Spain: October 1553, 16-20

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

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, 'Spain: October 1553, 16-20', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916) pp. 302-308. British History Online [accessed 23 May 2024].

. "Spain: October 1553, 16-20", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916) 302-308. British History Online, accessed May 23, 2024,

. "Spain: October 1553, 16-20", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916). 302-308. British History Online. Web. 23 May 2024,

October 1553, 16–20

Oct. 17. Simancas, E. 505. The Emperor to the Pope.
Letters of credence for Don Juan Manrique de Lara, who is to speak to his Holiness about Cardinal Pole's legatine commission.
Brussels, 17 October, 1553.
Copy. Spanish.
Oct. 17. Simancas, E. 505. The Emperor to Don Juan Manrique de Lara.
The instructions issued to Don Juan Hurtado de Mendoza, a copy of which is being forwarded to you, will inform you of what it has been thought wise to do with regard to Cardinal Pole, and the reasons why he had better not continue his journey at present. The pretext excogitated by his Holiness for Pole's coming is insufficient to disabuse the vulgar of their belief that it is on account of English affairs, and at the present time can only injure the interests of religion and compromise the establishment of the apostolic see's authority in that kingdom, for which cause we have diligently worked and are working. It would also be inopportune to make use of the same pretext to let the world imagine that peace was not concluded through any fault of ours, for the opposite is well known to be the truth. We therefore request you to speak to his Holiness at once, and to set before him the drawbacks mentioned in the said instructions as certain to attend the Cardinal's coming. Beg him to recollect that our manner of proceeding is consonant with the requirements of this negotiation, and calculated to enable his Holiness' object to be achieved with the least possible risk and trouble, and as he and we desire the same end, ask him to send immediate orders to the Cardinal not to prosecute his journey, but rather to return or to stop wherever the orders reach him, and leave his commission until matters shall be more settled and religion remedied in England, for if he insists upon trying to execute it at an ill-chosen hour like the present, he will risk creating a confusion that will admit of no ordering. Next, tell him that our zeal for God's service in matters of such importance, and desire to see the authority of his Holiness and the apostolic see established and revered, will always move us to decide how the enterprise had best be managed. We have so accurate a notion of what must now be done in order not to spoil all at the outset, when success and failure are in the balance, that it would be no more than fair and honourable on his Holiness' part not to act precipitately, if he did decide to send on the legate, without first hearing what we had to say and giving you due warning. It will be well for his Holiness and us to act in concert if we wish to succeed in a matter in which our ends are identical.
Brussels, 17 October, 1553.
Minute. Spanish.
Oct. 19. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: The Queen of England has received letters from Wotton, her ambassador in France, in reply to those she caused to be written to him about the peace the King of France and Cardinal de Tournon wished her to be the means of bringing about, desiring her to intervene to make up the quarrel between your Majesty and the French King. He spoke to Cardinal de Tournon before the King had returned from his last journey to Villers-Cotterets, and told him that if the Queen understood that her mediation would be welcome, and knew what means she might employ and what terms she might propose, she would never refuse to labour in so good and salutary a cause as that of arbitration, but would do her best as a lady who desired peace and the repose of Christendom, not to mention her particular wish to gratify the two princes. But as she did not know what road to follow, and feared that her offices might be taken amiss, in which case instead of helping to bring about an agreement she would run the risks incurred by those who rush in between combatants and receive the blows, she could go no further without knowing what means she might propose in her sincere desire to serve the cause of peace. The Cardinal had replied that he could but greatly praise the Queen's zeal and particular desire to gratify both princes; the King, his master, was returning, and Wotton would be able to mention the matter to him. Wotton did so, but it appears from what he writes that the King flatly disavowed Cardinal de Tournon, saying that he had never given him any charge or commission. Thanks be to God! the King had continued, he had made his enemies withdraw and taken all the necessary steps for his kingdom's protection, and to injure his foe and gain honour for himself, as he had offered battle to his enemy, who had not cared to accept it. His affairs in Italy had gone so well that he had conquered Siena and the island of Corsica; he hoped next year to begin the campaign so early that he should surprise rather than be surprised; his kingdom was whole; he had friends and confederates to help him, and more bragging words of the sort. Your Majesty had proposed articles unreasonable and unlikely to lead to peace, as the very legates and ministers of the Pope who had wished to mediate had cause to know; but still, if your Majesty would offer acceptable terms he would show himself to be accommodating and would give up of his own for the general good. He thanked the Queen for her goodwill, which confirmed all he had heard of her virtues. Wotton made answer that what the Queen had written to him on this point had been prompted by words the King had spoken to St. Leger when he had been at Amiens and by remarks uttered by the Cardinal, but as he saw that the King's inclination was otherwise he would inform the Queen; and this was all that happened as far as peace was concerned. When the negotiation was over, the Cardinal of Lorraine (fn. 1) came up to Wotton and asked him several questions about England, the Queen and above all her projects for matrimony, saying that people in France heard she was to marry his Highness, though neither he nor other Frenchmen could believe that England would consent to the match, which he called harmful and like to lead to enslavement. Wotton replied that he had heard nothing about any match; but he had entire confidence that the Queen would not conclude one that might bring misfortune to the country.
Wotton, by way of information on what is occurring in France, writes that they are so much troubled and amazed, terror-stricken and enfeebled by the thought, that they are unable to conceal their melancholy and regret, but show them clearly by everything they do and say. No man dares to speak of the war to his comrade, and the King's bragging was meant to deceive and hide his necessity, for he desires peace more than ever, and though Legate Capo di Ferro (fn. 2) took leave some time past, he tarried in Paris and was still there ten days ago.
My Lord Featre (fn. 3) has told me that Louis, Prince of Condé, brother of M. de Vendôme, who married Mme. de Boye's daughter, was killed (fn. 4) by the artillery when the fort of Valenciennes was battered, and that he, like M. de Genlis, (fn. 5) has been greatly mourned. He has also heard that M. d'Enghien (fn. 6) is a prisoner in your Majesty's camp, but of this he is not as sure as of the death of the Prince of Condé.
