Spain: September 1544, 16-20

Pages 336-350

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

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September 1544, 16–20

16 Sept. 198. Fragment of a Ciphered Letter from the Imperial Ambassadors in England to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. My colleague and I (Eustace Chapuys) asked the privy councillors whether we could next day wait upon the King, together with Monsr. d'Arras, whose arrival at this camp [before Boulogne] we expected at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Their answer was that the King would be glad to see the Bishop and us also at any time. Shortly after the Bishop's arrival, which took place at the appointed hour, we all (fn. 1) went to the King. Monsr. d'Arras, after presenting his credentials, proceeded to explain the object and purpose of the mission entrusted to him by the Emperor, of which mission, and Instructions for it (as he told us in private) he himself had given to Your Majesty full account from the camp before Montreuil. (fn. 2) The King's answer to Mons. d'Arras was in substance as follows: That the season being so far advanced he (the King) had decided that his army should not march further [into France], and that he had issued orders to that effect. He could not, if he chose, do otherwise, besides which his Privy Council had reported to him that the period during which the allied armies were bound to keep the field would expire in a fortnight. (fn. 3) This the King said, as it were, by way of reproach, and as if he wished to blame the Emperor for having so boldly penetrated into the enemy's country, and placed himself in danger, though, as we think, his real object was to excuse his own nonobservance of the treaty and justify, in a certain degree, his remaining behind, and pitching his tents before this town. This resolution of the King was the day after confirmed by several of his privy councillors, who most deliberately declared to me that on no account would their master consent, at present, to his army penetrating further into France; he (the King) considered the Emperor's undertaking as at once rash and dangerous, and he thought that his penetrating so far into the enemy's country was an imprudent act.
“With regard to the Emperors conditions for his own peace with France (one of the councillors added) the King, our master, cannot possibly approve of them and say that they are by no means as advantageous as they ought to be for his Imperial Majesty, when one of them is the marriage of the Princess of Spain (Maria) to the duke of Orleans (Charles de Valois). ” “That marriage (observed one of the councillors) the King, our master, can never approve of, not only because the said Princess (Maria) might eventually become Queen of that country, but because, as the King himself told you at the second audience you had from him, it would be a dishonourable and almost shameful condition for the Emperor to offer or accept from the King of France. Even if the Emperor had fallen a prisoner into the hands of king Francis, the conditions of peace proposed by himself or offered for his acceptance could not be harder than these. The same might be said of the Low Countries, and the second daughter of the king of the Romans (Ferdinand of Austria), which is the alternative marriage proposed for the duke of Orleans. Should either of these marriages so take place,—though it is most improbable that the inhabitants of Spain, the Milanese, or the people of the Low Countries will put up with the affront of being ruled over or governed by the son or the descendants of the greatest enemy their master, the Emperor, ever had,—the evils and complications arising from such conditions, if accepted and carried out, would be incalculable. That is why (continued the privy councillor) my master, the King, thinks that the Emperor ought to retreat [at once into Flanders]. If so, as his ally, the King, Our master, who is not far from the frontier of France, he cam,, in case of need, protect his retreat with any force that may be requisite.” (fn. 4)
As to the duke of Orleans' marriage with the second daughter of the King of the Romans (Ferdinand of Austria), and the Duchy of Milan as a dower for that Princess, it would, though less objectionable than the other, still offer great difficulties, for as neither the French Duke nor the Austrian Princess is the Emperor's lineal descendant, it is very doubtful if the Milanese will put up with them.
