268. The King to Guerau De Spes.
By my letter of the 14th July you will have learned what had
occurred up to that date respecting the errand of Roberto Ridolfi.
Since then, I have fully discussed all the details which presented
themselves, with the care and consideration demanded by the
importance of the matter. In the result, after carrying the whole
question before Almighty God, whose cause it is and in whom we
confide for the guidance and direction of this affair better than
human prudence can attain or understand, since all the object is
directed purely and simply to His glory and service and the
advantage of His holy Catholic faith, I have resolved to adopt the
course which you will learn from the Duke of Alba, to whom I
write respecting it at great length. In conformity therewith and
the orders that he may give you, you will proceed in the business
with the discretion, dexterity, mildness, and cleverness which we
expect of you, keeping in close communication with the Duke, and
carrying out minutely all he may order, this being my wil.—San
Lorenzo, 4th August 1571.
269. The King to Guerau De Spes.
By your letters and from what Zayas tells me you have written
to him, I have been informed of everything that has happened in
London up to the 29th of June. There is little to say until we see
what was the result of the reply taken by Henry Cobham, who, as
we understand, arrived there on the 9th July, although really I
have small hope that the Queen or her friends will ever of their
own accord come to the point of restitution or any other good
thing. But, at all events, we will await the reply, which cannot
now be long delayed.
From your letters and those of Don Francés de Alava, I learn
that the negotiations for the marriage of the Queen with the duke
of Anjou are still being warmly discussed, but truly, I cannot
persuade myself that there is any sincerity in them, but that the
whole object is to entertain with vain words and wishes both her
own subjects and the French. Still it is very desirable and necessary
that you should be vigilant in trying to learn all that happens
from both sides, giving me advice of the same with all due
Fitzwilliams has arrived here with the reply to the Articles of
Agreement which he had taken to John Hawkins. We are discussing
the reply with him in order to satisfy ourselves as to
whether there is anything in it or not. If there be, and Hawkins
behaves straightforwardly, there is no doubt that he would be of
great service, but many confirmatory proofs are needful before we
can be convinced of this. You shall be informed of the decision.
arrived at in due time, and, in the meanwhile, if Hawkins speaks to
to you, you may tell him only that you have heard of the arrival of
The necessary measures have been taken here in the matter of
Bayon, and Dr. Nuñez, in conformity with your advices. If you
think that anything should be done in Flanders in respect of the
connections which Dr. Nuñez had there you will advise the duke of
Alba in order that he may take such steps as he may consider
The death, or rather martyrdom, of Dr. Storey was, I see by the
statement you send, so firm and faithful in the Catholic religion
that it is a subject of gratitude to God that He has still preserved
such men as this in England, since by means of them, hopes may be
entertained that the true religion may yet be restored there.
Having respect to the need and trouble in which I was informed
Storey's wife was at Louvain, where she lives, I have ordered the
Duke to make the necessary provision for the maintenance of her
and her children.
The book you sent of what had been done in Parliament was
received. You did well in sending it, and you will continue to send
all such information as you can obtain. The general cipher having
been so long in use and having passed through so many hands, we
think it is time it was changed, particularly as Don Francés
suspects that it has been tampered with. We consequently send you
a new one, of which you will acknowledge receipt as we cannot use
it until we know you have received it.—San Lorenzo, 5th August
270. Guerau De Spes to Zayas.
On the 4th instant, at two o'clock in the night, a great arch of
fire appeared in the heavens here, according to the statement of the
large number of people who saw it. It lasted two hours, and then
broke up into many parts. Neither I nor any of my people saw it,
but, as it was witnessed by 500 persons, I believe the statement,
although I do not mention it to his Majesty. You may imagine
how disturbed these Londoners are at it, as they are so timid and
greedy of wonders.—London, 5th August 1571.
