Spain: October 1504

Pages 331-337

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

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October 1504

23 Oct.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 11.
401. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Most high and most mighty Princes, the King and Queen's Majesties.
After kissing the royal feet and hands of your Highnesses, I have to inform you that I had already written much at length to your Highnesses respecting all that had then taken place, sending my letters, as well by way of Calais over land, as by Fuente Rabia. But for the sake of more certainty, I will not only tell you what has occurred here since then, but will also repeat what I wrote in my other letters to your Highnesses.
Enquiry made by De Puebla respecting the French ambassadors.
I have lately been with the King, who was staying at a place 30 miles from here ; and will now tell your Highnesses all that passed between myself and him. As he never remained long anywhere, but was travelling nearly every day, I asked him during our journey, it being the first thing which I desired to learn, for what purpose the French ambassador, who had been staying so many days with him, had come. He replied by asking why I wished to know. I answered, that in accordance with the friendship, and amity and brotherhood subsisting between your Highnesses and him, it appeared to me to be a very reasonable thing to ask, and that it was even incumbent upon him to make it known to your Highnesses. Therefore I entreated him to tell me, that I might be able to signify it immediately afterwards to your Highnesses.
Reply of Hen. VII.
He replied that there was much reason in what I said, but that he begged I would write with great secresy about the matter to your Highnesses, which I promised him I would. He then said that the coming of the ambassador was on two accounts ; the first was, that the King of France had been informed that the King of England, at the instance of the King of the Romans and your Highnesses, was intending to make a descent upon France. Therefore the King of France had sent to him to say he could not credit it, after the treaty which had been sworn to and stipulated between them, but that he desired to be assured of it anew, because many persons had certified him of the contrary.
King of France desires a perpetual peace with Spain.
To this the King of England had replied, after much consultation and deliberation about the matter, that neither the King of the Romans, nor your Highness, had required such a thing from him, and much less was he himself intending to break the treaty sworn to between them, if the King of France kept it. In consequence of this, however, the King of England had talked about many things with the ambassador, wishing to find out and see in what position the King of France stood towards your Highnesses as regarded a perpetual peace. The ambassador had replied to the King much at length, and had given him full information about the matter, having received instructions from his King as to what he should say in such a case, if he were asked. The conclusion which he said he had come to was, that the King of France really desired, and truly wanted, to make a perpetual peace with your Highnesses, if any way could be found which would enable him to do so without prejudice to himself, but that your Highnesses were not willing to give him his share of the kingdom of Naples, or even the least recompense or compensation for it.
The King also said to me that he had held out many incentives for peace to the ambassador, such as the forces by land and by sea which your Highnesses possessed ; the treaty which had been made between your Highnesses and him and the King of the Romans ; and your Highnesses having as sons the Archduke and the King of Portugal, whom neither he nor they could prohibit from being the defenders of your Highnesses.
Judging, therefore, by what passed between the ambassador and the King of England, it appeared to me that if the latter had desired to mediate this peace, the ambassador would willingly have consented. If, when the ambassador was in England, I had known this, I would, on my own responsibility, have entreated the King to be willing to act as mediator ; but as I was not aware of it, and the business had not then been placed in my hands, I could not act, or take more on myself than I did. Moreover, if I had meddled with the affair, Ferdinand, the Duke, would have been ill satisfied with me.
Course to be pursued.
Your Highnesses will judge whether it would be well that he should ask the King, on the part of your Highnesses, to be willing to negociate this peace, so that when the ambassador returns here the peace may be obtained. It appears to me that such a course would not prove impolitic, especially if your Highnesses were to send instructions and means for bringing about the peace. For, by our Lord, I tacitly understood from the King that the Ambassador was provided with full powers to make it.
Proposed marriage for Prince of Wales.
The other cause for which the ambassador came, was, the King told me, for the purpose of bringing about a match between the sister of the Dauphin d'Angoulême and the Prince of Wales. To which the King had replied, that nothing could be done in that matter, for that a marriage had been concluded with the Princess of Wales, and that they were already wedded.
King of France and King of the Romans.
The King swore to me, on his soul, that the ambassador had acquainted him with nothing of importance excepting those two things ; and also that the King of France was endeavouring to conclude a peace with the King of the Romans. The condition proposed was that he should not afford succour to your Highnesses in the matter of Naples, he on his part giving no aid to the Duke of Gueldres, or the Count Palatine. But the King of England had felt certain that such a thing could not be accomplished with the King of the Romans.
