Simancas: July 1569

Pages 169-183

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 2, 1568-1579. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.

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July 1569

1 July. 112. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I expect to-day that the arrangement will be concluded with the agents of the bishop of Winchester about the house, and that I shall at once move thither. We shall then see whether I shall be set entirely at liberty as the councillors say. I think they have delayed hitherto in order to see whether any favourable news for them came from France. In the meanwhile, I have declined to listen openly to proposals regarding the restitution of the merchandise, although Ridolfi has spoken to me about it, and Cavalcanti the Florentine has tried to learn whether I wish him to continue the negotiation that he had commenced, through some of his friends, by which they thought they might find means dealing with the duke of Alba. I have endeavoured to discover the intentions of all parties, so that when I am free, I can, on receiving the Duke's instructions, take what steps may be fitting. Benedict Spinola, also, wanted to have a hand in it, and I hear from all of them that the Council desires to make restitution, although not so completely as they ought, and even then they expect to receive great concessions for doing so. I will try, when the time arrives, to get full restitution, and, at all events, I shall not fail for want of effort. I understand that the Queen has appointed new commissioners, three Englishmen and three subjects of your Majesty, with the instructions of which I send a copy. I told your Majesty's subjects to have nothing to do with it without my express order, as I am informed that the intention of those who appointed the commissioners was to value the merchandise very shortly, and sell it to the owners themselves if they wished to buy, the Queen enjoying the money, which they say she will restore when she comes to an agreement with your Majesty. This seems to me extremely undesirable, and the worst course that could be taken. I have, therefore, again most urgently told your Majesty's subjects to take no part in the matter, especially as they have acted so far in accord with me, and this would be setting a very bad example ; and, although some members of the Council, who thought to make a great profit out of the business, have put great pressure upon them, they have respected my orders in your Majesty's name, and your Majesty's decision on this point and others is anxiously awaited. I am sure that, in the end, the Council will do what is right, although they try by many ways to profit. I have advised your Majesty of the disturbances in Ireland, and the wishes of Thomas Stukeley. The son of John O'Neill is in arms on one side of the island and John O'More in another part. They are both Catholics. The Queen received a post yesterday which had come in five days from a town called Cork on the coast, bringing news that a fortress near that town had been taken from the troops of Selliger and Greynvill, two English gentlemen who have undertaken to subdue a part of the island. It was captured by a Catholic gentleman named FitzGarret who beheaded all those who were in it, including a son of Selliger. The victors, to the number of some three thousand, went then to besiege Cork, and were already negotiating for the delivery to them of the wives of these two English gentlemen, who were in the town, so that with these pledges in their hands their own children and the property in the town should be safe. The said Selliger is here and is sure that by this time his wife is in the hands of these savages, to whom he and his comrades had done much damage, and some of whom he had hanged. The rising has troubled the Queen very much. The Council have agreed that the ships that went to Rochelle should be retained by the so-called Queen of Navarre, in order that the men in them may be used for the defence of Rochelle and against neighbouring places held by her opponents. The two Venetian vessels are in the Downs, and will sail with the first fair wind. The Hamburg business is turning out very badly for these people, for they have only sold 4,000 out of the 25,000 pieces of cloth, and these were exchanged for wax hemp, and hops, so that I do not think they will go there again. The lack of Spanish goods is being greatly felt here. Oil has doubled in price, and if it were not for these sloops, it would be at an intolerable rate. Everything else is the same. They have taken large sums of money belonging to private persons from all the ships coming from Spain, this money having been shipped from Spain without your Majesty's license. Some people think that the sum will reach 130,000 ducats, but the owners, having fallen into this fault, do not dare to publish it, so that the English will keep the money, unless your Majesty orders that it shall be claimed for yourself, agreeing with the owners that they shall have some portion of it returned to them, and shall not be punished for their offence. Without their concurrence the necessary proofs could not be obtained, and I shall be glad to know your Majesty's wishes upon the subject, in order that this money may not remain in the hands of these infidels. The four English vessels that are taking ammunition and other stores and goods to Cape Agur (?), in the kingdom of Fez, are already at the mouth of this river ready to sail. I will advise your Majesty of what happens to them. As I am closing this, I have received from the French ambassador your Majesty's letter of the 15th of May.—London, 1st July 1569.
