Spain: October 1533, 21-31

Pages 830-839

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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October 1533, 21-31

22 Oct. 1138. The Papal Nuncio to the Same.
S. E. L. 1,457,
f. 132.
B. M. Add. 28,586,
f. 26.
His Imperial Majesty kisses His Holiness' feet for having taken the trouble of announcing his departure from Rome. There was no need of excuses for his Nuncio's delay, as no ceremonies ought to stand between them. Has come to announce His Holiness' departure from Rome. Begs to be excused for having been so long on the road. Could not come sooner owing to two bishops, who were to have accompanied him, having fallen ill on the road.
His Imperial Majesty trusts, after what passed at Bologna between them, and what count de Cifuentes has since written, that His Holiness will keep his word. His Holiness fully promises that nothing prejudicial to the public or private affairs of His Majesty shall be discussed at the interview.
No answer has yet come from the electors, though His Majesty expects it every day. The Emperor, however, trusts and hopes that His Holiness will not let pass such a good opportunity as that of this interview to induce the Most Christian King to act in conformity with the agreement made at Bologna, since His Holiness then said that one of the principal objects of the interview was to prepare the Most Christian King for the Council. The reduction of the Swiss cannot fail to be profitable, and a good beginning towards it. His Holiness wishes to know what has been the result of the negotiations carried on in Germany by the bishop of Reggio, (fn. n1) and president of Malines (Mechlin) who left Bologna on a mission respecting the Council, and the time and place of its convocation. Also the hopes His Holiness entertains of the reduction of the Swiss.
His Majesty cannot but commend His Holiness' good intentions in this matter. Orders have accordingly been sent to count de Cifuentes and to viscount de Lombech (Jean Hannart), his ambassadors at Rome and in France, to treat with His Holiness and the King as to the best means of carrying on war against the Infidel, and invading one part or other of his dominions. With regard to the enterprise against the Turk, His Holiness is of opinion that two expeditions ought to be undertaken; one by the Emperor against Greece, the other by the king of France against Syria. The former he considers to be the most easy, because the inhabitants are known to profess goodwill towards the Christians, and if they obey the Turk it is by sheer force. If so, securities might be asked and obtained from the French against their fleet attempting anything in Italy, as it might be stipulated that their army should land in Syria previous to the sailing of the Imperial galleys for the coast of Greece. The general good resulting to Christendom by this arrangement might influence the king of France not to disturb it any longer, but conform entirely with the treaty of Cambray.
This business being of the nature and importance that it is, and considering what has happened since both separated at Bologna, His Majesty cannot return a categorical answer to this paragraph without first communicating with the Queen, his aunt. The Emperor will write and persuade her to follow the course pointed out by His Holiness; but nevertheless the Pope most humbly requests him not to stay any longer the execution of the sentence pronounced in consistory at Rome, nor the proceedings in the principal cause as befits his own authority and the Queen's right. His Majesty cannot do less than insist on this last point, and when called upon to act will do his duty in the manner often declared and lately pointed out to the Count. Having prorogued the sentence on the matrimonial cause of England for one month with a view to obtaining, if possible, at his interview with the king of France some suggestion as to the best manner of putting an end to the suit, His Holiness wishes to know whether His Majesty, the Emperor, would consent to the principal cause being introduced, and an engagement taken between the parties concerned, for the case to be tried at Cambray, or elsewhere by impartial judges and commissaries appointed by himself, and to be afterwards determined at Rome, provided, however, the king of England promised to return to his legitimate wife, and should cast away from him Ana de Boulans (Anne Boleyn). His Holiness, moreover, wishes to know what assistance the Emperor is willing to give in case of the above-said expedient not being accepted, or of its not producing the desired effect, and how he intends to help in the execution of the sentence and ecclesiastical censures consequent upon the King's refusal.
Spanish. Original. pp. 4.
22 Oct. 1139. Opinion of a Councillor on the Memorandum of the Papal Nuncio.
S. E. Roma L. 1,457,
ff. 134–5.
B. M. Add. 28,586,
f. 29.
