Simancas: April 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: April 1563', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, ed. Martin A S Hume( London, 1892), British History Online [accessed 19 July 2024].

'Simancas: April 1563', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Edited by Martin A S Hume( London, 1892), British History Online, accessed July 19, 2024,

"Simancas: April 1563". Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Ed. Martin A S Hume(London, 1892), , British History Online. Web. 19 July 2024.

April 1563

3 April. 218. Bishop Quadra to the King.
By my letter of 27th ultimo (28th?) your Majesty will have been informed of the progress of affairs here, and especially of the interviews I had with Secretary Lethington which I detailed in full, in order that your Majesty might not lack knowledge of everything that passed on the subject. I also advised your Majesty in the same letter how a proposition had been made on behalf of the Queen to the lords who are now assembled in Parliament to regulate the succession to this crown by a public Act, reducing the right to succeed to four families, amongst which the Queen might nominate the person who appeared nearest and fittest to succeed her. They have been discussing this matter all the week, trying to discover some solution which shall satisfy the needs of the nation, and at the same time fulfil the Queen's plans and keep the queen of Scotland in suspense. On behalf of the latter Queen, Lethington has not only been making representations, but has threatened these people by saying that his mistress wished to be a friend and ally of this Queen, and would be satisfied with her friendship alone if she were assured of the succession to the English throne, which was a matter of such high importance to her and was her just right, but that in present uncertainty about it and about the feelings of their respective subjects, she could not avoid taking such measures in her affairs and seeking such other alliances and securities as were necessary. This was to signify that she could join with the house of France, or with that of your Majesty by different ways. In order to satisfy all these divergent interests, I understand that they have agreed to pass an Act providing that in case the Queen dies no office, either judicial or in the household, shall become vacant, and 24 councillors are appointed to administer the Government. Besides this, Parliament is notified that they must meet within thirty days (after the demise), and that not only are the peers and bishops, who are fixed members, to be summoned, but also the same deputies from the towns that have sat in the preceding Parliament. These provisions fulfil the requirements of the Government of the country, and satisfy the desire of the Queen (not) to appoint a fixed successor, although placing all the offices and councillorships into the hands of persons who she thinks will do what is aimed at in accordance with the present ruling ideas. They have tried to content Lethington with smooth arguments, showing him how dangerous it would be for the Queen to nominate a successor at present seeing the large number of claimants, and also because if she were to nominate the queen of Scotland, as she says she desires to do, it would manifestly result in a rising of the Catholics of this country, and lead to rebellion and the re-introduction of the Catholic religion by force ; and other similar arguments not altogether fallacious. He says that at last Cecil told him that if they could find a way by which the queen of England might be secured for her life without danger and for religion to remain as it is at present, this Queen would not be sorry to nominate the queen of Scotland, for her heir at once. Discussing this matter with him, Cecil told him that he thought Cardinal Lorraine ought to act as intercessor between these two Queens, in order to endeavour to devise some plan by which the securities I have mentioned might be provided. I think this is proposed with the object of diverting the Cardinal from any negotiations he may have with your Majesty or with the Emperor. Lethington quite understands all this, and although as regards religion he does not desire the restitution of Catholicism any more than Cecil does, he nevertheless sees that on all other subjects they are putting him off with empty words alone He has left here to-day for France, and sent an account of all these proceedings to his Queen by a secretary of his called Raulet, a good Catholic person who has also left to-day for Scotland. From him, and also from Lethington himself who came to take leave of me, I have heard the particulars of all that has passed with them and many other things as well, the substance of which is, that if the queen of Scotland cannot marry our lord the Prince, she will do her best to marry the king of France, the Archduke's affair appearing to her as of small importance, and is even more lightly regarded by the Scots people. In addition to this, the Catholics of this country are dead against the match with the Archduke, and they tell me clearly they will rather take the son of Lady Margaret than the Archduke, as they are dissatisfied with the latter