Spain: March 1550, 1-15

Pages 32-46

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

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March 1550, 1–15

March 1. Simancas, E. 1496. A letter from Trent, without signature or address.
On the 7th of February I wrote to your Grace describing the state of the election of the pope as I had heard it from Rome, and repeated what the letters I saw affirmed, that the election would take a long time. On the 10th I wrote that a courier arriving here declared that Cardinal Monte was elected Pope; and letters from Rome addressed to these lords (the prelates at the Council) told that, whereas it was generally believed that the election would last a long time, it took place suddenly on the very day of the 7th of February, a Friday, at night, and Cardinal Monte, Julius III, was elected Pope, as I have just told you. His election gave great sorrow, and with good cause, because he belonged to the French party, and was averse from the Council (of Trent); because it was generally believed that no personage less inclined to favour the Council and the reformation of the Church could possibly have been elected; because he was supposed to have a grievance over the loss of the bishopric of Pavia which was withheld from him; because he was a man of low condition, though wise and prudent, and among those who seemed least desirable and suited to the dignity of the Papal See; and finally, because it was said that he was elected against his Majesty's wishes through the little constancy of a few, who gave way in the end when it seemed incredible they should do so after the many days passed in conclave without wavering in their resolve. It was said that Cardinal Farnese and his friends had an understanding with France, and for his own private purpose, as ill-luck would have it, Farnese went over to the French side and made his bargain with Cardinal de Guise, in such a way that by the time the others were aware of it nothing could be done, and all at once, on the day and hour I have mentioned, the election took place by accession without scrutiny. The Cardinals of Jaen, Coria, Mantua and Trent would not accept it until the following morning, when the ballot took place, by permission of the Pope, who granted it, but without prejudice to his rights, affirming his election to have been valid from the night before. There would be much to add here, but it is not a fit subject for a letter, as they wrote from Rome; let it suffice that the Pope is elected, to the regret of many, and not particularly to the advantage of affairs in general, of the Church in particular, and of his Majesty's most holy desires, unless God will provide a remedy and give him (the Pope) a new heart with the fresh dignity conferred upon him. They say he has given to each of the cardinals in conclave three benefices in three dioceses, the first that fall vacant. The Curia rejoiced greatly at this, and because they hold him to be the right sort of man and to nurse few scruples. Here they (the prelates of the Council) are waiting to see how his Majesty will take the election, what the effect will be on public affairs, and what direction the Pope will take; all of which cannot fail to be made known before long.
The Duke of Florence, who favoured and desired this election, may be a good counsellor for the Pope, being so great a servant of his Majesty; and moreover the power and renown of the Emperor are so great, that it is not likely that anyone will care to break with him or attempt to frustrate his holy wishes and designs for the remedy of the crying needs of Christendom.
I told you in my last letter that four cardinals had left the conclave and that one had died some days before. Two more died afterwards, the Cardinal of Bologna and Cardinal Ridolfi. They say Ridolfi was poisoned and that the physicians knew it well, and to prove it they opened his body and found his liver swollen and looking as if it had been roasted, his heart all rotten and full of spots, the rest of him all black and swollen too, and no sign of the catarrh that was supposed, according to some, to have choked him. They say that one of the cardinals of the same party did for him, because he had heard that the King of France had made up his mind to have him elected. God knows whether this be true or not; and the event had no small share in bringing the election to an end and lending colour to the designs of Farnese and his friends. These are the fruits by which we may know them; such deeds are done where we should look for greater holiness. They say the Pope has given Parma to Duke Octavio, because he had agreed with Cardinal Farnese to do so.
After the above was written letters from Rome, dated February 15th, brought the news that things are going very differently from what was expected, and that if the Pope goes on as he has begun there is no reason to be dissatisfied, on the contrary that we may nurse the good hope that public affairs may mend.
Persons of importance write that the Pope has declared himself openly as his Majesty's friend, and given such good earnests of his sincerity that the French are angry, and believe they have been fooled over the election, and did not understand what was really going on.
As regards the Council, the Pope has declared that it shall be held at Trent, or if necessary at Spire, or wherever his Majesty wishes it to be, showing great good-will to the continuance and success of it. He has met the objection that might be made to him that he was here first, and then went to Bologna, and took a share in the former events, by declaring that in the past he did as the late Pope ordered him to do, and he could not have done otherwise, but he never approved of it, and now that he is free he will do what seems to him right. He has written to his Majesty and sent Don Pedro de Toledo to give him a full account of everything, convey his offers and express his resolve, as it is believed, to do everything that his Majesty wishes.
