Spain: July 1553, 16-20

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

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'Spain: July 1553, 16-20', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11, 1553, (London, 1916) pp. 90-109. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

July 1553, 16–20

July 16. Brussels, L.A. 64. The Queen Dowager to Jehan Scheyfve.
We are sending you the copy of a petition that has been presented to us by an English merchant, who has been supported by Ambassador Hoby in his demand to obtain restitution of the quantity of fish mentioned in the petition. We first desired to hear from the Dunkirk officers how the trouble arose, and heard that the merchant had disobeyed the Emperor's placard by failing to obtain permission to export his fish, for which reason he had been arrested at sea with his vessel and its load, wherefore the people who took him were within their rights. We then declared to the ambassador that we could not consent to have the fish restored, for it now belonged to the men who had lawfully taken it, and who had petitioned us to protect their right. We had several times gratified English merchants in similar cases on Ambassador Chamberlain`s intercession, and had told him to warn the merchants that they must observe the Emperor's placards. And we have found insufficient the merchant's excuse of not knowing of the placard, for it is so well known and has been published so long that such an excuse is most unlikely to be sincere. We told Hoby so, and said it would be dangerous to let off frequent offenders easily. We are writing this to you in order that you may know what has happened, and have an answer ready if you are spoken to about it.
Brussels, 16 July, 1553.
Minute. French.
July 16. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 20. The Ambassadors in England to the Emperor.
Sire: The courier who was carrying our most important despatch was arrested and sent back under colour that he had private letters on him. This was done on purpose by the Council in order to be able to get in a first word with your Majesty, before our messenger's arrival, by means of the English ambassadors now at your Court and the gentlemen who left yesterday to go to you. But we are sending off our despatch again by the present courier in order that your Majesty may know all that has happened before you grant their demand for audience.
The said gentleman, as we have been told, is sent on behalf of the new Queen to impart to your Majesty the reasons that moved the late King to choose and nominate her for his successor, in order to find out whether your Majesty will put up with the debarring of the Lady Mary, or will assist her, and whether you will receive the gentleman on her behalf and reply to her as Queen; for the Council are exceedingly anxious to discover your Majesty's intentions. We thought we had better mention this to your Majesty, for since our last letters we have seen more horse and foot levied, to be sent to the Duke of Northumberland, and have been told that the Lady Mary has several lords and others who have declared for her, and that still more are about to do the same, rising against the royal authority (royaulme) and, more especially, against the Duke of Northumberland. The decisive moment seems to be near, for the Duke's purpose in going was not concealed, and as he departed a couple of days ago it seems certain that in four to six days we shall hear whether more people are rising and he is being effectually opposed, or whether his force is stronger than my Lady's. Your Majesty may therefore judge how it will be best to treat the English ambassadors and gentleman. As far as we are able to ascertain, the Duke is so hated for his tyranny and ambition that there is likelihood that the Lady Mary, if she is able to hold her own in the first encounter, will give him a great deal of trouble, induce many more men to join her, and may perhaps come to the throne. But as all this is doubtful and uncertain, your Majesty will consider whether it will not be wise to await definite news of the said (i.e. Northumberland's) expedition, so that if my Lady is seen to be strong you may act accordingly, and if she falls into the Duke's hands you may endeavour to save her from being put to death. We are suspected, and are being watched so closely to see whether we do what the Council prohibited that we are unable to negotiate as freely as we could wish or attempt certain useful expedients; but it does appear that the Council are anxious, fearing that the people may rise, that my Lady's forces may grow stronger, and that the new Queen may not be accepted by the Commons. A strong guard is being mounted round the Tower, where the Queen and the Council are, to protect her from a popular tumult; for they know that my Lady Mary is loved throughout the kingdom, and that the people are aware of their wicked complaisance in allowing the Duke to cheat her of her right. Several persons, and even some members of the Council, have said that this rising is a God-sent punishment; and yesterday a letter, addressed to the Queen and her Council, was found in S. Paul's church. As he who found it was put into the Tower it is presumed that the letter's contents were scandalous. We understand from information and private hints addressed to us that there is trouble coming, and many good men, among whom there are members of the Council, are disgusted. They say the Treasurer is one, that he (fn. 1) who kept the late King's privy purse has gone off to my Lady to place it at her disposal, and that those who have received injuries from the Duke will now take the opportunity of revenging themselves.
My Lord Cobham and (Sir John) Mason came to us once more to-day on the Council's behalf to answer the declarations made by us at our audience. They deeply regretted that so friendly and honourable an embassy had not been delivered to the late King Edward, whose death they deplored, though as God had been pleased to call him, they must submit to His will. As for my Lords of the Council, they could not do otherwise than very humbly thank your Majesty for your good will and solicitude for the kingdom's welfare, assuring you that they would not fail to reciprocate by observing all treaties and conventions, and by all other means in their power. They apologised for not having welcomed us as they would have wished, which had not proceeded from any lack of goodwill on their part. We were asked to make up our minds as to whether we desired to stay or not, for if we did wish to remain our persons should be secure and my Lords would do their best for us. If we wished to depart they would give us an escort to conduct us safely out of the kingdom; and they uttered the usual recommendations without entering into detail, converting their reply into a friendly farewell.
We replied in general terms that we would report their reply to your Majesty, who would be glad to hear the offers of sincere friendship contained therein. We thanked them for the good treatment they had shown us, but complained that our courier had been stopped at Dover and sent back; for it was by him that we had written to your Majesty (of the new Queen's reception), in order to ascertain whether you had any further orders to give us; and we proposed to depart within two or three days. They answered that they regretted to hear the officers had stopped our courier, but they would send him over. And we were unable to do otherwise than assent to this repeated leave-taking, in order to still their suspicions, which would have been redoubled if we had replied that we wished to sojourn here without fresh orders or other apparent reason.
