Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1888.
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This Part II. of Volume the Fifth embraces a period of 30 calendar months from the death of queen Katharine of Aragon, in January 1536, to the interview of pope Paul III. (Farnese), the emperor Charles V., and king Francis I. at Nizza, in June 1538, which interview, being shortly after privately renewed by the two latter at Aigues-Mortes, in Roussillon, brought about a temporary truce, again to be broken a few years after. As long as the good Queen was alive the personal feud between the emperor Charles and king Henry was—apart from the latter's differences with the Holy See—too violent to admit of any relaxation; but when Katharine breathed her last, and Anne Boleyn fell a victim to Henry's capricious humour, there seemed no longer to be an obstacle to a renewal of the old alliance of England and the Empire against the French.
Early in the spring of 1536, when the political relations between the Emperor and Francis became somewhat strained, owing to the latter insisting upon having the investiture of Milan for his second son Henri, duke of Orleans, then married to Clement's niece; when, after a good deal of contention and diplomatic wrangling, and in consequence of Francis having invaded Savoy and Piedmont, the war broke out between the two princes, an attempt was made by Chapuys to detach Henry from the French alliance, or secure, at least, his neutrality. Anne Boleyn's miscarriage, which she said had been caused by the shock received at the too abrupt announcement of Henry's fall from his horse, —but which Chapuys rather maliciously attributed to her fear of being treated as the good queen Katharine had been (fn. n1)—seems to have paved the way for a better understanding between Henry and Charles, since, as early as February, Cromwell himself was the first to make certain overtures, formally declaring to Chapuys " that since God had been pleased to remove from this " world queen Katharine—the sole and unique impediment " to the true and perfect friendship between the Emperor " and the King, his master—that seemed to him the " fittest opportunity for the servants of both princes to " think earnestly of the best means of bringing about " the renewal of the old alliance, as well as the confirmation " and increase of their friendship and good " understanding." Chapuys' despatches of the 24th of February and 10th of March will show how cautiously Cromwell's overtures were received by the Imperial ambassador in England, and how this latter, without consulting the Emperor, then at Naples, took upon himself to answer them by similar overtures reduced to four cardinal points. 1st. That king Henry should return to Apostolic obedience, and effect his reconciliation with the Holy See. 2nd. That princess Mary should at once be declared legitimate, and reinstated in her rank. 3rd. Help against the Turk; and 4th. A defensive and offensive league against whomsoever should act wrongly towards one of the contracting parties. On these conditions, slightly modified by the Instructions which the Emperor himself forwarded from Gaeta on the 28th of March, the negociations commenced, and although at the very onset, and when Chapuys called on the King, at Greenwich, to propose the four articles, he was rather rudely received; it must be owned that after that they went on smoothly enough, being quickened rather than thwarted by Anne Boleyn's fall, which Cromwell arrogantly boasted of having prepared and hastened. (fn. n2) Nor were they checked by the King's subsequent marriage to Lady Jane Seymour, whose modesty and virtue, as well as kindness of heart and compassionate feeling for the Princess, Chapuys never failed to praise and commend in his letters to the Emperor or to Granvelle; on the contrary, owing, no doubt, to her unmistakable influence, love of justice, and affectionate regard for Mary, the article relating to her marriage and future state seems to have been treated with particular consideration and care. (fn. n3)
Then it was, that in order to render the two first points or articles—namely, that concerning the Holy See and the one relating to the Princess—more palatable to Henry, who, on the first instance, had indignantly rejected the former and declared with regard to the latter that, "since Mary was his daughter, he had perfect " right to treat her as he pleased, according as she was " obedient or disobedient to his paternal commands"— Chapuys suggested in his own name, as if the idea had entirely originated with him, that the point concerning the Pope might be set aside for a while, and a marriage arranged between the Princess and the Infante of Portugal, Dom Luiz, son of King Dom Manuel, and brother of Isabella, whom the Emperor had espoused 12 years before, on the 10th of March 1526. (fn. n4) Chapuys' proposal being readily accepted, the preliminary conditions, dower, and marriage portion of the Princess were formally discussed in the Privy Council, and nothing seemed to stand in the way of its conclusion until the birth of Edward and death of queen Jane on the 24th of October 1537, when the negociation was, if not altogether broken off, at least considerably hampered and purposely delayed, through Henry, then a widower, suddenly proposing his own marriage to the Emperor's niece, Christine of Denmark, widow of Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, and by his absolutely refusing later on to treat of his daughter's marriage to Dom Luiz unless his own with the dowager Duchess was conjointly entertained and discussed.