He caresses our ambassador and cardinals, and keeps the Cardinal of Burgos lodged in the palace where Farnese used to lodge. He consults him on every point; and Burgos is first in favour with the Pope, so much so that he is treated as a comrade, and they say the Pope has given him the fruits of the indulgence in Seville. He desires to reform the Curia, and they say that he is going to put down compositions, all traffic in benefices, vacant or otherwise, and abolish a great many taxes imposed by his predecessor. The Duke of Florence and Cardinal Farnese claim to have made the Pope and overcome all opposition, rendering thereby a service to his Majesty. I have seen various accounts of the election, and how it was put through. The Pope has ordered that Parma shall be restored to Duke Octavio, and has sent him 35,000 ducats to pay for Camillo Orsini's expenses. He has confirmed him in office as Gonfalonier of the Church with a salary of 12,000 ducats, and 10,000 ducats a year to my lady (fn. 1) for her table. The Cardinal of Trent has received over 12,000 ducats in compensation for the expenses incurred for the celebration of the Council and other causes. Some say he was given over 25,000. The Pope has made other gifts too, and is very kind to everybody. He has confirmed to Ascanio Colonna the possession of his estate, and granted everything the ambassador has asked for, declaring that he would be happy to give what he could, whenever he could. This is the substance of the letters received from Rome.
They are saying here that all this is very well and everybody will be pleased if the Pope goes on as he has begun, and carries out all he has promised to do. Some think he has another object in view besides pleasing his Majesty, namely to preserve his own possessions, and eventually do away with the Council, which he calls a restive, uncurbed horse, in the best way that presents itself; and avoid the errors of his predecessor, (fn. 2) too, and build up his fortunes. At present he has neither men nor money to fight with, even supposing he wished to. They say that he is preaching reforms so that the Council shall have no excuse left for effecting them, and that merely the one article (blank) that was so much in favour during Pope Paul's day shall be discussed. The future will teach us what to think. For the present let us rejoice for the good that has taken place already, and for the obvious wisdom and prudence of the Pope in not seeking to explain his deeds by hypocrisy.
On the 23rd of the said month (of February), Don Pedro de Toledo, sent by the Pope to his Majesty, as I have said before, arrived here and confirmed all we had heard, and told us more good news of the same kind. I overheard him telling these lords that no better Pontiff could have been elected for the good of the Church of God and of the affairs of Christendom. May our Lord set His hand to the work and direct all events to His service.
Trent, 1 March, 1550.
Copy. Spanish.
March 1. Simancas. E. 1197. Fernando Gonzaga to the Emperor.
(Extract. Out of a copious correspondence relating to Parma, which cannot be printed here, a few points only are of cardinal importance. In January, 1550, Octavio Farnese, obeying instructions from Rome, went back on what he had offered a couple of months earlier (see letter of 29 November, 1549), and refused to enter into any agreement with the Emperor about Parma, or indeed to accept it from the Emperor. His Majesty, fearing that Camillo Orsini might hand it over to the French or at any rate to the Venetians, was anxious to give Parma to Octavio unconditionally. It seems that the new Pope issued a brief ordering Camillo Orsini to hand over the place to Octavio, and Camillo Orsini received a gift of money; whether as payment or as a gift, cannot be asserted. (fn. 3) )
Camillo Orsini has finally handed over Parma without any reserve to Octavio, who has taken possession of it, retaining about 500 soldiers of those that he found within, and distributed them in various parts of the town under the command of five of his own captains. One of them is in the castle with a certain number of men; he has garrisoned Roccabianca and Fontanella; and all are under oath. In short, he is showing his intention to keep the same frontiers that Camillo Orsini set to the town. His manner of behaving is not at all to my taste, especially as he once refused Parma at the hands of your Majesty, and now he shows lack of confidence in you, when it would better behove him to exhibit the greatest trust and confidence for the favours received in the past; and the crux of the matter lies in the fact that his activities are on such a scale that he cannot in my opinion carry them on for long on the means at his disposal. Your Majesty's great wisdom will form a better judgment than it is in my power to do. All I have to say beyond this, is that I humbly beseech your Majesty to deign to command me the manner I am to adopt towards the said Octavio, and whether I am to consider and treat him as Duke of Parma or not. I hear from another quarter that the Pope has sent a petition and exhortation to your Majesty to incline you to decide that the said Octavio shall be restored in possession of that part of the territory of Parma that you hold with Piacenza. If this is really so, I beg to remind your Majesty with all due respect that Borgo San Donnino and Castelguelfo on the frontier, and Busseto, and Corte Maggiore, not twelve miles away from Piacenza, were included in the Parmesan; and whereas now the said Octavio cannot cross the Taro without the knowledge of your Majesty's people on the frontiers, and cannot undertake any sudden move against Piacenza as the said places would hold him off, if the said territory were restored to him, he would find these undertakings become as easy as they are difficult now. My opinion is that the further away Octavio can be kept from Piacenza, the better; for if he were to draw nearer he would certainly awaken unrest, on the one hand because of the pretensions he has to it, fostered and inflamed by propinquity, and on the other because of the hatred of the Placentine plotters. (fn. 4)
I submit these brief considerations to your Majesty as the events suggest them to me; and your Majesty will decide what course will best suit your service. . . .