113. Guerau De Spes to the Duke of Alba.
The servant of the bishop of Winchester is here, and, although he asked 400 crowns for the house, we have agreed that the earl of Leicester's valuation of it shall be accepted, and I will move into it. I will advise your Excellency of their action with regard to the taking away of my guards. I, for my part, shall ask no favours. In the first audience I have, if the Queen grants me one, I only intend to speak of complaints in general, as I am told that that is her wish ; but, if we come to particulars, I will give her details. I think it will be better to leave until a second audience, the subject of the queen of Scotland and the delivery to this Queen of the letter I have for her. Your Excellency will instruct me as to your opinion on this matter, and as to the commissioners.—London, 1st July 1569.
2 July. 114. The Duke of Alba to Guerau de Spes.
I am glad to see by your letter that affairs are going well, and much wish you had received the duplicates of his Majesty's letters, which I sent with the warrants for the 6,000 crowns you requested. I must again repeat to you most emphatically that you are not, on any account, to entertain approaches to you against the Queen or her councillors, or anything touching them. On the contrary, if people come to you with such talk, you must be so reticent that they shall never be able to say that any minister of the King has given ear to it. For your private information I wish to say that, knowing that Benedict Spinola was the principal cause of the money being seized, and that Thomas Fiesco has influence with him, I have sent the latter, who is a Genoese merchant residing in Antwerp, to negotiate with Spinola, on his own account, without its being known that he comes from me, with the object, if possible, of gaining over Cecil and Leicester in return for something to be given to them to favour the restitution. He writes telling me that he finds on his arrival many people have started negotiations without my wish or authority, and besides this, that the owners of the detained monies and goods have been offering very bad terms for its recovery. If I knew who they were I would have them punished.
I have also learnt that others, and even Spaniards, have tried to interfere in this business more then is fitting, and no doubt, as you will see, they, thinking that the property will after all remain there and be sacrificed for a low price, they will try to come to such terms as I have mentioned if the affair is not otherwise settled. I think, therefore, that you should extend no countenance to those who adopt this course, and thus interfere with my wish.
Fiesco is a sensible man with great interests in these States, so that, even if he were inclined to act wrongly, I do not think he would venture to jeopardise his stake here by going astray. I think, therefore, that you should receive him and give credit to what he says, holding your hand in the meanwhile with regard to that other business. (fn. 1) To tell you the truth, I suspect that the reason why Cecil has turned so smooth is that he has been already influenced by the promises made by Thomas (Fiesco) through Spinola. You gave Ridolfi a very prudent reply. In case you should see the Queen or Cecil you will be very gentle, as, only by this means, can affairs be guided as we want them to be.
I have told the Friars to go to Paris. I again press upon you that, on no account in the world are you to listen to any proposals about Ireland, or other parts, as I can assure you that such a course might ruin everything, and you also would run a personal risk, for which I should feel truly sorry. You may, however, with great caution and at unsuspicious hours, listen to the servants of the queen of Scotland.—Brussels, 2nd July 1569.
5 July. 115. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have moved to-day into Winchester House, and by special order of the Council George Speke has accompanied me hither. He is one of the gentlemen who have guarded me, and told me on the Queen's behalf that I was not to be surprised at what she had done, because, thinking that the duke of Alba was going further, she thought it advisable to make sure of my person in that way ; but since the Duke had desisted, she also had changed her mind, and restored me to liberty, begging me to forget all past offences and use my good offices in favour of peace and quietness. I thanked her Majesty for the favour she had done me, and said that although the past excesses had been unusual, I would nevertheless not fail in my endeavours to preserve peace and amity between the house of Burgundy and that of England. The gentleman told me that, whenever I wished, he would go to the Queen and Council for me, as they had given him instructions to do. After he had dined with me, he, with his wife and family and others, went home and left me at liberty.—London, 5th July 1569.
