Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 7, 1544. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.
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The venerable editor, Don Pascual de Gayangos, unfortunately died before the last fifty pages of this Calendar had been corrected for the press; but with the exception of this portion of the work, the Index, and the present Introduction, the late editor is responsible for the whole of the volume. It has been thought advisable to close the volume at the point reached by Señor Gayangos at the time of his death, as in future the Calendar will be continued on a plan somewhat different from that adopted by him, and the new system will be more fittingly commenced in a fresh volume.
The period covered by the letters now published extends from the beginning of January to the end of December, 1544: and the documents deal almost exclusively with the short-lived armed alliance between England and the Emperor, which had been finally concluded after much distrustful negotiation in the beginning of 1543. During the autumn of that year some strain had been placed upon the new friendship in consequence of the condign punishment by the Emperor of the brother of Henry's repudiated wife, the Protestant Duke of Cleves, who had made common cause with Francis I., and threatened to prevent the passage of the imperial troops through Brabant to attack the French King. In September, however, the Duke of Cleves had begged for mercy on his knees, and had gratefully accepted his erstwhile independent dominion as a fief of the empire; and Henry made the best of a matter which might well have turned out worse than it did for his former brother-in-law. In the meanwhile the French forces had overrun the Luxemburg and Piedmont, and had enlisted the aid of the Turkish galleys in the Mediterranean; whilst Francis himself, with the main body of his army, had invaded Flanders. Before the Emperor's advance, Francis and the Dauphin, leaving Landreci strongly garrisoned, fell back over the French frontier, and by the second week in November 1543 both armies had gone into winter quarters and stood upon the defensive, pending a renewal of hostilities in the spring.
The Emperor himself returned to Brussels by slow stages, in order to spend Christmas with his sister Mary, Dowager Queen of Hungary, the Stadtholderinn of the Netherlands. Readers of the last volume of the Calendar will recollect that at Valenciennes Charles was visited by the Duke of Lorraine, ostensibly without authority from Francis, for the purpose of interceding in the interests of peace. But Charles was now determined to humble, for once and for all, his life-long rival, and put an end to French claims in Italy, with the object, doubtless, of forwarding the project which was already in his mind, of substituting for the imperial suzerainty a Spanish dominion over the whole of the Italian peninsula. The Pope and the Italian princes were restive at the mere suspicion of such a plan, but the latter were divided, and for the most part amenable to the influences which Charles could bring to bear; whilst the sympathy of the Pontiff with the unholy alliance of Francis and the Turk placed the Emperor in the position of being able to form a combination for the purpose of crushing his enemy, which, under no other circumstances, would have been possible. French interference in Scotland had made it necessary for Henry VIII. to cripple France, unless his cherished idea of a protectorate over the disturbed sister kingdom was to come to nought: but now that humbling Francis meant humbling the papacy as well, the opportunity was an irresistible one to the English king, and Charles, for the first time for many years, could count upon the help of Henry to crush a power obnoxious to them both. On the other hand, the union of France with the infidel Turk—the secular enemy of the empire—enabled Charles to appeal to the German princes, Catholics and Protestants alike, to lay aside their own religious differences, and to contribute men and money to fight the ally of the Moslem—that cruel and relentless foe of Christianity at large, from whose ravages the territories of the empire had never been entirely free. All overtures of peace, therefore, were coldly rejected by the Emperor, whose energies were directed entirely to the organisation of an irresistible force for the coming campaign. Before the departure of the Emperor to meet the princes at the Diet of Spires, and to organise his German forces, it was necessary that he should take steps to pin the King of England down to precise conditions and contributions to the common warfare against France. The note struck through all the protracted negotiations, for the alliance had been that of distrust, particularly on the part of Charles, who was well aware of the ephemeral nature of the circumstances which for the moment had made Henry's interests identical with his own. But the time had now come when diplomatic generalities had to be supplemented by precise mutual undertakings, and for the agreement to be arrived at for a joint plan of campaign. In December 1543 accordingly, Ferrante Gonzaga, a member of the princely house of Mantua, and himself Viceroy of Sicily, Duke of Guastalla and Prince of Molfetta, was sent to England to make arrangements with Henry. No better choice of an ambassador could have been made. Gonzaga was one of the foremost commanders of his age—a man after Henry's own heart—and took with him a double set of instructions which will be found printed entire in the last volume of this Calendar. He was to employ all the resources of his diplomacy, as well as his military reputation, to induce Henry to consent to a simultaneous invasion of France by two armies of 36,000 foot and 7,000 horse each, entering at different points, crossing the province of Picardy, effecting a junction on the Somme, and thence together marching on Paris, where terms might be dictated to the common enemy. But the most important object of Ferrante Gonzaga's mission was to assure himself positively of Henry's ability and intention to take the field in France at all during the coming year, or whether the English forces would be mainly employed against the enemy in Scotland, in which case the Emperor secretly informed Gonzaga that he himself could not venture to invade France alone. Gonzaga found Henry and his council willing to accept most of his plans for the joint invasion, but only on their own conditions. April or May had been the period fixed by Charles as the most favourable season of the campaign, but the English insisted that, mainly in consequence of the lack of provisions and fodder, they could not cross the Channel before the 20th June. They agreed to contribute 20,000 crowns towards the expenses of the campaign in Piedmont, but stipulated that the Emperor should provide 1,000 Spanish harquebussiers for service on the Scottish border, a very difficult condition for Charles to fulfil, as his Spanish men-at-arms were the backbone of his army, and at the season not too numerous for his own purposes. With these terms Gonzaga was fain to be contented, and left for Flanders in the last days of the year (1543), but arrived there after the Emperor had taken his departure for the Diet of Spires, whither he followed him. At this period the letters in the present volume commence.
The demand for Spanish auxiliaries for the Scottish border, and that the Emperor should declare war against Scotland, was also urged personally upon the Emperor by Dr. Wotton, Dean of Canterbury, the English ambassador, but, as was the case with almost every demand made on either side during the course of this half-hearted alliance, hair-splitting evasions and excuses for non-fulfilment were all that could be obtained from Charles before he departed from Flanders. It was extremely undesirable for the Emperor, in the interests of his Flemish subjects, who already greatly impoverished by the war, to suspend all commercial intercourse with Scotland, as well as with France, and he held out as long as he could, without actually breaking with his ally. From the first, the question of trade was a difficult one. In December, 1543, Chapuys advised that a proclamation had been issued in England forbidding the importation of French merchandise of any kind, even if directly proceeding from a neutral country; and, in addition to this, goods destined for French ports were liable to seizure in English waters. On the other hand, the Emperor, although at war with France, could not entirely deprive his subjects of the principal market for their merchandise, or of the French wines and other produce needed for the consumption of his armies, and was forced to grant safe-conducts for specific cargoes to and from France. The English, from the first, protested against this, and a few days after Gonzaga's departure (6 January) Chapuys advised the Emperor that three cargoes of salt herrings, bound to Bordeaux under safe-conduct, had been seized at Dover, whither they had been driven by stress of weather. So insignificant a fact as this, leading, as it did, to much friction and mutual recrimination, is sufficient to show the absence of any real identity of interest or unity of purpose between the allies; but it will be seen by Chapuys' letters to the Queen of Hungary—Stadtholderinn of the Netherlands—that not only this, but other questions of almost daily occurrence, continued throughout the whole course of the alliance to keep alive the irritation and distrust which had existed from the first. The acrimonious disputes as to safe-conduct, seizures, and commercial privileges on both sides, the question of the declaration of war against Scotland by Charles, and against the usurping King of Denmark (Christian III.) by Henry, and other points of difference, had already made the positions of the respective ambassadors—Chapuys in England, Wotton with the Emperor, and Dr. Layton in Flanders—both difficult and unpleasant, when a fresh subject of distrust arose, which, but for the very decided action of the Emperor, might still further have widened the breach between the allies.
