Spain: March 1554, 21-31

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1949.

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, 'Spain: March 1554, 21-31', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) pp. 164-180. British History Online [accessed 20 May 2024].

. "Spain: March 1554, 21-31", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) 164-180. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024,

. "Spain: March 1554, 21-31", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949). 164-180. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024,

March 1554, 21–31

March 21. Simancas, E. 508. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
You will have seen what I wrote by the last couriers. Since then another has come from England with news that the Queen is well and affairs more settled than they lately have been, for everyone is greatly pleased that the betrothal per verba de prœsenti has been celebrated and looking forward with desire to your coming. Enough time has now passed for Count d'Egmont and the ambassadors to have arrived in Spain, so you will complete your preparations for departure with all despatch and take ship; and in the meantime you will do well to send someone to visit the Queen and carry a letter to her, as is only right and proper.
M. de Courrières and the Alcalde are soon to go to England to take all necessary measures for your reception there, to prepare the apartments you are to inhabit and to decide how all concerned may best ensure friendly relations, for this is of the greatest importance at the outset. I know you will have impressed your wishes in this matter on the minds of all those who are to accompany you, as I have already written to you to do so, but I must urge it upon you once again. In order to avoid all possible source of contention, your troops and officers are not to land at all in England, and you are to write to us frequently about the progress of affairs, for though we have daily been expecting a letter from you, we have not had a word since February 9th.
I have had Fugger's agent resident at Antwerp spoken to about the payment of 100,000 ducats which you suspended, and though he made trouble about it he has finally given his consent and will write to the firm's man in Spain. However, he most urgently begged us that no difficulty might be made in Spain about the permission to take money out of that country which we granted as part of the bargain concluded at Villach, for otherwise it would mean a heavy loss, as the permission has been counted on in drawing up estimates. It seems that he is justified in saying so, and as the Fuggers' services are really of greater value than others' you will issue orders that in any case they be allowed to export as much as remains of the money, for on that understanding they consented to say no more about the 100,000 ducats.
Brussels, 21 March, 1554.
Decipherment. Spanish.
March 22. Brussels, R.A. Prov. 13. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Since I last wrote, the French ambassador resident here has had audience of the Queen's Council. He complained that the Council had not restored to its rightful owners a French vessel seized by your Majesty's subjects off Margate in the mouth of the Thames; his own mail-bag had been taken and opened, and the letters not returned to him; passports for Scotland had been refused to his brother and several couriers carrying letters from his master, the King of France; it was being publicly said in England that the King meant to make war on the Queen; and this was strange treatment, unlike that which his master was accustomed to put up with and in no wise corresponding to the friendly words recently spoken by the Queen and Council. To this audacious and menacing speech the Council, after deliberation, replied that they were amazed at its tone, which seemed to be intended to terrify them with a threat of a declaration of war on a flimsy pretext. They were unable to believe that the grievances enumerated had anything to do with the King's resentment against the Queen and her realm, but considered it more likely that his feelings where they were concerned were other than those he had so often described. As for the French vessel, the ambassador knew well enough that it had not been seized by Englishmen nor by the Queen's consent; but the French had been the first to violate this kingdom's privileges by seizing ships belonging to your Majesty's subjects. In any case, such private grievances were not a sufficient reason to justify a breach of treaties of peace, and they were neither so timid nor so blind as to fail to read the riddle and realise that the ambassador's object was to detract attention from the ill offices performed in England by the King's ministers. The ambassador knew that he had already been told why his mail-bag had been seized and detained. As for the refusal of passports to his brother and the French courier, the reason of it was that M. d'Oisel had intrigued with the rebels who had risen against the Queen, especially with Crofts and two others, now prisoners, and had promised them money and troops to aid their undertaking. The fact that Peter Carew and others had fled to France told its tale and the free confession of various prisoners showed that French ministers' activities had been contrary to the interests of England. The Queen, far from intending to bear all this in silence, meant to make the truth known in every quarter. There was only too good reason for the rumours that were going the rounds in England, for Peter Carew was fitting out a ship at the King of France's expense and there was no lack of other reasons. The complaints uttered by the ambassador could not palliate acts so sinister and so much in contradiction with the verbal assurances of friendly intentions of which he had been prodigal when speaking to the Queen. Therefore their minds were made up to demand Carew's extradition and insist on an answer, and the ambassador was to let the King of France know exactly what they had said, in order that they might see whether he meant to accept responsibility for his ministers' behaviour and whether he wanted peace or war, so that the Queen's constant desire to keep up relations of good neighbourhood might not expose her to a disagreeable surprise. According to the King's answer she would shape her own course.
The ambassador, in reply, only said that he did not know what d'Oisel could have done, but he would report the Council's words and make known the King's answer. He insisted that his letters ought to be given back to him, saying that they could not possibly be deciphered. He had heard that I had tried my hand, but no trust was to be put in my decipherment, for there was no chance whatever of my making out the characters. The Council's reply to him had been very sharp, so sharp that it could only be supposed they would grow much worse when the Prince of Spain came over; but he begged them to believe that he would do his best to safeguard friendly relations and the treaties of peace. While he was speaking, the Admiral lost his temper because he had cast aspersions on the administration of justice in the Admiralty Court. When the ambassador's speech was reported to me, my opinion was that he had spoken as he did in order to ascertain from the Council the Queen's intentions, cause d'Oisel's doings to be forgotten and, after speaking soft words, to carry on as before. I advised them to instruct Wotton to ask for his recall, and I believe they are going to do so.
