Simancas: November 1564

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: November 1564', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 390-397. British History Online [accessed 15 April 2024]

November 1564

4 Nov. 273. The Same to the Same.
Things here are as usual : the number of Catholics always growing through their seeing the bad conduct of the rest. Fearing this, the Protestant Bishops are taking action on the letters of the Queen's Council, translation of which I enclose, and they have arrested some Catholics. They are also trying to place Protestant Governors in the provinces so as to have the country on their side. On the other hand the Queen tells me she is sure (as I have written your Majesty) that they will do the Catholics no harm, but I am informed that the second Chamberlain who is called Chinor (Cheney?), a great Protestant told Cecil four or five days since that he had better propose the use of strong measures to prevent the growth of the "Papists" as they call them. Cecil answered that he was doing what he could, but did not know who was at the Queen's ear to soften her so and render not so zealous in this as she should be. It is evident that their action is to inspire fear and if the troubles are to be cured this is the only medicine that can be applied to them. Certainly if they knew or had any suspicion that the reduction of the country to the faith was to be undertaken in earnest by those who could do it there would not be much difficulty about it as the alarm is great, and with good reason, seeing the current of feeling, the dissensions amongst them and other troubles.
This Queen has in her Council a relative named Sackville who recently had a son in Rome where he was arrested on suspicion of being a spy. (fn. 1) The Pope investigated the matter and, finding the accusation unfounded, released him and called him to his presence, treated him well and had some conversation with him on events in this country. The Pope expressed his surprise that the Queen did not see her error. Sackville's son answered that she acted as she did out of fear that if she gave in her obedience to the Church she would lose her right to the throne on the ground of illegitimacy and the Catholic Princes would press her to marry to their satisfaction or would give her trouble. The Pope replied to this that if she would submit, he witli the Sacred College would adopt such measures as would give her security and he would promise her also that your Majesty, the King of France and the other Catholic Princes would place no impediment to her marrying as she desired. The young man went to Flanders and wrote to his father from there and to the Queen, to whom the letters were delivered. She answered them without Cecil or his friends knowing anything about it, and this would be the best part of the business if anything was likely to come of it. I fear, however, it is all words and pastime, as this is their usual manner of negotiating, and they are not much to be trusted. Nothing fresh has been heard from Scotland since the Queen restored his estates to Lord Lennox. He has written to this Queen informing her that as his relatives and lawyers are of opinion that the presence of his son is necessary for the preservation of these estates he begs her to give him leave to come and take joint possession with him. The Queen replied to Lady Margaret congratulating her on the restoration of her husband's estate and said she would be pleased to give her son the license requested. This was repeated to her also by Cecil and Leicester, and after the license was granted the next day the Queen said to Margaret that she was very vexed and offended at her husband for having asked for the license for the son with all this caution saying that his lawyers had advised him that his son's presence was necessary to take possession of the estate when such was not the fact. For this reason she had decided not to give him leave to go as she would have done willingly if she had been asked in a straightforward way. Margaret explained the matter in such a way that the Queen again said she would give the license and would answer her husband's letter. Notwithstanding all this it has been decided not to give the license.
This is the way with everything—absolutely no certainty. This Lennox, Margaret and her son are Catholics, and profess attachment to your Majesty. I do what is requisite to entertain them although with great caution and secrecy. As Margaret is one of the claimants to the succession and a Catholic, the Queen and her Ministers attach a great deal of importance to her and are so suspicuous, so excited and so anxious that Margaret says they conduct themselves as if they were frantic, and certainly she is not far wrong. The treaty of peace between this Queen and the French I have not been able to obtain as it is kept in a place where it is out of reach ; but I have learnt from the person who wrote it, who is a true good Chatholic and adherent of your Majesty, that in substance it only contains the following, which will serve until a copy can be obtained.
The first is that both parties shall lay down their arms, and as regards the ancient rights they both claim against each other they shall remain in the same state as before the war commenced.
That the hostages who were held by this Queen shall be given up as soon as the 120,000 ducats are paid. There was no fresh league or other reciprocal amity except the ordinary relations.
They tell me that the principal understanding this Queen has in Germany is with Count Mansfeldt who is in her pay. She has also an arrangement with Duke William of Saxony and the negotiations are carried on through Dr. Christopher Mont (fn. 2) who lives in Augsburg.
