Simancas: October 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: October 1587', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) pp. 143-159. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

October 1587

2 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1448. 142.
147. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
It is greatly to be deplored that the sect of Calvin should take root in Scotland, and that the Parliament there should issue so pernicious an order as this, especially if it was not forced from them by the English faction against the King's wish. Advise me whether now that the King has taken the revenues of his see from the archbishop of Glasgow, he still wishes to retain him there as ambassador. How does the Archbishop take it, and what does he think of the affairs of his King and country?
Julius seems to be acting excellently with you. Although I am sure that if the English propose a secret commission (fn. 1) they will receive a fitting reply, it will be well, for the purpose of proving his sincerity, for you to get to the bottom of his news respecting these and other negotiations now in hand. Your answer as to the straightforwardness with which proceedings on our side were being conducted in the matter of a settlement was a good one, and you will follow the same course on all occasions.
News about English armaments should be sent frequently, not only respecting those which are ostensibly offensive, but the defensive ones as well ; so that in any case we shall know when and how and to what strength they are raising the bulk of their fleet. Exert all your diligence in this and write to me continually.—San Lorenzo, 2nd October 1587.
2 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1448. 143.
148. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Considering the favourable account you give of Dr. Nicholas Wendon, archdeacon of Suffolk, and the need he is suffering for the sake of the Catholic religion, I have decided to grant his petition and to allow him a pension of 20 crowns a month until further orders. You will pay him this amount regularly, and credit it to your account of extraordinary expenses.
Advise the duke of Parma of the grant, so that the pension which was promised to Dr. Wendon from Flanders may be cancelled.—San Lorenzo, 4th October 1587.
2 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 69. French.
149. Robert Bruce to Bernardino De Mendoza.
A few days before I left Brittany I wrote to you the causes of our long delay there, and that after many tiresome reverses I had at last obtained a Scottish ship in which I decided to undertake the voyage. By God's grace the voyage was a fairly prosperous one, and I arrived at Lochrian in this neighbourhood the sixth day after my setting sail, the last day of August. I went to the Court where I gave an account of negotiations to the Catholic lords. They thanked God for having inspired his Catholic Majesty and his friends to help them in their righteous enterprise, whilst at the same time deeply regretting the absence of their associate the earl of Morton, and also the long delay which had occurred in my coming, which has caused the season to be too far advanced now for obtaining a number of ships, as most of them have already been taken up for the fishery and to bring merchandise hither. On the other hand, if we could get the ships it would be impossible to send them to Dantzig for wheat now, as the sea is blocked by ice in the winter. For this reason they (the Catholic lords) have decided to furnish me with a good opportunity to sound the King on the subject of your message, by offering him on behalf of his Catholic Majesty the help he might require to enable him to avenge the death of his mother. I did this, and he expressed himself strongly inclined and willing to do it. He is deeply obliged to his Majesty for so great a favour and for the discretion employed in making the suggestion to him. The Secretary, who is now Chancellor, (fn. 2) displayed a similar feeling after hearing the said message, as without him the King will do nothing ; but when the Secretary declared the matter to the Justice-Clerk, (fn. 3) who rules him completely and belongs to the English faction, and after he had read a letter from Chisholm (fn. 4) to Robert Melvil, he (the Justice-Clerk) began to cool him in the matter, on I know not what considerations of danger to their religion ; and he has now turned the King from his first fervour, and so we have failed in our project of interesting the King in our plans and, under the pretext stated, obtaining his authority to freight the ships, without divulging the ultimate object in view, which we thought by this means the more easily to effect. The King, following the advice of the Secretary (without whom he will do nothing), has decided therefore simply to write to you and to his ambassador in Paris, for the purpose of establishing an understanding through you with his Catholic Majesty and the duke of Parma. He will thereupon beg that an ambassador shall be sent to him with a good sum of money to enable him to raise troops here. It will be suggested that the ambassador should be sent under the pretext of complaining to our King of his having broken the terms of the peace concluded between the Emperor and the queen of Scotland, his mother, by sending aid to the rebel subjects of his Catholic Majesty. They will discuss with the ambassador the conditions for the sending hither of the 2,000 men, as they have deferred the matter for a year. This resolution was conveyed to me by the King himself in the presence of Mr. Fentrie, (fn. 5) although the secretary, who was the originator of it, had informed me of it two days before I heard it from the King's lips, and he told me afterwards that the King intended to make me the bearer of his decision ; little thinking that I had other work to do. I replied, however, that since he did not desire the aid to be sent so soon, it would be better to await the return of John Chisholm, and, by the light of the further information he might bring, a better resolution could be arrived at as to what might be expected and demanded. As for me, I had, I said, no ambition to be employed to the King's prejudice, and I should be glad if another person could be chosen who might be better able than I to carry out his wishes. If I were employed, he (the King) might lay himself open to the suspicion of the ministers, who were constantly preaching against him for the favour he showed to Catholics, and who have twice complained of me without grounds. By this means I have caused the King to defer sending me back, and in the meanwhile I shall have leisure to discuss with the lords the means by which they may bring hither the forces granted, since the season has passed for obtaining ships here. With this object they are to meet in six days at a place where I am to be present. I will get them to write fully their final decision, for nothing can be expected from our King whilst he is surrounded by heretics belonging, for the most part, to the faction of the queen of England, who during the last month has sent them 30,000 angels to keep them faithful to her and maintain the King on the same side.
