Simancas: December 1558

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: December 1558', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 7-21. British History Online [accessed 19 May 2024].

. "Simancas: December 1558", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 7-21. British History Online, accessed May 19, 2024,

. "Simancas: December 1558", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 7-21. British History Online. Web. 19 May 2024,

December 1558

14 Dec. 4. Count de Feria to the King.
The bishop of Aquila arrived here on the 7th, and the day before he sent me on the letters from Dover, so that I should not have to await news of my brother's health. He suffered greatly at sea, but I believe the tears of the earl of Arundel floated them into port, for he says the Earl cried like a child. I saw the Earl at the palace very smart and clean, and they say he carries his thoughts very high. A courier called Mendez whom I sent from here on the 25th November deserves punishment. He ought to have crossed with Lord Cobham, but went to sleep at Dover, and Cobham crossed without him. The other man who was sent on the 26th was more careful and crossed with Cobham. The day on which the Queen died I wished to send by land and sea, but could not as the earl of Arundel's servant who crossed over bore the orders to close the ports and to give him ships to bring his master over. I wrote nevertheless by Don Alonso de Cordova, but he was a half an hour too late, and although he offered them large sums to let him go they refused. I wrote the letter with great fears that they would take it from him, but I am glad your Majesty received mine of 21st, 25th and 27th, which answer some of your questions.
The bishop of Aquila seems to understand thoroughly the business of the Emperor and his sons, and your Majesty has certainly done me a great favour in sending him to me as he is a very discreet and virtuous man and may help me much.
As I understand from him, the Archduke Ferdinand is not a man very fit for this business, but if your Majesty does not wish for him I do not see whom we are to put forward.
It gives me great trouble every time I write to your Majesty not to be able to send more pleasing intelligence, but what can be expected from a country governed by a Queen, and she a young lass, who, although sharp, is without prudence, and is every day standing up against religion more openly? The kingdom is entirely in the hands of young folks, heretics and traitors, and the Queen does not favour a single man whom Her Majesty, who is now in heaven, would have received and will take no one into her service who served her sister when she was Lady Mary. On her way from the Tower to her house where she now is, she saw the marquis of Northampton, who is ill with a quartan ague, at a window, and she stopped her palfrey and was for a long while asking him about his health in the most cordial way in the world. The only true reason for this was that he had been a great traitor to her sister, and he who was most prominent in this way is now best thought of. The old, people and the Catholics are dissatisfied, but dare not open their lips. She seems to me incomparably more feared than her sister and gives her orders and has her way as absolutely as her father did. Her present Controller and secretary Cecil govern the kingdom, and they tell me the earl of Bedford has a good deal to say. When I spoke to her at Lord North's house, she told me that when anything had to be discussed with me she would send two of her Council to me. I asked her which two they would be, so that I might know with whom to communicate in case I had anything to say. She said they would be the Controller, Cecil and admiral Clinton, and directly afterwards she appointed the first two, so I knew she only mentioned Clinton because she thought I was friendly with him and I satisfied myself of this subsequently. She afterwards said that when I wanted anything I was to speak to her personally, and I made an appearance of being very highly gratified with this. I know this is a very feeble foundation to begin with, but I was glad nevertheless. I am trying to get a chamber in the palace when she goes to Whitehall, although I am very much afraid they will not give me one, but I have little chance of getting to talk to these people from the outside and they are so suspicious of me that not a man amongst them dares to speak of me ; as the late Chancellor has told me plainly. He is a worthy person and she knows it, but he is not in the gang and will not return to office. He tells me that if they offered it to him he would not accept it. I think Paget is dying as fast as he can. He was very bad before and the Queen seems not to have favoured him as he expected ; indeed I do not think she will return him his office, and this no doubt has increased his malady. They are all very glad to be free of your Majesty as if you had done harm instead of very much good, and, although in all my letters to your Majesty I have said how small a party you have here I am never satisfied that I have said enough to describe things as they really are. As I am so isolated from them I am much embarrassed and confused to devise means of finding out what is going on, for truly they run away from me as if I were the devil. The best thing will be to get my foot into the palace, so as to speak oftener to the Queen as she is a woman who is very fond of argument. Everybody thinks that she will not marry a foreigner and they cannot make out whom she favours, so that nearly every day some new cry is raised about a husband. They have dropped the earls of Arundel and Westmorland, and say now she will marry William Howard's son or Pickering who went to bring over the Germans that Wallerthum raised. The most discreet people fear she will marry for caprice, and as the good or evil of the business all turns on this, I do nothing but think how and when I can get a word in about it. As your Majesty tells me I am to give my opinion I proceed to do so, after describing the real state of affairs here, as I always do, because in that case the simple things I say myself are of less importance.
