Spain: July 1545, 11-20

Pages 167-184

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

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July 1545, 11–20

11 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 93. Van der Delft to Chapuys.
I received to-day yours of 7th instant with copies of two letters from you to the Emperor, for which I thank you sincerely; and especially for expressing so favourable an opinion of me to his Majesty. Your affection for me causes you to exalt my scant experience and great ignorance, candidissimo tuo calculo et quamvis rerum tuarum sublimitas nullo adminculo indigent, numquam tamen applausu suffragio omniques officio illi inservire desinam. I note your circumlocutions with the English deputies, whom you have brought to approve of the suggestions you made for peace; and I doubt not that his Majesty will be greatly pleased thereat; and also the King of England when the whole matter has been considered.
I do not know how to thank you for your many favours to me and especially for having given me advice as to whether or not I should follow the King in his progress. As time did not, however, allow me to await your answer, I decided to send to Paget, as you will see by the copies of my letters to the Emperor, which I enclose you, in order that you may kindly reform my faults and point them out to me, that I may correct them for the future.
I am now ready and equipped to follow the Court; though it has been at considerable expense, as I wished to be as handsomely furnished as possible, out of respect for my office, and especially because it behaves me to shine brilliantly in these gloomy times. Please God, I shall start to-morrow or the next day; and when I arrive at Court I will not fail to signify to the lords your ardent desire to put an end to this sour bickering and to confirm the ancient and inveterate friendship between these two princes, although the lords know it well already, especially Master Paget, to whom I will commend you as you desire. I cannot express my astonishment at not having received any letter from the Emperor or the Queen (Dowager) for so long a time. I have had nothing since the Queen wrote telling me to be guided by the instructions contained in the Emperor's letter of 13 June, and to act in accordance with your advice. This is very old history, considering that affairs are now in a different position, since these people will not listen any longer to our oft repeated arguments, and request a categorical statement of our intentions with regard to their demand for aid. They have got the whip hand of us now (ils nous ont maintenant par la bride). It seems to me that there is nothing more to say until the Emperor's reply comes.
London, 11 July 1545.
12 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 94.Chapuys to Van der Delft.
I received this afternoon by the bearer letters from his Majesty dated 9th instant, with other letters from his Majesty to you of same date. It would be a slight upon you for me to attempt to add anything to these; particularly as they have already passed muster before such wise and experienced captains. But still, to obey his Majesty's orders, and to comply with your request, as a friend should do, I will just say a word or two of my opinion. First with regard to the demand for the raising of the embargo on Spanish merchandise, and the probability of the English at once meeting you with a counter-claim for the release of the last seizures in Spain; I think they might be told that the first seizures in Spain were duly released, in accordance with the agreement with Paget, and the said agreement had been fulfilled on his Majesty's part; whilst the King of England has not fulfilled it, since he still retains certain ships which were covered by the agreement. The two captured by Master Winter are such; or at least one belonging to Jehan Symon, respecting which we spoke to Winter; and after the last time you and I were with the Council the Chancellor told us that since so many other ships had been released, we might well await the release of this one until the arbitration conference met, when Winter would be able to prove that he was in the right. Up to the present, however, though we have pressed the English deputies about it, and they have written requesting that Winter's proofs should be produced, nothing more has been heard of it. The same thing may be said about the claims of Antonio de Guaras, Antenori and others. It is greatly to be regretted that when his Majesty had in his hands ample property to indemnify his subjects he should have consented to listen to the importunities of the English; and should have taken for granted the good faith of the King, who promised to fulfil the agreement. This was a very great mistake, as is proved, not only by the matter just referred to, but also by the claims under discussion here; and respecting which, it is impossible to bring these deputies to reason. There is, moreover, no ground for hope in the two important claims of Carrion and the jewels, as I predicted frequently to you would be the case. I should like to be just for one half hour with Secretary Paget, to ask him in a whisper what honesty there was, and what a show of confidence, in withdrawing their subjects and property secretly from his Majesty's dominions, whilst they still retained the vessels of his subjects, after we had depended upon their good faith. But still, I should only say it jokingly when opportunity presented itself.
With regard to the last arrest (in Spain), Renegat gave ample cause for it, and as I wrote to you before, surely it should be more permissible for princes and ministers of justice to decree reprisals for indemnity than for a private individual to begin and give the first cause for it by taking the law into his own hands. If they (the English) reply that such things done by public authority are the more blameable, it were better that they held their tongues; for, as someone has said “si amici ricia cum toleras facts tua.” The law, too, says “princeps cum subdite flagitia connivet nec protestate urciscitur, facit sua “; and it is as certain as can be that if, on Renegat's arrival, they had arrested him and punished him, as he deserved, the seizures in Spain would have been immediately relaxed; although with justice all that Renegat himself owned there might have been retained. The seizure in question, moreover, should cause no great surprise in England, in view of the provocation given by the illegitimate procedure there. The shifty way in which the release of the goods seized in England was being conducted was perfectly well known in Spain, and, if you have an opportunity, it could do no possible harm for you to point out that these stipulations for the good treatment of subjects and the redress of injuries are as much a part of the treaty of alliance as the clauses relating to aid in mutual defence against attack. It may be said, even, that still greater importance should be attached to the former stipulations than to the latter, considering that they were the subject of recapitulation with Paget; and measures should have been taken in anticipation for their fulfilment, as they had been long a subject of discussion, and concerned the welfare and mutual harmony of the peoples. With regard to the assistance formally demanded by the (English) ambassador, I still persist in my foolish opinion that, after all, it will not be necessary; and I hope that before you receive this, affairs may have somewhat developed in the way I mentioned in my former letter, and as his Majesty assumes may be the case. Although matters may be somewhat perplexing, as so many things are mixed, I have no doubt you will dexterously manage them to his Majesty's advantage and satisfaction. For my own part, I have only these few words to add with regard to the above subjects.
