Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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371. The King to Guzman de Silva.
All his letters up to 20th June received, and although no reply has been sent to him for a long time, the haste with which this courier is despatched prevents its being done now. Thanks him for his care and attention, and particularly, for his detailed accounts of all that had happened, and will send full reply on various points by courier leaving in a few days.—Endorsed, 2nd August 1566.
372. Guzman de Silva to the King.
In a conversation here between persons of various countries respecting the navigation to the Indies, a discussion arose as to where the strongest ships were built, and all agreed that those that are constructed here are the best, in consequence of the timber, which is very good, large and plentiful in this country and in Ireland. Amongst those who spoke upon the subject was an Englishman called Roger Bodman, who came hither from Seville, where he is married and has a family, and carries on business. He is a Catholic and now almost like a Spaniard. He understands the subject very well and has already returned to Spain in a ship which he purchased here with the intention of informing your Majesty how easily and at small cost a number, of these ships might be built for your Majesty's service. He assured me that the first voyage they made they would pay for their cost, and your Majesty would have for 20 years to come a good reserve of ships for whatever might be required, and to bring the gold and silver safely from the Indies, shipping in Europe and carrying thither the things necessary for the country, whereby your Majesty would save the large sum of money now spent in chartering ships. I told him that his idea was a good one, but that business matters only prospered where the eye of the principal was constantly on them, and it would be better that the matter should be conducted under license by merchants in Seville, if there were any who would do it. He said yes, there were, but it would be better that your Majesty should undertake it as the profit would be large. I replied that since he was so zealous, he should go and make a statement on this and other similar matters to a person to be appointed by your Majesty, which he said he would do if I would give him a letter which would secure him a hearing. This I did, as he seemed to me to be a sensible and experienced man, and understands the business, having traded and made voyages to New Spain and elsewhere. I think your Majesty would be benefited by adopting what he suggests as certainly the ships built here are very sound and good, and seeing the great greed that exists everywhere to obtain the commerce of the Indies, too much care cannot be exercised to secure it, and to prevent others going thither without your Majesty's license.
In my last I wrote that Captain Hawkins was fitting out his ships on the understanding that they were for your Majesty's service at his cost in the manner which I wrote on my arrival here from Flanders. I said at the time that I suspected somewhat that this was a subterfuge, that they might be ready to make another voyage to the Indies, and that I had taken steps to stop it if this were their intention. I believe now however, that I did him an injustice, as yesterday he came to see me and expressed sorrow that his wish had not been acceded to, but said that if next year his sendees were necessary they should be willingly rendered. Discussing the matter with him, and asking him how he intended to carry it through, be told me that his intention was to serve your Majesty all the summer, until the season made it necessary for your Majesty's galley's and those of the Turk to enter port, and then, with his four ships, and two of the Queen's vessels which he will take with him, to go to the Archipelago, and capture Turkish ships on their way to trade at Constantinople, Egypt and elsewhere, and the same on their return. He says they are extremely rich, and unprotected, and could be easily taken, especially if four ships belonging to your Majesty's subjects were to accompany him, whereby great profit may be made and a way opened to infest those seas, with ships, in order to molest and impede victuals and other things going to Constantinople in such abundance as at present. This he told me as a great secret, and I praised the idea and told him that we could discuss it later on.
I understand that although this Queen expressed satisfaction at the queen of Scotland's assurances, with regard to the suspected intrigue on her behalf here, she is even more suspicious than before : Lately there was some attempt at a disturbance in a town in the county of Essex on the part of the cloth-workers, who are numerous. Some of them were taken, and it has been discovered that they were in communication with cloth-workers in the counties of Cambridge, and Southampton. Six of them have been condemned to death ; and on all the roads leading to that country persons are placed to watch those who pass on horseback, to see whether they carry letters or other intelligence. At first the affair was considered unimportant, but more caution is now adopted. It is believed, however, that it is no great thing. The principal cause of the rising seems to be that these people are impoverished by not being able to sell their cloth, except to the London merchants, and cannot send it out of the country. They are also offended at the regulations with regard to the ministers wearing a decent cleiical habit as formerly, and also as to wearing surplices in churches. Everywhere heretics take advantage of religion to disturb the people for their own ends.
The Queen was to go to the earl of Leicester's house on the 19th, and he had made great preparations, but now it is said that the Queen will not go. She will change her mind to-morrow.
The duke of Norfolk has been to see the Queen, it is believed to obtain charge of Lord Dacre's sons, who had been given him as wards. When this was first announced, Lord Dacre was not dead, but he has since died, and the Duke wishes to marry his widow. It is said that the earl of Sussex has been made President of Wales.