At present I see no disposition to enter into the discussion of any proposal on your Majesty's behalf, either on her part or on that of the Council, and when it has to be approached, it should be mentioned first to her alone, as she told me when I had anything to say I could say it to her personally. Even if this were not so, it is not a matter that can be spoken of to the Council until more light is obtained as to her own inclinations. What can be done with the Councillors individually, but not as a body, is to dissuade them from her marriage with an Englishman, and I am moving in this way as cleverly as I can, although very cautiously and slowly seeing how little I can mix with these people. They will look with more favour on the Archduke Ferdinand than on your Majesty, when they have made up their mind to accept a foreigner, because they think he will always reside in the country and will have no quarrel with France, and although some of them understand that the power and grandeur of your Majesty is of great importance to their security, the short time your Majesty could reside here and your enmity to France turn them against you. As to the duke of Savoy I have written to your Majesty to say that they will not agree to him, for in fact they have a great hatred of war and they are afraid he may try to recover his states at the expense of this country. I do not know which way the Queen is inclined, for on the one hand she complained to me of her sister's having married a foreigner, and on the other I see she is very vain and as much set against her sister as she was previous to her death. I fancy I can get at her through this feeling. We must begin by getting her into talk about your Majesty, and run down the idea of her marrying an Englishman, and thus to hold herself less than her sister, who would never marry a subject. We must tell her that one of the reasons the Queen. now in heaven, disliked her was her fear that if she died your Majesty would marry her (Elizabeth) ; and then place before her how badly it would look for her to marry one of these men whilst there are such great princes whom she might marry. After that we can take those whom she might marry here and pick them to pieces one by one, which will not require much rhetoric, for there is not a man amongst them worth anything, counting the married ones and all. We can then remind her of the claims of the Queen Dauphine (Mary Queen of Scots) and the need for her (Elizabeth's) being allied with your Majesty or with someone belonging to you and so on, to the other reasons we can allege against her marriage here. When she is dissuaded, if she inclines to your Majesty it will be necessary for you to send me orders whether I am to carry it any further or throw cold water on it and set up the Archduke Ferdinand, because I do not see what other person we can propose to whom she would agree. When your Majesty married the late Queen the French felt it very keenly, as they will if you marry this one, and particularly as she is more likely to have children on account of her age and temperament, in both of which respects she is much better than the Queen now in heaven, although in every other she compares most unfavourably with her. No one understands better than your Majesty the affairs 'of this country, and indeed all others, and I do not see therefore how anybody can advise your Majesty in this better than you can advise yourself. In case we have to put forward the Archduke the manner in which your Majesty treats with the Emperor and his sons is to be considered, so as to convince them of your friendsip and make good terms with them both in the matter of the Italian suzerainty and any others there may be unknown to me as I have been so short a time in these affairs. They may also broach the subject of a marriage between his (the Emperor's) daughter and your Majesty, and it is well to consider in time what answer should be given in such case.
