Spain: December 1554, 1-15

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1954.

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'Spain: December 1554, 1-15', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) pp. 112-123. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

December 1554, 1–15

118. Count G. T. Langosco da Stroppiana to the Bishop of Arras
London, 3 December To continue the story where our friend Marcantonio Giberto left it off, Reverend Lordship (i.e. Cardinal Pole) entered the city of London yesterday morning accompanied by two bishops and many lords. He landed not far from the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, and on stepping on shore was received by the Mayor and other magnates. At the church stood waiting for him the Lord Chancellor and the Bishop of London in their pontificals, surrounded by their clergy and other bishops who were not to officiate. The Cardinal, under a baldaquin, then proceeded to the choir where Te Deum was sung. The crowd, both in the church and in the streets, was enormous and displayed great joy and piety, begging the Cardinal for his blessing. The King's Majesty arrived shortly afterwards; the Cardinal proceeded to the church door to meet him, the Bishop of London said the mass of the Holy Ghost and the Chancellor presented the Gospels to be kissed and gave the kiss of peace to his Majesty and the Cardinal.
When mass and benediction were over, the King and the Cardinal, accompanied by a few lords, repaired to a balcony to hear the Chancellor preach to the people who had congregated to the number of about 15,000 in the church-yard, and listened most attentively to the sermon. The text was: jam nos de somno surgere, very much to the point in the preacher's mouth and addressed to such a congregation; and by common consent he spoke very frankly and reasonably, arriving at the conclusion that they were all deeply embounden to God and his Holiness, who although he had for so many years been the object of their curses now sent to bless them one who was no stranger, but an English nobleman adorned with many rare qualities. This emissary had himself been cursed by them, and was now come to bless and show loving-kindness to all. The preacher dwelt on his text, saying that neither the Queen's Majesty, nor the King's, nor the Cardinal had fallen to sleep, but the rest of them had done so, and he who was speaking more sadly than any, wherefore he exhorted them to repentance and newly-awakened love, bidding them hope for all good gifts from the Divine Bounty.
At the close he urged each man among them to pray God for his Holiness and the sacred college of Cardinals.
After the sermon the King, accompanied by the Cardinal, returned through the city to his palace, hailed by a mighty concourse of people, who displayed far more joy and loyalty than had ever been expected. It is said that these Englishmen are giving signs of a thorough though rapid change of heart which renders it possible to look for still better things to come, with God's grace, Whose Divine Wisdom has brought this holy event to pass. From the palace the Cardinal was escorted to his quarters by many English lords, who stayed to dine with him. This morning Mr. Clien and the Queen's public secretary have been with the Cardinal, who went after dinner to see their Majesties and the Chancellor, with whom they discussed many questions connected with religion and the quiet of the kingdom. It was decided that the day after to-morrow all the bishops should come to confer with the Cardinal about the needs of their dioceses, and that those who had not yet been completely reconciled should then make their peace and recognise that they held their churches from the apostolic see. They would have come to-morrow, but the Cardinal admitted to their Majesties that he was exhausted, as indeed he is, and needed a day's rest. God grant he may have it! Indeed, I know not how he is able to support so much fatigue, but we hope that God in His mercy will keep him for His service. As I promised, I am sending you a copy of the letter the Cardinal is sending to his Holiness. He has spoken to the King about the letters of exchange, and the King said that his Imperial Majesty had ordered his Holiness's request to be granted. Signor Donato and I kiss your Lordship's hand.
P.S. of 6 December: All I have to add is that the members of Parliament yesterday presented to their Majesties a petition begging them to request the Cardinal to confirm, auctoritate apostolica, the marriages contracted while the schism lasted, within the forbidden degrees of kinship but for which dispensations are commonly granted by the Pope, and also the collation of benefices, etc., and the dispensation to holders of Church property.
I will inform your Lordship of the Cardinal's reply. To-day all the bishops and clergy at present in London are to come to beg for individual absolution of their past errors, which the Cardinal will grant, giving authority to the ordinaries to absolve the rest.
P.S. of 9 December: The clergy also demand a provincial synod to reform disorders and abuses among their own members and the laity. Such a synod used to be held at each session of Parliament.
Parliament begs for confirmation of collations of benefices, of certain orders that have been issued, of the creation of churches, colleges and schools, and of sentences, instruments and judgments. Things are going steadily better and better.
During the past week two holders of Church property, who received it from King Henry, died and left that property to churches.
