Spain: December 1529, 11-20

Pages 363-374

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 4 Part 1, Henry VIII, 1529-1530. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1879.

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December 1529, 11-20

11 Dec. 230. Hernando de Alarcon to the Prince of Orange.
S. E. L. 1,438,
f. 16.
B. M. Add. 28,579,
f. 270.
Renzo da Ceri has been so long about surrendering Barletta, Molfetta, and Jovenazzo, besides the Montagna di Sanctangelo, that had I not granted all his requests, and perhaps more than he expected, I really think that he would have been two months about it. This persuades me that there is some intrigue in the air, and that the Venetians are at the bottom of it, because during the progress of the negociation, he (Renzo) has been asking me first for one thing then for another, each day inventing a new want, until I decided to grant all and every one of his demands rather than give cause for any new plot. To-day, Saturday, he has surrendered Barletta, but so destroyed and in such a state of ruin that it is hardly worth keeping. His men before surrendering set fire to four-fifths of the town. It is true that I had reduced them to such an extremity that had not Renzo's orders for the surrender come I should have made them see the stars at mid-day (les huviera hecho ver las estrellas á medio dia). On the other hand, the Neapolitans (los del Reyno), (fn. n1) before my coming here, had been continually helping them with provisions, so much so that I was obliged to hang 50 or 60 of them who were caught in fraganti, and to provide myself besides with light cavalry to scour the country all round. As it was I could not effectually stop the supplies, so great is the affection these people bear the French and Venetians.
As Renzo's capitulation stipulated that we were to furnish him with ships to take his men home, and there were not enough to be freighted, I have decided that about 1,200 of his men shall go by land, as there are no ships to convey them. Each man will be provided with a ticket (boleta) for the purpose of crossing the frontier.
Barletta and Brindisi ought to be fortified.
Jovenazzo and Molfetta are two very strong places on this coast (ribera). They were given to the duke of Termini in exchange for Sansevero, which he himself had bought for 40,000 ducats. This last estate, however, is not worth one half of either of the other two, besides which Jovenazzo and Molfetta are close to Bitonto, Bari, Gravina, and Altamura, the best land districts in this part of the country. The dowager duchess of Termini should be written to and instructed to keep the said estates with due vigilance. Let her take back San Severo and abandon the other two places, or else erect in each of them a good castle for the defence of the place.
The most Reverend Cardinal (Pompeo Colonna) has suddenly taken a dislike to me, for which I can in nowise account, unless it be that he has really done me an injury by procuring for himself the post of first lieutenant in the government of this kingdom; (fn. n2) or else that having written to me that his nephew, Marcio Colonna, was not a fit man for the post of chief of the customs (Guardia de la Duana) I accordingly made another appointment. He then wrote to say he had been pleased to name the said Marcio Colonna to that post and to undertake the conquest of the Montagna, [di Sanct Angelo], at the same time requesting me to dismiss the other. This I naturally considered an injury to my honour, and I called upon the Cardinal and complained; words ensued, and ever since then we do not speak. Now, as I can be of no possible use here I beg Your Excellency to have me removed to another place where I can be of more service, and to let my military command be given to the Cardinal, who, as I am informed, wishes to become a soldier at the same time that he is a churchman.
I am waiting for Your Excellency's orders. In the mean-time I have resolved that the Spaniards and the cavalry shall remain here, whilst Fabricio Marramao and Marcio Colonna go to Your Excellency.
Most of the Spaniards at Naples are discontented, because little by little they are being deprived of what they so justly earned. As the lawyers are not generally the friends of soldiers, hence it is that in Your Excellency's absence many Spaniards are despoiled of what was given to them in remuneration for their services. Cardinal Colonna ought to he told to put a stop to these proceedings, and I for my part take the liberty of recommending the son of Captain Miranda from whom the magistrates have taken what little his father left, and Captain Theodoro Buscet.
One tax collector (perceptor), who was of this province, Campanil by name, was deprived of his office owing to certain defalcations. Now it appears there is a talk of reinstating him, which seems to be a very bad example in the administration, besides taking the office from Francisco Moles, who paid once a very high price for it. He (Moles) is the brother-in-law of Mossen Carbonel, and a very worthy man.