Paul III. was determined, if he could, to prevent a war in which the Emperor was to fight by the side of the archenemy of the Papacy; and in November, 1543, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the Pope's grandson, left Rome to offer the mediation of his Holiness between Francis and Charles. He had been received in Paris with the merest affectation of coolness at first, and early in January had started from the French court, armed with the acquiescence of Francis and letters of introduction from his Queen Eleanor to her brother the Emperor, and to her sister the Stadtholderinn. On his arrival on the Flemish frontier on the 9th January, Queen Mary wrote to Chapuys (page 13) ordering him to anticipate Henry's fears by emphatically assuring him that no negotiations should be undertaken without his participation. Farnese merely passed through Brussels on his way to see the Emperor at Spires, and found the Queen ostentatiously irresponsive to his suggestions for peace—at least so she assured Chapuys in her letter of 22 January — but the Emperor's answer was more emphatic still. If Francis would first surrender the territories in dispute in French Flanders, and accede to the pecuniary claims of the King of England, the Emperor would listen to the talk of peace, but not otherwise. “As we particularly insist upon these “two preliminary conditions, we refuse altogether, unless “they be previously fulfilled, to listen to any overtures of “peace. You (Chapuys) may inform the King of England, “our good brother, of these particulars, in order that he “may know and appreciate the respect and consideration “we entertain for his person and affairs” (p. 25). Granvelle was just as eager to impress upon the English ambassador, Wotton, the determination of the Emperor not to be drawn into peace negotiations separately, and he writes to Chapuys (p. 26) an interesting letter, giving particulars of Farnese's dismissal. For the information of the English King he is informed that the Pope's grandson had neither been well received nor kindly treated, and that such an answer had been given to him as would effectually prevent a repetition of similar overtures. In answer to Cardinal Farnese's constant assertion that it was not the war against France to which the Pope objected, but the alliance of the Emperor with the schismatic King of England, Charles retorted that the Pope himself had sided with the infidel Turk against him, and that his protegé, King Francis, was notoriously supporting the Lutheran German princes in their contumacy. It was well that so strong a line was taken by the Emperor, for Henry and his councillors hardly dissembled their uneasiness at the Pope's intrigues. Chapuys writes on the 23rd January (p. 25) to the Queen of Hungary:— “His (Henry's) mind will not be at rest until he hears that the Legate has actually quitted the imperial Court, and that his work there has come to nothing. Indeed this King . . . . would have been much more pleased had . . . . the Legate's visit been . . . . prevented altogether.”
The firmness of the Emperor on this point smoothed the way to an ostensible but hollow agreement on the vexed question of the recognition of the safe-conducts given by the Emperor or his sister for cargoes going to or coming from France, so long as such cargoes were not landed in England; but the attempts on both sides to whittle down their obligations under the treaty of alliance continued without intermission, and readers of the correspondence will be struck with the almost puerile persistence with which each party tries to get the better of the other in their chaffering. It is clear to see that the objective of the whole negotiation, so far as Henry was concerned, was Scotland. The Regent Arran, after ratifying the treaty for the marriage of the Prince of Wales with the infant Queen of Scots, had suddenly become reconciled with Cardinal Betoun, and had turned against the English party. Angus and the Douglasses also had deserted the cause of England; and above all Lennox, who had been driven by jealousy of Arran into the arms of Henry, was at this time (January 1544) again wavering, notwithstanding the tempting offers of the English King. When, therefore, Henry insisted to Gonzaga upon his inability to invade France until the end of June or July, he was probably influenced by his intention of first crushing the Cardinal and the French party in Scotland early in the spring. His urgent demands, also, for auxiliary Spanish troops for the Border, and that Charles should immediately declare war against Scotland, are facts which point to the same direction. Notwithstanding the importunities of the English council, and Chapuys' own recommendation, the Emperor insisted that Henry should declare war against Denmark at the same time as he did against Scotland, and the dispute was prolonged until the King of Denmark had come to terms with the Emperor, and the declaration of the latter against Scotland was of little practical use; whilst the return soon after of Lennox and his party to Henry's side made the constantly reiterated demand of the English for auxiliary Spaniards for the Border no longer necessary (p. 83).
In the meanwhile, England and Flanders rang with preparations for war. Count de Buren, by permission of the Emperor, was organising an auxiliary force in Flanders of 2,000 foot, to act with the English army, Colonel Landenberger had contracted to raise a large body of German mercenaries, and Captain Seckinghen, a thousand horse, for Henry's service, and in accordance with Gonzaga's promise when in England, afterwards confirmed by the Emperor, and the authorities in Flanders were straining every nerve to obtain the waggons, horses and stores which would be required by the English army in France. The nature and amount of the English demands in these respects struck the Queen Stadtholderinn with dismay, as well as the unbusinesslike manner in which the English commissaries set about their work when, after much delay and remonstrance, they were sent. Mary writes to Chapuys (1st April), “The English Ambassador here (i.e. Dean Layton) has presented a note of the . . . horses and carts which his master demands for his army, amounting altogether to 2,568 draft horses for the king's artillery, besides 2,260 waggons, each drawn by four horses, for ammunition and baggage, which would raise the amount of beasts required to 11,596, a number which not only seems to us excessive and unreasonable, but which we are doubtful of being able to procure in the country.” The country people, indeed, in Flanders and Brabant, had been well nigh ruined already by the campaigns of the previous year, and Gonzaga had been specially instructed to beg Henry to refrain from asking for more horses, carts and stores, than he really needed. The King, however, was determined to do things on a grand scale, and Chapuys repeatedly referred to the extensive preparations he was making in England, first for the subjugation of Scotland, and next for his personal campaign in France. “The King still perseveres (wrote Chapuys) in his purpose of attending the expedition to France in person, for which he continues to make incredible preparations in the way of provisions, never ceasing, as he told me yesterday, to apply himself to whatever relates to the undertaking” (18 February). This determination of Henry personally to command his army was anything but welcome to the Emperor, who plainly saw that it would hamper him in his plans, and render joint action more difficult. Henry had recently suffered from an aggravation of his old disease, an issue in the leg (p. 84); his bulk was enormous and age and excess were visibly telling upon him. These circumstances furnished the Emperor with an excuse gently to urge under cover of a tender solicitude for his health, that it would be better for “his good brother” to remain at home. The way in which Henry received this disinterested piece of advice is characteristic and amusing. It is clear that Henry's own courtiers were apprehensive of his intention of taking the field, although, as Chapuys wrote on the 18th May, “no one here dares “to remonstrate with him,” and early in June, Paget, who had been sent to the Emperor on a mission, and Dr. Wotton, the regular ambassador, confessed to Charles, that they agreed with him on the subject. The matter had to be very delicately handled, and Paget was entrusted with a tender message to his master, the Flemish Councillor de Courrières (Jean de Montmorency) being also sent to England, mainly for the purpose of laying before Henry the reasons why Charles should command his army, whilst the King of England remained at home. An account of the envoy's interview with Henry will be found on page 203. So long as the reasons referred only to Charles and his army, Henry had fair diplomatic answers to give to them; but when the subject of his own infirmities was touched upon he became angry. “The reasons, moreover, which your Majesty alleged (continued the King) for himself to remain at home and not attend the expedition in person—such as his illness and so forth—were not sufficiently strong, and might on the contrary be brought to bear against your Majesty, inasmuch as his present indisposition was accidental and transitory, whereas gout, from which your Majesty had been suffering lately, was an awful disease, a return of which at the approaching autumnal season would be extremely dangerous.” The King then showed the first sign of his intention to break away from the plan of campaign agreed upon—a determination which subsequently frustrated the whole expedition. He pointed out the danger of the Emperor's advancing into the heart of France without ensuring the territory at his back and keeping open his lines of communication. “It would be far better to lay siege to two or three large towns on the road to Paris than to go to the capital and burn it down.” In further colloquy with the envoy, the King “did not approve of our warning, and, wishing to exaggerate the danger in which your Majesty might find yourself,” and then began to say rather ungraciously—all manner of things disagreeable to the ears of this ally. This was written on the 18th June, but for some time prior to that date it is evident from Chapuys' letters, that