Spain: December 1547, 1-15

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.

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'Spain: December 1547, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912), pp. 218-236. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Spain: December 1547, 1-15", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912) 218-236. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Spain: December 1547, 1-15", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912). 218-236. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

December 1547, 1–15

Dec. 2. Vienna Imp. Arch. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We have received your letters of 15th of last month, and also those you have written to the members of our Flemish Council of State with the answers they have sent to you. We approve of all you have done, and also of the terms in which you expressed yourself to the Protector when you recited our letters to him, and of your conversation with the Councillors who were deputed to confer with you in the matter of the commercial convention. We have nothing more to write to you on this point, beyond what is contained in the letter from the Council of State; and we request you to follow the instructions therein contained, and to obey all other directions the Council may give you in furtherance of our service and the affairs of our Flemish dominions. With this object we enclose a letter of credence for the King of England, another for the Protector, and others in blank to which you may add the superscriptions that you think will be most convenient. The other details contained in your letters to our sister the Queen Dowager will be dealt with in her replies to you.
Augsburg, 2 December, 1547.
Dec. 5. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
I was recently with the Protector on behalf of some private claims of your Majesty's subjects; and in the course of our conversation he expressed great gratification at the reply that your Majesty had given to their (the English) ambassador, touching the request and intercession they had made to you in the name of the King of England in favour of the Duke of Saxony (John Frederick) and his children.
The Protector did not dissemble his desire to see all Germans in complete devotion to your Majesty, and said that he had no doubt that by the aid of your prudence, clemency and magnanimity, your Majesty would be able so to order matters as to have all Germany ready at your bidding to serve you and injure your enemies, whereby the stability, greatness and pre-eminence of your Majesty would be the more firmly established. It would cause envious rivals to dissemble their enmity, and the Turk to be more afraid than ever
Sire, as I was very anxious to learn what resolution they were likely to arrive at in this parliament in the matter of religion, which is the first and principal point with which they have to deal, the sessions of parliament still continuing, I broached the subject to the Protector. I was also moved to do this by seeing that, not only have they taken away from the churches the images of the saints, but they have since removed the crucifix, which, according to the new regulations recently published, was to have been allowed to remain, as, indeed, they assured me it should be. I therefore could not refrain from addressing the Protector on the matter; giving him my opinion of what was going on, unofficially and in the strictest confidence. I told him that I did not know whether your Majesty would approve of my interfering so far in the matter, but I could not fail to see that the acts now being committed were not at all in accordance with the published regulations, and the ordinances which provided for the removal of the images, since the crucifix itself was not allowed to remain in its place, whilst there was a rumour that even the mass was to be abolished, and at the present time, indeed, was no longer celebrated in certain places. I therefore, could not so far forget the affection I bore him and my anxiety for the welfare of England, as to avoid addressing him on the subject, although I had intended hot to trouble him any more with my remonstrances. But once more, I said, I would admonish him to consider very carefully what innovations he introduced into the realm during the time of his government as he had witnessed by the example of those who have the gospel only for ever in their mouths, that they are the very men who refuse to obey anyone, wronging the whole world in order that they may live according to their own inclinations, which is quite contrary to the Gospel of which they professed to be so fond. They had, I said, never come to a good end; and I then cited many examples and instances in support of my remonstrance.
The Protector replied to me that the Cross would not have been taken down from the altars but for the superstitious simplicity of the people, who constantly continued still to come and offer out of their poverty both wheat and bread, all of which of course was appropriated to the profit of the priests, who already had enough to live upon. With regard to the mass, he continued, the King had attended its public celebration on the day of the opening of parliament. I said I recollected very well that he had told me so before, but that I had heard that the service of the mass had not been continued before the King since then. To this the Protector answered: “Believe me that it has always been celebrated in his chamber; and I affirm that to you on my honour.” I expressed my perfect willingness to believe him, but desired greatly some further assurance that no additional innovations should be introduced. He extricated himself, however, from the subject, repeating the expression that I have already quoted above, to the effect that he would never permit anything whatever to be done against the service of God.
Many persons who still persevere in the holy ancient faith murmur greatly at the casting down of the images from the altars, and consequently a sermon was preached in the cathedral by a bishop, who explained to the people the reasons for the abolition of the images: and in order the better to persuade them he produced and exhibited to them publicly certain artificial figures which moved their heads, arms and legs, these figures having formerly been visited and venerated as miraculous.
A rumour has come hither from Scotland to the effect that the Scots have laid seige to one of the forts held by the English in their country, and that great hopes are entertained of capturing it. Some ships have been sent from here by the King's government with provisions and supplies for their fortresses in Scotland. The Protector did not seem in the least concerned. On the contrary, he told me that Scotsmen were constantly coming in and offering their services to the King. The Earl of Huntly still remains here a prisoner, and I asked the Protector if he (Huntly) had accepted the conditions that had been proposed to him, which conditions I mentioned in a former letter to your Majesty. To this the Protector answered: “We are very strongly warned, both by those who are on our side in Scotland and by our friends in France, that it will be imprudent to let Huntly go to Scotland, having regard to his authority and power amongst his people; he being, moreover, strongly opposed to this country (England) and a good soldier for his age.”
