Spain: July 1498, 21-31

Pages 167-180

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 1, 1485-1509. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1862.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


July 1498, 21-31

24 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
208. Ferdinand and Isabella to De Puebla.
Have read all his letters up to the 25th of May.
Have offered peace to the new King of France, in which the rights of the King of England are to be reserved in a much more effective manner than has hitherto been usual. The King of France, however, does not seem to care for the peace, yet does not allege any reason. King Henry is most probably right in what he has said respecting Brittany and the other affairs. It would be a good thing to lower a little the pretensions of the King of France, which it would not be difficult to do, if Spain, England, and the King of the Romans were to combine for that purpose. Even Spain and England alone would suffice. Wish to know the opinion of Henry on this subject. Are pleased to hear that Henry will not make peace with France without including Spain in it. He must take care that Spain and England always make war or peace together.
After this had been written, the letters of the 1st and 6th of July arrived.
Papal dispensation.
There is no duplicate of the bull dispensing with the consanguinity of the Prince and Princess of Wales. Send a copy. The bull dispensing with the age of the Prince and Princess has likewise arrived. The manner in which the marriage is to be performed, and the Princess to be sent to England, are all the matters that remain to be settled. He must do this, but make no haste.
Will soon satisfy his demands respecting Don Pedro de Ayala.—Zaragoza, 24th July.
Spanish. Cipher. Deciphered by Johan Toyamo, Secretary to De Puebla. pp. 3½.
24 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
209. Ferdinand and Isabella.
Draft of the treaty of the 10th of July 1498, with a great number of almost illegible corrections.
Latin. pp. 6.
Included in the letter of Ferdinand and Isabella to De Puebla, dated Zaragoza, 24th July. 1498
25 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
Peace between England and Scotland.
210. The Prothonotary, Don Pedro De Ayala, to Ferdinand and Isabella.
It has been a very difficult task to conclude the peace between Scotland and England, because the old enmity is so great. It is a wonder that the peace is not already broken. The King of Scots has borne the injustice committed by the English only because the peace has been made by Spain. The English have committed new murders and robberies in Scotland, before satisfaction had been given for the former murders. The King of Scots has sent to England, and declared that, if satisfaction be not given without further delay, he will not consider himself any longer bound by the treaty of peace. While things were in this state, Londoño and the Sub-prior arrived, on the 2d of July, with their letters.
Promises to do all that is consistent with honesty to gratify the King of Scots, and meanwhile to reconcile him with the King of England.
Stays in London because his health is bad. Besides, it would not be politic to go to Scotland now ; for the King of Scots has repeatedly written to him that he only awaits his return to take some decisive measures. Could not, if he returned to Scotland, prevent the King from doing so.
Has been accused by a certain person of misconduct, but such accusations will fall back on the accuser.
Intrigues in Catalonia.
Is asked how it came to pass that he had learnt news about Catalonia from a person from Brittany. Said person is an ecclesiastic, a great preacher, and a visitor of the Order of St. Francis. He was, there is no doubt, commissioned to treat with the King of England respecting the affairs of Brittany. The reason why the King of France concluded the truce so soon was, in order to be at liberty to intrigue with the Infants, and to provoke a revolution in those parts of Spain. He would thus have frustrated what they are now going to do. The mediator was a Catalonian general, who is in Brittany. The brother of this general has gone to Catalonia. Could not learn anything more, because his informant had left England. He is, however, expected soon to return. Though Charles VIII. is dead now, it is always useful to know these intrigues.
Obedient to their orders, sends them a description of the King and the kingdom of Scotland.
The King of Scots.
His knowledge of languages.
"The King is 25 years and some months old. He is of noble stature, neither tall nor short, and as handsome in complexion and shape as a man can be. His address is very agreeable. He speaks the following foreign languages ; Latin, very well ; French, German, Flemish, Italian, and Spanish ; Spanish as well as the Marquis, but he pronounces it more distinctly. He likes, very much, to receive Spanish letters. His own Scotch language is as different from English as Aragonese from Castilian. The King speaks, besides, the language of the savages who live in some parts of Scotland and on the islands. It is as different from Scotch as Biscayan is from Castilian. His knowledge of languages is wonderful. He is well read in the Bible and in some other devout books. He is a good historian. He has read many Latin and French histories, and profited by them, as he has a very good memory. He never cuts his hair or his beard. It becomes him very well."
