Spain: March 1545, 11-20

Pages 55-71

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

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March 1545, 11–20

11 March. Vienna Imp. Arch. 24. Chapuys and Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
We received yesterday at noon your Majesty's letter of the 8th instant, with the enclosures informing us of what had passed there between the Emperor's Commissioners and the English Ambassadors. With regard to it we have only to say that the Emperor's case was presented admirably, and we shall be greatly aided by it. For the present we will obey instructions and exhibit no knowledge of the conferences in question.
With regard to the main reason which moved your Majesty to send the special courier to us, namely the desire to know whether the English Ambassadors had sent their messenger hither for any other purpose than that which they pretended, and if peradventure there were any new seizures being made, or the previous seizures were being rendered more strict, we beg to inform your Majesty that the Ambassadors appear to have acted straightforwardly in what they have written hither. After the Councillors yesterday had read the despatch brought by Paget's man (who arrived at the same time as our courier) and had discussed it for some time, they came out of the Council Chamber gayer and in better spirits than they had been for a long while. They shortly afterwards sent the Secretary of the Council to tell us that the King had heard that his Majesty raised some difficulty about his (Henry's) retaining in his service the returning Spanish soldiers; and in order to learn the Emperor's final decision on this point, he (the King) had sent a special post five or six days ago; his intention being to dismiss all these soldiers if the Emperor so wished it, as he did not desire to displease his Majesty in this, or in anything else. As it would be difficult for the soldiers to find means of transport, if the vessels in which they came were to set sail, he (the King) begged very earnestly that we would do him the favour of sending one of our men, in company with one of his officers, to the commanders of the ships, to inform them of the position, and to beseech them, if it was in any way possible, to await the Emperor's reply, and to re-embark the soldiers if his Majesty desired it. The King would, he said, be happy to defray the expense which might be incurred by the delay. Not only did the King desire that our man should be sent for the purpose referred to, but also that he might bear witness that the said ships had not been seized, and that by his (the King's) orders, all good treatment was being extended to them. We thought best not to refuse to send the man as the King wished, and he left with the King's officer this morning; but we are very much afraid that, with this favourable wind blowing for their voyage, he will find that the ships have sailed. We cannot learn that any fresh seizures are being made, unless it be that of a ship loaded in Lisbon by one Antonio de la Torre, which the English assert that they found abandoned and derelict off Dieppe; and it is therefore held by the Council to be a good prize, both because it had been abandoned, and because it was a French ship. In order to justify this, the Council sent us to-day certain letters and documents found in the ship, which letters, etc., we have not yet had time to examine. The Council also sends us word that, when we have leisure to consider the matter, they will make us judges of it. We observe no appearance, either, of any increase of stringency in the old seizures. On the contrary, there seems a desire to make absolute and complete restitution; although a day or two ago there appeared a little less zeal about it; as they (the English Council) seemed very much annoyed at the complaints we made to them by your Majesty's orders in the matter of the farmer (censier) seized at Calais, and the sailors taken belonging to Ostend and Antwerp. They (the Council) have not yet sent us any reply to these complaints, although we have twice requested them to do so. As the matter, however, is of small importance and not pressing, we have not thought necessary to be too importunate about it; especially as they say they are busy and the result of Paget's mission is still pending. Paget has acted very well hitherto, and we believe that these people will do their best to complete the restitution, even with the security demanded.
We are of opinion that, no matter what the ostensible object may be, the real purpose of Paget's mission is to open up some negotiation for peace. We judge this from several things said by the Secretary of the Council, who came to us yesterday on the abovementioned matters with more amiability and apparent pleasure than ever before, and told us that he had no doubt that these warlike affairs would very soon have a favourable issue. Paget is probably authorised to initiate this. Peace is certainly extremely necessary for Christendom at large, but more especially for this country, which is wondrously oppressed; and will be so to an insupportable degree if it has to sustain a long war, both on account of the excessive exactions it will have to pay and of the scarcity of food.
With regard to the arrival of the Scottish Secretary there, as mentioned in your Majesty's letters of 23 February (8 March?) this King (i.e. of England) was already satisfied about it by the advices which reached him through his ambassador Wotton; and he will be the more pleased at the intelligence of the way in which Paget has been dealt with in the matter. No further explanations therefore need be given to him.
