Spain: April 1546, 1-10

Pages 359-377

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

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April 1546, 1–10

1 April. Vinenna. Imp. Arch. 232. The Queen Dowager to Van der Delft and Scepperus.
The English Ambassador resident here has just handed us your letters of 25th March, and in accordance therewith has requested us to consent to the transit of the infantry under Penninck, without the latter being constrained, for the reasons mentioned in our former letters, to come hither to see us. We replied to the effect that the Ambassador himself was aware of the damage that the subjects here had suffered—and also those of Liege—in the last two years through the soldiers under Landenberger and Von Reissenberg, without any service being rendered to the King (of England) by the men who did it. This, we said, might have been avoided if the King's officers had consented to listen to people here; and as experience of the past makes us wise for the future, the Emperor before his departure from Maestricht gave orders, that before allowing the passage of the troops in question, Conrad Penninck was to come and see us, and satisfy us that the troops in their transit would do no damage to the poor country folk on the road. We were both unable and unwilling to contravene the orders of the Emperor in the matter; but out of consideration for the King's urgent request; whilst we must insist that Penninck shall come to us, we will so handle the matter that no delay shall be incurred by reason of his doing so, and Penninck shall not be taken two days away from his straight road. We will, indeed, despatch him so promptly that no complaint shall be made in that respect. We inform you of this, that you may convey it to the King's principal ministers, making them clearly understand that our wish is to please the King; but that we must, nevertheless, do our duty and see that the poor subjects on this side are not injured, especially in this time of extreme need and famine. Apart from this, they (the English ministers) may rest assured that we will do all we reasonably can to preserve the perfect amity between the Emperor and the King, and will serve the latter in every way.
With regard to the second request that we will allow transit of 400 lasts of grain, which they say they have loaded at Dortrecht, he produce of Cleves and Julliers; the ambassador before the receipt of your letters had already urged for permission to ship 80 lasts of wheat loaded at Dortrecht coming, as is alleged, from Cleves and Julliers. We were unable to grant his request, for the reasons set forth in our previous letters, which we hope you have received, and also because of the great scarcity now existing here. As this is increasing daily we are compelled to retain the wheat in transit from Cleves and Julliers, which can only be exported through these dominions. This is the only means we can devise to minimise the great dearth of wheat here; and although further supply be obtained, it would be at so excessive a cost that the poor people would be unable to pay for it. In addition to this, if the exportation of the Cleves and Julliers wheat is allowed, it would be impossible to keep the grain of the home harvest here, the quantity and appearance of the wheat being just the same. The Emperor before his departure, moreover, refused permission to the King of Portugal to export 20 lasts of such wheat; and we do not allow it even to the Spaniards, his Majesty's own subjects. You may therefore well consider if we could, or should, grant such a concession as that requested by the Ambassador, and especially for so large a quantity as 400 lasts, which would suffice to increase the already high price of grain here. Nevertheless, out of consideration for the King, we gave permission for the transport of 100 lasts from Oestlandt, which would serve as well as other wheat for the victualling of the fortresses, and the feeding of the troops in the field. When the conditions here improve we will not fail to aid to the utmost of our power, but until the new harvest comes forward we shall be compelled to keep a sharp eye on the transit of grain; unless, indeed, we want to see the poor people crying for bread, and dying by the roadside for want of it. If this were to happen from any oversight or neglect of ours, we should find it hard to answer for it to the Emperor and to the country. These seem to us sufficient reasons for our refusal, if they are fairly considered.
The English ambassador also informed us that four horses belonging to an Albanian captain who was going to join the King's service have been seized at Gravelines, and that certain Germans on their way to the same service had been stopped. We replied that the officers at Gravelines had only done their duty in preventing the passing of the said horses; for otherwise the pretext of going to serve the King of England would be made a cover for taking out all the horses from this country; which could not be allowed here, as it certainly would not be allowed in England. It did not appear, moreover, if the horses were raised in these dominions or not; although it was the rule that armed men should not pass through a prince's territory, without giving the authorities information as to their destination. Otherwise the men might just as well be going to join the King of England's enemies as to join his army. We felt displeased that they made no declaration at all until they found their way barred: and they deserved punishment rather than favour for their disrespect of the authorities of these dominions. With regard to the Ambassador's contention that by the last agreement of Utrecht the transit of horses and harness for the King's service was to be allowed, we replied that we were willing to carry out the agreement fully, but that we could not in virtue of it allow horses to pass, except for the King; due declaration of them being previously made, and the proper formalities complied with, in which case they would meet with reasonable compliance here. But the declarations etc. must be made before the horses and stopped by our officers. We have great ground for complaint that since the stoppage, the officers of the King have pushed the matter as if they were the aggrieved party, wishing to throw the whole of the blame upon us, and acting as if they had a right to command us. We cannot believe that this is in accordance with the King's wish; and you may confidentially say thus much to some of his ministers, in order that they may look to it for the future; as we cannot put up with such behaviour. If they make demands with regard to wheat already shipped and stopped, or to horses and other warlike stores under embargo, they will find us much more unyielding than if they had addressed us previously to the stoppage.
