Spain: October 1553, 21-25

Pages 308-316

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

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October 1553, 21–25

Oct. 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 1. Mary I to the Emperor.
MM. de Courrières, de Thoulouse and Jehan Scheyfve, your ambassadors, have at our request prolonged their stay in this country in order to be present at our coronation, and witness it as they have witnessed all other occurrences since our accession. Their compliance with our wishes has given us great pleasure and comfort, and now that by Divine Bounty our coronation has passed off as well as could have been desired we do not wish to hold back these lords longer from returning to you. We assure you that the honourable and agreeable matters they have related to us have given us great joy and persuaded us still more of your desire to contribute to the prosperity of our affairs, and for this we thank you with all our heart, being anxious to do all in our power to requite you. The lords have discharged their duty in a manner that gives us cause to be pleased with them, wherefore we beg you to shew them all favour for our sake. We will leave it to them to inform you of all that has passed between them and us, and avoid making this letter longer.
Westminster, 21 October, 1553.
Signed. French.
Oct. 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 1. Mary I to the Emperor.
We have understood from your recent letters that you are recalling M. Jehan Scheyfve, your ambassador with us, replacing him by the Lieutenant of Amont; and we have consequently been glad to give him leave to depart. While he has been with us he has always behaved like a wise and prudent minister, and one devoted to the service of our amity and confederation, as we are also informed he did in the days of the late King, our brother, of most noble memory; wherefore it seems to us just to recommend him most affectionately to you. As for the Lieutenant of Amont, we shall be glad to receive and hear him as often as he shall ask us to do so, and treat with him whatever negotiations he is entrusted with, as the true amity and alliance between us demands.
Westminster, 21 October, 1553.
Signed. French.
Oct. 21. (fn. 1) Vienna, Imp. Arch. B. Varia, 4. Mary I to Simon Renard.
Sir: I would gladly speak with you this evening, if you can come hither as you were wont, without your colleagues' knowledge; for I have many things to tell you.
Written in haste this Saturday, before dinner.
Your good friend, Mary.
French. Holograph. Printed from a transcript at Brussels by Gachard, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV, but dated October 23.
Oct. 21. (fn. 2) Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. Varia, 4. Mary I to M. de Courrières.
Sir: The words I used to you were certainly that my obligations towards the Emperor were greater than my deserts; and when you asked me what I intended to do about marrying, I replied that the Emperor's Majesty should first be informed of any inclination I might have to any living person. His Majesty may be assured of that.
French. In Mary's hand, but unsigned.
Oct. 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: I have been informed this day that Parliament has annulled all the Acts and Statutes it had passed since shortly before the pronouncement of the divorce between the late King Henry and Queen Catherine, his first wife, when it was made treasonable to speak against the divorce. The repealed Acts are those on the divorce and religion, for (Parliament) was unwilling to make the annulment general. If the Queen will be satisfied with a declaration as to the legitimacy of the marriage, it will be made without any mention of the Pope or his authority; and the bishops have met to discuss what the Queen had better do. In a conversation with the Bishop of Norwich, I told him that I thought time ought to be allowed to pass, and a better season awaited, before the question of the Church's authority were brought up. He is of my opinion, but told me that the Bishop of Winchester held the opposite view.
I have heard that a statute has been found, by which Parliament gave absolute power to the late King Henry to dispose of the succession to the throne by will, and to appoint whomsoever he might choose. As he named the Lady Elizabeth co-heiress to the Crown, although she is a bastard, the will and the statute ought to be annulled, for otherwise she might always make trouble by laying claim to the succession, although declared a bastard. But as the Queen is not succeeding in virtue of the will, which matters nothing to her as she is the one and only true heiress, I believe she will easily consent to have both will and statute annulled for the sake of avoiding all the difficulties that Elizabeth would make if she were able.
Scheyfve's secretary told me yesterday that the Queen declared to him that the Bishop of Winchester, the Controller, (fn. 3) Walgrave, Inglefield and Southwell (fn. 4) had spoken to her about marriage, and openly mentioned Courtenay. He was, they said, the match that would be most welcome to the people, for no foreigner had ever before been king of the country, and the very name of stranger was odious, whilst Courtenay was well-born, of good conduct and virtuous. (fn. 5) As the Queen was advancing in years it was necessary that she should consider the question for the good of her realm, and she would do well to give some thought to their advice, which was dictated by whole-hearted affection and devotion to her service, for they had emboldened themselves to speak in the knowledge that they were her oldest servants. The Queen made answer that she could never take the advice of such trusty counsellors in bad part, but as they were dissuading her from choosing a foreign husband she would beg them to weigh certain arguments which she thought ought to be taken into consideration. These were those that your Majesty has seen in my last letter but one, and may be reduced to two principal points: the kingdom's interests, and whether they would be served by her marrying a vassal and subject; and her own private inclination, to which she felt sure they would not wish her to do violence by taking a step she might afterwards regret. She handled the matter in such a way that the councillors clearly understood that Courtenay was not to her taste, and no more was said because they found no apposite answer to her remarks. The secretary did his utmost to discover whether I had spoken to the Queen about marriage, or had instructions to speak beyond the general remarks we all made together, but I suspected that his curiosity on this matter was the one reason for which he had spoken to me, and was guarded with him, merely observing that marriages were made in Paradise. I am sure, however, that the said gentlemen have been won over to Courtenay's side and will oppose a foreign match, and as my colleagues are still here I am still unable to negotiate and obey your Majesty's orders as I recently wrote that I would do. They are going in three days.
