Spain: March 1546, 26-31

Pages 344-359

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

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March 1546, 26–31

March 26 and 27. Vienna Imp. Arch. 224. Scepperus and Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
From the duplicates of our letters to the Emperor, your Majesty will learn what passed yesterday and to-day between us and some of the King's councillors. In addition to what we say there, however, we think well not to conceal from your Majesty that Secretary Paget told us in strict secrecy that the King holds your Majesty in such high esteem that there is nothing he would not do for you. He also told us of the present the King was sending to your Majesty, and suggested that in your letter thanking him for the present your Majesty might slip in a single word, saying that you would be pleased if this marriage were proceeded with. This, he said, would greatly aid the matter and would much gratify the King. Failing this, Paget suggested that your Majesty should authorise us, or someone else, to express a similar sentiment on your behalf. We could plainly see that the King would have been glad if your Majesty had entrusted me, Scepperus, with a letter of credence to him, as you have done on other occasions when I came hither, whereas this time I brought a letter from the Emperor alone. We replied to him (Paget) that we considered it quite certain that your Majesty was very desirous of this alliance, which on consideration would be found to be the best thing for both countries. Your Majesty, I said, had on other occasions spoken to me, Scepperus, in such terms of the proposed alliance as to prove that you were greatly in favour of it, but that on this occasion I had not been specially instructed by your Majesty to address the King on the subject, nor did I bear letters from your Majesty. He (Paget) thereupon changed the conversation to the allegation that the Emperor's subjects were constantly supplying the French in the neighbourhood of Ardres with victuals and fresh meat, etc., with the exception of grain, whereas it is forbidden for the Emperor's subjects to carry any provisions to Calais for the English. This, he said, was not impartial or fair; especially as the Calais people were our old friends, and the French were only recently reconciled enemies. Besides that, during the recent revictualling of Ardres by the French, several carts and waggons belonging to the Emperor's subjects have been employed by the French to carry provisions into the town; and herrings and other food are every day taken by such subjects to France by sea. In some cases, even, the vessels employed in this traffic had managed to escape the embargo placed upon them by the King's (Henry's) officers, and had put to sea, carrying with them the English officials who had been placed in charge. This, he said, was not in accordance either with reason or friendship, and your Majesty would do well to redress such complaints. You would gain an incredible amount of affection, not only from the King but from all his subjects, if you would sometimes allow them to purchase a few trifles. “ For instance,” he (Paget) said, “when the Bishop of Durham and I were at Calais, we could not obtain from the Emperor's country any fresh vegetables, poultry, conies, or other similar trifles, which ought not to be put into the list of prohibited victuals, the intention of the prohibition being to avoid the denudation of the country of the food necessary for the sustenance of the inhabitants themselves. It was never intended to apply to fresh vegetables (freschures) or delicacies which are not intended for the common people (le menu peuple).” He (Paget) stated all this very modestly and civilly, expressing at the same time his strong desire to maintain and increase the friendship between the Emperor, your Majesty, and his master the King, and that of the respective subjects: assuring us that our people would always find preferential help and assistance from him (which assurance we reciprocated); and we therefore promised to report to your Majesty the substance of his remarks, begging you at the same time to bear it in your favourable consideration, in the interests of the friendship and alliance.
Madame,—It is apparent to me, Scepperus, that the King would resent my departure from here before the receipt of a reply from the Emperor or your Majesty with regard to the marriage, and the consequent indication that we had lost hope of anything better being done in the matter than at the first interview; and I have therefore decided to delay my departure for a few days, until the receipt of the first letters from the Emperor or your Majesty, if I see any likelihood of good coming from it.
London, 27 March 1546.
Note.—Another letter of the same date from the same writers to the Queen simply encloses a copy of the letter of introduction given by them to the “brother of the Lord Admiral” (Dudley) who carried a present from King Henry to Mary of Hungary. The Admiral is said to have on several occasions favoured the subjects of the Emperor, and the Queen is asked to thank him through his brother, the bearer of the original.
