Simancas: September 1600

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: September 1600', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) pp. 668-671. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

September 1600

15 Sept.
Estado, 840.
691. Thomas Fitzherbert to Secretary Prada.
Five years ago the late King appointed him to serve here in place of Sir Francis Englefield, deceased, and fixed a salary of 40 ducats a month to be paid to him. It was insufficient for the proper maintenance of his position, but he was unwilling to ask for an increase until he had served some years. He served six years in France before coming to Madrid, as can be testified by the duke of Feria and Don Diego de Ibarra, and he asks for an increase of salary as a reward for his 11 years' service. He asks for the same amount as Englefield received, namely, 300,000 (fn. 1) maravedis a year, paid in three instalments, as he does the same as Englefield did, and he cannot serve his Majesty fittingly on less.
The Council of State reports in favour of Fitzherbert's petition.
19 Sept.
Estado, 840.
692. Report of the Council Of State to Philip III. on Baltasar de Zuñiga's letter of 30th November, respecting the negotiations for peace with England.
Zuñiga encloses a letter from the English envoys, clearly showing that they were now hopeless that the rebels would join in the treaty. He suspects the reason for this to be the breaking out of war in Savoy. He replied to them coldly, but without entirely breaking off the negotiations, in order that the rupture should not come from our side. It is, moreover, possible that if the Savoy business is settled they may soften somewhat, and in any case it would be advantageous to co-operate with the English to secure a suspension of hostilities. It is quite understandable that the English should dislike the idea of complete submission (of Flanders) whilst willing to consent to a long suspension of hostilities, as they fear greatly the union of the States with your Majesty's dominions. Although the Queen's councillors may fear what we hope for, namely, that the communication and familarity that would follow a suspension of hostilities would bring about the submission of the rebels in the long run, and that the English might lose their alliance, it is improbable that the Queen will look at it in the same light, and will prefer present advantage rather than provide against future danger.
The English Catholics and the Jesuits there (in England?) are pressing greatly for the invasion of England to be undertaken, which they say they will facilitate by means of the Catholics there (in England). This will be effected by opening negotiations in your Majesty's name with some leading personages, and Don Baltasar de Zuñiga says that they desire above all that some decision should be adopted with regard to the succession, as they are very distrustful as to whether your Majesty will take the matter up. He is keeping them in hand as well as he can, but arguments are no longer of any avail. The Catholics tell him that the Irish enterprise will not be of much use in the English affair, because although they are all Catholics, they are not to be trusted in this matter owing to their ancient enmity. He himself is of opinion that no money can be better spent than that employed in the support of the earl of Tyrone. He reports that the English and rebels are making preparations in the Channel to molest the 'Infanta' on her way to Flanders.
The Council is of opinion that Zuñiga writes very sensibly. There is no doubt that the Queen and the rebels will go at the pace dictated by the king of France since his recent success. No doubt also that the friendly intercourse between Spain and the rebels will cause them to raise difficulties to the object in view. But negotiations should not be broken off. Although on other occasions it has been considered that a treaty of peace with England, with the rebels left out, would do us more harm than good, if the Queen likes to treat on her own behalf, the negotiations may be proceeded with, as if peace be made with her, it may subsequently lead to a long suspension of arms with the rebels, which will be easier to arrange than a peace with them, as in the latter case they would insist upon the foreigners remaining in the country. Zuñiga should be written to, to this effect.
With regard to the English enterprise proposed by the Catholics, there is no need to discuss it, as experience has shown the impossibility of conquering the country from here, even under better circumstances than at present ; but in order to keep hold of the Catholics, it will be advisable for your Majesty to take some resolution respecting the succession. If this be not done in good time the Catholics may join the king of Scots, or some other claimant. With regard to Ireland, there is nothing to add to the reports already furnished to your Majesty by the Council, excepting again to urge your Majesty to have the reports considered, and come to a decision with the promptitude which the importance of the case demands.
Don Baltasar need only be thanked for his other advices.
Note.—The negotiations for peace referred to above as being in the hands of Don Baltasar de Zuñiga are fully set forth in the documents from the English commissioners in Cotton Vesp. CVIII.
