Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 10, 1550-1552. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1914.
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The present volume, the tenth of the Spanish series, includes the years 1550, 1551 and 1552. It is mainly composed of despatches from the Imperial ambassadors in England and France to the Emperor and his sister, Maria, Queen Dowager of Hungary and Regent of the Low Countries, and instructions from those Sovereigns. In the second place I have given a number of papers from the Emperor's correspondence with members of his family, or with his envoys in Italy and other countries, in which English affairs or the reformation are discussed, or which may serve to illustrate the influence of foreign politics on the course of events in England. The Imperial Archives at Vienna contain the most important collections of documents for this period: the despatches are, in the majority, signed originals from the ambassadors in London and Paris, together with the Emperor's and Queen Dowager of Hungary's minutes for their instructions, for the signed letters that were actually sent off have for the most part been lost. It may be observed that sections England and Frankreich of the Vienna Archives were preserved at Brussels down to the evacuation of the Low Countries by the Austrians, late in the eighteenth century, and as the selection of papers to be carried off was hurriedly made, the Archives du Royaume de Belgique still contain documents that ought to have been included in those sections, some of which are of considerable value. The Granvelle MSS. at Besançon have very little of interest for these years; and the Spanish Archives at Simancas have only yielded letters from Imperial servants in Italy or at Trent. The National Archives in Paris contain section Francia, removed from Simancas by Napoleon, in which little is to be found except abstracts in Spanish, for Prince Philip's use, of the original despatches preserved at Vienna. In a few cases only, where the originals have disappeared, I have had recourse to these papers, whose value is greatly diminished by the carelessness and inaccuracy of translators. French was the language used by the Emperor in correspondence with the members of his family, except Philip, who was at ease in his native Spanish only. The Imperial ambassadors in France and England were also French-speaking, Flemings or Franc-Comtois; whilst Spaniards were sent to Rome and Venice.
Charles V was in Brussels during the first months of 1550; in June he started on his way to Augsburg, where he remained for nearly eighteen months, accompanied by Philip until the Prince's departure for Spain in May 1551. The Emperor spent the winter of 1551–1552 at Innsbruck, retired to Villach in Carinthia in May, spent the summer in Austria, and sat down to besiege Metz in November. During his long absence from Brussels the Queen Dowager of Hungary conducted affairs there, aided by the presidents of the Council of State, Jehan de St. Mauris and Viglius de Zwichem; for Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, Bishop of Arras, Charles' chief minister, was with his master. The letters of the ambassadors in France and England were often, especially when concerned with commercial questions, addressed to the Queen Dowager of Hungary, and when addressed to the Emperor in Germany usually went first to her, in order that she might deal with the more pressing points without delay.
François Van der Delft, who had resided as Imperial ambassador in England for six years, was recalled in May, 1550, and died soon after his return to Antwerp. He had been misled as to the real import of Warwick's successful blow at Protector Somerset in 1549, when he had made the mistake of imagining that a Catholic reaction was about to sweep all before it in England. His temper was embittered by this failure to foretell the future, he was a great sufferer from the gout, the airs of importance assumed by men whom he could remember very submissive in the days of Henry VIII provoked him, and his ignorance of English, together with the fact that Paget, upon whom he had long depended for news, had forsaken him, left him almost without tidings to write to his master. The misfortunes and apprehensions of the Lady Mary are his chief theme; the occasion of his recall was an attempt to enable that Princess to leave England, the failure of which so bitterly disappointed Van der Delft as to have hastened on his death.
Jehan Scheyfve (fn. 1) was sent to London just before Van der Delft's departure, and remained there until after Edward VI's death. He knew no more English than his predecessor—in fact it was unusual in a sixteenth-century ambassador to be able to speak English—and the rapidly widening breach between the Government dominated by Warwick and the Emperor left him in a difficult position. He was not highly thought of at Brussels; during Scheyfve's embassy the Queen Dowager wrote to the Bishop of Arras that, in order to carry on an efficient policy in England, it would be necessary to have an intelligent ambassador, like Simon Renard, in London. In truth, London was not a tempting post in Edward's reign, and even an undistinguished man of Scheyfve's attainments had to be lured over the Channel with promises of a speedy return. Scheyfve imagined he was going for three months, but once gone he was made to understand that he must stay or incur the Queen Dowager's displeasure, and more than three years passed by before he was replaced by Renard, for whose ability English affairs under Mary offered a proper scope. Scheyfve, therefore, saw England from the outside, never learned the Council's secrets, and was rarely able to guess them. What would now be called consular work formed his main occupation, and his reports are chiefly interesting as illustrations of the difficulties under which international trade was then conducted. In the discharge of his duties he displayed a sharp temper, perhaps not without a hope that if he made himself disagreeable he might at length be recalled.
Simon Renard remained as Imperial ambassador in France until the outbreak of hostilities in September, 1551. Young, acute and painstaking, with a passion for politics and an eye for probabilities, he was the rising star of Charles V's diplomatic service, and having distinguished himself in the Emperor's Council, he had been ennobled in 1549, when barely twenty-six years of age. (fn. 2) Like the Bishop of Arras, whom he had known at the University of Louvain, he was a Franc-Comtois. His despatches from France often tell more of the real state of affairs in England than Scheyfve was able to gather, and his curious mind led him to trace the events he relates to their causes; thus his opinions and reasonings, even when mistaken, throw light on the questions of the day.
Fernando Gonzaga, Governor of Milan, Don Diego and Don Juan de Mendoza, and Don Francisco de Toledo, ministers of the Emperor in Italy and at the Council of Trent, are represented in this volume by letters which show that England was directly and strongly affected by the Papal election of 1550, the Parma campaign and the Council's varying fortunes. Not even the activities of the Turk may be neglected in any attempt to account for the factors that determined English foreign policy under Edward VI.
Much of Van der Delft's and Scheyfve's correspondence is concerned with the Lady Mary, whose position as to religion was a source of great anxiety to the Emperor in the opening months of 1550. Until the passing of the First Act of Uniformity, early in the preceding year, Mary had been allowed to live unmolested in the practice of the old religion as observed in England before the death of Henry VIII, but when it was known in Flanders that Parliament was about to legislate in a Protestant sense, instituting communion in both kinds and doing away with the elevation of the host, Charles anticipated interference with his cousin and ordered his ambassador to obtain from Protector Somerset letters patent exempting her from any obligation to conform with such innovations as might become law. (fn. 3) Van der Delft was to declare to Somerset that Mary's conscience would not allow her to abandon the mass, and that even if she felt disposed to change, the Emperor would do all in his power to prevent so near a relative from forsaking the faith of her ancestors. If any doubt ever existed in Charles' mind of Mary's constancy, however, her attitude quickly dispelled it; she was resolved to die rather than submit, and would be guided by the Emperor in her every step. (fn. 4) The Protector professed himself to be her devoted servant, but met Van der Delft's demands for letters patent with assurances that he had no authority to dispense any subject from obedience to the law. If Mary's conscience forbade her to conform with the new regulations, let her do as she pleased without giving scandal; she should not be troubled. In spite of these declarations, Lord Rich, then Lord Chancellor, and Dr. Pétre were sent to her in June, 1549, to attempt to persuade her, or failing that, to intimidate her priests, but met with such a reception that they retired without achieving their object, and at Bruges the Emperor spoke to Paget on the matter in a tone that, when reported to Somerset, prompted him to send Paget and Lord St. John to Van der Delft with a formal verbal assurance that she might thenceforward have service celebrated in her house as before, and that no interference should be offered to her priests or other servants on that score. Van der Delft still pressed for letters patent, and Paget and St. John seem to have held out some hope that they might be granted, but Somerset's fall soon afterwards threw the power to protect or threaten Mary into other hands (p. 206 note).
Van der Delft's fond expectations of a change for the better vanished, leaving him in no mood to indulge in more forecasts, and he readily accepted Mary's interpretation of the events that made the Earl of Warwick the most influential man in the Privy Council. Envy and ambition were the only motives of the conspiracy against the Protector, said she, who knew Warwick well. No good would come of it; indeed it was a punishment from Heaven, and might only be the beginning of new misfortunes. The Catholic elements in the Council were losing ground, and Warwick clearly did not intend to supply the Lady Mary with a sufficient dowry for her marriage to Don Luis of Portugal, thus enabling her to leave the country (pp. 6, 41). Indeed the Council now pretended not to know whether the proposed bridegroom was the Infante Don Luis or his nephew, Don John, Prince of Portugal, and expressed an opinion that Don Luis would not be a suitable match. Meanwhile, they spoke threateningly of Mary's abuse of the licence allowed her to hear mass, complaining to Van der Delft that instead of hearing it alone with two or three of her women she fetched all the neighbours in (p. 68), which conduct called forth blustering comment from Northampton, whose opinion was known to be but an echo of Warwick's. Mary had friends able to warn her of approaching danger, which she believed to be so imminent that she told Van der Delft of her desire to be out of England, and the ambassador said he feared that were it not for her fear of incurring the Emperor's displeasure she would make an attempt to escape on her own account (p. 47), and that her position was so painful as to make it advisable to take her over to Flanders, an undertaking that might safely be carried out on the occasion of the recall for which he was asking (pp. 80–86). It was no new thing for the Emperor to hear that his cousin wished to depart from England. An attempt appears to have been made ten years before (p. 131), and in September, 1549, she had sent him a ring, a former present of his, in token of her desire to take refuge at his Court, but he had strongly discouraged the idea, largely because he well knew the Council would do nothing for her if she left England, and that the expense of her upkeep would have to be borne by his own already over-taxed purse. (fn. 5) There was another question to be considered. If Edward VI died without issue, Mary would come to the throne under Henry VIII's will; but the Emperor feared that if abroad she might be passed over. When the direction in which affairs under Warwick's guidance were moving became clear, however, Van der Delft was easily persuaded by Mary that she might actually be in personal danger if she stayed, and that the Catholic party would lose all heart were it to witness her oppression by the Council, but would not abandon hope if she were in a place of safety. He therefore told the Emperor that there were two alternatives: either Charles must push forward negotiations for the Portuguese match at once and find the money himself if the Council refused, or Mary must be stolen away. Otherwise the worst was to be expected. If it were decided to fetch her over to Flanders, she and Van der Delft had excogitated a plan by which she was to embark in a boat and make for the mouth of the Blackwater, off the Essex coast, near which she was staying at the time, there to be picked up by Van der Delft on his way to Flanders, escorted by a number of men-of-war under colour of protecting him from the Scots. The ambassador feared that if he remained in England after her flight, he might have to pay for it with his life, wherefore his successor had better know nothing at all about the matter, in which case “he need have no fear” (p. 85). It may be doubted whether Jehan Scheyfve would have gone to England at all had he known of what it had been judged wiser to leave him in ignorance.
