Spain: September 1553, 6-10

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

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'Spain: September 1553, 6-10', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916), pp. 211-229. British History Online [accessed 13 June 2024].

. "Spain: September 1553, 6-10", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916) 211-229. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024,

. "Spain: September 1553, 6-10", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916). 211-229. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024,

September 1553, 6–10

Sept. 6. Simancas, E. 807. Simon Renard to Juan Vazquez de Molina.
My Lord: You will hear from my letters addressed to his Highness (Prince Philip) and from Don Diego de Acevedo's account of his journey, the recent occurrences in the kingdom of England, Queen Mary's success, the establishment of her reign; you will learn that religion is being restored, abuses reformed, the Lutherans withdrawing from the country, mass and the offices of the Church are being said in the churches, and the Queen's affairs are prospering. You will also receive details concerning events at the Emperor's Court and the troubles in Germany, the condition of public affairs, the state of our camp, the withdrawal of the French army after the loss of Thérouanne and Hesdin, and their position at present, near to our camp; the Emperor's journey from Brussels to Valenciennes, where his presence will serve to encourage the army; and several other things I have mentioned to him. I will therefore forbear from entering into further details, and will merely add that the Council are using persuasion to induce the Queen of England to marry; we are entering upon a negotiation with the same object, which would prove a very profitable and commendable one, if his Highness did not definitely bind himself to the Portuguese match, and if the English could be induced to accept a foreign alliance; which will be a difficulty, the nation - (paper torn) - than one thinks. In the meantime both marriages might be dexterously promoted; and without breaking off the Portuguese match, the intentions of the Queen and of the English might be probed in case his Highness resolved to entertain the idea and enter into negotiations. I am not writing this to influence you in favour of the match I personally would prefer to see effected, but only because a marriage (i.e. between Philip and Mary) would be the greatest boon to Christendom it would be possible to wish for. Therefore I am sending you this line, moved by my desire to leave nothing undone that might be of use in his Highness's service, or oblige you, to whom I owe so many benefits myself, and am embounden for your care for my relatives. Though it was long in coming, circumstances made that inevitable, and I was not impatient.
London, 6 September, 1553.
Holograph. French.
Sept. 8. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to his Ambassadors in England.
We wrote to you, Ambassador Scheyfve, last June, to speak to the late King and the members of his Council to obtain leave for Captain Cabot (an ex-pilot of our Spanish kingdoms) to come to our Court, following upon a request proffered by the said Cabot. The changes that have taken place in the kingdom have allowed of no opportunity to do so hitherto, and rendered the step an unsuitable one. We hear that Cabot is still of the same mind, and being ourselves desirous to communicate with him concerning navigation in the Indies, and upon matters greatly affecting the security of those countries and our Spanish dominions, in which he is very proficient and experienced, we are writing to the Queen of England, our good sister and cousin, the letters which accompany this. You will present them to her on the first opportunity, and will request her lovingly on our behalf to grant leave and consent that the said Cabot may come hither to us. You will assure her that we shall receive great pleasure therefrom, the matter being one of great importance to our service. If the Queen grants him leave, as we suppose she will, you will speak accordingly to Cabot, so that he may start as soon as it shall be possible for him to do so.
Mons-en-Hainault, 8 September, 1553.
French. Minute.
Sept. 8. Besançon, C.G. 73. Simon Renard to the Bishop of Arras.
My Lord: At my last audience, at Richmond, I turned the conversation on to Courtenay and the common rumour about his marriage with the Queen, in order to find out whether she wanted him or any other Englishman. She (i.e. Mary) told me she had never spoken with Courtenay except on the day she pardoned him, and said she knew no one in England with whom she would wish to ally herself, asking whether the Emperor had yet selected a suitable person. I replied that his Majesty had written nothing to me, and that I foresaw it was a point on which he could not lightly make up his mind, as it would be difficult to find a person of the middle age such as she desired, neither too old nor too young and of fitting position. I would assure her that his Majesty would act in this matter like a true father, and that it would be much easier for him to advise her if she could inform him of her inclinations, which he would approve or set aside according to his view of their desirability. For my own part, privately, I had thought of several Catholic princes, of his Majesty's House, of France, Italy and other countries, such as the Archduke of Austria, the Prince of Piedmont, the heirs of Florence and Ferrara, the Dauphin, who is the only one of royal blood (fn. 1) to-day, and others who might possibly be candidates. But if she considered 27 or 28 too young, I knew of no one middle-aged enough, for of the older princes there was not one who was not either too old or unwell. At that she said straight out that his Highness was married to the Princess of Portugal, daughter of the Queen Dowager of France, to which I made answer that I did not think the marriage was concluded. I had heard it spoken of before the war, but since then his Majesty had been obliged to think more of arms than of marriages, and his Highness had been absorbed by the same preoccupations.