We have had delivered to the Ambassador a note sent to us by the Count de Roeulx, respecting some vessel taken, by Lord Grey's people from Flemish subjects. (fn. 1) We enclose you a copy of the note. He (Count de Roeulx) has been unable to obtain satisfaction, and he considers that Lord Grey is acting more harshly towards his Majesty's subjects than to others, and no redress can be got from him. You will make the matter known in England so that Lord Grey may be specially instructed to settle the claim for this vessel, and to order his people for the future to avoid pillaging the subjects of his Majesty. They (the English) may rest assured that Count de Roeulx will request nothing from them for the benefit of their enemies. Lord Grey justifies the capture on the ground that the vessel was bound for a French port: but this is unreasonable, as it is permissable for the subjects here to communicate with the French, as well as with the English. Moreover, the strong places on the frontier are entirely destroyed and the lands ravaged; and the poor subjects of Artois being utterly ruined, have to maintain themselves as best they can with their boats; and it is most unjust to capture the latter. Master Adrien Van der Burgh left Malines eight days ago, and we hope that he will have arrived in England by this time. He has, however, but slight instructions with regard to the embargo placed upon English subjects etc. in Spain; so that you, Van der Delft, will have to instruct him, in accordance with the information that may have reached you on the subject.
With regard to the conversation that the King held with you, we can only refer you to the Emperor's letters. The King would not be displeased to obtain terms (i.e. for the marriage of his son) similar to those given to the Duke of Orleans; though we think he would be better pleased with something (i.e. a territorial dowry) nearer to his own realm, rather than Milan, which would be far too distant for him to hold safely. (fn. 2)
Whilst this letter was being made ready for despatch we received two letters from the Emperor's Council in Gueldres, dated the 26th ultimo: and saying that, notwithstanding their having written to Conrad Penninck telling him not to bring his infantry into his Majesty's territory, and especially not to go to Alten, which is attached to Gueldres, although it belongs to the Abbess, and is subject to his Majesty, Penninck had arrived at Alten with eight standards of foot, his intention being to pass his muster there. Penninck had sent representatives to the Council of Gueldres to request their permission to remain at Alten for a day or so, but they had refused, as they were bound to do, and wrote to him ordering him to depart immediately. They fear, however, that this will be fruitless, and that Penninck will pay as little attention to their second letter as he did to their first. We have complained indignantly of this to the English Ambassador here, and have told him that the King's Commissioners are going on in the same way now as they did in the two previous years with Landenberger's and Von Reissenberg's levies. We shall take the necessary steps to protect the subjects under our rule, and will not permit the transit of these troops; since they (the English) have not fulfilled what they had always promised voluntarily; namely that the men should not pass in a body through his Majesty's dominions, but in small bands without doing any damage. The only reply given by the English Ambassador was that Alten was not in his Majesty's territory; and he tried to raise a dispute with us, as to the limits of the dominions under our rule. We had several altercations on this subject with the Ambassador, in which, as in the last two years, after the troops were assembled and feeding on the country he would give no further assurance that they would pass without doing damage, except to say that they had promised to this effect; which does not satisfy us. Finally we insisted that he should immediately order Penninck to withdraw his soldiers from the Emperor's territories; or otherwise we should direct—as we have now done—the four bands of horsemen in the neighbourhood; namely those of Count de Hochstadt, Sieurs Brederode, Du Praet, and the Marshal of Gueldres, to form a junction and cast themselves upon the said infantry if it attempts to advance before Penninck comes hither to see us, or any depredations are committed on his Majesty's subjects; and in the meanwhile we left it to the Ambassador to take such steps as he considered best in the interests of his master. We inform you of this, in order that you may state it to the King and his principal ministers: saying at the same time that the course we have been compelled to adopt is an unpleasing one to us, our desire always being to please the King; but it has been entirely brought about by the fault of the King's officers, who have prevented us from carrying out our wishes in this respect. From the beginning of the war they have refused to credit any of the advice given to them; although they have discovered that by going their own way they have erred. In addition to the expense they have incurred, the King has received no service at all from the troops they have brought. The disposition of soldiers is often bad enough, but these men are incorrigible in their fault of refusing to listen to the natives of the country, and wishing to play the master wherever they pass, entirely disregarding their promises to avoid injuring the poor subjects. If the King's service is retarded by this untoward proceeding we shall be sorry, but if in his wisdom he looks at the matter with due consideration and will remember the manner in which the poor subjects of this country and of Liège were treated in the last two years; he will acknowledge that our duty towards God, the Emperor, and his people, compels us to provide for their protection, and to prevent the passage of troops in the same style as in the previous years. The King's officers have from the first failed to fulfil their promises; and consequently, unless Penninck comes previously to see us, the infantry he commands will be opposed in any attempt they may make to advance; and the blame must not be imputed to us, but to the obstinacy of the King's officers. The Count de Roeulx declares that it would be very good if the King of England were to order that no pillage was to be taken from the subjects of the bailiwick of Hesdin, which belongs to the Emperor, although the King of France occupies the fortress. (fn. 3) It would be a great benefit to the county of Artois, as well as for the subjects of Hesdin itself; and from the latter folk the King might obtain some good service, as they are not well disposed towards the French. We have asked the English ambassadors to write to some of the Councillors on this point, and we believe he will send to Paget. If the King would send someone to discuss the matter with Roeulx he might perhaps find it to his advantage to do as is requested. We should be glad to hear of it, as the people consider themselves subjects of the Emperor, and might be useful to the King. Sound Paget about it if you can, and carry the matter through, if it can be done without making a noise.—1 April 1546.
1 April. Paris. Archives Nationales. K. 1486. 233. St. Mauris to Cobos.
On my departure from this place to join the court at Melun, I think well to inform you that the King (of France) continues his tendency towards peace (i.e. with the Emperor) as I informed you was the case in my last letters. Whilst the Emperor was on his journey recently to Ratisbon, the King, through his ambassador, intimated to his Majesty his earnest desire to carry through the marriage already under discussion, and that a new alliance should also be effected in the persons of the Infants of Spain and the daughter who might be born to the Dauphine. (fn. 4) He insists also, that he (Francis I.) and his Majesty should recompense the Duke of Savoy for Piedmont, but makes no new offers beyond those he formerly made. The Emperor replied to the same effect as before, namely that Piedmont must be restored, the King of France retaining for the safety of his realm some strong, places belonging to Savoy on this side of the mountains. With regard to the suggested new alliance, his Majesty replied that the more alliances the better, but without carrying the matter any further. The fact of the matter is that the King and his ministers think they will deceive his Majesty with talk of this sort.