“Respecting the restoration of Mons. de Savoy on all his patrimonial estates, on which the Emperor insists so energetically, the King, my master, has nothing to observe; he finds it both just and necessary; yet as the French set such a high price on it, and its weight on the political balance is so overrated by them, the King, my master, may be excused if he fails to consider the Duke's restoration to his own patrimonial dominions as a sine qua non condition of peace imposed upon the common enemy.” Such was the argument of the privy councillor respecting the duke of Savoy and his estates, but it seems to us that if the king of England may be excused for failing to appreciate the importance of the restitution, he cannot be so on the ground of integrity and justice. (fn. 5)
As to the offers made by the French to the Emperor of a speedy and satisfactory settlement of all English claims, the aforesaid privy councillor declared to us that the King, his master, considered them quite insufficient, inasmuch as they (the French) had on former occasions offered not only to pay him in cash all arrears of debt and pension, but to deliver into his hands, as security for that payment, the towns of Montreuil, Boulogne and Ardres, promising besides to abstain in future from giving help and assistance to the Scots. True it is, as they say, that in consideration for the surrender of the above-mentioned fortified towns as a pledge, the French asked to be released in future from the payment of the annual pension they were formerly bound to pay to England, and that he King should waive all his rights and pretensions to Scotland; but that condition the King refused to accept. His motives for doing so (added the privy councillor confidentially and under reserve), were secret; he would not declare them save to the Emperor himself or to Mons. de Granvelle (fn. 6) his minister, yet for the Emperor's sake, and considering the position of his affairs, he would do his best towards gratifying the French in that matter, and helping them in their endeavour to obtain good terms of peace, so that the Emperor may also improve his own case and profit by his (King Henry's) good offices in that respect, as he had done on previous occasions. (fn. 7)
Such was the King's declaration to us at our second audience. After some slight observations on our part, which we deemed indispensable, we pointed out to him that the good offices to which he alluded had been made at the time of his declaration of war to the French ambassador in England, in conformity with the treaty of closer alliance and friendship; (fn. 8) they were entirely for the sake of the French, and for their benefit and advantage. As to more recent ambassadors of king Francis, we were not officially aware of their having made any overtures or offers whatever. They had merely stated to the King's commissioners sent for the express purpose of inquiring what their errand was, and why they came to the English camp, that their instructions were to speak to the King in private and ascertain whether he would be pleased to listen to overtures of peace from the King, their master, in consequence of which the King has this very day summoned them to his presence, with a view, no doubt, to ascertain, if he can, from them what king Francis' real intentions are with regard to peace. (fn. 9)
We also told him, by way of remonstrance, that the French were giving out that they would make short work of England, and grant any conditions he pleased, and we ended by representing to him as forcibly as it was in our power to do, that it was absolutely necessary for us to know what his intentions were as to peace or war with the French, in order that the Emperor might take a resolution in the matter, and not be obliged to send almost daily messengers to enquire what his views and intentions were. (fn. 10) The King's resolute answer was the same as at other times, namely, that His Imperial Majesty might conclude a separate peace, as far as he was himself concerned, with France, provided no article should be introduced in the treaty likely to prejudice or in any manner impair the confidence, good intelligence, and sincere friendship existing between the two allies, or the treaties made for that express purpose, (fn. 11) he (the King), promising to do the same on his side.
We cannot, however, omit to say that this very day [the 16th of September], a little before our conference with the King was at an end, the latter sent for the duke of Suffolk, and in our very presence rebuked him rather angrily for having said to us, whilst in reply to some argument of ours, that it was quite unreasonable to expect that after taking possession by force of arms of such a town as Boulogne—the siege of which had cost him so much money—the King, his master, should give it up to an enemy with whom he was still at war. As these words of the Duke had been uttered immediately after the King himself had told us that the French ambassadors had offered, as security for the payment of their debt, not only Boulogne, but Montreuil and Ardres also, the latter was rather displeased at it, and, as abovesaid, upbraided the Duke rather sharply. (fn. 12)
We should have preferred that, instead of continually applying to His Imperial Majesty for advice in the matter, the King had decided to treat of peace with the French ambassadors separately and by himself This, as the King himself did tell us the other day, would have removed all causes for future resentment, especially when he himself is under the impression that His Majesty, the Emperor, can and will obtain for him more advantageous conditions than he himself could demand from his enemy. (fn. 13) We have not failed to represent to him how desirable it is that he take at once a resolution in this affair, and he has promised to consult his Privy Council about it; but the haste in which Mons. d'Arras is to return to the Emperor's camp, and the many occupations and engagements by which the King and his councillors are now surrounded, have hitherto prevented them from coming to a final resolution on this point.
On the very same clay of Mons. d'Arras' (fn. 14) arrival at this camp another mine close to the wall of the castle was set fire to and exploded, though with so little an effect that the English could not mount the breach, and were repulsed. The King, who had witnessed the attack, came back to his tent highly incensed and displeased, and not without some apprehension that the repulse of his men might be the cause of the town holding out much longer than he (the King) anticipated. (fn. 15) On the following day, (fn. 16) however, the governor (fn. 17) of the place sent a parley and offered to capitulate for its surrender. The offer was accepted and the capitulation signed on the afternoon of the 14th. A copy of it will be inclosed if we receive it before the departure of this courier, if not it shall be forwarded separately, in order that Your Majesty may apprise the Emperor in detail, together with a full account of the form and manner in which the French garrison inside of it went out, and the number of those who remained behind in charge of the artillery and provisions.
It appears that the King is thinking of personally going to his camp before Montreuil in order to press the siege of the place, and, if possible, carry it by storm, which would be a most splendid and glorious feat of arms to achieve, and very desirable under present circumstances, on many reasons which Your Majesty may appreciate much better than we ourselves can.—Camp sur Boulogne, 16 September 1544. (fn. 18)
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys” and “Jean de Montmorency.”
French. Original. Mostly ciphered. 8 pp.
