Spain: March 1555

Pages 143-153

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

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March 1555

155. The Bishop of Arras to Simon Renard
Antwerp, 1 March Ruy Gómez is taking letters to you authorising your withdrawal, which you so greatly desired. Since then, the Emperor and the Queen have wished to induce the King to make some notable recognition of the services you have rendered him. Besides, I have begged Ruy Gómez, in the name of our friendship, to do his best to obtain this, telling him that he would thus please me as much as if I were asking for myself. I therefore think that the Quen (of England) will not let you depart without showing you some remarkable favour, and I would remind you that it would be a good thing if, when you do go away, you were to endeavour to arrange that President Viglius and Secretary Bave are not forgotten. As for me, my business is to carry the wine and drink the water.
Ruy Gómez's errand was to bring information about the appointments the King has made in Italy; and there is nothing to be said about what has been done. Don Fernando (Gonzaga) has not obtained a final settlement of his affair, although as you wrote me sometime ago, he understands that he will not be going back to Milan.
As for the Duke of Savoy, I think that my intervention in this matter was not a bad thing to satisfy everyone and reach a settlement . . . (page torn).
Our reply about peace negotiations is to the following effect: If the French are willing to send their commissioners to some place belonging to the Queen of England, preferably Guines or Calais, and if they bring proposals admitting of negotiation and let us know who their deputies are to be, his Majesty will not fail to send commissioners of equivalent rank. This is the reply that the Abbot of San Saluto (fn. 1) will receive, if he has not already had it. However, in order to be on the safe side, we are preparing for war, and Ruy Gómez will give details about this and explain the reason why we are here.
As for Courtenay and the Lady Elizabeth, it is considered here that the best course would be to send Courtenay to Rome with the ambassadors who are to do obeissance, and that the Lady Elizabeth should come to live at this Court, for reasons which Ruy Gómez will explain.
The King's coming will be put off until the Queen has been delivered, although it has been published that he will be arriving soon. I thank you heartily for the news you have sent me of happenings in England . . (page torn). Provided you come soon and in good health, all will be well. I hope you will not delay long.
Signed. French.
Besançon, C. G.75.
156. Philip to Don Gómez Suárez de Figueroa (Count of Feria) (Extract)
London, 12 March. Since we wrote to you that this kingdom had returned to the obedience of Holy Mother Church, things have been going better and better. Some heretics have been punished. The Bishop of Ely, of our Privy Council, Viscount Montague and Dr. (Sir Edward) Carne have departed for Rome in order to make obeisance to the Pope in the Queen's name and my own, for this kingdom. As they will be passing your way, although we have given them a letter for you and also one for the members of the Government, yet we desire to instruct you by this present letter to see to it that they be well received, as is their due both because of their personal rank and for the sake of the important embassy on which they are engaged. So when they return hither may they have every cause to speak well of the manner in which they have been received.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.809.
157. The Emperor to Cardinal Pole
Brussels, 12 March We have received the letter you sent us to accredit the Abbot of San Saluto, who has told us on your behalf how greatly you rejoiced about the restoration of religion in England. Well you may, as it was a matter of great importance, and you yourself, after God, were largely instrumental in it. As for the rest, as regards peace, we will refer you to the reply we gave to the Abbot of San Saluto, which you will hear in detail from him, wherefore there is no reason why we should say more in this than to thank you for the good offices you are using.
Copy. Spanish
Simancas, E.809.
