BHO

Spain: December 1552, 1-15

Pages 596-607

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

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Citation:

December 1552, 1–15

1552. Dec. 9. Vienna, Imp. Arch. B. 83. The Queen Dowager to the Emperor.
The Queen Dowager of Scotland has sent to me an Italian whom she calls her pannetier (fn. 1) ordinaire, with letters of credence a duplicate of which are being sent to you, who had nothing to say beyond what was contained in the letters of credence, that is, as your Majesty will see, a complaint about the robbery of certain letters and papers, of which I have already informed you, and a demand that they should be returned and reparation made, as the deed constituted a breach of the treaty.
It seemed to me to be my duty to report to your Majesty before giving any reply, because the matter is important and in order that your Majesty may see the language used in the letter, which seems to me rather strong for so ill-founded a claim. And so that your Majesty may know all that has occurred in connexion with this matter, I am setting forth at length the facts, together with suggestions for a reply to be made to the Queen. Three Englishmen in your Majesty's pay, and under M. de Vandeville's orders, fell upon a Frenchman coming from England by way of Calais, whom they found at a village in the Boulonnais, two leagues inside the French frontier, in possession of a bag full of letters. The Frenchman escaped into a church, but his mail-bag, taken to Gravelines and opened in the presence of M. de Vandeville's lieutenant, was found to contain letters from the French ambassador resident in England, the members of the French commission lately sent to England to negotiate on the robberies and violence the English claim to have suffered at sea, and also from Frenchmen in Scotland, among which last was a packet from the Queen Dowager herself to the King of France and members of her own family. The lieutenant sent me the despatches from the French ambassador in London, those from the French ambassador in Scotland, named M. d'Oisel, and some missives of the Queen Dowager, most of which were open; the remainder, with the mail-bag, he kept at Gravelines. On inspection, the letters from the French ambassadors proved to refer to certain memoirs and instructions which they were to accompany, so I ordered Vandeville's lieutenant to send me all the papers in his possession; for the letters of M. de Boisdauphin, ambassador in England, referred to a report which the King's commissioners were said to have drawn up on the prizes. The mail-bag was sent to me, but when I had had all its contents examined no trace of this report on the English affair was to be found. The lieutenant's messenger says that a packet or two were sent to Count de Reuil just after the bag was seized; but though I have tried to recover them, no one knows where they have got to. Among the papers that were sent to me were a large number of letters from M. d'Oisel, who dubs himself lieutenant-general of the King of France in Scotland, with the charge of superintendant, as it appears, of the three forts the King of France still has in his hands there. He is also paymaster of the 400 troops, Gascons, Normans and Bretons, and commander of the artillery in the three forts; and under him he has an assistant, a substitute or commissioner of the French master of artillery, whose servant the Frenchman who was relieved of the bag is, enjoying the ordinary wages of an artillery assistant. A large part of the letters are artillery accounts, memoirs, inventories, etc. for the last two years, statements of expenditure of the King of France's money, and private correspondence of Frenchmen. As for state correspondence, there are some letters from M. d'Oisel to the King and members of the Council, signed by d'Oisel, and a memoir, of which your Majesty has seen a copy, signed by d'Oisel and the Queen Dowager.