Indorsed: “Lettre chiffrée des ambassadeurs en Angleterre pour Mme la Royne de Hongrie.”
— Sept. 199–200. The Imperial Ambassadors to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. There was inside Boulogne at its surrender a garrison composed of about 14,000 men, mostly foreigners (soudards estrangiers), and about 600 of the people of that town or its immediate neighbourhood capable of bearing arms. The cause of the governor's surrender seems to have been that he and garrison could no longer resist the fire of the English batteries, from which, we are told, no less than one hundred thousand shots were fired, besides which the English had already gained possession of part of the ramparts by effecting breaches in the walls. The garrison, as it appears, had orders from the king of France to hold out for six weeks until the promised reinforcements had arrived, but these never came, and when they surrendered the siege had already lasted two months. They left behind them many gun-carriages (charettes), but hardly any artillery.—Boulogne, September 1544.
Signed: “J. de Montmorency” and “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 1 p. (fn. 19)
17 Sept. 201. High Commander Cobos to Mons. De Granvelle.
S. E. L. 64, f. 95. Has received his lordship's ciphered letter of the 23rd of June, (fn. 20) asking for particulars of the Emperor's conversation with the duke of Alba at Madrid respecting Milan and its government, to which letter, however, he (Cobos) will have little to answer, having already stated his opinion in writing whenever he has been asked. The duke (fn. 21) persists in his former assertion, namely, that the last time the Emperor spoke to him about the government of Milan, it was not stipulated that should he be appointed to that post he was to resign his charge of Lord High Steward to His Imperial household. That, he says, was never mentioned in conversation, nor would he have accepted the government of Milan on such conditions. The only thing the Emperor said on the subject was, that should he decide to appoint a governor for the duchy of Milan, he would certainly think of him for that post, and this was said with every demonstration of good will and affection on the part of the Emperor, adding that the case being, he (the duke) would receive instructions as to what had to be done there. Such is the duke's declaration as to what passed between the Emperor and him at Madrid. He is, however, confident that in that or in any other charge His Imperial Majesty is sure to utilize his services.
As to Don Ferrante [Gonzaga], he (Cobos) has no doubt of his being one of the candidates for that high post, and that he was summoned to Court expressly for that; but events have happened since to prevent altogether his nomination. If the Emperor, as he (Mons. de Granvelle) says, is free and disengaged in this matter, he will, when the time comes, appoint either the one or the other; no better choice could be made. The duke might perhaps be missed here in Spain and his (Cobos') impression is that, although the post of governor of the duchy of Milan is a highly honorable and responsible one, and the duke would be glad to get it, yet he will not be offended by the Emperor conferring it upon some other personage, and will continue to do service here in Spain or elsewhere. If ever the Emperor decides to appoint a governor the duke ought to be written to.
His last letters must have informed him (Granvelle) of the state of things here, in Spain. He (Cobos) is not a man to start new difficulties, much less in the Emperor's path, and yet what he is going to say is of such importance that I cannot conscientiously forbear from mentioning it There is not one ducat left in all these kingdoms of Spain, nor whence to get it for this year and the next, and even for the third, considering that the budget of 1546 will have to be spent on the galleys of Prince Doria and Spain, and foreigners (forasteros), besides other expenses, like public works and so forth, and the interest to be paid to bankers and merchants for their loans. Something may in the meantime happen to disarrange all our plans, because though all here are the Emperor's true and faithful servants, will they offer us help in procuring money, for that becomes a matter of conscience, and there are not wanting friars—ugly customers enough (fn. 22) —to preach to the people not to pay. Indeed, some are so inconsiderate as to imagine that the surest means for obliging the Emperor to reside in these realms of Spain consists in not granting him so much money as they have voted for his foreigners' services. Notwithstanding that, all that can be done in the matter has been done; he (Cobos) is set down as a wicked man without conscience, who is doing all the harm he can to his fellow Christians. God only knows how much I wish that your lordship may persuade His Imperial Majesty to take some good resolution in foreign affairs, and come to reside among us, for if anything happens (which may God forbid!) the Emperor's son (Philip) is too young yet to remedy it, although I am positively certain that the Emperor's true and faithful servants, who are not' in small numbers, will do in every respect their duty.
I could not, for the repose of my conscience, whatever efforts I made, forbear writing to your lordship on the subject, and reporting on the true state of this country. My letter being ciphered, I have omitted for brevity's sake some details which your lordship may read in that which I write to the Emperor; if necessary, this may be shown to our master, provided no other person sees it.—Valladolid, 17 September 1544.
Signed: “Francisco de los Cobos.”
Spanish. Original in cipher. 3 pp.
