Spain: September 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: September 1549', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, ed. Martin A S Hume, Royall Tyler( London, 1912), British History Online [accessed 23 July 2024].

'Spain: September 1549', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549. Edited by Martin A S Hume, Royall Tyler( London, 1912), British History Online, accessed July 23, 2024,

"Spain: September 1549". Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549. Ed. Martin A S Hume, Royall Tyler(London, 1912), , British History Online. Web. 23 July 2024.

September 1549

Sept. 2. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
The man I have at the camp has written to me that last Wednesday the fort of Boulemberg was abandoned by the captain and soldiers who were in it. Before leaving it they set the place on fire, and most of the houses where the soldiers were lodged were burnt. If M. de Brissac had not taken it in hand everything would have been destroyed, but as it was, a good quantity of artillery and stores was found there, and there seems to be ground for suspicion that the King did not undertake this journey without having some understanding with the English who were garrisoning Boulemberg, for the place was still tenable. A rumour is circulating in the camp that the little Count de la Mirandola, (fn. 1) brother of the Count de la Mirandola, arranged this piece of treachery with his Italians, though it has not really been discovered. After the Captain of Boulemberg and his men had left the place they retreated to Boulogne, where the gates were opened to them. When once they were inside, the Commander of Boulogne wished to know why they had abandoned the fort and, perceiving treachery, killed with his own hand the Captain of Boulemberg, giving orders that all the men should be hanged. Such are the news my man writes. The King of France had already been informed of it by a man who slipped out of Boulemberg; and so the King has got possession of all the forts once held by the English except Ardres tower which the Council intends to bombard. I am informed that now the King will soon return, for he says he has accomplished that for which he set his force on foot, and old M. de Morette, who is here with the Queen, has confirmed this. The same person has told me that news have come from Scotland to the effect that the English have been defeated there, though no details are given.
I have heard from the Queen's gentleman, who came from the camp a few days ago, that he had been expressly instructed to countermand and send back several captains and soldiers who were on their way to the camp, for the King was expecting only a certain number of pioneers and carpenters who had been sent for to repair those of the forts that the King wished to keep up.
There is a report that the English have been fighting among themselves in England, but I know no more about it than common hearsay tells. I cannot refrain from advising your Majesty that these first exploits of the King have rendered the French so insolent that they proclaim that their King's acts agree well with the devise of the crescent which he has taken for his own. The populace, which was disgusted and ill-affected before, is beginning to be more cheerful, and is more willingly paying taxes, loans and contributions than it would have done had it not been for this enterprise.
The King summoned the English ambassador from Langres to Amiens at the request of M. de Selve, French ambassador in England, to obtain that the English should allow his wife to cross to France. She arrived in Paris twelve days ago and found her father, named Montmiral, dead.
Several persons are of opinion that this war will end with an arrangement by treaty, and that the English, being attacked in Scotland, at Boulogne and at home, and robbed of all resources (specially of help from your Majesty, who all thought would intervene) will be obliged to come to terms to their own disadvantage.
The other day I met the Venetian ambassador, who said that people were amazed at the manner in which your Majesty allowed the French to prosper at Boulogne and in Scotland, considering that your Majesty had it in your hand to stop the King of France by making a single sign without incurring any expense, for the one power the King of France feared was your Majesty. He added considerations upon the age of the King of England and the fact that the late King his father had entrusted him to your Majesty, saying that this war was a direct violation of the last treaty between France and England, besides which your Majesty held the Scots as his enemies because of their recent raids and depredations against your subjects. He went so far as to remark that even the French did not know what to make of it, but I, perceiving that this conversation was in reality a cross-examination, and that he desired to get something out of me, told him that your Majesty was a prince who wished to observe all treaties you had made with this and the other country, and not being obliged to defend Boulogne you were unwilling to give the King of France a chance of altering the friendly relations between the two countries, and particularly desired to avoid harming Christendom by picking a quarrel with the King for no valid reason. In this I took care to specify nothing, and indeed, Sire, even if I had wished to make any definite reply I should have had to invent something, as I know nothing of your Majesty's intentions. The ambassador answered that the King of France was quite well aware of the conditions Paget had offered your Majesty, and that if such a chance had passed through his hands he would not have let it slip. To this I said that your Majesty's intentions were thus all the more justified in the world's eyes. He went on to say that in Italy people made sure that your Majesty would have trouble with the Pope over Piacenza, for the Pope had absolutely refused the conditions offered by your Majesty, and the Cardinal of Ferrara had sent a gentleman to the King, on purpose to inform him of this, which would cause the Council to be put off again. I judged these words to be intended to draw something worth while from me, so I was unwilling to talk longer, but merely said that I did not know in what state affairs were. He ended the conversation by saying that the Seigniory of Venice intended to remain in the same disposition towards your Majesty as in the past, which gives me cause to suppose that if such is the case it will not be by the ambassador's doing or advice, for I take him to be suspicious and an adversary to your Majesty's cause. . . .
