Spain: August 1553, 26-31

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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'Spain: August 1553, 26-31', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916), pp. 183-197. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

. "Spain: August 1553, 26-31", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916) 183-197. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

. "Spain: August 1553, 26-31", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916). 183-197. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,

August 1553, 26–31

Aug. 27. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E.20. The Ambassadors in England to the Emperor.
Sire: The commissioners left in London by the Queen on her departure to Richmond have proceeded so well in the matter of the Duke of Northumberland and his accomplices' trial, that on the 18th of this month the Duke, the Marquis of Northampton and the Earl of Warwick, the Duke's eldest son, were brought by water to Westminster Hall, where the Parliaments are usually held. The old Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England, stood to represent the Queen as President of the Court. He was seated on a seat with a dossal, adorned with a pall and royal mantle, raised upon a high scaffolding. On his right sat the Lord High Treasurer, (fn. 1) the Earl of Arundel, and several Lords of the Council and peers. On his left were: the Lord Privy Seal, (fn. 2) the Earl of Shrewsbury, the old Chancellor, (fn. 3) Cobham, Paget, and several others. Below them were four citizens chosen from among the aldermen of London; four lawyers were seated in front of them, dressed in scarlet, wearing small white cauls; and to the right and the left of them certain officers, such as fiscal officers. Four heralds assisted at the proceedings, and one whom they name the recorder; the whole body representing the criminal court of England. Before the Duke appeared one of the heralds cried, “Silence!” and the commission of the judges, in Latin, was read out. The herald cited the Duke and adjured him to appear at the hour before the commissioners; and at the same time a citation and adjuration was addressed to the captains of the Tower and of the castle to bring forth the person of the Duke, who was in their keeping and charge. The Duke was then brought in, under safe escort, preceded by one carrying the axe of justice, and stood before his judges. The recorder read out his deposition and confession from among the documents of the trial, and asked if he maintained all that was stated therein, so that judgment might be given according to custom. The Duke raised his hand in sign of taking his oath; then he fell on his knees and appealed to the Queen for mercy, saying that all he had done was by the advice, consent and command of the Council; he confessed the occasion of it and reiterated his confession. He proffered three requests: one that the Queen's Councillors and judges should intercede with her to obtain grace and pardon for him; the second that certain Councillors might be deputed to hear certain matters he wished to declare; the third that time might be granted to him to reconcile himself with God and the execution of the sentence deferred for a few days. Thereupon the Duke of Norfolk, without consulting the judges or commissioners or taking their votes or advice—as indeed there was no need, as the Duke made a full confession—pronounced sentence against him; by which he was condemned to be hanged, his heart to be drawn from his body and flung against his face, and quartered; this form of sentence and punishment being, we are told, the usual one against traitors to the Crown and those who are found guilty of treason and rebellion, and is afterwards softened into pain of death by (royal) clemency and grace, as it was (on this occasion). Then the Marquis of Northampton was summoned and brought in. His confession and depositions were read out and he was asked if he maintained them. He sank to his knees and spoke at length in palliation of his offence, saying he had been compelled by orders from the Council of the Lady Jane after her proclamation as Queen, sealed under the great seal of England, to follow the Duke in his undertaking; he could not disobey the orders without danger of committing the self-same crime and offence of which he was now accused for having taken up arms with the Duke against Queen Mary. He was not present when the late King Edward's will was signed by the Councillors; he signed it after the King's death. He gave other excuses too, which we could not gather because we did not understand the English language. He wept and implored grace and mercy. One of the lawyers replied and refuted his excuses on several heads; and he was condemned to the same fate as the Duke. The Earl of Warwick appeared before his peers and judges, repeated his confession, and the same sentence was passed on him. This over, the Duke of Norfolk broke the white staff held before him by an officer, as a sign that his charge was fulfilled and accomplished. There is a custom that when a criminal is condemned to death the axe is turned towards him, and if he is acquitted the axe is carried with the edge turned away from his face. The people learn by these means whether he is acquitted or condemned.