The King himself, on account of his blind zeal for his religion, his fear of the ministers, and of losing his crown, dares not move ; and to judge by the resolution he has come to in this affair, it would seem that he and those who sway him only seek to draw matters out and apply the money requested, either to their own uses, or to fortify themselves both against the Catholics and against the foreign troops, whom they distrust, apparently, as they ask for so few, and then only after a large sum of money has been sent to them sufficient to raise six times their number of native troops. Some of the Catholic lords, and especially the earl of Huntly, have tried to induce the King to ask for aid at once, pointing out by many arguments his present need and danger, and the goodwill of his friends to come to his aid ; which goodwill may be dissipated by his coolness or a change of circumstances if he delays too long. The small effect produced upon him and those who rule him by these arguments proves plainly that they have made up their minds to ask for help with the real intention of declining it. The Catholic lords are therefore of opinion that John Chisholm should be sent back, bearing on behalf of his Catholic Majesty the proposals I have made in general terms to the King in accordance with your instructions ; namely, that help shall be furnished him if he will duly ask for it, and sincerely seek the friendship of so great a sovereign. They also think that if there are means for obtaining ships on the coast of France, Flanders, or elsewhere, the forces promised to the earl of Morton there should be sent hither as soon as they can be got together ; and they (the Catholic lords) will hold themselves in readiness to receive them at Petty Leith, if they are informed about the time when they may arrive. But if this cannot be done until the ships be sent from here, they pray that the forces may be ready by the spring, and they will freight the ships as they return hither, to send them to Denmark for wheat and then to Dunkirk as was previously arranged. They would be very glad, however, if ships could be obtained on the other side, as they fear that the freighting of so many ships here might arouse suspicion of some enterprise being afoot, and cause the detention of all ships arriving thereafter.
I will take care of what I have in charge, (fn. 6) either to freight ships in the spring, unless means be found for sending the aid before then, or to be disposed of otherwise as you may instruct. After my meeting with the lords I will write at length their decision. With regard to your request about a seaport, I may say that we have not yet permission to transport wheat from here, and this causes Bailly (fn. 7) still to be detained here. This letter will serve for you and the duke of Parma.—2nd October (1587).
2 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 64.
150. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As I previously wrote to your Majesty, I was informed from Scotland that Captain Forster was at Petty Leith with five ships bound for Denmark. To make sure, I got the Scots ambassador to ask a Scotsman who had come hither, through Ireland, for a description of this Captain Forster. He said he was a one-eyed man, which our Forster is not, so the news is evidently false. This has since been confirmed by my having received a letter from Robert Bruce written at Landereau, Lower Brittany, on the 28th August. He says he has set sail several times, but what with pirates and foul weather, has always been driven back to Brittany again. He had now, however, good hopes of being able to effect the voyage, and was to embark on the following day in a Scottish ship. It may well be believed that God ordained that he should be so long delayed, for if he had gone to Scotland at once, and returned to Dunkirk as arranged, in the middle of August, the Duke of Parma would not have had the men ready, and the whole design would have been discovered by the enemy when the ships appeared there. —Paris, 2nd October 1587.
2 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 65.
151. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Encloses duplicate of letter, 5th August, giving an account of his dealing with Friar Diego Carlos in accordance with the King's instructions of 6th July. Has lately seen the friar, who said he had letters from Don Antonio and read some cipher lines from them, to the effect that he, Don Antonio, notes that Don Bernardino's instructions (i.e. to negotiate) had arrived, and wonders whether they have more force than previous ones. The friar therefore presses Mendoza to inform him how far his instructions extend. The writer parries this by saying that, when Don Antonio set forth his proposals, he would see whether the instructions were sufficient for their acceptance or not. The friar tries to draw him into a discussion, to discover the extent of his powers, whereupon the writer tells him that he (the writer) is too old for him to tirer les vers du nez, as the French say, in this way, particularly seeing the position assumed by Don Antonio after the writer had obtained the King's permission to listen to him on his assurance that Don Antonio was desirous of submitting to the King, although he (the writer) was suspicious of it from the first. He declines to enter into particulars, and to allow Don Antonio to represent to the English and French that the King is willing to come to terms with him. The friar said he (the writer) was very hard, and he could not believe the King would now refuse to Don Antonio the terms he previously offered. Don Antonio had peremptorily recalled the friar, who feared that if Don Antonio had changed his mind he might keep him in England by force, whereas if he did not go the negotiations must fall through. He asks the writer's advice as to how he should act. The writer declines to give it, or to advance him the money he requests, whereupon the friar decides to go to England and has great hope of successfully carrying through the negotiation. The letters recalling the friar did not come by Sampson's hand, but must have been brought by special messenger. Don Antonio writes hopefully to his people here, but Sampson says it is nothing but groundless ideas that the English are putting into his head.
In addition to the information supplied by Julius from England, the writer receives letters from the servant of a merchant there, and an English priest, who must be remunerated, as also must Barlemont who has gone thither. Gaspar Diaz Montesinos and his brother are also being maintained here to receive Antonio de Vega's letters, which is too heavy a cost, and too many people for the business. Begs for instructions as to what he shall do with Montesinos and his brother, and whether he shall keep up the correspondence with the priest and the Frenchman now Barlemont is in England. Antonio de Vega sends the enclosed news from England dated 13th September. —Paris, 2nd October 1587.