recent events had considerably changed Henry's view of the joint action against France. On the 14th April, Charles's army had suffered the crushing defeat of Ceresole, in Piedmont, at the hands of the Count d'Enghien. Del Guasto, the imperialist general, had been wounded, nearly 15,000 of his troops are said to have been slaughtered, and most of those that remained were taken prisoners, or fled in disorder, the French arms thus becoming paramount in Piedmont, and Francis's power of resistance in the north enormously increased. Charles put the best face possible upon the defeat in his letter to Chapuys (p. 125), but he does not conceal the seriousness of the defeat. But even of greater importance than this was the triumphant result of Seymour's (Earl of Hertford) rapid invasion of Scotland, of which an extremely interesting account, in Hertford's own words, will be found on p. 135, and also on pp. 141 and 146. The sacking of Leith and Edinburgh (6th May), the flight of Arran and Betoun, the adhesion of Lennox to Henry, and the formation of a strong English party amongst the Scottish nobles, all contributed to allay Henry's anxiety with regard to Scotland, and made it less necessary for him to drive Francis to utter extremity for the benefit of the Emperor's plans in Italy. He had doubtless decided, by the middle of May, that his personal campaign in France must serve his own honour and profit rather than those of his ally, and Charles also must have seen that his objects, and those of England, were less closely interwoven than they had been six months before. Francis himself was also fully alive to the changed situation. His efforts to divide his enemies had hitherto been mainly confined to approaches, direct and indirect, to his imperial brother-in-law. On the 9th May, the King of France wrote to Henry, hinting at a desire for friendship (p. 165); but it was necessary for the success of the English object that the Emperor's suspicion should not be aroused, and Henry went to the length of sending secretary Paget to his ally, for the purpose of showing him the curt answer he had given to the approaches of Francis: and other indirect attempts of the French—of which details will be found in the correspondence—to approach Henry alone, were treated in a similar way. But earnest though the efforts were on the part of the allies to keep up a show of mutual confidence and unity, the task was almost a hopeless one from the first, and it is easy to see that each party, even before the campaign had begun, had fixed upon some act or omission of the other side, which should excuse their own inevitable subsequent departure from the terms of the alliance. Thus, the unwillingness of the Flemish government to furnish stores and transport to the extent demanded by the English, was promptly caught hold of by the latter to explain all their own short-comings. On the 12th April (p. 97), Chapuys wrote to the Queen-Stadtholderinn, “respecting the number of horses that your Majesty has offered for the artillery and carriage of ammunition, and so forth, for the English army, I must say that both the king and his ministers are scandalised at the very small offers made, positively declaring that it will be quite impossible for them to join in the future undertaking against France, unless they are previously furnished with the numbers required. This last sentence the privy councillors repeated more than once, all the time asserting that they would be obliged to give up entirely the idea of invading France, which they regretted the more that all the money spent in military preparations and armaments would be literally thrown away. If so, said the councillors to me, the fault will not be ours but yours.” When some sort of agreement had been arrived at on this point, and the English army had landed in France, the supply of provisions over the Flemish frontier took its place as a permanent grievance, to be employed as a retort to all complaints on the part of the imperialists. The English were never long without a cause for grumbling, nor was the Queen Stadtholderinn at a loss for subjects upon which to expostulate and protest. Henry, offended at some attempt at extortion by the leaders of the German mercenaries, angrily refused to have anything to do with them, or to pay them the dismissal money to which they were entitled, whereupon the Germans took to looting the Flemish villages in which they were quartered (p. 214). An endless correspondence ensued as to Henry's responsibility, in which the Queen-Stadtholderinn threw all the blame on the inexperience and ignorance of the English commissaries, and she made a similar retort to all complaints on the part of the English with regard to the shortness of stores and transport. Henry was careful of his money, and the Flemish peasants were not very willing to serve him. Complaints of his penuriousness are constant in the correspondence of the Queen-Stadtholderinn, who also much resented his action in raising a loan of a considerable sum of money in Antwerp, and his utilisation of the alliance to export from Flanders an inordinate number of the famous Flemish brood mares, for the purpose of improving the breed of horses in England. Other causes of complaint on both sides arose out of the promise of the Flemings to provide transports and convoys for the English troops across the Channel and the delay of the ships.
At length, in the midst of these acrimonious bickerings, the main body of the English force crossed over to Calais, under Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, late in June (p. 223); the vanguard, commanded by the Duke of Norfolk, having preceded them by several weeks. When Paget visited the Emperor at Spires, Charles had impressed upon him the necessity for adhering to the plan of campaign agreed upon with Gonzaga (p. 218), but Henry had now made up his mind to besiege Montreuil and Boulogne (pp. 208, 223, etc.), and in spite of the Emperor's cautious remonstrances, this plan was persevered in. It was, indeed, no longer to Henry's interest to march upon Paris, and there dictate terms in favour of Charles's dominion over Italy. There was, for the present, no fear of French influence becoming supreme in Scotland, and the danger of it would be still further lessened if French activity in Italy were not utterly crushed; especially if the English footing in northern France could be extended and assured. Henry, therefore, naturally decided to go his own way, and serve the only interests he had at heart, namely, those of England.
Rarely has an English sovereign taken the field with more pomp and circumstance than did Henry on this occasion. His personal experience of war was not great, and most of his nobles were in similar case. The Emperor, on the other hand, had passed a great part of his life in active warfare, and had surrounded himself with the greatest captains of the age, chosen from all parts of his vast empire, whilst his Spanish rank-and-file had already gained for themselves the fame of supreme excellence, which clung to them for a hundred years later, until the defeat of Rocroi sounded the knell of their reputation. Although some Spanish auxiliaries were to be attached to Henry's army in France, in addition to the troops under de Buren, he was desirous of having at his side some noble of high rank who had distinguished himself in the Emperor's wars, and might advise him in moments of importance. In February, the Duke of Najera (Juan Estevan Manrique de Lara, third Duke) with a number of followers, landed in London from Calais, on his way home to Spain, and for a time Henry conceived the notion of begging him to remain with him during the coming war. Great distinction was paid to the duke in London, whilst enquiries were being made, but as it was found that a much more experienced officer—Don Beltran de la Cueva, third Duke of Alburquerque, would shortly arrive in England, Najera was allowed to proceed on his voyage overland to Plymouth, where a riot took place at his embarkation, much to Henry's annoyance (p. 84). (fn. 1)
The Duke of Alburquerque arrived towards the end of March, and received a welcome even more splendid than the Duke of Najera. Henry told Chapuys (p. 208), that “he had never seen or heard of a personage whose condition pleased him more,” and whilst the duke was delayed in London on various pretexts, Henry begged Chapuys to beseech the Emperor to order Alburquerque to stay with him during the war. The proposal was far from pleasant to the duke and his people. “He would not,” said Chapuys, “give a farthing for all the offers of this King,” (p. 208) and he ostentatiously continued the embarkation of his men and material. But to Chapuys, and apparently also to the Emperor, the proposal seemed a providential one, as it would presumably place at Henry's elbow a prime adviser who might influence him to the ends desired; and Alburquerque was ordered to place himself and his men at Henry's disposal. This was in April, and in the two months which elapsed before Henry himself crossed the Channel, Alburquerque was able to send to Spain, with the result, that—“On the same day that the king went over to Calais, a ship arrived bringing 22 jennets, the best to be found in all Spain; and there came many Spanish gentlemen to serve under him, so that the duke had, with gentlemen and servants, fully 150 men, very gallant folk; for truly it was a sight to see the brave show he made, and the smart liveries he had. To more than fifty gentlemen he gave scarlet coats with mantles trimmed with gold, and to all the other people very fine red cloth with stripes of yellow velvet.” (fn. 2)
