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1320 [1319]

K. Ed. 6. A letter of the king to the Lady Mary.

MarginaliaAn. 1550. such as doe with those thinges to take place, whiche bee moste agreeable to themselues, by whose doynges your maiestye not offended, I entende not to rule my conscience. And thus without molesting your Highnes any farther, I humbly beseech the same, euen for Gods sake to bear with me, as you haue done, and not to thinke that by my doyngs or example any inconuenyence might grow to your maiestye or your Realme, for I vse it not after such sorte puttinge no doubt but in time to come, whether I liue or dye, your Maiestye shall perceiue that mine intent is grounded vpon a true loue towardes you, whose royall estate I beseeche almighty God long to continue, which is and shall be my dayly prayer according to my duety. And after pardon craued of your maiestye for these rude and bolde letters, if neither at my humble suite, nor for the regard of the promyse made to the Emperour, your Highnes will suffer and beare with me, as you haue done till your Maiesty may be a iudge herein your selfe, and rightly vnderstand their proceedinges, (of which your goodnes yet I despeire not) otherwise, rather then to offend God and my conscience, I offer my bodye at your will, and death shall be more welcome then life with a troubled conscyence, moste humbly beseeching your Maiesty to pardon my slownes in answering your letters. For mine olde disease would not suffer me to write any sooner. And thus I pray almighty God to keepe your Maiesty in al vertue & honor with good health and long life to his pleasure. From my poore house at Copped hall. the xix. of Aug.

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Your Maiesties most humble sister, Mary.

A Copy of the kinges maiesties letters to the sayd Lady Mary.

RIight deare and right intierly beloued sister, we greet you well, and let you know that it greeueth vs muche to perceiue no amendement in you, of that which wee for Gods cause, your soules health, our conscience, and the common tranquillitye of our Realme, haue so long desired, assuringe you that our suffrance hath much more demonstration of naturall loue, then contentation of our conscyence and foresight of our safety. Wherfore although you geue vs occasiō as much almost as in you is to diminish our natural loue: yet be we loth to feele it decay, and mean not to be so carelesse of you as we be prouoked.

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And therefore meaning your weale, and therwith ioyning a care not to bee found gilty in our conscience to God, hauing cause to require forgeuenes that we haue so long for respect of loue towardes you omitted our bounden duety, we send at this present our right trusty & right welbeloued coūsaylor the Lord R. or Chancelor of Englād, & our trusty and right welbeloued Counsaylers, Sir A. W. Knight, Cōptroler of our houshold and Sir W. P. Knight, one of our principall Secretaries in message to you, touchinge the order of your house, willing you to geue them firme credite in those thinges they shall say to you from vs, and doe there in oure name. Yeauen vnder our signet at our Castle of Winsor, the 24. of August, in the first yeare of our Raigne.

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A copy of the kinges Maiesties instructions, geuen to the said L. C. sir A. W. and sir W. P. knightes, &c. 24. August. 1551.

FIrst, you the sayd lord Chauncellor and your Colleagues shall make your immediate repaire to the said Lady Mary geuing to her his maiesties harty commendations, and shew the cause of your commyng to be as followeth.

