Spain: July 1544, 26-31

Pages 271-280

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

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July 1544, 26–31

26 July. 164. The Emperor to Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Venerable, chier et feal,”—Your letter of the 7th inst. was duly received, as well as the report of your conversation with the King respecting the note (escript) here presented by his ambassador, from which report and note it is apparent to Us that the King does not intend making any great effort; and yet it would seem as if, in order to palliate his own fault in not complying entirely with the agreement entered into with Don Fernando Gonzaga, he was trying to prove that the fault is Ours. Your answer was prudent and wisely conceived—most fit and convenient in the present state of affairs. We entirely approve of it, and request you to continue and persevere in the same as long as you deem it necessary, and according to the news you may from time to time receive of the progress of Our arms.
Of Our successes up to this time you must have been periodically informed by the queen dowager of Hungary, Our sister. Although, as you well know, it is necessary to temporise with the king of England, he must not have entirely his own way respecting the observance of the agreement made with Gonzaga, and what We Ourselves have done, and are still doing, to fulfil its conditions and terms.
At present there is no news worth recording, save what happened lately at Vitry, as you will see by the inclosed account, which is the exact truth. We cannot tell whether the account sent by the English ambassador to the King his master, when he first heard of the event through the Sieur de Granvelle, agrees or not with Our own as in the inclosed, but the real fact is that the Sieur de Longueval has sent a second message to the Sieur de Granvelle asking for an interview with him to treat of peace, saying that king Francis is ready to do what he considers to be his duty in that affair. Similar words had been addressed to Don Fernando [Gonzaga] by a lieutenant of the company of Count de Bryenne, (fn. 1) who says he has heard king Francis himself declare that he wishes singularly for peace, especially with Us. The answer given to the lieutenant, as well as to Longueval, was that those were general proposals without meaning or foundation, which could not be submitted to Us; and as We fancy, as you yourself suspect, that king Francis may have made similar overtures there in England, and as you write in one of your dispatches that that King told you the other day there could be no harm in listening to French overtures, and hearing what the French had to say, there is every reason to suppose that what the king of England is aiming at is to have a better and earlier opportunity of knowing what the French are about, and what their wishes are as to peace; and if he sees that his army, on which he has already spent so much money, achieves nothing very important or useful to himself, he will listen to or perhaps accept the terms offered by the enemy. That is why We request and order you to make inquiries and let Us and Our sister the Queen know as soon as possible what you think of the King's intentions, and above all whether there is a probability of his being now in favour of truce or peace. On this point you will follow entirely the directions of Our sister, for should you perceive any inclination on the part of that King to listen to overtures of truce or peace, it strikes Us that the most honest and most convenient plan, for that King's reputation and Our own—since We are in arms against France, and actually within French territory—would be that the affair, in one way or other, should be placed in the hands of Our said sister. We need scarcely add that the whole affair must be conducted with your usual dexterity and discretion, and with the advice and counsel of Our sister.—St. Desir (Dizier) 26 July 1544.
French. Original draft. 2 pp.
—July. 165. The Queen of Hungary to the Imperial Ambassador.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monsieur l'ambassadeur,”—Having read your despatch to the Emperor, Our lord and brother, dated the 21st inst, and the account therein given of your conversation with that King respecting the offers of peace made to him by the French, considering also the coldness (froideur) with which the English look on this undertaking against France, and that most likely, owing to that coldness, they will not keep the field long, it is to be feared that affairs will be less vigorously prosecuted, or else that on the approach of winter some disease or other may pervade their army. (fn. 2) Even if they succeed in carrying Boulogne and Montreuil—which would be a thing to astonish and discourage the French beyond measure—it is doubtful whether they would not be satisfied with that for this season, and retire altogether from the field, after trying all possible means to secure and keep their conquest. On the other hand, if the English perceive that they cannot gain possession of those two towns, and lose all hope of gaining other advantages by advancing and penetrating into France, they will return home without actual loss of reputation.