in the matter of religion, and they say besides, that if they are to maintain the Archduke with their own money, they would rather maintain this other one who is at least an Englishman, and would at all events be able to save the country from some turmoil by uniting his claim to that of the queen of Scots. It appears to me that the projected marriage of the Archduke, negotiated secretly by Cardinal Lorraine, has aroused suspicion amongst the Scots who fear that its aim may be to bring force to bear upon them and make them reform their religion. This might have been expected in the lifetime of the duke of Guise and with affairs prosperous in France, and the Queen has been hard put to it to satisfy and tranquillise them, and to assure them that she knew nothing of what Cardinal Lorraine was negotiating. This, however, is not believed, as Lethington heard here from the French Ambassador that a certain Scotch captain named Cauberon (fn. 1) passed through here some time ago with a despatch from Cardinal Lorraine to the Queen, of which knowledge was not possessed in Scotland. It is evident that this secret manner of proceeding has ended in frightening the Scots, and Lethington tells me plainly that to negotiate successfully in the interests of the Queen, what is wanting is straightforwardness and not to arouse suspicion by underhand dealing, because by that means, both in religion and other things, the Queen will do whatever she wishes, and on the other hand evil would result from the growing distrust between her subjects and her. He certainly seems to say this with a sincere desire for his Queen's interests, and I have thought well to repeat it all to your Majesty in order that you might know that if the Ambassador intends to negotiate in this business, the negotiations should be carried on in an entirely different way from that in which they were commenced, as this way will have no other effect than to again unite the Scots and English against the person who seeks this marriage, and even against the Queen herself. I have quite agreed with Lethington on this point, and have assured him that if your Majesty were to negotiate for the marriage of his Queen into your family, or that of the Emperor, not only would your Majesty not think of using either force or strategy with them, but would wait until, they all besought you and every man in Scotland was satisfied. I have likewise assured him of the intention of the Emperor to the same effect, and have greatly praised the Archduke with whom they might still be satisfied, if it were not that they object to his want of means, upon which point both Catholics and non-Catholics concur, as according to the custom here, nothing is good unless it bring them some profit.
This secretary Raulet tells me that Lord James is extremely desirous of this marriage with the Prince, and everybody is most anxious for it. As regards religion there are as many heretics as Catholics, particularly amongst the common people, who say the marriage would be a good thing. The Queen by her devotion and good example in following strictly all the ceremonies and Catholic solemnities in church every day is winning over some of the gentlemen, and already many of them attend Mass with her, notwithstanding the regulation existing against it. Lethington left me a packet of letters for Cardinal Granvelle, in which he says there are some from his mistress to your Majesty and our lady the Queen, to which she is desirous of a reply. This Queen is still very fixed in the idea of not making peace until Calais is restored, and says that Admiral Chatillon has promised to aid her in it. Throgmorton told Chatillon that it was impossible for the queen of England to make war on your Majesty unless she first obtained possession of Calais, whither the English merchants could carry their cloths and wools, as they have now no other place to take them to but Antwerp. As I understand, this great friendship between Chatillon and the Queen is only a plan to disturb the Netherlands jointly, and I have obtained trustworthy intelligence of this ; indeed, I am told that the Queen spoke of it to Lethington when referring to the restitution of Calais.—London, April 3, 1563.
24 April. 219. The Same to the Same.
They have brought the Scotch earl of Bothwell from Warwick (Berwick) where, as I have already advised, they had imprisoned him and have lodged him in the Tower of London. The Queen has done this in order to keep alive the dissensions in Scotland, as this Bothwell had fled from Lord James and the Protestants not without some suspicion of connivance on the part of the Queen who was asserted to have entrusted him with a secret mission to her uncles in France. The English Queen, desirous of finding out something that might cause dissension between the queen of Scotland and Lord James and the Protestants, has brought Bothwell hither where he will be examined and well guarded, which is their only gospel here.
Señor de Saneni, who assaulted Prior Don Hernando de Toledo, is also on his way hither. I believe he embarked at La Rochelle and went to Cornwall. He has not yet arrived in London, but he is expected this evening. Your Majesty may be pleased to order what is to be done with him.
