Spain: December 1553, 21-25

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

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'Spain: December 1553, 21-25', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916) pp. 446-459. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

December 1553, 21–25

Dec. 21. Besançon, C.G. 73. The Emperor to Mary I.
I am sending to you at present my cousins Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, M. de Courrières and the Chancellor of my Order. They are going to continue the steps for the marriage between you and the Prince, my son, by proceeding, together with my ambassador resident with you, to make the solemn demand for your hand. On my behalf and on my son's, they are also to assist at the conclusion of the articles proposed by me and accepted by you and your Council, to consent to certain alterations in points of detail, and pass the treaty. Thus I hope this good work may be concluded, for I trust that it will be instrumental in God's service, and of great profit to our realms and dominions. When this has been done, it will be easier to hasten the coming of my son, as you shall hear from my ambassadors, to whom I beg you to accord the same credence as you would to myself. And in order not to trouble you with a long letter, I will only tell you that you may be sure I will do my utmost to render you the goodwill I have always known you bear me, and shall be all the more anxious to do so because my duty towards you will be increased by this alliance, which will oblige me to have the same care for your realms and subjects as for my own. And because I am suffering so sorely from the gout that I can hardly move my hand, I have asked my sister, the Queen of Hungary, to write this letter.
Brussels, 21 December, 1553.
Signed, Charles. French. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.
Dec. 21. Simanoas, P.R. 7. The Emperor's power to Lamoral, Count d'Egmont and Prince de Gavre; Charles, Count de Lalaing; Jehan de Montmorency, Sieur de Courrières; Philip Nigri, Chancellor of the Order of the Golden Fleece; and Simon Renard, Lieutenant of Amont, to enable them or any three or two of them to negotiate and conclude, in his name and that of his son, Prince Philip, a marriage treaty between Mary, Queen of England, and the said Prince Philip.
Brussels, 21 December, 1553.
Latin. Copy.
Dec. 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to the Bishop of Winchester.
We are about to send to England Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, and MM. de Courrières and Philip Nigri to negotiate and conclude, together with our ambassador ordinary, the Lieutenant of Amont, the alliance projected between the Queen of England and the Prince, our son. We have been informed by our ambassador that you have seen fit to perform the best offices in your power to promote the success of the negotiations, because of the partiality you have always felt to a project of union between our two houses, and because of your knowledge of the advantages and profit that with God's help may result for both kingdoms and their subjects; and we may refer especially to the pertinent arguments you lately employed in persuading the assembly to which the Queen communicated this affair. We thank you very lovingly, and pray you to persevere until the end, holding for certain that we will discharge the obligations we and our son have incurred towards you for this, in such a manner that you will have occasion to feel well-satisfied, besides the contentment you must experience for having lent your hand to a deed on account of which we hope the kingdom of England will rejoice for ever, as well as in the share you have taken in it. For the rest, we refer you to our ambassadors.
Brussels, 21 December, 1553.
Minute. French.
Dec. 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to Lord Paget.
We have been particularly informed by the correspondence of our ambassador in England, the Lieutenant of Amont, of the numerous good offices you have performed, and the assistance you have given him in directing the negotiations for the alliance between the Queen, your good mistress, and the Prince, our son, thereby doing, as we verily believe, a worthy deed for the advantage of the kingdom of England, your native country, as well as our own territories and kingdoms, to the greater service of God our Creator and the welfare of all Christendom. We feel ourselves deeply obliged by your dutiful conduct in this affair, and the affecion you have always shown in the past, and especially in the present matter. Remain assured that we and our son, the Prince, will so acknowledge your services that you will have reason to be pleased, as you will hear from Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, and MM. de Courrieres and Philip Nigri, whom we are sending over to England to conclude, together with our ambassador ordinary, the negotiations on our behalf.
Brussels, 21 December, 1553.
Minute. French.
Dec. 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to sundry Englishmen.