He observes the dictates of the Church.
He speaks the truth.
He is liberal and courageous, but
a bad captain.
He hunts in the mountains,
is temperate, and
generally follows the advice of his counsellors.
"He fears God, and observes all the precepts of the Church. He does not eat meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. He would not ride on Sundays for any consideration, not even to mass. He says all his prayers. Before transacting any business he hears two masses. After mass he has a cantata sung, during which he sometimes despatches very urgent business. He gives alms liberally, but is a severe judge, especially in the case of murderers. He has a great predilection for priests, and receives advice from them, especially from the Friars Observant, with whom he confesses. Rarely, even in joking, a word escapes him that is not the truth. He prides himself much upon it, and says it does not seem to him well for Kings to swear their treaties as they do now. The oath of a King should be his royal word, as was the case in bygone ages. He is neither prodigal nor avaricious, but liberal when occasion requires. He is courageous, even more so than a King should be. I am a good witness of it. I have seen him often undertake most dangerous things in the last wars. I sometimes clung to his skirts, and succeeded in keeping him back. On such occasions he does not take the least care of himself. He is not a good captain, because he begins to fight before he has given his orders. He said to me that his subjects serve him with their persons and goods, in just and unjust quarrels, exactly as he likes, and that, therefore, he does not think it right to begin any warlike undertaking without being himself the first in danger. His deeds are as good as his words. For this reason, and because he is a very humane prince, he is much loved. He is active, and works hard. When he is not at war he hunts in the mountains. I tell your Highnesses the truth when I say that God has worked a miracle in him, for I have never seen a man so temperate in eating and drinking out of Spain. Indeed such a thing seems to be superhuman in these countries. He lends a willing ear to his counsellors, and decides nothing without asking them ; but in great matters he acts according to his own judgment, and, in my opinion, he generally makes a right decision. I recognize him perfectly in the conclusion of the last peace, which was made against the wishes of the majority in his kingdom."
Love intrigues.
He has a high opinion of himself, and likes war.
"When he was a minor he was instigated by those who held the government to do some dishonourable things. They favoured his love intrigues with their relatives, in order to keep him in their subjection. As soon as he came of age, and understood his duties, he gave up these intrigues. When I arrived, he was keeping a lady with great state in a castle. He visited her from time to time. Afterwards he sent her to the house of her father, who is a knight, and married her. He did the same with another lady, by whom he had had a son. It may be about a year since he gave up, so at least it is believed, his lovemaking, as well from fear of God as from fear of scandal in this world, which is thought very much of here. I can say with truth that he esteems himself as much as though he were Lord of the world. He loves war so much that I fear, judging by the provocation he receives, the peace will not last long. War is profitable to him and to the country."
"I will give an account of his revenues. Although I do not know them to a certainty, I do not think that I shall be far wrong. I shall estimate them a little below their real amount."
Crown land.
"He has a revenue from arable and pasture lands, which are let by leases of three years. The farmers pay a fine upon entry. This rent is said to amount to 50,000 pounds Scotch, each pound Scotch being worth one Castiliano. I rather believe that it amounts to 40,000 ducats."
Administration of justice.
"Another revenue is that from the customs. The import duties are insignificant, but the exports yield a considerable sum of money, because there are three principal articles of export, that is to say, wool, hides, and fish. The customs are worth about 25,000 ducats a year. They have much increased, and will continue to increase. Another revenue is that derived from the administration of the law. His predecessors farmed it to certain persons called justices (justiciarios), like our coregidores. This King does not like to farm the administration of the law, because justice is not well administered in that way. It is said that this revenue amounts to more than 30,000 ducats, but I will put it down at only 25,000 ducats."
"He has another revenue from his wards, which is very considerable, and which offers good opportunities for rewarding his servants. If lords, or gentlemen of the middle class, in whateverpart of the kingdom they may be, die and leave children under 22 years of age, the King is the guardian of them. He receives all their revenues till they come of age. He lets or sells such guardianships. He even sells the marriages of his wards, male and female. When the ward comes of age, and the King gives him the title of his father, or brother, or testator, he pays the amount of one or two years' rent, or any other sum that is agreed upon, into the exchequer of the King. I am told that this is the richest source of revenue, but I will estimate it at only 20,000 ducats."
