BHO

Spain: July 1552

Pages 542-557

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

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Citation:

July 1552

July 8. Simancna, E. 1201. Fernando Gonzaga to the Emperor.
(Extract.)
I have read in your Majesty's letter to me, of the 1st instant, your most prudent instructions regarding the preparations the Prince of Salerno (fn. 1) is said to be making. In this letter I will reply to the points on which your Majesty bids me speak, and will then add what else occurs to me in connexion with this matter, with my accustomed reverence and devotion.
Your Majesty tells me to inquire most carefully into all the plans the French may be making through the said Prince, and commands me to hold myself in readiness to prevent them. The first of these two objects shall be entirely achieved, for not only shall I send to Mantua and Venice persons who shall have no other mission than to mind this affair, but I shall even manage to place other persons in the said Prince's immediate surroundings. He who goes to Mantua shall have orders, for the sake of saving time, to write directly to your Majesty whenever he writes to me of what he may find out. On the second point, however, I know not how to content your Majesty. As the French have no state nor interests in Southern Italy that might be attacked, the manner of creating a diversion which experience shows to be the best, is lacking.
The other way of frustrating their designs would be to use force and make for the enemy's main body wherever it might be, either routing it, or hanging on its flanks to prevent it from advancing towards Naples, or else, if it succeeded in pushing onward, following it to shut off its retreat, and thus give it cause to rue its rashness. Your Majesty knows, as well as and better than I, what power I have, and you have given me, to put such plans into execution; wherefore I can only say that when you shall be pleased to provide me with money, I will endeavour to show that I am able to do you service. By myself, even counting on the help of those who would be glad to follow me, I am not strong enough to do anything.
The anxiety in which this situation places your Majesty, as I understand it, appears to be only too reasonable. It is true that some reports state the King of France to be exhausted by the heavy expenses he has borne up to the present, and announce that he has consequently been able to make slender provision for the above ends. But, on the other hand, if we consider not so much whether that Prince will be able to find support in Naples, as the general discontent—let its causes be what they may—of the subjects of that kingdom, and the strength of the Turkish fleet, there is reason to fear the appearance of discontent still greater than anyone yet imagines. Beyond this, unless a truce intervenes (and the delay within which Monluc agreed to reply is passed by one day), and I disarm, as your Majesty has several times, and especially in your last letter, ordered me, what will happen will be that, however poor the French may be in money, they will not let that prevent them from taking the field and occupying all the open country (of the garrisons I do not speak). Were that to happen, they would acquire such prestige in Italy that it would be far from unlikely that they might coax their fires in Naples into a blaze once more. I will leave on one side the worst possible result, namely, what effect this might have on the Duke of Savoy. For my part I suspect that, if the truce is not agreed to, he may disarm, especially as in this army (how, I cannot tell), there has lately been talk among the Prince of Piedmont's subjects and creatures, about a marriage between this prince and the King of France's sister. And this rumour coincides with another I have heard, of which Don Diego de Mendoza has informed your Majesty. This point throws further light on the question of the obstacles I shall be able to place in the Prince of Salerno's way, now that we must have suspicions both of the French and of the Duke of Savoy.
After specifying the above points, I cannot omit to tell your Majesty that, if you do not set your policy in Italy in a direction different from that into which it appears to be forced by your present plans, I fear the same policy may receive such a shock that it will with difficulty recover. This becomes all the more evident when one considers that your Majesty is using, in the German war, your own person and all the forces of which you can well avail yourself; and that the fact that all your strength is being used, together with the enormous expense, will give great encouragement to all those who are anxious to see your Majesty's grandeur diminished. I am inclined to believe (and may your Majesty pardon me for being so bold, for I am still remaining within the limits of your instructions), that the best remedy for present ills in Italy would be to bring German affairs to such a settlement as you may. It appears to me that the mere fact of being disinvolved from the toils of German intrigues would render your Majesty master of all possible combinations that might grow out of the present situation. For if France were to agree to the truce, and your Majesty desired to convert it from a particular into a universal one, I have no doubt that, as they have done so for Parma, and may be about to do the same for Piedmont, they would easily embrace all the rest. That would mean no slight gain for your Majesty; for thus you would have weathered without loss the fiercest gale you have ever encountered, or are likely to have to face on the sea of empire: and at the same time the world would be enlightened by the fact that Germany cannot trust the French, and the French cannot trust Germany. The Turk himself would become equally diffident; for were he to be abandoned by the French there is no question but that he would be disinclined to do anything for them either now or in the future. Thus your Majesty, besides having lost nothing as I said above, would find yourself strong in men and money, whilst your enemies would have spent four times as much as you would have had to sacrifice. And even if your Majesty wished to devote yourself entirely to the war against France, you would be able to inflict heavy damage on them here in Piedmont—as you do not wish to risk the attempt on Savigliano, considering it too difficult an undertaking. For if we crossed the Po below Saluzzo, and laid waste the country on the other side of that river in the manner that most recommended itself to your Majesty, as it is the richest part of the enemy's territory, we might render it impossible for him to continue the war, whilst your Majesty would be able to protract it. I do not speak of an invasion of France because, as I told your Majesty in obedience to your orders last year, I am still of opinion that it would be dangerous to attempt the French campaign before arriving at a satisfactory settlement in Italy.