After this, he spoke to me about the negociation respecting vessels. Upon which I showed him the resolution, with regard to the document in Latin and French, which had been sent to Ferdinand, the Duke. On his having read it he immediately replied that, in his opinion, your Majesties had only asked what was just and reasonable, and that he did not doubt but that when he was at Richmond, where he was going to stay for fifteen or twenty days, such an expedient would be found, his Council agreeing thereto, as would content me, and with which your Highnesses would also be satisfied. Accordingly, I laid the document, drawn up by your Highnesses, before his Council, assembled at Richmond ; and after many conferences, and much debate, the conclusion was arrived at, with which the King acquainted you in his letter sent from here. In my opinion, it differs very slightly from what the King said it was, and from what your Highnesses desired, according to what I have written more plainly and at greater length in another letter to your Highnesses. I entreat you to consider what may be most for your service, and to let me know.
Marriage with the Queen of Naples.
I next spoke to the King, much at length, about his marriage with the Queen of Naples, your Highnesses' niece. With regard to this matter I am perfectly certain he wishes it as much, and even more, perchance, than your Highnesses, judging by what I have observed in him, and the pleasure with which he spoke of it, and which was not occasioned merely by what he heard from me. But, to avoid prolixity, I will say nothing more now, excepting that he desires it, notwithstanding that he told me of the death of the Duke of Savoy, and spoke much of the Duchess and her widowhood. But that will in no wise hinder the marriage, God willing.
Henry VII.'s wishes respecting it.
A picture of the Queen to be sent.
The King, moreover, begged me to write to your Highnesses, telling you he had not yet decided to take to himself a wife. Yet, for the sake of your Highnesses, he was inclined to do it ; and as he should be at Westminster, which is near London, at the Feast of All Saints, he would then confer about the matter with the chief persons of his kingdom, and would give me such an answer as would content me. Your Highnesses may verily believe that he really wishes the marriage ; only it is the habit of this monarch to conduct all his affairs with much gravity and deliberation. And until his answer has been clearly given the terms to be made cannot be entered upon or spoken of, neither can the subject of the dowry be mooted. I will bring him as quickly as ever I can to the point, and will use all diligence in informing your Highnesses immediately of the result. Meantime, I humbly entreat you, if it be possible, and if it should not be considered an improper thing, that you would please to send me, as quickly as may be, a picture of the said Queen, pourtraying her figure and the features of her face, painted on canvas, and put in a case. Let this, moreover, be done very secretly, and the picture sent to me by your Highnesses, without the Queen of Naples, or her Serene Highness, the Queen her mother, knowing or suspecting anything about it. I say and ask this because the King greatly desires it, if I may judge by the very particular questions he asked respecting the Queen. Also let me be informed of her age. If this matter be concluded, as I hope to God it may, the Queen her mother will have to come here to reside.
Closer treaty of amity.
Item : With regard to a new and closer treaty of amity, it has not been possible to bring it to such a point as I could rest satisfied with, beyond what the King said to me and to Ferdinand, the Duke, lately, and of which you will have been made aware by my letters. I very much hope to be able to do more. But, if your Highnesses remember, I wrote to you more than once respecting the wish which the King entertains to bring about a marriage between his daughter and the eldest son of their Highnesses the Archduke and Archduchess. I also said that a chief and very principal person at court, very near to the King, assured me that if such a marriage could be arranged, the King of England and his kingdom would make war upon France at the pleasure of your Highnesses. You may likewise remember that although he gave me many assurances, I did not, and would not, believe him at all, and that I had looked upon it merely as talk. I have not, therefore, given up endeavouring to obtain the bringing him to the point, in the matter of defensive, as well as offensive war, and will advise your Highnesses of all that occurs.
Household of the Princess of Wales.
Doña Elvira Manuel ; present made to her.
Item : The King told me that, a few days previously, he had been informed of what had lately been done as regarded the office of the ushers, and the government of the Princess and her household, and that in his opinion it had been well arranged. He also said that not, for a great deal, would he have the Princess learn that he had known of, and taken part in this business. Your Highnesses may rest assured that even if I had not found the means I did for accomplishing this matter, the King of England would have had no desire to meddle in it, for it appears to me that in nothing does he wish to cause dissatisfaction to the Princess. The arrangements that have been made are satisfactory, and every day, God willing, will become more so, especially if your Highnesses will send instructions to Juan de Cuero that, as regards the camera which he has the charge of, nothing should be done or expended against the wishes and opinion of Doña Elvira, as first Lady of the Bedchamber, being consulted, and that he should account to her for what has been spent. Your Highnesses may be assured the liberality of the Princess is so great, that all that I have mentioned is quite requisite in order that Doña Elvira may hold the reins of government in her hands. Of a truth your Highnesses are right in feeling no anxiety so long as the Princess has such a person