Spain: March 1550, 16-31

Pages 46-57

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

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March 1550, 16–31

March 17. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Sire: Since my last letters to your Majesty of the 8th of this month nothing worthy of note has occurred here. The members of the Council do nothing but travel backwards and forwards between London and Greenwich, where the Earl of Warwick is at present in the King's palace, to consult with him on the messages they receive daily from the commissioners at Boulogne. It is generally believed that they have made up their minds finally to come to terms with France; but no news of the terms have leaked out, beyond the proposed restitution of Boulogne, in exchange of which some say they are to receive Ardres from the French. They are determined to make peace at all costs, the better to strengthen their hold on the Government here, and because they go in fear of your Majesty for their past and present deeds. Matters are going from bad to worse, and might justly occasion some exhibition of displeasure on your Majesty's part. This day I have been told, by someone who had heard it from one of the gentlemen of the King's chamber, that a member of the Council had declared peace was concluded. Rumour has it that the truce has been renewed for another ten days, so that evidence is against the conclusion of the peace; particularly as it has been said that the Lord Privy Seal was to come to London with one of the French commissioners, and Paget was to go with the other to the King of France. The people are much discontented with the restitution of Boulogne and murmur a good deal against the government of the Earl of Warwick, who keeps himself shut up in his room feigning illness, and will see no one except members of the Council. The other day he made the Earl of Arundel wait two full hours outside his room; but I have not been able to discover what the occasion of the visit may be. Your Majesty's subjects are heavy sufferers; for their goods are seized and detained without reason, and they cannot get a hearing nor any means of redress, because the Council, after endless applications and delays, refer them to the said Warwick, who will neither see nor listen to them; and in the meantime the unfortunate people's goods are sold, so that even if the Council were hereafter to grant them the restitution of their property they could recover nothing. There are several cases in point; and he (Warwick) takes all he can lay hands on, and has lately refused to receive a petition from the owners of the vessel freighted with bullion, which I mentioned in my last letters, where I valued the stuff at four thousand crowns, whereas I now hear it is worth over six thousand. As I write, I hear that the Earl of Southampton is better, and that he regrets it, desiring as I am told to be under the earth rather than upon it.
Yesterday the Lady Mary sent me a letter asking me to give her some advice, so that she might avoid the evil she feared; and principally she wished to know if I had had any letter from your Majesty likely to bring her some aid, as she had no other hope or refuge in this world. I could tell her nothing more than I had said already; and I fear, Sire, one could not blame her if she felt surprised at this; because were it not for her wish not to displease your Majesty, and to abide by your good pleasure, she would attempt to escape from the country. I have always dissuaded her, for I fear that the good lady through her own incompetence might fall into a worse evil; nor could I moreover approve any step without first ascertaining your Majesty's wishes. If the proposal is not displeasing to your Majesty, I have hopes of finding good means to save her from here and set her in a country belonging to your Majesty: but if the plan is long delayed, we may find it is too late and nothing can be done. If she were once beyond the reach of those here (the Council) it would be easier to find a remedy for the needs of the good people of the kingdom (the Roman Catholics), who are still very numerous.
The Queen (fn. 1) wrote to me a few days ago to ask that commissioners might be appointed to examine the wrongs and extortions unduly practised against the Commercial Convention, as it was clearly set forth in the communications held at Bourbourg and here in London should be done in case of refusal to make good the aforesaid extortions, and provide that in future no undue exactions be made on the subjects of your Majesty. Up to the present I have been unable to make the application, because the Council are so very busy at Greenwich that it is hard to find them assembled here. Moreover, they are sure to refer the matter to Warwick, and will keep me waiting five or six weeks for my answer as they did on the last occasion. For these considerations it seems to me, Sire, that nothing will be lost if I defer (my application) until I hear from your Majesty whether it be your pleasure that I dwell merely on the breaches of the Commercial Convention, searches, exactions and tolls levied and practised on our merchants, or whether your Majesty desires me to bring forward (at the same time) the prosecutions and complaints of your poor subjects, who have been cheated and robbed here and frustrated of the enjoyment of their possessions, as I lately wrote to your Majesty. With regard to the merchants' complaint against the custom duties, it will be hard to get any better terms here than those settled at Bourbourg, though they were nothing compared to what was asked for; as they have counter-allegations and documents in their possession here, which were shown to us some time ago. As for the prosecutions of those who have been robbed, the communications held in the past have ever profited them little, and I fear the proposed one will profit them less. But at all events your Majesty will be carrying out the letter of the treaty.