It is being said here that the Queen (Dowager) of Hungary is soon to go to Germany to discuss affairs of the Empire with the King of the Romans, the electors and princes.
The French are cruising the Calais channel with thirteen or fourteen men-of-war, and appearing off English ports and coast. It would be well to issue such orders as may be required to prevent a surprise attack.
London, 21 October, 1553.
Holograph. French. Printed by Gachard from a transcript in Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Oct. 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: Adrian Crole, who took by surprise the island of Sark, after remaining here some time in expectancy of his Majesty's decision on the proposals we transmitted to him, departed very much dissatisfied on hearing that his Majesty could find no use for the island, but would rather regard it as a burthen on account of expense. Before going he sold the artillery and stores he found there to an Englishman who lives in the island of Hodreney, (fn. 6) and we do not yet know what he has done with the island, whether he has abandoned it or entered into suspicious negotiations with certain Frenchmen who were soliciting him over here. We forbade him to take this latter course, and promised that if he demolished the fort we would reward him with money and a permission to take 300 or 400 barrels of beer out of this country. When we have certain news we will inform your Majesty.
M. de Melissant (fn. 7) arrived here eight days ago and presented the Queen of England with a six-year old wild-boar whose flesh was fairly good. The Queen was very glad to get it, and told him to thank your Majesty and present her most affectionate commendations to you, which he will do on his return.
Madam: I conversed the other day with the Venetian ambassador and spoke to him as your Majesty instructed me in your last letters. However, he has set his heart on preventing the marriage of the Queen and his Highness (Prince Philip) to such an extent that he will forget all his duty towards the Christian republic to second the efforts of the French. The Venetians are so much absorbed by their private affairs that they neglect the general welfare, which is a calamitous misfortune for Christendom.
It is said here that your Majesty is soon going to Germany for the reasons stated in my letters to the Emperor, which you will see.
London, 21 October, 1553.
French. Signed. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV, from a copy at Besançon (Collection Granvelle, 73).
Oct. 23. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E.20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Last Saturday the Queen of England sent me the enclosed letter, (fn. 8) telling me to appear before her that evening at the accustomed hour, which I did. She said to me that she had summoned me for three reasons. First, she wished to inform me that the Bishop of Winchester, the Controller, Walgrave, Inglefield and Southwell (Sudbel) had spoken to her about marrying Courtenay, as your Majesty will have heard from my letters of the 21st. The Bishop based his argument on the assertion that, as this Country never would abide a foreigner, Courtenay was the only possible match for her; and as for his Highness, the country would not like him as he was a foreigner. Inglefield then went so far as to say that as his Highness had a kingdom of his own he would not wish to leave it to come to England, and that his own subjects spoke ill of him. The upshot was that they attempted to persuade her to marry within the kingdom; and Walgrave added that if she wedded his Highness the country would have to go to war with the French, The Queen, perceiving that they had planned this appeal without the other councillors' knowledge, said to the Bishop that he was somewhat open to suspicion in the matter, and begged them all to lay aside private considerations and think of the present condition of affairs, the French plottings, the marriage of the French Dauphin with the Queen of Scotland, what benefit the kingdom could look for were she to marry Courtenay, and what profit might accrue to it if she chose a foreigner. No more was said for the time being; but she believed they would try again in three or four days, and she had no reply ready for them except to talk of the country's welfare. I answered her that I had in my possession the letters in general terms that she had desired of your Majesty, and intended to present them to the Council on the following Monday (i.e. October 30th) when my colleagues had departed) so she might well put off giving a reply until I had executed your Majesty's orders. If she felt inclined to follow her councillors' advice, I begged her to tell me so for the reasons I had already given her, and also if she were disposed to listen to his Highness' suit. Her own feelings were the most important consideration; and if she cared to do so she might easily make the Council follow withersoever she would. She then said that she had no liking for Courtenay, and had not made up her mind definitely; she had heard that the French were doing their utmost to prevent a marriage with his Highness, for Wotton had written expressly to tell her so. She would very much like to know the conditions of the alliance that your Majesty would propose, and if it pleased you to send them to me to be communicated to her she would keep them so secret that no one should ever learn anything about them. She did not mean by this that I was to write to your Majesty that she had given her word, for she did not mean to give it until she felt sure of being able to abide by it, as your Majesty had always shown her great kindness and she did not wish to be thought inconstant. But if she learnt the tenor of the articles she would be able more easily to persuade her Council, and