Spain
July 1551, 1-15

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Institute of Historical Research

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Royall Tyler (editor)

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1914

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318-330

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'Spain: July 1551, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 10: 1550-1552 (1914), pp. 318-330. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88429 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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July 1551, 1–15

1551. July 3. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30.Simon Renard to the Emperor
(Extract.)
Sire: On my arrival at Nantes I did my best to find out the object of the fitting out of an army by the King of France. I was told that the King had been warned that your Majesty was collecting and getting ready a large army to invade France, and that if possible, he wished to forestall you and carry the war out of his own territory. The King found it difficult to send aid to Parma in money and men without running risks himself; and so bethought him that the wisest way of dealing with the difficulty would be to cause the withdrawal of a certain proportion of your Majesty's forces from that quarter by his own warlike preparations. He is resolved to make three camps; one in Piedmont, the other in Navarre in the name of M. d'Albret, and the third in Champagne. He has been held back so far from open rupture because he had no sure news of the Turk's fleet, as he now has; and he is still waiting for a reply from the Swiss and for the issue of the negotiation entrusted to M. d'Andelot, who has gone thither. He is most especially eager to hear what results the Marshal de St. André, who has left for England and will only arrive there on Sunday next, will be able to achieve.
The English (envoys) have been summoned here to Nantes, and all negotiations with them are suspended until some information on the success of the said Marshal de St. Andre's undertaking arrives from England. They hope to achieve at least a defensive league against your Majesty between the two kingdoms, if an offensive one cannot be brought about. I know that the English have already offered a defensive league, for the reasons I wrote to your Majesty recently. They are already discussing the extent to which the assistance will be limited, namely, ten thousand English troops on land, and a certain number of ships at sea. The King is about to publish that he is not the aggressor, but will have to defend himself, and is therefore, making ready, the Pope and your Majesty having made the first move with an attempt to win over his confederates and allies. Meantime the King is marking time; and lie will renew his efforts when he receives information on the points mentioned above. . . .
Six Englishmen left recently for Piedmont in the King's service.
Nantes. 3 July, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
July 6. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19.Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: Since writing my last letters to your Majesty, on June 11th, I have not failed to send my man to the Council to obtain a reply to what I had laid before them at our last meeting. Twice they told me that they had as yet come to no decision because of the absence of several lords; but they would do so at the first opportunity. Soon after I had sent for the third time, they sent me their secretary Sellinger, who told me that the lords had now deliberated on the matter, and the delay had been caused by the absence of some of them and great press of business. They now requested me to come to see them on Sunday, June 26th, when they would give me a definite answer. I replied that, as it was my Lords' pleasure, I would wait upon them that day; but I had been led by their assurances at our last meeting to expect a speedier answer, enabling me to do my duty in obedience to your Majesty's commands. I believe, Madam, that the delay was caused by my Lord of Warwick's absence; for he only ceased his treatment a few days ago.
On the appointed day I went to the Council. To begin with they thanked your Majesty for the affection you had shown for their master's subjects; but they wished to explain to me that they had inspected a certain treaty made between the late King Philip, Duke of Austria, and Henry VII, King of England, in which it was stated that English subjects should be allowed to export scrap-metal out of the Emperor's dominions freely and without let, wherefore there had been no reason for confiscating the scrap-metal. Moreover, it was expressly stipulated in the same treaty that English subjects should not be obliged to pay dues heavier than those that had been levied for fifty years before the treaty was passed. However, it was now attempted to oblige the subjects to pay heavier dues, which was a direct contravention of that treaty, and of other more recent ones.
