Spain: November 1553, 26-30

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

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'Spain: November 1553, 26-30', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916) pp. 387-407. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

November 1553, 26–30

Nov. 28. Besançon, C.G. 73. The Emperor to Simon Renard.
We have received your letters of the 20th and 21st instant. We should have thought it would have been better and more expeditious to do as you said in your former letters and send the ambassadors together with the articles, as their presence would have done much to hasten on negotiations, the authority of so solemn an embassy might have moved the Council to conclude more briefly and the people to consent, as it appears likely to succeed. For these reasons we made them prepare in haste, and they are now ready to go, but although your letters do not say that the Queen approves of Paget's opinion, we feel certain that you would not have come to a decision on a matter of such importance without her knowledge, and we have decided not to allow the English to say that we rendered the negotiation more difficult by refusing to follow her advice, and to send you the articles cast as you will see. We have divided them into five parts: the first is the general marriage agreement, the second the dowry, the third the dower, the fourth the order of succession of the children, if God is pleased to send any, and the last the good understanding that is to exist between the two countries with reservation of former treaties including the commercial conventions, and express confirmation of the treaty of closer alliance.
It is all set forth so plainly, and is in our opinion so favourable to the Queen and indicative of the sincerity that ought to inform all such agreements, and particularly between near relatives who have long entertained a warm mutual affection, that we feel that the Queen will have reason to accept them without discussion, as she said to you she would on account of the confidence she is willing, and indeed ought, to repose in us. We have endeavoured to make the context apt to dispose of all the doubts that your letters mention as existing in English minds. All further explanations that may be called for are furnished in a separate promise, a minute of which is being sent to you; because we did not wish to swell the text of the treaty and thus multiply words that might offer opportunities for discussion, and also these are private assurances that would not be in place in a marriage treaty.
You will particularly note how we have set about dispelling their fears as to what might happen if, after the dissolution (i.e. through the Queen's death) of the marriage, the Prince were to wish to continue governing the country, for when the question of (his share in the) administration is dealt with, it is specified that it is only to apply while the marriage lasts. And we have also added a special clause on the preservation of the laws of each country, the Queen's as well as our son's, in order that each may be ruled according to its own laws and without interference of one with the other, and that all offices and benefices may be reserved to the natives of each land.
One point has not been dealt with, namely the question of the government of the kingdom in case there were children, and the Queen died whilst our son survived with his children still minors. The question of government during their minority has been purposely left out in order that it may be decided by the legal disposition in virtue of which the father is lawful administrator of his children's persons and goods. We thought it better to omit it in order not to make the English suspicious, though we wished to explain it to you.
As for the dower, after having diligently examined several treaties formerly passed between our house and England, Spain and France, we have set it at an annual revenue of 60,000 livres, of 40 gros to the livre, (fn. 1) provided as you shall see. We hope the Queen will be satisfied with this at our instance, but if not you will let us know. As for the exact manner in which the revenue is assigned, we did not think it ought to be specified in the treaty, for it would have entailed prolixity and it is not customary to do so between princes of such exalted standing, as the case of our sister, the Queen Dowager of France, bears recent witness.
Coming to the order of succession, you will see that the articles treat of it clearly, and in a manner most advantageous to the children of this marriage. If there are only daughters, the one who succeeds to the English Crown will not, by these articles, have the Low Countries except under the condition that she marry with the consent of the Infante of Spain, Don Carlos, her brother. If the English do not like this condition they may argue that, were the consent to be withheld, the said daughter would profit little by the alliance. If they mention it, but not otherwise, you may reply that the chance she would have of succeeding, not only to the Low Countries but to the realms of Spain as well, in case the Infante Don Carlos were to die, is not slight, and that they ought, in our opinion, to take it largely into consideration.
The English might wish to provide for another case in this matter of the succession: namely if there were to be several male heirs, and if the said Infante Don Carlos, our grandson, were to die without heirs of his body, as it is provided by the articles that the eldest son take the kingdoms of Spain, England and the Low Countries, they would perhaps rather have a king of their own. In order to explain to you our intentions on this point we are sending you a fresh article in Latin to get over this difficulty, which you may insert in the treaty instead of the other. It provides that the eldest son shall have the kingdoms of Spain, and the second England and the Low Countries, because of our desire, which must never be lost sight of, that they (i.e. England and the Low Countries) may be paired off (appairés) together, in order to afford one another mutual aid against their enemies. We do not see that the Low Countries could be joined with any kingdom more advantageously than with England.
The final article, on mutual unity and confidence, you will see to have been couched in general terms in order to avoid giving umbrage to the English, and refers back, as we have said above, to former treaties. If they argue that we will wish to use the words “mutual assistance” to make them take a share in the present war, you may call to witness the care we have taken not to trouble them, although they know that they were bound by the treaty of closer alliance to give us help against the King of France's invasion of the Low Countries, wherefore they may be sure that when we are joined with them by the bonds of the treaty of marriage we shall be even more solicitous. Besides this, the private assurance that shall be given to them ought to set their minds at peace, for they will only be bound as they already are by the terms of the treaty of closer alliance. And we believe that if the Queen decided to contract another match, with either an Englishman or a foreigner, she would always wish to keep up the treaty of closer alliance.
As the said assurance deals in detail with all the objections and difficulties named in your letters down to the one mentioning your last talk with Paget, as you will see by its terms, and it will furnish you with sufficient argument to answer all demands, we will dwell on it no longer here. But with regard to the last objections that Paget says he intends to raise, and which he has communicated to you in confidence in order, as we take it, to enable you to obtain the means of disposing of them from us, we will go over them briefly in order that you may be ready with your answers.
