Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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430. The Same to the Same.
Although a decided answer was formerly given to the French about the marriage of the Queen, I am told they are again bringing the matter forward, and she herself tells me that they offer her Calais if the marriage is effected. She told me shortly before she went to Richmond, that she knew the King was sending a person here to again open negotiations. They wished to keep the matter alive, doubtless to hinder the Archduke's affair which they fear, and also I think, because they consider they are paying her a compliment in wooing her thus. I tell some of them here that they are being treated like children, and the French are playing with the affair, as the proposal has already been disposed of. The Queen told me this afternoon on my introducing the matter as if in joke, that it was true they had again addressed her, but it would not result in people seeing such a comical farce as an old woman leading a child to the church doors.
Everything that can be done to arouse the suspicion of the Queen against your Majesty is being done by certain people, and I am trying all I can to banish such feeling, and keep her in a good humour without saying anything offensive of the king of France, in order to persuade her that she may confide in your Majesty as a friend, and can if she pleases proceed boldly in her pretensions in Scotland and Calais. She tells me that she is informed that your Majesty desired to marry the prince of Scotland with the Infanta, but when she asked where such news could have come from, they told her a Frenchman had said it, whereupon she knew it was a hoax. I told her that it would not be the first trick they had played, nor would it be the last, and she must be well on her guard to prevent them from deceiving her, as they wished to make her distrustful of your Majesty, which she says she thinks is true. I think I have satisfied and tranquillized her, although when they see your Majesty so strongly armed, suspicion is aroused, and not here alone.
The Queen seems sorry at events in Scotland, and tells me that the lords have begged her succour in case they need it, to prevent the Prince being taken from them, and to punish those guilty of the King's murder. She had been greatly perplexed about the business, as it was a dreadful thing to see the Queen held prisoner by her own subjects, and on the other hand, to avoid helping those who had risked themselves to punish so grave a crime as the murder of the King would seem weakness, and she had therefore determined to send Throgmorton to Scotland to negotiate, and if the lords showed an intention, as was their duty, to treat the Queen well and set her at liberty (since she had placed herself in their hands), and she promised them full pardon : she would be able to help them, but on condition that the Queen herself should respect the laws of the realm, and proceed against those who were guilty of the murder of the King. She thinks that she can bring the queen of Scotland to these conditions, and she believes that if the Queen is not guiltless of the murder of her husband, it is only just that she should suffer, although she cannot believe she is in fault. From what I could understand of the Queen's conversation the idea is to try to tranquillise matters, so that the queen of Scotland would be obliged to be guided by her, and the lords also if possible, which will not be a bad result for her if she can manage it, which remains to be seen. Throgmorton is clever and has been secretly a friend of the queen of Scotland, although he is an artful heretic, and it will not appear for this reason that he is against the lords.
That Queen is still in the castle of Lochleven which I have mentioned. This place can only be entered by boat, and the Queen is only accompanied by two women of low rank, one groom of the chambers and a cook, although recently an old woman of higher position has been sent to her.
Villeroy, who went to Scotland, has arrived here. He was in Scotland when the detention of the Queen took place, and those who were in Edinburgh when he arrived told him that he could not see her as she was unweil, and he must tell them what his business was, as they had authority to hear him. He replied that he could only treat with the Queen, and they told him that things had changed since his King had despatched him, and consequently that his mission was useless. They confirmed their refusal for him to see the Queen and he returned. Croc, the French Ambassador there, is also returning, he having written to his King that a person of higher rank should be sent to deal with matters there.
The Queen tells me she thinks he did it in order to get out of the place, because as he had been a servant of the house of Guise he would not be so safe as another. I am of opinion that the reason is that the lords will not deal with him so plainly as they would with anyone else. However it may be, I have warned this Queen to be on the alert to prevent the French from getting hold of the prince of Scotland, or having any hand in that country, and in conversation with her on the subject, certain things passed which she begged me not to communicate even to Cecil ; showing great confidence in me.
The Queen asked me very particularly about your Majesty's coming to Flanders. I assured her as much as I could, and she said she hoped your Majesty would come, but would be the more pleased if she could entertain you in this country, however poorly, but to the extent of her good-will.
The earl of Leicester has urged me to tell him what I knew of your Majesty's coming. I told him the same as I told the Queen, and said I expected your Majesty would shortly be near them, and they would understand the better the great interest you took in their affairs. He also asked me if I had spoken about Scotch affairs to the Queen, to which I replied that I found her much grieved at what had happened, but said no more. He is now Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and one of his Vice-Chancellors had begun to treat the Catholics there harshly as I was secretly informed. I therefore spoke to the Earl about it and asked him to remedy the matter, which he will no doubt do, as the official in question has come hither and has been instructed not to annoy the Catholics. The Earl tells me to-day that if I hear of anything being done against them I am to inform him, himself, and he will have it redressed.—London, 5th July 1567.