The French ambassador has had two couriers (fn. 7) come to him, one after the other, during the last three days, which has made me suspect two things. First, as Parliament is not going well and there is difficulty about religion, the Pope's authority and the restitution of Church property, so much so that a conspiracy has been discovered among those who hold that property either by the liberality of the late Kings Henry and Edward, or by purchase, who would rather get themselves massacred than let go, and the majority of Parliament refuses to admit the Pope's authority or to come back into the fold, the ambassador might take a hand in the conspiracy and further it by means of the usual French ruses. His master is so weak, however, and has his hands so full in other quarters, that this supposition appears to me less probable than the second, namely, that he is working by all means in his power to dissuade the English from giving their consent to a marriage with his Highness. And, Sire, the Venetian ambassador has been making similar efforts these last days, and has had long talks with Courtenay, (fn. 8) trying to induce him to depart from his fidelity to the Queen if she does not wed him. It may be that he has lent an ear to these persuasions and that the two couriers have something to do with Courtenay. This appears the more probable, because I know for certain that Courtenay and two other gentlemen were dining one day at the Venetian ambassador's, when one of the two gentlemen, called Foucq (Foulkes?) spoke disobligingly of the Spaniards. I am sure, moreover, that the Venetian ambassador is saying and preaching that if the alliance is concluded, his Highness will wish to make himself ruler of Christendom; so much do both (ambassadors) dread and fear the results. I have not had audience of the Queen again because my colleagues have not gone yet, and so I have been unable to tell her about Courtenay. However, I hope he may do himself more harm than good, for since the ambassadors began to approach him he has put on a pride so odious and insufferable to the whole Court, and particularly to the Council, that he has lost credit and is not as well thought of as he was at the beginning. Among his rivals there is my Lord (Thomas) Grey, brother of the Duke of Suffolk, who is a courtier, popular, a man of wit and in favour with the Queen, and so outshines Courtenay that Courtenay dares not show himself when the other is present. My Lord (Thomas) has told a friend of mine that every one is disgusted with Courtenay, and bears witness to the fact that Courtenay is harbouring a suspicion that we are working against him. Last Tuesday, when my colleagues took their leave and the Queen gave us a banquet, he did not salute us and pretended not to be aware of our presence. I believe that what the Queen recently said to me, and I wrote to your Majesty, about her desire that Courtenay should marry out of England, was prompted by the advice of certain of her Council.
Speaking of the marriage, Paget asked me last Tuesday whether I had received the letters he had advised me to obtain from your Majesty. I replied that they had come, but I wished to wait for my colleagues' departure in order that they might be presented more secretly, and without arousing suspicions. He then asked whether an alliance were to be arranged with his Highness, and whether your Majesty wished the English to make war on France, and I told him that as to an alliance with his Highness, your Majesty had said nothing about it in your letters, but if it were practicable and desired, I could not believe that you would wish it to cause England to make war. He then took me by the hand and said he would tell me the rest the next time we met, and went on to comment on news he had received from Germany to the effect that the King of the Romans, the Dukes of Württemberg, Bavaria, Cleves, Augustus (of Saxony) and the Count Palatine (fn. 9) had met together in Bavaria to negotiate various leagues which he feared would not turn out to be favourable to your Majesty or his Highness, besides which he had heard from a good source that Margrave Albrecht had offered his services to the King of France. From what I have heard from various quarters, there are plots brewing against your Majesty in Germany, but I have as yet failed to learn any details.
The Queen has recently been greatly scandalised by a letter written to her by her ambassador resident at Venice, who informs her that the man (fn. 10) sent hither in secret by Legate Dandino to communicate with her on the general absolution of the censures and excommunications which she desired, instead of keeping the secret, had no sooner arrived in Rome than he published it in full consistory and outside, because it was good news and showed that there was no doubt that she would persevere in the old religion. The ambassador added that she might write to Cardinal Pole to find out what passed in Rome, and whether Dandino's man betrayed the secret that had been entrusted to him. This she has done.
I have been told that there was trouble with regard to religion in two churches last Sunday. In one, a preacher was seriously wounded by a merchant of this town for saying that all that had been done since the introduction of the new religion tended to the damnation of souls, and that the communion and sacraments had not been efficacious. Another barely escaped with his life for preaching that it was meet to believe that the true body of God was in the host after the words of consecration had been uttered. He was contradicted by the heretics present, and would have been in grave danger had it not been for the help of some good people who got him out of the way. It is easy to forsee that there will be difficulty in repressing the heretics without causing scandal, as the Bishop of Winchester well knows, for he has lodged himself in the palace in order to be under the Queen's protection, and he realises that they would pay their attentions to him first of all. The thing most to be feared is that the Queen may be moved by her religious ardour and zeal to attempt to right matters at one stroke, for this cannot be done in the case of a people that has drunk so deep of error and is so easily to be debauched.
A man by the name of Baptiste Spinola, once in the service of the King of France and who formerly was a pensioner of the late King Henry, has returned to this country to claim his pension again, and I suspect him of being a French partisan.
Bernardin (fn. 11) is going to serve Mason in your Majesty's Court. I know him for a spy who has been of use to the French and the Duke of Ferrara in this country, and am mentioning him in order that your Majesty may have him watched. Such a man as he is would be able to do much harm where the marriage is concerned by writing home lying and invented stories, which was what Morison used to do, as Bernardin himself has confessed to me.
I am told that the French marshal (fn. 12) is better than he was, and is now out of danger.
Courtenay is in disgrace with the Lady Elizabeth for having spoken otherwise than she had looked for about amourettes said to have existed between them. Elizabeth is soon leaving Court, as she told me herself last Tuesday.
My colleagues are preparing to depart next Sunday or Monday, and after their going I will obey your Majesty's orders and approach the Queen, Council and certain private persons about the marriage, and send you ample information of the results.
Henry Dudley, he who went to France to call for help for the late Duke of Northumberland, is out of the Tower, as also the Earl of Huntingdon.
At the banquet referred to there was no other solemnity than that the Queen supped in hall, whilst the Lady Elizabeth and my Lady Doubley (fn. 13) who has come hither from Scotland, were at a window. At the Queen's right sat we four ambassadors, and during supper the music of hautboys, cornets, flutes, harps and dulcimers ceased not to play. Afterwards my colleagues took their leave, as I said above.
Cabot has obtained leave from the Queen to go towards your Majesty.
The Queen has sent word to me that if she will consent to say nothing about the papal authority in Parliament, there will be no difficulty about declaring the legality of the marriage of her mother, the late Queen Catherine, and Parliament will go on and finish to the people's greater satisfaction than had been expected; but that it will be hard for her to have patience. I replied that there ought to be no question of bringing up the papal authority for the present, and I did not think her conscience need be troubled about it.
Sire: While I was writing the above I received your Majesty's last letters of the 15th. I should already have done what you command me in them were it not that my colleagues are still here; but I will not fail to hasten on the marriage negotiations as your Majesty shall see by the prompt accounts I shall send. I believe my last letters will have informed you that a beginning has been made, and things appear hopeful; but if a change intervenes your Majesty shall hear of it. There is no doubt that if the Queen is willing success is certain.
London, 19 October, 1553.
Holograph. French.
Printed from a transcript at Brussels by Gachard, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.