choose the wisest course. I replied that I would write to your Majesty so that you might do as you thought best; but I was amazed to see her so deferent to her Council as to allow them to command her affections, and urge her to marry her vassal for whom she had no liking. She retorted that they had no such authority in matters that touched her so nearly, for she had confidence in what I had told her of his Highness' virtues, and did not believe what had been said about his own subjects disliking him for his excessive pride and small wisdom. If your Majesty decided to send the articles, might you be pleased to remember to specify in them that foreigners should not be allowed to hold offices or benefices in the realm; that his Highness should not employ Spaniards only, but also his vassals of the Low Countries and Englishmen; that the alliance should not involve England in a war; that his Highness should live in England or the Low Countries; that the two countries should be allies for their mutual defence; that his Highness should not attempt to alter the laws or administration of the land, together with other conditions calculated to remove the fear of foreign interference from English minds; that money should not be taken out of the kingdom; that the kingdom should be governed by its Council, which should have full powers in his Highness' absence; and that no foreigner should receive rewards with English money. Nevertheless she desired to submit to your Majesty's better judgment.
Secondly, the Queen told me that Courtenay had two servants about him who had discovered two plots to her own and the kingdom's detriment. St. Leger was about to take leave of her to go to Ireland with pay for the troops there, and Courtenay had heard that three English captains who were to accompany St. Leger had been bribed to seize the money, kill all those who were not in the plot, and make for Scotland or France. Also, several heretic Englishmen had approached the French ambassador and asked him whether the King, his master, would enter into an understanding with them, for if he would support them and pay expenses they would render good service. The ambassador replied that, as for money, the King would not furnish any at once, but if they had means of serving him let them go to his Court, where they should be heard, welcomed and rewarded; though he entered into no more details. The French ambassador was doing all he could to win over Courtenay, but as there was so much talk of her marrying him, she did not dare speak with him except in his mother's presence, though for the sake of hearing about these plots she intended to speak to him the following day. I replied that such plots, proceeding from the French, were dangerous and ought to be dealt with. She might invoke them as an argument in her reply to the councillors who were trying to persuade her to wed Courtenay, who would certainly be of small assistance to her or the country. When she spoke with Courtenay, she might ask him what the Venetian ambassador had said to him four or five days past. I also told her that Pickering, lately King Edward's ambassador in France, had talked over two hours with the Lady Elizabeth, and I supposed their conversation had had something to do with the French ambassador. The Queen said that her Council was getting wind of the plots. The Bishop of Winchester had been amazed, and had found no words except that God Himself had revealed them.
Thirdly, she told me that she had that day been to Parliament to hear the Acts that had already been passed. There were two: one to repeal the Statutes that had declared it to be treasonable to touch upon the late King's Henry marriage, or religion, for (under them) no one could venture to speak of the Pope without incurring the penalites of treason; and the other to restore their honour to Courtenay and his mother, and to declare that the sentence, imprisonment and execution of their respective father and husband should imply no disgrace to them. I then asked the Queen who had brought forward the second measure, for it seemed to me that it would not have gone through so rapidly had it not been for the marriage question, and there were other more important matters waiting to be dealt with. She replied that Courtenay and his mother had requested, by the Chancellor's advice, that it should be done, and she did not think it had anything to do with the marriage question.
The Queen then informed me that she had received several letters from Cardinal Pole, from which she had learnt that he was to proceed to Brussels, in place of Legate Dandino, to attempt to make peace between your Majesty and the French. Judging by what she said to me, she has more regard and deference for the Cardinal than for all her Council put together. She told me he was greatly devoted to your Majesty, with whose praises he filled his letters, especially the one in which he mentioned his Holiness' desire that your Majesty might act as arbiter between him and the English. I thought that it would not be amiss if your Majesty were to have a letter written to the Cardinal about the match; unless he favours Courtenay on account of the kinship between them.
The Queen told me that M. de Courrières caused Scheyfve's secretary to beg her to give him in her own writing the words she used to him and to all of us, to the effect that she would not marry without informing your Majesty first of all; and said she would do it (fn. 9) to give him pleasure.
I hoped to negotiate the rest to-day, but as Scheyfve is not going with MM. de Courrières and de Thoulouse, who are departing to-day, and is not to leave before Thursday, (fn. 10) I am obliged to wait. My colleagues have each received a sideboard of gilt plate composed of various pieces, the most valuable of which is not worth over 2,500 florins.