The Queen then told me that she was very sorry to hear that his Highness had married his near relative, the Princess of Portugal. The others I had mentioned were very young, and she was old enough to be their mother. Besides, his Highness would wish to live in Spain and administer his other countries and provinces; and his Majesty must know how much the English had always objected to marrying their princesses to foreigners who had the government of other realms in their hands. During her father, King Henry's, lifetime various matches had been suggested in France and in Spain, and had fallen through for that reason. As for France, the constant hatred of the two nations was the great obstacle, for otherwise the Duke of Orleans (fn. 2) had been mentioned, and he had no state. His Majesty, she hoped, would have a thought for the government of the realm, remember all the past troubles of which he was well informed, and not advise her to accept anyone whom she had not seen and heard speak. I answered that I was quite sure that as two parties were necessary to make a match, his Majesty would wish her to decide for herself who would be most agreeable to her, and that I knew his Majesty to bear her so much affection that he would wish the person to be adorned with all the virtues, and of the age and character she desired; for his main consideration was her own happiness, together with the public interests of her kingdom and posterity, if God were pleased to give her children. As for his Highness and other princes I had mentioned, their names had occurred to me because they were those who seemed to me to be worthy of such an alliance. I had been unable to omit his Highness because of the great sense, judgment, experience and moderation that shone forth in him, and because he was already an old married man with a son, the Infante of Spain, called Charles, six or seven years of age. She then, without waiting for the rest of my remarks, declared that she had never felt that which was called love, nor harboured thoughts of voluptuousness, and had never considered marriage until God bad been pleased to raise her to the throne, wherefore her own marriage would be against her inclinations. She trusted his Majesty would think over what she had said to me, and she desired to obey him as if he were her own father. She would never dare raise the subject with her Council, so his Majesty would have to take the initiative were it to come to the point. It was true that the ladies who surrounded her talked of nothing else but marriage; but her Council had never mentioned it, either in general terms or otherwise.
So this is what happened with regard to the marriage, and I could not let the opportunity slip for hinting at it as above, but I will say no more, as his Majesty and you may consider the meaning of her words. I will only beg you to reflect how it will be possible to carry on this negotiation if his Majesty decides for it, as it would be very difficult for me to secure private audience without exciting my colleagues' suspicion. I have already noticed that Ambassador Scheyfve has shown jealousy of me on three occasions when I have acted as spokesman at audiences, and because I wielded the pen and spoke to the Queen apart. He has also spoken of it in my colleagues' presence, and they have excused me by saying they had commanded me to act as above. He is certainly making a mistake if he imagines I wish to encroach on his position, for as you know I fear nothing so much.
In the Emperor's letters I have mentioned the marriage question as casually as possible for the reasons you give in yours, and I will continue to do the same in the future.
Minute in Reward's hand. French. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.
Sept. 9. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. The Ambassadors in England to the Emperor.
Sire: The charge it has pleased your Majesty to entrust to us, both by our instructions and by letters since our arrival in this country, deals with four points: the establishment of Queen Mary upon the throne, the matter of religion, the Queen's marriage, and the upkeep of the friendship and neighbourly intercourse between the two countries and their inhabitants. We have written to your Majesty, on several occasions, an account of events and of our negotiations, and informed you in detail of whatever came to our knowledge; yet, as fresh occurrences come up daily with regard to the said points, we will recapitulate them once more, so that we may better marshal those facts we have learned since our last letters to your Majesty.
As to the establishment of the Queen upon her throne, the preparations for her coronation are going forward apace for the first of October. The Queen is to come within four days to a house of hers not far from Westminster, named St. James's, built by the late King Henry VIII as a residence for the royal children. The Councilors wished her to repair thither for their own greater convenience; and she will be better able to give the necessary orders for the coronation. Meanwhile dispositions are being taken for the better policing of the kingdom and two ordinances have been published during the last few days, one fixing the value of the gold and silver coins that are being newly minted, (fn. 3) and publishing their better quality by comparison with the money formerly current in the kingdom; which is a great boon for the subjects of the Queen and for the neighbouring countries. The coinage here was so much adulterated and of such bad alloy, and the exchange on foreign coins was so low and so unequal, that it was impossible to trade or carry on commercial transactions at all without heavy loss. The reform was greatly desired by the people, who are already beginning to perceive the utility of the said ordinance, the prices of victuals and marketable commodities generally having diminished already by more than one-third, as we have been assured.
The second ordinance concerns the debts of the Crown. The Queen has expressly declared that she desires and intends to pay all the late King, her father's, debts as well as those of her brother, the late King Edward. No one hoped so much; and many thought that in punishment of the attempt to cut her off by force of arms from the succession, and to be revenged of those who undertook to deprive her of her good right she might well have refused to pay the said debts. The publication came very opportunely, and will turn many an old servitor, minister, officer, besides merchants, bankers, captains, pensioners, soldiers, and others, who had no expectations of the kind and hoped nothing from the Queen, from their tendencies to evil. Another point in the same ordinance has greatly strengthened and increased popular goodwill, of which demonstrations took place: whereas during the last Parliament a certain subsidy was granted, the third part of which was yet to be paid, the Queen has remitted the payment to the people, giving them their entire discharge. The people present at the publication of the said commandment all cried: “Long live the Queen! Long may she prosper!”
The people, who receive the benefit of the Queen's singular care for the public weal and the good of individual persons, of her love for her subjects, and of her conscienciousness and great goodness, as her ordinances prove, are full of hope that her reign will be a godly, righteous and just one, and help to establish her firmly on her throne. The kingdom of England has ever been subject to mutations, and the noblemen are all ambitious, revengeful, seekers after novelties, inconstant, given to conspiracies, only held in check by fear of the sword, wherefore it is important for the Queen that those who might and could hurt her shall be diminished and weakened, and that she acquire and keep the favour of the people, who greatly helped her to ascend her throne.
