Spain: February 1545, 1-15

Pages 29-34

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

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February 1545, 1–15

5 Feb. Vienna Imp. Arch. 9. Chapuys and Van der Delft to the Emperor.
On the 80th ultimo we received your Majesty's letters of the 27th, and on the following day the Councillors, who had also received the English ambassador's despatch on the same subject, sent to ask us, in case we did not think of coming to court the next day, whether we would kindly name an hour when some of their number might come and speak with us. We excused ourselves, as we were both very unwell, and the matter was not very pressing. The day before yesterday the Council again sent to beg us to make an appointment to meet some of them, protesting that their business with us would be so soon finished and they would not weary us. We thought well not to refuse this time; and, accordingly, at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon the Master of the Horse (fn. 1) and Secretary Paget came to us. They began by condoling with us in the King's name for our indisposition, for which reason he had sent them to visit us; and also to point out to us that although the King had done so much in the matter of raising the embargoes of ships and merchandise here, he perceived no signs of reciprocity on the other side. We were aware, they said, that the sailors who remained here had been freely restored to their ships, to the full satisfaction of the parties; and that the rest of the goods and merchandise, of which the owners could not be found, had been at our request placed in the hands of a Genoese merchant Angelon Salvaglio, with authority to sell the herrings at the best price obtainable on account of those to whom they might belong; whilst the tar and pitch had been restored to the owners that they might do as they pleased with them. They (the Councillors) thought there was nothing more for the King's Council to do, but if we thought otherwise and would tell them, they would at once do it. They again touched upon the King's annoyance if the seizures in Flanders prevented him from keeping his word with the Antwerp merchants to whom he owed money. Paget went so far as to say nevertheless, that if what was said was true, the King would not pay a single penny, since the very men who were to receive the money were amongst the principal promoters of the seizures; naming specially Jehan Carlo and Jaspar Duchy, (fn. 2)
We replied that there was no ground for surprise that your Majesty had not yet released their people and property; as probably you had not been apprised of the fulfilment of the conditions by the embargoes being raised on this side. To tell them truth, I said, I did not consider, moreover, that the King had yet completed his part; since there still remained 18 vessels despoiled, which the sailors had been obliged to leave and return to Flanders. The merchandise also had not been formally returned to its owners, as the latter, owing to the ill-treatment they received from the King's officers, were forced to absent themselves and appeal to your Majesty.
We had no authority to accept what had been done as a full reparation, but we would let your Majesty know exactly what had happened, and perchance you might be satisfied therewith. We did not omit to set forth the great injury and loss that had been suffered by your Majesty's subjects through these arrests, and also that since the “note” had been written, the King had tried to limit it with regard to the pitch and tar; and he had specifically broken the agreement by refusing the restitution of certain Rhine wines belonging to a citizen of Bruges, although the Councillors had expressly assured us that they should be restored without fail. The Councillors had confessed this since, saying that there would have been no difficulty about these wines, if they were in other hands than those of the King. The latter sent word to us a week later, saying, that if we did not consider the agreement contained in the “note” fulfilled without the restitution of these wines, he would regard the whole arrangement as at an end; and requesting us to reply decisively, that he might proceed accordingly. With regard to the restoration of the wines, what he required was that a judgment should be given, as to whether or not they were a good prize, and he demanded no privilege whatever in the hearing of the case, other than that enjoyed by a private individual.
So far as we can judge, the difficulty in the restoration of the wines arises from the fact there was captured with them some ten or twelve thousand crowns worth of gold, silver and silk tissues, belonging to Italians, which the King has retained as a good prize, and has already arranged with the parties interested; who might consider themselves wronged if the wines were restored; since both things were captured first by the French in an English harbour, and six hours afterwards recaptured from them by an English ship-of-war. In consequence of this, the French capture not having been a good one, the King could not legally appropriate the prize. The Councillors concluded by begging us very earnestly to move your Majesty to raise the embargo on the other side; and they snowed by their words how alarmed they are at the delay in doing so. They probably fear that your Majesty may hold the property seized as a sort of set-off to the King's violation of the treaty made with the Viceroy of Sicily. (fn. 3)
