Simancas: January 1587

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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'Simancas: January 1587', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) pp. 1-13. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

January 1587

1587. 2 Jan.
Estado, 949.
1. Count De Olivares to the King.
The English prior in Venice perseveres in his solicitations to Allen, saying that it would be well to endeavour to convert the Queen of England to the faith by fair means. I have told Allen not to break the thread, but to avoid pledging himself to anything until we can learn whether your Majesty desires to make use of the man, whom Allen praises as a very appropriate instrument for deceiving the Queen, whilst being himself deceived.—Rome, 2nd January 1587.
8 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1566, 22.
2. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I learn from Irun that the Huguenots have captured Pedro de Sarmiento (fn. 1) in the Landes near Bordeaux. I assured him that the way by Nantes, although longer, would be the safer, but he resolved to go by Bordeaux with an experienced courier from here who knew the road. As this will prevent him from speedily giving your Majesty an account of the Queen of England's instructions by word of mouth, I will set down the substance in writing, as he repeated them to me. The Queen told him that she greatly desired peace with your Majesty, and wished him to tell you so. The Treasurer repeated this to him, and as Sarmiento is a sensible man, he asked him in what way peace was desired, to which the Treasurer replied, that if old scores were forgotten, and your Majesty would be a good friend again, the Queen would withdraw the English from Holland and Zeeland. Sarmiento asked for this in writing, which the Treasurer said could not be given in the Queen's name, but he asked him to convey it to your Majesty verbally, and if he, Sarmiento, did not wish to follow up the negotiation, an ample passport should be given to him, so that any other person your Majesty might wish to send about it could come to England freely. Sarmiento carries this passport with him.
He had several conversations with Walter Raleigh, the Queen's favourite, and signified to him how wise it would be for him to offer his services to your Majesty, as the Queen's favour to him could not last long. He said if he (Raleigh) would really look after your Majesty's interests in that country, apart from the direct reward he would receive, your Majesty's support, when occasion arose, might prevent him from falling. Raleigh (fn. 2) accepted the advice, and asked Sarmiento to inform your Majesty of his willingness, if your Majesty would accept his services, to oppose Don Antonio's attempts, and to prevent the sailing of expeditions from England. He would, moreover, send a large ship of his own, heavily armed, to Lisbon, and sell it for your Majesty's service for the sum of 5,000 crowns. In order that he might learn whether your Majesty would accept his services, he gave Sarmiento a countersign, and wrote to a nephew of his who is here (i.e., in Paris) learning the language, telling him that the moment I gave him any letter from Sarmiento he was to start with it for England. I let him (the nephew) know that Sarmiento had been taken by Huguenots, and he replied that he would instantly go to England and tell the Queen and Raleigh, who, he was sure, would write to the Prince of Bearn asking that he should be set at liberty. I greatly approved of this, as it will be the easiest and cheapest way of getting Sarmiento out of prison, and he is a person who can render great service to your Majesty in the Indies, which country he knows well. (fn. 3) —Paris, 8th January 1587.
10 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1566, 26. French.
