Spain: January 1543, 16-31

Pages 229-239

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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January 1543, 16-31

17 Jan. 96. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Madame,"—Four days ago the king arrived in town. Immediately after, as I was preparing to wait on him, I was seized by a fresh fit of gout, which took away all hope of my being able to call with the promptitude which the pressure and importance of the affair in hand requires. I was, therefore, compelled to send a message to the Royal deputies, praying them to supply my deficiency in that respect, and intercede with the King, their master, for a final answer and determination on the whole. To this prayer of mine I joined the necessity of my complying with the very urgent commands lately received both from the Emperor and from Your Majesty, as well as Mr. de Granvelle's commendations to procure the King's answer as soon as possible. The deputies, after talking to the King, and holding a consultation with the rest of the privy councillors, sent me word the day before yesterday that in three or four days, at the most, I should get a final answer. Yesterday morning, as I fully expected, the secretary of the Privy Council (fn. n1) called at this embassy, and brought me a message from the King purporting that letters had been received from his ambassador at the court of France, which letters stated, among other news, that the French were boasting and bragging of having intercepted in Lorraine a packet of letters directed to Spain, from the contents of which they gathered that Your Majesty and the Low Countries were reduced to such an extremity that unless prompt provision was hastily made, and measures were taken for the defence thereof, all must be considered as lost. That owing to the above intelligence, which had accidentally fallen into their hands, the French boasted that they would not lose the opportunity this time, but would resume with greater force their undertaking against the Low Countries. "Though the King, my master (said the Secretary), knows well what French stratagems are, and fancies the whole of that news to have been fabricated on purpose, yet he has charged me to come and inform you of these things, that you may write to the Emperor, and to his sister, the Regent in the Low Countries, and at the same time ascertain whether matters there are as desperate as the French represent them to be."
This last, in my opinion, was the principal object of the King's message brought by his Secretary. I duly thanked him for the information, and replied that I did not consider the affairs of the Low Countries to be in so desperate a state as the French represented; on the contrary, I believed them to be in a very fair condition, inasmuch as His Imperial Majesty's subjects were fully determined to risk their lives for the defence of their country. That if Your Majesty had really written what the French said, you had certainly acted wisely and prudently; for military affairs of such importance are not generally handled by ladies; the Emperor had perhaps delayed a little too much, owing chiefly to the great distance and the difficulty of the communications, the help and assistance he had intended to send from the first. Your Majesty, said I, could not do less, under the circumstances, than exaggerate the danger (not a small one, as I think) in which the countries under Your government are of a fresh invasion by the French on so many sides and with so considerable a force. If, however, the King would now declare openly against the French, he would find that Your Majesty has lost none of Your former vigor and force, or of the resolution You always had of bringing to reason the constant disturber of the peace of Christendom (le turbateur de la tranquillite chrestienne).
On other points connected with present affairs the Secretary said nothing to me, yet I failed not to remind him of the promise which the deputies had made of a speedy answer from the King. This he offered to solicit for me when he next went to Court; notwithstanding which, I intend sending one of my clerks to him to-day, for, after all, it might happen that affairs turned out much better than I expected a few days ago, inasmuch as there seems to be a chance just now of this king obtaining, without much cost or array of forces, the conditions he has asked from the Scotch, which conditions are far more moderate than those he imposed at first. Indeed, besides the large party (les intelligences tres grandes) this king has in Scotland, he is likely to be most efficiently helped by the enmity now existing between the count of Haren (earl of Arran), first cousin of the deceased king and tutor of his daughter, and the Cardinal (Betoun), of which enmity the chief cause is that the Cardinal affirms that the King, before he died, appointed him with three other noblemen to be governors of the kingdom, which affirmation the Count considers to be false, owing to no other living person but the Cardinal himself having spoken about it. Besides which, the Cardinal's assertion had been so flatly contradicted and questioned that the Count, on hearing of it, got into a passion, put his hand on the hilt of his sword [and threatened violence]. The Count has no doubt that the Cardinal, a thorough Frenchman, will try to revenge the insult, and bring over to Scotland Mr. de Guise, or some other nobleman of his family, to take the government of the country into his hands, as well as the guardianship of the Princess, which will afford the Count occasion and excuse for demanding aid and assistance from England. And I do really believe that if he (count Haren) obtains this King's support to enable him to continue in the government of Scotland at all events during the minority of the Princess or her absence from Scotland—should she come to England to be married to prince Edward—he will agree to any conditions imposed upon him, even that of renouncing French alliance. On the other hand, most probably for fear of the duke of Guise or some other personage from France coming to Scotland to take the guardianship of the Princess, and of the government of the country falling thereby into his hands, several of the principal Scotch lairds and gentlemen in the country will espouse the Earl's party, and even favour also those who were prisoners here in London, all of whom returned the other day to Scotland, with the exception of a few who could not furnish the hostages required in their room. (fn. n2)
I lately forgot to say, when I wrote about the taking of La Rochelle, that in the act or manifesto drawn up by king Francis, he declared that he would not treat prisoners so cruelly and inexorably as those of Ghent had been treated [by the Emperor].