I do not for the present see any way of beginning what I have mentioned except, in the course of conversation with the Queen, as she is in the habit of talking to me, to introduce the subject and proceed with it as I see opportune and as your Majesty may order. I have seen her twice since she has been Queen, once in Lord North's house and once in that which belonged to the duke of Somerset where she is now. When I saw her at North's she began taking off her glove as soon as she saw me, so that I might kiss her hand, as I did. I did not speak of business, confining myself to complements, but told her, as my only reason for being here was to serve her and advise your Majesty how to gratify her in everything, I proposed also to convey to her the knowledge of things in which your Majesty could be gratified, and so to help forward the good fellowship which I thought both parties wished to preserve. In pursuance of this I said your Majesty had ordered me to beg her to be very careful about religious affairs as they were what first and principally concerned you. She answered that it would indeed be bad for her to forget God who had been so good to her, which appeared to me rather an equivocal reply. When I left on that day I sent her by the Admiral's wife the two rings that your Majesty gave me which belonged to the late Queen because as I saw she was so fond of her jewels I thought best to give her up even the poorest of them. I saw her again three days after the bishop of Aquila arrived and gave her an account of the position of the peace negotiations. When I told her about the suspension of hostilities she thought it was some trap against her, and that your Majesty was leaving her out. I could not manage to remove this suspicion. When she had gone in I called Cecil, the Controller and the earls of Pembroke and Bedford and communicated the affair to them and asked the Secretary, who is the man who does everything, to go in at once and explain it to her, which he did. I told her about the jewels which were in the box at Whitehall and said I would give her the key when I came. She accepted. I have heard also that the Queen, now in heaven, ordered in her will that the jewels given to her by your Majesty and the Emperor should be returned to you and these people had concealed this and kept the jewels. Seeing this I thought best to say that your Majesty would be very pleased for her to have them if she wanted them. She asked me whether I was instructed to say so, and I told her the only instructions I had were that your Majesty would be glad for her to take anything she wanted of what belonged to you as a good brother should. She is very fond of having things given to her, and her one theme is how poor she is. The ring brought by the bishop of Aquila I sent her by the Controller as I did not think fitting to give it to her before so many people. Both times I have spoken with her have been in the presence chamber crammed with people, and what with this and all these gifts I think I never saw her so carried away as she was to-day. She was full of fine words for me, however, and told me that when people said she was French I was not to believe it.. I said I had never heard such a thing, nor did I believe anyone in the world was so foolish as to think so. She afterwards said she hoped your Majesty would not be offended if she employed some of the servants you had here, and I answered, that on the contrary, you would be very pleased thereat, and that if she wanted any of the servants or subjects of your Majesty in your other kingdoms you would willingly send them to her. So that she will allow us to pay those who were paid before which is very different from what she said the first time I spoke to her which was that she would not allow it Up to the present time those who have been told that the pensions they enjoyed secretly will still be paid to them, and who have accepted are the Admiral and Privy Seal (Paget). I have thought that it will be well to tell your Majesty's servants here that you are willing to pay them their wages whilst they serve you with the servants of other nations, but that you can give nothing to those who stay at home. I have done this, and your Majesty may be sure that very few of them will go abroad to serve ; I can see that is not their idea. The Queen (now in heaven) ordered your Majesty's archers to be paid thirteen months from the 1st July 1557 to the last day of July of this year, which pay amounts to 2,600l., and when I was here she said it would be well that Francisco de Lexalde should receive this money and pay the archers. I thought it had better be done without the intervention of any of your Majesty's servants, but said if the Queen wished it so, well and good, as I could see she was more inclined to her own way. When I had left she caused Don Alonso de Cordova to receive the notes and give them to Lexalde to keep. Lexalde now tells me that the vicechamberlain Beningfield has asked him for them to settle his accounts, and that he has given them to him. Your Majesty will advise what I am to say if they ask me for this money although it is not reasonable that they should haggle over small accounts with your Majesty, seeing what you have done and will do for them. Let me know your orders also up to what date your Majesty wishes the archers and servants paid. I think that if your Majesty has them paid up to the end of last year it will more than suffice as your Majesty has not been here all this year nor have they been employed, although it is true the Queen, who is now in heaven, ordered the archers to serve from last April.
I think a different course must be adopted with the pensioners. It will be best to pay them to the end of this year and afterwards to pay those who may be needful, such as Cecil, who I think should receive 1,000 crowns, the Controller, Lord Robert and the earl of Bedford, who should each receive a similar amount as they are necessary now. I will tell them this as soon as a good opportunity offers. Your Majesty will consider which of those who had pensions are to be paid besides the above mentioned. I think the earl of Pembroke ought to be paid, as although he is not very well thought of, he is one of the best servants your Majesty has here and is a man of authority, and both the present and former admirals are his friends. Since the new Queen succeeded he has always been about the palace and does not leave her side.
Councillor Dasonleville has been awaiting here the decision of these people about the matter that brought him here, but what with the late Queen's illness and then the talk of peace, things have remained as they were. He now wishes to leave as he does not think this a safe place to stay in during such times as these ; but I have thought it unadvisable that he should go and so cause offence to these people as the object to be aimed at is to persuade them that your Majesty has the same solicitude for the safety of the country as when the late Queen was alive. He is trying to prevent the breaking out of war between Scotland and your Majesty's Flemish States, and has spoken to the Queen who refers him to the Council. I have told him he had better lay before them the reasons why it is desirable for this country that the war between Flanders and Scotland should not be declared, and ask them to consider them, and endeavour from here to get the truce prolonged, and in the meanwhile to ask them for leave to go home, where his presence is required, and on his return he will bring new credentials, which they have already asked him for. If they do not wish him to go he must send for the credentials and await them. Really he would not be at all sorry to change his commission for another one. He comes to me sometimes with the best news and discourses in the world, and sometimes to tell me that all is lost, and that we shall have a great upset before Christmas, and he would like to be at home by then. At other times he comes and assures me that the Queen will only do what your Majesty wishes, and so on. The last time he saw the Queen was the day after I had spoken to her, and he came back delighted. He speaks to the Council to-day, and will come to tell me the answer they make him which, as I understands will to give him leave until they see the course the peace negotiations may take. If he does not depart at once he will write to your Majesty.
