S. E. I. L. 806. f. 14.
86. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Luis Caroz De
Villaragut, his Ambassador in England.
The Knight Commander Muxica has brought him letters
from the King and the Queen of England, and letters from
him (the ambassador), dated the 13th and 17th of December
last, together with the draft of the new treaty of alliance.
This draft contains the clauses concerning the enterprise on
Normandy and Guienne which the King of England and his
council wish to add to the treaty. Is sorry that Muxica met
with so many obstacles on his journey that he did not arrive
before the [blank] of February.
As soon as Muxica had delivered his message, he sent for
John Stile and Doctor Knight, in order to know what
powers they had. Doctor Knight was in Fuentarabia. Ordered
him to come directly, and confer with him. Entered meanwhile
into preliminary negotiations with John Stile, who
however, begged him to wait till the Doctor had arrived. Is
ready to conclude the treaty respecting the conquest of
Guienne and Normandy, if the English ambassadors have
sufficient power to sign it in such a form as will satisfy him.
But since, according to what John Stile states, it is probable
that the powers of the English ambassadors are insufficient, he
has decided to write direct to him his observations on the
clauses of the treaty, and orders him to communicate them
to the King of England. It will not be his fault if the
affair should be protracted.
Is determined always to remain the most intimate friend
and ally of the King of England, although the English forsook
him when he stood in the greatest need of their aid.
Has read the articles concerning the conquest of Guienne
and Normandy. Desires, as much as the King of England does,
to carry out this enterprise. Has, however, more experience
of the power of France, and is therefore of opinion that both
the invading armies, that which is to invade Normandy, as
well as that which is to march into Guienne, ought to be
strong enough to resist an attack of the whole of the French
forces ; for, although it is just possible that the French, on
being simultaneously attacked in Normandy and in Guienne,
may divide their forces, and victory over them may thus be
rendered easier, it is much more probable that they will march
the whole of their army against one only of the invading
powers. They might, for instance, leave garrisons in some of
their fortresses on the frontiers of Calais, and employ the
whole of their strength against the Spaniards, after which
they might drive the English out of France. Or they might
first try to beat the English, hoping afterwards to conquer
the Spaniards. It is, however, more probable that the
French will attack the Spaniards first, as the best French
troops are quartered in the south. If the invading armies
are not strong enough to resist, separately, the whole of the
French forces, the only result of the enterprise will be loss of
money and waste of human life.
Another circumstance which must be taken into consideration
is that the French have a considerable number of German
troops in their pay. Spanish soldiers are superior to French,
but they are incapable of breaking the rank and file of
the German veterans. English soldiers are strong and courageous,
but for a long time past they have not been accustomed
to warlike operations. Thus, it is probable that if the French
army, reinforced by German troops, had to fight with exclusively
Spanish and exclusively English armies, the victory
would remain on their side. In order to be sure of victory
it is necessary to employ a certain number of German troops
in the Spanish as well as in the English army. The strength
of the infantry lies in the art of using the pike and musket.
The principal use to which they can be put is to defend the
artillery, now in general use. If English archers were intermixed
with German pikemen, they would certainly render
good service ; but it is not probable that English archers
alone could resist German troops in a pitched battle. German
infantry has deservedly acquired a high reputation.
The expense of such an army as is required in a war with
France is so great that it is beyond his power to maintain it
unassisted. Is willing to pay more than one half the expense,
although the war is not a Spanish but an English war, and
all the conquered provinces are to be handed over to the
King of England. His love of the King of England is so
great that he would himself bear all the expenses of the war,
if he were rich enough to do so.
A subsidy of 100,000 crowns is rather a small aid in so
great a war, all the advantage of which will accrue to the King
of England. It is not his habit to promise things which he
cannot fulfil. To do so would be to defraud his allies of
their money. Leaves that to a certain other prince who
promises great things to his allies, takes money from them,
and afterwards does not fulfil his promises, because he cannot.
Does not like to accept money from his son, the King of
England. Begs him, therefore, to send his own paymasters,
who may pay the German troops in his (the King of England's)
This measure would also in other respects be of great
advantage. The inhabitants of Guienne would thereby be
convinced that the enterprise is really not a Spanish, but an
English one. The people of Guienne like the English, and
still remember the good times when they belonged to the
crown of England. They have no affection for the Spaniards.
Besides, if the German troops are paid by the King of
England, he will always have it in his power to carry on
war or to conclude peace, as he likes.
