Spain: April 1553

Pages 23-37

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

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April 1553

April 1. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E.1. Edward VI to the Emperor.
In accordance with the proposals laid before you on our behalf by our faithful and well-beloved Sir Andrew Dudley, Knight of our Order and one of the four principal Gentlemen of our Bedchamber, we are now sending towards you our very dear and faithful Councillors, the Bishop of Norwich and Mr. Hoby, Knight, Gentleman of our Bedchamber, Councillor of our Privy Council, Provost of our Order, and Master of our Artillery. They shall declare to you from us the great goodwill we bear to the repose and relief of your countries and dominions, and consequently to the tranquillity of the whole of Christendom. We beg you, most excellent and most puissant prince, our very dear and well-beloved good brother and cousin, to give them faith and credence in all they shall say and expose to you on our behalf, as you would to our person.
Westminster, 1 April, 1553.
Signed original. French.
April 1. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 1. Edward VI to the Queen Dowager.
We are about to send our faithful and very dear Councillors, the Bishop of Norwich and Mr. Hoby, Knight, Gentleman of our Bedchamber, our Privy Councillor, and Master of our Artillery, to our good brother and cousin, the Emperor, to continue the negotiations already begun concerning the welfare and tranquillity of the whole of Christendom. We have commissioned them expressly to betake themselves likewise to you, to visit you on our behalf and make and present our very loving and affectionate commendations to you. We request you, most high and most excellent princess, our very dear and well-beloved good sister and cousin, to grant them faith and credence in what they shall expose to you on our behalf, as you would to ourself. Moreover, we pray you to second them in the furtherance and accomplishment of the good and holy object which moves us to send this embassy to our good brother and cousin, the Emperor.
Westminster, 1 April, 1553.
Signed original. French.
April 2. Simancas, E. 98. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
We wrote to you from the camp before Metz, and have sent you again, since, a duplicate from Luxembourg, telling you what had occurred, and our resolve to come hither, which we accomplished by the grace of God, in better health than had been ours recently. I (sic) desired to send you at once another courier, but could not do so because I was attacked by the gout and other troubles which have tried me sorely. I have not been able to do so until now, when I find myself much improved in health, and although compelled by weakness to keep my bed, I have a better appetite for food, and trust in God that as the season improves He may assist me to a better recovery. We will now discuss the most important points, and leave the rest to be sent in a second letter, which I shall soon set about despatching.
As to your coming to these parts, we have always weighed the matter carefully with respect to those considerations which were set before you in detail by Don Juan de Figueroa. It is a question of great importance and involving weighty considerations, as you were informed; and I thought it best to defer my decision until my return hither, so that I might discuss it with the Queen (Dowager), my sister, first, because of the great love and tenderness she bears you and the goodwill with which she entertains all matters concerning you, and also because she would have fresher news than we had. I would then have been able to hear her opinion and take counsel with her before coming to a determination as to what it would behove you best to do. (fn. 1) The plan seems ever more suitable the more it is discussed. These States stand in need of some one whose orders all could jointly obey in the organisation of the present war, for I cannot be here in person as I would wish and need to be. They have no one to command them whom they (all) can accept, and especially in affairs such as those referred to. Although the Queen is as valiant as you know her to be, and does her utmost to provide and direct, she cannot enforce the execution of her commands. The business of warfare must be directed by some one who can examine matters in person, because fresh developments are constantly occurring. For lack of this, and because orders were not obeyed, we had to forego certain undertakings last year which were within our powers to accomplish. Besides these considerations, quite important enough in themselves, and involving the protection and defence of these our provinces, your own particular interest, which is of paramount importance, must also be considered. You will increase your reputation by being better known, and the whole world and our foes will see that they will find no comfort in you to undertake what they perhaps have hoped for. Moreover, as we have often said to you before, you stand in need of gaining credit and increased devotion from these States; your presence and intercourse with them will afford them greater satisfaction than they have been able to reap in the past, because they have hitherto had but scant opportunities for getting to know you as they should. You would please them better, gain their good will, and hold them fast bound to you. We must consider too the unbearable expenses we have had to meet during the present war. We have spent up to the present 5,000,000 florins, without