Duplicate. Italian.
Vienna, Staatsarchiv, E.V.5.
119. The Bishop of Arras to Count G. T. Langosco da Stroppiana
Brussels, 4 December I have received your letters of the 13th and 25th of last month, and must cordially thank you for your news, which gave me great pleasure, of the proceedings of the English Parliament, Cardinal Pole's arrival and other celebrations that are being prepared for at that Court. In exchange I have only to tell you that your Duke has obtained his Majesty's leave to proceed to England, whither he will soon travel as you will hear from the enclosed note. (fn. 1) I am very glad of it, especially as you tell me he is being awaited with much affection. You may be sure that my devotion to his Highness is such that when the time comes to treat of peace I shall hold his cause to be among the points of most urgent importance, and shall always do my best to serve him.
Duplicate. Italian.
Vienna, Staatsarchiv, E.V.5.
120. Ruy Gómez de Silva to Francisco de Eraso (Extract)
London, 5 December The King has read your last despatch. In the letter you wrote you tell me what you wish to have done, and as this messenger is in a hurry I will not bother you with a long missive now, for I have already told you how that gentleman is importuning us about what is to be done for him. The King was greatly distressed to hear that his Majesty had expressed doubts about being able to raise the million; for God's sake, we must have money, though it cost us our life-blood; whether it is to be peace or war, life depends on our being able to obtain it by next summer . . . . .
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.808.
121. Philip to the Emperor (Extract)
London, 6 December . . . . . As for Duke Ottavio (Farnese) I have seen the contents of the letter from his Holiness shown by the Nuncio to the Bishop of Arras, the account of Don Francisco (de Toledo's) interview with the Duke, and also what Cardinal Morone wrote to the Bishop of Arras, all of which comes to the same as the message the Cardinal sent to me by the Duke of Alva. I have replied as your Majesty may see from the copy of my letter, and as he (Morone) gives as an argument in favour of restoring Piacenza that the Duke (Ottavio Farnese) is anxious to have it in order not to break his word to the King of France, I have told the Duke (Alva) to write (fn. 2) as if of his own accord to the Cardinal, pointing out that it would be most unreasonable to expect your Majesty to fail of your promise to those (fn. 3) whom you assured they should never again be placed under Farnese rule, how much more serious a matter it is for them than for the King of France, and that I personally am resolved to abide by your Majesty's promise as long as I live and whatever happens.
To bring back Duke Ottavio to your Majesty's service I consider a most important matter, and one of the very best strokes of business at present to be brought off in Italy. Besides, he is married to your Majesty's daughter, and I am therefore in duty bound to do my best for him, and this consideration would be enough for me even were it a case in which he alone had any profit to look forward to. I do not believe, however, that it would really make for his advantage and repose to have Piacenza restored to him, now that offers have been made to him at your Majesty's bidding, and others certainly would follow as soon as he accepted. On the other hand, I see how unsuitable, or to speak plainly how very dangerous for the state of Milan it would be to have a neighbour as powerful as the lord of Parma and Piacenza. When the two states were under Pierluigi we know how greatly we were preoccupied by his proceedings, and if at the present day we are all aware how greatly to our advantage and Milan's it would be to attach the lord of Parma to your Majesty's service, how sorely would we not need him if he owned both cities. Then would he set his foot on our neck and make insolent demands, even if he had no excuse for asking, for their very ambitions often appear to men to constitute excellent reasons and unquestionable rights. I omit many other arguments that might be invoked, simply because I know your Majesty understands them much better than I. Then there is the fact of your promise to the private individuals who placed Piacenza in your hands, for there is no doubt whatever that if the Farnese ever got back, however tied their hands might be, the lives, property and honour of those individuals would be so exposed that it would be necessary to remove them and offer compensation for their losses somewhere else. They are so numerous and rich that it would be a most costly operation, and even so there is no compensation for loss of country, kindred and friends. This drawback would attend all the projects for restoring Piacenza.
Now, after Don Francisco had had his interview, and he refused to start negotiations again in spite of the message sent to him by the Lady Margherita (fn. 4) asking him not to break them off, they were not satisfied with that, but set things in motion again through the Pope and Cardinal Morone, as your Majesty has seen. Moreover, all are agreed that Ottavio is dissatisfied with France, and the French have a way of neglecting those who serve them after a certain time; things are very different in Tuscany, from the King of France's point of view, from what they have been for the last two years; and Ottavio's period of French service has brought about certain results which, in order not to fatigue your Majesty I will not discuss here. It may consequently be taken that Ottavio would like to come back to your Majesty's service, and will do so without having Piacenza restored to him, but all these considerations furnish no reason why your Majesty should not be very generous in compensating him, for that is the surest way of succeeding in this matter. To give what is owing is a duty, and more than the strictly necessary ought to be parted with in order to win back a son.
