Spain: December 1553, 26-31

Pages 460-479

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

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December 1553, 26–31

Dec. 26. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, MM. de Courrières and Nigri to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: This morning the Admiral (fn. 1) of these parts sent us word that four armed vessels belonging to the Queen of England had arrived here, and that we might consequently cross over in safety, which we are determined to do to-morrow, starting with the tide (a la ghetide) between five and six in the morning. The Admiral says he is going at the same time, wherefore, Madam, we trust that, with God's help, we may be in no danger from the French. We had sent for a ship from Dunkirk, seeing that the others were being delayed, but have countermanded it by this post.
We yesterday received letters from the Lieutenant of Amont, his Majesty's ambassador, dated December 24th, telling us that the Queen's mind was entirely made up to proceed with this alliance, and that we should be very welcome. These are good news, and we thought it our duty to communicate them to your Majesty, as we had an opportunity for so doing by the present courier.
Calais, 26 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. 26. Simancas, E. 807. Francisco de Eraso to Prince Philip.
A messenger was sent by way of France three days ago with full reports of affairs here and in England for your Highness. My opinion was then that the English matter was somewhat unsettled because of the intrigues of the French, discontent at home, and above all lack of unison in the Council; but the last letter showed things to have become quieter, and I am now sending a report by way of France to tell your Highness that the good tendency is prevailing. Your Highness will not delay in sending the powers and making ready the fleet without losing a single hour, or even a minute. And be liberal with money, for by spending a little more than is strictly necessary a great deal of time may be gained, and the most important point of the undertaking is that your Highness come immediately you have heard of the betrothal per verba de prœsenti or de futuro, though not before. And his Majesty wishes you to draw near the part of the coast where you are to embark, so as to make those who are to accompany you be speedy. His Majesty is better, thanks be to God! though he is still weak. My son died about an hour ago, and I feel it, though I am a poor man; so your Highness will pardon my brevity.
Brussels, 26 December, 1553.
Decipherment or copy. Spanish.
Dec. 27. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, MM. de Courrières and Nigri to the Emperor.
Sire: This letter is to inform your Majesty that we embarked at Calais at four o'clock this morning, escorted by two men-of-war sent by the Queen of England and other passenger-vessels, for us and our people, armed with artillery in order to safeguard our crossing. Thanks be to God, we arrived at this place at about nine in the morning without having been exposed to any danger, and with a very favourable wind! We were awaited here by a herald and several officers and pensioners sent by the Queen to welcome us, which they did in most gracious fashion, and have also provided us with all things necessary for our further journey. We would already have departed from this place were it not that some of us are still suffering from the effects of seasickness, but we intend to leave for Canterbury to-morrow morning, whence we shall proceed with all haste to the Queen's Court and execute our commission.
The Admiral of England, as we have already written to the Queen Regent, crossed over with us, and has so far shown us great kindness and assistance. We trust he may continue as he has begun.
Dover, 27 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. 28. Simancas, E. 1203. Fernando Gonzaga to the Emperor.
We had news the day before yesterday morning, from letters of Vespasiano Gonzaga and Teofilo Martinengo, who lives in Brescia and shows himself to be a devoted servitor of your Majesty, that Ottavio (Farnese) had taken the road to France by the Grisons and Switzerland. (fn. 2) It seemed to me that this move put an end to the negotiations (fn. 3) for an understanding with him which we had carried on hitherto, as your Majesty was aware, and that nothing but evil might be expected, as it shall appear later on when his designs are unfolded. I sent a messenger off at once to him who had promised to give Piero Strozzi dead or alive into our hands, begging and exhorting him to undertake the same task for Ottavio, with promises usual in such cases. It is probable that Ottavio, who was journeying with great haste, will be out of reach of danger before my message can reach the person referred to and he can do what is required, because Ottavio was already in the neighbourhood of the Grisons when the two men I have mentioned above wrote their letters to me. As we have been hindered in the project at his going, and as I have time to consult with your Majesty, I will not forbear saying to you that we might attempt to waylay him on his return. I doubt, in truth, if we might hope for success even then, as I remember that when Orazio (Farnese), his brother, came into Italy he was surrounded by an escort of three to four hundred Grisons in the King of France's pay, and kept them while he had need of them. Ottavio will probably have the same escort about him too. Your Majesty will deign to command your good pleasure to me, and I am sending a special messenger with this letter for the purpose, in all haste. He is paid for one journey only. . . .
The Cardinal of Ferrara (fn. 4) is entertaining great hopes of being made Pope at the death of his Holiness, who is not expected by common opinion to live not merely many years but not many months longer, if his many chronic infirmities and his irregular manner of life are taken into consideration. I have been told by Count Francesco di Navolera, and again by Sigismondo d'Este, who shows himself to be ever more and more devoted to your Majesty's service, that the Cardinal boasts of possessing a note signed by the King of France's own hand, in which he promises to have him elected Pope by love or by force, in the belief that either one way or the other will easily succeed, as he has a numerous following in the College of Cardinals, and plenty of soldiers in Siena and Corsica, who are kept there, he says, chiefly for this purpose. I have perceived a confirmation of these designs in the fact that the Cardinal heaped favours upon a certain gentleman named Pola, a client and familiar of my house, when he passed through Siena on his way hither from Rome; and begged him with great fervour to request me to help him in this design, which he did not doubt would succeed fully if the Cardinal, my brother, (fn. 5) would give him his vote and bestow upon him the advantages that the gift would carry with it. He used the argument that, being his cousin, I could not fail to help him by forwarding his plans; and he said that my house would derive great advantages from his success, and I, in particular, should gain much. He enlarged upon the subject, showing that my loyalty to your Majesty could not interfere in this case as he could assure me and promise by all the narrowest bonds of faith and honour that he did not intend to favour the King of France once he was Pope, though now as Cardinal he was that sovereign's minister; but he would be a father to all, as it became him who was raised to the highest office. He discoursed at length on both points.
