Spain: March 1543, 1-15

Pages 261-277

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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March 1543, 1-15

5 March. 109. Mr. de Granvelle to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 9.
"Monsr. l'ambassadeur,"—Your letter of the 12th ult., and the copy, which the queen dowager of Hungary has addressed to me, of the treaty passed between the King's commissioners and you, have both come to hand. God be praised for the good work you have been able to accomplish at last, and of which I am certain the Emperor will be glad to hear, at the same time that he cannot fail to acknowledge the great service you have rendered him on this occasion.
Both your letter and the duplicate of the treaty came so opportunely, that almost immediately after their reception an express from the said queen of Hungary arrived by the coast of Biscay with a third copy of it, and of the letters addressed by you to His Imperial Majesty. Of those which you sent by the other sea there is no news yet.
Among other things which the Emperor tells me in his letter, one is that most certainly his departure from Madril (sic) was fixed for the day after St. Mathias last, to go to Barcelona and embark for Italy, where he did not intend making any stay, but proceeding at once to these parts with a view of making war on the king of France. And that if, as His Imperial Majesty hopes and thinks, the treaty with England is ratified, I myself, with your valuable assistance, was to try to induce that King to declare war against France within this present year.
Immediately after the receipt of which orders I dispatched another courier to Gennes (Genoa) for the galleys to sail at once [for Barcelona]. I have also written to His Imperial Majesty announcing the conclusion of the treaty, and saying that, in my opinion, it ought to be ratified at once, and, if required, sworn to, commissioning you to obtain from that king the reciprocal ratification and oath, without, however, forgetting at the same time to acknowledge the good offices and true services rendered by you on this occasion. Have likewise promised him, in pursuance of his supreme commands, to advise you as to the best manner of persuading the King to commence war against France this very year.
To do that, I have drawn out a short but concise memorandum of the arguments to be employed by you for the attainment of that object. I now forward it to the Queen Regent, that she may read it in union with Mr. de Praët, and make such corrections, additions, or suppressions as she may please, and then send it on to you. I trust entirely to your usual prudence, discretion, and dexterity to make such a use of the said memorandum of mine as to carry out the intention and wishes of His Imperial Majesty in the most efficient manner. It is for you (Chapuys), who know so well the character, and the ins and outs of the King and his ministers to make use of such persuasions and in such fashion as will best suit the temper and wishes of the King and of his privy councillors. (fn. n1)
I am sorry to hear that you are troubled with gout. You must fight against it as well as you can during this summer, and since the Emperor's affairs in that country have been placed by your efforts in so right a path that complete success may confidently be expected to your honor and credit, as well as profit—for you cannot fail to be amply rewarded by His Imperial Majesty—do, I pray, persevere in your work, and wait patiently for the remuneration of your long and valuable services. As to your quitting England before next winter, I see no chance whatever; your presence in that court is now more necessary than ever for His Imperial Majesty's service. I myself, as a friend of yours, could not under the circumstances propose or recommend your leaving that embassy.
Enclosed you will find another letter to this very purpose, that you may, if required, show it to the King or to the two bishops, (fn. n2) as well as to the Lord Privy Seal. (fn. n3)
Nothing new has occurred since my last worthy of particular mention, nor have I leisure to write a longer letter.—Nüremberg, 5 March [1543].
P.S.—After the above was written I received from the Emperor, in Italy, the enclosed letter for you. It was sent to me opened, that I might take note of its contents. You will see how much His Imperial Majesty desired then the conclusion of the treaty, and the pleasure he will receive when he hears that everything has turned out according to his expectations and wishes. For God's sake do your best to complete the good work commenced, that we may this year, with the king of England's assistance and help, inflict some good blow on him who so richly deserves being hated by God and the World in general.
French. Original draft pp. 3. (fn. n4)
