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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|8 Dec.||265. The Privy Council to Eustace Chapuys.|
|Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 234.
|Have orders from the King, their master, to represent the case of one, Guillaume Bougins, merchant, whose ship has been detained by the bailli of Flussing.—6 Dec. 1543.|
|French. Original. p. 1.|
|7 Dec.||266. The Emperor to Eustace Chapuys.|
|Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 9.
|"Venerable, chier et feal,"—You will hear from Our cousin the sieur Don Fernando de Gonzaga, (fn. n1) and will see by the Instructions of which he is bearer, the object for which We send him to the king of England. We will make no further allusion to the subject, save recommend you to employ your well-known activity and zeal in forwarding the object of his mission, help and assist him whenever he may require it, and with your knowledge of men and experience of affairs in that country, direct him in his negociation. To that end, besides the holograph letter which We write to the king of England, We have ordered circulars to be prepared for his ministers and privy councillors with the names en blanc, which the said sieur de Gonzaga is to fill up and distribute among them, following in this particular your advice.—Bruxelles, 7 Dec. 1543.|
|7 Dec.||267. The Emperor to the Ministers of the King of England.|
|Wien, Imp. Arch.
Corresp. Engl., 9.
|"Tres cher et bien aimé,"—We send towards the king of England, Our good brother and cousin, Don Fernando de Gonzaga, Our cousin, for the cause mentioned in his credentials. We have recommended him to present you Our affectionate commendations, and pray you will continue the good offices towards rendering indissoluble the perfect and sincere friendship existing between the King, your master, and Us, and fostering the affairs We have in common, believing the said Don Fernando as implicitly as you would believe Us.—Bruxelles, 7 Dec. 1543.|
|Addressed: "To the very dear and much beloved———."|
|"To Our cousin———."|
|"To the Reverend Father in God, very dear and most beloved bishop of———."|
|French. Original draft. p. 1.|
|7 Dec.||268. Instructions to Ferrante Gonzaga, Prince of Molfetta, Viceroy of Sicily, going to England.|
|P. Arch. Nat.
Pap. de Simancas,
Olim Di & 483, 74.
K. 1638 g. B.
|You shall go to England as hastily as you can, and, in virtue of the credentials which We are now writing to the King of that country, will, conjointly with Our most faithful and beloved councillor and master of Requests in Flanders, communicate to him the substance of your charge, namely:—You will tell him that We thank him for the satisfaction and joy he has shown at the news of the recent success of Our arms in the country of Juliers against the duke of Clèves, as well as against king Francis, Our common enemy, as We wrote at the time, and lately again by the sieur Vertais. (fn. n2) We also informed you of the good offices and services of the King's general and the gentlemen officers who accompanied him, and the men under their orders, all of whom have acquitted themselves admirably, all the time protesting that they would have remained longer with Us had they considered it necessary: which behaviour and words, in compliance with the articles of the last treaty of alliance between the king of England and the Empire, is a sufficient proof of the perfect understanding and indissoluble friendship existing between us. Presuming, however, that the King and his ministers have been informed sufficiently and in detail of all the incidents of this campaign against Our common enemy, We shall forbear from giving a too prolix account of them. Should the King, however, wish to be particularly informed of any, he has only to ask and his wishes shall be fulfilled.|
|You will likewise thank the King for the great care and diligence he has displayed, and is displaying, in his warlike preparations for next year's campaign, as appears from the testimony of his own vice-admiral, the sieur de Bryant (sic), gentleman of his Privy Chamber, whom he sent to Us as ambassador, as well as from his own words to the sieur d'Harbois (sic), to which advice We could not attend at the time owing to the many pressing and important affairs We then had in hand; nor could We have answered that king's inquiries on the subject, inasmuch as when the said Mr. Briant came to Us We were in arms against the common enemy, and could not say for certain what the issue of the war might be, besides which We have since been prevented from disbanding Our army. (fn. n3) Besides the above, there was still another cause to delay Our answer to the King's invitation, which was the necessity under which We then were of attending the Imperial Diet and providing for the security of the Roman Empire, and on the other hand for that of Our kingdoms of Spain, Naples, duchy of Milan and other dominions, as well as of consulting the dowager queen of Hungary, Our sister, respecting the help and assistance which Flanders and the Low Countries (les pays d'embas) could afford in case of the preconcerted invasion of French territory.|
