1042. f. 124.
|829. News Letter.|
… “The accord with England is still in suspense, and by what we gather the Queen is minded to insist on too high and advantageous terms.
“The Gueux were of late in the port of Dover with a large force of ships of war, and but for the protection afforded them by the Castle, would all have been taken by our Admiral.”
1 September, 1571. Brussels. Italian. Copy.
|830. News Letter.|
… “A secretary of the Most Christian King has arrived here to promote, it is said, the interest of the Count of Gaiazzo: his news is that the marriage of the King's sister with the Prince of Navarre was in a fair way to be arranged, but that it was held that that of M. d'Anjou with the Queen of England was out of the question.”
8 September, 1571. Rome. Italian. Copy.
|831. News Letter.|
… “From England we have no other intelligence than that the Count of Fiesco has written that he hopes soon to send us good tidings of the accord.”
8 September, 1571. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
|832. [John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano,] Nuncio in Spain to [Jerome Rusticucci, Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia].|
“I have learned from a good source that his [Catholic] Majesty has received an intimation that the King of France, being minded to confer with the Admiral [Châtillon] and the Prince (fn. 1) of Navarre for the purpose, as they give out, of assuring the peace and concord of the realm, and finally arranging the marriage of Madam Margaret with the said Prince, has informed the Pope thereof, suggesting some hope that the Admiral will for the future be less perfidious than in the past, and that they desire to have his Holiness' dispensation for the said marriage; and so it seems they would fain justify this conference and alliance by the communication which they make to his Holiness. Wherefore, knowing as I do that his [Catholic] Majesty views this conference and alliance with extreme suspicion, and will be very apprehensive lest anything should escape him, and might perchance have some office done with the Pope (though this I do not affirm), I have deemed it expedient to forewarn and apprise his Holiness of this intimation that his [Catholic] Majesty has received, in order that his Holiness may take such action as the affair may require, and also, if he think fit, keep the Cardinal Legate informed thereof, that when he hears it talked of, he may know how to give a good account of it, this being premised that his Majesty is already notified of the matter aforesaid.
“On the arrival of a courier from Flanders the Catholic King suddenly resolved that Ridolfi should go post-haste to Flanders preserving the strictest incognito, and he will leave to-night.
“The Duke of Alva requires his presence for the information that may be gotten from him, and yet more for the correspondence that may be carried on at close quarters with the Queen of Scotland and the nobles, whereby it is apparent that the business is making way, and at any time in October we may hope to see the result that it shall please God to grant them; nor is it thought bad policy to wait till then, because, if war should break out in consequence of this affair either in France or in Germany, there will be all the winter in which to make preparations. The said Ridolfi has readily accepted the mission with all the risk that he runs; and the King seems to be very well satisfied. Ridolfi's kinsfolk, who are in Rome and Florence, are to know nothing; so, if they should ask news of him, you may say that he is well, but nothing more, because he will be in hiding in Flanders, and it is necessary on every account to observe the utmost secrecy in this matter. It is well that I have learned the Pope's mind in regard to these two points, although I believe that neither the one nor the other is of present importance.”
9 September, 1571. Decipher. Italian. Copy.
|833. [John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano,] Nuncio in Spain to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].|
“There is no occasion for me to add aught to what I have said in other letters in a large packet which accompanies that of the King. This is therefore merely to inform you that Ridolfi, who was to have departed last night, has not yet gone, nor yet the courier; and so Ridolfi writes the accompanying letter which I enclose with this.”
11 September, 1571. Madrid. Italian. Copy.
“Most Blessed Father &c.