Firstly, they desire to be informed of the nature of the relations that exist between the Empire and certain of our Low Countries: namely, Brabant, Gelders, Zutphen, Utrecht and, they add, Luxemburg. You may reply that according to a treaty with the states of the Holy Empire, passed with all due solemnity, we have taken over in a uniform and general manner all the rights which the Holy Empire might have had in our patrimonial dominions, which now owe the said Empire no recognition of any sort, and are not submitted to its commands, justice, recesses or other dispositions, with the one exception of the contribution of a subsidy, which is fixed for the Low Countries at the amount provided by two Electors of the Holy Empire; and in return for this subsidy the states of the Holy Empire are bound to assist in the defence of our Low Countries. And succession takes place in the same manner in all these countries, for the only difference there might have been, which concerned the right of the heir of a deceased heir (representation), was abolished by the pragmatic recently issued with the consent of all the Estates when the Prince, our son, was here. This pragmatic confirms the right of the heir of a deceased heir in all the Low Countries, and thus insures the succession of Don Carlos, or of the children that may come of this marriage, against all claims of the King of the Romans, his sons, or our daughters, the Queen of Bohemia and Princess of Portugal, in case it were to happen—which God forbid!—that the Prince should predecease us.
You may assure the English, in reply to the objection mentioned by Paget with regard to the partition we have made with the King of the Romans, that it is one that affords the King and his children every cause to be satisfied, and several letters of his might be shown to prove that he regards it as a great favour. The English may well take the same view, if they will remember that the King has no claim whatsoever to the kingdoms and dependencies of Spain, as he is a younger son and the eldest takes all. They may also consider the extent of the King's patrimonial possessions, which we have handed over to him in full, acting not merely like a good brother, but like a father. The renunciation that accompanies the partition was drawn up in good and safe form, and might be shown if necessary.
As for the doubt Paget mentions as to local customs, you may tell him that none whatever exist to prevent us from settling the succession as we wish, for in all these countries the possessor may alienate and dispose of all that is his with the consent of the next heir, wherefore it is clear that the settlement we arrive at with the consent of the Prince, our son, will be legal beyond dispute. Besides which, as we are a sovereign prince recognising no superior, and the Queen (of England), our good sister and cousin, is in the same position, we may add to the treaty abrogative (de desrogation) clauses as definite as the English care to frame them, in order to allay all fears as to the validity of every disposition contained in it.
As for the question of the marriage with the Infanta Doña Maria of Portugal, you may give them our word of honour that nothing was concluded. It is true that conditions had been discussed, but things were so far from being settled that there was no likelihood of arriving at a conclusion. Far less did the promise, of which you say there has been talk in England, take place. You may deny it flatly.
The above-mentioned promise and that which we have just written here will abundantly serve to rid the English of their fears that, if the marriage come to an end without heirs, our son may lay any further claim to the crown of England, or try to remove artillery, money or other things, or try to appoint others than Englishmen to offices or benefices. As for your mention of their desire to be assured that he will not take away the heirs, you may give a promise with one condition only: that it shall not be binding if the English themselves, at any time, decide that it would be better to do otherwise.
In order to dispose of the last doubt expressed by Paget: that our son might allow objectionable Spaniards to remain in his service while in England, you may give them an assurance, but it would be better to have the promise given separately rather than to include it among the articles, in order to avoid wounding national susceptibilities; though we will act in this matter in a way that shall offer the English every reasonable ground for satisfaction. When the marriage is celebrated the Queen shall see for herself, with God's help, that the malignant inventions of those who have sought to give her an ill impression of our son are false. The same holds good of the objections that Paget says are being raised against him; for though we admit there may be some youthfulness in our son, it is far from being as grave a matter as we see by your letters some people have sought to make out.
the foregoing furnishes such thorough explanations that it will perhaps be unnecessary for the Bishop of Norwich or anyone else to do anything. You will remark to the Queen that it is important to come to a speedy conclusion in order to stop the hostile intrigues of the French and others, and to speak without reserve, to enable our son to go to England and consummate the marriage before the French are able to do anything that might retard consummation. You may imagine now desirous we are to have all this settled in order to send off our ambassadors, who are Counts d' Egmont and de Lalaing, M. de Courrières and the Chancellor (fn. 2) of the Order (of the Golden Fleece), so you will press for an audience with the Queen and a conference on the articles. When you have gone over them you will be able to see whether a satisfactory conclusion is probable or not, so that we may send off our ambassadors without any fear that the conclusion may bring discredit upon our son. However, we feel so sure that this marriage will be to the service of God, and of the Queen's goodwill, that we are confident of success.
In order to conduct the negotiations to a good and speedy issue, we are now writing to our son, instructing him to send without delay a power to our ambassadors and you, in order that you may conclude the marriage for him per verba de prœsenti. And if God wills that success be arrived at, you will have to urge the Queen to send a procurator to Spain with sufficient power to conclude the marriage per verba de prœsenti with our son. And in order that there may be no scruple of conscience, as soon as you have finished the negotiations and we have the news, we shall order a special courier to go to Rome and return again with the dispensation of our Holy Father, the Pope, which shall be kept secret in order not to cause resentment in England.
The Portuguese ambassador has already left to go and pay his visit, as we told you. You will find out all he does over there and inform us of his behaviour towards the Queen and you. If he follows, as we feel sure he will, the course he agreed to with us, his visit will do no more harm to the negotiation than the uncalled for audience of the French ambassador, of which you write. As for the news repeated by that ambassador, they are as false as you supposed. You have already heard that the ships from the Indies were near the Spanish coast, and we are now informed—thanks be to God!—that they have arrived laden with about five millions in gold for us and certain private individuals.
It is well that the Queen is satisfied with your reply as to the journey of the Queen of Hungary, our good sister. We hope it may take place all in good time to the great satisfaction of both ladies, who so greatly desire to converse together.