The King is waiting for the Swiss commissaries to ratify the league, and has sent towards them treasurers and commissaries as far as Nevers to welcome them and pay their expenses. The Grisons have passed the league for 20,000 crowns which the King has promised to pay.
It is said here that a sitting has been held at Baden in which the King obtained what he wanted, and that your Majesty's commissaries who, they say, were sent there not only wasted their time, but were outraged by the peasants on their return, but I believe the last news to be unfounded. The King is trying to obtain money on all sides, and 50,000 to 60,000 crowns raised in Brittany are being taken to camp. In spite of the French boasts that they have had the best of it in Scotland, as I wrote to your Majesty, it is said they really got the worst. Mercurius has told me that your Majesty may be certain that the King is working hard against you and that his intentions are of the worst. . . . I have sent to M. d'Arras a chronicle of the Kings of France that has newly been printed with many corrections and lying suppressions of facts.
Compiègne, 2 September, 1549.
Sept. 2. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 18. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We have received your letters of the 7th, 13th and 15th of last month, and have been glad to hear such detailed accounts of happenings in your part of the world; we consequently request you to continue to ascertain as much as possible and send us news from time to time.
We have also noted your conversation with Controller Paget, and specially the good offices he said he had performed with the Protector by remonstrating to him what we said to Paget concerning the changes in religious affairs, about which, as your letters state, the Protector has since spoken to you. As it seems that this matter is progressing favourably, particularly in what concerns the Princess (i.e. the Lady Mary), you will continue to urge the Protector to give you the assurance in writing, about which we have already written to you, in order that hereafter she may remain in our ancient religion, and not violate the laws of the realm by so doing. And you may found your solicitations on the Protector's own words when he said he would think about it when last you were with him. For the purpose of furthering the cause of our ancient religion in England while they are still unsettled in their policy, as you inform us, you will take care to lose no opportunity, when you see any favourable one arise, to coax the conversation in that direction with the Protector or any other persons as you may see fit, and persuade them with all possible dexterity to restore religious matters, if not to their original condition, at any rate to that in which the late King left them at his death, urging them to avoid the danger of being accused at some later time of having introduced innovations during the King's minority, or to leave the whole question to the General Council and meantime to conform to the Interim, though it seems that the best course would be to put matters back into their condition at the time of the late King's death.
As for the bulwark that the English have recently built near Gravelines, it can no longer be of any use to them as they have lost the forts they had made in the direction of Boulogne, and might only furnish the French with an excuse for attacking their older conquest (i.e. Calais and its surroundings) if it were found to have been built on French territory. If they maintain that it was not built on French territory but on ours, you will vehemently insist on its immediate demolition, but if you are unable to move them, accept the Protector's proposal for sending commissaries to the spot, and urge him to do so as soon as possible. You will inform us who they are and of what condition, and when they are to arrive at the said place, in order that we may send ours. If a good opportunity offers, you may speak again about the matter of the Knights of Rhodes, basing your remarks upon what we wrote to you that we had said to Paget; but do not go into details unless we give you fresh orders. We are grateful for your zeal in our private subjects' interest, and request you to favour all their undertakings as much as you can. Touching Sebastian Cabot, you will take the course that seems to you best calculated to obtain him freedom to go and execute his commission in Spain, or come over here.
The English ambassador here resident presented himself before us at Valenciennes with letters of credence from the King his master, by virtue of which he exposed to us the manner in which the French had pretended to treat with the English until their forces were prepared, when they had declared war upon them, and thought to keep their ambassador prisoner. But the English had adopted the same policy, declared war on France and arrested every Frenchman in England, as answering for the French ambassador, in order that theirs might return safely to England. He declared in general terms that his King had wished to inform us of this, as we were his good father and brother, and he confidently hoped that we would not fail to grant him the help promised in the treaties, and would favour him as much as in reason we could. We replied that we were sorry matters had gone so far, and were happy to see the King treat us with so much confidence in having us informed in detail. We would certainly not fail to do for him everything to which the treaties bound us, whilst acting in an honourable manner towards the King of France. Before arriving at Valenciennes, while we were still at Arras, an English gentleman sent from England brought to M. de Reux (fn. 2) certain articles concerning the treaties, upon which he demanded explanation. M. de Reux replied in the sense of the apostil written in the margin of the said article, of which we are sending you a copy in order that you may be forewarned, in case they should speak to you about it, and reply in the same tone.
