Spain: July 1551, 16-31

Pages 330-341

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

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July 1551, 16–31

July 20. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: . . . The day on which I had decided to leave so as to follow the Court as closely as possible, Mason and Hoby came to see me at my house, and declared that before the Marquis of Northampton left England it was decided by the Council of the King of England that the commissioners deputed to negotiate in France should keep me informed of the affairs they were treating with the King of France, and so avoid any suspicion that their coming hither might cause, and thwart any occasion for gossip by witnessing to the said King of England's neighbourly intentions towards your Majesty, and to his firm resolve to keep the treaties, doing nothing to their prejudice. Being duly qualified to do so, they had settled the marriage with the King of France's eldest daughter, and discussed the dowry, the marriage portion, and other usual matters; they had brought forward their own claims and privileges in France, and the arrears due to them, together with other private quarrels. After a long discussion, during which matters came near to a break, they had agreed upon the said marriage, treating nothing contrary to the interests of your Majesty. The alliance was treated alone, and would depend on the inclination of the parties concerned, when both reached marriageable age, although each side had undertaken to do their best to induce them to confirm the treaty by celebrating the marriage. They wished to give me this information so that I might write accordingly to your Majesty, though they believed that the King of England would not fail to send a duly qualified personage to confirm to your Majesty what they declared to me. They hoped soon to take their leave from this place of Angers and return home.
I thanked them cordially for their good offices, and said I would inform your Majesty incontinently. I never supposed they would sacrifice a certainty to an uncertainty. There was a common report abroad in France that they had made a league against the Pope and your Majesty, which report I disbelieved, for no such league could be effected with enough secrecy to prevent its being revealed by its effects. Mason said at this juncture that the French might publish what they pleased, but he assured me on his faith and honour that there was no question of anything whatever to prejudice your Majesty's treaties with England. Hoby interposed that if the Pope were as he should be there would be no occasion for several things now caused and made defensible by him. The King his master's intention was to continue on terms of good friendship with your Majesty. I could get nothing more out of them about the league against the Pope. But others have certified to me that the league was made and signed. I am trying my best to obtain the articles of the treaty, but I foresee I shall meet with difficulty in this, as no intermediaries have been employed except Dr. Smith for the English and l'Aubespine for the King. . . .
Angers, 20 July, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
July 20. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30. Simon Renard to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: . . . The daughter of the King of France's dowry is of 800 English marks of silver (fn. 1); and her marriage portion is to be four hundred thousand crowns (fn. 2) in settlement of the pension (arrears of the pension due to England). The said princess is to be handed over to the English when she reaches the age of twelve, or at the latest three months after her twelfth birthday.
The league against the Pope provides that ten thousand paid fighting-men shall be provided by England. . . .
Angers, 20 July, 1551.
Copy or decipherment. French.
July 20. Brussels, L.A. 52. M. d'Eecke to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: I was informed that the English had a number of war-ships of all sorts, seven together, in the Thames, and that they were all well-provided with artillery to give the French lords an honourable welcome, on the supposition that they would come up to London by the river. This the Frenchmen did not do, informed as they were that six of his Imperial Majesty's ships were off the banks at the river's mouth. These English ships are not well enough manned to put out to sea, so they cannot do these countries any damage. However, if the English were to man some or all of them and send them to Holland, it would be well to throw 700 or 800 men into the island of Walcheren under the command of some person of authority in that quarter, such as M. de Kruiningen, and give him as aid Captain Vischer or another, who would post the 800 men in Westen Schouwen, to protect the island of Schouwen, and also in Voorne where M. de Kruiningen has part of his estates. Were need to arise it would be easy to send more men in haste from various parts. Still, I am unable to believe that the English, or anyone else, will attack that part of the coast, because of the shifting sand-banks that change nearly every month in the mouths of the Meuse, so that our own people have great difficulty in finding their way. As for Goeree, it is not approachable in big or even medium-sized ships, because the water is too shallow. The passage by the island of Texel would be more convenient, but it is too far from England, and the English need a particular wind to reach it; and it is a fact that the Danes and Easterlings have had to renounce the schemes they had formed against Goeree and Texel because of the uncertainty of the winds. Nonetheless, it would not be amiss if your Majesty were to order watch to be kept along the coast of Flanders, so that the enemies approach might be notified by smoke in day time, and by fire at night. The same precautions were observed in the war of 1543 and 1544.
