Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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222. The Same to the Same.
Five vessels are being fitted out here by private individuals, the principal of whom is a young gentleman called Thomas Stukeley who is going in command. The talk is that they are going on a voyage of discovery to Florida, where a certain Captain Jean Ribault of Dieppe went to some months ago, who now accompanies Stukeley. Out of the five ships one belongs to the Queen, two to Stukeley, one to Ribault, and one is chartered. They take 300 men and a great quantity of materials and artificers as well as plenty of artillery. Many people think that their object is to attack some of your Majesty's ships on their voyage from the Indies. Some days since Stukeley sent to me to say that these people were sending him on a bad and knavish business, but that he would be with me and would show me how to play them a trick that would make a noise in the world. I sent to seek him several times, but he left London without telling me anything. They tell me he will embark in Bristol, and takes no more than 300 soldiers divided amongst the five ships. I am endeavouring to find out what is the truth about the business, although I expect really that they are bound for Florida, and that Stukeley's idea was to mutiny with the ships and to magnify his importance by telling me that they had commissioned him to do something prejudicial to your Majesty's expeditions, and that he lacked courage at last to say it, thinking probably that the relations between your Majesty and the Queen were too tranquil for him to make such a proposal, or perhaps he was waiting for me to speak first. He is quite capable of doing this, and, so far as his position is concerned, a good deal more, but is not much to be trusted. I thought well to advise your Majesty of it in good time in order that such measures might be taken as appeared advisable.—London, 1st May 1563.
223. The Same to the Same.
Last week a commission was issued to summon for trial four of the Catholic prisoners, two Bishops—of London and Lincoln—and two doctors—Cole, who was commissioner against the Lutherans in the time of our lady Queen Mary now in heaven, and Storey. (fn. 1) The commission has not yet been signed by the Queen, as when they took it to her she said she would sign it another day at her convenience. In the meanwhile Dr. Storey was so alarmed at the news that he determined to try to save himself by flight rather than have to choose between taking the oath or being hanged. He accordingly made the attempt about ten days ago with the assistance of a Flemish gentleman who was confined in the same prison for debt. He went into garden at midnight, and having scaled the wall came to the river where he took a boat and came to my dwelling. He asked for a chaplain of mine with whom, it appears, he had had some conversation about his intention, although the chaplain had not approved of it. As he was not in the house he awaited his arrival, and when he came begged him to help him to escape. The chaplain excused himself as best he could, and even compelled him to leave the house immediately, which he did and got away safely, at least up to the present they have not been able to find him. By the indications of the boatman and some of the prison warders the Council have discovered that this man disembarked at my house, and as soon as they learnt it, which was already nearly midnight, they sent the Marshal to me to demand the surrender of the man. I, who had barely heard even that he had escaped from prison, answered that I knew nothing whatever about him, as I and Dassonleville had been the whole day in the country and we had returned home very late, but that if they liked to search the house they were welcome to do so, and, I added, if they discovered that any servant of mine had helped him in his flight or hiding I would have him punished without any respect. The marshal nevertheless went away without searching the house, and as soon as he had gone I tried to obtain information from my servants as to what had passed in the matter. I interrogated some of them in the presence of Dassonleville, and at last discovered that the chaplain knew that this man had been seeking means of escape, and he had even asked his aid in his project which the chaplain would never consent to give him, and refused to help him when he came to the house, as I have related. Notwithstanding this I reproved him severely for not letting me know about it, and I sent him to the house of a friend of mine, with the intention of informing the members of the Council of the whole truth of what had passed and satisfying them if possible, so that he could return to my house, because as he is a man who knows every Catholic in the place and has absolved and administered the Sacraments to many, it was impossible to send him out of my house dissatisfied or allow him to suffer without very great danger.