near her ; and, as far as lies in my power, I will increase her authority. By way of a beginning I took her a head-dress from the King, a St. Peter in gold, which the King never sends excepting to her Highness the Princess, or to her Highness his mother, or to his daughter the Queen of Scotland, or to such like personages. This head-dress was not given her in secret, but in presence of the Princess and of her ladies, in order to invest her with as much authority as I could. If it should be agreeable to your Highnesses, it would also not be impolitic if, in order to recompense Doña Elvira, who would esteem it as a signal favour, your Highnesses were to direct the order of Santiago to be given to Don Inigo Manrique her son, equerry in chief to her Highness the Princess. For, by the faith I owe to God, and to your Highnesses, he is a very excellent person, and honourable, and worthy of such a favour.
Affair of Suffolk.
The King also spoke to me about Suffolk, telling me how the Duke of Gueldres was keeping him imprisoned in a fortress, and had asked a large ransom for him, which he could not think of giving. For, in his opinion, it would be very derogatory to his royal authority, especially as the King of France had a hand in the business. Besides, if he were to give the money he would not even then get possession of him. Moreover, he showed signs of dissatisfaction with the King of the Romans on account of his having driven Suffolk away, and put him in the power of the French and of his enemy the Duke of Gueldres. He said, moreover, that he doubted he would do the same with the other brother who was in his empire ; and prayed your Highnesses to write about the matter, and make such provision as would oblige the King of the Romans to give him up for the sake of your Highnesses. By thus enabling him to make an example of him to his kingdom, he would esteem it a great matter, in order to be able to make an example of him to his kingdom, he would esteem it a great matter, for to make him an example to his kingdom he would esteem if a great matter, for to make him an example to his kingdom he would esteem it a great matter. (fn. 1)
Dispensation for the marriage.
Item : I heard from the King that, notwithstanding what the Pope had written to him in his brief, the copy of which is enclosed, the dispensation had not yet been despatched. But he cannot tell whether the cause was that his ambassador, by whom the Pope said he would send it, was ill, or whether the delay had been occasioned by the French. He said, moreover, that your Highnesses must not, on your side, neglect so important a business.
I will get her Highness, the Princess, and Doña Elvira also, to write.—London, 23rd of October 1504.
Your Highnesses' humble servant, &c.
De Puebla.
Addressed : "To the very high and mighty Christian Princes, the King and Queen."
Indorsed in the hand of Almazan : "To their Highnesses, from Doctor De Puebla, 23rd of October 1504."
Spanish. In cipher, the key of which is not extant. Deciphered by the editor.
29 Oct.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 89.
Duke of Gueldres ; his designs.
402. Archduke Philip to Henry VII.
Has lately received his letters in answer to those which he had written to him about his cousin of Gueldres, begging him not to lend money to his cousin of Gueldres, because the money would be employed against him (the Archduke). Thanks him very much for his promise not to lend money or show favour to his cousin of Gueldres.
His cousin has only one hope, which is to get a large or small sum of money from England, for the delivery of the English rebel. (fn. 2) If he succeed in that, he will make the Flemish rebels believe that he has concluded an alliance with England, and even perhaps an alliance against Flanders.
The rebel, Suffolk.
Thinks that there is no necessity to buy the rebel for money, as he is incapable of doing harm. The brother of the rebel (fn. 3) is still at Aix la Chapelle, and has begged a safe conduct in order to come and speak with him. Has not granted the safe conduct, because he does not like to treat with an enemy of the King of England. Thinks that the King of England, in accordance with the alliance between Flanders and England will assist him instead of lending money to the Duke of Gueldres. Writes to him like a son to his father. A father will never do harm to his son.
Affairs of France.
Does not write about the affairs of France, which have been much delayed on account of the treaty of peace with Spain. The King and Queen of Spain are at peace with France. Has also concluded peace with France. The marriage of his son of Luxemburgh is safe. The King and Queen of Spain have concluded a truce of three years in the kingdom of Naples which remains theirs.
King of the Romans.
The King of the Romans had written a letter to him (Henry VII.), but received no answer. The King of the Romans, on the 18th of the present month, conquered the town and fortress of Coopstan, and executed the captain and almost the whole of the garrison for the treason they had committed. —Alost, 29th of October 1504.
Addressed : "To the very high, very excellent, and very powerful Prince, my much beloved cousin and father, the King of England."
Indorsed : "Copy of the letter which the King (fn. 4) Don Philip wrote to the King of England on the war with Gueldres."
French. Copy. pp. 5.
29 Oct.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 88.
403. Archduke Philip to Henry VII.
This letter is a Spanish translation of the same letter.
29 Oct.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 90.
404. Archduke Philip to Henry VII.
Another Spanish translation of the same letter.


  • 1. Sic in original.
  • 2. Edmund De la Pole.
  • 3. Richard De la Pole.
  • 4. Isabella of Spain died on the 26th of November 1504. On the 29th of October, Philip was therefore not as yet King of Castile. But he had already assumed that title in the treaty of Blois, which was concluded on the 22nd of September. He called Ferdinand the King of Spain.