Note.—In some rough notes (Paris Archives, K. 1565. 59) for the reply from the King to the above letter the importance of having full reports from England is emphatically repeated, and especially of keeping many different agents there unknown to each other. Montesinos is to be kept in Paris, and Mendoza is to use his own discretion as to dismissing some of the other correspondents. His action with regard to the friar, Diego Carlos, is fully approved of.
2 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 66.
152. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Belièvre and Secretary Pinart have seen the English ambassador to discuss the question of the robberies on both sides, and they came to an agreement that mutual restitution should take place. It is easy to set down on paper, but difficult to effect. With regard to armaments, there is nothing new except that the Queen has now ready for sea 30 ships (12 of her own and 18 merchantmen), most of which are at Plymouth, and the rest at Southampton and at the foreland at the mouth of the Thames. The 2,500 men who are to go in this fleet have been raised in the counties of Hampshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire. The seven Queen's ships which I said Captain Frobisher had taken out, are cruising in the Channel about Dunkirk, but as they cannot get in shore, in consequence of the shoals, they are not producing much effect. I am assured of this by the new confidant, and it is confirmed by my other advices. I cannot learn that the Hollanders are arming ships, although Don Antonio's people declare that the rebels had promised Diego Botello 12 vessels for his service.
I understand that statements have been laid before this King and his mother, saying that with the reinforcements your Majesty is sending from Italy to the duke of Parma, the latter will always be able, when the weather serves, to throw as many troops as he pleases into the English ports within 6 or 8 hours, in despite of England and France, as the wind that will take him thither will prevent the others from opposing him.
Whilst I was signing this I received advices from England, dated 26th ultimo, confirming what I have said about armaments, and reporting that Drake was at Court—13 miles from London. The Queen had appointed Master Riche of her chamber to be Vice-Chamberlain and Keeper of the Privy Purse, as she had sent Lord Hunsdon to Berwick and it was necessary for someone at Court to perform the duties of the office. They had nearly concluded the arrangement with Horatio Pallavicini and other merchants about the spices brought by the ship from India and captured by Drake. They are offering about 300,000 crowns for them.
The new confidant assures me that the letters of the 26th ultimo make no mention at all of armaments, and there is not so much apprehension as before of your Majesty's fleet.—Paris, 2nd October 1587.
2 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 67.
153. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Julius informs me that by letters written to the ambassador, dated 25th ultimo, he is informed that the reason for the delay in despatching the commissioners from the queen of England to Flanders was the receipt of two letters from the earl of Leicester saying that the negotiation would only have the effect of imperilling his life, and that of all other Englishmen there, who were hated by the rebel States, and the latter, however much the Queen might wish it, did not desire to come to an agreement with your Majesty ; but in such case would instantly try to make terms secretly for themselves, which would give rise to greater difficulties than ever. Notwithstanding this step of the earl of Leicester's, however, the Queen was determined to continue the negotiations. They instruct the ambassador to use every effort to persuade this King to make peace with the Huguenots, and to offer him any terms he wishes if he will join (the queen of England) against your Majesty, who, they say, is the common enemy of both crowns, and it is necessary for them to check your power. They press this with many arguments. Belièvre and Secretary Pinart, being informed that the ambassador wished to see them in consequence of a despatch which he had received, went to his house, which is a proof of how gracious they wish to be to him, as it is an unusual thing for them to do. They discussed the matter mentioned in one of my other letters about England ; and Belièvre spoke to the ambassador respecting the settlement of a peace here (in France), whereupon the ambassador replied that he had something to tell him about it, and they agreed to meet again in two days to enter into the matter at their leisure. I suspect that Belièvre wanted to gain time to learn further about the question, and see the result which was produced by the going of the King to the prince of Bearn. This view is confirmed by the proposed interview with the ambassador being postponed by Belièvre. Julius also informs me that the 12,000 crowns now in the ambassador's hands, out of the 100,000 sent to him by the Queen to give to Bearn and others, are to be employed expressly in aiding the prince of Conti and Count Soissons. But, as the ambassador is overwhelmed with debt, he has spent the money. (fn. 8) As it is some time since the queen of England gave any money to Soissons, and then only 5,000 crowns, which he spent on horses for which he has a fancy, it is probable that this King will have helped him to pay for the troops he has recently raised, as he has no other means of getting money, although he declares he has received it from the queen of England. Julius says that the reason why Walsingham has urged that the ambassador should be ordered to give Soissons these 12,000 crowns is that the Queen should discover that he had spent them, and so he might be disgraced and dismissed from here, as Walsingham is his enemy, although the Queen thinks well of him. Walsingham had, therefore, written to him in the Queen's name, saying that for the next four or five months, until the result of the present negotiations in France was known, he was to defer taking leave, and must not think of returning to England. This has been managed by the Treasurer, in compliance with the request which I advised Julius to make to him on the matter. In the meanwhile Julius hopes that the garb in England will be so changed that he may be avenged on Walsingham. So far as I can judge, he is most careful in advising your Majesty of what occurs.— Paris, 2nd October 1587.
9 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 72.
154. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The only thing I have to report from England is that the Queen has dismissed Sir John Forster from the post of guardian of one of the three Scotch marches. He is a great heretic, and when the Scots entered his Government, burning and sacking, he did them no harm. The Queen has given the post to Lord Hunsdon. The king of Scotland had sent the Earl Marischal to Denmark to negotiate his marriage with the King's daughter. Don Antonio has sent to Diego Botello in Holland summoning him to England. There is no talk of armaments either in Holland or England, beyond what I reported in my last. There has been a rumour here that your Majesty's fleet had arrived in Scotland, and the Queen-Mother has been making great efforts to discover the truth of it, she having sent a person expressly to England to ascertain.—Paris, 9th October 1587.
17 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 78. Portuguese.
155. Document headed "Advices from London of 17th October 1587, new style." (fn. 9)
By a master of the household of the French ambassador, I wrote last on the 12th September. I have now to report that they are assured here that the king of Spain had raised a fleet of 130 sail to send to this country, and that in the last audience you had with the king of France, you told him that as soon as the marquis of Santa Cruz's fleet joined the other, they would come and attack this country (England). In order to ascertain the truth of this they sent two light tenders (pataches) from here to learn what was being done in Lisbon, where it was said the fleets were to rendezvous. One of these tenders got as far up as between the tower of St. Gian and that of Belem, where it remained for a night ; but as they could find no one with whom they could speak, they sailed out and returned up the river by the next tide. They then fell in with a fishing boat, the master of which they captured, and brought him home with them. He says that there were 80 sail ready in all, awaiting the return of the Marquis' fleet, and that it was asserted that the destination of the united fleet was to be this country. They have now sent another tender to try to land a man who may see the preparations for himself, and give them full particulars. It will be necessary to send instructions at once for them to keep a watch upon all vessels between the said two towers. Ships very frequently lie there, either on their way in or out of the river, waiting for wind or tide. They have decided to land their man at the beacon near our Lady of Cano, and return for him in four days. All ships have been arrested, and the whole of the Queen's ships are being made ready. Lord Hunston, the Lord Chamberlain, has gone to Berwick on the Scotch border, taking with him a present for the king of Scotland if he will accept it, and money to corrupt some of his officers. Orders are given for the borders to be manned, and the people are to be forced to form companies and drill on feast days. They are very sorry now they did not send Drake back to the islands with more ships, as they thought that those that remained would be strong enough to disperse the fleet commanded by the marquis of Santa Cruz. They were also influenced in not sending him back by the talk of peace negotiations.
On the 7th instant they say they received a letter from the duke of Parma, saying that he had a reply from his Majesty, and that the commissioners might now be sent ; and that as regards past occurrences ladies were always entitled to some consideration. They have, therefore, decided to send the commissioners in a week. I wrote to this effect on the 12th instant by a Venetian ship which has been stopped in the Downs ; but since the return of the tender from Lisbon, the idea of their going is cooled. The earl of Leicester has sent back hither 22 companies of Englishmen to garrison the fortresses I have already mentioned, and I expect he himself will be back before long, for he was on worse terms with the States than ever. Botello was busy about 9 out of the 12 ships they had promised him to go to the Mina, as they will not spend money in sending ships to the islands, from whence they say they will get no return. Although the Earl (of Leicester) had written to a merchant saying that these ships shall not go in the service of Don Antonio, it will be well to advise the people at the Mina to be on the watch, and not to trust a certain Alfonso Diaz who was formerly there as interpreter, and went to France in the year 1582 with a letter for Don Antonio from Captain Vasco Pimentel, and who is to go with these ships to the Mina.
Some of the ships of Drake's fleet that remained at the islands have returned, bringing with them three prizes ; a ship from Santo Domingo, one from Brazil, and one from Cape de Verde. They say they engaged a ship of the fleet and sank her, and bring with them 13 Spaniards of the crew whom they saved, and who are now in Southampton. They boast most inordinately of their prowess ; and their intention is, if it should be true that a fleet of ours should come hither, to go out with a strong force of ships, meet it at sea, and give it battle. They are so proud that they say one of their ships is worth three of ours, and that they will destroy a fleet of 300 sail of ours with 60 sail of theirs. On the 13th they sent a clerk of the Council to the king of Denmark to inform him of what is going on, and to point out how he was being deceived after they had chosen him as the arbitrator in the peace negotiations. Please instruct me what you consider it necessary that I should do, as I was told to send news by every possible means.—London, 17th October 1587.
23 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 81.
156. Document headed—"Advices from Zeeland, 23rd October 1587."
The earl of Leicester has been making great efforts to call the States together, and banish from their minds the suspicion that the queen of England was trying to come to terms with his Majesty without their consent. With this object the Queen has sent two deputies to Leyden to give an account to the States, and to assure them that she will not enter into any peace negotiations with his Majesty without informing them thereof. They have therefore agreed that the States shall meet at Haarlem, to consider upon what conditions it would be advisable to base any discussions as to a peace with his Majesty.
The earl of Leicester was at the Hague, and proclamation had again been made in the towns that he was to be obeyed as the queen of England's general.
News comes from Denmark that the King had sent out seven large and three small ships of his to Flanders and the English Channel. On their arrival there they are to open sealed orders, the purport of which is not known.
24 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 85.
157. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The servants of the queen of Scotland, as I wrote to your Majesty, have arrived here from England. Her apothecary handed me a letter written in the Queen's own hand, a copy of which I send to your Majesty, and also the verbal statement which the apothecary was ordered to convey to me, in company with Miss Curle, one of her ladies. The latter had private instructions from the Queen (as the latter says in the margin of her letter to hand me the keepsake from the Queen, a diamond ring worth 200 crowns, and to say that, as she was going to execution, she again enjoined her (Miss Curle) to assure me, if she found me in Paris, that she (the Queen) died confessing the Catholic faith, and with the same determination as she had before intimated to me, to renounce all her claims to the three crowns of the islands in your Majesty's favour, unless her son were a Catholic ; and this she ratified in her dying hour. She also desired to supplicate your Majesty to try by every means to bring her son to the Catholic religion ; and then she (Miss Curle) added the rest of the message that had been brought by the apothecary. She said that a fortnight before the Queen's death she had seen the confession of the Scottish secretary, Gilbert Curle, and had given a certificate, written with her own band, to the effect that he had behaved as a good and loyal subject. This certificate I have seen. I understand the reason why the Queen did not give the message about her claims (to the English Crown) to the apothecary, is because he is a Frenchman, and she thought these ladies, Mistresses Curle and Kennedy, who attended her at the last moments, had a right to her confidence. In order to make it up to the apothecary, she charged him with the conveyance of the diamond ring for your Majesty, which he has banded to me, and asked me to retain it until the receipt of your Majesty's orders as to whether he is to carry it to you or not, as it would not be safe in his bands here. It is a table diamond which cost 850 crowns, and was the best jewel she had. By sending it the poor lady showed how much she was attached to your Majesty's interests She has sent keepsakes to the king of France, the Queen-Mother, the Queen, and all her relatives ; but they are mere trifles. I beg your Majesty to instruct me what I am to say to the apothecary, and what I shall do with the diamond. The Queen assured him (the apothecary) and the two ladies, who belong to good Scottish houses, that your Majesty would show them some favour for her sake, and they assure me that, until I learn your Majesty's pleasure, they will not return to Scotland. It is so worthy of your Majesty's magnanimity and greatness to extend your favour to the apothecary and these two ladies, and to Secretary Curle, since the queen of Scotland begged your Majesty so earnestly to do so in her last agony, that I add my own prayers to the same effect. Of the debts she mentions, I myself was witness that Charles Arundell gave her the 2,000 crowns at my request when I was in England more than six years ago. They were paid over in cash in my house to a person appointed by the Queen to receive the money. The 3,000 crowns owing to Charles Paget she mentions in a memorandum in the form of a will. Both I and her ambassador were aware of the debt two years ago.—Paris, 24th October 1587.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 60. Document headed—"Statement which Gorion, the apothecary of the queen of Scotland, was ordered to make to me" (i.e., Bernardino de Mendoza) "on behalf of the said Queen."
Lord Buckhurst having told the queen of Scotland from the queen of England that the latter and her Parliament had condemned her to death, and Amias Paulet having taken away her canopy on the ground that she was now nothing more than a private woman, the Queen retired to her apartment for the night. She then asked Gorion the apothecary whether he would remain as faithful to her after her death as he had been during her life, and he replied that he would, even at the cost of his own life. In consequence of this, and the trust she had reposed in him, she told him that she wished to write to a banker who was known to her ambassador, the bishop of Glasgow ; Gorion asked her where this banker was, and she told him in Paris, and his name was Don Bernardino de Mendoza. Gorion replied that he was the Spanish ambassador, who had frequently been mentioned by those who came to examine her. After this the Queen asked him if he could find means to hide the letter so that no living soul should see it. He replied that he could, as he would undo some of his drugs and put the paper amongst them, and the letter would thus pass secretly. This he did after the letter had been handed to him. (fn. 10) She also told him to convey certain things verbally to the said ambassador with Miss Curle, her lady-in-waiting, whereupon Gorion said that perhaps the ambassador would not credit them. The Queen replied that she had asked him to do so in her letter, and for greater certainty they were to give as a countersign the message that when the said ambassador was in England he had sent her some Spanish dressed gloves. He would give entire credit to anyone who conveyed this message from her to him. They were to tell him, first, how cruelly Amias Paulet had treated her ; secondly, that your Majesty had promised a sum of money for obtaining her release, and her ambassador had advised her that he had already 4,000 crowns of it in his possession. She prayed your Majesty to order Charles Paget to be paid out of this money 3,000 crowns she owed him, 2,000 to Charles Arundell, and 1,000 to the person who would be mentioned by the archbishop of Glasgow and Thomas Morgan. She very earnestly prayed that your Majesty would do this, as she believed that if these debts were not discharged her conscience would suffer thereby. She enjoined them to tell Charles Paget and Arundell that she had assigned the payment of the debts to them. Thirdly, she ordered them (i.e., Gorion and Miss Curle) to beg the ambassador to commend to the King her poor servants who had suffered by her side in prison, and particularly those who had been most loyal, such as Miss Kennedy, Miss Curle, and the said apothecary Gorion. Fourthly, they were to ask the ambassador to assure the King, his master, of the friendship and affection she had always borne him and would do so to the end. Fifthly, she commended to him (i.e., the king of Spain) her good cousin the duke of Guise, and her relatives in France, to whom she hoped he would give good counsel. Sixthly, she begged the ambassador to commend to the King the archbishop of Glasgow, and the bishop of Ross, her faithful servants, whom she hoped he would reward for their services, since God denied her life to do so herself. She also commended her Scottish secretary, Gilbert Curle, unless it was discovered that he had confessed anything he should not have done ; he having been the only person she had trusted to write on the various matters which had passed between her and the ministers of the king of Spain. Seventhly, she begged him (the ambassador) to pray his master, in her name, to continue the pensions to the English Catholics, such as the earl of Westmoreland, Lord Paget, Charles Arundell, Charles Paget, Thomas Throgmorton, Thomas Morgan, Ralph Ligons, &c. The night before she died the Queen asked Gorion if he did not find Don Bernardino de Mendoza in France what he would do with the letter ; Gorion replied that he would go and seek him in Spain or elsewhere, and the Queen said that for this promise she would give him a diamond ring to deliver to the king of Spain as a last keepsake and remembrance of the friendship she had borne him, and as a pledge that she died in the Roman Catholic religion, begging him to grant these last petitions of hers now that she was so near to her death. These petitions were that he (the King) should have her soul prayed for in the Spanish churches, and would establish in some of them a pious foundation in her memory where God might be prayed to for her ; that the King would help her son, and endeavour by every possible means to convert him to the Catholic faith in which he was baptised, marrying him with the countenance of his Holiness, as she had always wished. She hoped that the King would, notwithstanding her death, persevere in the English enterprise, as the quarrel was in the cause of God, and was worthy of being maintained by so Catholic a King.
