S. E. T. c. I.
136. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Has received the despatch and the letters sent by Salvador
Went directly to the King, and had a very long conversation
with him. Has already written the substance of it.
The King held a public sitting of the Council in presence
of the ambassadors of Venice and Milan, and of De Puebla in
his capacity as ambassador of Spain, of the Pope, and of the
King of the Romans. Addressed the King in the following
|Speech of De Puebla
to Henry VII. concerning
"It is now more than a year that I have been in Your
Majesty's kingdom. The principal object of my mission
was to inform Your Majesty of the great embarrassments of
the Pope. Your Majesty assured me, in reply, that no Prince
could be animated by greater love and devotion (to the
Pope), and no one was more ready to show it by deeds
than yourself. As soon as the Pope had made known (to
you) his wishes, you would not only send him aid and
succour, but also make war upon all his adversaries. Your
Majesty knows that the Pope has communicated his great
necessities to you in four or five briefs ; and especially in
his last brief, read in the public sitting of this Council,
he exhorted you for God's sake, and as being your
Sovereign (fn. 1) , and in the name of all the princes of the league,
to be in earnest, and really to execute what you had promised,
in order thereby to serve the cause of God and your
own cause, by preventing your enemy from growing stronger.
He bade you bear in mind that in your time the King of
France had taken Brittany, which once formed a principal
part of the kingdom of England, and had always been her
ally ; to remember further that the King and Queen of
Spain, although much occupied with the war against the
Moors, had sent, at his and his ambassador's request, a
succour of one thousand lances, and that one thousand
lances sent then were worth more than ten thousand lances,
could they be sent by you now to help him in his great
embarrassments, and to render a great service to God.
Moreover, your Majesty must not forget that you are
obliged to do it, by respect to God and conscience, and
in accordance to the law of God and the Church, and that
for not doing it some Princes and Emperors have been
deprived of their dignity. (I read the edicts which state
this.) If all Princes are bound to do it, your Majesty is
(Marginal note, written by Alvarez, Secretary of State.—
He said this in order that they might not think it was on
account of Sicily or of the marriage, but only for the sake of
the Vicar of Christ.)
|Conduct of Ferdinand
towards the Pope.
"Your Majesty may call to mind how their Highnesses
have acted in all matters concerning the Church. When
they were engaged in the war of Malaga, Pope Innocent sent
a nuncio complaining of the King of Naples, grandsire of
the present King (who is now with God), and asking
succour and assistance against him. Although their Highnesses
were occupied in such a holy war, they directly sent
Count Tendilla with a numerous suite to exhort and request
the King of Naples to fulfil his obligations to the Pope ;
and as he did not do so immediately, their Highnesses sent
Don Alonso de Silva and the Licentiate Frias to defy
him, tendering at the same time, to the Pope, all the
favour and assistance he had asked ; notwithstanding that
the King of France was encouraged in his designs on the
kingdom of Naples by this policy, and that the Neapolitan
barons became more daring, and raised the rebellion in
which they are now engaged. In that instance, their
Highnesses, being requested by the Pope, sent him directly
a great fleet and 700 lances and 600 foot. In addition
to this, their Highnesses, at the request of the Pope, made
war with France by land, and are still continuing to do so,
taking Brittany as an example, for if the war had been
continued Brittany would never have been lost. All this
being notorious, and your Excellence (Henry) being bound
by so many obligations to do the same for the Vicar of
Christ, you ought, without loss of time, to execute in deed
and in truth what is said above. You would thereby not
only fulfil your obligations, but also confer an obligation
on the King and Queen of Spain, and on all the Princes of
the league. With one drop of water your Majesty could
now effect, and do, and execute what, if the King of France
were to be victorious (which God forbid), could not be done
with a whole ocean, and, if it could be done, would not
be of any profit. The House of England now sees what
never before has been seen, that is to say, that the whole
Christian world unites and allies itself with it. If it let
slip this occasion great danger will accrue to England in
A long deliberation between Henry and his Council
followed. The answer of the King was, that he had shown
great contempt for the French ambassadors in the presence
of De Puebla ; that he had asked a large sum of money from
the King of France, and had also sent to exhort and even
request him to desist from the war ; that if the King of
France would not do so he should be obliged to do his duty ;
that he had likewise sent his ambassadors to the Pope and
to the King of the Romans to treat about his entry into the
league. The answer must soon arrive, and we might, therefore,
have patience and wait for it. He hoped all would end
well, and be amicably arranged.
had by Puebla.
