Simancas: January 1569

Pages 94-106

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 1569

1569. 7 Jan. 69. The King to Guerau De Spes.
You already have notice of the bearer, Juan Ochoa de Mongina, as he says that on his way from Flanders he was captured in the Channel by Englishmen, who plundered him of his children and goods ; he escaping, came hither to seek redress, for which purpose he is now returning with a letter from me to the duke of Alba and the present letter to you. I request you to help him in every way to recover the said children, and all, or part of, the property of which he was robbed, helping him in his claims on every occasion, both because they are just and because he himself is my subject and a kinsman of those who have served me well.—El Pardo, 7th January 1569.
8 Jan. 70. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The Queen has taken possession of the boxes of money brought by Lope de la Sierra's ship and 64 boxes from the cutters in Plymouth. She is going to do the same with the other two cutters in Falmouth, notwithstanding her promise and letters, besides the passport she gave. The duke of Alba has ordered all English ships and property to be seized, and informs me thereof in his letter of the 29th ultimo, which was brought by a special courier, who, however, was careless, as with him came four others dispatched by the English. They arrived here on the 3rd at 11 at night, and immediately thereafter the ordinary post with letters of mine and others was stopped. They also tried to raise the mob against foreigners, but the aldermen and constables acted well and took possession of the streets, so that the matter has ended in the seizure of property of Flemish and other subjects of your Majesty. All the Spaniards came to my house at night, where most of them still remain. The ports are closed and orders have been issued that no post-horses are to be given to anyone. Cecil was here during the disturbances and returned next day to Hampton Court, where councils are still being held, but nothing yet has been said to me. The Queen was much upset when she heard of the affair. I meant to have sent a servant of mine to her yesterday with a letter, but I thought better to wait and see what they would do. I will try to find means to write to the Duke that he may arrange that my letters may be sent to Dunkirk or the Sluys, whither I will send for them.
Your Majesty might also order letters to be sent through the French ambassador here, upon whom and his countrymen no embargo has yet been placed. It is true that it would be greatly to the Christian King's advantage to stop English trade so as to bring them to reason, and also that he should, in union with your Majesty, show favour to the Catholics, but, in any case, he should not take it in bad part if your Majesty does so. In the meanwhile, many means will be found to bring this country to its senses and convert it to the Catholic faith. Those who have spoken to me about a rising for the queen of Scotland will not fail to return to the subject, and I will inform the Duke, as ordered by your Majesty. Pray your Majesty do not consider me or my safety but take the best course for your Majesty's interests, as I am ready to suffer any danger or trouble most willingly in such a service. I have burnt all the drafts of my letters and everything else in writing that might be dangerous. The cipher is in safe keeping. These heretic knaves of the Council are going headlong to perdition, incited by Cecil, who is indescribably crazy in his zeal for heresy. The Duke is in Brussels and the prince of Orange on his way to Germany by the Bar country. Ambassadors have been sent from here to him and the Palatine. I have a person in the Council who will report all that is decided and I will inform your Majesty.
The sloops that these pirates have taken are four, with a Spanish ship, all very valuable. They (the English Government) have also seized the property of Portuguese. I send this enclosed in a letter from the French ambassador, with a letter for the Duke and another for Don Francés de Alava, and yesterday I sent almost a duplicate by a man who promised to carry it to the Sluys. The day before yesterday, Twelfth day, on the pretext of asking for a letter of mine which they had seized, I sent to Court with the intention of giving Cecil a letter for the Queen if the time appeared opportune. My man found him in such a rage against the duke of Alba that he left him with the contempt he deserves. As to my letter, Cecil said he had it not, but they have really sent for one Somers to decipher it, which will not be such an easy job. They are in consultation every day and I do not know how it will end. The French ambassador told me that they would put guards over me, but, in any case, when orders from the Duke arrive and this first disturbance is pacified, something can be settled greatly in the service of God, which seems, under the circumstances, very necessary.
