Spain: November 1552

Pages 582-595

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

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November 1552

Nov. 9. Simancas, E. 648. Account of an Audience granted by the Emperor to the Bishop of Fano.
The Bishop of Fano asked for an audience, and was granted one on the 9th of this month. He spoke to his Majesty in accordance with a summary made from the letters of his Holiness, and enlarged on his Holiness' good-will and firm adherence to the friendship with his Majesty, which he had frequently professed. This friendship tended to explain his present course and determination to send his legate forward on the road to France, as an answer to the letters received by his Holiness from the King of France and the Constable, which were examined here. His Holiness declared that he had sent off a special messenger to his Majesty to find out how he took the matter, and if, in his Holiness' own words, the thread should be followed or cut. The messenger was despatched before Camayano's arrival; and although he carried an answer on a similar topic, yet his Holiness desired to hear again from the Bishop of Fano on the subject. His Majesty did not wish to give him a definite answer at once, and put forward the excuse that he had been too busy the day before with the arrival of his ministers' despatches from Italy, which were many; and that no suitable place for an audience could be found while marching; besides which his indisposition precluded his being able to attend to more business, and he had not yet come to a resolution respecting the answer that could be made to the summary of his Holiness' letters. His Majesty did not wish casual remarks to be reported to his Holiness as definite answers, or even referred to him; but. he desired to say to him familiarly and confidentially, as his capacity permitted, that his Majesty was greatly embarrassed as to the answer he should eventually make to his Holiness' proposals. His Majesty failed to see what need there was to make new advances or ask his advice as to whether the thread should be followed; there might have been a better reason for doing so before the thread was tied, for once the thread was running, there was no room left for advice. Camayano was sent with all the answer his Majesty could make. He believed his Holiness' intentions to be good and holy; but the fact remained that the irresolute attitude of his Holiness could not fail to have evil results, matters being as they were between France and his Majesty. Whatever else might be advanced, it was a fact that his Majesty had entered into the game on behalf of his Holiness, to give him help and assistance in punishing his rebellious feudatory, and to suport him in encompassing the quiet and submission of Italy. His Majesty could not be persuaded that his Holiness could believe he was doing right in coming to terms with the King of France over Parma and La Mirandola, and extricating himself from the game, while his Majesty was left to play it out. Finally, the matter could not well be threshed out or further discussed until the conditions were submitted. Had his Holiness asked his advice, his Majesty, as one well versed in the habits of the French and aware of the temper and prejudices of that nation, would not have hesitated to say that the letters of the King and of the Constable gave but a slender excuse for despatching the legate. The letters were stereotyped in form (hechas de molde) and quite ordinary letters, such as the French had written in the past and would no doubt always continue to write. Their intentions were plainly shown in the answer formerly returned to Camillo Orsini by the Constable, and there was no firmer ground to stand on at present, than when the answer to Camayano was given. Here the nuncio interposed that Camayano had not reached Rome when the letters in question were written. His Majesty replied that it was a bad thing that his Holiness should insist on writing so often, and anticipate events, sending messenger after messenger without waiting for a reply, whence confusion must ensue. His Majesty found himself in the same position before, when after the arrival (at Court) of the Bishop of Imola courier after courier arrived, each with different instructions, causing great confusion. He adduced the example of the chamois-hunters in the mountains, who called and then waited until they knew whether those below had heard their voice. The noise of voices crossing one another caused a clamour, and neither could understand the other. It would be better far, when once a despatch was framed, to wait until the answer came, and avoid the one hindering the other. His Majesty concluded by saying that he would ponder on what had been proposed, and would send an answer by the Bishop of Arras.