The Emperor, about to depart for Augsburg, determined to risk the attempt, and wrote letters recalling Van der Delft and announcing the arrival of his successor on May 13th, before leaving Brussels. An unlucky day. Van der Delft was obliged to land in the Low Countries with his object unfulfilled, for some fear of peasant risings had caused watches to be set on all the roads and lanes in the Lady Mary's part of the country, and there was no chance of passing unrecognised (pp. 94–96). All he could do was to devise another scheme: he and his secretary, Jehan Duboys, disguised as corn merchants, were to go up the Blackwater to Maldon with a boat-load of corn, and smuggle away the Lady Mary, then staying at Woodham Walter, three miles from Maldon, to the men-of-war ostensibly cruising the Essex coast in search of Scots pirates. Again the Emperor consented, and though Van der Delft fell ill and died before the new plan could be put into execution (p. 117), Duboys duly disguised himself and set sail with eight ships under Van Meeckeren and d'Eecke, arriving off Harwich on the evening of Monday, June 30th. A full account of the expedition was drawn up by Duboys as soon as he was sufficiently recovered from sea-sickness to hold a pen, and exists in the Brussels Archives (pp. 124–135). Suffice it to say that he carried out his part faithfully, and apparently would have succeeded had it not been for Mary's controller, Sir Robert Rochester, who first tried to persuade him that “her Majesty”—thus Duboys addressed her—was in no immediate danger, and later, when Duboys stubbornly stuck to it that he had come not to argue the matter but to obey the Emperor's orders, engineered a false alarm to force the corn-merchant to depart for fear of compromising her. His reasons for acting thus may have had something to do with his private interests; all that appeared in his talk with Duboys was that he felt sure the King could not outlast the year, “for he and others knew his horoscope to say so” (p. 130). The upshot was that the eight ships returned as they had gone, with vague plans laid for another attempt, destined never to be put into execution. The closest secrecy had been observed, even the Emperor's Council were unaware of the expedition's real object (p. 156), but members of the ships' companies “had been heard to say they suspected they were going for the Princess of England” (p. 131), and Van der Delft, unlucky even on his death-bed, had raved about the matter that lay nearest his heart (p. 146). Within a fortnight of Duboys' return it was being publicly said at Brussels that the Lady Mary had arrived in the Low Countries, a rumour that afforded the French ambassador an opportunity of ironically assuring President St. Mauris “in strict confidence” that he positively knew the story had originated in England (p. 144). The Queen Dowager thought it well to mention to Sir Thomas Chamberlain, the English ambassador, that she also had heard the rumour, which was quite untrue, for though she would be glad to see the Lady Mary, it would naturally have to be with the King's knowledge and consent. She wrote in the same strain to Scheyfve on August 3rd, instructing him as to what he should say if the Council mentioned the matter to him; and it is a pity they never gave him an opening for a denouncement of the “lying invention” which his untroubled conscience should have made eloquent. When the Emperor heard of the rumour he remarked that as it had already been denied there was nothing more to be said, but otherwise “he would willingly have taken the responsibility himself, and would have been able to tell the English that seeing how they used her he had sent to persuade her to avail herself of the opportunity, but that she had refused out of fear of offending her brother” (p. 156). The Privy Council may have anticipated such a reply; in any case they avoided the topic, but took the steps their prudence suggested to prevent another attempt.
From this time on, the Council dealt as harshly as they dared with Mary, only stopping short of measures that would have provoked an actual rupture with Charles. One of her priests, Francis Mallet, chanced to say mass in her absence before members of her household, and proceedings were at once started against him, forcing him to fly (p. 150). Scheyfve believed this to have been done to see how the Emperor would take it, and whether it would be safe to proceed further when Parliament assembled, as it was expected to do at Michaelmas. It is to be noted that Charles, even when at a great distance, never allowed anyone else to instruct his ambassador what was to be done with regard to Mary (p. 154), and his answer came from Augsburg in unequivocal terms: If any attempt were made to interfere with Mary, Scheyfve was to tell the Privy Council that his master requested them to allow her to practise the old religion as before until Edward VI should be old enough to give his orders on the subject, and make it plain to them that if they did otherwise he would not stand it. No Parliament met at Michaelmas, however, nor was any to sit during 1550 or 1551; but a sharp correspondence about Mallet ensued between Mary and the Council, and when they denied having any recollection of the promise given to Van der Delft, in virtue of which she was not to be molested on the score of religion, she wrote a letter recalling circumstances, during her visit to Court in February, 1550, in which the principal members of the Council had been witnesses to the truth of her assertions (p. 206). This called forth a letter from Edward VI, dated January 28th, 1551, in which the young King said that Mary had only been allowed to continue in her courses in the hope that so much tender affection might induce her more easily to see the light, and conform of her own accord. If love and reason failed to move her, however, she must be looked upon as a transgressor of the law. If she could convince him that she was right in her devotion to the mass, well and good, he would lay aside his regal dignity and dispute with her as brother with sister. Several Latin quotations from the Scriptures gave her fair warning that he was equipped for the trial, and he reminded her that “the best ordered church of the people of Israel was instituted and upheld by Kings younger” than himself. It may be doubted whether this composition was entirely the King's work, but he added a postscript in his own hand, stating in straightforward words that he could tolerate her disobedience no longer (p. 212). Mary, in reply, repeated that when she had been at Court a year before no one had been able to deny the promise made to Van der Delft, but was so much alarmed that she sent off a private messenger to explain her plight to the Queen Dowager (pp. 220–223). The fact that Scheyfve was not to be told of this may be taken to indicate that Mary put less confidence in him than she had in Van der Delft, though she kept him informed of the threats constantly addressed to her by the Council. When Scheyfve protested, invoking the promise, he found the lords taking advantage of the death of Van der Delft, to whom the promise had been given, to represent it as not having been more than an assurance that the Lady Mary should be treated with the respectful regard owing to the King's sister, and that her mass had merely been tolerated for a time in the hope of “assisting her feeblemindedness” (p. 236).
The Emperor, informed of the Council's line of defence, saw that it would be difficult to insist on a verbal assurance, said to have been given to a dead man, and instructed Scheyfve to leave Van der Delft out of the question, and assert that the promise had been made by Paget to his Imperial Majesty in person at Bruges, in July, 1549. (fn. 6) At the same time Mary must contrive to hear mass in a less ostentatious fashion, and forbear from arguing so much with the Council, as by doing so she could only make matters worse (pp. 247–248). It is hard to say what might not have happened at this juncture had it not been for what Scheyfve and Mary may well have considered a providential interposition in the shape of an enormous breach of diplomatic etiquette committed by Sir Richard Morison, the new English ambassador at Augsburg (p. 239). The Emperor's letter of protest chanced to arrive at the very time, in March, 1551, when Mary had been forced to pay a visit to Court, and certainly explains why, after being rated by the entire Privy Council, twenty-five members of which had assembled to impress the gravity of her offence upon her mind, she was allowed to go in peace, her parting declaration that she would lay down her life for the King, but her soul belonged to God, unchallenged by the Council's representative (p. 260). Dr. Wotton's mission to Augsburg to apologise for Morison's conduct failed to produce an understanding as to Mary. In the meantime Dr. Mallet, her fugitive priest, had been arrested and committed to the Tower (p. 287), and though Wotton did not question the promise claimed to have been given to Van der Delft, “appeared to be satisfied with the information and did not ask to see the letters” (p. 317), he had not left Augsburg before Scheyfve wrote to his master, on August 25th, that he feared the Council were making ready to take the mass altogether away from her Grace. They had devised new means of achieving their end, had summoned three of Mary's gentlemen, Sir Robert Rochester, Edward Walgrave and Francis Inglefield, and ordered them to forbid her chaplains to say mass. The three gentlemen returned to Essex and informed their mistress of their charge, who said flatly she would not allow them to execute it, and all the Council's threats were not enough to induce them to present themselves at her house on such an errand; all three preferred the Tower. The lords' next step was to send down Lord Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Dr. Petre, who said there never had been any promise such as she described, and even if it had once been given, it was only subject to the King's good pleasure. Mary rejoined that as they denied the existence of the promise she would make no answer at all, but she felt inclined to let the Emperor's ambassador hear of the matter. The envoys then summoned her chaplains and household and made known to all and sundry the King's and Council's prohibition to say or hear mass; and Mary, to avoid exposing them to danger, dismissed her priests from her service that very day (p. 360).
Scheyfve, on hearing of these proceedings, straightway applied for audience, and had access to the Council on September 4th. He once more invoked the promise, and protested against the arrest of the three gentlemen, whereupon there ensued a significant disputation. Warwick said that the King must be consulted and, when Scheyfve remarked that the lords were sufficiently informed of his Majesty's intentions, asserted that their master was now so old that he wished to concern himself with all public affairs. Scheyfve uttered some praise of the King's ripe understanding, but supposed that he still left the management of the bulk of business to his Council, thus provoking Warwick to say that he considered the King to be as much of age as if he were forty. Northampton then observed that the Emperor had asked that the Lady Mary might “remain in the old religion” until the King came of age; very well, Scheyfve's own words showed him to consider that time to have arrived. Moreover, Northampton went on, Scheyfve had spoken of the Lady Mary as “Princess of England,” but the Council knew her not as such. A princess she was, being the King's sister, but to call her Princess of England would be to wrong the Lady Elizabeth. Scheyfve made answer that their envoy to the Emperor, Dr. Wotton, had given her the title in so many words. After the King had been consulted, Scheyfve was informed that his Majesty could no longer exempt Mary from the obedience all subjects owed to his laws, though he did not intend to use violence to compel her to adopt the new ceremonies (p. 363).
The Council had chosen for their attempt to reduce Mary a season when the Emperor's furtunes were at so low an ebb, when he was obliged to meet so many pressing calls from all parts of his scattered dominions, that there was little fear of his putting into execution his former threats to fight rather than see his cousin robbed of the mass. Both Charles and the Queen Dowager would gladly have invaded England in the autumn of 1551, both for Mary's sake and for other reasons, but it could not be. And yet all the Council achieved was to prevent Mary from keeping several chaplains and having Catholic service conducted with pomp and display; she never ceased declaring that she would rather die than conform with the practices of the Church of England, and was supported in this attitude by the Emperor (p. 383). What is more, she still had a priest in her house (p. 411), and the Council must have known that she fulfilled the duties imposed by her Church; but they cared not or dared not to molest her further, and thus she lived until her brother's death.