The Protector also said that the French had captured Fiennes, and he did not know whether they were casting their eyes towards your Majesty or themselves (i.e. the English), although, he continued, the French ambassador had informed him that the Christian King (Henry II) had sent all his principal officers to Piedmont, where he had fortified and thoroughly provided all his strong places. I took the opportunity of asking him upon what terms he stood with the French; and he replied that he knew of no change in their relations, although he had heard that the French were in negotiations to assist the Scots. I heard to-day that the French ambassador has been to Court, and the Protector and he came to rather warm words. I will discover what was the reason for this, and will inform your Majesty in my next letter.
As Madam Mary has been very ill, as the physicians tell me of melancholy, I sent to visit her. She was extremely gratified at this attention, as she was living so far from London (fn. 1) and she especially desired that she might be humbly remembered to the kind favour of your Majesty, after whose health she most scrupulously enquired. I understand that she will not return to London this winter.
The Bishop of Winchester keeps up his usual state in the Fleet prison, which is usually regarded here as the Civil prison. Two other bishops have also been sent thither for incarceration as I am informed, (fn. 2) one of them being the Bishop of Colchester (sic) the reason for their imprisonment being that they remain firm partisans of the position taken up by the Bishop of Winchester, against which some of the other bishops are preaching publicly.
As I am writing this, Sire, I am informed that mass is no longer celebrated either in the house of the Protector nor in those of the Earl of Warwick and the Lord Admiral (Seymour) who is married to the Queen Dowager (Katharine Parr). I am therefore the less surprised at the cool tone adopted by the Protector when I spoke to him on the matter. Unless Parliament in general prevents it, I greatly fear that everything will fall into confusion, notwithstanding the Protector's assurance to me that he will always hold in profound reverence the holy Sacrament, and will pay all due respect to the whole ecclesiastical order. God grant that this intention may increase in him, for I see it daily declining here. (fn. 3)
London, 5 December.
Dec. 5. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor's Council of State.
Since my last letter to your Lordships under date of 12th ultimo, I have made several attempts to get into communication with the Council on the subject of the tallies (customs dues); but they excuse themselves from entering into it by reason of the absence of the Dean of London (fn. 4) who had not yet returned, though he is expected from one day to another. I will use all diligence in the matter.
With respect to the burgess named Pierre Bauwers, and the complaint made to your Lordships by the Antwerp people that he had been arrested at Dover, the Protector has sent to me the communications forwarded to him by the officers at Dover in reply to his enquiries. They report that there is no person of that name, and no subject of the Emperor at all imprisoned under their jurisdiction. They promise, however, to have further enquiries made, to see if such a man is held prisoner in any neighbouring place, and will duly report. The Protector sent word to me that if I liked to send my own people down there to make their own investigations he will pay all their expenses in case the man in question is found to be detained. But as I have no particulars of the person referred to but his simple name I do not know how I can discover him. I must say also that it very often happens that the complaints that are laid before your Lordships are remedied before I receive any instructions, and many letters reach me in favour of claims in support of which no plaintiff appears. I therefore have not considered it advisable to incur any great expense in the investigation now referred to, until I receive further instructions from your Lordships or some information from the party interested.
When I was with the Protector I carefully brought before his notice various claims and cases of his Majesty's subjects, and pressed him urgently to cause prompt justice to be done in them. He received my representations favourably, and promised to have the cases dealt with promptly; and he asked me to be good enough to put into writing the complaints and grievances of which I spoke, in order that he might be able to redress them the better. I have done this.
He then went on to say: “Now I have a case that I wish to recommend to you, concerning a woman belonging to Calais, who after having taken more drink than she should have done, at Saint Omer, said certain words against the images of the saints, and is now a prisoner in consequence.” With that he showed me the letter from the officers of the law at Saint Omer addressed to the Deputy of Calais, saying that they were awaiting the instructions of the Queen Dowager as to the decision of the case, the woman in question having contravened her Majesty's ordinances. The Protector requested me to write to your Lordships, begging that the woman might be released.
Parliament is still in session daily here, but I understand that they continue to debate the first and principal question before them: namely, that of religion. It is asserted that all the chantries are unconditionally appropriated to the King, for him to dispose of them as he may please. All the gentry, large and small, are therefore on the look out to receive rewards and benefits from the King.
The great crucifix which was on the altar in Saint Paul's Church was a few days ago cast down by force of instruments, several men being wounded in the process and one killed. There is not a single crucifix now remaining in the other churches, which is quite contrary to the regulations published and to the assurances which these people have made to me. As there is, of course, no lack of people who complain of these proceedings, a bishop has recently preached a sermon explaining the reasons that have moved them to abolish the images. In order to persuade the people he produced and showed them certain figures artificially made to move their heads, arms and legs, these, he said, having been visited and venerated as miraculous.
Mass is still celebrated here, but the common people are beginning to sing psalms in their own language in the churches. I do not know what will come of it eventually, since before even the religious question is decided by Parliament these innovations are being carried out.
I learn that during this session of Parliament the English merchants will present a petition praying for the abolition of the wool staple at Calais, which it is alleged, benefits no one but certain wealthy merchants who exercise their power in buying and keeping in their hands all the wool, which they thus monopolise, causing, as these merchants in England aver, great dearness in the price of the article. I will take care to make no mention of the staple, in accordance with your lordships' last letters, until I receive further instructions from you on the subject.
News has come here from Scotland that the Scots were besieging one of the forts held by the English, and they have great hopes of capturing it. Some of the King's ships are being sent from here with all the supplies needful to provision their forts in Scotland. The Protector did not appear to me to be at all anxious. He even said that Scots were coming in constantly to offer their services to the King of England. The earl of Huntly still remains here a prisoner.
