Simancas: January 1579

Pages 626-642

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

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January 1579

1579. 8 Jan. 541. Zayas to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Your letters of 8th and 13th ultimo, with duplicates, were duly received, and none have been lost. Your information about Portugal is so important that you did well in sending it by special messenger. It will be well to be on the alert, and throw out nets on all sides to gain information of what is done in this particular. Your informant was quite right about Miguel de Mora, as we had heard the same here, but it is necessary to dissemble, as he is in high favour and credit with his master.
The extraordinary diligence of Leicester in trying to oblige and please you is significant, and, if possible, it would be advisable to discover what his object is, what he is aiming at, and what service he can render to our master. If it means more than mere words and compliments, I understand that he may well be given something more substantial than the horses and harness you mentioned in your recent letters.
We note your remarks about the caution with which the affairs of the Queen of Scotland and her country should be treated, and thoroughly approve of them, as a contrary course would certainly ruin her. The (Scotch) ambassador resident in France has been recently persuading Juan de Vargas (fn. 1) that, if his Majesty would assist the Queen's adherents, a great effect would be produced in her favour, and, what is of more importance, in favour of the Catholic religion. If the aid were in the form of money, he says that a sum sufficient to maintain 4,000 foot for three or four months would be enough, and, although his Majesty is very well disposed towards the business, nothing has yet been decided, because, in good truth, the matter could only be undertaken on very safe grounds, and with the assurance that the effect would be produced, as otherwise it would be "oleum ed operam perdere." Look into the matter and send your opinion upon it.
You do well in sending to us all the news you get from Flanders, as, although we sometimes learn the same things direct, there are other points of which we know nothing ; as was the case with your intelligence from Antwerp of the 10th ultimo, and Orange's printed paper, which certainly contains some very strange things, evidently dictated by the evil one, who loses no opportunity of helping his own.
What you write about M. de la Motte rather puzzles us, as the letters we get from Flanders exalt him to the skies, as the origin of all the favourable events that have begun there, and it has been under discussion to reward his services with an order (of knighthood), although nothing has yet been decided about it, and you had better not mention it to anyone. It will be well, therefore, for you to get to the bottom of the intelligence you send and communicate the result.
I thank you warmly for so stoutly helping Antonio de Guaras, and for the hope you give me of his release. I at once informed his wife, for her consolation, of which she was much in need. She is a lady of very good position.
The accountant Mendibil tells me you need a clerk. If this is so, and you will let me know, I think I can supply you with one that will suit.
I duly received the box of spectacles for the age of 70 years, with which you have made Jacobo de Trezo (fn. 2) a rich man. In his name and my own I thank you sincerely for them. Those for Castillo have been given to him.
There is no news here. Their Majesties have passed the Christmas holidays at St. Lorenzo (the Escurial) in good health, notwithstanding the cold.—Madrid, 8th January 1579.
15 Jan. 542. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 31st ultimo a letter, duplicate of which was forwarded by way of Rouen on the 3rd instant. M. de Simier and the other Frenchmen arrived here on the 5th, and saw the Queen on the 11th. She had, a few days previously, had a consultation of doctors to decide whether she could hope for progeny, in which the doctors found no difficulty ; but she, nevertheless, received the Frenchmen with no great cordiality, and the people at large show no joy at their coming. She told Simier that Alençon could not be so eager as they professed, since he had delayed three months in sending him, without discussing any point of the business. If other negotiations are attempted under cover of the marriage, since affairs in France are so disturbed that it appears probable that peace may be broken, which is the Queen's object, she will give ear readily enough to them, whilst letting the marriage question drag. If, as some people think probable, Alençon asks her for help against his brother, I am assured that she would give it.
Simier brings with him ten or twelve thousand crowns worth of jewels to give away. I have requested audience for the purpose of pointing out to the Queen how bad it would be for her, apart from the marriage, to give ear to other advances from the French, who are carrying on such active negotiations in Scotland, to her manifest prejudice, as both they and the Scots are the ancient enemies of this crown. In order to arrange for this audience and put matters in a desirable way I saw Walsingham four days ago. He gives me an account of the news that the Queen receives from France and elsewhere, and I wished to ascertain whether what I had heard was true. I said I was much astonished that the Queen should feast the Frenchmen in this way, seeing that Morton's son had gone to the king of France, who had also sent secretly two persons to Scotland who had landed at Leith, and, as the Scots themselves declared, would make great promises and offers in his name. He replied that the Queen had heard as much from both sides, and this again proved clearly how desirous your Majesty was of preserving friendship with England, as I did not conceal from them a matter which touched them so closely as this. The Queen had been informed of it by her ambassador in Scotland, who assured her that Morton was becoming every day more closely attached to the French, from whose greed nothing else could be expected.