Many, who judge her actions impartially, praise her clemency and moderation in tempering the rigour of justice against those who plotted her death and disinheritance, in staying their punishment, and, moreover, in forgiving their misdeeds and extending her grace and mercy to them. It is generally known that the execution of the capital sentences rendered during the last few days has been stayed so that clemency might be shown to the guilty, including the Marquis of Northampton and the five sons of the Duke of Northumberland, to whom the Queen has granted their lives, as we have been informed, as well as to my Lord Ferrers (fn. 4) and several more prisoners. Some indeed opine that she is placing herself in danger by so doing, and is nourishing the very men who might afterwards oppose her and do her harm; still her merciful conduct has produced a great impression of goodness and compassion. We have inquired whether the pardon for the Duke of Northumberland's sons was to be a full and entire one; and we have heard that the sentence was commuted to perpetual imprisonment. We do not hear any more talk about the execution of the sentences, or of proceeding with the trials of the other persons taken in custody; except in the case of the second bishop who was raised to the see of London, (fn. 5) who is to be punished for the scandalous sermon he preached when Jane of Suffolk was proclaimed Queen.
There is a certain amount of trouble and discontent in Ireland, but we have not yet heard the cause of it, except what we wrote to your Majesty, which applied only to the soldiers kept there who were clamouring to be paid; but there seems to be some other ground for discontent, which we will carefully inquire into, so that your Majesty may be informed. The Queen's establishment upon her throne is making progress and manifesting itself in the exercise of ordinary justice, which we will make no special mention of, as it is regulated by the municipal (municipales) laws of the country. It is generally thought that the Queen has admitted many more people to her Council than are necessary for the good and faithful dispatch of her affairs; some of her very Councillors have complained of it, from whom we heard of it. We enclose the list (fn. 6) of the Councillors' names, so that your Majesty may learn how numerous they are. It appears, however, that for most of them the post is merely an honorary one, and affairs are mostly despatched by the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Arundel, Paget, and Secretary Petre.
The Queen is following the advice of her Council in setting at liberty all those who assisted the Duke of Northumberland; she will thus free the crowd from the fear of punishment and improve her finances by commuting the sentences into fines and pecuniary punishment.
As to religion, whereas we thought she should not go beyond the reinstitution of the mass, holy communion, and matters relating thereto, reverting to the condition in which they were at the time of the late King Henry's death, we learn by information sent us by the Queen that she is going as far as the Pope's authority, in order that England and Ireland shall be restored to the obedience of the Church as they were before the changes we know of took place. As to the first point, though we have written to your Majesty that mass and the offices were beginning to be said in several churches and the universities, yet in most of the churches the services are sung and consecration is made after the fashion of the new religion. There are plottings, discontent and secret communings between the hardened followers of that sect; and we have been told that the Lady Elizabeth, hearing that certain French preachers who had instructed her in the doctrine of the new religion and in the usage of the French tongue, desired to leave the kingdom, sent them orders to remain, and told them neither to leave nor abscond themselves, but to show themselves in the streets. There has been a certain preacher who proposed in his sermon that it no longer behoved one to say vox populi, vox Dei, but vox populi, vox Diaboli; and this beginning shows doubtful and ominous signs for the Queen.
The Lord Chancellor, who entertained us recently at his house, told us that persuasion has been used to try and correct the Lady Elizabeth and induce her to forsake error. She has held out good hopes of amendment, and will bear witness to her change of heart this Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin. (fn. 7) Events will prove whether she is doing so out of deceit, and the better to play the game of which she is suspected; and we will inform your Majesty of what may happen.
The Chancellor also told us that he had hit upon a good device for getting the Lutherans out of the country, without publishing any order or edict. When he hears of any preacher or leader of the sect, he summons him to appear at his house, and the preacher, fearing he may be put in the Tower, does not appear, but on the contrary absents himself; and the Bishop said he would employ this artifice in the case of him who used to be confessor (fn. 8) to the Queen of Hungary. He would send for him as he had done for the others; and if he came, he would tell him that your Majesty and the King of France were about to ask for the extradition of several of their refugee subjects; that if he were asked for, there would be no way out except to deliver him up, according to the terms of the treaties of peace; and so he may, out of fear, leave the country and induce others to go.
As to the second point, the authority and obedience of the Church, the Queen has sent us word that for the last month she has been addressing secret instances to the Pope that he may remit the ecclesiastical censures, excommunications and declarations made against the kingdom and its inhabitants, the better to draw them to the acknowledgement of the true religion, and the more fully to reinstate its observance, as well as for the peace and quiet of conscience of those who were not to blame and have never willingly consented to the changes. When the Pope in consistory heard her request, and the elevation of the Queen to her throne, he received great joy therefrom; and he decided to send Cardinal Pole as his Legate, and that the Bishop of Worcester, (fn. 9) who is in Rome, enjoying the title of which the Holy See has ever reserved to itself the gift, should cross to England to hear what the Queen had to say. The Legate would be furnished with ample powers.