7 July. 116. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I send enclosed a rough draft of the statement drawn up with regard to the property detained. Lord Lumley has been to speak to me and has confirmed everything that Ridolfi and Suygo had arranged with me hitherto, and, after much discourse, we agreed that Ridolfi was to be given this draft, so that it might be communicated with the members of the Council, who are his friends, and, in the meanwhile, that I should ingratiate myself with some of them without mentioning the late annoying events. I am doing this, and am taking other means to let Cecil understand that this statement about the merchandise is a true one. The people who have the matter in hand are warned not to let it be known that they are in communication with me about it. I will send a special courier to your Majesty when any resolution is adopted. In one of the ships from Rochelle there has arrived a servant of the duchess of Vendome, who brings many jewels for the Queen. I suppose they are a recompense for the aid she has sent them. It is a sign that they (at Rochelle) are short of provisions, that 10 or 12 ships are being prepared to send thither. Winter's brother goes to Bristol to prepare the expedition of 4,000 men they are to send to Ireland. News has arrived that the Catholics there have been reinforced by 1,500 men from Scotland and the adjacent islands. A packet of letters has appeared here in the possession of one of the commissioners. They were directed to some merchants of Medina-del-Campo, and it is said in them that they were carried by the Portuguese ambassador, who left Antwerp at the end of May. I suspect that they have not captured the ship in which the ambassador sailed, as the letters are said to have come here in a Biscay ship which tried to go round Scotland and Ireland to avoid the Straits of Dover. The Regent James had arrested the earl of Huntly, although he keeps him by his side as if free. James was going to the north of Scotland gathering money from the towns, and had soldiers around Dumbarton to prevent the entrance of provisions. The captain of the castle has sent his brother to this country to report to the queen of Scotland the position. Now that this Council is somewhat more favourable to the queen of Scotland, they have sent a gentleman to tell James to treat his Queen's affairs with more moderation, and to ask him to send commissioners here, as promised, to come to an agreement. The king of France has written to this Queen, assuring her that the queen of Scotland has not made any renunciation of her rights to this kingdom in favour of the duke of Anjou.—London, 7th July 1569.
10 July. 117. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The French ambassador has been to see the Queen, and, as on other occasions, she had refused him permission to visit me, he wished to learn from the Queen herself whether she would now allow him to do so. She answered that he was not yet to visit me himself, but that he might send some one on his behalf. I have not yet requested audience, nor will I do so until I am assured by our friends on the Council that it will be granted. They say they will advise me, and they also tell me that the four sloops originally belonging to your Majesty's subjects which were being fitted out at the instigation of Cardinal Chatillon shall not be allowed to go to sea.—London, 10th July 1569.
13 July. 118. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have in former letters advised your Majesty that I am now free and living in Winchester House, but, hitherto, in consequence of the hopes these people still entertain of affairs in France, and also because each member of the Council is looking for his own profit in consenting to a general restitution, no more has been done in the matter of the detained property. It is desirable not to hurry them much, or appear very anxious, as this is the course which alarms them most. I have not yet requested audience, as I have been desirous of learning first whether it would be granted, and I am expecting the decision to-day. Some of the councillors think this is the best course, in order that the Council may appoint a committee to discuss the matter with me, and thus certain of them who have been mixed up in the business may be left out. News has arrived here of the engagement in France where Philip Strozzi was taken which has made them cool somewhat in the discussion of our business. They say the first question to be decided is whether I am to have audience, so the best way will be to let them alone for a few days.—London, 13th July 1569.
14 July. 119. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The courier having been detained I have had time to obtain a copy of the petition presented yesterday to the Council by five merchants, which petition was drawn up by them and secretary Cecil with Francisco Calvos, in accordance with Cecil's instructions that it should only be presented in the name of the merchants. Your Majesty will see by it the spirit of these people.