The French ambassador will not quit this country as soon as he intended, owing to the one who was to replace him having fallen ill. He has twice in this week called on the bishop of Winchester (Gardiner) at his lodgings, and has met there the bishop of Westminster (Thirlby), but I know nothing yet on the subject of their conference.
Having yesterday asked the Secretary (Wriothesley) what he knew of the military preparations now being made in France, he answered that he knew nothing except that a courier of this king, going [to Paris], had met on the road several German captains, and that Martin Van Rousse (fn. n3) had left France in disgust and very discontented with king Francis, the King being even still more so with him, and that one of his comrades named Rauche had been arrested.
After the above was written the Secretary returned to me, sent by the King for the express purpose of inquiring how I was getting on after my last attack, most cordially offering to send me his own physician, medicines, and everything else I might want, begging me to make use of them without scruple of any sort, as if I were a principal officer of his Royal household. He (the Secretary) further brought me the following message from him, i.e., that hoping that I should have been able to stir out of doors and have some conversation with him, he had delayed sending for me, but since that was not the case he would delay no longer, and had ordered his deputies to call on me next day. (fn. n4) Indeed, I have no doubt that the King has been very much pleased with what I said to his Secretary when he came to see me; that is one of the reasons why I pressed so hard for the King's resolution in this affair; and the other, my being so oppressed and fatigued by illness, that I began to fear I should not be in a condition to sign the treaty unless it was hastily concluded. I should regret immensely to die before its conclusion, for fear of another ambassador being sent in my room not so well informed of English affairs as I am, and therefore likely to spoil the whole affair.
The French ambassador has this very day sent to ask an audience from the King. What may be his object, and which day is fixed for the audience, I have not yet been able to learn. As soon as I can get reliable information on this point I shall not fail to inform Your Majesty, as well as of the result of the deputies' visit, which I expect every day.—London, 17 January 1543.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original. pp. 3.
Indorsed: "Copy of the letter of the Imperial ambassador in England to the Queen, in Flanders, xvije of January 1543."
21 Jan. 97. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Sire,"—Yesterday morning, early, I received, (fn. n5) within the packet of letters from Spain, which Mr. de Granvelle addressed to me immediately after his landing at Gennes (Genoa), Your Imperial Majesty's of the 3rd of November, in answer to which I cannot write at present more than I have already written in my preceding despatches, unless it be that this king's deputies sent me word by my man that their master had taken in very good part all I had said to them, and was intending, from day to day, to come here [to London] when he would have a conversation with me, after which they (the deputies) hoped everything would be settled to our complete satisfaction. So that if the King, as his deputies assert, shows such a good will and inclination, I have no doubt that it will materially increase, owing to the indignation (desdaing) he must have felt at hearing of the French and Scotch together having lately captured on the coast of Britanny certain English ships (navieres) coming from Bordeaux laden with wine for his table and that of other private persons. At any rate, Your Imperial Majesty may be sure that, on my part, no diligent solicitation shall be spared, and all means of persuasion employed to make the King take a resolution in the affair. Of whatever may happen I shall not fail to inform Your Imperial Majesty whenever there is an opportunity, and will continue also to do the same with regard to Mr. de Granvelle.
The French ambassador has not gone to Court since the day mentioned in my last despatch. True is it that during that time he has sent two or three couriers; perhaps also he himself is thinking of returning thither soon, for he received yesterday two letters from home.
The above paragraph was scarcely ended when I received a message from a certain personage who had just been dining with the French ambassador. He tells me that one of the two couriers, alluded to above as having come to the latter from France, brought a letter from the governor of Boulogne [sur Mer] announcing that Martin van Rossen had arrived safely at Juliers with his small army, and had there made his junction with the duke of Clèves. But mixed up with these facts, which I have no doubt are substantially true, the governor's letter, which the ambassador showed to the Duke's agent here, also one of his guests, contained the most strange and impudent lies, such as asserting that the said Martin van Rossen had defeated a division of Your Majesty's army, which attempted to bar his passage through Brabant, where he had done considerable damage to the country people in retaliation for that caused in the duchy of Juliers by Your Majesty's troops. The letter further said that Mr. de Longueval was in the Luxemburg, waiting for a large sum of money to come to him from France, which piece of news I take to be as false and lying as the former.
