Spain: February 1546, 16-28

Pages 300-319

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

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February 1546, 16–28

16 Feb. Vienna Imp. Arch. 193. Scepperus to de Granville.
I wrote you briefly what had passed between the English ambassadors and myself on the 13th instant at Bois le Duc, with respect to the ratification; but as the more I think of the expressions used by the Bishop of Winchester on the occasion, the more suspicious they seem to me, I have thought well to set down these expressions in writing, in order that you may consider and discuss them, and penetrate the objects at which the English are aiming, in case they should repeat these expressions in conversation with the Emperor or elsewhere. In truth, Monseigneur, so far as I could understand from the Bishop of Winchester, there seems but small chance of negotiating with the King on the question of the marriage, (fn. 1) or on that of the merchants and subjects of the Emperor, unless some expedient can be found to deal with the subsidy they (the English) demand; either by entirely rejecting their demand, on the ground that they have not fulfilled the treaty, nor accepted the conditions laid down by the ambassador Van der Delft: that their troops have during the years '43 and '44 done more damage to the Emperor's dominions (without mentioning the Liege complaint), than would be represented by the amount of the subsidy; or else by delaying a definite reply as to the subsidy, on the pretext that the Emperor would be willing to overlook the past, and would accede to their request on certain conditions to be agreed upon with the Council, with regard to the period for which they demand the subvention. So far as I could judge, the Bishop of Winchester would stomach this answer better than a blank negative. Or some other expedient might be devised by you to avoid alienating the English altogether from us, and throwing them into the arms of their enemies, of which they would afterwards (though too late to be of any good to us) repent; if it be desirable for his imperial Majesty's objects, of which I am ignorant, that the friendship with England should be maintained.
For these reasons it will be advisable, before I depart for England, whether the Bishop of Winchester has a prior interview with the Emperor or not, that I should be distinctly informed and instructed as to his Majesty's resolution (i.e. as to the subsidy); since this question will be the first thing brought forward. I am the more convinced of this, since I learn here in Bruges that the King (of England) has recently taken into his Privy Council Dr. Nicholas Wotton, formerly his Ambassor to the Emperor, who, as you know, is naturally and by habit a harsh (agyre) man; and it may be feared will press hard this point of the subsidy. (fn. 2) I am also informed that the Earl of Hertford and the Biscayner Colonel Gamboa have returned from Boulogne to England; and that Conrad Penninck, the captain of low Germans, has been commissioned to raise as many as ten standards of infantry; or at least to bespeak them. From what I can understand great war preparations are being made in England, and the King has refused to admit into his service Count Rithberg or any of those who have served Henry of Brunswick, on the ground that they are well disposed to the Holy See. This incident, together with the long stay of the Bishop of Winchester on this side, and the expressions he made use of during my recent interview with him, make me suspect that there may be some other negotiations going on besides those with the Emperor; and I think necessary to advise you of this.
As it is possible that you will have to deal with the last treaty, I have had the copy of it delivered to Jacques, the clerk of Secretary Bave With regard to the original of the ratification, as I am afraid to send it across country, I will deposit it in a safe place, and will have it delivered into the hands of the president of the privy Council (i.e. Loys Scors).
I may also mention that I have been three times to England without knowing what remuneration I am to receive, and I pray you to inform me on this point before you leave. I have had my past allowances set down in writing and given to M. Vincent, financial commissioner, and have received at Utrecht, on account, 400 livres of forty groats. This, however, is much less than the amount due, and is not for the future. It is important I should know for my future guidance.
To put in order some little affairs of my own, I shall remain here at Bruges, or at the sea side, pending the Emperor's orders and such despatch as his Majesty chooses to send me. On receipt thereof I will start (for England) at once.
Bruges, 16 February 1546.
16 Feb. Paris. Archives Nationales. K. 1486. 194. St. Mauris to Prince Philip.
Answering your Highness' letter of 22 January, I beg to say that the King of France is at present well, but a month ago his abscess in the lower parts returned, and produced so much fever that his surgeons decided to open and cleanse it. Just as they were about to do so the wound opened of itself, and discharged so much septic matter that the King was greatly relieved; and the surgeons are keeping the issue open in the hope that he will benefit thereby. He still takes his pastime of hunting, being carried in a litter. He has just been for a fortnight's chase, with a very small following, leaving the Queen and court at St. Germain, whilst he went some ten or twelve leagues away, travelling by village roads to avoid being followed, his only object being to enjoy his pleasure, and the company of Madame Margaret (fn. 3) and Madame d'Etampes. (fn. 4)
The Dauphin is also with him. He is very well and living in great obedience to the King. He recently held a tourney on foot, he being one of the challengers; and not one of the troop who fought on foot bore himself more dexterously or more actively than he. The Queen of France (fn. 5) is in perfect health, being now much relieved of the malady which usually troubles her. Her Majesty endeavours by every means to obviate it so far as she can. The Dauphiness is also well and is expected to be brought to bed towards the end of March at Fontainebleau. (fn. 6) In answer to your Highness' enquiry I beg to say that the truce with the Turk has certainly only been agreed upon for one year. If it had not been for Monluc, who was sent to the Levant by the King of France, the Turk would have signed a truce for five years. The Turk wants the King of the Romans to surrender to him a fortress in Hungary and to pay him 12,000 ducats a year tribute. Monluc went to the Emperor to give him an account of his mission, and he was told that it would be communicated to the King of the Romans at the coming Diet at Eegensberg (Ratisbon). Monluc said here that the truce would not last any longer than pleased the King of France, and that the Turk would not consent to a longer truce than one year after he had learnt of the death of the Duke of Orleans, as he said he wished to see how the Emperor treated the King with regard to the claims of the latter. The Admiral of France tells me that the Turk expected to have an immediate reply to the conditions he has brought forward, and wishes the King of France to mediate in the dispute with the King of the Romans. They think, Sir, that by this talk they will alarm the Emperor, who however, knows them well. What is still worse is that the King of France has informed the Protestants that he will do all he can to prolong the said truce; which, in truth, he has very little intention of doing. The object of this is to make the Germans with the Emperor and the King of the Romans (i.e. the Catholics) think that no arrangement has been made with the Turk.
