Simancas: April 1561

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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, 'Simancas: April 1561', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 191-199. British History Online [accessed 29 May 2024].

. "Simancas: April 1561", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 191-199. British History Online, accessed May 29, 2024,

. "Simancas: April 1561", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 191-199. British History Online. Web. 29 May 2024,

April 1561

12 April. 126. The Same to the Same.
I have received your Majesty's letter of the 17th ultimo advising receipt of all mine up to the 22nd January, and I note the manner in which your Majesty commands me to proceed in this business of the Queen. By my two subsequent letters of 24th February and 24th March, relating Sidney's fresh conversation, your Majesty will be informed of the new events and the manner in which I thought best to treat them, and I now proceed to give an account thereof for my own discharge and your Majesty's information.
On the occasion of Sidney's first conversation (although it was not to be expected that the Queen would just yet give in altogether and beg your Majesty's favour) I thought it was time, considering the dangerous state of her affairs, for her to begin to recognise her position, and I therefore replied somewhat dryly and distantly both in order to sell her the business the more dearly and to give me time to advise your Majesty and beg instructions, as I did in the postscript of a letter which I had already written. Seeing however that they were standing aloof from me and that Paget had interfered with new plans, I judged that some inconvenience might arise from my lukewarmness, and that the Queen might become suspicious, so I thought well to be somewhat more agreeable to them. Without therefore derogating from any of my influence in the affairs, I sought a good opportunity to renew negotiations and carried them as far as I thought necessary to gain the goodwill of Lord Robert and calm the anxiety of the Queen without exceeding, your Majesty's instructions, seeing that I was totally ignorant at the time of your Majesty's designs and wishes. I considered well, that if they were playing false with me, they might take advantage of the trick to the prejudice of the Catholic party which might lose heart at seeing your Majesty so fully falling in with the Queen's wishes, but at the same time such a result did not appear to me to be irremediable or so bad as might follow from my withdrawal from the affair, I determined of the two evils to choose the least and put the best face possible on it, whilst avoiding as far as I could the appearance of doing so and letting the Catholics know that I was in treaty with the Queen for their advantage and the restitution of religion, but that I expected for sure that it would end as before only in talk and trickery. I told them not to believe all they had about it or think that your Majesty desired anything more than their and the kingdom's welfare. I conveyed this to the archbishop of York, to Viscount Montague, and to two or three more of their principal doctors, and it had the effect of greatly consoling and reassuring them. I was moved to take this course also because even before Sidney spoke to me, the Queen and Robert were giving people to understand that there was a perfect accord between us which they did by means of constantly visiting and caressing me, so much so indeed that not a day passed but people came and told me how much these favours were being talked about in London. The only means I had to obviate this inconvenience would have been to publish the contrary and behave in an unfriendly way to them, which your Majesty had not ordered me to do, nor could I see that any stiffness of mine would do any good, as your Majesty does not desire to molest the Queen or restore religion by force or disturb the country. To this must be added the fact that Robert's enemies (whom the Queen principally wished to intimidate by these demonstrations of accord with me) are as heretical as she, and although they would like to ruin Robert would never join with Catholics or help to restore religion, but would declare in favour of the earl of Huntingdon, who is the greatest heretic in the realm. I also considered, that although this pretended understanding might somewhat damage the Catholic cause by leading Catholics to doubt your Majesty's favour towards them, it would damage the Queen much more by sowing discord between her and the heretics, and this really has taken place, for she has spoken to me very ill of the heretics, and is as offended with them as she is with the Catholics. The latter have greatly profited by the negotiations already, for since Sidney spoke to me they have not been molested or persecuted in any way, and have not been so quiet for three years previously as they have been in the last three months. They are aware that this quietude comes from the negotiations I have had with the Queen. I tell them that though there is no hope that she will do anything good, but will be sure to cheat us at last, yet to ensure their safety and give time for succour to reach them by means of the Concilio or by other intervention of our Lord I allow myself to be cheated willingly and pretend not to see through it, whereat they are delighted and cease not to shower blessings on your Majesty. These are the reasons which have moved me to listen to the advances made to me, and with all caution and moderation to soften my aspect towards them. Up to the present I see no reason to repent of my action, as it seems to me that this affair is progressing and the heretic cause becoming weaker, and the course I have taken, although not quite the same as that which your Majesty now commands, nevertheless leads to the same end and fulfils the directions given to me not to allow myself to be taken in and to encourage the Catholics and prevent them from losing heart by reason of the close understanding and despatch of ambassadors to Spain.
