Spain: October 1544, 11-20

Pages 419-428

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


October 1544, 11–20

11 Oct 234. Monsr. D'Arras to the Admiral of France.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monsieur,”—Your letter of yesterday morning (fn. 1) was duly received on the evening of the same day, specifying the number and quality of the persons who are to accompany cardinal Du Bellay and president Raymont in their mission for the negociation of peace, in order to obtain for all and each of them the required safe-conducts. Immediately after the receipt of which letter, I myself called, for that purpose, on the dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, who being now invested with competent royal authority in this town, have without loss of time sent me the enclosed safe-conduct, which I beg you to forward to the said Cardinal, the President, and their suite. There can be no hindrance now to their coming here as soon as possible, and since they must be now close to you, as I calculate from the diligence you have been pleased to use in looking out for them, I hope that they will soon be here, for this King's ministers, if the weather and wind be at all favourable, are expected from England this very evening, I earnestly beg you. and them to use all diligence in this affair, because, besides my own very natural desire that the negociation for the peace between the King, your master, and the king of England should commence at once, I myself am due to return home and wait upon the Emperor, my master.—Calais, 11 October 1544.
Indorsed: “Copy of letters from the bishop of Arras to the admiral of France.”
French. Contemporary copy. 1 p.
14 Oct. 235. Cardinal Du Bellay and President Remond to the Bishop of Arras.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monsieur,”—In consequence of the information sent by you, the king of France, our master, has ordered us to come here [to Ardres], that we may hear from your own lips the very same words you said to the king of England, and at the same time hold a meeting and conference with his deputies. (fn. 2) The king of France, our master, thinks that the deputies of both nations should meet on neutral ground, the more so that on a former occasion my colleagues and I went to him, whereas now there is no question of going to him, but only of meeting his servants. As you, Monsieur, are, in the Emperor's name, the chief promoter of the proposed meeting, you will be pleased to designate with the deputies' agreement the place most commodious for them and us to meet at, with full assurance on our part that whatever town be chosen by you will be equally acceptable to us; Gravelines is close to the English possessions, and cannot be open to suspicion. St. Omer is also a neutral town; other places there may be in the neighbourhood of which we do not know; but the English are better acquainted than ourselves with the countries surrounding their territory in France, and therefore we leave it entirely to you and to them to decide.
As the intention of the King, our master, has always been, as it is now, that the said meeting should take place as soon as possible, this very morning, after consulting with the dauphin of France and with the Admiral, we have decided to put ourselves entirely in your hands, and ask whether we are to go to Calais, if you consider it necessary and convenient for the favourable issue of the peace about to be negociated.
Such being the case, it seems to us as if it were reasonable and just that this should be done through your means and at your own request, in order that they, against whom we, the French, are now in open hostility, may not profit in the least at the beginning of the future negociations. (fn. 3)
We are sure that, considering the friendship now existing between our respective masters, so much and so long desired by all the King's good servants, and especially by the undersigned, you will take care that our reception be honourable, and a suitable place chosen for the conferences between the English deputies and yourselves, the Emperor's commissioners. Praying our Saviour to maintain both you and us in His good grace, we remain, &c—Written at Ardres immediately after our arrival there on the 14th October 1544.
Signed: “Jean du Bellay, Card.” and “Remond, Pres.” (fn. 4)
Indorsed: “Coppie des lettres de l'Evesque d'Arras.”
French. Copy. 2 pp.
15 Oct. 236. The Bishop of Arras to Cardinal Du Bellay and President Remond.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Rep. P. Fasc. C. 33. “Messieurs,”—Yesterday, late in the evening, your letter of the same day came to hand, and this very morning I have communicated its contents to De Courrières and to Chappuis, (fn. 5) to both of whom and to myself the Emperor has been pleased to entrust this present negotiation, ordering us to make the greatest possible efforts for the establishment of peace between the two princes.
