Simancas: May 1587

Pages 78-92

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

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May 1587

3 May.
Paris Archives K. 1566. 122. French.
81. The Duke Of Guise to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Thanks for letter of 23rd ultimo conveying the king of Spain's condolence for the death of the queen of Scots. The punishment for the crime cannot be long delayed, and the writer will not dwell upon the point, which only brings up recollections of the bereavement he has suffered.
He has been informed by Bruce as to all that has been arranged, and fully acknowledges the wisdom and prudence with which Mendoza has for so long conducted English affairs ; the absence of these qualities there since Mendoza's departure, having brought things to their present pass, points out the difficulty and danger of the duke of Parma's plan to get ships from the Scots nobles. The delay will ruin the affair. Delay caused the failure of the last attempt in England.
Recommends that ships should be sent from Spain and the men shipped at once, without waiting for any fresh answer from Scotland.
3 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 124.
82. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I gave the Scots ambassador your Majesty's gracious message for his King, for which he was very grateful. He is writing to him by Robert Bruce, who is leaving. Both the ambassador and he are fully aware of how advantageous it will be for their King to seek your Majesty's protection. They were strongly urging him to this before his mother's death, but since then they have become even more pressing. It was unnecessary, therefore, for me to impress this upon them, but I have told Bruce exactly how he is to proceed with the King.
The ambassador (Beaton) has received the despatches mentioned in my general letter, and says that the moment his instructions are deciphered I shall have them. As in this and all things he is so frankly devoted to your Majesty, I thought best to inform him of the grant your Majesty had given him of 4,000 crowns in one sum, in order to pledge him the more to us, rather than to divide it into various payments. I cannot say how grateful he is. He did not expect that your Majesty would even think of him, much less make him so handsome a present. I have also given the 1,000 crowns alms from your Majesty to the jesuits in Scotland. They are being taken by a good and learned priest of the order who accompanies Bruce.
I have no answer from Muzio either about Scotland or to my condolences for the death of the queen of Scotland. I have also condoled with this King in your Majesty's name. He replied in general terms, said he was sure you would be grieved as it touched him so closely, that his pain was increased by the particulars I gave him, &c. In the question of your Majesty's rights to the Crown of England, I have stated them when I have been spoken to upon the subject.
In order to oppress the Guises, the King says that no heretic shall succeed him, and he has endeavoured to get Bearn to profess catholicism. He has thus tied his hands, and cannot help the king of Scotland against England, nor can the Guises, seeing the claims they are raising here.
I have had the histories of England carefully read by experts lately, and find that even if the king of Scotland be not excluded for heresy, your Majesty is the legal heir to the crown by the line of Lancaster and Portugal, the house of York, or the White Rose, having usurped it. This will be seen by the papers I will shortly send.
This King hears on all hands that your Majesty is determined to attack England, and as the Queen-mother was desirous of learning from an English pensioner of hers here what truth there was in the rumour that the queen of England was seeking peace with your Majesty, I had her informed that the duke of Parma had carried very far the negotiations for an agreement. This was to take their minds off the other idea, and the Queen-mother was delighted at the news, saying she expected it, and that no doubt your Majesty's preparations were for Barbary.
I have informed Muzio of your Majesty's offer to pay them 300,000 crowns whenever they will take up arms, but to send them forces would do more harm than good. (fn. 1)
The new friend informs me that some Frenchmen have offered the English ambassador that they will, for 50,000 crowns, furnish his mistress with a place on the frontier near Calais, which place they will take and hold for three months, and she can keep. He wrote to the Queen about it, but as the answer did not come, M. de Montcarin, the cousin of the duke of Epernon, who makes the offer, has sent word to the ambassador by the intermediary, M. de Mesmes, that the men are all stationed ready for the execution of the plan, and as expense is being incurred, if he will undertake that the Queen will give them 50,000 crowns they will immediately carry the enterprise into effect. The ambassador replies that the answer must soon come now, and they had better wait. The friend rightly concludes from this that as they are so ready to undertake this, it must be with the countenance of the king of France, who will be glad thus to trouble your Majesty. I have advised the duke of Parma and all the frontier places of it by special courier, who left on the 27th ultimo, recommending great vigilance at Gravelines, St. Omer, and Hesdin, as the friend is not sure which place is aimed at. He hopes to let me know in time, so that those who try the plan may get their heads broken. I enclose extract from letter of the duke of Parma in reply to your Majesty's instructions about Scotland.
