Spain: September 1544, 26-30

Pages 367-377

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

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September 1544, 26–30

26 Sept. 211. Eustace Chapuys and Monsr. De Courrières to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—On the 24th inst., about 9 o'clock in the morning, Your Majesty's letter of the 20th (fn. 1) came to hand, at the same time as those of this King's ambassador with Your Majesty and his own report on the result of his mission. These last we immediately forwarded to the King, at the same time applying for an audience. After reading and examining what the ambassador wrote—which, by the way, could not be very agreeable to him (fn. 2) —the King sent his excuses for not being able to receive us at once, on account, as he said, of his being engaged the whole of that day on business connected with the departure of the duke of Suffolk, whom he was about to send next day to Montreuil.
Three hours after the above answer to our application, the earl of Hertford, the Admiral, and Secretary Paget came to us with a similar message from their master, alleging the very same excuses of most urgent engagements, though We must say that our belief was rather shaken by the most unfortunate coincidence that just at the time that the above said privy councillors were excusing their master, the King, on the plea of the most important and urgent business, he happened to be seen going out of the town to sport in the fields. The King's message, as delivered by the privy councillors, was thus worded; “As the King, our master, cannot for the alleged reasons give you audience to-day, he sends us on to inquire from you if there be any pressing business requiring your immediate and personal attendance upon him. Should there be any such necessity, We are commanded to go back to him and report Otherwise you must have patience; to-morrow the King will be glad to receive you.”
Our answer in general terms, and without specifying the nature of our communication, was simply this: That the matter was very important and required our personal attendance on the King. Upon which, the privy councillors, perceiving that they could not get m re out of us, began to say that the King, their master, found it strange that Your Majesty's fleet (navires de guerre) was not yet in the Strait, according to the treaty, and, moreover, that the vessels and transports destined for the passage of their army back to England were not ready; and on our replying that, according to information received from the Queen [of Hungary], Your Majesty's warships had already put to sea, and, moreover, that it was impossible for us to guess whether they really intended to have their army back in England or to remain in France, and that in case of their deciding for the return English commissaries ought to have been appointed beforehand, as on previous occasions, which had not been done. To this argument of ours the councillors made no reply, nor did they offer explanation, but they went on to say that the King, their master, found it also very strange that after Your Majesty had concluded peace with France no intimation had come to him for the raising of the English camp before Montreuil, and their consequent retreat. Our answer was that Your Majesty supposed that either Montreuil had already surrendered, or else that the King, their master, who had great experience of military affairs, and knew perfectly well the quality and numbers of the enemy's force inside, might have provided in the matter, as was fit and convenient. An imputation of temerity might have attached had Your Majesty tendered advice in a matter of that sort; people might perhaps have thought that the wish of saving the pay of Mons. Bueren's men had influenced you to counsel the raising of the siege of Montreuil. We further told them on the subject of the peace between Your Imperial Majesty and the king of France, at which they seemed both surprised and astonished, that We were quite sure of its being quite as advantageous for England, and had no doubt that the King, their master, being a virtuous and wise prince, would not fail, after mature consideration and thought, to be perfectly satisfied with it. After this we readily granted their request, and promised to write to the Queen [of Hungary], and also to Mons. de Rœulx, to have provisions stored on the side of St. Omer, provided the King sent his own commissaries to get charge of them.
At this last suggestion of ours the privy councillors seemed very much pleased, and declared that they wished to go immediately to the King, who, they thought, might still give us audience that very day, if possible. That, however, did not take place, for the King was then, as aforesaid, out of town in the fields, and did not come back [to Boulogne] until a very late hour.