After carefully examining and weighing the contents of your joint letter, my colleagues and I are of opinion that you and the President ought not to make difficulties as to coming here, for neither is the king of England's reputation likely to be increased, nor that of the Most Christian King to be in the least diminished through it, since the negotiation is not set on foot at the solicitation or from sheer necessity of one of the parties, but merely at the express request of His Imperial Majesty, and out of His desire that Christendom be united, and peace firmly established between princes, both of whom are His friends. This request of the Emperor, my master, is evident enough through the overtures which I myself made to the king of France, as well as by what was said on the subject to cardinal Tournon in Flanders. True it is that neither my colleagues nor I myself have considered it necessary or convenient to inform this King's commissioners of the above facts, for fear of raising suspicion or scruples in their mind respecting a matter which had hitherto offered no difficulty at all, and also because we presumed that their answer would naturally be delayed until they, themselves, had consulted the King, their master, thereupon, besides which we thought that the uncertainty of the navigation and contrary winds might possibly retard it. In addition to this I must tell you that your and the President's arrival here [at Calais] has been expected for a long time, and that in matters of this sort the utmost diligence is required in order to strike the iron while it is hot.
For the above reasons and considerations my colleagues and I have refrained from speaking to this King's commissioners on the subject. I therefore beg you, in order that all doubts and scruples concerning the Emperor's request and intervention in the affair may at once be removed, to take the trouble of coming here [to Calais], that all of us together may work at so great a boon as peace among Christians really is, unless, however, you have reasons for not acceding to this our request, in which case my colleagues and myself shall be glad to hear Your final resolution.—Calaix (sic), 15 October 1544.
French. Contemporary copy. 2 pp.
16 Oct. 237. Monsieur D'Arras to Cardinal Du Bellay.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Monsieur,”—Here, at Calais, the King's privy councillors have asked me whether I had news of your coming here today, the 16th. I answered them that I had not. I can very well see that they (the privy councillors) are sorry at the delay, and, therefore, I beg you to let me know your final resolution in this affair, and whether you intend coming or not. Please let me have an answer as soon as possible by the same express messenger, bearer of this my letter, whom the privy councillors have engaged for the purpose, hoping that he will return with an answer this very evening.
I hope that the letter I wrote to you yesterday morning (fn. 6) by the “Tabourin” has reached you, and therefore I need not reproduce its contents.—Chateau de Calais, 16 October 1544.
Indorsed: “A Monsieur, Monsieur le cardinal du Bellay.”
French. Contemporary copy. 1 p.
16 Oct. 238. The Bishop of Arras, de Courrieres, and Chapüys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—After our joint despatch of the 10th inst., Your Majesty's letter of the same day (fn. 7) enclosing copies (fn. 8) of the memorandum and note presented by the English ambassador at Your Imperial court, as well as of the answer which Your Majesty intended should be made to the ambassador's paper, and to the remarks and objections thereupon made by cardinal Tournon, (fn. 9) came duly to hand. The whole of which papers and documents being put together, and closely examined, it is our intention to use if an opportunity offers, according to Your Majesty's wishes and commands.
The captains in command of Your Majesty's warships in these parts have heard through us what Your Majesty's intentions are, and also that a powerful French fleet is about to come here [to the Strait]. They know also that the warships of the English, being unable to resist such a powerful fleet as the French one is, and suddenly decided to go away from this port of Calais to return home, decided to go away without waiting for orders, and went away three days ago for the coast of Zeeland. (fn. 10) This cannot be a cause of complaint for the English, for Your Majesty's warships waited here until the last of the English had sailed off, notwithstanding that, as we lately informed Your Majesty, their crews were in want of beer.
On the very same day that the courier, bearer of our last despatch, lefl this port [of Calais], I, the bishop of Arras, received a letter from the admiral of France (Claude Hannebault) in answer to that which I wrote to him at the solicitation and request of these privy councillors for the purpose of inquiring the number, names, and quality of the people coming in the suite of cardinal Du Bellay and president Remont (sic), to have them included in the safe-conduct. The day before yesterday [the 14th] I heard from the Cardinal, and yesterday, the 15th, in the morning, I and my two colleagues [De Courrières and Chapuys] answered, as Your Majesty will see by the copy of my letter to him, (fn. 11) enclosing transcripts of the Cardinal's as well as of the Admiral's letters to me (the Bishop). I must, however, observe that our joint answer to cardimal Du Bellay was chiefly prompted by our desire not to create scruples or arouse suspicions in the mind of these privy councillors, and at the same time avoid delay, which in the present state of the negociation might prove to be exceedingly inconvenient.
