Spain: July 1544, 21-25

Pages 255-271

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

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July 1544, 21–25

21 July. 158. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—On the 18th inst., as I was about to embark at Dover, Your Majesty's letter of the 11th came to hand, and yesterday, the 20th, I waited upon the King, and spoke to him on the affair of Captain Landenberg and his Germans. The only answer he gave me is that which Tour Majesty will see by the inclosed copy of my despatch to the Emperor.
With regard to the affair about which the duke of Suffolk (fn. 1) wrote to Your Majesty, this king seems satisfied, as he himself has declared to Master Dysot (Doyset), (fn. 2) adding that he had sent letters of thanks. And certainly, it must be owned that in this last, as in other affairs, the King is duly showing the obligation under which he stands to Your Majesty, fully acknowledging the great care and trouble that is there taken to supply this, his Royal army, and entirely exculpating Your Majesty whenever any delay or deficiency in the supplies is experienced.
Neither the King nor his Privy Council have said a word to me concerning the Imperial army not having entered France on the appointed day, and I am glad of it, for under present circumstances it is much preferable not to enter into discussion with these people, but to dissemble if there be means of doing so. (fn. 3)
With regard to the bad treatment and bad pay (for compte) of the waggoners (charretiers) in that country, the King cannot, or will not, be persuaded that the fault lies with the English, who, he says, do behave quite well towards them; he will, however, look into it.
As to the horse from Seeland (Zeeland), the King has given me to understand, as Your Majesty will see by the copy of my despatch to the Emperor, that the Duke of Holstein had already sent for them.
With regard to Octavian Bos, I heard two hours ago that an Italian has come here [to Calais] expressly for the purpose of treating with the Secretary of the Privy Council, and exculpating the said Octavian, and trying to obtain his release; but I believe that the Secretary will not act differently in that affair from what he has done hitherto; if he does, torture will bring the criminal to reason. (fn. 4)
As the King intends leaving this place in a couple of days to take the command of his camp, I most humbly beg Your Majesty to be pleased to appoint another ambassador to reside at this Court instead of myself, as Your Majesty promised to my secretary, when he was last in Brussels, and the Emperor announced in one of his letters to me.—Calais, 20 of July 1544.
P.S.—As Your Majesty will see by the letter of Mons. de Courrières, and the inclosed copy [of my despatch to the Emperor] what we both have done in compliance with orders, I need not be more explicit on the subject.—Calaix, 21 of July 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original, partly ciphered. 2 pp.
21 July. 159. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—On the 18th inst., just as I was going on board to pass over to this place [Calais], Your Majesty's letter of the 3rd inst. (fn. 5) came to hand. The day after I waited on the King, to whom, in pursuance of Your Majesty's commands, I failed not to represent, as strongly as I could, the great injury and incalculable loss which Your Majesty's subjects and their neighbours (circonvoisins) in the countries of Liège, and others had had to suffer at the hands of the men, whom Landenberg had recruited for his Royal service, and, moreover, that the inhabitants of those districts so harmed and damaged had actually petitioned the queen dowager of Hungary, regent in the Low Countries, to be indemnified for their losses inasmuch as through her assuring them by letters patent that Landenberg and his men would behave honestly and pay reasonably for what they wanted, they had allowed the said armed men to penetrate into their territory, and had shown them, hospitality. “The damage caused by Landenberg's men must be paid for, and the inhabitants indemnified for their losses (said I to the King), but it is very inconvenient for the Emperor, my master, to add that one to the many expenses he has had to defray, for in the first place the Emperor cannot take those Germans into his service, he has already too many of them—more than he wants; and secondly, the Emperor has, since the treaty of closer alliance was ratified, and war against France begun, spent a good deal more money than was necessary. Last year, for instance, in order to molest and harass the common enemy in Flanders as well as in Italy, he had to pay the men of Mr. de Buren and the crews of the fleet, which had been so long in the Straits of Calais (en ce estroict), quite needlessly, and which, if disengaged and sent elsewhere might have done much towards harassing the common enemy, and guarding and defending many merchant vessels, Flemish as well as Spanish, which during the last month have been captured by French privateers in the Channel.” (fn. 6)
The King's answer to these and other remonstrances of mine was exactly similar to that which he made in the first instance in justification of his conduct in that affair, adding only new complaints of Landenberg, and alluding to the trick which (he said) Captain Frederick Spect had played him, owing to which he no longer would tahe Landenberg's horse into his service, as he had thought of doing. Such was the King's explanation of his conduct in Landenberg's affair, to which explanation he added that he suspected that the duke of Holsiein had recalled, by means of threats, the greater part of the cavalry that was meant for his serviced. (fn. 7)
