Spain: May 1536, 1-15

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1888.

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'Spain: May 1536, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538, (London, 1888), pp. 104-118. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "Spain: May 1536, 1-15", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538, (London, 1888) 104-118. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

. "Spain: May 1536, 1-15", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538, (London, 1888). 104-118. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

May 1536, 1-15

1 May. 46. Count Cifuentes to the Emperor.
S. E., L. 865, f. 48.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 259.
The Imperial letter of the 28th ult. came to hand on the 30th. The very same day he (Sylva) called on His Holiness, but the Cardinal (de Lorraine) had already been there in the morning, had stopped to dinner with the Pope, and conversed fully three hours with him. His Holiness had read the Emperor's letter, and shown much gratitude for being thus apprized of what the Cardinal had said. He regretted, however, not having seen the letter before the Cardinal called, as he might then have answered him in a different way. He could, nevertheless, state that no mischief had been done, for his views were the same as those of His Imperial Majesty. On the Cardinal insisting upon the duchy of Milan being given to the duke of Orleans, he (the Pope) could not refrain from telling him that in his opinion the proposal was altogether inadmissible. He wondered much why king Francis would not accept the same thing for the duke of Angoulême who, after all, was as much his son as the other one. The Cardinal replied that if the duke of Orleans was not accepted, the King, his master, could not offer his third son, or any other prince of his family, inasmuch as that would be the cause of trouble in France, for reasons His Majesty knows well. The Pope then said: "I know nothing of the affairs of France: I am better acquainted with those of Italy, and am convinced that for the peace and quietness of this country the duke of Angoulême offers greater securities in Milan than lie of Orleans."
His Holiness told him (Sylva) that if the Emperor considers that he (the Pope) can do anything in the affair, he is willing to go to Bologna and meet him there. As to Francis' insistance that he himself must have the usufruct of Milan for life, and that the duchy is then to pass to his son, the duke of Orleans, His Holiness declared that it was the most preposterous and unprecedented demand he had ever heard of.—Rome, 1 Mar. 1536.
Signed: "El conde de Cifuentes."
Spanish. Original. Pp. 6.
29 April. 47. Eustace Chapuys to the Same.
Rep. P.C.,
Fasc. 229¼.
The day after the departure of Guadaluppe, the courier, this king sent for the French ambassador, and there was at Court (Greenwich) a meeting of the Privy Council; at whichif the report of a personage most intimate with that ambassador, and who knows all his secrets, is to be creditedthe King begged him to go post to his master, the Most Christian King, on certain business which he explained. The ambassador accepted the proposed mission, and began next day to make preparations for departure. When everything was ready, the ambassador again went to Court on Tuesday to receive his last instructions; it happened, however, that the Privy Councillors, who had been assembled since that morning, till 9 or 10 o'clock at night, could not come to a resolution as to the message the Frenchman was to take to his master, and, therefore, the interview was postponed until the day before yesterday, which was Thursday. However, just when the ambassador was about to depart, a note was handed over to him containing new matter so different from the verbal instructions he had previously received that he actually refused to go on such an errand, and sent yesterday an ordinary courier with the note. I have not yet been able to ascertain what they are about, but I fancy that these English are trying, if possible, to prevent peace being concluded between Your Majesty and, the French; for ever since they heard there was some chance of it, they have been much bewildered and confused.
As I hear from all quarters—and I myself have been able to verify to a certain extent—this king has issued orders for all preachers in his kingdom to abstain for the present from all remarks on the new religious opinions concerning ritual and church ceremonies, and to preach entirely according to the old custom, save, however, on such points as the primacy and Papal authority, which he will in no wise allow; since he pretends by Divine authority and the decisions of his Parliament to be spiritual as well as temporal lord in his kingdom. And although he (the King) admits, as he did before, that there is a Purgatory, or at least a third place besides Paradise and Hell, and owns that prayers and suffrages help the dead, he, nevertheless, goes on destroying and pulling down monasteries, as I have lately informed Your Majesty, and usurping these many pious foundations for the redemption of the souls of the dead.