I took up these points, and replied that your Majesty had shown great favour to English subjects in only confiscating certain scrap-metal and money which they had tried to export in defiance of the Emperor's placards. Beyond that, you had remitted several heavy fines incurred by English subjects for having attempted to defraud the customs and prince's dues. As for the treaty, I had no charge from your Majesty to enter into argument about it, but did not mind telling them that if the treaty were to be looked into it might not be found to be so favourable to them. If they wished to maintain that the metal ought not to be confiscated, bringing forward the provisions of the treaty, their subjects or ambassador ought to have maintained it before your Majesty, as I supposed they had done. Nevertheless the Council, after mature deliberation, had decided that all was confiscated, as their ambassador had informed them in detail, not forgetting the gratification. Concerning the last point, I told them I found it hard to believe that the dues had been increased in Flanders, or that others had been levied beyond those that had been exacted fifty years before the treaty referred to was passed. I added that the question was not how high the dues were, but that the English subjects had paid nothing at all, and, what was worse, had tried to defraud the customs, by declaring base instead of rich goods. The dues were very small, which made their action inexcusable and most unfortunate; but even if they wished to maintain that they had been increased, which I did not believe, and could assure them was not the case, their subjects' behaviour was none the more lawful; for they should have lodged a complaint, and proceeded in a different manner.
They insisted once more that it was lawful for their subjects to take scrap-metal out of the Emperor's countries; but they did not know if their subjects had committed any fraud or tried to withhold the prince's dues, for had they done so it was quite right that they should be punished, though that had nothing to do with the King, their master. And they went no further, as if giving it to be understood that no gratification had been made to the King, and that the metal alone was concerned. I replied, Madam, much as above, adding that, if their ambassador or subjects had omitted to refer to the treaties, they might still do so as often as they liked. I was sure that your Majesty would give them satisfaction; and I put in that the gratification made by your Majesty to their subjects had been intended as a compliment to the King. At this they said they would always thank your Majesty for your kindness, and for any gratification made by you to their subjects.
All this passed, Madam, without their making any allusion to the very point about which they were to have replied to me; for what goes before had already been said at our last meeting. Therefore I requested them to tell me, as they had promised when we last parted, whether in future they intended to have lawful merchandise confiscated with contraband, which seemed to your Majesty most hard and iniquitous, as I had told them the other day, and calculated to inflict grave damage on the subjects of both Princes. They answered that they had never caused that law to be enforced, especially in the case of the Emperor's subjects; and in this they persisted. I remarked that their own placards of September 24th last expressly stated that the presence of contraband should cause licit goods to be confiscated, and that even the ship in which it was found was to be forfeit. Moreover, their ambassador had maintained the same before your Majesty, and they themselves to me when I had tried to obtain restitution of a certain quantity of canvas and sugar belonging to some merchants of Bruges, and taken during the last war with France; on which occasion they had raised the objection that contraband caused all the rest to be confiscated. They confessed that they had maintained, and did still maintain, that the said sugar, canvas and all goods found on board a ship belonging to the enemy ought to be confiscated; but that was a different case, and had nothing in common with the one under discussion. As for the placard, they said they could not believe it to have been couched as I said; but even if it had been, they begged me to believe that they had never put such provisions into force, nor intended to do so now, especially where the Emperor s subjects were concerned. I replied that on other occasions they had confiscated licit goods with contraband in the case of transport, and that enemies' goods were always contraband, so I would request them once more to say whether they intended to apply that law or not. They told me that, as the said law or rather statute was a very ancient one, they were obliged to observe it, namely, in time of war; but the King their master could suspend its operation whenever he thought fit.
After that, I reminded them of the case of merchants, subjects of the Emperor and not resident or having a fixed domicile in this country, from whom the English collectors were attempting to extort a certain subsidy or new imposition. Notwithstanding the decision they had come to at our last meeting, and the promises they had given me, officers and collectors were still molesting the said subjects, which seemed strange, and at variance with the assurances I had received. I repeated the reasons for which these subjects ought to be exempt from subsidies, and demonstrated that the treatment shown them was contrary to the spirit of the treaty and Commercial Convention, a new departure, and most unlike the favour lavished upon English subjects in Flanders. At first they tried to argue that the merchants ought to be held to have a fixed abode here, but finally assured me that they should be exempt from the subsidy, and troubled no longer.