After the above conversation, I begged the King to give me his final instructions as to what I was to write to Your Majesty, and what were his intentions respecting the advance of his army, that being a most important pointy and one of which Tour Imperial Majesty must needs be informed beforehand, in order to shape your military movements accordingly, since he himself had decided to embark for France, and march on Paris in conjunction with Your Imperial Majesty in compliance with the agreement made with the viceroy of Sicily when he was last in England. To this question of mime, the King, after some thought, replied coldly enough that he would say no more than what I, myself must have heard concerning his plans and intensions, namely, that the greater part of his army had already laid siege to Montreuil, and that some of it was to besiege Boulogne. And upon my remarking that in my opinion the two operations would have been excellent if undertaken two months ago, especially if there was a hope, or appearance or likelihood of their being successfully and quickly achieved, and that it would have been far better for us all, as agreed, to march straight into the enemy's country without stopping at fortified places, which Your Majesty was already doing, according to the plan settled between you and him, the King replied that it was quite impossible for an army to march into France without first taking possession of Montreuil, as otherwise no food could be procured for the men, who close upon the frontiers of Your Imperial Majesty's dominions had suffered immensely (he said) from scarcity of food. He hoped, however, with God's pleasure, to be able to achieve, sooner or later, the two undertakings—that of Montreuil, and that of Boulogne—which would surprise and astonish the French, and inflict great loss upon them. (fn. 8)
Perceiving the King's resolution on that point, I did not consider it advisable to remind him of the agreement entered into with the viceroy of Sicily, for fear of over irritating him, and also because I hoped that he would declare more openly his intentions, which I thought were to refuse most obstinately to march into the interior of France, unless the two undertakings above alluded to had been previously disposed of That being done, I gathered from information (actually dragged out by me from him, on several occasions in the most mysterious manner) that his intention was to make his own army march, not in the direction of Paris, but towards Normandy, a province of France, where provisions are more abundant, and which, in point of fact, is of easier access and closer to his own dominions in France. (fn. 9)
Again, making use of the very same arguments adduced by me on former occasions, I tried, as graciously as I could, to induce the King to make his army march in the direction stipulated by the viceroy of Sicily; but evidently the subject was disagreeable to him, for changing abruptly the conversation, he gave me to understand that the French had lately renewed, with greater warmth than ever, their overtures for peace, and made most advantageous offers, such as paying all their debts to him, besides his own particular expenses since the beginning of the war by instalments and at reasonable terms of time. That, as security for the fulfilment of those conditions, if accepted, they offered to deliver proper hostages, and so forth. (fn. 10) “Such offers (said the King) are not small.” My reply was that I considered them, on the contrary, both small and insignificant, for after all the French did not offer to give him any portion of their territory, which he (the King) claimed as his own by right. He knew (I said) as well, and better than me, that all French practices were insidious, and designed merely for the sake of sowing discord and engendering jealousy in the minds of Your Majesty and of himself. “King Francis (I added) cannot seriously think of peace, since up to the present he has made no offers whatever to the Emperor, my master, nor has he mentioned him in his overtures to you the king of England.”
To this last remark of mine the King replied; “I have no doubt that the French, knowing that I will never treat with them for peace, save with the Emperor's full consent and approval, will ultimately make some good offer or other, and that there would be no harm in listening to their overtures, and examining the conditions proposed, and, if reasonable and convenient, accepting them.” (fn. 11) My reply on this occasion was almost similar to that which I made to him when he told me that the French had offered him the duchy of Guienne. I only added by way of confirmation of my warning to that effect, that informer times king Francis' hostages had proved to be no security at all for the execution of treaties, as was the case in 1526, when he (the most Christian king of France) had delivered his two sons into Your Imperial Majesty's hands, in order to obtain his own freedom. “if so (said I) the pledge offered will be completely worthless.” “All that is very well,” retorted the King, “but king Francis' sons were given as hostages in a case of extreme necessity, and in order to release their father from captivity.” “Granted (said I), but king Francis might have obtained his liberty at once by giving up the duchy of Burgundy, which he then retained, and still retains in his possession, notwithstanding that it is notoriously a part of the Emperor's own hereditary dominions.” “I was not aware of that (retorted the King) nor did I receive notice of it at the time. However that may be, I still persist in my idea. Should king Francis pay his debt to me there will be no fear for a long time of his being in a condition to make war on the Emperor or upon me, for he will be so reduced and impoverished, that all his efforts to recommence hostilities will be completely unavailing.”
