Spain: February 1554, 1-5

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

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, 'Spain: February 1554, 1-5', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) pp. 66-82. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Spain: February 1554, 1-5", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949) 66-82. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "Spain: February 1554, 1-5", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, (London, 1949). 66-82. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

February 1554, 1–5

Feb. 1. Besançon, C.G. 73. The Emperor to the Ambassadors in England.
This letter is to accompany the two powers from the Prince our son which arrived yesterday evening. They came through France under false cover. One is general, in case it were considered unsuitable to celebrate the marriage in public per verba deproesenti; the other special, to enable the marriage per verba de prœsenti to be gone through. This must be done in any case, either in public, if there is no fear of unfortunate consequences, or at any rate in secret; otherwise our son could not undertake the journey for his passage to England. If these letters find you all in England, you may make use of them all together. If not, and if in accordance with the letters we wrote to you on the 24th of last month, (a copy of which you will find enclosed herewith, so that you may learn their contents in case the Master of the Posts, who carried the originals, had not been able to cross because of the troubled state of the kingdom), some of you have left already, those who are still in England may conclude the marriage in virtue of the power referred to. When this is done, you, my cousin d'Egmont, will go to Spain, and give an account to my son of the condition of the negotiation and of English affairs in general, and hasten his coming, according to the commission we have given you.
We are enclosing in this same letter the brief from his Holiness to the Queen of England, satisfying her conscience as to the marriage. The first part empowers one of our prelates to give the true marriage blessings, and perform according to the law the ceremonies prescribed by the custom of our Holy Mother Church for the tying of marriage bonds. This is intended in case no prelate participating in the true communion of the Holy Apostolic See were found to be available for the celebration of the rites, as we wrote to you before. There is a clause to this effect in the brief, as you will see by the copy. The other part provides that the marriage may be celebrated and consummated in any season, even during the prohibited times. You need not make use of this brief if you see there is no need of it, so as not to indispose the Queen instead of improving matters by pressing this point about the celebration of her marriage during prohibited times ; keep it in case of need and for a suitable occasion, without mentioning it to her.
Your letters of the 27th of last month have arrived at this very moment, brought hither by M. de Saint-Martin. We have learned from them the measures taken by the Queen and her Council to appease the troubles, and the news from the West country that the tumults in that quarter had been put down. We are sending this despatch at once, without waiting until your letters have been entirely deciphered, though this is being done with all possible diligence, so that you may at once receive our reply and make use of the documents enclosed. If you have not started already, you will now be able to set out at once, so as to avoid giving provocation over there, unless, of course, the Queen has need of your presence, for any reason you can guess ; in which case we are of opinion that you must conform to any decision that she and her Council might consider to be for the best. Otherwise we think the quicker you decide to leave the better.
You will inform the Queen that we are making haste to arm a fleet, and hope our son the Prince is doing the same ; besides, the merchant fleet is getting ready, and all the preparations will serve to assist English affairs. The help we can give at sea is a less delicate matter, and more pertinent in the present case. It is most important to us to know what comes of the present disturbances, and we therefore will not forego reminding you of our desire to be informed, though we do not doubt you will take every care to do so, rendering us thereby most acceptable service.
Brussels, 1 February, 1554.
P.S. As we were about to sign this letter, we saw the decipherment of yours, in which you repeated the same request as in former communications, that we should assist the Queen who placed her entire trust in us. We greatly wish you would write to us of what nature the assistance desired by the Queen should be, and whether she would wish to have soldiers sent besides the vessels we are now arming, as our letters set forth ; also, whether the soldiers should be Germans or others, and by what means they might be transported. We should thus be enabled to form a definite plan for coming to her assistance.
French. Cipher. Signed Charles, countersigned Bave. Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV. The original minute is in Vienna, E. 23.
Feb. 1. Simancas, E. 808. Count d'Egmont to Prince Philip.
My Lord I am very much grieved to have to send your Highness such bad news concerning the rising of the people in this country, and especially the present plight of the Queen, as your Highness will learn more fully from the ambassador's letters. As for us, we are compelled to leave with less good grace than we arrived. We must bow to the will of God, Who can alter circumstances for the better as speedily as they have been changed for the worse since the last letters I wrote your Highness, which went by a gentleman named Villers. Your Highness may be sure that I am the most unhappy man in the world. Unless you will take the trouble to go to Flanders soon, your absence may be the cause of great evil, for many reasons which I cannot now set forth, but will recount when I shall be so fortunate as to see your Highness. I had reckoned on setting out for Spain, and now I must regretfully take another road. I kiss your Highness's hands in all humility, and beseech you to grant me this honour, that someone in your Court may be commanded to send me news of your good health, as I have had none for a long time past.
London, 1 February, 1554.
French. Holograph.
Feb. 1. Simancas, E. 1322. “ Summary of advices received from France.”