Since the audience took place, news have come that Marshal de St. Andre has marched his troops back from Ardres to Abbeville, where he is gathering together a camp of 12,000 to 15,000 foot and 2,000 or more horse, some say to besiege Renty or Guines, others to harry your Majesty's countryside; but I have no certain information about this. I am told for a fact that the King has ordered all his vassals and gentlemen to be ready by the 16th of next month at the places in the provinces to which they have been assigned by commissaries, and that they are to wait there, fully equipped for active service, the space of three months. Those who are too old or ill to serve in person are to hire as many foot and horse for the said three months as they can afford, under the last penalty.
I hear that Peter Carew has left Normandy for Brittany, and that the King has sent him to join the fleet there. The officers in Cornwall have taken a ship, on board of which were twenty Englishmen and a few Frenchmen, sent by Carew to reconnoitre the Western coasts. There were two English gentlemen, one of whom was killed by a cannon-ball, and the other is now a prisoner; and this is certainly true.
A spy has given me a note which I am sending to your Majesty. There is nothing much in it except that an order has been issued (in France) to hand over all silver plate; and this shows that the people have been hiding what little plate they had left.
I hear from a trustworthy source that the French are again intriguing to cause a revolt here among the people and some of the nobles. Plenty of money is being promised, and some of the Queen's Council are wavering.
The heretics are beginning to plot afresh, and the misunderstanding between the catholic and protestant Councillors has twice been apparent. When it was proposed to throw the Lady Elizabeth into the Tower, the Council expressed a wish to know exactly the reason, and the upshot was that the heretics combined against the Chancellor, and stuck to it that the law of England would not allow of such a measure because there was not sufficient evidence against her, that her rank must be considered and that she might perfectly well be confined elsewhere than in the Tower. Words were uttered which clearly showed how much the Chancellor is disliked, and not only the heretics took this line, but some of the Catholics, such as the Earl of Sussex, Paget, Hastings and Cornwallis—though Paget is thought to be of the new religion rather than of the old. Among the Chancellor's other adversaries were the Admiral, Pembroke, Arundel, Mason, Petre, the Controller, the Chamberlain, the Vice-Chamberlain (fn. 1) and Bourne. So numerous were they that it was suggested that, as they were not of opinion to confine her in the Tower, one of them should accept the responsibility of taking custody of her. And the heretics spoke violently against the Chancellor, accusing him of animus against certain prisoners, whom he caused to be cross-examined on religious grounds and not at all in connexion with the main point of rebellion, and of conniving with others to the detriment of the Queen's interests. Thus it became clear that the Council had split up into two parties, to the great hurt of public affairs. It was only because no one would take charge of Elizabeth, that it was decided to conduct her to the Tower last Saturday, by river and not through the streets; but it did not happen that day, because when the tide was rising Elizabeth prayed to be allowed to speak to the Queen, saying the order could not have been given with her knowledge, but merely proceeded from the Chancellor's hatred of her. If she could not speak to the Queen, she begged to be allowed to write to her. This was granted, and while she was writing the tide rose so high that it was no longer possible to pass under London bridge, and they had to wait till the morrow. The Queen was very angry with the Council for this, and told them plainly that they were not following the right path, for they would never have dared to do such a thing in her father's lifetime, and she only wished he might come to life again for a month. Since then no meeting of the Council has taken place; and the Chancellor never cares to attend unless he is especially sent for.
The second incident was as follows. Last Sunday (fn. 2) the Council, in the Chancellor's absence, were moved by the heretic element to discuss a proposal suggesting that as the day was a holy one, it was meet to urge the Queen to be merciful and not shed the noble blood of England. The rebels, they claimed, had already been cruelly punished, and it would be better to pardon the bulk of them and not follow the opinion of bloodthirsty men, by which expression they meant the Chancellor. So they immediately decided to present themselves before the Queen, and induced Paget, who has taken their side on account of his hatred of the Chancellor and perhaps because of the religious leanings of which he is suspected, to be spokesman. Neither Petre nor the Controller dared to object, so they went and surprised the Queen, without announcing their visit, in her oratory after vespers, and spoke to such purpose that she, against her will and inclination, pardoned six gentlemen who had been sent down to Kent to be executed for having followed Wyatt in the rising. The worst of it is that Paget said the blood of the house of Suffolk had already been spilled, in order to instil fear into the Queen's mind and incline her to be merciful to Suffolk's brothers who are now under sentence; and adopted the attitude that the Council would not allow the other prisoners in the Tower to be executed. The Queen is scandalised, for she sees that they are leagued together in a new plot; they are resisting her, her Council is a prey to faction and she has no power over them. And it is worthy of remark that when she remonstrated with Paget for having spoken as he did, he excused himself on the ground that the nobility did not want another Duke of Northumberland, meaning the Chancellor. My former letters have informed your Majesty of the nature of the split in the Council, and it has widened because, as Paget says, the Chancellor despises his colleagues, acts without their consent, takes private measures with regard to religion and proceeds much faster than he ought to do in matters which only time can mend. And above all, he has sought to implant in the Queen's mind suspicions of the loyalty of Paget himself, Pembroke, Arundel and others. Thus, Sire, things are not going well in that quarter.