3. Charles Arundell to Secretary Idiaquez.
Your natural humanity, joined to the special kindness you have so frankly extended to me, make me wonder how God can have designed to bless me with such a friendship in these fickle times, when honour is commonly neglected by persons otherwise estimable. I know, however, from past experience how greatly you are my well wisher, and it would be superfluous for me to ask you for other new proofs of your favour, as it would equally be to profess my obligation to his Catholic Majesty, in whose service I will never fail, as it is of all things in the world that to which I am most attached, body and soul. I doubt not that Don Bernardino's letters will have reported as much of me, since all the important news he receives from England come through me, and none else. (fn. 4) He has promised to tell you this, and you will thus learn, as well as from the letters I have written to Englefield, how valuable my services are, and how necessary it is that I should be able to continue them, as I would unless failure of means through non-payment to me of the King's allowance should force me to leave this place. (fn. 5) As I am the sole source of any trustworthy information furnished in the King's interest, I must frankly avow that my state cannot endure either the reduction already made in my allowance, the delay in the payment of it in future, nor the deduction made here by way of tax. I only complain of it to say that in your hands alone lies the remedy for these shortcomings. If no remedy be found, affairs will very shortly change for the worse in such a way that it will be impossible for me to conduct them as they have hitherto been conducted. I would go to Spain at once only that I fear to importune his Majesty too much, and feel that I should be unable to perform any adequate service there. I can assure you that the honours and favours which his Majesty has bestowed upon me have been so conspicuous that they have been the means of bringing many persons of quality to correspond with me ; but, on the other hand, they have greatly increased my expenses, and have, indeed, plunged me into an infinity of disasters. I beg you will maturely consider what my position must be, unsupported by the pension promised to me. My will is good, as you know ; pray consider it so, and allow me to employ it effectually. Signed Charles Arundell. —Paris, 10th January 1587.
12 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 27.
4. Advices from England.
The Scottish ambassadors (fn. 6) with a great company of Scots will arrive to-night. It is not known where they will be lodged.
It is said that the earl of Leicester will not return to Flanders, but that lord Grey, who was Governor of Ireland, will go in his place. (fn. 7) This, however, is not yet certain.
M. de Belièvre is leaving for France.
There is not much talk now of hastily arming ships, but Drake is slowly repairing some of his vessels.
17 Jan.
Estado, 949.
5. Count De Olivares to the King.
Since I last wrote to your Majesty about England I have discovered that the archbishop of Glasgow, the Pagets, and the rest of their party which is trying to help the queen of Scotland separately from Allen (with objects which I explained to your Majesty in the statement I sent on 26th October by the archbishop of Cambrai), have endeavoured to place the Queen's interests in the hands of cardinal Mondovi. (fn. 8) I asked the latter confidentially about it, and he told me frankly what was going on, expressing his willingness to address the Pope on matters of State, which they all avoid doing. I encouraged him, and told him that in the course of the negotiations he might find opportunities of serving your Majesty. I thought best thus to keep this door open, in order that I might learn what was being done, and direct matters in your Majesty's interest with all necessary caution. It was therefore agreed that the Cardinal should accept the commission and act as I should desire, giving me advice of all that passed.
I began to undeceive him with regard to the ideas they have put into his head about the King (of Scotland), and the hopes that he (the King) will change his course. My views of the matter will have been confirmed by the news the Cardinal has since received, that the King was trying to arrange that the son of his favourite, the duke of Lennox, should stand next in succession to the Crown, and marry a daughter of the heretic head of the house of Hamilton ; the succession being secured to this daughter by means of murder and forced renunciations.
This is an atrocious thing, and it is, besides, quite monstrous that a man of the King's age should be so far from the idea that he will have children of his own as to arrange for the succession of others.
They (i.e., the archbishop of Glasgow, the Pagets, etc.) are asking the Cardinal to beg the Pope to send the Scotch Carthusian friar, who was bishop of Dunblane, (fn. 9) and is now here, with a brief from his Holiness to the king of Scotland, exhorting him to adhere to the Catholic faith ; and the bishop is to be instructed to bring back news of the disposition in which he finds the King. The Cardinal intended to petition the Pope to this effect, hoping that his Holiness would accede to the request, as the bishop offered to pay his own expenses. I told the Cardinal that this was not a task to be entrusted to a person upon whom so little dependence could be placed, and recommended that he should manage to have it given to the jesuit, Edmund Hayhoe, who is known to him, and is a person of weight, even if they still desired to send the friar as well. The jesuit concurs in the opinion that the King (of Scotland) will never be a Catholic or a good King, and adheres to those who made the proposals contained in my letter to your Majesty of 10th August. I can, therefore, through Melino (fn. 10), arrange for him to write what may be considered convenient.