The war which Henry II of France had declared against England for the recovery of Boulogne in August, 1549, was still in progress in January, 1550; but not long after Protector Somerset's fall unequivocal signs began to show that it would not be fought to a finish. Warwick no sooner felt the Privy Council his to command, than Antonio Guidotti was sent to France to prepare the way for peace negotiations (November, 1549). Most of the English forts round Boulogne had fallen; but the town itself still held out, and was considered to be very strong. Henry II himself had viewed it from a distance and, with tears in his eyes, had declared it to be too well fortified to be taken by siege. (fn. 7) Again, the fact that France agreed to pay 400,000 crowns for Boulogne, though the sum was but half that stipulated in the treaty of Campe (1546), shows that its fall was by no means a foregone conclusion. The last volume of this Calendar records half-hearted measures for carrying on the war, and it seems clear that Warwick was from the first decided to adopt a policy of non-resistance towards France, to get what he could for Boulogne, and abandon Scotland. England's treaties with the Emperor, it will be remembered, afforded her a measure of protection, for by them the Emperor was bound to declare war on the aggressor if England itself or the Old Conquest (i.e. Calais and its surroundings) were attacked by a force of a certain size, and Henry II apparently believed the Emperor would be as good as his word, for during the campaign of 1549–1550 he made no move against Calais. The territory of Boulogne had been taken by the English after their treaties with the Emperor had been passed, and was not included in them.
Heavy expenditure would have been necessary to carry on the war and support English claims in Scotland, and Warwick knew he could not attempt such a task while giving his faction in England a free hand to plunder—the price of their adhesion and only condition of their support. The best he had to hope for was a war between France and the Empire that should leave him at leisure to govern for his personal benefit, and war was a more normal condition than peace in the days of Charles and Henry. First of all, then, his policy led him to make such peace as he might, and it may appear strange that, asking for so little, Warwick should have been left in uncertainty for two months, with Guidotti travelling to and forth. But however tempting the terms offered by England, France wanted Calais as well, and would not strike a bargain until the upshot of the papal election should be seen, an event upon which all Europe was waiting in January, 1550. France had a great deal at stake (pp. 1–3), for if a French partisan were elected, trouble would ensue in Italy, religious and political disputes would break out with redoubled violence in Germany, the Emperor would be obliged to strain every nerve and call upon every resource to defend his position in the Empire and the duchy of Milan, and in the meantime would be unable to prevent France from seizing Calais, invading Ireland or making a descent on England itself, a plan that was dear to Henry II's heart. All the French cardinals were sent off post-haste to Rome (p. 4) and their arrival, it was hoped in Paris, would strengthen the anti-Imperialist party sufficiently to turn the tide which had so nearly elected Cardinal Pole, whose elevation had actually been reported in December, (fn. 8) causing bitter disappointment at Henry II's Court.
It is no more than the plain truth to say that the agreement about Boulogne depended directly and immediately upon the result of the Papal election. Cardinal Farnese had promised his and his party's support to the Emperor, thereby hoping to obtain solid advantages for his family as a return for purely fictitious services, for though he brought Pole, whose election would have been welcome to Charles, within four votes of success, he appears to have taken precautions to prevent those four votes from being given, and after half a dozen ballots had demonstrated the unwillingness of the conclave to elect Pole (p. 15), Farnese considered himself to have given enough proof of his devotion to the Empire, and to be free to enter into other combinations (p. 33) with the object of securing Parma for his brother Octavio. This was effected by means of an intricate and obscure compromise with the French partisans in conclave (p. 29), which reached the outer day in the form of the elevation of Giovanmaria del Monte, formerly tutor to the Cardinal and his brothers, who took the name of Julius III: a result by which Farnese might congratulate himself on having cheated both the Emperor and the King of France, (fn. 9) In spite of the repeated assurances of the French faction that they would rather die in conclave than fail to elect Henry II's choice, however, it had been understood in Paris that there was small chance of obtaining a really satisfactory Pope (p. 15), and negotiations were kept alive with England.
The news of del Monte's election on February 7th were brought to Nemours, where Henry II was, in five days and seventeen hours (p. 29), and to the Emperor at Brussels soon after. The belief that this result was due to Farnese's intrigues gave rise to a first impression that the conclave had ended in a qualified French victory, and the new Pontiff's antecedents—his engineering of the removal of the General Council from Trent to Bologna in March, 1547—appeared to point to a disposition hostile to reform by General Council, and favourable to French plans (p. 30). Gloomy accounts of the Pope's reputation reached the Emperor, and for a time it seemed that the French King intended to break off negotiations with England and take the field once more against Boulogne, though common rumour in France had it that the English must be egged on to resistance by the Emperor, for otherwise they would already have given up not Boulogne only, but the Old Conquest as well. Reports from Rome were contradictory, however, and within a week quite a different tale began to be told. The writer of a despatch from Trent received news that prompted him to close his list of the Pope's shortcomings and send off more agreeable tidings to the effect that an excellent beginning was being made, the Spanish cardinals were receiving signal marks of favour, the French disappointed, the Council was to be held at Trent, Spires or wherever his Imperial Majesty chose, and Octavio Farnese was to take possession of Parma. The main facts outstanding when the dust of battle had cleared away were that Julius III intended to make his profit by playing off one of the great heads of Christendom against the other, and that Farnese alone could boast of a definite advantage from the papal election. Henry II was obliged to recognise that he had little to hope from Rome, and therefore could not be sure the Emperor would not attack him. Consequently, looking “melancholy and angry” (p. 46) he allowed himself to be convinced by his gossip, Constable Montmorency, of the advisability of peace with England, and within a few days the delegates had come to an agreement (p. 53): Boulogne to be handed over for 400,000 crowns, and hostages to be exchanged for the fulfilment of the conditions. Henry II's violent animosity towards Pope Julius III, openly declared before many months had passed, may well have first arisen from his resentment at being baulked of so excellent an opportunity to seize Calais; and in a sense the ultra-Protestant party in England owed to a Pope the tranquillity which enabled it to obliterate the memory of Rome from the Second Book of Common Prayer.
Neither Van der Delft nor Simon Renard were able to obtain a copy of the treaty, though they both did their best to come by one, mainly in order to see what had been decided about Scotland. This matter was of interest to the Emperor, for he had been at war with Scotland since 1544, though the French claimed that the Scots were included in the Treaty of Crépy, and therefore at peace with Charles. The last volume of this Calendar contains many references to the anomalous position in which England and France stood after the Treaty of Campe, when, though at peace, they were waging war against one another in a third country. When the conclusion of peace was reported to the Emperor by Sir Philip Hoby, English ambassador at Brussels, a paper purporting to show that the Emperor's rights were safeguarded was handed over, from which it appeared that England had come to terms with both France and Scotland. In answer to the Emperor's remark that, as he had gone to war with Scotland at England's request, England had no right to make peace without his consent, Hoby merely said that he did not think the Emperor was “at war with the Scots merely to make common cause with England” (p. 58). Van der Delft was at once instructed to ask the Privy Council for an explanation which, after much delay, gave the Emperor to understand that England had not treated with Scotland, had made no terms with Scotland, and could not be said to have failed to observe the treaty, which certainly imposed, no obligation to continue active hostilities. Van der Delft was inclined to accept this account, especially as it was accompanied by kind and courteous words (p. 71), the like of which he had not heard from the Privy Council for many a long day, for he had recently had to write to his master that the character of his interviews was such that he could but feel sorry for himself for being in a place where no regard was shown for either reason or honesty or the Emperor's friendship (p. 19).
Officially, therefore, as Paget said (p. 71), England and Scotland were still enemies, and the Emperor had no ground for complaint. His own war with Scotland had for years been little more than a war in name; a system of safe-conducts issued to merchants enabled trade to be carried on between that country and Flanders, and Scottish pirates were so many and lawless, and so often covered by powerful patrons at home, that the actual difference between a state of war and of peace may have been scarcely perceptible. Nonetheless, the Emperor preferred to put an end to a condition of affairs that could profit neither side and, perhaps with a view to obtaining Scotland's neutrality—little though that was worth—in the event of war with France, caused peace to be concluded by the Queen Dowager of Hungary and the Scots envoy, the Master of Erskine, at Binche in December, 1550 (p. 197).
It was hardly necessary for the Emperor to inspect a copy of the treaty concluded by the English and French commissioners at Boulogne; there could be no doubt as to its general import, which showed all the advantages for which Henry VIII had fought in Scotland and France to have been thrown away for a trifle. The Scottish match had been abandoned, England was not to interfere in in Scotland, and was to evacuate Boulogne for 400,000 crowns, giving up all hope of ever recovering the war indemnity of 2,000,000 crowns which Francis I, at Campe, had agreed to pay, to say nothing of the arrears of pensions. The Emperor heard from Simon Renard in May, 1550, that so disadvantageous a peace could only have been accepted by England because of its poverty and the greed of the Council, whose members Renard asserts to have been bribed (p. 93), partly with money and partly with promises. Van der Delft, from London, had sent a plain report (p. 7) of how the Catholic party had been made the tool of Warwick's ambition, and used to overthrow Somerset, only to be cast aside as soon as it had served its purpose; for matters had gone so far in January, 1550, that none but Protestants could hope for advancement. Warwick, pretending to be ill, as always when he had important business in hand, was unquestioned master; no step was taken in the peace negotiations without his orders (p. 46), and at the Council-board no man dared utter a word unless he had Warwick's countenance (p. 19). The Duke of Somerset's re-admission to the Council in April, his constant communications with Warwick (p. 87), made it patent that Warwick intended to govern by means of the Protestant party, to keep which unanimous in his support it was necessary, for the time being, to conciliate and honour Somerset. Only a few months before, Warwick had been generally believed to favour the old religion, thanks to which reputation he had been able to execute his plans; and he was too recent a convert to advanced Protestant opinions to risk so sudden an attempt to supplant Somerset as head of the reformers. In the meantime Warwick gave proof of his zeal by causing measures to be taken against contumacious Catholic bishops, out of whose revenues Van der Delft accuses him of intending to swell his income, which was so far from sufficing to his rapidly increasing needs that he frequently laid hands on moneys proceeding from the sale of property belonging to the Emperor's subjects, which had been recovered from pirates by the King's ships (p. 43).
