Spain: December 1551, 1-15

Pages 399-411

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


December 1551, 1–15

Dec. 7. Simancas, E. 646. Don Francisco de Toledo to the Emperor.
On the 4th instant there arrived here a despatch from the Bishop of Herbipoli (i.e. Würzburg) for the Elector of Mayence, in which he said that, having left his bishopric to come to this Council, he had heard on the road that many rumours were being circulated in Germany which menaced his state's tranquillity, so he had been forced to return home; for it was indispensable at that time that he should be there in person to look after his state's defence and welfare. When the said Elector read this, he grew excited, and told the man who had brought the despatch that, having heard such news, he could no longer remain here, for he must certainly not be absent from his state at such a moment; and he waxed exceedingly hot over it. When I received an accurate account of this, by secret means, I thought I had better tell the Elector of Cologne and find out more about the truth of the matter from him, and what exactly Mayence's decision meant. When I broached it to him, he told me he knew nothing at all about it, but would do his best to learn, and would then communicate with me. After having made some inquiries, he sent word to me that he had been unable to discover any details, but he believed the Elector of Mayence would not go without your Majesty's orders. Seeing that the Elector of Cologne was not making the matter clearer, I was moved to speak to Mayence, and did so. I repeated to him all I had heard and enlarged upon the inopportunity of so much as thinking of such a thing without your Majesty's orders, telling him that the mere fact that he had talked about it would cause great scandal in this Council. When I had spoken my mind to him at length, he replied, expressing regret that the matter should have become known, for he had kept it very quiet. As I knew it, he said, he wished to tell me his opinion quite frankly about these questions touching the Council before replying on his own case; for he felt it to be his duty to do so as a good servant to your Majesty, whom he knew to have the Council at heart. When he had seen the King of France's procedure, and manner of breaking off, he had come to two conclusions. The first was, that whatever was accomplished in the Council would remain fruitless, because the Protestants would say it was a mere private Council of your Majesty's, and besides the only nations represented in it were the German and Spanish, both of which belonged to your Majesty; for up to the present the Italians could not be said to have taken part in it, as there were only five or six Italian bishops here, who clearly could not represent so large a nation as the Italian. In this connexion he blamed the prelates now in Rome for not coming. He knew there were 120 or more with his Holiness, and thought the Holy Father's failure to send them hither must indicate some design hostile to the Council. He added that it seemed to him very hard that he and other electors should have left their very important states to travel so many leagues to the Council, and the Spaniards the same, whilst the Italians, who were so near, had not budged.
His second point was that, taking the above into consideration, it seemed to him that neither your Majesty nor your aims would be served by the continuation of the Council. If it were prosecuted at the present time, it might easily cause the Protestants to come to terms with the King of France in order to make use of him in their opposition to the Council, as he also rejected it; and this might give rise to a condition of intimacy between them that would lead to other disadvantages for your Majesty. In the same way the Elector, who knew his Germany, believed that no good result in the cause of religion could be obtained from the celebration of the Council at the present time because of the aforesaid reasons, and that your Majesty's plans would not be forwarded by it. Consequently, he thought it ought to be affirmed that the Council had better not be celebrated while the war with France lasted; and as he saw little likelihood of peace, he judged that the most suitable course would be to suspend it for the present, until a more favourable occasion for its celebration should offer. He had thought all this over and over again; and now that news of possible trouble in Germany had arrived, it seemed to him that he might give a thought to his own affairs, and take precautions for the defence of his state. This he could not do unless he were there in person; and consequently he was obliged to leave this business (the Council) and go home, considering, moreover, that no good could be done here, and that his absence would give rise to many dangers. Still, before making up his mind altogether, he was waiting for a second batch of news from Germany, which would soon be here; on that he would be able to take a decision, though he intended to inform your Majesty of it, unless the necessity should be very pressing. I answered him again and again, saying everything I could think of to make him see the other side of the question. I explained to him that the rumours in Germany were not nearly as serious as he said, for as the Bishop of Herbipoli was the only person who had mentioned them, it was most probable that he had exaggerated in order to excuse his failure to attend here. I also told him that his state was perfectly safe in any case, for your Majesty would take the greatest care to guard it; but I could not move him, for he settled down ever deeper in his obstinacy. Finally, he told me that he did not dare write all these details to your Majesty, for fear of appearing too bold. When I saw I was powerless to influence him, I tried my hardest to get him to inform your Majesty of his intention of leaving the Council, and to do it at once, before more news came from Germany, in order that nothing should happen against your Majesty's will, for otherwise there would certainly be some scandal. He replied that he would think over what he had better do about it; but he did not promise to comply with my suggestion, so I thought I had better let your Majesty know all that has occurred, in order that you may adopt such measures as may suggest themselves to you, taking into consideration the Elector's character and complexion. The fact is that, if he were to leave the Council, the Elector of Trier, who follows him in everything, would also go home, which might perhaps cause the Elector of Cologne to waver. Were these three to go, all the other Germans now here would depart, which would amount to a dismemberment and dissolution of the Council, in which only one nation would remain; and, as Mayence says he is expecting decisive news to arrive soon, it seems that a rapid remedy is called for.