The news of the movement of troops in Sicily, etc. is giving rise to continued suspicion here of the "enterprise." The Pope has not mentioned the matter further to me, nor I to him. He has already 500,000 crowns towards the million, but he tells Juan Agustin Pinelo (fn. 11) that he does not wish to touch that sum for the contribution. Pinelo can find the money, for he is clever at it. He does not care how.—Rome, 17th January 1587.
18 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 28.
6. Sampson's Advices from England.
Two months since some letters were brought from Portugal for Don Antonio by a man of 35 or 40 years of age named Lucas Suarez. He came disguised as a beggar, and as such, he says, he came to my door to ask for alms, which I ordered to be given to him, and spoke to him myself.
Three other Portuguese have also brought letters from Portugal. One of them, called Augustin Ferreira, was a servant of Duarte de Castro. The others are named Manuel Luis and Joao Pereja Pastrana, from the neighbourhood of Lisbon. These three came by way of Toulouse. The duke de Joyeuse welcomed them, and made them come hither (i.e., to Paris) with his household, when he gave them 50 crowns to carry them over to England.
24 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 31.
7. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I had to see the King about a Dunkirk ship that had been seized at Havre de Grace and I took the opportunity of informing him of the arrest of Pedro de Sarmiento, begging him to write and have him set at liberty. He said he would write and ask his mother to use her influence with the Prince of Bearn about it. I pressed that this should be done with all the weight that his authority could give it ; whereupon he said he wished to God I could make those of the "religion" (i.e., the Huguenots) give him up. These words really moved me to pity to see the state in which the King confessed himself to be, for they meant that the Prince of Bearn and the Huguenots had taken Sarmiento as their own prisoner, and would not give him up except in exchange for M. de Teligny the son of M. de La Noue. They say they found on him (Sarmiento) a great quantity of papers and descriptions on parchment of English ports, which are in truth the marine charts of the Straits of Magellan, and plans of the cities which he had settled there by orders of your Majesty. The papers they mention are the instructions he carried to that effect, which he showed me when he was here, the English pirates having taken them from him and Master Raleigh restored them.—Paris, 24th January 1587.
24 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 32.
8. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
With regard to England, I have to report that the officers of this King (i.e., of France) state that the ambassadors sent by the king of Scotland to see the queen of England about his mother, had told the Queen that if she made any change in her treatment of the queen of Scotland, he would open the back door of her kingdom to the person who was for ever pressing him to do so, and would place so many foreigners in England as should make her repent having forfeited his friendship (fn. 12). The news, however, is not true ; because the last letters from England, dated 14th instant, report the arrival of the ambassadors only the previous day, and that Belièvre was leaving, so that no audience had been granted to the ambassadors up to that time. M. de Belièvre is expected here to-morrow, and one of the gentlemen who accompanied him, and has already arrived in Paris, says that the queen of England had, in consideration of the request of this King, granted the life of the queen of Scotland ; but without pledging herself not to proceed to extremities with her if she continues plotting as she has hitherto done. It was understood that she was to be brought to the Tower of London, and no person was allowed to speak to her, except through two gratings, like a nun ; and at so great a distance from her that it was necessary to speak very loudly, so that every word should be heard by others. She is treated with the same severity in all things. She was allowed to choose two women to cook her food, to ensure her against being poisoned. I send these particulars to your Majesty, because there is positive confirmation of their truth, and I can depend upon them. The certainty is that the Queen (of Scotland) is in a castle called Framingen (Fotheringay) in the county of Northampton, that they have taken down the mourning hangings from her rooms, which are now hung with tapestry again, but they have not restored her canopy. My informant up to the 14th instant did not know what arrangements in future would be made for her custody and household, nor whether she would be kept at the same castle. The seizures of English property in Rouen by the king of France continue, and part of the merchandise has been ordered to be sold to recoup the robberies which have been committed by Englishmen against the French.—Paris, 24th January 1587.
24 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 33.
9. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
With regard to the queen of Scotland I can only say for certain that Charles Arundell tells me the English ambassador showed him a letter from the Lord Treasurer saying that M. de Belièvre had not shown signs of being so clever a man as was expected in this negotiation ; and that unless some friend there had enlightened him (by which Cecil evidently indicates himself) he would have given even less satisfaction to the Queen. He was advised to ask for a private audience without the presence of the resident ambassador, and he did so ; being closeted with the Queen, who was only accompanied by four persons, and consequently what passed at the interview was not known but that he (Cecil?) assured him (Stafford?) that the queen of Scotland's life would be spared, although she would be kept so close that she would not be able to carry on her plots as hitherto. This is what I have always assured your Majesty was desired by the queen of England, as well as by the king of France and his mother, namely, that the queen of Scotland should be kept in close confinement.
Cecil also says that although he had constantly shown himself openly against the queen of Scotland, the earl of Leicester and secretary Walsingham, his enemies, had tried to set the Queen against him by saying that he was more devoted to the queen of Scotland than anyone. But she had seen certain papers in his coffers which had told greatly against Leicester, and the Queen had told the latter and Walsingham that they were a pair of knaves, and she saw plainly now that, owing to her not having taken the advice of certain good and loyal subjects of hers, she was in peril of losing her throne and her life by having burdened herself with a war which she was unable to sustain or carry on. She said if she had done her duty as a Queen she should have had them both hanged.
Cecil also informs this ambassador (fn. 13) (who is a creature of his and deeply in his confidence) that the Prince of Bearn had written to the Queen, saying that the duchess of Guise was aware of certain of his (or her) private affairs which could not possibly have reached her except through this ambassador (Stafford) ; and Leicester and Walsingham had taken the opportunity of attacking him (Cecil) again, but that he had undeceived the Queen about it. He says this is a fine way for Bearn to repay him for all the favours he has done him. Charles Arundell tells me that Stafford flew into a terrible rage at this, and swore he would never be satisfied until he had been revenged on Bearn and the other too, no matter by what means ; and that now was the time for your Majesty to make use of him (Stafford) if you wished any service done. He pressed Arundell to ascertain from your Majesty in what way he might serve you, and you should see by his acts how willing he was to do so. This was with reference to my request on many occasions to Arundell that he would press the ambassador to enter frankly into relations with me. His answer was, that he himself was quite willing to trust me, but the Queen was so much set against me that it would be most unadvisable. I caused Arundell to tell him that your Majesty had been informed of his resolution ; and that, in consequence of it, you had had a cipher sent to Arundell, by means of which he might advise your Majesty direct of what Arundell said. By this device the ambassador has been led to communicate to Arundell everything he learns, under the conviction that not a word reaches my ears. This ambassador is much pressed for money, and even if he had not made such an offer as this, his poverty is reason enough to expect from him any service, if he saw it was to be remunerated. To this must be added also that he is a creature of Cecil's, who, as your Majesty perceives, preserves in his breast an attachment to the cause of the queen of Scotland, and is not sorry that your Majesty should learn that he is not of the same opinion as his mistress in taking the Netherlands under her protection. I beg your Majesty to instruct me how I am to tell Arundell to reply to the ambassador. If we are to continue negotiations with him, he is so poor that a good present must be given to him. The ambassador has told Arundell to write to your Majesty assuring you on his word of honour that no naval force is at present being equipped in England, and that not a ship will be fitted out there of which he will not send full and timely advice.
