Spain: May 1548

Pages 264-270

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

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May 1548

May 7. Vienna Imp. Arch. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We have to hand your letters of the twelfth and twenty-third of last month, and it affords us much satisfaction to receive such frequent news from you of what is going on in England. You will be doing us a good service to continue in the same course.
With regard to the continuance of the Commercial Convention, we are glad that it has been arranged, and we thank you for the skill and diligence that you have employed in the matter.
Touching the ship from Sicily mentioned by you, we have instructed our ambassador in France to remonstrate on the matter there, and we have also spoken on the affair to the French ambassador here. You did well to communicate with our ambassador about it, and we recommend you to keep up a good correspondence with him when you consider that it will be advantageous for our service.
Referring to what our cousin the Protector told you about the assistance which he had heard that the King of Denmark had promised to give to the French against the Scots, it is so contrary to the good friendship that exists between the King of Denmark and ourselves that it is difficult for us to believe. You may tell the Protector, however, that in any case he may be assured that we would take care to prevent and hinder such a thing to the best of our ability.
We have been informed from other sources that the Protector has caused letters to be written to the Scots, and has also since had them printed, offering liberty to all those Scots who would adhere to the English and would not oppose the marriage of the King of England and the young Queen of Scots. Such a declaration as this is, as you will see, a direct contravention of the treaty of close alliance between the King of England and ourselves, by the terms of which neither party may negotiate nor come to terms with the common enemy without the consent of the other. We are writing to the Queen Dowager of Hungary, our sister, desiring her to instruct you as to the protests that you are to make on this subject to the Protector. We enjoin you to pay particular attention to this matter, and to let the Queen Dowager and us know as speedily as possible the reply that is given to your remonstrances, as well as all other occurrences . . .
We have been informed of the necessity you have for visiting and making a short stay in your own house to attend to your private affairs, and we are writing to our sister the Queen Dowager, asking her to give you such leave of absence as she may consider possible, having regard for the interests of our service.
Augsburg, 7 May, 1548.
May 16. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Although I had nothing specially worthy to be conveyed to your Majesty, I intended to have sent a letter by Mr. Philip Hoby, as he requested me to do; but he left here without giving me notice, except that when he was already on the road he sent one of his people back to me to ask whether I had anything that I wished to write your Majesty, making his excuses to me at the same time for having forgotten to come and take leave of me. As he had thus made so light of it I preferred to hold my letter back until the present.
These people have been holding great conferences every day since then. It may be assumed that the reason for this is the news that they have received, to the effect that the French with a strong force of men both by land and sea, are approaching Boulogne, where, as I am assured by a resident of the place, everything is not so well prepared as these people have been making out. But, withal, so far as can be seen, they are troubling' themselves about nothing but religious affairs, for every day there is some change or other, either in the form of edicts or in frivolous prints. They had fixed a certain day after which Mass was not to be celebrated, but last week another edict was published by which Mass was to be allowed pending further orders. (fn. 1) But the Mass is mostly said in English. The elevation is now performed, although for some time it was omitted, which gave rise to the committal of terrible sacrilege on the part of some people, in the form of open contempt of the Holy Sacrament. As those who have dared to commit such impiety have not met with the full punishment they deserved it is quite clear to see upon whom the real responsibility should fall, and to deduce from this the tendency of those who govern the country.
In all the acts and ordinances which these men issue concerning religion they exhibit so little discretion that the very Englishmen who have returned hither from Strassburg and elsewhere, where they had taken refuge during the time of the late King Henry VIII. cannot approve of their proceedings, seeing as they do, that greater disorder and confusion exist here than ever was the case in Germany, and a greater vituperation of the Holy Sacrament of the altar than ever the Zwinglians or Œcolampadians, have been guilty of. (fn. 2) Very few of these returned refugees are Sacramentarians, but there are amongst them some who conform with the ideas of the Italians Friar Bernardin and Peter Martyr, who are the pet children of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The disorder is so great that all those who have anything to lose are beginning to fear what the end of it all will bring to them, although they liked the beginning well enough. There is therefore great dissension amongst them; and for my own part I can only believe that the reason why the Protector is now allowing Mass to be celebrated with the elevation of the Host is that he fears some disturbance. In such case I can see no satisfactory or sufficient remedy at hand, the people being quite unbridled, through the fault of the Protector who has been so assiduous in pleasing them and pandering to their whims that he has almost lost the authority over them which he had thought to gain by this means.
Nothing new for certain has been heard about affairs in Scotland by me, as I have not been to Court for a long time, not having had occasion to go, and none of them (the Councillors) have been to visit me since the date of my last letters. Although they insist that they are perfectly able to defend themselves against the Scots and their allies with their own troops, and that they are not in want of foreigners for their service, they have nevertheless sent a Commissioner named John Dimock who left yesterday, as I am informed to see Captain Courtpenninck. (fn. 3) Dimock, however, says that he will stay in Antwerp, I suspect for the purpose of raising a supply of money.
It is said that Lord Grey has nearly completed the fort which he is constructing at Haddington about eight miles from Edinburgh without the Regent of Scotland being able to disturb him in the work. Madam Mary still remains at New Hall in Essex with her household. Madam de Cleves arrived here a short time ago, the reason of her coming being, as I am informed, to speak to the Protector on certain complaints as to her treatment in money matters, and especially as regards the recompense for the house at Richmond, which has been taken away from her and prepared for the King. I understand that a favourable reply has been given to her. I learn that they have summond the bishop of Winchester hither, and because his indisposition made it impossible for him to appear here yet he has had guards put over him. (fn. 4)
London, 16 May, 1548.
25 May. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
On the twenty-second of this month the Protector sent making an appointment for me to go and see him on the following day at a stated hour. Just as I was ready to go, in accordance with this request, the courier arrived and delivered to me your Majesty's letters dated the 7th and the 16th instant, which seemed to me to come very opportunely with those from the Queen Dowager.
After having read them all carefully I went to the Protector who told me that the reason he had asked me to come was in order to communicate to me certain matters that had passed since he saw me last. One of these was that they had, through their ambassador, requested your Majesty to allow them the service of Captain Courtpenninck, with permission for him to raise two thousand infantry-men in Germany. He apologised very much for having forgotten to give me notice of this before, and he then conveyed to me everything that your Majesty wrote to me in the letters above mentioned; namely, that you had granted their request so far as referred to Courtpenninck himself, but that you had declined to allow the raising of the troops requested for several reasons. Your Majesty had nevertheless written about the matter to the Queen Dowager, requesting her to allow as much as possible in this respect to be done. (fn. 5)
He (the Protector) now desired that I should hear his reasons for making the request, and would be good enough to lay before the Queen Dowager how extremely important it was for the prestige of your Majesty and the security of your dominions that they (the English) should not be refused the favour of permission to raise troops at their own expense, in order to defend themselves against those who wished to invade their country or to reinforce the common enemy of England and the Emperor. He hoped, however, sincerely that no difficulty would be raised in the matter, having regard to the treaty of friendship and alliance that had always existed between your Majesty and them.
