Spain: February 1549

Pages 335-347

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

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February 1549

Feb. 1. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 32. The Emperor to St. Mauris.
(Extract.) Referring to the Constable's repeated assertion when speaking about the inclusion of the Scots in the peace, that the King his master is King of Scotland and must make Scottish interests his own, if the Constable mentions it again, you will say that we will let the title pass for what it is worth (nous remectons a ce que peult estre de ce tiltre) and refer judgment to those whom it concerns, while standing firmly by our treaties with England, especially reserved in the Treaty of Crépy; and, according to this last, the King of France may not assist the Scots against us as they were our enemies at the time the treaty was signed, and besides have continued in war and enmity towards us since. Their actions have been complained of on several occasions, yet no satisfaction has ever been given, either by Scotland or by France. With regard to the Admiral (of France's) assertion (fn. 1) respecting the inclusion of the said Scots in the Treaty of Crépy, keep to the words of the treaty and what they actually express, and bear in mind at the same time the clear and notorious fact that the Scots were openly declared enemies of ours and of the English at the time; besides the unbroken tale of hostilities continued since, as has been said above. A good and sufficient reason (for their non-inclusion) was given to the Admiral when he went to Binche and Antwerp. The reflections and remarks made by you, according to your letters, on and about the subject beyond what is said above, have been quite suitable. . . . With regard to the plan for taking Boulogne by surprise, proposed by a Frenchman, the English have been warned.
The Constable has been assuring us for some time that the period of duration of the old league with the Switzers was being prolonged; and with reference to any new league that may be in course of formation, it will be well for you to keep yourself well informed and transmit any information you may acquire on the subject. . . .
(The Emperor tells St. Mauris he intends to call him to his service in Brussels and send Simon Renard in his stead to Paris.)
Brussells, 1 February, 1549.
Feb. 5. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 27. St. Mauris to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.)
It is openly averred here Sire, that the failure of the Admiral of England's plot is a great misfortune for this country. They had hopes, if it had succeeded, that he would have made an alliance with France, and accepted a sum of money for Boulogne and, besides, that he would have been very glad to settle the Scottish affair. They feel quite convinced he would have declared against your Majesty. Such is the common talk among high personages; and in further conformation of it. I have been told by Carneseque that for some time past he had known that the King was carrying on some kind of suspicious practice in England through a third party, but had failed to discover what it was, so that he now suspects that the Admiral's schemes were not unknown to the King. The English ambassador has informed the Protector of this, so that if possible something may be got out of the Admiral. They say here, Sire, that the Lady Mary discovered the plottings.
There is a young Irish gentleman, son of one of the great Irish lords who lost their heads, in the nuncio's household here. The Pope and the King give him a good allowance. The King hopes to set something afoot among his friends and relations that will keep the English busy. I have heard from a safe and trusty person that the King has resolved to besiege Berwick on the English frontier this coming year. He intends to send the main body of his army to Haddington, and hopes to take Berwick by surprise, on the assumption that the enemy's main force will be sent to Haddington; and Berwick being once in his hand he hopes to reduce Haddington easily. They are still very much pleased here about the castle they have taken, (fn. 2) in the belief that it will prove very useful in preventing the revictualling of Haddington, but the English ambassador affirms that the Protector had determined to have it dismantled as of little use. They refuse to believe this here, so as not to minimise the importance of their exploit.
The English ambassador has spoken again with the King and said that the marriage of the young Queen of Scots to the Dauphin could not take place licitly, because the Queen had been granted by the Scottish Parliament to the King of England, as the treaties prove irrefutably. He begged him to reflect on the matter, and said the information was given so that he should not ignore their just pretensions. The King answered that the very same Parliament of Scotland had agreed to the marriage of the Queen of Scots to his son, and for that reason he had already taken possession of the kingdom, which he intended to keep and govern as his own kingdom, and he would put the marriage with his son through if God granted the boy life.
