Spain: June 1551

Pages 299-317

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

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June 1551

June —. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Advices sent by Jehan Scheyfve.
The English lords and gentlemen who have been sent to France departed a few days ago with a great following. The Bishop of Ely, Mr. Hoby, and some others, wishing to arrive first, were the first to go (fn. 1); and they were soon followed by the Marquis of Northampton, the Earl of Rutland and my Lord Lisle, son to the Earl of Warwick, who went by the post, accompanied by 100 horse. Two or three days before they left, Hoby was made a councillor. The English are talking loud about the wonderful entertainment that is being given them in France, and their flattering reception at all places on the way.
Great preparations are being made here for the arrival of the French gentlemen, who are believed to be coming soon, with M. de Saint-André, one of the Constable's sons, and a certain bishop among them. Some people mention M. de Guise; and it seems they are to have a hearty welcome, and are to be received in the same spirit (in which the English gentlemen are being entertained in France). Not a few Englishmen of rank say that this friendship is too sudden and vehement to last, and that no Frenchmen have ever been welcomed in this manner in England.
There is secret talk of a marriage between M. d'Enghien, the brother of M. de Guise, (fn. 2) and the Lady Elizabeth, sister to the King of England, who very hastily but with great care had her portrait painted just before the gentlemen left for France, so that they might take the picture with them. This marriage would certainly go to prove that the two countries intend to observe close friendship and alliance. Still, there are people who believe that negotiations are being carried on for marrying the said lady to the King of Denmark's eldest son.
A few days ago a certain Scottish gentleman offered the English Council to poison the King of France and Queen of Scots. They cross-examined him as to ways and means for greater security, and made him set it all down in writing, having done which they arrested him, (fn. 3) and sent him with his writing to France, in order to prove their great affection for the King.
The King of England practises the use of arms every day on horseback, and enjoys it greatly. They say he intends to exercise himself against the coming of the French, when jousts and other sports are to take place. The Lords of the Council have their companies of horse ready, and are soon going to hold a muster, when some more companies of gentlemen and others, mounted and on foot, will also appear. It is said there will be more than 2,000 horse in all, and arms and armour are being searched for on all sides. Thus they will be able to show that they are not so low after all, and rob the peasantry of all hope. The extra watch that has been on duty in London is now disbanded; but in the country it is still maintained, though the peasants' uproar has died down.
My Lords Derby and Shrewsbury arrived in London four or five days ago, thereby surprising many people; and they came with a goodly company of 200 horse each. It is said that they have been summoned to court that they may lend it lustre when the Frenchmen come, as most of the English nobility are now in France and will not be back so soon, and also in order that princes, foreigners and commoners may see that there is no discord in the realm. Some say that these lords have come to an understanding with the Council, and will be allowed to retire as soon as they like; but others suspect that the Council will keep them here, showing them a favourable countenance, until after the Frenchmen have gone, when they will find some excuse or means to detain them further, either in the Parliament that is to be held at Michaelmas or in something else. It is said that Derby's son is to marry the Duke of Somerset's daughter.
Certain Frenchmen and Englishmen are spreading a rumour that M. de Vendôme has adopted the English religion, has torn down all the images from the churches of Vendôme, and intends to do the same in all his lands and estates. The English are making a great point of this, and are overjoyed, especially as the King of France is refusing to have anything to do with the General Council. They hope their religion may find supporters in France and elsewhere, and that the Emperor and the King of France may come to blows again.
Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, was examined a short while ago by the Council about religion. He defended to the last the mystery of the mass and the holy sacrament, and consequently has received orders to keep his house as if it were a prison, never going out, as he was formerly allowed to do, under pain of incurring the displeasure of the King's Majesty.
The murmurings of the people against the depreciation of the currency have recently come to the Council's ears, and they have issued express orders to the mayor and sheriffs of London to call together the people of that town, and explain to them that everything that has been done with the currency has been dictated by zeal for the public good, with the object of placing it once more on the old footing. Also that it seemed some people wished to blame the Earl of Warwick for this and certain other innovations, in which they were doing him a great injustice, for he was most careful and vigilant in his solicitude for the country's welfare. Consequently such opinions ought to be rejected. All this is of course a scheme, for Warwick is trying to make himself out very humane, in order to gain all men's hearts, and particularly those of the populace, thus hoping to make his reign permanent. Some people are much afraid he may succeed; and in the meantime he is ruling absolutely, and all posts and offices are being given to the creatures of Warwick.
A great quantity of testoons of three stooters (fn. 4) are being coined. They are not worth half what those formerly coined were worth; but the King and Council are paying their debts with them.
M. de Lansac is still in Scotland; and it is thought he will not leave until the Queen Dowager's departure, which is said to be going to take place in about a month. It seems that the English and Scottish commissioners are still at work; and that Lansac and the Regent are reforming justice, for several Scots who had rebelled against public order have been executed.
It is believed that the French ambassador resident in England is soon going to retire, and that his successor will be among the French gentlemen who are coming to visit this country; but we have as yet been unable to find out his name. Two days ago the new Venetian ambassador, accompanied by a great suite, arrived in England. His name in Giacomo Soranzo, and he is a young man, said to be of great learning and culture.
They say that certain men-of-war are being equipped in Ireland. The English are very suspicious, and are trying to find out why his Imperial Majesty is going to the Low Countries, especially when Italian affairs are as they are, the General Council in its present condition, and the Turk in arms by land and sea.
London, — June, 1551.
Cipher. French.
