Simancas: March 1563

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: March 1563', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 305-316. British History Online [accessed 27 May 2024].

. "Simancas: March 1563", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 305-316. British History Online, accessed May 27, 2024,

. "Simancas: March 1563", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 305-316. British History Online. Web. 27 May 2024,

March 1563

18 March. 215. Bishop Quadra to the King.
On the 27th ultimo 1 wrote to your Majesty that Lethington, the Secretary of the queen of Scotland, had arrived here, and the cause of his coming so far as I could then ascertain. Since then I have seen him several times, and as it seemed to me that he was desirous of talking with me about his affairs and was dissatisfied with this Queen, I invited him to dinner. When we were alone, on my simply asking him how he was getting on with his business in London, he launched out into a long account of the whole negotiation, which mainly consisted of two points, namely, the succession of his mistress the Queen to this crown, and the question of her marriage. With regard to the first, he related that when he and the other Scots ambassadors were here two years ago, they received news of the death of King Francis, and thereupon ceased the negotiations which they were then arranging with the Queen here, for a joint defence in the war which was again being prepared against them in France. The Queen would have liked to make a fresh arrangement with them and the duke of Chatelherault to oblige the queen of Scotland not to marry a foreigner, which meant indirectly to force her to marry the earl of Arran, son of the Duke, but he, Lethington, and the other ambassadors, amongst whom was Lord James, base brother of the said Queen, did not think it advisable to do this, since with the cessation of the danger of being subdued by the French forces, which danger in fact did disappear when the matrimonial ties between their Queen and the king of France ended, they thought all arrangements for defending themselves against the consequences of the connection should cease, and they should again return to their entire duty and obedience to their Queen without trying to force her in a matter in which no person should be constrained. He says this Queen was very dissatisfied at this determination at the time, as also was the duke of Chatelherault when he came to know of it The latter was very angry with Lord James and with Lethington himself, and he says that on the eve of his departure from here to Scotland, he (Lethington) seeing that this Queen was displeased, proposed to Cecil, as a means of settling all differences and suspicions between the two Queens, that the queen of Scotland should cede to this Queen all claims she might have to the crown of England, on (condition that if the latter died without children the queen of Scotland should succeed, and that this declaration should be at once approved and made public by the rulers of the kingdom. He says, when Cecil heard this, he appeared extremely pensive and astonished, but recovering himself, he answered that he would consider the proposition they had made and give an answer in two or three days. Lethington found, however, that Cecil gave him no reply and he started on his journey. On arriving a day's ride from London, he says a (special messenger) overtook him with a letter from Cecil saying that he had thought over the proposal made for an arrangement between their two Queens, and he thought very well of it. He had moreover carefully sounded the Queen on the subject and found her extremely well disposed towards it. Lethington says that although he knew Cecil's embarrassment when he spoke to him arose from the strange idea, to him, that the queen of Scotland should succeed to this throne in any case, and he saw he was indignant, that no sooner had the agreement come to an end, than the Scots showed so much affection for the religion of their mistress, and so little gratitude for the assistance this Queen had given them in the war ; yet nevertheless, seeing so favourable and hopeful a letter in Cecil's own handwriting he could not help giving some credit to what he wrote. When he and others went to France to offer obedience to their Queen, he showed this letter to her, and it contributed to no small extent to her action in sending for Throgmorton to propose a reconciliation with this Queen, and suggest the fulfilment of Lethington's proposals. After her arrival in Scotland she sent Lethington himself to visit the Queen and offer the conclusion of an agreement based on his conversation with Cecil. He said they had received him very well, but as regards business they answered him that in the ensuing summer (this being in September) the queen of England intended to go as far as York on the road to Scotland, and as by that time the year of mourning of the queen of Scotland would have expired, they could meet at some place on the frontier and settle many matters. He says this answer was given through Cecil and Lord Robert, but in a roundabout way that pledged them to nothing. In the following year, last summer, Lethington returned to London to urge that this meeting should take place, and after they had kept him dangling here in the almost certain hope that the Queen would go, and the queen of Scotland had agreed