With respect to the promotion of peace between England and France, I have already written to you the conversation I had with the English deputies here, and consequently I need not repeat it.
It is true that, in order to sound them I discussed the pro and contra of the surrender or retention of Boulogne, but there was less danger in doing so on this side of the water; than perhaps would have been the case in England. I have no doubt you will bear this in mind, in accordance with the instructions given to us by the Emperor, and will be able to find out their views without irritating them—to diagnose the malady without hurting the patient.
I can assure that since I have been here, I have done my very best to preserve the friendship between the two sovereigns, and never so heartily and hopefully as at the present moment, seeking, as I do, every means of extirpating all causes of bitterness. Not the smallest of these is the affair of Carrion, which his Majesty, for his own dignity's sake, as well as for justice and conscience, cannot allow to drag without entirely abandoning the indemnity of his subjects. But on the other hand, bearing in mind the obstinacy of those people (the English), who, on a former occasion, went so far as to say that they would rather lose his Majesty's friendship than give up the said property, I have proposed to the deputies here a means by which the matter may be arranged without loss of prestige to his Majesty, and greatly to the advantage of the King of England. My suggestion is that the King should lend a sum of money, equal to the amount claimed by Carrion's people, with interest and a little over, to be repaid in two or three instalments within twenty or five and twenty years. As the King will not care to disburse the whole sum in money, pressed as he is with the; expenses of the war, a part only need be advanced in coin, and the rest in the form of lead. Although this suggestion is made by me personally, without the assent of the parties interested, I have no doubt that I could induce them to accept it; for which purpose, if necessary, I would invoke his Majesty's authority, as well as that of M. de Granvelle and M. d' Arras, who have great influence with the parties and are well disposed towards the King's interests. The deputies appear to be delighted with the suggestion; not only personally, but in the name of the King, who they say is much obliged to me for it. This confabulation took place on Friday morning, before we entered into the conference, and the deputies left immediately for the purpose of sending a special message to the King about it. I tell you this, in case they should speak to you about the matter. I am not sure that you would forward the affair by speaking of it first yourself, for they are so suspicious and ready to interpret everything to their own advantage: but I leave that to your own discretion. If the deputies have written in the sense that I have said, and according to their promise to me, have reported in favour of Carrion's claim, I have no doubt that the King will accept the arrangement; but please keep it secret until we see the tendency one way or the other.
My colleagues and I have received a letter from the Queen (Dowager) written at Werde, capital of Friesland, dated the 2nd instant, saying that her Majesty is willing that the registers, books and accounts of the custom houses (tollieux) of Zeeland and Brabant, for the last ninety or hundred years should be shown to the present and future ministers or agents of the King of England, who may be accompanied by as many merchants as they like, and may cause correct copies to be made, on condition that the King will allow a similar privilege to us in the case of London dues. We are to write to you, in order that you may choose some fit and proper persons to inspect these registers. In accordance with what I wrote to you on a former occasion, I doubt not that you will already have communicated with Mr. Antoine Bonvise, who can tell you better than anyone in England what to do, and whom to appoint for this purpose; as he will do also with regard to other old books touching the same business.
The Queen also writes that seeing the small appearance there is of anything being done in this conference (diette) we need not waste any more time, and can take our departure, after making the necessary remonstrances, as to the treatment of his Majesty's subjects, in order for the English to avoid being dealt with in a similar way by us. I think therefore that my colleagues and I will leave here on Thursday next; my. intention being to go straight to Antwerp and thence without stopping to proceed to Louvain, unless his Majesty or the Queen Dowager should be expected shortly at Brussels.
Bourbourg, 12 July 1545.
15 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 95. Chupays to the Emperor.