Vacant bishoprics, &c.
"He enjoys one year's revenue from the bishoprics and abbacies for the presentation. He likewise receives all the revenues of them during the vacancy of the see. The same is the case with respect to other livings, for they are all in his gift. I do not know to how much this amounts."
"He has a rent from the fisheries, not in money, but in kind, for his kitchen, and likewise from meat and poultry, &c. This is his income, according to what I have been able to ascertain, and to what I have seen. He is in want of nothing, judging from the manner in which he lives, but he is not able to put money into his strong boxes. I shall speak hereafter of this."
Its extent.
The people are not industrious, but
have improved.
The country is large. Your Highnesses know that these kingdoms form an island. Judging by what I have read in books and seen on maps, and also by my own experience, I should think that both kingdoms are of equal extent. In the same proportion that England is longer than Scotland, Scotland is wider than England ; thus the quantity of land is the same. Neither is the quality very different in the two countries, but the Scotch are not industrious, and the people are poor. They spend all their time in wars, and when there is no war they fight with one another. It must, however, be observed that since the present King succeeded to the throne they do not dare to quarrel so much with one another as formerly, especially since he came of age. They have learnt by experience that he executes the law without respect to rich or poor. I am told that Scotland has improved so much during his reign that it is worth three times more now than formerly, on account of foreigners having come to the country, and taught them how to live. They have more meat, in great and small animals, than they want, and plenty of wool and hides.
Spaniards who live in Flanders tell me that the commerce of Scotland is much more considerable now than formerly, and that it is continually increasing.
It is impossible to describe the immense quantity of fish. The old proverb says already 'piscinata Scotia.' Great quantities of salmon, herring, and a kind of dried fish, which they call stock fish (stoque fix), are exported. The quantity is so great that it suffices for Italy, France, Flanders, and England. They have so many wild fruits which they eat, that they do not know what to do with them. There are immense flocks of sheep, especially in the savage portions or Scotland. Hides are employed for many purposes. There are all kinds of garden fruits to be found which a cold country can produce. They are very good. Oranges, figs, and other fruits of the same kind are not to be found there. The corn is very good, but they do not produce as much as they might, because they do not cultivate the land. Their method is the following : they plough the land only once when it has grass on it, which is as high as a man, then they sow the corn, and cover it by means of a harrow, which makes the land even again. Nothing more is done till they cut the corn. I have seen the straw stand so high after harvest, that it reached to my girdle. Some kind of corn is sown about the Feast of St. John, and is cut in August.
The Scots are hospitable,
courageous and envious.
The people are handsome. They like foreigners so much that they dispute with one another as to who shall have and treat a foreigner in his house. They are vain and ostentatious by nature. They spend all they have to keep up appearances. They are as well dressed as it is possible to be in such a country as that in which they live. They are courageous, strong, quick, and agile. They are envious to excess.
Four duchies.
There are four duchies in the kingdom. Three of them are in the possession of the King ; the fourth is held by the eldest brother of the King, who is Duke of Ross and Archbishop of St. Andrew's. There are fifteen Earls, not counting the younger brother of the King, who holds two counties. Nine other counties are in possession of the King. Some of the fifteen Earls are great men. I saw two of them come to serve the King in the last war with more than 30,000 men, all picked soldiers and well-armed. And yet they did not bring more than one half of their men. Many others came with five or six thousand followers ; some with more, and some with less. As I have already observed, this army does not cost the King a penny.
There are two principalities ; one of them is the principatus insularum, and the other the principatus Gallividiae." (fn. 1) Both are held by the King. There are five-and-thirty great barons in the kingdom, without counting the smaller ones.
Archbishoprics, &c.
"There are two archbishoprics and eleven bishoprics, 63 monasteries, which they call abbeys, and many other religious houses, which are endowed with property and rents. The abbeys are very magnificent, the buildings fine, and the revenues great. All of them were founded by Kings. There are seventy seaports. The harbours between the islands are not included in this number, though they are said to be very secure.
