|March 20. Brussels, E.A. 490.||Guillaume de Poitiers to the Queen Dowager.|
|Madam: My last letters were to inform your Majesty that nothing had been done up to the 19th of this month, because we had to inform his Imperial Majesty of certain difficulties before proceeding, and so little time was left after his reply came that it was impossible to deal with the sacrament of marriage. Apart from this, the Legate did not wish to upset the established order and define the sacrament of marriage before the sacrifice of the mass and the sacrament of orders, without first informing the Pope and receiving his instructions. Consequently nothing whatever was done at the last session, held yesterday, March 19th,
beyond fixing the next session for May 1st, on which date the matters left over from the last session are to be determined.|
|The learned men from the Duke of Württemberg and the city of Strassburg arrived here on the 17th instant. As yet we know nothing of the attitude they intend to adopt. May God inspire them with His grace, and grant your Majesty prosperity and a long life!|
|Trent, 20 March, 1552.|
|March 23. Brussels, L.A. 50.||The Queen Dowager to the Echevins of Antwerp.|
|We have been informed that certain Englishmen have freighted a ship for Spain, and are making trouble about paying the 2 per cent. which we have commanded to be levied on all goods sent to Spain, in order to provide for the outfitting of convoys to protect shipping. These Englishmen invoke the Commercial Convention, and say they have no need of ships to protect them. We do not consider their excuses valid, because the 2 per cent. is not taken to the Emperor's profit, but to render merchants and their goods safe. It would be impossible to exempt some merchants without harming all the others, who would have serious cause for dissatisfaction if one nation were to be let off. We therefore order you to persuade the English Court-Master and other persons, as need shall arise, to put up with the impositions as the other merchants do. Tell them that their doing so shall not hurt their Convention, and we will make it up to them in other ways, but for the time being we cannot exempt them. If, in spite of all your efforts, they continue to agitate to be exempted, let us know and give us your opinion as to what had better be done.|
|Brussels, 23 March, 1552.|
|Minute in Viglius' hand. French.|
|March 24. Brussels, L.A. 50.||Edward VI. to the Queen Dowager.|
|Our faithful and well-beloved councillor, Mr. Thomas Chamberlain, knight, our ambassador resident at your Court, has begged of us permission to absent himself for some space of time, and return to our kingdom for certain of his affairs. We have granted his request, the reasons for which he exhibited in his letters, and are now writing to inform you of it, in order that he may obtain your leave to depart and remain absent until such time as he shall declare to you.|
|Westminster, 24 March, 1552.|
|March 24. Vienna. Imp. Arch. E. 21.||Instructions from the Queen Dowager to M. de Courrières.|
|You will first deliver to the King (of England) the letters of credence we are sending through you, recommend us to him affectionately, and express our desire to hear of his good health and disposition. You will say that we are sending you to pay him a visit on our behalf, and to assure us personally that he is continuing to enjoy good health; and you will use all suitable courtesy and gracious words. You will proceed to say that we heard with the greatest
pleasure from Sir Philip Hoby, his councillor whom he recently despatched towards us, that since his tenderest years he had valued his friendship with his Majesty the Emperor, and had striven to keep and to increase it by every possible means, being desirous even now to preserve it, in spite of any rumours there might have been to the contrary. He wished to remain wholly at peace with his Majesty, and hoped that his Majesty would do the same, as he had often caused it to be declared to the King and his Council. He trusted that we would continue to show a disposition to favour the said friendship as we had done in the past; that we would not fail to further it in effect; and finally that in order to preserve it, it were better if both sides declared openly those things which might threaten it, in order to find a remedy, and dispel the scruples and doubts that might have arisen.|
|We do not doubt that the said Hoby signified to the King, on his return, the answers we gave him, especially concerning the said friendship. Nevertheless we desire you to repeat the same declaration, so that the King may be entirely assured of the intentions of his Majesty and ours, amounting in fine to this: His Majesty (the Emperor) has always been desirous to preserve the friendship, both during the late King his father's lifetime, and since his death, even as the King is desirous to maintain it; his Council knows it well, and results declare it plainly. We are sure that his Majesty is still of the same mind, and will forego nothing that may serve to increase the friendship. Nor has the King deceived himself in his belief that we would do and have done our best to foster it, for we have repeatedly perceived the Emperor's intention to maintain it, and feel assured ourself that he will not waver; and as we have done in the past, so will we continue in the future unfailingly to fulfil and effect his Majesty's intentions. You may certify this to him, and say that we have informed his Majesty of the King's goodwill, which cannot fail to be most agreeable to him.|