Public affairs here and my own private troubles and necessities force me to beg your Majesty to be pleased to allow me to leave this island. I am of but little use here and my residence is so costly and onerous that apart from my pecuniary estate, in which I am totally ruined, I am suffering much in health and all else. If it be the pleasure to grant me this leave I humbly petition also that a grant in aid which has been ordered to be paid to me in Naples should be paid to me in Madrid together with what is owing to me on account of my salary in order that I may make it all over to an English gentleman who has sustained me here with his money for some time past with the intention of going to Spain, as he is now about to do, to escape this oath. I should not like to fail towards this gentleman as apart from my private obligation to him, he is the most attached adherent of your Majesty whom I know here, as your Majesty will hear from him personally when he arrives in Madrid. As for the rest that concerns me I can truly say that I desire life for no other purpose than to serve your Majesty, as is my duty, but this residence of so many years here without any other means than those furnished for my support by your Majesty's orders has become quite intolerable, and I lack every resource and expedient for carrying on any longer. I supplicate your Majesty to be pleased to convince yourself of this and order enquiry to be made when it will be proved that for the many years I have served I have been spending all the little property I had without ever receiving a single favour, which I think arises from the fact that I have always served in foreign parts and because I have been more diligent in doing my duty worthily than in soliciting and importuning. If I importune now I do so forced by my need, my trouble, and my afflictions, which grieve me most because they hinder me from serving your Majesty as I could wish.
I send your Majesty enclosed with this copy of a letter which has fallen into my hands from a Spaniard resident in Antwerp to Casiodoro, preacher in the Spanish church here. (fn. 2) I send the original to Alonso de Canto that he may try to lay hands on him. I advise Cardinal de Granvelle of all.—London, 24th April 1563.
23 Apr.
B. M. MS., Brussels Archives, Add. 28,173b.
220. Cardinal de Granvelle to Councillor D'Assonleville.
Sure you have done your best, and now that the holidays are over I hope you will soon have settled your business and return, although I do not know if I have any right to hope that a remedy will be forthcoming in England for the wrongs of the subjects here, as the English are not in the habit of remedying the outrages and robberies they commit on foreigners unless, as you say, they are pressed and paid in their own coin. Still I am willing to hope that something may be gained by your remonstrances, and until I see the result will say no more.
They do a great wrong to the Queen who persuade her that our King has not done everything possible for her and she is too prudent to listen to them, but will always bear in mind that she owes her life itself to his Majesty and will never forget the more than fraternal offers our King has always made her since her accession. I make bold to say that if she had always followed his advice she would be much better off and more tranquil to-day.
Thank God things in the world are not so disturbed as people in England give out, and after the agreement made with the rebels (fn. 3) the German intrigues have greatly diminished. This is evident also from the daily return of the Ritters who had gone to the aid of the French rebels, and all this makes me think that the world will be a little more peaceful this year than was thought.
People write, I know not how truly, that the princes of Saxony, seeing the efforts made by the Muscovites in Poland, have ordered their subjects not to leave the country in the service of any foreign prince, as they may be required at home. It is true that Admiral Chatillon, who is incriminated or at least suspected in the murder of M. de Guise, had retired to his own house for refuge, and has shown some design of going to Germany, which if it be true is sure to lead to intrigues, and I hear that he demands some place in France near the German frontier where he and his people may be in some safety.
M. de Sixpiere, who as you know is so great a Catholic, governs Orleans and has already on the avowal of the prince of Condé executed a large number of seditious people who had recommenced their plots. I hope God will aid his just and holy cause.—St. Croix, 23rd April 1563.
