Spain: November 1553, 1-5

Pages 331-337

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

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November 1553, 1–5

Nov. 1. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Since I wrote my last letters the Queen has sent me the enclosed note (fn. 1) in which as your Majesty will see she confirms her promise to marry his Highness. I replied to her that, as for the Portuguese match, there was no bond and both sides were entirely free. Your Majesty might give her your assurance on this matter, as the only sort of difficulty she has made is her desire to have it quite cleared up. And as for the piece of advice she asks of me, I answered that I thought she had better wait for her Council to speak to her about what I said at my last audience, when she would be able to carry the subject further; and I informed her that I had asked to see Winchester, who put me off until next Thursday (fn. 2) after dinner, and I would try to see the rest of the Council and speak to them about the match. As far as I have been able to ascertain, Winchester is puzzled as to how to behave, and in what way he had best sheathe his affection for Courtenay and come over to the side of the Queen and those of her Council to whom he is opposed. He is all the more embarrassed because he knows himself to be hated because of religion and also because he handles affairs in a manner that is disagreeable to the Council. I have been assured that it seems as if his stay in prison had affected his mind, for he now acts in an unfortunately timid and suspicious manner. I hope to be able, on Thursday, to find out his feelings as to the marriage, and I shall then report to your Majesty. You will understand from the foregoing that the Queen is desirous of hastening on the consummation of the marriage, so your Majesty would do well to come to a decision as soon as possible on the articles, the public proposal and his Highness' coming. I will say no more about the articles, for I believe your Majesty will realise that they had better be rather to England's advantage, so as to persuade these folk to approve of the match; and it would seem easy so do so, because your subjects of the Low Countries will like the idea for the facilities of common defence it would afford, and for the usual reasons that your Majesty knows better than I. They had better be in Latin and French, so as to please the Council, most of whom know a little Latin. My principal reason for writing now is to tell your Majesty that I have news from France that the King is mustering horse and foot round about Villers-Cotterets, and has some exploit on hand. My man knows no details, except that he is getting together some 3,000 horse.
A new mayor (fn. 3) has been made in this city of London. He is a good Catholic, and it is hoped will work well for the old religion.
The discussion on religion between Catholics and Sacramentarians is still going on, and nothing is looked for from it but confusion and misfortune. The disputants are to be won over neither by reason, by doctrine nor by fear, so obstinate are they; and all they will do is to run a voluntary risk of death.
The Lord High Treasurer (fn. 4) is a prisoner in his own house, and there is talk of giving his post to Councillor Walgrave. The Treasurer is held to be the richest man in England, and he has made his fortune out of Church property, aud by devouring the substance of wards and minors, of whom the Kings of England have the keeping until they attain the age of eighteen.
The Duke of Suffolk is doing bad work in connexion with religion, and the Queen is angry with him for his manner of abusing her clemency and good nature (facillité).
I am vexed that the bad weather has prevented your Majesty from more speedily receiving my last two letters, which answer all you wish to know, and in confirmation of which I am sending off the present courier, so that your Majesty may see in the Queen's hand the words she spoke to me.
Since Adrian Crole's departure and the last time I wrote to your Majesty about him, I have only heard that he has sold the munitions he found in Sark to the lieutenant of Alderney (Odreney), an Englishman.
The Queen has been feeling heavy these days, but is better now. The changes in the weather were the cause of it.
I will obtain information on the other points contained in your Majesty's letter, and answer in detail.
London, 1 November, 1553.
P.S.—The King of the Romans has written to me, and sent me letters in his own hand to be given to the Queen, in reply to those she wrote to him. He also desires me to send him news as I did when in France, but as I do not know your Majesty's wishes I have put off answering him until I know your pleasure with regard to general news, though I well know I am to keep the principal negotiation secret.
Signed. French. The first paragraph is in cipher, and the postscript in Renard`s own hand. Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Nov. 4. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: As soon as Courtenay was informed of the audience I had the other day of the Queen and Council, and heard from the Chancellor and Controller that I had presented letters to them from your Majesty, he began by the advice of the Chancellor and other persons whom he has won over to devise means for preventing the negotiation of the marriage. He has been three times to see Inglefield and ask whether he feels well enough to go to Court; for Inglefield has a fever and is melancholy because his wife has left him and is now living a carnal life. This keeps him in his house, out of which he has not ventured for several days; and the air is very cold and variable. Courtenay has also applied to the Earl of Pembroke for advice, and his mother, the Marchioness, hearing that Pembroke was lending an ear, also went to pray him to stand by her son. They have decided together to cause Parliament to speak to the Queen about the match, begging her not to wed a foreigner and expressing a fear that if she does so the people simply will not stand it. They do not care to go further themselves in pressing their cause in order not to excite indignation, and