The king of England and his household left London on the 8th July and arrived at his town of Calais on the 14th. Charles had dissolved the Diet at Spires on the 10th June, and had started on his journey from New Schloss on the 13th, entering Metz on the 16th June, and remaining there until the 6th July. On that date he set out by way of Pont à Mousson, Dreux, Penne, Nassau, and Ligny, to join his army before the town of St. Disier, where he arrived on the same day that Henry reached Calais. Up to the very day that Heny left Dover the imperial ambassador continued to remonstrate and complain to him about the shortcomings of his commissaries in Flanders, and the excessive demands made upon the Flemings for stores and transport; to which Henry or his council retorted in like manner, and threw the blame for the proposed delay before Montreuil, etc., upon the paucity of supplies furnished to him by his ally's subjects. A week after the king's arrival at Calais another attempt was made by de Courrières, sent by the Queen Stadtholderinn, to persuade him to fulfil the arrangement he had made with Gonzaga, and to send a large portion of his force forward into France, and, above all, not to take any personal share in the campaign. Courrières was instructed to “tell the King that the Emperor, alarmed “at his late indisposition, and fearing that it may be increased by the trouble, fatigue and privations of a campaign in the enemy's country, would beg him to remain at Calais and issue his orders from that town, with less fatigue to his royal person. His imperial Majesty would have wished for many reasons . . . . that the King should not have quitted England . . . . for fear the change of air should debilitate or prostrate him” (p. 251). Before de Courrières arrived in Calais with this message on the 21st July, Henry had opened his mind in reply to similar remonstrances from Chapuys, who, much against his will, and praying for release from his embassy, had followed him thither. Henry was determined, he said, himself to reduce Boulogne and Montreuil, both of which were wavering, but was more than cool about the subsequent advance of his army (pp. 261 and 277); and Chapuys shrewdly suspected that if he remained in arms at all beyond the four months agreed upon, it would be for the purpose of advancing, not upon Paris, but into Normandy (p. 258). Henry's attitude was unquestionably strengthened by the fact that the imperial army itself had tarried before St. Disier, and had not entered France proper at the date settled; but what was of more importance still, was a direct offer to him of peace sent from Francis I. For some time past, more or less official negotiations had been going on between M. de St. Martin, M. de Framozelles, M. de Biez, and a burgess of Calais, named Francis Hall; (fn. 3) but on the 20th July, Francis I. wrote direct to Henry, offering to concede to him all the pecuniary claims he made (p. 254). Henry made the most of this offer in conversation with Chapuys, whilst saying that, of course, he should not treat separately from the Emperor. It is quite clear, however, that the process which has already been noted, of gradual separation of the interests of the two allies was continuing, and that the division between them was growing wider day by day. The “Old Man,” or “Tour d'Ordre,” as it was called by the French, a tower on the shore of Boulogne harbour, opposite the town, had been captured and dismantled by the English, and the low town of Boulogne, had been burnt and evacuated by the French themselves; so that Henry was in high hope and spirits with the prospect of, in due time, extorting a peace on his own terms from the French. On the other hand, the imperial army had on the 16th July experienced a serious check in its assault of St. Disier, the Prince of Orange (fn. 4) being killed (p. 256), and a slight affair in which Charles's troops had been successful over Marshal Brissac at Vitry, was but a small set-off against the delay before St. Disier. It is not surprising, therefore, that even thus early the Emperor and his sister were already anticipating the probability of the king of England's making a separate peace, and leaving his ally in the lurch, with his army far into French territory, and a weak line of communications behind him (p. 273); and consequently, when renewed offers came by the Bailly of Dijon, from Francis to Charles himself, before St. Disier, based on the marriage of the third son of the former, the Duke of Orleans, to the daughter (Maria) of the latter, with Milan as a dower, the answer, though haughty, left the door open for a continuance of the negotiations (pp. 278, 282). At the same time, once more approaches to the English were made through the Duke of Norfolk at Montreuil; and M. de Framozelle succeeded in obtaining an interview with Henry himself, to whom he delivered the letter from Francis (pp. 253, 283). Chapuys, sick and old, had retired to St. Omer, but de Courrières was with Henry's camp before Boulogne when Framozelle arrived, and sent an account to the Emperor of Henry's reception of the peace proposals, as related to him by the King himself (p. 284). Henry kept up an appearance of refusing all overtures for a separate arrangement, whilst Framozelle disingenuously asserted that his master would rather die than approach the Emperor; to which Henry replied, “If the King your master dislikes applying directly to the Emperor, I will myself undertake the task. I will write and ask him for the good of Christendom to consider what are the lowest terms he will accept, in order to secure a good and lasting peace.” Henceforward the whole negotiation became a game of diplomatic finesse, in which each of the allies sought to become the arbiter of the terms of peace for the other; so that he might obtain better conditions for himself. In this contest, as will be seen by the correspondence, Henry was outwitted, mainly by the unscrupulousness of the Emperor and Granvelle. It will be seen that on the 26th July (p. 272), some days before Framozelle's interview with Henry, Charles had foreseen that this would be the result of the separate French proposals, and Cornelius Sceppur (M. D'ieck) was sent by the Queen Stadtholderinn for the purpose of putting Chapuys on the alert and spying out the land in this respect. In accordance with the urgent orders of the Queen, Chapuys, in spite of his illness, hurried to Boulogne early in August to remonstrate with Henry for so readily receiving French envoys without some previous communication with his ally. Chapuys and de Courrières saw the King on the 6th August (p. 288), and were met with the usual tu quoque, as Henry had heard that the French were making overtures to the Emperor. The next day Chapuys went alone to the tent of Paget, who was an old and intimate friend, and played his card. “Supposing, I said, from what I have heard the King and yourself say, that the former is inclined to a good peace of some sort, and would not object to the negotiations for it commencing, I do not see why the King should not specify and name his terms at once.” Paget was slow to respond, and when two days afterwards, Chapuys again saw the King, he tried his hand upon him personally. “It would be so much better,” he said, “that the allies should know each other's conditions, so that when the moment for negotiation arrived, the matter would be simplified” (p. 293). He (the King) could have no hesitation, surely, in acquainting the Emperor's sister with his terms: “as no personage in the world could have more regard for his honour and welfare than your Majesty (i.e. the Stadtholderinn), or would have, moreover, a greater power to persuade the Emperor.” To this Henry retorted that if the Emperor would let him know what his terms were he (Henry) could as well carry out the negotiations as the Queen Stadtholderinn, and would take as much care for the Emperor's interest as for his own; and with this Chapuys had to retire discomfited. The old ambassador, who for so many years, and under such trying circumstances, had represented Charles at Henry's Court was now nearly at the end of his career. “I humbly beg and entreat your Majesty,” he wrote, “to have pity on me, and my indisposition . . . . I fear the least change may bring it on again: if so, I am a lost man, without any hope of recovering here, or being able to be transported elsewhere . . . . I most earnestly, and for God's honour, beg your Majesty to let me know what the Emperor thinks:” but withal the faithful old servant was kept at his post for some time longer yet, for no one could manage Henry so well as he. St. Disier capitulated on the 8th of August, and before the Emperor moved onward into the heart of France, he sent an envoy post-haste to Henry once more to urge upon him that the moment had now arrived for the fulfilment of the arrangement made with Gonzaga. The French forces were, he said, being withdrawn from Picardy, as the English were lying idly before two strong places, and the whole power of Francis would soon be concentrated in Champagne, to bar the advance of the imperial army. Henry was exhorted to push, at least a portion of his army forward, in order that the French might be divided. Whilst this obviously fruitless appeal was being made to the English king, the thoughts of both parties were directed to the management of the peace negotiations. The season was becoming advanced for a campaign in an enemy's country, and the allies were drifting further and further apart. Charles's action was decidedly the bolder and more statesmanlike, for whilst the approaches of the French continued, he never ceased for a moment in his preparations for a forward movement, and even two weeks before the body of his army left St. Disier (25th August), a large re-inforcement of German troops joined him and advanced bodies of his men raided far ahead into France. It must therefore have been obvious to Francis that the Emperor, being the most formidable and aggressive of his two enemies, should be first seriously dealt with for peace. The Emperor's nephew, the Duke of Lorraine, was the new intermediary, and persuaded Charles to receive Claude d'Hannebault, Admiral of France, who was awaiting permission to approach him at Chalons, hard by. He was to come with a full escort as the avowed ambassador of peace from Francis. In conveying this piece of intelligence to Henry, the imperial ambassadors were instructed to hand to him a copy of the Emperor's first demands (p. 304), which were practically his orignal pretensions before the war. Charles foresaw that Henry would again wish to know what his lowest conditions were, and endeavoured to turn the tables upon him in anticipation, by complaining that he, Henry, had not told him the ultimate terms to which he would consent, deploring that he would have to learn them from his enemy, the King of France: “Indeed we doubt,” he says, “whether in