In the meantime, we are sending off this present courier in all haste so that your Majesty may consider what further orders you will be pleased to give us. We have decided not to leave this town before next Thursday (i.e. July 20), and we will then proceed by short stages to Dover, taking six days to accomplish the journey, during which we will await your Majesty's decision. We have been unable to find a fitting excuse to stay longer, because they (i.e. the Council) are so suspicious of us; but before we arrive at Dover the Duke of Northumberland's expedition will have been put to the test, and we shall know whether it has succeeded or failed, or what has happened; for we have sent a man after him on purpose to find out. Cobham and Mason said not a word to us about the new Queen or the Lady Mary.
London, 16 July, 1553.
Signed by all four ambassadors. Cipher. French.
1553. July 19. Besançon, C.G. 73. The Ambassadors in England to the Emperor.
Sire: We have had news of the man whom we sent after the Duke of Northumberland, to the effect that the Duke is still at Cambridge, some thirty miles from this place, accompanied by about 1,000 horse, 3,000 foot, 12 pieces of artillery, such as cannons and double-cannons, and thirty cart-loads of ammunition; and that he was to have held a general muster on the 18th of this month. He had already sent 500 horse to reconnoitre the country within ten miles of Cambridge and protect the town, and was levying peasants to march against the Lady Mary, whose forces were reported to be increasing every day, for some helped with money, others with provisions, others with troops and others with ammunition. For the moment she appears to be stronger than the Duke, and every day we hear people muttering against him and preparing to declare for her.
The Duke's difficulty is that he dares trust no one, for he has never given any one reason to love him, and the general suspicion that he poisoned the King in order to bring the Crown into his family has turned the people away from him. (fn. 2) His task is no easy one, and would become more arduous yet if there were any rising in this town or its neighbourhood, as they say there may well be if he goes further afield. It is said that there has already been strife between the Earl of Huntingdon's brother and the Lord Privy Seal's son, which ended in blows, because one declared for the Lady Mary and the other for the new Queen; and the said Huntingdon (i.e. his brother), who championed the Lady Mary, prevailed. It is clear that the Duke fears your Majesty may take a hand in the game, especially as he is unable to ascertain your real intentions on the subject. Our mission appears to him suspicious because we recommended the Lady Mary and made a declaration concerning her marriage, and because we have taken no steps to recognise the new Queen; and this has moved him to send his brother, my Lord (fn. 3) Dudley to France to make sure of the support the King has promised him, and beg the King to make some demonstration to frighten the English. For though he knows that he will disgust every Englishman by calling in the French, he so dreads to fail in his designs and to be massacred, with all his house, by the people, after which the Lady Mary would mount the throne, that he will pay no heed to anyone and let the Frenchmen in. Such a thing is the courage of a resolute tyrant, especially when he is making a desperate attempt to grasp power.
We have had confirmation of Dudley's mission from several quarters, and have heard the reason of it. And though it is true that the King of France has enough to do to defend his places that are being besieged by your Majesty, he will not be willing to miss this opportunity of getting a foot-hold in England and stirring up discord between your Majesty's Low Countries and the realm. It will be easy for him to send hither 2,000 or 3,000 foot and a few horse, either from Normandy, or by getting together some troops from Boulogne and the neighbouring garrisons.
Many English partisans of the Lady Mary believe that if your Majesty were to send her assistance against the Duke, making a proclamation to the effect that you were only fighting the Duke and not the country, my Lady would come to the throne; and as the Duke would be the only loser, the affection borne to the Lady Mary by the people would not have to bear the test of an imputation of having brought in foreigners. However, we remit this point to your Majesty's judgment, as you are far better able to deal with it than we; understanding as you do the sum total of affairs. It is said here that the French are making great preparations for action late this season, which might cause much trouble. There might be difficulty in getting a large number of horse and foot across the sea; and it would perhaps be inconvenient to break with the English because of the fleets going to and coming from Spain and the fisheries. There are many other things to be considered also, especially as in your last letters you informed us of your intentions as regards using force. Indeed, Sire, we clearly see that however brave a bearing the new Queen and her Council may show, they are sorely embarrassed, for they know that this dispute for the Crown must be decided by force, and therefore their only care is to hold the people in check in this place and its surroundings. (fn. 4)
This day, Sire, the Earl of Shrewsbury and Mason came to our lodging and declared they had brought news that they believed would prove agreeable to your Majesty and profitable to the realm of England. They began by saying in general terms that we were perhaps aware of the present state of affairs. Though it had been said that the late King Edward's devise touching the succession had received the assent of the Council, only three or four of them had given their willing consent, and the rest had been compelled and treated almost as if they were prisoners. The Earls of Pembroke and Shrewsbury, the Lord Privy Seal, the Earl of Arundel, (Sir John) Mason, the three secretaries and Paget, (fn. 5) whom they had called to the Council, together with the Treasurer, whom they knew to be of their opinion, had been persuaded that the Lady Mary was rightful Queen, and had decided to proclaim her as such this very day, of which decision they were informing us that we might report it to your Majesty, confident as they were that the news would be agreeable to you. We replied that we would immediately send a despatch to your Majesty, and assured them that it would be impossible to send pleasanter tidings to you, in whom they would find all sympathy and friendship. Mason answered that he hoped your Majesty would always treat them as good neighbours, and never abandon them; he also said they were going to send two personages to take the news to the Lady Mary, and that if we wished first to send our letters we might do so.
