Simancas: August 1567

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: August 1567', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 664-672. British History Online [accessed 29 May 2024].

. "Simancas: August 1567", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 664-672. British History Online, accessed May 29, 2024,

. "Simancas: August 1567", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 664-672. British History Online. Web. 29 May 2024,

August 1567

2 Aug. 434. The Same to the Same.
The earl of Murray went to Scotland on the last day of July, after having been with the Queen at Windsor. I visited him to try to discover something of his intention, and having discussed matters with reference to a discourse of his when he passed here on his way to France, he began to express sorrow at the action of the lords against the Queen, and said he could not fail to strive for her liberty because beside being her brother he was much beholden to her, but still, as he told me before, Bothwell's business and the King's murder had much grieved him and had caused him to leave the country. He returned now to see what could be done in these troubles although he feared they would be difficult to mend. If he had his friends collected and harmonious, something could be done, but many of these who were concerned in the Queen's detention were his closest adherents, and besides this his lands and those of the other friends of the Queen were distant, which increased the difficulty, and if he came in force to liberate her he would have to pass by Stirling, which was in the hands of the earl of Mar. The passage there was by a deep and broad river, and boats could not be used if resistance were offered ; the bridge also being impracticable as it was guarded by Mar. Edinburgh, the principal fortress in the country, together with the castle, was in the hands of the lords, and the castle where the Queen is was strong as it was in the middle of so large a lake that not a single culverin in the country could even reach it much less batter it, so that it could be held by 50 soldiers. All these things he said made the liberation of the Queen difficult, if it were undertaken against the will of those who held her, and it could only be attempted with great caution and adroitness, in consequence of the danger the lords would be in if they let her free in a way that would enable her to be avenged on them at any time. If in respect of their own safety the lords would only consent to the Queen's liberation on such conditions that she should have no power or authority in her own kingdom she would be ill-able to brook such terms, she having been a sovereign. It was surrounded with difficulties, but he would do his best to find some means by which she should remain Queen, but without sufficient liberty to do them any harm, nor marry against the will of her Council and Parliament, whilst punishing at the same time the authors of the King's murder. I told him that the business might be remedied if Bothwell were put where the Queen is, and if he were captured it would be easy to settle things. He thought so too, as he said, because they could kill him, and the Queen would then be free of 'him, and they would be safe, and would not suffer the dishonour and shame of seeing their Queen married to a man who had another wife living.
By his manner of speech, and the difficulties he raised, it seemed to me that although he always returned to his desire to help the Queen this is not altogether his intention.
He repeated how displeased he was at the action of the lords in taking the Queen, which would appear to your Majesty, the king of France, and other princes a bad precedent, and I replied that nobody could think it was a good one, much less kings, to see subjects so insolent to their sovereign, even if grave reasons existed, and still more so in the present case.
I said that her confessor had told me that as regarded the King's murder she had no knowledge whatever of it and had been greatly grieved thereat, and for this reason, as he was a person of high authority and knew the feelings of the country he could arrange matters better than anyone else, since the Queen would trust him as her brother, and the lords would confide in him as a friend. He could thus do the good work of tranquillising the country, and avoid its ruin, which could not fail to distress your Majesty in consequence of your affection for the Queen. I expressed great attachment to him and told him to take great care of himself and be cautious as he no doubt had enemies, and with this he opened out somewhat, saying that my good will towards him prompted him to tell me something that he had not even told this Queen, although she had given him many remote hints upon the subject. This was that he considered it very difficult to arrange matters, as it was certain that the Queen had been cognisant of the murder of her husband, and he, Murray, was greatly grieved thereat. This had been proved beyond doubt by a letter which the Queen had written to Bothwell, containing three sheets of paper, written with her own hand and signed by her, in which she says in substance that he is not to delay putting into execution that which he had arranged, because her husband used such fair words to deceive her and bring her round that she might be moved by them if the other thing were not done quickly. She said that she herself would go and fetch him and would stop at a house on the road where she would try to give him a draught, but if this could not be done she would put him in the house where the explosion was arranged for the night upon which one of her servants was to be married. He Bothwell, was to try to get rid of his wife either by putting her away or poisoning her, since he knew that she, the Queen, had risked all for him, her honour, her kingdom, her wealth and her God, contenting herself with his person alone. Besides this she had done an extraordinary and unexampled thing on the night of the murder in giving her husband a ring, petting and fondling him after plotting his murder, and this had been the worst thing in connection with it. Murray said he had heard about the letter from a man who had read it, and the rest was notorious. He was deeply grieved for the honour of his father's house, and he could not tell how the matter would end, from all of which I gather that the lords can depend upon him better than his sister can, although he says he will do his best for her. I am more inclined to believe that he will do it for himself if he finds a chance, as he is a Scotchman and a heretic, and was not without some idea of promotion before these affairs, much more now. He made me many offers of service to your Majesty, for which I thanked him, expressing great affection for him in case it may be necessary at any future time to approach him.