5 March. 110. The Same to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 9.
"Monsieur l'ambassadeur,"—I infinitely praise God and return him thanks for having granted us that which we have so earnestly and so long desired, as I gather from your letter of the 12th ult., and the documents and papers annexed. Surely the Emperor, our master, fully expected it, persuaded as he was, and is, that the king of England—animated as he is by noble and generous sentiments and singular prudence—could never forget the old and congenitous friendship existing between them both and their predecessors on the throne. Indeed, His Imperial Majesty had no doubt that the more we went on, the better would the king of England perceive the deceptions, ingratitude, extreme unreasonableness, and unbearable malignity of the French, and their irreconcilable enmity against him and his kingdom. It is on that account, and moved by such considerations that His Imperial Majesty has now decided to quit [Spain] and come to these parts in the month of May next without fail, (fn. n5) as I hear by his letters to me. He has already started [from Madrid], and this is the occasion to compel the common enemy to listen to reason, and reduce him to such a condition that whether he accepts or not the terms imposed by the allies, he may be so utterly disabled as not to have in future the means of opposing them, and promoting war everywhere, as he has done hitherto. And on my faith and honor I do really believe that there never was an opportunity so favorable as this one, nor can we expect a better one in future, considering the present state of affairs in France, and the many notable reasons and motives there are, as I have frequently written to you, for attacking the enemy in his own kingdom. Indeed, it is waxing every day more and more patent, as every one asserts, that if king Francis has been reduced to the condition in which he is, and his present state of senselessness and stupor, it is merely by the judgment of God, that he may the sooner be punished for all his misdeeds. Indeed, no sooner did I cast my eye over the treaty than I said to myself, quod a Domino factum est istud (this is indeed the work of God).
Since matters are so far advanced, it is incumbent upon you (Chapuys) to try and ascertain as closely as ever you can what are that King's plans, and what he wishes us to do, in order that I may apprize the Emperor of it as quickly as possible. You may assure the King that there will be no difficulty at all on the part of His Imperial Majesty; ready as he is to stake his own treasure, his life, and his kingdoms for it, as the true and indissoluble friendship and alliance which unites him to the king of England—and will be everlasting between their heirs, successors, and subjects—demands. Pray do not rest until you have attained that object; lose no time for getting at the King's plans, lest this opportunity should pass away for the common honor and profit of the two princes engaged in it. Let us hear continually, nay, daily—without sparing trouble or money—news of that country, and, should the opportunity offer itself, let my most affectionate commendations be presented to the most reverend the bishops of Winchester and Westminster, as well as to the Lord Privy Seal.—From Nüremberg, the 5th of March [1543].
French. Original draft. (fn. n6)
5 March. 111. The Marquis de Aguilar to the Emperor's Lord Privy Seal.
S. E., L. 871,
ff. 98–9.
In my despatch to the Emperor, dated Rome, the last day of February, I gave an account of the long audience I had had from His Holiness about the General Council, and other important affairs connected with the sudden arrival here at Rome of a certain Mr. Siney, who came with a message from king Francis. As in the course of the audience His Holiness inquired most particularly about Your Lordship, the diet of Nüremberg and the duke of Alburquerque (sic), and whether this latter intended to follow the Imperial Court or remain at Rome, I have considered it my duty to send Your Lordship a copy of some of the paragraphs of that letter. (fn. n7)
"Sire,"—After some conversation on various topics, His Holiness returned to the subject of Monsr. Siney's mission. He told me that king Francis had purposely sent him to present his excuses for his not coming to the conference and interview (colloquio y abocamiento) of Bologna, as His Holiness had proposed. He was so much engaged in attending to the defence of his kingdom and its frontiers, threatened as they were by Your Imperial Majesty, that he could not possibly quit France then and come to Italy. The celebration of the General Council he applauded and praised above all things; he would try to send thither French cardinals and prelates, although the roads to [Trent] were anything but secure, and the place itself was open to suspicion. King Francis (continued His Holiness) had received the Papal Legate with the greatest honors; he had kindly listened to his oration, to which the King had replied that, as far as he himself was concerned, he was quite ready to intrust the negociations for peace to His Holiness, and place it entirely in his hands, but that, having perceived what Your Majesty had done with the Legate sent to him, and what your answer had been to His Holiness' overtures, he had changed his mind and would rather not hear of it. It is, therefore, quite clear (said His Holiness to me) that peace is entirely in the Emperor's hands. To this His Holiness added his usual admonitions and recommendations concerning peace, the dangers in which Christendom was from the Turk and his powerful armies, not omitting to repeat on the occasion what he himself has so often declared, namely, that it was for His Imperial Majesty, as the wisest of crowned princes, and one on whom God had bestowed the highest secular dignity—the advocate of the Church, and protector of Christendom—to present the cheek and pardon the offence; (fn. n8) that the investiture of Milan might be given to a third, &c. In this way without fixing on any particular plan, or letting me understand exactly what he is now aiming at, His Holiness went on speaking at some length about Milan. To which proposal, so often made, I feigned at first not to pay attention, with a view to allow him to open his heart and make further confidences on the subject, (fn. n9) until perceiving that he was not inclined that way, I said to him: "Holy Father, I need not repeat here what has so often been said at Rome and elsewhere, namely, how very little Christendom and Your Holiness would have been indebted to king Francis had he listened to and accepted the proposed interview about peace, and placed in Your Holiness' hands the making of it, at a time, too, when his army was retreating from Luxemburg and Flanders, and that the one at Perpignan had to do the same, or else be beaten and destroyed. Indeed, Your Holiness could not have sent a Legate to him at a better time and opportunity. It would perhaps have been meritorious and praiseworthy of him had he accepted the proposed interview when Montepulchano went to him, and when his armies were marching to invade the aforesaid countries; but now, when all the mischief has been done, and he sees that his plans have not succeeded, Your Holiness will perhaps be more fortunate and not be refused.
