Simancas: August 1569

Pages 183-189

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

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August 1569

1 Aug. 126. Guerau de Spes to the Duke of Alba.
By my letters to his Majesty you will see that, in preventing the sailing of the sloops and deciding to restore the badly sold boats, the Government have taken favourable action. I am sending tomorrow to Court to know on what day I can go and salute the Queen. I will speak gently to her, as your Excellency orders, and will report the result. They say that orders will be given that my letters may come in safety, I believe that they will do as I ask in my memorial, namely, to bring them under cover marked O, with certificate from Antonio or Leonardo Tasis that they are for me. All these matters are referred to Mr. March, formerly the governor of the English in Antwerp. He was at Court when my servant was there and was consulted about my request, but has not yet returned to approve of it. In the meantime please send letters by Calais or by the ordinary post.
I have disposed of the six thousand crowns in the way I wrote to your Excellency, and I see they will produce great fruit, and this much and more, which we can promise and pay, will be gained on the merchandise. Norfolk and the other adherents of the queen of Scotland are very busy trying to get her declared the Queen's successor, and this Queen is already somewhat suspicious of the Duke. There certainly will be some turmoil about it. The Duke, the earl of Arundel, and Pembroke, are pushing the business forward, with the support of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Derby, Exeter, Montague, Morley, and others, and they all assert that if they succeed, religion shall be restored. Leicester says that he will be with them in the matter of the succession, and Cecil says he will not prevent it, but these two are not trusted by the others. The earl of Huntingdon, if he were a bold man, would greatly profit by the support of the heretics in the Suffolk risings.
The Hamburg people have arrested John Brug of Amsterdam for piracy, as he had even robbed the English themselves.
The prior, Don Hernando, writes to me in favour of Hernando de Frias, asking me to try to get his merchandise away from here, in exchange for a similar service that he will do to an Englishman named Smith in Antwerp. It is not a bad idea if the matters cannot be otherwise arranged ; and if a general power could be given for all merchandise to be exported under security, in case of war breaking out, it would be convenient. The Queen, however, will not trust to security at all, but insists upon ready money which is a very bad way.—London, 1st August 1569.
127. Fragment of Summary of Letters from Guerau de Spes to the King and the Duke of Alba of 10th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, and 30th July, and 1st and 2nd August 1569.
Although he had ordered his servant not to discuss the question of giving him audience, but to answer, if they menioned it to him, that, if the Queen ordered him to go he would go, Cecil asked him if his master had received letters from the King since his detention, and, upon his answering that he had, Cecil said that whenever he wished to see the Queen he could do so. On the following day Don Guerau decided to send and ask for an appointment. Don Guerau understands that the reason of so much gentleness is that they know that the duke of Norfolk, and the greater part of the nobles are united for the purpose of getting the queen of Scotland declared successor to the Crown, and it was said that when the reply came from the Regent they would openly tell the queen of England so. She and the duke of Norfolk have already had words about it, when he replied fittingly to her and is now suspicious and surrounded by friends.
2 Aug. 128. Guerau de Spes to the King.
Since my last letter of the 30th ultimo, I sent to Oatlands, where the Court is, a servant of mine with George Speke, to make sure that the four sloops which havé been fitted out should not be allowed to sail, and that the boats which they had taken here at so low a valuation should be returned to their owners, and also that the commissioners should not be allowed to proceed to sell anything. I also desired that passports might be given whenever I wished to send despatches, and letters to me should be properly secured against being opened. All this, with the aid of adherents of your Majesty there, with whom I had arranged, was fortunately granted as I desired. I gave orders to my servant to say nothing about asking for audience, and if they mentioned it to him he was to say that, if the Queen sent for me to kiss her hand, I was ready to go. Cecil asked him whether he was sure that I had letters from your Majesty since my detention, and when he said that I had, Cecil said in the Queen's name that it was at my own option when I came to see the Queen, and that I should be very well received. I shall ask my friends to-morrow to arrange an appointment for me. I think the hurly-burly here about the duke of Norfolk and the nobles wanting to declare the queen of Scotland heiress to the throne is at the bottom of all this gentleness. With this object the nobles have united, and have mutually given each other their signatures. When the reply comes from the Regent, they have decided to tell the Queen firmly, and to request her to summon Parliament for the purpose stated.—London, 2nd August 1569.