acting thus the king of England is not sounding us on that particular point, and wishing to know our final intention, with a view himself to assume the leadership of the whole negotiations” (p. 300). There need be no doubt that such indeed was the case, but it is obviously even more true of Charles than of his ally, and that the former, and not the latter, carried his intention to a successful issue. The Emperor was very emphatic in his instructions, to Chapuys especially, that any attempt on the part of Henry to get into his hands the settlement of the imperial claims against France, was to be nipped in the bud. “Indeed it would be quite an unreasonable and dishonourable act, considering the quality of each of us . . . . and we should be blamed hereafter . . . . if we placed in the king of England's hands that which concerns Christendom at large and the Holy Empire in particular.” “Besides,” adds Charles, “our claims against France are more important than his, our experience of negotiations with the French is greater, and the force we have now in the field is stronger.” The skilful way in which Chapuys dealt with Henry in the matter, and the ineffectual attempts of the latter to place himself in the more favourable position in the negotiations are well displayed in Chapuys letter to the Emperor of the 3rd September (p. 313). As a set off to the visit of Claude d'Hannebault to the Emperor, Henry boasted that a similar embassy was coming to him led by Cardinal du Bellay; and only after much controversy and bickering between Paget and Chapuys, would the English consent to set forth their claims in writing, to be signed by the imperial ambassadors, and sent to their master. As might have been foreseen, Henry adopted the same course as that initiated by Charles; his claims being practically those formulated before the war (p. 325): “the exorbitance of which,” writes Chapuys, “needs no enhancing on our part, for the Gentleman in question boasted of it, and whoever peruses them will at once pronounce them to be exceedingly harsh.” Notwithstanding the protest of the ambassadors, however, these were the only conditions which Henry would send to his ally by the envoy M. de Tourcoing, who at the same time carried to his master the final decision of the English king that he could not push any of his force forward towards the Somme, as arranged with Gonzaga in London; but that Charles must face alone the French armies, both of the King and the Dauphin Henry. In the meanwhile the peace negotiations between Gonzaga and Granvelle, and Claude d'Hannebault's embassy had not delayed the Emperor's forward march. Leaving St. Disier on the 25th August, he had rapidly advanced along the line of the Marne, although the presence of the Dauphin's army near Chalons prevented his crossing the river. By the aid, however, of Francis's mistress, the Duchess d'Etampes, who had continued to maintain a treacherous correspondence with him in the interest of a peace which should favour the King's third son, the Duke of Orleans, as against the Dauphin, Charles was able to seize both Epernay and Chateau-Thierry, where most of the stores for the Dauphin's army had been kept, whilst the latter was condemned to inaction by the orders of his father, influenced by the Duchess. The Dauphin, however, had fallen back some leagues below Chateau-Thierry, and on the capture of the late place, determined in any event to defend the capital. When Chateau-Thierry was captured (7th September), the peace negotiations with d'Hannebault were far advanced; the French, panicstricken at the celerity of the Emperor's advance, were in a yielding mood, whilst Charles himself was feeling the necessity for a settlement. The much needed stores at Epernay and Chateau-Thierry had, in great part, been destroyed by the French before the capture, the imperial lines of communication were extended and weak, and the Dauphin had ravaged the surrounding country in order to deprive the imperialists of supplies. Charles, therefore, found himself deep in an enemy's country, short of victuals, with two French armies intact to face him; whilst his ally the king of England still lingered before Boulogne and Montreuil; and refused to fulfil his part of the compact upon which the campaign was planned.
In this “perilous position,” as the Emperor himself called it, he decided to send to Henry a message in the nature of an ultimatum. The envoy entrusted with the delicate mission was the young Bishop of Arras, Antoine de Perrenot, the future Cardinal de Granvelle, son of the imperial Secretary of State. The instructions given to him (p. 327) contain an able statement of the position of affairs from Charles's point of view. In effect, the message was that, if the King of England could not advance and form a junction with him as arranged, he had determined to make peace with Francis, “provided the latter paid his debts to the king of England. “But, at the same time, Henry was assured that the French had been informed—“that nothing was to be negotiated, “much less settled, save with the full consent and approval “of King Henry, and to his complete satisfaction.” The terms offered by the French to the Emperor were that Francis would make common cause with him against the Turk, either in men or money, would restore all that had been taken from the Duke of Savoy, and would arrange a marriage of the Duke of Orleans with the Emperor's daughter Maria, with the Low Countries or Milan as her dower; or as an alternative, with Catharine, daughter of Ferdinand king of the Romans, the Emperor's brother, with the same coveted dower, which, however, was never to be incorporated with the French monarchy. The hand of the Duchess d'Etampes was plainly visible in the last two proposals; as she would thus be assured of a safe asylum on the coming accession to power of her enemies, the Dauphin and Diane de Poictiers, who from the first opposed the treaty. The call upon Henry to advance in accordance with the agreement was merely formal, and intended as a basis for future protest: Charles had determined to make peace, and if the king of England showed any signs of acceding to the request as to advancing his troops, Arras was instructed to discourage him by pointing out the difficulties and dangers of such a course (pp. 332, 333).
Arras arrived in the English camp, before Boulogne, on the 11th September, three days before the capture of the city. He saw the King at once, and at the first interview Henry left him in no doubt as to his intentions. The season was now too far advanced for the English army to move forward, and the four months agreed upon as the duration of the campaign had only a fortnight longer to run: if the Emperor had committed himself to so dangerous a course as to advance thus rapidly without support into an enemy's country, he must take the consequences. The English council, moreover, had nothing but disapproval of the proposed conditions of peace, more especially that relating to the possible marriage of the Infanta to a French prince, with the Netherlands as a dower; and condemnation more emphatic still was expressed as to the clause relating to England—“As to the offer made by the French to the Emperor of a speedy and satisfactory settlement of all English claims, the aforesaid privy councillor declared to us, that the King considered them quite insufficient, as the French had on former occasions offered, not only to pay him in cash all arrears of debts and pension, but to deliver into his hands as security the towns of Montreuil, Boulogne and Ardres, promising besides to abstain in future from giving help to the Scots.” The imperial ambassadors finally remonstrated forcibly with the King upon his undefined attitude. “It was absolutely necessary,” they said, “for us to know what his intentions were as to peace or war with France, in order that the Emperor might take a resolution in the matter, and not be obliged to send almost daily messengers to enquire what his views and intentions are.” Probably Henry was angry at this, or he may have over estimated the strength of his position, in view of the impending fall of Boulogne; in any case, his answer, as reported to the Emperor (p. 340), produced momentous results for England, and was subsequently used by the imperialists as a pretext for their proceedings. The answer given direct to Arras is not to be found in this calendar, as he hurried back to deliver it verbally to the Emperor, leaving Boulogne apparently on the 12th September; but in an interview with the ambassadors Chapuys and de Courrières, a day or two afterwards, Henry repeated his reply to them—“The King's resolute answer was the same as at other times, namely, that his imperial Majesty might conclude a separate peace, so far as he himself was concerned, with France, provided that no article should be introduced in the treaty likely to prejudice the confidence, intelligence, and sincere amity between them, or the treaty relating thereto.” How necessary it was for the Emperor to seize upon this, or any excuse, which should enable him to conclude a separate peace without waiting for his ally, will be seen (in addition to the reasons already set forth) by the letter (p. 342) from Francisco de los Cobos, the young regent Philip's principal adviser in Spain. He writes—“There is not one ducat left in all these kingdoms of Spain, nor whence to get it, for this year, the next, or even the third.” (fn. 5) Not an hour, indeed, seems to have been lost by Charles. On the 14th September the Emperor wrote hastily to his sister that peace had been agreed upon between him and Francis, and the Queen Stadtholderinn, in conveying the news to Chapuys and his colleague, for the information of Henry, strikes the note which was to be the dominant one throughout all the long series of recriminations which was to follow—“The Emperor having heard from the mouth of the Sieur d'Arras (fn. 6) what the King's answer was, when consulted on the subject, has actually concluded peace with France.” After this piece of news, and the intelligence that the French armies were about to march on the English before Montreuil, the formal profession of Charles's desire to maintain the closest possible friendship with his ally, must have sounded somewhat hollow to English ears.
