Spain: June 1545, 11-15

Pages 115-130

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 8, 1545-1546. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.

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


June 1545, 11–15

11 June. Vienna Imp. Arch. 61. Chapuys to the Emperor.
Your Majesty's other deputies and myself were in communication with the King of England's commissioners yesterday, after the receipt of your Majesty's letters of the 3rd instant. Being desirous in accordance with your Majesty's instructions, of ascertaining something of the King's feeling respecting a peace or truce with France, it occurred to me when we had finished our business, to say to the Bishop of Westminster and Dr. Petre (both members of the Council and attached to your Majesty's interests) that your Majesty had been extremely gratified to hear from me of the kind and friendly expressions used by the King and Queen, as well as by the Council, towards your Majesty, when I took my leave. I added that your Majesty had approved of my assurance of reciprocal feelings on your Majesty's part, and that on the point of the suggested peace or truce, respecting which I had had some conversation with the King and the Council, your Majesty would be very glad to hear of some means by which your good offices might be made available. I had, I said, been instructed by your Majesty to inform you if there was any appearance of such a possibility; and doubtless the ambassador Van der Delft had received similar instructions. I therefore begged them (i.e., Thirlby and Petre), if they thought I could be of any service to the King in this matter, to do me the honour to tell me; so that I might in this way endeavour to repay in part some of the many favours the King had shown to me. The bishop and the doctor thanked me warmly for my goodwill in reporting as I had done to your Majesty, and for my desire to serve the King; and they promised to write specially to his Majesty on the subject, reporting to me in due course his reply.
After dinner to-day the said bishop (i.e. Thirlby, of Westminster) came to me for the purpose, as he said, of hearing more clearly the remarks I made yesterday to him and Dr. Petre. In my opinion however, his real object was to learn whether there was anything further in your Majesty's letters on the subject, beyond what I had said. I repeated my previous remarks, and begged him to tell me if there was any means by which a peace or truce with the French might be attained; but I could extract nothing from him, as he assured me that he had not heard in the Council any mention of such means, and he himself had not wit enough to initiate so important a matter.
At the request of the bishop and his colleagues, your Majesty's other commissioners and I wrote to the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) in Flanders touching the arrest of English subjects and property in Spain (the release of which has not yet been effected, notwithstanding the agreement made with Paget at his departure); and also to beg that the sailors of Blanckenburgh, and others, should not be allowed to undertake the conveyance of French troops, or serve as pilots for them, as the King (of England) had been informed on good authority they were doing. But in addition to this, the bishop now begged me to write on these points direct to your Majesty praying you to order the release of the seizures (in Spain) and to forbid any favour, help, council or guidance, being given to the French by Flemings; and furthermore that when there were indications of the approach of the French fleet to the Flemish coast, orders should be given prohibiting the fishermen of the country from putting to sea, so that they might not be taken and compelled to act as pilots for the French. I submit these subjects to your Majesty accordingly. I wrote to the Ambassador in England (Van der Delft) as instructed by your Majesty, and will continue to do so whilst I am here. For the present I had nothing to say, except to report the procedure and progress of this arbitration conference (diette); of which your Majesty will have been fully informed by the despatches written by my colleagues and myself to the Queen Dowager of Hungary.
Bourbourg, 11 June, 1545.
Endorsed:—“From Chapuys 11 June, received at Worms the 18th of the same month, 1545.”