Although it is quite unnecessary to add anything to the note handed (i.e. in Brussels) to the English ministers, yet as your Majesty orders us to give our humble opinion, we venture to say that we think the first clause ought to express more specifically than it does what is meant by the words “since the commencement of the last war”; whether since the King of France commenced war against the Emperor, or only since the latter and the King of England jointly waged war against the King of France. If the former is meant the Burgos merchants' claims and the jewels will be comprised, but not otherwise. Under correction, we think that in such case, these affairs and that of Doulchy ought not to be submitted to a joint arbitration court (diette) as the facts are notorious, and the parties have already lost heavily by the delay. The reference to a joint arbitration court (diette) would enormously extend this delay, as the procedure is extremely dilatory: besides which the cases are important, and there is a great deal of feeling here about them; so that not a person in England, whatever his powers are, would dare for his life's sake to decide otherwise than in favour of the King's contention. To the King alone, therefore, should the demand for redress be made; and the same may be said in the case of the jewels, as this depends upon the declaration that he (the King) must make respecting the passport he granted. It will be advisable for the representatives of these three claims therefore to be here; as otherwise we think there will be no conclusion reached in the joint arbitration court; as little, indeed, as the result obtained by the one held about three years ago at Calais and Bourbourg, for the purpose of improving intercourse. This is even more necessary now, in consequence of the various innovations introduced by the English. Under correction, also, we think that mutual indemnity for subjects on both sides might be stipulated for, in order that claimants might not be forced to waste time and money. The monarchs should be bound to make good the damage committed by their respective armed forces—even those at sea—upon the subjects of the other: the ground for this being that the monarch ought only to entrust force to well conducted persons; and that the captain of a ship who injures others should be punished, or at least dismissed from his command. It might also be stipulated that neither of the princes should equip (ships ?) without giving sufficient security not to offend the subjects of the other; so that a more prompt redress might be obtainable, without scouring the sea in search of the evil doer.
London, 11 March, 1545.
12 March. Vienna Imp. Arch. 25. Chapuys and Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
After we had closed the letters written yesterday, and were about to dispatch the courier, the Secretary of the Council came to tell us that this morning at eight the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester would come and communicate something to us. We therefore detained the courier until we had heard what they had to say. They came as appointed, and began by thanking us for having sent our man to the ships that had brought the Spanish soldiers; after which, they said, they were instructed to inform us of all that had taken place respecting the said soldiers. For this purpose they had brought with them, by the King's orders, a gentleman of his chamber named Master Philip Aubyn, who, in the King's justification and his own, gave us to understand that the King, having heard that the ships had arrived in the Downs short of provisions, and that there was some talk of the soldiers wishing to leave the vessels and enter his service, had sent Aubyn to give orders in the ports of the West that the ships were to be welcomed and well treated. When Aubyn arrived at Plymouth he had found there one of the ships that had separated from the others, and had run aground near the harbour. He did his best to get the ship into a condition to sail after the others, which she did, and Aubyn then proceeded to Falmouth, where he found the rest of the vessels and soldiers. The latter were dying in numbers daily, both on account of the travail of the sea, and more especially by reason of the hardship and absence of food. In accordance with the King's orders, he (Aubyn) had caused the people of the country to treat them kindly, and to lodge in their houses those who were ill. He had said nothing to the soldiers but to express his pleasure at the good friendship existing between the Emperor and the King of England, who hearing of their need had sent him to succour them and help them on their way; and also to give them some money, if peradventure any one or two of them wished to enter his service. This led the soldiers to declare to him the misery and need in which they were. The provisions that had been brought on board the ships were all consumed, and they (the soldiers) had even spent the fortnight's wage that had been given to them to pay their way from the Spanish port to their homes. They had, they said, been dismissed, with leave to return to their own houses, and without any obligation to go to any other place in the Emperor's service. Upon this, Madame, we greatly extolled this good and kindly action of the King, begging the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester to thank his Majesty in our names; and to assure him that we would convey to the Emperor the intelligence of his goodness; for which, we were sure, his imperial Majesty would feel obliged, and if opportunity offered would reciprocate. The Earl of Hertford then went on to say—as he affirmed entirely on his own account, and without instruction from the King—that when he was last at Boulogne and Calais, and more recently in London, he had heard from people coming from France, and even from Italians who were passing over constantly, that the King of France had in his service over 400 Spaniards. Since the Emperor allowed this to the Christian King, with much greater reason should he give a similar privilege to the King of England, and allow him to retain such of these Spanish soldiers as were willing to enter his service; especially having regard to the terms of the treaty existing between the Emperor and the King of England.