With regard to the Venetians, Your Excellency must bear in mind that without a fleet it is quite impossible to expel them from the towns they possess on this coast, because the Signory has always two galleys and some lighter vessels at Trani, with which they supply those fortresses with reinforcements and provisions. Besides Trani they have in the neighbourhood Monopoli, Pulignano, &c., which they keep fortifying, and against which we can do nothing without a fleet. Had the Imperial galleys, when they came to Naples, gone through the Adriatic all this might have been avoided.
Renzo da Ceri is at Trani, six miles from Barletta. All my efforts to persuade him to go somewhere else have been unavailing, though I offered him other quarters until the vessels should be ready to transport him and his troops. No, he would go to Trani. I cannot help thinking that France and Venice understand each other now more than ever, and that Renzo has chosen that place as the most suitable to carry on an intrigue.
Spanish. Contemporary copy. pp. 8.
11 Dec. 231. Hernando de Alarcon to the Emperor.
S. E. L. 1,454,
f. 188.
B. M. Add. 28,579,
f. 275.
The same as his letter to the Prince of Orange, though omitting the paragraphs relating to his dissension with Cardinal Colonna.—Naples, 11th December 1529.
Indorsed: "Copia de Relacion de carta de Alarcon al Emperador."
Spanish. Contemporary copy. pp. 3.
13 Dec. 232. Eustace Chapueys to the Emperor.
K. u. K. Hans-
Wieu. Rep.P. Fasc.,
c. 227, No. 50.
After my last despatch of the 9th inst. was sent off I received the Imperial letters of the 15th ulto, of which, as well as of Your Majesty's earnest desire to do everything to assist the Queen in her trouble, I duly and at once advised her that she might receive some of that encouragement and comfort which she now needs more than ever. Indeed, she has daily more and more ground for complaint, the King's indifference to, and neglect of, her increasing rapidly, in proportion to his passionate attachment for the Lady. At no time was his love of this latter more apparent or his intention to carry out the unrighteous and scandalous act of forsaking her, and taking the other for his wife more manifest. As I have had occasion to inform Your Majesty, it is to be feared that he may do this sooner than is anticipated unless God inspire him with repentance, or Your Majesty interfere actively to prevent it, for, as I said before, the King thinks of nothing else but accomplishing his purpose, and, as the duke of Norfolk declared once to me, there is nothing the King would not grant Your Majesty were he to obtain your consent this divorce and new marriage, even to becoming Your Majesty's slave for ever.
It is entirely in view of this that certain relatives of the Lady were lately created earls, for it was considered essential that before her being raised to the rank of Queen her own family should be somewhat exalted. In fact all the newly created earls are nearly related to each other, or close allies of the duke [of Norfolk]. When the ceremony took place Monseigneur de Rochfort (fn. n3) had double honour, for he was the first created, and had besides two earldoms given him, one in Ireland and the other in this kingdom, whilst the others had only one title each. Indeed, his prerogatives on the occasion were not small, for the day after, the King wishing no doubt to make it appear that the honours conferred upon the new earl were entirely owing to his daughter's favour, gave a grand fête in this city, to which several ladies of the Court were invited (among them queen Blanche and the two duchesses of Norfolk, the dowager and the young one), the Lady Anne taking precedence of them all, and being made to sit by the King's side, occupying the very place allotted to a crowned queen, which by the by is a thing that was never before done [in this country]. After dinner there was dancing and carousing, so that it seemed as if nothing were wanting but the priest to give away the nuptial ring and pronounce the blessing. All the time, and whilst the carousal was going on, poor queen Katharine was seven miles away from this place holding her own fête of sorrow and weeping.
The King's demoiselle (fillie dame) has, moreover, been the chief cause and instrument of Cardinal Wolsey's ruin, for she was heard to say a few days before that it would cost her a good 20,000 crs. before she had entirely done with him, and that if she had any influence over the Pope he (the Cardinal) would have none of it. This may be considered certain and that she will do all she can here to deprive the said Cardinal of his annats, as well of all or the greater part of his ecclesiastical authority in this kingdom.
