Spain: August 1502

Pages 276-286

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

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August 1502

10 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 4. f. 43.
Restitution to be made of the dowry of the Princess of Wales.
342. Queen Isabella of Spain to De Puebla.
We have received your letters of the 22d of June, in which you inform us of the course that ought to be pursued in order to oblige the King of England to make restitution, within the year, of the 100,000 scudos which he has received of the marriage portion of the Princess of Wales, as he is bound to do ; also what must be done in order that the Princess may have and hold and enjoy (...) (fn. 1) her jointure, as is reason she should. Likewise you have informed us it has been your opinion, from the first, that she was entitled to receive her rents, amounting to 25,000 scudos, immediately ; and that you had been given to understand this by the King of England himself, and by the Archbishop of York, his commissioner. All this is very clearly set down, and in conformity with what is settled, and we look upon the means you have employed as a service done to us.
Now, the King of England being willing to fulfil that which is obligatory upon him, as we consider it very certain that he will, we having so speedily and completely fulfilled cur obligations towards him, it will not be necessary to seek for other means in order to constrain him to fulfil his obligations to us. Moreover, since Ferdinand, the Duke, is acquainted with our wishes respecting everything, and has been written to afresh respecting matters which he will communicate to you, there is nothing more to be said here, excepting that you must place entire faith in him, and give him credence as to the Queen herself.
Unfavourable report made of De Puebla.
The little favour manifested towards you by the Princess of Wales, our daughter, respecting which you speak, has been caused by some unfavourable report which must have been made to her about you. However, I am writing to her now in accordance with your entreaty, and also to Doña Elvira.
Conduct expected from him.
Now that Ferdinand, the Duke, is in England, Don Pedro will not be able to hinder you from creating that "new world" in the affairs of our service respecting which you have written to us so many times. Moreover, as you are aware, when the last treaty was settled, you wrote to tell us it was much to our advantage, and that you had served us greatly in it. Since then, you have made the said treaty, and have given us to understand the same thing. Therefore, you will be obliged to conduct the affair in such a manner that it may be brought to a conclusion in conformity with what you have written. Observe always that which I desired you should, namely, to avail yourself of the aid of Ferdinand, the Duke, in whatever may have to be accomplished If there be any service in the world to be done for us it is surely this ; so remember that now that the time is come for you to reap the fruit of your labours, you must not let it pass, according to what will be told you more at length by Ferdinand, the Duke. Give him credence, and place entire faith in him.—Toledo, 10th August 1502.
Signed : I, the Queen.
Signed by Coloma.
Addressed : "To the Doctor."
Written in two different keys of cipher, constantly mixed up the one with the other. The keys are not extant. The deciphering is by the editor.
10 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 4. f. 44.
Departure of the Princess of Wales for Spain to be urged.
343. Queen Isabella to Ferdinand, Duke de Estrada.
Since we wrote our other letters, which are sent with this letter of the (blank) of July, it appears that the negociation is so much damaged that if we were to move in the affair of the bethrothal, or if it were to come to the knowledge of the King of England, it would be attended with very great injury. I, therefore, command you, because it is very necessary, that you press much for the departure of the Princess of Wales, my daughter, so that she may immediately come here. You must say that the greater her loss and affliction, the more reason is there for her to be near her parents, as well for her consolation, as on account of her age. For, you know that no other Princess ever endured more grief than the Queen-Princess (fn. 2) when she was widowed, or led such a sad and such a bitter life on account of the death of her husband as she did. It was on that account that, immediately on our sending for her, she came hither from Portugal, although she had good houses and an estate there, where she might have remained. The King of Portugal likewise greatly desired that she should stay in his kingdom wherever she liked. Besides, the Princess of Wales can show the sense she entertains of her loss better here, and give freer vent to her grief, because the customs of this country better permit it than do those of England.
You shall say to the King of England that we cannot endure that a daughter whom we love should be so far from us when she is in affliction, and that she should not have us at hand to console her ; also it would be more suitable for a young girl of her age to be with us than to be in any other place. While telling the King of England that we know very well that where he and the Queen are, she would not lack either father or mother, you shall also add that we greatly desire to have her with us, urging whatever else may seem meet to you with a view to this. You shall request the King of England to give you authority to bring her here, and to appoint some principal person of competent age, who shall be fitted for such an office, to escort her hither.