reckoning present expenses, and they have granted fresh help; but the cost will be so great that I very much doubt if they will be able to sustain it beyond next August. It seems to me that after that period they will be utterly unable to give help. We cannot describe to you how deeply they feel the oppression they are suffering. They are on the verge of despair because they cannot hope to hold out alone against France, their forces being inferior, as of course they must be, to those of France. There is no lack of people who, considering their extreme plight, and how, when they have ruined themselves completely, they must in the long run fall into French hands, protest that it were better to forestall the event and not wait until what they believe to be the inevitable end shall overtake them, especially if they see no ultimate hope of remaining subjects of yours. These rumours are current among some people of evil kidney. I see no remedy to this condition of affairs, except that you shall come to succour and assist them, so that they may find fresh courage to endure, to defend themselves against the enemy, and attack him in their turn. If we could accomplish this much it might lead one to hope that the French, who are worn out and poor, as we know, might be reduced to confusion; or at least that if we and they were to come to terms, the advantages to us would be greatly increased. If your coming and your help were to be the means of bringing about an honourable peace, and such that these States might rest in it for some time to come, there is no doubt that they would feel great obligations towards you in return, and that you would win their love, and gain almost as much reputation in the world as if you had taken part in the war. Before closing this subject, I can but say all there is to say, and declare to you that if things continue as they are now I doubt very much if these States, whose importance is well known to you, will be able to hold out. They are in great danger of being lost; and were they to fall into the hands of the French great calamities would follow, because it would be difficult indeed to oppose their entry into Germany, without foregoing all other means of keeping them in check. The reasons stated above render your coming hither necessary; and, moreover, that you shall come provided with money enough to furnish considerable assistance to these States. The remedy to all the evil lies there, and in avoiding the necessity for asking them for any fresh help after your coming; for, matters standing as they do, it is very likely that far from turning to you with love, they would doubly resent the troubles you would bring to them, as the people are wont to do. . .
I am resolutely of opinion that you shall put off your coming until the first of September next, and find time to prepare and put your affairs in order, to collect money and establish your credit, neglecting nothing that is necessary, so that those whom you shall leave in charge of the government may all the better carry on affairs. Write to me fully and often in the meantime, concerning the means you may devise for collecting the above-mentioned provision of money, and the probable amount of it. We will consider accordingly the number of vessels, and other requirements to be provided for your journey. Together with this letter there shall be sent to you an account of the troops that these States propose to keep up until the end of August, so that you may see for yourself how much they are doing to help themselves and to bear up to the last limit of their power.
Besides the many reasons that make me wish you to come at the earliest possible moment,—although I am aware of the unpropitious face worn by events and that it would not be convenient before the time mentioned above,—it would matter greatly (to me) because of my determination to return, if possible, to Germany and hold a Diet such as I did at Passau if my health and the condition of affairs allow it; and this should take place about the end of June, so as to enable me to do some good with the Estates of the Empire, and by these means bring about the relief of these countries. My duty as Emperor requires it of me, and it is needful, moreover, to ensure the frontier of these States (the Netherlands) that extend so far along Germany, and might be troubled, wasted and even threatened on every occasion of unrest within the Empire. I propose to go so soon with the object of proceeding to Italy this autunm and thence to Spain. I should rejoice much to have you here before my departure, speak to you about various matters, and hear from you verbally in detail those things that it is not possible to write, and the present condition of those kingdoms (i.e. Spain). Besides, I should not be leaving these States (the Netherlands) without the presence of one of us in such times as these. During my absence in Germany, you would be able to conduct affairs as they might require, and if the outlook seemed good after the completion of the Diet and you found it possible to go, I would wish to take you with me for the furtherance of the purpose which you know I have in view, and we would afterwards return together to Spain and finish those affairs which for a long time past we have put off until an occasion similar to this should present itself. (fn. 2) But your coming cannot be before September, as I have said already, as you must come carrying the necessary provision of money; and we must in all matters be guided by the times and follow the line which the exigencies of affairs mark out for us.
