Simancas: May 1559

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: May 1559', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 64-78. British History Online [accessed 28 May 2024].

. "Simancas: May 1559", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 64-78. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024,

. "Simancas: May 1559", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 64-78. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024,

May 1559

8 May. 30. The King to the Count de Feria.
By your letter of 29th ultimo I have learnt the steps you have taken with the Queen in conformity with our instructions to make known to her the danger and peril in which she is placing herself and her realm by wishing to alter the religion as she is doing. All you said to her was so much to the point and in such good terms that if she had not been obstinate and hardened in her opinion it would have sufficed to persuade and convince her of her error. Since however neither this nor other previous efforts have made her recognize it and look out for herself and her interests, and I have done my part in fulfilling what was due to the brotherhood and friendship I have for the Queen in trying sincerely to remedy the evil ; and seeing also the last reply given to you and the small hope it gives of any satisfactory result (to my great sorrow) as Parliament was so near closing, I think your departure will be very opportune when the Parliament rises. As you point out, it will be a great alarm to the heretics and will make the Catholics understand that your long stay has been principally on account of religious affairs, and the excuse of your being one of the persons named to go as my hostages to France for the conclusion of peace is a very good one so far as the Queen is concerned. (fn. 1) As soon therefore as Parliament ends you can take leave of the Queen and come here, delivering to her the letter I enclose you for the purpose, and whose tenor you will see by the copy, assuring her from me that if I can serve her in any way I shall be very glad if she will let me know how by you. You will try to leave her in as good humour as possible, managing this with your great tact and prudence as usual better than you can be told from here. Do not fail however to speak to her about religious affairs if you see it is of any avail.
When you go to take leave of the Queen you will take with you the bishop of Aquila and present him to her saying (as I write to her also) that I have appointed him to reside at her court as my ambassador and am sure she will be pleased to treat with him as he possesses so many good qualities, and beg her that on your departure she will give him gracious audience whenever he desires it and entire faith and credit in all he may propose or say on my behalf. You will leave the Bishop well advised of all you may think necessary and order him to continue and carry forward the affairs you had commenced, giving us due advice of what he does in this respect and other details of what occurs there as you have done, and I write him to this effect by enclosed letter. A separate letter of credence only will be sent to him for the first matter in which, after your departure he may have to present himself to the Queen, as I think that will suffice for the present. I will have a proper salary appointed for him and will shortly resolve the other points concerning him, and will send you advice in another letter.
As regards the marriage of the Queen with one of the archdukes my cousins the person who was to be sent by the Emperor to negotiate it has not arrived, but he cannot tarry much longer, and I shall be glad for you to employ all the good offices you find possible in order to leave the matter in a fair way. When you happily arrive here I shall be pleased to have your opinion as to the points to be considered in this business.
If in fact steps have not been taken to prevent the voyage of the two ships which were being fitted out for the island of Madeira you will again speak to the Queen and Council about them as you see fit. If no conclusion is arrived at before your departure the Bishop must take care to follow it up.
Respecting the insults offered there to our vassals and the confiscation of their goods against the tenor of our safe-conducts we have ordered Dr. Emery (Emereo), who has come about it to be heard and the documents sent by you to be examined, and after deciding what is to be done, the Bishop shall be duly advised as you will have already left. In the meanwhile no harm can be done by keeping the matter in hand and soliciting redress by every course which appears desirable.
If Cardinal Pole's apology has not already been given to you, which you say they were to seek in his trunk of papers, I shall be pleased for you to get them to use diligence in finding it, and you can bring it with you if it can be got before you leave, and if not the Bishop must look after it.
In regard to your desire to know my will about your demeanour towards the son of the constable of France and Monsieur de Noailles I have only to say that I approve of what you had decided to do, namely to send and receive them and invite them to your lodgings as, for reasons you point out, it is very desirable that they and others should see that you treat them as friends.
By your letter of 18th ultimo we see the details of the various persons and servants of ours to whom you had paid their dues, which was well done, and as regards to what you say about paying off all the small folk and giving nothing more to the (paper torn) no use I leave you to do as you think most advisable. You will order the Chamberlain to be paid all that is owing of his wages and for the sable cloak which he claims to receive every year, you will pay him thirty pounds for each one he should have received, which was the arrangement made with him.
