Simancas
April 1560

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Institute of Historical Research

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Martin A. S. Hume (editor)

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1892

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142-151

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'Simancas: April 1560', Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1: 1558-1567 (1892), pp. 142-151. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=86717 Date accessed: 23 July 2014.


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April 1560

7 April.
Brussels Archives, B. M. French MS. Add. 28,173a.
97. De Glajon to the King.
Following the letters of your Majesty prior to the 27th ultimo I received from her Highness instructions to take steps to prevent a rupture between the queen of England and the French in consequence of her desire to aid the rebels in Scotland. I started out the same day and after about nine days delay through bad weather I arrived here on the 5th instant in the evening. Having communicated my commission to Bishop Quadra, your Majesty's ambassador here, I found things in a very different position from what your Majesty had been informed, as eight days before my arrival the Queen had sent her forces towards Scotland and five days afterwards they had entered the country and joined the rebels. This caused me the greatest perplexity as to how I ought to proceed in the execution of my commission, as my instructions contain no mention of such an eventuality ; but as I knew that to waste any time would be prejudicial and contrary to your Majesty's intention, I considered after several consultations with your ambassador that since your Majesty's orders could not be carried out owing to the Queen's having already joined the rebels and commenced war, and also that this step of hers might bring about results that would make a reconciliation more difficult than ever, whilst if the Queen turned the French out of Scotland a long and severe war might occur, and the Queen's spirit raised by her success might cause even greater annoyance to your Majesty : whereas, on the other hand, if the French were victorious the Queen might be in danger of losing her crown, and your Majesty also forced to interfere and declare war with the French, we at last came to the conclusion that I had better watch an opportunity of endeavouring to obtain a suspension of hostilities from the Queen and the withdrawal of her troops from Scotland. In the interim some means of reconciling the differences between this Queen and the king of France might be devised both as to the bearing of the arms and style of this kingdom which the king of France has usurped and the other subjects of dispute. I hinted at this to-day before introducing formally the subject of my commission to her, and on presenting your Majesty's letters to the Queen. When she had read the letters she said they only answered a letter sent to your Majesty some time ago, and that since then she had sent her ambassadors to you and written other letters to which she was expecting answers. She seemed to convey by this that she would not enter into any new communication until she had received a reply, but I nevertheless persevered in my purpose and pointed out to her that I did not think it true that she was awaiting the reply to her said letters complaining to your Majesty of the king of France, and that she had not even held her hand until my coming though she knew I was on my way and would arrive shortly, but had even hastened to begin war a week before my arrival.
To excuse herself from this the Queen answered that she had been awaiting the reply for two or three months from your Majesty and and seeing it still tarried she could not avoid taking advantage of certain opportunities which were offered to her. She asked me whether I came straight from your Majesty or from the Netherlands, to which I replied that I came from the Netherlands, and as to the delay that had taken place in your Majesty's reply your ambassador told her it was her own fault as she had not advised your Majesty of her complaints against the French until she had resolved to make war on them, and she had commenced to annoy them at once of which the French had made many complaints to your Majesty and many difficulties had arisen therefrom. It was your Majesty's wish to allay these difficulties first, and as you had to obtain information and advice on the matter the answer had thus been delayed. The Queen answered with some anger that it was too late to withdraw her troops or to talk about reconcilation except sword in hand, and she was thereupon told that your Majesty did not desire to mix yourself in the affair as judge, but only in consideration of fraternal friendship and alliance and out of a desire that she should maintain her position She had also requested your Majesty's intervention both by her own letters and her instructions to your ambassador, but that if she nevertheless did not further desire it she had only to say so to me and we would do as she ordered. She then said that she would willingly hear us but that before giving any