I have received from the archbishop of Glasgow the 4,000 crowns he still retained in his own hands, and have given 1,000 to the monks, and used the other 3,000 to pay the pensions to the Englishmen.—Paris, 3rd May 1587.
3 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 125.
83. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The arrests of English and Dutch ships in France prevent the regular passage of travellers except on pressing needs, so that I cannot send news of the armaments as fully as I could wish, but I had with me yesterday a man just arrived from Holland, who was at Incusen on the 1st (ultimo?), and says they were fitting out eight great war-ships with great haste. The flagship is the "Galleon de Bossu," in which Count de Bossu was lost. I have been on board of her. She is a fine, swift ship of 600 tons. Four ships were being equipped at Middleburg and six at Horn, as well as three war-ships at Brille. These vessels will be joined by nine hulks, 30 ships in all, and will be armed with ordnance, the commander being Turlon, who served under Orange, but since the death of the latter has been held prisoner by the rebel States on suspicion. He has now been released by the influence of the queen of England, and publicly stated that he was going to join Drake's fleet. I am told that only seamen are being shipped on these vessels, and that the hurry in which they were being despatched prevented them from taking much victuals. I learn from Calais that, on the 16th ultimo, 20 ships in order of battle were seen in the Straits, 14 of them being great ships, apparently war vessels, as guns were heard firing. Up to the 22nd there passed 16 Dutch hulks, followed by flyboats and small craft from Flushing. I have no certain news of the departure of the Dutch ships, but as there has been, unfortunately, plenty of time for them since the beginning of April, and these ships were sailing in the direction of Spain, I fear they may be the same vessels as were being equipped in Holland, unless they be a flotilla of hulks, sailing in company to Brouage for salt. I think best to let your Majesty know in any case by special courier, as they are more likely to be the Dutch fleet to join Drake than salt-hulks at this time of year, besides which salt is not a cargo that can afford to pay for an escort. To judge from the men both Drake and the Dutch ships are taking, it certainly looks as if the intention were to plunder the Indian flotillas and commit some depredations, rather than establish themselves on land.
I have no fresh news of Drake since my last, as the weather has prevented passage from England. They write from Rouen under date of 30th ultimo that a Breton ship reports that Drake had fought with some Biscay ships, and had himself been killed. They were betting 50 to 100 that this was true.
Fresh letters from Scotland have arrived, via Zeeland, and the archbishop of Glasgow has received his commission as ambassador from the king of Scotland. He is to present letters to the king of France, it is believed to ask for help. The king of Scotland has restored the archbishop of Glasgow and the bishop of Ross publicly to all their temporal and ecclesiastical dignities, in face of all the ministers who had dared to oppose the step. The archbishop of Glasgow, although he will attend to the King's affairs here, will not take the title of ambassador until he has permission from his Holiness to do so.—Paris, 3rd May 1587.
8 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 128.
84. Bernardino De Mendoza to (Idiaquez?).
Captain Calfer, a Frenchman of St. Malo, has been to see me telling me that your lordship told him to do so when he reached France. (fn. 2) As he said he had to take a ship back to Spain I did not go into particulars with him, but gave him letters of introduction. He seems a clever sort of man. He says some of the courtiers here have been asking him whether the Queen of England's fortresses in Jersey and Guernsey (fn. 3) are strong, and he infers from this that this King will break with the queen of England ; but there are too many signs to the contrary for it to be credible.
From the talk of the Portuguese here, I gather that Don Antonio will shortly leave England. Samson confirms this, and says there are a large number of Portuguese in England with passports to come to France, headed by Antonio Brito. I will send a special courier to advise anything suddenly important about Don Antonio. The Queen had given him 6,000 crowns. These Portuguese say that Drake sailed from Plymouth with only 40 ships, large and small, and that 10 armed ships from Flushing had captured 30 wheat hulks from Hamburg and brought them into the Thames, but the Queen had refused to approve of the capture.—Paris, 8th May 1587.
10 May.
Paris Archives. K. 1566. 130.
85. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Although I have not had time to diecover whether the ships that passed Calais were the Dutch fleet, I think well to report that letters from England of 29th ultimo make no mention of ships from Holland, except that there are three at the mouth of the Thames. Such a number as this can only be to plunder or to carry back some of the deputies. They report from St. Malo that the English ships that had escorted the vessels which took munitions from Denmark to Rochelle, had engaged a French ship called the "Dolphin," of 300 tons, and had captured another of 50 tons called the "Margaret," killing 30 men. From this it would seem certain that the ships that passed Calais were these on the way to Rochelle, which return with cargoes of salt. Letters from Zeeland, moreover, make no mention of the departure of a fleet. I am hourly expecting precise information from my correspondents.