With regard to the ninth clause in the Nuncio's memorandum: namely, this divorce attempted by the king of England, and which he has actually carried into effect by marrying Anna de Boulans (Anne Boleyn) in defiance of and in disobedience to the injunctions of the Holy Apostolic See and to the contempt of His Holiness' authority and right—an act so notoriously scandalous that there is no need to dwell on it—it would seem that if Christian kings and princes, now owning obedience to His Holiness and to the said Holy Apostolic See in all matters of its charge, should tolerate such action, no possible union could henceforward be expected in Christendom in spiritual matters or in war against the Infidel.
It will therefore be a matter for serious consideration to decide whether His Imperial Majesty can consistently with the interests of Christianity and his own approve of the means proposed in the Nuncio's memorandum, viz., that the trial be at the place and with the conditions pointed out in the said article. This would seem at first sight both legal and reasonable. One might even gather from the letters and answers of the Imperial ambassador in England (Eustace Chapuys) that he is in favour of it, and thinks it would be the means of gaining time, and allowing an opportunity for the Queen's greater justification, whether the proposed means be carried into effect or not. On the other hand, it is important to know whether it will not be better to leave this matter for the Queen's decision, and ask her consent, inasmuch as the sentence pronounced in her favour must be sooner or later executed in a most peremptory manner; also because it might happen that the Queen herself, for the upholding of her rights and those of the Princess, her daughter, would like to add other conditions respecting their personal treatment, and likewise respecting the declaration and assurance for which His Holiness asks with regard to the execution of the sentence and censures fulminated against the King. Lastly, it is also a matter of consideration whether the sentence is to be made more explicit than hitherto, or whether the Emperor ought merely refer the Nuncio to the answer as above, considering that since the last sentence nothing particular has occurred to change the nature of the case.
Spanish. Original draft. pp. 6.
1140. Another Opinion on the same Memorandum.
S. E. R. L. 1,457,
ff. 136-7.
B. M. Add. 28,586,
f. 36.
The means proposed in the ninth clause of the Nuncio's memorandum seems acceptable, inasmuch as the king of England having once parted company with Anne [Boleyn], the sentence pronounced by the Pope in favour of the Queen is "ipso facto" executed, at least during the time specified in the sentence. Nor can it be in any way inconvenient to take cognizance of the cause in England, since it is expressly said that the judges to be appointed by His Holiness are to be wholly above suspicion, and that the final determination (definicion) of the cause is to take place at Rome, and last, not least, that the King's separation from his mistress must precede all other measures, as well as the restoration of the Queen's rights. It would, therefore, seem that if the king of England submits to the Pope's judgment entirely, and renounces whatever he has hitherto alleged in favour of the privileges of his kingdom, as well as the "declaratories" made by him in Parliament, no better means can be thought of to attain the desired object.
On this point His Imperial Majesty's answer might be that without consulting the Queen about it, and obtaining her previous consent in a matter that principally concerns her, it is out of the question for the Emperor to say yes or no. Though he believes the proposition to be right in intent, and that the expedient proposed, if speedily carried into effect, may be thought acceptable, yet the Emperor cannot in an affair of this importance take the decision upon himself. He will, however, with the greatest possible haste, inform the Queen, as well as his ambassador in England, of what His Holiness' and his own answer has been, begging him at the same time to keep in mind the justice due to the Queen, and not to allow the sentence pronounced by him and his cardinals in public consistory to be disregarded, &c.
To the last part of the same article, where the Nuncio asks in His Holiness' name for a declaration of what His Imperial Majesty purposes doing for the execution of the sentence, the answer might be in general terms: that the Emperor will be, as hitherto, the obedient son of His Holiness and of the Apostolic See. There is no need to say any more about this, but only repeat the assurances given by the Imperial ambassadors at Rome.
In this sense ought the Nuncio to be spoken to here, and a letter written to the ambassador (Sylva).
Spanish. Original minute. pp. 2.
22 Oct. 1141. Martin de Salinas to king Ferdinand.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.,
c. 71, f. 265 v..
Don Luis de Tobar was on the point of departing when the Emperor ordered him to remain until the Empress' answer was ready. This cannot be long in coming, and then Tobar will set off having accomplished the various objects for which he came to this country.