In reply to your Highness' enquiry as the present state of relations between the Emperor and the King of France I beg to inform you that everything is at a stand with regard to the further duration of peace, in consequence of the insistence of the King of France in retaining Piedmont, to which the Emperor will not consent. The King of France proposes that Piedmont, should be divided into two parts, that bordering upon Milan to go to the Emperor, and the other part to France; for which portion the King offers a compensation to the Duke of Savoy. The Emperor will not agree to this; and the King consequently has garrisoned all his frontiers, and has provisioned the towns as plentifully as possible: his excuse being that he fears the Emperor may join the English in making war upon him. The despatch of his troops to the frontiers has produced so much sensation that the Emperor's subjects on the borders are in fear that the King of France may intend to begin the war himself, as he is always ready to do when he sees that it is to his advantage to take his enemies by surprise. But really, Sir, whilst he is at open war with England there is not much probability of his attacking the Emperor this year. He is no doubt in fear that his Majesty may attack him. But still it is safest to keep a good watch on the frontiers without going to useless expense; and thus to provide against a surprise. So far as I know, this is the Emperor's intention. Though it is certain that the King does not trust the Emperor, he always swears emphatically to me that he means to keep in peace and amity with his Majesty as long as he lives. My own opinion is that he will keep his oath until it suits him to break it.
Finally, I beg to inform your Highness that the King of France aims at bringing about by his means a marriage between Scotland and the Prince of England, in return for which England will restore Boulogne to him, and withdraw from alliance with the Emperor. He thinks to trick the English with this negotiation; his desire being to make the marriage matter simply a verbal promise for the future, the Princess of Scotland remaining in her own country, and thus to mock the English. If this intrigue succeeds not, the King of France intends to re-commence his war against the English this year.
Paris, 16 February 1546.
16 Feb. Simancas. E. A. 642. 195. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
Just as the Chief Postmaster (Tassis) was leaving, we received your letter of 26th ultimo and other despatches, and we must say how glad we are to hear of your good health, and of that of the Infantas my daughters and of Don Carlos. By other letters you will have learnt of my own health. Since writing, I still continued, with some inconvenience, on my journey, as far as this place (Nimiguen) where I suffered another attack in various parts. The next day, however, by means of a purge, I recovered; and am now, thank God, well again. If my improvement continues I shall leave here to-morrow, going by Venlo and other towns of this State to Maestricht in five or six days. (fn. 7) If I have time there, I will look into the matters about which you write, only the more important points being dealt with in this letter in order to save time.
With regard to financial affairs the Comendador Mayor (Cobos) wrote to us at length, and sent us a detailed account of the amounts that must of necessity be raised for ordinary expenditure this year. In these sums are included the expenses of our household, guards, galleys, frontier-forces for Africa and Spain, etc. and other items, with a statement of the sources from which Cobos thinks a portion of the funds may be drawn. We have already written that we are perfectly aware of all this; and it may well be believed that there is nothing we wish for more than to find a way to remedy or alleviate the distress in Spain, as far as possible. After we had finished our last journey, which was so necessary and produced such advantageous effects, we always kept this matter in view; and we will still do our best to avoid unnecessary expenditure: but affairs are in such a condition that every effort must be made on all hands, such as we are making here, in the Netherlands, and in Naples and Sicily. We must by no means lose sight of the future; either the King of France may attack us (though that is not probable this year, as he has England to cope with) or he may make it up with the King of England, seeing that he has, as we know, an understanding with the German protestants, as well as intrigues in Italy. In any case, it is of the highest importance that all these things should be kept in view, to avoid great difficulties; and especially considering the state of Spain, and of the obligations incurred there, must efforts be made in that country to raise the money necessary to meet the demands. This is all the more necessary, since, by Cobos' statement we see that the former first-fruits revenues, the Crusade revenue, and those of the military orders with other similar sources of supply are spent or pledged up to the end of the year 1548. (fn. 8) What is left of the revenue will have to meet the expenses of the Queen's household, your own and the Infantas' expenditure, the Councils, governors, judges, posts, and other claims that cannot be dispensed with. We have thought over and discussed this matter thoroughly, and have come to the conclusion that you might draw a considerable amount from a fresh grant from Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia. The period for which they granted the last supply has expired, and you had better consider about convoking their Cortes. We can see no reason here why this should not be done. (fn. 9) —Nimiguen, 16 February 1546.
16 Feb. Simancas. E. A. 642. 196. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
By the courier dispatched from Bois le Due a reply was sent to you only on the most pressing points, in consequence of my indisposition there: and from Bomel we wrote a letter to the Comendador Mayor (Cobos) to be carried by a Portuguese who was on his way thither, in which we gave the directions which, after consultation with you, he, Cobos, was to follow. After I had arrived here and had just finished the celebration of the Golden Fleece I had another attack of gout, which plagued me all over; and I was for some days in great pain. It pleased God, however, after I had purged myself, and adopted other remedies, to relieve me, and I am now well, although somewhat weak, and was obliged to stay in Utrecht longer than I intended, in order to restore my strength. I am now going on my way, visiting as I pass certain towns of the state of Gueldres; and, with God's help, I hope to be at Batisbon by the middle or end of March. In the meanwhile those appointed for the conference will discuss and endeavour to come to some arrangement about the religious question, in order that no time may be lost; and I have thought well to send the chief postmaster Raymundo de Tassis to inform you of our health, and to answer the various questions still pending.