answer about the suspension of hostilities, she would like to know what means your Majesty suggested to ensure her against the French. I then made her a long detailed speech respecting my commission, in fulfilment of instructions. I first reminded her of the fraternal friendship your Majesty had for her at all times, and the good advice and counsel you had always given her both through the Count de Feria and your present ambassador and particularly by Don Juan de Ayala, the whole object of which was to preserve her kingdom in peace and tranquillity. Notwithstanding all this she had voluntarily gone to war with the French and had given help to their rebels, and the French had complained very much to your Majesty of her proceeding and had even begged your assistance in so reasonable and just a cause, and asked that the Queen should not be upheld in so scandalous an action. Although your Majesty saw the French had right on their side you had nevertheless defended her and made excuse for her by saying that she had armed on great suspicion that the designs of the French went beyond the punishment of the rebels, and after long disputes between your Majesty and the Ambassador and other Ministers of the king of France you had found means of relieving her of all suspicion or fear of the king of France and at the same time saving his dignity and punishing the rebels. The troops to chastise the rebels would be sent by your Majesty from your own subjects, of whom the Queen, of course, could feel no doubt although they might be in the service of the king of France and no jealousy could be engendered. I said I did not on this occasion propose to enter into the numbers of such troops or other details until I heard from her whether she wished to avail herself of this plan, but seeing that it would be the means of abolishing all suspicion, your Majesty wished to persuade her to it and to abstain from helping the rebels. I said she ought not to refuse, seeing the state of her affairs and the difficulties she was in at present which would continue to increase as she had to do with so powerful a prince as the king of France who could assail her in many ways. Your Majesty, I said, did not doubt that after mature deliberation she would accept the expedient proposed, but you did not mean that she should disarm entirely and should keep her frontiers well guarded until the French had retired from Scotland and affairs in that country were settled. She answered at some length, accusing the French of bad intentions towards her which obliged her to be on the alert both as regards Germany and the French themselves, and as to helping the rebels (although she did not consider these as such and would help to punish them if she did) she thought these people were only defending their Queen and the rights and liberties of their country and by helping them she considered she was assuring her crown and dignity.
I pointed out to her in reply that your Majesty considered them as rebels as they had risen against their sovereign and had changed the religion which could not be excused in any way.
As regards the state of her affairs and her difficulties and expenses she replied that she hoped our Lord, whom she called upon to witness her sincerity in this matter and who had upheld her in worse perplexities and reverses, would sustain her in the future, and she put her whole trust in Him.
Finally respecting the expedient proposed by your Majesty to send your own people to Scotland for her security she answered that she thought no other forces should be sent to Scotland except by the king of France although those he had there at present should be withdrawn, leaving the country at peace, and she asked me whether the king of France was willing that your Majesty should send your troops and subjects to Scotland. Thinking that she asked this question with no good motive or desire to accede to the proposal, but rather from curiosity, I answered that at present that was not the question, but only to obtain her views on the matter. We were not able, however, to get her to declare herself, although she showed no surprise. She began to tire of the long interview which had lasted about an hour and a half, and on seeing this we asked her to be pleased to appoint another time to meet us and discuss the matter in the presence of her Council and give us her final decision in order to advise your Majesty. She fixed to-morrow. We send information to your Majesty, and as the affair is of so much importance we also inform the duchess of Parma, as your Majesty will see by my copies of letters enclosed. At the same time I have begged her Highness to instruct me how I am to proceed in case the Queen will not listen to a suspension of hostilities nor accept the proposal made to her by your Majesty for her security. My own belief is that she will not agree to either as she appears so animated and confident of being able to shortly achieve her end, but that she will endeavour to keep us temporising with words whilst she works her will, which I cannot prevent except by advising her Highness (the Duchess).—London, 7th April 1560 (before Easter).
9 April.
Brussels Archives. B.M. French M.S. Add. 28,173.