I sent an answer to him by the same gentleman, saying I believed all his professions concerning the advantages that would accrue to me and to your Majesty's service; but I was wont to postpone all considerations of the welfare of my house and myself to the least gain for your Majesty, so that even if it were clear and certain to me that I could make my own brother Pope, I should not move a finger to do it without your Majesty's consent and approval, and I would not go a line beyond your good pleasure. This being my rule of conduct where my own brother's interests were at stake, I should not set it aside for him, who was less nearly related to me than a brother, to whom so much was due by nature; and I had all the more cause to observe it in this case, as I might otherwise give ground for suspicions against myself without any advantage to him.
I had determined, therefore, not to promise him the assistance he requested of me, but if he wished me to do what he had said, he might inform your Majesty of his good intentions and beseech you, if he thought I could be of some service, to command me to give him all the assistance in my power. If he did not follow this course, I would only say I could do proportionately less, the more he expected from me, for the reasons stated above. I am writing all this to your Majesty not so much to inform you of the tenor of my answer, as I do not think your Majesty doubts that I would never depart from my determination to prefer your service to any personal advantage, but for three other reasons.
Firstly, because, after having fully informed the Cardinal, my brother, who is a most devoted servitor of your Majesty, of the whole affair, he showed me painly, according to a schedule that shall accompany this letter, that, if the King of France founded his promises to Ferrara of making him Pope on the votes he could command, his promises were not groundless, as he and Ferrara could reckon upon 35 votes as a certainty, if the present conditions were maintained. If Mantua's single vote were obtained, the requisite number of two-thirds of the College would be theirs, and they could be certain of the election, as the enclosed schedule will show.
The second point I desire to bring before your Majesty is that if we consider the promise made by the King of France,—always assuming the tale of the written document to be true,—the large following commanded by the King and Ferrara within the College, and the request made to me by Ferrara, whence we may deduce that if he advanced so far with me whom he knew to be entirely devoted to your Majesty, he must have gone much further with others who are known to be neutral,—if these three things are considered, it seems reasonable to fear that the Cardinal has a very good thing in hand in the matter of his election. Were it not so, he would not have been tempted to take the steps he has taken with me, to obtain my brother's vote, which alone was needed.
The third and most important point is that your Majesty may realise the universal opinion concerning the likelihood of the Pope's demise; and if the reports of the King of France's evil intentions as regards the Papal throne seem probable, your Majesty may begin at once to do what you consider needful to confirm with future deeds the proof of your holy intentions, which past actions have given. . . .
Milan, 28 December, 1553.
Signed. Italian.
Dec. 28. Simancas, E. 1203. Fernando Gonzaga to the Emperor.
I have wished on several occasions to write to your Imperial Majesty about the sculptured works of Leone Aretino (Leone Leoni), but the graver preoccupations of the war have hitherto caused me to forbear. I did well to delay until now, because he has had time in which to accomplish more. I have seen his work myself, not once, but several times, and I will describe briefly what I saw to your Majesty. If I do not err, he first began to work four years ago. Since then he has made and cast in metal four life-size statues: one of your Majesty, possessing singular merit in the attitude, and great skill of execution. A statue of Fury, larger than nature, lies at its feet, in a strange and awful attitude, and most true to life in every part, but especially in the quivering open mouth, revealing the teeth and tongue, even to the uvula of the throat; by all accounts a most extraordinary achievement. Upon the body drops of sweat are delicately impressed. The group stands upon fine ornaments and trophies, and the whole makes a wondrous piece of metal casting, and a beautiful thing to the eye.
The third statue is of the Prince, my lord, all chiselled over; it is also rare and beautiful, clothed in lordly habiliments, disposed with great skill. The fourth is a statue of her serene Majesty Queen Mary (Dowager of Hungary), made with the preceding one at her request; and it does not seem to me at all inferior to the others. (fn. 6) I saw another statue in marble rising forth from the block, in a beautiful attitude: a faithful likeness to your Majesty. Another bust made for your Majesty, also in Carrara marble, is quite finished. A relief of the Empress, my lady, of happy memory, and another bust of your Majesty are about to be cast, and both appear to rival the others in quality. Other works I saw in their beginning, and could not judge except by those I have described, and the high excellence of the master who possesses, as it seems to me, great love of his art, patience and industry above the common, judging by what I have heard of other sculptors; and one may hope with firm foundation that whatever he sets his hand to will be worthy of your Majesty, to whom he owes the means of livelihood, and deserving eternal fame. The poor man has not received his pension of late because of other necessary expenses that had to be met; nevertheless he has never ceased working, as I have shown, and has professed himself willing to beg rather than leave his work unfinished. . . .
I recommend to your Majesty with all my heart the merits of so rare an artist.
Milan, 28 December, 1553.
Holograph. Italian.
Dec. 29. Brussels, CM. 163. The King of the Romans to the Emperor.
My Lord: My last letters to your Majesty, written from Brunn on the 18th instant, will have told you that I received yours of the 9th, and why I deferred answering them until I returned to this place, where I arrived last Friday. I now no longer wish to delay examining and considering the contents of your said letters.
As for the first article concerning English affairs, and what had so far taken place with regard to the negotiations for a marriage between our good cousin, the Queen of that country, and the Prince, my lord and good nephew, together with the considerations that moved your Majesty to adopt the project, and which are set forth at length in your letters, your Majesty may be sure I was very glad to hear of it, and have no doubt that your realms, dominions and subjects, particularly in the Low Countries, will be great gainers thereby, both because this alliance will serve as a protection against France, and for other reasons you mention. My pleasure will be great if the negotiations end in the manner God's service and the needs of Christendom require, and that is best calculated to give your Majesty and your realms peace and tranquillity; especially as you say the letter I wrote to the Queen of England rather helped the matter than otherwise. If this happy issue ensues, my Lord, I shall feel deep satisfaction, as you will have seen in the instructions taken by Martin de Guzman, his verbal declaration to you, and also those of Licenciate Games, of whose action in sending the letter to the Queen of England before reading it to your Majesty you feel unable to approve. His mission seems particularly strange to you because there was nothing in the letter which I had any reason to wish to conceal from your Majesty, without whose assistance I could not hope to achieve anything in England. You also add, speaking plainly as one brother ought to another, that for some little time past I seem to you to have acquired the habit, contrary to my former way of doing things, of acting first and afterwards asking your opinion.
