Spain: August 1496

Pages 114-122

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

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August 1496

17 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
147. Isabella to Henry VII.
Certain English merchants have freighted Spanish vessels. When they were ready to sail the Bishop of Badaioz had detained them and ordered them to sail under convoy of the fleet of Doña Juana, who is going to her husband the Archduke Philip, as the voyage is very dangerous on account of the many French ships now at sea. If the English merchants complain of the delay, Henry is asked to excuse the Spanish captains. —Laredo, 17th of August 1496.
Spanish. pp. 2.
18 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
148. Queen Isabella to De Puebla.
Has written to Henry about the Spanish captains whose vessels were freighted by English merchants, but detained some time in order to sail under convoy of the fleet of the Infanta Juana. De Puebla has to take care that they are not made responsible for this delay.—Laredo, 18th of August 1496.
Indorsed : "To Doctor De Puebla, &c."
Spanish. p. 1.
18 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
149. Queen Isabella to De Puebla.
Will write to Henry about certain Spanish captains whose vessels have been freighted by English merchants, but kept back by her command in order that they might sail with the fleet of the Archduchess. He must beg the King to excuse the said captains for their delay.—Laredo, 18th of August 1496.
Addressed : "By the Queen to Doctor De Puebla, her ambassador in England."
Spanish. p. 1.
18 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
150. Queen Isabella to De Puebla.
The Queen.
Doctor De Puebla, my counsellor and ambassador.
After it became known that Arnao, the courier, was taken at sea, and all the despatches lost which he was carrying, except the short one which you received through the master of the ship, of which you sent the copy, (and I do not know why the others should not have been preserved in the same way,) I ordered a triplicate of the despatch to be made. It will be sent in this letter, the duplicate of which has been already taken by another messenger, whom Diego Lopez Dayala despatched from Fuenterabia, and which was returned for me to look at.
Having read your dispatches of the 13th of June, which I received to-day, some comments have occurred to me upon what has been written. I now give them in order to enlighten you further upon the subject. I also wish to speak to you about some other things respecting which you have written to me.
Proposal made by the King of Scots to Ferdinand and Isabella.
The comments I have to make are these :—You have already seen what was said in the foregoing despatch with regard to the proposition made by the ambassador of the present King of Scots to the King and Queen of Spain. He desires, namely, that we should be pleased to give the said King of Scots one of our daughters, and offers to contract a perpetual alliance with the King of England in such a manner that he may always be sure of him who is called Duke of York. You are also aware of the answer which we gave him, and of our having sent a message to Don Pedro de Ayala by means of our ambassador. Lastly, you know what we wrote to you respecting the terms in which you would have to speak to the King of England.
Their answer.
Now, in order to explain everything to you more fully, we have to tell you that the Princess (fn. 1) our daughter, is very determined not to marry, on which account we are obliged to give the Infanta Doña Maria to the King of Portugal. Of the Infanta Doña Katharine it avails not to speak, seeing that, if God will, her marriage with the Prince of Wales will be concluded by your means. However, if we had had another daughter left us, we would have gladly given her to the King of Scots, in order the more effectually to gain him over to our side. We should, moreover, have been desirous to do a thing which would have been so pleasing to the King of England, whose interests we look upon as identical with our own.
However, considering that in the circumstances such a course will be best, we have adopted the expedient which you will see set down in the above-mentioned triplicate ; that is to say, we are resolved to send the King of Scots our said ambassador to keep him in suspense as much as he is able. So that while these matters are in debate some form of truce, as extensive as practicable, may be settled between him and the King of England, the King of Scots giving security for what has to be done.
Truce between England and Scotland.
Also, in order to settle affairs between us and the King of England, our ambassador will, during this period of the truce, stipulate for the marriage of the King of Scots to the daughter of the King of England, which matter, as is due to the concord and friendship subsisting between them, we will forward as though the business were our own. Moreover, Don Pedro de Ayala takes this express commandment from us, namely, to obtain as much as ever he can, negotiating everything in conformity with the wish and by the advice of the said King of England. Tell him all this from us, and see what he thinks of it ; for if it appear to him that we ought to seek and obtain anything more, let him say so, and show how we ourselves may procure it.
To the abovesaid Don Pedro de Ayala you shall give constant information of all that occurs here, as he also shall give to you. Thus you two, having an understanding with one another, and you knowing by his despatches the state in which these affairs of Scotland stand, can either urge or retard the progress of matters, as you shall see is most consonant with the success of the business, and the following out of the objects which you know we have in view.
Alliance between England and Spain.
To be kept secret.
