Venice: June 1567

Pages 395-397

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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June 1567

June 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 391. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
By letters from Scotland and by the information of persons just arrived from thence, the news is confirmed that the Queen has married the Earl of Bothwell, with the consent of the principal persons of the kingdom, who determined that on the 14th of last month the marriage should be celebrated according to the Huguenot rite. In order to excuse the Queen, the writers of the letters alleged that she desired to follow the Catholic rite, and that she had heard Mass, together with her husband, the same, morning in her private cabinet.
But upon this becoming known, the Bishop of Orkney, who is a Huguenot, forced an entrance and preached a sermon, and thus the ceremony was entirely performed according to the rites of Calvin. The Earl of Bothwell was previously declared not guilty of the death of the late King, and was then created Duke of Orkney. It is said that his first wife accused him of adultery, and procured a divorce from him, being persuaded to that effect by the Earl of Huntley (Antellin), her brother, who, as a reward, has been given the Earldom of Murray (Moré) which he claimed, and which had been kept from him by the bastard brother of the Queen, who was also about to be deprived of another earldom claimed by the Crown, and thus deprived of all his property. With regard to religion, masses are prohibited in the churches, but permitted in private houses. It is believed that the Queen and the Duke her husband would make every effort to obtain the guardianship and custody of the young Prince, which charges were openly refused them by Erskine (Aschin), Governor of the fortress of Stirling, and by many others to whom the guardianship was assigned by Parliament.
Before the above facts were known, their most Christian Majesties sent to Scotland a gentleman, by name De Villeroy, to ascertain exactly how the affairs of that kingdom were proceeding; and with the intention of also interposing their authority, should there be any hope of a general reconciliation, because the principal persons there being so divided in opinion, his Majesty feared that the weaker party might call in the English to their aid, and that the English might then easily make themselves masters of Scotland, from which country, at divers times, the crown of France has received signed assistance against the English. This is said by every one, and it is given forth to be the reason of the mission of Villeroy; but from persons who have heard it from the mouth of the Queen, I am informed that Villeroy was mainly sent in order that, passing through England, he might again propose as a husband for the Queen Monsieur d'Anjou, brother of his most Christian Majesty; and although their Majesties have less hope of success now than when they proposed the Duke last winter, still, by reason of the irritation which the answer concerning Calais has caused in England, they have renewed, the attempt, believing that the prospect of relationship with France might satisfy the English, and also fearing that the Ambassador sent by Queen Elizabeth might conclude the marriage with the Archduke Charles, which would cause his most Christian Majesty very great regret.
Paris, 13th June 1567.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 392. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
While the Court was on its progress, the Queen one day called to her a person with whom she frequently speaks confidentially, and said, “Tell me what was said about us in Paris, when, instead of proceeding to Saint Germain, according to the orders given, we came all of a sudden to this part of Normandy.” He answered, “Madam, it was immediately guessed that you were going to Calais, and therefore people began to believe that there would be war with the English.” The Queen smiled, and after a pause replied, What would you think, if very shortly you were to see me upon most loving terms with the Queen of England.” These words gave rise to the belief that her Majesty is not altogether without hope that the marriage of her son with the Queen of England may take place.
We hear from England that the Queen had summoned the French Ambassador, and said to him that she having heard the official answer given with regard to the demand for Calais, the same had displeased her greatly, it appearing strange to her that anyone should say openly that she had no right to her own property, and that she did not feel the less aggrieved when she heard of a letter written by the Queen (of France), because she (Queen Elizabeth) considered that the Queen of France ought not to have written in such terms to her equals. Still she (Queen Elizabeth) laid the blame upon the secretary, because possibly her Majesty (of France) had not lead the letter before she signed it. She (Queen Elizabeth) likewise excused the official answer, having regard to the youthful years of his most Christian Majesty, who, she hoped, when he arrived at a more mature age, would not fail to observe the promises and fulfil the oath sworn to by his father. We hear also that the Queen of England had received with much honour an Ambassador from the Emperor [the Count of Stolberg], who it is believed had come to treat concerning the Queen's marriage with the Archduke Charles. But it is written from England that this Ambassador had made no mention of this latter subject, and had only sought aid against the Turks. The Ambassador was to receive his answer on the 13th instant, and was then to depart at once.
The Queen of Scotland has sent to these Majesties (of France) the Bishop of Dumblane, who, in a long speech, commencing with the period of the birth of the Queen of Scotland down to the present time, described how her life had been always accompanied by an inconstant and doubtful fate, whence from time to time many events of a harassing and remarkable character had befallen her; and the Bishop concluded with the remark “that even this marriage, celebrated according to the Huguenot rite, was brought about rather by destiny and necessity than by her free choice.” This excuse was listened to by their Majesties, who are well informed of the circumstances, but was not accepted by them upon the ground that it was wrong to attribute any results to force which were openly brought about by free will and premeditated determination. As soon as the Bishop had ended speaking, the Queen said to him, “And we can tell you moreover that your Queen is now held a prisoner.” It is also reported that the Queen of Scotland, after having created her husband a Duke, knighted four other gentlemen, who, together with seven others, under the leadership of the Earl of Bothwell, were charged with having put to death the late King. This matter has greatly offended the Lords who are in attendance upon the Prince, and who are more than ever confirmed in the intention to retain him under the guardianship of the nobility, and to bring to justice all those who murdered his father. The Queen having summoned the Estates, these last mentioned nobles on the other hand also summoned them in the name of the Prince. A number of persons on both sides have attended, but the party of the Prince was by far the most numerous. Moreover, the Queen having left a certain castle to visit the city of Edinburgh, accompanied by three thousand horsemen, the party of the Prince went to meet her, in much greater numbers, and thereupon the Queen, fearing to fall into their hands, hoped by her presence to appease any outbreak, and thus avoid the effusion of blood; so, having left her forces at a distance, she advanced in a peaceable fashion, but her words did not avail her, for she was immediately made prisoner, while her own partisans fled, and the Earl of Bothwell, to whom the title of the Queen's husband is denied, has sought safety in the fortress of Dunbar. The Queen has been sent to a castle which is strictly guarded, and it is said that one of her secretaries led her into this trap. Monsieur de Foix is named Ambassador to your Serenity.
Paris, 25th June 1567.
June 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 393. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It was decided yesterday in council that within the period of a month one thousand five hundred men at arms shall be quartered on the frontiers of Picardy.
Fresh advices from Scotland report that the Queen is kept a prisoner in the house of a private gentleman, which is surrounded by a lake. It is a strong place, and the Queen has not more than three women to attend upon her. The Ambassador of the Queen of Scotland [the Bishop of Glasgow] has applied for assistance to these Majesties, and was told in reply that the Queen of Scotland had behaved so ill, and made herself so hateful to her subjects, that their Majesties were unable to give her either help or advice. The Ambassador has, however, been summoned to the Court by the Queen this day, and he entertains some hope that he may receive a more favourable answer.
Paris, 28th June 1567.