Spain: July 1544, 11-15

Pages 245-250

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

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July 1544, 11–15

11 July. 151. The Queen Of Hungary to Ambassador Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monsieur l'ambassadeur,”—By the Emperor's letter to Us—a copy of which is herein inclosed (fn. 1) —you will hear of His Imperial Majesty's displeasure and resentment at the damage and loss which Landenberger's men have inflicted, and are still inflicting, on his subjects, more especially on the inhabitants of Liège and its immediate neighbourhood, who have repeatedly sent their deputies to Us asking to be fully indemnified and compensated for their losses, alleging, among other reasons, that since it was at Our express recommendation, and on the assurance that those Germans would behave properly and honourably, that they consented to receive and harbour them within their territory, We were naturally bound to repair the injuries they had sustained, and indemnify them for their losses. Our former letters must have informed you of the solicitude and care with which We have always attended to that King's wants in all matters relating to the present war with France—what efforts We have made, and are still making, to persuade Landenberger's men to remain in the king of England's service; the difficulties We have met with; how the infantry demand one month's pay, to count from the day they passed muster, besides a fortnight's more for their return home; how the English commissaries refuse to give them more than one month's pay at the rate of wages allotted by the Emperor to his German infantry, without allowing them anything for their return home. On the other hand, Landenberger's men have constantly refused to depart, until this very moment, when a letter comes from councillor Scepperus—a copy of which is inclosed—stating that he has some hope of the men being satisfied and leaving the country of Liège.
As to the cavalry, they demand one month's pay for the time they have served in June, and one more for the current month of July. That is, they spy, the promise once made to them by the King's commissaries, as you will see by the inclosed; and they declare that, unless they are paid in full, they will not move from the spot where they are. Such being their determination, it is quite evident to Us that Landeoberger's horsemen will remain in the neighbourhood of Liège, oppressing the inhabitants and living at their expense. Such a resolution and declaration on the part of Landenberger's band is for Us a cause of grievous resentment, the more so that the cavalry maintain that they were promised by the King's commissaries that they might remain in the Emperor's dominions until paid in full, of which promise, if made, We never had the least notice, nor have the men themselves been officially informed of it since the 13th of June ult., when the English commissaries made the promise and took the engagement (fn. 2) —which, by the way, seems an intolerably hard one. Since then the King's commissaries have treated with one of the German captains, named Frederic Spadt; but it appears that in the receipt, signed by that captain, of 3,000 crs. from the Royal commissaries, it is expressly stated that the latter would fulfil the conditions and promises of the engagement, which they (the commissaries) have not yet done. (fn. 3)
These above facts having come to the Emperor's knowledge, he, feeling that unless the above difficulties, and others of the same kind that may arise, are not promptly removed, his own dominions and subjects, as well as those of his allies and friends, might be damaged and oppressed, has now resolved, in order to relieve the same of such vexatious and to them unbearable treatment, to send to them, and try all possible means to induce the German cavalry to remain in the service of the king of England, or else to go back home quietly, without wasting the countries through which they pass. Should, however, the men refuse to serve the King, and insist upon being paid, or else remaining where they now are, then in that case the Emperor, to avoid greater evils, has decided—notwithstanding that he has already more men than he wants, and that additional expenditure will be incurred thereby—to take them into his service.
We do not choose to inculpate any of the parties, and throw the blame on the King's commissaries or on Landenbergher; but the fact is, that the latter is in the wrong for not having adhered to his original engagement, and that the King's commissaries, on the other hand, ought to have passed muster to that captain's men immediately after making the agreement with him, and not refuse to pay them as they did. Nor was it right on the part of the Royal commissaries not to have fulfilled their engagements towards the cavalry. (fn. 4)
All this you (Chapuys) are requested to represent as graciously and mildly as you can to that King, telling him, in Our name, that if he cannot possibly retain in his service the captain and his men, so as to prevent them from going over to the French, His Imperial Majesty has decided to take them into his. Of this request of Ours, and other matters relating to the employment of foreigners by the king of England, you shall apprise the Privy Council as soon as possible, and let Us immediately know what they say about it.
The duke of Suffolk has sent here credentials in favour of certain English commissioners, whose business is to represent to Us the want in which the King's camp is of provisions, draft-horses, and carriage, requesting that one thousand more waggons should be prepared, and at the same time wishing to know what amount of provisions has been stored for their use. As the Duke's agents and the verbal report made by the latter seems to imply that the fault is Ours for not having sooner attended to the King's demands, the Duke's agents have been requested to state in writing the object of their mission, at the same time as the reasons they have for saying that We have not fulfilled Our engagements in that respect. The Duke's agents have accordingly drawn up their report, of which a copy—as well as of other documents and papers relating to the same affair—is inclosed. As you will see, the report is couched in terms rather dry and courteous though not so intemperate and harsh as those of the verbal messages they brought Us from the Duke. In answer to which, and in justification of Our acts, We have ordered Our ministers to draw out the reply, of which a copy is also inclosed. Indeed, it is exceedingly disagreeable to Us to find, after having so diligently provided for all the wants of the English army before Boulogne, that any deficiency in the supplies should be attributed to these countries under Our government; whereas the fault, if there is any, is not Ours, but that of the English for not having thought sooner of the stress to which they might be reduced. Indeed, it seems to Us as if We had much more reason to complain of that King's ministers, who, after so many urgent requisitions, have completely neglected to give the necessary instructions to their own people; so much so, that up to the present day—the 11th of July—no English commissary has made his appearance here, nor has the money been remitted for the purchase of victuals, and so forth. And they (the English) come now to ask Us what amount of provisions We have in store for their array, as if We were obliged by treaty to furnish them gratis and at Our own expense—a sort of thing which We have not done even for His Imperial Majesty!