The Bishop of Fano, being desirous to offer some reply, said that his Holiness was surrounded by monks, nuns and relatives who set his head ringing every day with demands for peace, peace, peace, and accused him of being responsible for the disquiet and insubordination of Italy. They poisoned his life; (literally, they rotted his blood, le podrian la sangre) and in addition to this, he found himself with his back to the wall, short of money, and unable to get any more for the needs of the common undertaking. These were the reasons that forced his Holiness to bring forward his own needs so often, and the cause of his mentioning the matter of the offices of treasurer and master of the household. But his Majesty must not take offence, as the value of his Holiness' support and goodwill were in no wise diminished. Balduino and Gian Battista del Monte had written requesting him (the Bishop of Fano) to ask his Majesty to speak a good word on the subject, such, perhaps, as that his Majesty would not demand more from his Holiness that he could accomplish; and they would undertake to put the matter on the right road to success, being well aware of the character of his Holiness, who would rather pawn the papal see than fail to perform his share of the common undertaking. His Majesty replied that his Holiness was well aware of the reasons that had moved him;' that the French were to blame for the open rupture of peace, and that his Holiness might disregard their protestations as groundless. As to the words which my Lord Balduino asked that his Majesty should utter, as it was certain that God himself did not demand more from men than they could perform, there was much less reason for his Majesty's demanding it from his Holiness. But that was no reason why the whole weight of the undertaking should be shifted on to the shoulders of his Majesty, as it was begun in common for the support and in the interest of his Holiness, and for the pacification of Italy. His Majesty could but hope that his Holiness would always perform what was possible and required of him, as he had offered so liberally to do.
Moreover, during the interview the said Bishop of Fano referred to the Farnese; and his Majesty told him that he had heard some people were saying that his Holiness was lukewarm in doing his share of the undertaking, because he suspected that his Majesty might relent and come to terms owing to his relationship with Octavio and the fact that Madama (Margherita) and her son were implicated; and that his Holiness might receive prejudice therefrom. His Majesty desired to enlighten his Holiness on that point; for he had sent a message to Octavio at the very beginning of the war, when everything was done to call him back from his error, in which he stated clearly that if he followed his own evil counsel and neglected his duty, his Majesty would have no consideration for his own daughter or his grandson. His Holiness might set all his scruples aside. His Majesty would not fail to do his duty, and would not allow anything on earth to interfere with the performance of his obligations.
Innsbruck, 9 November, 1552.
Nov. 11. Brussels, E. A. 02. The Queen Dowager to the Emperor.
I am sending to you, my Lord, a duplicate (fn. 1) of a memoir sent by the Queen of Scotland and the King of France's lieutenant there, to the King of France. It contains a list of the troops and strong places the said King has in that country, and was found with a number of other papers in a bag that was forcibly seized from its bearer by an English soldier in your Majesty's pay and stationed at Gravelines castle. I have as yet been unable to make sure whether the deed was done on your Majesty's, English or French territory; in any case the Deputy of Calais has sent a gentleman to beg M. de Vandeville's lieutenant to deliver up the bag together with the English soldier who captured it. This the lieutenant declined to do in the most courteous manner possible. I have not heard that the Deputy has taken any further steps; but the Frenchman on whom the papers were found has got away and fled to Calais. Amongst other things, he was carrying letters from the French ambassador in England, and others from the commissioners who are at work on claims for damages for aggressions at sea, in which the King of France is informed that great wrongs and notorious outrages have been inflicted upon the English. This is perhaps why the Deputy of Calais was so anxious to get the letters back.
To return to the memoir, may it please your Majesty to have it examined. Its contents are of importance, as they concern the persons who rule Scotland, and show the sort of administration those same persons are planning to introduce in the future in order to make sure of the kingdom and obtain a permanent footing there. And as this memoir reveals the existence of discord and dissimulation between the Queen (Dowager) of Scotland and the Regent and his party, I desire your Majesty to let me know whether it would not be a good thing to communicate its contents to the Regent. We might do so with the plausible pretext of the alliance and amity that have of old been observed between the two countries, and were lately confirmed by a fresh treaty, which would seem to demand that each party should inform the other of things that might be to his hurt or advantage. From the style in which the memoir is couched, I judge that if the Regent and his party knew how they were handled in it, and what the Queen and her Council were aiming at, they would take steps for their own security. At the least, it would breed in the Scots a perpetual mistrust of the French which would be greatly in this country's interest; for the object of all the heavy expenses' the French have undertaken there is to be able to drag Scotland into war at will. At the end of the memoir there is a mention of the arrest in Scotland of an Irish gentleman who had been instructed to plot in Ireland against the King of England. And that might enlighten the English as to the good will borne them by the French. (fn. 2) I still have in my possession the bag and the original memoir signed by the Queen and M. d'Oisel. If your Majesty decides that it shall be shown to the Regent, we might make overtures from here to induce him to send some one hither to inspect the original. There are also several letters concerning the state of the King of France's affairs in Scotland, the forts, troops and artillery he still possesses there, all of which does not amount to much, for the total number of French troops there seems to be no more than 400; that is to say four companies of 100 men each, and two or three forts, one of which commands a port.
