Spain: March 1552, 26-31

Pages 485-497

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

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March 1552, 26–31

March 28. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: The secretaries. Dr. Petre and Mr. Wotton, have come to see me on the Council's behalf to inform me, in a summary manner, that the Emperor's subjects' complaints touching the new taxes, and my remarks to the Council on the same matter, were quite unjustified. They then said that the English officials only levied, at present, such taxes as had always been levied and were permitted by the Commercial Convention and treaties between the two princes, their lands and subjects. As for the Conferences of Bourbourg and Gravelines, it was quite clear that nothing had been concluded there, for both sides only exposed and discussed their complaints and grievances. And if any declarations had been made by their commissioners, they had not been absolute, but limited and conditioned by various considerations, wherefore no agreement could be argued from them, nor could any claim be based upon them.
I replied that at that rate the Conferences had been quite useless and barren; but I could not believe the King and his Council intended to allow the Emperor's subjects to be oppressed and burdened against the Commercial Convention, as it was clear from the replies the English commissioners had made at the Conferences was now being done; for it was right that they should model their conduct on the utterances there made. They answered that it was also reasonable to expect the same to be done on the Emperor's side. I said that such was already our custom, adding that one single tax here amounted to more than all his Majesty's put together. They could not complain of the one-half per cent., for it had already been abolished; and I further insisted on the respect, favourable treatment and welcome always given to their subjects in Flanders. They only answered that their subjects complained that, instead of one-half per cent. they were now being made to pay eight per cent. I replied that I had heard nothing of the sort, and was unable to believe it.
They then proceeded to speak of the new taxes. (fn. 1) First touching the fourpence sterling per head collected from all who passed through Dover, instead of twopence, they said that their reply (i.e. at the Conferences) had not stated that the toll had formerly been twopence; although a twopenny toll had been levied for the last hundred years and more. Dr. Petre added that he remembered my late predecessor Van der Delft and M. Adrian Van der Burch, President of Utrecht, had raised the same point; and it had been replied to them that it was true the King's officer at Dover only took twopence, but another officer took another twopence, also destined to the King's coffers, that was an ancient toll due to St. Martin's abbey near Dover, and now applied to the Crowsn.
I told them that this seemed very strange to me, for their reply (i.e. at the Conferences) had stated clearly that the Dover officers (had admitted that they had been in the habit of levying per head twopence, and not threepence, which excluded any larger sum, and the same talk had been heard from all the officers in general. The King had been possessed of all rights pertaining to St. Martin's abbey long before the said Conferences had been held, if there really was anything in that version, and it was hardly to be supposed that his Majesty had kept a second officer at Dover to collect twopences, besides which it was well known that one and the same officer had always collected the dues, and now collected four pence per head. Moreover, I found no mention of this new assertion in the President's reports; and if they were going to proceed in this fashion, always bringing up some fresh quibble, we should never dispose of these complaints and grievances. Nonetheless, they stuck to it; and I was unable to get anything more out of them.
The second point concerned the lightage fee. They declared that the Emperor's subjects might use whatever boats they chose for unloading their cargoes, without paying any tax, or being compelled to use the English lighters; and if anyone made any difficulty, they might report him. I told them it was well-known that their Customs officials refused to allow our people to unload except in the said lighters; but as the King's Majesty and his Council did not intend them to make this imposition, I demanded an order to that effect, to enable our people to obtain their rights. They answered that it was not necessary, and they were not in the habit of issuing such orders. I told them that, as they knew, our people had no control over their officers, and it was consequently necessary that the Prince should see to it.