The Emperor could not watch the progress of affairs in England with an indifferent eye. Warwick's triumph meant, and Charles was well aware of it, that England was to be governed by men in whom avarice and ambition left no room for public spirit, men whose rule the country never would have borne had it not been that they were able, by placing themselves at the head of the Protestant party, to hoodwink public opinion and make sure of the support of unworldly theologians, while at the same time filling their pockets out of the sale of Church property. The value of Charles' alliance with England was greatly reduced, for it was unlikely that Warwick and his supporters would allow anything to drag them into war: they had better uses for public money. For the time being, from the Emperor's point of view, the utmost to be hoped was that England would not suffer Scotland's fate and fall into the hands of the French. The disclosure of the frustrated attempt to convey Mary to Flanders, though it was not generally known by how little Duboys had failed, furnished the French with a cogent argument for convincing the English that the Emperor was only awaiting a favourable opportunity to invade England, marry Mary to Philip, and set Edward aside as schismatic and a bastard (pp. 144–145). Nor was this the only regrettable incident that embittered feeling on both sides. It became known in July, 1550, that an ordinance intended to repress heresy was about to be published in the Low Countries, and though it is clear that Charles did not wish it to be applied to foreign merchants who did not go out of their way to cause scandal (p. 152 note), the English were alarmed and feared they might be driven from the Flemish marts (pp. 138, 167, 171). At the same time Sir Thomas Chamberlain, who remained as ambassador at Brussels when Sir Philip Hoby followed the Emperor on his way to Augsburg, hinted in a conversation with St. Mauris that as the Imperial ambassador was free to hear mass in London, so he, Chamberlain, ought to be allowed to have English service celebrated at Brussels. The request was made officially through Scheyfve in January, 1551, and a month later the Lord High Treasurer (Wiltshire), Paget and Petre told him that unless their petition were granted, he might not have the services of the “Flemish religion” in England. Before this message had time to reach Augsburg, Sir Richard Morison, who had just replaced Sir Philip Hoby at the Imperial Court, made a similar demand for himself, which having been refused he made so bold as to enter into a discussion on religion with the Emperor and, though invited to desist, presumed to dare his Majesty to send theologians to argue the matter with the English. Morison was ordered out of the Imperial presence, and a letter written to Scheyfve giving an account of this unseemly behaviour, and instructing him to find out from the Council whether they had sent Morison as an ambassador or a preacher (pp. 237–241). Scheyfve read this letter to the Council on March 18th in presence of Warwick and Somerset, and its contents greatly surprised and “appeared to frighten them sorely” (p. 254), containing as it did an unequivocal statement of the Emperor's determination not to allow English service in the houses of English ambassadors, and not to put up with violence offered to Mary, together with a report of the blunder by means of which Morison had contrived to put them in a false and dangerous position. It is not surprising to find a blank space left in the Privy Council Book after the brief entry for March 18th: “This daye themperour's Ambassadour had accesse to the Counsaill.” The episode, though it had no other grave consequences, served to obtain a respite for the Lady Mary, as I have pointed out above. A few days later the Council told Scheyfve that they greatly regretted Morison's excesses, and had decided to recall him and send Dr. Wotton in his place. Dr. Wotton's departure was somewhat delayed; he had audience of the Emperor on June 28th, and offered, on his master's behalf, to have Morison recalled. Charles replied that he had no objection to Morison as long as he would behave with proper decorum, and added, smiling, that he was getting old and gouty, and allowances must be made for his temper. There followed a conference in which Wotton uttered another purely formal request that the English ambassadors might be allowed English service, and Charles refused in moderate and courteous terms (pp. 310–317).
Seldom indeed was Jehan Scheyfve entrusted with business as satisfactory as that which enabled him to strike consternation into the Council on March 18th, 1551. Hardly had he been three months in England when he began clamouring to be recalled (p. 172) and complained of his inability to discover what was going on. His days were spent in furthering the cases of merchants who had not been treated to their satisfaction by the Admiralty Court, which tribunal appears to have been guilty of gross injustice to foreigners, while the customs officials in London habitually extorted duties and fees higher than any they were authorised to levy (pp. 100–104, 321, 528). What was much worse, it not infrequently happened that goods belonging to Flemish merchants, and that had been seized by pirates, found their way into the keeping of Lord Clinton, Lord High Admiral, who avoided restoring them to their owners by denying their very existence (pp. 266–271). The Flemings in London had not had time to forget that when the Protector's brother, Lord Seymour of Sudeley, then Admiral, had been arrested on a charge of treason, large quantities of their property had been found in his house; but such behaviour in an Admiral seems to have been taken for granted (p. 18), and treated as a joke by his colleagues of the Council, so much so that when Scheyfve proved Clinton's misdemeanour to his face the Duke of Somerset smiled (p. 267). Scheyfve can scarcely be blamed for believing that Clinton and the Deputy-Governor of Calais, Lord Willoughby de Eresby, both of whom he knew to be Warwick's creatures, were hand in glove with the pirates (p. 179). When his despatches are not reporting unsatisfactory interviews with the Council about merchants' claims or the Lady Mary's mass, they give evidence of the wretched internal condition of England. Prices were high (p. 185), living being much more expensive than in Flanders, and the English attributed this to the presence of large numbers of aliens in London (pp. 218, 278). The currency was continually being debased (pp. 300, 322) and money exchange prohibited in order that the deficiencies of the new English issues might be masked, with the result that foreign merchants found it well-nigh impossible to trade. Scheyfve was of opinion that Warwick's evil genius in this matter of tampering with the currency was Sir John York, one of the best-hated men in England (pp. 218, 264, 279), who was also employed in the Council's negotiations with the Fugger's London agent (p. 282). The warm season brought each year a recurrence of the danger of peasant risings (pp. 97, 107, 278–281), and the sweating-sickness was said to have made over 50,000 victims in the summer of 1551, though Scheyfve asserts that the real extent of its ravages was concealed “in order not to let it be known that the kingdom had been weakened, and that God had wished to punish it” (p. 347).
Perhaps the passages in Scheyfve's despatches that were most disquieting to the Emperor were those that told of the sumptuous entertainments offered by the Vidame of Chartres and other French hostages (pp. 108–110), news all the more unwelcome because Simon Renard wrote at the same time from Paris that the celebration of the Council of Trent might lead the English to make common cause with Protestant Germany (p. 118). Henry II, Most Christian King as he was and ruler of a country that enjoyed the title of Eldest Daughter of the Church, had made a practice of championing the Protestant cause abroad—though at home he burned Lutherans with a will—and using it against the Emperor, just as he sought alliance with the Turk and encouraged him to raid in Hungary and the Mediterranean. It was consistent with this policy that the English ambassador at his Court, Sir John Mason, was as free to hear the new service as he would have been at home (p. 118), thus receiving treatment that contrasted with Chamberlain's and Morison's experiences at Brussels and Augsburg. Each month brought news that the Pope was doing all the Emperor required of him, thus causing Henry II to dread that the Council might be successfully celebrated at Trent and the Empire pacified, and the English to fear the Emperor might at length find himself secure enough to intervene on Mary's behalf in England. The French omitted not to refresh English memories with allusions to the attempt to take Mary out of the country (p. 301), and altogether displayed an accommodating and friendly spirit quite different from that of the Emperor, England's traditional ally, whose attitude implied disapproval of all that had been done by the Privy Council since Henry VIII's death. Warwick and his supporters not unnaturally preferred feasting with their French guests, whose society had the charm of novelty, to listening to the admonitions uttered by Charles in his favourite part of an old friend of the family to whose care, as he was never weary of reminding them, Henry VIII had committed his young son on his death-bed. On September 1st, 1550, Simon Renard sent a list of five reasons for which the English feared the Emperor might make war on them, and added that negotiations were already on foot for a marriage between Edward VI and Henry II's daughter Elizabeth. Guidotti had brought over a portrait of the young King, and had received in exchange a drawing, executed by a lady, of the Princess.
In spite of these overtures, the English had reason to know that they could not afford wholly to trust the French. There were disputes over the boundary of the Old Conquest, Henry II took care to keep revolt alive in Ireland (pp. 176, 197), and matters were in an unsettled condition on the Scottish border (p. 186). Sir Philip Hoby, at Augsburg, informed the Emperor of the high-handed behaviour of the French near Calais, asking whether his Majesty were prepared to fulfil his treaty-obligations in case an invasion in sufficient numbers were attempted, and begging for advice as to how other points were to be met. The Emperor stated in reply that he certainly would not fail to observe to the letter his treaties with England; but advice as to how the French were to be handled he had none to give; the text of the recent agreement had not been communicated to him and he was ignorant of what the English might have committed themselves to by it (p. 191). In other words, the Emperor did not intend to help them out of their difficulties by allowing them to play him off against the King of France. In the opening months of 1551, in brief, the English knew not whether to fear more from Charles or from Henry (p. 216). Alliance with France would best serve Warwick's purpose, and though he well knew Henry to be intriguing in Ireland, and the Duke of Somerset's influence in the Council was hostile to such a step, a French envoy, M. de Lansac, was in England in February, and in March Pickering and Denny were sent over to France. It is probable that the position of affairs in Germany had a considerable share in determining Warwick's choice, for he knew a great movement to be in preparation among the northern princes and cities against the Emperor and his Interim (p. 215), a movement which, it was ardently hoped, would be swelled by the hostility felt by all Germans, Protestants and Catholics alike, for Philip's candidature for the Empire which was being pushed forward at Augsburg (pp. 156, 245). Though Warwick might make up his mind for a French alliance, such an event was not too easily to be brought about for various reasons, one being that the King of France would not consent unless his relations with the Emperor were such as to prevent him from attempting to conquer Ireland and win England sword in hand, and another that England had nothing to offer her prospective ally save only a promise not to keep the treaty which bound her to support the Emperor in a serious war with France. Much as he disliked giving up all immediate hope of conquering England, however, the King of France was obliged to face the fact that if he refused an alliance he would be throwing her into the Emperor's arms, with the certain result, in the never unlikely eventuality of a European war, that she would again attempt to subjugate Scotland, a task that might not be too great even for an enfeebled England under Warwick's rule if France chanced to get the worst of it on the continent. Briefly, England's friendship was put up for sale; the Emperor did not care to bid; and France paid a nominal price merely to keep the object from falling into a rival's hands for nothing.