The day I saw the Queen at Lord North's the Swedish ambassadors spoke with her, the same man as was here before, and another. They still urge the marriage, (fn. 1) but these people take no notice of them.
Boxall told me that the Queen says the king of France was at war with her sister, but not with her. I quite believe it, for she is a very strange sort of woman. All the heretics who had escaped are beginning to flock back again from Germany, and they tell me there are some pestilential fellows amongst them.
The Queen has decided to send the Chamberlain, William Howard, to your Majesty, although up to the present I have not been able to find out for what purpose, as they are so careful to conceal things from me. He sent to-day to say he would come and see me, and nobody has made so many demonstrations of friendship and offers of service as he, both before and after the Queen's death. I told him before how often your Majesty has written to the Queen, now in heaven, and ordered me also to try and obtain favour for him, and although what they gave him was not what he wanted and I had asked for, I advised him to accept it and await your Majesty's coming, which he did, and was very grateful to me.
Seeing now the place the Queen has given him, I told him that as I had advised him to await your Majesty's coming, and in the changed aspect of affairs you had not come, your Majesty would be pleased to continue for the future the pension you had paid him, but that there was no necessity for anyone to know of it, and that Luiz de Paz, whom he knew, would always pay it to him. He accepted it with his usual profusion of thanks. When I heard he was going to Flanders I sent Luiz de Paz to say how glad I was, and that as on such occasions people always wanted ready money, Luiz de Paz would pay him what was due. He said that he was provided with money for the present, and that hitherto he had done no more than other Councillors and did not require the money. He sent to me to-day to say, by one of his servants, that he could not accept what I had offered him previously until he knew the Queen's pleasure, but that now she had given her consent, he would be glad if I would send him the money. This is to let your Majesty see what sort of people these are. I think your Majesty ought to talk to William Howard about religious affairs. Up to the present, this man and the Marquis Treasurer are the only ones who have been paid, and a statement of what is owing to the other pensioners is enclosed. I am told the coronation will take place on the 15th of January, and Parliament will open on the 25th.
The duke of Alba writes me that French people have told him that the Queen died on the 15th ; that the physician who attended her had written this to the King (of France) and told him what her malady was. The following is what has occurred. When I was here before, the Queen had three physicians, all Englishmen. Two of them died this summer, and the remaining one was a very worthy old man, named Dr. Wuit, who is married to Paget's mother-in-law, and when the Queen's malady became worse she caused a Dr. Caesar, who is here, to be called in ; the same who attended Courtney's mother, who died in Venice, and he thus became known to the Queen. He is a young fellow, a hair-brained busybody, and when I saw him in the chamber on my arrival this time I noticed him at once, and asked who had introduced him there. They told me the Queen herself had summoned him, and as her bodily condition gave no hope, I did not proceed further in the matter. The physician I brought from Amiens afterwards told me that he was not at all satisfied with this man, but he told me also that he (Dr. Causar) and the Lord Chamberlain blamed your Majesty very much for not coming here. Although the Amiens man could not say for certain, yet, when Her Majesty was opened, he thought that indications existed in the body to give ground for belief that something noxious had been administered. I have thought whether with this and what the duke now writes we had better lay our hands on this man, but I am afraid that if anything is said to the Queen about it she would be more likely to reward than to punish him. Let me know your Majesty's wishes on the subject. I believe he is a vassal of the Pope or the duke of Urbino.—London, 14th December 1558.