First, you have already been informed of what passed with regard to the enterprise planned against the Protestants last year, for the purpose of bringing them back to the true faith, and making them abandon their opinions; all other means of doing so having failed, though we endeavoured to avoid taking this course. You have also learnt the aid offered to this enterprise by the Pope and our request to him about the concession of the half-first-fruit-Bulls, and the sale of the monastic manors to defray some of the expenses we should have to incur, and we informed you of the various difficulties and discussions which have arisen in the matter. Subsequently Marquina arrived here with his Holiness' decision; and we, having listened to the representations and requests of the Nuncios, to the effect that the capitulation binding us to commence the enterprise should be drawn up and signed at once, we resolved to delay the same until we should arrive at Ratisbon, giving as a reason for the delay the necessity of consulting again the King of the Romans. The Nuncios were satisfied with this, and have agreed that the Bull for the first-fruits, which was already here, should be sent to Spain at once, and this is now being done. The Bull for the sale of the monastic lands is also being drawn up in the form required, and Juan de Vega has been instructed to send it to Spain with all speed, in order that measures may be devised to raise the needed money from both sources, and arrangements made for obtaining advances upon it. But assurance must be given that none of the proceeds shall be actually collected, nor shall any official steps be taken to carry out the Bulls, until the capitulation has been signed; and also that the money so raised shall only be spent in the way stipulated by his Holiness. The Nuncios insisted that they had no authority to give their consent to the course ordered, but said that they had no doubt his Holiness would approve of our resolution, and of the reasons we gave for delaying the signature of the capitulation till the time stated and also of our measures to secure the employment of the funds raised only for the purpose intended. We have already communicated on the matter with the King of the Romans, and will do so again; and will also bear well in mind what you write to us from Spain, as to the importance of the business we have undertaken. In view of all the circumstances at the time, we will resolve the best course to be taken; so arranging matters that, one way or another, we shall be in Spain as early as possible.
Venlo, 16 February 1546.
Feb. 16. Simancas. E. A. 642. 197. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
In the other letter we tell you why we are sending this courier. The present will contain what seems to be the most important.
With regard to the enterprise against the Protestants you will see by the other letter what has passed with the Nuncios sent by his Holiness, and we have replied (i.e. to the Papal envoys) in conformity with what we say there, namely deferring the final decision until we reach Ratisbon. We have excused ourselves from signing the capitulation here, in the first place because secrecy is so necessary and we wished to avoid all chance of anything happening which might cause the Protestants more uneasiness than they have already displayed, in consequence of their mere suspicions and conjectures past and present, which might result in their taking up arms and make our presence at the Diet difficult; and in the second place, in case any of the Princes on the road should ask us about this matter, as we believe they will do, we shall be free to answer them satisfactorily, and assure them that nothing has been done that need render them uneasy. But, although we have generally made it understood that we have delayed the matter until we shall have arrived at Ratisbon, the following considerations occur to us. The religious question is in such a position, and the confusion of Germany so great, that there is little hope that the Protestants, of their own accord, will abandon their errors and return to the communion of the church. This has been proved by the experience of the past, and recognising now how greatly the evil has spread and daily continues to increase, it is evident that unless a prompt remedy be found, great difficulties and troubles may result, amongst others the dangers to which these Low Countries would be exposed by their proximity and connection with Germany. The matter, moreover, is signally for the service of Our Lord, the increase of His holy Catholic faith, and the quietude and repose of Christendom, to which we are so especially bound by the dignity to which God has elevated us. And, although we have exerted ourelves to the utmost to remedy the evil, exposing our own person to many troubles thereby, nothing has yet been effected, owing to their (i.e. Protestants') obstinacy, and to the efforts of certain persons, who, for reasons of their own, have obstructed us. It seems to us, therefore, that as this contingency arises in our time, it is our duty to deal with it, if for no other reason, in order that we may be freed from the anxieties arising from these countries (i.e. Germany, Flanders, &c), and be able to go and repose in Spain. Otherwise you will see how great and constant would be the anxiety and trouble we should experience. Besides this the opportunity that now presents itself should be taken advantage of. We have not only settled the truce with the Turk, but the French have their hands full with the English, besides being in great poverty; and our position towards them is such that it is not probable they would attempt in Germany what at another time they might. We are, moreover, well armed and prepared for whatever may happen; this being a most important point. On consideration of all these reasons and others; and in view of his Holiness' offer of aid, he having granted us the Bulls for the half-first-fruits, and the sale of the monastic manors, which will produce a large sum, we conclude that the amount promised by the Pope, with some other funds which we hope to obtain, will be sufficient to cover the estimated cost of maintaining the army for the necessary period. We have weighed the whole question as carefully and as maturely as its importance demands, and discussed it at Worms with lour brother the King of the Romans; as well as with servants and adherents of our own; and, in view of all the circumstances, we have decided, with God's help, to undertake the enterprise this year, if we obtain the funds referred to; and, even if we cannot obtain all, to undertake it with such resources as we have; unless, indeed, something should intervene to make it impossible. When we arrive at Ratisbon, which will be at the middle of March, and after signing the capitulation between his Holiness and ourselves, we will at once set about making the provisions necessary for the army. The season, it is true, will be rather advanced; but the number of foot and horse that will have to be newly raised, in addition to the Spanish infantry that is now in Italy and Hungary, can be obtained easily; and there will be plenty of artillery and munitions. It is believed, also, that no difficulty whatever will occur about the victuals; as they will be gathered in such an abundantly supplied country as that surrounding Ratisbon, which is near the Duke of Bavaria's country, with the Archduke of Austria's dominions, the county of Tyrol: besides which there are other Catholic princes and free cities, who will necessarily have to help in a matter that so deeply concerns them. Bearing this in mind, and also the division that exists amongst Protestants, not only as regards peoples, but also between households, we confide in God, whose cause it is, that He will so direct the affair that it may end more quickly than we expect, and with less trouble than might be anticipated. Good care will be taken to ensure the Pope's fulfilment of his promise; and also in the case of other persons who will share in the enterprise. It may be reasonably hoped that with the army we shall collect, the rapidity and dissimulation with which it will be done, and the support we may find in some of the inhabitants themselves, though we do not depend very much upon that, the Protestants will not be able, for all their leagues, to gather forces sufficient to enable them to stand or defend themselves. It is thought that by capturing some territory and inflicting exemplary punishment, such as they deserve, the whole of the Protestants will submit, to the great service of Our Lord, and to the increase of our prestige, for having brought to a good issue so great and important an enterprise; thus securing the safety of our dominions, especially of Flanders. It will enable us to settle not only the religious question, but also to arrange affairs in Germany, so as to stop the intrigues that have hitherto been going on there, and other matters injurious to our repose. We therefore send you herewith the Bull for the half-first-fruits, and we are writing to Borne, asking them to dispatch promptly that for the sale of the monastic manors in due form. Juan de Vega is instructed to send you the Bull direct from there; for it will be necessary to get the money from both the sources mentioned without loss of time. We desire you to inform of this only the High Commander of Leon (i.e. Cobos) and instruct him to speak, with all dissimulation, and with some other pretext to lead them astray, with the persons he thinks fit, about an advance of funds. Let him consider the best way to get money quickly, but he must try, if possible, to make the clergy pay for the interest on the advances; so that the proceeds of the half-first-fruits may be received in full as they full due. The clergy ought to do this, as the matter is one in which they are so closely concerned. Although the proceeds of the first-fruits will be a long while coming in, and it is impossible to say what will be the result obtained from the monastic manors, the securities are so good that no doubt favourable terms made be made for loans. It must be borne in mind that the money will be needed as early as possible this year, and it should be provided in Genoa, Milan, or Venice, and those parts, whence it may most easily be brought to Germany; because it is not advisable to deal in this matter with the Fuggers and the Belzares, as they live in Augsburg, and there is no certainty of their ability to provide the money. The same may be said with regard to the Flemish financiers; for the money could not be conveyed with safety from Flanders. It must also be provided that the money shall be such as is current in Germany. After you have discussed and considered all this, without concluding anything, you will send us a report of it by special courier, telling us the amount that can be obtained, and when. You will not, however, carry into effect the Bull for the half-first-fruits until further notice.