As for the letter written by à Lasco before his departure, we hope that as Parliament is of the contrary opinion his words will be of small effect, especially as the Queen's cause will be strengthened by this alliance, which we pray God to conduct to a happy issue.
Brussels, 28 November, 1553.
French. Signed, Charles; countersigned, Bave. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits Vol. IV. The original minute is in Vienna (Imp. Arch. E. 21).
Nov. 28. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Last Saturday (fn. 3) the Queen of England summoned me to confer with her in Paget's presence on a matter on which she desired my advice. At the wonted hour her servant led me towards her, and in Paget's presence she told me that it had been thought well for the kingdom's tranquillity to consider the question of the succession in case she were to die without heirs. This question might be dealt with in the treaty with his Highness to be passed on the occasion of the marriage, in order to avoid the troubles and disputes that would otherwise crop up if the throne became vacant. The rival claimants would be the Queen of Scotland, the affianced bride of the Dauphin, who had a real right by descent; the Lady Frances, wife of the Duke of Suffolk, who would also have a claim if the Queen of Scotland were excluded as having been born abroad, as being a Scotswoman and married to the Dauphin of France; and my Lady Elizabeth, who claimed the crown because of the disposition of the late King Henry, authorised by an Act of Parliament that had never been repealed. The best right was indeed the Queen of Scotland's, for it came through Margaret, elder sister of King Henry. The marriage of the said Frances with the Duke of Suffolk had been rather a concubinage than a marriage, because the Duke had formerly been affianced per verba de prœsenti to the Earl of Arundel's sister. As for the Lady Elizabeth, the Queen would scruple to allow her to succeed because of her heretical opinions, illegitimacy and characteristics in which she resembled her mother; and as her mother had caused great trouble in the kingdom, the Queen feared that Elizabeth might do the same, and particularly that she would imitate her mother in being a French partisan. The Queen thought that if God were to call her without giving her heirs of her body, the Lady Margaret Douglas (la comtesse durcley), wife of the Earl of Lennox (lenoch), a Scotsman, and a daughter of Margaret, Queen Dowager of Scotland, by her marriage with the Earl of Angus (fn. 4) (conte de durcley), which took place after the death of King James (IV) of Scotland, would be the person best suited to succeed. She had consulted Paget, who was in favour of speaking to me on the subject in order to have the opinion of your Majesty, who constantly gave proof of bearing the Queen great affection, and also to ask my own. Paget thought that if the succession were settled by the treaty the people and nobility might easily be brought to accept the idea of the marriage with his Highness, because it would allay the fears entertained by the English that his Highness, if the Queen were to die without heirs, might try to make himself King of England, as he would be strong and in possession. But it seemed to him that, as Parliament had accepted the Lady Elizabeth as proper to succeed, it would be difficult to deprive her of the right she claimed without causing trouble; whereas two objects would be gained if she were wedded to Courtenay, for the succession could be settled, Courtenay pleased, and Elizabeth turned away from the intrigues and evil disposition that had perhaps been encouraged by the French and heretics. It would be very hard, in Paget's view, to take her claim from her without having the Act of Parliament repealed, which would be very difficult of accomplishment, although the Queen's arguments were compelling and Elizabeth was notoriously illegitimate. It was to be feared that by wishing to avoid one drawback several risks might be incurred, and that this dispute might open a door into England to the French. Another danger was that if Elizabeth did come to the throne she might alter religion, and this might be prevented by putting into the treaty a stipulation that she was to remain in the old faith; and if Courtenay, who seemed to be a Catholic, were her husband he would keep her in the religion she now professed. Without the consent of Parliament she would be unable to introduce any innovations, and it seemed likely that with time there would be more Catholics than heretics in England, men loth to consent to error, of the troubles and misfortunes born of which they had had some experience. As for the fear that Elizabeth would be a French partisan, she could not be one without wishing to lose the Crown, because it was impossible to make the heart of the kingdom French except by the utmost violence.
I recalled what Paget had already said to me, and what I wrote to your Majesty, and replied to the Queen that the matter was a very weighty one, and to be considered with great care, wherefore I thought she ought to consult other members of her Council. The Queen's arguments and fears were very forceful, and Paget's remarks deserving of attention; whilst it was very difficult for me to form an opinion because I had not the requisite knowledge of English ways and affairs. As for your Majesty, I felt sure you would approve of whatever the Queen and her Council might consider wise. I knew that you would attach more importance to (Elizabeth's) religion than to her illegitimacy, but I would write to you in accordance with the Queen's desire. Time did not press as yet, the question might be given mature thought, and it appeared to me that before coming to a decision the following point ought to be marked and digested. I knew that a match between Courtenay and Elizabeth would please the people and do much to consolidate the Queen's position, provided that Elizabeth and Courtenay would behave with proper fidelity and discretion, but otherwise it might prove a greater source of trouble than all the others put together. I did not wish to come to any conclusion, but only to weigh difficulties; and I took it that to arrange the marriage and confirm Elizabeth's right to the Crown would conciliate the nobility and people, make it easier for his Highness to enter England and silence opposition to his marriage with the Queen, whilst if Elizabeth were excluded she would continue to intrigue with the French and heretics and seek out all possible means to cross the Queen's wishes, to such a point that it would become necessary to break with her altogether and imprison her, unless it were decided to dissemble. On the other hand, I thought to myself that Paget might wish to arrange this marriage (i.e. between Elizabeth and Courtenay) for private reasons of his own, in order to provide for his and his family's future; and he told me that if the Queen desired to induce Parliament to repeal the Act regulating the succession, Parliament would, in his opinion, refuse, so the Queen would struggle in vain to have another heir appointed.