To this argument of the King I replied that the French would still have the means of troubling Christendom, and I then proceeded to demonstrate to him as well as I could, with what facility king Francis might again, whenener he pleased, renew his alliance with the Turk. Even supposing (as he said) that the conditions of the peace were faithfully kept during king Francis' life and that no harm was done to England it must be remembered that the French are looking on to the future, and calculating that the league between Your Majesty and England was hereditary, and, therefore, would do anything to break and dissolve it, in order that, should one of you two come to die (which may God forbid!) they may the more easily molest and worry his successor or successors. Indeed, that were he to die, deprived at the time, of Your Majesty's friendship and alliance, the French might easily, with the assistance and co-operation of the Scotch do immense and irreparable mischief and harm to his subjects here, and on the other side of the Channel. (fn. 12)
To the above remark of mime the King replied, that as far as he, himself, was concerned, he considered the alliance between Your Majesty and him to be perfect, perpetual and indissolouble; that it would always remain such, since he would never lend an ear to French overtures without Your Majesty's consent, as he, himself, had expressly declared whenever offers of peace had been made to him. The King never mentioned any proper names to me, nor did he say who the people were who had thus come to him with proposals, and, therefore, if I dared state my own private opinion, I should say that the whole of what the King said to me on the subject was pure invention, for had any serious proposals been made, I have no doubt he, the King, would have revealed them immediately, as well as the names of the persons concerned. Your Majesty, with your incomparable political wisdom, will easily guess what the King's words on this occasion really mean.
After the above reasoning, I went on to say that the treaty of alliance, in one of its clauses, refers to the continuation of the war against the common enemy, during at least four months. I held (I said) for certain that he had not made such warlike preparations, stored such a quantity of provisions and ammunition, nor spent such an incredible sum of money for so short a time as, he said, the reduction of Montreuil and Boulogne would take; and that I was sure that he had neither the will, nor the men, nor the money to continue the war as long as required, yet that I begged and entreated him to be pleased and tell me what his intention was upon the whole, that Your Majesty might be informed beforehand to arrange your plan of campaign, so as to meet him. To this question and prayer of mine the King coldly answered that taking for granted that God gave good health to his army and plenty of provisions to his camp, he would not fail to march on to whichever place it was deemed necessary for him to advance, but that should an urgency of some sort or other occur, it would be expedient and convenient to retreat, alleging, as I think, the above argument, more as an excuse for his retreat after the expiration of the said four months than for any other reason, at the same time showing me by his language and manner that he has no great desire of continuing the war beyond that time. And yet I am inclined to think that the good success over the common enemy might encourage him to continue war beyond the four months if necessary. Should, however, things not turn out so well as we expect and wish, I very much doubt of his remaining in the field, besides which, as I have informed Your Imperial Majesty in one of my former dispatches, money is not very abundant with him just now, as people well versed in financial matters tell me. (fn. 13)
Two days ago two Lords from Scotland arrived here [at Calais]; the name of one of them is Millort Fift (Fife.) They have come to offer their services to the King, saying that in Scotland affairs are in great confusion, that there is neither order nor government in the country, and that the Cardinal (David Beton) has retired to one of his livings without troubling himself at all with the government of the country.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. Almost entirely ciphered. 4 pp.
21 July. 160. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—As I was about to close the above dispatch, (fn. 14) Mr. de Courrières arrived here [at Calais] with a letter from the queen of Hungary. This very day, after dinner, he had audience from the King, who not only received him very graciously, but took in very good part the congratulations offered by him in Your Majesty's and the Queen's name for his safe landing at this port. As Mr. de Courrières, however, had been informed by me (Chapuys) and by other people of the King's determination of at once visiting his camp before Boulogne, and thence proceeding further on, if the state of his health and the favourable disposition of affairs would allow it, neither De Courrières nor I (Chapuys) considered it necessary to renew the subject of our joint mission.
With regard to other points of De Courrières' instructions—such as the advance of the English army into the enemy's territory—the King, after hearing my colleague's exposé, stated in a few words, and, as it were, “en passant,” that as soon as the two undertakings against Montreuil and against Boulogne had been achieved, not only would he order his army to go forward and penetrate into the enemy's country, but he himself would go thither in person and take the command. This the King said, and repeated several times to Mr. de Courrières and to me (Chapuys), adding that he hoped to hear soon of the successful issue of both undertakings, inasmuch as he had letters from his camp before Boulogne stating that a good beginning had already been made, both in the siege of that town and at Montreuil, and that here, at Calais, a rumour was afloat of Montreuil having already been taken. “Even if Montreuil is still held by the enemy (said the King to me), one might take the popular rumour that is prevalent—though I have not been officially informed of it—as a sort of prognostic of the taking of that town, which might be still further strengthened by the fact of its governor, Monsr. de Biez, having suddenly left it without anyone knowing where he is gone.” On the side of Boulogne the English artillery had already done considerable damage to its castle, though the French declared it inoffensable d'artillerie. He was much put out by the French having set fire to the lower town in order to prevent the English from lodging thereat; but instead of houses for his men, he would have tents raised in such places that the enemy's fire could not harm his soldiers. In this manner the King considers it certain to carry the town by assault. The only thing the King and his men regretted was not to have a naval force at hand to prevent the garrison and the inhabitants from escaping by sea with their valuables.
I never found the King so joyous and so light-hearted as when my colleague and I saw him to-day; even if he had had positive news of the taking of those two towns by his men, I doubt whether he would have been in such buoyant spirits. I even believe that this joy and good humour which he manifests has in a certain measure been increased by the fact of his having lately received intelligence that Landenberg's horse were coining to serve him with perfect good will.
