Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 1, 1534-1535. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1886.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.
April 1534, 21-25
|22 April.||45. Eustace Chapuys to the Same.|
|Wien., Rep. P.C.,
Fasc. 228, No. 30.
|Your Majesty's letter to me of the 27th ult., intercepted, as I wrote in my last, by the officers (debitys) of Calais, (fn. n1) has this moment come to hand, together with the packet of the Queen Regent in Flanders, in which it was enclosed, not having been delivered, however, till four days after the arrival of the courier, bearer of them, and after two formal applications of mine to Master Cremuel (Cromwell). As an excuse for which interception the latter sent me a message by my man that he would willingly have given part of his fortune that the thing had not happened. The King, his master, said he was exceedingly sorry for and displeased at it. Upon information received from abroad that some one here had written to Flanders that I (Chapuys) was not treated and respected as befitted an Imperial ambassador, and on the King supposing, as he had reason to do, that such an accusation could not proceed from me, or be made with my consent, inasmuch as I could have no plausible ground for complaint, not having been refused anything I had asked, the King, his master, had been naturally very angry at hearing of such reports. Everything, Cromwell added, that I had asked for had been readily granted, though he must own that I had required and demanded but few things—at which, however, the King, his master, was highly displeased, for he would then have shown the affection and goodwill he bore me (such were Cromwell's words), owing to my good qualities, and principally to the entire, sincere, perfect, and incomparable friendship and love the King bore to the Emperor. There was nothing (Cromwell continued) that the ministers of the one and of the other ought to look to more carefully than the preservation, fostering, and increase of so old a friendship,—one not only fitting, but necessary for the vassals of both crowns, and for Christendom at large. "As to myself," (he said,) "I should have much preferred losing one of my hands, nay both of them, rather than that there should be any rupture or change in the said friendship." And he begged me most affectionately, not only on his own particular behalf, but likewise on that of the King, to see to the continuance of the said friendship, and do all possible good offices towards it, as I had hitherto done.|
|After many similar sentences, couched in the same style, Cromwell proceeded to say to my secretary that it was rumoured that Your Majesty was making preparations for war, and that many people thought they were intended for an invasion of England. This (he said) he could not be persuaded to believe, inasmuch as the King, his master, had given no occasion whatever for such an attack. Cromwell would have liked to learn from my secretary what truth there was in those reports. He actually interrogated him concerning them, but the secretary answered that he had no knowledge of such armaments. Thereupon Cromwell dismissed him with many compliments for me, both from the King and from himself, besides the message specified above.|
|The very same evening that the packet of letters was put into my hands, Cromwell (no doubt the better to excuse the seizure of them) kept the courier by him for the purpose of having him examined concerning the words he was reported to have uttered while at Calais. Nothing more, however, was said to him on the subject; on the contrary, he was well treated and splendidly entertained, perhaps, that he might make a better report on the whole occurrence. Cromwell's words are very fair indeed, but his deeds are bad, and his will and intentions beyond comparison worse. I do really believe that the officers of Calais had express orders from the King to seize the packet of letters, that they might learn for what purpose Your Majesty is making the military preparations above alluded to, and of which they are now in more dread than before, owing to the Papal sentence in the divorce suit.|
|As I said above, the packet was put into my hands apparently untouched (sain et entier), except the outside cover, which Gherart Sterck had put on according to custom, and which was removed. Under it were two letters unsealed, and directed to me, in which there was news of the truce concluded with the Lubeckians; which news, in my opinion, served as a sort of safe-conduct to the rest of the letters, cooling, as it were, and repressing the ill will which these people bear us.|
|On the receipt of the instructions which Your Majesty was pleased to send me, I asked the Scottish ambassador, with whom I had already conversed respecting the affair mentioned in the said instructions, for an interview. He came yesterday morning to see me, when, having inquired of him how he and his colleagues were getting on in their affairs with these people, he said to me that he thought a peace would soon be concluded, inasmuch as the English were soliciting them very hard; that his colleague, the Bishop, was much inclined to it, because he thought the King, his master, deprived, as he was, of the assistance of the French and others, could not successfully cope with England. The Bishop also fancied that a treaty of peace at the present juncture might secure the friendliness of the English for the future. He himself, recollecting the representations I had addressed to him on a former occasion, was of. different opinion; but the Bishop's authority, and the fear he himself had that it might somehow be dishonourable for him not to have solicited the peace at such a time, but to have worked on the contrary against it, had induced, almost compelled, him to incline to the said peace, at least for some time to come. (fn. n2) After my refuting his arguments and motives, the ambassador ended by owning to me that he would willingly have given a good deal to have known sooner of the sentence pronounced at Rome, and principally of the amount of love and affection which Your Majesty bore the King, his master. He would, however, still work with all his might to convert the said Bishop to his opinion, and look out for some opportunity of going to Scotland before the conclusion of the peace, that he might there persuade the King, his master, to put himself entirely under the protection of Your Majesty, and listen to the propositions,—which could not fail to be good, virtuous, and catholic, as coming from Your Majesty, since you had always shown yourself such. Were his credit with his master to prove insufficient for that purpose, he (the ambassador) would invoke that which he had with several gentlemen of Scotland and also with the commoners, whose authority (he said) was much greater in that country than elsewhere. Should he decide to return to Scotland, and carry out his plan, he would let me know, and leave a key with me to read his ciphered despatches whenever he had anything important to advise.|