The King (of France) has been informed by letters of the 24th of January that the intrigues and practices carried on in England to the Queen's prejudice were so ill-concealed, and every one discussed her marriage so freely, that the Queen, foreseeing an armed revolt, had ordered her Household and several of her nobles to raise troops for her own defence or the punishment of the rebels, as the case might require. The leaders were not at all intimidated, as the tumults in Kent but two days later clearly proved. Six thousand men or more, and 500 horse were raised there in an instant; they took the town of Rochester and seized the bridge, and many other fortresses in that part of the country, among them the castle of Rye, which is universally known to be most important. On the 26th the conspirators sent to Dover, and found the people and the nobility so well-disposed in their favour, that they hoped to be masters of the castle the very next day.
The rebels seized all the shipping to be found at Rochester, and removed the guns and ammunition for their own use in the field.
It was believed to be certain that all the towns and counties of England would rise in the same way at the same time, having determined rather to die in battle than live to be governed by a foreigner. The people are certainly very much stirred by the marriage, and those who have sent their sons and servants to take part in the commotion, not content with this, are also contributing to the expenses and upkeep of the men who cannot pay for themselves. Only experienced fighters are being taken on.
The Queen, in the hope of quelling the rebellion with soft and gracious words, sent a herald to declare that their deeds should be forgiven, and request them to lay down their arms, offering the assurance that her marriage should never interfere with the liberties of the English. They replied to the herald that their action was meant to protect the people's freedom and prevent the crown of the realm from falling into the hands of a foreigner, contrary to the ancient liberty and privileges of the kingdom, and the intention of the kings of England, her predecessors. They were determined to persevere in their rising unless the Queen renounced this match and married a nobleman of her own nation, giving them as hostages the Bishop of Winchester and my Lord Paget, who were foremost in counselling the Queen to accept the Spanish marriage.
Lord Courtenay whom they had chosen as their candidate, (fn. 1) withdrew some time ago, and went over to the Queen's party. They have provided themselves with another whom they wish to set in his place, marrying Courtenay to the Lady Elizabeth ; so a strange tragedy is to be enacted before long. Besides this, the leaders of the enterprise have a following among and intelligence with the citizens of London, who are determined to rouse up the town in arms before many days go by ; and everything has been so well planned and thought out that it will be very difficult for the Queen to prevent them from attaining their object easily.
1 February, 1554.
Feb. 3. Vienna, E. 22. Counts d'Egmont and de Lalaing, MM. de Courrières and Nigri to the Emperor.
Sire The grave troubles and discord now rife in England, the fact that 3000 well-armed rebels were daily drawing nearer to London, and indeed were within one league of the town, as well as the marked unrest of the people, inclined us to take the advice of certain good men and withdraw in order to avoid the fury of the populace which, as was being repeated, would probably have fallen on our heads for having been the instruments of the marriage between the Queen and my Lord our Prince. We consulted the Queen and her Council, who were of the same opinion, especially as our presence could only have the effect of further exasperating the rebels. We consequently decided to go together to. take leave of her Majesty, kiss her hand, thank her for her singular affection for your Majesty and his Highness, and offer her our humble services. So first we went to the Council, spoke to them in the requisite manner and said that if there were anything your Majesty could do to help we would deliver to you such a report as we made sure would provoke a favourable answer. The lords thanked us repeatedly, but said that they would ask for no assistance in troops to be used against the rebels in England, though they would be glad if your Majesty could send out a good number of men-of-war in view of the King of France's designs, of which we have already warned you. They added that the time when her Majesty ought to receive her revenue was now up, and that she had as yet seen none of it, so if your Majesty were willing to lend her some 200,000 crowns, she would be exceedingly grateful, and would one day repay the sum according to the terms agreed to. We promised to speak to your Majesty about this.
Immediately afterwards we went to her Majesty and offered, if we could do her any service, not to stir from London in spite of the peril of our persons and goods, and the discord and rebellion directed against her. She, though she had reason enough to be perplexed, showed a firm spirit and begged to be heartily remembered to your Majesty and their Majesties the Queens. She had always trusted in God, and looked for His help in her affliction; your Majesty she considered to be her father, who would not abandon her in her day of need ; but she thanked us for our offer to stay, saying our presence was unnecessary. She would write one day to your Majesty, when she had time. And so we took our leave.
We heard that the same day, in the afternoon, the Queen was to meet the people of London, whom she had ordered to gather together at the Guildhall, to speak to them about the wrong done her by the rebels and to urge them to remain steadfast in the fidelity they had promised to her. What has come of it we do not know, except that the rebels were expected to be at the gates of London yesterday.
We found a dozen small vessels, half-laden with goods and carrying a little artillery, ready to make sail for this place and for Antwerp, where they belong. We therefore seized this opportunity, and went aboard with our servants and baggage, the more gladly because the rebels were occupying the road by which we were to have travelled, thereby exposing ourselves to evident danger. We only left behind our horses and some of our servants who are to bring them back by way of a place called Harwich, whither some gentlemen of the country have promised to conduct them in safety. So, thank God ! we all arrived here this afternoon, well except for the sea-sickness from which we suffered sorely. Had it not been for that, one of us would have speeded towards your Majesty to report the above news and speak the rest by word of mouth, as we will not fail to do at the earliest opportunity. If we had tarried (in London) two hours longer, we would have been forced to put back into an English port by the unfavourable wind.