271. Guearu De Spes to the King.
The determination of your Majesty to aid the release of the
queen of Scotland and favour the gentlemen who aim at converting
this country to obedience to the Catholic Church, rescuing it from
the tyranny and bad government which now afflict it, is so godly
and just as was to have have been expected from your Majesty's
magnanimity and nobleness. By this means, too, it is to be hoped
that the, insults and robberies committed in defiance of your
Majesty will be justly punished and stopped for ever. I should at
once have set about conveying the letters to the bishop of Ross,
the queen of Scotland, and the duke of Norfolk, but for the strict
orders given to me by the duke of Alba to await further orders
from your Majesty in answer to a despatch which he had specially
sent to you, and although it is a pity to lose this time, especially as
Burleigh and Leicester are continuing to oppress and almost to
destroy the Catholics, I will detain the letters as the Duke orders,
and the time thus lost may perhaps be made up by sending
another courier with great speed. The spirits of the Catholics are
high, but as your Majesty well knows, the character of these people
makes it necessary to take advantage of their ardour without
leaving them much time to put their heads together for rediscussion.
If the opportunity is lost this year I fear that the
false religion will prevail in this island in a way that will make it
a harsh neighbour for the Netherlands. At present these people
here are without commanders, with no good soldiers, with but
little money, discontented, divided, and convinced that the queen
of Scotland is their natural ruler.
Very far from believing that after some sort of restitution is
made such as that which has been discussed for so long and so disadvantageously
with your Majesty's officers, all the ill-will of thesé
heretics against your Majesty will disappear, as well as their hopes
of overturning the Indies and the Netherlands, I make bold to
affirm that they will grow more insolent than ever, even though
they may be without allies. I know that the hearts of Leicester
and Burleigh, as well as those of the Queen herself and most of her
Council, are incurably bad.
It is understood that the French marriage now under discussion
is being promoted mainly by Burleigh, and notwithstanding the
age and habit of the Queen, I much fear that it will be brought
about, or will result in a league between the English and French
to injure your Majesty's states.
The suspicions entertained here about the voyage of Ridolfi and
his arrival in Rome need not trouble us much, as they know by the
declaration of the prisoner Carlos, (fn. 1) that he is going to beg for
money for Scotland, and it does not matter much what they
suspect, since the blow will be struck without leaving them time
for thought, as is usual with wars here.
The imprisonment of this son of the earl of Derby will be a
drawback, but it will not stop the business, for the Catholics will
be three to one, and with the blessing of God, in my opinion, the
battle is over already, on the sole condition that aid is quietly held
in readiness to be given at the first rising.
Irish affairs are now greatly helping us, as James FitzMaurice is
prospering. He has taken possession of the greater part of
Munster, and iniquitously (sic) put to the sword the best
Englishmen who were there. The Viceroy, Harry Sidney, has
come here, and refuses to return as they will not give him proper
help, indeed, things are going so badly that the Irishmen of themselves
with the advice of some Englishmen would succeed in their
If the remedy is deferred, it is greatly to be feared that Scotland,
which is at present without succour, will fall into the hands of the
English, who are carrying on incessant negotiations with that end
and if the Queen (of Scotland) were once put out of the world, and
she is often in danger of it, the little prince, or the son of Hertford,
would turn out to be a fine king for the Catholic party. All other
dissensions and partialities are forgotten in this great religious
question. Your Majesty will order what you consider best, and I
have only to report and represent what is happening and to express
my opinion of the opportunity which offers itself to do a great
service to God.
I have, on many occasions advised your Majesty that a party of
pirates to the number of twenty sail are near Dover continually
taking prizes. Seven are great ships, the others very small, and
the men come on shore with impunity every day. They have
enriched that place, the Isle of Wight, and nearly all the coast.
The crews are, generally speaking, men of inferior class. The last
prize taken was a French ship loaded with woad, belonging to the
Michaels of Antwerp. The Council wish to keep some of these
pirates here and not let them all go to Rochelle.
Mean knaves come hourly from the Netherlands to join these
people, and not a ship sails that they do not know the hour of her
leaving and her point of departure. There are other ships belonging
to Englishmen, which are robbing in the same way.
