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23. King Henry VIII. to King Ferdinand The Catholic.
Has read his letter to himself, and Queen Katherine has
communicated to him what he has written to her.
Rejoices to learn how tenderly he loves him. Regards him
as his new father. From an intimate alliance between England
and Spain nothing but the greatest advantages to both
kingdoms are to be expected. Prefers an alliance with him
to any alliance with other princes, and would not hesitate, if
necessary, to reject them all, in order to preserve his friendship.
Promises, like a dutiful son, to obey all his behests, as he
would obey the behests of his late father, if he were still alive.
Has read with joy that he intends to send a new ambassador
to England. Promises to receive him with demonstrations
Has been informed by him that, after he had recovered his
towns from the Venetians, the other princes asked him to
combine with them and to destroy Venice ; but that he had
rejected so iniquitous a request. Praises his justice and
wisdom. Venice forms a wall against the Turks and other
infidels. In case of a common war with the Turks the
services of Venice could not be dispensed with. It must,
therefore, be preserved.
Besides, if Venice were conquered and destroyed, the other
states of Italy would be unable to withstand the ambitious
designs of certain Christian princes. Great danger to his
(King Ferdinand's) dominions might be the consequence
thereof. Approves his decision, therefore, and [begs him] to
receive Venice into his protection, as it is an ally of England
from time immemorial. Sends conjointly with this letter
another, in which his views are more fully explained.
Thanks him for having instructed the Spanish ambassador
in Rome to take the same care of the affairs of England as
of those of Spain. Sees in this measure the love of a kind
Is persuaded that every word he writes concerning the
King of the Romans (fn. 1) is true. The affairs of the King of
the Romans and of Prince Charles would now be in a far more
prosperous state, if they had always continued to be the allies
of Spain and England. Although the King of the Romans
has not always behaved like a wise man, he wishes, nevertheless
that an alliance between him, Spain, and England should
be concluded. Is persuaded that no other prince could conclude
such an alliance better and sooner than he (King Ferdinand).
The Queen is pregnant, and the child in her womb is alive.
As he and his kingdom rejoice at this good news, so it is to
be expected that he and Queen Juana will also hear it with
pleasure. Begs him to communicate the good tidings to her,
and to recommend him to both Queens. (fn. 2)
Has retained the Spanish ambassador who is recalled. Has
done so, because he daily expects the new ambassador from
Spain, and wishes to send by the ambassador who is about to
depart a full and frank answer to all the communications
which the new ambassador may bring him.
Thanks him once more for his paternal love and solicitude,
and promises to obey him as his father.—Palace at Greenwich,
the 1st of November 1509, 1st Henry VIII.
Addressed : "To the most serene and most mighty Lord
Ferdinand, by the grace of God King of Aragon, &c.,
our most beloved father."
Indorsed by Almazan : "To his Highness, from the King
of England, the 1st of November 1509."
Latin. Copy, written by Almazan, pp. 3.
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25. King Henry VIII. to King Ferdinand The Catholic.
The Signory of Venice have informed him that when the
Pope, the Emperor elect, the King of France, and he (King
Ferdinand) began war with Venice, the Republic, desirous to
reconcile itself with the Pope, the Emperor elect, and him
(King Ferdinand), restored to them all the places and territories
which they claimed as their property. The Republic
had reason to hope that the peace of Christendom would be
restored by this conciliatory policy.
Events, however, have proved that the Venetians had
misjudged their adversaries. The Emperor elect as well as
some other princes continue their cruel war on the Republic
on all sides, the Pope not only countenancing it, but actively
taking part in it.
Is induced by various reasons to disapprove of this war.
It does not become Christian princes to destroy, to molest, and
to annoy the Venetian republic, which hitherto has always
enjoyed a high reputation among Christians as well as
among Infidels. Venice has always been regarded as a
Christian state ; it has formed a wall against the Turks, and
has rendered signal services to the Christians, and will be
an indispensable ally in a new war with the Infidels. Begs
him to conclude peace with Venice, and to intercede on her
behalf with the other princes who are at war with her.
England and Venice are at peace, and a fleet of Venetian
ships is accustomed to come almost every year to England,
in order to carry on commerce between the two countries.
Begs him to permit the Venetian fleet, on its way to, or on its
return from England, to pass the seas which belong to his
dominions unmolested, and not to allow any harm to be
done to the vessels, the crew, or the merchandise, should the
Venetian fleet, on its way to, or from England, enter any port
subject to his jurisdiction.
Wishes soon to be informed of his decision, respecting
Venice.—Palace at Greenwich, the 1st of November, 1509.
Addressed : "To the most serene and excellent Prince Ferdinand,
by the Grace of God King of Aragon, &c.,
our most beloved father."
Latin. Copy made by Almazan, pp. 4.