He was sure, moreover, that, apart altogether from the treaties to which he referred, your Majesty would be moved by your great goodness not to abandon so young a sovereign as theirs in his hour of need. I thought well at this point to repeat to him the just and reasonable causes for your Majesty's having declined to accede to their request for permission to raise troops in Germany, as contained in your Majesty's letters to me and as given to their ambassador at your Majesty's court. As the Protector appeared satisfied with these reasons I did not consider it necessary to give him the new letter of credence. Nevertheless, it seemed to me that he would not have remained satisfied with the reasons I recited to him but for the great confidence he feels that they will receive all the facilities they require at the hands of the Queen Dowager.
He began to make me a long speech about the designs of the French, who, being unable for the moment to incommode your Majesty, are deferring it to another better opportunity; and hope in the meanwhile so much to weaken England as to prevent them from being troubled by her when they turn upon the dominions of your Majesty.
He also assured me that he had been informed that the Scots would place the little Queen of Scotland in the hands of the King of France, in order that he might marry her to whom he pleased. They were, he said, giving into the keeping of the French all the fortresses in Scotland; and if the latter country was thus going to be devoted to the aggrandisement of France it would not be to the advantage of your Majesty's dominions.
When he entered on this branch of the subject I declared to him in your Majesty's name what the Queen Dowager had written to me touching the letter which had been printed here and had been addressed to the Scots, this letter being an infraction of the third clause in the treaty of close alliance, inasmuch as it granted, as one of the conditions of the peace offered, freedom and security to all Scots who frequented and trafficked in England, without any regard whatever for your Majesty. The Protector replied to this that he did not understand Latin, and did not know the words used in the Latin letter to which I referred; but that it was quite true that when he himself was in Scotland he had caused a letter to be drafted for the purpose of convincing the Scots that they were mistaken in their idea that the English had come to Scotland with the object of conquering the whole country by force of arms. His desire was, he said, to gain the hearts of some of them, in order to get the upper hand and compel them to come to terms with your Majesty and them (the English). If he could succeed in doing this he thought your Majesty would not be displeased at the adoption for the purpose of any means that could be devised. I assured him in the name of your Majesty that this was the case, but I pointed out to him, in polite words, that they might have been more regardful of your Majesty in the matter, seeing that you had entered into this war with the Scots solely and entirely for their sakes, as they well knew, and reason demanded, what the third clause of the treaty of close alliance clearly laid down, namely, that nothing should be agreed upon with the common enemy without the mutual consent and participation of the allies. The late King Henry, I said, had desired that the amity should be so intimate that in affairs of importance concerning the common interests nothing whatever should be done without mutual understanding and participation. The Protector replied that he had not done anything against the treaty, and had made no agreement at all with the Scots, nor would he do so at any future time without the acquiescence of your Majesty. He would observe the treaty entirely and strictly in every way; and with regard to the letter mentioned by me it really was not worth talking about, as it produced no effect, and had no other object than that abovementioned, and to introduce if possible more division amongst the Scots.
I found him somewhat ignorant of the contents of the letter in question, for on saying to him that the person who had drawn it up had simply forged it, and on my pointing out to him some frivolous passages in it, he was much surprised and angry at the foolishness of the draughtsman and thereupon changed the subject.
He showed me a description of the place of Haddington and how they had fortified it, as well as another place called Lauder, which two fortresses added to the four they already possessed, will, as the Protector said, give the Frenchmen plenty of work if they think to capture them, as all of them are well supplied with everything. They have in and around Haddington over five thousand men, horse and foot: the only thing they needed now was the coming of the force they asked for under Court-penninck.
With regard to the English ports, he said he believed that he had taken such measures that they would not be found lacking. I replied that I had no doubt that they (the ports) had been well supplied, but he had better keep a sharp look out that he was not cheated about Boulogne, as I had heard that things there were not in such good order as they thought. He confessed that what I said was quite true, but that he had at the present time remedied everything, and he had confidence that he could resist the French if they made any attempt there.
He also told me that the King of France would not let his army sail for Scotland until he had in his hands the son of the Regent (Arran), who had therefore already embarked in Scotland to go to France.
After many long speeches he said at length that he would be quite frank with me, confiding in my affection towards him, and knowing as he did that I had no other wish than to perpetuate the friendship and alliance between your Majesty and the King, their young master. He would not conceal from me, he said, that he was anxious to find some means by which the alliance and treaties with your Majesty might be rendered closer. He set forth the great attachment and devotion he felt towards you, and his desire to do you all possible service. It was, indeed, an obligation binding upon him to do so having regard to the benefits and honours he had received in your Majesty's court. If he knew anything at all, he continued, he had learnt it there. To this I replied that the friendship was already as close as it could possibly be, and I did not see how it could be rendered more intimate than it was. Your Majesty, I assured him, had no doubt at all with regard to his devotion and goodwill. He appeared to have some difficulty in putting into words what he wanted to say, and at last, after some hesitation, he continued “There are on both sides of the sea marriageable ladies”; and he then at once branched off into talk about the French, and how easy it would be at the present time to bring them to reason if your Majesty and the English were to undertake the task together.
I asked him whether he had in view any agreement for an invasion (of France) as he must be aware that your Majesty never sought war, but always peace and the general tranquillity of Christendom. “I have,” he replied, “in view only such agreements and alliances as may appear good in the eyes of his Majesty the Emperor, and I will say no more but will leave you to think what you like about what I have said.” All this, Sire, may proceed from the probablity which they perceive of their being involved in a war with France; but your Majesty will consider whether you may profit by this conjuncture, for I am of opinion that it would be possible to bring the Protector and the Council to do everything to the advantage of your Majesty's interests if some little concession was made to them.
The Protector told me that he would not conceal from me that it was in their power to ensure themselves against the French whenever they liked. The French, he said, would entirely abandon Scotland if they (the English) were willing to enter into negotiations about Boulogne, as the French desired. “And you may well imagine,” he continued, “with what object they seek to come to terms with us. Nor am I of such feeble intelligence as to suppose that they are not at the same time following the same course with his Majesty, in order the better to make war upon us. In any case there is great difference between their making a treaty with the Emperor and their making one with us, because if they can get Boulogne they want nothing more from us and will remain friendly with us, whilst the more they can get from the Emperor the more they will want, without limit.”
After all this conversation he desired to thank your Majesty greatly for your intention to prevent, if possible, any favour being afforded to the Scots from Denmark; and with this I left him.
Preparations have been made here for raising a large number of cavalry, in the form of an imposition, each person according to the amount of taxes he is assessed to pay to the King being compelled to arm and maintain one or more horsemen. The gentleman named Bellingham who was sent to your Majesty to announce the death of King Henry has been sent to Ireland as Viceroy.
London, 25 May, 1548.