I am still assured that the man who went on behalf of this Queen to Scotland was sent solely to treat of the maniage of the Earl of Leicester with that Queen.—LondoD, 4th November, 1864.
13 Nov. 274. The Same to the Same.
On the 10th instant I received your Majesty's letter of the 7th ultimo, and on the 12th requested audience of the Queen at her convenience. They appointed three o'clock the same afternoon, when I spoke to her on your Majesty's behalf informing her of the news of your Majesty's health and that of the Queen and his Highness, whereat she expressed great pleasure in her wonted fair words. It was nearly night when the dances ended, and she asked me whether I had letters from Flanders respecting the commercial question. I told her that I had. Cecil arrived, but as the councillors had not come and it was already late, the Queen thought the matter had better stand over until the next day.
I have shown the heads of the treaty concluded by this Queen (sent by Don Frances de Alava) to the person who wrote the original, and saw the French protocol, and he assures me that they are substantially the same. They are practically identical with those I sent your Majesty on the 4th instant, but if any other point should come to light I will send it. 1 will take care to advise continually the state of the finances and treasury of this Queen, and also that which concerns the succession, the statement upon which has not yet been sent to your Majesty owing to the absence of a person who understands the question and who can be trusted with the secret. Your Majesty's letter in favour of the imprisoned Bishops and others has duly arrived and, as I have already written, will be used in the way that may appear most desirable. The same course will be pursued with respect to the demand for a church where Catholics may hear Mass, when a favourable opportunity presents itself. The duchess of Parma has written me what your Majesty has been pleased to order with regard to the body of Bishop Quadra. This shall be effected without delay in the best way possible so that we may get out of this lawsuit.
Postscript in the handwriting of the Ambassador—
At this moment I am informed that the case against the bishop of London has been ordered to be suspended. The letter will, therefore, not be presented now as I had intended. — London, 13th November 1564.
21 Nov. 275. The Same to the Same.
I have already written that the earl of Arundel's business was in suspense since he went out of office, and he was at liberty to leave his house here, and go to another he has some miles off if he wished. About four days ago they made him go to the earl of Pembroke's house (the earl of Pembroke having been very ill, and although better now still unable to go out), and there he was examined by Cecil and others of the Council. They have ordered him not to leave his house, and no one one is to visit him or enter the house except his own people. I have not learnt the cause of this order, but it is evident that these people are suspicious that some plot may have been brewing, as the Earl's house has been much frequented by the principal nobles and gentlemen of the realm, many of whom must be concerned with him. No news comes from France of any particular negotiations, especially between Throgmorton and the Admiral, although there arrived here recently a certain Emmanuel Aleman, a man learned in the Latin and Hebrew tongues, bringing letters of recommendation from some French gentlemen. His only object, however, is to solicit the renewal of certain pensions which he enjoyed here in the time of King Henry.
I hear from Scotland that the Queen is trying to place religious affairs in a satisfactory condition, and has recently banished from her court and country a preacher who is the chief of the heretics there called Quenoques (Knox) who was in the pay of this Queen and is a bad sort of person. The French are busy weaving some fine plots there. This Queen was determined to introduce some reforms amongst the ministers in this countiy, but they say she has abandoned the intention as the earl of Leicester on the persuasion of two heretical preachers promised that the matter should not be dealt with. I am told that all the peers have been summoned, and that most of them are here although four important ones are still wanting.
The letters sent to the Bishops and provincial governors, copy of which I enclosed, have already brought forth some statements drawn up in form dictated from here in which the Protestants were to be distinguished by the letter G, the moderates by another letter, and the Catholics by another. In the statements that have arrived the numbers marked G are very small, not six to forty Catholics. These people are much annoyed, I am told, that there are so few men of their way of thinking whom they can put into the governorships of provinces (lord lieutenancies of counties). Sidney, governor of Wales, who is married to Leicester's sister, has answered the letter they sent him by telling them that if they wished to put into the provincial governments men of the new religion, they must send them from here as there are none there. The secret letters signed by Robert and Cecil were in connection with some proceedings against two of the Queen's accountants whose affairs were being investigated as they are said to have done something against the Queen's interests and those of many other persons. It was desired to discover the particulars of the business, without the parties' knowledge, and the caution with which it was done gave rise to the idea that it referred to some other matter.