99. The Same to the Same.
Since writing the enclosed we have received a visit from Secretary Cecil on behalf of the Queen to hear from us more fully what we had communicated to Her Majesty. We repeated the same arguments, to the effect that your Majesty desired above all things that the Queen should withdraw her forces from Scotland and abstain from helping the rebels there, allowing the Most Christian King to chastise them as they deserve, or at least that she should agree to a suspension of hostilities for 40 or 50 days, to enable your Majesty to be informed of the difficulties that had arisen here, and seek for a means of reconciling the differences between her and the Most Christian King.
After a very long conference, lasting about five hours, the said Secretary gave us his opinion on three principal points. First he excused the Queen for not awaiting your Majesty's reply, throwing the blame thereof on the long delay in sending the answer which she had awaited for three months, and then in order not to lose an opportunity that presented itself, it had been necessary for her to take measures for her own safety, in order not to be forestalled by the French. He then recited at great length the injury the Queen had received from the French by the usurpation of the style and arms of King of England, and the great danger to which she was exposed through the preparations made by the French for the invasion of her country with the object of deposing her.
She had, he said, received trustworthy information of these designs both from Germany, France, and elsewhere, and the machinations were so evident that she could not ignore them. Finally, Cecil tried to persuade us by many reasons and arguments that it was not to your Majesty's interest that the French should make themselves complete masters of Scotland, which they easily might do if the Most Christian Queen should die without heirs, seeing the forts they now hold. Affairs in this country also were in such a condition that, although whilst the Queen lived she would peacefully enjoy her kingdom with the aid of your Majesty, yet if the Queen were to decide not to marry (as she certainly had no great desire to do) the close neighbourhood of the king of France in Scotland would enable him to take possession of this country also at her death.
We answered him on each article, first pointing out and clearly proving that the blame for the delay he wished to cast upon your Majesty should really be laid on the Queen herself, as she had said three months ago that she was going to send her ambassadors to your Majesty to treat of the contents of the letters in question whereas they (the ambassadors) cannot have arrived until last month at the earliest. At about the date of the letters, also, she began to assail the French as we fully stated to the Queen herself. With regard to the complaints against the French, we said that it was not licit to avenge verbal injuries otherwise than verbally, and that the matters were easy of settlement if they would consent to submit them to your Majesty as we had no doubt the French would do. We said that the Queen ought not to carry the affair of Scotland, so far as to exclude the king of France from his country, and that by giving so bad and dangerous an example as helping the rebels with so little reason, she was encouraging other States to rebel against their lawful rulers. As regarded the alleged preparations, she had no reason to fear, as your Majesty by the means you would propose would ensure her against them. On the third point we said that your Majesty did not consider it just or reasonable that for the purpose of avoiding or providing against very remote and distant dangers, she should trouble the common tranquillity at the present time as she was doing at such great expense and pains, and above all by such unjust and dishonest means against her own honour and conscience, as it was to help the rebels and heretics in Scotland. We said that a long war might bring evils and injuries innumerable to her subjects, and these would be caused without the slightest necessity or obligation on her part, and seeing that she was commencing the present war wilfully on an insignificant pretext which could easily be settled without an appeal to arms, we believed your Majesty would not countenance it unless, indeed, she would consent to a reasonable suspension of hostilities to allow of an agreement being effected.
We had throughout our long statement constantly repeated that your Majesty wished as earnestly as ever to assist the Queen in all that concerned her real interests and the preservation of her kingdom, and would do so as usual in this negotiation.
It was quite clear to us, however, from our interview with the secretary, that the Queen will not by any means withdraw her army from Scotland.
With regard to the English forces, we learn that they have 8,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry with 32 ships of war with 4,000 foot soldiers on board. The Scotch infantry was of similar strength without counting those who are flocking to them daily.
The Secretary gave us to understand that on no account in the world, notwithstanding any persuasions that might be used, would the Queen decide to marry yet, which we thought he said in case we wished to bring on the question. We only replied that from this fact it was quite clear that the fault of this country being in danger and trouble, as well as neighbouring countries, was entirely owing to his Queen, as by her refusal to marry she gave rise to all the evils that might be feared.