We are as yet uncertain of the reasons that moved these gentlemen to make their new proclamation. It is said that they were influenced by the popular rising, the increase of the Lady Mary's force and the fact, reported here this morning, that seven of the best warships had surrendered to her. On board these ships there were one hundred or six score pieces of artillery and about one thousand men, all of whom declared for my Lady. It has also been said that 150 gentlemen have decided to make an attempt to seize the Tower in her interest, and that most of the nobility favour her, and that the Duke of Northumberland has not got farther than Cambridge, being unable to trust his men. Some say the Council have acted because of their own fears, others that they were moved thereunto by your Majesty's recommendation; be that as it may, two hours after Shrewsbury had spoken with us, the Lady Mary was proclaimed Queen of England amidst the greatest rejoicing it is possible to imagine: cries of “Long live the Queen!”, bonfires lit all over the city, and such a concourse of people as never was seen, who came forth as if they had been waiting to hear that my Lady's right was restored to her. Not only was the proclamation made in the city, but also in the Tower of London. It is also true that early this morning an old woman of sixty came to us in our lodging and warned us to tell my Lady to beware of the Council, for they meant to deceive her under colour of showing affection. This warning gave us pause, and we were unable to think in what manner they could manage to deceive her; but when we were informed that they intended to proclaim her Queen, we thought we saw what they might be trying to do: namely to induce my Lady to lay down her arms and then treacherously overcome her or encompass her death by means of a plot. We shall report our conjectures to my Lady, in order that she may make use of them if she sees fit.
We have been waiting for the translation of the proclamation, which states the reasons for which they have debarred the new Queen. When it has been made we will at once send it to your Majesty, in order that you may decide what is to be done and send us orders, until we have received which we shall not stir from this place.
It has been said here that the Duke of Northumberland has sent Henry Dudley to France for support, and that he is expecting 6,000 men that the French are going to embark at Boulogne and Dieppe. If any more is heard about this, we will report to your Majesty, and will speedily let you know what happens with regard to the Duke of Northumberland and the new Queen.
London, 19 July, 1553.
Minute. French. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.
July 20. Besançon, Collection Granvelle, 73. The Emperor to his Ambassadors in England.
We have received your letters of the 10th, 11th, 12th and 16th instant, and learned from them how you have been treated in England, your remarks to my Lord Cobham and Councillor Mason in reply to the communication they made to you on behalf of the Council, the five points you laid before them in accordance with our instructions, and your determination to repeat these points before the Council should they give you audience. All this appears to us well and wisely done, as also your manner of executing your charge while avoiding giving the Council any opportunity of taking action against your persons. Your letters have also informed us of the present condition of affairs in England, of the assistance and favour our cousin has found in certain of the nobility, the people's devotion to her and the measures resorted to against her by the Duke of Northumberland and his party. It seems to us that, before we are able to get together sufficient forces to support our cousin, there will be no use for them, because the game will already have been won or lost.
Also, it might easily happen that, as the English are by nature suspicious and unfriendly to foreigners, if they saw us taking an open part in their affairs and sending over troops, they might all join together to drive us out. Such action on our part might serve to confirm the arguments by means of which the Duke and his supporters have sought to rouse mistrust and jealousy of our cousin, saying that she intends to bring foreigners into the country. The writing that was sent forth in print shows that such was their purpose.
On the whole, it seems to us that, even if you have been led by the considerations you set forth to leave London before you receive this letter, you had better return thither as soon as it reaches you with the new commission (fn. 6) we are sending you to be presented to the Council, of whom, and not of her who calls herself Queen, you will demand audience on reaching London. When you have given them our letters that are being sent with this, you will tell them that we have commanded you to speak to them as follows. They intimated to you through my Lord Cobham and Mason that they could have wished that you had arrived in England in time to declare to the late King all that we had commanded you to say, and we also could have desired that at any rate the Councillors had heard you before proceeding to make a proclamation of the decisions which, as they say, were taken by the King, Had they known how sincerely we desired, and had always desired, the repose and tranquillity of the realm of England, and that we had no ulterior object in view, and were very far from harbouring the object they imputed to the Lady Mary, our cousin, namely, of introducing foreigners into the kingdom and changing its manner of administration, we are certain that they would have taken a more friendly view of the matter, such as our goodwill and affection deserve. They would have paid more attention to the cordial recommendation of our cousin that we addressed to them in case God were pleased to take the King, which case has subsequently come to pass. It is strange hearing in our ears to learn that the Council have attempted to call our cousin a bastard, and deprive her of her right, in spite of the fact that Parliament, of whose authority in England they are aware, the late King Henry, and all men have always held her to be legitimate. We especially regret this new departure, to her disadvantage, because we well know how much strife and discord may be let loose in England in consequence, and that the bloodshed and enfeeblement that are sure to follow can only afford the French the opening for which they have so long been hoping. The French are exhibiting great joy over the efforts certain people have made to advance to the Crown the daughter of the late (fn. 7) Duchess of Suffolk, under colour of her being a descendant of the late King Henry VIII's sister; for as the Queen of Scotland is as near a relative of the late King, and descends from the elder sister, they will seize upon the pretext in order to claim the Crown for the Dauphin, husband to the Queen of Scotland. This, in reality, would be the way to bring foreigners into the land, and foreigners as insolent as the English know the French to be, and not to keep them out, which was the object which some of the Council pretended to have in view in debarring our cousin, of whom they need entertain no suspicions, as her intentions and mine are such