The day before yesterday the servant I sent to the queen of Scotland returned, and under a pretext I saw him. What she tells him is that Dulin (Alleyn?), Cecil's secretary, who is greatly in his confidence, goes occasionally to inspect the guard, and, in conversation with one of the principal persons there, no doubt Chamberlain Knollys, or the captain of the guard (for the queen of Scotland, although she would not name him, said that he was still in the house), speaking of our success in Flanders and the bad position of the new religion, Dulin (Alleyn?) consoled his interlocutor by saying that the greatest enemy they had was your Majesty, and that if it were not for you, their religion would greatly prosper. He then went on to say that they had therefore agreed that your Majesty should be poisoned by the hands of the Flemings, and the event would take place before many months are over. These knaves frequently spread news of your Majesty's death. God give you long life and prosperity, so needful to afflicted Christianity. The queen of Scotland says that she will arrange for the bishop of Ross to discover the details of the plot through a friend if possible. She certainly seems a lady of great spirit and gains so many friends where she is that with little help she would be able to get this kingdom into her hands. I will await the Duke's orders to know whether I am to speak to the queen of England, and, if the time is not favourable, I will speak to her when she is in a tamer mood. She is fitting out four more ships as well as the twelve belonging to the corsairs.
The Earl of Northumberland came to see me, disguised, at four o'clock in the morning and is ready to serve your Majesty. I sent a post yesterday to the Duke by an Englishman who has secret communication with Flanders and enclosed him the decree published yesterday, which in some particulars is false, as I will more fully inform your Majesty, and also an answer which I propose to send. I am informed that they are very divided in the Council ; some wish the money to be returned, and others that it should be, kept. I do not fail to complain greatly of this treatment to the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Arundel, and the other members, although they throw the blame on Cecil, who also has sent me a message as harsh as usual. I now send to beg an audience and will discuss the matter with both sides to see what will be the best way to get this money back.
At midnight last night the bishop of Ross came to offer the good will of his mistress and of many gentlemen of this country, and I have reported this to the Duke. We have also agreed that he shall make use of a great friend of his, a Protestant and a companion of Dulin (Alleyn?), Cecil's servant, in order to find out particulars of the conspiracy to injure your Majesty's person.
The queen of Scotland told my servant to convey to me the following words :—"Tell the ambassador that, if his master will help me, I shall be queen of England in three months, and mass shall be said all over the country."
The four Queen's ships have left the river. The men in them are poor creatures. There are about 17 or 18 pirates'ships altogether.
In the part of Ireland opposite Scotland there has been a rising, and the castle of Dombibres (?) has been taken and its keeper killed.
Since writing the above, to-day the 8th instant, the servant I sent to Court reports that he requested the Chamberlain to ask for audience of the Queen, and he entered for the purpose. He came out very downcast, and told the servant that she said she had sent two of her Council to me, and they would tell me what I had to do. Before my servant arrived the Admiral and Cecil, accompanied by by a large train and most of the aldermen of the city, came to my house this afternoon at three o'clock. The Admiral began to speak, but Cecil interrupted him and spoke of the rigour of the duke of Alba, dwelling with great anger upon the seizure of Englishmen and their property. He said I was greatly to blame for it in having sent the statements I had, and he had to request, in the Queen's name, that I should not leave the house. They dismissed all my Catholic servants, except one, to go on errands, and they ordered that no Spaniard should leave the house. They took the names of all of them, and placed in possession of the house Matthew (Henry?) Knollys, brother of the man who is the keeper of the queen of Scotland. (fn. 1) They have also lodged Arthur Carew and Lord Knyvett and some others in the house, that they may inspect me and all those whose names are on the list, three times a day. I replied to them that, as to giving advices to the duke of Alba of events here, particularly as to the money, it was my duty to do so, and it is true that I sent a courier as soon as I learnt that they had taken the money from the ship at Southampton. I had also sent a servant of mine when I received the reply of the Queen, and in the meantime the Duke had done his duty also. Cecil retorted furiously that I had ordered it to be done. (fn. 2) I said the Duke could order me and not I him, and that my orders would not be obeyed in Flanders. He said that he had not forgotten your Majesty's severity with the English ambassador in refusing to receive him. It would be a long task to write all the impertinences that Cecil said, for he is quite blinded by his heresy. From what I can see they will not return the money, and, as for the rest, although I have not much liberty, I will do my best. Your Majesty should be informed that they are preparing for a great war by land and sea, and it will be well for us to be prepared. Be assured that in your service I will endure any hardship. I have sent my draft reply to the proclamation to the Duke.