My Lord, I cannot omit to reply, speaking also frankly as I ought to my good Lord, brother and father, that I suppose your Majesty says this in connexion with the Licentiate's mission, and because I concluded the Heilbronn league with the Heidelberg allies; for I do not believe I have given your Majesty any other occasion to harbour such thoughts. As for the mission of Games, I despatched him for these reasons: In the first place, since the beginning of this affair, I have always acted sincerely and with the constant determination to attempt to achieve nothing for myself that your Majesty might want for the Prince. Your Majesty must have seen in Guzman's instructions that if you were aspiring for the match for the Prince I would not for the world cross you, but rather do all in my power to advance your cause. But when I saw Guzmán tarrying so long in your Court without being able to get a definite reply or declaration of your intentions as to my son, the Archduke Ferdinand, in case you were to decide not to ask for the Queen's hand for the Prince, and when I heard that other suits were being pressed, I thought, my Lord, that I could not do ill in sending on letters which I had written confidentially to the Queen, as well I might, being her near relative. In these letters, while making a reservation for the Prince as in duty bound, I spoke to her of the affection I and my children bore her, but without suggesting any treaty, for I well knew, as your Majesty says, that even had I wished to do so the Queen would not have considered the proposal without your knowledge, nor would I have wished to persuade her. Also, if I had had anything to hide, I would not have made the reservation your Majesty knows of, and has seen in my letters and instructions, and in my letters to the Licentiate. For these reasons, it does not seem to me that in this matter of the letters I have offended in any way against your Majesty, or that you ought to be at all displeased that they were sent. If you had cared to give the Licentiate audience sooner, and allow him to hand you my letters, you would have been informed of their tenor, and in my humble opinion would have had no reason at all to resent their despatch. The foregoing, my Lord, will serve to explain one of the points on which I may have acted without having previously informed your Majesty. - (The writer continues to justify his conduct where the league of Heilbronn and the treaty of Passau are concerned.)
Vienna, 29 December, 1553.
Copy. French. Printed by Lanz, Correspondenz des Kaisers Karl V, Vol. III.
Dec. 29. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Ambassador Wotton has informed the Queen of England and her Council that, in accordance with the instructions sent to him, he obtained audience of the King of Prance at Fontainebleau, though not as soon as he could have desired, because the King was ill with a cold and unable to attend to affairs for a few days. Wotton informed the King of the negotiations for a marriage between his Highness and the Queen, of the sending of your Majesty's ambassadors to conclude the treaty, and of the reasons that had moved the Queen to accept his Highness's proposal. The Queen had sent him, he proceeded, in order that the King might not fear that the marriage was intended to alter the peaceful relations existing between England and France, or change her own good will and friendly regard for his Majesty. He was to assure the King that his mistress meant to continue an amicable policy in her dealings with him in observance of the treaties of peace that had been passed between the two realms, and not to allow her marriage to interfere with this course unless the King himself obliged her to act otherwise; and Wotton spoke more words suited to the occasion. The King replied that he rejoiced to know of the Queen's desire to remain good friends with him, but he saw clearly that she was allying herself with the greatest enemy he had in the world, and he knew marital authority to be very strong with ladies. He had not thought that she would choose a match so odious to him and dangerous to the amity between France and England, which it might not only affect but even convert into an attitude that he would regret because of his affection for England and the Queen, which affection had been redoubled when an alliance had been arranged between the late King Edward and his eldest daughter. He did not wish to lay down the law to the Queen, or dictate whom she should marry, but only frankly speak his mind and, nevertheless, wait and see how God would dispose of her plans. He was not afraid, for his forces were undiminished and full of spirit, and had defended his realm from the attacks of his enemies. Wotton made answer that the King must not think that the Queen had commanded him to make so weighty a declaration without intending to keep her word and prove her sincerity, for she was a peace-loving, conscientious and honourable princess, and had caused him to make the declaration of her own free will, as she was in no way obliged to do so. He was sure that the Queen had not made up her mind to marry without having given all due consideration to a question that mattered so much to the tranquillity of her realm; for though he did not know the conditions in detail, as they had not yet been concluded, he knew the men who were conducting the negotiations, and failed to believe that they had neglected so weighty a point. The Queen had not made her choice in order to go to war with France, and she had already done enough to prove that she wished not only to remain at peace herself but to reconcile your Majesty and the King. Wotton adds that the King showed by his gestures and drawling, half-swallowed words that he was so exceedingly put out that he could not frame a reply or finish his sentences; and that the whole of France, the Court, Council and statesmen are astounded at the idea of the marriage, from which they look for nothing but harm to France. (fn. 7)
Wotton then spoke at length to the Constable and repeated the remarks he made to the King. And he writes that the Constable caressed him more than usual, and although he had composed the answer made by the King, he went still further himself, saying that he pitied England now that it was falling into the hands of the Spaniards, who were abominated by the whole of Christendom and your Majesty's own subjects in Naples, Sicily, Italy, Milan, Germany, Flanders and every other country in which they had set foot. They would come to England with fine words and promises, and then get all they could out of it and try to seize the government, fortresses and ships. Neither the Council nor the Queen would be able to withstand the authority that the Prince of Spain would acquire by the marriage, for he would change the Council, win over the Queen to his own views and do what he liked. If Wotton had ever been married, or understood what marriage could do with a woman, he would not have believed it possible that the Queen could allow herself to be persuaded to contract this alliance while there was open war between your Majesty and the King of France, without waiting for peace, and thus tempering her own affection for the public good. Had the Council realised the consequences, they would not so easily have complied with the Queen's wishes; and he went on with many more remarks to the same effect which had been thought out in advance and were also uttered by the French ambassador in England at his last audience of the Queen. The Constable added that it had been said in England that he was keeping the King at war and did not want peace, but God might stand witness that there was no man alive who cared more for the repose of Christendom and desired peace more ardently than he; but that as your Majesty had forced the King to take up arms, a great-hearted prince could not allow his honour and reputation to suffer, for—thank God!—he had means to sustain them, and friends to help him. He had been sorry to hear that the peace negotiations begun by Cardinal de Tournon had not proceeded further, for if he had been at Court there would have been a better chance of an understanding; and the King's reply had been interpreted in a sense he had not intended to convey. If the Queen wished to perform good offices she could only derive praise and honour therefrom, and it would not be his fault if peace did not follow, though he had no fear at all for the success of the King, his master. Wotton replied, as he had done to the King, that he did not believe England would allow Spaniards to rule, for they did not do so in Flanders, or hold office in that country. The match was one greatly to be esteemed, and the Constable knew the Prince to be of a great house; though if the alliance had not been profitable to England the Queen and her Council would not have entered into it so readily. If the Queen were informed of what she was desired to do and what course she might follow, she would try her utmost to promote a peace that would be so beneficial to both sides. The Constable answered that, if your Majesty did not fear that the Flemings might go over to the King of France, you would already have placed the Government of the Low Countries in Spanish hands, and he excelled himself in speaking ill of that nation, going so far as to cause the ambassador to remark that his anger at the alliance was such that it moved him to utter words quite out of place in the mouth of a man of his years and position. He then attempted to set his choler aside and speak mild words of peace, saying that the King would accept it at the Queen's hands more gladly than at those of any other prince alive, but went on to say that your Majesty had caused the articles of the treaty to be published at Rome, and by them your Majesty was said to have promised to put Normandy, Guyenne and the Boulonnais into the Queen's hands, which conditions seemed to be far from friendly to France; and the Constable concluded by repeating to Wotton that he pitied England. Moreover, Wotton writes that the Abbot of San Saluto, (fn. 8) whom the King of France sent to Cardinal Pole at Dillingen, came back saying that the Cardinal had told him that the marriage would never take place, for he knew the Queen's intentions as to that point and as to religion. The French had believed this report and thought the marriage would never become an accomplished fact: wherefore the Constable's anger and indignation were all the more violent.