to come as far south as Nottingham, a hundred miles this side of York to facilitate the journey for this Queen, who said she could not go far from London in consequence of the risings in France, this Queen finding an excuse in the dispute between the duke of Guise and the peasants of Vazy, (fn. 1) refused the interview, and sent Henry Sidney to excuse her to the queen of Scotland, throwing all the blame on the disorders at Vazy, which she said denoted war against her religion, and so maliciously tried to put her (Mary) at issue with her subjects. The queen of Scotland understood that these unfulfilled hopes had for their object to keep her in suspense and doubt about the marriage, and even to force her into a match with the earl of Arran or a still meaner suitor, but she could only do her best to continue somehow on the present footing of friendship with the hope that, if this Queen found herself embarrassed by France, she might be glad of the intervention of the Scots Queen, and the agreement might be effected between them at the same time. She thought something satisfactory might be effected through her uncle the duke of Guise, and had therefore again sent Lethington hither. This, he said, had been the reason of his visit here and his pending journey to France, and that if he found he could get no satisfactory reply here or the settlement of the arrangement for the succession as suggested, the Queen his mistress intended to seek a means of remedy in France, and negotiate for such a marriage as would enable her to assert her rights here by force if they could not be obtained by fair means. When he arrived here, however, he found unfavourable replies, and afterwards bad news of the death of the duke of Guise (fn. 2) which had happened since, and he therefore was in perplexity, and he knew his mistress would be so as well, and in such trouble that he deeply grieved for her. When he arrived here and told this Queen that he came on behalf of his mistress to offer her intervention between her and the king of France, in accordance with the desires which had been signified here, she told him he was very welcome and thanked her cousin the Queen warmly for her good intentions, and said that he could go to France, and she would instruct her ambassador Smith to negotiate. Lethington was not desirous of leaving here so quickly, before learning what was going on in Parliament about his Queen's affairs, and what action the queen of England intended taking in them, and he therefore answered that he would gladly do as she commanded, but that for his own dignity and the success of the negotiation, it was necessary first that the wishes of Her Christian Majesty and her son should be ascertained. Notwithstanding all their argument against this he stood firm, and this Queen was at last obliged to consent to his sending a servant to ask leave in France for his going. When this servant had departed, there came amongst other troubles the news of the wounding and subsequently the death of the duke of Guise, which rendered the negotiations of the Scots Queen ridiculous and contemptible. Lethington was so indignant at this that he came to discuss his affairs with me, and finding me disposed to lean to the interests of his Queen, he had thus opened his mimd as I have stated. When we had arrived at the point where he was telling me how perplexed and desperate he was, I said that in my opinion, there was no other remedy for the queen of Scotland,, but for her to marry a husband from this Queen's hand, in which case she would be declared her successor. He said there were two difficulties in this course, namely ; that the Queen his mistress would never marry a Protestant, even if he were lord of half the (world), as he knew well, for he had resorted even to the use of (threats ?) to get her to change her resolve in this respect, but without success. The second difficulty is that his mistress says she will not take a husband, Catholic or Protestant, from the hands of the queen of England, even if by this act alone she could be declared her successor, because she knows that in the first place any husband she would give her would be one of her subjects, whom she would rather die thin accept ; and in the second, that after she had married beneath her, she would have exactly the same trouble as now to press her claims to the succession as without forces of her own she never could do it, whatever declarations might be made, and whereas she now has the adhesion of all the Catholics of the realm, and of many who are not Catholics, perhaps she would lose it all after she had made a sorry marriage. He said therefore, that there was no hope of agreement based on the submission to the Queen of Scotland to this Queen, and her acceptance of a husband to her (Elizabeths) liking, and this was the reason why his mistress had decided, that in the event of no satisfactory arrangement being made here, he should go to France and propose through her uncles the marriage of the Christian King, although she knew that in consequence of their near relationship and disparity of age, it was an unsuitable match. She was driven to this course, however, by necessity, since not only English, but also even Frenchmen for their own ends thwarted her by proposing, now the Duke, (fn. 3) now the earl of Arran, and now other things totally shameful and infamous. Treating of this matter, he told me that the Duke