Spain: July 1550, 16-31

Pages 135-148

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 10, 1550-1552. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1914.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


July 1550, 16–31

July 17. Brussels. L.A. 47. M. d'Eecke to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: To-day before dinner I received, here in this town of Grave, a letter from Jehan Duboys, in which he informed me that your Majesty was pleased to order me to return to Zeeland. In truth it seems to me best that I should do so, and I will start at once, setting aside all other affairs.
When I passed through Antwerp with M. van Buren, I let it be known that he and I were to proceed to Zeeland, and at the same time I gathered information about the rumour of which M. van Buren spoke to M. de Praet, and M. de Praet reported to your Majesty. On the whole I do not think the rumour is likely to do much harm, for all the gossip heard here is wide of the mark and frivolous. Nothing has been said about the late Van der Delft's ravings, or of the suspicions entertained by certain persons at Antwerp; but the run of the talk is that I was sent to Scotland, or taken prisoner by the Scots, or that I wished to see how the ships behaved at sea and make a report to your Majesty, or to make an end of the unrest among the crews by separating them, sending some ships to Norway, and others elsewhere. I have encouraged these rumours, hinting that the real reason of my going to sea was that your Majesty desired me to set out as soon as possible, particularly if it turned out to be true that the Scots and pirates were being assisted in neighbouring countries.
In order that your Majesty may be quite at rest that no suspicions of any undertaking have troubled the English, I have had men on shore between Harwich and Ipswich for five days, and even much farther inland at the seat of government of the King's Lieutenant in Norfolk, and they have found no trace of mistrust of us, for it is believed that we were after the Scotsman, James Green of Dundee, who took to flight out of fear of your Majesty's ships, and stopped not until he reached Ipswich. It is known that we demanded the arrest of the said James as a pirate; and the matter has gone so far that a proclamation has been issued in England forbidding Scots or others to bring prizes taken from the Emperor's subjects into English ports. This proclamation and the fact that the said James Green has been unable to satisfy his creditors, have brought about the arrest of his goods and person at Ipswich; and he is unable to dispose of his three ships, which will remain as securities. So there is no suspicion at all of any undertaking, (fn. 1) which would not be as difficult to carry out as I supposed. Your Majesty will have heard the rest from another quarter, and will have received news from all parts, so I will say no more, except that I pay no heed to threats from France, England or elsewhere as long as your Majesty will be pleased to keep up the number of ships now in active service. I trust that MM. de Praet and van Buren will light upon some good device for meeting the necessary expenditure. I beg your Majesty to take my last letter in good part, and accept its contents as an excuse for my not having come towards your Majesty as soon as my duty commanded.
Grave, 16 July, 1550.
Holograph. French.
July 18. Brussels. E.A. 60. The Emperor to the Queen Dowager.
This will serve as a reply to the two letters you wrote to me with your own hand on the first of this month. I hope you will forgive me for answering you through a secretary, for it would be difficult to write myself. So I will appeal to the fact that you have sometimes said you would desire me to spare myself, especially where matters that may permit me to do so are concerned.
As for the undertaking with which you have entrusted Scepperus, there is nothing to say except that your methods are excellent. All that we can do is to pray the Creator that it may be successful. And as for the mistake Jehan Duboys made in not taking the word “Denmark” out of the writing, as you commanded him, which might have bred suspicion, there is no need to discuss it, for we have taken care to correct any bad impression by causing the Duke of Holstein to be approached here. And you are quite skilful enough to put a stop to any rumour that may spring up in the Low Countries. . . .
(The letter goes on to discuss the outlook in Germany.)
Augsburg, 18 July, 1550.
Minute. French.
July 24. Brussels. L.A. 47. St. Mauris to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: The English ambassador has come to see me, and spoken again about a passport for 40 lasts of gun-powder, asserting that it was stipulated in the first Commercial Convention made between good Duke Philip (fn. 2) and England, that we should supply them with all sorts of provisions and munitions of war they might need in exchange for payment. Though there had since been other treaties, these had in no way invalidated Duke Philip's, which still ought to be regarded as authoritative, and determine the interpretation of subsequent treaties.
