The denunciation of Peter Freire

In a letter, dated 13 January 1585, to Sir Francis Walsingham, Principal Secretary of State and the head of Queen Elizabeth’s domestic and foreign intelligence operations, Antonio de Castilho, the former Portuguese ambas? sador to England, wrote that Pedro (or Peter) Freire, who was Dr Hector Nunes’s brother-in-law, was ‘brought up in England by your citizens’.1 This may explain the loyalty to England which he repeatedly displayed. In February 1569 prominent London merchants, including Thomas Starkey and Thomas Pullison, had sent a petition to the Privy Council seeking ‘per? mission for Peter Freire, a Portuguese merchant dwelling in Lisbon and Bernard Luis, his brother and agent in England, to enjoy their debts, goods and merchandise here; the said Peter is a good friend to the English in this trouble, some times aiding their persons and conveying their goods out of the country.’2

Freire’s positive relations with English merchants continued beyond

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