|You will inform the King, that in order to act according to the friendship, and forestall any possibility of a misunderstanding, we have charged you to declare that a good number of big vessels have been equipped and armed here for battle and are about to escort the merchant fleet to Spain. Our enemies are accustomed to interpret our actions in a false light, and might do so to the King; wherefore we have thought it best to charge you to assure him that the object of the above-mentioned fleet is such as we have declared, and in no way to harm or damage his country or his subjects. We have ordered the commander of the fleet to favour and protect any English vessels he may come across on his course as if they were his Majesty's own, and we have no doubt he will fulfil our commands. We trust that if by reason of storms or other untoward causes the vessels of the fleet were driven to seek refuge in any port or harbour of the kingdom of England, the King will give orders that they may be furnished with whatever they may need on paying for it, and that no injury shall be done to them, as the friendship between the King
and the Emperor demands. We have ordered you to have recourse to the King and Council for the requisite aid, in case the need for it arises. After the audience with the King, you will present yourself before his Council, and declare to them the substance of what you said to him, dwelling fully on the intentions of his Majesty the Emperor, and ours, to observe the mutual friendship. We thank them for the declaration made to us by Hoby on their behalf, that they will do their best to maintain the friendship and incline the Kings will towards it; they could not undertake a worthier task, and you will request them from us to persevere in it, assuring them of the full return we will make on our side.|
|You will see the Duke of Northumberland afterwards, and greet him from us. Tell him we have been pleased to hear from our ambassador's letters the goodwill he professes to feel for the maintenance of the friendship, and his intention and wish that it may continue. Give him praise, and exhort him to persevere in his inclination, assuring him of a perfect return on this side, saying whatever the occasion seems to you to demand besides.|
|Seek an opportunity to speak to him in private, and to others of the chief ministers too, on the various rumours rife concerning their friendship with France; and especially on the boasts of the French that they have concluded a secret treaty together to the disadvantage of his Majesty. Say that neither his Majesty nor I can add faith to the rumour, especially as there has been no cause why the King should turn from our friendship.|
|On the contrary, his Majesty and we trust that he would assist the Emperor if invaded, as he is bound to do by the treaties which his Majesty has ever observed. The King and his ministers may well remember that his Majesty caused the ambassadors of the late King of France, and of the present one too, to be reminded of the obligations binding him to give assistance to the English, if and whenever the French showed a disposition to move against the territories included in the treaties; and the French set aside their plans in consequence and did not press their attacks against the English as they would otherwise have done (fn. 1) ; which facts must be notorious to them.|
|They know too, how well they have been treated over here, and how favourably their subjects have been received, during their war with France. They have been provided from time to time with munitions of war, and their other needs have been supplied; everything that was possible has been done, and the French have even complained of it. So you doubt not that they will weigh the difference between a friendship of long standing and well-established between them and those who have been and always will be their trusty friends, and a recent friendship with those who are of old their inveterate enemies, as the history of the past bears witness. Let them set off the one against the other; and they will see that they have good cause to abide by a friendship which has proved safe, and not allow themselves to be circumvented and
led astray for no other purpose than to ruin themselves and their friends.|