“Having already apprised your Holiness of the orders given to the Duke of Alva, I have now to inform you by this that two days since there arrived a courier, bringing his Majesty intelligence from England and Flanders that the business is in a better position than ever; and they push it forward to the best of their power; and though hitherto the Duke of Alva has been reluctant to assume the direction of the enterprise by reason of his desire to return to Spain, he now seems to have made up his mind to carry out his Majesty's commission, and has made urgent demand that I be sent with all speed to Flanders, my help being greatly needed there; and so the King has bidden me go forthwith incognito, and by way of Italy, to avoid as far as possible the dangers, which your Holiness may conceive to be very great. I shall accordingly depart tomorrow, trusting in God that, as it is His cause that I undertake, and your Holiness aids me by your prayers, He, of His grace, will carry me safely through, and success crown the business; in which his Majesty is most zealous and firmly resolved not to let slip so excellent an opportunity; and on my part all those good offices are done and will be done that are possible, as the result will make manifest to your Holiness; and I have instructed the nuncio in my absence to be your suppliant in regard to all matters that may be germane to the business. And from the fact that some treasonable act done against this great enterprise by one of his Majesty's ministers was discovered to his Majesty and the nuncio, I augur to my comfort that God is minded to neglect no means of bringing this business to a successful conclusion, which we may expect to witness at any time during October. Meanwhile your Holiness will consider whether it will be expedient to make choice of some personage to be despatched to France as soon as the insurrection begins, in order that there may be no interference from that quarter to complicate the affair; and therefore your Holiness may assure the Most Christian King that the Catholic King has not espoused such a cause in order to make himself master of England, but solely to re-establish in that realm the true Catholic religion, and the ancient law under the true Sovereign, to wit, the Queen of Scotland, who is of their own blood, and then to withdraw his people; and that the success of the enterprise will redound to the advantage no less of France than of England.
“I will write your Holiness word from Flanders of what happens.”
10 September, 1571. Decipher. Italian. Copy.
1042. f. 373.
|834. News Letter.|
“From England is returned the Genoese Thomas Raggio Fieschi, the principal merchant in Antwerp, who was sent to England to adjust the differences: he says that he finds little there to stand in the way of an arrangement, and that as to the marriage of the Queen with M. d' Anjou, that matter will go no further, for he says that that negotiation is but a pretence on the part of the English to enable them to condescend the more readily to an adjustment of the differences with these countries to their advantage. He also reports that it is said that the Duke of Norfolk is again a prisoner and lodged in the Tower of London.”
17 September, 1571. Brussels. Italian. Copy.
vol. iv. f. 121
|835. [Fabius Mirto,] Bishop of Caiazzo, Nuncio in France to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].|
“M. de Fois [Foix] has returned from England with presents of horses and money, and has spent two days in Paris, and is going to Court. Meanwhile he has given certain of his confidants to understand that the match is excluded but friendship and alliance concluded, and therefore Secretary Cecil, who governs that woman, is to come thence to their Majesties, and his attendant is to be Cavalcanti, who has remained for that purpose.
“This malignant has confirmed the report that we had in the first instance of the reincarceration of the Duke of Norfolk and some other nobles, and the subjection of the Queen of Scotland to far closer restraint than before, all in consequence of the discovery of Ridolfi's plot.”
17 September, 1571. Paris. Italian.
Postscript.—“With this there will be a sheet of cipher.”
