Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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211. The Same to the Same.
On the 28th ultimo I advised your Majesty of the progress of public events here and the bad treatment I had personally received. I thought when the Queen wrote to Challoner asking for my recall her advisers would surely have been satisfied, but such is not the case, for on the day of the Purification of our Lady, to make the insult worse, they sent at dawn of day six or eight persons, who, posted in the house-steward's room, wrote down the names of everybody who entered my house, and two of them whilst I was at Mass went up to the chapel and took note of everyone who was therein, and as soon as Mass was finished began to arrest within my house whomsoever they pleased. At the same time the Marshal of the Court left the palace by the river with some halberdiers and came to the river-gate of this house, of which gate the house-porter (casero) has the key, and began riotously to try to break the door in, notwithstanding that they were asked to wait until the steward brought the key to open it. When the Marshal entered he went up to my apartment and told me in the Queen's name to deliver up all the English people in the house, as her Majesty had been informed that over 200 of them had come to Mass. I told him 1 had seen no English people and he would find none, which was true, as they only found one of the Queen's own servants who had come to negotiate with me and a poor old woman who comes sometimes to beg. As there were no English they arrested Spaniards, Italians, and Flemings at their will, and led them off publicly amid the derision and vociferation of the mob through the greater part of the city to the public prison, where they are still detained. It appears as if they were determined to prohibit anyone from coming to Mass, even foreigners, and to make those who are naturalised in London pay the same penalty as if they were English. This I will oppose with all my power, as I believe, so far as your Majesty's subjects are concerned, it is expressly contrary to the treaties ; but the disgrace and discourtesy done to me personally cannot be redressed in this way nor can I retrieve it. I did my very best on the occasion in question to avoid resistance or scandal, seeing that the Marshal came with the Queen's own guard, and it was fortunate I did so, for I afterwards learnt that the orders they had were that if those in my house offered the slightest resistance in the world they would have forced the doors open in the Queen's name and have attacked the house and killed the inmates. I will endeavour to take the depositions of some witness of the act if possible so that your Majesty may be brought to believe the truth of a piece of daring insolence, that without testimony seems hard of belief. The real object of these insults is to drive me out as soon as possible, and it seems too long for them to await your Majesty's imstructions recalling me. The cause of their haste is that things here are getting daily more threatening, and Cecil, who sees the clouds gathering, thinks that if there is a representative of your Majesty here when they burst the Catholics may pluck up some spirit, and perhaps he considers me a stronger partizan in this matter than others would be, and consequently is doing his best to turn me out. I feel sure that when they can do nothing else he and his adherents will cause the Queen to seize my person. Your Majesty will take such steps as you think fit ; I, for my part, however much, for many reasons, I wish to leave here, as 1 have begged your Majesty on several occasions, and although I am persuaded they will treat me worse every day, have no other will than that of your Majesty in this and all things.
When I say that things here are looking threatening I refer to the fact, now known publicly, that the nobles are divided on the subject of the succession, as the enemies of Lord Robert see that she (the Queen) would really condescend to appoint Lord Huntingdon Iter successor, and that this would be opening the door to the marriage with Robert and put the kingdom in his hands, they have most of them met with the earl of Arundel and the majority are inclined to assist Lady Catharine. When the opportunity arrives I think they will confine themselves to excluding Huntingdon, and after that is done each one will follow his own bent. They have become so excited over his pretensions that they cannot turn back or shut their eyes to them. The attorneys (members) for the towns proposed this question of the succession to the Queen (who told them) that the matter required further consideration, and, with that, turned her back on them and entered her own apartment. The lords afterwards went to her and proposed the same, whereat she was extremely angry wixh them, and told them that the marks they saw on her face were not wrinkles, but pits of small-pox, and that although she might be old God could send her children as He did to Saint Elizabeth, and they (the lords) had better consider well what they were asking, as, if she declared a successor, it would cost much blood to England. Notwithstanding all this, however, they pressed her still to do it, and she said she would consider the matter and they were to come to an agreement. I believe they wish to do this some day this week, but it is clear that she is determined not to nominate a successor, and she will not do so.
