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The So-called Conspiracy of Dr. Ruy Lopez

Major Martin Hume

<plain_text><page sequence="1">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. By MAJOR MARTIN HUME, M.A. (Paper read at University College, London, before the Jewish Historical Society of England, Monday, April 27, 1908.) For the last twenty years of Elizabeth's reign, and especially after the defeat of the Armada, there existed a powerful party in her Court determined if possible to force England into open conflict with Spain and the Catholic elements in Europe generally. It represented, for the most part, the extreme Protestant or Puritan element in the country opposed to all toleration or concession. Convinced, doubtless, by the apparent impotence of Philip II. to avenge the depredations upon Spanish shipping and the raids upon Spanish territory, that the great power that had loomed so large was really effete, this school of English? men was frankly in favour of driving home the attack and upsetting, as it hoped, the menace of popery and of Spanish predominance altogether. The leader of the party was the Earl of Essex, following the later traditions of his stepfather Leicester, and he and his many adherents missed no opportunity of inflaming the minds of Englishmen against Spain and Catholics, in order that they might be the better able to force the queen into a policy of open aggression against Spain on the Continent. The party of which I speak was, of course, the descendant of that school of politicians who for many years before advocated an alliance with France rather than with the house of Burgundy and Spain; but at this period (1590-1603) it was no question of an alliance with Spain in any case, but only the avoidance if possible of a policy of active war with her, that was the object of the traditional or conservative party. The most powerful man in England, Lord Burghley, and afterwards his son? Sir Robert Cecil, strongly sup</page><page sequence="2">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 33 ported by the queen herself, were in opposition to the warlike Protestant party. If war could be avoided by diplomacy, by cajolery, by trickery, whilst England held her own, both the astute minister and the economical queen saw that that would be the best policy. They had been able on the whole to have their way, though the statesmen of the opposite side, especially rash and headstrong Essex, on several occasions partly forced their hands during the struggle of the Huguenot Henry IY. of France with Spain and the League. But the attempted invasion of England by Philip's fleet in 1588 gave to the party of Essex a strong lever, which they used unscrupulously to increase the hatred and distrust of the country against Spain and the Spanish faith. It must be con? fessed that the extreme Catholic party aided them much. The Jesuit faction, whose propaganda had begun in England in 1580, was as intolerant in its views as were the Puritans on the other side. There were hosts of English refugees of this school in Catholic Flanders, mostly in Spanish pay, to whom all ideas of conciliation were hateful. Soldiers, many of them, some priests, and others who with their families had suffered much at the hands of the Protestant queen, they not unnaturally talked wildly and threateningly, as such men will, of the vengeance that they would wreak upon those who had wronged them. Such vague talk of conspiracies and murder plots was all reported by spies in English pay, and was made the most of by the party of Essex as a further means to inflame men's minds. The un? happy Catholics in England, who for the most part desired nothing but toleration for their faith in their own country, and had no desire to see a foreign power ruling England, suffered bitterly for the foolish vapouring of the English refugees and the Jesuit party, who were pledged to forward the ends of Spain at any cost; and most of the persecution of the Catholic sympathisers in England at the time is directly traceable to the hare-brained plots?often hatched by spies to justify their employment, or got up deliberately by the agents-pro vocateurs of Essex. I have had to investigate very closely, for the purposes of one of my books, the intimate details of most of these so-called murder plots to kill Queen Elizabeth; and I am convinced that, in nearly every case for the last twelve years of Elizabeth's life, they were founded on extremely slender foundation ? where there was any foundation at VOL. VI. C</page><page sequence="3">34 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. all?mainly the half-crazy talk of some hotheaded soldier or bigot, used as a weapon by the Puritan party to frighten the queen and Burghley into action against the Catholics. The alleged plot to poison Queen Elizabeth connected with the name of the famous Jewish medical man, Dr. Rodrigo Lopez, her principal physician, was undoubtedly that which most impressed the public mind at the time, and caused the bitterest feelings, not only against the Spaniards in this case, but also against Lopez as a Jew. For three centuries successive English historians have been content to take their information on this conspiracy mainly from the inflammatory and one-sided pamphlets which were industriously written and cir? culated at the time by the Essex party, with the object of embittering and exaggerating the hatred of the English people against the power, which, it was asserted, was willing through vile intermediaries to subsidise the murder of the queen as a political measure. These state? ments were, of course, one-sided; and the depositions of the various persons implicated, as published of late years in the State Papers, were not by any means free from suspicion. In nearly every case the avowals, such as they are, were made by men distracted and agonised on the rack, or with the fear of the rack before their eyes. Speaking the language of their examiners imperfectly, and desirous in any case of pleasing their interlocutors and saving their own skin, the poor wretches were only too glad to buy momentary ease by saying what the Earl of Essex wanted. So that a mere repetition of the depositions, such as we have them in the State Papers, will only lead us to the same conclusion, as will the partisan pamphlets that were founded in the first place upon them. I have, however, come across much new evidence in the Lopez case, which enables us to some extent to see the other side of the medal, and I am desirous of placing before you this evening a re? statement of the case against Dr. Lopez, which, whilst it does not show him to have been a worthy or a good man, does, in my opinion, prove that this Jewish physician was not guilty of the crime for which he suffered. It is now 314 years since, with every refinement of ignominy and ridicule, he was dragged upon a hurdle along Holborn to Tyburn, to be done to death there with the most inhuman cruelty amidst the scoffs and jeers of a populace that believed him, the trusted</page><page sequence="4">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 35 body-physician of the queen, to be the blackest traitor that ever lived. I suppose that from that hour to this no good word has ever been said for the unhappy