A curious feature of international politics at this time is the immediate reaction exercised on English affairs by each succeeding change in Italy. Henry II's disappointment at the result of the papal election of 1550 moved him to make what he regarded as a disadvantageous peace at Boulogne, and again in the spring of 1551 the countenance shown at the French Court to Sir William Pickering's embassy was dictated by news from the Parmesan. Simon Renard at first thought that disputes over the Scottish border would be handled in so intransigent a spirit by the French that a breach must follow (p. 249), but in a few days the tide was setting the other way, and there was talk of marrying Edward VI to the Princess Elizabeth. The defeat of the German rebels near Bremen (p. 219) doubtless deprived Henry of one cherished illusion, but what definitely persuaded him that he could not afford an aggressive policy towards England was the Emperor's attitude about Parma, an attitude into which Julius III's instability of purpose and poverty made it possible to force him as well. Octavio Farnese had been put in possession at Parma at the opening of the new pontificate by means of a papal brief, whereas he had shortly before refused to accept it at the Emperor's hands. Octavio, entirely his own master, proceeded to act as such, keeping the place in a state of defence under the cold scrutiny of Fernando Gonzaga, who observed his every movement from the neighbouring place of Guastalla in the state of Milan and wrote to the Emperor that Octavio's activities were on such a scale that they could not long be carried on by the means at his disposal (p. 36), thereby intimating the likelihood of his entering into some contract with the French, thus enabling them to establish themselves south of the Milanese barrier. The near vicinity of Gonzaga may well have disturbed Octavio, whose father, Pierluigi, had been murdered (fn. 10) at Piacenza three years before at Gonzaga's instigation. In any case he concluded an agreement with Henry II within the year, and the Emperor was faced by a force of troops in the French pay at La Mirandola, uncomfortably near the Papal states, through which a sudden shift in the relations between Henry and the Pope might enable them to march towards Siena or even Naples. If the Pope were to tolerate such a condition of affairs the peace of Italy would not be secure for a moment; it was of the most urgent necessity to make the Pope understand that he had been outrageously defied by his feudatory, who must at once be reduced to obedience, if possible by pacific means, if not, by force. The Emperor told Dandino, Bishop of Imola, whom the Pope had sent to Augsburg for advice, that his Holiness must display firmness. Octavio might be offered Camerino, where he would be unable to do any harm, as compensation; but turn out of Parma he must, and at once. Otherwise the French would pour into Italy and there would be a conflagration (pp. 274–277). If the Pope decided to use force, he should have a loan of 200,000 crowns to cover his expenses. Julius was not as eager to vindicate his rights as the Emperor wished to represent him. The English, indeed, believed the Holy Father to have had a hand in Octavio's bargain with France (p. 281), and he was certainly deeply concerned at the idea of having to wage war. The Bishop of Arras, judging from the Pope's instructions sent to Dandino at Augsburg, remarked that he seemed to be as puzzled as any new dean (p. 283). But the Emperor would stand no trifling. Gonzaga, always glad of war in Italy, affected to believe that Milan itself would be lost unless Octavio were dealt with immediately, and scant attention was paid to letters in which the Pope was incoherently pointing out difficulties and “writing everything that came into his head,” trying to persuade the Emperor that Octavio would probably submit if skilfully handled (pp. 296–298). Charles knew his son-in-law, and believed that prompt action might save much bloodshed and misery later. Octavio, however, had resolved to try his luck with France; Henry II, trusting to his German auxiliaries and to the Turk, who promised to make trouble for Charles in Hungary and the Mediterranean, declared that he would stand by Octavio though it were to cost him his kingdom, and all chance of localising hostilities in the Parmesan vanished. On May 12th, 1551, the Emperor gave audience to Marillac, French ambassador at his Court, and told him that unless the King of France ceased assisting Octavio there must be war; and its actual outbreak was thenceforward only a matter of time. It was at this juncture that a great English mission, headed by the Marquis of Northampton, the Bishop of Ely and Sir Philip Hoby, went to France and negotiated a marriage between Edward VI and the French Princess, whilst an equally splendid embassy proceeded to England under M. de St. André. The important conferences took place in France (p. 330), though Simon Renard believed St. André to have been entrusted with a proposal to exchange the young Queen of Scots against Calais, and only to bring forward the Princess Elizabeth's marriage with Edward VI if that were rejected (p. 309). The amount of the Princess' dowry finally agreed to, less than one-seventh of Northampton's original demand, and the disproportion between the presents offered to the members of the English and French missions—Northampton receiving 500l. to St. André's 3,000l.—(p. 346) are eloquent enough of the lamentable decline in the value of England's friendship since the death of Henry VIII. It was perhaps a consolation to the more zealous of the Protestants in Northampton's suite that while on their way through France they were allowed to desecrate images, consecrate bread in public, distribute it among the crowd, and insult friars, without actually being mobbed (pp. 309–310). When their negotiations were finished, Sir John Mason and Sir Philip Hoby visited Simon Renard and told him of the match they had made for their master, assuring him, however, that they had agreed to nothing that could clash with the treaty binding England to the Emperor. Renard, in writing to Charles V, remarks: “I met fair speech with fair speech; and I say this particularly because the face and drawling tone of the said Hoby made me suspect that he might be the man to think one thing and say another” (pp. 328–330).
Having thus disposed of foreign affairs in a manner satisfactory to him, Warwick was able to turn his attention to establishing his own position at home, where things wore a threatening aspect. Prices were high, the people everywhere discontented, the Government generally unpopular, and Warwick himself and his constant associate and financial adviser, Sir John York, the two most bitterly-hated men in England. The Earls of Derby and Shrewsbury, who were said to be able to raise 60,000 men at short notice, held aloof from Court (pp. 281, 300), and were suspected of plotting with the Duke of Somerset. Spring, always a dangerous season for risings, was advancing. For several months past Warwick had known that many Englishmen would have liked to increase Somerset's authority at the expense of his own, and his determination not to afford them an opportunity for doing so explains why no Parliament had been summoned since November, 1549. He appears to have decided that none must be allowed to assemble until Somerset had been finally crushed in such a way that he should rise no more, and no time was to be lost, for the country had expected a session at Michaelmas, 1550 (p. 126), in January (p. 166), March (p. 215) and again at Michaelmas, 1551 (p. 226). In April, Simon Renard heard in France that Paget was in the Tower, and that Somerset had rebelled against King and Council (p. 285); news wholly false at the time, but that were as though a foreshadowing of what was to come. Jehan Scheyfve's despatches to the Emperor and Queen Dowager of Hungary do not convey the impression that he was aware of any connexion between the recurrent prorogation and Warwick's enmity for Somerset; Scheyfve was not a penetrating observer, and apparently secured no information from persons inside the narrow circle within which Government secrets were known. His letters contain no indication that he understood the process by which Warwick was contriving, by obtaining from the Privy Council a decision that royal warrants need no longer be countersigned by Privy Councillors, to make himself effective master of England as long as his personal influence should be paramount with Edward. But he was always in touch with merchants, and gives an interesting view of the reasons for which Warwick's government was loathed by the people (pp. 300, 393), suggesting that it had become so unpopular by the summer of 1551 that intimidation was the one expedient which could save it from an overthrow. While pondering over the best means to destroy the man whose removal would leave popular discontent cowed and without a head, Warwick neglected no opportunity of slighting Somerset, perhaps hoping to frighten the Duke's fair-weather friends, who in fact were not slow to take the hint. On St. George's day he managed to have the words “on his mother's side” inserted after Somerset's title of “uncle to the King of England,” and also to dock the Duke of a separate table he kept by way of salary (p. 291). On July 6th Scheyfve reported that Warwick's authority was increasing day by day, while Somerset's diminished. From this date until October 10th, when Scheyfve heard that the Duke's arrest was imminent, his name scarcely appears in the ambassador's letters, but two more prorogations of Parliament, first from Michaelmas to October 12th (p. 347), and then to January, 1552 (p. 375), are mentioned. Late in August Scheyfve writes that Warwick's rule is now undisputed, that he is to become Duke of Clarence, that Northampton is also going to have a dukedom, and Sir William Herbert to become an earl. The creation took place early in October, and Warwick, now Duke of Northumberland, supported by another new duke (Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk), a new marquis (William Paulett, Marquis of Winchester) and other members of his party who had received honours at the same time, chose the moment to cause Somerset's “conspiracy” to come to light.
On October 17th the Council requested Scheyfve's presence, and informed him that Somerset had plotted not only to seize the Tower, with the Treasury and other strong places, but also to invite his colleagues of the Council to a banquet and have them murdered by hired assassins. The Council had suspected him of wicked designs for some time past, but out of anxiety not to trouble the repose of the realm had refrained from action until they had positively known that the blow was about to fall on their devoted heads (p. 385). Scheyfve remarks that neither Sir William Cecil nor the Duke of Northumberland, who were spokesmen on this occasion, said anything about evidence, whilst the people in London were saying openly that the accusation was unjust, and that Northumberland's party deserved punishment much more than the prisoners. A few days later, on October 25th, Sir Thomas Chamberlain, English ambassador at Brussels, gave an account of the affair to the Queen Dowager of Hungary, who, in sending the news on to the Emperor, speaks of a rumour current in the Low Countries that the plot was an invention of Northumberland, who wished to remove from about the King's person all those nearest to his Majesty in rank, who might interfere with his designs (p. 388). Each succeeding despatch from Scheyfve tells of increasing indignation against Northumberland. The chief merchants of London were saying that Somerset, Lord Grey de Wilton and the other prisoners, to whose number the Earl of Arundel, a nobleman greatly beloved by the people, had been added, would never have descended to assassination. What they had purposed to do was doubtless to see to it that Parliament should meet at once, as meet it ought, to remedy the crying ills to which the country was a prey. “The charges were merely trumped up; so many righteous men would never have joined in a plot” (p. 393). The unpopularity of Northumberland's policy of alliance with France swelled the general discontent, and it was said that Sir John York, the hated debaser of the coinage, had had difficulty in inducing the King to sign a general acquittance of his administration, whereat Northumberland had grown angry, believing the King to have been influenced by Somerset. Edward was reported to be sombre and grieved about his uncle's imprisonment; but none other than Northumberland's sons and creatures were allowed access to him, and he was carefully primed with such tales of black villainy as to destroy his affection for the unfortunate Duke (p. 389). Paget had been told to keep his house before Somerset's arrest took place; on October 21st he was committed to the Fleet and on October 31st to the Tower. The Council's version was that he had been imprisoned because he denied on oath having given the Emperor an assurance that the Lady Mary might hear mass, whereas the Emperor asserted that he had done so; but people in London, judging apparently by Paget's character, believed that he had given Northumberland information useful for Somerset's conviction and was being confined at his own request to divert the suspicions of Somerset's friends, for fear of reprisals (p. 390). When Sir Richard Morison informed the Emperor why Paget was in the Tower, Charles' reply ran that he was sorry to be the cause of suffering to Paget or anyone else, but as he was on the subject he would observe “that some among those who now enjoyed most credit in England had shown a desire to restore religion to its former condition, merely in order to acquire the said credit; and afterwards, when in power, had done the opposite.” This dark saying, the Emperor explained in a letter to Scheyfve, was intended to remind Northumberland that he had climbed to his high place over the backs of the Catholic lords, only to kick them away when once firmly seated; and that if Paget was a defaulter, Northumberland was no better (pp. 396–397).