Letters from London, dated 22nd and 23rd ultimo, report variously that Drake left Plymouth on the 11th and 12th, with forty odd sail, and reports come from London on the 29th that he had put back into an English port. I cannot say for certain which is true, as I have not a word from my Fleming, and the new confidant has no precise information on the matter.
The queen of England had released Trapes, the French ambassador's gentleman, who is now at the embassy with a passport to come hither. The Queen had sent word to Chateauneuf that as he would not go and see her without orders from his King, at least he might let his wife do so. This is a sign she is softening after these quarrels about the arrest. (fn. 4) —Paris, 10th May 1587.
13 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1448. 118.
86. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Your letters of 5th, 9th, 12th, and 19th April received, and although it would appear from the first two that the English armaments had slackened, and the Dutch ships had not joined them, the later letters brought correct information, if only they had arrived somewhat earlier. They (the English) were, however, too quick ; for, as far as can be judged, the same fleet which you reported as gathering at Plymouth, had entered into the port of Cadiz as you said it might do, on the same day as, or a little before, your intelligence reached here. The damage it committed there was not great, but the daring of the attempt was so. (fn. 5) Although the course the fleet took when it left there is not known, a fleet of ours will shortly go out from Lisbon in pursuit. As you see how these people are preparing, and how diligent they are in fitting out their ships and taking them to sea, it will be evident to you how infinitely important it is that you should get and send with all speed news of the 12 ships which you say Winter is preparing for sea, and of any other fleet or movement you hear of. Discover also whether in addition to the ships they send out, they have a fleet in the Channel, what troops they have sent to Holland, and how many are in Ireland, and all other information you can gather. You did well in keeping (in Paris) the man who came from the English ports with news ; and you will be careful to preserve the new confidant, availing yourself of him as much as possible, as he seems to be going straight.
Report as usual also about Don Antonio, and what has become of him, and why they said recently that he had embarked on the fleet, which was not the case.
It is a good sign that the king of Scotland has made so wise a choice as the ambassador of his late mother to represent him in France. I shall be glad to know what face they put upon it there. —Aranjuez, 13th May 1587.
13 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1448. 119.
87. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
The little book about the English succession has been received, and it was good to send it in this language (English?), although we have it here already in others. You, however, must only speak about my rights to well disposed native Englishmen, so that they may be informed of the truth, and convey it to others of their nationality, and it may thus spread and gain ground amongst them. It will be, however, unadvisable to treat of the matter with Frenchmen and others, who will only take it in hand for the purpose of under-mining it ; so you will be silent on the subject to them.
It will be only right that his Holiness should give permission to the archbishop of Glasgow to accept the post of ambassador from his King, because everything is to be gained by affairs passing through his hands, rather than through those of anyone coming from Scotland. I am writing to the Count de Olivares to use his efforts to this end, and I am looking with interest for the information you will receive about the message sent to the King in my name through the Archbishop (of Glasgow).—Aranjuez, 13th May 1587.
10 to 15 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 131.
88. Sampson's Advices from London.
The French ambassador saw the Queen on the 9th, and she greatly caressed him, with many excuses about the past. (fn. 6) The earl of Leicester was full of offers of friendship, and said he wished nothing better than that he should put him in the King's good graces, as he, Leicester, was the most devoted servitor he had in England.
The Queen has released Trapes and given him a passport, and has liberated two Scots jesuits who were in the Tower.
Don Antonio shows signs of wishing to leave. He is sending his eldest son to Holland with Diego Botello, it is said to negotiate with the rebels for aid in ships and money. He is dismissing all his followers, most of them going to join the rebels in Holland, and he will only be attended by 15 persons.
He is sending Cristobal (Custodio?) Leiton to ask the king of France for 20,000 crowns through the Queen-mother and the duke of Joyeuse, and his intercessors are making great speeches about an important enterprise in which the queen of England will help him. He is also sending Pedro de Oro, the late French consul in Lisbon, to ask the king of Navarre for help. In order to avoid arousing the suspicions of the Queen-mother he sent him by Rochelle. Don Antonio is very dissatisfied in England, and will be glad to go to France. But he wants to be sought and begged to come, and to be granted a castle and enough to live upon, without having any but Portuguese near him.
20 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 132.
89. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The appointment of the archbishop of Glasgow as Scots ambassador has aroused great hopes here of the conversion of the King, particularly in view of the restoration to their dignities of the said Archbishop, the bishop of Ross, and a Carthusian friar (fn. 7) ; and there may be some ground for the hope from these last acts, but the appointment of ambassador only signifies that the King desires to follow a certain line in politics, and not in religion, and would like to stand well with all parties. God enlighten him! His mother died so Christian a death that God, in His infinite mercy, may make this a means of opening his eyes. The Archbishop presented his letters to the King, the Queen-mother, and the Queen, and although they wished to treat him as an ambassador, he refused, giving as his reason, that although he was obliged to serve the king of Scotland, he could not take the title of his ambassador, as he had not given in his submission to the Holy See. The coolness, moreover, with which this King and his mother had treated him when his last embassy ended did not make him eager to accept another near them. When they heard his reasons they were very gracious, saying that on no account would they receive any other ambassador, and would write to his Holiness warmly, asking him to request the Archbishop to accept the post. They also ordered a good present to be given to him, and they think by these means to make up for their past neglect of him, and their coolness after his mistress died. They are acting thus because they believe that if they do not show increasing friendliness and goodwill to the king of Scotland he will turn his eyes to your Majesty, of which they are very suspicious. One of the Queen-mother's plans for quieting troubles here is to represent to the duke of Guise or his brother that whenever they like to go and assist the king of Scotland in his English enterprise, since he now shows signs of turning Catholic, they shall be helped with forces from here to the extent they desire. She pointed out to them with infinite discourse how much better it will be for them to undertake this enterprise than to maintain the war in France, where it will be so difficult for them to put down the heretics. In the face of the fact that the duke of Guise, Cardinal Bourbon, and the other confederate Princes are in arms to extirpate heretics, it is a fine idea to persuade them to help to the throne of England the king of Scotland, who has been a heretic from his cradle. I am told that they (i.e., the King and Queen-mother) are writing to Rome to have the Pope informed of the hopes that exist of the King's conversion, he being the heir to the English Crown, and bound to avenge his mother's death. If, they say, your Majesty attempts anything against the queen of England, the Christian King will be obliged to prevent it, even though it be by disturbing Italy, for which opportunities will not be lacking. They think this last remark is more likely to put spurs to his Holiness than any other. (fn. 8) I have not heard that the Scots ambassador did anything more at the audience than present his letters. From the last letters from Scotland, received from England and sent herewith, your Majesty will see that they are bringing up an old prophecy of venerable Bede to the effect that a king of Scotland called James, who will have a birthmark upon his breast, will go to Spain, and thence to Rome, where he will enter the walls. The Scots ministers interpret this to mean the present King, who bears upon his breast a mark caused by his mother's alarm when she was pregnant, at seeing her secretary, David (Rizzio), stabbed to death before her eyes ; and they say that his entering the walls signifies that he will destroy papistry, as they call it. The people who have printed the prophecy point out to the readers that rather would the heresy which had for years ruled the land be destroyed, and the whole island would then be subject to a great monarch, holding his Court at York and not in London. The reading of this prophecy was prohibited ; and really it sounds more like Merlin than venerable Bede, but the English and Scots are naturally inclined to these things, and credit them, however fictitious they may be.—Paris, 20th May 1587.
20 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 134.
90. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The new friend reports that the queen of England writes on the 29th to her ambassador, ordering him to strive his utmost to bring this King to an agreement, according to the instructions sent. These are to the effect that he is to point out by various arguments how much reason both this King and she (the queen of England) have for suspicion of the power of your Majesty, and how necessary it is for them to try to check it by every means. She desires therefore to settle past differences, and will give him every satisfaction, drawing closer the alliance between them. The ambassador is to represent with much discourse that the execution of the queen of Scotland was of more advantage to this King than to England, in consequence of the favour which the Guises might expect from her. To enable him to broach this subject the Queen sends the letter to this King which I mention in my general dispatch.