I therefore retained the bag and papers. The Deputy of Calais, meanwhile, at the request of the French messenger, sent a gentleman and a trumpeter to Gravelines to demand the restoration of the papers on the ground that they had been seized on English territory. The lieutenant, however, contended that such was not the case, and the Englishmen found on visiting the scene of the occurrence that it had taken place on territory undoubtedly French. So the Deputy of Calais has taken no further steps in the matter, though he displayed a certain bitterness towards one of the three Englishmen, who has his wife at Calais, accusing him of spying on the movements of French couriers from Calais. Being informed of this by their friends at Calais, the three Englishmen came to me here to request me to allow them to hand back the mail-bag, for which they hoped to be able to obtain a ransom. By so doing, they said, they would allay the suspicions of the Deputy and other English officials, and would be able to do more work of the same description with greater facility. I have granted their petition, letting them take the mail-bag with a vast quantity of letters, all of which, as I have had them examined, I know to be valueless to us. What they have done with them I do not know. I only withheld the letters of the Queen Dowager, written in her own hand to the King of France and other persons, M. d'Oisel's memoir and certain other of his state papers, the import of which your Majesty already knows, two or three letters from M. de Boisdauphin, French ambassador in England, one of which has been sent to you, and a few inventories and registers of the French troops in Scotland. I will make no mention here of d'Oisel's memoir, what I wrote to you touching it and what you answered. I will only say that I sent for the Court-Master of Scotland in Zeeland. as I had heard from M. d'Eecke that he was a Scotsman who had long lived in Zeeland, and a dependent of the Regent. I had him shown the original of the memoir in confidence, explaining to him that the designs it revealed were aimed against his country's welfare. When he had heard all this he undertook to inform the Regent, if I would give him a letter to that personage. This I did, saying in general terms that certain letters of importance to Scotland and to him personally had fallen into my hands, and I had wished to inform him because I thought the friendly relations between us demanded such friendly offices; and I offered to show the originals to anyone he chose to send. This letter was taken by the Court-Master, and I know not whether he or another will carry it. I do not imagine he wishes to go himself, for while here he asked President St. Mauris for a copy of the memoir, saying that without it he would not go to Scotland in person. And I do not know whether my letter has started for Scotland; but if it has done so it was only three or four days ago.
As your Majesty knows, there were certain articles in the memoir touching Ireland and England; I also made a declaration of their contents to the King of England's agent resident at Antwerp, who is in favour with the Duke of Northumberland. He immediately proceeded in person to England and informed the King and Duke; and Mr. Chamberlain, ambassador resident here, has spoken to me about the matter as your Majesty shall see towards the end of this letter. And this, my Lord, is all that has happened about the mail-bag, of which the said Queen now demands restitution. As for the answer to be given to her, we have noted the following considerations. In the first place, it is quite certain that the said mail-bag was seized on enemies' territory, on the person of an enemy, in the service of the King of France, employed in that sovereign's artillery, with wages from the same King. This messenger was carrying despatches from two French ambassadors, one in England and one in Scotland, and had no letters in his possession except those written by Frenchmen in their King's service in Scotland, or residing with Ambassador de Boisdauphin in England. The only exception are the letters signed by the Queen Dowager, and the memoir which is also signed by her, though it really comes from d'Oisel, French ambassador, who also signed it. Indeed, the Queen, in her letter to the King, refers to the memoir against the Regent, with whom we concluded our treaty, as the work of M. d'Oisel. So it seems that the prize was entirely lawful, in regard of both the ambassadors' letters and the memoir, signed by d'Oisel; and that the argument adduced by the Queen is not at all valid. She says the bearer was a Frenchman, but was carrying letters belonging to her; whereas the truth is that all the letters, except a few in her own hand of which your Majesty has seen copies, were from M. de Boisdauphin or M. d'Oisel. It is true she might contend that her own letters ought not to be opened, but rather restored in virtue of the confederation in which she ought to be included; for though she was not one of the contracting parties, she is Dowager of Scotland and cannot well be excluded from the treaty. As against this view, however, it has been urged that a party who goes against the treaty, and does not observe the terms of the alliance with the sincerity required by the treaty's very words, cannot claim to enjoy its benefits. The treaty says that good, faithful and sincere friendship is to exist between the two countries, without deceit. But the Queen's letters show she has no intention of keeping her part of the bargain, for she loudly rejoices at the success of your enemy, and praises God that her house of Guise has been chosen as an instrument of his triumph. The King of France, she says, must now be greatly in the Guises' debt, and she expresses her pride that her two brothers should be employed against your Majesty, one in Lorraine and the other in Artois, as she believed. So that instead of the Queen having ground for complaint, your Majesty has grave cause for dissatisfaction with her, who is not ashamed to claim the benefits of the treaty while at the same time she writes expressing wishes that could not be more hostile to your Majesty if they proceeded from the lips of a declared enemy.