After dinner the bishop of Winchester (Stephen Gardiner) and Secretary Paget called at this embassy to say, among other things, that they wondered why the French Cardinal and his colleagues tarried so long, and adding that they thought it very strange that king Fronds should use such overbearing language. He can (said Paget) feel very little real desire for peace, or else considers himself so powerful by sea and land that he makes no efforts whatever to secure the boon he professes to want and is asking for. Indeed, knowing, as he must know, the union and friendship that exist between the Emperor and the King, our master, is he not aware that one of the articles of the last treaty of alliance says expressly that, as long as the war lasts, the two allied princes shall keep a fleet of warships at sea, (fn. 12) and gradually increase that number in proportion as the naval forces of the enemy increase? Does not king Francis know that the King, our master, is already preparing for the emergency, and will soon have a powerful fleet in the Channel?
Such was Paget's address to me, adding that he confidently hoped that, since matters had come to such a pitch, Your Imperial Majesty would arm and do the same as he himself was doing—that is, increasing his naval force.
Our answer was that we were in daily expectation of letters from cardinal Du Bellay. As to the fitting out of the Imperial fleet, we would immediately apprise Your Majesty of the King's wish, but we all three thought, nay, were almost sure, that as Your Imperial Majesty had hitherto kept, and was resolved to keep in future, all the conditions of the treaty of alliance with him, and likewise those affectionate bonds of friendship and close alliance which unite you with him, you could not possibly accede to his wishes in that particular, but that, having already done so much in their master's favour, it was to be hoped that both English and French (l'ung et Vaultre) would soon be in a condition to conclude through us a good and honourable peace, thus saving such an expense as the armament and keeping of a fleet would necessarily entail upon each of the allied princes. (fn. 13) Besides which (said the Bishop to the privy councillors) you must not fancy that because king Francis happens now to be stronger than you by sea, it follows that he is disinclined to treat of peace, for you know very well that when he (king Francis) made up his mind to send an embassy to your master, his land and sea forces were much stronger than they are now.
This reasoning of ours seemed for a while to have calmed down the fears of our visitors, who left us shortly afterwards apparently well satisfied with our explanation, and went away.
This very morning the duke of Norfolk invited us three to dine at the Castle with him and the rest of the privy councillors, but as De Courrières was slightly indisposed, and Chappuys (sic) himself with a fit of the gout, both declined the invitation, and I (the bishop of Arras) had to accept and go, lest the Duke and his colleagues should think that all of us shunned their company. (fn. 14) On my arrival at the Castle, I was first of all asked whether I had or had not any news of cardinal Du Bellay, and whether he was coming or not today. My answer was that I did not know for certain. I concluded from his last letter that he had arrived at Ardres, and had written to him to make haste and come, but that the trumpeter bearer of my letter to him had not yet returned with the answer. Hearing this, the Duke begged me to write again to the Cardinal, which I have since done, inquiring from him urgently whether he is coming or not, and a trumpeter of theirs has departed with the letter, of which I enclose copy.
They also told me, at the same time, that they had news of the Cardinal having written to me that he wished the negociations for the peace should be carried on at some neutral town, such as Gravelinghes or St. Omer, (fn. 15) and that they (the councillors) wondered why they (the French) had not asked that the king of England's ministers should go to a town of France to treat.