On the 12th instant I received your Majesty's letters of the 9th, with those enclosed from your Majesty to the ambassador in England. After having read these I forwarded them at once, with merely a few words from myself, of which I send copy to M. de Granvelle. On the following day, as I was on my way to visit the Bishop of Westminster and Secretary Petre, to talk over these affairs, I met them at the place where the conference usually assembles. I told them what I thought necessary, and they displayed great joy at your Majesty's goodwill towards the King, and your desire to bring about peace, whilst they thanked me also for my good offices with the same object. They had, however, for the moment only to say that your Majesty would find your friendly feeling fully reciprocated by the King; and they were very sorry that the courier, who had no doubt been dispatched by the English ambassador with your Majesty, had not yet arrived, as they could otherwise have spoken more openly and fully on these matters. I repeated to them some of the observations I had made to them on a former occasion (set forth in my letter of 29th ultimo to your Majesty) whereupon they expressed regret at these seizures in England, and the other reasons which might retard your Majesty from sending to them the aid they requested; but the Bishop of Westminster nevertheless said that, as the request was based on a clear and unquestionable clause, it should not be met with an objection founded upon compensation for uncertain injuries, and still subjudice, as was the case with the ships still detained. This he said, however, as if in pastime, adding that one must say something; and that I knew very well that he never meddled with matters in which he was not authorised. But, he said, as I had associated with them so long, I could judge almost as well of their feelings by their silence as by their words. I took the opportunity of his mentioning compensation, for saying that the point to which they referred (i.e., the question of the aid) was not more important nor more obligatory than the restitution of the ships and other property belonging to your Majesty's subjects, still detained in England; for in addition to the fact that the treaty itself expressly provided for the liberty, good treatment and indemnification of subjects, these points had been directly dealt with by your Majesty's ministers and Paget, and a separate confirmatory agreement entered into with him. They had no answer to this, except to say that they regretted these unpleasant things, and would do their best, for their part, to avoid future cause of complaint.
I received this morning letters from the ambassador in England, written on the 10th and closed on the 12th, with copies of his dispatches to your Majesty of same date. With regard to the paragraph relating to the bail demanded from the merchants subject to your Majesty, as a condition of the release of their property: namely that they shall hold themselves liable to be legally called upon at any time the King may choose, I think the ambassador did well in dissociating himself from the matter. It is not only a contravention of the agreement with Paget, but will prevent these subjects of your Majesty from finding anyone to deal with them, except for cash; besides the danger there is of unjust judgments against them. For this reason, I think that the best course would be that which I wrote to your Majesty in former letters; (fn. 1) unless, indeed, the seizure in Spain had any other object than that of obtaining restitution of the property seized by the English.
Touching the news from Boulogne, I have not heard of the occurrence of anything important, except that the Bishop and the Secretary told me—as also did the captain of Calais Castle—that Lord Poyns recently sallied from Boulogne to skirmish with the French, forty of the latter, and six or seven Englishmen being killed, Poyns himself having his horse killed under him. On the same day Lord Grey, whilst he was returning from Boulogne whither he had led some of his soldiers from Guisnes, met on the way some (French) light horse of whom he captured five and killed nine without loss on his side. Late last night the Bishop and the Secretary sent to tell me—and they confirm it this morning—that a number of the King's ships had encountered the French galleys, but in consequence of the calm the ships could not attack (ruer sur) the galleys, as the English wished. However great the calm might be, the galleys did not dare to approach the great ships, for fear of being destroyed by the vast quantity of ordnance on the latter. They tried to combat the small ones; but no damage was done on either side, except that one ship was pierced, and was at once repaired; and the galleys were finally obliged to retire to New Haven, whither the ships could not follow them for want of wind. As some compensation, the English sighted a large number of French ships following the galleys, and captured seven or eight of them, most of the rest ran on the sandbanks, from which the English thought they could not be saved.
They (i.e., the bishop and the secretary) report that the French are working with great energy to construct the fortress which was commenced in February last by M. de Biez, having at work on it over 600 pioneers. A little lower down they have prepared a place from which they can batter the mouth of the harbour (of Boulogne) and the whole of the banks, so far as they are opened out to them. If they achieve what they have begun it will be very difficult for the English to revictual or replenish Boulogne from the sea. I am told, indeed, that two days ago a ship loaded with victuals was sunk at the month of the harbour by the French artillery; the other ships that accompanied her returning to England in consequence. I doubt very much that they have victuals enough in Boulogne; as the bishop and the secretary told me the other day with very piteous countenances, that it had been thought that Boulogne was victualled for a long time, but that a part of the stores had gone bad. The people in the place are suffering from another difficulty; the plague, which is making cruel ravages; though they (i.e., Thirlby and Petre) make out that the French camp is no better in this respect.
In my discourses with the bishop and the secretary I can discern no signs from them whatever of any negotiations for peace between England and France, and I fancy that what the Venetian told the ambassador in London is only an echo of what Paget mentioned to us before I left England, and the King confirmed when I took leave of him. Of course it is possible that something may be going on, but honestly I do not believe there is, for the King is so outspoken and boastful that he would not have refrained, when he told the ambassador that he had means for putting an end to annoyances, from saying that he was being pressed warmly with favourable conditions, as he did before when Lange, Framoiselles and other French intermediaries came to him. My poor opinion is, that we ought not to draw any such inferences from the anxiety of the King to obtain a categorical declaration from your Majesty as to the aid; because, from the very commencement, he pressed for the same through Hertford and Winchester. I think that one of his principal reasons for haste to obtain a decided answer is his fear of the completion of the marriage arranged with the Duke of Orleans. He has always dreaded and detested such a marriage; and he hopes that if he can pledge your Majesty sufficiently to give him the aid, and to prohibit intercourse between your subjects and the French, as he desires, the French will take offence, and the marriage will be broken off. He fears that if the wedding is carried through, all grounds for quarrel between your Majesty and the King of France will be banished, and the friendship between you become too intimate to suit him and his realm. He went so far once as to say to me, that he had no fear of being annoyed or troubled by anyone in the world, so long as a perfect amity did not exist between your Majesty and the Christian King.
