Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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23. The Same to the Same.
On the 30th ultimo I wrote to your Majesty by Gedinez, and the next day I went to speak with the Queen. She was in a better humour with me than I have ever seen her, and said that she had heard the French had not come to terms with your Majesty, and that I might be sure that she would not agree with them unless your Majesty did so too, but that she would keep to her promises. All this was without my saying anything. She said that the French had sent Guido Cavalcanti hither three times, always with the same thing, and that they had been answered as they deserved, and yet they wanted to send him again. She is rather offended with her commissioners : I do not know whether because they are not conducting the business to her liking, or because they bear themselves unworthily with the French. The latter is what she gave me to understand, and I said that I had heard that it was so.
About the dispute. She told me it was decided to hold it in English and in writing, each side signing what they said. On the same day, Friday, the last day of March, there assembled in the choir of the church at Westminster, in the morning, the persons whose names I wrote to your Majesty, in the presence of the Council and a great number of people of all sorts who had gathered to hear them, and although they had been given to understand that discussion was to be verbal and that all could give their vote, Dr. Bacon, who is acting as Chancellor and Keeper of the Seals, then announced that they had to dispute in writing. The Catholics could not do this as they had been deceived ; but, nevertheless, Dr. Cole, dean of St. Pauls, said something on the matter. As soon as he had finished speaking one of the heretics rose, and kneeling down with his back to the altar on which was the sacrament, he prayed that God would inspire and enlighten those present to understand the truth. When the prayer was ended, another of them took out a book and read very diffusely all they had prepared and devised on the first point. When this was done the Bishops wished to follow up the discussion as they expected and reply to the heretics' arguments, but Bacon would not allow it. The bishop of Winchester said that as no one had spoken on their side, but Cole and all of them had much to say, they should give them another day so that they might reduce what they had to say to writing, since they would not hear them now. If this were not done to give them the same advantage as their opponents only one side would be heard, and so, with great difficulty and bad grace, they gave them till the following Monday when they again met at the same place and the Catholics then wanted to read the written answer they had brought according to the agreement, which answer I understand contained many very good arguments, as indeed their adversaries must also have thought and regretted, to judge from what followed. Bacon told the Catholics that they had to pass on to the second article as the first had already been discussed on Friday, and the Bishops replied that they had not given their opinion upon the first article as they had not been allowed to speak, but that they had now brought their opinion in writing and begged that it might be read. For this purpose Dr. Arceu (Harpsfield), archdeacon of St. Pauls, rose four times with the paper in his hand and was refused permission each time, Bacon urging them still to pass to the second article, and they replying that they wished to be heard on the first ; and as they claimed it as their right Bacon said they could hand in their paper without reading it. To this the Bishops replied that as their opponents had impressed their arguments on the minds of the hearers it was not just that they should be prevented from doing the same ; and, indeed, this was the reason for the discussion being ordered as it was not necessary to meet for any other purpose. They were again pressed to go on to the second article, and told that it was the Queen's wish and command that they should do so, and on their being asked whether they would obey or not the Bishops answered that they could not do so without grave prejudice to their cause, and complained of the many other unfair and injurious things that had been done to them. As they remained firm in their position the abbot of Westminster rose and said that although the Bishops were right, and an injury was being done to them by forcing them to discuss the second article when they had only come prepared to discuss the first, yet, to obey the Queen's command he offered to reply to their opponents' arguments on the second article. Although the Bishops did not approve of this they would have put up with it if the heretics had set forth their views, but even this could not be arranged with them, and Bacon insisted that they (the Bishops) should begin and speak on the second article. At such a manifest injustice as this the bishops of Winchester and Lincoln said it was a great shame that they should be treated so badly and made to raise questions, they being Catholics and therefore not obliged to open disputes, although they would gladly reply to them and justify the Catholic doctrine to any who desired it, even though they were open heretics. On one of the adversaries telling him that they were the guardians of the churches, Bishop Baden (Bain) asked them of what Church ; English or German, since in England there was only one Church, with which they had nothing to do. If German, which one did they mean, as they had heard there were several ; and, finally, the matter was dealt with in a way that the heretics were routed and the colloquy ended. (fn. 1) In the afternoon some of the Bishops were summoned to the palace, and the bishops of Winchester and Lincoln were sent prisoners in a boat to the Tower, as they had been most conspicuous against the heretics, and their goods have been sequestrated. I am also told to-day that they will send the other six to the Tower, three Bishops and three Doctors who were in the discussion, only leaving the abbot of Westminster, as he said he would discuss the second article out of obedience. I hear also that the Council has discussed whether the Bishops have given sufficient cause to deprive them of their dignities, although others tell me that the question discussed was that of the appropriation by the Queen of all the ecclesiastical revenues in general. The Catholics are disturbed to see the violence and injustice with which this business is being treated.
A person that the bishop of Aquila told your Majesty was in the habit of bringing me truthful information assures me that a marriage is being discussed between the Queen and the Archduke Ferdinand, and that Count George Helfenstein or another will shortly return hither. I neither believe nor disbelieve any of these things, but think well to keep your Majesty informed.
Guido Cavalcanti, or he who came with him, who, the Bishop tells me, is called Monsieur de la Marche, (fn. 2) gave the Marquis of Northampton 2,000 crowns from the king of France.
They tell me that Mason is expected back here. I do not know why he went or why he returns, as they take very good care to withhold all their affairs from me. I send this letter by the post to Antwerp addressed to the factor to be forwarded at once to your Majesty.—4th April 1559.