I will not go into the proposals made first to Don Francisco and later to his Holiness and Cardinal Morone, for none of them satisfies me as being exempt from the abovementioned and other drawbacks. Worst of all is the thought of what might happen to those poor people were your Majesty's promise to them not kept; and to tell the truth I cannot make up my mind thus to see them forsaken.
Were it absolutely necessary to accept one of those offers, I think the best one would be that which was made to Don Francisco de Toledo, for thus the castles of Parma and Piacenza would remain in your Majesty's or my hands, the garrisons being fed and paid by the Duke, as was done at Florence, though it is true that the castle of Parma is of small account as it is ruinous and badly placed. But this is only in case it were necessary to come to such terms, an eventuality not likely to occur at present, for if we now wish to make an agreement, it is rather with an eye to the future and out of your Majesty's desire to shelter and benefit your children than because we are in any danger of losing what we now hold.
If this matter goes any further, your Majesty will inform me which method of the three suggested you approve of, and whether I am to write anything to Cardinal Morone beyond what I said above. . . . . .
P.S. In Philip's own band: I have no answer to make to your Majesty's letter in your own hand of 14 November, except that religious affairs have improved still more since I last wrote, and that I quite approve of your writing to me in French when you send letters by Englishmen, and signing Charles. I will soon send another letter about Italy and Lombardy.
Signed. Spanish.
Simancas, E.808.
122. Philip to Don Juan Manrique de Lara (Extract)
London, 6 December . . . . Your letters have informed me that, as soon as my messenger arrived with my instructions to ask the Pope for fuller powers for Cardinal Pole, you departed for Rome, where you negotiated with such success that the despatch sent off to us was even ampler in form than we had asked for. We warmly thank you for this; and it seems to me you were wise in confidentially showing his Holiness passages from my letter. In accordance with your advice, we shall be careful here to write you letters that may be shown to him. . . .
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.809.
123. Philip to Francisco Vargas
London, 6 December Since my arrival in this kingdom and the conclusion of my marriage, my principal care has been to achieve a settlement of religious affairs, in which, as the cause was His, I had great hopes of being aided by Our Lord. With this object in view, the Queen and I set about approaching the leading men of the realm, in order to persuade them to give their approval to the coming of Cardinal Pole, who had in this connexion been sent as Legate from his Holiness and the holy apostolic see. The better to bring this about, we ordered Parliament to meet, which was attended by all the barons ecclesiastical and temporal and the representatives of the cities and boroughs to the number of 440 or more votes. With them it was agreed that the Cardinal Legate should come, for over and above the religious question he had been prevented from returning to England by an Act of Banishment, which could not be repealed except by Parliament. This obstacle removed, we sent to Flanders to fetch and accompany him hither two very distinguished gentlemen of this realm, members of our Council, escorted by whom he arrived at this city of London on Saturday, 24 November. He spoke privately with the Queen and me, and on the following Wednesday, before a full Parliament, set forth the cause of his having been sent by the Holy Father, the bearer of the keys, to open a door that had for many years been shut, and in the name of Christ's Vicar let in the inhabitants of this realm, treating them with fatherly affection. After more words in this tone, he begged us, as God had set us on the throne, to act as our goodwill and obedience had long since proved we wished to act and persuade Parliament to admit the grace which God, by means of His Vicar, now held out to them. Having listened to this eloquent and persuasive discourse, I had him answered to the effect that the Queen and I were very glad of his coming and its occasion, so he might go and rest while we conferred with Parliament, after which a speedy answer should be sent to him. When the Cardinal had withdrawn, we caused the Chancellor to inform Parliament that we thought members would do well to reflect on the great mercy God was showing them by calling them in this manner, that the Queen and I would be very happy if their deliberations ended by convincing them of where their duty to themselves and the commonwealth lay, and that we would look for a reply within three days. So they departed, and held a debate the next day.