June 4 Vienna, Imp. Arch F. 30 Simon Renard to the Emperor
Sire: I have heard from a good source that the King (of France) has been heard to declare several times that he will go on to the end with Farnese (Octavio) though it cost him his kingdom. He trusts to an attack from the Turk and to his auxiliaries in Germany, making ready the while as fast as he can at home, and doing his best to turn the King of England and the elected King of Denmark against your Majesty. The King and his ministers have all done their best to let the governors of England hear that your Majesty attempted to take the Princess out of the country last year in order to attack the King's title and deprive him of his crown under colour that he is not of legitimate birth, and that the kingdom belongs by right to my Lady Mary. They assert that your Majesty had fitted out several ships for the undertaking, which would have been put into effect had it not come to light too soon. Your Majesty's understanding with the Pope tends, according to the French, to ensure the punishment of the English and the occupation of the country; and they go as far as to say that your Majesty intends to wed the said Princess. The councillors and governors of England believe these tales, and have been induced to listen to proposals for an alliance and perpetual confederation with the King of France, especially as several of their number are French partisans now because your Majesty refused them assistance in the last war to enable them to keep Boulogne, and because they hope better to secure the maintenance of the new religion.
The Marquis of Northampton, the Bishop of Ely, the Earl of Rutland, the Lord Bray, the Earl of Fitzwater (sic) (fn. 5) and the Earl of Lisle (sic) have been sent over here to present the Order of the Garter to the said King (of France) and discuss the preliminaries of the alliance, to be continued by Marshal de St. André and M. de Boisdauphin. They have been assigned an interview with the King at Châteaubriant.
The King made his entry into this town of Angers on the third of this month, and will leave to-morrow for Châteaubriant. No great ceremonies or shows took place, except one of a cock covering two lions, meaning England and Scotland; and another with Fortune seated on an anvil under a portal, a wheel in one hand and an apple in the other, while on either side of her were represented a man and a woman; signifying that the Constable and the Duchess of Valentinois were the governors of the King's fortunes. . . .
Angers, 4 June, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
June 11 Vienna, Imp. Arch E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: I received your Majesty's letters, dated May 16th, on the 26th of the same month, and with them the decision rendered by your Majesty in favour of certain English merchants. Immediately afterwards I went to demand audience of the Council, who gave me the last day of May. On that date I went to see them and exposed, in the first place, that your Majesty wished them to know that, a few days before, the master of the customs of Antwerp had caused four English ships to be arrested at that place. The ships had been ready to sail, but were found to be laden with goods and merchandise, part of which it was forbidden to export. Besides this, the merchants had attempted fraudulently to avoid paying the taxes and prince's dues, which was quite inexcusable, and might lead to disagreeable happenings. Although all the goods and merchandise had been confiscated, and the owners had, moreover, incurred several heavy fines to be payed to his Imperial Majesty for having attempted these frauds, and broken his statutes and ordinances, the merchants had presented a petition to your Majesty, begging that their goods might be released, and they exempted from the confiscation and fine, and that a guarantee, deposited on account of some money and scrap-metal they were transporting, might be restored to them. Your Majesty had seen the report, heard the fiscal officers' account, consulted your Council and financial advisers, and had learned that besides the money and metal, and a fine of forty gold royaulx on each mark of silver, the petitioners had forfeited all the other property belonging to them found on board the ships in which the money and metal were; for here in England the same had been done to certain of the Emperor's subjects, and not only had the prohibited goods been confiscated, but also those that were licit; although your Majesty had often caused the unreasonable severity of such proceedings to be pointed out to the English Council. Nevertheless, your Majesty desired to act in a neighbourly spirit, extend favourable treatment to English subjects, and not use great severity, hoping that the English would reward you by confiscating, in future, prohibited merchandise only. Therefore you were satisfied, for this time, with the confiscation of the money and metal only. As for redeeming the other goods belonging to the merchants, and for the fines incurred by them, the merchants should be obliged to pay to the Emperor, as they had offered to do, a round sum of 600Flemish livres; as we doubted not the English ambassador resident with your Majesty had already informed them, especially regarding the gratification. They replied, Madam, that they had heard nothing at all about the matter, either from their ambassador or the merchants; but as your Majesty had shown their subjects such considerate treatment, they desired to thank you most humbly. For their part, they would correspond and do their utmost to keep up friendly and neighbourly relations between the countries. They then asked me whether the ammunition found on board the vessels had also been restored. I told them, Madam, that it seemed strange to me that they should have known nothing about the gratification, for it was quite important enough to deserve that their ambassador, who had been informed of all the details and knew whether or no the ammunition was included, should have made it the subject of a report to the King. I said I had found no special mention of the ammunition in your Majesty's ruling, but was quite sure that the other goods had been restored. At all events your Majesty had shown their subjects special favour, and would continue to perform all good offices in the cause of the ancient friendly relations binding the two countries. As they said nothing about any intention of continuing to use all the rigour allowed by the law against his Majesty's subjects, and confiscating licit merchandise found in the same vessel with such as was prohibited, I repeated this point, and said that your Majesty considered the law most iniquitous and unjust, and likely to cause great wrong to subjects of both Princes; whence you were of opinion that the law ought no longer to be applied in this country. After a long consultation, they replied that they were not in the habit of confiscating licit merchandise with that which was illicit in England; and went no further. I retorted that their own placards issued last September stated it in so many words, and also that the very ship in which contraband was discovered should be confiscated. They must remember the repeated efforts made by certain merchants of Bruges to obtain restitution of their sugar and canvas taken in the last war against France; for on that occasion the Council had several times made objection to my solicit at ions in the merchants' favour, on the ground that enemies' or contraband goods caused the whole cargo to be confiscated, according to a certain Admiralty law. Their own ambassador had maintained the same in your Majesty's Court. They answered that they had had very good reasons for issuing the said placards; but, although they did recite that licit goods should be confiscated together with contraband, they had not enforced that provision. Nevertheless the matter was of importance, and partly concerned the Admiralty laws, and as several of the councillors were not present, they must put off their reply until the Admiral and others returned. These lords were expected in eight or ten days; and they assured me that I should then have my reply.