We will inform you that the King of France has also sent us a gentleman related to the Constable, called M. de Pot. This gentleman, giving as his reason the fact that the King his master and ourselves were near the frontier and one another, informed us that his master had long tried to persuade the King of England to cease the injuries he was doing him in violation of the last treaty and make amends for those already committed. The King of England seemed for a long time to wish to negotiate amicably, but instead of offering to make amends had demanded conditions that seemed strange in the King of France's eyes, insisting on the payment of old pensions claimed by the English and on the abandonment of Scotland by the French, who were to hand over the Queen, that her marriage with the King of England might be consummated. Rather than abide this, the King of France had decided to declare war, and was informing us of the facts in order to be justified in our sight. We replied that we were sorry things had gone awry between the two Kings, as both were our good brothers and friends and it would have given us the greatest pleasure to see them find a means of agreeing. Both pretended to be in the right, but as we were no judge, we did not wish to pronounce sentence. The said gentleman then went away without any more words; and we are telling you of this because we imagine the English to have heard of this gentleman's mission, and as they are suspicious you may tell them exactly what happened, in order that they may not imagine any extravagancies about it.
Our sister, the Queen Dowager of Hungary, has recently written to us of an outrage committed by certain English warships in Gravelines harbour, whence they not only carried off, by force and by night, some French ships that had put in there when pursued by the said Englishmen, but also seized and kept prisoners certain of our subjects whom the Captain of Gravelines had set to guard the said Frenchmen. We straitly charge you to speak very sharply to the Protector in the sense of our sister's letter; and mention it elsewhere as you will, making the English understand that we have no intention whatever of putting up with such treatment, and that they had better see to remedying the matter in accordance with our sister's letters.
Mons-en-Hainaut, 2 September, 1549.
Sept. 10. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.)
It seems to me, Sire, that though the King and his gossip (i.e. the Constable) are making a great to-do about their capture of the forts near Boulogne, they are not in reality as satisfied as they thought they would be. Besides, they expected to carry Ardres tower, and have been unable to do it because of bad weather, which has forced them to raise their camp and leave in the taken forts some infantry and 2,500 lansquenets who were in those parts before, and 200 men-at-arms who are very badly off for clothes and accoutrements, for they have suffered heavy losses in horses. They all complain of their losses and give endless reasons why it would have been wiser of the King to pay up his 2,000,000 crowns to the English as he had agreed to do by the treaty than to spend 2,000,000 in building a great fort over against Ardres tower as he is now doing, and in other hazardous enterprises. And be their conquest as it may, I only know by the witness of my own eyes that I have not seen one smiling face among the people returned from the front.
The King has sent the English ambassador to Montreuil to hand him over to his countrymen; and it is said that the ambassador is greatly surprised by the arrest at Montreuil of two servants of his whom he had sent to England.
Amiens, 10 September, 1549.
Sept. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Summary of what Van der Delft instructed his man Jehan du Bois (fn. 3) to say to the Emperor.
When the ambassador (i.e. Van der Delft) urged the Protector to grant an assurance for the Lady Mary, the Protector promised to send his reply by certain lords of the council, and a few days later the Great Master (of the Household, Lord St. John) and Controller Paget went to see the ambassador. They said to him that the King, Protector and Council would have preferred that the Lady Mary, like a wise and prudent lady, should have conformed with their laws and decrees in order to avoid any discord arising from diversity of religion and that they might not find themselves in such trouble with their subjects as they now had to lament. However, as she remained so fixed in her views that such conduct would do violence to her conscience, and as they desired to serve and please her, being the King's sister and the second person in the kingdom, in every possible manner, above all in everything that concerned his Imperial Majesty, they would assure her by their promise given to M. Van der Delft in his capacity as the Emperor's ambassador, that she should freely and without hindrance or interference continue divine service as she had been accustomed to have it celebrated in her house, and that her priests and the members of her household should incur no risk. To this the ambassador said that the Controller had well understood what his Majesty's desire was, and that he might consider how little satisfied his Majesty would be unless he obtained letters patent to the intended effect. And if he were to speak his mind, he thought it unsafe to trust to their spoken words and promises, for he had had several others given him by them, and afterwards broken, as he exposed in detail. Besides this it might happen that the Councillors who gave this promise might subsequently be absent, and others who had no knowledge of the matter might cling to the decrees. The Great Master and Controller did not contradict this but, as if in agreement, said that they would make their report and see how the lady might the better be assured, for such was their aim.
While this report was being made it seemed good to the ambassador to visit the said lady, who had come from Norfolk to New Hall (fn. 4) principally in order to communicate certain things to him. So with the knowledge of the Protector, Great Master and Controller Paget, who sent their humble recommendations to her Grace, the ambassador went to New Hall and told her what his Majesty had done for her assurance, for which her Grace said she could never thank his Majesty humbly enough. With regard to the assurance, however, she would demand nothing beyond the verbal promise, if it seemed good to his Majesty, because if letters were accepted she feared they might amount to a recognition of the laws against religion, which she would always deny, for these innovations were no laws, nor had they the force of laws, for they were not duly given, but contrary to (the service of) God, to her father's will and the welfare of the realm. Nevertheless, she leaves the whole question to his Majesty, as not only the one person in this world whom she may look upon as a father, but her one refuge and comfort. The two (the Lady Mary and Van der Delft) together decided that if either she or he were asked how the Council's promise pleased her, they should answer with one accord that she had no doubt that the Protector and Council would treat her as a person of her quality deserved, and would not urge her to load her conscience, but let her live in quiet with all her household unmolested, though in the past they had troubled her a trifle too much, for which she desired to blame no one in particular, but would pray God for the whole Council in general, that He might repair the wretched condition of the realm in His service.