What may have been Henry's motives for acting thus it is no difficult matter to guess. He knew well that whilst the Emperor was courting his favour and soliciting an alliance, he was trying, through count Nassau and other Ministers of his, to come to terms with Francis; and it was naturally his interest, as well as his most determined purpose, by engendering jealousy and creating suspicion, to keep up the animosity between the rival princes, so as to profit by their dissensions. That such were Henry's real intentions, and that the Emperor penetrated them, appears evident from a paragraph of his instructions to Chapuys, wherein he tells him: " Should King Henry show reluctance to some of the " conditions for the Princess' marriage, you are not " to break off the negociations on that account; you " are, on the contrary, to go on with them, unless, " however, you know for certain that the King is " unwilling to treat, and that the prosecution of the " affair is likely to result in harm or discredit to the " parties concerned, and last, not least, that he is merely " intending to make his profit in other quarters."
With many ups and downs, according to the tide and ebb of European politics, the discussion of the four cardinal points, (fn. n5) and the negociation for the double marriage dragged on for a while in the English Privy Council. At one time Chapuys seemed very confident of success. By consenting to sign a letter to her father which Cromwell prepared, the Princess recovered apparently the paternal affection, and was rapidly growing into the Royal favour. The King's principal secretary and the rest of the privy councillors were admirably well disposed towards a closer alliance with the Empire and Spain; abuse of the French was in everybody's mouth, and if certain stipulated conditions—such as the acquisition by force of arms of the two duchies of Normandy and Guienne, in which the Emperor was to help, and the latter's solemn engagement that on the meeting of the General Council no measure should be discussed likely to bring injury or discredit on Henry — the Imperial ambassador saw no obstacle to the conclusion of a defensive and offensive alliance with England. Indeed, on the 14th of July, after complaining of the delay, Chapuys wrote to the Emperor:—"As far as words and avowed " intentions go, nothing more could be desired on " Cromwell's part; yet as Your Majesty must have " seen by my previous despatches, small progress, if " any, is being made in this business—not as I think " by that secretary's fault, who seems to me to be " wonderfully well inclined towards the accomplishment " of our views with respect to the marriage and other " matters, but because neither he who is, as it were, " the soul of the affair, nor his colleagues in the Privy " Council, dare attempt to shake off the opinion of " the King or persuade him to follow a different course " in politics unless the idea originates with him entirely; " for otherwise, should Cromwell or any of his colleagues " hit upon a plan of their own equally advantageous " for both parties, and likely to promote the present " negociation, and bring it to a close, the King is sure " to suspect him or them, and dissent at once from "their opinion, even if he himself should consider that "opinion acceptable, and in conformity with his own " views."
Whether Cromwell's professions were sincere or not it is difficult to say. When interrogated by Chapuys respecting the King's persistence in demanding that the four points or articles forming the base of the negociation should be put down in writing, the secretary would answer that "he suspected the King had conceived " certain suspicions of him owing to some expression " in the Emperor's letter" (p. 130). When asked whether it was true that upon Francis' ambassador asking Henry for the hand of the Princess, for his son the Dauphin, the King, her father, had refused, though he had offered it for the duke of Angoulême, Cromwell answered that this was perfectly true, adding : "But that " is only one of those political stratagems of which " princes often make use to deceive each other, and " conceal their real aims and purposes" (p. 146). When, after his interview with the King in July, Chapuys remonstrated against the evasive answer he had received respecting the Emperor's probable invasion of France, Cromwell readily granted that in maintaining an opinion contrary to that of his councillors, "his " master, the King, was influenced by his own natural " propensity to dispute on all matters, and the excessive " pleasure and vainglory he felt in making people " believe one thing for another, and letting the Emperor " feel the weight and importance of his aid" (p. 189).