|In answer to this speech of the Scottish ambassador, I considered it opportune, at all events, to inform him particularly of the truce concluded with the Lubeckians, and also of the devotion of the Norwegians, Danes, and other neighbouring nations to Your Majesty; also of the circumstances and disposition of this kingdom, which he greatly detests, as likewise of the facility of the remedy, and the necessity in which Scotland stood for her own interest of joining in an attack against England. All which arguments he (the Scotchman) took in very good part, saying that although no answer had yet come from their ambassador at the court of France, respecting the proposed marriage to the eldest daughter of king Francis, he and his colleagues considered the game as lost. Indeed, as I had the honour to inform Your Majesty a long time ago, the Scots, perceiving king Francis' delay in answering their application, and the repeated assurances by this one (Henry) of a secret agreement between them,—purporting that the Most Christian King is not to give his daughter in marriage to the king of Scotland, or in any wise help him in war against this country—have now entirely given up all hopes of success in that quarter.|
|Knowing this well, and recollecting what I had told him on a former occasion respecting a marriage to the princess [of Wales], it appears that he and his colleague, the Bishop, resolutely broached the subject to this King's ministers. They were, however, told that the thing was out of the question, since the Princess was, as they well knew, a bastard, and too closely related to the King, their master. On other points no answer at all has yet been made to them. They expect one within a couple of days, and the ambassador tells me that as soon as they get it I shall be apprised thereof; assuring me at the same time that he will take care that his colleague, the Bishop, whenever an opportunity arises, shall declare to this King that, should the Princess die, the succession to the English crown will by right belong to his master; in which formal declaration he (the Scottish ambassador) is also to join. This would be the means of preventing any bad trick being played to the Princess; besides which, the ambassador might also persuade his master to write expressly to king Henry on this subject, especially as he knows well the truth of my observation, namely, that the King of Scotland cannot possibly increase his power except through two ways, that is Your Majesty's favour and his own marriage to the Princess, the ambassador himself having frequently assured me that the hearts of the Scots were generally much more inclined towards Your Majesty than towards the French.|
|This same ambassador tells me that some days ago he was invited to the Chancellor's house, in which Cromwell and three doctors happened to be at the time, and that certain dishonest and heretical articles were then and there exhibited to see whether there could be any means devised of making the King, his master, accept them; and that he (the ambassador) had got into such a passion, and so inveighed against the said articles, that not one of those present knew what to reply. Which being observed by Cromwell and the Chancellor, they begged him not to say a word or show the articles to any one, but keep them in his hand until the three doctors had left the room; which he did. (fn. n3) According to promise the ambassador has said nothing of this to his colleague, the Bishop, but has offered to forward to me the substance of the articles as far as he himself can recollect it. He has likewise told me that a week ago, being at Grynuyst (Greenwich) at mass, with the Bishop, his colleague, this King sent two gentlemen of his bed chamber to him, merely to say that he had news that at a seaport town in Scotland a foreign personage accompanied by two servants had arrived, and that he (the King) thought he might be some Nuncio from the Pope, He then asked him whether he knew anything about it; to which the ambassador replied in the negative. The personage alluded to might be the one Your Majesty has sent to those parts. I think, however, there has not yet been time for his coming.|
|After a good deal of conversation it was settled between the Scottish ambassador and myself that he would not reveal to the Bishop any of my plans and overtures, save mention in general terms the good-will which Your Majesty bears to the King, their master, unless he saw proper season and opportunity for so doing; and that if he himself could somehow convert his colleagues to our ideas he would arrange for my holding a conference with them both, without arousing suspicion. I might be sure, however, that in the meantime he would keep the whole matter secret, as the case required, for the interest of his master the King, so as to engage him more firmly in .the path that I recommended. I said to him, in passing, that if he followed my advice, besides the service he would render to God, to the King, his master, and to the two kingdoms, Scotland and England, he would not be the loser as far as Your Majesty was concerned; for you would not fail to acknowledge and be grateful for his good services. Upon which the ambassador went away with the deliberate purpose of accomplishing everything he had promised, showing all the time great joy and satisfaction at what he had heard from my lips.|