hope to cause the Queen to abandon her predilection for his Highness out of fear of the people; for they well know that if no foreigner succeeds Courtenay is sure of success, as he is the only man of the blood royal in England. I have heard that the Chancellor is basing his arguments against the match on two sets of assertions. Firstly, that if the marriage takes place England will go to war with France, in which case the country will have to suffer; the King of Bohemia is plotting in Germany to place obstacles in the way of his Highness' succession, whose designs the Italian princes will combine with France to frustrate; if your Majesty dies his Highness will be weaker than might be supposed because of the various blows that are being aimed at him; the Landgrave (fn. 5) is plotting revenge; and the realm of England will have no rest. Secondly, that the people and nobility will never put up with Spaniards in this country, for they call them proud and impertinent. In the streets one sees nothing but Courtenay displaying the jealousy felt by rivals in love, and all believe he is jealous of the Crown rather than of its wearer. Your Majesty may well imagine that the French ambassador is not asleep, nor the Venetian either, though they are proceeding with greater care than formerly, since hearing from Courtenay or his ministers (fn. 6) that the Queen has been informed of their communications with him; but still I hear that the King of France is promising Courtenay so much that he might well be satisfied with half. I have warned the Queen and Paget about all this, and they have decided that she shall only give private audiences, and shall see the Chancellor and his friends separately in order to put a stop to their designs by telling them that, as the marriage touches her more nearly than anyone else in the world, she hopes they will not advise her to choose a husband against her inclinations, who might cause her to regret the step. As for the public good, she is mindful of it and of the oath she swore at her coronation, and desires wholly to perform her duty towards the Crown, wherefore she will invoke the Holy Ghost to inspire her for the best. With such words as these she will show the bearing of a Queen and sovereign lady. As I know Pembroke's nature, I believe that, in order to prevent him from going on with whatever plans he has made with Courtenay, she might tell him that she was being asked to marry and wished to choose the best husband for the country's sake and her own satisfaction. With no more than that she will win over Pembroke to whatever opinion she likes, for all he wants is a gracious word, and I think she will give him one. The French and Protestants are saying that if the marriage takes place his Highness will try to reform religion by force; and Courtenay is using the same argument, though he is dissembling where religion is concerned. So far the Bishop of Winchester has not given me audience, no reply has been made to what I said to the Council the other day, and the Controller has not come to my house as he promised to do. The reason of this delay is that they hope to cause Parliament to send persons to talk to the Queen before giving any more audiences.
Nevertheless, the Queen wishes me to press the Chancellor for audience until he gives a downright refusal, in which case as soon as he asks for audience of the Queen she will find out why he has refused me. Paget, who has undertaken this business, has used it to obtain the Queen's confidence and now has state affairs in his hands. (fn. 7) He has assured me that the Queen will not change against her word, and explained why he did not advise her to send the Lady Elizabeth away from the house in town that the Queen gave her; for she has not gone into the country as I had been told. Although Parliament, he says, has willingly declared the marriage of King Henry and the Lady Catherine, his first wife, to have been legitimate, and the heirs born of it legitimate, and has repealed the Act of Parliament to the contrary, and tacitly declared the Lady Elizabeth to be a bastard, yet she has been called to the succession by the consent of Parliament if the Queen dies without issue, and it would be difficult to deprive her of this right without giving rise to trouble, especially as the Duke of Suffolk's children have been found to be bastards, because he had been betrothed per verba de presenti to the Earl of Arundel's sister (fn. 8) before taking the Lady Frances to wife. Therefore the right would go to the Queen of Scots, and the best thing to do in order to please nobles and commons would be to cause the next Parliament to confirm the Lady Elizabeth's right to succeed, on the condition that she marry Courtenay, and in case the Queen dies without heirs, in which event Elizabeth and her heirs should succeed, or, if she had none, Courtenay. Were the succession arranged in this wise all sides might be satisfied and all possible trouble avoided. He thinks it better to keep in with Elizabeth than to antagonise her, and entirely disapproves of those who wish to put her in the Tower; for by following the course he suggests Courtenay and Elizabeth will be conciliated and deprived of means of plotting. The Queen, he says, has five difficulties round about her: The first is that of religion, which cannot be remedied so far as to re-establish the authority of the Church; for all that can be done at present is to repeal the Acts passed under King Edward and put things back as they were at the time of the death of his late father, King Henry. The second difficulty is that the Queen has been advised to revoke all the liberalities given by the Crown under the late Kings Henry and Edward, consisting of Church and other property; but as this matter nearly touches all the nobility and most of the people it cannot be put into execution without arousing a mighty tumult. He has never thought it wise to attempt it so early in the reign; for the whole Council, and particularly the Earl of Pembroke, are concerned. The third is the revolt kept alive in Ireland by the French and Scots, which is going further than might be wished for and is difficult to be dealt with because