17 Sept. 202. Prince Philip to Eustace Chapuys.
S. E. L. 68, f. 78. Your despatch of the 10th of July, as well as your letter (fn. 23) to the High Commander (Cobos) of the same date, informing me (sic) and him of the Emperor's progress, and of events in England and Scotland, were duly received; We thank you for them. We have, however, no direct news from the Imperial camp, and though We are expecting them daily, We still are anxious to hear how the overtures for peace made by the French have ended, and what has been the result of them.
Here [in Spain] things are going on as smoothly as could be desired. It is true that some time ago a rumour was afloat that Monsr. de Labrit (fn. 24) had actually come to Bayonne for the purpose of making levies of men there and in the adjoining districts, with a view to invade Navarre and try to surprise some towns or other in that kingdom; but it has since been ascertained that the aforesaid Monsr. de Labret is now somewhere in Gascony. He has no foreign troops with him, and if so, any attack on his part, in case he pressed the frontier, would be of no importance at all, besides which, should he attempt to go out of Narbonne he is sure to come to grief, for the viceroy of Catalonia writes to say that he is quite prepared and ready to meet him, and will, on the contrary do all possible harm to the French on the Rousillon frontier. He (the Viceroy) writes that he will not limit himself as hitherto, to the defence of Catalonia; he will, if he finds a favourable opportunity, cross the frontier and attack the enemy in his own territory.
My kind regards to the princess of England (Mary).
I sincerely congratulate you for the abbey of St. Angel, (fn. 25) which the Emperor has granted to you.—Valladolid, 17 September 1544.
Indorsed: “Minuta de carta al embajador en Inglaterra, Eustaqio (sic) Capucho (sic).”
Spanish. Original draft. 2 pp.
20 Sept. 203. The Queen of Hungary to the Imperial Ambassadors in England.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Messieurs,”—This will be to inform you of the fact that this very morning the Sieur de La Voessane arrived here [at Brussels] with a letter of the 14th inst. (fn. 26) from the Emperor, announcing that peace with France has been concluded. The Emperor has delayed taking any decisive steps in that matter until the return of the Sieur d'Arras, as he wished to know beforehand what resolution the king of England had come to. You will tell the King that he, himself, is comprised in it; but that as the articles of the treaty, not yet drawn out, are signed by the parties when Voeseur (sic) left, His Imperial Majesty could not give Us the particulars. This, notwithstanding, We could not fail to inform you of the fact that you may with proper discretion announce it to the King, at the same time giving him to understand that the Emperor, having heard from the mouth of the Sieur d'Arras what the King's answer was when consulted on the subject, has actually concluded peace with France. You will also tell him that the Emperor, Our brother, has done and will do his utmost for the observance of the closest possible friendship between himself and his ally, which friendship His Imperial Majesty intends and wishes to observe most faithfully ?n his own side. We, however, ask you most particularly to watch the King's countenance when you make him the above communication, and impart the said news to him.
The above-mentioned Sieur de Voesane (sic) tells Us that on his passage through St. Quentin he heard that king Francis was sending part of his army towards Montreuil, and that there was a rumour of the Dauphin (Henri de Valois) being about to start in the same direction. Although We have no certainty of this, yet the sincere friendship We entertain towards the King prompts Us to inform you of the said news that you, yourself, may apprise the King, if you deem it advisable and convenient.
The English ambassador here has just this moment announced to Us the surrender of Boulogne; please do congratulate the King on that event, and tell him that no news could have been more agreeable to Us. As to his (the King's) thanks for Our having ordered at his request, the release of the Italian prisoners, it is a thing for which no thanks are due; We shall always be ready to do that and a good deal more for the King's sake.
With regard to the warships, equipped and fitted out in these parts, We hear that they are already out; though, as the sea is large and wide, We cannot exactly determine their whereabouts. We wish, however, to inform you that, when the ships returned from their last expedition, the soldiers (gens de guerre) on board of them complained that they had remained many days on the Dover coast without doing any service at all, which We then considered reasonable enough, owing to that King's intended passage and in accordance with the treaty of closer alliance. The ships shall not remain between Calais and Dover, but sail along the coast of the enemy's country. Those are the orders We have now given to the admiral in command of them, and it is to be hoped that they will be complied with. The ships, therefore, may probably have done what the king of England wants them to do without letting him know, but, as abovesaid, until their return We cannot say where they have been or are at present. With this explanation on Our part you can make the most gracious excuses possible for Our inability to comply at present with the King's request.—20 September 1544.
French. Original draft. 2 pp.