The knights and commoners of lower rank are very much perplexed about the business as, on the one hand they see the danger of the country in its being left to the chance of a sickly woman's life without any understanding as to who should succeed, and on the other hand there are so many antagonistic claims none of which can be satisfied without offending the others. In addition to this the claimants are such poor creatures that the rest blush to side with them. Many have therefore joined the earl of Arundel more for the sake of company than for any wish they have to favour Lady Catharine and her husband and, by the same rule, many follow Lord Robert and the earl of Huntingdon rather out of fear than affection, amongst whom are Montague and his father-in-law. Finally, I do not see how this matter is to be settled without a rupture, and I think that when the Parliament has made this first representation to the Queen they will vote her the supplies she wants and go to their homes. When the money has to be collected then will come the risings as it is plain that it is voted by force. This is the universal opinion, and you cannot come across a man in the street who says otherwise. I know it however from people of the highest position who have assured me of the correctness of this view.
Besides this, there is a well-known Catholic gentleman, a member of Parliament, who has conveyed to me that some of the nobles, seeing the state in which they are, would like to set aside all these pretenders such as Lady Catharine, Lady Margaret, Lady Strange, the earl of Huntingdon the Poles, and all these folks and give the kingdom to the person to whom it rightly belongs, namely the queen of Scotland, if your Majesty would consent to her marriaqe with our lord the Prince, in which they say all would gladly concur and receive him with open arms as King, and so unite these two crowns and become subjects of a great sovereign under whom they could live in peace and do away with these religious questions. He has named up to the present five persons of position who he says have sent to him, and very shortly this opinion will be held by many more. He says if I like he will go himself to Scotland on a favourable opportunity to treat with that Queen for the conclusion of this business which he looks upon as done so far as regards the people here.
I have been very wary about this man's possibly being an agent of Cecil, and have taken every step to satisfy myself about him without finding any reason for suspicion. I have refrained from answering him in any way affirmatively or negatively, nor have I promised him to write to your Majesty or anyone else about it. I have only said that to enable me to talk confidently on a matter of this character it would be necessary that I should see the persons who themselves make the request, and in conformity with such interview could then decide whether to write or not. We have agreed that he is soon to let me know further. I will use all caution possible to avoid being brought into disputes with Cecil, but I do not think nevertheless that I ought to refuse to listen to all and inform your Majesty of what I hear, as I do. If there should be anything of greater substance I will also send clearer and more detailed relations. The person who has introduced the matter to me is, as I say, a gentleman and a Christian and favourably known to friends of my own, but what most inclines me to believe the truth of his statements is that I clearly discern that matters have reached such a position now that no other remedy is possible than the one proposed by him. There is not a single one of these pretenders who is strong enough to withstand the others and master the whole of them, and consequently they cannot fail to come to blows over it and run the risk of falling a prey to the king of Sweden or anybody else who invades the country with some force and money. I therefore believe that, some because they are wise and see the matter rightly, some from passion and envy and a desire not to see the country in the hands of their neighbour and all through fear that they may lose their property in the accidents of war, everybody will understand that this solution is the most desirable. This person tells me that everything should be ready for the execution of this by the end of June if it is to be done, as he assures me that in any case a movement will take place then.
I have had a visit also this week from the secretary of John O' Neil, who tells me that his master desires to know whether your Majesty would be disposed to help him in the war which he is sustaining against the Queen by sending him about 800 Spaniards. I would not speak to him myself so that in case they arrest him they shall not be able to say that I had been in negotiation with him, but I got him to speak with two persons of my household who after hearing all he had to say told him that he could not speak to me about it and that they did not like to undertake the embassy to me seeing the trouble I have suffered from that servant of mine, who last year left me to go into the Queen's service having declared that I had received an embassy of John O' Neil and had an understanding with him. For these reasons, they said it would be better both for his master and himself that he should not see me, although they assured him that I was a friend of his master and when I left England, as 1 probably soon should, I would do him all the service I could wherever I might be. It seems the man intended to endeavour to obtain your Majesty's help through some other channel. John O'Neil has fallen out with the Queen because he claimed 30,000 ducats damages he had suffered from the viceroy of Ireland, and asked the Queen to give him the county of Armagh to make a fortress therein, and various other things that the Queen would not grant him ; but, on the contrary, before answering his petition, wrote to the Viceroy to begin war with him by surprise. This man, however, says they will not catch him unawares, but that he will be ready before the English.
