Spain: April 1496

Pages 89-99

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

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April 1496

10 April.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 1.
129. Pope Alexander VI. to Doctor De Puebla.
Empowers De Puebla to treat and conclude, in his name, with the ambassadors of the other members of the league, and with those of Henry, this holy alliance for the benefit of God, and perhaps to the detriment of the Turks.—St. Peter's, in Rome, 10th of April 1496.
Latin. pp. 9.
14 April.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
130. Ferdinand and Isabella to Doctor De Puebla.
After finishing their other letter, received the letters of De Puebla, dated the 25th of February and the 3rd of March, which Nicolas Beltram brought from Fuentarabia. Are astonished that their letters, sent by Johan de Bermio, had not reached his hands at the last date of his letters, since the said Bermio left Tortosa on the 30th of December, and sailed from Fuentarabia on the 28th of January. Sent two other copies of the same despatches through Diego de Soria to Flanders, whence, most probably, they were forwarded in the vessels which are said to have been driven to Ireland by stress of weather. Had also sent Salvador de Ugarte, on the 30th of January, with a whole bundle of letters, powers, and briefs, and had given orders that a ship of the royal navy should be ready for him. But the sea had been so rough during the last three months, and up to the 26th of March, that few vessels were able to leave port. This circumstance, and not neglect, has been the reason why they have left him for so long a time without instructions. Are very sorry for it ; more so than he can be. All the above particulars must be communicated to Henry.
Inactivity of the King of the Romans and the Archduke Philip.
Duke of York.
Henry has expressed his astonishment that the King of the Romans and the Archduke Philip, having such just reasons for quarrelling with the King of France, have undertaken nothing against him. Their inaction, he affirms, makes him cautious in his dealings with France, whilst, on the contrary, their activity would spur him on (le pornia espuelas.) Have given the utmost attention to the reconciliation of Henry with the King of the Romans and the Archduke, in order to induce those powers not to favour him of York, and to give security to Henry with respect to this matter. Have, since he of York rose, always considered it their principal business to deprive him of all assistance. Have thus entirely neglected saying anything to the King of the Romans and the Archduke about the war with the King of France. The King of the Romans and the Archduke are now determined not to favour him of York. But if he should obtain assistance in Scotland, it might happen that some person might persuade the King of the Romans, or the Archduke, to espouse his cause. One of their daughters being about to be married to the Archduke, and another to Prince Arthur, it would be a most lamentable misfortune if the husband of one sister were in arms against the husband of the other sister. To avoid such an occurrence, it was most necessary first to conclude the alliances. In order not to delay them the war with France has been thrust quite into the background. But now the marriage with Philip will ere long be concluded ; and when that is done he will assist them, because he will be their son, and will aid Henry because he will be bound to do so by his treaties.
Are glad that De Puebla informs them of everything that occurs in England. He must continue to write all particulars. Are pleased with the gracious behaviour of Henry towards him, and with the desire of the English to conclude the alliances. Hope that all will end well. He must employ the greatest diligence. The speedy conclusion of these negociations is of greater importance than it is possible for him to imagine.
The means employed by him for the reconciliation of Henry and the Archduke are approved of. This reconciliation will benefit all parties.
The French embassy.
Approve of his remonstrances to Henry in respect to the French embassy. He must take care that no arrangement take place between France and England, and also that it be made apparent that Henry does not wish it. Henry will make no great difficulties, as he knows that France, when involved in war, can give him but little assistance in pacifying England.
Negotiations between Spain and Scotland.
Purport of them.
"We have read all that has passed between you and the King of England with respect to Scotland, and how he has told you of our ambassadors having offered the King of Scots our daughter in marriage, &c. If you had received our letters at the time he told you that, you would have been able to answer him with more precision. It is as true as God is truth that we have no other purpose in our negociations with Scotland than to win over the King of Scots, and to make him friends with the King of England, so that he may no longer show favour to him of York, or enter into an alliance with France. At all events, we intend to put him off some time longer with vain hopes, in order that he may not begin war with England or join the King of France. Whatever negociations we have with him are only for this purpose. The instructions which our ambassadors took with them were to procure peace, or a long truce, between Scotland and England. We said the same thing very seriously to the (Scottish) ambassador who came to us. Our ambassadors in Scotland ought to have written all this to you, and we are astonished that they have not done it. Fernandez, one of our ambassadors (in Scotland), is now returning to us, and says that the Doctor of Glasgow is accompanying him. He is the same person who has been already to see us at Tarazona. They are now waiting for us at Soria, because they know that we are going to that town. As soon as we see them, we shall know what they have to say to us, and shall directly inform you of it. We are very sorry for what the King of Scotland did in the garden of the Castle, especially as our ambassadors were present. We shall without loss of time write to Don Martin, who is remaining in Scotland, telling him to manage to keep the affairs of Scotland and England in their present state, and at all events to prevent a war between them. It is our intention to request the Scottish ambassador to write to the same effect to the King of Scots."