Decipher.—“In this hell, where at present I discern nought but peril and presage of disaster, methinks that, as these miscreants are endeavouring by every kind of device to separate Monsieur from the Most Christian King, for after trying in the first instance to win him over by bribes, and then by means of the English match to banish him and enslave him to that wicked woman, now at last, perceiving the young man's constancy, they fail not to go about sowing distrust and discord betwixt him and the King, instilling suspicion into his Majesty's mind that Monsieur has a great position of his own in the realm, usurps in swaying the government all the royal authority, and aims at the crown in view of the barrenness of the Queen, besides other iniquities, which imputations they disseminate by indirect methods till they reach the ears of the King— methinks, I say, that in these circumstances I ought to submit whether it behove us not also on our part to endeavour to support the young man, Monsieur, I mean, in the firm resolve, which by his deeds he evinces, to safeguard and defend the Catholic religion, seeing that by safeguarding it we may hope also to safeguard the King and the kingdom; whereas in the young man's ruin, should it in any wise come to pass, the King and the kingdom might also be involved, both falling a prey to these miscreants. Therefore I say that to counteract the false baits, marriages and other matters, which these miscreants hold out to estrange him from us, it should be our part to make overtures to him of a kind to establish and safeguard him; and it might, perchance, be to the purpose to propose marriage with a daughter of the Catholic King upon such terms and conditions that the said young man might set his mind upon it, and the King likewise, with the result of establishing this crown and realm, and relieving all Christendom of a grave menace of evil. And should these malignants be powerful enough to thwart or turn aside the purpose of the King, which I am sometimes disposed to apprehend by reason of his exceeding goodness and their exceeding wickedness, it would but be necessary to support this brother, to whom all the Catholic party would adhere; and with the authority that he possesses and the great following that he would have both for his own and religion's sake, there can be no doubt that he would be stronger than all the other parties, even than that of the King, who for all his power could not make another Prince, for that rank belongs to Monsieur alone; and therefore, as, when we wish to keep a bird from food that might kill him, we offer him food of another sort, so I think, we should do in this case. And perchance God—blessed be His name!—is by feeble instruments, such as I am, manifesting His will, thereby to His greater glory, with praise and by the merits of our Lord, to bring it to pass; and perhaps a counter-proposal to the match with Navarre might be found in one with the Prince of Savoy. All this matter I have discussed here more at large and with the Spanish ambassador with a view to discover how he and the like ministers might be minded, whether to approve it or to condemn it. And though at first he seemed disposed to find some little difficulty in it, as is his way in regard to matters that are not of his own devising, yet, as we discussed it more in detail, entering into all its advantages and disadvantages, as well of a private as of a public nature, he agreed with me in approving it in regard alike of the public as also of his King's private interest, so that to satisfy my conscience I have resolved to submit it to his Holiness with much zeal, if not with equal sagacity. He will be able to bring more sagacity to its consideration, and if he find it sound, to adopt it as a policy worthy of his authority and goodness.”
1042. f. 129d.
|836. News Letter.|
“We learn that in Scotland the Huguenots, being assembled in congregation, were attacked by the Catholics, who slew many of their leaders, and recovered possession of the person of the young King.
“The fleet of the Indies, many ships in number, is reported arrived at Spain, bringing with it more than 6,000,000 of gold.
“As to the accord with England the end is not in sight, but there is good hope thereof.”
23 September, 1571. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
vol. iii. f. 335.
|837. [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia] to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.|
“I received of late three letters from your Lordship of the 23rd of last month, from which I learned the position of English affairs, and what we may hope therefrom. It is now for me to say in the Pope's name, that, notwithstanding the brief of the 20th inst. addressed to you jointly with the Bishop of Cuenca, enjoining both of you to suffer not the moneys derivable from the Decimero (fn. 2) to be spent for any other purpose than that of the enterprise against the Turks, his Holiness is content that such part thereof, as his Majesty shall deem necessary, be spent upon the English enterprise, and neither excommunication, nor any other censures contained in the said brief be thereby incurred. Such is his Holiness' mind, and as such you must communicate it to his Majesty and the said Mgr., the more plainly to declare the intention of his Holiness in this particular.”
24 September, 1571. Rome. Italian.
vol. iii. f. 337.
|838. [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia] to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.|
“I have received at one and the same time your letters of the 30th of August and the 9th, 11th, and 12th of last month, together with one from Ridolfi, of which I need only acknowledge the receipt while I await intelligence of some good result of his business.
“As soon as his Majesty shall have succeeded in discovering the Emperor's mind in regard to the League, and that he is resolved to join it, the Pope will not fail to do all proper offices with the Princes to the same end as his Majesty's own policy shall require. It will therefore be necessary to discover in the first instance whither he tends, and afterwards to discuss the question of the subvention.