Had, after the public sitting of the Council, a private
audience of Henry. They were alone. "The King asked
me, why I had affronted him so much, when I knew that
he would do more from love of your Highnesses than for
all the rest of the world ; for your Highnesses are the most
Christian of all the Princes. He esteemed you more than
all the other Princes together. What he is determined to
do at present is the following :—Call together all his soldiers
in the kingdom, and review them ; at the same time arm
the whole of his navy. That would cause uneasiness and
fear to the King of France. Meanwhile I might wait for
the return of the ambassadors, and arrange the business with
his commissioners. I answered, that he might, to gratify the
ambassadors of Venice and Milan, repeat his statements
before them. He sent for them, and told them the same
thing in my presence."
the English commissioners.
Conferred with the English commissioners. Asked first to
see their powers. They showed two powers ; one for the
alliance, the other for the marriage. Asked for both subjects to
be contained in the same powers. New powers were therefore
given by Henry, corresponding, word for word, with his
powers. Six of the greatest personages in the kingdom were
selected as commissioners. They went every day to his
lodgings, where the deliberations took place. "These proceedings
were well observed by sharp spies, of whom a great
number assemble here continually from all parts of the world.
I think it was done on purpose to cause more fear and suspicion
to the King of France, seeing that men of such high
authority, and living in such houses, came to my lodgings,
which are in the monastery of the Augustine Friars, the
most public place in the whole of England, and frequented
by all foreigners."
The English Commissioners wish nothing to be altered in
the marriage contract concluded in Granada. As Ferdinand
and Isabella have obtained their counties of Roussillon and
Cerdaña, they ought to be more willing to give a good marriage
portion. If the King of France hear that this marriage
is concluded, the effect of it will be tantamount to a declaration
of war from England.
De Puebla.—Ferdinand and Isabella are not indebted to
Henry for their counties of Roussillon and Cerdaña. They
obtained them from Charles about a year after the peace
between France and England.
English Commissioners.—That is true, but the restoration
of the counties was agreed upon earlier. At all events, the
treaty between France and England has much facilitated the
matter. Object, at the instigation of the English merchants,
to all the demands respecting the commerce of Spanish
merchants in England.
De Puebla.—Even if England were to send aid amounting
to 20,000 horsemen, it would be impossible to yield to their
|King of Scotland.
The negotiations have not yet come to any conclusion
The return of the English ambassadors is expected. The
same negotiations which the King of Scots carries on in
Spain are carried on in England,—his marriage, and the extradition
of the so-called Duke of York.
The English Commissioners show no great eagerness in
coming to a definite conclusion in the Spanish business, knowing
that no treaty will be signed if England do not directly
declare war against France.
imprisoned by the
Has meanwhile received their last instructions. The messenger
who brought them said that two couriers, sent from
Spain to Flanders, were imprisoned by the Bretons, and their
despatches taken from them. Those who did so only sent
one letter to him, but promised to send the other despatches
hereafter. It is a very disagreeable occurrence, but there
might be some advantage in it, for the King of France will be
afraid, if he should read the letters. He fears a war with
England more than with the greater portion of Christendom.
Was much pleased at the news contained in their letters
which he had received. They may believe that if they really
have the person in their power who says that he is the son of
Edward, they are absolute masters of England (de aqui).
Went to the King, who was very angry that the couriers,
though they had sailed in English vessels, had been taken. Explained
their secret instructions (misteris) to Henry. Henry
declared "by the faith of his heart" that he recognised in them
the greatness and goodness of the King and Queen of Spain.
If they would execute their designs soon, they might be sure
that he would conclude the treaties with them immediately,
and without changing anything in them. But otherwise,
having such a "hindrance" in Scotland, how could he undertake
a serious war against France? Henry asked him to
make haste, and to arrange "both matters" in secret, repeating
his assurances that he would do the will of Ferdinand and
Isabella if they really effected what they proposed to do.
