Spain: May 1533, 1-15

Pages 658-676

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 4 Part 2, 1531-1533. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1882.

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May 1533, 1-15

3 May. 1066. Dr. Ortiz to the High Commander.
S. E. L. 860, f. 27.
B. M. Add. 28,585,
f. 239.
Wrote by a courier dispatched by Regent Figueroa explaining the state of the matrimonial cause. That was before the arrival here of the new ambassador, Conde de Cifuentes. Since then Your Lordship must have heard from him and from others the execrable act committed by the king of England of this new marriage with his mistress, which not only removes all difficulties in the way of the censures and punishment he so richly deserves, but makes it highly imperative that he should be at once declared as criminal, and excommunicated, and his kingdom placed under interdict, that is if the Pope wishes to do justice, as I sincerely hope he does.
With regard to the principal cause, the opinion of the lawyers here is that the remissory letters, which had not yet been presented, should now be produced in court. The ambassador is sorry to see that there is no money at hand to pay the notaries and other law expenses. Indeed, before the Count's arrival he (Ortiz) was obliged to borrow 80 ducats to pay one of them on account of 400, which he said were owing to him from the last process; otherwise the said notary would never have consented to open and attest the remissory letters lately presented in court.
Begs again His Lordship's favour with respect to his (asiento), and the affairs of his two brothers.—Rome, 2nd May 1533.
Signed:"El Dr. Ortiz."
Addressed: "To the most illustrious the High Commander of Leon."
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 2.
3 May. 1067. The Same to the Emperor.
S. E. L. 860, f. 27.
B. M. Add. 28,585,
f. 239.
The last post took a despatch of his (Ortiz's) reporting on the matrimonial cause and proceedings here, at Rome, up to the arrival of the Imperial ambassador, count of Cifuentes, and the difficulties that had lately been raised respecting the excommunication of the king of England and of that Anne. The affair is still in the hands of cardinals Monte and Campeggio, as well as of auditors Simoneta y Capisuciis (sic) and the Datary, who cannot possibly come to any other decision save declaring the King to be judicially and legally excommunicated as well as Anne, although it must be said that the [cardinals] who oppose the measure still make difficulties about this. (fn. n1) It is, therefore, necessary that the notification of the last brief made days ago in Flanders should be sent to us, and likewise that which was made when the Emperor came for the first time to Bologna of a first brief very wisely and prudently drawn, and which has been of great use to us in the cause. Cuevas says that he is almost sure that this brief and the act of its notification in Flanders, vice-chancellor Miçer May (sic), the last Imperial ambassador, carried away when he left.
The last news from England, and one much to be astonished at, is that the King has de facto and publicly married that Anne, disregarding completely all inhibitions from the Holy Apostolic See. If he thinks that his marriage can be lawful, he is very much mistaken, being, as it is, a manifest heresy and evident schism within the Church. This shews what power the Enemy of Mankind has gained over him (the King) and that for the punishment of such offence and mortal sin, and the due execution of the justice of God, it now behoves the Emperor, should the final sentence be anywise delayed, to seize, without waiting for any further declaration from His Holiness, any favourable opportunity that may offer itself of unsheathing the sword which God has placed in his hands for the repression of similar offences and scandalous insults against the Church and its ministers.
If, moreover, it should be true, as generally asserted, that His Holiness is soon to go to Nize, to hold an interview with the king of France, he (Ortiz) has no doubt that he will before his departure, pronounce sentence in the principal cause, since it is quite evident that in virtue of the two first briefs notified in Flanders in 1530 and 1531 any ecclesiastical judge can declare the king of England, his Privy Councillors, and that Anne too, excommunicated, and the whole of his kingdom placed under interdict: which declaration after being affixed in several places near the frontiers of France and England might be the cause of a general rising against that king. Unluckily the Imperial ambassador (count of Cifuentes) has not considered it prudent to write to Flanders about this until he has consulted the Emperor's ministers, though he has desired him (Ortiz) to write home about it, which he has already done.
All the rest the Count has sufficiently explained to the Emperor in his despatches, which must already be in the Privy Council.—Rome, 3rd May 1533.
Signed: "El Doctor Ortiz."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty the Emperor and King."
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 3½
7 May. 1068. The Cardinal of Jaen to the High Commander.
S. E. L. 860,
f. 161.
B.M. Add. 28, 585,
f. 247.
I wrote last night announcing our (fn. n2) safe arrival in this capital. After closing and sealing the letters to send them on to the embassy, the count of Cifuentes sent word that he had not yet found leisure to call and pay his respects to the Duchess, (fn. n3) but that he would come next day and communicate certain matters. I wish he may come before the departure of this courier, that I may have an opportunity to say something about the state of affairs.
His Holiness is so pleased with our Duchess that there are no terms sufficiently eloquent to describe his joy. The day of our entering Rome, after introducing the Duchess to him, he made me stay to supper, not only, as he said, that he himself might speak to me at leisure, but also in order that I should witness the honours which his court were about to pay to the Duchess. He would not, however, allow me to escort her through Rome on account of certain old customs and ceremonies of their own. He would even have wished that I had not made my entrance at the same time with her, but this I would nowise consent to in compliance with Your Majesty's express commands.