(The rest of this letter is textually the same as that of Van der Delft to the Emperor of the same date.)
London, 5 December, 1547.
Dec. 5. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to President Loys Scors (Lois de Schore).
The Protector informed me the other day that the French had taken Fiennes, (fn. 5) and he said he did not know whether they were aiming at us or at them (the English). As you will be better informed than I am as to what is occurring I have not mentioned this in my letters to your lordships. I hear that the Protector grew somewhat heated yesterday in his talk with the French ambassador. I will do my best to discover the cause of this.
I am writing now also to M. de Praet, in order that I may remain in his kind and long standing remembrance, and also to M. de Roeulx, at the request of the Protector, in favour of the woman arrested at St. Omer of whom I spoke in the accompanying letter to your lordships. I recently wrote to M. de Granvelle touching my own affairs and the necessity in which I am for means. I should not have ventured to do this until I had obtained your lordship's opinion on the matter, only that I was uncertain whether or not you had perchance departed with the Queen Dowager. Perhaps for an affair of importance that I think ought not to be further delayed I may have to make a tour through Flanders this winter, during which season I shall be less needed here; and I am begging M. de Granvelle in any case to obtain from his Majesty leave of absence for me for two months or six weeks.
London, 5 December, 1547.
Dec. 9. Vienna Imp. Arch. The Flemish Council of State to Van der Delft.
We have just received letters from his Majesty the Emperor dated 2nd instant, by which his Majesty orders us to send you the enclosed letters from him with the letters of credence which accompany it, from his Majesty, addressed to the King of England, the Protector and Controller Paget, and other similar letters without any superscription to enable you to forward and solicit in the name of the Emperor the continuance of the commercial convention of 1522, touching the wool trade and the Calais staple, as you will see by the letters themselves.
The letter addressed to Controller Paget bears the superscription only of knight as his title, whereas we understand that he is now a Knight of the Order (i.e the Garter), and you will consider whether it will be well for you to present this letter to him as it is, or whether it will be better to write the proper superscription with his full new title upon one of the blank letters.
These letters without superscription are all simply letters of credence, and you can address all the rest of them to whomever you think will be most useful, giving the style of: “Our very dear and well beloved,” with the name of the individual. For the rest you will follow, according to his Majesty's orders, the instructions contained in our letters to you dated 26th of last month. If you require any further instructions and will inform us we will duly furnish you with the same.
We have trustworthy information that Secretary Alexander (Adam ?) Paniter, who has hitherto sojourned in France, has been despatched from there, and has returned to Scotland, with the special mission to exhort the Queen (Mary of Lorraine) and the Regent, to stand stoutly against the English, and the King of France will not abandon them, but will have French and Italian captains sent to them for their guidance, and also armour and other munitions of war.
It appears that the King of France with this object has caused some ships to be made ready at Brest, and we have thought well to let you know this in order that you may use the knowledge profitably with Controller Paget or otherwise, showing by it the small hope that exists of their (the English) being able to be friendly with the French, their ancient enemies and ours, but you must say this with such discretion that it may not be repeated against you.
You are already informed that the French are holding the castle of Fiennes, which belongs to the Lady d'Egmont, and was under the control of the English. The English are holding the church of the place, but neither side is trying to expel the other, although as we are given to understand neither of the places in question is capable of resisting artillery fire. We cannot understand what dissimulation there may be under this. This is all we can write to you at present pending the receipt of a reply to our letter of the 22nd of last month.
Brussels, 9 December, 1547.
Dec. 12. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor's Council.
In accordance with your lordships' letters, dated 31st ultimo, which I received with those of the Emperor, I waited upon the Protector and laid before him the two subjects as directed by you; namely, first, that his Majesty had no wish by delaying or witholding his acquiescence to stand in the way of a good understanding between them (the English) and the Scots, it being understood that in any arrangement that might be concluded his Majesty's States and dominions should be included, and also that the subjects of his Majesty should be indemnified for damages and interests that they had suffered at the hands of the Scots, with whom the Emperor had been at war solely on account of the English; the Emperor having sent me such instructions as would satisfy them (the English) if matters proceeded so far.
The Protector replied that they had already received from their ambassador information to the same effect; but that at present they were not in such a position towards the Scots as to make negotiations practicable, the Scots instead of seeking an accord with them, being now trying to obtain the assistance of the French against them, as plainly appeared by an instruction that had been sent to the Scottish ambassador resident in France. The effect of this instruction was to urge very forcibly upon the King of France the great necessity in which the Scots found themselves, their condition being such that they would be obliged to deliver themselves into the hands of their enemies unless they were promptly succoured by a large force of troops, a grant of money, and aid in the form of victuals, the amount needed being specified in the instructions sent. The Protector said that this document had fallen into his hands, and that some day he would show it to me that I might see the great number of men and the large sum of money the Scots demanded. The King of France, he had been informed, in any case had appointed M. de la Chapelle to go to Scotland with a certain number of Captains to inspect their fortresses and put the Scots in better order to carry on the war.