They are busy sending spies to all parts to hear what is going on, and they order them to say that they are leaving here because they are Catholics. I have been informed that I must be very careful of some of them, and I am obliged to be very cautious, coming as they do to deceive under cloak of goodness.
This Queen has in her chapel a chaplain who they say is clever at the organ, and whom they are going to send to Rome, under pretence of his becoming a Catholic, to endeavour to obtain a seat in the Pope's chapel and thence to report what he hears. His name is Crolys. I inform Cardinal Pacheco so that he may keep his eye on him if he goes thither.—London, 21st November 1564.
276. The Same to the Same.
As I have already written to your Majesty, I have taken steps to obtain justice with all possible speed for your Majesty's subjects who have been plundered at sea. Although the commission and order of procedure in the matter have been somewhat delayed, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs are satisfied with the progress made, and some result may now shortly be attained. I send translation of the case, and will help the matter forward to the full extent of my power.
Some four days since a Frenchman belonging to the household of the queen of Scotland passed through here, and lodged with the French Ambassador who sent me word. He visited this Queen and departed, but did not go straight to the Court, as the Ambassador tells me he had first to see Cardinal Lorraine, and thence would go to his own home before going to the Court. The Ambassador told me that he said they were talking in Scotland of the marriage of the queen of Scots with Don John of Austria. He got up very early in the morning to tell me this, and I asked him whether he had been dreaming the night before. He said, No, certainly not. I replied that all I knew about it was, that whoever married him would be a lucky woman. He told me that he had received news of the illness of his Queen (of France), and that he was much grieved thereat. So am I, said I, both on account of the pain it will cause my King and Queen, and for the less christendom will suffer if she die. He replied, There is nobody in the world she thinks so much of as your Queen, and no one she desires to please so sincerely as the Catholic King. I said, Yes, I have the same information from Don Frances de Alava and believe it ; but in Spain the Catholics are not satisfied with faith alone, they need works. He then told me what efforts had been made in the matter of the cipher stolen from Don Frances, whom they have satisfied about it. He made a great deal of this, and the whole conversation tended towards it, as I had spoken very strongly to him about the business on a former occasion. On the 13th instant there arrived at my house a servant of the king of Portugal called Aires Cardoso. He came by post and brought me a letter from the King in which I am requested to help him in obtaining an interview with the Queen and advise him how to go about his business. The object of it is to endeavour to prevent the ships I have mentioned to your Majesty from sailing for Guinea, and the English from trafficking there. I do not think he will get much satisfaction on either point as the ships have already sailed, and as to the future, little redress can be expected, because the Queen says she sees no reason why her subjects should not go where the French go. She received him well, but as in his communication certain words were used implying that if satisfaction were not given difficulties might result, I stood aside and told the Queen I would leave her alone, so that the King's servant might not miss his chance, his master being a marriageable youth. I then left them and went into the Queen's chamber to discuss with Cecil the question of trade with the States of Flanders, which is in the condition which the duchess of Parma will advise your Majesty.
When the Portuguese had finished his business, the Queen entered her chamber and, coming to the place where Cecil and I were, asked me if I had news of the voyage of your Majesty or his Highness to Flanders next summer. I told her no. They say so, quoth she, and I should be glad if the King my brother would put up at this inn on the road whilst I keep it, so that we might regale him as is my duty. And other words to this effect for which 1 thanked her from your Majesty.
She said they were still talking of a marriage between his Highness and the queen of Scotland, to which I replied, "It must be an invention of the French, for the Ambassador had also told me that "they were speaking of her marriage with Don John of Austria." "They tell me," said she, "that he is an amiable prince." "More so than can be expressed," I replied. We then passed to other subjects, I making light of this and trying to banish her suspicions which are no doubt strong enough.—London, 21st November 1564.
Nov. 27. 277. The Same to the Same.
I answered, on the 13th instant, your Majesty's letter of the 7th October, and in my letter uf 21st instant gave an account of affairs up to that date, as I have also done by my letters of 9th, 18th, 23rd of September, 2nd, 9th, 14th, and 22nd of October, and 4th November. There is consequently little to say in this, except to refer again to some points of importance and seek your Majesty's pleasure thereupon.
They have set a person at me to get me to broach the subject of the Queen's marriage with the archduke Charles, and she herself has given me to understand several times that she wishes to get married, and shows a desire to have this question revived.