Once everything is quiet in Germany, I see no reason for anxiety about Naples; for it would be easy either to create a diversion by laying waste territory near here, or by attacking the Prince of Salerno, and thus frustrating his designs, to the considerable hurt of the enemy both within and without that kingdom. Exactly as the enemy will wax bold to come out openly against your Majesty as long as he sees you with your hands full in Germany, so he will keep bounds when he finds you free and powerful; or, if he does otherwise, we shall be able to inflict such punishment upon him as shall make of him a perpetual warning to infidelity. Siena is now in a very dangerous position because it is nearer (i.e. nearer to France than Naples is), and because lack of money has rendered it impossible to do more than has been done there, wherefore particular care must be taken in order not to lose the fruit of all the pains that have been lavished on it in the past. It would gain as much by the said arrangement as Naples; and so would all your Majesty's interests in Italy. Outside of Italy, your Majesty would be able to confer a great benefit upon Flanders by freeing it from the heavy burden now weighing upon it; for it is inevitable that that country also should be exhausted by the enormous expenses required for withstanding the King of France, and keeping him out of Germany. But in the above case your Majesty might either stop fighting there altogether, or else render that country more efficacious support, both with money and with troops, as you would not be exposed to expense in so many quarters at once. Thus a German settlement would enable your Majesty to make everything sure, not in Italy only, but in Flanders. Also, if you wished to fight, it would open to you an excellent way of attacking your chief enemy, the King of France; and, if you wished to make a truce or conclude peace, you would be able to do so in the most advantageous circumstances.
Someone may reply to me at this point that your Majesty's dignity demands that you inflict a fitting punishment upon (the Elector) Maurice, who has betrayed you so often. I will reply that I wish your Majesty might do so, even if it were to cost me my own blood. But let it be seen whether you can do so; I mean at a time when you have so many distant affairs to look after. I observe your Majesty's express orders to me about disarming, and gather from what you have written to me touching your necessities that you cannot do so. With this much to go upon, I proceed to weigh the matter, and easily arrive at the conclusion that they are right who think it better to pardon subjects than to chastise them. At least, I consider it less humiliating to forgive a vassal than to yield to an enemy; even leaving out of the question the above-mentioned advantages and dangers. And may it now please your Majesty to consider what possible gain you might derive from the German war, out of which I feel sure you will emerge victorious, as your forces are superior to those of your rebellious subjects. I fail to see what your Majesty can do, when once you have struck down and annihilated Maurice, except to give his state and electorate back to John Frederick, who has been as great a rebel as the other. Consequently, I cannot say it seems to me that your Majesty, for the sake of crushing Maurice and raising up another rebel who is no less than he your enemy, is following a good and worthy course in embarking upon so perilous and costly an enterprise as this war is sure to prove. The German war is one that must necessitate great preparations far and wide; and however short a time it may last, it will certainly go on for three or four months, and cost not less than a million and a half of gold. With this sum, if your Majesty cared to do so, you might easily pay for a year's campaign in Italy with the certain hope of making your states safe, as I have said, and achieving peace for yourself, and security for your royal succession. Thus much I must say; and, as I speak from a distance with great sincerity and out of abundant zeal, I beg your Majesty to forgive me if I say not well, for my good intentions have been my only motive. .
The Camp near Bene, 8 July, 1552.
Signed. Italian.