Legate Dandino sent a gentleman to the Queen a month ago to find out whether the Legate should come at once, or whether he should delay his journey a little; if he would be quite safe; if he could hope for good results; and especially if the time and season and condition of affairs permitted his coming, requesting her to decide, as there was a gentleman sent by Cardinal Pole at Louvain who was waiting for her answer; and she gave him a writing of which we are sending a copy with this letter. (fn. 10) She sent us a message at the same time that she desired to have our opinion on it, as the question was a far more arduous one than the restoration of the mass. We have discussed at length and debated the difficulties of bringing forward at this particular juncture the proposal that the Legate and Bishop should come to England, before there is any certainty as to the line that the Parliament, now summoned and about to meet, will follow. Moreover, it will be difficult and indeed almost impossible to make those who are in possession of Church property yield it up: there will be a general feeling of apprehension that the Orders are to be reinstated; and an infinite number of minor considerations must be taken into account, so that it seems to us that, in spite of the great advantage and benefit to Christendom in general to be derived from the re-establishment of the Papal authority and the close union of the Church with the congregation of the faithful, it will be best and safest if the Queen defers the Legate's coming; and this opinion seems to us to be the one most consonant with the truth. The Queen must make the Pope understand in secret that his commission cannot be executed at such a time, in this the beginning of her reign. His Holiness must consider the dangers and chances that attended her succession, the difficulties that she has met in restoring the mass, which is not yet an accomplished fact. He must reflect that the question of the Papal authority is odious, not in this kingdom only, but in several parts of Europe; and, particularly, he must consider that time is essential, and the matter cannot be settled by a general or provincial council. She will do her best by all the means at her disposal to incline her people to the obedience and goodwill which she personally feels towards the Holy Apostolic See; and she trusts his Holiness will accept her excuses in good part. Parliament is to assemble in a month's time; the question of religion will be brought up before it, and it will be ascertained what changes can be effected, so that both designs may be brought nearer to their fulfilment. She has no other care so much at heart, as that religion may return to its pristine condition. If your Majesty thought it best that another course should be followed, we would inform the Queen if you would send us your orders. The negotiation has leaked out and is publicly known in several places; the Queen herself sent us word that her own ambassador in Venice (fn. 11) wrote to her Council to warn the Queen not to be too fervent a Papist, meaning that she should not determine too soon upon the return to her allegiance to the Pope. We considered she ought to keep these matters secret and make no mention of them to anyone except her Chancellor, and get his advice, so that malicious people may not seize the occasion for worse plottings and machinations.
As to the Queen's marriage, there is a great deal of talk (fn. 12) about it over here. As we wrote to your Majesty, the news were given out that Don Diego de Mendoza and (Don Diego) de Acevedo had been summoned hither to enter into a conversation on his Highness's (Prince Philip's) behalf. The Queen sent a letter to us, which she declared to have been written at her request by the said Mendoza. She told Ambassador Scheyfve's secretary, on the subject of one of the articles contained therein, that his Highness was very young indeed. The writing in question was (in the form of) advices given to the Queen, and we enclose a copy. (fn. 13) The secretary mentioned the difficulty in the way of her seeing the personage who might be proposed as a suitable match for her before definitely deciding; and the Queen replied she had considered that point too. Paget persists in asking questions about the age of Don Luis of Portugal and the Prince of Piedmont, now (fn. 14) Duke of Savoy. People here generally believe that the Queen will marry Courtenay. The opinion seems to be founded upon and confirmed by the fact that the Queen recently created him Earl of Devonshire, and it is said that he will soon be made Marquis of Exeter, and then Duke of York. If, however, she still adheres to her point about the difference in years, Courtenay's age is as remote from hers as that of any man who might be proposed for the alliance. The Queen continues to affirm that she will not marry without the consent and advice of your Majesty, and she greatly desires to learn your Majesty's resolve.
As to the last point, besides the goodwill of the Queen towards your Majesty, and her great desire that peace may be preserved, we are sparing no pains to confirm and strengthen the mutual confidence and affection; nor do we see any likelihood that for the present at any rate the French will succeed by their intrigues in alienating the English from their friendship for your Majesty or inciting them to pick a quarrel; we hear that they tend rather to trouble the affairs of the Queen than to any other object.
During the last few days the French have spread the report that your Majesty's army had withdrawn into Artois and had neither the will nor the courage, nor sufficient strength to accept a battle. The Lord Chancellor, in particular, told us he had seen certain letters written by the Constable of France to the King, wherein he stated that as soon as the French camp crossed the river Somme, your Majesty's camp withdrew hurriedly, and he had sent the news so that they might be known over here to be true. Although the fact did not imply any inconvenience or harm to your Majesty's forces, yet the French have represented it as disadvantageous for your Majesty. Several people have questioned us about it, and asked if we knew where the camp was now, and why it had withdrawn. We knew not what answer to make, as we had no news; and this made it less easy for us to dispel the rumours circulated by the French, as it was an undoubted fact that your Majesty's camp at Miraumont had been broken. It was easy enough for them to follow their usual course of altering the appearance of events, and say that your Majesty's army was broken up and the soldiers dispersed among the frontier towns, as some have asserted; and there has been no lack of gossip and untruths.
A vessel freighted with pikes, which the late Duke of Northumberland had bought in Northern Germany (Oostland) has arrived here.
Your Majesty's subjects have seized two French vessels returning from the fisheries.
The Queen entertains a scruple that the holy chrisms prepared in England may not be such as they ought because of the ecclesiastical censures upon the country; and desiring that her coronation may be in every way regular, she has sent us a request to write to the Bishop of Arras to send her some of the holy oil from over there for her anointing, as secretly and expeditiously as possible, so that it may reach her in time for the said forthcoming ceremony.
When the present letters were finished, we were informed that my Lady Elizabeth cast off, on Thursday last, the errors and convictions in which she had been brought up. The event did not take place without a certain amount of stir, as we have been credibly assured. Perceiving that the Queen did not show her as kindly a countenance as she could wish, and judging and supposing that the reason of it was her obstinacy in error, she besought the Queen to grant her a private audience in a place apart. The Queen did not do so at once; but two days later she acceded to her request, and met her in a certain gallery where there was a door or half-door between the Queen and the Lady Elizabeth, who each went accompanied, the Queen by one of her ladies, the Lady Elizabeth by one of her maids. At the time appointed for the audience the Lady Elizabeth approached the Queen and knelt down on both knees; weeping, she said she saw only too clearly that the Queen was not well-disposed towards her, and she knew of no other cause except religion; she might be excused in this because she had been brought up in the way she held, and had never been taught the doctrine of the ancient religion. She besought the Queen to send her books contrary to those she had always read and known hitherto, so that having read them she might know if her conscience would allow her to be persuaded; or that a learned man might be sent to her, to instruct her in the truth. The Queen, who was exceedingly glad to see her turn to such good resolves, granted her request; in consequence of which she was converted and abjured her errors, and went to hear mass on the day of the Nativity of Our Lady. She tried to excuse herself, saying she was ill, and complained loudly all the way to church that her stomach ached, wearing a suffering air. We have heard that several of the Councillors have had a hand in it, and it is believed that she was told that unless she took up the old religion the Queen would not let her remain at Court. However that may be, this conversion will serve as an example, and will promote religion still further.
