Spain: March 1551, 6-10

Pages 237-246

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

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March 1551, 6–10

March 7. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to Jehan Scheyfve.
We are replying to what you wrote of the communications made to you by the members of the English Council, and particularly the efforts they are making through you to induce us to allow their ambassador resident in the Low Countries to use their new ceremonies and forms of worship prescribed by the laws and ordinances made by the said Council in the kingdom of England, on the strength of the fact that you are allowed to hear mass in England and to continue in the observance of our ancient faith. The English ambassador (fn. 1) resident here at our Court made the same request through the Bishop of Arras, begging him to speak on the subject to us, as, if we would consent, there would be no need for him to trouble us by asking for an audience, and declaring at the same time that he had special orders from his master to speak to us himself if we withheld our consent. The said bishop informed him that we could not and would not grant it; he then insisted that we should give him an audience to hear that special point, and we did so yesterday. It was the first time he had asked to be heard since the departure of Ambassador Hoby, who while he was here always negotiated together with him. He began by giving thanks on behalf of his master for the good advice we lately gave him, adding that in accordance with it, the King his master had deputed commissioners to discuss his differences with the French in a friendly spirit, but that they had separated without coming to any important decision; and so they were still in the same uncertainty, as matters had not been cleared up after all. On the strength of this declaration he asked us to grant the English permission to buy powder and certain provisions of war (of which he gave a note to the Bishop of Arras), so that, as he said, they might not be caught unawares. The third point he made was a complaint against a certain Jacobin monk, a Spaniard, who, as the ambassador affirmed, had preached in a public sermon in this town that the King of England, his Council and kingdom had all become Jews, and were waiting for the coming of the Messiah.
His last point was the most important one, and he requested us to permit the English ambassadors in the Low Countries to observe the ceremonies of their new religion. The man is in the habit of proclaiming his religion stoutly on every occasion, and according to his custom, he launched forth into persuasive arguments, claiming that it was the only true and old-established faith, and making comparisons with our own. He protested that as you were allowed to use your own form of worship in their country they might reasonably claim the same for the ambassadors of the King, their master, at our Court. He enlarged on this subject in an unbecoming manner.
We replied to the first point that we had counselled the King, his master, in accordance with the love and affection we bore him, and our desire that he might live in peace with France, because we wished that peace and tranquillity might be established throughout Christendom, and endure especially between princes who were on terms of amity. We would like to see their differences smoothed so as to enable them both to live in good peace; and we said we would order the Bishop of Arras to make a report in detail on the contents of the note in which he asked for munitions of war, and we could consider it, after everything had been duly explained to us.
With respect to the (Jacobin) monk, we declared his conduct to be contrary to our wishes, and that we intended the preachers to be bridled in their speech, as it was suitable they should be. We would obtain information on the subject, and provide as the case required.
As to the fourth point brought forward by him, we were determined not to consent that he or anyone else, whoever he might be, should use any other form of worship within our dominions than the one held by us; which was the true and ancient faith of our fathers, grandfathers and forbears generally; and it was our intention that our decrees on that matter should be inviolably obeyed, to avoid the confusion that might otherwise ensue within our territories. We expressed a hope that the Council would fall in with our wishes on the subject, as your predecessors in office had obtained the same latitude under the late King of England. There seemed to be no valid reason why any change should take place, and we could not submit to any, but would rather recall you than accept it, in which case he and his colleague in the Low Countries would be at liberty to withdraw. Let the Council consider our just and reasonable demands, and concede that no change should be effected. We took the opportunity to express our sense of the strangeness of the measures lately adopted on religious matters towards our cousin, the Princess Mary, directly opposed to the assurance formerly given to us by the members of the Council. It seemed as if their object was to drive her little by little further away from the fulfilment of her saintly desire; but we hoped she would be constant in her faith, and that she would accept the martyrdom of a very Saint Catherine rather than yield; but if unseemly measures were resorted to against her we would most assuredly not tolerate them.