De Puebla.—They will effect it, but Henry must first
declare war with France.
Henry.—At present it is impossible,—explaining the
matter very circumstantially.
|Duke of York.
Implores them to get the person who calls himself the son
of Edward into their power. That is the most important
point ; that is the "whole" thing. That done, and the King
of Scotland detached from France, the King of France will
be in such a miserable condition that he will accept any
conditions imposed on him by Spain, and keep them without
The bundle of papers for Don Martin is sent to Scotland.
Don Martin has not written, because he says he is unwell.
London, 13th June 1496.
Alliance with the
Postscript.—Henry esteems Flanders more than any other
power. If Rojas had accomplished what he was requested
to do, anything whatever might have been obtained from
Henry. But Rojas did not only not accomplish it, but
did not even prevent the ambassadors of the Archduke from
doing everything that was disagreeable in England, giving
Henry to understand that the marriage was "nichil."
They do not believe it even to this day. Has in vain implored
the ambassadors of the Archduke, and sworn to them
that Ferdinand and Isabella would regard the affairs of
Flanders as their own, and not have concluded with England,
except for the sake of Flanders. There are very few honest
servants in that country. They are all influenced by personal
interest. Rojas, too, has not done his duty, since he has not
excepted Spain or included her in this treaty. The affairs of
Spain are conducted quite differently in England. "Would to
God that the Archduchess (Doña Juana) would soon go
to Flanders. She will be able to do much good in England
and in Flanders, especially if she is as wise as the daughter
of such parents is expected to be. Only a few words more
about Scotland. If your Highnesses have the so-called
Duke of York in your power, and hold him in your Royal
hands, you may be sure, according to what I am told, that
you can absolutely do your will in omnibus et per omnia
in England." They are very angry in England with the
King of the Romans, for having sent the so-called son of
Edward to England.
If they can now accomplish what is stated above, they will
have "all the glory before God and the world" to themselves.
But they must be very careful, for the Scotch "are astute
in the highest degree."
Indorsed : "Deciphered from the cipher of Doctor De
Received at Laredo, 30th of July 1496.
The letter is written in cipher, and deciphered by
Almazan, Secretary of State.
Spanish. pp. 14.
S. E. T. c. I.
137. Ferdinand and Isabella to Doctor De Puebla.
Have received, on the 31st of May, in the town of Almazan,
his letter of the 26th of April, with the circumstantial description
of his audience and conferences with Henry after the
receipt of his instructions, &c. sent by Salvador de Ugarte.
Henry VII. to be
Cannot reproach him for not having concluded anything,
because it was his first audience. But he must now conclude
the treaties with Henry without any further delay. With their
friendship Henry also gains the friendship of the King of the
Romans and of the Archduke ; and, on the other hand, he
knows the dangers which will accrue to him, in his kingdom
and abroad, from his friendship with the King of France, who
is always so untrustworthy.
Henry seems to entertain doubts on three subjects, viz. :—
1. Whether the King of the Romans and the Archduke
are to be excepted in the treaties between Spain and England.
As he has already answered this point, there is nothing more
to be said.
by Henry VII.
2. Henry does not like to accept the ornaments, &c. in
part payment of the marriage portion. The conclusion of
the treaty must not, however, be delayed on that account.
3. Respecting the obligations of Henry to declare war
against France without delay, some difficulty prevails. But
they have already written that it would be sufficient if
Henry were now to proclaim his alliance with Spain, to arm
his navy, and form a junction with the Spanish fleet, permitting
Spanish vessels to enter English ports, and giving
them all assistance there. The invasion of France by Henry
in person can be settled hereafter ; he must be induced thereto
by small degrees. This is the minimum. If possible, more
must be gained.
He has not mentioned anything about the entry of
Henry into the league. He must soon conclude this negociations,
the conditions being so favourable to Henry.
|Affairs of Scotland.