The above considerations make Us think that the king of England may, one of these days, feel inclined one way or other to listen to French overtures either of peace or of truce; perhaps, also, to agree with the French that such proposals and offers as the king of England considers just and reasonable should be made to His Imperial Majesty, which proposals, if rejected, might afford the king of England occasion and excuse to separate himself from the Emperor, who in that case would be greatly disappointed of the hopes and trust he had in his ally, and there would be an end to all plans and designs in common. (fn. 3) In one particular thing We consider that King to be right in looking with attention to the end of this present campaign. Should the two allied armies suffer a check in their march, or else not obtain at once the success which We hope they both together, or each of them separately, will gain, and be consequently obliged to retreat without having gained much territory from the common enemy, it would then become more difficult to treat with the French; whereas, if the allied armies were intact, one could perhaps obtain from the enemy concessions which the latter would certainly not grant after the retreat of the allies. Since the King, as may be gathered from the conversation he has held with you on the subject, has taken it into his head (en fantasie) to listen to overtures and treat of peace, We very much fear that he may go on still further, and beyond the prescriptions of the treaty of closer alliance. That is why “We request you to try and ascertain by perfectly honest means what the King's intentions are in that matter. This might be done either by returning to the subject whenever there is an opportunity, or by mildly opposing the King's arguments in favour of his own ideas on the subject. This, however, is to be done with your usual dexterity and skill, trying to ascertain the King's intentions without speaking in favour of or against French practices—which practices, to tell you the truth, if We consider the state of public affairs, might after all be most suitable and advantageous to Christendom in general, and especially for the kingdoms, countries, and subjects of His Imperial Majesty, who could not in the end support and bear the excessive expense and cost of war.
This last consideration is the principal reason We have for mixing Ourselves up with the affair, more perhaps than Our charge and instructions authorise Us to do. Should the King again speak to you about treating with the enemy, you win ask him how and in what way—whether of peace or of truce. You will represent to him that, in order to treat of peace separately and on his own side only, it behoves him to insure, first of all, the payment of Francis' debt to him, which demand the French could not supply by means of hostages, as the King himself says has been proposed to him for the future; it would be requisite that the security should consist in towns and districts of France, as prescribed by the treaty of closer alliance. It would also be requisite, for the greater security of the King and his successors on the throne, that France should renounce for the future all alliance with Scotland, which they (the French) will not willingly do. (fn. 4) This is on that King's side, for on that of His Imperial Majesty it would be requisite that king Francis restore all that which he has usurped and still retains, belonging to him, such as the duchy of Burgundy and the bailiwick of Hesdin, besides what he has occupied during the present war; also to restore to the duke of Savoy all that has been taken from him, to renounce again and for ever the duchy of Milan and the towns he occupies in Piedmont, as well as all rights he may pretend to have to titles and possessions of the Emperor, and especially to those of the Empire, as reason demands. All these things could not be definitely settled save with great difficulty and after considerable delay; besides which, there are other minor points to be settled between His Imperial Majesty and king Francis—such as private estates belonging to vassals of the Empire, natives of the duchy of Burgundy, the Low Countries, and so forth, whose claims must needs be attended to. All these points ought to be well settled and determined before consolidating a good and lasting peace, unless the king of England prefers a good and honest truce.
Should you find that the King is really and truly inclined to treat with Our common enemy, you must try to ascertain, if the opportunity offers, by whose mediation and through whom he intends the peace to be negociated, and whether he will approve or not of Our becoming the intermediary of it, without, however, insisting too strongly on your inquiries unless you are positively sure that he himself is inclined to peace; but you must not make it appear as if the idea had originated with Us, and you had been directed to make the inquiry. On the contrary, the suggestion must come as a private one, and from yourself, declaring to the King that you have no orders from His Imperial Majesty as to that, which after all is the plain truth. (fn. 5) Should the King answer in the affirmative you will immediately let Us know, in the hope that he is inclined, as We Ourselves are, to peace. We will employ all Our means and influence with Our brother the Emperor to induce him to consent, for the sake of the king of England, to a truce, during which all matters might be wonderfully well settled. We, therefore, again recommend you to manage with your usual dexterity and skill the above matter as if all originated with you, in such manner that if you think that any beneficial result can come out of it, you may make the suggestion provided it appears to me made for that King's sake exclusively, and by his wish.