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27. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Katharine, Queen
Has learnt by her letter in cipher, and by the letter in
plain writing of the King of England, that it is his intention
to prevent the utter destruction of Venice, and that he
desires to enter into a closer alliance with him, the King
of the Romans, the Queen of Castile, and Prince Charles.
Has further seen what the King of England wrote to the
King of France concerning Venice, and the reply the King of
France made to him. Finally, has read in her letter that
the French are spreading a rumour that they will soon make
war upon England.
Before he makes an answer on these subjects, he begs her
to tell the King her husband that secrecy and circumspection
are always necessary in great enterprises. It would be very
inconvenient, if the French were to know anything concerning
their closer alliance, their plan to preserve to Venice the territories
which belong to her by right, and other similar matters,
before they are ripe for execution. The King of England
must therefore, henceforth write in his letters nothing but
such things as the French may read without danger. All
other communications must be made by her, and be written
in her cipher, or in the cipher of the ambassador, until the
new ambassador arrives. Has always observed, and will in
future observe the same rule, namely, to write in common
writing only what the French may see, and to write all that
is important in cipher.
In answer to the contents of the letter of the King, and
of her letter in cipher, there is little to be said, except
that the King has well considered and well expressed all that
concerns the preservation of Venice. Is of the same opinion
as the King, and thinks that the destruction of Venice would
be unjust as well as very dangerous to the other princes of
Christendom. (fn. 3) Has, therefore, already entered into secret
negotiations with the Pope, and told him that, as the Church
has obtained all the territories claimed by her from the Venetians,
he ought to make common cause with England and
Spain. The Pope is by no means disinclined to listen to his
proposals, and only wishes not to make his plans public until
he can carry them out without danger to himself. There is
no doubt the Pope would at once have entered into the new
and more intimate league between the Emperor, England,
Spain, and Prince Charles, if it had already been concluded.
Has touched on the subject of the preservation of Venice
in his negotiations with the King of France, but very cautiously,
and without discovering his plans.
His intention is to keep his negotiations secret until he
has won over the King of the Romans. Is of opinion that the
King of England ought likewise to treat secretly with the
Pope, and the King of the Romans ; for if they see that
England and Spain are of the same mind, they will more
easily be persuaded to enter into alliance with them. Will
inform the King of England of all he is negotiating, and
hopes the King of England will communicate to him all he is
The King of England must always bear in mind that the
best and only safe way to obtain great authority and perfect
security for their states and for the dominions of the Queen of
Castile and of the Prince (Charles), is secretly to contract a
true and intimate alliance between the King of the Romans,
the King of England, him (King Ferdinand), the Queen of
Castile, and the Prince (Charles). That accomplished, the
rest of the world may do what they like.
Madame Margaret, a short time ago, sent her secretary
to him. The secretary has now returned to Flanders. Spoke
with him about the alliance, and communicated to him as
much of his plans as he conveniently could. Intends to
make a further communication to Madame Margaret. The
King of England, being now by his marriage and by the marriage
of the Princess Mary with Prince Charles, so nearly
related to the houses of Austria and of Spain, ought to do the
same. Madame Margaret is the person who has the greatest
influence with her father, and she would think herself
honoured if so important a business as the conclusion of the
alliance were entrusted to her hands. The King of England
would do well to enter at the same time into negotiations on
the same subject with the King of the Romans. That must,
however, be done not by means of ambassadors, but through
secret agents, men who are trustworthy and discreet, and
who are travelling ostensibly for other purposes. It is
most essential that the French should not even suspect what
is going on.
The conclusion of the alliance must not be delayed. If
the treaty of alliance could be concluded in the course of the
coming winter, the King of France would, by the very fact of
its conclusion, be deterred from his design of conquering Venice.
The intention of the King of France is to form a great fleet, and
to attack Venice next summer by land and by sea, always,
however, on the supposition that the King of the Romans will
remain his ally. The King of the Romans would, however,
by aiding France, place his own possessions in Italy, and even
his other dominions, in a very precarious position. Should
he object to the new alliance on the ground of his differences
with Venice, the King of England might tell him that the
Pope, he (King Ferdinand), and the King of England will
persuade the Venetians to do him full justice. It is probable
that the Venetians, in order to preserve their other
territories, will make no difficulties about those which the
King of the Romans claims. Should, however, the Venetians
refuse to listen to their reasonable demands, he might add
that they would all combine together and destroy her.
It is desirable that, even if the King of the Romans enters
their league, the alliance should be kept secret till it is known
what the Venetians will do. Begs her to see that the English
envoy to be sent to Madame Margaret is an honest, intelligent,
and discreet man. He must go alone, and not be
accompanied by any other person. It is necessary that he
should be able to speak and express himself well on the subject
he has in hand.