24 April. 221. Bishop Quadra to the King.
On the 3rd instant I last wrote to your Majesty an account of affairs here, and I have now to advise that Parliament rose on the 10th instant with a notice that another will be called in October. The arrangement they thought to make in the matter of the succession encountered so many difficulties that they dropped the proposal. The great obstacle, as I understand, was that some of the pretenders to the succession heard that Cecil was contemplating including them amongst the 24 Councillors whom, as I informed your Majesty, they thought of appointing for the purpose of carrying on the government and summoning Parliament thirty days after the death of the Queen. They were of opinion that it would not suit them to be obliged to come here and shut themselves up, as they say they would not be so safe as on their country estates, and they would be precluded from working in their own interests and could not justly be arbitrators on their own claims. At the same time they were suspicious of appointing other persons for the purpose, and consequently nothing was done. I think they saw that when the principal of them were all here together, the city being so much in favour of the earl of Hertford on the ground of religion, the crown might be given suddenly to Lady Catharine his wife and the rest of them all taken prisoners and put safe under lock and key. They have therefore gone to their homes without doing anything in this business of the succession except to notify another Parliament in October. They have done this to keep Lethington still in play and assured him that in the meantime the Queen would order the documents concerning the various claimants to the succession to be examined in order that she might with greater confidence proclaim as her heiress the queen of Scotland if her claims were found good. On the return of these lords and gentlemen to their homes 10 or 12 of them again made representations to me concerning the marriage of the queen of Scotland about which I have already written to your Majesty. I am sure there is no deceit about this as I have a full acquaintance with the interests and grievances of each one of them—grievances so great that the marvel is that disturbances have not already broken out considering the grave and numerous causes of discontent that exist. The only way to account for it is that the force of tradition and lack of spirit amongst the principal people make them obedient to the name of the monarch apart from the power or substance, which certainly this Queen does not possess, being as she is so unpopular and despised, without troops, without money, and without harmony, at enmity with all the world. Some people still think that this state of things cannot continue, and if anything untoward were to take place the disorder would be very great. Some of these gentlemen who I say have been seeking me have offered to bind themselves to render full allegiance at once to the queen of Scotland and to our lord the Prince jointly ; which I have evaded courteously, letting them know that I did not doubt their good faith and that therefore no further pledges were necessary. The Queen complains that the prince of Condé and Chatillon have deceived her, and says plainly she will not give up Havre de Grace without receiving Calais first.
Monsieur de Briquemart, an emissary of the prince of Cond*eacute; arrived here to-day to try and arrange some peaceful settlement, but he will have a difficulty in finding one that will be satisfactory to both parties. I still think, however, that if they hold firm in Flanders and do not split, the Queen will be obliged to give up Havre de Grace without receiving Calais in return. She has no forces to defend it against attack, nor money to retain it, which will cost her 400,000 ducats a year and even more with the garrison she at present has there. If the king of France fits out a sea force it would be necessary to arm here also on a grand scale, and the cost would be intolerable, above all coming on the top of the four or five hundred thousand ducats the Queen has already spent including the 200,000 she has lent to the prince of Condé and it would plunge her in perpetual need as well as placing her in peril of losing Calais by her own action. I therefore think that they will have to come to terms for the reasons I have set forth, and because however much the Queen may enjoy setting her neighbours by the ears, she soon gets tired of being involved herself. In addition to all this she does not dislike the French nor does Lord Robert either, and she is extremely annoyed to find herself in need of your Majesty's favour whose power she fears and her Councillors hate. God grant that the indications which I have, that the arrangement will be prejudicial to your Majesty, may not be fulfilled as all other things I have written to your Majesty this year have been.
This week they began to demand the oath from the catholic Bishops in accordance with the new Act passed in Parliament recently, and the bishops of London and Lincoln and Doctors Cole and Storey have been summoned for Monday next. After them will come the rest, and there is no doubt some will die. I am much more afflicted at this misfortune than at all the insults and injuries I have received here as I see the great danger the Catholic religion will suffer from the death of these men and still more if, from faintheartedness some of them were to take the oath. I am grieved at this naturally, nor can I help feeling deep distress that the blame of it all is universally laid to your Majesty in whom these good people had placed all their hopes except in God ; not because I had promised anything specifically in your Majesty's name, but because they entertained these hopes before I came here. I have tried to sustain them in their confidence by all the least compromising means in my power, and I cannot therefore help being moved to compassion by seeing an end so wretched. I nevertheless supplicate you for love of our Lord to receive in good part what I now write with the freedom and fidelity I owe as a servant and vassal of your Majesty who would fail in his duty if, from fear of giving offence, he neglected to say thus much.—London, 24th April 1563.


  • 1. Captain Cockburn was a spy of the English Government resident in the French Court.
  • 2. A contemporary note on the margin of the original says, "This did not come."
  • 3. i.e., in France.