Spain: January 1554, 26-31

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

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, 'Spain: January 1554, 26-31', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) pp. 50-66. British History Online [accessed 20 May 2024].

. "Spain: January 1554, 26-31", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) 50-66. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024,

. "Spain: January 1554, 26-31", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949). 50-66. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024,

January 1554, 26–31

Jan. 26. (fn. 1) Brussels, E.A. 384. The Lady Elizabeth to Mary I.
Although by neglect of my duty, most noble Queen, I might incur blame for not having sent your Highness any news of my doings since I left your Court, yet I trust that your Grace, of your noble nature and inclination, will excuse me and attribute this shortcoming to its true causes. I have been troubled, since my arrival at my house, with such a cold and headache that I have never felt their like, and especially during the last three weeks I have had no respite because of the pain in my head and also in my arms. I have several times had occasion to offer your Highness my humble thanks for having sent to inquire after my health and for the plate that you gave me, but I now have a still more pressing call to do so, for you have been pleased not only to write me a letter with your own hand, which I know is tedious to you, but also to tell me of the conclusion of your marriage and of the articles to accompany it. This is a deep and weighty matter, but I have no doubt that it will redound to the glory of God, the repose of your Majesty and the safety and preservation of your kingdoms. There is one thing that ought to be considered even before these three points and without which naught can prosper: quia frusta enim nititur decretum hominum contra voluntatem divinam; but as you, Madam, are sure as to that, I doubt not that your will shall be made the instrument of His, so that the issues may be good. For a house built on sound foundations can only stand firm, whereas one built on the sand may soon be wrecked by light winds and sudden tempests. And as I know of no one more bound by duty and inclination to wish your Highness all prosperity, than myself, so no one shall be found, though comparisons be odious, more ready to pray God for you or more desirous of your greatness.
And so, Madam, fearing to importune your Majesty, I will consign you to the Creator's keeping and make an end to this letter.
Copy of a translation into French.
Printed by Gachard, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.
Jan. 27. Vienna, E. 23. The Emperor to Mary I.
We have heard from the Bishop of Norwich on his return and the letters he brought from you that you have sent him back to exercise the duties of an ambassador in ordinary with us, whilst recalling your Councillor, Mr. Mason, (fn. 2) to employ him in other of your affairs. We were very glad to see the Bishop of Norwich, who is welcome here, and we have given Mr. Mason leave to withdraw. We wish to assure you that he has very honourably discharged his duties while he has resided with us, and as he will be able to tell you of our health and news we will refer to him and bring this letter to a close.
Brussels, 27 January, 1554.
Minute. French.
Jan. 27. Vienna, E. 22. The Ambassadors in England to the Emperor.
Sire: Our joint letters and the Lieutenant of Amont's private ones will have told your Majesty to what point God has been pleased to guide his Highness's marriage negotiations. Now that the treaty has been signed and sealed nothing is lacking save your Majesty's, his Highness's and the Queen's ratifications and the special power to enable us to make sure of the alliance and betrothal per verba de prœsenti, for unless that is accomplished our sojourn here is devoid of profit. We are astonished at the delay in sending the power and also in the arrival of a reply to our letters sent a fortnight ago, and fear that your Majesty's indisposition, rumours about which have been current here, may be the cause of it, though God forbid! We consider the heavy expense our stay imposes on your Majesty, the questions as to the time of our departure asked by several members of the Council, and the troubles that are every day being promoted in connexion with religion and the marriage. For beyond the information already sent to your Majesty about Peter Carew's rebellious attempt to raise the people of the West, my Lord Abergavenny (fn. 3) has now arrived by the post from Kent to warn the Queen that one Wyatt (Vietz) (fn. 4) with Harper, (fn. 5) Hales, Culpepper (fn. 6) and several more have risen proclaiming that they will not consent to a foreign match and that every good Englishman ought to help them fight the Spaniards. Wyatt is fortifying himself to the best of his ability in a house of his in Kent, laying in stores, munitions and arquebuses. The village of Suyedton is in arms; the above-mentioned rebels are intriguing with the French and the Lady Elizabeth; and it has been discovered that Elizabeth wished to take shelter in a house belonging to the Queen called Advinton and fortify it. Although the rebels are taking the foreign match as a pretext, their real objects are religion and to favour Elizabeth, which were the aims of Carew also, and it is said that the rising is spreading. Various persons are under suspicion such as Warner and Mr. Roger Pickering, (fn. 7) and the Marquis of Northampton's (fn. 8) relationship with Cobham (fn. 9) causes it to be feared that he might also be on the rebel's side, so though he was at liberty he was thrown into the Tower yesterday with Warner, and others are about to be arrested.