I asked the Protector whether it was true, as I had been assured, that one of their (the English) forts had been beseiged by the Scots, and he replied that it was quite true that the Governor (Regent) had sent a certain number of troops with three pieces of artillery before the fort of Broughty Crag, which fort had been hastily constructed in a sandy position, by which it might easily be understood that it could not be considered very safe. Nevertheless, their (the English) garrison had been reinforced by some of the English ships, and had twice sallied and inflicted damage upon the enemy, without any loss on their own side. On one occasion, indeed, they had driven the enemy back and had spiked their two best pieces. He had not received any later news than this. Under your lordships' correction this appears to me to indicate that there is less cause for suspicion than ever of an agreement being made between them and the Scots; in addition to which the Protector, referring to the conditions laid down in my instructions upon which the Emperor's acquiescence would be granted, declared that they would never make any arrangement with the Scots without the entire satisfaction of his Majesty. He believed that the Emperor would act thus towards them, and they would not do otherwise: neither in this respect nor any other would they violate the treaty of close friendship and alliance.
After many more courteous words to this effect, he reverted to the point of the indemnity to his Majesty's subjects, repeating what Paget had said to me in a former interview, about the difficulty which might occur in this respect. I repeated in substance the same observations that I had made to Paget when he had raised the question, adding also the remarks contained in the Queen Dowager's letter to me respecting it, namely that the poverty of the people (i.e. the Scots) ought not to be advanced as an excuse for not making due compensation, since the Queen (of Scots), the Regent (Arran), the Council and the nobility had all received their share of the plunder, and they, at all events, were perfectly solvent; and in any case that the realm itself ought to assume the responsibility. To this the Protector replied: “You may be quite sure that the Scots will never seek to make an arrangement with us so long as any one of them can find a penny”; and then, laughing, he continued: “But there is no need to talk about this now, seeing the present condition of affairs between us and the Scots: but we will not do otherwise than I have told you with regard to satisfying the Emperor.”
The second point of my instructions referred to the intercession of the King of England in favour of the Duke of Saxony, which the Protector had proposed to me some fourteen or fifteen days ago. The Protector humbly thanked his Majesty (the Emperor) for the reply I gave him in this respect.
I then opened to him the affair of the properties of his Majesty's subjects in the Boulognais, in accordance with the directions contained in your lordships' letters, without raising any question or doubt with regard to the verbal promise he had given to me, or showing any bitterness on account of the delays that had taken place in carrying out the promised restitution. I assumed an appearance of perfect confidence that he really wished to effect the restitution, and that his insistence upon a schedule or specification of the claimants and their properties being furnished to him was made in good faith. I said that, as he well knew, I had not opposed this demand of his strongly at the time, because it appeared to me that it was not very prejudicial to the settlement we desired; but in view, now, of what your lordships (i.e. the Emperor's Flemish Council of State) had written to me, to the effect that such a specification could not be compiled without public announcements being made in Artois, Picardy, Flanders and Hainault, to discover those who were deprived of their properties in the Boulognais, which public announcement was in your lordships' opinion inadvisable from the English point of view, the matter had assumed a different aspect. It must also be considered, I said, that the particular requests I had recently made to him for the restitution of the properties of Madame d'Egmont and the Seigneur de Mourbecque was of itself a sufficient specification, so far as their cases were concerned, the claimants being persons of high rank and well known. There was no possible exception to be taken to their domicile or the services they had rendered, and their possessions in the Boulognais were famous, such, for instance, as the barony of Fiennes, with its appurtenances, and the territory of Souverain Moulin.
I said I would give him my personal opinion on the matter; namely that for his own sake it would be inadvisable that more delay should take place in effecting the restitution to these two claimants, or that any further specification should be demanded in regard to them. To this he answered: “Well, these two properties shall be restored, but I must discuss the matter with the Council,” and then, reverting to my words about “public announcement,” he continued: “We did not intend when we promised the concession that the King should return everything taken in the Boulognais and keep nothing for himself.” This gave me the key to their meaning in insisting upon the specification of claims, and I replied that the agreement had extended, as we understood, to all subjects of the Emperor who had not been in opposition to the King of England. The King, I said, would in any case retain a great deal of territory in the Boulognais, as the subjects of the Emperor had possessed the least part of it; adding that it certainly appeared to me that it would be good policy in their own interests to place the gentry and other surrounding inhabitants under obligation to them, in order that they might always count upon their co-operation. It was, I said, of the greatest importance to them in case of hostilities occurring between them (the English) and France, to have in their favour the people on the frontiers, both in regard to the supply of stores and other services and commodity which they would receive from them, services which could not be obtained for money if these people on the borders were left in despair of ever recovering their properties until the French again became masters of the country. “Well,” replied the Protector, “I will discuss the subject with the Council, in order that the two special claims presented by you may be despatched and restitution in those cases made.
Entering then upon the question of the tallies (customs dues) in order to open that of the Calais wool staple, I informed the Protector what had passed between the Grand Master (Lord St. John), Controller Paget, Dr. Petre and myself, and that the excuse they had given for the delay was that the Dean of London was absent. I had since, I said, endeavoured to pursue the matter with Dr. Petre, but he had declined to enter further into it until the return of the Dean; and it was easy to understand by this that they had no desire to come to any agreement on this point, whereby the subjects of the Emperor were very heavily burdened, contrary to all alliances, intercourse and reason. I made a discourse to him, setting forth that no nation in Christendom enjoyed so many privileges in the Netherlands dominions of the Emperor as the English, and no nation was so heavily burdened and harassed in this country as his subjects, who were, I said, better treated in every part of the world than here. In this country, which was so closely bound in friendship with the Emperor, his subjects were more thwarted and troubled in their business than anywhere else.