had already been firmly refused, and as for the earl of Arran, the Queen hated him so, that having heard that the queen of France through this ambassador Foix had given him some hope of ihe match, she wrote a letter to the French Queen complaining bitterly that Foix should have dealings in Scotland with any of her subjects or secret understandings with them here. She says they have not yet dared to suggest to her a husband less great and powerful than Ike one she has lost. I asked him what about the marriage with the Archduke Charles. He said he had heard more about it here than in Scotland, and so far as he understood the thoughts and intentions of his mistress such a match would not satisfy her, since the Archduke has nothing in his favour but his relationship with your Majesty, and this alone is not sufficient for the aims the Queen and the Scots have in view. The relationship of princes is of small importance in the affairs of their dominions, and if your Majesty did not promise great support and effectual aid to the Archduke, he thought there was no chance of such a match being acceptable : Talking over all these matters, and especially of the suspicion with which he repeated several times, this Queen regards the marriage of the queen of Scotland, we came to speak of our lord the Prince, of whom he told me, these people here are so mortally afraid that they have no rest, and feel sure your Majesty will play them a fine trick some day when they least expect it. I told him that I had an idea also that this Queen was somewhat frightened of such a marriage since the queen of Scots had become a widow, and to keep us in hand they had offered great things respecting the reformation of religion, but that since the commencement of the war in France, it appeared as if this Queen fortified as she was by the faction of the prince of Condé and the Chatillons, was not so alarmed, and I thought also she might feel the more secure as the Scots were of the same religion. He replied that I was mistaken, as they were more afraid now than ever before, and that as for religion, this Queen cared as little for one as for the other. He said their religion in Scotland was very different from the English, as here they had removed the sacrament and names from the Anglican Church without reforming the abuses and irregularities, and that it was simply nonsense to think that questions of religion were really at the bottom of present state of affairs. Returning to the question of our lord the Prince, he said that this Queen was in great fear of his marriage, and the queen of France the same, with very good reason, as, if your Majesty listened to it, not only would you give your son a wife of such excellent qualities as those possessed by his Queen, who was in prudence, chastity and beauty, equalled by few in the world, but you also gave him a power which approached very nearly to monarchy, adding to the dominions already possessed by your Majesty two entire islands, this and Ireland, the possession of which by your Majesty would give no trouble whatever having regard to the great attachment the Catholics bear to this marriage and to the union of these crowns, which he well knew, and that his mistress had no enemies here but the Protestants. I said the Scotch people, who were all Protestants, all hated the Government and subjection of our lord the Prince, in consequence of the difference of religion, to which he answered that it was true the greater part of the Scots nobles were Protestant, but so obedient to their Queen that when they saw they could not move her decision and marry her to a Protestant, they would rejoice at her wedding a Catholic, if in all else he were beneficial to the kingdom and satisfactory to her. As regarded religion they thought they could find means to render the country peaceful and obedient. I asked him by what means. He said several, and amongst others he knew that the Protestants would be willing to allow the Catholics to live in their own way in their own houses, and perform their Masses peacefully and without molestation. I asked him how it was they would not allow them this liberty publicly and in the churches, to which he answered that those who held wished still to hold. We disputed on this point for a time, and at last he told me that perhaps they would consent to give churches, although he could not assure me of it. Lord James, however, had great influence with the preachers, and he (Lethington) also could do something with them, and he thought they could manage it easily. He was well aware that in some things their preachers were extreme, and he expressed great horror of the Inquisition in France, especially of some stories they have told him here very false and very injurious to the good name and honour of your Majesty. I assured him that he was badly informed, as there was no inquisition in France except what was legal and right for the preservation of the faith in its integrity, as also in the dominions of your Majesty where a different proceeding was adopted and other milder means used to bring back those who had gone astray ; such, for instance, as increasing the number of (churches) and preachers, the establishment of public schools and studies, which are the only means employed to persuade people to abandon false doctrine and accept the true. As for the cruelty and other nonsense they had told him about the Inquisition in