Simancas: February 1566

Pages 517-527

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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February 1566

4 Feb. 336. The Same to the Same.
On the last day of January there came to my lodgings Secretary Cecil, Dr. Wotton, and another man named Haddon, to discuss Flemish affairs as I write fully to the duchess of Parma. When this discussion was finished Cecil took me aside and told me that the duke of Norfolk, the Chancellor, the Treasurer, the earl of Wintinton (sic) who is married to a sister of Pembroke's and many others, he amongst the number, had resolved to speak to the Queen and press forward the Archduke's affair which as he has often told me they think most desirable for the Queen and country and for the maintenance of the old friendship with your Majesty. This he said, was their great object which, as I know, their enemies the French were trying to frustrate, and he for his part would put it forward strongly. As they were moved by such good desires he hoped that I would continue to press the Queen and take every opportunity of requesting audience on other business and introducing this subject with the object of inclining her thereto by assuring her of your Majesty's earnest desire that the match should take place and advising her on my own account to accept it. He said he knew from the Queen herself that she attached so much importance to what I said that I could do more in the matter with her than they could, and he urged me specially to strict secrecy which he rightly said was of the utmost importance to him. I replied that I was aware of the truth of what he said and had discussed the matter as he suggested, assuring him, as I have done previously, of the great interest your Majesty feels in the affairs of the Emperor and his brother and your earnest desire that the match should be carried through. He said the present opportunity was a good one for me to push the business forward as some people thought that I was not very warm in the matter, to which I replied that the Queen knew the truth in that respect and what I had said to her about it, and your Majesty also had been informed thereof. I asked him to request audience in order to discuss Flemish commercial affairs. On the first of this month the earl of Sussex came to my house alone by water at nightfall and said that he wished to tell me what the duke of Norfolk had said to the Queen about marriage on asking leave to retire to his home. As her subject, her kinsman and former Councillor he had to place before her the need of an heir, the great peril that she and the country were in and the necessity on all accounts that she should resolve to marry, and confirm by fresh ties and new friendship the connection with your Majesty and the Emperor. He gave her many reasons for this which Sussex repeated to me and at length pressed the case of the Archduke, which he did not in his own name alone but on behalf of all the principal people in the realm who loved her and whose feelings on the subject he well knew. Amongst other things he told her that the members of her Council had recently recommended her to marry the earl of Leicester who was a person possessed of many good qualities, but he (Norfolk) was obliged to tell her the truth and the Council had given her this advice because they thought her own inclination tended towards a marriage with him and not because they really thought the match would be beneficial to the country or good for her own dignity. The Queen thanked him and answered him kindly and the Duke afterwards spoke to Lord Robert and told him he recollected that when the Emperor's Ambassador was here he (Robert) had said that he did not aspire to marry the Queen who for her part had declared that she would not marry him and on this assurance they had negotiated for an union with the Archduke, which would be of so great an advantage for the country. After the Ambassador had left he (Robert) had again pressed forward his own suit contrary to the agreement, whereat he (the Duke) had marvelled greatly, and now that they were allies and friends, he would tell him the truth plainly. In other things he would do what he could to please him, but in this he must oppose him in the interests of the Queen to whom he was bound by laws human and divine, and would tell him clearly that the Queen would not marry him and that only trouble could come to him for attempting to bring it about, since all those who wished to see the Queen married, the whole nation in short, blamed him alone for the delay that had taken place. So great would be the hatred aroused against him that evil could not fail to befall him, and this could only be allayed in time by his joining the rest of the nobility and helping forward the Archduke's suit with the Queen. Leicester replied that he would do as he advised if it could be so arranged that the Queen should not be led to think that he relinquished his suit out of distaste for it and so turn her regard into anger and enmity against him which might cause her, womanlike, to undo him. The Duke assured him they would arrange matters in a way that would attain this object, and if he did as he said not only would the Archduke extend to him the favour and kindness which were due to him, but the whole nobility would seek and retain his friendship. He promised and they separated with this agreement.