20 Sept. 204. News from the Emperor's Camp and the Peace with France.
P. Arch. Nat. Simancas. On Friday the 28th of August, the Emperor being six leagues from Xalons in France, Anibalt (Claude d'Annebault), admiral of France, the Grand Chancellor, (fn. 27) and a secretary of king Francis, Claude de l'Auberpine, (fn. 28) came to the Imperial Camp with a safe-conduct, previously obtained from the Emperor. With them came upwards of seventy French knights (caballeros). Gonzaga and Monseigneur de Granvelle, accompanied by Alonso de Idiaquez and another of the Emperor's secretaries, went out of the Imperial Camp to receive them. They all met in a church one quarter of a league from the camp, where a conversation took place between them as to the means of putting an end to the war. During the meeting the French knights with their white and the Spaniards with their red crosses, kept up an amicable conversation together either on the glorious practice of warfare or on the advantages of peace, most of them being in favour of the latter. Nothing, however, was done at the meeting, the admiral, chancellor, and secretary returning as they had come, being accompanied part of the way by Don Alvaro de Sande and one thousand Spanish hackbutiers. On the following day, which was Saturday, a rumour having been spread that peace was about to be made, the vanguard of the Imperial army continued its march towards Xalons (Chalons), and the Sunday after pitched their tents half a league from that town. Here a skirmish took place, at which thirty Frenchmen were taken prisoners, the Imperialists arriving soon in front of the town, whose walls and fortifications they began to reconnoitre. Then it was that Fray Gabriel de Guzman, a Dominican friar, came to the Emperor, and either on behalf of His Holiness the Pope, or of king Francis himself, as asserted, made overtures of peace, which were accepted under certain preliminary conditions. Immediately after, the Admiral (Hannebault), the Chancellor, keeper of the Seals, and the king's Secretary made their appearance at the Imperial Camp, whilst Ferrante Gonzaga, Monseigneur de Granvelle, and Secretary Idiaquez met them at a castle of the bishop of Chalons (Robert de Lenoncourt), a quarter of a league from that town. Though the conference lasted from noon to night, nothing was concluded On the following day (Tuesday) the Imperial Camp moved on towards Paris, passing on one side of Xalons (Chalons), and distant enough from it not to be offended by the artillery of the place. The Imperial army did not cross the Marne, but, leaving Xalons (Chalons) behind and following that river bank, advanced upon Perne (Epernay) and Casteo-Tier (Cateau-Thierry), where the enemy kept their stores of provisions. Though the two above-mentioned towns had garrisons sufficiently strong to wait at least for an attack, the French on the appearance of our scouts abandoned them precipitously, after setting fire to the stores, and fled in the direction of a town near which the Dauphin's army was encamped. Enough bread and wine was, however, saved to last our men for some days. From Chateau-Thierry our army proceeded to Chastelon (Chatillon sur Marne), a large walled town, which made little or no defence at all, and thence to Soissons. Castellon (sic) is only 17 leagues distant from Paris, so that had our horses been in better condition, and able to run faster, surely we should have reached the gates of that capital, made acquaintance with the enemy, and most likely taken possession of their houses. (fn. 29) The Emperor arrived at Soissons on Sunday the 17th. He did not go into the town, but took up his lodgings at an abbey in the neighbourhood, called San Juan de las Viñas (St. Jean des Vignes), (fn. 30) where he stayed three whole days waiting for news. Here a report circulated in the camp, the substance of which was that the inhabitants of Paris were flying in all directions, carrying away with them their valuables. There it was also that the admiral of France, Anibalt (Claude d'Hannebault), this time coming expressly with a message from king Francis, renewed his proposals of peace, and the peace between our master, the Emperor, and the king of France was concluded, the publication being made next day at a place of the neighbourhood called Crespio (Crepy).—[Soissons], 20th of September 1544.
French. Original draft. 2 pp.
20 Sept. 205. Advices from France.
S. E. Francia. L. 68. After the taking of San Desir (St. Dizier) (fn. 31) the Emperor, our King and master, leaving a sufficient garrison in it under a field-marshal of his army with orders to have that town further strengthened and revictualled, decided to continue his march on Paris. On the 18th of August he left St. Dizier and after a few slight skirmishes with the enemy, and sacking and burning on his march towns and villages, reached La Chaussée, four leagues distant from a large town of that country called Xalon (Chalons). This, however, he would not attack, though he approached it, not so much because the season being far advanced and the town strong he feared the defence might be stout, and his own advance to Paris consequently retarded, but also, because having heard that king Francis and the Dauphin, his son, were encamped not far off, he wished above all things to give them battle. Having, therefore, issued orders that the very moment that the marquis of Brandenburgh's drums sounded in the distance the whole camp would be raised and both infantry and cavalry ready to march, he, suddenly, and without the enemy being aware of it, continued the road to Paris. In this manner the Germans and Spaniards under his commanders marched the whole of the night until they arrived in sight of the enemy who happened to be encamped on the opposite side of the river [Marne].
