Spain: July 1545, 1-10

Pages 152-167

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.


July 1545, 1–10

2 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 83. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Your Majesty's letters of 13 June were delivered to me by the bearer of the present on the 19th. From them I learn of the pressure exerted by the English ambassador upon your Majesty in the matter of the aid, and I note the instructions by which I am to be governed when the matter is broached to me here. Your Majesty's dispatches, and also the copies sent to me of the Queen Dowager's letters, treat so fully and wisely of this important question, that my small understanding and new experience are now amply furnished with guidance. I will take pains to carry out your Majesty's intentions, with the participation and advice of M. de Chapuys as you command; and with this object on receipt of your Majesty's letters enclosed in a letter from him, I sent back the bearer to Chapuys, to beg for the further elucidation of certain points touched upon by him. This has been one of the principal reasons for the long delay in the return of the bearer, but I have also kept him back from day to day, in expectation of being summoned to court on this matter.
In the interim I received your Majesty's letters of the 17th, which came to hand on the 28th June, ordering me to lay before the King and Council the injury done to some subjects of yours, merchants of Burgos, by the seizure and detention of their property, and to demand prompt restitution, or at least the release of the merchandise against security. On the following day, accordingly, I saw the members of the Council by appointment; having judged it advisable thus to hurry my interview, as there was a rumour that the King was to leave in a day or two to visit the coast—which journey they now say will be postponed for three or four days. I was with several of the members from eight o'clock in the morning until long after ten, but we did not enter into the discussion of my business, as some of the councillors (for whom they sent several times) were absent. At last, when it was getting late, Paget came in, but shortly afterwards he was sent to the King by the Council, and on his return he told the members in English that the King wished to see me, at least so it seemed to me from my small knowledge of the language, though they made no sign of such a thing to me, probably as I think, because it was just dinner time.
After I had dined with them, I was told that if I liked to speak to the King he would give me audience. I replied that I had not come to trouble his Majesty, but since he wished it, I was greatly honoured thereby. And so, Sire, without further trouble, I came to the King's presence. He received me very politely, and I excused myself for my boldness in thus troubling him personally, which had not been the object of my coming. He replied that it was no trouble, and he wished to chat with me. He then caused a stool to be brought, and, notwithstanding my excuses, insisted upon my being seated exactly opposite and quite close to him. I then began to set forth the substance of your Majesty's letters, using the sweetest words I could, and modestly asked that redress should be given to your Majesty's subjects, so many of whom had been wronged and injured by his. He displayed great astonishment, and said he could not understand how we could come and complain of him and his people, to whom such great damage was being done by us, in violation, not only of all reason and justice, but also conspicuously against the friendship and treaties existing. This was especially the case with these last seizures in Antwerp, and now by those just made in Spain; in addition to the ill treatment of the claimants in the Spanish tribunals, where they were denied all hearing and christened by the opprobrious name of heretics. If all this were not enough, reprisals had now been authorised in Spain. He would, he said, put up with these things no longer; he had gone too far now to be treated like a slave; for he was as good a sovereign-prince and King as another; and rather than tolerate such slights he would exert all his strength of body and purse. “I have been,” he said, “a good friend of the Emperor, and I still will remain so; but let him treat me like a friend, and in accordance with the treaties between us. Just recently I asked leave to export from Brabant a quantity of powder which I had bought, and I have not been able to obtain even so little a thing as that.”
These words were pronounced with extreme anger, whereupon I interrupted him, and asking him to pardon me, begged him to listen to what I had to say. I pointed out to him that affairs should not be looked at in that light, since your Majesty had never given him reason for dissatisfaction in the slightest degree. On the contrary, you had sought to increase and continue the perfect and ancient amity between him and you, which was inviolable. With regard to the seizure in Antwerp, he knew, I said, how that happened; and that your Majesty was forced thereto by the previous seizure of so many ships by the English. He replied that he had very good reason for seizing them, as they were carrying victuals to his enemies. I said that a large number of them carried no victuals at all, and some were empty, and he could have no reason for seizing them.
As for the seizures in Spain, they had been effected without your Majesty's knowledge; and in reprisal for injuries in which I could not believe that he had any part, and of which I was loath even to speak. “You know very well how to make up for them,” he said. “Are these friendly things to do ? They are quite the contrary. I wish all these professions and interpretations of amity were dropped, and that I could see some practical effects of friendship.” I replied that no one in the world could reproach your Majesty in that respect; for you had done, and would do, everything to which you could reasonably be held to be obliged. As to “interpreting” the friendship to him, that was a thing in which I did not care to waste time, for I knew that it was so clearly recognised on both sides, and so indissoluble, that no doubt need exist about it.