The King has proposed to us (De Courrières and me) that, in order to save superfluous expense, the naval force which Your Majesty and he hold at sea should be reduced by one half—that is to say, instead of one thousand men each, or the contingent stipulated by treaty, each party should only keep five hundred men. As there is no appearance or show of the French preparing a fleet, the remainder of the allied naval force would be sufficient for the purpose of rendering the navigation of the Channel quite secure. This my colleague and I readily granted, adding that Your Majesty would have no objection to please him (the King) in this matter as in any other of greater importance.—Calais, the 21st of July 1544.
Indorsed: “From the ambassador in England. Received at the camp before St. Dèsier, the 29th of the same month [of July] 1544.”
French. Original. 5 pp.
21 July. 161. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—Just as I was finishing the above dispatch and about to sign it, Mr. de Courrières arrived here. In the afternoon of the same day he (De Courrières) applied for and obtained audience from the King. He was very well received, the King taking in very good part the congratulations, of which my colleague was bearer in Your Royal name, as well as in that of the Emperor, for this King's safe landing (fn. 15) here [at Calais]. As Monsr. de Courrières had been previously informed by me and others of the King's determination to visit his camp before Boulogne, and thence push on further, should the state of his health and the good success of his military operations allow it, he naturally refrained from renewing the representations and persuasions so frequently addressed to him in writing, as well as the prayer not to quit this port of Calais during the war. (fn. 16)
To the other point on which Mr. de Courrières was to touch in pursuance of His Imperial Majesty's commands—namely, that of the quick movements of the English army—the King replied summarily in a few words, saying only that the enterprises both against Montreuil and Boulogne being successful, he (the King) would not only order his army to march at once into France, but would personally take the command of his forces. Such was the King's reply to Mr. de Courrières assuring us both that he confidently expected a good issue of both sieges, for, as he had heard from the commanders of his forces at Montreuil and at Boulogne, a good beginning had already been done at both places. Already (he added) news had reached here [Calais]—though unofficial and uncertain—that the former of those towns—i.e., Montreuil—had surrendered. Should that news turn out untrue, it would still be in the popular mind a sort of presage of its speedy fall, the hope of which is greatly increased by the sudden departure of Mr. de Biez, without anyone knowing whither he has gone.
At Boulogne the artillery of the English had battered and almost demolished a big tower (une grosse tour) on the seaside. The besiegers had also done considerable damage to the castle, though those inside boasted that the English siege-guns could not reach it. (fn. 17) The King was not pleased to hear that the French had set fire to Basse-Boulogne, in order to prevent the English from taking possession and lodging in it, but said to us that “after all he did not care for what the French had done; if his men had no houses to live in, he would all the same occupy that part of the town, and let his soldiers sleep in tents, and in places where they could not possibly receive harm from the enemy.” Indeed, the King feels certain that Boulogne will fall very shortly, and so do his men, only that the latter are displeased at the sea not being guarded, so as to prevent the garrison of Boulogne from escaping and carrying away their valuables. (fn. 18)
I never in my life saw the King so joyful and in such good spirits as he is at present; so much so, that both Mr. de Courrières and myself think that should he suddenly receive official intelligence of the taking of both those towns—Boulogne and Montreuil—he could not be more glad and elated than he seems to be. I also believe that his good humour has been much increased by the intelligence he has just received that Landenberg's cavalry are willing to serve affectionately (avec bonne affection).
The King has hinted to Mr. de Courrières and to me that, in order to avoid superfluous expense, it would be desirable to diminish by one-half the naval forces of each country. One thousand men might be licensed by Your Imperial Majesty, and one thousand by him, for there is no appearance or rumour at present of the French having now an armed fleet at sea, whilst the remainder of Your Imperial Majesty's and of the English will be quite sufficient for all purposes. This Mr. de Courrières and I granted, adding that we were sure that Your Imperial Majesty would at once do his pleasure in this matter as in others of greater importance.—Calais, ut supra.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Indorsed: “From the ambassador in England. Received at the camp before St. Desir (St. Desier), on the 29th of the said month.”
French. Original. 5 pp.
23 July. 162. King Henry to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. As the weather is fine and the season good, and supposing that you will not find it inconvenient or disagreeable, I have sent orders to my commissaries in that country to remain some time at St. Omer for the purpose of procuring provisions, and forwarding them to Our camp before Montreuil.—Callais (sic), 23 July 1544.
French. Original. 1 p.