On Friday, the feast of the Apostle St. Andrew, we heard they had arrived at a decision, and when they had all met together in our and the Cardinal Legate's presence, they presented a petition in their name and all the realm's, confessing that they had been in error and scism, and disobedient to the Church, and eagerly begging us to intercede with the Legate to absolve them of past sins, for they, with many protestations of repentance, wished to live in obedience to his Holiness and our holy mother, the Church of Rome.
When this petition had been read aloud, the Queen and I conversed aside with the Cardinal Legate and interceded with him for them, and he consented to absolve and admit them into the grace of his Holiness and the obedience of the Holy Catholic Church, so they all knelt and he pronounced absolution, which they received with great devotion and signs of repentance, many shedding tears, though some of them had not enjoyed a favourable reputation. We all of us then went down to the chapel and gave thanks to Our Lord for showing to the Queen and me so marked a favour as to make use of us in a matter where His service and the honour of His Sacred Name were concerned; and we shall never cease to give Him thanks, for we know that it was the work of His hand, and that to Him alone praise is due. We immediately sent word to his Majesty, and I now desire to inform you, because of the high rank you hold in his Majesty's and our service and in order that you may report to the Seignory and in our name receive their congratulations on so happy an event. We have done the same here with their ambassador, for we know that such good friends of ours will rejoice to hear that Our Lord has been pleased to guide this matter to better effect than we ourselves could have desired.
Spanish. Signed: El rey pe. (principe); countersigned: Gonzalo Pérez.
Simancas, E.1498.
124. The Emperor to Philip (Extract)
Brussels, 7 December Eraso gave me your letter and the instructions issued to him. I was very glad to hear that you and the Queen were well, as also that you were handling affairs in the way your management of the religious question showed you were capable of doing. This I said in the letter I sent you by Count Egmont, and I now need only mention the points that are most pressing. As for your coming hither, I am of your opinion, and agree that you had better do so as soon as possible after Parliament rises, beginning your preparations at once, for we have so many matters to attend to that despatch is necessary. You will endeavour to make out how much you will need, and we will let you know by Eraso what we are able to do. There is nothing more to be said about peace, for no reply touching Vaudémont has come yet.
If news come from the French ambassador's brother, let me know; but I believe you will be here before anything comes of that . . . . I am well, God be praised, and I trust you and the Queen are also in good health.
Decipher. Spanish.
Simancas, E.508.
125. Mary I to the Emperor
London, 7 December We make no doubt that your Majesty has been informed by my Lord the King, your son, of the frank consent given by our subjects of every estate to return to the obedience of Holy Church and the Catholic faith, for this success was largely obtained thanks to the wise guidance of my said Lord, and we trust in God that it will lead to happy results. Nonetheless, we know that you who bear us a paternal affection and are desirous of the welfare of Christendom and our prosperity, will rejoice to hear these good news, wherefore we wish to write them to you ourself, though whatever one of us writes proceeds from the heart of both.
We have sent express orders to our dear, etc., Councillor, Mr. John Mason, Knight, our ambassador at your Court, to declare to you in detail what has occurred, and you will be pleased to believe him as you would ourself. We will therefore not make this letter longer.
Signed. Countersigned: Yetsweirt. French.
Vienna, Staatsarchiv, E.1
126. The Queen Dowager to Count de Lalaing
Brussels, 10 December The Emperor was recently informed by his son, the King of England, of the unanimous decision arrived at by the Estates of the realm assembled in Parliament concerning the observance of our Holy Faith, in virtue of which all sects and divisions are to be abandoned for the ancient unity of the Catholic Church. This decision was brought about by the experience that diversity of religious use had no other point than evil and misfortune to the realm, a clear sign of the favour God has been pleased to show the King and my lady niece, the Queen of England, in inaugurating for them a peaceful and prosperous reign. This happy event will also have its effect on his Imperial Majesty's subjects here, encouraging them in the observance of one faith and also giving them guarantees of success in temporal affairs, wherefore his Majesty is of opinion that all his good subjects ought to rejoice, and join him and us in rendering thanks to God our Creator.
We therefore, by his Imperial Majesty's orders, command you to have solemn processions and thanksgiving services held in the principal towns of the County of Hainault, like Mons and Valenciennes, in recognition of the divine guidance vouchsafed to the affairs of the realm of England, together with prayers that future events may redound to the honour of His holy service and the glory of His Church. You will communicate this to the preachers in the said towns in order that it may by them be published abroad and brought to the people's attention, though with all due discretion and without dwelling too much on it.
Signed. French.
Lille, L.M.53.