I understand that the moment the ambassador got these instructions he went to Belièvre, who asked him at once whether it was true that his mistress was coming to terms with your Majesty. He replied that he saw no signs of it in the face of Drake's voyage, the talk about helping Don Antonio, and sending the earl of Leicester back to Holland, to which must be added the suspicions aroused by the declarations of the English Catholics as to your Majesty's claim to the Crown. This alone, he said, was a sufficient reason to prevent the Queen from being friendly with your Majesty. Belièvre replied that the Spaniards always fished in troubled waters and particularly I, who was a false and devilish spirit, who sent nothing to the King (of Spain) but that from which advantage could be gained to your Majesty's service. He could not tell him, he said, how I took advantage of things here with this end, but in a way which did not enable the King to call me to account, but he asked the ambassador whether I had not seized upon this claim of your Majesty to the Crown of England. The ambassador answered that he would rather die a thousand deaths than live under the tyranny of the Spaniards, and if your Majesty succeeded he should live in France ; but he might privately confess to him (Belièvre) that according to the genealogies he had seen in England your Majesty not only had might on your side, but a right to the Crown as one of the next heirs, to whom the rest of the claimants would submit as they would be unable to resist you ; but God forbid, he said, that he should ever live to see such a thing. I am told that when Belièvre heard this he was thunderstruck and answered not a word. This is the position here upon this point, and the King and Queen-mother think that they will exclude your Majesty's claim by holding out hopes of the king of Scotland's conversion.
After the conversation the ambassador informed Belièvre of his mistress' instructions to him to come to terms with this King as to past questions, and strengthen the friendship between them by a new treaty ; and if the King would open the door by proposing conditions he, the ambassador, would take the trouble to go secretly and arrange them with the Queen. This is in accordance with what they write to him, and it will suit him excellently on private grounds, as the Queen expresses a desire to favour him and has promised him the viceroyalty of Ireland when he leaves here. Belièvre took the letter to give it to the King, saying that he would speak to his Majesty upon the subject, and, for his own part, he would do his best to promote friendship between the two Crowns, as he was convinced that it would be most beneficial to both of them to hinder the growth of your Majesty's power. This may well be believed, as Belièvre is a politician, and a friend of Bearn and the Huguenots ; but for all that the ambassador says that the French seem to be smiling upon his mistress only for the purpose of preventing her from drawing closer to your Majesty, and they are parleying with the king of Scotland with a similar object. He writes this view to England, and it is one that will be entertained by Cecil. The latter writes that the Queen is so peevish and discontented that it was feared she would not live long. Her temper was so bad that no Councillor dared to mention business to her, and when even he (Cecil) did so she had told him that she had been strong enough to lift him out of the dirt, and she was able to cast him down again. He was of opinion, he said, that the Councillors might be divided into three categories, namely, those who desired to come to terms with Spain, those who wished a close friendship with France, and those who wanted to stand aloof from both ; and these last, whilst enriching themselves with plunder, would end in setting all the world against England. Although Cecil himself was neither a Spaniard nor a Frenchman he wished the Queen not to be friendly with one power, but with both. King Henry, under whom the country was powerful and tranquil, thought he was doing a great thing when he was able to make war against France, he being in close intimacy with Spain ; and here it was seen that they (the French) were as desirous of being friendly with England as the English were with the French. He urges the ambassador to hasten the conclusion of an agreement, as the Queen principally depended upon him to bring it about.
Walsingham and the Lord Admiral write to him (the ambassador) saying how diligent they were in getting Drake away with the fleet without anything being known about it a week before his departure. His (Drake's) orders were to prevent the junction of your Majesty's fleet, and enter what ports he could. They have fresh letters from Spain, reporting that your Majesty had released the hulks belonging to the rebel Hollanders which had been arrested, and that the Indian flotillas were not coming this year, so they have sent a despatch boat after Drake ordering him on no account to enter any port in Spain, but to confine himself strictly to preventing the junction of the fleet, especially the galleasses coming from Italy. He was to wait and capture two argosies which were to bring munitions from Italy, and they also (i.e., Walsingham and the Lord Admiral) urge the ambassador to bring about an agreement between the Queen and this King. Everything I have set down here was seen by my confidant in the letters themselves. As the rumours about an agreement between the queen of England and your Majesty continue, the new friend signified to me that if I thought it would be beneficial to your Majesty's interests he would cause the negotiations to pass through my hands. I told him that your Majesty had referred the matter to the duke of Parma, and that it would consequently be better for me not to deal with it. He also says that if your Majesty approves of his accepting the viceroyalty of Ireland he will do so, with the determination of surrendering the country to your Majesty the day his mistress disappears. If, on the other hand, your Majesty does not wish to accept the country for yourself, he will hand it over to whomever your Majesty may choose, so that your Majesty, being assured of that part, may be able to employ your forces elsewhere. The terms he uses in speaking of this prove that affairs in England are in such a condition that, even if a change do not occur before October, when he says he is leaving here, not many months will pass before a complete revolution takes place.—Paris, 20th May 1587.