On the next day, the 19th of the month, Sir Andrew Dudley, brother of the Duke, the two Gates (Sir John and Sir Henry), brothers, the one Captain of the Guard to the late King Edward, the other a Gentleman of his Bedchamber, were brought into Westminster Hall. They were asked the same question (i.e. if they maintained their confessions and admissions) one after the other, all standing together; and their answers having been received they were condemned to the same penalty. The ceremony was not so solemn as on the preceding day. The Lord High Treasurer presided, attended by the Privy Seal, the Earl of Shrewsbury, the old Chancellor, Paget, and a few other commissioners; they sat without pall or dossal, and the accused made no pleading, except (Sir Thomas) Palmer, who called the presiding judges, who had formed part of Jane's Council, traitors, saying that they had deserved punishment as much as he, and more, and declared that his trial had not been conducted according to English law. But in the end he calmed down and asked for his pardon like his co-accused. Sir Andrew Dudley said there was a man who had certain jewels (fn. 4) of his in his keeping; and he asked that they might not be lost, and that pity might be shown to his wife and children.
Last Monday (21st of August) the sentences were to be carried out. The scaffolding was erected; the townsmen were in arms; the people had assembled; but it was deferred to the next day. Meanwhile the Duke, Sir John Gates, captain of the guard, and Sir Thomas Palmer, who were to be executed first, prepared and disposed themselves for their death. The Duke recanted, and summoned the two sons of the late Duke of Somerset to come before him; he asked their pardon for the injury he had done to their father, the Protector of England, and confessed that he had wrongly and falsely procured his death. He did the same with several others against whom he had exercised revenge; he confessed and received the holy sacrament, heard mass devoutly and performed all the customary acts of devotion according to the ancient religion, declaring loudly before those who were in the Tower that since he had forsaken God and the Church to follow the new religion he had done no good, and his actions had been unfortunate. He confessed publicly that he had continued in error for three or four years, and went so far as to approve the authority of the Roman Church, using words that avowed the said authority, as we have been told. He did not merely declare what is said above in the Tower, but repeated the same words on the scaffold, loudly, before the people. He recommended them to obey the Queen, whom he called good and virtuous, saying that she had attained the throne miraculously, by reason of her true right by inheritance, and that therein he acknowledged the hand of God. He exhorted noblemen and people to obedience; and declared that he had received no instigation or persuasion to make the profession, but was moved thereto by his own desire, calling to witness God and his confessor, who had ever heard the same from him. He added that a warning should be taken from the condition of Germany, where rebellion and troubles had followed upon the loss of faith and true religion. He made the sign of the cross, and kissed it (the crucifix) before his death. He gave up all the money he had (amassed); his own and the Crown's too. We do not know the amount yet; nor what else he may have said in private. He said several times over that ambition and avarice had brought him to the extreme of poverty and contempt. Both Gates and Palmer were confessed and shriven, and received communion like the Duke. Tuesday was chosen for their execution, and they were beheaded, (fn. 5) having the Bishop of Winchester and other priests to comfort and sustain them. The Duke had usurped the goods and ecclesiastical revenues of the said Bishop, and enjoyed them during several years. The other criminals' execution is deferred for a few days, we hear; the object being, as it seems to us, to incline the Queen to pardon the Marquis of Northampton and the Earl of Warwick. It is believed that the Marquis of Northampton may receive his pardon on condition that he shall take back his first wife and put away the daughter of Lord Cobham, whom he married as his second wife. We will inquire what takes place. We have been told that the scaffolding on which the Duke was beheaded was first put up for his father, (fn. 6) who lost his head at the same place and on the same day forty-five years ago, for similar crimes and ambition, having attempted to exclude the late King Henry VIII from the Crown and usurp it, after concealing for five or six days the death of the late King Henry VII for that purpose. This kingdom is so much subject to change and permutation that nothing can be said to be quite certain. Your Majesty will be judge whether it can be considered a reasonable thing that the fellow-conspirators (of the accused) who put their signature to the will, who after mutual consultation elevated Jane to the throne, issued orders to the people enjoining obedience to her, who wrote to Queen Mary the letters containing plain evidence of rebellion, contempt and evil intentions, of which we sent a copy to your Majesty, should be appointed judges of the suspect and the guilty. Palmer confessed before his death that the written accusation against the late Lord Protector which he indicted and maintained was false, and an invention of the Duke of Northumberland, and that he, Palmer, upheld it at the Duke's request. There are strange laws in this country with regard to the bringing of accusations; two witnesses are sufficient, and the crime is considered to be proved even if their testimony is discordant and at variance. In consequence they say there is no established law to punish the crime of forgery; nor has anyone ever been executed for forgery within memory of man. Another extravagant law is that by which the property of accused persons is seized and sometimes distributed before sentence is given against them, confiscation thus preceding publication (of a sentence). The fisc does not allow the recovery of debts, if there be any, against the estates of criminals.