France it was all an absolute fable ; probably related to him for the purpose of frightening him, as was the case with certain things the Queen had said to me in his presence a few days previously. Finally I told him that whatever husband his Queen might take, if he were a Catholic he would not fail to use these measures in Scotland, and they would have to put up with it without disturbing public peace or private interests. I think, if I am not mistaken, they would consent to what I have just mentioned, namely ; to give churches to the Catholics. He was much pleased at the attachment I professed to the interests of his Queen, even in my private capacity, as regarded this marriage, for the benefit of both parties. I promised him to give an account of my interview with him to a person who could inform us of the intentions of your Majesty in this matter, of which I swore solemnly I was ignorant. He, for his part, said he would send a courier to Lord James in order to be able to tell me more about the business. He told me that the matter had not been discussed hitherto, as they had always proceeded on the principle that it was not fitting that the woman should seek a husband, and the Queen's uncles in order not to offend her would not have ventured to propose it. They were therefore all doubtful and discontented to see clearly what was the most suitable thing to be done, and yet to know that it was not fitting for them to do it. He told me that his mistress possessed property in France and Scotland of the value of 200,000 crowns a year derived from her dowry and her mother's property, and that she had in money and jewels 800,000 crowns more. It was decided to entirely prevent the interviews which this Queen is seeking with the queen of Scots now more than ever since the death of Guise, and he said also that when he went to France to negotiate the settlement, he would avoid entering into the question between the king of France and the prince of Condé in order not to offend the Catholics. This was in accordance with the instructions he had received from his Queen, who said that it was not right for any prince to interfere between a Sovereign and his subject, and told him to confine himself entirely to a settlement of the differences between the king of France and the queen of England by a mutual agreement satisfactory to both parties, particularly as regards Calais, as this war being so near to Scotland is extremely injurious and inconvenient to them. I may inform your Majesty for the better understanding of these affairs, that Lord James was formerly a clergyman, although he was not in full orders, but abandoned his cloth and married the daughter and heiress of the Earl Marshal. He is, although a Protestant, a man of good qualities, brave, and a mortal enemy of the duke of Chatelherault and his son the earl of Arran, heirs to the crown. The fear of Lord James that the crown may descend to the Duke is the reason of his serving the Queen his sister so faithfully, and of his desire that she should marry a foreign Catholic prince as she desires in order that she may have children. The Duke, his enemy, is taking advantage of him to play off the English against the French, and he (Lord James) is therefore at issue with both of them and would like to form a powerful alliance to be able to punish the English without depending upon the French. I fancy too that there is not much harmony between the queen of Scotland and the Queen-Mother, and taking all this into consideration, it is very likely that what Lethington tells me is true, and the affair is more substantial than at first sight appears. What passed between us is, in substance, what I have set forth, but much less diffusely, as we spoke about nothing else for the whole four or five hours we were together. As he slowly entered into the matter I carefully kept him to it without showing any certainty or eagerness, and praised the Archduke every now and then, so as to display as much inclination and hope of one match as of the other without preference for either. With regard to affairs here I can only say that on all hands I am receiving confirmation of the correctness of what I wrote respecting the attachment of the people of this country to the idea of the marriage in question, and there are persons who offer to serve your Majesty with 1,000 (men) for this ; and others promise other things no less important. It is easily seen by the state of the country that if God in his mercy deigns to relieve them from these (wars) the remedy will be by means of a union of the countries under a powerful Christian prince, and there appears to be no other course open. I say this in the name of all these good christians and servitors of your Majesty here, who speak of the matter with such sorrow and vehemence that it seems as if no obstacle could withstand so much earnestness and determination. It is true that Cecil is playing his game to give the crown to the earl of Hertford, as Lethington understands, but the adherents to such a course will be weak in comparison to the Catholic party who favour the queen of Scotland, as some of the heretics side with Huntingdon and some have no fixed plan, but will follow the strongest. The Catholics, however, are all of one will, and really if your Majesty wishes there appears to be no impediment to prevent your Majesty from entertaining what all here are talking of and I approve.