Wotton writes that the King is making great efforts to have his army ready earlier this spring than it was last year, and that as far as he can gather the French wish to carry the war into Italy. The King has changed his mind, and has named the deposed Prince of Salerno his lieutenant-general in Italy, though he also intends to make Peter Strozzi his general, in order not to displease the Duke of Ferrara, and to add to Salerno's credit in Italy. The King is seizing all the silver-plate in France, and having it melted down for money, for French finance is so exhausted that there is nothing but plate left. The French galleys, on board of which were the Grand Prieur, (fn. 9) Peter Strozzi, Paulin and other captains who intended to go to Corsica, were scattered by a storm so violent that Paulin had to put back to Marseilles whence he has come by the post to tell the news to the King. For a time no one knew what had happened to Peter Strozzi and the other galleys, but it had presently been heard from Italy that he had arrived at Siena.
Wotton speaks of a rumour that Margrave Albrecht had come to terms with the King of France, but he has also heard the opposite, and it is said in France that your Majesty is keeping in with Albrecht, and secretly paying his troops. The Protestant Count Mansfelt is in France waiting for the King's orders to bring in some lansquenets. Such is the substance of Wotton's letters, from which our Majesty will gather how much the French detest the alliance. News also reach me from France and from parts of England that they are preparing to prevent the consummation of the marriage, and plotting more busily than ever before with the heretics and others. It is still said that they are fitting out ships on the coast of Normandy and Brittany to stop his Highness from coming hither, and that they have not only great ships but lesser ones to serve every purpose. If they fail to check his Highness they propose to build a fortress in Scotland and put troops into it, provided the Scots will allow them, which they doubt; and I am assured that the Regent does not mean to let them enter the country. But in one way or another the French will make trouble in England, as they believe they will be able to do by means of their intrigues with the Venetians, who will help, as they regret this alliance as sorely as the French do, or even more. I have it from a good source that the Venetians are already supporting the French, who also hope that the allied German princes will dislike this match for fear that your Majesty, if you make peace with France, may turn against them with redoubled strength. It is said here that the princes have agreed together not to allow his Highness to pass through Germany, and that in order to advance their designs they have persuaded those who dislike the alliance to try to induce the Queen to summon Cardinal Pole to England, not as legate but as a private person, because it would be an honour for her to be married by him on account of his prudence, authority and kinship with her. They hope that he may prevent the marriage from taking place for Courtenay's sake, take the direction of affairs into his own hands, drive Paget from favour, and that even if he fails to prevent the marriage he may cause trouble in the country because of his legatine commission and the ardour with which he will urge the re-establishment of the papal authority and the return of England to obedience to the Church. They have pressed their cause so persuasively that the Queen sent for me the day after Christmas and said that she had heard that the Cardinal would come over as a legate or as a private individual, according to her pleasure, and on such terms she would wish to send for him so that she might be married by him. As he was an Englishman, she could not well refuse to allow him to enter the country, and I was to write on the subject to your Majesty. I replied that the Cardinal was not yet a priest and had never sung mass, so he could not marry her. Also, he was busy with his commission to arrange a peace, and I feared that his coming hither might cause trouble, wherefore she had better consult her Council on the matter. She said that she was amazed at what Wotton had written to her to the effect that the Cardinal had assured the French that she should never marry his Highness, for the Cardinal had never caused anything of the sort to be said to her, and she never sent him any message touching that matter. I rejoined that if that was his way of setting about his peace-commission he would not get far with it. I understand that the Queen had already promised the Cardinal's men, whom he sends every hour to England, that he might come as a private individual; and on making further investigations I have heard that a gentleman called John Ally (fn. 10) who has access to her presence, is conducting this intrigue and that the Controller, Walgrave, Inglefield, Southwell and others who supported Courtenay's suit have been trying to arrange the Cardinal's coming, now that they see themselves out of favour, in order to discredit Paget and prepare their own return. The Queen has been displeased with the Controller for the last few days because he wished to take a post on his own authority without begging it of her, and also because of his pride; and the Controller has told me that he intends to ask leave to withdraw from the Queen's service with Walgrave. I told the Queen that it would be well to remove the Council's suspicions and prevent them from speculating on my going to Richmond by summoning the principal members at the same time, and that I would give two reasons for appearing before her. Firstly, I would inform her of the ambassadors' arrival at Calais; and secondly, I would say that your Majesty had instructed me to tell her that, as you heard the French desired her to mediate in the cause of peace, you would be very glad to agree to conditions favourable to the welfare of Christendom provided that the French would see reason, and the Queen would be so agreeable to you as arbiter that your pleasure would be all the greater. She approved of this, and sent for the Chancellor, Arundel, Petre and Paget, in whose presence I made my declaration as above, in order to explain my appearance at Court. It seems to me, Sire, that the talk about peace now heard here can do no harm, but may rather be of use in discouraging the ill-disposed from plotting. Though a peace may be difficult to be brought about because of great obstacles, and though the one fact that the Venetians, who are happy to see your Majesty and the King of France at odds, do not desire it is in itself enough to make it impossible; yet the belief that peace is imminent may do some good, and need not at all interfere with or retard your Majesty's designs. People are already saying that strife might be brought to an end by the marriage of the Infante of Spain and the King of France's eldest daughter, whereupon your Majesty and the King might reciprocally make over to them and to their heirs the rights you claim to the duchy of Milan, without discussing their validity. A marriage between the Duke of Savoy and the Lady Marguerite, a sister of the King, might be made the means of restoring all his states to the Duke; and the marriage of the Duke of Lorraine with the King of France's younger daughter might avoid all unrest and dispute in that quarter. These suggestions for peace seem likely, and although your Majesty is able to pay for war, it is perhaps not unreasonable to consider the alternative, for one must take into account the condition of religious affairs in Germany, the disaffection displayed in Italy, your Majesty's age and health, which is the most important point of all, his Highness's succession and the advisability of placing him in a secure position for the future. It is taken for granted that if peace were made French infidelity would be guarded against by ample provision for war. Other folk say that if the English could be induced, by means of the alliance, to attack Normandy, your Majesty might derive great benefit therefrom; but this plan would be difficult of execution, for there is no money over here, and the French would be able to invade England from Scotland. I merely submit these considerations to your Majesty's better judgement.