His Holiness' conversation turned principally on the matrimonial cause of England; but as I had no idea of what the ambassador (Silva) might have settled with him on this particular question, I was very spareing of my answers, and tried to turn the subject of the conversation as much as I could, remarking only that the case was certainly an ugly one, and in such total contempt and disregard of the Apostolic See that no words could convey an idea of it. "Your Holiness (said I to the Pope) ought to shew to the world in this affair what your power is."
He likewise hinted in a familiar sort of way at his intended interview with the king of France, which, he said, he had chiefly procured for the purpose of ascertaining that monarch's views on general affairs. My answer was as short and concise as the former, but this much I told him: "I have never heard of generals being expected to reconnoitre by themselves the fords of rivers at which their armies are to cross; they usually send exploring parties to do the work." His Holiness approved of my sentence, and shrugging his shoulders said he was of the same opinion.
It seems to me as if this last English business had somewhat cooled his ardour with regard to the interview. If so, let the Emperor send us instructions as to how the Count and I are to act, and whether we are or are not to follow His Holiness in his journey to Nize, since, as far as I can judge, there are different opinions on that score. As to myself I am so fatigued and worn out by my last journey that I would rather not accompany him. The English matrimonial cause shall not be neglected in the meantime, but every endeavour made to have it proceeded with—Rome, 7th May 1533.
Signed: "G[abriel] cardinalis Giennen [sis]."
Addressed: "To the very magnificent lord the High Commander of Leon, of His Imperial Majesty's Council, &c. at Court."
Spanish. Original. pp. 2½.
7 May. 1069. The Count of Cifuentes to the Emperor.
S. E. L. 860, f. 2.
B. M. Add. 28, 585,
f. 243.
It agrees with other advices here received. His Holiness has letters from his Nuncio in England, advising that the King has publicly married his mistress (manceba) Anna, with the usual ceremonies. He had first convoked Parliament to that effect and there had been much difference of opinion among its members and considerable opposition (division y contradiciori), but in the end some through threats and others through promises were brought to assent, and the archbishop of Canterbury and certain other prelates decided that the marriage could take place.
Is to continue as hitherto, to act according to the instructions he has received. His Holiness appears to be much shocked at this conduct on the part of the English king. Having, however, spoken to him on the subject and begged that he would at once determine the cause, he (the Pope), said that he wished to know first whether the Emperor was willing to take this affair in hand. He (the Count) is certain that nothing will be done until the Pope knows the Emperor's intentions in this particular, though he has already issued orders to go on with the suit.
On this point, also to adhere to the instructions. With regard to the conferences to be held at Nice, he (the Count) can only say this that though the departure was fixed for the 26th inst., His Holiness told him the other day that his galleys would not be ready till the end of June. There seems to be some coldness (tibieza) about it. Will do his utmost to prevent the interview.
A letter to be written to this cardinal. Cardinal Palmeri (fn. n4) writes from France respecting the conferences, and gives as his opinion that they will take place in the end.
Is to procure that the assistance be given, and the money sent. The six Catholic cantons of Switzerland have quarrelled with the others, and wish to declare war. Though the Pope has promised to assist the former with money, Jacopo Salviati remarked the other day that since it was the Catholics who were the aggressors, neither Pope nor Emperor ought to help them. Prothonotary Caracciolo writes to say that he has received letters from Baptista de la Insula of the 26th of April, saying that the Catholic cantons had held a Diet with the Zurichians (Zuricaños), and that an agreement had been entered into for both parties to hold their peace.
Levya's private opinion about this. —Rome, 7th May 1533.
Indorsed: "Summary of despatches from count Cifuentes and others at Rome."
Spanish, pp. 3.
7 May. 1070. The Same to the High Commander.
S. E. L. 860, f. 44.
B.M. Add. 28,585,
f. 244.
Having obtained reliable information that the English ambassadors had called on His Holiness, and suspecting that something was wrong I went this morning and inquired. His Holiness told me: "I have this very day received letters from my Nuncio in England of the 12th of April, informing me that the king of that country has actually married [the Lady] Anne with all the ceremonies usual on such occasions. A few days previous he had convoked the Chambers for that very purpose. Some of the members of the higher, as well as of the lower house, had made an opposition at the first and second sittings, so much so that the King in a passion rose from his seat and said to those of his party that they must help him, for he was determined to marry; the others opposed the step strongly, and yet his own people managed things so well that at last some by bribes, others by threats, assented to the King's wishes, and it was resolved that he should marry.
It appears, however, that the better to gain his end the King had sometime before ordered that all tithal, matrimonial, or testamentary causes should be judged and sentenced in his kingdom before the ordinary judges, of whom the supreme lord was the great archdeacon of London, (fn. n5) and the judge of first and second appeals the archbishop of Canterbury with other prelates. The latter was the very man who, on the King's applying to him for help in the divorce case, had wickedly and falsely (con sus mañas falsas y malas) declared that he could marry Anne if he chose. Upon which they say that the dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk went to acquaint the Emperor's aunt (queen Katharine) with the resolution of the Chambers, though it is not known yet what answer she returned to the message. But as I have no doubt that Your Lordship has much better information on this point than I could bestow after hearing what the Pope and Salviati had to say, I will forbear from wearying your attention; I will only observe that as the Pope has told me repeatedly that the remedy is in our Emperor's hands, and insists upon knowing first whether His Majesty intends or not declaring war against England, it would be desirable that I should receive instructions as soon as possible, for I have my suspicions that everything is not right here.
