Spain: November 1509

Pages 23-30

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 2, 1509-1525. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1866.

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November 1509

1 Nov.
S. E. Pat. Re. T. c. I. L. 5 f. 128.
23. King Henry VIII. to King Ferdinand The Catholic.
Has read his letter to himself, and Queen Katherine has communicated to him what he has written to her.
Rejoices to learn how tenderly he loves him. Regards him as his new father. From an intimate alliance between England and Spain nothing but the greatest advantages to both kingdoms are to be expected. Prefers an alliance with him to any alliance with other princes, and would not hesitate, if necessary, to reject them all, in order to preserve his friendship. Promises, like a dutiful son, to obey all his behests, as he would obey the behests of his late father, if he were still alive.
Has read with joy that he intends to send a new ambassador to England. Promises to receive him with demonstrations of rejoicing.
Has been informed by him that, after he had recovered his towns from the Venetians, the other princes asked him to combine with them and to destroy Venice ; but that he had rejected so iniquitous a request. Praises his justice and wisdom. Venice forms a wall against the Turks and other infidels. In case of a common war with the Turks the services of Venice could not be dispensed with. It must, therefore, be preserved.
Besides, if Venice were conquered and destroyed, the other states of Italy would be unable to withstand the ambitious designs of certain Christian princes. Great danger to his (King Ferdinand's) dominions might be the consequence thereof. Approves his decision, therefore, and [begs him] to receive Venice into his protection, as it is an ally of England from time immemorial. Sends conjointly with this letter another, in which his views are more fully explained.
Thanks him for having instructed the Spanish ambassador in Rome to take the same care of the affairs of England as of those of Spain. Sees in this measure the love of a kind father.
Is persuaded that every word he writes concerning the King of the Romans (fn. 1) is true. The affairs of the King of the Romans and of Prince Charles would now be in a far more prosperous state, if they had always continued to be the allies of Spain and England. Although the King of the Romans has not always behaved like a wise man, he wishes, nevertheless that an alliance between him, Spain, and England should be concluded. Is persuaded that no other prince could conclude such an alliance better and sooner than he (King Ferdinand).
The Queen is pregnant, and the child in her womb is alive. As he and his kingdom rejoice at this good news, so it is to be expected that he and Queen Juana will also hear it with pleasure. Begs him to communicate the good tidings to her, and to recommend him to both Queens. (fn. 2)
Has retained the Spanish ambassador who is recalled. Has done so, because he daily expects the new ambassador from Spain, and wishes to send by the ambassador who is about to depart a full and frank answer to all the communications which the new ambassador may bring him.
Thanks him once more for his paternal love and solicitude, and promises to obey him as his father.—Palace at Greenwich, the 1st of November 1509, 1st Henry VIII.
Addressed : "To the most serene and most mighty Lord Ferdinand, by the grace of God King of Aragon, &c., our most beloved father."
Indorsed by Almazan : "To his Highness, from the King of England, the 1st of November 1509."
Latin. Copy, written by Almazan, pp. 3.
1 Nov.
S. E. Pat. Re. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 130.
24. King Henry VIII. to King Ferdinand The Catholic.
This document is the original of the preceding letter. It is written on parchment and signed by King Henry, but it has suffered so much from decay that a great many passages of it are utterly illegible, the parchment being entirely rotten.
1 Nov.
S. E. Pat. Re. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 129.
25. King Henry VIII. to King Ferdinand The Catholic.
The Signory of Venice have informed him that when the Pope, the Emperor elect, the King of France, and he (King Ferdinand) began war with Venice, the Republic, desirous to reconcile itself with the Pope, the Emperor elect, and him (King Ferdinand), restored to them all the places and territories which they claimed as their property. The Republic had reason to hope that the peace of Christendom would be restored by this conciliatory policy.
Events, however, have proved that the Venetians had misjudged their adversaries. The Emperor elect as well as some other princes continue their cruel war on the Republic on all sides, the Pope not only countenancing it, but actively taking part in it.
Is induced by various reasons to disapprove of this war. It does not become Christian princes to destroy, to molest, and to annoy the Venetian republic, which hitherto has always enjoyed a high reputation among Christians as well as among Infidels. Venice has always been regarded as a Christian state ; it has formed a wall against the Turks, and has rendered signal services to the Christians, and will be an indispensable ally in a new war with the Infidels. Begs him to conclude peace with Venice, and to intercede on her behalf with the other princes who are at war with her.
