Spain: June 1543, 11-15

Pages 385-394

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

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June 1543, 11-15

11 June. 154. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Sire,"—Since my last, there has been no particular news to report from this country, save the few facts which I communicated to the queen dowager of Hungary on the 3rd, of which a copy is enclosed. From which facts Your Imperial Majesty cannot fail to gather that this king goes to work fairly and without dissimulation, and that there is every hope of his continuing in, and even improving on, the same line of conduct, especially as those who enjoy most credit with him just now are evidently very partial to Your Imperial Majesty. Indeed, I can vouch for this king's privy councillors having been exceedingly displeased at the bishop of London (Boner) having written [from Spain] that Your Imperial Majesty on receiving intelligence of the treaty of closer friendship and alliance had not shown any very great satisfaction at it, and also that notwithstanding all his solicitations he (the Bishop) had made for its immediate ratification, Your Imperial Majesty had kept it back nine or ten days. And the privy councillors considering that such reports and bad offices on the part of the English ambassador [in Spain] might engender suspicion and ill-feeling between Your Imperial Majesty and this king, have decided to apply for his recall, which is to take place as soon as Your Imperial Majesty approaches Flanders. (fn. n1)
In this last Parliament a bill (livret) for the extirpation of the heresies and errors that have hitherto prevailed in England has been framed, through which bill the accustomed ceremonies and rituals of the Christian religion have been restored to their primitive state, save in what relates to the authority of the Apostolic See.—London, 11 June 1543.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Indorsed: "From the ambassador on the 11th of June. Received at Cremona on the 26th of the same month."
French. Holograph, partly ciphered. pp. 1½.
11 June. 155. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Madame,"—On Friday the 8th inst., in the afternoon (sur le tard), Your Majesty's letter of the 6th (fn. n2) came duly to hand. On Friday the 10th, in the morning, I sent one of my men to the place where the King is still holding his court, a town fifty miles from this city, with letters for the Lord Privy Seal, the Grand Squire, (fn. n3) and others, informing them of the contents of Your Majesty's letter, and begging them to communicate with their master to the same effect, which I must say they did in the kindest manner, as Your Majesty will hear hereafter.
On the same morning, some hours after the departure of my man, those among the privy councillors who had not accompanied the King into the country, and are now here, sent me word that they wanted to speak to me, and that, if I liked, they would call at this embassy. I told them not to take the trouble of coming to me, but that I would go to them, and so I did the next morning before noon. They then told me that they had orders from the King, their master, to consult me and ask my opinion respecting the answer which Mr. de Biez had made to the heralds, Toison d'Or and Garter, (fn. n4) to which question, after some conversation on the subject, I replied that in my opinion it was only loss of time to wait for the said heralds to have access to the king of France, as the French will most likely dissemble and try to delay the departure of the heralds in order in the meantime to carry on some undertaking or other against His Imperial Majesty or against their master, the king of England. "And yet (I added) if your master persists in his opinion of the expediency of attempting that mode of intimation before any other, it seems to me as if the Debitis (Deputy) of Calais might write a letter in the King's name to the governor of Boulogne, telling him among other things that the mission of the two heralds is on business concerning the affairs of Christendom at large, in which, as His Imperial Majesty holds the first place, the King, their master, would not attempt to speak in his own name, even though being, as he is, the Emperor's friend and ally. And that it seemed very strange that, against all right and precedent, they (the French) should prevent the heralds, and especially Toison d'Or, from going to Francis' court, for although there was war between the king of France and the Emperor, yet by the heralds proceeding on their mission and explaining, means might be found of procuring peace, provided king Francis listened to reason and granted some of the demands of the allies. But, as I said before, it was time lost to insist any longer on the heralds going straight to the King's court. Should the above proposed expedient not be adopted there was still another, which, I had no doubt, would serve our purpose quite as well. It was for the King to summon the French ambassador to his presence, and there, in public, announce to him the charge which both the heralds had, fixing a term within which they were to make to his master the intimation of war, and obtain an answer, and if necessary, dismiss him (the ambassador) after that. This advice of mine, especially the last, the privy councillors approved of, and without loss of time wrote to the King, from whom they are expecting an answer from hour to hour.
The privy councillors have again this morning sent me a message with the same offer as yesterday. They would call on me, or else if I chose I might go and find them in the Council Room. I did so, and they showed me a letter from their master, in answer to what my man had gone to solicit from him the other day. The purport of the King's letter was this: That considering that the danger of an invasion of French territory touched him as nearly as the Emperor, and considering also the friendly and fraternal ties by which both of you were united, he had no objection to gratify Your Majesty on the debated point. Should the Low Countries be invaded before the term stipulated in the treaty, he (the King) would send in haste any help that was deemed necessary; but he (the King) wished beforehand to hear from me what measures had been taken in the Low Countries to provide his army with food and so forth, and above all whether it was intended to shut up his men in fortresses, and not employ them out in the field. That (he said) was to him a most important point to know, inasmuch as English soldiers mostly disliked it. Were he to send his army across the Channel, they would much prefer coming at once to blows with the enemy to living comfortably and in comparative security within the walls of a fortified town. That is why he wished very much to know what equipment and carriage we could furnish him, and what appearance there was of the wants of his army being supplied. I therefore beg Your Majesty to order that a letter be written to me on the subject that I may show it to his ministers.
The King wishes also to know whether Your Majesty would like him to send some artillery with his army, because if so, a number of carriage horses will be wanted. Also, where and how his men are to effect their junction with those of the Emperor, and which road they are to take to avoid falling into an ambush of the enemy. All these are points about which, after a long conversation with this king's ministers on the articles of the treaty, I have been requested to interrogate Your Majesty in order to obtain an answer to their questions as soon as possible. The King himself wanted to send an express of his own, and should the answer tarry, he will most certainly send him, for they (the English) seem to be in earnest this time and quite resolved. Meanwhile they are not slack in their war preparations. Every day troops are crossing the Channel to Calais, and within six days, at the most, no less than 1,500 foot and some cavalry will be landed there. They will soon be followed by 500 more, who are expected here from the army of the North, old soldiers experienced in warfare. Ships (navières) have sailed for Ulch (Hull), there to lade provisions for Calais, besides which, as they have in this city abundant stores of wheat and beer, there is no fear of the men on the continent being short of provisions. I have not forgotton to tell the privy councillors that corn is not very abundant with us in the Low Countries, and that owing to the smallness of the late harvest, the destruction of crops by the enemy, and the number of soldiers which the country people have had to feed, it will be quite impossible for us to supply the English, and that perhaps we ourselves may be obliged to ask for assistance in that line.
Respecting the duty of l%, (fn. n5) there has been great altercation, the privy councillors asserting that the King will never consent to it, and begging me to write and urge Your Majesty to be content with the sum of money which the merchants of this country are prepared to present to Your Majesty as a gift once for all, which sum, as they tell me, will be larger than the one likely to be collected. On this point I have addressed to them all the remonstrances that would come to my mind, telling them, among other things, that Your Majesty could not possibly revoke the order without letting the Emperor know, owing to the great damage caused by the revocation, and moreover that, were Your Majesty to accept the gift of the merchants, and use the money, as I pointed out in my despatch of the 3rd inst., even that could not be done without first consulting the Emperor. But notwithstanding all the efforts I made on this occasion to persuade the privy councillors of the expediency and necessity of the said duty, I could not convince them. At last I asked them, "What harm can there be for the English merchants bartering in goods destined for this market to pay a duty of 1%?" Their answer was, "None at all; and yet that cannot be; our master the King will not consent to it." They were very much surprised when I told them that the exemption from duty could not possibly take place without visiting and searching the ships, and vexing the merchants, of which they would not hear. I fancy, however, that whatever resistance this king's ministers may offer to the measure, they will be unable to oppose it in virtue of the very treaty of commerce on which their arguments seem to rest, for there is certainly no clause in it forbidding any of the contracting parties to impose a duty on goods or merchandize exported from their respective kingdoms.
The haste in which my letter of the 29th ult. (fn. n6) was written made me forget to make some remarks concerning Garter's charge. After all, the omission was of little consequence, since that herald's commission consisted in making the demands specified in the treaty. True is it that this king's ministers allege several other causes and reasons for the declaration of war against France, such as that of their king having made an alliance with the Emperor, of king Francis refusing to pay the pensions and money they owe, and his being the sole cause of the war with Scotland by his intrigues in that country and elsewhere to the prejudice and harm of the King and others. Also that in the article of Thoyson d'Or's Instructions, where it is said that until the French have satisfied in full all the demands there will be no talk of friendship and peace between the allies and king Francis, they have added since the following sentence, or giving sufficient pledge that all the demands of the allies will be complied with. In a like manner they have added a clause stating that they are ready to ratify every proposal or demand made by the Emperor's herald, Thoyson d'Or.—London, 11 June 1543.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original, partly in cipher. pp. 5.