After that, Madam, I informed them that certain merchants, subjects of the Emperor, who neither resided nor had a fixed domicile here, had come to me complaining that some of the King's officers and collectors had been bothering them once more about the payment of a certain new subsidy that had been imposed a few years earlier, as if these subjects or their masters were native Englishmen, were naturalised, or had a fixed abode in the kingdom. These collectors had used force, and arrested the merchants' goods and merchandise, shutting up their rooms and store-houses, so that they could not dispose of their property, which was a direct breach of the treaties and Commercial Convention, a recent introduction never heard of before, and a violation of all reason and equity. These merchants and their employers enjoyed none of the privileges extended to English subjects, naturalised foreigners or permanent inhabitants who paid the customary subsidy and other taxes on their goods. I had explained all this to them last year, and the matter had been so thoroughly threshed out on that occasion that it had been ruled that the Emperor's subjects who had no fixed domicile here should be exempt from the subsidy; and they had been exempt until recently. Wherefore I requested them, in consideration of the fact that their subjects in Flanders were exempt from all subsidies and taxes, and so favourably treated and encouraged, to command their collectors promptly to release our merchants' property, and allow them access to their rooms and stores, and, moreover, to treat them as exempt and free from the subsidy, giving them no more trouble on that score. They told me, Madam, that they had no intention of extorting payment of the subsidy from our merchants who had no fixed domicile here; but it seemed only reasonable that those who were here two or three years on end should be obliged to contribute. I replied that the merchants, their masters and predecessors, had always been exempt from such subsidies, and those here now were almost all servants, having only a room to retire to, and boarding with English folk. As soon as they disposed of their merchandise they took themselves back to Flanders, making the journey twice or three times a year; and if they were staying a little longer than usual this year, it was because they found it harder than usual to sell their goods and turn over their money. It was not to be argued from that that they ought to be made to pay the subsidy, for they had no domicile here nor intention to sojourn; wherefore they could not be classed as inhabitants or residents. With this I insisted again on the consideration shown to English subjects in Flanders, not in this respect only, but in many others, as I had declared to them at the beginning of my discourse. They told me, in reply, that his Majesty's subjects should not be troubled with the subsidy until the Council had received ample information from their officers as to which merchants had a fixed abode and permanent habitation here. They would communicate with me then; and in the meantime the merchants' goods, rooms and store-houses should be released and opened.
At this same meeting I gave them to understand that the King, their master, had been pleased to write to your Majesty in favour of one John Bradley, an English merchant, who had already complained to the King and Council of the great wrong and severity he had endured from the Flemish courts. He had complained to the King that he had had a difference with the Countess of Meghem over some goods, sold by him to the Countess, to the value of 1,162 Flemish livres. He had been forced to go to law against her; and had first brought a suit before the Privy Council. When the Countess saw that Bradley must win, she had bribed one Roland van Hamburg to testify that Bradley had sold her the goods very dear, and then bought them back for much less. For this false testimony the said Roland had publicly been punished, yet Bradley was still unable to have the affair cleared up, and had been sent before the Council of Brabant. When he had pleaded his suit there for some time, he was himself accused of bribery and arrested; and the Council of Brabant had reversed the Privy Council's decision. Therefore the King's Majesty requested that Bradley should now be released from prison, and that his case should immediately be disposed of. I told them, Madam, that as soon as your Majesty had received and read the letter, you had sent it to the Council of Brabant in order to have the matter looked into. It had clearly appeared from the Council's register that Bradley had given a false and malicious account to the King and his Council, for the truth was quite otherwise. When the matter had come up before the Brabant court, the Procurator-General found that two brokers who had had something to do with the contract between the Countess and Bradley had been guilty of perjury, and he consequently proceeded against them in order to have them punished as their crimes deserved. And punished they were; but in the course of the procedure, it was discovered, that Bradley was strongly to be suspected of having bribed and corrupted with money the two offenders, who both confessed and revealed, under torture and otherwise, all the circumstances in which he had bribed, them to bring false witness. This and several other reasons compelled the said Procurator-General to proceed against Bradley. Bradley attempted to defend himself, and contended that he ought to be released on his promise to return when he should be summoned, offering a certain guarantee for the purpose. His proposal was debated, but the Procurator-General had upheld that the gravity of the offence rendered it impossible to release Bradley who, according to the Emperor's ordinances, ought to suffer bodily punishment; and the court had, after due deliberation, ruled that he could not be released, as might be seen from the copy of their ruling. As for Bradley's complaint to the King that he had been detained a long time before justice was administered, I assured them, Madam, that Bradley himself, and not the court, was to blame, for the Procurator had done his part in such a way that the case might have been ready to be tried by January 14th, and judgment might soon afterwards have been given, had not Bradley raised a new point, and failed to produce what was demanded for the trial. Otherwise he could have obtained prompt justice, as might appear from certain notes on the case. Therefore he had no reason at all to complain of the Flemish Councils or Courts, whose members had up to the present, and according to their custom, behaved towards him like good judges, as in the future they would continue to do. Bradley had said that the Council of Brabant had reversed the Privy Council's decision, but this was not at all the case, and only an invention of Bradley's; and in the same way the said Roland had not been punished for having accepted a bribe from the Countess, but because he and his companion had given conflicting testimonies, in one of which it appeared that they had committed perjury at Bradley's instigation; and the Council of Brabant had condemned and sentenced them for that reason. It was improbable that a lady of the Countess' standing had adopted such discreditable methods; but had it been found that she had done so, the court would have applied the Emperor's laws and administered justice equitably, without respect of persons. Moreover, your Majesty had expressly ordered the Council to administer prompt justice to Bradley; and I was sure nothing would have stood in its way had Bradley himself not been negligent. I took this opportunity of begging them, on their side, to have prompt justice administered to the Emperor's subjects, who complained daily of great delays. When they had heard all this, Madam, the Council only replied that they remembered Bradley had made complaints, and that the King had written to your Majesty in his favour; but since then they had heard nothing more about it. If Bradley had really committed some crime meriting punishment, reason demanded that he should be chastised; and they would only request that in any case he might have a prompt trial, which they hoped your Majesty would see to. They thanked you again for the consideration it had pleased you to show their subjects; and wished to assure you that they would not fail to do the same by the Emperor's subjects here. As they made a point of this, I explained to them the cases of certain private individuals that had remained pending, for the most part in the Admiralty Court. As usual, they promised to see to it that prompt justice should be administered; and this, Madam, was the end of our conference.