Document endorsed : "Copy of the letter written to his Majesty."
24. The Same to the Same.
On the 4th instant I wrote to your Majesty by the ordinary Antwerp post, and on the 7th Mason arrived with news of the peace, at the same time as your Majesty's courier to me despatched on the 5th, and another courier bringing me the same news from your Majesty's Commissioners. On the same day I went to the palace with the son of the Portuguese ambassador who came to visit the Queen. The members of the Council and Mason came out to us and I thought they looked downcast. We went in to see the Queen, who received us graciously, and, seeing that your Majesty had left to me in your letters the mode in which she should be told of the arrangement with the French I thought most convenient, and in keeping with my previous attitude to express my sorrow about the marriage (fn. 3) as I was so devoted a servant of hers, and understood what she had lost, and thus to throw a greater gloom over her and them in this respect than has been thrown over them by seeing your Majesty in close alliance and relationship with the king of France. The Queen presently began to read the letters from Portugal, which, being in Portuguese, she called me to help her to read. I answered her that I was no longer any good for a secretary, which she understood and smiled slightly. After this, when she had finished with the Portuguese, she called me to her and asked whether I had letters from your Majesty. I told her yes, and that on the next day I would give her any information she wanted about them, but that I could not do so then, as I was so angry with her and so annoyed. She said that if I wanted to go out with the Portuguese I could do so and she would send outside for me. This she did, and on my return began to say she had heard your Majesty was married, smiling, saying your name was a fortunate one, and now and then giving little sighs which bordered upon laughter. I told her that although I saw that this peace was a great boon to Christendom I could not rejoice to see your Majesty married to anyone else but her, nor at her refusing to believe all my importunities and assurances of how desirable it would be for her to marry your Majesty. To this she retorted that it was your Majesty's fault it had fallen through and not hers, as she had given me no reply, and that I had told her also that I had not written about it to your Majesty. I told her she knew very well what the facts were, and that I had not taken a reply because I understood what kind of answer she would give me, and that in affairs of this importance between two such great princes as your Majesty and her it was my duty, if I could not bring about an agreement, to give matters such a turn as to cause no anger or resentment on either side, and this I had tried to do, although in so doing I had leant more on her side than on your Majesty's, as she very well knew. She confessed this was so, and afterwards went on to say that your Majesty could not have been so much in love with her as I had said, as you had not had patience to wait four months for her ; and many things of the same sort, as if she was not at all pleased at the decision adopted by your Majesty. She told me that two or three of her Council must have been very glad at the news, but she did not say who they were. What I have heard during the short time since the news of the peace came, is that she and all the rest of them have been much grieved to see your Majesty, and the king of France so united, and they greatly fear that this friendship may portend evil to them. During the time the Portuguese was talking to the Queen and before we entered her room, I spoke with nearly all the councillors separately, and Cecil, who is a pestilent knave, as your Majesty knows, told me they had heard your Majesty was going very shortly to Spain ; and amongst other things he said that if your Majesty wished to keep up the war with France, they for their part would be glad of it. I told him he could tell that to people who did not understand the state of affairs in England so well ns I did. What they wanted was something very different from that, and they were blind entirely to their real interests, and would now begin to understand that I had advised what was best for the service of the Queen and the welfare of the country. In short I left them that day as bitter as gall.
Paget is better and has gone twice or thrice to the palace in a litter. I have arranged to see him to-day. He is greatly persecuted and out of favour, and wishes to assure me that he is sound in religious matters.
The two bishops are still in the Tower. He of Lincoln has a quartan ague, and they say they will let him go home under sureties, but I do not know for certain. They have not done anything with the others yet. They have lately discussed in Parliament the question of depriving the bishoprics of their valuable possessions, in order to enable the Queen to bestow them upon whom she pleases, and appoint to each Bishop a certain stipend in tithes and other small matters. They are very steadfast and determined to die if necessary.