Sussex also told me that they were all to meet and speak to the Queen, sending first to learn whether it was her pleasure that the whole of them should address her or only certain representatives to be selected by her, and since they were moved to this by their zeal and desire that the affair of the Archduke might prosper, the Duke and the others begged me to press the matter warmly upon the Queen in your Majesty's name, which was the course she herself most desired as she had hinted that she thought I had sometimes not been very keen about it. I said the Queen knew very well to the contrary, and I was surprised she should say such a thing. It was true that I was so anxious to maintain her friendship with your Majesty, that, not knowing how the business of the marriage would end, seeing its difficulties, I had not thought well to put myself so forward in it as would lead to any unpleasantness between your Majesty and her in case the affair fell through, but nevertheless she knew very well that your Majesty's desire was that the marriage with the Archduke should take place, and in sight of my good offices in the matter she could not deny it. These good offices would always continue, and in order to lose no opportunity I had requested an audience of the Queen.
I thought well to answer him in this way, so that if the Queen, womanlike, should again remind them that I had sometimes leant to her own wish to marry Leicester, they may understand that the cause was my consideration for her uncertainty, and no other reason. Sussex told me the Duke himself wished to come and discuss the matter with me, but he thought better not to do so as these people were so suspicious, and he (Sussex) and the Duke were like one person. Of this and other conversations on the subject Sussex sent me the enclosed memorandam.
On the 2nd instant I had audience of the Queen in order to speak to her on questions of trade and certain private matters, and again introduced the subject of the Archduke as I had been requested. Cecil awaited me as I went in and warned me to broach the subject as if by chance and not pointedly. This was easy to do, as no sooner had I begun to speak to the Queen about trade than she asked me very pressingly to do her the pleasure of telling her if I had received a copy of the letter the Emperor had written to her as she had been informed that rumours were current in his court and in London to the effect that the Emperor had conceded all that had been requested on her behalf in the matter of the Archduke. I replied that I had received no letters from Germany except one from the Ambassador who had been here from the Emperor saying only that his Majesty had written to her with his own hand, but he (the Ambassador) did not know the contents of the letter although he still ardently hoped the marriage would take place. Since she had told me in substance what the letter contained, I said, if she would allow the letter to be shown to me I could, in case the matter were discussed in my presence, reply in accordance with the Emperor's own words. She did this, and ordering a desk in which she kept the letter to be brought to her, read the letter to me. The substance of it is similar to the Italian memorandum which I mentioned Sussex had sent me although the words are somewhat different in Spanish, in which language the letter is written. On the first point, namely, the coming of the Archduke, it says the matter was so important that it could not fail to present some difficulties as she would understand. The Queen said it was impossible that this could refer to the coming of his Highness, although I endeavoured to show her that the Emperor did not refuse this but only said it could not be without difficulty. She seemed somewhat tranquillised on this point. As regards the religious question and the clause which says that the Archduke and his household shall enjoy their own religion, and will offer no impediment to others enjoying theirs, the Queen said, "The Emperor does not declare himself in this either." I asked her if she understood what religion the Archduke professed, to which she replied that she did not but would like to know. I then asked her jokingly whether she knew what her own religion was and would tell me, since her understanding could not fail to see which was the true one. She laughed at this and passed the matter off. On the third point, where the Emperor says that as his brother, being so far away from his dominions, it would not be reasonable that he should defray all his expenses himself ; she wished to make out that the Emperor's meaning was that the Archduke would not bring any money for his own expenditure. I assured her that such was not the meaning, but that it was not reasonable to expect him to bear the whole of the expense caused by his living in this country away from his dominions.