The peace was finally concluded on the 18th, by Charles, at the Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes, near Soissons, only fifty miles from Paris, and was proclaimed on the following day at Crespy, in the neighbourhood; the Duke of Orleans and Comte de Vendome, with the Duke de Guise and others remaining with the Emperor as hostages. By order of the Stadtholderinn and the Emperor the news was conveyed to Henry as tenderly and diplomatically as possible, at the time when he and his Council were in close negotiation with Cardinal du Bellay's embassy for a peace between England and France. The English king listened unmoved to a declaration which could not have been unexpected to him, and in which no details of the terms were given, but when he was informed that the French armies, now free from the Emperor, were said to be converging upon his camp before Montreuil, “he changed colour and countenance,” and expressed his disbelief of the rumour. But immediately after the imperial ambassadors left the King the effect of the news was seen in the attitude of the French embassy. For some days the French ambassadors had been trying to persuade Henry and his Council to give them, for transmission to Francis, a statement, signed by the King, of the terms he would accept. As it was known by the English that the object of this was to refer the settlement of their claims to the Emperor, the request was resolutely refused. Secretary L'Aubespine, however, had been sent to Paris, with an English courier, for the purpose of verbally reporting progress to Francis, and asking for instructions; and, at the solicitations of the French envoys, Henry had also consented readily to send a letter to his ambassador at the imperial Court, repeating in writing the answer that had been given to Arras and Chapuys (p. 353); namely, that the Emperor was free to proceed with his own negotiations for peace, provided that no harm should be done to the friendly alliance between the Emperor and England. L'Aubespine had started from Boulogne on the 17th September, and pledged himself to return with King Francis's answer within eight days. Before he arrived in Paris, however, the King of France had heard from his ambassadors the particulars of Henry's verbal demands, which he characterised as excessive and overharsh, and ordered his envoys to endeavour to moderate. This letter was written from Paris on the 17th September; and, apparently, before it was dispatched, Francis learnt that the peace with the Emperor was practically concluded—as it was on the 14th—for a postscript was written by Francis himself, saying, that on mature consideration he had come to the conclusion that nothing more could be done with regard to the peace with England until he had again consulted the envoys, whom he therefore ordered to return immediately. In fact, the separate peace with the Emperor, in which the French had left the arbitration of the English claims to Charles, had entirely changed the situation. Henry and his Council had been outwitted; they had cut the ground from under their own feet by their answer to Arras, and were now face to face alone with France. Henry was evidently dismayed at the prospect, and obstinately refused to let the French embassy go until L'Aubespine had returned with Francis's reply. Cardinal du Bellay protested vigorously against this, and threatened that such violence offered to ambassadors would be fittingly resented by the King of France. The English retorted that they had been played with, and refused to allow the envoys to leave. Chapuys, de Courrières, and Alburquerque were consulted, and were inclined, cautiously, to approve of the English retention of Du Bellay until the return of L'Aubespine, or at least until news arrived from the Emperor himself that peace had been made in conformity with Henry's answer to Arras. The dispute between the English Council and the French envoys became daily more bitter, and in one interview related by Chapuys (p. 359) Cardinal du Bellay lost his temper and entered into a most unseemly wrangle with the Bishop of Winchester (Gardiner), whilst Henry himself is described as being deeply moved at the trick of which he was the victim, although at this stage he did not yet openly blame the imperialists for their share in it.
When, however, the Queen Stadtholderinn's letter of the 20th, already referred to, brought news to Chapuys that peace had actually been arranged between her brother and Francis, the circumstances were changed. No sooner had the imperial ambassadors retired from Henry's presence, than the French ambassadors informed Gardiner that, not only had peace with the Emperor been agreed upon, but that Francis would depend upon the Emperor's advice with regard to the English claims; their King, moreover, had again ordered them to return at once, and the Dauphin, with his army, was approaching to raise the siege of Montreuil. The position was a most galling one for Henry. He complained, through Gardiner, of the Emperor's proceedings, hut dared not make the breach between him and his late ally wider at the moment; for if Charles construed too literally the terms of his new friendship with Francis, the case of the English army in France would be perilous in the extreme. Gardiner pointed out to Chapuys that Henry had entered the field relying entirely on the Emperor, and if the English force was to be overcome by the French, the imperial interests would suffer. Unless, also, provisions and stores were allowed to come over the Flemish frontier by way of St. Omer, the English would be starved. It behoved, therefore, the English Council to dissemble somewhat their indignation against Charles and his advisers until, at least, their pressing peril had passed. According to the treaty Henry had to depend upon the Emperor's ships to convey his army back to England at the end of the four months' campaign, and it is evident that considerable anxiety existed in the English camp, as the period approached, that there was no sign of the arrival of the transports on the French coast; but reassuring professions having been made by the ambassadors on this point, and that of the supply of victuals from Flanders; and the abandonment of the siege of Montreuil having been decided upon, King Henry began to complain of the peace having been made over his head; and for the first time, in an interview with Chapuys and de Courrières on 26th September (p. 369), denied having given to Arras the reply so frequently referred to. In the meanwhile the King was hastily making preparations to return to England, in order not to compromise his own prestige by being present at the retreat of his army from Montreuil, or at any disaster which might happen to it from the approaching force of the Dauphin, who had already crossed the Marne, and had cut off the English line of retreat by St. Omer.
The King embarked for England on the 30th September, as soon as his vanguard from Montreuil had arrived at Boulogne; the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Bishop of Winchester, and other principal members of his Council, remaining in France with the troops left at Boulogne, and the imperial ambassador staying with them.
The Emperor, on his part, during his slow journey through Hainault to Brussels, endeavoured to bring about a peace between England and France. Henry's demands, which were handed to the Emperor by Dr. Wotton, were acknowledged to be excessive; and in the formal discussion of them by De Granvelle and Cardinal Tournon, the latter emphatically said that his master, the King of France, would never consent to a peace which should deprive him of Boulogne. This was seen by the Emperor to be the principal point of the negotiation; and for the purpose of strengthening Chapuys and de Courrières in their treatment of it, in the event of a new French embassy being sent to Boulogne, Arras was again instructed to go thither, and lend his influence in the cause of a pacific settlement. Before he arrived, the English Council and most of the troops had retired with the imperial ambassador to Calais, leaving Boulogne garrisoned for the winter; and Chapuys had so far prevailed upon the Council, in his talk of fresh peace negotiations, as to induce them to send to England for specials powers to deal with a new French embassy, although he said there was but little chance of their giving up Boulogne—“as the King values this conquest much more than if he had taken ten towns like Paris.”
Arras arrived in Calais on the 5th October, having previously conferred with King Francis, d'Hannebault, and others. His mission was to bring forward again, as preliminaries of peace, the terms which had been proposed by Cardinal du Bellay in the previous month. These terms were generous enough (p. 390), and practically conceded all of Henry's financial demands; but the English King had added two conditions, which formed now a greater stumbling-block even than before:— “To renounce all rights, titles and interests which the King of France may have or pretend to have on Boulogne and the Boulonois, and to renounce all the county of Guisnes.”
It was the task of Arras to minimise these difficulties, and pave the way for the reception at Calais of the new French embassy, which was following him a day behind. The first difficulty was that King Henry had sailed for England, and that special powers had not yet arrived for the Council; but this was a point of secondary importance, which was soon overcome. The real question at issue was that of Boulogne; and the English Council, in their first interview with Arras, foreshadowed the line they would subsequently take. The treaties with the Emperor were invoked to show that he was bound to come to the aid of the English, unless the French army at once retired; because, by the treaty of alliance, aggression against either sovereign was to be repelled by the other. (fn. 7) This was the real pivot upon which the negotiations were to turn, the complaints of the English as to the insolence and threatening attitude of the French, though constantly repeated, being merely formal; and Arras, young as he was, showed consummate ability in pointing out the impracticability of the English claim upon the Emperor's aid. Chapuys, the grey-headed diplomatist, paid a handsome tribute to his youthful colleague in a letter (p. 401) written to Granvelle, the father of Arras:— “In which conferences,” he says, “M. de Courrières and myself have been spectators and witnesses, rather than actors; for greater reason had the apples in the fable to say, 'We also can swim,' and the fly on the ox's horn to boast that it was ploughing, than we ourselves had to pretend to have been of any use or help to M. d'Arras.”
