Spain: January 1496

Pages 80-87

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

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January 1496

1496. 9 Jan.
G. H. Arch. Vienna.
120. Lupyan, Imperial Ambassador in Spain, to Maximilian, King Of The Romans.
The King and Queen of Spain do not neglect the war with France. They hope to influence the King of England to do their will and the will of Maximilian. For this purpose it would be well that he should send his power to the Spanish ambassador in England nominating him as his ambassador.
Has often told the King and Queen of Spain what an advantage it would be to engage the English to undertake the conquest of Guienne. If that could be carried out, the French and the English would be so much occupied with one another, that the dominions of the Archduke would be in security, and the King and Queen of Spain and he could do what they liked, and Italy would be at their disposal.— Burgos, 9th January. (fn. 1)
Addressed : "To the King, my dread Lord."
French. 4 pages, in print.
Printed in Bibliothek des Literarischen Vereins in Stuttgart, vol. X. p. 166 seq.
30 Jan.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
121. Ferdinand and Isabella to Doctor De Puebla.
Have received the letter of De Puebla dated the 21st of November and sent by Salvador Duarte, who arrived at St. Sebastian on the 20th of December. The letter reached Tortosa on the 14th of January. Wrote to him on the 27th of December, by Johan de Bermeo, courier, who was to go by sea. Sent two more letters for him to Diego de Soria to be forwarded viâ Flanders. Send by this courier a fourth copy of the same despatches.
The Pope.
He says that he is astonished the Pope has sent neither a legate nor a brief to England to solicit the assistance of England, because the authority of the Pope is very great in England, and his letter would have produced much effect. Even the bull sent from Spain would have created a favourable feeling if the copy had been in Latin instead of Spanish (en Romance). To these observations they reply that the Pope has now sent a brief to England. Have also ordered a Latin copy of the bull to be inclosed, as it had by mistake been sent in Spanish. He must persuade Henry to assist the Pope, and tell him that all Christian Princes ought to be ashamed to look quietly on whilst the King of France seizes upon the property of the Church, and treats the Pope worse than do the Turks.
Are glad that the justification of their conduct towards the King of France had been well received in England. Can assure him that they have said nothing but the truth. Henry may judge by his own experience how the King of France keeps his treaties.
Alliance between Henry VII. and the King of the Romans.
"We have seen the clause which you say the King of the Romans sent, respecting the so-called Duke of York, and which was so hurtful to the King of England. We have also seen the letter of Rojas on the subject. The clause, according to information received from there (the Court of the King of the Romans), effects what you have so often demanded in your letters, when you asked us to procure that he of York should be kept in the hands of the King of the Romans. It was inserted in the treaty in order to make him (the so-called Duke of York) secure, and avert his suspicions. All this, however, is no longer a matter of dispute, as Fonseca and Albion have already sent Rojas the consent given by the King of the Romans to conclude the alliance without that clause, and Rojas has most probably sent it to you. The King of England will be satisfied with it." (fn. 2)
The best thing for Henry to do would be to send a trusty person to the King of the Romans to arrange the business there. Wish to be informed in time, as they intend to write to their ambassadors Rojas, Fonseca, and Albion, before the English ambassador arrives.
(Marginal note : After this, Rojas wrote to say that the Archduke had sent a personage of great weight to the King of England. The ambassador was expected to arrive on Christmas Day. De Puebla must assist him. Ferdinand and Isabella wish that all their children and relations should be friends with one another.)
Entry of Hen. VII. into the league.
Henry wishes to see the treaty of the league before he declares his accession to it. A copy of it is sent by this courier, and would have been sent earlier if it had been asked for. Henry will see that there is not any clause in it (as De Puebla suspected), relating to the so-called Duke of York. If Henry enter the league, all the other members will help him "against all in his kingdom who wish to do him harm." In addition to this, he may count on their assistance, and on the help of the Archduke, their son (in-law) and his neighbour. It is to be hoped, that in this way "many Christians will be induced to remain quiet, and that war in his realms may be averted."
[On a separate paper there is a very confused paragraph written by the Secretary of State, Fernand Alvarez, the meaning of which seems to be the following :]—It may be that the entry of Henry into the league will encounter some delay, even if he declare his unconditional accession to it, and much more if he make restrictions.
War with the King of France.