By the last news from Throgmorton we learn that they had not let him see the Queen, but delay him by saying that they could not decide the question until all the lords were met and some were at their homes. He says this is merely dissimulation, as they were in constant communication with them, and knew where they were. It appears they want to crown the Prince, and had asked Throgmorton to be present, but he had no intention of going.
They tell me this Queen is displeased that Throgmorton has not been allowed to see the queen of Scots, and has written to the lords complaining of it, signifying also her disapproval of the Queen's detention, and the boldness of her subjects. She shows a desire to help in her liberation, and this is the cause it is believed that she does no treat Lady Margaret so well as she had begun to do.
Various news are current from Scotland since Murray's departure, but Cecil sends me word that the lords have sent certain conditions to their Queen, the principal of which is that that the Prince should be crowned King, and the government should be placed in the hands of the earl of Murray, and if he do not accept they might appoint whomever they please. The Queen accepted this, though no doubt against her will, and the coronation of the Prince was fixed for the 29th ult.
The French will not like this, because the Queen told me they wished to delay Murray's coming. The latter visited Margaret, and showed a desire to help her, but she is very dissatisfied as she thinks she can never trust heretics. She and her husband and son are staying five miles from here, and as the Queen has not restored their estates they are in great need.
Although Throgmorton had not seen the Queen he had secretly advised her of his arrival.
Ireland is quiet since the death of O'Neil, and this is a great consolation to the Queen as besides the continual care, her expenses there were great. The lands of O'Neil have been divided amongst certain courtiers, on condition that they pacify and civilize the place and depart thither at once.
I wrote to your Majesty, that the two ships belonging to the Queen for Hawkins were in this river, fitting for the voyage. They left here on the 30th ult. for Plymouth, where they are awaited by the other ships of which there are only four, making six in all instead of nine. These two take to Plymouth the stores for the rest, and as they could not take them all they are accompanied by another ship to Plymouth. The larger of the two is 800 tons, and the other 300. Each one carries 80 pieces of artillery, 16 fine bronze pieces, and 64 iron guns, large and small. The four ships at Plymouth comprise two of 150 tons each, one of 100 and one of 80 tons. They still say they will go in August, and their voyage is without question to the new mines beyond what is called the Portuguese Mina, where the king of Portugal has a castle, in the place they call Laras.
The men who prompted this expedition are three Portuguese, who came hither after the French expedition to Madeira. At first they said they were subjects to your Majesty, and came from Seville, with jewels to sell, but I afterwards learnt that they were Portuguese, and it was suspected that they had been to Madeira with the French. They came with an introduction to one Gonzalo Jorge, and treated with him and other Portuguese here, and together introduced the business to Vice-Admiral Winter, whom they informed that they knew of a very rich part of the Portuguese Indies, from which great profits might be drawn, and they would give full particulars of the same. He asked them how it was they had not been to their own King or to your Majesty, or even the French who were nearer, to which they gave some sort of reply, and ultimately they showed him a letter from your Majesty signed in your name ordering them to go to Spain to introduce the adventure, and when he saw the letter, as he thought it seemed an important business, he spoke to the Queen about it, who, having consulted her Council, refused to have anything to do with it, and this answer was sent to the Portuguese. They thereupon entered into arrangements with certain merchants of this city, who jointly with others have defrayed the expenses of the expedition, which I am informed altogether amounts to 50,000 crowns. It would seem from this that they will not go to your Majesty's Indies, and this confirms the Queen's assurance to me, and Cecil's oath to the same effect.
Hawkins came to see me before his departure and assured me positively that he would go nowhere to offend your Majesty, whom he desired to serve above all things, as he previously assured me, and he had his orders from the Queen also to this effect. I thanked him, saying that I was sure he would keep his word.