The fact that the Queen states that the letters carried by the French bearer belong to her, makes us wonder whether she means to claim M. d'Oisel and all the Frenchmen now manning the forts in Scotland as her servants, as she demands restitution of the letters without specifying which. And as she asserts in her letter to us that she ought to be included in the treaty, she perhaps means that all the Frenchmen in Scotland—ambassadors, captains, masters of artillery and all the rest—should also come in under it. This would be very strange, for it was never mentioned while the treaty was being negotiated. The treaty only mentioned the Lords and Commons of Scotland; when it was confirmed the Estates said nothing about its being extended to the French in Scotland, nor did M. d'Oisel nor any of the rest swear to observe it. In fact, there seems to be no reason whatsoever why any of the Frenchmen resident in Scotland should not be lawful prizes if they fall into our hands: they, their goods, letters and all other property. So if your Majesty thinks it well to answer her clearly, it seems we might tell her how the letters were taken, that their bearer was a Frenchman coming from French ambassadors and seized on French territory. The letters were taken to Court and examined, and as the despatches from M. d'Oisel, ambassador of the King of France, frequently referred to the Queen's letters and these were found open, they were read, and informed us how ill she had observed sincere amity, according to which she ought to have framed her conduct had she desired to benefit by the confederation. Therefore not only had she no reason to complain of your Majesty, but your Majesty had excellent grounds for resenting the contents of her letters. This reply appears to us to be justified, and we have only discussed the expediency of saying anything about the above-mentioned memoir: whether it would be better to inform the Queen that we had it, or avoid all mention of it and the issues it raises. Some (of the Council) consider that the best use we could make of this haul of letters would be to set on the Regent and his party against the Queen Dowager and the French, so that in future the French might have no credit in Scotland, or at any rate that there should always be mistrust between them and the Scots. It seems there is good hope of this if the Regent and the Bishop (sic) of St. Andrews can be told about the memoir in time to allow them to use it in recruiting more friends. We might also point out to them that the memoir really shows the French intend to encroach in Scotland. But if we replied to the Queen in such a way as to give her to understand that we intended to make use of the memoir with the Regent, she and M. d'Oisel might countermine and forestall the Regent's plans by means of other Scotsmen who hate him and the Bishop of St. Andrews. For Regent and Bishop, it appears from what the Court-Master here said, have made many enemies since they have been in power because of their faulty administration of justice.
Over and above this, the Regent's two sons are studying in Paris, and the King might immediately seize them. Also some (of the Council) observe that if the memoir spoke as openly against the kingdom of Scotland as it does against the Regent and the Bishop of St. Andrews, it might openly be reported to the Estates. But though it speaks indirectly of changing justice and police when the Queen comes of age, using words that may be taken to betray an intention on the part of the French to encroach, yet the memoir employs equivocal language in that respect, and only speaks clearly against the Regent, which might perhaps recommend it to the Regent's enemies. Therefore it seems that the memoir had better be made to serve with the Regent and the Bishop of St. Andrews only; and the more time it would be possible to give them to digest it and, if they like, send someone to me to inspect the original, the better provision they would be able to make in view of it. The least said about the memoir in the meantime the better; or at any rate it is important that the Queen shall not realise that we intend to make any use of it. As for expedients, it has been suggested that if we did not wish to reply clearly, but only to gain time, we might tell this Italian that, as the Queen's letter is based on the treaty and confederation, it is reasonable that her demands should be presented by Scotsmen, who have an interest in the matter, and not by an Italian. As against this, it has been remarked that the Italian has spoken nothing in