Many hold the opinion because of the above declaration and the preceding one regarding the suzerainty of Scotland which I wrote to your Majesty in my former letters from here, that the Protector is looking for peace and would like to open negotiations with the King of France by indirect means. But they affirm here that the King will not listen to anything of the kind until he has recovered his losses in Scotland. Those who see the position in this light, Sire, may very possibly be out with their reckoning, for by what one hears from the English ambassador, it appears that the English are more than ever bent on invading Scotland; and it is said that they have levied fresh troops to send against the French.
Sire, the Most Christian Queen gave birth to a son on the 3rd of this month, and it is cause of great rejoicing here.
Poissy, 5 February, 1549.
Feb. 8. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 3)
Sire, on my arrival in London I was seized with an attack of the gout owing to the crossing I had from Calais to Dover, so dangerous and dreadful that I had not a dry stitch upon me when I landed. Being obliged to keep within doors, I sent a message to the Protector asking him to be pleased to commission some member of the Council to come to see me as I feared I should be unable to go myself for three or four days at least. He sent me no message of welcome back until yesterday, when the Lord Privy Seal (fn. 4) and Controller Paget brought it me in the King's name, as well as from the Protector and Council, who deputed them to negotiate. I showed them your Majesty's letter and my own letters of credence. They read therein your Majesty's goodwill towards the King and his kingdom, and your intention to observe the existing treaties and preserve the friendship unbroken, and so could gauge how much greater had been their fault and unwisdom in seizing and despoiling the ships and vessels of your Majesty's subjects on their way to France. Your Majesty had suffered robberies and plunder for four years past and more, I said, committed against your subjects sailing on these seas; but divine justice would not permit that your Majesty should allow the perpetration of such outrages, or your subjects to be delivered into the hands of people who treat them as enemies. I greatly exaggerated their misdeeds and eventually declared your Majesty's intention that all losses sustained should be refunded with interest, and that adequate measures should be taken to prevent a recurrence of the same happenings.
They answered me that they would present your Majesty's letter to the Protector, and give him a true account of everything I had said; but they wished to have a talk with me; not with the ambassador, but with Francis Van der Delft, the man, they said, whom they believed to have a sincere affection for England, and who would not blame the English without just cause. In their opinion I was acting on one of their own proverbs to the effect that he who is in the wrong usually shouts loudest. They could not understand how your Majesty could seize their fellow-countrymen on your territories and place an embargo on their goods in the face of all the treaties, without any provocation whatsoever, since they for their part had only detained vessels on their course to search them for French goods. The French were the first to do this against English goods, so that they might well hold the prizes to be fairly come by. They went on to say that even admitting that the French had seized and confiscated our goods as well as theirs, and treated your Majesty's subjects in the worst manner, neither the English nor your Majesty being openly at war with France, yet it was not suitable, nor in accordance with the treaties, to sieze English goods and English subjects without any preliminary notice, or without at least making the attempt to obtain redress. They pretested that the ships were detained one day and a half, and no more. I asked them how they could invoke the guarantee of those treaties which they themselves violated openly? I said that I could not see that your Majesty had done so in any respect.
Paget then began to make complaints about the seizure of the persons and goods of Englishmen in the Low Countries, and that England had war on every side of her, for although war was not openly declared with France, it was practically going on underhand all the time. They were compelled, he said, to keep an armed fleet in readiness, which might occasionally molest both friends and foes, though certainly against the King's and Council's intention, who would give satisfaction for every offence brought to their notice. Pirates of many nations, English, Irish, and others, scoured the sea, he said, with the pretext of this fleet, robbing everybody they came across. Even a vessel of the Lord Privy Seal's had not escaped. But what with the war in Scotland, and the constant struggle with the French, they could not undertake to put down piracy as well. Your Majesty, he said, being the wisest and most experienced prince in Christendom, must know the difficulty of keeping such a fleet so well under control that no abuses of any kind occur. They ought not to be blamed, and the blame should not be visited on the English merchants over the sea.
But since a slight shortcoming had been punished by the seizure of persons and confiscation of goods both in Flanders and in Spain:—at this point the Lord Privy Seal broke out into loud exclamations of protest—they must look for means to patch up their quarrels all round and live in peace with everybody.
