Spain: December 1542

Pages 183-192

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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December 1542, 1-31

7 Dec. 82. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
f. 135.
"Madame,"—This King's privy councillors have sent me the enclosed, (fn. n1) which I beg leave to forward.—London, 7 December 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the queen dowager of Hungary."
French. Holograph. p. 1.
16 Dec. 83. The Emperor to Pope Paul.
S. E., L.,
B. M. Add. 28,593,
"Beatissime pater,"—Your Holiness' letter, under the form of a breve, dated the 12th of November, We duly received from the hands of the Nuncio residing at this Our court. That breve refers to the evils and calamities by which Christendom is at present afflicted, as well as to those which are in store should the Turk invade Germany as reported. We are again advised to treat of a peace with king Francis, to which end, and the better to discuss the affair, Your Holiness suggests that a place be designated and a time fixed for a conference, and that before the prelates of Our kingdoms and dominions designated for the Council start for Trent. These were the proposals which the Nuncio made Us in Your Holiness' name. We Ourselves can but praise and applaud Your Holiness' constant desire for the peace and welfare of Christendom; but as it is well known to Your Holiness and to the whole World how frequently king Francis has broken his faith and violated the truce, how many sacrifices of Our rights We have consented to make in order to attain that peace, and of what arts and dissimulation he has made use in order to take Us unawares and by surprise, We consider it superfluous to take any step in the matter. There is no need for Us to recapitulate here the arguments We made use of in Our answer to Your Holiness' breve brought by the bishop of Viseu; We shall only add one, which is that We can see no reason for trusting to the man who does not keep his faith and oath, and never fulfils a promise, and, therefore, that the interview proposed by Your Holiness seems to Us useless for the purpose of peace. Should, however, Your Holiness, really think that, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, some good may be effected in that direction, We shall be pleased at Our next visit to Italy to meet Your Holiness' wishes in that respect. But Your Holiness must bear in mind that immediately after the receipt of the "breve," We left Aragon, and proceeded to Castille to hold the States of that kingdom; that We shall proceed by sea to Italy; and that as Our presence in Germany from various causes cannot possibly be delayed, We shall not stay long in Genoa. How can, under such circumstances, an interview be managed? That is what We cannot say at the present moment. At any rate, on Our landing at Genoa, We will inform Your Holiness of Our arrival.—Valencia, 16 December 1542.
Latin. Original draft. pp. 2.
17 Dec. 84. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
ff. 138–40.
"Madame,"—Since my last of the 8th (fn. n2) inst. I have under various pretences sent twice to the Privy Council for the purpose of ascertaining whether the deputies and Royal commissioners had or had not to communicate any resolution from their master respecting our business. On the first occasion, which was the day after the date of my last despatch, the Royal commissioners sent me word that owing to the King having been latterly going from place to place for sport, without residing at any fixed spot, they had been unable to report thoroughly, much less get their master's final resolution, concerning the treaty; but that within three or four days at the latest I should hear from them the King's will and intention on the whole affair. In the very same words did Secretary Wristley (Wriothesley) answer one of my men whom I sent yesterday on a similar errand, adding under reserve that it was at present inopportune for the privy councillors to attend to our affairs, inasmuch as the French ambassador's secretary was then before the Privy Council soliciting some affair or other so earnestly that the Royal commissioners, who were also members of the King's Council, could positively have no rest. Were I allowed to state my opinion about this, I should not hesitate to say that what these English people are doing is merely to temporize and gain time, waiting to see how the Emperor's affairs in Germany will turn out, for I take it that it will be rather disagreeable for them to have, at the very onset of the game, to contribute with money towards the expenses of a war against the duke of Clèves or Holstein, when they may want all their resources for the undertaking against Scotland, which this king seems to have much at heart. This is the reason why I imagine it will be difficult, if not altogether impossible, to make this king carry on war and invade the French territory next spring. I am the more persuaded of that being the cause of the deputies' sudden change of opinion in that particular, that instead of insisting, as they formerly did, on the joint invasion of France taking place about the first of July, they now ask that no precise time be fixed for it, and that the operation, if carried out, be first submitted to the advice, will, and arbitration of the two contracting parties.