Mushing, 3 February, 1654.
Signed by all four ambassadors. French.
Feb. 3. Simancas, E. 808. Francisco de Eraso to Prince Philip.
There arrived, the day before yesterday, a courier sent off by the land route by your Highness on the 10th of last month with the powers to contract marriage per verba de prœsenti and de futuro. His Majesty was very glad to know that you and the Infante (fn. 2) were well, though he was naturally afflicted by the news of the Prince of Portugal's (fn. 3) death; may God receive him in Glory! His Majesty loved him, and also feels great compassion for the Princess (fn. 4); he and the Queens have put on mourning, and services are soon to be celebrated for him in the chapel. His Majesty and all the others are anxiously awaiting news of the Princess's delivery, for they are daily expected to arrive. The powers were immediately sent off to the ambassadors; their arrival was most opportune, for it seems that the French have been egging on some of the English with talk about religion and foreigners coming into England, and as they are violent and fickle enough when left to themselves the result has been that several towns towards London have risen. They have taken some artillery out of the ships that were being fitted out to convey the ambassadors to Spain, and it appears they have some 6000 or 7000 men and a number of rough horse. The Queen is indignant at their faithlessness and blackguardism, and I believe rather sorry to have shown them so much mercy before; she has 12,000 foot and 3000 to 4000 horse ready, excellent troops; the foremost men, the councillors and the most part of the towns are standing firm, which is the main point. One of the rebels has already given in, as also the people who had risen in Cornwall, in spite of which they have been exaggerating the reports as they always do here, and saying that the whole of England was in revolt and refused to have a foreign king or let any strangers into the country. But the day before yesterday there came a courier from the ambassadors, who write more calmly and say things are not as bad as all that; and last night another came with letters confirming the last received and reporting a general improvement. As I understand the meaning of private information received, I believe that with God's help all will go well, especially after the English have realized that the marriage has been contracted; for though the English wish to make use of the power per verba de futuro, your Highness knows that the Queen has offered to perform the ceremony in secret in the most binding manner, as my knowledge of her real wishes makes me feel certain she will do. This is by way of reply to what your Highness wrote about the opinion held in Spain that you ought not to go until it (i.e. the marriage per verba de prœsenti) had been concluded; but his Majesty is going to write his pleasure as to this matter, and in the meantime your Highness will order the preparation of the fleet to be hurried on, for if this marriage is ever to be put into effect, despatch is what matters most, for thus the English will calm down and give up their evil designs when once they see that there is no escape. . . . (A paragraph about the Schetz (bankers) and South American affairs.)
Germany seems quieter, and Margrave Albrecht and the Bishops have been brought to terms by the initiative of the Dukes of Bavaria (fn. 5) and Württemberg (fn. 6), though they are still in readiness and are arming. The King of France is intriguing in all quarters, especially with the Saxon cavalry. I believe that if your Highness brings money with you they will be more circumspect, and that the King will be reduced to asking for peace, as he is already trying to do by means of the English. I have already informed you of his Majesty's decision concerning Milan: that he has summoned Don Fernando Gonzaga (fn. 7), leaving the administration of justice in the hands of the Senate, and the Marquis of Marignano (fn. 8) at the head of military affairs. Ultimately the man you named last in your letters is to go thither. His Majesty is up and reasonably well, God be thanked!
Brussels, 3 February, 1554.
Copy of a minute. Spanish.
Printed by Fernández Navarrete in his Documentos Inéditos, Vol. III.
Feb. 4. Brussels, C. M. 163. The Emperor to the King of the Romans.