431. The Same to the Same.
I hear that the ships that Hawkins is going to take out are being got ready rapidly, and I am now told that there are to be nine of them, four of the Queen's, and five which Hawkins has in Plymouth, where they say the others are to join them. The four belonging to the Queen are off Rochester. They are fine vessels, the principal of them being called the "Jesus de Lobic" (fn. 1) of 800 tons, and another of 300, the other two being somewhat smaller. They are armed with fine bronze cannon. The five ships which are to join them consist of one of 130 tons, another of 100, tons and another of 80 tons, the rest being smaller, but all very well fitted. They have brought out from the Tower of London lately the artillery, corslets, cuirasses, pikes, bows and arrows, spears, and other necessary things for the expedition. They say that 800 picked men are to go, and the sailors to work the ships are engaged by order and permission of the Queen, paid at the same rate as for her service. All this looks as if the object was different from that which they say, namely, to go to the Cape de Verde Islands and Guinea to capture negroes, and thence to go and sell them for gold, silver, pearls, hides, and other merchandise in your Majesty's Indies. They are taking linens, cloths, merceries and other things of small value to barter for the negroes. The Admiral went yesterday with his officers to Rochester where the Queen's ships are being fitted out ; they say that they sail in 10 days, and many sailors have come from the West Country to man them.
The Queen, as I have written, assures me that they will not go to places prohibited by your Majesty, and the Secretary has done the same. I returned to the subject again yesterday, and had Cecil informed on my behalf that the ships would certainly go to your Majesty's Indies, whereupon he sent word to me that I might believe his assurance that they would not. I have nevertheless asked for an audience of the Queen to warn her again. One of the reasons for believing they are intended for the East Indies is that certain Portuguese are here, who they say went with Monluc to the island of Madeira, and have been secretly busy in this business in union with other Portuguese who live here, who are considered by some to be Jews, as they have fled from the Inquisition in Portugal.
Since Throgmorton left for Scotland no news has been received from him.
Croc, who was French Ambassador in Scotland, has passed here on his way to France, and there is nobody there now representing his King. He tells me that he expects a Knight of the Order (fn. 2) will shortly go there ; a person of rank.
The Ambassador here assures me that the king (of France) has in his favour both those who have assembled to detain the Queen (of Scots) and those who are against them, and has their signatures promising to keep up the friendship and alliance that the country has had with his predecessors. For this reason the King had proceeded in such a way as not to lose the support of the one side by taking up the cause of the other, but he could not avoid giving his aid to the Queen, whose adversaries assert positively that they knew she had been concerned in the murder of her husband, which was proved by letters under her own hand, copies of which were in his possession.
I sent word to Cecil yesterday that I had learned the king of France had summoned the earl of Murray, who was in Lyons, as soon as he heard of the detention of the Queen, and had offered him money and other inducements to hand over the Prince to the French, and he, Cecil, ought to be on the alert. He sent to say that it was true that the King and Queen and the duke of Nemours had promised a sum of money for the purpose indicated, and that Murray had replied that he had no news of the present state of things in Scotland, and could not promise what was asked, but that he would use his best efforts to procure the Queen's liberation, and to learn the reason of her detention. If he could not succeed in this, he would try to obtain possession of the Prince, and would start for Scotland at once. The Duke, however, asked him to stay a few days longer and write to the Scotch nobles before he left, asking them the reason of the Queen's detention, and if they would give up the Prince. The Earl has done this, and had sent one of his people with letters, but after the departure of his messenger a courier had reached Murray from the nobles, summoning him thither and offering him the custody of the Prince. This statement had just been brought by a man who has arrived from France. The gentleman that Murray had despatched has already gone on to Scotland, and they say that the earl of Bothwell is known to be in one of the Orkney Isles with his brother who is called the earl of Caithness.—London, 12th July 1567.
432. The Same to the Same.
Secretary Cecil tells me that news comes from Berwick of the 13th instant, that those who call themselves the lords and who are in Edinburgh, and have the Queen in their possession, were already beginning to differ amongst themselves, but have now again agreed, and have entered into an alliance with the Hamiltons, determined on all hands to punish the murder of the King.