Two days since, as I was about to start for the palace, the Council sent to request me to send the Chaplain to them at once. I went myself and after having discussed the business that Dassonleville and I had gone about, I told them exactly what had happened in respect to the chaplain without concealing anything, and I begged them to make enquiries on the subject, and not to demand the chaplain of me as I could not dispense with him. I promised them however, that if he were found culpable, he should be punished. They did not give me any answer, as they wished to throw me off my guard and get the priest into their hands, thinking they could get a good many secrets out of him, as no doubt they could, as he is a simple kind of man of small courage who would not be able to deny the truth of anything. They would try especially to discover something against John O'Neil of Ireland, and I have therefore decided to send him (the Chaplain) to Flanders as I shall endeavour to do if possible. I will rather put up with the molestation of these Councillors, than expose so many people to suffering and injury, as would be the case if this chaplain were to be handed over. When he is in Flanders, your Majesty can order him to be punished if he has done anything to deserve it, and for the slightest fault that I have in the matter I am content to sacrifice my life, for although I am glad the doctor has got away and wish all those who are imprisoned for religion could do the same, it will not be found that I have either directly or indirectly burdened myself with such matters as this, or that I have had any knowledge or share in this particular case. God grant that I may be able to send the chaplain off safely, for certainly, if they take him the injury would be very serious.
I have caused Dassonleville to acquaint himself with everything that has passed, in order that he may be able to give testimony in your Majesty's Council in Flanders if the matter is carried further.— London,9th May 1563.
Simancas, B. M., MS. Add. 26,056a.
224. The Same to the Same.
Briquemart, the Prince of Condé's envoy, came here for the purpose I have mentioned, which was really only compliment to the Queen in recognition of the aid she had given and a desire to make peace between her and the king of France, but without the surrender of Calais. She answered him with great bitterness as I have said, and used extremely hard and insulting words towards the Prince ; the formal reply given to Briquemart being that the King had better send M. D'anville or some other person with whom the Queen could treat as she did not choose to negotiate with a messenger from the Prince of Condé. During Briquemart's stay here the King of France has sent some troops to Honfleur and Havre de Grace, and on the last day of April wrote a very humble letter to this Queen saying that as her occupation of the place had been, as she said, only for his benefit he begged her now to be pleased to give it up and remain a good friend to him in accordance with the treaty of Chateau Cambresis, and at the same time he sent a letter to his ambassador instructing him to say that if the place were not surrendered he should be obliged to send an army against it. Last Thursday the Ambassador gave his letter to the Queen, but no answer was vouchsafed him except that she would consider the matter and give her reply later. She spoke very violently of the Prince of Condé, calling him inconstant, lying and worthless (or naughty as they say here). The Ambassador asked yesterday for the reply, and Cecil sent word that the Queen would send it through her own ambassador in France. The Ambassador tried hard to obtain another audience in virtue of the credence he had banded her and at last obtained one when he asked her either to surrender Havre de Grace or tell him her reasons for keeping it, and if she thought of imposing conditions for its surrender he begged her to tell him what they were. In order not to lose time he said that if these included the restitution of Calais before the time agreed upon he might say at once that it would not be granted.
The Ambassador says the Queen replied at great length and very confusedly, not refusing to surrender the place or mentioning any other conditions except Calais.—London, 9th May 1563.
B. M. French MS. Brussels Archives, Add. 28,173b.
225. Councillor Dassonleville to the Duchess of Parma.
My former letters to your Highness will have informed you that I had handed to the Queen and Council the documents respecting my mission and of their first replies thereto, and I trust your Highness will approve of my proceeding as I have adhered closely to my instructions. The Councillors send to tell me that the answer is already written and only has to be copied before it is handed to me, and they beg me to remain a day or two longer for it I hope my voyage will be profitable in remedying some of the injuries against Flemings, and I am sure that the course adopted by your Highness was the only one that could promise success. I told the Queen that your Highness's offer was for the purpose of making friendship closer. (fn. 2) With regard to Belsius, of whom your Highness writes, I will do as you command. He now displays a good conversion and has been principally influenced thereto by the reading of St. Denis Ariopagite, a disciple of St. Paul, of whom some new books in Greek have been recently recovered, and serve greatly to confute the arguments of those who wish to inveigh against the Mass and ecclesiastical ceremonies which they say are the modern inventions of men. I think it will be well to let his conversion be known in Flanders and accede to his desire to return and do good in the country. I leave the decision your Highness's better judgment. As I am instructed to inform your Highness of events here during my stay I send subjoined a statement by which your Highness will see that this country is fertile in news.