The Queen-mother is urging very warmly the marriage of her grand-daughter, the daughter of the duke of Lorraine, with the king of Scotland. In order to bring it about, she and the king (of France) offer to the heir of the house of Hamilton, who claims the succession, that in default of the king (of Scots) they will favour him and endeavour to get him recognized as heir in the next Parliament, whilst great promises are held out to others with the same end. Both matters are causing anxiety to this Queen, as well as the news she gets from France to the effect that a marriage is being discussed between Guise and the daughter of the prince of Bearn.
Parma has ordered the execution of the two Englishmen who, as I wrote to your Majesty on the 16th May, left here in order to murder the late Don John. When the Queen received the news she told Walsingham very angrily that this was the outcome of the advice that he and others had given her, and that he had brought her to the present pass. Walsingham was so much affected by these words that he came here from the Court next day in a high fever.
He has sent to Ghent one Rogers, (fn. 3) the man who went to Germany to arrange with Casimir for the raising of cavalry, on pretence of taking him a gold mounted sword from Leicester. The object of his present journey is to incite the Ghent people to persevere in the war, in which he will help them as he is a great heretic, and a very fit person to arrange matters of this sort with other heretics, without appearing openly. He is to represent to the malcontents that, whereas this is the time for them to liberate their country, they are ruining it by their private quarrels.
Junio (Junius de Jongh), who came here from Casimir about the payment from the Queen, took back 8,000l. in cash and 14,000l. in bills of Benedict Spinola and other Genoese residents here. Two or three vessels loaded with cloth left here on the 5th for Antwerp, in connection with the same business, although until I learn of the distribution of the cargoes, I do not know whether they are sent on account of the Queen, or by the merchants to cover the amount of their bills.
From your Majesty's Court the Queen has received news that the prince of Parma had offered to renounce in your Majesty's favour the rights of his son to the crown of Portugal, but the person who told me this had not time to see the signature of the person who had written the letter. (fn. 4) The Queen has ordered certain lawyers of hers to look into the pedigree of the Portuguese throne, and has sent Fortescue thither by sea with a secret despatch.
The Portuguese ambassador here continues his efforts to impress upon the Queen and her ministers that your Majesty wishes to be adopted as the heir to the crown, and to point out how bad it will be for England to lose the friendship of Portugal, directly your Majesty may declare war against them. He urges upon them the good treatment which Portugal extended to them at the time of the embargoes, when they could not carry on trade with any of your Majesty's dominions.
The person of whom I wrote on the 26th October last, who is a faithful servant of the Queen of Scotland, has not yet given me an answer about the steps he himself promised to take with certain Scots. I suspect that, in view of the negotiations they are carrying on with France, he has not found the matter so feasible as he expected.—London, 15th January 1579.
543. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
By my letter to the King you will see how I bore myself with Walsingham, to feel the way as to the best course to take about the coming of the Frenchmen, and to satisfy myself that I was not being deceived by one of his own people, with whom I carry on some communications. By God's help I have managed to get on such terms with these folks, that even Leicester and Walsingham, who were the most strongly opposed to my being here, are now trying to get another house for me, as my present one is not healthy or well placed. I am afraid the execution of the Englishmen by the prince of Parma may delay the release of Antonio de Guaras, which I had already carried so forward, as I wrote to you. I addressed myself to Walsingham about it, but did not find him so well disposed as he had been recently ; and was told by him that he was awaiting the receipt of certain despatches from Ireland before the matter could be settled, and they were sometimes delayed for two months in the winter time. I cannot get Guaras' brother to believe me, and he acts in the most impatient manner, notwithstanding everything I can say to him to show him that the absurdities he commits every day only delay his own object. It is quite impossible to bring him to reason, or make him understand the proper way to expedite the business. They write from Scotland that the earls of Mar and Argyll had words about who was the best horseman, which at last ended in blows, and thirty on one side and forty on the other were killed or wounded in the quarrel. As the cause of dispute was so trifling and the blood shed so great, there were doubtless prior grounds of quarrel between them.
Casiodoro, who is one of the friars that fled from St. Isidro at Seville many years ago, has come to this country again, after having escaped from here in disgrace, as he was accused of an abominable crime. He comes now with letters from John Sturmius (fn. 5) one of the heresiarchs of Germany, in consequence of which he is being favoured by some of the principal people here. He wants to be allowed to preach in one of the so-called churches here to be set apart for Spaniards, as the heretics of other nations have churches.
One of my men has returned from Holland and gives me the enclosed information about the sects there.
The special despatch I sent on the 8th ultimo met with very bad weather, twelve days of tempest, and I had given up the courier for lost, but now hear that he arrived in Paris on the 23rd.
The Queen has ordered her house here to be got ready for her and intends to come in a week.