Just as I was about to sign this, Charles Arundell has come in to tell me that the ambassador sent for him in a great hurry last night (as I had caused Arundell to say he was writing to Spain), to inform him that a secretary of Lord Admiral Howard, his brother-in-law, had just arrived here from England to treat of a business of which your Majesty must be apprised instantly. Don Antonio recently had shown to the Queen fresh letters from Portugal, assuring him that if he appeared on the coast with a fleet, eight thousand men would immediately join his standard ; and Leicester and Walsingham with Lord Howard had persuaded the Queen that she should on no account miss such an opportunity of troubling your Majesty, as otherwise she would not be safe in her own country. She had therefore been induced by them to advance to Don Antonio three years of his pension of 2,000l. a year, as well as 18,000 sun crowns, four of her own ships, five of the largest merchantmen in England, two smaller ones, and thirty armed flyboats and canal boats from Holland and Zeeland, which Leicester had arranged that the rebels there should provide. They are to come fully armed and victualled, and they would be ready in ten days to put into any English port the Queen might order. This secretary comes hither to give to the ambassador a verbal account of it, and to ascertain from him whether the French Huguenots can arm three or four great ships to join this fleet and accompany Don Antonio to Portugal. It was to be kept extremely secret, and the ambassador replied that, if the Queen wanted Huguenot ships, the secret would come out immediately, as they would be sure to talk about it ; which he thought was the best way to prevent them from asking for ships here. The secretary said that if such were the case his orders were not to proceed further on that point.
The ambassador told Arundell to advise your Majesty of this instantly, which he said would serve as a sample and hansel of his goodwill ; and within a fortnight or three weeks he would report whether the despatch of the fleet was being persisted in, together with the exact number of ships, men, stores and all other details of the project. He said that, although the professed destination was Portugal, it appeared to him that such a force was totally inadequate to deal with that country, so that he thought if the business was carried into effect, it would be rather for the islands or the Indies.
As it is so very important that your Majesty should have prompt advice of such armaments, although the ambassador appears ready enough to give intelligence on that, or any other point in your Majesty's interest, it will nevertheless be advisable to send him 2,000 crowns with which to buy a jewel. The money can be given to him as an earnest, and with the promise that his services shall be adequately rewarded.
Zeal for your Majesty also impels me to say that it will be well to consider whether, in the case of the Englishwoman taking this step (which, as your Majesty will recollect, I foretold), she should not be assailed on the Scotch side. The taking of Brille by the duke of Parma in the way I suggested should also be kept in view, as that captain who made the offer is so willing and sincere in the matter. (fn. 14) It is certain that until the Englishwoman is made to play a game in which her own pieces are at stake she will always find opportunities of retarding a direct invasion of her country with a powerful armada by your Majesty. The news of this is so current that not a letter comes from Spain that is not full of the great preparations that are being made for the armada. This makes the Englishwoman careful not to denude her own coast of ships, desirable as she may consider it to trouble your Majesty. Most of the vessels of this fleet of Don Antonio's are accordingly from the Netherlands.—Paris, 24th January 1587.
24 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 36.
10. Bernardino De Mendoza to Secretary Idiaquez.
Encloses a petition for a worthy English gentleman named Dr. Nicholas Wendon, whom he is particularly desirous of serving, knowing him to be truly zealous in the service of God and his Majesty. He was formerly provost of St. Gery, in Cambrai, and the duke of Parma, at the intercession of the writer and of Juan Bautista De Tassis, granted him an allowance of 20 crowns a month. This was more than a year ago, but he has not received anything on account of the pension yet, owing to the many pressing demands in Flanders. Dr. Wendon therefore humbly begs his Majesty to grant him such an allowance payable here. He is clergyman of advanced age, great personal worth and virtue, a great jurist, and is afflicted with deafness. Begs Idiaquez to favour the petitioner and put him on the same footing as the other English gentlemen receiving allowances.—Paris, 24th January 1587.
The original petition of Dr. Wendon, referred to in the above letter, is in the Paris Archives, K 1566. 55.
27 Jan.
Estado 949.
11. Count De Olivares to the King.
We have received news here of the great danger which threatens the queen of Scotland. In my interview with his Holiness he expressed an opinion that the king of France would exert his influence with the queen of England to save her life. I replied that it was most important that this should be done, and unless the King (of France) secretly worked in an opposite direction, I had no doubt that she would escape (death). I said if she was sacrificed he (the Pope) might be quite certain that it would be by the knowledge and consent of the king of France, as it was most unlikely that, depending as she did entirely upon him to save her from his Holiness and your Majesty, the Queen of England would venture to offend him in so important a matter. He admitted this.