Since my arrival here I have continued to advise your Highness of the suspicions current that the prince of Condé and Admiral Chatillon and their party were intriguing to make a strong impression on the Netherlands and that nothing would more effectually check them than the dispute between the English and French respecting Havre de Grace which has caused dissensions amongst them. What has hitherto been only conjecture is now made manifest and one of the Councillors of the party has openly confessed that the opportunity has been lost. The Ambassador (Quadra) has been informed of this by the servant of an English gentleman of rank secretly in my presence and I have not thought well to refrain from communicating it to your Highness. Your Highness is no doubt aware that this Queen has had in France during the civil war an ambassador named Throgmorton who returned hither this Easter. During the time he was there he was intriguing with the prince of Condé, Admiral Chatillon and their adherents and the understanding between them and the Queen was arranged by him. He was at the battle of Dreux amongst the Huguenots and was taken prisoner but was sent away free in consequence of his position. This personage has since then received a grant of money as a reward for his services. He was at supper last Sunday with the Lord Chamberlain and a large and brilliant company when, apropos of the rumour of the King's voyage and the hopelessness of the Admiral's plans being now carried out owing to the dissensions in the party and the war between England and France, he (Throgmorton) expressed himself in the following terms : "There are many Catholics, forsooth, in this country who would be glad of the king of Spain's coming and place all their hope in him ; but they are finely mistaken for he has no power, money, troops, or spirit. He owes more than 45,000,000 in gold" and so continued to talk in this way and even worse of his Majesty— things that I will not write of my Sovereign. He said that certain persons two years ago tried to persuade the King to make war on this country on behalf of the Papists, but that the Flemings would not allow it, and that even if the King wished to do so now they (the Flemings) would prevent it as they had quite enough to do amongst themselves.
He said if the French had remained united, as was hoped, it would have been easy for them to have subdued the Netherlands, as Chatillon well knew and intended, but for this dispute that had spoilt his chance.
A gentleman named Salliger replied that the King was not so poor nor so devoid of spirit, and it would not be so easy to occupy the Netherlands as Throgmorton made out. There were several opinions on the matter amongst those present, and although all this is boasting nonsense it is by such talk that the designs of princes and ministers are understood as well as their intrigues against other rulers, and thus enables them to be circumvented.
Throgmorton at the time did not give any particulars of the Admiral's designs, but they have leaked out. The Huguenots thought that, being masters of Champagne and armed, with the assistance they expected from Germany and elsewhere, they might by the aid of the sectaries in the Netherlands cause certain towns to revolt, and so they made out everything to be so easy that they divided the skin before they had captured the beast, each one getting his grant of country. The Admiral should have remembered what happened to him when he persuaded himself before of the ease of the enterprise during the truce, and how it turned out. Thank God, however, their own dissensions have now put it out of their power to harm us, and on my return I will give your Highness an account of the details of the Admiral's plans as I hear them.
With regard to the letters of marque and reprisal that the States of Holland said had been granted here at the request of a certain John Lane of London against the town of Rotterdam about which your Highness writes to the Ambassador and me ; as the form of these letters was so extraordinary we sent to the Council to ask them whether any such had been granted. They said they were too well aware of the provisions of the treaties to grant any such letters, but at the same time informed us that they had received a complaint from the said Londoner of the great injustice he was suffering, and begged us to write asking that justice might be done him as the Queen had sold him the ship in question by right of war. The first time I go to court I will tell them that this Londoner is the plaintiff and will receive justice in the ordinary course, but that nevertheless we have sent the solicitor of the States assisted by some of our own people to learn from the said merchant if he had asked for letters of marque and why he sent such complaints as he had done. Lane confessed that he had no letters and begged that nothing should be said to the Council as the Queen who had sold him the ship was obliged to guarantee his enjoyment of it. The solicitor has returned to Holland with my letters. Your Highness will see by the adjoined copy the fine proclamation the Admiral issued this Easter against the piracy and pillage committed by his people on the coast of Havre both on the subjects of the King and other Catholics.—London, 15th May 1563.