We have heard from our ambassador resident in England the devotion you have displayed to us and the Prince, our son, in the negotiations that have so far taken place for an alliance between the Queen of England and our said son. We desire to express our cordial thanks to you, and to urge you to continue as you have begun, for you may be certain that we and our son will not forget your services, but will embrace every opportunity of rewarding you. And we pray you to give credence to what Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, and MM. de Courrieres and Philip Nigri shall say to you on our behalf, as if we in person were addressing you.
Brussels, 21 December, 1553.
Minute. A note states that twelve copies with the addresses left blank, beginning: Dear and well-beloved; six beginning: My Cousin; and six beginning: Reverend Father in God, dear and well-beloved, are to be made of this letter.
Dec. 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to sundry Englishmen.
Dear and well-beloved: We are now sending Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, and MM. de Courrières and Philip Nigri, to negotiate, together with our ambassador resident in England, an alliance between the Queen of England and the Prince, our son. We have instructed them to speak to you on our behalf and assure you of our whole-hearted affection, and we beg you to believe them as you would ourself.
Brussels, 21 December, 1553.
Minute. A note states that twelve copies, with the addresses left blank, are to be made of this letter.
Dec. 22. Simancas, E. 505. The Emperor to Don Juan Manrique de Lara.
We wrote to you yesterday by a special courier about the dispensation to be obtained from our Holy Father, the Pope, to conclude a marriage between the Prince, our son, and the Queen of England. Since then another difficulty has arisen, which must be met by means of a dispensation from his Holiness to have the marriage celebrated and consummated, if necessary, at a season when such ceremonies are forbidden by the Church, as for example after Septuagesima or in Lent. Otherwise the Queen would have reasonable ground for scruples. Also, although bishops may give such dispensations, it must be remembered that all the bishops in England have been made by the King without legitimate authority to do so, and since the schism took place, except for one, Cuthbert Tunstall, who is ninety and so feeble that he may be reckoned unqualified (inhabil). Therefore his Holiness must issue a brief to qualify one of the said bishops, whomsoever the Queen shall choose, to celebrate and solemnize the sacrament of marriage, even if it be in the forbidden season. If the Pope seems inclined to make any difficulty about this, you will tell him that it will help the desired reduction to be accomplished in the fulness of time. The matter must be kept secret, and let there be no repetition of the mistake committed when Pope Paul (III) wrote to the Switzers that the German war had been undertaken on account of religion. We would be glad to have the dispensation despatched with as little delay as possible, for you will understand the trouble that might otherwise take place. If any difficulty is made about any of the points contained in this or the former letter, you will inform us immediately, not omitting to solicit in the meantime for the others and to send us what you succeed in obtaining. Thus we shall be able to instruct you as to what is to be done, and to guide the negotiation for the best.
Brussels, 22 December, 1553.
Minute. Spanish.
Dec. 23. Besancon, C.G. 73. The Bishop of Arras to Simon Renard.
Since writing my last letters to you, I have received yours of the 12th, which refer to those addressed to the Emperor. You will see what he answers you. I, personally, feel certain of the truth of what you write about the designs by which the French are aiming to take the war out of their own country; and as you are well-placed to get detailed information, as his Majesty is writing to you, and some knowledge of those designs is necessary to us in order to countermine them, I beg you to be vigilant and to use all means in your power to discover as much as you can, and send us reports.
As for the thanks the Bishop of Norwich is to offer—the second point of your letter—for the care we have over here for the Queen's affairs, I am glad she realises it, and knows how anxious I am to offer her my most humble service. You will assure her of this whenever you see that opportunity offers.
I must remind you of what you wrote in your anti-penultimate letters about a courier who, as you hoped, was going to be caught, and from whom some part of the French designs might be ascertained. You will do well to inform his Majesty of what has happened since; for the other day certain members of the Council observed that you made no mention of the point, whereupon I said it might well be that the looked-for event had not yet happened, or that we had not had time to hear of it.