Next day, after dinner, we waited on the King, and explained to him in the most gracious and courtly terms possible the substance of our charge, as contained in Your Majesty's letter to us. We began, according to instructions, by thanking him in Your Majesty's name [for the advice he had tendered], which thanks he (the King) took in very good part. Not understanding, however, sufficiently well what he (the King) had meant by his last warning against the proposed marriage of Your Majesty's daughter to the duke of Orleans, we asked him for an explanation. Upon which, not recollecting the two points of the alternative, the King began to say (fn. 3) that peace being now made and concluded, there was no further need of determination [of the case]. Upon which, we reminded him of the alternative terms, and he seemed satisfied. Passing then to the chief matter—that is, his objection to the marriage—the King was evidently displeased at our asking for an explanation, for he tried to divert the conversation, and denied having said to Mons. d'Arras the words which we wished him to explain.” (fn. 4) He found it strange that Your Majesty should have concluded peace with France, without having his settled at the same time, and that Your Majesty should thus have shown more regard for a duke of Savoy and a duke of Mantua than for himself, the king of England, who had always been an affectionate friend to You, and undergone so much expense for Your sake. He wondered the more why Your Majesty had not obtained for him at least a truce, or suspension of hostilities, during which he (the King) might honourably retreat into his own kingdom—which, however, he had now decided to do—after offering battle to the French if they wished to have it. (fn. 5)
As to the aid which king Francis offered to give against the Turk, that (the King said) ought not to have been an incentive for Your Majesty making peace with him, for, according to information and news lately received, there was no fear at present of military movements on the side of Turkey.
The same complaints and grievances (douleances) did the King express to us respecting the warships and hulks for the transport [to England] of his army, now in France, he repeating the very same words and arguments of which the above-mentioned earl of Hertford, his admiral, and Secretary Paget had made use; to which objections and complaints we replied by showing him the memorandum (billet) appended to Your Majesty's letter. (fn. 6)
Touching the furnishing (subministration) of provisions, we made such pertinent answer as it was in our power to do, employing all sorts of arguments to prove to him that neither Your Majesty nor the queen dowager of Hungary had been in fault. Those arguments it would take us too long to repeat here; suffice it to say that the King seemed half satisfied with them, and he ended by saying that he would communicate with his Privy Council and let us know his answer, that we might write to Your Majesty.
We found the King rather depressed and thoughtful, instead of buoyant and high spirited as he generally is, indeed very different in manner from what he was at the time that the French ambassadors asked for their “congé,” and he himself had unofficial notice of the peace having been concluded. (fn. 7) To judge from what we have heard him and his Privy Councillors say, we really believe that his low spirits and depression are chiefly caused by the fear that the retreat of his army may eventually bring upon him some loss of reputation.
This very morning the King sent us word by Secretary Paiget (Sir William Paget), to the effect that having reflected on what we (my colleague and I) had told him in Your Majesty's name, and considering the inconveniences that might arise in case of delay, he at once approved of, and sanctioned all that Your Majesty had done respecting the peace as well as the care You had taken of the reservation prescribed by the treaties, and in obtaining king Francis' submission, and that he himself felt completely sure that as Your Majesty considered Yourself secure and free from danger, You would not fail in acting the part of a true and faithful friend and perpetual confederate and ally. Of this last wish and hope expressed by them, We gave as complete an assurance as it was in our power, describing in the highest possible terms the perfect, complete, and almost incredible friendship and affection that Your Majesty professed towards him.
After this, having declared to the Secretary (Paget) the contents of Your Majesty's letter to us of the 24th inst. received last evening, he gave us to understand that his master, the King, had similar news from his ambassador at Your Majesty's Court, and that following Your Majesty's kind advice, he had resolved to raise the siege of Montreuil and withdraw his army, and retreat by way of St. Omer, at the same time requesting us to take care that provisions should be ready there, and write to the Queen and also to Mons. du Rœulx to that effect, which we promised to do.
Respecting Mons. d'Arras (said the Secretary), the King's ambassador writes—that as soon as he has negociated with the French King he will come here to treat with my master, but I am afraid that the King will not know for the present what to answer, nor what resolution to take on Monsr. d'Arras' mission, especially now that he is preparing to cross over to England, for he would have sailed this very morning had the large warships destined for his escort arrived. The Secretary assured us that, in a couple of days at the most, the King will take his departure, which, we believe, will be the cause of great fear and anxiety to the English army at Montreuil as well as to the English of this town, considering the disorder and confusion that prevail in all this affair at present.