Secretary Somers has again been sent by this Queen to France to urge that public proclamation should be made that the French and English are at peace and that the Provost of the merchants of Paris should be punished for having announced war. The QueenMother says he did so without her orders or those of the King, and the English say that if the king of France refuses to punish him he cannot wonder if the English proclaim war. Somers secretly bears letters for the prince of Condé and for the Admiral, and has instructions to remain in France until he sees how things are going in the Council which is to meet now to treat for peace. Throgmorton has arrived here and as he told the Queen-Mother when he took leave that England would be content to withdraw her troops from. Havre de Grace even though Calais were not immediately restored if a better assurance than at present were given that it should be restored at the end of eight years, the Queen-Mother wrote to her Ambassador here to know what foundation there was for this. The Ambassador spoke to the Queen, who replied that Throgmorton was no longer her ambassador and he had no power to offer any terms such as those spoken of. She said she was determined not to restore Havre de Grace unless Calais was restored to her first, and other violent things Of the same sort. I believe that the end of the war which this Queen is carrying on in France will be the beginning of a war at home, which she richly deserves, In the meanwhile they are sending 2,000 more men to Havre de Grace and Dieppe.
The king of Sweden, angry that Lord Robert has always had a double spy both on his ambassador here and latterly upon himself in Sweden who was always frustrating the coming of the King hither and his marriage, has now sent to the Queen all the letters that this spy wrote, containing much evil about her. The king asks, since this spy has impugned her honour, that he shall be punished or else that he should be sent to Sweden for the King to punish, or otherwise he cannot avoid thinking that the Queen has been a consenting party to the trick that has been played upon him. The man was advised of what the King wrote, and fled to Antwerp, but I know that before he went he secretly took leave of the Queen and went with her good graces. I fear he is up to no better work in Antwerp. There is another man, a Frenchman, whom Lord Robert sent last year to Sweden, called Louis de Feron otherwise Viscount de Gruz, who has been, as I am informed, condemned to death, as it is asserted that he was sent thither to poison the King for Lord Robert. He has always denied it, and the poison story cannot be believed, but I know full well that the man was sent by Lord Robert. The king of Sweden requests leave again to come here, which I think will not be refused him although Robert is trying to impede it. I do not know whether he is persuaded to come by the promises and offers made by those who invite him who are the enemies of Lord Robert.
I have petitioned the Queen a fortnight ago to provide that the vessels of your Majesty's subjects should not be robbed by the armed vessels that sail from Havre de Grace. She delayed a week before appointing some of her Council to undertake the task of redressing the damage done and preventing the continuance of the injury. Since these Commissioners were appointed, who were the marquis of Northampton, the Lord Chamberlain, the Admiral and Dr. Wotton, I have been after them for a week begging them to take steps in the matter in conformity with a letter I wrote to them to place upon record more explicitly the demands I had made. I can get no answer, and they have done nothing in the business except to order the earl of Warwick to obtain the restoration of certain property belonging to some Germans and Flemings residing in Antwerp. I do not understand how this can be done, though at the request of the town itself which has petitioned the Queen, without any notice being taken of me or of the petitions of the Spaniards who have over 200,000 ducats worth of property detained in the ports of this country which they dare not venture to take out. I do all I can, but these people turn a deaf ear to me and do not even deign to tell me by word of mouth that they will let these ships pass safely. I know that many Englishmen are arming (ships) publicly under patents obtained from M. de Beauvais, Governor of the town of Havre de Grace, of which patents I have endeavoured successfully to obtain a copy and send herewith. This is a very artful proceeding of the English to obtain a patent from a French rebel to prey upon the vassals of your Majesty and all Catholic princes on the ground that the latter are enemies of God and the king of France, whereas the only enemies are they themselves. I am certain nothing of this will be mended here (as I have said) because, as soon as news came that the Catholics had won a battle in France, (fn. 1) the Queen wrote to the earl of Warwick to fit out ships in Havre de Grace, as she was determined to make herself queen of the Seas. They have already 10 armed ships as well as the 18 French vessels commanded by that Timberleg, (fn. 2) and a large number being fitted out by Englishmen all round the coast. This summer they will do as much harm as they choose without its being possible to discover whether the injury is the work of French or English. They have promised me to-day that it shall all be arranged to my entire satisfaction. God grant it may be so.—London, 7th February 1563.