The Grand Esquire, Master Caro (Carew), was on St. George's Day invested with the Order of the Garter, in the room of Mr. De Bourgain, (fn. n1) who died some time ago. This has been a source of great disappointment and sorrow for lord Rochefort, who wanted it for himself, and still more for the concubine, who has not had sufficient credit to get her own brother knighted. In fact, it will not be Carew's fault if the aforesaid concubine, though a cousin of his, is not overthrown (desarçonee) one of these days, for I hear that he is daily conspiring against her, and trying to persuade Miss Seymour and her friends to accomplish her ruin. (fn. n2) Indeed, only four days ago the said Carew and certain gentlemen of the Kings chamber sent word to the Princess to take courage, for very shortly her rival would be dismissed, the King being so tired of the said concubine that he could not bear her any longer. Besides which, Montagu's brother (fn. n3) said to me yesterday, at dinner, that the day before the bishop of London (fn. n4) had been questioned [by some courtier] as to whether the King could or could not abandon the said concubine, and that the bishop had refused to give an opinion on the subject unless the King himself asked him for it. Even then he would, before he answered, try and ascertain what the King's intentions were, thereby implying, no doubt, that the King in his opinion could certainly desert his concubine; but that knowing well the King's fickleness, he would not run the risk of offending her by proffering such advice. The bishop was once, it must be observed, the principal cause and instrument of this King's first divorce; he now repents of it, and would willingly be the abettor of a second one, were it for no other reason than the well-known fact of the said concubine and all her race being most abominable and rank Lutherans. — London, 29 Apr. 1536.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Original, mostly in cipher. Pp. 5.
2 May. 48. The Same to the Same.
Rep. P.C.,
Your Majesty recollects no doubt what I wrote at the beginning of last month, (fn. n5) in reference to my conversation with Master Cromwell on this king's divorce from his concubine. Having since heard the Princess' opinion and pleasure on this particular matter, which is that I should watch the proceedings, and if possible help to accomplish the said divorce, were it for no other purpose than for the King's honor and the relief of his conscience, as she (the Princess) did not care a straw (said the message) whether the King, her father, had or had not from a new and legitimate marriage male children who might take away from her the succession to the Crown. Nor did she wish for the King's divorce out of revenge for the many injuries inflicted on her mother, the late Queen, and on herself. Those she had willingly forgiven and forgotten for the honor of God, and she now bore no ill-will to any one whomsoever.
In consequence of this message from the Princess, I have since employed various means for the accomplishment of the said affair, sometimes talking about it to Master Cromwell, and to such others as seemed to me most fit for the purpose. I have not written sooner to Your Majesty on this particular subject, because I was naturally waiting for the issue of the affair one way or other; but it has since come to a head much sooner and more satisfactorily than one could have thought, to the greater ignominy and shame of the lady herself, who has actually been brought from Greenwich to this city under the escort of the duke of Norfolk, and of the two chamberlainsthat of the Kingdom, and that of the Royal Chamberand allowed only four maid-servants in attendance. The reason for all this, as the rumour goes, is, that she has for a length of time lived in adultery with a spinet-player of her chamber, who has this very morning been confined to the Tower, as well as Mr. Norris, this king's principal and most favoured groom-in-waiting, for not having revealed what he knew of the said adulterous connexion. Rochefort, the brother, was likewise sent to the Tower six hours before. I hear, moreover, from certain authentic quarters, that before the discovery of the lady's criminal connexion, the King had already resolved to abandon her, for there were many witnesses ready to testify and to prove that more than nine years ago a marriage had been contracted and consummated between the said Anne Boleyn and the earl of Nortambellan (Northumberland), and that the King would have declared himself much sooner, had not one of his Privy Councillors hinted that he could not divorce himself from Anne without tacitly acknowledging the validity of his first marriage, and thus falling under the authority of the Pope, whom he fears.
The above is certainly a most astounding piece of intelligence, and yet if we consider the sudden change from yesterday to this day, and the King's sudden departure from Greenwich to come here, there must still be a great cause for wonder. Not to delay, however, the departure of the express bearer of this my despatchfrom whose lips Your Majesty may learn the details of the affairI will abstain from further particulars. Such are its greatness and importance under present circumstances that I considered it my duty to despatch the express messenger at once without waiting for the catastrophe. Should this be such as to warrant my despatching another messenger, I shall not fail to do so.