25 July. 163. Advices of the taking of St. Disier.
S. Sria de Guerra. Mar. y Tierra, No. 28. “Most magnificent Sir,”—After writing to you from Pont à Mouson, (fn. 19) His Imperial Majesty continued his march with his Court and part of his army only, and took the road to a place between Vari(Barle Duc) and Ligny, where the duchess of Lorraine (fn. 20) was then residing. He arrived here on the 12th, at the time that Don Fernando Gonzaga was laying siege to this town. On the 16th the assault was given, but although the plan of attack was good, it failed, owing to the men advancing without orders from their superior commander, Field-Master Don Alvaro de Sande, (fn. 21) who was at the time in the Emperor's tent consulting on certain matters deemed necessary for the success of the undertaking. Our men were repulsed with loss, and the town itself could not then be taken, until the whole of the Imperial army took part in the storming. Meanwhile our loss was heavy and consisted of:
The Prince of Orange,
Capt. Cortœvilo (Courteville?), German,
Capt. Vandoc, Burgundian,
Count Oven, German,
And 20 more gentlemen soldiers, all men of quality, who were killed in the moats, and among them fifty more of lower rank and condition.
Field-Master, Don Alvaro de Sande, and Capt. Monsalve with their faces, hands and legs burnt to the bones.
Field-Master Luis Perez de Vargas, of an hackbut shot in the thigh.
Capt. Alonso de Caravajal.
Sergeant-Major Espin, of an hackbut shot, which pierced his two legs.
Another Capt., Don Alonso de Caravajal, of a gun-shot in the forehead, which comes down to the eye. This Capt. is one of the newly arrived.
Capt. Don Guillen, of a gun-shot in the throat (gaznate).
Capt. Pagan, of a hackbut shot in the back.
Capt. Gamboa, of another shot near the thigh bone, almost touching on the genitals. (fn. 22)
Ensign (alferez) Diego Ortiz of two hackbut shots in the upper part of the leg.
Capt. Bernal Soler, of one, in the hip.
Capt. Socarrate, of a musket shot in one of his buttocks close to the right genital; he is on the point of death
Capt. Nicolas Spes (Espés), of another in the left jaw stretching out to the ear; he is dying.
Pheilipe de Aguilar, ensign-bearer (alferez) to Capt. Alonso de Caravajal, of an hackbut shot in one of his arms.
Spanish soldiers wounded and burnt, about 600.
A good many besides are wounded by stones; I do not include them in this list because all of them stand on their legs, and go about, though ill-disposed and incapable of service for the present.
Our men, having been repulsed with loss, retreated; the fire on our side and that of the enemy ceased, for scarcely if from time to time there was a musket shot on either side. The Emperor held a council of war for two or three days running in which it was resolved to make the trenches wider and longer, which has been done, so as to advance 12 or 15 steps closer to the moat, and erect besides, bastions, and other defences and mines in two different places. (fn. 23)
The work goes on steadily, and is being executed with such solidity, and in such style that we all think that with God's help, the town will be taken before the end of the month, at the latest. May the Almighty guide it all as best suits His service, and that of the Emperor!
This fortress once taken, we shall go to Xalon (Chalons) where the French have a force of 7,000 or 8,000 men. Troyes, I hear, has also been fortified
The loss of the enemy at St. Disier I hear amounts to 400 between killed and wounded. Though the French have made a movement to succour the garrison, they have hitherto been unable to enter the town. A portion of their infantry and cavalry are certainly hovering about Our camp, but hitherto they have not attacked Us; on the contrary Our people are after them, and if they can only draw the enemy into a skirmish they are sure to get the best of it.
In all the places of some importance, belonging to the duchess of Lorraine, as well as in those which we have already taken, there were strong garrisons of infantry and cavalry.
The Prince of Orange (René de Nassau) died on the 15th. He met with his death in the following manner: He was going to the trenches in company with the viceroy of Sicily (Ferrante Gonzaga), when they met the marquis of Marignano seated on a chair on which the Emperor used to seat. When the Marquis saw the Prince and the Viceroy approach, he got up and offered them the vacant chair. Some courteous offers and excuses followed as to who was to occupy the chair, until at last the Prince sat down in it. Very shortly after an iron ball from a culverin came from the walls of the town, and passing between the Viceroy and the Marquis, after touching lightly on the edge of the bastion, hit the Prince under the right shoulder, so that it penetrated the gristle (ternille), and broke one of the Prince's ribs, carrying away part of the shoulder. (fn. 24) On the second day after the accident he passed away from this life; the regret of the whole army and the Court being so great that no words of mine can describe it. His Majesty, the Emperor saw him die, and after that retired to his chamber, where he remained some time alone, without seeing any one. I am told that he gave evident signs of how much he loved him. His command, they say, will be given to Mons. Logran (sic). His widow is in the family way. May it be so, and may she bear and be delivered of a son to inherit the rich estates that his father, the Prince, once owned!
Next day the Emperor, in person, visited Don Alvaro de Santde, Capt. Monsalve and Luis Perez de Vargas. I am told that he addressed a number of kind words to them, promising to make grants (hacer mercedes) to each, and remunerate their services. He ordered that the greatest possible care should be taken for their cure. The same is now being done with other officers wounded at the storming of the town, which, as stated, proved a failure.
At St. Dizier, Mr. de la Laude, (fn. 25) who was reputed to be a great soldier (gran hombre de guerra) had gone to command the garrison the day before the Emperor arrived before the walls, much against his will, but at the express orders of king Francis, which he could not well disobey.