London, 17 March, 1550.
Duplicate in cipher. French.
March 18. Besançon, C.G. 71. The Queen Dowager to Simon Renard.
We wrote to you some time ago what we had negotiated with Ambassador Marillac concerning the ordinance regulating sea-traffic. After having examined our proposals, Marillac asked that they might be altered on a few points. First, he would have the suggested modifications affect the two principal parties only, and not their allies and confederates. Otherwise the English, who were our allies, would benefit thereby, and such was not the intention of the French. This did not seem unreasonable to us, and we granted it; though we pointed out to Marillac that we had only followed the form of their own ordinance, which made special mention of confederates and allies.
He also desired to have the exception of enemies and pirates omitted from the end of the first article, which, none the less, he had drawn up. He gave no reason, except that it would be enough to mention in general terms goods found in ships belonging to friendly nations, for the meaning was obvious where enemies' ships were concerned; and any doubtful case might be settled by law, or by decision of one or other of the contracting princes, and regarded as a gratification, or otherwise. But it seemed to us that the said clause ought by no means to be omitted, as it contributed to make the general meaning clearer, and shut out the possibility of various misinterpretations. We caused St. Mauris to tell Marillac so, and to explain that, as the said exception was implied by the general tenor of the ordinance, it was all the more natural to state it definitely in order to leave no room for doubt and dispute. Our object was none other, and we had strong views on the matter because we wished our subjects in the Low Countries to understand that they were not to freight their goods in English bottoms, which they would otherwise do because of the amount of trade we had with England. . . .
We also caused St. Mauris to tell Marillac that the Emperor was sending some troops to the Artois frontier, as he had been wont to do every spring. His Majesty had issued special orders to the officers to do their best to crush the wild English, if they should meet any, and to rid the frontier of the acts of violence frequently committed on subjects of the Imperial Majesty by French and English garrisons. This was said to Marillac to prevent him from suspecting that any move was being planned against France. He replied that he had already heard the news, and would inform his master, who would certainly be pleased with this proof of sincere friendship. . .
We had shown to Marillac copies of the letters we are now sending to you, together with a writing presented by the English, dealing with depredations committed by the French against their subjects on the territory of Artois. The English demand amends, and argue that as they send back prisoners who have been unfairly arrested, we ought to make the French do the same. We reminded Marillac that he had already offered to do this, and that we were waiting to see something done. The French had also said they would name commissioners to inspect the places where they claimed they might lawfully arrest Englishmen. We had already instructed Count de Reuil to send our commissioners, if they really meant to do this. Marillac replied that he would see to the matter. You might also mention it, so that it may not drag on longer; and request the French to make reasonable amends to the English. . . .
(Apologies on behalf of the King of France, uttered by Marillac, for tolerating the libellous book mentioned in the Queen Dowager's letter of February 28th.)
We informed Marillac that, in answer to his representations, we had caused measures to be adopted that had ended in the arrest, on the territory of Hainault, of the wild Englishman called Majuswin (sic), who was to be tried in the criminal courts. You might also mention this to the Constable, and tell him with all moderation that he ought in reason to do the same in the case of. the Scots pirates who are continually being sheltered in French ports, where they lurk for the purpose of harming the Emperor's subjects. Though they have been forbidden to do so, the robberies they daily commit show that the prohibition has had no effect.
You will also show the Constable a letter written by Rochepot to Wallop, captain of Guines; and point out that Rochepot says in it that the French will seize the English whenever they find them on the Emperor's territory. This language is in contradiction to the King of France's never-failing assurances that he always intends to observe the rules of friendship; and seems very strange when it is remembered that we have always claimed such action to be a direct breach of the treaties.
Brussels, 18 March, 1550.
Signed. French. Printed by Weiss in Documents Inédits, Vol. III.