To this last argument of mine His Holiness replied that a good action was always praiseworthy; that it was yet time, and that better late than never. That thinking, as he did, that there was no other remedy for afflicted Christendom, he had proposed the interview, and would still try to procure it if he possibly could. With that view he intended to depart for Bologna, because, if the interview did not take place, if discord and war continued between Your Majesty and king Francis, and if both princes were to spend their treasure and waste their energies and power against each other, he foresaw that Christendom would be in manifest danger of perdition, and that the Turk might easily become master of it.
At this point of His Holiness' argument, I (Aguilar), perceiving that he was rather deviating from the proposal which the Bishop (fn. n10) had made to Your Majesty in his name, considered it my duty to recall him to the chief subject of our conference, and provoke him, as it were, to declare himself more openly. "Holy Father (said I to him), that the Turk is coming down upon Christendom by sea and land, as Your Holiness says and owns, cannot be doubted. That the Emperor intends to employ all his power and his person against the Infidel conjointly with Your Holiness and the Empire, is equally certain. That Italy may in the meantime be secure, and not remain at the mercy of king Francis, it is needful—as the Emperor said at Lucca and Monsr. de Granvelle and myself have since repeated here, in his name—that Your Holiness and the rest of the Italian powers make a league with the Emperor for the defence of this country. And since Your Holiness is so interested in the safety of Italy, and knows well the bad intentions and grasping ambition of king Francis, and is aware of the intrigues and plots he has been carrying on here at Rome, and in other parts of Italy, I cannot do less than remind Your Holiness that such a league is indispensably necessary for the preservation, security and tranquillity of Italy, as likewise for the success of the expedition against the Turk."
The Pope's reply to my argument was that such a league as the one proposed was directly against the neutrality which he himself had declared, and likely to drive king Francis to despair, and afford him an excuse to declare himself openly. "That is not the way (added His Holiness); we must try first and see whether king Francis cannot be reduced by mild terms." I replied: "Holy Father, that has already been tried without the least success. How many times has Your Holiness admonished him to cease his practices (platicas) with the Turk, and threatened, unless he did so, to come down upon him with the censures of the Church? Your Holiness has seen what little care he has taken of your sacred admonitions, every day doing worse and worse in that and other particulars, owing no doubt to your patient tolerance and trusting in your forgiveness."
Hearing this, the Pope began again to excuse king Francis still more passionately than before, saying that the Church was not a judge of hidden matters, and that although it was reported that king Francis had an ambassador at the court of the Grand Turk (Solyman), and was soliciting the help of his fleet, on the other hand, His Imperial Majesty, the king of the Romans, his brother, and he of Poland (Sigismond), had also theirs at Constantinople. As to king Francis having had last year, as reported, the ports of Toulon and Antibes prepared to receive in them the Turkish fleet, that was altogether false. King Francis had stated publicly that the cause for his declaration of war last year on so many places and at the same time was the imputation, which his own subjects had cast on him, of his having sent for the Turk's aid and prepared his ports to receive his fleet, for he wished to show to the World that he had sufficient forces without the aid of the Turk to cope with the Emperor in Italy, in Flanders, and in Spain!!
In short, His Holiness went on excusing king Francis as much as he could. I do not enter into more details, because Your Lordship knows very well what His Holiness' intentions are in this particular of the peace. I shall only observe that His Holiness' language to me on this occasion differs much from what the bishop is said to have held before the Emperor [at Lucca]. His Holiness ended his peroration by again exhorting me to write to the Emperor, and try to induce him to come to Italy again, repeating by way of argument that it was the sole remedy for Christendom. My own impression is that the reason of His Holiness insisting so much on the Emperor coming to Italy is that he really believes that he is coming here, and that most likely he has written to his Nuncio in Spain to make a similar request in his name.