I have talked with the Legate about the reception to be given to the King and Queen of Bohemia; but though he seems willing to advance out of the towngates to meet them, he is rather perplexed because the Electors still say they do not see how they can be present at this ceremony, as they have precedence of the King of Bohemia, and it seems that they would not be able to take their place, as the presidents (of the Council) would precede them, and the King the presidents. Thus they seem unable to arrange it satisfactorily. Still, I will do my best to induce the Legate to go out; though I am not sure of success. If your Majesty will send me instructions, and see that they arrive in time, I will act in conformity.
Trent, 7 December, 1551.
Copy. Spanish.
Dec. 8. Brussels, L.A. 57. Advices from a Spy in Germany.
Some three weeks ago the young Count of Waldeck, the same who formerly went with the Duchess (sic) of Cleves to England, returned to that country, whither he was sent to take charge of 2,000, or as some say, 3,000 horse. He is not back yet, and it would be possible to find out all about his mission by catching him on his return journey.
Courtpennick has instructions to raise as many as thirty ensigns (fn. 1) of foot for the King of England. He already has several thousand men collected, and more are coming in every day from all sides. The idea is that these troops shall be embarked and, if fortune serve them, shall surprise the town of Kampen or Enkhuizen. Failing that, they are to make for Calais, and thence fall upon Flanders, grasping Nieuport and Cassel and using them as a base to take Gravelines, St. Omer and some other place of which the name is not known, in order to do which they would block all approaches in such a manner that it would be impossible to re victual the said places without employing a large force.
The cavalry will proceed by the bishopric of Trier to the neighbourhood of Metz to join Wallerthum under colour of being in his Imperial Majesty's service, or else by Thionville to Jammes (sic), or by way of Port-St.-Nicolas.
If this enterprise failed, the infantry would join Duke Maurice; and in any case they are in the King of England's pay. Wallerthum, who is managing the undertaking in person, revealed it to the informant when drunk. There is a rumour in the Baltic towns that the object of the muster of troops there is to help Holstein's young brother to the bishoprics of Bremen and Hildesheim, together with the towns and places that once belonged to them and are now occupied by Duke Henry and Duke Eric. . . .
(Rumours that Duke Maurice has an understanding in Friesland.)
Dec. 9. Simancas, E. 646. Don Francisco de Toledo to the Emperor.
After I had written to your Majesty, on the 7th instant, what had happened with the Elector of Mayence in connexion with his excitement over news received from Germany, the affair proceeded thus. Three or four days had passed since either Mayence or Trier had come to the congregation, as they were in the habit of doing, when they sent word to the Legate that they had received news of unrest in Germany, and thought they could not neglect to return and calm their states, for grave danger might otherwise menace them. Finding themselves in this difficult position they appealed to him (the Legate), begging him, as a friend, to advise them. The Legate replied that he had heard nothing whatever about any troubles in Germany, nor was there any fear of such while your Majesty remained there. On the other hand, the Electors' presence in the Council was most necessary, and he (the Legate) could not see how they could leave it without causing great scandal; wherefore they ought not to think of such a thing without communicating with your Majesty. If they wished to know his opinion more fully, he would speak at greater length whenever they might care to consult him. Since then the Electors have neither replied to the Legate, nor said any more.
