Simancas: February 1573

Pages 460-467

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

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February 1573

4 Feb. B. M.
Cotton, Galba, C. IV. Original draft.
378. Letter of Intelligence from London (unsigned) to the Duke Of Alba, Governor of the Netherlands.
My last letter was dated the 30th ultimo, and I now have to report that on that day the French ambassador was with the Queen for an hour and a half, expressing to her his master's surprise at the great rebel preparations being made here, aided by many Englishman, particularly mentioning Hawkins, with the object of helping Montgomeri and succouring Rochelle, all of which, he said, was opposed to the friendship and alliance between her and the King. He was therefore forced formally to protest, and to say that, if these matters continued, he should consider their friendship broken by her act. The Queen replied that these preparations need not cause any surprise, as the King himself was making similar preparations at Dieppe and elsewhere, and she should be very glad of some explanation from the King about them. The ambassador said they were certainly not for the purpose of offending anybody, and were only to guard his own coast. He urged her not to help Rochelle, but to help him to recover it, as it belonged to him, and he would treat the rebels mercifully. Much more of the same sort was said, and the ambassador left on good terms with her, being referred to the Council to discuss the matters at issue. They promised him an answer at Shrovetide and gave it him, to the effect that the Queen would forbid piracy in her dominions, and that no English ships should sail to offend anyone, but only for the security of her own coast.
They did the same thing last year with great proclamations and orders in all the ports ; the Count de la Marque being especially singled out for expulsion, but it was all a deceitful trick to cover the taking of Brille. I am much afraid they will attempt what I have said, as I am told the Queen's ships will go out to sea in four or five days, as well as the merchantmen. A courier came from Scotland on the 31st ultimo confirming the news of the discovery of the plot for the delivery of the Prince, who is now in safe hands, and of the fighting which had resulted. It is affirmed that the commander of the castle of Edinburgh, the principal fortress of the country, who is on the queen of Scotland's side, learning of the intended treason, bombarded half the city, which is attached to the Protestant cause. Many of the houses were demolished, and especially the greater part of Morton's house, whose appointment as Regent he will not recognize because it was brought about corruptly, and not by the election of the three estates of the realm as is customary. As these are matters of such vital importance, and touch the interests of God and the Catholic Princes, I thought I should err greatly if I delayed the possible provision of some measures to frustrate them when I learnt of the project, and I I could think of no better way of acting than divulging what I had learnt to the French ambassador, as he has much connection with Scotland. I found he was not so well informed about as I was, and he thanked me warmly.
I was with him again yesterday, and he told me that, immediately after I gave him my intelligence, he had sent a speedy courier to Scotland, and had already received a reply. He said that he would for ever declare that, after God, I had been the saviour of the Prince, and had thus been the means of stopping the iniquities that had been plotted. I do not think I shall be blamed for acting as I have done in this matter.
These people are again negotiating for the remittance of 150,000 (crowns ?) in bills of exchange to Edinburgh (Hamburgh ?) by means of the Easterlings, and I will duly report what is decided on the point. This may be to assist in raising troops in Germany, for which the 200,000 were sent as advised by me on the 15th December, because, as one out of the three cables they had twisted has snapped, they will try to save themselves with the other two, namely, the sending of help to Flanders and the French rebels, and so, by the help of German troops, keep the two Kings busy all this year.
The good clergyman I mentioned in my last was summoned twice by the Treasury, who put a great many questions to him If the good man wrote well he spoke better, and he exhorted the Treasurer to such good purpose that the latter got angry and threatened him with execution. He said he would gladly meet death in the service of God and the truth. I am told he will certainly be condemned to martyrdom. The man they sent to Germany has not yet returned, and they are much surprised thereat. Orange's people and the commissioners from the rebel places in this Court are very well entertained, but it is said they will not be despatched until the man comes back from Germany.—London, 4th February 1573.
Note.—Damaged by fire.
16 Feb. B. M.,
Add. 26,056b.