He caught up my word “obliged” and said: What do you mean by obliged? There is a treaty between us; and that should either be binding or declared nul. He then referred to your Majesty's treaty of peace with France, and complained bitterly that he was deserted, and thus left alone at war. I replied that he knew very well that the peace was made by his express consent, but he struck in at once, saying that that would never be found true; and that there was no one in the world who could say it with truth. He would answer for that; for it touched his own honour. I persisted as well as I could, referring to the conclusions about it which had been given to the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester at Brussels, and also to Chapuys' arguments on the subject in conversation with the King himself. I added also that he (Henry) had deserted your Majesty, and had left you in great necessity in France, without any help on his side, his excuse being that he was engaged before Boulogne. He replied that I knew nothing whatever about it; and continued to repeat that he had never given his consent. Besides, he said, even if he had, that was no reason why the two monarchs (i.e. Henry and Charles) should fall out about it. If there was any fault, either on the one side or the other, the ministers could arrange the matter. If it was found that he had been to blame in anything he would willingly compensate for it twice over. If we wished to keep to the treaty let us do it: otherwise say so. These words, Sire, were pronounced with so much vehemence, that I thought it wisest not to say what your Majesty writes in your letter: namely, that you might have treated for the peace without his consent, if you had chosen to do so. I did not wish to excite him to further rage; but still I replied that your Majesty had in no respect infringed the treaty, and had no wish to do so. On the contrary, you were resolved to respect it, so far as you could without violating the treaty you had made with France, which treaty must also be considered, since it was made with his (Henry's) consent. He immediately exclaimed again that no consent was given. Your Majesty, he said, had neither his letters, nor his seal, nor his signature, nor his word to vouch for it. As for the treaty with France, whatever it might be, it could not alter or lessen the prior treaty with him, which, he said, should be valid, according to all its force and tenour, for it was attested with word, signature, seal and oath. He kept reverting to the expression that he would not be thus cajoled (mené) with these “interpretations.” It was necessary to speak out. So far as he was concerned, he was a good friend and would remain so; but he wanted to see friendly deeds, not friendly words; and if that did not suit us, and we did not wish to keep to the treaty, let us say so, and he would then know how to act. He conveyed the impression that, if he were forced to it, he would do what otherwise he had no will for, persisting always with many words, which he used at his good pleasure, that he would not consent to be treated thus any longer. For affairs of merchants, he said, princes should not break friendship with each other, or go beyond their treaties; as had been done in the matter of the seizures in Spain. I again repeated what I had said before; setting forth the prior injuries that had been inflicted on your Majesty's subjects, and the seizures which still continued to be made daily here, not a ship being allowed to pass unmolested, notwithstanding the agreement made so lately with Paget. I said they (the English) arbitrarily asserted at their caprice that such and such ships were loaded with goods belonging to Frenchmen, and adjudged them to be good prizes, in spite of all proofs to the contrary. It was, I said, against all right and reason that they should detain property belonging to a friendly people, without allowing it to be released against sufficient bail. When the King heard this, he said he had heard nothing about bail. I replied that, on the contrary, it was the point we had always pressed. He thereupon summoned the councillors, and repeated to them in substance what I had said, and more particularly his own part of the conversation, getting once more angry as he went on.
There is, he said, a treaty in existence between the Emperor and myself, and I wish to know frankly what is the Emperor's intention as to keeping it or not. If he wishes to maintain the treaty he will find in me a constant and sincere friend; but if on the contrary he thinks to cajole me with his “interpretations,” whilst I am being treated as I am, I will not endure it. If I undertake a thing I shall have means to carry it through; and you (i.e., the Emperor's subjects) are wrong to trust Frenchmen as you are doing. Finally, as a reply to my demand, he added:—” let the Emperor fulfil the treaty and raise the embargo on my people, and I will release his.” —He then left me, referring me to the council for the rest of my business. He communicated with the councillors, and took leave of me with a good countenance, saying that he depended upon my good offices in all things, as he considered me an honest man. I then went downstairs with one of the councillors, and waited in their chamber for the rest of them almost a quarter of an hour. When they arrived and we had discussed my conversation with the King, we entered into the business of the merchants. I pointed out to them, amongst other things, that it was in my opinion entirely outside the treaty of friendship for them to arrest all ships, on the assertion that they contained French property; and I told them that I was instructed by your Majesty to demand the release of such as belonged to your Majesty's subjects, at least on the owners furnishing sufficient security.