Respecting French affairs my information is that they are not just now in great favour here. The ambassador had on Saturday last letters from home, and yet, either from sheer pride, or disdain, he would not go to Court until he had actually been summoned twice. When he came back he did not seem at all pleased. Eight days ago these people had sent a courier to the Court of France, but all of a sudden they bade him return, and I have not heard of their having sent another since then.—London, 2 May 1536.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Original. Ciphered. Pp. 3.
2 May. 49. News from England.
S. E., L. 806, f. 51.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 260.
His Majesty has letters from England of the 2nd of May, wherein it is said for certain that the King's mistress (manceba), who entitled herself Queen, has been confined to the Tower of London on the charge of adultery, which she had committed for a long period of time with an organist of her own chamber, who was likewise sent to prison, as well as the King's sommelier de Corps del Rey, (fn. n6) with whom she (Anne) had also committed adultery; also a brother of her's, owing to his not having made known [to the King] the said Anne's criminal conversation with the above individuals.
The letters add that even if Anne were not convicted of adultery, the King is determined upon getting rid of her anyhow, because witnesses all agree as to her criminality, and besides, information has been obtained through them that nine years ago she had been married to the earl of Northumberland and had consummated matrimony.
Spanish. Contemporary copy. 1 p..
7 May. 50. T. Hannaërt to the Empress.
S. E., L.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 261.
Wrote last on the 20th ulto. By some merchants; encloses now a copy of that letter. Since then he (Hannaërt) again wrote on the 4th by a servant of the Portuguese ambassador residing here. Fearing, however, that his letters have not reached, considers it his duty to give here a summary of their contents.
Upon the admiral of France (fn. n7) entering Piedmont, the duke of Savoy (Carlo III.) retired to Vercelli. It was understood then that after taking possession of that country, as well as of the county of Asti, the French army would march on Genoa and lay siege to it. To this end, and the better to attack that port, they (the French) were hastening the armament of certain of their ships at Marseilles. Of their galleons and ships (fn. n8) on the west coast of France nothing was known, and yet prince Don Juan de Labret (fn. n9) and his wife were soon expected to take their departure for Guienne.
Has no doubt that His Imperial Majesty has written to her (the Empress) respecting the speech (habla) he (the Emperor) made in presence of the Pope and cardinals, the ambassadors of France, and others, the day before he took his departure from Rome, vindicating his conduct under present circumstances, and offering his person against that of king Francis in case of the peace not being obtained, and war breaking out between them, thus avoiding the inconveniences and harm likely to fall on their respective subjects and on the whole of Christendom. (fn. n10) This speech of the Emperor was contained in a letter which His Imperial Majesty caused to be written and sent on, that he (Hannaërt) should communicate its contents to the king of France, which he has done since, word for word. The King's answer is also contained in his (Hannaërt's) letter to the Emperor, of which a copy is enclosed. (fn. n11) It is written in French, owing to there being no time to have it translated into Spanish. Enclosed, however, is the translation of another letter in French, which the King wrote to him [Hannaërt] from Acqua pendente, and which will furnish the Empress and her ministers with an insight into the state of affairs.
There are no signs here of the king of England having sent an offer of men and money, as reported, to help Francis. True it is that king Francis has been, and is still striving to obtain the help of England in the present contest, but the ambassadors (fn. n12) that king has now here assure him (Hannaërt) that not only will their master not consent to that, but that he wishes to preserve, ensure, and, if possible, increase the amicable and peaceful relations with the Emperor, who, in order to have him reconciled with the Roman Church, insuring his assistance against the Turk, and preventing his adhesion to France, is now negociating through his ambassador in England (Chapuys). King Henry, on the other hand, seems propitious and willing; he has not married since the death of Doña Catalina (Katharine), done nothing injurious to her memory or to the Princess his daughter, who is now treated exactly as she was before her mother's death, and that lastly there is no talk yet of the King's new marriage.
The King, however, persists in his avowed intention of refusing obedience to the Roman Apostolic Church. A few days ago a bill was passed in Parliament for all the abbeys and priories yielding a revenue not exceeding 800 ducats to be done away with, and for the King to appropriate their rents, as well as all the silver and gold plate, and furniture, vestments and so forth, estimated at a very large sum of money.