23 Dec. 5. The King to the Count de Feria.
Besides the general commission to visit me Lord Cobham tells me the Queen has instructed him to inform us that she has continued to the bishop of Ely and Wotton the powers they had to intervene in the peace negotiations. We think this must have been done before the Queen saw the letters written by the bishop and Wotton on the matter, which has proceeded so far that, although the French for some time were very obstinate about Piedmont and Corsica which we want restored to the Genoese and in respect of the portion of Tuscany they still occupy, yet at last they ceded to our argument, and, if they do not turn back, as they sometimes do if they find it suits them, the French commissioners and ours are in accord. I was very pressing that the arrangement with England should be concluded, and that they (the English) should be included like the rest of our friends in the settlement, if they wished, but at the same time we insisted most positively that nothing should be done without the English, as is just, seeing that we are allies by virtue of treaties, and we cannot and will not conclude any settlement with the French unless at the same time England is dealt with or at least that the English should confirm and consent to what is done. We have taken up the question with great warmth both in the late and present Queen's time, as no doubt the earl of Arundel and the other commissioners will have testified in their letters, but the great effort of the French all through has been to separate us from the English with whom they do not wish to deal. To annoy us the more they allege as a reason for refusing any concession to England that the latter by commencing war against them have lost all right to claim anything, either in respect to the restitution of Calais or the two millions they say are owing to them on account of the overdue and current pensions, but seeing how determined we were in face of it all, not to treat without the English the French commissioners refused to proceed further until their difference with the English were settled, and on the pretext that the changes in England would cause considerable delay before the Queen settled matters and sent her commissioners new powers and instructions they resolved to leave Cercamp. They sought a prorogation of the truce for at least two months although they wanted much more . . . This has caused the separation of the commissioners and the extension of the truce to the end January with the express condition that they shall meet again on the 25th of that month at Cercamp, or elsewhere, agreed to by all. It is agreed, however, that if the answer and decision come from England before the date fixed, a meeting will at once be held to conclude the negotiations. This is the real meaning of what has taken place, although the French will not allow any mention of the English in the treaty ; the reason of this certainly being that they will attempt some sort of negotiations in England. The bishop and Wotton have been scrupulously informed of all that has passed and had a copy of the treaty which had been drawn up, but which the French for the reasons stated above, would not agree to, and, accordingly, so as not to break off the negotiations altogether, the English themselves were of opinion that the prorogation should be accepted and the aforegoing arrangement made. The English commissioners promised to give clear testimony to the Queen and Council of what had passed to prevent what is known to be the French design, to divide us to the great prejudice of both, as will be easily understood in England ; but we are convinced that they will never succeed in it after the assurances contained in the Queen's letter bought by Cobham, of which copy is enclosed. On our side there will never be any falling off nor will we cease to forward the good friendship and brotherhood which now exist. The further meeting of the commissioners, as I have said, turns almost exclusively on English points, and especially in respect of Calais, which the French are still obstinate about keeping, and we therefore urge you to speak to the Queen and remind her from us, if she has not already done so, to closely examine all that which we suppose her commissioners will have written on these points so as to decide in time what is to be done to conclude the negotiations in hand. Although it would, of course, be very hard that we should remain at war with France on the question of Calais alone, which the English lost through their own fault and carelessness, and refusing to believe the advice given to them of the French movements or to accept our timely offers of succour, yet as the English entered into this war for our cause the treaties which bound them to do so also bind us not to treat without them, and we are determined to fulfil this obligation and conclude no peace except with their consent. On their part we expect they will do their share and, in order that they may not throw the blame upon us before the public for the loss of Calais, it being desirable with us to stand well with them, you must be very careful that no suggestion shall be noted as coming from us that Calais should remain in the hands of the French or that the fortress should be destroyed, nor indeed any other measure or thing that may seem ill to the Queen, the Council, or the people themselves. But as peace is so necessary to christendom it is most important that the English should adopt some measures which originate with themselves and a good way to bring them round, I think, will be for you, always with tact and prudence which distinguish you, to keep harping upon our sorrow that they should have lost Calais in the way they did and making very clear to them that we are only at war about that and nothing else, and so you can urge that if the French will not listen to reason about it the Queen must decide what share she will take with us in jointly forcing the French to render justice, letting her understand how willing and ready we are to help if they will do their share. By taking this course it is very likely, their need being such that they will be unable to appeal to arms, that they may come of their own accord to propose terms that the French can agree to, which is the object to be aimed at, and which suits us much better than arranging on our side, and you must dexterously try to lead the negotiation in this direction ; at the same time assuring them of the goodwill we always bear them, and our desire to fulfil to the very letter all our obligations to them. You must urge them to decide speedily as time is short, and upon them depends whether the commissioners return home or meet again, their business being the only one that stands in the way of a settlement, and, even if the commissioners meet on the day agreed upon, it will be useless if the English decision is not ready. You will advise me diligently what is done as you will see the importance of it.