March 27. Vienna Imp. Arch. 225. Scepperus and Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Yesterday afternoon there came to visit us the Bishop of Winchester, the Master of the Horse and Secretary Paget, for the purpose of asking us to beg the Queen Regent of the Netherlands not to place any obstacle in the way of Conrad Penninck and his troops on their passage through your Majesty's dominions. They would travel ten, twenty or thirty at a time, without gathering in large bodies or doing any damage, and the three councillors mentioned personally pledged themselves to make good any damage if such there might be. They were anxious that Penninck and his men should have no excuse for not fulfilling their undertaking with the King, and they had learnt from a good source that the French intended to attack the Earl of Hertford before he had assembled all his forces. They were therefore in very great need of Penninck's men to safeguard the Earl of Hertford and the rest of his army. They also begged the Queen to be kind enough to allow them to export (from Flanders) for the sustenance of the army at Boulogne 400 lasts of wheat and rye which they have bought outside your Majesty's dominions and have now shipped and ready to sail. They undertook positively that if a similar quantity was wanted on the other side (i.e. in the Netherlands) they would provide it within six weeks, they having contracted to that effect with Erasmus Schetz and two other merchants, who are to provide them with a further considerable quantity of these grains, grown outside your Majesty's territories; from which quantity they were willing that these 400 lasts should be made good, if needful, and thus it would only mean a loan of that amount of grain for six weeks. We did not like to refuse them, and have accordingly written to the Queen (Dowager of Hungary), who will act as she thinks best in the matter. When this matter was disposed of the councillors spoke about the aid demanded by the English Ambassador when your Majesty was at Worms some time ago. We replied maintaining that we were not bound to furnish the said assistance, for several reasons, amongst others that they (the English) had not accepted the conditions upon which alone the aid was promised, always provided that it should be decided that your Majesty was liable to furnish it at all under the circumstances. The councillors answered this by saying that the whole matter depended upon the decision as to whether the aid was due or not. If it was due under the treaty it should be furnished without any conditions or restrictions; and their acceptance or otherwise of conditions imposed had nothing to do with it. As it was growing late, and the Master of the Horse wished to return to the King the same evening, they told us that, since the question could not be settled off hand, they would defer its further discussion for another opportunity. The Bishop of Winchester and the Master of the Horse thereupon took me, Scepperus, aside and Paget similarly took me Van der Delft, and they respectively asked us how we had got on with the King. I, Scepperus, replied that I had concluded with his Majesty the two first points of my instructions; namely to visit and salute him on your Majesty's behalf, to which the King had kindly and graciously responded, and secondly the matter of the marriage, to which he would not listen unless his son the Prince was to be offered a similiar dowry to that which had been offered to the Duke of Orleans. The King, I said, was greatly offended that so small a dowry as a hundred thousand crowns should be suggested; and that being his decision we had informed the Emperor of it; but that nevertheless, even though the marriage did not take place, your Majesty was determined to keep on terms of friendship with the King, his son, and his realm, as we had told the King at the time. I could not, I said, see what more I could do in the matter; and I had therefore decided to return to Flanders as soon as the question of the aid had been settled. The councillors appeared discontented and sad at this, and said that the King did not look at the matter in this way. He was, they said, very well disposed towards the marriage, and I ought not to leave here like this, especially as the Bishop of Winchester had been told that I was authorised by your Majesty to treat of this marriage. I said that my mission did not extend to that which the King demanded, but if his Majesty had any wish to continue the negotiation I had unofficially suggested to him a means of doing so; namely to send one of his confidential ministers to Regensburg (Ratisbon) or to instruct his ambassador there to speak to your Majesty and the King of the Romans, the father of the Princess, on the subject of the marriage, and to set forth the points to which the King objected. The matter would thus be kept afoot, and I should have fulfilled my mission. The conversation which took place between Secretary Paget and me (Van der Delft) was to almost the same effect as the above; only that I told him I considered it strange that they should be so scrupulous about the dowry, seeing how advantageous the marriage would be for both countries. To this Paget replied that your Majesty had said that you would regard your niece as your daughter, which you showed no signs of doing by offering so small a sum of money with her. I remarked that I did not know what dowry your Majesty would give to the Princess your daughter; perhaps it would not be so much. He (Paget) laughed at this and left me; and then the three of them together told us that the matter must not be dropped in this way, but both sides must join hands to promote the marriage. And so they left us.
Secretary Paget came to us this morning and showed us a letter which the Master of the Horse had written to him, relating that on his return to the King last evening he had conversed with him on their interview with us here, and especially on the marriage; and his Majesty had remarked that there was no alliance that he would prefer for his son to that with a Princess of your Majesty's house; but always on the condition that affairs should be dealt with reasonably. If, he said, we had written to your Majesty in any other sense we had misunderstood his meaning, and in such case we should immediately send off a courier to the Emperor correcting the impression. He (i.e. Browne) was to instruct Paget to tell us this. We replied that we had perfectly understood the King's reply to be such as the Master of the Horse now reported; and we had written nothing to your Majesty contrary to this. It is true, we continued, that this was his (i.e. Henry's) first reply, and we had hoped that he would not insist upon it: for, to speak frankly, we should never have thought that he would have made a point of the amount of the dowry, which in such cases was a secondary consideration to the great advantage accruing to the respective nations by like alliances. Your Majesty, the King of the Romans, and the Queen Regent had been delighted to hear at first that he (i.e. Henry) was favourably inclined to the marriage, but it never occurred to them that the matter could fall through on the question of the amount of money to be brought by the bride of so great a monarch. He (Paget) replied that he had understood that I, Scepperus, was authorised to increase the amount of the offer. I assured him that I had no desire to mislead him or anyone else; and, in good truth, that my powers did not extend to this point, as I had told the King himself. Speaking to him (Paget) as friends, we could plainly perceive that in the interests, and for the safety, of this realm, no better alliance than that now proposed could be adopted, unless it was that with Scotland, if the latter match were the means of submitting Scotland to their rule. We mentioned this latter point to hear what he (Paget) would say about it. He replied that the Scottish matter would not be settled by a marriage: it was almost impossible for the English to keep Scotland, even if they conquered it, except as far as the river (Forth ?) in consequence of the lack of food in the rest of the country beyond the river. There was, therefore, only this marriage with your Majesty's niece to be thought of; and he (Paget) begged us to do our best in the matter, praying me, Scepperus, to remain here. They, on their side, would act in the same way. We promised that we would do everything in our power. We have thought well to inform your Majesty of this.