The letter of mine which they seized from the ordinary courier they will not return, but are trying to decipher it. I do not think they will do it so easily as they think, although all the letters for your Majesty and the Duke are in the general cipher.
They have not asked to see my papers in the house, but if they did they would get little from them. There was a courier here on his way from Flanders to Spain who was able to get away in the confusion of these people's visit to the house, but only with one letter from me to the Duke, as he is returning to Flanders. I have many letters for Spain which he could not take, but I hope he will arrive safely. When these guards about me are fixed, I shall perhaps find some means of sending my letters. Letters may be written to me through the French ambassador, and the Duke will devise some way of sending.—London, 8th January 1569.
10 Jan.
B.M. Cotton, Galba, C. III. Original.
71. (Intercepted Letter.) Guerau De Spes to the Duke of Alba.
As I am authorized by Secretary Cecil to write this to your Excellency, I wish to inform you that I sent on the 8th inst. to request audience of the Queen and to endeavour to inform some of the Council. I received a reply that the Queen would send certain persons to me with the answer, and, accordingly, Cecil and the Admiral came on the same day to my lodging. The Admiral said a few not unamiable words, and Cecil many and harsh, blaming your Excellency and myself most arrogantly for what had passed. He took a list of my servants, rigorously forbidding any of them to leave the house except one Englishman. He also refused to allow anyone to come and visit me and vapoured about religion and the mass, dragged up the matter of John Man and about Bishop Quadra's affairs ; and, in short, did and said a thousand impertinent things. He thinks he is dealing with Englishmen, who all tremble before him. I told him that what your Excellency ordered, you yourself would account for, and that the matter of the restitution of the goods and money seized here would have to be settled in Flanders.
This question of the money does not suit him. I beg your Excellency not to refrain on my account from doing everything that the interests and dignity of the King demand ; for, whilst Cecil rules, I do not believe there will ever be lasting peace. It is a pity that so excellent a Queen should give credit to so scandalous a person as this. God send a remedy, for in this country, people great and small are discontented with the Government. Pray your Excellency have this conveyed to his Majesty quickly. He (Cecil) is having a proclamation drawn up from which he leaves out what is most important, and mis-states the case. He says that I agreed with the Queen to return for an answer, which is false, as her Majesty said she would send it to me in four days. I have drawn up an answer for your approval.
He refused to return my packet, and these folks are getting a certain Somers to decipher the letters. If he succeeds I will pardon him.—London, 10th January 1569. (fn. 3)
Guerau De Spes.
71A. Copy of the Proclamation and Justification of the Queen of England "Respecting the Detention of the Money being sent to Spain."
Her Majesty has heard that the Duke of Alba, governor of the States of Flanders for her brother the King of Spain, had suddenly ordered the detention of all merchants and other subjects of Her Majesty in the city of Antwerp, and had placed guards of soldiers over them and had sequestrated all their property on the 29th December last, and that, after some days, the same course had been taken generally in all parts of the States, which is a strange and unheard of thing for the house of Burgundy to do to the Crown of England, since this detention has been carried out without any attempt to confer or agree as to the intentions of the two Sovereigns.
In view of this Her Majesty has thought fit to inform all her subjects who have any connection with the dominions of the King of Spain, that it is her will that they should not continue to trade therewith until the intentions and designs of the King are known and the reason of this treatment understood, whereafter Her Majesty will direct her subjects as to what course of action they should pursue.
In the meanwhile Her Majesty commands all and every, her justices and officials within her towns, cities, ports, and other places under her government, to take steps to detain and arrest with all their goods, chattels, and ships, all subjects born in the dominions of the King of Spain, in order that they may be held as security and pledges for the damages and loss received, without just or apparent cause, by the subjects of Her Majesty, and for other reasons which may appear.
In addition to this, any merchants born or living under the allegiance of the King of Spain, who may be found in towns, ports, or other places under suspicion of hiding or disguise, or in any manner of fraud in order to prevent the detention of themselves and their goods, shall be called to account by the officers of justice of such places with the help of all justices of the peace, who shall inquire and examine the said merchants by all legitimate methods and cast them into prison, no matter to what nation they belong, including all those who may abet or help to hide those who practice such fraud (always excepting those who may have made prior confession) and especially those who may have concealed such persons or their property.