I have since learnt that the Queen sent Winter to tell Hawkins to take care that he fulfilled her orders to go nowhere in your Majesty's dominions as she had promised. If he did to the contrary she would have his head cut off. But still it will be necessary that those who are in charge of the coasts should be warned not to allow those who go to do their business.
The principal of these Portuguese, who was hidden here, is named Anton Luis, but was here called Pedro Vasquez Franco, and it is also believed that Caldeira will go on this voyage.—London, 2nd August 1567.
9 Aug. 435. The Same to the Same.
I came to Windsor on the 3rd to hear what was said at court, both as to your Majesty's coming and Scotch affairs.
On the following day letters arrived from Throgmorton which the Queen tells me brought news that the Assembly they call the lords had already crowned the Prince, and his mother had signed her abdication, in which some of the causes of it are related. The principal of these is that she is tired of the troubles and anxieties of government, ill and not so fit to continue it as she might be, and she also wishes during her life to see her son a crowned king, and begged the earl of Murray, her brother, who had experience in government, to accept the direction of affairs jointly with six others who are named as regents, and in case as she feared, that Murray refused one of the six others should be chosen and his place filled by the earl of Lennox. The Prince was sworn and crowned with the usual ceremony there and one of the nobles took the oath in his name to respect the rights and privileges of the realm. Throgmorton refused to be present, and he and his train dressed in black on the occasion, mourning the Queen as if she were dead. The Queen herself was very ill of ague in her prison. The lords have approached this Queen with regard to her protection being given to the child and to them, and they offer if she will extend such protection, to abandon their close friendship with the French, but if she refuse they say they cannot avoid the terms now offered to them by the French, with their pensions and other promises. The Queen told me she did not know what was best to be done and asked my opinion with regard to it, pointing out to me the inexpediency of showing favour to so bad an example, and on the other hand the danger to her of a new alliance of these people with the French. I answered her that it was a matter for much consideration, and she ought rather to dexterously delay the negotiations whilst watching how these people proceeded, and what was the result of their action. To which she replied that they were pressing her closely, and said they could not suffer any delay in order not to incur the danger of finding themselves isolated, if the French should withdraw their offers, in which case they would be without any protection. Although I pointed out to her in conversation the reasons I had for recommending delay she always pressed upon me the necessity of avoiding the handing of these people over to France, and I think I see more inclination on her part to aid them than the necessity of the case at present demands, as I gave her many sufficient reasons for delay, whilst she still insisted that it was necessary to act at once. We decided to discuss the matter next day, as I told her that the matter was a serious one and bristling with difficulties.
On the next day she again introduced the subject as she wished to reply to Throgmorton. At last I said that we who did not know the designs and objects of monarchs could not give an opinion upon their affairs ; all we could do was to state general principles in order that they in their wisdom might determine what to do in accordance with their motives, and I therefore thought well to confine myself to indicating two points for her consideration : first that of her honour, and secondly the results that might accrue from giving or withholding the desired protection, by which I thought she had not much either to lose or to gain, since she knew the Scotch would never be true or loyal friends, excepting so far as their interest demanded, so that she would have to help them in their troubles, and was more than uncertain what they would do if they were freed from them, unless indeed she had very good pledges. As regarded her honour it would look very ill to protect disobedient rebels who had failed in reverence for their sovereign, and if she decided at once to join them, peop'e would believe that she had been an accomplice in their plot. I therefore thought that she should not decide hastily, but should delay the business ; the danger of their handing themselves over to the French so soon was not evident to me. If the Scotch had managed the business without their knowledge the French would need time to decide, and if they had acted with their consent they are already assured of their friendship, and were only entertaining her to avoid molestation until their affairs were settled. It was quite possible, considering the artfulness of both of these people, that they had already arranged and only wanted her to declare herself in order to bring odium upon her, and give the French some excuse for taking up the cause. They would like to throw upon her the blame of being first and make out that they had taken up the business in order not to lose the Scotch alliance. In this manner her honour would be tarnished, and, as the saying is, she would make nothing by it. The Queen told me that the Scotch lords promised to send her their own sons as hostages, and I told her that they had better give them to their own Queen, who would then be safer than she is, and would understand that she could punish them if they did not keep to their conditions. She thought they would not give them to her. She has since told me that the decision she has arrived at is to send for Throgmorton, as she thinks it is not in accordance with her dignity that he should stay there longer, and tell the lords that they shall have her protection when they have shown her that she can give it in accordance with honour and duty. As regards the punishment of the King's murderers they will always find her ready to help in a cause so just. She afterwards told me that she had refused them her aid or protection. She still orders a nephew of Throgmorton to remain there, and perhaps there is more in this than she said. The letter she writes to Throgmorton is very short. I have seen it, although I could not read it. It was in the hands of Lord Robert, who dictated it, and he took it to the Queen for signature in my presence, Cecil not being present.