As Your Lordship will see in my despatch to the Emperor, both the bishop of Aquila and myself were cross-questioned by His Holiness as to what Your Lordship was doing or likely to propose at the Nüremberg diet, whether you were coming to Rome, and so forth.
After a long audience, which lasted upwards of three hours, perceiving that no arguments of mine would be powerful enough to convince His Holiness, or allow me to penetrate into his secret thoughts, I took leave of him, not without having spoken on the breve for the high commandery (encomienda mayor) of Calatrava. (fn. n11) After hearing my reasons and the justifications offered, and saying that the Emperor wished it to be done, and would consider it as a personal favor, he promised to have the breve issued that very night. I have since sent him reminders through Cardinal Farnese, and through the Datary, but the breve in question has not yet made its appearance.—Rome, 5 March 1543.
Signed: "El Marques de Aguilar."
Addressed: "To Monsr. de Granvelle, the Emperor's lord Privy Seal."
Spanish. Original, partly ciphered. pp. 3.
10 March. 112. The Bishop of Aquila to High Commander Cobos.
S. E., L. 871,
f. 130.
Has received His Lordship's letter of the 23rd January concerning Madame's indisposition, who, thank God, has now recovered. He (the Bishop) can assure His most Illustrious Lordship that Madame has so gained the hearts and the good will of His Holiness, and of these lords and ladies of the Farnese family, that nothing more could be desired. Indeed, the Holy Father is so pleased with all her doings, and with the great wisdom and talent (prudente discorso del suo ingegno) which she displays on all occasions, that very few affairs supervene or important events take place here that His Holiness does not at once communicate to Her Excellency, frequently asking her advice and so forth. Whatever he (the bishop) has solicited from His Holiness or obtained, all is due to her own powerful influence over him. Writes this to His most Illustrious Lordship, knowing, as he does, how pleased he will be to hear such praises of Her Excellency's superior intellect and wisdom, because he knows that he has always cherished and loved her since her childhood. His Lordship will see by what he (the Bishop) is now writing to the Emperor about her how deserving Madame is of his paternal affection, and, therefore, he will not repeat the same here. Hopes that His Imperial Majesty will not find this picture of Mme. at all exaggerated, and that the portrait which the duke of Castro (fn. n12) has this very day given him will convey a still better idea of her than his own description in writing can. The Duke has assured him that he has several matters of great importance to communicate to His Imperial Majesty in the Pope's name, and that immediately after his landing at Genoa he hopes to be admitted to his presence.—Rome, 10 March 1543.
Signed: "B. Episcopus Aquilensis."
Addressed: "Illmo et Exmo Sigre Il Sigre Commendador Maior de Leon, in corte di S. C. Mta."
Italian. Holograph. pp. 2.
10 March. 113. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Madame,"—Some days ago, in pursuance of Your Majesty's orders and commendations, I made excuses to various personages of this country if I did not write home concerning the export of armour (harnoix) from the countries under Your government. Nowadays things have materially changed, and as these people must needs provide themselves with arms, if they prepare, as it appears, to attack the common enemy, I hope that Your Majesty will take in good part my recommending the petition of certain personages and knights of this country to export from those countries under Your Majesty's government certain pieces of armour and implements of war. Among the people who have applied to me for a licence, and certainly he deserves it, is Monsr. de Saint Jean (Lord St. John), an honorable and wise gentlemen, a member of this King's Privy Council, who would wish for permission to draw out of that country one hundred sets of armour for infantry men, besides one hundred lances (picques). I most humbly beg Your Majesty to grant him the said permission, which I have no doubt would be immediately granted were Your Majesty to know the qualities, virtues, and good inclinations of the said knight.—London, 10 March 1542 (1542–3).
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph. p. 1.
10 March. 114. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl.
"Madame,"—Among the ministers and privy councillors whom this king occasionally sends to this embassy to visit me, there came on the 2nd instant the bishop of Winchester (Stephen Gardiner), he of Westminster (Thomas Thirlby), and secretary Wristley (Wriothesley) to call on me, as they said in their master's name, and to announce that certain Portuguese, who had been arrested on the charge of Judaism, had been actually released from prison, and their confiscated property restored to them, merely on my recommendation and for my sake (à ma seulle contemplation). These are the same in favor of whom Your Majesty, as well as the king and queen of Portugal, wrote to me twice some months ago.