Her Majesty having also learnt from trustworthy sources that it was the intention to detain her subjects beyond the sea, under the pretext that the Queen had detained in one of her ports a certain ship and three or four small boats in which were certain sums of money, her Majesty thinks fit to declare briefly the facts of the case, by which it will be seen that the detention of her subjects was unjust and without due cause.
An officer of Her Majesty in a port in the west part of England advised the arrival from Spain of three or four small boats called cutters bringing a quantity of money belonging to certain Italian merchants, and to other persons in the States of Flanders, and, as on the coast there were many armed French ships of war on the watch for these cutters, in order to capture them when they sailed, and it was even feared that they would venture to enter the ports themselves for the purpose of seizing the vessels, her Majesty at once sent orders, together with special letters, to all the western ports that the merchants and masters of such vessels should be informed of this, and that the Governors of those parts should aid and favour these merchants and other subjects of the king of Spain and protect them against the attacks of the said Frenchmen by all means in their power.
The Spanish ambassador subsequently asked that new orders should be given for the defence of these vessels and the treasure against the French, and this was granted, certain letters being given to him with this object and delivered to his own messengers.
Shortly afterwards, her Majesty was requested to express her will upon the matter as to whether she would allow the owners of this money to convey it either by land or sea as far as Dover, the ambassador representing it to belong to his master. Her Majesty replied that she should allow either of these things to be done, and the ambassador thanked her greatly for her permission, saying that he would await the orders of the Duke of Alba to know which course should be adopted in carrying the money. In the meanwhile the Queen received information that the French had secretly entered by night into a port on the western coast and had endeavoured to capture the treasure by force, but that the efforts of her subjects and the measures taken to defend the ships forced the Frenchmen to retire. This fact is known in all the neighbouring ports, and the Queen herself gave an account of it to the Spanish ambassador.
Having regard to this, and seeing the heavy cost and great efforts necessary to defend the said treasure in the ports, her Majesty decided, in the interests of her own authority, that the money should be landed and put into safe keeping, in the presence of those who had charge of it, and without in any way diminishing their hold upon it.
At this time the Queen learnt that the money was the property of certain merchants, and decided that it was not unreasonable nor opposed to the bonos mores of sovereigns in their own country that, after defending this money from the perils of the sea, she should negotiate with the owners thereof with their full consent and contentment, and not otherwise, for borrowing from them all or part of it upon such security and conditions as those upon which her Majesty has frequently raised loans from merchants subject to the king of Spain, as other sovereigns have done in similar cases, and exactly as she herself had done in the case of another ship near Southampton loaded with wool, and carrying certain moneys which were in danger of capture by the French, who had made great offers to her Majesty's officers to refrain from defending it. Her Majesty thereupon sent orders to the Governor of the Isle of Wight to secure the ship and defend it against the French, landing the money, otherwise it is certain the French would have captured it within four-and-twenty hours. This money also was found to belong to merchants.
Whilst this was passing, the Spanish ambassador came to the Queen with a short letter of credence on the 29th December, demanding that the vessels and money under detention should be disembargoed, on the pretence that they belonged to the King. Her Majesty replied that, if they did belong to the King, she had done him a great favour in defending them against the French, and certain efforts with this object made by her officers were related to him. She then told him that she heard that all the property belonged to merchants, and that she would discover the truth of this shortly, and could assure him that she would do nothing to to displease her good brother the King in the matter, all of which she would prove to him on his return in five or six days. With this the ambassador left, apparently quite satisfied with the reply.
Shortly afterwards, the Queen received a reply from the west country and wished to satisfy the ambassador, as she had agreed to do, not only as to the disembargoing of the ships and treasure, but also as to the fulfilment of her promise to give a safe conduct by land or sea for the money, at the choice of the ambassador.