. . . . As for the excuses you offer in reply to what I said in my letter about your writing to the Queen of England and ordering the Licentiate (fn. 9) to go straight to England with your messages before informing me, it seems that in this matter, as in several others, you followed your recently-acquired habit of taking my advice after taking action. Your excuses refer to two points: one the aforesaid letters, and the other the negotiations into which you ordered your people to enter at Heilbronn with the object of getting yourself admitted into the Heidelberg league. Now I do not wish, my Lord and good brother, to argue these questions with you. I do not wish to tell you that the orders given to the Licentiate to go on with your letters before speaking to me could have nothing to do with my delay in granting him audience, for the reason that as he sent me word about the other points he wished to lay before me, he might also have mentioned the letters for England had he not had orders to the contrary. I raise no objection to your having entered the Heidelberg league, the situation being as you describe it, and as you had often addressed warnings to me on the subject. However, you may remember what happened in connexion with the Eger league at the beginning of the present troubles, when Duke Maurice (fn. 10) was still alive, and that since then decisions have often been adopted independently of me, not only with regard to the matters mentioned in your letters, but, during the last two years, in others as well, as my former letters stated. My object is not at all to demand explanations of you, but merely to remind you, with the more than paternal affection I have always borne you, how necessary it is to the success of our common affairs that we act in all things in concert and mutual confidence, as I trust you will always do, thus responding to my perfect belief in you. I will only remark that you would do me a great wrong by imagining that I concealed from you my real intentions touching the English marriage, or that for any such reason I was not open with Martin de Guzmán (fn. 11) in connexion with the projects of my Lord the Archduke, (fn. 12) your son. You must realise that, as you yourself had suggested to me that the match might be a good one for my son, there could have been no possible reason why I should not tell you about it. I assure you, as I have said before, that I have always been guided in this matter by the state of affairs in England, and have abstained from taking sides for one aspirant rather than for another; for there could be no question of a foreign match before ascertaining the Queen's will and finding out from her Council what their mistress and they considered to be the wisest course for the firm establishment of her reign and her kingdom's welfare; and this has been my one and only aim in the advice I have given her, as I have already told you. When I saw that the Queen and her Council were inclined to favour a match with my son, for the reasons specified in other of my letters, I considered that it might indeed be a source of great good for all my realms, and especially the Low Countries, as you yourself remarked. Thus I resolved to continue the negotiations; and you would wrong me by believing that my action showed any lack of affection for my nephew or any of your family, for whom I have always felt a fatherly affection which you may be sure will never decrease . . . .
(The King of the Romans' motives for entering the league of Heidelberg. The date of the opening of the Diet. The Turks' activities.)
Brussels, 4 February, 1554.
Copy. French. Printed by Lang: Correspondenz des Kaisers Karl V, Vol. III.
Feb. 4. Simancas, E. 808. The Queen Dowager of Hungary to Prince Philip.
This is a recapitulation of several letters I have written to you, the first of which was of September 10th. I have heard from your letters the reasons that have prevented you from setting out to come hither as soon as you could have wished, and your difficulty in finding the necessary sum of money; grave reasons, of which I was sorry to learn. On the other hand I know that this country cannot hold out longer unless it is supported, and I have been seeing it all along. True it is that if God will show us grace and permit the English negotiation to be successful, for which result we are doing our utmost here to lose no time and you might greatly contribute by hastening your departure, it would be absolutely indispensable that you should go to a country of England's importance in a manner calculated to keep up your reputation and well provided with means to resist the enemy and defend your dominions. We might certainly look for great advantages, but you will understand how little confidence the English would feel in you if they saw you unable to defend your own states, and I take this opportunity of assuring you once more that unless this country is assisted you will lose it, and if his Majesty were to stay here he would only expose himself to an insulting rebuff, and you to a great loss. The best thing to be done is to make haste and send help, and believe me, my Lord, that what I am telling you is the pure truth, for I am prompted to speak by the consciousness of my duty towards his Majesty and yourself. Things have come to such a pass that the time for allowing yourself to be deceived has gone by, and the duty imposed by the charge that I have so far fulfilled, together with my responsibility towards these states, compels me to speak out to my superiors. I should say we had not done little in bearing the brunt of the war all this time, and in truth we have done more than could ever have been expected of us, wherefore we are now going to fall flat unless we are helped. You have plenty of money that has come from the Indies to private individuals, and if ever there was a time when that money ought to be used, that time is the present. You will have no lack of occasions of making it up to the private individuals, either by grants in the Indies or other means; anything rather than wait while one after the other of your states are lost. In extreme circumstances like these princes must devise and put into execution extreme measures, which measures must be decided upon by the parties chiefly concerned in view of all the arguments for and against, and not by intimate counsellors or relatives. His Majesty is decided that you are to come hither, and he has conducted the English negotiations with this object in view, so I am taking the opportunity of depicting to you in lively colours the distressful situation of this country in order that you may take it into consideration in forming your projects. The above-mentioned reasons have moved me to do so, as well as the great obligation imposed upon me by your love and confidence, which are such that I hold myself fortunate in being able to serve you to the best of my ability; and supported by my love for you I will never fail to do my best. I would greatly desire that the transactions that I have concluded and guaranteed might be carried out according to the promises given, the former ones as well as those that have since been concluded as I have seen by the letters Eraso has received, and others I have had by land from Balthasar Schetz (fn. 13) and Alonso del Castillo (fn. 14). Therefore, my Lord, I pray you to see to it that no difficulty be made about the payments, for besides the relief I shall feel when free of that anxiety, the people of this country will profit somewhat, as the merchants are forced to oblige the government. So I implore you to give your attention and favour to this matter more than the Council have in the past been in the habit of doing, so that money may soon arrive here, for past delays have caused interest to accumulate to such an extent that a great deal of writing would be necessary to make a statement of it. Moreover we ought to obtain money in time to pay the troops, for the lack of it has caused great confusion, as I instructed Schetz and Castillo to represent to you. They were also to implore you to see to paying the expenses incurred in connexion with the 600,000 ducats, and the principal as well, as both matters are in reality the same.