A Venetian merchant now resident in London has had an interview with the King (Francis I.). He was sent hither by the Lord Admiral of England to sound the Admiral of France, and see if there was any way of reconciling the two sovereigns; hopes being held out that some arrangement might be made with regard to Boulogne, after a settlement had been effected on the points of the indemnity, the security for future payments etc. These people are listening to the suggestion; and the negotiations are now proceeding. I will report the result. If no conclusion is arrived at, the French are determined to direct the war this year exclusively to the recovery of Boulogne, without attempting to carry on hostilities in Scotland or England. I am trying to get a copy of their plans.
I spoke recently to the King of France about the Spanish ships that were captured in November last by a Rochelle vessel, respecting which the Royal (Spanish) Council wrote to the Emperor. I have been unable to get any other satisfaction than that if the claimants will come hither their cases shall be adjudicated upon. This is only meant to embroil and delay matters. Commissioners appointed by the Emperor and by the King of France have met at Cambrai for the purpose of settling maritime affairs and the question of these armed ships; but the French would not agree to restore any of the plunder they have illegally captured since the peace. It will therefore be necessary to warn Spanish merchants trading in England not to carry any English property in their vessels, for in such case everything will be confiscated; and to take care they bring their manifests in the ships with them. The Emperor has also written to me that he will order Spanish ships in future to sail in flotillas for greater safety. If they do not do so they will be captured every day. It will also be necessary to stop the Scots in their depredations. I am told that at present they are lingering in the Breton ports for the purpose of molesting Spaniards. I intend very shortly to make a representation to the King of France on this subject, requesting him to take steps in the matter. The said Scottish corsairs have already been turned out of the Norman ports at my request.
The French and his Holiness are still at issue, and the prelates appointed to go to the Council (of Trent) are not leaving France until after the recess of the Diet of Ratisbon.
(Begs for the 500 crowns promised by Cobos to be sent to Melun).
Paris, 1 April 1546.
5 April. Vienna Imp. Arch. 234. Scepperus and Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
We were invited by the principal Lords of the Council yesterday to visit them, and we were with them this afternoon at Westminster, where the King is at present staying. An hour before our interview we received your Majesty's letters of the 1st instant, but had not time to decipher them fully, though we gathered their substance. We found a numerous assembly of councillors; and the Bishop of Winchester addressed us, to the effect that they had been informed of two things: First, that your Majesty raised great difficulty in allowing the passage of Conrad Penninck and his troops through your Majesty's jurisdiction, a cavalry force having been ordered to oppose them. In addition to this, certain threatening and harsh words had been used to the King's Commissioners, who had been sent to request permission for these troops to pass, towards the person of Penninck and his men, and it was said also that when Penninck appeared before your Majesty he would be forced to take certain strict oaths, that might cause the entire undoing of his force, which had been assembled at great cost to the King, and was already at the place of muster. The second subject was your Majesty's refusal to allow transit for the grain now at Dortrecht, bought by the English at Cleves, Julliers and other markets outside of the Emperor's own territories. They (the Councillors) considered both these facts extremely strange, and not in accordance with the treaties made with the King or with the interpretation recently agreed upon with regard to the clauses. They therefore desired to learn from us what they had to expect with regard to these points, and expressly requested a prompt reply. If Penninck's men, to the number previously stated, were not allowed to pass, and the grain necessary for their sustenance refused transit, notwithstanding the English undertaking to replace in the Netherlands a similar quantity within six weeks, the King would take his own course.