The Pope told me besides that according to the Nuncio's account the king of Scotland being at war with England had sent a man of quality, a bishop, to request the king of France's help in virtue of the old alliances between the two countries. The King had not yet answered the King's message, but had signified to his ambassador, the Bishop, that he was greatly displeased with his master for having accepted the order of the Golden Fleece from our Emperor. The Scottish ambassador had another commission, namely: to ask the King for the hand of his daughter, and if that could not be done, go to Flanders, see queen Mary and contract a marriage with the daughter of the king of Denmark [Christiern II.]
With regard to the much talked of interview of the Pope and the Most Christian King at Nice, I happened to say the other day to the Pope: "At any rate the king of France will not have to fulfil among his other engagements this one of keeping the peace in England, (fn. n6) for I hear that the king of that country has made up his mind to marry his mistress." I observed that when the Pope heard this from me he seemed uneasy, for after having announced that his departure [for France] would take place on the 26th inst. he said to me, when I mentioned the subject to him: that the Papal galleys would not be ready till the end of June, and that there would be much discussion among his cardinals, some of whom were averse to the journey, &c.
Prothonotary Caracciolo informs me by a letter of the 23rd, which I received here (at Rome), that according to information sent by the Imperial ambassador in Switzerland the six Catholic cantons had actually declared war against the other seven Lutheran ones. Such being the case I said to His Holiness that on no account was the monthly assistance which had been promised to them to be withdrawn; that the Emperor's 4,000 ducats for this month had already been paid by us according to agreement, and, therefore, that he was bound to remit to them his contingent. He promised to send orders to his Nuncio in Switzerland to pay the sum, &c.—Rome, 7th Mai 1533.
10 May. 1071 The Same to the Emperor.
S. E. L. 860, f. 41.
B.M. Add. 28,585,
f. 249.
Wrote on the 8th inst. by the ordinary courier that left this, and again on the very same day by another who departed a few hours after. On the following day Your Majesty's letter of the 27th ult. advising your safe arrival at Barcelona came, at which we all rejoiced. It happened that on that day the most illustrious Lady, the duchess [of Florence], the cardinal of Bari, the vice-queen, (fn. n7) and I were invited to dinner by the Pope, to whom I presented the letter which came, for him, and at the same time read him mine, at which he was very much pleased.
On this occasion and others I failed to ask His Holiness for the fulfilment of his promise to the Swiss cantons, and I have great pleasure in informing Your Majesty that two days after I received His Holiness' letter to the Verulan actually enclosing bills of exchange for 4,000 ducats. I have written to Caracciolo desiring him to forward it, and let me know when the bills are accepted and paid.
With regard to the English matrimonial cause no time is being lost. I am endeavouring to procure a final sentence, and though the Pope, as I informed Your Majesty, is afraid to determine it unless he knows beforehand what your will and intentions are, I keep begging him to issue sentence, especially at this time when the king of England has done what could never have been expected from one who entitles himself "Defender of the Faith" Should His Holiness (I said) issue sentence, as we earnestly require him to do, there will be an interval between the sentence itself and its declaration, during which time it might be maturely considered when and how the said declaration and deprivation [of kingdom] are to be made, and the execution of the sentence remitted to Your Majesty. This seems to me a good expedient to prevent their delaying the sentence any longer, and to stop their arguments whenever they tell me that they are waiting for your answer. I told the Pope as much, but whether my reasoning produced any effect upon him, or not, I cannot possibly tell ; certain it is that he sent for some official, and in my very presence ordered him to set about it at once yet he announced to me that he was about to send to Your Majesty a confidential servant of his (person suya) to give you notice that if the declaration of the sentence and deprivation of the King is to take place you must take a previous engagement to have the sentence executed and otherwise favour and assist the Church in this matter. Besides the special messenger whom the Pope is thinking of sending to Your Majesty, he particularly requested me to impress upon you the mighty importance of the measure, for (said he) my determination to push the king of England to extremities is a thing that must needs cause great excitement and commotion throughout Christendom, besides which the king of France is sure to help him indirectly, if not openly by some of the means he has at hand, which means the Pope proceeded at once to specify. He would have gone on stating his view of the affair had I not stopped him short by saying: "Your Holiness must be aware that all this has been foreseen and provided for by the treaties (capitulaciones) of Madrid and Cambray, as I have said at other times, and therefore, there is no cause for appealing from the said treaties."
With respect to the interview I have often broached the subject. I still find His Holiness bent upon holding it, not prehaps so firmly as before, but still with some persistence, for I can discover no signs of his giving up the idea.
Told him of the money that had lately been deposited Your Majesty's orders at Ansaldo Grimaldo's bank to help the Catholic cantons of Switzerland; he faithfully promised to send his contingent.
Antonio de Leyva and his opinion on Monferrato.
France striving to make the Swiss cantons agree.
Count Salma and his negotiation.
News from Coron lately sent by the viceroy of Naples.
I have not spoken to the Pope about the Council, because on my arrival in Rome I found that nobody thought or spoke of anything else save the interview of the Pope and king of France. Besides there are many who think that one of the reasons which takes His Holiness to Nice is this very affair of the Council.—Rome, 10th May 1533.
