Spain: February 1544, 1-15

Pages 32-47

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

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February 1544, 1–15

1 Feb. 23. King Henry to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. After the many hostilities and great falsehoods of the Scots, Henry has resolved to take up arms against them, and to declare them his enemies. Considers it right to inform the Emperor of that resolution, and requests him to make a similar declaration. His ambassador at the Emperor's Court (fn. 1) will more fully explain this his determination, as well as the causes and motives he has had for it.—Westminster Palace, the 1st day of February 1544.
Signed: “Henry.”
French. Original. 1 p.
2 Feb. 24. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Corresp. Eng. “Sire,”—Four days ago, I received Your Majesty's letter of the 14th ult., and in compliance with the orders contained therein, I went to the Privy Council and urgently represented to its members on the necessity and convenience of their declaring at once the duke of Holstein to be this King's enemy, more particularly if they themselves insist, as they have done hitherto, upon Your Majesty making a similar declaration with regard to the Scots. In compliance with Your Majesty's commands I did this, and after a long conference with the councillors, and several consultations and long debates in the King's presence, I got the following answer from them:—That Your Majesty was no less interested in the declaration against the Scots than the King, their master was, as, said they, such declaration on the part of the Emperor will be the means of detaching the Scots from the alliance and friendship of France, for inasmuch as should they hereafter, at the solicitation and with the help of France, come to invade this kingdom of England, Your Majesty would be obliged to encounter considerable expense for its defence. The said declaration being a most efficacious remedy under present circumstances, and one, moreover, so advantageous for Your Majesty without any shade of danger to yourself or injury to your subjects, there ought to be no delay in making it. As to the declaration asked of them against the duke of Holstein, the privy councillors. begged Your Majesty to consider that it would be of very little use to you, as the Duke after all is unable by himself to invade or overrun Your Majesty's dominions; whereas, should the King, their master, declare against him and consider him his enemy, it would be highly inconvenient and injurious for himself and his subjects, owing to the great resort of Englishmen to Denmark, to procure there the articles they want for the building and repairing of their ships, as well as other commodities.” Besides which (added the privy councillors) we are almost certain that should our master make the declaration asked of him, that would be sufficient cause for the duke of Holstein, at the instigation and with the help of France, to land in Scotland, or at least send thither a large number of Germans, for the purpose of invading England on that side. In addition to which we must tell you that the merchants of this country have considerable property in Denmark, which property would be irretrievably lost the very moment that the declaration against the Duke was signed and proclaimed. (fn. 2) We therefore think that the Emperor should for the present desist from his purpose, and hope that he will. It would be very expedient, nevertheless, as well as necessary, that since the Emperor has asked to be sufficiently informed of the causes of the war between England and Scotland, we ourselves, the privy councillors, should be apprized of the causes for which the King, our master, is expected to declare against the Duke, (fn. 3) Notwithstanding my answers, replies and arguments, the privy councillors persisted in their refusal, all the time declaring that they had not the least doubt that Your Majesty would immediately sign and publish the declaration against the Scots. I have, therefore, been requested by them in the King's name to beg Your Majesty to listen to their prayer and make the said declaration, in expectation of which favour, as the privy councillors have given me to understand, this King has ordered the release from prison of the Milanese physician who had been incarcerated for having upheld the authority of His Holiness the Pope, and in whose favour Your Majesty had written.
Three days ago a Scotch king-at-arms arrived here to ask safe-conducts for three or four ambassadors who are coming on behalf of the General States of that country. Though the privy councillors have said nothing to me respecting the mission entrusted to the Scotch ambassadors, yet the king-at-arms himself has said and declared to one of my servants, that the kingdom of Scotland wished for peace and amity with England, and did not intend in the least to contravene the treaties lately made between the two countries, and yet were of opinion that the concerted marriage of the prince of Gwalles (Wales) and the princess of Scotland (Mary Stuart) ought not to be effected before both parties were of a marriageable age. To these proposals of the Scots the privy councillors here seemed to attach little or no faith at all, and the proof is that they are using greater diligence than ever on the Borders, continually dispatching messengers and couriers thither, more to the disadvantage of that country than hitherto. I also hear that the aforesaid king-at-arms has also applied for a passport and safe-conduct for the patriarch of Aquileia, who intends returning [to Italy] through England.
After a good deal of altercation and dispute the King (though much against his will) has consented to the safe-conducts granted by Your Majesty, and by the queen dowager of Hungary, being respected by his subjects; but he will not allow that vessels with cargoes of French goods may under any circumstances bring them here for sale.