The Queen's Council is sending the Duke of Norfolk (fn. 10) to Kent to stop the rebellion, and my Lord Warden, who is Captain and Warden of the Cinque-Ports, is preparing to resist the rising. The Council is going to proclaim the rebel leaders traitors and grant pardon to the people who have been reduced. All possible precautions are being taken for defending London; the Tower is being victualled and the artillery overhauled. The Queen is doing her best, but is unable to trust many of her subjects, most of whom are heretics. We are astonished that the Council has reported none of the troubles to us. It seems that the conspirators showed their hand too soon, for the season is too early yet for a popular rising, and this cold damp weather is not usually selected by the English for insurrections. It is thought they were persuaded to do so by a report that his Highness was coming hither before the Feast of the Purification (i.e. February 2nd). Although the Queen does what she can, the Lieutenant of Amont tells us that she said she hoped your Majesty would do something on your side, as the French are the prime movers, and that she is considering putting off the consummation of the marriage. We have confirmation of the news that the French are hastily fitting out ships in Normandy, Brittany and La Rochelle, that they are allowing towns and private individuals to do the same, that they count on having 200 sail, and that each big ship will have a pinnace or two to land troops where they wish to strike. News come that in Scotland ships are being fitted out and troops raised. To-day, over and above the French captains who went to Scotland, two French gentlemen arrived here saying they were going in the same direction. Thus they are sending their men, two, four or six together; and if it is true that the King of Denmark is joining the game, as we hear, hoping to marry Elizabeth to his son or brother, the Queen is likely to succumb unless she is supported, for she has no money and we are told that she has failed to raise any abroad.
Men had been sent after Carew to take him prisoner, but we have no news of his capture, whilst they talk of rumours from Cornwall as to which we know nothing definite. If the Kentish rising is not quelled it will be difficult to send couriers by Dover and Canterbury, and a new route will have to be thought out.
We have been informed that Wyatt (Bietz) unloaded some artillery from the Queen's ships in the Thames in order to make use of it.
The last time the French ambassador had audience of the Council he complained that some vessels belonging to your Majesty's subjects had seized several small French craft in English waters, and his tone was audacious and threatening. The Council replied by complaining that the French had taken Flemish and English boats in the Thames itself, and sent 200 lansquenets in French pay to raid the cattle at Guines; for such are their usual tactics when they wish to make war. We thought we had better report this to your Majesty so that you might take such precautions as you considered wise, and we assure you that things are in a very troublous state over here.
London, 27 January, 1554.
Signed by the five ambassadors. Cipher. French.
P.S. News have arrived that the West has been pacified.
Printed, from a copy at Simancas (E. 808), by Fernádndez Navarrete, Documentos Inéditos, Vol. III.
Jan. 27. Vienna, E. 22. Philip Nigri to the Bishop of Arras.
Your Reverend Lordship will learn from our joint letters the condition of affairs in this kingdom. It is far from good, though we still hope that by the grace of God and the precautions taken by the Queen and her Council, matters may mend and be set once more on the right road.
My Lord, we are very much astonished and surprised to have received no answer to our letters of the 13th of this month. We cannot think of any reason for the delay, considering the importance of the business, and the need for promptitude, except some indisposition of his Majesty, to whom God grant good health and a long life for the sake of Christendom. I beseech your Reverend Lordship to inform us of the cause of this delay so that we may be relieved of the grief and anxiety we now feel.
It is now a month since we arrived, and although the passage from Spain has long been in a favourable condition, and the wind fair from that quarter, we have received nothing from our Prince. We have been here idle for the last fortnight, and by all appearances, considering the delays in Spain, we may be here for another six weeks wasting time and a great deal of money, especially as my Lord of Egmont and the Lieutenant of Amont may complete this business just as well and as suitably alone, as if we all remained here.
Certainly my Lord, the Queen and her Council must marvel somewhat that we are staying here so long; some among the Councillors have asked us when we intend to leave. We can make no answer except that we are waiting to hear his Majesty's pleasure.
Most Reverend Father in God, and my most worthy Lord, I beseech your very Reverend Lordship to forgive my boldness and prolixity: I am compelled thereto by necessity, to avoid the useless wasting of time and money.
London, 27 January, 1554.
French. Holograph.
Jan. 29. Vienna, E. 22. The Ambassadors In England to the Emperor.