Respecting the marriage of the king of France, I wish to observe that 1 had early news of the design, and as soon as Lethington arrived here I introduced the subject, as if casually, to the (French) Ambassador who appeared not to attach much importance to it, and thought that the Queen-Mother would not be favourable to it, because they knew your Majesty would never allow the French to obtain the succession to this throne, which was the only good thing they could hope to get from the match. Lethington gave me to understand the very reverse of this, and said that Foix was very well disposed and that the French had some design prejudicial to your Majesty's interests. However that may be, and I believe one just as much as the other, my own opinion is that the French might try to insure themselves against our lord the Prince by arranging a marriage with the queen of Scotland, which would last only until his Highness were married elsewhere. There would be plenty of ways to get out of it if they wished, or it might be carried into effect if occasion served. If your Majesty pleases I should be glad of an answer on this subject, in order that I may know what I had better answer if he (Lethington) returns to the subject, as it seems of so much weight and importance that I should not like to appear entirely lukewarm about it.
These Councillors persist in refusing to allow any of your Majesty's subjects to attend Mass. The Act against the Catholics passed as I wrote your Majesty lately, although with much opposition. It was announced to the new prisoners by four of the least protestant of these people, and the answer they brought back was that they were ready to lose their bodies in order to save their souls, and that they would never swear what they knew was false.
As my residence here is of so little importance, I suspect that is the reason your Majesty has not been reminded of the appeals I am constantly making in my letters, that your Majesty will deign to order that whilst I am to stay here I should receive enough to live on I am forced by the trouble and need through which I am passing to repeat again and again that which I would gladly avoid mentioning to anyone, but I am compelled once more to urge upon your Majesty what I have so often craved.—London, March 18, 1563.
28 March. 216. The Same to the Same.
By letter of 18th instant and previous dates I have advised the arrival here of Lethington, secretary to the Queen of Scotland, and his interview with me. He has subsequently visited me as I was unwell, and he assures me since the day he spoke with me six or seven of the peers have spoken to him separately and have declared to him their desire to receive and serve the queen of Scotland and to see her married to our lord the Prince. He says the latter condition was urged by all with so much persistence and earnestness that he is quite convinced of the strong inclination towards the marriage held by the people here. The French ambassador here recently declared that the marriage of the said Queen with the Archduke Charles was already a settled thing, but I do not know what his object is in saying so, whether it is true or (which is much more likely) because he thinks it will benefit his negotiations for peace. Lethington says that all the gentlemen that have spoken to him have expressed very little satisfaction at the talk of marriage with the Archduke, and he thinks in Scotland it will be no better received if it takes place. He has again repeated the arguments which I set forth in my letter of the 18th instant aforementioned with other fresh ones which I need not here repeat. It occurs to me that having seen so great a leaning to this marriage on the part of the people here, his own desire for it has increased, and this has led him to assure me very emphatically of the small wish they have to join hands with the French and their great eagerness to establish their right to this country. He related to me also the grievances they have against both countries. He said that four or five days ago when he was discussing with this Queen the question of peace with France the conversation turned to the queen of Scotland and her marriage. The Queen said that if his mistress would take her advice and wished to marry safely and happily she would give her a husband who would ensure both, and this was Lord Robert, in whom nature has implanted so many graces that if she wished to marry she would prefer him to all the princes in the world, and many more things of the same sort. Lethington says he replied that this was a great proof of the love she bore to his Queen, as she was willing to give her a thing so dearly prized by herself, and he thought the Queen his mistress, even if she loved Lord Robert as dearly as she (Elizabeth) did, would not marry him and so deprive her of all the joy and solace she received from his companionship. After spending a long time over these compliments he says the Queen said to him she wished to God the earl of Warwick his brother had the grace and good looks of Lord Robert in which case each could have one. Lethington says he could not reply for confusion, but she nevertheless went on with the conversation saying that the earl of Warwick was not ugly either, and was not ungraceful, but his manner was rather rough and he was not so gentle as Lord Robert. For the rest, however, he was so brave, so liberal and magnanimous that truly he was worthy of being the husband of any great princess. Lethington was anxious to escape from this colloquy by bringing on the subject of the succession which he knew would shut her mouth directly, and therefore told her that the Queen his mistress was very young yet, and what this Queen might do for her was to marry Lord Robert herself first and have children by him, which was so important for the welfare of the country, and then when it should please God to call her to himself she could leave the queen of Scots heiress both to her kingdom and her husband. In this way it would be impossible for Lord Robert to fail to have children by one or other of them who would in time become Kings of these two countries, and so turning it to a joke he put an end to the conversation. Lethington was so upset by the talk of the earl of Warwick, whom I certainly thought she would never dare to mention, that he would fain have posted off that very hour, as he assures me he would do now if he had not been charged with these peace negotiations for which he will probably have to go to France. I think he is dealing straightforwardly with me as he gives me many pledges and reveals things very prejudicial to himself although he gets from me in return nothing but the usual uncertainty and indecision.