On the very same day the road by which the French army received provisions was occupied by our men, as well as the towns of Catiotero (Chateau Thierry) and Perne (Epernay) on the Marne, where the greater part of their stores were kept. In the latter place no less than 500 barges, laden to the top with flour, wine and other provisions, were found, which were mostly wasted or destroyed by the Emperor's orders. Enough, however, was saved to feed this army for several days, though upwards of 200 casks of wine were spilt for fear of the Germans getting drunk, and thereby becoming unruly and insolent, as they did partially on the occasion. (fn. 32) In fact, though we were never in want of food during this French campaign, owing to this year's harvest in wheat and barley having been plentiful, and to the good management and administration of the purveyor general, yet I must own that we were at one time rather apprehensive of the worst coming to pass, especially as there was then a rumour afloat in this camp that king Francis had ordered the crops to be destroyed or burned in all the districts surrounding the capital of his kingdom, with a view, no doubt, to oblige us to retreat or die of hunger. But either these orders were not issued, as it was said, or else the soil of France is wonderfully fertile, for we found everywhere plenty of food and provisions for all of us.
At this place it was published throughout the camp that a pitched battle would soon be fought, owing to there being only one narrow bridge across the river, and the absolute necessity there was of hastily throwing up other bridges for the passage of the artillery; besides which, as our army had proceeded along the right side of the Marne two leagues beyond the French position on the left bank, in order to meet the enemy strongly entrenched, as he was, between two rivers surrounded by marshes (pantanos), we could not do less than cross two other rivers which, though not so considerable and deep as the Marne, might still offer some difficulty in a strategetic point of view. If to this be added that on hearing of our army having crossed the Marne, and marching against the French, the latter might suddenly raise their tents and go away in the direction of the Valois, (fn. 33) there was no probability of the Emperor deciding to attack the French, which military operation would take at least two or three days. He, therefore, thought that it was far preferable to follow the right bank of the Marne, because should provisions for his army become scarce or fail altogether—for according to news brought by confidents the King's camp on the other side of the Marne are beginning already to feel the want of them—it would have been necessary to change the route to Paris. These are the considerations which obliged the Emperor to insist on his former determination.
In this manner did our army march in the direction of Paris, it being published throughout the camp that the Emperor's intention was still to enter that capital, or oblige its defenders to engage in a pitched battle; which resolution (fn. 34) was so much to the taste of our countrymen, that all were glad and full of spirits at the mere idea of obliging king Francis to desert his capital, which might have been accomplished had our cavalry in the vanguard run faster. (fn. 35)
At Soissons, or in its immediate neighbourhood, the Emperor stayed from the 14th to the 17th, during which time overtures of peace were made by the admiral of France (Claude d'Hannebault) and other French ministers, the Emperor having deputed the duke of Molfelta (Ferrante de Gonzaga) and Monseigneur de Granvelle. his Lord Privy Seal, to hear what the French commissioners had to say. The conferences took place at an abbey of the neighbourhood called Nuestra Señora de las Vinasd, and ended in a peace with king Francis, which was published two days after, on the 19th, at Crepy.—[Soissons] 20 September 1544.
Spanish. Contemporary copy. 3 pp.


  • 1. “Tous les trois,” that is to say Eustace Chapuys, De Courrières, and the bishop of Arras (Antoine Perrenot), as above. See Chapuys' preceding despatch to the Emperor, p. 335.
  • 2. “Et apres avoir tres pertinentement et avec la dexterité requise expliqué la commission et charge dont il advertit v[ost]re. mate doiz Montreuil.”
  • 3. “Finallement l'effect substantial qu'il rapporta de la responce (sic) du dit sr roy est que icelluy sr roy est resolu pour estre la saison si avaucée de non faire marcher son armée, car aussi ne avoit il ordre du monde ores qu'il le voulust, et d'ailleurs le temps qu'estoit capitulé, comme disoyent ceulx de son Conseil, de tenir les armées aulx champs debuoit expirer dans dix ou xv jours. Mordant aucunement l'empriuse de sa mate s'estre si hazardeusement et dangereusement tant avant au pays. A quoy dire vraysemblablement il a esté esmeu pour s'excuser de ce qu'il n'a observé la capitulation cn ce[t] endroit et pour coulourer sa demeure ici.”
  • 4. “Mesmes celuy (celle) qui concerne le marriage de la Princesse d'Espagne avec le due d'Orleans, et que la couronne du dit Espagne pourroit venir à la dite princesse, joint qu'il pensoit que les gens des pais bas ne seroyent contents d'avoyr un tel seigneur que le due d'Orleans. Voire qu'il vint à dire la derniere fois que parlasmes à luy que ce seroit grant honte pour sa mate d'accepter les offres que faysoient à icelle les françoys, et que ores que sa mate fust prisonnier entre les mains des dits françoys, ilz ne luy sçauroyent offrir conditions plus prejudiciales ni ignominieuses, et qu'il seroit d'advis que sa mate se retirat sans rien conclure, joint qu'il n'estoit loing des frontieres, et [que] si besoing estoit pour favoriser la dite retraicte feroit marcher quelque nombre de ses gens selon qu'il seroit advisé.”