I have only to add to-day that Cecil has raised a question amongst them as to whether it will be advisable that I should present some fresh letter from your Majesty, however short, about these affairs. Another invention, no doubt, to delay the matter. I will try to make this understood by means of the others, and will report the decision duly to your Majesty. A rising in the north is feared as some of the heretic ministers are ariving here, having been driven out by the people. God dispose all things for your Majesty's service!—London, 14th July 1569.
120. The Duke of Alba to Guerau de Spes.
By your letters of 27th ultimo and 1st and 2nd instant things appear to be taking a favourable course. I have now to reply as to what you are to do if they release you ; whether you shall go to the Queen, and what you have to do, or say, to any councillors who may visit you. Having regard to the bad and insulting treatment extended to you, it would be very just that you should refuse to receive anyone or to see the Queen until entire satisfaction has been given to you ; but, things being in their present condition, I think you might remain at home without going to Court, and, if the Queen sends for you, you might go graciously to her and tell her, after having heard her, that you cannot answer anything without instructions from the King or letting me know, as I am charged with these affairs. If they show any desire to deal with you on any point beyond the restitution, you may say that, if the restitution is agreed upon, it must be effected before any other business. You will deal with the councillors in the same way, kindly and gently, without mentioning past events. By this I do not mean that Fiesco's negotiation with Cecil is to be limited to this point.
You did well in ordering all merchants, subjects of his Majesty, to have nothing to do with the valuation of the goods, under pain of heavy punishment. If the English choose to do it without the intervention of any of our men it cannot be helped. Although you will have seen by my other despatches that you are not to entertain proposals from anybody, I must again press this upon you and tell you that I am informed from France to-day that the queen of Scotland is being utterly ruined by the plotting of her servants with you, as they never enter your house without being watched. This might cost the Queen her life, and I am not sure that yours would be safe. You may consider, also, what would be the effect on affairs in such case, and I beg of you most earnestly to avoid all such dealings as they are prompted by bribery in order to betray you. Any message from the queen of Scots you will endeavour to hear by means of one trustworthy person, and no more, and even then, not directly. As regards the money that has come either concealed, I quite believe that the amount will be what you say. When we negotiate for the restitution we will consider by what means the sum can be ascertained. Your plan does not seem a bad one, and you may give an account of what they tell you to Thomas Fiesco, who is a sensible man.—Brussels 14th July 1569.
7 July. 121. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 5th, 7th, 10th, 13th, and 14th instant, giving an account of what had happened up to that time ; but as people here are so changeable and venal something new turns up every day and much patience is necessary in dealing with them. They are much disturbed about French affairs. They have fitted out ready for sailing the four sloops, three large and one small, belonging to your Majesty's subjects, and they only await the return of John Brug, a native of Amsterdam, who has gone in his ship to reconnoitre the coast of Holland. The Council has given me but slack replies when I have pointed out the evil which may arise from the sailing of these ships. The judge of the Admiralty, moreover, has not done his duty in refraining from forbidding it. They have now seized all the boats belonging to your Majesty's subjects which were detained in the river, taking them from their owners, whom they have turned out from their lodgings on board, which have been occupied by certain Englishmen armed with a patent from the Council. They have been valued at a quarter of their value, and even this price has not been given to the owners, but has been deposited with the Queen. The mariners appealed to me at the time when I was treating with Cecil and the Council through a third person, to bribe five of the members with good presents to get them to adopt a general restitution at once. Cecil signified that he would be satisfied with 10,000 ducats for his share, and this sum was promised him, but the affair was hindered by the commission they have given to six good-for-nothing men to appraise and sell, on certain pretexts, all the merchandise detained which is still in stock. This is a road to a host of robberies and rogueries, and has been devised by some of the Council in order to gain great riches for themselves. They have induced some poor and insignificant subjects of your Majesty here to join the commission, in the hope that they may be allowed to share in the plunder. I have ordered them all in your Majesty's name to have nothing to do with it, and many have obeyed me. I will try to stop this infamous course, if possible. If they persist, I will inform the duke of Alba, and when I told Cecil this I said that the real way to remedy the affair was for me to give an account of it to the Queen, who would not deny me audience for the purpose. The answer was given by the earl of Leicester who said that the Queen thought it desirable that I should bring a fresh letter authorising me to negotiate with her, seeing what had passed between the Duke and her. Cecil and the other members say that this reply was given without their consent, and they will have it altered, but I believe that it is only another