She again commended to him her cousin, the good duke of Guise, whom she prayed he would help with counsel and support in defence of God and the Catholic faith, and since the King had granted that sum of money for the liberation of her body, she begged him now to apply it to her soul, by ordering the debts she had mentioned to be paid. She also commended to him again the archbishop of Glasgow, the bishop of Ross, and the other three persons mentioned in her letter, as also the English pensioners and English Catholics in general ; and enjoined his Majesty, on the day that he made himself master of England, to recollect how she had been treated by Treasurer Cecil, the earl of Leicester, Secretary Walsingham, the earl of Huntingdon, Amias Paulet and Waad, and she warned his Majesty that there were two cardinals in Rome who were in agreement with the queen of England.
24 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 84.
158. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I answer in this letter your Majesty's inquiries relative to the archbishop of Glasgow and the bishop of Ross. Having regard to the understanding which exists between the former and Muzio (i.e., of the duke of Guise), I consider him a very desirable person to act in these matters, and also in Scotch affairs, since the lords have acted through him and Muzio from the first. I have always found him much devoted to your Majesty's interests, but as he is now nearly 70 years of age, and cannot stir from here owing to his office as ambassador, he will not be a so convenient instrument, if it be necessary to deal with the Scots, as the bishop of Ross, who is more learned and younger than the ambassador. He is very much more active in his habits, and the queen of Scotland therefore employed him in many of her affairs. I have found him also to be much devoted to the interests of your Majesty, and since the Queen's death he has expressed to me a desire to go to Spain and offer his services to your Majesty. I have delayed his going hitherto by saying that it would be well for him to learn first whether the king of Scotland would consent to his going to his diocese, as he had restored him thereto. He recently went to the Netherlands, and I gave him a letter of recommendation to the duke of Parma, to whom he represented how destitute he was left now that he had lost the pension paid to him by the queen of Scotland, and expressed his desire to serve your Majesty. The duke of Parma, therefore, granted him an allowance of 50 crowns from the army chest. On the representation also of Don Juan de Zuñiga, your Majesty's former ambassador in Rome, you granted the bishop 300 crowns out of the revenues of one of the bishoprics. If your Majesty could increase this allowance to a sum sufficient for his maintenance it would pledge him entirely to your Majesty's interests, to which, as I say, he is already much attached.
The bishop of Dunblane is the Carthusian friar who has been here for the last three or four months awaiting a brother of his. During that period he has been in close communication with me about Scotch affairs, and has now gone to Scotland, by order of his Holiness, accompanied by Father Creighton, the Scotch priest who came from Rome. He told me that he was going for the purpose of speaking, if possible, with the King, and to ascertain whether he is desirous of becoming reconciled to the Catholic religion, of which, up to the present, he certainly shows small signs. The good friar, however, who belongs to a high family, hopes that his kinsmen will continue to obtain for him access to the King, who, he thinks, will listen to him more willingly than to another, judging that, as he is a friar, he cannot be influenced by any motives of self-interest. He, like the archbishop of Glasgow and the bishop of Ross, is striving for the conversion of the King. They are like mothers, who, although they see their children do ill, continue to hope for their amendment ; and they (the bishops) say, that as no one has spoken to the King yet on religious matters, it is no wonder that his eyes should still remain closed to the truth, considering the error in which he has been brought up. In the course of conversation I have conveyed to the friar what I have considered it would be most conducive to the interests of the Catholic religion and your Majesty's service to lay before the King. He is thoroughly imbued with this, and is convinced that, if the Catholics do not kill those belonging to the English faction and liberate the King, nothing good will be effected. As regards the King's conversion, I consider the worst sign to be the small hope which his mother entertained of it. Curle, her Scotch secretary, tells me that when he was leaving London his father-in-law came from Scotland to see him, and in conversation he asked him about the King's conversion, when his father-in-law replied that they would never see his Majesty a Catholic. Curle also informs me that when the queen of Scotland learnt of the alliance her son had formed with the queen of England, through the Master of Grey, and that her son had written a letter to the queen of England (who sent her a copy of it), saying that he approved of all that Grey had done, she (the queen of Scotland) was much grieved thereat, and told Curle that all her hope of her son's conversion had now vanished. She then knelt before an image and declared that if her son were not a Catholic she would at once lay her curse upon him.