But great as was Perennot's ability, he was unable to move the English Council from the fixed determination of their King to retain Boulogne at any cost; and Chapuys, seeing the improbability of any result being attained, was opposed to the coming of any French embassy at all. After some demur on the part of Henry, who would have preferred to receive the French envoys in England, Seymour and Paget were joined, with the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk and the Lord Privy Seal (Russell), in a commission to negotiate in Calais. This, however, did not suit Cardinal du Bellay, a passionate, violent man, who still resented the treatment he had met with from the English during his former embassy. He and his colleague, Rémond, at first refused to advance beyond Ardres, and it required all the diplomacy of Arras to induce the French to give way on the point. The delay, on the other hand, greatly added to the indignation of the English. Gardiner and Paget bluntly told Arras that Francis could have but little real wish for peace, or he would not act in so overbearing a fashion; whilst King Henry himself wrote to the Emperor (Oct. 20) saying that, if any hitch should occur in the coming of the French embassy to Calais, or should no arrangement with them be arrived at, Gardiner and Seymour were to leave Calais at once and visit the Emperor—“to declare and show you the manner of dealing of these Frenchmen, and to declare to you what our opinion of their behaviour is.” It is evident that the efforts and intentions of the English Council at this juncture were not towards peace, but to endeavour to draw Charles again into hostility against France, by virtue of the treaty of alliance with England. The Council at Calais lost no opportunity of reminding Arras that the alliance bound both Henry and Charles to maintain a large naval force in the Channel, independently of the actual war against France; but Henry himself boldly went to the root of the question, and instructed Dr. Wotton to protest vigorously to the Emperor against his having made a separate peace at all, without seeing that English claims were satisfied; and to demand, as of right, the Emperor's armed aid against the threatened “invasion” by the French of Henry's “possessions” at Boulogne. To do this effectually, it was necessary to repudiate, or explain away, the unfortunate hasty reply given to Arras when he first went to Boulogne, namely, that the Emperor might make a separate peace if he pleased, provided that the treaty of friendship with England was not infringed (p. 412). “And as regards your Majesty's (i.e. Charles) excuse,” said Wotton, that you were greatly influenced in making peace by reason of certain words which M. d'Arras reported to have been said by my master the King; his Majesty gave no message to M. d'Arras on the subject, except that, as regards the marriages, of which he had spoken to my master the King, it appeared to his Majesty that the lesser evil would be to choose the match winch involved the cession of Milan by your Majesty. Even if the King my master had said that he would be willing for your Majesty to make the best arrangement you could with the French, that in no wise should be understood as meaning that the King wished to change any point of the treaty, for treaties are made between great princes after great and mature deliberation, and are set forth in writing. It is therefore not likely, nor is it customary, for a solemn written treaty to be changed by simple word of mouth, but when it is desired to alter anything it is done in writing” (fn. 8) (p. 413). The Emperor's reply to Wotton's representation points out that Henry's delay in fulfilling his part of the arrangement for the joint campaign, and the position of the imperial army at the time that Arras had gone to Boulogne, had produced a state of things which made procrastination and indefinite delay impossible for the Emperor. The sophistry about the Arras message is brushed aside without hesitation. The message, says the Emperor, has been repeated several times since by the members of the Council; besides, he asks how it is possible to reconcile the message as you now interpret it, namely, that each of the allies might treat separately, but simultaneously, with the continuance on each side of the obligations imposed by the close confederacy? The two things, he says, are incompatible; and, so with professions of regard and assurance that he has done, and will do, his best to bring about friendship between France and England, Charles repudiates all responsibility for giving armed aid to his late ally.
In the meanwhile, the peace negotiations at Calais made no progress. During the last week in October, the English Council had apparently made up its mind that no peaceful result would be obtained; and Gardiner and Seymour, in accordance with the King's orders, set out to visit the Emperor at Brussels.
The departure of these two principal councillors was another grievance to the irritable du Bellay, and he and his colleagues broke off the negotiations and returned to France in the first days of November. The position was now simplified. The armies on both sides had gone into winter quarters; Boulogne was sufficiently garrisoned by the English, and Henry's whole efforts were directed to dragging the Emperor again into the war in the spring; or failing that, to obtain such material support from him as should enable the English King, after another successful campaign, to conclude a peace which should leave the Boulonois in his possession.
On the 29th October Gardiner and Seymour held a lengthy conference with Granvelle and Le Praët at Brussels, at which the English began by saying that “they saw no way to secure peace save that of the Emperor compelling the King of France to it by declaring him his enemy, and making war upon him. In this the ambassadors persisted, adding that the declaration of war against France, to which your Imperial Majesty was bound by treaty, . . . . would greatly increase your reputation, whilst it would stop the mouths of those who might speak ill of your Majesty for having extricated yourself from the war, whilst leaving them (the English) in the lurch.” The reply to the English claims was, as before, a statement that Henry had failed to fulfil his part of the bargain made with Gonzaga in London, and that when this had made it necessary for the Emperor to enter into negotiation, the King had given his full consent (to Arras) to his making a separate peace (pp. 429, 456). The English representatives retorted that Charles's own delay before St. Disier, and the paucity of provisions, had caused Norfolk to besiege Montreuil, instead of crossing the Somme, such variations from the original plan of campaign having been necessary, and in reasonable subordination to the general joint objects in view. The knotty question of the King's speech to Arras was again explained. If he said anything of the sort, Certain it is that his intention and meaning was, that he assented to the peace being made between the empire and France, provided his own rights (i.e. claims) were safeguarded.” These points were dealt with in a recriminatory spirit in the course of many conferences, the English ambassadors claiming that the invasion of Boulogne and Guisnes by the French was an act of aggression within the meaning of the treaty, and that Charles was bound to declare war in consequence, whilst the Emperor's ministers, with infinite length and learning, argued otherwise. Early in November a stronger argument was furnished to Henry by the predatory landing of a few Frenchmen in Kent, and the King himself now wrote to the Emperor (p. 414) claiming that this, at all events, formed a casus belli. But nothing would move Charles to recommence the war with France for the sole purpose of increasing the English territory on the continent. His coffers were empty, his health was broken, and the great religious question in Germany was fast hurrying towards civil war. Peace, therefore, between the Catholic powers was the first need, and to weaken his Catholic neighbour Francis, for the sole benefit of the schismatic King of England, would have been bad policy indeed, now that there was a prospect of the vital question of Milan being settled amicably in his favour. He would do what he could to reconcile France and England, if the latter would only be reasonable; but he would not again draw the sword in the quarrel.
With this resolution Gardiner and Seymour left Brussels for England on the 25th November, to be followed in a few days by Charles's new resident ambassador, the Fleming François Van der Delft, who was to replace the aged Chapuys at Henry's court. In the instructions to the new ambassador, with whom nominally Chapuys was at first associated, the whole points of the controversy with the English were once more set forth, in order that they might be repeated to Henry personally (p. 447), which they were, but with as little effect as before. The papers relating to Van der Delft's negotiations, and the Anglo-French campaign in the following year, will be abstracted in the next volume of this Calendar.