We replied that, with regard to the first point of Penninck's troops, we were greatly astonished that he had changed the place of muster, which he had first designated at Nieuenhausen, and afterwards had altered to Alten, an abbey in the duchy of Gueldres, or, at all events, under the protection and keeping of the Duke of Gueldres; this change having been adopted without any notice being given to your Majesty, or rather to the Count de Buren or Count Hochstadt, the governor's of the emperor's dominions nearest to Nieuenhausen. Penninck, moreover, had not condescended to present himself to your Majesty once, to arrange in accord with you the road to be taken by his men, notwithstanding the dearness of provisions, and the almost utter desolation of the country. Without some such accord, if it had been allowed for Penninck's men to go by whichever road they liked, certain of the Emperor's subjects and others would have committed outrages under cover of them, and then have fled to France, to the prejudice of the King (of England). For this reason the Emperor had wisely ordered before his departure, that Penninck should be summoned to discuss and decide the route to be followed by his men, and to avoid their spreading all over the place. We could not believe that either he or his men would be forced to take any oath prejudicial to the friendship between the Emperor and the King; but that is necessary to prevent the subjects of the Emperor from being despoiled and ruined, since the King paid these troops so liberally. We concluded that the fault was to be imputed entirely to Penninck, a mercenary man who had served in several countries, and could not be ignorant of the fact that if he wished to pass through the territory of any prince, much less that of the Emperor, it was only right that he should agree beforehand with the sovereign as to which road he should follow. If he had neglected to do this, the fault was his own, and must not be attributed to any hindrance opposed by your Majesty. With regard to the second point about the grain: some of the councillors had informed us eight or ten days ago, that the said grain had been purchased outside the Emperor's dominions, which made it probable that no such great objection would be raised to their request, as would be the case if it had been grown in the imperial territory. We had, however, been informed that your Majesty had granted transit for 100 lasts of grain from Westland (Oestlandt) to be sent from Amsterdam, instead of the 400 lasts requested by the English Ambassador. This, we said, was a good beginning. With regard to the 400 lasts at Dortrecht, a considerable quantity of this grain had been harvested in the Emperor's territory, which was greatly pressed with famine and dearness. The King therefore, ought not to take any offence at this matter for, charity begins at home (charitas incipet a se ipsa). Their reply to this was that they desired to know what our opinion was on both points. If Penninck was not to be allowed to pass, the King would have to consider what course he should take with regard to him before incurring further expense on his account. As to the grain they (the English), could not do without it, and they considered that the offer they had made to replace it with a similar quantity in six weeks was a very reasonable one, and their request could not be refused without violating the clauses of the treaty of alliance. We assured them that we felt certain that no obstacle would be placed in the way of Penninck's passage, when he had arranged with your Majesty the road he should take; and with regard to the grain, that everything that could be possibly done to please them should be done. We promised to report to your Majesty the discourse on both points, and to beg you to bear them in favourable consideration. Under correction, Madame, we really think you should do so, especially in the present state of affairs, and the possibility of great changes arising out of this business, as we recently wrote to your Majesty. It is worthy of close consideration, and we urgently beseech your Majesty not to overlook it, for many good reasons, some of which with other points of importance we write to your Majesty by a special courier; this present letter, in order to accelerate the passage of Penninck, being sent, at the request of the Councillors, by their own courier, as they say that an hour's further delay of Penninck may ruin their entire undertaking, and cause them immense loss, the blame for which they will afterwards attribute to your Majesty.
London, 5 April 1546.
5 April. Vienna. Imp. Arch. 235. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We duly received your letter of the 10th ultimo, and the joint letter of yourself and M. D'Eick of 22nd ultimo. Having considered them and M. D'Eick's communication to M. de Granvelle respecting his (D'Eick's) return, we find that you have done very well, and have followed your instructions, both with regard to our desire to continue our friendship with the King, and in the matter of the marriage of the Prince of England. We consider that you gave good and fitting answers to the King's council, and especially in regard to our justification, in the contention that we are not bound to provide the aid they request, and the depredations, embargoes and other points comprised in your instructions. We suppose that M. D'Eick will have already left England, and we therefore again depend upon you to press these points as you see fitting; but without again referring to the matter of the marriage. If they approach the subject in conversation with you, you will confine yourself to the expressions contained in the instructions of M. D'Eick, and to those employed by him in reply to the English councillors. You will remind them that they were to write to their ambassador here on the subject; and if they ask you to write, you may say that you will use your best offices, but that you have no further instructions. If you see a good opportunity in discourse with the Bishop of Winchester, you may say that M. D'Eick was specially instructed to mention the marriage, in consequence of his (the Bishop of Winchester's) remark that he thought it advisable that the matter should be discussed. With regard to the war preparations, and other occurrences you mention in your said letters, we thank you for your advices, and shall be glad if you will send information as often as possible to us or to the Queen Dowager.
Dunkelspiel, 5 April 1546.
6 April. Vienna Imp. Arch. 236. Scepperus and Van DER Delft to the Queen Dowager.
Your Majesty will have learnt from the recent letters addressed by us to your Majesty and to the Emperor, details of our intercourse with the principal ministers of the King, respecting the two main questions dealt with in your Majesty's letter of 24th ultimo, namely the passage of Penninck's troops, and the transit of grain, also mentioned in your Majesty's letter of 1st instant, received at noon yesterday. As our letter to you of yesterday was handed to Paget for transmission, we think well to describe afresh certain points and expressions which occurred in the course of the negotiations, and other events. We beg to inform you that a Venetian named Francisco Bernardi, the master of a large Venetian ship, has been for some time past in the service of the King, (fn. 5) and has been employed by the ministers in conducting secret communications between France and England, without the knowledge of the Venetian secretary (Zambon) who is here for the seigniory. At least, so the secretary swears to us, and we have always hitherto found him a truthful man. This Francisco has already been to France once and returned immediately hither. The object of this can only be one of two, namely to agree upon some truce or peace between the two realms, or else to hoodwink the French with the hope of some such arrangement, and so to cause them to slacken in their undertaking, as was the case last year. It is, in our opinion, quite true that the Seigniory has no wish to see any increase of the Emperor's power in Italy; and that the aggrandisement of Sir Pierre Loys (fn. 6) is regarded by them (i.e. the Venetian Seigniory) with distrust; but still we cannot believe that the Seigniory would enter into any league or alliance to the prejudice of the Emperor. We have sounded the Venetian Secretary on this subject, and he is of the same opinion. But, however that may be, these