I am certain that you will do your utmost in the matter of the money required, because it is of the very greatest importance; and you will use every means to provide for our extreme necessity. Besides the usual courses, such as obtaining money on loan, by sales, or by exercising the privileges granted to us by his Holiness and others, we have resolved to send to Rome to solicit his Holiness to grant us power to sell the income of churches in the form and manner proposed to you by Nuncio Poggio. He has corresponded with the Duke of Alva on the subject and despatched someone expressly to Rome. We will order that the carrying out of this affair shall be given to you or to those who are to govern in your stead, so as to despatch it more quickly. We will command the despatches to be sent to you direct from Rome without coming hither, so that less time may be wasted. It will be necessary for you to decide how this business shall be carried out, and start on it before your departure, so as to give them (i.e. those who remain in charge) better opportunities for putting it in to effect and carrying it to a successful issue.
We have discussed what might be obtained from grants in the Indies. This seemed to me to be a long and difficult question, because of the conflicting opinions on the subject, the numerous claims to be met, and other things too, which as you know I have always taken into consideration. Moreover, I have constantly endeavoured to avoid moving in. the matter, but to leave the undertaking to you after my days are done, so that in case you find yourself in need you may have something to turn to when I am gone. My resolve remains unchanged. . .
It is now a long time since the death of the Princess (whom God receive in His glory); and it seems to me suitable and necessary that you should marry again, because of your age, and because of the progeny which I hope God may grant you. This is a matter of great importance for the satisfaction of your own conscience, and because those kingdoms (i.e. Spain) as well as our other States have often petitioned us on the subject. Therein would lie their chief hope of comfort, as they can look to no one now except the Infante. (fn. 3) I have rejoiced greatly to hear what you have written on the subject, and your willingness to leave the matter entirely in my hands. I hoped no less of your goodness, and I trust in the Lord that it may lead to your own comfort and satisfaction and to mine, as well as those of your subjects and vassals, who desire and have desired it so earnestly.
You have received a full account of the goodness, intelligence, prudence and other great qualities possessed by the Most Serene Infanta Doña Maria, (fn. 4) daughter of the Most Christian Queen of France, our sister; and we believe you to incline towards her, after having well considered and weighed the matter, as one of great import. I cannot do otherwise than concur with your choice, and express my great satisfaction. We have considered and discussed the matter here, and the Most Christian Queen has held out the hope that the dowry of 400,000 cruzados due to the Most Serene Infanta as inheritance from her father and brothers might be paid here in coin. She avers that they (i.e. the Portuguese) give evident signs of eagerness that the marriage may take place, founded on the goodwill and inclination you have shown towards it. I cannot yet believe it, considering their way of proceeding, and the considerations they must take into account. However, she (the Most Christian Queen) affirms it vehemently, and is persuaded, although I do not consider it likely, that they will increase the dowry by another 200,000 cruzados, to show their brotherly kindness and gratitude. She holds it for certain because she knows they consider her (i.e. the Infanta Doña Maria) and love her as their own daughter, as they profess to do, and as Sebastian de Morales, whom the Most Serene King (fn. 5) sent hither to reply to the Most Christian Queen concerning her daughter's coming, has plainly declared. In any case it is certain that besides the principal sum mentioned above she will come into her mother's inheritance, and as her dowry is tied up in France, if matters came to a head there is no doubt that something could be made out of that. To this may be added her goods and chattels that are of considerable value. . . There is one point in this business that presents great difficulties; namely, what was negotiated at Augsburg with the King (of the Romans), my brother, (fn. 6) The original documents were given to you and you took them away with you. You will do well to order them to be examined again; both the one that was signed by us both and by the King of Bohemia, and the secret and private document referring to the Vicariate. The King might wish to advance that all that was then settled on both counts, must be held to be subject to the same condition and dependent on your marriage with one of his daughters. But the time named therein for the fulfilment of the conditions is that of your election (to the Empire) and there is little hope of that while matters here remain in the present troubled state (fn. 7); nor could I advise you to accept the Imperial crown even if it were offered to you, while it lasts. It is not suitable that you should be left in suspense meanwhile and unable to marry. We have bethought ourselves of an expedient to free us from our bond and set you at liberty to many. We should send a declaration to the King, that, finding yourself of an age suitable for marriage, and being pressed thereto by your subjects, you cannot remain bound and hindered. The marriage with one of his daughters was negotiated for the time of your election, and we would therefore request and beseech him to further it now, or leave you free to marry where you please. This much should suffice without explaining whom you would marry, so that he should not have to forego all hope for his daughter, nor suspect you of having an ulterior object. The negotiation would in our opinion probably succeed; as he would wish to avoid the risks that, might arise out of the negotiations for the election, and the harm that might follow to his own affairs, and he would agree to solve the difficulty. The treaties might remain in vigour in every other respect. It is likely that he is beginning to realise that he would hold his own with difficulty if we did not lend him our aid. It is more than necessary to him to fall in with our plans, and, indeed, agreement is necessary before either plan can be carried out. We have decided to make no move in the matter for the present, until you have received our communication, and we can see the turn events in Portugal are likely to take, so as to do nothing if there is no need for it. Were this marriage to fall through, I do not see any other suitable match for you except one of the daughters of the said King, unless it were the King of France's sister, (fn. 8) for the establishment of some accord between us. I do not know what your inclinations in the matter may be. However, we must see what takes place in the Portuguese affair; it will be well that you inform me of it with the least possible delay, and of what seems suitable to you with respect to our conduct towards the King of the Romans, in reply to what I have said above, after you have ordered the treaties and documents to be examined. The negotiations carried on in the interval must be kept secret. We must approach the King of the Romans before he has wind of our having entered into any such negotiations.