Touching the discourse of the Chancellor (Wriothesley) to the ambassador, respecting the King's wish to keep friendly with your Majesty, and that all causes of dispute were abolished, I may say that the bishop and the secretary have addressed similar language to me here. Yesterday, for instance, during the conference, when all the deputies on both sides were present, the bishop repeated several times that it would be well to restore everything that still remained intact, and to pay compensation for the remainder, and say no more about it.
The bishop and the secretary expressed sorrow at the recent detention in England of five ships loaded with goods owned by Spaniards, and by Jehan Carlo, and they have written very earnestly, asking that they shall be released. God grant that then intervention may be effectual.
Notwithstanding all the trouble we have taken in this conference, we have gained nothing worth mentioning in the matter of private claims; and with regard to public policy only some declarations of secondary importance as to intercourse, have been adopted. The principal outcome of our labours has been to obtain the privilege of inspecting the old registers of the customs dues on both sides, in order to reform them, in accordance with the treaties. As we saw that we could come to no conclusion, we have, in accordance with the Queen's orders, mutually resolved to close the conference to-morrow, and depart in as friendly a manner as possible.
Bourbourg, 15 July 1545.
16 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 96. Francisco de los Cobos to the Emperor.
Last Thursday, the 9th instant, the Prince (Philip) wrote to your Majesty by Ruy Gomez the happy news of the delivery of the Princess of a son, mother and infant both progressing favourably, and I also wrote, as your Majesty will have seen. Subsequently the Princess, although somewhat feverish all Friday, appeared very bright and strong; and we thought that all was well until Saturday morning, when the fever increased with occasional spasms and trembling fits, as the bleeding had ceased. This state of things increased all day, and by the evening the Princess was intermittently delirious. The night passed thus, and on Sunday morning, seeing that the malady had now become so grave as to he almost hopeless, the physicians decided to bleed the patient at the ankle. This was done, and the Princess again became conscious, and seemed somewhat better. The improvement, however, lasted but a very short time, and the attack became so severe that in a few hours extreme unction was administered at the Princess' request. The attack still increased until God took her to Himself on that day (Sunday) between four and five in the afternoon, amidst universal grief, such as your Majesty may imagine. Her end was tranquil and Christian; and she left a will and codicil, made before her illness. The Prince was so extremely grieved, as to prove that he loved her; although, judging by outward demonstration, some people thought differently. (fn. 2) He at once decided to go the same night to the monastery of Abrojo, where was a fairly good lodging for him in the house they have repaired. He is so sad that he will allow no one to visit or see him. The Comendador Mayor of Castillo, Don Antonio de Rojas and Don Alvaro de Cordova are with him. The Prince being in this trouble, has written to your Majesty very briefly; but sent for me, and directed me verbally to send your Majesty all the details.
Valladolid, 16 July 1545.
17 July. Vienna Imp. Arch. 97. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
Since our letter of 9th instant, the English ambassador here has addressed us respecting the communications that had passed between you and the King as to the seizure and detention of the ships, and the maintenance of the treaty between us. He was subsequently referred to M. de Granvelle; in order that we might consider and decide upon his representations, which were very lengthy. We here set down the details for your guidance.
With regard to the first point (i.e., the seizures) the ambassador endeavoured to justify generally the seizure of the vessels, by alleging that our subjects had first commenced to use violence without cause, and that what had been done on the King's part had been occasioned by the injuries received by them (the English); and to prevent the furnishing of victuals to their enemies by our subjects. If seizures, he said, had been effected on their side, it was because they were necessary for indemnification; and he complained of the seizure decreed last year in Flanders, where they (the English) were the sufferers. For a long time past, moreover, he alleged, the seizures in England had been stopped; and not only were letters of marque now refused, but the privateers who were at sea had been recalled, although this measure was not approved of by the King's ministers, considering the service the privateers might have rendered to the King against the enemy, at all events in stopping the supply of victuals. As to the recent seizure of two vessels, this had been done by the King on an undeniable complaint of one of his subjects named Renegat, who having captured a French ship at sea, and learning that it contained certain goods belonging to our Spanish subjects, had voluntarily given up those that could be recognised as such. One person, however, made an unreasonable claim for certain goods, which he, Renegat, would not concede; and, as a consequence, the French prize had been seized in a Spanish port. Renegat, seeing this, and hearing that he, too, was to be detained, sailed with his own ship; and when again on the high seas he fell in with a vessel homeward bound from the Indies; from which he took, as a pledge, only as much property as represented the value of the French prize. The property thus captured was duly checked, and a certificate given for it, except for the gold, which the master of the Indian vessel refused to inventory, because he had shipped it without the legal declaration, and expected to have it confiscated, and that he himself would be punished. This circumstance had caused the seizure in Spain of several (English) vessels: and the result of this, again, had been the detention in England of two Spanish ships belonging to Quintana Duenas and Miranda, of which the cargoes had remained intact. The King, he said, was willing to release these vessels against bail, if the same course was adopted in Spain, without any mention being made of the restitution of the property taken by Renegat from Indian ship, of which the gold certainly belonged to us. (fn. 3) The ambassador dwelt much upon the seizure in Spain, which he said was in open violation of the treaty of alliance laying down a regular procedure for the settlement of these private quarrels without the adoption of reprisals.