A Frenchman named Berteville, (fn. 11) whom the King of France is trying to have sent out of England, has told me that if your Majesty cared to make an attack on Normandy, he would render service that would give your Majesty reason for satisfaction, for he knows the country and how to go about it. I may assure you that he is a man to be trusted, for the French ambassadors have kept him in prison over here for three years, and had it not been for the Earl of Pembroke his life would have been in danger.
People are saying that the Pope has been very seriously ill.
As I was about to leave Richmond, I heard that the French ambassador had demanded audience for the feast of St. John the Evangelist, (fn. 12) and I left a man at Richmond to find out what he had to say. The man brought me the enclosed writing (fn. 13) from the Queen, from which your Majesty will see the means the French are devising to put a stop to this alliance, the words about peace which the ambassador spoke to Paget, and what Paget says to me about Chevalier Bernardo. I will say no more about this now, as he is on the road with the ambassadors.
My last letter answered the first point of your Majesty's of December 24th. The Queen is now all against the idea of marrying Courtenay (to the Lady Elizabeth), and Paget dislikes it even more, for he has heard that the nobility do not really desire it, and that the Chancellor has advised Courtenay to marry the vilest woman in England rather than Elizabeth. However, the Queen is continuing to dissemble in the manner called for.
As for the second point of your Majesty's letter, the Queen will not be surprised for lack of warning from me, for I am doing my utmost in my sphere, and Paget, who has good spies, is equally active in his. I have informed the Queen this very day that certain persons are trying to persuade Courtenay to seize the Tower of London. And as for turning out the foreigners, (fn. 14) the Council has debated the question and replied to me that it would not be well to issue an edict to that effect just now, as it might do harm where the foreign match is concerned.
Turning to the third point, your Majesty will have seen from my letters that I am doing my best to find out the disposition of the English, and I trust that if there is any likelihood of trouble on his Highness's arrival it will be discovered in time to be dealt with. It would be very opportune to make a few gifts of money in order to win over persons who might become dangerous, and I shall speak to the ambassadors about this matter, and ask them whether your Majesty would accept the service of English nobles and troops next summer. Many of them are urging me to make your intentions known to them, and if your Majesty consented you would rid England of a number of ruffians and lewd fellows who are always ready for mischief, and also win over the hearts of many gentlemen, such as William Pelham, who is well-known to the Queen Dowager of Hungary, and has told me that he would raise horse and foot with fifty or sixty gentlemen among them.
I have several private individuals who go to France, but they are unable to follow the Court, are too simple to find out much about French plans, and only bring me vulgar reports; but I hope to be able to find intelligent people who may send me information worthy to be supplied to your Majesty.
I will tell the Queen of your Majesty's solicitude in obtaining the dispensation. I have constantly assured her that you will cause his Highness to come over as soon as possible. She has heard from Ambassador Mason and others that your Majesty is fitting out a fleet in which MM. de Beveren and de Bossut are going to meet his Highness, wherefore I have said to her that I have heard, not from your Majesty, but from members of your Council, that the sailing of the fleet is being hastened. She asks me every day when his Highness is coming, and repeats that she does not mean to be married in Lent.
At my next audience I will communicate to the Queen the rest of your Majesty's letter, especially the part concerning Steucley (fn. 15) and reply to your Majesty.
Cardinal Pole is provided to the archbishopric of Canterbury, if he cares to accept it.
So far, no opposition has been offered to the recent Acts of Parliament on religion or administration, and mass is being everywhere celebrated, except in a few boroughs where difficulties are being made, but even there they are explained by the lack of altars and ornaments, and are not symptoms of a rebellious temper.
If his Highness's power had arrived, the ambassadors would be able to execute your Majesty's commission with greater despatch. I am sure that Ballets, the courier, must have reached Spain a week ago if he did not fall in with the enemy; for he set sail from Plymouth on December 17th, and had the wind behind him.
Staimborgue, (fn. 16) 29 December, 1553.
Signed. French. A few sentences in cipher, and the postscript in Renard's hand.
Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
P.S.—The Queen's Council propose to send ten pilots, men of experience, to Spain to conduct his Highness hither.