The ambassador residing in England for His Imperial Majesty (Eustace Chapuys) writes that an interview has been concerted between the kings of England and Scotland, to take place at the end of May at a town called Dorca, (fn. n13) situated far into England.
Of the journey of Don Enrrique de Labrit and his wife to Navarre no more is said; no enlistment or preparations for war are going on in the provinces of France close to Navarre and the Pyrenean frontier.
Galleons at Marseilles as above.
This King has only 6,000 Germans under count Guillaume; the rest of the levies made for him in various parts of Germany, and especially in the dominions of the Lutheran princes, could not join owing to their having been prevented from coming into France. Nor has the King been able yet to secure the services of the Swiss, though he is still trying very hard to have them enlisted; the infantry and light cavalry he expected from Italy have not yet come.
Gentlemen possessing estates in Savoy have done homage for them to the Most Christian, in consequence of which they have been spared, and their towns and villages not sacked. Those who did not immediately do homage were differently treated, especially those who fell into the hands of the Swiss, for the latter have burnt, sacked, and destroyed everything on their passage, pulling down churches, setting fire to the sacred images, &c.
The Grand Master (Anne de Montmorency) is still here taking part in the government as before.
Of the ordnance that came from Paris, 112 pieces in all, 80 have remained in Lyons, the remainder has been sent to Piedmont together with two pontoons (fn. n14) to cross rivers.
Cardinal de Lorraine has been with the Emperor, but up to the present it is generally understood that he has been unable to negociate anything satisfactory and likely to please his master. For this reason, they say, has the Cardinal gone to Rome that the Pope may mediate, &c. He (the Cardinal) is to return soon to His Imperial Majesty, and it is rumoured that king Francis has sent him new powers to treat. It is also said that the Pope is going to Bologna to meet the Emperor there, and has declared his neutrality, and therefore suspended for one year the Ferrara and Camarino affairs.
News has been received here that the Emperor is now at Florence, and will soon go to Milan, passing through Ferrara. The Imperial and the French army in Piedmont are getting closer to each other every day, and it is feared that they will come to blows one of these days. Leyva has as many, perhaps more men under his command than his adversary. . . . . brison en Força (?), 7 May 1536.
P.S.—Enclosed are advices from the Levant, just received by way of Genoa, as well as news of Constantinople and the Grand Turk, which the ambassador of the Most Christian King has sent.
Signed: "Hannart, visconde."
Spanish. Original. Pp. 9.
8 May. 51. Antonio de Leyva to the Emperor.
S. E., L. 1183,
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 266.
Has received by Garcilasso de la Vega the Emperor's letter of the 4th inst., and heard what he had to say. As he is now returning, and bears as full an answer as can be given on the subject, he (Leyva) will only repeat what he has said on other occasions: the Emperor's orders shall be faithfully executed, and every effort made to crush the enemy.—Rivarola, 8 May 1536.
52. Francis I. To the Pope.
P. Arch. Nat. Neg.
P. de. S., K.
1642 olim, D. 5,
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 268.
Most Holy Father, most Reverend Cardinals of the Holy Apostolic See, ambassadors of foreign powers at the Papal Court: I should have wished to have been present at Rome when the Emperor, in a lengthy and elaborate speech, declared publicly in Consistory the state of the affairs now pending between us two, that I might make an answer to each of the points therein touched, and not leave your minds in suspense at hearing only the voice and arguments of one of the parties. But as this wish of mine could not possibly be realised owing to my absence, I have bethought me of satisfying in writing the demands of truth and honor, an arduous task indeed, since the Emperor refused to my ambassador a written statement of what he said before you; nor would his ambassador [Hannaërt] residing at this my court, after reading to me the Emperor's letter, consent to give me a copy of it. I shall, therefore, be obliged to limit my remarks to what my own ambassadors at Rome have reported of the said speech. Yet the confidence I have in the rectitude and good judgment of Your Holiness, and my esteem for that congregation by whom I desire to be heard, makes me hope that what I shall have to say for the sake of truth will be duly appreciated and understood.