Somerset's trial, which took place on December 1st, resulted in a condemnation for felony, under an Act passed by Parliament just after his first fall, in the session of 1549–1550; but the manner in which his acquittal of the charge of high treason was received by the people, the shouts of “God save the Duke!” loud enough to reach the ears of the King himself, struck dismay into his twenty-six judges, who it seems feared God too much to pass the heavier sentence, and not enough to displease Northumberland by dismissing all the charges (pp. 405–407). Scheyfve, on December 10th, wrote that felony was an offence for which people obtained the King's pardon every day; it was already being said that Somerset was safe. On December 27th he reported that the Duke might perhaps be kept in prison until Parliament met on January 25th, though many men believed he would be free earlier still, and that public opinion in London was unanimous in considering Northumberland to have lost greatly in prestige, as he had “twice got as far as arresting and accusing the Duke of Somerset” only to fail to induce a court of his peers to condemn him (p. 425). Northumberland's position was indeed a critical one at this point; Somerset was not likely to forgive him a second time, and, after his gallant behaviour at his trial, was more beloved of the people and consequently more dangerous than before. Scheyfve asserts that Northumberland had several long conferences with Somerset in the Tower, thereby arousing the suspicions of Pembroke (Sir William Herbert) and Northampton, for they were probably meant to mislead public opinion into believing that he was working for his rival's pardon; with the same end in view he was also reported to have organised a ghastly comedy in which he implored the King to have mercy, and the King refused, saying that his laws must be obeyed by everyone without exception (p. 453). Northumberland had decided that Somerset must be put out of the way before Parliament assembled (p. 452), and suddenly, on January 22nd, Scheyfve heard that the execution had taken place. The ambassador's flagging interest in English affairs was a little quickened by this occurrence, and he sent interesting reports of what was being said in London at the time, among merchants doubtless, for his information rarely came from any other quarter. They suggest a new aspect of the manner in which Somerset's destruction was brought about. Scheyfve never knew that Edward's order for the trial of the Duke's accomplices was altered, by the King or another, into an order for his execution; but he says that the King wrote the Duke a note in his own hand on the 19th telling him he had shown him grace, and converted the rope into an axe. He further remarks that Edward was at first unwilling to consent that his uncle should die, but the French ambassador “used certain persuasive arguments, showing him that an example was required in so serious a matter, that many disturbances had cropped up in the kingdom during Somerset's administration and protectorate, and, above all, that he was so popular that the commons had become less devoted to the Crown” (pp. 452–453). On November 16th Scheyfve had already written that the French ambassador (M. de Gyé) was being consulted by Northumberland at each step (p. 393); and during the period of Somerset's imprisonment he was constantly with the Council (pp. 408, 435). Somerset, it may be recalled, had never been a partisan of the French alliance (p. 227), indeed though an ardent Protestant he was reputed to have Imperialist leanings; and it may be that Northumberland found in the French ambassador some of the support which few even of Somerset's personal enemies in the House of Lords were willing to lend him in the perpetration of what every Englishman knew to be an abominable crime. Northumberland's confessions, made just before his own execution, leave no shade of a doubt that the whole business of theplot” was contrived by him and his creatures, as shall appear in papers to be printed in the next volume of this Calendar.
The Parma campaign against Octavio Farnese, in which Julius III was the Emperor's half-hearted ally, was not slow in involving Charles in open war with France. Ambassadors on both sides were recalled in September, and though the lateness of the season prevented hostilities from being waged on an extensive scale at once, it was understood that the following spring would see large French forces in the field (p. 377). The enterprise against Octavio was unfortunate from the first; Fernando Gonzaga, now with the title of captain-general of the papal troops, was obliged to divide his attention between it and a French attack from Piedmont, Parma was revictualled and enabled to hold out for another year (p. 457). The effect of this check on the Pope's mercurial spirits was greatly to be dreaded; all the more so as quite early in the quarrel Henry II had threatened to establish a Gallican Church with a patriarch of its own (p. 343), thereby perpetuating the temporary arrangement by which all the moneys proceeding from investitures, annates, compositions and the like were suddenly prevented from finding their way to Rome. This was a very terrible menace indeed in the ears of a pontiff whose revenues were already insufficient to meet his expenditure, and there was another reason besides, which made Charles fear that the Pope would make terms with France behind his back and leave him alone in a quarrel which he always asserted he had taken up for the Pope's sake: namely, the attitude adopted by the Roman party at the Council of Trent.
At the outset of his pontificate the Pope had evinced great eagerness to further the cause, so dear to the Emperor's heart and to which he was deeply pledged, of a General Council, and this determination had been noted with alarm by the French (pp. 53, 54), whom religious peace in Germany would have robbed of one of their stoutest weapons against Charles. The Council, which had been scattered since the spring of 1547, reassembled at Trent in that of 1551; in Imperial territory and presided over, though not actually in person, by a Pope who as Legate had been instrumental in preventing it from effecting any reform four years previously. Julius explained that he had done as the late Pope had ordered him, but personally had never approved of the course he had then been obliged to follow (p. 34). Events, however, revealed him as steadfastly determined as any of his predecessors not to be reformed. By the end of October there were some sixty Fathers at Trent: Italians, Spaniards, a few German Catholics and Flemings, and a Greek, the Archbishop of Thessalonica (p. 387). Were lacking the Protestants, because their ambassadors at Trent proved unsuccessful in obtaining for them a safe-conduct in such form as should give them a reasonable degree of personal security while at the Council (pp. 490–491). Legate Crescenzio, who was responsible for this, did not perhaps wish to treat the Protestant doctors as John Huss was treated at Constance; it seems more probable that he wished to keep them away while controversial points of doctrine were rapidly dealt with, without a word of reform. On Christmas Day, 1551, the Emperor's ambassador at Trent, Don Francisco de Toledo, wrote a full statement of the position. There was no longer any hope of obtaining a reformation of abuses. The Pope would not consent to anything that might deprive him of a jot of his privileges, and the Fathers, if pressure were brought to bear on them, would “wreck the whole undertaking if they found no other means of escape”; for the Legate had thirty prelates waiting in Italy, ready to climb up to Trent and form an Italian majority which should render vain all attempts on the part of the Spaniards (p. 419). Worse still, the Fathers might hurry on defining dogma and declare the Council to be finished, in which case all hope of reforming the Church vanished, as it was most unlikely that another could be summoned for many years to come. The only thing to be done was to suspend it until circumstances were more favourable, especially as the three ecclesiastical electors, Mainz, Cologne and Trier, believed this to be the only course, and that grave disturbances were imminent in Germany. The Emperor had known for a long time past that the Pope would resist reform on the important points, such as indulgences and dispensations, endeavouring to escape with the concession of the Cup to the laity—“as if that were the only difficulty,” wrote the Bishop of Arras (p. 283). He seems to have hoped, however, that if the Protestants could be safely sent to Trent something might be done; in any case he had promised Germany that they should have a hearing, and his indignation with the Legate's dishonest proceedings was boundless (pp. 434–435, 459). There was nothing for it but to adopt Don Francisco de Toledo's advice and cause the Council to be suspended, and March and April witnessed a remarkable war of wits between the Emperor's ambassadors and the Legate and Presidents, each party trying to saddle the other with the responsibility. The Legate's position was hopeless, as he had before him the two horns of a dilemma; either he must shoulder the blame for frightening away the Protestants, or he must have recourse to a suspension to avoid entertaining demands for reform to be formulated by the Spanish Fathers, who alone had remained at Trent in spite of the war-clouds now hanging over Germany. Don Francisco de Toledo had decided they should do so if the Legate attempted to put into execution his plan of rushing through decisions on dogma and declaring the Council to have been duly held and completed (pp. 503, 507).
Don Francisco's exertions were successful, and the Council remained as a possibility for some more propitious season; but the Pope's behaviour where it was concerned soon showed the Emperor that he had little to hope from his alliance with that pontiff. Moreover, Charles himself was unable to carry on the war in Italy for want of money. Late in January, 1552, he wrote a letter to his sister, the Queen Dowager of Hungary, telling her of his inability to do anything but wait on events; a forward policy needed money and was flatly impossible. Charles, suffering from the gout, was unable to pen the whole letter with his own hand, but he scrawled a postscript that gives the gist of it: “this Parma war—the Devil take it!—has ruined me. All the silver from the Indies, and all the money obtained for it, has been spent, and I do not know where to look for more” (p. 449).
If one stops for a moment to consider the Emperor's position, it becomes patent that he had only too good cause to consider himself ruined. The Turk in Hungary and the Mediterranean; the French only awaiting spring to attack the Low Countries, and in league with Germany in an uproar; the Council of Trent a failure; Elector Maurice of Saxony, in command of the Imperial army in Germany, preparing for revolt; the treasury empty, and credit exhausted. Perhaps the bitterest day of all was when a letter came from Philip, asking his father to keep alive the negotiations for his election to the Imperial dignity, and thereby revealing the Prince's failure to understand the desperate pass to which the attempt to satisfy his ambition had brought the fortunes of his House (p. 456). Charles, however, coped with adversity in a manner that proved in him such a combination of adroitness, courage and inflexibility of purpose as was not to be vanquished by all the united brains and forces of his many enemies. The Parma campaign had not succeeded, and the Pope was showing great anxiety to be out of it (p. 448). Charles immediately took advantage of Julius' fear to make him the instrument of a truce in Italy which should leave him free to attend to affairs nearer home. On February 27th he wrote to his ambassador at Rome, Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, to guide the Pope dexterously in the direction of a peace or a suspension of arms (pp. 462, 463), whilst he himself held the papal envoys at Innsbruck to promises, of which his Holiness had been lavish, not to abandon the common undertaking (p. 582 (fn. 11)). As Charles told Mendoza, what he would have liked best would have been a general peace; but if the King of France was resolved to attack him in the north, let a suspension of arms be achieved in Italy at any rate. The Pope's fear of the French might be trusted to make him conclude one. This came to pass in April, and Charles, able to play the part of the forsaken ally left alone to face the enemy, contrived to get himself included in it on terms not unfavourable without having had to display his weakness by negotiating directly with the French, and thus extricated himself from one of his difficulties (p. 530). He has been criticised for blindly trusting Maurice of Saxony until he was obliged to fly from Innsbruck before the Elector; but it is certain that he had known for months what he had to expect (pp. 378, 448), and abstained from action because he was unable to find the money for a German campaign. After experience had shown the impracticability of a General Council in the circumstances then prevailing, and that Protestant Germany was resolved to abide by its reformation, the Emperor followed the one course that could save him from all-round disaster, and made peace with Maurice (by the treaty of Passau) on the condition that religious questions should be settled by a Diet. An excellent statement of the Imperial position at this point is to be found in a letter from Fernando Gonzaga, whose malicious attempts to poison the Emperor's mind against the House of Savoy do not detract from the value of other of his observations (p. 542). Gonzaga was always for fighting, but he realised the necessity of making terms in Germany in the summer of 1552; and his account of the state of Italy shows that many sources of disquiet remained even after a temporary settlement of the Parma difficulty had been arrived at.