Dr. Lopez by any one but me. It has been suggested by a great Shakesperean scholar that the character of Shylock was avowedly meant as a caricature of Lopez, the object of which was still further to arouse the detestation of the people against the crime for which he suffered, and for the Jew who was supposed to have prompted it. It is quite likely that such was the case. The Essex House set were the patrons of Shakespeare, and of Bacon; and if, as I am convinced, Lopez's bitter enemy, Antonio Perez, was lampooned there after he had lost Essex's favour, in another play of Shakespeare, there is on the face of it no improbability in Lopez, the Jew regicide, being introduced as a hateful figure in " The Merchant of Yenice "; although, if such be the case, the portrait was not by any means a close one. It will be, I am afraid, extremely difficult for me to summarise intelligibly the details of the extraordinary story of the Lopez conspiracy. The documents are many; and the numerous persons implicated, in addition to being Portuguese, assumed several different names in the course of their intrigue. The whole matter, moreover, extends over three years, and the most I can hope to do is to give you a brief summary of what happened, not, as has hitherto been done, in the order of its supposed occurrence, but in the order of discovery. The new material on the subject which has not been utilised by any other historian but myself, are certain documents transcribed by me in the Archives Nationales in Paris; the letters to and from Bernardino de Mendoza, the Spanish Ambassador in France, also first translated by me; and an important statement of the case not printed, written by Sir William Waad, the clerk of Elizabeth's Council, and now in the possession of Lord Calthorpe. Dr. Eodrigo (or Buy) Lopez, although, as was usual in such cases, nominally a Protestant, was one of those Iberian Jews, through whom the medical lore of the ancient East filtered to the western world. The persecution and expulsion of the race from Spain and Portugal had driven them forth with their learning and their traditions to seek safety in other lands; and in the sixteenth century no court of Europe lacked a physician of this sort who was believed to possess secrets unattainable to Gentile practitioners in their profession. Such men naturally</page><page sequence="5">36 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. attracted the dislike and jealousy of their medical rivals, both on account of their mysterious skill and their proscribed race. They were for the most part keen, clever intriguers, anxious to gain the confidence of the great, and earn wealth and importance for themselves by acting as intermediaries in affairs of state or finance, where their confidential position, their knowledge of tongues, and their cleverness gave them an advantage over others. Lopez was of Portuguese origin, but appears to have come from Antwerp, which had been the first refuge of many Portuguese Jews on their expulsion from Portugal, and he continued to have relatives there. He appears to have lived in London from quite early in Elizabeth's reign ; first in Broad Street, where many aliens were located, then in Wood Street, and finally in Holborn, near Gray's Inn Gate, where a grateful lady patient had left him a house. It was the prudent custom of the time for professional men, and especially aliens or those of doubtful orthodoxy, to attach themselves nominally to the service of some great noble as a protector in case of trouble; and Dr. Lopez obtained the appointment of household physician to Eobert, Earl of Leicester, the queen's favourite. His practice appears to have been a large one, and his skill in medicine was great. But, unfor? tunately, Leicester was accused by his many bitter enemies of a dangerous propensity for removing inconvenient obstacles from his path by poison, and naturally his household physician shared in the evil repute of his master in this respect. Such accusations are difficult to prove; and in some cases modern medical knowledge has been able to show such suspicions to be unfounded. But with regard to Lopez I have come across evidence which I shall mention presently, not conclusive, it is true, but strongly confirming the common belief that he was willing, for a consideration, to use his knowledge of drugs for a deadly purpose. In any case the medical men of his time turned up their eyes and shrugged their shoulders when Dr. Lopez was mentioned, and it became an accepted belief that the Portuguese Jew, so powerful at Elizabeth's Court, the first physician of the queen and her prime favourite, had more skill in intrigue than in physic, and was more cunning in poisoning than in healing. But, notwithstanding this, he prospered exceedingly; for a servant of Leicester was not safe to attack, and doubtless much of the whispered scandal against</page><page sequence="6">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 37 him originated in jealousy and political rivalry. He was, of course, supported mainly by the Puritan party, Leicester and Walsingham, and afterwards Essex; and in 1586 had received his appointment by their recommendation as principal physician to the queen. He was also house physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital; and to all appear? ance a person of wealth, though he was really impecunious. If he was so, it was not for want of asking; for his petitions for gifts and grants were frequent. He had a monoply for a term of years of the importa? tion of shumac and aniseed into England; and the revenues of a parsonage were granted to him to defray the costs of his son's education at Oxford. His fees, too, must have been large; but doubtless his position at Court entailed a somewhat extravagant expenditure. The political prominence of Lopez began with the conquest of Portugal by Philip II. Such an event was a grave menace and injury both to England and to France; and the Portuguese pretender, Don Antonio, Prior of Crato, who had fled before the conquering army of Alba, was received with open arms as king both by Catharine de Medici in France and by Elizabeth in England. The Puritan party here was delighted with such an instrument as Don Antonio in England to annoy Philip II., and to further embroil the two countries. Don Antonio, in his flight in 1581, carried with him the crown jewels of Portugal, gems of untold value, with which, whilst they lasted, he was lavish; and when, after two unsuccessful attempts to regain his crown by French aid, Don Antonio came to England to bid for the support of Elizabeth, Lopez doubtless found it very profitable to serve as his advocate at Court, his interpreter, and his inseparable friend. You will see that in this Lopez was serving the Puritan party of Leicester and Walsingham, to which he was bound; and he presented the case of the pretender in such glowing colours that the queen, though with many misgivings and limitations, was induced to allow Don Antonio to fit out a sort of joint-stock fleet, financed by shares, to sail from Plymouth and invade Portugal in 1589. The attempt, which I have no time to describe here, ended in a dismal failure, and poor Don Antonio came back discredited, and nearly ruined by the fruitless cost of the