Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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B. M. MS., Simancas, Add. 26,056a.
236. Bishop Quadra to the Duchess Of Parma.
I was with the Queen yesterday and she told me amongst other things that she had decided to send her Admiral to Havre de Grace with 6,000 men, and it is probable that she would not only resist the French at that place, but also do them much harm elsewhere. Cecil told me the same, and the Admiral himself said that he was leaving some time this week. The Queen has already 14 well armed ships besides others that are being taken for their requirements. Feeling here is extremely strong against the French and the words that pass between these people and the French ambassador do not mend matters, as every day some fresh cause of ill-feeling arises. After the Queen had given me an account of things she said that she had offered the French to submit their disputes to his Majesty which they had refused on the ground that his Majesty was an interested party. She urged me to let his Majesty know this and to say that she would be content for his Majesty to intervene and endeavour to settle matters as she was not fond of war and bloodshed. I said I would not fail to do as she asked me, but I thought the matter was so important that it should be communicated by a special person from her, and that it should be done at once as the business had gone so far.
She replied that she had been unable to avoid defending the prince of Condé as if she had not done it some one else would, which would have been worse. She was now fitting out ships in Portsmouth, and her only regret was that she herself could not be present to see what was going on and to meet the Queen-Mother. She said other things of the same sort as people do when they are in a passion. Cecil had already said the same. I think all this is only told me that it may reach the French ambassador and arouse his suspicions. The Queen also said that Admiral Chatillon was not at all to blame in what the prince of Condé had done, (fn. 1) and she gave me to understand that her confidence in Chatillon was unshaken. There is a man here from Count Montgomery, who I understand offers to help if the Queen lands troops on a certain part of the coast.—London, 2nd July 1563.
237. Bishop Quadra to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 26th ultimo by way of Flanders and your Majesty will have learnt the progress of events here and what was current concerning the intentions of the Christian King and this Queen with regard to their differences and the probable method in which a settlement will have to be effected. I received last week your Majesty's letter of 16th ultimo with the good news of the relief of Oran, which news I conveyed to the Queen as ordered. She commanded me to say how much she rejoiced at the victory that God had vouchsafed to your Majesty over the infidels. After this she said she had intended to send for me to say that on several occasions she had offered the French to submit to your Majesty the dissension between herself and the king of France in the matter of Calais and Havre de Grace, which offers they had always refused saying that your Majesty could not be a good arbitrator in this matter because you were almost a party in the question and a joint demandant that Calais should be given up. She requested me to advise your Majesty of this, and I said I would do so, but begged her not to rest content with this on so grave a matter, and to inform your Majesty herself also. She said she would send me some letters for me to forward, but I replied that I had no certainty of sending a messenger at present, but that if she desired it I would send a special courier for this alone. She then said that she would send one, as she has done. He is a certain Garcia, who was formerly a quarter-master in your Majesty's court and goes as if sent by me at her Majesty's request in order that he may arrive more safely. She thinks that if he went as an English courier they might take away his dispatches in France, and therefore those he bears go under cover with this letter only addressed to your Majesty. The man is addressed to Monsieur de Chantonnay in order that he may forward him on from Paris. I was unable to avoid doing this service to the Queen seeing that the despatches that he carries are for your Majesty's court and not at all to the prejudice of the French. With regard to this offer which the Queen says she has made to the French I can only refer to my letter of the 26th ultimo. The French Ambassador here also gave me information of the fact that the Queen stated to me but he says that up to the day she spoke to me about it, which was the 10th instant, she had said nothing at all to him on the matter. He says for certain that on the same day, after I had left the court, he remained, and she made the proposal to him which she had previously mentioned to me. He says he answered, that, as regarded Havre de Grace, the King his master wished to make no compromise : since, in that town, the Queen had no right or claim whatever ; but if there could be any controversy on the subject of Calais he thought the King his master would rather put it in the hands of your Majesty than in those of any other Prince in the world on account of the close relationship and friendship that bind him to you. He says also that when he took leave of the Queen he asked her whether it was her wish that he should advise his master of what she had said on the matter, to which she answered that she gave him no such instructions. The object of this move of the Queen is to provide an opportunity for your Majesty to speak to the king of France respecting the restitution of Calais at the end of the eight years, and that your Majesty should give her the chance of getting it back as promised. I think, however, it is too late for your Majesty's answer to arrive before whatever they are going to do in Havre de Grace is done, and, therefore, there will be time to treat of the point at issue more deliberately, especially if the French recover the town, of which they are in high hopes, although the English also hope they can hold it. From what can be learnt, those inside are suffering much from the great pestilence which has befallen them and some 60 persons or more die every day, and also from the want of water and fresh provisions. Those on the outside were approaching with their artillery and were battering the gate and towers on the right-hand side on entering the harbour. On the other side of the town they were being battered by the houses made by the Rheingraf on a hill which commands the whole place.