If the preliminaries for the marriage negotiations with the Infanta proceed favourably, it would be well that you should push matters to a conclusion with the greatest speed possible. You know how dilatory the Portuguese usually are, especially when they have a definite interest at stake. The persons to whom the negotiations are to be entrusted should be careful to examine the capitulations very minutely, so that you may reap the full advantage of them. Let them be careful too that they obtain as much ready money as possible, to meet the present needs, as you point out. It would be a great advantage if this business could be carried through before your coming hither. The best and simplest way out of our difficulty, and the most acceptable to those kingdoms (i.e. Spain) would be to leave the said Infanta as Regent during my absence and yours. Her small knowledge and experience of matters of government might be corrected by giving her a good Council to assist her. If the delay were to be prolonged beyond the period when your coming could conveniently be deferred, and the marriage could not take place before, I believe it would not be uncalled for to bring her with you, and consummate the marriage here. Were God to grant you the birth of a son within these States, for His service, it would give them one of the greatest satisfactions they could receive. The negotiations are in your hands, and I leave everything to you, with the recommendation that you use the greatest diligence you can, and send me information on the progress of this affair, as you may judge how important haste is to us. Let there be no delays. . . .
The ambassador in England has apprised us of the business that you will find set forth in the enclosed writing, (fn. 9) and which seems to us a matter of importance, to be dealt with in good time. You will order that all due consideration be given to it, and that a suitable remedy be provided, so that they may not obtain what they are trying for. As it is of such importance to them, it must be well weighed and considered.
Brussels, 2 April, 1553.
Spanish. Copy. Printed by Gachard, Retraite et Mort de Charles V, Appendix to Introduction.
April 6. Brussels, E.A. 133 bis. The Queen Dowager to Don Luis de Toledo.
My Lord the Emperor has made a present to the King of England of ten horses of his private breed, as you will see by his patent; and he has also given him leave to take (buy) two more. The groom who is to be sent to fetch them shall be allowed to take eight others besides, if he desires to buy them, making twenty in all. You will please me and serve the Emperor, for several considerations, by giving orders to the various officers concerned, so that his commands may be punctually executed, and all favour shown and assistance given to the groom to enable him to discharge his duties with brevity.
Brussels, 6 April, 1553.
Spanish. Minute.
April 10. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Jehan Scheyfve to the Bishop of Arras.