With regard to the affair of our alliance and amity I have noted all that passed between you and the King of England, and the persons deputed to discuss the affair. We are inclined to think that the reasons why the matter has been so much noised abroad are such as you mentioned. The more, therefore, that this becomes known, the more necessary it is to take care that, at any rate, the conclusion of it should be managed with the greatest secresy. Thus the more credit that can be preserved with the King of Scots, with a view to procuring what is suitable from the King of England, the more secret will be the conclusion of our alliance and amity. To this end I advise that you should continue your negociations with the King of England (since you say that he shows so much inclination thereto), so that he may conclude and confirm the matter without the knowledge of the Commissioners or any one else, excepting some one person in whom he has the utmost confidence, and whose good intention cannot be doubted. Moreover, the business must be carried on in such a way that it may not be known or suspected that anything of the kind has been done.
If you cannot improve the conditions of the marriage as regards the point on which I wrote, do not mind it. In that case pass it in the form which has been agreed upon, only take care about what I have written respecting the custom house duties.
The King of the Romans and the Archduke to be excepted in the alliance.
With regard to the affair of our alliance you must not forget to make exceptions of the King of the Romans and of the Archduke, with whom, on account of the relationship subsisting between us, there is nothing further to be done. Above all, I give you strict charge to conduct the affair with the utmost possible secresy, as is necessary, for the reasons stated above.
Rupture between England and France.
I noticed all that took place between you and the King of England in presence of his council and of the ambassadors of Venice and Milan, respecting his coming to a rupture with France by sea. Of a truth we were astonished that he should deliberate so much respecting such a matter. For as to the inconveniences caused by his affairs in Scotland, they do not appear to be such but that the advantages to be gained by entering into the league, and by coming to a rupture, are much greater.
Advantages to Henry of entering into the league.
This is more especially seen when the kind of alliance which will subsist between all those belonging to the league is taken into account, in addition to our own relationship. Therefore, taking all this into consideration, there is nothing to be feared from those things which he seems to dread. Moreover, by entering into the league the King of England will gain over the Pope, who is at the head of it, and who will then be favourably disposed to him in his affairs, and especially in the business of the Duke of York, a consideration not to be lightly esteemed. You ought, therefore, to obtain as much as you possibly can, using all the reasons and persuasions stated in the triplicate, so that he may at any rate make war by sea.
I pass over what you wrote to me about the King of England having sent to require the King of France to desist from the enterprise he has in hand ; for although it is little to have merely said that unless he would do so, he on his part would not fail to do that whereto he was bound ; yet since by this time he ought to have the answer of the King of France, perhaps through that, and by your means, he will have determined to come to a rupture.
Unsatisfactory answer of the King of the Romans to Henry.
Conjointly with this matter you ought to endeavour to come to a conclusion respecting the affair of the league, so that the said King of England may enter into it. With regard to this matter it is occasion of surprise to us that you should not have written what conditions are required in order that he may enter. For there was no reason why you should omit to mention things of so much importance and substance. You ought also to have advised us of all particulars, and of the answer that the ambassador of the King of England, who was with the King of the Romans, brought. For I am told here that it was not couched in such terms as we desired it should be ; therefore it may be that it was that which has caused him not to wish to enter into the league upon equal conditions. Perhaps also some of those belonging to the house of the King of the Romans may have put obstructions in the way on account of their being partisans of the Duke of York. If it be something of this kind which has been done, and which is not in conformity with the wishes of the King of England, let us know at once in what the difference consists, and what it is that the King of England desires of the King of the Romans or of those of the league. Put the whole in writing, and send it to us, that we may take upon ourselves the task of negociating the business in the same way that we should if it were our own affair.
Duke of York.
Concerning your wish that he of York were in our power you can assure the King of England that we will employ ourselves in the affair as in one that concerns ourselves. What we wrote in the letter of which we sent you a copy was not of such a nature as to furnish you with any reason for understanding it in the manner you did, for there was nothing in it which conveyed any such meaning.
Embassy sent by Spain to France for that purpose.
As to the other affairs mentioned in the aforesaid triplicate, it is not necessary to say anything more respecting them, except that, besides the cause for which I wrote, namely, to inform you what you should say to the King of England, I have also to add this. You must state that, in return for both times that the King of France sent his ambassador to us, we have once more granted the sending of an embassy to him, and that two of our messengers have already departed. The cause whereof is this :—He sent his ambassadors to us twice, as abovesaid ; and although they came about things of little importance and less effect, and in fact to put us off with ridiculous impostures and trivialities ; yet that he might have no grounds for saying it was he who had obtained peace, attributing to himself that which we have desired and procured, and in order that neither by word nor in deed should he take advantage of it, nor have any colour for saying so, we have sent him these messengers to advocate the preservation of the states ... (fn. 2) with God and the world, and so much the more that for a thing concerning so greatly the service of God ... good of Christendom. Moreover, in order, if it were possible, to avoid all the many evils and calamities which follow upon war, not only would we send one and more embassies, but, if necessary, we would even go in our own person, sparing ourselves no trouble whatever. You shall say also to the King of England that, in addition to the other embassies which we have sent to him in times past, we have granted the sending of these messengers for the aforesaid reasons, and to exhort and entreat him to make peace by way of arbitration, or by any other means that can be found. For we only wish that he should be content with his own, and leave what belongs to others, since by not acting thus all the wars, evils, and injuries which have been done, and are doing, and shall be done, will be laid to his charge, as they have been hitherto. Times enough we have sent to him to say this, and to persuade him to this, and the reason why we speak in this manner to the King of England is, that if anything of a different kind should be said to him, he may know that this is certainly the truth.— Laredo, the 18th August 1496.