We replied, also unofficially, that in truth, we also had heard that there were a certain number of Spanish soldiers in France; but a much smaller number than they said: but they (i.e the English Councillors) must surely have heard that most of these soldiers, who had been on their way home through France, had been absolutely obliged by sickness to remain there. The King of France had acted very kindly towards them, sheltering them in Paris and elsewhere, and having them cured of their ills, the soldiers could not avoid without ingratitude entering into his service. They must also bear in mind that the greater number of the soldiers who remained in France were such as his Majesty (the Emperor) did not care to retain in his service; and, moreover, when he dismissed them, he did not expect to require so many troops for the defence of Spain, as his Majesty had not then learnt for certain either of the surprise of Los Gelves by the Turks, or of the preparations being made by Barbarossa, of which news now came from all sides. As a consequence of this, the Emperor will have to provide for the defence of La Goletta, and his other fortresses in Barbary, as well as for Sicily, Sardinia, Majorca, Minorca, and other islands, and all the seaboard of Spain. They (the English Councillors) replied that there was no indication that the soldiers in question were being sent to . Spain for any such purpose; since they were not consigned to any particular place on his Majesty's service, but were simply going to their homes; but we answered that soldiers in want of money said all manner of things to get themselves out of their need; and his Majesty's word must be taken before theirs. If, however, what they said was true, and they were on the way to their own homes; it was simply that his Majesty could not decide where he needed to employ them, until the enemy's designs were known, when he would use them where they might be wanted. They (the English Councillors) surely could not think that the Emperor was so bad a manager as to pay wages before he wanted the men. If he sent men home it was in order that they might be ready at his call for service when needed. Even if, as they alleged, the treaty allowed the King to engage subjects of the Emperor for his service, it was of course understood to mean only in case the Emperor did not require them for his own purposes; and certainly did not authorise the taking of men whom the Emperor had specially retained and assembled, as in this case. They had seen that, since he made peace with France, the Emperor had raised no objection at all to the King's retaining Spaniards in his service, and had instructed M. de Buren to remain as long as the King wished. (fn. 1) We felt sure that the Emperor would greatly prefer the Spaniards that are in the French service to be on the side of the English; though his Majesty could not well recall them, as the treaty with France did not enable him to recall rebels as the treaty with England did.
Hertford and the Bishop made no reply to this, and only remarked that, if such were the case, the King had no wish to do otherwise than he had sent them to say, namely, to conform entirely to the wishes of the Emperor in the matter: but still they might tell us that the King would have good reason to be offended, if it was seen subsequently that these soldiers were not being sent to Spain for the purposes alleged. We said we could only hope to God that the need for thus employing them in the Emperor's service might not arise; and we thought that the King would rejoice if the enemy of the faith refrained from making an attack which would necessitate resistance. The King's wisdom, we said, would show him that, in view of the current rumours about the Turk, the Emperor could not avoid making timely provisions for defence.
Hertford and Winchester then informed us that yesterday the King had told them that a letter had reached him from Paget, saying that the Council in Flanders had positively assured him, that when they (Hertford and Winchester) went to the Emperor to request the declaration against France, they were utterly unable to answer the arguments opposed to them, and would have given way on every point if they had had powers to do so. Hertford and Winchester felt that this was charging them, not only with ignorance, but also with being bad and unfaithful ministers. For their own part, they said, they thought they had justified the demand they had made to his Majesty, and had sufficiently replied to all the objections which had been urged against it. They felt certain from the answer given to them in his lodging by M. de Granvelle, and afterwards in the presence of the Emperor, that the latter would not fail to make the declaration after the expiry of the ten weeks which he took to consider the matter.
We replied that, if any member of the Flemish Council had said what they alleged, we thought it was not by the order, or with the knowledge, of his Majesty, who had instructed us to lay all the arguments before the King; not doubting that the latter, as a good and prudent prince, would see the reason of our contention more readily than they (Hertford and Winchester) had done. No doubt Paget must have mistaken what was said, as he does not understand French very well. Perhaps what was really said was, that such a reply was given to them as ought to have satisfied them; and the opinion expressed that they might have admitted that they were satisfied if they had had power to do so.
The Bishop of Winchester then began the old contentions about the declaration; dwelling mainly upon the point that, as the King of France was generally bound in the treaty of peace to respect the treaty of friendship between the Emperor and the King of England by reason of the special reservation contained in the former treaty, it could not be urged that he had not violated the treaty, both by the attempt of the Dauphin on Boulogne, and by Cardinal du Bellay's statement during the negotiations in which M. d' Arras and I (Chapuys) took part, to the effect that he would enter into no peace negotiations until Boulogne was surrendered; whereas the treaty of friendship provided that that town should come into the hands of the English. We replied to this, as we have done on other occasions, that they could not allege rights under the treaty of peace which they refused to recognise. With regard to the clause inserted by the King of England in the treaty of friendship, to the effect that he was to have Boulogne to hold as security for the future payment of the pensions, they had only to look at the treaty to see that the King could only claim this in case the King of France submitted at the first demand. If he refused to do so (as he did), the King of England was to have Guyenne and Normandy; and it would be a very strange contention to say that the King of France was bound by his treaty of peace to. accept the treaty of friendship in this particular, or any other point opposed to the tenour of the peace treaty itself. With regard to the wording of the clause in the treaty of friendship by which the Emperor bound himself not to treat for peace until the King of England was satisfied: apart from the fact that they could not invoke the treaty for the reasons already explained, the point would not help them much if they bore in mind the alternative, which they omitted to quote, namely, “without the consent of the King.” There was no ground for them to question that such consent had been given freely and fully by the King. It did not rest alone upon the word of M. d'Arras; for M. de Courriéres and I also bore witness to it. The contention of the Earl of Hertford, that the word of the King must be taken before that of M. d'Arras, because the report of the latter (to the Emperor) bore every indication of being worded to please and serve his sovereign, was absolutely groundless and unreasonable; since M. d'Arras and the others who were present claimed nothing by virtue of the report, and would indeed be wretches thus to burden their consciences, without the slightest profit or object. The probability was quite the other way.