London, 26 March 1546.
Postscript.—Sire,—As we were about to despatch this letter to your Majesty yesterday we heard a rumour that the Count Palatine Philip of Bavaria was expected to arrive here, having travelled by the Rhine as far as Dortrecht and thence to England incognito. (fn. 1) We therefore deferred despatching the letter until to-day and in the meanwhile to learn what truth there was in this. We have heard that they have sent to meet him and he will arrive at Court this evening. Some people say also that the Lord Admiral, who was to have left this morning, has postponed his departure for two or three days by order of the King. We will keep your Majesty informed.
We also learn that the English have captured seven ships loaded with wheat, which they say were bound from Zeeland to France. We do not know whether this wheat belonged to the King of Portugal.
London, 27 March 1546.
March 28. Vienna Imp. Arch. 226. Scepperus to Loys Scors.
You will see what the ambassador and myself are writing to the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) and we have nothing of importance to add, except some details of the coming of the Count Palatine Philip, who was honourably received yesterday. It is evident that he has come for one of three objects: namely to get married, which is the general opinion, as the representative of some of the German princes, or else to obtain some command in the war. Lady Anne of Cleves has been for some time at Court, well received and treated. She left yesterday.
This King has arrested the son of de Lolme of Antwerp and others who escaped from prison in Antwerp. This was done without any request on our part, as we knew nothing about it, except from public rumour. The ambassador is much surprised that the authorities of the town of Antwerp should have neglected to inform him, especially as it is notorious that this realm is the refuge of all the rogues from our place (quod hic regio est asylum omnium malorum ex nostratibus). Some of them, however, will find themselves deceived; for this King is fitting out a galley, which is already afloat, and it may serve as a lodging for some bad boys. We have heard nothing from Councillor Van der Burgh, and do not know where he is. The poor claimants who are here will rejoice at his coming, for everything here is grievously dear, double the usual price, and taxes increase daily. Two days ago they put a new tax of three scoters a barrel on beer.
All the war-ships have left the river, numbering about fifty sail of the King's own ships, fine and beautiful craft.
The Earl of Surrey, formerly captain of Boulogne, arrived at Court yesterday, but was coldly received and did not have access to the King. The Duke of Norfolk, father of the earl, is absent from Court. I do not know what is in hand, for they decide nothing, but keep in suspense several of their captains who have been commissioned to raise troops, but who are not dispatched: an evident sign that they (i.e. the English Government) are waiting for something, we know not what, unless it be some reply from M. du Biez, as I wrote to the Queen in my previous letters. They have dispatched certain other German captains of my acquaintance, with instructions to wait until the month of June, and in the interim they (the English) will let them know whether they will employ them or not.
Lent is very strictly observed in this country, quite as much or more so than with us, and nobody ventures to buy or sell meat. The ceremonies also are similarly kept up, according to the ancient ordinances of the Church.
The King is coming to-morrow to Westminster, which is a sign that some important business is to be decided—perhaps the marriage of the Count Palatine Philip. Time will tell.
London, 28 March (Six o'clock in the morning) 1546.
March 30. Simancas. E. R. 873. 227. Juan de Vega to Prince Philip.
(The greater part of the letter is occupied with small financial and ecclesiastical points of no importance; but the following paragraphs, concerning the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent, etc., are interesting.)
“On Friday, 19th instant, his Holiness resolved in Consistory that the legates should be written to, giving them full authority to discuss in the Council the question of universal reformation. Very divergent views exist on this matter, some people believing that the authority has been given in order to prevent the Council from dealing with the question on its own account, whilst others think that it is an inspiration from heaven (juyzio de Dios).
“From a perfectly trustworthy source I learn that the French are extremely desirous of, and in need of, peace, but I do not know if they will be able to obtain it.”
Rome, 30 March, 1546.
Postscript.—“The Pope and the Duke of Florence are on bad terms. The quarrel is an old one: the Duke having expelled from their monastery in Florence I know not how many Dominican friars on the ground that they were disturbers of his State. The Pope sent a Brief ordering the Duke to restore them to their monastery, which the Duke claims to have obeyed and the Pope insists that he has not. Other subjects of dispute have arisen between them to exacerbate this ill feeling; and on the 18th instant, at 4 o'clock in the morning, they arrested here a man whom the Duke had here as secretary, with Everardo Seristori his ambassador, and seized his papers. I spoke very emphatically to the Pope about it, dwelling especially on the seizure of the papers. I pointed out to him that the present was no time to raise fresh troubles in Italy; and although the Emperor wished everyone to obey the Pope, including the Duke of Florence, he desired that the latter should be treated benignantly by his Holiness.”