The fact is doubtless that seeing so great a desire in England for this marriage with the Prince and so marked a repugnance to any other even to that with the Archduke or other as nearly allied to your Majesty, they are ready to do anything to obtain it. Although their position with regard to religion is the same as usual I still think they would do even more in this respect than up to the present they have said. I gather from his words that the queen of Scotland must be treated by the Queen-Mother with great disregard, and he said clearly that a much closer friendship than anybody thought existed between the Queen-Mother the prince of Condé and the Chatillons. He showed me the statement of a circumstance that had happened to his Queen, the most extraordinary and unpleasant thing ever heard of. It happened on the night that Lethington took leave of her to come hither. He, Lord James, and two other members of her Council were with her for several hours in her private cabinet until after midnight. During this time a little Frenchman called Chastelar, who arrived some months ago from France, and who was always joking amongst the ladies, took the opportunity of some of the attendants in the Queens's chamber having gone to sleep to slip underneath the bed. When Lethington and the others had gone two grooms of the chamber entered and when the chamber was cleared looked as usual behind the tapestry and the bed and came across the hidden Frenchman. Seeing himself discovered, he tried hard to pass it all off as a joke and said he had fallen asleep there because they would not let him sleep anywhere else. He wanted them to let him go with this, but the grooms called the mistress of the robes and told her, and she ordered the captain of the guard to be summoned and charged him to keep the man in safe custody, saying however nothing to the Queen so as not to spoil her night's rest. She was informed the next morning and the man was brought before the Council and examined. He wished still to turn the thing into a joke, but the Queen ordered that he should be punished in any, case if not for his villany then for his carelessness, and that the truth of the matter should be discovered as it could not have been negligence. Finding himself in a fix the man said that he had been sent from France by persons of distinguished position, with sufficient means and apparel in order that he should get a footing in the court and household of the queen of Scotland and try to make himself so familiar with her and her ladies that he could seize an opportunity of obtaining some appearance of proof sufficient to sully the honour of the Queen. He was instructed after attempting so great a crime as this to escape at once, and he should be greatly esteemed and largely rewarded, and he therefore intended to remain that night underneath the bed and go out in the morning so that he could escape after being seen, which was what he desired. After this confession had been made and confirmed before all the people they cut off the man's head. The persons who sent him on this treacherous errand were, according to Lethington, several, but she who gave the principal instructions was Madame de Curosot. The Queen writes to Lethington that the other names are such that they cannot be entrusted to letters, but I do not know who it is that he suspects as he keeps it very close from me. This malefactor came here last November with a German captain nominally as his servant, and both were followers of Monsieur de Danville. When he passed through here he told a friend of his, by means of whom I will try to find out something, that he was going to Scotland to see his lady love. This Queen had received news of the affair before Lethington's arrival here by means of a special messenger who travelled with great speed, and Lethington found it was very much talked about, which greatly grieved him until he received advice of what was being done. He seems now somewhat tranquillised about the affair itself, but complains bitterly of the people who sent the man on his errand. He says that all Scotland is offended at it, and that it has originated in some of the most powerful people in France. The Queen's council are occupied in proving Lady Margaret to be a bastard, and are taking evidence on the matter though with great secrecy.