Ten days since the Queen gave orders that after this month no whale oil is to be allowed to enter this country, where nearly 2,000 tons of it was yearly consumed, most of it coming from Biscay. They have resolved in future to manufacture their cloths and soap with rape oil which, if it answers, will not fail to injure Biscay, as the whale oil will not be in so great a demand as hitherto. I am told that one of the reasons for this order is to prevent the free export of money on the excuse of buying whale oil, which gave a greater profit than the oil itself.
On the day that Simier saw the Queen, Leicester invited him to supper, in order that he might afterwards be present at the ball, which was a very grand one with an entertainment in imitation of a tournament, between six ladies and a like number of gentlemen, who surrendered to them. She (the Queen) did not order Simier to be covered. I am told that he gave the Queen a small casket, which, no doubt, is the token in exchange for the salamander she sent him (Alençon) by Bacqueville.
The Vidame de Chartres must have gone with some great offer from the Ghent people, as the king of France a few months ago, ordered all his property to be sold as that of a proclaimed heretic. He passed through Amiens in a carriage on the 8th, accompanied by twenty horse.
I suspect that the protest made by this Queen was caused by the fact that the affairs of the States have not been benefited by this step, although she herself was anxious to bring it about when Walsingham went thither.—London, 15th January 1579.
544. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
Since closing the accompanying letter, I have received yours of 20th November and 11th ultimo. The present is only written hurriedly to acknowledge receipt of them, and to say, shortly, as regards the matter of the embargoes, about which I will write at length in my next, that it will be unnecessary for any commissioners or documents to be sent from Flanders to deal with the matter, since I am here in his Majesty's name. According to the agreement, there will be two or three Englishmen appointed by the Queen and a like number of foreigners chosen by me, and I am assured by those who have the matter in hand, and by Leicester who is helping us, that the persons chosen on both sides shall be to my satisfaction. I am pressing the Queen nearly every day to have the matter commenced, the sooner the better, as those whom I have mentioned are so warm about it, besides which the property will dwindle by delay.—London, 15th January 1579.
19 Jan. 545. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I wrote to his Majesty and your worship on the 15th that I was in hopes of being able to see the Queen, which I did yesterday, and I gathered from my conversation with her and also with the earl of Sussex, who is a worthy gentleman, that the Frenchmen will prolong their stay here, and that all the plans they are hatching are against the Netherlands, with a view to their own interests. The English are saying that, although the French are their mortal enemies, it is meet they should join bands with them in this way and get the Queen married. News has arrived that Casimir will be at Dunkirk on the 17th for the purpose of coming over to this country, and he is therefore expected here hourly All this, as well as Orange's desperate plots, and the Vidame's journey to France, prove the correctness of the above, but I have no time to elucidate the matter as I write this in great haste and send it under cover of some merchants by a secretary of Alençon's, who accompanied Simier hither, and is being hurriedly sent off by him. In order to get to the bottom of it all, I have delayed seeing Cecil and the other ministers, to whom, as I have written to his Majesty, presents should be given, until the decision as to its being done reaches me. I have taken care to hold out hopes to them and have done all else in my power to hinder these negotiations, and will give full information to his Majesty as I obtain it, sending particulars of what passes with the Queen, by special courier. M. de Simier returned hither on the 16th and the Queen will be here in four days. The French envoys are the guests of the Ambassador. Simier said that Alençon would go to Malines.
The Queen is sending Leicester's nephew, Philip Sidney, to meet Casimir.—London, 19th January 1579.
27 Jan. 546. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 15th, and sent a duplicate next day by sea to Bilboa, saying that I had requested audience for the 18th. (fn. 6) When I saw the Queen on that day, she began by saying how glad she was to see me, and regretted that circumstances had prevented her from doing so before, in order to learn news of your Majesty's health, as she had been much pained at the many recent deaths in your family, and, in order not to reopen your grief, she had refrained from writing her condolences hitherto, but would do so very shortly.
She then asked me whether peace had been made in the Netherlands, to which I replied that I had not received news from the Prince of Parma for some time, but that advices from Antwerp said that he had refused to grant the forty days suspension of hostilities, which had been requested by the States. She said that was well, and her wish was that a good peace should be made. I told her that your Majesty had referred the questions at issue there to the Emperor, and the rest that your Majesty ordered me to convey to her in your's of the 2nd November. She received it very well, and did not renew her previous complaints on the subject. I then remarked upon the want of harmony in the States, and said that, as they had not confidence in each other, they could hardly expect others to have confidence in them, a fact which some of her ministers would wish to hide from her. I then went on to say that the reason of my desiring audience was to inform her that I had received news from France of the visit of Morton's son to the king of France, and the other Scotch news, which I wrote to your Majesty in my previous letters ; and how the Scots were carrying on very lively negotiations there, and the hopes which were founded thereon. I said that, although she would certainly get the intelligence from other quarters, I thought it my duty, as your Majesty's representative here, to inform her of it. She replied that, notwithstanding my zeal in doing so,—she having already received the information,—she had also been advised that your Majesty was carrying forward, to its conclusion, the league, which has been mentioned in my former letters, between the Catholic princes, at the instance of the Pope ; which, she said, would certainly not be to her advantage, and, of which, for various reasons, she could not help being suspicious ; particularly as M. de la Motte had told an ambassador of hers two years ago, that the duke of Alba had sent him, at the time of duke of Norfolk's rising, to reconnoitre the coasts of this country, with the object of landing 5,000 Walloons, in case the disturbances continued.