At the same time, Achilles de Grassis, Bishop of Montefiascone, who had visited the King and Queen of Bohemia at Mantua by his Holiness' orders, came here with three briefs for the Electors, in which, and with the words he spoke, his Holiness thanked them for coming to this Council, and encouraged them to persevere in it to the end. When the Legate told me this, I instructed him to inform the Bishop how to speak to them concerning the above matter. He did so, and Mayence and Trier replied that they would stay here, as they had meant to on coming, as long as they could without prejudice to their states. The Elector of Cologne replied flatly that he would stay as long as your Majesty wished him to, for that had been his object in coming. And he has said to me that, even if Mayence and Trier were to go, he would not move without your Majesty's orders. Moreover, he has induced the other two to attend the congregation again; for I begged him to do so, because their absence was beginning to be much commented, and to cause scandal among the bishops.
Trent, 9 December, 1551.
Copy. Spanish.
Dec. 9. Vienna, Imp. Arch.E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: When the Captain of Gravelines heard that the Council were trying to maintain that the French had not passed through English territory to pillage the Emperor's subjects, he sent me information which makes it clear that the French, and a certain number of Englishmen, did take that passage, and afterwards returned to England (i.e. the English possessions) with their booty. He also informed me that the Deputy and other authorities of Calais had arrested and imprisoned the bailiff of L'Angle and some soldiers of Gravelines castle, subjects of the Emperor. As I had received a complaint to the same effect from Count de Rœulx (Reuil), with a request that I would speak about it to the Council, I went to them on the 8th instant. I began by reminding them that I had recently remonstrated with them on the fact that the French were daily passing through English territory on their way to pillage his Imperial Majesty's subjects. Moreover, twenty-five or thirty Englishmen had used these French incursions as a cloak to go to Gravelines and commit acts of violence upon the Emperor's subjects, who, obliged to defend themselves, had chased the said Englishmen back to the English pale, where some Frenchmen who had been stationed there came to their rescue and fell upon the Emperor's subjects. These would have won the day, however, had it not been that the English peasants joined the fray, and took our people prisoners, the English authorities afterwards taking them to Calais. This was done with the pretence that, if it could be proved that the raiders had passed through English territory, the prisoners should be at once released, and the raiders handed over to the Emperor's subjects, for which reason our people must appear before the authorities of Calais. Accordingly the said bailiff of L'Angle, with some soldiers from Gravelines, proceeded to that place, where they were arrested and thrown into prison. This seemed to your Majesty very strange and of evil import, little calculated to contribute to friendly relations between the two princes, their countries and subjects. Consequently, I demanded that the bailiff and soldiers, together with the other subjects of the Emperor detained at Calais and elsewhere, should at once be released, and their property restored to them. Moreover, I requested that the English officers and peasants, who had thus behaved towards his Majesty's men, should be punished and condemned to pay damages; and also that it should be seen to that no such abuse should be committed in the future.
The Duke of Northumberland replied that the Council still found it impossible to believe that any Frenchmen had passed through English territory to pillage his Imperial Majesty's subjects, or that any Englishmen had gone so far as to pillage them, unless they were among those who had entered the King of France's service. In that case, they had certainly not passed through English territory, but had taken some other way. He wished me to know that, when England and France were at war, the French had several times managed to pass through his Imperial Majesty's territory and had afterwards attacked English subjects; but he did not consider that a reason for allowing the French to do the same now where the Emperor s subjects were concerned.
