Spain: December 1504

Pages 342-348

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

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December 1504

4 Dec.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 40.
417. Katharine, Princess Of Wales, to Queen Isabella Of Spain.
This is a duplicate of her letter of the 26th of November 1504, to Queen Isabella.—Durham, 4th December.
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 1½.
4 Dec.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 41.
418. Katharine, Princess Of Wales, to King Ferdinand.
This is a duplicate of her letter of the 26th of November 1504 to King Ferdinand.—Durham, 4th December.
Spanish. Holograph. 12 lines.
5 Dec.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 14.
Framing of the treaty of amity.
419. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Most high and most mighty Princes, the King and Queen's Majesties.
The King has had great debates with all his nobles and his Council, and afterwards with me, respecting the treaty for a closer amity. The conclusion he has arrived at is, that according to the enclosed, (as regards what has been agreed to and settled with your Highnesses,) there can be no more intimate treaty of amity framed. For he is bound by it, each time and whenever your Highnesses' rights are invaded, to give you all succour and aid, by sea and by land, against all persons soever, without any exception, and as if it were his own affair. Moreover, he has examined many ancient alliances, and finds none of them promise more as respects defensive war. Also on no account could any assent be given at present to any proposal for defensive war, beyond what has been agreed upon.
As to offensive war there were many opinions expressed. Finally this matter was remitted until the Privy Seal, and the Principal Secretary, should have framed some articles for me to send for your Highnesses' consideration.
Articles to be deliberated upon.
Wishes of the King of England.
Offer of Languedoc to be given up to Spain by England.
With respect to the preamble we agreed very well. I send it herewith, and I believe you will not think ill of it. But on account of having, according to your wishes, asked the King and his Council to frame the said articles in such a manner that your Highnesses should not deem them unjust and unreasonable ; also on account of the ship in which these letters are sent having put to sea, and being obliged to start immediately, I have had no time to set about making better articles. The conclusion arrived at by the King and his Council was, therefore, that those articles, with the exception of the preamble, should not be sent or delivered to me without further deliberation being had upon them. They also decided that I should write to inform your Highnesses what terms they would offer, and what they wish for. Namely, that as your Highnesses have the Prince and Princess of Wales, your children, in England, who are destined, God willing, to be King and Queen of this kingdom, and as your Highnesses will have grandsons by them, it is their opinion that when the King of England desires to pass over into France to make war on the King of France, in order to recover what the Crown of England has been despoiled of, your Highnesses should bind yourselves to make war also on the King of France, in order to aid him to recover his rights. Moreover, if, on this account, and to defray your expenses, your Highnesses should desire to have the province of Languedoc, the King, with all his kingdom, would give your Highnesses all the patents and titles which the Crown of England holds in Languedoc. It is said that this province of Languedoc is the best and largest in the kingdom of France, and brings in more revenue (than any other), and that there is little difficulty in collecting it. They likewise say that when the war has begun, neither your Highnesses nor the King of England ought to make truce or peace excepting by mutual consent. They also affirm that by these means, they will inspire your Highnesses with spirit to undertake war with France in a way which, for a long time past, you have not done or thought of.
I entreat your Highnesses, even if you should not approve of this proposal, not to blame me ; for by our Lord and my salvation, I can only get all that I can for the service and satisfaction of your Highnesses. I cannot do more, for this is the most difficult people to bring to a decision that ever was seen. But as your Highnesses are very wise and enlightened by God, you will be able to provide for all, and to make such answer as may seem to you most for your interests.
Marriage of the King of England.
The King of England has written to your Highnesses, as you will see, about this article, and also about his marriage. I promised him that these his letters, and the preamble, should not be sent by land, but by sea. For the King of England wishes that, on no account whatever, should they run the risk of being seen in France, because the suspicion which the King of France entertains about him would then be confirmed, in accordance with the communication he has lately made to me, with the intention that I should tell your Highnesses what he has only written to you in brief.
Queen of Naples.