A picture was recently made in Antwerp, representing, on one side, those who are called Gueux, attempting to tear down the placards, relative to religion, and the inquisition that are placed on a tree, and on the other side, the clergy defending the same. To this, words had been added by the Protestants with a reply in the form of an echo, and this has been printed, and sold here. The Bishop, as they call him, of London, sent persons to the booksellers' houses to seize the copies and prohibited the sale, but many had already been distributed. Public prayers are offered up in their own fashion on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, for the success of the Christians over the Turk.—London, 3rd August 1566.
373. The Same to the Same.
In my last letter of the 3rd instant I wrote that the Queen would somewhat curtail her progress, and would not go to the earl of Leicester's house as arranged. The excuse for this was that she did not wish him to incur so great an expense, and instead of being offended thereat he had thanked the Queen for her consideration. Now all is changed, and she is going there on the 25th, arriving at Oxford on the 30th, whence she will come to Windsor.
Parliament is to open at the beginning of October, and summonses have been sent to all those who usually attend. They say that the Queen's only intention in calling it is to obtain large supplies, and to defer the question of succession and her marriage to another time. It is thought, however, that the States of the realm will be of a different opinion, but the Queen has no doubt considered it well as she summoned them, which she dared uot formerly do.
Some unpleasantness hao taken place lately between Lord Robert and Cecil, the cause being that Cecil had written to the late Ambassador in France, telling him to give out there that Leicester was not so deep in the Queen's confidence as formerly, and that he was not a person of whom they need make so much as they did. It came to the knowledge of Lord Robert as the Ambassador (fn. 1) was dead when the letter arrived, and it fell into the hands of persons who communicated it to him.
There is no fresh news from Scotland since my last. Melvin left, but did not write to me as he promised, after having seen the Queen. This was no doubt because he did not like to tell me that at the time of his departure the Queen was very angry with him in consequence of the suspicions of intrigue being carried on by his mistress here. She had answered him when they were speaking of the queen of Scotland's alleged help to John O'Neil, tliat his mistress's right to the succession was not so small that she should wish for any part of the realm to be lost. The troops Randolph is taking to Ireland have not yet left port in consequence of bad weather. A captain has come from Ireland to ask the Queen for more troops than Randolph brings, as O'Neil is too strong to attack without 4,000 more at least.—London, 10th August 1566.
374. The King to Guzman de Silva.
By other letters the receipt of your various despatches is acknowledged and they are fully answered. As the courier is leaving, the Queen, my wife, was delivered of a daughter yesterday. Fortunately, thank the Lord, although we feared, as she had had ague six or seven days before. She and the infanta are well, and we advise you for your own information, and that you may inform the Queen, who will rejoice as she always does at the success of all my affairs. —Endorsed 12th August 1566.
375. The Same to the Same.
On the 1st instant receipt of all your letters was acknowledged from 28th January up to the 7th ultimo, and I cannot refrain from again repeating how pleased I have been at your various advices, and thank you for the care and attention you show in my service.
I remarked what you write respecting the money found on the beach from the ship which was wrecked, and also the steps you had taken with regard to it. As the property belongs to our subjects it is only right that as much of it as possible should be recovered, and that all possible diligence should be used to obtain it, advice being sent to us on what has been done.
You will use every effort with the Queen and Council to stop the robberies which English pirates are constantly committing on our subjects, which should not be permitted, since between me and the Queen such perfect peace and concord exist, and it is not right that the violence and insolence of subjects should cast any shadow thereupon. We should rather try mutually to punish such subjects so severely that it should be an example for the rest to preserve the amity which exists between us.
I approve of your action with regard to Captain Hawkins. You will keep your eye on what he does, and his designs with the ships he is fitting out, keeping us advised fully.
I have been pleased to learn of your efforts to discover if the promoters of the disturbances in Flanders have any understanding in England, and I enjoin you to continue your investigations skilfully, and let me know if the suspicions are confirmed, or if any secret matter of moment occurs.
With regard to what you communicate about the Scotsman Melvin and your conversations with him, your action was prudent, and you will continue to follow the same course.
You write me a separate letter about the ships that were detained at Gibraltar. This was a matter of no small moment, and necessarily had to be considered and examined in order to discover the truth as to the offence and the violation of port. Seeing, however, what the Queen writes, although punishment should have been imposed, yet out of respect for her I ordered all possible favour to be shown, and in addition to disembargoing the ships I ordered the masters of them who were in prison to be forgiven for the grave crime and punishment they had incurred. You will tell the Queen this that she may understand that I look upon her affairs as my own, and you may in this connection press her and her Council with regard to redress for the violence that her subjects commit on mine, as it is only right that she on her part should show the same consideration to our subjects and affairs as we show to hers.—12th August 1566.
