Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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268. Guzman de Silva to the King.
On the 30th ultimo I received the good news of the victory of the "Peñon" at which everybody was pleased, not only Catholics but others, as the battle was against Moors and secured the safety of the seas for those who pass over the Straits.
I sent to Lord Robert yesterday the account of the victory sent by Captain Francisco Eraso to your Majesty in order that he might show it to the Queen. Robert sent a gentleman of the Chamber to say that as the Queen had a very bad cold she could not give me audience as I had requested for the purpose of thanking her for a deer she had sent me the day before, and because she said she wished greatly to see me. I believe she wanted to speak to me about the business of the States which they are desirous of settling, as I hear. I have sent a full account of the position of this business to the duchess of Parma, and consequently do not refer thereto in this. On Michaelmas day, with the usual ceremony, here the Queen created Lord Robert, Baron and earl of Leicester which they say is a title usually given to the second sons of the kings of England. There were the usual rejoicings and dancing in the palace on the day in question at which the French ambassador was present, and as he told me when he came to give me a description of the feast, he heard of it two days before when he was with the Queen and invited himself to be present. Cecil had told me this the day before giving me to understand by hints that the ambassador was a friend of Robert's. I told him I understood that was so, and I had heard even that his father was much attached to the French. He said that it was true and asked me whether I would be present at the feast. I told him that even when I was invited I did not care much for merry makings now, and much less when I invited myself.
Cecil told me that the Queen commanded him to visit the Emperor jointly with Throgmorton, and although he had done all in his power to excuse himself from the journey he had not been able to. I understand that the artfulness of his rivals has procured this commission for him in order in the meantime to put someone in his place which certainly would be a good thing. His wife has petitioned the Queen to let her husband stay at home as he is weak and delicate. This, they tell me, has made the business doubtful, and I do not know for certain what will be done, nor indeed, is anything sure here from one hour to another except the hatching of falsehoods which always goes on. Love has but little influence over them. Fear is more effectual when you can frighten them which you cannot do when you try unless they see a reason. Their changeableness and inconstancy will cause me to write things that will never happen, but the fault will not be mine or my informants'. They are to-day commencing the honours to the Emperor which will end to-morrow.
As the bonds of those who have lent money to the Queen in Flanders are renewed I will go on sending the names in addition to the four mentioned in my last. I have learnt those named in the enclosed statement and the amount owing to each one.
I am expecting every day the treaty of peace with France which I have not been able to obtain hitherto because Cecil keeps it in his desk.—London, 2nd October 1564.
269. The King to Guzman de Silva.
I have received all your letters written in July, August, and 4th September, and by them and those you have sent to Madame I am informed of the steps you have taken in all pending negotiations, and also what Luis de Paz had done when you sent him to the court. We are very glad to have the intelligence you send, but there is not much to answer except that we are perfectly satisfied with the way you have proceeded with the Queen and Council, and enjoin you to continue it, and try to obtain an effectual redress for the robberies, injuries and wrongs, which have been done to our subjects, and the assurance of safety for navigation in future, in such sort as shall demonstrate the sincerity of the goodwill which you say the Queen evinces. If she is earnest in her desire there will be no lack of means of doing what she promises with diligence and due severity with the offenders. Let me know the result if you have not already done so, as no doubt you have, seeing that the deputies were to meet again at the end of September for the purpose of settling all these matters. With respect to the business of the States of Flanders I have nothing to say to you, as they are in the hands of my sister, and she will instruct you from day to day how you are to proceed. I write to her to-day to take such steps as may be fitting to make the Antwerp people desist from the negotiations they are carrying on, and order them to attempt nothing without her concurrence and express orders. She will inform you what measures she has adopted. You did very well in advising me and her what was being done in this business.
As the nine ships you mention were to sail, it was a very apposite step for you to take in demanding that they should give security, that they would commit no damage on our subjects or coasts, and that they should not be allowed to leave without the Queen's license.
Advise me what has taken place in this matter, since and how. the edict which you mention on the subject is being obeyed, in order that we may see what else had better be done.
