Simancas: November 1566

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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, 'Simancas: November 1566', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 591-598. British History Online [accessed 22 May 2024].

. "Simancas: November 1566", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 591-598. British History Online, accessed May 22, 2024,

. "Simancas: November 1566", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 591-598. British History Online. Web. 22 May 2024,

November 1566

4 Nov. 388. The Same to the Same.
I have thanked the Queen for her congratulations at our Queen's confinement, and informed her of her Majesty's recovery from her severe illness afterwards ; and also for the disapproval and indignation she had expressed with regard to the disorders in Flanders. She replied graciously, and said, with regard to Flanders, she had always suspected that the affair must have a leader, as she had said on other occasions, and she was more pleased than she could say at the prospect of your Majesty's voyage to the States. As I wrote in mine of the 19th ult., this Queen is dissatisfied at what is being done in Parliament with regard to the succession, and that I felt sure that the gentlemen they call the Upper Chamber would meet jointly with the Lower, which represents the people, to petition the Queen. This, in fact, has been done without any dissentient vote, except that of the Lord Treasurer, who was heard unwillingly by the others.
The Queen was so angry, that she addressed hard words to the duke of Norfolk, whom she called traitor or conspirator, or other words of similar flavour. He replied that he never thought to have to ask her pardon for having offended her thus. Subsequently they tell me the Queen asserted that she addressed no such words to the Duke. The earls of Leicester and Pembroke, the marquis of Northampton, and the Lord Chamberlain, spoke to her on the matter, and Pembroke remarked to her that it was not right to treat the Duke badly, since he and the others were only doing what was fitting for the good of the country, and advising her what was best for her, and if she did not think fit to adopt the advice, it was still their duty to offer it. She told him he talked like a swaggering soldier, and said to Leicester that she had thought if all the world abandoned her he would not have done so, to which he answered that he would die at her feet, and she said that that had nothing to do with the matter. She said that Northampton was of no account, and he had better talk about the arguments used to enable him to get married again, when he had a wife living, instead of mincing words with her. With this she left them, and had resolved to order them to be considered under arrest in their houses. This she has not done, but she has commanded them not to appear before her. The other day, when they were all met together with the Duke, Sussex came to tell me what was going on,—although he did not tell me fully what the Queen had said, he informed me generally that she was greatly annoyed, and seeing the state in which affairs were, he begged me to advise the Queen to remedy matters by effecting her marriage, as he said she wished to do, taking that as an excuse for proroguing the Parliament for six months, until it was seen what could be done about the marriage. If she preferred to dissolve Parliament, she should pledge her word to some of the leaders that she would call them together again, shortly, in order that they might settle the business favourably, and do their duty by the people, because outside the Parliament discussion was not free. I believe the Earl came at the request of all of them, as they, no doubt, wish to come well out of it, now that they have opened up the question of the succession, and are trying to maintain their own reputation with the people, and satisfy the Queen at the same time. I told him I would use all my efforts, as the matter was so important, both for the Queen and the country, that a right solution should be arrived at.
After having told the Queen what your Majesty ordered, as I have already stated, she, with the confidence she usually shows in me, began to speak upon the subject, complaining greatly of all of them, and particularly of Leicester. She asked me what I thought of such ingratitude from him, after she had shown him so much kindness and favour, that even her honour had suffered for the sake of honouring him. She was glad, however, of so good an opportunity of sending him away, and the Archduke might now be quite free from suspicion.
She also complained greatly of Sussex, and all the rest of them, saying that they had abandoned her, and were all against her but the Treasurer, which had so angered her that she had railed at them. Since then, however, they had asked permission to speak to her, which she would grant, on condition that one, or two at most, only, came, and when Parliament was ended, which she thought to dissolve soon, she would well punish the others.
I told her she had done wisely in consenting to listen to them, and it would be better to do so one by one, so that she might get at their opinions more freely, and even have a better opportunity of persuading them. Since they had been assured of her intention to marry, she should so order things that they might be convinced of her sincerity in this, and in order to tranquillize them it would be well to close Parliament for some time, giving them to understand that it should only be suspended long enough to resolve about the marriage, and then as soon as they were separated, she could do as she liked. She said she thought well of this, but if she did not dissolve Parliament, but only prorogued it, the laws of the country would not allow her to punish them. When I pointed out to her that she might satisfy them with the assurance that she would summon another Parliament shortly if the marriage were not effected, she approved of this although she seemed to think it an affront to her dignity to adopt any compromise. I tried to persuade her that she lost nothing with the people by so doing, and it was better not to let them be dissatisfied, but to adopt some such honest measure of getting out of the difficulty. We conversed much upon this subject, and I tried to pacify her. Although she did not distinctly say she would do as I recommended, she said so in effect, and promised to listen to them one by one, and in this way she has now been reconciled to them. The next day Cecil sent to me to say that the Queen had given orders to this effect, and said that she had been pacified by my advice, and he thanked me greatly for it.