Some think that this alliance of the Hamiltons and the rest of them cannot be true, and the French Ambassador here, who understands Scotch affairs does not believe it. That Queen had expelled one of the Stuarts by the advice of Bothwell, from the office of Lord Treasurer of the Kingdom, which office she had given to a kinsman of Bothwell, whom she has now dismissed and returned the office to the original holder, ordering at the same time that none of the other man's revenues are to be paid him as he is understood to have been concerned in the murder of the King. When Throgmorton arrived at Berwick and learned that those in Edinburgh were discordant he stayed there until he learned they had again become friendly, when he went on.
The intention of this Queen is, as I have written, to endeavour to obtain the release of the queen of Scotland, and that the lords should punish the persons guilty of the King's murder, without being in any danger of action being taken against them on the Queen's part for what had passed, on her assurance, due security being given on both sides. The object of this is that both the Queen and the lords should be equally bound to this Queen and should be unable to separate from her friendship. I have signified to the Queen that she must take great care to be on the alert to prevent the French getting a footing in Scotland, or obtaining possession either of the Prince or his mother ; conversing also about this with Cecil, and assuring him that the French had great influence with the lords on both sides, and it behoved him to be vigilant as the Ambassador here had told me that the lords had given their signatures to his master binding themselves for ever to his service, he told me not to believe it, and he was sure that they would not give up the Prince for anything. If they were to bring him up abroad they would rather give him to this Queen, and she is of the same opinion, and is certain that the queen of Scotland will not depart from her advice. The earl of Leicester expresses a desire for the liberation of the queen of Scotland, and the settlement of affairs there, and has asked me twice to press the Queen about it that she may not neglect it.
I mentioned to the Queen that I had been told that the lords held certain letters proving that the Queen had been cognisant of the murder of her husband. She told me it was not true, although Lethington had acted badly in the matter, and if she saw him she would say something to him that would not be at all to his taste.
With all the demonstration of friendship and friendly offers I make to the Queen from your Majesty I still find her rather anxious about the coming of the duke of Alba to Flanders. I am very careful in discussing this matter with her, but she gives me to understand that the French are suspicious and not without reason, since Flanders is tranquil, and there can be no need for sending more troops than there are there already, and that it looks as if they were all going against Metz. When I told her that your Majesty always proceeded loyally with your friends, and I was surprised that the French should be suspicious unless they knew of some cause of their own which should make their security doubtful, she said that that might be so, and so far as she was concerned, her own conscience showed her that she had nothing to fear, although some people wished to arouse distrust in her. She, however, wished for your Majesty's coming more than she could say, and that if it were but for a day you should be her guest here. This conversation always came back to the coming of the Duke, and the assertion that it was no longer necessary. I told her that the Duke, no doubt, had followed the orders your Majesty had given him when he left Spain, and even if the journey were no longer necessary a sufficient reason existed for it, if only to show those who had represented that he could not safely pass that they were wrong, and that the fear of difficulties did not detain him, especially as everyone knew his own business best, and it was notorious that when a prince was not obliged to deal with his subjects' affairs according to their taste, but as a lord and master, there was greater opportunity for benignity and mercy towards them, as it was known that your Majesty's natural clemency inclined you so to treat them, but you could not exercise this clemency if you were thwarted, but would have to proceed with all rigour in order to maintain your authority. She replied that still people were suspicious, but when your Majesty came you would be very welcome to her as I knew her good-will towards you.
Having been advised that the ships for Hawkins' journey were being got ready although the Queen and Cecil had assured me that no harm should be done to your Majesty's subjects and the expedition would not go to the parts of the Indies your Majesty had prohibited without license, I still thought well to take fresh action in the presence of Cecil, and I asked the Queen to summon him, and in his presence told her she would recollect that I had formerly asked her not to allow certain ships commanded by Hawkins and others under a certian Fenner to sail without steps being taken to obtain security that they should not go to your Majesty's Indies, nor do harm to your subjects elsewhere and that she had ordered this to be done, both because it was just and to oblige your Majesty, for which step I had thanked her in your Majesty's name ; and when I was informed of the active preparations being made by Hawkins I had asked her to act in the same way. She had told me that in her presence she had made them swear that they would not go to any part of the Indies where trade was prohibited, without your Majesty's license, and she had again commanded them not to do so, which statement was confirmed by her secretary. I had of course believed her, but had since been told that four of her own ships with artillery and munitions from the Tower were being fitted out for the expedition, and I thought well, in compliance with my promise, to again press the matter upon her. It was not only published that the ships were going to Guinea, but it was now asserted that they were to go from there to your Majesty's Indies to sell the negroes, and although I ought in face of this to make a formal requisition I was nevertheless so confident in her word and that of Cecil that I confined myself to telling her verbally in Cecil's presence about it. My reason for this also was to make neighbours understand that where such love and kindness existed an official representation was unnecessary. The Queen replied that it was true that two of her ships only, which she had lent to the merchants as usual were going, and it was true also that they were well fitted, both on account of the French pirates that were about, and against the ill-treatment of the Portuguese, but I might be sure that what she told me was true, and that they would not go to any prohibited place or where trouble might be caused to you. The Secretary in her presence with a great oath affirmed the same, and I have since been informed that the Queen had previously told Hawkins to take care not to go to any place that would annoy your Majesty. Nothwithstanding all this, however, I am assured that Hawkins and his company will go to New Spain after they have captured their negroes in Guinea, because beside the trifles they take to barter for the slaves, they are taking a large quantity of cloths and linens which are not goods fit for that country, and they also carry quantities of beans and other vegetables which are the food of the blacks, and the slaves are not usually taken anywhere but to New Spain and the islands.