The Queen tells me that the queen of France has used certain scurvy words throwing the blame upon her for what had happened in Scotland. She complained greatly of this malice and when I, to bring her out more upon the matter, said that it was the duty of everyone to harmonise discords amongst friends, she said it was quite true that the French Ambassador here did nothing but put before her the passage of your Majesty and the coming of the duke of Alba, hinting that it was your Majesty's intention to treat her in a friendly way at first, and try to get her to change her religion, but if you could not succeed by this means, you would try what force could do ; and a great many more things to the same effect to wean her away from her friendship with your Majesty. She said, however, that she could see through them, to which I added what was fitting, in order to reassure her and banish her distrust, which is all founded on her change of religion. The Queen assured me that she was satisfied with the earl of Murray as regards his attempts to liberate the Queen, and Lord Robert tells me the same. Robert shows himself in favour of the Scotch Queen. When I told the Queen that I should be glad if Murray's intentions were so good, but was in doubt about them, she said perhaps I was right in consequence of religious affairs.
The earl of Leicester tells me that the queen of Scotland's prison is made closer, and they have taken away the liberty she had of walking about the castle, placing her in a tower with no companion but two women. They had changed the guards and placed new ones, and he thinks that matters will not stop here, seeing the way in which the lords are proceeding. Amongst other things Murray told me that there were some Catholics amongst the lords, but they must be few, and deceived by the rest into the idea that their action is for the good of the country and the punishment of the murderers, and no other reason. The real reason is that they should not be disturbed in their liberty and in the possession of the ecclesiastical properties which they have usurped, and any help the people here may have given them is to the same end, as they have always feared that trouble might come to them from that quarter, the queen of Scots being a Catholic, and nearly all the people in the North of England professing the same religion. This queen spoke very harshly of the Scotch heretical preachers for saying that the people might criticise the evil done by their superiors, whereupon I repeated what I have often told her that these people only seek their own liberty and freedom from authority, and urged upon her again the need for providing a remedy in time to brook this fury of the people. She replied in a way that showed she was willing to consider it, and repeated certain things that the earl of Arundel had said about it. I spoke to the Earl next day and told him not to avoid following the matter up, as the Queen was pleased at what he had said. He was willing, but seeing the laws which have recently been passed on these matters, he said it was dangerous to put oneself forward with the Queen in such conversations, which he thinks might be with profit renewed when your Majesty was near, but not before The Earl has now gone home, although the Queen did not wish to give him leave for after Michaelmas. I understand he does not intend to come back so soon however, as he is not well pleased with matters at court.—London, 9th August 1567.
16 Aug. 436. The Same to the Same.
The Queen expresses great sorrow for the queen of Scotland, and fears they will bring her to trial as if she were a private person, she having abjured the crown. She told me on the 9th inst. that after they had put her in the tower so closely confined with so few attendants she saw a boy through her window, who being very young was overlooked by the guards. She was in the habit of giving messages to this boy and told him to tell her friends to pray to God for her soul, for the body was worth nothing now. The Queen assured me on the same day that she was determined not only to endeavour to obtain her liberation, but to prosecute the lords with all her power, and was sending a gentleman to the king of France to announce her intention to him, and to tell him that she expected the help of other Princes to punish so evil a deed, especially the aid of one powerful neighbour whom she trusted much, by which she meant your Majesty, in order that the French should not be moved to obstruct her, or take the part of the rebels. She also thought of sending a person to the lords warning them to put their affairs in order, and liberate their Queen at once, failing which she must aid her and punish those who had so maltreated her, and of this message also, although she did not mention your Majesty, excepting in the words already stated, she thought well to tell me before she sent it. I answered that her action would be approved of by all, and I was sure your Majesty's friends would always find you foremost in just and honest causes. She urged me to keep her resolution secret, as she had people in her household who were opposed to it for private reasons of their own, and it was not meet that they should know of it. She told it to me because she knew I should not reveal it, and because in all she had told me she found me exactly like an Englishman, and more attached to her than anyone. On the following day, speaking again of the queen of Scotland, she told me she was not quite decided as to what she should do on the matter. These changes show the diversity of opinions and counsels amongst her advisers.