As regards the league, I asked her whether she did not refer to that which your Majesty had effected with the Pope and the Venetians in the time of Pius V., against the infidels, when certain other Princes requested to be admitted into the arrangement, as I had never heard of any other league having been formed. I was, however, certain that some of her ministers would like to arouse her suspicions by saying that something of the sort was being done, as they wished to break her alliance with your Majesty and the house of Burgundy, and attach her to the French. Besides which, her Ambassador in France persists in his news about such a league, as he is a great heretic, and is inspired by certain people of the same sort here.
In answer to her assertion about M. de la Motte, I said that I, myself, was in the Netherlands at the time in question, although not engaged in State affairs, and I knew M. de la Motte very well as a gallant soldier and a good subject, as his deeds have proved him to be, but he was then only a captain of infantry, and certainly not in a position for the duke of Alba to give him charge of such a force, but that I did not desire to enter into past questions as it was of more importance to deal with the present circumstances.
She then asked me whether the reason for my giving her this Scotch news was not to divert her from the marriage with M. D'Alençon, as she well knew that the Queen-mother was desirous of marrying him to one of the Infantas, she having herself sent to tell her so ; and she (Elizabeth) expressed her surprise, under the circumstances, that Simier should have been sent to continue the negotiations that De Bacqueville had commenced. The Queen-mother had replied that she was quite sure she (Elizabeth) never meant to marry, whatever she might say, and there was, therefore, nothing surprising in her (the Queen-mother's) desire that her son should be wedded. She said that, although she had received this reply, she could not help confessing to me that she would not marry a private gentleman, and that Alençon might yet be king of France, and she believed he did not dislike her. I said it was not for me to discuss her marriage, but I could not avoid saying that, although, as a general rule, it was a matter which depended upon the individual feelings of the persons interested, yet with princes it was not so, as they had usually to consider the interests of their dominions and place on one side their personal inclinations. I was, however, convinced that she would behave with her usual prudence in the matter.
She then changed the subject to that of Scotland, and said that the King had sent to inform her that offers of marriage were being made to him, but he would accept none without consulting her, as he had hitherto done. For this reason, and in view of the good offices she had performed for those who had governed the kingdom during the King's infancy, she was under no great anxiety as regards Scotch affairs. I replied that matters of this sort were not usually regulated by considerations of past events, but rather as great physicians treated a patient, namely, to consider carefully the present condition of the body before applying a remedy, although their experience showed them that a certain medicament had benefited the patient previously. I said that, even though the means she had hitherto adopted had kept Scotland tranquil, different methods would have to be employed in future, as the circumstances were entirely changed, the King completing his fourteenth year in May and his marriage being already under discussion, as well as his heirship to her throne, as she had hitherto refused to have a successor proclaimed. Either of these two facts was of great importance, seeing the many point arising out of them, and she would not underrate them, even if her Ministers were so forgetful of her interests as to neglect to place them before her as a matter which touched the preservation of her crown. It had been evident for a long time that the French had sought every opportunity of getting a footing in Scotland, some of which attempts I pointed out to her, particularly that of the year '60, and the efforts your Majesty had made. I said that this opportunity of marrying the (Scotch) King to their liking would certainly not be neglected by them, and they were straining every point to manage it. The greed of Morton and Scots in general was such as would prompt them to open their arms to anyone, let alone the French, with whom they had such ancient alliances ; both nations being equally inimical to the English, of which fact fresh proofs were forthcoming every day.