I must also tell you that Chevalier Bernardi, the Venetian who negotiated the agreement (fn. 1) between the late King Edward and the French, and was the mover of the handing back of Boulogne, has passed by here. At about the same time I had been instructed by his Majesty to speak to the Venetian ambassador here about the ill offices rendered by the Venetian ambassador in England, to the prejudice of his Majesty and his alliance with that country, informing him that the said ambassador spoke of our Prince and the Spaniards in a manner unbecoming in a public person, and especially in a minister of the Seignory, who always appeared in its demonstrations to be a devoted friend to the Emperor. He assured me that he would write not only to the Seignory, but also to the said ambassador, so that if he were blinded by partisan spirit—though he could not believe that he had spoken so immoderately—he might at once cease to practice such behaviour. This will at any rate make him a little less noisy.
I also spoke of Bernardi to the ambassador, and said that as he was a private individual much given to meddling in affairs, he might easily perform ill offices, for which those who did not see clearly enough to realise the mutual affection existing between his Majesty and the Seignory, might conclude that body to be responsible. I therefore asked him to try to prevent Bernardi from going to England, or at any rate to take steps to make sure that he would not do anything over there of which we might have to complain. The ambassador answered that the reason why Bernardi was going to England was the pension of 2,000 crowns a year that the late Duke of Northumberland had assigned him for his pains in the peace negotiations. But as the Seignory did not allow any of their gentlemen to be dependent on any other prince whatever, they had assigned him a brief period during which he must make what he could out of this recompense, without taking further wages or salary from England. He would command him, the ambassador said, and had commanded him already, as a minister of the Seignory might order a simple gentleman, not to meddle directly or indirectly in affairs in England, nor to do anything that might vex his Majesty or his family. However, I am not sure of the ambassador's sincerity, nor of the Seignory's either, for they may well fear the grandeur of the Emperor and our Prince, and wish to traverse their designs, which it would be easier to do by means of a qualified private person than through an ambassador.
And what makes me all the more suspicious is that when Bernardi was in this Court he made show of obeying the ambassador's orders by saying very little and behaving as if he considered the marriage already safe, as being admirably calculated to further the interest of both sides. But when he reached Antwerp he displayed quite different views; and in speech with various persons, in particular Donato Bullo, a servant of Cardinal Pole who said he did not consider the project feasible, for there were many hostile movements forming against it in England. I suspect that when he reaches England he will do his worst, wherefore I believe you would do well to warn the Queen, who has small cause to recognise the obligations of the Duke of Northumberland, especially as it seems that this man sold Boulogne to the French, Boulogne that her late father captured and defended with such great labour and expense. He might easily be relieved of this charge of 2,000 crowns a year, and even expelled from England without fear, not only if he looks as if he were trying to plot, but even if he is more sociable, companionable or conversational than he need be. This hint is enough, I believe, to tell you to keep an eye on Bernardi to see what roads he walks, and do what you consider to be your duty.
Brussels, 23 December, 1553.
Signed. French. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.
Dec. 23. Brussels, E.A. 384. Lord Paget to Simon Renard.