|You may add, as of your own accord, that they are reputed to be wise, prudent and experienced men, who know the character of the French to differ widely from that of the English or of our own subjects; besides which, as the French can reckon on the support of Scotland, nothing can be expected from them except that they will try to extend their frontiers. They have shown how they could take advantage of their alliance with the Turk, of their intelligence in Italy and Germany, merely to fulfil their ambitions; whence it may be clearly inferred that their object is the same now. If they could effect some of their schemes against the Emperor's territory, they would not content themselves but move against England too; for the French are covetous by nature, their history proves them to be insatiable, shifty, and faithless, without respect for their honour and their oath. They have usurped and appropriated in the past principalities, territories and lands. Whereby it is clearly illustrated and proved that the maintenance of the ancient friendship between England and the Low Countries is necessary for the common good, safety and tranquillity of both countries. You will speak to them in the tone of one going over well-known ground, after the fashion used with people who have long since shown a just appreciation of the real nature of a common enemy, who have opposed him bravely and effectually, discovered the wiles and deceits on which he is wont to rely rather than on skill and courage. These are the faults of the French more than of any other nation that ever was.|
|You will declare all this as if of your own accord in private conversation, with becoming measure. You will do your best to encourage the council and the chief ministers in their devotion to the Emperor. Discover their real intentions as far as you can. Point out to them the importance and advantage of the friendship with us. The fleet will leave our countries, bound for Spain, during your stay in England. You will remain in the country until you have certain news that it has left the English coast well behind, and you will inform us at once. If perchance the fleet were to enter any English port or harbour you will do your utmost with the King and Council to obtain help and assistance in the event of need. You and the ambassador will do all in your power to this effect and will send us constant information on events according to their importance. If during your stay in England you are spoken to concerning certain complaints made by the said Mr. Hoby to us, you will extricate yourself saying that you have no authority from us to discuss the matter, and refer them to the ambassador, to whom we have written, In this manner their displeasure will not fall on you.|
|French. Copy. Cipher.|
|March 24. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21.||The Queen Dowager of Hungary to Jehan Scheyfve.|
|M. de Courrières will show you a despatch from which you will learn the reason wherefore we are sending him to the King of England, and we refer you to it, so as to avoid repetitions. We
desire you specially to assit him in his mission and wish you to labour to the best of your ability to ensure his success.|
|During Councillor Hoby's recent visit here, he assured us that the King his master desired to maintain his friendship with the Emperor, and said that the best means to this effect would be if both sides were to say frankly what things might stand in the way of it, and obviate them. Upon this he enlarged, recounting to us various outrages and acts of violence which he said had been perpetrated over here against their subjects contrary to the Commercial Convention; whereby, he said, the English had been moved to desire their withdrawal from the Low Countries. The King had not permitted it, but considered it suitable that we should be informed, in the hope that we would provide a remedy, as we had been ready to do whenever the friendship between the two countries seemed in danger of being shaken. He gave us a detailed account of the various grounds for complaint, magnifying each point greatly; but he refused to enter into any negotiation over them, asserting that he was commissioned merely to make his remonstrances, and no more.|
|His remonstrances were made in general terms and no case in point was given. We sent the two Presidents (fn. 2) to ask him to give us a written memorandum, so that we might send him our answer. This would have enabled him to take back certain information on the matter to the King. He replied once more that he had no charge to negotiate on the matter, but to make his remonstrance, and no more. We replied that, as he adhered to the terms of his first answer, we would order the Council to examine the purport of his verbal declaration, and would send word to him as to what should be decided.|
|Accordingly, we ordered the complaints to be written out, and our answers thereto.|
|We are sending you a copy of the document, and we charge you to examine it carefully and assimilate it well, so that you may be able to answer in accordance with what is set forth if the Council speak to you of the said complaints, wishing to know in what way we are willing to deal with them. You will take care to negotiate gently and with becoming moderation, avoiding contention as much as possible. You will declare that we have taken pains to answer fully, that they may know the complaints of their subjects to be without foundation, and understand our desire to protect their subjects against all violence, and enforce the Convention.|