My Lord: The right reverend the Bishop of Norwich and Sir Philip Hoby visited me, and declared that the King, their master, was about to send them to the Emperor, and prayed to God that their embassy might bear fruit as it concerned the universal good and the peace and quiet of Christendom. I praised the King's good and saintly intentions, and said I was pleased to hear he had made so happy a choice, assuring them at the same time that they would be welcomed by his Majesty. I offered my services in the public good, and to them in particular. They thanked me; and as they stayed to sup with me, the right reverend Bishop mentioned in the course of conversation that he had only known of the mission he was called upon to fulfil some seven or eight days, and that the King ought to have deputed another better qualified than he. I replied that the King knew those who were his good and worthy servants, and that negotiations involving the general peace were well suited to a personage invested with the dignities he possessed. He proceeded to say that his Imperial Majesty had ever been a peace-loving prince. I replied that he had proved it in the past, and particularly before the present war broke out. Nevertheless, the King of France had with strange behaviour begun the war, as everybody knew. He admitted this; the King of France was young and fiery, he said, but added that the King, his master, would not put himself forward in the matter of the peace unless it could be brought about for the welfare, honour and good repute of his Majesty the Emperor. I replied that his Majesty was assured of this; as to the rest, things would no doubt change with time. The fact remained, however, that his Majesty had given a gracious answer to my Lord (Sir Andrew) Dudley, and haply the King of France had not been willing to do as much. He answered that a little good luck had raised him up and made him petulant, so that he seemed to make small account of peace; but that as the King, his master, took a share in promoting it he desired rather to please him than another sovereign. In talking afterwards with Sir Philip Hoby, I told him I had rejoiced to hear of the changes that had been made and that he was to remain as ambassador with his Imperial Majesty, at whose Court he would find his old friends and servitors, adding other gracious words to the same effect. He declared himself to be well pleased with the change, and that France was no country for him, who had always had his Imperial Majesty's designs at heart; for the good and honourable treatment he had always received from his Majesty and all his Court was far surpassing his deserts. We then fell to discoursing on the sincere friendship between the two Princes, which we desired to see increase as time went on.
The three vessels that were to set out for the discovery of new lands will be ready in the course of this month. Since I last wrote, I have been able to ascertain that they will follow a northerly course and navigate by the Frozen Sea towards the country of the great Chamchina, (fn. 10) or the neighbouring countries. The English opine that the ancients passed by that sea and joined the Ocean, as Pliny and others wrote; and they believe the route to be a short one, and very convenient for the kingdom of England, for distributing kerseys (carsees) in those far countries, bringing back spices and other rich merchandise in exchange. The said vessels are well-found and carry scarlet kerseys and velvets of excellent quality, besides other pieces (of cloth) to give away as presents. Captain Cabot (fn. 11) came to see me recently, and I spoke to him on the subject; and when he saw that I was well-informed, he enlarged so much upon it that at last I asked him if the said voyage was as certain as it seemed. He replied, yes, it was. I then remarked that it appeared to me that the country of the great Chamchina formed part of the Emperor's conquest. He said it was true; but that view only interested the Emperor and the King of Portugal, while the others would probably claim that the land would belong to him who first occupied it. Nevertheless, he knew a means of thwarting them if he could go to his Majesty's Court, and he would then unfold other great secrets to him concerning navigation, in which many millions were at stake. I do not know if the (proposed) voyage has anything to do with the secrets in question. When this point was disposed of, he went on to say that he could not imagine why his affairs were delayed so long. I replied that I supposed his Majesty's great and urgent preoccupations, increased too by his indisposition, were the cause of it; and the season had also been unfavourable. He said he wished he might know his Majesty's intentions, and if he would summon him again over there. I answered that his Majesty had shown his intentions in the past, which he admitted to be true, and confessed that his Majesty had honoured him beyond his merits by so doing; but he would continue to ascertain his Majesty's intentions and desires. I assured him that I would refer what had been said to his Majesty, and I asked him at the same time whether he could and would leave the kingdom if the Emperor requested his services from the King of England, or even if he merely expressed his wish to employ him. He said, Yes, he would go, and would make shift to leave the kingdom.
When the weather has been soft and bright the King has gone out in his park at Westminster of late, but with the advice of his doctors and physicians, who assign him a definite hour, and still observe him strictly, especially his diet. He will soon withdraw to Greenwich. As to the rest, my Lord, I refer you to the Advices I am sending to the Queen.
The right reverend Bishop of Norwich and (Sir Philip) Hoby will leave London on the 6th of the said month (April?) (fn. 12) and Wotton and Sellinger on the 10th.
London, 10 April, 1553.
French. Cipher. Signed.
(An extract of part of the above letter, beginning with the journey of English vessels to the land of spices, and ending with the account of the ambassador's conversation with Cabot, is to be found, translated into Spanish, at Simancas (E. 808). See also the note to the Emperor's letter to Prince Philip, dated April 2nd (page 29).)
April 10. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Advices sent by Jehan Scheyfve.