Signed: "Conde Cifuentes."
Addressed: "To the Sacred Majesty of the Emperor and King, our Lord."
Spanish. Oiginal. pp. 4.
10 May. 1072. Eustace Chapuys to the Same
K. u. K. Haus-
c. 228, No. 29.
Since my last of the 27th ult. I have received Your Majesty's letter of the 8th, the contents of which I failed not to communicate to the Queen immediately. She was wonderfully pleased and comforted not only at hearing of the affectionate care Your Majesty takes of her wretched affairs, but likewise at the prosperous condition of yours, upon which her own peace of mind as well as the welfare of all Christendom chiefly depend.
The Queen, considering that it is not legal (loysible) for her to appeal, claim, protest, or present petitions (provisions) to the archbishop of Canterbury, as such acts would place her under pain of rebellion and the crime of "læsæ Majestatis" according to the last Act of Parliament, and that anything that might be said, produced, or alleged in her favour could not stay or delay the resolution taken by the said Archbishop, which is to pronounce the sentence of the divorce on the day after Ascension Day; (fn. n8) fearing, moreover, lest obeying the summons, and appearing at the Archbishop's court, he or other ecclesiastical judges by him deputed for the purpose might have at hand notaries and witnesses prepared to write down and attest things in favour of the prorogation of his archiepiscopal jurisdiction, and in derogation of her own appeal, has decided not to appear, but to disregard entirely the Archbishop's summons. Nor was there in my opinion any necessity for this, (fn. n9) since the advocation of the cause [to Rome] and the inhibition to the English judges, as well as all other provisions annulling the proceedings, were duly executed here, and affixed in places of which the said Archbishop could not well allege ignorance. This, notwithstanding, and for greater security, I (Chapuys) have had certain protests and extrajudicial appeals drawn up before authorized persons in a legal form, which protests and appeals will have the same vigour, force, and efficacy as if they had been made in the archiepiscopal court.
As far as I can guess this king will be very glad at the Queen's contravening in any way the ordinances of Parliament, not only that he may thereby have some ground for ill-treating her, but also that he may oblige the nobles of his kingdom, who in similar cases are to be judges, to condemn the Queen (fn. n10) and decide that she has incurred the penalties established by the said ordinance and constitution, the King, thinking no doubt, that in consequence of that artful design, the said nobles will be bound to uphold the Archbishop's sentence, and consequently his (the King's) pretensions.
These reasons and considerations have no doubt led the Queen to request that I should not interfere in the said judgment, the more so that when the duke of Norfolk, the bishop of Winchester (Gardyner), and the treasurer of the Household (Fitzwilliam) addressed her, two years ago, in the King's name, they distinctly told her, as I have had the honour of informing Your Majesty, that she was to dissuade me, if I valued my life from presenting briefs or apostolic letters of any kind, for if I did the King himself could not prevent my being murdered by the people. (fn. n11) Such were the Duke's words on that occasionm, but I (Chapuys) know better, for the love and affection which the English in general bear Your Majesty and the Queen is so very great that nothing of the sort is to be apprehended unless the King's ministers themselves by false representations stir the people on to disorder, and find an excuse to arm against Your Majesty, thereby depriving the English of all hope of that good-will towards them, at which, as I have understood from ambassador Eliot and others, they are nowadays aiming. (fn. n12)
And so it appears, for the King and his Privy Councillors are trying to persuade the people here that Your Majesty stirred on by the insatiable ambition and rapacity of your Spanish subjects has formed the project not only of coming over to England, sacking the whole kingdom, and laying it waste by fire and sword, but likewise of getting possession of it, and placing on the throne one of your own kinsmen, after exterminating the Royal family of England. As an antidote to such malicious reports sedulously circulated among the people, I should recommend that the merchants of this nation, who frequent the ports of Spain and Flanders, (fn. n13) should be treated with all possible consideration, as I have already had occasion to write to Your Majesty.
Notwithstanding the above resolution of the Queen, and my promise not to interfere, I thought of writing a letter to the King on the subject that his pertinacious insistance should become more manifest: I accordingly wrote to him as follows:
As I have lately informed Your Highness, and can shew when required, the Emperor, my master, has given me express, patent, and authentic powers to act in this matrimonial cause, and commanded me, in case of any attempt being made to decide it here, to protest and appeal in his name as his legitimate and authentic agent and proctor, present apostolic letters and briefs, and do any other acts requisite and necessary for the preservation of the rights of, and justice to, the said Queen. Having, therefore, heard that the archbishop of Canterbury, disregarding entirely the various appeals, protests, advocations and other formidable inhibitions decreed by His Holiness, and of which he himself cannot pretend to be ignorant, has now summoned the said Queen to appear at his archiepiscopal court, I am bound, according to the letter of my said powers and instructions, to acquit myself of this my duty, and execute the Emperor's orders. (fn. n14) This being done by me out of several respects and considerations, not indeed from fear of the said Archbishop's proceedings—which can nowise hurt the Queen, but on the contrary must ultimately turn to his prejudice—but for the sake of honesty, and out of my wish that all things should turn out well for the parties, I have thought fit to inform Your Highness that being invested with sufficient powers from my master to do all that is required in this affair, I intend from this very day to enter upon the duties of my office. I, therefore, beg Your Highness to take this my interference in good part, as there is every reason to expect from your prudence, wisdom and goodness. I pray God to give Your Highness a very happy and very long life. From your city of London, the 5th of May 1533. Your most humble and most obedient servant—Eustace Chapuys—To the King."