At the same meeting, Madam, I exposed to them that the merchants and subjects of the Emperor had again complained that it was attempted to force them to become constables, not in order that they should exercise the office, but that they should be obliged to pay six or seven pounds sterling a year to an Englishman to fill it, which was also a heavy charge and an innovation. When some of the merchants had resisted, they had been arrested and imprisoned; and such conduct was most contrary to treaties, conventions, neighbourly relations, and the decisions of the Bourbourg conference. What was worse, the Mayor had said that he was going to make it henceforth impossible for the Emperor's subjects to have any rooms or storehouses on the quays. They were apparently dissatisfied, Madam, with the Mayor's remarks, but replied to me that, as the Emperor's subjects could not act as constables themselves, it was reasonable that they should make some contribution. However, they assured me that they would take the necessary steps to prevent his Majesty's subjects from being troubled about that office; and that they should be allowed to live in and possess their stores on the quays as they had always been accustomed to do.
Finally, Madam, in obedience to your orders, I told them that one Josse Adriaensz, a sailor of Bergen, had been imprisoned in this city at the request of an Englishman called Richard Sanders, on account of a certain lawsuit or appeal which was pending before the Great Council at Malines. The suit had been originated by a certain prize taken from the Scots, as Josse maintained, lawfully; though Richard said the opposite. Josse, being here in London with his ship, was arrested, on Richard's denunciation, for having been present when the prize was taken. I now requested them, in consideration of the fact that the suit and appeal were pending, to have Josse released from prison, and make the other man pay costs and damages. They answered that if Josse could produce proofs they would have him released, and would send the matter before the Admiralty Court. And this, Madam, was the end of our negotiation.
Three days ago, the Council sent their secretary to tell me, by their orders, that they had heard that ten or twelve of the Emperor's warships were off the dunes (sic) near Dover, causing great terror among the peasants. This seemed very strange, for the sea had now been swept of pirates; and they consequently wanted to know what the ships were doing there. I told them that I knew nothing about the ships. It was true I had heard that five or six were being outfitted in Zeeland to protect the fishing-fleet against pirates, as had also been done last year; and it might be that these ships were now at sea, and not always in the same place. Though the sea was said to be free of pirates, I had heard the contrary; and the fishermen were anxious to be protected. Moreover, I had spoken with people who had just come from Dover, and who had said nothing about any ships; but there might be some French vessels waiting about to escort the French ambassadors and gentlemen. Then I inquired whether these ships had shown any inclination to board passing vessels; and the secretary said he had heard nothing about it so far. I told him that, if they had his Imperial Majesty's subjects on board, they would be very careful not to exceed their orders; for it would greatly displease your Majesty, who was full of zeal for the perfect amity existing between the two countries, if any other course were to be adopted. Nevertheless, I would inform your Majesty of the matter.
Madam, there is a rumour here that the said ships are waiting to fall upon the French ambassador and lords who are going to cross to England; and the English are consequently fitting out ten or twelve of their best ships to serve as escort.
Duplicate. Cipher. French.
July 6. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19.Advices sent by Jehan Scheyfve.
For the last few days all money-exchange has been forbidden here, unless it be by special leave of the King and Council. The merchants are greatly inconvenienced by this, and are unable to find out why it has been done. Some say that the Council have suppressed the exchange in order to make their money look better, as the exchange is a touch-stone, and they fear their money may sink in value from one day to the next, especially as they are now coining some that is of about half the proper value. This they wish to hide, and make the commons believe that fluctuation in the currency is caused by the exchange practised by foreigners, which also brings about the high prices now prevalent. Others believe that the King is deep in debt, and has some large payments to make at the present moment. Certain persons hold the opinion that all this is a manoeuvre to put the exchange into the hands of some Englishmen, who would make a great profit out of the licence, would keep up the reputation of the English currency, and get to know all the foreign merchants' private business. The result would be an equivalent to gradual banishment for foreign merchants, especially as they are already forbidden to export almost all kinds of merchandise by former ordinances. The merchants were accustomed to exchange the money that came to them from the sale of their goods; but now that this is forbidden, commerce and traffic must cease. In order to keep the matter quiet, and to make it appear to be no innovation, they are simply invoking placards issued in the days of Richard II and Henry VII. The said ordinance is being strictly enforced, and the penalties, which include fines and corporal punishment, are applied.