people (i.e. the English) are evidently not without hope that something important is impending, either by means of Bernardi or otherwise. We saw this very plainly by the expressions used towards us during yesterday's conference; such, for instance, as that if Penninck was not to be allowed to pass, the King must take his own course; and that he thought it very strange that so little account was made of him (Henry) by us, as he got nothing from us but hollow words, and he saw, even so soon as this after the agreement as to the interpretation of the treaty had been made, that things were going on in the old way. The Councillors expressed more surprise than at anything else, that we should say that we must take care not to offend the French, and that if we gave them (the English) permission to draw the supplies they required from the Emperor's territories, we could not deny the French a similar privilege. They (the English Councillors) regard it as a great injustice to them to compare them with the French, the ancient foes of Flanders, of which they (the English) have always been the friends. They (the Councillors) could not conceal the annoyance they feel at being left alone in this war; and some of them appear greatly displeased that the King has refused to ally himself with the Protestants, by means of whom they hoped to obtain the troops and supplies they needed, and to be able to gather their men where they pleased, instead of being, as now, hindered and obstructed. They attribute the latter trouble to Penninck's change of place for his muster. He originally fixed upon Nieuenhausen, but afterwards changed the place to Alten, as he had written to them (i.e. the English) that the Protestants had warned him not to muster any men in their country, or they would come and dislodge them. He was therefore obliged, he said, to go to Alten; which was a place not belonging to the Emperor's patrimony, the abbess of Alten having given her consent to the muster taking place there. They (the Councillors) considered it extremely strange when they heard that it was your Majesty's intention to force the men to retire from there, before your four bands of cavalry, and to capture Penninck himself. This, they said, was quite contrary to the good hope and confidence they had reposed in your Majesty, who, they had thought, would promote and aid their master's interests, rather than obstruct them. They (the Councillors) used quite vehement words on this point; and we failed not to reply suitably to them. If, we said, Penninck had been so careful to respect the wishes of the Protestants, he should also have respected those of the Emperor, and not have assembled his men on Gueldres territory, Alten being attached thereto for many years, and being entirely surrounded by towns and villages belonging to Gueldres, with the exception of one point where it abuts upon Cleves. When musters of men are made the whole surrounding country is affected by them, far more than by the mere passage of a larger number. By this we inferred that neither Penninck nor their commissioners had done their duty, and that the only remedy for the matter that occurred to us was for Penninck to be sent to your Majesty, if he had not already gone thither. We were, however, quite unable to satisfy or appease them, even though they thought that Penninck had already gone to your Majesty, as they fear that on the appearance of the four bands of cavalry, the foot soldiers that they (the English) have engaged and paid for a month, will disperse and carry their wages with them, either with or without the connivance of Penninck himself, who makes this his excuse for breaking his engagement. Thus not only will the King their master suffer a dead loss but the whole of his plans will be upset. We did our best to allay their anxiety, saying that we had good hope that Penninck would easily settle with your Majesty as to the road he and his men should take, and the matter would thus be accelerated. We used the fairest words we could, in order not to drive them to utter despair: for they took good care to repeat that they had entered upon this war for the Emperor's sake; and reason demanded that they should be better treated than they are. Reverting again to the matter of the grain, etc., they maintained that under the treaty it was licit for them to convey through the Emperor's territory, in transit, all sorts of grain, etc., purchased elsewhere; either in Westland (Oestlandt), Cleves or Julliers. With regard to the bread stuffs from the Emperor's own territories, the treaty lays down that, according to the circumstances and seasons of the countries in question, the English are to be supplied at a reasonable price; and M. de Granvelle, and the President (i.e. the President of the Flemish Council, Loys Score) had also held out hopes of this being done at their meeting with the Bishop of Winchester and his colleagues at Maestricht; always having regard to the needs of the Emperor's own territory, in accordance with the axiom which we laid down that charity begins at home. At this point certain of the principal and best-disposed of the Councillors, desirous of serving the Emperor's interest, said that, in order that it might not be thought that they wished to importune your Majesty for anything unreasonable, for the purpose of feeding their troops across the sea, they had agreed amongst themselves to reduce their own table expenses, and to send what they could spare for the maintenance of their forces. At the same time they trusted that, at all events, some help would be given to them on the other side (i.e., in Flanders, etc.) in accordance with the treaty. They were willing, they said, to pay the present current prices, which they knew were high; and they reminded us again that they only asked for the export of the 400 lasts from Dortrecht as a loan for six weeks, as we wrote to your Majesty before, Erasmus Schetz and two other merchants undertaking to deliver a similar quantity for the use of the Emperor's subjects. They (the Councillors) said they wished to know, in few words, what they had to expect, adding these words in Latin “Aliquid dot qui cito negat”; and showing a good deal of displeasure. We took our principal stand on the scarcity and dearness on the other side, avoiding entering into dispute on the details, as we thought that the time for that had not yet come, and that it was inopportune for us at the present juncture to drive these people to despair, they being folks who rush from one extreme to another without stopping on the middle course. We know, to some extent, how important it is for the interests of his imperial Majesty and of his countries, especially the Netherlands, etc., to gain the present summer season with as little loss to the subjects as possible; and we pray your Majesty to take our proceedings in good part, bearing in mind that these people cannot be held much longer by words.
With regard to the other points, no opportunity has yet occurred for us to speak upon them; but we will do our duty in this and all other respects. Duke Philip of Bavaria has not come hither (as we are directly informed) for the purpose of getting married, but to offer his services to the King. It is rumoured that he is to have charge of 25 standards of infantry and a considerable body of cavalry. Other people say that Duke Maurice (of Saxony) is to have command of a large army to lead it against France, and that the Marquis Albert of Brandenburg, son of Casimir, is authorised to join with 2,500 horse. We learn this from private people, having been unable to gain intelligence of it from other sources, which does not appear to be a peaceful sign. But still, measures do not seem to be so rapidly conducted here as would be necessary in such case; and we are of opinion that it may all be a feint, with the object of raising their prestige in the eyes of their enemies and of putting the latter to more expense.
Your Majesty will know better than we what they (the English) are doing on the other side of the sea, in St. John's roads, and in the flying siege which they say they have now placed before Ardres. It is certain that their forces in the field are daily increased by the joining of gentlemen of the King's household, both English and foreigners, in his service, especially Spaniards, soldiers of renown. With regard to Scotland nothing of importance is being done, both sides simply watching the frontiers.