I, the Queen.
By command of the Queen.
Johan Coloma.
It is understood that what you will have to write to Don Pedro de Ayala must be done with the greatest secrecy and concealment, in order that the King of Scotland may not know that there is an understanding between you, for it would do great injury to all the negotiations.
Given die, loco, et anno quibus in litera ultima dico novissime confecta.
Ex regnali mandato.
Johan Coloma.
Spanish. Written in two keys of cipher, one of which is extant. Deciphered by the editor.
19 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
151. Queen Isabella to Henry VII.
The Infanta Doña Juana is going to Flanders to her husband the Archduke Philip. Henry is asked to receive her and her fleet well, if she should be obliged to enter an English port.—Laredo, 19th of August 1496.
Addressed : "To the most illustrious King of England."
Spanish. p. 1.
20 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
152. Queen Isabella to De Puebla.
The fleet which is to take her daughter the Archduchess to Flanders, and to bring back her daughter the Infanta (Margaret of Austria) to Spain, will sail the next day. Hopes that they will be treated by English subjects at sea, or, if they should enter an English port, in England, as though they were the daughters of Henry VII. himself.—Laredo, 20th of August 1406.
Addressed : "To Doctor De Puebla."
Spanish. pp. 3.
20 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
153. Queen Isabella to De Puebla.
Has forbidden the exportation of iron and other things to France during the time of war with that country. All captains who sail from Spanish ports must therefore give security that they will not carry their freights to French ports. Certain English captains who have laden their vessels in the port of Laredo with iron, &c. have been retained because they have been unable to find the necessary securities. Has given orders to have them released on their oaths not to carry their merchandize to France. If Henry will promise, in a letter signed by him, and sealed with his seal, that his subjects shall not carry on trade between Spain and France, they may be exempted from the obligation of finding security in Spain.
Respecting the other negotiations pending in England, he is ordered to bring them to a speedy conclusion.—Laredo, 20th of August 1496.
Addressed : "To Doctor De Puebla, &c."
Spanish. pp. 3.
21 Aug.
B. M. MS. Vitell. C. XI. f. 52.
154. Queen Isabella to De Puebla.
Wrote to him prior to receiving his letter of the 13th of June, desiring him to use more diligence in communicating to her all that occurs.
Henry asked to give a cordial reception to the Archduchess Juana and Princess Margaret in case of need.
Has come to Laredo with the Archduchess her daughter, in order that she may embark thence for Flanders. She is already gone on board, and the fleet is ready to set sail. Has written a letter, which he is to deliver to the King of England, asking him to give a cordial reception to the Archduchess and the fleet, in case it should be obliged, by stress of weather, to put into an English port. Also requests Henry to give the like reception to the Princess [Margaret of Austria], who will return in the same fleet from Flanders to Spain.
Enjoins him to send her a reply by the courier who takes this letter, and who is leaving in a ship despatched solely for the purpose of conveying him to England.
Don Pedro de Ayala and the Scotch ambassador are on the point of embarking for Spain. The latter being afraid of falling into the hands of the English, she has therefore nominated him her own ambassador. Has, however, desired Don Pedro to destroy the document as soon as they have made the passage. Acquaints De Puebla with this order that he may know what the nomination signifies.—Laredo, 21st August 1496. (fn. 3)
Spanish. Copy. pp. 2.
Printed in Gairdner's Memorials.
22 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
155. Queen Isabella Of Spain to De Puebla.
Doctor de Puebla, my ambassador.
After having written my last letter I found by the letters of some persons who have come from Rome that it has been declared there that the King of England has entered into the league.
Conduct to be pursued by De Puebla should Henry have entered the league.
If it be so, and he has really entered, you must strongly urge the affair of the matrimonial alliance and amity. You must, moreover, do this in such a way as is consonant with the obligation which we have incurred to the King of England through the league, and he to us. We have, in especial, to uphold and aid one another in matters affecting our states against all persons whatsoever, with the exception of the Pope, the King of the Romans, and the Archduke.