(The rest of this letter is concerned with details of armaments and supplies.)
Brussels, 11 November, 1552.
Minute. French.
Nov. 15. Brussels, E. A. 105. M. d'Eecke to the Queen Dowager.
According to your Majesty's orders I have asked the bearer of this letter, Mr. George Gordon, Court-Master of the Scottish merchants who trade in this country, to present himself before your Majesty, as he is now prepared to do. He has frequented this country for the last 24 years, and served his Imperial Majesty in many wars: before Vienna against the Turks, at Copenhagen, Péronne, St. Paul, Montreuil and Thérouanne under the command of the late Counts of Nassau and Van Buren. Since then he has lived in his house and busied himself with trade. May it please your Majesty to have him consulted on all questions touching trade between Scotland and the Emperor's patrimonial states. I may inform your Majesty that he is not ready in the French tongue, for he neither speaks nor understands it as well as he does German. He desires to serve your Majesty in any matter you may be pleased to entrust him with.
Veere, 15 November, 1552.
Holograph. French.
Nov. 19. Brussels, E. A. 62. The Queen Dowager to the Emperor.
My Lord: I am writing in reply to your letter of November 16th. In the first place, as for making use of the memoir from Scotland that was seized, I have summoned a Scotsman who is Court-Master of that nation here and, as I hear, in the confidence of the Regent. I shall do the same where England is concerned, informing the King of England's agent, resident at Antwerp, who is said to be in favour with the Duke of Northumberland-
(Details of the conduct of the campaign.)
Brussels, 19 November, 1552.
Minute. French.
Nov. 20. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: In accordance with my last letters to your Majesty, written on the 8th of this month, I immediately sent a messenger to Captain Meeckere at Rye to certify to him the arrival of the Andalusian fleet at Plymouth, and particularly to make enquiries concerning some French warships which were reported off the Isle of Wight, as certain west-countrymen had affirmed.
A merchant from Antwerp who arrived soon after in this town, and had travelled from Spain with the said fleet, seemed to confirm the rumour, and said that the same report was current at Plymouth and that M. de la Capelle, the Admiral, had sent a special messenger to that quarter to ascertain the truth. But the said merchant left before the messenger's return, and was ignorant of what news he brought back. My servant arrived at Rye on the 9th of. the month, and found that the captain had sailed for Zeeland the day before, as it was believed, with the said fleet, which was reported to have passed out at sea. I did not deem it necessary to send to Portsmouth or elsewhere, especially as I understood from the captain of the said place that no French warships had been sighted anywhere off the west coast. Duplicate or copy. French.
Nov. 20. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Advices sent by Jehan Scheyfve. (fn. 3)
The French commissioners are still in London, and it seems that the English deputed to discuss the present difficulty have held out great hopes to the merchants of obtaining restitution, or at any rate compensation for their losses at the hands of the French. The King of France sent Villandry, his secretary, to the King and Council of England to inform them that according to advices received from his resident ambassador and the commissioners, the English merchants had by no means proved their claims; that he firmly intended to show his sense of equity and good faith, and was specially desirous of pleasing the King of England and his subjects; that he would name fresh judges to decide the question of the validity or non-validity of the seizure of prizes, and that the choice of the judges should be left in the hands of the Council. It appears, however, that the Council are not content with his offers, and will do their utmost to obtain a final decision before the commissioners return to France, after examining the documents, memorials and certificates presented by the English. The King of France's reply has not yet arrived. Some say that the English commissioners are to go to France; and in the meantime both sides are gaining time.