I took up the thread of our last conference, where they had denied that the enemy passed through English territory, but had announced that they would make further inquiries in order to take the necessary measures. I supposed, I said, that my account had been found accurate. Facts pointed the same way, for certain Frenchmen and Englishmen had been arrested on English territory; though I did not know whether the Englishmen had entered the French service. It was true I had heard that Englishmen were daily going over to France, and that these men, behaving like Frenchmen and enemies to the Emperor, passed through English territory to injure his Imperial Majesty's subjects. I found it impossible to believe that the French had been permitted to cross Imperial territory when France and England were at war; for on the contrary the English had been allowed to make use of his Imperial Majesty's territory, where they had often attacked the French, and even, on occasion, the Emperor's own subjects, under the delusion that they were Frenchmen; though no complaint had ever been made about this.
Northumberland then asserted once more that it could never be proved that Englishmen or Frenchmen had crossed English territory to perform any such exploit. When I heard this, I brought out the statement of the inquiry made by the bailiff's clerks. They read it through, but Northumberland, who did not like it, suddenly asked who had forced English subjects to bear witness without permission from the Lieutenant of Calais. I told him, Madam, that it was quite obvious that no one had forced them to bear witness, but only requested them to tell the truth; and the Lieutenant's authority had not been infringed in this, for it was the business of the ordinary judge, who had received the Bang's officer's oath. Notwithstanding this, the Duke persisted in his version, saying that the oath ought to be sworn before the Lieutenant. I said such procedure was contrary to all legal form; and, at any rate, the truth was well known, for we were not trying to conceal it. He replied that the witnesses were all bad men. I retorted, with all due moderation, that I was not acquainted with them, but believed them to be honest people; especially the English subjects who had given, under oath, the same testimony as his Imperial Majesty's subjects. At this the Duke and the rest began to smile.
Finally, Madam, the Marquis of Northampton thrust himself forward and said that justice was administered at Calais according to the demands and merits of each case. I rejoined that the question was not one that admitted of any discussion, for it was dearly decided by the treaties between their Majesties, that provided expressly that neither prince should allow the other's declared enemy to enter his territory, or favour or support him indirectly or directly; though it seemed that the English officers beyond the sea were showing the French much greater favour than that accorded to the Emperor's subjects, whilst the opposite course had always been observed on his Imperial Majesty's side. They ended by saying that they would write at once to the. Deputy and other authorities of Calais to act in the requisite manner. They assured me that your Majesty and the Emperor's subjects should have no reason to complain, adding that they could not believe that the Calais people had arrested the bailiff of L'Angle; for they had heard nothing about it. And thus our conference ended.
Duplicate. French. Cipher.
Dec. 10. Vienna, Imp. Arch.E. 19. Advices sent by Jehan Scheyfve.
Early in the month of December (fn. 2) the Duke of Somerset was taken to the great hall of Westminster, where were assembled the dukes, earls and principal lords of the realm to the number of twenty-six, and particularly those belonging to the Council, besides six ambassadors, lawyers all, to try and decide Somerset's ease. The Duke was accused of several offences: treason, lese-majestie, plotting to seize London Tower and surprise several other strong places of the kingdom, gathering together troops to carry out his designs, imperilling the King's person, holding secret and illicit assemblies, conspiring with several of his accomplices to murder the Duke of Northumberland and other of his colleagues of the Council. They say the Duke defended himself right gallantly on all these heads. He denied and repudiated the charge of treason with complete consistency, saying he had never sought to gather men together or seize the Tower, or any other forts in the kingdom, or do anything that might endanger the person of his King and sovereign lord, thereby offending against his duty and obligation; for he was a most humble and obedient servant of his Majesty, from whom all honour and advantage proceeded. Still, he confessed that he had talked with some of his familiars and friends about finding means to abase the Duke of Northumberland, but not to kill him; and he considered he had had ample cause for so doing. Nonetheless, he was accused of treason, particularly on the ground that, one day after he had visited the Duke of Northumberland, who had been ill and was still in bed, Sir Ralph Fane had asked him in Lord Grey's presence why he had not taken that opportunity of killing Northumberland; and Somerset had replied that he would find another opportunity, or different means. The Duke denied this flatly, and demanded that he should be confronted with him who had accused him, and with the witnesses who had been heard against him. They seem to have let that point slide; but Lord Strange, son of the Earl of Derby, and first gentleman of the King's chamber, aged about eighteen years, appeared, and made a public declaration on the charge brought against Somerset, that he had attempted to marry the King to his daughter without the Council's consent or knowledge. At the time when the King's marriage with the daughter of France had been discussed, Strange said Somerset had requested him to try to persuade the King not to consent to the French match, and make him believe that it would be better for the country's sake if he married within the kingdom, making some mention of Somerset's daughter. Thus, Somerset had said, Strange might increase his house's fortunes, for a marriage was being arranged between him and another of Somerset's daughters. (fn. 3) This point he seems partly to have confessed, saying that history showed that the Kings of England had usually married in the country, and that he would have done nothing without the Council's consent. It appears that this matter of the marriage was the principal reason why the Duke lost the King's favour. The said accusation and defence lasted from before eight in the morning until five in the afternoon; and they say that Somerset has never given evidence of a better mind than on this occasion. Therefore he is more highly esteemed than before.