Ships to be freighted.
You shall, moreover, tell him that you have commandment from us to freight vessels for her voyage. To this end you must make such a show of giving directions and setting about preparations for the journey, that all the persons belonging to the household of the Princess may believe that it is true. Send, also, some of the members of her household on board with the captain I am now sending you, and make arrangements with him about the freight, and show all other signs of approaching departure.
Persons to accompany her.
If the King of England shall say to you that he cannot appoint any principal person to accompany the Princess, you shall tell him that we have desired you immediately to let us know. We will then send competent persons to the seaside, that they may accompany her from the place where she disembarks ; and we will give directions for such persons to depart immediately to be her escort.
Restitution of the marriage portion.
Moreover, you shall speak without delay about the restitution of the 100,000 scudos of the marriage portion. We have now to inform you what the law has decided with regard to the question, in order that you may declare it, although it be a thing so notorious that it was not requisite. You shall say, how much, and with how great reason, we are astonished to learn that the King of England should pretend to say he has any doubt about a matter so clear, and so well known, and so undoubted. For neither the laws, nor reason, nor custom, nor honesty, can endure that after so great a loss as the Princess of Wales has suffered, her marriage portion should be taken away, instead of her jointure given her, as is done in similar cases. Of a truth, a thing of such a kind as is asserted by the King of England was never before seen or heard of, or demanded ; and it has excited so much surprise in us that we can hardly believe he has said it. For being, as he is, so virtuous a Prince, so truthful, and such a friend to justice and to reason, and of so honourable a character, we cannot believe that he will refuse to do and perform towards us and the Princess all that he has promised.
If he should refer to the treaty, then you shall say that since all the laws oblige him to make restitution of the marriage portion, and of this there is no doubt, he must point out the article of the treaty which says that, in this case, he is not bound to make restitution of the portion. Such an article is not to be found in it.
Answers to be made if King Henry objects.
If he say that although the laws and universal custom oblige him to the restitution of the portion, yet that, according to the laws of his kingdom, he is not bound to do it, then you shall tell him that we are not acquainted with the laws of his kingdom. But of a truth, in the same way as he is not subject to the laws of our kingdom, as little are we subject to the laws of his kingdom, nor can they, in such a case as this, free him from the obligation to do that whereto he is constrained by law. Therefore, tell the King that we pray he will resolve to do this as being a thing which is obligatory upon him. For we never thought, nor do we now think, that it will be necessary to press for the fulfilment of a thing which he has promised to perform, but that he intends and will do it of himself. It would be, in fact, inhuman of us to think otherwise, or to suppose that he can be intending to despoil of the portion which she brought with her, a Princess, the daughter of such monarchs as we are, and who has met with such affliction since her arrival in his kingdom. Even between faithless enemies it is not to be believed that such a thing could be done or thought of ; and how much less between Christian Princes, friends and brothers, such as we are. At any rate you shall insist on having the Princess consigned to you, together with the portion that she took with her.
For the present you shall not speak about the affair of the camera or dotalitium, or donatio propter nuptias, in order that the one affair may not cause embarrassment to the other, and that they may the more readily believe we desire the Princess to come to Spain.
Betrothal of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
If, while urging the abovesaid two things, they should speak to you about the betrothal of the Prince of Wales with the Princess, you shall hear what they have to say, and ask how it is to be done, and in what manner, and all the particulars, not showing any desire for it, or any good will towards it. If they merely mention it, however, in order that you should talk about it, then, without going so far as to press it, say that if it be not proposed only in order to delay the departure of the Princess, you will consult us about it. You must, in that case, put down all particulars of the business, so that if we think well of it there may be nothing more left to deliberate upon. In this manner, without showing that you have any wish that the matter should be urged, as soon as you have brought it to the point we have mentioned, you can conclude and agree about it without consulting us any further.
But if the matter should not arrive at that point, then you shall press, at any rate, for the coming hither of the Princess and the restitution of the portion, appearing as if you had nothing else to negotiate, and afterwards consult with us.
Three matters to be obtained in connection with it.