Guastalla, 1 March, 1550.
Copy. Italian.
March 5. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 29. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: The King left Montargis for the Beauce country; but found the conditions there so different from the countryside near Nemours and Fontainebleau, (the roads) so muddy and heavy, that he broke off his journey at Lorris, and instead of going on, as he had intended, to Bourgdieu, a place belonging to the Duchess of Valentinois (fn. 5) he turned back to Montargis, where he found M. d'Aumale in bed with a fever and catarrh. He remained in Montargis until he was certain that the illness was not a dangerous one, but the result of violent exercise and excesses committed by him at the jousts and games held for the baptism of his son.
The King arrived at Fontainebleau to-day, and he will not dally here if the peace with England is not concluded, and the weather permits him to take the field again in the Boulonnais. He is reckoning the time your Majesty will spend on your journey through Germany: the time your Majesty will spend before the arrival of the electors, and the duration of the Diet, during which period he will have a try for the taking of Boulogne, which they refer to here as the little round patch between the conquered forts. For this purpose he is causing preparations for his armies by land and sea to be made in all diligence, and everything to be got ready; and I have been told that he has raised two companies of Switzers. The old bands from Piedmont have gone (to the front) already, as I have been told at court. By Easter his army may be ready and his fleet in good order, and judging by the numbers of foot and horse he is levying, it looks as it he were going to employ his whole forces. Some say these preparations are made for fear that your Majesty may give assistance to the English; and they have published the news that an understanding between you and the English (to be cemented) by the marriage of my Lady, your daughter, with the King of England (whereas heretofore they used to affirm that a marriage was to take place between the said King and the daughter of the King of the Romans)—provided the English change their religion and accept the Interim,—has been discovered by the French. They do not feel sure yet of the exact nature of the (supposed) understanding, and under what conditions, for what causes, by what means it may have been brought about; but they found their suppositions on the demands put forth by the English as conditions of peace, who insist as I am told on the King's marriage with the Princess (sic) of Scotland, on the sum of twelve hundred thousand crowns to be paid to them, and the yearly pension of fifty-two thousand crowns to be continued; while they are to hold Boulogne and Ambleteuse until the said marriage is consummated. This condition is particularly repugnant to the King, who will never consent to the marriage; nor will he pay the sum of twelve hundred thousand crowns, except as composition for the pension, which is thoroughly hateful to everybody in France. As for allowing the English to hold Boulogne for any space of time, that point is the hardest of all for him to swallow. After the above declarations on the part of the English, the commissioners assembled at the Pont du Bac, despatched a gentleman of the Constable's suite, named Denault (sic) (fn. 6) to ascertain the King's pleasure, assuredly very remote from that of the English. A rumour is current already that the King will declare that he cannot consent to any marriage whatsoever, of his own daughter or the Scottish princess, unless the ancient Catholic religion be restored in England, grounding himself on this to break off the negotiations for peace.
Again, when the current rumours are discussed, some say that the English have spread the rumour of an understanding and alliance with your Majesty to give greater weight and importance to the commission and secure greater advantages for themselves; and proceeding to examine the question further, they assert that your Majesty will never be likely to make an alliance with the heretic English, until religion is restored to its pristine condition in England, for if your Majesty has not dissimulated in matters of greater moment in Germany, you are less likely to do so where the English are concerned, your Majesty being faithful to the call of your own conscience, aware of the claims of the Christian republic and the honour of your name, and unwilling to give to future historians reason to tarnish it by the recital of a like event.