Much displeasure, as well as anxiety, has been felt at this court at not having heard of Your Majesty's health, and especially of the answer which the Austrian ambassadors received from the Turk at Constantinople. Lope de Soria, who is now at Venice, writes in date of the 3rd inst. that the embassy had actually left Constantinople, though he does not specify on what terms, nor whether the negotiations for peace have been brought to a close.—Monçon, 22nd October, 1533.
Spanish. Original. p. 1.
22 Oct. 1142. The Same to secretary Castillejo.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.,
c. 71, f. 266.
In consequence of Tobar's delay caused by the Emperor's wish that he should take home the Empress' answer to our King's letter, the present despatch has been kept back until this day.
The affair of the half fruits (media annata) to be paid by the clergy of these kingdoms is still in suspense; no one knows yet how and when it is to be paid. In Castille certain negotiations have been carried on on terms which promise fair to be beneficial to both parties, to the Emperor and to the clergy of these dominions.
Letters for the High Commander [of Leon] and for Mr. de Granvelle commending their daily services are much to be desired. Pray bear in mind the Vormia affair, (fn. n2) &c.—Monçon, 22nd October 1533.
Spanish. Original. p. 1.
24 Oct. 1143. Count de Cifuentes to the Emperor.
S. E. L. 806, f. 37.
B. M. Add. 28,586,
f. 42.
On Monday the 20th inst. auditor Simonetta, the bishop of Como, and Dr. Bucla (fn. n3) having met by His Holiness' commands at the hotel of the Grand Chancellor of France, this latter spoke warmly in favour of the English king, and complained of the advocation by His Holiness of the matrimonial cause, which, he said, had been in the first instance remitted to England, and afterwards brought to Rome, though he (the Pope) had promised not to advoke it.
This argument was answered by the Pope's deputies, who said: that the mandate advoking the case had not been issued by His Holiness until after consulting his referendaries and all the cardinals, and that the commission granted to the Queen had been granted after due notice to the English ambassadors, who informed thereof the referendaries and cardinals. That at the time one of the ambassadors was that same Dr. Stefano (Stephen Gardyner), who had now come on behalf of the King; one of the principal causes for the advocation being that Alboracen (the archbishop of York), one of the judges appointed was the King's subject and vassal, as well as one of his ministers, and the chief instigator against the Queen, whilst the other judge, Campeggio, was likewise very much attached to the King, who had given him a very fat bishopric [in England]. The "locus juditii" was also open to suspicion, as the Queen swore, and as is well known.
The promise which His Holiness made at the time of not advoking the cause to himself was on condition of the Queen's not appealing. The clause establishing this condition was not inserted in the mandate for fear it might give the Queen occasion and excuse to make that complaint, besides which the promise of not advoking the cause, though it was not explicitly expressed, was perfectly understood to be "provided no new incident supervened." That is why the Queen having alleged that both the judges of the cause and the "locus " or place wherein it was to be tried were open to suspicion, His Holiness could not do less than advoke the said cause to himself, as it was actually advoked with the vote of all his referendaries and cardinals.
The second complaint made by the Grand Chancellor of France was to the effect that His Holiness had actually annulled the King's marriage to Anne [Boleyn], and declared the issue illegitimate, whereas it is an axiom of right that a prohibition does not affect the validity of a marriage. (fn. n4)
The answer to this last argument of the Grand Chancellor was that this was to be understood unless the prohibition were Papal, with "decretos irritantes," which we hold to be such according to the true and common opinion of doctors in this matter. And upon the said Grand Chancellor replying that it was His Holiness who had aggrieved (grauado) the King by the issue of such decrees, he was told that this was done on purpose, in order to avoid scandal and by intimidation hinder the King from taking another wife.
Another of the Chancellor's complaints was that the restitution of the Queen to all her rights, as prescribed by His Holiness, was general and comprehensive, meaning that the King would be compelled to lead a conjugal life with her as at first, which could not be done, there being a doubt as to the aforesaid prohibition being of Divine right.
To this the answer was that the sentence does not especially refer to the "copula;" it was purposely so stated in general terms because should the King's conscience not be grieved and burdened through it he might possibly abstain, since the sentence does not particularly specify it.