In case the said betrothal be agreed upon, be on your guard to see if you can prevail on them to conclude the three matters about which they are making difficulties.
Firstly, that in case the Prince die before the Princess, the said Princess, with all that belongs to her, and her attendants, may go to Spain, or whither they please, without asking leave of the then King, and that he shall not place any hindrance in her way. Also that she may enjoy and carry away with her the jointure she would have had, if she had remained in England.
Secondly, that you make it binding, and settle it very clearly, that in case of the dissolution of the marriage without issue, and in case that one or the other should die before the marriage be consummated, the King of England and his heirs shall restore immediately to us, or to our heirs, all that may have been received of the said portion.
Thirdly, that in case of the dissolution of the marriage as abovesaid, by the death of the Prince, the Princess shall hold and enjoy all that it may be agreed she shall have, in lieu of the third part of the principality and the duchy (of Cornwall) and earldom (of Chester) all the days of her life, wherever it may chance that she desire to be and remain.
But in case that you should not be able to bring about both these two last-mentioned matters of the restitution of the portion, and of the enjoyment of that which may be settled upon her, after having done all you can to obtain them, then you must stipulate that it shall be left to the Princess to choose whichever of these two things she may like best. Namely, either to enjoy that which shall be settled upon her, or to have the portion restored ; and thus the matter must be managed.
I have sent hence two of my letters of authority for you : a general one, enabling you to freight ships of any country whatever ; the other, to freight those of our own subjects only. Make use of them as may seem best to you for the above-mentioned demonstrations of departure, and for nothing beyond, unless it be in case of necessity.
Course to be pursued with De Puebla.
After having spoken to Doctor De Puebla about the matter respecting which we wrote in our other letter, go with him to the King of England, and if he does not desire to go, on account of Don Pedro being present, let Don Pedro depart. Then ask the Doctor, in the presence of the King of England, if there has been any secret writing, or other thing of which we are not aware, which releases the King of England from the restitution of the portion ; because if Doctor De Puebla were to speak, the English would not in such case be able to conceal it.
Having observed the state in which this business stands, and all that passed between you and Don Pedro Ayala, and the great things which the Doctor promised to do as regards the affairs of our Lord the King ; having also considered what you say of his interference, and what the Doctor himself writes, telling us that he desires to amend that in which he has failed, we do not know what to say about his vanity. But as you have matters under your own eyes, you will be able to see what is most advantageous for the settlement of affairs, and to know whether the coming of the Doctor to Spain is needful. In virtue of our letter of credence which you have for him, you can say that he is to come here because we desire to make use of him about some other matter ; or, on the other hand, you can keep him and make use of him. In case the Doctor should come, let him take a bill of exchange for the two thousand ducats which you told us he would be obliged to have, in order to get away.
Importance of bringing the betrothal to a conclusion.
Finally, the one object of this business is to bring the betrothal to a conclusion as soon as you are able, and in conformity with the directions given you respecting it. For then all our anxiety will cease, and we shall be able to seek the aid of England against France ; for it is the most efficient help that we can have. It is in my interest that you have to bestir yourself, and you must employ yourself in it in the way that I look for from you ; for, if you desire to do me any service, you cannot do me a greater in the world than this.
Post datum.—From the contents of your letter respecting Doña Elvira, and by her letter, I see that she did not understand what you told her respecting the command you had received to confer with her. You know, however, that my intention was that you should protect Doña Elvira as being our deputy. Give your countenance to her in everything she may desire to do, so that every one may obey Doña Elvira. Do not allow her to be forced to give up, by a hair's breadth, the charge held by her and Pedro Manrique. Tell her this, and conciliate her.—Toledo, 10th August 1502.
Signed : I, the Queen.
Signed by Coloma.
Addressed : "To Ferdinand, the Duke."
Indorsed in the hand of the Duke de Estrada : "I received this at Windsor, the 8th of October."
Written in two keys of cipher. Only a fragment of one of these keys is extant. The deciphering is by the editor.
10 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 4. f. 45.
344. Queen Isabella to Ferdinand, Duke De Estrada.
Since the letters which my lord the King and I wrote to you, dated the 2nd and 14th of the present month, and which you will have seen (the duplicates of them having been sent from here), we have received your letter of the 1st of June. We have learnt by it your arrival in England, and that the Princess of Wales is in good health ; both of which circumstances it has given us much pleasure to hear, for of a truth we have been very anxious about her.