The Italians believe that your Majesty will do your utmost to prevent the peace, using all means in your power, and that you will seize this opportunity (of war between France and England) if you desire to make a move against France for the recovery of Piedmont. In any case the King is making extensive preparations for war, and I have been told that he intends to make use of them before your Majesty has time to settle anything in Germany. It is not likely that he would run into all this expense, unless the negotiations were destined to come to nothing; or he might perhaps be nursing another plan, though this seems unlikely because of your Majesty's nearness to him. I beg to remind your Majesty, at all events, that in the past they have sometimes hit out without giving warning. . . .
M. d'Andelot arrived here by the post, from the Fort of Boulogne, to learn the King's resolve on the communications made by the commissioners of France and England. He left, two days later, after the King had consulted (his Council) and deliberated on the documents brought by him. As far as I can make out, the peace will not be concluded unless the English give up their claims and pretensions, desist from action, and sign a grossly disadvantageous peace. While the negotiations are being carried on, the French in Scotland never cease harrying the English; and news have arrived that they have lately taken a strong place.
Melun, 5 March, 1550.
Duplicate in cipher. French.
March 8. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Sire: On the day appointed for my interview with the lords of the Council, I suffered from such a severe attack of gout that I was obliged to send my man to present my excuses, explaining that it was absolutely impossible for me to attend, and asking them to permit me to present myself before them as soon as my health should enable me to do so, and receive their long-deferred answer. I also asked that the appointment should not be made as long as a week beforehand, in consideration of the unstable and variable nature of my indisposition. They sent word to me that they were sorry to hear of my illness, and that I should be welcome whenever it pleased me to go; but if other business of importance were to prevent them seeing me, they hoped I would not resent being put off. The next day they sent word to me that they had deputed two of their number to hold a communication with me on the points I had lately brought before them; but no one having appeared in the meantime, four days later I sent a message asking them to grant me an audience. They put me off again to the following day after dinner. I believed this to be done in order that the Earl of Warwick, who has retired to a place ten miles out of London, might be present; but I now believe he has no wish to show himself. Yesterday I presented myself at court, and found the Council assembled; they rose when I appeared, and the Lord Chancellor and others fled to their homes, so that the council chamber was deserted save for the presence of my Lords St. John, Weynfort (sic) (i.e. Sir A. Wingfield), who is in the place of Arundel, and the Lord Warden, with the Bishop of Ely; (fn. 7) Mr. Herbert, Master of the Horse, and Dr. Wotton. The said Dr. Wotton opened his speech by presenting their excuses for the past delays, and gave me the following answer on behalf of the Council:
First, concerning the bulwark lately erected between Gravelines and Calais, he averred that it was built within their own jurisdiction, and affirmed this to be notorious. But, in consideration of the fact that your Majesty maintained the contrary, they had named two commissioners, my Lord Cobham, Deputy-Governor of Calais, and Captain Brian, who commanded the castle, to meet others appointed by your Majesty and debate the question on the spot, as it was most reasonable to do. I assured them that it would undoubtedly be proved that the bulwark had been erected on your Majesty's territory; nevertheless, so as not to leave themselves unprotected, they might request your Majesty to suffer the said bulwark to remain standing until another could be built by them on their own territory, and placed in a condition of defence, when the first could safely be demolished; but I added that I could give them no assurances of any kind on the matter. I made the above statement because the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) (fn. 8) wrote to me in her last letters that she desired me to make it, as if coming from myself; but they took no notice whatever and persisted in their answer as stated above. He added afterwards that the answer would apply to the request concerning the French vessel seized near Gravelines, as the same commissioners would settle both points together; “even if the said vessel had been seized on the Emperor's territory;” he said, “but we maintain that it was not. Still, the same licence ought to be given to us over-seas, that was given here to you, when your people pursued and seized the enemy's goods at the mouth of the river (Thames) and outside the ports of the kingdom, we then being neutral. As to the sugar and alum, (fn. 9) we have proofs that the said goods belonged to the French, so that there is no reason whatever for freeing them on deposit of a guarantee. But if anyone can prove to our satisfaction in the Admiralty Court that the said goods are his property, he shall be given satisfaction according to the law. Concerning the original letter of the Count of Tendes, we have had search made for it, to oblige the Emperor, but we have not found it yet. Perhaps Secretary Petre, who is now at Boulogne with the other commissioners as you are aware, had it with him. There now remains,” he continued, “the point concerning the Lady Mary. The Lords of the Council are undecided what to say, for the proposals put forth to the Emperor by Mr. Paget refer to business transacted by the Duke of Somerset, who did as he pleased in all matters, and did not consult the members of the Council. They are still in doubt whether the Prince of Portugal was meant, or the King of Portugal's brother. If it were a question of marriage between the Lady Mary and the Prince of Portugal, they would consider the means to achieve the union; but if the King's brother were proposed as bridegroom, they would consider the match unsuitable. Although he is the King's brother, and a most magnanimous prince yet magna met imparitas coniugis” said he; “for he owns no lands nor territories wherewith to provide a suitable estate for so great a lady and for their children. The Lords of the Council have therefore decided to set this proposal aside.”