As for his Majesty's health, he has had some attacks of the gout, but for the moment he is very well and free of gout or other alarming symptoms, though I pity him for the sufferings he has recently gone through. What follows, my Lord, is a summary of other letters I have written to you from December 29th on. The Queen of England has been so far successful that it is legitimate to hope that from now on all will happen as the welfare of Christendom and the Emperor's and your interests demand. It is true that your labours will not cease, but will rather increase because you will have as much to do in keeping what you have got as in acquiring more; but good princes know that their duty is to labour unceasingly for their subjects, and the possession of great dominions imposes great obligations, and I trust in God that He has endowed you with sufficient gifts and will give you His grace to acquit yourself of the task to your own credit and the honour of your realms. His Majesty's letters will have informed you of the fickleness of the English and the intrigues that are going on in all quarters, so I will only point out that you must come speedily so as not to leave time for more disturbances, as also in order to be able to defend your own dominions, for the reasons I have mentioned. I have just received letters from Spain which tell me what I already felt sure of: that the payments to Schetz have not been wholly made, and that the money they have taken up to be used for the payments we will have to make here was not handed over without great difficulty. This may tell you how necessary it is that there be no delay about the next payment, or about the sums that are to be delivered to the Schetz by the Genoese or other banks; for I assure you, my Lord, that any obstacle that may be raised will have the effect of hampering us in our defence. This money is our refuge and aid that must enable us to hold out until we are assisted by you and are in a position to collect part of what these states may be able to grant, as grant they will have to in view of all this delay, and the fact that we have had to make arrangements to obtain advances from Schetz from time to time to meet demands. In truth, my Lord, it gives me pain to tell you how greatly it matters to us, and I implore you once more to apply the needful remedy, for otherwise we would need all you might bring for our defence, and the advantage of getting it now would be correspondingly great.
Brussels, 4 February, 1554.
Decipherment or copy. Spanish. Printed by Fernández Navarrete, Documentos Inéditos, Vol. III.
Feb. 4. Besançon, C.G. 73. The Emperor to his Ambassadors in England.
The decipherment of your letters that came, as ours of yesterday have told you, with M. de St. Martin, has told us of the present state of English affairs, and that—thank God!—things are beginning to go better and the forces of the rebels are breaking up. We feel sure that as soon as you received our last letters you carried out the instructions contained in them and found out from the Queen and her Council whether she needs any help, and if so in what form, for we desire to avoid doing anything that might injure rather than assist her. Until we have an answer we are unable to do more than fit out ships with all possible despatch, as you have heard, in addition to the fleets that are being prepared here and in Spain. We had the Bishop of Norwich asked whether the Queen or her Council had written to demand any help, and he answered that they had not done so and that he feared that if we sent over troops the English might deeply resent it and thereby become more apt to favour the rebels. So we are waiting to hear from you before adopting any further decision. As for your journey to Spain, M. d'Egmont, and the return thither of the rest of you, leaving the Lieutenant of Amont there alone after the performance of the marriage per verba de prœsenti, for which we sent off to you yesterday the power come from Spain, our earlier letters contain all needful instructions. We have only to recommend you once more to be vigilant in inquiring into everything that happens and send us minute reports from time to time. We especially desire to know what else has been found out about French plots, and whether the Lady Elizabeth has been detected with a finger in them; what decision has been arrived at with regard to her; what was in the French ambassador's ciphered letter; whether, as you wrote, the Marquis of Northampton is in the Tower, and why; whether Lord Cobham is standing steadfast for the Queen; the state of the Queen's forces; how much horse and foot she has afield; and what state her ships are in, for the news you send about Wyatt haying taken artillery from them leads one to suppose that in spite of her efforts to have them ready, not very much had perhaps been done. Moreover, we greatly desire to know what information you have secured about the French forces, especially on sea, but also on land in Normandy and Brittany. In order to have trustworthy news, you will send people to visit the places with the excuse of being merchants, and let them be persons capable of reporting what they themselves have seen, and not merely what they have heard said. We particularly wish to know the strange reason, alluded to by Paget who says he will not and cannot declare it, why you were not spoken to frankly about the state of affairs, for it seems to us that the Queen might question the Council about it and thus find out what the members of that body really mean. Your letters also say that the marriage negotiations are suspended, which we suppose is because the power, without which the ceremony per verba de prœsenti could not be performed, had not yet arrived. But if you did mean anything beyond that you had better say so clearly. Also let us know whether you have received all our letters; and we will be glad to receive a full and detailed answer on all these points.
Your letters also say that the Queen has little or no money, and no means of raising any in England. It seems to us that she must have credit at Antwerp on the strength of having paid the debts of her late brother, King Edward, and that if she sent someone thither to borrow a goodly sum she would find bankers ready to listen. You may tell the Queen this, so that if necessary she may send to Antwerp and thus avoid the difficulties with which the lack of money might beset her.