* * * * * * * *
We had written thus far when we received your letter of 26th ultimo. The points mentioned in it are replied to in my other letter. We will only say here that the High Comendador (Cobos) writes us the condition of financial affairs there (in Spain) and sends us a full report of what money could be raised for the purpose referred to. But nevertheless, we again repeat that we are still in the same mind as regards this enterprise against the Protestants, because it is so necessary, and, indeed, vital, for the good of Christendom; and also for our personal welfare, and that of our States, for our bodily repose, and for the settlement of Spanish affairs; as well as those of these dominions. Without effecting this, you may believe us when we say that things cannot go on. There are many difficulties, it is true, but there are also great advantages to be gained; but we need not dwell upon the subject further than to say that we are convinced that in the present state of affairs it is the last possible remedy. It will therefore be necessary to deal diligently and carefully in the raising of money for the enterprise on the Bulls for the half-first-fruits and the sale of the monastic manors. With this, and such funds as can be obtained from other sources which we are now seeking, we hope we shall have sufficient. With regard to the funds needed for Spain, and for our household, you may consider if it would be well to assemble the Cortes of Aragon, (fn. 10) and if so to do so at once. We do not see any objection whatever to this course. Their subvention, and the revenue from the grand masterships will have to be considered, and also the raising of a loan on the Bull of St. Peter; although this will only be preached at the end of next year. The other resources mentioned in Cobos' report must likewise be taken in hand; and we hope that any other expedient for obtaining funds that may occur will be taken advantage of. No doubt all this will be sufficient not only to meet the ordinary expenditure in Spain for this year but also to send us a contribution to the enterprise into which we shall have entered. In such case it is only just that no opportunity should be missed of aiding and promoting it.
Venlo, 16 February 1546.
Feb. 17. Vienna Imp. Arch. 198. Van der Delft to de Granvelle.
On the 25th ultimo I wrote to you about Renegat; and as the Chancellor (Wriothesley) was anxious to bring the matter to an end, complaining in the meanwhile that the property of English subjects still remained under embargo in Spain without its being released even against security, I venture to pray your Lordship to instruct me how I am to act in the matter. As Renegat is in the Chancellor's service the latter declines to take any part in the decision, in order to avoid all suspicion; and has requested Sir William Paget to come to an agreement with me about it, which Paget says he is at once willing to do.
There is a Biscayner here named Martin Sanchez, who on his way from Spain to Flanders with his merchandise was plundered by the English. He previously brought letters to me from his Majesty about his claim, and I have accordingly done my best to obtain redress for him. As, however, the whole of the Council was very hard he returned to his Majesty at Spires and has again come hither with a second letter. After much pressure and controversy the matter was so thoroughly exposed that the whole of the Council could not avoid admitting, in the presence of Scepperus, that the man had been wronged. But still we cannot obtain any restitution, though in November last I received fresh letters from his Majesty and your Lordship to press the claim. The cause of this is that the Lord Privy Seal (fn. 11) has a share in the business, and stands in the way. I therefore see no other remedy than to lay the matter before the King personally, if the Emperor thinks fit to give me express orders to do so. Pray bear a hand in the matter for the rescue of this poor man, who for more than a year has sought redress here, and has grown desperate at seeing so many others sent before the Lord Admiral (who at present is dealing well and promptly with our claims) whilst all our efforts in the Council are fruitless. I do not think that an appeal to the King will be equally so.
London, 17 February 1546.
199. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Since my last letters of 25th utlimo the King, having returned from Hampton Court to Greenwich, the Lords of the Council ordered one of their secretaries to examine in the Tower the Comendador, who is a prisoner there. The various interrogations were first submitted to me by the Secretary, and as I saw that they were based on statements of the Frenchman Bertheuille, as to what had passed between them to the prejudice of your Majesty before St. Dizier, I thought well to precede them by an enquiry as to the man's name, quality, parentage and birthplace, his reasons for coming hither, the length of time he was in your Majesty's service, and with what object he had told me that he had been sent by your Majesty to the King of France about the ransom of Count William (Furstenberg). One of my people was present at the examination. The prisoner replied to the first question that his name was Don Pedro Pacheco, son of Don Juan (Pacheco) of Toledo, his mother being a la Cueva (fn. 12). He said he had been a comendador of Santiago for ten years, and had come hither to serve the King. He had been a gentleman of the table to your Majesty for about six years, and of the chamber three years afterwards, until he had a combat in your Majesty's Court with one Gerard Caralcero. In reply to the question whether he knew Don Pedro Portocarrero, he said that he did; and that Don Pedro was now in Spain. With regard to his statement to me about Count William, he said he did not recollect it. In reply to the interrogations of the Secretary he denied everything alleged, and said that he had no acquaintance with Bertheuille before he was taken prisoner. I therefore asked the Lords of the Council what they intended to do. They replied that they intended to confront him with Bertheuille; and that I should be pre-advised of what was done. They would also have handed me the letter from the Duke of Alburquerque (which they believe to be a forgery), but the man who had charge of it is absent. When he returns I will send your Majesty the letter in question; and report what takes place with Bertheuille.