As to the match between the Queen of Naples and the King of England, your Highnesses may rest assured that a business of so much importance has not been allowed to lie dormant. On the contrary, I have spoken many times to the King about it, sometimes in private, and sometimes in presence of the members of the Privy Council. The marriage is much approved by the King and the Privy Council, and is thought a better one than any other which has been or can be offered him, search all the world over. While making this declaration, they lauded your Highnesses, on many accounts, and for many considerations, above the Cherubim.
It is true that the King has had letters from France, which he showed me, and in which he is assured that your Highnesses are going to give this lady, your niece, to the son of Don Fadrique, (fn. 1) should it be agreeable to the King of France. He is also told that the King of France did not wish for the match, and that the ambassadors of your Highnesses, who are in France, had departed, taking this answer with them from the King of France, and without being able to come to any conclusion respecting the peace.
Henry VII. desires further particulars respecting her.
I replied to all this, that I did not believe it, as your Highnesses yourselves had written to make the offer (of the marriage with the Queen Dowager of Naples) to his Highness. He answered, with all respect to your Highnesses, that such a thing might have taken place before your Highnesses made him the offer. Finally, the conclusion arrived at by the King and his Council is, that it seems a thing which ought not to be, and an improper thing, for the King to conclude such a marriage without being first certified by his ambassadors and envoys as to the person and appearance of the said Queen. For your Highnesses must know that if she were ugly, and not beautiful, the King of England would not have her for all the treasures in the world, nor would he dare to take her, the English thinking so much as they do about personal appearance. Moreover, I was told that neither the King nor his Council had seen any letters or instruction from your Highnesses, in writing, to which they might have given entire credence, but had had to rely solely upon my relation, saying that your Highnesses had always written to me in cipher. Nor had they even seen the picture which I had begged your Highnesses to send. Therefore, on account of all these things, the King greatly desired, as did also the Privy Council, that, provided it were agreeable to your Highnesses, he would send ambassadors to Valencia, or to your Highneses, about the matter, when and how and where your Highnesses might direct, and in case the request should appear to you to be a proper one.
English ambassadors travelling in Spain.
I was much against this for many just reasons ; one of which was, that I have never seen an ambassador who has gone hence to Spain, and who has not come back disgusted with that country. The cause of this is that travelling in England is like going from one wedding to another, (fn. 2) while in Spain the traveller finds no accommodation or comfort ; and this will be more the case now, if it be true that there is a famine in the country.
I humbly entreat your Highnesses to be pleased to answer me about this matter, without delay, and also about all the affairs respecting which I have written to you. For I do not doubt, God willing, that whatever your Highnesses may determine to write now, in plain words, and not in cipher, will be productive of good, especially if your Highnesses should reply to the King's letters. For, including this one, he will have written four to your Highnesses, without receiving one from you, which he much desires. And as Melchior, my servant, is in Spain, I beg your Highnesses to send me an answer to this letter by him, for he is sure to find a ship at either Bilbao or Guipuzcoa, because, on account of the corn which they are sending from here and Flanders, there are passages every day.
May our Lord have your Highnesses' lives, &c. &c.—London, 5th December 1504.
Your humble servant, &c.
For their Highnesses.
De Puebla.
Indorsed by Almazan : "To their Highnesses."
Written in two keys of cipher ; only one of which is extant. Deciphered by the editor.
5 Dec.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 12.
420. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Most high and most mighty Princes, the King and Queen's Majesties.
After having kissed the royal hands and feet of your Highnesses, I have to inform you that, a few days ago, I wrote many letters from here to your Highnesses, sending them by different routes. As I am certain you must ere this have received them, I will not repeat what is contained in them, but only tell you what has taken place since.
Princess of Wales.
Firstly, her Highness the Princess is very well, thanks be to God ; and although she has been a month at Westminster with the King, she is keeping the same rule and observance and seclusion which she did before in her own house, in accordance with the wishes and desires of Doña Elvira Manuel. This manner of proceeding is thought well of by all the kingdom, and much more by the King. For I assure your Highnesses he has commanded that she should be treated as though she were his daughter.
Order observed by her at court.
Instructions sent to her.
