Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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135. The Same to the Same.
I have been urged on behalf of the Queen to write to your Majesty to beg you to be pleased to order the release of five English ships loaded with woad, which have been taken at the island of St. Michael's by a fleet of 12 ships of your Majesty's coming from the Indies, in the belief that they were in league with an English pirate who had fled from prison in the island of La Palma, where he was confined for robbing certain caravels. They beg that only the pirate (if he should be found in the ships) and those who had taken part in his robberies should be detained and punished. I, being unable to refuse to do as the Queen asks, venture to write to your Majesty, although I am certain that your Majesty's officers who have charge of these affairs will give due consideration to the justice of the case if requested.—London, 20th July 1561.
136. The Same to the Same.
I wrote to your Majesty at length on the 19th instant, and since then Sackville (fn. 1) and Wotton have visited me on behalf of the Queen to tell me what had been done respecting the measures against the pirates. They have given orders that the latter are not to be received in any of the ports, and that henceforward no vessels are to be allowed to leave except merchant ships, public proclamation being made at the ports to the effect that all those who are now at sea must return and disarm under grave penalties, and finally, to prove that it is the intention to take rigourous measures, they told me that two large ships and some other vessels had been ordered to fit out with all diligence and cruise on the coasts of Norfolk and Cornwall in search of the said pirates.
In my letter of the 19th, I told your Majesty how curtly Secretary Cecil and the Admiral had treated my request that these measures should be taken. I understand that this change and their present apparent desire to remedy matters are caused by the Queen's intention to take this pirate affair as a pretext for arming against the queen of Sweden (Scotland). I hear they are fitting out eight ships, a galley and a sloop, and are only kept from fitting out another galley because she is so old and they have not enough galleymen.
To convince me that they are proceeding sincerely Cecil has written me a letter of excuse which I send, that your Majesty may see how clever they are with these artifices of theirs and how uncivil their behaviour was since they ask my pardon for it. To tell the truth I have not much to pardon them for as I gave them fit answers at the time and I do the same now by expressing myself quite satisfied and appearing to believe all they tell me. I will let your Majesty know all I learn about this fleet. The news from Scotland is that the heretics have convoked a Parliament for the 27th instant, notwithstanding that Noailles, when he was there expressly forbade it in the name of his Queen. They have been incited thereto by the queen of England and urged by the earl of Bedford, whose letters have been read from the pulpits to give them courage, and so they have decided to take this step and persevere in their rebellion. I understand that it is the intention in this Parliament to demolish the monasteries and abbeys which still exist because, as their preachers say, "If they want to do away with the rabbits they must destroy the warrens." I nevertheless understand that the Catholic party and those who desire the coming of the Queen are so numerous that, if she were present, they would restore religion in spite of the others ; and, as they understand this well here, they do all they can to prevent it.
I heard yesterday that in Ireland the great O'Neil with the Catholic party had routed the English and killed many, the earl of Sussex himself amongst them. I do not know if it is true.
I have learnt that it is true the Papal Nuncio is there, as the Queen said, and that he embarked from the abbey of Redon in Brittany which belongs to Cardinal Salviati, by whose order the Governor of the abbey concealed him there until passage could be found for him. This was at the time that King Francis died, which proves that they have listened to Irish appeals in France. I think the Nuncio still remains there. The arrest of the five English ships I mentioned has much aggrieved the Queen, but they were not, it appears, taken without cause, nor by way of reprisal, as they averred here. I know this from the statement of the owners themselves who came to me to beg letters in their favour to your Majesty ; copy of which statement I send enclosed to serve as a guide in case the Queen's ambassador should speak to your Majesty on the subject. I also send copy of a list of grievances which, it is alleged, are suffered by Englishmen in Spain. They are of small importance and cannot be called grievances. I have been asked to write to your Majesty respecting them and to beg that Englishmen may be better treated. I think of doing this by a courier which the Queen is to send on this subject, and touching the alleged prohibition of the loading of her ships in Spain which they is said to be against the treaties.— London, 23rd July.