Are told that Henry VII. has received good news from
Scotland. The reason of it is, that the Spanish ambassadors
have obtained a solemn promise from the King of Scots to
undertake nothing against England before his embassy has
returned from Spain. The Scottish ambassador has much
insisted on the marriage of the King of Scots with a
Princess of Spain, promising perpetual peace with England,
and perfect safety to Henry from him of York. Have
given only evasive answers, neither granting nor denying the
marriage. Have sent a new ambassador to Scotland. He
must tell that to Henry. Have no daughter to give to
the King of Scots, as they intend to marry one of their
daughters to the King of Portugal. Send now their ambassador
to Scotland for the purpose of deluding the King of
Scots as long as possible, with hopes, and inducing him to conclude
a truce with England. Their reasons for doing so are
twofold. Henry, during the truce, would be at liberty for
his other undertakings ; and he could also, during that time,
conclude a marriage between one of his daughters and the
King of Scotland. Promise to use their influence in Scotland
in favour of Henry, provided always that he first conclude his
alliance with Spain. Wish to know his opinion.
|King of France.
He must directly write in what state the negotiations of
Henry with the King of France, the King of the Romans,
and the Pope, now are. If Henry has told the King of
France to leave the property of the Church alone, threatening
him in case of refusal to do what he is bound to do, it is
difficult to understand his fear of declaring war, as he gains
thereby so many friends.
Are pleased that their privateers have been well received
and provisioned in English ports. Wish to know whether that
has been done because Henry has ordered it, or only because
it has not been prohibited?
All that was contained in his letter of the 13th of
March is already answered in a former letter sent by
The French ambassadors who had gone to Tortosa have
now returned. They make no other offers save those already
made on former occasions. The whole is an imposture,
in order to gain time and to make them suspected by their
friends. Have given an answer only in order to justify themselves
before God and the world. The French ambassadors
are not satisfied with the answer. Perhaps a different story
will be told in France, but this is the true one.
|Duke of York.
If Henry conclude the alliances and enter the league, all
will assist him against him of York. Their assistance is
much more powerful than that of France, which country is
now engaged in the wars. Promise to induce the Pope to use
his authority against him of York ; but if Henry do not
enter the league the Pope will be against him.
Henry must now decide what he will do. The suspense
is very prejudicial to Spain, on many accounts, one of
which is this : Being at war with France, Spanish vessels
cannot enter French ports, and French vessels are not allowed
to enter Spanish ports ; but the English, being at peace
with both countries, carry on a commerce between Spain
and France, which is highly detrimental to Spain, but highly
profitable to England. If they become accustomed to this
kind of commerce they will keep the negotiations in suspense
for any length of time. Have therefore sent orders that all
vessels leaving Spanish ports, without distinction of nationality,
must give security not to carry any merchandize to
A letter for the King of England is enclosed.—From the
town of Almazan, 21st of June 1496.
Indorsed : "Draft of the letter to Doctor de Puebla sent
by a courier from Almazan on the 21st of June 1496,
to Diego Lopez de Ayala, in Fuentarabia, to be
forwarded thence with the greatest care."
"Diego Lopez has written that he has received the despatch,
and will send it in a ship which will be ready to sail
to London in six days."
Draft. Spanish. pp. 2.
S. E. T. c. I.
138. Ferdinand and Isabella to De Puebla.
This is a portion of the despatch, dated 21st June 1496,
put in cipher. It begins with the words : "y quanto alo que
dezis que el Rey de Ynglaterre vos dixo que tenia buenas
nuevas de los negocios de Escocia," and continues down
to the end of that despatch.
Headed : "Ciphering of one article of the despatch, written
the 21st June 1496. Doctor de Puebla."
Spanish. Written in the Latin numbers used as cipher.
The key is extant.
S. E. T. c. I.
139. Ferdinand and Isabella to Henry VII.
Spain being at war with France, Spanish merchants are
not allowed to carry on any commerce with that country,
but foreign merchants enter the ports of Spain, and export
goods of all descriptions to French ports, to the great
prejudice of them and their subjects. Have therefore ordered
that this commerce should be discontinued. As among the
foreign merchants who export iron, &c. to France, there are
many Englishmen, Henry is begged to prohibit, under adequate
penalties, the continuation of the said traffic.—No date.
Draft. Spanish. pp. 2.