Spain: July 1495

Pages 57-66

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

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July 1495

19 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
98. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella, on the 30th of May, through a messenger of Diego de Soria, who promised to be at Burgos on St. John's day. Sent another despatch viâ Bristol.
The inclosure (fn. 1) of this letter contains a relation of all the essential negotiations in England.
Has spoken quite confidentially with Henry, who had explained his views, sometimes in long speeches, sometimes in few, but always in most bland words. The Latin Secretary afterwards brought a letter from Henry, and the draft of a treaty, declaring and swearing, in the name of the King, that the intentions of Henry were better than those which he had shown in his conversation, and much better than the conditions contained in the treaty. Speaks daily with all the other English statesmen concerned in the negotiation. They give him the same assurances.
Offers of the King of France.
Conduct of the King of the Romans.
"Your Highnesses may judge for yourselves whether, after the new offers of the King of France to the King of England, of which I spoke in my last letter, and the notorious enmity shown by the King of the Romans to the father of the King of England (fn. 2), the King of England has given an improper answer, especially if it be considered how badly all things are prepared (as I have written), and how the King of the Romans behaves. He did not say a word of his alliance with your Highnesses, nor did he choose to give a clear answer, or speak of the marriage of the Infanta. Before you sent hither (to England), he did not even mention his alliance with France. For this reason, the Latin Secretary made great difficulties about allowing me to copy the treaty, saying that it would be very unpleasant if the copy were taken, for every day couriers, with letters and other papers, were being intercepted. He gave me to understand that Henry had good reasons (since he was on such bad terms with the King of the Romans, the Archduke, and Flanders,) to wish to be at any rate on good terms with the King of France, the French people, and their adherent the King of Scotland, without concluding any alliance with your Highnesses." (fn. 3)
Sends a copy of the instructions which he brought from Spain, and of the answer of the King of England.
Difficulties in negotiating the treaty.
If they only wish to put off Henry and his council with vain hopes, and not to conclude the treaties with England, the best thing would be to write a letter full of "sweet things" (cosas dulces) to him. He would show it to the English, upon whom such things made a deep impression. The difficulties are very great on account of the continual offers which the King of France makes "by real deeds" (conobra a fecho) to most of the council, whilst the behaviour of the King of the Romans, who is justly disliked, is exactly the reverse.
Duke of York.
"Friday, the 3rd of July, the so-called Duke of York came to England with all the ships and troops he had been able to obtain from the Duchess Margaret, the Archduke, and Flanders. A portion of his troops disembarked, but the people rose up in arms against them without the intervention of a single soldier of the King. The peasants of the adjacent villages made great havock on the troops who had disembarked, and if the vessels had not been at hand not a single man of them would have escaped alive. A hundred and fifty were slain, and eighty made prisoners, among whom were eight captains, two of them being Spaniards, Don Fulano de Guevara (he is said to be a brother or nephew of Don Ladron) and Diego el Coxo (the Lame), the name which all the villagers gave him, saying, that the King came (fn. 4), and that he may go to his father and mother, who still live in France, and are well known ; and they hold it to be as true as Gospel, as it really is, that this affair is like that of the Duke of Clarence, who was crowned King of Ireland, and afterwards discovered to be the son of a barber. They had no great reasons for congratulating themselves, and had gone, it is believed, to Ireland or Scotland ; for it is not probable that they would return to Flanders, because the whole of that country is almost ruined, in consequence of their staying there, the King of England not having permitted any commerce with the Flemings, in which their principal riches and their life consists. Doctor De Puebla is very sorry for these foolish things, for such are they generally believed to be by those who have any knowledge of the affair. Certainly, if the King of the Romans uphold the Duke of York and xxiiij (fn. 5), it would be very difficult to conclude what your Highnesses wish. I think that all that the King of the Romans does is done by the instigation of the King of France. If your Highnesses had taken care earlier of the matter, all this would have been avoided. Nevertheless, it is not too late, even now, if your Highnesses like it." (fn. 6)
The Pope.
"Your Highnesses may also see whether it will be well to inform the Pope what they here (the English) will answer, in order that he may, without delay, send letters not only to Henry, but also to the Cardinal and the Lord Privy Seal, that such spoliation of the Church and violence to the Pope in the Cardinal till the restitution to the Pope of what belongs to him. They say he will do his duty." (fn. 7)
The succour which the English were to give to the French is delayed, probably for ever, in consequence of his [De Puebla's] arrival in England.
King of the Romans.