The powder, he added, had been bought some time past, during the last war between France and England, which consideration ought to move your Majesty to grant the passport. He had been unwilling to write the reply I had given him at Turnhout to the Council in England, for he feared they would not be pleased with it, and might have ground for asserting that this country was not corresponding to their proffered amity. He considered it most important that the two countries should keep up a good understanding, and begged me to report his declarations to your Majesty, especially those concerning the first Commercial Convention, which he had made in order to rebut my assertions to the effect that we, by the last treaty, were not obliged to furnish the English with munitions of war at their expense except in the event of their being invaded, or of their waging war in France.
I replied that I would make the matter known to your Majesty; but I knew that the first Convention did not use terms as general as those he stated, as should appear when its contents came to be examined, and the dispositions of the last treaty were so clear that it would be impossible to misinterpret them. It was well known that in the past, even during the last war, the English had always taken out passports when they wished to export munitions, as they neither were invaded in England, nor were fighting in the kingdom of France, in which two cases only we were obliged to supply them with all the munitions they chose to buy as long as the war lasted.
He also told me, Madam, that he had recently passed through Antwerp on his way to Turnhout, and several English merchants had complained to him that a placard was going to be published in Antwerp on heresy, (fn. 3) and that this placard was connected with the establishment of the Inquisition which the Emperor was setting up in the Low Countries. The merchants considered it very strange that they should be used so harshly, for they would certainly have to abandon this country, where they had been in the habit of sojourning and trading with the freedom usually allowed to merchants. This Inquisition would reduce them to a state of servitude which they would never bear, for they did not intend to be subjected to the denunciations their enemies and ill-wishers might lodge against them with the inquisitors. He added, Madam, that he well knew what the Spanish Inquisition was like, and he looked upon the placard as much too harsh. He supposed this Inquisition would also be exceedingly severe, and he thought the merchants ought to be acquainted with the manner in which it was to proceed. He brought out once more all his accustomed talk about the advisability of both countries trafficking freely, saying he knew more about it than another, for he had known Antwerp when it was not the place it had now become, and care ought to be taken not to injure its prosperity. All he said was dictated by his desire to see the town flourishing, and trade increasing between the two countries. The King his master had introduced a new religion in his dominions, which he intended to have observed by his subjects at home and abroad; and it was clear that the placard would greatly injure the merchants who, while in these parts, would be obliged to obey their sovereign lord and observe the new religion, in doing which they would break the ordinances of his Imperial Majesty. Therefore it seemed to him that it would be best to make some declaration exempting foreign merchants from the penalties imposed by the placard, though he remained in favour of punishing them severely for scandalous living, and for speaking against the old religion, for which offences he himself would condemn them. Moreover, he said, their new ordinances were not being observed literally against our subjects, and the ambassador and people of Spanish nationality were allowed to hear mass, wherefore their subjects ought to be treated with some consideration here. He ended his discourse by affirming that he had spoken of his own accord, without instructions from the King his master. He had even told the merchants that he did not intend to take any steps in the matter without orders, and that they might approach your Majesty on the subject through their conservator. So all he had said was mere private conversation, prompted by his desire for the prosperity of these countries and for the upkeep of the ancient friendship that bound them to England, which he foresaw would suffer a rude blow unless the placard were promptly altered. He believed neither the Emperor nor your Majesty wished to force the English to exact observation of the placard, but as they had seen the precise terms in which it was drawn up they could not help fearing for their persons and property.
I answered, Madam, that this placard was the same that had been published here and accepted by all the Estates in his Majesty's presence, and the last one was only intended to repeat and explain the other. His Majesty had been obliged to publish them for the good of his people, the maintenance of the old religion, and the repression of heresy. As for the Inquisition, it was a false invention that stated that the Spanish Inquisition was to be imitated here. Nothing new had been done, but old dispositions, that had long ago been issued here in conformity with the written law of the land, had been confirmed. If the English merchants considered themselves injured by the placard, they might appeal to your Majesty to hear their wrongs. And this, Madam, is all I said on the subject.