I have no news of Bruce up to the present, and no ship has arrived from Scotland for months past, doubtless in consequence of contrary winds.
The Nuncio, as I have already intimated, leans entirely to the French, and shows it in many ways. He recently asked me slyly, as if deploring the fact, whether it was true that your Majesty was coming to terms with the queen of England. I replied that for some time past the queen of England had been desirous of the duke of Parma's appointing commissioners to discuss terms of agreement with the rebel States, and he (the Nuncio), with his long experience in State affairs, must know that Princes never suffered any prejudice in listening to the proposals made to them ; because this did not prevent them from doing what was best in the interests of God and themselves. He seemed satisfied at this, and said that the course was very advisable. Merchants write from Flanders that his Holiness was furnishing himself with money in Antwerp to pay a portion of the troops that had come from Italy, but I have stifled it and stopped it from spreading, by saying that it is a fiction. I am also diverting, as much as I can, those who are asking me about the English enterprise, but I am doing so with the most plausible statements I can find, which do not fail to produce some effect upon the Nuncio and the rest of them. I am leading them on all the false scents I can, in order to conceal the laying-in of provisions by the duke of Parma ; but the best point of the matter is, that these people here (i.e., the French) are not in a position to help the Englishwoman, except by sending her information, whilst she and her ministers are so confident, that they think that if all the forces in the world were to land in England, the English themselves would be able to cope with them without the aid of foreigners.—Paris 24th October 1587.
24 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 87.
159. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
In reply to your Majesty's inquiry as to the treaties of alliance in force between France and England, I beg to say that the treaty was made in the time of King Charles (IX.), and was subsequently ratified by the present King (Henry III.), when he ascended the throne. (fn. 11) The articles show it to be a purely defensive alliance, as the Queen was anxious not to derogate from the alliance she had with the House of Burgundy, and France did not wish to bind itself except to aid the queen of England with the forces specified in case she were at war. With regard to the clause to the effect that if any monarch should seize the property of English subjects the property of his subjects shall be seized in France, I understand that the provision was intended to refer to cases when the seizures were made without a declaration of war, as was done in Flanders by the duke of Alba ; and the English have therefore not requested the enforcement of the clause in France by virtue of their present war with your Majesty, nor has any fresh clause been added to the treaty. The English proposed the additions I sent to your Majesty some months ago, but this King (Henry III.) promised to consider them, and the matter remains in suspense, trade having been opened freely by both parties without the arrangement of details, except to declare that mutual restitution shall be made both of the seizures and the robberies. I have kept your Majesty informed as to the armaments in England, and I learn by letters from there, dated 10th instant (new style), that Drake was still at Court, and that the Queen had made no preparations except to hold in readiness the 30 ships and the men who are to go in them, quartered at the place I have mentioned. The Queen has appointed lieutenants to all the counties into which England is divided, which is a step they usually take when they expect war. These lieutenants have to appoint the captains, who are charged with collecting the troops of each county, and when enemies appear such troops are concentrated on to the nearest ports. They were talking of raising some fortifications in Portsmouth, Plymouth, and the Cinque Ports, of which Dover is the principal ; and Lord Cobham, the warden, had collected some small vessels to fit out and prevent the Dunkirkers from doing them so much damage as they do.
The commissioners the English were to send to the Netherlands had not left, and it is understood that the Queen was detaining them until she saw how French affairs would turn out. The English people in general were very desirous of peace, and the Queen said she had news from Spain that your Majesty had collected in Lisbon 16,000 Spaniards, but that the season was so far advanced that nothing was now to be feared from your Majesty's fleet. They are doing their best here (i.e., in Paris) to warn her to be on the alert, and say that the reinforcement of the duke of Parma with so many troops is solely with the object of invading the island. This, they tell her, is fully proved by the fact that he had ordered 6,000 saddles and bridles to be made, and a great quantity of biscuits, in the Flemish ports where he had quartered the majority of the Spanish infantry. They also assert that he (the duke of Parma) is having some ships built there, and the Nuncio and the ambassadors are for ever throwing out hints about it to me. I answer them in the way your Majesty has instructed me, and I had previously adopted, as regards Flanders, whilst as to the Spanish fleet I point out the many reasons which may exist for your Majesty's employing it in Barbary.
There is no talk of naval armaments in Holland or Zeeland, nor has Diego Botello settled anything with the rebels, as your Majesty will see by Sampson's advices herewith, which are confirmed from other quarters.
The appropriation of the ecclesiastical temporalities by the king of Scotland, it appears, does not only apply to the archbishop of Glasgow and the bishops of Ross and Dunblane, but to all the bishops. The archbishop of Glasgow and the bishop of Ross were appointed by the Queen joint executors with the duke of Guise in the will she made the night she was beheaded. The will was brought hither by her servants, who were liberated by the English after they had buried the Queen in the same church where lies the body of Queen Catherine, who was no less a martyr in her life than the queen of Scotland in her death. (fn. 12) I will send your Majesty a statement of how she suffered death, from the relation of those who were present. When the headsman approached to undress her, she would not allow him to do so, but summoned two ladies of her own for the purpose. When she noticed that they were weeping she rebuked them, and said that they must recollect that she was suffering for the sake of the Catholic religion, and that they ought therefore to rejoice greatly. She said they, too, would have the firmness to sacrifice themselves for such a cause if it were necessary ; and with this she showed a firmness and valour which astonished all beholders.