379. Antonio De Guaras to the Duke Of Alba.
As was arranged, Lord Burleigh sent for me and told me that much dispute had taken place with the other Councillors in the Queen's presence about our negotiations, but that her Majesty and he had insisted so strongly, that they had agreed to conclude an arrangement, in accordance with a draft which he showed me, and which he said I could read and return to him. I did so rapidly and made a copy, which I enclose. He asked me what I thought of the terms, to which I replied that I approved of them ; except, in my humble opinion, the detention only of English delinquents (in Spain) was an insufficient punishment, unless accompanied by forfeiture. As to the day for opening the ports, he said that, if your Excellency approved of it, the 1st of May would do. He insists strongly upon the first sitting of the commission being held here, in which he says the Queen and all the Councillors are firm. I told him that another clause would have to be added, to the effect that the agreement would have to be signed by your Excellency and himself as representatives of the sovereigns, pointing out that your Excellency must do so to avoid delay in opening the ports, and the sovereigns would afterwards ratify and seal the documents as arranged. He said he would speak to the Queen about it and the rest of my poor suggestions, and would give me a clean copy of the draft to send to your Excellency to sign and seal, which he would do also, the copies being mutually exchanged. He said, as he has on other occasions, that he hoped your Excellency would sign willingly, if only out of respect for the Queen. I therefore detain this special courier for two or three days to send the documents by him.
Burleigh asked me pressingly whether I had any reply to the suggestions he had several times made about the prince of Orange, to which I replied that, although I had written to your Excellency about it I had no instructions. He said the Queen was very anxious to have the matter settled, and I said I thought his Majesty would not listen to any approaches such as this from a vassal, and particularly such a traitor as Orange, but if Orange himself, confessing his evil deeds and declaring his repentance, urged the Queen to intercede for him with the King, perhaps, his Majesty being so clement a Prince, might overlook his treason, out of love and reverence for the Queen. Perhaps a settlement might be arrived at in this way. I do not know whether I did wrong in saying this, as he spoke of settling this business with Orange in quite an off-hand fashion, rather than speaking of Orange as a vassal of the King whom he had offended. Burleigh would not have endured what I said from anyone else, but he takes everything from me in good part. He answered excusing Orange, saying that he only aimed at the common good and resisting oppression, and the intolerable impositions put upon them by your Excellency without the knowledge of the King. These were his words, and I told him he was ill-informed, and he might be sure that, although your Excellency had authority to govern the States in your own way, important matters were not executed without his Majesty's knowledge and consent. Although you were such a grand Prince, you were, I said, a humble servant of the King. He said he had been told that your Excellency was very rich since you had been in the Netherlands, and I said he could learn from anybody that your ancestors had always served their sovereigns loyally, as your Excellency had done for 50 years unceasingly in the field, but it was said that no grandee in Spain had profited less, as you and yours had always thought first of honour and fidelity rather than of pay. I said, in truth, that you were so just and upright a Prince that your first thought was to do your duty in your high position. He asked me about the duke of Medina-Celi, and said he was informed that he was a Prince of much merit—did he belong to the Royal house? To which I said I thought he did. I hope I shall not be considered impertinent in repeating all this, as it arose out of Lord Burleigh's questions.
He said he heard you were increasing your army and going to Haarlem, which, however, he learnt, was very strong, and you would find great resistance there and at Delft and other places. I said he was quite wrong if he thought that Orange and his people were going to prevail for any time, as they must be conquered for the very badness of this cause, having risen against their natural sovereign. In the end Holland and Zealand would be brought down, humbled, punished, and repentant. He said : No doubt ; but the Queen, both for the present and future, wished to calm the trouble and bring about a peace.
Of the four commissioners from Holland three have returned with Casimbrot, the other remaining here. They have gone in a large vessel loaded with harquebusses and barrels of powder, but have settled none of the things they came about. They have only got fine words, and they have left with the Queen a written copy of their treasonable offers, which I have mentioned. No doubt this copy will be made much of to show that these English have refused out of friendship for his Majesty. Some Frenchmen, to the number of 150, have gone over with the commissioners and separately, seduced by Casimbrot, but I can hear of no English going. Montgomeri is preparing for his voyage, and 10 ships are being fitted out in the river, whilst 20 pirates are on the coast and at the Isle of Wight ready to accompany them, as well as eight belonging to Captain Hawkins of Plymouth. I heard that Montgomeri is going with 3,000 men to succour Rochelle. The French ambassador has protested to the Queen about it, and begged her to prevent such a force going against his King, in violation of the recent treaty. She answered that the King had first broken it by sending arms and troops to Scotland, to which the ambassador replied that this was done, not by the King, but by Cardinal Lorraine, the queen of Scotland's kinsman. The Queen said, if any help was to be sent to Rochelle, it would not be sent by her orders but by the bishop of London, out of friendship and in respect of his religion. This is the way they dissemble, and with strong signs of breaking with France altogether if the King (of Spain) makes any show of friendship and approval. I am, however, told from a good source that the Council is considering whether Montgomeri shall go to Scotland with this force to get the Prince. They fear he cannot get into Rochelle in consequence of the King's galleys and ships. They also talk about the possibility of Montgomeri with his force going to help Orange, but, such is their confusion and fickleness, that anything may be suspected of them. The people here continue to send money to Hamburg, and it is said that Ludovic was raising more troops in Germany, but your Excellency will know best whether it is against France or the States.