A few days ago the English and Scots pirates, who were condemned to the last penalty here, obtained a reprieve.
Copy. French.
June 13. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Those who make a practice of studying the King's countenance, infer that he is very wroth and inclined to turbulence. Were it not for the advice of the Constable and the unpropitious season he would have taken the field already, so eager is he to fight. Unless God will stay him, it seems clear that he will endanger the cause of religion in order to effect his designs against your Majesty. I have been informed that every despatch sent to Germany has one end only: to assure the Germans that if the Council is to be held without their wish and if they will not accept it, the King will help them to maintain their freedom, and will employ all his forces against your Majesty's dominions. He is trying the same argument to attract the English into an alliance, having as a special object to oppose the Council (of Trent). Marshal de St. Andre is working towards this end in the preliminaries by which he hopes to establish a foundation for Bois-dauphin, who lives in England, to build upon. The Marshal's reputation and experience in such matters are not yet very great, and the King has deputed M. de Gyé (fn. 6) to assist him. I can certify that the King has caused the rumour concerning the withdrawal of the Lady Mary from England, as I wrote it to your Majesty in my last letters of the 4th of this month, sent by the messenger, to be circulated in England.
M. de Boisdauphin took ten or twelve gentlemen over with him, and has had a hundred barrels of wine sent across by sea for his own use. He intends to win over the English by his liberalities, his banqueting and his munificence, as the English Council have always protested that they will not conclude definitely any alliance with the French until their King comes of age. They have kept the matter pending during the communications that have taken place, by all the means usual in such cases, entertaining the French, who, on their side, will neglect no available opportunity to coerce them into an open declaration against your Majesty and induce them to forget past injuries, setting aside religious considerations on both sides, and disregarding the duties of Christian princes. The presentation of the Orders from both Sovereigns is a prelude to the understanding to follow between them, to be assisted by the feasting which is to attend the Marquis of Northampton's progress through the various towns before his arrival at Nantes on the 11th of this month, (fn. 7) by the King's orders. . . .
. . .The Marshal (de St. André) has been delayed longer than was arranged because of the expected answer concerning Monluc. He left on the 11th of this month with a retinue of two hundred horse, and a kitchen staff sufficient for dinners of ten to twelve courses; all at the King's expense. . . .
Ancenis, (fn. 8) 13 June, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
June 13. Brussels, L.A. 51. The Queen Dowager to Count de Reuil.
(Extract from a letter dealing with the state of the frontier.)
As for the exploits of the English on his Majesty's territory, I have nothing to say beyond what I wrote in my last letter, which I now confirm. Above all, see to it that his Majesty be not dispossessed. I approve of your action in farming out Gravelines river for the period you mention, for it will serve to strengthen his Majesty's claim. Regarding the bulwark lately put up by the English on his Majesty's land, I have instructed the Chancellor of the Order (i.e. Philip Nigri), who has the papers referring to the matter in his hands, to prepare his report so that all may be ready for his Majesty's inspection when he arrives here. In the meantime, ascertain in what state the bulwark now is, whether a guard is kept there, and how much artillery and munitions.
Brussels, 13 June, 1551
June 19. Brussels, L.A. 51. M. d'Eecke to the Queen Dowager.
(Extract from a letter dealing with the outfitting of the fleet.)
I hear from people just come hither from France that there is at sea a great ship full of pirates, flying pennants, banners and standards with the sign of the Crescent. They say she is a French ship from Le Havre, and that her captain is one Nicholas Marnier.
They also speak of other pirates besides Cornille of Calais, whom I mentioned in my last letters, and among them certain Englishmen, such as one Francis James; and there seems to be another ship full of Flemings and Germans, of which the captain's name in unknown. But I hear of no Scots pirates at sea, on the contrary that the Regent of Scotland recently hanged one of their chief captains, who had had more to do with piracy than any other native of that land.
Veere, 19 June, 1551.
French. Holograph.