Such was my letter. I thought it was better to address the King in writing than ask for an audience and speak to him, inasmuch as after his having taken such an irregular step, (fn. n15) it seemed as if I ought not to frequent his court for fear people should think that Your Majesty consented to the King's proceedings. In this manner too the King's answer and intention would come straight to me in writing and serve for the better discharge of my duty; I might shew it to those who uphold, the Queen's right, and if necessary have it published and circulated among the people as the pressure of circumstances and nature of the affair might demand.
The King having graciously enough received through my secretary the above epistle, sent me a message immediately after that he would answer that very day or the day after; and so he did for next morning Cremuel (Cromwell), who informs me just now of all Court affairs, (fn. n16) and is the man who enjoys most credit with the King, came to me and said: that the King had duly received my letter containing various paragraphs, and among the rest one purporting that I intended appealing and presenting certain apostolic letters to the archbishop [of Canterbury] in Your Majesty's name. The King thought that Your Majesty had no cause or occasion to mix yourself up with the affair, and that you ought to consider that, however great the immunity and privileges of ambassadors, he could not go so far as to respect them when the privileges of his own crown and kingdom were thus violated and set at nought. "The King (said Cromwell) begs you to weigh the consequences of such an act, and strongly advises you to abstain from it. As the matter in question (he added) is one of great importance, the King declines to answer your letter in writing; but if you will go to his Privy Council on the 7th inst., (fn. n17) full answer shall be made to your letter."
Accordingly, on the appointed day (the 7th of May), about 8 in the morning, I found myself at a meeting of the King's Privy Council composed of the following councillors: the earls of Vulchier (Wiltshire) and Essex, Lord Rochefort, the Treasurer (Fitzwilliam), comptroller Cremuel (Cromwell), the two chief justices of England, doctors Sampson and Fox, and others. The two dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk were not present, for they had gone to their country residences far away. On my arrival there the earl of Wiltshire took out of his pouch (scarcelle) my letter to the King, and asked me to explain its contents and shew the powers from Your Majesty therein mentioned. My reply was that I was quite ready to explain the contents of the letter, but as to exhibiting the powers I had from Your Majesty I did not see the necessity of it, inasmuch as being Imperial ambassador in England, and having general powers to act in your name, any particular ones I might have for the affair mentioned in my letter could only be of use to myself in case I should be accused of exceeding them. However, in order to shew the King that I did not wish to be overscrupulous, but on the contrary was desirous of doing his pleasure in every respect, I would at once exhibit the powers, which I threw down on the table. This being done, I summarily declared the contents of my letter, and explained to them the nature and purport of the Papal briefs excommunicating the King and them all.
Hearing this the said Vulchier (earl of Wiltshire) got up and said as a man who is at once vexed and surprised (marry et estonne) that the letter was a most strange one, and of such a nature that had it been written by a man of this kingdom, however great and distinguished, he would certainly have had his property confiscated and himself cast in prison for setting at defiance the statutes, laws, and ordinances lately passed in Parliament. He (the Earl) had been commanded by the King to draw my attention to the said ordinances, and say that if I continued to behave, and do the office of ambassador, as hitherto, the King, his master, would go on treating me as favourably and perhaps more so than any other ambassador in the world, but that if I attempted to put on two faces, and exceed my functions of ambassador that would be another matter. For that reason, he said, it was for me to consider whether I ought to mix myself up with the affairs alluded to in my letter. Upon which I said to them: "Why, you are like the eels of Meaux (Melun ?), who cry out before they are skinned." I have not yet appealed, nor presented Apostolic letters, nor said anything in my communication to the King to produce such complaints, even had the letter which I sent him been written by anyone else but an ambassador. Respecting the good treatment of the King to which you have alluded I have nothing to say. Certainly until now I have no reason to complain; the King is so gracious and kind a prince that he could hardly act otherwise towards an Imperial ambassador. As to my putting on two faces—by which the Earl no doubt meant that I wished sometimes to pass for Your Majesty's ambassador, and at other times for the Queen's proctor—I assured him that the profession was entirely new to me; I knew nothing about it unless he would shew me the way to manage such things. In short I told him that had he chosen, he might have had a very legitimate excuse for not undertaking to speak to me on a matter in which he might well be suspected to be an interested party, (fn. n18) and the discussion of which belonged exclusively to lawyers.