We hear that, a few days ago, the King of England condemned a great quantity of his old and rich plate, amounting to 400 pounds' weight of silver, and 100 of gold, which has already been melted down. It is thought that it has been done in order to supply money for the French ambassadors' entertainment and gifts; for there is lack of metal and coin, though they are trying to import a great quantity from abroad.
They say the Germans are working in the Irish mines; but it seems the mines are so poor, and yield so little, that the output does not cover expenses, though the King and his Council are being fed with rich hopes. It is said that the Irish savages have killed several of the Germans' guard.
The Lords Derby and Shrewsbury, soon after they arrived in London accompanied by many members of the nobility, went to Court to salute the King's Majesty, who received them kindly, as did also the councillors, lavishing caresses upon them; in spite of which some people are still in doubt as to what the end may be. The two lords go daily to court; and Shrewsbury usually joins the other lords at the Council-board, as he was formerly accustomed to do. They are both very popular with the commons and with many nobles, especially in the country; because they are of old family and of the old religion, and full of zeal for the public good.
The new Venetian ambassador has also been presented at Court, and has made his reverence to the King. He was very honourably received; and when he had finished his address the King asked him for foreign news, and particularly from Italy.
Dr. Cruser, (fn. 1) ambassador from the Duke of Cleves, departed a few days ago. After several petitions to the English Council about the allowance and household of my Lady (Anne), the Duke's sister, the councillors came to an agreement, as the ambassador himself told me. According to his account, they have behaved reasonably enough; and it seems the Archbishop of Canterbury shewed the said lady favour.
Rumour has it here that the Englishmen in France have been committing great excesses about images and saints and other matters, with the result that they have been mobbed, and some of them executed. Though they are not best pleased about this adventure here, they try to pass it off as well as they may, saying that the amity between the two nations will not suffer, and that in the end the French will come over to their new religion.
The commissioners sent to Scotland have returned; and the English are having it said that they came to an agreement with the Scots on all points; though, as far as we are able to discover, it seems that they only agreed on certain boundary disputes affecting the Lowlands, which have now been settled and finished. M. de Lansac has arrived in London. The French ambassadors and lords are now said to be at Dieppe; and the English are sending out twelve well-manned warships to escort them. Great preparations are being made here for the said lords' reception. It is repeated that the King of France has sent his ambassadors merely to return the visit and invest the King of England with the order of St. Michael; but we know the contrary, and that they are going to treat of weighty matters. It seems that there is a great company coming, and lawyers to negotiate; though others say that the French and English have already concluded their agreement, and that all that remains is to confirm it. There are people who believe that no agreement has yet been arrived at, and that the English are insisting on taking possession of the person of the daughter of France, to which the King will not consent unless the English will enter into an offensive, or at least a defensive, alliance, and repudiate their treaties and alliance with his Imperial Majesty, and also restore religion to the late King's settlement. His object in demanding so much is to get rid of the proposal, or to lead the English very far in his direction, and to be able to excuse himself later to the Emperor and other Christian princes. The gravity of an offensive alliance makes it unlikely that the English will agree, for their desire is to push the Emperor and King of France into a war, which would allow them to live according to their whim, and make some profit, as they have done before. But the French are too sharp for them, and are studying to draw them away from the House of Austria and Burgundy for their own ends, and to the advantage of several other princes and potentates. Even if the Council were inclined to abandon the new religion and let themselves be guided by the late King's will, many people think they would never really do it for their reputations' sake, for had they been willing to go so far, they would have had plenty of means of remedying their fortunes; and perhaps the King of France might have reasons for not desiring it either. However, the English put all their trust in the French, and they will probably end by agreeing, as they both fear the Imperial grandeur, and the English are hostile to the Emperor because of religion and other matters. The English do not want to fight, and they have been sorely afraid that they would have to do so, either in Scotland or with the French. A good many Englishmen say in secret that the French alliance will not last, because the two countries are too old enemies, and the Frenchmen will play them some trick yet, which will be the utter ruin of England. They also lament the diversity of sects, poor government and lack of justice, tyranny, robbery, pillage, debased currency, poverty, and high prices of everything, and, above all, the youth of the Prince and the hatred generally felt for his Council. They fear there is no hope of betterment, and conclude that God wishes to punish them. This they put down to the change of religion; and they hope that the old faith may one day return, for several of the nobility and almost all the peasantry are devoted to it.