I told her that I did not think the Emperor had written to her so dubiously as she had given me to understand the previous day, and begged her to make up her mind on the business and send a fitting answer to the Emperor, assuring her at the same time, as I have often done before, how interested your Majesty was in all that concerned the Emperor and his brothers. I also pointed out to her how many important friends and connections she would gain by such a marriage, to which she answered, "I quite understand how much the King wishes me to marry the Archduke if I marry outside of my own country." I only replied that your Majesty considered him as your own son, without referring to her remark about marrying outside of the kingdom, as I understand her object was simply to keep Leicester's business afoot. It is generally agreed that the Queen will never marry him, and that he himself is well aware of it and has abandoned hope, yet nevertheless I do not think they are quite certain, because when I was pressing her to announce her decision on the Archduke's matter she said, "How can I take such a step as you say, for if after all the Archduke should not consent it will look as if I was obliged to marry whoever would have me, he having rejected me, and this is a very delicate thing for a husband." By this she meant that her marriage with him (Leicester) would be looked upon rather as a matter of necessity than of choice, and I could well believe it would be so if what the French Ambassador swore to me were true, namely, that he had been assured by a person who was in a position to know that he (Leicester) had slept with the Queen on New Year's night. The author, however is a frenchman, and so strongly adverse to the Archduke's marriage, that he cannot conceal it, and even, as I am told by a person of position, informed the Queen and her Council that if the match were carried through it would interrupt the friendship with his King, as it would indicate a complete surrender to the house of Austria and Burgundy, and an identification with the interests of your Majesty with whom his King could not maintain perpetual peace.
The Queen resolved that she would write decidedly to the Emperor and send one of her gentlemen with the letter, by which it would seem that she had changed her mind about writing through Christopher Mundt the German, as she told me she would, and I wrote to your Majesty.
The earl of Arundel is still arranging for his departure for Italy. He is going to take the baths and has the Queen's permission, although many think that when he is really about to leave the permission will be withdrawn. His son-in-law, Lord Lumley, came to visit me (he who was to go to Scotland, a devout Catholic and a worthy gentleman) and said that the Earl wished to know whether your Majesty would be glad for the Archduke's suit to be helped on, and warned me that the business should be handled with great tact, so that in the event of the match falling through they should not say that they had outwitted me. He said he had not taken any part in the affair on either side hitherto, but if it were really one in which your Majesty felt a deep interest he as your servant could not avoid doing so and serving your Majesty in this as he would in all things. I thanked him in your Majesty's name for his good intentions, of which I assured him your Majesty was convinced, and, as regarded the Archduke's affair, your Majesty naturally desired his Highness's advancement, as you felt so deep an attachment towards him, and it was only reasonable that your Majesty should forward the interests of your cousins, as I had already informed the Queen, assuring her of your Majesty's goodwill towards the match. I said the same attitude could be preserved, and if anything fresh occurred in the matter I would address myself to him (Arundel) in all confidence. Lumley said there were three parties in the country, one for the Archduke, one for Leicester, and one in favour simply of the Queen's marriage without indicating any particular person. I understand that the Earl (of Arundel) belongs to this third party, and wishes to stand by and await events. Leicester goes to his house very nearly every day, and the duke of Norfolk does the same, as each of them would like to gain him over for his party. Lumley told me that Leicester was going home in a month. I said that the same thing was asserted some time ago but he had not gone ; Lumley, however, said it was true.
I asked Lumley why he had not gone to Scotland as was arranged. He said it was owing to changes here and the desire to avoid the discussion of important matters, and also in consequence of the coming of Rambouillet whom the Queen had entrusted with her affairs because he was a Frenchman, which he (Lumley) thought would not be to her benefit. The real reason no doubt was that they could not trust him, as I have already said, because he was so zealous a Catholic, and the French Ambassador tells me that he is certain the Earl (Arundel) has an understanding with Scotland and suspects him of intriguing there. Perhaps he says this because he is on bad terms with him. I understood that amongst other things Lumley was to have negotiated that during the life of this Queen and her descendants the Queen of Scotland was not to present her claims to the Crown, nor alter religious matters in her own country in a way that might injure England.
There is nothing new from Scotland beyond what I wrote on the 28th ultimo. An Englishman named Sular (fn. 1) had come here who had been in the service of the king of Scotland, in order to secretly ascertain the feelings of certain people here towards his Queen. He had lodged in the house of an Italian doctor here called Caesar, and had gone about in disguise to avoid detection, but both he and the doctor and his wife have been taken, the two latter being adherents of Margaret. They have also arrested two of his servants, but released them at once. It is not thought that anything serious will come of it.
The Emperor has behaved in a lukewarm manner towards those who are advocating the Archduke's match here, as they tell me that neither he nor his Ambassador has written a word to them since the latter left here. They do not consider the Germans clever in affairs, and I do not wonder that this opinion is held by people who are accustomed to the vigilance and cleverness of the French.
