Spain: 1491

Pages 35-40

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

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1491. 26 May.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
Affairs in Brittany.
Recall of Spanish troops.
59. Isabella to Doctor De Puebla.
Virtuous and intimate friend. When 3 (their Highnesses) (fn. 1) ordered their 87 (troops) to leave 136 (Brittany), 81 (the treaty) of 64 (peace) was concluded and proclaimed between 8 (the King of France) and 188 (the King of the Romans). It seemed, therefore, well that they should come and repose here, since they were not wanted 82 (in Brittany). 97 (the troops) were no longer able to sustain themselves, being entirely unprovided. The contrary winds at 162 (sea) had 39 (not) permitted their Highnesses to send them the money, which was ready in Bilboa. As they were 39 (no) longer able to support themselves, it was necessary that they should return, and 3 (their Highnesses) gave the orders, of which you have been informed by Don Martin, their chaplain. They were persuaded that they should be able to send in the present 72 (month) more 114 (succour), and bad already decided to send 74 (additional) 97 (troops). It would not have been difficult to do so if 97 (the troops), when recalled, had returned without loss of time. But the Bretons had so long delayed giving them the necessary transports, that they arrived 156 (just) at the moment when it was time for them to return with other (troops). They were in so wretched a condition that it was necessary to spend, on their equipment, a great part of the money destined for the said 74 (additional) 97 (troops).
Such being the state of things, events have happened, of which you are acquainted, and for which 3 (their Highnesses) are very sorry, but which they intend to remedy as though the affair were their own. Great preparations are necessary, for 97 (troops) must 39 (not) only be sent to those places where they are wanted, but war must also be made against the 163 (armies) of 8 (the King of France) in the other parts of his 171 (dominions). Moreover, the state of things in 102 (Granada) must be well considered, since they can 39 (not) leave the places there unprovided for, without evident danger of 91 (losing) all they have 92 (gained) in 102 (Granada). 232. (But) although 439 (aid) was formerly promised, after the business of 102 (Granada) had been provided for in the usual manner, their Highnesses intend 146 (now), in consequence of what has happened, to occupy themselves without loss of time with this matter. In order to be at liberty to do what is necessary, without considering the question whether the towns of 102 (Granada) be 90 (conquered) or 39 (not) 90 (conquered), they are constructing a 88 (fortress) there (fn. 2), in which they intend to have good 97 (troops), and all that is necessary to 94 (besiege) 102 (Granada), or at least to watch her so closely that it shall 39 (not) be necessary to 94 (besiege) her now. The edifice is already in such a state, and the work is being carried on with such expedition, that within one 72 (month) and a half it will be finished, with the help of God ; and no further danger need be feared ; so that 4 (the King) (as abovesaid) will be at liberty to occupy himself with what is of more importance, without being in future detained by the business of 102 (Granada), as he has been hitherto.
King of France, his machinations.
Of all this you must 89 (give) a full account to 10 (the King of England) in order that he may see how great has been the zeal of 3 (their Highnesses) for 178 (Brittany) and ... (fn. 3), and that he may know why their 97 (troops) can 39 (not) 42 (at present) enter on the campaign, and also that he may be made aware of the great efforts 3 (their Highnesses) are now making and intend to make in order that, the business of 102 (Granada) once settled, nothing may prevent them in future, by the blessing of God, from doing what they have to do for the 29 (good) of all. You must likewise beseech the said 10 (King of England) to consider ... (fn. 4), and to all, and how necessary to 3 (their Highnesses) it is, first to provide for this (which is of so much importance to them) in order to be at liberty 147 (hereafter). You must ask him to send such 114 (succour) and such forces, where they are necessary, as that 78 (the Duchess of Brittany) be 39 (not) 91 (lost), but guarded from all losses and inconveniences, till he (Ferdinand) come in person or send succour, and their Highnesses be at liberty to occupy themselves with all that is necessary in this affair. You must further inform him of the manner in which 8 (the King of France) and 9 (Madame de Bourbon ?) are accustomed to make those, whom they wish to disunite, suspicious of one another. For this purpose they do not cease sending 40 (ambassadors) to 3 (their Highnesses) who can 39 (not) help [it], and must return an answer. Even 146 (now), it is said, he is sending an 40 (embassy) consisting of a prelate and a knight, and 3 (their Highnesses) are sure he does 39 (not) do it 38 (if) 39 (not) for 78 (the Duchess of Brittany), and to entertain them, and also to sow suspicion and 64 (distrust) between 3 (their Highnesses) and their friends. They believe that he does the same with 10 (the King of England) in respect to 3 (their Highnesses). Tell him all this, and send his answers directly to 3 (their Highnesses) by the bearer of this letter, who is sent for no other purpose.—26th May 1491.