A third instance might be added. Last Wednesday the Chancellor was to attend at the Council-board to submit the matters that might be discussed at the next session of Parliament; but Paget and Pembroke went home without leave, it is supposed in order not to give their consent to the articles on religion and subsequently to make trouble for the Chancellor on that score. The confusion is such that no one knows who is good or who is bad, who constant or inconstant, loyal or treacherous; but it is certain that the Chancellor has been very negligent about the criminals' trials, and very hot in religious matters, with the result that the hatred felt for him in this kingdom is such that I fear the Queen may come in for some of it. I, Sire, have done my best to admonish the Queen to have the prisoners promptly punished, and have given her a French translation of Thucydides in order that she may see what advice he gives where rebels are concerned.
However, all has been of no avail; the trials are just where they were a fortnight ago, and I foresee that unless God remedies it the Queen will have great trouble when she wishes to cause the executions to take place. I have talked it all over with the Chancellor and Petre and, separately, with Paget. We all come to the same conclusion: that the source of confusion is the multitude of Councillors, and the only remedy would be to form a Council of State of five or six members. With the Queen's consent, Paget, Petre and I have discussed this question, and decided that, though such a Council would seem to be difficult of realisation because the other members would be dissatisfied and might rush to criminal extremes, the earls and principal nobles, the Admiral, Pembroke, Derby, Shrewsbury, Sussex and others of their rank, might be allowed to attend when at Court, where they seldom would be because when Parliament had finished the Queen would send them off into the provinces with various charges. Thus the Chancellor, Arundel, the Bishop of Norwich, Paget, the Controller and Petre would be deputed to transact affairs of state, and the Chancellor would attend to the business of his own office, which is very considerable, and would only attend the meetings of the Council when he desired to do so or his presence was necessary. The other Councillors should have offices in the provinces given to them, and only the State Councillors should have chambers at Court. The Bishop of Norwich should be recalled under the pretext of the session of Parliament, and Mason sent in his stead. The Councillors should only take cognisance of affairs of state, Arundel and Paget should be reconciled with the Chancellor, and they should all swear fraternity, loyalty, duty and diligence. If this expedient does not succeed, I look for nothing but more trouble and tumults which will not pass off as easily as did the first; and I am mentioning it to your Majesty because his Highness's coming might be dangerous, and in order that you may decide whether he had not better go to Flanders first. In presence of this split in the Council, which has put the Chancellor's party in a position of inferiority with regard to the other, there is no saying what might not happen, and whatever the English may say, they are not to be trusted.
I have already written to your Majesty that it would be well to try to win them over by means of pensions before his Highness's coming, for as I have already given chains and money to those whose names are included in the list (fn. 3) I am sending, and nothing is being said about further liberalities, the rest may grow distrustful and fear that nothing is going to be done for them. The Chancellor tells me that when the French wished to treat with the English they proceeded thus, and I am therefore sending off this courier with the especial object of ascertaining your Majesty's intentions on this point. He is also to tell you that I have decided with the Admiral that your Majesty's ships shall proceed to the Downs, near Dover, where they will be in safety, about the 10th or 12th of next month; the Admiral will go to meet them there with twenty well-armed English ships, and the whole fleet shall then make sail for the Scilly Isles to make sure that no attempt be made to bar his Highness's way, for if the French come out to attack, the English and Imperial ships will fight side by side. The six privateers that your Majesty sent out shall hug the coast to keep a watch there and, if necessary, come to the assistance of any port the French may try to attack. Thus England will be protected, the enemy's plans foiled, his Highness's voyage made secure and the merchant-fleet guaranteed against risk. Moreover, the Admiral will stay at sea for a month more (after Prince Philip's arrival) to see what the French are about. He tells me that the four ships that have gone to escort the Privy Seal are not included in his twenty, and that when your Majesty's admiral has reached the Downs, they will take counsel together like brothers and decide for the best.
The Chancellor tells me that, in order to pave the way for religious reformation, he thinks that an Act ought to be passed in this next session of Parliament providing that the lay possessors of church property may not be molested; for this will make them the more willing to consent to submit to the Church. I am of opinion that it would be better to say nothing about the Pope's authority in this session, but to wait till a better season and avoid raising difficulties. I do not know what he will decide to do.
While I was writing the above letter, Sire, I received the one your Majesty was pleased to write to me on the 19th instant. I see that my courier had not yet arrived when you sent it off, and your Majesty would do well to inquire why he has been so long; for he has had a favourable wind all this time. I believe that if your Majesty had seen my letter, you would not have decided to send the Alcalde over here so soon. Though he is a proper person for the charge, and his coming will eventually be necessary, the very name of Alcalde is odious here, and I think his departure and that of M. de Courrières had better be put off for a little until the quarrels now raging have died down and we see what is going to happen next. The quarrels are so venomous at present that I am unable to discover who the officers (i.e. these intended to be about Prince Philip's person) are, or what posts they are to fill; for everyone tells me that the decision rests with the Earl of Arundel, Great Master of the Household, whilst Arundel sends me to others. There are a great many points to be settled in this connexion; but I take it that he whom your Majesty sends as maître d'hôtel will do all that is necessary.