virtue of his credence except the contents of the said letter, and is only negotiating what the Queen has written. I might say that I am not obliged to reply to the bearer of letters of credence by letter, but might answer by word of mouth, in which case matters concerning the treaty ought not to be discussed with foreigners, and especially not with busybodies, who are most likely of French upbringing. In this connexion it is significant that the Queen should have sent me an Italian rather than a Scotsman; for she doubtless feared that the memoir had been found, and that if any Scotsman got to hear of it he might cause it to be reported to the Regent. A Frenchman she dared not send for fear we might keep him here as a lawful prize. With such thoughts in my mind, and being aware that these Italians are always spying and prying, I gave him as guard and companion in his house one of my gentlemen. We had also considered whether it might not be well to say that the mail-bag had been returned, as in truth it has, with most of the letters it contained. But as the Scots Court-Master and the English agent at Antwerp have had part of the memoir communicated to them, and as it will probably all come out in time, as we intend to use the memoir, it might afterwards appear that we had paid the Queen with lies, though even so we might find an excuse in the packets that have not yet been found, asserting that they had re-appeared. However the matter is looked at, in my opinion, the Queen has no reason for making the demand. As it is a matter of importance, I have told the Italian that I would consult your Majesty: and I wished to report it so fully in order that you might see what we have excogitated here, add your own observations, and then let me know what attitude you desire me to adopt. I am enclosing with this letter three alternative forms for a reply to the Queen Dowager of Scotland, in order to give your Majesty as little trouble as possible. In the meantime I shall hear whether the Court-Master has sent some one, or gone himself to the Regent.
To return to the point concerning England, which I left aside at the beginning of this letter, your ambassador, Scheyfve, in one of his recent letters, made mention of one Gresham who came to him and spoke of the King of England's desire sincerely to observe the treaty of closer alliance, and other words to that effect. Your ambassador added that as Gresham was in great favour with the Duke of Northumberland, it seemed to him likely that his speech had been inspired by the Duke. Now the same Gresham has come over to Antwerp to fulfill the duties of English agent, and has been talking with your treasurer, M. Longin. In the course of conversation he spoke about the English alliance with France, and mentioned that the King of England might not be as deep in it as some folk imagined. Many people in England, he said, desired to see their friendship with the Emperor strengthened; and from this he went on to talk of the possibility of a marriage, by means of which the King, his master, might be quite severed from his relations with France and brought over to the Emperor's side. (fn. 2) Withal Gresham represented himself as hostile to France, and greatly inclined towards your Majesty. The treasurer then changed the subject, saying that those were matters about which it would be well to know something definite before mentioning them; and he reported the conversation to me. When the Scots memoir fell into my hands I remembered that Scheyfve had spoken about Gresham, and as your Majesty replied that I might use the memoir by means of such persons as might seem most likely to be serviceable, I sent for Longin and told him to seek an opportunity for speaking to Gresham as follows: the English might be sure that we desired to observe and keep up the alliance, and as one ally ought always to inform the other of everything that might conduce to his benefit or the reverse, Longin would show Gresham on my behalf the articles of the said memoir touching Scotland, and at the same time another instruction signed by the King of France. The latter is an old paper, of 1548, that was intercepted by your soldiers three months ago on the frontiers of Artois, a copy of which is being sent to your Majesty. It will help to show Gresham what the French have really been aiming at all along under colour of friendship. As for the rest of Gresham's remarks, I told Longin to be careful to make him understand that he would not dare to broach the matter to me unless he had something more solid to go upon.