pretext for delay to see how affairs will go in France. Your Majesty will see what is best to be done and order me accordingly. I requested a passport to send a courier to Flanders, and a servant still awaits it at the Court. If the detention is with the object of sending me a better reply I will duly advise your Majesty. The present letter is taken by a servant of the queen of Scotland, who is being sent to the duke of Alba. They are preparing to send another flotilla to Hamburg. The brigantine has brought news from there that all the goods have been sold, although with little or no profit. To get some of their goods off their hands they will again send an expedition now, and another in September. This does not look as if they were so anxious to come to terms with your Majesty. When George Speke brought me the answer about the audience, he told me that, although he had no instructions to tell me so, yet he could say that no treaty would be arranged with your Majesty without first an understanding having been come to as to the security of English subjects in your dominions with regard to religion, and that as to the restitution, if it be carried out, they want to bring into account certain confiscations of English property decreed by the holy office. I think, however, that if good news for us comes from France, they will deal more gently in the matter. We must also have patience, although the business is greatly hindered through Cecil's having got the upper hand in the Government, and without fear now that the other members may overturn him, knowing, as he does, that they could not agree together to oppose him.
Postscript : The servant who is being sent by the queen of Scotland to the duke of Alba is going to treat for aid to be sent to her castle of Dumbarton, which is in extreme need. As it is so important, it appears desirable, by this means and others, that we should help this poor Queen now she is so hard pressed, especially as these folks here are acting falsely with everybody as I write to the Duke.—London, 17th July 1569.
19 July. 122. The King to the Duke Of Alba.
Yours in French and Spanish of 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 14th have been considered by the Council of State with presidents Tisnach and Hopperus, respecting the seizures in England, and I have ordered the letters and powers you request to be sent, literally as you desire, as I am convinced that you, being on the spot, have thoroughly considered the matter. I do not, however, wish to omit to write you why the documents were sent before in the way that they were. The reasons were mainly three :—First, it was most important that the money and merchandise detained should be promptly recovered and trade re-established, in the interests of the royal revenues and of the people at large who had dealings with the States, many of whom now have been utterly ruined. Secondly, we thought that if I wrote setting forth the whole matter fully, as I did in the long letter to the Queen, she would have no excuse for delay. If her letter to me was written in good faith I gave her a good opportunity of proving it, whilst, if the contrary was the case, I justified my cause by my letter. The third reason was to come to the point, to avoid circumlocution and take away all excuses from her. As she said she would not treat with you, but only with me, she had there with my own signature clearly set forth everything which had to be asked for or proposed, and thus she would have had no pretext to fall back upon, as she would have had with a simple credence which she might always think came from you and not from me. This would enable her to temporise and delay the restitution which is the end they are aiming at.
It was also considered that, as I was asking her to restore so great a sum, I could not avoid offering to return the small amount I have sequestered. The advantage being so enormously on her side, it could not be said that it was out of fear that I had acted moderately. Rather might it be said of them for returning so large a sum for so small an equivalent.
The other arguments you use were rather belated, as my ambassador, Don Guerau de Spes, was a prisoner, and she had sent D'Assonleville back without receiving him. Even if she had sent my letter to other princes, we think it would only have redounded to her own confusion. But still, you can do as you like with the despatch now sent, although I must urge you again most forcibly to use every effort to recover promptly the money and property detained, as the evil is growing hourly. I have little hope of any good being done by the Florentines you mention, considering the sort of men they are, interested in France and the Queen. Fiesco perhaps, by means of money, may do better, as people there are so much influenced by it. Although you have the matter fully in view I wish to urge you again, on no account, to enter into any other question with the English beyond the seizures, as it is quite clear that they will want to bring up any, and everything to hinder the settlement of the really pressing point. Besides, the questions they raise about Spain are simply nonsense. First about my having expelled that dogmatizing scamp of an ambassador ; the Queen has expressed herself satisfied with my explanations both to Guzman de Silva and to Guerau de Spes. The second point was about the "Pontifical History," which spoke of the Queen disrespectfully, and this was remedied long ago by the books being called in and reprinted without the objectionable paragraphs. The third claim is that English heretics should not be punished here by the inquisition. You will judge what sort of attention we should give to such claims as these, which, after all, are nothing but tricks and subterfuges, and as such you must brush them aside and come to the main point, which is restitution.—Madrid, 20th July 1569.