Addressed : "To my special friend, Doctor De Puebla, ambassador in England."
Indorsed : "Ad literam in verbis Latinis explanavi et significavi à 10 (à el Rey de lnglaterra—Regi Angliœ.)
Spanish and Arabic numbers used as cipher. (fn. 5) pp. 5.
12 Sept.
B. R. V. 3686. ff. 119, 120.
60. Ferdinand and Isabella to the Archdeacon Of Zamora and the Bachelor Sasiola.
There is a difference between the treaties which have been concluded and the instructions they have now taken with them. If, as is probable, Henry VII. be inclined to accept the stipulations of the former treaty, Ferdinand and Isabella would much prefer it.
They must take the greatest care to amend the clause respecting the merchants.
They will find a cipher alphabet in this letter, of which they may make use, if anything important occurs.
From the Royal Camp before Granada, 12th of September 1491.
Spanish. p. 1.
25 Oct.
Fr. R. 7 Hen. VII. m. 16. (13.)
61. Henry VII. to D. De Castro.
Licence to Didaco de Castro, merchant, of Spain, to trade in all places in amity with England.—Westminster, 25th October.
Latin. p. ¼.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 1. Treaty between England and Spain.
62. Projected Treaty between England and Spain.
A treaty has been concluded on the 27th of March between England and Spain respecting the marriage of Katharine and Prince Arthur, and mutual war against "the Prince of the French, who styles himself King of France." The exact time when the war is to begin—the manner in which it is to be conducted—the time at which the Princess is to be sent to England, and the first instalment of her marriage portion paid, — and the question whether her ornaments and jewels are to be deducted from the portion, remain unsettled. Ferdinand and Isabella on the one part, and Henry VII. on the other part, have therefore agreed upon the following clauses :—
1. As Henry, after the 27th of March, has concluded an alliance with the King of the Romans against the "Prince of the French," it is thought desirable that the clauses of both treaties, in so far as the war against France is concerned, should agree together. It is therefore concluded, that—
King of France.
2. If Charles invade any territory belonging to England or Spain,—or undertake war by land or sea against either of the said countries, —or if any French subject make such war, and adequate reparation cannot be obtained from Charles,—or if the duchy of Brittany be attacked by France, the injured party may declare war against France, and formally make known his declaration of war to the other uninjured party. If, moreover, within one year after the said announcement, the injured party personally invade France at the head of an army sufficiently strong to sustain itself and to carry on the war in France, the other shall do the like at the same time, each party paying his own expenses.
Duchess of Brittany.
If the Duchess of Britany be attacked, it is sufficient that she make war against France to the best of her power.
Either of the contracting powers is excused from continuing the war, if Charles restore to Spain her counties of Roussillon and Cerdaña, and to England the duchies of Normandy and Aquitaine.
