Spain: July 1496

Pages 107-114

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 1, 1485-1509. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1862.

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July 1496

2 July.
MS. Egert. 616. f. 4.
140. Petrus Carmelianus Brixiensis (fn. 1) to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Thanks them for the letters he had received from them years ago, and excuses himself that he has not earlier answered them. Is of opinion that the marriage (fœdus istud affinitatis), so long time treated for should soon be concluded.—London, 2nd of July 1496.
Addressed : "To the most serene Princes Ferdinand and Isabella, King and Queen, &c."
Indorsed by Almazan : "Secretarii Regis Angliœ, 2 Julii, anno 1496."
Printed in Gairdner's Letters, &c., vol. I., p. 100.
6 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
King of France.
141. Ferdinand and Isabella to De Puebla.
Have been informed that the King of France is assembling a great army, in order to return to Italy. The Pope is very much afraid, and has asked them to prevent this expedition. Ferdinand has therefore gone to the frontiers of Catalonia, and there assembled a powerful army. Isabella remains near the frontiers of Navarre, in order there to superintend in person the preparations for war. She likewise intends to send her daughter, the Archduchess, (fn. 2) to Flanders.
Now is the right time for Henry to show his devotion to the Pope.
Henry is asked to give orders that all English vessels which may meet with the fleet of the Archduchess on the seas should show her respect, and give her assistance if necessary.—Almazan, 6th July 1496.
Indorsed : "Draft of what was added to the letter to Doctor de Puebla, which was sent in two copies ... (fn. 3) by a messenger who left Almazan on the 6th of July. It was directed to Diego Lopez de Ayala, to be forwarded by him in a vessel which he kept ready."
"This letter was sent in two copies, which makes in all three copies. The third was sent on the 25th of July by Alvarez by a courier from the baths of Cervera to Laredo, where his Highness is staying."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 2½.
10 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
Proceedings of the King of France.
Entreaties to be addressed to Henry VII.
142. Isabella to De Puebla. (fn. 4)
This letter is written to Doctor De Puebla by the Queen, with her own hand, because the Pope sent ... that it were written by the Queen with her own hand in cipher ... I am astonished that you ... so much write to us ... in his business ... most serious as you write ... that it is profitable (?) also to the King of England ... that it can be proposed to the King of England to ... the property of the Church with which ... treat the Pope as his sacristan and ... we have now heard that the King of France assembles as great an army as he can ... and to Genoa, and to Milan ; and, considering the weakness of Italy, there is no doubt but that he will very soon conquer it if the King of England, and the King and Queen of Spain, do not henceforth assist it effectually. We have the intention to do so, with the help of God. The King of England will see how much reason he has to do ... and if he is not able to do it in person, he may be pleased to send his fleet to ... and give permission to (his subjects who) are inclined to arm vessels, and make war against France ... in time. You must, therefore, very earnestly insist with him ; and, having authority from the Pope, the King of the Romans, and us, you must request him, in the name of all of us, to send succour without delay, and not to permit the Church to be trampled on. You must speak not only to the King, but also to all Britons, (fn. 5) and instigate and interest them in this matter, showing how much they are obliged to do for the Church, and how unbecoming it is, how derogatory to their honour, and how disgraceful to them it would be, if, being enemies of France, they should permit the French to conquer Italy, and devastate and occupy the States of the Church. If the King of England says that he cannot oppose the King of France because of the boy who is now in Scotland, you must say that just because of that boy he must ... and if he refuse ... taking the Pope, and we are strong enough effectually to assist him, and can send so many Princes to his aid, and if we all press the King of France, as we would do if the King of England declared himself in favour of the Pope, and for the league, he (the King of France) whatever pains he might take, could not assist the so-called Duke of York to do the least harm to the King of England, because as often as he wishes ... send as often assistance as he wants it. If, therefore, he assist the Church, and defend her from the danger in which she now stands, he will have it in his power, with the help of God, to do what he likes with the King of France. He can either make him concede part, if he do not wish to do him more harm, but only to prevent him from taking what belongs to others, and from destroying and setting on fire the whole of Christendom, as he has hitherto done ... the conclusion ... of the King of the Romans and ours, because you have already received the power of the King of the Romans. You have not written to us that ... the embassy of the King of England which went ... because if we had known it we could have procured it to be done. But if all is not yet done, and the embassy is not sure to return with an answer to his taste, let us know it without loss of time, and send in writing what the King of England wishes. We will see it done as though it were our own business. Send us a very long and very clear account of the whole business, and write us such a despatch as we expect from the Doctor De Puebla. We do not expect that you will send us a worse despatch than our other ambassadors, who all send us very good despatches on all things we wish to know. We expect more from you, because we know that you have more capacity than they.