Neither the King nor his courtiers nearest to his person have ceased laughing ironically at this new turn of king Francis' conscience, and this King hopes that if any one is to give him absolution for his wicked practices and intelligences with the Turk, that Your Majesty and himself will impose the penance.
I must not omit to say that the King means to gratify and please Your Majesty in the matter of the safe-conducts by commanding his subjects to observe them strictly, provided the owners and captains of vessels on that side of the Channel do not lade them with artillery, arms, ammunition or provisions (victuailles) for France. I must likewise observe that up to this day the privy councillors have said nothing to me concerning the other two points mentioned by their ambassador at Your Majesty's court, viz., the Spanish hackbutiers and the “centiesme denier,” and therefore that I have not thought it necessary or convenient to allude to them.—London, 2 February 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Indorsed: “To the Emperor. From the ambassador in England of the 2nd of February. Received at Spire (Speier) on the XIth of the same month, 1544.”
French Original. 4 pp.
2 Feb. 25. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Rep. P., Fasc. C. 23. “Madame,”—My last letter of the 28th ult. must have fully acquainted Your Majesty with the news of this country. Since then, in fact the day after, the 29th, the King's deputies called and talked to me at length on the affairs of Scotland; the summary of their conversation being that although the King, their master, had not yet obtained all he wanted from the Scots, there was still every appearance and probability of his ultimately gaining his object. At any rate, they (the deputies) were sure, nay, certain, that during the King's life there would be no invasion of England from that quarter, and, therefore, it seemed to them both just and reasonable that in consideration for the relief thus procured to the Emperor, who would no longer be obliged, according to the letter of the treaty, to send auxiliary troops to the Borders, some prorogation of the period fixed for the defence [of the Low Countries] should be agreed upon. To which overtures on the part of the Royal deputies I replied, among other things, that their demand seemed rather exorbitant. It was exceedingly unpleasant for me to have to send home a demand of that sort and let it reach the ears of the Emperor, who, on hearing of it, might naturally presume that the King's application originated in a mercenary and selfish point of view rather than in a sentiment of affectionate friendship. They (the King's deputies) ought to recollect what I told them some time ago. Their King was now in greater need than ever of a good and binding alliance (bonne colligation) with His Imperial Majesty, and wanted particularly his help and assistance. At the time of king Robertus Brugius (fn. 4) of Scotland, and of king Edward the Second of England, the affairs of that kingdom were comparatively in a worse condition than they are at present, the whole of the country, with the exception of the Caledonian forest (hors la sylve Caledonia), being under the obedience and rule of the English, and yet, all of a sudden, the Scots had made desperate raids across the Borders and penetrated far into England; whereas the confederacy and alliance which they (the Royal deputies) sought against Scotland was not temporary but permanent. As to the reciprocity of which they talked I did not see it, for supposing the Scots, as they said, made no stir whenever the King, their master, decided to carry on war against France, I did not hesitate to say that there was still less probability of the French invading the Low Countries of the Emperor, knowing the mutual good intelligence between the two princes. The King, their master, would not be put to any expense whatever on that account, as there would be no need of his help and assistance for the defence, especially if the Emperor condescends to use clemency towards the duke of Clèves, who, as I hope, will sooner or later be brought to reason one way or other.
Hearing the above and other similar remarks of mine on the subject the Royal deputies talked together for a while and then returned to me, suggesting, as if it came from themselves, that it seemed to them that at least, and by way of compensation, the King their master ought to be exempted from the contribution to the defence of the Low Countries for a period of two years. And on my replying to them that the thing, for the above considerations, was of very small importance for their King, and, besides, that their demand had no foundation to stand upon, they again conversed together, and came back saying, that one of their colleagues in the Privy Council had suggested that most likely to-morrow or the day after His Majesty the Emperor, being in extreme want, and the better to resist the Turk, might possibly make some convention or other with the king of France, through which the King, their master, would remain, as it were, isolated and without the means of recovering the arrears of pension owing to him; and that in order to guard against that contingency and indemnify the king, it ought to be stipulated that in such an event the Emperor should make up the king of England's losses.
Hearing this I told the deputies my mind, and made such representations as I deemed opportune and fit under the circumstances. No reply, however, came from them, though shortly after they made another suggestion no less substantial, namely, that in order to render the friendship and alliance between the two princes (the Emperor and the King, their master) more perfect and indissoluble, it seemed to them that a stipulation of mutual assistance ought to be made both for the conquest of Gelders by the Emperor, and of Scotland for the King, to which I replied, “Why not add that of Denmark also?” (fn. 5) for certainly it will not be very difficult to dethrone the duke of Holstein.