The Queen replied to me that the matter was of great importance, and that it would burden her conscience too heavily to allow Elizabeth to succeed, for she only went to mass out of hypocrisy, she had not a single servant or maid of honour who was not a heretic, she talked every day with heretics and lent an ear to all their evil designs, and it would be a disgrace to the kingdom to allow a bastard to succeed. She would think the question over again, consult other members of her Council, and wait for your Majesty's advice.
It appeared to me from the foregoing that Paget thought it would be difficult to induce the people and nobility to consent to the foreign match without there being some trouble and discord. Moreover I hear from several friends of mine that the people and those of the nobility who are on Courtenay's side, especially the heretics, speak strangely and go so far as to say that they would rather die than suffer Spaniards to rule this country. The French are busy intriguing, and still more so the Venetian ambassador and his secretary, who never leaves St. Paul's where he tries to win over all comers and gives them evil notions of his Highness and the Spaniards; so heartily do they dread this marriage. It is true that since the Queen replied to the members of Parliament and the Bishop of Winchester, several of the Council and nobility have changed their minds and adopted the Queen's wishes. Even Courtenay, on hearing that she told the Bishop of Winchester that she would never marry him, renounced pressing his suit further; so he now remains without a following and unheeded, and said one day to Paget that he had never thought of an alliance with the Queen, for he was unworthy to sit in so high a place, and only wished to remain her vassal and servant. Several councillors have declared to Paget that the Queen ought not to be forced to marry any person who was not agreeable to her; but as the English are double-dealers and unstable, Paget did not believe what they said to him, as he well knew that he was hated by Courtenay and others who paid their addresses to him because they saw the Queen entrusting him with very important business. The clemency the Queen has shown to the Duke of Suffolk, the Earl of Huntingdon, the Earl of Rutland (fn. 5) and several others, to whom she has remitted their compositions, has done much good and won over numbers of the nobility who have heard of these lords' devotion to the Queen. Hoby, who was absent from Parliament, spoke up for his Highness when he heard of his suit, and did his best to contradict common report, hoping to enter the Council and be sent to meet his Highness; and several others are behaving in like manner in order to place their sons in his Highness' service. Apart from the heretics and French partisans, I make no doubt that the Queen's wishes and authority will avail to make a good beginning, but the Council insists that your Majesty send the articles of the treaty before despatching the lords of your choice to make the solemn proposal, as your Majesty will have seen by my last letters, so that when the ambassadors arrive an agreement may have been reached, and the people may understand how great a boon the alliance will be to the country. This will do much to forestall the heretics and French partisans; and it is important that your Majesty hasten the sending of the articles, for the Queen asks incessantly when they are coming and when his Highness will be able to cross over to this country.
On Sunday morning I sent to the Queen your Majesty's letter with another I wrote to explain that I could not have nor ask for audience; and on the same evening I sent his Highness' portrait that the Queen of Hungary caused to be brought hither. She was very glad to see it, but would yet more gladly see the living original. As soon as the opportunity offers I will obey the orders contained in your Majesty's last letters, and write to inform you of the result.
As for the Portuguese ambassador, I will follow the course indicated by your Majesty.
Your Majesty will be pleased to consider whether Cardinal Pole will not be able to intrigue against the marriage at Dillingen just as well as if he were at Brussels, and whether, as the Queen is so trustworthy and has given her word, it would not be better to dissemble with him. (fn. 6) When I am asked why the Cardinal does not proceed towards Brussels, I reply that your Majesty would like to have him go to France before coming to your Court, for otherwise the French might proclaim that you had planned for his coming and were anxious for peace.
Parliament will be over in two or three days. At present it is busied with questions of administration, the leather, corn and beer trades, the number of cattle that the lords shall be allowed to raise, and the married priests, of whom there are over 4,000. It is being discussed whether they are to be deprived of their benefices, and it has already been decided also that those who are married may not consecrate nor celebrate. When the Acts have been published we shall see whether there is any disobedience or complaint, for some folk expect there will be in Suffolk and Cornwall.
I have made no definite promises of rewards from your Majesty to anyone over here except Paget. As for the Privy Seal, Inglefield, Walgrave, the Earl of Pembroke, the Bishop of Norwich, Southwell, (the Bishop of) Winchester, and the Earl of Shrewsbury, you are also bound by a general recommendation. Some present by way of recognition would encourage the Earl of Arundel, Petre and the Controller in their devotion; and your Majesty knows that something must be given to (Dame) Clarentius, another lady-in-waiting and two women who have been faithful and discreet and have always been present when I have negotiated with the Queen. Several other persons are assuring me of their goodwill, hoping to be admitted into his Highness' service. Your Majesty must not imagine that the thing is a secret, for Courtenay and the Bishop of Winchester have talked about it publicly.
London, 28 November, 1553.
P.S.—I beg to remind your Majesty of the documents from Rome concerning the marriage of the late Queen Catherine, of good memory.
French. Signed, and the postscript written by Simon Reward. Sentences in cipher. Printed by Gachard, from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol IV.
Nov, 28. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: Your Majesty will see by my last letters to the Emperor that the Queen of England and her Council wish the articles of the treaty to be sent before the coming of the lords who are to make the solemn proposal, together with the reasons they give. I will not repeat all this, as I have gone over it at length in the despatch now being sent; but, Madam, it will be well to see to it that the articles be sent off, and also that the lords prepare themselves for the journey. This is the present state of the negotiation, in which I have used all possible diligence.
Your Majesty will have heard from my letters how greatly the Queen desired to see you; but on reflection and after consulting her Council she has ordered me to write to your Majesty that as it is impossible for the present she hopes it may come to pass sometime before she dies, and to present to you her most affectionate commendations and thanks. Certainly, Madam, apart from your constant occupations, it would not have been suitable that you should approach the English border before his Highness' arrival. On the first propitious occasion I will execute the rest of your Majesty's orders.
