Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 2, 1509-1525. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1866.
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S. E. A. L. 635. f. 9.
142. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Pedro De Urea, his
Ambassador at the Imperial Court.
Has received his letter and the letters of the other ambassadors, (fn. 1) who are staying with him, dated the 4th of October. Has learnt by them that their negotiations have not yet led to any result.
He is to tell the Emperor that he (the Emperor) seems sometimes to believe what their common enemies tell him. The consequence is that the Emperor, instead of being thankful for what he and his viceroy have done for him, entertains unfounded suspicions against them. The Emperor must be well aware that the Italians have refused to conclude a league with him (King Ferdinand), and to assist him with money. His continual wars with the Moors and Christians have exhausted his pecuniary resources. Is obliged to sell and to pledge his property in order to maintain his army in Italy, from which the Emperor derives the principal benefit. His viceroy had done at first all that could be done with such an army as he had, and afterwards in a pitched battle (fn. 2) had vanquished and defeated the Venetians more completely than the King of France had done in his victory over Bartholomeo Alviano. He had destroyed and burned all the palaces of the Venetians between Padua and Treviso, and near the sea. Had this victory taken place in summer instead of in winter, his viceroy alone, without any other assistance than that of God, would have conquered all the Venetian dominions on the continent.
The Emperor does not seem to be grateful for the services his friends render him. Instead of expressing his thanks, he says that he and the King of England are fully aware that he (King Ferdinand) is always trying to implicate them in hostilities with France, and as soon as he has succeeded in doing so, he forsakes them, in order to make them dependent on him. Such a suspicion is unjust, for it was he who first opposed the French, and formed a league against them, when they had conquered Milan and the greater part of Italy, threatening to render themselves masters of the remaining portion. And how can he be suspected of forsaking the Emperor and the King of England as soon as they are on bad terms with France? The King of France offered from the beginning of the war to conclude a separate peace with him on such conditions as he (King Ferdinand) would name ; but he has constantly rejected all these offers, only because he would not conclude a separate peace. If the Emperor means the truce he has concluded with the King of France, he (King Ferdinand) must tell him that he made the truce when the English had forsaken him, and had left him, without the assistance of a single soldier, to cope with the whole power of France. Was not prepared for such an emergency, as he could not have expected such behaviour from the English. Asks the Emperor what he would have done if the King of England had left him in the last war without paying for a single soldier. Would he not have concluded a truce, if he had been sure that the English did not intend to return next spring, and if the French army had been ready to invade the states of Prince Charles? There is no doubt the Emperor would have concluded the truce.
Is very glad to hear that the King of England has left the Emperor an army, which he (the King of England) is to pay during the whole winter, and that this army will not only suffice to defend the states of the Prince, but also to place the King of France in a difficult position. God is his witness that it never was his intention to bring the Emperor and the King of England into a state of dependence on him. Would have injured himself if he had done so, for the affairs of the King of England are his own affairs. His only desire is to conclude a general peace of Christendom, and then to undertake war with the Infidels. The house of France is the only obstacle to such an enterprise. Begs the Emperor to have full confidence in him, and not to believe what their common enemies tell him.
Respecting the negotiations which are pending, he is to tell the Emperor that his (King Ferdinand's) states, those of the Queen of Castile, those of the Emperor, and of Prince Charles are not seriously endangered by any power excepting that of France. It is, therefore, their common interest to weaken France, if it can be done in a pacific way, but if that is impossible, by war.
Thinks it preferable first to proceed by peaceful means. In order to attain their object it is necessary to preserve, by all possible means, the friendship of the Pope and of the King of England. If any dispute between the Emperor and the King of England has taken place, or is still continued, the Emperor must try in secret to reconcile himself with the King of England. If that is not done the King of France will avail himself of the opportunity to separate them entirely. The Pope and the Emperor must also do all they can to preserve the friendship of the Swiss, and to prevent a reconciliation of them with the King of France.
Has received news from Italy and from other parts that the King of England has returned to his own country, with the intention of conquering Scotland, and abandoning the enterprise of France. The English, and especially the Council of the King, wish to be at peace, and to get money from France. They believe that the friendship of France is necessary to them for the execution of their plans on Scotland, and to preserve Scotland when they have conquered her. (fn. 3) France could prevent them from doing so. Considering that the Emperor and the King of England have separated on bad terms, that the English complain of the great expenses of the French war, and that the King of England has not yet concluded the treaty of which Pedro de Lanuza was the bearer, it seems to him that the news respecting the intentions of the English, might, perhaps, be well founded.