|This negotiation over, you may say to them, that as grievances have been mentioned, and according to Master Hoby their remedying will help to maintain friendship between the two countries, you cannot forbear from reminding them on this occasion of the complaint you gave them in writing some time ago, concerning several fresh exactions levied in England, contrary to the Commercial Convention, from those of our subjects who go thither to trade. As no answer has been forthcoming, you will request
them to consider the matter and provide in such manner that an end may be put to all differences. You will make this remonstrance at the same time; therefore you will study the written note which was sent to you some time ago, so as to be able to declare everything in detail once more if necessary.|
|Take the same opportunity to remind them or complain of any other matter requiring settlement, if there be any now pending, always with great gentleness.|
|We have seen the contents of your last letters, and we approve entirely what you have negotiated with the English Council.|
|As to the packet send to the ambassador in France, which you say in your last letters was seized by our warships, we have spoken to M. Van Buren and inquired whether he had any knowledge of it. He replied that he had heard nothing; no more have we, and you may declare as much to the Council. Ask them when the packet was taken, and by whom; so that being more particularly informed we may take steps such as we think meet.|
|Brussels, 24 March, 1552.|
|French. Copy. Cipher.|
|Document (fn. 3) enclosed in the above letter.|
|As to the complaint made against the searchers, it is said that the practice of searching was introduced long ago to prevent merchants from defrauding the customs, and to ascertain whether forbidden goods are exported out of the country. The practice of searching has also been established in England of all time and continued to the present day.
||This is in substance the same that Ambassador Hoby told the Queen Dowager.|
|As to the thrusting of iron rods through certain bales of goods, it was done because the searchers had received information that the said bales, although apparently containing nothing but hops, had harquebuses and other articles concealed in them. This was found to be true when the bales were opened. The hops could receive no damage from the thrusting of rods. No bales containing other goods were searched in the same way, as it appears from information collected by order of the Queen.
||He (Hoby) made a complaint that certain English vessels freighted with goods and ready to sail for England had been searched by officers at Antwerp who greatly damaged certain goods by thrusting iron rods through the bales.|
|It is said that certain English vessels have been prevented from sailing after paying all the customs dues, while they had the wind in their favour. They have never been detained except when it was known that they had forbidden goods on board, in which case it was necessary to search them, and the search has always yielded evidence that the goods prohibited for exportation, on which no dues had been paid, were concealed on board. The merchants had invariably made false declarations to the customs officers about the nature of their goods; so that it was quite legitimate to detain them and search their vessels. However, it has been ascertained that the occurrences referred to were not of recent date, and that nothing similar has taken place recently.
||He (Hoby) claimed that we usually detained their vessels in Zeeland and Antwerp without cause or reason, and delayed their journey when the wind was favourable to them, although they had paid all custom dues, whereby their interests were seriously compromised.|
|The prohibition to export food-stuffs out of the country was published recently in a general placard, and was caused by the dearth and dearness of victuals, especially in Flanders. Prohibitions of the same nature have been made in England from time to time, and we have made no complaints against them. It must be considered too, that both sovereigns are enabled to make such prohibitions in accordance with the Commercial Convention of the year 1495, towards the close of the 2nd article.
||Moreover, he complained that the English were prevented from taking provisions into Calais from our territories, although large numbers of cattle were driven by us into the territory round Calais to be fattened; this concession being made not so much for the profit the English might make by it, as out of neighbourly good-feeling. If they chose to act in the same spirit as ourselves, they might compel the cattle to be sold on the selfsame territory of Calais.|
|As to the victuals going from France (to Guines) it will be found that none were intercepted, especially on English territory. But when Frenchmen were met on French territory in possession of victuals, they might be licitly attacked and the victuals taken from them.