You will also pay what is owing of the rent of the house where my mules were kept according to the statement sent herewith signed by Diego Maldonado.
Postscript : (In the handwriting of Philip II.) About dismissing the small folk and paying them off, do as you say. Do not give any more to the principal people, and when you arrive we will see what is advisable to be done. For any good they are at present I do not see any reason for giving them pensions or anything else.
Signed : I the King.—Brussels, 8th May 1559.
10 May 31. Count de Feria to the King.
On the 29th ultimo I wrote to your Majesty and have not received any letter from your Majesty since.
The news here is that Parliament closed the day before yesterday, Monday, and the Queen having confirmed what had been adopted, which I wrote to your Majesty, she now remains governess of the Anglican church. The Bishops and others who are considered Catholics are as firm as on the first day, and the bishop of Ely has honoured himself in the sight of God and the world, for the Catholics did not hold him in high esteem, and the heretics tried to gain him over by presents, but he determined to remain a good Catholic and an honest man. It is a great pity to see what is going on here. From Easter they will begin to say all the service everywhere in English, and they have already commenced to do so in the Queen's chapel. They tell me that everything is worse even than in the time of king Edward. Lord Chamberlain Howard spoke in Parliament very differently from what he gave signs of when the Queen first succeeded. All was to the effect that it was right that the Queen's wish should be complied with as they were all her subjects, and she could very well be head of the church, as king Henry and king Edward had been.
I am told, although I am not very certain, that the bishop of Ely replied to him that this was not at all what he had heard him say before your Majesty's Commissioners and those of the king of France. In short, what can be said here to your Majesty is only that this country after thirty years of a government such as your Majesty knows, has fallen into the hands of a woman who is a daughter of the devil and the greatest scoundrels and heretics in the land. She is losing the regard of the people and the nobles, and in future will lose it still more now that they have brought the question of religion to an end. They make difficulties about giving licence to Catholics who want to leave the country. In the presence of the Queen the acting chancellor (fn. 2) told the Bishops that none of them were to go their houses without permission. They leave themselves in the hands of God. They are excellent men, and have borne themselves bravely and piously. I am much surprised to see the harmony and understanding that exist amongst the godly who up to the present have shown no signs of wavering, and this makes me think that if there is to be a struggle it will be more hellish than ever. The saying of the service in English and the abolition of the Mass passed by three votes in the upper house, although the Bishops and some of the principal men opposed it strongly ; it is all roguery and injustice. The Catholics are in a great majority in the country and if the leading men in it were not of so small account things would have turned out differently. It is quite impossible that the present state of affairs can last.
I have not heard that anything more has been done on the other side about the marriage of the Archduke and not even what your Majesty had arranged in the business. I want the matter pressed so as to make this woman show her hand. Sometimes I think she might consent to it, and at other times that she will not marry and has some other design. Pickering arrived here on the night of Ascension Day and has been much visited by the Queen's favourites. She saw him secretly two days after his arrival, and yesterday he came to the palace publicly and remained with her four or five hours. In London they are giving 25 to 100 that he will be king. They tell me Lord Robert is not so friendly with him as he was, and I believe that on the first day that the Queen saw him secretly Lord Robert did not know of it, as he had gone hunting at Windsor. If these things were not of such great importance and so lamentable some of them would be very ridiculous.
They are now making fewer presents to the Swedish ambassador, and he is still very constant in giving great gifts to the Queen and her adherents, in order to try and forward the marriage with his master.
The Lord Chamberlain left for France yesterday, and Lord Strange and another lad called Lord Ferrars (Feris) still go with him, notwithstanding what the Queen told me on the matter, as I wroto to your Majesty on the 29th instant. No more truth is to be found here. They tell me that Wotton is to go with him as well, but I do not know for certain.
The son of the Constable did not leave Paris when I wrote to your Majesty, as has since appeared. There are to come with him a knight of the order, who has been governor of Metz, (fn. 3) and M. Noailles to remain as ambassador.