I carefully noted what he said about the permission granted to our ambassador to hear mass in England, and believe he said it in order to lend colour to a project I hear he has formed to keep a preacher in his house here. Bassefontaine has told me in confidence that his major-domo heard it from the English ambassador's, and that the preacher was soon to come to hold forth in their house. However, I have no other information on the subject. Bassefontaine has again informed me of the demolition of Longchamp, saying that the King's main reason for agreeing to it was his knowledge that your Majesty had given some assistance to Rougnac, whom he hoped the Emperor would now punish. He also told me, Madam, that the King was greatly pleased to know that our war-ships had returned to Zeeland, because incidents that might cause friction were now no longer to be feared. He said further that the King of England, hearing that the Queen (Dowager) of Scots was desirous of proceeding to France by sea, had requested her to pass through England, and it was very probable that she would now go by land. I am uncertain whether or no he said this to make me cease to believe in the sea-journey, in order that the same might be carried out without fear of interference from our fleet.
I am sending your Majesty a letter from Master George in favour of his young son, who wishes to be employed as a secretary in Brabant. I know him (the father) to be diligent and a hard worker, and I believe your Majesty knows enough of his long services to consider whether he deserves this favour.
Brussels, 24 July, 1550.
P.S.—Madam . It is being said publicly here that the Lady Mary, Princess of England, has arrived in this country. They tell me that Jaspar Duchy has assured the Chancellor of Brabant that it is true, and that certain merchants are saying the matter had been prepared by the late M. Van der Delft for some time past. I do not know, Madam, from what quarter they can have heard such news.
Copy. French.
July 26. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 17. Jehan Scheyfve to the Emperor.
Sire: The Lady Mary sent one of her servants to me to-day to tell me that a publication was recently made in that part of the country where she lives, forbidding, as she hears, chaplains or others to say mass or officiate at all in her house according to the rites of the ancient religion, under certain heavy penalties both civil and criminal. She requested therefore that I should remonstrate with the Council on the first opportunity, and declare that she demanded and would persist in her demand to live according to the ancient religion, in virtue of what had passed in this matter. She requested me also to inform your Majesty and the Queen (Dowager of Hungary). In consideration of the fact that I do not know as yet whether the prohibition referred to is a general or particular one, old or recent; whether the Council really intended to include the household of the Lady Mary or not, in the publication referred to above, or whether any special commands were issued to her servants and chaplains or to the lady herself, I have decided to send my secretary to her privately to-morrow and learn the details accurately. Immediately upon his return I will send the information to your Majesty.
I am sending a copy of my letters to the Queen containing my negotiations with the Council, and an account of recent occurrences here, together with two books, one written by the Bishop (sic) of Canterbury, the other by Dr. Hooper, who was made Bishop of Worcester a few days ago. Both works are full of errors and heresies, especially concerning the Holy Sacrament.
London, 26 July, 1550.
Signed. Cipher. French.
July 26. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 17. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: In obedience to your Majesty's letters of the 12th of this month, which I received on the 19th, I presented myself before the Council on the 20th. I declared that your Majesty had ordered me to request that the two Dutch vessels seized with their cargo in English waters off Harwich and Orford and bought by the King's officers, should be promptly returned to the Emperor's subjects, their rightful owners, and that damage and interest should be made good. I requested further that the pirates, and the receivers and purchasers of the stolen goods, should suffer exemplary punishment such as they had deserved by their notorious robberies. I declared that your Majesty was well aware that most of the pirates were English (i.e. the crews of the pirate ships). I had remonstrated twice on the subject in full Council, and each time they had promised that the law should be enforced and a remedy provided; but nothing had been done so far.
They answered that the Admiral (fn. 4) had undertaken to collect information about the matter, as pertaining to his office. But as he was not present, they were at a loss what to answer. But they would not fail to inquire into the business thoroughly and do what was required.