You have pleased me by trying to discover the state of the treasury and finances of the Queen ; what she owes and what she has, and you will keep me acquainted with whatever else you can learn on he subject.
Don Frances de Alava has already sent me the heads of the treaty of peace with the French, but still, if you can obtain a copy of the complete document as it was signed I should be glad for you to send it, in case it should differ from the heads as stated by Don Frances, and of which I send you copy enclosed for comparison. If you find them the same you need not send it.
We have nothing to add about Scotch affairs and Lord Robert's misunderstanding with Cecil to what we wrote on the 5th of August, but to instruct you to follow the course laid down and advise us what happens in either matter.
We approve of the radical investigation you proposed to make, as to which of the claimants has the real right to the succession in case of the Queen's death and the party each would have in the country. When you have set it down I shall be glad if you will send me a statement of it, and it will not be necessary to enjoin you to draw it up with great caution and secrecy, as it is evident that if the Queen were to hear of it she would be indignant, aud would conceive a thousand fancies and suspicions.
Since you thought it was not a favourable season to ask at present for a church for Catholics, there is no more to say about it, except that as you are on the spot you will not fail to make the request at the time and juncture you consider most opportune and not before. We leave it entirely to your good judgment to do it, or otherwise according to circumstances. With respect to your request that I should write a letter to that Queen in favour of the imprisoned Bishops to be used in case they proceed to extremities with them, as is feared this winter, I have ordered such letter to be written, and it will be enclosed to you in this. You will use it as and when you think it will be most effectual. There is no reason to ask my brother the Emperor to write to the Queen on the subject.
Respecting the body of Bishop Quadra, I have ordered 2,000 crowns to be provided to pay what he owed and dismiss his servants, as my sister will have advised you and ordered what you were to do about it. The improvement in the Queen continues, and with God's help she will soon be quite well. Thanks to Him the Prince is so already.—Madrid, 7th October 1564.
270. Guzman de Silva to the King.
I wrote on the 2nd October that the Queen being rather unwell had not given me audience although she has of her own accord offered me one saying that she wished to see me. On the 5th instant at 11 Lord Robert who is now called the earl of Leicester, sent word to me that the Queen was better and would be glad if I would go and see her at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. She did not appoint an earlier hour because the French ambassador was to go at 1, and he was keeping back a courier he had to send to his master until he had spoken with her. I replied thanking him for the kind attention of advising me, but as I had requested audience three days before it seemed to me that even with the urgency of having to send off a courier it was not just that he (the French ambassador) should have an audience before me, and accordingly, in about two hours I sent to say that I had no courier to send off or any particular business except to visit the Queen, and that my visit might be deferred to a day when she was not so busy, as I had no desire to be importunate when she was otherwise engaged. He (Leicester) sent an answer to the effect that they were not busy and that I could go at 3 as the French ambassador would go very soon, and would not be detained. I did not reply, to this as I did not think I should go in view of what I have said, and feeling somewhat annoyed about it and wishing to know whether there was any mystery of precedence in the matter and, if not, to make them more considerate in future, I sent Antonio de Guaras as if on his own account to let them know, by visiting in a friendly way Benito Spinola, who is a great familiar of Robert, that I was rather nettled that the French ambassador had been present at his feast whilst I had heard nothing about it from him. Robert sent Spinola to me at once to say that I had no reason to think that he had any particular friendship with the Ambassador or wished to please him so much as me, the truth being that after his own Queen there was no Prince in the world under whom he was so greatly obliged to serve as your Majesty whose servant he had been, and to whom he owed his life and all he had. He said that in this there was no doubt, and so far as I was concerned, that not only he but also the Queen were so much attached to me that they were quite lost without me. It was true that the French ambassador went sometimes for a formal audience and at other times without ceremony and familiarly, and it was impossible to avoid giving him a friendly reception. He (Robert) had been prevented by his many occupations from coming to see me, and informing me of the honour the Queen had conferred upon him, and the