The King of England knows the King of the Romans. He
will, therefore, understand that they cannot rely much on his
assistance. They will make use of him, if possible ; but their
plans must always be based solely on their own resources, and
on those of the Queen of Castile. United, they are quite
strong enough to carry out their policy. The King of France
will not have power to do any harm to the King of England
or to him (King Ferdinand), since it will always be
in their power to raise as many and as great difficulties
in his own kingdom as they like. Should the King of the
Romans delay to declare himself a party to their treaty, they
may safely and secretly conclude the new and more intimate
alliance between themselves alone, and afterwards try to win
over the King of the Romans. Empowers her, therefore, to
conclude in his name a most intimate alliance with the King
of England, should he wish to do so at once. Should, however,
the King of the Romans be so ill advised as definitely to
reject their alliance, and thereby endanger the states of Prince
Charles, he would, in his quality of grandfather, and the King
of England, in the quality of brother-in-law of the Prince, be
entitled to take care of his interests, even against the will
of the King of the Romans, and to include the Prince in
their treaty of alliance.
Thinks the answer which the King of France has returned
to the King of England with respect to the war with Venice
is greatly wanting in courtesy. The King of England must
not, however, show that he resents it. He must, on the contrary,
appear to be as good a friend of France as his father
was, and not say a word more about Venice till the new
alliance is concluded. If the King of England remains on
friendly terms with the King of France until the new alliance
is concluded, he can afterwards easily find a pretext for
quarrelling with him, and will be sure to get the better of
As for what is said with respect to the intention of the
King of France to make war on England, she ought not to
attach any importance to such rumours. As long as he (King
Ferdinand) lives, the French will never attack England, well
knowing that he would immediately assist her, and that the
result would be in favour of Spain and England, which two
powers would despoil France of many of her provinces. But
there is other intelligence, which rests on better foundation.
The French, who are the unrelenting disturbers of peace, are
endeavouring to sow dissension between the King of England
and the King of Scotland. Advises the King of England to
keep peace with the Scots, and to compromise all disputes
with them if there are any. The King of England and the
King of Scotland being brothers, it would be unbecoming if
they were to quarrel with one another. Should it be necessary,
his new ambassador, Don Luis Caroz, could go to Scotland,
in order to reconcile the English with the Scots. Has
already, in the lifetime of the late King Henry, been the
mediator of peace between those two kingdoms.
The King of England has begged him to give the Venetian
captains of galleys and other vessels safe conducts, permitting
them to sail unmolested on the seas belonging to his kingdoms,
and to travel by land in his dominions. Cannot
grant such safe conducts for two reasons. In the first place,
the Venetians have been excommunicated by the Pope, and he
would incur the penalty of excommunication if he were to help
them. Secondly, if he were to show them too much favour, he
would appear partial, and his voice would have less weight in
the succeeding negotiations the object of which is to preserve
Venice. Has, however, issued orders to the proper authorities
in Naples, Sicily, and in his other kingdoms not to do any
harm to the Venetian vessels, nor to detain them.
As soon as the new and more intimate alliance is concluded,
he will publicly declare himself a protector of the Venetian
vessels, and great things will be done which will reflect
honour and secure advantages to him and to his son, the King
of England, and to their kingdoms.—No date. No signature.
Indorsed : "England. Flanders. Given in Mansilla,
the 28th of November 1509."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 9.
|28 Nov. (?)
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28. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Katharine Queen
Has received her letters of the 12th of October and of the
3d and 4th of November, together with the treaties which
she has sent with them. A letter from the King of England,
of the 1st of November, was enclosed.
Has had much pleasure in reading all the letters, especially
as he has learnt by them that she is with child. Her pregnancy
is a great blessing, since she, her husband, and the
English people have wished it so much. May God give her
a good delivery. Will continually pray the Almighty to
grant his prayers till he is informed that she has given birth
to her child. Begs her to be careful of her health. During
her pregnancy she must avoid all exertion, and especially not
write with her own hand. With the first child it is requisite
for women to take more care of themselves than is necessary
in subsequent pregnancies.
With respect to what she writes about her servants and
others mentioned by her, she must be assured that he does
not give the slightest credit to these persons, and that he has
told them, and will tell them again, that he is as much
displeased with them as she is.
Is glad to hear that her confessor has served her so faithfully.
If he continues to do so, he will have a good preferment.
His new ambassador, Luis Caroz, has already left
Valladolid. When he arrives, she can send her despatches
through him. Meanwhile, she may send any letters of hers
which are ready, by this courier who is to return at once. If
any other opportunity offer to write to him, she can address
her letters to Sanchez de Zamudio, who will faithfully forward
God be thanked, there prevails peace and order, health, and
abundance in the kingdom of Spain.
Is making preparations for an expedition against the Moors,
the enemies of the Catholic faith, in Africa.—No date. No
Indorsed : "To the Queen of England."
Draft, written by Almazan. Spanish. pp. 2½.