The King, in our opinion, has received with pleasure the advice tendered by Your Majesty with regard to the retreat of his army before Montreuil, because that advice will, in a certain measure, colour and justify the retreat of his army; but he would be doubly glad, nay, would be much obliged, if Your Majesty could insinuate to the king of France that the whole had been done at Your Majesty's request and for Your sake, and request king Francis to do the same on his side, and in this manner avoid the inconveniences and damages that might ensue, and that a suspension of hostilities should follow till the means of securing peace were found, either through direct negociation between the parties concerned, or by arbitration and sentence of Your Majesty, to which sentence the King will readily submit with pleasure, and consider himself much obliged if Your Majesty would undertake to pronounce it. In this manner all the scruples which the King might entertain—which we dare say must be considerable—whatever mien the necessity and pressure of present affairs may oblige him to put on, might be removed. (fn. 8)
Had the King's large warships been in sight this morning, he himself would have gone on board and sailed away, as we said above, without giving us notice, as we presume; but as the ships have not yet made their appearance, he has had the courtesy, as reason and honesty demanded, to inform us of his departure, which will take place within two days, during which time neither my colleague nor I can procure a passage to cross over to England at the same time with him. Not that there is much probability of our being able to do so, for, in the first place, my colleague—affairs being at present more embroiled and perplexing than they have been for a long time past—candidly confesses that he is unable to act by himself single-handed; besides that, he has no commission to accompany the King in time of war. And as to me (Eustace Chapuys), owing to my present indisposition and want of health, and the air and temperature of England being so unfavourable at the present season of the year for gouty people, I could not be of service to Your Majesty, besides risking my life. Besides which, Your Majesty has been pleased to gratify me with the promise that after the undertaking against France is finished I may retire and go home.
For the above reasons my colleague and I have decided not to cross the Channel and leave this place the very moment the King sails for England, thus avoiding the dangers that might arise. We intend to go to Calais, where, should people not be actually dying from the plague, we will stay until orders come from Your Majesty.
We again beg and entreat Your Majesty to allow us to go home.—Boulogne, 26 September 1544.
Signed: “J. de Montmorency” and “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original, partly ciphered. 5 pp.
26 Sept. 212. The Imperial Ambassadors to the Queen Of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—Your Majesty's letter of the 12th inst. came duly to hand, and following Your instructions we have entirely shaped our conduct in the manner prescribed in the Emperor's letter to us of the 20th, as Your Majesty will see by the enclosed duplicate of our answer to him. This will be an excuse for our not troubling Your Majesty with a repetition of the facts.
The King has, through his Privy Council, twice requested us very pressingly to write and request Your Majesty, that at St. Omer provisions be collected for the use of his army, giving us to understand, in the first instance, that the provisions were wanted for the division of the Royal army now besieging Montreuil, though on the second application this King's privy councillors told us distinctly, or rather disclosed to us, that the provisions were wanted for the purpose of feeding the camp about to raise the siege of that town. The reason the King, their master (the councillors said), had for choosing St. Omer instead of another town, was owing to his men being about to embark for England at Dunkerke, Nyeuport, and Ostende. We cannot say whether the measure is intended for the purpose of saving the stores of provisions they have at Calais, or for fear of the plague and pestilence, (fn. 9) from which his army is suffering, being communicated to that town. However this may be, the King begs Your Majesty to provide boats (bateaux) for the transport of provisions to the above seaports of Dunkerke, Nyeuport, and Ostend, and we have readily consented to write to Your Majesty on the subject, provided the King or the privy councillors send thither English commissaries to see about it, and take charge of the provisions delivered to them, as otherwise it would amount to nothing.-Boulogne, 26 September 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys” and “De Montmorency”
French. Original. 1 p.