After all ceremonies and forms had been gone through, the Duke was pronounced innocent of the crimes of treason and lese-majestie of which he had been accused, but guilty of felony, which is a term and offence very frequent in England, for having held illicit assemblies. Thus he was condemned in virtue of an act passed during the last Parliament against secret gatherings and sentenced to be hanged. When this sentence was pronounced the Duke begged the Council to intercede with the King to obtain a pardon for him; and this they promised to do, particularly the said Northumberland, who, seeing that his design was frustrated, began to say how much be regretted and detested the evil counsel Somerset had followed, and that he had always feared he might be led astray again. But as he had not been convicted of treason or lese-majestie, he (Northumberland) did not desire Somerset to be executed on his account, wherefore he would do all he could and omit no good office to obtain a pardon for him from the King. Somerset thanked him, and was then conducted back to the Tower. Still, some people are of opinion that Northumberland will rather exert himself to have Somerset executed than intercede in his favour; for he fears that when the King comes of age he may be influenced by the love borne to Somerset by the nobility and people, and Somerset may be able to revenge himself. Others believe he will not go so far; because people obtain pardon from the King for felony every day, and Northumberland will not care to leave such a stain on his name, especially as it is said that several of the judges considered that Somerset ought not to be pronounced guilty even of felony. It looks as if Northumberland and his party were greatly deceived when they believed there was enough material to convict Somerset of treason; and this tends to diminish Northumberland's prestige and give him pause, showing him that it is not so easy to govern according to his whim.
Before sentence was given all the people cried with a loud voice: “God save the Duke,” repeating it over and over again until it was feared that some commotion might ensue. The lords and judges were much perplexed and astonished, particularly the Duke of Northumberland, who had more reason than the rest to mistrust this unwonted manifestation, though he has a private guard of 150 men. Orders were at once issued that all shouting should cease, under the last penalty; but when the people saw that the axe, which is usually carried before those who have been accused and convicted of treason, was removed, they began to shout as before, and the news were at once scattered through the town, to the great joy and satisfaction of all. Some say that the King heard the tumult and asked what it meant. When he was told that the Duke of Somerset had been acquitted, he said he had never believed Somerset could be a traitor.
The other day certain gentlemen were arrested, among them my Lord Dacre, Warden of the northern frontier, (fn. 4) and Lord Sweting (sic) (fn. 5) with the pretext that they had committed abuses in their offices, which seems to have been a mere device to prevent them from being present at the trial of the Duke of Somerset, whom they wish well. The Earl of Derby arrived at Westminster an hour after the lords and judges were seated; and the Earl of Shrewsbury did not appear at all because of his indisposition. They say that the lords will not leave London for some time, and that Parliament is to meet on January 25th; but means of putting it off again may perhaps be found.