We humbly thank your Majesty for having deigned to honour us by accepting the “note” of agreement; but we should deeply regret if the acceptance caused any prejudice to your Majesty's subjects, since the agreement was made without reference to the fundamental rights, and mainly for the purpose of conciliating the merchants here and to bring them to their former goodwill.
With regard to the passport and safe conduct for troops, mentioned in your Majesty's letters, we have done our best to soften the King's resentment at your Majesty's having placed him in this respect on the same footing as the King of France; since, in accordance with your last treaty with France, they (the English) observe that you are not bound to allow the passage of French troops; a privilege which this King asserts that you are bound to in his case by the treaty of friendship with him. We put this aspect aside, and pointed out the evident impossibility of such permission being given, saying at the same time that the Mediterranean route was open to him or Italians, and that the Germans could be brought from Hamburg and West Friesland. They (the English) replied that even then they would need your Majesty's passport, which we said was not the case; whereupon they retorted that we seemed to stand out as stiffly about granting the safe conducts as we did about the rest of the difficulties raised. They afterwards touched, as if incidentally, on the point of the declaration of your Majesty against the French; but we soon closed their mouths on that subject and left them without a word to say for themselves. They then went on to remark that your Majesty had told the English ambassador that, ever since our arrival in England, we had been pressing ceaselessly for a decisive reply to certain points, but had been unable to obtain any satisfaction. We asked them if any special point had been mentioned; to which they replied in the negative; and we said that we would read carefully through your Majesty's letters again, to see what point you referred to; besides which we would write to your Majesty about it.
We have not failed to request that their troops shall be prevented from injuring your Majesty's subjects, both for the sake of justice and to avoid difficulties that may result. Touching the seizure effected at the beginning of the war, of certain property belonging to citizens of Burgos, the Councillors professed surprise that these old claims should be mixed up with the present questions. If, they said, the release of the ships and property now embargoed by your Majesty was to be deferred until all outstanding claims were settled, it would mean that the release would never be given. We replied that we were quite uninformed, as to whether your Majesty intended to defer granting the release until outstanding claims were settled or not; but as the points at issue could be settled in a couple of hours, and were of great importance, we begged the King to have the affairs adjudicated upon. They promised to bear the subject in mind.
London, 5 February, 1545.
7 Feb. Paris Arch. Nat. K. 1,485. B.M. 28,594. 10. St. Maurice to Francisco de los Cobos.
I send you herewith a statement of occurences here since my arrival as the Emperor's ambassador resident, knowing that by doing so I shall be serving the Emperor and pleasing M. de Granvelle. I wrote to you previously by M. de Silly and do not repeat what I said, only to pray you to order the couriers on their way back to Spain to seek me, so that you may be kept informed of what goes on at this Court.
I send you duplicate of the salary-warrant the Emperor has deigned to grant me whilst I am here, in order that the amount may be paid in Spain. As you are the person upon whom my payment mainly depends, I humbly pray you to help me to obtain it without great delay, which would cause me serious prejudice. Expenses here are excessive owing to an incredible dearness of living, etc. . .,
I send you an ancient prophecy which has recently been rediscovered in this realm with respect to the war these people are preparing against the English.
Melun, 7 February, 1545.
(Spanish translation of summary of the news contained in the above and subsequent letters, 7 and 28 Feby. and 24 and 81 March.)
The long and perilous illness of the King Francis I.
The preparations being made in France for the war against England, and the extremity to which Ardres is reduced; although, on the other hand he heard that the French wished to make a truce with the English, in order to bring his Majesty (i.e., the Emperor) the more readily to the fulfilment of the agreement (i.e., the marriage arranged in the treaty of peace).
A talk of a marriage between the Prince of Piedmont and Madame Margaret. (fn. 4)
What was occurring in the matter of Captain Guzman.
The talk about the Ambassador who was sent by the King of France to the Turk.
That the Emperor was summoning the Prince of Piedmont to his Court.
News from the Turk.
The Duke of Orleans was getting ready to go to Worms.
About the reprisals.
About the Duke of Alburquerque.
The matter of the restitution of the territories comprised in the treaty of peace.
Vigilance advised on the Perpignan frontier.
31 March.
Joy of the King of France at the good health of Prince and Princess Philip, and the pregnancy of the latter.
Scotland requests aid against England.
The English have captured a castle near Ardres.
Rumours that the King of England desired peace with France by means of a marriage of thePrincess of England (i.e., Mary) with the Duke of Orleans.
Arrangements for the Council (of Trent).
Respecting the troops promised by the Pope to the King of France, and the King's angry reply.