They have assured me that she is free to do it. She is suspicious that negotiations have been and are in progress for the marriage of the queen of Scotland with his Highness. They have spoken to her of marriage with the king of France, pointing out that their ages are not so dissimilar as those of your Majesty and queen Mary when you married her. I have written to the duchess of Parma to inform me what was your Majesty's pleasure when Charles' affair was under discussion, so that the same line may be followed if it should again come up. Although she replied that she would have your Majesty's instructions on the subject looked up, I have received no advice, probably because they could not seek or find what was wanted.
I have written that this maybe a scheme of this Queen to prevent negotiations about the marriage of the queen of Scotland, but sometimes suspicious people suspect things to their own detriment, so that although these people are false generally they may not be so in this, and it therefore seems to me that we ought not to miss the chance of guiding events to your Majesty's interests. Upon the affairs of this country and of Scotland so much depends that it behoves us to watch closely whether or not the Queen is to marry, and if so, with whom. The same may be said about the Scotch Queen, seeing her claims to this Crown, and as these are matters of extreme delicacy in which I desire to be instructed as to the course that has to be followed, I may say that I am keeping in view your Majesty's orders of the 6th of August. The French ambassador in his most confidential manner asked me three days ago why I did not endeavour to bring about a marriage between this Queen and the Archduke Charles, as he knows on good authority that she would hear of such a proposal with pleasure. I answered that even if I had orders to do it, if they were not very pressing, I should be better pleased not to negotiate a marriage, and certainly I would not begin such a negotiation if I could help it.
In my general instructions your Majesty orders me to do what the late Emperor desired me to do in any business he might have here, since he had no ambassador of his own here and I consequently corresponded with him. I have abstained from doing the same with the new Emperor until I heard that your Majesty's ministers had addressed him. I have, however, written him the letter of generalities dated 18th September, of which I enclose copy.
I beg your Majesty to direct me as to whether I am to do the same for the son as was to be done for the father in the affair of the Archduke Charles, although in the meanwhile I will continue my good offices in affairs of no great importance, as is due to a brother of your Majesty. I have pursued the same course with Aires Cardoso who, as I wrote, came to negotiate with the Queen to prevent the ships from undertaking the voyage to Guinea. They had nearly all sailed already, and the same reply was given him as was given here to the Portuguese ambassador now in France two years and a half ago, which in substance was that she had ordered her subjects not to go to places where the king held sway, and if they contravened these orders she would have them punished, but that there was no reason why they should be forbidden to go where the French went every year.
The letter which your Majesty ordered to be written to this Queen in favour of the imprisoned Catholics arrived in such good season that the date had been put on it for delivery, but the very day it was to be handed to the Queen the case against the bishop of London was suspended, and the letter was kept back. It shall be preserved in case any other occasion should arise for its use, which God forbid.
Favourable opportunities sometimes present themselves for offering bail of their families or friends for these imprisoned Catholic, and if this could be accepted it would be a great good in many respects besides the boon it would be to them. I beg your Majesty to be pleased to have a letter witten to the Queen asking this favour for them as it appears almost certain that it may be obtained seeing the turn of events here.
As I have written, the French ambassador here informs me that he has received his recall, and his successor will soon be appointed. (fn. 3) He gives me to understand that he is to be sent as ambassador to your Majesty.
When I arrived here I advised that I had been informed that this ambassador was not a Catholic, and so I have been assured by those who are intimate with him and also that he keeps heretics in his household. In his communications with me he has been reserved, and I cannot judge badly of him by his words, although I have noticed a certain freedom about them. Here, however, he is considered more than suspicious and has pleased nobody. He tells me he was brought up in the household of the Queen-Mother, and consequently will be better known to persons attached to the service of our lady the Queen. He is clever. Your Majesty will doubtless take such steps as may be suitable in order that the French ambassadors who are to reside here shall be Catholics for reasons which are evident. This ambassador displays great attachment to your Majesty, and I have been friendly with him but think well to advise your Majesty about him.—London, 27th November 1564.


  • 1. Sir Thomas Sackville afterwards Lord Buckhurst the poet. He was the son of Sir Richard Sackville the Queen's cousin and a member of her Council.
  • 2. Mundt.
  • 3. Paul de Foix.