Spain: May 1544, 1-5

Pages 129-135

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 7, 1544. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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May 1544, 1–5

1 May. 80. King Henry to Queen Mary of Hungary.
Wien. Imp. Arch. Fasc. Varia, No. 3. Thanks her for her friendly offers of service, as made in the letter brought by the Sieur de Chantonnay (Thomas Perrenot), to whom he (Henry) has given commission to express verbally his gratitude.—Greenwich, 1 May 1544.
French. Original. 1 p.
4 May. 81. The Emperor to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Venerable, chier et feal,”—Considering the bad state in which the affairs of the common enemy are, that the frontiers of Fiance are not well provided for, and that no army has yet been assembled for their defence, We are thinking of forestalling the French, and preventing them from massing their forces on any given point, or affording them time to fortify their frontiers as they have begun to do. Orders have been issued to count Guillaume de Furstenberg with his Germans to advance as far as possible into the enemy's country. We have likewise written to Our sister, the queen of Hungary, to send to Luxemberg, with all possible haste, the Spanish and German infantry that were lately at Cambray, besides the utmost cavalry force she can dispose of—the whole to be under the chief command of the viceroy of Sicily (Ferrante Gonzaga), who has direct orders from Us to go to Luxemberg first, and then penetrate into the enemy's country, disconcert and defeat their plans, lay waste and burn their fields, and do all possible damage, whilst the main body of Our army is getting ready, and until We Ourselves are able to go forward at the head of it, which We hope will be soon. (fn. 1)
However that may be, the English ambassador (fn. 2) residing at the Court of the Queen, Our sister, has informed her that on or about the 15th inst. the vanguard of the King's army will be ready to cross over, that the main body is to follow soon, and the King himself with the rest of his army almost immediately afterwards. We have considered it fit to inform you of the above particulars in order that the king of England may know from your lips Our plans of campaign against the common enemy, and make his own accordingly. If the King could conveniently, and according to the rules of warfare, make the vanguard of his army penetrate into the enemy's territory, lay waste the country, and do some execution or other before he himself crosses over with the rest of his forces, it would have an admirable effect; for two invasions on different sides of their frontier would naturally astonish and bewilder the French, who, having their forces scattered about, would not have the means of concentrating them so as to resist the attacks of our allied armies; besides which, as the French would not know which point to defend by preference, the operations, if not immediately successful, would at least have no danger for the allies.
You will make the King understand the above, and at the same time try to persuade him that it is our common interest to invade France at once on two different sides of its frontiers, and that if the van of his own army is ready about the 15th, Ours will be in Luxemberg before that date.—Spire (Speier), 4 May 1544.
Addresse: “Charles V. à son ambassadeur en Engleterre.”
French. Original draft. 1 p.
4 May. 82. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp, Arch. “Sire,”—The day before yesterday Your Majesty's letter of the 25th ult. came to hand, enclosing papers and documents relating to Piedmont, and yesterday, after dinner, I went to the Privy Council and communicated its contents. After praising the magnanimity, wisdom, and activity displayed by Your Majesty in the management and settlement of Italian affairs, the privy councillors answered me in a similar way to that used by the King in his conversation with Mr. de Chantonnay and with me, as Your Majesty will see by the duplicate of my letter to the dowager queen of Hungary herein enclosed. Respecting the rest of its contents, namely the declaration against Scotland, and the provision of carriage-horses in the district of Spire with a view the better to accommodate this King with those of the Low Countries, I again beg leave to refer Your Majesty to my despatch to the Queen.
With regard to captain Sequinghen, the privy councillors showed much satisfaction and content at Your Majesty's decision, as well as at Your Majesty's consent that the duke of Alburquerque should take service under him. The Duke has for the last week been away from London hunting in a park five miles from this city. I have sent to him Your Majesty's letter, but have had no answer yet.
Respecting other news from this country, I could not say more than I have done in my aforesaid dispatch to the Queen, to which I beg leave to refer.—London, 4 May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 2 pp.
4 May. 83. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—Your Majesty's letter of the 22nd of April (fn. 3) came to hand on Wednesday the 30th. I have not answered it sooner by Mr. de Chantonnay, as I intended at first, because I was expecting to have audience from the King and to appear before the Privy Council. The audience, however, could not be obtained until yesterday, after dinner, owing to the King being about to quit Grignvyth (Greenwich). I went accordingly to the Privy Council, but notwithstanding all the representations I addressed them on that subject, even giving them to understand that both the Emperor and Your Majesty would be contented and satisfied that England's declaration against the duke of Holstein should be drawn out in the express form and words contained in the minute presented by me, I could in nowise persuade them to that, whilst they absolutely insisted that Your Majesty's declaration against the Scots should be definite and express, and such as they, themselves, had offered to make reciprocally against the duke [of Holstein]. They did more; they seemed disappointed and angry at the idea of any difficulties being raised there [at Brussels] respecting that point, considering that the King, their master, has proved to the Emperor by an authentic letter, of which a copy is herein inclosed, that the Scots have actually invaded England.