I myself wonder how this piece of intelligence has reached these people's ears, for although the report is perfectly true, I do not recollect having ever spoken, much less written, to anyone about it. I owned to the Duke and to his colleagues that the Cardinal, or his people, had sent me word that they would have much preferred that the commissioners met at Gravelinghes or at St. Omer; but that will show you, said I to the Duke and his colleagues, how truly affectionate we are to you in all our dealings, for knowing very well what your interest was in an affair of this kind, we (the Emperor's ambassadors) have made no use of the information we had on the subject, and did not back or recommend the Cardinal's very just application. (fn. 16)
Just at this moment I (the Bishop) am asked whether we have or not, according to our promise, written to Your Majesty respecting the Imperial fleet, and the assistance they themselves want. My answer has been that I have not written, because, as the Cardinal was and is expected here from day to day, we were waiting for his arrival to announce it to Your Majesty, and at the same time inform Your Majesty of this King's wishes. The Duke again begged me to write without delay, proposing that, should the Imperial fleet of Flanders and the Low Countries be unable, for some reason or other, to put to sea, Your Majesty would lend him any such Spanish or Italian merchant ships as might now be at anchor in the ports and harbours of Flanders close to this Strait, with their respective crews of sailors, the King fully promising to man and arm them at his own expense, to pay the wages of the sailors, and should the ships be wrecked or otherwise lost, to indemnify their owners most completely.
I (the bishop) of Arras, promised to inform my colleagues (De Courrières and Chappuys) of the privy councillors' wishes, at the same time assuring them (the Duke and the privy councillors) that I had not the least doubt that Your Majesty's answer would be favourable, so that they would see how well disposed Your Majesty was to fulfil to the end all the conditions of the treaty of alliance. In saying this, I (the Bishop) have conformed myself entirely with what we three said yesterday after dinner to the privy councillors, our guests. I have considered it necessary to let them conceive the hope of Your Imperial Majesty complying with their wishes, not only in order to remove any scruples they might entertain, but to gain time; for, if the requisition is to be made in conformity with the articles of the treaty, and commissaries are sent to the coast of the Low Countries to inquire how many vessels are there and of what nation, when the report of the English commissioners comes in I am almost sure that contrary winds and the approach of winter will render the application of the English, though granted by Your Imperial Majesty, entirely useless.
Since the above was written, news has come that cardinal Du Bellay is coming here. I, myself, perceiving that there will be some difficulty in preparing apartments, left those I had, and have gone to stay [with my colleagues] at the Imperial embassy. The present despatch is for the purpose of informing Your Majesty of my change of domicile, as well as of what passed [at Boulogne] the days I was there. Awaiting Your Majesty's orders, we all remain your most humble and most obedient subjects and servants.—Calais, 16 October 1544. (fn. 17)
Signed: “A. Perrenot, bishop of Arras”; “De Montmorency”; “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 5 pp.
n.d. 239. Fragment of a Ciphered Despatch from the Imperial Ambassadors to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—We cannot say how cardinal Du Bellay will take the departure of those above alluded to, (fn. 18) and whether, hasty and impetuous as he is, he will decide to return home without stopping any longer here, under the supposition that the resolution of sending commissioners to this place [Calais] has been taken after, and in consequence of, the King having learnt the nature and import of his (the Cardinal's) mission. However this may be, the latter has received an official communication on the subject. Indeed, on our inquiring from the earl of Hertford and bishop of Winchester what might be done to make the Cardinal remain until a final answer comes from the King, they have told us jokingly (en gaudissant), (fn. 19) that the Cardinal had gone to amuse himself farther on, but that he would very shortly come back, take part in the game, and work conjointly with the other commissioners, adding that when the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, and other King's councillors, came here, they would not fail to apprise him (the Cardinal) of their arrival.
From Your Majesty's most humble and most obedient subjects and servants—“Perrenot, bishop of Arras”; “De Montmorency”; “Eustace Chapuys.” (fn. 20)
French. Original ciphered. 1 p.
[20] Oct. 240. King Henry to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Tres hault, tres excellent, et tres puissant prince, &c,”—Having given to some members of my Privy Council now at Callaice (Calais) commission to treat with the ambassadors of king Francis concerning matters of peace and the means of obtaining it, We have expressly charged Our faithful and most beloved councillors, the earl of Hertford, Our Lord High Chamberlain, and the bishop of Winchester (fn. 21) (Stephen Gardiner), that should the French ambassador not come at all, or refuse making some sort of appointment, to leave Calais at once, and depart for Your Majesty's court, not only to declare and show to you the manner of dealing of these Frenchmen, but to reveal and openly declare to you what Our opinion of their behaviour is, and what We wish respecting them and their master. (fn. 22) We most affectionately request you earnestly to listen, and attach faith to these words, as if We Ourselves were talking to you.—Written at Our Palace of Westminster,— (fn. 23) October 1544.