London, 23 October, (fn. 11) 1553.
Holograph. French. Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Oct. 24. Brussels, E.A. 107. Confirmation of the Privileges of the Hanse Merchants.
It is agreed between Stephen, Bishop of Winchester; Henry, Earl of Arundel, Knight of the Garter; William, Lord Paget, Great Master of the Household to the Illustrious etc. Mary, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and on earth Supreme Head of the Church of England and Ireland; Robert Rochester, Knight etc.; and Sir William Petre, Knight etc., Commissioners of the Queen, on the one side;
And Hermann Falk, Consul; Dr. Hermann Cruser, (fn. 12) and Gotschalk de Wickeden, of Lübeck; Hermann Sudermann, Consul; Dr. Heinrich Sudermann, and Constantino à Lysskirchen, Senator, of Cologne; Dr. Johan Rollwagen, and Dietmar Renkel, Senator, of Bremen; Albrecht Hackemann, Consul; Dr. Johan Strubb, and Gerard Niebuer, Senator, of Hamburg; Johan à Werden, Knight of the Golden Fleece etc.; and Dr. Georg Clefeld, Senator, of Danzig, Commissioners of the Hanseatic Towns, on the other side;
That, whereas there was much discussion as to the validity of a decree, published two years previously under the late King Edward, withdrawing the privileges enjoyed in England by the merchants of the Hanseatic Towns, which question did not receive proper attention because of the troubles and difficulties that then prevailed, it be now decided that the merchants and citizens of the said Towns shall continue, the said decree notwithstanding, to bring into and carry out of England all manner of goods, and carry on their trade according to the privileges they enjoyed before the publication of the said decreed (fn. 13);
Saving always unto her Majesty and her successors all rights and claims which, by the laws of her realm, she may have against those who may abuse their privileges;
And it is also agreed that the same privileges be confirmed to English merchants trading in the Hanseatic Towns, and especially in the territory of Prussia.
London, 24 October, 1553.
Copy. Latin.
Oct. 25(?) (fn. 14) Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. Varia 4. Mary I to Simon Renard.
Sir: As you are unable to find a good opportunity for asking for audience as soon as you expected, I request you to send me your advice as to Michael Throgmorton, a servant of Cardinal Pole, who has been sent by his master with a verbal commission, and would gladly visit his relatives and cousins here. This would be a good excuse, he thinks, as he is an Englishman and the recent pardon permitting such to visit home and friends is general. He would come as if of his own accord, without mentioning his master, if I were to approve. He has been over a month at Louvain waiting for my reply as to this matter, so I pray you to let me have your advice in writing to-morrow before dinner if possible.
Your good friend, Mary.
Holograph. French.


  • 1. This letter is only dated “Saturday,” but the day of the month is clearly indicated in Renard's letter to the Emperor, of October 23.
  • 2. This letter is undated, but was possibly written on October 21 or 22; see the last paragraph but one of Renard's letter to the Emperor of October 23.
  • 3. Sir Robert Rochester.
  • 4. Sir Richard Southwell, Master of the Queen's Ordnance.
  • 5. Noailles (Mémoires, II, p. 222) writing on October 22, laments that Courtenay is spoiling his chances by open debauchery. It is remarkable that Noailles believed Gardiner to be a partisan of the Spanish match. The Chancellor was probably too wary to allow it to appear that he desired the success of the aspirant who had French support.
  • 6. Weiss reads this as Guernsey, but it looks rather like an attempt to render the English word Alderney, although the usual French form is Aurigny.
  • 7. Weiss reads this name as Tremessan.
  • 8. See Mary's letter to Renard, of October 21st.
  • 9. See Mary's letter to Courrières, of October 21st.
  • 10. i.e. October 26th.
  • 11. Griffet, in his Nouveaux Eclaircissements (Amsterdam, 1766, p. 71), gives a short abstract of a despatch from Renard dated October 22nd, the original of which I have failed to find. Griffet's abstract, however, might equally well have been made from the above letter, and it seems probable that he had seen, at Besançon, a minute of it dated October 22nd, though no such minute now exists in the Collection Granvelle there.
  • 12. Dr. Cruser had formerly represented the Duke of Cleves in England. See Spanish Calendar, Vol. X, pp. 282, 323.
  • 13. On January 16th and 16th 1554, Mary issued orders to the Customs officers not to levy Tonnage and Poundage from the Hanse Merchants, and to permit them to export woollen cloths unrowed, unbarked and unshorne, of the value of 6l. per cloth. See Rymer, Vol. XV, p. 364.
  • 14. This note is undated, but Renard, writing on October 28th, refers to it as having recently been received, and it certainly reached him after the 23rd.