12 June. Vienna Imp. Arch. 62. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Since the departure of the ambassador Chapuys for the conference of Gravelines nothing has occurred here with which I thought it necessary to trouble your Majesty; all pending questions, except two, having been either settled before he left, or else referred to the said conference. One of the claims still pending was, that of Martin Sanchez de Miranda, which your Majesty ordered me to press prior the departure of Chapuys, and the other was the affair of Antonio de Guaras, a Spanish merchant resident in the city of London. (fn. 1) We had long previously been fully instructed to press the matters by the Queen Dowager, and in both cases have demanded the restitution of the property seized by the English on the pretext that it was owned by Frenchmen. I have used every possible effort to forward the claims, but with the only result up to the present that the Council have sent to me the captains of the two merchants concerned. (fn. 2) The first was Guaras' man, a certain Renegat, (fn. 3) whose name I believe will be known to your Majesty as having been the cause of the seizures (of English property) in Spain, by reason of his depredations upon your subjects on the coast of Andalusia, whose harbours he violated, spoliating everything he came across at sea, and even plundering a ship from the Indies, which, I am informed, carried some treasure belonging to your Majesty. I entered into conversation with him and found his statements to be mean and shameful; but he kept obstinately to them. I could not avoid tearing his miserable case to pieces, reproving his disgraceful conduct towards your Majesty's subjects, in spite of the close friendship that existed between the two sovereigns, and pointing out to him the audacity of his violent proceedings without any legitimate excuse. I told him that he would never do any good; and that it would be much better for him to take to some other trade than the sea, for he was rendering no good service either to his sovereign or to himself by his present courses. The excuse he gave was that he had been wronged by your Majesty's subjects; and also that a person had informed him that war was to take place between his King and your Majesty, which had caused him to do as he had done. But he refused to admit that he was wrong, and insisted upon colouring his action by frivolous excuses. On his leaving me, those who accompanied him begged me to take the affair in good part, and I promised them that I would do my best to smooth the matter over, but that I was nevertheless anything but satisfied with the man.
Some time afterwards, four or five days ago, a doctor who is the brother-in-law of the Chancellor here (Wriothesley) came to me with the captain who had seized Miranda's property. This captain's name is Wyndham, and he was accompanied by two other men, who endeavoured to convince me that the goods in question belonged to Frenchmen, as all the sailors, they said, had confessed before the Justice of the Peace at Plymouth; and even Miranda himself had acknowledged in writing. As we had asserted that this writing had been obtained from Miranda by force, they had brought a witness who, they said, would prove to the contrary. This witness turned out to be the very man who had given a certificate to Miranda, to the effect that the writing signed by the latter in Plymouth had been extorted by force. After much examination and argument on both sides, Miranda himself being present to facilitate the enquiry, the fault of the captain was made manifest by his own statements. But he still persisted in colouring the facts; saying that the witness referred to had certified that Miranda's written declaration had been extorted from him, in consequence of the urgent prayers of Miranda, who told him he would be utterly ruined if he did not obtain the certificate in question, and would never dare to return to Spain. Much discussion arose out of this, but finally, unaided by any evidence beyond their own admissions and general probability, I sent them away almost convinced.
I thought necessary to go to the Council for the purpose of informing them what had passed at the enquiry held at my house, and especially as in the interim they had referred Guaras' case to the Admiralty, although it had already been so long delayed. I thought we had reason to complain of this, as according to the recent arrangement with Paget they could not take this course. I had also continued to send them a number of fresh complaints from your Majesty's subjects, to which no answer had been given. I therefore sent to ask for an appointment, for the purpose of concluding the affairs of Miranda and Guaras, as well as other complaints, which I said it behoved them to redress speedily, in order to avoid the multiplication of such claims, and the consequent recrudescence of the troubles from which we are only just emerging.
When my man gave them this message, they began to declare again that the goods claimed by Miranda belonged to French subjects, as, they said, was the case also with the other claims, and they had decided to send them all to the Admiralty; as in future they intended to do with all similar complaints. It was, they said, no business of theirs (i.e., the Councillors) to decide questions which appertained to the regular Admiralty tribunals. They had quite enough to do with affairs of State and the war, in which they were now engaged alone against France and Scotland, and they knew not whom else. I presume they meant by this last, our holy father the Pope, as I understand they now look upon it as certain that his Holiness will have sent some galleys and money to the King of France. My man replied that he had simply been sent to their Lordships to request an interview for a couple of hours on any day convenient to them. The Chancellor thereupon asked if I had received letters from your Majesty, in which case I should be welcome; but that if I proposed to come simply about the merchants' claims there was no more to be said on that subject, and he begged me to be easy on the point, as they had referred them all to the Admiralty. If there was any point still pending and I would advise them, they would see to it.
I was rather irritated at such a reply as this; seeing that in covert words it was a refusal to give me audience, even for so short a time. But nevertheless, in order to fulfil my instructions to the best of my scant ability, I considered necessary to go to the Council; and so to make the first advance, notwithstanding the answer, which I thought entirely at variance with the agreement made with Paget. It seemed to me, moreover, that they could not avoid taking my visit in good part, seeing that it was for the purpose of giving them information which might prevent difficulties otherwise impending from the multiplication of merchants' claims, the reference of which to the Admiralty, was, I knew, for many reasons unsatisfactory to the claimants.