As I have said, an English pirate named Fenner had assailed Mongia and I have since heard that he and others have captured some ships from the Indies at the Azores. It is said that the pirates have informed the Admiral and certain friends of theirs here of these robberies, which they keep secret from me, the object being to trump up some arrangement by pretending that they (i.e. the friends) are authorised by the owners of the property to settle and give a quittance. When I have learnt as much as I can I will speak to Lord Burleigh about it, and will again beg the Queen to order the arrest of the armed ships and release the prizes.—London, 16th February 1573.
16 Feb. B. M.
Cotton, Galba, C. IV. Original draft.
380. Letter of Intelligence from London (unsigned) to the Duke Of Alba, Governor of the Netherlands.
I wrote last on the 9th instant, and on the same evening Henry Horne, whom the Queen sent to Germany, arrived here. He came by sea and disembarked in the Downs, as he was afraid to pass through France. He appears to have returned in fine feather, with a gold chain of 700 or 800 crowns round his neck, and a medal bearing the portrait of the duke of Saxony, which the latter presented to him.
The next night Casimbrot was sent off to take ship at Sandwich. From what I can gather, it appears that the Queen has written a letter for Orange, saying, that as Casimbrot was sent by the Palatine, she refers him (Orange) to the statement he will make verbally to him and to the Treasurer's letter. This is to the effect that a gentleman will be sent to him in a week bearing a decision on the whole question. It is believed Weston (?), of whom I have spoken several times, will go. I hear that Orange writes in the same sense as I have mentioned before, namely, that he has great understandings in the States, and will be able to cause trouble there this year, at great expense to his Majesty (Philip).
Three ships of 50 tons each have recently left here for Flushing loaded with victuals and stores, sent by Ferdinand Pointz, who I have mentioned as being a good hand at this business. The stores were bought with part of the proceeds of the goods taken by the Flushing people from the vessels from Antwerp and brought hither for sale. The rest of the money was devoted to the payment of the English captains and soldiers who went to Flushing.
The writing to Scotland, to the effect I mentioned, has not gone any further yet, but it is believed that the coming of this man from Germany will cause them to send a person to Scotland, as I wrote on the 14th ultimo, to inform Morton of affairs in France and Flanders.
On the 9th instant, at midday, M. d'Anguillière, with a large train, arrived here from Rochelle, having landed at the Isle of Wight. He is the Lieutenant-Governor of the place for the Huguenots. He went at once to Montgomeri's house, but I have not been able to discover his errand. I hope to do so and will report.
The gentleman who I said had come from the Palatine, and had embarked for Rochelle, has not been able to sail yet owing to the weather. He is no doubt going on this business, as I am informed that he bears with him a countersign from the Treasurer to enable him to make an arrangement with the pirates.
We have not heard yet of the arrival in Scotland of M. de Verac, the gentleman of the chamber to the king of France, who, I said in my last, had gone thither, but the earl of Morton has taken prisoner a brother of the captain of the castle of Edinburgh, who accompanied him. This man is now in Blackness Castle. He was carrying 5,000 crowns and some papers.
The three Queen's ships, one large and two small, which I said had gone to sea, are said to have captured seven pirate vessels. This is very likely, but I do not believe it will be to harm them, but rather to instruct them as to their best course of action. The earl of Worcester is daily expected back from the christening, and my friend will give me full details. I will duly report.—London, 16th February 1573.
18 Feb. B. M.
Cotton, Galba, C. IV. Original draft.
381. Letter of Intelligence from London (unsigned) to the Duke Of Alba, Governor of the Netherlands.
I wrote on the 16th, and yesterday they sent off their letter to Scotland, which throws some light on the German mission, and I consequently give particulars.
The Queen writes to Morton that she has received a message from the three electors of (Saxony?) Brandenburg and the Palatine, the second of whom, however, simply confirms what Saxony may say. This is to the effect that, with reference to the Queen's suggestion that a reconciliation between her and his Catholic Majesty might be arranged by the mediation of the Emperor, he does not think it is practicable whilst the confederation between them exists, and that it would be best for Orange to push on and for her to help him, as they too would do in fulfilment of their obligations. He says she must not forget that if his Catholic Majesty found his States tranquil he would soon give her plenty to think about, and would influence the Emperor to turn them out of their electorships, as the marriage of the (Arch)duke Charles to the daughter of the duke of Bavaria had this for its sole object.