She pricked up her ears at this, and said I was speaking the truth and was confirmed by the Governor of Berwick and her ambassador in Scotland, who had come hither to tell her so. (I was informed of his coming before she told me). When I saw she was softening in this way, I pressed the matter home very emphatically, enlarging as much as possible upon it, profiting by the opportunity of her inviting me to be seated by her side. She even raised her farthingale in order that I might get closer to her and speak without being overheard, and I assured her, in your Majesty's name, that your only object was to preserve friendship, as she could see by my mode of proceeding. She replied that, even if we had planned anything against her, however secretly it was done, she would hear of it in time to frustrate it, to which I said that when your Majesty wished to break with her, you would not do it with deceit and trickery, like some people, but openly and in a way that, for her own sake, I should be very sorry for her to learn by experience the power of your Majesty's sword, which she had never yet seen unsheathed. She gave no answer to this but thanked me for the news I had given her. I was with her for over three hours. When the audience ended, the earl of Sussex came up to me, with whom I had a conversation, and I subsequently spoke with Lord Burleigh and other Ministers, giving them a partial account of what had passed with the Queen. I said that, though it was not my business to discuss the Queen's marriage, I had briefly mentioned to her the formation of a new alliance with France and would enlarge more fully upon the matter with them, in order that they might convey my remarks to the Queen when occasion arose. I said it must be a matter of grave consideration for them that, during the time England had been in alliance with the House of Burgundy and at enmity with France, the House of Burgundy had added to its dominions Spain, Naples, the State of Milan, Frisia, Utrecht, the Duchy of Gueldres, and other States, whilst England, instead of becoming more powerful had decayed ; Calais, their only footing on the continent, having been lost, as well as their friendship with Brittany, Normandy, and other places, by the aid of which they were able to undertake their various enterprises against France, when the latter was engaged in civil war or was being attacked by the House of Burgundy. Normandy and, Brittany were now in the hands of their enemies, and it must be clear to them that they could trust no one but your Majesty. They could not fail to see the importance of maintaining friendship with you, since in times when the House of Burgundy had not so much power as it has now. it had been consider necessary for England to count upon its aid, by means of which this country could not only resist, but attack, its enemies. I said, moreover, though the French might offer to combine the marriage with an alliance for the purpose of conquering the Netherlands, I should like to know whether they thought England would be benefited by seeing that country in the hands of the French, or any other Prince or people, rather than in those of your Majesty, with whom the English had been connected for so many years.
It was all very well, I said, for the French and Netherlanders to press upon them the importance of not missing the opportunity of seizing upon Artois, Holland, and Zealand respectively, which provinces were favourable, in the assurauce that, once in possession of them the rest of the country could easily be won ; but there were plenty of Englishmen and Frenchmen, on the other hand, who thought it was just as important that England itself should be captured, in order that the wars in the Netherlands and France should be crushed and the provinces joined to the other States. It no doubt appeared a great offer, that some of the States made to the Queen, to hand themselves over to her, but it really was nothing of the sort, as they had no intention whatever of fulfilling their promise ; as was proved by the way they treated Alençon and his Frenchmen, of whom they merely made use and would never consent to his getting a footing in the country, even turning him out of Mons when he wished to have possession of the town.
Even though the Queen and her Ministers shut their eyes to all these facts, for the sake of making an alliance with France, I said I did not see what advantage they could expect from it, as France itself is so disturbed, and the King, to judge from his actions, so incapable of tranquillising the country or uniting its forces. I used other arguments of this sort, and said that I had no doubt that these negotiations for the French alliance had not been commenced by their (the Councillors') wish, but had originated from the personal designs and ambition of other persons. This I pressed upon each one of them separately, in accordance with the degree of enmity they bore to Leicester and his party, who, as they understood better than I, were for the most part the kind of men that Cataline wished for in order to disturb the republic, namely both needy and vicious.
Sussex replied that I had specified the points well. As regards the marriage, the Queen could follow her own inclinations, but I might look upon him as the most unworthy person in the world if, by his consent or advice, the marriage were effected on condition of depriving your Majesty of the Netherlands. He could say this the more openly, as his aim was not solely to gratify the Queen, but to preserve and strengthen her throne. He would hold the same opinion, even though your Majesty might make light of the friendship, since you refused to receive a Minister in your Court, and had sent no reply to what she (the Queen) had asked me to write on the 5th May last to your Majesty.
Lord Burleigh said that, touching the marriage, he had told M. de Simier that one of his principal arguments in favour of the marriage, namely, that his master (Alençon) might be king of France, had turned him (Cecil) against it, as he considered that would be a disadvantage for England ; whereupon Simier had complained to the Queen of him. As to the rest, his desire had always been to see her married to a Prince of the House of Austria, with which it was well to be in alliance, but, since their old friends cast them off, and your Majesty had refused to confirm the treaties which had existed with this country at the time of the Queen's accession, when Lord Montague was sent to your Majesty, it was necessary for them to seek new friends, particularly as your Majesty refused to receive a Minister in your Court, of which they all complain to me.—London, 27th January 1579.
547. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
M. de Simier saw the Queen on the 11th, and gave her three letters, one from M. D'Alençon and the other two from the King and his mother containing credences and general expressions. The King's letter gave an assurance that he would agree to any alliance or treaty the Queen wished, in order to bring about his brother's marriage. They were at Richmond with the Queen until her return here on the 17th, audience being given to them every day, although on some occasions Simier went alone without the resident ambassador. Nothing was decided, but grand promises were held out that, if Alençon himself came, the business would be carried through, and those who are here for him quite persuade themselves that this will be so, as do those who surround Alençon in Flanders. They point out to him that his absence alone stands in the way, and dwell upon the Queen's affection for him, and the warmth and cordiality with which she receives his emissaries ; all of which revives his desire to see her and reminds him of the oath he swore to his people and they to him when he left the French Court, that none of them would ever return whilst his brother reigned, who treated him with so little dignity. His coming would not be opposed by the King, particularly with the hopes held out here of an alliance for the war in the Netherlands, which would divert the trouble in his own kingdom.