The Councillors declared that they had always striven to maintain the friendship, and accordingly, since my leaving the King, they had used such influence with him that he was pleased to consent that the merchants should have possession of their merchandise, on condition of their giving security here that the property of English subjects seized in Spain should be released. This did not appear to me to be acceptable. The merchants, I said, were quite ready to give security that their merchandise seized here did not belong to Frenchmen, but could not consent to be made responsible for other things as the English demanded. They (the Councillors) however knew already, I said, and might further be assured for me, that when they had released the property of your Majesty's subjects here, the seizures in Spain would also be raised. The Councillors insisted nevertheless, that they must have the security of the merchants to this effect, as they said it was necessary for them to have something to satisfy their own people, who are complaining constantly of the seizures in Spain.
I replied that they could not claim any redress as against our ships here, as the seizures in Spain had been effected without your Majesty's knowledge; whilst our ships here were detained as prizes belonging to Frenchmen. It seemed now that they (the English) wanted to hold this property as a security for the release of the seizures in Spain; and I therefore required to know on which pretext these ships were seized, whether as French prizes or as a set off against the arrest of English property in Spain.
They replied: “Take it which way you like. You heard what the King told you: have the seizures in Spain released and Spanish property will be released here;” although, they said, we are able to prove that some of this property really belongs to Frenchmen. I said that if that were the case, we should never demand it, and only wanted our own. I laid before them the great injury and wrong that were being done to our people, who were losing their property, which the people here were wasting and selling for half its value, whilst the English property arrested in Spain was kept intact. After much argument, they seemed to be inclined to admit the justice of my demand, and sent twice to consult the King: but finally the answer I received was that the King intended to safeguard the interests of his subjects as well as other sovereigns did theirs, and he would not restore or release the property of Spaniards seized here, unless the property of Englishmen arrested in Spain was also released, or the Spaniards here gave security to that effect: or otherwise that they (the Spanish merchants) would permit their goods here to be detained under embargo, until the arrests in Spain were raised. For the future, however, the King had given orders that no molestation or hindrance should be offered to your Majesty's subjects in their voyages.
I replied that they well might give such an order, for they were already assured to double the amount of the English goods seized in Spain. As for the Spanish merchants here giving permission for their property to be detained under embargo, that meant nothing at all, for their property had already been seized, and was held by force in defiance of all right.
The whole Council thereupon began vehemently to repeat and approve of the King's answer—to such an extent, indeed, that they did not appear like the same men; and the Council then rose.
As they evidently regarded the Spanish property they have seized more in the light of a set-off against the seizures in Spain than as a prize taken from French owners, I again asked them before I left on which ground they held it; to which they replied on both, and I might take my choice. When I took my departure they begged me to interpret in good part what had passed, as they trusted entirely in me to perform such favourable offices as I could. They had no doubt, they said, that I should bear in mind that princes when they talked sometimes were apt to show their authority. Notwithstanding plenty of fine words of this sort I do not refrain from informing your Majesty truly and fully of everything.
I am quite surprised, considering the manner in which they spoke, that they made no mention of the assistance they demand, except in very general terms when the King said he wished to know whether your Majesty intended to fulfil the treaty or not. With regard to the King's expression that, if he was treated like this he might be driven to what he otherwise would not willingly do; I do not understand it, unless he has some commencement of an understanding with the French; even though it may be only verbal. But in any case, Sire, they seem to me rather more haughty than they were. Under correction, it looks as if they wanted to be run after, and that they will release nothing until English property is first liberated or assured; since they are certain now of not losing anything. Amongst my many other arguments on the point, I said it was expedient, at least, to release the property of our subjects upon security being given; and they at once seized upon this word “expedient.” We know very well what you mean by “expedient,” they said; you are thinking of the dispatch that has been sent to Brabant ordering the seizure of English subjects and property there. “Let it be done, if it is not already done,” they said; just thus, Sire, as if they had no property there at all. I quite believe that this may be so; for, as I wrote lately to the Queen (Dowager) and to M. de Granvelle, they have caused their merchants' goods everywhere to be sold or placed in surety, whilst they have forbidden the exportation of merchandise from here. I see now that this has been done as a means of getting the English property in Spain released without proceedings on their part. Pray pardon me, your Majesty, for repeating so many times some of the things written above. For brevity's sake I might have omitted them, but as they repeated in speech even oftener than I have written them, I have thought well to give your Majesty a full account.