The other courier brought to the French ambassador a letter from his master, the King, dated from La Rochelle, on the 10th, which letter, as I am informed, contained the following:—"After quieting the riots of La Rochelle (where two of his Royal commissioners and one treasurer had been murdered bg the inhabitants, who resisted being deprived of their privileges) king Francis made his entry into the town, and on New Year's day, as he was sitting on his throne, surrounded by his two sons, Cardinal Tournon, and other grave personages, the people of the town came in, made their excuses, and renounced all their privileges; after which they delivered into his hands the keys of the town, and made the declaration of obedience used on such occasions, having at the same time presented the King with 60,000 fr. in cash; and that, considering the poverty of the inhabitants, and the reasons and excuses alleged by them, the King had refused, to receive the money, and had pardoned the misdemeanour of the Rochellese, throwing all the blame on the governor of the town, who had (he said), through his official report, been the cause of the heavy tax imposed upon them, and who was actually punished with deprivation of his office.
Letters from France announce that Count Guillaume de Fousenberg (Furstenberg) and his lieutenant had quitted the court of Francis in disgust, owing to most of their band having refused to follow them. From what the personage above alluded to, who was one of the guests of the French ambassador said, the latter had no particular mandate at present from the King, his master, nor any business to transact at Court; nay, I am told by my informant that the last time he went thither, during the Christmas festivities, he treated chiefly of the restitution of the ship in which the Cardinal of Scotland had returned to Scotland, which ship the English had captured at sea. On this subject, and whilst the contention was going on, the French ambassador got into such a passion that he made use of many indiscreet and threatening expressions against the members of this king's Privy Council. (fn. n6) I should very much wish that the ambassador continued to treat the privy councillors in this way; there would then be a chance for the King—who has besides so many just reasons and causes for indignation—declaring at once against the French. Matters in this state, it would perhaps be an easy task to persuade him to abandon for a time the Scottish enterprize, and to represent to him that this is the best opportunity for taking up arms and obliging king Francis—the sole cause and source of the evils that afflict Christendom at large—to return to his duty. Indeed, this king ought to be told—and I myself intend telling him so at the first audience—that after having openly declared against France, he may without much fatigue or expence realize his plans for the possession of Scotland, as otherwise the French will be able at very small cost to mar all his projects in those parts. At any rate he ought, in my humble opinion, to suspend for some time his operations in Scotland, for in the meanwhile it is most probable that some dissension or other may shortly spring up between the four governors appointed by the late king (James), specially by means and through the practices of count Douglas, (fn. n7) who has two of his nephews in the Regency. It appears that some time before his death the late king of Scotland ordered the said count Douglas to be reinstated in all the property,—of which he had been deprived by a most iniquitous and unjust sentence—and likewise that a nephew of his, who had been long kept in prison, should be released. Owing to the above facts, and to the dissension among the parties, which must naturally spring up soon, this king has, in my opinion, a very good chance of obtaining his aim through the intelligences he has in that kingdom of Scotland, and, therefore, will lose nothing by waiting for eventualities, which cannot but be in his favor. Should he, on the contrary, persist now in his undertaking, he may perchance unite all parties against him, and compel the Scotch to look out for help and assistance elsewhere. To these admonitory warnings, which I intend to lay before the Royal deputies at our next conference, I may add several more, of which I purpose making use according to the disposition of affairs.—London, 21 January 1543.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Indorsed: "From the ambassador in England, 21st Jan. 1543. Received at Madril (sic) the 26th of February."
French. Original. pp. 5.