as you have already declared. The Council may consider that if the French set foot in England, we shall have to oppose them with all our might to the very last. You will beg them most earnestly on our behalf ripely to consider how important it is for them not to let in the ancient foes of England. For God's sake let them have a care to husbanding the strength of the kingdom by maintaining and protecting it, and strive to end this new quarrel, not by force and violence, but by the authority of Parliament, to whom it belongs to pronounce on a difficulty of this description, rather than to the Privy Council. Assure them that they shall find us entirely disposed to observe the friendship that we and our dominions have always professed for England, and that we will work as heartily for its repose and tranquillity as we would for those of our own realms. Do all in your power to impress the foregoing on the minds of the Council, one and all, of my lords of the nobility and every one else with whom you are able to come into contact, in order that every man of them may hear the charge with which you were sent over, and also this second commission. Have no fear in obeying these orders, as long as you do not go beyond them; for you are aware of the privileges enjoyed by ambassadors who do not exceed their powers, and in this particular case there is no question of hostility, but only of professions of goodwill towards the kingdom in general. In the meantime we will keep a close watch on the English ambassadors here, so as to make them serve as a surety. And as the Council cannot extract from the foregoing any excuse for anger against you, we feel sure that they will be careful to show none where you are concerned. You will ask for a reply to your speech, and make it clear to them that you have been instructed not to depart, after having sent us your report, until you have heard from us whether we have any further orders for you. We believe that as long as you remain your presence affords a certain support to our cousin, and that if you were to depart many of her following would lose heart, whereas as long as they see you, they know that we have not abandoned her altogether, and may hold out with the hope that sooner or later something may come of your negotiation.
You tell us in your letters that a gentleman is to come to us on behalf of the pretended queen, and we will speedily take measures to forestall him, for we are determined not to hear him in that quality. We intend to summon the English ambassadors to-day to declare to them what we have commanded you to say to the Council, and we will dexterously allow this to get to the ears of the English merchants resident at Antwerp. We feel certain that if, besides the hatred nourished for the Duke of Northumberland by many who have been wronged by him, the people of London are led by their affection for our cousin to join her side, her cause is on the way to success, as the welfare of the kingdom demands. It is therefore very important that you should use all means of making your charge known in London and elsewhere.
Your letters also inform us that the Duke of Northumberland is sending my Lord (i.e. Sir Henry) Dudley to France to obtain support from that quarter, and that in order to frighten those who desire to help our cousin they are magnifying the French forces and the operations the French are conducting against us on all sides. You will do well to repeat here and there, as if on your own account and by way of news, that you have certain tidings that though the King of France has tried his utmost to get together an army, his is unable to rival ours, and the Turk cannot come with as great forces as the King desires, who has been soliciting him with strange and cunning proposals. Moreover, he has relied greatly in the past on the commotions that have unsettled Germany, hoping to induce one or both parties (i.e. Catholics and Protestants) to turn against us and our dominions. We and the foremost princes of the Holy Empire did our best to appease German dissensions by means of a friendly treaty. And although the troubles were kept alive for some time by French malice, the Creator has now been pleased to end them in a stern manner, for He has settled them by the battle fought on the 9th of this month not far from Lüneburg, (fn. 8) in which great numbers were killed on both sides, among the dead being Duke Maurice, the Elector; and Dukes Carolus Victor and Philippus Magnus, sons of Duke Henry of Brunswick. Marquis Albert (fn. 9) was wounded in the arm, and retired after losing the battle. We deeply regret the effusion of blood because of the loss involved to the Holy Empire; but now that the troops have separated it is to be hoped that God will abate His ire, and that peace may ensue, and not the destruction at which the French are aiming. For this reason the French will find they have fewer strings to their bow; and they will not be able to do much to disturb England if that country will keep its eyes open and prevent foreigners from getting a foothold there. It is probable that when the English hear this, which is quite true, those who built on French help will lose heart, and by the same token our cousin's friends will take courage.
In order to leave nothing undone which, without causing the English to suspect us of intending to use force against them, may give hope to our cousin's party, we are having some warships fitted out under colour of protecting the herring fisheries. If there is any need, and the ships can be made ready in time, they might be used in our cousin's favour. This is all we can write at present, and we must leave the rest to your discretion, as you are on the spot, and better able to judge of what is required. We recommend you to report to us as often as possible, for you know how important it is that we should be amply informed. We have not instructed you to give our cousin any particular message, because affairs change so quickly from day to day that it is impossible to lay down any rule. It is true that if you publish abroad your commission, as we have indicated above, it is certain to reach her ears; but we think it would not be a bad thing if you were able to send some trustworthy person to give her a more detailed account and let her know that we still bear her all our accustomed affection, and desire that she may come to the throne, encouraging her to lay fear aside, as she has made this beginning, and avoid rendering timid those who are with her, but press on as fast as possible.
Brussels, 20 July, 1553.
French. Signed, Charles, countersigned, Bave. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV. The original minute is in Vienna (E. 21).
July 20. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The Emperor to the Privy Council.
We have heard from our ambassadors, whom we recently sent to you, the present state of affairs in the realm of England, and have commanded them to wait on you and declare unto you certain matters on our behalf. We beg you to believe them as you would ourself, and be sure that our only motive is the affection we have always borne, and still bear, to the realm of England.
Brussels, 20 July, 1553.
Minute. French.
July 20. Simancas, E. 808. The Ambassadors in England to Prince Philip.