They (Hertford and Winchester) then went on to say that it seemed incredible that the Emperor, after having advanced triumphantly so far into France, should have been forced to accept peace; and that the alleged necessity was simply a pretext. We replied that if they recollected the mission entrusted to M. d'Arras they would acknowledge that the Emperor had no desire to enter into the peace, if the King (of England), on his side, had carried out the terms of his engagements. It was perfectly true that the Emperor had made the most exhausting efforts, as had been set forth by M. d'Arras; and we were astounded that they should assert that his Majesty was not in need to accept the peace; seeing that he had obtained nothing for himself by it. He had, indeed, done more for the advantage of the King (of England) than for his own, as had been demonstrated to them frequently. We felt sure that if they repeated what they said in the presence of the King he would contradict them. The Bishop of Winchester let slip a thing which we must not fail to report. He said that before M. d'Arras returned to the Emperor peace had been made. (fn. 2) We refuted this sharply, and requested him to refrain in future from saying such things, as they were neither handsome nor honest, and could not be tolerated, being untrue and injurious to the honour of the Emperor. He tried to excuse and explain away what he had said, but he did it so ineffectually as not to satisfy even the Earl of Hertford, who begged him to keep clear of such matters.
We repeated also to them what we had formerly said to Paget; namely that, as the King had consented to the amity between the Emperor and the King of France, with whom he (the King of England) remained at war; and whose enmity therefore did not increase thereafter but continued the same, there was no ground for asking the Emperor to declare war anew, as no fresh fact had occurred since. There is not very much importance in this argument; but the only answer they could make to it was, that by the same rule his Majesty might have revoked the declaration against Scotland; whereas the continuance by him of the state of war with the Scots proved the continued validity of the treaty of friendship, and the same course should have been followed in the case of France. We replied that they must not draw any consequence to his Majesty's prejudice from his superabundant desire to please the King; besides which the two cases were entirely different, since the King had not consented to the Emperor making any peace or truce with Scotland, as he had done in the case of France. Nothing more was said and the interview ended.
At this moment the Secretary of the Council has come to inform us from the King that he had learnt that recently there had been detained at Flushing a Scottish ship which had been captured by one of his captains. The Flushing people had not only detained the ship and captain, but had used towards the latter defiant and opprobrious words, quite inconsistent with friendship and good neighbourship. He begged me to ask your Majesty to have the matter attended to, and especially to consider amongst other things how well the soldiers and ships of the Emperor had been treated in this country.
London, 12 March, 1545.
13 March. Vienna Imp. Arch. 26. Chapuys to the Secretary of the Emperor's Council.
Knowing that all English affairs are promptly communicated to you, I have refrained from repeating them in letters addressed to you, and have consequently been debarred from the need for writing to you, though my goodwill to do so has not failed etc. Since closing the letters addressed to the Queen, I have called to mind something that I have omitted. This was that the Bishop of Winchester appeared to lay some stress upon the King's consent to the peace with France having been conditional upon his (the King's) being satisfied therewith, in accordance with the conditions which he had written to his Ambassador. We told him (the Bishop of Winchester) that there was never any question of such a reservation. Even if there had been, since the King had not sent to his Ambassador authority to treat, as we had often asked him to do, and M. d'Arras had told them (the English) that there could be no more delay or reference, they could not take their stand on it. But even beyond this, if we might say so, it could be sustained that the King had no right to allege the pretended reservation, nor the reservation which the Emperor had inserted in his treaty with France, (fn. 3) since he (the King of England) had declined to acknowledge or even to read the treaty itself. Thus it was that on the one hand there was no reservation in the treaty operative in the King's favour, and on the other the King's consent to the treaty was unconditional. I just write you this in confidence.
London, 13 March, 1545.
14 March. Simancas E.F. 501. 27. Licentiate Vargas to Francisco de los Cobos.
The Pope is displaying but little goodwill. He is afraid of religious matters being dealt with at the Council (of Trent) and still more of their being discussed at the Diet (of Worms). The King of France is urging him very strongly to aid him in the war against England, and the King (of France) frankly declares that unless the 6,000 foot soldiers promised to him are forthcoming, he will confiscate all the church property in his realm. The Pope is angry and alarmed; and we may probably soon see the effects of this in his actions.
Brussels, 14 March, 1545. (Spanish Draft.)
15 March. Simancas E.F. 501. 28. The Emperor to Francisco de los Cobos.
Thanks for the information sent respecting the sending of French captains to Bayonne and the enlistment of soldiers there. It is possible that they may be needed to fight the English; but on the other hand it may be that, notwithstanding the peace, the French have other intentions, and it would therefore be advisable to see that our frontiers .are furnished with troops. There must be, however, care taken not to arouse the suspicion of the French.
Brussels, 15 March, 1545. (Spanish Draft.)