In short, We cannot help telling you, confidentially and under reserve, (fn. 5) that if the king of England's ministers show so little inclination to prosecute vigorously the war against France—as the King of that country confidently asserts there is no need of inculpating Us, as they are now doing, for the result of the campaign will evidently show where the fault lies and who is to blame, without the English being able to excuse themselves if their intention was to act unfairly towards their ally (the Emperor), which We hope it was not. That is why you, Chapuys, are requested, whenever the opportunity offers itself, to make Our excuses to the king of England, and remonstrate with him respecting the demands made by the duke of Suffolk in his name, at the same time showing him with what care and solicitude We have always attended to the wants of his army, and anything else relating to his Royal service.
Whilst writing this despatch (depesche), yours of the 6th inst. comes to hand, as well as the duplicate of the one for His Imperial Majesty of the same date. No answer is required to them, since their contents relate chiefly to these countries under Our government, and the king of England makes difficulties, and seems to doubt whether the Emperor's army will or not be on the enemy's territory by the appointed day, alleging that Commercy and Ligny are not in France, though both those towns held for king Francis until they were again reduced to the obedience of the Emperor, who retains them in his power as if they were the fiefs of France. (fn. 6) The King himself could not, for the same reason, say that he has actually invaded France, for after all neither the Boullonois nor Ardre nor Montreuil can be said to belong properly to the kingdom of France, being, as they are by right, part and portion of the county of Artois.
With regard to the exchange of money, the duke of Norfolk had written to Us to have the new English “gros” valued at six grossen of Flanders and three “patarts” of Brabant, but after assaying it here it has been found that the new English coin is only worth four “grossen” of Flanders or two “patarts'' of Brabant, after deducting the Royalty, or seigniorial rights, and the making. We have, therefore, written to the Duke that We cannot possibly admit the valuation of the English coin, for the drivers of the carts and waggons, to whom a promise has been made of seven “grossen” of Flanders a day for each horse, will naturally complain if they are not paid at the rate of their engagement. That was the price paid last year by the Emperor, each crown being counted for 38 “grossen”; and yet, when the men arrived at their destination, the drivers have been paid in silver crowns calculated at 45 sols each, whereas the original exchange, as abovesaid, was at the time 38. That is not all. In making the payment the King's treasurer discounted the difference between 38 and 45, or 7 sols per crown, which, to say the least of it, is not likely to encourage the men to the King's service. (fn. 7) Indeed, a message has come from the people of Waes stating that every day they find their horses and mares beaten or stolen without knowing who has done it, or to whom to apply for redress, and that unless proper order be introduced in the English camp, the drivers will desert and go home, even at the risk of being pursued, caught, and hanged. In fact, it seems to Us quite unreasonable that subjects of the Emperor, Our brother, pressed for the particular service of the king of England, his ally, should be treated in such a barbarous and cruel manner. The commanders-in-chief and captains of the English army ought to take care that the drivers are not molested and ill-treated by the soldiery, otherwise one of these days they may find themselves without the means of conveyance or carriage; whilst on Our part We have issued orders that all those who leave the English camp without a passport be at once punished as deserters from the Emperor's service, though if their complaints be true, and they are so ill-treated as they represent, We do not see why they should be so punished.
As to the cavalry coming from Oostland—which, as you tell Us, the King now refuses to take into his service—the English commissaries have continually applied to Us for letters to count de Reuthen to allow them to cross his estate, and this We have promised to do on condition that the King's commissaries themselves should write a letter to the Count in their master's name; but as they have refused to do so, matters remain in the same state as before—a manner of proceeding which We think very strange, for had We written to the Count, as We were frequently solicited, the cavalry newly recruited for that King's service would have remained in Reuthen and its immediate vicinity on the same oppressive and harsh terms as Landenberger's horse are still at Liège.
Lytonalier's horse have already arrived. They are only 420 in all; the remainder are still encamped in the Reuthen territory, and will not join the English camp [before Boulogne] till three weeks are over.
Octavian Bosch (fn. 8) has been interrogated here. He denies having ever confessed to the Secretary, who went to the Tower to examine him, having promised to the Dauphin of France (Henri de Valois) to do service in England by reporting news or otherwise. In two or three days hence his trial and that of his accomplice will take place, and if they confess anything of importance We shall not fail to let you know, that you may inform the King.
French. Original draft. 3 pp.
Addressed: “To ambassador Chapuys in England, of the 11th of July 1544. Le joindre les lettres de l'Empereur.”