As we heard that Wyatt and his men had entered Rochester, on the road usually followed by couriers going to Dover, and had proclaimed that no couriers or other travellers from or bound to your Majesty's dominions were to be allowed to pass, we feared that our man might be held up, though we had addressed our letters to the Constable of France, so we sent duplicates of our last letters (by another route). Since then the Duke of Suffolk and his brothers, Lord Thomas and Lord John (Grey), have gone off to the Duke's house some forty miles hence and have been proclaimed traitors; and it is feared lest certain members of the Council aid and abet the enterprise because of the lack of unison among them, their neglect of public affairs and the Queen's personal safety, and the fact that the decisions they come to are not carried out. We were moved to ask the Lieutenant of Amont to warn the Queen about this so that she might provide accordingly, and ask her what she and her Council desired your Majesty to do for her assistance. He also said that we were amazed that the Council had told us nothing about the state of affairs, considering the ancient treaties, relationship and projected marriage that bound the two countries together, and also that they had given us no indication of what was to be done to protect us personally in case London were to rise in arms. He informed us that the Queen was sorely puzzled by the split in her Council; they were to have supplied her with a body-guard four days ago, and she had not yet received a single man except for the 200 archers of her usual guard. She had asked Paget why it was that they did not communicate with us on affairs of state according to her desire; and Paget, sinking to his knees, replied that for the last fortnight and more he had been doing his best to raise troops, but that as he only had one voice in the Council he could not do everything by himself; as for the reason why they did not communicate with us, it was of such a description that he would not and could not say it though his life depended on it, and he begged her to put the question to the whole Council, and not to him alone. He meant by that that there were in the Council suspicious persons, ill-disposed towards your Majesty, and of evil intention. The Queen then commanded Paget to tell the Council that they were immediately to raise troops in order to safeguard her person; and we are waiting to see what happens. The Lieutenant assured the Queen and her Chancellor that he had heard from a French spy that the King of France had sent two gentlemen to his ambassador resident here: one to go on to Scotland and the other to return to France, and that they had brought white badges to be given to various private individuals here, six of which had already been distributed. The King had informed the rebels that he had twenty-four ships, victualled, armed and manned, and eighteen companies of infantry ready to land in England and go to their assistance. The French ambassador had caused the Duke of Suffolk to fly by telling him that unless he did so the Council would have him arrested, and he had an understanding in several English ports. This decided the Council to issue no safe-conducts for the French gentlemen, and they have sent word to Portsmouth to have that place and the Isle of Wight put into a state of defence. Certain councillors believe that the conspirators will not allow the French to land in England, and they take this to be a point in the Queen's favour; but they may perhaps be mistaken. Lord Cobham, who was suspected for having fortified a house of his and because he was connected with Wyatt, having married his sister, has written to the Council not to doubt of his fidelity and desire to serve the Queen, and that what he has done is all in her favour.
My Lord Warden is on the Queen's side, and has one thousand horse ready to march against the rebels. The Duke of Norfolk, with the Master of the Horse (fn. 11) and Jerningham, (fn. 12) Captain of the Guard, are on their way to stop Wyatt; and the rainy weather is very unfavourable to the rebels, who cannot camp out.
Proclamations have been sent all over the country to make it known that the rebels' aim is to throw religious affairs into confusion, and that the report spread by them that his Highness is coming to conquer England is false. Also, the marriage-articles have been sent to be made known by the public officers and preachers.
The Lady Elizabeth has been summoned and a reply is expected from her to-day. If she does not come there is no doubt that she has been the cause of all the trouble.
The Earl of Huntingdon, (fn. 13) who is a mortal enemy of the Duke of Suffolk, has implored the Queen to be allowed to go forth against him and put a stop to his proceedings; and permission has been given to him together with the requisite powers.
News have come that Carew and his brother, (fn. 14) who tried to raise the West countrymen, have fled to France; so we are waiting to hear that the plot was instigated by the French. Before going, Carew wrote to a member of the Council that he knew of a king who would treat him better than the Queen had done.
May your Majesty be pleased to consider the above, the distress in which the Queen finds herself, and our dangerous position; also whether, now that the marriage negotiations are suspended, there is anything to be gained by our staying here longer. The matter is a grave one, and if the heretics got the upper hand the consequences might be serious; so we beg you to come to a decision at once and let us know what we are to do. We submit it to your Majesty's judgment whether the Queen's sincere affection for you does not deserve that you should make a demonstration of your own feelings by acting at once to protect her; but we will say no more on this point, well knowing that your Majesty will act for the best.
When this letter had been written, the herald of arms who was sent on the Queen's behalf to proclaim Wyatt and his followers traitors in Kent, told us that he reached Rochester, where Wyatt was, and that when he was standing in his coat of arms about to make his proclamation the said Wyatt came up and forbade him to proceed, told him that if he did so he should be killed, and snatched out of his hands the orders and instructions that he was carrying. In spite of this he did not fail to make his mission known by means of copies that he distributed secretly; and when the people realized that the object of the rebellion was to prevent the saying of mass, and understood Wyatt's falsity on reading the marriage-articles, they began to calm down. Wyatt had not above 500 men with him, and some of those had already abandoned him. Harper, who was of his following, sent word to Jerningham that if the Queen were pleased to pardon him he would come over with all his company and would hand over Wyatt a prisoner. Paget told Count d'Egmont that Wyatt was asking for pardon and trying to make terms, as he found himself at Rochester with the Duke of Norfolk on one side and the Lord Warden on the other, as well as Lord Abergavenny. So we hope that the Kentish insurrection will have ceased in two days.
As for the troubles in the West, Paget sent to inform Count d'Egmont that it was thought Carew had fled to France, but in reality he did not get away and had been caught, so that he would soon be brought to this town. Thus God has permitted the designs of the conspirators to be confounded. The only source of anxiety is now the flight of the Duke of Suffolk and his brothers, but it is hoped that they may soon be dealt with.