Wishing to be more fully informed on this particular, I interrogated the privy councillors thereupon, and likewise the duke of Suffolk, who as this King's lieutenant had for some time before commanded the army on the Borders, and their answer was that really and truly some months ago a certain number of Scots had assembled under the warder of the ports of that kingdom (fn. 4) for the express purpose of making a raid. The Duke added that one division of the Scots had penetrated far enough into England for the purpose of slaying an Englishman. On my objecting to accept this last case, and begging the Duke to state the matter in writing, and prove to me by the testimony of some other member of the Privy Council there present that the invasion of which he spoke had really taken place, he changed the conversation. After which the privy councillors consulted together for a while, then came to me and said that they would not put to shame the King, their master, by adding any details to what he, himself, had written to the Emperor, for that (they said) would be tantamount to throwing doubt upon his veracity. In short, they complained bitterly of the scruples and delays interposed in an affair of that sort, using words and expressions rather acrimonious (aiggrettes) against those councillors who surround Your Majesty, and asserting that the Emperor has assured the English ambassador resident at his Court that both He and Your Majesty have already declared the Scots their enemies, as appears by the former's letter to me of the 25th ult.
With regard to Scotch invasions in this country, all the information I have been able to obtain does not go beyond the statement above made; most likely the invasion, if any, has not been of the sort and manner that these people represent, and as the declaration of enmity, which the King wishes for, requires it to be; and yet I do not hesitate to say that any further difficulty or delay thrown in the way of this affair might possibly prejudice other more important matters at the present juncture. That is why I humbly beg Your Majesty to look to this, and take speedily a final resolution as the case requires. There will be no necessity to express in the declaration that the Scots, in virtue of the safeconducts granted by this King, will be allowed to trade with the Low Countries, for these privy councillors have made no allusion whatever to that point.
Respecting the horses to be furnished, the privy councillors, taking into consideration what I said to them on a previous occasion, were certainly more moderate and accommodating this time, for according to my suggestions they have sent commissaries to procure and buy throughout England proper draft-horses, and also oxen for the same purpose, (fn. 5) so that I think they will be content with the 6,000 which Your Majesty is willing to place at the disposal of the English commissaries. Yet I have made no offer at all, considering that when the article in question was discussed they (the privy councillors), knowing Your Majesty's good disposition towards them, and your readiness to help and assist their commissaries to the utmost of your power, no special remark was made as to the number of beasts and so forth, though they particularly requested me to write to Your Majesty that both the carts and the horses should be ready for the day that will be appointed by their commissaries, which will be, as far as I can understand, from the 20th to the 25th of this present month, the day on which the duke of Norfolk has fixed for his crossing with the vanguard, and as this latter is to leave Calais immediately and advance on French territory leaving room for the rearguard that is to cross, land, and follow him, it is necessary, as Your Majesty may consider, that the carts and horses be ready.
Touching the transports for the English troops, these privy councillors have given me to understand that they have already sent to the Low Countries commissaries to select and direct to the ports of this kingdom those that may be considered most fit for the embarkation of troops. As to warships, they request that Your Majesty order them to sail immediately for Calais, if they have not done so already, and effect their junction with this King's fleet, so as to insure the passage of the English troops. This is most important and necessary, inasmuch as from this day (desormais) there will be a continuous passage of men, ammunition, and provisions. I have said nothing to them respecting the quality and size of the ships, principally because I never had the opportunity, and also because they showed their temper enough when I spoke to them about the declaration against the Scots.
Some days ago the reciprocal letters-patent for the observance of the safe-conducts were put into my hands. I have delayed transmitting them until the translation, which I have ordered to be made, should be completed and authenticated by the Admiralty; when that is done I will forward them to Your Majesty, although, in my opinion, it would be far better that the original document should remain in this embassy as evidence in case of contravention.
The day before yesterday, in the evening, Your Majesty's letter of the 29th of April came to hand, as well as the copy of the “News from Piedmont,” which news I at once communicated to the privy councillors, who were exceedingly sorry to hear of the late mishap of the Emperor's arms in Italy, repeating to me the very same words that the King had said to Mr. de Chantonnay and to me, namely, “That it was impossible in warfare to avoid misfortunes, and that the one which had lately occurred to the Imperial arms could not fail to be shortly repaired, owing to the wise measures since adopted; that it was convenient, nay, necessary to gather new forces, and summon courage for the enterprize against France, (fn. 6) so as to recover at the rate of one hundred per cent, both the lost capital of reputation and the interest thereof.”