Simier sent to Paris on the 19th a secretary of Alençon's, who came hither with him, for the purpose of negotiating the coming of his master, and Simier and those with him say they will not leave here until the question of the marriage is decided one way or the other. They are bravely pushing on the idea of the alliance, which they say will be the only means of curbing your Majesty's power and preventing you from adding the crown of Portugal to your own. When Simier spoke in this sense to the Queen, she replied, "I am so friendly with my brother the Catholic King that when I wrote requesting him to release a subject of mine from the galleys he refused to do it." (fn. 7)
The Queen has been warned by the king of France to be very careful of the queen of Scotland, as certain Englishmen in league with your Majesty were trying to liberate her with the aid of Scots of her party, which is another proof of the lively negotiations which they (the French) are carrying on in Scotland. In the Parliaments in that country there are three orders or votes ; first the earls or nobles, second the ecclesiastics, and third the lairds, who are most numerous and have the largest following. The first two orders are in favour of marrying the King in France, and the third order or lairds oppose it.
This Queen has written to the people in the States that she thinks their treatment of Alençon very strange, as he had gone thither to help them in the war, not only with his troops but with his own person, which should be greatly esteemed, he being a brother of the king of France.
It is said that Casimir has been secretly summoned that he may be reconciled with the king of France and his brother, this being done at the instance of Orange, in order that the alliance for the Netherlands may be effected on conditions that neither the Queen nor the heretics of France or the Netherlands shall have anything to fear.
The plan is for the French Huguenots to continue their warlike preparations, and the King may then raise an army, which they say is being got ready in Germany, without arousing the suspicions of your Majesty or causing you to declare war, and then, when all are armed, the King may have not only his own forces but those of the Huguenots as well with the prince of Bearn and, if they do not choose to attack Spain, they may join the troops of this Queen and Casimir in the Low Countries, and form a force so strong as to defy your Majesty's troops and overawe the Catholics. By this means the Huguenots will also be assured, as they will be in such great numbers that even your Majesty and the king of France combined would not be able to deal with them. All sorts of great things are promised from this combination, although there are always difficulties in carrying such things into effect. Orange hopes for much in the division of the States, and as his people are getting tired of his mode of procedure and incline to peace, he is losing no opportunity of diverting them to avoid his downfall.
Leicester and Walsingham have favoured the plan of bringing Casimir here to reconcile him with the French, and the day after his arrival here, where he was received with great applause, Leicester, Lord Hunsdon, and many other gentlemen, went to see the Frenchmen before dinner, and, I am told, asked them whether they would meet Casimir and dine with him one day, to which they gave no decided reply. Notwithstanding all this, it is asserted that the Queen did not know of his coming, which people believe, because it was kept quiet until he arrived at Dunkirk, an artful move on the part of Orange, as it appears he started on his journey accompanied by only five men, and even at Dunkirk did not make himself known, but shipped in disguise on board a fishing boat. The object of this is that, if the Frenchmen refuse to receive him, his voyage may appear to be made for another reason. Indeed the day after he left Ghent the people were disturbed, and he gave out that he was only coming over to see this country, and his absence would be to the advantage rather than the injury of the States. He gratified the Archduke Mathias by saying he would oppose the match with Alençon, in which direction he himself had some pretensions, as he had sent the Queen his portrait, and she had told me how pleased she was with it, and with him ; which she had directed her agent in Antwerp to tell him.
On the morning of the 18th certain books printed in French were found in the Queen's chamber and others, dedicated to the Queen and admonishing her to avoid attaching herself to the French or having any dealings with them. Strict orders were given for all the books to be sent to her, but only five of them appeared. Great efforts are being made to discover where they were printed.
In conversation in his own room, Casimir said it was of great importance to him, and to the Protestants, that the renunciation, which the archbishop of Cologne was to make in favour of the son of the duke of Bavaria, with your Majesty's approbation, should not take effect, as he had been advised that there had been a disturbance in Cologne about it, and your Majesty's troops, and many Spaniards amongst them, entered the city freely.
In addition to the steps I have taken with the Queen and her Ministers, I have adopted means to instil into the minds of the common people the idea of how prejudicial to them these negotiations will be, as they can only result in more money being demanded of them, and other inconveniences will be caused, to the injury of their trade and prosperity.—London, 27th January 1579.