It seems desirable that the person who will bring the letter of the Pope to England should be empowered, at the same time, to procure a reconciliation between Henry and the King of the Romans. The father of the King of the Romans (fn. 8) had already desired this reconciliation, which is now much more desirable. Has seen a letter from the Neapolitan ambassador at the Court of the King of the Romans to the Neapolitan ambassador in England, in which the latter is desired not to leave England, but to remain and to procure the reconciliation. It is certain that the reconciliation can be effected by the Pope, or by Ferdinand and Isabella. Though this reconciliation will not be so great an advantage now as it would have been if effected whilst the "Duke of York" was in Flanders, it may still be concluded, especially if Ferdinand and Isabella are inclined to marry their daughter to Prince Arthur.
The English have repeatedly declared that they are at liberty to send succour to the Pope, and to make war against France. Found nothing in Navarre but bad, and in England nothing but good, feeling (towards Spain). The alliance of England in a war with France is worth as much as the friendship of the two most powerful Princes in Christendom, especially as the King of England will never ask Ferdinand and Isabella to begin war. "Such being his disposition, as I have said, the father of the King of England will be under an obligation towards your Highnesses, but not your Highnesses towards the King of England. (fn. 9)
De Puebla has known the ambassador of Naples very intimately for eight years without betraying any one of his secrets. Henry has communicated to the ambassador of Naples the whole affair. That may prove to have been inconsiderate, because many officers of the King of Naples go over to the King of France. If the King of France should write anything about the matter, Ferdinand and Isabella must not think that he has betrayed them. He is a faithful servant.
This and the other messengers are perfectly trustworthy. —London, 19th of July 1495.
Spanish, intermixed with cipher, pp. 7½. The original deciphering is preserved, but it is rather confused.
20 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
99. Ferdinand and Isabella, to De Puebla.
Have received his letters of the 30th of May and 22nd of June.
Are very glad that he had arrived in such good time, though he had been ill on the road.
Are satisfied with what he did on his way to England.
Have always expected that he would be well received by Henry.
Affairs of Navarre.
If Henry inquires into the affairs of Navarre, he may tell him that the Constable of Navarre has delivered all his towns, villages, and fortresses into their hands, and they have also the Princess of Navarre, the daughter of the King and Queen, in their power.
Perkin Warbeck.
Henry has complained that they correspond with the person who calls himself Duke of York. The fact is, the so-called Duke of York and the old Duchess Margaret had written to them once at Barcelona, asking their protection. They had sent no answer to the pretended Duke of York, but only to the Duchess, showing her that the whole affair was an imposture. The Duchess made no reply, nor have they written any other letter to any other person about the Duke.
The observations of Henry respecting the delay in sending an embassy to him do not require any answer.
War with France.
Henry says that he is at perfect liberty to make alliances with whom he likes, and to declare war against France. They never had any doubt about it. According to the fashion in which Charles fulfils his obligations towards his friends, Henry must have recovered that liberty long ago. Are likewise free from all obligations towards France because of the manner in which the French kept their promises ; of which more in the enclosed memoir.
Marriage of the Princess Katharine.
As to what Henry says of the marriage between the Princess Katharine and the Prince of Wales, they are not disinclined to the marriage, but wish well to all parties, and therefore desire, first, that a reconciliation should take place between Henry and the King of the Romans. Had written to their ambassadors at the Court of Maximilian to try their best with him, and they now send the result to De Puebla. Their intention to marry one of their daughters to a son of Maximilian, and another to a son of Henry, will be the best security that the treaty between Henry and Maximilian will be fulfilled. Neither the King of the Romans, nor his son the Archduke, will assist the person who calls himself Duke of York. Nevertheless, if the King of the Romans lend him assistance, then they promise to lend assistance to Henry against the so-called Duke of York.
Respecting the marriage, there will be very little to transact, as the conditions were settled in the former treaty ; but he must sign nothing before Henry is reconciled to Maximilian. They will send authority to sign the treaty as soon as the reconciliation has taken place.
The Pope.
Their answer to the observations of Henry, in the matter touching the Pope, is that the Pope was afraid his messenger might be intercepted. He had therefore only written to them, asking them to write to the other Christian Princes. But even that was not necessary, as every good Christian would hasten to assist the Pope without being asked to do so, as soon as he knew that the Pope was in danger. The injuries done to the Pope by the King of France are notorious.
Henry has asked whether Ferdinand and Isabella have entered the league. They have not only entered it, but are the principal members of it, in conjunction with the Pope, the King of the Romans, and the Dukes of Venice and Milan. There is time still for Henry to enter into it. If he does, all the other affairs which are pending will soon be satisfactorily arranged.
He has written that the son of Henry is to be married to the daughter of the King of the Romans.
"On this subject there is nothing to be said. The said son of Henry will conclude the marriage with the Princess Katharine, and the son of the King of the Romans will marry a daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella."
King of France.