I have nothing further to add to my three letters recently despatched, and now doubtless in your Majesty's hands, except that the Admiral has left with the greater part of the fleet for the coast of France, for the purpose of trying to perform some exploit, before the French fleet appears. The Admiral is afterwards to bring the English fleet to the port of Portsmouth, where the whole navy is to muster on the 13th or 14th instant, and the King intends there to inspect the forces, which it is said will reach 200 sail.
The only news from Scotland is that the King of France has sent thither 2,000 infantry, 500 horsemen, and a considerable sum of money.
It is asserted that the Duke of Lauenberg with six or eight hundred horse is in the service of this King, and is to come to Calais shortly, passing by way of Liege and Haynau (Hainault). The payment of the last instalment of the benevolence due at Michaelmas is to be anticipated, and is payable at once, bat there is no talk of any fresh demand, though the subjects are very doubtful. At all events, it is evident that nothing will be refused to this King; such is the fear in which they hold him, and their eagerness to see their enemy humiliated.
I do not know whether your Majesty has been informed that a Spaniard named Caceres, who is said to have served as a spy against your Majesty before Landrecy, and was recently arrested here as a French spy, has been liberated, for the purpose, I think, of doing the same sort of work elsewhere. In order that your Majesty may the earlier have advice from the Queen (Dowager) and M. Chapuys I am sending them copies of this letter.
London, 2 July, 1545.
2 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 84. Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
Since my last to your Majesty, I have received two letters from the Emperor, one of which contained copy of yours, touching the question of the aid demanded by the English. His Majesty instructs me how I am to bear myself in dealing with the point, and that I am to gain time, and not to broach the subject until approaches are made to me. Even when this occurs, I am to take care to say nothing that shall give the English any ground for arriving at a conclusion, either as to the granting or the refusal of the aid. The other letter from the Emperor orders me to take the first opportunity of strongly remonstrating with the King and Council against the daily outrages and wrongs being committed by the seizure of merchandise belonging to the Emperor's subjects on board ships, and to demand, at least, the release of the property against security. In accordance with these instructions, I went to Court and there had with the King and Council the conversations which I relate fully in my letters to the Emperor, of which I enclose copies. I cannot describe the annoyance displayed by the King at his not being able to obtain the license to export from Antwerp a quantity of powder, which he has bought. He cannot swallow the refusal of so trifling a request, seeing that he is constantly being assured of the great affection and perfect amity of the Emperor towards him. If it were possible to gratify the King in this, it would have a great effect; and I therefore venture to write as I have done, craving your Majesty's pardon for my boldness.
Whilst I was in conference with the Council, I gathered distinctly that Jasper Doulchy's claim, which is before the arbitration conference, will be favourably settled, for certain reasons not mentioned by the Councillors. I deduced from this that the other cases were not so hopeful.
London, 2 July, 1545.
4 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 85. Chapuys to the Emperor.
I received this morning letters from the ambassador in England, dated the 2nd instant, and enclosing me copies of dispatches which he was sending to your Majesty of the same date. At the same time the Bishop of Westminster and Petre received letters sent by the King of England to his ambassador with your Majesty; the courier who brought them having accompanied the bearer from England.
After I had read the ambassador's letter and the copies, I went to our place of meeting, where I found that the English deputies had arrived some time before, and much earlier than usual, in order that they might have an opportunity of conversing with me. As soon as I entered the room the bishop (Thirlby) and the secretary (Petre) left their companions and drew me apart, saying that they had received letters from England informing them that the King wished to fulfil most scrupulously everything compatible with the good and perfect amity existing between him and your Majesty, and to banish all misgiving or ground for dispute. As an earnest of this, he would at once concede the claim of Jasper Doulchy, especially as Doulchy had acted very honestly in leaving the matter entirely in his (the King's) hands. Secretary Paget and the other councillors were of opinion that it would be extremely advisable, out of respect for the King, and for the satisfaction of the parties, that I should use my influence for the claim for the jewels and the Antenori claim to be dealt with similarly.
I promised to do my best in this, and also for the arrangemen of all unimportant or doubtful claims made by your Majesty's subjects. I asked them (i.e., Thirlby and Petre) if they had any other news, but they feigned not to know anything about the King's having written to the ambassador with your Majesty; but thought that the courier had come over specially to them, in order that they might send to the ambassador an account of what they were doing here.