After some discussion on the latter point the Royal deputies, perceiving that I had no express mandate to pass the article as originally worded, and fearing that other debatable points still unsettled, and the discussion of which would be both long and dangerous, might suffer from delay, resolved that it was far better to yield in the principal one, and agreed that in the article in question the Scots, the Danes, and the people of Geldres should be expressly and by name declared the mutual enemies of both the allies. But as the Emperor at the very beginning of the present negociations caused a letter to be written commanding me to take care not to contravene in the least the treaties then existing between him and the last king of Scotland, I refused to agree to the proposal of the Royal deputies, or consent to the expression “mutual enemies,” being introduced as they desired. Upon which the deputies examined again (revisiterent) the original draft of the treaty, and, pointing out the article in question, asked me whether I thought or not that the clause, as it was there expressed, comprised all the common enemies. My answer was that I thought it did. Upon which they seemed satisfied and went away; and I cannot help thinking that it was principally to ascertain that that the deputies called on me.
I must not omit to say that the Royal deputies during their conversation with me failed not to allude incidentally, and more than once, to French intrigues, and to their having again renewed their offers of a marriage alliance with the Princess (Mary), thus giving me an opportunity, as well as the pleasure, of criticising French practices; which remarks of mine they listened to with attention, as people who are not much inclined that way. (fn. 6)
Some days ago nine French ships (navieres), sailing for Portugal or for the coast of Africa with a cargo of hempen and other cloths (canevas et autres toiles) valued at a large sum of money, were compelled by stress of weather to take refuge in the port of Anthona (Southampton), where, as the English assert, there happened to be at the time a Scotch vessel half captured by the English, and under the fire of one of the port's batteries. When night came on the French ships sailed away, taking with them the Scotch one, in consequence of which the nine French ones were detained, as they are still.—London, 2 February 1544.
French. Original draft. 4 pp.
2 Feb. 26. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. This morning I sent a message by my man to the Royal deputies, who answered that they will call at this embassy the day after to-morrow to bring the King's resolution on the whole business in hand. May God permit that it be such as befits the settlement of public affairs, and particularly those of the Emperor, and of Your Majesty. In any event I should like to know as soon as possible what Your Majesty's will is respecting the expression and nomination proposed, (fn. 7) and also with regard to the new offensive alliance.—London, 2 February 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Addressed: “To the Queen.”
French. Original. 4 pp.
2 Feb. 27. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Rep. P., Fasc. C. 23. “Madame,”—Your Majesty's letter of the 22nd ult., relating chiefly to your solicitation that this King may declare himself the enemy of the duke of Holstein, came duly to hand. I have been unable to obtain any further concession on that point than that which Your Majesty will see by the copy of my letter to the Emperor herein enclosed. (fn. 8)
Respecting the herrings (harengs) mentioned in Your Majesty's letter to me, they were already sold before the receipt of that letter; the privy councillors have sent me a message with the excuse, among others, that as their merchants last year had been for many reasons prevented from going to Island (Iceland) and purchasing herrings and other fish It for eating, and could not procure the same elsewhere, they had been literally obliged to keep the herrings; but that the Emperor's and Your Majesty's safe-conducts would be observed and respected in future, though on the express condition that no French merchandize came to England in Flemish bottoms, as Your Majesty will see by my said letter to the Emperor.
The King has taken in very good part what Your Majesty declared to his ambassadors respecting the Legate's overtures, and also the concession (l'octroy) which Your Majesty has been pleased to make, that this King (although the Emperor's declaration against the Scots is not forthcoming) may grant safe-conducts to trade to whomsoever of them he pleases; in doing which it appears to me that it ought to be stipulated that the Scotch merchants who apply for such safe-conducts should solicit the confirmation of the same by Your Majesty.—London, 2 February 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 1 p.
3 Feb. 28. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—I could not refuse these privy councillors to write, as I have done at other times, in favour and commendation of count Bernardin (fn. 9) de Saint Boniface, and beg Your Majesty to be gracious and please this King in the matter.—London, 3 February 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 1 p.
3 Feb. 29. The Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela to the Emperor.
S. E., L. 64, f. 257. B. M. Add. 28,593, f. 299. Gives an account of his voyage to Spain, and arrival at La Coruña [in Galicia] on Tuesday, the 29th of January, at the hour of noon, after 12 days' voyage.