376. Guzman De Silva to the King.
Nothing important occurs to advise. The Queen will come to Oxford on the 30th instant, where certain ceremonies and literary exercises are being prepared for her, and with this opportunity I shall go to that University to be with her there, both in order to hear what is going on, and because Danet, whom the Queen sent to the Emperor on the Archduke's affair, is expected back at that time, he having left Vienna on the 27th ultimo. Mavissier, the king of France's gentleman, who I advised, had gone to Scotland to congratulate the Queen on her confinement, came to where this Queen was five days ago ; and one of the king of France's grooms has arrived here from there with two mules, one for the earl of Leicester and the other for the Lord Chamberlain. He tells me that Mavissier says that the queen of Scotland and her husband are well and harmonious. The Ambassador tells me the same, and that tranquillity exists. It is considered certain that Lethington will return into the Queen's service.
On the other hand, I hear from two Catholics, who had seen letters from Scotland on the 3rd instant, that the earls of Murray and Argyll had retired to their homes. The cause of this is not known, but it is thought that it may have been through the murder of the abbot of Kelso, a learned and worthy person who was recently killed by a Scotch gentleman named Fernihurst, whose eldest son the Abbot had held at the font. This murder may have been with the knowledge or by order of the Earls, or their departure may have been caused by suspicions of a plot which they say existed to steal the Queen's child, and bring him up in their own way. However this may be, the Earls have left the Court, and may again raise a disturbance.
The troops for Ireland have not yet embarked, owing to the weather. They still say that O'Neil is so strong that many troops will be necessary to attack him.—London, 17th August 1566.
377. The Same to the Same.
Thomas Danet arrived here last evening, and this morning went on to see the Queen. A captain arrived here to-day from Berwick, who confirms the murder of the abbot of Kelso, and says the Queen of Scotland had sent the earl of Bothwell with 500 horse to capture and punish the delinquents, she herself having left Edinburgh after the Earl to urge him to greater activity.
The earl of Bedford, who is this Queen's Governor at Berwick, had asked leave to return home with the countess of Rutland. The Queen refused her consent for him to leave there at present, which is a sign that her suspicions of the queen of Scotland continue, or that some negotiations are being carried on there.
Gresham, this Queen's factor, leaves in two days for Antwerp to borrow secretly 40,000l.—London, 19th August 1566.
378. The Same to the Same.
I left London on the 19th instant, to join the Queen before she reached Oxford, and at the house of William Dormer, the father of the countess of Feria, which is on the road, I yesterday received your Majesty's letter of the 1st instant, by which I learn of your Majesty's good health, so necessary to the interests of God and the public weal, and that the Queen's happy confinement was shortly expected, of which I will inform the Queen. The latter, as was arranged, arrived on the 19th at the earl of Leicester's, and left there on the 22nd. The answer that Danet brought from the Emperor about the Archduke is not yet known. Nothing is known from Scotland or Ireland beyond what I have already advised.
It is understood from what the Queen has ordered and proclaimed that the only object of calling the Parliament together is to vote supplies. It is asserted, however, that they will not be voted, as no war or other national need exists for them, and it is said that before Parliament meets some disturbance or rising is expected. This has been threatened for some time, but I am assured that it will now happen, which is very probable, seeing that the Queen is not popular or beloved, either by Catholics or heretics ; the former do not like her because she is not a Catholic, and the others because she is not so furious and violent a heretic as they wish, and, beside, they consider her very parsimonious, and they are greedy.—Ethrope, 23rd August 1566.
379. The Same to the Same.
On the 26th instant I arrived at a house which is half-way between Oxford and the place where the Queen was staying, three miles one way and three miles the other. The next day I sent to ask after the Queen, who I heard had been unwell, and to know when I could see her. The Lord Chamberlain sent word that she was better, and he would advise me when I could go. On the following morning the earl of Leicester sent to visit me, and in the afternoon he and Secretary Cecil came together to see me. They told me that the Queen was better, and the next day would go to hunt in a park five miles from where she was and would be pleased if I would join them there, as she wished to see me. That night she was so troubled with her indisposition, which is an issue in the shoulder, that she could not go to the chase, and sent a gentleman to tell me so, but that the earl of Leicester and the ladies and others would go, and she hoped I would join them for my pleasure, and she sent this gentleman to conduct me thither. I went so as to have an opportunity of talking with some of them, and to learn what the Emperor had replied by Danet, and how the Queen had taken the answer, as well as other things which it is necessary I should know. I talked with Leicester for a long while on the way, trying to direct the conversation as I usually do to his own affairs. It is easy to see that he has not abandoned his pretensions by the manner in which he treats the matter, and the efforts they say he is now making, but I contrived to please him by adopting my usual method of dealing with him.