All these reasons induce him to think that it is desirable
and even necessary that one half of the troops which are to
invade Guienne should be paid by the King of England. It
would cost him less than the commander-in-chief, the 8,000
troops, the other captains, and the artillery which the King
of England had formerly sent to Spain. But even if the
expenses should be as great as those of the 8,000 English troops
who were then in Spain, it must be borne in mind that his
(King Ferdinand's) expenses will be still greater. Does not
ask more than this, because he knows that the war in Normandy
will cost the King of England a great deal of money.
If the King of England will pay 6,000 Germans, he (King
Ferdinand) will promise to furnish all the men-at-arms, the
whole of the light cavalry, the rest of the infantry, the miners
and sappers, and the artillery ; he will also take upon himself
all the extraordinary expenses. That will be twice as much as
the King of England will have to pay. Would do more if he
If the King of England should say that he will send
English troops instead of paying the 6,000 Germans, he is
to answer that until the English are better practised in
the art of modern war, they are, in his opinion, incapable
of rendering the same services as the Germans. It would,
consequently, still be necessary to add a considerable number
of German troops to them, in order to render victory secure
in a pitched battle. But if Spanish, English, and German
troops were combined in one army, the disputes and quarrels
between the soldiers of the three nations would be endless.
The English are rash and quarrelsome, and the people of
Biscay and Guipuzcoa are not always governed by reason.
The English are disliked by them, in consequence of some
excesses which they committed when they were last in
Spain. The English, on the other hand, do not seem to like
the Spaniards, since they refused to stay any longer in
Spain. Thus, as it would be necessary to assemble the whole
army in Biscay and Guipuzcoa, it would scarcely be possible
to prevent hostilities between the different nationalities, if
the army contained an English contingent. Advises, therefore,
the King of England to conquer Guienne with Spanish
and German troops only, and afterwards to send English
troops to garrison the conquered places.
With respect to the fleet, he is to tell the King of England
that there is no necessity for the Spanish navy to be as strong
as the English fleet. The English fleet is to remain in the
northern seas, and the Spanish fleet in the southern waters.
If one of these fleets were in danger, it would be a matter of
course that the other should succour it. Should the King of
England find that the number of ships stipulated in the last
treaty of alliance, are not sufficient to hold the northern seas,
in such a case he could increase his own navy. It does not
seem necessary to sign new articles in this respect.
If the King of England approves his proposals, the copy
of the treaty which he will find enclosed in this bundle may
be signed. He is to see that nothing be added to, or expunged
from it. He is to remind the King of England
that he (King Ferdinand) does more for him than one prince
has ever before done for another. The King of England must,
therefore, be thankful and not attempt to offer less than
is demanded. If the King of England says that Spain
would at all events go to war with France, he is to answer
that Spain is easy to defend, but France difficult to conquer.
If he (King Ferdinand) undertakes to conquer Guienne,
he is obliged at the same time to have an army and a
fleet in Italy, to keep strong garrisons in the towns of
Africa, and to provide the fortress of Perpignan and other
fortresses in that part with men and provisions.
If the King of England accepts his conditions, he (Don
Luis Caroz) is to write to him without delay. Has sent
the Knight Commander Christobal de Aguilera and Micer
Guiote, his captains, to enlist 2,000 Germans. If the
King of England signs the treaty the draft of which is
enclosed, he (the King of England) must directly send a
commission to the captains, empowering them to enlist the
German troops in his name, and to provide them with the
necessary funds. He (Don Luis Caroz) must also write
to them, and tell them to enlist 6,000 German troops,
instead of 2,000. The troops ought to embark in Flanders
for Guipuzcoa. It must be made generally known that the
troops are in the service of the King of England, who must
send with the same fleet on board which the troops embark
as much money as will be necessary for their punctual pay.
The German troops are to be paid as long as the war lasts,
and one month longer, to give them time to return to their
Has ordered Juan de Lanuza, his ambassador in Flanders,
to hire ships there for the transport of the troops. The King
of England is to pay for them.
The King of England must immediately get his own army
in readiness, and invade France punctually at the stipulated
time. To do it later would be a great error.
If, however, the King of England does not accept the
conditions he proposes to him, he is not, even then, to
break off the negotiations entirely. Wishes first to see what
result his other proposal, respecting a general peace, will
have. Promises solemnly not to conclude peace with France
without the King of England.
Doctor Knight has at last arrived. The English ambassadors
declare that they have not the power to conclude the
treaty in its present form. Has given them a copy of it.
He is to inform the King of England of the contents of this
despatch. If the King of England accepts the conditions
contained in it, he (Don Luis Caroz) is to sign the treaty
at once, as he has already a power to do it.—No date. No
The despatch is superscribed : "Don Luis Caroz."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 16.