20 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 139.
91. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The news of Drake's having put back into an English port was not true. I have now letters from England, dated 4th and 10th instant, assuring me that no tidings of Drake had been received since his departure from Plymouth, although on the 8th it was reported at Rouen by a Breton ship that he had entered the river at Lisbon with his fleet, but had only got out again with great loss of ships and men inflicted upon him by the galleys. There does not seem to be much foundation for this ; and it is certain from the news I enclose, dated 20th ultimo, that the Queen sent a despatch boat after him with great speed on the 15th, and it was believed to order him to return, although I do not see much ground for that belief. The people who write from London are led to this opinion by the fact that the despatch boat was sent immediately after the arrival there of the Flemish merchant, Andre de Loo, whom the Englishwoman had sent to the duke of Parma on several occasions to open negotiations for an agreement with your Majesty. The following words are written by several Italian merchants in London, "We hope shortly to have peace with his Catholic Majesty." The earl of Leicester was said to be making ready to return to Holland, and the Queen was much pleased with the proceedings of Lord Buckhurst there, both on account of his having expedited the leaving of the fleet, and his having reconciled Count Hohenlohe with Colonel Norris.
The Dutch fleet which had left to follow Drake was in the Thames and the Queen had ordered it to remain in the Channel to guard it. The Channel was crowded with English, Dutch, and Zeeland pirates, who had prevented M. de Grillon from passing with his ships to Boulogne, until the Queen had ordered them to allow him to do so.
The English ambassador here has letters from his mistress, dated 29th ultimo, and immediately after receiving them he was closeted with Belièvre for some hours ; the result being that Belièvre took a letter for the King, written by the queen of England with her own hand. The letter was closed in a most extravagant way, the outside being covered with ciphers. When the King had read the letter he said to Belièvre, in a way that those present could hear, "The queen of England always thinks that everyone must be in love with her ; I will answer this letter myself."
The King has despatched a "valet de chambre" and it is believed that he carries orders for all the English ships to be released in the various ports, if the queen of England will act similarly with the French, and allow the wheat ships for Normandy to come at once. The seizure of them has much distressed this country, as there is a great scarcity. The King overlooks the loss of 120 ships, which have been captured by the English from the French since last January only, most of which have disappeared, having been stolen by pirates. Your Majesty will judge that the King will hardly care to perpetuate his quarrel with the Englishwoman for them, but will prefer to have the embargoes raised on the ships in port. They (the French) have not given any intimation on the matter to the English ambassador here, following the course pursued by the queen of England with the French ambassador.
Trapes, the French ambassador's gentleman, has arrived here from England, so that Waad now has hopes of being able to leave as soon as the English ambassador has audience of the King, for which he has asked. The King, however, is delaying it to see how the Queen of England behaves with his ambassador. Letters of the 10th report that the latter had had audience at Greenwich and that Don Antonio was still in London.
Meneses, Castro, and other Portuguese have arrived here, dissatisfied with Don Antonio, and are desirous of joining the duke of Joyeuse if he intends to arm any ships. They said at first that Don Antonio was leaving England, but they are not so confident about it now.
The English ambassadors declare that Drake took out 60 sail, but the truth is that when he left Plymouth he had not 40, including the pinnaces. All accounts agree that he had 24 large ships.—Paris, 20th May 1587.
20 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 136.
92. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I send enclosed Muzio's answer to my letter about Scotland. Neither I nor Bruce informed him of the duke of Parma's decision as to the time for sending the troops, as Muzio's affairs pass through so many hands that it was not prudent to do so. I conveyed to him what your Majesty had communicated to the Scots lords, to the effect that you approved of their appealing to arms, if it was done at a time when no injury would result to the affairs of this country (i.e., the Catholic cause in France) which you had as much at heart as those of Flanders, both on account of religion and for the sake of the security of Muzio himself. I said I was commanded to convey this to him in order that he might intimate what would be the best time for the Scots lords to move ; so that in conjunction with the duke of Parma, Bruce, who was now going to Scotland, might advise them accordingly. I said also that Bruce was going to see whether he could get any ships in Scotland, so that Muzio might not complain afterwards that he was kept in the dark, although I avoided giving any particulars. This is the reason why he mentions in his note the loss of time that will occur and that the summer, which is the best season, will slip by while Bruce is going backwards and forwards, and recommends that the ships should be sent from Spain.