Replying to the other point of your Majesty's letter directing me to negotiate clearly with the Queen, and in writing, your Majesty will have seen by my letters that she has given me no opportunity of doing this as she has not entered into the transactions so humbly and submissively as to enable me to press her, and on the contrary she has rather given me cause to fear through Paget's designs. Even however if she came to me ever so humbly I do not see how I could or ought to lay down conditions in exchange for the assurance of your Majesty's favour until I knew for certain what your Majesty would be disposed to do for her in the business. For this reason I did not mention the point to Sidney or to Robert, and the Queen, as I have said, has given me no opportunity. When they talk to me about religion I always change the subject as I think until I see the business on a solid basis I had better not touch that part of the affair, which probably they introduce as a bait to get me to open out more than I am inclined to do. If they are in earnest there will be time to treat of religion, as they know full well that your Majesty will not remain satisfied until that is settled, and if they are acting falsely it will not be wise to give them an opportunity of saying that your Majesty wished to sell them your concurrence in exchange for the restitution of religion, which, however just and holy such a bargain would be in our eyes, would seem scandalous to heretics and would shock them much. Besides I never should be able to bind the Queen, and if they had got from me all they wanted for their purpose and then declined to fulfil their promise they might really say that they had outwitted me. Having therefore answered them on this point jokingly, and as if making light of their offers, I have had time to learn your Majesty's will and in the meanwhile learnt more of theirs, so that when I saw them again approaching me I offered to meet the archbishop of Canterbury or whomever else they pleased and spoke to Cecil in the way I advised in my former letters. I do not think anything has been lost by this conversation or by my coolness in the business as they all know how I have treated the religious question whenever it has been broached, and that I have kept nothing back. I write this to your Majesty only to explain the reasons why I have dallied with these people longer than I usually do. Things being in this condition (which I can hardly call either assured or desperate) I think that the Abbé Martinengo's visit will enable us to settle the business very comfortably without having to mix it up with the marriage question, because the Queen will then be obliged to declare herself, and if her decision should be such as to please your Majesty, we can go forward and help her in what she desires but if to the contrary I can hold back and complain that they have failed in what they voluntarily offered me and the affair will remain as it is now without any detriment to your Majesty or cause of offence unless desired. This would not be the case if the Nuncio came in consequence of any promises made to your Majesty by the Queen, or indeed if any other step had been taken founded on her words.
The Queen has summoned a great part of the gentlemen of the country to celebrate the feast of St. George, and it is possible that this may have been done in order to commence the deputation which Cecil told me was to be held for the conclusion of this marriage. I therefore think that the coming of the Nuncio should be accelerated so that we may see the answers they give him before the Queen settles her own affair which she could now do, having time, and being popular in consequence of the news that she is to be represented in the Concilio and is reconciled with your Majesty. But if she does not act properly and people see the Nuncio unsuccessful and me offended she might find herself in trouble and unable to carry out what she wants so easily as she thinks. Even if she were to conclude the marriage now, taking advantage of the opportunity, I believe that at any time it was understood that she had lost your Majesty's favour and aid she would be in the same straits as now, and worse, because this marriage is of such sort that she will lose friends and influence by it and make enemies. Lord Robert's recent discontent has ended in her giving him an apartment upstairs adjoining her own, as it is healthier than that which he had downstairs. He is delighted.
I have taken a lodging at Greenwich, whither the Queen goes next week to receive the Nuncio in order that he may be able to negotiate quickly and easily without going through the streets of London, which would not be very safe as these people are now. I have advised the Cardinal de Arras of this that he may tell him, and when he arrives here I will help him all I can and will receive the money which your Majesty orders me to receive from the Pope for the prisoners, and will distribute it with the care and caution which your Majesty commands.