With this object, after I had thoroughly examined the various claims, I went on the following day to the Council, arriving early, before the whole of the members had assembled. I was received civilly, but, it seemed to me, not very cordially; and when they were all present I explained my coming, as having been prompted, not only by my duty in my office, but also by my anxiety to see matters on a good footing. There was at present, I said, some little acerbity through their fault, which I would help them willingly to banish. After expressing some annoyance at the answer they had sent me about the audience, I then came to business, repeating what had passed in the enquiry I had held in the cases of Guaras and Miranda, and requesting them to examine the evidence and compare it with the captain's statements, so that they might give a decision in the matters. They replied that they considered me so sage and discreet that they expected I should have regard to the great affairs which occupied them, would avoid importuning them on matters purely judicial; whereupon they repeated their message of the previous day, to the effect that these cases appertained to the Admiralty. I said that I held the Admiralty tribunals in due respect, and had no desire whatever to depreciate them, hut I nevertheless begged their Lordships to fix an hour to examine the cases for themselves, the evidence being so clear that if they would consent to look at it, they might dispose of all the complaints in two or three hours. This I said, moreover, was, as they were aware, the procedure to which they are pledged by Paget's agreement, and any other course would be an infraction of it. They replied that it was we who had failed to fulfil the said treaty: for when the embargo on English property was raised in Antwerp they were obliged to give security, of which no mention was made in the treaty. I said that this was not the proper way to look at it. The security was only exacted pending our claims on this side being satisfied. Besides, they said, the English were in all other countries submitted to the admiralty jurisdiction, even in Flanders; and furthermore, observed the Bishop of Winchester, when he was last with the Emperor at Brussels a question was under discussion, in which the King of England himself was interested, and that was referred to the Admiralty (in Flanders). In Spain, he said, they were referred to the Council of the Indies, and notably in the case of the present seizures (in Spain). I excused these seizures, saying that they were effected without your Majesty's knowledge. They made a great ado about it, saying that it was a violation of international intercourse, and of the treaty of friendship; to which I replied that if they considered it so very bad how could they excuse the efforts made here to defend Captain Renegat, who had so shamefully outraged your Majesty's subjects, in violation of all treaties and rights? According to their own doctrine, I said, they ought to punish him in exemplary fashion as a pirate, instead of which, so far as I could see, he was being made quite a hero of here for his fine piece of work. (fn. 4) For the good of both parties, I said, I wished he might never see either England or Spain again, for he was a man who would never act well anywhere, and I was quite at a loss to understand how they could tolerate such acts from a like person, whilst we on both sides were striving incessantly to increase the old amity between the crowns. We disputed thus for a long while, until dinner time.
As one councillor after the other rose, the Chancellor approached me, and made a long complaint about their being abandoned thus in the war against two or three princes, without aid or ally. Considering the trouble he (Wriothesley) had taken to bring his master to the alliance with your Majesty and the small advantage they had derived from it, he grieved greatly at their condition. It was quite true, he said, that they did not doubt your Majesty's, wish to fulfil the treaty of friendship, but he nevertheless wished that it were somewhat more clearly evinced. All this he expressed in very many involved words, sometimes slipping in an observation about peace or a truce, but always so obscurely that I could make nothing more of it; though it seemed to me as if he desired that I should write to your Majesty about it. When he had finished his discourse, he and the rest of the Councillors pressed me to stay to dinner with them, which I did. My answer to him was short, as we went to wash, and I limited myself to assuring them of your Majesty's affection for the King, his realm and his subjects; for all of which your friendship could not be exaggerated. With that we went to table.
After dinner I endeavoured to obtain some more satisfactory reply to your subjects' claims than a reference to the Admiralty Court; saying that there was scant hope of obtaining justice there, since they (the councillors) in referring the cases to the Admiralty prejudge them, and roundly state that the goods in question belonged to Frenchmen; and it was quite certain that the members of the court would not contradict their masters, however clear the evidence might be on the other side. I therefore urgently begged them to have the evidence examined on their own behalf; and I went so far as to propose that if, as they said, they could not examine it themselves, they should appoint some honest persons to aid one of the councillors to make the enquiry and confront the witnesses on both sides, weighing the balance of probability in doubtful points; and deciding as they thought just. They remained quite obdurate however, and I could obtain no concession on the point; nor would they consent to release the property against security, which I proposed. I supported this suggestion by saying that not only would this be just on the merits of the case, but since the merchants depended entirely upon their Lordships' wisdom and integrity, though they (the councillors) said the goods in question were French property, the complainants were quite content to abide by their judgment, if they would only consent to examine the evidence. I used every persuasion I could think of to induce them to grant some concession which should restrain the merchants from again laying their complaints before your Majesty; which, as I said, they (the councillors) would understand would by no means forward the release of the seizures in Spain, although the latter were effected without your Majesty's knowledge. But withal, Sire, I could get nothing whatever from them.