127. Don Pedro de Cordova to the King of the Romans
London, 10 December Since Don Pedro Laso's departure I have not written to your Majesty, because there has been nothing worthy of note until now that Cardinal Pole, who had been under a death sentence and had had all his property seized, has been admitted and pardoned by Parliament. This was a great boon, because it proved the beginning of an ardently desired time. The King and Queen went to the Parliament House just as your Majesty is wont to proceed to the place where a Diet is being held, and when they had given their consent, which they made little difficulty about granting, two gentlemen were sent to Flanders and two more out on the road to welcome the Cardinal when he had crossed the sea. In order not to fatigue your Majesty with a long letter, I am sending you a report (fn. 5) I have received of all that has happened during the eight days since the Cardinal's arrival. Truly, it is a matter for rendering thanks to God to see these stiff-necked folk led back so soon to the obedience of the Church. The Queen has shown herself to be the thorough Christian she is, the King has not made things more difficult, and Our Lord has not forgotten the good lady, for she is certainly with child and is expected to be confined in April. These news are so good that there is no time to write about anything else. The royal couple are well, and are loved and obeyed by their subjects. They treat us foreigners with all imaginable kindness. It is said that when Parliament rises the King will go over to his Majesty but will not stay long, for they say he means to be back soon. There are fresh letters from Spain that report good news of the Princess's and the Infante's health; the Emperor is also well. I will send fuller tidings from Flanders. Your Majesty will be pleased to forgive my boldness in sending the report, but as it deals with the faith and a matter in connexion with which you have taken such pains I thought I ought to forward it; so if your Majesty will allow me I will also report further events. . . . .
A Report, enclosed in the above, of Cardinal Pole's arrival and first week spent in England.
On Saturday, 24 November, Cardinal Legate Pole arrived in a barge with his cross before, and all the English lords, bishops and councillors went out in other barges to meet him. The King was dining in his chamber when he was told that the Cardinal was landing at the bridge where passengers bound for the palace step ashore, and went out to the door leading to the landing place, where the Cardinal was already standing, whom the King welcomed, bonnet in hand, with all signs of joy and courteous hospitality, and placed on his right hand. Thus they entered the palace and ascended the stairs and at the door of the first saloon found the Queen, who as soon as she saw the cross made a deep reverence to the King and Cardinal who were walking side by side. The Cardinal knelt: the Queen made him a reverence, bent down to raise him up in accordance with the custom of the country, and she and the King helped him to his feet with all the kindness to be expected on such an occasion; and there was a goodly concourse of people present. Then, the Queen taking her place between the King and the Cardinal, they entered the presence-chamber, where they sat under the canopy talking in English and Italian for half-an-hour, and the Cardinal handed over two letters from the Emperor. The members of the Cardinal's suite came and made their obeisance to the King and Queen, and when their master took his leave the Queen advanced half-way down the chamber and the King still further, until the Cardinal would suffer him to accompany him no longer and the King returned to the Queen's side. So the Cardinal, followed by the Duke of Alva and the Count of Aranda, who are the two chief Lords Chamberlain (Mayordomos Mayores), the Bishop of Winchester, Lord Chancellor, and the rest of the company again took boat to cross over to his lodging in the house of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is in prison, for he is married and a great heretic. His post has already been offered to the Cardinal, but the Legate's reply was that he had come as the Pope's messenger and in the name of the Church, wherefore it was not at present meet to discuss other matters, though his work accomplished he would obey the Queen.
He is a man of most spiritual looks, and came attired in his rochet, with his hood and red cap; many there were who wept that day, so much had they longed for him, and others were sad, but did not show it. But truly that day was one of seeing and rejoicing, for it brought all that is good to England, and God snowed that He had not forgotten the land, since by uniting two Catholic princes he had been pleased to reveal Himself once more to a people that had started on the road to perdition. May His name be blessed, and may He grant to the King and Queen a long life, grace to persevere, a good and Catholic Council to conduct affairs to His greater glory; may He deliver the Queen and give her a son, as it is to be hoped He will, judging by the progress already realised through the King's prudence and tact.