Such being the state of things, he begs the Emperor to tell him frankly whether he wishes to have the duchy of Milan for himself or for any of their common children. If so, he must not betray his intentions to any one else, in order not to raise the opposition of the Italians and of the Swiss. The manner in which that object can be executed is the following. If the King of England does not intend to renew the war in France, they (the Emperor and King Ferdinand) must conclude a treaty with France before the French have entirely lost their fear of a renewal of the war with England. The King of England must be included in the treaty, and the King of France must renounce publicly not only his pretensions on Naples, but also on Milan. This measure would render them popular with the Italians and the Swiss. The King of France will make no difficulties with respect to the renunciation of his rights on Naples, but the renunciation of his rights on Milan will be more difficult to obtain. The best arrangement with respect to Milan would be that, if the Emperor wishes to possess that state at any future time, the King of France should publicly renounce his rights on Milan in favour of the Emperor (fn. 4), and that the Emperor should give him a new investiture. But he and the Emperor must secretly conclude a treaty with the King of France, according to which his daughter shall marry the Infante Ferdinand, their grandson. Prince Charles must not break his engagement to the sister of the King of England. The duchy of Milan must be the dower of the daughter of the King of France. If the King of France cannot be persuaded to give Milan to his daughter during his lifetime, he must at least deliver the fortresses of Milan, Cremona, Novarra, and Genoa into their (King Ferdinand's and the Emperor's) hands, and concede to them the right of selecting the governor of the duchy. The governor would, in that case, have to pay all the revenues of the state to the King of France, after having deducted the sums necessary for the entertainment of the fortresses. The duchy of Milan must absolutely be prevented from falling again into the possession of the French ; for, if it were to do so, they could no longer rely on the promises of the King of France. It may be that the King of France will accept these conditions, if he is kept in uncertainty whether he, the Emperor, and the King of England will not renew the war next spring. Thinks that he and the Emperor ought to make peace with France on these conditions, and include in it the Pope and the King of England as their principal allies. They would, on their part, be obliged to bind themselves to the King of France to assist him in defending his kingdom. France would insist on such an article in the treaty. In case the King of England is inclined to reconcile himself with France, he and the Emperor must not wait till the reconciliation has taken place. They would not afterwards be able to obtain such favourable conditions from France. If they first make peace with France, they can afterwards reconcile France and England, and persuade the King of France to pay the King of England the usual pensions, and not to oppose the conquest of Scotland by the English. It is not improbable that that is all the King of England cares for.
The treaty with France must, at all events, be concluded in the most secret manner. The Emperor would do well to send a confidential person to the King of France, such a one, for instance, as Gabriel Orti, who might go under pretext of treating about the ransom of Pedro Navaro. It would not be necessary to give him written instructions. It would be well that the treaty to be concluded with the King of France should only contain one general article, which could afterwards be extended and enlarged.
If the Emperor, however, is credibly informed that the King of England intends to renew the war with France next spring, and is ready to conclude the alliance with him and the Emperor, then he leaves it to the Emperor to decide which of the two arrangements (that with France or with England) is to be preferred. It would be beyond his power to undertake the conquest of Guienne, unless the King of England were to pay for 6,000 German soldiers. But he would, at all events, be prepared to invade France with his Italian army, and would thereby render the Emperor and the King of England as good a service as though he were to invade Guienne.
If the Venetians, after their defeat by the Spaniards, were to offer the Emperor peace on acceptable conditions, and if the Pope should act as mediator, the Emperor would do well not to reject their offers, but to reconcile himself with Venice. That is the only way in which the French can be excluded from Italy. After the reconciliation of the Emperor with the Venetians, a league between the Pope, the Emperor, him (King Ferdinand), the Italian states, and the Swiss ought to be concluded, the object of which would be to defend Italy. The Italians must pay him a subsidy for the maintenance of his Italian army till the King of France is forced to make an honourable peace with the whole of Italy, and to renounce all his claims on any portion of that country.
