Spain: May 1546, 16-31

Pages 395-399

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

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May 1546, 16–31

May 18. Simancas. E. 73. 264. Draft of a private letter to de Granvelle apparently from Cobos. Referring to a quarrel that had taken place between de Granvelle and the Duke (of Alba?) the writer beseeches de Granvelle to overlook the matter in the interests of the Emperor's service. He assures him that de Granvelle's fears that the Duke's report of the matter will prejudice Prince Philip against de Granvelle are groundless. Expresses much dissatisfaction at the way that the Emperor's affairs are dealt with in Rome. (fn. 1) It would be worse if the Ambassador were not with him (i.e. the Pope). The interests at stake, being so great, the effects are not immediately apparent: “but no more care is taken of his Majesty's affairs than if they are those of the Turk.”—The writer thinks that the Ambassador (Juan de Vega) might be changed with advantage, and discusses the possibility of making him Viceroy of Sicily; or, if the Marquis de Aguilar accepts the latter post, Vega might be made Viceroy of Catalonia. Don Diego de Mendoza might be sent to Rome, but the Emperor is still strongly of opinion that the ambassador there should not be a priest. The writer regrets this greatly. The Viceroy of Aragon would also do well for Rome, and the writer begs de Granvelle to forward his nomination, failing Mendoza. Several other appointments to posts in Spain are discussed.
May 25. Simancas. E. R. 873. 265. Juan de Vega to the Emperor. (Extracts.)
On the 11th instant I wrote that up to that time the Pope had kept the secret of the enterprise against the Protestants. Since then they decided to send Duke Ottavio (Farnese) to Piacenza; and the Pope even wished that Madame should accompany him, it is said, to win the hearts of the people of those cities. (fn. 2) The Duke (Ottavio) was ordered to warn the legates, as they call those who make the levies, and he was told of the enterprise. It then became public; but as we strenuously denied the truth of it—as we still do—it was not generally believed until the 19th, when it was announced by some persons of high position, and we hear from some of those near the Pope that Duke Ottavio was openly preparing for the war. The Ambassador of Ferrara, the agent of the Cardinal of Mantua and others came to enquire of me about it, but I assured them that it was untrue, and, though the matter is much talked about, it is not believed. As soon as the first rumour spread I sent to Cardinal Farnese to say how many efforts we were making to stop it, and asking him to get the Pope to do the same. He did so, and the Pope apologised for the news being divulged, which he said had been done by some of his people whom he was obliged to tell. The Pope, to judge by appearances, will do all he promised towards the enterprise, and even more.
Messer Nicolo, the ambassador from Siena, left here on the 17th instant. He has had many long conferences with me, in which I strove to overcome his idea that your Majesty's measures were directed against liberty. He assured me that from our first interview he had written to the Republic repeating what I had said and urged strict obedience to your Majesty's commands. The Pope in his farewell interview with the said Ambassador gave him the same advice.
The Pope and his friends keep their news from Trent quite secret, and everything from there makes them very anxious. I learn from two sources that from the day he received the letters from the Augsburg and Trent people the Cardinal (Farnese) wished to go to your Majesty. Now that he learns the vacancy of Seville he is still more anxious to go.
A bishop called Cana, Nazarus, a friar who it is said spoke very freely in the Council (of Trent), has come hither and has been well received, although with dissimulation. It may therefore be concluded that what he did in the Council was planned beforehand in order to sound the prelates.
(Recommends the Cardinal of Burgos for the vacant Archbishopric of Seville. Begs for rewards also for his brother Antonio de Vega and Pedro Marquina.)
Some residents of Sicily have petitioned through the Genoese here for a papal Brief to the effect enclosed. We have asked the Pope not to concede it without your Majesty's consent, although he is desirous of doing so, as it will aid greatly the building of St. Peter's. It is true it will benefit to some extent your Majesty's treasury, but if a third of the confiscations are to be given to the building, a third to your Majesty and a third to the denouncers it may injure the Kingdom of Sicily to have so much money taken from it. (fn. 3)
Rome, 25 May 1546.
May 27. Vienna. Imp. Arch. 266. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Since I wrote my last letter, of 14th instant, I have received your Majesty's letter written at Stöwingen on the same day, in which your Majesty commands me to report from time to time what I can learn of the conference between the English and French with regard to peace. I have continued my vigilance in this respect, in order to discover how affairs were proceeding; and with this object I made the excuse of pressing some complaints and claims of your Majesty's subjects to go to Court and see the Councillors on Sunday last. They received me very well, and gave favourable replies to my complaints, after which they asked me whether I had any special mission from your Majesty upon which I wished to see the King. Although I was really anxious to obtain access to him I had no good reason to allege, and was obliged to reply that I had nothing particular to say to his Majesty, but was quite at his disposal. I therefore did not see the King; and could extract nothing from the Councillors, though I tried several devices on them, collectively and individually, to draw them into conversation about their Calais negotiations.
Since then the Venetian Francisco Bernardi, who managed the negotiation, has arrived in London, and has told a man, who repeated it to me in confidence, that peace was now assured and settled; though I can learn nothing of the conditions, as Bernardi declined to disclose them. The next day, which was yesterday, there was a rumour all over London that peace had been made, and that Boulogne was to be surrendered, in return for which and the expenses and over-due payments the French were to pay four millions in gold. Until this sum was paid the English were to hold Ardres, any fortification of that place which in the interim the English might construct being paid for by the King of France when he finally took the place over. Others say that the four millions will cover this contingency also; and another version speaks of only two millions, without saying anything about a pension. In order to ascertain what is true in these several rumours I immediately sent a man to Court, but there not a word was said about peace, either by those near the King or by the Council, who, however, received my man more amiably than usual. Nevertheless, Sire, I cannot believe that what Bernardi says about the certainty of peace is altogether vain, seeing his persistent affirmation of it, and the continuance of conference; and the silence and dissimulation of the English make me suspect very strongly that the conditions will not turn out to be much to their advantage. Still, I am confidently informed that Bernardi, who had an understanding with M. de Monluc, when he initiated the negotiations assured the King (of England) that he could obtain what terms he pleased from the French. I will relate to your Majesty how the negotiation was brought about. The Lords of the Council, hearing the assurances and offers of Bernardi, asked him if he knew what they (the English) demanded. He replied that he supposed they would demand the retention of Boulogne, the payment of the pensions and arrears, and the marriage of the daughter of Scotland; or, at least, the renunciation of the Scottish and French alliance. All these terms, he said, he could obtain for them, if they would consent to enter into negotiations. As he also told them that the Admiral of France and other personages would attend the Conference the English did not refuse; but when Paget had crossed the sea and the Lord Admiral of England had also arrived, they found that the French personages deferred their coming. This greatly annoyed and mortified them (the English), and they, became very suspicious of Bernardi's intrigue, as well as puzzled by the numerous and contradictory rumours which reached here (London), such as that a close alliance and marriage were arranged between your Majesty and France, and on the other hand that preparations were being made to assist the Duke of Savoy to recover his territory. (fn. 4) Nevertheless they (the English) continued the negotiations commenced, being much more desirous of peace than they pretended to be. It is said that the Dauphin wrote a letter to this King, but I do not know if this can be believed; and I also hear that it was proposed to the English in the course of the negotiations, that they should bind themselves to an offensive and defensive alliance (d'estre ennemy des ennemys), but the King (of England) would not listen to this.
Paget is expected to arrive here every day, without any rumour existing that the negotiations have been broken off. Some people say that he is coming to conclude the affair. As soon as I can ascertain I will report to your Majesty. The King's ships recently had an engagement with the galleys of France; and the latter, to the number of sixteen, were compelled to retire, one of them being captured (fn. 5) with Baron de Saint Blancard on board. This has greatly rejoiced the people here (in England), especially as they have re-captured the small pinnaces and boats which had been taken by the French, as I wrote to your Majesty recently. The captured French galley is to be brought to London in a day or two.
The rumour continues that in the event of peace being made (with France) the King's army, with both Spaniards and Germans, will be conveyed against Scotland, and that the King wishes to make the campaign in person, as I wrote previously.
The examinations in the matter of the faith still continue, and the multitude of new sectarians here have been greatly restrained since the retraction of the preacher Dr. Crome, who, however, on the very day that he was ordered to retract what he had preached declared that he was more convinced in his opinions than ever. He afterwards confessed that he had only maintained this at the instance of certain persons he named to the Council. These persons, he said, had urged him to persist in his opinions, as he would be in greater danger if he retracted than otherwise. The contrary has proved to be the case, for several of his accomplices have been placed in the Tower, and he is strictly guarded. (fn. 6)
London, 27 May 1546.
Postscript.—As I was closing this letter I have been informed that it is publicly stated at Court that peace has been made; but nothing is known as to the conditions, except that the King of France renounces his confederation with Scotland. Some people maintain that it is only a truce for eight years, but Francisco Bernardi, who left Court to-day for Calais, continues to affirm to an intimate friend of his that peace has really been concluded; but that the terms being not yet signed he could not divulge them. They would be known, however, in four days, he said.