The Lady Elizabeth excused herself from obeying the Queen's summons because she was ill, and begged the Queen to send her own doctor to see whether it was feigned or no. We thought we had better send this information to your Majesty and despatch M. de Saint-Martin to tell you verbally what he has seen, fetch your orders as to the marriage negotiations, and assure you that we have to-day received more letters from Normandy confirming the great preparations the French are making at sea, and that there were twenty-three companies of infantry in that province. And as the usual route is barred we have made an arrangement with a mariner, a subject of your Majesty, who is to take M. de Saint-Martin over to Antwerp for ten pounds sterling, English money, which may it please your Majesty to have given to him.
After the above had been written, and when M. de Saint-Martin was about to go, the Queen sent to tell us that a mail-bag sent by the French ambassador to his master had been seized, and that it contained a copy of a letter (fn. 15) written by the Lady Elizabeth to the Queen not three days since, which proves that she has an understanding with the King of France. Several passages of the ambassador's letters have already been deciphered, and the Queen is to send them to me (here Renard speaks) to-morrow, but I do not wish to keep M. de Saint-Martin back, as I am anxious that he should, inform your Majesty how the King of France meant to set Elizabeth on the throne, and use his army for the purpose. I hear that the King is sending provisions, munitions and artillery to Scotland in order to carry out his enterprise from that quarter; for he hopes that with the help of the rebels he will be able to seize England. If your Majesty thought fit you might help the Queen by taking such contrary measures as might recommend themselves to you.
It is believed that Wyatt will be the Queen's prisoner sometime to-morrow, and that the Kentish disorders will altogether cease. I have advised the Queen to send after Elizabeth and have her arrested at once, for I fear she may escape. Your Majesty will realise that as the French harbour such hostile intentions against the Queen she will not be able to avoid declaring war on them; and I humbly beg you to come to a speedy decision and issue such orders as may seem wise so that relief may be sent to her from Spain.
London, 29 January, 1554.
Signed by the five ambassadors. Cipher. French.
Printed, from a transcript at Brussels, by Gachard, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV; and also, from a contemporary Spanish translation (Simancas, E. 808), by Fernández Navarrete, Documentos Inéditos, Vol. III.
Jan. 29. Simancas, E. 507. Francisco de Aresti (fn. 16) to Juan Vasquez de Molina.
I received your letter of November 12th on January 22nd by Juan Bizcaino, the Duke of Brunswick's (fn. 17) courier, and have learnt from it that you have had all my letters and paid the courier the six ducats over and above which were promised him for waiting for the letter he carried from Sr. Eraso . . . .
About a month ago people began saying here that our mistress of Tordesillas (fn. 18) was dead, and we took pains to find out whether it were true. While we were in doubt, various letters came from Spaniards in London saying that a ship had arrived there that left Laredo on January 10th and reached London on Wednesday the 14th in the evening with the news that there were 140 ships on the Spanish coast detained against his Highness's passage to England, and that there were many lords and brilliant troops ready to join them. These tidings caused great joy at the palace. I sent copies of two letters, one from Luis de Paz and another from a certain Guaras (fn. 19) by the post to Sr. Eraso, and their Majesties were greatly pleased to see them, as they learnt therefrom that the news of the said lady's death were probably untrue. Since then we have had letters of the 6th of this month that have said nothing about any arrest of ships; and a boat (zabra) belonging to Juan de Fica has arrived, though without news. We take it that the aforesaid report (i.e. of Doña Juana's death) was invented or exaggerated in London; and it seems that the Prince was ready, as we believe he must be by now, for it is of the greatest importance to him and the Queen of England that he should come soon. All her desire is to carry the undertaking to a successful conclusion, either by gentleness or by intimidation and the use of force, threatening the country with his Highness's might.
The London letters of the 15th also say that three days before a person (fulano) whose name I have forgotten made a speech to the townsmen and gentlemen in London, and on the Queen's behalf informed them that she had betrothed herself to the Prince. They all cried out their joy, shouting “God save her Majesty! God save the Prince of Spain's Majesty, whom the Queen has chosen for her King!” And the next day many couriers were sent forth with over 400 letters to announce the fact in proper quarters.
To-day more letters have come from London saying that certain parts of the North are dissatisfied with the Queen on account of religion, and fear that when his Highness comes he may oppress them. We pay no attention to that provided his Highness starts at once.