March 30. Simancas. E. A. 642. 228. The Emperor to Prince Philip.
Before we left Luxemburg we wrote you what had occurred up to that time. We arrived at this place on the 22rd instant, in good health, thank God, and have remained here until to-day, to rest the men-at-arms who accompany us and because we also needed repose. We have also been delayed by the coming hither of the Bishop of Mayence, the Count Palatine and the Landgrave of Hesse. We are leaving here to-day and hope to arrive at Ratisbon without passing through Nuremburg or Ulm, within twelve or thirteen days. We send you this to inform you of our health, and of the news herein contained. Keep us continually advised as to your health, etc., and, if you have not already done so, answer our letter sent from Venlo.
We have discussed with the Count Palatine (fn. 2) especially German matters, and generally the question of the Diet. The Princess, my niece, accompanied him; and on the following day the Landgrave arrived. The only thing that could be done was to confirm what had been said at Maestricht to the envoys of the electors and the Protestants, with regard to my coming and its object. No more light could be gained as to what can be done in the Diet, except that the Count (Palatine) expresses a very great wish that some accord should be agreed to about religion, and that peace and justice should be re-established in this province. He offers his best services to this end, and the Landgrave has done the same, although no means for attaining the object has been mentioned, except a general desire that he may be of service. But from all he says it is very evident that an agreement will be extremely difficult. In any case, with God's help, we shall go on to Ratisbon without embarrassment, and shall use every possible effort, both on the road and after our arrival, to see how things are likely to go, and what can be done; taking every opportunity of conversing both with Catholics and Protestants with that object. We are urging our brother the King of the Romans to hasten thither with all speed, and in the meanwhile we await your answer to our letters.
We learn through our Ambassador in France that there was an intention of recalling to Marseilles the galleys that the King had in the western sea, and that on one occasion orders were given to this effect. The King, however, after postponed the execution of them to see whether he could not use the galleys against the English, or for the protection of his coasts and frontiers round Boulogne. He no doubt feared also that the galleys might be molested on our coast in return for the damage they did to our subjects on their outward voyage. This fear also led him to talk of dismantling the galleys and sending the rowers and officers overland; but the French are so fickle; and as they may still make up their mind to send the galleys back through the Straits, we think well to inform you of the possibility, and to say that, although we are well aware of the desirability of preventing these galleys from passing into the Mediterranean, we do not see how it can be done without an open rupture and full preparations beforehand. It will be very unadvisable to make a demonstration of it will, without doing any effectual service; and it would be equally imprudent to endeavour to embarrass them in other ways, such as advising the ports to resist in case the galleys should put into any of them, because the ports are not well provided with artillery, and are not adapted for preventing entrance by force: besides which the galleys would always be stronger. The latter, moreover, could obtain water and victuals in many places without difficulty, and by force if they were in real need; but if they make the voyage they will be sure to be so well provisioned as, in all probality, not be driven to such extremity; and if they were, they would certainly find no difficulty in getting what they required in Portugal. We are of opinion, therefore, that the only thing that can be done will be to seize them, in case they are driven on our coast by bad weather and crippled, and, even then, unless we can take them all, or most of them, it will be unadvisable to attack them. For all these reasons we have decided that advice should only be sent to the ports, and not ostensibly by our orders, that no such damage as was inflicted by the galleys on their outward voyage must be suffered from them on their way back. Don Bernardino (de Mendoza) (fn. 3) must be also informed of this, so that he may keep a look out, and may put his galleys in order, without making public his reason for doing so. We are not writing to him directly, as we have no cipher with him. We are sure that if these measures are taken the French will not dare to send the galleys, as they are already doubtful about doing so. If, on the other hand, they decide to dismantle them and send the crews and fittings overland it will be very difficult for them to fit out the galleys again to be of any service this summer. To sum up: your object will be to make the French believe that the people on our coasts have of their own accord and in consequence of what happened before, decided not to welcome the galleys or provide them with anything.
It appears that by the express consent of the King of France they are still fitting out ships to send to the Indies, on the pretext that they are bound for Brazil, notwithstanding what was said on the matter to the French ambassadors, and the efforts made by our ambassador in France. We think well to advise you of this also, so that steps may be taken accordingly. We learn from Sicily that certain of the principal personages of that realm have been discovered to be contaminated by the evil sect of Luther. For this reason the lack of an Inquisitor is much to be regretted, and if the matter is not remedied soon it may lead to still greater evils. No doubt the Brief for the Inquisitor-General will already have reached the Cardinal of Seville (fn. 4) Let the above information accordingly be conveyed to him, in our and your names, in order that an Inquisitor may at once be appointed for Sicily, duly endowed with the necessary learning and experience for such a post, especially now that this new tendency is noticeable there.
Above all we again beg you to fulfil the order already given for meeting the bill of exchange for the breadstuffs sent from Sicily to Spain. It is most necessary that there should be no failure in this.