“The town of Anberez (Anvers, Antwerp), where I stayed five weeks, is at the present time so contaminated with Luther's false doctrines (falsas libertades), that it moves one to pity even to think of it. Indeed, no words can express what I myself feel. I cannot, however, refrain from saying—for such I consider it my duty—that since Your Imperial Majesty has so often and so earnestly worked for the preservation of your temporal dominions with so much labour, and even danger to your person, your bounden duty is to show the same zeal in spiritual matters.—Santiago [de Compostela], 3 February 1544.
Signed: “Gasp. Compostellanus.” (fn. 10)
Addressed: “To the Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty.”
Spanish. Holograph. 2 pp.
n. d. 30. The Emperor to the Cardinal of Santiago.
S. E., L. 64, f. 259. B. M. Add. 28,593, f. 299. His Imperial Majesty has heard with pleasure the account of the Cardinal's prosperous voyage to, and arrival at, La Coruña. Has to thank him (the Archbishop) for the prayers he has ordered to be made throughout the churches of his See for the prosperity of the Imperial arms.
Respecting Antwerp, the Emperor has already made such provision as is likely to cleanse that city from the heresies of the Lutheran sect. Should those provisions turn out insufficient, everything will be done to stop the evil.
Spanish. Original draft. ½ p.
4 Feb. 31. Prince Philip to Eustace Chapuys.
S. E., L. 64, f. 171, 302. The Prince.—Two of your despatches, those of the 9th ana 29th of November, have come to hand. (fn. 11) I am sorry to hear of your indisposition, and hope that on the arrival of this letter you will be in better health.
From the news of that country and Scotland written by you I gather that the king of England's affairs are going on prosperously enough. I am very glad to hear it, and beg you to continue writing to me as often as you possibly can, informing me of the occurrences of that country where you reside, as well as of the Emperor's progress; because, to tell you the truth, what with the Turkish fleet in the Levant and on the coast of France, it is very seldom that we have news of the Emperor's doings.
There is a report here that Don Fernando Gonzaga went to London by the Emperor's commands on a visit to the king of England. I should very much like to know what has been the result of his mission.
Here most certain intelligence has been received that the united fleets of France and Turkey are to pass the winter, the former at Marseilles, the latter in Toulon. This is a very grave piece of news, which will oblige us to provide for the defence of Our Mediterranean coast should the enemy think of infesting it next spring.
I went to Salamanca in the first days of November at the same time as the Princess [of Portugal], and on the 15th of the same month we were married. Thence we came to this town [of Valladolid], where we still are, both enjoying good health. Latterly, however, I myself have not felt quite well, though I am now much better. I enter into these details that you may inform that King of what has hitherto prevented my writing to him on the subject of my marriage. (fn. 12)
You will visit the Princess in my name, &c.—Valladoìid, 4 February 1544.
Spanish. Original. 2 pp.
7 Feb. 32. The Emperor to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Venerable, chier et feal,”—We send you herein inclosed the summary of Our resolution in the business and charge entrusted to Don Fernando de Gonzaga on his return to Us from his mission in England. (fn. 13) It will serve you as Instruction and guidance in whatever you may have to carry out at the court of Our brother, the king of England.—Spire, 7 February 1543 [Old style].
French. Original draft. 1 p.
9 Feb. 33. The Queen of Hungary to Ambassador Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monsieur l'ambassadeur,”—By previous letters of Ours on the subject of the safe-conducts yeu must have been apprised of the fact that the English refuse altogether to acknowledge and observe those granted on Our side. We have since heard that vessels of these Low Countries with a cargo of herrings (herents) for France, to return therefrom with wine, have been seized in England, which seizure, as We apprehend, will be not only exceedingly inconvenient under present circumstances, but also, generally speaking, most prejudicial to the inhabitants (manans) of this country who are in want of wine. We were in hopes that in exchange for those herrings thus exported to France We might get in return a good quantity of wine from that country, and that is why the said safe-conducts were granted. The herring, as it is well known, is an article of food which cannot be kept throughout the summer months, and which must therefore be consumed within proper time and season, otherwise it would be good for nothing. In consequence of that seizure the herring fishers in these countries under Our government, who go to considerable expense in fitting out their smacks and so forth, will be seriously affected, and unless their vessels and cargoes are immediately released will in future desist from a trade and occupation which has been hitherto a source of gain for the sea people and inhabitants of these coasts in general; besides which, unless wine be procured by honest means from France, We shall have none for the consumption of the army when required at the approaching spring season.