Brussels, 4 February, 1554.
French. Signed: Charles; countersigned: Bave. The original minute is in Vienna (E. 23).
Feb. 5. Vienna, E. 22. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Since I sent off my last letters to your Majesty by M. de Vandeville, MM. d'Egmont, de Lalaing, de Courrières and Nigri have departed, by the advice of the Council, to return to your court because of the disorders mentioned in my letters, because of the lack of instructions from your Majesty, in order to avoid danger and, especially, for the reason that they had no negotiations in hand to keep them here, as they will explain on their arrival. At the time of their leave-taking, the Queen and her Councillors were sorely perplexed by the news that Wyatt, followed by 3,000 men, was nearing London, whilst she was without the means of resistance. She also had reason to fear several London heretics who had an understanding with Wyatt, and the worst of it was that the decipherment of the French ambassador's letters showed that the object of the rebellion was to favour Courtenay, its author, that Elizabeth was levying troops in her part of the country and that some of the Council were in the plot. So the Councillors reproached one another for being to blame, while some said that the Chancellor had been too hot and hasty in religious affairs and too ready to throw Wotton and other heretics into prison, others that the Earl of Arundel and Paget had started it by advising the match between the Queen and his Highness, others that the revolt had been caused by those of the Council who stood for Courtenay and the Lady Elizabeth. Thus, quarrelling, taking sides and blaming one another, they go on discussing what shall be done to protect the Queen's person and whither she must repair; whether the Tower of London would not he safer than Windsor, or whether she had not better entrust herself to the Catholic country-folk and wait for help. Courtenay's followers suggested that it would be well for her to go to Calais where she might be supported by your Majesty, and a spy called Flores, a thorough heretic, went to M. de Lalaing to urge this course upon him and then, after M. de Lalaing's departure, came to me on the same errand, but I answered him in such wise that he saw I understood the mystery, and I believe he is now in the Tower, for I warned the Queen about him.
At length, the Council decided that the Master of the Horse and Cornwallis (fn. 15) should be sent to tell Wyatt that, by raising a force against the Queen, he was committing treason and throwing the realm into disorder. The proclamation he had issued to rouse up the people was full of falsehood, and if he or anyone else had anything to say to the Queen, they must say it in a petition, and not take up arms against their sovereign lady. If Wyatt meant to oppose the marriage agreed between the Queen and his Highness, and held that it implied a divorce between her and her first spouse, namely the Crown of England, she was willing to listen to him or to his envoys, but otherwise she was not obliged to pay any attention to his claims; so if he had anything to say, she would hear him and would have him given an entirely satisfactory explanation. The object of this move was to gain time while the Queen's forces were coming up, to induce Wyatt to lay down his arms, and to discover the reason why he had risen, in order to use his reply in framing a course of action. Before the Master of the Horse and Cornwallis were sent, the Queen summoned me to her presence, because the Council wished to make to me a communication touching her affairs. I went at once, and found that Paget and Petre had been deputed to speak to me about the aforesaid plans. They asked my advice as your Majesty's ambassador and a faithful counsellor of the Queen, saying that it was not at all intended to break off the alliance that had been contracted, but only to serve time by appearing to be willing to discuss, and begging me to persuade the Queen to consent, for if Wyatt refused to parley, they would be able to tell the people that he was aiming at the crown, and intended to overthrow religion, shed blood, sack London, ruin the kingdom and bring in the French. I replied that I considered their plan an excellently matured one, and the Queen signed the instructions after reading and translating them to me so that I might not suspect the presence of anything beyond what the Councillors had said to me—because when the French ambassador's letters were deciphered by the Chancellor, he left Courtenay's name in blank, as I wrote to your Majesty; but I succeeded in persuading the Queen to hand me over the original cipher, which I made out and found that Courtenay's name had been left out on purpose, for it was there whole and without the introduction of meaningless letters, as I showed it to the ambassadors. After I had deciphered the letters, I told the Queen that she had better consider them carefully, and remember that the Chancellor and other members of her Council had always favoured Courtenay, and I suspected that they approved of Wyatt's undertaking. In reply, the Queen repeated that she considered herself his Highness's wife, that she would never take another husband, and would rather lose her crown, her realm and her life.
Wyatt's answer was that he wished to have London Tower in his hands, and also the Queen in order to furnish her with a better Council than her present one. He also wanted three or four Councillors, whom he meant to punish, and he intended to restore religion to its recent condition. When the Council had heard this, they decided that the Queen should go to the Guildhall, summon the people of London and declare to them this tyrannical reply. So last Thursday, at two o'clock in the afternoon, she was escorted to the Guildhall by her Council, her guard, several gentlemen and Courtenay. She spoke to the people, and said that the objects she had ever had in view since coming to the throne were to administer justice, keep order and protect the people's peace and tranquillity. The rebel, Wyatt, had taken up arms under the pretext that she had married his Highness, but his reply showed clearly that he aimed at the Crown, and meant to tyrannise and molest the people; and she read out Wyatt's answer in full. Her action as to her marriage, she went on, had been advised by her Council as conducive to the welfare of the realm, and in no wise adopted in accordance with her own personal desires; if the reasons in favour of it had not been sufficiently understood, they might be repeated in Parliament. Now, however, that Wyatt was nearing London, she wished to hear from her people whether they meant to behave like good subjects and defend her against this rebel, for if they did, she was minded to live and die with them and strain every nerve in their cause; for this time their fortunes, goods, honour, personal safety, wives and children were in the balance. If they bore themselves like good subjects she would be bound to stand by them, for they would deserve the care of their sovereign lady. And thus, with befitting persuasions, she urged them to take up arms.