158. Simon Renard to the Emperor
London, 13 March Sire: Some days ago I wrote to your Majesty that a fellow claiming to be from Bruges came and told me that the Constable of France had an understanding with people at Gravelines and also with some important persons in this country, asking me to gain access for him to the Chancellor, so that he might give him fuller details. I did this. But as he was inconsistent in his statements, refused to name the persons with whom the French were in touch, as he had promised to do, and also as it was discovered that he was of Scottish origin, the Chancellor considered that he had better be arrested, imprisoned and tortured, in the belief that he had been put up by the French to find out whether any of the English lords were being suspected. However, he did not depart from any of the general statements he had made about French intrigues in this country, as I have written several times to your Majesty and have occasionally reported to the King. It has happened that several gentlemen and others have been thrown into the Tower, because it was discovered that they had a ship ready to go to France. Chief among them is a certain Strangways, (fn. 2) who has been guilty of past plunderings. Steps are being taken to discover what they were up to. Also, there have been several reports that the French had designs on Calais. All this seems to confirm what the above-mentioned man has stated. Consequently, in order not to be taken by surprise, and because all the officers at Calais appear to be heretics, the Deputy rather light weight, young and inexperienced, it has been decided to send the Earl of Pembroke as Lieutenant-Governor of all the Queen's possessions across the Channel. Lord Pembroke is leaving today post-haste, to reside at Calais and take the necessary measures, given that the French are reinforcing their garrisons at Boulogne, Montreuil and Ardres. Pembroke will be very useful when the King goes over. Moreover, if it were to happen that as a result of her deferred confinement the Queen's life were in danger, which God forbid, it is considered preferable that Pembroke should be across the sea rather than here, because there is no one in this kingdom having such great credit with the nobility as Pembroke. True it is that certain persons who favour the Lady Elizabeth say that the Chancellor advised sending Pembroke abroad with the object of supporting Courtenay in case anything were to happen to the Queen, as Pembroke has always had a fondness for Courtenay. Those of the Council who are faithful to the Queen have tried to find out what there may be in these rumours, and I also have done what I could. It has been discovered through an Englishman who had had knowledge of the plot, that there was a plan to set Courtenay and Elizabeth free, marry them, place Elizabeth on the throne, throw the kingdom into a turmoil, treat the Queen as your Majesty may imagine, and seek help from the King of France and the Scotch. Fuller information is being sought in order to arrest the ring-leaders. I will report to your Majesty about this, either by letters or verbally if the King sends me over. Such is the present state of affairs in this kingdom. It is learnt that the French are planning to build two forts on the borders of Scotland and England, and that there is discontent in Scotland because the French wished to govern that country. The Queen's Council have taken precautions on the border.
Steps are being taken to give effect to your Majesty's decision with regard to Courtenay and Elizabeth. Very opportunely, a certain Lord William (sic) (fn. 3) a partisan of Elizabeth's, has taken the initiative to tell the Chancellor that he would like to see Elizabeth married abroad, requesting leave to go to visit her, on the ground that he wished to persuade her to abandon the new religion in order to regain the Queen's favour and her own liberty. In the course of conversation, the Chancellor led him on to talk about sending Elizabeth abroad, so much so that Lord William volunteered to prevail with her to ask the King and Queen to do her the honour of sending her over the sea for a time. Upon this, he obtained leave to visit Elizabeth. But the person who has charge of her was warned to keep a close eye on what the said William may discuss with her. Within three days we will know about this. According to the reports of the person who is in charge with Elizabeth, she has obtained the indulgencies that have been published in this kingdom, attends mass every day and does her utmost to give the impression that she has changed her religion. Nevertheless, he sees that she is plotting, because she withdraws two or three hours every day under colour of wishing to pray, and has a treasurer and purveyor who often speak to her apart, pretexting special business. However, she is too clever to get herself caught.
The opportunity to send Courtenay to Rome has been missed. The ambassadors going thither left a week ago. They were made much of in France, as all Englishmen are, even to the point of being excused when it comes to paying taxes. Your Majesty may imagine what such unwonted courtesy signifies.
Since your Majesty's decision has been learnt, I have noticed that a number of people are plotting to make Courtenay King if anything happens to the Queen. There is a discussion going on as to whether he or Elizabeth ought to be sent abroad first, the Chancellor being of opinion that Elizabeth had better start. In a word, Sire, this kingdom will never be at peace until the Elizabeth and Courtenay matter is settled. The heretics will always build upon them to cause trouble, unless the matter is taken in hand with as much energy as the French show.
Two monasteries of Franciscans, at Greenwich and Richmond, are being repaired to receive inmates by Easter.
The Lord Privy Seal is hopelessly ill. He has made ample profession of the true faith, and has restored the Church property he held. It is a pity that he should die, for he has always been a good imperialist. The Earl of Shrewsbury is expected to get his post, which is one of the four most important in this kingdom.