  • 1. That is to say by the Farneses and by the Cardinals supposed to be in the interests of Spain and the Empire.
  • 2. Octavio Farnese was Pier Luigi's son and heir, another son being the Cardinal; and “Madame” was Octavio's wife, Duchess of Camarino, afterwards the famous Margaret of Parma, Governess of the Netherlands, the Emperor's illegitimate daughter Octavio was destined by his grandfather to the command of the Papal contingent in war against the Protestants.
  • 3. Although the draft Brief is not enclosed, it is evident from the context that the proposal was to denounce those who during the previous 20 years had misused the powers given by the crusade and building-fund faculties.
  • 4. It will be remembered that the French still held a large portion of Savoy, which by the treaty of Crespy was to have been surrendered on certain conditions, which neither the Emperor nor Francis I. had shown any readiness to fulfil. The marriage of a princess of the House of Austria with the Duke of Orleans, with the Duchy of Milan as a dowry, had been rendered impossible by the death of the bridegroom, and as this marriage was to counterbalance the retrocession of Savoy, the latter still remained in abeyance.
  • 5. The battle of Ambleteuse, See note on page 394.
  • 6. Dr. Edward Crome, Rector of St. Mary Aldermary, in the city of London, had on a previous occasion, in 1540, been ordered by the King to recant publicly at St. Paul's Cross the doctrines he had expounded in a sermon with regard to the value of masses for the dead. In this judgment he was threatened that if he were accused again of similar doctrines no favour should be shown him.