The reform [of the Clergy], about which I wrote to Your Majesty, is partly owing to the anger of these people at His Holiness advocation of the divorce case to Rome. Although many causes are assigned for it, there can be no doubt that last is the real one, and that having begun the said reform, they will go on with it as quickly as they can, and this for many evident reasons. First of all because they will get large sums of money by the sale of Church property, and a judicious investment of the same. Secondly, because as nearly all the people here hate the priests, they may perhaps gain them over and pursuade them to consent to this marriage and declare that the Pope has no power to grant dispensations in marriages or in other matters and that no more of their substance shall go to Rome in future. Indeed, it is evident that if the English [in this affair] have no other guidance but respect for the Pope they will not care much for him, and that if this state of things should last there will be no more obedience shewn to the Pope here than in Germany. Neither the leaders nor the rest [of the party] can now refrain from slandering the Pope. The other day the duke of Norfolk said openly to me that the Pope himself had been one of the first to perceive the invalidity of this marriage, and had written to say that it could in nowise stand good, and that he would declare so himself or have it legally declared, and yet that in consequence of his alliance with Your Majesty, and of his being, as it were, under your power, that same Pope now would have the case tried and determined only as Your Majesty wished. I am, moreover, much inclined to think that one of the reasons why the King was so anxious for Your Majesty's departure for Hungary, was his thinking that he might during your absence [from Italy] do what he pleased with the Pope.
In the event, however, of the divorce case being brought forward in Parliament, as there is every reason to fear, I am persuaded that the Queen will want me to offer some sort of opposition or present a protest in Your Majesty's name. Not having received special instructions upon this point, I should very much like to know how I am to act. My own impression is that some means ought and might be adopted with the Queen's approbation to weaken the action of Parliament, or at least to defer it as long as possible. Were I to propose, as if it came from myself, that since these people are so very suspicious of the Pope and of the Queen they should consent, before any confusion arises, to refer the case to Cambray, as they themselves proposed once, or if this should not meet with the King's approbation, that he should send to Paris persons free from suspicion to represent him [at the Sorbonne] and there dispute the case with the doctors and divines appointed by the Queen, I really think that some good might be done; for the proposition, if accepted, would in my opinion answer the purpose of checking the deliberations of Parliament, and affording time for Your Majesty's late instructions on this business to be carried into effect.
I likewise deem it advisable to try, in my own name of course, what can be done with the duke of Norfolk, and see whether we could not gain him over to our cause by means of some promise of help and assistance in the marriage of hi son to Princess Mary, which is so much spoken of here that I consider myself perfectly justified to urge it on by pointing out the mutual advantages to be derived from it, as well as the troubles and anxieties it would remove. I have no doubt that such motives would strongly work upon the Duke and yet there is ground for fearing that such a plan, if proposed will be rejected; for should, the Queen regain her influence and position before his son's marriage takes place she is sure to have it broken off, and besides injure the Duke in many other ways; for he knows well that the Queen has never forgiven him some angry words which he and his wife, the Duchess, said on the occasion of her not allowing the latter to take precedence of her mother-in-law, by which both were much offended, especially the Duchess, who belongs to the house of Lancaster. The other motive of anxiety for the Duke is that should the King return to his duty towards the Queen, his lawful wife, and the Lady be consequently dismissed from Court, the Cardinal would in all probability regain his influence, as there is good reason for thinking owing to his uncommon ability and the King's readiness to restore him to his former favour. Indeed, everyone here perceives that the King bears the Cardinal no real ill-will, and that in acting towards him as he did, it was merely to gratify the Lady in this particular. Should, however, the King's affection for the Lady abate in the least, the Cardinal would soon find means of settling this business [of the divorce] in a manner which would not only cost the opposite party their lives, but as they suspect, make the Queen, who has lately shewn some pity for the Cardinal's fall, help his return to power. It is, therefore, highly probable that they will all look more to their own immediate advantage or risk than to any chance for the future. Nevertheless, should the Queen approve of this plan of mine I will try my best with the Duke; no harm, in my opinion, can result therefrom, and in the meantime Your Majesty may carry out the suggestions conveyed in my despatch of the 9th inst.