26 Sept. B. M.
MSS. Add. 28,420.
693. Report of the Council Of State on a letter of Thomas Fitzherbert, begging a Cardinal's hat for Father Persons.
Thomas Fitzherbert, an English servant of your Majesty, states that, having learnt by letters from Rome that the duke of Parma is endeavouring to obtain the cardinal's hat for Arthur Pole, an English gentleman, his Holiness having promised to appoint six cardinals at the Duke's instance, cannot refrain from laying before your Majesty the prejudice which may result to God and your service therefrom, unless the project is stopped in good time. The said Arthur Pole is a son of the nephew of cardinal Pole, and of the blood royal of England. He is a youth of 25 years of age, and was brought up from his childhood in the house of the late cardinal Alexander Farnese, in company with the cardinal Don Duarte, who is still alive, and is on very kind and friendly terms with him. Pole is also much liked by the duke of Parma, but he is as entirely foreign to all English affairs as if he belonged to another nationality. He has therefore neither the age and experience, nor the other qualities, necessary in one who will have to be the principal intermediary in the reform of God's church in England. In addition to this, it may be assumed that he will not be a fit instrument to aid in the object desired by all good English Catholics in your Majesty's interests, as the most intimate English friends he has had have been two or three of those who are opposed to your Majesty. From this it may be inferred that Arthur Pole will lead their party, and if he becomes a cardinal will draw to his side the good Catholics who are now adherents of your Majesty. The only remedy for this is, that your Majesty should use your influence with the Pope to raise Father Persons to the cardinalate, as your Majesty has long experience of his zeal and prudence in the service of God and your Majesty. If this be done, even if Arthur Pole be made a cardinal, he will be able to do no harm, as Father Persons will lead all good English Catholics, in consequence of his well-known virtue and wisdom, and will be able to manage everything for the greater glory of God and your Majesty's service. He will also be able to exercise his influence in repressing the French party in Rome, and upset the plans of the kings of Scotland and France, as a faithful servant and creature of your Majesty.
He (Fitzherbert) therefore begs your Majesty to instruct the duke de Sessa to speak to his Holiness on the matter, and to beg him in your Majesty's name to make Father Persons a cardinal as speedily as possible, because if he raises the other to the rank first he may try to prevent the promotion of Father Persons ; and also that your Majesty will overcome Father Persons' principal difficulty, by displaying towards him the same liberality as his late Majesty showed to cardinal Allen, with a similar object. The interests of God and your Majesty will thereby be served, and the English Catholics will be very grateful.
The matter having been discussed in the Council, it has been decided that Father Persons being worthy, on account of his virtue, learning, and piety, of the dignity of cardinal, his elevation would be welcome, but it is unadvisable to deal with the matter in opposition to the promotion of Arthur Pole, as such a course would be more likely to result in injury than advantage. The duke of Sessa may be written to, with a copy of this document, instructing him to take such steps as he considers desirable in favour of Persons, on the ground of the advisability of encouraging the English Catholics and promoting the conversion of the country to obedience to the Holy See.
28 Sept.
Estado, 840.
694. Report of the Council Of State to Philip III. on a proposal conveyed to the ambassador Juan Bautista de Tassis by Charles Paget. (fn. 2)
Charles Paget, who with his brother lord Paget, was for many years an exile from England, receiving a pension from your Majesty. After his brother's death he grew tired of his banishment, and became reconciled to the Queen through her ambassador in Paris. He writes to Tassis that he is already undeceived, and is again desirous of serving his Majesty. He offers to give Tassis a piece of information of the highest importance if he is given 30,000 ducats. The information he says is worth millions, but he refuses to declare what it is, until Tassis is authorised to pay him the 30,000 ducats, after he has ascertained the truth of the intelligence.
The Council is of opinion that the authority may be given to Tassis, as, if the information be really true and as important as is asserted, the money will be well spent, whilst if it is not true it will not be paid.—Madrid, 28th September 1600.


  • 1. About 98l. 14s. sterling.
  • 2. The Pagets, after adhering for many years to the Spanish interest, had, on the development of Philip's political plan to subjugate England, and place a member of his own family on the throne, separated therefrom, and had become principal upholders of the "Scottish" interest, like the Bishops of Dunblane and Cassano, Thomas Morgan and most of the other influential Englishmen and Scots who were not Jesuits or pensioners of Spain.