To avoid the above and other serious inconveniences likely to arise from the English refusal to observe the safe-conducts granted in this country, We herein inclose credentials in your favour that you may see the King and make such representations on this subject as you may consider most fit and convenient, requesting him in Our name to have Our safe-conducts observed by his officers and people, just as We will in due reciprocity order his to be observed and respected by Our naval captains. You are, in short, particularly requested to employ all means in your power to obtain this, which is most important for His Imperial Majesty's subjects in these countries, namely, that Our said safe-conducts be faithfully observed by the English, not only for the profit to be derived from them, but for the money which is much wanted for the necessities of the present war. Should the King refuse Our application and persist in his determination not to allow the people of these countries and others to frequent France for the purposes of trade—which We hope be will not do—then, in that case, after the requisite excuses on your part, you will ask him in Our name to be pleased to release at least the vessels, and keep the cargoes until the herrings are sold, for certainly the King would in no wise maintain that vessels having safe-conducts from Us can be sequestered on account of their cargoes being destined for France. The King, We have no doubt, will attend to this request of Ours, though it be to the regret and loss of the poor merchants interested in the cargoes. We particularly recommend this affair to your care, and to let Us know as soon as possible how far the King is inclined to listen to it, and what resolution he takes on the whole, that We may accordingly decide what We have to do in future.
Indorsed: “To the ambassador in England, avec une lectre de credence au Roy.”
French. Original draft. 2 pp.
14 Feb. 34. The Queen of Hungary to Eustace Chapuys.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monsieur l'Ambassadeur,”—Your letter of the 2nd inst. inclosing copy of the one you wrote to the Emperor of the same date came duly to hand. We immediately apprised His Imperial Majesty of the excuses made by the king of England when invited to declare against the duke of Holstein. Since then We have received from the Emperor the packet of letters and documents which We forward along with this, and as We hear that the Emperor is willing to declare against the Scotch, provided the King himself declares against the Duke, We could not omit to send to you the copy, also here inclosed, of what We have written to him on the subject. All this has been done for the purpose of enabling you to remonstrate with that King and with his privy councillors, and give them to understand how important it is that England's declaration against the Duke should be made at once, and reminding, at the same time, the King's privy councillors of the obligation under which they are, and of the assurance they once gave you, whilst discussing the treaty of alliance between the King and the Emperor, that on that treaty being concluded and sworn to, the Duke would be declared the common enemy of the allied princes. Which declaration, if effected, would have come very à propos at the present juncture, when the Duke is sending his deputies to the Emperor for the purpose of obtaining terms, for that would no doubt render him more reasonable in his demands. Indeed, were the Duke to persevere in his hostility against the Emperor it would be materially impossible for the King of England to dissemble and refuse the required declaration.
However that may be the Emperor's Memorandum to you on the business transacted by the viceroy of Sicily (Ferrante Gonzaga), when he was last in that country, will inform you that among the agreements entered into with the privy councillors, one was that the King should send his deputies to Us to look after the provision to be made on this side of the Channel. The agreement seemed to Us then, as it does now, both convenient and useful, and yet We think that no great insistence should be made at present upon it, and that it would be far preferable that the King should send Us beforehand in writing a list of the victuals and waggons which he requires for his army, as We could then say to him whether We could or could not furnish the said provisions and effects. (fn. 14) Then the King might send his deputies whenever he considered it fit and convenient, as We wrote to you in Our last.
You will also inquire what number of foot soldiers the King intends Mr. De Buren to raise or engage for his royal service, and whether they are to be levied in Upper or Lower Germany. As the said force, in addition to the body of 2,000 horse and 2,000 foot from this country which the count is to command, is to operate in this country, We should be glad to hear in time all the particulars, that We may be prepared.
Nor can We omit to say that We have received news of certain gatherings of infantry in the duchy of Holstein and its neighbourhood, amounting, as We are told, to 10,000 men; their number is every day increasing and their plan is to pay a visit to Friesland and Gronninge during this frosty season (durant ces gellées). (fn. 15) A mere accident has prevented them from carrying it out, but, We hear from authentic sources that next spring, as soon as the money they expect from France is received, the men are to go to sea in order to invade these Low Countries or Scotland, or else sail straight for France and serve and assist king Francis by land. We do not yet know for certain which of these three methods of hostility the duke of Holstein will choose; all depends upon their being able to procure ships for the passage, and artillery, which they expect to get from the Duke. That difficulty once got over there can be no doubt that the forces assembled in the duchy of Holstein are for an attack on these Low Countries, a landing in Scotland, or for otherwise increasing in France the army of Our common enemy. But We fancy that if the king of England fulfils his promise and declares against the Duke, the Holstein armed gatherings might easily be taken in, whilst the Duke himself comes to terms with His Imperial Majesty; and if the French sent them money, artillery and ships, the whole of the armament might be surprised and captured on their voyage west.