Councillor Adrien Van der Burgh arrived here yesterday week, and we informed the King of his coming. Nicholas Wotton, formerly ambassador to the Emperor and an intimate councillor of the King, has been appointed with Dr. Petre to confer with us on this negotiation, and we hope to make a beginning to-morrow. We do not yet know, however, who is to represent the King in conjunction with the ambassador Carne, as a worthy man named Dr. Barbe, who had been nominated for the mission, died six days ago.
With respect to the aid demanded by the English, and the negotiations for the marriage of your niece and the prince, not a word has been said since Paget spoke to us about them. We suppose they want us to speak first about the marriage. We will be ruled on this point by the letters we expect from your Majesty. I. Scepperus, remain here as you command me. London, 6 April 1546.
April 6. Vienna Imp. Arch. 237. Scepperus and Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
After the present courier had started and was already on the road we learnt from a trustworthy source that this King had agreed with the Protestants to provide them with a certain sum of money, which he assures them. It appears that this negotiation has been in progress for some time, but the Protestants asked for an altogether excessive sum; which demand they afterwards moderated by means of the Count Palatine, Elector. This probably was one of the principal motives for the coming hither of Duke Philip of Bavaria, Count Palatine, in addition to the idea of the marriage which he desired, and which no doubt encouraged him to take the journey. For the final conclusion of the business Secretary Mason, now the King's postmaster, was to go thither. He has hitherto been considered a worthy man, and, so far as can be judged by outward appearance, has a hatred of innovations. This information caused us to delay the courier for a tide, and in the meanwhile we had weighed the subject carefully. I, Scepperus, have often on former occasions, by command of your Majesties, visited persons of various sorts and conditions; and it occurs to me that this negotiation may possibly have been carried out for the purpose of enabling the King to make use of the Protestants, or at least to make his neighbours think that he may do so, for the reasons mentioned in our letters referring to the Venetian's (i.e. Bernardi's) intrigue. I am confirmed in this view by my recollection that I heard some time since that the Protestants had decided to receive him (the King of England) into their league, on his depositing in their hands a sum of money, in the same way that they received the King of Denmark for forty thousand gold florins (fn. 7) under certain private reservations and conditions. The report, whether true or false, may originate with the coming of a courier hither yesterday from Germany, the holding of a secret conference to-day in Duke Philip's chamber, and the search by Mason for four or five footmen speaking our language; although this, too, may be all a contrivance to deceive people, as your Majesties will understand. Nevertheless we have considered it our duty to send this report.
London, 6 April 1546.
Note. Accompanying the above letter (of which, according to an endorsement, the original was forwarded by the Queen Dowager to the Emperor) there is a short holograph private letter from Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager. He prays her Majesty most urgently to bear his needs in mind. His expenses are so great that he can carry the fardel no longer without falling into utter ruin and desolation, unless their Majesties will take pity on him and withdraw him from here, or increase his pay. Attached to this letter there is a statement of 7 pages headed “Statement of the expenses which I, Francois Van der Delft, have to maintain in my post as ambassador from the Emperor to the King of England.”
April 6. Vienna. Imp. Arch. 238. Scepperus to Loys Scors.
The Imperial Ambassador and myself received your letters of 1st April, and knowing how busy you must have been on that day we thank you the more heartily for them.
We are glad to learn that you had conversed with the English Ambassador on the previous evening, and had found him kinder, as, in good truth, was fitting. But sometimes the faults of such people, accustomed to presume unduly, are great, and can only be remedied by good discretion and well-founded arguments such as you used . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pray consider whether a few lasts of wheat might not be given to Lord Cobham, Deputy of Calais, for the nourishment of his household. Some of the principal of the King's ministers who have always been well disposed towards the Emperor's service have spoken to us on this subject; and have pressed the request. They ask for forty lasts, which we know is a large number, but they suggest that at least some smaller quantity might be granted to him. Lord Cobham and his friends may be very useful. We have not mentioned the matter to the Queen (Dowager of Hungary).
(He recommends Van der Delft's brother-in-law Jacques IIertzen, doctor of laws of Antwerp, to be made burgomaster of that town.) 1 do not dare to write to you several rumours current here with regard to the feminine sex. Some change is suspected to be pending in this respect; but I can say no more for the present. (fn. 8)
London, 6 April 1546.
April 6. Paris. Archives Nationales. K. 1486. 239. St. Mauris to Cobos.
In addition to my other news, I may say that the man who opened, the negotiations for peace with England has returned hither with the message that if the Admiral of France will go to the frontier of Boulogne the Admiral of England will be there to meet him, and they can then discuss the settlement of peace. The Admiral of France is already there: not having gone thither, however, with that object, but to drive away 8,000 Englishmen who recently crossed the sea for the purpose of holding the passage, and of forcing the port of Etaples, which the King of France has fortified. The King of England wishes to hold Boulogne and all its territory until the King of France has paid him his overdue pensions, etc., in four instalments, the failure to pay any one of which to render nugatory all previous payments. The King of England asks for hostages, to be the highest personages in France; and demands in addition an exorbitant sum as a war indemnity, and for his expenditure in the fortification of Boulogne. I do not know yet whether the King of France will continue the negotiations on these bases; although the English have sent to say that if he does not entrust the negotiations to his Admiral they beg he will send a churchman to represent him. My own opinion is that it will all end in smoke, for the French will not consent to the retention of Boulogne by England.
The commissioners who met at Cambrai have separated without doing anything; and it will therefore be advisable to safeguard Spanish navigation, instructing shipmasters not to violate the French regulations, or they may be captured and lose all their merchandise.