  • 5. “Le dit sr roy louait fort que sa mate s'arrestat si soigneusement en la restitution des pays de Monsr de Savoye, puisque les françoys le luy vouloyent vendre si cher. Sur quoy le dit sr roy est en partie excusé pour non sçavoir l'importance de la dite restitution, mais lon ne [le] sçauroit excuser en l'endroit de l'honnesteté.”
  • 6. “Mais que pour le dire en grant secret et confidentement avec protestation il ne se declaireroit qu'à sa mate on à Monsr de Grantvelle (sic).”
  • 7. “Il seroit content en contemplation de v[ost]re. mate, voyant les termes ou icelle se trouvoit, de grattifier aux dits françoys àfin que sa mate en peult mieulx en faire son cas, comme il avoit desja faict en aultres occasions au profit de v[ost]re. mate.”
  • 8. “Luy remonstrant que cest office avoit il desja faict aux françoys par la sommation faite à l'embassadeur de France conforme au contenu du traicté de plus etroicte auntie.”
  • 9. “Et quant aux ambassadeurs françoys nouvellement venuz encoires n'ont fait offres ni ouvertures sinon en termes generaulx aux commis qu'il avoit envoyé devers enlx, disant que leur charge estoit de prealablement parler à luy, à la quelle occasion les a fait aujourd'hui venir içy esperant de tirer d'eulx plainement l'intention du roi de France en son endroit.”
  • 10. “Que les dits françoys donnoient à entendre qu'ilz en feroient bien avec le dit sr roy, et qu'ilz le contenteroient entierement, luy representant au mesme temps par plusieurs fois la necessité que sa mate avoit de se resouldre en matiere de paix pour qu'il ne soit question sans luy delayer l'affaire ny pouvoir envoyer de par deça.”
  • 11. “C'est à dire que sa mate pouvoit conclure en ce que touchoit à icelle, reservant tousjours qu'il ne se traictat chose prejudiciable à la confidence, intelligence, et sincere amitié entre eulx deux ni au traicté sur ce fait.”
  • 12. “Appella le due de Suffolk, au quel il echappa de dire sur quelques propos qu'il avoit malentendu, qu'il ne seroit point raison que le dit sr roy quittast des mains ceste place que luy avoit tant cousté. Les queues parolles le dit sr roy, qui avoit parlé paravant des dits Montreuil et Ardres, ne se monstra content, ains le rebroussa ung peu asprement.”
  • 13. “Sane donner charge à son ambassadeur d'en faire poursuyte devers sa mate, affin d'oster toute occassion de ressentement, sachant mesmesment qu'il entend que sa mate doibge demander conditions avantageunes pour luy qu'il ne seroit (sçauroit) demander à ceulx-çy.”
  • 14. That is on the 11th of September. See above, p. 333.
  • 15. “Que l'effort des anglois ne fust tel que le dit sr roy pensoit, dont il en revint (s'en resent?), et aussi avec quelque craincte pour le reboutement de ses gens de non empourter ceste ville si tost qu'il pensoit.”
  • 16. On the 11th.
  • 17. Jacques de Coucy, sieur de Verbins or Vervins, in Picardy.
  • 18. It is to be regretted that the first paragraphs of this most interesting despatch to the queen of Hungary be missing, for had it been found in the Imperial Archives at Vienna we might have been able to judge with greater certainty of what passed at the English camp before Boulogne, between king Henry and the bishop of Arras. That the latter arrived at the camp on the 11th and saw the King on the 12th we are informed by his two colleagues (p. 335, No, 187), but what he himself said to the King, or what answer he received we are not told, for the bishop left on the 14th. No doubt on his return to the Emperor, as his colleagues wrote on that very day (p. 836), he drew up an official account of his mission, but if he did so it has not been preserved.
  • 19. Immediately after the above despatch of the 16th, this one follows as a supplement or post scrip turn to it. Could it be the account of the capitulation and surrender of Boulogne, which, as stated therein, the Imperial ambassadors expected to receive from the Privy Council before the departure of the courier bearer of their despatch of the 16th? That may be, and yet the gross exaggeration about the number of shots fired by the English artillery (cent mille cops de cannon), and other statements not in accordance with English or French accounts, afford sufficient reasons for suspecting that, unable to procure before the departure of the courier the promised official account of the capitulation and surrender of Boulogne, they took a hasty note of the events according to the news circulating in the English camp.
  • 20. Not in Simancas nor in Paris.