In short, though We have no charge from the Emperor on this particular point, yet, considering the conversation you have held with the King on the subject, and the present state of public affairs, as well as of the Emperor's private ones, We have deemed it necessary—nay, indispensable, unless We choose to run the risk of it—to try all possible means of putting an end to this wretched war (mal dicte guerre) one way or other, and applying a remedy to the evil, which cannot be done except through the intermediate agency of some person or other whilst the allies keep the field at the head of their respective armies, and that the person or prince thus interfering may, as it is most fit, take for the honour, reputation, and profit of His Imperial Majesty, as well as of that King. (fn. 6) It is merely on that account that We have made the above suggestions. We have no doubt of any good effect coming out of it, but We trust that His Imperial Majesty will excuse the liberty We have taken, and that whatever you (Chapuys) may do in fulfilment of the charge entrusted to you will be agreeable to the Emperor.
French, Original draft, without date. 5 pp.
27 July. 166. De Montmorency and Sieur de Courrières to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—Yesterday, at the dinner hour, I arrived here, but the King would not give me audience until to-day in the afternoon. He received me very well and took in very good part the commendations and visit which I was charged to make in the Emperor's and your Majesty's name, for which he returned thanks.
Hearing from Monsieur Chapuys, the ambassador, that the King has determined to depart for his camp before Boulogne, I have not, for many reasons, tried to persuade him to remain here. Indeed it is rumoured that he will take his departure next Thursday, or soon after, for Boulogne, to which the Duke of Suffolk is now laying siege, with a good hope, as it is said, of carrying it by force of arms, (fn. 7) I fear, however, that this will not happen so soon as he (the King) and the Duke himself think, for the place is considered very strong, and I have no doubt that the garrison inside will defend it to the utmost. Already, as men well practised in warfare, the French commanders have set fire to and burned down the lower town (La Basse Boulogne).
I have represented to the King that it would be well to make his army go at once into France, as otherwise that of the Emperor will have to sustain all the brunt and the expense of the invasion, since, according to authentic news lately received, no leas than thirty-six battalions (enseignes) of Switzers have already entered France, at which piece of information the King seemed surprised and put out when I told him.
With regard to Montreul (Montreuil), there is no news yet of the siege being; vigorously pressed on, although I hear that the besiegers are laying a mine. (fn. 8) May God be pleased that the mine take effect soon, for until then I see no appearance of the town surrendering, or the King's besieging army being able to penetrate further into France. The King said the other day to Chapuys and to me (De Courrières) that it is important to dispatch the Montrueil affair before going further into France. That being done, he will give orders for all his army to advance, and will not spare either his own person or his forces in the undertaking (fn. 9) Such were the King's words to us two; but notwithstanding his good wishes I find him too heavy (pesant) to be able to move hastily, besides which, if he succeeds in taking Boulogne, he may, by gaining partly his object, be contented with that.
However that may be, I will do my best, should Montreuil fall in the meantime, to make the King's army march further into France, according to the agreement entered into with the Viceroy of Sicily (Ferrante Gonzaga). I am only afraid, as I said above, that the place will not fall so soon, as they expect. Your Majesty, no doubt, knows better than myself, and can judge by the letters of Monsieur du Rœulx what is the real state of the siege, and whether our fears are grounded or not. This king tells me that Monsieur de Biez has left Montreuil and gone nobody knows where, or on what errand.
Respecting the 300 waggons, which Your Majesty has placed at the disposal (accordé) of this King, the offer has been accepted with thanks, as well as the permission (congée) granted to his agents to go into the provinces and procure them without violence.