The other day, an Italian came to me and said he had heard from a good source that the Italian potentates have learnt that the Duke of Alva is going to Italy with commissions as your Majesty's Lieutenant-General in your capacity as Emperor, as Viceroy of Naples and Governor of Milan for the King, and that he will have authority to place his own lieutenants in Naples and Milan, choosing persons of his own house. It is also said that Don Fernando (Gonzaga) will not go back to his government, and that the Italians are plotting with the French to act before the Duke of Alva arrives in Italy. My informant claims to know no further details, but says that it would be well to be careful, because this appointment (Alva's) is so unpopular in Italy that dislike of it is unconcealed, and that the Italians are trying to persuade the states of the Empire that they had better remember that it is dangerous to link up Milan, which depends on the Empire, with the kingdom of Naples which is quite another matter, and realise what a grave matter it is to place so much power in Italy in the hands of the house of Toledo which is closely related to the Duke of Florence. The object of this is to rouse suspicion in the states of the Empire. Certain it is, Sire, that a great deal of talk is being heard about this appointment, which I assume has been carefully weighed, together with all the attendant factors, current happenings and changes and an infinity of other considerations.
Letters have been received here saying that when Don Fernando heard of this appointment, he showed great resentment. This is confirmed by Gazin who is in this Court at the moment. In this connection, it is being said that it is intended to deprive the Italians of all important posts in their own country and to introduce the Spaniards everywhere, the object of these rumours being to stir up jealousy and ill will. Many say that this appointment can only be imposed by force, and by no other method.
I hear that to-day the Chancellor and Legate are going to inform the French Ambassador's brother of your Majesty's intentions with regard to peace negotiations. It seems that the Legate would like to have the meeting held at Canterbury, but that place would not appear at all suitable, for if the French come over here they may try to lord it, plot and do all sorts of superfluous things. However, your Majesty will dispose for the best.
The Queen, God be thanked, is very well and intends to leave for Windsor on the 20th of this month, but it seems that the intervening time is too short to finish the business on hand.
P.S. 15 March.
After the above letter had been written, news came that Casale had fallen and that there had been trouble in Milan between Spaniards and Italians. This will hasten the Duke of Alva's departure.
The French Ambassador's brother took leave of the King on the 14th inst., and departed for France promising that there would be a reply about the King of France's decision within 15 days.
I have been warned that plots are being woven against your Majesty in Germany and Italy, which may take a dangerous turn unless they are forestalled. Those who speak thus have often been borne out by the event, in the past.
Signed. French.
Vienna, E.22.
159. Philip to Don Gómez Suárez de Figueroa (Extract)
London, 24 March We have already written to you that the English ambassadors we are sending to Rome were passing your way and instructing you to treat them well. Now we charge you to send some honourable person to accompany them as far as Milan, taking care that they be well lodged and received. We are sending to Milan instructions that they are to be escorted through that territory.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.809.
160. Copy of a writing by the soldiers of Hesdin fort, found in the window of Juan Navarro, on the morning of March 24th
24 March Señor Juan Navarro, as you are here in place of the colonel, we inform you that we paid, because we are in dire need and no one cares about us. As we only ask for our rights, let us not be given cause to make some grave disorder, as will happen unless our condition is remedied very shortly. We want no alms, but only our pay in order that we may live on it, for we are dying of hunger.
All the soldiers.
Simancas, E.510.