Plenty of money has been offered to his Majesty on exchange in Spain, but they have refused to give better terms than 60 gros for the fair of Villalón, and even so they want leave to take money out of Spain (sacas) and other conditions. His Majesty did not consent, but whether out of a hope of persuading him to do so or because they expected to realise some gain they did enter into negotiations with the English financier who is here to let the Queen have 400,000 ducats in Villalón at 65 gros, to be paid for here at 75 gros within one year. Up to the present they were saying that 62 would be the most they could do, but now they are talking about 65 and 75, and say the bargain has been struck, though I cannot answer for it that it is true. They say the men who are doing this are Genoese, but it seems to me absurd that the Genoese should take such a risk, though the strongest men in London are reported to be giving their credit. My own idea is that the bargain has not been struck and will not be struck, but that they are causing the story to be repeated in order to make money tight (estrechar) and induce his Majesty to take up more than he needs for fear he might not be able to get it later. I believe she (the Queen of England) will have to take up money for naval expenses, the embassy she is sending (to Spain) and some more besides; but not so large a sum.
There is money here, in reales and dueadillos, to an incredible amount; and I assure you I believe more has been brought hither, stolen by Flemings, Andalusians and Portuguese, than his Majesty and the merchants have imported openly—and I suspect the Genoese of doing the same. The Andalusian fleet has just come in with a further quantity, for over and above what it is bringing for the Queen Regent it is also bringing money for private individuals. Although it has not unloaded yet the effect is being felt on Exchange, for in spite of the greater supply reported last May money did not become cheaper, and the prices have been 63 gros or 62¾ for Villalón, and also for next October. If they were certain that the letters of exchange would be paid then it would be 65 or 64¾, and might be much higher were it not that no one who is not obliged to give money on exchange for Spain will do so because payment is put off from one fair to another without interest.
Merchants with good credit are able to get as much money as they want at 7 or 8 per cent. a year; but there is none for his Majesty at less than 12 or 13 per cent. One reason for this abundance of money is that Sr. Eraso, learning how much money there is about, refused to negotiate with the merchants, saying that his Majesty had provided and meant to provide himself by bringing money hither as it came from the Indies. And his Majesty has great payments to make the next time any money comes! No other operation besides the one with Sarmiento and Salamanca that you know of has been put through; and I am not sure that one was concluded.
I have been to ask Antonio Spinola about the English exchange, and he says that the Queen, in view of naval expenses and the embassy to Spain, has requested the Genoese gentlemen to let her have 300,000 crowns in ducats at 375. The ducat, at Villalón, to be repaid here at the rate of 75 gros the ducat within a year, and that the City of London is guaranteeing the loan. Letters from London, speaking of this matter, say that a sort of (extra) interest of 2 or 3 per cent. is to be charged, all time reckoned in, and that the bargain will not be definitively struck until a reply comes from London, until which time the Genoese will be free. They are to pay over the sum in cash to the person deputed by the Queen to receive it. When I asked Spinola whether he felt sure it would take place he replied that he considered it more likely than not, and when I asked him to tell me the truth on his word he told me it was an accomplished fact.
This may have the effect of making money a little tighter in Spain, which would be a good thing for his Majesty's financial affairs and might put a stop to the exportation of money; for if money were to continue plentiful there and one hundred millions in gold and silver were to come, a good deal of it would be exported because of the high rates of interest now prevalent. Money is taken up at exchange of 20 per cent, and is sent out of the country. The French take their merchandise to Portugal and fetch the money thence in Spanish reales. The Flemings and men of other nationalities in Seville do the same, and send the money out via Portugal or Cadiz as soon as they get hold of any. But if exchanges were effectuated at the price that used to obtain that is 350 for here or 360 for Lyons the money would not leave Spain. And unless things are remedied by putting down prices in Spain or issuing orders that no exchanges are to be allowed above a certain rate for these countries, I promise you that his Majesty's ducat, when brought thither, will never be worth more than 9 reales. The best way out of the difficulty is to prohibit exchanges in Spain above a fixed rate, and to lay it down that the price of a crown at exchange here shall be the usual one of 72 gros paid here, whilst the sum to be given there may vary with the conditions; or else the opposite plan of giving money in Spain at a fixed rate and allowing the payment to be made here to vary according to circumstances.
All this is not my business, and I am not given to many words when invited to speak, and far less on a subject on which I ought not to venture. I beg you to forgive me, and I am sure you will understand over there better than I am able to explain it; I have only written the above because it occurred to my mind, being a subject that is often discussed among merchants here, and I expect in Spain as well.
Antwerp, 29 January, 1554.
P.S. No one here knows that I write to you, and I would not like it to be known, for though I only write about ordinary matters they would imagine here that I was discussing important affairs—I mean the merchants and others. I have been instructed to let you know, if an opportunity offers, of his Majesty's health. I believe he has been ill, but yesterday I had a letter saying that he was well and up.
Holograph. Spanish.
Jan. 31. Besançon, C.G. 73. The Emperor to his Ambassadors in England.