The French ambassador had audience yesterday after dinner; and it seemed to me that he demanded it for three reasons: to obtain certain information as to the rumours of a marriage between the Queen and the Prince that have already reached his master; to deceive us with fine words; and to try to find an opening for peace negotiations. He began by saying to the Queen, that, as he had not visited her Majesty for some time, he wished to see her, though his main reason for demanding audience was his desire to perform good offices, such as had been his in the past, likely to contribute to the maintenance of friendly relations between his master and her Majesty. She and her councillors had several times promised him to serve this friendship; but he had lately heard that a marriage had been arranged between her Majesty and the Prince of Spain, son of the Emperor, who were his master's two greatest enemies in the world, wherefore he prayed her Majesty to tell him whether her intentions were the same as those she had caused to be reported to his master, who for his part would wish to leave nothing undone that might prove his affection for her Majesty, and his desire to requite her for her goodwill. Such was his discourse, and I assure you that the Queen replied very prudently, and in few words, that it was quite true she intended, as she had said to him and caused Wotton to declare to the King, to observe the amity and treaties that had been passed between him and her father and brother, and to avoid giving any cause for interrupting and breaking them unless forced by the other side to do so. The ambassador replied that marriage implied a friendship that was more than all other friendships, and that it was greatly to be feared that even if she desired to persevere, as she had said, she would not be able to do so when once married. She retorted that neither husband, nor brother, nor cousin should ever make her do anything against God or her honour. She was quite decided not to give any cause for breaking the treaties made by her father and brother either with the Emperor or with the King, but would keep them in the manner stipulated with both parties. It was most distressful that two great princes should remain at war to the destruction of their subjects and dominions and the great detriment of all Christendom, and she desired that they might come to an agreement, and behave like Christian princes, rather than continue to shed the blood of their poor Christian subjects, who had done nothing to deserve such a ruinous punishment. At this the ambassador began to be lavish of talk about Christendom and his master's peaceable disposition, —though of course he was not afraid.—He declared that the fault was the Emperor's, who had been the cause of the war, and that, nevertheless, his master, for the sake of the welfare of Christendom, desired peace and would rather accept it at the hands of her Majesty, his good sister, than from anyone else. He had been instructed by his master to say so if she made any mention of peace; and he went on to discourse of the excellent opinon his master had of her, and his belief that God would make her, rather than any other person, the instrument of peace, for He had already shown her, several times over, great favour and grace. Her Majesty replied in an unassuming tone—you know her modest character—that she would count herself happy if God would give her grace to accomplish a task so holy and pleasing in His eyes; wherefore she would gladly accept it. Thus you see, Mr. Ambassador, what passed yesterday between her Majesty and the ambassador. I have written you this account by her Majesty's orders; and I pray you to furnish an interpretation if my faulty knowledge of the (French) language has caused me to let fall any incorrect words.
As for the bishop for whom the Queen of Scotland asked the right of passage, his name is David Paniter. He is Bishop of Ross, and is the same man who was in Flanders—when I also was there—to sue for the re-establishment of friendly relations between the Emperor and the Scots after the last peace concluded between his Imperial Majesty and the late King Francis. The Queen would not be able to refuse him a passport, for her treaty with Scotland demands that he have one. It is of no consequence to give one for him and forty persons of his company, though some twenty-four of them may be Frenchmen. And when all the French have left Scotland I shall not be sorry, and I believe the Scots will be glad.
The French ambassador said nothing to her Majesty about the journeys of the Bishop or of the Queen of Scotland; but I questioned him on the matter, and he told me definitely that the Queen of Scotland had not gone, and in his opinion would not go until after she had been married to the Dauphin. I believe this, and also that the French will not allow her to leave France unless the Dauphin goes with her, and moreover that they will not entrust the Dauphin to the Scots until he is old enough to rule himself and the kingdom. The Scots are by nature no fonder of the French than are the English, and they are equally enamoured of liberty. I have no more to say for the moment.
Richmond, 23 December, 1553.
Copy. French. Printed by Gachard, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Vol. IV, Appendix.