Brussels, 20 July, 1551.
French. Holograph.
July 25. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Emperor.
The French ambassadors and lords arrived in London on July 11th, accompanied by several English gentlemen. When they came up the Thames great guns were fired, particularly from London Tower and other places in that neighbourhood. They remained in London until the 13th of the said month, when they went to Richmond. On the next day they went to the King, who had retired to Hampton Court with his Council on the 11th because of the sweating-sickness, which had attacked a great number of people in London the day before, among whom were three gentlemen of the King's chamber. This sickness came down very rapidly from the north-west; but, thank God, it is much abated now. Terror-stricken inhabitants of London were flying in all directions; wherefore it was prohibited, under dire penalties, for all men to go to Court, excepting a few lords whose names were expressly given. The French lords were received and caressed at Hampton Court by the King and his Council as the occasion demanded. The feasts and entertainments have been rather meagre, except for some banquets, which seem to have been fairly rich.
Two days after the French lords' arrival at Hampton Court, Marshal de St. Andre and several other deputies presented themselves again before the King, and, in obedience to the King of France's express commands, invested him with the French Order, with all due solemnities and ceremonies. After the Marshal had accomplished this formality, it is said he once more had audience of the King, accompanied by his principal attendants, and stated that he had instructions from his master to find out definitely whether his Majesty (of England) was wholly determined to continue in the new English religion before entering into any further negotiation. The King's answer is reported to have been that he would consult with his Council before giving a reply. But this seems strange and improbable; for matters must be farther advanced by now, and not in so crude a state, unless the King of France has changed his mind. In any case it seems that the friendship between the two countries is steadily increasing, and that the English are putting all their trust in the French. People are talking quite openly, and as if of a settled matter, of the marriage between the King of England and the daughter of France; although the commons are still against it. Lord Warwick and the Archbishop of Canterbury have not been at Court since the Frenchmen's arrival. Some think they had been warned of the proposal to be made by Marshal de St. André; but others say they had a touch of the sweating-sickness, and the King of England had forbidden all who were infected with it to come to Court.
Certain of the Marshal's gentlemen have already left for France; and it is believed they were recalled by the King to be employed in active service. The Marshal himself and the other deputies are on the point of departure, and it seems that the English have lent fifteen to twenty ships to convey them. There is a fresh rumour here that the Emperor has twenty to thirty sail at sea, and the English have sent out six well-manned ships to keep an eye on his Majesty's men-of-war, which are looming large in the minds of the English.
The King of England is to make the Marshal a present of plate to the value of 300 pounds Stirling of the old money (fn. 3), and will present the others with gifts according to their rank.
A few days ago there was a rumour that Ardres town had been taken by his Imperial Majesty's men; and the English were sore perplexed about it. It is firmly believed here that war has broken out between his Majesty and France, and has been declared in France. The English are well-pleased about it.
The Duke of Suffolk was so badly afflicted with the sweating-sickness that he died of it, and his brother also; so that the duchy is held to have reverted to the Crown.
They say that the Marquis of Northampton and some of the English lords-deputy in France will not leave that country until next Michaelmas.
Duplicate. Cipher. French.