129. Guerau de Spes to the Duke of Alba.
I will go to see the Queen, as she has sent me orders to do, but I will not enter into any details with her, and, if the Councillors say anything to me afterwards, I will at once advise your Excellency. Thomas Fiesco thought that I ought to speak to the Queen, so that her Ministers should be obliged to answer me, but I will follow your Excellency's orders. Cecil and the others seem more agreeable. I believe this arises from the fear they are in that this country will revolt on the question of the queen of Scotland.—London, 2nd August 1569.
5 Aug. 130. Guerau de Spes to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 2nd instant by the duke of Alba, and soon after the courier had left I had a letter from Spinola, who had come from the Court with secret orders to the commission here to sell merchandise belonging to your Majesty's subjects, to the value of 3,000l., which I was very sorry to learn, seeing that few hours before, the Council had assured me they would act quite differently. These commissioners were so willing that they began to sell and deliver the goods to the buyers on the spot. I sent the same servant of mine to Court in all haste, where they detained him a whole day. The end of it was that the Queen sent for him to the park, and put aside the question of merchandise by saying that they would not proceed further with the sales, and that they had sold what they had merely because they were informed that the goods were being spoilt. Cecil said, by the Queen's order, that, if I liked to come to Guildford on Wednesday, I could, but that, before I spoke with her, I must confer with the Council, and prove to them that your Majesty had ordered me to treat on these affairs. My servant said that he had no instructions to reply to the proposal, whereupon Cecil detained him and came hither with him. I informed him that I had power from your Majesty to listen to whatever they liked to say, and what was necessary to be considered I would communicate with the duke of Alba, to whom your Majesty had referred all this business. As for the rest, I said, as the Secretary himself and the Lord Chamberlain had told my servant that I could go and kiss her Majesty's hand whenever I wished, I would go when her Majesty ordered me to do so, and that nothing else was necessary. Cecil returned this morning. I have not heard that he did anything else whilst here, except speak with certain aldermen ; but on his way he called to see the earl of Pembroke, who is suspected of belonging to the duke of Norfolk's party. They are full of meetings and conferences. The Duke's party and those who favour the success of the queen of Scotland are incomparably the greater number. The Duke and the earl of Arundel intended, after I had seen the Queen, to take me to Nonsuch, but now that my visit has fallen through, they will take some other course ; but in any case I believe there will be some great event soon, as the people are much dissatisfied and distressed by want of trade, and these gentlemen of Nonsuch have some new imaginations in their heads.
I have given leave to those who hold powers of attorney from merchants to petition the Council, and endeavour to persuade them to desist from disposing of merchandise, on condition of security being given, and to prevent, as much as possible, the injury which may be done them if these commissioners continue their proceedings. As your Majesty knows full well, affairs here are like the rising and the falling tide, fluctuating from one moment to another. This is the reason why I write so differently in my various lettters.
The Council is pressing forward the Hamburg voyage, although they have not yet begun to load the ships, which, however, they say, will be loaded on the 18th. Cardinal Chatillon is asking that the four sloops and three other ships which are fully armed on the coast, mostly commanded by rebels from France and Flanders, should be allowed to sail, and says that they will not do any damage to your Majesty's subjects. As he rules Leicester and Cecil, he will settle it all with them. Winter has taken the sails away, and promises to do all he can to prevent the vessels from leaving. If they sail they can only make any profit by plundering your Majesty's subjects. Three ships from St. Jean de Luz have put into Bristol loaded with Biscay iron, and are now leaving for their own country with a cargo of cloths, pewter, and other things, all of which are destined to be taken into Spain. The want of oil here is so pressing that they are getting oil from rape seed to dress their wool, and they say they can manage with it. There is little of the seed, however, yet, and no matter how active they may be in sowing it, the out-turn of cloth by means of it will be small and poor. They are trying also to utilize the oil which they obtain from boiling sheep's feet. Their great hope is to get soap and oil from Spain through France, and from the Easterlings, who, I am told, have already left for the purpose.
The Catholics in Ireland have reached the neighbourhood of Dublin, spoiling the country on their way. The heretics have caught an Irish bishop coming from Italy, and have put him in prison. They say they will put him to torture, to learn whether he has spoken to the Pope.
They have ordered Winter to cease the sales of Portuguese goods, and they want by this means to arrange their differences with the king of Portugal, in order to try to import spices into this country.— London, 5th August 1569.