I would also have proposed that these cases should have been referred to the arbitration conference (diette) but I thought better not to take this course just yet, as that will be easy to obtain, and may be left as a last resource. I shall be glad to receive your Majesty's instructions on this point; but I am not altogether certain about the result of this reference to the arbitration conference, seeing how ready these people are to refer everything thither, as if they were sure that nothing would be achieved.
I must not omit to mention that, as I was leaving, Paget entered into conversation with me, and complained bitterly that they had been unable to obtain from your Majesty permission for the export of certain munitions of war which they had ordered. He said it was a trifling matter in itself, but the King was so much annoyed and offended at it, that if he (Paget) were a rich man, and money could have got over the difficulty, he would willingly have sacrified half his fortune to have avoided the rebuff. He also complained that if they needed a captain (a Spanish mercenary?) it was necessary for him to pretend to be going (from Flanders) to France, and then to come from St. Omer hither. It was true, he added, that plenty of smooth words were given to them; and especially lately to the English ambassador with your Majesty at Worms, but the King was anxious to see some deeds to match. I replied that I was much astonished to hear such talk, since he himself had told me when he returned from his mission to your Majesty, that he had been so well treated, and had taken leave of your Majesty so joyously and well satisfied. He had, I said, apparently forgotten all this. When I departed, however, I confirmed the assurance of your Majesty's entire affection, which I said would always lead you to gratify the King, his realm and his subjects, in accordance with the ancient amity and inviolable alliance. I left the chamber with the ordinary salutation, and was honourably and courteously conducted to the outer precincts of the Court by the King's Master of the Horse (Sir Anthony Browne) notwithstanding my protests.
When I had returned home, and considered the merely negative results which I had obtained from my interview with the Council, I thought before writing to your Majesty I had better send to Paget again, which I did the next day; saying that I had conveyed the reply of the Lords of the Council to the merchants, and that the latter had declared that rather than go to the Admiralty Court to prosecute claims to their property for three or four years, without being able to obtain possession of their goods against security, they would almost prefer to abandon the claims altogether. They (the merchants) saw that their only chance of redress was to appeal to your Majesty, and had requested me to give them letters to the Emperor with a statement of the case; but I was in some doubt and perplexity about writing to your Majesty on a point that had been so unfavourably and obstinately dealt with on their side. I therefore thought best to appeal to him (Paget), trusting to his affection and his invariable desire to interpret affairs in the most friendly way. I held out hopes to him that, if he could arrange for the merchants to obtain possession of their goods against security, I would endeavour to withhold the complaints, and prevent the merchants from appealing to your Majesty, whom otherwise I must fully inform.
Paget replied that, with regard to my perplexity about writing to your Majesty what had passed between the Council and myself, he knew me to be so sage and discreet that he was sure I should take the best course, as he also was certain that your Majesty and the (imperial) Council would be satisfied with the reply that had been given to me. This reply he repeated, saying that the Lords of the Council begged to be excused from dealing with cases which appertained strictly to the Admiralty jurisdiction. They (the Councillors) were too busy with affairs of State to occupy themselves with matters which should be settled by ordinary judicial process. They had done so previously (referring to the seizures at Antwerp) because on that occasion the claims in question were influencing State affairs, but no precedent must be formed from it. With regard to releasing the goods on security, Paget replied that if they (the councillors) chose to believe the allegations of the English merchants, they would arrest all Spanish merchants here; but having the assurance that the seizures in Spain were effected without the knowledge of your Majesty, they preferred not to listen to the prayers of the merchants; especially as your Majesty had personally assured him (Paget) of your intention to respect inviolably the friendship and alliance, and to cause the subjects on both sides to be treated with absolute equality. This intention had been entirely frustrated in Spain, and the treaty itself violated. Admitting, he said, that some offence or violation may have been committed by one of their private captains, it was still illicit for the other side immediately to effect a seizure in reprisal; and he doubted not that your Majesty would promptly order a release.