July 9. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: Soon after receiving your Majesty's letters of June 22nd, I sent to Hampton Court to demand audience of the King and Council. My man addressed himself to Secretary Petre, who told him that there was then no member of the Council at Court, and consequently he had better return in two or three days' time. This he did, and the King appointed me an audience on the 7th instant, though only the Marquis of Northampton and the Lord Privy Seal had arrived; but my man gave the secretary a hint that my charge was important. When I went to the King, he received me very graciously, surrounded by his councillors; and I began by saying that your Majesty had instructed me to present your most affectionate recommendations to him, and tell him that you had heard of his good health with the liveliest satisfaction.
I then gave him your Majesty's letters, which he read from beginning to end; and I noticed that he stopped several times to spell out the words. When he had finished reading them, before communicating them to his councillors he thanked your Majesty for your affection, and expressed similar sentiments for you. As for the contents of the letters, he said they concerned an aid and declaration he was asked to give against the King of France. Considering that this was a matter of great importance, and that several members of his Council were absent, he would have them summoned and oommunicate the matter to them, in order to be able to reply to me within three or four days.
I then remarked that the King had seen in your Majesty's letters your favourable disposition, and for what excellent reasons you had made the demand therein stated, which reposed upon the friendly and neighbourly relations that had long existed between his predecessors and the Emperor's, particularly where the Low Countries were concerned. These relations had certainly not lasted so long without urgent cause, which could be none other than the two countries' mutual safety, preservation, commerce and tranquillity. The friendship had therefore been confirmed and increased from time to time, as might be seen in several treaties and confederations, and especially for the purpose of forestalling the designs of the French, who were always striving and devising means to extend their frontiers. The new King of France, following in the footsteps of the late King, his father, had furnished an example of this tendency in the present war. He had begun by defying all justice, by falling upon his Imperial Majesty's subjects at sea without any previous declaration of war, had tried to take by surprise several good towns, and had invaded the duchy of Luxemburg, which he had entered on his return from Germany, and laid siege with a royal army to the town of Damvillers. He had taken this place, and burned and pillaged several other villages and castles, displaying unaccustomed and inhuman cruelty.
It was therefore to be feared that if the King of France succeeded in carrying out his projects—which God forbid!—as the French nation was covetous and insatiable, without regard for honour or oaths, he would not be satisfied with what he had done in the Low Countries, but would advance still farther.
It was a notorious fact that he had already occupied and applied to the crown several principalities and places. Therefore, and in order the better to contain these insolent French invasions and outrages, your Majesty had requested just and due aid from the King, praying him to declare himself the King of France's enemy within one month, forbidding French subjects to trade in or frequent his dominions, and his own subjects the same in France, according to the dispositions of the treaties, especially that of closer alliance. Your Majesty felt quite sure that the King would do his share, as you in Flanders would act in a similar case, and as you always had done up to the present, even beyond the obligations laid upon you by the treaties; for the French had often complained that you had thus caused them to abandon several of their designs and machinations against England. Your Majesty had no doubt that, by means of this good understanding, if the King performed his duty imposed by the treaty, he would gain greatly in reputation, and would strengthen and insure his kingdom against the French who hoped to lord it over England once they became masters of the Low Countries: designs that the King and his predecessors had valiantly frustrated, aided by their knowledge of French dissimulation.
When his Majesty had listened to me carefully, Madam, taking particular note, as it seemed to me, of certain passages, he replied that he would not fail to keep up the ancient and perfect friendship, and act according to the dispositions of the treaties. I told him that your Majesty had no doubt of his intentions, and desired that his reply might be made as soon as possible, as the season was somewhat advanced. He informed me that the next day he was retiring to Oatlands, where he would call together his Council.
Next, Madam, he asked after the Emperor's health. I told him that the latest news pronounced it good, God be thanked! He appeared to be pleased, and went on to ask where your Majesty was. I said you had recently been at Binche, but I did not know exactly where you might be at present. He remarked that the news from Yvoir were bad, for he had heard that the garrison had acquitted themselves badly, though Count Mansfeldt had done his duty. I replied that I had had no news of the surrender of Yvoir, and it seemed to me very strange that they should have surrendered in such conditions; but I hoped that, if the King of France tried to proceed further, he might be met. His Majesty said he had heard last night that the King of France had disbanded his army, that M. de Guise had started for Liege, and that the King had retired to Sedan to see the Queen, his consort. I told him that I had also heard something about it, and that it might all be a ruse, for the French laid more store by such tricks than by strength or courage.
When this talk, with some remarks concerning the King's household at Hampton Court, was over, he called his councillors to communicate to them your Majesty's letters. I then retired, and some time afterwards the said councillors came to me. I spoke to them in much the same terms as above, begging them to lend their support to your Majesty's request, which was fully justified. I entreated them to favour the friendship, and they assured me they would not fail to do so; but as for the demand for assistance, they insisted on their colleagues' absence.