March 19. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 29. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
Sire: Since my last letters to your Majesty, the King has left Fontainebleau and has gone to Vallery, a place belonging to Marshal de St. André. It was rumoured that he would go on to the abbey of Valluysant (?)* near Sens to keep Easter there but the Constable has sent word to me that he will return in ten or twelve days time to Fontainebleau, where he left the Queen and M. d'Aumale, the one still weak from his recent illness, and the other five or six months with child, and incommoded by her condition.
The King has felt the change from winter to springtime, and suffered from a catarrh and tooth-ache. In what concerns public affairs and events, the King is hourly expecting the return of M. d'Andelot, with news of peace or war with England. No news have come from him since his departure, beyond a letter to the King, declaring that the English commissioners, after having heard the definite and final resolve of the King concerning the difficulties still pending set forth in writing by the King, had left for England, so as to communicate with the Governor (sic) and Council, and bring back the answer they should decide upon and command them to give. Matters were left in good terms with hopes of an amicable settlement; and on the messenger's return their failure or fulfilment would be known. In this hour of expectation and uncertainty many surmise that your Majesty will oppose a settlement and will give aid to the English for the continuation of the war, to further and effect your own designs. The rumour is spreading that the men-at-arms levied by Marquis Albert in Germany were raised by your commands and at your expense that the Constable heard over ten months ago from Germany that the said Marquis had received orders to levy men for your Majesty's service, and not for that of the English, and they assert that the Marquis would not commit the offence of employing men levied for your Majesty in the service of the English, were it not by your Majesty's orders and consent. Some opine that your Majesty will not interfere in favour of England, because of religion; others say that the principal points are all settled, and those now under discussion are minor ones, easily to be conceded. They assert that the King perceives this peace to be profitable and necessary to him for no other cause than the consideration of your Majesty's possible intention of declaring war, or causing war to be declared upon him over the question of his occupation of the Duke of Savoy's territory; and for that reason he will, they say, dissemble, and agree to settle the minor points against his own advantage.
I have enquired most carefully what the said articles of peace may be, or are. I have been told that the King will recover Boulogne and the neighbouring forts held by the English on the territory recently conquered, by payment of 1,600,000 crowns; four or five hundred thousand to be paid in cash now, and the rest over twelve years, in payments of one hundred thousand crowns a year; giving in hostage, to guarantee the payments, one of the Constable's sons. The quarrel of the payment of the pension (arrears of payment), is to be left pending until the King of England reaches riper years, and likewise the Scottish question, without prejudice to either side; and in the meantime the English will continue to occupy two places taken by them thirty or forty years ago.
As for the artillery at the fort of Boulogne and the other forts, demanded by the King in compensation for the artillery found there by the English, he will be satisfied with the restitution of such pieces as can be proved to have once belonged to the French, and if none such are forthcoming, he will waive that point altogether. They are saying over here that if peace is concluded your Majesty's integrity will be proved in two matters of capital importance, where you had the choice of throwing in your weight decisively; first, the election of the pope, which you permitted to take place by the ordinary means, although you had certain information of the intrigues, contrary to the holy canonical laws regulating papal elections, by means of which intrigues the French sought to bring about the election of a French pope or one wholly devoted to the French interest, without any respect for the good of religion and of the Church: which intrigues your Majesty, having certain knowledge of them, and of the irregular proceedings employed in conclave, might well have checkmated and turned aside by means of the Council (of Trent) or by other regular and reasonable methods. The second point they mention is the conclusion of peace, which your Majesty might have prevented if you had desired to do so, by malting war on the Scots, who prove themselves daily by their words and their actions to be your enemies. You would thereby have prevented the King from making war in the Boulonnais at the time he undertook it without interfering between France and England, and enabled the English to concentrate their forces scattered between Scotland and Boulogne, and profit by the opportunity to their own gain. It is a fact, Sire, that the Scots would have found great difficulty in opposing your Majesty, even though the King of France had assumed their protection. If your Majesty had attacked them by sea, and the English from another quarter, it is certain they would have had to suffer, their country not being strong. Moreover, your Majesty might have put into effect the projected alliances between the two houses; and in consideration of the tender age of the King of England, and the recommendations made to your Majesty by the late King Henry, you might have interfered in the quarrel, and requested the King of France to carry out the last treaty of peace made between King Francis and King Henry, thus diverting the King of France from his warlike enterprise by your simple request. It is generally acknowledged that the depredations committed against your Majesty's subjects by the Scots and by the subjects of the King would provide ample justification for your Majesty's intervention in favour of the English, not to mention the attempts against the territory of the Old Conquest, which, had it not been for your Majesty's foresight, it was the King's intention to perpetrate. Those who possess understanding in these matters are compelled to give and grant great praise to your Majesty for the righteousness of your ways; and to concede that French affairs are conducted by means of intrigue, duplicity, and understandings with the infidel: in fact, by deviation from righteousness. They fail to emulate the integrity of your Majesty, preferring the advantage of keeping an open road into Italy to the good of Christianity and religion, and, in the event of your Majesty's demise, counting on the possibility of making war on the Duchy of Milan.
