559. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I received yesterday your letter of the 21st January, and
rejoiced much to hear news of his Majesty's health, as you may be
sure that the news of the catarrh and gout had been finely
exaggerated by the time it arrived here. God protect him and
preserve the health also of the Duke and Donna Anna.
There is no news here since my last, except that Simier and the
French Ambassador were much feasted on the occasion of the
Carnival, and, on one of the days they were entertained at a great
banquet given to the Queen by Hatton, the captain of the Guard.
The last night they were at a grand ball in which there were
comedies and many inventions.
Simier and the Ambassador do not agree, although they try to
conceal the fact, but the signs are clear to everyone, as they have
even divided their expenses, Simier paying for the dinner, he
having taken a separate lodging, and the Ambassador paying for
the supper. They say that Simier is seeking money and is offering
in pledge some of the jewels he brought. Some of the gentlemen
who came with him have gone back. The Queen makes great show
of favour to him in order to promote the idea that the marriage
may be effected.
Alençon's coming is now promised in April, and Simier says that
he is daily expecting the arrival of the Secretary sent by his
master, who, however, never comes. The Queen told Simier a few
days ago that he would perhaps soon come now, because she had
herself received a letter from Alençon, informing her that he was
Casimir was obliged by contrary winds to anchor at Blancnez, on
the coast of France, and was so sea-sick that he resolved to go
ashore dressed as a cook and prepare supper for the rest. On his
departure, Captain Breton, who came hither with Simier, spoke
with him, and Casimir told him to inform the king of France that
he had been in his country and had made good cheer there. He
landed at Flushing where he learned the trouncing his cavalry
had got after the affair of the 15th.
The English merchants, in view of the disturbances in Antwerp,
have resolved not to send any more goods thither, and to bring away
those that they have at Middleburg.
The congregation of Flemings resident here sent a man to
Flushing on the 27th ultimo with three hundred pounds in cash
and two hundred in bills for the purpose of fitting out eight crookstems
to scour the canals and give help where necessary on the
approach of our troops, and also to give orders that, if a revolution
should be feared in Antwerp in consequence of our proximity, the
ships they have there should be withdrawn.
These people are putting me off about the release of Guaras. I
cannot imagine what can be the reason, other than that which I have
written.—London, 5th March 1579.
560. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
On the 5th and 7th I wrote to you by way of Rouen. These
councillors are very divided respecting the appointment of Lord
Chancellor, some of them desiring the post and a change of offices.
For your Majesty's interests and those of the Catholics no man
could be appointed worse than the last one.
The Portuguese Ambassador requested audience, announcing that
it was to take leave of the Queen, but the result of it was that she
refused to allow him to depart until he had seen her again. If he
were not such a vain lying fellow, one might suspect that it was
only a pretext for the purpose of entertaining them until the arrival
of his successor, so that he might bring him into touch with
Leicester and Walsingham, through whom he acts, to hinder us in
M. de Pruneaux, who was Alençon's agent in Antwerp, is still
lingering there, in correspondence with his friends here, but I do
not hear that the States have again entertained his advances.
I am losing no time in sending men to Holland and Zealand, and
getting natives of the Provinces here to write how bad it would be
for them to undertake war again. The Flushing people have sent
here to treat with two Spanish ships which came with oranges, for
them to go with merchandise to that town. They offered them
sureties, both for the merchandise and the good treatment of the
men. They let me know and I told them to reply to the representatives
of the Flushing corporation that nothing could be
arranged between private citizens without the intervention of a
minister. This was done without my appearing, and was so far
satisfactory to them that they said they agreed and would consult
the corporation. I took this step in order that an excuse might
arise for their communication with me, and I doubt not, according
to the information of natives whom I have sent there, that they
greatly desire this as they are heartily opposed to war, unless
Orange's stories change their minds. I have obtained a letter
which St. Aldegonde wrote when Orange was going to Ghent, by
which you will see the plots they are weaving. I have sent copies
to Holland and elsewhere that they may understand how little
Orange really desires peace.