I replied that the King had said he would summon his councillors and give me a reply within three or four days. They rejoined that the King had meant those councillors who were in London or the neighbourhood, but not those who were 100 or 200 miles away from Court, referring to the Duke of Northumberland and the Earl of Pembroke, whose opinion would have to be consulted. So I fear, Madam, that the reply may be delayed several days. As for the French ambassador, he is still in London, and is preparing to follow the King on his progress. I will try to discover whether anything is said to him about the request for help made by your Majesty. It seems that the English are somewhat angry because of several seizures made by the French, for which the English are unable to obtain any amends, in spite of the King's and Council's requests. It was partly this that caused me to speak to them as I did; but in any case I will find out as well as I can how the matter progresses.
It is said that the Duke of Northumberland has had a magnificent reception in the North; and as far as one can make out he seems to be on the best of terms with the people there. Some are still of opinion that he has a project for invading Scotland if occasion offers, and if the King of France is kept busy with the Emperor. He is waiting to see what happens, with the pretext of inspecting the northern frontier, and such-like pretence. Northumberland is accompanied on this expedition by the Earl of Pembroke; but some say it is because Northumberland does not trust the other.
M. d'Oisel arrived here three or four days ago, and left for Scotland yesterday without having been at Court.
London, 9 July, 1552.
Signed. French. Cipher.
Middle of July. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 1. The Emperor to Edward VI.
We are informed that the Queen Dowager of Hungary, our good sister left by us as Regent of the Low Countries, has by her letters and through our ambassador resident with you informed you of the attacks directed by the King of France against our dominions. Before going to Germany he tried to surprise Arras and Aire, and after taking Metz he appeared before Thionville and entered our territory with a larger number of troops than that specified by the treaty between us. He burnt Baccarat and did other damage before entering Germany; and now, on his return, he is in Luxemburg with a far larger army than is necessary in order to warrant our demanding the aid mentioned in the treaty. We therefore trust that, as since your coming to the throne you have always displayed good-will towards us, especially where the observance of the treaty was concerned, you will already have declared war on France and furnished us with the aid in money, as the prince who makes the demand is authorised by the treaty to choose whether he shall have it in money or in men and, as our sister has told you, our affairs at present render the money more useful. We feel sure you will have accorded credence to our sister's letters, but we are writing to report the invasion to you in order to dispose of all doubt and difficulty, begging you affectionately, if you have not yet granted the aid, to do so without delay. As we believe you will not fail to do this, we judge it unnecessary to remind you in what manner we have observed the treaty: how we informed the French, when they made war on you, that if they invaded your countries included in the treaty we would certainly not omit to make the declaration and grant the aid specified in it. If you comply with our request you will, besides doing your duty, give us evident proof of your goodwill and affection, and oblige us to do the same for you whenever opportunity shall arise. For the rest we will refer you to what our ambassador shall say, and will not make this letter longer.
Minute. French.
In the same bundle there is another minute, dated 16th July, of a letter from the Emperor to Edward VI demanding assistance in accordance with the treaty between them. It is almost word for word the same as the Queen Dowager's letter to Edward VI of June 23rd, and is therefore not printed here.
1552. July 16. Brussels, L.A. 59. The Queen Dowager to the Master of the Customs of Antwerp.
We have granted John Bushy, an Englishman, leave to export to England 10,000 pieces of wood to make hand-bows, and command you on the Emperor's behalf to let them pass freely on payment of the ordinary duty and no more, although the said Bushy has no letter nor passport. And of this you shall not fail.
Mons, 16 July, 1552.
Minute. French.
July 18. Paris. K. 1480. St. Mauris to Prince Philip.
Knowing that the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) has informed you from time to time of what has happened in these parts, I have not written to your Highness for fear of wearying you with repetitions. The only thing I now have to add to her Majesty's letters is that she has recently been informed by your ambassador resident in England, that he has spoken to the King about the demand for help against France. The King read the letter that had been written to him through twice, and replied of his own accord that the matter was an important one, and as the Duke of Northumberland and other of his chief councillors were absent, he could not reply at once; but he would have the question debated, and would not fail to observe what the treaties bound him to do. As the French army has retreated, and is said to be on the point of being disbanded altogether, the component parts shutting themselves up in various fortresses, it may be expected that the King will excuse himself on the ground of the retreat. The treaties, however, state that even if the enemy retreats, if it is decided to follow him the aid must be given as long as the pursuit lasts. So the chief point is, what we shall be able to do to the enemy, if we decide on seeking our revenge by pursuing him.