Hawkins, the captain who, as I wrote before I went to Flanders, had come from the Indies, arrived here four days ago from his own part of the country. He came to me and asked me to write to your Majesty about an affair of his regarding some property taken from him in a former voyage to Santo Domingo. (fn. 2) I answered him softly and brought him to dinner with me, promising to do as he asked. I told him he must show me the licences he had obtained from the governors of the places where he had traded in this last voyage, as he had promised me he would do in order to prove that he had not acted improperly. He said he would show them to me. He is considered a good sailor, and he appears to be a clever man. He is not satisfied with things here, and I will tell him he is not a fit man for this country, but would be much better off if he went and served your Majesty, where he would find plenty to do as other Englishmen have done ; he did not appear disinclined to this. They have again asked him to make another voyage like the last, but he says he will not do so without your Majesty's license, as it is a laborious and dangerous business. The trade of capturing negroes in Guinea and taking them to the Indies is considered very profitable, and may be undertaken by any man who understands the voyage. It seems advisable to get this man out of the country, so that he may not teach others, for they have good ships and are greedy folk with more freedom than is good for them. This Hawkins has now eight (ships).
When he arrived I wrote that I was informed that he had taken a Spaniard with him. This was not the case, but he took one on his first voyage who piloted him so well that Hawkins became well acquainted with the navigation himself. The foundation for the statement that he had a Spaniard with him was that he captured a negro in Guinea who had been brought up in Portugal and used him as an interpreter, bringing him to England with him.
This afternoon I had an appointment to discuss some private claims with the Council and saw the Queen, who leaves to-morrow for Greenwich. I found her with the earl of Leicester walking in the lower gallery of the garden. She praised the Earl very highly to me and said that when I arrived he was just persuading her to marry for the sake of the country and herself, and even on his account, as everyone thought that he was the cause of her remaining unmarried, which made him unpopular with all her subjects, and much more to the same effect (whereupon she said that if he were a King's son she would marry him to-morrow), and if she did not do so he could not avoid retiring from court to escape the hatred of the people. All this and other things of the same sort were said very affectionately.
I said she was quite right to hold him in such good esteem, as he deserved it, and I knew your Majesty had always wished him well.
On a separate paper, but attached to the aforegoing letter, is the following note :—
The wreck and loss of Francis Yaxley is further confirmed, whereat I am greatly grieved as there is no mention of papers or anything. I have tried to find some safe way of letting that Queen (of Scots) know, but have found none satisfactory to me. If within three or four days no person arrives here from her I will adopt the best means I can obtain to advise her only to send a man on some other errand, in order to convey to her the answer that Yaxley took for her in his letter. I simply ask her to send a person she can trust and nothing else.—London, 4th February 1566.
11 Feb. 337. The Same to the Same.
Before I arrived in England, the Queen had sent the Order of the Garter to the king of France by the gentleman who went to ratify the peace, (fn. 3) and after he received it I recollect that I wrote to your Majesty that his Insignia had been placed in the position formerly occupied by those of the duke of Savoy, those of your Majesty remaining in their former place by the side of those of the Queen. I understood that this had been done, which was a fact, but four days ago I was told by a Catholic that the Insignia had been moved, and that he and other good men had been greatly annoyed thereat. In the place where your Majesty's Insignia were they have put those of the king of France, and your Majesty's are now by the side of the Emperor's. I at once sent Luis de Paz to Windsor secretly, to bring me news of what had been done, he having seen how the Insignia were placed before. He has brought me news which confirms what I had heard, and by a statement made by the sexton of the church it will be seen that the change was made when it was announced that Lausac was going to bring the order hither which has now been brought by Rambouillet. The place, however, being remote, and this being a matter which people would not notice excepting on such a ceremony as that which Rambouillet recently attended, it has been overlooked, and people thought that it had been done recently. Of course the question of time is of small importance. I believe that the change was made by the Queen's own orders, and not by the Council, because when formerly the matter was discussed it was resolved that no alteration should be made, and in addition to this, none of the members who might have done so advised me upon the subject. It is true, as I have said, that Cecil told me that the greater number of the Queen's counsellors were on the French side, but I do not think that this would cause them to omit to tell me. I will not mention the matter to the Queen, or to any one else, but will pass it over as if I had not heard of it, until I receive orders from your Majesty as to what had better be done. Things being as they are, it would be difficult to remedy the matter without much noise and turmoil. Until an opportunity occurs I will dissemble with these people as they dissemble with others and I will inquire into the ceremonies which are usually performed in this Order, and will advise your Majesty if there is anything exceptional in what they have done.