161. Simon Renard to the Emperor
London, 27 March Sire: Since I last wrote, such pains have been taken to get to the bottom of the conspiracy mentioned in my letters that it has been ascertained that several gentlemen and others had proposed to publish broad-sheets in several regions of this kingdom and specially in Hampshire, proclaiming that subjects will no longer allow the common lands and pastures to be enclosed, but demand that they be open for the common people. Also, Courtenay to be King under the name of Edward. Also, in another province, that every good Englishman ought to take up arms against the Spaniards and other foreigners. Also, in the provinces in which people are most obstinate in the matter of religion, to proclaim the new religion as against the acts of Parliament and the authority of the Pope. Also, to set the Lady Elizabeth free and to marry her to Courtenay. Also, to publish that the Queen is not with child, but that there was a plan to pass off another child as her own. The purpose was to stir up a revolt among the people, arms in hand, it being supposed that all these points are very telling, as indeed they are, the whole plan proceeding from much invention and malice aforethought. The plot was revealed by a certain Pacis, to whom one of the ring-leaders gave himself away, wishing to find out whether Pacis would join. This particular ring-leader was to have travelled all over the country to make sure of the feelings of the people. Thereupon, there were arrested a certain Bosen and a certain Hewitt, and others who are accused are being looked for, with a view to defeating their plans. Their trial is being prepared day by day. It is stated, and it is probable, that the French have had a finger in this plot, and this may be proved in the course of the proceedings. The worst of it is that the Council is very much divided, and neither Arundel nor Paget attended because of their enmity for the Chancellor and other Councillors. When the Chancellor reaches a decision, the others immediately endeavour to defeat it. Unless steps are taken to remedy this state of affairs, it is impossible that trouble will not ensue. Moreover, the bishops, especially he of London, are so hot and hasty about religion and the papal authority, causing heretics to be burned every day, that I fear their rashness may cause the people to rise in arms this spring. Rumour already points that way. Also, these executions have hardened many hearts, for it has been seen how constant, or rather stubborn, these heretics prove at the stake. A certain burgess of London, who was being questioned by the bishop as to whether he would endure fire, asked to be tried, and when a lighted candle was brought he held his hand in the flame without withdrawing it. And it is said that several people of this place wished to enter the fire of their own accord to die with those who were being burned. In a word, Sire, I have submitted several memoranda to the King about this, and about the best course to take. The safest thing to do would be (for the King) to leave the country, before the warm weather begins, as there are excellent and plausible reasons for so doing. For I have never seen the people in such an ugly mood as they are at present.
My Lord William, who as I wrote to your Majesty had taken it upon himself to visit the Lady Elizabeth and to persuade her to go to Flanders, has proved guilty of the greatest treachery one could imagine. When he saw that he was being refused leave to visit her, he went to see her of his own accord and had a long conversation with her and her servants. Then he came back and said he had not dared to talk to her about going abroad. It is highly probable that he has been plotting with her, and has informed her of everything that is going on at present, and that all this has taken place with the knowledge and consent of the Admiral and other relatives of hers. Several persons consider that he ought to be shut up in the Tower for having deceived the Queen, the King and the Council and that his statements ought to be compared with Elizabeth's. It is notorious that this William has always been devoted to her.
The possibility of sending Elizabeth abroad continues to be discussed. Some argue that the people will rise if this were done, while others say it is now too late. To tell the truth, Sire, I have been advising this course for the last six months, and did so before my last journey to Flanders. Still other persons think that four Privy Councillors had better be sent to her to tell her plainly of the plots that are being woven, and to inform her that the Queen thinks she had better go to Flanders for some time, making a show of authority if she demurs, and have her taken away by force. Unless she is dealt with, in this way or another, she will certainly give rise to great trouble, for she is in understanding with the French, as your Majesty knows. As for Courtenay, he begged the Queen to pardon him the other day, and said he would go to serve your Majesty in whatever place he might be told.
Tiberio della Rocca, whom I used to refer to as “the Captain” when I was in France, is in town. It is probable that he is up to mischief and is serving the French as a spy. I hear that Camillo de Cese of Milan, a refugee residing at the French Court, has made his peace with the Constable of France. Tiberio stayed a long time in Flanders and sent frequent letters to Camillo by means of a courier from Genoa who was then living in Antwerp, by the name of Roveri. Also, he had a servant who carried his letters as far as Besançon, whence they proceed to Lyons. He receives money from France. I have had two talks with him to try to obtain information on a bridge which the engineer Precipiano has invented for use in storming towns, and also to find out whether the French had been accused by the prisoners who had been conspiring. In connexion with his stay in Flanders, he told me that he had spoken with the Bishop of Arras about the machine for storming towns. He has addressed himself to the King's confessor and to the Duke of Alva, to whom he has repeated these statements and has talked of a plan to throw an army into France in the direction of Lyons and Valence, his object for doing so being to have a pretext for staying here. As I know how poor the man is, and see how much money he spends on his clothes and keep, I am very suspicious of him, for he is living beyond his means. He is an Italian and resourceful, and by his works I have known him as such, wherefore I had better warn your Majesty, as I also have informed the Duke of Alva, so that he may be on his guard.