The Duke of Cleves has twice been requested to render some assistance for the mutual defence of his state and the Low Countries, and to join his forces with ours; but he seems to remain very cold. At present he is being approached on the subject once more, in case Marquis Albert (fn. 2) marches with his army against Liege; but it is feared he may make the same reply as before. He somewhat resented the detention of his brother-in-law Duke Frederick (fn. 3); but as he is now released we do not know what his pretext can be.
The said Marquis is near Frankfort; and some assert that if negotiations are not opened with Duke Maurice, the two armies will join and try to hem in the Emperor, together with assistance the King of France is to send them. We must trust that God will further his Imperial Majesty's most righteous cause.
Mons, 18 July, 1552.
Holograph. French.
1552. July 19. Brussels, E.A. 103. M. d'Eecke to the Queen Dowager.
This morning a considerable number of deputies from the seaboard towns came to confer with me about the fisheries, thinking I must have had a reply from the Dutchmen, and that the Dutch commissioners would be here. On talking with them I found they had small hope that any great number of fishing craft would be able to put out from the Flemish coast this season, partly because of the prevailing poverty, and partly out of fear of the French, who are being supported in England and Scotland. The poor fishermen are constantly being robbed in the North Sea, for quite recently six boats were taken, and more will go the same way unless some warships are sent out to protect them. The deputies will not reveal their principal charge to me until M. Van Buren returns, and the reply of the Dutchmen is made known. . .
A certain adventurer from Flushing with a small vessel (jacht) recently took two good French ships at sea. One was from Brittany and loaded with salt, and the other returning from Brasil with a cargo of Brasil wood, parrots, monkeys and other animals from that part of the world. The ship is worth about 6 or 7,000 florins, and on board was a French pilot, a man of distinction and knowledge, who has lived six years in Brasil and knows all the coast of the Indies and Guinea as well as, or better than any other French pilot alive. The French are therefore very anxious to ransom him, and have made overtures through the son of the trumpeter (trompette) of Calais, as the bailiff of Flushing informed me yesterday. I replied, however, that the pilot was not to be released until I had ascertained your Majesty's pleasure, for men of his stamp are hard to find and he might be very useful to any of our captains who wished to look for French ships coming from Brasil, the adventurer from Flushing, for instance, who is fitting out one of his prizes with the intention of making his fortune at the expense of the French. He now has a good ship well supplied with artillery, and he is a brave and lucky seaman, for with nothing but two small pieces and six logs painted to look like guns, he took a ship three times as big as his own and well manned and armed, by boarding, himself leading the party and fighting hand to hand until he was master of the vessel and had killed most of the Frenchmen. He then sold his own boat (jacht) in England, laid in provisions, and put out to sea again, where he had the great luck to run into the ship from Brasil, which was also strongly manned and supplied with guns. Several more privateers, for the most part Flushing men, are preparing to set sail, animated by his example.
Your Majesty will command me as to what is to be done with the pilot, who seems to like the idea of serving with one of our captains. He is a man of great knowledge and experience in his art.
Veere, 19 July, 1552.
Signed. French.
July 20. Brussels, L.A. 59. The following apostils are written in the margin of a note of a petition presented by the English ambassador resident with the Queen Dowager. The ambassador asks that two vessels, belonging to William Watson, of London, and laden with pitch and potash, may be released at Amsterdam and allowed to proceed without paying duty. Their masters are Hieronimus Box and Hans Van Spenig, and the vessels came to Amsterdam from Germany.
A letter is to be written to M. Schetz at Antwerp, asking him whether the Easterlings are now trading in England; for it has been heard that the privileges they once enjoyed there have been revoked. If the Easterlings are still trading there, let Schetz immediately inform the Queen Dowager on what conditions they are allowed to do so, and if they are given any trouble.
Mons, 20 July, 1552.
As for the two ships arrested at Amsterdam, the Queen consents to their release as a favour to the King of England, who wrote on their behalf. Letters shall be written to the officers at Amsterdam to let them go free.
Her Majesty also, for this one occasion, consents to release the salt-fish arrested at Flushing, to please the English ambassador who addressed a request to her on the subject. The treasurer is to be informed of the quantity of fish specified in the request.