||He declared also that our soldiers intercepted victuals that were being taken from the Boulonnais to Guines, which seemed to him an unjustifiable proceeding, especially as the victuals did not come from the Low Countries. If we would not assist them, we should at least not prevent others from doing so.|
|The prohibition to import herring into England ought not to appear strange, as by the Commercial Convention referred to above it is stipulated that each sovereign may prohibit the exportation of victuals as necessity dictates. The English have no real cause for complaint if we do not permit them to import herring into England as the Convention enables us to forbid exportation.
||He (Hoby) complained at the same time that the English were not allowed to carry herring to England except by special license, which was against friendly relations and the commercial treaties, particularly as we allowed our subjects to trade in herring in France under safeconduct. If we sent herring to our enemies, reason demanded that the English should have them as well, freely, and without passports. He observed that our subjects fished for herring every year in sight of the coast of England, without hindrance of any kind; on the contrary, they received help and protection (favour), whereby they deserved to be allowed to secure herring in exchange for their money. No objection to this had been made hitherto.|
|As to the gunpowder, this being ammunition of war, and forbidden goods, it may not be exported without permission. The Queen informed the Emperor some time ago of the application received; and his Majesty signified his pleasure to the ambassador, Dr. Wotton. We refer to the answer then given, the Queen having done her best at the time to obtain the Emperor's consent. On this subject it may be observed that the Emperor is now at war, and stands in need of gunpowder for the defence of his Low Countries. He is therefore justified in refusing to let any be taken out of the country at the present juncture, and the King of England should not take this in bad part, being at peace, and in no need of gunpowder for his own use.
||He complained that we dealt harshly with the King, refusing to give our consent to allow him to take to England the gunpowder he had purchased long ago for his need. Had he not required it he would not have sued for the permission.|
|Ambassador Chamberlain formerly made the same complaint to the Queen at Bruges. Her Majesty reiterated the orders she had expressly given before to M. Van Buren, admiral, that he should command the warships to avoid molesting the English if they came across them at sea, under certain penalties, and the refunding of damages with interest. He was charged to enforce obedience to his Majesty's commands; and moreover, to have good and prompt justice done by the Admiralty to the English if any should happen to be taken. Her Majesty has received M. Van Buren's assurance that her orders had been carried out, as several Englishmen who had brought cases to the Admiralty Court could testify. He informed her Majesty that in most cases the English vessels were seized because they carried property and goods belonging to the French. It was lawful to seize and confiscate property belonging to the enemy, as it was declared in the placards, and as the English themselves did during the last war in cases when subjects of ours were found to be transporting French goods. If the English Council desired to put forward some means by which the difficulty could be met, we would very willingly discuss them over here, always provided the abuses committed by English merchants who freighted their vessels; with French goods were stopped, and the discussion were limited to the English trade, which is no less than reasonable. The said Ambassador Chamberlain is aware that a certain English merchant was designated to him by name, who was convicted on his own admission of having taken to Middelburg a vessel freighted with goods belonging to a Frenchman, although he had previously sworn to be the owner of the vessel, thereby deserving the severest punishment. It is a fact that in many cases when English goods were found to have been unduly seized by the said privateers, judgment was given in the courts against the agressors, who were promptly condemned to pay all costs and damages, the execution of the sentence being duly enforced. This will always be the case whenever goods shall be proved to have been seized unlawfully.
||Further, he complained that certain private subjects of the Emperor's who had armed vessels by special warrant, had taken and detained without any reason the vessels and goods of the English, interfering with the freedom of passage and trade between the two countries. Moreover, the said privateers had taken certain French vessels within English ports. They harried English merchantmen on their way to and from France for purposes of trade, which constituted a direct breach of the Commercial Convention.|
|Several sentences in favour of the English are about to be rendered even now.
|Her Majesty has ordered an inquiry to be made concerning the alleged outrage, and will inform the ambassador resident here when she has ascertained the facts.