The Duke's Christian death has been misinterpreted and denounced by the heretics, who say he did as he did out of hypocrisy, in the belief that he might incline the Queen to show him mercy. But small attention is paid to the sayings of heretics and misguided men, and the truth is generally accepted and recognised, namely that the Catholic manner in which he and his accomplices ended their lives, together with their final profession of faith and recantation will assist religious affairs here, and promote them better than can be expressed in this writing; and not merely in England, but in Germany, Italy and wherever it may become known. The Queen's good intentions and zeal will receive powerful aid therefrom, in the accomplishment of an exemplary reform. Among the good and the faithful, sayings the like of this are beginning to circulate: that God will take pity on His people and Church in England, through the instrument of a virgin called Mary, whom He has raised to the throne. The Duke's confession came at a very opportune moment, because on the Monday preceding the execution an edict, of which we are sending a copy (fn. 7) to your Majesty, was published. The translation is rather obscure and ill-done; but there is no time to get it revised without delaying the courier, and we deem it sufficient that the general import is clear. We described to your Majesty in our last letters the apparent likelihood of tumults among the people of London on the score of religion; nevertheless it seems to be greatly diminishing, in consequence of the publication of the edict, and of the imprisonment of some who were known to go about interrupting the preachers, as we wrote to your Majesty, and because of the prohibitions now enforced against illicit gatherings and monopoly (sic), and the orders issued to the preachers that they shall not make scandalous utterances. The citizens and inhabitants (of London) have been ordered to restrain their servants, under pain of being made responsible for any insolence of which they might be guilty. The Council of the Queen has resolved to rule the kingdom according to law, and second it by the use of force. The Queen has an ordinary bodyguard of mounted men; eight pieces of field artillery with the requisite amount of ammunition were recently brought to Richmond for her greater safety, and to make a show of her strength and authority for the intimidation of the seditious and those who have evil intentions. Last Sunday a solemn predication was held at St. Paul's by a doctor (fn. 8) who has long been associated with the Bishop of Winchester. Several members of the Queen's Council were present, and the yeomen of the guard, for the protection of the said preacher, who discoursed pertinently on the holy sacrament. The sermon was well received, without murmurs or interruptions. Mass is sung habitually at Court; not one mass only, but six or seven every day, and the Councillors assist. My Ladies of deves (fn. 9) and Elizabeth have not been present yet. On Saint Bartholomew's day (fn. 10) mass was sung at St. Paul's; matins and vespers are already being recited there in Latin.
The high altar has been set up again in St. Paul's, and in several other churches mass has been sung and the crucifix replaced. In this way it seems that little by little things will take the road that will lead to the discussion and adoption of some good measures by Parliament.
The foreigners, Frenchmen and Flemings, do not, in truth, desist from attempting to incite in secret to trouble and rebellion; but they are so carefully watched that they do not try to put their designs into effect. They are beginning to lose hope of crossing effectually the Queen's holy designs, and some are considering whether they shall withdraw, the Flemings to Denmark and the French to Geneva.
It is likely that the King of France's ministers in England will do their very best, by means of secret practices, to encourage tumults and rebellion on the ground of religion, now that the Duke of Northumberland's intrigues have fallen to the ground and that the Queen of Scots' claim to the Crown cannot conveniently be advanced. If all foreigners, Frenchmen or Flemings, who have fled hither from their own countries under accusation or a suspicion of crime of any nature whatsoever, were to be thrust out of the kingdom, the French would have fewer means to effect their desires and machinations.
To this we may add that the King of France's ambassadors, the Bishop of Orleans, that is to say Morvillier, who was ambassador in Venice, (fn. 11) and M. de Gyé, declared to the Queen at the audience they were given last Sunday that the letters of credence from the King, their master, named three points the first was to congratulate the Queen on her accession to the throne and to offer the usual offices and congratulations. The second to claim (repeter) the person of a young gentleman seven or eight years old, brought hither by his mother, who fled from France under an accusation of heresy, (fn. 12) and who is said to be of the house of Dampierre. (fn. 13) The third was to encourage the Queen to persevere in her good resolve to reform religion. We do not believe this to spring from Christian zeal, but to have no object or motive except to fire the ardour and vehemence with which the Queen pursues the restoration of religion, so that they may reap something to their own profit and attain the desired end; not, indeed, because they desire the Queen to reign and prosper. Their bad faith was clearly proved when they considered her suspect for being too much of an Imperialist because of her relationship to your Majesty; and even more when they set intrigues on foot with the Duke of Northumberland and several others in the kingdom with the object of depriving the Queen of her rights. Their intrigues cost the Duke a shameful death, and they cannot be denied after the explicit confessions of Henry Dudley and the letters that were intercepted.