I must add that when the King heard, as I failed not to assure him, that Your Majesty was fully convinced that all his steps about this divorce were merely owing to his scruples and to the wish of relieving his conscience, he shewed great satisfaction
I am not sure that Your Majesty will believe what I am about to state; but it is a fact that in spite of all that has been said, preached, and circulated in this country [about this divorce], they have never been able to convince the people of its righteousness, for they know very well that it was the Holy League that first inspired the King's enmity towards Your Majesty, and that he has ever since become more blindly and passionately fond of the Lady. People, therefore, say that it is only the King's evil destiny that impels him, for had he as he asserts, only attended to the voice of conscience, there would have been still greater affinity to contend with in this intended marriage than in that of the Queen, his wife, a fact of which everyone here speaks quite openly.
Lately one or two preachers have been suborned to preach publicly that the Pope (Julius) had no power to give dispensation for the marriage of the Queen, and that it was contrary to Divine law, over which popes have no control. There are not wanting preachers who, without any other motive than the love of justice and truth, have refuted [from the pulpit] the aforesaid proposition, but the former have not yet replied. It now remains to be seen how they will make their case good. For my own part, I imagine that they will probably keep silence, knowing that the best and most learned among the English prelates have written in favour of the Queen, and that the King himself and the noblemen of his party have declared that the prelates and divines, who hold for the Queen, are indeed good and respectable men, only too much self-opinionated.
Your Majesty must have heard from Mr. de Mingoval how the ratification of, and swearing to, the treaty of Cambray was effected here. The King was very much vexed that the ambassadors he sent to Your Majesty on this occasion should have delayed so long on the road, as he wished them to have arrived sooner at the Imperial Court, and there to have taken the oath in his name, as likewise to have been present at your entry into Bologna, and assisted in the deliberations of the assembly there convened for the purpose of repelling the threatened Turkish invasion and negociating other matters.
Having lately written at some length to Your Majesty as well as to Mr. de Mingoval, concerning the members of the government here, I will only add that the duke of Norfolk's influence and power are daily increasing, a fact of which Your Majesty's servants and subjects will be soon aware and glad, should he (the Duke) continue as he has begun; for I do not hesitate to say that in everything in which I have applied to him, whether verbally or in writing, he (the Duke) has always shewn every desire to please us, favouring the Spanish and Flemish merchants much more than the French, of whom he seems just now as if he would be glad to rid himself. In proof whereof I can say that only yesterday he (the Duke) did them a bad turn in the shape of an ordinance forbidding French caps—of which there is a large importation into this country—to be sold for more than about one-half of what the English ones cost, though superior in quality. This measure seems to be the beginning of the practical working of the measures which the Duke himself announced to the French ambassadors on the eve of the Conception of Our Lady, namely, that England would dispense in future with French commerce altogether.
The Cardinal (Wolsey) is still living at the house where he was when the seals were taken away from him, leading a very devout life, saying mass daily, praising God for having afforded him this opportunity of acknowledging his errors, and saying to everyone he meets that he never enjoyed greater peace of mind than at the present moment, and that even if the King would restore him to his former position, as well as give him the entire administration of the kingdom, he would not willingly resume the charge of it. I hear, moreover, that the King allows him to retain one of his bishoprics. The vestments and other Church ornaments, which he once presented to his college at Auffort (Oxford), have been brought here [to London], and I hear from an embroiderer, who lives opposite my house, that some chappes and chasubles that were sent to him for the purpose of having the Cardinal's escutcheon removed therefrom were worth full 40,000 angelots, and that this was but a quarter of what he had elsewhere.
As regards the "fleur de lis" about which Your Majesty writes to me, it will be found by the contents of my previous despatches that I have done all that was wanted in that business. I have always maintained that the King and his ministers were quite right in thinking that Your Majesty would much prefer these valuable jewels to remain in the hands of these people than in those of the French. As this, however, was only a private and personal idea of mine at the time, unwarranted by Your Majesty's instructions to that effect, I will at a proper time acquaint the King with Your Majesty's wishes in this respect. I believe that they would much prefer sending it on through Your Majesty's people to delivering it to the French; but should this last expedient be adopted, I shall at any rate witness the delivery of the "fleur de lis" attended by an expert so as to have it compared with the inventory. It has been lately reset and polished, as I am told, and should have been brought to me for inspection, had I not been too much occupied of late with affairs of another sort. I will, however, take care that it is properly examined before delivery.