I have sent copies of all my letters to his Highness, and will send him one of this despatch. As soon as I hear your Majesty's decision on the above points, I will send to Spain to report everything of importance to him.
It is said here that Margave Albrecht has come to terms with the King of France for an invasion of the Low Countries, and that though he may have trouble with the bishops, he will be supported by several of the German princes. These news trouble and alarm the English.
London, 22 March, 1554.
Passages in Cipher. French. Signed.
Brief extracts printed by Tytler, The Reigns of Edward VI and Mary, Vol. II.
A contemporary Spanish translation exists at Simancas (E. 808).
March 22. Brussels, E.A. 16. The Bishop of Arras to the Queen Dowager.
. . . . M. de Praet and I discussed the letters from England yesterday evening, but when his Majesty heard that your Majesty intended to write to him on this matter, he put off hearing an opinion until we had examined the contents of your letter. This afternoon, however, he sent for me about other business, and in the course of conversation mentioned his decision not to defer the Prince's coming, in spite of all the ambassador said, unless something very serious happened. He is rather anxious because our ambassador forgot to enclose in his letter a copy of what he wrote to the Prince, though he said he was sending one, so I immediately sent off a special courier to fetch the copy, for he may have written in such a tone that it will be necessary to send fresh explanations (fn. 4) to the Prince, lest on account of the warnings he suspend the preparations for his journey.
As for what was suggested about the Chancellor, his Majesty does not at all approve of its being done by us, for if anything is done it ought to come from the Queen, and in such a manner that it should not appear to have anything to do with us; and this your Majesty certainly realises. I am inclined to suspect that our ambassador was moved to write as he did by Paget, who is an enemy of the Chancellor, and we might make a serious mistake that would irritate him and drive him into a still worse attitude. So if a hint be given to him, it ought to be done when a reasonable occasion occurs, and not à propos of nothing.
Money is one of the most important points, and it seems to me that our ambassador's letters do not state that Gresham has been instructed to raise the 100,000 crowns about which the Queen spoke to the ambassador, but only to get a store of powder. I do not know whether it would be better to draw attention to this in connexion with Gresham's mission, or that the Emperor or your Majesty should take some other steps.
Since I last wrote to your Majesty, the Bishop who resides here as English ambassador has gone into more details touching the assistance asked for by the Queen. He told me he had been instructed to mention the likelihood that the French would attack her by land, towards Guines, because they had accumulated at Ardres more provisions than were necessary for that place and Marshal de St. André, Sénarpont, Captain of Boulogne and several others had visited the frontier together to hold a consultation. Moreover, when the Queen had demanded the extradition of Peter Carew, she had been paid in words, for the French either denied his presence in France or said they knew him not, whereas he was fitting out four ships, it was supposed with the object of falling on the Isle of Wight, or perhaps on the Scillies in order to rouse the West and keep in touch with Ushant (Ogento) so as to be able to attack any ships that might attempt to enter the Channel. There is also another reason for expecting a breach, for the French ambassador is now suing for restitution of certain vessels seized in the days of King Henry, in the year '44, which looks as if a pretext were being devised. Consequently, the Queen instructed the Bishop to ask whether, if England were attacked by the French, his Imperial Majesty would grant the aid stipulated in the treaties and our men-of-war would lend a hand off the English coast. The Queen, he added, was busily making her preparations; by the 10th of next month she would have thirty ships or more armed and manned, but the Bishop did not know how it was intended that the English ships should work with ours, or what plans for naval action had been made.
With regard to this matter, it seems clear that we must not only encourage them by offering to grant the aid they demand under the treaty, for the Council are afraid that, as they did not give us the help (fn. 5) to which we were entitled, we might seize the pretext for denying it to them, but also that, if England does go to war with France, we must strive to protect her as if she were part of our own states, for if the French are busy there they will be able to do us less harm elsewhere. The Bishop indeed said that if the Council were given plainly to understand that his Majesty offered to grant the aid to which the treaty bound him, they would be heartened and much strengthened in the Queen's service. Of course, as his Majesty very wisely pointed out (and I followed the same line in talking with the Bishop), we must seem to desire nothing less than to see the English at war, but if the French drive them into it, and we ever felt inclined to undertake an important campaign in Normandy, the two countries together might do so with chances of success.
The ambassador tells me that the Queen is only sending the Lords Privy Seal and Fitzwalter to our Prince, for she has excused Mason on account of his illness. It is true that Fitzwalter is taking with him all the company he brought thither, and M. d'Egmont some earls, barons and nobles who wish to see Spain, so I fear there may be rather too many of them. It seems they are only waiting for the wind, and six well-found ships are sailing. The ambassador also said that M. de Berghes had arrived in time to go with them . . . .
Brussels, 22 March, 1554.
Signed. French.
March 24. Brussels, R.A. Prov. 13. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: I am sending to your Majesty a copy of the letter I wrote to his Highness on the 13th instant, which was sent by mistake to Spain with the original. I beg your Majesty to excuse me, and to impute this slip to the great press of business I sometimes have to cope with.