We hear that the said ambassadors propose to remain a certain length of time in England, as they have asked leave to go a-hunting, and intend to go to Windsor to visit the Queen's house. If we can find out the real reason of their tarrying we will let your Majesty know it. The Queen granted them the young gentleman we referred to, in order to please the King on the occasion of a first visit, and they were pleased with the reception they were given. They praised the Queen's humanity and affability and said that if her Council was good and united she would accomplish many good things. The said Council does not seem to us, after mature consideration, to be composed of experienced men endowed with the necessary qualities to conduct the administration and government of the kingdom. Several are more inclined to greed than is suitable; and they (the French) are well aware of it, and also, particularly, of the fact that they do not agree among themselves. It is said quite openly that Paget cannot get on with the Bishop of Winchester, and that they are jealous of one another. The ladies about the Queen's person are able to obtain from her more than she ought to grant them. It has been discovered that the Earl of Pembroke gave a present of a sword and poniard to Courtenay, besides a basin and ewer and several horses, worth in all more than three thousand crowns, to get back into the Council, and because Courtenay's mother had made his peace with the Queen. The Queen at any rate is excusable, Sire, because she found matters in such a condition when she came to the throne that she cannot possibly put everything straight, or punish all who have been guilty of something; otherwise she would be left without any vassals at all. Most of them were against her; but with time she will be able to set her government in proper order, and the French will not then have a say in her affairs.
The Queen sent us word that St. Leger, (fn. 14) whom she sent to France to visit the King, has had so good a welcome and been so well received and entertained that no ambassador has been so much caressed in France for a long time past. They are past masters in the art of dissimulating and disguising their thoughts.
We did not send to the Queen the written note of which we made mention in our last letters, because we perceived that orders were being given to subdue the people, and it was no longer necessary; especially as Ambassador Scheyfve had found an opportunity of discoursing on the subject with some of the trustiest among the members of the Council who were Councillors formerly; and he spoke also of what the Earl of Derby had said to him.
Sire, Martin de Guzmán arrived in London last Sunday and took lodgings at a hostelry. He did not send word beforehand to us to inform us of his arrival, nor did he have his lodgings retained beforehand. He sent a messenger, the nephew of Licenciado de Games, to tell us that he was ill and suffering great pain from the stone; and we returned the visit by proxy and offered him our services and assistance, and inquired after his health. On the Monday morning M. de Thoulouse (fn. 15) and the Lieutenant of Amont (Simon Renard) paid him a visit and reiterated our offers of assistance. He requested us to send a messenger to the Queen informing her of his arrival and the occasion of his journey hither, which was to visit and congratulate her on her accession to the throne; and let it be made known to her that he had no lodgings of his own so that she might be pleased to remedy this through the purveyor of her household (fourier de la maison). We complied with his request; and the Queen seemed very glad of his coming and asked if Guzmán had come by way of Brussels and had spoken with your Majesty. We have decided to accompany him to Richmond, so as to find out what line he will take, and if he will go beyond what your Majesty decided upon with him, fulfilling what we wrote to your Majesty on the 14th of the present month.
We have been informed that about two months ago the late Duke of Northumberland and the Council sent several ambassadors to Germany, to the King of Denmark, to Duke Maurice (of Saxony) and others, notably to the King of the Romans. The ambassador they sent to him was called Sere, (fn. 16) and he has not yet returned. We do not know why he was sent, unless it be, as they say here, that there is some bad intelligence between your Majesty and the Bang, and between his Highness (Prince Philip) and the King of Bohemia and the Archduke (Ferdinand) of Austria. Haply, they desired to make themselves stronger in that quarter and keep up a friendship with the King of the Romans. There is a great deal of talk going on, of a dangerous nature, about this bad intelligence (if indeed it exists, which we do not believe) and its future results, especially where his Highness's succession is concerned, which might be interfered with in consequence of it.