Signed: “Henry.”
Addressed: “A tres hault, tres excellent, et tres puissant prince, nostre tres chier et tres aime bon frere et cousin l'Empereur.”
French. Original. 1 p.


  • 1. No. 280.
  • 2. Early in September at Hardelot Castle, five miles from Moutreuil, where cardinal Du Bellay, the President of the Parliament of Rouen in Normandy, the Treasurer of the Finances of France, and Secretary Claude de L'Aubespine, met the earl of Hertford, the bishop of Winchester, Sir Richard Ryche, and Secretary Paget.—State Papers, Vol. X., p. 55.
  • 3. “A finq ue celuy avec le quel nous sommes en ouverte inimitie y prinst dautant moins dadvantage. A quoy nous sumes (sommes) seur[s] que prendriez peu (sic) de playsir pour l'amyté estant entre noz maistres, tant et si longtemps desirée par tous les bons serviteurs, et entre aultres de ceulx qui se commendent, &c, à vostre bonne grace que prions n[ost]re. Saulveur qu'il vous maintienne en la sienne.—Arrivant à Ardres le XIIII. d'octobre.”
  • 4. Elsewhere “Raymond” and “Remont,” his Christian name being “Pierre.” He was appointed President of Rouen in succession to Jean Jacques des Mesmes, who died at the beginning of 1544. Had not his name appeared at the end and in the indorsement of the original letter, it might have been erroneously supposed, as the editors of State Papers (Vol. X., p. 55) once did, that the President of the Parliament of Rouen in Normandy, in Sept. 1544, was still Des Mesmes.
  • 5. See the preceding, No. 235.
  • 6. See above, No. 236.
  • 7. No. 228, p. 404.
  • 8. “Avec les copies y joinctes tant de rescript presenté à icelle de l'ambassadeur du roy d'Engleterre que de la response que l'on avoit conceu sur icelluy, et aussi celle de rescript presenté par le cardinal de Tournon. Et avons le tout bien incorporé et examine soigneusement pour en user (si l'occasion s'en adorne) comme v[ost]re. dite mate nous en declaire par ses dites lettres [estre] son intention.”
  • 9. No copy has been found of cardinal Tournon's remarks, though an abstract of them may be seen in the Emperor's letter to Chapuys of the 1st of October, No. 217, p. 235.
  • 10. “Et que cellea d'angleterre pour n'avoir moyen de luy resister pour estre icelle trop puisanto s'estoit retire en Angleterre prendrent (prisrent) il y a quatre jours leur retraicte contre Zellande.”
  • 11. No. 234, p. 419.
  • 12. “Adjoustant que aussi trouvoient ilz estrange bravant tant, et qu'ilz pensoient qu'il ayoit peu d'affection à la paix puisqu'il venoit si puissant par mer, saichant l'amytié d'entre v[ost]re. mate et le roy leur maistre, et entendu qu'il avoit este traicté que tous deux deviez avoir armée en mer.”
  • 13. “Et que nous tenions pour certain que comme v[ost]re. dite mate garder ceste estroite amytié et y a satisfaict si reallement en toutes chosen comme eulx mesmes le sçavent quelle y continueroit jusque au boust, il est à esperer que Tung et l'aultre sera tout hors de ces frais.”
  • 14. “Et pour ce que moy (Courrieres) me sentys indisposé et je (Chapuys) fort attache (attaqué) de goutte nous en susmes (sommes) excuséz, et je l'evesque d'arras pour non sembler que nous tous fouyesions leur compagnia, y suis allé.”