We have had the treaties between us and England examined, and it is clearly seen from them that the alliance made in the year 1546 and by the declaration of Utrecht in 1546 are perpetual and binding upon heirs and successors and even guardians of princes of either state who may be minors, as you may see by the treaties themselves which are in Latin, with councillor Dasonleville, if he be still there, or with the bishop of Aquila. The Queen must be well aware of this, because, in addition to the contents of her letter, she even signs herself Soror et perpetua confederata, as you will see, so that on this point no doubt or difficulty need be raised. I answer her in the same way.
As I have allowed the exchange and liberation of the Constable, (fn. 2) questions may be asked about it there, and I wish you to know, therefore, that I was moved thereto by three reasons, first by his years, next by his illness, which it was feared would prove fatal, and thirdly, if he returns to France the Guises will not have so much power as now that they entirely control both war and finance, whereas if the Constable be there the war matters will be in his care, and he will probably remove the ministers and officers appointed by the others, and thus cause divisions and dissensions amongst them, which will be good for our affairs.—Gruniendal, 28th December 1558.
29 Dec. 6. Count de Feria to the King.
By the post despatched on the 14th instant, I wrote to your Majesty more at length than I could have wished. Since then they have suspended the departure of the Lord Chamberlain and although the Queen and Council have concealed from me the reason of his voyage, when his departure was suspended the Queen sent to me to say that as he was so important an officer of the household the festivities and the coronation made it necessary to defer his journey, and she hoped I would take it in good part, and would not believe the people's gossip. I answered civilly although I am displeased to see the great care they take to hide from me everything they do, both great and small, which they carry to an extent that your Majesty cannot imagine or believe, and indeed, I am afraid that one fine day we shall find this woman married, and I shall be the last man in the place to know anything about it. And yet, whilst I do not know of a single thing that is going on I hear the Queen said a few days since that I was too well informed about English affairs to be allowed to stay here, and that like a true Spaniard I was very proud, and she would be glad if your Majesty would recall me and send someone else. I am sure they will try this, for both she and they desire it. I write this to your Majesty because I wish you to be well informed of all that passes here, so that in due time you may take such steps as may be advisable. I try to overlook many things and not to seem to take offence at anything or to appear inquisitive, but their enmity and evil consciences make them so cautious and suspicious that they think I know everything, and in return for all my wishes to please them I believe they would like to see me thrown into the river, that is to say, she and her adherents, for the Catholics and decent people are pleased that your Majesty should gain ground here, and there are many of this sort in the kingdom. The most corrupt places are London, Kent, and some of the seaports. Some of the heretics from Germany have come hither, and on the first day of Christmas-tide they began to preach in a church of St. Augustine, close to the Treasurer's house, which had been given to the Italians here. They first sent to the Italian Consul to ask for the keys. He is a Florentine, and refused to give them up so they went and broke the door in, and preached four sermons during the day. The Italians complained to the Marquis Treasurer, but he only shrugged his shoulders and begged them not to refer the matter to him. The Consul then went to the Lord Mayor to complain, who referred the case to the Council where the Consul also attended. After hearing him they promised to summon the people and enquire into the affair.
Nicholas Throgmorton, a knave of whom I have already written to your Majesty, was present at the business, and the Councillors who attended the meeting that day were the marquis of Northampton, the Admiral, Monsieur Bedford, the Controller, the chancellor of Lancaster, Sackville who was Chancellor of the Augmentation in king Edward's time, Mason who was ambassador, Rogers the Vice-Chamberlain, and secretary Cecil. As it was not a case especially to dissemble about, and many were waiting to see how I took it, in the absence of orders from your Majesty, I adopted a course which I thought on the one hand would not quite offend them, nor on the other let them off without giving them to understand they were doing wrong, and exactly the thing that would displease your Majesty ; so the bishop of Aquila, who is my stay and right hand, and whose help is invaluable to me, went and spoke to them what is contained in the enclosed report, together with their reply.
On the Sunday of Christmas-tide the Queen before going to Mass sent for the bishop of Carlisle, (fn. 3) who was to officiate, and told him that he need not elevate the Host for adoration. The Bishop answered that Her Majesty was mistress of his body and life, but not of his conscience, and accordingly she heard the Mass until after the gospel, when she rose and left, so as not to be present at the canon and adoration of the Host which the Bishop elevated as usual. They tell me that yesterday she heard Mass said by another bishop who was requested not to elevate the Host and acted accordingly, and she heard it to the end. I should like in these affairs to animate and encourage the Catholics so that she may find difficulties in the way of doing the wicked things she is beginning, but I am doing it with the utmost caution in order that she may not be offended or quarrel with me more than need be. This affair is going at a pace that, in spite of the good offices your Majesty may perform with the Pope, it will be impossible to stop, and I hear that he (the Pope) will declare this Queen a bastard and will proceed against her, giving the right to the Crown to the queen of Scots. It is said here that the king of France settled this with the Pope some time since, but in any case the other woman already has many adherents in the kingdom and every day will have more.