This was the reply brought back by my man, and your Majesty is now in possession of everything that has passed. Pray forgive me for making so long a story of it; and deign to instruct me how to proceed, for I am now completely checked, with the Council obstinately immoveable, though in violation of the treaty, on one side, and your Majesty's wronged and dissatisfied subjects on the other. The reasons why the merchants are so much afraid of the Admiralty Court was conveyed to your Majesty some time ago. I am told that everything is settled by two persons, of whom one is generally absent. Your Majesty may perhaps consider whether some favourable influence might not be exercised. Several persons have told me that they have seen good effects from it. But, withal, the procedure is so slow as to be unending.
Under correction, it seems to me to be necessary in any case that your Majesty's subjects should be able to obtain possession of their goods on giving security, both in present and future cases; for it looks as if these people meant to seize everything they meet at sea on the pretext that it is French property; and then refer all claimants to the Admiralty. No matter what bills of lading the mariners produce, they are asserted to be false; and the masters are told that they have a double set. This procedure will be more profitable in the end to the English than a counter seizure would be, whilst they can always glose it over by pretending that they are doing strict justice to your subjects in the Admiralty Court; the property in the meanwhile being sacrificed at wretched prices.
I am sending a duplicate of this long letter to the Queen Dowager. Again under correction, I beg to state that in my opinion this difficulty in promptly redressing the claims of your Majesty's subjects does not arise from any change from their (i.e., the English) former devotion to your Majesty; but perhaps rather because they may find a' cooling in the hopes they entertained of being able, through you, to obtain a peace or truce with the French. They let this be seen by their conversation, saying that formerly your Majesty replied to them to the effect that it would be better that the first approaches for a peace or truce should come from the French; but in the meanwhile time is going on, and they see that nothing is being done in the matter.
Great diligence is being used here in the arming and equipping of ships, which are being sent to sea one after the other. A few days ago the admiral (fn. 5) with 23 or 24 vessels was ready to sail; but the wind did not serve for leaving harbour until the day before yesterday. There are a great many more ships which will follow him; so that, they say they will have 120 or 130 ships, well supplied with guns and men. The Duke of Norfolk, Lord St. John, Master of the Household, and Sir Anthony Browne, Master of the Horse, recently returned from the north and west countries, whither they had gone to put the country and harbours in a state of defence so that, as they told me, they fear not the coming of their enemies.
There is nothing fresh from Scotland, whither they recently sent the Italians and Spaniards that they have in their service, but there is no news of their having done anything yet. The Earl of Hertford and Master Knyvett are their chiefs. The bearer of the present is fully able to give information with respect to his case to any person appointed by your Majesty to hear him. As other merchants also may be on the way with their evidence, I do not trouble your Majesty further on the subject, except to repeat that I have done my best for them, but that they are all referred to the Admiralty Court.
London, 12th June, 1545.
13 June. Vienna Imp. Arch. 63. Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
Since my last letters I have never ceased to press upon the Council the claims and grievances of his Majesty's subjects. These claims increase from day to day, and have now accumulated to such an extent, by reason of the delay in dealing with them, as to threaten to fall into utter confusion, the merchants after lengthy proceedings finding themselves most unsatisfactorily referred to the Admiralty Courts. Seeing that this course was not only unfavourable to the parties, but was in contravention with the agreement recently made with Paget, I thought well to see the Councillors, in the hope of persuading them to do justice promptly to the various claimants. I was however quite unable to move them, and they persist in their resolution to refer all such claims present and future to the Admiralty, where foreigners cannot hope for a favourable issue. I am now fully informing the Emperor of this, as will be seen by copies of my letters to him herewith; and I humbly beg your Majesty to consider the consequences which may arise, and devise some remedy. It is to be feared that if these people gain their point this time, and send all complaints to the Admiralty, they will seize everything they find afloat, on the pretext that it is French property, and the only redress will be to proceed in the Admiralty Court. It looks, indeed, as if they had already made up their minds to do this, for no matter what bills of lading are shown to them, they always say they are false and that double sets of bills of lading are signed. In the meanwhile, the claims of the Emperor's subjects grow in number, and at the present moment I have received two new complaints, in addition to those which the complainants have referred to his Imperial Majesty for redress. To say the truth, Madame, I am much perplexed to see the evil inclination of these people (i.e., the English Council) towards the proposals I have made to them, whilst his Majesty's subjects remain still without redress. Even if the Council were to decide upon the claims, as we request, I doubt not that the Emperor's subjects would lose considerably. I await the orders of the Emperor and yourself, with regard to the advisability of speaking of the reference of these claims to the arbitration conference.