I hear that it has been proposed to the lords in Parliament to reduce the succession to the crown to four lines or families in the kingdom, leaving to the Queen the nomination of the one that has to succeed her out of these four. It is a trick of Cecil's so that it shall fall where he wishes, and the naming of four houses will close the mouths of many who will content themselves with that honour, although they know they will be excluded from the succession itself. The Queen will obtain what she has been contemplating for some time, namely the reduction of the succession to her testamentary disposition. I expect they will exclude women born and to be born in order to make sure of the queen of Scotland whose chance in the matter has been quite spoilt by the death of the Duke de Guise.
Lethington leaves for France in three days quite undeceived about affairs here, although he will continue the peace negotiations. He says he is ostensibly going to look after the Queen's property in France, but I am not without suspicion that he will treat of the marriage with his Queen with the king of France not getting any satisfactory answer here about our lord the Prince.—London, 28th March 1563.
31 Mar. 217. The King to Bishop Quadra.
The last letter we have received from you is dated 10th January, and we have also received copies of those you sent to Cardinal Granvelle and my sister the Duchess, and of the statement made to them by your servant. We are much annoyed at the treatment extended to you by the Councillors of the Queen both at your interview with them in the Council and also in the matter of locking the doors of the house in which you live under the pretext of the seeking refuge therein of the Italian who had discharged a pistol at another man. The matter, indeed, was carried so far that we have had to consider very deeply how we had better deal with it and what action should be taken in regard to it. The Queen (fn. 4) wrote to me on the subject and her Ambassador also spoke to me and presented a statement of what had happened, the tenor of which you will see by the copy enclosed herewith. Having given the case our lengthy consideration we have decided that, although in the case of such behaviour from any other prince we should have taken the matter up and duly resented it, other reasons which operate in the case of the Queen make it advisable to deal with it in the manner set forth in our answer to Challoner, copy of which is enclosed. We are moved to this because it is not desirable for the good of God's service or our own that you should leave there at present, and because any other action than that we have adopted would have rendered necessary a rupture with the Queen which at this season would be inconvenient for reasons which you will readily understand. The course therefore has been taken of exonerating the Queen as much as possible from blame and casting it on the Councillors. We are sure she will look at it in a better light in future as it is so necessary for her to preserve our friendship, and the more especially now that, as we understand, the French have come to an agreement. It will be well for you to follow the same conciliatory course and pass over what has happened in the best way you can, trying to give them no just cause for resentment. We plainly see whence the complaints they make of you originate, but we must overlook it in view of the importance of your remaining there so that the Catholics may not be disheartened, as they, apparently would wander astray altogether if you were to leave. In exchange for the good that may come of it they must patiently put up with some evils ; and you, also, must submit to the trouble that we well know is being heaped upon you with courage, prudence and meekness and we will not forget the service you are thus doing us, but will suitably reward you for it as you deserve. You will keep the Duchess informed of all that happens and advise me here as often as possible so that instructions may be sent to you.
You will try to find out, as you say, about the Spaniards who take refuge there and will advise us carefully and diligently of what you learn, as you see the importance of it.
Your advice about the pirates and about Timberleg is very useful, and we thank you for it.—Madrid, 31st March 1563.


  • 1. The insolence shown to a congregation of Protestant worshippers in the village of Vassy on the 1st March 1862, by some of the attendants of the duke of Guise had resulted in a sanguinary struggle, which had aroused religious fury throughout France, and was the immediate forerunner of the Civil War.
  • 2. The duke of Guise had been asssasinated by a young soldier named Poltrot, alias Jean de Mere, before Orleans on the 18th (or 24th according to some authorities) February 1563.
  • 3. Of Ferrara.
  • 4. This document is in the Record Office. See Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 7th January 1563.