Before she saw the ambassador, however, she learnt that all the ships, goods, and merchandize of her subjects were embargoed and seized in Antwerp on the 29th December, the same day as that upon which the Ambassador had been with her, so that it is clear that, notwithstanding the many assurances she had tried to give to him on that day, her own subjects and their property had already been seized at the time. Her Majesty therefore leaves to the judgment of the public whether the pretext above-mentioned was sufficient to excuse a detention and embargo so sudden, so violent, and so general, carried out in such a way and at such a time as it was ; and she leaves also to public opinion the decision upon whom the blame should be laid for the evils which may result, her Majesty having no intention of displeasing the king of Spain, and less still to take possession of anything belonging to his subjects against their will or except under the just and usual conditions afore-mentioned. And her Majesty has thought fit to publish this as testimony of her sincerity and as a defence of her actions, whatever they may be, resulting from the provocation given to her.
71B. Copy of a Document docketted : "Don Guerau de Spes, knight of the order of Calatrava, member of the Council of his Majesty, and ambassador to the Queen of England, to all those to whom these presents may come, health and love."
Inasmuch as in the name of the Queen of England a printed proclamation, dated the 6th January, has been published in the city of London casting blame upon the duke of Alba for having made a general seizure of the persons and property of English subjects in the Netherlands ; in order that the blamelessness of his Excellency may be made clear, and that the truth may be known, we hereby declare that, on the 23rd of November, we were advised that certain vessels had arrived in the west country from Spain with money which his Majesty was sending to Flanders for the payment of his army, and that these ships were in some peril from the French and English pirates who jointly plundered all ships, French, Spanish, Flemish, and others. We therefore resolved to ask audience of the Queen, which was granted on the 29th November, and we then requested that, in accord with the alliance and friendship between the King and her, she would order our ships to be protected in her ports and give a passport, if necessary, to bring the money overland to Dover, or else lend some ships, at our cost, to convoy this money safely to Antwerp. All this was graciously granted by her Majesty, and was communicated to the Duke who was then in Cambray, occupied in finally expelling the rebels from those States. Before his reply was received it was learned that Courtney and Herhem (Hawkins ?), two English pirates, jointly with some Frenchmen, had captured three Flemish sloops and a Spanish ship carrying rich cargoes, and had brought them into the port of Plymouth and elsewhere on that coast and had divided and sold their booty. At the same time, in the ports themselves, the ships were attacked by the pirates and by persons on land. Seeing that these pirates went publicly about the country and had friends in the Court, we gave an account of the matter to the earl of Leicester and the honourable master William Cecil, principal Secretary of State to the Queen, both important members of her Council. This was on the 12th December, and they were informed of the great evils which might arise from allowing such piracies to continue, against public peace and the friendship and alliance between the two countries, and at the same time we begged audience of the Queen, which was granted on the 14th. On the same day, the 12th, her Majesty signed the passport for all this money to come either overland or by sea with all security. This being confirmed in the audience of the 14th personally by the Queen, who gave new and more pressing orders than before for her officers in those parts, and to William Winter, the captain of many of her ships, who was then believed to be in the west country, we despatched Pedro de Madariaga and Pedro Martinez, both resident in this city, who arrived at Southampton on the 18th ultimo, and, on the day following, presented and registered their passport. Having informed Lope de la Sierra, Captain of a ship in that port loaded with 59 boxes of money, they then proceeded on their way to Plymouth for a similar purpose, and to Falmouth to see Captain Winter. On the same day that they left Southampton, Horsey, the Governor of the Isle of Wight, and other officers of the Queen, arrived there with many boats and people in them, and, having entered the vessel of the said Lope de la Sierra. in violation of the Queen's passport and assurance, and against the will of the master, they discharged all the boxes of money and put them ashore under the charge of people of their own choosing, without allowing the said Lope de la Sierra or any of his people to assist in guarding them, of which facts Lope de la Sierra at once gave us information. On the 21st we sent a courier to the duke of Alba informing him of this action, and we were assured at the same time by many persons of position in this country that the Queen had decided to take possession of the money on the pretext that it belonged to private persons, although subjects of his Catholic Majesty. We also wrote on the same day to the Queen complaining of the grievance and begging of her to fulfil her promise, in order that the money might be placed in Antwerp, as had