3. Charles has offended all his neighbours, despoiled many of their patrimony, and even usurped territories belonging to Spain, England, and Brittany. Ferdinand and Henry, therefore, bind themselves, directly after the lapse of three years, or earlier if convenient, to declare war against Charles, and in their own persons to invade France with an army sufficiently strong to sustain itself, to repel the enemy, and to conquer the territories which Charles has taken from them. This war is to be carried on by land and by sea for the space of two years without interruption, unless England conquers earlier, and obtains possession of Normandy and Aquitaine ; and Spain of the countries of Roussillon and Cerdaña.
If Ferdinand or Henry should be prevented by insuperable impediments, such, for instance, as severe illness, from invading France in his own person, he is to send an army as strong as it would have been had he commanded it in person, and to select an able captain for it.
4. If the war against France should, for any reason, be put off to a later time, all the other clauses of this treaty are to remain in full force, even if the prorogation shall be agreed upon by simple letters which do not bear the great seal.
5. During the space of three years from the date of this treaty either of the contracting parties is at liberty to conclude truce with France, except in case war has really begun.
6. Conquered towns, &c. are to be restored to their rightful proprietors.
Marriage of the Princess Katharine.
7. As soon as Prince Arthur shall have completed his fourteenth, and the Princess Katherine her twelfth year, she is to be sent to England at the expense of her parents, in order that their marriage may take place.
The marriage portion is to consist of 200,000 scudos (4s. 2d. each), of which sum 100,000 scudos are to be paid within four days before or after the celebration of the marriage, 50,000 scudos within the next, and the remaining 50,000 within the second year. The payments must be made in England either in coin or vessels ; and ornaments of gold and silver must be estimated according to their value in England at the time of payment.
8. All these clauses to have full force notwithstanding all stipulations to the contrary in former treaties ; but such clauses of the former treaty are to remain in force as are not abrogated by this treaty.—No date.
Indorsed : "The treaty which the King of England asked and desired to conclude with my sovereign Lords, the King and the Queen of Spain."
Draft. Latin. pp. 19.
22 Nov.
P. R. O. Fr. R. 7 Hen. VII. m. 26. (3.)
63. Henry VII.—Articles respecting a War with France.
1. The King of England and the King and Queen of Spain bind themselves to declare war upon France before the 15th day of April next ensuing. King Ferdinand and King Henry promise to invade France in their own persons, at the head of an army sufficiently strong to withstand the enemy, and to conquer all the provinces usurped by the King of France. The campaign is to begin before the 15th of May, or at least before the 15th of June next ensuing.
2. Should any difficulties arise, the term for the invasion of France may be postponed.
3. In all other respects the treaty of the 27th March 1489 remains unaltered.
4. Henry binds himself punctually to fulfil all his obligations arising out of this agreement.
Westminster, 22nd November.
Latin. p. 1, in print.
Printed in Rymer.
S. L. de B. Vol. xiii. f. 155. Impositions to be levied by the Pope.
64. Pope Innocent VIII. to Peter Husa, Archdeacon Of Northampton.
Greeting and benediction to the King of England. He is to show the brief.
The finances of the Apostolic See are in a very low state. Has, therefore, as in other kingdoms, for instance, in France, already levied a tenth on the clergy. Wishes to do the same in England, and asks the permission of Henry. He must inquire with great subtlety and great secrecy (so that no one else may know of it) whether Henry be inclined to permit the imposition.
He must afterwards go to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, give them the papal benediction, and explain the whole matter to them, saying that His Holiness hopes they will assist him.—No date.
Latin. pp. 2.


  • 1. It is very common, when writing in cipher, for the writer to speak of himself in the third person. "Their Highnesses" always mean "King and Queen of Spain."
  • 2. Santa Fé.
  • 3. One number which is illegible.
  • 4. Two numbers illegible.
  • 5. The cipher, to which no key has been communicated to me, does not occur in any other document still extant. As it is impossible to reconstruct the key to it from this short letter, my interpretation of the cipher is based only on the general meaning of the sentences in which it is employed. For these reasons I considered it my duty to translate the letter at full length, in order to enable the reader to form his own opinion. I may remark that some numbers are so badly written that they are illegible.