The Scotch, not contented with their first thrashing (bastonnade), have lately penetrated into England by another frontier pass, with intent to rob and waste the land. The Scotch numbered sixty-eight horsemen. On their return to Scotland, they were met in a narrow pass by forty Englishmen, who took away the spoil they were carrying off, and slew or took prisoners a portion of them. Unable to take their revenge otherwise, the Scotch killed near Dumfries Castle a herald of this king, named Sombreset (Somerset), who was returning from Scotland, whither he had been sent. This is likely to rekindle the fire. On the other hand the successes against the Scotch have considerably raised this king's spirits, who ever since his last wife's misdemeanour has been rather sad and dejected. There was no question after that of his banqueting or paying his court to ladies. Nowadays things have changed; he has given orders that the Princess is to go to Court for these next festivities, accompanied by a great number of ladies; he is having workmen day and night at Hampton-Court preparing the lodgings for the said ladies, (fn. n3) and it might be that in the midst of this carousing the King was tempted to marry again, though at present there is no rumour of that.—London, 17 December 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph. pp. 2.
21 Dec. 85. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
ff. 141–4.
"Madame,"—Yesterday I sent again to Secretary Vristley (Wriothesley)—the deputy who enjoys most credit with this King—to know when we could meet again, and learn this King's final resolution on pending affairs. The Secretary's answer to my man was rather cold; he had (he said) spoken to the King about it, and fancied that the affair would for some time lie dormant. The better to avoid entering into details, he referred my man to the bishop of Westminster (Thirlby), who was very much astonished that a man like Secretary Vristley, who had almost all the authority and management of affairs, besides enjoying the King's entire confidence, should refer to him in a case of such importance. However that may be, the Bishop said to my man, in the most affectionate and regretful terms, that he was sadly disappointed and vexed at the slow progress of the affairs in hand, and exceedingly sorry not to see them advance quicker; he would (he said) give up the greater part of his private fortune to see the negociation terminate soon to the complete satisfaction of both the contracting parties; but (said he confidentially and under reserve) the French are troubling our affairs with their diabolical practices and their intrigues, in which arts they are no doubt more experienced and cleverer masters than either of the two princes—the Emperor and the King, my master—or any of their ministers. "And yet (added the Bishop) I do not doubt that one of these days there will be a good resolution of the whole affair. As to my part (he continued) I will do my best, though nowadays the Councillors' time is so much taken up with the affairs of Scotland that they have scarcely leisure to eat their meals."
Had any other of the deputies but the Bishop spoken to my man in these terms, and sent me such a message concerning French practices and intrigues, I should have suspected that the whole was an invention for their own profit—the more so that the Secretary (Wriothesley) had said something about it to my man, and that since my last despatch I know it to be a fact that the French ambassador has gone, to Court and seen the King. The message coming from the Bishop, who is a plain-spoken man, true, and without dissimulation, and, besides that, very well inclined to the Emperor's service, I attach faith to his words, and perfectly believe in what he said to my man. I have, moreover, no doubt that the King will listen to French overtures, especially if they promise him to deal with the abbeys and monasteries in France as he himself has dealt here, which, by the way, is the thing this King most desired at one time. Indeed, I recollect once having spoken to him on the matter, and his having declared to some of his privy councillors that should king Francis do that, he would thereby become so rich and powerful that he would no longer care for him, but would, on the contrary, wish to make war on him, and assist the Scotch with money.
The King had just determined to send to the Emperor one gentleman of his privy Chamber, for what purpose or mission I cannot say; but his Secretary Vristley (Wriothesley) sends me word that he has now desisted from the idea. Yesterday, about the hour of noon, twenty-four Scotchmen of the principal lords (sieurs) and gentlemen taken prisoners in the last encounter (fn. n4) were sent to the Tower. After duly promising on oath, before the Privy Council assembled, not to absent themseves from this city without previous leave from the King, they will be released and quartered in the houses of lords and gentlemen of this City respectively, each according to his rank.