So elegant and eloquent was her speech, that all the people cried out loudly that they would live and die in her service, and that Wyatt was a traitor; and they all threw up their caps to show their goodwill. Her speech was read out at the usual places, in order that it might impress itself on the minds of the people, Wyatt was declared a traitor, and the whole town immediately armed. Four pieces of artillery were placed on the bridge, the mayor accepted the Admiral as captain of the city, and all things needful to check the enemy's plans were done, so that Wyatt's partisans and agents who were here, and from whom he expected help, have given up their projects and do not dare to show themselves. On the evening of the Queen's speech, over 500 peasants left Wyatt's camp, and he, seeing that he was followed by Lord Burgavenny (i.e. Abergavenny) and menaced with attack by the men of London and the Earl of Pembroke, sent this day a gentleman with a picket to discuss terms with Pembroke, who refused to listen. The Queen had been advised to have these men hanged, but others dissuaded her, thereby, as your Majesty hoped that within two days' time Wyatt will have to fly, or that he will be seized and punished. And a ban has been issued against him, declaring that any man who succeeds in arresting or killing him shall have an income of 100 pounds to be paid to him and his heirs for ever. Thus God of His mercy has succoured the Queen and heartened her, and there is good cause to hope that all may yet go well, and this unrest end by establishing her authority all the more firmly.
On the day of the Purification (i.e. 2 February), news reached her that the Earl of Huntingdon had routed the Duke of Suffolk, taken all his men prisoners, seized all his money and baggage, and forced him to fly with his two brothers accompanied only by five horse. Huntingdon is in pursuit, declaring Suffolk a traitor, and the Duke is making for Scotland. The people would not rise for him, and it is hoped that he will soon be a prisoner or forced to leave the realm.
The Queen has also heard that Peter Carew's cousin and two of his adherents have been caught; so there is no more rebellion on foot except Wyatt's.
The Queen summoned Elizabeth, but Elizabeth is very ill. She is being watched.
The Council, when the ambassadors took leave, spoke of the state of the Queen's affairs, said that she had no money though the time for receiving her revenues had arrived, and that if your Majesty would use your credit to supply her with 200,000 crowns, she would soon return that sum with interest and would be greatly obliged. Moreover, they hoped that your Majesty would help her with your fleet against the French, as their reading of the intercepted letters showed them clearly that they would be unable to avoid going to war with France, so they must combine with your Majesty to defeat the enemy's designs. The lords ambassadors said that they would report these requests to you, and would support their demands for help.
The Queen presented to each of the ambassadors a set of gilt plate, but they refused it saying that in view of her difficulties they not only would not accept gifts from her, but desired to offer her all their own possessions.
She handed to M. de Courrières a diamond as a gift in return for the one sent to her by the Duchess of Lorraine (fn. 16).
Wyatt seized the Bishop of Norwich's mail-bag, in which was either your Majesty's ratification of the marriage treaty, or a copy of it.
Wotton has written to the Queen that being ill on the 24th ultimo, he sent to the Constable a statement in writing of what he was to have negotiated with the King, which was a repetition of the answer given by the Council to the French ambassador when the ambassador urged that the Queen should renew and confirm the treaties. The tenor of this answer was that the Queen did not intend to do as the King asked, because the King had no reason to fear she would fail of strict observance of the treaties contracted by her ancestors, and because she wished to avoid making the neighbouring princes, like your Majesty, suspicious that she might be entering into some new agreement with France, especially as the marriage treaty itself gave the King's demands all possible satisfaction. By way of reply, the Constable sent Secretary Bochetel (fn. 17), who told Wotton that the King was satisfied with the answer provided that his ambassador might be present when his Highness should swear to observe the treaty: a reasonable request in order to make sure that the article in question had been sworn to and that it had been drawn up in writing to serve as testimony. Bochetel then asked whether there were any news from England, and Wotton replied that he had received no letters for a long time and only knew what was being said in Paris; that the passage to England was closed and his mistress dead or in danger, a tale that had been believed by certain people, perhaps because as the proverb said “facile credimus quod cupide credimus.” Bochetel then offered to send Wotton the King's physicians and was most courteous.
Wotton further says that the sea-captains are ready to take command of the King's fleet, and the common opinion is that his Highness will be met even if he comes with a stronger force than that of the French, who will try their luck in any case.