July 27. Vienna, Imp. Arch F. 30. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Your Majesty will see by the letters enclosed herewith (fn. 4) particulars of the affairs I have lately negotiated with the Constable, and the terms he used. I read into them a confirmation of the warnings I receive from day to day concerning the King's intention to make war on your Majesty, and that before long. My conjectures are proved to be correct by the fact that he is collecting men in Piedmont, whither infantry and cavalry have been sent; by the preparations going on in Gascony; by the fleets he is getting ready at Marseilles and on the ocean. I have discovered that the first information I received, that Paulin was sent to Normandy, is accurate; and Aramont (fn. 5) is to go to the Turk's court. The Prior of Capua requested that Paulin might be sent back, as Arteaga has assured me. The French are so much inclined to war because of the movements of the Turkish forces, which they believe to have already reached a place belonging to the Venetians called Lezante (Zante) only three days' distance from Naples and Sicily. They (the Turks) have promised to attack when he (the King) makes a move. The Turk's fleet is one hundred and thirty sail. The French hope that their ships from Marseilles will keep your Majesty busy in Sicily and wherever they find it possible to go. Their forces on land will hamper your Majesty in Italy, and they expect greater things from Parma than they have looked for in the past. M. d'Albret will do his worst against your Majesty in the direction of Navarre, and the ocean fleet is reckoned to be powerful enough to oppose and harm your Majesty's. The French expect lansquenets and Swiss to reinforce their army. They prophesy that if your Majesty were to leave Germany, the whole country would rise in revolt. They affirm that the citizens of Magdeburg will not come to terms with your Majesty except to their own advantage and the detriment of your Majesty, having waxed more insolent since the alliance with England was signed, which alliance the French have caused to be published in Germany and in Switzerland, to hearten and comfort the people there with the hope that the King (of England) may fall into some evil predicament about religion and be brought to fight the Pope. The King has hopes of drawing the Kings of Denmark and Poland into a like alliance and confederation, following the advice of Sturmius. He considers that the Venetians and the Duke of Ferrara have shown their real opinions plainly when they gave leave for the King's men to pass through to Parma. He opines that he will have plenty of men in reserve to oppose your Majesty should you make a move against France itself. He dwells on the good news received from Switzerland and signally from the Bernese, and on the hope that the exiled Neapolitans will give trouble to your Majesty. Hence, Sire, I cannot do otherwise than affirm to your Majesty that the French are determined to make war at the same time as the Turk. Nothing here is talked of except war, captains, preparations, and of what can help to speed the King, who is travelling now at the rate of 18 leagues a day. Their talk is fed by the departure of German captains, which now occurs daily; Riffenberg, for instance, went away by the post, promising the King both infantry and mounted troops. The young princes of the court are all going to Piedmont; another incident to confirm the rumours of war. The whole country is thoroughly roused, and people question the advantage to your Majesty of your understanding with the Pope, his Holiness being so entirely without money or credit that he will prove a burden to your Majesty rather than a help; besides which it will make fresh enemies for your Majesty. They expect to break up and prevent the Council (of Trent) and hope that the English may give them help against the Pope.
The French were afraid of the English, and now by means of the alliance lately arranged their chief fears have been dispelled, and security has taken the place of uncertainty. They think the only opponent they have to reckon with is your Majesty, so that their difficulties consist entirely in the condition of their finances, which are very low. They are going to do their utmost to remedy this state of things by every means they can devise; an extra tax is certainly going to be levied, besides the great increase in general taxation, by which the salt deposits alone will give a million in gold. The tenths are to be quadrupled; sums of money have been borrowed besides, and more will be forthcoming from voluntary contributions. . . .
Blois, 27 July, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
July 28. Brussels, L.A. 52. The Queen Dowager to the Margrave And Officers Of Antwerp.
The English ambassador complains that you have forbidden English captains to set sail from Antwerp or other ports for France or towards the west. Our intention is that the prohibition shall only apply to masters and sailors subjects of the Emperor, and not to the English, Easterlings or other foreigners. We notify you of this in order that you may put into execution the orders contained in ours of the 16th, and also arrest all French ships together with their cargoes until further notice.
Brussels, 24 July, 1551.
French. Copy.
(Copies of this letter were sent to M. Van Buren, Count de Reuil, and Count d'Arenberg.)