The fleet with cloth and other goods which leaves here for Flanders has already sailed. I am assured that it carries 30,000 cloths more than ever went before. There are altogether 85,000 or 90,000 cloths, besides other goods. I have already written to your Majesty what I think on this matter, and since your Majesty has shown so much liberality and goodness to these people and so little has come of it, as we have seen, it is only waste of time to pursue further the same course, unless to lose more by it.
Your Majesty's archers came to-day with the enclosed claim. I beg your Majesty to say what answer is to be given to them.
I forgot to write to your Majesty that on St. George's Day they gave the Order to four gentlemen, and two vacancies remain to be filled up. Those who received it were the duke of Norfolk, the marquis of Northampton, who had it before he was attainted, the earl of Rutland, and Lord Robert. Bedford was much aggrieved that they did not give it to him. He is not such a favourite as was thought. The secretary (Cecil) Bacon, the treasurer of the household, and Lord Robert rule everything.
It is to be supposed that when the Pope knows what has happened he will proceed against the Queen and people here, and it would be of great importance for him to be informed that in the time of Henry VIII. the whole Parliament consented without any contradiction whatever, except from the bishop of Rochester (Rofense) and Thomas More, whereas now not a single ecclesiastic has agreed to what the Queen has done and of the laymen in the lower chamber, and in the upper some opposed on the question of schism, and a great many opposed the heresies.
It is very important that the Pope should except the Catholics from excommunication, both to confirm and uphold them, and also because it is not just that the godly should suffer from the faults of the wicked, and your Majesty owes them this diligence with the rest.
I will try to get a copy of the bull that was pronounced against king Henry and his kingdom, as, in it no one was excepted, and it will be a great consolation for the Catholics now to know that they are excepted. It is true that, legally, they say they would not be comprised, but everybody does not know this. The heretics will be greatly annoyed at it.
Document endorsed : "Copy of letter written to his Majesty 10th May 1859 from the Count de Feria."
10 May.
Simancas, B.M. MS., Add., 26,056.
32. The Bishop of Aquila to the Duke of Alba.
By the Count's letter to the King you will see the state of things here which is the most miserable that can be conceived. At eight o'clock on Monday the Queen went to Parliamentiand exactly confirmed what they had adopted as they read it from a book. She only left open for consideration the clause where she is to take the title of head of the Church and for the present only assumes the style of "Governor." This is said to have been done on the ground that she may marry and her husband might then take the title. It is only a question of words as "governor" and "head" after all mean the same thing.
Yesterday they took the sacrament away from the palace chapel and some sort of mass was performed in English, as they are doing in many parish churches. The Bishops are ordered not to leave London without the Queen's consent. They say the oath will at once be proffered to them which they will not take, and that they will thereupon be all deprived at one blow, and the new Bishops put in their seats. The decree is to the effect that any person who shall oppose the doctrine prescribed by the Queen shall lose his patrimonial property (salaries and ecclesiastical revenues being confiscated for a refusal to take the oath) for the first offence, and the second offence is punishable by death. An infinite number of people would leave the country if they would let them, which they will not, and I am not sure whether they are wise in this.
The earl of Sussex pronounced an harangue in the upper house exhorting the Queen to uphold this law, and saying how vain would be all their efforts if the new enactment were not kept inviolate.
One of the members of the lower house compared the Queen to Moses, saying that she had been sent by God to lead the people out of bondage.
The heretics of our own times have never been such spoilt children of the devil as these are, and the persecutors of the early church were surely not impious enough to dare to pass such unjust acts as these. To force a man to do a thing whether he likes it or not has at all events some form, however unjust, but to force him to see a thing in the same light as the King sees it is absurd, and has no form either just or unjust ; and yet such is the ignorance here that they pass such a thing as this. Religion here now is simply a question of policy, and in a hundred thousand ways they let us see that they neither love nor fear us.—London, 10th May 1559.
24 May. 33. From the Bishop of Aquila (fn. 4) to the King.
I received your Majesty's letter of the 8th instant, ordering me to remain here for your Majesty's service, following the instructions to be given to me by the count de Feria. The latter took me to the Queen, who received me graciously, and promised to hear willingly whatever I had to say on your Majesty's behalf, and I will take care, as your Majesty orders me, to advise you fully of all that happens here.