15 March Vienna Imp. Arch. 29. Chapuys and Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
In previous letters we related that a ship from Portugal loaded with merchandise belonging to certain Burgalese had been captured, the Councillors here informing us that it was found deserted and derelict, which we now understand is not true. In order to justify the capture, the Council sent us many pretty messages, and said they would let us decide the validity of the capture. They submitted to us the charter-party and other documents, which ill supported their case, but retained the principal evidence, such as the cargo book etc. Trusting in their fine promises, we were moved to write to your Majesty, saying that there was an appearance of the affair being settled honestly and promptly. We have, however, since seen that things are very different from what we expected; since the Council have declared the capture to be a good one; and have allowed the merchandise to be sold, without consenting to hear the person authorised to claim the same on account of the owners; notwithstanding that he offered to take over the goods, paying in cash the price at which they had been appraised. He also offered to pay down to the merchants who have bought the goods the profit they might make on the transaction, unless he could prove positively and promptly that the goods belonged to subjects of his Majesty. These offers have been refused, in spite of all our remonstrances and representations to the Council, and the Councillors have treated our messengers most rudely, having even gone so far as to accuse us of exceeding our duty in assisting such claims, which is a most outrageous thing. We think right to inform your Majesty of this, in order that we may not be blamed for having written as we did. To tell the truth, it is a very poor indication of future friendly relations with his Majesty's subjects, who, unless some different course is adopted here, will be great gainers if they abandon navigation altogether; for it is certain that no ship will be allowed to pass without some molestation from these people, on the pretext that it carries French property. It is well that your Majesty should know, in order that you may understand the tricks of these people, that the merchandise in question which was worth fully 8,000 ducats, was sold for less than half that sum. To make the matter worse, the capture was made by a fisherman, who has no property and gives as his sureties men of the same class as himself; so that, even if the capture be adjudged illegal the merchants will have difficulty in recovering anything. We have also to report that these people have not released a ship belonging to Jasper Doulchy, and loaded with woad owned by Doulchy and Antenori. The latter is one of the two men in whose favour your Majesty recently wrote to us. We pray your Majesty will take up this matter, in order that these merchants may be indemnified, and also that for the future these people (the English) may be restrained from committing even worse acts than this. We are in a position now for making some such arrangement, as we have in hand a sufficient counterbalance of theirs. (fn. 4)
London, 15 March, 1545.
19 March, Vienna Imp. Arch. 30. Draft reply to the points raised by Paget on the 16th March, the reply being given to him on the 20th.
The answer given to the English Ambassadors was, that with respect to the English ship arrested at the Sluys, there was very good reason for her arrest there, since she had been embargoed at Zeeland and had evaded the embargo. Nevertheless, as the Emperor had no wish to make a point of this, he would, in consideration for the King, release the said ship; on the understanding that, if the ship in question had committed any damage to those who demanded her arrest, the master should be held responsible on giving bail. They (the Ambassadors) had asserted that she had done no damage; and consequently M. de. Praet (fn. 5) and his son should be instructed to release the ship.
With regard to the declaration demanded, against the French, and the request that the Emperor would say whether, apart from the question of past events, his Majesty would observe the treaty for the future; the answer given was, that his Majesty would observe it so far as he was bound to do; which he had already replied to the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester.
Paget remarked with reference to this, that when the treaty was quoted by them to support their contentions, they were told that the Emperor was not bound by it, whilst they maintained to the contrary. If, he asked, the King had consented to the negotiations, which, however, he asserted was not the case, was the Emperor for ever exempt from declaring against France, though he still continued at war with Scotland ? The reply given to Paget was that the Emperor was exempt from making such declaration during the course of the present war, but in the event of peace being made (i.e., between France and England), and a fresh war afterwards breaking out, the case would be altered. The consent given by the King was subsequently debated by Paget and he was told that if he wished to reopen that point, he had better go over all the reasons alleged by the Emperor to prove that he was not bound to make the declaration, and if he was a good servant to the Emperor he would acknowledge that there was no obligation. He thereupon swore that if he were a servant of the Emperor, he would advise him to send word to the King that there was no reason for him at present to make the declaration; but that if France continued the war, his Majesty would prove to the King (of England) that he was his friend, and would declare against France. He was told that if perchance he did give such advice he would find himself alone, and all the rest (of the Emperor's advisers) of a contrary opinion.
20 March. Vienna Imp. Arch. 31. Memorandum of the Negotiations (fn. 6) for a Peace between France and England, and of the Discussion with the English Ambassadors.
The English Ambassadors announced that they had received replies to their letters, and had instructions to answer his Majesty. First they requested that, as the King had released all the seizures on his side, the Emperor should do the like, and in this they persisted. They were willing to agree to the appointment of a joint Court of Arbitration, to adjudicate on the claims of subjects, and also to arrange the conditions upon which the Netherlanders might trade with France for the future. The King thanked the Emperor for his action with regard to the Ambassador from Scotland, and begged that the latter might be promptly dismissed, with the reply that the Emperor had declared war with Scotland at the instance of the King of England, and when the Scots made peace with the latter they would be at peace with the Emperor.