expedi? tion. Elizabeth, angry at the fiasco, and above all at her orders having been disobeyed, and an attack having been made on Spanish soil, had thenceforward for a time nothing but frowns and hard words for Don</page><page sequence="7">38 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. Antonio and the Puritan party, who, she said, wished only to drag her into war and endless expense, regardless of consequences. Lopez, who had been largely instrumental in persuading her to allow the expedition, had to bear his share of the blame for failure, and was extremely apologetic to the queen. From that time, moreover, it is clear that he had lost hope of Don Antonio's success, and was ready to betray him. Most of the pretender's money was gone, and the crowds of Portuguese adherents who had surrounded him fell away from him as well as Lopez; hardly one of those who still stood by him was not thenceforward willing to sell him and his cause for Spanish money. Thenceforward, after 1590, Don Antonio was under a cloud in England, neglected by those who had formerly helped him. Several of the Portuguese with Don Antonio had, indeed, long before this been spies in the pay of Spain; and I have deciphered many of their letters giving to King Philip's ministers accounts of what they could learn of English movements. One of them, a bombastic fool called Antonio da Veiga, had written, as early as 1586, to Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador in Paris, proposing that Don Antonio should be poisoned in London. The offer was sent on to Philip, who through his secretary, Idiaquez, warmly approved, "since Don Antonio was a rebel and been condemned for his crimes"?and 25,000 or 30,000 ducats were promised as payment when the job was done. Veiga did not mention in his offer who was to administer the poison at first; in fact he was a mere windbag, and the offer itself was probably only made in order to enhance his own importance. But in the following year, 1587, he wrote again to Mendoza, saying that he had a plan to persuade Dr. Lopez to poison Don Antonio with Indian acacia, instead of the usual fortnightly medicine he administered to him. This was mere vague talk, and, of course, does not commit Lopez in any way. But a few weeks afterwards Veiga wrote again, saying positively that he had gained over Dr. Lopez: " by good promises; and he has already done wonders in trying to get Don Antonio expelled from England." This, you will observe, only asserts that Lopez had turned against the pretender's cause, not that he was willing to poison him. But the ambassador Mendoza scribbled on the margin of the letter a scornful note saying if Veiga was so sure about Lopez, why did he not get him</page><page sequence="8">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 39 to poison Antonio without more ado. " On a mere hint" he says, " which Don Gerau de Spes gave Lopez some years ago he offered to purge a Portuguese pilot who was helping the English in some expeditions to the Indies. He took the recipe to the apothecary himself, but on his luay he dropped it out of his breeches pochet in consequence of which he teas kept for six months in the Tower. As for this present proposal, the doctor knows that it will be well paid for and may be settled icithout hesitation." This, you will see, accuses Lopez of a design to poison the pilot Bartolome Bay?n on very distant hearsay evidence; and the fact that Don Antonio was not poisoned tends to the belief that Veiga's offer on Lopez's behalf was not genuine. This correspondence is mentioned mainly to show the estimation in which Lopez was held, which explains the readiness of people on the flimsiest evidence to believe him willing to kill his benefactress, the queen. What is quite clear is, that from 1586 or 1587 onward, certainly after the abortive expedition to Lisbon in 1589, Lopez was anxious to make friends with Spaniards, and had secretly abandoned the cause of Don Antonio. At the coming of the Armada the great galleon of Don Pedro de Valdes was captured in the Channel, and the crew was sentenced to be hanged. Dr. Lopez laboured hard with the queen and rescued 300 of the men from the gallows, and, as we shall see presently, this act of mercy was made by him later a means of approaching the Spanish ministers for other ends. We will now?seeing that we know something of Dr. Lopez and his surroundings?take up the extremely involved and complicated story of the series of international intrigues which eventually led him to the gallows, innocent, I am convinced, of the crime for which he died. He, like nearly all the men connected with the affair, was a double spy, bent upon making profit from both England and Spain; but between that and the crime of murdering the queen who trusted and favoured him, the distance is great. The story opens early in 1590, when Don Antonio had lost heart. Elizabeth had turned her back upon him. His Puritan friends saw that he was no longer of any use to them in waging war against Philip; and yet Elizabeth was loth to let him go to France or elsewhere where he might have caused her trouble. One of Antonio's most able agents was a man named Manuel de Andrada. He was a clever linguist, and often undertook missions abroad for his</page><page sequence="9">40 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. master. He was, of course unknown to Don Antonio, in the pay of Spain, and gave most valuable information as to English naval movements and plans. During a visit to France on Don Antonio's business early in 1590, he had visited the Spanish ambassador, and promised to do him a great service. What the great service was promptly became apparent. On his return to London, Don Antonio, although he already somewhat distrusted him, secretly ordered him to freight a ship for him. He was, he said, in despair, and had determined, since Queen Elizabeth would not help him, to escape from England and seek the aid of the Dutch rebels, of the Huguenots, the Turks, or any other enemies of Spain. Andrada did as the pretender desired, hiring a ship with a Flemish skipper, ostensibly to land Don Antonio at Dieppe in disguise. With the skipper he treacherously bargained for a payment of 10,000 crowns to run to Dunkirk instead, and hand the pretender over to the Spaniards. Proud of this clever arrangement, Andrada wrote to the Spanish ambassador, Mendoza, in Paris, gleefully telling him the plan, and asking for payment of the 10,000 crowns in Dunkirk. The letter was written in cipher, in sympathetic ink, but it was intercepted by Walsingham's spies at Dover, and deciphered by the famous cypher solver Philips. The pretty plan being thus divulged, Andrada was clapped into jail, and condemned to be hanged by Don Antonio. Owing to the strenuous pleading of Dr. Lopez, Andrada, however, was released and banished to France. According to the strange story this man told to the Spanish ambassador in Paris, Dr. Lopez sent for him as soon as he was released from prison, and in strict privacy said that God had ordained his imprisonment in order that he (Lopez) might be the means of saving his life, and thus be able to trust him implicitly. He would confide in him that on a former occasion the Spanish ambassador, Mendoza, had approached him for the purpose of putting Don