As he finished his speech, saying that he believed all the points had been answered, I told him the question of Sebastian Cabot had not been dealt with.
“The Lords of the Council sent word to the said Cabot,” he answered, “who requested them to allow him to dwell here in peace in his old age. He admitted that it was a matter of great importance to the Emperor that he should speak with him once; but he affirmed that his communication could be made in writing, and that he would write to no one else except his Majesty about it. He was ordered to do so; for it would be too great a piece of cruelty to compel this aged man to cross the sea against his own inclination.”
Upon this, I said I would take occasion from their reply to the last point, to say that in my opinion their information was very incomplete on all the questions named. With regard to Cabot, so much discussion had already taken place that seven months ago a better answer was given to me than the one I received now. Let them send for the said Cabot, I said, and let him come before me with a secretary or clerk of the Council, so that they might ascertain whether it was true that your Majesty's business did not require his presence, and could be conducted equally well by letter; they should hear what he would have to say then. They approved of this, and said it was well, and they would speak to Cabot about it. The man affirmed to me again but the other day that his chief and only wish was to make clear his intention to serve your Majesty, though he was well aware that the Earl of Warwick would be angry when he heard of it. The said Cabot has gone to a place ten miles from here, but will return shortly.
Concerning the marriage of the Lady Mary, once put forward by them, with the Infante of Portugal, I expressed my great astonishment at their assumed ignorance of the matter, for it was one of the chief points of the mission entrusted to Paget when by order of the Duke of Somerset and the Council he went to your Majesty; and the Council, too, before the said Paget's departure, had sent the Lord Chancellor and Secretary Petre to the said lady, to declare the business to her and ascertain her intentions, as they had told me themselves. I had reason to suppose that the person of the bridegroom had been mentioned to her. I reminded them that in the last communication I had held with the Council, I asked them if they were still of the same mind in desiring the alliance between the said lady and Don Luis, Infante of Portugal; I had then clearly and expressly named the personage; and they must have had confirmation of it from the report sent by the Lord Warden, as the subject was mentioned by his Majesty. The Lord Warden then addressed me, saying “The Emperor never said a word to me; but on one occasion, when M. d'Arras was present, I inquired the name of the personage and showed by my face that I did not consider him as exalted as a personage chosen for such a purpose should be.” I replied that M. d'Arras spoke on behalf of your Majesty, who were prepared to assist and foster the alliance, as they had urged you themselves, in consideration of the quality and virtues of both parties. They all said at once: “We should be quite ready to pursue the matter if it were a question of the son and not the brother (of the King)-for the marriage you propose is not a suitable one for the lady.” I could not forbear then from saying to them: “My lords, see how misguided you are; for in the whole of Christendom there is no match so suitable (for her) and well balanced as this one; and my Lord the Infante of Portugal is by no means so ill-provided with lands as you suppose. But as you have changed your minds, it is high time for me to warn his Majesty that you do not wish him to proceed further in the matter; but sometime in the future you will call to mind how you let slip the opportunity of strengthening your relations and friendship with his (the bridegroom's) country, that might prove useful and convenient to you. But as this is your good pleasure, I will inform his Majesty.”
With regard to the originals of the letters from the Count of Tendes, I told them I had had them in my hands and read them. I hoped they would find them before Secretary Petre's return, if they would make a careful search. But they replied there was no chance of their being found, unless the Secretary had them with him.