||He (Hoby) declared that on his way here he had found three English vessels at Nieuport, which were arrested some time ago and their case taken before the courts. The masters had won their case, and obtained sentence in their favour allowing the vessels to be set free; but the captain of Nieuport would not let them go. This personage had treated him roughly and with severity, he said, on his arrival, searched his vessel and what was on it, and compelled him and those who were with him to leave their weapons behind, although he declared his name and that he was sent to the Queen by the King of England, his master, who was a good friend of his Majesty, and remonstrated with him, saying he had no right to treat him so. The captain replied that he did not know whether the King of England was a friend of his Majesty or not.|
|It appears to us that, while the present war lasts, there are good grounds for preventing English merchants from taking the goods that are usually sold to France out of this country and selling them to the enemy.
||The English ambassador here resident complained that English merchants who traded here were compelled to give a guarantee to the value of goods they took to England, and which might be intended to reach France eventually, even if the said goods were sold and retailed in England; and that they were bound, moreover, to present their certificates of sale within four months (from the date of the guarantee). He complained that the practice of giving the guarantee and the certificates was a double breach of the Convention, and that it interfered with trade, as several merchants were often partners in the freighting of a vessel, and it was difficult for all to provide the guarantee (i.e., it was difficult to define the exact share of each one). Besides which the merchants did not always sell their goods promptly, but sometimes kept them a long time before they could find purchasers and they were grievously burdened by the obligation to produce their certificates of sale under penalty of forfeiting the guarantee, within the period stated.|
|The late King of England enforced the same prohibition against our subjects during his last war with France. He refused to allow the merchants to take goods purchased in England to France, although the Emperor was at peace with the French at the time. The Commercial Convention does not permit goods to be carried to the enemy from either side; and this point has been declared repeatedly to the ambassador, together with sundry considerations to the same effect.
|The Queen has reported this point to the Emperor.
||Mr. Hoby added to what is said above, and repeated his observation several times, that their ambassador at the Court of his Majesty had been turned out of his lodging some time ago, for the benefit of a certain bishop, and that they looked upon this proceeding as peculiarly ungracious.|
|You will hear from M. de Courrières an account of occurrences which would otherwise be sent to you according to custom,|
|Brussels, 24 March, 1552.|
|March 24. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19.||Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.|
|Madam: One of the secretaries of the Council recently came to see me, and told me that one of the King of England's ships, called the Sacre, was met a few days ago by a warship manned by the Emperor's subjects, which went so far as to shoot twenty guns at the Sacre in order to make her lower her sail. The Sacre refused, and the man-of-war sent two more shot after her, but seeing that the Sacre paid no attention the other came up with the intention of boarding her. After the two ships had lain alongside one another for some time, the Sacre overpowered the other and took her into Dover, where it was discovered that she had been practising piracy, and had pillaged and plundered all sorts of goods belonging to English subjects.|
|Moreover, three war-ships manned by the Emperor's subjects had given chase to an English ship as far as Portsmouth harbour; and a few days before one of the war-ships had boarded a Bristol vessel and taken fifty or sixty head-pieces, all the sailors' clothes, and even all the money on board, which belonged to the owner of the vessel. The same ship had afterwards put into Portsmouth, and had there been arrested; and the secretary wished to inform me of this occurrence, and show me the depositions of certain Englishmen who had been aboard the vessel.|