They are so full of prophecies in this country that nothing happens but they immediately come out with some prophecy that foretold it so many years ago, and it is a fact that serious people and good catholics even take notice of these things and attach more importance to them than they usually merit. These prophecies are now saying that she will reign a very short time, and that your Majesty will again reign over the country, but the true prophecy is that this nation is very fond of novelty, and she is beginning to govern in a way which gives reasonable hopes of a change every hour. The people are already beginning to gossip about her being flighty and since she has been dipping her hand into the subsidies they have become more displeased. There were so many men too who thought they would be put into the highest places, and so few places in which to put them, that many of these men are dissatisfied, as well as others whom she is turning out of the offices they held, without regarding patents or anything else.
The bishop of Winchester preached a very catholic sermon in memory of the late Queen, and the Council sent for him and ordered him not to leave his house. The sermon, in memory of our Lord the Emperor, was preached on Christmas eve by an almoner of the new Queen who was formerly her chaplain. He is a heretic, but he said nothing to mark him as such except that he did not mention the Pope, and said the Lord's Prayer in English, which is the custom of heretics. (fn. 4) The Queen has ordered certain portions of the Mass to be said in English, such as the Paternoster, and I think the Creed.
A litany has been printed which used to be sung in the time of King Edward, in which no saints at all are mentioned, and she (the Queen) hears Mass in this way, although they tell me that the chaplains who perform it are some of them married, and the others doubtful.
The earl of Arundel has been going about in high glee for some time and is very smart. He has given jewels worth 2,000 crowns to the women who surround the Queen and his son-in-law Lord Lumley has been very confidential with her. I was rather disturbed at this for a time as an Italian merchant from whom he has borrowed large sums of money, told others here that he heard that he was to marry the Queen, but I did not lose hope as the Earl is a flighty man, of small ability. The affair has ended in his being again made Lord Steward, whilst they have returned to the marquis of Winchester the office of Treasurer which the Earl wanted. I think this old man is a good servant of your Majesty and the others respect him. He looks younger and better than I have ever seen him. The other Treasurer of the Household, who was lord of the Cinque Ports (fn. 5) has died, and his offices have not yet been filled up. They have not either appointed a Chancellor, but they have given the seals to guard to Mr. Bacon who is married to a sister of the wife of secretary Cecil, a tiresome bluestocking, (fn. 6) who belonged to the Bedchamber of the late Queen who is in heaven. He is a man who is not worth much. Englefield's office has been given to the present controller. (fn. 7)
There is a great deal of talk lately about the Queen marrying Duke Adolphus, brother of the king of Denmark, One of the principal recommendations they find in him is that he is a heretic, but I am persuading them that he is a very good catholic and not so comely a gentleman as they make him out to be, as I do not think he would suit us.
I have only seen the Queen on the two occasions of which I have written to your Majesty. I have had a great controversy about their giving me rooms in the palace. I had tried to arrange it in a friendly way with the earl of Pembroke and the Chamberlain without bringing it before the Council, but these people are so cursedly contrary that they must all need meet, as I am told, to discuss the question, and the Queen sent me an answer by the Chamberlain to the effect that she was astonished at my asking such a thing which had never been granted to the minister of any prince, followed by words of compliment, and explaining that it was done for me during the late Queen's life because she was the wife of your Majesty, whilst she (Elizabeth) was still unmarried. This answer was given by the Chamberlain to the man who went to ask him for it, but I did not want to be beaten, and seeing it could not be done through the Chamberlain I bethought me to try the Secretary. The Bishop went to talk to him and told him how sorry I was that the Chamberlain had treated the matter more as a courtier than as a man of business, and that since the Queen thought my request unreasonable I was desirous that the matter should be explained to her by him (Cecil), so that she should not think I had acted without due consideration. My view was that for the sake of convenience in negotiating with Her Majesty and the members of her Council, who were so numerous, it would be just to give me rooms in the palace like one of themselves as I was here for the purpose of serving her in all things, and because of its not having been done to any other minister it did not at all follow that rooms should not be given to me, as I was the servant of Her Majesty's brother, and such close friendship existed between them, and moreover that it would be well for our common enemies to see how your Majesty's affairs were conducted here. The Secretary replied that it was true he had heard the matter discussed, and it really did appear extraordinary to him as the Queen would not introduce any innovations in the royal household. On further discussion he went on to say that as the Queen was unmarried I might be one of her suitors. The Bishop was much surprised at this and refuted it, and Cecil at last said he would speak to the Queen and give an answer next day. Two days afterwards the Bishop went to speak with them about the affair of St. Augustine's church, and he was told that the Queen was much pleased with my message to her, but that for my convenience in negotiating she would give me audience as often as I wished, either alone or with some of her council as I desired, and so the matter remains.