27 Sept. 213. The Same to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—After we had closed and sealed the letter (fn. 10) that goes along with this, the courier who was to have been the bearer of it having been detained at the request of the King's privy councillors, Secretary Paget came from the King to tell us that he has news of the vanguard of the French army having already crossed the river, and that in consequence of that he had changed his plans of campaign; for instead of making his army lay siege to Montreuil by way of St. Omer, as was his first thought, he has now resolved to bring it here and make it encamp near this place, in order to wait and see what the next movement of the French will be, and whether they wish or not to come to a pitched battle with him. On this account the King had determined, against the advice and will of his privy councillors, to delay his embarkation and departure for England. This intelligence Secretary Paget brought to us two (De Courrières and I), at the same time begging us, if we happened to see the King, to try and persuade him that no injury whatever could be inflicted on his honour and reputation, inasmuch as he had achieved such a feat of arms as the taking of a town like Boulogne; besides which, the king of France is not coming down at the head of his army.
The Secretary also gave us to understand that in the number of the French expeditionary force (cavalgada) there were, according to rumour, a number of German lanskenets of those whom Your Majesty lately caused to be dismissed (castés) from his army, which report, if true, the King, his master, found exceedingly strange and therefore that he prayed Your Majesty to see to it, as the true and perfect amity between You two demanded, and as Your Majesty had been pleased to signify to his ambassador. In short, he begged Your Majesty to act in the matter in such a way that the world at large may perceive the sincere and affectionate good will that Your Majesty bears him.
Having, for the causes and reasons specified in our preceding dispatches, made our excuses for not crossing over to England at the same time as the King, Secretary Paget came and declared to us, in his master's name, that it would sound badly in people's ears—not only among the French, but likewise and more especially among the English—that after Your Majesty had made Your own private and separate peace with the king of France, who still remained in hostility against him, he (the king of England, and Your Majesty's ally) should return to his kingdom without with being at least accompanied by Your ambassadors; and, therefore, that he begged us write to Your Majesty and inform You of the public sentiments, that You may put a stop to slandering tongues.
Three hours ago three of Your Majesty's warships anchored outside this port. They could not have come at a better juncture and opportunity for the satisfaction of this King, who failed not at the sight of them to show great joy and delight in the very presence of all his privy councillors. There was a fourth warship with them—the Admiral's—which had either lost her way or separated intentionally from the other three, whether to take home part of the spoil, or from contrary winds, or some other accident at sea we cannot say. (fn. 11) —Boulogne, 27 September 1544.
Signed: “De Montmorency” and “Eustace Chapuys.”
Indorsed: “To the Emperor”
French. Original. 2 pp.
28 Sept. 214. Prince Philip to the Emperor his Father.
S. E., L. 64, ff. 211–12. “Sacra Cesarea Catolica Magestad,”—The day after my sending Don Bernardino de Mendoza (fn. 12) by way of Italy, on the 17th inst., with my letter, of which a duplicate is enclosed, Your Majesty's from Sandesir, of the 18th, came to hand. The letters brought by the same courier of the 14th and 18th of August brought to my knowledge how that town and its garrison had surrendered according to capitulation, &c.
I have read Your Majesty's account (discurso) of what passed about the proposed peace, first with the Sieur de Longueval and afterwards with the Admiral of France (Hannebault), and with the lieutenant of men-at-arms of the company of count Brien (Brienne), and how the affairs stand, though by what I myself have written on the subject, and the opinion of these councillors, it would seem as if, in the state of affliction in which Christendom is, any reasonable and honourable proposals of peace coming from the enemy ought to be accepted, thus relieving Your Majesty of the immense labour and fatigue of a campaign, and at the same time ensuring the tranquillity and welfare of these Spanish kingdoms, impoverished and exhausted as they are. Yet such is Your Majesty's wisdom and perfect knowledge of political matters, that I trust entirely in You and in Your decision, sure as we all are that whatever that decision be, it will be the best. Yet we cannot help begging and entreating Your Majesty, as earnestly as we possibly can, to bear in mind that if peace can be secured it is far preferable for all purposes.