The Princess has this very day come to Court, triumphantly attended and accompanied on her passage through this city.—London, 21 December 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph, partly in cipher. pp. 3.
22 Dec. 86. The Queen of Hungary to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233.
"Monsieur l'ambassadeur,"—In answer to your letter of the 8th inst., after collating the article of the defence, couched as that King's privy councillors have lately shown to you, with that which you sent Us enclosed in your letter of the 2nd of November, (fn. n5) We find an important alteration, which makes it still less acceptable than it was at first, since there is nothing in it to do away with the difficulty experienced at first with regard to the mention therein made of the ecclesiastical state. Yet, as the King seems to like it better than the other, We are of opinion that you should pass it, and satisfy the King in that respect.
With regard to the express mention of the dukes of Clèves and Holstein in the article of the rebels, which the English refuse making in any way, if you perceive that they will be satisfied with their being held after the conclusion of the treaty as enemies under the general clause, the express mention of their persons and titles might be omitted. Yet care should be taken that they (the English) do not except the two dukes from the rebels to the Emperor, Our brother, by reason of his Imperial dignity, and afterwards by cause of the said exception attempt to comprise them under the general clause of the common enemies. That would be directly contrary to His Imperial Majesty's intention, who thinks that after the conclusion of the treaty the king of England ought and must consider them really and truly as his enemies, not only on account of the just grounds of complaint the Emperor has against them, but likewise for the invasions which they themselves have caused of his Imperial dominions. It seems to Us as if the Emperor's insistance that the two dukes should be expressly named in the treaty as enemies had its principal origin and ground in the attempt, which the King's deputies once made not to preclude free residence in England to the inhabitants of those duchies, who might have rebelled against the Empire. We, therefore, request you so to conclude the treaty that though the two dukes may not be named in it as enemies, they may yet, after its final conclusion, be effectually considered and reputed as such, without their being admitted, sheltered, or in anywise favoured in England in virtue of the general clause about the rebels. As We wrote in Our preceding letter, you should dally and temporize with the English until you got an answer from the Emperor to your letter, unless you yourself were much pressed, and thought that any further delay might make Us lose this favorable opportunity of bringing the treaty to a conclusion; especially since the season was advancing, and the time approaching when a final resolution must be taken one way or the other as to the manner of conducting the war this next spring. So We thought then; We are now obliged to change Our opinion, and request you to try and use your discretion so as to ascertain what the king of England's intentions may be respecting these matters before king Francis makes a fresh invasion in the countries under Our government, which he threatens to do this next spring on all sides of Our frontiers, as that king's declaration might undoubtedly make some change in the plans of the French.
With regard to the complaints of that King's privy councillors of the bailli and customs' officers of Flissinge (Flushing) having, as they say, seized an English vessel laden with various merchandize, on the plea that she was not bound for England, but for France, as they say they can prove, and that the cargo belongs really to French merchants, though under English names, that is an infraction of the naval ordinances of this country, which, without a judicial inquiry made on the spot, cannot be decided one way or the other. We have, therefore, sent orders to Flissinge to have the said inquiry instituted in as short time as possible, so that, without any injury to English subjects, and safeguarding the persons of the bailli and customs' officers if they have only done their duty and complied with the naval ordinances, proper reparation be made. Since the parties are already before the judges, We have no more to say on the subject.
You have written to Us about the good fortune of the English against the Scotch; We shall be glad to hear more particulars of that war whenever they come to your knowledge.—Brussels, 22 December 1542.
Indorsed: "To the ambassador in England (xxiie de Decembre XVcXLII) of the 22nd of December 1542."
French. Original minute. pp. 4.
23 Dec. 87. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
f. 145.