I have received what was due to me for salary for this month. I am obliged to beseech your Majesty, since it is your will that I should stay here, to be pleased to order my wages to be paid to me every month or in some other way that I can be sure of them as I have no other means of sustenance, and what with setting up house here and entertaining guests and other extraordinary expenses I have spent very much more than the wages amount to, everything here being very dear. I also beg your Majesty, instead of any grant in aid being paid me, to order me to be paid what is owing to me on account of the petition which is enclosed herewith, since it is only justice, and all I ask is for the service of your Majesty.
Having written thus far I had an opportuuity of talking with Lord Robert to whom I have not failed to say what your Majesty ordered me to put them in spirits and lead them to decide the better. He was excessively overjoyed at it and could not cease saying how much he desired to serve your Majesty. It appears as if he had made up his mind to be a worthy man and gain respect, and when I told him your Majesty was glad to hear of his intention to try to restore religion in the country, he answered me at once, without stopping to think, that it was true he had that intention as also had the Queen, who desired nothing else but to see herself free from these dissensions and her country tranquil. I said we should see whether that was so by the answer she gave to the Nuncio who was coming. He asked me who he was and when he was coming. I told him his name and that his visit was to be soon if the Queen gave permission, about which he made no difficulty. We were quite in accord in this matter and although I did not lay it down rigorously nor as a condition yet he understood that they must conform to your Majesty's wish in the religious affair if they want your Majesty's countenance in the marriage business. This I said to him whilst discussing the state of his affairs and advising him as if on my own account. I find up to the present no reason to lose hope, but we shall see more clearly on the arrival of the Nuncio, which, as I have said, should be hastened as much as possible. Robert tells me that Cecil will be firm about sending representatives to the Concilio and there are some amongst the Bishops who are already beginning to soften and bend to what the Queen desires, although others are very stubborn. He also said that the Queen would make Sidney a member of the Council and give him the office of Privy Seal, of which I approved as it will serve Paget right for figuring as a Catholic and planning what I have said against your Majesty's interests.
Viscount Montague (fn. 1) has sent me word that Lord Robert has written him a very loving letter with many promises and saying he wishes to see him soon. I have advised him to come and speak with me before he goes to the palace so that I may tell him he may speak decidedly about sending to the Concilio, and encourage those who think like him to press the Queen.—London, 12th April 1561.
27 April.
127. Bishop Quadra to Lord Robert Dudley.
I hear from my friends and still more from common rumour, that the councillors of the Queen have proclaimed me as a man suspected of having some hand in the conspiracies which are believed to have been plotted against Her Majesty by the Catholics of this country, and as this is contrary to the service of the King my master, and my own honour, I should have wished to satisfy the world publicly with respect to it, the defamation having been public, but considering that I cannot do this at the present time without prejudice to your Lordship and your affairs which I have in hand, I have decided to keep silent for the present, and only justify myself to your Lordship that you may inform Her Majesty, as it is probable that the councillors will have given to both of you the information disseminated by the public voice.
Your Lordship knows that during the whole time I have been in England (although several dangerous events have happened) no one has ever heard, at least so far as I know, that I have done anything against the Queen's interests.