I have learnt that the Scottish corsairs are now in the Breton ports, after having captured some Spanish shipping. I have complained of this to the King and to the Dauphin, and they have written to the corsairs, ordering them immediately to surrender such captures, and to refrain in future from molesting the Emperor's subjects. Still it will be prudent for Spanish ships to take due precautions for their safety on their voyages to Brittany.
The Queen Dowager of Hungary is at Cambrai, whence she goes to Artois to visit the Flemish frontiers. All is tranquil there. Notwithstanding all this talk of peace between the English and French, both sides are preparing for continuing the war.
I may add that the Venetian who is the peace intermediary passed through here (i.e. Paris) on his way to Boulogne two days since. He is accompanied by Monluc, to represent the King of France in arranging the amount of the war indemnity and the works at Boulogne, and also to endeavour to bring about a meeting between the Admirals of France and England. There is at present a rumour at Court that the prospects of peace are hopeful.
April 7. Simancas E. F. 502. 240. The Emperor to Juan de Vega.
Approves of his answer to the Pope, respecting the proposal made by Cardinal Gambara and the Bishop of Ancona that his Holiness should remain neutral.
The Pope has conceived the idea of sending a Legate to mediate a permanent peace (i.e. between the Emperor and France) but former experience has shown how fruitless such endeavours usually are. You may tell his Holiness that the treaty at present in force suffices to make the opening of the Council (of Trent) possible, and consequently there is no immediate need for a more intimate alliance.
Let us know very carefully all you can learn relative to the Council (of Trent), and see that nothing is changed from what has been agreed upon. Cardinal Farnese has declared that the Council might become a source of great trouble, both to the Pope and us: but it is clear that this language is only used for the purpose of extorting better conditions for themselves. The King of France, as you say, has asked the Pope's assistance against England, and has been granted tenths. It is now known that the King will not be satisfied unless he gets four tenths. The French, moreover, are pressing the Pope to succour the Scots in their contest with the King of England; and at the same time are endeavouring to bring about a marriage between the daughter of Scotland and the son of the King of England. This is an entire innovation in French policy. It is impossible for us to mention the source from which this knowledge is derived: but it is undoubted. We note that his Holiness is discussing with Cardinal Carpi the possibility of an enterprise against England; and that the Pope, considering the subjection of England to be easy, is endeavouring to persuade the Cardinal that it would be better to begin with England rather than with Germany. The Cardinal, in his reply at the time, and his subsequent extended answer, after conference with you, with the object of concealing from the Pope all inkling of our real designs, spoke wisely and judiciously. We approve of all your suggestions in this respect. The hatred of the Pope to the King of England will doubtless be diligently fomented by the French, in order to obtain his sanction and support for their plans; and so to make better terms for themselves with England, perhaps even to the prejudice of religion itself.
With regard to Scotland, we may inform you that the French have no intention of carrying on the war in that quarter this year, and have sent an envoy to Scotland for the purpose of persuading the Queen to consent to the marriage of her daughter with the son of the King of England.
You must be very vigilant in watching the Pope's proceedings, respecting the enterprise in Germany. Do not mention to his Holiness the Bull about Parma and Piacenza, but be careful to report to us everything you hear on the subject. We note that the Pope was displeased that in a letter written to Pier Luigi he was not given the title of Parma and Piacenza. Cardinal Farnese has already been informed that we cannot recognise his right to the title until his claims to the Duchies have been confirmed by the estates of the Empire.
The courier from Naples has just arrived, bringing your letter of 23 March. We are greatly astonished and grieved at the final declaration of the Pope, to the effect that he will not deliver the brief authorising the sale of the monastic manors until we have ratified the treaty of alliance for the enterprise (i.e. against the Protestants). We have explained to the Bishop of Caserta and the Papal Nuncios that, if we signed the treaty before taking measures for our security, both our own life and that of our brother the King of the Romans would be endangered. You had better speak to Cardinal Farnese again on the subject, and to the Pope as well; urging them most forcibly to despatch the brief.
Pier Luigi (Farnese) will have to wait for the order of the Golden Fleece. It cannot be given to him at present, or at least until we see how affairs progress.
Tanaberth, 7 April 1546.
No Date, but probably referred to in the preceding letter. Simancas. E. Flanders, 505. 241. M. de Granvelle's opinion on Cardinal Gambara's discourse.
As is the case with the proposals made by the Friar with regard to England, Cardinal Gambara's discourse must be considered in the light of the possible intentions and ends of the Pope and his friends, who have unquestionably prompted the suggestions with the idea of befooling the Emperor, and so either to delay or to shirk altogether doing anything with regard to the Council (of Trent) or against the Turk; perhaps even to have an opportunity of throwing obstacles in the way of peace and disturb the tranquillity of Italy. It may be confidently concluded that what is said about the Duke of Ferrara is true; and no doubt they (the Papal party) are as anxious as they say in this story they tell about the Duke, seeing their relationship and sympathy, and the negotiations we have already witnessed of Cardinals Ferrara and Farnese. But in the present circumstances I do not think it will be advisable to enter into this present proposal, both for the reasons above stated and for others contained in many of Juan de Vega's letters; in addition to which Don Diego de Mendoza writes from Trent that the only thing by which the Pope and his friends will be moved is fear and that the present is the best time for isolating them. But still it will not be wise to break the thread of this negotiation entirely, as they are displeased with the French, and if we refrain from repulsing them (i.e. the Papal party) altogether, they will still hope to deal with his Majesty and, underhand, to serve their own purposes in respect of the proposals contained in this discourse, namely to invest the Duke of Camarino. A reply might be given to the effect that his Majesty thanks Cardinal Gambara for his information, knowing the devotion and goodwill he has always borne towards his Majesty; but the condition of affairs of Christendom such as it is at present, the first consideration must be religious uniformity and the resistance to the Turk. When these two points are attended to others may be considered, and suitable means devised for the public and private benefit; the matters brought forward by Cardinal Gambara will receive due attention. We ought not to go beyond this, nor at present refer anything to Juan de Vega or others, to avoid giving the idea that we are ready to enter deeply into this negotiation now, which will only hinder the two main points and prevent the Pope from agreeing to reason.