French.
July 24. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Advices sent by Jehan Scheyfve.
We hear that the King of France is soon going to send someone to England on the question of the seizures of English property made by the French. The said King has already written with his own hand to the King of England to palliate the seizures and delay restitution. The English are not best pleased about it.
Some say that the King of France has asked to be allowed to send men through Calais, but the English refused. It is quite true that the English have lately sent two ships laden with munitions of war to Calais.
The ambassadors or deputies of the Hanse towns have taken their leave of the King. Up to the present all they have obtained is that the men of the said towns and the Stillyard merchants may continue to ship the goods they bought before the conflict over their privileges arose, some 3,000 cloths, until the end of September, paying the duties to which they were liable when the privileges held good. As for importing goods into England, they are to be allowed to bring all sorts of products of the Hanse towns, and not of any others, until next St. John's tide (June 24th). These concessions have been made as a special favour, and the deputies have accepted them. The King desires a new conference to be held in London to discuss their privileges. The deputies are to report the King's wishes to their cities; and if they agree it will probably be the beginning of (next) summer before the conference opens.
The young Queen of Scots is said to have died.
French. Cipher.
July 24. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager. Madam: After writing my last letters of the 9th instant, I awaited the reply of the King and Council to the demand for help I had made on your Majesty's behalf. But as nobody came to me, although several of the councillors had been assembled at Oatlands, I sent my man to Court on the 13th. He found Dr. Petre, the secretary, there; and the councillors had already departed. Dr. Petre told him that the Council were not yet ready with their reply, but they would soon send to me to announce it. But as time went on and still nobody came, I sent again to Court on the 20th. On that day Messrs. Wotton and Hoby came to me, to say on behalf of the King and Council that when I had presented to the King your Majesty's letters demanding aid, his Majesty had remarked that the matter was one of great importance. He intended to summon all the members of his Council, but some of the foremost were very far away, such as the Dukes of Northumberland and Suffolk, the Earls of Pembroke, Shrewsbury, Huntingdon and some others. However, desirous to expedite the affair, give proof of his anxiety to keep up friendly relations, and act according to the treaties, as he had told me the other day, the King had already placed in his ministers' hands certain letters, and caused the treaties to be examined. This would enable the reply to be made the sooner; and he trusted your Majesty would have cause to be satisfied.
I replied that it was true that when I had exposed my charge to the King he had found it important, and consequently said to me that he would call together his Council and let me have a reply within three or four days. I had supposed this had already been done, and that he had had the absent members consulted, or sent for them; for thirteen or fourteen days had now passed. I had sent to Court on the 13th, and now again on the 20th. Although it was true that the matter was important, it was also important to settle it as soon as possible and put a stop to the Frenchmen's outrages, of which, as of the object of all their actions, the Council were informed. I added that even before the demand was made, they must have foreseen that it would come, in accordance with the treaties and friendship between the two princes, to call upon them to march together hand in hand to frustrate the enemy's designs. As for the treaties, they were clear enough; and particularly where the present case was concerned no difficulty could possibly crop up. Therefore it seemed to me that no very meticulous examination was called for.
They replied that the King's Majesty was young, and it was therefore necessary to proceed deliberately, which consideration moved his ministers to act with the utmost care. The delay specified in the treaties, touching the declaration and sending of help, had not yet expired.
I rejoined that, though his Majesty was young, he was very able, and quite capable of understanding the grounds on which aid had been demanded. Things might some day change, and his Majesty might be forced to make a similar request. The object aimed at was the welfare, security and repose of the two countries, so his Majesty's ministers would not be misleading him, but would render him a great service, especially as his Imperial Majesty, for his part, had always been ready to grant assistance. During the war between France and England, the Emperor had several times warned French ambassadors that, if the King of France invaded the English possessions designated in the treaties, his obligations would cause him to declare war against that sovereign; and this attitude had given the French pause and forced them to abandon several of their designs against England.
They told me that they well knew the friendship to be of the greatest importance. It was nonetheless necessary that the councillors should pronounce themselves, and that they should be of one accord in doing so; wherefore a meeting was necessary. I remarked that that might mean further delay; for I had heard that some of the ministers would not return to Court before a month or two had passed.