They are putting me off for hours now instead of days, as before,
about the release of Antonio de Guaras. (fn. 1) —London, 11th March
|561. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
On the 26th ultimo I wrote to your Majesty, and on the 6th
instant news arrived here of the action that had taken place near
Antwerp. The Queen related it in great glee to the French
ambassadors, and said that if the whole of them were to be burnt
it would not avenge the evil done by the townspeople in introducing
discord amongst the States. With regard to the arrest of goods
belonging to Flemings resident here, on account of monies owing
by the States and certain towns to Englishmen, the Queen replied
that, as her subjects' property had been taken, it must be paid for,
The greater part of these Flemings are heretics and their congregation
has always helped the rebels against us, there being only
four or six of them faithful subjects of your Majesty who help me
all they can ; and it would therefore appear that the Queen intends
to carry out her resolution of helping the States no more.
The English merchants here have also resolved to withdraw
their merchandise from Antwerp, and transfer the trade to Embden,
that with Hamburg having ceased. The intention is to confine
trade to Embden, as in the time when connection was prohibited
with your Majesty's dominions, and to avoid the evasion of this by
the Flemings here sending English cloths to Antwerp and bringing
goods from there, which would be cheaper than merchandise passing
through Embden ; they intend to forbid all commerce, excepting
through the latter place, on pain of forfeiture. If this is carried
out, the Flemings will have to leave the country, and the English
will monopolise trade, which is just what they desire. Signs are
evident that they do not wish to have any communication with the
States until they submit to your Majesty, for these Flemings were
formerly favoured because they aided the States.
Dissensions have recently broken out in Scotland again, and it was
said that the King was to be removed from Stirling to Edinburgh,
but it is not known whether this will be done before the meeting
of Parliament on the 1st of May.
M. de Simier and the French Ambassador still continue their
audiences with the Queen and have recently again postponed the
coming of Alençon, who, they say, will be accompanied by the
prince of Condé. They are in high hopes of the marriage, from
what the Queen tells them, it not being necessary to call Parliament
together for the purpose, permission for her marriage having been
granted in the first parliament of the reign. From the suspicions
of the king of France that his brother is plotting with the Bretons,
and the Gascons being still disturbed, it may be surmised that the
Queen will be the better pleased that the French should be kept
busy in their own country, and consequently not be able to concern
themselves with Scotch affairs, about which she is still anxious. (fn. 2) —
London, 11th March 1579.
562. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I wrote last on the 11th. The conference at Utrecht which I
mentioned, has resulted in the formation of a league between those
present, in the form set forth in the enclosed paper, containing really
abominable things, especially about liberty of conscience. The
confederates do not include the lordship of Grüninghen, by which
it will be seen that the townspeople there have kept to their good
The French ambassadors are expecting hourly the return of
Alençon's secretary whom they had dispatched. They say that
he will certainly bring the decision with regard to the Prince's
coming. As far as can be judged by appearances and the Queen's
own actions, nothing more certain can be imagined than that she
will marry Alençon if she can, and you may convey this to his
Hatton and Leicester have become friends in order to forward
the business, and are quite agreed about the appointment of a Lord
Chancellor. They are going to help a great heretic into the place, (fn. 3)
whilst Sussex and Cecil are opposed thereto.
The Queen gave orders on the 19th that no ships were to leave
for Germany until further orders. It is believed that this is in
consequence of the dissensions which exist between the Easterling
merchants and those of London, who are more divided than ever.
As I was closing this Alençon's secretary arrived.—London,
21st March 1579.
563. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
By William Bodenham I received your letter of 30th December
and the needlework sent by my lady the duchess (of Alba), which
work is such as might be expected from such hands.
The Portuguese ambassador is still about his departure for
France, and, although he returned a second time to see the Queen,
Leicester invited him, and the next day told him the Queen wished
to see him again. They tell me the object of all this is to put him
in accord with the man they are to send to Portugal, who will be
some creature of Leicester's. They have also managed for him to
confer with the ambassador they are sending again to France, (fn. 4) the
present resident being about to return. The object is to arrange
for Alençon to aid in preventing the crown of Portugal from
falling to his Majesty. They could thus keep friendly with that
country, and trade, even though they were at war with Spain.