23 Jan. 98. The Emperor to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 9.
"Venerable, chier et feal,"—Your letters of the 2nd and 22nd of November, (fn. n8) informing Us of the result of the conferences which you and Mr de Courrières have held with the king of England and his ministers respecting the treaty of closer friendship and alliance, have duly come to hand. We clearly see the point at which the King and his ministers finally stop, without choosing to go any further, notwithstanding the many representations and persuasions which you have made them, and the very just and reasonable causes We have for not granting their demands, especially those concerning two of the articles in the treaty, namely, that of the "common defence," and that of the "residence (hantise) and communication of each others' subjects." Were those two articles to pass as they are worded in the draft of the treaty, or according to the amendments proposed in the schedule appended to your letter, a most serious injury would be done to Our honor and reputation. That is why We have again sent the two said articles to Our Council, there to be reexamined and discussed. After Our councillors' long and mature deliberation on the matter, We do not see how We can conscientiously pass the said two articles, unless they be couched in exactly the same words as those in Our letter and Instructions to Mr. de Courrières, the articles themselves being so closely connected with Our faith and ancient religion. (fn. n9) It is therefore incumbent upon you—unless, however, you have already proceeded to the discussion of other articles (as you seem to have had express orders to do from Our sister, the Regent)—to forbear giving cause for the negotiations to be entirely broken off through it, and yet to insist upon the two said articles being couched in the very same terms and words of Our Instructions to Mr. de Courrières. As since the receipt of your joint letter (fn. n10) there has been no danger of a rupture on the part of the king of England, who, as far as you can guess, will try to temporize as long as he can without declaring for one or the other of the parties; as We also presume and hope that—no such danger existing at present—you have not allowed the two said articles to pass as amended in your note, We order you to prosecute the negociation to the end, and insist upon the Royal deputies accepting the terms and words proposed by Us. (fn. n11) This you will try to accomplish by all manner of persuasions and arguments, giving the King's ministers to understand that England will gain much by the treaty of closer friendship and alliance now being negociated, and that unless the said two articles are inserted as We want them to be, the treaty itself cannot be concluded and ratified as We and the king of England should like it to be, though We must say that owing to the close friendship now uniting us both, and to the singular affection We profess for him, there would be no objection on Our part to the rest of the articles passing exactly as they are couched in the draft of the treaty.
In case, however, of your being unable to persuade the Royal deputies, and should the latter persist in their determination respecting the two articles in question, you will, without actually coming to a rupture, try to temporize, and from time to time inform the dowager queen of Hungary, Madame, Our sister, as well as Mr. de Granvelle, now in Germany, of the progress of the negociation. We now write to them both, telling them, in case matters should come to the worst, to devise together as to the best means of carrying out Our intentions in this matter, either by proceeding with the treaty to its final conclusion, or by looking out for fresh expedients, such as they may deem fit and most convenient for Our service and the state of Our affairs in that country, and let you and your colleague know how you are to conduct yourselves in the negociation.
We must not omit to say, whilst on this topic, that although the English ambassador residing at this Our court has, since your first letter of the 2nd November, heard from the King, his master, and from the privy-councillors, and seems to be perfectly well informed of the conferences which you and your colleague have had on the subject, he has not yet taken any notice or in anywise alluded to the subject, but is now three or four leagues from this place, (fn. n12) hunting and making good cheer, without thinking in the least of his master's affairs. We have sent a messenger to acquaint him with the contents of your joint despatch, that he may, if he chooses, send to Our Privy Council a copy of the one he himself has received. Up to this hour no answer has come from him, and We cannot imagine what excuses he may make to his master, for since the receipt of his despatch he has neither spoken nor written to Us about it. That is why We inform you of the fact, in order that you may answer the king and his ministers should they interpellate you on the subject.
Having heard of the military preparations which king Francis is making on all sides, and especially on that of Navarre and Fontarrabia, where he has massed a considerable number of Germans—no doubt with a view of again invading Our kingdoms and dominions this next spring (à la prime vere)—We have determined, the better to resist his attacks, and provide for the defence and security of Our threatened kingdoms, (after making here, in Castille, such provision as may be necessary) to start on St. Mathias' day, (fn. n13) and direct Our course upon Barcelona, so as to be nearer to the frontier of Navarre and Fontarrabia, and also to Perpignan, if the enemy should attempt the Roussillon. We have also written to prince Doria to come over to Barcelona with his galleys before the end of March, that he may in case of need succour the towns on the sea shore, and be otherwise prepared to sail with his fleet to whichever quarter his maritime services may be required. Should king Francis effect a diversion with part of his forces, either against Italy or against the Low Countries, prince Doria is to convey Us personally to that country where the danger may be the greatest, so as to resist the enemy with all Our power. We cannot at this time tell you to which of those points We shall personally go, not knowing for certain what the enemy's designs may be; but this We can assure you, that We are quite prepared to meet king Francis wherever he may show himself.—Madrit (sic), 23 January 1543.
Signed: "To el Rey."
French. Original draft. pp. 2.