Writing enclosed in the above letter, (fn. 17)
The French ambassador brought a letter from his master confirming Wotton's report, professing reciprocal sentiments and referring the Queen for the rest to the said ambassador. Then, after a brief recapitulation of the contents of the letter, he asked, as if of his own accord, to be informed how his master and his master's subjects might be assured that they would be able to live in peace with us, that neither our fortresses nor our ships would inflict harm upon them, since the Queen was taking the King's greatest enemy as her spouse. Although her Majesty promised to observe the treaties passed between the King and her late father and brother, of good memory, the ambassador did all in his power to persuade her to conclude a fresh treaty with his master; but after some discussion he was definitely answered as follows: There was nothing in the marriage treaty that obliged us to go to war, and that point had been the object of special provisions in the treaty with the Emperor, by which the Prince would be obliged to keep the peace between England and France, although he would still be able to profit by the former treaties between the Emperor and her Majesty's father and brother which, as the ambassador must remember, bound the Prince, (fn. 18) even had he not been the Emperor's son, to make war on France in certain circumstances, which the King would do well to recollect. Otherwise, however, we would certainly live in peace with the French, and he might assure his master of it. The ambassador appeared to be well-pleased with this reply, and begged the Queen to order Wotton to confirm it to the King, which she promised to do. He spoke about peace to all of us in general terms, and used more definite expressions to me, saying that when I returned to London he would come and converse with me. And to-day, after his arrival at Court, when I thanked him for the good wine he had sent to me and told him I had no means of rewarding him, he said: “Yes, you have; you may keep me and my master in your good graces. You have already done the Emperor a service; do the same for my master.” I replied that I had served and would serve the Emperor, the King of France and all other princes who were friends of my mistress, the Queen. The ambassador, I said, would be unable to do a greater service to her Majesty, the Emperor and the King of France than by working to bring about an agreement between the two (belligerent princes), and it seemed to me that when God gave his master a sister and two daughters he had supplied him with excellent means of coming to a settlement about Milan, Piedmont, Burgundy, Naples and Lorraine. “But,” said he, “what do you say about Navarre?” “Well,” said I, “we will talk about that.” And then the others came in and interrupted us. Her Majesty wishes you to be informed of this. You have been misinformed about Chevalier Bernardo, (fn. 19) for he is quite devoted to me, and what he has done and shall in the future do will be of service to the Queen and the Prince, as you shall see when the time comes.
Dec. 30. Simancas, E. 1322. Francisco de Vargas to the Emperor.
Sire: I was summoned to-day by the Seignory, and indeed had been thinking of going to them myself. They were awaiting me in secret council, and spoke to me at great length, displaying sorrow on account of your Majesty's dissatisfaction with their ambassador resident in England for having performed offices that were not good in connexion with his Highness's marriage, as the Bishop of Arras had said to their ambassador, Marcantonio Damula. (fn. 20) They had written to Damula, instructing him to assure you Majesty of their respectful regard, that such thoughts had never entered their heads, no hostile attitude had been adopted in accordance to their orders, and they failed to believe that their ambassador could have fallen into it of his own accord. They also wished to explain it all to me, for I knew their minds, their actions and way of proceeding, and was aware of their feelings of respectful friendship for your Majesty, from which none of the great offers continually held out would ever move them, for they were wholly decided to endure therein where his Highness was concerned. They were well aware that your Majesty's first care was for God's service and the welfare and tranquillity of Italy; and they implored me to assure your Majesty that this was true, exerting myself to induce you to believe it, for I might be sure that all I could say would be strictly accurate. Words failed them to emphasise their earnestness, and to express the pain they must continue to feel until they had been assured that your Majesty and his Highness were satisfied of their sincerity. They would write to their ambassador in England. I replied, as I thought befitted the occasion, that I would perform my customary good offices as they desired, and assured them that your Majesty rejoiced in their friendship, of which you had had many proofs. This incident, I went on, would really serve to bring your Majesty and them closer together, for true friendship consisted in the perfect liberty with which each party said what it had on its mind, in order to exclude misunderstandings. The Seignory would always give me great pleasure by speaking frankly to me, and the present occasion of their summoning me caused me lively satisfaction, wherefore they might set their minds entirely at rest, and know that your Majesty would be very happy and quite satisfied. With much more talk in this strain we exhausted the subject, and they thanked me with every sign of contentment.
After this I sought to prove to them how much your Majesty valued their friendship by saying that I had also come to inform them of the stage arrived at in the negotiations for a marriage between his Highness and the Queen of England, and I did so in the words that seemed best adapted to the importance of the matter, and the end I always have in view, using the report (fn. 21) addressed to me by Secretary Vargas on the 22nd instant, which I received yesterday. The Seignory replied in their usual tone, saying that they were very glad to hear of this alliance and all other successes that might attend your Majesty and his Highness. They clearly saw that God had devised this happy event for the general good, and they knew that I spoke the truth in all I had said to them. And with that they returned to the other matter, and said that nobody alive must think that the Seignory could regret the alliance or work against it. They rendered infinite thanks to your Majesty for your consideration in causing them to be informed of the course of the negotiations, and said they deserved such kindness because of their constant and respectful regard for your Majesty.. . .
Venice, 30 December, 1553.
Signed. Spanish.
Dec. —. Simancas, E. 1321. Paper headed: “Account of his Highness' marriage.” (fn. 22)
At the time of the death of the late King Edward of England, that realm was so much in the power of the Duke of Northumberland, supported as he was by the King of France, that in view of the danger incurred by the Serene Princess (Infanta) Mary, now Queen, his Imperial Majesty ordered his ambassadors in England to advise her to consent to marry an Englishman, nay, even one of the Duke's sons, rather than lose all hope of coming to the throne. However, God so miraculously disposed in her favour that in a very short time she found herself absolute mistress of the realm, as is generally known, and had in her hands the said Duke and other of her enemies who had recently been laying careful plans to injure her. His Majesty did not then think it wise to say any more to her about marrying, opining that it would be better first to set her firmly on the throne, crown her, and see what turn matters would take in her first Parliament. But when these events had taken place, his Majesty sent to persuade her to abandon the determination not to marry, which she had held since her childhood, because not only would it be well for her to be assisted in governing her kingdom by a husband who might attend to warlike matters and others that were not of the profession of ladies, but it was her duty to do so for the sake of the future tranquillity of the realm, in which great confusion would be likely to ensue unless she had children who might succeed her. Next, his Majesty suggested that as she was to marry she should consider whether it had better be with an Englishman or a foreigner, and that if it were to be an Englishman, in case the country would not put up with a stranger, she should let him know whom she felt inclined to accept, so that he, in his paternal affection, might give her his advice. But if she decided not to wed an Englishman, nor choose one of her own subjects, and if her Council believed that she would be able not to do so without driving the country to revolt, she might desire to be supported by the power of a foreign prince, in addition to her own, in order to be able to resist not only any revolt that might raise its head in England, but also the designs which the French were daily discovered to be forming in Scotland under pretext of the betrothal of the Dauphin with the heiress of that realm, in Ireland, and in the very island of England itself. In case such were her intentions his Majesty, who was no longer in a state of health that permitted him to marry her himself and thus carry out a project that had been spoken about many years ago when she was a child, offered to give her the hand of his son, the Prince of Spain, for with all his affection for her he was unable to suggest any person dearer to him. He also explained to her the advantages that might be derived if she had children and the Low Countries came to be united to England, which would put a stop to any hostile plans the French might be nurturing, especially as all the forces of Spain would also be available for that purpose.