The King has formally declared to ambassador Chapuys and to me that his opinion is that neither the Emperor nor he himself need have more than 1,000 men each at sea for the defence of the coast. That would be, the King thinks, quite a sufficient number for the protection of the coast, and would also diminish the expense. The ambassador (fn. 10) and I myself have found the King's advice in this particular both good and opportune. Please Your Majesty to tell us what to answer on this point should the King again mention the subject and repeat the opinion.
I understand that the ambassador wishes to be recalled owing to the King's departure from hence.—London, 27 July 1544.
Signed: “De Montmorency.”
Addressed: “To the Queen.”
French. Original draft. 2 pp.
28 July. 167. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Rep. P., Fasc. C. 235. “Madame,”—To-day Your Majesty's letter by Diècke (fn. 11) has duly come to hand, and I have perfectly well understood by his own verbal explanation of his mission, as well as by the draft or copy of the letter which Your Majesty has caused to be written to me, and which I have not yet received, what Your Majesty's intention and wish is in the matter therein contained. After due communication with Monsr. Diècke We both deemed it advisable to act in that business as Your Majesty will hear by the verbal report of the said Diècke, and, therefore, I will not trouble Your Majesty further with the account of what has been done.
I humbly beg permission to quit this place (Calais), where I can no longer be of service owing to the King having left for his camp [before Boulogne], (fn. 12) and also because the town itself is most unhealthy for me in my present condition, suffering as I do still suffer from my late indisposition, besides which people are dying of the plague. (fn. 13) —Calaix (sic) le XXVIIIe de Julliett 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 1 p.
31 July. 168. The Emperor to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Venerable, chier et feal,”—Your despatch of the 21st inst. came duly to hand. We have heard with pleasure the answer you gave to the king of England when he spoke to you.
On Our part there is nothing new to advise save that We hope, with the help of God, to come soon to a good end with this town of St. Desir. As stated in one of Ours, the Sieur de Villers Les Ponts, bailli de Dijon, came the other day to this camp and made overtures of peace on the basis of the marriage of Marie, Our daughter, with the duke of Orleans, and besides that the duchy of Milan, as a dower, which conditions were at once rejected; the said bailli still persisting in his proposals and saying that the King, his master, was willing to make concessions to the allies, he was told that should king Francis really wish for peace and offer convenient and reasonable terms, be contented with his own property and not covet other people's, pay his debt to England, and restore what he has robbed from others, he may send whom he pleases; otherwise there is no peace for him, and he will have to rue the consequences With this answer the bailli was dismissed and sent back home, and the Sieur de Granvelle did immediately inform the English ambassador here resident with Us of all this.—From Our camp in front of St. Desir, 31 July 1544.
French. Original draft. 1 p.
31 July. 169. Montmorency to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp, Arch. “Monsieur l'ambassadeur,”—This will be for the sole purpose of announcing my arrival here, yesterday, and telling you that never in my life did I meet with so bad a reception, and that I very much regret having left Gravelines to come here to this camp, for the weather is detestably bad, and there is nothing that annoys and torments a traveller more than to arrive at the place of his destination in the midst of such a storm of wind and rain as we had here yesterday. God, however, who remedies things when he pleases, has given us fine weather to-day, and I thank him most heartily for it.
The duke of Alburquerque has invited Monsieur de Wincester and de Saint Jean (St. John), the Controller (fn. 14) [of the Royal Household] some other gentlemen and myself to dinner. Secretary Paget was also invited; but as we were about to sit down to table, the latter received orders to go immediately to the King, which he did. We had plenty of good cheer, and there was much mention made of your Signiory, the Duke having particularly requested me to transmit to you his commendations whenever I wrote. He [the Duke] was sorry at the fault he committed at the King's departure for Calais when he (the Duke) saw, or fancied that he did see him turn his head towards us. (fn. 15)
Of other news I have little to say, save that this King's men have taken three places between Boulogne and Montreuil, and that Monsr. de [Buren] (fn. 16) has taken a fourth, the name of which I do not know, between Hesdin and Montreuil. One of the three taken by the English is a town named Hardelot, the garrison of which surrendered without firing a shot, evidently from want of victuals.