Antonio out of the way, but he had refused to do it, as he did not know whom to trust. He had saved 300 Spaniards from the gallows after the Armada, but he had never yet received any favour whatever from the King of Spain. But since he (Andrada) had dis? played so much zeal for Spain in his intended betrayal of Don Antonio, he might tell Mendoza that if he (Lopez) was authorised to negotiate an arrangement with England, this was the time. He was sure that the queen would concede any terms demanded of her, as she was in</page><page sequence="10">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 41 great alarm. (I should mention that news was current of great naval preparations in Spain directed against England at this time.) He (Lopez) thought better not to put this in writing, but that when Andrada arrived at Calais, after going to Paris and Spain, he should write to Lopez saying that he (Andrada) was discussing matters of great advantage and importance with Mendoza, the ambassador, and that if a passport was sent to him to pass backward and forward to England?which passport Lopez undertook should be sent?Andrada could come secretly and stay in Lopez's house in London, where he might negotiate with Secretary Walsingham, and Lopez had no doubt that the queen would come to terms with Spain, and force Don Antonio to do the same on the conditions that King Philip thought just. She would also cause the Netherlands to agree, and he (Lopez) would strive that everything should be done to King Philip's satisfaction. Lopez promised to keep Andrada posted as to the discussions and resolutions of the queen's council, and when things were practically settled, envoys might be sent officially to confirm the agreement. If an international agreement could not be arrived at, he (Lopez) undertook either to have Don Antonio expelled or retained in England, as King Philip might order; and, in any case, he (Lopez) would continue to serve King Philip's interests in England; and, adds Andrada in his letter to Mendoza: "in good truth no one can report so well as Dr. Lopez can, in consequence of his powerful influence with the queen and council, but energy and liberality will be necessary." This was the message that Andrada told Mendoza Lopez had given him for the Spanish king and his ministers ; and it is quite evident that Walsingham, the queen's astute Puritan Secretary of State, was behind the intrigue. Having in view Walsingham's methods, and the party to which he belonged, we are safe in assuming that the suggestion of peace negotiations was only a screen behind which agents like Andrada, a known spy and traitor, might go backward and forward to Spain and obtain information of armaments, &amp;c. But, of course, two parties could play at that game, and when it came to spying Philip was hard to beat. So when Andrada went on from Paris to Spain to interview King Philip, a letter was written by Mendoza to Philip, suggesting that Lopez's advances and offers should be ostensibly entertained: " in order that Andrada might be sent backioard and</page><page sequence="11">42 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. forward to England under cover of the negotiation, and report to us tvhat is going on there" So far, you will see, we have dealt only with Dr. Lopez's offers to Spain ; first, that through Andrada negotiations for peace between Spain and England could be opened, Lopez believed successfully; second, that he would serve as Philip's agent or spy in England; and third, that he would cause the Portuguese pretender to be dealt with in England as the Spaniards wished. Whether Lopez was privy to Walsingham's scheme to make all this merely an excuse for having Andrada as an English spy in Spain is not certain, but I am strongly of opinion that he was. But this message of Lopez to the King of Spain was not the only one carried by Andrada. The latter asserts that before he left England, a brother-in-law of Dr. Lopez (his name is not mentioned, but he was one of several brothers apparently named Anes, English Jews whose father is mentioned as Gonzalo Jorge) came to him and said that Don Antonio had insulted his father, and that if a token from Spain was sent to him in proof of his offer being accepted he would kill Don Antonio if King Philip wished. Dr. Lopez, says Andrada, hneio nothing of this, and the brother-in-law disapproved of the doctor's peace proposals. This brother-in-law also offered to serve as a Spanish spy in England. Andrada in Spain declared that he had never urged this man to undertake to murder Don Antonio; but whilst the heretic queen had been merciful to him, Don Antonio had done his best to get him hanged, and he was now, in revenge, willing to use every effort to carry through the plan proposed by Dr. Lopez's brother-in-law. Here, therefore, we have set forth fully the missions carried by Andrada to Madrid ; the first part with the connivance of Lopez and Walsingham, and the second part without their knowledge. I have quoted the documents at considerable length, because upon this negotiation was subsequently built up the accusation of a plot to murder Queen Elizabeth, thanks to a vast superstructure of unsupported scandal and gossip embittered by political rancour. On Andrada's return to England, as we shall see, he boastfully asserted that he had been admitted to the presence of Philip himself, who had sent an embrace (which in Spain was a great honour) to Dr. Lopez with a splendid gift of jewels, and this bragging, which was obviously for the purpose of enhancing his own importance, was subsequently used with deadly</page><page sequence="12">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 43 result against Dr. Lopez. The documents transcribed by me in Paris, which are the statements sent to King Philip by his Secretary of State, Monua, giving him details of Andrada's mission, prove that Andrada lied when he said that he negotiated with the king direct, and in many other things connected with this mission. The idea of the king personally receiving a man of base degree, coming upon such a mission as that of Andrada, and, above all, of his sending an embrace by such a messenger, is ridiculous to those of us who know how Philip's state affairs were conducted. Anyhow, the mission he took back to England is set forth in the original document in the Paris Archives, and admits of no doubt. I have no time to read the whole of it here; but in effect it is that Andrada should at once return to Calais as arranged, and write thence to Dr. Lopez for a passport for England. He was to tell Lopez when he saw him; that Lopez's peace suggestions had been listened to with great interest by the king's ministers, who had asked Andrada what credentials he could produce to show that he was authorised to negotiate on the matter. " This will lead them to infer that if he had brought such credentials his proposals would have been entertained ; although he may say at the same time that he was told that any peace proposals would have to be accompanied by due satisfaction for the injuries inflicted upon Spain" " Andrada " (continues the document) " may personally express hopefulness of the negotiations in order to have an excuse for remaining safely there for some time." He was instructed to urge the brother-in-law of Lopez to carry out promptly his offer to kill Don Antonio; and the doctor himself was to be requested to do as he had promised, namely, to have Don Antonio expelled. And then comes the gist of it all. " Under cover of this Andrada must enquire and discover everything he can that goes on in England, and send us full advices of the same." The demands of Andrada and Lopez for rewards were but sparingly met; for King Philip's treasurer had sadly to confess that he had no money to spare. Andrada was given 300 reals (&lt;?6) for the travelling expenses of himself and a companion to Calais, and promised an allowance of 30 reals a month secured on the colonial revenues of Portugal, whilst Dr. Lopez was to have "one of the old jewels from her Majesty's casket as a gift for his daughter," and another jewel from the same casket was to be sent to the truculent brother-in-law.