On Sunday it rained, but the King wished to have some distraction, and there was cane-play. There were six gentlemen in each band, all dressed in silk and gold, and thus they entered the place where a great number of people were gathered together, with ladies in gold and silver cloth and great wealth of crimson and purple velvet, of which the King had ordered each one of them to be supplied with as much as they asked for. There must have been over thirty of them, married and unmarried, for the Queen's ladies here may be married or single. The Queen came out adorned with her brocades and jewels, the ladies all had head-dresses enriched with gold, and many of them jewels and silk fringes. Don Juan de Benavides and his band, ten in all, were in white and gold; Luis Vanegas's in green and silver; Don Diego de Córdova's, in which the King rode, purple and silver; and all these were dressed at the King's expense. On the other side were Ruy Gòmez in gold and blue, the Duke (of Alva) with his band of eleven in yellow and silver, and Don Diego de Acevedo in black and silver. They made a brave display when they appeared, and the play passed off without accidents, to the sound of trumpets and drums. The same evening the King supped in public with the Queen, and at another table sat the grandees of Spain and nobles of England, with their ladies. Afterwards there was dancing, and Don Fadrique de Toledo, Comendador Mayor, issued a challenge for a tournament on foot. On Monday, the Cardinal came by water to the palace, and paid a private visit to the Queen, after which he went unaccompanied to see the King and stayed all the afternoon in conference on the powers brought by him and the despatch from Rome; so all is going well, and the Pope shall be obeyed as he ought to be. On Tuesday, the King went by water to the Cardinal's lodging, where he spent two hours with him in private conference before returning. All the Spanish grandees and gentlemen have also visited the Cardinal.
On Wednesday, the 28th, the King and Queen proceeded to a hall where all the English lords and members of Parliament were sitting according to their rank, and took their places on a dais under a canopy, whilst the Cardinal occupied a high-backed chair near the Queen, but not on the dais or under the canopy. The Chancellor explained why the Cardinal had come, and requested all present to listen to him, who asked the King and Queen, in Latin, for leave to speak in English, and then pronounced a discourse lasting an hour, remaining seated and delivering his words with perfect self-possession.
He uttered thanks, and urged the men of the realm to realise their duty towards the Church, the cause of his own coming and the Pope's motives, and declared that God had shown them mercy by permitting the Queen to come to the throne and marrying her to so catholic and powerful a Prince. Then came many persuasive arguments, such as that no kingdom had been so ill-treated as England, for the Turk and other heathen, though they had conquered realms, had yet allowed the Christians to live in their faith, whilst here the first thing that had been done was to enact laws forcing all subjects to depart from the path of truth. And so he pleaded with them to apply the remedy, turning to the King and Queen, and then to the lords, bishops and representatives of the people. The King and Queen called on the Chancellor to reply that they were rejoiced by his coming, and that the Pope had chosen so illustrious a person to undertake a mission to the realm. They would confer with Parliament, and send him a reply. So the Cardinal withdrew, accompanied by Count Feria, the Duke of Medinaceli and the Bishop of Cuenca. (fn. 6) The Chancellor then harangued Parliament in presence of the King and Queen, uttering the Cardinal's praises and exhorting them on the sovereigns' behalf to deliberate and return next day with a decision, especially concerning the repeal of the laws forbidding all intercourse with or mention of the Pope.
Quoting Scripture to his purpose, he told them that a prophet had risen up and come to save them, and when he had finished the King and Queen retired to the Queen's chamber, where the Cardinal was waiting, and after sitting a moment there the prelate returned to his lodgings. In the chapel and all the London churches a Te Deum was sung for the Queen's pregnancy. May God deliver her and give her the son these realms so sorely need.
On Thursday, 29 November, Parliament met in the accustomed place, and lords, prelates, representatives of the towns and gentlemen all agreed to repeal the laws and statutes passed under King Henry and his son, Edward, against obedience to the Pope and imposing the accursed and detestable heresy of Luther, the destruction of images and the suppression of the mass; though the Queen had already put a stop to Lutheranism and returned to the usages of the true and ancient religion. It was agreed to send a deputation of 24 men to beg the King and Queen, on behalf of Parliament, to grant their approval and request the Legate to absolve them, for they, in the kingdom's name, spontaneously confessed the error in which they had lived, and submitted themselves to the Pope's will, whom they held to be Head of the Church and true and universal Vicar of Christ. The King and Queen most willingly heard and admitted their petition, promising to do precisely as they had been requested, speak with the Cardinal next day and strive to get him to absolve them. Joy was so great, tears of gladness were shed from so many old eyes that had been looking forward to this day, that this sudden change would have appeared incredible to any but those who saw it happen, as we did. The fact is that existing laws were so rigorous, providing that a man should lose life and property for so much as speaking of the Pope, and so forth and so on, that now the same are repealed and the example set by this most Catholic royal couple has had its effect, there turn out to be far more Christians than had ever been supposed, and their numbers will daily increase. After the King and Queen had answered the deputies of Parliament, they went to attend the Vespers of St. Andrew's eve, which were admirably sung by the singers of the chapel royal.