|This King has lately spent two days at the house where his bastard daughter is, during which orders have been given for the Princess not to leave her room, a guard having been placed at the door by the command of the lady [Anne], who is also there with the King. Meanwhile, one of the Princess's chamber-maids, having refused to swear to the Statute or Act of Succession to this kingdom, was shut up in a room of the house, and actually compelled to swear; otherwise she would have been sent to prison, as was indeed threatened; at which the Princess was very much grieved. But this is nothing in comparison with what happened to the Princess at the same time; for the aunt of the said Anne de Boulans (Anne Boleyn), who now has charge of her, came and said that the King, her father, no longer cared whether she renounced her title willingly or not, since by the last statute (act) she had been declared illegitimate and incapable of inheriting, and that if she were in his (the King's) place she would kick her (the Princess) out of the King's house for her disobedience. (fn. n4) And, what is still worse and more execrable, the King is known to have said that he would have her beheaded for having contravened the laws of the kingdom. (fn. n5) Having no means of informing any living person on this last point the Princess asked to see a physician then in the house, who had once been her preceptor and physician in ordinary, but this she was refused. Upon which she found means of communicating with him without raising suspicion, for she began before all present to tell him that she had been so long without speaking Latin that she could hardly say two words rightly; and upon the physician addressing her in that language, she said to him, knowing that no one in the room could understand Latin, that the King had been heard to say the day before that he would have her beheaded. (fn. n6) Hearing which, the physician was much taken aback, and knew not what to answer, except that the Princess' Latin was not good, and that he could not understand it; but he nevertheless contrived to send me a message immediately.|
|Certainly nobody in this kingdom doubts for a moment that one of these days some treachery will be executed on the Princess, unless, indeed, Your Majesty takes some preventive measure very soon. No time, therefore, should be lost, this present season being, in my opinion, the most favourable for an undertaking,—as the English in general bear much good-will towards Your Majesty, the Queen, and the Princess, and are more irritated than ever at what is passing. Besides which, the inconveniences likely to arise from delay, as well as from this new [Lutheran] sect, which is daily increasing, might, perhaps, render the circumstances not quite so favourable later on. Many think that, were the intercourse of trade with Flanders and Spain to be closed or suspended for three or four months only, the English would let their King know where the truth lies, and teach him to reform his conduct. The Bang himself is afraid that by these means or some other his subjects may one of these days rise in rebellion against him, as the French ambassador, who departed lately, (fn. n7) intimated to certain merchants of his nation, advising them to wind up their affairs and leave the country. The King fancies that by making his subjects swear to observe and maintain the statutes and acts lately promulgated against the Queen and the Princess, and in favour of his second marriage, he can remedy the evil, and render the English more pliant and obedient to his commands; but, instead of that, he has aggravated them beyond measure. At present, it is true, the people are kept with so tight a hand, and in such fear, that no one, great or small, dare say a word of complaint; but when the opportunity comes their real feeling will show itself.|
|People fear that the King will order the execution of the bishop of Rochester (Fisher), and of the recent Chancellor (Sir Thomas More), who, as I lately informed Your Majesty, are prisoners in the Tower, with others, for having refused to swear to the Act of Succession. The Scottish ambassadors laugh at the King, and not without reason, for his presuming that oaths violently obtained from his people can make his quarrel good, and ensure obedience; whereas, on the contrary, it only proves that laws and ordinances that require being sworn to are no good at all. This is the way in which people talk privately among themselves of the King's measures.|
|The archbishop of Canterbury (Cranmer) has just begun to make use of his anti-papal dignity (sa antipapalite), issuing bulls for three different bishoprics, and having of his own authority consecrated the three bishops already appointed by the King, who has thereby established the supremacy he claims over the Anglican Church. He has deputed a Jacobite and an Austin friar, men of the kind he wants, to become provincial and general visitors of all the religious orders throughout his kingdom, giving them among other charges, that specified in the enclosed note, which Your Majesty will think rather a novelty. (fn. n8)|
|With regard to the earl of Desmond (Fitz Gerald), I have been unable to obtain further information. The earl of Childara (Kildare) is here indisposed, both in body and mind, in consequence of the arkebuse shot he received a long time ago. There is no hope of his recovery, so that he cannot be counted among those who might serve Your Majesty, or any other prince. (fn. n9) I am told that he has two brothers, good people enough, but without much power. He has also a son, who, to judge from appearances, promises to be a valuable auxiliary in case of need, though still very young; but his father being hare at Court, I doubt whether he would listen to any overtures I might make him. Many here think that were the Pope to send some one to Ireland, or should his censure of this King be duly intimated and published there, some commotion might be created, since all the Irish consider themselves [in ecclesiastical matters] the subjects of the Holy Apostolic See.|
|Enclosed is a copy of the statute made against the Pope, and against the Queen and Princess, that Your Majesty may judge of the extravagance and strangeness of the case—London, 22 April 1534.|
|Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."|
|Addressed: "To the Emperor."|
|French. Original. Partly in cipher. pp. 7.|