Spain: June 1542, 1-25

Pages 13-17

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 2, 1542-1543. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1895.

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June 1542, 1-25

7 June. 9. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233.
"Madame,"—As I wrote in my preceding despatch, dated Easter Eve, (fn. n1) I went to Antoncourt (Hampton-Court), where, during the four first days of my stay, I had several audiences from the King, for no other purpose, as Your Majesty may imagine, than that of executing Your commands with respect to the treaty of closer friendship and alliance between His Imperial Majesty and the king of England now in contemplation. But, to my great regret, as neither from the Emperor in Spain, nor from Your Majesty in the Low Countries, have any Instructions come for my guidance, and as I do not know in the least how I am to act in so important and delicate a negociation as the present one is, I must naturally apply for orders urgently. Owing to this cause, and to my not having received the private ones, which the Emperor himself announced to me by his letter of the 3rd of April (fn. n2) —in which, moreover, reference was made to another set of Instructions, fuller than the first, which were to come by way of Flanders—Your Majesty may easily conceive the awkward position in which I am placed. For, certainly, had either of the two sets come to hand, they would, under present circumstances, have served admirably both the Emperor's and Your Majesty's purpose, since I might thus have enlightened You sufficiently as to this king's intentions and will in the matter of the treaty. Indeed, if I am not mistaken, this king and his privy councillors seemed then, as they do seem now, so well disposed and inclined to that closer friendship and confederacy with the Emperor, that had I been able to make any overtures whatsoever, I have not the least doubt that they would have met me half-way; for this king, as a good, wise, and virtuous prince that he is, thinking that the treaty in question is the sole efficacious remedy in the dangerous and irksome position of the Emperor's affairs just now, would have done anything to unite his cause to that of His Imperial Majesty. This he would have done, not only on account of the almost paternal affection he bears him, but also because he seems now very ready and willing to ward off the inconveniences, dangers, and, I would say, imminent ruin, by which the whole of Christendom is now threatened, and to risk in that holy and Christian undertaking his throne and his life, although he knows very well what an intricate maze of difficulties and dangers he may run into, if he joins and allies himself with His Imperial Majesty, and the trouble and outlay of treasure he will have to undergo; all of which he might easily avoid if he only consulted his own pleasure and convenience, for enemies he himself has none. The French do not actually refuse paying their debt to him—winch they would certainly do the moment they heard that he had made an alliance with the Emperor.
For want of the private Instructions that I was to receive from Your Majesty according to promise, and which, I again say, have never come to hand, I have been seeking for outward means of ascertaining how far this king might be induced to treat of, and conclude, the said alliance. It seems to me that, however strong the remonstrances I have from time to time addressed to him or to his ministers respecting the need in which he himself is of the Emperor's alliance and friendship, not only as concerns the security of his own person and that of his heirs on the throne, but likewise for the tranquility and peace of his kingdom—the possession of which the French are evidently aiming at—and on many other considerations, which I omit for brevity's sake, not a step has been advanced. Indeed, all my arguments and warnings have literally been thrown away; all I could obtain from him was his declaring to me that he is ready to agree to certain general articles, the most important of which is that of the help and assistance he purposes affording the Emperor in case of an invasion of French territory, namely, a contingent of 3,000 foot and as many horse. And certainly, Madame, it seems to me that, at this present juncture, and considering the stats in which the general affairs of Christendom, and particularly those of His Imperial Majesty, are, should this king consent to join his forces, or part of them, to ours, or at least those he has at Calais, Guisnes, and other towns, for a sudden invasion of French territory, it would be capital work done. And I fancy, moreover, under correction, that it would be unwise not to accept at once the King's offers, and that we ought not to look too closely into the articles of the agreement proposed by him; for if we study his nature and character, we shall find that whenever he takes a fancy for a person or a thing, he goes deliberately the whole length: there is no limit to his affection, and, in fact, he plays the highest stakes at the game. Besides which, it is to be supposed that the present is, as it were, only a preamble of the lasting friendship and good intelligence that is to exist between the Emperor and him, and that once engaged in the conquest of France, there will be plenty of opportunities and occasions to amend and modify the said articles to the greater satisfaction and contentment of the parties. I would, therefore, humbly beseech Your Majesty to consider these observations of mine, and believe that it is expedient, under the circumstances, and whilst matters are so well disposed, to decide quickly; for besides the danger of these people attributing the delay to disdain and contempt, we must dread the diabolical practices of the enemy, who does not sleep. Above all, Madame, let there be the greatest possible secrecy, so that no one speak about it, for should the negociation come to be divulged through our fault, it would be one of the greatest injuries ever inflicted on the Emperor's reputation and Your own, after the trust and confidence, inclination, and good-will manifested by this king. That would be also a source of immense regret to me after the great trust and confidence which the King has placed in me. Meanwhile, the Emperor and Your Majesty (as his privy councillors tell me) could greatly gratify this king by a mere trifle, which consists in not addressing him in holograph letters, chiefly in those of Your Majesty, under the appellation of "bel oncle" (fair uncle), for, after all, it only serves to recall to memory and re-open old wounds; and that it is nowadays convenient, for the preservation of the closer friendship and alliance now being discussed, to do away with all scruples, great or small, and remove every occasion for them. For the same reason, I would suggest the omission of the title of "Princess of England," generally given in letters and despatches to this King or his ministers, since the King has now a son and heir, to whom that title belongs without controversy. (fn. n3)
French. Holograph. pp. 2.
10 June. 10. The Emperor to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233.
L'Empereur et Roi, &c.
"Venerable, chier et feal,"—Your letters of the 18th of April and 8th ult. (fn. n4) have come to hand. We are thankful to you for the news therein contained, but until We get your answer to Our last We do not think that there is occasion to say anything more, save to request you as earnestly as We can to keep Us well informed of the occurrences in that country as quickly and as often as you possibly can.
Respecting your letter to Mr. de Granvelle, (fn. n5) and the mention therein made of the French ambassador's man—who (you say) is about to return home with his chief, and promises, when back in France, to furnish Us with such information as he can procure there on political and other matters—you will tell him in Our name that We accept his offers at once, and request him to continue his good services. Should he, as he says, return to France, he will present himself to the sieur de Marvol, (fn. n6) Our ambassador at the court of France, and communicate all authentic news he may have gathered from his friends and acquaintances in office, as he has done hitherto to you. We now write to Our ambassador there, acquainting him with the man's name, (fn. n7) and the nature of the confidences he has hitherto made, and promises to make in future, at the same time commanding him to keep the thing secret, as it ought to be. We write also to the dowager queen of Hungary, Our beloved sister, recommending her to attend to the man's wants, and likewise provide his mother with some sort of pension for her support. With regard to the prebends of the church of Arras, that are in the archbishop's gift, should one of them become vacant, We have no doubt that when the archbishop, who has already been written to, knows that it is for Our service, he will elect to it Charles, the man's brother.
Our ambassador in France has lately sent Us word by one of his clerks that the admiral of France (Brion-Chabot) had lately, by king Francis' order, proposed to him new terms for a lasting peace, adding that there was no need now of the Pope or any other sovereign intervening, and that if king Francis appointed him, and We Ourselves named Our ambassador at the court of France, it would be quite enough, as between us two the affair might be adjusted in no time. Our answer to that overture has been that We are extremely glad to hear of the King's good disposition and will towards peace, and also of the Admiral's good wishes and kind offers, and that certainly We are as much inclined as ever towards peace, provided the Admiral himself declares beforehand what those new terms are which he proposes, and We find them reasonable. Should the Admiral do so, and his proposals be acceptable, We would at once send Our instructions to Mr. de Marvol, and the conferences might at once begin. We have considered it needful to enter into these particulars in order that, should the French hereafter try to make use in that court of England of the proposals they themselves have made, and represent Us as the originators of the whole thing, as they are in the habit of doing, you may be prepared to answer in accordance with the truth—that is, supposing that the king of England or his ministers speak to you about it, because if they do not, you had better take no notice at all, and keep the whole thing secret, as if the said overtures had not been made. You can, in like manner, vouchsafe and certify that the Pope's intervention in the affair has been entirely of his own doing; if not, as We apprehend, at the instigation of the French themselves, though they pretend, as We are told, that it is at Our own persuasion that His Holiness has taken cards in the affair.—Burgos, (fn. n8) the 10th of June 1542.
French. Original draft. pp. 2.