On Friday, St. Andrew's day, the King went on horseback to mass at Westminster, escorted by his guards, pages and horseguards, all in new uniforms; and they made a brave show, for there were 100 Germans, 100 Spaniards, 100 Englishmen and 50 Flemish archers. The Spanish and German halberdiers marched in rank and file as is their wont, and the Englishmen trooped behind the King, in front of whom went 55 pages, spur-bearers and other officials; all in all they numbered over 500. The uniforms looked well, though the weather was not as good as it might have been, and the captains were very smartly attired. The same afternoon the Cardinal came, robed and wearing his consistorial cope, and the King went down to meet him to the first saloon, descending the stairs which they afterwards mounted together to the place where the Queen was awaiting them in the presence-chamber, whence they proceeded to a hall where Parliament was assembled as it had been on the other day. The King, Queen and Cardinal were seated as already described, the Chancellor spoke in the name of the King and Queen, and then said something to them, giving them a paper which they both read and returned to him that he might read it aloud. It was an account of what had been concluded on the other occasion; and attempts are being made to come by a copy of it, which will be forwarded. Next, the King and Queen told the Chancellor to say to Parliament that they were happy to grant their request, and would intercede with the Legate, and all the members replied with one voice that they begged them so to do. The King and Queen rose and approached the Cardinal, the King cap in hand, and stood for a few minutes near his chair talking, after which they went back to their places and instructed the Chancellor to say that the Legate wished to speak and exhibit his powers. One of the Cardinal's attendants then read out the original bull and a brief conferring upon him full powers to absolve and admit them into the community of Holy Mother Church. Next, the Legate made a speech in his own tongue to the King, Queen and Parliament, praising the members and granting their petition. To the King, among other things, he said that in this first expedition he had rendered to Our Lord the great service of converting and winning back this nation to the true Catholic faith. The Emperor, he pursued, most Christian prince that he was, had long laboured to gather together materials to build the temple, which Our Lord had only permitted to be erected by his son, as befell David and Solomon. And indeed that is what happened, for so short a time has seen the completion of a mighty edifice, and one built not of perishable stuff like Solomon's, but of souls that had been led astray by evil example and doctrine. All who heard him say he spoke very eloquently; and he rose to his feet, imitated by the King and Queen, whilst the members of Parliament and all those present knelt down to receive the Legate's absolution with every sign of reverence and repentance. They then went down to chapel to hear Te Deum, and when it had been sung and the prayers said, the Legate stood in front of the altar and gave his benediction. Thus this day of St. Andrew may be counted a blessed one, and this kingdom and all other Christian realms are bound to celebrate it with fresh praise to God, Whose is the glory, and devout supplications to Him to vouchsafe His protection to England. Parliament was attended by over 500 persons, the authorised representatives of the country, who all of one accord confessed their sins and begged for mercy. So in truth a deo factum est istud, et est mirabile in oculis nostris. Saturday was the last day of what they call over here the “term", that is the time for hearing law-suits; and there are four in the year.
On December 2, first Sunday in Advent, the Legate in his consistorial robes proceeded by water to the chief church of London, called St. Paul's, with a great following of nobles and bishops. At the church door were waiting all the clergy and crosses of the place, and the Bishop of London in his robes. The Cardinal adored the cross, and walked under a brocade canopy, carried by six dignitaries, to the high altar, where he knelt. Te Deum was said, and some prayers, and the Cardinal went back to the church door to receive the King, who came on horse-back. They proceeded to the chancel, where the King sat behind curtains; the Cardinal took his place on a dais, and the Bishop said pontifical mass, after which the Legate, standing before the altar, gave his blessing. All passers by knelt down, and at any rate the old men and women and others who had hoped for this event shed tears of joy and displayed a most devout frame of mind. The King and Legate then left the chancel, and were seated at an open window, richly adorned with cushions and dossals, to hear the Lord Chancellor, Bishop of Winchester, who preached in a special open place, standing in a pulpit surrounded by many steps. The sermon was in English and lasted two hours, and at the end the Chancellor said that the Legate had empowered him to deliver absolution, wherefore on his behalf he absolved and admitted them once more into the fold of Holy Mother Church and obedience to the Pope. All those present, over 15,000 persons, knelt down; a sight to be seen, it was, and the silence was such that not a cough was heard. This over, the King and Legate returned together, and when they reached the palace they dismounted and the King went in to dinner, the Cardinal returning by water to his house. The text, a most apposite one, was: jam nos de somno surgere.