22 July. 123. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 17th that they wanted to set about selling the detained merchandise, for which purpose they had appointed as commissioners some very low people, a silversmith, a brewer, and a draper, all Englishmen, besides two Milanese, subjects of your Majesty, one of whom, in consequence of my orders, has retired, but the other persists. The sixth commissioner is a Lucchese go between. My expressions of regret about it and about the sloops they have taken at a low price from their owners, four of which are being fitted out, have resulted in their unbending somewhat ; inasmuch as at first they required a new commission from your Majesty to authorise me to treat of this and other affairs, which I told them I did not think necessary ; but George Speke came yesterday from the Council to tell me that if I would assure them that I had letters from your Majesty, even though I did not produce them, as they might be in cipher, they would negotiate with me if your Majesty ordered it, and that the Queen would give me audience as usual. I assured them that I had many letters from your Majesty written since my detention, and that I would listen to whatever they said, and after consulting with your Majesty would send them a decided answer. The Queen went to Richmond yesterday, and the Council will meet there with her to-morrow, when George Speke will go with my answer. I gave him a memorial for the Queen setting forth the injury which might result from the said Commission if they proceeded to sell the merchandise, and that I should hold her responsible for the losses incurred. What with this, and with my pressure on the earl of Arundel to get the commission revoked or altered, they have held their hands, and nothing is now being done. I will try to put it on a firmer basis if possible. The Queen is to make a short progress this year as far as Southampton. I am told, according to Arundel's statement, that the effect of what the Council will communicate to me is, that if your Majesty will appoint me, either alone or with others, to decide all pending questions between this Crown and your Majesty, including restitution of the goods now detained, the Queen will appoint similar plenipotentiaries, and all points may be settled. I have sent to say that I do not think this will be a good course, but that we should first inquire as to the restitution, and thereafter the other questions can be dealt with, as between two friendly princes. He says that the decision they have arrived at is the aforementioned, but that, perhaps, after discussion with me, they may gradually come round to my view. George Speke has told me nothing more than this, and I will punctually consult the duke of Alba,—London, 22nd July 1569.
Postscript : Arundel tells me that they are sending shortly, for the succour of Rochelle, a large quantity of victuals, and will bring back salt and other things in exchange. In addition to this, the Queen would send 1,000l., part of which she has already in cash, and is pawning the Vendome jewels with various merchants to raise the rest. They are sending a credit of two thousand (?) crowns to the Queen's agent in Germany in order to help Duke Casimir to enter France. The Queen dined yesterday at Lambeth, Cardinal Chatillon being present. It was declared in letters that were then made known, that the French king's army was becoming weaker every day, and that the Protestants had taken Chatelherault, as well as raising the siege of Sanserre and Xaintes, and had gone against Poitiers. They said that Casimir would enter France and go to Normandy or Picardy. In the county of Suffolk, at the instance of certain ministers, the heretics had planned to kill all the Catholics. Many of the conspirators have been arrested, and strict orders were sent from here yesterday for their punishment. It is strange that the heretics should begin these disturbances in a part of the country where they have it all their own way. This may give rise to other movements.