Since Mr. de Chantonnay's departure no recent news has been received from Scotland nor from the army which this King has sent thither, nor is there any event worth recording save that Milort Wriothesley, to whom eight days ago the keeping of the great seal was entrusted, has been created [high] chancellor of England. (fn. 7)
I reminded the privy councillors of the answer which Your Majesty made to the man who last year brought you widgeons as a present (fn. 8) from king Francis, and I did so in order to have occasion to ask them what was the King's answer to the Frenchman, who presented him the other day with one hundred butts of wine in the name of his master; but the privy councillors answered that they knew nothing about it, and that they supposed that the jeweller (joulier ?), who had come to present the wine, had solicited to be the bearer of it, for the purpose of recovering at the same time certain jewels which had been detained and sequestered here—owing to some irregularity or other connected with the customs or with fiscal rules,—which jewels the King had ordered to be restored to him.—London, 4 May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Addressed; “To the Queen.”
French. Original. 3 pp.
4 May. 84. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—Yesterday these privy councillors sent me word that, according to what Your Majesty had written to the Deputy at Calais (fn. 9) respecting an Italian named Octavien; the King, their master, had immediately ordered his arrest. He was yesterday closely examined and questioned in the Council Room, (fn. 10) but nothing could be got out of him respecting his secret intelligences in France, save that he lived on familiar terms with a Frenchman named La Chapelle, who was his friend, and had once lent him money. Such was the amount of his confession, upon which the King's councillors, not finding any ground for the accusation brought against him, resolved not to confine him to an ordinary prison, but send him to the house of the bishop of London (Bonner), to be kept there under his custody until they hear again from Your Majesty. Please to acquaint the Council in detail of the grounds of the accusation, and let it be as soon as possible.
I am told that there is news in town of the Royal fleet having already arrived on the coast of Scotland, and that after landing the troops on board, who are afterwards to be joined by a strong body of cavalry, the whole fleet is to return home. Such is my information on this point; but it is to be feared that the unavoidable delay caused by contrary winds and bad weather at sea is likely to lead to the detection of this King's plans, and eventually mar the success of this undertaking, which seems somewhat perilous, unless, however, the indisposition and serious illness of the governor (earl of Arran), and the help that may be afforded by the sons of count Douglas—who, notwithstanding that their father, the Count, is still a prisoner, have lately robbed (destrousse) the captain of Dombart (Dunbar) of all his men and luggage—may assist the English. Should further intelligence come from Scotland I shall not fail to apprize Your Majesty of it. —London, 4 May 1544.
Signed:“Eustace Chapuys.”
Indorsed: “To the Queen.”
French. Original, partly ciphered, 1½ pp.


  • 1. “En attendant que la main de (?) nostre armee soit preste, et que puissions marcher et suyvre avecq icelle, [ce] que esperons sera aussi en brief.”
  • 2. The dean of York, Dr. Richard Layton.
  • 3. No. 75 pp. 121–5.
  • 4. That is, Lord Maxwell, warder of the Western Marches of Scotland. “Que aucungs du dict Escosse s'estoient assemblez plusieure mois passex avec le gardiant (sic) des portz d'Escosse pour faire une invasion contre ce royaulme, et davantaige diet qu'ug escois (Escossois) estoit entré assez avant au [royaulme] pour tirer (tuer) ung Anglois [Somerset, the herald ?].”
  • 5. “Et si (s'y) ont (suyvant ce que leur en ay diz (dict) par ça) envoyé pour (par) tout le royaulme 'pour chercher chevaulx propices aulx cbarriages (sic) et pour avoir des bœufs soltables (?) à ce faire.”
  • 6. “Et qu'il convenoit [d'] avoir tant meilleur cœur en ceste imprinse (sic) contre France.”
  • 7. Sir Thomas, formerly secretary to the Privy Council, and who about this time was appointed Lord Chancellor.
  • 8. “Je rememoray aux dits du Conseil la responce (sic) que fest vre. mate [à celuy] que luy avoyt appourte des oyseaulx l'année passee de la part du roy de France, mais ilz desirent pour avoir occasion de leur demander la reponce que le dit sr roy avoit faict à celuy que luy avoit presente les cent tonneaulx de vin de la part du roy françois; mais ilz desirent (disrent) quilz n'en sçavoient riens, et quilz pensoient que le jenlier (jouillier) que leur estoit venu presenter lea dits tonneaulx de vin avoit sollicité le dit envoy pour recouvrer certains joyaulx que luy avoient esté içy detenus pour fourfaitz.” Under the date of February 23 of 1542 queen Mary informed Chapuys that a gentleman, named curiously enough Reigne, sieur de La Reine, usher of king Francis' chamber, had brought her a present from that monarch, consisting of 12 widgeons (sarcelles) and the answer she made. See Vol. VI., Part II., pp. 255–6.
  • 9. Le Debitis—that is, the Deputy or King's lieutenant in Calais, Lord Maltravers (?). See Vol. VI., Part II., pp. 414, 493.
  • 10. “Avoit faict prendre, et saisy ung Italien nommé Octave, le quel fust hier examiné des dits du Conseil.” Octave, or Octavien is the Christian name, in French, of Ottavio, or Ottaviano Boscho, a Milanese armourer, of whom more will be said hereafter.