|All possible diligence having been used by Us for the attainment of the above objects, the affair being of such nature and importance, and one which requires both trust and secrecy, We have decided, after long and mature deliberation, to send you (Ferrante Gonzaga) to England and inform the King of Our intentions on these points. You shall begin by telling him that you are perfectly aware and cognizant of what has passed between him (the king of England) and Us in this affair of the invasion, and that We have chosen you to be Our representative near his person inasmuch as you are to be the chief minister and executor of Our orders in that respect, and that considering his great wisdom, long experience, singular and clear understanding in all matters, and especially in military affairs, We not only defer to his judgment, but will approve any course he may suggest the better to annoy, offend, harm, and destroy the common enemy. Let then a final resolution be taken between His Serene Majesty and you (Gonzaga) as to that, and each of Us will at once proceed to make the requisite military preparations, so that by means of Our mutual intelligences We may be enabled to carry out so meritorious a work, and one so necessary for the service of God and the peace of Christendom, as the humiliation and discomfiture of Our common enemy.|
|We understand very well that the king of England may wish for several reasons that the common undertaking against France do commence next year, owing principally to the great perplexity in which king Francis now is, not only on account of the general indignation raised against him by the prelates, nobles, and gentlemen of France, as well as by the commoners and peasants, oppressed as they have been by past wars, and likely to be utterly ruined by that which he is now waging. King Francis is so weakened that neither he nor his ministers can procure men or money anywhere. This, in fact, is the proper season to attack him. King Francis, moreover, is so hated by his people, and generally so little respected by the rest of the Christian powers, owing chiefly to his wilful infraction of the last truce and recommencement of the war—by which he has crowned, as it were, and confirmed all his former infractions of oaths, promises, and engagements—that no one will believe him nowadays. In fact, were there no other cause than his dishonorable alliance with the Turk, whom he has openly called into Europe, and against the Christian Community, by land as well as by sea—since he has still the Turkish fleet at anchor in the ports of France—there would be ample reason for the king of England and Ourselves now invading his kingdom so as to prevent him from subsidising foreigners and infidels, without whom he cannot carry on war, for the king of England knows well, that owing to the last retreat and flight of the French [from Flanders] king Francis and his subjects have lost the assistance of the Turk, as well as of several [Swiss and German] captains; who, disgusted and unpaid, have quitted his service and gone home.|
|And certainly, all things considered, it would seem as if God had deprived Our common enemy of his senses, and reduced and brought him to such terms that he may be punished and chastized for the innumerable injuries that Christendom has had to suffer at his hands, That is why it is highly important at this present juncture to compel king Francis to acknowledge publicly his faults, and since experience has shown that no other means will be available to deter him from his damnable and insatiable passion for war, and that he cannot be relied upon in point of faith, law, truth, or security (asseurance) of any sort, but will persist as long as he can in his warlike propensities, and adhere to them, We again maintain that this is the fit opportunity to bring him to reason.|
|For the above alleged reasons, it is the more important to weaken (supéditer) and reduce king Francis to such terms that he may no longer hold up his head, and have the means of molesting and disquieting his neighbours all round; considering also that his nature is such that he will never as long as he lives cease to disturb the peace of Christendom, and carry on war with its princes and also with England, until he himself is placed "hors de combat." In fact, were We not prepared to meet him, he would directly or indirectly employ all his means and use all manner of wicked and dishonest practices to grieve and damage Us, or at least, unless materially stirred and taken out of the state of perplexity and inaction in which he is at present, do Us all the harm possible, either by setting new intrigues on foot or reconciling himself with the princes and powers of Christendom who, for the present, through shame or fear, dare not favor him, and who, if attacked, will at once abandon and desert him.|
|Owing to the above reasons and considerations We have resolved to make offensive war on him, and have already begun to prepare and shall be ready on a short notice for the invasion of French territory, so that, with God's help, we may be able in common to stop king Francis in his career of ambition and insolence. For that object almost exclusively We now send you, Gonzaga, to him without loss of time, in order that, independently of other private affairs of Our own, which have been the cause of Our keeping you here, you may attend to this one, the most important of all.|
