Simancas: April 1571

Pages 302-306

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

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April 1571

10 April. 246. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The treaty for the marriage of the duke of Anjou and the Queen is going forward, and, two days since, Guido Cavalcanti came from Paris with letters from the Queen-mother and certain clauses of agreement. He came very secretly, his intention being to confer alone with Lord Burleigh and Heneage, a favourite of the Queen, but he was recognised at Dover. It appears they offer that the Duke shall conform to the laws of this country as regards religion, that he shall be called King but not be crowned, and that he shall have an allowance equal to that which he would receive in France. (fn. 1) I therefore think that this marriage will be effected, and, if it be, many evils will result, particularly as they are setting about the persecution of Catholics in this parliament. As the treaty is addressed to Lord Burleigh without any mention being made of Leicester, it has all the greater likelihood of being carried through promptly, as Burleigh will only think of his own advantage. The real remedy is that with which Roberto Ridolfi is charged. This Queen peremptorily orders the Scotch ambassadors to return to the side of their Queen. I judge that the object of this is that they, through their friends, should not hinder this marriage, or perhaps it is intended to adopt something in this Parliament opposed to their mistress' interests, although Cecil told the bishop of Ross that if the duke of Anjou comes here he, Cecil, will be able to get a suitable husband for their mistress. I have just received a letter from the duke of Alba, and after consultation with M. de Zweveghem, I will take steps to carry out my instruction, although I believe that these people will try to delay the matter.
The pirates have taken thirty ships near the islet of Texel and eighteen of them are now at Dover, whilst the pirates are seeking seamen and soldiers in the neighbourhood with the utmost assurance. M. de Lumbres with his five ships is in Plymouth. I am sending notice of all this to the Council.
The English announce that the castle of Dumbarton has been captured, which news is believed to be false and invented for the purpose of animating the Protestants in this parliament. The earl of Morton has returned to Scotland.
Parliament has just issued a bill that any person assuming any right to the crown of England without the permission of the Queen shall lose any claim that he has thereto. As some people think that this is directed against the queen of Scotland they are in some fear about passing it.—London, 10th April 1571.
15 April. 247. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have on several occasions reported how warmly the negotiations for the marriage of the duke of Anjou with the Queen are being pushed forward. There is but little difference of opinion about the conditions, and conferences are being held incessantly. I believe the marriage will de effected, notwithstanding the ancient enmity between the two nations. They are persuaded to agree to this marriage by the idea that they will establish their religion in France as well as here, and will gain some protection against your Majesty, whom they know they have offended, and at the same time will escape the restitution of the property seized, or only restore it on their own terms. Although the matter has not yet been mentioned in parliament and has only been discussed by some of the councillors, they are as arrogant about it as if it were an accomplished fact and had turned out all to their advantage, Yesterday and the day before, Leicester and Burleigh, as English commissioners, gave M. de Zweveghem most obstinate replies to his proposals, refused to confirm what had been agreed upon in Flanders, and would not give way to any just representations, but on the contrary, added new notes and emendations of the most unjust description, a copy of which is sent to the duke of Alba. M. de Zweveghem thinks that his stay here is now of little advantage to the business.
These people are much encouraged by the news that the earl of Lennox has by negotiation taken the castle of Dumbarton, a place of great importance, which news is now confirmed by the Earl himself. The pirates also are muliplying greatly and constantly bring in rich prizes here whilst direly afflicting your Majesty's subjects, and these people are getting all the advantage. Brederode's twenty-two sail are at Dover, whilst he is quietly selling their plunder and obtaining crews and stores. It is announced that they will leave a few ships there to guard the Channel and take all the other vessels which have not been ransomed and leave for Rochelle to join Count Ludovic, where they will also meet M. de Lumbres with his four ships which left here on the 7th. All this fleet together will then assail ships from Spain on all sides, and will attack the Indian fleet and harry the coast of Galicia, where they expect to do most damage. Your Majesty may be certain that the people here have every desire to do the utmost damage and injury they are able to your Majesty's dominions, and they will never abandon this course until they are frightened out of it by the punishment which they so richly deserve.
The bishop of Ross dismissed the other two commissioners but remains here himself, still supplicating the Queen and Council. He will have enough to do in getting them to dissemble with him much longer as they have taken a servant of his coming from Flanders with many printed books in defence of the claims of his mistress to the crown of England and they will make much of this. (fn. 2)
They have not yet settled anything in Parliament about the subsidy, nor as regards Catholics and absentees, although I expect all will be decided soon and not very differently from the Queen's wishes.
Fleming who commanded the fortress of Dumbarton has retired to Lisleburg, but the archbishop of St. Andrews who was captured there was beheaded by Lennox for having been concerned in the King's death.
Guido Cavalcanti is still at Cecil's house with a secretary of his, apparently a Frenchman. They will await a reply to a courier who left two days since carrying with him a favourable decision from here.—London, 15th April 1571.
17 April. 248. The King to Guerau De Spes.
All your letters have been received to those of 16th March. It was well to send us particulars as we are most anxious to learn the progress of events there, and particularly regarding the queen of Scotland and the Catholics that follow her. You also did well in trying to obtain a copy of the instructions given to the gentlemen sent by the Queen to the Pope and myself, in order to induce us to endeavour to procure her release. We desire it so sincerely that, if we had been able to obtain it, there would have been little need to send and ask for our aid. If, however, the gentleman arrives here he will find as welcome a reception as the importance of his business deserves.