England and Venice are at peace, and a fleet of Venetian ships is accustomed to come almost every year to England, in order to carry on commerce between the two countries. Begs him to permit the Venetian fleet, on its way to, or on its return from England, to pass the seas which belong to his dominions unmolested, and not to allow any harm to be done to the vessels, the crew, or the merchandise, should the Venetian fleet, on its way to, or from England, enter any port subject to his jurisdiction.
Wishes soon to be informed of his decision, respecting Venice.—Palace at Greenwich, the 1st of November, 1509.
Addressed : "To the most serene and excellent Prince Ferdinand, by the Grace of God King of Aragon, &c., our most beloved father."
Latin. Copy made by Almazan, pp. 4.
1 Nov.
S. E. Pat. Re. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 12.
26. King Henry VIII. to King Ferdinand The Catholic.
This document is the autograph letter of King Henry VIII., of which the preceding is a copy. It is written on parchment, so much mutilated that it has become illegible in many parts.
18 Nov.
S. E. Pat. Re. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 131.
27. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Katharine, Queen Of England.
Has learnt by her letter in cipher, and by the letter in plain writing of the King of England, that it is his intention to prevent the utter destruction of Venice, and that he desires to enter into a closer alliance with him, the King of the Romans, the Queen of Castile, and Prince Charles. Has further seen what the King of England wrote to the King of France concerning Venice, and the reply the King of France made to him. Finally, has read in her letter that the French are spreading a rumour that they will soon make war upon England.
Before he makes an answer on these subjects, he begs her to tell the King her husband that secrecy and circumspection are always necessary in great enterprises. It would be very inconvenient, if the French were to know anything concerning their closer alliance, their plan to preserve to Venice the territories which belong to her by right, and other similar matters, before they are ripe for execution. The King of England must therefore, henceforth write in his letters nothing but such things as the French may read without danger. All other communications must be made by her, and be written in her cipher, or in the cipher of the ambassador, until the new ambassador arrives. Has always observed, and will in future observe the same rule, namely, to write in common writing only what the French may see, and to write all that is important in cipher.
In answer to the contents of the letter of the King, and of her letter in cipher, there is little to be said, except that the King has well considered and well expressed all that concerns the preservation of Venice. Is of the same opinion as the King, and thinks that the destruction of Venice would be unjust as well as very dangerous to the other princes of Christendom. (fn. 3) Has, therefore, already entered into secret negotiations with the Pope, and told him that, as the Church has obtained all the territories claimed by her from the Venetians, he ought to make common cause with England and Spain. The Pope is by no means disinclined to listen to his proposals, and only wishes not to make his plans public until he can carry them out without danger to himself. There is no doubt the Pope would at once have entered into the new and more intimate league between the Emperor, England, Spain, and Prince Charles, if it had already been concluded.
Has touched on the subject of the preservation of Venice in his negotiations with the King of France, but very cautiously, and without discovering his plans.
His intention is to keep his negotiations secret until he has won over the King of the Romans. Is of opinion that the King of England ought likewise to treat secretly with the Pope, and the King of the Romans ; for if they see that England and Spain are of the same mind, they will more easily be persuaded to enter into alliance with them. Will inform the King of England of all he is negotiating, and hopes the King of England will communicate to him all he is doing.
The King of England must always bear in mind that the best and only safe way to obtain great authority and perfect security for their states and for the dominions of the Queen of Castile and of the Prince (Charles), is secretly to contract a true and intimate alliance between the King of the Romans, the King of England, him (King Ferdinand), the Queen of Castile, and the Prince (Charles). That accomplished, the rest of the world may do what they like.
Madame Margaret, a short time ago, sent her secretary to him. The secretary has now returned to Flanders. Spoke with him about the alliance, and communicated to him as much of his plans as he conveniently could. Intends to make a further communication to Madame Margaret. The King of England, being now by his marriage and by the marriage of the Princess Mary with Prince Charles, so nearly related to the houses of Austria and of Spain, ought to do the same. Madame Margaret is the person who has the greatest influence with her father, and she would think herself honoured if so important a business as the conclusion of the alliance were entrusted to her hands. The King of England would do well to enter at the same time into negotiations on the same subject with the King of the Romans. That must, however, be done not by means of ambassadors, but through secret agents, men who are trustworthy and discreet, and who are travelling ostensibly for other purposes. It is most essential that the French should not even suspect what is going on.