During the last fortnight they have been trying to close this session of Parliament, and prorogue it until February next; but they have been unable to accomplish it. Indeed, yesterday the sitting was the busiest of all, so much so that the leading members had actually no time to take any refreshment until very late at night. I cannot learn that any fresh Bills have been passed since my last despatch. Commercial measures chiefly are now under consideration, the London merchants wishing to have heavy duties imposed on all foreign goods imported, that traders not English by birth should be compelled to quit, and not reside in this country, taking, as they say, the bread out of the mouths of the natives. I think, however, that now that the King has obtained from Parliament the loans he wanted, the session of that body would be soon over, were it not for two measures which the King wishes to bring forward, one of them being to bleed (donner la saignee) the Clergy, and the other to lay before the members the opinion of the Paris University on the divorce case, which, they say, is daily expected. It would be a very fortunate thing if such opinions should prove upon the whole in favour of the Queen, as regards the value and number of voters.—London, 13th December 1529.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Holograph. pp. 8.
15 Dec. 233. The Prince of Orange to the Emperor.
Arch. d. Royme de
Belg. Doc. Hist.
iv., f. 355.
i., p. 357.
Cardinal Colonna has sent him a copy of the report which the Neapolitan deputies who came [to this camp] have addressed to the Collateral Council of that kingdom. The statements therein contained of his conversation with them is either completely false or grossly exaggerated. What he told them in plain words was: that he wondered much how they could write home such horrible falsehoods; that he could at any time, when required, prove that they had told lies on many points, and principally with regard to the sums of money, which they pretend have been levied upon the kingdom, as His Imperial Majesty has been pleased to inform him. To this the deputies replied that the Council had not alluded to me in their reports. Upon which I said to them: "I cannot believe the Emperor to be so bad a master as to allow any of his servants to tell an untruth; even if he should allow it, I am a man of honour, and will break the heads of all of you put together. Meanwhile, I intend asking the Emperor to have an inquiry instituted on my administration, and see whether the Council tells truth or not." Their reply was that they had not alluded to my person in the least, but only to administrative affairs in general, and to the many robberies and impositions that had been, and were daily, practised upon private individuals, of which they had considered it their duty to inform Your Majesty for the good of the kingdom. To this I replied that they were perfectly justified in doing so if the abuses they complained of really existed, but that they ought to tell the truth and nothing but the simple truth in such matters. Your Majesty would, I had no doubt, make exemplary justice of the guilty parties, and if necessary have them all beheaded; but, at the same time, were it found upon inquiry that the accusation was unfounded the calumniators, in my opinion, deserved an equal punishment. "Since you know (I said) who the guilty parties are, why not tell me at once? I might already have made summary justice of them, for I will not suffer any one of the Imperial officers, whoever he may be, to rob the Emperor, my master, or his subjects." There was then some talk about Secretary Martirano, of whom they say many things, as likewise of Moron. Respecting the former I told them that they had him at Naples; he was, in my opinion, an honourable and upright man, who, if accused, would know how to defend himself, and prove his innocence. I firmly believed (I continued) that Moron could do the same, or at least that the charge against him could not be sufficiently substantiated, inasmuch as the sums which he is said to have appropriated seemed to me incredible. I do not pretend to say that the parties above named may come out entirely innocent of the charge. I will not put my hand in the fire for either of them, suspecting, as I do, that many of the public officers in Naples have been guilty of peculation; what I mean is that if there has been anything of the kind it has taken place without my knowledge.
These are in substance the words that passed between the Neapolitan deputies and myself. There may have been more or less said on the same topic, and perhaps some portion may escape my memory now. If so I shall be glad to be reminded of it, and in any case will tell the truth. I recollect telling them also by way of remark that Your Majesty was more indebted to the foreigners, who had saved your kingdom from the enemy, than to those for whom they now came to implore mercy, and who were the very people who had placed their own country within the verge of ruin. Their answer was that among the nobility and barons of Naples some had remained faithful and done their duty as good vassals. I assented, and said: "Those who have done so will be treated by the Emperor as reason and justice demand."