The Queen, notwithstanding her former determination, was finally persuaded to marry, but after discussing the merits of the Englishmen who might have been chosen, she decided that she could not accept any one of them, realising that it would not be in the country's interest, and also disliking the idea of marrying her own subject. She conferred with the foremost members of her Council, and adopted their conclusion that no match could be found better than the one offered her by his Imperial Majesty, wherefore she thanked him and requested, for the satisfaction of the English, that he would send her the marriage articles in order to have them discussed by her Council. These articles have been presented on his Majesty's behalf in a form that has been approved by the Council, and now, in order to proceed with the negotiations in the solemn and authoritative manner required by an affair of such importance, to demand the Queen's hand and conclude the treaty, his Majesty has sent to England Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, M. de Courrières and the Chancellor of the Order of the Golden Fleece, over and above the ambassador resident. These gentlemen have already started, with a goodly following, such as befits a mission of such quality. And the Queen of England has already sent word of her determination to her ambassador in France, who will probably not be thanked for his news.
Dec. 31. Simancas, E. 879. Don Juan Manrique de Lara to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter in which Don Juan says that the Emperor may well be satisfied with the Pope, as out of five Cardinals recently created, two are Imperialists, and none of the others may be said to be French partisans. Cardinal Carpi is always working against the Emperor's interests, partly on account of his hatred for the house of Gonzaga, and may perhaps do great harm.)
I beg your Majesty to enforce more uniformity among the Imperialist cardinals, and order them not to fall a prey to discord where your service is concerned, so that I may not be obliged to have a separate letter of credence for each one of them; for their differences of opinion are a very serious drawback. I am able to speak more plainly on this subject, as I am not to be here long, and it does not matter to me personally; but as I see that my successor will be confronted by the same difficulty, I think it is my duty to tell your Majesty that I have found not one member of the College willing or able to give me any assistance except Cardinal Morone, (fn. 23) with whom I have talked everything over, and who deserves credit for great part of what has been done to the satisfaction of your Majesty, to whose service he is most devoted. As I have already written, Cardinal Morone spoke so wisely to the Pope on the English question that I positively know that his Holiness now ardently desires the marriage between the Queen of England and the Prince to take place. When it was suggested to recall Cardinal Pole, they would have taken advantage of divided opinion to have him brought back and throw all the blame on your Majesty had it not been for Cardinal Morone, whom your Majesty may well believe to be your true servant. He is not only full of goodwill and excellent intentions, but is so discreet that he may be trusted with anything; and you may be sure he will render you good service in the future, for besides his skill in dealing with the Pope, there is the fact that his Holiness has a great regard for him. I have as much reason to be pleased with him as I have to complain of another (fn. 24) who ought to be even more obliged to your Majesty.. . .
Rome, 31 December, 1553.
Decipherment. Spanish.
Dec. 31. Vienna, Imp. Arch. S. 4. Licenciate Games to the King of the Romans.
Since writing to your Majesty on the 22nd instant that which you will see when you receive my letter, I have received your Majesty's despatch of the 12th instant by the secretary of Juan Bautista Castaldo. In answer, I can only say that God is my witness for the manner in which I am pressing for the payment of what is owing to your Majesty, and my own chagrin at the delay. Your Majesty's despatch is in answer to three of my letters, but I am amazed that the one I sent to you on November 24th by a gentleman of the Queen (Dowager of Hungary), named Celting, never reached you, for the gentleman promised me to deliver it into your hands. In it I reported to your Majesty what had happened with the Emperor and the Queen in connexion with your Majesty's letters about England, and my conversation with the Bishop of Arras about Colonel George Speck, who desired to be in your Majesty's service, whereas the Emperor wanted him in his own. And at the same time I sent original letters from my nephew in England, giving an account of all he did there. I might send your Majesty duplicates of these now, but am not doing so, as I feel sure that the other packets must have reached you by now after all this delay.
What I have to say now is that news have come that the envoys to England have arrived at Calais, where they were very well received. They were awaiting good weather to cross over, and the men of Calais were fitting out several vessels to be sent towards Boulogne to guard the passage. There is no longer any doubt about the marriage, as everyone is saying; and now another rumour is being voiced: that his Majesty intends to go to Spain, for he has said so several times these days, and asserts that nothing would induce him to face another winter in these parts. And there are other signs that point the same way, which I will not mention here in order to avoid prolixity, but leave them for another occasion.
Your Majesty will see the news from England in a letter from the Emperor's ambassador there, which I am now sending to you. He has written another to me, in which he says that the Queen is soon going to send an ambassador to announce her marriage to your Majesty, and has sent another to France on the same errand. She did not keep the Portuguese there long, and is said to have given him a chain worth 300 crowns, though it may piously be believed that it is less valuable than they are making it out to be here. I hear that he is returning straight to Portugal from England.
The day before yesterday the Bishop of Warwick (fn. 25) arrived here, sent by the Queen of England to visit his Majesty on her behalf; and these are all my news.
Brussels, 31 December, 1553.
P.S.—A gentleman called M. de Charle (fn. 26) has arrived here on his way to announce to your Majesty the marriage of the Queen, his mistress. He will leave this place shortly, as soon as he has been admitted to kiss his Majesty's hand.
Signed. Spanish.


  • 1. i.e. Lord William Howard.