To this your letter there is no further anwer to be made than to give thanks to our Lord, and to desire you to use much diligence in all the affairs which have been entrusted to you. Bear especially in mind the matter respecting which we gave you directions in the last letters which we sent to you ; for you will see how important it is to our interests.
Dowry of the Princess of Wales to be restored.
Likewise, we have seen since then, a letter from Doctor De Puebla, dated the 23rd of the present month of June, in which he says that the King of England is obliged to restore to us, within one year, counting from the day when the Prince of Wales died, the 100,000 scudos of the portion which we gave the Princess of Wales. He tells us also, that the King of England is obliged to give the said Princess her jointure and her dowry, in order that she may enjoy the same during her life, as was stipulated. Moreover, the King is bound to provide for the Princess all that may be necessary for her, and even more if she should desire it ; all which seems good to us, and in conformity with your instructions.
Having the matter before your eyes, and being best able to judge what will either injure or advantage the business, if you shall see that the Doctor is honest with regard to our affairs, and the things which we desire to have, you shall make use of him. Do the same with Don Pedro in case you can make him useful.
If you should find that the Doctor manages the business well, tell him how great is the service he is rendering us, and that by it he will set the seal to all that he has worked for. But, above all, endeavour, as we have written to you, to have the affair of the marriage settled immediately.
Conduct of the King of France.
We wrote other letters to you on the 10th and 25th of the present month. You will have seen by those letters, and by the memorial which we sent you by the captain of the ship, how great has been the effrontery shown by the King of France in making war upon us, not only in Apulia, but in sending a large body of troops to our frontiers of Perpignan and Fuenterabia with the covetous desire to seize upon our possessions.
Letters from M. Gralla.
Since then we have received letters from Monsieur Gralla, written at Asti on the 3rd of July, in which he says that the King of France does not wish or intend that the differences between us should be submitted to the arbitrament of the Pope and the College of Cardinals, as he had formerly demanded, and to which we, for the sake of the preservation of peace, had consented ; nor does he wish they should be placed into the hands of any other person. Neither does be like to enter into negociations respecting the partition of the kingdom ; but as to the Capitanate of Apulia there can be no question that it is ours.
The King of France says, however, he will listen to nothing, unless we give him the Capitanate of Apulia, which clearly belongs to us ; and unless we pay him the expenses of his army, though we have spent twice as much as he.
All this he proclaims with much pride, and with uplifted voice ; and, not content with this, he has commanded an embargo to be laid, and has already laid one, on all merchandize and ships in his kingdom belonging to our subjects. Moreover, before the embargo was carried into effect he had given orders that such of his subjects as were trading in our realms and seignories should immediately depart from our coasts ; thus showing clearly his evil intentions towards us, and that by no reasoning, or any means whatever, was he to be dissuaded from making war.
King Henry required to prepare troops in aid of Spain.
You shall, therefore, tell the King of England all this, and entreat him, on our part, to fulfil that which, by the treaty of peace and alliance made between us, he is bound to do. And you shall desire him to prepare a goodly number of troops in his kingdom, in order that when we send for them, conformably with the treaty, they may be ready to come over and form a junction with our army. At any rate you shall endeavour to prevail on the King of England to write to the King of France, reproving him soundly for this business, and telling him that if he bring the rupture to pass he will be obliged to come to our aid, seeing he is bound thereto by the treaty of peace and amity which has been made between us.
Guienne and Normandy.
If, by means of the Doctor, or in any other suitable way, you should find that there is a disposition in the King to recover Guienne, tell him that he will never have a better opportunity for doing so. Remind him that the house of France gained it by our means, and it may be that now we might be induced to restore it to the House of England, whose it was. Let him know the power we have to do it by making preparations in Biscay, saying what may seem to you most to the purpose in the matter. If he seem to be willing to enter into it, and if it should be requisite that other and stricter treaties of alliance should be made, confer about it, and consult with us.
De Puebla, his promises.
Princess of Wales, revenues to be given her.
