Spain: January 1549

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

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'Spain: January 1549', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912), pp. 327-335. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "Spain: January 1549", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912) 327-335. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "Spain: January 1549", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912). 327-335. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

January 1549

1549. Jan. 6. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 27. St. Mauris to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.)
Sire, since my last letter to your Majesty of the 27th of December last, owing to pressure exerted on the King by the Pope through his nuncio, to obtain an answer from him about sending some of his prelates to Rome to take part in a congregation he intends to summon there, the said prelates have assembled; first at Lyons, then at Moulins, and lately at St. Germain, to deliberate about the answer. The Pope intends to summon an assembly of bishops in Rome to settle the question of the Council (of Trent) and undertake the reformation of the church. It appears from what Olsacius tells me that the King is placing difficulties in the way of sending his prelates; yet there is no dearth of people to advise him to send them, in the hope that the assembly will dissolve in smoke and the Protestants be angrier than before, and so find good cause to persevere in their obduracy, thereby assisting the King in his designs. The absence of Cardinal de Guise has been the cause of the delay. He is now back and at the head of the assembly.
Many people of consequence here say that the prelates have expressed the opinion that the King should support the suspension of the Council of Trent, all the more because it was done perfectly regularly, and should not consent to any discussion on the matter at all, nor listen to what the heretics, who have been duly challenged and excommunicated, have to say about it. Several among the chief ministers find this to their taste, as tending to perturb the Council and prevent the accomplishment of its purpose. . .
(News about the Turk, and that France is sending to the Switzers to get them to enter into a league.)
Poissy, 6 January, 1549.
Jan. 6. Paris K. 1488. St. Mauris to Prince Philip. (fn. 1)
I am sending your Highness a printed account of the King's entry into the city of Lyons. I was present myself and can assure your Highness that all is accurately set down. It is quite true that little could be seen when the Queen made her entry, because night came on. Her welcome was very warm; and the people say that as she is not good looking the King gave orders that her pageant should be kept back till a late hour so that her ugliness should pass unnoticed.
The King is at present hunting on the Constable's property. He left the day after the Epiphany with the intention of staying away only a short time, to be back in Saint Germain by the end of the month.
I am sending your Highness the latest news from Scotland. The King intends to send over a large army this year, making the number up to 10,000 men in all, including those that are there now, and 1,500 men from Provence, who have been sent over by way of La Rochelle. It is said also that he will send over the men that he had got ready in case your Highness, while on your journey, had intended to make an attack on him, and that he eventually employed against his own revolted people.
The King of England, as I hear, has called his Parliament together, to deliberate on means of attack and defence. He has 4,000 Low Germans under Courtpennick on the Scottish border. He has 20 to 25 well-armed ships at sea ready to seize the French on their way to Scotland, the Protector having declared to the King of France that he would take as many of the French as he could, and claimed a right to do so, as they were on their way to help the enemy. The King of France has forbidden, under pain of death, that anyone should attempt to sail the sea in less company than six vessels together.
The King of France and his ministers were in great fear for some time that the Emperor might move war against them over the question of Piedmont. A week ago they began to say that they felt reassured, but they go on exacting enormous sums from the people, and hoarding them, so that the King has a great deal of money in hand at present. I know this for certain. It is thought that he intends to pay last year's heavy expenses in Scotland with it. . . .
There is no love lost at present between the Pope and the King of France. The King is dissatisfied because the Pope refused to sign the league, and will not give Parma to the Lord Orazio, so that the said Orazio's marriage is again postponed. In consequence of the Pope's attitude, the King has refused to send his prelates to Rome to be present at the Congregation summoned to do the work of the Council of Trent.
Jan. 10. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 1. The Emperor to the Lady Mary.
My ambassador, bearer of the present letter, being about to return to England, I have ordered him to visit you and commend me cordially and affectionately to you, and give you news of me. It will be a great pleasure to me to have news of you often, because of the whole-hearted and sincere affection I bear you, of which you must be always assured in all matters in which you are concerned.