I shall begin by saying that the Emperor seems to have handled only one part of the story, namely, that which refers to himself, putting aside altogether whatever concerns me, and, moreover, that there is no truth whatever in his assertions. For instance, he declares that the very moment I was crowned king of France, he sent Mr. De Nassau to me to confirm and renew the friendship and alliance between the two countries. The Emperor cannot pretend to say that I refused the invitation; on the contrary the esteem and regard which I showed him on the occasion by taking him, as it were, out of the hands of Madame Margaret and of his grandfather's guardianship, rather than doing him harm, did him good. As to his saying that in pursuance of his friendly feeling for me, when I happened to vanquish the Swiss at Marignano, he was as glad as could be, I must say that the intelligence came to me from my own ambassador at his court, who depicted it to me as if it were a very great obligation on the Emperor's part, and such as I myself would have been bound to in a similar case had he obtained a victory over his enemies. As to what he says, that he disobeyed the Emperor (Maximilian I.), his grandfather, who wanted him to create a diversion in these parts whilst the war lasted, my answer is that had he done the contrary he would have acted against the treaties he had sworn to. He knows very well that I did then, as I have done ever since, all that was in my power that he should be obeyed and recognised in Spain at a time when his own subjects were in open rebellion against him. He, himself, is witness of what ray ambassador did by my orders, and I should think that the favor I showed him on the occasion did him no harm.
With regard to my daughter's marriage, though I naturally felt her death as a father, I did not feel it the less on account of the friendship and alliance which her marriage with him might have cemented between us two.
Respecting the Empire, which he says was the origin of the jealousy and ill feeling I bear him, it is very true that I said to his ambassador the words whereof he complains, namely, that it looked as if we two were courting the same lady, and that, whatever might be the result of our pursuit, favorable or unfavorable, we should not for that cease to be good friends, and certainly when I said that, I expressed my sentiments at the time.
As to his assertion that after his election to the Empire I requested him to renew the alliance then existing between us, and ensure it by mutual hostages, sure it is that I wished then that our friendship might be durable, for my eldest daughter having died, and the other being so young that she could not be disposed of in marriage for many years to come, I wished naturally to keep to the words of the treaty made with Mr. De Nassau, and offered the Emperor the hand of my sister-in-law, (fn. n15) which, after all, was no novelty, nor an offer indicative of my not wishing for his friendship.
His saying that I wanted to compel him to give hostages for the security of the said allowance, is incorrect. The Emperor knows very well that by the treaties then existing between him and me, he was bound to pay me every year 100,000 crs. As compensation for the kingdom of Naples, and that on his failing to pay me that sum, I asked for a security. Had he payed his debt, there would have been no need for me to ask for a pledge or security.
With regard to the practices of my ambassador in Germany, I have letters from him assuring me that never on the occasion did he treat of matters against the Emperor, though I must say that in my capacity as duke of Milan I was anxious to do my duty towards the Sacred Empire. Had my ambassador done anything beyond that, he would have acted against my orders, and I should have punished him as he deserved.
As to the kingdom of Navarre, the Emperor knows very well that a period of time had been fixed by treaty, during which the King of that country, or his successors, were to be compensated for the loss of their kingdom; that failing, I might, if I chose, without infringing the treaties, succour him. I let the time pass, thinking that in the end the Emperor would satisfy the parties concerned; but perceiving that he did nothing of the sort, I fulfilled my engagements towards the said king of Navarre.
Messire Robert de la Marche. I never made war on the Emperor on his account. In proof thereof I must say that I, myself, offered the Imperial ambassador to help against that rebel, as stipulated in the treaty, and should have done so had I been requested. As it is, I recalled those of my subjects whom Robert had enlisted in my kingdom without my knowledge, which was the principal cause of his being beaten, and losing so many towns, and so large a portion of his dominions.
By the above, Most Holy Father and most Reverend cardinals, you will be able to judge whether I am to be held responsible for the first war or not. With regard to the Madrid Convention, I have at other times discussed it at such length and in such detail, that I should be guilty of prolixity were I to make here any fresh apology. Suffice it to say that a prisoner is not answerable for his faith, and that both at Fuentarrabia, where I was set free, and on the road to that town—where I was even more carefully guarded than at Madrid, being never without a guard,—I considered that I left my prison perfectly free and without obligation of any sort.