Dec. 24. Simancas, E. 804. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
More letters, the substance of which is being sent to you, have just arrived from the ambassador, and you will learn from them all the efforts the French are making to prevent this alliance, which efforts are the cause of the sudden mutations that occur in England. However, the negotiation is in the stage you will hear of, and it seems that the Queen's will is so firm, and the Council's policy of providing for emergencies, and taking all the measures necessary for the celebration of the marriage, so prudent that with God's help nothing will be able to hinder it. We are writing to our ambassador to give all possible assistance to the Queen and her Council in defeating the intrigues, using such severity or gifts and promises as shall seem required, and to advise them to make sure of the sea-ports and keep troops at hand. We are of opinion that Elizabeth's marriage must be delayed, for if it were to take place now it would supply the malcontents with a chief round whom they might rally. And the Council must prepare the way for your coming and the consummation of the marriage, seeing to all things necessary in due time, for as they are on the spot and know what developments may be expected it is their duty to consider and deal with all these questions. We trust that no time will be lost, and that when our ambassadors arrive over there, as they soon will, affairs may go more smoothly. As we have already written to you, haste must be made in preparing the fleet, and we think that, in order to put ardour into the proceedings and cause those who are to accompany you to be quick, you had better start at once on your way towards that part of the coast where you intend to take ship, so that you may do so with God's blessing as soon as you hear from our ambassadors that you have been betrothed per verba de proœsenti, or de futuro. But until then you will not embark, for it would be unsuitable to do so without just cause. You will immediately despatch the two powers according to the minutes that were sent to you; you will bring with you the number of troops we mentioned, and see to the raising of a greater force to be used on the frontiers, letting us know of everything that is done. I have received your letter in reply to mine of November 8th, and as soon as I am well enough I shall begin to attend to the affairs spoken of therein.
I have ordered inquiries to be made as to whether it would be possible to send you some armed ships from here, and though there are plenty of them, it seems there is a difficulty about provisions, which have to be brought from Northern Germany. The ice prevents this at present, so that the ships will be unable to sail before the end of March, and by that time you will be able to make arrangements in Spain. However, we will cause the merchants to make haste in fitting out the ships they are to send to trade, so that they may sail hence at about the time when you will be on your way, which will contribute to make the Channel safe and show the French that we are arming here and in Spain. You will send off the person with the jewel after you have heard from our ambassadors that all is concluded, as above.
Brussels, 24 December, 1553.
Decipherment or copy. Spanish.
Dec. 24. Simancas, E. 807. The Emperor to Simon Renard.
This letter is in reply to yours of the 12th and 17th instant, and is especially intended to answer what you say about a marriage between the Lady Elizabeth and Courtenay, on which matter we understand that the Queen, our good sister and cousin, desires our advice. You will tell her that we are still of the opinion we expressed in our last letters, and think that, if it is possible to avoid this marriage, it will be best to do so. We do not consider that it would be at all in the Queen's interests to have it take place, for it would unite them in the leadership of the faction that opposes her, and give us reason to dread a conspiracy against her life with the object of setting them on the throne. At present, while there is no force and no chief, intrigues may easily be defeated, but if the marriage alluded to took place all men would be attracted towards Courtenay because of the importance conferred upon him in their eyes by his position of heir to the Crown in case the Queen were to die without issue, which contingency they would probably do their utmost to bring about, and as soon as possible. Such are the considerations that moved us to write to you that which you will have seen in our last letters, and we still hold the same views. We fear that Paget's dread of what might happen in England if the Queen were to die without leaving children—which God forfend!—-explains his espousal of this project, which he can only have adopted out of fear and self-interest. You will do your best to dissuade him, using dexterity so as not to make him lose all hope and holding out a possibility that the marriage may be celebrated at some future time if the state of affairs permits it. Hint to him that in that case it would be the work of his own hands, and that when the Queen's marriage has become an accomplished fact care will be taken to put him in so secure a position that he need have no fear of what may come after. We have no doubt that if you give him these assurances he will easily allow himself to be convinced, for he is sharp-sighted and knows what the English are like; and if you lay stress on the importance of not exposing the Queen's person to any danger he will probably not venture to differ.