212. The Same to the Same.
Since writing to your Majesty on the 7th instant the Council sent for me to say that for the purpose of preventing the depredations which are carried on in these straits and on the coasts of this country the Queen has ordered proclamation to be made the tenour of which they sent to me. As I saw that this proclamation did not provide the necessary remedy I thought well not to show myself satisfied with it, but to say what I thought of it, and ask them to add what was wanting, namely, a prohibition to the French in Havre de Grace from doing the damage they are doing to your Majesty's subjects, seeing that these Frenchmen are supported, maintained, and paid by the Queen, and I sent her a letter on the subject, copy of which is enclosed. They replied to a servant of mine who took the letter that there were in Havre de Grace two governors, one of whom was for the queen of England, and the other for the king of France. So far as regarded the Queen's governor they would satisfy me about the proclamation, but, they said, they had nothing to do with the French governor, nor could they be rendered responsible for his captures, but that if I liked they would give me letters of recommendation to him, as they had offered me before. Since then they have published the proclamation in the form they sent it to me, without adding anything, as I had requested. I have to assure your Majesty that the idea of issuing this announcement is inspired entirely by the fear that some reprisal may be effected in Antwerp on the English ships now being despatched thither with wool and cloths. Besides this it appears that the acts that are now being done are in direct contradiction to what the proclamation orders, as news is brought to me, and of which I enclose copy, advising me that ships are being fitted out all round the coast, and several are being armed here. The French ships, too, which are now preying on commerce, are manned more by English than by Frenchmen, and as the captures are made by virtue of patents issued by the French governor of Havre de Grace and the prizes are taken into that port, I cannot prosecute the English who do the damage, or investigate who are the authors of it, nor can the people plundered come hither to recover their property, as it never reaches this coast. It will thus be seen that no benefit can be looked for from this order, and I cannot reply further than I have already done respecting it after representing my views as I was obliged to do.
I have already urged these Councillors to refrain from molesting your Majesty's subjects who come here to Mass, of whom some are now in prison and others on bail. They answered me that they had referred the matter to the earl of Bedford, Vice-Chamberlain Knollys, and Controller Rogers, who would do more justice than is done to Englishmen in Spain. The justice they have done them up to the present time is to bring them three or four times right through the city from the other side of the bridge (fn. 3) to the earl of Bedford's house (fn. 4) amid the derision and mockery of the mob without examining them, and when at last they had decided to interrogate them the representatives I had there to intercede for them were told that the Commissioners had no power to decide anything themselves, but must refer it to the Council, so that the affair is to be dragged out. Your Majesty will order such measures to be taken as you think advisable, but it seems to me that this innovation and severity, such as was never employed in the time of King Henry nor during the first four years of this Queen's reign, is expressly against the treaties and alliances between the countries. The reason they allege—that as Spain punishes Protestant Englishman, so they will punish papist subjects of your Majesty— will not serve them, because (putting aside the merits of the case) in Spain we are only doing what we have always done with Englishmen and all others, and what was done when the treaties of alliance were made, whereas here they have departed from what they were in the habit of doing on religious questions at the time of the signature of the treaties. The natives of countries subject to your Majesty ought not to be prejudiced thus in the commercial and other affairs they have here, and I cannot avoid being aggrieved at this and complaining gravely to the Queen about it if they do not soon remedy it, because it is a great injury and degradation to religion, and very prejudicial to the interests of your Majesty especially.
This week Throgmorton has been getting ready to visit the new king of the Romans, and, as I am informed, to press him on certain matters touching religion, and on his road to give orders for the raising of 2,000 horse and 5,000 footmen to bring them to Normandy for the Queen's service. Subsequently information has been received of the coming of Admiral Chatillon to Havre de Grace, and this has made them alter their plans. Throgmorton therefore left here two days since with money to pay the troops that the Admiral is bringing, and also those that are in Havre de Grace. He may thence continue his journey to Germany. Although peace is not concluded yet, as the Admiral is bringing so many cavalry to the coast, it is possible that the Queen may be satisfied with retaining him and not bringing any more Germans at present, because, for the retention of Havre de Grace and the places they will take on the coast of Normandy, she will have amply sufficient men with the Admiral's cavalry, and they can send as many infantry men from here as they want, besides the men that French and Englishmen are raising privately to join them. This, I am told, is the course they will adopt, seeing that the general movement in France was subsiding, and the rebels losing heart with the success of the King's army. I am sure the Queen would be glad to see some means of a settlement and so save all the expense and trouble, and particularly with things in this country in their present state.