Inducements to be held out to Henry in order to persuade him to make war on France.
But if the King of England should not have entered into the league, in that case act in conformity with what was written to you on the subject. At any rate if you should see that he shows any signs of making war upon France, and of coming publicly to a rupture, or at least of permitting and giving permission to his subjects and his ships to treat the French as enemies, then it appears to me that, in order to gain him over more entirely to come to an open rupture, you should speak to him in the following manner. Tell him that matters might be so arranged with the Pope as that he should give him a crusade in his kingdom, he presenting to his Holiness either the half of what it would produce, or perchance he might prevail on the Pope to be content with a third, in which case the larger proportion would be his. Say to him, moreover, that we ourselves would obtain this for him, taking it in hand as though it were our own affair.
By means of this, and such other inducements as you may think it well to hold out, you ought, using all the means in your power, to be able to make him adopt the course we wish him to take.
Last night at midnight the armada set sail, the weather, thanks to God, being favourable. May it please Him very quickly to bring it to the desired haven, as He has the power to do.
I have already written to you as to the course you will have to pursue with the King in case the illustrious Archduchess, my daughter, with the armada, should put into an English port, and also as regards the return of the illustrious Princess. See to it with the care that such an important matter demands, and send off this courier immediately with an answer to all that I have written to you, and with a full account of all that may have taken place, in order that the vessel may not be detained. For it is sent for nothing else, excepting to convey the said courier to England, and it is to wait until he returns hither.—Laredo, 22nd August 1496.
I, the Queen.
Johan de Coloma.
Addressed : "By the Queen to Doctor de Puebla, her ambassador and counsellor."
Spanish. Written in two keys of cipher, only one of which (that in Roman numbers) is extant. Deciphered by the editor.
24 Aug.
S. E. Cor. Cast. L. 1 and 2. f. 358.
156. Queen Isabella to Cartello, Courier.
Orders him to overtake the fleet of the Archduchess, and deliver letters to her chaplain. That done, he must go to Southampton, leave his despatches there, and proceed on his journey, by land or by sea, to the King of the Romans.— Laredo, 24th of August 1496.
Spanish. pp. 2.
25 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
157. Queen Isabella to De Puebla.
The Queen.
Doctor de Puebla, my ambassador.
That which follows is the copy of my letter to you which was written thrice by my own hand. Since then we have heard that the ambassador of the King of England, who is at Rome, has made a treaty with the ambassadors of the league, and that the King of England has joined it ; also that the publication will take place in December next.
Entry of Henry into the league.
De Puebla is to treat about the marriage of the Princess Katharine and the articles to be concluded secretly.
This intelligence has given us much satisfaction ; and as we find that the conditions are not quite equal, if he do not give his aid immediately in the war against France, I desire that you should at any rate manage to gain little by little for us in this matter. I also wish that immediately afterwards you should treat for the marriage of our children ; for it appears that there is not at present any King in the world who has a daughter to whom he can marry his son excepting ours. Moreover, it will be more advantageous for him than any other alliances could be, on account of our vicinity to him. Thus, whenever he might deem it necessary he could have this fleet, which you may have seen, at his disposal, and even a greater, should it be judged requisite.
For although such a thing has not been stipulated, certain it is, that the matrimonial alliance having once been agreed upon, we should thenceforth regard his interests as identical with ours.
If the King of England be willing, let the articles of the marriage treaty, as they were first agreed upon, be confirmed. But do not let the clause respecting the customs be incorporated in it. See that the business be immediately concluded, and withal so very secretly that no one in the world may know of it, except some very confidential secretary. Take care also that you except from it the Pope, the King of the Romans, and the Archduke ; for it will not be a matter contrary to their interests, for us to defend his kingdom against any one whatever.
Affairs of Scotland.
In the affairs of Scotland take heed that whatever you write to Don Pedro de Ayala it should be with so much secrecy that the King of Scotland may not discover that he holds any communication with you. This is requisite in order to the progress of these affairs. Reply to me immediately ; for, in order that I may receive an answer at once, I send this by a special messenger.—Laredo, 25th August 1496.
I, the Queen.
By order of the Queen.
Johan Coloma. Fiat.
Addressed : "By the Queen to Doctor De Puebla, her ambassador and counsellor."
Spanish. The letter is written in two different keys of cipher mixed up with one another. One of the keys (Roman numbers) is preserved, the other is not extant. The deciphering is by the editor.


  • 1. Doña Isabella, widow of Don Alfonso, hereditary prince of Portugal, was married a second time to her second cousin, Don Manuel, King of Portugal, in the year 1497.
  • 2. Paper gone.
  • 3. The date is written in the following manner : "xxi. dias de Agusto XDVI. años."