The news from Rome are to the effect that the Pope seems bent, since his elevation, on proving his desire to follow the path of St. Peter, dealing fairly with the King and your Majesty, without exhibiting preferences for the one or the other. He has chosen the Cardinals of Burgos, Carpi, Sfondrato, Santa Croce and the Theatine (Caraffa) to be his councillors; and it is supposed that they will not agree on matters where your Majesty is concerned, being opposed in their affections, intelligence and inclinations. Nevertheless, the French cardinals, notably he of Ferrara, assures the King that he will adhere to his party, but can do nothing much as yet, and he continues to palliate the restitution of Parma to Duke Octavio, which the King cannot take in good part. The King lately took the opportunity of certain letters of recommendation he gave to Count de Flisco (sic) (fn. 2), soliciting the Pope's assistance against Duke Octavio in the matter of a certain castle and possessions he has near Parma, to refer to the restitution, declaring it to be harmful to his servants and friends. . . .
(More rumours that the King of France is supplying money to the seaboard towns that rebelled against the Emperor; an estimate of France's forces, etc.)
Melun, 19 March, 1550.
Duplicate. French.
March 28. Vienna, Imp. Arch. F. 29. Simon Renard to the Emperor. (fn. 3)
Sire: M. d'Andelot, on his return hither from the fort of Boulogne, brought the articles of the peace concluded between France and England, which the King has ratified. He despatched M. d'Andelot back to Boulogne so that the said articles might be signed by the commissioners on the 24th of this month, and the following day, the 25th, the peace might be publicly proclaimed in the castle and town of Boulogne. The King has sent the hostages, who are to cross to England. They are said to be my Lords d'Enghien; the Marquis du Maine; de la Tremoille; the Constable's son; the Vidame of Chartres; and Admiral Annebault's son. The King is to recall three of them, according to his pleasure, on payment of two hundred thousand crowns. The others are to remain in England until another two hundred thousand crowns, due in the month of August next, are paid. Boulogne is not to be delivered over until the first payment is actually effected, and to make sure of not losing their money, the French have stipulated that the English shall also deliver hostages for the restitution of the town. This was told me by the Constable, whom I saw on private business, as hereinafter explained. Besides this, he told me that the King intends to send M. d'Andelot from Paris to your Majesty, so that you may be informed of the manner in which the negotiation was carried on, and communicate his actions to your Majesty, his good brother, in confirmation of your mutual friendship.