  • 21. “El duque siempre está en que la postrera vez que con su magd habló en esto no quedó que habiendose de dar à el se entendia que fuese dexando el cargo de mayor domo mayor, que esto nunca lo pensó, sino que quando su magd lo oviesse de proveer ternia memoria de el con demostracion de muy buena voluntad, y que le avisaria de lo que se oviesse de hazer.”
  • 22. “Porque aunque acá todos son verdaderos servidores de su magd, ayudaran poco à lo que es menester quanto à provision de dineros, y hay gran conciencia (sic) y no faltan frayles, que es una mala materia.”
  • 23. No. 149, p. 243, and No. 150, p. 245.
  • 24. Henri II. d'Albret, titular king of Navarre.
  • 25. In May or June of 1543, after the conclusion and ratification of the treaty of closer alliance and friendship with England, Chapuys was rewarded with the abbey of Saint Angelo in Naples.
  • 26. “Que ce matin est içy arrivé le Sieur de La Voessane avecq lettres de l'Empereur.” If this Sieur de La Voessane—whose name is also written in the same letter Voesseur and Voesen (Whessen ?)—arrived in Brussels, with the Emperor's letter to his sister dated the 14th, the Bishop's return from Boulogne must have taken place on that very day.
  • 27. Monsr. Erraut de Chemans, Chancellor of France, who was at the same time “Garde des Sceaux” (Lord Privy Seal), and President of the Parliament of Paris. Sandoval (lib. XXVI, Vol. II., p. 507) calls the French commissioners: Anibaldo, el Almirante, Carlos Nullio, y Bayardo (Gilbert Bayard). The one whom the good bishop of Pamplona calls Carlos Nullio, can be no other than “Charle de Neuilly,” who was only Master of Requests at the time, and perhaps also Garde Sceaux ad. interim, for Father Daniel, in his Histoire de France, Vol. V., p. 412, says that in consequence of Neuilly having slapped the face of Fr. Gabriel de Guzman, the Dominican, during the conference that preceded the peace of Crepy, Neuilly, whom he calls Etienne instead of Charle, lost the chance of becoming Chancellor of France, to which charge he would certainly have been promoted had not Cardinal de Tournon, then at the head of affairs in France, conferred it on another. Both Du Thou (Vol. VII., p. 346) and Simonde de Sismondi (Vol. XVII.) confirm the fact.
  • 28. According to Father Daniel (loco laudato, XVII.) it was not L'Aubespine, but Gilles, or Gilbert, Bayard, another of Francis' secretaries, who accompanied the Admiral and the Chancellor on this occasion.
  • 29. “Y si nuestros caballos hubieran estado en mejor condicion y podido correr mas à priso à buen seguro que nuestra gente hubiera llegado à las mismas puertas de Paris, hecho conocimiento con su enemigo, y quizá tambien echadole de su casa.”
  • 30. “Alli mesmo, en una abadia que llaman San Juan de las Viñas y está puesta en una barriada de Solson (sic) fue ajustada la paz entre el Emperador y el Rey de Francia, en Crespio (Crepy) un lugarejo de las cercanias, les qualos al dia a siguiente que fue, que fué el 19 del mes, se publicaron en el campo.”
  • 31. After a comparatively long siege, during which Capt La Lande, who commanded the garrison, was killed, the town surrendered on the 8th of August. See above, p. 269.
  • 32. “Tomóseles el mesmo dia el paso de las vituallas que venian rio arriba y la villa de Perne donde hacian la massa dellas., y hallaronse en el rio mas de quinientas barcas de harinas y otras provisiones y en el lugar tantas que bastaron para proveer nuestro exercito muchos dias y sobraron, porque el Emperador mandó que se derramasen mas de 2,000 botas de vino porque los alemanes no se apoderasen dellas; que comencaban ya á se revolver como suelen hacerlo.” Sandoval in his History of the Emperor (lib. XXVI., pp. 505–7) speaks at length of the indiscipline of the German mercenaries on this occasion.
  • 33. Also called Le Valoisan (Le Valaisan, or Valesan), an ancient district and duchy in the north of France, now the eastern part of the dep. L'Oise.
  • 34. “La qual resolucion puso de tan buen talante à nuestra gente, y con tan buena voluntad que todos se alegraron de ir á Paris, y sacar al Rey Francisco de su casa, dando ya la cosa como hecha y efectuada, y asi lo hubieran logrado si los caballos de la vanguardia hubieran corrido un poco mas.”
  • 35. Compare the preceding letter (No. 204) by another camp correspondent, who says distinctly “had our horses been in better condition, &c.“ This and other passages of the two “Relaciones” or “Avisos,” as these early specimens of periodical newspapers were then called, are not the production of the same pen, as it might at first sight be presumed.