Sixty-four of the islands are inhabited. Some of them are 60 miles long, and as many miles in width. Besides, there are the Orcades towards Norway. It is said they are very numerous.
On the islands there are many flocks, and great quantities of fish and of barley. The inhabitants are very warlike and agile. I saw them in the last war. They do not know what danger is. The present King keeps them in strict subjection. He is feared by the bad, and loved and revered by the good like a god. None of the former Kings have succeeded in bringing the people into such subjection as the present King. He went last summer to many of the islands, and presided at the courts of law.
The prelates are very much revered ; they have the larger share in the Government. Spiritual as well as secular Lords, if they have a title or a dignity, belong to the General Council. It meets four times a year in order to administer justice. It is a very good institution. All causes are decided after debating them. At the same time the King receives his revenues derived from the administration of the law. Both spiritual and secular lords have a certain number of followers, recorded in the books of the King, who are entitled to have their meals in the palace when they come to court. They have no other advantages. The King selects some of them for his Privy Council, and they always remain at court. They receive, nevertheless, no salary, except for other offices which they may happen to hold. But they and their servants eat in the palace. The reason why they do so is, that the King may be always accompanied by them. It causes great expense.
The Kings live little in cities and towns. They pass their time generally in castles and abbeys, where they find lodgings for all their officers. They do not remain long in one place. The reason thereof is twofold. In the first place, they move oftenabout, in order to visit their kingdom, to administer justice, and to establish police where it is wanted. The second reason is, that they have rents in kind in every province, and they wish to consume them. While travelling, neither the King nor any of his officers have any expenses, nor do they carry provisions with them. They go from house to house, to lords, bishops, and abbots, where they receive all that is necessary. The greatest favour the King can do to his subjects is to go to their houses.
The women are courteous in the extreme. I mention this because they are really honest, though very bold. They are absolute mistresses of their houses, and even of their husbands, in all things concerning the administration of their property, income as well as expenditure. They are very graceful and handsome women. They dress much better than here (England), and especially as regards the head-dress, which is, I think, the handsomest in the world.
The towns and villages are populous. The houses are good, all built of hewn stone, and provided with excellent doors, glass windows, and a great number of chimneys. All the furniture that is used in Italy, Spain, and France, is to be found in their dwellings. It has not been bought in modern times only, but inherited from preceding ages.
Fortified towns.
French habits and language.
The Queens possess, besides their baronies and castles, four country seats, situated in the best portions of the kingdom, each of which is worth about fifteen thousand ducats. The King fitted them up anew only three years ago. There is not more than one fortified town in Scotland, because the Kings do not allow their subjects to fortify them. The town is a very considerable borough and well armed. The whole soil of Scotland belongs to the King, the landholders being his vassals, or his tenants for life, or for a term of years. They are obliged to serve him forty days, at their own expense, every time he calls them out. They are very good soldiers. The King can assemble, within thirty days, 120,000 horse. The soldiers from the islands are not counted in this number. The islands are half a league, one, two, three, or four leagues distant from the main land. The inhabitants speak the language, and have the habits of the Irish. But there is a good deal of French education in Scotland, and many speak the French language. For all the young gentlemen (fn. 2) who have no property go to France, and are well received there, and therefore the French are liked. Two or three times I have seen, not the whole army, but one-third of it assembled, and counted more than twelve thousand great and small tents. There is much emulation among them as to who shall be best equipped, and they are very ostentatious and pride themselves very much in this respect. They have old and heavy artillery of iron. Besides this, they possess modern French guns of metal, which are very good. King Louis gave them to the father of the present King in payment of what was due to him as co-heir of his sister, the Queen of Scotland.
Geographical position of Scotland.
It is easily defended.
