K. 1447. 3.
22. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Your letters of 28th February and 23rd March received. Many
thanks for the diligence you display in my service. You did well
in forwarding the writing and discourse translated into Spanish,
that we may see here what it contains.
It will be advisable for you to continue to keep yourself well
informed with regard to preparations in England ; the troops that
are raised and embarked ; what munitions are provided, how many
ships there are, and for how long a time the latter are provisioned.
You will discover all you can ; and also, if possible, the objects in
view, and report to us here. You will also keep us advised as to
how the Irish are going on.
You have acted prudently in your recent audiences with the
Queen. It will not be harmful for her to be alarmed at our fleet
and you are doing well in fostering this fear.
Captain Augustine Clerk, an Englishman with a well-armed
ship, has entered the port of Bayona in Galicia ; and having regard
to the letters from you he produces, and the patent he bears from
M. de la Motte, I think of availing myself of his services in Pedro
de Valdez's fleet there. We learn from this captain that they were
intending in England to send a number of ships to Portugal under
pretence of trading, but that they would carry arms, &c., as ballast,
and crews of double strength. They think that after they have
sold their merchandise they will be sure to be seized, and this will
give them a good excuse for serving us, as it will appear as if they
were compelled. Investigate this, and if you find it true, take the
necessary steps with the Queen to stop it ; but do not declare the
author.—Merida, 16th May 1580.
K. 1448. 5.
23. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
In addition to the letters from you acknowledged in the other
despatch, nine others have been received, four of 20th February,
four of 23rd March, and one of 9th April, all of which will be
You did very well in taking the action you did with the Queen
when you saw she was afraid of our fleet ; and it was prudent to
have taken the opportunity of protesting against the help being
sent from England to my rebels in Flanders, and the sailing of ships
to plunder on the voyage to the Indies. I approve of your action.
Perhaps your having fostered her fears will cause the English to be
The measures you have adopted to obtain news of Drake as soon
as he arrives are good, and so also are those for having him
proceeded against. Take care they do not conceal his arrival ; so
that you may try to obtain restitution of the plunder, or at least
protest against the outrage.
The raising of the embargo on the English ships here and allowing
them to ship Spanish merchandise, was in consequence of the great
injury and loss which would have been incurred in Andalucia if
they were unable there to export their crops this year ; and also to
enable you to make the most of the concession with the Queen, as
if it had been granted by your influence. The reason why the
Queen's letter was not answered, as was requested by the Englishmen
who had the business in hand, was in order that we might be
untrammelled as to our future action. I have ordered your proposal
that a general prohibition should be re-enacted, whilst special
permits could be granted, to be considered ; and in due time will
advise you of the decision.
You did well in frustrating the intention you heard of, to deliver
the king of Scotland into the hands of the queen of England, by
communicating with the Scots ambassador in Paris through Juan
It will be well to keep us informed of the result of the attempt
to reach Cathay by the northern parts, although, as you say, it
seems a difficult enterprise.
We note what you say about the letter of the Governors of
Portugal to the Queen, sent through their ambassador, and the wish
entertained in England that we should be at war here. You had
better inquire very carefully and thoroughly whether any aid be
sent from England to them (i.e., the Portuguese), and be very
vigilant in this matter ; so that, in case of need, you may take
steps to show the Queen how important it will be for her not to
allow the English to help the Portuguese against me, either directly
or indirectly, and that otherwise she will compel me to resent it
in good earnest, no matter under what pretext or disguise it be
Thanks for reports about Ireland, Scotland, and Flanders, which
please continue to send.—Merida, 16th May 1580.
K. 1448. 6.
24. The King to Juan De Vargas Mejia.
The steps you took with the Scotch ambassador about his king
and queen were very advisable, as also was your advice to him, not
to mention it to anyone without instructions from his queen.
The plan for withdrawing the Scots from Flanders is of the
highest importance, and you will do your best to forward it, by the
means you mention. Report what is done.
You will have heard from Juan de Idiaquez that it was not
considered advisable to grant Lord Hamilton a pension, but only
to entertain him with present gifts of money. For this purpose a
credit for 1,000 crowns is now sent you, and you can give it to
him in one or more instalments, as you think best, keeping him in
hand the meanwhile with fair words and making what use of him
you can.—Merida, 16th May 1580.
25. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
What your Majesty directed me to convey to the queen of Scotland
has been signified to her with the caution which your Majesty
enjoins. In consequence of the need for secrecy, and the danger
which she might incur, I delayed communicating with her until
she provided means for my doing so. She has sent and asked me
to inform your Majesty that she has done, and will do, all she can to
bring her son to submit to the Catholic church, to which she herself
will be faithful whilst she lives. She also begs me to reiterate her
sincere and constant attachment to your Majesty's interests, and
also her efforts to bring her son to the same feeling. Alençon's
secretary, (fn. 1) whom I mentioned as being expected here, came on the
3rd, with a cypher letter for the Queen in Alençon's own hand,
which letter she deciphered herself, and at first allowed no one else
see it. The substance of it was to say, with many fine words, that,
although much pressure was being exerted to prevent him from
marrying her, he would stand at nothing to attain an object he so
greatly desired. He therefore begged her to say whether she
would allow commissioners to be sent to her to settle the conditions.
The bearer and the French ambassador addressed her to the same
effect. With the letter there came another from the King, especially
referring to the efforts being made by the Pope to prevent
the marriage. He highly praises Alençon and points out to the
Queen how important it is for the safety of her country that the
marriage should be effected, as it would strengthen her against the
alarm caused to her by your Majesty's fleet and the news from
He also brought a letter from Alençon for the Earl of Sussex,
and another to the treasurer, both written in his own hand. He
ordered that Leicester should not be informed that he wrote these
letters, and the Queen told Leicester of this. When de Vray
spoke to Leicester from his master begging him to favour the
business, he replied that he did not know how they thought to get
any help from him, since his master did not even write to him,
whereas letters had been sent to Sussex and Cecil. De Vray
excused his master by saying that he was prevented from doing so,
as he was being bled. Leicester accepted the excuse, but he quite
understands the distrust with which the French regard him,
although he is in the same high favour with the Queen as before.
When the secretary begged the Queen to dispatch him, she told
him she would send an autograph letter by him. He said he was
instructed to take a verbal answer, and that if a written reply
were handed to him he was to open it before he left England and
learn the decision it contained. This was a reason for delaying
him until the 18th, when he left with two letters for Alençon and
the king of France respectively, which were handed to him open
that he might see them, and they were sealed before Vray himself.
They contained many sweet words but no decision. They thought
this the best course, as the ambassador told the Queen herself that
the matter was now so far advanced that if it were not carried
through, Alençon could not avoid being offended. In this way
both parties are weaving a Penelope's web, simply to cover the
designs which I have already explained to your Majesty.
The Queen has received a letter from the Governors of Portugal
to the same effect as I wrote on the 9th ultimo. This duplicate
was brought by Francisco Barreto of Lima, as far as Paris, and
came thence by the hand of a Portuguese, with a letter from the
duchess of Braganza to the Queen, urging upon her the duty of
coming to the aid of the person rightly entitled to that crown,
without further particularising. The Queen replied, both to the
Duchess and to the Governors, that she would not fail to aid the
person who had a right to the Crown. I have tried to discover
whether the Portuguese who brought the letter came from Portugal
on purpose, but I find he only came from Paris, the letter having
been sent to Giraldo and forwarded by him.
The only object of raising forces in Scotland, on account of the
rumour I mentioned, was to protect the person of d'Aubigny from
the opposite party. He is in his former position with the King,
and, as the efforts of his opponents to overthrow him have failed,
they have determined to attempt another plan, this being to call a
meeting of ministers in order to force d'Aubigny not to alter the
religion of the country. With this object they sent a man from
here on the 11th to be present at the meeting.
Pedro de Zubiaur, a merchant established in Seville, informs me
that when he landed at Plymouth, he learned that two English ships
had arrived at places about four leagues from there. One of them
had discharged wheat at Cartagena, and the other had come from
Algiers, whither she had taken a cargo of munitions. These two
ships had stolen a ship belonging to Martin Visante, valued at
40,000 crowns. I begged the Queen to grant a commission that I
might send and sequestrate the property, embargoing it until its
ownership was established. This has been done, and the Admiralty
will have no chance of interfering, as otherwise it would not be so
easy to recover for your subjects that which may be found in the
possession of these thieves.—London, 21st May 1580.
26. Juan De Vargas Mejia (fn. 2) to the King.
It is reported from Scotland that the Parliament held there on
the 4th instant did nothing but order, at the instance of the Prince,
a proclamation by sound of trumpet to be made, of the innocence
and fidelity of the earl of Morton, who was now in higher favour
than ever. In consequence of this and of the presence at the Court
of the queen of England's ambassador, (fn. 3) the earl of Huntingdon and
another English lord being on the Border, some great embroilment
to the prejudice of the King and his realm was expected, notwithstanding
that I learn from the Scots' ambassador that efforts were
still being made to transport the Prince to the port of Dumbarton,
whence he might be sent out of the country. This is not without
his own goodwill and consent.—Paris, 31st May 1580.