Duke of York.
"With respect to what you say, that we ought to get him of York into our power (aver a nuestras manos), we have already written our opinion to you, which is, that we shall not entice him to come to Spain ; but if you can bring him into our power, you may do so, for the reasons which you give. There is, therefore, nothing more to be said in this matter."
Though Henry has desired him to go in person to Scotland with the brief of the Pope, he must not go before the alliances are concluded, especially since, according to information received from the King of the Romans, the King of Scotland is not requested to enter the league, but only not to give aid to the King of France. The brief must be sent by a messenger to Scotland without any furtner delay. If Henry wish that the King of Scotland should join the league, he may do so.
"With respect to what you write, that the King of France has sent a paper, with the seal of his council, and a declaration from the King-at-arms of Portugal, stating that he of York is the son of a barber, and offering to send over his father and mother, &c., we have to observe, that if the King of England wish something of the kind we can do it much better than the King of France. We can send him the declarations of many persons who know him, amongst whom is a Portuguese knight, of the name of Ruy de Sosa. He is acquainted with the whole matter, and is a person of authority and good faith. Having been Portuguese ambassador in England, he knows the Duke of York very well, and has seen him there. Two years later he saw this other person in Portugal. You must speak of this matter to the King of England as though it all came from you, and inform us what he says in reply."
Letters from the King of the Romans.
Have written to their ambassadors at the court of the King of the Romans to soften the language of the letters which are sent to England, in order to render the demands of the King of the Romans, by which Henry was deterred from his good purposes, less hurtful. The new offers which pleased Henry have been made in consequence of these letters.
War against France.
De Puebla has written that it is impossible for Henry to make such demonstrations of war against France as are done by other countries, "for it is an English custom to begin war "in France only with great forces, to conquer or die, &c." That is all very well ; but Henry can, at all events, after the conclusion of the alliance, join his fleet with that of Spain, give orders for the Spaniards to receive all possible assistance in English ports, and make proclamation that he will assist the Pope and Spain.
Entry of Hen. VII. into the league.
Are glad that Henry has declared his readiness to enter into the league. As to the conditions, nothing can be said respecting them at present, because the conditions which the King of England makes are not yet known. The principal thing is that he must aid the Pope and Spain. All other points may be conceded.
He must continue to inform Rojas of all that occurs in England, in order that Rojas may know what he is to do in Flanders. Rojas is ordered to do all he can to prevent the old Duchess from assisting him of York, and doing harm to Henry.
Reports from France.
"The King of England has, so you say, told you that the King of France pointed out to the English ambassador an ambassador from me, the Queen, and that he was a clergyman, or man of letters, whom I had sent, and that he had communicated to the said English ambassador the subject of his mission. This is the greatest piece of humbug (burla) in the world. I have never sent any such ambassador, messenger, or letter, or any other thing like it to France, or since the beginning of the war. You can swear and testify this in my name. This is like everything that comes from the King of France."—From Daroca, on the road to Soria, 14th April 1496.
Indorsed : "Copy of what was written by their Highnesses to Doctor De Puebla from Daroca the 14th of April 1496. Fernand Alvarez gave the despatch to the Queen, our Lady, to be forwarded by her."
Draft. Spanish. pp. 10.
18 April.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
131. Maximilian, King Of The Romans, to Doctor De Puebla.
Empowers him to treat and conclude, with the commissioners of the other members of the league, the conditions on which Henry VII. is to be admitted.—Augsburg, 18th of April 1496.
The whole document is written by Maximilian himself without a single error.
Latin. pp. 3.
26 April.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
132. Ferdinand and Isabella to De Puebla.
Have received, through Diego Lopez de Ayala, on the 22d of April, his letters of the 11th of March and 7th of April.