The Lady Mary had received trustworthy information that there was much rivalry and division in the Council, for the Earls of Warwick, Southampton and Arundel, and the Great Master were working against the Protector and his new Council and sending to sound her to see if she would lend her favour to an attack on the Protector, whom they wished to impeach for lesemajestie. She therefore begged the ambassador to send his secretary to his Majesty in order to obtain his good advice as to how she was to behave if matters went further, as they doubtless would all the sooner if she were to lend an ear. However, if pressed, she would say as she had said before that she never interfered in government nor would she do so now, but was sad to see the realm going to perdition so fast that there was no longer any knowledge of God nor of reason, for which she could blame no man more than another, because by their common advice things had fallen into their present disorder and desperate condition. All that she was able to do was to pray God, as she continued to do every day, that He might have mercy upon them and that matters might at least be restored as they were when the late King her father left them; and if they insisted she would excuse herself on the ground that she could do nothing in this world without his Majesty's advice. She said further that she feared Paget might have to suffer because of his great friendship with the Protector, but he was wise and would know how to look out for himself. So on account of her requests and the likelihood of something coming of the matter, the ambassador told her he would not fail to send his man to his Majesty.
The ambassador stayed at New Hall four days, and received many favours from her Grace. On his return to London he heard how the Earl of Warwick had defeated the peasants in Norfolk, killing some 3,000 of them but with greater loss on his side than he cared to confess. Desiring to send these news to his Majesty and also the last word on the assurance, the ambassador sent to the Protector to obtain it, but the Protector made answer that Paget was out of town and that as soon as he was back, which would probably be on Tuesday next, he would send for the ambassador, as he had other things as well to tell him.
Meanwhile the ambassador sent his secretary to call on the Earl of Southampton and find out something about the above-mentioned faction, for though it was said that Southampton was ill, he suspected this might be an excuse for not going to court, as Southampton knew the Protector bore him no good will. The Earl spoke freely, though in confidence, to the secretary, repeating his customary assertions to the effect that if the English were wise they would regard his Majesty as a father, and that he regretted to see public affairs fallen into such confusion, but hoped, with God's help and his Majesty's favour, that they might be remedied. As for his indisposition, he was so far on the road to improvement that he was able to go to court, but he trusted the ambassador so entirely that he would not conceal from him that he desired not to hurry his return to court on account of the Protector's ill-will towards him. The secretary told him that he was on the point of going over to his Majesty on private business, and that if he (Southampton) knew of any good plan for improving affairs the ambassador would not fail to solicit his Majesty on the subject, but as for himself he saw no other way than to take a stand on the late King's will. To this Southampton said: “That would be going too far, for it would look as if it came from me or from some other private individual, but you may tell the ambassador that the Council has decided (if the Protector's new council does not reverse it) to send someone to his Majesty to inform him of the manner in which the King of France has invaded us and to tell him in what necessity we are, begging good advice and assistance of him as of a father.” The ambassador considers that his Majesty might reply in that event that, unless they intended to set matters in better order in religion as well as in the law, neither he nor any other Prince in Christendom would be able to advise them. When the secretary sounded Southampton on the promise for the Lady Mary's assurance, he replied: “I think that those who have molested her will do so no more, and even though they were to begin afresh she has many good servants, of whom I hold myself to be one.”
It is evident from the foregoing that this government has many enemies in the Council. The ambassador has heard the same story from a person of trust, to whom Controller Paget appears to have lamented, with tears in his eyes, the condition of the realm. The ambassador replied that he could impute no blame to any but those who had set up a Protector who, besides giving rein to his fancy in innovating in religious matters at his wife's instigation, had not enough capacity to fulfil the duties of his important post.
As the Protector delayed giving a reply concerning the Lady Mary for several days, saying that he was obliged to communicate again with the Council, and had other matters of interest to his Majesty to speak about to the ambassador, the ambassador decided not to put off sending his secretary longer, in order that his Majesty might be informed of the Lady Mary's affairs and form an opinion on the rest, and that the ambassador might learn what course to adopt.
The French ambassador is still in England, which causes his Majesty's ambassador to suspect that if Boulogne is restored or lost the English may treat with him, for the late King says nothing about this point in his will, and Boulogne has always been a burden to the English, of which they have desired to find some good means of getting rid. Certain members of the Council have several times said to the ambassador that they would rather hand it over to his Majesty than to the French.
Forces are being sent to Scotland, where a company of Spaniards has been taken by surprise by the French not far from Berwick; and the ambassador believes it to be true that the English will have to abandon Haddington.
