Spain: March 1551, 11-20

Pages 247-248

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, 11–20

March 16. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30. Simon Renard to the Emperor. (fn. 1)
Sire: The English ambassadors demanded their answer on the same day that the letters arrived, (fn. 2) The King of France sent for them and gave them an answer to the proposals they had made before the packet arrived. I have not yet been able to find out what the answer was, and I therefore refrain from sending any information to your Majesty, except that the King laid by the difficulties with kind and gracious words which he spoke to them. . . .
Blois, 16 March, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
March 17. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to Jehan Scheyfve.
We have received your letters of the first of the month, and seen what you wrote to the Queen Dowager of Hungary on the same date, as well as the letters from our cousin, the Princess (Mary), and the copies of the letters she received from the King and of those she sent to him in answer. The matter touching the said Princess is the most important at present. You will therefore do your utmost to accomplish that those of the Council shall keep the promise made to your predecessor at our special request, and permit the said Princess to retain the observances of the ancient faith and its ceremonies, as her father permitted her to do, at least during the King's minority. You answered the Council quite rightly and very pertinently; and we desire you to be guided by our letters of the 7th, which we suppose you to have received, wherein we declared to you what we had said to the English ambassador on this very point, which will have happened no doubt at the right moment, and have helped to give force to the remonstrances you must have made to the Council, according to the Princess's wishes, on our behalf. You will not make any sign that you have received instructions from us on this matter, either before or after the information was sent by you recently. But you may persist in your statement that the promise was made not only to our said ambassador, but to ourselves by Controller Paget on his taking leave from us at Bruges. (fn. 3) The fact that it was a promise, clear and sufficient, was proved by the fact that we made no observations with regard to it nor asked to have it extended or amplified, but solicited for a written assurance, on the grounds, as then alleged, that the laws and ordinances were written, and that as ministers changed in England from time to time, we feared that others succeeding to power might attempt to coerce the said Princess by the letter of the law, and ignore the (verbal) promise made. Our fears seem now to have been entirely justified, for the very men who gave the promise, being still in the Council, appear to be inclined to disregard it. If you can conveniently send word to the said Princess to let her know in general terms that we have ordered you to do your utmost to help her with the King and Council, we wish you to do so, taking care, however, to give no cause for suspicion to these men, who are so ready to suspect. Let her know that before your letters arrived we had spoken independently to the English ambassador here, and demanded that the promise referred to should be carried out; and that we place entire confidence in her fortitude, believing that she will remain constant in her faith. We request her to be careful to answer very modestly, as is her wont, and not push her arguments in support of her claim to obtain freedom in the usage of the ceremonies of our ancient faith far enough to provoke the Council to refuse her everything she asks for. Tell her particularly that we have heard of their contention that the people living in the neighbourhood of the Lady Marys house repair thither on feast-days and Sundays to hear mass, contrary to the King's ordinances; and that the revolts of last year have been partly ascribed to this cause. If they may be brought to consent that she shall hear mass privately in her own house, without admitting any strangers, let her be satisfied with that, for her conscience cannot be burdened by her submission to external violence. Neither would it receive any stain if they went so far as to deprive her of the mass altogether, provided she refrained from committing any act contrary to our ancient religion, for any consideration whatever, as she well knows, and we have written to her before. Inform her that we will consider carefully the manner in which they take the remonstrances we recently made to their ambassador, and the reception she shall have from the King when she visits him, as she is about to do; and we will see what more we can do for her in the matter without jeopardising the success of the negotiation.
We wish you to let us know what has occurred as soon as it is possible for you to do so, as we shall wait, before sending an answer to you or giving you fresh instructions, until we have your reply, and hear how matters stand, and above everything, what effect the words we used to their ambassador may have had. We feel obliged to you for the thorough manner in which you discharge your duties and send us news of the occurrences in England, and we wish you to continue to do so frequently, as diligently as possible, taking care to enquire into every detail and get to the bottom of everything.
Augsburg, 17 March, 1551.
Minute. French.


  • 1. Wrongly catalogued as 20th of March.
  • 2. Letters from the Emperor commanding Simon Renard to negotiate certain business.
  • 3. See note on p. 207.