With regard to this one (Boulogne) the English expect it to surrender soon, though no batteries have yet played on its walls. The same may be said of Montreuil, though, as far as I can judge, most of the men in this camp have little experience of such military affairs.
I was told this very morning that yesterday a French gentleman, accompanied by a trumpeter of his nation, came to this camp. Being altogether ignorant of what the cause or reason of their coming may be, I cannot at present tell you for certain what the gentleman's mission is, neither does the Duke [of Alburquerque] himself know. I will, however, make enquiries about it, and if I learn anything, shall not fail to advise.
All these gentlemen have requested me to send you their commendations, &c.—From the English camp, before Boulogne, on the last day of July 1544.
P.S.—“Monsieur l'ambassadeur,”—Should you have by you a fit messenger to dispatch to the Queen Regent in Flanders, you might communicate to him the news contained in the above letter to you, and also that as far as I can hear, two, if not three, batteries have just opened fire against the town, which fire those inside have certainly returned this afternoon more briskly than they did before, sparing like men experienced in war their powder and shot, and not firing at random, but only against the English batteries themselves.
I am at this very moment returning from a visit of inspection, and I find that the outside wall is strong, and lined with parapets. May God permit that the siege end favourably for the English!
I am in receipt of a letter from my Own lieutenant of the archers, dated St. Dizier the 17th, writing that as the late prince of Orange [René de Nassau] was sitting between the Viceroy [of Sicily] and Monsr. de Lachaux he was fatally wounded by a bullet from an arquebuze á croix. . . . . . . My lieutenant adds that the Imperial camp was beginning to feel the want of provisions, but as the news sent by the Sieur d'Eske is later and more reassuring there is no need to be alarmed.—Your good and sincere friend, De Montmorency.—Camp sur Boulogne, 31st of July 1544.
Indorsed: “A Monsr. l'ambassadeur, Mess[ire] Eustace Chapuis, conseiller et mestre (sic) des Requestes de l'Empereur à Gravelingues.”
French. Holograph 2 pp.


  • 1. “Et que le Roy, son maistre, s'en mectoit en tout devoir, et que le semblable avoit rapporte au dit sieur don Fernande le lieutenant de la compaignye du conte de Bryenne avoir entendu du dit roy de France qu'il la desiroit singulierement avec nous.” This count de Brienne had defended Ligny, which the Emperor took in July, the governor and his brother, the viscount of Roussy, being made prisoners.
  • 2. “Considerant la froideur dont les anglois usent en l'entreprise contre France, et qu'il est vraysemblable quilz ne vouldront longuement demeurer aux champs convient (sic) que lee affaires tomheut, mesmes approchant lyber, ou que ses gens tombent en quelque maladie.”
  • 3. “Lesquelles considerations nous font doubter que le dit sr roy, comme que soit, pourroit bien facilement entendre à quelque practique de traitor, soit de paix soit de tresve, et par aventure accorder avecq les franchois de fane aulcunes faire quelques representations et offres à sa mate imperiale telz que le dit sr roy jugeroit raisonables, et si on ne les acceptoit soubz ceste couleur prendre occasion soy disjoindre de sa dite mate, au quel cas sa dite mate se trouveroit grandement circonvenu de l'espoir il a au dit sr roy et seroient rompus leur desseigns.”