June 26. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: The Queen of Scotland is about to leave Châteaubriant and go to Janville. I have been warned that all foreigners will be ordered out of the country in a few days. The King has taken this resolve after receiving news from the Turk, which came in certain packets from Constantinople; and because he is treating a confederation with the English, who have made an excuse of the presentation of the Order of the Garter to order their envoys to discuss a marriage and an alliance, and are more readily inclined thereto by the news that your Majesty has good intelligence with the Pope. I have been informed that they are treating with France for the defensive and offensive, and that they will agree to arm by land and sea so as to attack jointly with France and Scotland in the direction of Zeeland, and interfere with the traffic and shipping in the ocean if once they can make themselves strong enough. The English have consented to treat with France for the reasons I wrote to your Majesty; and because when Paget went to discuss with your Majesty a proposed alliance between the King of England and one of the daughters of the King of the Romans, the answer brought back from Vienna by M. de Chantonnay, which was a refusal, denoted intentions and inclinations that justly inspired some fear. The King of France's Council has been at work now for three days in drawing up and examining the terms of the treaty. The English have been summoned every day, and couriers are being sent daily to England with news.
As to the marriage proposals, the French have expressly charged the Marshal de St. Andre to put forward a marriage between the young Queen of Scots and the King of England, if the English will give up all they hold on terra firma, that is to say Calais, and the territory round Guines, (fn. 9) in which case they will renounce their claims to Scotland and will give compensation to the Queen Dowager of Scotland in France, or more probably, a sum of money. The Queen Dowager is tarrying in France until the answer from England comes. If the English will not give up their territories, the marriage between the King of England and the eldest princess of France will hold good and will take place when the bride and bridegroom arrive at a suitable age. Both English and French reckon upon some unexpected event between then and now, some hindrance or other opportunity.
Several people on the French side hold that the King should not consent to the marriage; his conscience, his honour and repute would be compromised by the alliance of his daughter with a King schismatic and under excommunication, whose suit has been refused by the King of the Romans. It (the terms of the understanding between the French and English) will make manifest the fear of your Majesty entertained by the King, which has made him forget himself so far. His designs will be discredited and they will not profit him in the end. God will punish him for his crimes and subtleties, because the English are wholly severed from the true religion, and in worse repute than the Germans themselves. Their deeds bear witness against them; as for instance during their recent journey through France, when they so greatly provoked the people at Angers that had not the Marquis of Northampton intervened they were in danger of being massacred, for having taken a cross from an image and carried it about with a hat set on it, in derision.
At Orleans an English gentleman consecrated bread in public and distributed it among the crowd, which scandalised the people of Orleans exceedingly, a report being drawn up and sent to the King. They have eaten flesh on Fridays and Saturdays during their whole journey. (fn. 10) At Nantes it was found necessary to hide away the statues and images in the houses where they lodged. Two Jacobin monks entered by mistake the quarters reserved for them at Court, thinking it was the Keeper of the Seal's lodging; and they set up such an ignominious cry after them that the whole Court complained and people asked one another whether they had already become Turks, or English or heretics. Notwithstanding all this the negotiations went on as I have said before; and all with the object of taking revenge upon your Majesty.
An order was published at court, of which I send a copy to your Majesty, in which the breaking out of war is plainly stated, and that it is made to surprise some person not mentioned.
Ships are being armed in Brittany, Gascony and Normandy.
Pouancé, (fn. 11) 26 June, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
June 28. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30. Simon Renard to the Emperor
Sire: As I fear that Bertrand the courier may be arrested, I have sent my man on purpose to Brussels with duplicate despatches to confirm the news to your Majesty that the French have resolved to make war on your Majesty because of the help and assistance given by you to the Pope for the punishment of Farnese's rebellion. They are determined to employ all their forces and those of their confederates and allies for the success of their designs to their own advantage and the detriment of your Majesty.
Ships are being armed on the ocean to fight in that quarter with help from the Scots. They are waiting for an answer from the governors of England about the league and confederation proposed between the two powers, and about the marriage and alliance, so that if, as they hope, they take effect, the English naval force may help them either in the direction of Zeeland, or towards Biscay, whither they would send it to assist M. d'Albret who is collecting infantry and mounted soldiers in Navarre, with the object of giving trouble in that quarter. Their temper is all for war-
Pouancé, 28 June, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
June 29. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to Jehan Scheyfve.