In pursuance, meanwhile, of his new policy of drawing together the Catholic powers before the rising tempest of religious reform, Charles was industriously making friends with the Pope (Paul III.), who, on his part, was eagerly welcoming the Emperor's advances. The Farneses had not hitherto had much cause to be grateful to him. The Popes had looked jealously upon the growing influence of Spain—as apart from the Empire—over Italy, and had sided with France, the Venetians, and the Turks, in counteracting it. Paul III., like his predecessors, had chafed and struggled at the successful and increasing efforts of Charles to weaken the power of the Pontiffs over the Roman Church in Spain; but the secret conditions of the peace of Crespy, which hound together the league of Catholics to crush Lutheranism for once and for all, brought the Pope to Charles's side. He proposed to hold a general council of the Church to devise means for the “reduction” of the heretics, and the resistance against the Turk, and offered to contribute liberally to either or both objects, on the hinted condition that the Emperor should let bygones be bygones, and aid in protecting the interests of the Pope's family (p. 164). He also offered to give way on another point, which he knew was near to the Emperor's heart, namely, the control of Rome over the Spanish clergy. The Emperor told his ambassador in Rome that there would be no harm “in appearing as if we had forgotten past events, and were likely to accept his Holiness's offers as conveyed to us by his Nuncio.” But he made it clear at the same time that Paul would have to be much more explicit, and make greater concessions before he would be contented. The enterprise against the Turk is treated coolly, placed in the background, and the coercion of the Lutherans made, as indeed it was at this time, the principal subject of the settlement, although Charles does not hesitate to say that he deeply distrusts the Pope's sincerity on both points (p. 471). “But,” continues the Emperor, “should his Holiness help us with a good sum of money, such as 600,000 or at least 500,000 ducats, we think that so meritorious an enterprise as the reduction to the faith of the Lutherans, might easily be carried out, particularly if the council of the Church co-operate towards it. Should, therefore, his Holiness consent to do this, and at the same time will despatch the pending ecclesiastical business we have at Rome, . . . . he may be sure we will forget the past, and be his dutiful son and true friend, continuing to be, as hitherto, the protector of his family.” All through this important letter (p. 463), it is evident that the great project of utterly crushing religious reform in Germany, and subsequently dealing with the Turk, was already fully formed in the Emperor's mind, and that the plans of almost universal dominion for his son Philip, which ripened after the battle of Muhlberg (1547), were perhaps even thus early foreshadowed as a result of his present policy.
The hard terms of the treaty of Crespy, to which the Emperor had been constrained to consent—harder, said the King of England, than if he had been vanquished instead of victor—included one of the two alternative marriages; that of the Infanta Maria, or of the daughter of Ferdinand, with the Duke of Orleans, the younger son of Francis; the bride bringing as a dower Flanders and the other territories formerly belonging to the house of Burgundy, or the duchy of Milan, and it was incumbent upon the Emperor to notify within a given time the match which he preferred. Charles de Valois was not a desirable bridegroom. He was a vicious youth, with no portion of his own, and doubtless the only consideration which led Charles to accept the condition was, that under no circumstances should the territory bestowed upon the bride be merged into the French dominion; which, in other words, meant that it was to be a state dependant upon the Emperor. But even thus, as the time approached for the fulfilment of the condition, it was less and less relished by the Emperor and his advisers; and several pretexts were suggested by which it might be avoided, such as the non-compliance on the part of Francis with certain articles of the treaty, and the bridegroom's lack of a corresponding dower to that of the proposed bride. It is evident, however, that the fatal decision permanently to attach the Low Countries to the crown of Spain, which was subsequently one of the principal causes of the ruin of the Spanish power, had not yet been adopted by the Emperor himself, as he contemplated the possibility of alienating Flanders to his daughter. It was in Spain, and from amongst the advisers of young Philip, that the opposition to the cession of territory came. The Emperor in a note to Philip, sent by Secretary Idaquez, instructed him to summon the Council of State to deliberate upon the alternative marriages, together with their corresponding cessions of territory, and to advise the Sovereign on the subject.
The councillors, who had been placed by the Emperor by the side of his son, were the wisest and most experienced statesmen of the age. The Duke of Alba, Cardinal Tavara, Cardinal Loaysa, and especially Cobos, were versed in all the arts of government, and these were aided by others, who, though of less celebrity, were hardly less wise. For the consideration of the subject Philip added to these experienced ministers the three first jurists in Spain, the president of the Council of Castile, the Vice-Chancellor of Aragon, and the famous Dr. Guevara. The young regent, grave beyond his years, wisely determined first to consult privately the feelings on the subject of his sister the Infanta Maria herself, and fortified by the knowledge thus gained, he summoned the great Council at Valladolid, to deliberate upon the question submitted to them. The details of their various lengthy discussions will be found on pages 478, et seq.; and although the councillors were profoundly divided as to which would be the smaller of the two evils proposed, they were quite unanimous in their outspoken distrust of the French, and their dislike to any condition which should involve the cession of territory at all. Whatever may have been young Philip's personal view, if he had one on the subject, it is certain that Alba, probably for purposes of his own, was always desirous of securing for Philip the reversion to the empire, and the complete Spanish dominion over Italy, to the exclusion of Ferdinand and Maximilian. Whilst, therefore, deprecating the alienation of Flanders, he led the majority of his colleagues in the arguments in favour of retaining Milan at any cost, even if Flanders had to be handed over as a bride's dowry. Alba and his party, at least, saw that, important as the possession of the Low Countries might be to the imperial power in Germany, its permanent retention as an appanage of the Spanish crown was difficult and dangerous. They acknowledged that Spanish commerce was benefitted by the possession of Flanders:— “but to judge from the past no great assistance can be expected therefrom in other matters to the Spanish crown. The government and administration of Flanders in the absence of its natural lord must always offer difficulties, and be very costly.” Besides which, as the Milanese territory was on the high road by which Spanish troops passed into central Europe and Flanders overland, the cession of Milan would, in any case, place the Low Countries at the mercy of France; and Alba, Cobos, and others, for this and many other wise and far-seeing reasons decided that if a territorial dower were given at all, it should be part of Flanders rather than Milan. Cardinal Tavara, the rival of Cobos, was, with Guevara and others, of different opinion. The penetration of French influence into Flanders, under any form or pretext, they thought, would enable Francis to absorb small neighbouring states, and undermine the Emperor's authority over the Princes of the empire:— “and in process of time, become superior to, and greater than the King, who may, eventually, wear the crown of these Spanish realms.” The fear here expressed is evidently that the French King, or his successors, might champion the cause of protestantism; a danger that both at the time, and subsequently, was far from a visionary one.
As a result, probably, of this conference, the Emperor, late in December (p. 474) wrote to King Francis, informing him, with some circumlocution, that he had decided in favour of the marriage of his niece Catharine, daughter of the King of the Romans (Ferdinand), with the Duke of Orleans, her dowry being taken from the Low Countries, as agreed. But the decision was but a lukewarm one, for no arrangements were suggested for carrying it out, and several questions were raised with regard to the non-fulfilment of the treaty on the part of France, and the want of a corresponding dowry for the proposed bridegroom. If the Emperor and his Councillors looked coldly upon the terms of the treaty of Crespy, the French themselves, especially the Dauphin Henry, had no greater love for them. The whole benefit to be gained was the personal aggrandisement of the Duke of Orleans, and the satisfaction of the Duchess d'Etampes. In return for this the French were to surrender all they had conquered from the Duke of Savoy, give up Stenay to Lorraine, and, above all, relinquish for ever their persistent claim to Milan. Before, therefore, the Emperor signified his decision, the Dauphin, at Fontainebleau, signed a formal denunciation of the whole treaty. In the meanwhile the Duke of Orleans and the Duchess d'Etampes were being splendidly entertained at Brussels; and early in the following year the French hostages with the Emperor returned to their own country. The papers in the present volume close at this point, and the final frustration of the treaty of Crespy by the untimely death of the Duke of Orleans must be dealt with later. The year 1544 ends with Henry still at war, sore and indignant at the way in which he had been juggled out of the peace; but determined to make a good fight of it in the coming spring, both by land and sea, engaging mercenaries, organising for the first time a formidable English navy, and grimly holding on to Boulogne, which was closely besieged by the French. On the other hand, the Emperor, though crippled and suffering, was planning his great blow against Lutheranism; the Council of Trent was slowly gathering to aid in the work, upon which papal money, imperial prestige, and Spanish spears were to be lavished without stint; the work of reducing Christianity on the continent to one pattern, and rendering Charles and his descendants the supreme rulers of the civilised world.
Martin A. S. Hume.