We have been warned that sundry foreign Lutherans who formerly inhabited this kingdom are withdrawing to your Majesty's Low Countries, being under accusation of causing scandal, and preaching false and forbidden doctrines. We cannot forbear from sending this information to your Majesty, so that you may take whatever steps seem best to you to protect your subjects.
We were informed yesterday that the Spanish fleet was sighted off the English coast.
A certain personage arriving from France declared that on his departure from Le Havre he heard that the vessels equipped and manned by the King of France on the coast of Normandy were intended for certain undertakings towards Zeeland. We refer this information, though it seems to us ill-founded for several reasons, so that your Majesty may add what credence it seems to you to deserve, and provide as you think best.
It was discovered in Scotland that the Bastard of Scotland (i.e. James Stewart) was carrying on secret practices, and had collected a certain number of followers, to make himself King of Scotland; but we do not hear that the plot is like to have any result, as it has been discovered.
London, 9 September, 1553.
French. Partly cipher. Signed. The passages in plain writing are in Renard's hand.
Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Sept. 9. Simancas, E. 98. Francisco Duarte to Prince Philip.
Your Highness has received particular and detailed accounts of all the occurrences within his Majesty's Court and Household, of matters ordinary and extraordinary, and of the private affairs and illness of his Majesty, and his condition, and the dangers that have threatened him, through letters from various persons devoted to your service, and especially from letters of the Queen (Dowager), who is the one to suffer most from the trend of general and private affairs, and is most anxious about the health of his Majesty and the preservation of these States. Your Highness will have seen the letter that Nicolas Nicolai, member of your Council and Receiver-General for the State of Brabant, and I wrote together to Gonzalo Pérez. There remains for me to inform you of what he communicated to me by word of mouth, as a faithful servant of your Highness, though he dared not set forth so much in writing.
In the first place, the doctors opine that his Majesty can live but a very short time longer, because of the variety of illnesses that travail and afflict him, especially as the winter is coming on attended by the great cold which cannot be escaped in Brussels or in any other part of the Flemish States, whither his Majesty has come to spend the winter season. He deceives himself, and believes himself to be improving and enjoying better health at the very time when he is worse. The gout troubles him, and circulates in every member, nerve and joint of his body, even to the back of his neck, which is the latest (or last) symptom. He is so much afflicted by catarrh that it brings him occasionally to his very lowest, and he cannot speak at all, or if he speaks he cannot be heard by the people in the room. He suffers from hemorrhoids that swell and torment him so much that he cannot turn without great pain and tears; these afflictions, together with the troubles of the spirit, great beyond the common, have altered his character; and his kindness of manner and usual affability have disappeared to make way for deep melancholy. They say he spends long hours sunken in thought, and then weeps like a child; and his condition is such that no one in his household, his Court, or among his personal attendants dares offer him consolation, or has enough authority to dispel his dark imaginings, so injurious to his health. Not even the Queen Dowager, for whom he has so much regard, nor the Queen of France (Eleanor) nor any man dare say anything to him. Moreover, his Majesty abhors to transact public or private business concerning any one of his kingdoms; neither the Bishop of Arras nor either of the two secretaries dare to speak to him or remind him of anything except that which his Majesty orders them to command or enquire at his own will. Eraso alone speaks and reminds him of matters referring to the army or the war, and especially to the provision of money when any is needed, which is usually the case.