I said that I considered they had all the necessary information on the subject. Their excuse was out of place, the facts being so outrageous and but too well-authenticated already. Your Majesty had no intention of allowing the matter to be dragged before the Admiralty Court through endless delays without hope of termination or issue, as had frequently happened where his Majesty's subjects were concerned. Your Majesty requested the Council to order the vessels and goods to be returned, and the pirates and other guilty persons to be punished, without further delay or excuse; more especially because the said pirates were even now to be found in the ports of Harwich and Orford. It was a matter of public knowledge that Captain James Green (fn. 5) was at Ipswich, and had robbed another Flemish vessel within the last three days, There seemed to be no chance of escape for any vessel taking that route, however well-equipped she might be.
Nevertheless they held firm and said it was only reasonable that they should first receive full information before taking any steps in the matter. Here my Lord Warwick, speaking before Somerset, who judging by appearances was little pleased about it, added that the King, being at peace and having made a treaty with the Scots, could not deal with them in any other but a suitable manner. I retorted that I well perceived how the King was at peace with the Scots; but Paget interrupted me, saying they were not at peace with Scotland; but that the King had no obligation towards his Majesty to invade the Scots or attack them in any way. I replied that the question was not whether any invasion or attack should be made upon them. We were debating whether it was permissible that the King should harbour and protect the Scots, who were your Majesty's enemies, whether pirates or not, and particularly whether he should allow his subjects to deal as they were doing with the Emperor's subjects. The proposition was untenable and inexcusable. The Chamberlain embassy had declared recently to your Majesty that they greatly desired to continue and improve commerce and intercourse between the two countries; but these occurrences were calculated to do more than impede it. Then Somerset declared, and Paget repeated it, that the Emperor had done the same with the Scots in the past; but they gave no particulars as to the time or the manner. I replied that his Majesty had never yet been known to break his treaties on the smallest point. On the contrary, he had always observed them strictly, sincerely and carefully, and they could not allege a single instance against this. But it might be that before his Majesty was mixed up with the King's affairs in Scotland, at a time when the King was actually waging war on the Scots, and with the King's knowledge, he might have decided to keep the approach to his coasts open to all, as the King too was bound to do on his side. I then asked them whether they intended to assert that the King had a right to behave as he had done towards his Majesty's subjects. Paget remarked that they had not said it. I replied that the objection he had put forth fell to the ground, in that case, as it had no application. They let this pass, and reverted again to their first assertion that they had no information on the matter. I replied I had given them sufficient information before, and did then; and that your Majesty was of opinion that no further application should be made concerning it. They could never explain away the facts. They could require no better proof than the restitution of the vessel from Flushing which had been pillaged and robbed by the same pirates. It proved whether their recent exploits were permissible or not. Their attitude concerning matters of public notoriety made me apprehensive of the line they would take if circumstances less evident and still more undesirable presented themselves.
My Lord of Somerset then said to me that they had received letters from their ambassador resident at your Majesty's court. He said that M. d'Eecke had written to him laying great stress on the fact that much was being said about the exploits of certain pirates supposed to be protected by the English in the harbours of Harwich, Orford and the neighbourhood; but he had not found matters to be as they were represented, and your Majesty's information was erroneous. He was certain that the placard concerning the said pirates had been duly published, and he would be witness to your Majesty of it. I ought to be satisfied, especially considering the publication of the placard. They showed me the letters purporting to come from their embassy, and did so with a straight countenance and making no sign, although I had heard that they had doubts on the matter themselves.
I replied that I had heard nothing from the said M. d'Eecke or of anything he might have had to say to their ambassador. I would keep to what I knew, which did not prove that what they affirmed had been declared; but I would make a reservation for what had really taken place. I was certain of my information concerning the pirates, and of the orders I had received from your Majesty on the subject. If the placard had been duly published in all harbours and ports, let them order that it should be observed and put into effect. This was the principal consideration, and the object of your Majesty's special request. But the restitution of the vessels and goods must necessarily follow. They replied that they would cause the placard to be fully carried out, and would prosecute the pirates and punish them. As to the restitution of the goods and vessels, they requested me to let them have a list of the names and surnames of the Englishmen who had bought them, and of the subjects of your Majesty who had suffered the loss. The Council would then, without further delay, set about righting the matter, and if everything was as I affirmed the restitution should take place at once. I replied that there was no doubt at all concerning the accuracy of my statements. As to the list of names, they would find it was with the Judge of the Admiralty Court. But as they repeated their request that I would give it to them, I consented to do so, to remove all occasion for or possibility of a hitch later on. I sent it the next day; and added the names and surnames of some of the pirates, and an inventory of the goods and appurtenances of the said vessels. I shall not fail to insist, Madam, that the said restitution take place.