I asked the Queen whether she had ordered preparations in the ports as she had promised, in case the ships the duchess of Parma had ordered to go to Cape Ushant should enter them, and she told me and was glad to be reminded of it, in order to tell me that it was the rule of this country to fit out the ships and send them on a cruise from time to time, but she had ordered this not to be done when she heard of your Majesty's voyage, so that it should not be thought that the preparations were inspired by apprehension on her part, similar to that of the French, in consequence of your Majesty's passage, as she was quite tranquil in her own good conscience. She had now, however ordered the ships to be fitted out because it would not look well to neighbouring Princes for her to be unprepared when so large a fleet was passing near her shores. I answered her that as to her security there was no need to say a word except what I had many times told her, that she had nothing to fear from any friend of your Majesty's, but those who wished to provide against eventualities in similar cases could do so if they liked and spend their money unnecessarily. That other people should do so concerned me not at all ; in fact I was rather glad of it, but I was sorry that she should do it.
They cannot quiet themselves about the coming of the duke of Alba. The Queen has spoken to me about it several times, and has again raised the subject, but with moderation. Cecil approached it even more carefully, and said everyone was surprised at the great forces your Majesty had and the expense of sustaining them, it being known that your Majesty was in debt and had none too much money. He thought it might give rise to troubles and inconvenience, owing to the preparations which necessarily had to be made by others, and so many troops being collected, to all of which I replied fittingly.
Winter, the Vice-Admiral, went to Plymouth three days ago to fit out 10 ships, of which he will be commander. They have also taken from the Tower corslets, pikes, harquebusses, and munition for the ports, and have sent to the people on the coast to be ready, as they usually do on such occasions.
Movements in Ireland have ceased since O'Neil's death, and they are beginning to set matters in order in the island. Sydney has been sent for by the Queen, and Leicester tells me he will be here in a fortnight.
Lord Robert is still on very good terms with the Queen, and is, as usual, the person who has most influence over her although the outward show of favour has greatly calmed down. Pembroke acts as Lord Steward. He is a friend of Leicester, and they have now no rivals, as the Secretary proceeds respectfully, and the rest who might support him are absent. He knows well, however, that he is more diligent than they, and so keeps his footing. The steps against the Catholics are not now so severe as formerly. Indeed they are becoming daily milder and Catholics are beginning to show themselves more. They meet together and are known, and if they can be entirely reassured it will be seen that the Catholics are more numerous than the heretics, and this will greatly tend to raise their spirits.—London, 16th August 1567.
23 Aug. 437. The Same to the Same.
The muster of troops on the coast has been made with care and speed, and they are now ready, as the Queen told me they would be. She had news three days ago that 50 sail had been sighted off Plymouth, and it was thought that this was your Majesty's fleet, although I believe that they will have been fishermen.
The Queen having written to Throgmorton to return from Scotland, as I wrote to your Majesty, received a despatch from him saying that the lords were pressing the queen of Scotland so much that he feared she was in danger for her life, he being unable to pacify them notwithstanding all his efforts. In sight of this the Queen has ordered him to remain there for the present.
The earl of Murray remained a week in Berwick before entering Scotland, and preceded Lignerolles, the gentleman sent by the king of France.—London, 23rd August 1567.
30 Aug. 438. The Same to the Same.
The Queen has been passing some days lately in certain hunting lodges. She is well and returns to-day to Windsor. She will approach here, but I think not until the heat subsides. It is extraordinary during the last eight or nine days. The muster of troops on the coast is now complete, and they have orders where to meet when called. All is quiet. Lady Margaret sends me word that as soon as the earl of Murray arrived in Scotland he spoke with the Queen, who discussed her liberation with him and confided her life and affairs to his care. The Queen had confessed that she knew of the plot to murder her husband. I am told that the cause of this Queen's hatred of the Scotch lords is that in the abdication that they made the Queen sign in favour of her son she had to renounce also her claims to this kingdom, and although this seems like a joke they assure me that it is true, and that she was very much displeased.—London, 3rd August 1567.