I thought the opportunity a propitious one for carrying matters further, and in the course of conversation, I said that at this period here was a greater need than ever before for your Majesty and their King to be served by wise ministers, in order to redress the complaints of subjects on both sides, and to avoid the unpleasant effects that might arise from them. Your Majesty's ambassador in England, I said, would certainly do his best, as he always had done in every case, but I noticed just now a special desire on his part to favour conciliation; because, although some angry words had passed between the King and him (of which he had confidentially informed me) he had made no mention of it in the letters he had written to your Majesty. The object of hiding from them that your Majesty's ambassador had written everything to you, was that they should not imagine, if your Majesty thinks proper to concede their request, that you have been moved by their bragging, but on the contrary had been influenced solely by friendship and goodwill. I added that, so far as I was concerned, they might rest assured that there was nothing in the world that I desired more than the continuance and strengthening of the friendly alliance; and I begged them to tell me what I could do with that end. They replied that they were of opinion that in the matter of these seizures, declarations of release should at once be made by both parties. They were quite sure that the King would in future take such measures that none of his people, for the sake of the lives, would disturb or molest any of your Majesty's subjects. You ought not, they said, to take in ill part the King's desire to be assured of the release of his subjects' property, since, as a good prince, he was bound to safeguard their interests; especially as he found them ready constantly to give him prompt aid in purse and person. For their satisfaction he had caused mention to be made of the bail referred to in the letters written to your Majesty by your ambassador. (fn. 1) To tell me the truth, they thought that this bail might also be given (i.e., by the Spanish merchants in London) out of some regard for the King's honour (of which he was very jealous) so that it might not be said that he had been intimidated into doing everything that your Majesty wished. The rest they were content to leave to me, as I knew better than anyone the importance of the affairs; but they wished to remark that, as the King was open and outspoken, he wished your Majesty would act towards him in a similar spirit, letting him know frankly, in the case of your being unable or unwilling to do anything to help him. It would be very rash of me to intrude my opinion on so important a matter, were it not in obedience to your Majesty's orders. Under correction, therefore, I venture to suggest that if at the present time there were in your Majesty's dominions a great quantity of English property and many Englishmen of substance (as was the case when your Majesty made the former seizure in Flanders), it would be an excellent step to decree a counter seizure against them; because, let the King of England boast and covertly threaten as he may, he will not on any account undertake any fresh enterprise. Now, however, as I understand that the English property in Spain is hardly sufficient to cover the depredations of Renegat, and there cannot be much in Flanders, it would, in my opinion, be better to dissemble for the present, and either by means of the solution suggested by the King of England, or some other which will occur to your Majesty, to bring about a mutual release of property seized on both sides. Otherwise the English will continue their captures at sea, and will take very good care to send no merchandise to your Majesty's dominions, except under cover of other nationalities. In case it should please your Majesty to accept the suggestion of the King of England; and, in addition, to make it clear that the seizures in Spain were not effected by your Majesty's orders, but that you were displeased with them, the English will re-commence their trade as before. If thereafter it should be necessary, your Majesty will have plenty of English goods in your dominions to indemnify the merchants, and in the event of affairs reaching the extreme of a claim being made upon England for the non-fulfilment of the treaty, a part of the indemnity could come from the same source.
Bourbourg, 4th July 1545.
4 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 86. Chapuys to Lols Scors (President of the Flemish Council).
The reasons which have prevented me from writing to the Queen (Dowager) have caused me to treat you similarly. Pray pardon my silence and believe my assurance that I am desirous of serving you etc. etc.
You know better than I can tell you the importance of keeping this King (i.e., of England) friendly, more especially in view of the distrust and inconstancy of our neighbours (i.e., the French) and for other reasons. It would be advisable therefore to avoid giving him (i.e., the King of England) cause for suspicion of the Emperor, or to drive him to think of other combinations, which he threatens to do—although his threats are of no great consequence; because, even if he comes to terms with France, he will not enter with any plans against the Emperor. According to my poor foolish fancy, however, it would be better for his Majesty's interests that the arrangement (i.e., between France and England) should not take place too soon. It will be preferable that they should both tire somewhat, and become more tractable than they are. As the English profess to be about to take steps for preventing in future all hindrance or molestation to navigation, I have thought well to send you enclosed a draft, upon which some sort agreement for that purpose may be based, the clauses of which you might arrange to meet the various cases of cruelty and outrage of which the English have been guilty.
Bourbourg, 4 July 1545.
4 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 87. Chapuys to the Queen (Dowager) of Hungary.
