Spain: May 1547, 16-31

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

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'Spain: May 1547, 16-31', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, ed. Martin A S Hume, Royall Tyler( London, 1912), British History Online [accessed 25 July 2024].

'Spain: May 1547, 16-31', 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 25, 2024,

"Spain: May 1547, 16-31". Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549. Ed. Martin A S Hume, Royall Tyler(London, 1912), , British History Online. Web. 25 July 2024.

May 1547, 16–31

May 21. Vienna Imp. Arch. The Emperor to Eustace Chapuys. (fn. 1)
We wish to remind you of the negotiation that formerly took place on the proposed conditions of a marriage between the Infante Don Luis of Portugal and our cousin the Princess (Mary) of England, respecting which the Infante addressed us shortly after the death of the late King of England requesting our opinion on the matter. We do not, however, well remember what passed at the time that it was formerly being discussed and what were the principle reasons why it fell through, and we have thought best to write to you about it before going any further. We desire that you will as soon as possible advise us in detail of all the difficulties that were formerly raised, and give us your opinion on the matter. You will also tell us what in your opinion will be the best means to bring forward again immediately the negotiations for the said marriage, so that we may be able to reply without delay to the Infante and give him the advice he asks for, accordingly.
The Camp before Wittemberg. 21 May, 1547.
May 21. Vienna Imp. Arch. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We presume that you have on various occasions heard that formerly, at the time that Councillor Chapuys was our ambassador in England, there was some discussion about a treaty of marriage being arranged between the Infante Don Luis of Portugal and our cousin the Princess (Mary) of England. The matter was not carried through at that time, owing to certain difficulties that were raised. After the death of the late King of England the Infante at once brought the proposal forward again, desiring us to inform him whether, in our opinion, if he renewed the negotiations there was any appearance that the match would be acceptable. We are in ignorance of how the late King has dealt with the Princess in his will, and what amount of dowry she will have. This information is necessary before any further steps can be taken, and we therefore request you to inform us in your first letter, but without making any mention whatever to the English of the Portuguese matter, in the fullest possible detail all that you may have been able to learn on the subjects referred to. You will also endeavour to discover the tendency of the Protector and the other governors towards the marriage of the Princess, in order that we may be able to inform the Infante on the matters which concern him.
Since our last letters, with the intelligence of the capture of the ex-Elector of Saxony, (fn. 2) we have arrived before this town. Certain agreements have been discussed with the said person, by which he holds out the hope of causing this town to surrender, but up to the present this is uncertain. If it does so we shall then proceed to adopt the course which may appear to us expedient in view of the position taken up by the Landgrave of Hesse and the maritime cities still in rebellion.
From our camp before Wittemberg, 21 May, 1547.
29 May. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 3)
Since the reception of your Majesty's letters with the excellent news of the capture of the proscribed Duke of Saxony, I have refrained from writing to your Majesty, not having had anything of importance to communicate, and at present the only matter worthy of mention is the rebellion and contumacy of the Irish against this King (Edward VI). To bring them to order a thousand foot men are being sent from here with five hundred horse under the command of Bellingham, a gentleman of the Chamber who was recently sent to your Majesty to announce the demise of King Henry. I understand that the towns are standing firm for the King with a principal lord of the country called Lord Desmond, but that the rebellion of the common people, who are called here savages, is made the more serious by reason of the adhesion of several nobles. Some people assert that they have some understanding with the Scots, who, as I learn from a close confidant of the Scottish Ambassador still here, are thinking more of carrying on the war than of peace. They are expecting in two or three days to have good certainty of aid from France. This was said after the arrival here of Sieur de Vielleville, who has been sent hither by the King of France, and yesterday, after being feasted at Court went with the French ambassador-resident to see the King.