Sept. 15. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 5)
Sire, since my man's departure I have twice been to see the Protector. On the first occasion he complained bitterly of the answer I had given to the Great Master and Controller Paget when they told me the Council would give me its promise in the matter of the assurance demanded for the Lady Mary. He said that I had made a reflection upon his honour by rejecting his word as if he had at any time broken it, for though he might occasionally have granted me something which he afterwards did not put into effect, he ought not to be blamed, as in private affairs he was bound to be guided by the information he received, but he would never be found to have fallen short of his word in matters of importance or anything concerning your Majesty.
Then I repeated to him everything I had said to the Great Master and Controller, as my man has informed your Majesty, and gave so detailed an account of the shortcomings I had noticed in the keeping of his promises that he saw fit to change the conversation, and said to me: “I wish to speak to you, and communicate to you something we have got into our possession, and which will enable the Emperor to understand what he may look for from the King of France.” With this he showed me two letters from the Governor and Lieutenant of Marseilles, and desired to show me the seals and signatures because he wished to send copies of the same to your Majesty through the English ambassador. As your Majesty will have seen these I will not repeat the contents of the letters here.
Next he gave me a long lecture on the kind of friendship the French entertained for your Majesty, and finally came to the point: that he wished your Majesty would undertake some enterprise with the English against France, for they, he said, would give your Majesty such assistance that you would soon get the better of the enemy. I told him that your Majesty had no cause for going to war with the French unless they broke the treaty you and they had made with the late King of England's consent, as Controller Paget also heard definitely from your Majesty. The Protector then made lament about the peasant rising both because of the loss of men it caused them and the obstacles it placed in the way of their other affairs; and so ended our talk without his speaking of the forts taken in the Boulonnais.
After receiving your Majesty's letters of the 2nd instant, I went to the Protector again and laid before him what your Majesty commanded me touching the newly made bulwark near Gravelines, in order that the English might have it demolished. However, as the Protector sticks to it that the bulwark is within their territory, I finally accepted his offer to send commissaries to the spot to end the difference with those deputed by your Majesty and, also, if it please your Majesty, to settle the matter of the Frenchman seized near Gravelines harbour. For the remonstrance I made in accordance with your Majesty's letters profited me not at all in obtaining restitution; on the contrary the English persist that the prize was not taken in your Majesty's territory but in the enemy's, for the land in question was given by the King of England to M. de St. Paul, who was still a feudatory of the King's. As I cannot carry this dispute further without instructions from your Majesty, I will await the same unless it be your pleasure that the question be examined by the commissaries deputed by both sides for the matter of the bulwark, whom the English desire your Majesty to appoint first. On this point I said to them that, as they had first suggested this remedy for trouble caused by the English, they ought to name their men first, in order that your Majesty might send yours at the same time. Thus they took two days' delay to make the appointment, and I will not fail to inform your Majesty at once of the quality of their nominees. Matters in this realm are restless for change. The split in the Council is not so well hidden but that the ill-feeling between the Protector and the Earl of Warwick is well known. Paget begged me the other day to sound the Earl and try to bring him round to a better disposition regarding religion, but I have not yet attempted to do so, as I am waiting for your Majesty's instructions sent by my man.
London, 15 September, 1549.
Sept. 17. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 18. What the Emperor commanded Jehan Dubois, Secretary to Van der Delft, to reply to the points which he was instructed to lay before his Majesty.
The ambassador's reply to the Great Master and Controller Paget was very much to the point when he dealt with the promise both offered on their honour that the Lady Mary and her household should never be troubled because of the laws recently passed in the English parliament concerning religion. He did very well to insist that the assurance be given in writing, and his reasons are of the best, wherefore his master commands him to continue to solicit for it, now that certain of the Councillors seem favourable, especially as it may be hoped that the Protector, being in the situation described by the ambassador, may give in out of fear, be his own will inclined thereto or not. And it is far better to adopt this course rather than, by giving importance to the point, raised by the Lady Mary, of the questionable validity of laws on the ground of their being contrary to religion, lose this opportunity of obtaining the assurance in order to avoid danger into which she might hereafter fall, which is only too likely when the fickleness of the English and their small regard for promises are considered.
As for certain Councillors' machinations against the Protector, it does not for the present seem opportune that such an important change take place in England, for it is necessary to take into account the actual state of the country and the opening such events would supply to the King of France to encroach further on the English, together with the late unrest among their subjects and the discontent caused by the loss of their forts, and failure in Scotland. In any case it would be exceedingly hazardous for the Lady Mary to take any share in such proceedings, and it may well be suspected that she is being approached on the subject with the Protector's knowledge, because of his resentment that she alone should have opposed the decrees which he, urged by his wife, has obtained and published on religion. It may be that he dares not attack her directly, as she is supported by his Majesty, and is looking for another way of revenging himself by accusing her of plotting against the government of the realm. Again he may desire to find out exactly how she is disposed towards himself, and afterwards intend to avail himself of this knowledge to treat her accordingly. Particularly as she displays entire dependence from his Majesty, it may be suspected that the Protector's object is to discover his Majesty's disposition towards him and his affairs, in order to model his relations with France profitably. Therefore the ambassador will approve her late reply, and exhort her to repeat it in whatever manner she be approached, saying always as she prudently has said that she desires no intrigues and will accuse no one, but only wishes, because of her duty and affection towards the King, her lord and brother, that the affairs of the realm be properly conducted and put in such order that when he comes of age he may be satisfied, which she constantly implores the Creator to bring about, supplicating Him to inspire the Councillors, for other means of furthering the cause has she none. His Majesty also commands the ambassador to have a care, when he is conversing with anyone, to show no passion against the Protector and those who rule the country for the above reasons, but merely to desire its repose, tranquillity and prosperity. He will listen carefully to all that is said to him, and send reports of all happenings from time to time.