Respecting this Emperor's assertion as to my having said that the capitulation of Madrid could not, and would not be observed, I confess having said so more than once, professing, as I did then, that a treaty so made could not and ought not to be kept faithfully, and that had I been called on to observe it on my faith and honour, I should never have accepted it. With regard to the League, and what I then did to obtain the freedom of my sons, that was done merely for the purpose of making the Emperor come to reasonable terms on my paying the ransom agreed upon with him, as I was in duty bound to do.
Lautrec's expedition to Italy was for the sole purpose of delivering Pope Clement from captivity. Following in the steps of my predecessors on the throne, I was bound to do that and Mr. De Lautrec was accordingly sent forward. True it is that when Lautrec arrived, there, the Pope was at liberty; but finding that the Emperor refused to grant me better terms, and that peace was as far off as ever, I own that I seized the opportunity of conquering the kingdom of Naples, which belonged to one of my ancestors. Not only did Lautrec perish unfortunately on that occasion, but most of my army died also of the plague; otherwise had God guarded him and them from pestilence, as He had until then from their enemies' swords, there is no knowing how matters would have ended.
With regard to the treaty of Cambray, instead of its being, as the Emperor says, milder and more moderate than that of Madrid—which was really harsh and most intolerable—several stringent articles were added; and yet as the prison of the sons must be considered the same as that of the father, I was materially obliged to subscribe to it. Although that treaty, as I say, was as hard and binding as it could possibly be, it cannot be said of me that I infringed it in the least, what ever motive or opportunity I may have had for doing so.
As to the Grand Turk's coming down upon Germany, and the message brought to me by Balançon, (fn. n16) my answer is that the Emperor's agent did really ask me, in his master's name, for money and men to help him in that war. I answered him that I was neither a banker nor a money lender; that the Emperor had shortly before received from me two millions of gold for the ransom of my children, with which he ought to be well satisfied; and that although I had plenty of excuses for refusing the Emperor's request, I yet offered him what my predecessors, the kings of France, had always given without being asked, namely, such help and assistance against the Infidel as no Christian prince ever surpassed, that is my person or my forces to go to Italy or wherever they might be required. Such was my answer then, all the time reserving to the Emperor the most honourable place in the undertaking, as it was my duty to do, and declaring besides that most troops with which it was my intention to serve, would be recruited in Germany. Had the Emperor accepted my offer, and sent for me, I should certainly have gone to share his perils and his glory wherever it might be.
Respecting the league made at Boulogne, every one knows why and for what reason it was made.
The murder of Maravilles, (fn. n17) my ambassador, though he was accused of having plotted against Francesco Sforza—which I do not believe, since no proof was brought against him—was altogether so atrocious and infamous a deed, that I cannot believe the Emperor can at all justify it, knowing, as he does, that the mutual business of princes is carried on by ambassadors, and that he himself, being so great a one, requires many of them. Though complaining to him as my brother-in-law, for that he is, of infraction of the law of nations, no redress whatever was granted me, but on the contrary the said Sforza was protected and maintained in his wrong doing.
As to my practices in Germany since the peace of Cambray, I must say that I and my predecessors on the throne have generally been on good terms with the Sacred Empire and its Prince-electors. I myself have observed in my time that, although the Empire and France were at war, my country always preserved a certain affection and regard for Germany. During the Würtenberg war, I do not deny that I lent the Duke money on Montbelliard to be repaid one year after. The Duke has returned me the money I lent him, and I am sorry that he has done so, for I would have much preferred having the land to getting back my money. As to what he did with the money I lent him it is no business of mine.
As to the Emperor's subjects serving in my galleys, the Emperor knows very well that had he released the prisoners from among the household servants of my sons, when in Spain, I would willingly have set his free much sooner.
With regard to Escheriez, and what the Emperor says has been done against him in Italy, I cannot believe that the above-mentioned individual could do what he is supposed to have done against the Emperor; that individual certainly had no commission from me, besides which I am not now at war with the Emperor, nor do I think that taking Italian gentlemen into my service can be called a "casus belli." What the Emperor understands by the liberty and quiet of Italy would be tantamount to placing it entirely under his despotic rule, and making of the Italian gentlemen so many slaves if they are to be altogether prevented from taking service with other princes.