“You write that you have already seen what is written in Portugal in regard to the departure of the Queen; and you will have readily understood that there can be no contrariety, and that every endeavour has been made to save his Catholic Majesty. In the same manner the Pope here has spoken to the Portuguese ambassador as often as he has referred to the matter; and in his last audience he himself repeated his Holiness' very words, which accord with what was written in Portugal and not in Spain, as, it seems, his Majesty suspected to be the case. So that on this side there is no contrariety of language.
“As to the advice of the Venetian ambassador I have nothing else to tell you, but that the Pope has not yet thought of doing that office with his Majesty for next year's expedition which, he writes, was already done.
“As to the business of the Breviary some arrangement will be made when the Spanish ambassador has spoken to the Pope.
“As to the warning which, you write, has been given to his Majesty touching the conference with the Admiral [Châtillon], I say that not a word has ever been said to the Pope as to that business, nor yet as to the dispensation for the marriage that is being negotiated with the Prince (fn. 3) of Navarre; and therefore you will be able to assure his Majesty that his Holiness will never grant the required dispensation until he see him reconciled with the Church, still less if they should conclude the match in the hope of getting the dispensation after the fact.
“The licence for Sicily has been received, and we are notified of his Majesty's answer touching the business of the Marquis del Vasto.
”My letter thus far written, there arrived letters from France, by which the nuncio reports that the conference with the Admiral had taken place, and that the marriage was still in treaty: as to which, in addition to the foregoing, I say that neither have their Majesties written, nor has anyone here said a word to the Pope in their name, in regard to that matter; but it is only by another way that he has received advice of all this, and that he is resolved in no wise to grant the said dispensation. Nor need I say more by this.”
6 Oct., 1571. Rome. Italian.
|839. Robert Ridolfi to [the Same].|
“I wrote to your Most Reverend Lordship from Barcelona, and afterwards from Paris, giving you an account of my journey. I now apprise you that on the 29th of last month, after prolonged and painful exertion, I reached a place but two posts from this city, and forthwith advised the Duke of Alba and Marquis Vitelli thereof. The Duke of Alba thereupon bade me enter this city incognito the same evening, and I did so. Four days, or so, however, elapsed before the Duke of Alba gave me audience, which being at last had, I learned that the Queen of England, either upon the first alarm that she took upon the interception, upon the person of the Bishop of Ross's servant, of those letters which she was never able to decipher, as the packet had been altered, or because she had taken some umbrage at the arrival here of Marquis Vitelli, or by reason of the chronic disquietude in which they are on my account, has recently caused the Duke of Norfolk to be privily incarcerated, deprived him of all his servants, and set in their place servants of her own; and that they have done the like to the Queen of Scotland. And this, I am informed by the Duke of Alba, has occasioned the arrest of three principal servants of the said Duke of Norfolk with divers ciphers and writings. It is now a month since this happened, and we do not yet know whether any matter of importance has been discovered; and I hope in God that they will come well out of this hurly-burly as they have come out of the others, because they will not be able to elicit anything from my letters, nor yet of the servants that have been taken is there any that would know and could discover the secret (unless they should take others); and so I am of good hope by reason of the discharge of the Bishop of Ross, who is the principal in these negotiations, because, if they were in possession of all the plot, they would not have let him go, and be making a shift to discover it through the servants of the Duke.
