one, written in good Latin, against the
queen of Scotland, (fn. 2) the most shameful thing that ever was seen but
which I do not dare to send you in this packet. They have again
arrested the earl of Southampton who came unsuspiciously to the
Court and also the brother of the earl of Northumberland, although
in the disturbances in the north he was on the side of the Queen
and the principal cause of the others being lost. They have also
captured a Catholic gentleman named Morgan, and it would seem
that, without further reason, they mean to lodge all the Catholics in
the Tower. They have also arrested Luis de Paz, although up to
the present he is kept in a house without being allowed to communicate
with anyone. They have ordered that no one shall come
to my house, and threaten anyone who does so, even apothecaries
and surgeons. The whole place is surrounded with spies without
attempt at concealment. I attribute this to Burleigh's alarm at
what little proof they have already obtained against the prisoners.
The pirates are better supplied now than ever. A man of mine
has come back from where they are and says that M. de Lumbres
went to France mainly to beg Count Ludovic not to allow M. de
Lumay to take the first place, as there was great division amongst
the gentlemen now at Dover upon the subject, and Lumbres complained
that such an appointment would frustrate the agreement he
had made for taking Sluys, some of the inhabitants of which place had
come to offer to deliver it. M. de Lungatre of Artois, an exile, was
awaiting near Boulogne with 1,200 soldiers ready for the enterprise,
as well as to carry out a plot to buy or hire certain small houses
adjoining the church of St. Gudule at Brussels, where a Fleming
had promised to make a mine and blow up with powder your
Excellency and all those who were hearing mass there.
My man said that when Lumbres was in Rochelle three gentlemen
from Seville came to offer Admiral Chatillon the sympathy
of many Spaniards with regard to religion, but my man did not
dare to ask for more particulars upon this point. There are forty
sail off Dover, 16 of them well-found ships. Lumbres was said to
be expecting 15 more from Rochelle and Denmark. They are
again saying here that Fiesco is a long while returning. Stukeley's
servants who came from Spain are being interrogated every day and
they are made to declare things that were never dreamt of there.
When I have a surer messenger than this one I will write more at
length.—London, 31st October 1571.
288. The King to Guerau De Spes.
On the 5th instant your letters of the 9th and 10th ultimo were
received, reporting the imprisonment of the duke of Norfolk, which
grieved us greatly, both because of his own danger and the evil
which may result therefrom to the queen of Scotland, and also
because it frustrates a matter of so much importance for the
service of God and the advantage of religion as that which was
being forwarded through him. The thread of the business thus
being cut, there is no more to say to you about it, excepting to
refer you to the duke of Alba for instructions. We are anxious
for a newer letter from you to learn what has happened since, as
we trust in our Lord, whose cause it is, to once more put it in such
a position that I may help it forward in his service.
There is nothing more to be said about Hawkins, as that affair,
too, depended upon the principal business. You will proceed with
him as the Duke may instruct you.
I have not yet learnt what settlement has been arrived at as
regards the restitution of the detained merchandise, since neither
you nor the duke of Alba send me the statement of Thomas Fiesco's
arrangement. Although no doubt it will have been sent before you
receive this, it will be well for you to keep me well advised of all
that is being done or hoped for in this business. It is being so
much delayed that little result can be expected to come from all the
negotiations that have been carried on, but in any case we must
keep hammering away with these people.
Very evil and injurious to Christianity at large, and to my
dominions in particular, would be the conclusion of the treaty which
you believe is being agreed upon between the French and the
Queen, as it is clear that the Protestants of Germany would enter
into it. It is therefore most necessary that you should endeavour
to learn thoroughly what there is in it and duly advise us. As
regards the marriage of the duke of Anjou, I cannot believe that
there is any reality in the affair and this is shown by the scanty
message taken back by M. de Foix.
You will also try to learn from the bottom what understanding
the Queen has with the duke of Florence with regard to the aforementioned
matter, as I am of opinion that it is all artifice (fn. 3) and I
cannot believe that he would bring himself to enter into an alliance
with that Queen, seeing that the result might be so unprofitable to
him. But in any case it will be well to see his hand and report
what you hear.—Madrid, 31st October 1571.