Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.
|1558. 21 Nov.||
1. Count De Feria to the King.
I wrote on the 14th, but have learnt that the courier could not leave Dover until the 17th. On the latter day our lady the Queen died. She had been unconscious most of the time since I arrived, but always in the fear of God and love of Christianity, indeed the nation soon sees what a good Christian she was, for since it was known that she was dying they have begun to treat the images and religious persons disrespectfully. The morning before Her Majesty died the Chancellor and the rest of the Council went into her chamber, and before the women, doctors and others on duty there, they read the Queen's will. Her Majesty was not conscious at the time. The will was read by the Missioner (Master) of the Rolls, and on arriving at a part where there were some legacies left to servants they ordered the reader to pass on without reading any of them. They tell me that this is the way the wills of the Kings of England are always fulfilled ; that is to say just as the Council likes. I think your Majesty must have a copy of the will, from what I heard when I was here last, and I have therefore said nothing to the Council about it and have made no inquiries except what people have told me. Your Majesty will send me orders if I am to move in this, and if you have a copy of the will it would be advisable to see it again, as also the marriage treaty, and although as I have written to your Majesty it is very early yet to talk about marriage the confusion and ineptitude of these people in all their affairs make it necessary for us to be the more circumspect, so as not to miss the opportunities which are presented to us, and particularly in the matter of marriage. For this and other reasons (if there be no objection) it will be well to send me a copy of the (marriage) treaty, which, though it may not be very necessary, will at least serve to post me up as to what would be touched upon, although a new treaty would be different from the last.
The new Queen and her people hold themselves free from your Majesty and will listen to any ambassadors who may come to treat of marriage. Your Majesty understands better than I how important it is that this affair should go through your hands, which as I have said will be difficult except with great negotiation and money. I therefore wish your Majesty to keep in view all the steps to be taken on your behalf, one of them being that the Emperor should not send any ambassador here to treat of this, for it would be inconvenient enough for Ferdinand to marry here even if he took the titbit from your Majesty's hand, but very much worse if it were arranged in any other way. For the present I know for certain they will not hear the name of the duke of Savoy mentioned as they fear he will want to recover his estates with English forces and will keep them constantly at war. I am very pleased to see that the nobles are all beginning to open their eyes to the fact that it will not do to marry this woman in the country itself.
The day on which the Queen died, after the customary proclamation was made at Westminster and London, the Council decided that the Chancellor, the Admiral, the earl of Shrewsbury, the earl of Pembroke, the earl of Derby and William Howard, should go to the new Queen and perform the ordinary ceremonies, and that the remainder should stay behind, but everyone wanted to be first to get out. I sent Dasonleville to excuse me from going as I waited here according to her orders. She sent word that she was sorry she could not see him in consequence of her grief but that he was to speak to the Council, which he did, although he said more than he was instructed to say, which is his great fault. But it was all about his grief at the Queen's death, and congratulations on the new Queen's accession. They replied to him very civilly and affectionately. He says William Howard made him great offers of service to your Majesty. William Howard has been made Lord Chamberlain ; Lord Robert, the son of the late duke of Northumberland, Master of the Horse, and his brother Lord Ambrose, Master of Artillery, the place that Southwell held. She has given the controllership to her late cofferer, (fn. 1) a fat man whom your Majesty will have seen at Hampton Court, and the secretaryship to Cecil. I am told that those who have up to the present been sworn as members of her Council are the Chancellor, the earl of Pembroke, the earl of Derby, the earl of Shrewsbury (Xeromberi), Admiral Clinton, the earl of Bedford, William Howard, Paget, her former Controller, the cofferer she has now made her Controller and Secretary Cecil. I do not know of any more officials. The day our lady the Queen died Parliament was dissolved, and if they convoke it again forty days must pass by law. The commission held by the earl of Arundel (fn. 2) and his colleagues in Flanders also expired, and it will be necessary to send them fresh credentials. It is said the Queen will come here during this week, and nothing can be attended to before then, not even a passport for Don Alonso de Cordova, the Regent of Aragon and others who have come from Spain. They closed the ports as soon as the Queen died, and with the change at Queen and officers things are in such a hurly-burly and confusion that futhers do not know their own children.
Your Majesty's servants and pensioners here are already beginning to look upon themselves as dismissed without anything being said to them. I do not know what had better be done, whether to let them go thus without saying anything and pay only those we need, or to dismiss them. I think it would be better to say nothing, but to pay those we want and some fresh ones. I await commands. If the Queen does not ask for a list of those in your pay or speak of the matter. I think it will be better not to stir it up, because if she should say that we are not to pay anybody, and afterwards found out that we did so, she would naturally be offended. I again remind your Majesty that it will be well to despatch Doctor Wotton in a very good humour and offer him a pension, or refer him to me to pay him one here, as he will be one of the most powerful of them, and, I am told, he may be made archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 3) I am not sure of this however.