Hawkins on these journeys first touches at the Canary Islands for water and other necessaries, and he is particularly friendly with a certain Pedro de Ponte who lives at Teneriffe and his son Nicolas de Ponte of Xaide. I have read original letters signed by these men for Hawkins and besides matters of commerce in them, I saw that Pedro de Ponte advised him to send information stating that certain women slaves, ornaments and other things belonging to Hawkins which the authorities had sequestrated and deposited with Pedro de Ponte were not his property, but belonged to another, and so he could recover them. These men, I am informed, always supply Hawkins with victuals, and in the first voyage he made to Santo Domingo five years ago they gave him a pilot called Juan Martinez of Cadiz, who guided them on the journey and returned hither with him, and was hidden here for some time. I understand they are not only Englishmen who prompt these voyages but also some Spaniards who are in the various islands and with whom these people have a mutual arrangement with regard to the profits. If it were not for these Spaniards helping them to the islands these expeditions would never have commenced.
Four days since they brought from Rochester hither two great ships belonging to the Queen, which are those that Hawkins is to take. They are here to be armed and fitted, and they say they cannot sail so soon as I was told. It is now asserted that the expedition cannot meet until the 15th or 20th of next month.
Since the death of John O'Neil, Irish affairs are quiet, and a brother of his, who it was feared would revolt, has submitted and come to the Viceroy. The Archbishop of Armagh who was imprisoned in the Tower of London, but was liberated, has been captured and is now in Dublin Castle.
As I was closing this letter I learned that letters have arrived saying that Throgmorton was in Edinburgh, where the lords also were, but they had not let him see the Queen yet as they said that they themselves would discuss his business with her.
They say that that Queen, whilst walking round the Castle where she is, situated as I have said, on a lake, she saw a small boat and, taking advantage of the carelessness of her guard, entered it alone for the purpose of escaping, but came across another party of guards who were further off towards the land, who asked where the boat was going, and were told that she was going to see whether the guards were on the alert, but she had thereupon returned not being able to pass. I am also told that this Queen sent yesterday to summon the officers who have charge of her fleet, and ordered them to have in readiness all her ships. This they have commenced to put into effect to-day, and besides this a ship of 600 tons that was outside has been brought in with all speed to join the rest. As soon as I find out the cause of this I will advise, although I expect the reason was that they have news by a courier sent post-haste by Gresham from Antwerp on the 16th, that a Spanish gentleman had arrived there in nine days from Spain, bringing news that your Majesty was coming by these seas, and would embark in the month of August.—London, 21st July 1567.
433. The Same to the Same.
On the 24th I received your Majesty's letter of the 29th ult., and if this Queen should ask me anything about the fleet your Majesty had ordered to be fitted out for these seas, I will answer her as your Majesty orders. She received letters the same day from her Ambassador in Spain, informing her, no doubt, both of the fleet and of your Majesty's coming, which is now public talk.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 21st that the Queen had ordered her fleet to be got ready, and I thought the reason was the advice from Antwerp of your Majesty's voyage by sea. To discover particulars of this I went the next day to Richmond, ostensibly to see her and accompany her to Windsor, but although I threw out several feelers on the subject she told me nothing, nor did I introduce it in a way that would show that I was informed, because the orders of the previous day had been given secretly. The preparations are going on, although they tell me that there are only 18 ships, and they are no doubt being fitted to prepare for eventualities on the passage of your Majesty's fleet, and perhaps also to be sent to salute your Majesty on your passage so near their ports. The Queen as I have said shows great joy at your Majesty's coming, but I see that the terror and disgust here of it are very great, and I am not surprised, as they must know what elements they have in this country, and the trouble they may cause them on any opportunity, since dissensions on religion are so rife. It looks as if the Catholic faith was gaining ground every day here, and the godly, and those who are not so, alike have their thoughts fixed upon your Majesty, although with very different ends and desires.