Under correction, Madame, in any case I think it very necessary that every effort should be made for the merchants to be able to obtain possession of their goods on giving security, and so to continue their voyages. Otherwise their loss will ruinous, considering the character of these people here, who during the progress of the case value the goods and sell them immediately, often for half their real value; and then if the decision is given in favour of the merchant, they will only pay him the amount of money they have received for the sale. Even this can only be got by great pressure. I can assure your Majesty that this is true.
As I was dispatching this letter I received your Majesty's instructions to assist certain merchants of Bruges to obtain from this King a safe conduct to trade with Scotland, similar to those granted to them by the Emperor. I will obey: but I cannot refrain from mentioning that there was to-day a rumour on 'Change here that peace had been proclaimed with the Scots in Antwerp. If the Council mention the matter to me, I will answer in accordance with your Majesty's previous instructions.
London, 13 June, 1545.
13 June. Vienna Imp. Arch. 64. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
About a fortnight since the English Ambassador addressed us on several points, and especially regarding the rendering of the assistance stipulated in the treaty of alliance, in case of invasion. You will learn the details of our answer from the copy herewith of a letter we have written on the subject to the Queen Dowager of Hungary: and from it you will understand the difficulty and perplexity which surrounds either the giving or refusing of the aid requested. In view of the copies we send you, you will be able to consider and adopt the best means you can devise for successfully dealing with the subject, which may be summarized under seven heads for your guidance.
First: we must avoid an infraction of the terms of our treaties with England and France, and must give no excuse for either of them to allege any violation on our part.
Secondly: we must not admit, either expressly or tacitly, that the King of England has fulfilled his part of the treaty; and must continue to insist that the arrangement we made with the King of France was made with his (the King of England's) full consent.
Thirdly: the King of England must be made to understand that if we give him the aid required, it must not be inferred that for the same reason we can give him any further assistance, or forbid our subjects from trading with France.
Fourthly: admitting that the terms of the treaty bind us to give the aid in case the King of France should invade the realm of England with the forces stated in the treaty; it must be borne in mind that at the present time the object of any invasion would be solely for the recovery of Boulogne, the defence of which place is not comprised in the treaty, and the King of France has always been willing to conclude peace if Boulogne were restored to him. Our efforts should rather be directed to this latter object, than to aid either party to continue the war.
Fifthly: The difficulty in our furnishing aid in the form of men is increased by reason of the ill-treatment meted out to our subjects who entered the King of England's service ashore and afloat last year, the violence committed on them subsequently, and the opprobrious words and bad behaviour used towards them in England.
Sixthly: In accordance with reason, and in fulfilment of the treaty of alliance, the King of England should fully and honestly restore to all our subjects, Flemish and Spanish, the ships and property belonging to them still detained by him and his people. There can be no excuse now for his not doing this, as the facts of the detention are notorious; and the procedure stipulated by the treaty has been adopted; although his representatives refuse to be reasonable, or to be guided by the evidence. And above all, the injuries inflicted on our subjects during the war last year by Landenberg's troops and the Englishmen must not be forgotten, as we reminded the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester when they came on their mission to us.
Seventhly: There is a rumour that the King of England is negotiating with the Protestants of Germany for the purpose of forming a confederacy with them. This he cannot do without our consent, by the terms of the treaty, and it is of the highest importance to us, both as touching our imperial authority and for other reasons. We are sure that if the war goes on between France and England; and especially if the latter be invaded, either from France or Scotland, the King of England will continue to press for the aid he now demands from us through his ambassador, and we have therefore decided to place the negotiations in your hands. We presume that the English ambassador is merely instructed to press us to grant the assistance without debating the pro and contra: and as you were present in Brussels when the matter was discussed with Hertford and Winchester, and in conjunction with your colleague Chapuys have dealt with it since your arrival in England, we think you will be better able than another to take the negotiations in hand, and to proceed as you think best in our interest, having in view the progress of the war, the relations between the combatants, and the greater or less pressure that may be exercised by the King of England to obtain the aid he requests.