The King has received news that the Pope, in this beginning of his reign, is making a great show of Imperialist leanings: by the restitution of the town of Parma into the hands of the Lord Octavio; by reinstating Ascanio Colonna in the enjoyment of the places usurped from him by Pope Paul, and which he took possession of again during the vacancy in the apostolic see; by confirming a gift made by the late Pope to the Duchess of Camarino; by permitting Don Fernando (Gonzaga) to choose a nominee to the bishopric of Pavia, on condition that his choice shall fall on a competent and suitable personage; and by dismissing the soldiers which the late Pope kept in Italy. Beyond this, and above all, he is supposed to have written to your Majesty giving his full consent to the Council, not merely permitting it to be carried on in Trent, but in the very heart of Germany, if your Majesty wishes it; and he is said to have written to this effect before Don Luis de Avila and Don Gomez Suarez de Figueroa, captain of the guard of my Lord the Prince, despatched to his Holiness by your Majesty and his Serene Highness to congratulate him on his election, had reached Rome; nor can your Majesty nor the Estates of the Empire be supposed to have even questioned him on the subject. These events have filled the King's mind with doubts, and he feels uncertain as to the truth of the assurance given him by the French cardinals. He regrets his first actions in consequence, though the Constable is very strong on this point; and for this reason he has not yet sent anyone to his Holiness, but has given orders to the Cardinals to offer their congratulations on his behalf, as custom demands, until M. de Nemours and the Marshal de la Marche or de St. André, who are supposed to be going to Rome for that purpose, arrive there. The Bishop of Mirepoix is to be despatched at the same time, and will take the post of ambassador to his Holiness instead of M. d'Urfé, who was ambassador to the late Pope. These gentlemen will discharge the remaining obligations according to custom. M. de Nemours is being sent to give greater importance to the deputation. Although the peace with England is signed, one may perceive by the expression on the faces of the people about the court that they are still displeased about something; this being the consent of his Holiness to the (continuation of the) Council. Their logic tells them that if matters of religion are to be settled by the Council, and Germany quiets down in obedience to your Majesty, the masterpiece of your policy will be accomplished and will enable you to undertake the labour next in importance, fighting the Turks and infidels; whereby your might will increase, and the power of your enemies diminish. Those who have spoken to me on these matters have made no mention of the welfare of Christendom, but have dwelt purely on private gains and considerations, adding that by means of the Council the rebels might be reconciled, and the states and countries that would not obey the Council would be in danger of being compelled by force to do so. . . .
Melun, 28 March, 1550.
Duplicate. French.
March 29. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Sire: The Lord Privy Seal and Paget returned to London from Boulogne to-day, and the peace with France was incontinently published. Your Majesty's name, dominions and subjects, and the name of the Queen of Scotland and her kingdom were mentioned as being included, as will be seen from the publication enclosed herewith. There has been no great rejoicing here in London; for though at present no mention is made of Boulogne, it is known nevertheless that they will not be able to keep it, and that their men will garrison it until the artillery and ammunition, now in it, can be removed, and no longer. I am told it will take twenty days. I can send no certain news of the conditions of peace to your Majesty. I am not to blame, having exerted myself to the utmost to discover the sum to be paid by France, and other details as well. But these gentlemen are so angry and suspicious of your Majesty, that they exhibit their feelings towards me; wherefore those among them who used to give me information from time to time on the business on hand now scruple to do so; and have even left off calling at my house while the negotiation with France was being carried on, waiting to see how it would end.
It was said here that the French were to pay six hundred thousand crowns in cash, and guarantee the payment of another eight hundred thousand crowns by sending here as hostage the brother of M. de Vendôme and other young French lords. I have just been told that only three hundred thousand crowns are going to be paid down, and that hostages are to be given by both sides. I have not been able to find out why the English should send hostages, or what amount of money those sent by France will guarantee. I will therefore cut my letter short, having no certain news to send. I presume too that your Majesty will have been amply informed on all points by their ambassador, at any rate in what concerns the inclusion of the Scots, which they will no doubt be at pains to palliate in the same way as before in their former treaty, by affirming that it could not be valid as they had reserved expressly the treaties with your Majesty. They affirm the same again now in the publication I referred to above. I will inform your Majesty as soon as I hear anything fresh, or the Council mention aught to me. Meanwhile, I have preferred to send this letter by the ordinary merchants' courier leaving to-morrow morning.
London, 29 March, 1550.
Signed. French.
March 31. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 18. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We received your letters of the 8th of this month as we were about to answer your letters to us of the 25th of the past month; and saw the answer given you by the gentlemen of the Council, and the terms used by them, which appeared somewhat strange to us. We prefer to ascribe them to the business they are now engaged upon which we suppose keeps them engaged. We are pleased that you are keeping us well informed on what happens, and consider you are rendering us suitable service by so doing. We desire you to continue sending news from time to time, and to inquire as far as you can into the nature of their affairs, particularly with France and Scotland; into the character and temper of those who have the greatest influence in the Council, and into all matters generally about which it seems to you of consequence that we should be informed. Let us have letters from you as often as possible.
