Spain: November 1542, 16-30

Pages 177-183

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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November 1542, 16-30

16 Nov. 78. The Queen of Hungary to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233.
"Monsieur l'ambassadeur,"—By Mr. de Courrières' and your own letters to the Emperor of the 2nd inst., (fn. n1) as well as by the note (billet) thereto appended, We have learned what passed between the king of England and his deputies on one side, and yourself and Mr. de Courrières on the other, whilst negotiating the treaty of closer friendship and alliance between the Emperor and that king. Above all, the insistence of the Royal commissioners upon the articles VI. and VII. of the intended treaty, touching the kingdoms and dominions of each of the contracting princes, has particularly attracted Our attention. We have seen in writing the slight alteration which, after your powerful argumentation, and at your urgent request, that king's deputies consent to make in the words and meaning of those articles; but, considering that the King still persists in having the said articles couched in general terms, without admitting the restriction of secular princes or powers,—which the Emperor wishes to be added—We feel rather perplexed as to how We are to answer your question on the subject, fearing on the one hand to exceed the commands of His Imperial Majesty, who has entirely remitted to Us the care of prosecuting the negociation, stipulating that the article about the Pope be so modified and altered that on no ground can the reproach be brought against him that he has failed in his duty to God or the World. Such are the Emperor's words, as We wrote to you on the last day of October, when Mr. de Courrières departed for England with the instructions, of which We have a duplicate by Us. In those instructions His Imperial Majesty expressly persists in his idea that, in order not to afford the Pope any occasion for resentment, nor to the ill-wishers a pretence to accuse His Imperial Majesty of trying to treat to His Holiness' prejudice, the inclusion in the article of the defence (comprehension en la defension) ought to be of all kings, princes, and powers secular and temporal, that being the reason why, by Our last, We requested you to send Us every particular concerning the pretended inclusion of the Pope or Apostolic See in the article. (fn. n2)
On the other hand, We weigh and consider the reasons which you have given Us from time to time, and the fear you have that, by delaying the conclusion of the treaty, or by the king of England perceiving that he is sent and referred from one to the other, he may, out of disappointment or spite, listen to French proposals, and that even supposing he is disinclined to an alliance with them, he may still become less tractable and more difficult to please, so as to oblige Us to subscribe to still more exorbitant demands than those he now puts forward, which would by no means improve the Emperor's affairs, general or private, just now, especially in these countries under Our government. That is why We are in great perplexity and doubt, not knowing exactly whether We ought to take ad pedem litteræ the Emperor's commands, or follow a reasonable path in conformity with the Emperor's intentions and wishes. In fact, We should have much preferred not to be called upon to decide in so arduous a case, and that you could temporize with the deputies and gain time until a fuller answer came from the Emperor to your letter of the 2nd inst. And, therefore, if you possibly can, without actually coming to a rupture, persuade that King's deputies to wait, We shall be extremely glad, as then We may avoid all responsibility in an affair of such importance.
Should you, however, fear a rupture of the negociations, or perceive that the English are inclined to listen to French overtures, then, in that case, We are of opinion that, rather than run that risk, the articles which the King's commissioners put into your hands, as you tell me in your letter of the 2nd inst., ought to be accepted, for after all the wording of them is more gracious and less obligatory respecting the Pope and the ecclesiastical state than that of the former one stipulating the defence "against all princes and powers of whatever denomination, state, or condition," which last clause seemed as if it had been added on purpose to comprise the Pope and the ecclesiastical state. That inconvenience can, in Our opinion, be better avoided by the words contained in the amended articles, provided you are sure that the King will be satisfied with that, and not attempt to supplement them by some clause or words expressing his idea in clearer terms, or which may in any way counteract and thwart His Imperial Majesty's intentions. Provided also that the article stand wherein it is stipulated that no further interpretation or rendering (entendement) of the treaty shall be admitted, but it is to be observed ad pedem litterœ, or be modified and amended in reasonable terms, so as to remove all scruples and cavilling interpretations contrary to reason and to the sincere intentions of both the princes—those only excepted, which, according to right, might be suggested by either of the contracting parties. To this you (Chapuys) shall attend particularly.
With respect to the desire expressed by the King's commissioners that articles VI. and VII. of the treaty should come immediately after the IIII., though We have our misgivings that the proposed alteration has some mysterious cause, yet, not to delay the conclusion of the treaty, and enter into fresh debates, We think you ought to make no difficulty, but let the two articles pass, or make one of the two, as may best please those commissioners.
As to other minor objections to which you call Our attention by brief notes (apostilles) on the margins of the proposed treaty, We must say that We should have been glad not to have to decide for or against, and wish that you (Chapuys) had waited until the Emperor's final answer had been received, or else that the treaty should have been concluded, signed, and ratified in accordance with the powers and instructions you have from the Emperor. And yet, considering the state of affairs in these countries under Our government, We cannot do less than give Our opinion on each and all the remarks made by you, and at the same time answer, if possible, all your questions, so that you may proceed to the conclusion of the treaty as may be most convenient for the Emperor.