In the matter of the sugar and alum belonging to subjects of your Majesty, I told them their reply seemed strange to me, being the identical one given five weeks ago, when I had protested against it and the injustice that was being done to us. They had then put off answering definitely on that point and on all the other questions under debate in an attempt to mitigate their answers and make them more reasonable. But in the meantime they had ordered the sugar and alum to be sold, I said, although I had never desisted from asking for their reply to my solicitations; and I declared their conduct to be dishonest and unworthy, for they had robbed and fooled us, taking our property and disposing of it arbitrarily while they entertained us in expectation and suspense. They were very well aware, I said, that the goods in question belonged to your Majesty's subjects, and there had been no instance up to the present, either under the rule of the late King, or of any other Council except the present one, when goods for which a sufficient guarantee was offered had been withheld from us. I declared that their behaviour towards your Majesty could not be worse, and that they had used neither justice nor reason in this case and in others I named to them; that they seemed to set aside the obligations of common courtesy and common sense, and violate the treaties and the alliance between your Majesty and the King their master. But they appeared quite indifferent to the recital of a long list of instances in which we had suffered injustice and grievous wrongs at their hands, Sire, and remained unmoved by my remonstrances, by which I hoped to bring these gentlemen of the Council to reason. They took no more notice of them than if nothing had been said, though I did not fail to repeat them both in French and Latin, as I did on the last occasion; for I noticed that the greater number knew no French and, maybe, little Latin. Far from being touched, they made merry over the prizes they had shared for their own pleasure and advantage, placing these before all other considerations, though I told them clearly that the cargo of the second vessel belonged to the same merchant who had been permitted to keep his alum with which the first ship was freighted, on producing a sufficient guarantee; and both vessels having been brought hither by force, the same conditions should apply to both. I was not able to obtain anything except the rejection of my request with a direction that the case should be taken to the Admiralty Court. This means an aggravation of our wrongs, for, besides losing what is confiscated already, we shall have to spend what possessions are left to us if the prosecution is undertaken; for there is no likelihood that the Admiral who stole our property will give sentence against himself. Many of your Majesty's subjects, who have taken up the defence of their cases in the past, find themselves now, after three or four years, with all their money gone, and being laughed at for their pains. I have done the utmost in my power to assist them, as your Majesty ordered me to do, and I have also succoured them out of my poverty, and supported them in their just cause. But nothing avails them here, and I see no other way open to them except to return home, and may your Majesty be pleased to decide what shall be done.
Concerning the French vessel seized near Gravelines, I should have thought the matter was clear enough, as she had been taken within your Majesty's jurisdiction. But as they affirmed the contrary, I accepted their offer that the matter should go before the commissioners, and asked when they would be ready to go. They replied, “when the Emperor wishes it, and will name others on his side, to negotiate on this point, and on the bulwark (lately erected).”
I then exhorted them as best I knew to take into consideration the things that were going on all round, and use their reason to uphold the ancient glory and high repute of the kingdom, which were waning as they could see for themselves. But they would not listen to my words of exhortation or my complaints of their injustice; and I think it is a shameful spectacle to see the great disorder and small respect exhibited by the Council.
The Earl of Warwick is absolute master here, and the Lords of the Council are under his orders. They go daily to his house to learn his pleasure; nothing is done except by his command. He hardly ever appears in public, but by shamming illness he attempts to hide his pride and ambition. It is rumoured that he has gone into the country for a change of air, but I hear he is about to visit the Protector at his house, and that the marriage between his son and the Protector's daughter will be brought about. The object of this alliance is to strengthen his own position in the government of the kingdom by luring the Protector, who alone might dare to undertake something against him, with empty favours in the hope of using him as a means for reducing the rest to complete submission, and first of all subduing those who belong to the old religion.
In support of this, I can tell your Majesty that during the last few days four bishops have been deprived, all men of learning and righteous life, namely the Bishops of London, (fn. 10) Norwich, Winchester and Chester. The first two were and remain in prison; the Bishop of London was taken from his house in London three days ago and conveyed to prison, and as for the Bishop of Chester, I cannot tell if he has been imprisoned too. The Bishop of Rochester (Ridley), head of the (heretical) sects has been appointed Bishop of London, and the Bishop of Westminster (Thirlby), who was sent as ambassador to your Majesty, succeeds the Bishop of Norwich. Some say the Earl of Warwick will visit the said bishops and see what share (of the spoils) he can take for himself, as he is a man who spends freely and possesses a small income. He seizes every opportunity of sustaining his great ambitions; and the goods belonging to your Majesty's subjects come conveniently to his hand, being ready money as it were, as they are sold at once by his orders, and the owners are discouraged from demanding any redress by the notorious partiality shown in the judgments. He thrusts his hand in deep wherever he can; thus I have heard during the last few days that he has seized a vessel with a cargo of bullion to the value of four thousand crowns, also the property of your Majesty's subjects. I cannot tell yet if he intends to take it for good.