We are sending the present bearer to your Highness in order to inform you of our embassy in this realm of England, and of the negotiations we have conducted here by his Imperial Majesty's, orders. His Majesty had heard of the strange and protracted illness with which the late King of England, Edward, was afflicted, and of the visits the French were paying him to put a face on their intrigues, together with the sending of L'Aubespine, secretary of state, some eighteen days before the King's death. He was also aware of the Duke of Northumberland's ambition, which moved the Duke to seize the Crown of England in order to transfer it to his own house, and therefore his Majesty sent us, the undersigned de Courrières, de Thoulouse and Councillor Renard, to England to visit the said King if we should find him alive. Not long before his death, the King had sent ambassadors to his Imperial Majesty to persuade him to make peace with the French, and work for the general welfare of Christendom; and we were to thank him for his solicitude and zeal in the cause of peace, inform him of the negotiation of the legate (fn. 10) whom his Holiness had sent to his Imperial Majesty on the same errand, of the offices performed by the legate (fn. 11) sent by his Holiness at the same time to France, and of the taking of Therouanne, a place that had been judged to be impregnable, and that his Majesty had conquered after a short siege. These remarks were to have served to confirm the friendly relations existing between the two countries and defeat the machinations of the French; whilst our main object was to assist the Lady Mary, your Highness' cousin, to come to the throne of England, or in case the Duke of Northumberland's forces should prove the stronger and he should harbour some evil intention of harming the Lady Mary's person, to devise means as best we might of shielding her from harm.
In order that your Highness may grasp exactly how matters stand, you must know that in the days of the late King Henry there was question of a divorce between the said King Henry and the Lady Catherine, your Highness' aunt, and it was stated that she had been wedded to the said King Henry's brother, and that the marriage had been consummated. The divorce was pronounced, but subsequently retracted, and indeed the very opposite was proclaimed by sentences and by the said King Henry's will, in which he declared her to be legitimate and appointed her to succeed, in case of the late King Edward's death, as Queen of England, naming in the second place the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of another woman. Since that time the Lady Mary has always been regarded here as legitimate, and has received, according to the custom of the land, most honourable treatment on account of her qualities, her birth, and the usages generally observed by princes.
Your Highness may have been informed of the changes that have taken place in this realm since the said King Henry's death. Religion and government have been reversed, and the Duke of Northumberland has advanced his power to such a point that he has succeeded in having the King's Protector beheaded, seizing the reins of government, creating himself a duke, enriching his family, and revenging himself by tyrannical acts on all those whom he wished ill. We are writing this short account to your Highness, although we know you have heard it already; and, to continue with the Duke's career, he knew that his Imperial Majesty would never be a party to his designs or give his consent to any evil undertaking. So as his Majesty is a Catholic prince, and above all others a lover of virtue and a champion of justice, the Duke began intriguing in order to obtain support from the King (of France) in case of need. He made many promises contrary to the kingdom's welfare, lending too ready an ear to the French. Then he saw war break out between his Majesty and the King of France, all Christendom in rebellion because of the Frenchmen's agitations, Germany in an uproar with civil war, Italy in arms and fear. He thought out for himself the probable course of public events, observing the late King's natural inclination to virtue, and knowing that as he grew older he would normally become an ally of his Majesty. Finally, he took into consideration his extreme unpopularity in this realm, and decided to kill the late King Edward, as every one supposes and the course of the malady demonstrates. It is generally said that he poisoned the King, and whether it was that the poison was not intended to act at once, but only gradually, or whether the Bang's constitution was too weak to resist, in any case his hair and nails fell off, he as it were dried up, and died between eight and nine on the evening of the 6th instant. Before the King died, the Duke prevailed upon him to make a will debarring the Ladies Mary and Elizabeth from their rights and claims to the throne of England, and appointing as his successor the elder daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, who is the elder son (fn. 12) of the Lady Mary, who was married to King Louis (XII) of France, called the White Queen, left a widow, and subsequently married to the Duke of Suffolk. This daughter was married to the Duke of Northumberland's fourth son, called Guilford, three or four months ago. The Duke arranged this marriage during the King's illness, which lasted six months, hoping that if he placed the Crown on his son's head he might escape suspicion of having poisoned the King, and appear less ambitious and grasping.
The late King died on a Thursday, and on the following Monday the elder daughter of the said Duke of Suffolk was proclaimed Queen in virtue of the will. She made her entry into this city of London and repaired to the Tower, where she was received as Queen and placed in possession of the realm. Shortly afterwards, on the same day, an order was published on her behalf by which the Lady Mary was declared to be a bastard and unfit to succeed, that she might marry out of the kingdom and change the manner of government and religion of the same, which considerations had moved the late King to make a will and appoint his successor. Before the death of the King, the Lady Mary discovered the Duke of Northumberland's designs and withdrew to a house of hers at Framlingham (Fremegue), distant some sixty miles from this place towards the country of Norfolk. The Duke of Northumberland and his Council then issued letters to the officers of the kingdom to be on the watch to prevent her from going abroad, suspecting that she had gone away with the intention of crossing over to Flanders or of stirring up a rebellion. But the Lady Mary, after discussion with her counsellors and many of the foremost gentlemen of the land, sent letters to the new Queen's Council in which she proclaimed herself Queen, and ordered them to obey her. She then fortified herself with her friends, who assisted her with men, money and necessaries; and as she is beloved by the whole kingdom she was favoured in secret by the people everywhere, and by the greater part of the gentry. She was forced to declare herself openly, for the Duke had in his power all the troops, artillery, castles, fortresses, the treasury, the government, and all the councillors bought over to his side, and the result was that the whole country rose against him. The Duke then raised horse and foot to go and seize the Lady Mary. He had the drum beaten and was able to get together 1,000 horse and 3,000 foot, most of whom he dared not trust. He marched out of this town with twenty great pieces of artillery; but when he had gone twenty miles he heard that the Lady Mary's forces were swelling, many gentlemen were declaring for her, the Council was troubled, the people murmuring, and everything of doubtful issue. He stopped a couple of days without going farther, and then advanced to Cambridge, some thirty miles from here; and there he was to hold a muster on the 18th of this month. In the meantime seven warships in battle-array, which the Duke believed to be at his service, surrendered to the Lady Mary; and they had on board 120 pieces of artillery.