“I am fully persuaded that the Queen of England, having discerned some ferment in the realm, and discovered and taken (as they say) some days since moneys consigned by the Duke of Norfolk to the friends in Scotland, and perhaps intended to promote the insurrection, has resolved to secure the person of the said Duke, as he is one of the chief nobles and the most suspected by her, as she lately arrested Lord Thomas Stangles [Stanley] son of the Earl of Arbi [Derby], also a powerful lord and one of the confederates in favour of the Queen of Scotland, and a staunch Catholic; but, as I have said, hitherto, it does not appear that anything has been discovered, or any important step taken against the said Duke, which I did not fail to explain to the Duke of Alba with what else seemed to me to be relevant to the success of this business. But, methinks, the Duke of Alba is loath to espouse this enterprise, and that, I think, for divers reasons, among which ranks first the desire that he has to return to Spain, content, perchance, with the glory that he thinks he has gained in these parts; and fearing, as he does, lest the results of this enterprise and the labour that it would involve should tarnish that glory, though he have as yet but words and not results whereon to base his surmise, it is easy to understand that he would gladly leave this burden to the Duke of Medina [Celi]. Besides which he fails not to take into consideration that this affair may be the occasion of his remaining a long time in these countries; and knowing not what pretext to choose on which to rupture this negotiation, now that he has received the Catholic King's instructions that by all means it is to be carried into effect, and seeing that Marquis Vitelli and I have made our appearance, and given orders for all preparations to be made, he avails himself of the opportunity afforded by the Duke of Norfolk's affair, saying that, lest the said business should be discovered, he thinks fit to keep it in statu quo, till he see what comes of the imprisonment of the Duke; and though in my judgment he does well, yet I see that he turns the occasion to account in protracting the negotiations, putting a thousand difficulties in the way of accomplishing the enterprise, as if he were fain not to initiate it, and in the meantime, perhaps, to procure his return to Spain as soon as possible; as to which matter I observe that he is far more on the alert than as to the accomplishment of this holy work, in which he must also be the more sluggish that the command has been given rather to Marquis Vitelli than to his [Alba's] son Don Frederic, and more account is made of the one than of the other. And hereto is to be added another and yet greater obstacle which he puts right in the way of the accomplishment of this business; to wit, that the said Duke of Alba says openly that he will not treat thereof and discuss the same with the ambassador resident in England, by reason of some difference which there must be between them; for which, had he apprised me thereof before, I would have cast about to find a remedy, albeit I should never have thought that in an affair of such importance to the service alike of God and the Catholic King and all Christendom he would have had regard to matters of private concern between him and the said ambassador, without whose help it is not now possible to do any good, seeing that he is in the confidence of those lords of England, who before my departure opened their mind to him with great frankness, having ciphers and other means of correspondence, and will not in future do the like to any other; nor does the Duke probe the suspicions that are current; and had those friends and I been aware of the Duke's imperfect understanding with the said ambassador, some remedy would have been found, which is not now practicable because of the advanced state of the negotiation.
“I account the said ambassador an honourable gentleman, and in this business, methinks, he has behaved very well; and very lately he wrote to me under date 18 (sic) August (fn. 4) that, if this business should fail, the blame would rest with the Duke of Alba, adding that I ought to prevail upon the Catholic King to entrust it to one that would speedily carry it into effect; which letter, your Illustrious Lordship may remember, I transmitted to you, and left in your hands. I have besought the Duke of Alba, after his refusal to allow me to treat with the Catholic King's ambassador, to give me leave to write, as of my own motion, to him, and likewise to the Bishop of Ross, thereby to do what otherwise is now impossible; to wit, to let the friends know that the Catholic King has caused all needful preparation to be made here, for such time as they shall think fit to act. But the Duke has not seen fit to allow me to do so; nor yet himself to apprise the Bishop of Ross, or to treat with our friends here; which surprises me, because, if the friends that are still at large were apprised of the mind of the Pope and the Catholic King, and of the preparations that have been made, they would at their own time make use of the opportunity, and address them with more spirit to the enterprise; to which, besides the matters aforesaid, I apprehend a further impediment in the interest constituted by those goods arrested many months ago in England, whereby Secretary Albornoz, (fn. 5) thinking, perhaps, to make, in respect of a single summer, a profit of 100,000 crowns, which, it is said, they will hand over pursuant to the accord of restitution, as it is deemed settled, is likely to spare no pains to prevent further progress, lest he should lose this great profit; and this, by what I know of him, I readily believe, as your Illustrious Lordship is already aware; and so these private interests ruin the world.