Since writing the above, I learn that the Suffolk business, although they profess here that it is a religious rising, is really a revolt of the people against the royal officers, in consequence of the want of outlet for their cloths, which are made in great quantities there. In addition to this, they have not enough land for agriculture, as the royal and private parks there are very spacious. They attempted to kill the keepers of the Queen's parks and the owners of the private ones. It would appear that they must have some agreement with their neighbours in Norfolk, because some of the latter have come hither to learn whether the Duke has been arrested ; he having promised them frequently to go thither this summer to witness the evils under which the country is suffering in consequence of the want of outlet for the cloths. His people, thinking the Duke might be detained, sent these men as a deputation to see him. I do not know whether the Duke himself arranged this. The French ambassador received an affront from the Queen at Lambeth yesterday. He had been given an appointment with her, and was awaiting her in the presence chamber ; Cardinal Chatillon and the Vidame in the meanwhile going in and out of the Queen's private room, when she sent out to tell the ambassador that she was busy and that the audience would be postponed to another day. He says he was going to speak to her about the fitting out of these sloops. On the same day I gave a servant of mine a great number of petitions from the owners of the detained boats, and sent him, in company with the petitioners, to Cecil. The latter returned the petitions to my man, and told him to take them to the four commissioners who manage maritime affairs. As the number of documents was very large, and Cecil had them mixed up with other papers, the enclosed writing was found amongst them, which reveals the negotiations which this Queen has with the Count Palatine. I suppose they will not understand how they have lost it. I know Cecil's signature very well. The earl of Ormond was leaving Ireland, but the Queen has ordered him to be stopped.—London, 22nd July 1569.
25 July. 124. Guerau De Spes to the King.
As something fresh occurs every day, I have to write constantly. The Queen is at Richmond, and they have kept George Speke there two days without letting me know if they are going to give him an answer to the message I sent by him to the Queen, setting forth the injury which these pirates may cause if they proceed to sell the detained merchandise. Everything at Court is in such confusion that I cannot hope they will come to a good decision in this or anything else.
This Queen sees that all the people in the country are turning their eyes to the queen of Scotland, and there is now no concealment about it. She is looked upon generally as the successor, and much is publicly said about her, such as, "that they want to raise Absalom against David," and other things of that sort. She has sent Captain Drury to Scotland in all haste to urge James (the earl of Murray) to send his commissioners here as promised, and to say that, if their coming is delayed, she will send the queen of Scotland thither with armed force ; swearing that she will not have her here any longer or she will raise the country against her. She said yesterday publicly that she would marry at once, either to Leicester or the Archduke Charles, although I feel quite sure she will do neither.
Cardinal Chatillon was in conference with her and Leicester for over three hours, and the duke of Norfolk sends me word that they are remitting 50,000 crowns to the Duke Hans Casimir to enable him to enter France with 4,000 horse and some foot. The help for Bochelle is also being pushed forward.
The Admiral and Vice-Chamberlain Knollys, who are the men that have stolen most, went yesterday to entreat the duke of Norfolk not to advocate a reconciliation with your Majesty. Knollys said that otherwise their religion would be ruined. A minister named Sampson, (fn. 2) the most pernicious heretic in existence, also went yesterday to exhort the Duke on the same subject, admonishing him as an apostle of God, as he calls himself, not to support the queen of Scotland. The general opinion is that these risings in Norfolk and Suffolk have not been undertaken without the Duke's knowledge. The latter is now somewhat suspicious, and goes about surrounded by friends, in order that he may not be easily arrested, although the Queen has no officer who would dare to do it. I believe that there will be another change soon. Both sides, each for its own interests, thus delay an agreement with your Majesty, and the Queen goes to-morrow from Richmond to Oatlands in order to avoid giving me a reply, but I expect that by waiting a few days some great event will be seen.
The bishop of Ross came to me at three o'clock this morning to assure me of the wish of the duke of Norfolk to serve your Majesty. He said he was a Catholic, and has the support, even in London, of many of the aldermen and rich merchants. I will report everything to the duke of Alba and follow his instructions.
As it is acknowledged here that the disturbances in Suffolk have arisen in consequence of the lack of outlet for the cloths and the want of materials for the industry, the Council has agreed with the Easterlings who come hither, for them to go to Spain with their ships, and bring back cargoes of oil, alum, and soap. These ships will therefore sail soon, and it is desirable that they should obtain none of these things in your Majesty's dominions, even though they profess that they are for France, unless they give full security that they shall not be brought hither.—London, 25th July 1569.