The next three articles concerned the sixpence, eightpence and twopence claimed by the officials when the master of a vessel, on arrival, made his declaration of the goods he had on board, and also when a merchant received a receipt for payment of the customs dues. They told me that they had only stated, in their reply, that they treated the Emperor's subjects in the same way as they had always done for so long that there was no record of any other system; and they said no more. I then showed them a writing drawn up by their Customs officials, in which it was stated that masters and merchants might write their declarations themselves without being bound to give anything at all. They replied that it was true, but masters had always been accustomed to pay one penny in the great Custom-house, or toll, and another in the little one; and if they wanted their declarations written for them, it was only reasonable that they should give something to the Customs official or his clerk, though if they wrote the declarations themselves, or got someone else to do it, nothing should be demanded of them. As for merchants, they were only obliged to pay a fee on making their declarations if they required the services of a Customs official or his clerk, as in the other case. They confessed, however, that merchants paid fourpence in the great Custom-house, and as much again in the little one, on account of the receipts and seals handed over to them by the Customs officials to show that they had paid the Customs dues. I rejoined that as masters and merchants paid the Customs dues, and other King's fees, it seemed that the said twopence was levied on account of the writing that had to be done. As for the merchants, it was unreasonable and contrary to law and custom to make them pay for their receipts, for every creditor was obliged to give a receipt for what he received. They answered that they were not bound to furnish a reason for every point, and it was quite enough that the custom was a very old one. I told them that it was incumbent upon them to prove the assertion, which seemed unlikely to be founded.
As for the fee called “search-money,” for which the master of a ship is obliged to pay four shillings and fourpence sterling, and which had been reduced, at the Conferences, by one half where the Emperor's Flemish subjects were concerned; they told me that they only exacted one half from our people, and we must report any official who did otherwise. I demanded an order in writing to this effect, but they gave me the same reply as before.
Regarding the fee paid by the Emperor's subjects when they render the obligatory account of the use to which they have put the moneys proceeding from the sale of their goods in England, which fee is called the employ, they told me nothing was exacted from the subjects unless they desired to avail themselves of the officials' services. I argued that it was contrary to the Commercial Convention to oblige our people to render an account; for formerly the English had only asserted that there was an ancient law and custom that forbade the exportation of gold or silver, and they ought to stop short at that, without doing anything prejudicial to the treaties and convention. I took the opportunity of telling them that our people had recently been obliged to render accounts to the Customs officials, whenever the latter pleased, for every single piece of goods imported and sold. They were forced to do this in the most detailed manner under severe penalties, which were rigorously exacted, and were also made to pay for the writing of the statement. Hence our people and their heirs, besides the new imposition, had the penalties always hanging over their heads, and were exposed to great dangers through the statement and otherwise. They replied that this was a new grievance, about which they must obtain information.
As for the right of exchange (of money), they told me there was an old English law that forbade all exchange in this country. I answered that I failed to believe any such law had ever been enforced; and it appeared that, wherever the injured rights of the Emperor's subjects were at stake, the Council were in the habit of resuscitating some ancient law, patent or custom against the dispositions of the treaties, and the contracting parties' intentions, for the Commercial Convention was quite clear on this point of the reservation of statutes and customs. To return to the right of exchange, the Convention plainly stated that the Emperor's subjects should be allowed to exercise it, not merely with the English, but with all other nations; and the same had been ruled at the Conferences of Bourbourg and Gravelines. Hence it was clear that this prohibition was contrary to the spirit of the convention, as it substituted a special reservation for a general permission. Even granting that the said law had ever been enforced, if they wished to apply it now they would be breaking the back of trade, and destroying commerce between the two countries; for merchants could not do business without exchanging money, as English subjects were allowed to do in Flanders, especially since it was forbidden to export all sorts of goods, as I had formerly explained to the Council in detail. They only replied that no difficulty had ever been raised in connexion with their ancient statutes and customs, and they had always meant that these should remain in force. And they persisted in this attitude.
They then mentioned the groundage fee, and asserted that it was only claimed once. I demanded a statement of this in writing, but they gave me the same answer as before.
At last they arrived at the question of the King's weights, and told me to make a written report of the names of all who should use other weights, and they should be punished. I informed them that it was well known that other weights than the King's were used in town, especially where the Emperor's subjects were concerned, for false weights were sometimes used to cheat them. They said that the injured parties must bring a complaint, and summon the wrong-doers before my Lord the Mayor, who was chief of police; and I could get nothing more out of them.
After this, Madam, they told me that their merchants had also complained of several new taxes, about which they were soon going to send a statement to your Majesty. They have now done so, in the shape of the articles (fn. 2) enclosed in this letter. And this, Madam, was the end of our conference.
Duplicate endorsed “for the Emperor.” French.
March 29. Simancas, S.G. 47. The Emperor to his Ambassadors (fn. 3) at Trent.