To these arguments of mine the Earl knew not what to reply, and referred me to his colleagues in the room. Upon which I addressed myself to the councillors, and told them that if they only had patience, and would listen to me I could summarily relate the whole thing from the beginning, and state what I myself thought of it. The councillors having consented, I asked them what language they wished me to address them in, whether Latin or French, and the former being chosen, owing to some of them not understanding French, I made at once a very long address beginning with the friendship which Your Majesty had always entertained for their king and kingdom, and that if you had mixed yourself up with the affair in question it was more for the welfare, honour, and repose of the King and kingdom than for any other consideration, though Your Majesty looked upon the Queen as your own mother, and upon the Princess as your sister. (fn. n19) I then explained to them how moderately and mildly Your Majesty had proceeded in the whole affair, and whereas the principal argument proceeded in favour of the King is the opinion and votes of universities and individual doctors and lawyers, I shewed them what corrupt practices had been used to obtain the said votes, and that there was nevertheless a greater number of votes for the Queen than for their master, besides which all the prelates and doctors of Spain, Naples, and other countries had without one single exception, and without pressure or difficulty, voted for the Queen. I told them that even here, in England, notwithstanding the practices and threats that had been used, the wisest and most virtuous among the prelates and doctors of the land maintained the latter opinion; nay, the university of Paris itself, for it had declared that if the Queen, as asserted, had not been known by prince Arthur, her marriage to the present king was valid and good; and I proceeded to prove to them by arguments innumerable the truth of that assertion. I then went on to say that the statute which they alleged was null and void for various reasons, which I pointed out to them, for even supposing the statute to be legal (bon), the Queen could not, and ought not, to be made amenable to it for several reasons which would take me too much time to explain. After this I laid down before them the very just causes and reasons why the case could not, and ought not, to be decided here in England, especially before the archbishop of Canterbury, who is the most suspicious judge that could be chosen for a trial of that sort, and who, contravening the oath just made of being obedient to the Pope, and himself being excommunicated, could not pronounce sentence in this case, and if he did his verdict was null and void, that of the Pope being the only true one, capable of removing the dissensions likely to arise concerning the succession to the Crown, which in this country more than in others are easily stirred up, and put down with great difficulty. Of this, I said, they had had good experience in former times, the whole kingdom having been disturbed by the [wars of] the Roses; though it seemed nowadays as if they wished to sharpen the thorns of those of those very roses. (fn. n20) They ought also to consider that although the archbishop of Canterbury might be a competent judge in this trial, which he was not, as sentences in matrimonial suits are not considered unappealable, it may at all times be annulled (fn. n21) without prescription: which would be a source of discord and intestine troubles for this kingdom, owing to a number of considerations which I then explained to them, and would be too prolix for Your Majesty to hear now, but which I intend fully to develop to Mr. de Grandvelle by another post that he may report to Your Majesty at his leisure.
My address at an end, and after the councillors had conferred together for some time in their native English tongue, Dr. Fox got up, and made a long answer in Latin, the substance of which was: That the King through his great learning, moved by the Divine Spirit and his own reason, had found that he could not without sin live conjugally with the Queen; he had consequently separated from her; that, he said, was a "fait accompli" no longer subject to discussion. To oppose the cognizance of this business by the archbishop of Canterbury would be tantamount to opposing the laws and statutes of the kingdom, which neither the King himself nor Parliament could do, still less allow the presentation of any bulls or briefs from the Pope tending to disregard the said statutes. "Truly speaking the Pope (added Dr. Fox) has no authority whatever among us; he has nothing to do either with temporal or spiritual matters in this kingdom, so that if you (Chapuys) should at any time present briefs from the Pope, you will not be able to allege immunity, or privilege as an ambassador, inasmuch as it would be inconsistent with your office to present such briefs, which after all are not mandates from the Emperor, but from the Pope, whose ambassador you (Chapuys) are not. He (the Pope) has a Nuncio here, and it is through him that these sort of communications, if at all, ought to be addressed. Besides which the powers which you have just exhibited are of old date, and the Emperor may have changed his mind since, as there is reason to think from the conjectures expressed, and advices received by the King from his ambassador at the Imperial Court. For these reasons, that you may not willingly run into danger, and thereby create disturbances (esmotion) in the kingdom, we all beg you not to proceed further in this matter until you get a fresh mandate from the Emperor."
After several replies and objections, and on my insisting on my former purpose, which I said I was about to execute regardless of the consequences—thus fulfilling the duties imposed upon me by the said powers—the Councillors in a body again begged and entreated me to forbear, so as to avoid the inconveniences and dangers above alluded to. Finally perceiving that the two judges had only attended the Council for the purpose of solemnly warning me not to transgress the statute—the copy of which in a long paper roll the earl of Wiltshire kept all the time in his hand, (fn. n22) and also, suspecting, as I wrote at the beginning of this despatch, that there was no need for me to insist further on that point, wishing moreover to make a virtue of necessity, I said to them that as a proof that my only wish was to bring matters to a good end, and prevent their being made worse, I was willing to suspend all proceedings for two or three days, during which time His Highness might perhaps be pleased to return me an answer in writing. Should the answer be such, I said, as likely to satisfy Your Majesty on all points, I was ready to abstain from further proceedings in the affair.
All seemed glad at this proposition of mine. I expect today the King's answer; should it not come it is my intention to remind the Councillors of it.
