jueves, 18 de enero de 1554

26 años

Simón Renard al Emperador.


Since I last wrote the Queen has communicated to me Wotton's letters, from which I have made the enclosed extract. Your Majesty will learn from it the entire substance of the negotiation between Wotton and the Constable of France. The Council of England have made no sign of it to me, because as I hear they see but small likelihood that your Majesty may be induced to accept a truce and suspension of arms of so suspicious a nature, were it only because of the final article of the letters, and the King of France's intention to keep the places occupied by him on both sides of the mountains (i.e. the Alps) since the outbreak of hostilities. Moreover, as every day that passes brings to light fresh intrigues by which the French are endeavouring to rouse the people, and awaken troubles and rebellion in this kingdom, they (the Council) are of opinion that during the truce the French might with greater ease and vigour succour and help the said rebels and conspirators according to the promises made to them. Information has been received that they (the French) are getting ready their fleet on the coasts of Normandy and Brittany with that object, and that they are about to send several captains over here to lead, guide and counsel the people when they have risen as they are soon expected to do. The French seem determined to break with the English and do their very worst against them, and seize an advantage over them, because they judge that if his Highness comes to England and remains here, it will in no case be possible for England to remain at peace with France. The Council is so penetrated with the danger, that they summoned Peter Carew (Caro), who was plotting in the West Country to induce the people to rise; but Peter Carew did not come, giving as his excuse that he had no horses. They sent again, and he declared himself openly a rebel, thereby plainly showing the evil intentions in his mind. Courtenay and his followers are afraid he may reveal their secret if he comes; but the Council have issued orders to the officers to seize him bodily and take him prisoner to the Tower of London. During the last few days six or seven nobles and commoners have been arrested. The Queen, in order to ascertain the real feelings of each one, has ordered a publication of her marriage to his Highness to be made to all the gentlemen, officers, servants and ministers of her household, and requested their obedience and fidelity to his Highness. In sign of which they all raised their hand. The same has been done by the mayor, magistrates, aldermen, and men of the law of the City of London, who did not openly show any opposition. The Florentine, Genoese and Venetian merchants, as well as several merchants of London have murmured, declaring that it would mean their ruin. It is proposed to do the same all over the country, adding reasons and persuasions to make the marriage acceptable. It is known that several foreign heretics have visited numerous houses, declaring that the preachers spoke the truth when they announced that the kingdom would fall into foreign hands and the Gospel and Religion would be altered.

Anthony Bonvisi has published that the Pope has declared himself in favour of the French and will not grant the dispensation for the marriage asked for by your Majesty; and that there are gentlemen at your Majesty's Court who certify there was a promise of marriage exchanged with the Infanta of Portugal. As I know him to be entirely devoted to Courtenay and Cardinal Pole, whose servants lodge in his house when they come over here, and as he has openly declared that he does not wish the alliance with his Highness to take place, alleging sundry considerations to justify his opinion, I have surmised that the news he publishes may come from the Cardinal, who may have undertaken evil offices with his Holiness concerning the dispensation, either to delay, or grant it conditionally, or question the possibility of granting it; for I cannot believe he could refuse it, the relationship being in the third degree. Moreover the Pope would thus discover himself too openly, and might open the way to that reformation which is judged to be necessary to the complete re-establishment of religion.

The Queen's Council have sent me the enclosed memorandum about which I wrote to your Majesty in my last letters.

The French took seven vessels belonging to your Majesty's subjects, last Sunday, some in the mouth of the Thames and some about twenty-four miles out at sea. They were freighted with merchandise, and four came from Ostend, one from Flushing, one from Bruges and one from Nieuport. I lodged a complaint with the Council to obtain compensation. and it was admitted that two vessels from Dieppe, one from Fécamp and one from Boulogne had taken the prizes within the jurisdiction of England.

It will be expedient that your Majesty consider what had best be done to guard the coast with a defensive force, otherwise your subjects will greatly suffer. The French are preparing for hostilities against England.An English vessel arrived here yesterday from Bilbao. The pilot states that a great fleet is being armed, and 107 vessels are ready for his Highness's passage, Don Diego de Acevedo being at Bilbao. We have had no private advice on the matter.

Chevalier Bernardi informed Paget two days ago that the Venetian Secretary (i.e. the Secretary of the Venetian Embassy) had told him that 10,000 men would meet their death before Carew came to London. He warned him that the Venetian ambassador was plotting by every means in his power with the French ambassador to incite the people to revolt. Nevertheless I requested Paget not to place much faith in him, because of the reasons given in the Bishop of Arras's last letters.

It has been ascertained that Spinola,(Captain Spinola) who claims a pension of 500 crowns from the Queen, is carrying on intrigues over here on behalf of the King of France, and one of the Lords of the Council has said as much to the Secretary of the French ambassador.

Berteville (Sir John Bertevillo or Barteville, a French gentleman) and other English captains are awaiting an answer to what I wrote to your Majesty in my last letters.

I have received confirmation of the fact that Stukeley has been in the French service since he left England, and that he was with the French when Yvoir was taken. I think I have identified the writing of the person who wrote the petition he presented to your Majesty, and I believe that it was a Frenchman who wrote it. If it pleases your Majesty to cause him to present another petition, one could compare the two, and arrive at a better knowledge of the truth.

The Venetian ambassador paid a visit to my Lords of Egmont and Lalaing, and asked inquisitively whether M. d'Egmont was soon to depart for Spain, if his Highness would come before long; if the Queen had signed the articles, and whether the Duke of Suffolk (Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, father of the Lady Jane) and the Earl of Derby,(Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby) had signed also. I can assure your Majesty that they (the Venetians) are even worse than the French.