I cannot wonder that he is opposed to the advancement, through some good alliance, of the Lady Mary; considering that he would have to find her dowry, he would much rather keep her in subjection I trow, his manner of government being as I have described it. May Heaven preserve the good lady from the harm that is hanging over her and that seems to me to be drawing only too near.
Nothing is mentioned of the success of the commission for peace with France. I infer from their silence that matters are not going according to their wish; and this has been confirmed from a safe source. “The French are asking too much,” I was told. “We would hold good if we knew what intentions the Emperor has towards the French; but ignoring this, we shall have to make peace at any price, as we have no money to sustain a war.” My informer would not tell me the demands of the French, but he gave me to understand that the restitution of Boulogne was as good as granted. The foreign soldiers have been recalled from Scotland, and I hear they are about to dismiss them; so that one may suppose they have come to some understanding about Scotland too; which fact they will be at some pains to disguise and excuse, so as to avoid confessing to a breach of the treaty of closer amity. (fn. 11) I will inform your Majesty at once when I hear what has really happened.
The insurrection in Ireland is quelled, as I am told.
I cannot imagine how it has come about that the common people here now talk of nothing but the army your Majesty is getting ready by land and by sea, for the purpose (as they suppose) of making war on them. Their own consciences must be troubling and frightening them.
The Earl of Arundel is set free, but he is deprived of his office, and will have to pay a fine of more than seven thousand pounds sterling. (fn. 12) The Earl of Southampton is not yet released; but he is dangerously ill, and it is supposed that he cannot last two days longer.
Secretary Smith, Stanhope, (fn. 13) and all the rest who were imprisoned in the Tower with the Protector came out of prison recently, by paying each one a certain sum to the King. (fn. 14) But they are not reinstated in their offices.
London, 8 March, 1550.
Duplicate in cipher. French.
March 15. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 29. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Since my last letters to your Majesty, M. d'Andelot has returned by the post to inform the King that the commissioners despatched by the Kings of France and England to discuss terms of peace, have agreed upon the restitution of the town of Boulogne, the fort of Paradis, and the Tower of Ardres to the French, upon payment of a sum of fifteen or sixteen hundred thousand crowns; (fn. 15) five hundred thousand to be paid down now, and the rest within a period of time fixed in the articles of capitulation, the payment to be guaranteed with hostages by the King of France. The English wished the hostages to be men of high rank, princes, like the Lords of Enghien, Nevers, or the Marquis du Maine; but they have been satisfied in the end with one of the Constable's sons. The question of the arrears of the pension due from France to England, which the French claim to be extinct, is to be left pending until the King of England reaches the age to form his own opinion. They say that a similar arrangement has been made with regard to Scotland. On the arrival of M. d'Andelot at court, it was given out publicly that the peace was concluded and settled. M. d'Aumale and several gentlemen besides confirmed the news. But when the articles were seen by the King's Council, fresh objections were put forward concerning the artillery and ammunition now in Boulogne and in the said forts, claimed by the King in compensation for that found by the English when the said places were taken. The English will not agree to this, and offer merely to return such artillery as may be recognised to have been in Boulogne when it was taken, without ammunition. The second objection concerns the proposed retention by England of several places in Scotland, pending the solution of the questions now unsolved; and more objections are made over a sum of one hundred thousand crowns, and one or two more points which I have not been able to discover, as they are kept secret. I have made certain that the difficulties really exist, as I have compared the information received from various quarters. I can also affirm positively that after having considered and weighed the matter fully in Council, the King declared his determination on all the points and d'Andelot was despatched two days later to carry the answer back to the English commissioners. If the English give in, the peace is made; if not, the war will go on. The general opinion is that the English will meet the French demands in some respects, because they are said to be urged by necessity, short of corn, ammunition, men, money and support, thanks to the