548. Bernardino de Mendoza to Zayas.
I wrote to you so hurriedly on the 19th that I could not reply to the points contained in your letters of 20th November and 11th ultimo. With regard to the seizures, when the commissioners met here to discuss a settlement they found a great difficulty on both sides, particularly those who represented his Majesty ; namely, that it was impossible in so short a time as that fixed, for the necessary claims and declarations to arrive, setting forth the losses sustained by his Majesty's subjects. In view of this, and of the fact that it would be almost equally prejudicial to delay a settlement until these documents could be received, an agreement was arrived at on the basis of the documents and claims already presented, with the introduction of a clause in the agreement, by virtue of which, if any omission of declaration or concealment of goods should take place on either side, at the striking of the balance the same may be claimed by the subjects of either crown, to whom they rightly belong. In order that justice in this matter may be done rapidly, it was agreed that on a request being made, to either sovereign for the appointment of commissioners to deal with the new clause, they are to be so appointed and are to have summary jurisdiction, without recourse to the ordinary procedure, which is far from rapid here ; with their long vacations. In accordance with this agreement, some Englishmen have gone to petition his Majesty to restore certain goods, which were not set forth in the declarations which he ordered to be made, and similar petitions are to be made, by our people to this Queen, but as they have not yet found any minister to assist them in their claim they have not presented it, as it would be an interminable affair, if it were not dealt with under authoritative countenance. It would seem from this agreement, that any owner could claim his property if it had not been declared, or had been concealed, and might demand the appointment of commissioners for its restoration, if it had not been included in the general account of goods seized. I therefore wrote to ask whether it was his Majesty's wish, in the case of his subjects establishing their claim to such goods before the Commissioners, that the property should be handed to the owners themselves, or be added to the rest of which his Majesty had laid claim, as it is clear that, if no owner establishes his claim, it must come into his Majesty's hands. From what I have said, you will see that it is unnecessary for commissioners to come from Flanders, or anywhere else, to look after the business, which I have tried to make as clear as possible, in order to banish any doubts that may arise, although really it is rather a strange matter for a light cavalry man to have to manage. I must confess that I am not sorry that you in Madrid have had an evident proof of the way I am treated in the way of news and remittance of letters by our people in France, by seeing how long I was kept in ignorance of Don Juan's death. This is much to his Majesty's disadvantage, as I know nothing of what passes there, except by chance private advices (Juan de Vargas merely writing me generalities in his letters) and occasional intelligence received by this Queen, which I get from a man who sees her letters. Besides this, I only get a very rare letter from the prince of Parma, and to keep pace with the thousand circumstances which occur here, I have to invent my news and furbish up the scraps I get from Antwerp and elsewhere, as need requires. Even such bits of news as I can pick up in this way are only obtained with much trouble, as the Flemings are generally so ill meaning.
It looks as if every sheet of paper that passes through Juan de Vargas' hands for me must be buried, seeing the long delay in forwarding them. Some time ago you wrote me that you had sent a letter from the King for me to Juan de Vargas, with directions for him to forward it by special courier, if no other means were ready. I could not find out who brought the letter, but I learnt that it was wandering about from one tavern to another in London for two days whilst its bearer was getting drink on the strength of the postage, which was six crowns. Again, on the 11th November, Vargas wrote saying that he had a packet for me, which had been delayed on the road, but which he would forward at once by an express, as I asked. I learn from the man who provided the money for his journey, that the express was not dispatched until the 16th. I do not write this by way of complaint, but in order to prevent complaint being made of me if I cannot serve his Majesty as I ought, good as my will is (as it should be with all of us) to sacrifice all for his service. By your orders I changed my method of forwarding letters, sending the despatches through Isardo Capelo, the correspondent of Domingo de Iralta. The latter now asks me to beg you to send him an order for the postage and couriers to be paid on the King's account, so that none of them shall be paid twice over, as I have accounts with so many of them. By this means I shall be able to get couriers at once sent off when I want them, as those sent by sea are so long delayed. The orders given by his Majesty in the affair of Horatio Pallavicini and commensurate with the disservice he has done, and if the Financial Council had been energetic they might have prevented him from getting the 30,000 ducats he has made out of the first two ships, which there was time to have stopped. He is offended with me at the steps taken by his Majesty, and affirms that he has had no negotiations with the Queen, as will be proved, he says, by his documents ; but I am certain that Walsingham and others will get the documents drawn up as he and his partners desire, for their security, as it is all "ad cautelam," and the whole affair was arranged with the States, who were to have the disposal of the money, the recompense to him for his kindness being the privilege he obtained. The fact of his Majesty influencing the action of the Court of Rome in this matter will have great effect in preventing Pallavicini, and others, from encouraging the States and the rebels with devices of this sort.