Though this business is the business of God and of the Church, to defend which all we Christian Princes are obliged, there might be mixed in it something of ... our own interest ... and it will be done according to our will, with the help of God ... the King of England according to ... that ... we have always kept, and we still keep what we have ... that he might know ... February (?) we really so with the King of Scotland during all the time that he kept with him the socalled Duke of York, as now with the King of Scotland, that ... we have already said that we never had negotiations with the King of England for the conservation of his states like our own.—Dated 10th of July 1496.
I, the Queen.
By order of the Queen,
Miguel Perez D'Almazan.
The whole letter is written in Latin numbers used as cipher. The original key to it is in two copies, and is preserved in the Archives of Simancas. All the portions left in blank are utterly illegible.
11 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
King of the Romans.
143. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
The ambassador of Henry to the King of the Romans has returned. He has not observed there the least preparations for war against France, but has seen a great many of the party (secta) of him of York, and of the Duchess Margaret, especially an Italian, who is Latin Secretary to the King of the Romans, and who has great influence over him. Don Ladron, whom he met there, has made the same observation. The King of the Romans still seems very ill disposed towards Henry, and is keeping up communications with the King of Scots and him, who is now staying there. All this Henry himself told to De Puebla, saying he wished much that the Archduchess (Doña Juana) were already arrived in Flanders, and that the Princess (Margaret of Austria) would soon go to Spain. These marriages would be the only means of bringing the King of the Romans under the influence of Spain, and of securing peace between him and Henry, especially as long as the Duchess is living (Margaret of York).
Henry added that France is intriguing more than ever now, and that any delay would be dangerous.
The proposals of the ambassador of Henry (to the King of the Romans), and the answers he received, are contained in the enclosed letter of Fonseca and Albion. Lorenzo Juarez has written the same things to Spain direct. Has got precisely the same information from other sources.
Entry of Henry VII into the league.
Henry is ready to enter the league, on condition that he be at present exempted from any obligation to make war against France, or to contribute money for that purpose. He is ready to proclaim his entry into the league at Calais and in England, keeping the conditions secret. That would produce great effect. Henry will never go to war against France as long as affairs with Scotland are not satisfactorily arranged.
The King of France, when he saw the ill will of Henry towards him, and the preparations for war in England, had sent all the money due to Henry.
King of France ; his embassy to Scotland.
(Marginal note.)—He did it during the week in which the couriers to Flanders were taken prisoners. Henry said that the King of France had sent an ambassador to Scotland for no other purpose (no para al, i.e. altro) than to get him into his power. It will soon be done. The King of France said, as Henry "did not like the testimonies, stating who he is, nor wished that his father and mother should come to England, he (the King of France) will obtain him to be delivered in person." Besides, the King of France offered the daughter of the Duke of Bourbon, with a very great marriage portion, and all her rights to the succession in France, to the Prince (of Wales). Henry swore "by the faith of his heart" that he was very sorry for this French embassy to Scotland. It would not turn out profitably either to England or Spain. "If that ambassador should go by way of England, he would retain him a whole year, and not permit him to go to Scotland." Henry made all these communications to him in a park twenty-five miles distant from London, where they resided eight days together. Henry "opened his whole heart." He said that he could not understand why Ferdinand and Isabella should spend such great sums in Flanders, in order to conclude the marriage with the Archduke, and yet refused to marry the Princess Katharine in England, except on conditions. Nowhere in Christendom was she so beloved (as in England). The marriage would be a hard blow to France, since it would oblige Henry to follow Spain in all things. He had added other reasons without end, promising to accept all the conditions of the alliance as it was formerly concluded, with the exception of the clauses respecting France, which are no longer necessary, since the counties of Roussillon and Cerdaña have already been restored to Spain, and he is impeded by Scotland.
Thinks that there is not the least disposition in England to make war against France, and that the treaties must be concluded, either without that condition, or not at all.
The marriage portion.
Respecting the marriage portion, the condition that the fourth part should be given in ornaments will be accepted, but the rest must be paid in ducats, which will certainly be valued at no more than 350 maravedis, perhaps less. A letter of Henry on this subject is enclosed, and likewise a letter of the Bishop of Rochester, who is now Bishop of London.