With regard to present events and state of affairs in this country, the count will be able to inform your Majesty direct, and I have now only humbly to salute your Majesty in gratitude for deigning to make use of my services. Here and elsewhere I will employ my best efforts to succeed in fulfilling my instructions with the care, fidelity, and diligence which I am bound to display in your Majesty's service.—London, 24th May 1559.
29 May.
Simancas, B.M. M.S., Add. 26,056a.
34. The Bishop of Aquila to Count de Feria.
The Emperor's ambassador came to this house, and was so determined to stay that there was no resisting him, and the countess (of Feria) was good enough to lodge him in the rooms that I occupied. He hears more masses than his master. He and I had audience to-day as I thought better we should go together. He was dismissed very blankly at first, but the business was set on foot again, and with at least some hope that they will think of it. They will not hear Ferdinand's name mentioned. They have no doubt heard that he is not of their way of thinking. They say Charles has a head bigger than that of the earl of Bedford.
The Queen says that she has taken a vow to marry no man whom she has not seen, and will not trust portrait painters and a thousand other things of the usual sort. They are very anxious to please us, and say that if it were not for the impediment of relationship the other affair would have been brought off. I answer them fittingly, and we are quite harmonious. It is now decided that a committee of the Council is to discuss the matter with us. This ambassador does exactly as he is told, neither more nor less, and he is quite a good fellow, but this must surely be the first negotiation he ever conducted in his life. The Queen sent Hunsdon, her cousin, to see him to-day, and they make much of him. We shall see how it will end.—London, 29th May 1559.
30 May. 35. The Bishop of Aquila to the King.
The Count de Feria has left here, and Montmorency who arrived on the same day, Tuesday, went to visit the Queen next day. On Thursday, Corpus Christi, he went to the palace to take the oath from the Queen. The latter seated herself near the altar and ordered Montmorency and the others to sit by her. Several prayers and psalms were said in English and the terms were then read although the Queen ordered many of them to be passed over as she said she was well informed about them. When they were finished she and Montmorency rose and advanced to the altar, where he took a bible which was resting on it and asked the Queen whether she was willing to swear the observance of these terms as the King his master was to do that very day before her ambassadors. She answered with both her hands resting on the book that she would do so. and a great deal more in proof of her friendship with his King. They dined and supped there that day, and the usual rejoicings took place, and on the following day they went to worship. On this day three of the hostages arrived, the fourth, who was the Provost of Paris, having been wounded in a quarrel with his father-in-law, as Cecil told me. making a joke of it I do not know why. On the following Saturday after dinner Montmorency took them to the palace, where the Queen received them in the first chamber and they took the usual oath. Yesterday, Sunday, those who had to leave departed, the ambassador Noailles and the three hostages remaining behind. I do not think they went very well pleased, and are less so now as I hear they went rather beyond the bounds on both sides and there were some squabbles amongst the servants in the palace, but of no great importance. The Catholics here murmur greatly that Montmorency should have been present at the solemnity and ceremonies with which the oath was presented, since, if the oath were not to be taken with the formalities of the Catholic church it might have been administered in a room without any religious solemnities at all. If they had done so and he had given more thought to religion he would not have lost anything here in my opinion, but they have conducted themselves in a very boyish manner.