Since my return from England I have been very ill; but in spite of that I should have written to your Majesty giving you an account of events if the Chancellor of the Order had not been good enough to undertake to do so. I have therefore refrained from troubling your Majesty, even about English affairs, as I supposed you would be fully informed of these from his imperial Majesty. I have intended on each occasion that I wrote to the Emperor to send your Majesty copies of the letters, which I had made for the purpose, but the fear of troubling your Majesty has always prevented me from actually dispatching them. The same fear would restrain me now, but for the fact that the Chancellor of the Order informs me this morning that your Majesty, even though you were fully advised from other sources, would be glad to receive this further proof of my goodwill. I therefore send your Majesty enclosed copies of all my letters to the Emperor, and beg to be pardoned for my tardiness as well as for the simplicity of my letters.
Bourbourg, 4 July 1545.
7 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 88. Chapuys to Van der Delft.
Your letter of 2nd instant, with copy of what you had written to his Majesty, duly received. On the same day I despatched the courier with the letter from me to his Majesty, of which yon will find copy enclosed. I have little to add to it, except to say that yon have very prudently and discreetly laid the whole matter before his Majesty. This has been a great pleasure and consolation for me. With regard to your following the King or not, no person can speak more confidently than Secretary Paget; but since you ask my advice I may say that if the King's voyage is a private one, he will only wish his own people to accompany him; but if he goes with some appearance of state, and has to pass through important towns, I should think he would be glad of your company; which you might offer when the next affair of importance takes you to Court. Your discretion will dictate to you what will be best in view of circumstances. It is a pleasure for me to hear that the King holds me in such high esteem as you say. God grant me power to match my goodwill to do his Majesty service in return for his innumerable favours to me. I can well suppose that Secretary Paget does not fail occasionally to say a good word for me to the King; for which pray thank him, and remember me to him, as often as you have an opportunity of doing so. Be also my pledge to him that I will not fail to do the best office I can in all that touches the King's service.
Bourbourg, 7 July 1545.
9 July. Vienna Imp. Arch: 89. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We have received your letters of 12th and 13th ultimo, and have heard what you wrote to Granvelle on the same date, about the claims for restitution of our Spanish subjects who were robbed at sea, and whose ships are still detained. We approve of what you have said and done on the subject; and we have again discussed the matter here, and have spoken very plainly about it to the English ambassador. Matters came to this point, because the ambassador at once began to talk about the aid with which the King pretends we are bound to furnish him in case his realm is invaded. He asserts that the French and Scots are now in force; and it is considered certain that they will invade England, even if they have not already done so. His master the King therefore gives us notice, in order that we may have our contingent ready, and says that the sooner we are ready the greater will be his obligation to aid us, if similar need should ever arise on our side. We replied in the way you will see; and we repeat to you what we said, in order that you may communicate it also to the King, and act as circumstances may dictate. We intended, we said, to justify ourselves completely with regard to the aid; but we thought it very strange that at such a time these outrages should be committed on our merchants, in utter violation of the treaty of friendship between his master and us. We begged him that the treaty should be more closely observed in the future, and that prompt redress and indemnity should be given to our subjects. The ambassador promised to use his influence to this end; although he tried to excuse the seizures and to throw the blame on our subjects. We rebutted this with the same arguments which you used; and you will, therefore, persist in demanding the restitution and redress claimed. You will also speak to the King and Council about the aid, in accordance with the instructions given in our former letters, if you have not already done so by the advice of Chapuys; and you will proceed generally on the lines laid down in our letters, and Chapuy's correspondence; consulting him by letter on any point which may arise out of the negotiations in England, and informing us and our sister as often as possible of all that passes.
With regard to the irritation displayed by Paget at our refusal of the licence to export war munitions (from Antwerp), we can only say that he has no reason whatever to be offended. His master should consider that, in every respect where it is decently possible, we are favouring his side, to the great annoyance of the French, who complain frequently about it. You can refer them to the explanation already given to Paget, and to the English ambassador on this side.
Enquiries have been made here about the Queen of England's secretary mentioned by you as negotiating with the Protestants, but nothing can be discovered about him. Make careful enquiries, and let us know the result, and also inform us of the condition of affairs generally in England.