Nothing more has been said about the disputation. The effect has been a good one, and the matter ended in their seeing that they were doing an injustice to the Bishops who, however, refused to allow a wrong to be done to their cause, and this has greatly encouraged the Catholics and thrown the heretics into some confusion. Besides this the earl of Sussex (lord deputy) of Ireland, although he is so great a heretic, told them in the Council that if they try to make any change in religion there the province will revolt. The Welsh have sent word to the earl of Pembroke not to send them any heretic preacher, or he will never come back. I for my part believe that the Queen would be glad not to have gone so far in the matter of religion, and the peace which they thought to turn to advantage for carrying out this wicked design is, by God's will, that which they now fear most, and since God thus does your Majesty's business, it is only just to reciprocate by promoting His affairs. This matter of religion has been held in suspense hitherto, and the blow miraculously kept from falling, sometimes by my softly persuading the Queen, and sometimes by frightening her, and urging her to give more time to the business. It was of the utmost importance to get over Holy-week, as she was resolved on Friday to confirm what Parliament had adopted. They give themselves up for lost if your Majesty will not back them up, and they are so alarmed lest the French should recall their forces from Italy and send them over here, that Mason told me so the day before yesterday, disgusted and sick of the way they had acted. He told the Queen that your Majesty's marriage was arranged after he left, and a courier who overtook him on the road brought him the news. They consider that the peace is favourable and honourable for your Majesty and the king of France, and for them the contrary. I gather from certain things which your Majesty and your Council asked the bishop of Aquila, and from what they write to me, that they would have wished me to send my opinion about English affairs. Even though I had a good opinion to give I could not well give it without being thoroughly enlightened respecting the state of all other matters across the sea, and I have consequently thought best always to report to your Majesty the position of matters here as I see and understand them, and the evil effects which might arise from not being prepared for them in time, greater indeed than those which have already arisen, which are not small, as we have lost a kingdom, body and soul. Now, however, that God has deigned to send this great boon of peace to Christendom, and your Majesty is more at leisure to attend to other obligations, I think it is time to consider how things are going to end here. This business is divided into two heads, first, that of religion, and whether your Majesty is bound in this respect I do not enquire, although the Catholics claim that notwithstanding the country having been at the disposal of your Majesty to be treated as you wished, it has come to its present pass. The other head is the question of the State, and the necessity of preventing the king of France from dominating the kingdom, for which object he has two circumstances so favourable to him, namely, the just claims of the queen of Scots and the great ease with which he could take possession owing to the miserable state in which the country is, as I have informed your Majesty several times since I came hither, and I think it has been growing worse every hour. I have done my best to carry out your Majesty's commands to try and tranquilise the country and please the Queen, and to hold my hand in religious affairs, and at the same time to push them on to make peace without any responsibility weighing on your Majesty with regard to the conditions under which it was made, and this I have succeeded in doing as your Majesty is more free than ever therefrom. But it behoves me to consider whether, with things as they are, your Majesty can be assured of that which is desirable, because as I understand—leaving aside God's affairs and religious matters unredressed—now that these people are better able to do as they like than at any time since this woman became Queen, all the time which may be allowed them to carry out their heresies will be pernicious to the tranquillity and quietude of the country, and may give rise to tumult. And besides this, whenever the king of France finds means in Rome to get this woman declared a heretic together with her bastardy, and advances his own claim, your Majesty will be more perplexed what to do than at present, because I do not see how your Majesty could in such case go against God and justice and against the Catholics who will doubtless join him (the king of France) if he comes with the voice of the Church behind him. To let him take the country, which he will do with so much ease that I dread to think of it, would be to my mind the total ruin of your Majesty and all your States, and seeing things in this light, as I do, and to fail to inform your Majesty, would, in my opinion be a crime worthy of punishment both towards God and your Majesty. They tell me the Swedish ambassador has again pressed the matter of the marriage and told the Queen that the son of the King his master was still of the same mind, and asked for a reply to the letter he brought last year. The Queen replied that the letter was written when she was Madam Elizabeth, and now that she was queen of England he must write to her as Queen and she would give an answer. She did not know whether his master would leave his kingdom to marry her, but she would not leave hers to be monarch of the world, and at present she would not reply either yes or no. With this message a secretary who came here this winter was despatched, the ambassador remaining here. About a week ago this secretary came back and brought a grand present of tapestries and crmine for the Queen, and says that his master will send very shortly one of the principal lords of his kingdom to treat of the marriage. He had audience of the Queen yesterday. I do not know what passed.
The (illegible (fn. 4)) of Calais has come here on the same conditions as Lord Grey. His wife begged the Queen that he might come and kiss her hand, but the Queen said it was not proper for him to come at present. He is being kept in the Control Chamber.
I had written thus far three days ago and have detained the post in the hope of seeing the Queen before despatching the letter. I have not seen her, but in order to keep your Majesty well informed I have thought best to send it off. The only thing fresh that I can say is that no class of people in the country, so far as I know, is pleased with the way in which your Majesty has made peace. The Catholics are grieved that your Majesty should have married away from here, and the heretics are in a state of great alarm at the thought that everybody is arming against them. The Queen has already declared in Parliament that she will not be called head of the church, whereat the heretics are very dissatisfied. Cecil went yesterday to the lower house and told them from the Queen that she thanked them greatly for their goodwill in offering her the title of supreme head of the Church, which out of humility she was unwilling to accept, and asked them to devise some other form with regard to the supremacy or primacy. He was answered that it was against the word of God and the Scripture, and they were surprised at his coming to them every day with new proposals and objections.
In four or five days I will send your Majesty an account of what is done about the ships which have been taken here in spite of your Majesty's safe-conducts, which in my opinion is a thing that should not be allowed.—London, 11th April 1559.
Document endorsed : "London 1559, copy of letter written to his Majesty 11 April."
25. The King to the Count de Feria.
On the 6th instant I received the letter you sent by the courier from Spain on the 30th ultimo, to which there is not much to reply except that I am glad the bishop of Aquila had arrived safely, as from what he will have told you and the despatch he bore you will now be well advised of my wishes in respect of matters in England and in accordance therewith you can with your usual prudence forward them as you consider most desirable for our interests.
I have read the memorandum you sent me of the points to be discussed between the Catholics and the heretics and the names of persons chosen by each side. It would undoubtedly be a good way for the dispute to be in Latin and in writing for the reasons which you give. Let me know the result of your good offices with the Queen on the subject and the decision arrived at, as I shall be glad be such as to redound to His service and the good of religion, and that He will not allow wickedness to prevail and obscure the truth.