July 28. Brussels, L.A. 53. The Bailiff (fn. 6) of Bruges to M. de Praet.
I have been informed that the host of the “Star” at Bruges, an Englishman named Master Lyz (Lees?) has bought several horses and taken them by shifty means and crooked ways and at unseasonable hours to his brother at Calais, whence they have been sent to England, which is expressly forbidden by her Majesty's placard. I caused him to be arrested, but while under arrest he managed, by stealth and the aid of a pastry-cook of Bruges, to escape. He has now been absent from his house three days. Some say he is at the Charterhouse, near Bruges, others that he has fled to Calais, others that he has gone towards her Majesty to sue for pardon with the excuse that he was acting for some Englishman of position, and that he intends to make a fraudulent use of certain passports. I will see to it that he be prevented, for I have decided to place his property here under arrest, as security for the fines he has incurred, unless he gives himself up to me between now and to-morrow evening. I trust her Majesty will not come to any decision in virtue of the passports without hearing me; and I fear the English often take out more horses than their permits specify. Were they not challenged they might take horses across freely without having any passport or permit at all. I have not seen any of these passports, but I suppose the number of horses and the space of time during which the bearer is allowed to buy is specified. If I could go to Brussels I would take no small pains to ascertain the terms of the passports issued during the last three or four months; and I am not by any means sure that her Majesty wishes them to be issued. Once I knew the facts I would be able to lay my hand on the offenders; for the English or their agents often come to this town, and I would have them arrested. In truth they indulge in practices for which I hope to punish them.
Bruges, 28 July, 1551.
French. Copy.
July 30. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to Jehan Scheyfve.
I (sic) have received warning from Italy that certain ministers of the King of France are doing their utmost to draw certain princes and potentates of Italy into their plans and designs. We have heard also that the King has despatched ambassadors to England in the hope not merely of cementing a friendship with the King of England, but moreover of making a defensive and offensive league against all comers, declaring that friends and enemies should make common cause, and with a special proviso abrogating the treaty of closer amity between England and ourself. The communications have gone as far as the discussion of the means by which such a league might be brought about, in fulfilment of their hopes. In detail, the means are as follows: first, to make us suspect in the eyes of the English by affirming that we have held out hopes to the King of Bohemia, our good son (sic), that we would assist him to obtain the crown of England for himself; whereas we have not merely never said anything of the kind, but no such thought has ever crossed our mind; and they have falsely contrived it. We may add that they may succeed more easily in putting their designs into effect, because they have bribed and seduced to their devotion the greater number of the Kings chief councillors, though it is difficult for us to credit this, as they are all persons of high quality, and particularly as the explanation given for the disloyalty imputed to them is the desire confessed by the French to wrest the kingdom of England from the King during his minority. We believe, on the contrary, that the councillors will administer the country in such a way that, when the King comes to riper years, they may give him a good account of their stewardship. The second means appear to have been a threat to make the Turkish fleet pass round to the ocean, to the danger of England; though such a threat can have no foundation. Indeed, it implies small belief in the common-sense of the English, if the French hope to frighten them with things outside all reason; particularly as it is clear that the Turk would never venture so far, nor is his fleet sufficiently numerous to enable him to conquer much. Even if the Turk were to make the attempt and try his fortune, he would be annihilated long before he could reach England, for he would find neither Toulon nor Marseilles along the coast of Spain. Besides which all know what galleys are worth on the ocean. Although the matter seems to have small foundation, nevertheless, as it is being spread about everywhere in Italy, we have thought fit to say a few words about it to Wotton, both in his capacity as ambassador, and as one of the chief councillors of England, named as such in the late King's will. We declared that we were not moved to speak by any mistrust that they would allow themselves to be deceived, for we believed the English understood quite well the advantages they might reap from their friendship with us, which we observed during the late King's reign and would more particularly keep during the present King's minority, and how differently matters stood with regard to France. But as the warnings mentioned above had been sent to us, we desired him to be informed, in fulfilment of the obligations of good friendship, so that he might afterwards deal with the matter according to his own judgment. We wish you also to hear it, so that if you are spoken to on the subject you may be prepared. Nevertheless, do your utmost to enquire as diligently and carefully as possible into what M. de St. André and his company may have negotiated in England, and into all occurrences generally, using great diligence in keeping us well informed, as the present season especially demands that you should.