It is believed that the King of France is planning to seize Calais and the rest of the English possessions abroad. Some persons about the King of England are trying to persuade him that it would be in his interest to make terms for Calais, as the place is not profitable to him. There are more rumours about a project to marry the Lady Elizabeth, sister to the King, to M. d'Aumale, brother to M. de Guise; though other people still speak of the King of Denmark's eldest son, who was to marry the Lady Margaret, the King of France's sister, and some still believe it may come to pass. There is also talk about marrying the Duke of Suffolk to M. de Vendôme's sister.
The English are sure that war has broken out in Italy between the Holy Father and Duke Octavio (Farnese) about Parma, and that his Majesty is favouring the Holy Father, though covertly, whilst the King of France is supporting Duke Octavio. The English are full of glee at a report that the Turk is coming down with 200 sail; for they hope this may give his Holiness much trouble, and prevent the General Council from continuing, especially as the King of France shows hostility to the Council, having, it is believed, an understanding with the English on the subject.
They say that a proclamation has been issued in France, that the English may frequent that country with as much freedom as that enjoyed by Frenchmen here; and some say its object is to show the Englishmen the way to France. French merchants are now very favourably received here, and enjoy treatment that is exactly the opposite to what his Majesty's subjects have to put up with.
Lord Warwick has been under medical care for some days past, though he has now ceased it. His authority increases daily, while the Duke of Somerset's diminishes. Nothing of importance is done without Warwick's advice; and while he kept his room, the Council went to him several times.
It is said that his Majesty's subjects have had their ships arrested in France; and the English are delighted. Some people relate that all ships without exception, in Dieppe and Rouen harbours, were arrested for the use of the ambassadors and lords who were on their way to England.
Some gentlemen from the King of Velez in Morocco are here to greet the King. They say they have letters from his Imperial Majesty, and have only come to view the realm of England.
It has been published here that money is to be current from now on as if the month of August had already expired: that is, the testoon of nine pence, and the stooter of three.
Duplicate. Cipher. French.
July 6 Vienna, Imp. Arch.E. 19Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: After writing my foregoing letters, I learned that the French ambassadors and lords had arrived in England, but had landed at Rye, it was said in order not to come across his Imperial Majesty's ships, about which the English are talking a great deal. Ten or twelve of the best English ships had been manned to serve as escort for the French lords, and are still in the Thames; but it is said they are soon to put out to sea to keep an eye on his Majesty's ships. The ambassadors and lords will enter this city (London) to-day or to-morrow. Several lords and gentlemen have gone to meet and welcome them; first among these is Lord Warwick, who seems anxious to make a display of his singular affection for the French, as he has been the chief instrument of this alliance. Great preparations have been made for giving them a magnificent reception; and it seems that a thousand diversions are to take place. The King has left Greenwich for Westminster, where he is to receive the Frenchmen.
These are the names of the French lords and gentlemen who are come to England:—
M. de St. André, Marshal of France.
M. de Gyé, Knight of the Order.
The Bishop of Périgueux (de la Salle).