The conclusion of the alliance must not be delayed. If the treaty of alliance could be concluded in the course of the coming winter, the King of France would, by the very fact of its conclusion, be deterred from his design of conquering Venice. The intention of the King of France is to form a great fleet, and to attack Venice next summer by land and by sea, always, however, on the supposition that the King of the Romans will remain his ally. The King of the Romans would, however, by aiding France, place his own possessions in Italy, and even his other dominions, in a very precarious position. Should he object to the new alliance on the ground of his differences with Venice, the King of England might tell him that the Pope, he (King Ferdinand), and the King of England will persuade the Venetians to do him full justice. It is probable that the Venetians, in order to preserve their other territories, will make no difficulties about those which the King of the Romans claims. Should, however, the Venetians refuse to listen to their reasonable demands, he might add that they would all combine together and destroy her.
It is desirable that, even if the King of the Romans enters their league, the alliance should be kept secret till it is known what the Venetians will do. Begs her to see that the English envoy to be sent to Madame Margaret is an honest, intelligent, and discreet man. He must go alone, and not be accompanied by any other person. It is necessary that he should be able to speak and express himself well on the subject he has in hand.
The King of England knows the King of the Romans. He will, therefore, understand that they cannot rely much on his assistance. They will make use of him, if possible ; but their plans must always be based solely on their own resources, and on those of the Queen of Castile. United, they are quite strong enough to carry out their policy. The King of France will not have power to do any harm to the King of England or to him (King Ferdinand), since it will always be in their power to raise as many and as great difficulties in his own kingdom as they like. Should the King of the Romans delay to declare himself a party to their treaty, they may safely and secretly conclude the new and more intimate alliance between themselves alone, and afterwards try to win over the King of the Romans. Empowers her, therefore, to conclude in his name a most intimate alliance with the King of England, should he wish to do so at once. Should, however, the King of the Romans be so ill advised as definitely to reject their alliance, and thereby endanger the states of Prince Charles, he would, in his quality of grandfather, and the King of England, in the quality of brother-in-law of the Prince, be entitled to take care of his interests, even against the will of the King of the Romans, and to include the Prince in their treaty of alliance.
Thinks the answer which the King of France has returned to the King of England with respect to the war with Venice is greatly wanting in courtesy. The King of England must not, however, show that he resents it. He must, on the contrary, appear to be as good a friend of France as his father was, and not say a word more about Venice till the new alliance is concluded. If the King of England remains on friendly terms with the King of France until the new alliance is concluded, he can afterwards easily find a pretext for quarrelling with him, and will be sure to get the better of him.
As for what is said with respect to the intention of the King of France to make war on England, she ought not to attach any importance to such rumours. As long as he (King Ferdinand) lives, the French will never attack England, well knowing that he would immediately assist her, and that the result would be in favour of Spain and England, which two powers would despoil France of many of her provinces. But there is other intelligence, which rests on better foundation. The French, who are the unrelenting disturbers of peace, are endeavouring to sow dissension between the King of England and the King of Scotland. Advises the King of England to keep peace with the Scots, and to compromise all disputes with them if there are any. The King of England and the King of Scotland being brothers, it would be unbecoming if they were to quarrel with one another. Should it be necessary, his new ambassador, Don Luis Caroz, could go to Scotland, in order to reconcile the English with the Scots. Has already, in the lifetime of the late King Henry, been the mediator of peace between those two kingdoms.
The King of England has begged him to give the Venetian captains of galleys and other vessels safe conducts, permitting them to sail unmolested on the seas belonging to his kingdoms, and to travel by land in his dominions. Cannot grant such safe conducts for two reasons. In the first place, the Venetians have been excommunicated by the Pope, and he would incur the penalty of excommunication if he were to help them. Secondly, if he were to show them too much favour, he would appear partial, and his voice would have less weight in the succeeding negotiations the object of which is to preserve Venice. Has, however, issued orders to the proper authorities in Naples, Sicily, and in his other kingdoms not to do any harm to the Venetian vessels, nor to detain them.