  • 1. As a result of protracted sittings of a commission of prelates sitting at Windsor, the new orders for the celebration of the Eucharist in two kinds and with a new rubric had been issued on the 8th March, the prelates being enjoined to institute the new service at Easter. Great objection was raised to the innovations by clerics throughout the country; and the excesses of the more thoughtless of the reformers caused a new order in Council to be issued suspending the enforcement of the new regulations and forbidding any other than preachers licensed by the Protector or by Cranmer to speak publicly on religious matters.
  • 2. Œcolampadius, or Hausschein, a Franconian divine born in 1482 was the great supporter of Zwinglius in his Eucharistic doctrines. These Sacramentarians who refuted the doctrine of transubstantiation were condemned equally by the Romish party and by Luther, which will account for Van der Delft's assertion that their Swiss teaching was more acceptable in England than in Germany.
  • 3. i.e., Captain Conrad Penninck the famous German mercenary leader who had on other occasions raised foreign troops for England.
  • 4. Gardiner was regarded with much suspicion by the Protector's Government at the time. He was at Winchester and it was asserted had armed his household for defence, had spoken insultingly of the royal chaplains sent down to preach in his cathedral, and that he had himself expressed opinions contrary to the new Eucharistic ritual.
  • 5. These men were eventually raised by Conrad Penninck, with the tacit permission of the Emperor, in the Upper German and Netherlandish States, and served with great effect in the Scottish campaign later in the year.