been ordered by her letters. We also complained that in the port of Southampton, after the officers of justice had taken possession of a ship, which the pirates had seized with its cargo, belonging to Spanish subjects, orders had been given to restore the ship to the pirates. Her Majesty had a reply sent to us in writing, and some of her ministers., repeated verbally that Her Majesty was safeguarding the money for the King, but that, since giving the passport, she had learnt that the facts were not as represented. My servants who requested audience but could get no decided answer that day nor assurance as to whether the same course had been adopted with the cutters in Plymouth and Falmouth, which, however, subsequently proved to have been the case, and that, in addition to this, the sails and rigging had been taken out of the ships. On the 23rd we again demanded audience, which was not granted until the 29th, when, with all due respect, we complained of the action which had been taken in Southampton, begging the Queen for redress, in accordance with ber promises and with reason and justice and her alliance with the King. Her Majesty very graciously replied that the landing of the money was in order the better to guard it for the King, her brother, and dwelt greatly upon the daring insolence of the pirates, all of which we accepted on our King's behalf, and thanked her greatly, promising to hold her kindness in everlasting memory. We then begged of her to lend the promised ships to convoy this money to Antwerp, which she had previously so willingly promised. Her Majesty at once resisted this, signifying that two Genoese had told her that the money did not belong to the King but to certain merchants, and that, if this was the case, she wished to retain it for her own use paying interest to the owners. We instantly replied that, in respect of our office and her obligation to believe us by virtue of the duke of Alba's letter of credence, we assured her that the money belonged to his Majesty, and was destined for the service of his army, having been brought from Spain specially to pay his troops. Here her Majesty was very hard, and quite different from what she had been in other audiences, and we were much surprised that so excellent a Queen should be persuaded by any one, at such a time, to appropriate to her own use money destined for the service of our King in Flanders, in violation of the friendship due to so great a sovereign. We therefore left this audience without further decision than that, in three or four days, she would prove to us for certain that the money belonged to private merchants, which, up to the present, she has not done. We were very ill-satisfied with this reply, and sent one of our secretaries to inform the Duke. We were also dissatisfied at the frequent conferences which are being held here with the agents of the Flemish rebels, to the prejudice, as it appears, of the ancient friendship existing with our King. The Duke, on receiving our report of the seizure of the money, together with the verbal statement of certain soldiers from Lope de la Sierra's ship, seeing so great a grievance, which is disapproved of by all persons in this country, both Catholics and otherwise, and believing that this seizure did not spring from the Queen herself but from other persons, at once ordered the seizure of the persons and property of English subjects, only pursuing therein a course which the Queen, without provocation, had already adopted, notwithstanding that his Majesty and his governors and subjects had always shown friendship and kindness to the Queen and this great country, which had received from his Catholic Majesty much favour and protection. Therefore, all this being so clear and obvious, we publish the same to the world in order to prove the entire truth and fair actions both of the duke of Alba as well as of ourselves.
11 Jan. 72. The Duke of Alba to the King.
Since my last of the 4th instant, advice has been received here that the queen of England is arresting the ships in her ports, and I have sent Councillor D'Assonleville to learn her intentions on the subject. I have thought it advisable also to write and beg your Majesty to order that no ships should leave your ports until you hear from me again, and that all English persons and property should be seized. To save time 1 have written to Don Juan de Acufia and to Don Juan Martinez de Recalde asking them to keep them in hand until your Majesty receives this letter and sends them orders. I have made a general arrest here as a consequence of the discharge, by the Queen's orders, of the money in Lope de la Sierra's ship and the cutters, and, although I cannot persuade myself that they mean to break with us, yet the entrance into English ports of any valuable ships might give the opportunity to the Queen and councillors (who are, I think, in fault) for taking further steps in the same direction.—Brussels, 11th January 1569.
12 Jan 73. The King to Guerau de Spes.
It was advisable to satisfy the Queen about John Man's affair by informing her of the result of the action of the Inquisition in the investigation of the offences attributed to him, because, by what she wrote to me by Guzman de Silva, she seemed still to want to excuse him by throwing the blame on those of her subjects who reside in my Court, who she thinks accused him. We shall be glad for you to banish this suspicion of her's and particularly that against the duke of Feria and the relatives of his wife.—Madrid, 12th January 1569.