As I was leaving the Council-room I said "pour la bonne bouche" to those present: "There are people at this court who circulate most strange reports about the Emperor, my master; some say that he has at last consented to the divorce, whilst others maintain that far from it he is preparing to invade this kingdom, and lay it waste by fire and sword. I can only tell you that such reports are not only false and malicious but particularly injurious to my master; far from thinking of an invasion the Emperor only desires to favour this kingdom as much as he can, for he will never be persuaded that there can ever be a cause for his acting otherwise. As to his consenting to the divorce, you must know that such is my master's love of justice that should sentence be pronounced against the Queen, he will obey the Pope's decision; otherwise all the world put together could not make him swerve from what he considers his duty, (fn. n23) nor from the path which he intends to follow to the end, not so much, as I have said, out of affection for the Queen, as out of friendship and love for the King. This, I am sure, your master would very soon have to acknowledge, if putting aside other affections aud his passionate love for the Lady (fn. n24) he should maturely consider his relations with the Emperor. For this reason (I said) you would do well to warn the said spreaders of news, and tell them to abstain in future from circulating falsehoods, as otherwise I shall be obliged to publish other [and quite different statements]."
The councillors agreed with me that my complaint was a just one, and my request reasonable, and that if they should be made aware of such things they would willingly rectify them.
The King's marriage, as it is said, was celebrated with due solemnity on the day of St. Paul's conversion, and as about that time Dr. Bonart (Benet) came back from Rome, and the Papal Nuncio went to Court very frequently, some people here suspect that the Pope has given some sort of tacit consent to the marriage, which, however, I cannot believe, though I must observe that ever since that time the said Nuncio has not, that I know of, gone to business as often or steadily as before. And although long before the promulgation of the aforesaid statute, I had earnestly requested him that in compliance with the orders received from His Holiness, and his own promise at the time when I presented to him Your Majesty's letters, he should execute the brief against the archbishop of Canterbury, or otherwise assist me in this undertaking, he has done nothing at all, and I really suspect that he may secretly have done or said something against our cause.
The duke of Norfolk's journey to France has no other foundation that I can hear of than the Pope's visit to Nisse (Nizza), and intended interview with the king of France, as I had the honour to inform Your Majesty. About eight days ago the Duke accompanied by his physician called on the French ambassador, who happened to be suffering from ague. Whilst at dinner some one asked him whether it was true, as the report went, that he was going to the Pope at Rome. The Duke, whether out of bravado, or because he wanted to dissemble, answered: "Me going to Rome; I will never go thither except with my lance in rest." (fn. n25) He also said that in the journey he is about to undertake he intends taking with him 300 horses besides mules and beasts of burden. I cannot say whether he will come back in such high spirits, but he certainly appears very desirous and even impatient of setting out on his journey. Since my last I hear that he (the Duke) has been advised to take no ecclesiastics with him. The day for his departure has not yet been fixed, as that will very much depend on the answer which the courier they sent to Rome lately, and about whom I wrote to Your Majesty, may bring. Dr. Sampson and others tell me that the King imagines that the answer will be a favourable one, and has no doubt that the interview of Pope and King at Nizza takes place with the full consent and approval of Your Majesty.
The King has issued orders for all the gentlemen (gentilhommes) to present themselves in due state at these festivals of Pentecost (Whitsuntide) to do honour to the coronation of his Lady, for which solemnity new and costly preparations are daily being made. The King, however, is sure to reimburse himself amply for all his expenses on the occasion, for it is the custom of this country at such festivals and solemnities for the King to create knights [of the Order] those who have sufficient income to support that rank. In case of anyone refusing the said knighthood so as not to be obliged to fulfil certain duties—as many do—the King used formerly to accept from them a goodish sum of money. Nowadays it is intended to take another and more certain course; whoever has a revenue of 40 pounds sterling shall be compelled to accept the said Order [of the Garter] or give up all the income of his estates, however large it may be, during three years, which amounts to a very considerable fine. Besides the displeasure caused by the ill-treatment of the Queen, which makes people murmur and inveigh against this coronation, most have no other hope than the reformation which by Your Majesty's hand is soon likely to reach this country, nor any other fear than that of being compelled by Your Majesty to declare openly for the Queen; for they say that this accursed woman [Anne] is sure to ill-treat and persecute all those known as having upheld the Queen's rights, or spoken in her favour. (fn. n26) I mean the people of substance and rank, for whoever should undertake to punish or ill-treat all the rest would have enough to do. Indeed, I do not hesitate to say that things have now come to such a pitch that were captains of Your Majesty to land in this country they could immediately enlist as many men as they chose under their banners. (fn. n27)
This woman in the meantime is doing all she can to win the affections of the Londoners, but she is very much mistaken, for if there was an invasion I take it that the people would keep the enlistment money (gaiges) and cry "Long live the Conqueror" as they are in the habit of doing. (fn. n28)
Ten days ago the King sent to Rome in great haste the nephew of the auditor of the Chamber (Ghinucci); for what purpose I have been unable to find out. A man from the Pope has also arrived here to treat about the convocation of a General Council; in company with the resident Nuncio (Baron del Borgo) he went on Sunday last to Court, and is to return again to-morrow. I fancy that an agreeable answer will be given to their application, namely, that the King will not have anything to say to the Council, which as some here say, is precisely that which the Pope is looking for, whatever he may say to the contrary.
The messenger from Denmark, who was here to justify the King of that country for the outrage said to have been committed on the English there, has lately taken his departure. I have not yet been able to ascertain what other business he had here.—London, 10th May 1533.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
Indorsed: "From the ambassador in England to the Emperor. Received on the 25th."
French. Holograph. pp. 10.


  • n1. "Y no podran sino concluir que el Rey de Inglaterra está juridica y legitimamente descomulgado y tambien la Ana, aunque los contrarios de ella (de la descomunion?) hagan mayor dificultad."