The other members of the league must first be consulted on the subject ; but what is wanted is his immediate declaration of war with the King of France. For this reason De Puebla must, without delay, procure the marriage, and the alliance between Henry and them, and between Henry and the Archduke ; that is to say, if the alliance with the King of the Romans cannot be concluded without some loss of time, also if any difficulties should arise in the alliance with the Archduke, the treaty between them and Henry may be concluded separately, but the rights of the King of the Romans and the Archduke must be reserved in it. This alliance must contain the obligations of Henry to make war upon France without loss of time.
He has written that he could have concluded the marriage and the alliance with Henry if he had had the necessary powers. Have not sent the powers before, because the roads are so insecure, but send them now. He must try to get the best possible conditions, and at all events not conclude the marriage between the Princess Katharine and Prince Arthur, if the alliance between Henry and them be not concluded at the same time, in which alliance the King of the Romans and the Archduke must be included.
[The following paragraphs are added by Almazan, Secretary of State :]—The war against France is undertaken from no selfish interest, but only in order to assist the Pope and to defend the patrimony of the Church. The kingdom of Naples is a fee of the Popes, and all Christian Princes are, therefore, obliged to defend it against the French. De Puebla must, by round-about ways (rodeas), and with all the subtlety at his command (maña), manage the King of England, and induce him, step by step, to participate in the war against France. If Henry lend his assistance against France, they will assist him against him of York (el de Ayorque). The participation of Henry in the war against France is the principal thing which he has to procure. Next to it comes the clause that, in case of one of the allies being attacked, the other will send him assistance.
If it be not possible to persuade Henry to make common war with France, the war may be considered as a Spanish war only. Henry, however, must at all events assist Spain. Promise, in case there should be an English war with France, to lend Henry the same assistance as he lends them in their present war. Will also succour him against him of York (el de Ayorque). If either of the allies should be invaded by an enemy, the other party must send over aid for the defence of the invaded country.
Nothing can be of greater advantage to Henry as regards the pacification of England, than a war with France, and nothing more dangerous than a French alliance. How untrustworthy the friendship of the King of France is has been sufficiently proved. Moreover, there is an ancient enmity between the royal houses of France and England. Henry himself acknowledged, on a former occasion, that it would be a great error on his side to permit the power of his enemy to increase. Whatever the King of France might promise, he would turn his power against England as soon as ever he was not occupied with other affairs. Henry is not bound to fulfil his engagements, since France has not fulfilled hers. Of the consequences (de lo otro) he need not be afraid, being their ally, the ally also of the King of the Romans, and of the Archduke.
Marriage portion of the Infantas of Spain.
The marriage portion of the Infantas of Castile is 100,000 doubloons. He must try whether Henry will be content with it. If not, the smallest marriage portion possible beyond that sum must be agreed upon. It must on no condition exceed the sum which was stipulated with the English ambassadors in Spain. A crown is worth 328 maravedis in Spain. That ought to suffice. If Henry, however, should not be content, the crown may be calculated at 350 maravedis, but that must be the utmost.
The ornaments of gold and silver and precious stones, and the pearls of the Princess, are to be deducted from her marriage portion, to the amount of at least one quarter of it, as was settled with the English ambassadors.
As to the rest of the marriage portion, the time of its payment, and the going of the Princess to England, the conditions of the former treaty may remain unaltered, if better ones cannot be obtained.
Alliance with the the King of the Romans.
Are unable to give circumstantial instructions respecting the alliance of Henry with the King of the Romans and the Archduke, as they have not been informed of the particulars of the pending negotiations ; "but we order and charge you to procure, by all the means in your power, conditions such as will best satisfy the King of the Romans and the Archduke." Rojas is ordered to write continually to him respecting all that passes at the court of the King of the Romans, and he must inform Rojas of all that is going on in England.
He has asked them to write something more to Henry besides simple credentials. Enclose, therefore, a letter to Henry, and promise to write more in future. He is to speak much in detail about all the matters contained in the letter.
Reported marriage of the son of Henry VII.
He has written that some ecclesiastics have gone to England in order secretly to conclude a marriage between the son of the King of England and the daughter of the Duke of Bourbon, the King of France making great offers, and promising to execute them at once. Think that such a marriage would prove nothing else than "a spark to kindle a fire, "which would burn up Henry and his whole kingdom." In addition to the other differences between the Spanish and the French marriage there is this, that they keep their engagements, and the King of France does not keep his. No security which the latter could give would be sufficient.