On the evening of the day on which I received the portrait sent by your Majesty I had it carried to the Queen, who saw it as gladly as if it had been his Highness in person. But as I have not been able to speak to her I have not yet done your Majesty's bidding, but hope to in a few days, when I will send more news. For other matters I will refer your Majesty to my letters to the Emperor, as you are pleased to excuse me from writing out duplicates, which I would have been glad to do.
London, 28 November, 1553.
French. Holograph.
Nov, 28. Vienna, Imp. Arch. S.4. Licenciate Games to the King of the Romans.
I wrote to your Majesty a letter, which was taken by a gentleman of Queen Mary (of Hungary) who left on the 23rd instant, in which I sent what little news there were, together with two letters from my nephew, Alonso de Games, duplicates of two more that I have since received. They will have told your Majesty details of what happened on his journey and in London, as well as at his audience of the Queen of England. Beyond this, your Majesty will see what else passed when he took his leave and on his journey down to his arrival here last Friday at 9 in the evening, from a summary, (fn. 7) I drew up of his verbal account, which I am enclosing with two letters from your Majesty in reply to yours which he took. He brings no other news, except that it was being said last Wednesday that they were going to cut off the Bishop of London's head.
The lords met together yesterday in the palace, and his Majesty, who was in bed, laid his proposals before them. They have not been made public, but it is said that he asked them for the great subsidy that it is customary to grant every six years, as it was now time to do so, giving as further justification of the demand the necessity for defending these countries and prosecuting the war until the enemy, its author, is destroyed. He also told them of the English match and what is to be done to bring it about; but there is no report of what the lords answered. The Estates were also called together yesterday, and the Queen spoke to them. It is not yet known exactly what she said, but it is thought it was much the same as what the Emperor laid before the lords.
It is said to be certain that Counts Egmont and de Lalaing, M. de Courrières and the Chancellor of the Order are going to England to propose and pass, in the name of these countries, the marriage between the Prince and the Queen; and that M. de Beveren and the Master of the Horse (fn. 8) are going with the fleet to Spain to accompany the Prince hither. Your Majesty shall receive news of further events.
The Portuguese ambassador is only going to visit the Queen of England, and I believe he has been ordered not to proceed further with his mission. The Bishop of Arras has confirmed this, and told me I might write it to your Majesty from him. .
Brussels, 28 November, 1553.
Copy or decipherment. Spanish.
Nov. 29. Simancas, E. 98. Prince Philip to the Emperor.
Your Majesty's letter of the 8th instant came by the road that this one of mine is to take; and I was infinitely rejoiced to hear of your health, for which I have often thanked Our Lord, in Whom I trust to continue it in the manner necessary to the welfare of your dominions. As for what you say of the English match and the good progress that is being made, I kiss your Majesty's hands many times, for it is clear that you are conducting the matter with great love and care. I lay great value on the Queen's professions of goodwill, and hope in Our Lord that with His help and your Majesty's diligent care it will end in a manner profitable to Christendom at large and your states in particular, as we all desire. My own happiness and dearest hopes hang on the result, for I realise how much depends on the brief conclusion of the negotiation, and implore you to order all necessary despatch to be used. If the Queen wishes me to go soon I will start without loss of time, for in order to do so it will not be necessary to find much money. I am not writing the above in my own hand because it must go in cipher. . . . (Vacant Spanish bishoprics; candidates for the post of Viceroy of Peru.)
Valladolid, 29 November, 1553.
Spanish. Minute in the writing of Juan Vázquez de Molina. The last sentence is in Philip's hand.
Nov. 29. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E.20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: The Queen sent for me to go and speak with her yesterday evening. I went, and she told me she had summoned me to ask whether the marriage articles were not to be despatched before the coming of the lords your Majesty had decided to send to England to make the solemn proposal, for it seemed to her from the letters your Majesty had written that the lords were to bring the articles, and her Council persisted that they ought to be sent over first. I answered that your Majesty's letters had been written before you had received mine on that subject, and that I was daily expecting a reply. There followed some speech about your Majesty's illness, the trouble the Queen of Hungary had taken to write the letters, your Majesty's constant kindness to her and solicitude for her prosperity; and the Queen added that it would be expedient that you should send the articles, and she trusted there would be no difficulty, speaking of your Majesty and his Highness as if the alliance were already an accomplished fact. She did not think there would be any opposition from her Council or the nobility, and the heretics and French intrigues alone gave hint of a menace that all would not go off peaceably and to the satisfaction of the people. She would ever be constant in her affection for your Majesty, and she did not wish you to treat her otherwise than you had done before God raised her to her present degree. She would speak to the Earls of Derby, Shrewsbury, Pembroke and others whom she thought she might win over to her cause, and quite recently had performed the requisite offices with several foremost men, showing clemency towards the son of the Lord Privy Seal, (fn. 9) whose offences she had pardoned. Courtenay had been converted, and had talked over two hours to Paget, confessing that the Bishop of Winchester, Walgrave, Southwell and Inglefield had put it into his head that he might aspire to an alliance with the Queen, and urged him to press his suit in secret. Courtenay himself had not thought of such a thing before, and now he feared the Queen's goodwill towards him had changed, that she was angry, that the husband of her choice would not be glad to see him, and that the Queen had heard evil reports of him. He admitted that he had been told that Paget had prejudiced the Queen against him, but since he had heard that her mind was made up he had decided to speak to Paget and pray him to assure the Queen, on his behalf, of his desire to continue her most humble and obedient, faithful servant, who would always remember that he owed her his life, honour, goods and liberty. Paget replied that the Queen had more affection for him than he (Courtenay) was aware of, and assured him that her husband would have for him all the regard and solicitude owing to a blood-relative of the Queen; he must not believe too easily what was said to the contrary, for events would show the truth. For his part, he had never felt himself authorised, had never made so bold as to speak to the Queen about that matter; far less had he spoken ill of Courtenay, whom he had taken to be well-disposed and not aspiring to the marriage. I then told the Queen that I hoped your Majesty would soon send the articles, encouraged her to continue as she had begun with the principal nobles in order to win them over, and said that I thought she might have Courtenay told, or if she found an opportunity tell him herself, that she would always be mindful of his advancement. This would hold him back and please the people, and she has promised to do so. (fn. 10)