Although hys maiesty hath long tyme, as well by hys maiesties owne mouth and writing, as by his counsaile trauailed that the sayd Ladye beyng his sister, and a principall subiect and member of hys realme, should both be in deede, and also shew her selfe cōformable to the lawes & ordināces of the realme, in the profession and rites of religion, vsing all the gentle meanes of exhortation and aduise that coulde be deuised, to the intent the reformation of the fault might willingly come of her selfe, as the expectation and desire of his maiesty, and all good wyse men was: yet notwithstandyng hys maiesty seeth that hetherto no maner of amendement hath followed, but by the continuance of the errour and manifest breach of hys lawes, no small peril consequētly may happe to the state of hys realme, especially the sufferaunce of such a fault beyng directly to the dishonor of god and the great offence of hys maiesties conscience, and all other good men: and therefore of late, euen with the consent and aduise of the whole state of his priuy Counsail, and diuers others of the nobilitie of hys realme, whose names ye may repeate, if you thinke conuenient, hys maiestie did resolutely determine it iust, necessary, and expedient, that her grace should not in any wyse vse or maintayne the priuate masse, or any other maner of seruice, then such as by the law of the realme is authorised and allowed: and to participate this hys maiesties determinatiō to her grace, it was thought in respect of a fauourable procedyng with her selfe, to haue the same, not onely to be manifested by her owne officers and seruauntes, beyng most estemed with her, but also to be executed by them in her house as well for the more quiete proceeding in the very matter, as for the lesse molesting of her grace with any message by straungers, in that tyme of her solitarines, wherin her grace then was by the reason of the late sickenesse. For which purpose her three seruantes, Rochester, Englefield and Walgraue were sent in message in this manner. First, to deliuer hys maiesties letter to her, next to discharge the Chaplains of saying masse, and prohibityng all the householde from hearing any. Wherein the kinges maiesty perceyueth vpon their owne reporte, beyng returned to the Court, how negligently, and in deede how falsely they haue execured their commaundement & charge contrary to the duety of good subiectes, and to the manifest contempt of his maiesty, insomuch as manifestly they haue before hys maiesties Counsaile refused to doe that whiche pertayneth to euery true faythfull subiect, to the offence so farre of his maiesty, and derogation of his authority, that in no wyse the punishment of them could be forborne, & yet in the maner of the punishmēt of thē his maiesty and his councell hath such consideration, and respect of her person being hys sister, that without doubt hys maiesty coulde not with honour haue had the like consideration or fauour in the punishment of the derest counsailour he hath, if any of them had so offended, and therfore his maiesty hath sent you thre not only to declare to her grace the causes of their sendyng thether of late hys officers in message, but also the causes of theyr absence now presently. And further, in the defaulte of the sayd officers to take order, as well with her Chaplains, as with the whole houshold, that hys maiesties lawes maye be there obserued. And in the communication with her, you shall take occasion to answer in hys maiesties name certayne poyntes of her letter, sent now lately to his maiesti. The copy of which letter is now also sent to you to peruse, for your better instruction how to proceede in. First, her allegation of the promise made to the Emperour, must be so aunswered, as the truth of the matter serueth, wherof euery of you haue heard sufficient testimony diuers tymes in the Counsail for her offring of her body at the kinges wyll, rather then to chaunge her conscience. It greeueth his maiesty much, that her conscience is so setled in e rour, and yet no such thyng is ment of his maiesty, nor of any one of his counsayle once to hurt, or wyll euill to her body, but euen from the bottome of their hart wisheth to her mentem sanam in corpore sano. And therfore ye shall doe very well to perswade her grace that this proceeding commeth onely of the conscience the king hath, to auoyde the offence of God, and of necessarye counsaile and wisedome to see his lawes in so weighty causes executed. Item, because it is thought that Rochester had the care and consideration of her graces prouision of houshold, and by his absence the same might be either disordered or disfurnished: his maiesty hath sent a trusty skilfull man of his owne householde, to serue her grace for the tyme. Who also is sufficiently instructed of Rochester, of the state of her thinges of houshold. And if there shall be any thing lacking in the same, his maiesties pleasure is, that his seruant shall aduertise his owne chiefe officers of houshold, to the entent if the same may be supplied of any store here, or otherwhere helped conueniently, her grace shall not lacke.

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Item, hauing thus proceded with her grace, as for the declarations of the causes of your commoning, ye shall then cause to be called afore you the chaplaines, and all the rest of the houshold there present, and in the kinges maiesties name most straightly forbid the chaplaines eyther to say or vse any masse or kynd of seruice other then by the law is authorised: and likewyse ye shall forbid all the rest of the company to be present at any such prohibited seruice, vpō paine to be most straightly punished, as worthely fallyng into the daunger of the kings indignation, and a lyke charge to them all, that if any such offence shall be openly or secretly committed., they shall aduertise some of his maiesties Counsail. In the which clause ye shall vse the reasons of their natural duty and allegeance that they owe as subiects to their soueraigne Lord, which derogateth all other earthly dueties.

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Item, if you shall finde either any of the priestes or any other person disobedient to this order, ye shall commit thē forthwith to prison as ye shall thinke conuenient.

Item, for as much as ye were priuy to the determination at Richmond, and there vnderstoode how necessary it was to haue reformation herein: hys maiesty, vpon the great cōfidence he hath in your wisdomes and vprightnes remitteth