All your letters, as well before as after the last congregation, down to those of the 22nd instant have been received, together with the copies enclosed. We have learned from them what passed between you and the Legate, and your opinion with regard to suspending the Council, which is worthy of your skill and prudence and in agreement with our own views. The present condition of affairs in Germany, for which country's benefit the Council was summoned, the departure of the Electors and the fact that so few German prelates remain make it probable that harm, rather than good, would attend its further prolongation. We have several times, and particularly on this last occasion, arrived at this conclusion, so after full and diligent examination of the attendant circumstances we are more determined about it than ever, and command you to endeavour to conduct the affair in such a manner, if possible, that the initiative of the suspension shall proceed from the Legate. Work upon him with the thoughts that are the most painful to them (i.e. the papal party), such as reform and the necessity of replying to the Protestants' proposals on that and other points, and of allowing the Protestants to speak. Thus the real desire of the Legate and the rest to be out of it will infallibly bring them to suggest a suspension, which you will then accept either without a time-limit and until things are more promising, or for a definite time which must not be under two years. We talked over this and other matters at great length with the Electors when they passed through here, and they are of opinion that the suspension had better be without any time-limit, so that we may be able to summon the Council again at an opportune moment, when the Pope is well-inclined, and not be obliged to have recourse to prorogations when the limit expires, or disturb the prelates and call them away from their churches for nothing, to the discredit of the undertaking. If the plan outlined above does not have the effect of bringing the Legate to propose a suspension, as might happen were he to wish to be very clever and take advantage of the uproar in Germany, it will still be evident that no good can come of the Council, as it is now conducted so limply. We therefore command you, in that case, to speak in confidence with some of our prelates, managing to do it in such a way that the others shall not take umbrage, for all are very honest men. Point out to them how necessary a suspension has become at the present moment, how many excellent reasons there are for having recourse to it, and persuade them to take it upon themselves to go to the Legate on their own account and, moved thereunto by the present notorious state of public affairs, make the suggestion to him. Let them dwell upon the unsatisfactory issue of the Council given its failure to encompass the exemplary reformation demanded by God's service and the interests of His Church, the loss of prestige occasioned by the Electors' departure, and the scanty preparations that are apparently being made for the coming of the Protestants. You may also enlarge on recent disturbances which will serve to harden the hearts of the erring, and express an opinion that unless important measures, such as the reformation (of discipline) the lack of which has given rise to all the heretical opinions, are enacted at Trent, the result will be to tarnish the fair fame of the Church, and discredit past Councils. Let them proceed to the conclusion that the best way to avoid these dangers would be to suspend the Council until such time as God shall be pleased to dispose matters more favourably.
As for the ambassadors from Württemberg and Strassburg, who are requesting that an answer be given to them, there is nothing more to be said than that you are to follow the instructions sent you from here. As you shall see that it might help the cause of suspension, insist upon it that they be heard and receive their reply, and always give them good words, telling them you have instructions from us to favour and obtain satisfaction for them.
You will try to arrange the dispute for precedence between the ambassadors of our brother, the King of the Romans, and those of the King of Portugal as best you may; though if the suspension goes through this difficulty will be removed.