Your Highnesses must be informed that some persons desire to make the Princess imagine she need not observe such order and seclusion as she does at court, but that she ought to enjoy greater freedom. Your Highnesses will see this by a letter from Doña Elvira, which was given to me when I went to speak with the King, and which I enclose in this despatch. Moreover, his Highness told me plainly that he had heard something of the matter, and had declared his wishes to her Highness the Princess, telling her that the instructions sent her by your Highnesses were only such as were fitting for her honour and dignity. He had likewise told her that the commands you had laid upon her, and what you had written, must be performed, not only as long as she remained unmarried, but afterwards also. So that her Highness the Princess is fully aware that your wishes in this respect, and those of the King of England, are one. She knows, moreover, that she must not now expect anything else, notwithstanding that she had such great hope that, after the arrival of Duke Ferdinand in England, your Highnesses would not make the arrangements you have made. Finally, there is nothing more to be done in this matter, excepting that, in order to set the seal to it all, I pray your Highnesses to write to her Highness, expressing your satisfaction with all that has been done.
Marriage proposed for Doña Maria de Rojas.
Her Highness the Princess is writing at the present time to your Highnesses ; and, according to what she has told me, it is about a marriage of Doña Maria de Rojas, respecting which I desire to make known to your Highnesses what has taken place. Some few days ago the King's step-father, who was Constable of the Realm and Earl of Derby, died. He left as his heir, a grandson, the son of his eldest son, who is 22 years of age. But, in addition to what he has by right of succession from his father, he inherits from his mother, so that he is, at present, the best match in the kingdom. I have told Doña Rojas she must not venture to conclude such a match without the permission of your Highnesses, telling her what I had done in a similar case. At the same time I have not neglected to learn the wishes of the King of England ; and I find that it is quite certain he desires this marriage more for Doña Maria De Rojas than for any other lady in his kingdom. Notwithstanding, the King does not wish to conclude the matter, excepting with the consent of the family, who make some little difficulties. But even supposing that they might, in the end, consent, I would not meddle in the matter without being first directed by your Highnesses. I entreat your Highnesses, therefore, to inform me what you think will be most for your interests, and if you should decide that I am to conclude this business, it will be necessary to know what will be given with her for a marriage portion, since the property which Doña Maria has in Spain is in the hands of your Highnesses. For, if the future husband of Doña de Rojas should not be able to obtain her property in Spain, this, or any other marriage, would be impossible, even with a man possessed of much less money.
Dispensation for the marriage.
The King has heard this week that his ambassador at Rome had set off for England, and was not bringing with him the dispensation. The King showed much annoyance at hearing these tidings ; and after long deliberation and consultation, he wrote to the Pope, supplicating him for it, as your Highnesses will see by the copy of the King's letter sent herewith, and which is copied verbatim. I entreat your Highnesses also to write to the Pope, who will see how much the matter imports your service.
Three or four days ago the King of England received a letter from his Highness the Prince Archduke, which letter I have sent herein inclosed, and with it the copy in Castilian. It appears to the King unjust of the Archduke to ask him not to require his rebel to be given up to him. I have also (fn. 3) been pleased to send to your Highnesses the letters which Don Juan Manuel wrote to Doña Elvira Manuel, his sister, in order that your Highnesses may be advertised of everything. I have done so, moreover, because the King of England greatly hopes that if your Highnesses request the King of the Romans to deliver up the brother of Suffolk he will do it without much difficulty. I myself also believe it, for the King of England and the King of the Romans were never better friends than now. I desire much that it should be done, for it will be a thing much regarded and esteemed.
I commit your lives, &c. to our Lord.—London, 5th December 1504.
Your humble servant,
De Puebla.
Addressed : "To the very high and mighty Princes, the King and Queen."
Indorsed by Almazan : "To their Highnesses, from Doctor De Puebla, 5th December 1504."
Spanish. Written in two different keys of cipher, only one key of which is extant. Deciphered by the editor.
5 Dec.
S. E. I. L. 806. f. 5.
421. Preamble of a New Treaty between Spain and England. (fn. 4)
A treaty of friendship and peace concluded between Henry, King of England, on the one part, and Ferdinand and Isabella on the other part, is in full force. As, however, a new treaty of matrimony, uniting the two Royal Houses, has been of late concluded, and as another matrimony, which would even be a stronger bond of blood, is in contemplation, it is necessary that not only the old treaties be rigorously fulfilled, but also that new clauses of a more private and intimate character be added to them.
Therefore, &c.—No date.
Latin. Draft. pp. 1½.


  • 1. Frederick of Arragon. His son was Alphonso.
  • 2. Sic in the original. The meaning decidedly is, pleasantly and easily.
  • 3. Sic, though it is the ambassador who is writing to his King.
  • 4. This paper seems to be the preamble mentioned in the letter of De Puebla of the 5th of December 1504.