It is reported that the King of France has laid a tax of eight per cent. on all goods and merchandise exported from his kingdom. He is doing his best to find money, of which he is very much in need. He has mortgaged his possessions and income over and over again, and made various offers to foreign merchants and others. But no one comes forward; and what is more, some of them would be glad enough to lose twenty or thirty per cent. and convert their securities, or recover their former advances. The King has also laid such a heavy tax on land that the peasants will be obliged to give up cultivating the soil, and the people are beginning to murmur and rebel. It is said that Secretary l'Aubespine has been ordered to take all the church plate and rich hangings all over the kingdom, and that rich men are also melting down their plate to coin money. It was published all over the kingdom of France, and particularly at Rouen, that notwithstanding the present war, all foreign merchants and even the Emperor's subjects might freely come and go and exercise their business in perfect safety. This was done to restore confidence in the people, and hold out some hopes of peace, and so quiet them. The French are spreading the rumour here, and taking bets on it, that peace will be made between the Emperor and the King before six months are over.
From All Saints' Day on, the new laws decreed and authorised by the last Parliament concerning religious observance are being put into effect, and must be strictly observed by every one in the kingdom under heavy penalties, their object being to enforce uniformity. The said ordinances are more than ever removed from the rites of our Holy Church, especially with regard to the holy sacrament and baptism. The book called the King's book has been revised and all traces of the Roman Catholic ritual have been swept away.
The Bishop (sic) of Canterbury is supposed to be out of favour and to have ceased to belong to the Council, as he was sent into Kent to check the Anabaptists and libertines who had infected the country. It seems that the Bishop of London has been created Bishop of Durham in place of Tunstall, (fn. 4) but the King has reserved for himself the greater share of the income of the see. They say that Hooper who was concionataire (i.e. Lenten preacher), in London, and was afterwards made Bishop of Worcester, will come to London in his stead. He is reputed to be an Anabaptist.
The Scots and the French have come to blows over the fort of Dumbarton, held by the French; there have been some killed and wounded on both sides, but the matter is of small importance. The Great O'Neill who was seized at Dublin, sent his secretary with a letter to the King of England and his Council; but the secretary was taken and sent to the Tower. The King has chosen three captains to proceed to Ireland with a hundred men apiece, and punish the disobedient and predatory elements in the land.
It is said that the Easterlings and Hanseatic Towns have written a sharp letter of remonstrance to the King complaining that the matter of their privileges was not duly considered, and the sentence given offhand. They have requested to be allowed to enjoy their privileges until the matter has been given mature consideration and been debated by a committee; otherwise they will be compelled to seek other remedies. It appears that the King and Council have taken their communication amiss, and are resolved to maintain what was settled with the deputies who have just left. The representatives of the Hanseatic Towns or their deputies are said to be assembled at Lubeck to deliberate on the business. Some say that they have resolved to make their complaints to the Emperor.
Certain changes in titles and dignities are being secretly discussed: the Marquis of Winchester, Lord Treasurer, to be created Duke of Somerset; the Marquis of Northampton, Duke of Buckingham (Wacgegen) (fn. 5); and the Duke of Northumberland to take the place of Lord High Treasurer. Some even mention the possibility of his being made Constable (of the realm), and the Earl of Pembroke Lord Great Master of the Household in his stead. Sir Andrew Dudley, brother of the said Northumberland, who was governor of Guines, is to be created Lord Admiral, and the present Admiral to be made Earl of Kent. There is a report that the Lord High Treasurer will be made Chancellor, whereas others mention the Bishop of Norwich.
Weapons are being collected here, and the sale of church and monastery lands and properties is being pushed forward as fast as possible. Accounts of moneys received are being demanded from all Crown officers with the intention of discovering malversations, if any have taken place, and punishing them condignly. All Crown expenses are being diminished, even to the King's table. The mounted artillery that used to cost a yearly sum of twenty thousand pounds is now disbanded, but it is to be kept up in the country. The general opinion is that it was formed to instil fear into the people at the time of the Duke of Somerset's execution, as has been noted already. The King is not paying his ministers and officers, except those abroad, for the sake of his reputation; and the explanation provided is that scarcity will cease in consequence. (fn. 6) All unnecessary church ornaments are being appropriated, and one church only in each parish is deemed sufficient. The King will acquire over a million in gold, it is reckoned, by this act; and it is proposed to tax every foreigner in the kingdom to the tune of sixpence a week if he has a fixed domicile in England, and twice that sum if he has none. The report is commonly credited that the object of these measures is to tide over the interval of the present war between the Emperor and the King of France, after which the English will allow themselves to be guided by circumstances, for they are eager to be at the Scots again if the King of France is worsted or reduced to an extremity. Some harbour the suspicion and fear that the Duke of Northumberland's object is to gather into his own hands all the resources of the realm, besides his own fortune, amounting, it is said, to three hundred thousand angels, (fn. 7) and being master of the strongholds in the kingdom, and holding as he does, the chief offices either himself or through his friends, make himself King. The King takes riding exercise and fences daily, without foregoing his studies, which are multiple, and concern especially the new religion, in which he is said to be proficient. He has begun to be present at the Council and to attend to certain affairs himself. He is allowed a good deal of freedom; but this fact only serves to enhance suspicions, and gives ground for fear.