The same Grand Chancellor complained that Anne Boleyn had been unjustly excommunicated, not having been previously summoned.
The answer was that the sentence does not excommunicate her, and yet that she ought and might have been so excommunicated, inasmuch as in the first commission given [to the two cardinals], as well as in some of the briefs afterwards sent, it was forbidden to any woman under pain of excommunication to contract matrimony with the King, and that at that time nothing was known here [at Rome] about the said Anne being the King's mistress.
The Grand Chancellor, moreover, attempted to speak about the principal matter, but was told that there was no need of entering on that subject, since nothing had yet been decided.
On the ensuing day, which was Tuesday, the said Grand Chancellor accompanied by cardinal Tarbes (Gabriel de Grammont) and two doctors went up to the Pope, spoke about these same things, and was answered as above. Subsequently to this both cardinals stated that the king [of England] was willing to obey the sentence provided the Pope should issue a mandate advoking the whole business from the College of Cardinals, and transferring it to some neutral place, such as Cambray, as His Holiness had once hinted; the mandate, of course, not to be valid unless the King within two months obeyed the sentence. (fn. n5) It was, therefore, resolved to grant the commission, which, however, could not be done without the King's power to accept the same, which they [the cardinals] say is already in their possession.
As this obedience and compliance with the Papal sentence is but a complimentary feint on the part of the King, and there is besides every reason to think that they will do nothing of the kind, except, perhaps, the mere ceremony of offering the Queen an apartment within the Royal Palace, that they may obtain the said mandate and withdraw the cause from Rome; as it is evident, moreover, that even if they obeyed truly the words of the mandate, it would turn out to the Queen's detriment, inasmuch as we believe her cause to be gained in Rome, and principally in the Rota (all the auditors of which are lawyers as well as canonists); as besides this the cause would be delayed by numerous appeals, by hints of suspicion, and by other dilatory expedients, and would, as it were, become interminable: for these reasons and many others, and principally because the Queen herself has challenged all judges and places in Europe except Rome and His Holiness as open to suspicion, he (the Count) and all the Imperial ambassadors and agents oppose the said mandate and commission asked by the English, and will do everything in their power to prevent its being granted.
The king of France has owned to His Holiness that last year, at the conferences of Calais, when he insisted upon the king of England not contracting marriage [with Anne], or at least upon his putting it off for some time, the latter answered that he could not help it because queen Katharine was not his legitimate wife, and that he (Francis) said to him: "What then of your daughter, the Princess; what do you intend doing with her?" and that king Henry answered: "She is to inherit my crown, for although my marriage was not lawful, she is legitimate all the same." (fn. n6) This notwithstanding, the said French cardinals are now conniving at the marriage of the King with queen Katharine being declared invalid, and their daughter, the Princess, illegitimate; because, they say, neither the King nor the Queen acted in good faith, knowing, as they both knew, the impediment of consanguinity: which argument, however, is completely false.
When he (the Count) heard that the archbishop of Canterbury had summoned the Queen to appear before his [ecclesiastical] court, he sent to Flanders a copy of the consistorial brief, inhibiting all persons from giving judgment in a cause pending here [at Rome], that it might be notified in the places nearest to England. Queen Mary [of Hungary] has now sent an instrument to shew that the said notification and execution of the brief has taken place. The instrument, moreover, is followed by a sort of declaration stating that in virtue of the said brief the king of England and all his ministers and councillors, as well as Anne [Boleyn] are excommunicated, and the kingdom itself placed under interdict, owing to the King's marriage having been effected against His Holiness' prohibition. It is not stated by whom the declaration is made, nor at what time; no witnesses are mentioned, and, therefore, he (the Count) fancies that the instrument will have no force whatever, as the Queen herself does not write to explain the deficiency, and no reason is given for it. He (the Count) has written to Flanders for particulars.
Mentioned to His Holiness the fact, without, however, saying whence his information came. His Nuncio in England was much trusted by the King, so much so that the Queen might have some suspicion of him. Begged His Holiness that should his Nuncio give information contrary to the Queen's interests he should at once be considered suspect.