15 June. 156. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Sire,"—On the 12th inst. Your Imperial Majesty's letter of the 30th of May, containing the very happy and much desired news of Your Imperial Majesty's prosperous voyage to Gennes (Genoa) (fn. n7) came to hand. I could never describe, if I attempted it, the immense pleasure and joy this king, as well as the whole of his court, and generally all the English, have felt at the news, never ceasing to praise and thank God for that happy event, as We Ourselves, Your Majesty's subjects and servants, are now doing.—London, 15 June 1543.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph. p. 1.
15 June. 157. The Same to Mgr. de Granvelle.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Monseigneur,"—Your Lordship will see by the copy herein enclosed of my last despatch to the Queen (fn. n8) the late occurrences in this country. For want, therefore, of a more important subject I will now trespass, as in past times, on Your Lordship's kindness and amiable disposition (benignité et humanité) by entering into one which concerns exclusively my humble person. I lament my bad luck, which was no doubt the cause of Your Lordship not being in Spain when the Emperor left that country, (fn. n9) for there must have been one or more meetings of the Council of State, wherein some resolution or other might have been passed in my favor, according to the verbal promises made by His Imperial Majesty to my man, and that which the High Commander of Leon (Francisco de los Cobos) himself confirmed in his letter to me. I daresay the Emperor, pre-occupied as he must have been at the time with political affairs of so much importance, did forget mine entirely, not indeed from want of good will—being, as he is, a Prince of incomparable kindness and virtue, and who knows so well how to remember and reward the services of his servants—but from want of influential ministers near his Imperial person ready to take my part, and remind him of his promise. However that may be, one must praise God and be contented with what Our Master, the Emperor, may decide, who might perhaps think that I myself had derived some individual gain and profit out of this peace and treaty just concluded between Him and the king of England, and yet I can assure Your Lordship I shall be able to prove, if necessary, that far from having derived any pecuniary benefit from the transaction, I am actually two hundred ducats out of pocket, without having received from him one single farthing or present of any value.—London, 15 June 1543.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To Monseigneur, Mons. le Chevalier de Granvelle, conseiller d'Estat, et Garde dez Sçaulx de l'Empereur."
French. Holograph. p. 1.
15 June. 158. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 11.
"Madame,"—On the 12th inst. Your Majesty's letter of the 8th came to hand at the same time as that of the Emperor, with the happy news of his landing at Gennes (Genoa), at which this king and his ministers, nay, the whole of the English nation, have been particularly pleased and delighted. (fn. n10)
The day before yesterday, the 13th of this month, the King's privy councillors sent to request me, in the King's name, to write to Thoyson d'Or to withdraw from Your Majesty's court the moment that Jarretière (Garter), who has been recalled, should leave Calais (fn. n11) to come here. Yesterday, the 15th, another message came from them, inviting me to dinner, chiefly for the purpose of announcing to me that the King, their master, had approved of my advice concerning the heralds; he had consequently ordered that his own Jarretière should be recalled and his commission revoked, as the declaration and intimation of war was to be made here, in London, to the French resident ambassador, when it might seem fit, not to the King himself, as formerly intended. Such was the King's resolution in the matter (as the councillors told me), but owing to there not being now at court a sufficient number of notable personages for so solemn an act as a declaration of war, the ceremony (the King thought) might be delayed until his own return to town, which is to take place in five days. I entirety approved of the plan, but suggested that in order to add more solemnity to the act the King should attend it personally. The councillors were of my opinion, and promised to speak to the King; I myself will do my best in that line. It has not yet been decided whether the charge of the English king-at-arms will be the intimation of war pure and simple (s'expliquera purement) addressed to the French ambassador, or whether any word or words ought to be added to or changed in it. Should Your Majesty be of opinion that there is to be a change, I beg to be apprized of Your Majesty's pleasure as soon as possible.
This king having heard of the great number of war ships the French have at sea, chiefly in the Channel, has ordered his own fleet, 10 or 11 sail in all, to go out of port. Nothing could be better than this king's war ships, all of them being well manned and in very good condition, but as the enemy's fleet is more numerous, and it is to be feared that it will get larger and larger every day, the King could wish that the war ships of the Low Countries already equipped and armed should put to sea and join his, and that Your Majesty should likewise hasten the armament of the remainder with such crews and artillery as stipulated in the treaty of closer friendship.