When Gresham had read the memoir, he displayed signs of great satisfaction, and said he would go to the length of making the journey to England to report the matter to the King and the Duke of Northumberland. So he took duplicates of the papers, and repaired to England. On Gresham's report the King of England decided to send his ambassador resident with me, Chamberlain, letters of credence addressed to me, of which I am sending you a copy. Chamberlain presented them to me three days ago, and declared that the King, his master, had been very happy to hear from Gresham the conversation he had had with Treasurer Longin, and wished to thank me for my desire to keep up the alliance and draw ever closer the bonds of friendship. The treasurer had shown Gresham, he said, certain letters that had been seized. These nearly concerned his master's affairs, and on the King's behalf he desired to express gratitude to me for my friendly offices, which were a clear sign of my real feelings, and showed unmistakably how genuine was my zeal for the alliance. The King would not be found less devoted in the cause—and much more talk to the same effect. The upshot was to pray me to recommend the alliance to your Majesty and endeavour to devise means by which it might be rendered more binding, and Chamberlain assured me that his master would certainly adopt my suggestions and, if I thought it suitable, would send some person of importance to your Majesty. In order to respond to my overtures in communicating to him news of importance, he desired to let me know everything of which he was aware that might interest me. For the moment he could tell me that the King of France had negotiated with foreign merchants resident in England an advance of 400,000 crowns to be raised in the North German seaports, which he could but think were destined for use against your Majesty. Moreover, the King of France had obtained from the Scots a grant of 5,000 Scots foot and 500 horse to be ready in the coming spring, under the condition that they should serve under the Earl of Cassillis and other Scots gentlemen whose names are given.
Such was the declaration the ambassador had been instructed to make to me. I answered in general terms, avoiding definite statements until I should have an opportunity of hearing from Longin exactly what had passed between him and Gresham, to which the ambassador appeared to refer when he spoke of a still closer friendship. I thanked Chamberlain, assuring him that I would always do my best for the alliance, and that your Majesty was of the same mind, for you had always observed your treaties with your allies, especially the kingdom of England. If there were anything in particular I could do in that cause, I would make it my duty with pleasure, and thanking him for the information he had given me, I said I would soon answer him at greater length. Since then the treasurer has returned from Antwerp, and I have heard what was said by him and Gresham. It seems that the treasurer, on my behalf, showed him the memoir, but that Gresham began the talk about strengthening the alliance, and continued it by way of familiar conversation, hinting that he was not speaking without instructions, though he did not wish anything to be said about that. And since Gresham has seen the King he has written how pleased his Majesty and the Duke of Northumberland were to hear his report, adding that in a few days he will be here again with ample instructions and his hands full. Taking into consideration the remarks exchanged by the English ambassador resident with you and M. d'Arras, by which the ambassador let it be understood that his master would like to open new negotiations, and also that Chamberlain's words show the King to nurture this desire, as he talked about sending some person of authority to your Majesty, it seems that the English desire to avail themselves of the conversation between Longin and Gresham to cause it to appear that we made the first overtures. By way of reply to Chamberlain, I have decided to show him the two original documents above-mentioned that he may make a full report to his master. And as for what he said about observance of the treaty, I am of opinion to answer that I was delighted to hear from him how well-disposed was his master to its upkeep, for which I wish to thank him cordially, assuring him that I will always do my utmost in that good cause. I have never spared myself trouble in the past, and in the future will gladly do the same. And the King must believe that your Majesty is equally decided and determined to persevere in sincere observance of the treaty and alliance.
As for what he said about sending someone to your Majesty if I approved, I shall reply that I must ask the opinion of your Majesty, who are now occupied in your camp, as to how and when it had better be done. As soon as I have a reply from your Majesty I will let him know. And for the rest I shall thank him again for any news he may give me, of which your Majesty shall at once be informed.