She says the Palatine sent a gentleman, a secretary of his, to speak to the same effect and to persuade her to break with France, where there would be plenty of people ready to rise, and, between this and April, much might be done with money to keep the French busy.
The Queen writes to Morton that she is not at all confident of Rochelle being able to hold out against the extraordinary efforts being made by the King by land and sea, and if she could be sure of Spain and Portugal she would at once enter Guienne, where she has great understandings.
She urges Morton to be on his guard, as she believes that when the king of France takes Rochelle, he will fall upon Scotland in union with his Catholic Majesty, although she is not so sure about this last as the king of France is so suspicious about Don Juan's delay.
She tells Morton to use every effort to get possession of the castle of Edinburgh, and says she has given orders to the governor of Berwick to hold in readiness his forces there, and others that have been secretly raised on the border. She promises to send him (Morton) guns, powder, and other stores, which are now being taken from the Tower here, under the pretence that they are for Berwick.
She also writes that your Excellency, by means of a Spaniard resident here, is trying to obtain a re-opening of the ports on both sides, in order that the States may be supplied with provisions, which are much wanted. She sees the need of your Excellency she says, and, if she makes the arrangement, it will only be on the basis of free intercourse and other conditions advantageous to her.
She says that the return of Cardinal Ursino to Rome without doing anything in France was only an attempt on the part of that King to satisfy her, but it had done nothing of the sort, as she saw it was all trickery, and she had been informed that Cardinal Lorraine bore the same powers from the Pope as Ursino did.
Advices from Germany received here say that a Venetian gentleman, by means of a Jew who is very friendly with the Turk, is treating for peace. The Turk, it appears, will consent to peace with Venice if the son of the Emperor is made king of Poland ; the object being for the Turk thereupon to turn all his force against Hungary.
In the course of the next few days they will dispatch the Palatine's secretary, the gentleman to Scotland and another to Orange. I will see what I can discover on each head and advise.
In six or seven days Montgomeri will leave the Court and embark, no doubt in consequence of the news of the King's strong fleet before Rochelle, although people here say that Montgomeri is not going thither, and even assert that he will not leave this country until they see whether the king of France is going to send to Scotland, in which case he (Montgomeri) would go there. It is impossible, however, to say anything with confidence as they change their plans daily.—London, 18th February 1573.
Note.—Much damaged by fire.
23 Feb. B. M.
Cotton, Galba, C. IV. Original draft.
382. Letter of Intelligence from London (unsigned) to the Duke Of Alba, Governor of the Netherlands.
My last letter was dated 18th instant, and there will not be much to report to-day as the Queen is leaving Greenwich, where she has been staying, to go for a fortnight's round of visits to some gentlemens' houses near, with a small suite and privately. The principal reason of this, however, is that they think thus to be able to carry out their wicked plans more secretly.
The Treasurer has summoned Weston (?), who went to Germany, another Englishman named Daniel, who is very clever and knows those parts well, and the Palatine's secretary to be with him to-morrow at the place, 12 miles off, where the Queen stays two days. It is probable he (the Secretary?) will be dispatched from there, although they are hourly awaiting another message from Germany. I will try to discover what is done and advise, as I always do. Montgomeri is accompanying the Queen, but will soon depart, it is said, for Rochelle, and, if he can do nothing there, he will go to Scotland. Troops are secretly being raised for him in some parts of the country, the object being to seize the prince of Scotland by force, as they could not get him fraud. This will cause a rupture with France, but they will not carry it out until they know whether they can come to terms with his Catholic Majesty, upon which point they are awaiting an answer from your Excellency. It is impossible, however, to speak with confidence of the plans of these people as they are changing daily. I am always on the watch, as may be seen by my continual advices, and will so continue to the utmost of my power.
On the 19th the French ambassador received despatches from his King, and at once requested audience, which was not granted until the 22nd. He was with the Queen for an hour, and the Queen was apparently anything but gay. I do not yet know what passed, but hope to learn. The earl of Worcester has not arrived as the weather does not serve for his passage across. His arrival and the dispatch of the new English ambassador to France will enable me to learn some fresh particulars.
I am just informed that the Treasurer has received a letter from Flushing reporting the departure from there of 43 sail, large and small, with stones and old vessels to block up the approach to the river (Scheldt) towards Antwerp, and so to prevent the passage of the fleet which is being equipped there. These people are very glad at the news.—London, 23rd February 1573.
Note.—Damaged by fire.