So far as I can understand, Vielleville's mission is to reciprocate that of Master (Sir Francis) Brian, who was sent post from here to France, as I wrote to your Majesty in my last letter, and, as I since have heard, for the purpose of asking the King of France whether he was willing to entertain the negotiations that had been carried on with his late father, to which he replied that he was. For the further ratification of this decision M. de Vielleville has doubtless now been sent hither. However, that may be, these people are very anxious to keep on good terms with the French in consequence of the fear they are beginning to entertain of your Majesty, now that you have been so successful against your enemies in Germany, whom these people here were not desirous of seeing conquered and subdued.
The government here remains entirely in the hands of the Protector; to such an extent, indeed, that very little mention is made of the King and his Court, and all solicitation and resort are at the Protector's palace, where the Council meet and all business is despatched. This is so strictly and narrowly done as to give very little satisfaction to those foreigners who have any business to transact with them, and everybody is beginning to recognise that the reputation of the Court of England has greatly come down.
The former Lord Chancellor (Thomas Wriothesly earl of Southampton) was a few days ago taken by the captain of the guard and the halberdiers to the Protector's house, where there were assembled all the most renowned doctors of law. I have not been able to learn anything of the result of his examination, except that his confinement has been modified so far as to allow him to go within twenty miles of London. This will prevent him from being able yet to go to the country where his property is situated and where he has friends, about sixty miles away near Southampton, where he has for a neighbour the Bishop of Winchester (Stephen Gardiner) who is now resident in his diocese. It is quite probable that they (the Councillors) want to prevent these two men from meeting. It is very evident that the case against the Lord Chancellor was not found to be seriously criminal as he was allowed to return home surrounded by his servants without any guard.
As some days previously I had been informed that the Lord Chancellor would be summoned, and that the common people were beginning to look forward with hope to his case, I deemed it advisable at all events to entertain him in his adversity, in order not to lose my hold upon him if peradventure he should return to authority again. Before he was summoned, therefore, I made some other pretext for sending to him, and said how sorry I was to hear of his misfortune, and that I would have sent to visit him before, but that I was afraid that if I did so it might injure him and burden him with suspicion. I told him that he might be quite sure that your Majesty would be grieved after all the good and loyal services he had done to this realm, that any injury or wrong should be done to him. He took my message in very good part, offering and professing himself, as the most humble and obedient servitor that your Majesty could have, and recounting the whole history of his case. He referred finally to the enmity, which, he said, the Protector had borne him for a long time past. Amongst other things which were not true the Protector had accused him of granting authority, after the death of the late King, to ordinary judges to hear private causes, to which charge the Chancellor had replied that the authority in question had been passed with the seal of the Council, and was not in any way objectionable, since he had issued it in furtherance of justice. The power granted, moreover, was only to hear causes and not to determine them; and besides the power had not even yet gone out of his (the ex-Chancellor's) hands. He maintained that in his capacity as Lord Chancellor of the realm, he possessed the power, not only of granting such authority as that in question, but also of referring to, and providing (pourveoir) judges to decide ordinary causes, as he had been commissioned as Chancellor by the late King and also nominated as such in the King's will.
The Protector, he said, had thereupon asked him whether he would submit the decision of his cause to the Council or to the public tribunals; and, although he was strongly of opinion that the majority of the Councillors would not dare to decide contrary to the Protector's contention, he had preferred to choose rather the certain condemnation of the Council than a scandalous contention before the public judges, which might have resulted in great murmuring on the part of the common people. And so, the members of the Council having agreed with the Protector, and the ex-Lord Chancellor having been requested to retire for a short time, the latter was told that he was to surrender the great seal and withdraw to his house until further orders. He had been informed since then, he said, by some good friends of his that inquiries against him had been carried on incessantly in the interval, but he hoped that nothing wrong would be found which could justly be laid to his charge. He was well aware, he said, that they (the Councillors) had not yet found the stuff they were looking for, and he (Southampton) then went on to congratulate us on your Majesty's victory in Saxony. (fn. 4)