And, first, We perceive that you object to the second article, which the King's commissioners agree to reform according to that of the treaty of Cambray, by inserting the words, "salvis legibus et constitutionibus regni," which short clause, in Our opinion, is derogatory, as you have very justly observed, and contrary to the spirit of the treaty, inasmuch as by inserting those words, "salvis legibus, &c.," the English would seem to imply that We approve or have approved in this respect of their laws, statutes, and constitutions. You must make the greatest efforts to persuade the commissioners to put aside the said short clause (clausule), and leave the article as it was in the treaty of Cambray, for otherwise it would be said or thought that We consent to have the free communication of the Emperor's subjects in these Low Countries curtailed and restricted far more than it was by the treaty of Cambray, which would be contrary to the closer friendship and alliance that We are now endeavouring to procure between the two nations. Nevertheless, if you see that the commissioners insist upon the insertion of those words in the article, you may consent to their being added textually, as they are at the end of the treaty of Cambray i.e., "salvis legibus, statutis, ordinationibus et constitutionibus regnorum, patriarum, dominiorum et terrarum predictarum." To which addition the English can make no objection whatever, as the condition is reciprocal for the subjects of both countries, whereas, if only the words, "salvis legibus, et constitutionibus regni," that is, the laws and statutes of England, stand, it might be supposed that We approved in general terms of laws and statutes contrary to, or derogatory of, Our faith and holy religion, of which, however, there is no need to make mention in the fifth article relating to the rebels, since the English feel disposed to reform it according to the letter of the treaty of Cambray; the term of fifteen days, with the addition, "si commode fieri poterit," seems to Us reasonable enough.
With regard to the islands which the Royal commissioners wish to be comprised in the article of the common defence, if the kings of England have, as you say, possessed them from time immemorial, the Emperor has no objection to their being expressly named in the treaty. No difficulty, in Our opinion, either should be made to article the 8th.
We have fully warned you by Our preceding letters of the sort of inequality that exists between the contribution of each prince towards the defensive aid, and the damage which the countries under Our government would have to sustain, were the article to pass as it is worded. We, therefore, urgently request you to look closely to it, so that the article may be ...... as equally just as possible for both parties, which will not be difficult if, as you write, the English commissioners admit that the terms are unequal, and ought to be equalized.
Respecting other articles which, you hope, will offer no difficulty at all, since the Royal commissioners seem inclined to accept them as they originally came back from Spain amended by the Emperor's ministers (though perhaps they will not grant the defence for more than four or five months at the most, (fn. n3) nor hold the Emperor excused from similar help, in case of his being at war [in Italy] with king Francis or the Turk), you must try and persuade the English to yield concerning the said points, and follow the instructions received from the Emperor.
As to the intercourse of trade between the two nations, We have already notified to you what Our intention is in various letters, to which We refer you in connexion with articles XV. and XVIII. of the treaty.
We are glad to hear that the English have abandoned all idea of Our contributing to the defence by sea, and that they no longer insist upon Our fitting out a number of war ships, for otherwise, certainly, these countries under Our government would have been unable to help at the same time by land and sea.
We shall end this letter by again recommending to you to exert all your powers, and do as usual the utmost of your duty for the conclusion of the treaty in conformity with His Imperial Majesty's views and instructions, all the time assuring the King of the affectionate desire which the Emperor and Ourselves feel for a closer alliance and perfect friendship with him, that We both may apply to him for help and advice in affairs of importance, and conduct the same by his direction and counsel, and, in fact, any other gracious expressions and words that you may think of suitable to the King's character and temper, which you seem to know so well.—London, 16 November 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Indorsed: "Copy of the Queen's letter to the Ambassador in England." XVI. Nov., XVcXLII.
French. Original draft. pp. 5.
19 Nov. 79. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
f. 131.
"Madame,"—After Mr. de Courrières' departure Your Majesty's letter of the 31st of October, (fn. n4) addressed to him and to me (Chapuys), came duly to hand; since the date of which Your Majesty must have heard as much from him verbally as from my preceding despatch of the 28th of October, all I could say for the present in answer to Your letters.
In pursuance of Your Majesty's commands, I shall do my best to recommence and carry on with these deputies the suspended negociations, if there should be any opportunity to do so before an answer arrives from Your Majesty to my last of the 18th. (fn. n5) That answer the deputies are very anxious for, and I need scarcely say, that considering the state of affairs, it should be as speedy as possible. In the meantime, as there is no news of importance to communicate, and I do not feel quite well in consequence of a slight intermittent fever from which I am suffering, I shall put an end to this my despatch.—London, 19 November 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the queen dowager of Hungary, regent in the Low Countries."