Spires, 80 March 1546.
March 30. Simancas. E. 73. 229. Prince Philip to the Emperor.
Your Majesty's letter of 16th instant received, and your decision with regard to the enterprise against the Protestants etc. duly noted. All the reasons alleged for deferring the signature of the treaty (with the Pope) until after your arrival at Ratisbon are most wise and prudent. Since your Majesty signifies your determination to carry through the enterprise this year, with such resources as you may have, there is no more to be said on that head. Tour Majesty has been moved to this by saintly zeal, and I can only hope in God that the result may correspond with the object; which is so purely in His service. Your Majesty's aim being exclusively to redress evil in matters of faith, and reduce to submission those who have wandered from it, I pray that He may grant your Majesty the forces necessary for so great and difficult an enterprise. There is, however, one point which I should like to mention; namely that such security should be obtained for the aid promised by the Pope that it shall not fail you when it is most needed. This would be the greatest difficulty that could happen. I should wish also to remark that it seems to be the general impression, that as soon as the Protestants learn of your Majesty's resolution, they will approach closely to the King of France, in which case they may be able to offer a very strong resistance. But what is worse still, people fear that the King of England, seeing that your Majesty is suppressing the Protestants by force of arms, may think that when you have finished with them, the arms of your Majesty and the Pope may be turned against him and may make up his mind to ally himself at once with the Protestants and, perhaps even, with the King of France. The latter might take advantage of the circumstances to bring the King of England to consent to the conditions he so much desires. I am sure, however, that your Majesty will have considered this, and the many other difficulties which present themselves; and after having done so has come to the conclusion that the best course will be to carry through the enterprise. I heartily pray therefore to our Lord that it may be as rapidly concluded as your Majesty says, and as successful as I would have it be. I did not communicate what your Majesty wrote to me about it to anyone but the Comendador Mayor (Cobos), and I instructed him to carry out diligently your Majesty's orders with regard to enquiring what bills of exchange can be obtained, and at what usance; and also that the payments should be made as your Majesty directs. He has taken the matter in hand with the needful secrecy, and with his usual care for your Majesty's service. He will write to your Majesty direct on the matter in detail, although in the other letter I send to your Majesty I give you a general account of all the sources from which funds may be obtained. Your Majesty may rest assured that the utmost possible effort shall be exerted here to supply your Majesty with what you need. It has been impossible for me to send the account until the present, because I have had to confer so many times with the Council of Finance, the Council of State, and the Council of Aragon. They have also been obliged to discuss the matter apart, and afterwards in my presence. All other matters will be treated in the general letter.
Madrid, 30 March 1546.
No date (March ?) Simancas. E. A. 647. 230. Document headed “Opinion of the Confessor on the enterprise of Germany.”
Although the strength and obstinacy of the Protestants should rightly be deeply considered, and the preparations of his Majesty be fully adequate, in case he decides to attack them; yet there are weighty reasons which convince me that the Protestants will be weak in the war. The following are those that occur to me.
1. The poverty of the princes, which is certainly very great, and their subjects and the cities are tired of furnishing them with money.
2. The great division and dissatisfaction amongst them. This is first noticeable in the cities, where there are many people Catholic at heart; others that are doubtful, now that they witness the fickleness and vanity of their doctors; others who out of pure mischief, and even against their conscience, have plunged into the business to obtain the liberty they desire. All these, when they see that they will have to risk their lives and property will be in great fear. Other people, and a great number who have joined the Protestants, are tired of the doctors, and resentful of the tyranny of the princes; and, like travellers who have for a long time followed the wrong road, have fallen out amongst themselves, casting upon each other blame for the error; and so enmity and dissension have arisen and each man goes his own way with stiffnecked pride, writing and speaking against his fellows. All this may be utilised against them; and although the evil has grown greatly, yet it is destroying itself. The abscess is so ripe that it seems now full time for it to open. Much dissension also exists amongst the princes, and advantage may be taken of this also, not only with the Catholics, but one prince might be tempted with the idea that he could obtain what belongs to another.
It would appear advisable therefore, that the first thing to be done should be to send to the cities a very firm but mildly worded ultimatum, telling them clearly and authoritatively how grave is the offence they have committed towards God, their ancestors, the nobles, the church and his Majesty; and offering them pardon if they will return to obedience; but if not declaring them and their princes as traitors. I think this would give rise to great perturbation amongst them. Perhaps also some Catholics might be consulted to see whether by means of some pious deceit, or through the carelessness of the defenders, some city might not be captured.
3. Another thing that constitutes their weakness is that as all the cities are commercial and business centres, the stoppage and hampering of their traffic, by closing the roads, navigable rivers, etc. would soon deprive them of their wealth. It would therefore seem advisable that his Majesty should, at least, sequestrate all the property of the (Protestant?) merchants in his territories; and though the property in question might quite justly be confiscated, his Majesty would adopt the course he considered best with regard to it. This measure would have to be executed suddenly, and without giving the merchants an opportunity of learning of it beforehand.