</page><page sequence="13">44 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. Altogether, it is clear that the Spaniards did not believe in the peace negotiations, which no doubt they saw through; and they can have had little more belief in the suggestion to kill Don Antonio, since, to my knowledge, such offers had been made to them again and again for several years, and nothing had come of it. As a rule, such offers were merely a pretext for asking for money, or an excuse for spying. It will be seen that the real object behind the mission to Spain and the reply sent, was in both cases to obtain information. The " old jewel" sent to Lopez on this occasion was a beautiful ring of ruby and diamond, worth ?100, and it is probably the one Lopez offered soon afterwards to Queen Elizabeth, and she refused. It is quite probable, indeed, that Lopez had told her that Philip had sent it, and that was the reason she refused it, as she did not often decline gifts of that sort. In any case this ring was made afterwards one of the principal pieces de conviction against Lopez. It was said at the trial to have been sent with the famous and entirely apocryphal embrace by Philip to Lopez, as a pledge of the king's approval of the murder of Elizabeth. The document I have quoted absolutely disproves any such suggestion. Andrada suffered shipwreck and many adventures on his return, but eventually arrived at Havre in the summer of 1591, and, as arranged, he wrote from there to Dr. Lopez for the promised passport, in order that he might go to England and see Secretary Walsingham. Un? fortunately, however, Secretary Walsingham had died in the interval, and Lord Burghley's spies in Spain had sent him full accounts of Andrada's suspicious visits to the Spanish king's palace, and his hobnobbing with Spanish ministers. Andrada's former betrayal of Don Antonio had marked him as a dangerous man; so suspicious was he considered, indeed, that even the Huguenot governor of Dieppe arrested him, and asked the English Government what he should do with him. So that, though Burghley sent him the passport, he was seized and clapped into jail as soon as he set foot on English soil at Bye. Lord Burghley was apparently ignorant of Walsingham's arrangement with Andrada. The air was full of talk of Spanish and Jesuit plots against the queen; and here was a man, known to be a traitor, coming straight from the King of Spain's palace, and seeking interviews with English ministers. When Andrada found himself a prisoner at Rye, he wrote to Burghley praying</page><page sequence="14">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 45 that he might be examined by the Lord Treasurer himself, as he had information of great importance to impart. To Don Antonio he also wrote a very contrite letter, saying that he would serve him faithfully in future, and had now a plan in hand which would be for Don Antonio's benefit, if the latter would send his principal minister, Botello, to be present at the declarations he would make to Lord Burghley. The Lord Treasurer, of course, did not go to Rye himself, but he sent a Mr. Mills with Botello and Dr. Lopez to examine Andrada. Andrada made a clean breast of it, told everything that had happened, as I have related it, exaggerating somewhat his own importance, and assuring the examiners that he had gone with Walsingham's knowledge on his feigned expedition, only for the purpose of unmasking Spanish plans. Lopez, of course, could confirm the last part of the story, though he could not vouch, for Andrada's account of what passed in Spain, nor for the story of the embrace, and the ring sent to him by Philip. But Burghley was scornfully incredulous of the whole affair. He scoffed at the idea of such a man as Andrada having been sent by the King of Spain as an envoy to England. How could anybody dream of the queen receiving or having anything to do with a man who had played false with his own master, Don Antonio, in the interests of Spain % The idea was ridiculous. Every English historian has branded Andrada's story as a pack of lies, and has concluded that Lopez had sent him to Spain to propose Elizabeth's murder. The papers that I have transcribed show that on the whole Andrada told the truth. He swore that his real object was to betray Philip, but Burghley would not believe him, and he was consigned under arrest to the keeping of Dr. Lopez. This was in September 1591, and he lived at Lopez's house for a year or so, when Burghley sanctioned his employment as a spy, first in Holland and then at Calais. He was not trusted, however, and, his information being mere gossip, he was poorly paid. So in August 1593 Andrada wrote an impudent letter to Burghley, and went to Spanish Flanders. Fortunately for him he trod English soil no more. In the meanwhile, Dr. Lopez lived honoured and respected at Court; but he was already marked down for ruin. He had risen, as we have seen, by means of the Puritan party, now headed by Essex,</page><page sequence="15">46 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. who only wanted open war with Spain; and lo! here he had been seen in confidential communication with King Philip through his tool Andrada, and ostensibly trying to arrange a peace in which England should accede to Spanish conditions. Nor was this the only influence that doomed Lopez to future ruin. Don Antonio now hated and distrusted the Jew doctor who had been planning some mysterious plot with King Philip, the man who had usurped his crown, and, above all, through Andrada, who had nearly sold him (Antonio) to the Spaniards. There was another man, too, now at the English Court in the pay of Essex who had reason to dread Lopez. This was the treacherous Secretary of State to Philip, Antonio Perez, now his deadly enemy, sworn to ruin him if he could, and ready to employ all the resources of his great intellect to injure the king he had betrayed. King Philip had offered large sums to have Perez murdered, and several attempts had been made to do it. So that Lopez, already a reputed poisoner, who had been in negotiation with Philip, was hated and distrusted by Perez too. These two men (the two Antonios as they are called) were determined to ruin Lopez; and on one occasion when all three of them were carousing at Eton College, where they were lodged during the stay of the Court at Windsor, Lopez was said to have divulged some very