Brussels, 10 January, 1549.
Jan. 25. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 18. The Emperor to Van Der Delft.
We sent for the English ambassador resident here, after the messenger despatched the day before yesterday evening had left. We spoke of the seizure of our subjects' ships, as M. d'Arras had already done, as you will have seen by our letters to you; and we added, that we did not know of whom we ought to complain in this matter, the King, the Protector, or the Council. We are on terms of amity and good friendship with the King; and it seems unreasonable to make our complaints against him, as he is obviously committed to the Protector's care owing to his tender age. But the Protector's conduct and that of his Council seem to us strange indeed. The late King of England once did the same thing when there was some resentment between us about the treaty we had signed with France; for it was his custom to behave in an arbitrary fashion when matters were not to his taste. But we cannot allow the Protector the same licence; nor are we now on the same terms as then. The blow was certainly prepared beforehand, as it has been found that the English merchants (here) were warned and had transferred their goods into other hands for safety. Some had even left the country. The ambassador affirmed two days ago that only two or three ships were seized. But the truth is that upwards of sixty were taken on the high seas and carried off to their ports. We are determined that at all costs immediate restitution be made, and redress given for the damage sustained and the interest thereon. It seemed to us very strange, we said to the ambassador, that the Protector and Council, who should endeavour to keep our good will towards the King of England and his kingdom, well knowing how they stand with the Pope, France and Scotland, should behave in this way. They might be assured that we were being solicited on all sides to make common cause against them, and we found provocation enough in the changes they had made in the religion of the country during the King's minority. They were indeed overstepping all bounds, and we were not disposed to put up with this last outrage perpetrated on our subjects. Should they persist in it, we should move against them in the firm belief that as God had been pleased to help us in other enterprises more difficult still, especially where religion was concerned, so would He assist us again. We held the Protector and Council responsible, and did not accuse the King, who was not to blame. We would benefit him by preventing him being led astray at his tender age. The Protector should find himself in need of protection, if what we threatened were put into effect; and we wondered where he would find it.
We insisted that reparation must be made and that in future nothing of the same kind must ever occur, being quite resolved not to suffer it. The ambassador seemed astonished and embarassed. He replied that he did not believe the English had any other object except to search the vessels for French goods, according to their usual practice. The French, he said, did the same. Many vessels made for Scotland while pretending to be going to France. He advised the English merchants who went to him for counsel after the seizure of the vessels was published, to make no move, being in a country under our rule, where they need fear no harm and no ill-treatment, but would find their rights respected. He said the value of the goods embargoed was a mere trifle compared to the value of the vessels; the merchants were poor and might decide to withdraw altogether from the country and give up trading here. His answer on the religious question was that matters had been left much as they were at the death of the late King.
We replied that neither they nor we were at war with France; and that if they went to war with the French we were not bound to do more than observe the letter of the treaties. We would not allow our subjects to be maltreated by the French or the English, or trade interfered with. As the English wanted the herrings and other goods (bought from the Low Countries) they would have to come here for them; and they had always been favourably treated here, as none would deny. With regard to his remark that the goods confiscated here were of small value to set off against the goods seized in England, we told the ambassador that he might rest assured that we would seize English property here every time the English seized goods belonging to our subjects. We made him understand that we could arm by land and sea, and our power should be found to extend further if need arose. (fn. 2) The threat to withdraw English trade from our Low Countries left us unmoved. Our merchants had means of obtaining wool, and goods now supplied by England, from other countries; Spain and others. In matters of religion we asserted that we were well aware of the innovations that had been made. We reminded him that God chastised the sinner in the ripeness of his sin. We enjoined him, finally, to consider each point well and look to remedy them all, for we were determined not to suffer our subjects to be ill-treated and offence given to ourselves by practices against every rule of good friendship.