At the time of the declaration of war between France and the Emperor in September, 1551, Jehan Scheyfve wrote that a German called Hans Fuchs had arrived in England with letters to the King and recommendations to Cranmer, Warwick and other leading politicians, and was accompanied to Court by à Lasco, the Polish reformer (pp. 369, 374). Scheyfve was unable to learn his business, but heard that one of his papers had the seal of Elector Maurice attached to it. Such news as these, coupled with reports of the ever closer understanding between the English government and France that formed the burden of Scheyfve's letters, led the Queen Dowager of Hungary, in whose hands the Emperor's absence left the conduct of affairs in the north, to write to the Bishop of Arras a long letter in which she examined the English question in all its bearings (pp. 376 sq.). The men who were ruling England, she reasoned, had every cause to dread the Emperor, and it would not be surprising if they consented to join France in the war. At any rate they would be sure to show the French covert favour, and the result might be grave danger to Flemish shipping in the Channel. Unfortunately the ambassador in London was not sharp enough to find out what was really going to happen, but it was essential to have a port in England in which Flemish vessels might take refuge. If the English were too anxious to please France to offer such hospitality, would it not be possible to seize a port by force? Indeed, why not conquer the whole of England, now that it was poor and divided against itself, depose the King, marry Mary to the Archduke Ferdinand, the Infante Luis of Portugal or the Duke of Holstein, set the couple on the throne and take a fine, commodious port as a reward? The King of Denmark might perhaps be induced to support his brother in this enterprise, for “the Danes claimed England and had actually held it for a number of years.” The advantage to Flemish shipping would be immense; not only would it enjoy the use of one port in England, but the French would no longer be able to run into any of the others, in which the southern coast of that country abounded. If this could be done it would render all the more telling the powerful blow that must be struck at France, failing which the Empire would probably be lost. This suggestion, it seems, met with the Emperor's approval, and he answered, asking his sister if she could find the money in the Low Countries for such an undertaking. Greatly to the Queen Dowager's regret she was obliged to reply that far from being able to finance an attack on France and England, the state of her resources forbade her to think of doing more than defend her frontiers on the French side, leaving the Emperor to provide for the German border (p. 447).
The project for seizing an English port was not as preposterous as it sounds, for costly and hazardous as it would have been, the position in which the Queen Dowager found herself in the Low Countries was so dangerous as to justify the most desperate attempts to escape from it. Also England itself had held Calais for two centuries, and Boulogne for six years. The Emperor was in straits for money in Germany, and that money had to be raised in Flanders. Money was needed to protect the Flemish border against the French. The Emperor had been owing enormous sums to the Antwerp bankers since the last war with France, and though repayments had been assigned in Spain the bankers had been unable to fetch their money thence. The Queen Dowager herself had been forced to take up 2,000,000 florins. Increased expenditure entailed by the war, bankruptcies and the insecurity of shipping made money so scarce and so damaged credit that “within the memory of man the situation had never been so bad” (pp. 469, 496, 535, 574). The only remedy was one for which the Queen Dowager had been pressing for many months past (p. 296), that the Emperor should permit a large sum to be taken out of Spain and distributed to the creditors. Charles was reluctant to issue orders for bullion to leave Spain for the Low Countries, especially as a large amount had to be sent to Italy to face current expenses there; but he finally agreed that 400,000 ducats in gold should go to his sister in place of the million she had demanded (p. 498). This sum was to be taken on its return voyage by the merchant fleet from Antwerp, for whose safe convoy the Queen Dowager had been planning all through the winter of 1551–1552. The French, in the direst financial distress themselves (p. 469), resolved either to stop this fleet from ever reaching Spain or to waylay it on the homeward voyage, and had as many as 150, or some said 200 sail at sea (pp. 449, 508). The worst of it was, as one of the Flemish Admiralty commissioners pointed out, that the French had nothing to lose, whilst the Flemings had much. “This fleet of ours comes as a mountain of gold, to be assailed and conquered by starving men from whom, as the saying goes, there is nothing but bullets and pikes to be taken” (p. 523). It may be said without exaggeration that the voyage of the merchant fleet to Spain was a matter of greater concern to the Government at Brussels and the people of the Low Countries than Henry II's raid into Luxemburg or his seizure of the three Bishoprics. The forty or more merchantmen that composed it were laden with Flemish goods in which the city of Antwerp had very heavy interests at stake, the number of merchants with their associates concerned being estimated at between 3,000 and 4,000. The fleet, under the command of the Vice-Admiral of Flanders, Adolphe de Bourgogne-Wacken, Sieur de la Capelle, was to sail together, escorted by six powerful men-of-war, through the Channel, but when safely past the Scilly Isles, was to split into three detachments, one to proceed to Biscay, one to Lisbon, and the third to Cadiz (pp. 508–511, 521–525). Great anxiety was felt at Antwerp lest the escort should not prove strong enough, and representations were made at Brussels that a fleet of men-of-war ought to precede the merchantmen in the Channel and clear it of the French; but it was decided that no further expense could be allowed, though the French fleet under Paulin, Baron de la Garde, was hanging about the Channel and appearing now at Rye, now at Falmouth (pp. 495, 526).
It is evident that the possession of a port in England would have been of inestimable advantage to the Queen Dowager at this critical moment, but all that could be done in the circumstances was to beg the Privy Council to allow the fleet to take shelter in their havens if compelled by storms “or other untoward circumstances,” and M. de Courrières arrived in London on April 12th to make the demand (pp. 472, 504). The Council replied that the Emperor's ships should receive favourable treatment if forced to enter an English harbour—indeed they could not have given any other answer without openly declaring that England intended to assist France, and the fleet sailed past Dover on May 29th at nine in the morning, firing a salute of several guns, which was returned from the Castle (p. 529). The voyage to Spain was successful. As the summer wore on the financial embarrassments of the Queen Dowager became increasingly painful. In September she was obliged to tell the Emperor that she feared a loan of as small a sum as 200,000 crowns would prove impossible to be raised, even at a ruinous rate, and that the whole country was suffering sorely from the delay of the fleet's return (p. 563). Finally, on October 13th, the ships from Lisbon and Andalusia arrived in Zeeland, and the Low Countries were relieved of a haunting fear, for if disaster had befallen the undertaking none of the Admiralty commissioners at Antwerp “would have dared to wait there for more news” (p. 522).
Several interesting points come up in connexion with this matter of the merchant-fleet. As it frequently happened in the sixteenth-century, war between France and the Emperor did not mean a total cessation of trade between the two countries; we find an expert lamenting that safe-conducts had been issued to enable the Dutch and Flemings to go to Brouage (near La Rochelle) for salt, and also the French to bring their wine and other produce to the Low Countries; whereas if they had been strictly withheld, “France would now be in such straits of want and poverty that its inhabitants would thereby be thrown into greater despair than by many invasions” (p. 523). In Spain, Prince Philip issued a patent stating that the Portuguese, English, Genoese and subjects of other friendly states might bring French goods to Spain by sea after having first taken them back to their own countries (p. 521); and the war soon became so heavy a burthen to France that in November, 1552, it was announced by placard in Rouen and other ports that all foreign merchants, the Emperor's subjects included, might come and go and carry on their business in perfect security (pp. 590–591). A stricter rule was observed both by England and the Low Countries when one or the other was at war with France. During hostilities between France and the Emperor, English merchants who wished to export goods out of the Low Countries were obliged to deposit securities to their value, which were returned on the presentation of certificates to show that the goods had been sold and retailed in England; and a similar obligation was laid upon Flemish merchants when England was at war with France (p. 482). Another question that solicited the attention of the Flemish Admiralty was that of marine insurance, which was attended by grave abuses; for merchants and masters insured against loss by robbery at the hands of pirates for higher sums than their goods were worth, and then lingered about at sea in the hope of falling in with Scottish or other corsairs, with whom they often entered into fraudulent contracts by which they allowed their ships to be robbed and received back part of the cargo in addition to what they obtained from their insurance. As a remedy it was proposed that the Emperor should make a state monopoly of marine insurance and keep up a standing naval force strong enough to sweep pirates from the sea on the proceeds, or else that all insurance except against loss by fire, water or deterioration of merchandise should be prohibited, in which case merchants would see to it that the vessels they chose to freight their goods in were of proper strength and sailed in company with others so as to be able to resist attacks. It was estimated that Scots pirates had plundered Flemish goods to the value of 2,000,000 crowns in gold in eight years, and yet the rates of insurance quoted as prevalent both in time of peace and of war were remarkably low (pp. 353–355, 364–368).
The Queen Dowager's worst fears of what might come of Northumberland's understanding with France were belied by events. M. de Courrières believed, after the gracious reception he met with in England, that it would be well if the Emperor wrote “some pleasant letter” to Edward, who appeared to think it strange that none had been sent to him before (p. 508). Scheyfve's hands, it is true, were always full of cases in which Flemish merchants complained of their treatment in England, or that the King's officers were acting in collusion with the French, and the English in Flanders often brought forward other grievances; but though at one time Northumberland told the ambassador that he would rather all trade ceased between the two countries than be everlastingly molested with these garbouilles (p. 440), some sort of settlement was eventually arrived at. It was in fact not necessary to remind the Council that commerce was greatly to the advantage of both sides, they knew as well as Scheyfve “that the alliance had certainly not lasted so long without very great and urgent reasons” (p. 441). Even if Northumberland had felt inclined to throw in his lot with France and take a share in the war, which in all probability he never did, his unpopularity in England must have forbidden him to contemplate a step that would have furnished his enemies with a testimony of his indifference to the country's interests; and the French ambassador's proposals were rejected (p. 493 note). As months passed without bringing forth any sign of England's intention to join France, the Queen Dowager decided to make an appeal for the assistance that the French invasions gave her a right to demand on the ground of the treaty of alliance, and on June 23rd she sent Scheyfve full instructions as to how he was to approach the King and Council. She anticipated that they would try to set aside the demand by asserting that the French had been attacked first, that the Emperor refused England aid for Boulogne, or that the Emperor himself, not the Queen Dowager, was qualified to make it, and Scheyfve was supplied with answers by which all possible objections were to be met. A letter was also sent off to the Emperor, asking him to write at once in due form to Edward VI. Scheyfve obtained audience on July 7th and presented the Queen Dowager's letters to the King, who remarked that the matter was of great importance and as most of his Council were at a distance his reply might be delayed a few days. A week went by, a fortnight, and at last on July 31st Dr. Wotton and Sir Philip Hoby came to Scheyfve's house. They made no attempt to question the legitimacy of the demand or the form in which it had been presented, but only said that their master had recently had to sustain a war against France, from the effects of which he was still suffering, and “begged it might please the Emperor to hold him excused from rendering the aid” (p. 558). Scheyfve summoned such eloquence as he possessed to dwell “as one who loved this realm” upon the insatiability of the French, the grave danger that would menace both England and the Low Countries unless a united effort were made to curb the common enemy's ambition. The Emperor had always met every claim arising from the treaty, nay had done much more than could have been expected, whilst the King of France had taken advantage of Edward's youth to oppress him. Let England realise that disaster to the Low Countries must entail her own subjection. Wotton and Hoby, unmoved, repeated that the King prayed to be excused, adding as a last concession the words “at least for the present.” Throughout August and September nothing more was said, for the excellent reason that the Duke of Northumberland, whose attitude alone was of any consequence, remained absent until the King's progress through the western counties was over and the Court had returned to Windsor. Early in October Scheyfve had an interview with the Duke, which dispelled any hopes he may have been entertaining; for Northumberland roundly asserted that England had been invaded by the French from Scotland in sufficient numbers to justify a demand for aid, which the Emperor had nevertheless refused, and when asked to specify the occasion merely said “since the late King's death,” calling in Lord Cobham and Sir William Cecil to support his statement. Taking Scheyfve's arm, the Duke laughed and said the ambassador must see for himself why the Queen Dowager's demand had not been admitted, though for all that, the King and Council desired to keep up the most friendly relations with the Emperor.