The secretary brought a ring which the Princess received some time ago from his Majesty, and which she gave him as a token, as well of his written instructions as, it is supposed, of her desire to leave England, a matter in which, saving correction, the said lady ought not to be encouraged, because of the great difficulty that would be met with in getting her out of the realm, and the problem of supporting her over here, for in such event nothing might be expected for her from England.
Since the above was written the English ambassador has informed his Majesty, on behalf of the King, his master, and the Protector, that he has heard a special envoy is to be sent hither. And the ambassador declared in great confidence, begging his Majesty to keep it a secret, that the English were in dire need of money, and that the King of France was making the greatest efforts to recover Boulogne, which they, for their credit's sake, would be unwilling to give up, saying in conclusion that they were in a most difficult position. He consequently implored his Majesty to remember the trust the late King had reposed in him when he so cordially recommended his son to him at the end of his life, and to consent to advise the English as to what they should do in the present case. In meditating his reply, his Majesty remembered the opinion expressed to the ambassador by the Earl of Southampton, and though the English ambassador refrained out of modesty from pressing the point, it seemed to his Majesty suitable to show him that he was anxious to comply with his desire, and therefore he instructed the Bishop of Arras to answer, in substance, that his Majesty deeply regretted, because of his affection for the King, every occurrence that might disturb him, and also his present need, which his Majesty would keep secret as the ambassador desired. As far as his Majesty understood the situation, and consequently could give advice, it seemed to him that the principal cause of distress was the divided state of the realm brought about by the change in religious matters, and by lack of justice and order. And as all Christian princes were repelled from the affection they naturally would bear England for this very reason of religious change, it seemed to his Majesty that the English might seize the opportunity offered by this winter, while bad weather protected them from attacks from France, and after strengthening all their strongholds for fear of surprises, to remedy the condition of religion while there was yet time, to conform with all the states of Catholic Christendom, to reform justice and administration, and to put down revolt. Thus when next year came they might the better resist all attacks directed against them. M. Van der Delft is to be informed of this, in order that if they speak to him in England on the subject he may reply in similar terms without showing in any way that he has heard from his Majesty about the English need of money, as they requested so particularly that the secret might be kept.
Antwerp, 17 September, 1549.
Sept. 17. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.)
Since the King's camp before Boulogne was broken up, he has heard that the English have made an attack upon the Rhinegrave's force and have killed one hundred and six score men and taken as many prisoners, whilst the garrison of Guines have killed the standard-bearer and several men-at-arms of M. d' Enghien's company. In addition to this, news have come that 400 or 500 horse from Cleves have entered Calais, and that the English are raising infantry to send to the same place in order to supply the lack there was of it. The King has therefore been moved to send two companies of men-at-arms towards Boulogne, besides those he has in that quarter already, and all are to winter on that frontier. According to what I have heard, if this campaign were to be begun afresh it would not be carried on in the same way, for people here are led by what they hear and see to believe that this attack on England will dispose your Majesty all the more to make war on France if you have any mind to do so, and that if your Majesty joins the affray the English will take heart to revenge themselves here and there while the French have their hands full with your Majesty; for the English are irritated by the cruelty shown to their men in Salaich (?) fort and the strange fashion of opening hostilities while friendly negotiations were proceeding, breaking the treaty of peace that was passed so short a time ago. The French also know that whenever your Majesty cares to do so, you may make a good reason for war against their King out of the leagues into which he has entered, on conditions contrary to the friendly relations he is always talking about, in order to retain possession of the territory he has usurped. I presume that your Majesty has already been informed that he is urging the members of the leagues to include the countries he now possesses and may hereafter possess, showing openly his hostile intention towards your Majesty, and at the same time the fact that he wishes to dissemble until he is strong enough to fight. It is said publicly that if the King had listened to M. de Vendôme and the Italian captains he would have temporised with the English, not out of fear of their strength but of your Majesty, for this campaign must split up the French forces and devour much money, and they lay little store by the taking of the forts near Boulogne or by the new one they have put up. They say that there is about an Italian mile of sea by which Boulogne harbour may be approached, and that the English will not cease revictualling the place because of the loss of the forts nor because of their recently built one, since battering ships from that distance will be uncertain work, and two out of every three will succeed in reaching the harbour. Also the advice of those who are trying to persuade the King to sink ten or twelve heavily ballasted ships in the entrance of Boulogne harbour is unprofitable because the sea is too deep at high tide and at low tide it would be possible to burn the wood; so without taking Ardres tower it will be very difficult to capture Boulogne unless it be ruined, which is believed to be hardly possible because of the character of the ground. I observe that the King now understands these arguments better than he did before this campaign, and shows and confesses his fear of your Majesty; for he has forbidden his governors and captains in the neighbourhood of Boulogne to enter your Majesty's territory or make any incursions in the English Older Conquest. He has expressly ordered M. d'Albret to disband the men he had collected, and to send his lansquenets by different roads towards Boulogne, for whose payment he has ordered 20,000 crowns to be raised in Guyenne; and this is true whatever may be said to the contrary. To satisfy all the commands expressed in your Majesty's last letters, I will add that M. de Vendôme is going to Vendôme to refresh himself until All Saints' day, when he is to bring his wife to meet the King in Paris or Fontainebleau.