I was at Court a few days since, in order to discover the cause for the coming of an ambassador from Poland who had been received both by the King and the Queen with great welcome, and as the King came from mass he acknowledged my salutation with a very joyful and smiling visage. He asked me whether I had not the authentic draft of his Ambassador's negotiations with your Majesty, and on hearing that I had nothing, he continued: “The Emperor, my good brother, has left Utrecht, and it is said that he intends to make war against the protestants.” I replied that I had heard nothing about it, and I was sure your Majesty would not do anything that was not for general welfare of all Christendom. With this the conversation ended, and I had no opportunity of learning, either from the King or the Council, the reason for the coming of this ambassador, except that on his way hither he had stayed some time at your Majesty's Court. The war preparations are being made with great activity; and every day German captains come to offer their services: but it appears to me that owing to the fault of von Reissenberg they (i.e. the English) do not require any more Germans beyond those that are to be brought by Conrad Penninck and some Westland (Oestlandt) horse. I hear that some Italian captains have left, and M. Louis de l'Arme (fn. 13) (Loys de L'arma) is also to go to raise troops in Italy. I am informed secretly that they have delayed de l'Arme's departure, in order that may get Luigi di Gonzaga, a member or ally of the house of Mantua, as chief of the Italians. For this reason, it is said the King has nominated him a Knight of the Garter. All the Spaniards (i.e. the mercenaries) have embarked for Boulogne, and the Lord Admiral who had gone thither has now returned. They are talking of the assembly there of a great land army.
London, 17 February 1546.
Feb. 21. Vienna Imp. Arch 200. Scepperus to Loys Scors.
I send you the duplicate of the two articles, which the English ambassadors say have been accepted by the King; and the instructions to the person who is to be appointed commissioner will now have to be drafted at once. Rumour here says that this will be Master Adrien Van der Burgh, a worthy and learned man; but I do not know how true this may be. Verily, whoever he may be, he will need the habergeon of patience, and the possession of a good steady brain to endure the clamour of so many people who will daily trouble him. As for myself, so long as the other affairs allow me to do so, I will aid to my best ability in this matter, at least whilst the two English commissioners put up with me; for the articles only provide for the appointment of one person to co-operate with the resident ambassador. I will send you by a safe hand the original of the treaty signed by the English ambassadors, and of the ratification similarly signed. I dare not send them lightly across country.
Bruges, 21 February 1546.
Feb. 22. Simancas. E. 1318. Extract 201. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (fn. 14) to the Emperor.
With regard to the Pope's aims and objects, 1 can only refer your Majesty to my former letters. Your Majesty may, however, be sure of one thing: if the Pope desires to obtain more power, spiritual or temporal, even though it be to the prejudice of your Majesty or another sovereign, he will try to do it in this Council (i.e. of Trent) and by the votes of the bishops; in which case no one can withstand him, as he does exactly as he likes with them (the bishops) and really disgraceful things take place. I therefore trust that national councils may be arranged, or else that this Council may be rendered unfruitful, although without allowing your Majesty's hand to be seen too openly.
With regard to the first point, of the title to be assumed by the Council; whether it will declare itself the representative of the universal church or not, I have written my opinion; and send a copy thereof herewith. As to the question of who is the true superior, I draw my view from the ancient and modern councils, and from other writers. This is that the Council is superior to the Pope: for the very canonists deprive the Pope on the one hand of what they concede him on the other. I am prepared to state my reasons for this opinion when necessary; and when your Majesty has time to see them I will send them written in Spanish.
Touching the second point, I am of opinion that a beginning should be made on the general ground of the faith, the question of reform being considered afterwards. After this should be set forth the special doubts that arise in the christian religion. This is the order adopted, from the Council of Nicea (fn. 15) until the present time. I can also send the bases upon which I found this view, and also as to the usurpation by the Pontiffs of temporal jurisdiction for the last eleven hundred odd years against both Emperors and peoples.
Venice, 22 February 1546.
Feb. 26. Vienna Imp. Arch. 202. The Emperor to Van der Delft. (fn. 16)
We have deferred replying to your last letters, which we received at Arnhem at the time that we were about to despatch M. D'Eick to the King of England, respecting the communications that had passed between us and the Bishop of Winchester and the other English ambassadors here, and also to salute the King on our behalf, and to inform him of our departure (i.e. to Germany). As you will learn everything by the letters we are now writing to M. D'Eick on his mission to England, he having instructions to communicate the same to you, we need not dwell upon business in this letter further than to request you to inform us that you have been able to ascertain as to the confession of the Spanish prisoner, and to continue to press for the restitution of the property captured by Renegat. We are ignorant of the exact amount of this property, but have written to Spain, asking for full particulars, which we will communicate to you as soon as we receive them.
Maestricht, 26 February 1546.
Feb. 26. Vienna Imp. Arch. 203. The Emperor to Scepperus.