The Count de Luna (fn. 5) has written to me that the Emperor having heard that I had not married the Queen of England, he had told him he should be very glad to treat of the matter for one of his sons, and His Majesty's ambassador has spoken to me here to the same effect to learn my will, and in the event of its being favourable to beg me to promote and favour his suit. I replied that I would do so willingly, both because I thought it would be very good for all parties, and because I was desirous of gratifying His Majesty and forwarding the prosperity of my cousins. The ambassador wished to inform his master of this before taking any step, but I think best in every respect, and particularly to upset the negotiations on the subject in London, to advise you at once of what is taking place and tell you my will for your guidance. I enjoin you therefore to endeavour to speak with the Queen as soon as possible, and tell her that as the love I bear her is that of a good brother, I am always thinking of what will conduce to her welfare and the stability of her kingdom, and that it appears to me that as she will have to marry a foreigner (which will be most fitting as she knows) she can do no better than to take one of the Emperor's sons for a husband, for the reasons which her good judgment will perceive sooner than she can be told, both for the good of Christianity in general, which should be the first aim of princes, and for the special advantage of her own country, as by making this match his Cæsarian Majesty will hold her as a daughter and will thus aid and defend her with all the power of the Empire. I on my part would do the same and should feel myself as much bound to it as if she had married the prince my son, and thus by drawing closer the bonds of relationship between us, the goodwill and affection of all of us will become stronger and last for ever with many other benefits which will scrue therefrom, which you can point out so as to persuade her to accept this business with the same earnestness and good feeling which have prompted me to propose it. And signally will it tend to her own contentment and repose if she determine to marry one of the archdukes my cousins, because having no states of his own he would always be with her and would help her to bear the burden of government of her kingdom whilst these states of mine will remain the more united to hers by reason of her husband being of our blood and of so near kin, and she herself will be more feared and esteemed by her own subjects and will have all the protection she may require. She will have so many connections and of such strength and power that none will dare to offend or vex her, whereas just the reverse will happen if she marry a subject, as apart from the dissatisfaction of those who were not related to the man she may choose, it might give rise to such humours that although she is prudent enough to remedy them, may cost her much trouble and perplexity to assuage. The aforegoing, and as much more to the same effect as you think necessary, you will place before her with the tact and suavity you know how to be informed, and I hope to God (whose cause it is) that it will to employ, so that what you say may persuade without vexing her ; taking particular care always to banish any shadow of an idea she may have, that because she did not marry me and I have entered the French alliance, I shall take less interest in her affairs. You will on the contrary assure her positively that this will not be so, but that I am and shall remain as good a brother to her as before and as such shall take very great interest in what concerns her, and will try to forward her affairs as if they were my own. To prove this by acts I send you order to undertake the present task and propose this marriage to her as I believe no other could be so suitable for her, although I believe the Emperor will very shortly send a person specially to treat of the business. Advise me promptly what answer she gives, so that in view thereof the necessary steps may be taken, bearing in mind that any efforts you make to bring this business to the desired end will be very agreeable to me.— Brussels, 12th April 1559.
26. The King to the Count de Feria.
This morning I received the letter you sent me by way of Antwerp on the 4th instant, by which I have seen what had passed in the colloquy between the Catholics and the heretics on the points which had been proposed respecting our religion and also the result of the dispute, which in truth has grieved me, although I still hope that God will take up His cause and aid His ministers that they may not be thus unjustly injured and maltreated. You will continue to advise me what passes in this matter as fully as hitherto, as I desire to know.
Respecting the marriage of the Queen with the archduke Ferdinand my cousin, you will have learnt by what I wrote by the courier of the 12th, what the Emperor's ambassador said to me, and how glad I shall be that every effort should be made very earnestly on behalf of him or the archduke Charles his brother, and so I beg and enjoin you to do your best in this matter, which interests me very much.
I am awaiting with impatience a reply to what I wrote you by the bishop of Aquila, as I have decided, unless your reply should make such a course undesirable, to order you to return hither, since, as matters have changed so much, there is no longer any need for you to remain there. As you have to leave I have thought of appointing the bishop of Aquila as my ambassador to reside in England, making due provision for his proper maintenance according to his office and rank, and giving his bishopric to another who will live in his diocese. I have understood that he wishes to leave it, and I shall be glad for him to do so, as I need his services, and this will do away with any scruples of conscience he may have. I have been influenced thereto by thinking that as the Bishop is already employed in these affairs he will manage them better than a fresh person, and also by my satisfaction with him and his good judgment and your own good reports of him, as well as the tact he has hitherto shown, which we have every reason to believe he will still exhibit in the future. As regards matters connected with these states (Flanders) it has occurred to me to send Councillor Dasonleville, who, as you know, is well versed in them and knows the people ; but it is understood that the bishop will have precedence in every way, and although as they are both my servants there will have to exist the necessary good understanding between them, each of them will conduct separately the affairs appertaining to him. I have not thought well, however, to decide on either point until I have let you know and obtained your opinion on the whole question, and to gain time I have sent this by special courier. Consider the matter well and send me at once your opinion as to what will be best for my service, so that I may then decide and give the necessary orders. In the meanwhile you will please me much by forwarding in every possible way the negotiations for the marriage of the Queen with one of my cousins, as in every respect it would suit us all to bring it about.—Brussels, 14th April 1559.