there is no ready money and the kingdom would be over 1,500,000 crowns out if obliged to pay all its creditors. The fourth is the fact that the compositions arrived at with several nobles have alienated them, for it is not possible to keep both men's hearts and their goods, and they do not look upon the compositions as a proof of a merciful disposition. It would have been much better to have looked upon those offences as excusable because they were committed out of fear, ignorance or under compulsion. The fifth difficulty is to conduct the match to a successful conclusion. Paget thinks that the Queen ought to remit most of the compositions, refrain for the present from revoking the liberalities of the late Kings, be content with re-establishing mass and religion as they were in the late King Henry's lifetime, temporise with Elizabeth and Courtenay; and the rest would come in good time. He assured me that he was not speaking to me as if I were a foreigner, but a Councillor of the Queen, and that when I went to her I had better use similar words in order to prevent her from lightly taking any step that might prejudice her position, for she had so many councillors that she would never have a moment's peace if she listened to them all. He owned to me that the Bishop of Winchester had a spite against him for having advised the Queen not to imprison Elizabeth because of religion, but to reduce her with kindness; though if she had been imprisoned it would have been necessary to provide a body-guard for the Queen, who otherwise would not have been safe. Moreover, the Queen was being advised to impoverish the nobility, and that was an ill-considered opinion, because if the nobility were impoverished and weakened the people would rise up and impose a popular government, which would be still more dangerous and scandalous. His view does not seem to me mistaken except on one point: that of the projected match between Elizabeth and Courtenay; for I am inclined to fear that they might become forgetful and try to cause a revolt in the land, though I did not attempt to contradict him in order not to show him that I disagreed with anything he said, and because if the alliance becomes an accomplished fact it will be possible to attend to everything, and especially to the most important question of the safe-guarding of persons.
Paget also asked me whether your Majesty had sent me the articles of the marriage treaty and if you had decided how you would cause the proposal to be made. He thought it would be well for your Majesty to think of sending persons of position and birth in order to treat with prestige, and that the sooner they came the better. I replied that you could not come to a decision until you knew that the Council would adopt the Queen's wishes, but as soon as you knew that you would do all that could be desired. As for the articles, your Majesty had not yet sent them to me. Paget made answer that you had better have them drawn up so as to be able to send them when required, and then carefully plan everything that was to lead up to the consummation. The Queen must not be expected to put forward articles or conditions; she wished your Majesty to attend to everything, for otherwise she would never be able to achieve any result with the Chancellor, who was hostile to the whole idea. And as your Majesty wrote to me recently that it would be better to wait for articles from the Queen, you will now understand that she is looking for them from your Majesty. I have written all these accounts of machinations, and Paget's remarks, in order that your Majesty may grasp the present situation, and send me your orders as to the course you consider it wise to pursue.
The Queen has written to Wotton that, as the King (of France) disavows what Cardinal de Tournon said, she can do nothing more. Enough has passed to show the King and his ministers her willingness, and she will say no more unless the King takes the initiative.
Sheres, (fn. 9) whom the late Duke of Northumberland sent to negotiate with the King of the Romans, has returned. He declares that the King of the Romans intends to propose a marriage between the Archduke (Ferdinand) and the Queen, and asserts that your Majesty has promised to use your influence in his favour. He also says that the Queen (Dowager) of Hungary has spoken to your Majesty about placing the Low Countries in the Archduke's hands, though I am unable to believe it. He has talked very wildly, saying that there is no good understanding between his Highness and the King of Bohemia, and that there is much plotting against your Majesty and his Highness in Germany.
London, 4 November, 1553.
French. Signed. Mostly cipher. Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Nov. 5. (fn. 10) Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. Varia, 4. Mary I to Simon Renard.
Sir: I forgot to tell you one thing to-night: The Chancellor, in speaking of a match over-seas, said that they might make many promises, but would keep them or not as they chose once the marriage became an accomplished fact.
Mary, Queen of England.
French. Holograph. Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV, but dated November 6th.


  • 1. See the foregoing paper.
  • 2. i.e. November 2nd.
  • 3. Thomas White, knighted on December 10th, 1553 (Wriothesly). His predecessor was George Barnes, knighted on April 10th, 1553 (Lit. Remains of Edward VI).
  • 4. i.e. the Marquess of Winchester (William Paulet).
  • 5. Philip the Magnanimous, Landgrave of Hesse, one of the leaders of the German Protestants.
  • 6. Noailles states in his despatches (Mémoires, II, p. 245) that he was supplied with information as to the Queen's doings by one Jehan Aly, favori de la royne. This is probably Sir John Leigh, said to be a half-brother of Queen Catherine Howard. See Vol. X of this Calendar, p. 9 note, and Foreign Calendar, Vol. I, p. 98.
  • 7. Noailles calls Paget entre tous ceulx pardeça le plus corrompu. (Mémoires II, p. 241.)
  • 8. i.e. Lady Margaret Fitzalan.
  • 9. John Sheres, see p. 300 note.
  • 10. This note is undated, but Simon Renard, in his letter to the Emperor, of November 6th, refers to it as having been written on the 5th.