From Scotland I have heard nothing more than what I wrote on the 4th instant, except that disagreements have taken place, although slight, between the King and Queen. They tell me that this proceeds from the unwillingness of the King to be controlled in all things by his father. The Duke, who is called Chatelherault, as I have written, will go to France, or, as they now say, to Germany. The queen of Scotland has returned him his rank, but has banished him from Scotland for five years. He takes with him his eldest son, and leaves another as a hostage in Scotland for the fulfilment of his engagement not to molest the Queen. Lady Margaret is greatly surprised at this, as the Queen had written to her that she would not return the Duke's rank as he was so great a heretic. Lady Margaret is kept closer in prison than ever, which she feels greatly. She would like me to speak to the Queen about it, which she thinks would benefit her, and that I might do it as her ill-treatment is publicly known. I have asked her to have patience, and I will do what is fitting. The departure of Arundel for Italy is confirmed and will shortly take place. He still believes the Queen will not marry, at least not with the Archduke, and that the duke of Norfolk knows this well, although he still strives in the business, out of enmity to the earl of Leicester, and to separate him from the Queen. She, on her part, deals with them in a way that deceives them all. When she speaks to the Duke, she says one thing, and when to Lord Robert, quite the contrary. This reminds me of what a captain, apparently a good Catholic said in Calais, when I was passing through, namely, that there were three parties in France—that of the Catholics, that of the Huguenots, and that of the Queen, which was between the two.
The Queen has given to the duke of Norfolk the wardship of the sons of Lord Dacre of the North, who is dead. The oldest is three years old, and by the law here, until he arrives at the age of 21, his estates are at the disposal of the Queen to give to whom she pleases. They say that this wardship will be worth 8,000 crowns a year to the Duke during the minority. The Duke has gone home, as have all the principal courtiers.
Leicester's departure is not now spoken of, but nothing certain can be said as everything changes from day to day.
Arundel tells me that the choice of the man who is to go as Ambassador to your Majesty is a bad and unworthy one, as he is a man of low position, and small merits. Arundel asks me to advise your Majesty when he addresses you on subjects of great importance, needing reply, to tell him you will send the answer through me to the Queen, in order that these people may understand that they have done wrongly.
Captain Hawkins, as I have written to your Majesty, told me he would bring me the licenses he had received from the Governors of the Islands to trade. He has now brought them, and I have had translations made, so that the Council of the Indies may consider them, and take measures that no trade should be effected without your Majesty's leave. It would be a matter of great danger and evil consequence if such were permitted, and if not stopped in the beginning may cause difficulties. I see clearly from what the Captain has shown me that grounds exist for addressing the Queen upon the subject, and letting her know the excesses that have been committed, but until I receive instructions from your Majesty and more information on the business I am dissembling, and making much of the Captain, giving him to understand how greatly it would be to his advantage to serve your Majesty by the Queen's permission. He tells me he desires to do so, very much, especially in case the Turkish fleet should come this year, first, however, receiving assurance that no injury shall be done him on account of the past. He could serve at his own cost with three ships of over 200 tons each, and one of 300, all very good vessels in which he would take 500 picked men. As a reward for his service, he would be content that as your Majesty has a hundred odd slaves, or the value thereof, left in Santo Domingo by him in the hands of your Majesty's ministers a certain sum of money should be handed over to him which will be derived from the proceeds of some hides that he sent to Seville.
I have answered him in a way that will enable me to learn more of his business and keep him in play, so that he may not return as they want him to do on a similar voyage to his former one.—London, 11th February 1566.