The Protector broke in upon my words here, and said: “We do you no wrong with regard to the tallies. They are of long standing, as has been proved to you by the Act which speaks of the subsidy of poundage which was granted by it to the King for life. The Act being of so recent a date we were unquestionably bound to discharge the obligation.” He then proceeded to restate all the arguments previously adduced in their favour, which arguments have already been answered; and continued that the said subsidy of tonnage and poundage was paid at the time of and comprised in the treaty of intercourse, (fn. 6) as it had also been paid previously. And although this subsidy had been continued by the Act of Parliament in question for the life of the King, that fact could not relieve us of the obligation we were already under to pay it, since we were not burdened by any fresh charge beyond what we were liable to pay before and during the time comprehended by the treaty of intercourse. (fn. 7)
I repeated all that I thought necessary on the matter, but I could get nothing further; and consequently I insisted upon his giving me letters patent, containing a declaration in accordance with the confession made by the English Commissioners at the Commercial Conference at Bourbourg (fn. 8) in answer to us, that the subsidy was unduly exacted from us, in order that the matter may be remedied for the future. He (Somerset) wished to deal with the matter not as Protector but as Treasurer General, who is responsible for the Custom dues, and said that if he were furnished with a written statement, giving him the name of any officer who had exacted a payment unduly he would see that the offender was punished in an exemplary way. I told him that that would be of no use. Everyone, I said, put up with the injustice rather than involve himself in lawsuits and prosecutions to clear up such things. I said such a procedure as that would never come to an end, and would cause a hundred times more trouble than the original grievance, whereas if there were letters patent given, laying down the just regulations, the officers on the one hand would be afraid to demand more than what was right, and on the other the parties aggrieved, if there were any, would get their complaints promptly attended to, whilst he, in his capacity of Treasurer General, might the more easily remedy the evil that exists.
It will be recollected that the English Commissioners recently in their reply here in London touching the complaints of the Flemish merchants regarding the wool staple at Calais, referred us entirely to the commercial convention of 1522 on the subject, and said that matters on both sides must be regulated by the clauses therein contained. They considered that no fault had been committed on their side, but, nevertheless, if any had been they were ready to grant letters to remedy the matter. They considered, however, that such a course would be unnecessary, because the said treaty would expire at the end of the year, owing to the late King's death; and they were of opinion that it would be desirable either to negotiate a fresh commercial convention or to renew the existing one.
In order therefore to anticipate those here who are desirous of abolishing the Calais staple altogether, I opened the matter to the Protector by saying that these commercial conventions had been concluded between the sovereigns with the object of increasing the trade of their subjects, and that the trade of the wool staple at Calais was mainly directed to the advantage of the subjects of the King of England, since it was always carried on in the King's dominions. It was true, I said, that we also gained some convenience from it, and I had learnt that certain persons, for considerations of their personal profit, were desirous of abolishing the staple, whilst others were as anxious to maintain it; and doubtless both parties would appeal to him (the Protector) to forward their respective objects. I therefore begged him to bear in mind when the matter was before him that both of these parties were English and subjects of the King; and that the abolition of the staple would not only be necessarily against the interest of one of them, but would mean a restraint of trade generally, which was established for the convenience and amity and good neighbourship between peoples, and should be fostered and promoted rather than diminished, having regard to the close alliance and friendship between the Emperor and the King of England.
For this reason, I said, I considered it advisable to let him know what I thought about it, and what, in my opinion, was the best course he could adopt in the matter. This was that after he had heard both the English parties, each one of which, of course, was aiming at its own advantage without considering that of the King and the general welfare, he should, if he did not wish to take the responsibilty of negotiating a fresh commercial treaty, renew or prorogue the existing one, until the King came of age. This would be for the satisfaction of all parties, and would avoid the introduction of any novelties. To this he replied: “Well yes, it must be continued; but I have not meddled much with such matters hitherto, and I must speak to the council about it.”
I mentioned in passing that I had written to your lordships about his request touching the Calais woman arrested at Saint Omer; but that before my letters had reached you, the intercession of the English ambassador in Flanders and good neighbourship had caused the woman to be spared the full severity of the Emperor's ordinances, according to which she had deserved death. It seemed to me that the Protector was not over pleased at this, for he had ready the minutes of the charges and evidence that your lordships had sent me; but I did not fail to point out to him that the correction was very favourable, and requested him to use his best endeavours to prevent their subjects from committing in future any similar scandal; to which he replied: “That is quite right.”
As I was taking leave of him I asked him when I should return for the answer to the various points upon which we had conferred. “I will,” he replied, “speak to the Council about them, and will then send you the answer.” I immediately offered to come myself for it, as I thought that much the better course, since it would afford me an opportunity of further reply and persuasion if any fresh difficulty arose; but he made no other remark, dismissing me with very courteous words.
In my last letter to your lordships I informed you that two bishops were in prison with the Bishop of Winchester, this being the current rumour, though it turns out to be untrue. The common people, indeed, are so ill affected towards the clergy that they set afloat the news about the ecclesiastics as they wish it were rather than as it is. The Bishop of Winchester, however, still remains in prison. I am informed that they are discussing in Parliament whether priests should be allowed to marry or not. The chantries, as I wrote recently to your lordships, have been granted to the use of the King, but not so absolutely; because Parliament is petitioning the King to grant half of them for the maintenance of the poor. The representatives of the towns of Haarlem and Leyden have arrived here, and I will use all possible diligence to obtain a favourable reply on both points, giving the earliest information thereon to your lordships.
London, 12 December, 1547.
Dec. 12. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to President Loys Scors (Lois de Schore).