French ambassador was present at the feast on Michaelmas day when the Queen conferred the title upon him because he (the Ambassador) had brought him the order of St. Michael from the French King, which order he (Robert) had not yet accepted, but had begged the Queen to direct him not to accept. This, he said, was the reason why the Ambassador had been present, and I might be sure that there was no Prince in the world he would so willingly serve as your Majesty. In proof of this and of the truth of his present message he sent me a ring of black enamel that he always wore, and which I have seen on his finger. I replied that I had not the smallest complaint to make, or indeed the thought of making any, he being so distinguished a person, and naturally grateful as he had always professed himself to be. I was satisfied of his virtue and his intelligence, and therefore was certain of the truth of what he said in your Majesty's favour. For my own part, desirous as I was of serving the Queen and anxious for his individual aggrandisement, I was sure of his goodwill, and there was no more to be said on that head. To Spinola, however, as a friend and one attached to your Majesty as he professed himself to be, I might point out that I had some reason for displeasure, not from any intention assuredly on their part as there was no attempt at concealment, but from inadvertence When the Queen at Sackville's house had commanded me to supper, the Ambassador had dined there the same day. It was true the explanation given by the Queen was that the Ambassador was awaiting her in the house with a letter from his mistress, but on the Queen's return here from her hunting she had given an audience first to the Ambassador. As he had asked first, perhaps this was of no importance, but these things being now joined by this last event had made me somewhat chary for fear of something untoward happening in her presence. It was a matter which did not admit of indifference, and they might be sure that I should not treat it carelessly.
After some conversation on this point he (Spinola) turned again of his own accord to the sending of the order of St. Michael, and suggested to me that he (Robert) being so firm an adherent of your Majesty, it would not be a bad thing to send him the' Golden Fleece if it could be managed, so as to bind him still closer. I thanked him for his advice, but said that this was a matter that could not even be mentioned to your Majesty as you were so jealous of the Christian religion that you would not give your order to anyone who was not a publicly professed Catholic. He was obliged to make the best of this, and confessed I was right, and with that left me.
The next day Robert sent to ask me to dine with him as I could pass from his apartments to those of the Queen at an early hour. I accepted, and in the morning he sent Randolph, who is the man the Queen sent to Scotland, to tell me that he was going to attend service at a church, and begged me to wait for him as he would call for me, and take me to his lodging, He came as promised and brought with him his brother the earl of Warwick, Secretary Cecil and other gentlemen. He came early and we were in his room some time before dinner where he reiterated his offers and desire to serve your Majesty. The business of the states of Flanders was also discussed, they giving me to understand that it would be very well if the affair were arranged, and that the French Ambassador was pressing that the convention should be made in France. I afterwards went to the Queen, who told me she had enjoyed herself very much and congratulated me upon the victory of Peãon both on account of its being for the advantage of your Majesty and because it was against the infidels. It was a great honour to your Majesty to gain such battles, seeing the usual indifference of Christian Princes to the growth of these great and common enemies. I spoke to her about the ships she had ready to clear the seas and capture thieves, and pressed her to expedite their departure, to which she replied that all speed was being made. I know from other quarters and from Cecil that this is true, and they only await fair weather to sail as all is now ready.
The courts of justice open for business again to-day, and the cases respecting restitution of stolen property will now be heard. The Queen also spoke of this, and I asked her to order a certain course to be adopted in the despatch of the cases, that will expedite the business, as has been arranged with me by a person of experience in these matters. She answered that she should be glad to do anything for the speedy and favourable termination of the business, and referred it to Cecil to manage. I spoke to him, and he promised me all his good offices. He was bound, he said, for the honour of his mistress «ind the country to administer impartial justice, and as these cases were to be heard in my presence he trusted that they would be satisfactorily despatched. If at any time I thought this was not the case he would attend to it if informed.
The person who writes for me forgot to enclose the memorandum of the persons who have lent money to the Queen. It is enclosed.