divisions and quarrels arising out of religion. It seems likely that they will forego their rights, and come to terms against their own advantage, rather than shake off the fear in which they are said to be of the warlike preparations made against them by the King. He is rather against concluding the peace, as his wish has always been to lead his army to the reconquest of Boulogne, sword in hand. The Council have persuaded him to it, on the ground that your Majesty must certainly make war on him, or will cause war to be made, this year, over the Piedmontese question, in which case, with war on both sides, things might go hard with him, if he had to halve the strength of France in an encounter with so powerful a prince as your Majesty, who are certain to undertake nothing rashly, but carry out your designs after mature deliberation. They laid before him that the Turk will be unable to make war this year; the new Pope is still an uncertain quantity, and even if his leanings were towards France he could not yet give much help, being poor and but recently established in power; the Switzers may be prevented from giving help, because they quarrel among themselves, and because the King of the Romans might go forth against them at Constance; the difficulty of getting lansquenets and foreign mercenaries into the country is considerable; the service of Italians is unreliable;—and so they concluded from all that is said above, that in the event of war with your Majesty, France would have to bear the brunt of it unassisted. They considered, too, that their hopes that the Shareef might undertake some fresh move against Spain or Portugal are somewhat vague and lack confirmation; your Majesty could easily forestall the event, especially as the Shareef was not well-provided with vessels to carry his army across from Africa to Spain; and on the whole it seemed to them advisable to pay the money demanded and not risk the restitution of Boulogne on the issue of a war. The King observed that, at that rate, it might have been better not to begin the war at all last year, but pay the sum stipulated by the late King, rather than do so now, when so much money has been spent, and men sacrified, and the interests of the neighbouring territory trodden under foot, and when the surrounding forts are gained, and the town of Boulogne kept in a state of semi-siege; and he reverted again and again to his (loss of) prestige, and to the assertions that will undoubtedly be made that he was compelled to come to terms. The Constable replied that last year the rains and bad weather had prevented the fulfilment of his designs and enterprise, and set before the King's eyes over and over again your Majesty's reputed intentions to make war. All this was told me by the Prothonotary. In four days' time or so, when the said d'Andelot returns again, we shall have certain news, and I will inform your Majesty of everything. If possible, I will procure the articles of the capitulation. On the day of the arrival (here) of M. d'Andelot the King looked melancholy and angry . . .
Paris, 15 March, 1550.
Duplicate in cipher. French.


  • 1. Margaret of Austria, legitimated daughter of Charles, V; married first to Alexander de' Medici, Duke of Florence, who was murdered by Lorenzo, or Lorenzaccio de' Medici in 1537.
  • 2. The error of his predecessor was a sympathy for France.
  • 3. The preceding letter throws a little additional light on this point.
  • 4. The members of the plot who killed Pier Luigi Farnese, Octavio's father, and handed the town over to the Emperor.
  • 5. Diane de Poitiers, Sénéchale of Normandy, widow of Louis de Brézé, Sénéchal of Normandy, whose fine tomb is in Rouen Cathedral.
  • 6. Perhaps a slip for d'Andelot, see below.
  • 7. Dr. Goodrich.
  • 8. Mary, the Emperor's sister, Regent of the Netherlands.
  • 9. See pp. 17 sq.
  • 10. Van der Delft's account is misleading. Bonner, Bishop of London, had been sentenced to deprivation in 1549. William Reppes, or Bugg, had got deep into debt and resigned the bishopric of Norwich about Christmas, 1549; he was succeeded by Thirlby, formerly Bishop of Westminster. Gardiner, of Winchester, was not deprived until 1551; and John Bird, Bishop of Chester, ex-Carmelite friar and a married man, was a zealous altar-wrecker who was deprived by Mary. By Chester, Van der Delft may have meant Chichester, whose Bishop, (Day), was deprived in October, 1551, and committed to the Fleet in December, 1550.
  • 11. With the Emperor.
  • 12. The actual sum given in the Privy Council Records is 12,000l. An entry in Edward's Journal for January 6th, 1551, however, states that 8,000l. of this fine was remitted.
  • 13. Sir Michael Stanhope, the Protector's brother-in-law.
  • 14. Smith and Stanhope disgorged 3,000l. each.
  • 15. These tidings were premature. The actual terms, agreed to on March 24th, are reported in Simon Renard's letter to the Emperor of March 28th. q.v.