The goldsmith tells me that one Franc-Cœur, who has been in the habit of frequenting the English, has been approaching the Captain of Boulogne to hand it over to the King of France for 50,000 crowns.
Compiègne, 17 September, 1549.
Sept. 20. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
. . . The King has been informed during the last few days that M. de Thermes has taken two places in Scotland that were held by the English, and that M. de Châtillon was bombarding the break-water the English have made in Boulogne harbour and call the Dunette, which they hoped would afford protection from bombardment from fort Châtillon.
News have come from England that the English have been fighting among themselves about religion. . .
Compiègne, 20 September, 1549.
Sept. 23. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
As the members of the Council only assemble on Sundays at Hampton Court, where the King now is, I sent thither one of my men to learn whom they wish to depute for settling the matters of the bulwark near Gravelines and the seizure of ships; for the result of all the steps 1 have taken since I last wrote has been nothing but a statement from the Protector that the affair was of such importance that he was unwilling to come to any decision on it without obtaining the common opinion of the Council. And so I am expecting my man back to-day or to-morrow, but as I have the opportunity presented by the departure of this courier, I wish to inform your Majesty of the delay, though I hope I may send the names and condition of the commissaries by the next.
Last night, Sire, my secretary arrived here, and I shall follow your Majesty's commands, and exhort the Lady Mary to repeat her former reply and avoid entering into any intrigues or accusing anyone, however insistently she may be pressed. At the same time I shall take care to display no prejudice, but, Sire, were it not for your orders I should ill be able to conceal my dislike of such a poor and wicked government as this, that is going from bad to worse and cares for nothing but abolishing our ancient religion, as has been manifested once more by the action that has been brought during the last week against the Bishop of London (fn. 6) who was formerly ambassador in your Majesty's court. When the Bishop attempted to defend his opinion touching the holy sacrament and other articles of his sermon preached in his cathedral church of St. Paul by order of the Protector, it profited him nothing to justify himself with the aid of holy Scripture, common law, and even the written and customary law of the realm, the principal charge against him being that, of the four articles the Protector and Council gave him in writing to be read out to the people, he omitted the first, which stated that everything constituted and decreed in this kingdom since the late King's death has been duly done, notwithstanding the King's minority. After a lively defence of his action he was taken out of his house by night and thrown into a prison where common thieves are confined; and this was done last Friday, when the suit was prorogated until Monday, which is to-day. He has continued his defence this morning, though as a prisoner, and everyone is scandalised that he should suffer the penalty before sentence and thus have no freedom in defending himself, while two of the greatest heretics of the realm are being allowed to preach and malign him, and have been bribed to bear witness against him. It is true that in his reply he decked them out in such apparel (les habilla de telle sorte) that all the audience could tell that pure malice, and the desire to strike the Bishop down and take his see, which they say will be confiscated by the, King, was the cause of the whole matter.
On the other hand, no improvement is observed in the keeping of order or the administration of justice, and the people are all in confusion, and with one common voice lament the present state of things. The chief pirates who have so often robbed your Majesty's subjects come and go at court, are favoured in their malpractices and made use of. There is no decent administration at home or abroad, for if things are badly managed within the kingdom they are even worse looked after in the Boulonnais and Scotland, as we have already seen, and I have now heard that Lord Clinton, commander of Boulogne, does nothing but cry out for more men, whilst here they are disbanding those they had in readiness, like Hacfort's and Malatesta's companies, and they say the same will be done with Germain's. I also hear that the English army in Scotland has lost much ground since the Spaniards were defeated and their captain, Julian, taken prisoner, and it is considered certain that they will have to abandon Haddington which has cost this kingdom so dear, and all because they are harnessed to the Protector's fancy against the opinion of the other Councillors, as they have often told me.