Your last letters state that, in spite of the intrigues and rumours spread verbally and even in writing that might give grounds for fears of sedition, the Council are steadfastly determined to support to the last the Queen's wishes, and have gone so far as to declare themselves so convinced that the match will be beneficial to the realm that even if she had not decided in favour of it they would persuade her to consent. They are proceeding in the right direction now, and if you urge them to continue, taking care to do so in so tactful and delicate a manner that they may not feel any jealousy on the ground that you are interfering too much with their affairs, we may hope that there is as yet no conspiracy so powerful but that they may get the better of it if they act at once without waiting for the evil to strike root, as they know England and the best means of guarding against a commotion. We are speaking thus because your letters say that the remnants of the Duke of Northumberland's faction seem to be conspiring to prevent the Prince, our son, from landing, or else to mob the Spaniards. If anything of this sort is discovered, and if there is enough proof to proceed against a few of them either for this or for any other kind of conspiracy against the Queen and the welfare of her realm, it might not be a bad thing to show some severity, which it is the art of government to hold in the balance with clemency. We have seen what severity was able to accomplish in England while the rule of the Duke of Northumberland lasted; the Queen's Council, and Paget in particular, will be able to tell her what treatment the case requires and give her sincere advice as to the path to be followed. And as this unrest is partly caused, according to your account, by religious questions, we think it would be prudent to get rid of the principal agitators, and it seems to us that a great deal might have been achieved at the beginning of the reign if the English had taken our advice and turned out all the foreigners who have taken refuge over there on account of misdemeanours, of whatever nature. We believe it would still be well to do so, unless there is some reason against it that remains unknown to us.
This matter, touching as it does the security of the Queen's and the Prince's persons, is so important that you must be doubly vigilant to discover all you can, and encourage the diligence and watchfulness of the Queen's ministers in order to cope with emergencies. You will inform us whenever you find out anything definite, so that we may take the state of English affairs into consideration when framing our own projects; and as we see constant change over there you must be careful to warn us of every fresh development that is made known to you. When the ambassadors whom we recently despatched arrive in England, you will consult with them on the matter we have already mentioned in our letters to you and repeated in their instructions, and decide to whom presents had better be given, in order to win them over. Not only must the services of prominent men meet with recognition, but it will also be wise to gain the support of a few of the baser sort who are fond of talking, so that some gifts secretly distributed may make their discourses serve our purpose. If you see that some present is called for, and in circumstances that will not suffer the delay necessary in order to consult us, you may agree together to be liberal to the extent of reasonable sums such as 200, 300 or 400 crowns; but you will refer to us cases that demand larger amounts, and all those in which there is no immediate hurry.
You must also take great pains to watch the French and especially to find out for certain whether the current reports about their naval preparations are true or not. You will have facilities for doing so, as we feel sure the Queen will give you the information contained in Wotton's letters, and you may also send likely people to France on purpose, availing yourself of the opportunities offered by English trade with that country.
You will tell the Queen that we have sent to Rome to obtain the necessary dispensations, not only on account of consanguinity but also to enable the marriage to take place at any season, even in such times as are prohibited by canon law. We feel sure that the Queen will have no conscientious scruples when you explain to her that this question of the time of year is arbitrarily prescribed, and that once licence has been granted by him who imposed the interdiction there is no reason whatsoever for entertaining scruples. Nevertheless, we are doing our utmost to hasten on the coming of the Prince; but as he cannot leave Spain until he receives news of the final conclusion and that, in virtue of the power he is to send, the marriage per verba de prœsenti has been contracted, and as he is at the mercy of the winds, it is quite impossible to hold out hopes for any given time. You will do well to speak to the Queen in this tone and avoid mentioning any dates, for if they find you mistaken in your forecasts, as might easily happen, the English are so suspicious and ticklish (délicats) that they might easily persuade themselves that we were trying to get the better of them, the result of which might be to furnish the ill-disposed with arguments that the same disappointment might be expected in the case of all the other promises we have made. We do not know from whom you can have heard what you told the Queen about the sending of our Admiral, (fn. 2) for we said nothing about it in our letters to you and nothing whatever has been publicly made known.