On Friday morning Baron Rabenstayn, the Emperor's ambassador, arrived here and came to lodge in this house, which belongs to the count de Feria, where all honour and good treatment are shown him. He besought an audience through Challoner and the lords of the Council and I solicited audience for myself to accompany him and give him what aid I could as your Majesty commands in your letter of 17th instant. We were received on Sunday at one and found the Queen very fine in her presence-chamber looking on at the dancing. She kept us there a long while and then entered her room, and I presented your Majesty's letter and asked her agreeably with what had previously been said on your Majesty's behalf, to consider how suitable in all respects would be her marriage with a son of the Emperor, with which object the ambassador came, and I begged her to hear him and decide the matter with the prudence and wisdom which God had given her, and which were so great that I had no doubt she would easily discern how advisable such a match would be. I did not name the archduke, because, as I suspected, she would reply excluding both of them, I did not wish to give her an opportunity of doing so. She at once began, as I feared, to talk about not wishing to marry and wanted to reply in that sense, but I cut short the colloquy by saying that I did not seek an answer and only begged of her to hear the ambassador and reply to him when she thought proper. I then stood aside a little and left her alone with the German. Whilst he was with her I took Cecil apart and talked to him about this business and others to see what he would say. I understood from him, although not by his words, that the Queen would refuse the match with one of the Emperor's sons, thinking that the archduke Ferdinand would be proposed, as he is only one that these people have any knowledge of and they have quite made up their minds that he would upset their heresy. He then began to relate the various offers of marriage that had been made, and wanted to draw me out about some of them, such as that of the duke de Nemours and those of Englishmen. I told him my dispassionate judgment of them, and it ended in his wanting to satisfy me about your Majesty's offer. He said that if had not been for the impediment of affinity the Queen would have married your Majesty, but the matter involved religious questions such as the dispensory power of the Pope, which it would be fruitless now to discuss as the offer had fallen through. I purposely avoided answering him although really I was glad to have the opportunity of talking over these matters with him to dissipate the suspicion which I think he and his friends have that they have incurred your Majesty's anger by their change of religion. I therefore answered him without any reproach or complaint, and only said that what had been done in the kingdom certainly seemed to me very grave, severe and ill-timed, but that I hoped in God, and, if He would some day give us a council of bishops (Concilio) or a good Pope who would reform the customs of the clergy, and the abuses of the court of Rome, which apparently had scandalized the provinces, all the evil would be remedied and God would not allow so noble and christian a nation as this to be separated in faith from the rest of Christendom to its grave peril. With regard to your Majesty's marriage I said that God had ordered all for the best in this great and weighty matter, and I then turned the conversation again to the marriages. He told me the Queen had been informed that the Archduke had a head larger than that of the earl of Bedford, and was unfit to govern, and other things showing rather more openly than hitherto a desire that the Queen should marry. The ambassador here ended his interview with the Queen, quite despairing of the business, but dismissed with great complements and polite phrases. When I saw this I returned to her and asked her pardon, but said your Majesty's earnest desire to see this marriage brought about made me bold, as I had good reason to be, and I begged her to consider that in a matter of this gravity touching the welfare and tranquillity of their kingdoms and those of their neighbours kings and queens could not always follow their own desires to the prejudice of those of their subjects without doing great wrong and grievous sin, and therefore she should not consult her own inclination about her marriage but should look at the ruin that would come to her country by her doing so. I said that when she had resolved how to act in this case she should treat of her intention frankly and sincerely with the Emperor in order that no cause of offence should be given to him. She knew, I said, how honestly and kindly the worthy Germans negotiated and should, in order to come to a proper decision, truly inform herself of what it behoved her to know, as I heard that they had represented the archduke to her as a young monster and the contrary of what he is, for although both brothers were comely, this one who was offered to her now was the younger and more likely to please her than the other who had been spoken of before. I thought best to speak in this way as I had understood in my talk with Cecil that it was Ferdinand they dreaded, and I wanted to see how she would answer about the other one and so to clear the ground and find out whether all this means a desire not to marry at all or simply to avoid a Catholic husband which in my opinion is the principal object of the Queen and her associates in heresy. She was all attention at this and asked me of whom I was speaking. I told her the younger brother and not Ferdinand, of whom the Emperor thought he could not avail himself for this purpose, whereas Charles possessed extremely good and fitting qualities which I recounted at length. She was a long while demurring and doubting and telling me she was sure I was mistaken as they had spoken toher only of Ferdinand. When she was quite satisfied about this by your Majesty's letter (whereat, as I thought, she was pleased) she went back again to her nonsense and said she would rather be a nuo than marry without knowing with whom and on the faith of portrait painters. We continued at this for some time wasting words and at last she said she was resolved not to marry except to a man of worth whom she had seen and spoken to, and she asked me whether I thought the archduke Charles would come to this country that she might see him. I said that I could well believe that he would do so willingly, young man as he was, but I thought his father would not consent to it, not on account of the danger of which there was none, but for his own dignity's sake, and that of the business itself. She repeated this several times. I do not know whether she is jesting, which is quite possible, but I really believe she would like to arrange for this visit in disguise. I turned it to a joke and said we had better discuss the substance of the business which was after all the "yes" or "no" as to her own wishes, and that with regard to her satisfaction with the individual, I would undertake that he would not displease her, and that the archduke had everything to gain by showing himself.