“In fine, whatever may be the reason, I see that the Duke of Alba has little inclination to carry this business through, so that I am of opinion, and to that effect have written to the Pope, that the coming of the Duke of Medina [Celi] should be expedited as much as possible (and Marquis Vitelli is of the same opinion), for he will be better disposed, and will also have a good understanding with the Catholic King's ambassador, being a kinsman of his. And such are the arguments which, if your Illustrious Lordship see fit, you may use with the Catholic King, concluding with this, that I believe that the business will never be accomplished by means of the Duke of Alba, as he raises infinite difficulties that serve no purpose but his own; and the Marquis would strive might and main to carry all duly into effect, if the Duke of Alba were willing; and he does his best, but he is thwarted in the interest of the Duke of Alba's son, although it is not openly avowed; which, and also the affair of Secretary Albornoz, your Illustrious Lordship will, with your wonted discretion deplore, giving no sign that you have the information either from me or from Marquis Vitelli.
“I have said that the best that can be done is to arrange that the Duke of Medina [Celi] come hither, and that in the meantime the Catholic King's ambassador be commissioned to keep the plot alive; and, that my presence here may not excite the Queen of England's suspicion, and be prejudicial to the friends, I am of opinion that your Illustrious Lordship should crave of the Catholic King leave for me to return, as at present I can be of no manner of use, the Duke of Alba not permitting me to hold any communication with the friends, whereas I shall always be able to come back when there is anything to do. Meanwhile I will keep close and in hiding, as I have hitherto done, awaiting the Catholic King's answer; and when you write to me, you may address your letters under cover to Marquis Vitelli, sending duplicates by hand of the Nuncio of France, just as I shall do from here; and this you will be pleased to communicate to the Legate on my behalf, And so I end, commending myself to your Illustrious Lordship's good grace. God grant you felicity.
“In Scotland the Catholics have routed the Huguenots, and the Earl of Lennox, who was in command for the adversaries and for the Queen of England, is slain; whence it is patent that the Queen of Scotland would observe all that her manifestoes promise, since it is evident that her friends are losing no time, and it must be confessed that ours are in fault.”
Postscript.—“You will use the cipher that begins with No. 20, and I beg you to cause the letters for Secretary Çayas, which are timely and written in concert with Marquis Vitelli, to be delivered forthwith.”
8 Oct., 1571. Brussels. Decipher. Italian. Copy.
vol. lxiv. f. 53.
|840. [John Delfino,] Bishop of Torcello, Nuncio at the Imperial Court to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].|
… “It is said that the Duke of Norfolk is again imprisoned by the Queen of England, and that the guards about the Queen of Scotland have been doubled.”
8 Oct., 1571. Vienna. Italian. Copy.
vol. xiii. f. 70.
|841. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to the Same.|
… “Touching the matter of the tenths (fn. 6) I have now to intimate that, albeit every effort will be made to induce his Majesty to desist from his pretension in regard to them, nevertheless, should it be possible to derive no more from that source than the 40,000 ducats, which, as I have twice written, he is content to contribute from the portion, which, he pretends, falls to the Royal Chamber, it would be well to know if his Holiness will be content to accept that sum, as to which you will be so good as to give me your answer; and not to weary you I will say no more.”
12 Oct., 1571. Madrid. Italian.
vol. xiii. f. 72.
N.S. vol. v.
|842. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].|
“This will be only to acknowledge receipt of your letters of the 24th of September, which require no answer save that I shall await information as to the age of the Count of Montorio, and send the information that you require of me touching Father Gordiello; and that I have learned his Holiness' intention as to the money of the Decimero, to make it available for the English business. God grant this may prove to be possible.
“I am brief this time, because I need but refer to what the Legate writes, who with equal diligence and modesty and prudence expedites his business, and has now hope of a speedy answer.
“Herewith there will be four lines of cipher.”
18 Oct., 1571. Madrid. Italian.
vol. xiii. f. 26.