The first session of Parliament is over, and the King has ratified and sanctioned its decrees and constitutions in the presence of the Estates, at his palace of Westminster. The said constitutions mainly concern matters of administration. Among other things, the number of taverns has been restricted, and no one shall henceforth be allowed to lay down wine in his cellars without a special license. The Customs records and registers prove that a, great and excessive quantity of wine, and especially of French wine, is consumed in England. The subjects of this realm are wont to live in pleasure-seeking and intemperance, haunt taverns and become wholly idle and disorderly, while the French draw out money from the country, buy no goods here in return nor do any real business here. (fn. 13) Certain other bills concerning dress were brought before Parliament, but were afterwards dropped.
Nothing new was done in matters of religion, and although the bishops had a volume of canon law ready, it was not accepted. The Bishop of Canterbury presented it to Parliament; but the Duke of Northumberland said openly and before all to him that it should come to nothing, and warned him and his brother bishops to take good care what they were about, as Parliament had entrusted a charge to them, but could not stand judge (of their fidelity to the trust). He added that if they did not teach the true doctrine and word of Christ, they should be punished; and he went on to say that certain agitators had dwelt recently on the incorporation of church property and lands and on the dividing up of bishoprics contemplated by the King, proclaiming that those who sought to diminish and restrict the rightful perquisities of the church were heretics, breaking God's law. This, he declared, was scandalous behaviour, tending to foster disorders and sedition. Let the bishops henceforth take care that the like should not occur again, and let them forbear calling into question in their sermons the acts of the Prince and his ministers, else they should suffer with the evil preachers. The said (Archbishop of) Canterbury excused himself, saying that he had heard nothing of it; and if something had been said, it was aimed at correcting and showing up vices and abuses. The Duke of Northumberland replied that there were vices enough to denounce; that the fruits of their lives seemed meagre enough; that therefore some were saying that men would easily fall back into the old religion, others that bills regarding religion and other matters were being held back and postponed to another season for certain respects and considerations, and especially those touching the authority and absolute power with which the King was to have been invested. This last point, however, is supposed by some to have been put forward intentionally by the said Duke, who is said to have previously circulated the rumour in order to ascertain the opinion of the public and what inferences and conclusions might be drawn therefrom.
During the session of Parliament the Hanseatic Towns sent to England a certain doctor and commissioner of Lübeck, Herman Ploninges by name, who announced to the King and his Council that ambassadors from the said towns should be sent to England after the termination of the Diet which was to be held at Lübeck during the month of May next. This was done in order to prevent anything being ruled to their detriment during the session of Parliament. On the same occasion the Commissioner requested that the towns might be permitted to continue in the enjoyment of their ordinary privileges. But it was answered to him, after he had been kept waiting some time because of the King's indisposition, that he must present his request in writing. It is expected that he will not gain anything, as the point has been examined and debated several times already.
My Lord Grey, Governor of Guines, has found means to seize a certain Englishman who has been in the service of the King of France since the last war; he has been lodged in the Tower. There is a rumour that the King of France wished to employ his services to get possession of Guines, and that the man's accomplice turned King's evidence and gave the plot away. Others say that he has been imprisoned on account of some old scores.
Several pieces of artillery and some munitions of war taken from the Tower have been put on board of two or three hoys in London during the last two days. It is believed that the English want to make sure of Calais, Guines and other English forts. Several gentlemen are getting ready to offer their services to the Emperor. Certain people are saying there is something fresh in the air and that the English will take the Emperor's side (against France).
It was reported that the Scots had raided as far as the neighbourhood of Berwick and burned a few houses. But it appears that the raid was conducted by a few robbers who employed themselves in pillaging and thieving, and who have done the same twice before in various parts of the country, particularly during last winter.
The King is recovering and is to go to Greenwich shortly.
London, 10 April, 1553.
French. Cipher.
April 13. Brussels, E.A. 107. M. de Vandeville (fn. 14) to the Queen Dowager.