My letter of the 23rd answered the second point of M. d'Arras's letter dealing with the trials of Courtenay and the Lady Elizabeth.
The enclosed note, (fn. 6) giving the names of the prisoners who have been sentenced or executed, answers the third point.
As for the man and woman who were thrown into prison for having played the ghost in favour of Elizabeth, they are still there and have not yet been examined. It is being said that the woman was ill and out of her mind, but, as I said at length in my former letters, the slackness shown in prosecuting criminal cases is very suspicious and is doing much harm.
I have this day received two duplicates of his Highness's powers, with news of the preparations he is making for his voyage, the wisdom of attempting which I questioned in my letters for the reasons your Majesty will have seen. I am unable to say more until I see what comes of the split in the Council and the trials of the prisoners; but I hope to get at the truth of the matter in a few days, so as to be able to report to your Majesty. True it is that the Queen always tells me there will be no danger, for his coming is desired by the people and will not be hindered by the nobility. The Council say the same, but yet the news I have sent are exact, and I am unable to forget the abundantly-proved faithlessness of the English.
The French, in order to induce Englishmen to go over, have started the rumour that the King of France has changed his religion and dropped the mass, and that all the Englishmen who care to go to that country may live there in the observance of any religion they may choose. I am sending on a letter despatched to me from Plymouth by M. d'Egmont, from which I understand that he was already aboard ship. And as the wind has been favourable for the last two days, I believe he has left for Spain to make ready to welcome the Queen's ambassadors, who are only to be the Privy Seal and Fitzwalter, as your Majesty will see from the copy of my letters to his Highness. Mason is to return to your Majesty's court instead of the Bishop of Norwich.
I am sending to your Majesty a dozen little rings blessed this day by the Queen and said to be good for the cramp. It seems that no Queen of England has ever blessed rings before now.
London, 24 March, 1554.
Signed. French.
March 24. Simancas, E. 808. Simon Renard to Prince Philip.
My letter of the 23rd instant to the Emperor, of which a copy is being forwarded, will tell your Highness of the disturbed and fitful state of affairs in this kingdom, so I will not repeat it here. I wrote as I did in order that his Majesty might be in possession of all the facts and come to a conclusion as to your Highness's journey hither, and I also touched on the means by which things might be improved: reform and reduction in membership of the Council, conquest of the goodwill of the nobles by means of pensions and gifts, and condign punishment of the rebels. Unless we have recourse to these methods, I am unable to advise your Highness to come over this summer; but if everything I have suggested is done and Parliament goes off well it may yet be possible to decide in favour of your undertaking the journey. You may be sure that the French are doing their best to keep faction alive here and provoke further disorders calculated to make you unpopular; and if their important and vigorous intrigues with Margrave Albrecht and other princes in Germany are not stamped out, they may find allies in that country, which would make it all the easier for them to influence the English. I will not omit to gather useful information from time to time and forward it to the Emperor and your Highness in order that you may decide what had best be done.
The old Duke of Saxony, John Frederick, (fn. 7) died on the 13th instant, and his wife on the 17th of February.
London, 24 March, 1554.
Contemporary translation into Spanish from a lost French original.
Printed by Fernández Navarrete, in his Documentos Inéditos, Vol. III.
March 24. Madrid, B.P. Col. Granvela. Don Juan Hurtado de Mendoza to the Bishop of Arras.
I reached this place to-day. The English ships have not come yet, though the Englishmen who are to go in them are all here. M. d'Egmont considered he had better not wait any longer, and the Marquis of Berghes, Count Horn and Don Fadrique (fn. 8) decided to go with him, whilst the rest should wait. The English are sorry, as they say, for those who are going; and I would have gone too only that they themselves told me they were so tightly packed that one sloop (zabra) had ninety men aboard, among whom were the Marquis de Berghes, Count Horn and Don Fadrique Esquivel, together with two riders of mules, (fn. 9) I mean two gentlemen, one of whom is called M. de St. Martin and the other is English. Many English gentlemen are going with Count d'Egmont on board the Chien, of Dunkirk, and these same English gentlemen do not wish to sail with the ambassadors, because ambassadors are sometimes overtaken by unpleasant accidents. Besides these two vessels, four merchantmen are also going in order to make up a company, as well as a Flemish corsair which has been cruising the French coast, and they are all to sail tomorrow, which is the first day of Easter. God speed them! We do nothing all the while but hope for the arrival of the ships that are to convey the English ambassadors to Spain, and it seems they cannot delay more than another two days. I get on very well with the Englishmen here, and have got on with all I have met so far. They appear to be waiting for his Highness with great anxiety all over the country; at any rate the people are, for the nobility, or most of its members, want neither King or Queen, but only licence. What with the courier and sleepiness and fatigue, I am unable to write more.
Plymouth, 24 March, 1554.
Spanish. Holograph.