I had an opportunity of joining the earl of Sussex, who asked me if Cecil had told me the reply that Danet had brought from the Emperor. I told him that I had not had an opportunity of speaking to Cecil in private. He told me that he had seen the clauses and put the substance in writing which he gave me, telling me also what Danet had said, but asked me not to tell Cecil that he had told me.
The effect of the Emperor's reply is that as regards religion, a church must be appointed where the Archduke and his household may attend service according to the Catholic religion, in which he was born and bred, and in which he wishes to live and die, and if this clause, which is the principal, is not conceded, the Emperor has no need to speak of or discuss any other ; that as soon as the Archduke is married he shall be called King, and be so addressed by the estates of the realm who govern jointly with the Queen, and if he has an heir the Archduke shall at once be crowned, and declared consort with the Queen in the Government and administration of the State in all things not contrary to the laws and privileges of the country ; that the Queen shall declare the amount of money to be annually paid to maintain the household of the Archduke, by reason of his occupying the royal position; that the Queen shall also fix the aid to be paid by this country towards the defence of his dominions in case the Turk should attempt to invade them. As regards the coming of the Archduke, as the Queen requests, no objection will be made to this if the other points are agreed to.
He says that Danet replied to the Emperor as to the first point of religion and pointed out to him that if Catholic services were publicly celebrated it would cause trouble, and might even give rise to great disturbance and scandal, as Englishmen would go to hear them, and that the Emperor retorted verbally that if such English men did attend the services they could be punished by the law, and that in case the Archduke should see any great peril, such as Danet mentioned, he might follow such services as would satisfy the country, his conscience being clear, inasmuch as he would do it to avoid such trouble.
I had much talk with Sussex on the business, and he thinks that the marriage cannot be brought about unless some important personage is sent to the Emperor to whom the Queen would leave the whole negotiation. This might be done when the Order of the Garter is sent, as it ought to be by this time. I asked him how the Queen had taken the answer, and he said that she had been very lowspirited lately. I give so full an account of what Sussex says because he is Cecil's inseparable friend, particularly in this business. The earl of Ormond spoke to me in strict secrecy, saying in substance that he greatly desired to serve your Majesty, but that as the Queen had not given him leave, he had not shown it by acts, but hoped to have an opportunity of doing so some day. For this reason and because he thought it good for the Queen he had always done his best to incline the Queen to the Archduke's match, and would do so in future. As he knew from her how much she regarded and trusted me, he begged me to do all I could now that Parliament was to meet to press the Queen on the Archduke's business, because if it be not carried through at this point, it will fail. I answered him graciously thanking him for what he told me, and for his efforts, signifying to him at the same time how I had urged the Queen to it for her own good, and for the service it would be in preserving the friendship which she had with your Majesty, but that he might be sure that the principal obstacle which the business had met with was raised by the ancient enemies of this country, both within and without the realm, whose motive was their own aggrandizement to the detriment of the Queen. and country, and as this was notorious, I did not speak more clearly. He said he quite understood it, and therefore the more care was necessary. This earl has good talent and is well favoured. When the chase was done and after a large banquet we returned to the Queen to whom I gave news of your Majesty's and the Queen's health, whereat she exhibited great joy and with kinder words than I can repeat expressed her thanks. She is rather thin, and ordered a litter to be brought, saying that as I had come 60 miles to see her, she would bear me company as far as her litter could go on my way to where I was staying. She did so, and came to within sight of the house, two miles and a half, talking about her progress, but without saying a word of the marriage as we were surrounded with people.
Having written thus far I have just received your Majesty's letters of the 12th instant, bringing the happy news of the Queen's safe confinement. Just as I was reading them the Queen sent one of her grooms over with the same news and with apparently the same joy as we your servants and vassals feel at so great a mercy.
The Queen enters Oxford to-morrow and I will tell her on the road what your Majesty orders both as to this happy news and as to the clemency your Majesty has shown to the Englishmen who were imprisoned at Gibraltar, pressing her urgently with regard to the robberies as I continually do, and take this fresh opportunity of pointing out how your Majesty has treated her subjects, in the hope that she will do what is fitting to remedy what we complain of. —London, 30th August 1566.