This victory was announced to me by order of the Protector by the gentleman of the bishop of Westminster, (fn. 5) who delivered to me your Majesty's letters. Since the receipt of this news the common people have been rather taken aback, but the Council are always intent upon consolidating the new doctrine both by the dissemination of new books and by the dismissal of such doctors and preachers as are reputed to be worthy and learned, whereby they give us but little hope of amendment.
Madam Mary is at a house some ten miles from London, and is allowed for her maintenance ten thousand ducats a year. The house where she is staying is that in which the Prince used to live in Essex, called Havering. So far as I can perceive very little account is made of her, and I have heard from a secret source she has had some discontent at certain discourse addressed to her; but as I have had no occasion nor excuse for going to see her, I have not been able to learn exactly what it means.
London, 29 May, 1547.
May 29. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to Loys Scors.
I thank you most humbly for your goodness in writing to me and sending me the copy of the Emperor's letter to the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) with the good news. These hardly meet with credit here amongst the common people, although it was known that the Emperor had written to me the same intelligence, and even that the gentleman who brought the letters had himself witnessed the whole affair; he being an Englishman sent hither from his Majesty's Court by the Bishop of Westminster to inform the Lords of the Council of the capture of the ex-Duke of Saxony (John Frederick), from which it is easy to understand what are the sympathies of these people (the English).
Your Lordship also writes to me to the effect that within a day or two I shall receive letters from the Queen (Dowager of Hungary), but no such letters have as yet come to hand. I am writing now to the Queen and also to the Emperor, giving them an account of what is passing here, as you will see by my letters. Monseigneur, I have recently received letters from my uncle Van Bombergen, who informs me that he had spoken to your Lordship respecting my private affairs and of the great necessity in which I find myself. As I have no doubt that you are bearing in mind the information you gave me on my departure from Flanders with regard to the manner in which I should bear myself here, and also that you are well aware of the express instructions I have from the Emperor to follow the King (Edward VI). I may say that in carrying out these orders I have fallen into very heavy expense, and I most earnestly hope that your Lordship did not reply to my uncle's representations in the way that he says. For my own part I have never expected to receive any pecuniary recompense, knowing, as I well do, the difficulty of it; but when I have gone beyond my own capabilities in the service of my sovereign it has always been in the confidence that when time and opportunity served I should, at all events, be remembered, and that bearing me in mind you would you aid me in obtaining the favour of the Queen.
My uncle also writes to me that he had understood that you desired me to employ greater energy than at present in the execution of my office, as you had told him you were writing to me more fully. In doing so you will display the long standing benevolence with which you have always acted towards me, for, truly, I cannot think in what respect I can have fallen short in my duty.
London, 29 May, 1547.
A personal postscript in Latin fully acknowledges “the absolute insufficiency of the writer to bend these obstinate spirits who hold out inflexibly against all the representations and complaints he makes to them. In the matter of the claims of the subjects of the Emperor owning property in the Boulognais they have been most bitter and vehement notwithstanding all his pertinacity.” From the tone of this postscript it is plain to see that Van der Delft owed his position to the patronage of Loys Scors, whom he addresses throughout with exaggerated respect and humility.


  • 1. Formerly the imperial ambassador in England but now living in retirement at Louvain.
  • 2. At the great battle of Mühlberg on the 24 April, Wittemberg, which was defended by John Frederick's heroic wife, surrendered to the Emperor on terms two days after this letter was written. John Frederick had been condemned to death, ostensibly, with the principal object of obtaining as the price of his life the surrender of Wittemberg.
  • 3. An almost exact replica of this letter was sent on the same day by the writer to the Queen Dowager of Hungary in Flanders. As the variants are merely verbal, the latter despatch is not transcribed here.
  • 4. The great and decisive battle of Mühlberg, in which the Protestants for a time were crushed, and the deposed Elector of Saxony, John Frederick, was captured by Charles, 24 April, 1547.
  • 5. Dr. Thirlby, the English envoy with the Emperor.