When the Cardinal of Fano, who is returning to Rome, took leave of us he said he was going to stop a few days at Trent with the principal object of bringing about a good understanding between you and the Legate, such as was to be desired in order that you might proceed in unanimity and mutual confidence. He offered to do his best to that end; and after we had thanked him he went on to say that now was the time to make haste with the Council and bring it to a speedy conclusion. When it was finished it would be well to summon another to meet in two years' time, for his Holiness desired to effectuate a reformation, and really meant to do so. We replied in general terms, to the effect that a thorough reformation was most necessary for the welfare of Christendom and the cure of Germany's ills, as he (i.e. Fano), with his zeal and prudence, might well understand. For the rest we referred him to the Bishop of Arras, to whom he repeated in substance what he had said to us, giving as a reason the Protestants' failure to appear with the pretext that the Council, though it had been convoked as universal, was not so in reality. He also said that it was not well indefinitely to prolong a Council in such perilous times, thereby risking its exposure to contempt and doing great harm by keeping the prelates so long away from their churches. Arras answered that his (i.e. Fano's) opinion was ill-timed at a moment at which matters were to be discussed on which the Protestants must be heard at the risk of the gravest consequences. Were such advice to be followed, not only could no good come of it, but it meant the certain and total ruin (i.e. loss) of Germany, for whose benefit the Council had been convoked. The Germans would refuse to accept its decrees on the grounds that it had not proceeded on the lines promised at past Diets, that they had not been admitted to state the matters that offended their consciences, that scandals had not been met by the reformation they so ardently desired. They had, Arras said, reason to complain of the precipitate manner in which several points had been crowsded together in order to determine, in one session, more matters than there was time for with the object of disposing of them before the Protestants' arrival. They had a legitimate excuse for their delay, because the Legate had not given them sufficient safe-conduct immediately, but had extended it to them piece-meal; to say nothing of the fact that we did not yet know whether they would be satisfied with the last safe-conduct sent them, and that the present troubles in Germany were enough to serve as a new excuse even if the safe-conduct were held to be satisfactory. If they did not come, they would always maintain that they had been judged unheard. Arras concluded by saying, as if of his own accord, that he thought we might give our consent to a suspension for a long period, or even without limit, in the manner the Legate had so often talked of, rather than see the Council concluded hastily. He himself believed that what was most necessary—and our main object—was that, as in the past the Legate had hastened on the discussion of doctrine and given little attention to reformation, he should in the future promote reformation, as Fano said his Holiness was so anxious to see it achieved, and also certain uncontroversial points of doctrine that would not rouse ill-feeling but rather encourage the Protestants to attend, help in the removing of those abuses that offended them and, those obstacles once disposed of, join in the discussion of doctrine with confidence, seeing that the Council proceeded with sincerity. The Legate must suffer delay with patience, for he himself had caused it by not giving sufficient safe-conduct when it had been demanded, at a time when Germany was at peace. Had he not failed in this the present difficulties might never have arisen, and the Protestants might never have been able to advance such good excuses themselves for staying away. What was most necessary for the moment, therefore, was to give a moderate reply to the Protestants, which should shoulder them and their people with the blame. The theologians from Württemburg and elsewhere ought also to be heard, and the Catholic doctors ought to discuss with them, in order that they might not be able to say that when they went to the Council they were not admitted to expose their doctrine, because the Catholics knew they could not reply, and feared to be convinced; for such were the arguments frequently used with the ignorant. Fano confessed that all this had some foundation in reason, and offered to do his best in Trent and Rome, as he had already said. It was obvious, however, that he lent a willing ear to the remarks about suspension, though it was only mentioned in a general way, as if of Arras' own accord.
Innsbruck, 29 March, 1552.
Copy. Spanish.
March 29. Simancas, S.G. 47. The Ambassadors At Trent to the Emperor.
Since our last letters to your Majesty, informing you of our negotiations with the Legate and how they ended, nothing new has happened between us, for he has made no reply, and we have not solicited for one. Affairs are therefore at a stand-still; for he will not have (the sacrament of) marriage nor anything else discussed before the points that have been reserved, and we will not consent to his bringing the reserved ones forward. As he failed to persuade us to consent to the form of suspension he wished to have adopted, he has not dared to propose it, and he is much embarrassed, knowing himself to be blamed for the deadlock in which we now arc regarding suspension, though critics of our action are also not wanting. Nothing else is being talked about, to the great scandal of the prelates and other persons here present, because the preachers have ceased treating all other subjects, and if this goes on we can only expect the Council to break up in a disgraceful manner. We are waiting for your Majesty's reply to our letters.
Julius (von) Pflug, Bishop of Naumburg, left this place assuring us that he would go no farther than Innsbruck, whither he must repair on business of great importance to your Majesty. It was urgent that he should be there at the arrival of certain procurators from Duke Maurice's state, who had written begging him to be there and render them some assistance in the matter that was bringing them. We did our best to keep him back, but he met our efforts with the above excuses.
The suffragan of the Bishop of Würzburg has also gone. We failed in our persuasions to detain him, for he affirmed that his master had broken his leg and needed him in the administration of his bishopric. In like manner the other German bishops who are still here, except for the Archbishop of Strassburg who went to visit Italy some days ago and has not returned, are unsettled and anxious to get away. In spite of all we can do we fear they will behave like those who have left already, giving fresh scandal. The Italians take the opportunity to say that your Majesty's bishops go with our consent, as we do not stop them, affirming that the Electors dared not go while we wished to prevent them.