Respecting the negotiations for the duchy of Milan, having understood from the Emperor's ambassadors and ministers that he regretted not being able to satisfy me on that point, because as long as the duke Francesco Sforza was alive, he (the Emperor) could not well take away the investiture from him, I refrained from making any formal application for it. After the Duke's death, however, I failed not to apply for the said duchy. The Emperor preferring one of my sons to me, I yielded, and presented my second son, the duke of Orleans, for the many reasons which I specified at the time, among which peace in my own kingdom, and the welfare of Christendom at large, were the most important, having particularly requested the Imperial ambassador then residing at my court clearly to express my wishes and aspirations in that line. At last, after much discussion, the Emperor, as I was then assured by his ambassador, granted my demand, and I, perceiving that the only difficulty was his granting me the usufruct thereof for life, also waived that point and acquainted the Emperor with my acquiescence. I, therefore, in what respects the duchy of Milan, see no impediment at all on my part to that peace which the Emperor says he desires; and since he has repeatedly sent me word that he will not ask for any securities except those that are honest and reasonable,—for if he were to do otherwise it would be tantamount to breaking off the negociations—it cannot be said that peace falls through entirely on my account, for having readily subscribed to the conditions brought by his ambassador, should the Emperor not grant them, it is quite evident that it is he, not I, who is the obstacle to peace. Yet, though the Emperor has given nothing to me or to my sons, I have done him no harm; on the contrary, when the Turk marched on Vienna, I offered him the assistance whereof I spoke above, and when he himself sailed for his African expedition I remained quiet, as he wished me to be, without commencing war against him, which I might then have done with much greater chance of success than now that he is in Italy, as Your Holiness knows.
In matters relating to the welfare of Christendom I will not allow any other prince to say that he equals or surpasses me,—witness the rule under which my vassals live. (fn. n18) And therefore, Most Holy Father, the patience with which I have endured the injuries and wrongs done to me, the spoliation of my sons of their legitimate inheritance, the withdrawal of my army [from Italy], the orders I gave for them to garrison the towns of France that peace might not be disturbed; the powers sent to my cousin, cardinal de Lorraine, my voluntary cession of the usufruct of Milan, to which I had a right, are so many testimonies of my forbearance in that respect.
Your Holiness must not be astonished if I urge my complaints so strongly, for since he who seizes the property of others is allowed by law to defend himself from his accusers, what am I to do, when what belongs to me and to my sons is taken away?
What the Emperor says about the duke of Savoy has no foundation whatever, for the Duke has many a time been requested by me to restore what he unjustly retained of the territory belonging to the kings of France, as well as to my mother (Louisa), who during her life sent several well-informed persons to the Duke, furnished with deeds and papers showing her right to several estates and towns belonging to her, which the present duke unjustly retains. The Duke having persistently refused to do me justice on this point, I have been obliged to have recourse to arms, in doing which I have in no wise contravened any of the treaties made with the Emperor, the letter of which bears that I am not to interfere in favour of any power to the Emperor's prejudice. But I cannot understand how the Emperor can pretend that in making war upon the Duke I contravene any treaty made with him, for nothing belonging to the Empire has been touched by my troops; on the contrary both the general and captains of my army have received instructions not to attempt anything against the Emperor's territory besides which, the Duke's inclusion in the treaty of Cambray cannot exempt him from paying his debt to me, for after all the Duke does not figure in that treaty as the principal contracting party, since there was no question raised at all about my rights in Savoy. I then hoped, and hope still, that considering the Emperor s close relationship to me, he would uphold my right and prefer it to that of the Duke. I was, however, deceived; though the Emperor's brother-in-law, and having all the right on my side, I perceive that he wants to favor and help the Duke. I do not ask for the property of others; I only claim what is my own. If Your Holiness be pleased to have the titles and papers I have by me examined, I can remit them to Rome, and it will be seen that my right is indisputable. Let my property be restored to me, and I will return the rest of my conquest,
As to the Emperor's saying that since peace cannot be made, it would be better for the welfare of Christendom that our differences should be settled personally between us two, my answer is that no injury, that I know of, has ever been inflicted on my honor to which I have not responded as a gentleman, and therefore that this challenge of the Emperor's to fight being only voluntary, and not the consequence of injuries received, it seems to me as if our swords were too short to measure them at such a distance. (fn. n19) Yet, if there should be an opportunity, as most probably there will be, should the war continue, and we approach each other, then if the Emperor insists on his challenge, and calls me out, I shall be ready to meet him and give him satisfaction such as befits my honor; otherwise I should be condemned by the worthy people of my kingdom, which is a thing I fear more than the duel itself. (fn. n20) With regard to the Emperor having declared that what he said in his speech was not intended as any reproach on my conduct and actions, and that he is not aware of the war having broken out between us, I am glad to hear it.