discreditable details about an illness for which he had treated the Earl of Essex. Of course the two Antonios at once went with embellishments and repeated the story to Essex, who in a furious rage swore to be avenged upon Lopez. Nothing could withstand such a combination of enmity as this, and the toils were gradually wound around the unhappy doctor. We will see with what venomous art this was done. In October 1593 Essex told the queen that his spies had dis? covered that a ruined Portuguese gentleman of rank named Ferreira da Gama, living at Dr. Lopez's house in Holborn, had determined to offer his services to the King of Spain to kill Don Antonio. The queen authorised Essex to have Ferreira da Gama arrested, and handed over to his own sovereign, Don Antonio, at Eton College. Whilst Ferreira da Gama was in prison there, orders were sent that all letters arriving at Eye or Dover addressed to any Portuguese were to be opened and read. A week or two afterwards, a man named Gomez d'Avila, who, when at home, lived in Holborn near to Lopez, arrived at Rye from</page><page sequence="16">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 47 Flanders. With him he had a letter addressed to an unknown Portuguese, which seemed very mysterious. It purported to be a commercial communication relating to the sale of some pearls and the purchase of some musk and amber. This had to be investigated, as the person to whom the letter was addressed in London was not known, and Gomez d'Avila professed himself ignorant of the meaning. He was put into prison, and his arrival kept strictly secret. At the same time a large packet of letters was intercepted at Dover directed to a certain Manuel Luis at Brussels, and on being opened it was found to contain a long letter from Dr. Lopez to Ferreira da Gama (who, it will be recollected, lived in his house before his arrest), giving him news of everything that was passing at Court, and another long letter from Ferreira da Gama to the Spanish Secretary of State in Flanders, Ibarra. This, of course, was serious, because it confirmed the suspicions against Ferreira da Gama, who, it will be recollected, was now in Don Antonio's prison at Eton. But it also showed that Dr. Lopez was sending news to this traitor, to send to the Spanish authorities in Flanders. In the meanwhile Lopez, quite ignorant of the seizure of the letters, was urging the queen to have Ferreira da Gama released, as he would be an excellent instrument for bringing about the peace with Spain: "0/ which" said the doctor, "/ have laid a good foundation" "Besides, your Majesty," he continued, "if you do not desire to make peace, look what a fine thing it will be to cosen the King of Spain out of his own mouth." Queen Elizabeth did not relish such liberties being taken with crowned heads, even her enemy Philip; and she haughtily rebuked Lopez for daring to suggest such a thing to her. Lopez was seen to be growing haggard and anxious. Gomez d'Avila, who had brought the musk and amber letter, was now in prison in London, being pressed and threatened every day by Essex to explain the letter he had brought. Unfortunately Gomez d'Avila, whilst he was waiting in the antechamber of Essex House one day for his examination, saw a gentleman he knew who spoke Spanish, and he begged him in a whisper to tell Lopez that he was a prisoner. Of course this was at once communicated to Essex, and the clue was not lost on him; for Lopez's name had never previously been mentioned in connection with Gomez d'Avila and the musk and amber letter. The</page><page sequence="17">48 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. message, however, was delivered to Lopez, whilst the spies of Essex noted that the doctor changed countenance when he heard it. At length the sight of the rack made Gomez d'Avila open his mouth. Pressed by Essex, he confessed that he was really a messenger between Ferreira da Gama in London, and a Portuguese in Brussels named Tinoco, who was in touch with the Spanish Secretary of State in Flanders, Ibarra. This proved that the person to whom the musk and amber letter was really directed was Ferreira da Gama, now a prisoner at Eton, but formerly an inmate in Lopez's house, and his intimate friend. Ferreira da Gama, in prison, was, of course, ignorant of the seizure of the letters to and from him to the Spanish authorities in Flanders, and now took a most fatal step. He entrusted a letter to another Portuguese through a servant lad, asking him to see Dr. Lopez, and to warn him for God's sake to prevent Gomez d'Avila from coming over from Flanders; "for if he were captured the doctor would be undone without remedy." The messenger was arrested after he had delivered his message to Lopez, and the doctor then made his first false step. He wrote a little note, which he caused to be conveyed to Ferreira da Gama in a handkerchief from the laundry, saying that he had sent several times to Flanders to stop Gomez d'Avila's coming, and he would spare no expense if it cost him ?300. Of course the note was intercepted, and this brought Lopez into the net on his own confession. When Ferreira da Gama was confronted with this, he thought that Lopez had betrayed him; and, intent now on saving his own neck, for he was thoroughly frightened, he did his best to incriminate Lopez. He was, he said, the principal negotiator of a plot by which Don Antonio's heir, Don Manuel, should submit to the King of Spain, and Don Antonio be poisoned. He, the doctor, had been, as Ferreira da Gama declared, an agent of Spain for years. All this, of course, was no news to Lord Burghley and his son, who knew all about Andrada's mission, and Lopez's share of it, with the object of cosening the King of Spain. But it gave to Essex further weapons against the doomed physician. Gomez dAvila, in dire alarm now with the rack before him, began to talk freely. He had heard that a large sum of money was to be sent to London from Ibarra, the Secretary of State in Flanders, to Ferreira da Gama, some 50,000 crowns, to secure the submission of Don Manuel, the pretender's son, to Spain. When Ferreira da Gama,</page><page sequence="18">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 49 in his prison, was confronted with this, he confessed it was true, and suggested that the plot should be allowed to proceed, and the money given to Don Antonio, thus cheating the Spaniards. But Essex by this time saw that he might ruin Lopez by showing up the plot, and decided to do so. A watch was still kept on the ports, and a Portuguese came just then (January 1594) to the English Consul at Calais, saying that he wished for a passport to go to England, as he had learnt in Flanders of a plot intended to be hurtful to England, and wanted to reveal it to the queen and Lord Burghley. A passport to come to England was sent to him. But the moment he arrived he was seized and imprisoned in Dover Castle. On him were found letters of great importance. One from Count de Fuentes, the Spanish governor of Flanders, to Ferreira da Gama (who, you recollect, had been in prison at Eton for two months), bespeaking full credence for the bearer, who was no other than Tinoco who had written the musk and amber letter to Ferreira da Gama. Tinoco also bore bills of exchange for a large amount