We have heard what you wrote to Sr. de Granvelle on the 16th instant; and also the contents of the document referred to in your letter, with regard to the discourse you had had with the Bishop of Winchester and the other English ambassadors and the opinions you had formed as to their intentions in the matter of the aid, which they have claimed so persistently, in the drafting of the clauses of the explanatory agreement recently signed between the King and ourselves. We also note the conclusions you have arrived at as to the state of affairs existing between the Kings of England and France. After due consideration of all the points, we caused MM. de Granvelle and President Scors to confer with the English ambassadors, taking the opportunity of the latter having requested permission for the passage through these dominions of certain troops that Conrad Penninck has undertaken to bring into their service, and for the license to export from here some leather, saltpetre, harquebusses and pikes. Both on account of the importance of these petitions themselves and with the object of seeing whether some arrangement could be made with the ambassadors respecting the aid, as well as in regard of your proposed voyage to England (fn. 17), it was decided that the above-mentioned interview should take place. Our commissioners having heard the particulars of the ambassadors' instructions and other subsequent observations respecting our projected voyage, replied to them that we were very anxious and desirous to accommodate their master as far as was possible, both on account of the treaty of alliance and in respect of the friendship that existed between us. But it was incumbent upon us to see that our own countries did not suffer injury, and to avoid the contravention of our treaty with France. We must obviate, moreover, similar requisitions on their (i.e. the French) part. With regard to Penninck and the troops he wished to lead through our dominions, it was desirable that Penninck himself should be seen here; so that he might say by which road he wished to take his men; because, although the ambassadors said that he would bring only a little troop, it was necessary for us to ascertain from him positively that they should not be increased in number in these countries nor be allowed to make a disagreeable sojourn. We must see also that the passage should be effected in such a way as to give as little cause for complaint as possible to the French; and as soon as Penninck came arrangements should be made with him and a speedy decision given. As the King had taken Penninck into his service, the latter might come hither with perfect security: but we may privately remark to you that the principal reason why we wish him to come is to ensure ourselves absolutely from him that he will neither directly or indirectly do anything to our prejudice. We do not believe that he will raise any difficulty about this, from what we hear from Martin Van Rossen. As regards the leather they wish to export, the license was conceded to them on condition that the export was managed with as little noise as possible, and occasion avoided for arousing the jealousy of the French. Similarly the harquebusses, the saltpetre and the pikes should be placed at their disposal so far as was compatible with the needs of these dominions themselves. Having arranged these points with the ambassadors, the latter declared themselves well satisfied.
As the ambassadors did not make any fresh allusion to the aid they had demanded they were then addressed on the subject of your proposed voyage to England, following up what had been said on the point at Utrecht, and your various communications with the ambassadors jointly and severally since then. They replied at once that, in their opinion, your going thither could only be productive of good; the object being to salute the King on our behalf and inform him of our departure for Germany: and also to discourse of the marriage of our niece with the Prince of England. In order, if possible, to draw them out somewhat farther, it was remarked that we were still of the' same mind to send you to salute the King and inform him of our departure; but that as for the marriage they had not referred to the matter for some time, and we did not know whether it had cooled or not. The Bishop of Winchester replied that he had received no letter from his master since the last conversation, but was expecting daily some instructions respecting his return. He was asked if he thought it would be better that we should defer our departure until his letters from England arrived, but he and the rest of them all answered at once that they thought not.
The Bishop of Winchester, still referring to the letters he was expecting, asked what route we intended to take, and whether we should pass through Metz; and he was told that we should first go to Luxemburg, and would there consider the road for the rest of the journey, as we could not decide before then. He pointedly asked what news there was of the conference, and if it was going forward, adding that he heard that the Council (of Trent) was progressing. He was told in reply that it was believed that the conference in question was assembled at the present time, and that all parties, so far as was understood, desired a peaceful understanding on the questions touching religion. When we arrived at Ratisbon we would see whether some good work could not be effected. With regard to the Council, some commencement had been made, and the matter now under consideration was as to whether the reformation should be proceeded with at once, or the correction of errors immediately discussed with it (si l'on procederoit en premier lieu a la reformation ou si incontinent Von tracteroit avec ceste reformation des erreurs). The ambassadors had already been assured that care had been, and would be, taken on our part not to enlarge the papal authority or to concede to the Council more power than it could fairly claim by right and reason, and it was emphatically repeated to them (the ambassadors) now, in order that they might not be persuaded to believe otherwise. They then asked what intelligence there was from France, and whether great war preparations were not going on there. They understood that the French were utterly tired of the expense and burden of maintaining the war. There was, we replied, much talk about preparations, it was true; but from what we could hear the French were more anxious to provision their forts near Boulogne, Ardres and Therouanne, which were in great need.
It was considered advisable at this point to remark that there were many rumours in France of an agreement with their master, whereto they replied that they had received no recent news from England, and their last information was that mentioned above.
Although the discourse lasted a long while the ambassadors made no allusion whatever to the aid they had requested, nor did they evince any sign of dissatisfaction. When they were leaving M. de Granvelle took the Bishop of Winchester aside, and remarked to him that it would be conducive to good relations if when they received any fresh news from England they would communicate it to us, in the interests of the alliance: hoping that the bishop would exert his good offices in the matter. The bishop took this in good part and promised to do so.
After the above interview had been maturely considered by us at Utrecht, together with the remarks respecting your journey to England, it was decided that the best course will be for you to pursue your voyage thither as speedily as possible. This course is the more necessary because, although there is every indication of close negotiations for peace between France and England, our intelligence from France convinces us that the French do not trust the other side, but are making every possible effort to secure and muster troops, whilst the English are acting in a similar way in the preparations already referred to. The talk of peace has on several occasions been even more prevalent than it is now, but has ended in nothing. Although it may certainly be concluded that both of the parties desire peace, the differences and claims on both sides are very great, and an arrangement will not easily be effected, as we have already seen. Perchance your going to England, and the assurance thus attained of our continued friendship for the King, together with the settlement recently made by M. de Granvelle with the Bishop of Winchester at Utrecht, may at least prevent the King of England from entering into any negotiations prejudicial to us.