I hear from an authentic source that for the last fortnight king Francis has been laid up with fever, and that he is so ill that no one goes into his room except the cardinal of Lorraine, Mme. d'Estampes, the queen of Navarre (Margaret) and Mr. de Boisi (Boissy). He is now staying at a monastery or abbey, four leagues distant from Paris, and it is added that he is so disturbed in mind that he does nothing but pace up and down in his chamber, uttering dismal cries. The Queen, his wife (Elinor) is at Paris, and Mr. d'Orleans at a place between Troyes and Xalon (Chalons sur Marne). May God send us such a peace as Christendom stands in need of, for the benefit and advantage of all its princes and people!
The vanguard and rearguard of the English army are in front of Monterreu (Montreuil), a town of some importance, having a garrison of 4,000 foot and 200 men-at-arms for its defence. The King, himself, with the main body of his army, was about to leave London on the 8th inst. We are every day expecting news of his having crossed the Channel.
The day before yesterday the Emperor received intelligence that at a French village called Vitri (Vitry), five leagues distant from this place, there were 600 horse, and 3,000 foot. The night before last a force consisting of 3,000 horse and 6,000 foot, was under the command of Mr. Logran, Don Franceisco d'Este, and Juan Baptista Castaldo, who upon their arrival at a bridge on this side of Vitry, found 200 hackbutiers, and 200 more foot sent thither ready to defend the passage. They, however, were defeated, and our men passed the bridge, and went to another where the enemy's principal force was situated; but our men charged this, and in the space of half-an-hour the whole of the enemy's infantry were either drowned or prisoners. Of the cavalry some were slain, between 50 or 60 were taken prisoners, the remainder took to flight, not, however, without leaving in our hands the whole of their baggage and tents, valued at 30,000 crowns.
From the camp in front of St. Dizier.—25 July 1544.
P.S.—To-day, the 30th, and the work of the redoubt (caballero), and of the mines in front of St. Dizier is progressing very steadily. News has come that the king of England has actually crossed the Strait, and landed at Calais. (fn. 26) His army is making all possible haste in constructing mines, against Monterreue (Montreuil). It is thought that the place will be soon taken. Our army has plenty of provisions, and if this state continues things will go well enough.
On the last day of July, 25 French horsemen, attempted to enter St. Dizier, five of whom succeeded and got in, nine more fled, and the eleven remaining were taken prisoners by Our men. On the very same day a peasant (villano), who was in the town, threw himself down from the top of the wall and came to our camp driven by hunger. (fn. 27) He said that he was hungry, and the garrison was in great stress for want of food, for although they have still plenty of wheat, they cannot make flour for want of mills; in consequence of which there is dissension and fighting between the garrison and the people of the town.
The Germans, who went to Vitry, set fire to the place, the whole of which, with considerable stores of provisions, ammunition, and so forth was consumed. The Emperor was exceedingly angry when he heard of it.
Letters from Vienna announce that the city is being fortified in haste, though for this present year, we have no news of the Turk coming that way. Eleven thousand of their cavalry have taken Neugrado (Novgorod), in Hungary, and and had not Rocandholpho (Rucandolf) gone out against them with 10,000 foot, they might have made themselves masters of the island of Comara (Komorn).
Don Alvaro de Sande, the Field-Master, though still suffering from his wounds, has caused himself to be carried to the trenches, and. has there pitched his tent close to the walls, declaring that he will not move away until the place surrenders. Count Guillermo de Fustanberg (fn. 28) was wounded at Vitry, and is now at Bar de Lorena, under a surgeon's treatment.
[19th of August.] The people of St. Dizier are in greater stress than ever, wanting many things in the way of necessaries of life. Our artillery tires every day upon the town, and kills many of the garrison.
There is a report in the camp that a French personage came the other day to treat of peace, and conferred with the Emperor's ministers, but as he had no credentials, and was not sufficiently empowered to treat of such matters, he has been dismissed and has gone away just as he came.
From France the news is that the marquis de Aguilar (fn. 29) with a handful of men from the garrison of Perpinoan (Perpignan) has taken Carcasome, a strong place a few leagues from Narbonne, on the road to Toulouse. Such is the news that has come to this camp, but it requires confirmation, and is not considered by some as sufficiently authentic.
We hear that the king of England has already crossed the Channel and landed at Calais. (fn. 30) His army, in the meanwhile is laying siege to Montreuil, and digging trenches round it. It is generally believed that the town will not make a long defence, and will be soon taken.
Hearing that there was a considerable French force close to Vitry, the Emperor went thither in person, at the head of a strong body of cavalry and some infantry. There was, however, no engagement at all, for on his arrival there, no Frenchman was to be seen. (fn. 31)
The enemy had a better chance at St. Dizier itself, for on the very same day that the Emperor left for Vitry, the garrison made a sally, and carried away 12 or 15 of our men.