She dissembles, but she is still very angry with them, and they remain dissatisfied.
She is greatly incensed with her bishops, and on this point I helped her, although very cautiously that it might not look like bias, pointing out to her how ungrateful they are. She does not like them, although she pretends to, but she is not deceived.
Thirty members of the Upper Chamber and sixty of the Lower have been deputed to discuss the action that is to be taken with the Queen in the questions of marriage and the succession. They met together on the 2nd instant, Saturday, but did not decide anything. They say they will do so to-day, Monday. If anything is heard before the courier leaves, I will advise. Cecil sends to say he is sure everything will be favourably settled. I myself believe that the Queen will give them fair words, with regard to the marriage, and will defer the succession for a future time, and the whole matter will thus be quieted for the present.
I wrote to your Majesty that the Queen had summoned Captain Hawkins, respecting the ships which he had ready to send to Guinea and the Indies. He came and was ordered, as also was the other man they call Tenar, not to go to the places prohibited by your Majesty under grave penalties, and the Judge of the Admiralty was directed to treat in the same way the others who might wish to make a similar voyage. There were different opinions in the Council about it, but the Queen ordered it. It is very important, and if your Majesty thinks well it might be advisable to say a word to the Queen's Ambassador expressing thanks for her action in the matter.
News arrived here six days ago that the Queen of Scotland was dead or dying. This was brought by a courier who was going to France with the intelligence. On the 1st inst. another arrived advising her improvement. God give her health, for this would be a great misfortune at such a time. Her child has also been ill, but is now better. The Queen had made her will, leaving the prince in charge of her brother, the earl of Murray, to whom also was entrusted the principal part of the Government, jointly with the Council, and she enjoined them all to make no changes in religion, but to let all people live freely in accordance with their conscience, as she had ordered. There has been no news since. If she die, I feel sure that her recommendation with regard to religion will not be observed. She commended her child greatly to this Queen. No mention has been made of her husband, and it is not known whether he has seen her.
Since closing the above, I have heard that the Queen of Scotland's illness is a female complaint, which is called "Mal de madre," although it was stated to be a pain in the side.
11 Nov. 389. The Same to the Same.
The members of Parliament who had met, as I wrote your Majesty on the 4th inst., resolved the same day to petition the Queen by common consent to deal with the matter of the succession. She summoned them the next day to give them her reply, and made them a long speech, pointing out the dangers that might result therefrom to the peace and order of the country. This she enforced by examples, and said she was not surprised at the members of the Lower Chamber treating this matter like inexperienced schoolboys instead of as a matter of so great importance, but she marvelled greatly that the lords had concurred and joined them in such action. There were some of these lords, that when her sister was Queen came to her and offered help, urging her to endeavour to obtain the crown during her sister's life, and it might well be understood that if her successor were nominated there would be no lack of people to go on a similar errand to her to disturb the common peace, and if it was necessary she would say who these men were. Then turning to the Bishops who were present, she said, "And you doctors," (she did not call them Bishops) "who are so fond of making speeches on this subject, whilst some of you dared to say in past times, that the Queen, my sister, and I were bastards it would be much better if you looked after your own reformation, and gave a good example in your own lives and families, instead of interfering in such matters as this. The lords in Parliament ought to have shown you this, but since they have not done so, I will do it myself. I might well excuse myself from marrying in the face of pressure from all of you, but having in view the good of the country, I am determined to marry. It will be, however, with someone who will not please you, which has been partly my reason for avoiding it hitherto, but I will refrain no longer. Those who have shown most anxiety that I should marry, have helped me but little to do so now, because the man who is to be my husband is a foreigner, and will not think himself very safe in your hands, if I, your lawful Queen, am to be so thwarted, and I will not put up with it." The speech was a long one, but this was the substance of it gathered from a person who was present, and the Queen herself, who gave me a very detailed account of all that had passed, thanking me at the same time for the attachment I had shown to her at this juncture, and swearing she would never forget it. I replied that I merited no thanks for doing what your Majesty had expressly ordered me to do, and that I should serve her with as much zeal as I would my own master. She thanked me again very warmly for the kindness your Majesty has shown, which she returned to the best of her ability and good wishes.
She asked me if I had seen the earl of Leicester who has been ill, and what he had said about these affairs. I told her I had not seen him, because whilst he was not in her good favour, much as I liked him and the other lords, I thought it my duty that she should know that as your Majesty's minister, I was only attached to her.