4. Their want of a leader; for if the Landgrave failed there would be no one: and I am of opinion that if his Majesty had hold of one of their principal men the rest would all take fright. By means of spies and in other ways something of this sort might be done.
5. The halfhearted way in which hitherto they have carried on their wars. I heard in Spires from many Catholics that the war they (the Protestants) had with the Duke of Brunswick, was conducted very weakly by them. The disorder was so great that, although the campaign only lasted a month, they (the Protestant troops) were without either food or money for half the time; and only did what they did because there was no resistance. (fn. 5) They say that the cities spent 700,000 florins, and this only proves how complete the disorganisation must have been; for the officers and nobles must have kept the money. The second war confirms this view, for the Duke of Brunswick very promptly recovered most of what they had taken from him, mainly owing to his own previous want of foresight. Finally, the Landgrave (fn. 6) has never done anything worth speaking of, and he is the sole cock of the German walk (el solo es el gallillo de Alemania).
6. The steadiness and joy with which the Catholics will fight being sure of their cause and of good conscience. They will be able to say to the Protestants as the King Abias said to the Israelites.
With regard to the treaty with the Pope, I believe three objections are raised: first that his Majesty is greatly bound down by it, and impeded in making an arrangement with the Protestants; because the treaty prevents him from treating with them on any matter of faith or the constitution of the church without the express consent of his Holiness or his legate. It is advanced as quite certain that they (i.e. the Pope and the churchman) will never consent to any abatement of their prëminence, and it is equally certain that the Protestants will never re-enter the union of the church, unless many customary and received usages are abolished, and many abuses remedied. It is thus made to appear that the Pope effectually prevents the Emperor from endeavouring to reform (the church), and makes him the defender of its abuses. He also, it is asserted, ties the Emperor's hands in temporal matters, since the latter is not to be allowed to treat upon a point which really touches the substance of the enterprise itself, and may not abandon or retard the execution. The second objection to the treaty is that the Pope gives but little, whilst he holds the Emperor to much; since his Holiness only binds himself to give a specified subsidy; and if the war is of long duration, which is quite probable, as the interests at stake are great, the Emperor may find that he has to bear the whole burden, and the Pope is under no obligation at all. The third objection is the small reliance that can be placed in the Pope; first, on account of his age; and if he were to die after the commencement of the enterprise neither the College of Cardinals nor the new pontiff would be bound; secondly, on account of his ill-will and bad intention towards his Majesty's greatness. This may lead him to bear no love to the enterprise; and he may serve his bad ends by allowing his troops, ostensibly raised for the enterprise, to be turned to other uses, or to fight on the side of his Majesty's enemies, and perhaps even to betray his Majesty into the hands of these heretics. The following answers may, in my opinion, be given to these objections:—
To the first. Premising, as is admitted by theologians and jurists, that all obligations entered into between men include not only the licit provisions contained in them, but an implied, if not expressed, understanding that they do not prevent the attainment of a greater good in the same direction, nor give a pretext for greater evil. It may be said, that by the treaty his Majesty is only bound in regard to spiritual questions and on the constitution of the church, so far as he has hitherto been; because, for instance, if the Protestants are to offer to return on condition that certain freedom was given to them, or that certain recent abuses should be abolished, his Majesty, even without the treaty, could not grant such conditions himself, but could insist upon the Pope and the Council granting them; and, under the treaty he could proceed in the same way, But I go beyond this. If the Protestants offered to submit on reasonable concessions being made, and on the abolition of things that were not essential; such conditions, in short, as learned and prudent men approved of, and the Pope refused, the Emperor would be no longer bound, for his Holiness would, in such case, be obstructive, and, by his refusal of reasonable terms, would hinder the return of the seceders to the church. His Majesty in such circumstances would be free to act independently of the treaty, and as if the latter did not exist. With regard to the third objection, I am of opinion that, though we may well believe that the Pope will do his best for his family and heirs, I certainly see no reason for supposing that he will be so diabolical as to sacrifice the faith for the purpose of driving the Emperor into a corner. When the peace with France had been arranged, we witnessed that he at once expressed his willingness to contribute this subsidy; and had prepared it, so far as he could, when Dandolo was sent. I may also remark that the Pope's only fear is that the Emperor may abandon the enterprise; and his conditions are directed more to the prevention of this than for the purpose of hindering the execution. And, judging from outward appearances, he has good reasons for this, as many persons think, even the most devoted servants of his Majesty.
I may add that the Pope expects that, if he does as his Majesty wishes, due thanks will be given to him, and he is quite right in this. He complains that the papal profits in Spain and elsewhere are sequestrated and intercepted, and to all appearance his complaints are not unfounded.
I conclude by saying that, if his Majesty intends to carry through this undertaking and the Pope gives what is asked of him, the reasons for these fears and complaints should be banished; and, in all sincerity, fair promises and hopes should be given to him. If this course is taken it may be presumed that, either out of goodness, greed, or necessity, he will carry out his obligations in the treaty, and fulfil the promises he makes in addition. We must not be too hard on the Pope, for we are not quite blameless ourselves.