Fresh news has been received of the English before Montreuil. It would appear that the town is invested and that the siege is being pushed on most vigorously, the heavy artillery battering its wails and so forth. The King, himself, had pitched his tent before Bolonia (Boulogne sur Mer) and was battering its walls with thirty-two pieces of heavy ordnance. He (the King) had besides a good many lighter guns and several engines of war, by means of which, and explosive mines, he was steadily sapping its walls and opening breaches in them. He expected to take the place soon, after which he intends, as we hear, to march on Ruen (Rouen) in Normandy.
In order to facilitate the storming of St. Dizier, an excellent engineer of the Emperor is now constructing two bridges, attached to strong wooden towers, by means of which our men will mount the walls better protected. I believe that in a day or two the attack of the place will begin, and that in three or four more the town will be ours, to judge from the many mines that have been laid and batteries (caballeros) raised.
Captain Don Alonso de Caravajal died yesterday of his wounds. His body was, this very morning buried most honourably; it was carried and followed to the grave by a company of men, all Spaniards, preceded by two drummers (tambores), and one fifer (pifaro), accoutred in the deepest mourning and playing the tune called “La Derrota de Mariñan.” (fn. 32) The command of Caravajal's foot was given to Montero, the key-bearer (clavero) of the military order [of Calatrava] formerly the sergeant of Juan Gaytan. On the same day died Capt. Socarrate, (fn. 33) whose company was given to Don Alonso Puertocarrera, formerly an ensign (alferez) of Capt. Castañoso de Bracamonte. (fn. 34) This latter and Capt. Pedrarias, both of whom were wounded at Commersi are still at Bari (Bar le Duc), convalescent and almost well, so much so that they are expected to-morrow or the day after to take part at the head of their respective companies, in the second storming of this place.
Field-Master Don Alvaro de Sande (fn. 35) and Capt. Monsalve can already stand on their feet, and walk along, having perfectly recovered from their wounds, and the burnings (quemaduras) (fn. 36) they had suffered. The former, I hear, is already at work and doing service.—Camp before San Desir (Dizier), 25 July 1544.
Spanish. Original. (fn. 37) 4 pp.


  • 1. That of the draft-horses, waggons, and provisions for the English army, p. 239.
  • 2. “Comme il a declaré à maistre Doysot (?) disant avoir envoyé à v[ost]re mate lectres de remerciment.
  • 3. “La meilleur est de non entrer en discussion avec ceulx-cy y ayant moyens de le disimuler.”
  • 4. As will be observed this paragraph relating to Octavian Boscho is almost a repetition of that in Chapuys' dispatch of the 20th addressed to the Queen, No. 157, p. 254.
  • 5. No. 118, p. 194.
  • 6. “Et de l'armee de mer, qu'avoit desja esté si long temps en ce estroit sans necessité, la quelle estant en liberté eust peu endommager l'ennemy, et garder d'inconvenients plusieurs navires, tant flamingues qu'espaignoles, qu'ont esté ces mois passez prinses en ce canal.”
  • 7. No doubt Captain Spect's horse, recruited in Holstein.
  • 8. “Quil ny avoit ordre demarcher avant sans la prinse du dit Montreuil, car aultrement il estoit impossible de recouvrer vivres pour son armée, la quelle estant mesmement aux lysieres des pays de v[ost]re. mate avoit souffert extreme necessité de victuailles, et qu'il esperoit au plaisir de Dieu venir à chief des dites emprinses quoiqu'il; deust tarder [ce] que seroit ung grand estonnement aveq inestimable perte des francois.”
  • 9. “Et voyant la mine et resolution du dit sr roy ne me sembla luy mectre en avant la capitulation faicte avec le dit visroy (sic) de Sicile pour non l'irriter, mesmes jusques à ce queusse plus avait jusques à la fin des dites emprinses, apres les quelles selon que arrachay misterieusement de luy on plusieurs fois, fait son compte d'en dresser son armee non point du coustel devers Paris, mais devers la Normandie, pour estre pais plus habondant et commodieux pour luy en tous endroitz mesmes ayant gaigné les portz de mer plus prochains.”
  • 10. “Pour divertir ces propos que ne luy debvoient estre agreables me donna d'entendre que les françois rechauffoient fort les practiques de paix, luy faisant tres gros offres, comme de lui payer tout son dheu et les frais qu'il a presentement faict à termes convenables, pour l'observance desquels donneront hostaiges suffisans.'
  • 11. “Ilz condescendroient de faire quelque offre raisonable à v[ost]re. mate, et quil ne seroit le pire d'y entendre et soy condescendre à bonnes conditions.”
  • 12. “Que lea françois regardoient de loing, considerant la ligue entre v[ost]re mate et luy estre hereditaire, et pour cela vouldroient l'esbranler et rompre afin que survenant le deces d'une des deux parties (dont Dieu ne veuille) ilz puissent travailler comodieusement les successeurs, et que s'il venoit à deffaillir estant deuué de l'amytié de v[ost]re mate et des siens seroit plus facille aux françois avec l'intelligence des Ecossois ung dommaige irreparable à ses pays tant de ça que de là la mer.”