The English ambassadors (fn. 15) who came to negotiate the peace and other matters, were kept so long without receiving audience or being given an opportunity of seeing his Majesty to kiss his hands, that they wanted to go back to their King without seeing or speaking to his Majesty, especially when they heard that he (the King) had been poisoned in London. At last the Emperor yielded to the pressing requests that were made to him and gave them an audience that lasted about as long as it takes one to recite the credo, and dismissed them with a promise that their instructions should soon be discussed. About the same time the Cardinal (fn. 16) sent to his Majesty by the Pope to treat of the peace, arrived in Brussels, and had to wait 30 or 40 days before he could see or speak with his Majesty. They say that he was of the same opinion as the English ambassadors; and in his case too, after being pressed thereto, his Majesty consented that he should be allowed to kiss hands, and without being made to seat himself, or discussing affairs in any way, he was dismissed; his Majesty merely inquired after the Pope's health and if his gout was troubling him, and other kindred subjects. His Majesty's depression and his seclusion from the world became such that finally only a few Gentlemen of the Bedchamber saw him and served his food; and the Gentlemen and officers of the Table and the Household were as it were banished from him and could neither see him nor speak to him. Matters came to such a point that the report began to circulate among the Flemings, the other subjects of those States and the foreigners, that his Majesty had died and the event was being concealed. This gave occasion to many bold and shameless persons to murmur and gather together to foster evil plans and show their own desires by saying that his Majesty was no longer fit to govern and that he had come to his last day. Many expressed the opinion that they would rejoice at a change of sovereign; others said, showing thereby their partiality and venality, that they wished to go over to the King of France, and return to their ancient friendship and alliances; others upheld the opinion that the King of Bohemia should be chosen as their new ruler, as he had as good a right to the sovereignty as your Highness. According to what he (Nicolai) tells me there was no lack of encouragement and promises at the time of the last Diet held by the Kings of the Romans and of Bohemia, Duke Maurice, the Bavarian and other chief princes. Your Highness must be informed that they declared plainly, and bound themselves together to prevent any foreign prince from ever coming to the Empire; and they promised their help to King Maximilian (of Bohemia) to gain the lordship of Flanders and Lower Germany. He (Nicolai) says that they claim the division made by his Majesty, who kept for himself the countries referred to and Burgundy, and gave his brother the archduchy of Austria and county of Tyrol, to have been an unjust one; for on the one hand, the countries taken by his Majesty were rich, powerful and peaceful, while he gave his brother the States that were mortgaged and full of debts, with the Turk at the door, whom they have been obliged to fight unceasingly and bear the excessive burdens entailed by war. They forget all that his Majesty has done to assist and uphold them many a time in the past, sending powerful armies and great sums of money and even going in person, as we all have seen. It is thought that they have offered Gelders, or the greater part of it, to the Duke of Cleves, who is the King of the Romans' son-in-law; and other offers have been made to the King of France and to other princes from whom they hope to receive help and favour when the death of his Majesty gives them their opportunity. All these plots and plans were whispered in corners, without fear or shame; it was repeated to the various peoples and the governors of the States that your Highness was a prince who claimed worship from your subjects; and your vassals in these parts would never get to know you or treat with you directly, but would have to approach you through a third person, because you were of sinister and taciturn disposition, and knew neither Latin, French nor Flemish, the native languages of these States; at least they hold French to be so, and put it foremost because it is the common tongue of all the States. They compared to yours, and praised to the skies the cheerful and jovial disposition of the King of Bohemia, his affable demeanour, his conduct of both public and private affairs; they praised him for his perfect knowledge of six or seven languages, which enables him to hear and despatch all business personally and negotiate promptly; his liberality was favourably commented, and the hopes he gave of greater things if he had better opportunities.
His ill-feeling towards your Highness's affairs and his jealousy of your greatness are known and publicly commented upon in the Household and at Court; because you were rival candidates to the Empire and because you did not wish to marry his sister, but principally because he is determined to do his best to secure the sovereign power in Flanders. The servants brought from Spain by the Queen of Bohemia, both male and female, have had a good share of his ill-feelings, as every one has been able to gauge, whenever an opportunity for exhibiting them has arisen, and because of the treatment they have received. However, in this matter the King of the Romans has done his best to improve and correct his son's ways, as he disapproved of them.
The greater part of these things were secretly devised and fostered, and the reason and object of the summoning together of Duke Maurice's army at the time he was killed, have proved them to be true; and one may conjecture and add faith to the rest.
The coming to Flanders this spring of Count Hoorn, (fn. 17) captain of your Highness's archers, proved to be of great advantage, because he is a man with many kindred and friends who hold him in great esteem, and he has spoken in high praise and with great reverence of your Highness, not in his Majesty's Court merely, but in many castles and country seats in the States of Flanders, and especially in Brussels, Ghent, and other towns. His words were the very opposite of what was being commonly said, and he made clear to all that they were very much mistaken in doubting the happy disposition, kindness and affability of your Highness. He has preached a new doctrine and converted most people to his way of thinking; and, indeed, by the time I left Flanders matters were much improved and there was not so much talk, both for the reason I have just stated, and because his Majesty was convalescent. Everybody was rejoicing over the news of the taking of Thérouanne and Hesdin, and the knowledge that the Turks and French could do much less harm in Italy than they had boasted of. The summer weather and the better outlook of affairs contributed to his Majesty's recovery; the improvement will continue until winter comes once more, and then he is expected to fall back into the usual condition.
His Majesty does not wish to have at his Court any man, be he prelate or layman, whom he need mind; he does not wish to be troubled with affairs, or to have to sign the documents relating to the few affairs that are negotiated. His single care and occupation, day and night, is to set his clocks and keep them going together; he has many, and they are his chief thought, with another new sort of clock he has invented and ordered to to be set up in the frame of a window. As he cannot sleep by night, he often summons his servants, assistants and others, and orders them to light torches and help him to take some of his clocks to pieces and set them together again. He has been occupied for many days in reading the Psalms of David and having them recited to him, with their commentaries. He has had a new edition printed; and the care of it is in the hands of Estrella, one of your Highness's servants, who is to overlook the impression. I think he has sent or will send to Gonzalo Pérez a more detailed account of it, and of how he directed the printing of the book called El Cabalhro Determinado on his Majesty's behalf, and the other trifles we all know of. I will not dwell upon these unimportant matters.
Nicolas Nicolai, Receiver-General of the States of Brabant, told me all I have written above to your Highness, both in general and in particular. He is certainly an intelligent man, zealous in your Highness's service and in the maintenance of your States. He will write anything else he may hear or come to know to Gonzalo Pérez, so that your Highness may be informed, using the cipher he sent through me, which is a very good one. He assured me he knew much more than he said, and many more instances of weakness, too, that were not to be written down; he is firmly convinced that your Highness's presence is greatly needed there, and the sooner you go the better; whereas delay may entail great trouble which, if his Majesty were to fail, might become irremediable. Above everything, he considers it necessary that Spaniards be sent to guard the frontiers and make sure of the army; they should be sent before winter comes on, well accoutred and paid, otherwise it is better that they go not at all, as they would die or fall ill at once owing to the cold and the changes of weather and diet.