It might also happen—and we consider it probable—that the Protestants, on seeing the Germans go, will say that they do not wish to dispute in the presence of two nations only.
There is also some stir among the Italians, but we believe the Legate and the presidents mistrust what might happen to them if they were to remain alone with the Spaniards and those Italians who are vassals of your Majesty; so they are in this dilemma, and know not which way to move. The Legate has had a bad fever for the last four days and does not improve, though he has been bled and carefully tended. He is in great perplexity, and so shall we be until we receive your Majesty's instructions.
The procurator from Strassburg who was here lately told us that the men of that republic (i.e. Strassburg) had sent a new power to one of their theologians here, so that he might despatch business in the procurator's name, allowing him to return, as his domestic affairs claimed his presence. He therefore decided to go, and all our attempts to keep him were vain, for go he did. All we could do was to demand a copy of the theologian's power, to be certain that what he said was true.
Trent, 29 March, 1552.
Copy. Spanish.
March 30. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Advices sent by Jehan Scheyfve.
The English are fitting out seven or eight warships in the Thames. The Vice-Admiral, Henry Dudley, cousin to the Duke of Northumberland, has been appointed to command them, and his right-hand man is a Frenchman called Jehan Ribault, who was formerly a prisoner in the Tower. The ships are soon to put out to sea. It is rumoured that they are intended to guard the English coast and harbours, and protect shipping; and it seems others are to be fitted out. We believe the King of France is making great preparations by sea, and that twenty or thirty ships of his have already set sail. Some of them are said to have appeared at Rye, to the west of this place (i.e. London); and some assert they are on their way towards Zeeland.
It is being whispered in secret that the Earl of Warwick, Northumberland's eldest son, is soon to go to France with 800 or 1,000 horse, taken from the new English bands, and 5 or 6,000 foot, or else take the road to Calais and Guines, and stay there with the object of making those parts safe in case either the Emperor or the King (of France) wished to undertake some enterprise against them, and of waiting upon the events of the war. Although neither version is very likely, it is quite certain that the Earl is making preparations, and that the English have already sent a certain sum of money to France by Mr. (Sir Philip) Hoby, who passed that way on Ms road towards Flanders. It is said that the King of England and his Council are not best pleased with the reply that was given to Hoby.
A proclamation has been made here by which money-exchange is again permitted. It is said to have been done at the French ambassador's request, because of the prohibition issued in Flanders concerning exchanges on Lyons; but the truth is that the proclamation was most urgently demanded by English and foreigners.
The King is usually present at Council meetings now, especially when state business is being transacted, in order to lend his personal authority to the Council's decisions. He began attending a little before the Duke of Somerset was arrested.
The Lady Elizabeth, the King's sister, has been at Court, where she was very honourably received. They say that the Earl of Pembroke, Who is a widower, is trying to obtain her in marriage, but she refuses her consent. It is believed that the Duke of Northumberland has something to do with her attitude, for he will not suffer the Earl to make such a marriage, unless for some very good reason.
A few days ago the King of England sent an Englishman called Brigenthon (sic) by way of Flanders to Courtpennick at Hamburg. He had made use of the same man before at Magdeburg. Shortly before, Courtpennick had sent one of his people to the King.
It is taken for certain here that Duke Maurice (of Saxony), Marquis Albert of Brandenburg, the Count Palatine, (fn. 4) the King of France and several other princes and cities of Germany, including the sea-board towns, are in league against the Emperor under the leadership of France. (fn. 5) Some say that others yet, of whom his Imperial Majesty entertains no suspicions, are of the league; that we shall soon hear strange tidings; and that this war will go very differently from the last one fought in Germany.
The stillyard merchants have had all their privileges taken away by a decree of the Council; but it seems that the decree was rendered rather in order to be able to restrict these privileges than anything else, and that the London merchants who urged the measure wish to prevent the stillyard merchants from selling or distributing the goods they buy in England elsewhere than in the Hanse towns, and also from importing into England any other goods than those produced in the Hanse towns. They wish to oblige those merchants who deal outside these limits to pay the same taxes that non-privileged folk are liable to, or at any rate to obtain corresponding privileges for the English in the Hanse towns. The deputies from the said towns are still here awaiting a definite reply, and are urging the advisability of a conference, to be held in some neutral spot abroad. The Council are a little angry at this proposal.