B.M. French MS. Brussels Archives, Add. 28,173b.
226. The Same to the Same.
I had to stay here eight days longer to complete my mission, as I wrote to your Highness in my last of 21st ultimo, and on Tuesday last in the presence of the Ambassador I gave to the Council a summary statement of all that had passed in the negotiation, showing them beyond cavil that they had not given any explanation or due satisfaction for acts so notorious that they could be denied by no one. I therefore asked them to take the matter into consideration before I took leave of the Queen, to whom I could not avoid expressing the dissatisfaction that the King would feel at the refusal of claims so just as those I had made. I said that they had hitherto not taken any steps to prevent depredations, or to make restitution to the King's subjects who had been plundered, both by the Havre people and others of this country, and I gave them notice that as a last resource His Majesty was forced to take steps to obtain restitution for his subjects, and protect them from these constant and intolerable injuries. The Ambassador and I then showed them the various complaints we had received, and amongst others that respecting the five ships and two hoys recently captured at Havre about which your Highness writes me, and that referring to the ships loaded with wheat, etc. lately taken at Dover and Portsmouth. After the Council had heard me they promised us a favourable and speedy reply, thanking me, especially for the trouble we had taken in complaining to them direct by word of mouth. On the following Thursday the Queen sent for the Ambassador and me, and after hearing my allegations, which were the substance of what I had said to the Council, she said it was clear she did not wish that any difficulty should exist between her good brother the King and herself, and that all depredations that had been committed in violation of the treaties should be remedied and the stolen goods promptly restored, and the further questions that might arise could be dealt with by a friendly communication with her Council, such as we had just presented. After many other expressions from the Queen, which I will repeat to your Highness on my return, we went to the Council again, and we were given a replevy order on all the goods plundered, both at Havre and elsewhere. The other difficulties still remained pending, and I will report on the same to your Highness, and for that purpose will start out with God's help the day after to-morrow, as to-morrow is Whitsunday and I cannot leave then.
The Queen ordered her Council to give the Ambassador and me an account of all that had passed between the French and her since the treaty of Chateau Cambresis, and the apparent war between them about Havre, as also of the encounter between the Rheingraf's troops and the English on the 22nd instant before Havre, all of which the Queen begged might be conveyed to your Highness, as it interested the Netherlands so closely. Every day the continuance of the war between England and France seems more certain. They pillage each other at sea and fight each other on land, and troops are being hastily got together here by forced levies. Yesterday, however, a Secretary of Commandments of the king of France, called Monsieur d'Allouy, came here on a mission respecting the question of Havre. We do not yet know his object. M. de Croc also, who went about a month ago to Scotland, has returned hither on his way to France. I suspect he is planning some intrigue against the English, and the Queen is of the same opinion.—London, early in May (?)
227. Testimony of Carlos del Gesso on the Case of the
Queen of England against Bishop De Quadra, dated
22nd May 1563.
I Carlos del Gesso, servant of Bishop Don Alvaro de la Quadra, Ambassador to his Most Catholic Majesty in England, declare that on the 6th January last, which was Twelth day, at 10 o'clock in the morning as Mass was about to be said there came two locksmiths at this house of Durham Place, where the Ambassador resides, to put a lock and key on the door leading to the river. Whilst they were at the work without having previously spoken to any one belonging to the house, I went and asked them by whose orders they were doing it. They answered, by orders of the Councillors of her Majesty the Queen, and I told them it would have been well if, before they began it, that they had informed the Ambassador or one of his servants, and I asked them to wait until I had acquainted his Lordship with what they were doing and I would return with the answer at once. This they willingly did, and I immediately went and told the Ambassador about it. His Lordship answered me in the presence of Luis de Paz and others who were with him that as the house belonged to the Queen they were to be allowed to do as they liked, and we were not to hinder them in any way. They were consequently not interfered with and finished putting on the lock without anyone saying a word either to them or to the custodian of the house who was never annoyed or threatened in any way either on this occasion or when he wished two days after to cut off the water that comes from the great courtyard of the house to the tap in the kitchen, although as regards this question of water, he had a few words with some of the servants but no dispute or quarrel. Both before and since he has always been treated with all possible consideration and kindness and has continually had rations and other things given to him when he has asked for them. Which being the truth I hereto set my hand by order of his Lordship.—22nd May 1563.