I have once more looked up, my Lord, what the English ambassador with you said to the Bishop of Arras, and the observations then recorded. And as far as I am able to judge, what was said then reposed on another argument, for the ambassador began his discourse by a reference to the incursions of the Turk, to which the King, his master, desired to put a stop in company with your Majesty and the princes of the Empire. He also hinted that your Majesty might send someone to discuss that point in England; and we remarked that the King of England perhaps desired to undertake the part of peace-maker between your Majesty and the King of France, together with and for the benefit of the princes of the Empire, meaning that if your Majesty sent someone the subject would be broached to him. The English might then make use of this beginning with the French, with whom they were having trouble over their claims for damages to shipping: and especially as the ambassador's discourse came very late in the season, it seemed to me little likely that any aid would be forthcoming from England this year, even supposing the English to desire to declare against France. Now, however, they are taking another attitude, giving us hints of sending someone to your Majesty and leaving out all talk of fighting the Turk side by side with the princes of the Empire. It seems to me that this overture is more promising than the last one, though I do not really know whether the King of England has formed a desire to declare against France because of outrages inflicted on the English at sea or other French proceedings he may have discovered, or because of the hostile state of English opinion against France. I am also ignorant as to whether the King of England now has more money than he had last summer when he excused himself to M. de Courrières for not taking part in the war on the ground of poverty. But Gresham has written that he is coming soon, and I am waiting to see whether he will speak openly or not. In the meantime, I thought I had better inform your Majesty of all this. As far as I can form any opinion at this stage, it seems that whatever comes of it the sending of an English envoy to your Majesty could only do good, as it would heighten your Majesty's repute and render our enemies jealous. And even if we saw that the English had really no other object in opening the negotiation than to play us off against the French, in order to obtain restitution of their stolen property and payment of what remains owing to them for the surrender of Boulogne, it would still do your Majesty no harm to have the French pay the English what they owe them, and become by that much the poorer. I beg your Majesty to signify your pleasure to me.
Brussels, 9 December, 1552.
P.S.—I am sending to your Majesty letters from Count de Reuil of December 8th, from which you will see all our news.
Signed. French.
Dec. 9. Vienna, Imp. Arch. E. 19. Jehan Scheyfve to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: My secretary went to see the Council about an arrest ordered here of two vessels from Antwerp, for the purpose of searching them and examining their cargo. They complained to him of the ill-treatment received by the English warships escorting the fleet from England, at Flushing: and declared that one of the captains of the said vessels had been taken prisoner without any reason whatever, and that such proceedings did not correspond to the friendship and sincere amity between the Emperor and the King, their master. My man replied that I knew nothing of it, and said he would report it to me. I sent him back at once to say to the Council that I could hardly believe that the captain, or any English subject, could have received any other treatment than was consonant with the mutual friendship and his Majesty the Emperor's wishes. If any officer had acted otherwise, he should receive exemplary punishment. I requested them to set down in writing an account of the alleged violence used, so that it might be forwarded to the Emperor: and they agreed to do so. They sent me the enclosed document yesterday.
As to the search and visitation referred to above, the officers claim a right to confiscate a large quantity of cloth found on board the vessels, in virtue of some ancient statute prohibiting that unbleached cloth exceeding four pounds sterling in value be exported out of the kingdom. The application of this statute is tantamount to prohibiting the exportation of cloth to merchants, subjects of his Majesty, in view of the prices current nowadays. The merchants have had recourse to me, and lodged protests against the innovation. I judged the matter to be of sufficient importance for me to complain about it to the Council. I shall take the same opportunity to explain to them in detail what occurred about the gunpowder confiscated over there: on which subject Ambassador Chamberlain is still actively engaged.
As to recent events here, Madam, the Duke of Northumberland is very ill, and even dangerously so. The Earl of Arundel has been released from the Tower. Some say his son is to marry one of the Duke's daughters.
There are no fresh news from France, and matters seem to be much as before. It is said that the King of France will not rest-till Hesdin is retaken. It appears that the Constable is still governing, though M. de Châtillon is Admiral.
A certain Turkish ambassador is said to have arrived in Paris to ask help of the King.
London, 9 December, 1552.
Signed. Cipher. French.
Dec. 12. Simancas, E. 1319. Prince Philip to Titian.
Ambassador Francisco de Vargas sent us your letter of the 11th of October, and the two pictures you sent us by the Bishop of Segovia have been remitted to us. They are like all the works of your hand, and you have given us great pleasure by sending them. The one you spoke of as a picture of a Persian Queen has not arrived. Send us information as to whom you entrusted it to: and if there is anything in which we may show you favour and grace, be assured that you have our entire good-will. Don Juan de Benavides will say to you what I shall refrain from setting down here. (fn. 3)
Copy. Spanish.