The King (of France) sent to Rome the friar who negotiated the peace, to urge the Pope to write to his Majesty (i.e. the Emperor) asking him to declare war against England.
The restitution of Stenay. Illness of the Duke of Lorraine and the succession of his States.
The King (of France) is increasing the number of his galleys.
The King wants to avoid giving the aid against the Turk.
The plague.
13 Feb. Vienna Imp. Arch. 11. François Van der Delft to the Emperor.
I humbly acknowledge receipt of letters of 20th January, respecting three vessels loaded with merchandise belonging to citizens of Burgos seized by English subjects at the beginning of the late wars. In accordance with your Majesty's instructions, that I should take an opportunity of pressing the King and Council for restitution, I addressed the latter at my next interview with them; saying that I had letters of credence from your Majesty to the King, and orders to address the Council on a subject of importance; and desired to know when I could see the King for the purpose of delivering my message. I then opened the question to the Councillors; and they expressed surprise, and thought it unreasonable, that, as we had not previously made any such claim, we should come at this time of day to complain, when their subjects and property were still under embargo in Flanders—a morsel which sorely sticks in their throats. I replied, as I thought fitting, alleging the constant appeals made to your Majesty for some time-past by the merchants. Your Majesty and the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) had, I said, written so often about it, as to prove how well founded the complaints were. With regard to the claims in question not having been pressed: that had been caused out of consideration for them (the English), and even at their instance, as I had heard from M. Chapuys; and also because there were at the time other matters of greater importance demanding attention; but which now should not further prejudice your Majesty's subjects. When the Councillors had conferred with the King, I was told that if I would return on the following day I should have audience. I did so, and was at court early in the afternoon, when I was at once summoned to the King. I presented my letter, with due respect, repeating modestly the contents, and claiming the restitution of the property referred to. The King made a wry face at it, and began to re-open several matters that had happened at Boulogne, the same as he had dwelt upon to M. Chapuys and myself when we first arrived here, and of which due account was written to your Majesty at the time. He came round to the credence, however, of his own accord; saying that the capture was a perfectly good one, made from the French. It was, he said, the first exploit performed by him in the alliance against them: and the sailors on the ships had all declared that the property belonged to French subjects; although, even without that, the presumption was strong enough. He was, however, convinced that if your Majesty were correctly informed in the matter you would not press this claim for the benefit of Frenchmen; though it seemed very strange, now that his subjects were under your Majesty's embargo, you should come after so long an interval, and spring such a demand upon him. He had never hitherto heard of any complaint in the matter: and he then called his Chancellor and the Duke of Suffolk, who were on the other side of the room (after they had led me to the King) in whose presence he repeated what he had said; adding that in proceeding thus, we were not regarding the treaties, according to which an agreement should be arrived at without this formal demand for restitution. I pointed out to him, as I had done to his Councillors, that he ought not to take it in this light, knowing as he did your Majesty's intention and good will to adhere strictly to the perfect friendship between you and him. Your Majesty, however, was obliged to safeguard the interests of your subjects, to whom really this property would be proved to belong. It was not necessary in this case to adopt the procedure under the treaties; the justice of the matter being so evident that, with the merest glance at the facts, the question settled itself; in addition to which we had the most convincing proofs, which I trusted would lead him to consent to justice being done, as was also confidently hoped by your Majesty. After all this, he replied that he would write to his ambassador about it, in order that he (i.e. the ambassador, Dr. Wotton) might represent to your Majesty that when his subjects in the Netherlands were disembargoed he would take care that no wrong was done by your Majesty's subjects, but that every favour should be shown to them. He asked me to move your Majesty to raise the embargo, and showed great annoyance that it was being, as he said, more delayed than if no agreement had been made between his ministers and us. With regard to the case in question, he would be inclined to refer the decision to commissioners here, who would see that justice was done. This was all I could get from him in the matter.
London, 13 February, 1545.


  • 1. Sir Anthony Browne.
  • 2. The names of these Genoese bankers appear to have been Giovanni Carlo, and Gasparo Doloi.
  • 3. That is to say the agreement made with Gonsaga in London between Henry and the Emperor for the joint prosecution of the war with France. See Vol VII. and also Vol. VI., part two, for particulars of this treaty.
  • 4. Margaret of France, daughter of Frances I. She eventually married Emmanuel Philibert (then Duke of Savoy) years afterwards.