Every day parties of soldiers (souldars) leave this city to cross the Channel; yesterday no less than 4,000 hackbutiers, in pretty good order (assez bien en ordre), took their departure. I do not think that this king will, for the present, send across a greater force than that which he is actually obliged by the treaty to furnish in case of assistance being needed for the Low Countries, but since he has a relish for the Montreuil undertaking, it will not be difficult hereafter to persuade him to send thither a larger number of men. As to any other general invasion or enterprise, I see no chance of it at all for this year, as the privy councillors give me to understand, owing to the season being already too far advanced for that. As to any calculation respecting the number of men to be furnished by this king as his contingent [for the undertaking against France], I have read to him what Your Majesty wrote to me respecting it, but neither the King himself nor his privy councillors have yet returned an answer on that subject; they have not yet mustered their forces, nor do I know that they will in future.
The privy councillors have again pressed me with great insistence (mont faict merveilleuse instance) for the revocation of the 1% duty, to the levying of which by Your Majesty, they say, the King, their master, will in nowise consent. I myself cannot make them understand that the very moment the English are exempted from payment, all other nations will claim a similar exemption, and that it will be impossible to make them pay, though they have not the same privilege that the English claim; which privilege would not be, in point of fact, more valid and inviolable than that of ecclesiastics, which, as I alleged, had often been waived in times of urgency. The privy councillors, and the English merchants also, would be perfectly satisfied that the retailers (venditeurs) of goods in Flanders and in the Low Countries should pay the duty of 1% on the receipt of the goods, and add to it, if they will or can, the price of the merchandize, but the English merchants will by no means hear of allowing their ships to be visited, in order that it may be known and published who the salesman (venditeur) is, which could not be ascertained in any other way. Although I have contended with them that the measure of occasionally, and under certain circumstances only, visiting ships and examining their cargoes proceeding from the ports of the Low Countries does not jar in the least with the treaties of commercial intercourse of the two nations, and that the novelty, to which those treaties refer, must be understood to be a pecuniary and interested one—since otherwise they, the English, might protest against the new Exchange house (bourse) of Antwerp, because it happens, perhaps, to be further from the old one than their own English house of Exchange, or else setting up a new crane on the wharf of that port—yet they do still persist in their opinion. (fn. n12) In short, the privy councillors have again requested me to intercede with Your Majesty that the English, who are now showing so much affection—indeed, more than ever—for Your Majesty's service, should not be charged with such a duty, and that Your Majesty be pleased to order the immediate release of the goods and merchandize confiscated from their merchants, after which the Royal councillors will take care that a good present be made to Your Majesty equivalent to, if not exceeding in value, the sum proceeding from the 1% duty "ad valorem." And certainly, if Your Majesty could grant this without much damage to the Royal treasury, I do not hesitate to say that it would be the best arrangement possible under the circumstances, especially at this time and season, and in the present condition of affairs, for this king's affection for Your Majesty and for the Low Countries will thereby increase twofold, as will also that of the English in general. Otherwise it is to be feared that the King himself will take the thing in bad part, and resent the affront and injury (for so he calls it) inflicted upon his subjects, of whom just now we stand in much need. Indeed, in my humble opinion, the tax (impostz) could not have been imposed at a worse conjuncture; these people are sure to murmur unless the cause of their complaint be promptly removed. That is why I humbly beseech Your Majesty to reconsider this matter maturely, and with Your great prudence and wisdom resolve what may seem most fit and convenient. I must, however, add that, in reality, the English merchants have no occasion nor reason to complain of the examination of the goods they export to that country (les pais d'embas), and yet they find it a morsel harder to digest than the payment of the duty itself, and I do not hesitate to say that by exempting them from the one as well as from the other, we shall in the first place gain their hearts and secure their affection, and then Your Majesty will get from them a gift, most acceptable indeed under present circumstances.