At this point the ambassador was so bold as to say suddenly that it would be intolerable if she were to act contrary to their laws. We replied that it would be best to leave her unmolested to the practice of her faith as the late King had ordered it, during the King her brother's minority, whom we believed to be naturally virtuous and inclined to righteousness, were he not turned away from it by those who were about his person, and who might haply resent the treatment meted out to the said Princess when he arrived at riper years; at any rate we hoped he would not (knowingly) consent. Here we reiterated our statement that we would not tolerate unseemly measures used against her, and told the ambassador to warn the Council to proceed no further in the same direction under colour of (obedience to) their laws on religion, thereby setting aside their own promises and neglecting the demands of courtesy and good feeling, but permit her to continue to live as she lived under the late King her father. You will (also) urge this on the Council, and assure them that we shall look upon their compliance as a matter of personal gratification.
The ambassador, without replying directly, proceeded to affirm that their belief was founded on Gods word. Now we have been informed, and are convinced beyond doubt, that he habitually indulges in heated arguments on the subject among his friends, and whenever anyone is present who will listen to him, as if his mission here were to convert others to his religion by predication, in the belief that anything will be permitted to him in his quality of ambassador. We therefore felt angered at his words, and enjoined on him to desist in his attempts to persuade us, for the task was beyond his powers. He replied that his arguments were founded on the Old and the New Testament entirely; that nothing was done in England without first being set forth at length in writing; and he went as far as to say that he desired us to send people over to England to dispute on religious questions. We replied once more that he was excused from entering into arguments of the kind with us; and that we would like to know who passed judgment on the matters they were in the habit of setting forth at length in writing? He could give no answer except that there were learned men in England who held the same opinions. We answered that it was quite possible; and they were to be found among the men who received bishoprics for being of their opinion; while the number of those who were executed and imprisoned in the Tower for not sharing their convictions was known also. The late King had accepted certain beliefs because of the marriage question, and because of other private leanings of his, but the ambassador must know to what extent he had forsaken them before his death. It would have been far better to leave matters as they were until the present King came of age, and God would then inspire him to act in His holy service. He rejoined that he held his own beliefs to be righteous and well-founded. We told him with some feeling to cease his protestations, for all heretics said the same, and upon his asking us what heretics there were in England, we replied: “You, and others who believe the same as you “; and added that as we had said to him before, it would have been far better to leave matters alone as the late King left them during the minority of the King, his master, for we were certain that when he came of age he would feel resentment against those who had attempted such important changes during his minority. Whereupon the ambassador began saying again that all the innovations made were righteous, according to God's word and the dictates of conscience; and so we finally ordered him to be silent, and to withdraw at once from our presence, as he had nothing else to say, for the words he had uttered were not such as should be used before us. A Council, we said, was to be held, where matters of religion should be discussed, and those who had authority to do so would settle the disputed points.
We desire you to be informed in detail of the terms used by the ambassador during his negotiations with us, which were indeed intolerable. We suppose he had no mission to push himself forward so boldly, and that neither the King nor his Council wish him to behave as he has done, which we cannot allow him to do at our Court and in our presence. We believe him to have been sent to us as an ambassador, and not as a preacher. His manner was wholly unsuitable, and likely to produce little beyond irritation and resentment, which we should certainly not wish to see introduced in our relations with the King through the fault of people of the ambassador's sort. Since the death of the late King, his father, we have borne him all good-will and extended our consideration to him as if he were our own son, bearing in mind that his father recommended him to us on his death-bed, and obeying the dictates of duty and admitting thereby the claim that so young a prince had upon our favour. It is our wish to continue in the same disposition towards him to the end (even though there may be some evilly-disposed men who would wish to cross our intentions), so long as we are treated with true respect, as we entirely trust we shall be in future. We hope the answer made by us to the request that their ambassadors might be allowed to use a form of religious worship foreign to our countries will not be considered strange; and that they will reflect that we are not introducing any novelties by acting thus, as we also hope that they will not attempt any new thing against our cousin, the Princess, but will leave matters as they are until the King comes of age. We hold for certain that the King will then treat her with the consideration due to a good and obedient sister, and which she deserves for her virtues and good qualities.
Augsburg, 7 March, 1551.
Minute. French.
March 8. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 32. The Queen Dowager of Hungary to Simon Renard.