  • 2. During the two preceding years, the King of France had heaped favours upon the house of Farnese, and undertaken for their profit the Parma campaign. Cardinal Alexander Farnese received church benefices in France amounting to a yearly rental of 50,000 livres; Orazio Farnese had married the King's natural daughter Diane; but died of wounds received at the assault of Hesdin on July 19th, 1553. The death of Orazio, who was very much in favour at the French Court, and the shifting of interest towards Siena through the intrigues of the fuorusciti, headed by Piero Strozzi, cooled the King's interest in Parmesan affairs. Cardinal Farnese, who was in France, and followed the army, had a horse killed under him at Valenciennes, received as a reward the Bishopric of Cahors, and added another 18,000 livres a year to the 50,000 he received already. But Ottavio could not obtain the men, money and munitions which he sued for. His duchess, who had received the Dowager Queen of France (Eleanor's) dowry in compensation for the income of which the Emperor, her father, had deprived her at the outbreak of the Parma war, could not get her money. This condition of affairs went on during the autumn of 1553. At last, on December 20th, Ottavio left Parma secretly and without company. Margaret, his wife, Paolo Vitelli, and Monsieur de Fourquevaux, the King of France's treasurer at La Mirandola, who provided two thousand crowns for his journey, were alone in the secret. He arrived in Lyons on December 29th and was still so far from feeling safe that he looked himself up incognito in one room, until his escort of twelve gentlemen, who followed him from Parma, had arrived. The objects of his journey were twofold: to strengthen his position by proving to the King of France the advantages to be derived by the grant of men and subsidies to Parma; and to obtain for his own son, Alexander, the pension paid by the King to Orazio Farnese. He remained in France till February, 1554, obtaining little more than promises.
  • 3. At Simancas (E. 1203) there exists a lengthy report, drawn up in 1553 by Dofia Isabel Manrique, of her visit to Ottavio Farnese and his wife at Parma, in the course of which she tried to induce Margaret to persuade her husband to throw himself at the Emperor's feet.
  • 4. Ippolito d'Este, Cardinal of Ferrara, succeeded Cardinal Trivulzio in 1548 as “Protector of French affairs at the Court of Rome.” The office was an object of keen ambition; it was conferred on the favourite Cardinal by the King in person. The Protector had the exclusive right of proposing in Consistory the collation of the benefices dependent from the provinces in his “protection.” It was worth about a hundred and twenty thousand livres a year. In 1549 Carpi and Ferrara struggled to gain the “Protection” of Scotland. Besides the financial advantages, the Cardinal Protector directed French affairs in Italy. The Cardinal of Ferrera, often absent from Rome, was temporarily replaced by other protectors ad interim, but he retained the charge to the end of Henry II's reign. He was created cardinal titular of Santa Maria in Aquiro in 1538; he exchanged the title later for Santa Maria in Via Lata and St. Anastasius and Santa Maria la Nuova. In France he was Archbishop of Lyons, Bishop of Autun, Archbishop of Narbonne, besides possessing a great number of abbeys; and from 1552 to 1554 he was lieutenant for the King of France at Siena. See Romier, Origines Politiques des Guerres de Religion (Paris, Perrin, 1913).
  • 5. i.e. Ercole Gonzaga, Cardinal Bishop of Mantua.
  • 6. The bronze statues here referred to are doubtless among those of Charles and his family still to be seen in two groups on either side of the high altar of the Church of the Escorial. They were executed by Leone Leoni and his son, Pompeo. There are a number of works by the latter in Spain, such as the statues of the Duke and Duchess of Lerma, now in the museum of Valladolid, the fruit of Pompeo's collaboration with Juan de Arfe and Lesmes Fernández de Moral.
  • 7. Wotton's despatch, giving his account of his audience of the King and conversation with the Constable, which took place on December 18th, is printed by Tytler: The Reigns of Edward VI and Mary, II, 261.
  • 8. Vincenzo Parpaglia, Abbot of San Saluto, a Piedmontese.
  • 9. i.e. François de Guise, Grand Prieur de France.
  • 10. A John Alyne, of Hatfield Peverel, gentleman, swore allegiance to Mary on July 14th, 1553. See Acts of the Privy Council for that year. But it seems more probable that Ally was Sir John Leigh, who certainly enjoyed favour under Mary. See the Foreign Calendar, I, 98; and Spanish Calendar, X, 9; as well as p. 333 of the present volume.
  • 11. Jean de Fontenay, Sieur de Berteville. Information about his earlier activities may be found in Volume IX of this Calendar. He had served in the Pinkie campaign, his account of which: Récit de l'Expédition en Ecosse, has been published (Bannatyne Club, 1825).
  • 12. i.e. December 27th.
  • 13. See the following paper.
  • 14. Marginal note in Arras' hand: What was written to him was: foreign refugees on account of misdemeanours.
  • 15. This is probably Thomas Stukeley, who had been a prisoner in the King's Bench until August 7th, 1553. (See Acts of the Privy Council) There is further information about him in Volume X of this Calendar, pp. 381, 390. In the following year (1554) Stukeley held a commission in the Emperor's service.
  • 16. This place may possibly be Staines. Renard had just been at Richmond, and if business had taken him thence to Windsor before returning to London Staines would have lain on his way.
  • 17. This paper was evidently written by Paget, and addressed to Renard.
  • 18. i.e. When, married to Mary, Prince Philip became King of England, he might, as King of England, be obliged to declare war on France in discharge of the obligations imposed by the treaty of closer alliance between England and the Emperor.
  • 19. See Arras to Simon Renard, of December 23rd, 1553.
  • 20. Vargas writes this name de Mula; the form Damula is given in the Venetian Calendar.
  • 21. See the following paper.
  • 22. This paper, though it contains no fresh information about events in England, is interesting as being the official account of the marriage negotiations sent to the Imperial ambassador at Venice to be communicated to the Seignory.
  • 23. Cardinal Giovanni Morone.
  • 24. Presumably Cardinal Carpi, Bishop of Porto, of whom Don Juan Manrique complains earlier in this letter. Carpi passed as one of the heads of the Imperialist faction in the College of Cardinals.
  • 25. This is Games' mistake for Norwich.
  • 26. i.e. Richard Shelley, whose report of his mission is printed in the Foreign Calendar (1553–1558).