We believe that in all these matters Doctor de Puebla will be able to aid you much, especially in case the King take in hand the business of Guienne and Normandy. But, on account of his intimate knowledge of the King of England, he may do great injury in the business ; therefore take heed not to give him any cause of dissatisfaction, but rather make use of him in all matters in which you may see he is able to advance our interests. Tell him that he must be aware he has written to us many times, saying that if it had not been for Don Pedro he would have already made a new world in England as regards our affairs. By acting thus the Doctor will not dare, nor will he be able, to hinder you, but will rather further the matter as much as he can, because he knows that many times he has written to us that he had much advanced our interests in the last treaty, and had done us much service. Even as late as the 7th of June, he said that we must write desiring him to prevail upon the King to make restitution of the dowry within one year, as by right and reason and universal custom was obligatory upon him. Also that we should instruct him to induce King Henry to give to the Princess the third part of the revenues of the principality, with the dukedom (of Cornwall) and the earldom (of Chester), in order that she might enjoy them freely. He said, moreover, that they ought to be estimated at the 22 or 23,000 scudos which our ambassadors told us they were worth ; the said Doctor presupposing that that would be done which he now desires. Make experience of him, therefore, and see whether he be a good servant ; for all that we have asked being so just and reasonable, as well as having been agreed to and sworn, he is bound to bring everything to a happy conclusion. By conducting himself in this matter in the way which we expect, he will receive the fruit of all his labours in time past, and if he do not act in this way, the contrary will certainly be the case.
Therefore, say to him everything that may seem most to the purpose, in order that the said Doctor may do his best to aid you in every way he can, and that the business may be concluded which we have sent you to England to carry out.—Toledo, 10th August, A.D. 1502.
Signed : I, the Queen.
Signed by Coloma.
Addressed : "By the Queen. To Ferdinand, the Duke, her maestre sala, counsellor, and ambassador in England."
Indorsed in the hand of the Duke de Estrada : "Received in London the 14th of September. It came by way of Flanders."
In two different keys of cipher. Only a fragment of one of the keys is extant. The deciphering is by the editor.
21 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 4. f. 52.
Statement to be made to King Henry concerning Guienne and Normandy.
345. Queen Isabella to Ferdinand, Duke De Estrada.
Since the King of France has broken, and every day is breaking in many ways, the treaty agreed to between us more and more, and because we believe that he cannot find any excuse for the rupture he has made, I command you that, setting aside all other things, you should do your best to bring the marriage to a conclusion, and to induce the King of England to undertake the recovery of Guienne and Normandy. You shall, with this object, ever more and more assure him that we will assist him to the utmost of our power ; he on his part promising to do the same for the defence of our possessions. Endeavour to prevail upon him to make as great demonstration of war as you can. By the next post we will write at length to you.—Toledo, 21st of August 1502.
Signed : I, the Queen.
Signed by Coloma.
Addressed : "... in and Duke."
Indorsed by the Duke de Estrada : "I received this on Tuesday, 18th of October."
Written in two keys of cipher. Deciphered by the editor.
25 Aug.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 4. f. 52.
346. Queen Isabella to Ferdinand, Duke De Estrada.
On account of this courier setting out with haste, I shall say nothing about the matter respecting which I wrote to you on the 21st of the present month, desiring you to communicate with Don Juan Manuel about the business of Suffolk, that it may be settled as the King of England desires. For, in all the despatches we wrote so earnestly to Don Juan about it that we are astonished it is not concluded. Therefore, inform Don Juan of the conduct he has to pursue, since Suffolk cannot pass into France or any other country without falling into the hands of the King of England. I believe, moreover, that Don Pedro is a man who will serve us well in this affair of the war [against France].
See what will be most suitable for the advancement of the business, and do everything that may seem most fitting to bring it to a conclusion.—Toledo, 25th of August, A.D. 1502.
Signed : I, the Queen.
Signed by Juan Coloma.
Addressed : "To ... (fn. 3) Duke."
Written in two keys of cipher. The deciphering is by the editor.


  • 1. One word unintelligible. As the word is underlined in the cipher, it is probable that De Puebla himself could not make it out, and that it has been an error committed by the transcriber.
  • 2. Queen of Portugal.
  • 0. Sic.
  • 3. Paper gone.