M. de Boisdauphin, new ambassador to reside in England.
M. de Morvillers, the King's Master of Requests.
M. Bordin, the King's financial secretary.
M. le Comte de la Rochefoucauld.
M. de Jarnac, captain of fifty men-at-arms.
M. de Barbezieux.
M. le Comte de Montgomery.
M. le Comte de Créance.
M. le Vicomte de Rabat.
M. de Sauveterre, Equerry to the King.
M. de St. Luc, Equerry to the King.
M. de Vaux, Equerry to the King.
M. de la Roy, Deschaussonnier to the King.
Le Jeune Broch, Deschaussonnier to the King.
M. d' Arpentie, Panettier to the King.
The son of the Comte de Lud, Panettier to the King.
M. de Vauguyon.
M. de la Chapelle des Ursins.
M. d'Ascon, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. d'Orande, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. de Vieilleville, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. de Clervaux, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. de Biron, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. de Genlis, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. de Brocas, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. de Montebas, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. de Gaille, Gentleman of the King's Chamber.
M. d'Alegre.
M. de Ravel.
M. de Rufe, and his brother.
M. de Cantelour.
M. de Crusel.
M. de Caumont.
M. de Chamiroux.
M. de Baslemont.
M. de Montlosier.
M. de Chafferon, and his brother.
M. de Zogre.
M. de Faulton.
M. de Clermont de Lantdeyne. Duplicate. French.
July 9. Simancas, E. 646.The Emperor to the Queen of Bohemia.
(Extract.)
Montepulciano has arrived here from his Holiness, to beg us most pressingly to lend him a certain sum of money with which to keep the troops he has raised. He is in such straits that he is quite unable to find money in Italy, though he has offered to pawn the rents of the Church, and has sought the help of the Duke of Florence and others. We have taken into consideration the present state of affairs, and their gravity, and that we are obliged to try our best to please his Holiness, who shows us such affection. We desire to enable him to keep up his troops, for it would be a greater misfortune than tongue could say were they to be disbanded, especially as the state of Castro has just been taken, and things appear to be shaping well at Parma. We are so involved in this undertaking that we could not abandon it without great loss of reputation; so in order to avoid all these disasters, and others that you may imagine, we have ordered 50,000 ducats in gold to be provided here, and paid to Montepulciano in cash, that he may be able to take the money with him. With this the troops may be kept for forty-five days at least; and in the meantime we will devise other means of raising on exchange a further sum of 100,000 ducats, which we have also decided to lend to his Holiness. The silver from Peru, now at Seville, must supply it, as we have written in three letters of the same tenor to the Prince, our son, that he may have it handed over to Raphael Arcioli (fn. 2) , a Florentine merchant, or to Rodrigo de Dueñas, or their substitutes who shall be able to show a special power from his Holiness or Archbishop Montepulciano, his treasurer-general, to whom this affair has been entrusted by his Beatitude. . . .
Augsburg, 9 July, 1551.
Deciphermen. Spanish.
July 10. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30.Simon Renard to the Emperor
(Extract.)
Sire: . . . The King has despatched orders to Marshal de St. André to return as soon as he can, travelling by the post, and to leave his retinue to follow. It is supposed that the object may be to declare war immediately after his arrival, or to carry on the negotiation with the English here, and so deceive them if possible. The English have had all the former treaties and documents brought over so as to settle the outstanding points between them and arrange their differences by means of a marriage with the Princess of Franco. It is believed that they will never give up Calais nor any of their possessions in France.
As soon as news from the Marshal arrive, the alliance and league will be concluded. I am doing my best to hear what takes place and if there is any possibility of securing a copy of the treaty they are about to make. Dr. Smith and Dr. Skinner (fn. 3) are here with the Marquis of Northampton, Mason, the Bishop of Ely, Ambassadors Pickering and Hoby, to discuss and take counsel among themselves on any difficulty that might arise.
I understand that the Constable has an understanding with the governors of England and some of the principal men there, as he had during the last war.
There is great scarcity in England and a very strange kind of disease has appeared there. M. de Marillac's cousin has been carefully examined as to what is said at your Majesty's court about the alliance.
The King has damaged his reputation by leaving the Irish in the lurch. . . .