  • n1. No letter dated Easter Eve is to be found among those of Chapuys to the queen of Hungary, but there is instead one of the 16th of April, addressed to the Emperor, in which a long account is given of the audiences here alluded to. See Vol. VI., Part I., pp. 491–505.
  • n2. Neither the letter here mentioned of the 3rd of April, nor the private Instructions to which Chapuys refers, are to be found in the Imperial Archives of Vienna, and yet there is a previous letter of the 14th of March (No. 237), wherein the Instructions are alluded to in these words, "Though We have no doubt that the Instructions for your guidance contained in Our letter of the 3rd from Valladolid will already be in your hands, &c." see Vol. VI., Part I., p. 481.
  • n3. This letter, which seems to be unfinished, has no date. On the dorse of it, in a hand of the 18th century, I read "29 June, 1529" (sic), but this is evidently a mistake of the clerk or whoever endorsed it. Easter Day in 1542 fell on the 28th of May; Chapuys himself alludes to a preceding letter of Easter Eve (27 May), and therefore this one must have been written early in June. As to the date of 1539, it is not easy to explain how it came to be the dorse of a document which belongs evidently to the year 1542.
  • n4. See No. 244 in Vol. VI., Part I., pp. 491–5, but the date is the 16th, not the 18th, of April.
  • n5. See above, No. 6, but the letter again is dated the 7th, not the 8th, of May.
  • n6. That is Philippe, who seems to have replaced St. Vincent in the embassy. Vol. VI., Part I. pp. 119.
  • n7. Jean de Honz or Hons.
  • n8. From the 26th of January till the 27th of May of this year the Emperor was at Valladolid, where the Cortes (States) of Castille were sitting. After voting him a grant of 1,200,000 ducats the meeting was dissolved, and on the 27th the Emperor himself went to Burgos, where he was hospitably entertained by the High Constable of Castille, Pedro Fernandez de Velasco, third duke of Frias, son and heir of Don Iñigo, the second duke, under whose custody the two sons of king Francis, i.e. the Dauphin (François) and the duke of Orleans (Henri), were temporarily placed as hostages when the king, their father, recovered his liberty after Pavia.