On the same occasion, Madam, I told them that your Majesty was informed that the chief officers at Calais took upon themselves to put pressure on the Emperor's subjects employed by them, and especially on the men from Western Flanders, to compel them to conform with the ceremonies of their new religion. They used threats and other unfair means, which was a very unseemly course, and one which appeared very strange to your Majesty. You requested them to give orders that this unusual and unbearable state of things should cease; otherwise your Majesty would take whatever steps seemed advisable to you, forbidding the Western Flemings to work for the English under penalty of incurring his Majesty's displeasure, or take any other course that seemed suitable to you. They might well suppose that his Majesty would be greatly displeased to hear of these innovations. My Lord of Somerset replied, smiling, that he could hardly believe that any of his Majesty's subjects could have been treated in that manner at Calais, as it was not their habit to put pressure on his Majesty's subjects. Perhaps some, who had been accused to your Majesty, had given this account as an excuse for following the new religion of their own free will. He added that the workmen for the most part retired to their own villages on the Sabbath, and were not at Calais for the services. However, if it had been done at all, it was without their knowledge and consent, and they would send letters at once to the officers, informing them of my complaint, and their intentions in the matter, so that your Majesty might receive satisfaction. I replied that it was not likely that his Majesty's subjects would use such a pretext, as the truth could be easily ascertained, and they would then find themselves in a worse case. They ought to be allowed to have mass sung at Calais on Sundays and holidays, as they belonged to the old religion. My Lord Warwick answered that such a thing would give scandal to the people of Calais. I retorted that any other course would give scandal to his Majesty's subjects; and that they must make provision in the matter, as your Majesty had no intention of replying to any answer they might make on the subject.
Duplicate. Cipher. French.
July 28. Brussels, L.A. 47. “The substance of what passed between Ambassador Bassefontaine and President St. Mauris last Monday, July 28th.”
In the first place he (Bassefontaine) told him (St. Mauris) that he had received a letter from his master (i.e. the King of France) for the Queen, and he begged her Majesty to give him audience. The contents of the letter concerned the Queen Dowager of Scots, for whose sake the King wished to pray the Queen Dowager of Hungary to issue orders that the fleet should not attack the said Queen of Scots, who had decided soon to proceed by sea to France. The King was making this request in order to avoid the conflict that might arise were the said Queen to be assailed, for he was sending the greater part of his armed galleys to guard her, as well as ten well-found warships. His Majesty would therefore be very glad if the Queen Dowager of Hungary would order all hostilities to cease, and the ambassador urged the president to endeavour to persuade his mistress to do so. The president replied that he would submit the matter to her Majesty, and see to it that the ambassador should have audience.
This point disposed of, the ambassador said of his own accord that very important news were going the rounds in this country: no less than that the Princess of England, the Lady Mary, had retired secretly hither. He had heard the report some time past, but had disbelieved it from the beginning. The president told him in reply that it was a lying invention, the work of some evil tongue. The ambassador rejoined that he must tell him in strict confidence that he positively knew the story had arisen in England, where the English were saying that M. d'Eecke had sought, some days before, to carry off the said Princess in secret. He had been with his warships in the Thames, they said, and had some understanding with divers persons in England who were to aid him in the undertaking. The English Council had received trustworthy information of this expedition, and were so angry about it that they had written to all their ministers resident in foreign courts what a wrong the Emperor had wished to do them, instructing their representatives to report it to all Christian princes and potentates. This had caused the report to be circulated, though it was now generally known that the Princess had not left England.
The ambassador added that if the English had formed this opinion of M. d'Eecke's voyage, the Most Christian King had been informed that its object was to fall upon the Queen Dowager of Scots at sea, for it had already been known that she was going to France. Not much attention had been paid to that rumour, however; and as it came from England the French had suspected that it was intended to excite them against the Emperor.