At his interview with Cromwell and Sampson in October, when both informed him of the bad news received from Rome, and the towering passion in which the King was in consequence of that news, adding that they should never have thought that he (Chapuys) would have been able to mitigate their master's anger, the secretary deliberately said : "Such are the nature, condition, " and character of the King, that if led mildly " and courteously, and not made to feel in any way that " authority or force is brought to bear upon him, he " will grant anything. The king of England acknowledges " no superior, and, therefore, would much dislike " people to believe or suspect that anyone could by " force or intimidation induce him to do anything " against his will."
In February 1537, when the situation of affairs had changed considerably, the Emperor wrote to Chapuys as follows: "After declaring to the King whatever you " may think proper, should you find that his conditions " are exorbitant, you will ask time to consider and " inform Us thereof, and with Cromwell's assistance, " if he really can and will do what he has offered and " promised, you will do your best to forward the interest " of Our cousin, the Princess" (p. 312).
The above excuses and others alluded to in Chapuys' correspondence tend to prove that at one time Cromwell must have been in earnest, and worked assiduously for what he considered to be his master's benefit and advantage; but that fear of provoking the King's anger, as he seems to have done upon two or three occasions, (fn. n6) made him fail in his engagements, if he ever took any, to consolidate the alliance of England and Spain against France. If the grave accusation formally brought against him in a letter to Luis Sarmiento de Mendoza, his ambassador in Portugal, dated the 7th of February 1537, be true, we may perhaps ascribe that statesman's waverings and shiftings to another cause. In that letter the ambassador is informed that owing to a custom prevalent in the English court as well as in others, the King's councillors and ministers, when treating with sovereigns of importance, are usually presented with money, pensions, and rich jewels in order to keep them better disposed to forward and favor the business their masters have in hand. That, according to Chapuys, who, however, cannot vouch for the fact, king Francis neglecting no means whatever to gain his ends in England, had secured the help and assistance of Cromwell by first bestowing on him a good sum of money besides a considerable annual pension; that the king of England had given him permission to accept both the gift and the pension, and that owing to that, Cromwell, who had until then befriended him (Charles), had suddenly turned round and was then working in favor of France. The letter ends by stating that it was Chapuys' opinion and advice that for the better issue of the negociation on foot, and to secure the co-operation of Cromwell and other privy councillors, rich presents should be sent to them, and that the English ambassador residing at his court thought the same. King Dom Joaõ and his brother the Infante Dom Luiz were to be informed of the fact, and consider whether they ought to make some demonstration in that line. (fn. n7)
In March 1537, when Francis had subdued almost the whole of Savoy and Piedmont, and Charles' subsequent campaign in Provence had proved a failure; when the political horizon was again getting darker and darker, Don Diego de Mendoza was sent to assist Chapuys in the laborious task of inducing king Henry to declare against France, and at the same time promoting the Portuguese marriage. Don Diego was the second son of that chivalrous Don Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, second count of Tendilla, and first marquis of Mondejar, who was the first to plant the standard of the Cross on the towers of the Alhambra in 1492, and a near relative, as it is said, of another Don Iñigo de Mendoza, cardinal bishop of Burgos, and Charles' ambassador in England from 1526 to 1529. (fn. n8) Don Diego is better known in Spain as an eminent scholar, an historian, and a poet, as well as an indefatigable collector of manuscripts, both Greek and Latin, which after his death in 1574 were bought for the library of the Escurial. Two sets of instructions from the Emperor to him will be found in the pages of this Calendar. The first of them, dated the 20th–21st of June 1536, almost immediately after Chapuys had suggested to Cromwell the double marriage of king Henry with the Emperor's niece, Maria of Portugal, as well as that of his daughter, the Princess, with the Infante Dom Luiz, are addressed to him conjointly with Chapuys. The second, to the same Don Diego, and to the Sieur d'Arbois (?) — better known by the name of Horton or Orton—bear the date of the 21st of March 1537; but it must be remarked with regard to the two former (Nos. 64 and 65) that, though undoubtedly prepared at that date, they were never delivered or made use of, owing, perhaps, to the war between Charles and Francis having already broken out. As to the latter, bearing a more recent date, it is quite evident that for some reason or another Don Diego started on his mission without his colleague, for neither in his own despatches to the Emperor, nor in those of Chapuys to Mary of Hungary, is there mention made of a Sieur d'Arbois as Imperial ambassador in England.