We have received the letters written by you all, and the private letters from you, lieutenant of Amont, referring to the others, written on the 18th and 23rd of this month. Your services in the careful despatch of business over there are most welcome, as also the special care with which you keep us minutely informed. We learn by your letters that affairs are not going smoothly in England and unless diligent care is taken, troubles stirred up by French intrigues and other causes more particularly detailed in your letters, may easily ensue. We cannot give you other advice as to the measures suitable for the repression of these troubles, beyond that which you have already heard from various letters of ours; the chief care should be to discover the intrigues so as to stifle them before they can extend or gain in strength, tempering the Queen's goodness and clemency with the severity needful to inspire fear in the leaders of tumult, and all who may wish to take a share in them, and to overcome the people; for, left without a head, they will be incapable of concerted action. The chief danger lies in the harm that might be done at the first onslaught. The Queen's dispositions for the raising of men at arms and soldiers for her own guard, taken, as you say, on the advice of her Council, may greatly help, provided she be careful in making her choice, that those whom she would wish to employ be trustworthy and devoted. As she has decided to cause the publication of her marriage to be made throughout the kingdom, it will be well to have a certain number of people ready to explain everywhere the advantages to be derived by the kingdom from this marriage, and dispel all fears of being governed by foreigners; for against this the articles of the treaty and the promises made in private amply provide. We recognise that if our son the Prince had crossed to England without delay, he might have done much good by familiar intercourse with the English; and we hope he still may, so that the kingdom may be restored to quiet, the intrigues of the French circumvented, and the Queen and her Council assisted in the establishment of affairs. But we have no certain news, so far, of the state in which the preparations for his passage are at present, nor do we know for certain at what time he will be able to take ship, though letters from private persons writing from Spain give good hopes of his prompt coming. We cannot, therefore, tell you anything definite on the subject. The winds have been fair of late, and give us reason to expect the arrival of news before long. Before this letter reaches you, you may receive some; and the power he is to send you, with regard to which we have no doubt you will carry out what we wrote in our former letters. Meanwhile we are soliciting his prompt departure in every letter we write, informing him at the same time of all that seems to us necessary so that he may be prepared and provided with all that is needful for the purpose stated.
The Queen's lack of funds presents itself most inopportunely at the present time, when the recent wars have placed our own exchequer in such a situation as you may well imagine. Nevertheless we would not wish to forego rendering all the assistance in our power to the Queen in any emergency that might overtake her. But as to the proposal mentioned in your letters that we should assist her by land and sea, we do not perceive what manner of help by land we could give her at present, which would not prove dangerous and very suspicious to the people of her kingdom. On the one hand, however well disciplined men-at-arms may be,—and few of this sort are left nowadays,—yet they never conduct themselves so well that no damage is done to the people of the territories on which they find themselves; and the harm done by the soldiery would irritate the English all the more because the French, the heretics and other malcontents would do their best to make it appear worse than it really was. By using the argument of the losses suffered by those on whom the burden would fall, all other sinister persuasions would be more readily listened to; and besides there would be the fear and suspicion that the foreign soldiers were intended to oppress the English. We have determined therefore to make ready to assist the Queen at sea for the present; at this juncture, what is most urgent is to avoid the possibility of the French sending soldiers across to support the Queen's enemies, or forces to Scotland or Ireland to cause trouble in the kingdom.
We have ordered fourteen men-of-war to be equipped; and these, added to the Queen's ships, will easily keep control of the seas and rob the French fleet of all hope of leaving their own harbours. We have also got six vessels ready to sail the seas for adventure, well–equipped, to do as much damage as they can to those who sail in that direction. We cannot immediately comply with the proposal you wrote about as calculated to please the English: that we should take certain English captains into our service and keep here some who might endanger public affairs, because the memorandum mentioned by you as containing twelve names has not come. This being so, we think it best you should communicate with the Queen on the subject, so that you may learn from her and from those of her Council what men it would best suit to have retained here; in this way the measure would probably be more effectively carried out, and the persons referred to might be commissioned to raise in due season some 1400 good English foot-soldiers, to be shared up among them according to their quality; and this must satisfy them. You will inform us of the Queen's opinion on this point, and of the names and quality of the said captains, so that we may determine what resolve we shall take.
As to Courtenay's coming hither, we are of opinion that it would be in every way an opportune measure; as also the determination arrived at with the Chancellor, that the Lady Elizabeth shall be safely lodged in the Tower, if there is sufficient cause and reason to justify such a step in England. These two being the chief persons on whom the intrigues have their foundation, it is well to make sure of them in the best way one can, especially as it is not likely that any one else will dare try to lead a faction, as he would make enemies of them in the future. Besides no one else would have a sufficiently good claim, or authority over the people.
It is true that the pretext on which Courtenay was to have been sent hither no longer exists, for we have sworn to the treaty before the ambassadors, as you know. But if he were sent with the excuse of visiting us during our indisposition with the gout, or perhaps in order to take the Queen's assurance to us that she holds the marriage fully resolved upon, even though her formal ratification is delayed until that of our son the Prince arrives, or indeed with any excuse the Queen may think of and consider best with a view to Courtenay's acceptance, we are of opinion that his coming hither could not be other than a good move. When once he is over here, the Queen can easily find the pretext of some other commission to be given to him and command him to remain longer. We will have him welcomed and entertained in such fashion that he will have reason to be satisfied. There is no doubt that during his absence the real character of the people of England's feelings about him could be better ascertained; and we should know better what line of conduct to adopt towards him.