The King also thanked the Emperor for the wish he expressed that the King might be at peace, and for his Majesty's promise to strive to that end. The King prayed the Emperor to bear in mind the great advantage accruing to the common enemy of the faith, the Turk, by the continuance of the war between France and England. The King from the first had entered into the war in alliance with the Emperor, with the object of attaining more promptly a general peace; and so to present a stronger resistance to the Turk. The peace was very needful for all Christendom; but since it had been suggested that the mission of the Scottish ambassador might be used to open negotiations, the King was of opinion that matters should not be commenced by that means. The King thought that it would be much better that the Emperor should open negotiations himself, and the King hoped he would do so.
He suggested that a beginning might be made by bringing forward the conditions which the Ambassador Wotton had exhibited after the return of M. d'Arras; and if the French would not agree to them all, they might be induced to accept some of them. If they (the French) talked about Boulogne, the Emperor should say that, having regard to the great expense the King had incurred, not only in conquering the place, but in fortifying and holding it, he would never surrender it, for his reputation's sake, but, with God's help, hoped to hold it against any force.
No reply to this was given on the part of his Majesty; the Emperor's deputies merely repeating the three points in order to have them quite correct. After which they asked the ambassadors how the Netherlanders were to carry on their relations and trade with France pending the decision of the proposed joint arbitration court. They (the English) replied that the King could not consent to such trade being carried on, without prejudicing his case in the matter of the declaration of war which he demanded against France; but Paget was willing to undertake that the King would, during the interval in question, connive at the continuance of the trade. They finally handed us a document in draft founded upon the note handed to them by the imperial Commissioners (see page 53) by which the King agreed to release the seizures. The Commissioners took charge of it and promised to report.
The Ambassador then broached the subject of the time and place for holding the proposed joint Arbitration Conference. The imperial commissioners asked what were the King's wishes on the subject; They were told that he had not named any particular place, but they (the Ambassadors) thought that Calais would be a fit place for the meeting, and that the day might be fixed for the 1st May. They also wished to know what personages his Majesty thought of sending, so that the King might send men of a similar position.
On the evening of the same day the President of the Privy Council and M. D'eick were with Secretary Paget, and told him that they had reported to his Majesty the conversation of the morning. His Majesty had sent them to tell him, confidentially, that he had expected the King of England's reply to be such as it was, and three days ago, in conversation with the French Ambassadors he had mentioned incidentally that he wished they were at peace with England, and he would willingly aid in bringing about such a result, if he thought there was a good chance of success. The Ambassadors praised his good-will, and said that a peace would be very advantageous for Christendom at large: they would be very glad to help it forward and would not reject any approaches. The Emperor then asked them what could be done about Boulogne, and they answered that the King of France would never abandon Boulogne. The Emperor asked how therefore it was possible for him to settle affairs, if the King of France insisted upon recovering Boulogne, and the King of England insisted upon keeping it. Even if he were Solomon, he said, he could not ask them to divide Boulogne, as Solomon had decided in the case of the disputed child.
As one of the (French) Ambassadors is shortly going back to the King, and the Emperor is now informed of Paget's message with regard to the opening of peace negociations, his Majesty thinks that the best course will be to take up the negotiations where they were discontinued. The French had replied to the King's note, but no answer had yet been given by the King of England to their representations. (fn. 7) Secretary Paget might therefore give some response to the French reply, somewhat moderating the King's original note.
As the King of France insists so positively in recovering Boulogne, and the King of England will not give it up, his Majesty had an idea that perhaps a truce might be arranged, in order to gain time for considering some means for settling about Boulogne.
Secretary Paget replied, that he had no instructions to write anything, or to moderate the King's note; but the King was willing, on condition of his keeping Boulogne, that his Majesty should see whether he could moderate the terms of the note, and the King would adhere to what the Emperor considered reasonable. He (Paget) had also no authority with regard to a truce, but in his private capacity, he might say that if his Majesty could induce the French to consent to a truce, he was of opinion that his master the King would accept it; and on his (Paget's) return he would use his influence in that direction.
On the 21st March, the next day, the President (of the Council) and M. D'eick visited the French ambassadors, and informed them that his Majesty, having thought over the conversation that he had had with them about England at their last audience, was of opinion that, in order to put an end to the war and bring about a general peace, it might be advisable to arrange a truce to gain time, during which some means might be devised for settling the question of Boulogne, one way or the other. His Majesty feared that the King (of France) might consider it hard to grant a truce which might be utilised by the English for fortifying Boulogne; but nevertheless the Emperor is so desirous of attaining a general peace, that he had authorised us (i.e., the President of the Council and M. D'eick) to tell them (the French ambassadors) the reasons why in his opinion the King of France ought to be moved to agree to the truce.