These two points the president answered by informing the ambassador that M. d'Eecke had gone to sea to pursue certain Scots pirates who haunted the Thames, as trustworthy reports had stated. These pirates were sheltered in England with their booty, and the Queen had desired M. d'Eecke to lead the expedition in person, in order that it might be well and thoroughly carried out, and that the captains of the vessels might not leave the pirates' traces to make any other prizes. M. d'Eecke had hunted them along the coast of England, and particularly in the Thames, where they were wont to lurk, and whence they had put out a short time before. On arriving at the port of Harwich he had learnt that three pirate vessels had entered the harbour two hours before. He remained on the watch for them a few days, and seeing that they came not forth, set sail for Zeeland, where he arrived after having cruised about a little in search of other pirates. Such had been his object, and not to steal the Princess away from England.
As for falling upon the Queen of Scots, the President said that the rumour had been groundless. It had not been known for certain whether she was to go by sea or not, and even if it had been known, the ambassador might consider that the Queen Dowager of Hungary was not so inexperienced as to suppose the King of France would send for the Queen of Scots without a strong escort, which it would be difficult to assail with eight ships. In reality a much greater number would have been necessary, and the fact that only eight put out to sea ought to disclose the falsity of such a report.
The President then asked the ambassador what possible gain the Emperor could hope from taking the Princess Mary out of England. The ambassador replied that the English believed his Imperial Majesty, once he had her in his court, would marry her to the Prince of Spain, maintain her to be rightful Queen of England, because the present King was the schismatic son of a schismatic father, born of a woman who had not been married according to the rites of the Roman Church, and would then wage war against England for her. He had heard the English ambassador resident in this court say, he added, that they would be more careful to guard the Princess now than formerly, and that in the long run she would have to put up with the new religion introduced by the King, or she might rue it. The President retorted that the English were quite wrong in their estimate of the Princess, and seemed to be looking for an opportunity for ill-treating her.
July 29. Brussels, E.A. 60. The Emperor to the Queen Dowager.
I have heard the detailed account of Jehan Duboys' conduct of the enterprise (fn. 6) entrusted to him; and I deeply regret that it was not successful, because of the danger that may menace the person concerned. You did well to silence the rumours that were current at Antwerp, started by the late Van der Delft's ravings or otherwise. I entirely approve of M. de Praet's views on the subject, with which you also agree; and it seems to me well that Duboys should go to Antwerp to await him who was to be sent. You will inform me of what news he may bring, that I may decide what is to be done.
Augsburg, 29 July, 1550.
Minute. French.
July 29. Brussels, L.A. 47. M. d'Eecke to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: In all humility I have received your Majesty's letters of the 22nd instant, together with the papers enclosed on the opinions given by the Dutchmen on the regulations to be applied to the merchant service. The said regulations are sorely needed by your Majesty's subjects because of the constant quarrels that arise between masters and men, and are often the cause of the loss of ships. I will carry out your Majesty's orders.
The Scots captain James Green, who ran up Ipswich river with his three vessels before your Majesty's ships could catch him, as I have already reported, has now sold his craft. The best of the three has been bought by some men of Ostend, and they have done very well, for the vessel is good, an excellent sea-boat, and was taken from the buyers as a prize not long ago.
Nothing new has occurred in these parts because of the heavy gales that have been blowing, during which several vessels, mostly English, have been sunk, and many others escaped with difficulty. As soon as I have any news, I will report to your Majesty.
Veere, 29 July, 1550.
Holograph. French.
July 30. Brussels, L.A. 47. M. d'Eecke to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: We are amazed at receiving no reply from Flanders or Holland about the tonnage-dues, for the protection of the herring fisheries is of the greatest importance to these countries. We have been informed from Flushing that the wild Irish have taken from the Scots the islands of Farahil and Hetland, (fn. 7) and are practising piracy in those regions. They have already taken several herring-boats from this country, and we have since heard that the Scots are arming some ships, which will also harm our fishermen unless your Majesty's men-of-war see to it. It may well be that the Scots and Irish will join forces, for they are almost one people, and the inhabitants of the Hebrides and Orcades, though subjects of the crown of Scotland, often rebel and prey upon all comers.