"Madame,"—Having this very morning sent to the bishop of Winchester (Gardiner) to know whether the King had or had not, taken a final resolution in the affair of the treaty, he (the Bishop) sent me word by my man that I ought not to take the delay in bad part, or impute it to anything else than to his many engagements and the important business the Council has had to attend to ever since the defeat of the Scotch. He, himself, would do everything in his power for a speedy conclusion of the treaty, though he feared that could not be done as soon as he (the Bishop) wished, owing to the news that had lately come from Scotland. It appears that the King of that country (James), soon after he heard of the defeat of his people, had, out of regret, sorrow and rage, fallen ill and died in a few days; that both his widow (fn. n6) and his daughter were so ill that their lives were despaired of by the Court physicians; that the Scotch earl of Douglas, (fn. n7) who for many years past had been exiled, and lived here on a pension from this king, had already entered Scotland and retaken possession of all his property. All which events (added the Bishop) were of such importance that the King, his master, and all the privy councillors were so much engaged that they could not for the present attend to any other State business. (fn. n8) The Bishop ended by assuring me that the news he had imparted was positively true, and that I might write so to the Emperor without fear of contradiction.
The Bishop said nothing to my man concerning French intrigues, nor did he mention the fact of their ambassador going to Court to-day. (fn. n9)
No other news to record, except that the other day the King received the Princess in the kindest possible manner, and spoke to her in the most gracious and amiable words that a father could address to his daughter.
The Scotch prisoners, as I said in my last, have been individually billeted on the lords and gentlemen residing in this city.—London, 23 December 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph. pp. 2.
26 Dec. 88. The Pope to the Emperor.
S. E., L. 871,
ff. 3–6.
B. M. Add. 28,593,
f. 150.
As soon as he heard of the Emperor's arrival in Spain on the return from his African expedition, he (the Pope) wrote to congratulate him. He now sends John de Montepulciano, (fn. n10) his chamberlain, with the same object, and to treat of other affairs.—Rome, at St. Peter's, 26 Dec. 1542, the eighth of Our pontificate.
P.S.—Your Majesty, by Your singular wisdom, will clearly understand to what extremity Christendom—weakened, and continually assailed by its powerful enemies, temporal as well as spiritual—has been reduced, to which evils I see at present no other remedy but Your Majesty's health and preservation [from the evils of war] that a peace may be concluded. The more difficult to attain, the more acceptable and pleasing will it be to God, the more desired by Us, and the more praiseworthy Your work in bringing the same about. (fn. n11)
Latin. Original. p. 1.
28 Dec. 89. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 233,
ff. 147–50.
"Madame,"—On the 23rd inst., as I wrote to Your Majesty, the French ambassador left this city to go to Court. (fn. n12) He passed the night one mile from Antoncourt (Hampton-Court), and arrived there next day in the morning. Then, without seeing the King, he communicated with the privy councillors, and returned to London the same evening rather late. I have been told that the ambassador's reception by the councillors on his arrival and at his departure was rather cold and meagre, though, as these people are so bent upon dissimulation, it might be, after all, that the report has been circulated for some mysterious, purpose; perhaps, too, not to afford me cause for jealousy or suspicion. Among the other charges of the French ambassador, one was, as I am told, to show this King a letter from the King, his master, dated Cugniat (Cognac), the 13th inst., relating that the Imperialists had disguised the events of the last campaign at their pleasure; he (king Francis) was about to tell him the whole truth, that he might, if he had an opportunity, inform the King and his ministers of it. To begin with Perpignan (the letter said), his army on that frontier had always been victorious and remained masters of the field; it had taken almost all the places in the Roussillon. The garrison of Perpignan had never made a sortie without being shamefully beaten back with great loss. He (the King) had caused certain towns and castles in that county (fn. n13) to be strongly fortified, to the great annoyance and disadvantage of the enemy. On the side of Piedmont, his army had not only kept whatever they had before, but had gained innumerable other places. On the side of Picardy, it was a notorious fact that his troops had triumphantly overrun that province, almost without opposition. In Luxemburgh the enemy held only Thionville, whilst he himself was master of Ivoix, Satteney, and another town. (fn. n14) As to Gueldres, the duke of Clèves had 30,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry under him; and as to himself, he could prove that he was much better provided for the next campaign than he had been for the last, both as to men and provisions, without counting money, for of that he had now in his chests one million and a half francs more than at the beginning of the war.