After delivering their master's message on that particular point, the three above-named personages proceeded to say that they wondered why I had no news of Your Majesty, nay, nothing to communicate relating to the affairs of Flanders and the Low Countries. And after my assuring them that it was not Your Majesty's fault, but that You were so engaged just now that You scarcely had time to eat, drink, or sleep, much less to write, I proposed, as being desirable for their master's complete satisfaction on that score, and for other purposes and effects, that the King, their master, should have a resident ambassador at Your Majesty's court—a discreet, amiable, and tractable person, with whom You might communicate frequently. This proposal of mine was gladly accepted by my three visitors, who promised to inform their master of it.
After this the King's deputies entered into conversation with me, and, passing from one thing to another, let out some expressions which made me suspect that although they had assured me that the bishop of London (Boner) had no commission or mandate whatever to treat about the time, mode, or form of the common invasion of France, and that all they wanted him to do at the Imperial Court was to solicit from the Emperor to send his powers to me to treat of that affair and others here in London, as I say, I have reason to suspect that something more must have been entrusted to their bishop ambassador. I, therefore, told them that it seemed to me as if they had entirely forgotten to include in the Bishop's instructions that point which, as I had told them at the time, was the most important of the whole negociation at the present juncture. The King, their master, had nowadays about thirty war-ships (navieres), well equipped and manned, and since he had to support such an expense, it would be a most advantageous and profitable moment for him to think of the projected invasion of French territory, for in that case he (the King) would be assisted by the Emperor's fleet, by means of which they might together become the masters of the Northern Seas, so that neither the French nor the Danes would dare go to Scotland, and relieve it when attacked by his land forces. There was, in my opinion, no other means but that of ensuring the King's affairs in Scotland; for, as I had once told them, they ought to bear in mind that the intrigues of the French were a good deal more dangerous and formidable than their arms, and that if not engaged in war, nor occupied in defending themselves at home, they would have now at hand two causes and opportunities for the employment of their cunning devices: first of all, time and leisure to imagine and deliver strange discourses, or invent every day new and incredible stories; and, secondly, the facility of drawing money from the pockets of the poor peasants. Whereas France being invaded, those two causes in their favor would soon disappear, and the French would no longer have recourse to their marvellous propensity and aptitude for intrigue, and for mixing themselves up with other people's affairs. King Francis would no longer dare oppress his subjects with taxes and imports of all kinds for fear of rebellion, especially after the troubles and riots of Britanny and La Rochelle last year, as otherwise he could not defray the expenses of a war. This, said I to the King's deputies, is the proper time and opportunity for falling on him, now that after his expenses of last year his treasury must be nearly empty; besides which, for reasons which I need not specify, having already done so many a time, that King's detestable and abominable acts and practices are notorious to the whole of Christendom, nay, to all the honest and worthy people in his own kingdom. Neither was there much probability of his having again recourse to foreign captains or soldiers worth anything, considering his treatment of the men of Clèves and Ghelders, whom he had last year under his pay and the count Guilliaume de Furstemberg, who have been sent away without their money, Francis' treasurers and ministers saying to them that they must have patience, and let the King breathe until next year.
Lastly, I said to the King's deputies that it would have been far better to delay the conclusion of the treaty between us until next year; for it will be next to impossible that the king of France be not informed of it in the meantime, which will perhaps afford him occasion and opportunity to look to his own affairs, or at least to take courage, and imagine that if we did not attack him, it was owing to our being afraid of them.
These remonstrances of mine had a very good effect on my visitors, who not only approved of them entirely, but promised to report to the King, their master, thereupon, and let me know his answer and intention on the whole.
On the following day, the 3rd inst., Your Majesty's letters of the 24th and 25th ult. came to hand, together with that addressed to this king, as well as the speech (oraison) made in Your Majesty's name at the diet of Nüremberg. After the careful perusal of which address, as well as of all the other letters and papers in the packet, I—though still unwell in consequence of the changeable weather of this season—sent to Secretary Wristley the letter addressed to the King, begging him to take it to him, and let me have an answer as soon as possible by means of a trusty person with whom I might communicate, at the same time begging to be excused if, owing to my indisposition, I could not leave the house.
On the 5th, in the morning, the bishop of Westminster [Thomas Thirlby] and Mr. de Cheney, the King's treasurer and knight of the Garter, came to hear what news I had of the Nüremberg diet, telling me beforehand that the King, their master, had been much pleased, and thanked me very much for the advice conveyed through his ministers. That as to his sending an ambassador to Your Majesty, there was no difficulty at all; he should be sent at once, and that with regard to other matters, he would consult first (ruminer) with his privy councillors, and then let me know his determination.