  • n2. The Cardinal (Fr. Esteban Gabriel Merino) had in charge the Emperor's daughter, Margaret, newly married to the duke Alessandro.
  • n3. Margaret, the Emperor's daughter.
  • n4. The same archbishop of Matera whose letter to the Emperor has been abstracted under No. 1060.
  • n5. "De los quales el supremo era el aichidiano (sic) mayor de Londres, y el juez de primera y segunda apellacion el arçobispo de Conturbery."
  • n6. "En lo que toca a las vistas entre otras platicas y razones dixe a Su Santd 'a lo menos ya el rey de francia no cumplirá una de las principales causas (cosas?) que prometía de hacer en ellas, pacificar lo de Anglaterra, pues el Rey se havia determinado en casarse.' Y paresce que le conoci blandura por que haviendo publicado,' &c.
  • n7. That is the archbishop of Bari, Don Estevan Gabriel Merino, and the marchioness of Villafranca (Doña Maria Osorio Pimentel), wife of Don Pedro de Toledo, the viceroy of Naples. Both had been appointed to escort and conduct to Rome Margaret, the Emperor's daughter, about to be married to Alessandro de Medici, duke of Florence. See above, p. 660.
  • n8. "La destinée entreprinse du dit archeuesque, quest de donner la sentence de diuorce a lendemain de lassention (sic)."
  • n9. The copy has: "aussy men est yl de besoing veu que," &c., but the sense of the sentence and what follows requires: "aussy n'en est yl besoing."
  • n10. " A ce que puys comprendre ce roy auroit belle enuye (enuye ?) que la royne contrevint en aucune sorte a la ordonnance des susditz estatz, non seullement pour auoir occasion de la mal traicter, mais aussy pour contraindre tous les grans du royaulme que en tel cas doiuent estre juges de condempner la dite royne."
  • n11. "Questoit que me gardasse austant que maymoye dexecuter lettres apostoliques ou brefs, car le roy mesmes (sic) ne me sçauroit garder que le peuple ne me assomant."
  • n12. "Nestoit que ceulx-çy par quelques faulses persuasions tracassent iceluy [peuple] a faire quelque desorder, ce quil [le roy] vouldroit bien faire par avanture pour armer le peuple contre vostre maieste, et le mectre par ce moyen en despoir de la beniuolence dicelle [maiesté], a quoy comme iay entendu de l'ambassadeur eliot et daillieurs, ilz taschent."
  • n13. The original has:"aux marchaus angloix qui habitent ont entent (ou hantent) les pais de vostre maiesté."
  • n14. "Desireroye suyuant le teneur de mon dit pouuoir m' acquitter en ce que mest commis et commandé."
  • n15. "Et ce pour canse que ayant faict ung tel desordre ne me sembloit conveni de hanter ne fere le court pour non mettre en sospeçon le monde que vostre maiesté est consentant de ce affaire, et aussy pour autres consideracions."
  • n16. "Et vint a moy de sa part Cremuel quest celluy que ma aduise tous les affaires."
  • n17. "Le viie jour."
  • n18. "Quil se pourroit assez legitimemant excuse [r] de parler de ceste matiere en la qucllc pour linterest que lattoche (sic) lon le pourroit soupeçonner pour affectionne, et dallieurs que cestoint negoces de gens litterez."
  • n19. "Bien que vostre maieste tienne la royne pour mere, et [la] princesse pour soeur."
  • n20. "Et que par çy devant les roses avoint trouble ce royaulme, mays que maintenant yl sembloit quilz vouloint aguiscer les espines des roses."
  • n21. "Et quil falloit quilz pensassent que oerez que le diet archeuesque fust juge competent comme yl nest, que puisque la sentence en cas matrimonial ne passa jamays en chose jugee, tosjours sans prescripcion se pourra retraytter (sic) la sentence."
  • n22. "Et finablement voyant que les deux judges nestoient [la] synon pour me faire la solempne prohibicion et coniuracion de non transgresser leur dit statut, duquel le diet Vulcher tout au long que fuy (fus) la tint la copie en sa main," &c.
  • n23. "Quant au premier [point] quil falloit quilz entendissent que ce nest que la justice le requiere ainsi, tout le monde ensemble ne feroit fleschir vostre maieste."
  • n24. "Le quesperoye y cognoissant le roy ayant ung peu sequestre son affection ou passion pour la dame."
  • n25. "Quil ne iroit oncques a Romme ce (sic) nestoit la lance sur la cuysse." It is quite evident in this passage that "ce nestoit" is for "si ce n'estoit."
  • n26. "Et nont la pluspart autre espoir que a la reformacion que par la main de vostre maieste se mectra içy et ne autre paour (sic) ce peuple, mesmes ceulx qui ont du bien, synon que vostre maieste ne les oblige, disant quilz sçauent bien que ceste mauldicte femme traictera mal tous ceulx qui ont soubstenu le party de la royne ou parle a sa faveur."
  • n27. "Et ose bien asseurer vostre majeste quilz auroient de la suyte austant quilz voudroient."
  • n28. "Mais elle sabuse, car si venoit ung affaire jo croy quilz garderoient les gaiges et diroient uive qui vinee (sic) a l'accoustumee."