N.S. vol. v.
|843. “It is understood that the Duke of Norfolk is betrayed and discovered to the Queen of England by a servant, and that he is confined in the fortress or Tower of London; and that every effort is being made to learn who his accomplices are. This will be the ruin of the goodliest enterprise that one could wish for, whereat great is his Majesty's vexation, and my grief extreme; and assuredly since Ridolfi's arrival his Majesty could not have done more, or shown more zeal, than he has done. As to Ridolfi we have no tidings. God help him.”|
1042. f. 135d.
|844. News Letter.|
… “By letters from the Catholic Court of the 30th of last month it is understood that the Legate Alessandrino was on that day met outside of Madrid by his Catholic Majesty, by whom he was accompanied to the church of Sta Maria and thence to the house of the Cardinal of Siguenza.”
20 Oct., 1571. Rome. Italian. Copy.
vol. 33. f. 124.
|845. Edmund Tanner to John, Cardinal Moroni, Protector of Ireland.|
An exile for religion's sake for more than twelve years from his native country Ireland, he has lived, the sport of Fortune, among Spaniards, Italians and Germans, during which time Ireland has been sorely afflicted by the tyranny of the heretics, and other calamities. Now, if he might be of any service to his country, he would fain return thither, but submits himself to the direction of the Protector. He is assured by grave men that during all this time not a hundred Irishmen in all Ireland have been infected with heresy, though not a few, for fear of penalties and confiscation of goods, attend the profane rites of the heretics, and the demoralisation of the people is such that a pious Catholic is hardly to be found: and no wonder since the clergy are the most depraved of all. Moreover, there is so little instruction to be had in the Christian faith that few can so much as repeat the Lord's Prayer, the articles of the faith, or the commandments, and still fewer understand them. Sermons are so uncommon that there are many that have never so much as heard one; the sacraments are so rarely administered, so much more rarely understood, that the ignorant people know not whether they were appointed by God or by men. In fine, so gross is the ignorance of the people that there are many who, passing all their lives in the grossest sin, have grown so accustomed thereto that they dare to say that it is just as lawful for them to live by theft or rapine as for him that worthily serves the altar to live by the altar.
And nevertheless, so well inclined are they, or rather prompted by the Holy Spirit, to a good life, that it needs but the admonition or reproof of a good man and forthwith they are dissolved in tears, lamenting that they knew not that such things were sins, or contrary to the commandments of God.
Touched by a sense of their woeful plight, the writer has come from Louvain to Rome to offer his services, such as they are, in that deserted field. As to his qualifications, he refers the Cardinal Protector to the Bishop of St. Asaph and the Bishop of Emly, both of whom are in Rome, and the ‘London’ Prior of the Knights of Malta who will soon be there; and for fuller information to Father Natalis, Vicar of the Institute of the Society of Jesus, and Father Everard, of the same Society, Alan Cope, Cardinal Hosius' theologian, and the Warden of the English Hospital at Rome, and other priests of the said hospital.
26 Oct., 1571. Rome. Latin.
1042. f. 139d.
|846. News Letter.|
“Hither is come to-day the most happy intelligence of the victory (fn. 7) of the Christian fleet over the Infidels, which the people celebrate and will continue to celebrate with boundless rejoicings.
“From England we learn that in London sheets have been posted at the corners of the squares and streets demanding the reduction of the price of wheat, the expulsion of foreigners, and the liberation of the Duke of Norcof [Norfolk]; also that the Queen had put Milord Cobham and some other of the chief men in prison, and also closely imprisoned the Earl of Arundel, and caused some of her maids of honour to be arrested. It is said here that they had conspired against Milord Robert or the Queen herself. However, the Queen had not yet gone so far as to take the life of anyone.
“The Count of Fiesco has just crossed thence to see if he can conclude the accord with these States.
“Of the Duke of Medina Celi nothing more has been heard since it was reported that he had embarked in Spain for Flanders: he is anxiously expected. The Duke of Alva is somewhat indisposed.”
30 Oct., 1571. Brussels. Italian. Copy.