The French spread the news here that the last encounter between your Majesty's horse and the greater part of the King of France's army now in the field was greatly to the disadvantage of your Majesty. But the details have come to hand, and they have been compelled to eat their words, and mourn the loss of several gentlemen of France. They continue to publish news of the capture of the Duke d'Arscot, (fn. 17) and that he was taken by the peasants and brought to Amiens. We have been informed that although their army has received a reinforcement of Swiss, yet they do not intend to give or take battle, but will follow a less risky course and keep the passages over the river Somme against attack, thus guarding a possible way of entering the kingdom.
The news have been received here that the Turkish fleet has set sail for Africa, towards Barbary. Some opine that they (the Turks) will make some attack on the Spanish coast, others that they will make for Barbary, or else that they will escort the King of France's galleys to safety and then withdraw, their fleet not being complete, and their chief, Dragut, having only three months more before his term of command expires. Some say that Dragut had certain designs on Malta.
St. Leger has written to the Queen that the King of France conversed with him in covert terms about his desire that the Queen should undertake the office of peacemaker between your Majesty and the King. He does not say anything more definite as to manner or means. We surmise that the hint may have come from the Constable, in his desire to find out if the Queen would be inclined to play the part of peacemaker.
The Queen's coronation is fixed for the first of October, and the assembling of Parliament for the fifth of the same month.
We have been informed that a certain personage at Court, whom our informant would not name, fell a-talking with three of the Queen's ladies, and tried, in the course of conversation, to find out from them if they had heard that your Majesty made preparations or showed any sign of wishing to help the Queen when the Duke of Northumberland took up arms against her. He asserted that he did not believe your Majesty would have assisted her. He declared that the Duke had always believed that the English should hold fast to a French alliance because the French always helped their friends. On the contrary, he said, your Majesty allowed them to be ruined. He alleged that your Majesty had allowed the English to lose the kingdom of Scotland and Boulogne, and compelled them to renounce the Scottish marriage when it was assured and guaranteed with hostages, in order to make your peace with the French. You had forsaken the Danish King, Christian, (fn. 18) the Duchess of Lorraine's father, and the Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine; and you would have forsaken the Queen too. He had his arguments, it appears, all ready and marshalled in order. We interrogated our informant as to the name of the personage in question; but he would not give it, merely saying that he had always been a partisan of France, and that he seemed to be speaking to the ladies with the object of getting his words referred to the Queen, and detaching her from your Majesty.
There is some talk here that Cardinal Pole might nourish the ambition of wedding the Queen, being of mature years and of the blood royal: and he might prove acceptable to the kingdom, especially as he is not in holy orders. (fn. 19) This is the third name put forward as a possible match for the Queen, counting Courtenay. The Earl of Arundel's son is too young, and cannot be counted among the candidates.
The Earl of Derby is of the Queen's Council; and the Bishop of Winchester is Lord Chancellor of the kingdom.
On Saint Bartholomew's day we accompanied M. de Guzmán to Richmond. He made his obeisance to the Queen and declared his mission, in conformity with what we had previously said to the Queen, and went no further on the question of marriage. The Queen replied that she had written ten days before to the Kings of the Romans and Bohemia to inform them of the success of her affairs, as it had pleased God to grant it to her. He is to return to Court six or seven days hence to take his leave; and we will accompany him. He shall not make any other proposals beyond those of which we have cognisance. It seemed to us that our journey to Richmond was not fruitless, although we transacted no business. It will serve as an authorisation of the mission and will prove to the King of the Romans that your Majesty commanded us to hear what was negotiated by Guzmán. It will also divert the notion entertained by certain people here that your Majesty is at variance with the King of the Romans, the King of Bohemia and the Archduke.
The said Guzmán informed us that the King of the Romans had come to terms with the Duke of Wiirttemberg and compounded with him for a sum of 250,000 florins; being compelled to do so because he was unable to get the lawsuit about the entail (commisse) of the duchy decided. Nevertheless, he said, now that the agreement was completed, your Majesty was making no sign of withdrawing the lansquenets from Augsburg, although you counselled the King, his master, to come to terms. He showed a certain resentment because the lansquenets were not being withdrawn.
They are trying to reform the coinage here in England and make new coin of better quality, that now in circulation being of very poor alloy. There is also great confusion in the rate of exchange for foreign coins.