Upon which, having explained to the deputies what my mission was, they showed much joy at hearing of Your Majesty's affectionate regard for this king, and of your complete trust in him. They were equally pleased at hearing the good news from that country, as well as the prudence, activity, and cleverness displayed by Your Majesty in providing for Government affairs, and ended by asking my permission to take for the King's perusal the address (oraison) delivered in Your name at the Diet of Nüremberg, which permission I willingly granted.
Respecting the duty of 1% for one year (fn. n13) on all goods exported from the Low Countries, after arguing at length with the deputies that should English merchants be exempted from payment, many other nations would no doubt claim the same privilege, or make difficulties about the payment of the said duty, and, moreover, that under cover and in the name of English merchants, foreigners might fraudulently, and without paying that duty, export any goods they pleased from Flanders and the Low Countries, and if so, the collection of the tax would become exceedingly difficult, if not altogether impossible. I said to the deputies, "You ought besides to consider that the money is to be employed against the Turk number two [that is, Francis], and in a war, too, which cannot be exactly called a Flemish war in particular, but an English one, in which war the merchants of this country are also concerned, many of whom have their fortune in the Low Countries, and no other mart for their goods than the countries subject to the Empire or to Spain." Told them besides that according to doctors at law (docteurs legistes), a treaty of intercourse of trade between two nations had nothing whatever to do with questions of this kind, though on the other hand Your Majesty would on no consideration allege the opinion of such doctors in your favor, inasmuch as all your desire is to amplify and extend, rather than curtail by subtle arguments, the commercial treaties and stipulations existing between the Emperor's and this king's subjects.
Hearing this, the deputies dared not contradict me, but owned that I was right. In fact they made no objection whatever on this point, and proceeded at once to discuss the time and season at which the invasion of France was to be accomplished, I and some of the privy councillors being of opinion that it ought to be undertaken at once, whereas others, and among them the King's treasurer, contended that it must be postponed. Indeed, the said treasurer was the only one who maintained the expediency of delaying the preconcerted invasion, alleging that the season was too far advanced to achieve anything important. There was no time (he asserted) to procure the material required for such an expedition, much less the carriage, &c. I proved to him that his objection was untenable, upon which he made another, which—had I not known him to be a good and faithful servant of this king—would have made me suspect that he was rather inclined to France, owing to his having been once a pensioner, and having passed his early youth in that country, (fn. n14) besides his holding that his ancestors came from Burgundy. The objection he started was, that the frontier towns of France were so strongly fortified, that it would take at least one whole year to reduce one of them, even the least important, by force of arms. My reply was, that I had no doubt the King, his master, knew long ago the strength of those towns, and that had he considered them impregnable, he would certainly not have thought of such an invasion, and made arrangements for it. He (the King's treasurer) knew as well as myself, that there was no fortress that could not be defended, as well as taken; none was absolutely impregnable at every point, and that if king Francis happened to invade Flanders this year, as he boasted he would do, it might come to pass that his men through bad weather, and the horses for want of fodder, would suffer so much as to make it easy for us to inflict a good blow upon them (bastonnade), one likely to astonish and discourage the garrisons of those very towns, and that it would not be inexpedient, in order to deprive them of all hope of help and succour, to make the Imperial and English army combined march into France, and leave those frontier towns behind, and that if they (the French) in winter time, and with a handful of men, dared some time back march as far as Mont Didier, what could they not do in summer, when food for man and horse abounds, and, if necessary, may be conveyed by carriage from long distances? Besides which, the confederated army would be six times stronger, whilst that of the French would be divided from its having to attend to so many different points. Should the English army march by way of Normandy, it would be amply furnished with victuals and all necessaries from the Imperial fleets, stronger and more numerous than those of France, by means of which some sudden revolution (garboille) might be planned and executed in Britanny, or on the side of Bordeaux, over which town the king of England has a right, and where the Emperor's reputation stands very high. "In short (said I to the King's deputies), it is to be supposed, that were France to be invaded now, the King, your master, and my Emperor, would not long have to carry on the war single handed, since most of the Christian powers would (voluntarily or at our request) join in the end against France; besides which, it is to be expected that on this occasion God, who has always rendered the Emperor's arms victorious, will be chief and captain of his army to revenge king Francis' misdeeds, and will inspire the governors of those towns and fortresses you speak of, to put them into the hands of more Christian and virtuous princes."