Augsburg, 30 July, 1551.
French. Minute.
July (?). Brussels, E.A. 100. The Bishop of Ross (fn. 7) to Mathieu Strick.
I have seen your letter to me, and may inform you that it was decided yesterday in Council that you were to have two ratifications of the peace: one in the Queen's name, to which that lady's great seal alone should be affixed; the other with the Queen's seals in the first place, and then the Regent's together with those of the Great Council and Estates. My Lords intend this ratification to begin Maria Regina Scoterum etc.; and that the Queen be named first, and after her the deputies and commissioners. Their lordships are not minded to pass any treaty otherwise than in the name of their Princess, and they do not mean to do it without her name. As for the minute, I am sending it to you in order that you may see a space has been left for adding the names of the deputies of the Estates after that of the Queen. As for the private matter about which you wrote to me, I have never heard anything about it; but you may rest assured that when the public affairs of which you are in charge have reached a happy conclusion, you shall receive all reasonable satisfaction as to the rest. I would have gone to see you but for a fever that seized me last night, which shall serve as my excuse.
My Lords intend that there shall be two volumes, (fn. 8) but that both shall begin Maria etc. They say they did not treat separately, and will not ratify separately.
Copy. French.
July (?). Brussels, E.A. 100. The Bishop of Ross to Mathieu Strick.
In accordance with your letter of this morning; I have made known to my Lord (i.e. Arran) your request. He replied that he had already ordered your despatch to be ready to-day, and that he would be glad to receive you to-morrow before dinner, as well in order to hear from you the private matter you have been instructed to bring before him, as to bid you farewell. I am informing you of this so that you may understand that my Lord is as anxious as you can be that you shall have a speedy and prosperous journey home; and this is all I can tell you for the present.
Copy. French.
July (?). Brussels, E.A. 4051. Memoir concerning the Treaty between the Emperor and the Scots.
If the Scots really desire to observe inviolate the treaty of peace and amity between them and the Emperor and his dominions, they will probably not break nor defy it merely because the members of the Estates of Scotland, who ratified the treaty together with the Regent and Great Council, had no written power to do so, even supposing the Scots to be aware that there has been any omission or deficiency touching this point.
If it comes to pass in the future that the Scots are influenced and egged on by their neighbours to break the treaty, it is improbable that they will give the absence of the power as a reason, unless they are informed that we lay great store by it here. In that case, apart from the fact that they would suspect us of having small faith in them, it might also be feared that they would use the weapon we had put in their hands: that is the lack of the Estates' power. For it is very unlikely that they have ever given the matter of the power any thought at all, or based any calculations upon it, especially as the Estates are not accustomed to use any particular seal. Nothing was said in the secretary's (i.e. Mathieu Strick's) instructions about obtaining any written power when the treaty should be ratified by the Estates, and there is no reason for taxing him with negligence on that score.
Moreover, it may be conjectured that if the Scots are informed of the rumour current here about the secretary: that he has come back without having executed half his charge, they may take it ill, as they maintain that they have ratified the treaty duly and in the manner specified when the treaty was drawn up.
And it may further be considered that the Regent and Great Council will probably not wish to incur the odium of letting it be believed that the men who signed the ratification and appended their seals to it alongside of those of Queen Mary of Scotland, the Regent, and other prelates and nobles were practicing deceit, acting in a capacity that was not theirs, or were the least important members of the Estates. They will rather maintain that the foremost nobles, prelates and representatives of the towns signed and appended their seals in the name of the Estates, and as their deputies. As for the Great Council, its clerk signed the ratification and appended the Queen's great seal; and the Council is unaccustomed to use any other seal, as it is really treated as if it were a chancery, and always uses the great seal.