Finally it was settled that she should call the German back again and tell him that at my prayer she was pleased to depute some of her Council to hear his proposal and to give her their advice, although she was resolved not to trust painters, but was determined to see and know the man who was to be her husband. We thereupon left ; the German very well pleased that the affair had been set on foot again after he had been, as he thought dismissed. On Monday at three we were summoned and were listened to by the earls of Pembroke, and Bedford, the Admiral, treasurer Parry, Bacon and Cecil. The ambassador spoke to them according to his instructions, and they answered that they would refer and discuss the matter with the Queen, showing pleasure at the proposal. I told them afterwards also that I thought they should know before discussing it how great would be the satisfaction of your Majesty if the marriage could be brought about, both on account of the Queen's own happiness and the welfare of her subjects, and also in the interest of the lasting alliance and union between your Majesty and her which this marriage would tend to perpetuate. They answered me very civilly at great length and appeared to give much importance to this aspect of the question, more indeed than to any other, and we then left on their assurance that they would inform us of the Queen's pleasure later on. We shall see what she answers, and I will send a courier at once.
It seems to me that this ambassador has instructions to take no notice of religious matters and is willing to let them do as they like. The evil of this is not in saying it, but in doing it, and on this I need not enlarge, but only advise your Majesty of it.
He tells me that some of these people have asked him whether it is true that certain differences exist between your Majesty and the Emperor, and he has told them that it is not. If he had said it was true I do not think he would have lost anything by it.
Pickering entertains largely and is very extravagant. (fn. 5) He himself always dines apart with music playing. He asked after the ambassador on the day he arrived, and said the Queen would laugh at him, and all the rest of them as he (Pickering) knew she meant to die a maid.
Robert is as highly favoured as usual. The Swedish ambassador was summoned the other day by the Queen who told him she wished to show her gratitude to his master who had sought her in the day of her simplicity, and asked him to tell her whether his ambassadors were coming as she was being pressed with other marriages. They are constantly getting presents out of him in this way.
On Sunday last they had a procession of the holy sacrament in Canterbury, in which there were 3,000 people and many worthy people of the country round.
Whilst I was writing this letter a German here called Dr. Martin came to speak to the ambassador, sent by the earl of Bedford and others of the Council to say that they were very well pleased with the proposal he made yesterday, but they will not remain so if the name of archduke Ferdinand is mentioned as they know he is very bad and a persecutor of those who follow the gospel. The ambassador says he answered that if he was to tell the truth he could not deny what they said, and for that reason the Emperor had thought that Charles would be more suitable in this country as he was more peaceable and docile and would be more easily directed by the Emperor in matters tending to the welfare of the kingdom. I told him (the ambassador) that he had answered wisely because these wicked ones have to be answered according to their wickedness. The Swedish ambassadors are expected here very shortly. After I had written thus far this afternoon the Queen sent for this German ambassador and he went alone, which I thought was best as she might want, as she did, to speak to him about religion. He says she plied him with a thousand silly stories. She said one thing, however, that I think was meant for a hint, although he did not understand it. It was that one of her fools told her that it was current in London that the gentleman who acted as the ambassador's chamberlain was really the archduke Charles who had come thus in order to see the Queen. In my opinion this only meant that the archduke might come in this fashion to see and be seen which she hinted to me last Sunday. She does not want the ambassador to leave, but to write to the Emperor and await the reply which he has promised to do ; she writing as well. With regard to the coming of other ambassadors she said she could not promise to settle anything, but would be willing to discuss with them any matter he wished.
With respect to the Archduke's coming here, which is her usual topic, he (the ambassador) tells me she says he had better not give his master so much trouble in order to see so ugly a lady as she, and when he asked her whether she wished him to write this she told him certainly not on her account as she did not mean to marry.