The treaty of the league must contain an article, according to which the Duke Maximilian (fn. 5) must be obliged to accept a wife from the hands of the Emperor. If the King of France sees that he cannot gain over the Duke of Milan to his party, and that the league will defend Milan, he will be more disposed to renounce his rights on the duchy. But it is not necessary that the Emperor should give the investiture of Milan to the Duke Maximilian at once. The rights of the Emperor on the duchy of Milan are of a twofold nature : in the first place, the investiture of the duchy belongs to him as head of the empire, and secondly, he will acquire special rights by the projected renunciation of France in his favour. He may, therefore, delay the act of investiture to a future period. In order, however, to allay the suspicions of the Duke Maximilian, it would be well at once to begin negotiations with him respecting his marriage with one of their common granddaughters who is under age. As the marriage, in consequence of the minority of the bride, could not take place directly, he and the Emperor might make use of the delay to continue their negotiations with the King of France. If they succeeded in concluding peace with France on the above-mentioned conditions, they might easily break their engagements towards the Duke Maximilian. The marriage between the Infante Ferdinand (with the daughter of the King of France) would then take place, and they would, "with the help of God," not only gain the duchy of Milan for their children in an honest way, but also obtain peace with France. If, on the other hand, peace with France cannot be concluded, he and the Emperor would still be at liberty to consider whether the Duke Maximilian should marry one of their granddaughters or the daughter of the Duchess of Milan. The advantage of his marriage with the daughter of the Duchess of Milan would be that he and the Emperor would not be obliged to defend the Duke of Milan, but would remain at liberty to conclude peace with France on the conditions mentioned above, whenever an opportunity for doing so might be offered to them. But, whilst all these negotiations are carried on, the Emperor, the King of England, and he (King Ferdinand) must continue their war with France.
He is to tell the Emperor that in case the Venetians do not conclude an honourable peace with the Emperor, his viceroy and his ambassador in Rome are instructed to conclude a league between the Pope, the Emperor, him (King Ferdinand), all the states of Italy, with the exception of Venice, and the Swiss. The object of the league would be, in the first place, to defend the dominions of the allies, and, in the second place, to force the Venetians to consent to a satisfactory peace with the Emperor, or to deprive them of all their possessions on the mainland.
Orders him to conduct his negotiations with the Emperor in strict accordance with these instructions, and to inform him very minutely of the intentions of the Emperor.
It is of itself clear that he (King Ferdinand) prefers the
peace with France, on such conditions as he has explained, to
a war. The advantages of such a peace would be :—
1. The acquisition of the duchy of Milan.
2. The probable acquisition of the duchy of Brittany after the death of the King of France. The eldest daughter of the King of France is not likely ever to bear children.
3. The general peace of Christendom and war with the Infidels.
He has informed him that the Emperor wishes for a partition of their states between their children (Charles and Ferdinand). He is to tell the Emperor that he thinks it best to postpone the negotiations touching such partition until the danger respecting France is obviated, and the affairs of Venice settled ; for, if they conquer the possessions of Venice on the mainland, or if they gain the duchy of Milan, the partition would then be incomplete, as the new acquisitions would not have been taken in account.
He is to write directly, and say whether the Emperor and the King of England have settled their plans for next year, and he must inform him, in the most secret manner, what the opinion of the Emperor is respecting the proposals contained in this despatch. His principal task is to persuade the Emperor to accept his (King Ferdinand's) offers.—No date. No signature.
Indorsed : "Don Pedro de Urea."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 19.
S. E. V. L. 1554, ff. 12, 13.
143. King Ferdinand The Catholic to the Knight Commander
Nobody is to know the contents of this despatch, except the Cardinal of Gurk, the Viceroy of Naples, and him.
He is to tell Gurk that he (King Ferdinand) will not on any condition forsake the Emperor.
The Pope is negotiating in secret with France.
He is to do his best to persuade the Pope to contribute money for the war with Venice. If the Pope refuses, he is to ask the Pope to try whether he cannot conclude a peace with Venice on the conditions proclaimed by Pope Julius.
The Pope and the other princes of Italy will always openly or secretly oppose the destruction of Venice. The time for war with Venice is badly chosen, as the Emperor the King of England, and he have just concluded a new treaty to invade France next summer. The King of England is especially persuaded that the enterprise against Venice is, under the present circumstances, impossible. The Swiss would, in order to prevent the destruction of Venice, not only assist the Italians against the Emperor and him, but also the French against the Emperor, him, and the King of England. The King of England is, therefore, of opinion that the war with Venice would prevent the carrying out of their plans on France.
He is not to tell any of the Italians, not even the Pope, that he has concluded a new league with the Emperor and the King of England for the purpose of invading France.—No date. No signature.
Indorsed : "Knight Commander Brizeño."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 4.