You did well in informing the Queen (Dowager) of what you heard about the withdrawal of English property from the Netherlands, and the secret prohibition of the exportation of goods from England thither. We heard the news from another quarter also, and our sister will act in the matter as seems best. Keep her fully advised. We have spoken very earnestly to the English ambassador here about an arrangement between his master and the King of France, and have offered to use our utmost endeavours to forward it, if we could see any way of doing so. We have recommended the ambassador to write to his master on the subject, as we promised to do to you, in order that you might also address the King. We have also written to our ambassador in France, and we undertook to speak to the French ambassadors here, which we have done. They, on their part, have promised to address their master to the same end; and if we see the slightest sign that anything may come of it, we will use extreme diligence in forwarding it. This will have the effect of extricating us from this Diet (diette), and will enable us, in any case, to return to Flanders for so good a work, whilst it will obviate the difficulties that may arise from this war, of which the continuance, and the bad blood it breeds, displeases us greatly. You must do your very best to convey this to the King, for which purpose we are sending you a letter of credence. You will communicate with Chapuys and our sister what you can learn of the King of England's wishes in the matter.
Worms, 9 July, 1545.
Note.—The draft of a letter of credence from Charles to Henry in favour of Van der Delft is attached to the above, asking the King to allow the ambassador to express to him the earnest desire of the Emperor to bring about a pacification between England and France.
9 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 90. The Emperor to Chapuys.
We have received your letters, and have heard from Granvelle the advice you have given to your successor in England, respecting the contents of our recent despatches sent through you, touching the assistance claimed by the King of England, in case of invasion of his realm. We approve of all you say, which is marked by your accustomed prudence and devotion to our service. We beg you affectionately to continue to advise the ambassador whenever you consider necessary, and to write to us plainly and frankly what you think should be done in the matter for the future, in view of the way in which his action may be taken in England.
We also highly approve of what you wrote to Granvelle, about (your) endeavouring to bring about peace between England and France, which we really desire. We had already spoken on the subject to the French and English ambassadors here; but up to the present have got nothing but general words. You will see what we have written to your successor in England about it, and this will serve for your guidance in your communications with the English deputies and others, to make clear our wish to strain every effort in favour of peace.
Worms, 9th July 1545.
10 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 91. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Since my last of 2nd instant, nothing has occurred with respect to the merchants' affairs mentioned in your Majesty's latest letters, except that some of the merchants, moved by the great expense they were put to, and the heavy loss sustained by the seizure of their property; and seeing that my appeal to the King availed them nothing, have taken the course of themselves of soliciting individual members of the Council for the release. They have been answered that, if they would give bail to the full amount of the value of this property (which would be appraised for the purpose against any and every claim of the King, the embargoes should be raised. As this reply seemed to be substantially the same as that which had been given to me, and which I would not accept, because the bail was to secure the release of the seizures in Spain, I thought better not to meddle further with the matter, until I received fresh orders from your Majesty. I have therefore stood aloof, and have allowed the merchants to make their own agreements, with the effect that some of their property has already been appraised. After the valuation had been made, one of the merchants went to present his bail, but it was rejected by the Chancellor, who said that they understood that the whole of the merchants together were to give the bail. (fn. 2) I will advise you of what happens further in this matter and beg for instructions as to how I should proceed. There is no news here of the proceedings of the troops in Scotland, except that the Scots are said to have requested the English Commander-in-Chief, the Earl of Hertford, to abstain from further injuring them, as they were conferring among themselves as to the means for coming to an agreement. The English, however, looked upon this simply as a subterfuge, although it is unquestionable that a certain Scottish Archbishop is greatly at feud with the Cardinal (Beton), which is causing them much trouble. They are also very short of food in the country where the English have planted themselves, according to the Spaniards who are arriving from there daily.
With regard to the besieging of Boulogne (by the French) of which there is a rumour here, I have no doubt that your Majesty is amply informed by those on the spot. If these people (the English) make this a ground for speaking to me about the aid to be furnished by your Majesty under the treaty in the case of invasion, I will take care to answer them fittingly, being guided by the arguments contained in your Majesty's letters, and especially depending upon the point that the invasion has only for its object the recovery of Boulogne, which country is not covered by the treaty.
The measures adopted here to receive and combat the enemy are said on all sides to be excellent. These lords (of the Council) and great gentlemen are again distributed in all directions, in order to superintend matters. The King himself left on Saturday last to visit his ports and harbours; and I thought it was necessary out of politeness to offer to accompany him and swell his train if he wished it. I conveyed this to Secretary Paget before the King's departure, and he replied that I should be very welcome, and the King would be pleased if I came. I have therefore made preparations to follow him, and am departing to-morrow to join the King at Portsmouth, where he is to arrive on the 15th instant, and to stay, so it is said, for ten or twelve days, to inspect his fleet.