Cardinal Pole arrived here on the 25th of this month, and was received as legate. Those who have had conversation with him say that he recognises the times to be unpropitious for the exercise of his legatine commission from the Pope in England; and he has said the same to the Queen's ambassadors. He seems determined to wait for the right time and remain the Queen's devoted servant, while attending for the present to the commission to promote peace conferred upon him by his Holiness. We will grant him audience on that point as soon as our health will permit us to do so, and will not fail to send you information on everything he proposes with regard either to peace or any other matter so that you may communicate it to the Queen. The French having proceeded no further with ambassador Wotton on the question of peace, and the English themselves being inclined to consider a truce inacceptable, we will say no more for the present concerning the proposal but refer you to our former letters. Time will show if the French have more to say on either subject, and bring to light through Paget what else they may mean concerning the alliances proposed to him by the French ambassador; and we shall then consider what more we may have to say.
With regard to the English proposal to obtain a safe-conduct for an English gentleman to go over to Spain, we have already despatched letters with everything we wished to say to our son the Prince by the land and sea routes. We doubt very much if the French are likely to be actuated by love of freedom and liberality in this particular case; and our knowledge of them makes us surmise that when the gentleman approached our Spanish frontiers they would detain him on the plea that he must be searched, and if they let him go in the end, it would be after having examined any letters he might have on him. Nevertheless I am of opinion that it would be a very good thing if the Queen asked for the safe-conduct, if only with the object, in case of a refusal which, however, does not seem to us likely,—of doing the same when Frenchmen wished to go through England to Scotland. If they granted it, one might make use of it if necessary; and if they refused it, nothing would have been lost or hazarded by the asking. Since the above was written, the Master of the Posts at Calais has written that he has heard of some trouble in England, where the people are said to be taking up arms. He gives no other information, but wishes to know if he is to proceed further with the packet he is carrying, which is important, you will understand. Although we have considered that the rumours might have got abroad because of the men-at-arms raised by the Queen for her safeguard, and at Calais, where they are in the habit of inventing news, they might have interpreted things for the worse, yet we are anxious, and we have thought well to send off this special courier at once, to take this letter to you, and bring us back true news. We trust you will not have neglected to find means of sending us information in case anything of importance has happened, giving us every particular, so that we may consider if any steps shall be taken on our side. In the meantime, for greater safety, we have ordered the Master of the Posts to send the packet back to Gravelines until he hears again from us, if he has news that the unrest is continuing. We do not wish to risk losing it, considering its importance, as we said above. Brussels, 31 January, 1554.
French. Signed: Charles; countersigned: Bave.
Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV. The original minute is in Vienna, E. 23.
Jan. 31. Vienna, E. 22. The Ambassadors in England to the Emperor.
Sire: By the letters carried by M. de St. Martin, your Majesty will have heard of the troubles in the kingdom. We thought they were going to be appeased in Kent, because of the promise made by Harper that Wyatt, head of the rebels, should be given prisoner into the Queen's hands, and his company withdraw and disband. But instead of this he betrayed the Duke of Norfolk who trusting in his promise had approached Rochester with six or seven hundred men. Three to four hundred of these, sent by the City of London to serve the Queen, yielding to the exhortations of William Pelham (fn. 20) and other captains who were at their head, forsook the Duke and went over to Wyatt. The Duke was compelled to take flight with a few horsemen, and lost 7 pieces of artillery heavy and light, his plate and money, so that Wyatt, receiving these reinforcements, has taken heart afresh and continues in his rebellion. The worst of it is, there is some fear the very members of the Council are implicated, for the reasons your Majesty will gather from the copy of certain letters herewith enclosed, written by the French ambassador to the King of France. We daily receive information to that effect; besides which the Council are doing little to forestall or remedy the disorders. We dined with them yesterday, and after dinner the Chancellor, in the presence of several members of the Council, presented his excuses to us because they had not given us earlier information of the tumults and risings caused by the agitators in the West Country and in Kent, but the press of business, past and present, was the cause of it. He said that in the West the people were quiet and calm again, and Carew and his supporters had withdrawn and were now in hiding; though they thought Carew would soon be caught. In Kent events had occurred as we have set forth above; and in order to set matters right the Earl of Pembroke and my Lord Clinton (fn. 21) were about to proceed thither with five or six thousand men and hoped to do such good work that the rebels should receive their punishment, especially as my Lord Abergavenny had entered the field from another side, near Rochester, with two thousand men in the Queen's service. He spoke coldly, without making any mention of your Majesty, or of anything they might hope for from you. When his address was finished, we answered him, through the Lieutenant of Amont, that they had no need to offer excuses, as we had heard for ourselves the troubles they had had to deal with. As for the communication he had made to us about the risings in Kent, and the condition of the Queen's affairs, we were very sorry to witness and hear of such rebellion and tumult. We presumed they were encouraged, counselled and supported by others besides those under present suspicion, and it was necessary to forestall and frustrate such practices and plans before they could go any further. We requested them to tell us if they thought your Majesty or his Highness might give them help or assistance, and we would let you know. We trusted we should receive answers to their satisfaction, because of the ancient and good friendship your Majesty had always felt for the Queen and the kingdom, which was increased, nay, doubled, by the kinship and alliance lately contracted.