I spoke to the Queen about Stukeley's voyage and her answer was that she was informed that this voyage was in no way injurious to any friendly princes. I am informed for certain that Stukeley will touch at the Canaries where your Majesty can order what measures you may consider necessary.—London, 15th July 1563.
238. Bishop Quadra to the King.
On the 8th instant I received your Majesty's letter of the 16th ultimo, and two days after I went and informed the Queen of the good news of the relief of Oran as your Majesty ordered me. After she had congratulated me, I know not how sincerely, as these people here had trusted greatly to the embarrassment the Moors were causing your Majesty, she went on to say that she had proposed several times to the French that the dispute about Havre de Grace should be placed in the hands of your Majesty, but that they had always refused, saying that your Majesty was almost an interested party in the affair, since the dignity, and even to a certain extent, the safety of your dominions depended on the restitution of Calais. She requested me to advise your Majesty of this. I said I would do this, but this was not a business that could be disposed of by simply asking me to advise your Majesty, and it was not to be expected that the French were so regardless that they would neglect any opportunity of gratifying and pleasing your Majesty by every means in their power. She said I was right, and she herself would write to your Majesty and give me the letters that I might forward them. I told her I had no occasion just then to write to your Majesty, but that if she wished it I would send a courier specially. She answered that she would send one herself and give your Majesty an account of all that had passed, and asked me not to fail to write as well. The day after I learnt from the French Ambassador, that on the same day that she spoke to me, after my audience with her, the Queen proposed to him the compromise she had mentioned to me, which he swears that up to that time he had never heard of. She said he replied that, as regarded Havre de Grace, his master could make no compromise, as the Queen's action there was pure violence, she having neither right, claim, or pledge in the place, but if there were any difference respecting Calais, he was sure his master would be pleased to place it in your Majesty's hands as those of a brother and friend and before those of any prince in the world. He says the Queen cooled in her request at this, and on the ambassador's asking her whether she wished him to write to the King about his compromise, she answered that she had no such instructions to give. From this and from the unimpressive way in which the Queen (or rather Cecil) made the proposal, and also seeing the late period when it is brought forward, which will enable the siege of Havre to be finished one way or another before a reply can be received, I think it is clear that the proposal is not made in earnest, but in order to see what your Majesty's feelings and intentions are. If they find your Majesty leaning towards the French, it will give them the opportunity of trying to effect a pacification through the German Protestant princes, as I wrote to your Majesty on the 26th ultimo, and at the same enable them to say publicly that your Majesty has deserted them in the matter of the recovery of Calais, in which they think your Majesty is as deeply engaged as they are. If your Majesty inclines to their side they will naturally rejoice as it will tend to their benefit. It will therefore be necessary for your Majesty to have the question maturely considered in view of the answer to be sent. I am sure this will be done and I do not mention it because I have any doubt, but only to point out to your Majesty the artful way these people have of proceeding, and to suggest that if the answers were delayed under some good pretext it would save your Majesty the necessity of having to declare yourself, as I do not think the town is in a condition to hold out long. Besides this, the Queen is so desirous of peace that she will conclude it in any case, and as a proof of this, the same day that she proposed the arbitration to the Ambassador, she told him that she would be satisfied with the ratification of the contract of Calais which the king of France had offered her, on condition that two more hostages were added to the four the King now had here ; these two fresh hostages not to be changed until Calais was handed over, and that one of them should be duke of Guise, and the other the eldest son of the prince of Condé. The Ambassador answered her firmly that the King neither could nor would accede to this, as things in France are such that the King cannot dispose of persons according to his will. Yesterday the Queen sent word asking me as a favour to send as a servant of mine with this dispatch a certain Juan Garcia, who was formerly a quartermaster in your Majesty's Court and is now attached to Challoner. I promised to do so seeing that it was nothing prejujudicial to the French, and consequently Garcia carries the letter under cover from me to your Majesty with a letter of mine giving some account of this arbitration, but not in full detail as I am not certain of that way of sending it.