The rest of the pirates have gone to Rochelle, but are at present
in and near Brouage. I have had a statement taken from the
crew of two ships which sail from that place a fortnight ago, which
says that there were at that time eighteen ships there, ten of
great burden, well armed, but still unsupplied with many necessary
I have learned that the Queen has received a letter from the
Court of France saying that the prince of Orange had failed in his
promises that certain preparations would be ready at the time that
these pirates were collected, so that up to the present they have done
nothing but plunder ; and Count Ludovic writes to the Queen that
he is coming here himself. Both the rebels and the English have
an infinite number of connections with the Netherlands, and the
one thing they are constantly plotting and contriving is to cause
disturbance there. They expect some great alliances as a result of
the conference between the Admiral and the Christian King, and it
is expected that M. de Foix will be here next week.
I have written to your Majesty of the great desire which Hawkins
expresses to serve you, as you will also have heard verbally from
George Fitzwilliams there, and I can discover nothing suspicious
about it. He has gone to Plymouth taking artillery and munitions
from London, leaving a person here in case I should wish to call him
back, on a pretext connected with the smack which they captured
of his and took to Flanders. I shall ostensibly summon him for
the reply to the representation which he has asked me to make on
that matter to the duke of Alba. He may render great service by
manning his ships with a very few men and filling them up with
others chosen by your Majesty, and the least of these services will
be to catch the pirates who infest the Channel which he considers
very easy. If this arrangement and that with Ridolfi
could be carried through in conjunction, it would be very
The restitution of the merchandise is being so dragged out by the
English that sometimes we think that they want to delay it until
the winter.—London, 8th August 1571.
272. Guerau De Spes to the King.
In my previous letters I advised your Majesty that I had delayed
delivering Ridolfi's letters until I had fresh orders from your
Majesty, in conformity with the instructions I had received from
the duke of Alba, The Duke's orders were very precise, but it
certainly is in my opinion most desirable that the matter should not
be long delayed, for fear that feeling may change here in consequence
of the turn taken in French affairs.
M. de Foix (fn. 2) was at Court on the 15th, with M. de la Mothe,
accompanied by Lord Buckhurst and Charles Howard, attended by
seventy or eighty horsemen. Foix has been exquisitely well
received and lodged in the palace, where the Queen's officers entertain
him very splendidly.
On the 16th he had audience and made a long speech to the
effect that his King desired friendship and relationship to the royal
House of England, and pointed out the advantages which would
result therefrom to both countries. This was the public audience,
and a committee consisting of Lord Burleigh, Keeper, Leicester, and
the Chamberlain, was appointed to confer with him in secret and
decide as to his business. Many people still doubt whether the
Queen will marry, but it is believed that these negotiations will
result in some league against your Majesty's States. I have not
yet been able to discover details of what has taken place, although
I have people at Court expressly to scrutinize everything.
Leicester is offered the duchess de Nevers in marriage, and an
estate in France, and La Mothe and Foix have decided to give presents
of jewellery to the Queen's favourites, Foix having come already
provided with the jewels for that purpose.
It is of some importance to us that the French should thus be
showing their hand, and it seems more desirable than ever that
they should be circumvented. The matter of the pirates remains
in the same condition, as previously advised, but for many months
they will not be able to go in any great force to the Indies, although
some private ships are undertaking the voyage.
Over eighty bronze pieces with much ammunition and a large
quantity of corselets, and pikes, have been shipped for Ireland.
A servant of Thomas Stukeley, who recently came from Spain,
has been brought to the Tower, and has been severely tortured.
I am just informed that Foix has proposed that the Queen of
Scotland should be married to the duke of Vendome.—London
18th August 1571.
273. Guerau De Spes to the King.
I have previously advised your Majesty that the guns from the
castle and ramparts of Dover had prevented the Flemish ships from
taking the twenty-four pirate vessels which were there. Twentytwo
of them are now on the beach, our ships having captured the
other two. The pirates have left a few of their sailors in charge of
them and the captains and rest of their people have come to London.