Signed. Spanish.
Vienna, E.22.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV, from an undated copy at Besançon, “February 1555”
162. Mary to the Emperor
Westminister, 28 March Believing as we do in your Majesty's sincere concern for the universal welfare of Christendom, for the sake of which you would neglect nothing you can possibly do (saving your honour), we have been moved to exhort our good brother the Most Christian King (of France), by the intermediary of our ambassador at his Court, to consent to enter into negotiations for peace with your Majesty, and to depute the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable to meet with envoys of equivalent rank, acting for your Majesty, as our ambassador at your Court, Sir John Mason, will state in greater detail to you. We very affectionately beg your Majesty, if it seems to you fit to do so and to show the same willingness as our good brother, to appoint commissioners to negotiate with the said Cardinal and Constable. We therefore request you to make known to us your pleasure in this matter, and to be sure that you will always find us ready to obey you, as the Creator knows.
Signed. Countersigned: Yetsweirt. French.
Vienna, E. I.
163. “The instructions brought by Auditor Antonio Augustin (Agostino), his Holiness's Nuncio designate to come here (fn. 4) and to go on to England”
— March To congratulate your Majesty and the King (Philip) on the re-establishment of religion in England, and to thank you both for having been instrumental in this matter.
To inform your Majesty of the reform measures which his Holiness has decided upon and intends to publish.
To recommend that there should be careful consideration of the decision arrived at in Spain about differences of opinion between Bishops and Chapters concerning the decrees of the Council of Trent, so that this matter may be handled in the most opportune “way and with due regard for the authority of the Pope and the Apostolic See.
As to the first point, it seems that your Majesty might reply in general terms. On the other two, you might say that they require careful thought and that your Majesty will have them examined while the Auditor goes to England and returns, and that when he is back here again, he will receive a reply, couched with your Majesty's wonted regard for all that concerns his Holiness and the Papacy, without entering into details.
If the Auditor hands over any writings on these two points while he is here, it seems wise to the Bishop of Arras to send them straight to the King (Philip) in order that he may consider them and send his opinion here, paying special attention to the reform proposals. There is ground for suspicion that these may be used as a pretext for pretending that your Majesty has agreed to ideas which afterwards might give rise to trouble.
This man is a brother of Hieronimo Augustin, whom your Majesty appointed an Auditor of the Rota, taking him out of the Bologna College for that purpose. Don Juan Manrique has mentioned him several times in his letters. Don Juan and the other ambassadors have spoken with approval of his goodness, integrity and learning.
When it comes to giving him audience, your Majesty will consider ordering someone to accompany him, as is the custom, for which duty either Don Pedro Pacheco or Don Luis de Rojas would be suitable.
Simancas, E.106.
164. Simon Renard to Philip
March or April (fn. 5) Sire: I have been thinking over the present state of affairs in England and the events that have taken place since your Majesty arrived here, together with what has been achieved by means of your marriage and by the Acts of Parliament. I have weighed in my mind the present position in your other kingdoms, the designs of your enemies. I now understand that your Majesty has decided to go to Flanders, and that the length of your stay there is uncertain. I have therefore decided to set down what occurs to me as advisable in order to maintain this kingdom, thanks to the opportunity which God has granted you, to establish firmly the Queen's position and secure a lasting alliance between this country and your other possessions.