If, as you say, another man is to come from Portugal, it is just
as well that this man should linger here as he knows so little.
In the sermons preached before the Queen they speak very
violently about this marriage. The preacher on the first Sunday
in Lent said that marriages with foreigners would only result in
ruin to the country, as was proved by what happened when the
sainted King Edward died and was succeeded by Mary, who
married a foreigner, and caused the martyrdom of so many persons,
who were burnt all over the country. When the preacher finished
the subject, but not the sermon, the Queen rose, which was
considered a great innovation. They are also attaching much
importance to the fact that preachers are constantly saying this
to the Queen and that she takes no steps, from which it may be
inferred that they are inspired from high quarters.
Leicester and Hatton have become great friends in view of the
marriage with Alençon, which they openly favour, and are pushing
forward Bromley for Lord Chancellor, against the wishes of all the
rest. He has gained them both completely by promising them large
pensions if he gets the place.
The gentleman sent by Alençon with letters dated the 23rd,
says that on the way to and from Paris he privately saw the
English ambassador, and from his saying to his brother that he
would be back again within a fortnight in Paris, it was understood
by many to mean that he (Alençon?) would again set up his
household there, and he (the Secretary?) would try to get Bussy
d'Amboise's place. Simier and Rochetaillé are much grieved at this.
Some people say that the warm negotiations of these Frenchmen
for the marriage are only a plan of the Queen-mother to forward
Alençon's marriage with one of the Infantas.
A Breton gentleman tells me that Alençon had sent orders to the
Isle of Chaussey, near Granville, in Brittany, that if any pirates
go thither they are to be well received and have facilities for disposing
of their prizes. This no doubt is to benefit Bacqueville,
whom he made Admiral recently, although he (Alençon) has no ports
in his dukedoms. He has also ordered pirate ships to be fitted out
for the voyage to the Indies.
Horatio Pallavicini, I am informed, received advices from Alicante
that the ship which was to bring the alum was being looked out for,
and he therefore wrote that the cargo was to be sent in English
ships. A note of these ships is enclosed in case any of them should
touch at a Spanish port.
There is a French captain here with whom I have been in communication
for the last six months, and who appears to me to be
a resolute and sensible man. I am told that the king of France
is displeased with him because he was one of the malcontents who
served with Alençon against him, and he is looked upon as being
the harbinger of any disturbance. He has on many occasions told
me that he wishes to render some service to his Majesty which
would fix him permanently in his employment. (fn. 5) He is a brave
man, and, although he offered to go and serve in the Netherlands
when Alençon was there, I did not think at the time that it would
be safe or prudent until the French had left. He now tells me
that he is determined to go to Antwerp with letters for Orange,
and to see M. de la Noue and discover what service he can render
according to circumstances. He assures me that he will have
sufficient credit amongst the French gentlemen to win them over,
and will attempt to get possession of some fortress, if his services
are accepted, for the purpose of surrendering it to us. I have
praised his determination, as I thought no harm could come of it,
nor did I see any objection to his getting one of the towns into his
hands, so long as Alençon was not there. I advised the prince of
Parma in case he should think it advisable to carry the matter
forward. It will be needful to supply him with money in such
case to win over the captains, and it may be advisable to point out
some particular fortress upon which he might keep his eyes.
I do not fail on every occasion to impress upon the ministers,
and other important people, how prejudicial it would be for the
French to get any power in this country, whence it will be almost
impossible to expel them even though the Queen were to die,
having in view their close friendship with Scotland. They listen
to me, but their answers are lukewarm, like people who expect
something more than mere words. I shall continue these offices,
which I think most necessary, as his Majesty has said nothing to
the contrary. If it be true than Juan de Vargas has arranged
what is said with the king of France, it surely would be better for
him to advise me of it direct before I hear it from another quarter ;
but he doubtless thinks differently.—London, 31st March 1579.
|564. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 11th and sent duplicate on the
15th. M. de Simier and the ambassador continue their constant
audiences with the Queen respecting the marriage, and she seems,
by all appearances, to very willingly listen to them. In the course
of the negotiation it was suggested that, if the marriage be effected,
Alençon might be appointed King of the Romans. This was well
received by the Frenchmen, who had letters from their King at the
time telling them to keep the matter in hand until he got a decided
reply, which he expected from Spain and Rome ; and, as soon as it
came, Alençon's secretary should be sent back with the decision.