|As above stated, We intend to defer entirely to the King's advice and counsel in this particular matter. Indeed such are his wisdom and knowledge, as well as experience in political affairs, and such Our trust in him, that We have no doubt that whatever plan of campaign he fixes upon, that will be the best. This notwithstanding, and in order that the King may know what Our view of the matter is, We will subjoin, though under correction, a few observations as to the future campaign against our common enemy. In the first place, it must be borne in mind that the very moment that king Francis perceives the danger in which he is likely to be from an invasion of our combined armies, he is sure, if he has not done so already, to extort from his own subjects, secular as well as ecclesiastical, violently and tyrannically, as much of their substance as he possibly can, bleeding them to death. Perhaps, too, some of the princes and powers who for political reasons of their own, their passions, sensualities, fear of chastisement, and other motives, might dislike to see king Francis' utter ruin, and the consequent pacification of Christendom, would be induced to assist and help him, if not openly and in public, at least secretly. To obviate that it would be needful to arm powerfully and in haste, and assail him suddenly and resolutely, so that he may have no time or power to resist the attack, much less carry on war to his advantage, but that his subjects may have the opportunity to feign despair, and his allies to abandon and desert him entirely. (fn. n4)|
|In order to accomplish this efficiently two powerful armies would be required; as the considerations and reasons above Stated seem to imply. Indeed the time required for such two armaments, the difficulty of laying in stores of provisions for so considerable a force, and the consideration that the enemy, if attacked only on one side of his frontier, might keep on the defensive at less expense and with a smaller army, and by relieving other provinces of France have leisure to wage war elsewhere or cause molestation in other parts, is a strong argument in favour of the two armies assailing at once two or more sides of the French frontier, so as to bind together King Francis' hands and prevent him from doing further mischief. Thus it would be required that each of the two armies should be so powerful that should king Francis march at the head of his forces against one of them, the other may advance into the heart of France, and whilst the one repulses the onset of the common enemy, the other may gain territory.|
|Having maturely considered this point, and what force is required to prosecute a plan of campaign founded on such a base, We are of opinion that the two armies ought each to be composed at least of 36,000 foot and 6,000 or 7,000 horse, veterans and good soldiers, with a suitable artillery camp, both of field pieces and heavy ordnance for the siege of towns. On our part We offer to have within the time fixed for the enterprize the number of men above specified quite ready for service, that is to say, 8,000 Spaniards, including the 4,000 whose arrival in Flanders We announced a long time ago, all effective soldiers, besides 20,000 upper and 8,000 lower Germans.|
|As to the English army, which is really and truly very efficient (qui à la verité sont belliqueux), both as to infantry and cavalry, though not very numerous, but to which the King may add as many foreign recruits as he pleases, there can be no doubt of its accomplishing the preconcerted plan of invasion, whatever it may be. And as it appears to Us that a number of foreigners will be required to swell the ranks of the English army, We should recommend, saving the King's better advice, that 12,000 men should be recruited for the purpose in Upper or Lower Germany, besides 5,000 horse from the same countries, which force, both of infantry and cavalry, he (the King) can very easily procure if he only sets about it in time—We Ourselves promising all the help and assistance he may wish for in that respect—and if the cavalry cannot be raised in time, to make over to him one half of that which We now have here, amounting to upwards of 6,000 horse, though, to say the truth, We should prefer that the King looked out for it elsewhere. However, as there might be no time for that, We still offer him half Our cavalry force, that is to say, 3,000 horse, well disciplined and trained to war, on condition that they shall be well and regularly paid from the King's treasury, so that their services may be the more efficient and valuable; and if besides that he wishes also to have some of Our Walloon infantry, We will let him have as many as We can spare, considering the extent of frontier that We shall have to defend against the common enemy.|