The count of Rœulx has also continual news of the great preparations which the French are making to revictual Terroaines (Terouennes) and Ardres as soon as the weather will permit them to take the field. If means could be found to prevent them from doing this, We think it would be possible for Us to gain possession of these two places, which according to reliable information are deficient in provisions of food and war ammunition. We inform you of these particulars that you may report the news to the King's privy councillors whenever the opportunity offers.
In one of Our preceding letters We informed you of the communication by Us made to the resident English ambassador respecting Cardinal Farnese's mission, and what he said to Us at his passage through this city to go to the Emperor. Since then the ambassador has called to thank Us in his master's name. We have now declared to him, through Our ministers, the substance of the overtures made by the Cardinal to the Emperor, namely to leave to king Francis the duchy of Milan, and whatever he now occupies in Piedmont and Savoy. On these conditions the Emperor has not only refused to treat, but has maintained that nothing short of the complete abandonment by Francis of his pretensions' in Italy, and the payment of his debt to the king of England will ever induce him to listen to overtures of peace, if that peace is to be sure and lasting.
At the same time that the above particulars were imparted to the English ambassador by Our ministers, he was told that the queen of France, Our good and dear sister, had sent one of her household officers, a native of this country, with a present of birds, and the prayer that We would let her know as soon as possible what answer the Emperor, Our brother, had returned to the Cardinal's overtures of peace, which We would not do without first consulting Our brother, whose answer came yesterday. Immediately after which we dispatched Our sister's officer back with the answer as above. As the officer has remained long at this Court We have considered it necessary also to acquaint the English ambassadors with these facts for fear of suspicion and in order that if mention is made in your presence, or any questions asked, or you yourself wish to talk about it, you may do so according to the above statement.
With regard to the I per cent, tax, and the pressing and hard solicitations of the dean of Canterbury on the subject before his departure from this Court, as We have already given you notice of Our final determination, there is no need of Our writing further about it. Neither are you to mention the subject at all unless the privy councillors speak first. The dean of York, Dr. Layton himself, who succeeded that of Canterbury (Dr. Wotton) as resident English ambassador here, has not even opened his mouth about it. Should another attempt be made there, you will let Us have your advice in the matter, and how We can meet the demands of Our allies and benefit them without actually doing harm to the inhabitants of these countries under Our government In one of your letters to Us you say that you have sent your advice, but We cannot find out whether the advice and counsel you speak of was contained in your despatch of the 11th of June [1543] or in a later one.
You have done well in ultimately agreeing with the privy councillors as to the safe-conducts, and having that matter settled for the future. In consequence of that final agreement orders shall be issued to Our naval commanders not to harm the masters and crews of, nor interfere in any way with vessels provided with regular safe-conducts from that King, under the restrictions previously pointed out, and which have been observed ever since the announcement of this present war, namely, that no safe-conducts shall be granted to vessels bound for France and laden with articles of food, war ammunition, and so forth, herrings only excepted, as in the case of the vessels lately sequestered by the English for the sole purpose of obtaining wine from France, a sort of commodity which We should have been glad to have before the next vintage. With the above restrictions We are quite ready to approve of the agreement entered into with that King's privy councillors.