I am glad to hear that the king of England is so powerful (poderoso), though I very much fear that, as Your Majesty writes, he is so slow in his movements that he cannot be expected to accomplish much. (fn. 13)
Since the arrival of Don Bernardino de Mendoza with the galleys, I have had no news from Italy. I am hourly expecting the arrival of the courier, who left the camp at St. Desier on the 14th of August. Considering the time he has been on the road, I have no doubt that he will also bring letters from Italy, and I shall then know how things are going on there.
Bills of exchange on the Fucares (Fugger) and Belcar (Belsero).—Juan Vasquez de Molina.
Your Majesty knows already that I wrote to the king of Portugal (Joao III.) requesting him to send his fleet to the Azores, in order to escort the vessels returning from the Indies. He has answered, and so also has the ambassador, Lope Hurtado, that he is trying to send to the Islands one large galleon and four caravels, but thinks they had better not for the present go beyond the Cape of St. Vincent, that being the place where the French corsairs are most likely to wait for them, because after the 15th of September the navigation in that sea becomes very difficult. He has, moreover, sent a message to the commander of his fleet at Malagueta, that if on his return home he should meet with vessels coming from the Indies, he is to accompany and escort them as long as they need protection.
As to the invasion of France by the Perpignan frontier, I daresay the marquis of Aguilar has already informed Your Majesty whether he has or has not effected it. All We know here, by his own despatches and other private letters, is that the Marquis intended to cross the frontier at two different parts with the colonel of the Germans and Don Jusepe, and do all the harm he could. Should I hear anything more, I will let Your Majesty know.—Valladolid, 28 September 1544.
Signed: “Your very humble son, El Principe.”
Spanish. Original. 2 pp.
30 Sept 215. Eustace Chapuys to Monseigneur de Granvelle.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monseigneur,”—This is chiefly for the purpose of enclosing another from the duke of Alburquerque; yet, as I have my pen in hand, I think I ought to give your lordship notice of the King's embarkation for England this very afternoon, after dinner. (fn. 14) All along his way to the ship he kept reminding us (De Courrières and me) of the message he had sent us through Secretary Paget, the substance of which is contained in our despatch, (fn. 15) and I wrote to the Emperor pointing out, among other things, the discredit it would bring on us all should we quit his Court before the arrival of our successors in this embassy. He graciously accepted our joint offer of service in that matter as far as it might be in our power to comply with his wishes, and he begged us to remain here [at Boulogne], together with the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Admiral (Sir John Russel), the Treasurer, the bishop of Winchester (Gardiner), and some others of his privy councillors, until the arrival of those who may come to fill our places. (fn. 16) He takes but few people with him, and told us that he leaves behind a sufficient force to keep his own possessions. He showed no displeasure whatever at the peace with France, though he alluded to it three or four times, and has taken his departure well disposed and joyful, with a decided intention and resolution of keeping possession of this town.
Though I know well that your lordship is sure to pity me, and will do the utmost to take me out of this purgatory, I nevertheless cannot do less than remind your lordship of my prayer.
The English, who were at the siege of Montreuil, have returned here safe and sound. Moris. de Büren has also left with his band, but instead of coming this way he went off by way of Chasteau Neuf. He would have wished, as he tells us, to have come as far as this place to kiss the King's hands, but he could not possibly do so. The King, on the other hand, speaks very highly of the service he has rendered in this last campaign, and requested us to thank him in his name for his brave and distinguished conduct in the field. (fn. 17) He has, moreover, begged us to write to the Emperor in his behalf, which Monsr. de Courrières and I intend doing by the next post.—Boulogne, the last day of September 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 2 pp.


  • 1. That of the 24th, No. 210, pp. 365–7.
  • 2. “Et que ne luy devoit gueres contenter.”