I note that the Commissioners sent by the duke of Alba had been promised audience for the 18th of March, and as I am sure you will, ere this, have written the result to me, I have nothing more to say about it for the moment, excepting that I await the decision with impatience.
What you write about the pilot Bayon has been no news to us here as we always judged that his proposals made to you were simply an artful trick. In view of what you wrote about his being in league with Dr. Nuñez I wrote ordering the detention if possible of the ship that was in Ayamonte, and have also given fit instructions respecting Thomas Wyatt's (?) ship which came with cloth to St. Jean de Luz. I will advise you what happens respecting this as no answers have yet come.
You answered well to the remarks respecting Ireland and Stukeley made to you by Cecil and the other councillors, as it was simply the truth, and I do not therefore suppose that they will have persisted in the idea of sending Henry Cobham here. If he should come, it will be well for you to let me know beforehand what his errand is, and you will continue to advise me minutely of everything with the same diligence as heretofore.
With regard to your salary and the memorandum sent of your extraordinary expenses, they shall be looked into and reply sent in due course.
Note in the King's handwriting in original :—"Until these expenses are considered, and it is seen whether they are correct, it will be well not to say that they will be provided for."—The Escorial, 17th April 1571.
23 April. 249. Zayas to Guerau De Spes.
You will already have learnt of the reception and treatment here of Thomas Stukeley and the intention entertained of helping him quietly and without showing ourselves, in order that he might encourage the Catholics of Ireland. It turned out, however, afterwards that his talent, intelligence, and weight were insufficient for the purpose in hand, and for this reason, and in order not to stir up feeling prematurely, an honest excuse was found to divert him, and he left for Bivero, having dismissed the people who came from Ireland with him and dismantled his ship, which was only of eighty tons ; which ship he left there. He returned hither intending to go on to Italy and, although when he was first here, he received a money allowance from the King, in the belief that he would only stay a short time, when he returned nothing whatever was given to him in the way of lodging or otherwise. For cheapness, he went to live at Rozas (fn. 3) where he still remains, waiting for the Princes to leave, so that he may accompany them in search of adventure. He says himself, that he is going to the Pope. I thought well to let you know this, particularly as when Cobham arrives here it will be palpable to him that the cause for his coming was a slight one. His Majesty is very anxious for Ridolfi to arrive, as judging from what you say in your letters, he brings with him matters of importance.—Madrid, 23rd April 1571.
27 April. 250. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In former letters I have represented to your Majesty how little these people can be trusted to agree to a restitution. All the points which were believed to have been settled in Flanders are being disputed and freshly opened up, and they are now pressing for the Duke to declare, within a week, if he will pay for the cloths which he ordered to be sold, at the same rate as they would have been sold at otherwise, and if not, the Queen will proceed to the sale here of all the goods detained. This she will do in order that the earl of Leicester may make a profit by it, and the Queen herself said so yesterday to M. de Zweveghem very firmly, and even with a sort of joke about the pirates ; remarking that, as they did not speak English, it was no business of hers to correct them, and gave Zweveghem no chance of replying or carrying on the conversation. This courier is therefore being sent to the duke of Alba. reporting to him also that Count Ludovic is expected hourly here with the armed ships from Rochelle, in order that they may all join together to do some great injury, although these ships that are now at Dover could be taken with the greatest of ease, which will not be the case later on, as they are rapidly being supplied with artillery, munitions, and men. The pirates have been so cruel that it is confidently stated that they threw overboard the crews of the cutter and the Biscay ship which they recently captured. I will find out the truth, having sent a man to Dover for the purpose.
Parliament is going forward rapidly, having already voted the subsidy, which will amount to 140,000l., and they are now drawing up some very strict statutes against the Catholics, such as no nation in the world has ever heard of before.
The negotiations for the release of the queen of Scotland are entirely broken off, and the French have abandoned her. A packet of letters from Randolph, postmaster-general here, sent to the earl of Morton, has been captured and in them hopes were expressed that she would not live very long. Lisleburg is still held in her interest.
The partisans of the marriage of the duke of Anjou and the Queen say that Leicester will marry the queen of Scotland.
I advised your Majesty of the arrival of Guido Cavalcanti. His departure was extremely secret and he was guarded closely to prevent anyone from speaking to him, even the French ambassador, so that the Queen's decision should not leak out. It is believed that this marriage will now be carried through, seeing the inclination of the Duke and his mother for him to entirely adopt the Anglican religion ; and the Queen's closest friends think that Cavalcanti bears a favourable resolution.
The Queen-mother promises to come hither with her son, and the wedding, they say, is to take place at Canterbury, but no fixed allowance is to be granted to the Duke, that question being left to the Queen's discretion. It is thought here that either Marshal Montmorenci or M. D'Anville will come here. The queen of Scotland and the duke of Norfolk are anxiously awaiting the resolution of the despatch of Ridolfi.
I have had Bartolomé Bayon arrested here through certain creditors of his, and he will not be able to go to the Indies now, even though he be released, as the season is too far advanced. I will try to stop him for any future season, and also his going to Rochelle, which he intends to do in default of any other voyage.— London, 27th April 1571.


  • 1. The proposal was for him to receive from the English revenues 60,000 livres a year settled on him for life.
  • 2. This was the second edition of the Bishop's famous book called "A defence of the honour of Queen Mary," which had just been published at Liege. A small secret edition had been printed in London at the end of 1669, but had been rigidly suppressed and the seizure of these copies of the second edition led, as will be seen, to a similar course being adopted with them.
  • 3. Las Rozas is a village a few miles from Madrid.