  • 1. Charles de Guise.
  • 2. Hieronimo Capo di Ferro, Cardinal of San Giorgio.
  • 3. Gachard identifies this person as Sir John Forster. Probably Lord Fitzwalter.
  • 4. These news were quite false.
  • 5. i.e. Jean de Genlis.
  • 6. i.e. Jean de Bourbon, Duo d' Enghien.
  • 7. Antoine de Noailles had two couriers, whom he calls La Marque and the Protestant Courier, constantly going to and fro, as well as another occasional messenger, referred to as Hogius. He was thus enabled to send very secret news without writing them down, a practice that the loss of two of his despatches earlier in the year had shown to be dangerous.
  • 8. Noailles' despatches tell us that the Venetian ambassador was lodged in a house that had formerly belonged to the Marquis of Exeter, and there entertained Courtenay frequently. Noailles deplores Courtenay's disorderly life, light-headedness and credulity, and tells the Constable that if the King of France does not feel able to do anything for him in England he had better order him to leave the country, for otherwise he may end in the Tower, or on the scaffold. (Mémoires de MM. de Noailles, Vol. II. pp. 219, 289.)
  • 9. Otto Heinrich, nephew of the Elector Palatine, Frederick II, whom he succeeded in 1556.
  • 10. This is presumably Gian Francesco Commendone, Chamberlain to the Pope, who was sent to England at Pole's request in August.
  • 11. i.e. John Bernardino, an English politioal agent. (Foreign Calendar for Mary's reign, pp. 194, 318.)
  • 12. The Constable of France is clearly referred to.
  • 13. The Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret, Henry VIII's sister, and Archibald, 6th Earl of Angus. She was married to Matthew, Earl of Lennox.