The King wonders at so many safe conducts being granted by the Low Countries, alleging that the worst kind of war for the French would be to leave them their goods and merchandize on hand without their being able to dispose of them. He says that he has incessant complaints from those among his own subjects, who have lately equipped and armed privateer vessels against the French, and that whenever they happen to board and capture a merchant ship of that nation they are greatly disappointed to find that she has a safe conduct from the Low Countries. The other day the Lord Privy Seal sent me word that I ought openly, and without disguise, to write to Your Majesty to urge You to refrain in future from granting safe conducts to French vessels, as otherwise the owners of the vessels would be deceived, and the English privateers, finding they are baffled in their calculations, will not in future respect safe conducts, but will throw them into the sea, and board and capture any French vessel they meet with, whether she has one or not. (fn. n13)
The privy councillors told me yesterday that they were hourly expecting George Douglas, who, according to information received from their ambassador in Scotland, was the bearer of despatches, couched and worded in such terms as this king will approve, which is a very good piece of intelligence for the councillors and their friends, as well as a great blow (bastonnade) for the French.—Brussels, 15 of June 1543. (fn. n14)
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "A l'ambassadeur Chapuys en Engleterre, du xix de Juing 1543, dois Bruxelles."
French. Holograph. pp. 4.


  • n1. "A cause de quoy les dits du Conseil considerans (sic) que par telz rapportz et maulvais office se pourroit engendrer quelque scrupule entre vre. mate et le dit sieur roy concluyrent souldainement de solliciter le dit sieur roy pour la revocation dicelluy evesque, ce que a este resolu par le dit sieur roy dois que vre. mate approchera Flandres."
  • n2. See above, No. 149, p. 364.
  • n3. That is Sir William Fitz William and Sir Anthony Browne.
  • n4. Jarretière or Garter, the King's herald. see above, p. 336 n.
  • n5. "L'impost des cent pour ung."
  • n6. That of the 29th of May, No. 146, p. 352.
  • n7. On the 1st of May 1543 the Emperor embarked at Barcelona, and sailed for Rosas, on the coast of Catalonia, where Doria's fleet, composed of 44 galleys and other vessels, already was. On the 24th, Corpus Christi Day, he landed at Savona, whence, on Friday, towards four o'clock in the afternoon, he set sail for Genoa with 150 vessels and transports in all. At Genoa he remained until the 2nd of June. Gachard, Itineraire de Charles V., p. 54, and Sandoval, Historia del Emperador Carlos V. (lib. xxv., pp. 432–3), though that bishop's account differs materially from that of Vandenesse.
  • n8. That of the 11th, No. 155, pp. 386–9.
  • n9. The Emperor's Privy Seal, as has been said (pp. 364–7), had left Spain for Germany in October.
  • n10. See above, No. 153. p. 374.
  • n11. "D'escripre à Thoyson d'Or qu'il se deust retirer par devers vre. mate des que Jarretière, qu'estoit rapellé, deslougeroit de Callais."
  • n12. The passage is somewhat obscure, and perhaps deficient, owing, no doubt, to the deciphering not being correct. It stands thus: "Et ne leur peult lon donner à entendre que exemptant du dit impostz leur nation, que les aultrez doibgent (doibvent?) estre exemptez et excusez de le payer, n'ayant privilege comm'ilz avoient. Le quel privilege estant plus valide et indissoluble que celluy des ecclesiastiques, au quel comme je leur allegoys avoit este desrogué pour l'instante necessité. Et seroient bien contens les dits du Conseyl, et aussy lez marchans, que vre. mate mette ordre que les venditeurs paient le dit impostz, et quilz viendrent (vendent) tant plus chier leur marchandize silz veullent ou peullent (peulvent), mas yl[z] ne veuillent en sorte du monde ouyr parler que l'on voye et revisite leur marchandize affin de sçavoir deulx le venditeur, ce que bonnement netz (ne se) pourroit sçavoir aultrement. Et combien que leur ait este remonstre que ce n'est contre le traicte de l'entrecours de visiter pour quelque occasion survenante les marchandizes sortant des pais d'embaz, et que la novellete (sic) dont pourroit parler le dit traicte, se doibt entendre de nouvelleté pecuniaire et interessable, aultrement ylz pourroient reclamer de ce que l'on a faict la bourse nouvelle en Anvers plus lontaine (sic) par avanture de la maison de leur nation que n'estoit la vielle, aussy se pourroient oppouser que vouldroit faire nouvelle crane, toutesfois ylz ont tousjours persiste en leur opinion."
  • n13. "Et m'envoya dire l'autre jour le Privy Seel tout ouvertement qu'escripvisse que l'on n'en donnast poinct, et que d'aultre maniere les navigans seroient deçuz, car les leurs estoient desliberez de getter tant de sauf conduyt quilz trouveroient sur mer, et prendre tout ce quilz trouveroient venant de France."
  • n14. The same letter in cipher is also in the Imperial Archives, as well as another copy of the deciphering, dated the 19th.