Are pleased that Johan de Santa Gadea has arrived, but are astonished that their letters, sent by land, have not reached him, as couriers had gone from Burgos to Flanders. Intend to write to Diego Lopez de Ayala and to Juanoto de Montaner to make ready two light vessels, to sail between Spain and England at least once a month in either direction. The delays hitherto occurring have not been owing to them. Have written many letters, and sent many messengers. Santa Gadea was detained in the port for two months, and Salvador de Ugarte, for three months, without any possibility of leaving. Salvador sailed on the 10th of April from Fuentarabia, and most probably arrived in England four or five days after his letter was written. Salvador is the bearer of most important papers, instructions, powers, of the brief of the Pope, &c. Have written four or five times since Salvador left.
Ungracious reception of the French ambassadors by Henry VII.
Are glad to hear that the French ambassadors have been ungraciously received, and have not obtained what they asked. Henry says that he has sent to the King of France, and requested him to leave Naples, to restore Ostia to the Pope, to keep peace, &c., adding that if his demands are not consented to, the King of France must excuse him if he consider himself no longer bound by his promises. Believe that Henry has told the truth.
The King of France has given Henry to understand that they have secretly sent an ambassador to France, in order to renew their alliance, and that they have asked nothing but security for their kingdom of Sicily. The King of France has pointed out their ambassador to the ambassadors of Henry. Repeat, in answer to this accusation, what they have already written in a former letter ; that is to say, that since the beginning of the war, especially since Charles returned from Italy, neither a public nor a secret embassy, nor anything of the kind, has been sent from Spain to France. Cannot imagine who the person could have been whom the King of France pointed out to the English ambassadors.
(Marginal note.—Do not say that they would not send an embassy if the peace of the Christian world required it. Only that they have not done so.)
Untrustworthiness of the King of France.
Henry must as little believe what the King of France tells him about them, as they believe what the King of France says about Henry. Only a short time ago, there was a proclamation made in Bayonne and Bordeaux that a new peace with England had been concluded.
Approve of his refusal to dine with the French ambassadors.
He must, without loss of time, write them the answer of Henry to the French ambassadors. If Henry do not show "deeds," he must be carefully watched.
Clauses of the league.
Send new powers to him for the acceptance of Henry as a member of the league. Do not quite understand in what the limitations to the second and third clauses of the league consist. If Henry do not like to invade France, it is only necessary to observe that the said clauses do not bind him to do so. If he wish to be exempted from the obligation of always keeping the same number of soldiers ready as the other members of the league, he may be indulged in this demand, provided he keep England continually in such a state as to be able to assemble an army in the shortest time. But whatever his conditions may be, the league will be altered by them, and time will be lost by consulting its different members. The best thing would be for Henry to enter the league as it is at present constituted, and then the clauses which he does not like might be altered afterwards.
Alliance between Henry VII. and the Archduke.
Are much pleased with the alliance and friendship concluded between Henry and the Archduke Philip. Are not of opinion that Philip, in the confirmation of his treaty with Henry, ought to include the Pope, Spain, and the King of the Romans. Are, on the contrary, persuaded that the alliance between Spain and England will benefit both parties, and that Henry, in order to make this alliance possible, must first be reconciled to the Archduke. If Henry object to this reconciliation, friendship with the Archduke is preferable to any alliance that could be made with the King of England. Hope they may not be obliged to make a choice between them, but think that the Archduke ought to ratify the treaty with Henry without any addition.
Marriage of the Princess Katharine.
Respecting the marriage between the Princess Katharine and the Prince of Wales, there is nothing more to be said but that the marriage portion must be as small as possible, and the time of its payment as favourable to them as can be.
The alliance and marriage must be directly concluded and proclaimed. It will suffice at present, for Henry to assist Spain on the seas only, and to give a friendly reception to Spanish vessels in English ports. As to the obligation of Henry to invade France in person, when Ferdinand invades it in person it will be time enough to negotiate that matter.
He did quite right not to speak to Henry about the conditions of the King of the Romans respecting him of Ireland, and the security they intended to give ; for when their letter arrived the King of the Romans had already got rid of him.
What are the instructions of the embassy of Henry to the King of the Romans?
What do the ambassadors, whom Henry has sent to the Pope, say? Garsilaso is instructed to induce the Pope to write often to Henry, because he has great influence in England.