I have noted your Majesty's orders to me about Scotland, but as Lethington went back with such an extremely peremptory message from this Queen to his mistress saying, that if she married a member of the House of Austria she would be her enemy, whereas if she married to her satisfaction she would declare her successor to the crown, I thought best to temporise somewhat in the business to see what is being discussed between the ministers of the two Queens. I was also moved to this by the consideration, that seeing the small hope Lethington seemed to have about the Prince, perhaps in the interim some other negotiation had been proposed. I did not wish moreover to give Lethington a chance, if he should not be so earnest as he was about the Prince's match, to twist my proposals to his advantage in any other business. On the other hand I have considered that this delay might prejudice the business, and that if the queen of Scotland were to hear your Majesty's intentions, it might have the effect of putting a stop to any other arrangement these people may have proposed to her ; so between the two extreme courses I have decided to take a middle one, which is to secretly send a person in whom I have entire confidence to Scotland, and inform the Queen through him that I have something of importance to communicate to her respecting her marriage, but that as I cannot go thither and she has no ambassador here, I think it will be well for her to send to me a trustworthy person who is well informed of the state of affairs in Scotland and of the negotiations that are being carried on in England, and to this person I will say what I have to convey to her. This may serve to cut short any new arrangements that may be proposed between these people, and cannot in any way do any harm as they can make no use of this message, having nothing to show in writing. Much less can it give any offence for them to hear that your Majesty's answer is not quite so decided as perhaps the Queen hoped. I have delayed sending the person until to-day, as he has had to arrange some commissions which are to serve as a pretext for his journey. Without this precaution it could not have failed to arouse suspicion that a Spaniard and a member of my household should go to Scotland, and I could trust no one else. Before the arrival here of the person the Queen is to send from Scotland, and the receipt by me of a reply to my communication, so much time will have passed that I may hope in the interim to have other letters from your Majesty and perhaps an answer to this.
I send enclosed copies of a letter sent to me by the Count de Luna respecting this business and my reply thereto. I also send copies of three letters I have written to the Emperor since these negotiations have commenced. I have told him nothing but the truth, although certainly I should have been glad to have been saved the necessity of doing so. Your Majesty, however, has ordered me to write to him openly, and I am obliged to do so.
News has arrived here that two English ships have assaulted and robbed a Spanish ship off Cape St. Vincent, killing 20 men and taking the pilot to lead them to the fleet commanded by Pedro Melendez. They captured the gold and other merchandise he was bringing from Puerto Rico. This has given me an opportunity of again complaining of Stukeley's voyage and of sending the person I have mentioned to Scotland, as if to try to obtain intelligence of the people who robbed these ships. It is certain that they had left this country within the last six months on the pretence of going to Guinea or Florida. They will be even more troublesome when the French and English are friends, as Chatillon is determined to join with them in disturbing navigation.—London, July 17, 1563.
B. M. MS., Simancas, Add. 26,056a.
239. Bishop Quadra to the Duke Of Alba.
Your Exellency will have seen in my former letter the threat the Queen offered to Lethington on his departure, that if his mistress married any member of the house of Austria she would look upon her as an enemy, but if she did not she would declare her the heiress of the English crown. This together with the waning of Lethington's hopes of a marriage with our prince (Don Carlos) seeing that he had received no appropriate answer no doubt moved him to leave here as I think with the intention of opening some other negotiations for his mistress. These will perhaps be with the king of France (about whom I wrote to you that he had been told that if the Queen would wait for a couple of years she might marry him for a certainty, and he, Lethington, had been again assured of this by Secretary Allouy) or at least with some other prince connected with that crown, such as the Duke de Nemours, the duke of Ferrara, or even Guise himself, either of whom would satisfy this Queen. I fear that the queen of Scots losing confidence in the various marriages already offered and alarmed at this Queen's threats and the pressure of her subjects (Lethington amongst them) upon her to marry a Protestant may be urged into some course that may lead to more harm than good not only to religion but also to the preservation of the States of Flanders which are in such a dangerous condition.
In view of this grave state of things I think the instructions his Majesty has given me are inadequate and not sufficiently decided, not because the greatness of the crisis does not call for all due deliberation, but because I think the remedy is a weak one for so dangerous a malady. When they see that instead of giving them a firm reply we come to them only with halting proposals, I do not know what they will think of it.
It is useless to ask them to give me information as to the support the queen of Scots can count upon in this country in order that I may convey it to his Majesty with my opinion on it. Lethington knows very well that all this has been done long ago, as he has told me what he was doing, and of course I could not hide my communications from him. We have been spoken to by the same people about the marriage, and those who have begged me to propose it to his Majesty have pressed Lethington to recommend it to his Queen and have given him lists of Catholics and others who could raise troops for her service.—London, 17th July 1563.