So, Sire, considering the disgust felt by everyone for what is going on here, I cannot believe that the Protector will be able to stand much longer. He seems not to care greatly for Boulogne, perhaps because of the small hope he sees of relieving and keeping it. However, I perceive that he hopes that your Majesty's friendly relations with France, though he was unable to draw you into a war by sending over Paget, will not last long, and he bases his expectations on the intercepted letters about which I wrote to your Majesty not long ago, above all on one sent from Switzerland to the French court, in which it was stated that M. de Granvelle had arrived at Besançon and was going with the Prince of Piedmont to raise troops for some undertaking your Majesty intended to carry out, which was greatly alarming the Switzers and putting the men of Berne on their guard. Thus the Protector's manner of persuading himself (i.e. of the likelihood of a war between France and the Emperor) makes him dally all the more before spending money on making his position secure against France. Meantime the English are very badly off, and the Protector himself in an exceedingly tight place. His chief care is to avoid expenses, and seize every opportunity for delay and temporising; for whatever petition or suit I take to him, he grants it me and pays in words without any practical result, as recently happened with regard to the assurance for the Lady Mary, and the affairs of Sebastian Cabot and of several private individuals entrusted to my management by your Majesty.
Your Majesty may know, in order that you may the better understand the intentions of the English, that Paget himself told me he had had a dispute with the Protector, but that he found no one willing to help him, complaining of the Protector's character, who could not see two Councillors speaking together without becoming jealous, and telling me in great confidence that some other means of maintaining the kingdom would have to be looked for. Since then he has sent to me one Dr. Brun, a native of Metz in Lorraine who is in the King's service here, in good repute with the Protector and a great favourite of Paget—though Brun did not wish me to know Paget had sent him to me. This person told me he knew he had offended your Majesty, but though it were to cost his blood he did not wish to fail to communicate his opinion, in order that it might be seen what course was best in accordance with your Majesty's interest. He then gave me a long rambling account of the need in which the English were struggling, and said he could wish to see your Majesty make more open profession of your friendship for the King, in order to keep the English devoted to you; for he feared that if your Majesty did not do so, someone else might interfere and reconcile them with France, which would not be in your Majesty's interest; but the English would certainly be forced, Boulogne or no Boulogne, to court the friendship of France unless your Majesty helped them. To this I replied what seemed to me opportune.
After the King left for Hampton Court, the Earl of Warwick stayed here, and on his way to Greenwich where he was to retire, came to see me at a house I have in the country. But before his arrival I was told that he was coming by a trusty and secret friend of mine, a native of your Majesty's dominions and also a man in the earl's confidence, who told me everything the earl had said about me, the upshot of which was that he doubted if he could trust me because he well knew I was a great friend of the Protector and of his party, which made him afraid that I would inform the Protector of what he should say to me. However, he would confide in the friendship I had always shown him, and come and converse with me. After I had congratulated him on his safe return and the exploits he had performed, we talked on various subjects, and at last he displayed his discontent with the Protector, saying that now was the time for your Majesty to come forward as the King's father. I assured him that your Majesty desired nothing but the King's and his realm's good, and would be glad to see everything here in such condition that God might thereby be served and the kingdom prosper, for your Majesty had no other object in view, as he (Warwick) might have heard from the English ambassadors. He then said: “You must know that Ambassador Hoby is entirely devoted to the Protector, and his creature.” As he put off our conversation until another day, when he said he would come and dine with me and some other Councillors, I kept back what I intended to say about religion, for I hoped to be able to sway him, which is more than may be expected of the Protector, who, whatever hopeful words he may utter, is in reality quite hardened and won over by his wife to continue persecuting good people and advancing and favouring the wicked. Wherefore, Sire, I humbly beg your Majesty to let me know as soon as possible whether, while not taking any part as ambassador, I might not as a private person say what seems to me necessary to the restoration of our ancient religion and preservation of friendly relations between the King and your Majesty, though without showing any personal prejudice against anyone.
The English ambassador coming from France arrived at Dover yesterday, and I think the one from here will also have reached his country by now. I also have hopes that God intends to suffer no longer the seductions practised by Martin Bucer, for he is so ill that a long life is unlikely in his case.
The Rhinegrave, who has been here, came to say good-bye to me and told me he was well speeded by the English, but would never consent to serve here without your Majesty's permission and favour. However, I have heard of a place where he confidentially complained that his parting was as poor and miserable as all the rest have met with, so there is not one nation that is satisfied.
London, 23 September, 1549.


  • 1. This person was in the French service, and other members of his family resided at the French court.
  • 2. Variously spelt Reux, Reuil, Rœulx.
  • 3. or Duboys.
  • 4. New Hall, in Essex, was successively occupied by Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, Mary and Elizabeth. The house still exists, and is now a convent.
  • 5. This letter, a few short passages of which are in cipher, is written entirely in Van der Delft's hand.
  • 6. Dr. Edmund Bonner, the great heretic-burner of Mary's reign.