However that may be, with the single exception of one private and confidential letter to High Commander Covos, Charles' principal secretary, on the 20th of January 1538, and two official despatches to the Emperor himself, or to Mary, the Regent in Flanders, giving conjointly with Chapuys a summary account of their negociations with Cromwell, no other paper or diplomatic note emanating from him seems to have been preserved either at Simancas or in Vienna. Those few, however, are, in the editor's opinion, more than sufficient to testify of that ability, tact, and diplomatic sagacity, as well as vigour of style, of which he afterwards gave proofs as an ambassador in Venice, an historian, and a most accomplished writer. That, like his colleague, Chapuys, he placed little or no trust at all in Cromwell's professions, seems evident from his despatches to Mary of Hungary, who, on the 1st of March 1538, wrote to him as follows:—"I am " perfectly convinced, as you yourself are, that all the " flattering words of Cromwell and the King's privy " councillors are but a feint to deceive us, and yet it is " necessary to dissemble and try to go on with the " negociations as long as possible according to the " Emperor's intentions and in pursuance of the instructions " lately received from him" (p. 517).
At Rome, still the centre of European politics, Don Fernando de Silva, (fn. n9) fourth count de Cifuentes, and "alferez mayor de Castilla," a high hereditary dignity conferred in 1454 by King Juan II. upon his grandfather, the first count, continued since 1533 to represent the Emperor. No longer hampered by Spanish cardinals, or dignitaries of the Roman Church like Loaysa, Merino, and other ecclesiastics, expressly and exclusively appointed to watch Katharine's case at the Roman court, but who too frequently mixed themselves up with politics to the great annoyance of the Imperial lay ministers, Silva devoted all his attention to the furtherance of the Emperor's plans and views. This he seems to have accomplished to his master's and the Pope's satisfaction, for after refusing the cardinal's hat, which Pope Paul offered him in December 1536, he applied for, and obtained, leave to attend to his own private affairs in Spain, where his services were ultimately rewarded with a seat in the Emperor's Privy Council, besides an honorable post in the Empress' household.
Two letters from Fray Vincencio Lunel, the general of the observant friars, and another from cardinal Santa Croce (Fray Francisco de Quiñones), who had filled that post before his elevation to the purple, show that under Paul's pontificate the Emperor still found it necessary to utilise the services of ecclesiastics attached to his party, or forming part of the Sacred College. That fiery zealot, Dr. Pedro Ortiz, though his services were no longer required as Katharine's proctor, kept still writing letters to the Empress with news from England, but so grossly exaggerated and so full of passion as to provoke the mirth rather than the indignation of his readers. He must have had in England other correspondents besides Chapuys, for it can hardly be believed that so cautious and discreet a diplomatist as Chapuys was would have furnished him with such reports as that contained in his letter of the 21st of June 1537 to Vazquez de Molina, the Emperor's secretary! !