This is all I am able to tell your Highnesses. Now, I shall describe where Scotland is situated, and by what countries she is surrounded. She borders on England by land, and by sea on Brittany, France, Flanders, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Ireland. She is surrounded by these countries. Scotland is powerful enough to defend herself against her neighbours should any one of them attack her without fear of God. No King can do her damage without suffering greater damages from her, that is to say, in a war on land; for they know that on the sea there are many Kings more powerful than they are, although they possess many fine vessels. On land they think themselves the most powerful kingdom that exists ; for they say the King of Scots has always a hundred thousand men ready to fight, and they are always paid. Towards the west there is no land between Scotland and Spain. Scotland is nearer to Spain than London, and the voyage is not dangerous. Scotland has succoured most of her neighbours. With respect to France and Flanders this is notorious. The Dukes of Burgundy wear the "tan of St. Andrew," in memory of the succour which Scotland sent to Duke [blank]. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. On the other hand, Scotland has never wanted foreign assistance. There is as great a difference between the Scotland of old time and the Scotland of to-day as there is between bad and good, as I have already written."
Alliance between Spain and Scotland.
Is afraid his description of Scotland may appear partial ; his intention, however, is to tell the truth. Feels himself the more obliged to do so when he considers what may happen. If the third daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella (fn. 3) be not yet engaged, it would be a service to God to marry her to the King of Scots. He would be always a faithful ally, near at hand, and ready to assist, without causing any inconvenience to Spain. The kingdom is very old, and very noble, and the King possesses great virtues, and no defects worth mentioning.
The Scots are not rich.
"His kingdom and his subjects are not rich ; the fault of which is not owing to the land. But, on the other hand, they are not so poor but that they live as well as others who are much richer ; only they have nothing to put into their strong boxes."
Marriage of the King of Scots to the daughter of Henry VII.
Opinion of Henry respecting it.
King Henry asked Londoño and the Sub-prior of Santa Cruz what instructions they had brought him respecting the affairs of Scotland. Afterwards he addressed the same questions to De Puebla. As none of them were able to give a satisfactory answer, the King at last asked him. Said that he was ordered by all means to bring the marriage of the King of Scots with an English Princess to a speedy conclusion if negotiations respecting such a marriage were pending. The marriage seemed to be necessary for the preservation of peace. Has never seen a man more content and cheerful than the King of England when he heard this communication. After having expressed his thanks, the King said the following words :—"I am really sorry that I have not a daughter or a sister for him ; for I have loved him most sincerely since the conclusion of the peace ; not to mention that he is my relative. He has behaved very well towards me. I wish to see him as prosperous as myself. But I have already told you, more than once, that a marriage between him and my daughter has many inconveniences. She has not yet completed the ninth year of her age, and is so delicate and weak (fn. 4) that she must be married much later than other young ladies. Thus it would be necessary to wait at least another nine years. Besides my own doubts, the Queen and my mother are very much against this marriage. They say if the marriage were concluded we should be obliged to send the Princess directly to Scotland, in which case they fear the King of Scots would not wait, but injure her, and endanger her health. Therefore I do not wish you to trouble yourself about this affair. But if you have power to do so, you may negotiate the other business, which I have very much at heart. Indeed, nothing could be more agreeable to me than it." The King explained to him all the reasons why he wished it so much. "If their Highnesses," he said, "who are already masters of the whole of Spain, had their three daughters married here near each other, they would want no other alliance, and would be able always to preserve peace, which otherwise would not last a single year, the dispositions of the English and Scots being so averse from it."
Jealousy of the English.
The daughter of Henry is, in fact, very young, and very small for her years. There is, therefore, no other means of securing the peace but by the marriage of the Infanta Maria to the King of Scots. The English wish for this marriage ; but, on the other hand, they are jealous, and dislike the idea of the Scotch having the same honour as they have. The King alone, as being more intelligent, and not a pure Englishman, does not share this jealousy.
An answer in the negative would produce a very bad effect in Scotland. Intends, therefore, to remain in London, and to write to the King of Scots that his last instructions from Spain referred him to former instructions sent by the ambassador who was drowned. (fn. 5) That would give him a good pretext for waiting till he receives new instructions. Time would be gained by this, and the whole affair could be reconsidered.
Thanks for the dignity of Segovia conferred upon him, and asks for a new archdeaconry.
Discoveries in America.
Fleet sent out by Henry.