When the Count de Feria was here the religion was changed against much opposition, and although at the time the King my master was in Flanders well armed, though peaceful, and the Queen was new to the throne, unarmed and weak, yet there was no thought on my master's side but to honour and help her in the settlement of her kingdom, and aid her in the recovery of what was her own. When peace was made and the King my master left Flanders, suspicious of war with France arose, and ample opportunities occurred of mischief and unfriendly offices ; yet again my master's consideration and moderation towards this country were conspicuous ; although if the contrary had been the case and the King had not kindly helped to sustain it, the country might have felt some inconvenieuce. All this was without the least thought in the world of his own advantage, the negotiations, if not the hopes, of marrying the Queen to his satisfaction having ceased ; and this is the extent of the interest he can claim in England now. On all these occasions whether I have rendered bad or good service to the small extent of my powers can best be proved by the successful progress of events of which the Queen could easily satisfy herself. When your own matter was brought forward, at a time when rumours of all sorts were rife, the Queen well knows that on my taking leave of her at Windsor I told her that although I had hitherto conducted matters according to the King's orders and as I had thought best for her interests, and perhaps even had been troublesome in pressing the Archduke Charles' business ; nevertheless, as I now saw the possibility of other solutions perhaps more agreeable to her, I promised to serve her in all things and to do anything she might command me. At the same time I made clear, without any doubt, that I referred to your affair to which I thought she was inclined. In all these transactions and during nearly two years up to the present time, no one has ever heard that I had done or even thought anything against the life, honour, or estate of Her Majesty.
On the 22nd January I received a visit from Sir Henry Sidney your brother-in-law, a true friend of mine, whom I esteem for his sincerity and prudence, and his wish to serve the Queen and his country. He said, in substance, that he thought I was overlooking the interests of the King my master in one respect ; namely, that knowing as I did the Queen's great affection for your Lordship, I did not try to bring about the match, and offer to both of you the countenance and aid of the King my master and thus earn the eternal gratitude of your Lordship for so great a service. I answered him that as the King did not know the Queen's intentions, except that she said she did not think of marrying, he neither could nor ought to offer any aid to this effect, or to propose another marriage to her after she had so resolutely refused the Archduke Charles and others. Sidney gave me many reasons to persuade me why I should write, which I did, believing naturally that he spoke sincerely and with foundation. Amongst other reasons he gave why I should rejoice at this marriage, he told me that as your Lordship was inclined to peace and concord and to the maintenance of friendship with my King, there was reason to hope that you would do away with religious prohibitions and persuade the Queen to the same end, as she herself was not much inclined to them, and was believed to be the less so, seeing the unsatisfactory result of the present dissensions. To this I answered him that although there was nothing in the world the King my master desired more than religious concord, and particularly in this country, nevertheless, I did not wish the question to be mixed up with other considerations because, being a matter which concerned the soul, no one should dictate to another, nor allow himself to be dictated to as to what he should believe, for any advantage in the world, and that, married or single, the Queen should seek the welfare of herself and her subjects by every means in her power. This he agreed with, and assured me that the intention of the Queen and the opinion of your Lordship and all prudent men was that she should be represented in the Concilio. I had no difficulty in believing this as it seemed just and probable ; and I was confirmed in my belief shortly afterwards by the Queen personally, who told me with her own lips several times that she wished to send representatives to the Concilio, and by Secretary Cecil who assured me that Her Majesty was about to select ambassadors with that object and many other things which proved to me Her Majesty's intentions, besides convincing me that she approved of what your Lordship said to me on the matter one morning in your chamber and one evening in the Savoy, and lately again, when we were walking alone in the park, which will be too fresh in your memory to need further reminder. I will only say that, if I mistake not, you told me that if you married the Queen you would go to the Concilio yourself if needful. I always listened to these things from the Queen, your Lordship, and from Sidney very modestly, preferring rather to praise the good intentions you assured me you possessed than venturing to propose anything or trying to impose conditions, as it seemed to me an improper thing to introduce the question of religion amongst treaties of mundane friendship and alliance. Even though, all this time, I thought beyond doubt that the intention of the Queen and your Lordship was to send representatives to the Concilio, and to join with us on this occasion, and I was convinced that this was the most certain and perfect remedy for the dissensions of the country, yet I took care not to convey the hopes I had of this step to any person in the world except to the King my master. Notwithstanding that your Lordship told me