The duke of Parma advised me to take the necessary sureties when I hand Bruce the money ; to which I have replied that as all suspicion must be avoided, and as he himself orders, I can hardly take any other surety than handing Bruce the money through the Scots ambassador, and that it was not advisable, at present, to send the patent suggested by the ambassador to enable Scots ships to enter Dunkirk with the prizes which they might capture from the enemy, in order to avoid arousing suspicion. (fn. 9)
I despatched Bruce as soon as I received the duke of Parma's reply on both points. Captain Forster goes with him, and they take the money in gold, concealed in their doublets. In accordance with the duke of Parma's directions they will embark in Britanny, and I secretly arranged with the duke of Mercœur to aid them with a permit to freight a ship for their passage. As Bruce bears letters of credence from the duke of Parma and Muzio to the Scottish lords, he intimated that it was desirable that he should take one from me as well, as I was the person to whom he was sent by them. I did as he requested and gave him very minute instructions for his mission, etc. and as to the words he was to convey to the king of Scotland from your Majesty, so that he is going fully prepared on all points. He is a good soul, and so zealous in our Holy Catholic faith that not only has he given his all in Scotland to the jesuits there to aid them in their task, and introduce them into the country, but he told me that if he had not seen a determination on the part of the three nobles who sent him to postpone everything for the religious question, he would never have undertaken his mission, which had for its object the forcing of the King to become a Catholic. He assured me that he would speak very plainly to the King, and point out to him the error in which he was living, impressing upon him the importance for soul's sake, and in the interests of his claim, to abandon it. He says no one yet has ventured to do this ; and he promises to let me know instantly, for your Majesty's information, how he finds the King inclined, as upon that will depend your Majesty's treatment of him.
He is also fully impressed as to the time when the ships have to be in Dunkirk, and the necessity for securing Petty Leith, which the duke of Parma requests, and two neighbouring ports which are not inferior to it in capacity. He assures me that these, and any others your Majesty may require, will be obtained for you by the three nobles. God carry him thither in safety, and deliver him from the host of pirates who infest the sea.
The effect of the king of Scotland's instructions to the archbishop of Glasgow is to point out at great length to this King the obligation imposed upon him, by the very old friendship between the two crowns, to help him in avenging the death of his mother, in which France is as deeply interested as Scotland, the execution having been ordered in the face of a solemn embassy sent by this King, requesting that the Queen should be spared. These points are dwelt upon in a long discourse, and the King is informed that the king of Scotland is thus obliged to appeal to him first for help and council, as to how he can obtain the support of other Christian Princes. The ambassador has not submitted the matter to the King yet, as his first audience was only for the purpose of delivering his letters. The ambassador has also another secret instruction, ordering him to be guided and governed in all things by the duke of Guise, and saying that, although he (the king of Scotland) had decided to send a person to your Majesty, he would not do so until he heard from the duke of Guise whether that would be the better course, or to treat secretly with your Majesty through me.
As the secretary of the king of Scotland, who writes these letters, is reputed to be somewhat of a "politician" and a self-seeker, I have thought that the object of these confidences with the duke of Guise may be to find out artfully whether he is in communication with the Scots Catholics, and on what footing he corresponds with your Majesty. I have accordingly sent word to Muzio, through Mayneville, that when the gentleman who brings the despatches (who is a heretic and a creature of the secretary) goes to him (the duke of Guise) he should say, that as your Majesty is so Catholic a King, he can hardly say whether you would receive an ambassador from the king of Scotland, who does not profess the same religion, nor does he know of any better means of approaching you than through the archbishop of Glasgow, who might sound me upon the subject ; so that I could then proceed in the matter as the interests of the Scotch business might demand.
Mayneville (fn. 10) approved of my suspicion and the action I suggested, and I told him what the Queen-mother had proposed to Muzio with regard to Scotland. I pointed out to him how injurious it would be to Muzio, for many reasons, to listen to it, or to be carried away by her words, of the falseness of which he had had such evident proofs on numberless occasions. He also knew, I said, how little he could depend upon the King's dissimulation, his object being to draw them on by an appearance of sincerity to offer their aid to the king of Scotland in his English claims, in order to say, if they took up arms to prevent Bearn from succeeding to the French Crown, that they were not moved by any zeal for religion but by personal ambition alone. I drove this point home ; and both with regard to that and all else he assured me that Muzio was fully alive, and was determined to persevere in his course. He said that Muzio would laugh at anything the Queen-mother might tell him, and would answer her by complaining of the terms of the communication taken to them by Belièvre.