The Cardinal's letter, of which a copy is enclosed, adds that the Council had in due time received an answer from Your Imperial Majesty to the effect that the whole affair would be properly attended to. Now I beg Your Majesty's pardon if I dare express my feelings of astonishment and sorrow at such an answer, for being then in Naples, filling the duties of my responsible charge, I do not hesitate to say that it was to me, not to the Council, that the Emperor's wishes and representations, if any, ought to have been conveyed. Indeed, Your Imperial Majesty may believe me when I say that no greater kindness could ever be shewn to me than the immediate communication of any sayings or remarks concerning my personal and official duties, for I am not afraid of the councillors or any of them being able to bring any real charge against me, provided, however, they speak the truth: if they tell lies, God has given me both a tongue to contradict them, arms and legs to defend myself with. I shall never feel at ease until Your Imperial Majesty has had those accounts, which I forwarded, carefully examined, that it may be ascertained who is right in this case, whether these three Neapolitans, whose words are set up against mine, or Your Majesty's viceroy in Naples. They profess to tell the truth, I maintain that the facts mentioned in the memorandum which was sent to me from Court are a downright falsehood. As to other particular points I will say nothing, no allusion having been made to them in the councillors' report.
The bearer is particularly instructed to beg and entreat Your Majesty in my own name as well as in that of all the accountants, treasurers, &c. of Naples, to order a minute inquiry into this affair, and if the reporters should be found at fault to have them punished as they deserve, that honest men like myself may henceforwards be safeguarded in their honour and reputation. For, Your Majesty may believe me: the very gift of a kingdom like that of Naples would not be as great a boon and proof of confidence as the order for that judicial inquiry, which I beg for as humbly as I can, and indeed demand for my own personal satisfaction. Nor were Your Majesty to deprive me suddenly and at once of everything I possess in this world should I be as much disappointed and annoyed as I shall be if these councillors are allowed to spread lies about me with impunity. For to say the truth I do not think that my acts in the Imperial service have hitherto been such as to deserve a treatment of this sort.
I humbly beg for Your Majesty's speedy answer, that I may communicate at once with the Cardinal and the Neapolitans, sure as I am that if the deputies have told untruths, or otherwise exceeded their instructions they are too reasonable and too honest not to offer a reparation to my wounded honour.
At my departure from Boulogne His Holiness promised that by the 15th inst. I should receive 60,000 crs. for the pay of these troops during the month of November. I was further instructed by Your Majesty to persuade the captains of these forces in front of Florence to wait a fortnight more for their money, which they promised to do. Up to the present, which is the day fixed for the payment, no money or letter has come [from Rome], and if the soldiers, as I fully expect, come to me and ask for the fulfilment of my most solemn promises I really do not know what to say to them, except that I am hourly expecting the Marquis Dugast (del Vasto) and Mr. d'Escaygne (?) with the money. Indeed, as I am writing this some one calls to say that the captains have actually met for the purpose of appointing a deputation. I beg and entreat Your Majesty as earnestly as I possibly can to put a stop to this state of things, which is sure to bring on the complete ruin and destruction of this army, for, by my faith, if the money does not come in four or five days I consider a mutinous rising of all the soldiers indiscriminately as inevitable, and I shall be obliged to fly, or else they will cut me to pieces for the non-fulfilment of my promises.—At the camp close to Florence, 15th December 1529.
Signed: "Philibert de Chalon."
French. Original.
19 Dec. 234. Act of Renunciation by Francis of his pretended rights to Naples, Milan, Genoa, and Asti
S. Pat. Re. Nap.,
L. l, f. 567, No. 30
B.M. Add. 28,579
f. 282.
Donne en la cite de Boulogne la greçe (sic), le.dix neufvieme jour de Decembre 1529.
Indorsed: "Instrumento autentico de la renunciation del Rey Francisco Io."
French. Original, pp. 1½.


  • n1. By "los del Reyno " the fuorusciti or emigrants are here meant.
  • n2. "Ha tomado cierta fantasia conmigo sin darle yo causa ni razon para ello; sino solo el fin de quel se ha ofendido de procurar con V. E. de quedar en capite." Cardinal Pompeo Colonna was lieutenant-general of the kingdom of Naples until the death of the Prince, whom he finally replaced as viceroy. He died in 1533.
  • n3. Written Rocchefort, and lower down Rocchestre by mistake.