"I think your Majesties have already heard that the King of England has equipped a fleet in order to discover certain islands and continents which he was informed some people from Bristol, who manned a few ships for the same purpose last year, had found. I have seen the map which the discoverer has made, who is another Genoese, like Columbus, and who has been in Seville and in Lisbon, asking assistance for his discoveries. The people of Bristol have, for the last seven years, sent out every year two, three, or four light ships (caravelas), in search of the island of Brazil and the seven cities, according to the fancy of this Genoese. The King determined to send out (ships), because, the year before, they brought certain news that they had found land. His fleet consisted of five vessels, which carried provisions for one year. It is said that one of them, in which one Friar Buil went, has returned to Ireland in great distress, the ship being much damaged. The Genoese has continued his voyage. I have seen, on a chart, the direction which they took, and the distance they sailed ; and I think that what they have found, or what they are in search of, is what your Highnesses already possess. It is expected that they will be back in the month of September. I write this because the King of England has often spoken to me on this subject, and he thinks that your Highnesses will take great interest in it. I think it is not further distant than four hundred leagues. I told him that, in my opinion, the land was already in the possession of your Majesties ; but though I gave him my reasons, he did not like them. I believe that your Highnesses are already informed of this matter ; and I do not now send the chart or mapa mundi which that man has made, and which, according to my opinion, is false, since it makes it appear as if the land in question was not the said islands." (fn. 6)
Riches of the King of England.
Decrease of commerce.
"The King of England is less rich than is generally said. He likes to be thought very rich, because such a belief is advantageous to him in many respects. His revenues are considerable, but the custom house revenues, as well as the land rents, diminish every day. As far as the customs are concerned, the reason of their decrease is to be sought in the decay of commerce, caused partly by the wars, but much more by the additional duties imposed by the King. There is, however, another reason for the decrease of trade, that is to say, the impoverishment of the people by the great taxes laid on them. The King himself said to me, that it is his intention to keep his subjects low, because riches would only make them haughty. The rents of the domains which he has confiscated to the Crown have much diminished. The reason is, that the lords had administrations." (fn. 7)
Character of Henry VII.
His crown is, nevertheless, undisputed, and his government is strong in all respects. He is disliked, but the Queen beloved, because she is powerless. They love the Prince as much as themselves, because he is the grandchild of his grandfather. Those who know him love him also for his own virtues. The King looks old for his years, but young for the sorrowful life he has led. One of the reasons why he leads a good life (fn. 8) is that he has been brought up abroad. He would like to govern England in the French fashion, but he cannot. He is subject to his Council, but has already shaken off some, and got rid of some part of this subjection. Those who have received the greatest favours from him are the most discontented. He knows all that. The King has the greatest desire to employ foreigners in his service. He cannot do so ; for the envy of the English is diabolical, and, I think, without equal. He likes to be much spoken of, and to be highly appreciated by the whole world. He fails in this, because he is not a great man. Although he professes many virtues, his love of money is too great."
Princess of Wales.
"He spends all the time he is not in public, or in his Council, in writing the accounts of his expenses with his own hand. He desires nothing more in this world than the arrival of the Princess of Wales in England. Though it is not my business to give advice, I take the liberty to say that it would be a good thing if she were to come soon, in order to accustom herself to the way of life in this country and to learn the language. On the other hand, when one sees and knows the manners and the way of life of this people in this island, one cannot deny the grave inconveniences of her coming to England before she is of age. Your Highnesses know the reasons. They are many. But the Princess can only be expected to lead a happy life through not remembering those things which would make her less enjoy what she will find here. It would, therefore, still be best to send her directly, and before she has learnt fully to appreciate our habits of life and our government."
The mother of the King.
"The King is much influenced by his mother and his followers in affairs of personal interest and in others. The Queen, as is generally the case, does not like it. There are other persons who have much influence in the government, as, for instance, the Lord Privy Seal, the Bishop of Durham, the Chamberlain, and many others."
Thinks that he will be obliged to give a decisive answer to the King of Scots, as soon as he returns to Scotland. Doubts whether Ferdinand and Isabella have treated the affairs of Scotland with their wonted caution. The King of Scots firmly believes that he shall marry one of their daughters. The refusal will most probably offend him. Promises to do his best to influence the King of Scots according to their orders.—London, 25th July.
Indorsed : "To their Highnesses, 1498. From Don Pedro Ayala, 25th July '98."