You may, moreover, tell the King secretly and in confidence, that we have received advice from a trustworthy source that the French propose to deceive and circumvent him by means of a marriage which they will suggest between the Prince his son and the daughter of Scotland; a peace or long truce being effected, and Boulogne restored to them. They will endeavour to persuade the Queen (Mother) of Scotland to consent to the marriage of her daughter, whilst giving her to understand that her pledge or promise to that effect will not be binding, in consequence of the King of England being, as they say, schismatic; and no pledge given to such a person would hold good; or would not at once be annulled by the Pope. In addition to this they say a separate protest might be secretly made in the name of the girl. We have thought well, you may say, to inform him of this intention in confidence; and to warn him through you to keep his eye on the matter, although he is wise, and is so well aware of the sort of people he has to deal with, that we are sure that he and his prudent councillors will not allow themselves to be taken in.
When you arrive in England you will take such discreet means as you may, in order to learn how the King is inclined towards a marriage between our niece and the Prince; and in accordance as you may find him you will address him, more or less significantly, on the subject. You may, in any case, say that we have been much gratified to hear from the ambassadors that he bore so much goodwill towards such a match; and that our pleasure thereat is shared by our brother the King of the Romans, whom we have informed of what had passed in the matter. We presume that the ambassadors will have communicated to him (King Henry) the reply we gave to them: and you will advance or retire in your conversation on the subject, according as you may see advisable.
If there is any mention made about a dowry, you can refer to it in the sense already decided upon: the object being to induce the King to be satisfied with such dowry as the King of the Romans may be able to give to his daughter, and such as he gives to his other daughters; and to prevent any larger endowment being demanded in this case, either from our brother or ourselves, for the reasons which were fully discussed and you will recollect.
If you see that the King or his ministers persist in demanding a larger dowry, but still demonstrate a goodwill towards the marriage in principle, you may say that you have no further instructions on the point than those above-mentioned: but that we and our brother cannot believe that the King, who is so great and wealthy a prince, would take his stand upon such a matter. Nevertheless you will gladly inform us of what they say, though without the slightest hope on your part that our brother will be induced to give a larger dowry, or that we will consent to help him to do so, for the reasons already set forth.
In case you recognise that the King is well disposed towards the marriage, and is desirous of arranging it, you may ascertain how and when he would like to negotiate; and let us and the King of the Romans know at once, assuring the King of England that we will not fail on our part to reciprocate. You will also discover whether the King would be content for the negotiations to be entrusted to the English ambassadors who may be accredited to us at Ratisbon. This, truly, would be the most convenient and decorous way, as the father of the girl will be there with us. If, on the other hand, you find that the King of England does not wish for the match, or has already advanced with the treaty for a Scottish marriage, you may signify that the discussion on the matter here and your references to it in England have simply originated in a desire on our part to reciprocate the proposals made by the King through you for a closer alliance, and the Bishop of Winchester's remark to us at Antwerp respecting the marriage of our niece, to which, as you know, he said his master would willingly listen. However the King or his ministers may answer you on this subject, you will behave graciously towards them, saying that in any case we desire to keep on terms of sincere friendship with him, the prince his son, and all his realm.
If the King's councillors press you on the subject of the aid requested you may make the best shift you can to explain the reason for its not having been accorded, using the arguments already brought forward, particularly since the last agreement. But you will deal with the matter very moderately, taking care not to press more hardly upon the Bishop of Winchester and the other ambassadors than you find really necessary; although, in good truth, it is quite inexcusable that they made not the slightest mention of the aid for more than three weeks before the ratification of the agreement; and this, in fact, entirely exonerates us from furnishing the aid. Even after the ratificaton they said not a word about the aid until they received letters from England on the subject. There are, moreover, many other reasons which justify us, and prove conclusively that the aid cannot be granted.
If, notwithstanding everything, you find that the King or his ministers insist that we should pay the said subsidy, you may say, as if of your own accord, that we had no idea that the matter would be pressed by them; because, putting aside the many ample and peremptory reasons for our attitude, we could not think that the King of England would make a point of so trifling a thing. You will sound them at the same time as to the nature and duration of the aid they want: and you may signify to them that in no case could it be given, except during the continuance of the invasion formally specified in the treaty between the King and ourselves, and even then only after the notification had been given to us in the form often discussed. When you have heard all they have to say you may promise to convey to us the claim they make, with an assurance of your belief that we shall do everything in reason, though you will not express any approval of their claims.
If the questions of the Diet and the Council (of Trent) be mentioned, you will say what is written in a previous paragraph on those subjects, and you may add to the King the substance of what we replied to his ambassadors on the other points mentioned above, reconciling it all with your instructions as you may see necessary.
This letter will also be for our resident ambassador in England, and you will jointly do your best to carry out the mission entrusted to you. In addition to this you will make every effort to secure the redress due to our subjects, Flemings and Spaniards, for the injuries inflicted upon them; and also for the restitution of what Renegat has captured at sea from our subjects and belonging to us.
With regard to your allowance, etc., concerning which you have written to M. de Granvelle, for the frequent voyages you are making and have made, we have given orders for 400 florins more to be handed to you on account, for the expenses of the present voyage, and on your return the Queen, our sister, will look to the rest and provide what is fitting.
Maestricht, 26 February 1546.
Feb. 27. Vienna Imp. Arch. 204. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
I have nothing very important to communicate to your Majesty; but, as I have the convenience of this courier, I think well to inform you that the King sent one of his secretaries to me a few days ago to learn the truth of the rumour that a public prohibition had been issued at Gravelines forbidding any victuals passing from there to the English, which, he said, seemed to be against the treaties, especially against that lately confirmed by your Majesty, and, he feared, would encourage his enemies. I replied that I had heard nothing about it, but I knew that great scarcity existed there (i.e. Gravelines) and your subjects were obliged to look after themselves. When the secretary saw that I had nothing to say about it he expressed a hope that there was no truth in the rumour. He told me that they were expecting daily the arrival of M. D'Eick, and asked me what news I had of him. I replied that I had none at all except the current talk of this'Court that M. D'Eick was coming hither, and also a commissioner to settle the complaints and claims of subjects of both sovereigns.