13 Jan.
B. M. Cotton, Galba, III. Original.
74. Explanations of Guerau de Spes of the expressions used by him in the following intercepted letter to Geronimo Curiel, and also of those contained in an intercepted letter, dated 10th January 1569, from him to the Duke of Alba.
Letter to Geronimo Curiel.
"If you hear that I am detained here you need not be surprised, since the enchantments of Amadis still exist in this island, and Archelaus is still alive. Nevertheless, here I am, safe and sound a prisoner of Queen Oriana, and I have no doubt, even without the aid of Urgandae or other great effort, this all will end in a comedy."
Latin.—The explanation in the margin is that if they had known the sense in which these expressions were ordinarily used in Spain, they would have seen that they were meant to be complimentary. He is much surprised that they should take them otherwise.
French.—Touching the interpretation of the words used in the letter to the duke of Alba, saying that people both great and small were discontented with the present Government, the ordinary signification of the words in Spanish would be to indicate generally persons of all degrees, nobles and others. It is true that the Spanish language possesses figurative and hyperbolical expressions different from those of other tongues, and this particular form of speech is in common use to express some persons of every class or condition, not every one of every sort universally. It is only necessary for the words to indicate one or more person of each class to be correct. It is a great mistake to suppose that the word "great," placed as it is in contradistinction to its reverse "small," can apply to the princes, lords, or nobles of the realm, especially as the universal distribution simply implies some of all sorts. It is right to say in Latin in this sense,"minimo ad maximum"or "maximo ad minimum."—13th January 1569.
16 Jan.
B. M. Cotton, Galba, C. III. Original.
75. Guerau de Spes to the Council.
I have received a letter of the 13th instant, and am much surprised that such persons should have sent a reply to letters of mine which were not addressed to them, at all events without first understanding what they meant. When in Spanish it is desired to indicate " lords," the word "grandes" is used absolutely, whilst the expression "great and small," "grandes y pequenos," has an entirely different meaning. As you were unable to understand the terms of the language, you have also misinterpreted my familiar letter to Geronimo Curiel, which means the very opposite of what you say, as, if you choose, I will explain to you by means of persons to whom Spanish is their mother tongue. I will also prove the straightforwardness of my proceedings, and the zeal I have always displayed in preserving peace and amity between this country and the States of my sovereign, to whom I owe this duty. As the other points of your letter are also founded on the same mistaken basis, I have nothing to reply in respect to them ; but if, after you have been informed, you still think you have cause to see me, I will, as in duty bound, meet you. Leaving on one side the controversies that Secretary Cecil seems desirous of entering into with me, my expressions do not in any way refer to the lords of this country, notwithstanding which I have no doubt he (Cecil) is a good and loyal minister of the Queen, and perhaps even not my enemy.—London, 16th January 1569.
16 Jan. 76. The Duke of Alba to the King.
By the enclosed letters from me your Majesty will learn the determination of the queen of England, and that I have sent Councillor D'Assonleville to learn the reason why she has seized the money. Before he embarked from Calais he sent me a letter he had received from Don Guerau, copy of which I enclose. I send also a copy of the Queen's proclamation and a summary of D'Assonleville's letter to me, by which your Majesty will learn all there is to know on the subject. I am having drafted the reply that I think your Majesty should give, if the English apply to you in Spain, as I have no doubt they will. As far as I can judge by the proclamation, the Queen will not break with your Majesty on any consideration in the world.—Brussels, 19th January 1569.
Marginal note in the handwriting of the King : "This proclamation and the statement I have not got, thy are perhaps in the hands of Tiznach who will send them to me, or, may be, they have been sent by sea. The little note you sent me is something about alum which I will send to Tiznach as it is a matter they are discussing with the Treasury.


  • 1. The Vice-Chamberlain Sir Francis Knollys.
  • 2. i.e, The seizure of English property in the Netherlands.
  • 3. This letter is directed to the Duke of Alba in the usual form and again in the same hand to the members of the Council. It will be seen that this was subsequently a ground for grave complaint against the ambassador who, apparently incensed at the perusal of his letters by his guard, Henry Knollys, had told him to send this letter to the Council before despatching it, and, as will be seen, had himself directed it to them open. Considering the contents of the letter this was considered a very insolent proceeding.