She told me that many of them had asked pardon, saying they had no intention of offending her, but rather of serving her, seeing that the members of her Council who had spoken first, had requested that the matter of the succession should be taken in hand, but that they are quite willing to conform to her will. I told her I understood that the members of the Lower House, notwithstanding the answer given to them, again wanted to bring up the matter, and I was surprised at the rashness and insolence they exhibited, and how fond they were of their liberty, without thinking of the obedience due to their Sovereign. She is fully alive to this, but I always remind her of it on every occasion. She sometimes calls them the Protestant gentlemen. She said that I was right, but she had sent them an order not to discuss the matter under pain of punishment for disobedience, and that all had now obeyed. Cecil told me that the Queen could not avoid doing this, but I do not know if it will be sufficient to bridle the insolence of these heretics.
She spoke at length to me about the Archduke's match. News arrived here that he was killed in a battle, which they said, the Emperor had fought with the Turk, of so bloody a character, that although the Emperor had conquered, he has lost many troops, and amongst them the Archduke Charles and the duke of Ferrara. This came from so many quarters that it caused some anxiety, although the truth was soon known, as I had a letter from Chantonnay, written on the field two days after the date of this fiction. The Queen told me that the false news had obtained more credit from the fact that she, without knowing anything of it, had by chance dressed in black, which they thought was for mourning. I have repeated this to make clear the present position with regard to this marriage.
I asked the Queen if she had appointed anyone to send to the Emperor. She said that she should send the earl of Sussex, although she was not quite decided. She had not liked to send before, in order not to trouble the Emperor when he was in the field, but would do so in eight or ten days, and Cecil afterwards confirmed this. No one could go more fittingly than Sussex, if anything is to be done in the business, but I now only believe what I see.
The Queen of Scotland is well. Her husband has been to visit her and has returned. This Queen has sent to visit her, and written a long letter in her own hand. Three days ago the earl of Bedford left to go to the christening, and takes with him some of the Queen's gentlemen, of the stedfast ones, besides his own. The one idea in the choice of these courtiers was, that not one of them should be a Catholic, and of course there is no doubt about Bedford's men. A gentleman of the Queen's Chamber, named Somers, accompanies him and takes the font, which I said was to be sent for the ceremony. It is of gold and handsomely made. There is no news of the coming of the duke of Savoy's representative. He no doubt went by sea from Zealand.
The petition presented to Parliament by the Protestant Bishops respecting their confirmation, passed the Lower Chamber without opposition. In the Upper Chamber there were eleven votes against it, but it was passed with the proviso that only the acts which they had done in the discharge of their office were confirmed, excepting, however, all matters relating to life or property.
The exception with regard to matters affecting life is explained by the oath they demanded from Bonner, the good bishop of London, and others, and they say that this was the principal reason why they asked for a confirmation, although they gave out that it was for other reasons. They are sorry that an exception has been made as to their actions with regard to temporal property, as no definition has been given as to what property is especially referred to, and as they have not dealt fairly with their Church properties, they suspect that this is an attempt to bring them to book in the matter. This is not the case however, as I understand the intention is to prevent the loss of temporal goods by those who refuse the oath. The difficulty has been referred to the lawyers, and if they decide against the Bishops, the latter will request a fresh declaration from Parliament, which it is believed the Upper House will not give, as the wording of the clause has been fixed, and they do not usually alter what has already passed the House.
The Bill, as it is called, was opposed entirely by the earls of Sussex, Northumberland, Westmorland, Exeter, Montague, and Lords Morley, Morden, Dudley, Windsor, Darcy, and Cromwell. Sussex spoke very well on the subject, but the matter was not properly managed, as the Bishops themselves were present, which they ought not to have been in the discussion of their own affairs, and their presence no doubt influenced votes. There are 28 of them, and 35 lords. The Queen is being pressed not to assent to the Bill. She told me that she would assent to what was just and honest, and would not permit anything wrong. The ultimate resolution of Parliament will soon be known.
Last night a paper was thrown down in the presence chamber, containing in substance that Parliament had discussed the succession as it was necessary for the good of the country, and that if the Queen did not consent to the discussion, she would see some things she would not like.
From Ireland, they say, that Randolph was with 600 men on the frontier, but that nothing would be done as O'Neil had retired to his mountains.—London, 11th November 1566.
13 Nov. 390. The Same to the Same.
On the 11th inst. I wrote to your Majesty, giving an account of things here and what had been done in Parliament. The Queen, seeing that they were determined to carry on the discussion about the succession, sent them an order not to do so, but as after the order was written, it was understood that the members thought that during the sittings they had full liberty to treat upon matters beneficial to the country, they have greatly resented the order, and I am told that the Council have used their efforts with the Queen, to allow Parliament to discuss freely this and other matters, since the confirmation of their acts rests with her.