I answered the various points according to my instructions from your Majesty, and giving particulars of individual cases of damages sustained. We had a sharp passage or two, for instance when I built my argument on the fact that ten months ago I informed the Protector that some of the goods seized by pirates from our people would be found in the Lord Admiral's house, and that no remedy to this state of affairs had been forthcoming, making it clear who ought to be blamed for the despoiling of the ships. In my opinion, I said, your Majesty had shown great forbearance. The more enemies the English had, the more it behoved them to treat your Majesty's subjects fairly, for your old and true friendship was well-known to them. I was somewhat embarassed to find an answer to their complaints about the seizure of goods in Spain, for they brought forward over and over again the fact that they had met all claims, and moreover made Renegat pay up to the Spanish merchants, doing really more than could be expected, merely to please your Majesty and obtain that the goods of their own subjects, that have by now been confiscated over three years, might be released. Following your Majesty's instructions from Germany, I had given them my assurance repeatedly that the restitution should be made, after the handsome way in which they had met our claims, and I wrote at length to the Prince to let him know that the English had made better concessions that we could justly have claimed. May it please your Majesty now to give orders that the goods confiscated may be in effect returned to the English in Spain.
Your Majesty will suffer me to write what I have heard from Spaniards here, and merchants of all nations, regarding the confiscation at Antwerp. They say the subjects of your Majesty will lose more than the English, as there are large sums owing to them amounting to twice the value of English goods oversea. Moreover the English have a large quantity of specie brought over to exchange so that in spite of their complaints as the interested party to a considerable extent, they will gain a good deal by not paying their debts. Our merchants, who are very numerous here, and engaged in extensive negotiations go in fear of a sequestration of goods as a counter-move to the Antwerp decree; in which case they would sustain heavy losses. They would have sold all they could at half-price and carried off the rest had I not given them better advice. Nevertheless, the embargo has certainly proved a persuasive argument for the English. Your Majesty will consider whether it will be well to raise it at once if they can be brought to reason. I have thought it better to hide the fact that the confiscation at Antwerp realised such a small amount, particularly as their estimate is about one hundred thousand crowns, and that so little property belonging to Englishmen was found, probably owing to some warning they received; but on the other hand it must be borne in mind, though they may have had warning of what was about to happen, that our merchants trade here more than they have in the past in all kinds of goods, and so do the Easterlings; so that the English do not handle the import trade of the country in foreign parts as they used to.
I told them also of the warning that the French entertain hopes of retaking Boulogne shortly, received by your Majesty, and that the King of France had solicited the Pope to exhort your Majesty to defend and restore the Christian (sic) faith weakened and perishing in England. (fn. 5) It would be advisable if they could enable your Majesty, I said, to give an answer agreeable to your Maker and satisfying to your conscience, while in accordance with the demands of good friendship. They answered this point briefly, even though I expressed a hope that they would take counsel and make better provision than by common report they were about to do. I had heard that after abolishing the mass they had done away with the Holy Sacrament, and were engaged in attacking the Trinity. This could but displease all good people who looked for greater moderation and expected that at least during the King's minority matters should remain as the late King left them. After this they seemed in a hurry to go back to the Protector. They had made no mention of the Admiral's affair though I gave them plenty of opportunities; so I told them as they were leaving that the best they could do was to grant all claims for damages and interest on the vessels and return to our merchants the goods found in the Admiral's house; and I added, one might almost suspect that he had had intelligence with every pirate and reaped his share of all the spoils. Paget replied that he considered my demands reasonable, and that there was no doubt matters had been conducted as I was saying, adding these words: “He has been a great rascal.” (ce a esté grand meschant). I then asked them if it was really a criminal case as I had been told at Calais. Paget answered that as he hoped to reach his own house safely it was plain in every respect that the Admiral had intended to kill