To the above and similar representations on my part, the above-mentioned bishop and treasurer made no reply, saying that they would report the whole to the King, and let me know his answer.
Of the duke of Clèves' affairs they said nothing to me, but about a week ago the King sent me a message through the secretary of his Privy Council to the effect that he had been told that there was some chance of the said duke making his peace with the Emperor; that nothing could be better than that in order to withdraw him altogether from the friendship and alliance of king Francis, and bring him back to the Emperor's obedience and devotion, but that his advice would be (if that could not otherwise be accomplished to the Emperor's honor, and with sufficient guarantee) that the duchy of Ghelders should remain in the hands of the duke of Clèves, and after his death go freely to the Emperor or to his successors, protesting, before he tendered such advice, that it was only the Emperor's interest and convenience which prompted him to suggest such an arrangement of the question between the two, and presuming that the thing could be done to His Imperial Majesty's honor and reputation. That in moving and counselling such a solution, he was not influenced by any friendship, affection, or inclination he might have for the said duke, for whom, or for his other allies, he did not entertain more regard than for the Emperor's gloves; it was to the virtue and judgment of the Emperor that he submitted the whole case.
This very morning the King has sent me another message, namely, that he has perfectly well understood, and taken in good part all I had said to his ministers, and that since the Emperor knew what his intention was respecting the enterprise against France, and that his authority in such military matters, and especially in those concerning the countries under his sway, was generally recognized, he had resolved, following his advice, to send in five or six days two ambassadors to Your Majesty to consult and decide what had better be done, and how and on what side the invasion of France is to be carried out. I have reason to believe that one of them will be Master Thomas Semal (Seymour), the brother of the queen Johanne (Jane) that was, and the other Dr. Carne, whom Your Majesty knows already, neither of whom, I fancy, will fail to do good offices in the matter, and conduct themselves more dexterously and honestly than the one who resided at your court some years ago, and who might, had I not remonstrated against it in time, again have been named.
It has been an immense satisfaction to me to hear that Your Majesty has been pleased with the conclusion of the treaty; though this king desires it to be kept secret for some time to come, Your Majesty, in my opinion, might without great risk communicate the substance of it to your ministers and clerks, which would be a help to yourself and enable them to make their profit in standing negociations, and especially in what relates to the dukes of Clèves and Holstein, and other German princes. There would, as I say, be no harm in that; besides which the chief cause for this king wishing the secret to be kept, is no other in my opinion than to have time to provide for the defence of the territory and fortresses he has on that side of the Channel, for fear of the French making, according to their usual mode of warfare, some sudden attack upon them, but that fear has now completely disappeared; all his English fortresses and towns in Picardy being now abundantly provided with stores of ammunition and food, and their garrisons placed in perfect order.
The King, moreover, wished to provide for the security of his subjects in France as to their persons and property, or at least to indemnify them for their losses. This he had obtained by the capture of the six ships (navieres) of which I wrote some time ago to Your Majesty, as well as by the sequestration of all property belonging to Frenchmen in England. In fact, the diligence and industry displayed by the King's ministers, since the conclusion of the treaty, to find out and discover French property in this country, even that retained under false names, is almost incredible. Indeed, the measure could not, even after the declaration of war, be carried out more rigorously than it has been, or is likely to be, and I am sure that king Francis will greatly resent it. I firmly believe that from one thing to another, matters between them will grow so hot, and that within a few days' time such a fire will be kindled between them that these English will be compelled to enter into a war against the common enemy much sooner than they would wish, especially if the fleets happen to meet somewhere in the Channel.
On the other hand, it seems as if the French were looking out for some pretence or excuse for either openly molesting the English in some way or other, or for sending their fleet with a landing force to Scotland, for the French ambassador, twelve days ago, went to Court and complained bitterly in his master's name, that during the late troubles at La Rochelle, several Englishmen residing in that town had purposely fanned the fire of discord and rebellion there, and induced the inhabitants to hold out, and resist the King's commands. The French ambassador further complained of this king having sent secret agents to Normandy to procure intelligences, and ascertain the means of occupying some fortresses there. True is it, that if I am to believe what the bishop of Westminster (Thirlby) and this king's treasurer told me the other day, the new French ambassador, who came a week ago, and whose name is Prothonotary de Ortez, (fn. n15) of the house of Grammont, and a nephew of the archbishop of Bordeaux, has not spoken in any manner so as to offend or irritate this king; on the contrary, according to my informer, he has made use of very moderate, gracious, and friendly language, with plenty of fine words and promises. The old one (Marillac) would willingly have taken his departure and gone home, but that he could not do until this king's ambassador in France, who, on his return, was arrested at Boulogne, should arrive here. Indeed, I am told that the King is so obstinate about it, that rather than let the two French ambassadors depart from England, he will let his own die in prison at Boulogne.