The hasty departure of the last courier deprived me of the opportunity of thanking your lordship for your kind letter of the 27th ultimo, concerning the matter of the restitution of the property of the Emperor's subjects situated in the Boulognais, which letter I received at the last moment. I humbly thank you for it now, as the instructions it brings me are very apposite. I will be guided by them, and will write more fully on the subject in my general letters to the Council.
As I was writing this one of the secretaries of the (English) Council came to me, sent by the Protector to advise me that they had caused the King's ships to be fitted out, for the purpose of surprising certain pirates who had entered the mouth of the Thames and were despoiling all the vessels that passed. He requested that I would give due notice of this to Flanders, in order that any ships in those ports that might be ready to sail for England should be delayed in their departure, as quite four or five days would elapse before they (the English Council) could remedy the evil. They are using every effort to do this, but, nevertheless, it may be feared that several of our ships, for which the wind is now favourable, will have an evil time. Two of them (i.e. Flemish ships) arrived here yesterday; one of them having escaped out of their (the pirates') hands, and the other left them some of its cargo, which mostly belonged to Englishmen.
London, 12 December, 1547.
Dec. 12. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
(The greater part of the letter is identical in substance with that of Van der Delft to the Flemish Council of State of the same date, but the following paragraphs are different.)
I waited on the Protector with your Majesty's instructions as to your consent being given as requested by the English to the treaty of peace with the Scots. . . . . . .
In conversation with me respecting the indemnity to be granted to your subjects who had been despoiled by the Scots, the Protector repeated the remark that Paget had previously made to me, about the difficulty that might arise in this owing to those who had committed the robberies being insolvent and unable to make compensation, saying that Scotland was extremely poor and bare of money. I made a similar reply to him as I had previously done to Paget; namely, that of two partners in a common war one (England) was to take from the enemy the whole or the greater part of his country for his share of the spoil of victory, and that being so it was surely the least that we could expect that your Majesty for your share should obtain satisfaction for your subjects for the pillage and spoliation to which they had been subjected to by the enemy, and particularly bearing in mind that you had entered into the war with the Scots solely on account of the English, and had consistently refused all overtures on the part of the Scots to make a separate peace with them. I added also what the Queen Dowager wrote to me, to the effect that the poverty and insolvency of the people ought not to be adduced as a reason since the Queen (of Scotland), the Regent and the nobility had all had their share of the plunder. . . . . . .
After this I told the Protector that your Majesty had written to me to the same effect as the English ambassador had informed them, respecting the intercession made in their name to your Majesty in favour of Duke John Frederick (of Saxony), and I gave him (the Protector) the message with which you had intrusted me for him, and if he thought well also for the King. He took it in very good part, and said I need not trouble to convey it to the King, as he himself would inform him of it, thanking your Majesty very humbly for your gracious response.
I then passed to the subject of the restitution of the properties of the Countess of Egmont and the Seigneur de Morbecque, situated in the Boulognais, in accordance with his verbal promise to me, although he had always insisted that he must first have a schedule of the particulars of all the claims to be made for restitution.
Afterwards we discussed the expiration of the Commercial Convention of 1522, respecting the wool staple at Calais; and I pointed out to him why for many good reasons and for the advantage of England the staple should be preserved, and also that the Commercial Convention with us should be renewed, if he did not wish to take the responsibility of negotiating a fresh one. After very long discussion, of which I have given a full account in my letter to the Council, the Protector promised me that the two claimants mentioned should have their properties in the Boulognais restored to them, but that it must be done by the Council, with whom he would consult on the matter, and also on that of the maintenance of the Calais staple. I am in daily expectation of replies on both points.
The wrangle that took place between the Protector and the French ambassador here, as I wrote to your Majesty, appears to have originated in the seizure by the French of the town of Fiennes. I see that there is very little confidence in the French here, and the English are not without fear that they may attempt something else.
London, 12 December, 1547.
Dec. 15. Paris K. 1485. St. Mauris to the Queen Dowager of Hungary.
I have from time to time reported to your Majesty what I have been able to learn of the progress of affairs between Dux (Henry II) and the King of England; the last news begin the publication in France that it had been agreed to surrender the ships captured on both sides and simultaneously.
Dux says that the English ambassador has complained to him on behalf of his King that proclamations have been made by sound of trumpet in various towns of Normandy, Brittany and Guienne, to the effect that no intercourse is to take place with the English. The King of England expresses his surprise at such a proclamation, as no prohibition of a similar character had been agreed to or had been published in England. Seeing, moreover, that the two countries were at peace, the proceeding was considered a most unreasonable one. There had been no rupture of the peace, and all that had been done was to embargo certain vessels on both sides at the request of private merchants.
The English ambassador was told in reply to his representation that the King (of France) had ordered no such proclamation to be made, and enquiries should be made how and why it was done. It was possible that the Admiralty officers learning of the embargo of French ships in England, had on their own authority warned the subjects to sail on their guard. Since, however, the principal matter had now been settled in effect, all the other questions of a secondary character should now be arranged, and the two peoples live henceforward in peace and amity.
This reply, Madam, is in entire conformity with their usual fashion of procedure when they have done wrong, namely, to disavow their officers, whom the English ambassador himself knows, were specially ordered by the King (of France) to make the proclamation in question.