French. Holograph. p. 1.
21 Nov. 80. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
f. 133.
"Madame,"—I duly received yesterday Your Majesty's letter of the 16th inst., (fn. n6) and this very morning I have sent one of my own men to the King to hear when he will be pleased that the conferences with his deputies be again resumed. Whenever these recommence, Your Majesty may be sure that my utmost efforts, however insignificant, shall be employed to put things in the channel and direction desired by the Emperor and Your Majesty, and I shall not fail to apprize You of whatever may happen worthy of notice. In the meantime, I humbly request Your Majesty to order that my own private affair be attended to.
It seems to me as if on the borders of Scotland there only remained now 6,000 men, of whom Milort Lyl (L'Isle), whose former name was Master Dodele (Dudley), is to be one of the chief commanders whilst the duke of Norfolk, who is shortly expected back here, is absent. The Duke being too much of a Frenchman, I am afraid he will perhaps do us harm and spoil our game. (fn. n7) —London, 21 November 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph. p. 1.
22 Nov. 81. The Same to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
f. 202.
"Sire,"—On the 2nd inst., whilst answering all Your Imperial Majesty's letters, (fn. n8) I took care to report all the news from this country, and likewise the ins and outs of the negociation for the treaty of closer friendship and alliance from the arrival of Mr. de Courrières in this country up to his departure, (fn. n9) the substance and abridgment of which is contained in the enclosed note (billiet), which, at all hazards, I now send instead of a duplicate of the original letter. (fn. n10) Since then there has been no sincere regret at not being able to accept his invitation. It will be for you to plead my cause, and tell the King that I have not lost entirely the hope of seeing, one of these days, His Imperial Majesty and himself working together for the success of their common affairs, whilst the queen of Hungary, herself, will co-operate by throwing light on certain political matters, and directing whatever operation may be deemed necessary for the closer intelligence between the two Princes, as that the answer should be such as to enable the King to conclude the affair in hand. I must say, however, that not one of the other commissioners, nor of the privy councillors, did say on the occasion a word about it to my man.
Just at this moment the Queen's answer (fn. n11) comes to hand, purporting that she would very much like to execute "au pied de la lettre" Your Imperial Majesty's commands; but that considering the pressing and urgent state of Your affairs, both public and private, and the fear there is of these people being discontented or offended, and, if so, of their listening to French overtures, she is of opinion that if I (Chapuys) cannot persuade this king to wait for Your Imperial Majesty's answer to my despatch of the 2nd [of November], and if I see danger of a rupture, and consequently of discontent and indignation on the part of this king, I may at once proceed to the conclusion of the treaty according to the terms and conditions detailed and specified in the note (billiet), of which a copy is inclosed, all the time trying to gain as much advantage as possible for Your Imperial Majesty. I need not say that in pursuance of the Queen Regent's orders and commands I will do my best in this affair, and shall not fail to inform Your Imperial Majesty as soon as possible of the result.—London, 22 December 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Indorsed: "From the ambassador in England, the 22nd of November. Received at Tarracone (Tarragona) the 22nd of December 1542."
French. Holograph. pp. 2.


  • n1. See above, No. 74, p. 159.
  • n2. "Que a este cause que par ines dernieres lettres vous ay requis remestre à moy [ce] que concerne la dite comprehension du pape ni siege apostolique." In all this paragraph, and, indeed, in all the letter, the clerk of the Council who drew it out uses the first person singular instead of the plural, as was customary in the Queen's despatches to the Imperial ambassador.
  • n3. "Saulfz que craindez quilz ne vouldront accorder laide deffensive que pour qualtre ou cinq [mois] au plus hault, ne aussi tenir sa mate pour excusee dicelle aide selle (si elle) estoit en guerre du coustel ditalye contre le roy de France ou le Turq."
  • n4. See above, No. 71, p. 151–2.
  • n5. No. 69.
  • n6. See above, No. 78, p. 177.
  • n7. "Il me semble quil ne demeure au quartier dEcosse sinon six milles hommez de guerre, dont Milort Lyl, que se disoit me (maistre) Dodele auparavant, sera lung des principaulx chefz, et sera icy en brefz le duc de Norforq, le quel est ung peu trop françois et crains quil ne nous brouille les affaires."
  • n8. See above, No. 73, p. 153.
  • n9. Monsr. de Courrières must have left London on the 30th of October.
  • n10. The original letter of the 2nd of November, here alluded to, is really in the Vienna Archives, as has been seen (No. 74, p. 159–75), but the note (billiet), said to have been appended, is not. Most probably the note referred to was only an abstract of the official letter.
  • n11. The letter of the 16th of November (No. 78, p. 177).