With regard to the question of peace, I told him (i.e., the Pope) that although I did not withdraw what I had said in undertaking the "enterprise" on your Majesty's behalf, yet it was always understood that your Majesty acted under the supposition that France should not be in a position to interfere. His reply showed that he remained firm in his disapproval of peace being made. (fn. 15)
Allen and Melino have written to me. They are well informed of affairs there (in England?) and moreover are spurred on by necessity, which is a hard driver. They therefore find in everything that happens a fresh reason for saying that the appropriate moment has arrived, both for the main business and for the elevation of Allen, and they look upon every hour's delay as a great evil. And it is quite true that failing the queen of Scots, or if she remains in her present condition, which comes to the same thing, it is the more necessary for them (the English Catholics) to have some great personage upon whom they may fix their eyes and hopes, and who may console them and prevent them from giving way to despair.— Rome, 27th January 1587.
28 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1448. 97.
12. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
By the letter from the duke of Parma, and your own, I am informed of your opinions with regard to Robert Bruce's affair. (fn. 16) Your remarks thereupon are very apposite. I always considered the matter of importance, and every day makes it appear more so, provided, however, that it is taken in hand at the proper time and not undertaken out of season. It is therefore advisable that the three personages should be kept in hand and encouraged to expect the aid they require ; (fn. 17) but as the necessary forces are not now readily at hand, and for other reasons which you yourself will foreshadow, they must not be rash but must hold firm until they are advised that the time has arrived. They must be pledged to take up arms, and fulfil their promise as soon as the word is given to them. You will direct your efforts to this end. The only thing that may make it necessary to vary this course is the pension which you say the queen of England has offered them, threatening to have them expelled the country if they refused to accept it. This may make it impossible for them to delay their rising, and I have referred the point to the duke of Parma, so that after he has discussed the matter with you he may decide whether it will be well, if they are pressed thus, to allow them to feign to be in agreement with the English until the hour has arrived for successful action. Their conscience and honour will be intact, because it will always be licit for them to separate from their company, and their action will be looked upon with approval by all right-thinking persons. In order to gain time you may write at once to the duke of Parma, giving him your opinion ; but of course it is understood that if the three personages can be kept in their present position without drawing closer to the English, even feignedly, it will be best, and the other alternative is only mentioned in the case of their being forced to a declaration before the aid is ready for them, and to prevent them from losing heart and giving way altogether if such an event should occur. You who are so well versed in the matter will consider it, and let me know what is done.
I also note the three services offered by George Vibrant (Birnstra), and two of them, at all events, are of the highest importance, particularly that about (the surrender of) Brille, if the place can be held afterwards, in which the principal difficulty lies. The only thing that could be done was to send the man and his proposals to the duke of Parma, and he will doubtless act for the best. I have written, telling him that I approve of the suggestion, and that he is to carry it forward.
You did well also in advising the Duke of the good disposition of the Irishman, Colonel Stanley, now in Holland, in order that it may be seen whether anything can be done through his means. As for Antony Pointz, who you say has arrived in Paris from here, and was going to Flanders, passing through England, you must look out that he does not deceive us. Advise the Duke, as we do from here, to keep a sharp eye upon him, and proceed with great caution in all that concerns him, as a very bad opinion was held of him here by all the most trustworthy English catholics. So that care must be taken that he play us no trick, even if no good be got from him.— Madrid, 28th January 1587.
28 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1448. 99.
13. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
I am grieved, as you may imagine, at the trouble in which the queen of Scotland was ; and her valour and deep Christian feeling only increase my sorrow. I trust God will have helped her, as he always does help His own people in times of such affliction. If they have not made away with her, but still keep her in prison, it will perhaps be advisable to try to prevent them from going any further, by whispering somehow to the English ambassadors in France, that, failing her, I have the best right to succeed to the crown of England. If you think the fear of this will make the Englishwoman less ready to strike, you may try it, but otherwise it had better be kept quiet.