yourself that you were a great friend of the archbishop of York, who is in poison ; and that you would thank me much if I would try to gain for him the good opinion of the Catholics whom I knew, I did this indeed but in general terms and without saying anything that could prejudice the authority of the Queen or the honour of your Lordship, but only that the Archbishop was, in my opinion, a wise and prudent person desirous of the tranquillity of his country and not averse to the union and concord of religion. At this juncture I received intimation of my King's will on these matters which, as I have told your Lordship, was entirely in favour and to the advantage of your cause, always however on the supposition that what I had written to him of the intention of joining us on religious matters by means of the Concilio, was true. At the same time the Pope sent his Nuncio to invite the Queen to the Concilio, and, believing as I did, that the matter was almost concluded, and desiring always that the Catholics should be highly pleased with your Lordship and assured of your good will and sympathy, I allowed myself to say to one or two Englishmen of good standing, sincere and peaceful and well disposed towards your Lordship, that I hoped these prisoners would soon be set at liberty and religious tranquillity might follow, so that no one should be compelled to act against his conscience until the Concilio should decide all these controversies. I was moved to this hope because I knew that the Queen, persuaded by your Lordship who was very favourable in this matter, was determined to send to the Concilio, and that this would take place shortly as the Abbe Martinengo was coming hither to invite her. It is true I said these words three weeks ago, after hearing of the coming of the Abbe, and the reply of the King my master, feeling sure, as your Lordship told me in the park, that the Queen had decided to send to the Concilio and to do what she and others so many times have promised and told me, and not only to me, but have published to all London ; the councillors themselves even saying it in the presence of many honourable gentlemen and of the very Bishops who opposed the sending of representatives to the Concilio.
Now, if for these words, which by passing from mouth to mouth may have changed their sense, I am to be considered as a conspirator against the Queen and declared as such by a certain councillor, whose name for the present I withhold, I ask your Lordship whether this is just, and if it be not the most iniquitous and shameful thing ever heard of and the most injurious, not only to my own honour, and I was never yet a conspirator, but also to the dignity of my King to whom this country and you, especially and even the Queen, are so deeply indebted. I say this is against his dignity because it is not probable that such a man as I am would have the hardihood to act here in the way I am accused of doing without instructions from my Prince, in which case the King would be a false and treacherous friend. There is not a man in the world who does not know how contrary this is to the King's mode of proceeding and to all his actions towards the Queen. This rumour also prejudices the poor prisoners, who are not only called necromancers and devil's conjurers, to make them odious and ridiculous, but are also traduced by accusations of treason and rebellion, things far removed from the virtue and prudence of their lives. It is not likely that prudent men would have engaged in a conspiracy against their Queen without support from any other Prince able to succour them. Affairs in France are not now in such a condition as to make it credible that the King should have favoured them in such an enterprise. The Pope is a long way off and it is clear to all that his sole aim is to hold the Concilio and duly perform what is best for his State, which I know to be the case. There remains then, the King my master, by whom they might have been favoured, but anyone who believes that such was the case is vastly mistaken, and forms an unjust judgment. Perhaps it is done with the object of slandering the Catholic religion or quenching what little of it was still making way in this country, by taking the lives and liberties of those who were suspected of holding it in reverence. How useful and beneficial such a course would be to the Queen is not for me to say, nor is it the purpose of this letter which I write merely to say that a great injury is being done me, and consequently to the King my master, by bandying the names of his ministers about in the mouths of the mob in this way. And this, too, notwithstanding my perfect innocence, as I have had no other thought but to serve the Queen in all ways and in the recent affair to serve your Lordship also, for whose benefit alone I have ventured to speak on the subject with the reserve and sobriety which I have already set forth as may be ascertained from the persons, never more than one or two, to whom I have mentioned it. I have thought proper to remind your Lordship of these things that you may consider whether I have not cause to complain and to inform the King of these proceedings, and, perhaps even, for my own justification to make the whole case public. My honour is so dear to me, and above all when that of my master is involved, that I would rather die a thousand deaths than that people should believe for a single day that I am not a sincere and honourable gentleman as I am. To no other than to your Lordship I commend myself with all my heart and humbly salute you. Your Lordship's very humble and affectionate servant.— Duranplazza (Durham Place) 27th April 1561.
IL Vescovo de la Quadra.


  • 1. Sir Anthony Browne 1st Viscount Montague, who had been master of the horse in previous reign, and was excluded from the Council on the accession of Elizabeth.