His Holiness answered: "I give you my word that my Nuncio has always written in favour of the Queen; he has never ceased to maintain that the only remedy in this affair is my declaration in the principal cause. You may be sure of that, as well as of his continually urging me to pronounce sentence; I could shew you four letters to that effect." Not only did the Pope make the foregoing assertion, but he directed his Nuncio, who happened to be in Rome at the time, to come and see him (the Count) on the subject. He came twice to the embassy, and began to enumerate the many good offices he had done the Queen in England, as well as here, at Rome, with His Holiness, the Pope. He could not imagine how anything to the contrary could be said of him, unless it were that he once refused to notify to the King a certain brief, which His Holiness had sent him with express orders not to notify it if the Imperial ambassador, or some other person on behalf of the Queen, could do it by himself. The Nuncio abstained from the notification because he was sure that either of the two above persons could do it. Barring that the Nuncio had served the Queen with zeal, and done as much as he could for her, as he could show by the letters he himself had written to His Holiness. He then said that he had, since his return from England, advised His Holiness at once to determine the cause, excommunicate the King, and debar him and his kingdom from intercourse with the neighbouring countries, and that His Holiness had answered him: "How can I do that? I am not aware that the Emperor is determined to take up arms, and see that my decrees are executed; there are too many impediments in the way of that, and were I to fulminate the censures of the Church to no effect it would be a discredit to the Holy Apostolic See." The Nuncio says that he replied; "I am sure there is no necessity at all for taking up arms, well disposed as the English are, and the people of that kingdom so much given to barter and trade. (fn. n7) Should the Emperor only take away from them all commercial intercourse with Flanders and the Low Countries, though the inhabitants of his own dominions might also suffer, the discontent would be so great in England that I have no doubt they would rise and oblige their King to yield to the sentence."
Thus the Nuncio spoke. He (the Count) agreed entirely with him, and said that His Holiness was bound to do justice in the affair without regard to any other considerations. With regard to His Imperial Majesty he (the Count) would let the Nuncio know what he was prepared to do. Told him this and no more, because he fancied that His Holiness had sent him for the purpose of ascertaining what the Emperor's intentions are in the event of the King's excommunication. (fn. n8) His impression is that the Pope will not make up his mind to do that, or indeed more than he has done, unless His Majesty certifies to him that in the way above mentioned, by force of arms, or in some other manner, the sentence shall be executed.
Has entered into these details that the Emperor may be informed of the state of the affair. (fn. n9) — Marseilles, 24th October 1533.
Signed: "Conde de Cifuentes."
Addressed: "To His Sacred Majesty the Emperor and King."
Indorsed: "To His Majesty. The Count of Cifuentes, the 24th of October. On the matrimonial cause of England. Answered at Monçon the 6th of November 1533."
Spanish. Original partly in cipher. pp. 5.


  • n1. If Reggio in Lombardy (Regium Lepidi) be meant, the bishop's name must have been Hugo Rangoni, from the 18th of December 1510, to his death on the 28th of August 1540; but there is in Naples another Reggio (Rhegium Julii) whose bishop from 1529 to 1537 was a Spaniard, called Hieronimo Centelles.
  • n2. "Suplico á v. md. no ponga en holuido el negocio de Bormia, y de la Rota (sic) del año pasado, y principalmente [el] de la ropa del nuestro amigo Sancho Bravo."
  • n3. "Juntados por mandato de su santidad lunes á xx. del presente el auditor Simonetta, el obispo de Como (Triulzo) y el doctor Bucla (?)"
  • n4. " Siendo un axioma de derecho que el matrimonio hecho contra la prohibicion es valido."
  • n5. Y mas propusieron que el Rey de Anglatarra quicre obedeseer la sentencia, dandole el Papa una comission, que se tenga por no concedida si el Rey no obedesee dentro de dos meses.
  • n6. "Ella heredera es, que ahunque no valga el matrimonio, es legittima."
  • n7. "Yo sé que no es menester tomar las armas segun el pueblo stà y ser tanta parte en aquel reyno si vuestra magestad en flandes y en Spaña les quitaba la contratacion y comunicacion."
  • n8. The passage in italics is in cipher.
  • n9. Full instructions have been sent to him as to what he is to say when interrogated on this point. Let the Count adhere strictly to them. Marginal note by Covos.