I wrote to your Majesty in an earlier letter that in case you wished English pioneers to be raised, we must reckon a fortnight for the first 300, and longer for another 300, as I set forth in the writing I sent you on the subject. The King of England will, at this season, begin working at Calais, Guines and the neighbourhood; and it is to be feared that the said pioneers may be employed there, and could not withdraw. I have therefore thought it well to bring the matter before you once more, as well as another point concerning a few miners, which I have set forth in writing. MM. de Bugnicourt and de Glajon are of opinion that the men might well serve in several places this season, (fn. 15)
Madam: An English gentleman named Palmer requested me to meet him at some secret place where he might speak to me without rousing suspicions. I did so, and he told me he had come from the Court of France with charge from the King to get two hundred light horse for him, and he had received a present of money for this service. But he said he preferred to serve the Emperor. I asked him in what way he proposed to do so. He said he could take all the English that were now in the King of France's service at Doullens away from him. I replied that I would let your Council know, and if I received an answer I should communicate it to him.
It seems to me that if he is willing he could render a far greater service, as they (the English troops) are in the town of Doullens, where there is a good castle with only one hundred men to garrison it. The English go in and out in good numbers every day, and could easily get possession of it. If we merely allowed him to bring over the ten Englishmen it would only bring discredit on the English nation with the French, for their inconstancy.
St. Omer, 13 April, 1553.
French. Signed.
April 28. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Jehan Scheyfve to the Emperor.
Sire: The King withdrew to Greenwich a few days ago. There seems to be no improvement in his condition, and he has only shown himself once, in the gardens, the day after his arrival. I hear from a trustworthy source that the King is undoubtedly becoming weaker as time passes, and wasting away. The matter he ejects from his mouth is sometimes coloured a greenish yellow and black, sometimes pink, like the colour of blood. His doctors and physicians are perplexed and do not know what to make of it. They feel sure that the King has no chance of recovery unless his health improves during the next month. The jousts that were to be held at Greenwich on the first of May are put off until Whitsuntide. The Duke of Northumberland is still assiduous in his offices and keeps the Lady Mary, Princess of England, informed of the disposition and state of health of the King, though not with so much detail as heretofore. He recently sent her her full arms as Princess of England, as she used to bear them in her father, the late King's, lifetime. This all seems to point to his desire to conciliate the said Lady and earn her favour, and to show that he does not aspire to the crown, as I said in my preceding letters. Nevertheless, his conduct is open to suspicion, especially considering that during the last few days he has found means to ally and bind his son, my Lord Guilford, to the Duke of Suffolk's eldest daughter, (fn. 16) whose mother is the third heiress to the crown by the testamentary dispositions of the late King, and has no heirs male. Money has been collected carefully in great quantities from every source; and this might well have something to do with the fact I have just mentioned. The money is in the hands of those who are devoted to the said Northumberland, to the exclusion of the old officers and ministers who once had the control of it. Money is now very scarce indeed here. The bands of horse were dismissed some time ago. They might have been useful in case of need. (fn. 17) Some say that my Lord Grey is not going as soon as it was thought. I do not know whether he would be kept here or sent elsewhere in the worst event, as he is considered the best soldier in the kingdom. The Earl of Pembroke was about to withdraw to his estates, but he has received orders not to move.
London, 28 April, 1553.
French. Cipher. Signed.
April 28. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Advices sent by Jehan Scheyfve.
My Lord Grey, Captain of Guines, went to see the King, as rumour has it, because the French attempted to storm Guines and Hames. But it is understood that Lord Grey is trying to obtain his soldiers' pay, as the soldiers of Calais have been paid already, and the English are said to be going to strengthen their garrisons and forts across the sea.
There is a great deal of talk about some close alliance that is to be made between the Emperor and the King of England, by means of certain marriages: the King is said to be about to marry one of the King of the Romans' daughters, and the Prince of Spain the Princess of England. Others say that negotiations have begun between France and the Emperor, and that the said Prince, my Lord, would marry the Lady Margaret, sister to the King of France, while the Duke of Lorraine would marry France's daughter.
My Lord Guilford, son of the Duke of Northumberland, is betrothed to the eldest daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, with the consent and approval of the King and his Council. Their marriage is to be solemnized at Whitsuntide.
Since the closing of the session of Parliament the King has by his own authority nominated certain commissioners into whose hands the vestments, plate and vessels left in the churches are to be delivered. One chalice or cup is to be left in each church. The rest is to be applied to the King's needs. As to the bells nothing has been decided as yet, but it seems that an inventory will be made.
The Saxon miners who have worked for the last two years in Ireland have returned. The Irish mines do not seem to be rich enough to cover the expense of working them. The miners uphold the contrary opinion and say that, now the mines are opened and have yielded some fruit, the English will continue to work them.