The Queen informed me that two of Elizabeth's principal supporters, on whose advice she had constantly relied down to the present day, went to Paget and told him in confidence that although they were old and familiar servants of Elizabeth, yet they had a still greater debt of duty towards the Queen, their sovereign Lady and Princess, and wished never to forget it. They had therefore decided to tell Paget that for the last month Elizabeth had told them nothing about her affairs, but had acted in secret, conferring with a priest who was said to be a Frenchman and a preacher at the French church in London. They did not know why she was doing so, but they were telling Paget, as the Queen's councillor, so that he might do as he judged prudent, and in order that they might not afterwards be blamed if Elizabeth acted in an undutiful manner. Paget, the Queen went on, believed that Elizabeth was taking a share in these French and heretic intrigues, and was at the bottom of most of the dealings that had recently come to light. It appears that last Sunday the French ambassador asked Paget to dinner alone and, when Paget excused himself on the ground that he was to be the only guest, also invited the Earl of Arundel, Dr. Petre and the Privy Seal. After dinner the ambassador spoke to Paget about procuring a general passport to enable all packets belonging to the King of France and his subjects to go freely through England to Scotland, together with their goods and chattels. A personage from France was soon to pass through England on his way to Scotland, and the ambassador was asking for the passport in order not to importune the Council with the matter. This had given rise to suspicions that the object of the French might be to send over money, conduct intrigues here or in Ireland, or take the Lady Elizabeth out of the country; (fn. 11) wherefore the Council decided not to grant the sort of passport the ambassador wanted. I answered the Queen that the advice I had given her recently had something to do with these designs, and it would be well to have Elizabeth more carefully watched, or better yet to shut her up in the Tower rather than wait for her plans to come to fruition. The warning supplied by her councillors was enough to imprison her on, and the Queen ought to insist that the Council must find out the truth about her communications with the French preacher, and prevent any disturbance she might cause in the country. She replied that Arundel and Paget were to speak to Elizabeth that very day to see what they could get out of her, and to make her understand that her present unwise conduct was known. Care should be taken to find out all details, the knowledge of which would indicate how she might best be proceeded against. The Queen asked me again whether it would be right to establish Elizabeth as heir to the Crown, when her intentions were so bad and it was impossible to trust her; and she bade me write all the above to your Majesty, for she has entire confidence in you, and believes you will help her, as she wrote to you. I assured her, on your Majesty's behalf, that you would do so.
I sent word to Paget this morning that unlawful meetings were taking place in this town by day and night, in which the French and heretics met together. I mentioned by name certain houses and individuals, telling him that some were laying in weapons and that it would be well to put a stop to it and expel foreign heretics.
Parliament was to have risen to-day, but will not do so until Friday or Saturday because of the Duke of Norfolk's claim to obtain restoration of all the property given to him by the late King Henry, and which was sold by the late King Edward. This could not be done unless the Queen gave back the prices paid, which would cause her heavy losses.
English ships from Spain have brought news that the fleet from the Indies has arrived at Seville with a great quantity of gold and silver.
The Queen will soon write to your Majesty with her own hand in reply to your letter.
Sire: I have heard for certain that the French are fitting out a number of warships in Brittany and Normandy. The reason is not known, unless it be one of the two following: either the French are planning an attack on Scotland, Ireland or some part of this kingdom, or they have heard that his Highness is going to Flanders and mean to stop him if they can. These tidings agree with the news given above.
London, 29 November, 1553.
French. Partly cipher. Signed and the last paragraph written by Simon Renard. Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
1553. Nov. 29. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: I declared to the Queen of England the conditions under which your Majesty had sent her his Highness' portrait, and repeated the excuse mentioned in my last letters to the Emperor and your Majesty with regard to the visit. The Queen asked me to read her the last passage of your Majesty's letter, in which the condition is mentioned, and instructed me to thank you most affectionately on her behalf for the present, which had been most welcome and agreeable, both on account of the affection she felt for his Highness as represented in it, and because of the hand that had sent it. I was also to thank you for the trouble you took in writing the letters that the Emperor recently despatched to her, and say that she would soon answer. She could not do otherwise than agree that it was best to put off the visit because of your Majesty's occupations and also because she said she neither wished nor deserved to cause you to take so much trouble. And she added several more considerations that have already been mentioned in my letters.
It is incredible, Madam, how his Highness has been misrepresented to her by intriguers who have depicted him in false colours, especially the Italians who reside here. It is most expedient to hasten on the issue of the negotiation without delay, for the French are striving to spoil all by their usual and natural ruses, which point I will submit to your Majesty's judgment.
London, 29 November, 1553.
Holograph. French. Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels. Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Nov. —. Besançon, C. G. 73. The King of the Romans to Simon Renard.