In the same interval we asked the Council for audience, in order to execute the part of our charge that applied to the Lady Mary. The Council delayed, but we insisted, for it was important that we should be heard, in spite of the fact that until we were able to show our innocence they suspected us of helping or counselling the Lady Mary, and threatened us with the rigour of their laws, giving us to understand that if they discovered us advising my Lady Mary they would deal violently with our persons. Finally, they granted us an audience, in the course of which we freely uttered all that we believed might work in my Lady's favour. We argued that alliances were made between princes in order to secure friendly and peaceful relations, and were intended to be instruments of peace and neighbourliness. The bonds of kinship were indissoluble; his Majesty could not omit to show his cousin favour, but must urge them to do her no wrong. Let them give no faith to the words of the French, but remember the past, during which the two nations had always been enemies. The French were by nature violent and implacable, and his Majesty knew very well that their object in throwing English affairs into confusion was to advance to the throne the new King of Scotland, husband of the King of France's daughter, (fn. 13) and sow seeds of discord between his Majesty and England. This consideration of the Queen of Scotland was of importance, because as she was descended from the elder daughter, if the Ladies Mary and Elizabeth were to be excluded, hers was the better right. In order to disprove the arguments the Council had chosen to show the Lady Mary in a hateful light to the people, we asserted that his Majesty had no intention of marrying her to a foreigner, but wished to encourage the Council and Parliament to deliberate as to which Englishman would be best fitted for this match. His Majesty did not wish anyone to be chosen who would be likely to introduce changes and innovations in the government to the country's hurt; and he considered that the Lady Mary ought to consent to whatever measures should be desired for the kingdom's peace and tranquillity. His Majesty, we continued, desired to urge them carefully to weigh all things in the scales of reason; but when his Majesty should hear that they had endeavoured to deprive the Lady Mary of her rights and had declared her to be a bastard, he would not be able to come to any other conclusion than that French intrigues had prevailed, and that private interests had been uppermost in the minds of those in authority; for they must remember the contrary disposition contained in the will of the late King Henry. In conclusion we offered to continue in friendly and neighbourly relations, and to draw these closer still by all means in our power, as we had already intimated to certain private individuals of the Council in order to induce that body to grant us audience, which we feared they might refuse to do with the pretext adopted by their emissaries, who had told us that as King Edward was dead our commission had expired, in spite of the fact that our object was to speak in favour of the Lady Mary.
Whether the Council were afraid, or for some other reason, they caused the Lady Mary to be proclaimed Queen on the 19th of this month, after having called back to his former seat Paget, who had been expelled by the Duke. On that occasion the people showed unspeakable joy, both in public, in private and in the streets, shooting off salvoes of artillery and indulging in the accustomed sports and games. On the other hand, when the Duke of Suffolk's daughter was proclaimed, there was no pretence of rejoicing.
The Council have sent this evening to the Lady Mary to give her the news.
It is true we had been warned that my Lady had better not lay down her arms until she had made sure of her position, for fear this sudden change of front might conceal some treachery or conspiracy, as the Duke was still in arms. We have intimated to my Lady that we believe she will trust no words, but have confidence in force alone, taking great care to seat herself firmly on the throne before she dismisses any of her troops. It will be easy for her to hold her own as she enjoys the people's favour, the affection and goodwill of the gentry, and his Majesty's and your Highness' protection; especially as she has heard that the Duke of Northumberland's men have fallen to fighting among themselves, that part of them have left him, and that the Duke is retreating towards Scotland. We therefore believe that the Lady Mary will come to the throne, and every one considers her success a miracle and the work of the Divine Will, considering how long the Duke of Northumberland had been laying his plans. As for ourselves, as long as we tarry here we will do our duty and execute his Majesty's orders. We thought it meet to use despatch in reporting the above occurrences to your Highness, for they will be agreeable in your ears. Your kingdoms and territories will profit by these happenings, and the French will find themselves frustrated of their hopes when they see the friendly relations with England, which they had meant to destroy, established firmer than ever, and their own secret alliance with the late King overthrown. And these news will please them the less because their strength is waning and his Majesty's unimpaired, Thérouanne lost and Hesdin beleaguered so stoutly that seven days ago his Majesty's troops had taken the castle moat and were entrenched there, and the French, as we hear, were already trying to obtain a parley.
By the same token the French have lost credit in Germany, and they are afraid of the Diet that is to be held at Eger (fn. 14) on the 25th of this month, where a general league and confederation are to be arranged for the purpose of pacifying Germany. His Majesty has been requested to preside at it, and he has sent three persons to execute his orders there.
We have no news from Court save that his Majesty is better, both in his body and in his legs, than he has been any time these six years, and that Don Diego de Acevedo has arrived in safety.