As for sending the Prince's maistre d'hostel, we think he had better first inform us of the number of people he intends to bring. We have warned him that they must be experienced and mature, and must know how to bear themselves, so that they may give rise to no disorder. As soon as we have heard from him we will consider whether it is advisable to send a Fleming over to England to help in the preparations for his reception, for we think the Flemings are more to the English taste, on account of language and manners, than the men our son might send from Spain would be. We have already written to him to see to it that the Queen's envoys be welcomed, and to draw near to the coast in order to make his Court ready for the journey and to be able to take ship himself at short notice. Thus you may tell the Queen, for her satisfaction, that you know us to be doing all we can to make haste; and it is certainly wise to do so in order that the consummation of the marriage may set a term to the plottings of the French.
As for Cardinal Pole, you may tell the Queen of our decision to allow him to come as far as this place, (fn. 3) as she advised and he has requested us by his letters and verbal messages. When he arrives we shall hear what he has to say, and immediately communicate his words to the Queen.
Copy. French. Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Dec. 24. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Enclosed herewith I am sending letters (fn. 4) from my Lord Paget about certain affairs negotiated by the French ambassador with the Queen at an audience she granted to him. I will not interpret these letters or repeat their contents, as your Majesty will learn by perusing them the end pursued by the French. I cannot say it tends to peace, because I am informed that their object is other, and that they are intriguing to rouse the English people to mutiny both on the grounds of religion and of the Queen's marriage to his Highness. (fn. 5) They intend to make the Scots take up arms to further their designs. The information I have received that the ambassador has advised certain French merchants who carry on business in this country to take themselves out of it and see to making their interests safe, bears out the contention. The ambassador is also in constant communication with certain heretics to set plots afoot; and he holds intercourse with Scottish captains with the same object. I have warned Paget of these points in my answer to him, so that he may convey the information to the Queen.
I am still awaiting news of the ambassadors sent hither by your Majesty to come to a conclusion, and I have written to them by the same post informing them of the dispositions taken for their passage.
London, 24 December, 1553.
Holograph. French. Printed by Gachard, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Dec. 24. Simancas, E. 90. Francisco de Eraso to Prince Philip.
(Extract from a letter dealing with Neapolitan affairs.)
This letter (fn. 6) failed to catch the eight ships, which have now had time to reach Spain. His Majesty's letters to your Highness and the abstract that is being sent will tell you of fresh incidents in the marriage negotiations. Many Englishmen who were favourably inclined at the outset have been agitating on the ground of religion, and spreading false accounts of the Spaniards, affirming that they are going to rule the country. French and other intrigues have certainly assisted them, and the English are so changeable that certain members of the Council who were in favour of the alliance have threatened to leave the Queen's service, giving as a pretext that she places more confidence than she ought in Paget. But finally, as your Highness will see, all the councillors have pronounced themselves agreed; God grant that they may stand firm! What most matters now is that the powers may come soon and enable the betrothal to be contracted, for the Queen is more decided than ever. Your Highness will have the fleet made ready in great haste, so that you may embark without delay as soon as word is sent to you. When the English see your Highness all trouble will be at an end. Great undertakings are never immune from difficulties, but they are worth the effort, especially when so much has already been accomplished. . . .
Brussels, 24 December, 1553.
Decipherment. Spanish.
Dec. 24. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, MM. de Courrières and Nigri to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: On the night of the 22nd instant, when we had all arrived at Gravelines, we received the packet your Majesty was pleased to send us by the post, in which were contained our instructions and commissions, the Emperor's letters to his ambassador in England, the ambassador's despatches to the Emperor, and several other missives of which, when we have arrived at the Queen's Court, we shall make use according to his Imperial Majesty's and your Majesty's orders.
We arrived at this place yesterday at about two o'clock in the afternoon, and were very honourably and graciously received by my Lord William, present Deputy and brother of the Duke of Norfolk, the Bishop of Norwich, my Lord Grey, the man (fn. 7) who is soon to be Deputy and several other lords, who came out of the gates to welcome us. And because we had been met on the road by a man who informed us that so great a company of men and horses would not be allowed to enter the town, the Deputy greeted us with excuses, saying that the man had not understood the message with which he was entrusted, and that we were all very welcome, though our horses and grooms might be lodged outside the town in order that they might be in readiness to embark. We replied that as for lodging without or within we would do as they pleased; so we all entered the town, and so far they have behaved in a very friendly manner towards us.