The following document is attached to the aforegoing letter:—
This Queen wrote to the queen of Scotland by the Gentleman of the Chamber (fn. 1) who came here, saying that she had not been able for certain reasons to hold the Parliament at present, and consequently had not dealt with the question of the succession to the kingdom, but it would be dealt with when Parliament sat. Verbally, she told the gentleman that she was not so old yet that they need continually keep her death before her eyes by talking about the succession.
Cecil tells these heretical Bishops to look after their clergy as the queen is determined to reform them in their customs, and even in their dress, as the diversity that exists in everything cannot be tolerated. He directs that they should be careful how they treat those of the old faith ; to avoid calumniating them, or persecuting or harrying them. I understand they are very displeased at it.
As I have advised, Cecil's favour has been wavering, but he knows how to please, and avoids saying things the Queen does not wish to hear, and, above all, as I am told, can flatter her, so he has kept his place, and things are in the same position as formerly. Robert makes the best of it. The outward demonstrations are fair but the inner feelings the same as before. I do not know how long they will last. They dissemble, but Cecil has more wit than all of them. Their envy of him is very great.
This Queen, referring no doubt to the beginning of her reign, told me that she had had to conceal her real feelings to prevail with her subjects in matters of religion, but that God knew her heart, which was true to His service. She said other things to give me to understand that she was right in spirit, but not so clearly as I could have wished. There was no good opportunity of carrying this conversation further.
I told her, as I am sure she knew, that her preachers spoke ill of her because she had a cross on the altar of her chapel, and that they did in this a daring disrespect to her person. She signified that she should order crosses to be put into the churches, and that some of the newly rebuilt ones have stone crosses, not inside but on the towers. She said also, "They charge me with a good many things in my own country and elsewhere, and, amongst others, that I show more favour to Robert than is fitting ; speaking of me as they might speak of an immodest woman. I am not surprised that the occasion for it should have been given by a young woman and young man of good qualities, to whose merits and goodness I have shown favour, although not so much as he deserves, but God knows how great a slander it is, and a time will come when the world will know it. My life is in the open, and I have so so many witnesses that I cannot understand how so bad a judgment can have been formed of me."
She afterwards spoke of the queen of Scotland, praising her beauty, and went on to say that she had heard that she was going to marry our Prince. I laughed, and said that I was told it was more likely to be the king of France. She said no, that was not so, because the queens of France and Scotland were on bad terms respecting a certain affair, and the French had approached her (Elizabeth) with a view to her marrying their King, assuring her that she could do it better, and that it was a more suitable marriage than that which your Majesty contracted with her sister. She, however, had laughed at it, and treated it as a thing not to be spoken of considering their ages.—London, 9th October 1564.
271. The Same to the Same.
Since I wrote to your Majesty on the 9th instant, the following has happened. Bonner, the good bishop of London, being imprisoned in the public jail here, one of the officers of the Crown Office as it is called, secretly obtained a summons against the said Bishop, requiring him to appear in the matter of the oath which had already been demanded of him, acknowledging the Queen as supreme head of the Church. The summons was issued at a place twenty-nine miles off before witnesses in absentia and with great secrecy, so that the Bishop should not hear of it and be accused of contempt when the case came on. By God's good pleasure the summons and the proceedings already taken happened to fall into the hands of a Catholic on the very day the term for appearance expired, and he gave prompt notice to the Bishop, who at once appeared for judgment. When his adversaries knew of this they did not present the allegations made at the issuing of the summons, but as the judges learnt that the Bishop was there, they wished to know the cause of his coming and were told the truth of the matter. A new summons was then issued and the case will now be commenced, so that we shall be able to judge of the wishes and intentions of those who love not the goodness of the Bishop and the other prisoners, and to see what is likely to be done in these affairs generally. The intentions of the Protestants are evident from these underhand proceedings.
This Queen is well in health. They say this country has not been so healthy as it is now for a long time.—London, 14th October 1564.