After the interview we saw the Council, the Queen being absent in consequence of slight indisposition, although we were told she would come. We repeated briefly what we had told the Queen and Secretary Cecil, and begged them to persuade the Queen to comply with your Majesty's wishes put forward for her own good and the repose and tranquillity of her country, and to suspend hostilities and withdraw the troops from Scotland, abstaining from meddling in the affairs of that country in a cause so unjust and unseemly. Otherwise, your Majesty could not refrain from aiding the Most Christian King, whilst assuring them nevertheless that your Majesty would willingly intervene in the matter, both to assure the Queen against the suspicions she might feel of the French, and to aid the Most Christian King to punish the rebels.
After some private discussion among themselves on the matter, the Council instructed Dr. Wotton to tell us that as the affair was of so much importance they could not give us an answer at once, especially as certain Councillors who had had the management of these affairs were absent from London. These Councillors would, however, shortly return, and the Queen would then communicate to us her will and pleasure.
Although, Sire, we have in our letters to your Majesty given a minute and prolix account of occurrences here and of our own task, we venture to lay before your Majesty a fresh statement in order that you may be fully informed of the state of affairs, and be the better able to decide your course in view of the necessities of the case.
On the 7th of last month, the French were in communication with the Queen on this business, the Ambassador Seurre being present, and expressed their willingness to extend a general pardon to the Scotch rebels, and to withdraw all their troops from the country except four standards, and offered as regards the bearing of the title and arms of king of England to fully satisfy the Queen. The difficulty between them therefore is reduced simply to the retention of these four standards, as not even the fortresses would remain in the hands of the French. The people here think therefore that your Majesty's proposal to punish the rebels with your own troops is less advantageous to them than the terms offered by the French as Cecil told us yesterday. He also pointed out to us that, as the Queen's forces had joined with the rebels : if she were to withdraw them now the rebels would become her enemies, and as they would be unable to resist alone the 5,000 French troops, they would be constrained to join them and together attack this country which your Majesty would be unable to prevent in the present state of things.
There is another difficulty also, namely, that although the Queen might be willing to abandon the rebels and leave them in the hands of the French if she could be sure they would not turn against this country, she does not know how many French are to stay in Scotland, or in whose hands the fortresses would remain. If they were to remain in the occupation of the French, she feels that the danger to her would be too great (if not for this year at least at some future time) as these fortresses are the key of the kingdom, and the French could at any time send sufficient troops in a fortnight to over-run her country, especially if any German cavalry were introduced. We therefore came to the conclusion that, as your Majesty's proposal does not remedy the difficulties thus presented, we had better talk on the matter in general terms and not specify the number of troops to be employed, or the manner in which your Majesty intends to carry out your idea, but simply to insist upon the Queen's allowing the Most Christian King to punish the rebels, as the number of his troops in Scotland is small and should not give rise to any misgivings on her part. If however, a larger number of troops should be required for the chastisement of the rebels, your Majesty would furnish troops of your own, whereby she would not only be freed from misgivings, but would be secured against the French if necessary. On finding this and all other similar suggestions unacceptable for the reasons already set forth, we confined ourselves at last to pressing the Queen to withdraw her forces and consent to a suspension of hostilities leaving her sea forces in the port they now occupy, and thus ensuring that the French shall not succour or reinforce their troops during the truce. When we saw that she was unwilling even to agree to this, we pointed out to her by the best arguments in our power that your Majesty could not refrain from favouring the just cause of the French, and thus endeavoured to frighten her somewhat.
We tried hard to justify this determination on the part of your Majesty, not only by showing the enormity of the acts of the rebels, but also by the small respect the Queen paid to your Majesty's advice, but notwithstanding all this, we think it will be necessary for your Majesty to order us what we are to do without delay.