We desire you to be fully informed of what has passed, so that if the ambassador slurs over the facts and you are questioned, you may be accurately informed about our real intentions, and by making the truth plain to the English, bring about the restitution of the ships, if this is not an accomplished fact already, procuring also the payment of compensation for damages and the interest now accruing.
Before your departure we ordered you to speak immediately to the Protector and others, if any attempt were made, after the assembling of Parliament, which was to have taken place on the 3rd of this month, to put their threats into effect and compel the Lady Mary, our niece, to conform with their new regulations in matters of religion. We believe that our interview with the English ambassador will help the step. You may take the opportunity to say, giving it as your own private opinion, that they may know that we will suffer no pressure to be put upon her, our close relative, or allow religious innovations to cause them to assume a different and less suitable manner towards her. You may add that even if she were inclined to accept the changes and conform, we should study every possible means to dissuade her.
Brussels, 25 January, 1549.
Jan. 26. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 27. St. Mauris to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.)
Sire, during the last few days the English ambassador resident at this court laid before the King, by command of the Protector, the right to the suzerainty of Scotland claimed by the King of England. He brought forward special arguments to prove and conform the said suzerainty; for instance, that it had been acknowledged and confessed by the Scottish Parliament. The English hold the original document and offer to show it to the French ambassador and allow him to examine it as often as the King desires. The ambassador declared that their object was to ask the King of France to consider whether in his opinion it was right and licit for him to assist the Scots as he was doing. The King of England thought it an ill deed, exorbitant and hard to bear, that the King of France should furnish men to the Scots, his vassals, to use against him, even as the King (of France) would resent any help given to his rebellious subjects by the English; and therefore on this occasion he requested him to give no further aid to the Scots.
The King replied to the ambassador that he could not really believe Scotland to be a vassal of England, and that he had heard a very different tale from the Scottish ambassador resident at his court, who being then present would at the ambassador's request meet him and discuss the business. He should then hear such sound arguments against his contentions as might well convince him that the claims of the English were groundless. He told the ambassador that he could not, of course, abandon Scotland; and the Constable gave him the same answer, adding moreover that it would indeed be a great novelty if a King were another King's vassal. The ambassador replied, Sire, that there had been kings in Burgundy and Guyenne who were subjects and vassals of the King of France until, by the union of both to the crown of France, the vassalage had been annulled; nor was there any reason at all why the same circumstances should appear strange in the case of Scotland and England. He again insisted that no more help should be sent to the Scots, even as the French would resent help sent by England to their rebels, and then repeated his request that their titles and documents might be examined. The King stood firm in his reply that the English and Scottish ambassadors should discuss it between them and tried hard to get this expedient adopted. The English ambassador refused repeatedly, saying he had no orders to do anything of the kind, and he well knew that his master the King of England would consider the discussion entirely beside the mark, besides which it would serve to embitter matters rather than smooth them and would only amount to a verbal quarrel if the titles on both sides were not produced.
I have ascertained since that the King and his ministers, who showed no astonishment to the ambassador when he made his declaration, have nevertheless been sorely puzzled by it. The same day the Council was called together, and many members were present. They devised at length on what line they should take if the King of England made war, as seemed likely from the ambassador's utterance. They seem to wish to avoid it if possible, but they intend to go on assisting the Scots. M. de Thermes, who had lost credit and retired, it is said because he does not get on well with the Queen (Dowager) of Scotland, who complains bitterly of him, is being sent back to that country in a few days.
The Scottish ambassador is begging, on the Governor's behalf, that 10,000 infantry, including those already in Scotland, may be sent; and the request has been granted. The news that a strong army is being sent are published in this court. The secretary of the Venetian ambassador, who is a close friend of the English ambassador, told me he had artfully wormed out of him the admission that the Protector brought forth the suzerainty claim so that negociations for the examination of documents might begin, and the Scottish question might be dealt with in amity. The Protector believed that the King of France would lend an ear to the proposal, and that if he did so nothing further need be done in the field until the claim should be elucidated; and the Protector's real object was that the war might cease until the King of England reached riper years, for he knew how strong an enemy France was. However, Sire, I have no more certainty for the above than I have said. . .