It is announced to-day that Parliament has passed an Act relating to religion containing three principal provisions. The first is that all those who hold any office, stipend, or public charge, or receive any learned or ecclesiastical degree or any sort of benefit dependent on the Crown are to be obliged to swear the supremacy of the Queen in spiritual affairs. The second that any person who is held to be suspect in this particular may be compelled by the Bishop to subscribe to this oath, although he may have no obligation to do so on any of the above grounds. The third, that no person shall presume to defend, either by argument, conversation, or writing, the doctrine of the Apostolic See on pain of loss of goods and imprisonment for life for a first offence, and death for the second. They tell me that this is just published and I quite believe it, as it is what some of them have been preparing for a long time. It looks as if they wanted to mimic the Spanish inquisition, but really the provisions are so severe that they appear impossible of execution, and I fancy a good many of those who voted for the Act do not like it. God be merciful to these poor men who are in prison.—15th February 1563.
213. The Same to the Same.
On the 15th instant I advised your Majesty of the course of events here, and since then they have been discussing the publication of the law which I said they wished to pass against the Catholics. It was agreed to in the Lower House, as I already wrote, on the aforementioned date but not without some opposition and, to meet this, and for fear the Upper House would throw it out they have modified the Bill as follows. The Lords and Councillors are not to be constrained to swear, since it is presumed that they, being pillars of the State, will hold no opinions contrary to the Crown. The other people who refuse to swear are to lose their personal property only for a first offence and to be imprisoned at the Queen's will. They are to be punishable by death for a second offence, but their real property is to go to their children, as they say that it would be inhuman to deprive them of all their estate, and if they are well brought up they may hold different opinions to their fathers. This has already been agreed to in the Lower House, but we do not know what will happen in the Upper, as there are many there who see through the trick of not asking them to swear now ; knowing that it will not prevent the oath being insisted upon from all after the summer is over, under the pretext that some of them are suspected. It is impossible to believe that this thing can pass without disturbance, as I am sure the greater part of the Lords feel sorely aggrieved, and they tell me there are 500 gentlemen in the kingdom holding the same opinion, and all the common people. Whilst the subject was being discussed in the Lower House two days ago, some of the members showed that the severity of this enactment did not please them, and Cecil taking the matter in hand, as usual, said that those who questioned the supreme power of the Queen acted ungratefully, and if she found herself embarrassed and troubled it was solely in consequence of her defence of the said authority, and her refusal to admit the authority of the Pope or the Concilio, for which reason your Majesty, after having pressed her very urgently to send representatives, was now threatening her with war. He said the pressure was brought to bear by your Majesty because the Pope had hired you (this I am told was the word he used) for the purpose with three millions in gold which he had paid your Majesty to make war on those who could not send representatives to the Concilio, but that the Queen was determined to die before consenting, and he therefore exhorted tbem not only to defend the royal authority with this necessary law but also to serve the Queen with their property and their lives as was their duty. They had now no one to trust but themselves, for the Germans, although they had promised the Queen great things, had done nothing and had broken their word ; whilst the Emperor and his sons and the duke of Bavaria were in the pay of the Pope. Vice-Chamberlain Knollys rose after Cecil and said this business must be settled sword in hand and not by words and that he would be foremost in the struggle. They say that on the 1st April they will demand the oath of the bishops who are in the Tower, and that those who will not take it must die, which I do not doubt unless God finds some remedy for it. They (the Bishops) are very joyful awaiting the Lord's will. On the same day as the publication of the Act a new document was issued against me, of which I have not been able to obtain a copy as it is not yet printed. They say it contains 24 articles of accusation on account of agreements and other bad offices effected by me against the Queen and Crown. When I can see them I will answer them in detail. The truth is, as your Majesty knows, that I considered the Queen had no Councillor who would more plainly and honestly tell her what was best for her than I, and none whose advice was apparently received with more satisfaction. As regards religion (which they are taking as an excuse for the attacks they are publishing against me) I have never said a word to them which they have not first provoked or led up to, and have always been on my guard so as not to show that your Majesty attached so much importance to this question. If it had not been for this our friendship would have been less strong, as I wrote to Lord Robert two years ago when he was asking for support towards his marriage and offered to restore religion and go, himself, to the Concilio. This is a sample of the sincerity with which things here are dealt with by the Queen's ministers. It is needful for your Majesty to know that it is their intention to persevere in their support of the insurrection in France, and to do all they can to foment similar disturbances in the Netherlands. This has been their aim for a long time past, especially since the death of king Francis, fearing, as they do, that the queen of Scotland may marry into your Majesty's family. This they fear now more than ever, although many desire it, and these not the smallest number or the least important as I have already informed your Majesty on the 9th instant and perceive more clearly every day.