The means adopted by the French to arrive at a settlement with the Queen and their diligence in trying to bring it about, quite convince us that your Majesty's proposal is far from being to their liking, and they evidently wish to look after their own affairs without the aid or intervention of anyone else, and so to get a better opportunity of overcoming this Queen to the probable great prejudice of your Majesty's interests. We understand this to be their intention by the instructions which the Ambassador Seurre brought here with him, and also by the subsequent arrival of the bishop of Valence, who went on to Scotland after conferring here respecting the matters under discussion. We may add to this suspicion the fact that they (the French) have not thought fit to await the arrival of the person your Majesty was to send hither at their request, although they have always announced that your Majesty would help them against the Scots.
We think necessary to advise your Majesty of this in order that you may have all possible information of what occurs here, and whilst negotiating with the French, keep a sharp eye on them, although seeing the enmity that exists between them and their mistrust of one another, there is not much chance of their being able to come to terms without help. At the same time to do away with any distrust they may have conceived of your Majesty, we have told them that your Majesty will be quite satisfied with any good and peaceful solution of their disputes, however it may be brought about, as your only object is the public peace of both parties and harmony between them. We have sent a copy of this to the duchess of Parma for her information.
17 April.
Parma. Brussels Archives. B. M. French MS., Add. 28,173.
100. Bishop Quadra And De Glajon to the Duchess Of Parma.
By letter of ours of the 15th instant, enclosed, we advised your Highness by special courier of our news here current for some days previously, namely, the arrest of the ships belonging to Flemish subjects throughout this country. The courier came back to us yesterday saying that they would not give him either horses or boats at Gravesend, and that he had been forbidden to leave on his journey by any means, although they allowed one of their own couriers to leave the country presumably for the purpose of advising the English residents in Flanders to sell out the stores and merchandise they have there so as not to run any danger of losing them in the event of war breaking out, which it appears these people look upon as certain.
Bishop Quadra, His Majesty's ambassador, yesterday, at the request of the Flemish subjects here went to complain to the Queen of the seizure. Her Majesty assumed an appearance of great surprise, and promised that the embargo should be raised immediately and, in fact, gave letters with this object.
This morning after we had heard the statement of the courier we sent to Secretary Cecil to learn the reason for the stoppage of the said courier or any fellow countryman of ours. Cecil sent word that he could assure us he knew nothing of such prohibition, and that neither the Queen nor the Council had ordered it. If we desired to send anyone he would himself give a passport, which offer we accepted to ensure the same courier reaching your Highness. This instant M. de Seurre, the French ambassador, has visited us and given us to understand that he has received letters from the King his master, by which he was instructed to learn from us the reply and decision we had received from the Queen in answer to the remonstrance made by his Majesty (the king of Spain), and in case the Queen should have refused to listen to this remonstrance or those presented by the said ambassador from his King he was to ask us to accompany him (de Seurre) to the Queen's presence and witness the protest he would make in the event of the Most Christian King being forced greatly against his will to take up arms against her : she being the sole cause of the same. He would thus notify to the whole world that he was not to blame for the war. We told him we would see M. de Glajon's instructions and would willingly be present at the protest if we found Glajon's commission went so far, although we have no intention of being present. We have thought well to inform your Highness of this in order that you may be fully in possession of all that happens. We fear that our presence at the protest might be interpreted here as a testimony of a declaration of war to which we were parties, and we do not know whether such an attitude on our part would be advantageous to His Majesty's service, or whether de Glajon's commission covers such a case. We also think that Seurre is not proceeding in the matter with as much straight-forwardness as he might, seeing that he had already communicated with the Queen on the matter without informing us, and, finally, we are of opinion that all the actions and proceedings of the French are directed to bring us into hatred and distrust with the English, in order to have the course clear for themselves, and then arrange together without our intervention.—London, 17th April 1560.
Signed : El Obispo Alvaro della Quadra. Philippe de Stavèles.
23 April.
Brussels Archives. B. M. French MS., Add. 28,173.