|Should the King, Our brother, or his ministers represent that according to the letter of the treaty We ought to furnish at Our cost 2,000 lanskennets and 2,000 horse, you will tell them that We would not in any way act against the prescriptions and rules of the treaty, which We intend to observe faithfully, but that really and truly We consider that in this part of the stipulation We have been taxed more than he is, for after all he (the King) is to gain more by an invasion of French territory than We Ourselves can. Besides that, the King ought to consider the immense expense to which We have been put by this present war with France, by which, successful as it has been, he himself has been greatly benefited and assisted against Our common enemy, not to speak of the large sums of money We shall have to spend, and have already spent, to defend Christendom from the Turk and his ally, the king of France. For the above-mentioned reasons, and others that We might adduce, We trust that the king of England and his ministers will not insist upon the exact stipulations of the treaty being carried out on this particular point, and will own that true friendship and alliance are more reliable than the words of the treaty.|
|With regard to the plan of campaign, and the answer which you (Gonzaga) are to make if interrogated on the subject by that king's ministers—though this in a manner depends upon the news from France, the forces which king Francis will have in the field, the precise spot or spots at which the joint invasion is to be made, and what Our common enemy may do, and last, not least, the circumstances under which that plan may be modified or altered—you will say that you are ready, provided the thing be kept secret, to listen to their advice on the matter, and hear what point of the French frontier they, think ought first to be attacked. And should they insist, as they most likely will, on your speaking first and letting them know what will be the most fitting place for commencing the attack, you will tell them that in your opinion the province of Picardy is the fittest on many considerations, which for fear of prolixity We omit, but which are quite plain to the King and to his ministers, who, We have no doubt, will at once approve of the plan.|
|We shall only mention one of the many particular advantages likely to result from an invasion of France by the frontier of Picardy, which is, that it seems the most commodious and convenient spot for gaining the enemy's territory, and molesting him efficiently, as well as for the allied armies to march conjointly on Paris, thereby causing great surprise and terror to the French king and his subjects, who are not prepared for such an attack, and preventing the King from attending exclusively to the defence of his kingdom. Picardy is also the province of France where it will be easier for the allies to procure victuals, and where there are fewer castles and fortified places to stop the march of an invading army. Once traversed to the end, Paris will easily be reached, and can be taken, since it is not properly fortified. In. addition to this, you may tell the King and his ministers that if the plan of campaign which We propose be adopted, Our common enemy will not be able to get assistance from the outside or make recruits in Germany or Switzerland, and if he does they will be young soldiers unaccustomed to war, whereas We, on the other hand, shall have every opportunity of pushing forward and accomplishing Our purpose, and according to circumstances and events prolonging the war.|
|As to the provision of ordnance, you will say that Our purpose is to take with Us no less than xvi. guns and xii. half-guns, iv. long culverins for battery, and besides these several more field pieces, to the amount of seventy in all. We prefer not to take more in order that Our joint army may move more quickly and not suffer delay on its march, and yet be able to reduce fortified places, if any occur, between Picardy and Paris. With the ordnance train will be a corresponding force to serve it, and about one hundred barges to construct bridges, and We are already enlisting from three to four thousand pioneers, a most useful and necessary complement for an army engaged in a war of invasion.|
|The same preparations have been ordered with regard to ammunitions of war, victuals, and everything else that may be wanted. Already provisions are being secretly stored at various places under various pretences, without letting people know their ultimate destination, whilst chariots and horses are procured for the ordnance train, and it would be desirable that the king of England thought of this in time and provided what is required in this line.|
|Should the King, however, need Our assistance in the way of provisions, chariots, or horses, you will tell him that We will help willingly to the utmost of Our power, and as far as these Low Countries will allow, impoverished and almost exhausted as they have been by the last war, besides the damages and heavy losses which their inhabitants have sustained at the hands of both friends and enemies, (fn. n5) and the sterility of the land during the present year, and that We trust that, for the sake of mutual affection and friendship, he will not ask Us to meet more than his actual wants and what We Ourselves can furnish. And in order that the King's demands in this particular may not exceed the limits of Our resources, it will be advisable that the King himself send here some commissaries of his to inquire into this matter, and see with their own eyes to what amount these countries can supply his wants. The sooner he does this the better.|