He was answered that no further justification for our action was necessary than what had been given on several occasions already.
It was notorious that the whole trouble had arisen from the acts of the English, for which our subjects had given no provocation whatever. Not only was it impossible for anyone to accuse them of anything, but up to the present, not the slightest evidence had been produced against them. We had, in fact, been compelled by the constant and urgent complaints of our subjects, who had been unable to obtain restitution of their ships or merchandise, to order the detention of the property of Englishmen in our dominions. We pointed out to the ambassador how modestly and moderately this had been done, as we had conveyed to the King himself, but we refrained from dwelling at length upon the honesty of the conduct on our side, from first to last, because it was sufficiently demonstrated by all that had happened before Paget came to Brussels; and by the agreement we made with him, which fully proved that our object was solely to provide for the security of our subjects.
Referring to the matter of Renegat, we said that you had already sufficiently debated the point, and had proved clearly that the seizure of the two ships (in England) had been without due cause.
The manner in which the affair had been treated in England was monstrous; and we could only refer the ambassador to what you had said about it. It was a scandal that such a man as Renegat, having committed such a violent act of piracy, should be publicly welcomed, and made much of in the King's Court, instead of being punished. This, and other similar outrages upon our subjects, had given motive for the seizures in Spain by way of reprisal. The inexcusable nature of Renegat's act was demonstrated by the ambassador's own statement of the case, and as a consequence, that the seizure of the ships (in England) was effected without cause; since the first ship captured by Renegat was a Frenchman, and was taken into one of our ports, where a dispute arose with a subject of ours with regard to certain goods claimed by him. He appealed to the law to enforce his claim. Renegat does not even allege that any wrong or injustice was done to him or his ship; and it is obvious that he had not the slightest pretext for violently taking the matter into his own hands, and seizing from the Indian ship property belonging to our subjects. On this ground, the King of England had no right to arrest the two ships in question, and his having done so is a direct infraction of the treaty on his part, instead of on ours, as the ambassador wished to make out. If the King had desired to proceed according to the stipulations, he should have borne in mind that no violence had been offered to Renegat; he was only being proceeded against by ordinary legal procedure; and the matter should have been dealt with amicably, as is provided in the treaty. The (English) ambassador had no reply to this; except to say that the custom of navigation did not admit of a foreign ship in a friendly port being subjected to the local jurisdiction. We refuted this. The case was so clear as to need no further discussion, since custom could not override common law, and it was in accordance with strict equity that justice should be administered where it was invoked, and where the parties were. Renegat might freely have sailed away, if he had chosen to give bail, and if the affair had appeared as if it would be protracted.
With regard to the point of the maintenance of the treaty, the ambassador took the same line of argument as that adopted at Brussels by the Earl of Hertford, the Bishop of Winchester and himself. He urged that the treaty should be interpreted literally; the words being that one party should not make peace without the other, and that in case of invasion by a third party, the latter should be declared an enemy of both: it is also laid down that in such case the specified aid should be given by the party not attacked, who would undertake to forbid his subjects from entering the service of the invader, and to prevent the passage of troops through his dominions and the supply of munitions to the enemy. Furthermore it was specified that, even if the King of England wished to invade France we were bound to furnish him with men, victuals and other things on payment for them: and last year when the King of France invaded the country of Guisnes with a larger force than that specified in the treaty, the ambassador contended that we ought to have declared war against him, and have provided the assistance stipulated. We had, he said, not done so; but had given excuses to the King's (of England's) ambassadors, taking a period of ten weeks to consider our resolution. His master confidently expected that at the expiration of this period we should have granted him the aid demanded; but in spite of all his efforts, by means of his ambassador and otherwise, we still delayed the matter with generalities.