At the same time, Madam, the English ambassador complained to Dux that great warlike preparations of stores were being made on this side, and great ships of war kept in several harbours being fitted ready for hostilities. The King of England could only conclude that they were with the object of carrying help to the Scots, seeing that the French were not at war with the Emperor. If, remonstrated the English, the intention was to go to the aid of the Scots in any way that would entirely alter the peace and friendship now existing. The ambassador added that it was well known that several captains, both Italian and French, had gone from here to Scotland, and it was asserted that their object was to reinforce the Scots in their defence, and to encourage and help them to recover the country they had lost since the last great English victory. They were also to teach the Scots how to demolish the forts that were being constructed against them. It was even openly asserted by people here that Dux intended to send to the Scots forces and munitions from Brest, where a large number of ships were already collecting. The ambassador complained greatly of these preparations, adding that the French still kept their lansquenets in arms opposite the English coast, the sole object evidently being to keep them (the English) in fear or to indicate to them that their friendship was doubted.
The Constable replied to these points that no fresh preparations for war were being made on this side. They had only carried out such operations as had long ago been ordered, and such as had always been customary in France, and indeed in England and elsewhere, for the maintenance and defence of the State. It is true that stores and ships were being sent to Brest, but that fact should cause no surprise, since the ports of Normandy were inadequate to receive such large vessels or harbour them so safely as Brest. With regard of the going of captains hence to Scotland, he said that the King could not prevent his own subjects or others in his service from going and seeing the world; but he had not sent them to Scotland. If, however, he did decide to help the Scots it would not be to the violation of the last treaty (with the English), in which the Scots were included in the peace with the King of England, although the latter was not observing it towards them. Referring to the lansquenets, he replied that they were stationed where they were as being the most convenient winter quarters, adding that the English might consider that they were not the only people in the world, and that they (the French) were not by any means sure how they stood with the Emperor.
Madam, I learnt all these details from the English ambassador, who still asserts that the French have disavowed Paulin's last act, by saying that the latter exceeded his instructions, although they did not object to negotiate sincerely with them (the English). He (the English ambassador) told me also that the French ambassador in England had very nearly got into trouble here on the same matter, but he had been able to justify himself by exhibiting a letter written to him by the late King (Francis), ordering him to help Paulin in his negotiations and accept Paulin's statements with regard to the King's intentions. For this and other reasons Paulin is now a prisoner in Paris, where he weeps for his miserable sins and the wrongs he has committed against the subjects of the Emperor. (fn. 9)
Whilst the conferences I have spoken of with the English ambassador were in progress, it was reported here that some negotiations were going on for an arrangement between the King of England and the Scots; and that Dux (Henry II) wished the Queen and Governor (Regent Arran) of Scotland to consent to the new marriage of the little Princess of Scotland, but with the condition that she should not be taken out of the country, and that the forts constructed by the English in Scotland should be dismantled. (fn. 10) I tried to draw from the English ambassador some information as to the truth of this, but he replied on several occasions that he had no knowledge whatever of it: but that he was quite sure that the Protector would never come to terms with the Scots, unless the Princess' marriage to the King (Edward VI) was effected, and the last treaty (with the French) fully recognised and solemnly ratified on oath. The Protector, he said, would no longer allow himself to be beguiled by the French and Scots with mere words; and he assured me that several Scots gentlemen were now with him (the Protector); the one who had been taken prisoner (Huntly) was exerting his best influence to forward the said marriage and the submission of Scotland to obedience to England. They have the assurance that if they can conveniently prepare for war next year, all other matters may be dealt with successfully, and they (i.e. the English) will then have little fear of France.
With regard to this, Madam, I told the (English) ambassador what I had heard here; namely that Dux and his friends were anxious to make the restoration of Boulogne a condition of their support of the marriage (i.e. between Mary of Scotland and Edward VI), to which he replied that he could not believe that the Protector would surrender Boulogne on any account until the expiration of the period fixed by the last treaty, as if he did the King of England might at some future time impeach him, besides which neither the Council nor the English people would consent to such a thing. The King of England, he said, could draw from his subjects all that was necessary for the defence of Boulogne; and he (the ambassador) hoped that the place would be well supplied and a good guard kept upon it; and that they would not fail to carry on negotiations for an agreement with Scotland, unless the King of France openly aided the latter.
I do not know, Madam, whether he was deceiving me with regard to this affair, but it is certain that there is much talk of the settlement referred to; and it is even reported that Dux (Henry II) has recalled Secretary Paniter from Brest, in order to confer with him on the matter, and instruct him to tell the Queen of Scotland that it will be advisable for her to dissemble the affair in order to gain time. The long and short of this is that he (Henry II) desires that nothing shall be done to his prejudice, recommending the Queen to keep her daughter in her hands, and assuring her positively that if the worst comes to the worst he will stand by her.
As the King of France becomes less hopeful of being able to come to terms with the Emperor I suspect he will become more anxious to agree with the King of England, whilst pacifying the Scottish trouble. It is reported that when Des Cordes went recently to England, which was before the restitution of the ships seized had been agreed to, he asked the English Council in the name of the King of France whether they wanted peace or war, and the Council after some deliberation had replied that it was indifferent to the King of England which he had. It was, said the Council, the English who ought to complain and put that question to the King of France rather than otherwise, as they were being troubled by him.
I am not sure whether this is really what passed, but from what I can perceive on all sides there is no sign of the slightest friendly feeling at present between Dux and the King of England, but on the other hand much distrust and unpleasantness, as the English are quite aware that the King of France is assisting the Scots. If they do not come to some agreement about Scotland I am of opinion that the enmity will grow. Dux professes to be willing to fulfil the last treaty of peace, including in it the settlement of all outstanding questions where any change or innovation has been made against the Scots. (fn. 11) These are matters, however, very difficult of digestion.