They said it was true that their original plan had been to remain away for that time; but the King had altered it. I asked whether it might be five or six days before the reply were given. They replied in the affirmative, and then mentioned eight days as the shortest possible delay, requesting me to content myself for the time being with the King's goodwill and friendly intentions. I took this opportunity to invoke the claims of friendship once more, and to point out how necessary it was to observe it. Now was the time to frustrate the designs of the French; and I added other considerations calculated to induce them to favour the friendship and lend their weight to our common cause. They gave me encouraging answers; and as they appeared to be very well-disposed, they may delay their reply to see what happens in France and Germany, with the hope of obtaining the greatest possible advantages for themselves abroad.
London, 24 July, 1552.
Signed. French. Cipher.
July —. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 21. The President of the Council of State (fn. 4) to Jehan Scheyfve.
My good brother: I am writing to inform you by the Queen's orders that Ambassador Chamberlain returned hither not long since, presented himself before her Majesty and told her on his master's behalf how glad he (i.e. the King of England) had been to learn from the Emperor's letters how well-disposed was his Majesty towards the continuation of cordial and neighbourly relations. He. on his part, was of the same mind—and much more talk to the effect that the King meant what he said. Her Majesty replied in the same strain as always, saying she would do her best to foster the amity. Chamberlain added that the King would be glad to hear tidings of his Majesty's success from time to time, and he was told that news would be communicated as occasion should offer, both through you and through himself.
He also spoke to her Majesty about permission to export the gunpowder the King of England has at Antwerp. He said, however, that if her Majesty needed the powder, as being now at war she might, the King would be glad that she should take it, hoping she would afterwards allow him to export the same quantity. He protested against the confiscation, pronounced in Holland, of a quantity of powder also belonging to the King. There could be no confiscation, he argued, for the King had written to his agent, Dimmock, to remove the powder from Antwerp and take part to Amsterdam and part to Amersfoort in order to pacify the Antwerp officers, who complained that the powder had been left in a warehouse where it was unsafe. If the merchants who removed the powder had committed some misdemeanour, fraud or perjury, as they had been accused of doing, the King was in no sense to blame for it, as he had only instructed his agent to have the powder taken away from Antwerp. Therefore the agent had been wrongly implicated in the affair, and Chamberlain requested that proceedings should be stopped, and the powder, or its value, restored to the King.
Her Majesty replied that as the confiscation had been pronounced and sentence given, it was too late to withdraw the prosecution. Moreover, the powder had been placed on board certain ships of the fleet that had not long before gone to Spain; so the matter could not concern the King of England, who could proceed against the merchants who had committed the fraud and incurred confiscation. However, the affair should be examined in Council. As for the rest of the powder, her Majesty would see whether she wished to make use of it at the current price, and would soon give an answer.
The ambassador soon afterwards spoke to me in the same terms, saying he had been instructed to obtain a definite reply as to the powder. He also expatiated on the injuries visited on Englishmen both at sea and on land, saying that only the other day an Englishman had been assaulted on Antwerp Exchange, without the officers of the place taking any steps to punish the offenders. As for the outrages at sea, the English would be able to devise means to put a stop to them; and he said no more on that subject.
As for the assault, I told him to give me the offender's name, and if his account were to be found true, punishment should be inflicted. This he failed to do, saying that the assailant had immediately fled, to which I replied that in that case it would be difficult to punish him. He also complained of another case of assault of similar description, the author of which he was also unable to name; and finally, to put a face on the matter, he requested us to write to the officers at Antwerp to take care to protect Englishmen from violence. This was granted him.
Her Majesty had the question of the powder examined -in Council, and replied to Chamberlain that she would write to the officer in Holland instructing him to send Chamberlain a copy of the proceedings against the perjurers, which had ended in the powder being confiscated. By it he should see that the King's agent, Dimmock, had been the chief author of the fraud, wherefore he had very rightly been implicated, as without his advice the other merchants would not have acted as they did. Her Majesty desired him to be thoroughly informed of what had happened in order that he might be able to inform the King, who when he heard the truth might not think the confiscation so very arbitrary as Chamberlain appeared to consider it. Chamberlain told me that her Majesty had expressly declared there could be no confiscation as against the King, and this he had written home to the King and Council. Her Majesty denies having said so, and I am sure Chamberlain is not telling the truth in asserting that she did; for otherwise the King of England could export as much contraband out of this country as he liked, without passport and without fear of confiscation, which has never been done. Indeed, Chamberlain confessed to me that the King had sold part of the powder to one of the said merchants, claiming that the Emperor, who was now to profit by the powder, ought to pay its value to the King, because he who confiscated goods ought to pay the debts attaching to them. This I denied, saying that the merchant's title would have to be gone into first; and if the King had dealt with a fraudulent merchant, he had no claim on the Emperor, for he ought to be more careful as to whom he dealt with.