Some say that Ambassador Chamberlain is coming home, and that he who is going to replace Morison is not to leave until next May. This is considered rather suspicious.
French. Cipher.
March 30. Brussels, E.A. 101. Cornille Scepperus (d'Eecke) to the Queen Dowager.
This afternoon I have received several letters from your Majesty of the 26th instant: among them one containing news about marine affairs sent you by M. de Reuil on the 22nd. By way of reply, may it please your Majesty to know that the same tidings have been heard here, but since they arrived we have had others from several parts of England and various informants. On the 28th the Bailiff of Flushing wrote to me that on that day several Englishmen had arrived there from Le Havre, whence they had departed on the 24th. They said that of the twenty ships that had been fitted out at Le Havre, eight had already sailed for the Isle of Wight, and the rest were to follow soon. Moreover, eighteen other war-ships were being fitted out in the Seine, which were to join more ships from Brittany and proceed towards the Isle of Wight, whence it was said they were going to invade this country. On the 27th, a little vessel had come from Calais to Flushing, which had sighted the eight men-of-war at Camber. The Bailiff also informed me that there were two Flemings with the French: one from Ghent, called Yven de Varnewyck, and the other from Écluse, Antoine Verplanken by name. Another Englishman, just arrived from England, told Captain Meeckere (fn. 6) yesterday evening that the eight French ships had with them two hulcques loaded with artillery, of which your Majesty has already been informed. The Englishman added that all these ships were to proceed to Brest, where the fleet was to collect; though this seems unlikely.
This morning the rentmaistre (sic) of Zeeland on the Wester Schelde arrived here, saying he had spoken with an Englishman just come from England, who assured him he had seen eight French ships and two hulcques at Camber, and seventeen ships at Portsmouth, under the command of Baron de la Garde (i.e. Paulin). The English Council had caused the sails to be stripped off these ships and had taken the Baron prisoner, for what reason it was not known. The Englishman assures us that this is true, and swears it; and he is a person of consequence.
This would be a great piece of news; your Majesty shall soon hear whether it is true or not.
Jacques Patrissone (i.e. Patterson), a burgess of this town and a Scotsman by descent, says it is true that the King of France has forbidden the Scots to export goods out of France, and for this reason three or four Scots have left France with their vessels empty. This seemed worth reporting to your Majesty.
As for the watch in these parts, it is being kept with great care, and since my arrival I have invited the towns to shut their gates and lay in supplies. They say they will do so, but it all takes a very long time.
The second letter concerns M. Dawenbroeck, whose commission your Majesty commands me to examine, and also his instructions. I will report as soon as possible about this; for the moment we are very busy with the Dutchmen.
As for the third letter concerning M. de Courrières, that gentleman travelled by Dunkirk, so it will be very difficult to send any ships to escort him as long as the wind remains in the west, where it is now. For so long the ships here are unable to put out to sea, and were the wind to veer round to south-east, south-southeast, or south, the gentleman wonld be sooner in England than our ships at Dunkirk. There is a very good vessel at Dunkirk called la Lévrière, which M. de Courrieres might use; but if he decides to wait a few days at Dunkirk, I will have three or four good vessels belonging to private individuals ready to set sail as soon as the wind changes, as above.
As for our principal task (fn. 7), your Majesty shall soon hear of its progress. The Dutchmen are not all here yet, but we believe the rest will accept what we shall conclude with those already here.
Veere, 30 March, 1552.
Signed. French.
March 30. Brussels, L.A. 50. “News sent from Antwerp.”
Captain Baron de la Garde has left France with fifty ships, with eleven of which he has arrived at Rye, an English port. Twelve more are at Portsmouth and the rest have been driven back towards the French coast by storms. These ships are well-supplied with artillery and other munitions of war, a large number of soldiers and plenty of pioneers. One of the ships is full of spades and other tools for digging, which are supposed to be intended for use in breaking dikes or making some block-house or fort in haste.