Dec. 15. Vienna, Imp. Arch. B. 83. The Queen Dowager to the Emperor.
In my last letter I gave you a full account of the words Chamberlain, English ambassador, spoke to me in virtue of letters of credence. If I considered it suitable, he said, that his master should send some one to your Majesty to negotiate a still closer alliance, he would be very glad to do so. And in my letter I also gave you an outline of the reply I intended to make. But when I summoned the ambassador and began my answer, following point by point the discourse he had held to me, he started denying what he had said, and produced another version quite contrary to his former one. He insisted on it that all he had said was that the Council had written to him to say they had heard from Gresham, English agent at Antwerp, certain remarks exchanged by him and Treasurer Longin on strengthening the alliance between the King of England and your Majesty. In answer, the Council had written that the alliance was already so firmly established, and on their part so inviolately observed, that they did not think it stood in any need of strengthening.
However, they had said, if I had any suggestions to make for its closer observance, and wished to send someone to England to lay the said suggestions before the King and Council, they would be glad to consent to everything in reason. When I repeated to the ambassador that what he had said to me was just the opposite, he stuck to his second version, and added it was true that his master's Council had not been quite able to make out from Gresham's report the object of the treasurer's remarks, especially as Gresham, who was not in the habit of conducting (diplomatic) affairs, had not given a very clear account of them. He (Chamberlain) conjectured, however, that the treasurer had had a closer alliance in his mind on that occasion. At this point I dismissed Chamberlain, and have since once more questioned the treasurer as to his conconversation with Gresham. He declares that Gresham spoke as I told you in my last letter, no more and no less, that he enlarged on the question of a closer alliance, spoke of marriages, and went so far as to say that he was not speaking without authority; in fact exactly as the treasurer reported his words to me. The treasurer's version is supported by Ambassador Scheyfve's letter in which he said that Gresham had come to him and used similar expressions before leaving for Antwerp. I find Chamberlain's way of negotiating rather strange, for immediately after he spoke to me in virtue of his letters of credence I reported his words to the members of the Council then with me, and I would not have made such a blunder as to forget in one moment what the ambassador had said. Besides which, on the first occasion he said nothing at all about letters from the Council, but only from the King, whose credence he had just presented to me.
However, as he adopted this course, it seemed to me best to dismiss the matter without showing that I attached any importance to it. So I answered that I had understood from the first declaration that his master desired to send some one to your Majesty, if I thought such a mission could contribute to strengthen the alliance. I could assure him that on your Majesty's side there was no need at all to confirm the alliance, for you always kept your agreements with all your confederates, and particularly with the King of England. If they had sent some one to your Majesty, he would have been welcome, and I would have performed all good offices in my power. As the ambassador, however, had meant something different, there was no more to be said: he need only assure his master that on our side the alliance should inviolately be observed. As for the news he gave me, I thanked him and offered to communicate anything of interest to England that I might learn, as our friendship demanded. I am informing your Majesty of the above in order that you may know of this change of face and take no trouble to come to a decision on the considerations contained in my last letter. It appears to me that Chamberlain is not as well disposed towards the amity between his master and your Majesty as he might be. I am awaiting Gresham's arrival to see whether he will say anything more.
Brussels, 15 December, 1552.
Signed. French.

Footnotes

  • 1. One of the seven officiers de la bouche du roy in, the French royal household. Originally an officer in charge of the pantry.
  • 2. For the motives that led the English Council to contemplate action against France, see Edward's Journal for Sept. 16th, 19th, 23rd, and Oct. 7th.
  • 3. A marginal note to the letter: Titian has promised to finish the picture of the Trinity by the end of September, and he desires to be told what size the picture of Our Lady is to be so that he may begin it.