Sire, I am credibly informed that the King of France has a design to send soldiers to this kingdom to assist the rebels, and that he will do so in a short time, so that the country may be roused to revolt, the marriage prevented, and Courtenay raised to the throne by means of a marriage with the Lady Elizabeth. I hold this information from a source which precludes any doubt as to its accuracy. It will be expedient, therefore, to consider the means that may seem best to your Majesty for the Queen's assistance by land and sea, prevention being the best (remedy).

The French plan consists in seizing this opportunity to take the war out of their own country; the Germans meanwhile are to attack your Majesty in Friesland or the Duchy of Luxemburg, and the Duke of Vendðme, with eight thousand or ten thousand Frenchmen will do his worst in the direction of Biscay and Navarre. I have received advice that he is raising men-at-arms in Gascony.

The people of La Rochelle and Bordeaux have armed four great vessels and are coasting near Biscay. The people here are wondering why your Majesty is not getting a fleet ready, and is not giving leave to your subjects to arm as you are well informed of the King of France's preparations in the ports of Normandy and Brittany, and of the presence on the seas of a certain number of vessels some of which took the ships referred to above, while they all command the English coast.

It is certain that the King is collecting together a large number of convicts for his galleys.

Besides taking all their plate from his subjects, the King has asked for a loan from each town in his kingdom, and has put back a tax on each steeple, amounting to twenty francs. He has determined to collect all the money he can for the continuation of war, because he is being persuaded that your Majesty is seriously ill and cannot live, long.

I dare not speak as openly as might seem necessary to the Queen and her Council about all I have set forth above, because the marriage per verba de prœsenti has not yet taken place, and because of the objections which the Chancellor raised when we first discused the project of the alliance. But I have informed Paget of everything, and the Admiral (Lord William Howard, Lord Admiral of England) has gone to arm the fleet. I mentioned to Paget the names of all those who have an understanding with the King (of France). The worst symptoms I see are the dissensions and partialities within the Council, where Courtenay has friends, and the unstable and deceitful nature of the English. Paget has strongly urged me to find out if it would not be possible for his Highness to come here soon, as he thinks he could set matters right and do all that is necessary and suitable. As he says himself, the French know there is no money in the kingdom, the heretics are discontented, many catholics even do not desire the marriage, and many of the English are French partisans. The Queen, being a woman, cannot penetrate their knavish tricks nor weigh matters of state; and he beseeches your Majesty very humbly to consider what is set forth above, and provide in time.

M. d'Oisel who passed through to Scotland was taking with him five or six French captains, besides six more who went through before, to get an army together in Scotland. They had charge to get all the ships in Scotland ready to join the king's and carry out his plans. A French spy has discovered this, and it confirms other information we had already received.

After my letter was written Paget came to see me in my house to inform me that Carew had assembled eight or ten gentlemen in the town of Exeter and called together a great number of people to find out if they would sign and acknowledge a certain letter he had written to the Queen of England, wherein he declared that they did not in any way intend that his Highness should disembark in the West Country with Spaniards, because, as he said, the Spaniards would wish to do as they pleased, and violate their daughters, which they ought not to suffer, but had better choose death. Thus the revolt and commotion referred to was begun. The people would have no part in the sending of the letters which, nevertheless, were despatched.

When I communicated the said letter to your Majesty's ambassadors, they were of opinion that I should send them to you, and declare everything plainly to the Queen. I have done so; and while I was on my way I met a Gentleman Usher who was coming to summon me as she desired to speak to me. When she heard that I had been informed about Carew's actions, she had me shown certain letters from Carew, signed by him and by seven other gentlemen of the West Country, addressed to the Queen's Council, in which he excused himself for having assembled the people at Exeter, on the plea that he had not known her intentions as to the marriage, and that they (i.e. Carew and his friends) had been induced to believe that the Spaniards were coming in arms to England to oppress the people. They besought the Council to take their excuses in good part. Now, it has been ascertained that they had done their utmost to rouse the people; but the people believing their real object to be an attack on religion, refused to be subverted. The Queen informed me that she had issued a warrant to seize Carew, and was about to send captains and lieutenants in every direction through the country to raise men-at-arms and do all that was requisite to prevent the people from rising, prosecute the rebels, and let the French know that she was not unprepared either by land or sea, as her ships should be armed and every possible demonstration made. I have encouraged her as much as I could, so that surprises may be avoided. I also informed her of that which we had agreed upon together; (i.e. the Envoys and the ambassador) but she told me she had entire confidence that your Majesty would do what seemed best. She then spoke to me of his Highness's coming, and repeated again that unless he arrived here before Lent she would not marry until after Easter. I replied that all haste should be made, but that it was difficult for him to arrive before Lent; and I trusted your Majesty would take into account the information set forth above, and would do all that was requisite, considering that the French enterprise was adverse to your Majesty and the Queen. I will wait for further instructions from your Majesty. While writing these letters I received a packet from his Highness dated November 12th. The courier was delayed 40 days at the port of Plaisance. I have no news of the other three who passed this way. His Highness's letters confer upon me full power to promise whatever is necessary for the marriage, but as they are in cipher, I do not see how I can use them. I will inform the Queen, however, the better to confirm her in her resolve.

London, 18 January, 1554.

French. Signed, Cipher.

Printed from a transcript at Brussels, by Gachard, Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Appendix to Vol. IV.

Batalla de Trafalgar - Autor: Frederick Merck
Portrait of Simon Renard de Bermont by Anthonis Mor.

Vienna. E. 22.

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554

Edited by Royall Tyler.

Published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1949.


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