The agreement entered into with the King's privy councillors as to future safe-conducts seems to Us good, and We approve of it. Orders shall be issued for all naval commanders in these Low Countries not to harm or injure, or in any manner interfere with the masters and crews of vessels provided with a safe-conduct from the king of England, though with the following restrictive measures, which have been in practice here ever since the commencement of the present war, namely, that no safe-conducts be granted to vessels bound for France and carrying articles of food, artillery, ammunition or war materials. There is only one exception to be attended to, namely, that of the herrings, as in the case of the vessels lately sequestered by the English. That being the only means available for obtaining wine from France—an article of which Our people and Our army were much in need, and which We should have been glad to get before the spring—We did not hesitate, as at other times, in granting the required safe-conducts to vessels of this nation to go to and from the ports of France. We only find one difficulty in all this, which is that the English, perhaps, will not allow vessels of the enemy, though provided with regular safe-conducts, to enter the ports and harbours of England. This might give rise to inconveniences, for supposing that vessels sailing for trade purposes, and with a, proper safe-conduct to the countries under Our government, were, by contrary winds and stress of weather, thrown on the coast of England, but were not allowed to take refuge in the ports and harbours of that country, what would become of the said vessels? If you can, get the English to allow that vessels thus driven by storm or foul weather on the coasts of that kingdom be not considered a legitimate prize, and be permitted to enter a port for refuge provided the masters are furnished with a safe-conduct, and do not attempt to put any thing on shore well and good. That is the practice adopted in these countries —if a French vessel having a safe-conduct for her cargo comes to any port on the coast her skipper or master and her crew cannot land, or put anything on shore without first obtaining permission from the governor or chief officer in the place.
It will also be requisite that you (Chapuys) should suggest to the privy councillors how just and reasonable it would be that Scotch vessels under a safe-conduct from that King should also have one of Ours when destined for the ports and harbours of these countries, in order that their skippers or masters may know by the very words of Our safe-conducts how they are to behave the moment they touch land and anchor, and what steps to take before they land, and that We are perfectly in Our right in doing so, for fear that under cover of their safe-conduct the crews thereof after all should attempt some surprise or other; for if We gratify the King by admitting into the ports of these Low Countries the vessels of a nation, which he himself considers his enemies and wants Us to do the same, that is no reason why the usual precautions in time of war should be omitted. It will be for you (Chapuys) to submit to the King this suggestion of Ours, and procure that Scotch vessels sailing to these ports under the king of England's safe-conduct be also furnished with one of Ours.
With regard to the sequestered cargo, since the herrings, as you say, are already sold and consumed, no further reply is needed, save to say that We hope the English will pay a reasonable price for them so that the merchants may lose nothing; but on the contrary gain some small profit, to be fixed by English arbitration entirely. The merchants who put the herrings on board have urgently and repeatedly applied to Us for some provision or other to that effect, but We have constantly declined to take any other step, though We have contented the interested parties by telling them that We have written to you to assist them in their very just claims. That is why We request you to call again at the Privy Council, and represent that since the cargoes have not been declared to be a legitimate prize, it would be unfair to retain the herrings in England without paying for their cost here (in the Low Countries) and for the expenses of carrying and shipping. It is quite sufficient that the small profit to which the merchants are entitled should be left entirely to the arbitration of the English judges. The merchants, however, have already purchased wine in France, and are naturally afraid that unless they take thither a fresh cargo of herrings they will not be able to import the wine, which is what they most desire. This they have asked Us to sanction, but We have refused for fear of the English resenting it. You may inquire and try to ascertain how far the King's privy councillors are disposed to allow a safe-conduct for a fresh cargo of herrings, and at the same time what amount of indemnity for their losses will be allowed to the merchants for the sequestration of the herrings and other losses sustained.—Gandt, 14th February 1543 (Old style).
Addressed: “To the Emperor's ambassador in England: Maistre Chapuis, du XIIIIe de Fevrier, dois Gandt (Ghent), 1543 avant Jaques.”
French. Original draft. 5 pp.
14 Feb. 35. High Commander Cobos to Francisco de Erasso.
S. E., L. 67, f. 80, 304 Since the departure of Martin Alonso de los Rios four letters from you have been received; one of the 17th of December [1543], another of the 27th, and two more of the 3rd of January [1544]. Of these latter, both of which came by hand, one was brought by Don Luis de Avila, (fn. 16) the other by the High Commander of Aragon. (fn. 17) I shall not answer each of them in particular, having already done so by Martin Alonso de los Rios, the messenger; though the latter had already left and was overtaken by an express sent after him. You will, therefore, receive at the same time the duplicate of my despatch of the 2nd of February, and this my letter in answer to all yours.
I thank you most gratefully for the care you take in writing to me privately and informing me by various ways of the Emperor's doings. Pray continue to do so as often as you can; you will do Us all a most signal service.
As to news from this country I have nothing fresh to communicate or to add to the contents of my other letter, save to recommend you to trust implicitly on secretary Idiaquez, and show him all the letters We write from this court (Valladolid) to His Imperial Majesty, as well as my own private ones to secretary Juan Vazquez de Molina, &c, for, as it is fit and proper that secretaries should communicate to each other their private letters and despatches, and His Highness, the Prince, does so with his own, I wish to comply with the established custom. (fn. 18) —Valladolid, 14th of February 1544.