The more I think over this business, the more certain I am that everything depends upon the husband this woman may take. If he be a suitable one religious matters will go on well, and the kingdom will remain friendly to your Majesty, but if not it will all be spoilt. If she decides to marry out of the country she will at once fix her eyes on your Majesty, although some of them here are sure to pitch upon the Archduke Ferdinand. I am not sure of all this, but only conjecture. I hope your Majesty will pardon the disorder and confusion of my letters, for things here are going on in such a way that it is quite impossible to get enlightened on anything, and if I wrote everything, she and they say I should never end. Really this country is more fit to be dealt with sword in hand than by cajolery, for there are neither funds, nor soldiers, nor heads, nor forces, and yet it is overflowing with every other necessary of life.
The body of our lady the Queen is kept until its interment in the chamber outside the one she slept in, and the house is served exactly as it was before.
On the night of the day of the Queen's decease the Cardinal (fn. 4) also died. He was very weak and with continual fever, and his servants did not take care to conceal the death of the Queen from him. He was so afflicted by it that it hastened his end. Two days after he died the Queen sent the earl of Rutland, Throgmorton, and an uncle of Peter Carew (Pedro Caro) to embargo all his goods and take an inventory of them, as it was thought he was a very wealthy man, and if he received what they say he did, he must have been so. I have not been able to learn for certain yet. It was a mercy for God to take him and I do not think your Majesty loses much with him, according to what these people tell me, although I thought otherwise formerly.
The people are wagging their tongues a good deal about the late Queen having sent great sums of money to your Majesty, and that I have sent 200,000 ducats since I have been here. They say that it is through your Majesty that the country is in such want and that Calais was lost, and also that through your not coming to see the Queen our lady, she died of sorrow. The sorrow I feel, is that your Majesty should have allowed so much favour to be shown to this scurvy Lord Chamberlain Hastings, for it is he who is publishing these things and is the greatest enemy our country has. The Controller and Boxall make much of me, but they are all as ungrateful to your Majesty as if they had never received anything from your hands. It is true that as they are naturally much put out and nobody knows what is to become of him, they are so giddy and confused that we must not judge them too hastily. The people are more free than ever, the heretics thinking that they will be able to persecute the Catholics, but things in this respect are somewhat quieter, as on the Sunday before the Queen died the priest who preached the sermon at St. Pauls told them to pray for the Pope. They see also that the new Queen goes to mass. These people try to spread about everywhere that your Majesty will in future have no more influence here than if you had never married the late Queen and with this object they wish the Queen not to be too ready to treat with me. She is very much wedded to the people and thinks as they do, and therefore treats foreigners slightingly. For this reason, and seeing that neither she nor they have done anything yet, I have decided to go on very quietly until things settle down and I see who is to take the lead. Up to the present nothing is certain and everyone talks as his wishes lead him ; I wonder they have not sent me crazy. The whole point of it is (as I have said) the husband she chooses, and we must try by money arrangements that he shall be one agreeable to your Majesty.
They tell me the Queen left orders that she was to be buried either at Windsor or Westminster, and that the body of Queen Katharine, her mother, should also be brought thither. They have not yet decided which place it shall be, but the new Queen, wishes it to be done with all solemnity.—London, 21st November 1558.
2. The Same to the Same.
After writing the enclosed the post despatched by your Majesty on the 15th arrived with three letters, but that for the Queen, now in heaven, did not come.