The absurdities committed by Gombal de Guaras in the affair of his brother, cause me to write to you about it in the way I am obliged to do. As an instance of his foolish treatment of the matter, the day upon which I last saw the Queen, I pressed her very much to release his brother and she told me that she expected a despatch from Ireland in about a week, for which she was waiting before dispatching the business. When the audience was ended and she was leaving she turned to Gombal de Guaras and publicly said : "A good advocate indeed have you and your brother in the ambassador, who has been addressing me about your business." After being thus honoured by the Queen, and I myself had repeated to him what she had privately told me, in the presence of two or three gentlemen who accompanied me he burst out in a violent and furious fashion :—"All this talk is of no good if my brother is to remain in prison. I said it would be useless for me to go to the Court ;"—and much other nonsense of the same sort. If his Majesty had not ordered this affair to be taken in hand, and you yourself were not anxious for its settlement, this man's absurdities would have exhausted my patience, and I should forget my consideration for Antonio de Guaras and his wife, rather than have anything more to do with it.
After some discussion with the ministers here about the appointment of an English minister in Madrid, the Queen asked me whether such ambassador and his servants would be assured of not being troubled or arrested by the Inquisition, if they avoided all occasion for scandal. I replied, as I always have done on the point, to the effect that I could give them no assurance, as I had only been in Spain when Wilkes was there. I gather from their conversation that, on the pretext of the Queen writing to his Majesty, someone will be sent to see what sort of reception he will get. There has arrived here an impudent knave of an Englishman who went to Spain with letters from the Queen and me, about the release of his father-in-law, who is in the galleys at the instance of the Inquisition. He assures the Council, and has published all over the place, that when you had read the Queen's letter and mine, you threw them away and he picked them up from the ground, and two days afterwards, one of your servants came with fair words and obtained from him the letter the Queen had written to his Majesty. With respect to this, the Queen used the expression I write to his Majesty. I have assured them what a great falsehood and wicked invention it is, but the man asserts that he has shown my letters to the people here and to the Council, in which I say that the Queen was tiring me, which expression they interpret as being a very contemptuous one. I mention this to show you what sort of people I have to deal with. On the same morning that the five books I have mentioned were found at Court, another manuscript book in English was discovered in the Queen's apartment, admonishing her to the effect that, if she did not abandon her claim to be head of the Church, God would punish her within the year. The handwriting is said to be that of a Puritan, as they believe that a woman cannot be the spiritual head.
The Queen had intimated to the Londoners that she was coming hither by land and would enter the city by London Bridge, which she has only done once since her accession. The entry was to be very ostentatious, in order to impress Casimir, and great rejoicings were arranged to take place. They came to nothing, as, the night previous, she sent a courier to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, saying that there was to be no great crowd, and half-an-hour afterwards, came another messenger, ordering the citizens not to receive the Queen armed. He was shortly afterwards followed by another man to say that the whole affair was to be suspended, and she would come by water. It will be seen by this how little confidence these rulers have, even in their own people, and that many are watching for an opportunity of shaking off the yoke. The presentation which the Londoners are going to make to Casimir has been managed by Walsingham for his own interests.
Antonio Fogaza has told me something of the negotiations being carried on by this Portuguese ambassador, of which also I had heard from another quarter. He (Antonio Fogaza) has given me a letter, which I forwarded to you, saying that he gives information, and as he is in great need and trouble I am forced to beg of you to give him what help you can.
The French ambassadors were cursing Casimir, but Simier went again yesterday to see the Queen alone and afterwards visited Casimir.
The bearer of this despatch will tell you verbally why I have sent him with it. I have every confidence that he will push on, as he has been about with me very much and speaks many tongues, and I therefore beg you to favour me through him and send him back with the first despatch, as I greatly need him.—London, 27th January 1579.


  • 1. Juan de Vargas Mejia, Spanish Ambassador in France.
  • 2. Giacomo Trezzo was a celebrated Milanese sculptor and lapidary, who executed the splendid high altar and tabernacle of the cathedral of St. Lorenzo at the Escorial, and much other fine work there. The street in Madrid in which he lived and died has always been called after him, the Calle de Jacometrezo. He was between forty and fifty years of age at the time this letter was written.
  • 3. Daniel Rogers, son of John Rogers the Martyr. He is said to have been "the most accomplished gentleman of that time, a very good man and excellently learned."
  • 4. Note in the handwriting of the King : "It will be well to write to Portugal about this, in order that they may see to it. Write to him (Mendoza) also to endeavour to discover who wrote from here about it." Alexander Farnese, prince of Parma, had married Marie of Portugal in 1565 (see Calendar of State Papers, Spanish, 1558-67). On the loss of the young King Dom Sebastian, in August 1568, the aged and childless Cardinal King Henry had succeeded, and during his short reign Philip and the other claimants were busily intriguing for the succession.
  • 5. John Sturmius the famous reformer, who was Queen Elizabeth's agent at Strasburg.
  • 6. Note in the King's handwriting : "To judge from this, she cannot be so had as they said."
  • 7. Note in original : "He was condemned to them by the Holy Office."