|We have no doubt that Our dear brother, the king of England, would wish to attend personally the proposed invasion. We firmly believe that the step would be a very important one, and contribute greatly to the success of the war, not only on account of this king's personal qualities, magnanimity, reputation, and experience in military affairs, but because it would undoubtedly terrify the king of France and his subjects. Yet on the other hand, considering the present state of England and everything else concerning Our common affairs, We should not dare to propose it. (fn. n6) However this may be, whether the King commands his army in person or not, We hope that he will attend to the above recommendations, and prepare his forces by sea and land so as to injure Our common enemy the most We can. And you (Chapuys) can assure him that We intend leading Our army in person; you are to request and beg him to correspond with Us frequently and let Us have news of his doings and preparations for war, as well as of such advice as his acknowledged experience in political and military affairs may from time to time suggest, assuring him that on Our part We will do the same.|
|Respecting the forces which that king is to provide for Our joint undertaking, and the part of France which had better be invaded, after a long debate on the subject, Our opinion and advice is that the fittest and most convenient spot for making the said invasion is the province of Picardy, on many considerations which We omit for brevity's sake, but which being known to you and to your colleague (Chapuys), you may detail and specify whenever you have an opportunity, although We consider it superfluous to insist on this advice of Ours, sure as We are that the King, who knows more of these matters than any living creature, will gladly receive it.|
|We shall only touch here on one particular point connected with the said advice, namely, that Picardy seems to Us the most vulnerable spot of the whole French frontier, the most propitious for the advance of Our joint armies and the acquisition of French territory; the two invading armies marching at once on Paris, which movement, if rapid and successful, will astonish king Francis and fill his subjects with terror so that he will no longer have the means of raising money. The frontier of Picardy will likewise be the best place for the invasion, inasmuch as the province is fertile and provisions are abundant, besides which there are few fortified towns on it, so that if Our joint armies reach Paris, it will be found, with God's help, that the capital of France can be easily taken.|
|So that it is very important, nay, indispensable, in Our opinion, that the two armies join and march together as soon as possible, within the 15th of this present month at the latest. If this could be done even sooner it would certainly be better; the enemy might then be taken by surprise, whereas if he has time he is sure to hasten to make the first onset, attacking one or the other of Our armies so as to disconcert Our plans, and compel Us to be on the defensive, and perhaps, too, have to resist him in other quarters far away from Our base of operations. This is Our advice in case of invasion of French territory by the combined forces; but let the attack be sudden, and if possible before the 15th inst., if the stores of forage for the cavalry will allow it.|
|There is still another consideration for inducing the allies to follow the above-mentioned plan of campaign. Should the invasion of French territory take place soon king Francis could not easily enlist soldiers, and, if he could, they would not be of the best sort (si bons); hence there would be a better chance for Us to carry on the war successfully, and, if We find it convenient and profitable, prolong it indefinitely.|
|Respecting the fleet (armée de mer), which, according to the clauses of the treaty is to be respectively furnished by the allies, you (Gonzaga) must already have heard what We have said to Master Briant and other English ambassadors when interrogated on the subject. Our admiral, Mr. de Bèvres, has made it perfectly clear that last year during the war with France he did his duty in every respect, and if fault there was it was entirely owing to unfavorable weather and contrary winds, much to the regret of Our sister, the Regent. As it is the expenses of the fleet have amounted to a very considerable sum, and Our subjects in the Low Countries have sustained much damage and loss owing to the inclemency of the weather and the rough sea. Next year, however, We shall make such a provision that there will be no fault on Our side as far as Our Flemish fleet is concerned; on the contrary, anything to be done for the defence of the coast of England and that of the Low Countries, as well as for offence against Our common enemy, wherever he may be, shall be accomplished according to the letter of the treaty. Should more particulars be wanted, or should the King wish to know in more detail what the maritime forces of this country are, and what they can accomplish jointly with or separately from the English fleet, he had better send a commissary of his for the purpose. He shall be well received and every information he may require afforded him, since We are now in Brussels.|