Silva was succeeded in the Roman embassy by Don Luis Fernandez Manrique, fourth count of Castanheda or Castañeda (fn. n10) and second marquis de Aguilar. His father, Don Garci Fernandez Manrique, third count, had so distinguished himself at the taking of Granada, in December 1491, that the Catholic sovereigns, Ferdinand and Isabella, created him marquis de Aguilar de Campó, or Campos, a town of old Castille, which had belonged to his ancestors since the beginning of the fifteenth century. His appointment took place at Genoa on the 15th of November 1536, three days before the Emperor's embarkation at that port to return to his Spanish dominions. Such at least is the date of the Emperor's instructions to him, a most remarkable document in which one of the Emperor's ministers, most probably Granvelle, drew with a masterly hand the complicated outline of the Emperor's political relations with the European powers. (fn. n11) Not, however, till after he had made himself fully acquainted with Italian politics, and after the affairs of Florence, at that time greatly agitated and disturbed in consequence of the intrigues of the "fuorusciti," and the murder of the duke Alessandro, had been thoroughly settled, was Aguilar to go to Rome and present his credentials. Silva might then embark at Genoa and return to Spain, which he actually did in the same galley that took to Barcelona Beatrix of Savoy, the wife of duke Carlo.
There is scarcely need of mentioning here other minor agents of the Emperor in Italy. Of Lope Hurtado de Mendoza, (fn. n12) Gomez Suarez de Figueroa in Genoa, and Lope de Soria in Venice, some notice has already been given in the Introductions to preceding volumes. A distinguished officer, Pedro Zapata by name, at one time commanding a "tercio" of Spaniards in the Imperial army, seems to have been the Emperor's agent in Savoy, and to have accompanied him through his wanderings, when the French, under the Admiral of France, Brion-Chabot, took possession of Turin, and almost of the whole of Piedmont and Saluzzo. The High Commander of Calatrava, Gutierre Lopez de Padilla, who in 1535 was Imperial ambassador in Savoy, (fn. n13) also figures in the pages of this volume as the Emperor's temporary agent in Florence before Allessandro's assassination. After that, and when Cosmo de' Medici, with the Emperor's consent, had succeeded to the ducal crown, an Italian lawyer and bishop, erroneously called in all dispatches Bernardo Aviète or Ariète, seems to have been the Emperor's authorised representative in that city. His real name, however, was Bernardo da Riete, as appears from Varchi Storia Florentina, f. 170, and has been shown in the Additions and Corrections to this present volume, p. 583.
In France, Jean Hannaërt, baron of Liedkerke or Likerke and viscount of Lombecke, a native of the Low Countries, continued to be Imperial ambassador at the court of Francis. He was still there on the 2nd of June 1536, the date of his last letter to the empress Isabella, announcing Francis' determination to declare war. (fn. n14) On the 23rd of June following he was at Asti with the Emperor, having been escorted to the frontiers of Italy, at the same time that Mons. de Velly, the French ambassador, was dismissed from the Imperial court. During the negociations that preceded the interview at Nizza his post was filled either by count Henri de Nassau, (fn. n15) or by Cornelis Scepper, (fn. n16) and others, without counting in that number a relative of Granvelle named Bonvallot (François), prior and treasurer of the church of Besançon in Burgundy, of whom more will be said in the next volumes. After the truce in June or July 1538, a gentleman of the name of Marvol, who, in January 1535, is mentioned as Charles' agent in Germany, near the Palatine duke Frederic, seems also to have been ambassador in France.
In Portugal, where the Emperor's affairs required particular care and attention, owing to the frequent intermarriages of the two families reigning over the Peninsula, as well as to the intercourse of trade with the East Indies, and the newly discovered lands in the West—not to say anything of the frustrated project of marriage between the Infante Dom Luiz and the princess of England—the Emperor was ably represented by Don Luis Sarmiento de Mendoza, whose despatches during the years 1536 and 1537, when the marriage question was in full vigour, are exceedingly curious and interesting.