18 Feb. 338. The Same to the Same.
I wrote to your Majesty in mine of the 11th instant, that the Queen had promised to send a gentleman to the Emperor to treat on the matter of the Archduke. It is said that she is to send a man that married the duchess of Suffolk (fn. 4) whilst he was in her service, and who was with the Duchess in Germany when your Majesty was here.
They tell me that he is a man of small intelligence, but a great heretic, and it is thought that if he goes it will be more for the purpose of arranging certain matters in Augsburg with the Queen's allies, and other heretics, than for purposes of the marriage. I therefore thought best to send word to Cecil, and endeavour to prevent his going, saying that my affection for the Queen, and regard for her dignity, will not allow me to refrain from saying that I think this is a very unwise appointment if it be true, and so it will appear to the world. Beside this he knows that the gentleman is looked upon as a great friend of the earl of Leicester, and, as his suit with the Queen has been discussed so publicly, he being one of her servants, it would appear an evil omen to send this gentleman who married his mistress, and so it will be looked upon by the people at large. Until the present I have received no reply.
The earl of Leicester came from Greenwich to the earl of Pembroke's house on the 13th, the rumour being that he was going to his own home. The Queen went the next day disguised to dine with them, accompanied by the Admiral and his wife. After dinner the Queen returned to Greenwich, the earl of Pembroke left for his estates, and Lord Robert retired to his house where he will be for about 10 days. This is the end of the talk of his retiring for some time, and I thought it would be as it is, notwithstanding all assertions to the contrary.
Just as I was closing this the earl of Sussex advised me that my representation respecting the duchess of Suffolk's husband is approved of, and the Queen has decided to send someone else.—London, 18th February 1566.
25 Feb. 339. The Same to the Same.
A person who is in the habit of giving me information tells me that the Queen is so strange and fickle that she would be glad to have the French match brought up again. This seemed to be a great absurdity, considering what has passed in the matter.
The French Ambassador has been to visit me, and in order to find out what was going on, I told him I was glad to hear that this Queen had not entirely forgotten his King. He asked me how or whence I had heard anything of this, as he had no idea that anyone knew of it, excepting himself and Rambouillet, to whom the Queen had said she was pleased to hear from various quarters, that the King was growing so manly and comely, and would be glad if they could meet when he returned to Paris. To this she added, "Do you not think it would be a good match for the King to marry an old woman like I am?" and continued to press him to say something about it, in order to commence the discussion anew. He had advised him, however, to dissemble, and give no answer, as the discussion was now inopportune. I am not surprised, however, that the Queen should want to bring the matter up again, considering her disposition.
I wrote to your Majesty, on the 18th instant, that the choice of the duchess of Suffolk's husband as Ambassador to the Emperor had been countermanded. They have now appointed a man named Sackville, (fn. 5) one of the Queen's Council, and a relative of hers. I do not know when he will leave.
This Sackville was formerly in Rome. About a year and a half ago, when he left here, he was a heretic, but has now reformed.
I advised your Majesty of the rumour that Lord Robert would leave for his home for some days, but I did not believe he would stay long. I afterwards wrote that he had left, and would be away 10 days. Even this time was too long, as the Queen sent immediately for him to come back, and the day before yesterday he returned to Greenwich.
Since I wrote this, Rambouillet arrived from Scotland. He says the King and Queen are well, and the kingdom quiet, and that they are treating matters connected with the Catholic religion with great solicitude, they themselves offering a good example to the people. He says the King received the order of St. Michael in a very solemn mass.
The Queen, he says, will not allow the rebels to return, but has restored to the duke of Chatelherault his dignity and estates, but with five years' banishment. This Duke will pass through London, and is expected in three days. The Admiral of Scotland was appointed to negotiate between the two Queens ; but the Queen of England would not consent to the appointment, and the Queen of Scotland has adopted the same course with regard to the earl of Bedford, who was to represent this Queen.—London, 25th February. 1566.


  • 1. Probably Sulierde.
  • 2. Note in the King's handwriting : Copy of all this to be given to the Council of the Indies.
  • 3. Lord Hunsdon.
  • 4. Richard Bertie.
  • 5. Apparently Sir Thomas Sackville, first Lord Buckhurst, who had recently returned from Rome. He was a son of Sir Richard Sackville, a member of the Council, and first cousin of Anne Boleyn.