First of all, your Majesty will remember why the marriage was negotiated: i.e. the present war, during which the French plotted to such purpose that they succeeded in placing on the throne a King and Queen after their liking, depriving the lawful Queen of her due. They had committed King Edward to alliance with France. They had won over the leading men in this kingdom by means of their accustomed wiles and liberalities. Therefore, in order to cross their designs and those founded on the marriage of the Queen of Scotland with the Dauphin, and to disabuse those who had allowed themselves to be seduced, the Emperor was of opinion that your marriage should take place. Indeed it would seem that this union was willed by God for His service, so unexpected was it, and so much against what the whole of Christendom regarded as probable. The cause of religion has been greatly furthered as a result. Although it might be wished that the Queen were more gracious, your own virtue, goodness and intelligence leave nothing to be desired. All your Majesty's prudence and constancy are needed to consolidate the position and make the best of it, so that no tumult may ensue when you yourself are absent from this country.
Your Majesty will remember that your enemies will be closely watching the situation when you leave England, in order to see how the English behave, what precautions your Majesty will have taken, and whether occasion offers for them to make your departure look more like running away than a necessary and seemly journey. They will have an eye out for unrest in the country, to see how the Queen stands, whether the people and the nobility are pleased with your Majesty and what policy is pursued during your absence.
Your Majesty is aware that confusion reigns in the Government of this country; there are too many Privy Councillors, and enmity between them is increasing rather than diminishing. You will have been able to judge of their capacity, and will have realised that to rule this country would not be as difficult as it now appears if these matters were properly ordered. You know what the people are like, what way their minds turn, what constitutes the wealth of the country and how financial affairs are managed here. You see that the Council's authority is impaired by the natural fickleness and ambition of the English, this kingdom being a democratic (populaire) one, in which nobility has no other authority than that entrusted to it by the King, possessing no rights in the exercise of criminal justice and little enough in the ordinary courts. There is more external show than inner stability, and therefore authority is needed in order to impose a competent administration.
It should be remembered that religion is not yet firmly established and that the heretics are on the watch for every possible opportunity to revive error and compromise the good beginning that has been made. They use as an argument the cruel punishments which they assert are being applied, with recourse to fire rather than doctrine and good examples, to lead the country back (to Catholicism). They make the most of cases in which ecclesiastics lead evil lives, commit abuses, cause scandals and are unfit for the posts to which they have been appointed.
The kingdom is in uncertainty as to the succession to the Crown. Supposing the Queen is not with child and dies without issue there will certainly be strife, and the heretics will espouse the cause of the Lady Elizabeth. If she is set aside, the next heir would be the Queen of Scotland. But if Elizabeth does succeed, the kingdom will certainly return to heresy and to alliance with the French unless adequate measures are taken to prevent it. If Elizabeth is married to an Englishman, she will prevail upon her husband to adopt the new religion, even if he is a catholic. If a foreign husband is found for her, it will be necessary to make sure that he is constant and faithful to your Majesty, for it is essential to keep England on good terms with your states and to prevent the enemy from getting a foothold here. Therefore, before your Majesty departs, all due care must be taken to satisfy the Queen that you mean to make her position safe and to protect her as a good lord and husband should, and to guard against the danger that your absence may give rise to trouble.
To this end, it would seem opportune that your Majesty should consult with the Queen as to the best manner of reducing the number of Privy Councillors. At any rate, a beginning should be made in this direction, and those who are maintained should be made to give their oath in presence of your Majesty. For the present, the choice should fall upon the Chancellor, the Treasurer, Arundel, Paget, Petre, the Bishop of Ely, the Controller and Inglefield, for routine matters and questions of state. It should also be declared that when the great lords of the country, like the Earls of Shrewsbury and Pembroke, are at Court, they should be admitted to the Council, and that when they are absent they will be consulted. The same might hold for certain other lords, who may be summoned when it appears opportune to do so. The Admiral, the Warden of the Cinque Ports and other officers might have access to the Council when they come to Court, to give an account of their offices. And as the Admiral's functions are extremely important, it is necessary to maintain the Council's authority over him. As for the rest, they may be employed on provincial affairs, honoured and rewarded and kept faithful to the Queen as if they were still members of the Council. This should be explained to the Queen and to the Councillors, who will not find the idea a bad one if the reasons are gone into with due care in each particular case.