Nantes, 10 July, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
July 11–13 Vienna, Imp. Arch F. 30Simon Renard to the Emperor. (fn. 4)
(Extract.)
Sire: . . . Ambassador Mason, together with Hoby and Pickering, who is to remain here as ambassador ordinary for the King of England, came to visit me during the last few days, for three reasons, as they declared to me. The first was to recommend the said Pickering to me and present him as new ambassador, as it is the custom to do. The second, because Hoby wished to see me and express his devotion as the very humble servant of your Majesty, confess his obligation to you for the honour, favour and courtesy he received from you at your Court, for the kindness your Majesty had shown him; and offer his services to your Majesty and any of your ministers wherever he might be, thus confessing openly the duty he owed your Majesty.
The third reason of their visit was to tell me that the mission of the Marquis of Northampton and his company was being publicly proclaimed to have as its object to prejudice the friendship between your Majesty and the kingdom of England. It was being said, too, that the alliance was being advocated as a means of bringing England nearer to France, and that England meant to forego and neglect the friendship your Majesty had shown her by your inviolate observance of the treaties of peace. They declared that the warm welcome given them by the French made them clearly understand that France wished them to grant her some advantage at a season which announced itself as troublous and full of menacing clouds. But they assured me that they were not blinded, nor were their eyes so dazzled that they could not see the disposition of affairs in France, or know the temper of the French, and the aims they had in view. They (the English) understood their speeches, fathomed their inclinations towards England, and understood how greatly it mattered that their own friendship with your Majesty should endure. They would not fall into so great an error as to forego it. More particularly, they said that nothing had as yet been resolved or treated because the French had given them no reason to place any confidence or reliance in their words. The French had certainly proposed and pressed several conditions and means which would tend to make sure of their sympathy and material support. But no alliance should be concluded, no treaty drawn up, which might be said to prejudice the friendship, understanding and treaties between them and your Majesty. They assured me that they would keep me informed of the progress of events, so that I might not be deceived by what might be falsely represented or declared to me to the contrary.
After the usual compliments and courtesies, I replied to the three points mentioned by them in due order. As to Mr. Pickering, while I held this post, I would consider myself bound to him in all consideration and good-will, as the friendship between your Majesty and the King of England made it my duty that I should. I would endeavour to gratify him to the extent of my power and thus fulfil your Majesty's wishes, and the obligations recognised by ambassadors towards one another in foreign countries.
I said I felt assured that your Majesty would hear with pleasure the good remembrance of your Majesty entertained by Hoby, and the devotion and good-will he professed, and I added other courteous and civil words such as I deemed suitable to increase his affection if it was real at all. I met fair speech with fair speech; and I say this particularly because the face and drawling tone of the said Hoby made me suspect that he might be the man to think one thing and say another.
I answered to the third point, that your Majesty was not a prince of small experience or so easily influenced as to believe any rumour that might be spread concerning the communications of their commissioners. Your Majesty would abide by the results and the truth. They were wise and competent enough, I said, to manage their own affairs. I heard something fresh every day, both concerning the marriage, and a league and confederation against your Majesty. I could not see that they had been given any reason on your Majesty's side for entering into any such confederation; and I felt confident that they would weigh both assertions. Ambassador Mason and Hoby both swore on their honour that they would do nothing to cause prejudice to their treaties with your Majesty, and said they believed the friendship with you to be stronger and safer than any they might be discussing now. They spoke of Parma, and that the French were founding their enterprises partly on the likely advance of the Turk, and partly on their belief that Germany was sick of the Interim, not that it was being set aside, but because in all negotiations, capitulations and agreements it was being continually mentioned. . . .
Nantes, 11–13 July, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.

Footnotes

1 Elsewhere Cruysser, or Croeser.
2 Possibly a mistake for Acciaiuoli.
3 There is no mention of a Dr. Skinner in the lists of Northampton's following.
4 The following transcript is dated July 11th. The second part of the letter was written on July 13.