The Queen told me that the lords assembled in Edinburgh had not yet given Throgmorton permission to see the Queen, and she recounted to me what I wrote to your Majesty about her attempt to escape alone in a boat, saying what peril she had been in owing to the boat having several holes in it, and she was surprised at her courage. She also said that she expected the earl of Murray from France shortly, and that great efforts had been made by the French to gain him over by gifts to their ends in Scotland, but they had not succeeded. They then had tried to delay his return. This Earl is deep in the confidence of this Queen, and with good reason, as he is such a heretic. He arrived there yesterday, and at once went to Windsor with Cecil.
Four days ago the preacher and confessor of the queen of Scotland arrived here. He is a Dominican friar, a Frenchman named Roche Mameret, and was at the Council of Trent. He came to lodge with a worthy Scotch Catholic here, but the earl of Lennox having heard of this, had him arrested and examined to see whether he was carrying letters to France. He was released at once as they could only learn that he was returning home. He was with me yesterday and seems a worthy and learned person. He is much grieved at events in Scotland, and the imprisonment of the Queen, but more than all at the marriage with Bothwell, since he already has a wife. The Queen had consulted two or three Catholic bishops on the subject before marrying, who told her that she could do so, as Bothwell's wife was related to him in the fourth degree, but this confessor had assured her that she could not and ought not to marry him, and had discussed the matter with the said bishops. He assures me that as regards religion the Queen is not only a good, but a very devout Catholic, and he swore to me solemnly that until the question of the marriage with Bothwell was raised he never saw a woman of greater virtue, courage, and uprightness. He asked leave of the Queen to return home before she was arrested, as he was displeased with her marriage, but she swore to him that she had contracted it with the object of settling religion by that means, and he assured me that those who had risen against the Queen had not been moved by zeal to punish the king's murder, as they had been enemies rather than friends of his ; nor in consequence of the marriage as they had been all in favour of it, and had signed their names to that effect without exception, either lay or clerical apart from the earl of Murray, but their sole object had been a religious one, as they thought the Queen, being a Catholic, might settle religion in a way not to their liking. Their feelings had been soon shown because directly they had the Queen in their power they had smashed and destroyed the altar piece of the Church where she heard Mass, and also that of her own Oratory. Some also had been moved by jealousy of Bothwell, and he feared for the Queen's life in consequence, and if she fell there would be no help remaining for what was left of Catholicism there, as nearly all the nobles were heretics, and the people, though they were Catholic now, would be gradually lost, which would be a pity, as in the church at Edinburgh alone where the Queen attended service 12,600 people had communicated during this Lent. This he knew as he had taken account of them. I asked him in what way the Queen's liberty might be obtained as so many difficulties had arisen. He said that he knew no other way than by combined action of the Monarchs, as it seemed to touch the interests of all of them. They might express regret at the Queen's detention, and threaten those who held her if she were not liberated. It appears that the lords are somewhat alarmed as they signify to the Queen that if she will pardon them and punish the murderers of the King they will be obedient, but this man is sure that if she grants them these conditions they will demand fresh ones, as their one aim is religion. He thinks that this being so your Majesty should help the Queen. I answered him that I believe your Majesty would be sorry for the Queen's detention and the insolence of her subjects as she was your ally, but the question concerned his King more closely, as she had been queen of France and his brother's wife. I thought however that if the King wrote to your Majesty on the subject, you would use all necessary good offices in consideration of the love and brotherhood of your Majesty towards him. I answered him thus because he said he had spoken to me at the instance of the French Ambassador, and Frenchmen are not in the habit of doing things without an object. He said that he thought the king of France would not write to your Majesty, but that the cause was a common one.
The Queen's ships, which have been brought hither for Hawkins will leave here in 10 days for Plymouth where the rest are. They will carry large quantities of stores for the other ships. The principal merchandise is to barter for negroes ; a sure sign that they are going to your Majesty's Indies as I previously advised, and as I am also told by a person who is going with them, who assures me that Hawkins has never made a voyage without Pedro de Ponte of Teneriffe being interested in it. He says that they are taking troops sufficient to land 400 or 500 picked men without counting the men necessary to protect the ships, and he knows that the places in New Spain whither they are going could if they please resist them, but they have got up a scheme with the Governors by which the latter pretend they dare not resist them as they threaten to use force, and then they arrange together after protest has been made, to divide the profits. This agrees with what I said happened last time. The fleet will not leave Plymouth for four weeks.—London, 26th July 1567.