Having left Antwerp and arrived at Middelburg, where I attended to the equipping of the Biscayan fleet and Flemish vessels with which I journeyed by the order of his Majesty and command of the Queen (Dowager), I had to join M. de Vetoes y La Ver, (fn. 18) who is Admiral of the Sea in those States, Governor of Holland, and Knight of the Golden Fleece; and Cornille Scepperus, Lord of Eecke, who is one of his Majesty's Councillors for the arming and despatch of the fleets from those countries to these and other like matters. Both these men are such as they should be in their hearts and in their deeds for the furthering of your Highness's affairs, and the maintenance and increase of your possessions. Neither of them knew that I was well informed of the matters I have set forth above through the account given me by Nicolas Nicolai; and yet both asked me to give them my word that I would tell your Highness, on my arrival in Spain, the same that I also had heard and have here already written; and both desired me to beseech your Highness to realise the great need there was of your presence in those States, so that they might be preserved to you. Six days before we set out to sea we received the true news of the death of the King of England and of the progress of affairs in favour of the sucession to the throne of Queen Mary, sister to the late King, and your Highness's aunt; and long letters were written to me giving me accounts of events, by these and other gentlemen, saying that, having heard that Don Diego de Acevedo, majordomo to your Highness, had arrived with the news that a marriage between your Highness and the Infanta of Portugal, your cousin, was in course of being negotiated, all who were best qualified to judge in the matter were unanimous in their opinion, and wish that your Highness would not at any event marry the Infanta until it was ascertained if there were any chance of an alliance with the Queen of England. Thanks be to God! when I reached Southampton and the Isle of Wight, she was raised and crowned Queen without opposition; she is a Catholic Christian, even as the majority of the people in the kingdom are, except a few gentlemen and principal peers of the realm who have interest at stake in the Church property they have appropriated and usurped. The kingdom of England is so near and conveniently situated with respect to the States of your Highness, and so powerful, that if you were sovereign of both countries you might easily defend them both in spite of the King of France and the other rivals that might make themselves known as time went on, whom you could keep in fear and trembling. If your Highness were to go to England and reside there a year, to establish the affairs of the kingdom, you would always be able to cross the arm of the sea from London or Dover to your territories in Flanders, encourage with your presence your vassals and people, and dispense favours to your faithful gentlemen, of whom there is a plenty; you might entrust your forces, your frontiers, and the government of the country to their keeping, and train them in your Household to your service and devotion. You would of course see to it that your frontiers were well fortified and provided with sufficient garrisons, well-stocked with artillery, ammunition and victuals, not counting the cost where such things were concerned, though ever observing just measure. Thus all say and affirm that the troubles, anxieties and excessive expenditure his Majesty had to meet last year were the consequence of his not having been willing to support the small cost of the Spanish light horse he had in the three fortresses of the Duke of Württemberg. The general opinion is that the Queen of England will be very glad of this marriage, and will obey his Majesty in everything, and place all her affairs in his hands, so as not to be compelled to marry one of her own vassals, as she might have to, if his Majesty were to forsake her and her people could force her to it, The true and general opinion is that the Queen of France (fn. 19) will feel it very much. But your Highness's duty is to consider and procure the maintenance and increase of your kingdoms rather than the satisfaction of others. The gentlemen I have mentioned beseech your Highness with tears and feelings of great devotion to consider all this, and above all that your Highness's going to the Low Countries may not be delayed, if you desire to keep them and that they may prosper. If his Majesty were to die while your Highness was absent in Spain they fear and believe for certain that there could not fail to be trouble and risings. Your Highness will do that which is most suitable to your service.
I had determined not to write all this to your Highness, because when I reached Cascaes, near Lisbon, on my recent journey to Spain with the fleet, I was assured by many that the Infanta was at a pleasure house one league away, with the Prince of Portugal, and in great rejoicing; and that the match between you and her was certainly settled. It seemed to me I ought not to interfere with an accomplished fact either by speaking or revealing any novelties, as I had arrived too late. I am doing so now because I have heard by letter, and information received from your Court and from Lisbon itself, that the marriage is put off, or at least undecided. I am therefore doing my duty as a faithful servant and vassal of your Highness in warning you of what is happening, and in fulfilling the charge laid upon me by the above-mentioned personages, although you have no doubt received fresh news since I left the Low Countries.-
(A paragraph about Don Juan de Luna, Governor of the Castle of Milan.)
Seville, 9 September, 1553.
Spanish. Copy.
Sept. 9. Besançon, C.G. 73. Simon Renard to the Bishop of Arras.
My Lord: I have noted the contents of your last letters, and even before I received them was of the opinion I see you have adopted, because it is said that the marriage negotiations of his Highness (with the Infanta Maria of Portugal) are so far advanced that it will be impossible to withdraw, in which case to mention him might disincline the Queen from following his Majesty's advice, which she is at present very anxious to know, desiring to hear what aspirant he will propose. When she sees Scheyfve's secretary, she asks him whether we have received letters from his Majesty, and whether we have anything to say to her. As far as I am able to gather from certain remarks made by Scheyfve, it seems that she and certain of her Council aspire to an alliance with the King of the Romans. When we were talking over the matter, and some one said that if his Highness were unmarried he would make an excellent match from the point of view of both countries, Scheyfve said that he knew that the English did not at all want his Majesty or his Highness, but would prefer the King of the Romans or the Archduke (Ferdinand), partly because they dreaded the rule of Spaniards and partly for religious reasons; and he, probably would not have said that had he not heard it from certain members of the Council. Moreover, it has been certified to me that it has been represented to the Queen that his Highness will have great difficulty in keeping possession of the Low Countries after his Majesty's death, for the King of Bohemia is loved there and his Highness and the Spaniards hated. These are warnings about which you ought to think more carefully than about anything else in the world, in order to forestall such designs and take measures to ensure his Majesty's succession. I feel sure you are doing so, and striving to reconcile these two princes if you believe there is real enmity between them and the Flemish and Spanish peoples; for success in this would be the masterpiece of all your labours.