We asked the Deputy whether the Channel was safe, and how and when we might cross without danger. He answered that he had sent a trumpeter to Boulogne on some feigned errand to see whether any ships had arrived there, and had also sent to Dieppe. There had been no sign of warships, and he intended to send out two passenger-vessels last night to inspect the Channel and see if any men-of-war were bearing down in this direction; and on their return he would tell us what they had found. The future Deputy told one of us that a boat should be sent off last night to hurry on the Queen's armed vessels, wherefore he advised us to put off our departure until Tuesday (fn. 8) morning, in order to be able to cross more conveniently, and in the day-time, for which purpose they would give us three armed vessels to escort and protect us. Wherefore, Madam, we are inclined to take his advice, taking into account the small likelihood that the Queen's ships will be able to leave the Thames with this wind, and also that it seems improbable that the ships your Majesty sent for to Zeeland will be able to serve our purpose, as if they were ready, they are likely to have left for Spain before your orders reached them, and if not they may not be ready for some time, and we would have to put up with much delay. We shall see what news of the French arrive between now and Tuesday, and make our plans accordingly. In the meantime our horses and servants will cross over to Dover, so that we may be able to make use of the vessels on their return and may have less to attend to when we go ourselves. We hear that the Queen has left London for Richmond, where she intends to keep Christmas and await our arrival, and has appointed lodgings for us.
This day at noon, Madam, we received the sums which your Majesty has been pleased to advance to us on our salaries, for which we humbly thank you.
Calais, 24 December, 1553.
Signed by all four ambassadors. French.
Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Dec. 25. Besançon, C.G. 73. Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, MM. de Courrières and Nigri to Simon Renard.
We desire not to miss the opportunity offered by this courier, who is going to England, to inform you that we, bound on the errand you know of, arrived at this place on the 23rd of this month, and have been ordered to remain here until the men-of-war of the Queen of this country (i.e. England) come to escort us. We cannot embark sooner, because certain French ships have been seen in these waters, and probably mean to fall upon us. It is of the utmost importance, for the negotiation We have been sent to undertake, for his Majesty's reputation and the safety of our own persons, that the Queen's ships come to convoy us, so we beg you to hasten their departure as much as possible, in order that we may lose no time in setting about our task. You will thus do us great pleasure; and we also beg you to send us news of events in England by each post, and we will also inform you if anything happens here.
Calais, 25 December, 1553.
French. Signed by all four ambassadors. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.


  • 1. This was a Venetian gentleman, by name Ser Francesco Bernardo, who took a share in the negotiations that led up to the peace of Campe, in 1540 (Spanish Calendar, Vol. VIII), and not, as Arras supposed, in those of 1549–1550. The Venetian Calendar (1534–1554) contains information about the difficulties he experienced in obtaining the Venetian Senate's permission to accept a lump sum in lieu of the pension assigned to him in England, which Venetian law forbade him to enjoy. The intermediary who arranged the peace by whioh Boulogne was handed over to the French was a Florentine, Antonio Guidotti, who was also rewarded with a pension (Spanish Calendar, Vols. IX and X).
  • 2. i.e. Count de Beveren, Admiral of Flanders.
  • 3. i.e. Brussels.
  • 4. See Paget to Simon Renard, of December 23rd.
  • 5. On December 16th, Noailles writes to M. de Senarpont, Governor of Boulogne, to send a frigate direct to Dover twice weekly to carry his despatches, which will soon have to be frequent. (Mémoires, II, 348.)
  • 6. i.e. Eraso's letter to Philip, dated December 12th.
  • 7. i.e. Thomas, Lord Wentworth.
  • 8. i.e December 26th.