The preparations for war are well advanced, especially by sea. The King has had constructed eight galleasses, which he considers much more advantageous than galleys, as each one will carry two cannons at the bows, and three, or if it is desired five, on each side, and one on the poop. A great number of Irishmen are expected here to be sent to Boulogne. The talk is that the Marquis (i.e. Henry Grey, third Marquis of Dorset) and the Earl of Essex (i.e. Sir William Parr, afterwards Marquis of Northampton) will have command of the troops, which are being made ready. There are no foreign soldiers now remaining on the Scottish border, the German cavalry being all dismissed.
Sire, I am confused and apprehensive to have to inform your Majesty that there are rumours here of a new Queen, although I do not know why, or how true it may be. Some people attribute to it the sterility of the present Queen, whilst others say that there will be no change whilst the present war lasts.
Madame Suffolk is much talked about, and is in great favour; but the King shows no alteration in his demeanour towards the Queen, though the latter, as I am informed, is somewhat annoyed at the rumours. (fn. 18)
I have made enquiries respecting the mission of the Polish Ambassador; but I can discover nothing, except that it is publicly asserted that the object is to negotiate a marriage between his master and Lady Mary. I heard also from a person who was present that the Queen on one occasion twitted Lady Mary about it. The Polish Ambassador has been knighted by the King, who at the same time in open Court placed a golden collar round his neck.
London, 27 February 1546.
Feb. 27. Simancas. E. 374. 205. Lope Hurtado de Mendoza (fn. 19) to Prince Philip.
(In a letter mainly respecting Portuguese affairs, the Inquisition in Portugal, and the famine in the country, the following passages relating to England occur.) The King (of Portugal) has received information from France that no peace has been made with England, and also that no negotiations were proceeding between his Majesty (the Emperor) and France. They write that small hope of peace exists.
With regard to the letters of marque given (by the French) against this country, the King (of Portugal) would not accept the suspension 'for a year except on certain conditions, which the ambassador in France writes that the King of France will not concede. Letters of marque and reprisal had therefore been conceded by the King of France, limited by the appointment of judges at Bruges and Lisbon, who are to decide as to the legality of the captures.
Armed English ships are doing as much damage as they can, which is a great deal. It is said that they have captured I know not how many ships loaded with wheat bound for Lisbon. The King of Portugal has sent an envoy to the King of England. I will duly advise the reply he brings back. The Portuguese are being much harried at sea; and it is said that even Spaniards will he molested by the numerous armed ships that are out.
Almerim, 27 February 1546.


  • 1. The marriage of Edward, Prince of Wales, with a daughter of the King of the Romans.
  • 2. Dean of Canterbury and York, son of Sir Robert Wotton of Bookton Malherb, Kent. He was employed in no less than 13 foreign missions under four sovereigns. He was offered the Archbishopric of Canterbury by Elizabeth, but refused it. He died at the age of 70, in 1566, and was buried at Canterbury. Lloyd (State Worthies) mentions his inflexible firmness and quotes one of his maxims to ambassadors as follows:—“Resolution: I made often as if I would fight when they knew my calling only allowed me to speak.”
  • 3. Margaret of France, the favourite daughter of Francis, and afterwards wife of Emanuel Philibert Duke of Savoy.
  • 4. The King's mistress, formerly Mademoiselle d'Heilly.
  • 5. Eleanor of Austria-Burgundy, sister of the Emperor and Queen Dowager of Portugal, who had been married to Francis as one of the conditions of the peace concluded in l526, when Francis was a prisoner in Madrid.
  • 6. Catherine de Medici. The child thus born was Elizabeth of Valois, who became the third wife of Philip II.
  • 7. The itinerary is given in Vandenesse.
  • 8. The Crusade revenue, so called, was a great source of profit to the sovereigns of Spain. It consisted in the right granted by successive Popes to them to sell the Bulls for indulgences to their subjects. The estates of the great military orders Calatrava, Santiago, Alcantara and Montesor had been appropriated by the “Catholic Sovereigns,” the Comendadors being thenceforward paid a fixed allowance in money from the royal treasury.
  • 9. The Cortes of the Kingdoms of Aragon stood firmly upon their constitutional rights, and always drove a very hard bargain in voting supplies. The Cortes of Castile had already lost to a great extent their power of resisting royal demands.
  • 10. This was done at Monzon in the following year, 1547. The Cortes of Castile had voted their three years' supply at Valladolid in 1544, and were not due to meet again till 1548, but as will be seen by the letters from Cobos and the Prince, the condition of the country was so disastrous that they more than hinted at the unwisdom of the Emperor's policy in incurring so vast an expense in provoking a great religious war for which Spain was to pay. The present letter is an answer to these doubts.
  • 11. John Lord Russell.
  • 12. This was the family of the Duke of Alburquerque, who had accompanied Henry in the war, and from whom the prisoner had ostensibly brought a letter of introduction.
  • 13. Luigi delle Arme was a famous Italian Condottiere in the service of England, and several references to him are made in the correspondence.
  • 14. This was the famous man of letters, presumably the author of the first picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tonnes. He was Spanish ambassador in Venice and the Emperor's special envoy to the Council of Trent, of which he wrote a history.
  • 15. The Council of Nice, a.d. 325, first authoritatively summarised the doctrines of. the church, especially as regarded the Trinity. Mendoza's view with regard to the papal aggression in temporal affairs was that mainly acted upon by the stronger Spanish monarchs, who strove persistently for centuries to make their church a national one, depending upon the Sovereign.
  • 16. This draft reply is written on the letter from Van der Delft to de Granvelle of 25 January (page 296).
  • 17. It will be seen by the correspondence that the mission of Scepperus (M. D'Eick) to England was really to sound Henry as to the marriage of Prince Edward with a niece of the Emperor and to watch his attitude.
  • 18. Catharine, Baroness Willoughby D'Eresby in her own right was the god-daughter of Henry's first wife, her mother being Queen Catharine's close friend and compatriot Maria de Sarmiento, daughter of the Count de Salinas. By the death of her father, Lord Willoughby, in her childhood, her wardship fell to the King, who married her to his recently widowed brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who had died shortly before this letter was written. The Duchess soon afterwards married one of her esquires, Francis Bertie.
  • 19. Spanish Ambassador in Portugal.