St. Leger and the English ambassadors in France have returned. Wotton is remaining as ambassador resident. Before St. Leger left, the King spoke to him about the marriage of the Queen to the Prince of Piedmont, (fn. 20) reiterating what he had said to Wotton. He also discoursed on his desire that the Queen should undertake to make peace between your Majesty and him; and said that he would agree to anything in reason. St. Leger has gone to Ireland as news arrived of discontent among the soldiers there, owing to their lack of pay and maintenance. It is said that the Queen found the kingdom in debt for 500,000 pounds sterling. M. de Gyé brought letters of credence from the King of France addressed to Courtenay, who sent them at once to his mother, that she might communicate their contents to the Queen. The gist of the letters is to be made known in two days' time. We will inform your Majesty as soon as we hear of it. The French ambassadors have feasted and banqueted several members of the Council, inviting Courtenay too, with the excuse that they believed him to be of the Council; thus making his acquaintance without arousing suspicions.
The Queen had begun to speak to Ambassador Scheyfve's secretary about certain details in the answers and confession of the Duke of Northumberland; but she was interrupted and could not finish. We will do our best to find out as much as possible from her or from other sources, and obey your Majesty's injunctions to send information.
We have also been informed that the French ambassadors are asking to have (refugee) French noblemen and preachers delivered over to them to send back to France; and orders have been sent to the officers and men guarding the passages to prevent their escape. The Queen asked the ambassadors in conversation whether the King would resent it if his refugee subjects to whom a crime was imputed were to be thrust out of the kingdom. They replied that, on the contrary, he would be pleased; and it would be a good thing for the kingdom and the Christian republic. If the Queen were to ask us the same question, we would answer in conformity to the intention of your Majesty expressed in your letters of the 23rd of this month.
We will inform her on the first opportunity of what your Majesty commands, and we will conduct ourselves in the matter of the Queen's marriage according to our instructions.
We hear that the Spanish fleet set sail from Cadiz a few days ago, but was obliged to get two or three leaking vessels recaulked; and that his Highness (Prince Philip) is about to go to Seville for the celebration of the marriage per verba de prœsenti with the Infanta of Portugal.
We are told that the French ambassadors are talking of returning to France in six or seven days' time.
London, 27 August, 1553.
French. Mostly cipher. Signed by the four ambassadors.
Late in Aug. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. Varia, 4. The Ambassadors in England to Mary I.
Madam: The Emperor, in letters addressed to us, gives evidence of the affection he bears to your Majesty and of his desire to see you definitely and firmly seated on the throne. With this object in mind he mentions several points.
Among others, there is the matter of religion. It is true that things appear to be settling down and starting well, but it is probable that many people are insincere in their attitude and harbour thoughts quite different from those they express. It is necessary, therefore, to be watchful, so that if their dutiful affection towards your Majesty changes, they may not be able to stir up or abet any trouble or commotion; for the French, and your English enemies if they decide to plot against your Majesty, as it seems they are doing, will be quick to avail themselves of such an opportunity.
Further, the Emperor is of opinion that all foreign fugitives who have fled their countries for various crimes ought to be expelled from England without making any particular mention of countries or religions. The French ambassadors themselves have expressed a conviction that this ought to be done, and the Emperor advises it. This might be mentioned in the edict to be issued on the subject, which would be valuable in that it would rid this land of the Spaniards, Italians, Frenchmen, Flemings and others, who are making of the realm a very sink of iniquity, and who would always be ready to plot.