However that may be, I know the Queen to be good, easily influenced, inexpert in worldly matters and a novice all round; and the English so grasping that if one cares to try them with presents and promises one may do what one likes with them by very simple means: namely, to tell them that four out of their number will be chosen to govern the country in the Queen's absence. (fn. 20) And although she asserts that she wishes to see the aspirant, she will not insist when she hears his Majesty's message. To tell you between ourselves what I think of her, I believe that if God does not preserve her she will be deceived and lost either by the machinations of the French, the conspiracies of the English, by poison or otherwise. The Lady Elizabeth is greatly to be feared, for she has a power of enchantment (qu'est ung esprit plain d'incantation), and I hear that she already has her eye on Courtenay as a possible husband, because she knows Courtenay's mother is always welcome with the Queen, and usually sleeps with her. This is very dangerous; and I foresee that Courtenay's friends, who include most of the nobility, are hatching some design that may later menace the Queen. M. de Gyé was not sent to Courtenay with letters from the King of France for nothing; and I have suspicions of the Earl of Pembroke's departure for a house he has in the country, and it is said that Paget intends to retire from Court, and that Mason is of the same mind. All this, together with the hostility and jealousy prevalent in the Council, will throw her off her throne one fine morning; and she has no thought but to restore the mass and religion, which will also provoke attacks, if God does not remedy it.
I am going into these details, so that you may understand the state of mind prevalent over here and the present aspect of the Queen's affairs, and communicate them to his Majesty if you see fit. And now that I know your views, I will keep the marriage question pending by means of which you will not disapprove, and will contrive to persuade the Queen that I spoke to her entirely of my own accord. As soon as I get the chance I intend, if you approve, to tell her that I hear more rumours of his Highness's Portuguese match, and have been able to obtain no news from Spain to settle my doubts. And I will devise means of dissuading her from wishing to see the aspirant, so as to prepare things as his Majesty desires.
The only difficulty is that I cannot have access to her when I wish, and Master Scheyfve has grown jealous because I had private audience of her twice, was spokesman in our public and private audiences, and because my colleagues commanded me to do the writing. The said Scheyfve thinks I am trying to get hold of his post, which ambition has never crossed my mind, as my only wish is to do my duty towards his Majesty and fulfil the obligation I owe you. I call you to witness of this fact, and beg you, my Lord, to justify me by recalling me soon, as my commission is at an end.
I must not omit to remind you of what I wrote to his Majesty about the remarks of the King of France to St. Leger (Chaligny) about asking the Queen to mediate. (fn. 21) If you think it would be wise and his Majesty desires it, a letter might be written to Wotton, telling him to get something more definite out of the King, and discover what weakness or other reasons lead him to want peace.
French. Minute in Renard's hand. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.


  • 1. i.e. the only available French prince. The style of the whole letter is hurried.
  • 2. i.e. Charles, Duke of Orleans, younger son of Francis I. He died unmarried in 1545.
  • 3. At a meeting of the Council on September 4th, it was decided to send a letter “to Mr. (Sir E.) Peckham, to convert into coyne after the standard of xi ounzes fyne and one of alaye” the plate remaining in the custody of Thomas Egerton (Under-Treasurer of the Tower Mint).
  • 4. i.e. Richard Devereux, Lord Ferrers. He was committed to the Tower on August 5, and discharged on the payment of a heavy fine about a month later (Machyn).
  • 5. Nicholas Ridley.
  • 6. The list has not been found.
  • 7. September 6th. This despatch was written over several days.
  • 8. This was one Pierre Alexandre, of Brussels. He had been condemned by the Inquisition in 1545, at which time he probably went to England. In 1562 he was still pastor of a congregation in this country (Gachard).
  • 9. i.e. Richard Fate, see p. 175, note.
  • 10. This writing has not been found.
  • 11. Peter Vannea or Vaunce.
  • 12. Noailles states in one of his despatches that he first heard that a marriage was being negotiated between Mary and Philip on September 7th. (Mémoires, II, 143.)
  • 13. The copy mentioned here has not been found.
  • 14. Charles III, Duke of Savoy, died on August 18th, 1653.
  • 15. Several English missions went to Brussels in 1553. In January Sir Andrew Dudley, in April Sir Philip Hoby, and after Mary's accession Sir Thomas Cheyne, Warden of the Cinque Ports.
  • 16. i.e. Girolamo Dandino, Cardinal Bishop of Imola.
  • 17. Philip de Montmorency, Count van Hoorn.
  • 18. This is Maximilian de Bourgogne, Count de Beveren, Lord of Veere, Admiral of the Low Countries.
  • 19. Eleanor, Queen Dowager of France, mother of the Infanta Maria of Portugal by her first husband, Emmanuel I of Portugal.
  • 20. i.e, her absence from the conduct of affairs because of illness or confinement.
  • 21. i.e. between the King of France and the Emperor.