of money, and other letters from the Spanish authorities, asking Ferreira da Gama to go to Spain, and in covert terms speaking of Don Manuel's submission and some other great service to be done for Spain. Tinoco was pressed to say what all this meant, and after much lying and prevarication the rack drew from him the avowal that he had been sent to England to see Ferreira da Gama, and with him to persuade Dr. Lopez to do a great service for the King of Spain. But this did not explain the letters of Count Fuentes and Ibarra to Ferreira da Gama, and there was evidently something behind. Tinoco took fright at the trap into which he had run, and wrote to Cecil piteously asking to be allowed to return to Flanders and serve England as a spy, and he swore that the letters he bore from Fuentes and Ibarra had no reference whatever to Don Antonio's affairs. This made matters worse. For if the letters were not against Don Antonio, against whom were they directed 1 Here was a large sum of money and mysterious letters being sent by high Spanish officials to Ferreira da Gama, the close friend of Lopez, living in his house. Here was the doctor saying that he would spend =?300 if necessary to prevent the letters coming to England. And so, all these facts pieced together, early in January 1594 the blow fell from Essex, and Dr. Lopez, the queen's principal physician and trusted servant and the influential friend of Lord Treasurer Burghley, found himself a prisoner. VOL. VI. D</page><page sequence="19">50 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. R?Y LOPEZ. His principal crime in the eyes of Essex, of Don Antonio, and of Antonio Perez was that he had been intriguing with Spain, ostensibly to bring about peace with England. Lord Burghley and his son, of course, knew (as we have seen) that the negotiation, even if it led to nothing more, gave them an opportunity of learning Spanish designs; and when Lopez was brought before them and Essex, the Cecils took a favourable view of the case, and declared that there was positively nothing against Lopez. Before the examination ended, Sir Robert Cecil, desirous of gaining the ear of the queen before Essex did, rode in haste to Hampton Court, and told her that Essex had arrested her physician on a trumped up charge. Elizabeth was furious. She was already in a bad temper with Essex; and when he appeared before her next day, she burst out in a rage at his rash insolence in arresting Lopez without her order. She knew, she said, that Lopez was innocent of any evil intent, and she would take care that he should not be sacrificed to Essex's spite. The haughty favourite flung out of the room with flaming face, and sulked for days; but thenceforward it touched his public honour to bring Lopez to the gallows, innocent or guilty. From that hour Lopez was doomed. Not a word, recollect, had been said hitherto about any design to kill the queen; but the excitement about Spanish plots ran high, and the spies and agents of Essex were busy. A mere hint was sufficient, and somehow, no one knew how or from whence, the rumour ran that the Jew Lopez, who held the queen's life in his hand, had planned to poison his benefactress. A howl of execration went up against such black treachery as this. All the Essex House set were loud in denunciation, and even Cecil, unwilling to champion so unpopular a cause, left Lopez to his fate. Tinoco, the man from Flanders, you will recollect, was ready, now on the rack or near it, to save his neck by saying anything that would please Essex and condemn Lopez. Dr. Lopez, himself distracted with fear, could-only explain that all his negotiations with Spain under cover of peace approaches and the submission of Don Manuel, &amp;c, were only feigned in order to cheat the King of Spain, and gain information for England. His examiners jeered and scoffed at such an explanation, which, we now know from the papers I have quoted, was probably true. Ferreira da Gama in his prison was as communicative as Tinoco. He alleged that Lopez had professed himself willing to poison either Don</page><page sequence="20">THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 51 Antonio or the queen; but no confirmation whatever was forthcoming of the agonised ravings of the poor panic-stricken creature. Ferreira's admissions were used as levers to wring more evidence against Lopez, and vice versa. The old story of the embrace and the ring sent by King Philip, which we know all about now, was raked up, and it was said that the ring was a token to Lopez to kill the queen. Every doubtful word in the correspondence was interpreted as directed against the life of Elizabeth. Both Tinoco and Ferreira sought to gain their own lives by casting all the blame on Lopez, and Essex took care that answers to leading questions should make the guilt of Lopez apparently clear. The next step was to wring some admission from Lopez himself. He was crazy with fear and grief, in strict confinement, and was pressed on all sides; he said afterwards that he was threatened with the rack. In any case, he began by indignantly denying his guilt; and then in terror and distress he broke down, and admitted that he had made a promise to poison the queen; but only with the intention of cheating the Spaniards out of a large sum of money and not doing the deed. He withdrew the confession as soon as his composure returned, but it was too late. He was tried at Guildhall on 28th February by a special commission, upon which Essex and Cecil sat. Tinoco and Ferreira again told their damning story. As usual, the accused had no chance. There was no defence but piteous appeal and declarations of innocence. Everything that could be produced against Lopez, even pure conjecture, was accepted as gospel. Lopez had been doomed long before ; and now, amidst the execrations of a vast multitude that hungered for his blood, he was condemned to death with ignominy. Essex had won, and Cecil competed with him in his virulence against the fallen man. The poor creature begged piteously for his life of the queen he had served so long, and for a time she hesitated to sign the death-warrant. But at length, after months of waiting, Lopez, Tinoco, and Ferreira were all hanged and disembowelled at Tyburn, amidst the laughter and jeers of a ribald crowd, and with circumstances of revolting cruelty, which makes the blood run cold even now. I have not been able in the short time at my disposal to place before you, chapter and verse, all the documents in this complicated case; but I myself have seen them all, so far as they are known. I have, however, given you the heads of the evidence, and you can judge for yourselves the probabilities of Lopez's guilt. I must</page><page sequence="21">52 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. confess that it appears to me possible that Lopez was professedly willing to poison Don Antonio, whether only to cheat the King of Spain, or in good earnest, I do not know. That he was, like most others about the Court of Elizabeth, an intriguing trickster is evident from his whole action in the matter. But whatever Buy Lopez was, he was not a fool; and quite apart from the absence of any serious confirmatory evidence against him of a desire to kill the queen, it appears to me quite in? credible