We had, moreover, he said, refused leave to our subjects to enter the King's service, and had not permitted the passage through our territories of troops which he had raised elsewhere, or the export of munitions for him. On the other hand, we had allowed the passage of French troops; and the revictualling of Ardres had only been possible by this means. He (the ambassador) said his master wished to know whether we held the treaty to be valid or not, in order that he might proceed accordingly. If we did consider it valid, he begged us as a prince of honour to tell him frankly if there was any reason to defer the declaration (against France) any longer: if there was no such reason, we should take up arms with him against France. This, he said, was the time finally to bring the King of France to reason, as his realm was impoverished to the last degree of desperation, and the task would not only be an honourable one for us, but the fulfilment of our duty. With regard to the other treaty which we had made with the King of France, it should not, he said, in any way be allowed to prejudice the prior treaty with England; and we ought not to take our stand upon his (Henry's) reported consent to the conclusion of the treaty of peace, for he had never given such consent, except on the condition that his demands were granted by France. It would, he said, be too grievous and scandalous to give credit to the reports of private persons, and the talk of servitors, to the prejudice of an allied prince, and for the abrogation and contravention of a solemnly executed treaty. On the contrary, the assertion of his master, the King, should be accepted in preference, seeing his great qualities; besides which there was an honourable personage who was ready to maintain that the King had never given the alleged consent, except with the reservation above mentioned. Our answer to all this, was that the ambassador's preamble and arguments, claiming the maintenance of the treaty between his master and us, were identical with those set forth at Brussels (i.e., by Seymour and Gardiner) which had been completely refuted in detail, both as to the observance of the treaty, and as to the assistance demanded. As the ambassador himself had been on that occasion one of those to whom our communication had been made, there was no need for us to repeat what we had said. It is true that we had taken a period of ten weeks in which to decide the course we should adopt, for various reasons which we gave at the time, but more especially to enable us to set forth our views to the King in the meanwhile, as we had stated them to his ambassadors; and, after a due consideration of the whole of the circumstances, thereafter to send him a decided answer. With this end, we again sent to him M. Eustace Chapuys, and also you, whom we had already appointed to succeed him. Chapuys having been so long concerned in English affairs and having negotiated the treaty, it was thought that he, better than anyone else, would be able to clear up the differences which had arisen out of the King's demand; but he had stayed a long time in England without any understanding being arrived at on the part of the King. The same thing was said to Paget when he was recently in Brussels, who replied that he could not at that time discuss the question of the declaration (against France). When the ambassador himself recently addressed us on the subject of the assistance, and warned us to make ready in anticipation of the event of its being necessary, we wrote to you very amply on the subject; this having been the reason why you had opened the discussion about it with the King; which discussion you had refrained from continuing, for fear of further angering him, after his references to the seizures of the ships. We added that the ambassador ought to consider, as we had no doubt his master would, that as we had made peace with France, especially by his consent, affairs must be so dealt with as to enable us to act sincerely, and in good faith, towards both. For this reason, we should be held bound to either treaty only so far as was compatible with the terms of the other, and we desired that a clear understanding should be come to on this point, in order that the difficulties which we had discussed with the ambassador, but which still remained unsolved, might be finally settled. With regard to the King's denial of his consent to the peace with France, we could only refer to what has already been said upon the subject. On some occasions it had appeared from the words of the King himself and his ministers that they did not insist upon their denial that such consent had been given. They mentioned some personage, who was ready to contradict what we said on the point, but up to the present his evidence had not been produced; and before it was produced they would have to prove that he was present when the King spoke to M. d'Arras and our ministers; and also that he was near enough to hear what was said. The ambassador had nothing to reply to this, or to our reference to Chapuys' mission, except that he was not aware of its express object. In reply to his contention that the assertion of the King's consent ought not to suffice to abrogate a solemnly signed treaty, we said that the circumstances of the case must be taken into consideration, and the state of affairs at the time. We were plunged far into an enemy's country, and in the position explained to the King, whilst he was detained before Boulogne and Montreuil, and by other matters of his own; and it was no season for long communications and capitulations or for the delay of M. d' Arras.
On the contrary, the King ought rather to thank us that we left no effort untried on our part to include him. He was unable to do his part in the joint enterprise, as he confessed by the negotiation he was carrying on with France; and he entertained the firm hope of promptly bringing them to a successful conclusion. In these circumstances, he rightly and honestly consented to our negotiating with the French on our side, in accordance with the arrangement previously made that each one should treat for the settlement of his own demands; although, as was pointed out at the time to the ambassador, the King not having done his part in the joint enterprise by failing to send his army along the banks of the Somme against Paris, or entering France with 30,000 men before the 10 July, as he had agreed to do, we were at liberty to make peace separately with France, without his consent, on the receipt of the King's answer that he could not send his contingent to the joint enterprise, as he was detained before Boulogne and Montreuil.
The terms of the treaty of peace, moreover, signally justify us; for the King of England is expressly and honourably reserved in it, and the friendship with him strictly respected. The King should consider all this, and our moderation throughout in the references we have been obliged to make to his failure to fulfil his part in the joint enterprise.
With regard to the remark of the ambassador, about not entertaining his master with generalities on the question of the aid requested, we said that it might easily be seen, by the fact that we had sent (Chapuys) specially to England to elucidate matters, and had since instructed you to communicate with the King with the same object, that our intention was not to delay affairs. The delay, indeed, was rather on the side of the King, and when he chose to speak frankly he would find that we were ready to agree to anything reasonable, and would perform what it might be decided that we were bound to. On the subject of the ambassador's allegation that we had refused to allow our patrimonial subjects to enter the King's service, we replied that the ambassador had never requested such a thing; but had only spoken of the subjects of the Empire. As we thought the ambassador was now trying to confuse the point, we told him that he knew he had never asked for anything but the free passage of the troops through the Netherlands; and that his Majesty, notwithstanding the prohibition, had given permission for Germans to enter the King's service. If he, the ambassador, had spoken of “patrimonial subjects,” another reason would have been given to him that of the inability of his Majesty to over-ride the decrees of the Empire. The assertion that the French have been more favoured than the English is contrary to the fact. They had been absolutely refused permission to employ subjects of the Empire, much less our patrimonial subjects; and every effort had been made both in the Netherlands and Spain to prevent our subjects from (fn. 4) entering the French service. We have, indeed, some captains still in prison, who are being detained for punishment for their disobedience in this respect, though the French are importuning us to release them.