Whilst this letter was being written there came news that a fight had taken place between the English and French near the fort (i.e. at Boulogne) on account of the attempt of the English to re-victual Boulogne. The French, it appears, lost two standards, but they succeeded in preventing the victuals from being introduced into the place. M. de Chatillon was accordingly ordered to go thither with all speed with his lansquenets and the Picardy garrisons to break the wall constructed at Boulogne. This is quite publicly reported here, although I have had no certain intelligence of it. It is possible that under cover of this talk they may aim at quite a different enterprise. I will learn all I can of it for your Majesty's information.
(There are several paragraphs of the above letter referring to the affairs of the Prince of Orange, and other subjects, of no present interest and unconnected with England and the Reformation. These are consequently omitted.)
After the above letter was written, Madam, I learnt certainly from Olsacius that recently Dux and the Constable gave instructions to a gentleman of the Court, whose name he could not give me, to go to London and find some means to confer with Paget, in order to tell him, as if of his own accord, that he had positive information that there would be no objection here to consent to the marriage of the Princess of Scotland to the King of England if at the same time the latter would give up Boulogne and all the forts adjacent to it, without any further talk of the money, which by the terms of the last treaty has to be paid when the place is surrendered. The envoy is to exhort Paget to seize this opportunity, for the great advantage it offers to England, by thus effecting a union between the latter country and Scotland.
The envoy had been over to England in fulfilment of these instructions, and had spoken with Paget and the Protector, who had asked him whether he had any authority to make such a proposal, and whether he intended at once to place in their hands the Princess of Scotland. He replied that what he had said was simply on his own account, and he had gone as far as he had done in his anxiety to see good peace and amity established between Dux, the King of England and the Scots. To this Paget and the Protector replied that there was no reason why they should proceed further in the matter with him, as he had no authority to treat; and they dismissed him with a present of three hundred crowns. He returned hither and reported what had passed, whereupon after some deliberation they decided to send him back to England to continue the negotiations. In the meanwhile, however, the discord at the Boulogne forts took place, and the despatch of the envoy was consequently suspended. But he (the informant) believed that this squabble would easily be pacified, and that the said personage would proceed to England on his mission; the object being the further to ensure them (the French) against any action on the part of the Emperor. In any case, however, the French would not allow the Princess of Scotland to be taken out of her own country, even if they consent to the marriage. Olsacius says that they do this merely to gain time and keep the English friendly, with the object of counteracting the designs of the Emperor, and with the intention of helping the Pope in case his Majesty should give him any trouble about the Council. He assures me that Dux has decided to do this, and in any case he has already given a promise to the Pope to that effect through the Cardinal of Guise.
I learnt also for certain, Madam, from Cardinal Ferrara's secretary, who is resident here, that a settlement had been arrived at between Dux and the King of England, but he gave me no further particulars. I think therefore that there must be something in it, and that these people are doing their utmost to arrange matters for the sole purpose of opposing the Emperor.
With regard to the recent squabble near the fort at Boulogne, the Secretary of Ferrara and others tell me for certain that the affair happened much as was related in my letter, but that the English had succeeded in getting their victuals inside the town, the French having provoked the contest by insisting upon examining the victuals.
15 December, 1547.


  • 1. Probably at New Hall, near Chelmsford, Essex.
  • 2. This was not true at the time.
  • 3. The Bill for repealing the Statutes of the Six Articles and others restraining the use of the Scriptures was finally passed by this parliament on the 24th December, after much opposition by the Catholic bishops, especially Bonner, Tunstall, Goodrich, Skip and Day. All fear of prosecution for denying Catholicism was thenceforward removed. The catholics did not benefit by this extension of religious liberty, as all opposition to the King's supremacy in religious as well as civil matters was to be considered high treason.
  • 4. Dr. William May, who had been one of the English Commissioners at the trade Conference at Bourbourg in 1546.
  • 5. Fiennes is a small place within the County of Boulogne and consequently in ostensible English occupation at the time. It is near the Flemish frontier, and belonged to the Dowager Countess of Egmont, a subject of the Emperor. It was one of the estates of which the restoration to their respective Flemish owners was so persistently demanded by the Emperor and his sister.
  • 6. The Commercial Convention of 1495 and its renewals.
  • 7. It may be explained that the Flemings complained that they were charged tonnage and poundage by the English Custom House for goods imported, although the Act authorising the levy had been passed after their last treaty with England, their contention being that any change of duties could only be made by mutual consent. The English argument was that the act under which the duty was now levied did not create but merely continued a burden already existing.
  • 8. The declaration made by the English Commissioners at Bourbourg in answer to the Flemish complaints was to the effect that any new duties imposed upon goods from Flanders since the signing of the original treaty were ultra vires. The Flemings, as will be seen, rested their claim for exemption from the renewed duties upon this declaration.
  • 9. In the murder of Fregoso and Rincon (see note page 174) Paulin had arranged with the Turk the alliance against the Emperor, and he was for this reason and others particularly disliked by the imperial party.
  • 10. This rumour spread by the French and Scots was of course only to cover the active negotiations that were then in progress for the sudden deportation of the child Queen of Scots to France and her betrothal to the Dauphin.
  • 11. That is to say reverting to the Status quo ante with regard to Scotland.