Minute or copy. French.
1551. July (?). Brussels, L.A. 52. Certain things heard by Secretary Mathieu Strick during his recent journey to Scotland.
A number of rebellious Scottish savages have been defeated, and over and above those killed in the fight, ten or twelve were taken prisoners and have since been hanged on Edinburgh gallows for the crime of rebellion. The Scots officers now leave it to be understood that these men were pirates and sea-robbers, which is most unlikely, for the savages have neither the means nor the power to keep up a warship nor to fit one out; and the officers only say this in order to show that they are being very severe with the pirates.
The Archbishop of St. Andrews, brother of the Regent of Scotland, Earl of Arran, passes for the most influential man in the kingdom. He is miserly and covetous, and loves discord better than peace, for thus he accumulates other men's property, though he is a sick man, subject to intermittent maladies and unlikely to live long.
Since peace was concluded with the Scots at Binche, a ship laden with figs and raisins has been taken by a noted Scottish pirate, called John Davidson, who has since been executed at Leith. The ship was taken from Davidson by other Scots and its cargo sold by public sale. The proceeds fell into the hands of the said Archbishop from whom Juan de Cuellar and Pedro de Posa, Spanish merchants resident in Antwerp, have been unable to recover them, though they have brought their suit before the Great Council at Edinburg.
The secretary (i.e. Strick) has heard indirectly that the Regent is a strong partisan of the French and of M. d'Oisel, lieutenant in Scotland for the King of France, who wields almost sovereign authority in matters of state and justice, and has a provost of his own who arrests and executes criminals. He has also heard that most of the French soldiers have been recalled to France, and the only places where they remain are the garrisoned fortresses still held by the King of France: Fast Castle, Dunbar, Hume Castle and others to the number of six or seven in all, containing three or four hundred soldiers. Some private individuals and all the common people dislike the great authority the French enjoy in the country, the knowledge of which has induced the other party to send to France to ask for more men-at-arms, and these are said to be coming with the Queen Dowager, who is to arrive in Scotland in six weeks' time.
The Scots consented to treat peace with the Emperor by the wish and persuasion of the Queen Dowager, who did this to display her devotion to the French, in order that she might be rewarded with the entire control of Queen Mary, her daughter, and of the whole kingdom. It is to be noted that the secretary heard from persons who appeared to be sure of their facts that the Regent had a pact with the King of France, according to which the Regent was to give up his post when a certain period, which was to expire within eighteen months, came to an end.
On this condition the King of France had promised to hold him justified of his administration under the late King of Scotland and since his death, and to release him of any necessity of rendering accounts of the moneys that had passed through his hands since the said King's death. Over and above this the King of France gave the Regent the duchy of Chatelherault; but it looked as if he were keeping one of the Regent's sons at his court as a hostage for the fulfilment of his engagements, under the pretext of giving him a good education.
The Bishop of Ross, David Paniter, has received some Church dignity and abbey in France; but the Queen Dowager knows that he is devoted to the Regent, and does not wholly trust him. The Bishop of Ross is a man of intelligence and sees this, wherefore he inclines all the more towards the Regent's party; and it seems probable that the matter may end in faction.
One day when the secretary was dining with M. d'Oisel, lieutenant for the King of France in Scotland, d'Oisel said to him that, soon after peace had been concluded at Binche between the Emperor and the Scots, he received letters from his master commanding him to do his utmost to see that the treaty should be observed in every detail, and that injured foreigners should obtain redress. In fact the King seemed as solicitous as if the matter had touched his own dominions.
M. d'Oisel also said that when the Dauphin and the young Queen of Scots were in one place, they were served at the same table and ate together.
Beside the fortresses held by the French in Scotland, the secretary has heard that they are making great efforts to secure the command of Dumbarton, the strongest place and easiest to defend in the land, situated by the sea on the Brittany side. (fn. 9) They are also scheming to get into Edinburgh castle, before whose gate a bulwark has lately been erected upon which the arms of France are carved. And it is quite certain that if the French got command of these two places, together with those they have already, they would be masters of the country.