I hear there is a great deal of confusion in France; that the nobles are beginning to revolt, and in particular that the Duke of Vendôme boxed the Constable's ears over the question of Picardy, and the taking of Hesdin. He is even reported to have killed M. d'Andelot, the Constable's nephew. Some say that the King of France is ill, and that the Admiral has died of grief, though already afflicted with illness. Another rumour has it that the King has been recently in Paris to collect money, and departed thence for Abbeville and Amiens, where the Duke of Vendôme is expected to arrive with twelve or fifteen thousand men.
Cipher. French.
Nov. 20. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. Jehan Scheyfve to the Bishop op Areas.
My Lord: This line will serve to accompany the duplicate of my letters to the Queen which I am sending to the Emperor, together with certain advices. All I have to add is that the Imperialists are beginning to show their faces once more, and not a few of the others are recanting (canant palinodium), though your Lordship knows their real desires. The French ambassador is not as fine a fellow nor as popular as he was; though the English are still waiting for their recompenses, and if they get them may well leave the Emperor in the lurch. Meanwhile, they are watching to see what will happen.
The Duke of Northumberland keeps his room at Chelsea, in a little house belonging to the King about two miles from Westminster, on the Thames. They say he is meditating some step, which may perchance be a radical change in both spiritual and temporal dignities, and a creation of new dukes and earls. It seems that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate, is no longer in favour, for he has been sent on an embassy to Kent to preach at and convince the Anabaptists, which sect is beginning to swarm. If the said Bishop does not keep his eyes open, he may find himself preaching to a different sort of congregation, for two of his houses have already been taken from him. I do not know: perhaps God at last intends to punish him, for God's vengeance is slow. As for the Reverend Tunstall, you have heard how he was dealt with. He is to be succeeded by the Bishop of London, (fn. 8) and Hooper, a thorough-going Anabaptist, is to take this see. It seems they like religion better than war; every one is hoarding money, and each man thinks he has the Holy Ghost perching on his wrist (chacun estime qu'il a le saint esprit au poing). The Duke' of Northumberland has fetched hither a new Scots apostle (fn. 9) from Newcastle, who has already begun to pick holes in the new and universal reformation which they introduced last All Saints, especially where the holy sacrament and baptism are concerned. As for marriage, each man has his views on it; to such a pass has this reformation come.
I believe your Lordship will already have received my last letters, and heard how matters stand here with regard to the aid, (fn. 10) the baptism of my child, and other questions. I hope your Lordship will excuse me about the ciphers which, as I stated at greater length in my letters, gave me much trouble while my man was away. Now he is back, I will do my best to fulfil the obligations of my charge, as my small capacities will allow, begging you to command me always. As my child was ill, I immediately had it baptised here in my house according to the ceremonies and dictates of our religion and with the help of my servants, as I wrote to your Lordship I would do in case of necessity. Nonetheless, I have called him Edward.
Paget has for some time been troubled by a discharge from the head, but is now better. I know not whether it was caused by durance vile (squalore carceris). Some believe he may return to favour and become Chancellor; but I fear his fortune will be less good.
London, 20 November, 1552.
P.S.—I could not forbear from sending your Lordship a certain prognostic (fn. 11) found here. I suppose you will have seen it already. For the present it seems to be pretty far out, so may it please you to pardon my boldness, for the prediction of future events is not so easy but that a few mistakes may be made, which has also been said before.
P.P.8.—When the above had been written, a gentleman of Count de Horn came to me to announce the arrival of his master, M. de Humbercourt and other gentlemen, of which I have heard this evening, the 22nd.