Antwerp, 30 March, 1552.
March 31. Brussels, L.A. 50. The Queen Dowager to Count Van Buren.
I am sending you copies of three reports I have received from different quarters, all of which state that several French ships have arrived at Rye and Portsmouth in England, all well-equipped and with the plans you will see from the reports. You will therefore do well to inform all the seaboard towns in haste, that they may be on their guard. Keep a narrows watch on the warships now being fitted out in Zeeland, in order that no harm be done to them. And you will do your best to preserve them in safety.
Brussels, 31 March, 1552.
Minute. French.
March 31. Brussels, E.A. 65. The Queen Dowager to the Emperor.
(In a letter, the rest of which deals With preparations for war in Germany and armaments in Flanders, the following passage occurs.)
Touching the difficulty Fugger has made about the letter of credit I sent, and also the demand your Majesty addressed to him, you will see by a letter sent me by a messenger I despatched to Fugger's agent at Antwerp that the reason of it was that he had not received his agent's letter, which had been sent by the ordinary courier, who did not travel as fast as my messenger. Your Majesty will also see that Fugger's agent declares himself to be entirely devoted to your service. He is collecting as much money as he can here by his master's orders, so I hope Fugger will have provided your Majesty with a good sum. If he has not done so, you might press him by the means I suggested or others, but without saying that any more money can be got out of this country; for the present sum is all I can possibly manage, and even so I am risking not being able to meet current expenses and those that are sure to come up. The said agent has refused to give up the 100,000 crowsns that remain from the metal from the Indies; and. I beg your Majesty to remember that all that reached here was 300,000 crowsns, for the rest stayed by the way for other of your Majesty's needs. Also the exchange which was made in order to pay the merchants out of the amount that had remained in metal in Italy did not bring money hither, for 100,000 crowsns were taken by your Majesty out of the Antwerp Exchange, and sent to you. Certainly, my Lord, it is no wonder if purses are bare here and in Germany, for the whole of the enormous sum the merchants have furnished you with since the last war, has come from here and from Germany, and repayments have been assigned in Spain, whence the merchants have been unable to fetch their money. We have also taken up well over 2,000,000 florins here; and the sovereign remedy would be to bring the money from the country where there is some.
Your Majesty tells me that Fugger is discontented because he was not allotted a larger share in the metal from the Indies, and dissatisfied with the accounts drawn up with his agent here of what your Majesty owes him for several operations. I have given your Majesty ample information about all this in the despatch carried by Zandelyn, and have referred the settlement of the difficulties to you. It seems right that your Majesty should pay the interest stipulated in the agreement and not more; but on the other hand it is fair that he should receive no worse treatment than the other merchants, especially as we are always needing him. However, as the sum is so large, I have not dared to come to any decision, but have left it to your officers; for they, and not I nor any of my people here, managed the whole affair. Your Majesty will therefore have it looked into, and issue such orders • as you think fit. I beg you to believe that everything I have negotiated over here up to the present with Fugger's agent has been done with his and his master's full consent. It appears to me that it would be well for you to have Fugger satisfied as to his accounts.
Brussels, 31 March, 1652.
Copy. French. Cipher.
March — Brussels, E.A. 74. The Emperor to Edward VI.
By letters from our sister, the Queen Dowager of Hungary, Regent of our Low Countries, we have heard with great satisfaction of your good health and your desire to observe and keep up the ancient amity and alliance between our kingdoms and hereditary dominions and yours. Our dear and well-beloved knight, M. de Courrieres, will have informed you by our sister's orders of our joy at hearing this; and you may be sure that we shall always bear you sincere affection. As we are writing at greater length to our sister, who will cause our words to be reported to you, we will not make the present letter longer.
Copy of a minute. French.


  • 1. For further information on the following questions, see p. 101 note.
  • 2. These articles are no longer to be found with the original of this document.
  • 3. Hugo, Count de Montfort; Don Francisco de Toledo and Guillaume de Poitiers.
  • 4. i.e. the Elector Palatine.
  • 5.
  • 6. For information on Gérard Meeckere, or Van Meeckeren, see an Étude by L. de Backer, Bruges, 1848.
  • 7. i.e. the preparations for the departure of the merchant fleet for Spain and Portugal.