Your Majesty has been warned, and must truly know, that the French bear you small affection and are dissembling when they pay you their compliments and addresses; so you ought to be more on your guard against them than against anything else in the world. Keep it well in view that you may be certain that all the princes and potentates of Spain, Germany, Italy and Flanders are glad to see your Majesty's rule established; there are (in those countries) only a few German heretics and the Venetians who do not desire the peace and tranquillity of all Christian States, hoping the better to maintain their own position. Indeed, you have only two doubtful neighbours: France and Scotland. You should often remember that inducements were held out to the Duke of Northumberland and his adherents to persuade them to cheat and deprive your Majesty of your good right; that the days of the late King Edward were shortened; that he was made to draw up a will in contradiction to that of the late King Henry VIII; that plots were laid against your Majesty's life and liberty; and that help was offered to keep Jane of Suffolk on the throne which had been usurped for her by wickedness and ambition. Facts have shown that the foremost members of the Council and leading men of the country were won over by the threats, gifts and promises of the promoters of these wretched designs; that the Duke of Northumberland, both before and after King Edward's death, showed Frenchmen favour and even admitted them to his service; that he accorded great confidence to the French ambassadors; that the King of France was ready to do his part by sending letters of credence to the said Jane, to assure the Duke of his protection and even offer his own person; that the Constable and other French ministers have displayed their desire to take Calais, Guines and your Majesty's other possessions on the continent; that the King's ambassador, without being asked by his master, took upon himself to say that he feared your Majesty's kinship with the Emperor might make you too much of an Imperialist; that the ambassador avoided appearing at your entry into this city and accompanying you, as custom would have had it, in order not to let the people and factions imagine that the King was glad of your accession; that the French ambassadors, in order to mask the (real import of the) Constable's letters, complained of the Deputy of Calais; and that when the said ambassadors arrived here they presented letters of credence, as we hear, to Courtenay and several members of the Council. This is strange and intolerable behaviour, especially in such times as these; and it is not hard to see why letters were sent to Courtenay, for their object was to give him credit and a taste for ruling. Many persons are saying that if Courtenay were able to come to an understanding or arrange a marriage with Elizabeth the result would be dangerous to your Majesty, as he already has a following, and it is said that Elizabeth's eyes are fixed upon him, and she also has partisans. The French ambassadors have feasted him in their lodgings with the pretext that he is of your Majesty's Council; and we do not like the manner in which, as we have heard, the King of France made protestations of friendship and neighbourliness in his letters, as Courtenay is just out of prison, and is quite without reputation or resources. The only explanation is that there was another object in view; so it must be borne in mind that distrust of the French is the best protection against their designs.
It would also seem necessary to keep spies constantly in Scotland to watch what is going on there; for as that kingdom is at the service of the French, who are nowhere more at liberty, it appears likely that they will make all their plans and preparations there in order to strike their premeditated blow at this country as soon as occasion shall offer. It is true that not much is to be feared from them for the present, because they are weak and too busy with the Emperor; but we mention the point as worthy to be taken into consideration for the future. Above all things, it will be advisable to inquire into the temper and inclinations of the English, especially of the members of the Council: whether they are satisfied or malcontent, unanimous or divided; whether there are any who are disaffected; how they manage affairs of State and justice. Also their private character ought to be noted, whether they are inclined to be avaricious, ambitious, partial, corrupt, accessible to flattery, prone to hypocrisy; or whether they follow the straight path of virtue and justice, and have your Majesty's and the country's honour, greatness and prosperity at heart. For according as they shall be found to be, so must they be trusted.
These considerations hold good not of men alone, but of the ladies who frequent your Court, who ought to be watched to see whether their actions are suspicious, partial or dictated by third persons. Likewise it would appear wise in your Majesty not to be too ready to trust the Lady Elizabeth, and to reflect that she now sees no hope of coming to the throne, and has been unwilling to yield about religion, though it might be expected of her out of respect for your Majesty and gratitude for the kindnesses you have shown her, even if she had only done so to accompany you. Moreover, it will appear that she is only clinging to the new religion out of policy, in order to win over and make use of its adepts in case she decided to plot. A mistake may perhaps be made in attributing this intention to her, but at this early stage it is safer to forestall than to be forestalled, and to consider all possible results; for there are clear enough indications.
Your Majesty will also do well to see to the prompt chastisement of the prisoners who are guilty or have been convicted of high treason, rebellion and conspiracy, as well as the punishment of all others who may probably attempt to destroy the peace of the kingdom. Let execution take place at once to serve as an example and strike terror into the disaffected, and then display clemency towards the people at large in order not to drive them to conspire out of fear.
As for Jane of Suffolk, it is certain that as reginam se dixit, she has deserved death according to English law. However, if your Majesty were desirous of converting the death penalty into confinement, and consider whether it would be well to have her kept in a safe place where she would be unable to create any disturbance, you might consider the advisability of so doing.
His Majesty has ordered us to write to him the entire speech and all the answers given by the Duke of Northumberland and his adherents in their trial, and particularly Henry Dudley's negotiations, if we are able to obtain them; because when they have been heard it will be easier to advise your Majesty on all other points.
It would contribute to strengthen your Majesty's position were you to keep a permanent and trusty guard about you for some time, and also to provide yourself with money, so that you may always have a good sum ready for an emergency. This is a point which no prince can afford to neglect; and it would also be well to inquire into the management of finance under the late King Edward, the sums of money received, used or spent; by whom they were administered; whether they were stolen or put to any improper use; whether any pensions were paid abroad; and to whom. And, a very important point, what ambassadors were sent to Denmark, Germany and elsewhere; why; for what purpose; who drew up their instructions; and also the nature of the instructions given to the ambassadors who were sent to France, to the Emperor and the King of the Romans, in order to ascertain whether they have negotiated anything of importance to the realm or to your Majesty, and whether they were not despatched by the Duke of Northumberland for some private ends of his own.