March 27. Simancas, E. 808. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
This letter (fn. 10) has gone with others by way of France. What there now is to add is that a courier who arrived here last night left Count d'Egmont near London, so I believe that the betrothal will have been concluded by now. As I wrote, you will leave for Corunna without waiting for him or the ambassadors, but do not sail until the Count arrives and gives you an account of his negotiation and the state of affairs in that kingdom; for it would be unsuitable for you to start without making sure of everything. You will correspond continually with the ambassador by means of sloops (zabras) or otherwise, so as to be advised of all occurrences; and when the Queen is of opinion that you may come to England without provoking a further rising, you will endeavour to land at Southampton, as Bristol is very far away, or you might even go to Dover, whence you would have a shorter land journey to London. The ships, or some of them, might then proceed to this country with the money. Let it be understood, when you arrive in England, that not a single soldier shall land, and much less any of the captains or officers, in order to avoid regrettable incidents. You understand that you are to set out on this journey if you are informed that the French are not so strong at sea as to make the voyage between Spain and England a dangerous one.
Minute. Spanish. Printed by Fernández Navarrete, Documentos Inéditos, III.
March 27. Brussels, R.A.Prov. 13. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: The Queen of England sent for me last Saturday, and told me that the Controller, Southwell, Petre and the men who had examined the prisoners had persuaded her to discharge eight accused, against whom there was nothing in the way of treason or revolt. Among them was the Marquis of Northampton, whom they asserted to be returning to the old religion, Cobham and his eldest son Daniel, and four others whose names she could not remember. There was an immemorial custom that the Kings of England should pardon a few prisoners on Good Friday. I remarked that as she had been pleased to show mercy, there was nothing left to me but to approve, since she had acted on her Councillors' advice; but she might have waited until it came out in the trials whether these men had been of the plot or no; for if they had been, she was only adding to her own enemies and to the Lady Elizabeth's partisans by sparing their lives.
The Queen made answer that the Chancellor had taken surety from them; and as for the Marquis, he owned nothing more than what he wore on his back, as all his property had been confiscated; and she felt sure he would be loyal to his Highness and to herself. I availed myself of this opening to express doubts as to the wisdom of his Highness's coming, repeating what I said in the letter sent to your Majesty by Sarron to the effect that the split in the Council was a dangerous matter which it was most important she should carefully ponder, for his Highness could not bring forces to guard him and must look to her for protection. Were anything untoward to happen, it would be a most lamentable and disgraceful affair. Not only his Highness would suffer, but all the lords and gentlemen who came with him; and I could not forbear to lay my doubts before her so that she might be pleased to take every necessary step.
She replied, with tears in her eyes, that she would rather never have been born than that any harm should be done to his Highness; but that she hoped and trusted in God that such would not be the case. The Councillors were spending large sums in preparation for his coming; that body, moreover, was to be reformed and reduced to six members, as Paget and Petre had advised. She would do her best to guide her subjects' inclinations; the people desired his Highness's coming, and she would see to it that Courtenay's and Elizabeth's trials were over before he arrived. Thus I made the opportunity serve to make sure that the precautions would be taken for his Highness's coming. I also told her that he had recently let me know he was sending a gentleman to visit her; his train would number some 3,000 men, with 1,500 horses and mules, besides 5,000 or 6,000 troops who were not to leave their ships. I announced my intention of conferring with her Council, the next time she ordered them to meet, on how the train was to be received, so that I might know what officers and servants were to be told off for the purpose. It would be necessary, I added, to fix the value of foreign coins: crowns, Italian pistoles and Portuguese ducats, to regulate the prices of provisions, and to make other preparations. She replied that I might have audience on the following Wednesday.
She then told me that Cardinal Pole had sent her the powers necessary in order to create bishops, of which I wrote some time since to your Majesty. The King of France, she added, had sent the Bishop of Vienne to meet the Cardinal, whom he did not intend to receive in audience until the Monday after Quasimodo (i.e. the octave of Easter Sunday). In the meantime the Cardinal was to stay at Le Bourget or St. Denis, near Paris; and though the pretext for differing the audience was that the intervening days were feasts of the Church, it was realised that the King's object was to await a reply from the ambassadors whom he has sent to Germany, so that he might know what luck they had had with Margrave Albrecht and the princes before making up his mind as to peace negotiations. This seems likely. The Cardinal also told the Queen that he would speak to the King about Peter Carew's extradition. The Queen showed me a letter from the Captain of Guines, in which he expresses the intention of keeping in touch with M. de Vandeville and reporting to him everything that comes to his ears. He believes that the French are gathering together a great force near Abbeville, and that Peter Carew has returned thither from Brittany, leaving John Courtenay, a refugee, to look after his ships. His spies report that Margrave Albrecht has come to terms with the King of France, and is raising troops who are to enter the French service against your Majesty. I have had news that John Courtenay is anchored off Plymouth with three French ships on the watch for M. d'Egmont, who had not yet sailed last Wednesday; but as the wind has been good and steady I believe he must by now be well on his way unless he has been stopped, for the Chien of Dunkirk and a sloop on board of which the last courier came were waiting for him at Plymouth. He will not have waited for the English ambassadors.
A letter from Spain says that several lords intend to bring their wives over to England. In that case, your Majesty may be sure there will be grave trouble at Court. I fear that the English may not allow the Alcalde to exercise his jurisdiction in this realm, because by so doing he would be acting contrary to the treaties and establishing a precedent. It is not thought that he had better come here as Alcalde.
I hope that by next Wednesday I shall have definite information to send to your Majesty as to whether his Highness may safely come or not, which is my main preoccupation. Offers of pensions would have done a great deal.