March (?) Simancas. E. 73. 231. Report of the Prior, the Consuls and other persons of the University of Burgos (fn. 7) etc., in reply to the letter of Prince Philip addressed to them, with regard to the measures that should be taken to protect Spanish shipping at sea from the depredations hitherto inflicted upon it by the English, Scots and French.
With regard to his Highness' question, as to whether arrangements should be made for the flotillas sailing outward from Spain to Flanders, to time their departure so as to enable them to meet at sea the flotillas homeward bound from Flanders to Spain: the opinion is that this cannot well be done, nor would it be advantageous or effectual if it could; for the following reasons. First it would be almost impossible to contrive the simultaneous sailing of the flotillas, because the cargoes sent from Spain are ready at a different season from those loaded in Flanders. To detain the respective merchandise for the purpose of simultaneous dispatch would inflict great damage upon his Majesty's territories on both sides. Even if this were done, and the flotillas were to meet at sea, it would be of little good, as one flotilla would be going one way and the other the opposite way; besides which difficulty, the flotilla from Flanders needs a different wind from that required by the ships coming from Biscay or Andalucia. For these reasons, and for the delay which would arise, they are of opinion that the method suggested should not be adopted. In addition to this, the custom of the University of Burgos for a long time past is to ensure the safety of their merchandise in time of war by the following means. They send a flotilla fully armed and prepared for defence to Flanders with their goods; and the same flotilla is bound to bring a return of freight of Flemish merchandise to the Biscay ports. By thus sending their ships together and well armed they have always gone safely, and this same method will be continued in future.
The persons consulted are of opinion that his Majesty should send orders to the whole of the ports; especially those in Biscay and Guipuzcoa from San Sebastian to Santander, as well as to Cadiz, Seville etc., forbidding any ship to sail alone and without company into the western sea, either to Flanders, England, or France: the smallest number of ships to sail together being six. If there should be a larger number of vessels in those ports than six, they should all sail together, waiting for each other, as the delay could not be long; and it would be more than compensated for by the increased security.
His Majesty should also order that all the ships should carry such men, arms and munitions, as to be able to defend themselves, or even take the offensive if provocation was offered to them. The warlike material each ship would carry would depend upon her size, and would be regulated by a general order to be issued by his Majesty, the carrying out of the regulations being entrusted to the justices of the respective ports, who would insist upon strict compliance; as otherwise the ship-masters would evade the provisions for the purpose of gaining a larger profit on the voyage.
His Majesty should order, that if in any one port there were not enough ships to make up a flotilla, they should join those in neighbouring ports and sail in company; one captain being chosen as commodore, with such authority as his Majesty may dictate, who will have command of the flotilla during the voyage. No ships should be allowed to sail except under these conditions.
The persons consulted are of opinion that there would be no difficulty or disadvantage in the ships thus sailing together: on the contrary, great benefit would accrue from it, since their own experience shows that when ships sail thus they escape pillage, and can only be attacked by an armed national fleet, which would not commit the outrages which are committed by individual corsairs. Even if a national fleet were to capture a flotilla of several ships, it would be obliged to convey them to England; and could not conceal the capture; so that, as the matter would be an open and important one, a remedy could at once be applied. When the captures are small and isolated there is no redress. The greatest injury that the French and English have done to us in this war has been inflicted on solitary ships, which having encountered on the high seas they have boarded and plundered and abandoned the vessels, whose crews have had no opportunity of even knowing who had plundered them. For this reason it has been impossible to recover the booty, which has amounted to a vast sum. If the above recommendation be adopted this will be avoided, and no private freebooters would be able to cope with our armed flotillas.
With regard to ships loaded in the Galician ports, his Majesty should give similar orders; but, as the merchandise in that realm is insufficient for the loading of many vessels, the orders referred to for so many to go together cannot be so rigorously enforced there, but as many as possible should sail in company.
All ships loaded in Flanders for whatever destination, should also go armed and in flotillas, in accordance with the suggestion made above. This will be easy there, as many ships sail from the Flemish ports, and they are well fitted etc.
The vessels loaded in Grand Canary are so few that it will be difficult to make up a flotilla; but his Majesty should instruct the justices of the islands to cause the ships to sail in company as much as possible, and well armed with men and cannon. They should also call in at Cadiz or Lisbon to join company with such ships as may be there and continue the voyage together. In these ports they will generally find ships loading for all parts.
His Majesty should cause the armed ships sailing either from Spain or Flanders, to give security that they will do no harm to the subjects of the Kings of England and France.