30 July. 125. Guerau De Spes to the King.
Since my letter of 25th George Speke came to me from Richmond with a new device, namely that the Council wished me to send my secretary with the letters I might have from your Majesty, even though they were in cipher, that he might point out in what portion of them the matter of these negotiations was referred to. I told him that such a demand would better not have been made, and that I had orders from your Majesty to listen to what they said, which was sufficient. He repeated that, if I liked to go to the Council to say anything in your Majesty's name, he begged that I would let them know, to which I replied that I had no such order, but that, if they wanted to speak to me, I would reply with all courtesy. I then begged him to speak to the Queen respecting the four sloops which are being fitted out, and to hand to her, in person, the statement that I gave him, which he did. At this moment he has brought me the reply saying that the Queen left Richmond for Oatlands yesterday, and on her departure, he handed her my reply and statement, which she read several times and said that she would have orders sent in writing to the captains of the sloops, telling them to desist from their voyage. She also said with regard to the commission, that no injury would be done to the merchandise thereby, although, he says, she was not very positive about this. The protest which I made upon this subject I now enclose. George Speke asked leave to go into the country, and the Queen again entered into discourse with him as to whether I had fresh letters from your Majesty telling me to act in these negotiations. Speke assured her again that I had, and she then called the secretary to her. It would seem that she only mentions these matters in conformity with the secretary's intentions, as she said to him, "Look, ye! the ambassador has fresh letters from the King," and thereupon they decided that Speke should return to Oatlands. The Queen questioned him as to whether I would again ask for audience, to which he said, as I had ordered him to do, that it was (not ?) necessary to do so, but that when she summoned me I would go and kiss her hand.
I tell your Majesty this that you may decide if it is advisable to write anything to the Queen, a credence or otherwise, for me to use it only as occasion may appear to demand when it arrives, or whether it will be better to let things go their own course. French affairs make them rather hopeful, but the people are murmuring greatly for want of trade, and this may alarm them.
I have written to your Majesty about the risings in Norfolk and Suffolk, and there must have been some controversy in the Council about it yesterday, as, in presence of the whole Council, the duke of Norfolk told Speke that it had been asserted that he, the Duke, had urged me to stand firm. He told him to ascertain from me if he, the Duke, had ever sent such a message. I assured Speke emphatically that neither the Duke, nor any other member, had done so, and if he had, I should not be guided by the opinions of others, but by what I myself thought was just and right.
This is the position at the moment. The voyage they had planned to Hamburg seems to be dragging, in consequence of the merchants declining to ship goods unless the Queen's men-of-war go to convoy the cargo ships, as they did before. It would be very desirable for this voyage not to take place, and also that the ships the Easterlings are sending to Spain for oil, alum, and soap should not get their cargoes there, or, at all events that they should give security that they will not bring the goods to England. This letter is taken by Juan Perez de Torreblanca, a Biscayner, who promises to carry it in his boat to Spain, although I am anxious about another letter I sent on the 28th ultimo, by Lope de la Sierra's sailors, as the ship was detained very long on the coast and was overhauled several times. I am sending to the Court to ask for a passport for whenever I wish to send a courier.—London, 30th July 1569.


  • 1. i.e., The project he had for bribing the Councillors, Cecil and Leicester, directly.
  • 2. This was Thomas Sampson, who had refused the bishopric of Norwich in 1560, and had officiated at the burial of the duchess of Norfolk in 1564, being then dean of Christchurch. He was deprived of his deanery for refusing to conform to the orders with regard to clerical vestments in 1566, and Grindal (in a letter to Bullinger, Zurich Archives, Parker Society) pays a high tribute to him at this time. He says that of "those who have been deprived Sampson alone can be regarded as a man whose learning is equal to his piety." By the intercession of Archbishop Parker, Sampson was afterwards appointed a prebend of St. Paul's, Master of the hospital at Leicester, and theological lecturer at Whittington College, London. He was either chaplain or an intimate friend of the duke of Norfolk.