|I replied that I had heard nothing of all this, and was unable to believe it had happened as he related, for very strict orders had been issued by your Majesty. Nonetheless, if our people had disobeyed them, you would not fail to have them punished in a suitable manner; wherefore I requested to be supplied with a duplicate of the inquiry to send to your Majesty. It was not unlikely that the Englishmen had been bribed to bear witness in this case, and that, when our people should be heard in their own defence, the matter would appear in a different light. I presumed that the war-ship that had been taken into Dover supposed the Sacre to be a French ship, as she had not been willing to lower her sail, as the Emperor's subjects had always done when England was at war with France; and I added that it was unlikely that the three ships had given chase to any Englishmen as far as Portsmouth harbour, and had soon afterwards put in there. I hoped that in the meantime our people might be kindly treated, for they were servants of his Imperial Majesty. They could not be held to be pirates, for they had their safe-conducts; and if they had committed any outrage they should be obliged to pay damages, as the treaties provided. The secretary then told me he had no other instructions but to report to me the above; and I told him I only wished to point out to him what I had just said.|
|Shortly afterwards, Madam, secretaries Dr. Petre and Mr. Wotton came to see me, and I told them what I had heard touching the man-of-war that had been taken into Dover. She had been
on the high seas, when the Sacre, a ship belonging to the King of England, came by as if on the way to France. Not long afterwards the man-of-war was riding at anchor, and the Sacre came back and attacked her. The Sacre's crew boarded her, wounded several men, seized some letters and everything they could find, and then took the captain and thirty or forty of his men to Dover, where they were imprisoned, and kept in such close confinement that nobody was allowed to speak to them. They were fed on bread and water; and all the reason they knew of was that, the same day the above-mentioned occurrence took place, a little vessel with herring on board had set sail from Dover to France, and when she saw the man-of-war, put back to Dover, making a great to-do that the man-of-war had tried to take her. For this reason the Sacre had put out, and performed this exploit, which his Majesty's subjects had by no means deserved. I hoped the Council would investigate the matter; for English subjects had received quite different treatment at our hands when they were at war with France, even when they had searched and pillaged the Emperor's subjects. The French had boarded and taken three or four English ships, and throwsn the Englishmen on board into the sea, and still continued to pillage both the English and our people in English ports; but I saw no sign of their being punished for it. They replied that their people were complaining every day of the violent treatment met with, which was actually preventing any ships from sailing from English ports. As for the present case, they had heard that the man-of-war had seized the vessel laden with herring, and also taken some cloth on board another English boat. If they could catch the French, they added, they would treat them as they deserved. I replied that the Englishman who owned the herring-boat had abandoned his vessel and made for Dover, wherefore our people had imagined it to belong to the French, and indeed still maintained that it did. As for the cloth, they owned that they had taken two little parcels from a Scots vessel, whose crew had declared the cloth to be the property of Frenchmen; and they had done this without any violence. The secretaries told me they would report our conversation to the Council.|
|A few days afterwards, Madam, the captain of the warship arrested at Portsmouth came to see me, and complained of the treatment he had received. He assured me he had never given chase to any English ship, but admitted that, a few days before his arrival at Portsmouth, he had boarded a Bristol vessel which he had taken for a Frenchman. His men had taken forty or fifty head-pieces, worth some two or three pounds sterling, which they had considered to be lawful, as it was all munitions of war, and they had seized the head-pieces in order to strengthen themselves against the enemy, to whom they were being carried. As for clothes, if was true that some of his men had taken two or three coats, but he had ordered them to be given back at once. He knew nothing at all about the English merchant, for there had been none such on board the vessel. I caused this to be reported to the Council, who still magnified the case, christening the captain a
pirate and saying he deserved exemplary punishment. As they still refused to let him go, he demanded the release of his ship under caution, or on payment of twice the value of the head-pieces, in order to dispose of all damages that might be claimed against him or his men; for he had only been a very short time at sea, on account of the great storms that had lasted many days. Finally his case was sent before the Admiralty Court, and ended in the captain coming to an agreement with the plaintiff, by which he paid him about twenty-five pounds sterling. After this he was set free. When he went away he told me that the captain (i.e. harbour-master) of Portsmouth had enjoined upon certain Englishmen who had been on board his ship that they were not to return to it, nor enter the Emperor's service while the war lasted.|
|Duplicate endorsed “for the Emperor.” French. The last sentence in cipher.|