In the first place, he should consider the welfare of Christendom at large, which generally suffers from this war, and that the common enemy is greatly encouraged to invade Christendom by the war. If a truce were agreed upon it might be hoped that God would find means to attain to a good peace, and to prevent the further shedding of Christian blood.
Secondly, they (the French) should ask themselves if affairs are now propitious for besieging Boulogne, and capturing it by force, considering the lack of victuals in the neighbourhood, and that the place is very strongly fortified and amply supplied with everything necessary. And again, whether the English who hold it, are not likely to stand out obstinately to the death rather than give it up; and if, in short, there is not a very small chance of the French being able to capture it by arms.
To make an attack upon England itself in order to drive the King to surrender Boulogne is fine to talk about, but the result would be very uncertain. The English would take measures to guard their country; and unless the French army occupied the whole realm it would return weaker than it went, and the King of England would become more obstinate than before. There are other hazards and perils which an army may expect, and especially a sea force, which is more exposed to accidents than is a land army.
The English, moreover, are bringing great pressure to bear upon his Majesty to help them, in accordance with the treaty, in case the King of France invades the realm or the territories included in the terms of the treaty. It will be difficult' for the Emperor to avoid doing this, without breaking the treaty, which he does not wish to do, but desires to keep his promise to all parties.
It will be wise also, to bear in mind the condition of the two monarchs (i.e., of France and England); the King of France being a man of strong constitution, who may live long; and when it shall please God to take him no change will occur in the State, as the Dauphin is a man capable of ruling. It is, however, quite otherwise with the King of England, who is a prince of short life, and on his death the realm will descend to a child. For many reasons the King of France may then obtain Boulogne cheaply.
In addition to this, it is reported that Ardres is in great danger from famine and pestilence, and the place may be saved by a truce. This is a very important point for the future recovery of Boulogne.
Notwithstanding all this, the Emperor has no desire to interfere in the matter beyond what may be agreeable to the King (of France); and his only motive is his anxiety to obtain a general peace.
The (French) ambassadors extolled the Emperor's kindness, but said they had no instructions on the matter. They would, however, willingly communicate to the King what had been said, and would do their best to forward such an arrangement as that suggested. On the 22nd the President of the Council and M. D'eick saw the English ambassadors, and informed them that the Emperor had considered the documents for the release of the seizures, which they had handed in; and as the period to be covered by the agreement is different from that mentioned in the draft delivered to them (i.e., the English), the Emperor wishes to know how they propose to deal with the seizures effected before the period mentioned. They replied that it was not proposed to release such seizures, but to refer them for decision to the joint arbitration of representatives of the two monarchs.
It was also pointed out to them that their document undertook to release the ships fitted out in Zeeland for the conveyance of the Spanish infantry, with all the property on board of such ships; but nothing whatever was said about the soldiers, who would also have to be sent on. They replied that they did not think the Emperor would insist upon this, seeing that the ships were already released and despatched, and only about 400 soldiers had remained. Surely his Majesty would not refuse their master so small a thing as this. Besides, a portion of the troops had been sent across the Channel, and having deserted the (English) service were killed in France. (fn. 8) The imperial commissioners would not give way on this point, but insisted that the soldiers should be included in the agreement. The ambassadors refused to agree to it, and said that it would be better to leave out the whole clause, as the ships had already sailed.
They were next reminded that they had omitted from their document the general clause for obviating difficulties for the future, the imperial commissioners insisting that this clause must be reinserted. This the ambassadors refused, saying that the King would not consent formally to the Netherlander carrying on communications with France; although Paget agreed that the King would connive at it. This we were willing to agree to on our side, by means of a general clause providing that his Majesty's subjects should be at liberty to frequent the sea without molestation; no special mention being made of France. Paget's assurance for the King was therefore accepted on condition of the article being worded generally to avoid prejudice as follows: “In order to preserve and increase the amity which has always existed between the two princes, their respective subjects meeting each other at sea shall behave as good friends are bound to do.” This the ambassadors refused, insisting that the free navigation of the sea by the Emperor's subjects should depend upon Paget's word, which, however, he was willing to pledge in the presence of his Majesty and the Council.
They were then told that they had added to the clause prohibiting the conveyance of victuals and munitions of war to France “ or any other thing serving for equipment.” This was so general that the clause would make it impossible for anything to be conveyed to France without risk of seizure. It was already forbidden on this side to export victuals and munitions, and it was understood that this clause of the agreement must cover the same articles as are comprised in his Majesty's prohibition here. It will therefore be advisable that an understanding should be arrived as to the merchandise to be included in the prohibition. They (the English) consented to this without much difficulty.
Finally, with regard to the joint arbitration, they stood out for 1st May as the date, and Calais as the place of meeting; but after they had heard the objections against the fitness of Calais, they consented to the meeting taking place at Gravelines, Dunkirk, Bergen, St. Omer or Bourbourg, the choice being left to them.