272. The Same to the Same.
Lord Robert, who is now called the earl of Leicester, came to my lodging on the 13th instant in the afternoon with Throgmorton, and after passing some time in conversation he took me apart and again repeated the usual professions of his desire to serve your Majesty, and then went on to say how advantageous it would be to you that this business about the Netherlands should be settled. I replied in the terms which I convey to the duchess of Parma, telling him of the confidence your Majesty reposed in him and your desire to see him advanced ; and then repeated to him what the Queen had mentioned to me about religion, which I wrote to your Majesty on the 9th instant. I said, that as a good opportunity now offered, he ought not to lose it as I discerned in the Queen a great goodwill, and if she married him and reduced her country to obedience to the Catholic Church your Majesty would greatly favour him. This, I said, would show how desirous your Majesty was to support him, and matters might be managed in such sort that the Queen should be firmly seated, and he in possession of the dignity and authority which he deserved. To this he replied that he did not think that the Queen would ever effect the marriage as she had deferred it so long, but he showed great gratitude for my offers omitting, however, any reply about religion. It is true that this omission may have arisen from his want of skill in the conduct of affairs, rather than from any other reason.
After this, seeing the necessity of bringing to his mind the subject of the Catholics, by reason of the bishop of London's affair, statement of which is enclosed, I reminded him that the Catholics trusted in the Queen and him, as I believed the Bishops and others owed their lives to him, and that he was greatly esteemed by Catholic Princes in consequence. He had also gained great popularity amongst the Catholics of this country, who it could not be denied were very numerous, much more so than those of the new religion with whom the Queen and he were unpopular, and if it had not been for their fear of the many good Catholics who love her. they (the Protestants) would have placed her in a very troublous position before now. This could be easily seen by the line taken in the matter of the book about the succession, which it appeared was to go unpunished, whilst proceedings were commenced against those who humbly and worthily did their duty. I was surprised at the action against the Bishop, and again reminded him to consider the matter well. He replied that the Queen had not known what was being done against the Bishop at first, although he had allowed himself to say very opprobrious words of the Queen and others, and had been extremely unpopular in the country.
I said very likely this was raised by his enemies, and this matter should be handled very carefully as the eyes of all christendom were upon it. I told him this as a friend who wished him well. If the Catholic party cooled towards him, the other side would not avail him, and he would entirely lose all he had gained whilst he had looked towards them. He seemed favourably impressed, but I do not know what he will do. It is certain that if the Catholics had the spirit possessed by their opponents they would be much more respected, for Robert himself confessed that they are in a large majority, but it cannot be concealed that the evil lies in the universal distrust, for a father dares not trust his own son. I have let the Bishop know that I will help him if he informs me what I can do. I am informed that he certainly is a man of much virtue and firmness.
Referring to the remarks of the Queen and Robert respecting the evil words said by the Bishop and other Catholics about her and others, I have advised the Catholics to avoid all occasion for such accusations as it is not prudent to offend the Queen, but rather to treat matters that are not against their conscience with moderation and reserve, since they owe to God a respect for their superiors. Even if they had strength to resist them with arms in their hands it would not be wise to do so, and much less now that they are in such evident peril, and their enemies will certainly bring this up against them.
The Catholics have greatly rejoiced at your Majesty's action, and they are inexpressibly consoled.
There lately arrived here an Englishman named Moore, who has been to Louvain, as I am told, and to Rome, a refugee for religion's sake. He has now returned saying, that he saw such bad things in Rome that he has come round to the new religion.
According to this he must have departed the same as he came back, and have left God for the weakness of the flesh. The new bishop of London has examined him. God grant that he may have done no harm to any good soul. This is the reason that none dare trust another.
Five or six months ago a book was brought here written in English by a Catholic that did a great deal of good. Those who are considered the most learned of these folks put their heads together to answer it, and brought the answer to the Council for permission to publish it. They were told that they did not understand it, that the reply was not appropriate, and the Council would not give them leave to publish it. Another book by the same author has now been introduced, better they say than the last. They are much annoyed, and are trying to find out who brought it to this country.—London, 14th October 1564.