8 Aug. 131. The Duke of Alba to the King.
Your Majesty will understand, by the enclosed letters from Don Guerau and Thomas Fiesco, the state of English affairs ; which, in my judgment, is very unfavourable, and I have no doubt whilst they (the English) hold the booty in their hands, as they now do, they will delay matters as much as they can to avoid restitution. I have written several times to Don Guerau to suspend negotiations, as I plainly see that they are tricking him, so as to get all they can out of him, and then to say they have negotiated without authority. When I receive the letter your Majesty is to send me, I will try to settle the business in the best way in my power. Don Guerau is zealous in your Majesty's service, and wishes to end the questions at issue, but, as he is inexperienced, he allows himself to be led away, and is ruining the negotiation. I earnestly wish he had not said that there was a letter from your Majesty, or gone beyond my instructions, but he will not do as I tell him.
In the meanwhile, I beg your Majesty to order that no English goods are to be received in any port of Galicia, as I am informed that there was a ship in Vigo selling cloths and buying things which are beginning to fail in England. I wish also your Majesty would order the arrest of all ships in Spanish ports bringing English goods, as they have recently taken to shipping their cloths in Venetian and Ragusan bottoms, and I am told that some of the Portuguese in Antwerp are in secret league with those of their race in England, to whom they will transfer the spice trade thither, and so encourage the English in their evil intentions.
If your Majesty thinks well you might speak a word to the Portuguese ambassador, so that the King may order his subjects to desist from such negotiations. I have no doubt many of them would like to go thither (England) to live in the law of Moses.— Brussels, 8th August 1569.
132. The Duke Of Alba to the King.
I advised your Majesty some time ago of the coming of a gentleman sent by the queen of Scotland to discuss matters with me. He and another secretary of the Queen have returned hither, and they both beg your Majesty to help her with 30,000 or 40,000 ducats, and although I have no commission to do so from your Majesty, I have ventured to send her 10,000 ducats, seeing the great need in which her affairs are, in order that some at least of them may be attended to. I beg your Majesty to send me instructions.—Brussels, 8th August 1569.
10 Aug. 133. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 5th, and the only thing now to add is that the duke of Norfolk and the earl of Arundel have sent a gentlemen to inform me that the decision of the Queen with regard to the audience was different from what I had been told, and that she was desirous of seeing me. I have sent Luiz de Paz to them to let them know that I am still, as I have said, willing to go and kiss her Majesty's hand, whenever she commands me to do so, but that it was quite unnecessary for me to speak to the Council first or anything of the sort.—London, 10th August 1569.
13 Aug. 134. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The day before yesterday a gentleman arrived at Court from the Regent of Scotland bringing his master's answer, saying that on no account will he or the nobles enter into any discussion for reconciliation with the queen of Scotland, and he was sure that what had been written to him had not originated with the queen of England, but had come from certain friends of the Papists in her Council. He said that the Queen and the majority of her Council had told him, when he was here, what was best to be done in the matter, and that he would follow it. He also refused to raise the siege of Dumbarton and to return the property of the bishop of Ross and other subjects who have been deprived of it in consequence of their attachment to the Queen. He has, on the contrary, sent certain important gentlemen to more strongly enforce the blockade of Dumbarton. The bishop of Ross went to Court to-day to learn the resolution that this Queen will take in the matter, and what are the intentions of his mistress's friends.
The greater part of the ships which were expected from Hamburg, together with some others belonging to the Easterlings, have arrived loaded with goods, on the north coast, and no sooner had they done so, than they began to ship cargo for a new voyage. All this sea is crowded with pirates. Luiz de Paz has returned with the Duke of Norfolk's gentlemen, and bringing word from Cecil, in the Queen's name, that she will be pleased for me to go and see her, but she would like me to show some of your Majesty's letters, written since my detention, to certain members of the Council whom she will appoint. I refer this question to the duke of Alba to learn his opinion upon it.—London, 13th August 1569.