  • 3. “Non entendant bien toutesfois a dernier concernant de son advis en lendroit du marraige de Mons. d'Orleans, car non se souvenoit de l'alternative, commença à dire, &c.”
  • 4. “Et venant au principal de la matiere, ne la pouvoit bien gouster veuillant aucunement denyer navoir donne telle responce à Mons. dArras, que nous luy disions.”
  • 5. “Apres avoir presentée le bataille aux ennemys silz en eussent volu manger.”
  • 6. “Sur toutes les queues objections ayant presents au dit sr roy le billet encloz aux dites lettres de v[ost]re. mate concernant la submission (subministration?) en icelles mencionnees.”
  • 7. “Nous trouvasmes le dit sr roy tout quoy (coi) et pensif, et bion abaissé de sa maniere et traversè accoustumee et de la disposition, en la quelle il a continue lorsque les ambassadeurs françoys commencerent à demander congé et qu'il eust quelque vent de la dicte paix.”
  • 8. “Le Roy a monstré grand contentement de I'advis de v[ost]re. mate touchant le retirement de son armée [devant Montreuil] pour honorablement colourer la dite retraite; mais ce luy seroit double plaisir, voire le tiendroit à grande obligation qu'il plust à vre. dite mate faire advertir le roy de France que luy (le dit sr roy) à la contemplation et requeste de v[ost]re. mate se soit (sic) volountiers condescendu à la dite retraite, et qu'il pleust (sic) au roy de Francaise la semblable pour eviter les dommaiges et inconvenients que s'en sujvroient, et que les armees deussent cesser entre eulx jusques à ce quand [qu'on] donnast les moyens d'appoinctement entre eulx, ou pour la judication et sentence de v[ost]re. mate à la quelle il plaira avoir regard et croique le dit sr roy s'en tiendroit fort satisfaict et bien oblige à v[ost]re. mate, et s'oublieroient tous les scrupules qu'il pourroit avoir conçeu que ne deuvent (doibvent) estre petiz quelque bonne myne que la necessité et l'estonnement des afferes peuveut luy avoir fa et tenir, les quelles ne vouldroit soy alliener de v[ost]re. mate si j'a nestoit que lautre couste il fut avcugle et tuborué.”
  • 9. “Ne sçavons si cest pour soulaiger les vivres de Calais, ou pour craincte quilz ny portent ou pregnent la pestilenze.”
  • 10. See above, No. 209, p. 367.
  • 11. “II y en avoit une autre [navire] de compaignie, questoit l'Admirale, la quelle seat esguartee (escartée, esgarée?), ne sçavons si pour rapporter Butin au logis ou par fortune [de mer].”
  • 12. Naval commander of the “Mendoza,” duke of Infantade, about whom see Vol. VI., Part II., pp. 243, 245, 291–3.
  • 13. “De quan poderoso se hallar, vel Sermo rey de Inglaterra, aunque me temo, como v[uest]ra. majestad escribe, procediendo tan despacio en sus cosas no pudra haeer efectos de mucha consideracion.”
  • 14. That of the 26th. See p. 367, No. 211.
  • 15. See above, p. 211, No. 367.
  • 16. “Et mesmes touchant la disreputation que seroit en nous restirant sans survenauce de successeurs, et à ceste cause a accepté nostre offre, et prié que suyvant icelluy voulsissimes demeurer en ce lieu avec les dues de Noriore et Suffoe, Admiral, Tresourier, Evesque de Wyncestre, et aulcungs aultres de son Consil, jusques à ce que vinssent nos dits successcurs.”
  • 17. Le camp de Montrenil est retourné icy sain et sauve, du equel Monsr. de Buren est parti avec sa bande dois Chasteaunenf sans veoir jusques içy, et nous a donné d'entendre que le dit sr roy il su[t] bien voulu veoir, et apres nous avoir dict mil louanges de luy, nous a prié a faict de la faire entendre à sa mate avec tout encherissement et commendation.”