The Council ought to take cognisance of financial questions, the treasurers and receivers being required to report on these matters at fixed intervals, and not being allowed to deal with them by private negotiation. Moreover, the Treasurer ought to keep matters pertaining to his office in his hands, sales and purchases of property and other purely financial questions being decided by the Council.
Your Majesty will no doubt enjoin harmony, vigilance and sagacity upon the Councillors, and if you see that any of them are unsuitable you will take the necessary action. Thus they will do their duty to God and their Sovereign, as well as to the public, and your Majesty will remember it in their favour, and will support, aid and abet them.
As Legate Pole is not only Papal Legate but the Queen's kinsman, and has charge of religious affairs, and also is popular in the country, he should be admitted to the Council whenever he wishes to attend it and should be free to express his opinion. Or if he is absent he should be kept informed of important business and consulted with the deference due to his rank, virtue and holy life.
Haste in religious matters ought to be avoided. Cruel punishments are not the best way; moderation and kindness are required. The Church has always proceeded thus in order to lead her people out of error. Doctrine and preaching will suffice except in the most scandalous cases, without having recourse to chastisement so severe that it may alienate the people's hearts. Measures of reform are necessary in order that good examples may be set by churchmen. The Legate's opinion may be sought about this.
The Council should consider how to pay the Queen's debts, in order to give the people some satisfaction, and also devise other means for keeping its devotion to your Majesty and the Queen, taking care that public order be kept, justice carried out and the laws of the kingdom observed.
The Council should remember how important it is to provide for the succession to the Crown, in favour either of Elizabeth or another, realising that she ought to be protected from the danger that youth and bad advice may lead her away from the duty she owes to the Queen, to the grave prejudice of the kingdom. It would be very difficult to deprive her of the hope she has of succeeding under the late King Henry's will. If she is recognised as a princess her right cannot well be denied, and to attempt to do so would be perilous for the Queen. The middle term between two extremes would seem to be to marry her off by your Majesty's intermediary. If her right to the succession is recognised there would seem to be no alliance more advantageous for her than that with the Duke of Savoy, which would indeed be profitable, provided that the Duke remains faithful to your Majesty. During your absences from England, he and the Queen might deal with the Council, and when you are here he might go over to Flanders and take Elizabeth with him. This course would contribute to a good understanding between the two countries, as the Duke is popular with the people. This would be better than to marry her in Germany or Spain, and the result might be that the traditional English hostility to foreigners might be attenuated and the Duke of Savoy himself conciliated. Your Majesty would then see that the kingdom would easily make up its mind to go to war in order to win back the Duke's states for him. This is a matter in which there should be no delay, but prompt execution. The moment it is talked about, the country will show its satisfaction and will forget malignity, heresy and the ill-will it now bears to the Queen.
Even if your Majesty is not of this opinion, it would be wise for you to send for Elizabeth before you leave England and admonish her to continue to serve and obey the Queen, in which case your Majesty will remember her and do what is suitable for her.
Before going, your Majesty might inform the Council that public affairs make it necessary for you to proceed to Flanders and that you cannot do otherwise than to visit the Emperor, your father, and fulfil your obligations to your subjects. On departure, you wish to recommend the Queen and the affairs of England to them, dwelling on your determination to assist them and continue to act in the spirit of the alliance, bidding them watch closely the doings of the King of France and the trouble he is always stirring up in Christendom by bringing in the Turk and acting more like a heathen than a catholic . . . . (the remaining four pages of this letter have been torn lengthwise in two pieces, one of which is missing, so that the other fragment cannot be read).
Draft. French.
Besançon, C.G.73.


  • 1. Vinecenzo Parpaglia Abbot of San Salvatore at Turin. He was attached to Cardinal Pole, and afterwards entered the service of Cardinal Farnese.
  • 2. Henry Strangwaye was ordered to be removed from the Tower to the Marshlsea on November 10, 1555 (Acts of the P. C.).
  • 3. Perhaps Sir John Williams, Lord Williams of Thame.
  • 4. The context shows that this memorandum was written in Brussels.
  • 5. This draft is not dated, but the context makes clear that it was written in the spring of 1555, probably at the end of March or beginning of April.