On September 19th, indeed, Edward wrote Charles a letter to wish him a safe and prosperous journey to the Low Countries, and to announce that Sir Richard Morison had been instructed to communicate certain matters to him. Morison had audience, and said that his master would be glad to join the Emperor and the German princes in driving the Turk out of Christendom. At about the same time news reached the Emperor that the French ambassador in England had been arrested and English harbours closed to French shipping, and led him to conjecture that Morison's message might indicate a desire on the Council's part to be asked again to declare war on France, the Turk's ally. Not wishing to do so without being sure of what answer awaited him, he decided to do nothing before obtaining the Queen Dowager's opinion, and straightway consulted her (pp. 575–576). We who have access to Edward's Journal know that one Stukeley, recently come from France, had affirmed that he had heard the King express a determination to attack Calais, and that the Council had been on the verge of committing themselves to joint action with the Emperor when they discovered Stukeley to be an impostor (p. 564 note). But the Queen Dowager had no such knowledge to guide her in forming an estimate of their intentions, and was obliged to unravel a knotty point by the light of such information as she could gather from Scheyfve's letters. She knew that talk about the King of France's ill service to the Christian world in bringing in the Turk was no new thing in Warwick's mouth; he had spoken to Scheyfve in similar strain in February, 1552 (p. 466). Moreover, English merchants had suffered greatly at the hands of French men-of-war, their losses being estimated at 160,000 pounds sterling, and two commissioners had even then been sent by Henry II to London to arrive at a settlement of their claims (p. 562). Sir Thomas Gresham had assured Scheyfve that the City of London would rather have war than such a peace, and though the fact that Gresham was a creature of Northumberland might be held to diminish the value of his testimony (pp. 568–569), it was nonetheless certain that the war was unpopular in England, and feeling was running high against France, by whom the second instalment of 200,000 crowns due for Boulogne had not yet been paid. It was unlikely, the Queen Dowager proceeded, that the English really wished to join the war, for it was late in the season, the reason of their poverty invoked a few weeks before still held good, and there had been no truth in the report of the French ambassador's arrest. They might more probably wish to mediate between the belligerents, and in the meantime make a show of intending to fight unless what was still owing for Boulogne and indemnities for damage done to their shipping were paid over. In conclusion, Charles' sister was of opinion that it would be wise to wait and observe events for a while before sending an ambassador extraordinary to England.
Scarcely had the Emperor had time to receive this advice, when chance threw in the Queen Dowager's way what seemed likely to prove an instrument for severing England, nay perhaps Scotland itself, from the French alliance. Three Englishmen in the Imperial service waylaid a French courier coming from England at a village in the Boulonnais, and relieved him of a mail-bag full of letters from the Queen Dowager of Scotland, certain Frenchmen in that country, the French ambassador in London and the members of the commission to treat the question of indemnities for damage done to English shipping. The most important of these papers was a memoir (p. 585 note), drawn up for Henry II's use by the Queen Dowager of Scotland and M. d'Oisel, warning the King that Regent Arran, Duke of Chastelherault, was laying plans to maintain his authority undiminished after the young Queen had come of age, in a manner that could but prove disastrous to the royal house and the country at large. The same memoir also relates how d'Oisel had forestalled the Irish rebel, George Paris, who had intended to make his peace with the King of England by handing over to him a voluminous correspondence between the King of France and disaffected Irish lords. In another letter, addressed to her brother, the Cardinal of Lorraine, the Queen Dowager of Scotland expressed her joy at the share taken in the French conquest of Lorraine by her eldest brother, the Duke of Guise. As soon as it was known at Calais that the mail-bag had been seized, messengers were sent to demand its return on the ground of the nationality of the captors, but the Queen Dowager of Hungary had no intention of giving up such a windfall. Answer was made to the envoys that the men were in the Emperor's pay, and had performed their exploit on French territory, so there was no objection to be made; and when the Queen Dowager of Scotland sent one of her gentlemen on purpose to Brussels to invoke the treaty between Scotland and the Low Countries, a sarcastic reply bade her recollect that according to the treaty both parties should be bound by true and sincere friendship, whereas “in order to show her devotion to the Emperor's enemies, she (i.e. the Queen Dowager of Scotland) had expressed joy over the destruction and servitude of her own house” (p. 608). It will be remembered that the Guises were a younger branch of the ruling house of Lorraine, so Christina, Duchess of Lorraine, who since the late Duke's death had governed for her young son, Charles II, had been driven out by her husband's first cousin.
The Queen Dowager of Hungary decided to make known the contents of the mail-bag to Regent Arran, and to the King and Privy Council of England. In Zeeland there resided a Court-Master of the Scottish merchants, Mr. George Gordon, who was said to stand well with the Regent, and he was selected to report the matter in Scotland (pp. 589, 595). As for England, it was important not to appear too forward, but the presence at Antwerp of Sir Thomas Gresham, who had come thither to replace Dimmock, accused of fraud (pp. 610–611), as the King of England's agent, afforded an opportunity of broaching the question semi-officially, and Treasurer-General Iyaurens Longin was instructed to show the papers to Gresham, assuring him at the same time that if the English wished to conclude some still closer alliance with the Emperor, as Gresham himself intimated, they would certainly have to take the initiative themselves. Gresham displayed great satisfaction with the papers, took duplicates of them and repaired to England, and immediately after hearing his report the King sent Chamberlain letters of credence addressed to the Queen Dowager. On presenting these, Chamberlain said he had been charged to express his master's lively sense of gratitude for the papers communicated. The King would not fail to requite his ally as occasion should offer, and, if the Queen Dowager approved, would send an envoy to the Emperor with proposals and means for rendering the alliance more binding. The Queen Dowager deferred giving a definite reply until she could consult the Emperor, then before Metz, and wrote to her brother, on December 9th, that the English appeared to be adopting a more promising attitude than when they had talked of fighting the Turk, and though it seemed unlikely that they had any more money available now than in the summer, it could do no harm were they to send an envoy to suggest a closer alliance. Even if their real object were only to play off the Emperor against the French in order to obtain damages for injured shipping and the remaining 200,000 crowns for Boulogne, it would be to the good to have the French become by that much the poorer (pp. 603, 604). However, when the Queen Dowager summoned Chamberlain to give him her answer, the ambassador denied that he had said anything about willingness on the part of the English to send an envoy to the Emperor. The Privy Council had written that the alliance was so firmly established that as far as they could see it stood in no need of strengthening, though if the Queen Dowager wished to send an envoy to England with fresh suggestions they would consent to anything in reason. Surprised and displeased by this change of face, the Queen Dowager told Chamberlain that she had understood him to say quite the opposite, but as she was mistaken enough had been said, for on the Emperor's side there was certainly no need at all to give the alliance further confirmation (pp. 605–606). If the Emperor, as he sat before Metz, had entertained hopes that the English would join him in the war, he was disabused by his sister's account of this audience, and a fortnight later, as he was raising the siege, his ambassador in London wrote that Sir Andrew Dudley was being sent to Brussels to try to bring about a peace, while Sir Henry Sidney was to go to Paris on a similar errand. The Queen Dowager may well have been confirmed in her suspicion that the English government had had no other object in view than to obtain more favourable terms from the French commissioners. Her last letter to the Emperor calendared in this volume speaks of the financial difficulties that were assailing her once more after the short respite afforded by the arrival of the fleets, and urges the Emperor to summon Prince Philip from Spain, “as the longer he stays the greater loss he will suffer in reputation.”
There are two subjects on which Scheyfve's despatches might be expected to give us fresh information: the controversies waged round the Second Book of Common Prayer, and the personality of the young King. As for religion, Scheyfve was no more interested in heresy than his predecessor had been. He reported the actions brought against Catholic bishops, but his letters throw no light on the obscure and rapid course of Protestant opinion in the days of Northumberland's supremacy, except such as falls indirectly from his accounts of the Lady Mary's precarious position. His general conviction that things were in a bad way and unlikely to mend was confirmed when the King refused to stand sponsor to his son if baptised according to Catholic rites, although that favour had been granted to Van der Delft's children (pp. 570–573). Irritated by this rebuff and by the loss of fifty or sixty pounds he had laid out for the happy occasion, he turned his attention for a moment to the religious question, and wrote a letter (p. 593) to the Bishop of Arras in a strain which it is a pity he did not cultivate, for it gives a curious commentary on the breach between Archbishop Cranmer and the violent reforming party championed by Northumberland in its dissatisfaction with the Prayer Book of 1552. However, the bulk of his correspondence is always concerned with commercial questions. Towards the close of 1552 he was chiefly preoccupied by the loss of their ancient privileges that menaced the Stillyard merchants, which together with the resuscitation of certain old statutes restricting the Fleming's freedom to trade, indicated that the London merchants were trying to make a monopoly of the exportation of cloth.
Scheyfve seldom saw Edward VI except on formal occasions, but he always brought away the same impression of an active-minded boy who would one day become a noteworthy prince if he could receive proper instruction, but whose trust was being shamefully abused by Northumberland. No answer proceeded from the royal lips but the ambassador at once recognised the Duke's touch, with which he had become familiar enough to know it unmistakably (pp. 436,572). As far as the evidence of these papers goes, there is not much to indicate in the King more than a promising lad ready to throw himself heart and soul into the path pointed out by those who had captured his confidence, of experience too slight to enable him to judge men, and easily persuaded that opinions suggested to him by his mentors were in truth the product of the inspired mind of a young King of Israel wise enough to teach his teachers. However, another view of the matter might be defended, according to which Edward would appear as the conscious and unwilling victim, not the dupe, of Northumberland, and in its support might be quoted the strange story of the falcon plucked and torn in four pieces (p. 247) and Scheyfve's hints that Northumberland was urged on to encompass Somerset's ruin by his fear of the King's growing independence of judgment. It is clear that Northumberland's plan of making himself absolute by treating Edward as of age might at any time fail unless he could make sure that no influence hostile to him ever came near the king. Foreign contemporaries certainly believed that, if the horoscopes and prognostics announcing Edward's early death did not come true, the day was not far distant when the Tudor spirit would come out in Henry VIII's son and cause his unfaithful ministers to lament their betrayal of the charge committed to them.