Two other gentlemen who are accused of being Somerset's accomplices, Sir Thomas Arundell, knight, and a gentleman called Mr. (Sir Michael) Stanhope, the Duke's brother-in-law, were taken to Westminster, but were at once sent back again, and their trials deferred until the next Parliament, which appears to be an invented delay. It is thought that some of the prisoners will be executed, if only to show the people that there was some just cause for all these proceedings. Some say that the King has already sent his pardon to Somerset, who refused to accept it for the honourable reason that all the other prisoners ought also to obtain theirs. This is not probable; it looks rather as if material were being searched for to make out a further case against Somerset, independently of Parliament. It seems he is not well treated in the Tower, and no one is allowed to visit him.
The French ambassador recently went to Court, and was received in the presence-chamber. There, after he had conversed a while with the King, a general confirmation of the marriage, and what they call the perpetual alliance between France and England, was publicly read out in the presence of the said ambassador, the councillors and several other lords of the realm. We hear that the same ceremony is to be performed in France in the presence of the English Admiral and ambassador.
The other day the English had begun to fit out some war-ships, to the number of four or five; but it seems now that they have changed their minds, and we are unable to discover any other preparations for the moment.
On the 8th of December a general muster of the bands of horse was held near London, and some 800 appeared. As those of the Duke of Somerset, the Admiral and my Lord Paget were missing, the total may amount to 1,000 or 1,200. Most of them were lightly armed and only middling-well accoutred, neither armour nor horses being remarkable; and the gathering had all the appearance of a muster, for the troops were clumsy and unseasoned. It was held in the presence of the King and the French ambassador. The horse arrived in London a day or two before the Duke of Somerset was taken to Westminster, and it seems it is going to be kept here some time yet, and that the King is to pass through London to show himself to the people with the said horse.
We hear that a certain member of the Council was heard to remark that the King, his master, intended to send 1,000 horse from the North Country, and 500 of the newly-raised bands, over to France early next season, with the apology for a condition that the King of France should only use them against the Pope.
Cipher. French.
Dec. 10. Vienna, Imp. Arch.E. 19. Jehan Soheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: I received your Majesty's letters of December 1st (fn. 6) on the 5th instant, and learned from them that you had been informed that the English were buying and gathering together a large number of ships in Flanders, and freighting them with divers sorts of merchandise. This was so unwonted as to be suspicious, especially as your Majesty had also been told that it was true that all vessels belonging to the Emperor's subjects, of Antwerp and other ports, had been arrested in London. Therefore you commanded me to make careful inquiries, and especially to ascertain the facts regarding this arrest and its causes.
I have sought information with all possible dexterity. Regarding the first point, the buying of vessels, it seems that the foremost London merchants have planned to form a monopoly, buying up a great quantity of goods in Flanders with the hope of being able to transport them, directly or indirectly, to France. They fear that if these goods were to be found in enemies' bottoms, in which their own ordinances also warn them not to load them, they would be confiscated; for it seems that the King of France has already applied this regulation. However, there are some people who suspect that the English wish to lay in great stores and provisions, in case war were to ensue between England and his Imperial Majesty.
As for the arrest of vessels belonging to his Majesty's subjects here, what really happened is as follows. On the 21st of last month there were five vessels from Flushing here ready to sail, and they were arrested in order to catch a certain Flushing sailor, who, when the English were at war with the French and Scots two years ago, took on board two Frenchmen who had been made prisoners in Scotland, Count de Toises and M. de Chassez, and carried them abroad. The vessels were arrested one evening, and released the following afternoon. Some say that it was done with the pretext mentioned above, but really in order that two or three ships laden with wine and coming from France, then in the Thames, should not be met and stopped by the Flushing ships, which were armed. This seems very likely, for the said sailor has often been in London since the escape of the two French gentlemen; and it also seems that he had no part in that adventure, but, long afterwards, bought a third share in the boat in which they got away; however, the man is still a prisoner. I may as well add that the wine, belonging to certain London merchants, arrived safely some days after the arrest, which was only applied to the Flushing ships, and not to his Imperial Majesty's subjects' vessels in general. At the time there were four or five from Antwerp, Holland and Flanders in the Thames, but not yet freighted nor ready to sail. Since the Flushing ships left, I have heard of no arrest nor any other difficulty. And this, Madam, is all I have been able to ascertain.
Duplicate. Cipher. French.