Holograph. Spanish.
Vienna, Staatsarchiv, S.4.
Printed, from a copy in the National Library at Madrid, by Gayangos, Viage de Felipe II a Inglaterra.
128. The Duke of Savoy to the Emperor
Brussels, mid Dec. Sire: Through all the outrages my late father and I have suffered from men and fortune have ever trusted in God's bounty and justice that I should not be abandoned, your Majesty favouring and aiding me, but that you would lift me out of the ills and poverty which are now my daily share. And knowing that your Majesty has been greatly burdened by your affairs and my own, I have several times implored the Queen of Hungary humbly to beg you, for my honour's sake, for that of my poor and forsaken subjects and for your Majesty's own advantage, to put me at the head of the government of Lombardy until my affairs are settled in a satisfactory manner. I now once more supplicate you to do this, for I feel convinced your Majesty will not do anything so likely to harm yourself, your son and me as to send back Don Fernando, and though your only immediate preoccupation in this matter be your and your son's interests, I know you to be a prince so full of noble sentiments and gratitude that you will first of all have a thought for me and that I shall be spared the injury I see hanging over my head of losing my state and growing to be a man only to see another lording it over the little that I still possess. I am reduced to reflect that it will be a long time ere I get the rest back, and in the meantime I see poor gentlemen growing rich on my state while I grow poor in your Majesty's service. And even if your Majesty means to inflict upon me so much harm as to refuse my request, I fail to believe that you can intend to give the post to a man who calls himself my enemy, as he has clearly shown in the course of this war, though I have paid no attention out of respect for you and because of what you said to me at St. Omer. Had your Majesty always followed his advice I know not where you would be at present; but your Majesty is well aware of what would have happened.
I adjure your Majesty to consider that I only ask for that which others have refused, and, if I seem too young and inexperienced to govern Milan, to give me the post held by Bourbon or the Marquis del Guasto in Cardinal Caracciolo's day. Once I have arms in hand, if I am not man enough to win again that which was taken from me, the world will at any rate see that your Majesty has done your best to give me a chance to recover what I lost for your sake. And believe me, were it not that your service and my welfare are at stake, the post in itself is not so alluring as to make me beg for it. I will not importune your Majesty with a longer letter; I have explained to the Bishop of Arras that I am entirely devoted to your service, but he has perhaps found reasons for not repeating my words to you.
If your Majesty decides not to grant my just request, I will at any rate pray you to be allowed to go and keep my subjects and what places I have left constant in your service, for I fear that if I am absent they may be driven by despair to do something greatly to your disadvantage and my irreparable hurt. If they see me coming to them in such a manner they will despair of ever being relieved; but of two ills one must chose the less.
If I have said anything that displeases your Majesty I humbly beg you to forgive me, for I am moved by zeal for your service and my honour, and I implore you to remember my great desire to be of use to you.
Decipher or copy. French.
Besançon, C.G.73.
Printed by Weiss, Documents Inédits, Vol. IV.


  • 1. A minute for this note exists in the Royal Archives, Turin (Inghilterra, I) dated 5 December, 1554: “I have had your letters of November 13th, 16th, 19th and 25th. All thanks for the advices. We have little to tell you for the present, as we intend to start so soon and hope to reach Calais in ten days. You must see to it that the ships be there in time, so that we need waste no hours in waiting. You will make all the preparations you know to be necessary, especially with regard to the Lady Elizabeth's lodgings, and if there are not enough beds let more be got in to the number of twelve and a few besides, for though we mean to lodge in the palace we must have those apartments for our suite and because of other considerations of which you will be mindful. We will say no more, but leave the rest to your discreet care.”
  • 2. A copy of Alva's letter to Cardinal Morone is enclosed.
  • 3. i.e. the men who, after coming to an agreement with Fernando Gonzaga, murdered Pierluigi Farnese and handed Piacenza over to the Emperor. See Vol. IX of this Calendar, pp. 125, 149, 150.
  • 4. Ottavio Farnese's wife, and the Emperor's legitimated daughter. She was later Regent of the Low Countries.
  • 5. See the next paper.
  • 6. Pedro de Castro, Bishop of Cuenca.