A proclamation has been issued all along the French sea-board forbidding all vessels of 60 tons and over to set sail without special permission from the King.
The King, who will not leave Paris before Lent, is gathering in money from all sides, has created new officials in all the French towns and sold the posts. He has named thirty new councillors in the Parliament of Paris, and although these posts are not to be permanent and are only meant to raise money for the war, ambition has moved men to buy them at 4,000 crowns apiece.
News have not yet come that the French have relieved Corsica.
The Englishmen who were suing for restitution of their seized vessels are ill-pleased with the sentences rendered by the judges.
The French say that the Queen is renewing the treaty of closer alliance in order to help your Majesty, and are dissatisfied about it. Such is the substance of Wotton's letters.
The Queen has sent me duplicates of the Bishop of Norwich's letters written on the 26th ultimo, containing an account of his negotiations with your Majesty at the last audience, what your Majesty told him of your health, the arrival of Cardinal Pole, your signing and swearing to the marriage treaty, which he has sent over. He also speaks of Mason's leave-taking, and mentions that there has been no confirmation of the news of a rout in Piedmont contained in his last letters, but that it now seems there was only a loss of 40 men, as the others got safely away.
A servant of the Duke of Suffolk has been caught and hanged.
This man was carrying a placard issued by the Duke to be published all over the country, to the effect that there were 12,000 Spaniards at Calais and as many more in the West Country, all ready to conquer England; so let the people rise up in arms against them and against the Chancellor and Paget, the Chancellor because of religion and Paget for his share in the match.
Cardinal Pole has been forewarned of the enterprise (i.e. Wyatt's rebellion) and, as Bonvisi hints, hopes to see Courtenay succeed yet. I spoke to the Queen about asking the Chancellor's opinion as to what should be done about the mention of Courtenay in the French ambassador's letters, but have had no answer; and when I showed the Chancellor my correct decipherment of the letters, and he saw Courtenay's name, he changed colour so obviously that it was easy to read his mind.
Several good people regret that the ambassadors should have been forced to depart by these disorders, and say that God has willed the discovery of the conspiracy in order that the match may be brought to a successful conclusion, the wicked crushed and the French chastised.
Old Cobham came to the Queen yesterday to beg her pardon because some of his sons were with the rebels. He departed promising faithfully to serve her.
There are grounds for suspicion that the Lieutenant of the Captain of the Tower (fn. 18) has appointed a certain gentleman named Poinz to guard Elizabeth in order to enable him to intrigue with her, for he is a heretic. He has a son and a daughter living with her.
London, 5 February, 1554.
Signed. Cipher. French.
Printed by Gachard from a transcript at Brussels, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV. A fragment, from a mutilated minute at Besançon, printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV, but dated 8 February. A contemporary translation into Spanish, at Simancas (E. 808), is printed in Documentos Inéditos, Vol. III, and wrongly dated [1] February.


  • 1. This paper is an abstract of a letter written to Jean du Bellay, Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, then in Rome, by the Constable of France, of which an Italian translation exists in Paris. Arch. Nat. K. 1489. The passage referring to Courtenay is plainer in the latter “Et perche milord Cortne. il quale i prefati tumultuanti haveano deliberato di pigliar per lor Re.”
  • 2. Don Carlos, Philip's son by his first marriage, born 1545.
  • 3. John, Prince of Portugal, son of King John III.
  • 4. Doña Juana, daughter of the Emperor.
  • 5. Albrecht V, Duke of Bavaria, the husband of the King of the Romans' daughter the Archduchess Anne.
  • 6. Christopher, Duke of Württemberg.
  • 7. Fernando Gonzaga, who had long been Governor of Milan. The foregoing volumes of this Calendar contain much information about him.
  • 8. Giangiacomo Medichino, Marquis of Marignano.
  • 9. Licentiate de Games was the King of the Romans' ambassador at Brussels. His nephew, Alonso de Games, had been sent to England, in 1553, with the hope of arranging a marriage between Mary and the Arohduke Ferdinand. See Vol. XI of this Calendar.
  • 10. Maurice, Elector of Saxony, died 1553.
  • 11. Baron Martin de Guzmán was sent by the King of the Romans to England after Mary's accession, to see how the land lay for a matrimonial alliance. (Vol. XI of this Calendar.)
  • 12. Ferdinand of Austria, younger son of the King of the Romans.
  • 13. One of the partners in the great Schetz banking house.
  • 14. Alonso del Castillo was an auditor in Flanders.
  • 15. Sir Thomas Cornwallis, Sheriff of Essex,
  • 16. Christina, widow of Francis I of Lorraine. See Vol. X of this Calendar, p. 156 note,
  • 17. Guillaume Bochetel, Sieur de Sacy.
  • 18. By “Captain of the Tower,” the Lieutenant, Sir John Bridges, seems to be meant. His assistant was his brother, Thomas Bridges.