Reported peace between France and Milan.
Letters from France to England state that peace has been concluded between France, Venice, and Milan, in consequence of which the King of France is to keep Genoa. The peace with Milan, however, is only a feint. The French had besieged the town of Novara, and would have taken it, within six days, had not peace been concluded. The Duke of Milan, having regained his town by this contrivance, remains as good a member of the league as Ferdinand himself. The Venetians have not concluded peace at all ; on the contrary, they are continuing the war. With respect to Genoa nothing has been agreed, except that the fortresses (castillos) should be delivered to the father-in-law of the Duke of Milan. The King of France wished this, in order that he might make a proclamation that Genoa had been delivered into his hands. He possesses no more power in that city now than he did six months ago. Some Frenchmen, for instance, had gone to Genoa to freight vessels there for the King of France. Though they were entitled to do so according to the treaty of Novara, they went away, leaving behind them their vessels as well as the provisions and stores destined to be shipped in them. The Genoese had taken all, so that the French had not been able to equip a fleet there.
Are informed that Henry has complained, in a long conversation, of the slowness of his negotiations with Spain, pointing out that no alliance has as yet been concluded, and that the difficulties with the King of the Romans and the Archduke do not come to an end, while danger still threatens from Scotland. Under these circumstances, Henry thinks it would be a very ill-advised act to begin war with France. On the contrary, he regrets having denied Charles some things which he had asked.
Delay in the negotiations between Spain and Henry VII.
Their answer is :—With regard to the delay in the first negotiations, all that is necessary has already been said. As to the second negotiations, their friendship with England would be more valuable and more secure if the marriage of their daughter with the Archduke were first concluded. Henry has acknowledged this himself. The marriage has now been agreed upon, and the friendship of the King of the Romans and the Archduke thereby secured. Are therefore ready to conclude the treaty of marriage between Katharine and Arthur. Send their powers. He may bring the whole matter to a speedy conclusion. Wish, however, when Henry has signed the treaties, and proclaimed war with France, to be once more consulted before the treaties are signed in their name. In case, however, that Henry can in nowise be persuaded to declare war against France without the treaty with Spain being first signed, it may be done without consulting them.
News from France.
Henry has complained to De Puebla that Ferdinand was not a stranger to the affair of him of York. Declare this suspicion to be unfounded. All tidings which come from France are pure inventions. He is ordered to assure him, and to swear that they have known nothing of the doings of him (so-called Duke of York). Are not pleased with what has happened. Consider the concerns of Henry as their own, and are persuaded that he is an impostor (burla), as they had already told him when he was in Spain.
King of Scotland.
Henry wishes they should "keep in their hands" (tobiesemos a nuestra mano) the King of Scotland, by means of a marriage, as they keep the Archduke Philip. Henry has informed De Puebla of all that has passed between himself and the King of Scotland, respecting a marriage between the latter and a daughter of his (Henry). Answer to this point that they have done all in their power to reconcile the King of Scotland with Henry, wishing to bring to an end the continual robberies and murders on the borders, to assist Henry in the pacification of his realms, and to weaken the cause of France. Have sent instructions, precisely to this effect, to their ambassadors in Scotland. Can do nothing more now.
Duke of York.
It is said in England that he of York has sailed from Ireland, and gone either to Scotland or to Spain. He has not come to Spain ; and if he has gone to Scotland, the Spanish ambassadors will prevent the King of Scots from assisting or favouring him.
King of France.
Merchants have written from France to England that Charles has proclaimed war against Spain in Toulouse. That is true. Have begun war with France. Have collected a numerous army on the frontiers, and have made daily incursions into France. Fernand Alvarez will write the particulars.
Duties levied on Spanish merchants.
Henry has promised to come to an understanding with them respecting the duties levied on Spanish merchants, as soon as the alliance and marriage have been concluded. Notwithstanding this promise, the former reasons of Henry for continuing these duties are once more repeated. The conclusions regarding the customs must be agreed upon at the same time as the conclusions of the alliance and marriage. For it would not be becoming in Ferdinand and Isabella to have disputes afterwards with Henry on this subject, or even to retaliate on English merchants in Spain. If Henry declare war with France, and think that higher duties on Spanish merchandize are necessary to meet the expenses of the war, he may continue them as long as hostilities against France last. But they must be taken off as soon as peace is restored, and Henry must give security that he will do this.