De Puebla has been of opinion that Ferdinand and Isabella wished to delay the negotiations with England, as he has received so few letters. Such is, however, not the case. The sea, which never has been so rough as during this winter, prevented the messengers from going by sea, and the messengers by land have not arrived. He has been sent to England in order to conclude the alliance and marriage. If they had changed their mind, would have informed him of it.
Have written twice to Henry, and sent one of the letters by Salvador de Ugarte, and the other by another courier.
The Duke of Milan has already sent his powers for the admittance of Henry VII. into the league. It is, therefore, evident that he is still a member of the league.
Are pleased that Henry has declared his readiness to take off the burdens laid on Spanish merchants in England.
He may be easy respecting his personal affairs. His demands will be granted, and much greater royal favours bestowed on him. Alvarez has already received orders in this respect.
Affairs of Scotland.
Duke of York.
Marriage of the King of Scotland.
"We have seen all that you wrote about the affairs of Scotland, and the paper which the King of England gave to you in order to forward to Don Martin. What you wrote about it is right. Although we have already often told you that our intention is to be useful to the King of England, we will once more briefly state what has occurred, and in what state the affair now stands. It is of the utmost importance. We learnt from the Doctor of Glasgow, who came to us at Tarazona as ambassador from the King of Scots, that the King of Scots had some complaints to make against the King of France, and was therefore willing to enter into alliance with us. He wished to marry with (a daughter of) us. It seemed to us that this would be of great advantage to the King of England, in his difficulties in his kingdom ; and we certainly wish that when our daughter is married to his son, his realms should enjoy repose. In order that the King of Scots might not assist him of Ireland, and that he might set him at variance with the King of France (which would be equally an advantage to us and to the King of England), we deigned to send ambassadors to him, and instructed them that it was their principal business to procure peace, or at least a long truce, between Scotland and England, and at the same time to detach Scotland from France. According to what you wrote to us, our letters to our ambassadors in Scotland arrived there before they themselves, and fell into the hands of the King of Scots, who became suspicious that our embassy was sent at the instance of the King of England. That was the reason why our ambassadors in Scotland did not think it expedient to write much to you, or to receive many letters from you, for they wished to avoid the appearance of the negotiations being carried on from that quarter. But in the affairs between England and Scotland they never spoke, or demanded or concluded anything, except in order to induce the King of Scots not to assist him of Ireland, and the King of Scots gave them his solemn promise that he would not help him of Ireland before the ambassadors had returned who were coming to us. With these conditions, and with the intention of asking our daughter in marriage, the ambassador has arrived in Spain, but we have not yet seen him. Certainly, if we had a daughter (not yet engaged) we would gladly marry her to the King of Scots, since the King of England desires it for the reasons you state in your letter. In fact, we think that if we were to marry one daughter to the son of the King of England, and another daughter to the King of Scots, it would, with the help of God, be sufficient to preserve peace between the Kings of England and Scotland. But we have no daughter to marry to him, (fn. 1) as you well know. We write you all these details that you may communicate them to the King of England, and hear his opinion as to the best way of dealing with the King of Scots. We shall now do nothing more but keep the negotiation in suspense till you, or the King of England, answer us. We shall send back his ambassador without depriving him of the hope he entertains that the marriage will be arranged. But this affair could not remain any longer in suspense if they were to see that we had disposed of our daughter. Because, if the marriage between our daughter and the son of the King of England were publicly concluded, the King of Scots would change his mind, and, we are afraid, give no longer any credit to us with respect to the concerns of the King of England. This is the reason why you must find out in what manner we can gain over the King of Scots, and entertain him. Write soon, but do not say anything about this last portion of our communication to the King of England, lest he delay the conclusion of the alliances and of the marriage."
"Although we have said that we have no daughter to give to the King of Scots, you must tell this to the King of England alone, and no other person must know it. We must not deprive the King of Scots of his hope of having our daughter. On the contrary, we must amuse him as long as possible. The King of England might, if he likes it, propose to the King of Scots a marriage with one of his daughters, and give her such a marriage portion as would content the King of Scots. We think that would be very desirable. Our ambassadors in Scotland and ourselves would lend all our assistance to bring about such an arrangement. Learn what are the wishes of the King of England, and write soon."
Entry of Henry VII. into the league.