Dec. 15. Vienna, Imp. Arch.E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: In accordance with your Majesty's letters of October 14th, which I received on the 22nd of the same month, I went to see the Lady Mary, Princess of England, to whom I presented your Majesty's very cordial recommendations. I then gave her a long account of the contents of your letters. The Emperor had heard she feared that at the next Parliament she might be pressed to adopt the new religion, and that she might be summoned to appear in the King of England's Court to declare her intentions and receive an injunction to obey Parliament's orders. His Majesty had considered the matter with great care and solicitude, and was of opinion that if, in spite of the excuses she had already made, she were again pressed to go to Court and see her brother, the King, she neither could nor ought to refuse to go. The main reason was that, if she tarried a long time or declined, there would certainly be men in the Council who would take the opportunity of saddling her with some sort of disobedience or lack of respect towards the King. The Princess replied that she had not been approached again since the first time she had notified me, but if they requested her once more to go, she would act in conformity with your Majesties' wishes. However, she did not think they intended to go so far as to exact that she should remain indefinitely at Court. If they were to speak of any such plan, she had thought, subject to your Majesties' correction, of making gracious excuses by saying that the Court was small and the lords would be inconvenienced by her, that she was the second person in the kingdom and would deeply regret any trouble she might cause her brother, that it would be better and more suitable for her not to reside there; and here she would bring in some mention of religion, saying that she was anxious not to cause scandal in any quarter.
As for the mass, as they had wished to take it away from her by force, she would take good care not to communicate in both kinds, nor submit to any erroneous and outrageous rite which might cause her to offend, by her own deed, against the practice or precept of the old religion; and she would rather die than give way. She told me she was deeply grateful to the Emperor and your Majesty for all the pains you had taken for her, and especially for her spiritual welfare. Truly, she would die sooner than lose her devotion to holy mass; and she would shape her course in all matters as your letters directed. She presented to you her humble recommendations, and thanked the Emperor and your Majesty over and over again for remembering her in spite of all your weighty affairs. She was perpetually obliged to God and your Majesties for this, and remained your very humble and very obedient servant.
Finally, Madam, the Princess told me she intended to visit the King fourteen or fifteen days after Christmas, as she had been used to do every year. On that occasion she would make some slight mention of religion to the King, as she had done at other times, expressing her regret for the rumours that had recently been circulated.
Since then Madam, only two days ago, the Princess sent word to me that the Council had written to her to say that she could not be ignorant of the fact that two of her priests had been condemned for breaking the King's laws and ordinances on religion. As one of these priests was still living in the Princess' house, they requested her to give orders that the said chaplain should be delivered into the hands of the mayor or judge who should be sent to fetch him; and they felt sure she would not fail in the obedience she owed to the King in this. The Princess replied that it seemed to her very strange that any such sentence should have been given against her priests, who had only sung mass in her house, by which she did not think they had committed any offence. She reminded my lords of the Council of what had formerly happened in connexion with this point, especially of the promise made to the Emperor as the late ambassador, M. Van der Delft, had expressly declared to her; wherefore she trusted that her priests would not be molested on that account. One of her priests, she added, had not been in her house these four months past, and the other had gone to Windsor, where his benefice was. The Princess is awaiting a reply, or some result from this letter; and she will let me know of it. I believe, Madam, that one of her priests is still in her house.
London, 15 December, 1551.
Decipherment. French.


  • 1. The enseigne, or bandera as it was called in Spanish, was a company, usually of 300 men.
  • 2. Somerset's trial took place on December 1st.
  • 3. Edward's Journal for November 3rd, 1551, runs: “The Lord Stranng confessed how the Duke willed him to sturre me to marry his third daughter, the Lady Jane, and willed him to be his spie in al mattieres of my doynges and sayinges, and to know when some of my counsel spake secretly with me. This he confessed of himself.”
  • 4. Lord Dacre was Warden of the West Marshes.
  • 5. A Sir Thomas Stradling was committed to the Tower on November 8th.
  • 6. The actual date of the letter referred to is November 30th,