The day before yesterday the Venetian ambassador resident here came to converse with me, and amongst other discourse, he said that he was assured positively that an Italian captain named Ypolitus Mazinus, who was on the side of the French and was captured and brought here; being afterwards released on parole to go and seek his ransom, was again here recently on a mission from Madame d' Etampes, to make overtures for peace. He appears to have done this; but as the English saw that the first point demanded was the restitution of Boulogne, they refrained from proceeding further with him, and he went back without doing anything. I do not know whether the King was referring to this when he told me lately that, whenever he chose to do a certain thing he would have means of extricating himself from his annoyances; or whether he meant to refer to the mission of a French gentleman, who has several times gone to Boulogne to communicate with the English; as I have since heard was the case.
I understand, also, that some captains, subjects of the Landgrave of Hesse, were recently with the lords of the Council, for the purpose of offering their services, boasting that they can bring a large number of men-at-arms, both horse and foot, for the King's service. They are, it is said, to come to Calais by passing through your Majesty's territory of Hainault. Others assert that the intention is to form an army, for the purpose of annoying the French on that side (i.e., on the frontier of Hainault). If this be true, and these captains have been dispatched very promptly whilst others have been kept sueing so long, it certainly raises a suspicion that some understanding may exist between the King and the protestants, which is greatly to be feared and distrusted for the sake of religion.
There is a rumour here amongst the merchants, both English and foreign, who do nothing but murmur and shake their heads about an imminent rupture of friendly relations between your Majesty and this King. I am kept busy assuring those who speak to me on the subject that the friendship will continue; but I see that the English merchants who used to trade at Antwerp are returning hither ten or twelve at a time, whilst all our ships here are under arrest, and complaints of this kind are constantly reaching me. I thought best to send about it to the Chancellor, who still remains in London, and he replied that with regard to the ships arrested, they had been detained by the King's orders, as he wished to employ them when opportunity served to carry over a number of troops, horse and foot, against the French. Doubtlesss the hope is that he may be able to raise the fresh army above referred to. On the point of the retirement of the English (merchants) from Antwerp, the Chancellor replied to my message that it was not to be wondered at, seeing that the Chancellor of Brabant had recently come to Antwerp to enquire of the English merchants as to the quantity of merchandise they had, and its value. This, he said, was the reason of the withdrawal of the English, as they feared a seizure, the order for which was already in the hands of the Chancellor of Brabant. He (Wriothesley) made great complaints about this, and about the way in which they were constantly being treated by having their property seized, in direct violation of the treaty; and said that he wished these dark clouds were banished, for the good of both parties. The King, he said, was never so well disposed to be friendly with your Majesty as at the present time; but he looked for some reciprocity, and doubted not that when your Majesty learnt what he (the King) had recently said to me by word of mouth you would incline with your old friend to what reason and justice demanded for the ending of this bitterness, the continuation of a good understanding and the maintenance of the treaty of alliance, which was his and his people's sovereign desire. They had, he (Wriothesley) said, such entire confidence in your Majesty, that if affairs were placed before you as they were recently explained to me by the King, they were certain of a good and amiable reply, which they most earnestly desired. Neverthless, if the reply were otherwise than as they anticipated, they must be patient and make the best of it.
This agrees, in effect with what I wrote fully to your Majesty recently, and the matter is of so much importance that I have used every possible means to ascertain their motive and reason for sticking so obstinately to the point of wanting to know decidedly whether your Majesty will, or will not, keep to the treaty. The only reason I can imagine is that the knowledge might guide them in their negotiations with the French. Their great solicitude to know one way or the other, certainly arouses a suspicion that they may have in hand some opening of negotiation with the French, of which, however, I can obtain no positive intelligence, beyond what I have written above. Now that I am going with the Court, I shall have a better opportunity of enquiring, and I will not fail to inform your Majesty of what I can learn.
London, 10 July 1545.
Postscript.—Just as I was closing this letter I learnt that the passage from Dover to Calais was stopped, in order, so they say, to prevent the French from receiving news of their movements. I was therefore obliged to send to Court for a passport for the courier, which is the cause of the delay.
Endorsed: Received at Worms, 22 July 1545.
10 July Vienna Imp. Arch. 92. Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
This letter contains in substance the same news as that conveyed in the letter to the Emperor above. As the variations are simply verbal or unimportant the letter to the Queen is not reproduced.


  • 1. That is to say the security which was demanded by Henry from the Spanish merchants claiming goods in England, not only that the property they claimed did not belong to French subjects, but also that the merchandise of English subjects seized in Spain should be released.
  • 2. That is to say jointly and severally, so that the whole of the property in England would be answerable for the seizures in Spain.