The Regent is at present busy, as he was before the secretary arrived in Scotland, in arriving at a composition with the gentlemen who did not do their duty in the last war against the English, failing the performance of which duty they forfeit life and goods. The French are watching this process, and are delighted to see the Regent thus losing the devotion of most of the nobles of the land.
The majority of honest Scotsmen of sound judgement believe that, if the King of France waged war on the Emperor, neither the common people nor most of the nobles would depart from their amity and confederation with the Emperor, unless they were forced to do so by the French gaining the upper hand over the country, which might overcome their resistance.
It is true that while the secretary was in Scotland, a French gentleman said there was some likelihood of war with the Emperor on account of Parma, and if that were to happen, his Majesty might be sure he would also have to fight the Scots.
M. d'Oisel, while talking over one thing and another with the secretary, assured him that he saw no likelihood of war between the Emperor and his master. As for the Parma matter, it was probably a three-part comedy, and a mystery that means might be found to dispel.
D'Oisel of his own accord lamented that such scanty justice was administered to foreigners by the Great Council of Scotland, and said in the course of conversation that he had been much annoyed by having to sue before the Great Council for justice for a Gascon, who was robbed of his vessel and goods by the Scotsman, John Davidson, the great pirate since executed. Though he was able to prove into whose hands the goods had found their way, he had failed to recover them.
The secretary also says that M. d'Oisel assured him in the presence of Juan de Cuellar's and Pedro de Posa's counsel that he had spoken in their favour to the Regent and several members of the Council, and solicited that their goods that had been seized since the recent treaty of Binche might be restored to them. M. d'Oisel said he acted thus in accordance with his master's above-mentioned orders, hoping to secure fair treatment in the courts for foreigners.
The secretary is unable to refrain from informing her Majesty that on the second day out on his voyage back from Scotland, while he was sailing along the English coast off Northumberland, he was overtaken and attacked by two fishermen's boats manned by pirates. Each of these boats contained five-and-twenty robbers, whose practice it is to pretend they are fishermen, provide themselves with guns and other weapons, and seek out and attack any merchant-ship they can find unescorted and ill-armed, which they strip of whatever they may fancy and then let go. These two pirate boats came up and hailed the secretary's vessel, which was only of thirty tons; but when they saw she had ten or twelve good pieces on board and that the secretary, seven or eight Scots merchants with whom he was travelling, and the seamen were prepared to put up a stout defence, they abandoned their enterprise, sheered off and allowed the secretary and his companions to continue on their way. It is confidently asserted that these sham-fishermen pirate-boats are sailing the sea, two by two, to the number of a dozen. The secretary thought well to inform her Majesty of this, and is of opinion, subject to correction, that his Imperial Majesty's ambassador in England might be advised of the facts, in order that the authorities may take the necessary steps. It would also be well to inform his Majesty's warships, for if they were able to arrest one of these pirate boats, its crew might be made to reveal where the others might be found.


  • 1. This is probably a slip for 8,000; an entry in Edward's Journal for July 19th says that the French had agreed that the English should settle 10,000 marks “lawful money of England on the Princess Elizabeth.
  • 2. The actual sum was 200,000 crowns. Northampton's first demand had been 1,500,000 crowns!
  • 3. For the actual amounts of the presents, see note to Scheyfve's Advices of August 25th, 1551.
  • 4. The letters are together with the one from which the following extract is given.
  • 5. Gabriel d'Aramont.
  • 6. The word used in the original is escoutate; a Flemish synonym of bailli.
  • 7. i.e., David Paniter, formerly Scots ambassador in France.
  • 8. i.e., two separate treaties, identical in wording though to bear different seals, as above.
  • 9. i.e., on the coast of Scotland soonest reached from Brittany; Leith would be “on the Flanders side,”