The King of France has asked assistance and money from Henry, offering security for it. But Henry must know best whether it will be to his advantage to make the King of France still greater than he now is. The King of France bides his time, and when an opportunity offers itself he does just what he likes, and as he is acting now, without any regard to friend or foe. He would soon forget the greatest services he had received. Therefore, the English must always be on their guard (estar sobre el aviso) with the King of France, and he must prevent Henry and his council from being deceived by France. Henry should immediately make preparations for war in order to be ready for any emergency. De Puebla must be very careful and diligent, write every day what he has done, and send his letters by special couriers.
A letter for Master Pedro (Peter Carmelianus), the Latin secretary of King Henry, is enclosed. Thank him for his services, and promise him favour and money. (fn. 10)
"After this had been written, it was reported in Spain, that the person who was staying in Flanders was preparing an expedition to England, at which we were much astonished. For we have always written (to the King of the Romans) and to our ambassadors at his court to prevent such a thing. As we were told that the Duke of Milan (fn. 11) would be of great advantage in this matter, we have sent him an ambassador. We know that the Duke has written to the King of the Romans, but are not aware of the contents of his letter. When all this was written, letters from the Spanish ambassadors at the Court of the King of the Romans arrived, by which we learn that the King (of the Romans) intends to do right in this matter, and wishes to get rid of him, and the ambassadors believe that this and the importunity of the Duchess Margaret (who has brought together the few soldiers who accompany him) were the causes why he left Flanders. It is reported that he has gone to an island whence, he said, he would embark for England. He was in such bad condition, and had so few soldiers, that he did not sail. In fact all the Spaniards who are in Flanders say they believe the whole fleet will soon be dispersed for want of money and men. If, therefore, the King of the Romans does not lend further help, the whole affair will come to nothing."
Such being the case, he must do his best to reconcile Henry to the King of the Romans. "On no condition must the King of England renew his alliance with the King of France, or lend him money, for that would make him many enemies in his own kingdom and abroad, from whom he might receive great inconvenience."
Notwithstanding the answer of Henry, he is to persuade him to treat the Spanish merchants in England in a better manner.
Indorsed : "Copy of the despatch which was written in cipher to Doctor De Puebla and sent by Juan de Santa Gadea, courier, whom he sent, and who left Burgos on the 20th of July '95."
Draught written by Miguel Perez de Almazan, Secretary of State. Spanish. pp. 10.
20 July.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
100. Memoir of what has taken place between Ferdinand and Isabella and the King Of France.
When the treaty was concluded by which Perpignan was to be delivered to them, the King of France demanded that 20 principal towns of Spain should give security for the fulfilment of it, offering, on his side, that 20 French towns should give the same as security. This clause was incorporated in the treaty, signed and sworn to, with the addition that the securities must be given within three months' time, under threat of heavy penalties, excommunication, and dissolution of the whole treaty. They have rigorously fulfilled all their obligations, but the King of France has not given his securities up to the present day.
They sent their ambassador, Alphonso de Silva, to the King of France when he began to interfere in the affairs of Naples, and asked him to submit his claims to arbitration. In case the decision should be in his favour, they promised to assist him in recovering the kingdom of Naples, and proposed that he should employ his great armaments against the Moors beyond (the Straits). They even offered him a place in Africa which they had conquered, from which to begin his operations. Told him, further, he might retain all his conquests, though the conquests (in Africa) belonged by right to them. All this they had done, only "for the glory of God, and the oppression of the Infidels." There were good prospects of an easy conquest, the Moors being much debilitated by hunger and pestilence. The King of France, however, not only rejected all these proposals, but had also treated their ambassador so badly that he could not have been worse treated by their enemies.
Conduct towards the Pope.
They did not, even then, begin war upon the King of France. Did not even oppose his designs upon Naples, although they had received letters telling them that the least encouragement from them would have rendered the conquest of that realm a very difficult task for the French. At last the King of France went to Ostia, seized upon the property of the Church, went to Rome, and treated the Pope so badly "that the Turks would not have treated him worse." As all Christian Princes are obliged to assist the Pope and the Church, they might have opposed the French without being unfaithful to their alliance ; but they preferred first to send their ambassadors, Antonio de Fonseca, and Juan de Albion, to him, to ask him not to treat the Pope badly, and not to seize upon the patrimony of the Church. Had, in addition to the general obligation laid upon all Christians, special duties to fulfil towards the Pope, who is their countryman (fn. 12), and included in their alliances.
Must, therefore, declare themselves against the King of France, and consider themselves released from all obligations to him. The King of France not only had not restored anything he had taken from the Pope, but he had not even deigned to give any answer to their ambassadors, excepting that he would send an embassy to Spain. The embassy has never arrived, and the French have behaved as though nothing had passed between them.
Behaviour at Naples.
From Rome the King of France went to Naples. He had repeatedly promised, and even publicly proclaimed, that he would not touch the property of the Queen of Naples, the sister of Ferdinand. Nevertheless the first property he confiscated belonged to the said Queen, and her towns and villages were laid waste on his march.