As for the powder that is still at Antwerp, her Majesty has not yet decided whether to keep it or not. and will soon make known her decision. But she intends either to grant a passport to export it, or else to pay the price and agree to allow an equal amount to be taken out of the country in two or three months.
The ambassador has since presented some memoirs, in one of which he demands the release of two Easterling ships laden with goods from those parts belonging to an English merchant. The ships have been arrested by the officers at Amsterdam, who demand the payment of the 2 per cent. duty imposed on such goods by the placard, which forbids them otherwise to be exported except by special licence. Before answering, her Majesty has written to the officers to find out if the ships are Easterlings, and also wishes to know how matters stand between the Easterlings and English at the present time. The Easterlings have been deprived of their privileges in England, and if the deprivation is still in force some fraud is perhaps being committed, for the goods might really be of this country. It does seem, however, that if the ships and their cargoes come from that quarter they ought not to be forced to pay the duty, as they are bound for England. The ambassador says that both vessels and goods come from Danzig, but has produced no proofs, wherefore he has not yet received a definite reply. He has also requested that an English merchant be allowed to export a certain quantity of wood to make bows, which was allowed.
The ambassador then complained, on the King's behalf, of the arrest at Antwerp of a vessel belonging to an English master, in which he had brought French goods from Bordeaux for a German without having a passport. Chamberlain demanded that the vessel should be released, and his due for carriage paid to the master. When this point was examined in Council, it was found that according to our placard the ship was confiscated, and I informed the ambassador, telling him, however, that he might obtain pardon from her Majesty in consideration of the master's ignorance of the passport. He uttered loud exclamations about this, vowing that the placard was utterly unreasonable. I informed him that the English, when at war, had treated us in precisely the same way; and I remember your writing to that effect, though I only spoke in general terms to him. So he is now waiting to see if her Majesty will grant his petition.
He conducted all these negotiations with his wonted vehemence and lack of restraint, wanting to know where was the amity we talked so much about if he did not get all he asked for at once. He enlarged upon inobservance of the Commercial Convention, and this is his favourite tune, though he always refuses to listen to pertinent replies that show him to be in the wrong.
As when he returned recently he requested that he might sometimes hear our news, her Majesty told me to inform him that the King of France, on his return from Luxemburg, had appeared with his army before Avesnes and had long deliberated whether he should besiege it or not, but as he found it strong he had not cared to bite, nor did he do so at other frontier towns of Hainault. It was true he had taken Trelon Castle and Chimay, weak places both, and burnt some villages. The road he took had seemed to indicate that he intended to proceed against Beaumont and enter the territory of Liége; but at the last moment he had preferred to retreat precipitately across his own frontier, losing troops and baggage as he went, for our people had fallen upon his train at Guehnée (?) and taken plenty of booty. That was the sum of his achievements in Hainault, unless he decided to turn round and invade again, in which case our army was determined to resist him, for it was now well provisioned. And this is all I can tell you of our affairs up to the present.
I will once more remind you of what I said in my last letters: the Queen has granted you a gift of 1,000 florins, and her Majesty desires you to follow the King on his journey, in order that you may have more favourable opportunities for negotiating.
As to your inquiry whether you are to give in writing the reply you made to the Council on their grievances, her Majesty has decided that you are not to do so, but excuse yourself if they ask again. If they press you for it you may once more consult her Majesty.
Copy. French.

Footnotes

  • 1. From documents in the section “Venice” of the Simancas archives (B. 1318—1324), it appears that the Prince of Salerno accepted a mission to the Emperor from the Santa Union of Naples, after the revolt of 1547, with a monthly salary of 600 ducats, which he afterwards sought to explain by saying that the office had been forced upon him by the town. In the summer of 1552, he was plotting against the Emperor with M. de Thermes, Cardinal de Tournon. the Cardinal of Ferrara and Carlo Caraffa, a Neapolitan noble and relative of the future Paul IV. Salerno had been seriously implicated by the confessions, under torture, of Cesare Caraffa, Carlo's uncle.
  • 2. Margrave Albrecht Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Culmbach, who was in command of one of the armies of the German Princes' league against the Emperor.
  • 3. The deposed Elector John Frederick of Saxony.
  • 4. This appears to be Jehan de St. Mauris, who was perhaps Scheyfve's brother-in-law.