This good man, however, who is not the most crafty person in the world, says he thinks she is willing. After spending a good while on this chat she turned to the subject of the Emperor and his sons, and said she heard that the Emperor was a virtuous, just and worthy prince, and that Maximilian was a noble and christian gentleman and a lover of the true religion. She heard that Ferdinand was only fit to pray to God for his father and brothers as he was so strong a Catholic, which she laughed at, but that she knew nothing about Charles, and then she waited to hear what the ambassador would answer. He says he replied that the archduke Charles was a very worthy gentleman and an obedient son, and he therefore had never departed from the path in which his father had put him, but he nevertheless was a man of knowledge and would be able to govern his subjects well. I see the ambassador is somewhat embarrassed at this point, as indeed I am myself to hear his account of the conversation. For my part I believe he opened out a good deal more than he tells me, and, as I have said twice, in affairs of this description I do not condemn words but only intentions and acts as great good may be done, and if it fail to be done great harm may come of it. This ambassador up to the present is very straightforward with me and does not depart from the course he is advised to pursue. I do not know whether when Bedford sees him to-morrow he will advise him to avoid my company. I have warned him that he may do so. He appears to be very pleased with the way things have gone up to the present and with the good offices of your Majesty to his master to whom he will write in three or four days.
Although what your Majesty has often heard from the Count de Feria in respect to the marriage is no doubt highly probable, yet I cannot help thinking that, so clearly is the need for her to marry being daily more understood by herself and her advisers, notwithstanding her disinclination to say yes, I need not despair of her listening to the proposal, at all events until other ambassadors arrive to engage the attention of her advisers, for afterwards she will not scruple to serve them in the same way she is serving this one. The whole business for these people is to avoid any engagement that will upset their wickedness. I believe that when once they are satisfied about this they will not be averse to Charles. I am not sure about her for I do not understand her. Amongst other qualities which she says her husband must possess is that he should not sit at home all day amongst the cinders, but should in time of peace keep himself employed in warlike exercises.—London, 30th May 1559.
36. From the Same to the Same.
By the Emperor's servant Martin Danda I informed your Majesty on the 6th instant of the news here up to that date. Since then it is said that the disturbances in Scotland between the Catholics and the heretics have somewhat calmed down owing to the Regent's (fn. 6) having punished some of the rioters, and having stayed some days in the town of St. John (Perth) making inquiries, and also in consequence of the capture or flight of the preacher Knox who had been the cause of the rising. These heretics here say nobody has been punished, but that tranquillity has been obtained by a general pardon from the Queen by accord of all parties. However that may be, these people are sorry it has turned out as it has and the Catholics pleased, as they think that what has happened there has been favourable to religion, and that the king of France is not so neutral as they make him out to be here, and he therefore has not lost anything in the esteem of the Catholics on that account. There has been a great rumour here this week that the Scots would not agree to the conditions made by this Queen with the king of France as regards the demolition of the frontier fortresses, and that the Queen Regent had answered the English Commissioners that as the English had changed their religion they need not think they were going to trust them or destroy the frontier fortresses, and the Queen Regent suspected that the disturbances had been fomented by the heretics here.
Although I have used all diligence I do not know whether I have found out the truth. The members of the Council here declare that in consequence of the tumults having taken place at the time the Scotch Commissioners were to meet to ratify the peace with the English the former could not attend, but that they have now advice that they have met again and peace will be concluded without fail. They try all they can to make light of the danger, but I have good reason to know that suspicion existed here, even on the part of the Queen, and still exists ; that these were merely delays and excuses to avoid doing what had been promised. They were already beginning to say in the Council that even if these fortresses were not demolished peace should still be concluded notwithstanding and alleging that it was of small importance as soon as the fortification of Berwick is finished and they despatched a courier to their ambassador in France on the subject. It is incredible the fear these people are in of the French on the Scotch border, and if they were not so confident of the impotence of the French king to make war upon them for many years to come owing to the many heretics they say there are in France, who they hope would harass him, they would certainly give themselves up for lost as they well know their own weakness, and the many adherents the Frenchman would have here as the legitimate heir and defender of religion. They have just begun to carry out the law against the Bishops, and have in fact deprived the bishop and dean of London, casting them out of their church, changing the services and doing away with the holy sacrament, which was done last Sunday the 11th instant. It appears now that they find a difficulty in giving legal form to this deprivation, as the doctors here say the Bishops cannot be deprived for disobeying this law, whose adoption and promulgation they have always opposed and resisted, alleging that it cannot be enforced according to the custom of the realm as it is made in opposition of the whole ecclesiastical body. They would not take this into consideration, as they ought to have done, before the Queen confirmed the Acts of Parliament, and it is thus clear that what they are now doing is through fear of disturbance in the country and of putting weapons in the hands of their enemies. I am assured that the majority of the Council are not pleased that this religious question has been carried so far and great division and confusion reign amongst them. The judges of England, as they are called, who have come here for the terms have refused to swear and have gone to their homes as they have not dared to press them about it. The same thing will happen to many others, and it is thought they will not dare to press anyone as they had intended. They say Bacon has begged the Queen to give the seal to someone else as he fears to hold it, but notwithstanding all this the Queen and her partizans are more steadfast than ever, and more determined to carry out this undertaking. The number and constancy of the Catholics however frighten them, because they see that they have not been able to gain over a single man of them either with promises, threats, or by any other means. They have offered the archbishop of York all his revenue, and will not administer the oath to him on condition that he consents to the appointment of heretic vicar-general, but neither he nor others to whom similar offers have been made have consented. This confused state of things still exists, and I do not know how it will be settled as there are difficulties in depriving them (the bishops) and if they do not deprive them no one will execute the Queen's command nor change the religion of their churches as they are Catholic ministers.