To revert to the answer given to you on the points which by our command you had urged, we will concur in their resolve to appoint commissioners to inquire into the matter of the bulwark erected near Gravelines which we claim to be within our jurisdiction; and the personages named in your letter having been chosen on their side, we have appointed, to conduct the inquiry and justify our pretensions, and so that the difficulty may be quickly smoothed, M. de Vandeville, captain of Gravelines; and the Procureur-général of Artois. They have been enjoined to keep themselves in readiness to attend to the business as soon as the English commissioners can do so, and fix the time and place of their meeting. You will inform the Council of this. But we find it strange indeed that by means of the said commission they should try to seek means of denying the seizure of the French vessel within our territory, the case being of such wide notoriety, and the place undoubtedly within our jurisdiction. Nevertheless, to meet their wishes, and prove to them that we desire to act according to strictest legality where they are concerned, we will give our consent that the commissioners clear up this point also.
Concerning the vessels laden with sugar and alum, you will again prove their great and complete error to them, and tell them that we cannot perceive why they oppose any objections to our request that the vessels be returned as the others have been, on sufficient guarantee; the same reasons applying to both cases, the refusal would be against justice and equity. Add that we think the harsh terms they use towards our Spanish and Flemish subjects are hard to bear; whereof we receive daily complaints, as you will see by the petitions we are again sending you. We command you to make suitable remonstrances on their behalf, so that their just appeals may be listened to and the great wrongs that are inflicted upon them made plain. You shall also insist that their past losses be made good, and such measures taken for the future that these vexatious searches shall cease, so that we may not be compelled to resort to other means of ensuring the indemnity of our subjects, towards whom we are bound by obligations, as they (the Council) know. Considering how loyally we proceed on our side in the entire observation of the treaties, we hold them guilty of inflicting a great wrong upon us by not doing likewise. You will inform us of the warning you shall give them, and of what they propose to do, so that we may be guided by it, and take all possible means to avoid the perpetration of outrages against our subjects.
With regard to the Count of Tendes' letter, you will renew your request when Secretary Petre returns thither; although we foresee that there is little hope of their giving it up while they entertain a prospect of coming to terms with France.
As to the marriage of our cousin, the Lady Mary, to the Infante Don Luis, there is nothing more to be said, if they do not approve of the proposals made by the Protector, as everything we have done has been in answer to the messages sent to us at the Protector's wish. We will reply concerning Sebastian Cabot at the first opportunity. You will do your best to obtain as much information as possible about the nature and despatch of the answer given to George van Hoist and Dr. Brun.
We hoped that when answering on the other points you laid before them, the English ministers would also give you a reply concerning the assurance that the Lady Mary, our cousin, should be permitted to continue in her observance of the ancient religion, and in the enjoyment of the same liberty that was hers at the time of the death of the late King her father, and that the Council would not attempt to comprise her in their decrees and proclamations, or to make an occasion of them to attack her or hers (her household) directly or indirectly. We urged this point when Controller Paget came on his mission here, and have urged it through you; and we also had it mentioned to my Lord Warden when he was over here lately on an errand from the Council. The changes wrought daily in matters of religion in that country, greatly overstepping the limits set by the late King, and made, too, during the present King's minority, cause us to persist in our request and to demand that an answer shall be given us. We remarked before that in England the edicts made by some are put into effect by others; and desiring above all things the safety of our cousin, we charge you to make lively instances on this point, carrying your request, if necessary, to the King's ears, as no reliance can be placed on any verbal assurance they may give, for others may come into power who will pretend to have no knowledge of any assurance. This matter is very near our heart, particularly as it concerns some one bound to us by family ties; so that even if our cousin were inclined to yield—which we cannot believe of her,—we would never consent to it, but do all in our power to prevent it. Obtain an answer on this point as soon as possible.
Brussels, 31 March, 1550.
Extract from a minute. French.


  • 1. Mary, Queen-Dowager of Hungary, Regent of the Netherlands.
  • 2. Doubtless Ottobuono Fieschi, brother of Count J. L. Fieschi the famous Genoese conspirator, who was drowned while trying to carry out his plans in Genoa harbour in 1547. Ottobuono then fled to Marseilles and entered the French service.
  • 3. A short summary of this letter, translated into Spanish, was sent to the Regents of Spain, and is in Paris, Archives Nationales, K. 1489.