  • 4. The whole paragraph, which is highly important, stands thus in the original:—“Pourquoy vous requerons qne veuilliez regarder si ne sçauriez par bon moyen entendre plus particulierement l'intention du dit sr Roy, en luy mectant de rechief en avant les ditz propoz sans trop rebouter la practique d'entendre à traicter avecq les ennemis, la quelle pour vous dire franchement, ayant regard à l'estat des affaires publicques, ne scauroit que bien convenir à toute la Chrestienté et singulierement aux royaulmes, pays et subjects de sa mate, les quelz à la longe (síc) ne pourront supporter si grans et excessifz fraiz et depens[ses] de la guerre, [ce] qui nous mene de [á] nous mesler en cecy plus que n'avons charge de sa mate. Et sy le dit roy vous tient encoires propoz de traicter, luy pouvez demander comment et de quelle sorte il entend traicter, à sçavoir de paix ou tresve, et lui mettant en avant que en traictant de paix [il] conviendroit de son costé bien s'assurer de son deu, au quel les franchoys ne sçauroient satisfaire par hostages comma il confesse lui estre mis en termes du moins pour l'advenir, mais seroit requis pour sa seurté quil fust saisy dauculnes terres du royaulme de France selon; qu'il est convenu par le traicté dc plus estroicte alliance, aussy que pour la seurté de sa succession, les franchoys remarchassent (renonçassent) à l'alliance d'Escosse ce quilz ne feront voulontiers.”
  • 5. “Et si avant que trouverez le dit sr roy à ce enclin adviserez d'entendre par moyen de qui'il la vouldroit traicter, et si l'opportunité s'adonnoit, pouvez regarder si le dict sr roy troeveroit bon que nous entremettions de ceste practique sans toutesfois en ce cas vous eslargir plus avant que sentirez l'inclination du dit sieur roy, ne aussy faire semblant qu'en ayes aulcunne charge de nous, mais seulement parlant comme de vous mesmes, en luy declairant ce qu'est veritable que n'avez aulcune charge de sa mate.”
  • 6. “Combien que, comme dit est, nous n'avons nulle charge de l'Empereur, Monsieur n[ost]re. frere, de ce que dessus, toutesfois ayant regard aux propos que le dit sr roy vous a term, et aussy à l'estat des affaires, tant publicques que particulieres de sa mate Imperiale, il nous semble plus que necessaire, que [s'ii] ne veult le tout hazarder, qu'il aye regart de mectre fin à ceste mauldite guerre par lung boult on l'aultre, [ce] que ne se peult faire si [çe] n'est qu'aucun s'en meyde (mesle), et aussi qu'il est plus convenable pour la reputation de sa dite mate et du dit sr roy traicter durant qilz tiennent les champs.”
  • 7. “Je ne luy ay tenu aucun propos pour le faire demeurer içy pour plusieurs respectz. II est le bruyt quil partira le jeudi prouchain, ou bientost apres, pour aller devant la dite ville de Boulogne, la quelle est assiegée du due de Suffolk de sorte que le roy a bon espoir de l'emporter.”
  • 8. “Et tout y a que j'entens que lon y a fait une mine.”
  • 9. “Le dit sr roy nous a dit quil falloit depescher cela avant tyrer plus avant en france, et que cela achevé il fera tyrer la dite armee et n'y espargnera sa personne ni toute sa puissance.”
  • 10. That is Eustace Chapuye, who was already at Calais.
  • 11. That is Cornelis Scepper, sieur (lord) of Ecke, about whom more will be said hereafter. See Vol. VI. Part II., Int. pp. xxii–iv.
  • 12. King Henry had already left; he was at his camp before Boulogne on the 23rd. State Papers, Vol. X., p. 12.
  • 13. “Oultre quil so (que l'on) commence à mourir de la peste.”
  • 14. There were at this time two Lord's “St. John,” one Sir Walter Sandilands, mentioned in State Papers, Vol. V., p. 322. and Sir William Poulet, controller of the Royal Household, who is no doubt the one alluded to in the above paragraph.
  • 15. De Courrières' French is so bad that I am not sure of having caught the sense of this paragraph. It stands thus in the original:—” Estant marry de la faute quil fist, au partement du roy à Callis (sic), tant y a que penssoit (pensoit) avoer veu tourner la teste à sa maieste vers nous.” As the Duke's letter [to Granvelle or to Chapuys] has not been preserved, it is not very easy to guess in what that nobleman's fault consisted.
  • 16. That is Maximilien d'Egmont, co. de Bueren or Buren.