The greater portion of this letter is in cipher, which is deciphered by Almazan, First Secretary of State.
25 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
211. Pedro De Ayala to Miguel Perez Almazan, First Secretary of State to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Has received his letter. It is the more welcome, because he has not had from him, during a whole year and one month, more than a single line in writing.
Is very glad that his long letters are so much appreciated in Spain, for he had been afraid of tiring the King and Queen with all the details which he had given them.
Don Martin.
Thanks for his promise to provide him with money. Has kept six servants and eight horses, but this is scarcely sufficient, as he is obliged to go so often from the one kingdom to the other, and to send so many messengers. His salary is 32/3 ducats a day. Don Martin (fn. 9) lived for a long time in his house, keeping two horses and six servants. Paid everything for Don Martin, and kept his servants after his death. His salary has not been paid for the last sixteen months.
Two of his servants were slain on the road, and are buried in Scotland. Four were slain in the wars, and three more are wounded.
Has written very often about everything that has happened in England and Scotland. Does not know whether his letters have been received.
De Ayala expected in Scotland.
Does not intend to return to Scotland until he has got an answer from Spain. The King of Scots expects him daily.
Does not ask new favours, but would accept them if conferred upon him. Would like to have the archdeanery which Don Martin formerly held. Begs for a piece of land in the Vega that he may build a hermitage on the spot where his brother was killed. Thanks for the dignity of Segovia, and is astonished that the archdeanery in that town should have been given to another.
Pasamonte has rendered him good services ; wishes to retain him in England.
Has been obliged to buy many things in England. Thinks them very dear. Wishes his outlay to be repaid him.
Sends a present.
There are some good things in England. Does not offer him hawks and greyhounds, because he is occupied with ciphers, and not with hunting ; but will send him "acaneas" (fn. 10) and sprouts.
Is in great want of money. Writes about everything that happens, because sometimes things the most insignificant in appearance are very important in fact. Has done nothing to raise hopes in the King of Scots since the first promises which he had given him. The friendship of the King of Scots is important to England and Spain. Londoño and the Sub-prior have left for Flanders.—London, 25th of July.
Addressed : "To the most noble and virtuous Señor Miguel Perez Almazan, Secretary to the King and Queen of Spain, and of their Council."
Indorsed : "To me, from the Prothonotary, P. de Ayala, 25 July '98."
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 10.
July (?)
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 63.
212. Anonymous Letter to De Puebla.
The proceedings against the Scotch clergyman are continued, not so much in order to punish him for his slaying the Englishman, as in order to obtain money from his brother, who has already paid more than 200l. Begs to inform King Ferdinand of the covetousness of the English officers of law.
[Marginal note, written apparently by De Puebla :—]
Has done all in his power to prevent the execution of the Scotch clergyman, because it would reflect dishonour on the Spanish embassy if a person belonging to it were executed. The clergyman will be transferred from the secular to the ecclesiastical prison, and means will be found to arrange the whole affair.—No date. No signature.
Spanish. Holograph. p. 1.


  • 1. Galloway.
  • 2. "Fijos dalgo, hidalgo," son of somebody, as distinct from the nobodies.
  • 3. Doña Maria, afterwards married to Don Manuel the Fortunate, King of Portugal.
  • 4. Feminina (feminine) in the original.
  • 5. Fernan Perez de Ayala.
  • 6. This paragraph is so much curtailed in the deciphering made by Almazan, that it was necessary to decipher it again from the original despatch in cipher.
  • 7. "Es causa que tenian los Señores administraciones." The meaning does not seem to be clear.
  • 8. "Tener buena vida" in the original. Is there a "no" omitted? or does "buena vida" mean a sober life conducive to the preservation of health?
  • 9. Spanish ambassador in Scotland, and chaplain to King Ferdinand.
  • 10. The editor has not been successful enough to discover the meaning of the word "acaneas." "Acanea" is still used in some parts of Spain in common conversation in a figurative sense. It signifies something unprofitable, empty, &c., as, for instance, acaneas del corte. But the primitive sense in which the word is used here seems to be lost. The Spanish dictionaries do not contain this word at all, neither in the primitive nor in the figurative sense