28 Jan. 99. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Madame,"—After writing my letter of the 17th the King's secretary came to this embassy, and exhibited those he had received from the English ambassador (fn. n14) at the court of king Francis, relating, among other news more or less fabricated by the French, that His Imperial Majesty is virtually in treaty with the Turk. I copy the paragraph in the ambassador's letter, which stands thus:—"The French are now spreading the rumour that the Emperor has lately sent two ambassadors to the Grand Turk to ask for a two years' truce, but that the Sultan would not hear of it, and had on the contrary ordered one of the ambassadors to be beheaded, and was determined to send next spring a fleet of eighty galleys to Provence to the assistance of the French." (fn. n15)
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph. pp. 4.


  • n1. Most probably John Mason, clerk of the Privy Council.
  • n2. "Et croy que luy vouldra octroyer la maniance (sic) du dict gouvernement en tous cas advenant, à sçavoir durant la pupillarite de la fille, ou absence du royaulme, et en cas quelle vinse à estre mariée avec ce prince, il condescendra à toutes conditions, mesmes la principale, quest de renuncer lamitie des françois."Et semble que pour craincte quil ne vienne illeq du dit France pour gouverneur, pluseurs des principaulx du dit royaulme tiendront le party du dit conte, et mesmes leg prisoniers quont içi estez, les quelz sont presque tres tous [re]tourne au dit Escosse, saufz (sic) aulcungs que encoires nont peu avoir les hostages quilz debvoient delivrer en leur lieu."
  • n3. Van Rossen.
  • n4. "En cest instant apres escript ce que dessus est icy retourne le dit Secretaire, envoye de la part du roy pour entre aultres choses se condouloir de ma maladie et indisposition, et me offrir tres cordiallement medecins et medecines et tout ce que aurai-je de besoing, me priant en user sans scrupule, et comme le principal domestique de sa court. Et au surplus pour me dire que pensant deviser avec moy, comme il eust bien desire, il ne mavoit plustot envoye ses deputez, les quelz sans nulle faulte seront demain içy avec moy."
  • n5. "Je receu à prim hier," says the original deciphering, but I should say that the true reading ought to be "Jai reçeu à prime heure hier."
  • n6. "Et en que ma rappourté le dit personaige, le dit ambassadeur navoit charge ne matiere daller en court, et m'affirme que quant il y fust ces festes, il ne parla principalement que de la restitucion de la naviere quavoit rappourte le cardinal dExcosse, la quelle ceulx-cy ont prinse pieça et sur cestuy affaire le dit ambassadeur estoit entré en si grande colere quil usa de beaucop de parolles haultaynes et indiscretes contre les principaulx du Conseil."
  • n7. "Le conte d'Ouglas," says the original, but Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus, is no doubt meant.
  • n8. No. 74 (p. 159) and 81 (p. 182).
  • n9. "Et apres avoir meurement (maturement?) advise et delibere sur iceulx, ne voyons que avec bonne conscience puissions passer les dits deux articles autrement quilz sont declairez en lettres et charge du dit sr de Courrières pour estre deppendans de nostre foy et ancienne religion."
  • n10. That is of Chapuys and Courrières on the 2nd of November, though only signed by the former (No. 74, pp. 159–75).
  • n11. "Et fauldra que si desja navez passe oultre au dit traicte, comme nous escripvez avoir charge de nostre dite seur, si veissiez apparence de rompture (sic) du coustel d'Angleterre, ce que nous ne pensons que aurez faict,—pour dois le reception de vostre dite lettre n'estre les choses si mal succedees que le dit roy d'Angleterre eust eu occasion de rompture—le quel à ce que pouvons comprendre, serchera de tousiours temporiser sans soy declairer dung coustel ou d'autre, que encoires y persistiez jusques au bout."
  • n12. That is from Madrid, where the Emperor was since the 1st of January. Two months after, on the 1st of March, he left for Alcalá de Henares. See Gachard, and Bradford's Itinerary of Charles V., p. 535.
  • n13. The Emperor may have intended, as he announces, to depart from Madrid on the 24th of February, St. Mathias' Day, the anniversary of the battle of Pavia, but according to Vandenesse's Itinerary, translated by Bradford (p. 535), his departure took place on the 1st of March.
  • n14. See above, No. 96.
  • n15. "Les dits franchois font courir le bruyt par içy que sa mate avoit envoyé deux ambassadeurs devers le Turcq pour obtenir tresves dune annee, et que le dit Turc ny avoit voulust (voulu) entendre, ains avoit faict trancher la teste à ung deulx, et estoit desliberé denvoyer à ce printemps huyttante galleres en Provence au service deulx."