Spanish. Holograph. 11/2 pp.


  • 1. Dr. Nicholas Wotton, dean of Canterbury, formerly English ambassador in Flanders, who, in November 1543, was appointed by king Henry to reside with the Emperor in the room of the bishop of London (Edmund Bonner). See Vol. VI., Part II., p. 525.
  • 2. “Joinct que les subjectz de ce royaulme ont grande quantite de biens en ce cartier là lesquelz (en cas de la declaration) seroient tous perduz.”
  • 3. “Et du moins à l'extreme seroit expedient et necessaire que comme vostre maieste a voulu estre suffisamment certiorée de louverture de la guerre entre eulx et les Escossois, que aussi fussent [ilz] suffisamment instruictz des causes legitimes par lesquelles le dict Sr roy se puisse bonnement declairer à lencontre du dict due.”
  • 4. Robert Bruce.
  • 5. “Et leur disant encoires quilz pouvoient bien adiouater Denmarch.”
  • 6. “Et me fust plaisir quilz me donnassent cest[e] occasion de blasonner ung pea les armes des françoys, et à eulx aussi de louyr comme gens non guercs inclinez de ce coustel la.”
  • 7. Most likely that of the duke of Holstein in exchange for the declaration against the Scots so frequently alluded to by Chapuys.
  • 8. That of the 9th (No. 8, p. 7).
  • 9. About this co. Bernard de St Boniface, or Bernardino di San Bonifazio, as he is elsewhere called (see Vol. VI., Part II.). He came to London in 1543 in company with another Italian captain, to offer his services to king Henry, who, however, did not accept of them, and dismissed him with a present, pp. 368 and 493. He was taken prisoner by the Imperialists at Ruremonde, or its immediate neighbourhood.
  • 10. The Archbishop's name was Gaspar Avalos, who upon the death of Pedro Sarmiento de Mendoza in 1541, was promoted to the archiepiscopal see of Santiago of Compostela. He had formerly been archbishop of Granada (1529), and, founder of its University (1531), was made Cardinal in 1544, and died on the 2nd of November 1545.
  • 11. Of the two despatches which prince Philip says he received from Chapuys, only one—that of the 9th of November 1543—has been found. It is abstracted in Vol. VI., Part II., pp. 519–21.
  • 12. Prince Philip was married to Maria, daughter of Dom Joaö III., king of Portugal in November 12th, 1548, at Salamanca. On the 19th of the same month he left for Valladolid, then the Court and capital of all Spain, where, on the 12th of July 1545, he lost his wife. Nine years after, on the 25th of July 1554, the Prince married, at Winchester, Mary Tudor, the daughter of king Henry VIII. and Catharine of Aragon.—Florez, Memorias de las Reynas Catholicas de Españe, Madrid, 1761; 4to., Vol. II., pp. 869–75.
  • 13. Most likely the paper at pp. 29–32, No. 22, headed, “Opinion of a Councillor of State on the agreement entered into by Ferrante Gonzaga with the king of England,” unless it be the Emperor's own resolution in the matter, as the words, “La Resolution de l'Empereur touchant la besoigne du viceroy de Sicile en Angleterre” seem to imply. The opinion alluded to has no date, but as Gonzaga was at Brussels in January, Praet, or some other Imperial councillor of State, may by queen Mary's order have (l'ouir) consulted about it.
  • 14. “Toutesfois nous a semblé quil ne fault encoires sur ce faire grande instance, mais qu'il seroit melieur de premier nous envoyer par escript la note des provisions tant de vivres, victualles (sic), chariotz que aultrement le dit Sr roy entende que nous debvons faire pour son service.”
  • 15. “Les quelz estoient deliberez durans ces gellées faire une visite aux pays de Frize et de Groninge, ce que par accident leur a cste empesché, et avons entendu de bon lieu que an printemps, si tost quilz auront reçeu largent quils attendent de France, ilz se mettront en mer.”
  • 16. Don Luis de Avila y Zuñiga. See above, p. 14.
  • 17. The High Commander of Aragon, mentioned lower down, could be no other than Urries, the last Grand Master of Montesa, one of the Military Orders peculiar to Aragon; the other three, Santiago, Calatrava, and Alcantara being those of Castille and Leon.
  • 18. “Que pues lo principal está hecho y Su Alteza lo hace, no hay razon para no hazello.”