Have thought much on the entry of Henry into the league, and are persuaded that it would assist him materially in arranging his disputes with Scotland. In gaining so many friends he would gain security in his own kingdom. He must induce Henry to enter the league. But the negotiations concerning the league must not interfere with the marriage and the alliance to be concluded between Spain and England.
A letter to Don Martin, and a copy of it for De Puebla, are enclosed. "If we say in it (the letter to Don Martin) that we are going to marry one of our daughters to the son of the King of England, and another to the King of Scots, we do it in order that if the King of Scots should know what is agreed upon between us and the King of England, he should not find fault with it and change his mind. He must imagine that this (marriage) is concluded in order that his may likewise be concluded."—From Almazan, 26th April 1496.
Indorsed : "Draft of a letter of their Highnesses to Doctor De Puebla, sent by Arnau, courier, who left Almazan on the 17th of April. His salary is 55 ducats. Morales has given him 35 ducats to pay the expenses of the journey, and 20 ducats will be paid him on his return."
Draft. Spanish. pp. 4.
27 April.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
Intentions of Ferdinand and Isabella in their negociations with Scotland.
133. Ferdinand and Isabella to De Puebla.
The King and the Queen.
Doctor De Puebla, of our Council. After this courier had been despatched, we were much occupied in our thoughts with the affairs of the King of Scotland, because they are of such great importance, and we wished to get the King of England out of his troubles. Although we have hitherto occupied ourselves with the concerns of Scotland, it has only been to deprive the King of France of assistance, and to help the King of England in the difficulties into which he has been brought by the so-called Duke of York. But now that we consider the marriage as concluded, we regard his affairs as our own. It is, therefore, our wish to get as much influence over the King of Scotland as possible, in order to conclude either peace, or a long truce between Scotland and England. We believe that it would be a great impediment to the accomplishment of our intention, if we were to make the marriage (between Arthur and Katharine) public now. We are persuaded, therefore, that it would be best to conclude a marriage contract now with the King of England, to be kept secret till we see where the affairs of Scotland will stop, or till we send a person of great experience to procure what is necessary, and to liberate the King of England from the danger he is in through the Duke of York. We hope to be able to accomplish this matter, if we do not lose our credit with the King of Scotland. As for the alliance, it may be concluded publicly or secretly, as the King of England prefers. We shall be contented with either. If the alliance were to be made public, there would be no inconvenience in it, as it could be justified by the league. Conclude it without delay in one way or other.—From Almazan, 27th of April 1496.
I, the King.
I, the Queen.
By order of the King and the Queen.
Fernand Alvarez.
Indorsed : "By the King and the Queen. To Doctor De Puebla, of their Council, and their ambassador in England."
The whole despatch is written in cipher, the key to which is extant. The deciphering is by the editor.
[Enclosed in this despatch is a note written in cipher, different from the cipher of the despatch. The key to this very complicated cipher has not been communicated to the editor. According to his own interpretation, the following is a close translation of the note.]
We believe that they already know in England that the state of Genoa, and that of Florence, Lucca, and Sienna, and further the Duke of Ferrara, the Marquis of Mantua, the Duke of Urbino, and Micer Johan de Bentivoglio for the town of Bologna, have come into the obedience of the King of France. For this reason, we do not care to set down here the particulars of these occurrences. But write to us what the King of England, our brother, thinks of it.
I, the King.
I, the Queen.
To Doctor De Puebla.
28 April.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
134. Ferdinand and Isabella to De Puebla.
An abstract of the preceding letter. It is included in the despatch from De Puebla, dated the 13th June 1496. There seems to be an error in the dating.
27 April.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 2.
Entry of the King of Scotland into the league.
135. Ferdinand and Isabella to Don Martin, their ambassador in Scotland.
The Pope is continually urging them to induce the King of Scots to enter into the league for the defence of the Pope and the Church. All Christian Princes are bound to do so, and it is expected that the King of Scots will do his duty.
He must likewise conclude a peace or a long truce with England. For if one of their daughters should be married in England, and another in Scotland, it would certainly be a misfortune if their husbands were at war with one another.
Indorsed : "This is a draft of a letter written by their Highnesses to Don Martin, who is in Scotland. The letter was sent to De Puebla by Arnau, courier, who left Almazan on the 27th of April."
Draft. Spanish. p. 1.


  • 1. Con el in the original. Though it is not quite clear to whom el refers, yet, judging by the whole paragraph, I think the King of Scotland is meant.