They have bound over your Majesty's subjects who were arrested for attending Mass in 400l. to present themselves every Tuesday before the Mayor to receive his 'instructions, and it is now decided that no foreigner or even temporary resident for a day or two may hear Mass without being punished. This is a very strange and violent regulation, and will quite prevent any of your Majesty's subjects living here.
Guido Cavalcanti left here for France a few days since and it is suspected that his journey is for the purpose of endeavouring to hinder (by means of Cardinal Ferrara) the marriage of the queen of Scotland with a son of the Emperor, which match has been much discussed here lately. They know that the Cardinal is desirous of arranging a marriage with the Duke, his nephew, and I expect in order to avert an alliance with the Archduke they will give out that this queen (Elizabeth) will be satisfied with the Ferrara match, and will declare the queen of Scotland her successor if she marries to please her. This course they think will pacify the Guises, and I think this is very likely from many indications, but the business bristles with difficulties, and I fancy it will have no other effect than to divert and suspend for a few days the negotiations which they fear are being carried on elsewhere. If what they are doing here is well considered it will be seen easily that the main object of this Act against the Catholics is solely to exclude the queen of Scotland by indirect means from succeeding to this throne.
I have already advised the departure of Throgmorton for Havre de Grace with funds, and I understand he will still go on to Germany to visit the king of the Romans and persuade him, if he can, to several things unfavourable enough to the cause of religion, and still more unfavourable to your Majesty and the preservation of your dominions.
More ships are being fitted out every day on various pretexts— some to go on voyages of discovery of new lands, others for Muscovy, others for Ireland ; but I see plainly they are all for this coast. I am not free from apprehension that they may offer me some greater insult than any before, seeing that without any reason whatever Cecil ordered my house to be attacked by force, as will be seen by the depositions of the two witnesses whose testimony I enclose. I will take care to give no cause for attack, but nevertheless I see that affairs are in a very bad way, and I am so informed by persons who grieve that they cannot mend them or serve your Majesty otherwise.—London, 20th February 1563.
214. The Declaration of Baudrim Layr, respecting his Arrest
with Others in the House of the Ambassador Quadra
by the Marshal of the Court. Made in the Marshalsea
Prison on the 18th February 1563.
I, Baudrim Layr, a Spaniard resident in London, declare that having gone to hear Mass at the house of the Ambassador of the king of Spain on the day of the Purification of the Virgin, after hearing Mass I was arrested with many others by the Marshal of the Court of the queen of England and his guard, who had arrived before the Mass, and from their concealment in the custodian's dwelling noted the names of those who entered. I and others having been carried to the inn of the sign of the Chequers, the chief of the guard named Foxes, who had the care of us, said that when he and his companions were sent to take us Secretary Cecil had given them orders that in case any resistance should be offered in the Ambassador's house, they should raise the neighbourhood, send to the palace for the rest of the guard, and attack the house in force and take the whole of the inmates. Foxes said this not only in the Chequers inn, but previously in the custodian's dwelling before many listeners. And this being the truth I hereto set my hand at the request of the Ambassador.
A similar declaration from Juan Bautista de San Vitores, another Spaniard resident in London.