On Innocents day she sent Peter Carew (Pedro Caro) to visit me, who told me that the Queen thought I was ill as I had not been to see her, and that she thanked me for what the Bishop on my behalf had said to the Council about the St. Augustine's affair, which had displeased her very much, and to prevent a recurrence of which she had issued a new proclamation prohibiting preaching. He offered to bring me a copy if I wanted to see it. I answered him very cordially, saying I was much obliged to Her Majesty for sending him to visit me, and that I had not been to see her as I had heard that she was very busy and I was not sure my visit would be acceptable. I was always desirous of doing precisely what would please her. I said I thought best to send and speak to the Council about the St. Augustine's affair, as it seemed to me a very scandalous business. I had nothing to say about the new proclamation, as Her Majesty would order it to be printed, and I had no desire to see it, but it certainly did seem strange to me that only a month ago she should order a proclamation to be priuted providing that no change should be made in religious affairs and now to issue another in a contrary sense. I did not know what would be thought of it. I was reserved in manner and expressed great surprise.
He said that in France the King had given a church to those of the new persuasion. I told him it was untrue. He then said it was at Metz which I denied, but even if he had allowed one at Metz I should not have been surprised as the town belonged to the Empire and the king of France only kept a garrison there for the better defence of his kingdom. I did not care to push this matter any further until I get your Majesty's instructions. I conversed with the man for some time and he said he wished to God that your Majesty had married the new Queen and had children. He had also a great deal to say about the obligation under which the English are to your Majesty. I did not answer a word about the marriage, but on the other subject I enlarged and pointed out the good offices of your Majesty to the Queen and country. We afterwards talked about the peace, and I feel sure that the last suspension of hostilities arranged at Cercamp was very favourable for your Majesty's interests because these people have at last made up their minds that your Majesty will not leave them in the lurch and is their true friend. They will come to terms even though Calais is not given up to them.
I think even that your Majesty's commissioners should side strongly with the English and urge them to press this point so that perhaps it may be agreed to leave Calais in ruins or at least dismantled.
I am looking into the treaties with the Bishop, some of them being in Latin.
Peter Carew also told me that when peace was made it would be well to confirm the treaties. I told him we would see about it. There would be time for that. I told him the news about the money coming from the Indies without diminishing the amount at all, so that he might tell the Queen, as I thought she would glad to hear that your Majesty was so prosperous and well off. They tell me this news has made a great noise in France, as indeed it has here.
The fact is that these people are going on in a way that will end in their coming to grief, and your Majesty must get the affair in your grasp. We must begin at once to see that the king of France does not get in or spoil the crop that your Majesty has sown here.
A few days after the Queen's accession she made a speech to the women who were in her service commanding them never to speak to her on business affairs, and up to the present this has been carried out.
The courier that came from Spain bears a certificate of how they have treated him here, and the reason of his long delay, but they have ordered the Queen's officers to despatch the passports more quickly in future so that couriers and others shall not be detained.
I humbly beg your Majesty to have my letters answered more promptly as the delay may cause much harm to your Majesty's service. The Queen and the rest of them are noticing that your Majesty has not written to her. I am at a loss to know why the delay has occurred.—London, 29th December 1558.


  • 1. The marriage proposed between Elisabeth and the prince of Sweden, afterwards Eric XIV.
  • 2. Moutmorenci, who had been taken prisoner by the Spaniards at the battle of St Quintin.
  • 3. Owen Oglethorpe, who was the only prelate who would consent to crown Elizabeth. He died early in 1560.
  • 4. Dr. Bill, dean of Westminster.
  • 5. Sir Thomas Chenies.
  • 6. She was one of the accomplished daughters of Sir Anthony Cook.
  • 7. Sir Thomas Parry.