27. Count de Feria to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 11th instant and on the 14th and 17th. I received your Majesty's letters of 12th and 14th in answer to mine of the 30th March and 4th April. Since then the news is that the Queen having sent to the Parliament to say that she did not wish to take the title of "Head of the Church," and asking them to think of some other style, they have agreed that she shall be called "Governess of the Church," as it appears to them that it is different if put in this way. The same decree declares that any persons who refuse to take the oath to observe this shall lose their places and pay if they be servants or officers of the Queen of any kind, and if they be ecclesiastics or prebendaries in public schools shall be deprived of their dignities, benefits or prebends ; and they add, moreover, that anybody receiving or helping any recusant with money or otherwise shall incur the same punishment as the principals, and their lives shall be at the Queen's mercy, which is a sort of punishment contained in a charter of the kingdom which commences "Premunire" and which is now extended to these cases. The Act has already passed the lower house, and has been proposed in the upper. The archbishop of York has opposed it, and it has to be read some more times before it can pass. This York (fn. 6) is a worthy man, and England can never have had such Bishops as these before. The other Bishops are still prisoners, and he of Lincoln is very ill. He will be a great loss if he dies, as he is more spirited and learned than all the rest.
I have seen Paget, who is better in health than he has been, although not free from ague and other ailments. He deplored with me when he came in, that this country had lost your Majesty for king and spoke very differently from what he had done on other occasions when I had seen him. As I understand, the reason of this is no doubt that he is undeceived and knows the Queen will not give him either credit or authority. He said they considered him a Catholic and thought he had close relations with me but God send him better health if he is ever to be of any use or I have need of him. He joked with me about the scant service your Majesty had received for the pensions granted here, and says that Simon Renard (fn. 7) was the inventor and not he. He goes to his house in a fortnight, as he telis me, without any office or even being a member of the Council. I spoke very lovingly to him and promised him I would have the pension paid to him which was owing, and this I have done, and to show him what a good master your Majesty was, he should be better treated than ever now that you had no need of his help, and he took no part in public affairs. I thought best to keep this man satisfied and in good humour, as at all events he has been looked upon as a servant of your Majesty, and he is a man of greater intelligence and tact than the others.
Enclosed I send copy of the reply of the Council to the case stated on your Majesty's behalf showing that the ships bearing your Majesty's safe-conducts taken by the English should be restored, and I also send copy of what the bishop of Aquila thinks might be replied after consulting with the lawyers representing the merchants who are moving the case, in order that your Majesty may order what you may deem best. It seems to us here a very hard and unjust thing, and against the old treaties. The loss to these poor merchants is more than 150,000 ducats after bringing their goods over in dependance on your Majesty's good faith and paying money for the safe-conducts. Dr. Velasco has been informed of the business here, and a lawyer who is pleading in the case for the owners of the goods is going to Brussels and will explain it to whomever your Majesty may command.
Your Majesty's subjects who come hither complain that the duties have been raised here to such an extent on the goods in which they deal that, according to them, they are doubled in violation of the treaties. I have thought well to advise your Majesty of this, as if these people here will not observe the treaties in this respect and your Majesty should, notwithstanding this, wish to observe them on your part, you may know what is happening, and will be able to consider whether it will be advisable to treat the English as they treat the subjects of your Majesty. They tell me the sum is a large one, so large indeed that by the accounts the merchants give of the cloths and other goods which are taken from here to your Majesty's dominions it would amount to above 200,000 ducats a year. I do not know whether these duties would all go to your Majesty or some to the places in your dominions where this trade is carried on. Paget tells me that this raising of duties in spite of the treaties was began by the Emperor although these people have done it with a heavier hand.
I note that your Majesty writes respecting the marriage of the archduke Ferdinand with the Queen, and the same day that the courier arrived with the letter I was about to despatch news to your Majesty of what was being done here in the matter and about Lord Robert, which is as follows. When the Emperor's ambassador arrived here I understand that he had no instructions to treat of the matter, but as so many loose and flighty fancies are about, some of these people who went to and fro with him to the palace must have broached the subject to him. One in particular I know of was Challoner, who went to visit the Emperor on the Queen's behalf when she succeeded to the throne. He is a great talker, but a perons of no authority. At the same time the matter must have been brought before Count Helfenstein by the Queen's asking him whether he had instructions to speak to her on any other subject, which I believe she did two or three times. He must thereupon have advised his master, and about a week ago the said Count sent hither a German who acts as his secretary, and who I am told is a lawyer, directed to Challoner with a letter from the Emperor to the Queen and a portrait of the archduke Ferdinand. The Secretary delivered the letter in person, and in it His Majesty says that he desires to send hither a person to treat with her (the Queen) of matters of closer friendship than these respecting which Count Helfenstein visited her, The Queen accepted the offer to send the person, and the German returned with her letter and message the day before yesterday. As I was assured that the matter was under discussion, and that this secretary was here for the purpose, I thought I ought to so approach the Queen and him that they might both understand that the negotiations had your Majesty's accord and goodwill without binding myself to them in a way that could cause inconvenience from my having acted without your Majesty's orders. I therefore only told the Queen, on the day the Portuguese went to take leave of her, that since she had not married your Majesty I wished she would take the person nearest to you in kin and kindness, and so gave her to understand that I was informed of what was being discussed. I was going in general terms to offer the secretary such assurances as were fitting, seeing the friendship and relationship that exists between your Majesty and the Emperor's sons, but as it happened" that the courier arrived on the same day as I was to speak to him, I opened out more with him, promising help and aid from your Majesty for the affair, and telling him how, by order of your Majesty, I had spoken to the Queen and tried to incline her towards it, and I advised him also as to how he should proceed. I found him at first reserved and close, but when he saw I was acting above board and I offered to show him the instructions I had received from your Majesty he made a clean breast to me and told me what he had come for, as I have related above. He went to solicit his despatch when he left me and returned in the afternoon very much more open and extremely pleased to tell me how they would give him his despatch that night or the next morning, and to ask me if he could do anything for me in Flanders.