He must continually correspond with Rojas.
He has asked for money. If he execute all that he is ordered to do, his remuneration will be very liberal.—Tortosa, 30th January 1496.
Indorsed : "Draft of the letter of their Highnesses to Doctor De Puebla which went with Salvador de Ugarte, who left Tortosa on the 30th of January."
Spanish. pp. 20.
30 Jan.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
122. Ferdinand and Isabella to Henry VII.
De Puebla has informed them of his good will towards Spain, and of his wish to conclude the alliance and the marriage between their children. Entertain the same sentiments towards England. De Puebla is instructed to speak more circumstantially with him in their names, about the affairs now pending.—Tortosa, 30th January 1496.
Indorsed : "Draft of a letter sent to Doctor de Puebla for the King of England, which Salvador de Ugarte took out when leaving Tortosa on the 30th of January 1496."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 1½.
30 Jan.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 1.
Power sent to De Puebla.
123. Ferdinand and Isabella to Doctor De Puebla.
De Puebla is empowered to conclude—
1. A league and confederation between Spain and England, excepting, however, from it the Pope, the Church, Maximilian, the King of the Romans, and Philip, Archduke of Austria, and Duke of Burgundy.
2. A treaty of matrimony between Arthur, Prince of Wales, and the Princess Katharine, their fourth daughter.
3. To settle the amount of the marriage portion, dowry, &c. —Tortosa, 30th January.
Indorsed by Secretary Almazan : "Power for the alliance and marriage."
Latin. pp. 5.
30 Jan.
S. E. I. L. 806. f. 6.
124. Draught of the aforesaid, written by Almazan, Secretary of State.
Latin. p. 1.
31 Jan.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
Letters for the Spanish ambassadors in Scotland.
125. Ferdinand and Isabella to Doctor De Puebla.
Send him a bundle of letters for the Spanish ambassadors in Scotland, by which the said ambassadors are ordered to procure an alliance between Scotland and England, or at any rate a long truce. The bundle must be sent with the greatest care, because it likewise contains a brief of the Pope to the King of Scotland, similar to that written to the King of England.
He is to try to do his best to reconcile Henry to the King of Scotland. The ambassadors in Scotland are instructed to inform him of all their proceedings, and he must inform them of what he is doing.
A copy of the brief of the Pope for Henry is enclosed for his information.—Tortosa, 31st January 1496.
Indorsed : "To Doctor De Puebla, of our Council, and our Ambassador."
Spanish. pp. 1½.
31 Jan.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
Henry VII. asked to succour the Pope.
126. Ferdinand and Isabella to Henry VII.
The Holy Father has made communications to them, on several occasions, respecting the war which the King of France is carrying on in Italy, especially since the taking of Ostia. His Holiness has asked succour from them, not in one, but in many letters, and has desired them, at the same time, to require similar aid from the other Christian Princes. The Pope has now written in a similar way to Henry, and has sent his brief by land. As he has not been informed whether this brief has reached England, he has sent another copy of it to them, in order that it might be sent from Spain to England. The brief is enclosed. Ask Henry to succour his Holiness in his present great difficulties. It is evident that Henry, as a most Christian Prince, needs scarcely to be asked in such a case as this. Nevertheless, are obliged to do so, in order to fulfil the demands of his Holiness.
De Puebla will make him further and more circumstantial statements in this matter.—No date.
Indorsed : "Copy of the other letter sent to De Puebla for the King of England by Salvador de Ugarte, which is to be given, together with the other letter, to the King."
Draft. Spanish. pp. 2.


  • 1. In the document itself, only the day and month, but not the year, are given. The learned editor of the Correspondence of Maximilian I. in the Bibliothek des Literarischen Vereins assigns to the paper the date of the year 1497. I think he has been mistaken. Maximilian, evidently in consequence of this despatch, had already nominated De Puebla as his ambassador to England on the 8th of April 1496 (not 1497), and he acted in that capacity in the audience he had of Henry in his Privy Council, described in the letter of the 13th June 1496.
  • 2. Here follows a paragraph which is cancelled and parts of which are illegible. It seems to say that the King of the Romans had not yet quite made up his mind with respect to this clause, but that Rojas hoped it would soon be abandoned. Ferdinand and Isabella believe the same.