|We have already apprized the King, Our brother, through Mr. Briant, his ambassador at this Our Court, of Our intention to go to Germany, as well as of the day on which We purpose taking Our departure, and as nearly as possible the day when We expect to be there. If need be, you may declare and explain to him the causes which oblige Us to undertake such a journey, namely, the resistance against the Turk and the settlement of public affairs in Germany, so as to put a stop to French intrigues in that country, principally with a view to the common profit and good issue of the undertaking in which we both are engaged, having particular regard to whatever may touch on his honor and reputation, as We are bound to do, and as the ties of our mutual friendship prescribe, taking care to keep him au courant of whatever may be done in that country respecting this and other urgent affairs.|
|You must not omit to say, whilst speaking to him on the subject, that as far as the Swiss Cantons and their League is concerned there are means sufficiently known to you and to him of practically preventing king Francis from making levies of men among them, nay even of detaching them from his alliance, or at least, should he ultimately obtain their help and assistance in men, managing things in such a way that their services may be late and insignificant, and we two in the meantime may profit by the delay and mature our warlike plans. That whilst We are at the diet [of Spires], We will take care that the States of the Empire therein assembled will write to the Swiss Cantons of the League, dissuading them from allowing levies to be made in their respective territories, or afford help or assistance of any sort to the common enemy of Christendom, who, as is well known, is the ally and confederate of the Grand Turk, and has actually that Infidel's fleet at anchor within the ports of his kingdom. But you will also tell the King that in order to insure the success of the above plans money must be spent, and that a sum of 25,000 or 30,000 crs. will be required, and that if he pleases to contribute with his share of the expenses, We will do the same on Our side. This is a condition on which you must particularly insist as a most important and vital point as regards the success of our common enterprize, as the confederated Swiss Cantons might on the occasion show an inclination towards the King, and perhaps, too, offer their services to him.|
|You may also tell the King confidentially that, if necessary, some undertaking might perhaps be planned on the side of Italy by making Our armies march through Piedmont into France about the 3rd of June, when our allied forces are about to invade that country. This you can, if the opportunity offers, explain to him in detail, so that if he approves of Our plans he may advise and tell you how far he intends to contribute towards the undertaking.|
|We have notified to the King, Our brother, the arrival at this Our Court of the duke of Lorraine and of the duke of Bar, his son, and the reason of their coming, and the audience We granted them at Valenciennes, what the Duke said, and Our answer to him, and how he went away without Our approving pf his returning to France (fn. n7) and doing there what he pretends to be able to do. Since then the ambassador he had here ever since We entered the Low Countries this last time has also gone away. We have since heard that the Cardinal of Lenoncourt (fn. n8) had also entrusted to a gentleman who was returning from France, where he had been a prisoner, to propose to Us that should We feel inclined to treat of peace, there would be no question at all about Milan. To this proposal We would not listen, and the king of England, Our brother, may rest assured that We will adhere most closely to the conditions of Our treaty with him and faithfully observe all its clauses, not only as being Our duty, but as the singular and the very sincere friendship We profess to him binds Us to do.|
|You are to use all possible haste in delivering your commission and obtaining an answer from the King, in order to be back as soon as you can. Whatever the King's answer may be, you will make haste so as to meet Us here before Our departure from this town, which will take place at the latest the second or third day after the Nativity, for We cannot tarry longer here, so that before going to Germany We may make such provision as is required.|
|You will offer Our most cordial commendations to the Queen [of Hungary], Our good sister, and also to Madame Our cousin [Mary of England], and will thank Our sister for the very cordial friendship and favorable treatment of Our said cousin. You will, if possible, visit personally the Prince, my nephew, and bring Us news of his health, &c.—Brussels, the 7th of December 1543.|
|French. Original minute. pp. 14.|