All this has been related to me by a person to whom the French ambassador showed the letter in question, or, at least, that portion of it containing the above information, purposely destined for the King's ears, which information leads me to suspect that such a preface or introduction to a letter cannot but involve and hide some secret and mysterious intrigue of the French against which we must guard. I am the more persuaded, nay, convinced, of it that the French ambassador went again to Court yesterday, whither I myself sent a third person to watch his movements and report to me. Indeed, there is every reason to suspect that at this present moment the French and the English are negociating together, that being the reason why the latter, though they may not be in a hurry to conclude the treaty of friendship and alliance with us, will, nevertheless, keep the negociation alive for fear king Francis should prevent their King from obtaining the crown of Scotland, to which he aspires, and of which they say he has as good a chance as ever, according to the advice and counsel of the Scotch prisoners now in this city, whom he summoned to his presence on the 25th inst., receiving them most cordially and affectionately. On the very same day the ambassador of the duke of Clèves was also summoned to the Royal presence; he had been there, to Court, two or three times before within the last month, though it must be said that for more than one year before he had not seen the King, from all which I gather that some intrigue must be going on.
Your Majesty will be pleased to consider and weigh together the above facts, the truth of which I can warrant, and others of the same sort, which have also come to my knowledge through confidential friends at this Court, in order to decide what is to be done on the whole, taking it for granted that there is no likelihood for the present of these people proceeding to the conclusion of the treaty of closer alliance under the form and in the express words that the Emperor wants it, unless they know first what France will say to it; besides which, if the late events in Scotland be taken into consideration, there can be no doubt that they will stipulate for fresh and different conditions.
I forgot to say that in addition to the deceased king of the Scots leaving no son nor daughter (fn. n15) to succeed to his crown, there is no one left of his blood except a first cousin of his, (fn. n16) who is incapable of succeeding to the throne, inasmuch as he is half-witted (a demy folz et insensé). That is why it is strongly suspected that there will be soon divisions and parties among the Scotch nobility, which will, in time, help the pretensions of this king to the throne of that country.—London, 28 December 1542.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph. pp. 3.


  • n1. Not in the packet.
  • n2. Chapuys' last despatch to the Queen (No. 82) is of the 7th.
  • n3. "Le quel depuys quil entendist le [maulvais] gouvernement de sa derniere femme sest monstre continuellement triste, et nestoit question de parler de banquet ne de dames, mais le tout est change maintenant, et a desja ordonne que la princesse ira ces festes [prochaines] en Court, accompagnee de grand nombre de damez, et faict le dit sieur labourer jour et nuyt à Amtoncourt pour parachever le logis de la dite dame (sic, des ditez damez), et pourroit estre, &c."
  • n4. That of Solway Moss, in November 1542.
  • n5. The 3rd, see p. 172.
  • n6. Mary of Guise and her daughter, Mary Stuart.
  • n7. Archibald Angus, earl of Douglas.
  • n8. "Pour les quelles occurrencez tant importantez le dit sieur roy son me (maistre), et aussi tres tous eulx estoient si tres tant enbesongnez, quil nestoit possible de plus."
  • n9. "Il na riens touche des practiques de France, ne aussi declaire comme lambassadeur du dit France alloit aujourdhuy en court."
  • n10. Giovanni Riccio da Montepulciano, Papal Nuncio to Spain in 1541. See Vol. VI., Part I., pp. 242–3, 428, &c.
  • n11. The whole of this postscript, in Italian, is in Pope Paul's hand.
  • n12. See above, No. 85, p. 187.
  • n13. The Roussillon was formerly a county belonging to the counts of Barcelona, kings of Aragon.
  • n14. "Et luy y en avoit trois, Ivoix, Satteney et une aultre."
  • n15. Chapuys forgets Mary, born on the 8th of December, and who succeeded under the tutorship of her mother. He probably thought that both she and her mother were dead. See p. 189, No. 87.
  • n16. Stuart, earl of Arran.