The Queen's ambassador in Paris advised her at the same time that
preparations were being made for Alençon's visit, which appears to
The ambassadors thereupon again began to treat with Leicester
about Alençon's preparation for the visit, but said that it would not
be advisable for him to come until the business was confirmed,
which opinion they said they were conveying to the Queen and
asked him to support them. Leicester replied that this course was
most undesirable, and that when Alençon came, Parliament would
be sitting when he (Leicester) and his friends would endeavour that
all the country, through the mouth of Parliament, should beg the
Queen to marry Alençon, which she could not then refuse, even
though she were not so truly desirous of it, as she is. This kept
the Frenchmen in play which was the object aimed at.
On the 19th Alençon's secretary arrived with letters from the
King dated 16th, both to Leicester and the Queen, in which he
assured her that his brother would be here in the month of May
and begged her that the conditions should be fixed with necessary
precision, for the satisfaction of both parties. He said that the
ambassador at Rome had, at your Majesty's instance taken steps
with the Pope to hinder the marriage, and that your Majesty had
written to him begging him to divert his brother from it ; the
same being done by the Nuncio in Paris on behalf of the Pope and
by Juan de Vargas in the name of your Majesty, but that he (the
king of France) still wished that it should go on. As regards the
question of religion, he could assure the Queen that his brother
would conduct himself in a way which should cause no scandal in
He assured Leicester on his word of honour that his authority
and position should not be injured in any way by the marriage, as
he would be the guide and friend of his brother.
After the coming of the secretary with these letters, which gave
a fresh impulse to the business, the Queen received three despatches
from Paris within two days, sent with great speed in forty-five
hours, advising her of the arrival there of Alençon and the duke of
Guise, and of the applause with which he had been received.
This disburbed her greatly, as it was unexpected and she is
suspicious about Scotland, and considers that there must be some
great mystery behind this, because Alençon had concealed his
intention to visit his brother even from his closest friends and
The ambassador also informed her that the Nuncio had declared
to Alençon in the name of the Pope that he would excommunicate
him if he came to this country, and the people of Paris publicly
said that, if he married the Queen, they would never accept him as
king of France, if he should succeed to the throne. Nevertheless,
he shows signs of his intention to marry her and says that he
will look upon as his enemy any person who advises him to the
M. de Simier saw her on the 26th and gave her a letter written
by Alençon himself, dated the 23rd, telling her not to be surprised
at his visiting his brother, who had received him as such ; the cause
of it having been his desire to contradict those who asserted that
they were at issue. He also asked her not to consider it strange
that the gentleman who had come with Simier should return to
accompany him (Alençon) on his journey. The Queen was very
gracious to Simier and detained him so long that she made him
stay to supper with Lady Howard, who heads the tabie of the
ladies of the Privy Chamber. She sent him the supper from her own
table, although I had taken care that she was informed that the
letters dated the 16th, from the king of France to her and Leicester,
had not been written in France at all, but in London. This was
seen from the fact that the handwriting was that of the secretary
of the French ambassador here. When I heard of it I had the earl
of Leicester told, without its being known that the information
came from me. No doubt the secretary of Alençon brought these
signatures in blank with orders to fill up the letters in the way that
The close confinement of the queen of Scotland continues and the
permission given by the Queen to the secretary to visit the King
on her behalf was shortly afterwards revoked.
With regard to the pressure being put upon Flemings here to
cease trading with Antwerp, and to confine their commerce with
Embden the Archduke Mathias and Orange have written suggesting
that trade might be done at Middleburg which would cause no loss
to them. The English have not replied, nor have they decided yet
to fix their trade in Embden, although they are greatly at issue
with the Maritime towns of Dantzic and Hamburg.
Orange has promised to carry on the war against your Majesty
in the States at a very small cost, the intention being to draw it
out and make it offensive (defensive?) merely, by keeping possession
of the towns only, and sustaining no army in the open.—London,
31st March 1579.