March. Vienna Imp. Arch. 32. Original Draft of the English Amendment of the Proposed Agreement between England and the Emperor, referred to in the preceding memorandum, with the marginal notes added during the conference between the Imperial Commissioners and the English Ambassadors. (fn. 9)
Whereas arrest have been made both (fn. 10) in the realm of England and the Emperor's Netherlands, of ships, goods and merchandise of the subjects of both monarchs: and in order to avoid the injury which may result therefrom; and further in order that the subjects on both sides may hereafter be favourably treated as they were for so many years previously, the commissioners of the Emperor and the ambassadors of the King of England, France, etc., have agreed as follows:—
1. The two monarchs will immediately raise all arrests made by them or their officers of the persons, property, goods and merchandise, belonging to the subjects on both sides, since (fn. 11) the entry of the two princes and their armies into France. The release shall be full, free and in good faith, without fraud or innovation on either side; and in the case of any of the property having been sold, and being impossible of restitution, the owners shall be recompensed for the value of their property at a reasonable appraisement. It is understood that if the King or his officers claim that any of the goods are the property of Frenchmen, and consequently fair capture, the two monarchs will appoint commissioners to enquire and decide according to right and justice.
To this end the commissioners shall have full power to examine and take cognisance of (fn. 12) all other complaints of subjects on either side, and to adjudicate upon the same, according to justice. The two monarchs mutually agree, and the said commissioners and ambassadors now agree on their behalf, to carry out and fulfil the decisions at which the said (arbitration) commissioners arrive.
The commissioners shall meet (on the 1st May next at Calais and Gravelines, or at Gravelines and Marcke, as they may agree). (fn. 13) The King will agree that the ships fitted out in Zeeland to convey certain Spanish soldiers to Spain shall be free to depart at their pleasure with the goods and merchandise found on board of them, without loss to his Majesty.
It is agreed that the Emperor's subjects shall not convey to France or to any enemies of the King any victuals, munitions of war or other equipments. (fn. 14)
For the preservation and increase of the amity which has always existed between the two monarchs, their respective subjects meeting at sea shall behave towards each other as good friends and allies are bound to do.
It is understood that nothing in this agreement shall be interpreted as a derogation of the already existing treaty between the two monarchs.
The above clauses having been agreed upon by us, the commissioners and ambassadors on behalf of the two sovereigns promise that they shall be duly observed and respected. Brussels, 6th April, 1545. (fn. 15)


  • 1. That is to say the small Spanish contingent that had entered Henry's service for the French war.
  • 2. This was unquestionably true (See Vol. VII. of this Calendar) although the documents do not appear to have been actually signed until a day or two after Arras met the Emperor.
  • 3. That is to say the clause in the treaty of peace which reserved in vigour the treaty of alliance between England and the Emperor.
  • 4. That is to say in the English property under embargo in Flanders.
  • 5. Louis de Flandre Sieur de Praet, one of the Emperor's Council, Governor of Sluys.
  • 6. This refers to the suggestion thrown out by the Emperor's representatives in response to Paget's hints (see the Queen Regent's letter of 8th March, p. 47) that the Emperor might mediate between England and France. It will be recollected that Paget had referred to London about this; and had sent thither the unofficial draft agreement for mutual restoration of property seized and arbitration of disputed claims.
  • 7. This refers to the negotiations of the previous year at Calais and Boulogne.
  • 8. The story of the desertion of Captain Juan de Haro and two other captains with their companies of Spaniards to the French will be found fully related in the Spanish Chronicle of Henry VIII. Haro himself and 25 of his men were killed by the English, who pursued him; but when the other deserting Spaniards met their countrymen in the English service during the truce which preceded the peace between England and France, they were so stung by the reproaches addressed to them for having deserted, that a duel was fought by captains on both sides. The English champion on the occasion was the afterwards famous Julian Romero. Colonel Gamboa's account of the desertion of the Spanish companies will be found in a letter addressed by him to the King (14th April, 1545) in the Hatfield Papers, part 1. Hist. MSS. Com.
  • 9. Marginal note in original “Since these articles were written the marginal additions have been made.”
  • 10. The following addition is written in the margin “in the realms of Spain and other territories of the Emperor, and in the realms and countries under the dominion of tho King of England.” The probable main object of this addition was to secure precedence for mentioning the Emperor's dominions, which, it will be noted in the English draft, were Placed after those of the King of England.
  • 11. Marginal alteration in the original “Since the 20th June last.”
  • 12. Marginal addition in original “the complaints and claims of the merchants of Burgos in Spain who say that certain ships of theirs were seized in England and.”
  • 13. The words in brackets are written in another hand, the draft having evidently come from England with this clause in blank, in order that Paget might settle the time and place of meeting.
  • 14. Marginal addition in original, “except such as may be necessary without fraud for the purposes of their own ships.”
  • 15. This agreement copied fair, and signed by Schore (the President of the Council), Cornelius Scepperus, Bave, William Paget and Nicholas Wotton is also in the Imperial Archives.