We sent you recently a copy of a note given to us by the French ambassador on behalf of the Regent of Scotland, to warn us that the Admiral of England and the Earl of Tarandel (sic) (fn. 2) had jointly fitted out an English warship and given command of her to a Scottish pirate, who robbed and pillaged our own subjects and the Scots indifferently. We informed you at the same time that the contents of the note should be discussed here with the English ambassador. This was done, and President St. Mauris spoke to him on our behalf. He replied that he was greatly astonished to find the Regent of Scotland accusing the English Admiral of having any share in the depredations or being responsible for them in any way. He protested that the Admiral's honour received a stain by the suggestion, and that he would be most unlikely to submit tamely. He assured the President that the personage in question was so sincere and honourable and of such high mettle that he was quite incapable of entering into any such dealings. It was highly improbable that he should have armed a man-of-war, as it could not be done without orders from the King, his master, who never permitted it to any of his subjects, but armed and supported his warships at his own expense. The ambassador affirmed that the King of England's warships were at present all lying in the Thames, and that for the most part they were unarmed and not ready to sail the seas. Finally he assured the said President that he was unaware of the existence of an Earl of Tarandel, although he was well acquainted with the names of all the Dukes, Earls and Barons of England; which made him suppose that the person in question might be a Scotsman rather than an Englishman. He undertook to inform the Council of the contents of the note.
The President replied to him that we desired him to be informed of the matter, because the Regent of Scotland had sent the note for his own justification, so that no blame should be given to him on account of the Scottish pirate harboured in England. We did not intend to assert that the Admiral was a man such as the contents of the note itself implied; but we presumed that the matter would be put right when he should be possessed of the facts stated therein.
We are sending you also a copy of a paragraph taken from a letter written by the French ambassador resident in England to Ambassador Bassefontaine here, so that you may make inquiries if the Scottish pirate mentioned in the said paragraph has been arrested, and what punishment he has been given.
We will add that the English ambassador informed the President on the same occasion that the English agent at Antwerp had written to him that the chief customs officer of Brabant, at Antwerp, had ordered four English vessels freighted with various merchandise and ready to set sail, to be arrested. Thirty or forty fellows (he said) went on board and visited the bales of goods, pushing iron rods through them, and so damaged the property greatly, particularly as some of the bales contained rolls of Dutch linen. The ambassador complained that their merchandise should have been so roughly handled, though he admitted that it was right that those who attempted to defraud the customs should suffer penalties; and he also protested that it was not his intention to palliate any offence which might have been committed by the merchants in question. He declared that if any forbidden goods were on board the vessels, those not prohibited could not be confiscated too; and he requested the President to transmit his complaint to us. We incontinently sent for the chief customs officer, from whom we had heard already of the arrest of the four English vessels. When he appeared before us, he told us that he had received private information that a large quantity of harness and arquebuses, coin, metal and other forbidden goods were on board the said vessels. He had ordered their arrest and had them searched. He found great quantities of forbidden goods packed away inside bales of hops; among other things a large bale of velvet was discovered, which had been described as canvass. He asserted that the search was conducted as considerately as possible, and denied that any iron rods were thrust through Dutch linen or other perishable goods. They were used on the bales of hops, because this was usually done, and the hops could not be damaged by it. He took the English merchants who were present when the visit took place to witness to the accuracy of his statements, and to certify that they had not been as roughly handled as the ambassador made out. He inquired of us whether he should proceed to examine the other three vessels as well, especially considering that the ambassador made so much fuss over the matter. We replied that we saw no reason why he should not examine them as well, as there had been so much fault to find with the first, and we enjoined upon him to cause as little damage as possible. We wish you to be fully informed of this matter, so that if it is mentioned to you over there you may give a pertinent reply, upholding firmly that the blame belongs to those who tried in an inexcusable way to defraud the customs.
Brussels, 8 March, 1551.
Copy. French.
March 9. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: The English envoys are at the present time at Vendôme, where the King is also. They are to propose the means and conditions whereby the Scottish question may be amicably settled; and their proposals come under four heads.
The first deals with a fortified place somewhere on the river which separates England from Scotland. The English interfere with Scottish fisheries, and the Scots are asking that the fort may be demolished, though no mention was made of it in the last treaty.
The second concerns several abandoned places of uncertain and undetermined possession which the Scots claim as their own.