228. Testimony of Bernabe Mata on the Charges against the
Ambassador of His Majesty resident in England
brought by the Queen.
I Bernabe, Mata servant of the illustrious and very Reverend Sellor Don Alvaro de la Quadra, Ambassador to his Majesty the king of Spain, declare and certify that on the third day of January of the present year whilst I was walking in a hall of the house of Durham Place where his reverence resides, I heard a great shouting and noise in the countyard, whereupon I ran out, and the first thing I saw was an Italian rushing up the stairs. I went as far as the street door and found inside and in the courtyard a great tumult of people. I asked them what was the matter and an Italian told me that a servant of Micer Alfonso, musician to the Queen, called Andrea, had discharged a pistol-harquebuss at Captain Masino, whom I saw in the street with others. I asked them where was the man who had fired the shot, and they said he was inside the house. I told them that the Ambassador should be informed of the matter and that the delinquent should not be sheltered in the house. With this they went away. All this passed in the presence of the English custodian of this house and some of his Lordship's servants who had collected some with weapons and some without, as well as some people who were passing in the street, but there were no officers of justice or others. I went to seek the man Andrea of whom the complaint was made and I found him near the room occupied by his Lordship who was then with the French ambassador, the provost of Paris, Pascual Espinosa and others. The shouts of Andrea having been heard by the Ambassador his Lordship came out and in the presence of the gentlemen who were with him ordered me to discover whether the shot had been fired from inside the house or not, and if it had been so fired I was to take the accused and turn him out by the front door or hand him over to the officers of justice, but if the shot had been fired outside the house and the man had casually taken refuge inside I was to let him out by the water gate and so enable him to escape. I did as I was ordered and found that the weapon had been discharged outside the house. I thereupon called a servant of mine and sent him to seek a boat and bring it round to the water gate, which he did, as there was no boat waiting at the gate at the time. I put the man on board and he went his way. This being the truth I hereto put my hand at the request of his Lordship. —Done in London, 22nd May 1563.
229. Testimony of Alexander Del Gesso respecting the Charges
brought by the Queen Of England against Bishop
I Alexander del Gesso, servant of Monsignor de la Quadra, Ambassador of his Catholic Majesty in England, declare that having recently gone by his Lordship's orders to speak to the wife of Mr. Fortescue, and sister of Arthur Pole, at present imprisoned in the Tower of London, I told her that Monsignor my master had sent me to say that the Councillors of the Queen had informed him that her husband had alleged that he had had some discussion with his Lordship about his departure, and about the intentions that Arthur Pole and her husband, his brother-in-law, are said to have had to take this kingdom or a certain title of Duke. I told her that his Lordship marvelled greatly that a gentleman of his age, who professed to be a Christian, should state a falsehood so injurious to the honour of the minister of a foreign prince, and begged her if she had an opportunity of speaking to her husband to remind him not to burden his honour or his conscience by saying things that could never be proved and are utterly false. The said lady replied that she had seen the depositions of her husband and brother, and nothing of the sort was contained in them, and the only thing that her husband had said was that he had been once to the Ambassador's house to ask for his Lordship's favour in passing over the sea, and that her brother Arthur had deposed that he had never in his life spoken to the Ambassador, and had hardly even seen him, and, she continued, that truly a great injustice had been done to both of them in saying that they accused the said Ambassador, or had stated anything against him, as they would never consent to do so. I begged her to give me a copy of the said depositions, and she told me to return the next day when she would do so, as at present she had not a copy in her possession. I went the next day, and she then told me that she could not give it me as she had not yet been able to obtain it, but that I might rest assured that what she had told me was the truth ; and this she repeated to me many times in the presence of James, a servant of his Lordship who served as interpreter, although I understood perfectly well without him everything that Mistress Fortescue said. There were also present the lady's mother and a brother, and also the wife of Arthur Pole. I declare this to be the truth, and write and sign this with my own hand. By order of his Lordship in Durham Place, &c.—Dated 22nd May 1563.