Spain: March 1551, 21-31

Pages 248-250

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 10, 1550-1552. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1914.

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March 1551, 21–31

March 21. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 30. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: However hard I may work, I find it impossible to discover the plans of the French; and the variety of their counsels, determinations and actions prevent me from attaining the end I have set before myself, to succeed in sending to your Majesty a true account of their designs. I am compelled to confess that I often transmit information to your Majesty in the belief that you will be able to foresee the practical results to follow by collating it with news received from other sources. I remember having written in some former letter of mine that the King of France, to make sure of the English, sent M. de Lansac across to revive the quarrels between the Scots and the English and take advantage, in the settlement of them, of the present weakness of England, which is great indeed. I also wrote that the Governors of England sent Mr. Pickering and Mr. Denny to propose means for an accord and deflect the King's apparent or supposed intention of making war; being determined rather to give way and waive their rights than to come to open hostilities, for the reasons already set forth in my letters referred to before. Matters came to such a point that strife seemed more probable than concord; but the King, not being certain of your Majesty's intentions, has now condescended to consider the means proposed to him, suspended the settlement of the disputed points, and decided to renew communications until a friendly solution can be arrived at. The said ambassadors believe that they have succeeded in diverting the King's purpose, which was to attack them, although the real reason is to be found in his anxiety to make sure of the English, as he is informed that your Majesty is making ready for war. The ambassador's negotiations have progressed so well that the hope of a marriage between the Princess of France and the King of England was held out; by means of which a perpetual alliance for the advantage and safety of both kingdoms was to be concluded. M. de Lansac is about to be sent off again to Scotland to get the soldiers withdrawn and recalled from the border, and to signify the King's intentions to the Regent of that country.
Incidentally I will add the account of an act which is said to have been committed by the King of England. He is said to have plucked a falcon, which he kept in his private chamber, and torn it into four pieces, saying as he did so to his governors that he likened himself to the falcon, whom every one plucked; but that he would pluck them too, thereafter, and tear them in four parts. I have heard the truth of the story certified by people whose testimony should place it beyond doubt; but nevertheless Ambassador Mason denies it, and accuses President Monluc of having excogitated it entirely himself. . . .
Sire: After my letters were written I heard that the French were despatching four commissioners for themselves and the Scots, and that the English were naming an equal number, to treat a perpetual peace between the English and Scots and define the disputed points which might upset it. Meanwhile the English are to give up the hostages received as sureties for the marriage of the Queen of Scots to their King.
They are also returning the vessels of the pirates which I wrote about at length in my former letters. I can certify to your Majesty that the proposed marriage of the King of England with the Princess of France is being definitely discussed, and that the Constable has spoken of it and held communications upon it. It is also a fact that the Princess, who has had a portrait of the King placed in her chamber, often stands before it, and says to her mother the Queen: “I have wished good-day to the King of England, my lord.”
This is what she is taught and trained to do. . . .
Blois, 21 March, 1551.
Signed. French. Cipher.
March —. Brussels, L.A. 50. François Van der Haute to the Council of State.
François Van der Haute, receiver (receveur de l'extraordinaire) in Flanders, asked for information on the seizure made by his searchers and clerks of three silver pots and six flagons, declared that a few days before the arrest took place his searchers were informed that a certain quantity of plate was being secretly exported. They kept a strict watch and finally seized three silver pots in the town of Gravelines, which were found in a sack stuffed with hay, which a carter had stored away in the bottom of his cart. As for the six flagons, of which the searchers had been informed, they did not find them in the cart, but the carter confessed, on being examined—as will appear from the deposition here enclosed—that he had the flagons in his house at Dunkirk and was to take them over gradually to Calais. The receiver then seized them together with the three pots, and his clerks and searchers maintain that they ought to be confiscated. However, it has pleased you, my Lords, to command the plate to be handed over to the bearer of your letter in exchange for sufficient securities, which the bearer turns out to be unable to give, though the receiver is willing to accept them, because he has no acquaintance here willing to furnish the securities. May your Lordships therefore be pleased to signify your pleasure as to how the receiver is to behave in this and similar matters.
(In the same bundle is a copy of the carter's deposition here referred to, stating that he was paid by a servant of the Deputy of Calais to smuggle the silver out of Flanders. There is also a letter from the Deputy, Lord Willoughby, to the Council of State, protesting against the seizure of the silver, and assuring the Council that he had only ordered it to be taken as far as Gravelines, where he had intended to apply for a permit to export it.)