Councillor Wotton, who was sent over here by our good brother, the King of England, presented himself before us yesterday at the hour assigned to him for an audience. He presented the letters he carried from the said King, which were merely letters of credence and did not qualify him as ambassador, requesting us to believe him concerning certain matters which he was charged to expose to us. He began by making a declaration of the affection and respect which the King of England had always borne us and bore us still, and of his sedulous care in returning and keeping our friendship. He expressed the King's regret that any of his ministers should have given us offence, as they were ordered and charged to show us every mark of respect and to conduct themselves to our satisfaction. The King could not but feel it very much that, as we had written to you, and you had represented to them in England, his Majesty's ambassador here resident should have conducted himself, while communicating with us, in a manner not wholly pleasing nor satisfactory. His Majesty had well perceived that the address of the said ambassador must be disagreeable to us; for notwithstanding the love and affection we had always shown to the King, and our readiness to gratify him when sued by others of his ambassadors, yet not one single request made by the present ambassador had been granted. The King, his master (said Wotton), had given him express charge to inquire from us whether we were dissatisfied with the ambassador, and whether we would like another to be sent in his place, being desirous now and in all things to meet our wishes. He went on to speak of their recent request that we would permit their ambassador resident in our Low Countries to have a preacher at his house and use their forms of worship as they were recently introduced in the Anglican Church; he repeated the request himself, and brought the fact that you were permitted to observe the rites of the ancient religion as an argument in support of it. He declared that there should not be so much difference between their pratice and ours on this point, and that it would be found strange if we would not grant what they asked, in opposition to the common usage in the case of ambassadors. He cited the practice of the Turk who permitted the ambassadors to use their own form of worship, and even extended the permission to Jews. Other great Christian princes too permitted his Majesty's ambassadors, he said, to govern themselves according to their custom in matters of religion. He afterwards went on to speak of the request made by you that our cousin, the Princess (Mary), should be allowed to observe the rites of the ancient religion, and of the grounds on which we based our request: namely, the promise which we claimed to have been made to our ambassador, the late M. Van der Delft, in our name in accordance with the good hopes previously held out to us by my Lord Paget at Bruges, who said he would do his best to bring about what we asked, as he and the Council were favourably inclined. We also had claimed that similar words had been spoken to our ambassador. The permission granted to our cousin (he said),—always referring to her in very honourable terms and giving her the title of Princess of England,—was temporary, and during the King's pleasure, in the hope that God might illuminate and inspire her to know the abiding truth of their religion. But the King and his Council being aware that their forbearance had borne no fruit, thought fit to put pressure on her to conform with the decrees of Parliament. He enlarged upon their force and quality, on their extent, which embraced the royal authority, the King himself being obliged to conform with them. He observed that we would find it strange indeed, if having promulgated laws for the good and advantage of our realms and territories, particularly after deliberation with our Council, and the adherence of the Knights of our Order, the Prince, our son, were to refuse obedience. The disobedience of our cousin (the Lady Mary) might very easily give rise to scandal and disturbance in the kingdom. He insisted on this point, that we might be satisfied with the answer repeatedly given by the King on the matter.
When he finished his speech, we began our answer by the usual thanks for the King's good-will and affection towards us; we assured him of corresponding sentiments on our part, and enlarged on this point with becoming tenderness (doulceur) to show the love and affection we had always borne him, his house, and all his kingdom. We would not deny, with respect to the ambassador here resident, that we felt a certain resentment of the terms he had used in his negotiation, presuming to try and persuade and catechise us on the religion recently adopted in England. We were moved to greater anger by the recollection of something that occurred in the time of the late King Henry, when Thomas Hoyet(i.e. Wyatt), his ambassador, twice advanced so far as to try and persuade us to set our hand to invalidate the donation of Constantine and appropriate the temporal possessions of the Pope, universal head of the Christian Church. On the first occasion we replied with moderation, inviting him to desist from making any such proposals, in the certainty that he had no charge to do so, saying to him also that the matter was beyond his province and we should be displeased if he ever brought it forward again. Nevertheless, he reverted again to it on another occasion, with greater urgency. We were so angered at this, that we felt obliged to say to him that if he dared to do so again we would make him rue it, and would deal with him in such a way that he would never be tempted to mention it if it came to his mind, or that we would take the means of speaking of it away from him. Remembering this, the ambassador (Morison's) persistence in his argumentations had angered us somewhat; and we added, smiling, that one should bear with the temper of those who were getting on in years and suffered from long and cruel illness. We did not wish him (Wotton) to think, in spite of everything we had said, that the behaviour of the present ambassador or of any other, whoever he might be, could diminish the affection we bore the King of England, or that the tone they might adopt in their negotiations could make us refuse to comply with his wishes, whenever it was possible to do so. It was true that we had refused leave to export certain munitions of war which he had requested of us; but the reason was not to be sought in any diminution of our affection for the King, which was as strong now as in the past, and which we would preserve whole to the end. But we were bound by our treaties to refuse, because the English were not at war; and in view of the negotiations that were being carried on busily at present, it would have seemed unwise to us to deprive our own country (of munitions of war) and incur the reproach that, with little devotion and prudence, we had not considered our own needs, at a season when England had none. He might remember that when the English were at war we had granted them everything that we conveniently could, in many more respects than we were obliged to by the treaty. We gave him this answer straight out, we said, so that he might not think that we would more readily grant to another ambassador sent in the place of the present one anything he might ask.
In the matter of their ambassador resident in our Low Countries we did our best to reply in such a manner that, while not granting in any sense what he asked, we avoided embittering him by an absolute and categorical refusal. We deemed it suitable to go over the ground again, speaking in the past tense, and dwelling particularly on the manner in which our refusal was given, and the causes of it, thus bringing the argument round to what was declared to their ambassador, that rather than permit such a thing (as that the ambassador should use the Anglican Church's form of worship), we would prefer him to withdraw altogether; and that if you were to be forbidden the mass, we should recall you. We met the examples he had brought forward by saying there was no similarity between the present case and what the Turk permitted the Jews to do, as the law of both the Turk and the Jews was invalid. The fact that great Christian Princes, as he asserted, allowed English ambassadors the freedom he requested of us, was no sufficient argument. We knew ourself to be the least virtuous among reigning princes; yet we knew of many things in other sovereigns which we would not imitate ourselves, actions unworthy (bien esloignées) of their dignity, such as, for instance, to depart from unity in matters of religion when it suited them to do so for their worldly practices; or again, to burn and persecute Lutherans at one time, and at another invite and favour them, and many other instances which in truth served to warn us of what we should avoid, and could not be held up to us as an example to be followed. There was no parallel between the permission granted to you to hear mass and follow the ancient rites of the Church, and the liberty they asked for their ambassador. Your practice was not new, but long confessed in Christendom by all princes and kings, and by the King of England's own predecessors; whereas their claim was for something new, contrary to the ancient rule, and introduced by certain councillors during the King's minority, the change being wrought because there had been permutations in the Council, and because they harboured foreigners who held conflicting beliefs. The King of England was young and well-conditioned, and on reaching riper years, we felt certain he would conform with the rest of Christendom; and we hoped that meanwhile he would weigh and consider the whole matter so as to introduce no fresh changes.