  • 15. “Ilz m'ont dit au mesme temps qu'ilz avoient entendu que le dit Cardinal m'avoit escript qu'il desireroit que l'on traicta[st] ceste affaire en quelque lieu neutre et qu'ilz s'eshbaissoient comme il ne demandoit que Ton alla traicter vers eulx. Je me suys, Sire, d'ou ilz le peuvent avoir entendu et me suis pensé que les françoys mesmes en ayant tenu propos, et leur ay confessé qu'il estoit vray qu'ilz m'avoient faict sçavoir qu'ilz eussent desire que ce fust à Gravelinghes ou à St. Omer.”
  • 16. “Mais qu'ilz voient par ce la realité dont nous visions en leur endroit car cognoissans ce que leur convenoit sans les en travailler n'y leur vendre ce bon office nous l'avions excusé, et sur ce ilz ont tous loué la bonne intention de v[ost]re. dite mate et de ses ministres.”
  • 17. This last paragraph stands thus in the original:—“Depuis ilz ont eu nouvelles que le dìt cardinal de Belay (sic) venoit [et] me suis departy les veans (voyant) empesches pour sonlogi [et] m'en suis venu au mien, et avons dressé ceste pour en advertir v[ost]re. dite mate et de tout ce que dessus, de la quelle nous pourra sur le tout commander son bon plaisir.” I am not sure that the underlined words in the above passage really mean that the Bishop was obliged (as he says) to quit the lodgings, which as usual had been assigned to him in consequence of the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk not being able to procure within the Castle of Calais suitable appartments for cardinal Du Bellay. At any rate it is not to be inferred from the words “Je me suis departy” that he left Calais on that occasion, for not only did he sign there the joint despatch of the 16th, but also another, without date, announcing the breaking up of the conferences for the peace, and the sudden departure of the Cardinal at the end of the month.
  • 18. Most likely Seymour and Gardiner, though the first portion of the despatch being missing, it is difficult to determine. At any rate, this incomplete despatch is the last dated from Calais, and signed by the three Imperial ambassadors (the Bishop, Montmorency, and Chapuys), and shortly after the negociations for the peace were suspended, or entirely broken up. The text reads: “Nous ne sçavons en quelle part le cardinal De (sic) Bellay pourra prendre le partiment des susditz et selon qu'il est subit si oseroit entreprendre son retour sen (sans ?) plus long sejour.”
  • 19. “Nous ont respondu en gaudissant que le dit Cardinal s'estoit allé esbatre ung pen plus avant, et que bientost le tout se retrouveroit ensemble et dehors du jeu, dirent (disaut?) que venant icelle les ducqz de Norfolk et Suffolk et autres da conseil l'en advertiroient.”
  • 20. The letter is ciphered and undated. A clerk in the Imperial Archives has written on the dorse of it “September 1544,” but this is evidently wrong, for the bishop of Arras, whose signature appears at the bottom conjointly with those of his two colleagues, did not reach Calais until the—of October (see above), whilst cardinal Du Bel lay himself did not make his appearance in that town until the 16th. Next day the meeting of the English and French commissiouers took place, but no agreement could possibly be made, the French refusing to accept the conditions offered, whilst the English resolutely insisted upon retaining Boulogne. The despatch itself being signed by the three Imperial ambassadors (the bishop of Arras, De Courrièrea, and Chapuys), there can be no doubt that it was between the 16th and 20th of October, when the negociations for the peace with France were suddenly broken off.
  • 21. “A nos fealz et hien aymes conseillers, le counte de Hertford, nostre Grand Chambrelain (sic), et Pevesque de Winchestre.”
  • 22. “Que en cas que les dits ambassadeurs du diet Roy Françoye ne deussent parvenir ne descendre à quelque appointment conforme à la raisou, de se mettre en chemin par devers vous, tant pourvous declarer et remoustrer leur maniere de proceder que pour vous ouvrir et clairement exprimer bien au longue nostre opinion et desire.”
  • 23. The day of the month was left blank, but as the original minnte, corrected by king Henry himself, is still preserved in the Public Record Office, and endorsed in a Secretary's hand “XX October 1544,” there can be no doubt as to that being the true date of the letter.