French. Minute in Renard's hand. Undated. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV, from a copy, in which the fast sentence is missing, at Besançon (Collection Granvelle, 73), but placed as if written early in August, whereas it must be of the end of that month.
Aug.—. Besançon, C.G. 73. Mary I to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: I have been put in mind of your singular solicitude for my affairs by your two letters: the first of June 23rd, before the death of my Lord and brother, the late King, on whom may God have mercy! and the second of July 22nd last, as well as by the declarations made by the Emperor's ambassadors, and the care you took to assist my accession to the Crown, which was menaced, as you have heard. I have also learned the pleasure you felt on hearing that my right was upheld, which increases the duty I owe you for the kindness you have ever shown me and the affection you have held for me in the past, and will continue to hold, I trust, in the future. I will requite you with all the service you might expect from your dearest sister, and I beg you to excuse me if I have not sent you my news before this, which I have been prevented from doing by the press of business, as you shall hear from my Lord Owards, (fn. 21) whom I am sending to his Majesty (the Emperor) in two or three days, and who will visit you on my behalf.
Holograph. French. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.


  • 1. Marquis of Winchester.
  • 2. Earl of Bedford.
  • 3. Richard, Lord Rich.
  • 4. See Acta of the Privy Council, 1552–1554, p. 310. Sir Andrew had given his jewels into the keeping of Mr. Sturton, Keeper of the Queen's Palace at Westminster.
  • 5. Sir John Gates was beheaded, but Sir Henry obtained a reprieve.
  • 6. Edmund Dudley was executed in 1510 on a trumped-up charge of treason, the real reason being that his malpractices as a fiscal commissioner had made him so unpopular that Henry VIII decided to sacrifice him.
  • 7. The last Monday but one preceding the execution of the Duke of Northumberland was August 14th. See on p. 157 the “proclamation concerning religion,” dated “August 12th,” retranslated from a copy in Italian found at Simancas, which was probably itself a translation from the translation into French which the ambassadors qualify as rather obscure and ill-done.
  • 8. Dr. Watson.
  • 9. Anne of Cleves.
  • 10. i.e. August 24th.
  • 11. He was sent to England in July, 1551, with the Maréchal de St. André, to present the French order to Edward VI, while Northampton's mission was in France. See Vol. X, pp. 326, 399.
  • 12. See p. 43.
  • 13. A Sieur de Dampierre was panetier to the King of France in 1551.
  • 14. Sir Anthony St. Leger (Sentleger, Sellynger), soon afterwards sent to his old post of Lord Deputy of Ireland. The writer of this despatch spells the name Chalinger, which would seem to indicate that he confused St. Leger with Sir Thomas Chaloner, who had already been on a mission in France with Wotton in April, 1553. St. Leger's mission is not mentioned in the Privy Council Book, but there are full details of it in the Mémoires de MM. de Noailles (Vol. II, p. 103).
  • 15. Jacques de Marnix, Sieur de Thoulouse, one of the Imperial ambassadors in London.
  • 16. This is certainly John Shores, a warrant to pay over a sum of money to whom for his travelling expenses was made out by the Council's orders on November 17, 1553. See Acta of the Privy Council, 1552–1554, p. 368.
  • 17. Philippe de Croÿ, Duke of Arscot.
  • 18. Christian II, husband of the Emperor's sister, Isabella. He was deposed in 1523 by his cousin, Christian III.
  • 19. i.e. Pole, though a Cardinal, had not yet been ordained a priest.
  • 20. Emmanuel Philibert had become Duke of Savoy by his father's death on August 18th; He was proclaimed by a few adherents in the cathedral of Vercelli on the same day, and the news reached him in the camp before Hesdin. See Romier, Origines Politiques des Guerres de Religion, I, 477, 479.
  • 21. This would appear to be Thomas, Lord Howard, eldest son of the late Earl of Surrey. He became Earl of Surrey on the restitution as Duke of Norfolk of his grandfather, and in 1554 succeeded him as fourth Duke. I have found no mention of his being sent to the Emperor at this time.