135. Guerau De Spes to the Duke of Alba.
Just as Fiesco was leaving, Luiz de Paz and the duke of Norfolk's gentlemen arrived, and it seems that Cecil interposed in the conversation with them. It was resolved that the Queen should say that I could go to Basing, a pleasure house of the lord treasurer, but that some of the Council thought I should show letters from the King in order that they might satisfy themselves that they were sent after my detention, but they would do this simply as a point of honour and nothing else. Luis de Paz told them that he had not come with that errand, and your Excellency will therefore do me a great favour if, as soon as you receive this and have heard a personal account from Fiesco, you will send me a courier with your opinion upon this point. If the letter, come addressed to me they will let them pass. In the meanwhile, I intend to answer the Queen thanking her for the favour done me in offering an audience, and excusing myself from going so soon on account of indisposition, and also in order that she may, if she wishes, learn anything from me in the interim, as I do not intend to discuss business with her on that occasion. In the meanwhile, your Excellency's orders may arrive. On the one hand the audience may be useful in stopping the injury they are doing, and on the other, it would be perhaps more dignified and likely to alarm them if no notice were taken of the offer. Your Excellency will decide what is best for his Majesty's service. News from Ireland is that affairs are in a very bad state, and they are raising 800 men here to go thither.—London, 13th August 1569.
27 Aug. 136. Guerau de Spes to the King.
In my last letter of the 20th, I reported that the sloops were going down the river to join three other vessels on a piratical voyage. I have since heard that the bastard of Brederode was to join them with three other ships. By a spy I have amongst them, I learn that they were talking of doing some damage in the islands of Zealand, but I expect they will find them prepared, and that their designs will fail. The Easterlings resident here have drawn up a statement of complaint, because the people on these sloops are denouncing them and the Hamburgers for having beheaded John Brug of Amsterdam there (at Hamburg). They have petitioned the Queen to detain these sloops, but still, I expect, they will sail, because the earl of Leicester is much in favour of the expedition.
The rest of the ships from Hamburg have arrived, with others from Muscovy, bringing a quantity of whale-oil, wax, and skins, From Hamburg they bring a great stock of merchandise which was much needed here. Randolph, this Queen's ambassador in Muscovy, has returned, and with him comes a Muscovite ambassador. They entered London to-day and were received with great discharges of artillery. I understand their business relates to merchandise and the duties thereon. The Queen is at Basing, intending to go to the Isle of Wight, although it is believed for certain here that she will go direct to Windsor in consequence of the affairs of the queen of Scotland. She took a fortnight to consider her definite reply, and hopes in the meanwhile to receive that of the Regent.
The Council has decided, at the instance of the duke of Norfolk and his friends, that the queen of Scotland shall be set at liberty, on condition that she marries an Englishman, and the signatures of all the principal people in this country have been obtained to this effect. The matter of her marriage, also, is so far advanced that the French ambassador has been reconciled to it, and, within a day or two, I understand that the Duke himself, or some other leading personage, will come and request me to write to your Majesty to learn your wishes on the subject. The bishop of Ross, on behalf of his mistress, is to come and see me about it, and has already communicated to me by John Hamilton. The business is so forward that it will be difficult now to prevent it, but I think it will be better that it should be done with your Majesty's consent, which cannot fail to be of great advantage, as it will bind them more closely than ever to your Majesty's service.
The queen of Scotland says that, if she were at liberty or could get such help as would enable her to bring her country to submission, she would deliver herself and her son entirely into your Majesty's hands, but that now she will be obliged to sail with the wind, although she will never depart from your Majesty's wishes, either in religion or other things. I believe this, and that the affair will be conducive to the continued respect of your Majesty here, and also to the recovery of the stolen and detained property. I will advise the duke of Alba of all that happens, and will follow his instructions. They are constantly springing upon me some new plan to sell the goods belonging to your Majesty's subjects here. I put them all off as well as I can by artifice, but, as Leicester and Cecil are the only councillors now at Court, they had ordered all to be sold by the commissioners themselves, although I have been able to stop it until the Queen's return to Windsor ; where the question is at issue between the two queens of England and Scotland will be considered. They have loaded 30 ships for Hamburg. They carry 30,000 or 40,000 pieces of cloth and other goods, and so much haste has been made that I believe they will sail from here to-morrow, two of the Queen's ships accompanying them. To extend their trade the more, they have arranged with the French ambassador that certain commissioners should value the (French) goods that have been stolen, and that in the meanwhile commerce should not be stopped. They are therefore loading five or six ships for Rouen with cloths, which, I understand, are promptly to be introduced into Spain by way of St. Jean de Luz, or some other route.
The 25,000 crowns received by the queen of Scotland come from certain confiscations in France, valued at 100,000 ducats.—London, 27th August 1569.