  • 1. Not found in the Imperial Archive.
  • 2. “Disans de se avoir promesse des commissaires d'Engleterre comme verrez par le double d'icelle cy joincte. Et soubz ceste occasion (condition?) demeurent [ils] mengeans [mangeant] et foullans les pays, par quoy à bonne cause nous en povons resentir, et mesmes de ce que les gens de cheval demeudemeu[re]rent les pays de sa Mte tant quilz [ne] les auroient satisfait du tout sans jammais nous en avoir parlé ne adverty ne ausi mandé aux dits gens de cheval depuis le VIII du mois passé quilz fisrent la dicte promesse.”
  • 3. “ Si dit le dit fredericq en baillant la quictance des IIII escuz quil a receu et a expressé que les dits commissaires furniroyent à leur dite promesse ce quilz n'ont encoires faict.”
  • 4. “Cy trouvons que si le dit dc Landembergher (sic) a mal faict de n'avoir satisfaict à sa premiere [promesse] que aussi les commissaires n'out bien faict d'avoir [de n'avoir] passé la monstre oultre la promesse de celluy Landembergher, et apres ne les voulloir payer selon la dite monstre. Aussi n'a esté bien faict quilz n'ont tenu ce quilz ont promis aux gens de cheval.”
  • 5. “ Et ne nous povons garder vous dire ce mot en confidence.”
  • 6. Both these towns were formerly fiefs of Lorraine.
  • 7. “Sur quoy après avoyé faict faire l'essoy du dit nouveau gros avons trouvé quil ne vault au plus hault que quatre gros [de] flandres ou deux patarts de Brabant en descomptant le droict, signioriage et labeur comme l'on donne sur la monnaye de sa mate. Par quoy avons escript au dit Due que ne povons faire la dite evaluation. Aussi les chartous se plaindrent grandement [de ce] que l'on leur avoit promis VII grossen pour cheval pour chacun jour, ce quils entendoyent en bonne monnaye comme l'empereur avoit payé l'au paseé, et en les levant l'on leur a donné l'escu à XXXVIII “grossen,” quant ilz [sont] venus à Calais il leur a este donne pour XLV, et par dessus ce que l'on leur avoit payé à XXXVIII on leur a rabattu en reduisant l'escu donné par decha jusqu'à XLV sols qui est pour perdre le couraige de bien servir.”
  • 8. Here the name of Octavian, or Ottaviano, the Milanese, is distinctly written “Bosoh.” See above. No. 84, p. 135.