As you say, it is probable that Belièvre's instructions on the mission to England were not confined to his intercession for the queen of Scotland, and it is of great importance that we should know what they agreed upon. You will, therefore, make great efforts to get at this, and if you succeed report to me the fullest particulars. It cannot fail to have reached either the Scots ambassador or Muzio, (fn. 18) or some others from whom you may learn it. If they (the English and French) have entered into an alliance try to discover the conditions of mutual aid, and all other particulars. When we first heard of Drake's going to Holland, we thought it could be with no other intention than that which you now mention, of seeking some ships to augment their naval strength. Although hulks are not considered fitting ships for the Indian voyage, the other designs nearer home attributed to them, (fn. 19) will hardly be attempted. Still I shall he glad to learn how this matter of the Dutch ships ends ; and also about the rebel deputies who, you say, have gone to England with the earl of Leicester. Above all, I wish to know whether Drake was granted the license he requested, what ships are being fitted out, their strength, and what is their alleged destination. To discover this you will employ such sources of information as are left to you, as it is evident by the recent news you send that you still have some profitable ones. Do your best to keep them, and gain others. It is most important that I should have the earliest possible information.
Pedro Sarmiento has not arrived. He was stopped on the road and taken to Mont de Marsan, where he now is, in the hands of men belonging to the prince of Bearn. If he arrives here, which by indirect means we are trying to arrange, we will hear what message he brings from there (i.e., England), although we know how little we can trust them (the English). If any means occurs to you to get Sarmiento released, please try it.
The two letters in Portuguese you send have been noted. In order not to imperil Antonio de Vega in England, you did well in preventing Montesinos from coming hither. (fn. 20) We have understood the matter just as well through you, whilst avoiding the danger. You may correspond confidentially with Vega, and if he is in any doubt about my grace and pardon reaching him through Portugal, you may assure him of it, and of reward commensurate with his service. Don Juan de Idiaquez will answer about Montesino.— Madrid, 28th January, 1587.
28 Jan.
Paris Archives, K. 1448. 101.
14. Secretary Idiaquez to Bernardino De Mendoza.
The two letters from Antonio de Vega were received. The longer of the two, which came under cover to Geronimo Lopez Sapayo, contains the following words in effect :—"My uncle (fn. 21) is accompanied by very few people, and, if it be wished, the bearer can be spoken to about something which he will explain. He may be implicitly trusted." The uncle is Don Antonio, and the bearer Montesinos, and it appears to be suggested that this anxiety should be put an end to once for all. This may be done without scruple, as Don Antonio is a rebel, and as such, and for the crimes he has committed, he has been condemned to death, first by ecclesiastical judges, by virtue of a brief from the Pope, and subsequently by civil judges in due form of law, after the matter had been well discussed and decided by theologians, as you are aware. You will, therefore, thank Montesinos for the other information, and afterwards, as if on your own account, introduce this topic ; which you may say you know Antonio de Vega has suggested to us here, and has intimated that it may be discussed with him (Montesinos). If you find him the man for it, you will tell him to get it done at once, and will suggest that if he can do it by giving him a mouthful of something it would be less dangerous to the people concerned than if it were done by steel. If he undertakes the task you may promise him, after it is done, a sum sufficient to tempt him, not exceeding 25,000 ducats, or even up to 30,000. You know how important it is, and I need not urge you to advise me of all that is done. I will conclude this letter by saying that we all have souls ; and a very saintly and learned man has said that we do worthily by acting as we are ordered. This is the reason why I write this, and why you must carry it out. Antonio de Vega's other points will be dealt with elsewhere. In the meanwhile you will encourage him, and forward the principal one.—Madrid, 28th January 1587.
Note.—In a letter from the King to Mendoza of the same date as the above, on French affairs, he rejoices at the news conveyed in Mendoza's letters of 8th and 24th January, that hopes were entertained that the queen of Scotland's life was safe. He is in great anxiety about her.