As soon as the French entered Naples they proclaimed their intention of conquering Sicily also, pretending that there was no difference between Naples and Sicily. For this purpose the King of France had published complaints against them, and proclaimed his enmity against all Spaniards, who were "ill treated and murdered and robbed, wherever they were found." Yet they had borne all, and kept quiet.
But seeing that the King of France did not make any reparation to the Pope, and behaved as has been described, they entered into a league with the Pope, the King of the Romans, and the Dukes of Venice and Milan, without prejudice to any one, and only for the conservation of the patrimony of the Church (which they would have been obliged to defend, even if they had not concluded the league) and of their own states. They, moreover, fixed a time during which all who wished it might become members of the league, and the King of France might enter it without meeting with any opposition, unless his intentions were inimical.
Outrages committed on the Pope.
The King of France had made bad worse when he left Naples and returned to Rome. The Pope had requested him not to enter Rome, being afraid that he would do great harm in the city, and that he would keep his promises no better than he had done before. He, moreover, offered him a free passage through his states, together with provisions. But the King of France would enter Rome ; and the Pope, in order to avoid danger, fled, and with him the whole College of Cardinals. Such an outrage against the viceregent of God had never before been committed by Christians, or such slaughter, murder, and robbery as had been perpetrated by the French in Rome, especially against the Spaniards, "who were dead as soon as they were seen." The Pope had asked and is continually asking help from Spain. This is the present state of things. They are released from all obligations towards the King of France because he has not fulfilled his duties.
This memoir is sent in order that the King of England may be aware of all that has happened ; that he may excuse them for their dealings with the King of France ; also that he may take example, learn what the acts of the King of France are, and see what it will be convenient for him to do.
Indorsed : "A copy of this memoir was sent to Doctor De Puebla by Juan de Santa Gadea, messenger, who left Burgos on the 20th of July 1495."
Spanish. pp. 8.
20 July.
Paris. Arch. de l'Empire. IX. Negociations France—Espagne. K. 1638.
101. A Short Relation of all that happened between the King and the Queen Of Spain and the King Of France, with respect to the restoration of the counties of Roussillon and Cerdaña, and the occurrences which afterwards happened in Italy.
The pledge of Roussillon and Cerdaña, had been declared by King Louis himself to be null and void. Nevertheless, King Charles had refused to restore them.
When, however, the English invaded France and besieged Boulogne, King Charles solemnly swore to restore the said counties to Ferdinand and Isabella. But as soon as the danger was over, he did not fulfil his obligation.
When the King of the Romans threatened France with an invasion, King Charles again swore to restore Roussillon and Cerdaña by the month of February 1493 ; and again he broke his promise.
At last the King of France, pressed on all sides (convenido de todas partes), made the restitution, but in such a way that it was clear from the first that he intended to reconquer the counties as soon as he had finished his Italian enterprise.
[The continuation of this memoir is identical with that of the 20th July 1495.]
Indorsed : "Draft of what passed between the King and Queen, our Lords, and the King of France."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 11.


  • 1. The inclosure is no longer in existence.
  • 2. Sic.
  • 3. This portion of the despatch not being very clear, it seemed best to translate it literally.
  • 4. Sic.
  • 5. The cipher xxiiij is not deciphered.
  • 6. Some portions of this paragraph are very confused. The translation is as literal as possible.
  • 7. Sic. The translation is literal. The Spanish text is : Otro sy vean lyj. cj (vuestras altezas si) sera xcj (bien) ser advertido z (Papa) de lo que ciiij (aca) responden para que cxxvj (prestamente) enbie cxlij (cartas) ciiij (aca) no solo a xvj (el Rey) mas aun a cccxj (el Cardinal) e a cccxij (privasello) que para semejante cccxxiiij (dispojo de la Yglesia) e cccxxv (violencia del Papa) en cccx (el Cardinal) fasta cccxxvj (restituir al Papa lo suyo) dicen que hara su debido. —It seems that the cipher cccx is erroneously translated by Cardinal, as the word Cardinal is expressed in the same paragraph by the cipher cccxj. But, if the decipherer of the despatch has committed an error, the person who put it into cipher seems to have erred in more than one respect.
  • 8. The Emperor Frederic III., father of Maximilian King of the Romans, died 1493.
  • 9. Such is the reading of the original despatch as it is deciphered by Alvarez, Secretary of State. If the words father of are struck out before King of England, the meaning of the passage becomes clear.
  • 10. "Merced" in the original despatch. Merced, as used by Ferdinand and Isabella, means always either preferment or money.
  • 11. Maxmilian had married the daughter of the Duke of Milan.
  • 12. The family of Borja, or, according to the Italian spelling, Borgia, was from Valencia.