Having so far mentioned the writers, the editor is, as usual, bound to give a summary account of the letters and papers themselves, as calendered in the present volume. The principal depôts of them are, as stated elsewhere, Vienna and Simancas. Chapuys' despatches proceed almost exclusively from the Imperial Archives in the former city; the rest, of which transcripts obtained and collected by Gustav Bergenroth, in 25 volumes, folio —now in the British Museum (Add. 28,572 to 28,597)— are from Spain, either from that inhospitable castle called Simancas, (fn. n17) in the immediate vicinity of Valladolid—at one time the court and residence of Philip II.—or from the Royal Academy of History, in Madrid, whither a good many volumes of important papers, collected by successive royal historiographers have found their way within the last 30 years. Of these last Bergenroth could not naturally avail himself, besides which, it must be said that now and then important letters turn up in the public libraries of Spain, which the German scholar above alluded to, notwithstanding his great care and diligence, could not discover.
With regard to Chapuys' correspondence, which, as stated elsewhere, is of the greatest importance for English readers, a few remarks are perhaps necessary with particular relation to the present volume. This ambassador's information is generally correct, and when compared with that of other diplomatists, whether French or Italian, whose despatches happen to be in print, more surely to be relied upon. Now and then proper names are not written exactly as they were at the time; but considering the great changes in English orthography and spelling, the readers ought to be satisfied with his attempting to render with French letters the sounds of such proper names as occasionally struck his ear. Considering also that, as he himself says, he was a poor English scholar, no wonder if now and then a proper name is badly spelt. In some instances, however, Chapuys' blunders, if such they are, may be ascribed to the deciphering clerks, who were not always correct in transcribing. At p. 182, instead of lord Sussex, that is, Robert Radclyffe, lord Essex (Cromwell ?) was erroneously written, which mistake can hardly be attributed to him, who seems to have known well the difference between the earls of Essex and Sussex. He always wrote in French, (fn. n18) at times to the Emperor, or to Granvelle—whose particular friend and "protégé" he seems to have been—at other times to Mary of Hungary, the Regent of the Low Countries, especially when the Emperor was in Italy, or otherwise absent from Spain. But in doing so he was unluckily in the habit of dating some of his despatches according to the old, and others according to the new style, to which may be added that more than once he makes the year begin in April. On the other hand the Emperor's letters to him, being for the most part only minutes or drafts by Granvelle or his clerks in the Privy Council, are generally undated, having only at the bottom the name of the place where the minute was drawn, seldom the month and the year, and never the day, which at times makes it a pure matter of guess to know the real date of the document. That is why some of the letters addressed by cardinal Pole to the Emperor, or by the latter to Pole, have been misplaced in the volumes of Bergenroth's Collection, and inadvertently, as explained in the Notes, or in the "Additions and Corrections" at the end of the present volume. As to Hannaërt's, the few that have been preserved are still in the National Archives of France, constituting only a portion of the vast spoliation of State papers perpetrated by the French during the invasion of the Peninsula. Having frequently alluded in preceding Introductions to the obstinacy with which State papers and letters of this period, as well as of the War of Succession in the first 10 years of the eighteenth century, have long been, and are still, sequestered by the various governments of France, notwithstanding the just claims of Spain, the editor will refrain from again entering on so disagreeable a subject. Suffice it to say that the few transcripts in the Bergenroth Collection, most of which are in Spanish and made by Frenchmen, are so defective and so full of blunders as to require a careful revision and fresh collation, if their contents are to be understood and well rendered into English. If not, let that under No. 158, p. 369, headed "News from France," be taken as an example. Besides being written in Spanish and having no signature, it is addressed to a gentleman in the south of France, called Sieur de Molieri (Molières?), there are in it words and even lines entirely omitted, which render its text perfectly unintelligible. As the letter, however, seems to have been written by the marquis de Zenete, i.e., count Henri de Nassau (see above, p. xvi.), the editor has been able to offer a conjecture of his own which he hopes will be acceptable. (See Add. and Correct., pp. 583-4.)