Appendix: December 1587

Pages 660-661

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 1, 1586-1588. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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December 1587

Dec. 15. Stafford to Walsingham. (fn. 1)
I stayed this bearer, hoping to recover certain papers and ciphers taken in Gilbert Gifford's chamber after he had been taken with an English queane; and with them also one Cotton, that saith he belongs to my Lord of Essex, and came over with your passport. Who he is I know not, for he has never come at me, nor been with any of mine, but hath ever kept that queane's company.
"This was done upon Friday last, and I had warning of it by Charles Arundel that day; and that there are letters that Phelippes (fn. 2) writ to him and a notable cipher that Phelippes sent him; and certain letters which they have intercepted any time this month on six weeks, which he writ to Mr. Phelippes, which they have deciphered with the cipher. It is told me that things [are] discovered of the death of the Queen of Scots and the apprehension of the gentlemen that were executed, and through which they think to make their profit greatly of, to her Majesty's dishonour.
"I have done what I can to have them into my hands, and Arundel laboured to get all, and assured [me] upon Friday I should have them the next day or it should cost him his life. Upon Saturday morning he fell suddenly sick with that extremity that I never saw; so that I think this knave Paget and his companions have poisoned him or given him some mischief, for you never saw man in that extremity; presently in a raving and a burning [fever], and spots come out [all over] of him. The physicians think it a purple ague or worse . . . I was with him even now; the physicians have given him over but only a very honest learned man, a physician that serveth my house; yet he hath no great hope of him neither. So that now I cannot tell which way to go about it to have them, for as I hear say, the Vicar-General to the Bishop of Paris, by these knaves' means, hath laid his authority upon him because he is a priest; which maketh me afraid that I shall not get them now, and that I shall hardly get him out; [for] which I do work all the means I can . . . and if I can, and he will, I will find means to send him into England; for if he were away, what letters soever be taken, they [may] be said to be counterfeit; but if he be here to avow them by constraint, they will make their profit of them greatly. They say they find . . . that by Phelippes' means, he kept intelligence with her Majesty.
I have set divers ways . . . to give him warning of the taking of his papers, . . . and to keep his tongue [quiet] which is but too lavish, and not to bewraye himself; and also to see if he can find any way to get out himself . . . I hope tomorrow some of them I have set about it will find means to speak with him; for to-day is Christmas Day here, and it is not possible to do it. If it had pleased God to send the poor gentleman life, I would have done well enough; but I do not think he will live till tomorrow morning.
"Look, Sir, I pray you, whom you trust, for without doubt it hath been written hither—and they that have writ it, have writ that they had it from you—that Arundel made a packet of Charles Paget's be brought to me, and that I sent it you, and all that I writ to you of Paget's and Morgan's being in evil predicament with the Spanish ambassador; for it was showed him written and he taketh it to be Borden's (fn. 3) hand; and they have since hated him like a toad. I pray God they have not paid him. . . . For the honour of God, Sir, that which I write to you at any time, either of him or of any else that serveth my turn, keep it to yourself, for [else] both I shall want means to serve and have it lie upon my conscience and my soul to have undone a man . . . Paris, 15 December, 1587.
Postscript. Arundel is even now dead. I would I had bought him again in this time for a good deal of money, for her Majesty's service sake. He never saw me nor none of mine come in but had still in his mouth that the Queen should know he was an honest man; and [it] was the last word he spake as he was yielding the ghost, seeing one of mine. Though he raved, some think that raving words insisted upon express[ing] somewhat that one hath [sic] most in his mind. I will make you one day know perfectly that it was true; and that I have a great loss of him."
Holograph. Add. Endd. 2½ pp. [S.P. Dom. Addenda, Eliz., vol. XXX., 53.]


  • 1. Stafford's letters are calendared at some length, as they are such important links in the series of his dispatches.
  • 2. Stafford spells Phelippes' name in various ways, but this was how he always signed himself.
  • 3. Sic. Evidently Arundel is meant.