May it please your Highness to order that this courier be paid, for we are sending him off post-haste for the sole purpose of carrying this despatch to you.
London, 20 July, 1553.
Spanish translation from a French original. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV, from a badly mutilated copy at Besançon, (Collection Granvelle, 73).
July 20. Simancas, E. 1322. Advices from England. (fn. 15)
I was yesterday at the (Imperial) ambassadors', who were sending a courier to Court; and though he was not allowed to carry letters, I wrote two lines in haste to M. Germino, begging the courier to send them from Bruges to Antwerp. I hope he has received the note, for in it I informed you of the proclamation of the noble and well-beloved Lady Mary, whom God has delivered as He delivered His people from out of the hands of Pharaoh. And truly His intervention was sorely needed.
In the evening of Thursday, the 6th of this month, as you have heard, King Edward departed this life, not without suspicion of poison, according to popular report. On Friday morning a new guard was sent under the Admiral's orders to hold the Tower. On Saturday the Duke—and when I say “Duke” you are to understand “Northumberland”—went to Sion House, whither all the other members of the Council repaired on Sunday to a great banquet attended by the two Duchesses and the Lady Jane, daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, who was afterwards proclaimed Queen. The Council fixed upon their plan of action, and on Monday, at two o'clock in the afternoon, there came in the royal barges the Duke of Suffolk; my Lord Guilford, son of the Duke and husband of the Lady Jane; the Lady Jane herself, the two Duchesses and other ladies attended by a great following, and landed at the Tower where the Duke and the other Councillors were waiting to bid the Lady Jane, whose train was carried by her mother, welcome to the Tower. The same evening, to the people's small contentment and without shouting or other sign of rejoicing, she was proclaimed Queen, as you will have seen by a proclamation that was forwarded to M. Germino. I was present in person when the proclamation was made, and among all the faces I saw there, not one showed any expression of joy.
During the last few months the noble Lady Mary had been constantly advised by the Emperor's ambassador of the King's incurable illness, of the Duke's actions, ambition and designs. The ambassador also explained to her how much in her interest it would be to appear obedient, and to seem not only to harbour no suspicions of the Duke, but to have confidence in him, and this her Grace was careful to do in all her letters. At the same time she made all her preparations in secret, and succeeded in lulling the Duke to such good effect that he really believed her to be so good and simple that he would be able to seize her person whenever he might care to do so. When the King's life was drawing to its close, on the 26th or 28th of last month, my Lady caused it to be known that she intended to change her residence for the summer, went to another house distant, as you are to know, some six miles from this place (fn. 16); and two or three days later she departed for Norfolk, where the people were very glad to see her. As soon as news of the King's death arrived, she had herself proclaimed Queen, to the great delight of the people, and of many gentlemen who went to offer her their services. A great concourse of people were moved by their love for her to come and promise to support her to the end and maintain her right to the Crown, bringing money and cattle as their means enabled them. From the North Country came my Lord Dacre with a great company, and other young lords and gentlemen swelled her forces to such an extent that she soon found herself in a position not only to defend herself, but to attack her enemy, the Duke. In spite of the fact that the Duke had appointed the Duke of Suffolk to go in pursuit of the Lady Mary, on the Thursday following the Lady Jane's proclamation the Duke himself started out, accompanied by the Marquis of Northampton, my Lord Grey, the Admiral, four of the Duke's sons, his son-in-law and other gentlemen, with a force which amounted to some 2,000 horse and 3,000 foot at least. On his way the Duke commanded the country people to follow him, and he had fourteen large and small pieces of artillery, twelve cart-loads of pikes and spears, four of arquebuses and many more of other munitions with which to arm the men he intended to levy. It was heard that they were at Cambridge on Monday last (July 17th), a week after the Lady Jane's proclamation. Meanwhile Mr. (Sir Edmund) Peckham and Sir John Williams, one of the King's treasurers, (fn. 17) with a force of cavalry raised among their peasantry, stood up for the Lady Mary at Walte (fn. 18) in Buckinghamshire, and the people answered, proclaiming her true heiress to the Crown, and Queen. The seven ships that had been sent to guard the sea-ports were under command of a Mr. Bruche (i.e. John Grice), a Knight of Rhodes, who went over to the Lady Mary's side with all his artillery and ammunition, and he himself and all his men offered her their services. In addition to these, George Howard, who was the late King's equerry, had words in camp with the Earl of Warwick, and went off to my Lady with 50 of the King's best horse. There was some strife between them, and between my Lord Grey and the Duke, for it is said that when the Duke was burning the houses (fn. 19) of my Lady's supporters in Cambridge and that neighbourhood, my Lord Grey told him it was no wise course. It may be that my Lord Grey had received tidings that caused him to wish to break with the Duke; in any case there was fighting, and some 400 were killed. My Lord Grey was badly wounded, one of the Duke's sons and Mr. (Sir Henry) Sidney, his son-in-law, were killed, and the Earl of Warwick and the young Lord Hastings wounded. The Duke had the victory, and marched on burning and laying waste the land. The news of these occurences arrived here on the evening of Tuesday, the day before yesterday, at the same time as others from Essex, stating that Lord Rich, who was to have gone to camp with 300 horse, was proclaiming my Lady and raising the country-side. The following day, Wednesday, which was yesterday, all the Council, except the Duke of Suffolk and the Lord Chamberlain (i.e. Northampton) who remained at Court, met at the Earl of Pembroke's house, my Lord Paget