The same day I sent to beg an audience of the Queen and spoke to her on this business, persuading her to it as your Majesty commands. She told me that the Emperor had written to her, and that up to the present she did not know what he wished to negotiate with her. All this in fair words, and I do not think she faces the business badly, nor indeed do any of them, although to say the truth I could not tell your Majesty what this woman means to do with herself, and those who know her best know no more than I do.
During the last few days Lord Robert has come so much into favour that he does whatever he likes with affairs and it is even said that her Majesty visits him in his chamber day and night. People talk of this so freely that they go so far as to say that his wife has a malady in one of her breasts and the Queen is only waiting for her to die to marry Lord Robert. I can assure your Majesty that matters have reached such a pass that I have been brought to consider whether it would not be well to approach Lord Robert on your Majesty's behalf, promising him your help and favour and coming to terms with him.
The marriage with the archduke Ferdinand appears to me not to be a bad expedient, as I see none better than he for matters on this side, and so far as regards the other side your Majesty would do well to attract and confirm him in his friendship, so that he may see how useful it will be for his aggrandizement and stability. I consider it of the greatest importance for your Majesty that this matter should be settled, as there are certain circumstances in it that require watching closely. The first is that the people both here and on the other side have begun already to try to treat without the intervention of your Majesty, as the Emperor's notification of it to your Majesty was subsequent to sending orders to his ambassador and writing to the Queen, and after the ambassador had sent his secretary hither who certainly would not have seen me nor opened out to me if I had not taken the steps I did. The Emperor and his sons apparently will not understand that your Majesty's influence in this matter is so great that it may be said to be in your gift, and it is probable that they have given rise to the same feeling here. To counteract this I think it will be best to buy Ferdinand's friendship with money, as he has none, not only finding him a sum for his coming hither if the affair is carried through, but also a regular payment every year instead of the pensions which were paid to these people here and which had have so little effect as your Majesty has seen. Besides the ancient treaties between your Majesty's predecessors and the kings of this country your Majesty could also arrange with him, in the form which may seem best to you, to bind himself to remedy and restore religion to which I cannot persuade myself that your Majesty is indifferent. This appears to me to be the best way for the present ; the cheapest and most convenient, and to neglect any effort in this direction would be a great pity. If Ferdinand is a man, backed up as he will be by your Majesty, he will be able not only to reform religion and pacify the country, but even though the Queen may die to keep the country in his first, and if anything besides God's cause has led me to hope that your Majesty might again get a footing here it was this. I feel sure that any of your Majesty's affairs will encounter great difficulty in negotiation with the Emperor and his sons, and as I look upon this matter as of the highest importance for your Majesty and your dominions, as well as for God's sake, I wish to leave no stone unturned. I think it would be well to send a confidential person to negotiate with the Emperor and his sons, and even to promise them that, on condition that Ferdinand settles matters here in accordance with the interests of God and the welfare and peace of Christendom, your Majesty will be pleased to marry the Prince to a daughter of the Emperor or of the king of Bohemia, which I think would be best and would smooth and attract them very much to your Majesty. If I could see this settled in addition to the peace I would cease troubling, but otherwise your Majesty must pardon me, for I cannot hold my peace seeing the gait things here are going.
The Chamberlain has come back more French than an inhabitant of Paris. In order, as I suspect, to get off of his bad management of the negotiations he must have tried to set the Queen against your Majesty in the matter of the marriage, and has made religious affairs worse, for his head is full of foolish things said by the constable on his master's behalf. One of the things he told the Queen and me was that he would bet that your Majesty was going to Spain at once and would not be back in Flanders these seven years. The said Chamberlain is going to France for the ratification of peace with a great company of these young sparks, some of whom are asking for payment of your Majesty's money to go and dance in France with, which I intend very few of them shall do.
They tell me that Mason goes as ambassador resident to your Majesty's court and Nicholas Throgmorton to France.
Up to the present the only pensions that have been paid are those of the Lord Treasurer, the High Admiral, Paget, M. Montague, and Jerningham. In addition to these I have paid what was owing to the archers and other servitors and the gentlemen-in-waiting who complained very much, and I thought best to close their mouths. The servants who had board wages were paid up to the end of 1557, the pensioners up to end of 1558, and the archers the remainder to the day the Queen died. I should like to pay up all these small folks, but I would not give another groat to the lords, as it is of no use. Your Majesty will please send instructions in this matter, and also what shall be given to your Majesty's late chamberlain, (fn. 8) my question as to what is to be done with him not having been answered. He has gone to the Queen to complain of your Majesty and of me for not paying him for his service.
What your Majesty has decided about the embassy here appears to me satisfactory, although there are some objections which I will explain to your Majesty when I arrive, and there will then be time to remedy them. I would, however, beg your Majesty to grant the Bishop sufficient money to fittingly maintain himself in his station, as I am satisfied of his ability and goodness as well as his suitability for the office ; but he is so modest that if he gets 200 ducats he will say no more about it than if they gave him 200,000.
The bishop of Ely is up to the present time faithful in religion although they do not think much of him here.—London 1559.
Document endorsed : "London 1559, copy of letter written to His Majesty, 18th April."