There are some people here and in other places who would like to go to sea as privateers; but as we have no orders from your Majesty, we have not wished to grant them permission, not knowing how affairs may stand.
Travellers from England say that eight ships and two galleons have been equipped there, and that it is being said they are going in search of certain of your Majesty's subjects of Flushing, who have been cruising off the north coast of England. Though these people have brought home a few prizes taken in Scottish ports, they have not made much out of them because all the prizes claim French nationality; and they are so intermingled that one never succeeds in getting the rights of the matter.
The two months, for which your Majesty's ships were to serve, expire in ten days, so may it please you to decide whether they are to continue for a longer period or not, in case Flanders and Holland were to refuse to pay the tonnage-dues. Were it possible to meet the expenditure and keep them at sea a little longer, they would afford much protection to your subjects, and might drive the Scots and Irish from the seas. May it please your Majesty to let us know your orders, and also whether, in case the ships are not to serve longer this year, they are to be disarmed and the guns sent to the towns that lent them, which greatly desire to have them back. We will see to it that all be done at the least possible expense.
There are in this island some Scottish prisoners with whom we do not know what to do, for they are too poor to pay a ransom, and may not be treated as pirates. They are artisans, were taken on board passenger ships, and have never done the Emperor's subjects any harm, or waged war against them. Loys Pisaingue (sic) seems not to want them for the Spanish galleys. We therefore trust your Majesty will order us what we are to do with them, and it seems to us, subject to correction, that if there is any prospect of a change for the better in our relations with Scotland it would be well to let them go at once rather than keep them any longer, for there is no likelihood of our being able to make any profit out of them. They might perhaps be exchanged against the Flemish fishermen, prisoners in Scotland, who have not yet been released, for whom the Scots are in the habit of asking heavy ransoms, as the French do in time of war; for our people are unable to fish for herring and larger fish except in Scottish waters. The said prisoners have presented a petition which I am sending to your Majesty.
Madam: Since the above lines were written, the Dutch Council have sent me a letter, which I am forwarding to your Majesty, about the above-mentioned acts of piracy. There is no difference between their version and the account we received from Flushing, except that the Dutch say the Irish are the aggressors; it may well be that both the Scots and the Irish have taken a hand in it, in which case it is all the more necessary to act in time. We are beyond measure astonished that the Dutchmen's letter makes no mention of granting or refusing the tonnage-dues for the upkeep of the fleet, in answer to the proposal we submitted to the four Dutch commissioners, as we said in our last.
Veere, 30 July, 1550.
Holograph. French.
July 31. Brussels, E.A. 3681. An order of the Queen Dowager of Hungary, granting a safe-conduct to the Queen Dowager of Scots for her journey by sea from Scotland to France, and giving her permission to enter a port in the Low Countries with not more than six ships if obliged to do so by gales.
Binche, 31 July, 1650.
Copy. French.


  • 1. D'Eecke was over-sanguine, as the entry for July 13th, 1550, in Edward's Journal shows: “Sir John Gates sent into Essex to stop the going away of the Lady Mary, because it was credibly informed that Scipperus (i.e. d'Eecke) should steal her away to Antwerp; divers of her gentlemen were there, and Scipperus a little before came to see the landing places.” And for July 27th: “Because the rumour came so much of Scipperus' coming, it was appointed that they of the Admiralty should set my ships in readiness.”
  • 2. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy (1396–1407).
  • 3. Edward's Journal for July 20th, 1550, runs: “The merchants were commanded to stay as much as they could their vent into Flanders, because the Emperor had made many straight laws against them that professed the Gospel.”
  • 4. Lord Clinton had occupied this post since May 4th, 1550.
  • 5. This pirate's name is spelt Green, Gren, Greyn, indifferently.
  • 6. The attempt to carry off the Princess Mary: see Duboys' report of “middle of July,” 1550.
  • 7. Hetland is clearly Shetland. Farahil appears to be Fair Isle, about half-way between Shetland and the Orcades.