Your main object will be to temporise as long as possible, and to endeavour to avoid our granting the aid, seeing the difficulties thereto set forth in the copies of letters enclosed. You may obtain an opportunity of coming to some final understanding with them, in accordance with what you heard in Brussels, and the instructions to Chapuys and yourself when you left for England. Such settlement has hitherto been avoided by the English, although it was the principal reason for our sending Chapuys thither.
As was pointed out to the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester, even if we consented to waive the point of the non-fulfilment of the treaty by the King of England, and also that the sole object of the war now is the recovery of Boulogne (which place was not included in the treaty, for which reason the King of France might greatly resent the granting of aid to England), it will be absolutely necessary, in any case, before we come to any decision in the matter of the aid, that the King of England shall approve of our treaty of peace with France, which treaty was concluded with his consent. It is quite true that we were at liberty to make the treaty without his acquiescence, since he declined to send his troops to join us as he had agreed to do; and in reply to our requisition that he should send them said that he could not do so as they were engaged in an enterprise of his own, having nothing to do with the principal object of the war.
In any case, it will be necessary for him to be satisfied with the aid to be sent him, and he must not demand anything further, either from ourselves or our subjects, which might directly or indirectly infringe upon our treaty of peace with France. Our subjects also must be allowed freely to communicate, frequent, and trade, with France and other countries both by land and sea, without any hindrance or opposition from the King of England or his people.
For the reasons fully explained, in the letters to our sister, and lightly touched upon above, the aid must take the form of a money payment.
Besides this, the restitution of our subjects' property must be fully effected as a preliminary measure, and at once; and we must be assured that the King of England has not made, and will not make, any treaty with the Protestants or with anyone else, even with the King of France, without our knowledge. This is in conformity with the treaty, and when the latter is confirmed by the King of England he must fulfil its clauses, absolutely, in all matters touching us or our subjects.
You must always take particular care not to say or admit anything which will allow the King of England or his people the slightest pretext for alleging that, either overtly or tacitly; we have condoned the non-fulfilment of the treaty by him. This is a most vital point, as you were informed prior to your departure from Brussels. The various conditions mentioned above must not he brought forward by you in a way which may imply that if they are accepted the aid will necessarily be granted. You will put them before the King, in order that he may give his decision upon them, which you will communicate to us; and we will then resolve with regard to the granting of the aid. This was the main purpose of your mission and that of Chapuys, and the King and his Council must be made to understand that, until the above-mentioned questions are settled, we cannot come to any decision with regard to their request; as the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester were previously informed, though they persisted that we were bound to declare war unconditionally against France, and all they demanded simply tended to that end. The King and his Council may still pretend that we are so bound, notwithstanding any aid we may give—or even in consequence thereof—but this must not for a moment be admitted.
With regard to the allegation of the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester, that on their departure we consented to grant the aid demanded in case of the invasion of England, you may reply—as we say in our letter to the Queen (Dowager)—that the only expression we used was that in such case we would fulfil our obligations. This, moreover, was in continuation of what we had said on other points, touching the treaty and its observance, without contravening the other treaty with France. If the King of England wants to apply what we said upon these points to the granting of the aid, he can only do so by accepting with it the various other conditions and limitations contained in the same and previous speeches, which were always referred to. And at the same time also you must keep in view the nonfulfilment of the treaty (by England) subsequently, as for instance in the redress and restitution to our subjects.
You will always take great care to set forth the views we have stated in the most gracious and courteous manner possible, dwelling constantly both to the King and his Council upon our desire scrupulously to preserve the kindly peace, and sincere and perfect friendship which exists between us and our peoples; and likewise upon our anxiety to do all we can to bring about a peace between England and France. You must, however, be careful not to say anything about France which may be used by the English King or his people to breed discord between us and the French.
If you find the King and his people violent and unreasonable, you must still not break off the negotiations, or give them an excuse for saying that we have refused the aid. You will confine yourself to the ground that all your statements are prelminary, and for the purpose of gaining information which will be conveyed to us, to help us in our final decision; and that you are confident that our resolve in this, and all else, will be with reason and honesty to fulfil everything to which we are bound. You will make them understand that what you are negotiating on that side is-not for the purpose of delaying our decision, but rather to expedite it. It will be highly necessary for you to let us know all you are doing and the conversations you have with the King and Council, as well as the progress of the war; whether there is any appearance of negotiation between the English and the French, the attitude of the English towards the Scots, the means by which the King of England is obtaining resources for the war, the feeling of the English people generally about the war, and other particulars which you may consider merit description.