the King and the Lady Mary, and marry the Lady Elizabeth; that he had more greed than wit or judgment, and had improved the advice he gave to the Council directly after the death of the late King, that the Lady Mary and the Earl of Southampton, then Lord Chancellor (who was deprived of office but is now in the Council), should be carried off at once to the Tower. They said no more at the time as they were in a hurry. I have heard, however, from a well-informed source, the origin of the quarrel between the Admiral and the Protector. When the Admiral saw that his first proposal was set aside, and that his brother was made Protector of the kingdom and the King's person, he went to him and asked him to countenance his plan to marry the Lady Mary. The Protector was displeased and reproved him, saying that neither of them was born to be King, nor to marry King's daughters; and though God had given them grace that their sister should have married a King, whence so much honour and benefit had redounded to them, they must thank God and be satisfied; besides which he knew the Lady Mary would never consent. The other replied that he merely asked for his brother's countenance, and he would look after the rest. The Protector chid him again more sharply, and the Admiral went off and married the widow of the late King, showing his resentment against his brother openly, so that the quarrel between them and their competence to govern the King and the kingdom were common topics of conversation. The Earl of Warwick, to end the matter, had used strong language to the Admiral, remonstrating with him that he had come to occupy such a high position through the favour of his brother and the Council, who had admitted him among their number against the late King's wish; who being on his deathbed, and hearing his name among those elected to the Council, cried out “No, no,” though his breath was failing him. “Be content, therefore,” (these were Warwick's words) “with the honour done to you for your brother's sake, and with your office of Lord High Admiral which I gave up to you for the same motive, for neither the King nor I will be governed by you; nor would we be governed by your brother, were it not that his virtues and loyalty towards the King and the kingdom make him the man fittest to administer the affairs of the country during the King's minority.” These words, and threats he used besides, had such good effect that the Admiral went off at once and made up the quarrel with his brother. Then he turned to other means of satisfying his great cupidity. He won over to his side several gentlemen of the King's Chamber, and by kindness and gifts succeeded in gaining preference over his brother in the King's affections. He planned that the King should make a declaration to Parliament that he would rather have the Admiral than the Protector as his Governor, but the matter was stopped in time. Since then the Admiral has tried to negotiate his own marriage with the Lady Elizabeth and gain a lever with which to accomplish his purpose. The secret was not well kept. He asked one and another of the young lords about the King's person if they would like to be his “Admirals” and “Protectors” later on. The Council was informed of all this, and when the Admiral was finally discovered within the palace late at night, with a large suite of his own people, and the dog that keeps watch before the King's door was found dead, they determined to summon him to appear before them. He refused to obey, and sent word to the Protector that Controller Paget must be sent as hostage to his house if they wanted him to answer the summons; and that he must (receive an assurance) that he would return as free as he went forth. It is said that he protested vigourously against the accusations, saying he had attempted nothing against the King; on the contrary, that he had the King's confidence and approval. He was taken to the Tower at eight o'clock in the evening. I will inform your Majesty of the details of his examination and of the evidence against him, after I have seen the Protector and Controller Paget. At present there is no sign of his being set at liberty.
The Members of the Council speak openly of his very evil designs. I have written this letter now so as to gain time. My next meeting (with the Council) will take place, I think, in a day or two. They may possibly put me off until after their interview with the French ambassador, who went to Court to-day with a gentleman of the Chamber of the Most Christian King, recently arrived here, called Monsieur de Noailles. I will do my very best to ascertain their real intentions, and how far they are inclined to enter into negotiations with the French; for it is difficult to deduce this from their interviews with me. Each will play his part, of course, and justify his side; and then I shall not fail, according to your Majesty's instructions, to put forward our own cause, and lay before their eyes the wrong we have suffered until now. Nor can they well deny it, for I have too much to go upon.
London, 8 February, 1549.
Feb. 11. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 6)
Sire, yesterday at the very hour when this courier was to leave with my other letters, a secretary came here to tell me from the Council that about two o'clock after noon the Lord Privy Seal, the Earl of Southampton, Controller Paget, and First Secretary Petre, would come and see me. I thought it best, therefore, to delay the messenger until to-day so that I might inform your Majesty of what occurred between us. They opened the negotiation by saying that they had reported to the Protector what I had laid before them; and that he and the Council trusted that your Majesty would not turn from the affection and goodwill you had always borne this kingdom, nor act against your treaties and promises, when the truth about what had passed was once made clear to you. They protested that the seizure of English goods oversea was not in observance of the treaties. They complained greatly of it, vowing that what took place here, that is to say the detention of our ships, was done without their knowledge. They had shown their displeasure to the officers responsible, and this very day all those vessels still detained were set free. They said that if your Majesty was displeased and inculpated them, which they regretted, yet according to the treaties some warning or admonishment or an official injunction, ought to have been given, but the extreme proceeding of a general seizure (of goods) should not have been resorted to. I replied that they were simply making an excuse in saying that everything had been done without their knowledge. It would redound more to their credit to admit the truth than to let it be known that there was so little discipline and order in their administration that their master's best friend, whose friendship was most necessary to him, might be openly insulted, that his subjects might be indiscriminately robbed, and a whole fleet might be detained at pleasure. This indeed was against all treaties, nor could your Majesty submit to it. In my opinion you had shown too much moderation in your anger. We argued these contentions a long time; but finally, as the four of them are devoted to your Majesty and wish that the friendship between you and their master may continue and flourish, they said: “We do not doubt that the Emperor, being informed by now of the manner in which the thing happened, has raised the embargo, so as not to cause further damage to our ships, in opposition to the spirit of the treaties. Nevertheless we desire you to perform your good offices with his Majesty for the keeping of his friendship, if matters are not yet as advanced as we hope.” I replied that I would willingly do my duty in this respect and as I had declared your Majesty's determinations to them, I hoped they would pay the compensation claimed for damages and interest, and take measures to prevent the repetition of like occurrences. They replied that although only four were then present, being aware of the Protector's and Council's wishes, they could give me an assurance that the damages caused by the detention of the fleet should be paid in a just and reasonable measure. Two of their number agreed to go into the details with me if any appeals were made; but they said they did not think that any one would make complaints. They gave me their word of honour that the matter should suffer no unreasonable delay, as I should judge for myself. I undertook to advise your Majesty of this. I have no doubt that they will keep their word, as they really deplore the occurrence; and the Custom House officers will no doubt pay for it. As for a remedy for the future, they are quite aware that the Admiral had a hand in the robberies, and an understanding with the pirates, who will find less safety in future, and will have to seek fresh haunts, as placards were posted up before my arrival here, offering large sums for their persons.
With regard to actions brought by private individuals, of which your Majesty, and the Queen your sister, have lately sent me particulars, I find that the applications for recovery made by the parties have been suitably received and entertained. If your Majesty raises the embargo at once, I believe the plaintiffs in these actions will have a better time; and I shall stand on better ground for negociating all other business as well.
I was asked what I thought the French must have thought of the embargo. I replied that they ought to know it better than I, as they had been carrying on negociations with them these two days past. They laughed among themselves, for they must have heard what the Venetian ambassador in France wrote to his colleague here, whom I had seen the day before. I said: “I know what was written to him (the Venetian ambassador in London) about the seizures: that they were made because the Admiral, who was in a plot of the Emperor's, had been taken prisoner.” At this they laughed out loud, saying: “If we were to believe everything we hear about you, we should indeed be kept busy; but we trust in his Majesty's good-will and friendship, and will requite him fully.”
I have no doubt, Sire, that the French gentleman was sent here to make what he could out of the rumour and to ascertain tentatively if the English would lend him an ear. (fn. 7) But for the present I see no sign of change in them. Among other things they said to me that besides observing the treaties, they intended to prove the affection of the King, the Council and the kingdom for your Majesty, by their deeds, in all things respecting your Majesty's service. I took the opportunity to speak on my own responsibility about the matter of religion, so wrongly treated here, and (I did so) all the more easily because I believe that none of the four (Councillors then visiting me) have advocated any changes. They answered me and I told them that any innovation in that matter was repugnant; that they must have seen how no ruler would alter lightly the old-established rites for the service of God, and that even their late King, who had acted as they were well aware, during the 38 years of his reign had yet never made any alterations in the services, but nourished, while he modified, religion. But they, being governors for a King who would come to rule five or six years hence, yielding to the persuasions of a few ill-disposed refugees who sought worldly pleasure above all things, now wished to transform the whole kingdom; whereby great confusion prevailed, which could not fail to be greatly displeasing to your Majesty. Paget, passing over this point, said to me: “Be assured that we will do nothing to please your ill-conditioned fugitives, as you seem to think. We will consider God's service; and although we have put down several services, we hope no one will accuse us of having acted against Him. If his Majesty were informed of the real truth in the matter he would cease to think this strange.” I replied: “You must have better things in mind than you show by your deeds, then, for what one sees and hears deserves no praise.” And our meeting ended there. I will soon find an opportunity of conversing with Paget, and I will hear from him what is happening, so that I may inform your Majesty of it. Also, in a day or two, I will see the Protector, and hear the Scottish news from him, and so as not to rouse his suspicions I will tell him that I am going to see the Lady Mary and take your Majesty's greeting to her; for I could not go so far from London without his hearing of it.
London, 11 February, 1549.
Feb. 20. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 8)
The day after I wrote my last letters to your Majesty, of the 11th of this month, I sent a message to the Protector, asking when it would be convenient for me to present my respects to him, as my health now permitted me to do. He answered congratulating me on my recovery, and saying that if I merely wished to pay my duty to him, that I must not trouble about it yet, but I might send again to him in two or three days' time and he would then make an appointment with me. I gather that this was intended to put off my visit until they receive the answer in the business that the deputies from the Council are transacting with your Majesty. So I have kept very quiet, Sire, and I will not send again to him until I have news from your Majesty; nor should I know what to add to what I have said already, matters being still on the same footing. In the meantime, the Lady Mary has sent twice to hear what news I brought for her from your Majesty. I have sent a secret messenger to her to quiet her, telling her that I could not very well go to visit her before I had seen the Protector, without bringing suspicion on her; and that I proposed to say openly to the Protector that I should take the opportunity of the first fine day to go and see her, and pay my duty, taking your Majesty's letters of greeting. She approved, was pleased to hear of my projected visit, and sent back word that she hoped to hear all I had to say before long.
Sire, since my arrival here, the channel passage has been closed. The reason may be found in the sequestrations at Antwerp; nevertheless neither the persons nor the goods of your subjects have been touched. The English are no more free to cross than foreigners are; but your Majesty's subjects may obtain leave to cross on application. This fact seems to indicate, in the opinion of some, that the reason of the closure lies in the Admiral's affair. They are still in the thick of it. They say he is to be brought to trial in two or three days' time. The master of the mint in Bristol, named Sharington, who was also a gentleman of the King's chamber and a close friend of the Admiral's, was tried last week; but the charge against him was merely that he made a profit for himself of 5,000l. by coining money, disregarding the Council's inhibition. He was sentenced to death, but as the sentence has not yet been carried out, it is believed that he may obtain a pardon.
The French gentleman who has been here lately, as I informed your Majesty, has gone back to France. Until I see some of the Councillors, I cannot find out anything about his business here, beyond that he told the French merchants to have no fear, and everything should go well with them; and that he looked happy when he went away.
My lords are daily with the Parliament, and I hear they have put the matter of religion through. Nevertheless, the former Chancellor (fn. 9) and eight bishops withheld their assent, although the ex-Chancellor lost his constancy in the end, and agreed to everything shortly before he was reinstated in the Council. The Holy Sacrament is not to be elevated during mass; mass is to be said in English; the priest is not to consecrate the Host unless there be communicants among the congregation; all priests are to (be free to) marry. These bills, and others passed by the same Parliament, are shortly to be printed and published. The King has asked his subjects for a subsidy of three shillings in the pound for three years, and a shilling on each pound sterling's worth of cloth manufactured in England. A tax of threepence on each sheep is not yet granted. They are reforming their polling, so that it is thought that Parliament will not be over quite so soon.
There was a rumour that the Earl of Warwick was to go to Scotland to look after the English fortresses, and retake Hume's castle lately seized by the French. But it seems he is in no hurry to go, and has even found somebody to go in his stead, seeing, perhaps, that the troops are insufficient to put through what they have planned to do. Besides, everybody is saying that Haddington can not be held, that the Earl of Huntly, who was a prisoner here, has escaped to Scotland, and knows their secrets. The English bribed him to induce his vassals and others in Scotland to join the English party, and to use all his influence in their favour; and to this end they allowed him to return to Scotland, taking as hostages, however, his wife and children. But he waited near the Border for his family, and fled with them into Scotland. The English are disgusted, and more especially because they say that the Scots have risen in large numbers.
One third of Courtpennick's people are a prey to the pest, cold, and want, and the rest are still in the Scottish garrisons, with a few Spaniards. The greater number (of the soldiers) are being taken back to London. I hear that they will not take service in England again.
They have sent John Dimmock (who was commissioned by Courtpennick to bring his men over) back to Ostend once or twice. It may have been to make up the decimated numbers of their men, or to defeat the attempt of M. D'Essé, who is reported here to have gone to Denmark from Scotland asking for men for the Queen of (Scotland). Your Majesty is no doubt well informed on this point.
London, 20 February, 1549.
Feb. 20. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 27. St. Mauris to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.)
Sire, I will follow your Majesty's instructions about the inclusion of Scotland (in the former treaty of peace), and will put them forward when occasion arises. Although your Majesty's reasons and considerations are founded on compelling treaties, yet the ministers of the King show by their speech how little pleased they are that your Majesty denies the inclusion of the Scots: and they arm themselves with sheer truculence, by the aid of which they professedly attempt to carry their pretensoins. Such is the fashion in this Court.
The attempted surprise of Boulogne is openly discussed here, Sire. It failed because the people they had bribed came to blows among themselves over their share of the two thousand crowns that had been advanced to them. Some of them went and gave the thing away.
The English ambassador tells me that at present the French live on easy terms with the English in the Boulonnais; but that is the very time when they can least be trusted. . . . As to the understanding of the King of France with the English, according to the ambassador here, it rests on rather meagre ground. Nevertheless, they (the English), allow it to be understood that the Protector wishes to keep the King his master on terms of peace; not intending by this to give up any of their advantages in Scotland, but to continue in observance of the last treaty. This is all I have been able to get out of the ambassador.
They say here that the King of France will certainly do his utmost to recover his recent losses in Scotland, and that except for this, he has no wish to fight the English. I cannot discover that there is any appearance of an understanding between them on the matter of Scotland.
With regard to the Admiral's plot in England, and whether there is any likelihood of the French having approved of it, I know, Sire, that one day when the Venetian ambassador was conversing with the Constable, the said Constable, having given him an account of the tragedy, told him that the Admiral was a man of no judgment or weight, whose word could not be relied upon; but had he been so well-advised as to turn to them, the matter would have ended differently.
One may conjecture that they had a share in the affair, from the fact that they are decrying the Admiral, so that if he gave the secret away they might take shelter behind his notoriously unreliable character. The supposition is further corroborated and confirmed by another fact: that Touchet told me that he had known for some time that something of importance was being undertaken in England; that the King often received advice about it, and that he had the news about the Admiral with great promptness; so much so that the messenger who brought them broke one of his ribs in his haste, and is still in danger. Many noblemen here say that had the thing succeeded the Admiral would have willingly looked for support from the King of France, and made easy terms with him for Boulogne and Scotland; this being in all probability the end they had in view. . . .
Poissy, 20 February, 1549.


  • 1. See pp. 315, 316, 317, 322, 323.
  • 2. Hume's castle.
  • 3. This letter is written almost entirely in cipher.
  • 4. John, Lord Russell, who became first Earl of Bedford in 1550.
  • 5. See note on p. 330.
  • 6. This letter is written entirely in cipher.
  • 7. M. de Noailles. See p. 341.
  • 8. This letter is written in cipher.
  • 9. Thomas Wriothesley, first Earl of Southampton.