We have received your letters of the 8th instant, with your excuses for not having written earlier, which we accept as sufficient, and have learnt the good news of our good sister and cousin, the Queen of England, in her continued prosperity, as well as the happy settlement of religious affairs achieved by the Parliament itself, which promises yet more for the future, as your letters state. We greatly desire to hear further tidings, so you would be unable to do us more welcome service than by writing to us frequently, principally because your letters, among other matters, tell us that Parliament has restored the mass and ecclesiastical ceremonies to the state in which they were under the late King Henry. We wish to know more about this matter, and to receive some explanation of the condition of religious affairs at the time of the late King Henry's death, as well as of the changes that have been introduced since. Likewise as to what you write about the trouble the King of France is causing the Irish, whose rebellions he supports, to inflict on the Queen; we would like to know more details, and what jurisdiction the late King Henry, and also he that lately died, possessed in Ireland, how much they held there and to how much the present Queen has a right, together with other details that you think might help us to grasp these questions. And you will not omit to present our most affectionate commendations to the Queen, our good sister and cousin.
Signed, Ferdinand; countersigned, Van der Aa. French. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.
Nov. 30 to Dec. 16. Simancas, E. 807. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
I believe you will already have seen what I have written to you by three posts that went with merchants by way of France, and another that went by land with a safe-conduct to Portugal. Since then letters from England have come to assure me that, although the King of France, the Venetian ambassador and other persons are doing their utmost to traverse the negotiations for a marriage between you and the Queen, things remain in the state of which I informed you, and the Queen's goodwill is every day more apparent. She has written to ask that the articles concerning the succession and other matters may be sent over before the departure of Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, M. de Courrières and the Chancellor of the Order of the Golden Fleece, whom we have chosen to go and demand the Queen in marriage on my behalf and yours. This has been done, and the articles are so reasonable and so scrupulously satisfy all the English requirements that we have no doubt they will be accepted. A reply will soon arrive, and in the meantime the ambassadors are preparing to take their departure; so in order not to lose time you will send off two posts with duplicates of a power, duly signed and drawn up, in accordance with the minute (fn. 12) to be sent with this letter, to be delivered into the hands of the ambassador. As soon as we hear that all has been agreed to we shall send to Rome for the dispensation. As for your own coming, I think that you had better not leave until you receive from our ambassadors the information they have been ordered to send you with all despatch. When all has been settled, Count d'Egmont will go to Spain, and then you will make haste to depart for England, where you will land at the port that shall be indicated to you. For the sake of avoiding delay you will immediately see to the equipment of ships and the supply of provisions and all things necessary, in proportion to the number of persons who are to accompany you. There are plenty of reasons why it would be difficult to prepare ships over here in a short time, and delays would ensue, so you had better avail yourself of those that have sailed to Portugal and Andalusia, and have now been there some time and are in good condition; these and other Spanish vessels might be collected together in Corunna or elsewhere, on the coast of Biscay or the Cuatro Villas, (fn. 13) as may appear most convenient. According to the news you receive from England you may draw near the coast, so as to be ready in time.
It seems that for the present you had better bring no more troops than are necessary to guard your person and the fleet, which I do not think anything will threaten, especially as the English will not be able to refuse to put out to welcome you, or at least guard the Channel, which is the important point. You will do well to appoint captains and have ready a larger number of men than those you intend to bring, so that if necessary you may set out at short notice without imposing too great a burthen on the people. It seems to me right to leave to you the choice of the grandees and notable gentlemen who are to accompany you, for you will see to it that they be of sufficient age and in all respects satisfactory. I will only beg you to impress two points upon them: they must practise moderation and live in a style which they may be able to keep up, and not spend all their money immediately as they are wont to do, thus being obliged to return; and they must bring honest servants, every man of whom must realise that he will have to be able to render an account of how he lives and what he does, for as you are going to a country where strangers are not liked, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance, both for present and future purposes, of gaining popularity and goodwill. And though I know it is not necessary, I will ask you to be especially careful, if God favours this match, to demonstrate much love and joy to the Queen, and to do so both in public and in private. You will thus give her and the country great pleasure, and you will converse and be friendly with the English, behaving to them in a cordial manner, for it greatly behoves you to do so from the very outset and to continue in the same way.
As for the money you are to bring, news from Spain say that the ships from the Indies have arrived with a large amount, enough to suffice for so important a purpose as the present, and I am sure you have arranged to take over a good part of what belongs to the merchants, wealthy men and passengers, giving them the best possible terms. If you have not done so already, it will be well to set about it at once, so that you may bring with you, but not send before, a full million in gold, which it would be better to bring coined rather than in the mass, if it could be done. You will also consider what you will need once you are in England beyond what you will have from the amount I have assigned you; and the rest shall come hither and be placed in a well-guarded castle in case some necessity were to arise. It is important that you write at once what you think of this question, and I again beg you to see to it that, as the payment of sums to the amount of 400,000 crowns is to be suspended, and as we shall arrange it here by means of exchanges, what is owing on them shall be paid at the fair of Villalón; and Eraso will inform you of details. As for the government of the Spanish kingdoms, I have noted what you wrote, and though you say nothing of the matter concerning the Archbishop of Seville (fn. 14) I believe it is because you thought the question had been decided, as I am of opinion it must be. I have seen what you write about the Duke of Albuquerque and the Constable (fn. 15) and will leave you to choose him whom you consider best suited to the requirements of the post. If you select Albuquerque, (fn. 16) you will inform me of whom you intend to place in Navarre if there is time to do so, and if not see to it that he be sufficiently able. I remind you that it is well to employ members of all the great houses, and avoid a few of them getting everything into their hands, for thus you will have a greater number of ministers ready to serve you, and there are also other reasons. The appointments to government offices will go with the names left blank, and you will have them filled in when necessary; there is time for you to give your opinion about restitutions and instructions, but let there be no delay in replying to what I wrote about Naples and the church appointments, for I am only awaiting your letter to make up my mind. I have been in bed for some days with the gout, although the pain was not as severe as it has been on other occasions, and I am now beginning to get up. I feel rather weak, but trust that God may grant me relief.
Brussels, 30 November, 1553.