  • 13. “A quoy me respondit assez froidement quil ne sçavoit ce que selon quil plaise à Dieu de donner santé au camp et commodité de victuailles il ne fauldroit conduire et que survenant occasion urgente, quelque temps que ce fut conviendroit bien se retirer, allegant plustost à mon advis les dites raisons pour [s']excuser en cas que dedans les dits quattre mois sil vinne (s'il vient) à se retirer pour aultre chose, demonstrant peu de cbaleur de continuer davantaige le dit temps. Toutesfois le success des affaires le pourra assez inciter à la continuation necessaire, de la quelle je doubteroye fort non allant les affaires prosperement, et à souhait et mesme pour la cause quay cy devant escript à v[ost]re mate, et trouve à loppinion de diverses gens quentendent beaucoup des affaires quil nen y a grant habondance dargent.”
  • 14. No. 159 of the same date.
  • 15. “Et la (l'a) humainement laisse recuiller (faict recueillir) pregnant en tree bonne part le congratulement que le dict sieur de Courrières luy a faict de sa descente içy.”
  • 16. As may be observed this dispatch of Chapuys', though dated also from Calais, is almost a duplicate of the preceding to the Emperor.
  • 17. “Quoique les françois bravoient icelluy [chasteau] estre inoffensible dartillerie.”
  • 18. “Et ne desplait (comme il dit) à ses souldars qui sont devant Boulogne sinon de ce que larmee (la mer?) nest garder affin que le gens de guerre que sont dedans le dict Boulogne ne se puissent saulver pas mer et emporter leur besoignes.”
  • 19. The copy has Pont de Monjon, which is evidently a mistake of the copyist. It is a small town of Lorraine on the river Moselle. The Emperor's camp was there on the 7th July.
  • 20. This duchess was Dorothea of Denmark, who after the death of her first husband, Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, was married to François de Lorraine.
  • 21. Santade in the copy, which is evidently wrong, for Santde or Sande as this name of that general is generally written by Spaniards.
  • 22. “De un arcaburzazo en las nalgas que viene à daren un testiculo.”
  • 23. “Y bestiones (sic), reparos y minas por dos partes en las quales se ha labrado hasta y cinco o seis estados.”
  • 24. Both Sandoval (Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., Vol. II., p. 500.) and the French historians give us a different account of the Prince's death, though they both agree as to his having been killed by a falconet shot from the besieged town.
  • 25. Sande or Sandi was his real name. He was killed by a cannon shot. (See Daniel, Vol. V., p. 408.)
  • 26. He did so on the 20th.
  • 27. “Se hecho (echó?) de la muralla abajo, y dixo que era por hambre.”
  • 28. That is Count Wilhelm von Furstenberg. French historians, and among them Father Daniel (Vol. V., p. 407) state that he was taken prisoner whilst attempting to reconnoitre the French camp.
  • 29. Don Juan Manrique, Imperial ambassador at Rome, from 1526 to 1543, and who in June of the same year (1543), was appointed Captain-General of Catalonia and its frontier. (See Vol. VI. Part II., pp. 44–45, of the Introduction; and 382, 384, 579 of the text.)
  • 30. The King's landing took place on the 14th of the month according to State Papers, Vol. X., p. 1.
  • 31.
  • 32. Marignan in the duchy of Milan, where the Swiss were defeated by the French in 1515.
  • 33. See above, p. 266.
  • 34. Brachamonte is a wrong spelling for Bracamonte, a town in Extremadura.
  • 35. Here and elsewhere written Santde, which is evidently a mistake for Sande (Don Alvaro de) a distinguished maestre de Campo, or Coronel de Tercio of these days, about whom see Sandoval Historia del Emperador Carlos, Vol. II., pp. 50–4.
  • 36. So-called by the Spaniards.
  • 37. This news-letter is in the form of a diary, from the 12th to the 25th of July; a copy of it is preserved at Simancas, Mary Tierra. Sucesos militares de 1544. may be found in Vol. XXII. of Bergenroth's Collection, B.M. Add. 28,593 of the Add. MSS., ff. 131–71. By whom written, or to whom addressed, are difficult points to settle. From the title of Muy magnifico Señor it might be conjectured that the letter was addressed to some high personage or official at the Spanish Court in Valladolid—letters of the kind between Alonso Idiaquez, one of the Emperor's secretaries, and Francisco de Los Cobos, Minister for Foreign Affairs to Prince Philip, being frequent in this Collection and yet both the style and certain expressions of the letter itself, which I have purposely underlined, make me think that, instead of an official report, we have to deal here with one of those news-letters Relacion, Nouvelles, Avisi, Ragnaglio Gazette and so forth, so common at the time, often printed and constituting, as it were, the original periodical press throughout Europe.