The negotiations are very difficult. It seems impossible to conclude all the treaties at the same time. The marriage would be very advantageous to Spain. Henry wishes not only that a marriage contract between him and them should be concluded, but that, with the consent of Katharine and Arthur, the marriage ceremony should be also performed, which may be done by a dispensation from the Pope. Quotes the authority of Antonio and Juan Miles. The marriage may be concluded publicly or privately, as they prefer.
Fickleness of the English parliament.
There were never kings so much praised as they are by Henry, and by the whole English nation ; and never was an ambassador so much esteemed and flattered as he is. Nevertheless, it would not be safe to rely on anything except on what Henry himself writes. The fickleness of the court (parliament) (fn. 6) of England before their treaties are signed and sealed is notorious. They would, therefore, do well soon to conclude the treaties. Henry does not want any assistance in England. He only does not like to go to France during his quarrel with Scotland. "As far as his own kingdom is concerned, he does not esteem Scotch affairs more than your Highnesses do those of Portugal."
Spanish merchants.
Has spoken with Henry about the Spanish merchants as much as on all the other subjects together. Has encountered great obstinacy on his part. The Archduke in the last fair at Antwerp, laid a duty of a crown on English cloth, that is to say, ten times more than there. (fn. 7) Henry is suspected by his subjects of having consented to this measure, which has made much noise in England. The kings of England do not conclude treaties with foreign nations except with the consent of the nation, which gives them great firmness.
Those who are best informed say that even if a duty of one ducat were laid on each English cloth in Spain, Henry would demand the same things which he demands now. "But if they get him of York into their royal hands, the affair of the merchants will be nothing." Has done his utmost in this respect.
Thanks for the promised favours, which he deserves by his industry. Other ambassadors have made money, whilst he, though he has a daughter, has spent the little he possessed. Is in great difficulties.
Believes this letter will go by Salvador de Ugarte, who is a very faithful servant ; and as the route by Bristol is safe, it is not written in cipher. Salvador is told to throw the letter into the sea if he should be arrested.—London, 11th July.
Indorsed : "Copy of the letter of Doctor de Puebla to the King and Queen, our Lords, of the 11th of July 1496." (fn. 8)
Cipher, deciphered. pp. 10.
11 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
144. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Has spoken with Henry about the reprisals of Aldenay. Henry has already written on this subject to them and their council.
If the obligation given by King Edward be shown in the original, Henry promises to make reparation, otherwise not. The English suspect that that document is a forgery.
The English are so badly informed in this matter that "if one were to read the Bible to them, they would think it was the Alcoran."—London, 11th July 1496.
Indorsed : "To the most high and most powerful Princes, the King and Queen of Spain."
Spanish. pp. 2½.
11 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
145. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
After the other letter was written, Richmond (king-at-arms) returned from France, where he had gone to exhort the King to desist from the war against Naples and the Pope. The answer he brings is, that the King of France will send a great embassy to England (aqui), in order not only to arrange the business of Italy, but to conclude all the other negotiations pending. It is to be feared that they will make great progress. They must write directly what they wish to be done.
Indorsed : "Letter of Doctor De Puebla which he sent by Salvador de Ugarte, dated the 11th of July 1496. Received at Medina de Pumar the 30th of August 1496."
Spanish. p. 1.
18 July.
23 Sept.
Rym. XII. p. 638.
Entry of Henry VII. into the league.
146. Henry VII. Treaty with the Pope, the King Of the Romans, Ferdinand and Isabella Of Spain, and the Dukes of Venice and Milan.
The ambassador of Henry is Robert Shirbourne.
Henry VII. declares his entry into the league concluded at Venice on the 31st of March 1495. The old treaty remains unaltered in all respects, as far as the old members of the league are concerned. Henry is, however, exempted from the clauses of the treaty which oblige the confederate Princes to succour one another with a fixed number of soldiers, or a fixed sum of money. He is likewise exempted from the obligation of keeping an army always ready to repel attacks on the members of the league. But, in all other respects, he has the same rights and duties as the other confederates.— Rome, in the palace of St. Peter, 18th of July 1496. Ratified by Henry VII. at Windsor, 23rd of September 1496.
Latin. pp. 4.


  • 1. He was Latin Secretary to Henry VII.
  • 2. Juana.
  • 3. One word illegible.
  • 4. The despatch seems, perhaps on its way to England, to have fallen into water, and the wetted paper has decayed so much in the course of time that many portions of the writing are utterly illegible, and other ciphers cannot be distinguished with certainty.
  • 5. Englishmen?
  • 6. Las cortes de las principes de aca signifies the courts as well as the parliament of the kings of England.
  • 7. Alla, Spain?
  • 8. In spite of the notice at the end of the letter, and of the endorsement, the letter was sent in cipher, which is, as already noticed, deciphered by Alvarez, Secretary of State.