Four days ago the King sent me word that some time after the demise of the late king of Scotland, hearing that the French were boasting that the duke of Holstein would soon send a powerful fleet to Scotland, he (the King) had sent [to Denmark] one of his secretaries named Vulham Watszon (William Watson), well versed in the navigation of the Northern Seas, with letters for the Duke, and also for the people of Lubeck and Ambourg (Hamburg) to know what the Duke's real intentions were, and watch the naval preparations, if any, that were being made, and that having through excessive caution, and by taking cross roads, unfrequented by travellers, aroused suspicions, he had been arrested as a spy, and imprisoned in the castle of Utrecht. The King's message further said that I was to pray Your Majesty to intercede and have his man released, and set at liberty, which favor I beg to recommend, since it was evidently for the Emperor's and Your Majesty's service that the man was travelling when arrested.
The King had great desire to hold an interview with Your Majesty, but his privy councillors have dissuaded him from undertaking the voyage on the plea that the season is inopportune, especially when Your Majesty is engaged in affairs of such importance and gravity. The King, however, still thinks that instead of that, Mr. de Granvelle might come over and spend a few days in England; that he would desire above all things; and certainly, if the mission on which the Emperor's Lord Privy Seal is now engaged could allow it, I dare say his presence here would be very advantageous for the Imperial service.—London, 10 March 1543.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original, partly ciphered. pp. 5.


  • n1. "Et en user selon lentencion et desir de lempereur, et comme verrez quil importe et cognoissez intus el in ente le dit roy et les persuasions et grimaces quil faut tenir et user envers luy et les sieus."
  • n2. By the two bishops, those of London (Edmund Boner) and Westminster (Thirlby) are meant. Both had been Henry's ambassadors in Spain for the express purpose of negociating the treaty of closer friendship and alliance. see Vol. VI., Part I. pp. 483, 490–1.
  • n3. Sir William Fitz-William, already earl of Southampton, about whom see above, pp. 9, 39n, 139.
  • n4. There are in the Vienna Archives two copies of this letter, one partly ciphered, which is the one here abstracted; the other plainly written. Neither the one nor the other are signed by Granvelle, but the former is endorsed thus: "Coppie des lettres de Mr. de Grantvelle (sic) à lambassadeur Chappuys (sic) du ve de Mare 1543."
  • n5. "Et pour ce sa dite Mate Imperiale se fiant laudacion (l'intencion?) et effect du traicte a emprins sa venue par deça, ou elle sera sans failly (sic) au prouchain mois de May."
  • n6. Two copies, one of which is indorsed: "Coppie des lettres du sieur de Grantvelle (sic) à l'ambassadeur Chappuys" (sic); written on purpose to show to the privy councillors, v. March 1543. I need scarcely observe that it is the same to which the Emperor's Privy Seal alludes above. See the preceding No. 109, p. 263.
  • n7. See above, No. 108, p. 256; but most likely it was one of the missing or intercepted.
  • n8. "El prestar el lado y remitir la ofensa."
  • n9. "A lo qual assi por ser dicho y repetido muchas vezes, como por no estorbarle el abrir su corazon como habia hecho, no le quise replicar hasta que viendo no llevaba camino le respondi."
  • n10. He of Viseu?
  • n11. At this time the encomienda mayor, or chief commandery in the Military Order of Calatrava, was vacant by the death of Don Garcia de Padilla in September 1542.
  • n12. Pier Luigi Farnese.
  • n13. "Et quant à lempostz du centiesme denier pour ung an sur les marchandizes tireez hors des pais de par de la."
  • n14. "Et luy ostant ceste objection yl entra en une aultre qui meust faict suspeconner (sy ne leusse cogneu bon serviteur du dit sieur roy son me (maitre) quil y avoit de la passion, et mesmes pour avoir este nourry en France et depuys pensionaire joinet quil tient sea predecesseurs estre partys de la duche de Bourgogne."
  • n15. There is a place so called (Orthez?), in the dep. of the Low Pyrenees, of which the ambassador here named may have been prothonotary or head registrar, but what was his name it is difficult to say. The Grammont family were originally from Gascony, and one of them (Charles) was archbishop of Bordeaux.