The English fleet, consisting of some twenty-five or thirty vessels carrying about thirty thousand pieces of cloth, has set sail for Flanders. The English merchants are to furnish (prester) one pound sterling on each piece; and it appears that the money is to be affected to the payment of interests due to the Fuggers, as was done last year. (fn. 18)
The Knights of the Order of the Garter have not been summoned to meet, nor were the usual ceremonies held on St. George's day (fn. 19); all being put off till Whitsuntide.
M. de Noailles, (fn. 20) the new French ambassador resident in England, is due to arrive in London on April 28th, by way of Calais.
It is believed that my Lord Cobham's son and several other gentlemen will shortly cross the sea to place themselves in the Emperor's service.
French. Cipher. Copy.


  • 1. The Queen Dowager had already requested Philip's presence at her side in the government of the Low Countries early in 1552, and the Emperor had then expressed his doubts as to what would be the best course for Philip to follow. See letters from the Emperor to the Queen Dowager, January 28th, 1552 (Vol. X, p. 447 et seq.).
  • 2. It is characteristic of the Emperor, especially when tired and ill, to set out at length an imaginary course of action, even though he has already rejected it as impracticable. The purpose to which he refers is the promotion of Philip's candidature to the Imperial dignity.
  • 3. Don Carlos, only son of Prince Philip by his first wife, Maria of Portugal, daughter of John III.
  • 4. This princess was a daughter of Emmanuel I of Portugal and Eleanor of Austria, afterwards wife of Francis I of France. She was consequently an aunt of Prince Philip's first wife.
  • 5. John III of Portugal.
  • 6. The agreement by which Philip was to succeed his uncle, Ferdinand, as Emperor, concluded at Augsburg on March 9, 1551. See Spanish Calendar, Vol. X, pp. 245–246.
  • 7. On Feb. 24th, 1552, the Emperor wrote to the Queen Dowager of Hungary concerning Prince Philip's candidature to the Empire that it was out of the question: and indeed, that the fact that it had once been put forward had proved a weapon in the hands of Charles' enemies. (Vol. X, p. 456.)
  • 8. Margaret, daughter of Francis I.
  • 9. There is a writing, embodying the contents of one of the ambassador's letters in the same legajo (E. 98). It is the one already printed, dated March 7th, 1553.
  • 10. Since the days of Marco Polo it had been the ambition of commercial Europe to find a short way to the country of the Great Khan. Columbus himself, when he reached the Antilles, thought he had touched the coast of India or the “kingdom of Cathay.” The Portuguese, earlier than Columbus, had felt their way along the west coast of Africa, with the conviction that they were on the southern route to the Great Khan's country.
  • 11. Sebastian Cabot had been living in England for several years. He continually professed to know many secrets concerning navigation, so important that no ear but the Emperor's must hear them; and the last two volumes of this Calendar contain many references to the Imperial ambassador's vain efforts to induce the Privy Council to allow Cabot to go to Flanders.
  • 12. This letter, like many others, was probably written over several days, and bears the date on which it was despatched.
  • 13. i.e. England was importing much more than she exported.
  • 14. Jean Destourmel, Sieur de Vandeville, was Captain of Gravelines.
  • 15. The exploits of the English pioneers at the siege of Thérouanne are related in a paper dated August 4th, q.v.
  • 16. i.e. Lady Jane Grey, whose mother, Lady Frances Brandon, was the heiress of her mother, Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VII.
  • 17. This sentence is not clear in the original. Scheyfve means, I think, that Mary's followers might have called upon the train-bands to fight for her, and Northumberland disbanded them for this reason. In October, 1552, he wrote, “The train-bands and heavy horse bands are about to be or have just been broken up for the sake of economy.” See Spanish Calendar, X, 579.
  • 18. A grant of li. on each of cloth exported from the country was reported by Scheyfve, in his advices of October 14th, 1552.
  • 19. April 23rd.
  • 20. Antoine de Noailles' appointment dated from December 23rd, 1552. He had formerly been ambassador in Spain, where he negotiated the marriage between Francis I and Eleanor of Austria. See Mémoires de MM. de Noailles, Ed. Abbé Vertot, 1763.