I send copy of Antonio de Vega's letter to me of 8th, and he has again written to me since. I am giving Gaspar Diaz Montesinos enough to live upon here, and I humbly beg your Majesty to instruct me how I am to proceed with him. (fn. 11)
Since writing the above I have received Muzio's reply to my message through Mayneville, in which he confirms his previous determination.
Colonel Stuart has arrived here from the duke of Parma, with the same proposal as that sent by the Scottish nobles. As he is a person of influence the Duke satisfied him with generalities, and Muzio and I are treating him in the same way.—Paris, 20th May 1587.
23 May.
Paris Archives, K. 1566. 137.
93. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As they always keep me waiting for the passport, I write any fresh news I may have in the interim. I have a letter in my hands from Alvaro Mendez, who went as a Jew to Constantinople and writes to Don Antonio, signing the letter Solomon. He also writes to the English ambassador and some heretic acquaintances here attached to his mistress, saying that your Majesty's truce with the Turk would have been concluded but for him. Your Majesty, he says, demanded the inclusion therein of the Pope, the duke of Florence, and other princes of Italy, and he used influence with Luch Ali to demand, on the part of the Turk, that the queen of England also should be included. Juan Stephano objected to this on the ground that she was at open war with your Majesty, but he, Mendez, had great hopes of being able to induce Luch Ali not to conclude the agreement without her inclusion. He is on very bad terms with the French ambassador (in Turkey), who treats him with contempt, as he knew him here as a professed Christian, whereas now he is a Jew.
I learn that they are writing from here, to have the Pope approached with the proposal that if the king of Scotland is converted, he should marry his Holiness' niece, a sister of Cardinal Montalto, and the Pope might assist him with money to become king of England. (fn. 12)
The French ambassador in England has sent a gentleman hither to tell the King he had had an interview with the Queen, and how much she had caressed him.—Paris, 23rd May 1587.


  • 1. This was in reply to the request of the Guises for armed aid from Spain to destroy the Huguenots, and coerce the King into becoming their instrument. Philip was always desirous of fomenting troubles in France through the Guises, as, in the first place, it rendered France powerless to interfere with his plans, in the second, it made the Guises his pensioners and unable to forward the interests of their kinsman, James Stuart, against him, and, thirdly, it might result in France becoming a weak, and perhaps dismembered nation in the hands of the extreme Catholic party under Philip's control. At the same time it was evidently not possible for Philip to denude himself of troops at a time when his great attack upon England was being prepared.
  • 2. In the King's hand, "Who is this? Tell me."
  • 3. In the King's hand, "They are opposite the Isle of Wight, but nearer France."
  • 4. Elizabeth had sent Walsingham to Chateauneuf two months earlier to bring about good relations, and on the 13th May, three days after the date of this letter Chateauneuf wrote to Henry III. (Teulet) giving him an account of the interview he had just had with the Queen. She drew him playfully aside and said "Voici notre homme qui m'a voulu "faire tuer." She then made a complete amende to the ambassador, admitting that he had been the victim of shameless rogues (William Stafford and Moody) and expressed her great sorrow that Destrappes, who was now free, should have been so much inconvenienced by his imprisonment, as she learnt that he was going to follow the profession of the law at Pariz, "Mais vous lui direz" (she continued) "que je ne crois pas jamais plaider ung procès a Paris où il se puisse venger du tort que je lui ay faict." And so the quarrel ended
  • 5. Drake's fleet entered Cadiz harbour on the 29th April (N. S.), and remained there until the 10th May, having burnt or wrecked almost every ship in the port, but did no damage on land. Drake landed, however, at Faro for water, and had to fight for it.
  • 6. See note to letter, Mendoza to the King, 10th May, page 82.
  • 7. Chisholm, bishop of Dunblane.
  • 8. The King in a marginal note draws especial notice to this
  • 9. The writer appears to have made a slip here. The Archbishop's suggestion was that Parma's armed privateers from Dunkirk should have access to Scotch ports.
  • 10. De Maineville had been sent on an embassy to Scotland in 1583 at the instance of Guise, whose retainer he was. He had captured the good graees of James, and was still in communication with many of the Scottish nobles. He was consequently used by Guise as his instrument in Scottish affairs.
  • 11. This man was the adherent of Antonio de Vega, mentioned in a former letter as having vowed vengeance against Don Antonio, and who had been sent by his master to Paris with a proposal for murdering Don Antonio.
  • 12. In the King's hand, "It will be well to warn Count de Olivares of this."