The French, moreover, are complaining greatly and constantly that we are favouring the English; and that whilst we refuse the French, men, munitions and other things, we are even now allowing the English to obtain large quantities of powder, armour and stores from the Netherlands. Referring to the English ambassador's assertion that the French march their armies through our territory, we said that we had not heard that such was the case, nor did we believe it. It is true that M. de Rega (?) had recently passed the borders of Hainault and had done some damage; but it had been followed by a representation from us to the French ambassadors openly demanding redress and punishment for the offence. If any other Frenchmen had crossed the frontiers at any point on their way to revictual Ardres, we had no knowledge of it, and in such case it must have been done suddenly, and was impossible either to prove or prevent. The ambassador at once said that for this alone we ought to declare war against France, and we replied that we should do so if the King of France or his ambassadors approved of the act. They, however, blamed and disavowed it, and promised that the King would do all he could to redress it. This point led us to mention the possibility of agreement between the Kings of England and France, in continuation of what we had recently said to the ambassador. The latter replied that he expected shortly an answer to the special despatch he had sent to England on the subject.
We carefully weighed and considered all the aforegoing, in view of the present state of Christendom, and the relations between France and England; bearing in mind the objects that each power may seek by continuing the war, and the possibility of a long delay of our decision giving the King of England a cause of grievance, and perhaps driving him to join the French against us; we replied to the English Ambassador, that we had already instructed you to endeavour to clear up the difficulties; and we promised to write to you immediately, ordering you to take the matter in hand promptly. It would not be our fault, we said, if everything was not settled as soon as possible, for us to act towards the King in accordance with what might be our obligations. We also would use every possible effort to return to the Netherlands, so as to consider whether some arrangement could not be effected between England and France.
We promised also to direct both you and Chapuys to try and devise some suitable means or expedient, by which the troubles about the seizures of ships on both sides might be settled, and similar accidents avoided for the future.
You will, accordingly, seek audience of the King as early as possible, and offer to come to some elucidation of the difficulties which must be necessarily examined and settled before we can resolve about the assistance requested by him, in the event of invasion. You will proceed in this, as softly as you can, in accordance with the instructions already given to you. The substantial points which should be determined are: first, that regarding the confirmation of our treaty of peace with France; secondly, that the King of England must be satisfied with the amount of assistance laid down in the treaty, and must not press us, or our subjects, to do anything in opposition to our treaty with France; and thirdly that the aid should assume the form of a money subvention; the claim for aid which was pressed last year when the French invaded Guisnes being abandoned. The said subvention would be furnished only in the event of England itself being invaded, either on the part of the Scots or the French, by the forces mentioned in the treaty; the inhabitants of our Spanish, Flemish and other dominions being assured of immunity from molestation, though the war between England and France should continue. The ships now detained must be released on both sides, and steps must be taken by which such differences may not occur again. The King of England must undertake not to treat with France, or any other power, except in accordance with the treaty of alliance, which stipulates that he can only do so by our express consent. If any treaty has already been made by him in contravention of this clause, it shall be considered nul as regards anything to our prejudice.
The non-fulfilment of the treaty (i.e., by England), which we have always alleged, shall not be considered as condoned, at least in the case of the rupture of the treaty. You must exert all the dexterity you possess to convey to the King that our intention and desire in endeavouring to settle these points promptly, is to keep in perfect friendship with him, and to deal honestly and straightforwardly in all things; but without violating our agreement with France. You will repeat to him the reasons, stated above, which compelled us to make the treaty of peace; and will show him that, in reason and honesty, we cannot break it. He must consider, also, that, unless he recognises this treaty, and refrains from asking us to do anything against it, a reciprocal assurance being given by both of us that its provisions, so far as they concern each of us, shall be strictly respected, we (i.e., the Emperor) might incur the enmity both of France and England; and our territories opposite England would certainly not be secure. We need not repeat the arguments on this point, as they have been already stated in former letters to you. In accordance with your advices, we will instruct you as to the decision we may arrive at. You will not fail to write about the peace, if you see there is any chance of it, and about anything else that may occur.
We send you a copy of what they write to us from Spain about the seizures of the ships, which will prove that the procedure there as been mild. You will seek means to have all the seizures released, our subjects duly indemnified, and some provision made for the future avoidance of these occurrences. Especially endeavour to get the ships seized in England released, even against bail, and the same shall be done in Spain; Benegat should restore what he took from the ship from the Indies at once, and lodge in your hands the gold he captured, as it is confiscate, and belongs to us, (fn. 5) whilst he should submit to the verdict of the tribunals in the matter of the French ship. We will order the case to be dealt with straightforwardly and promptly, and will hold in abeyance the seizure decreed (against Renegat) in Spain; unless he defaults, in which case the seizures will stand as before. —Worms, 17 July, 1545.
19 July. Simancas. E. 872. 98. Document Endorsed: “News to be sent to his Highness.”
The following is what we hear from Borne up to to-day, 19th July.
News from Bagusa to 80th June says that the Turk is peaceful, and there is no rumour of war, the Pope has news from the Levant to 28th ultimo confirming this.
Barbarossa is at present not in much favour with the Turk, and is at issue with those who govern.
The news contains nothing about Mustapha Pasha, the son of the Turk, but the love of the latter for the Sultana increases daily, and her power with it. All business is brought before her and everyone tries to please her.