28. The King to the Count de Feria.
By your letter of the 11th instant, I have learnt the discussions you have had with the Queen and Council about the peace and other affairs you had in hand, and I cannot refrain from highly praising the prudence and dexterity you have displayed. I thank you also for the note you send me of the points which have to be borne in mind and provided for in my interest to obviate what may happen in England, which I can assure you is one of the things that is giving me just now most anxiety. I have ordered it to be well considered and discussed at once, and after due deliberation it appears that at present the most advantageous course will be for you to endeavour to confirm the Queen and her friends in the fear you say they feel of the peril and danger in which they stand, so that they may understand thoroughly that they are ruined unless I succour and defend them. We have no doubt they will easily grasp this if they think it over, as it is so very clear. The duke of Alba, Ruy Gomez, and the bishop of Arras tell me that in the conversations they had with the Queen's Commissioners at Chateau Cambresi the latter confessed that this was so, and it is to be supposed that they will have reported to the same effect and this together with what you have told her (the Queen) will have set her thinking in a matter that so deeply concerns her. When you have frightened the Queen about this, in the manner you find most suitable to open her eyes to her interests and to convince her of the zeal which leads me to advise her, you will assure her from me that I will never fail to help her in all I can to preserve her realm and settle her affairs exactly the same as if they were my own, both on account of the great love and affection I bear her, from which neither the peace nor my alliance with France will ever estrange me ; rather will I try to bind us closer by all the kindness and good offices I can show, and also for my own interests, which would be greatly injured if her kingdom were to fall into other hands than hers, which God forbid. This might easily happen if she do not provide against it, and at once adopt the only true remedy, which is to forbid any innovations in religion which usually cause risings and turbulence in countries and in the hearts of subjects. If she do this and take one of the archdukes, my cousins for a husband, respecting which I have already written to you, she will smooth down and settle all her affairs and enjoy more tranquillity and contentment than can be described, and I will remain a good brother to her as she will see by my acts. You will enlarge in this sense according as you see her disposition and the conversation permits with all the tact and suavity you know how to employ as you have done in other matters. This course has seemed the best to follow with the Queen, because under this head what is proposed is so absolutely true that you can bring as much pressure to bear as may be needed, and that you may be provided at all points, I have thought well to send you enclosed the letter for her written with my own hand, the tenor of which you will see by the copy. Amongst other points you may tell her not to wonder if in these matters I press her more than is customary between princes, but as they are so important and necessary to the welfare of her realm, whose rehabilitation and preservation depend entirely upon them, and concern me inasmuch as they concern her as well as touching my own interests, I cannot and ought not to fail to do it as a good brother.
I have been very glad to learn what you say about the Queen refusing the title offered to her of supreme head of the Church, and delaying her sanction to what had been done in Parliament, because it looks as if there were still some hopes of salvation. Seeing this and how damaging it would be if the Pope were to declare her a bastard, which he might decide to do since I am not to marry her, I thought it time to approach his Holiness, and I sent a despatch on the subject to Rome advising his Holiness of the state of things there and of the hopes still entertained of an amendment, which I I was trying my best to bring about, and asking him not to make any change until the result of my efforts were seen, of which result I would inform his Holiness. This step was thought very desirable in order to keep his Holiness in hand and delay the matter as was in all respects to be desired. You will advise me of all that happens, so that we may act accordingly.
A servant of mine belonging to that country advises me for certain that two captains named Henry Strangways (Estranquis) and William Wilford are arming and fitting out on their own authority two ships of 140 tons each in the port of Southampton or Plymouth, in which ships he says they have placed 50 gentlemen with their servants and 500 soldiers, with the determination of going out on a piratical voyage and to sack the island of Madeira' One of them has experience of this who, he says, was at the sack of La Palma and has been in France. As I am told these ships are to leave at the end of this month, I enjoin you urgently to speak to the Queen, and ask and beg of her from me to order enquiries to be made about this and act in it as my goodwill towards her deserves
Postscript : After writing this I have received your last letter of 23rd (18th ?) instant, and have been glad of your news, although in the matter of religion what you say about the Parliament having agreed that the Queen should take the title of Governess of the Church fills me with new anxiety, as it is so dangerous and troublesome on all accounts. Advise me if it has passed the upper house and whether the Queen has accepted it, and take the steps which may be advisable in accordance with what I have said. The other points in your letter shall be answered later so as not to detain this post.—Brussels, 24th April 1559.
29. Count de Feria to the King.
I received your Majesty's letter of the 24th instant on the 27th and went to the palace the next day. After giving your Majesty's letter to the Queen I spoke to her in conformity with what had been written to me. She heard me as she had heard me many times before, only that on this occasion I spoke in your Majesty's name. Although I tried to frighten her all I could, I kept in view the necessity of not offending her as they have preached to her constantly that your Majesty and the king of France hold her of small account, and she thinks that the only thing she needs is to get rich. I smoothed her down a good deal in this respect making her understand that your Majesty was prompted only by your great affection for her and considered her harm or advantage as your own. She answered amiably that she thanked your Majesty for your message. Subsequently in conversation with me she said three or four very bad things. One was that she wished the Augustanean (fn. 9) confession to be maintained in her realm, whereat I was much surprised and found fault with it all I could, adducing the arguments I thought might dissuade her from it. She then told me it would not be the Augustanean confession, but something else like it, and that she differed very little from us as she believed that God was in the sacrament of the Eucharist, and only dissented from three or four things in the Mass. After this she told me she did not wish to argue about religious matters. I told her neither did I, but desired to know what religion it was that she wanted to maintain, as I understood that even those who were concerned in it were not agreed one with the other, as was the case with all the other heretics in Germany and everywhere else, and I was terrified to see that whereas the other princes were laying down their arms in order to cope with heresy, she with her kingdom tranquil and catholic, was doing her best to destroy religion ; and besides this that she wanted to revoke the good and holy laws that God, your Majesty and the late Queen had enacted here. If for no other reason than the great obligations she owed to your Majesty she should reconsider this matter. I for my part had done my best that your Majesty should not hear of the small respect that had been paid you in certain things so as to maintain the good relations which I desired to exist between you, but that the present state of things was very grave and so notorious that your Majesty could not fail to hear of it from other quarters even if I did not inform you. She answered that she only intended to revoke laws that had been passed by the late Queen before she married your Majesty. I told her it was all one as they had been confirmed and upheld after her marriage. She reminded me that she was her sister, but I pointed out how different one obligation was from the other.