Here, Most Holy Father, and you Most Reverend cardinals, is the statement which I make in your presence, not indeed wishing thereby to offend any person whatsoever, but for my own vindication and to make you clearly understand my sincere desire for peace, and that should war break out it will not be my fault.—En Prieuré de Poumiers, 11 May.
Signed: "François."
Countersigned: "Brèton."
Addressed: "To our Most Holy Father, the Pope."
Spanish. Contemporary copy and translation. Pp. 8½.
16 May.
S. E., L. 33, f. 1.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 273.
53. The Privy Council's report on the despatches of Sylva and Suarez de Figueroa of the 16th and 17th of May.
Letters have come from Italy, the contents of which are as follows:—
Nothing more to say; we shall soon know the truth. The speedy arrival of the Turkish fleet is very much dreaded. The news must be true, for the Venetians are arming. Nothing more can be done on the part of the Privy Council than to give notice to all the ministers of Your Majesty, namely, Soria in Venice, Figueroa


  • n1. Avergavenny?
  • n2. "Et ne tiendra au dict escuier que la dicte concubine, quelque cousine quelle luy soit, ne soit desarçonnee, et ne cesse de conseiller maistresse Semel, avec autres conspiratcurs, pour luy faire une venue (?)."
  • n3. Sir Geoffrey Pole?
  • n4. Stokesley.
  • n5. See above No. 43, p. 85–7.
  • n6. "Summelier in French moans 'butler,' in Span. 'sumiller de la cava.' In the rolls of the Royal household of Burgundy, which the Emperor introduced into Spain, 'various officers are mentioned under the title of sommelier or sumiller, such as sumiller de corps, de cortina, de la cava, de la panateria, &c.'
  • n7. Philippe Chabot, sieur de Brion, who commanded the invading army.
  • n8. The text has: "y que de los galeones vaxeos (vaissaux?) que estaban en la parte de Poniente no se sabia nada."
  • n9. Jean d'Albret, son of Henri, married to Francis' sister.
  • n10. "Y de los ofrecimientos que hizo de su persona á la del Rey de francia en caso que no se pudiese haver paz."
  • n11. Neither of the letters here mentioned was in the packet, and therefore it is to be presumed that they were intercepted.
  • n12. Gardyner and Wallop.
  • n13. Dorchester?
  • n14. "Y tambien se estan aun alli dos puentes de bancos (barcos?) que hizieron."
  • n15. "Yo deseava tornar al tratado que avia hecho el sicur de Nassao y propusele el casamiento con mi cuñada."
  • n16. Rys, sieur de Valançon.
  • n17. Merveilles, or Maraveglia. See Part I., pp. 104, 361, 377.
  • n18. "No daré ventaja à ningun principe en desearlo tanto ni mas que yo."
  • n19. "Yo respondo á esto que no estando cargado en ninguna cosa de mi honrra a que yo no aya satisfecho y siendo este ofrecimiento de combate solamente voluntario, y sin constreñir á el la honrra, me paresce que nuestras espadas son muy cortas para combatirnos de tan lexos."
  • n20. "Y si csta voluntad de combatir le queda al dicho Emperador, y en aquella ora él me llama, si él halla que rehuso de satisfazer á mì honra, yo soy contempto (sic) de ser condenado por la gente de bien, lo qual yo temo mas que el combate mismo."