It appears that they claim the right to proceed in the appointment of a successor to the crown, and in this case, although the Scotch Queen has a large party in the House of Lords, it is thought that Catharine would have nearly all of the members of the Lower Chamber on her side. It seems therefore, that everything tends to disturbance, but I do not believe that the matter will be carried forward.
I wrote to your Majesty in the same letter, that the Queen is apparently better disposed towards the Archduke's business, and says she will despatch the earl of Sussex to the Emperor in seven or eight days.
I received to-day a letter dated the 1st inst., from the queen of Scotland by one of her servants who is on his way to France and Rome. He has been instructed to tell me that the Queen had heard that her husband had written to your Majesty, the Pope, the king of France and Cardinal Lorraine, that she was dubious in the faith, and asked me to assure your Majesty, that as regards religion she will never with God's help fail to uphold it with all the fervour and constancy which the Roman Catholic christian religion demands. That in the religion in which she was born and bred she will remain for ever, even though it may entail the loss of her crown and life, and she will postpone all things for its benefit. Although she has instructed this man to assure me verbally in the matter of the King her husband, she has in addition, written to me as regards her steadfastness in the faith, and her servant has shown me signed by the hand of the Queen, his instructions in this respect, and has himself confirmed it as an eye-witness, saying that when she was supposed to be on the point of death, she had fulfilled all the holy duties that the Catholic Church enjoins. She had confessed, had had Mass said before her by her almoner, that she might adore the Holy Sacrament, since her constant vomitings made it impossible for her to receive it herself, she had demanded extreme unction with pious devotion, although it was not necessary to administer it, and I believe from all that has ever been heard of the Queen, she is as faithful in religion as she professes to be. It seems to me, however, difficult to believe that her husband should have taken such a course, and it must be some French device to sow discord. They are a strange people. This man bears the Queen's order with consent of her lords for a Nuncio to go to Scotland, and to assure the Pope that the Prince will be baptised in the Roman Church.— London, 13th November 1566.
16 Nov. 391. The Same to the Same.
On the 13th, I wrote your Majesty by a courier on his way to France, but as I do not know whether Don Francés has received the letter, I send copy thereof herewith. The Queen having seen that Parliament persisted in discussing the succession, notwithstanding her orders, gave them a second intimation not to do so. The Lower Chamber appointed thirty more members to consider what course should be taken in the matter, but no resolution has yet been arrived at.—London, 16th November 1566.
25 Nov. 392. The Same to the Same.
Notwithstanding the Queen's orders to Parliament, respecting their discussion of the succession, and a more recent order that they should not even discuss her prohibitions, or enquire as to whether they were a violation of the privileges of Parliament, they have nevertheless been discussing this last prohibition, although it was thought they would not do so. I am told that the insolence of these heretics, and their hankering after liberty in everything, is greatly disgusting the Queen, and some people think that the pertinacity of Parliament in insisting on dealing with these matters will lead to disturbance, but as changes here are so continual, nothing can be said for certain, although appearances certainly tend to trouble.
I send to ask secretary Cecil what the Queen was doing about sending to the Emperor. He answered that the earl of Sussex had been ordered to hold himself in readiness for the voyage. To judge from appearances, the lords in the Upper House are united, and no difference of opinion is known to exist.
From Ireland there is nothing fresh of importance. The queen of Scotland came lately to visit the English frontier. She is well Last night, one of her courtiers arrived here, and brings news that the King is with his father, and is still on bad terms with the Queen, all else being harmonious. The 12th proximo has been fixed for the christening of the Prince, but no news has been received of anyone to represent the duke of Savoy.
Since writing the above, I have been informed that the Queen sent to Parliament to-day, saying, that notwithstanding the orders she had given for them not to discuss the succession, it was not her intention to deprive them of the freedom of speech, conferred by their privileges. It is believed that an arrangement has been made that they shall refrain from further considering the succession, and will content themselves with vindicating the freedom of Parliamentary discussion.
I have received letters from Cecilia, sister to the king of Sweden, and the Margrave of Baden, her husband, on certain private business they left with me here, and enclosing a letter to your Majesty. They offer service in case it should be necessary in Flanders. I reply fairly, both in view of eventualities, and because they are such near neighbours to the States, although, I believe the Margrave is not a Catholic, as his elder brother is, nor even so good a courtier as he might be, as his letter shows. He means well, apparently however, which is the thing to be considered in Germany.—London, 25th November 1566.