Your Majesty will be pleased to consider whether, if his Highness brings a large sum of money with him, it had better be landed here or in Flanders.
The Admiral is making great haste with his ships, and will not fail to be off Dover on the day I mentioned to your Majesty. The Queen, hearing that I was writing to you, has sent me the 150 rings, blessed by her, which I am forwarding. She begs you will accept them with her most humble commendations, and hopes they may prove to have virtue long to keep your Majesty in health and happiness.
London, 27 March, 1554.
P.S. After I had finished this letter, Sire, the Queen sent me three more bunches of rings to be forwarded to your Majesty for the Queens Dowager of France and Hungary and the Duchess of Lorraine, whom she begs to accept them as a token of her regard.
Signed. Partly cipher. French.
About half this letter is printed by Tytler, The Reigns of Edward VI and Mary, Vol. II.
March 29. Madrid, B.P. Col. Granvela. Don Juan Hurtado de Mendoza to the Bishop of Arras.
As I wrote to you on the 25th (fn. 11) instant, Count d'Egmont was in a great hurry to depart immediately on my arrival, and there was such a crowd on board already that I had to wait to go with the English ambassadors. They are still here waiting for the ships, which have not yet arrived, though the weather for the last six days has been very fine. It is said that they are stopping to take stores on board, but this reason does not satisfy me, though I am unable to suggest any other. My Lord Privy Seal has sent off two servants, one to the place where the ships were supposed to be and the other to London, who left here the day after M. d'Egmont sailed; and I expect that even if the ships came we would not start until they return. The Privy Seal and his companion, Lord Fitzwalter (Fiuatre) stick to it that M. d'Egmont was unwise to leave the convoy; they regret his departure, be it they fear something may happen to him, or because he got a start of them, or for both reasons. Ever since he went I have been obsessed by a dread of some misfortune, for we now know that five French ships were waiting for him off Dartmouth, and further on in the same direction some English vessels have just come across four more French sail, who stopped them, bought some fish and let them go again.
Count d'Egmont stood out well from the English coast so as to steer clear of the Frenchmen; he has been gone now four days and there are no bad news yet, but there has been no time for us to hear anything, good or bad. The weather could not be better for a voyage to Spain. God grant he may get through the Channel safely, for there is much less danger the other side.
A company of some forty gentlemen is going to Spain with the English ambassadors. They are all young and handsome, and during the Easter holidays they showed me their outfits. On the third day most of them came out in Frisian sailors' breeches, jackets and coats, and looked as well as they did in their other clothes. They are almost too polite to me, and I believe I am reaping the fruit of the good time their ambassador (Fitzwalter) was given in Brussels. Well, the great thing in this life is to have luck and friends. I am not idle either, for I have plenty of opportunities of putting in good words about the match with the ambassadors and others, who do not all seem to realise that it is rather to their advantage than to our own, though of course such is the case. The French have told tales enough to make them suspicious, and have tried to make them believe that our soldiery is licentious and will land here; that the English will get nothing but trouble out of it, and more stories of the sort that appeals to those who do not like the idea of changing their religion and would like to be their own masters. Most of them understand what I say, and the rest will come round in time. God hasten the day, and guard your Lordship!
Plymouth, 29 March, 1554.
Holograph. Spanish.
March (?) Brussels, E.A. 358. A Paper relative to Jehan Duboys' accusations against Simon Renard.
Duboys was asked what he had said about the Lieutenant of Amont, ambassador resident in England, having accepted presents as a reward for obtaining certain favours from the Queen.
He replied that he remembered having heard and repeated, in the course of conversation and out of zeal for his Majesty's service, to the Chancellor of the Order; his master Scheyfve; President de St. Mauris and La Motte, a servant of the Queen (Dowager) of France, that the ambassador had received a present of plate from the Marquis of Northampton to obtain a pardon for him from the Queen. Having obtained it, he kept it several days in his house before handing it over, and this was resented by several Englishmen, especially as when the Marquis asked Paget for the pardon, Paget answered that the ambassador had it, not he; and when he asked the ambassador's secretary for it, the man replied that his master had it. The English thought it strange that a foreigner should obtain from the Queen a pardon for one of her own subjects, and go about the business in such a manner.
When Duboys was asked from whom he had heard this, he said he had heard it from several persons, but he remembered having been told about it by Geoffrey Wedergay, alias Bave, who had lived with Ambassador Scheyfve and had a room in the Lieutenant's house, and by Lores de Wyse, of Antwerp, who lived with the Lieutenant, for several of the Lieutenant's servants and even the page-boys in the kitchen talked about it.
When Count d'Egmont came to England for the first time, Duboys noticed gilt plate on the side-board and gilt trenchers on the table, asked whether they belonged to the ambassador, and was told in reply, he now failed to remember by whom, that the plate belonged to the Marquis of Northampton.
A man whose name Duboys mentioned, but desires to have kept secret for fear the ambassador might seek to harm him in the Queen's eyes, as he is a member of the Council, told Duboys that he had reasoned with the ambassador about the unsuitability of his asking for pardons for Northampton and other condemned men, especially as he supposed the ambassador was acting without instructions.