The Queen decided three days ago to send Lord Cobham to your Majesty. He is the son of the Lord Cobham whom you knew and who recently died. They told me nothing about it until yesterday when Secretary Cecil sent to say that Cobham was going and had been ordered to visit me before he left. This he did last evening but the object of his going is only to inform your Majesty formally of what has occurred. He has no place in the Queen's household and he and his brother have not enjoyed a good reputation, but have always been adherents of the new Queen and she is attached to him. Your Majesty should have him well housed and treated, and a handsome chain or something should be given to him. I have written to my brother-in-law asking him to entertain him and to win his good graces. They tell me they are going to send someone else to the Emperor, but do not know yet who it will be. The day before yesterday the Queen came to a house of my Lord North, formerly a Carthusian monastery, close to the horse market, and the whole of London turned out and received her with great acclamations. They tell me her attitude was more gracious to the common people than to others. She will not go to the Tower till next week. I sent the Admiral's wife to visit her and she returned me a very gracious reply. I think of seeing her tomorrow or the day after and shall be glad to receive your Majesty's letter with the credit, for without that it is hopeless to try to cajole these people. I beg your Majesty to send me Don Juan de Ayala or the bishop of Aquila, as I am a bad hand at negotiating without a tender. There is great rejoicing amongst the common people and young folks and those who were persecuted for heresy or treason, but others are not so pleased, as I hear. Dasonleville writes to your Majesty, and I have told him to continue to do so as your Majesty will be glad sometimes to hear what he has to say, and he will be gratified by it. Don Alonso de Cordova will go as soon as possible. I will not detain him now that some of my own people have arrived. They tell strange stories of the bad treatment they were subjected to on the road from Dover hither. I note what your Majesty says about the ship "Minona" which went to the Mina and also about recovering the artillery and goods taken by the English out of the Portuguese ship "Raposa". I will attend to it as a thing that so interests your Majesty, but I understand this "Minona" business is a very dangerous one to touch. The ship sailed when Howard was admiral, and he must have been paid to let her go, and although they said she was going to Barbary her real destination was known all along and some of the Council were in the secret, as I heard from Figueroa when your Majesty wrote to him about it in April last. The Queen, now in heaven, ordered steps to be taken in the matter, but it all ended in smoke, for in fact the English deeply resented being interfered with in this navigation, and what was done was only out of respect for your Majesty. The Queen herself consented with an ill grace and the Council with a worse grace still as some of them were mixed up in the affair. Nevertheless I will do what I can, though I am unwilling to open up claims which will offend these people or rather which they will refuse.
I think it will be well for your Majesty to have all the treaties between the late Emperor and King Henry and of your own marriage well looked into to see whether any of them are binding on heirs and successors in England, especially that of 1542. M. D'Arras (fn. 5) and the Flemings think that heirs and successors are included in that treaty.
Paget told your Majesty two years ago that they were not, but I in conversation with the Councillors separately, and once when they were together, told them they were obliged by the old treaties to declare war when they did, without going into particulars, and I pointed it out again receently, but I have always avoided stirring the matter up before Paget. It would be very convenient if these people were bound by treaty. I have copies of all the treaties here, but as they are in French I do not understand them well. If your Majesty wishes Dasonleville could go over them with me so that I might understand them better, but I do not show them to him until I know your Majesty's pleasure, recognising the undesirability of opening the eyes of the Flemings in view of possible contingencies.
I have just learned that the Queen decided yesterday to send Sir Thomas Chaloner to the Emperor. He is a gentleman who in time of King Edward was one of the three secretaries of the Council, and when troops were being raised a year since to succour Calais he went as commissary to Dover, where I saw him. He is a man of a little over forty, and speaks Latin, Italian and French well. Neither the Queen or Council has sent word to me about it.
The bishop of Ely was dean of the Chapel, which is an office of high honour here, but the Queen has taken it away from him, and given it to an elder brother of Peter Carew (Pedro Caro) who is archdeacon of Exeter (I am not sure that I am quite right about the name of this church). He was married in time of King Edward, but his wife is dead. They tell me he is neither learned nor wise.
Although the Chancellor the Lord Treasurer and Privy Seal have been received into the Council, they have not been confirmed in their offices. Lord Robert, the Master of the Horse, is in the Council. A Mr. Rogers (fn. 6) has been made vice-chamberlain. He was a servant of King Henry and they say he is a soldier.
They say that last year the Treasurer, without orders from the Queen, had the tomb over King Henry's grave removed, and left it bare, and this summer secretary Boxall, who is the dean, when he returned from the feast of St. George there (Windsor), told the Queen of it, whereupon she was very angry, according to him, but things remained as they were. The new Queen has however ordered the tomb to be restored as before, and even better. I am very much afraid that if the Queen do not send her obedience to the Pope or delay doing so, or if he should take into his head to recall matters concerning the divorce of King Henry there may be a defect in the succession of this Queen which will help to upset the present state of things here more than anything else. Your Majesty will consider whether it will be well to write to Rome and in some good way get the Pope sounded about it to see whether he will act. I think your Majesty ought to do it.—25th November 1558.
3. Count de Feria to Gonzalo Perez.
Last night I despatched a courier with a long letter to the King to accompany Lord Cobham. I send the present to catch him as I have since heard that they are ordering Lord Cobham to go direct to Cercamp to bear a new commission to the earl of Arundel and his colleagues, as their old commission expired with the death of the Queen. It will be well to advise our Commissioners to keep their eyes on these Englishmen, in case this should be some trick to our detriment, as I was told nothing about his going to Cercamp till he had gone.—London, 26th November 1558.