With regard to the Princess Mary, our cousin, we had very good grounds for making the request he knew of. We would ask the Bishop of Arras to inform him more particularly of the contents of the letters from our late ambassador, to whom the promise was given personally, besides the promise Paget made (to us).
The ambassador's letters contained a true account of the negotiation on this affair; and we could but find it strange that they should try to put pressure on her in spite of everything that had passed. The example he (Wotton) had given us, naming the Prince, our son, in no wise applied to the present case. We would undoubtedly resent it if the Prince, our son, refused obedience to any measure introduced after consultation with our Council for the welfare of our kingdoms; but we would be justified because we would never make laws against the good of our subjects, nor would we depart from the ancient observances (of religion). Whereas in the case under discussion the law was a recent one, made, as we had already said, according to the fancy of a few councillors during the minority of the King, who we hoped would not resent it later on, if our cousin, (the Lady Mary), were suffered to continue during his minority in the same confession which the late King, her father, left at his death. We hoped he would not wish to use violent measures against her, his sister, who was our own near relative; and, we should find it a grievous thing were she, one of us and of our blood, to fall into so great an error as to forsake the ancient faith, in which she had been nurtured from her youth upwards, as her forebears were before her. We would rather she had died ten years ago than see her waver now; but we believed her to be so constant, that she would prefer a thousand deaths rather than renounce her faith. If death were to overtake her for this cause, she would be the first martyr of royal blood to die for our holy faith, and would for this earn glory in the better life. We hoped the King would consider the matter well. We would pray God to enlighten him, and being so well-favoured by nature, he could well provide for the peace and tranquillity of his kingdom and the salvation of his subjects' souls. It could not be upheld that the permission given to our cousin, the Lady Mary, to hear the office (of the mass) and observe the ceremonies of the Church, might breed trouble in the kingdom, particularly if she worshipped in private, and as she had deep love for the King and a great desire to see his kingdom well governed and well administered, and avoid all scandal during his minority.
Our answer ended here; and the said Wotton recapitulated briefly the various points of the negotiation, wishing to know our intentions so that he might write them to the King, his master. He first inquired whether we wished the ambassador to be recalled, as not being acceptable to us, and another sent in his place, in which case the King would provide promptly in accordance with our wish. We replied that he had heard from us before an account of what happened, that we had been a little angry, and why; how our recollection of what had passed with other ambassadors, and the memory of Wyatt were partly to blame, and that allowances should be made for age and illness. Wotton was not satisfied with this, and persisted that we should express our intentions more clearly. We said we would think the matter over and let him know definitely later on.
He proceeded to take up the second point, repeating the same reasons given before to see if in the end we would consent that their ambassador in the Low Countries should use their ceremonies, and how the one resident here should demean himself. He reverted to the same comparisons as before, adding that on our own territories we tolerated Jews and their synagogues. He urged us to permit that the ambassadors should at least be allowed to practice secretly. We refuted his arguments by the same answers as before; and without making any more definite statement except to go over the reply we had given before as a narrative in the past tense, we came to say that in the matter of the Jews within our territory he was ill-informed, as they were driven entirely out of our patrimonial lands, where they could only go at the peril of their lives. We admitted that they were to be found in the Empire, where they were tolerated in virtue of ancient laws; and it was plain that they were the cause of a part of the troubles that rent the Empire and the whole of Christendom. We did not answer his proposal to allow the ambassador to practice his religion in private, so as to avoid embittering him with a direct refusal on the one hand, while not being able to consent to something against our duty on the other. Besides which, nothing is done so secretly that it does not leak out in time; nor would they be asking so insistently for it in order to conceal it.
The ambassador, at this juncture, launched forth into a disputation to maintain that the articles of their faith were the same as ours, the only alterations being in the ceremonial, and said that, in fine, they had reverted to the true and ancient use, as it was in the days of the Apostles. We replied that if the oldest use were to be accepted as the best, they should cut the matter short by adopting the Judaic law, which was approved by God before the Christian confession. He must know very well that in the beginnings of the Church, when it was first instituted, many things were introduced to suit the rougher needs of the people, which had since been altered by Councils and other authorities, and, in their changed form, had long been observed. We would not enter into any dispute with him, being aware that those who undertook religious innovations were better armed with arguments, by means of which they presumed to uphold their actions, than those who abided by the main trunk of the Church's prescription, the latter being content to believe, and continue in their faith, observing it without contention. Wotton then withdrew very modestly from the dispute, saying he would not sustain it against us, and came to the third point, touching our cousin, the Princess. He went over the same ground more or less, attempting to induce us to agree that she ought to follow the laws and ordinances of the kingdom, and using persuasion to justify their claims to obedience from her. We followed the precedent of our former reply to his arguments, adding that he might well have inferred from our words that their choice of us as the one who should persuade our cousin was an ill choice, as we could not persuade her to do what we would not do ourself. We would encounter death rather than fail in our faith, and hoped that she, a virtuous princess, would do the same. We repeated once more what was said before, namely, that we hoped the King would respect her as his sister and our near relative, and, considering favourably the request we were making in her favour, he would entertain it and, in accordance with the promise we had received, leave her free to use the same observances, during his minority, which her father at his death had appointed for her.