As soon as the new and more intimate alliance is concluded, he will publicly declare himself a protector of the Venetian vessels, and great things will be done which will reflect honour and secure advantages to him and to his son, the King of England, and to their kingdoms.—No date. No signature.
Indorsed : "England. Flanders. Given in Mansilla, the 28th of November 1509."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 9.
28 Nov. (?)
S. E. Pat. Re. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 133.
28. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Katharine Queen Of England.
Has received her letters of the 12th of October and of the 3d and 4th of November, together with the treaties which she has sent with them. A letter from the King of England, of the 1st of November, was enclosed.
Has had much pleasure in reading all the letters, especially as he has learnt by them that she is with child. Her pregnancy is a great blessing, since she, her husband, and the English people have wished it so much. May God give her a good delivery. Will continually pray the Almighty to grant his prayers till he is informed that she has given birth to her child. Begs her to be careful of her health. During her pregnancy she must avoid all exertion, and especially not write with her own hand. With the first child it is requisite for women to take more care of themselves than is necessary in subsequent pregnancies.
With respect to what she writes about her servants and others mentioned by her, she must be assured that he does not give the slightest credit to these persons, and that he has told them, and will tell them again, that he is as much displeased with them as she is.
Is glad to hear that her confessor has served her so faithfully. If he continues to do so, he will have a good preferment. His new ambassador, Luis Caroz, has already left Valladolid. When he arrives, she can send her despatches through him. Meanwhile, she may send any letters of hers which are ready, by this courier who is to return at once. If any other opportunity offer to write to him, she can address her letters to Sanchez de Zamudio, who will faithfully forward them.
God be thanked, there prevails peace and order, health, and abundance in the kingdom of Spain.
Is making preparations for an expedition against the Moors, the enemies of the Catholic faith, in Africa.—No date. No signature.
Indorsed : "To the Queen of England."
Draft, written by Almazan. Spanish. pp. 2½.
28 Nov. (?)
S. E. Pat. Re. T. c. I. L. 5. f. 133.
29. King Ferdinand The Catholic to the Confessor Of Katharine, Queen Of England.
Has received his letter of the 5th of November. Thanks him for his communications respecting the health of the Queen and of the King of England. No news, of whatever kind it might be, could afford him so much pleasure as the tidings of the pregnancy of the Queen.
Recommends him to continue to be a faithful servant to the Queen, and promises to recompense him by a good preferment in the church.—No date. No signature.
Indorsed : "To the Confessor of the Queen of England."
Spanish. Draft. p. 1.
Nov. (?)
S. E. Pat. Re. Cor. d. C. L. I. f. 413.
30. Luis Caroz De Villaragut, Ambassador to England.
Luis Caroz was sent by King Ferdinand the Catholic to reside as his ambassador in England. He left Valladolid on the [blank] of the month of [blank] 1509. His salary was four gold ducats a day, and he received 200 ducats for the furnishing of his house. His salary was increased to five gold ducats a day in November 1510.
[The entries of the payment of his salary continue up to the 12th of June 1515.]
Spanish. Original book of accounts. pp. 5.


  • 1. It will be remembered that Maximilian undertook in the spring of 1508 to conquer Venice and Genoa, to place the imperial crown on his own head in Rome, and then to drive King Ferdinand out of Castile. None of his designs were executed. But on his way to Italy some kind of coronation ceremony took place at Trent. The ceremony does not seem to have been imposing. At any rate its effect was doubtful, and Maximilian was afterwards promiscuously called King of the Romans, Emperor Elect, and Emperor, according to the intention of the writer to be more or less courteous towards him. I will designate him in these abstracts by the title which is given to him in the corresponding documents, observing only that the three expressions, "King of the Romans," "Emperor Elect," and "Emperor" mean the same person, Maximilian I., until the year 1519.
  • 2. Queen Germaine, the wife of King Ferdinand, and Queen Juana, his daughter.
  • 3. "Seria muy peligroso para los otros principes de la Christianidad." The sense of this phrase seems to be : to the princes of Christendom, with the exception of the King of France.