The Venetian ambassador here says that the Turk will not conclude the truce with his Majesty, except on condition that the peace with the King of France shall continue. This is denied by others, whose advices from the Levant say that the arrival of the ambassadors to make the truce is anxiously expected.
Some distrust has existed in Italy, and particularly in Siena, of the force which the Pope was arranging to levy; but this has now ceased. News comes from France that a number of prelates have left for the Council. Some also are preparing to go from Germany, but with some fear of the Lutherans, especially in his Majesty's absence. Frederick, the Count Palatine, has sent to the Pope, to say that he suspects that his Holiness will have been told certain things about him in matters of religion; but he supplicates him not to believe them lightly, and to rest assured that he is a good Catholic Christian, who intends to live and die in the faith. The Pope is proceeding against the Bishop of Cologne by peremptory deprivation.
There is intelligence that the King of England is treating with Luis de Gonzaga, lord of Castiglione, for the latter to enter his service and hold a territory in Italy where troops can be raised, as the French have done in Mirandola. His Holiness, however, is fully prepared to prevent the carrying out of this plan.
The Duke of Ferrara is sending his eldest son to France.
The Marquis del Guasto and the Prince of, Piedmont have gone to his Majesty's court.
Cardinal Armignac says that the Duke of Orleans will go to the Emperor's court, and they Bay that if his Majesty proceeds against the infidels the King (of France) will not fail to contribute the 10,000 foot and 500 men-at-arms stipulated by the treaty, notwithstanding his war against the English.
It is said that Madame d' Etampes has again sent her secretary to England to treat for peace, although the answer given to him before was unfavourable.
A. Doria has taken out his own galleys, and those of Don Garcia (de Toledo) in search of Dragut Reis, of whom he had some news.
John Antonio Doria has gone with the Prince's galleys to Sicily.
The season is a good one in Italy, though bread is still dear in Rome.
The Pope has been deeply grieved by the death of his daughter Constance, though he hides it and appears cheerful. He is much consoled by the good relations now existing between him and his Majesty.
A Bishop who, it is said, is of Mirandola, has been imprisoned in the castle (of Sant' Angelo), on suspicion of poisoning; but it is stated that nothing has yet been proved against him.
20 July. Simances. E. 872 extract. 99. Juan de Vege (fn. 6) to Prince Philip.
It has been decided that the Pope will contribute to the enterprise against the protestants 500 horse and 12,000 foot, with 300,000 ducats, and the tenths from Spain; and he also gives the authority, which we requested some time ago, to sell the vassals of the monasteries. He has consented to these contributions with a readiness that contrasts strongly with his previous ill-will with regard to the two last concessions (i.e., the cession of the tenths and the sale of the monastic vassals). Whilst we were negotiating this, M. Dandolo arrived to point out to his Holiness the difficulties which present themselves to the enterprise this year, and promising that it shall be undertaken next year. The Pope accepts this, although he would have preferred the enterprise to have been effected at once. Now that this alteration has been made, I am not sure what will be done in the other pending matters, though I think that the business of the first fruits will be despatched, and that the 300,000 crowns, or at least 200,000, will be deposited; the Pope continuing in his firm friendship with his Majesty; as he is; quite aware of the troubles that may happen to him otherwise. His understanding with the Emperor has already so greatly raised his prestige that, amongst other things, the offices which were quite unsaleable before for want of purchasers, are now difficult to be obtained, as no one will sell them and their value has increased ten per cent. As I have every hope of getting the concession of the half first fruits, and the sale of the monastic vassals, it will be well for your Highness to have the matters considered, and arrangements made beforehand; so that no time shall be lost when the briefs are despatched.
Rome, 20 July, 1545.


  • 1. Namely that the seizures in Spain should be released.
  • 2. The young couple (Philip and his bride were barely 17) had only been married in November, 1543; and even thus early whispers of his liaison with Doña Isabel de Osorio were heard. This remark in the letter seems to add an authority to the rumours which they have hitherto lacked, though it is almost certain that after his wife's death he lived with -even if he did not secretly marry—Doña Isabel. Philip, however, always decorous, and it may be added always tender hearted when his successive wives were concerned, retired into the monastery for three weeks after Maria's death. The infant whose birth is here recorded was the unhappy Don Carlos.
  • 3. The gold belonged to “ us,” i.e. the Emperor, because in order to escape the heavy export dues upon the precious metals and the danger of its being seized for the use of the Government on its arrival in Seville, it had been shipped secretly without declaration; and was therefore held to be confiscate to the Emperor.
  • 4. The distinction was between the subjects of Charles as successor to the Duke of Burgundy, etc. by right of his father Philip and the subjects of the empire to which crown he had been elected. The sophistry of the answer is seen, when it is recollected that the complaint of the English ambassador really referred to the refusal of the Emperor to sanction the engagement of Spanish infantry (which however had entered Henry's service in spite of their Sovereign's prohibition). As Charles had inherited the crowns of Spain from his mother his use of the word patrimonial enabled him to confuse the issue and verbally put himself in the right,
  • 5. The gold, which reached a large amount, was lodged in the Tower of London and no portion of it was restored to Charles until the reign of Mary.
  • 6. Spanish ambassador in Rome.