that he, in high favour in England, should poison his bene? factress to gain a reward from a king that he and all Jews had reason to hate, and who, moreover, was a notoriously bad paymaster. Lopez had made England his home for forty years, and if the queen had died at his hands, not only England, but every Protestant country in Europe would have been closed to him thenceforward, and he would have been ruined professionally. It would have been equally impossible for him to have trusted to the mercy of Philip and the Inquisition in a Catholic land; and the only refuge left to him would have been Turkey, which, with his antecedents, would have been as bad as death to him. So that on probability alone it is difficult to believe that he was guilty. So far as I can see from the documents, the only aims traceable to him are:?? (1) the simulation of peace negotiations with Spain, to gain money and information; (2) the winning over of Don Manuel to Spain; (3) the cosening of the King of Spain for his own profit and the benefit of England; and, possibly, though by no means certainly, (4) the attempted poisoning of Don Antonio.</page><page sequence="22">APPENDIX The principal authorities on the Lopez Conspiracy are as follows : State Papers, Domestic, from vol. ccxxxiii. to cclviii., abstracted in Calendars 1593-94; the Gawdy Papers Hist. MSS. Com.; Hatfield Papers, vol. iv.; the Bacon Papers in the Lambeth Palace Library, of which Dr. Birch's extracts are in the British Museum, Sloan MSS. 4112, and mostly published in his Memoirs of Elizabeth; Yetswirt's True Report of Sondnj Horrible Conspiracies, London, 1594 ; Francis Bacon's True Report of the Detestable Treason; Bishop Goodman's Court of James I. ; Sir William Waad's detailed account of the case in Lord Calthorpe's archives, for allowing me access to which I have to thank his lordship ; and the statement of the case drawn up by Coke, the Solicitor-General, in Harl. MSS., British Museum, 871. To this may be added the corre? spondence of Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador in Paris, transcribed by me in the Archives Nationales, Paris, and published in my Calendars of Spanish State Papers of Elizabeth, vol. iv., and the following documents giving details of Andrada's mission to Madrid, also transcribed by me in the Archives Nationales, and previously unpublished, except by me in Treason and Plot. K. 1578, 7. Paris Archives Nationales. Fonds Simancas. Respecting Manuel de Andrada, and Pedro Marques his companion. The things proposed by Manuel de A ndrada are three in number :?? 1. By means of Dr. Lopez he was opening negotiations for peace with England if permission be given him to do so. He believes that he could carry these through successfully, as he understands that they (the English) desire it, and Dr. Lopez assures him of success. 2. By means of the same Dr. Lopez he will undertake, if so desired, that Don Antonio shall never leave that country (England). 53</page><page sequence="23">54 THE SO-CALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 3. Or otherwise that he shall be expelled at once if that course be preferred. Besides these three things, which are the main objects of his coming, he says that he has an understanding with an Englishman, a brother-in-law of the said Dr. Lopez, who undertakes to send him advices of events there, and will also attempt to do another secret service which he (Andrada) recommended to him. This understanding with the brother-in-law is unknown to Dr. Lopez. It appears that there can be no objection in letting this man (Andrada) return to England ; and to give him a pretext for doing so, it will be neces? sary to seize upon the first point of his proposals. He may therefore go to Calais, and write from there to Dr. Lopez that his coming has been prompted by the common good begging him to send a passport. When he receives the passport, he may proceed whithersoever Dr. Lopez may instruct him. On his arrival he may tell him that he had proposed the peace negotiations here as Lopez had requested him, and had set forth the Doctor's good ser? vices ; whereupon all the (Spanish) Ministers had asked him (Andrada) what letters of credence or other authority he could produce to enable him to deal in the matter. This will lead them to infer that, if he had brought such credentials he would have been favourably listened to ; although, at the same time, he may say that he was told that it would be necessary for the peace suggestions to be accompanied by due satisfaction for the offences inflicted upon Spain. Andrada should also be instructed to express hopes of success on some such basis as this, as if of his own motion, in order that he may have an excuse for remaining there safely for some time, and when he thinks best he can return ostensibly on the same matter. He must be instructed that, whilst he remains in England, he may urge Dr. Lopez's brother-in-law to do the secret service proposed. And moreover, since Dr. Lopez himself gave his word to get Don Antonio expelled from England if his Majesty desired, he should be asked to fulfil his promise in this respect, as his offer to do so has been accepted, and his good service in all things will be acknowledged. Under cover of all this, Manuel de Andrada must inquire and discover everything he can that is going on there, and send us full advices of the same. It is only reasonable that he should have a grant in aid. He himself proposes a grant secured on some Portuguese revenues. His other demands must remain in abeyance for the present, but he may proceed on his service in the assurance that on his return he shall be very highly considered. In addition to the grant in aid in Portugal, he will need some money for his voyage, as much as appears necessary. He asks for a jewel to be given to him for the daughter of Dr. Lopez, and he attaches importance to this.</page><page sequence="24">THE SO-GALLED CONSPIRACY OF DR. RUY LOPEZ. 55 He also requests money to remunerate the man he has gained to give him information, and the Doctor's brother-in-law. There seems no objec? tion to this being done in moderation. Pedro Marques will apparently follow Andrada's lead, and will be more easily satisfied. This document was, as usual, sent by the King to Moura for his report and recommendations, and Moura returned the following, of which Philip approved:? The opinion of Don Cristobal de Moura respecting the matter of Manuel Andrada. He should be given 300 reals as a grant in aid for the expenses of his journey to England with his companion. In addition to this he may be told that he shall have a grant not ex? ceeding thirty reals (per month ?), secured on Indian revenues, but other than those that he proposes, as they cannot be allowed. It will be just to give him something for the daughter of Dr. Lopez, and this may be one of the old jewels from his Majesty's caskets. It will also be advisable to give him something for the brother-in-law of Dr. Lopez, who offers to do the service, and also for the other confidant who gives information. But as at present there is no money to spare, it will perhaps be best to take for this purpose also some of the jewels from the said old caskets belonging to his Majesty, as is suggested above for the other gift.</page></plain_text>