being for the first time of their company, and together adopted a decision which one may say they could not help. At two o'clock in the afternoon part of their number went to the ambassadors and told them that they had decided to proclaim the Lady Mary Queen. Most of them, they said, had been compelled by force to proclaim the other, for they had truly desired to remain friends with the Emperor and turn their backs on the French, and the Lady Mary was true heiress to the Crown. This statement so amazed the ambassadors that they almost thought they must be dreaming, for only three days before they had been with the Council at Lord Pembroke's and complained of the wrong done to my Lady by so wicked a proclamation, asserting that they well knew the Emperor would take it ill. The Council had angrily replied that the ambassadors had been sent to the King, and as the King was dead their commission had expired, wherefore they might return home again, for they (the Council) well knew how to govern their country, with more words to that effect. The ambassadors accordingly had asked for leave to depart, whereupon there followed this change of mind. They warmly thanked the Councillors who brought them the news; and immediately afterwards the proclamation was made amidst such expressions of popular rejoicing, such a clamour and din and press of people in the streets, as not only you who were absent, but I who was present, can hardly find credible; and it was all the more marvellous for coming so unexpectedly. Men ran hither and thither, bonnets flew into the air, shouts rose higher than the stars, fires were lit on all sides, and all the bells were set a-pealing, and from a distance the earth must have looked like a Mongibello (i.e. Mt. Etna). The people were mad with joy, feasting and singing, and the streets crowded all night long. I am unable to describe to you, nor would you believe, the exultation of all men. I will only tell you that, as not a soul imagined the possibility of such a thing, when the proclamation was first cried out the people started off, running in all directions and crying out: “The Lady Mary is proclaimed Queen!” Mr. (Sir John) York (fn. 20) was passing through Leadenhall Street, and hearing this tumult, thought it had another cause. He therefore cried out to the people that it was not true, and though he was on horse-back he escaped alive with difficulty, and was taken into the house of Sheriff Garrett, (fn. 21) where he was examined. At eight o'clock this evening there were so many people outside the Sheriff's house, saying they wanted York, that I know not what will happen. He may come to a bad end, and if I hear any more before closing this letter you shall know of it. I greatly rejoiced with all our friends and the most worshipful Master Guid (Guido ?), who was the first to give me the news when I was on my way to the garden with Mr. Roper and the others; and they all think they may still continue here happily as in the past, as God grant they may, if such be your pleasure. Some of the lords have gone towards the Queen to fetch her into London. On Saturday the ambassador (fn. 22) is going, and he has begged me to accompany him, as he wishes to have me admitted to kiss the Queen's hand. I will remember you to Mr. Rouster, (fn. 23) who has come several times in secret to the ambassador during these troubles; and I assure you he has done good and true service. The other Queen has renounced all her honours, and has been shut up in the Tower with her husband and the Duke's wife, though all the rest are outside. I know nothing more of the Duke's movements for the moment: but he must have heard of what has happened here. He will hardly escape. I will send you more news in another letter.


  • 1. i.e. Sir Edmund Peokham, Cofferer of the Household and Treasurer of th Mint.
  • 2. Noailles himself, (Mémoirea, II, 73), says that Northumberland was generally hated, and Mary beloved.
  • 3. Sir Henry Dudley, a distant cousin of Northumberland, who had been Vice-Admiral, had been sent to France.
  • 4. The first part of this minute, down to the end of this paragraph, appears not to have been sent to the Emperor. The letter of July 19th, in cipher and signed by all four ambassadors, that is preserved at Vienna (Imp. Arch. E. 20), opens with the next paragraph, and is word for word the same as the remainder of this minute.
  • 5. William, Lord Paget, had been excluded from the Privy Council since October, 1551.
  • 6. See the following document.
  • 7. Lady Jane was the daughter of the then Duchess, Frances, whose mother, Mary, also Duchess of Suffolk, was a younger daughter of Henry VII. Some confusion as to how Lady Jane's claim originated prevailed in the Emperor's mind.
  • 8. This battle is known to history by the name of Sievershausen.
  • 9. i.e. Margrave Albreoht Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Culmbach.
  • 10. Girolamo Dandino, Cardinal Bishop of Imola.
  • 11. Hieronimo Capo di Ferro, Cardinal of San Giorgio.
  • 12. The Emperor and his ministers appear never to have got the rights of the Suffolk claim. Here Henry Grey is made the son of Mary, wife of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk; whereas it was through her mother, Frances, that the Lady Jane derived her claim.
  • 13. This is clearly a mistake made by the translator of the original dispatch from French into Spanish. Read: “the new Queen of Scotland, wife of the King of France's son.” The marriage did not take place until 1558.
  • 14. Eger lies on the river of the same name, in Bohemia near the Bavarian border.
  • 15. These advices sèem to have been written by an Italian resident in London.
  • 16. Hunsdon in Hertfordshire seems to be meant.
  • 17. Sir John Williams was Treasurer of the Augmentations.
  • 18. Watlington, in Oxfordshire, may possibly be meant here.
  • 19. Sawston Hall, belonging to Mr. Huddlestone, was burnt down just after Mary, who had spent the night there, left it on her way to Framlingham.
  • 20. Surveyor of the King's woods, and Northumberland's financial adviser and constant associate. He is frequently mentioned in the last volume of this Calendar.
  • 21. William Garrett, Sheriff of the City of London.
  • 22. Probably the Venetian ambassador, Giacomo Soranzo, who says in his Relazione that he went ten miles out of London to meet the Queen, accompanied by 150 horsemen, to represent the Venetian Republic.
  • 23. Probably Sir Robert Rochester, Mary's controller.