The assertions made at Court that the pirates would be arrested is
not true, and the reply which Lord Burleigh gave to the Secretary,
whom I had sent to complain to the Council of this insult, was that
formerly Don Alvaro de Bazan had done the same thing in defending
certain French vessels against the English. I shall say no more
about it until I receive orders from the duke of Alba, as these
people are very impertinent and, on the same day, almost dismissed
Thomas Fiesco for good, rejecting the settlement which he thought
he had made of the question of the Genoese money in the hands of
the Queen. They threatened him, and told him that the Queen did
not mean to return it for seven years to come, so that Fiesco's
intention of pressing the settlement of the points still pending,
relative to the restitution of our merchandise, must fall through.
They dismissed Fiesco, telling him that he must prove that the
Queen took the money in cash and what was the amount. Her
officers refused to give any information whatever about it as they
said that it was all set forth in the Treasury books. As there were
still some of the people here who came with the money, Fiesco
brought them with him before Thomas Gresham who, he was told,
had to settle the business. I have now less hope of these people
than ever, and Fiesco is of the same opinion.
The French ambassadors have been with the Queen for a week,
and pass three or four hours every day with the Council. It is
generally declared that the marriage will not take place, as the
people have hitherto shown no liking for it, but my friends assure
me that the matter is agreed upon, and that on the arrival of
Marshal Montmorenci he will be assured by the Council that the
duke of Anjou will be allowed to hear mass privately, although
this will not be set forth in the treaty, and by this means, the
Protestants here will not be disturbed, and the Christian King will
be able to obtain great help from the French Catholics towards
the cost of his brother's coming. I am also told that it is
agreed that the Duke shall be acknowledged as King with certain
I am following the duke of Alba's orders and delaying action
in Ridolfi's affair until I have received fresh instructions.
Every month there leave here four ships for Hamburg, and next
month eight will sail, as during the winter months the voyage is
impossible. They will carry great riches, and it would be most
desirable to capture them, and so to equalise the advantage these
people now have in the value of goods detained.
Whilst writing this I have received the following news, namely,
that the Queen's Council is very divided because Lord Burleigh and
the Keeper, his brother-in-law (who are followed by the earl of
Sussex out of enmity for Leicester), are of opinion than the Anjou
marriage should take place first and afterwards the negotiations
for alliance should be undertaken. Leicester, the Admiral, and
Knollys, are against the marriage, but in favour of making an
offensive and defensive league with the French. The Queen
is, so to speak, driven to the marriage, but Burleigh is so powerful
in the Government that she dares not oppose him. The French
ambassadors are satisfied because either arrangements will suffice
An English captain has arrived from Scotland to beg in the name
of the earl of Lennox for ten thousand crowns and some artillery
and ammunition to batter the castle of Edinburgh.
Huggins, (fn. 3) who came from Spain is the Commissioner against
Stukeley's servant, whom he is having tortured. He said yesterday
that the Council was seeking some means by which I might be
expelled the island, but they had not yet hit upon any scheme
which seemed suitable.
Huggins (Hawkins?) insists upon not fitting out his thirteen
ships, and Captain Murses and Thomas Murses have promised me
that they will capture either Count Ludovic or M. de Lumbres if
they put to sea, and carry them to Spain. I told the man who
spoke to me about it, that if they did so they would be richly
rewarded, but I refused to give them letters, as they asked me, for
them to be admitted into any of our ports, because if they enter
with their prizes they will at once be recognised for what they are.
The capture of Lumbres would greatly alarm the other pirate
leaders, and I am informed that these men are quite able to do as
they say.—London, 23rd August 1571.
274. Guerau De Spes to the King.
The arrangement made by M. de Foix with the Queen and
Council is that the duke of Anjou should be married without either
he or his household being obliged to conform to the religion of this
country, and in addition to the royal title, powers are to he given
to him similar to those granted to your Majesty when you
were here. Foix returned from Reading, where the Queen is,
yesterday, with the decision, on the understanding that they would
send him afterwards a written copy of the eight clauses signed by
all the members of the Council. This was brought to him by Lord
Burleigh, but with an addition to the effect that neither Anjou
nor his people should attend mass, as he, Burleigh, considered it
open idolatry. Foix is going back to the Court to-morrow about it,
and to say that he has no orders to accept this clause. Lord
Burleigh told him that there would be no difficulty about arranging
the league, with any securities that the French might desire, and that
the duke of Anjou should not hesitate to accept these terms of
marriage, as what was proposed to him would be the salvation of
his soul. It may well be believed that Foix is not much displeased
with the proposal, as he himself is somewhat suspected of heresy,
and I believe that either the league or the marriage will be carried
through. If the Duke would declare himself on the Protestant side,
these people would accept him with all the greater pleasure. It
appears that Foix has held out great promises of this to the Queen
if the Duke once can see her.
I am also informed that Foix has been promised ten thousand
pounds if he arranges this matter to the Queen's liking. He and I
have visited each other without speaking of business. The duke
of Alba will fully inform your Majesty of what Fiesco has done.
With regard to Ridolfi's affairs I will still await orders, and I will
send Hawkins the reply as instructed, using in future the new
cipher sent to me.—London, 27th August 1571.
275. The King to Guerau De Spes.
Your letters of 12th, 14th, 19th, and 24th July received, and we
are glad to hear what you say about the business which Roberto
Ridolfi proposed to us, to the effect that it has been dealt with
sincerely and straightforwardly, so that no suspicion need be
entertained. Under this impression, and because I see that it is so
well justified and so entirely directed to the service of God and
the advantage of our holy and true religion, and the rescue of a
princess so catholic as we consider the queen of Scotland to be,
we desire anxiously that the matter may be so conducted as to
successfully attain the end in view. We have therefore written,
and are now again writing, to the duke of Alba directing him to
take such steps and precautions as may be necessary to carry
through the business effectually, and to instruct you what you are
to do on your side with the same object. We order you, as we
have done before, not to exceed in anything the instructions the
Duke may give you, as it is necessary that in all things you should
act in absolute co-operation, and with the attention, care, and
diligence which the greatness of the issue demands.
Notwithstanding what you say of the proposals made by John
Hawkins through George Fitzwilliams, yet there is some suspicion
about it, because both of them have communicated with Secretary
Cecil. We agreed that the affair should be listened to, because we
knew that Hawkins with his ships might be of great service in the
principal business, if he acted straightforwardly, and this was the
reason that Fitzwilliams was treated with, and the conditions
and terms set forth, as you will see in the cipher copy enclosed
of the deed made between him and the duke of Feria, confirmed
subsequently by my order, which the duke will send you with a
full relation of the whole affair. He will also tell you the time
and method in which you will move in both matters, and you will
act as he orders, this being the course desirable for the end in
We are very sorry to learn that the two gentlemen you mention,
both being Catholics of high position and partizans of the queen of
Scotland, should have been cast into the Tower, but as the inquiries
against the duke of Norfolk have not resulted in convicting him of
any offence which the Queen can punish, we hope that God will
help both these and the others and will give them strength and
courage necessary to carry out their laudable and Christian
The negotiations for marriage between the Queen and the duke
of Anjou change so frequently from day to day, that it is quite
clear it is nothing but a cunning trick, although we do not
doubt that if she had the slightest inkling of what we are arranging,
she would conclude the marriage, however little she liked it, in
order to unite her to France. You will thus see how necessary it
is to proceed with such secrecy that nothing shall be known until
after it is done, as in this consists the whole issue of the business.
We are sure the Duke will so manage it that it will succeed as we
There is nothing to say about the restitution, because I do not
believe that the English have any attention of bringing it about,
but only to enjoy the goods and money which they have in their
possession. You will follow the Duke's orders, however, in this
It was well to report the sailing of the pilot Bartolomé Bayon, as
I at once had the necessary steps taken to catch him, and advised
my nephew, the king of Portugal, to capture him when he called
in to take the negroes, that being the place where he can be most
easily taken. We do not doubt that the Portuguese will do their
best as they are much offended with him.
There is nothing fresh to say about Antonio Fogaza's affair,
only that you did well to write what you think of him and the others
who are treating of Portuguese affairs there, and I am glad to know
that you are promoting these affairs duly.—Madrid, 13th August