269. CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN QUEEN MARY AND THE KING OF DENMARK.
The eighteenth of February, Queen Mary at length, after long delay, made full answer to the king of Denmark's letters, who had written before two letters to the said queen, in the behalf of Master Coverdale, for his deliverance; who at that time went under sureties, and was in great danger, had he not been rescued by the great suit and letters of the said king of Denmark. The matter and copy of which his suit and letters, as they came to our hands, we have here set forth and expressed, whereby the singular love of this good king towards the truth of God's word, and the professors thereof, might the better appear to the world.
First, this virtuous and godly king Christian, hearing of the captivity of Miles Coverdale, of whom he had had some knowledge before, (being there in Denmark in King Henry the Eighth's time,) and lamenting his dangerous case, and partly through the intercession of Master Machabæus, superintendent in Denmark, who was partly of kin to Master Coverdale's wife, made intercession by letters to Queen Mary, desiring and requesting the said Miles Coverdale to be sent unto him. The date of which his first letter was about the kalends of May, A. D. 1554.
To this letter of the king, Queen Mary answering again, declared that the said Miles Coverdale was in no such captivity for any religion, but for certain debt: so neither plainly granting, nor expressly denying his request, but using a colourable excuse for shifting off the matter, as appeareth by his second letter sent to the queen, dated the twenty-fourth of September, as followeth.
"Christian, by the grace of God king of Denmark, Norway, Gothland, and of the Vandals; duke of Sleswick, Holstein, Stormar, and Ditmarsh; earl of Oldenburgh and Delmenhorst, &c.: To the most noble princess and Lady Mary, queen of England, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c., our most dearly beloved sister and cousin, wisheth prosperity with good and lucky success of all things.
"We have received your Majesty's letter, whereby answer is rendered, and that very graciously, unto our petition, which we made for the safeguard of Master Coverdale, lately called bishop of Exeter. So that we perceive, though he be in danger for another cause than was signified unto us afore, yet your Majesty will so regard our intercession that Coverdale himself shall understand it to have done him good. To the which regal promise, seeing we (as reason would we should do) attribute so much, that trusting unto the same, we doubt not, whereas he, being in captivity, his friends, whom we specially tender, are therefore in heaviness and care, your good promise doth call them from such sorrow and solicitude, to the hope and expectation of his assured welfare: we could not do otherwise, but render thanks unto your Majesty for such your ready and gracious good will, not only in respect of this benefit, but also of the conservation and keeping of perpetual amity between us and our realms, and so, as much as in us lieth, to omit nothing that to the nourishing and continuance of these fortunate beginnings might appertain. Neither had we ever any doubt concerning the clemency and moderation of your goodness, whom we heartily beseech Almighty God ever more and more to prosper, unto the glory of his name, and profit of the commonweal.
"Wherefore, seeing your Majesty writeth, that Master Coverdale is in danger for certain accounts of money, and not for any other more grievous offence, we have cause on his behalf to rejoice; and therefore we doubt so much the less, that at our request he shall graciously have his deliverance given him, and be out of danger. For as touching the bishopric, by reason whereof he came in debt, we understand he yielded it up, that no payment might thereof be required, specially seeing he is reputed neither to have enjoyed it long, neither to have had at any time so great commodity of it. Moreover, though it be possible to find some perplexity in the account, or haply some other cause, yet your Majesty's letters, offering such favour and benignity, have taken from us all carefulness and doubt; insomuch, that we think your Majesty, as much as may be, will have more respect unto our honour, than to that which might of him be required. And therefore we purpose not to trouble your Majesty by repeating of our petition, but to declare how greatly we esteem it that your Majesty would gratify us herein: whereof we plainly hope for such an end, that Cover-dale himself shall shortly in our presence make declaration concerning the benefit of his welfare obtained of your Majesty. And of this we desire your Majesty to be specially assured again, that we will not only omit no occasion or opportunity to requite this benefit, but also to establish and amplify our mutual love and amity between us and our realms on either side. Almighty God preserve your Majesty in prosperous health and felicity.
"Given at our city of Otton, the twenty-fourth of September, A. D. 1554."
To these letters it was a great while before the queen would answer.