The third refers to the seizure of certain Scottish pirate vessels lately made in England; and the Scots wish that it may be conceded to Scottish vessels to take refuge in English ports during storms, without need of safe-conducts, although this is contrary to long-established custom.
The fourth and most important point is that concerning the Scottish gentlemen who went as hostages (fn. 3) for the marriage of the Scottish Princess to the King of England, and who are still detained by the English. They wish to be set at liberty, though the point was not brought forward at the time of the last treaty.
As I hear, there is so much division and rivalry in England, especially among those who govern or belong to the Council, that their quarrels hold out an opportunity for the King of France to support the Scottish claims and so make Scotland stronger against England. The English are also unprovided with money, food and men; and the French think they will never have a better chance of taking advantage of the English, especially because the King is young; and worse still, the governors of the country are afraid of the people, and after having summoned Parliament to assemble on a certain day of this present month, they have prorogued it until the month of October.
The English are aware of the good understanding between the Irish and the King of France, and the intrigues he is carrying on there; and so they are sending an army of ten thousand men to Ireland to shatter the King's hopes and plans and make themselves safe against his intrigues. If the present communications come to nothing, I foresee there may be war in that quarter, unless the French are held back by their fear of your Majesty. It is believed that a proposal for the marriage of the King's eldest daughter with the King of England will be discussed.
M. d'Estrées, captain of the French artillery, has sent commissioners to Brittany to inspect the artillery and ammunition in that quarter. Captain de Montrichard has gone with them with great speed, to carry out the command. Another gentleman, a Scotsman, had already been sent to Scotland to set the artillery and ammunition in readiness.
The Bishop of Winchester has received harsh treatment from the governors of England, and the revenues of his bishopric have been taken from him. . . .
The English ambassadors have returned from Vendôme, and are waiting here for the answers to their proposals. The reason of this delay is to be found in the fact that the King is waiting to hear your Majesty's decision on what he ordered his ambassador, Marillac, to declare to you; and when he has his answer, he will give his reply accordingly to the said ambassadors. If the King can make sure that your Majesty will not make war on him, he will go to war with the English; that is a sure and certain thing. He is bellicose by nature, and desires nothing so much as to see himself acquiring fame at the head of an army in the field, and he will not contain himself much longer, especially as he knows the weakness of England and will improve the occasion provided by the contingencies described above to free himself from paying the pension claimed by England, recover Calais and Guines, and if fortune smiles upon him, perhaps even invade England itself. The French believe he would be able to do it, if the kingdom were not helped by your Majesty. His dominions being increased so much, he will temporise with your Majesty and gain time, watching the success of the Turk and the results achieved by the Council (of Trent), to see whether fresh troubles are brewed in Germany, and chiefly what progress attends your Majesty's health, their designs being principally founded on this. It is plain to all that, if God were to dispose of your Majesty, they would do their utmost to cause trouble and harm to his Highness (Prince Philip). They are straining their wits to discover your Majesty's intentions, as I have written to your Majesty before. They sent the Constable's Basque secretary to Germany on purpose to discover them, and ordered that the same message sent to Marillac should be communicated to President de St. Mauris. The said secretary said when he returned that he had been sent to say a word or two to your Majesty and bring back a plain answer. . . .
They are saying here that the Bishop of Fano was sent to obtain from your Majesty that the Council might not be summoned till September, owing to the dearth which is afflicting Italy, and that in reality it is a French device for gaining time. . . .
Blois, 9 March, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
March 9. Simancas, E. 646. A Pact, in French, between the King of the Romans and Prince Philip, concerning the succession to the Empire.