This King has appointed the son of Secretary Pinart as his ambassador in Scotland, and he is now in the country awaiting his despatches. The Scots ambassador here has represented that he is very young and inexperienced to be sent on such a mission, but he has been unable to get the appointment altered. The said ambassador has not yet despatched the gentleman who came from the king of Scotland to him, as the Christian King and his mother have no other answer except that they would write to his master, but the letters have not yet been handed to him.
The English ambassador here has had audience of the Queen-Mother, and asked her whether English ships could come safely to Bordeaux for wine without any risk of their being seized there. She replied that they might, but that the poor crop of wine that there was this year had caused the King to forbid the exportation— Paris, 24th October 1587.
Note.—In a letter to the King's secretary, Idiaquez, sent by the same courier as the above, Mendoza again urges the case of Dr. Nicholas Wendon, and encloses a "book of various poems which have been written on the death of the queen of Scotland, as it contains some smart epigrams on the life of her of England." Several of these poems are still in the packet, but none of them appear to be worthy of reproduction.
27 Oct.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 90.
160. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As the courier had his foot in the stirrup to take the accompanying letter, dated 24th, there arrived ships from Scotland which had been delayed for two months for want of a wind. They brought me letters from Bruce, and I have kept the courier back whilst they were deciphered. In one of them, of 21st September, he writes me that he had arrived safely with his packet, and in one one of the 24th, that he had seen the King twice, the first time at Hamilton and the second at Blantyre. On both occasions the King had received him very favourably and exhibited great pleasure at your Majesty's message. Bruce was going by the King's orders to Falkland to see him again and was in great hopes of being able to settle things much to his liking, having seen nothing hitherto in the King to lead to a contrary opinion. He promised to report the result to me immediately, which he did in a letter dated the 2nd instant, copy of which I enclose. I gather from it the slight prospect there is of the King's conversion, seeing how completely he is ruled by the heretics of the English faction, and also that this negotiation with the Catholic lords can now have no other result than to ensure a port when they are told to have one at our disposal. This can always be counted upon in England and Scotland for a strong force, as the ports are so numerous, with good facilities for landing, without the castles and forts in the harbours being able to prevent it. The Catholic lords might also, if your Majesty's fleet attack England, raise a disturbance in Scotland and thus oblige the King and the heretics to refrain from helping the Englishwoman. I am sending a special courier to the duke of Parma with a copy of Bruce's letter, in order that he may instruct me what is to be done with the money and that I may reply to the Catholic lords.
The ambassadors here and the Queen-Mother have been trying to ascertain from me by indirect means in what condition the marquis of Santa Cruz's fleet had arrived. I pretended that a mishap had overtaken him after passing Terceira, and they are judging from this that the season will be too far advanced for your Majesty to undertake an enterprise before the spring. I have secretly intimated the same to the new confidant.—Paris, 27th October 1587.


  • 1. That is to say, a secret commission to the duke of Parma to shake him in his allegiance to Philip.
  • 2. In margin.—"He is a heretic and an atheist, a great politician who rules the King with a rod." Sir John Maitland.
  • 3. In margin.—"This Clerk is a terrible heretic." He was Sir Lewis (Lord) Ballenden.
  • 4. In margin.—"Chisholm is the gentleman who came hither to France with the despatches for the (Scots) ambassador and is still here awaiting the reply." He was the nephew of the bishop of Dunblane.
  • 5. In margin.—"Fentry is the nephew of the Scots ambassador here" (i.e., in Paris, namely Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow).
  • 6. In margin.—"He means the 10,000 crowns."
  • 7. In margin.—"Bailly is the man who was sent by the duke of Parma to bring over a ship with some masts and wheat." He was the famous Charles Bailly whose capture with the bishop of Ross' despatches caused the failure of the Ridolfi plot. After a long period of imprisonment and much torture in England he was allowed to return to Flanders, where he remained in the Spanish service until his death at a great age. On his tombstone in a church in the suburbs of Brussels he is called Secretary to the queen of Scots, which he was not, and a representation of her execution is carved on the stone.
  • 8. Burleigh, in a letter to Sir Edward Stafford, written exactly a year before the date of the above letter (Hatfield Papers, Part III.), says he hears that Stafford is in "great debt by unreasonable playing" ; and in a statement in the same papers (p. 212) it appears that the man Moody, who was concerned with William Stafford in the alleged plot to kill the Queen, was answerable for the following debts of "his master," Sir Edward Stafford—to Alderman Martin bonds for 1,000l. for the payment of 500l. and a similar amount to John Mabbe, Goldsmith. This was in January 1587, and may possibly explain Stafford's treachery in selling himself to the Spaniards.
  • 9. The document is evidently a copy sent to the King of a letter from Antonio de Vega, as his peculiar diction and spelling are preserved.
  • 10. This letter was dated 23rd November 1586, and was delivered to Mendoza on the 15th October 1587. See Volume III. of this Calendar.
  • 11. A copy of the defensive league between Queen Elizabeth and Charles IX., dated 19th April 1572, referred to in this letter, and also in letter No. 146, is now numbered K. 1565. 1.
  • 12. Peterborough Cathedral.