It will be advisable for you to keep up a continual correspondence with M. Eustace Chapuys whilst he is conferring with the English Commissioners, communicating with him as often as you can, and consulting him as need may arise and time will allow, both upon the matters set forth above, and other points of your mission. We are sending this dispatch through him, in order that he may master the contents and give you his advice on the whole subject. We also instruct him to take such steps in the matter with the English Commissioners as he may consider advisable, and to keep you informed.
Worms, 13 June, 1545.
Postscript.—We must not omit to inform you that the English Ambassador has not returned a second time to speak with us on the points referred to above; but we expect he will soon do so, as we deferred our reply to him until we had received advices from the Queen our sister. When he renews his application we will refer him to the instructions we have given to you to conduct the negotiations in England, and will go no further with him. We doubt not that he will then immediately inform the King, who will at once, either personally or through his Council, speak to you about it. Until this happens you need make no sign, but it is well that you should be preadvised.
13 June. Vienna Imp. Arch. 65. The Emperor to Chapuys.
We are sending this special courier to our ambassador in England, M. Van der Delft, for the reasons which you will see by our letters to him, of which copies are enclosed. We have ordered the courier to go first to you (supposing you still to be at Gravelines) and you will have the various documents deciphered, and will consider the whole matter. You will then write fully to Van der Delft, giving him your views as to how he should proceed, as your long experience in England will enable you better than any other to judge the best manner of carrying on the negotiation. We have instructed him in our letters to follow your advice, and to keep in communication with you on this and other parts of his mission, whilst you are occupied with the arbitration conference. We are confident from our knowledge of your continued zeal in our service that you will keep in touch with Van der Delft and advise him for the best.
Worms, 13 June, 1545.
14 June. Vienna Imp. Arch. 66. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
I have received your Majesty's letters of the 3rd instant, rebuking me for my long silence, and ordering me to keep your Majesty informed continually with regard to events and opinions here. I pray your Majesty to pardon my silence, which arose from the absence of matter with which I thought worthy of troubling your Majesty, especially since the departure last month of my predecessor M. Chapuys. Nevertheless, the letters from me now on the way to your Majesty contain a full account of affairs. To them I have at present only to add that there is a rumour here that the French are gathering for the purpose of attacking Boulogne and Calais, and that the King is shortly to go ten or twelve miles from here towards Dover. With regard to a peace or truce, your Majesty will learn by my other letters that it seems still their hope that they may obtain peace or a truce through your Majesty's intervention, though your Majesty appears to have told them recently that you thought the approaches should first come from France. In future I will keep your Majesty constantly advised as you order.
London, 14 June, 1545.


  • 1. This man, who lived as a merchant in London for more than forty years, was, in my opinion, the author of the Spanish Chronicle of Henry VIII. already mentioned. He wrote an account of the accession of Queen Mary to the English throne, which was printed; and an English version of it has been published with a sketch of Guaras' life, by Dr. Richard Garnett, C.B. For about five years, 1572–77, during the suspension of regular diplomatic relations, he acted as Spanish Chargé d'Affaires in England, but was imprisoned and finally expelled from England for his participation in the plots against Elizabeth. A large number of his letters will be found in Vol. II. of the Spanish Calendar of Elizabeth. This very case of Benegat was quoted thirty-five years later both by the English and Spanish in the disputes relating to Drake's plunder. See Spanish Calendar of Elizabeth, Vol. III., pp. 55 and 94.
  • 2. Although this is the exact wording of the original, the context makes it clear that the two captains referred to (Renegat and Wyndham) are those who had seized the properly respectively of Guaras and Miranda.
  • 3. This was Robert Renneger or Ronnyger, who was apparently the first English seaman to capture a Spanish treasure coming from the Indies. The gold he brought to London was lodged in the Tower and it was eight years before the Emperor's ambassador obtained partial restitution, though as will be seen in the correspondence the real owners of the treasure never got anything at all, the gold being confiscated by the Emperor, as it was shipped without declaration in violation of the decrees.
  • 4. Both Renniger and his brother commanded ships against the French during this year.
  • 5. John Dudley, Lord Lisle, afterwards Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland