Elizabeth I's Former Tutor Reports on the Parliament of 1559: Johannes Spithovius to the Chancellor of Denmark, 27 February 1559

S. Adams, D. S. Gehring
2013 English Historical Review  
T fragmentary nature of the evidence for the proceedings of the Parliament of is one of the more obvious reasons for the continuing debate over the Elizabethan religious settlement. Philip II's representative, the count of Feria, whose reports have been in print for more than a century, has been the primary diplomatic source. As a consequence of the war with France, there was no French diplomatic representation at the English court. However, in February three further envoys arrived on
more » ... brief missions. George, count of Helfenstein, the Emperor Ferdinand I's ambassador in Brussels, was commissioned to greet Elizabeth I on her accession, but also to assess her intentions over religion and marriage. He has left a reasonably well-known series of reports. The other two envoys are more or less unknown, but both were Lutherans. One was Ludovico Vergerio, nephew of Pier Paulo Vergerio, spiritual advisor to Christopher, duke of Württemberg. The last envoy was sent by Dorothea, the recently widowed queen of Denmark. His sole surviving report is the only known commentary on the situation in England in February by a foreign Protestant observer. But he was not a stranger; he had previously been one of Elizabeth's tutors. I In most of his Danish correspondence this envoy signed himself Johannes Monasteriensis, although when writing to Sir William Cecil he used * The authors wish to thank the Rigsarkivet, Copenhagen, for their kind assistance and permission to publish the document printed below. They also wish to express their gratitude to Professor emeritus Henry Ansgar Kelly of UCLA, for his assistance with particularly difficult passages in the translation, and to the EHR's readers, for their useful and insightful comments. . Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, fifth count and first duke of Feria ( ?-). His awkward status after November is discussed in 'The Count of Feria's Dispatch to Philip II of November ', ed. M.J. Rodríguez-Salgado and S. Adams, Camden Miscellany XXVIII, Camden Society, th ser., xxix ( ), pp. -. The Mantuan Il Schifanoya, whose correspondence is as valuable as that of Feria, was not the Venetian ambassador (as is frequently stated), but a servant of the Master of the Knights of St John, Sir Thomas Tresham. . Much of his correspondence is found in translation in V. von Klarwill, ed., Queen Elizabeth and some Foreigners; Being a Series of Hitherto Unpublished Letters from the Archives of the Habsburg Family (London, ), pp. -. K. Diemer, 'Die Heiratsverhandlungen zwischen Königin Elisabeth I. von England und Erzherzog Karl von Innerösterreich, -' (Univ. of Tübingen Ph.D. thesis, ), pp. -, provides a superbly researched discussion of his embassy. . The younger Vergerio's mission is mentioned briefly in H. Horie, 'The Lutheran Influence on the Elizabethan Settlement, -', The Historical Journal, xxxiv ( ), p. . . Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenberg ( -), who married Christian III ( -) in .
doi:10.1093/ehr/ces310 fatcat:6dtxfl5qfvf6nd5xt46oud5vom