Signed. French and Latin. Cipher.
Nov. 24. Brussels, E. A. 105. M. d'Eecke to the Queen Dowager.
(Extract from a letter dealing with difficulties encountered at Antwerp in the payment of the crews of the fleet from Spain and Portugal.)
As for the frauds mentioned in the letter from Antwerp, which certain merchants commit in the name of the English, thus avoiding the payment of the two per-cent. duty, I have heard of them for some time past, not merely in connexion with the English, but the Easterlings as well, though I have hitherto been unable to obtain detailed and trustworthy information. It appears that the frauds are accomplished in two manners. In one, the English, at the request of other merchants or in order to make a profit, take goods on board their ships pretending that they have bought them, and that the goods are their property, and though this is not true they swear to it before a notary and produce witnesses. Before doing so, however, they draw up another clandestine contract in order to indemnify themselves. The other fraudulent practice consists in pretending that goods are being sent to Holland, the North German ports or elsewhere, and then transfering them by night on board English ships which have left port and have already paid the Antwerp toll. Thus the toll and prince's due are defrauded, and shipping gets into the hands of foreigners. By way of remedy it is no good at all to exact oaths from the English, for they are prepared to swear a thousand oaths as readily as one. The ordinances and proclamations issued on your Majesty's behalf are also unavailing, for they are no sooner published than the merchants have found a device—or several—to defeat them, of which they sometimes boast, considering it an honour. But if we could find some bankrupt merchant, broker or notary of the sort who are wont to deal in these fraudulent contracts, we might induce him to take charge of the matter, and really achieve something. The only way to put a stop to the second variety of fraud is to empower the officer or customs-master's substitute, or both, to board all English vessels coming from Antwerp as they pass by off Flushing, and search and inspect all the goods they have on board. It would also be well for your Majesty to issue a proclamation in Brabant, Flanders and Zeeland that no one is to load goods on foreign vessels except in places where there is a custom-house, and with the knowledge of the customs-master; also that they are not to do so by night nor at unseasonable hours, under the penalty of confiscation of goods and an arbitrary fine for the first offence, which penalty should also be incurred by masters of vessels found guilty of collusion. It seems to me that this would constitute no infringement of the treaty between the Emperor and the King of England.
Veere, 24 November, 1552.
Signed. French.
Nov. —. Brussels, L. A. 61. The Queen Dowager to the Duke of Chastelherault. (fn. 12)
My cousin: As peace and amity have long existed between Scotland and the Low Countries, and have recently been ratified by a fresh treaty, I thought it my duty as your good friend and neighbour to summon the Governor (i.e., Court-Master) of your nation here resident, and communicate to him certain important schemes that are being laid against the ancient liberties of Scotland, and concern the authority of your government. I declared to him these plots, and exhibited to him original writings here in my possession, asking him to inform you of their nature with all due secrecy and as quickly as he could, as it was important that the matter should be made known to you at once. The Court-Master examined the said papers, and affirmed that he would not fail immediately to report to you. And if you desire to send some confidential person hither in order that you may have more detailed and certain knowledge of the matter, you may do so, and I will see to it that all shall be fully declared to him. It seemed to me that I ought thus to behave for the sake of the good understanding uniting the two countries, and I trust that in like circumstances you would do the same for me.
Brussels, — November, 1552.
Duplicate or copy. French.


  • 1.
  • 2. An entry in Edward's Journal for November 24th records how the English were informed of the existence of these letters.
  • 3. This document is wrongly catalogued as being of November 8th.
  • 4. In reality Tunstall's bishopric was dissolved by Act of Parliament in March, 1553, to be re-established by another Act in April, 1554.
  • 5. Of course these creations did not take place.
  • 6. i.e. that t he royal coffers will be less empty.
  • 7. One hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling.
  • 8. In the original here follows a pun which I cannot attempt to render: bonnet en teste, je ne veux dire beste.
  • 9. i.e. John Knox.
  • 10. i.e., the aid required of the English by the Emperor in virtue of the treaty of closer alliance.
  • 11. This prognostic has unhappily disappeared,
  • 12. i.e., the Earl of Arran, Regent of Scotland,