101. The Same to the Same.
By our letters of the 15th and 17th instant, your Highness will have learnt the news here, both as to the seizure of the ships and sailors some days before, and as to certain advances made to us by M. de Seurre, the French ambassador, respecting a protest he wished to make on his King's behalf to the Queen in our presence. Although, up to the present, we have received no reply to any of our letters to your Highness, it is still our duty to keep your Highness fully informed of what occurs daily here.
We must give your Highness to understand that in our opinion the cause of the seizure of the ships was the reading of certain letters by the Queen which had been written by the king of France to M. de Seurre, and captured at sea before Easter by some pirates who these people say are Scotch, although really they are English. In these letters the King mentions the help His Majesty (the King of Spain) was to give in the present war in Scotland, the carrying out of which assistance His Majesty had entrusted to your Highness. The Queen fell into most vehement suspicion at the idea of a rupture both with France and your Majesty, and ordered the said seizure in order to advise her subjects in Flanders of the apparent imminence of war so that they might save themselves from loss and damage therefrom. In consequence of this many Englishmen have already come over with great sums of money. The letters were afterwards sent on to de Seurre, and he informed us with a show of annoyance that they had been opened and read.
In accordance with the contents of the letters de Seurre and count de Roussy (one of the French hostages) returned to us and requested our presence at the aforementioned protest to which request we replied, as we have already informed your Highness, that we did not consider de Glajon's instructions justified him in attending. They tried to persuade us to the contrary, but we kept firmly to our intention, although excusing ourselves as courteously as we could, and, in compliance with their King's commands de Seurre, accompanied by the hostages, went to the Queen on Saturday last and presented the protest contained in the said letters in the presence of most of the members of the Council. The protest contained in effect a request that the Queen would listen to a courteous communication with the object of arranging the disputes between the King and her, and that she would withdraw her army out of Scotland, and in case she would not agree to this, he protested that if any war resulted no blame could be attributed to his master. The ambassador tells us that he told the Queen that, she being the assailant, would lose her right to recover Calais according to the terms of the treaty of Chateau Cambresi.
We understand she took the protest in very bad part, and although she at once replied fully respecting the seizure, she said she did not intend the answer she then gave to be considered definite, but would communicate her reply by the following Monday, which we have not heard, as yet, that she has done.
In presenting the protest de Scurre told the Queen that he had been instructed by his master to request our presence, and that although he had begged our attendance we had excused ourselves from coming.
Last Sunday, between eight and nine in the morning, the Queen sent Secretary Cecil to us to inform us of the protest made by de Seurre, and to thank us warmly for having declined to be present. We replied that we had not wished to exceed de Glajon's instructions, which were only directed to endeavour to prevent any act of hostility on the part of the Queen against the king of France in favour of the Scotch rebels, and in this endeavour we still persevered and requested Cecil to again urge the same upon the Queen, whilst assuring her that the aid His Majesty thought of giving to the king of France was for the purpose of assuring her stability, and not in any way to damage her.
We think that the reading of the letters and the fact that de Scurre wished to deal with her without our knowledge (which proved his small trust in us) have had the effect of reassuring the Queen and making her better disposed towards us than she was. We have reproved de Seurre, and let him know we do not think his conduct courteous or conducive to the success of the affair in negotiating secretly without communicating with us. He could not deny it or find any excuse for himself, but assured us that he would not do so any more.
We understand the bishop of Valence is still at Berwick, and dares not proceed to Scotland, as he can obtain no assurance of safety.
A courier arrived here last evening from the duke of Norfolk, by whom we learn that the French are at Little Leith strongly fortified and without any fear. They lately made a sally and entirely defeated a company of footmen, killing the captain and capturing the standard, and it would appear that the town cannot be taken by force but only by hunger or other similar means, which is quite different from the design and hope hitherto entertained by the Queen. The rumour asserts that the town is well provisioned for three or four months.—London, 23rd April 1560.
Signed : "Alvaro della Quadra." Philippe de Stavèles.