What is said above about the money that is to be brought hither: that it is to be placed in a castle for use on some future occasion, means that it is to be carefully kept in order that it may be used for expenses in some campaign in which you may be present, and for no other purpose.
This letter, my son, is being written by Eraso because my hands have suffered too much from the gout to write. I am not answering yours brought by Don Iñigo de Mendoza, because I cannot come to a decision, before hearing your opinion, either on the points contained in it or on others that also demand attention. I will see to these matters as soon as I can, but although I am now convalescent and my sufferings have been less acute than on other occasions, I still cannot be sure of a tranquil hour.
P.S. of 16 December.
After having written the above and sent it off by a courier who went by sea, we received by another from England letters from our ambassador to inform us that the Queen and her Council had examined and discussed the articles sent from here to deal with the marriage and order of succession of the children God might be pleased to grant you. They were entirely satisfied and, in prefect agreement, desired the match to take place with the blessing of Our Lord. Thus everything is progressing in the right direction, and they say that the Queen intends to send two noteworthy personages with her power to conclude the marriage with you per verba de prœsenti, wherefore as soon as you can receive this or the duplicate that went by sea you will not lose a moment in granting your power in the form of the minute that is being sent to you, and in sending it off by two couriers as above. Although one or two difficulties cropped up, they were of such slight importance that we gave way, and the ambassadors, who are now preparing to go, will leave in six or eight days. You will make the greatest haste to get ready the fleet in which you are to sail, and the grandees, gentlemen and soldiers who are to accompany and serve you, so that if possible you may be in England by sometime in February or at any rate before the middle of March, which would be a great advantage. I must remind you once more of the money you are to bring, for this is an occasion on which you may show our enemies what you can do and make them see reason. The French are saying that they mean to invade Navarre and send out a strong fleet to block your passage, and although I know there is not much in it because they are in want themselves, and their desire to disturb our frontiers is only half sincere, yet you will have everything well-provided with stores and munitions, troops and other necessaries, so that the fortresses may be manned or relieved when need arises without troubling or harassing the country more than is inevitable, for hitherto the raising of troops has taxed it sorely. When you have to write to us, use your own couriers or send letters secretly by merchants as has hitherto been done, but not by Portuguese, for they take no pains to save our letters, as we saw in the case of one who was coming to Lorenzo Pirez and was taken at Boulogne, for it is said that he was bringing me a letter written by your own hand. I am better, God be praised! though I still have relics of the gout, but am exceedingly happy that Our Lord has conducted so important a negotiation to a successful issue. I am sure you will have the same feeling, and that good will come of it.
Closed on 16 December, 1553.
Another courier has now (fn. 17) arrived with news from the ambassador that the English desire the betrothal to be contracted per verba de futuro and that the marriage take place in the presence of both parties, so that you may promise before the people to observe and keep the treaties. I believe their principal reason for so doing is that they think both solemnities had better take place together; but as we shall endeavour to cause them to agree to having the marriage concluded per verba de prœsenti you will send two powers in accordance with the minutes despatched to you so that use may be made of either, and that no time may be wasted. The Queen is sending to Spain the Bishop of London and two other personages, so you will cause gentlemen of position to proceed to Bilbao or Laredo, there to welcome and caress them in a manner befitting the occasion until they reach the place where you are staying. The English would like you to land at Southampton if possible, or if not at Bristol, but we have replied to the ambassador that there is plenty of time to come to a decision about that point, which must be conditioned by circumstances. They also urge that you ought to come soon and begin drawing near to the coast of Biscay in order to be able to embark the sooner. They wish to know the number of persons, horses, mules and other beasts of burthen that are to come, so you will advise us approximately, taking care to keep the number as low as possible. You will send to England a gentleman of position to take a present to be given to the Queen after the betrothal: a ring or some jewel of value, for it will be eagerly looked for. And you will send us continual reports of your doings and preparations by various routes, for it is essential to let us have your news.
The two powers are in Latin, and the person who writes them out must take great care.
Minute. Spanish.


  • 1. The Flemish gros was worth two-thirds of an English penny, so 60,000 livres de 40 gros would come to 8,000l. sterling.
  • 2. i.e. Philip Nigri.
  • 3. i.e. November 25th.
  • 4. i.e. Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.
  • 5. Edward Manners, Earl of Rutland.
  • 6. Noailles was very anxious that Pole should come to England. On November 24th he records with satisfaction the arrival of Pole's nephew d' Estafort, who was doubtless Thomas Stafford, son of Henry, Lord Stafford, and Pole's sister Ursula. Thomas Stafford was beheaded for rebellion in 1557, when his rising was taken as a pretext for declaring war against France.
  • 7. I have found none of the papers here referred to.
  • 8. i.e. Jean Hennin, Count de Bossut.
  • 9. Francis, Lord Russell, eldest son of the Earl of Bedford.
  • 10. Noailles (Mémoires, II, p. 308) remarks that Renard has Mary entirely under his thumb.
  • 11. Noailles accuses Renard of having told the Queen that he was in constant secret communication with Elizabeth, and making overtures for a marriage between her and a French Prince. (Mémoires, II, p. 309.)
  • 12. See the following paper.
  • 13. The territory of the Cuatro Villas de la Costa corresponded to the modern province of Santander. The four towns are Santander, Castro Urdiales, Laredo and San Vicente de la Barquera.
  • 14. i.e. Don Alonso Manrique.
  • 15. i.e. Don Pedro Hernández de Velasco, Constable of Castile.
  • 16. Albuquerque (Beltrán de la Cueva, Duke of) was appointed Viceroy of Navarre.
  • 17. The letter here referred to, containing the advice given in the last paragraph of this letter, was written on December 11th, and probably arrived in Brussels on the 16th or 17th.