She also said that your Majesty well knew she had always been of the same opinion, and the Queen as well, but I assured her that your Majesty had never heard such a thing. She was very emphatic in saying that she wished to punish severely certain persons who had represented some comedies in which your Majesty was taken off. I passed it by and said that these were matter of less importance than the others, although both in jest and earnest more respect ought to be paid to so great a prince as your Majesty, and I knew that a member of her Council had given the arguments to construct these comedies, which is true for Cecil gave them, as indeed she partly admitted to me.
She then said that as these were matters of conscience, she should in life and death remain of the same way of thinking, and would be glad of three hours' talk with your Majesty. At the end of the colloquy she said she hoped to be saved as well as the bishop of Rome. I told her of the good offices your Majesty had rendered to her with the Pope in order that he should not proceed against her, and asked her not to let them persuade her that this was a small matter, as for a schism less grave than heresy, a king of Navarre had been deprived of his kingdom by a sentence of the Pope, and remained without it to this day. I assured her that if the king of France had ordered her and the Council how to govern, they could not have acted more favourably for his ends than they had done, and as I saw the ruin of her and her realm and was grieved thereat, I could not refrain from telling her thus clearly and openly as she had heard me say many times before. She now saw that your Majesty ordered me to say the same things on your behalf so that no effort on your part should be wanting as from a good brother and friend. When I said any polite words of this sort in your Majesty's name she expressed her thanks, the other things being said to me in the course of conversation and not in reply to your Majesty. At last she asked me when I should despatch an answer to your Majesty, and I told her that on the previous day a courier had brought me this letter, and the answer would be the course she pursued in these affairs, and thus the matter rested. Many more things to the same effect were said with which I will not tire your Majesty. The courier came at a very opportune moment as some Catholics had sent to beg me to speak to the Queen before Padiament closed, which will now be soon. Indeed I thought it would have ended this week, and it will certainly not pass next week. In any case I think that when Parliament closes, your Majesty should recall me as it would greatly alarm the wicked, and confirm the godly in the opinion they hold that your Majesty has ordered me to remain here only for this business. It is very troublesome to negotiate with this woman, as she is naturally changeable, and those who surround her are so blind and bestial that they do not at all understand the state of affairs.
They talk a great deal about the marriage with archduke Ferdinand and seem to like it, but for my part I believe she will never make up her mind to anything that is good for her. Sometimes she appears to want to marry him, and speaks like a woman who will only accept a great prince, and then they say she is in love with Lord Robert and never lets him leave her. If my spies do not lie, which I believe they do not, for a certain reason which they have recently given me I understand she will not bear children, but if the Archduke is a man, even if she die without any, he will be able to keep the kingdom with the support of your Majesty. I am of this opinion, and the reasons I have shall be placed before your Majesty when I arrive. I beg your Majesty to order this business of the Archduke's marriage to be well-considered and discussed, as the tranquillity of Christendom and stability of your Majesty's dominions depend upon it.
I also spoke to the Queen and the Admiral about the ships which your Majesty writes me are being armed by Strangways and Wilford, and they promise me that the matter shall be remedied.
I have not yet been able to get the Cardinal's apology. The Queen has promised me that she will have search made in a trunk of papers she has belonging to the Cardinal, and if it is found she will give it to me.
The Antwerp people have written to me about the robberies and insults committed in this country on their merchants both in the matter of the safe-conducts and the duties. Your Majesty has full particulars of all this and will order what you think best, but I know that by favour we shall do nothing with these people.
I am informed to day that a Frenchman has arrived here who says that two or three days ago the eldest son of the constable (fn. 10) will have left Paris to come hither and with him Monsieur de Noaillest (fn. 11) to reside here as Ambassador. I should be glad to know before they arrive, if possible, how your Majesty desires me to bear myself toward them, as pending other instructions I think of sending to meet them on the road and invite them to be my guests on the first night of his arrival, so that people may see us very united and friendly.
With the Chamberlain (fn. 12) there were going to France the sons of some of the lords here, young fellows like lord Strange (fn. 13) and others of the same sort, at which I was not well pleased, as there is no need of their coming and chattering here of the splendours of the French court, so in the course of conversation I mentioned the matter to the Queen, and found she had already seen it and had forbidden their going, although at first she had given them leave. She thanked me heartily for reminding her of it.
I pray your Majesty to write me what is to be done with these pensioners and servants, and especially with that former chamberlain of your Majesty.
The bishop of Ely (fn. 14) has spoken to-day in Parliament very well and like a good Catholic, saying that he will die rather than consent to a change of religion.
Document endorsed : "Copy of the letter written to His Majesty on the 29th April 1559."