* The Pope considered that improper use had been made prematurely of the authority to appropriate the half-first-fruits on Spanish ecclesiastical preferments, before the treaty binding the Emperor to employ the funds in the religious war had been ratified. His deep distrust of the Emperor is evident in this; and he was determined that no such course should be taken in the case of the brief for the sale of the Spanish monastic manors, which, as will be seen later, he subsequently refused to confirm.
April 8. Simancas. E. R. 873. 242. Juan de Vega to the Emperor.
About four days ago Cardinal Farnese had a long conversation with Madame (fn. 9) in which he suggested to her that it would be well to induce your Majesty to employ Duke Ottavio in the Milan command, failing the Marquis (Guasto). He (Farnese) thought that it would be better that the matter should proceed from her Excellency, and expressed the earnest wish of the Pope and all of them (i.e. the Farneses) for her aggrandisement—with much more to the same effect. He suggested to her that it would be well to send some person to your Majesty on the subject, and proposed Lope de Guzman. Madame was reticent, and the Cardinal seeing that she did not second the idea as he wished, called Lope de Guzman, who was out of the way, and told him what he had said to Madame. Lope hesitated a good deal, and the Cardinal became embarrassed, begging Lope to speak out frankly what was in his mind. Lope replied as cleverly as he could, that he thought they ought not to ask your Majesty anything of the kind, and he himself declined the mission with which they wished to entrust him. As these people (i.e. the Farneses) are so cunning, I thought the object of the manœuvre was to fill Madame's head with wind rather than with any idea of being able to bring about what they suggested, and I therefore did not consider it worth while to report the matter to your Majesty in the other letter. But after I had closed the latter Cardinal Carpi informed me that Alexander Vitello (fn. 10) came to him this morning with a similar suggestion, about which he made a long discourse, and begged Carpi to give his opinion of it, and also as to the person who should be sent to your Majesty. The Cardinal replied as modestly as he could, raising some difficulty about the matter, and refraining from expressing any approval of it. It is evident, therefore, that they are in earnest about the business. I learn also from a trustworthy source that the Pope is determined to make Cardinals at the four seasons of the Holy Ghost. The Pope has news that Barbarossa has lost his sight and hearing, and that Lufti Pasha had consequently been put in his place. Lufti is the son-in-law of the Turk, and it is said that an army is being raised to send against the Georgians; but I have received letters from the Secretary whom Don Diego (Hurtado de Mendoza) left in Venice, and from Don Diego himself, making no mention of this.
Rome, 8 April 1546.


  • 1. William Lord Grey de Wilton had just been appointed Governor of Boulogne on the recall of the Earl of Surrey. Count de Roeulx had commanded the Flemish imperial auxiliaries with the English army during the war and still remained in the service with a certain number of Flemings; but was mainly employed in safeguarding the Emperor's interests.
  • 2. This, as will be seen, was a rather disingenuous interpretation of Henry's words. His claim was of course not that the duchy of Milan should be given as a dowry with his son's bride, as was promised in the case of the Duke of Orleans, but that his son, the heir of England, should not be worse treated than the younger son of the King of France. The whole matter was evidently a feint so far as the Emperor was concerned, designed to prevent an arrangement with France based upon the marriage of the Prince of Wales with the infant Mary Stuart.
  • 3. This was one of the places that had to be surrendered by the French under the treaty of Crespy, but was still held by them.
  • 4. That is to say between the unfortunate Don Carlos, only son of Prince Philip, then a newly born infant, and the Princess (Isabel de Valois) to whom he was afterwards betrothed, and his father married. The Dauphine, of course, was Catherine de Medici.
  • 5. Doubtless the great “Galeazza di Londra,” which had been requisitioned by Henry for his service in the war. The envoy was a nephew of the Venetian noble Ser Mafio Bernardo, who was accused later in the year 1546 of divulging State secrets, and fled to Ravenna, where he was murdered by the connivance of his other nephews, the Erizzi and the envoy of England, Ludovico delle Arme. who was beheaded for the crime.
  • 6. That is Pier Luigi Farnese, the Pope's son, Duke of Castro, and nominated Duke of Parma and Piacenza. The Pope's vehement desire to secure Italian sovereignties for his son was a constant menace to all the States, and was, as these letters show, the keynote of the policy of Paul III.
  • 7. It is curious that this is the exact sum that was to be handed to Duke Philip as dowry with the Princess Mary, the pretended match being apparently merely a feint.
  • 8. This evidently refers to the rumours of the King's intention to divorce Queen Catharine Parr.
  • 9. This was the Emperor's illegitimate daughter, the wife of Octavio Farnese the Pope's grandson. It was one of the plans of Paul III. to aggrandise his family that the vacant duchy of Milan might be given to Octavio, but this did not suit the Emperor, who sent Ferrante Gonzaga there as Governor in succession to the Marquis del Guasto and in the following year granted the duchy to Prince Philip.
  • 10. The Commander of the Pope's forces and a confidential agent.