The Council replied through one of their number, that all they could at present wish for from your Majesty was that as the King of France was arming at sea, you would oppose him with a fleet of equal strength; but as to any assistance of armed men to be sent to England, it would not be acceptable. We replied that we should inform your Majesty at once; and this is the chief reason for sending the present letter by means of one of the Queen's couriers whom we are despatching to M. de Vandeville that he may forward it incontinently. The courier has gone by way of Harwich, as the usual passage is occupied.
We asked the Chancellor what measures we could take for our safety if the rebellion spread to this town, and where we might go. He replied that the Queen had been advised to go to Windsor, and we might follow her thither. If we desired, meantime, to have armed men in our dwellings, and would give him a note to that effect, he would arrange it. Your Majesty may consider the danger and perplexity in which we find ourselves, without news from you or orders as to what we must do, sojourning in this place without advantage or opportunity for negotiating. For even if his Highness's power were to arrive now, we are in doubt if we should employ it, so as not to bind him with an alliance impossible to consummate; especially as we have suspicion that the rebels are being favoured by the leading men here so as to put through the marriage with Courtenay. No mention is made of his mission to your Majesty nor of sending Envoys to Spain.
When we returned (to our lodgings) the Queen summoned the Lieutenant of Amont, to inform him that she had received letters from Lord Cobham, warning her that Wyatt had sent him a written declaration of his intention to march on London with his men this very day. She was quite bewildered, she said, especially as she had no men-at-arms about her, nor any one whom she could trust. Worst of all, she could not bring her Council to the point of providing a guard for her person. The Queen requested the Lieutenant of Amont to beg your Majesty on her behalf to consider what could be done, and remember her in her present need, as the Council had made no mention of armed men for her protection; she also commanded him to recommend her most numbly to your Majesty. The Lieutenant of Amont comforted her as best he could, and exhorted her to show fortitude.
Sire: the copy, here enclosed, of the intercepted letter (fn. 22), will show your Majesty how great are the intrigues woven against the Queen, and what their object is. We hope to obtain the key (to the cipher) and send it to your Majesty, so that other letters which have possibly been taken from the French may be deciphered, if the same cipher is used. It will not help us in the future, as the French ambassador knows his letters have fallen into the Queen's hands, and have been deciphered. The said ambassador has already asked for audience, to present his Master's and his own justifications.
Your Majesty will find the peer's name mentioned at the beginning has not been deciphered; it is presumed to be my Lord Devonshire, that is Courtenay.
The Chancellor told us that in other despatches the French ambassador had written to the King of France that the Princes and Electors of Germany had irrevocably agreed that the King of Bohemia should be Emperor.
London, 31 January, 1554.
French. Copy. Cipher.


  • 1. This paper is undated, but Renard, writing to the Emperor on January 29th, says it was written “not three days since.”
  • 2. sir John Mason, formerly ambassador in France. See Vols. IX, X and XI of this Calendar.
  • 3. Henry Neville, Lord Abergavenny.
  • 4. Sir Thomas Wyatt, son of the poet.
  • 5. Sir George Harper.
  • 6. Thomas Culpepper had already been in trouble at the time of Mary's accession. (Acts of the P.C., 1552–1554.)
  • 7. Perhaps a relative of Sir William Pickering, ambassador in France under Edward VI.
  • 8. William Parr, Marquis of Northampton, Lord Great Chamberlain under Edward VI.
  • 9. Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham.
  • 10. Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk,
  • 11. Sir Edward Hastings.
  • 12. Sir Henry Jerningham.
  • 13. Francis Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon.
  • 14. Garvain Carew.
  • 15. See the letter printed under the date of January 26th, 1554.
  • 16. Aresti was an auditor in Flanders; see Vol. X of this Calendar, p. 469.
  • 17. Probably Duke Eric of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who had taken refuge from his Protestant family in Spain; see Vol. X of this Calendar, pp. 402, 504–606.
  • 18. Doña Juana, called the Mad, mother of Charles V. She had been confined as insane at Tordesillas since soon after her husband's death in 1506, though she was sane enough during the first years of her captivity, at any rate. See the Supplement to Vols. I and II of this Calendar.
  • 19. Doubtless Antonio Guaras, a Spanish merchant resident in London, and the author of a Chronicle of Henry VIII and an Accession of Queen Mary.
  • 20. See Vol. XI of this Calendar, pp. 351–354, 441, 472,
  • 21. Edward, Lord Clinton, afterwards Earl of Lincoln,
  • 22.