Poissy, 26 January, 1549.
Jan. 27. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Sire, I received your Majesty's letters of the 23rd instant at Nieuport, and those of the 25th to-day at Calais. I am waiting for the weather to enable me to cross, but the wind has been so contrary that even two messengers dispatched by the English ambassador resident at your Majesty's court are here waiting for the weather to improve. I shall not delay unnecessarily and, following your Majesty's commands, I will apply myself diligently to obtain entire satisfaction for the wrongs inflicted on your Majesty's subjects, remonstrating on those things that your Majesty sends orders about in your letters. Sire, I have heard here that the Admiral of England, with the help of some people about the court, attempted to outrage the person of the young King by night, and has been taken to the Tower. The alarm was given by the gentleman who sleeps in the King's chamber, who, awakened by the barking of the dog that lies before the King's door, cried out “Help! Murder!”
Everybody rushed in; but the only thing they found was the lifeless corpse of the dog. Suspicion points to the Admiral, because he had scattered the watch that night on several errands, and because it has been noticed that he has some secret plot on hand, hoping to marry the second daughter of the late King, the Lady Elizabeth, who is also under grave suspicion. On my arrival in England, however, I will write the truth more fully to your Majesty, having nothing now to go upon beyond the information given by those who repeat common report.
Calais, 27 January, 1549.
Jan. 30. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 18. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
It is being publicly said here that the Admiral of England made an attempt on the person of the young King; that he tried to enter his chamber by night at an undue hour, accompanied by armed men, with the intention of killing both the King and the Protector, and eventually of killing the Lady Mary, our niece, and all those of royal blood, his end being to make himself King of England. The report goes that the Admiral has been apprehended and will be duly tried. Over 200,000 crowns in silver were found in his house, we hear, and property to a great value, no small amount of which once belonged to our subjects; and that he favoured those who robbed them, taking his share of the plunder. We charge you to enquire carefully into the truth of the above report; and if any goods belonging to our subjects come to light, do your best to get them returned.
The report has come at a time when we had been speaking harshly to the English ambassador, and had ordered the counter-arrest of goods here, as you know. The English might possibly suspect that having some knowledge of the Admiral's plot, we had chosen the present time to make our protests, for they are of a suspicious nature, as you are aware, and guard their own safety with jealous care. Use your discretion, therefore, and soften your words and palliate a little, to avert their resentment on a false suspicion, as it is not the case that we had any knowledge of the plot. Our sole object is to fulfil our duty and obtain fair redress; therefore, while using your discretion, make no excuses, for they would clearly be misplaced here.
Since the above was written, we have received your letters of the 27th of the present month, giving us an account of the rumour concerning the said Admiral. It will be well that you advise us as soon as possible of what you can hear about it, giving us all the particulars thereof. Act in every respect as it seems best to you.
Brussels, 30 January, 1549.
Jan. 31. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 27. St. Mauris to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.)
Sire, my other letters to your Majesty being already written, I have had it from a good source that some Switzers, sent by the Protestant cantons, have arrived at this court. Their special mission is to assure the King that the Protestant cantons will join a league with the King, as his ambassadors in Switzerland have been told already; but on condition that he binds himself to assist them against the Christian (sic) cantons and all and sundry who might wish to take up arms against them, either to compel them to accept the Interim, or to return the territory they have annexed. (fn. 3) The King has listened with favour to their proposals, and has written to his ambassadors to treat with the Protestants and sieze the present opportunity. The news are half public at court, where important personages assert frankly that the intimation made by the Christian cantons to the Protestants has driven them to attempt this league, which they would not have come to so soon otherwise; so much so that the French had small hope of it, having found them very reluctant until now. The King's hope is to succeed in putting matters straight, trusting to the devotion that the Christian cantons have always shown for him. If he succeeds, all the confederations will be in his favour, however hard others may have tried to break them up; but from what I hear the league with the Protestants is still under discussion, and not concluded by any means.