With regard to the ships to and from the Indies, especially those that bring the bullion (for the English and French dare to plunder everything they come across) his Majesty should order that the ships bringing gold should so far as possible sail in company as far as Havana; and that they should not sail thence alone, but in strong companies and well armed. If this be impossible the gold should be detained there until ships of war are sent from Seville to convoy them. The expense thus incurred will be less prejudicial than for them to sail alone and unprepared; because, as the English and French corsairs are now familiar with the voyage, they are much to be feared. They sail round the Indies for the purpose of plundering these ships. His Majesty's subjects load ships in France, both for Spain and Flanders; and as they sail from a country at war with England, and it is impossible to make up a flotilla of such ships in France, the English fleet may plunder them as they leave port with impunity, on the pretext that the King of England has forbidden the Emperor's subjects to ship their merchandise in French bottoms. His Majesty should therefore, provide that his subjects' goods shipped in Spanish or French ships should not be liable to capture, if such goods are really not the property of Frenchmen. His Majesty should order that ships bound to Bordeaux, Rochelle or Rouen, from Spain, should sail in company and well armed, to protect the Spanish property they carry from being plundered by English corsairs.
His Majesty should take steps that ships belonging to his subjects should not be detained in England, and that prompt justice should be done to them. He should also provide that no flotilla should sail from England, without its giving security not to molest his subjects; and if they did so that the value of the plunder should be made good. Security should also be given that all their captures from any source should be handed over to the justice of the first port they enter in England, with the bills of lading, manifests, and ships-papers they may have taken from the prizes. Until such prizes are adjudged to be fair none of the proceeds of them should be disposed of under heavy penalties. This would be a great remedial measure, and would enable his Majesty's subjects to obtain redress for property really belonging to them. This is only just, and the English will grant it, if it is preceded by his Majesty's order that his own subjects shall give security as suggested above.
His Majesty should also give orders to the Spanish ports, that when an English fleet arrives, and the men land, they should be obliged to give security to do no harm to his Majesty's subjects; besides which they should not be allowed to remain in the neighbourhood of those ports where, as experience shows, they usually lie in wait for the ships to put to sea, for the purpose of robbing them; as they do without fear and without respect to their being the property of his Majesty's subjects. They should, moreover, not be allowed to make prizes within Spanish ports, as they have done recently. His Majesty should endeavour to get the King of England to give to the subjects of the former a safe-conduct whenever it may be requested, without any fee being expected for it. It is seen that the English armed vessels respect ships that bear such safeguards. His Majesty should also try to get the King of England's consent that the subjects of the former should be at liberty to load their goods in French bottoms, without their being liable to confiscation, according to the English statute. This would be a great benefit to the Biscayners, as it would enable French ships to bring the victuals they require, as they usually did, but are now prevented from doing.
The persons consulted are of opinion that the means of defence that ships in future should carry are as follows:—
A ship of 100 tons. 25 men, in addition to six ship-boys, and two cabin-boys, two of the men to be bombardiers.
2 Great bombards. (Bombardas gruesas.)
4 “Pasamuros.”
12 demi-Culverins. (Versos.)
12 Harquebusses.
2 Quintals of gunpowder.
12 Crossbows and pikes, javelins, fighting screens and waist clothes. (fn. 8)
Ships either larger or smaller than 100 tons to be manned and armed in the same proportion. The tonnage of each ship must be inspected by the justice of the port, and its compliance with the above provisions certified. It may be provided as a penalty for non-compliance that no freight shall be recoverable in case of infraction of these rules. In order to prevent masters from putting to sea unarmed, his Majesty should order public proclamation to be made in every port; so that the masters may not allege the excuse of ignorance.


  • 1. Duke Philip of Bavaria, nephew of the Count Palatine, had been secretly betrothed to the Princess Mary six years previously on the occasion of his first visit to England (December, 1539) though Henry's sincerity in the matter may be questioned, as any intimacy between England and the Protestants in Germany made the Emperor desirous of pleasing Henry. On his present visit in 1546 Duke Philip agreed to a marriage contract, binding him to transport his bride within three months, receiving with her a dowry of 12,000 florins for the costs of the voyage, etc., and 40.000 florins in gold, half down and half in a year. The contract was never formally signed and is in State Papers, Henry VIII., C.C. 1. Record Office.
  • 2. The Count Palatine Frederick, who shortly afterwards openly espoused the Reformation.
  • 3. General of the Spanish galleys, brother of the Marquis de Mondejar.
  • 4. Garcia de Loaysa y Mendoza, Grand Inquisitor since February 1545. He died three weeks after the date of this letter.
  • 5. Henry of Brunswick, whose dominions were held in sequestration by the Emperor until his differences with the confederates of the Smalkaldic league should be adjusted, had shortly before this undertaken to raise a mercenary army for the King of France. Having done this at the expense of Francis, Brunswick broke faith with the latter and threw himself upon the territories of which he himself had been deprived, with the hope of regaining them by force. The Landgrave (Philip) of Hesse and Maurice of Saxony on behalf of the Smalkaldic Confederation easily routed him however, and imprisoned both Brunswick and his son. As will be seen in the course of these letters the Emperor took advantage of this quarrel for his own ends, and espoused the cause of Brunswick, who had played false towards the King of France and the Protestant princes.
  • 6. Philip the Magnanimous.
  • 7. That is, the guild of merchants of Burgos.
  • 8. That is, shields to cover the freeboard of a ship during an engagement.