Wotton subsequently had an interview with the Bishop of Arras, to whom we referred him for the final answer concerning their ambassador here resident, and also more especially for the contents of the letters from the late Van der Delft touching the promise made to him, as our representative, by my Lords St. John and Paget on the King of England's behalf, respecting our cousin, the Princess. On the first point, the Bishop declared to Wotton that the love and affection we bore the King was such that it could not be diminished by the fact that any minister was more or less acceptable to us. We had no reason to ask that the ambassador should be recalled, but we would leave the decision of that point entirely to the King, assuring him at the same time that whoever the ambassador might be, his presence would be agreeable to us as one sent by the King. We did not doubt that the King would order him, whoever he might be, whether the present one or another in his place, to behave with discretion and avoid entering into discussion with us on matters of religion.
The Bishop of Arras also recounted to Wotton Paget's statements to us, in answer to a remark that we should think it strange if the Council attempted to extend the application of their law concerning religious observance to our cousin. Paget had definitely said that such was not the King's intention, nor the Protector's; and that he would report what we had said on the subject. The Secretary (Petre) subsequently certified the same to the late Van der Delft, and Paget and Lord St. John did so afterwards too, assuring him that she should be allowed to enjoy the mass as in her father the late King's time. Moreover, it happened that shortly after this our cousin, the Lady Mary, was summoned by the King, her brother, who said to her that he had heard strange news of her having heard the mass against his commands. She replied very modestly that he should not account the rumour as news, such having been her habit since childhood, as her father had brought her up to do so, and she had continued it down to the present time. She professed herself to be his very humble sister and servant, and had not thought to act against his laws, as my Lords St. John and Paget had, in the King's name, assured M. Van der Delft, who was acting for us, that she might continue as she had done under the late King, her father, to observe the ancient religion, notwithstanding the new laws. Lord St. John was present; and as she asked him whether this were true, he admitted that it was. The Bishop of Arras pointed out to Wotton that it was obvious that the promise given was sufficient and seemed satisfactory to us, as we ordered no other reply to be made, nor proffered any request to have it more explicit, but asked that the promise made verbally should be written down, to avoid the possibility of having it disputed, and of finding that with a change of government such as sometimes happened in England, those newly come to power should try to apply the rigour of the law to our cousin and pretend to ignore the said promise. Wotton appeared satisfied with the information and did not demand to see the letters; and it seemed best to the Bishop of Arras to acquiesce.
This point dismissed, Wotton told him that he expected to hear from him a plainer and more detailed answer to his request that we should consent to their ambassador in the Low Countries using privately the form of worship prescribed by the new ordinances of their Church. The Bishop replied that he had no orders from us to enter into that question, as we had answered him sufficiently ourself; and he reminded him of our remarks on the subject. He added that in his opinion, and from what he had been able to gather from our reply himself, we intended that he should be satisfied with what was said. Wotton answered that he thought we had deferred this point for settlement together with the others, and asked the Bishop to ascertain from us if we intended our words to serve as an answer, and if he should inform the King. He added that it was a point to be considered well, as he feared the least of the evils that might follow would be that both sides should recall their ambassadors. The Bishop replied that he hoped better things, and that the King would reconsider the matter after hearing our answer, and would submit to reason, thus returning on all points the very sincere friendship we had for him.
We went away into the country on the day the interview took place, and the Bishop had therefore no opportunity to communicate with us on the conversation they had held together; but the very day after it the said Wotton sent him a note to ask him if any new resolve were forthcoming. After hearing from the Bishop an account of what had occurred, we decided that we could not, for several reasons, condescend to allow the ambassadors to use their own ceremonies either in private or in public within our patrimonial territories; and we adhered to the reply we had given already. The Bishop informed Wotton of this in a written note, giving him to understand that we expected him to send a report to the King, his master, of the conversation we had had on the subject, and that we held for certain that the King, after mature reflexion, would be satisfied, as the perfect friendship we felt for him gave us a right to expect he should.
We wish you to receive this detailed information of everything as it is set down above, so that you may answer fittingly if you are spoken to on the subject, and act according to your judgment.
Augsburg, 29 June, 1551.
Minute. French.


  • 1. According to Edward's Journal Hoby left on May 15th, and the Bishop of Ely the following day.
  • 2. This is a mistake; Enghien was brother to Antoine de Bourbon, Jeanne d'Albret's husband.
  • 3. Edward's Journal for May 9th gives this man's name as Stewart.
  • 4. There had been a stooter worth fourpence, but the coin referred to here appears to have been worth threepence. The testoon was later called down to sixpence.
  • 5. The principal members of the mission were the Marquis of Northampton; the Earls of Worcester, Rutland and Ormond; Lords Fitzwater (son of the Earl of Sussex), Lisle, Bray and Yvers; Sir Harry Sidney, Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, and several other gentlemen.
  • 6. François de Rohan, Sieur de Gyé.
  • 7. This letter, written over several days, like many others from the various ambassadors, was begun evidently before the 11th of June, and closed on the 13th. The Marquis arrived at Nantes on June 16th.
  • 8. Simon Renard calls it Nancerly.
  • 9. Simon Renard calls it “en la Guyenne.”
  • 10. The English were being feasted at every town by order of the King of France.
  • 11. Pouancé lies ten miles west of Châteaubriant.