The King was lately informed by a special messenger from his ambassador in England that the Protector's brother had planned to marry the late King's second daughter, and kill the King, the Lady Mary, and the Protector, to ensure a more peaceful, or rather more despotic reign.
The French rejoice exceedingly, hoping that some pernicious struggle will arise out of this in England, and enable them to carry their Scottish undertaking to a happy conclusion.
That is the end to which they strain, raising men and manning vessels. The house of Guise helps in this, and the King is eager for it, to wipe off the stain he received last year.
They hope a great deal from the recovery of Haddington, if they can win it back from the English, and the Scottish expedition is spoken of openly here. Still, I have heard from Touchet that the number of soldiers the King will send depends on what he is able to guess of your Majesty's intentions. If he sees any likelihood of keeping the peace this year, he is determined to send at least 10 or 12,000 men to Scotland; and this has been confirmed to me by others. The news that a French vessel has been driven by storms into Calais and taken, has caused sorrow here, because she carried a number of the French nobility. They are also perplexed by a dangerous disease which they have heard is raging among the French troops in Scotland. The people call Scotland “the Frenchman's grave," and say the Scots fatten their barren county with Frenchmen's bones. . . . A rumour is spreading to the effect that your Majesty has given leave to the English to raise more men in Germany, 16,000 foot soldiers and 3,000 horse. The French fear that the English will try to operate a diversion by sending an army into Guyenne. They found a conviction on the last declaration made by the English ambassador to the King, forbidding him to assist Scotland, that the English intend to attack them directly and openly.
They say here that a new heresy, denying the existence of the Trinity, has lately sprung up in England, and the Pope, the better to stamp out the mischief, is about to publish an admonestation to all Christian princes, warning them to forbid the English to enter their countries; so that being isolated from human intercourse they may repent their error, for it is indeed a grievous and great judgment to live among men and be denied their fellowship. They say, Sire, that the King, rather than incur the ecclesiastical censures passed on the recalcitrants, will enforce the prohibition; and they wonder whether your Majesty, who will be placed in a difficult dilemma, will do so too. On the one hand, disobedience to the Holy See would constitute a serious lapse; on the other, it would be a grievous offence to the English if you obeyed. This is how their talk runs.
Sire, the nuncio resident at this Court has said to someone who has assured me of the truth of his words, that the Pope will never send the Council back to Trent unless he gets Piacenza back into his own hands. Your Majesty's assurance, that he shall have it back if judgment is pronounced in his favour after due legal trial, is not enough for him; he wants to be enlightened further on the subject before he sends back the Council. The ministers of the King have brought it home to him well, so that he may write to Rome about it, that your Majesty proposed the expedient of the trial to delay matters in the hope that the Holy Father might die in the meantime.
Two days ago Monluc was sent here by the King to hold communication with the nuncio about Scotland, where he is about to be sent to induce the ecclesiastics, in the name of the King and of the Pope, to give money for the continuation of the war and for the recovery of church lands taken by the King of England. His mission is to inflame the Scots to further bitterness and violence by laying before the Scottish Parliament England's claim to the suzerainty of Scotland. . . .
Poissy, 31 January, 1549.


  • 1. This letter is a copy made from a decipher of the original. The letter is dated the 6th of January (the Epiphany); but it appears from the context that it must have been written at least two days later.
  • 2. A reference, possibly, to the Emperor's power of fostering civil strife, or to the Pope's exhortations that he should “defend and restore the Christian faith, weakened and perishing in England.”
  • 3. The territory taken from the Duke of Savoy, namely Geneva.