Ferdinand, King of the Romans, and Philip, Prince of Spain, considering the union of their respective houses to be essential to the service of God, defence of the Catholic faith, and maintenance of the Imperial dignity; tasks so heavy as to be impossible unless approached in a spirit of agreement and mutual confidence, have, with the Emperor's approval, concluded the following capitulation. The King of the Romans will, sincerely and in all good faith, if and as soon as he shall succeed to the Empire, endeavour to obtain the election of Prince Philip to the dignity of King of the Romans, and now consents to have steps taken to induce the Electors to agree to it, on condition that the Electors shall also be requested to choose, as King of the Romans, Maximilian, King of Bohemia, eldest son of Ferdinand (present) King of the Romans, as soon as Prince Philip shall have succeeded to the Empire. This shall be done according to the form of the instruction sent by their Imperial and Royal Majesties to the Electors, and all possible efforts shall be made to obtain their promise to bring about these two elections, unless it be found, in the course of the negotiation, that one candidature is harming and preventing the other; in which case the King of the Romans agrees to cause the King of Bohemia, his son, to withdraw his candidature, whilst obtaining from Prince Philip letters patent in due form in which the said Prince shall bind himself to put forward the King of Bohemia's candidature again, and to promote it in all good faith, whenever and as often as the Kings of the Romans and Bohemia shall think fit. Moreover, Prince Philip promises that, when he reaches the Imperial dignity, he will depute the King of Bohemia to be his Lieutenant and Governor, in his absence, of all the Empire and Germanic nation, in the same manner in which the Emperor has appointed the King of the Romans during his administration. Prince Philip also promises and agrees that, if the King of the Romans survives the Emperor, he (Philip) shall be bound to furnish him all possible assistance in the maintenance of the Imperial dignity, both before and after his coronation, especially if any rebellion arises in Germany. Should it happen that the Council of Trent were not finished during the Emperor's lifetime, or were concluded in any but a satisfactory manner—which God forbid!—Prince Philip promises to aid the King in promoting it, or, were the Council to fail utterly, in remedying the state of religion by other means. As it would be unreasonable to burden the Prince with so much expense without holding out to him hope of participating in the Imperial dignity as soon as possible, the King of the Romans promises that, when he succeeds to the Empire, he will have himself crowned, in Italy or elsewhere, with as little delay as he may, and will assist the Prince to be crowned King of the Romans. Conversely the Prince promises to favour and assist the King of the Romans to the best of his ability. If, however, the King of the Romans were to postpone his coronation by his own fault, or were to refuse to have himself crowned when called upon to do so, then the Prince should not be obliged to render him any assistance; and conversely, if the Prince were to neglect to render such assistance at a time when he was able to give it, then the King of the Romans should not be bound to have him raised to that dignity and title. Further, the said Prince promises, and will give letters patent binding himself, not to intervene in the government and administration of the Empire, when he becomes King of the Romans, except he be invited to do so by the present King, who shall then be Emperor. As the object of this capitulation is to unite the two houses in indissoluble amity and alliance, beyond the assistance which the Prince is bound to render the King of the Romans in the Empire, both parties solemnly engage themselves to aid one another on every occasion that may arise in the patrimonial dominions that they now, or hereafter may possess; to act in unison towards or against all comers, each one for the other, as if his own interest were at stake. For the sake of drawing the bonds of alliance still closer, if it be possible, the said King and Prince agree that the Prince, if he becomes King of the Romans, will contract marriage with one of the present King of the Roman's daughters, having obtained from the Holy Apostolic See the necessary dispensation, in the hope that God in His mercy may thus render the alliance perpetual. The above articles and all their contents have been sworn to and promised by the said King and Prince, who have signed them and appended thereunto their seals.
Augsburg, 9 March, 1551.
Copy. French.
With this document is a copy of letters patent, of the same date, in which Philip further binds himself to renew attempts to have Maximilian elected King of the Romans, though a temporary withdrawal of his candidature should be judged necessary, and, when he (Philip) becomes Emperor, to depute Maximilian to be his lieutenant in the Empire during his absence, on the same terms as the present King of the Romans has been deputed by his Majesty Charles V. Philip, moreover, renews his promises not to interfere, when King of the Romans, in the government of the Empire unless requested to do so by the future Emperor.
Copy. French.


  • 1. Sir Richard Morrison, or Morysine.
  • 2. It appears from Scheyfve's letter to the Emperor's Council of April 9th, 1551, that the person here referred to was the Earl of Bothwell. Patrick Hepburn, third Earl of Bothwell, was certainly a renegade Scot, and in England at this time.
  • 3. The entry in Edward's Journal for February 20th, 1551, states that the hostages were to be released without condition, and that the boundary difficulties were to be discussed and settled by commissioners.