Duboys also said he would give the names of persons at Antwerp who had seen letters from England in which it was said that the ambassador was making large profits, with the hint that these profits came from presents offered to him.
Wrongly dated, in a later hand, 1550.
March (?) Brussels, E.A. 358. A Second Paper concerning Jehan Duboys' accusations against Simon Renard.
The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Arras, having examined Jehan Duboys as to certain complaints made by the Lieutenant of Amont, residing as the Emperor's ambassador in England, ordered him to give in writing the reasons which, in his estimation, might have moved the ambassador to accuse him before his Majesty of having repeated that the ambassador had accepted presents from the Marquis of Northampton and others to obtain pardons for them from the Queen. Duboys, desiring to obey this command and justify himself, made the following declaration.
First of all, he asserted that he had done his best to serve the ambassador and give him satisfaction, scrupulously obeying his orders in all matters public and private, as had been his wont when in the service of other lords ambassadors in England and elsewhere, as for instance in France in the employment of President de St. Mauris, formerly ambassador.
He was therefore unable to think what reason the ambassador could have for being angry with him, unless it were on account of an incident that befell some time ago, when Duboys was still in England with the lords ambassadors, MM. de Courrières and de. Thoulouse, Lieutenant of Amont and Councillor Scheyfve. One day when the Lieutenant had drawn up a minute and handed it over to Duboys to be despatched, Scheyfve added a paragraph relating that my Lord Courtenay had said to my Lord Dacre, in the Queen's presence-chamber where the ambassadors were standing, that the alliance which the ambassadors were seeking to arrange between the Prince of Spain and the Queen would never come to pass. Now, Scheyfve heard about this from a good source, nay from men who had heard the words spoken, wherefore he informed the ambassadors and, considering the information to be of the greatest importance, as it would warn the Emperor to beware of Courtenay and have him watched, made the aforesaid addition to the despatch. But when the Lieutenant noticed it he grew very angry, and said in great heat that Duboys ought not to have added a paragraph that was not in the minute, and had consequently exceeded his instructions.
Moreover, Duboys was afterwards sent to the Queen by the ambassadors, and her Majesty told him that she had received a letter in Latin from Don Diego de Mendoza, delivered to her by Mrs. Clarentius, one of her ladies, with whom Mendoza had several times conferred in the house of a London alderman. This letter spoke of and advocated the Spanish match; the original was handed over by the Queen to Duboys to be shown to the ambassadors, and a copy was sent to the Emperor. The Queen also told Duboys that the Lieutenant, in speaking about the marriage, had said that the Prince had a son and was old enough; and Duboys reported these words to the ambassadors when he brought them the letter. But when the Lieutenant saw the letter, he was greatly astonished and behaved as if Duboys had forged it, and rated Duboys soundly, telling him he had lied and that he (the Lieutenant) had never spoken to the Queen about the match or mentioned the Prince's son, and threatening to make him rue the day. Duboys thought the Lieutenant had been so angry because he had several times declared to the ambassadors that not a word about any proposal of marriage ought to be spoken to the Queen or any of her ministers, for such was his Majesty's pleasure; and the ambassadors were the more inclined to believe him because his Majesty had written that nothing was to be done in that connexion until the session of Parliament, soon afterwards to be held, had supplied some hint of that body's views. But as such negotiations as were on foot were being conducted through a woman, and a woman who called Courtenay her son and whom Courtenay called his mother, namely Mrs. Clarentius, the ambassadors had considered the paragraph about Courtenay to be important.
Duboys added that the Queen had several times asked him whether the Lieutenant had been instructed by his Majesty to make a proposal of marriage on behalf of the Prince or another. Duboys answered that he knew nothing about it, and the Queen remarked that it seemed strange that the Lieutenant, alone and as it appeared without instructions, should be conducting so weighty a negotiation. She wished the other ambassadors might be present, or at any rate Scheyfve, as he was resident ambassador; but the Lieutenant found reasons why this should not be.
And as this was what had really happened, and Duboys with the best intentions had made his report to the ambassadors in the Lieutenant's presence, there was good cause to suppose that the Lieutenant had made these accusations against Duboys by way of revenge, as he had said he would, and supply an explanation of the rumour about him that had been going the rounds in England before Duboys went over there for the last time, or at any rate before it came to Duboys' ears.


  • 1. i.e. Sir Henry Jerningham, who was also Captain of the Guard.
  • 2. i.e. March 18. No record of a meeting on that day is to be found in the Council Book.
  • 3. This list has not been found, but see p. 158.
  • 4. The passages in italics are underlined in the original.
  • 5. M. de Courrières had been sent to England in May, 1552, to ask for assistance in virtue of the treaty of alliance, and met with no success. See Vol. X of this Calendar, pp. 472, 514.
  • 6. This note has not been found.
  • 7. Deposed Elector of Saxony.
  • 8. Don Fadrique Henriquez; see the postscript to the Bishop of Arras' letter to Simon Renard, of 2 April, 1654.
  • 9. A play upon words. As caballero in Spanish means horseman and gentleman, uno de a mula may indicate something less.
  • 10. Though apparently sent in duplicate with a letter of this date, this seems to be a postscript to the Emperor's letter of 4 March, q.v.
  • 11. Don Juan's letter here referred to is dated the 24th.