  • 1. Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, the founder and governor of the Spanish settlement in Patagonia, had been captured by one of Raleigh's ships on his voyage to Spain. He had been kept in England for some time, and had been approached by some of Elizabeth's Councillors with suggestions for a peaceful settlement between the two countries. After an interview with the Queen, he was sent to Spain with instructions to submit informally to Philip certain proposals for peace. See Volume III. of this Calendar.
  • 2. Against Raleigh's name in this letter the King has written, "I thought this was the man who someone told me was dead, but it cannot be true, as the news does not come in the letter."
  • 3. In a letter of same date from Mendoza to Idiaquez, the former says that the Huguenots are saying they will only let Sarmiento go in exchange for the son of M. de la Noue. Greatly regrets Sarmiento's misfortune, as he seemed a zealous, honest gentleman. He insisted upon going by that road against advice.
  • 4. Charles Arundell appears to have been the intermediary between Mendoza and Sir Edward Stafford, the English Ambassador in France, who, as is proved in the last and present volumes of this Calendar, was secretly in the pay of Spain.
  • 5. It will be seen by reference to page 690 of Volume 3 of this Calendar that nine months' pension, at 80 crowns a month, were owing to him at this time.
  • 6. The Master of Grey and Sir Robert Melvil.
  • 7. Lord Grey of Wilton. He was one of the judges of Mary Stuart, and in the following February also took an active part in the trial of secretary Davison. On the 11th June 1587 he earnestly entreated Elizabeth not to send him to Flanders.—Hatfield papers, vol. 3.
  • 8. This was the party of Guise, and the Scots who were unwilling that Spanish influence should become paramount in England and Scotland. Their plan was to convert James VI., forcibly or otherwise, to Catholicism without making him a tool of Spain. It will be seen in the correspondence that Allen and the jesuit party (and subsequently the archbishop of Glasgow) were brought to the Spanish view by various means. Most of the English Catholic refugees being in the pay of Philip, and averse to a Scottish king, also espoused the Spanish cause, whilst the Guises, the Scottish refugees, and the Pagets were opposed to it. Cardinal Mondovi had charge of Scottish affairs at the Vatican, He affected to be on the Spanish side, but his sympathies were really with the Scots.
  • 9. Chisholm, the titular bishop of Dunblane, who was a Carthusian monk.
  • 10. Father Melino was the agent of the Guises at the Vatican, but had been gained by the Spaniards.
  • 11. Giovanni Agostino Pinelli, the Pope's banker.
  • 12. Whatever may have been the tone of the Master of Grey's public utterances to Elizabeth, it is known that privately he expressed no objection to the execution of Mary. Camden says that he frequently used the expression "Mortua non mordet"—The dead bite not.
  • 13. Sir Edward Stafford.
  • 14. Captain Vibrant Birnstra's offer to betray Brille.
  • 15. That is to say an arrangement between Henry III. and the Huguenots.
  • 16. See correspondence in Vol. III. of this Calendar.
  • 17. Namely the earls of Huntly and Morton and Lord Claude Hamilton, who had requested Philip's armed assistance to raise a Catholic revolution in Scotland. Philip's intention was only to use them as a diversion when his invasion of England was to be attempted.
  • 18. This was the cipher name of the duke of Guise.
  • 19. The invasion of Portugal in the interests of Don Antonio. The real design, of course, was the surprise and attack upon Cadiz.
  • 20. Antonio de Vega was a Portuguese spy in Spanish pay attached to the Portuguese Pretender, Don Antonio. He had sent one of the brothers Montesinos to Spain with proposals to murder Don Antonio. Montesinos had been stopped in Paris by Mendosa, but Vega's letters had been forwarded to Philip. See Vol. III., page 378. It will be seen by the following letter from the King's secretary, Idiaquez, that Philip accepted Vega's offer to have Don Antonio put out of the way in England.
  • 21. Vega always referred to Don Antonio as his uncle.