Simancas: July 1679

Pages 681-683

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

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July 1679

6 July. 583. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In my former letter I advised your Majesty that this Queen had given leave to the Queen of Scotland to send one of her secretaries to visit her son, accompanied by an English gentleman appointed by this Queen. When they passed Berwick the English gentleman went on and told the King that the Secretary was coming to visit the Prince of Scotland. He was told that, if anyone dared to come with such a mission as that, he would either at once have his head off or expel him from the kingdom. The Council then met and ordered the Secretary to immediately return to Berwick, and would not allow him to sleep in Scotland. The visit was therefore not paid. It is understood that the whole business was settled by this Queen and Morton, to comply with the promise made to the queen of Scotland, and also to put fresh pressure on the house of Hamilton, some of the principal members of which have fled to the mountains of Argyll. Morton, in order to avenge himself upon them, has caused the King to confiscate the estates of Hamilton on the ground of idiocy and incapacity of the owner, and has proclaimed that any claimants for them should appear and make good their claims, by which means Morton and his friends think they can get rid of them all, and that they will fall into his hand without his taking up arms against them. The son of the earl of Athol professes to be much offended at the death of his father, but he has not armed to avenge him, nor have any members of his party.
The Queen is daily awaiting a reply from France to the passport granted for Alençon. The passport was given against Leicester's wish, and he is so much offended that he has retired to a house of his five miles away where the Queen has been to see him, and where she remained two days because he feigned illness. She afterwards returned secretly to London. (fn. 1) A sister of Leicester's, of whom the Queen was very fond, and to whom she had given apartments at Court, retired at the same time as her brother.— London, 6th July 1579.
26 July. 584. Bernardino de Mendoza to Zayas.
By the letter to the King you will see what passed in the audience I had with the Queen, mentioned in mine of the 17th. As she replied to me so graciously and promised me that the Spaniards (fn. 2) should leave on the first opportunity, she having charged the guild of merchants trading with Spain to entertain and lodge them, I thought it well not to press their departure until I had fresh orders, particularly as the merchants themselves assured me that they will be sent back on the first safe opportunity at their (the merchants') cost.
The 2,000 jars of alum which I said Horatio Pallavicini had sent to Germany have already been consigned to the States. I do not know whether this is to balance the old account or is a new one, but such is the need in which they are, that anything out of which even a little money may he made will be welcome to them.
An English gentleman named Morgan left this country four months ago, on the pretext that he was going to recover the wages owing to him as one of his Majesty's gentlemen, the Queen having given him license to be absent for four or five months. He returned a few days ago, saying that his Majesty had ordered him to be paid, and although I knew that he had permission to go, he did not tell me anything of his going, nor has he sent me word on his return. If the queen of Scotland wrote recommending him, I still would like to say that these people here are very fond of giving her permission to write, and by paying a little money to a servant of Walsingham, such letters are easily obtained, as the poor lady is pleased to give them rather than offend people. I suspect that Guaras's long stay in Paris was in consequence of his carrying letters from her, and, as I gathered from him here, he did himself a great deal of injury in this way.
The Commissioners appointed by the Queen, as I wrote, were in my opinion, as well as their own, so numerous that the Queen ordered that a Committee of four should be appointed to manage the affair. There is a Spaniard here who has been naturalized, and who was so good natured as to tell the Council that the action of the commission should only be with the object of allowing the proprietors or their agents, alone to claim the goods. They were very pleased to hear this and worded the reference accordingly. When the Judge of the Admiralty, (fn. 3) who is one with the Commissioners, told me this, I replied that they could not have read the terms of the agreement and the letter from his Majesty, which I had delivered to the Queen. After we had disputed the point and consulted the documents themselves, he was quite convinced, and when I sent Segasti the next day to Court about it, Walsingham told him that I had been misinformed to the effect that the commission had heen despatched. This, he said, had not been done in consequence of the absence of the man to whom the Queen had entrusted its drafting, thus glossing over the folly they had committed. This has delayed the business until the present, and as the vacations have now commenced, the matter cannot be dealt with until the middle of September.
Although I have been assured since the 6th, that Maestricht was taken on the 31st of July, I have no letter from the Prince (of Parma) nor from Juan de Vargas, by which you will see how much my correspondence has been enlivened by past remonstrance.
The Queen has ordered Simier to be lodged at Greenwich, so as to save him the trouble of going backwards and forwards. She is so constantly with him, that I am told that Leicester and Hatton are getting much annoyed.—London, 26th July 1579.


  • 1. The writer was apparently unaware of the principal reason for the breach between Leicester and the Queen, namely, the disclosure of his marriage with the countess of Essex (Lettice Knollys) by Simier.
  • 2. The letter referring to the Spaniards is missing, but they appear to have been some Galicians captured by an English ship and brought hither. As will be seen in subsequent letters, they seem to have formed very friendly relations with their captors, and were sent back to Galicia with every consideration.
  • 3. Dr. David Lewis.