The French ambassador has refused to let the subjects of his king pay the duties newly imposed, but only those which were paid formerly before the war broke out, nor will he consent that those who go backward or forward between France and Scotland shall be called upon to show what money they carry or be searched, or that they should pay anything for the passport they obtain. These people here feel these matters keenly, but put up with them all, and pretend to make light of them, so as not to attract the notice of their neighbours, and on the other hand they are grieved to hear from Italy that if it were not for your Majesty the Pope would proceed against the Queen. It is wonderful how maliciously they stand aloof from any of your Majesty's affairs, and how they put the worst construction upon everything that is done for them.
The emperor's ambassador is very delighted and is in high favour with the Queen in appearance. She makes her intimates think that she is favourable to the archduke's affair, and her women all believe such to be the case, as do the people at large, but there is really no more in it than there was the first day, and I believe for my part that she is astutely taking advantage of the general opinion to reassure somewhat the Catholics who desire the match and to satisfy others who want to see her married and are scandalised at her doings.
She has told the ambassador how earnestly your Majesty has endeavoured to bring about this marriage with the archduke.
She has just given 12,000l. to Lord Robert as an aid towards his expenses.
The cloistered clergy here (religiosos) have all license to go and have already begun to depart. They are being given alms for the purpose in your Majesty's name. There has arrived here from Geneva a physician of Toledo, a great heretic. I do not know what sort of man he is only that he has come here to live, and was to go to-day to the palace to speak with the Queen. He says he has come to know God. The Flemish heretics are multiplying greatly. Whole families are coming with women and children, and their own preachers who are those that principally spread their wickedness. I do not know whether it would be advisable to take some steps in Flanders to let them know that they, at all events, are being looked after.—London, 19th June 1559.


  • 1. From this and subsequent references to the same subject it would appear that the choice of Feria as one of the Spanish hostages to France was a mere excuse, although contemporary diplomatists considered it a very deep move on the part of the French to free Elizabeth from the Count's influence in the matter of her marriage. See letter from Paolo Tiepolo to the Doge and Senate. Calendar of State Papers, Venetian, Vol. 7.
  • 2. Sir Nicholas Bacon.
  • 3. M. de Vielleville, knight of the Order of St. Michael and Governor of Mets.
  • 4. Don Alvaro de la Quadra was born in Naples of noble Spanish parents, and after a brilliant career in the ranks of the lower clergy, was consecrated bishop of Venosa in Naples, in 1542, which see he resigned in 1551. Two years afterwards Charles V. appointed him to the bishopric of Aquila in the kingdom of Naples. He continued for the rest of his life to discharge delicate and important missions for his sovereigns with the most exquisite diplomacy and tact. Shortly after his appointment as ambassador in England he resigned his see of Aquila, and thenceforward the style is gradually changed, as will be seen in the letters to "Bishop Quadra."
  • 5. "hace plato y gasta largo."
  • 6. Mary of Lorraine, queen dowager of Scotland, widow of James V.