Spain: July 1536, 1-5

Pages 170-187

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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July 1536, 1-5

1 July. 70. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
. P.C.
. 229½.
Ever since the departure of my man (fn. n1) I have often solicited this king to make up his mind and treat at once of closer alliance with Your Majesty, so as to bind more tightly the ties of mutual friendship and good understanding at present existing between the two countries (England and Spain), on the grounds so often alluded to in my conferences with Cromwell; and, moreover, that he (the King) should be pleased to declare, according to his late promise, the conditions he himself wished to stipulate, without waiting for further communication from France, inasmuch as it might be supposed, and even taken for granted, that the French will never subscribe to reasonable conditions in order to obtain peace. On two different occasions has Cromwell answered my applications, by stating that the King, his master, will be very glad to try and establish peace and amity between Your Majesty and king Francis; but that until he hears what the latter has to say to the note that was put into the hands of his ambassador, the bailiff of Troyes, (fn. n2) at his departure from this country, king Henry was unwilling to take any steps whatever in the matter. I was, however, assured of one thing, namely, that should the French refuse to accede to the King's wishes, he would do his duty towards Your Majesty. The last time I spoke to Cromwell on the subject, he said to me that his master had on that very day received a letter from his ambassador in France (Sir John Wallop), informing him that the most Christian King had complained most bitterly of Your Majesty's behaviour, giving him to understand that by laying siege to Foussan, (fn. n3) you had actually become the aggressor. King Francis, moreover, (said the letter,) boasts of his army having gained a victory over that of Your Majesty, and defeated it in several encounters. Yet the King, his master, (Cromwell observed,) did not believe a word of that; he had sneered at the news, calling it a boastful invention and cunning device of the French to make his master lean to their side. Far from the news having the desired effect on his master, it had, on the contrary, disposed him the better in favor of Your Majesty. "But," continued Cromwell, "we must, as I have told you on former occasions, wait for an opportunity for the King to declare himself without a stain on his honor; the Emperor, on the other hand, must look forward to a firm and sincere friendship with my master, not for one or two years only, but for in perpetuity."
To this proposal of Cromwell, I readily assented, assuring him that such were Your Majesty's intentions in every respect. After which I made him own that it was no fault of yours, as the King, his master, had once surmised, that your engagement to prosecute war against Francis after his release from prison had not been fulfilled. You were in no wise responsible for that. Cromwell then said, incidentally, and half in joke, that the French were now trying again to got at the hand of the Princess (Mary). He said no more on this particular; but I have since heard that one of the chief servants of the French [resident] ambassador (fn. n4) had related to a worthy personage, who repeated it to me, that there has really been a talk of a marriage between the duke of Angoulesme (Charles) and the Princess, the Duke coming to reside here [in England]; the French imagining that would induce the King to lean to their side, or at least to become the mediator of a peace between Your Majesty and them. When I next see Cromwell I shall not fail to speak to him on the subject, and ascertain how far the report be correct.
Yesterday, on St. John's Day, I received Your Majesty's letter of the 8th June, (fn. n5) together with the documents mentioned therein. The letter came very apropos, for on the same day both the French ambassador and myself went to Court on business. Cromwell had sent me a message to that effect the day before, stating the reason and object of the summons, and adding that, whatever was said or done before the King, I was not to take the least umbrage at it; I was to reply modestly and mildly to whatever arguments the French ambassador might bring forward in his master's behalf; and leave the rest to him, for he (Cromwell) would take care to conduct the whole affair to Your Majesty's satisfaction. This morning, before going to Court, he told me the same thing.
Soon after the French ambassador's and my own arrival at Greenwich, as there was no question of the King going to mass then, or of our seeing him at his going to or coming out of the Chapel, there was a talk of our dining together, which we did. The dinner over, Master Cromwell got up and said in the presence of the Privy Councillors there present, namely, the two dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the marquis of Exeter, the earls of Aufort and Succes (Oxford and Sussex), and several others, that the King, his master, had been requested and entreated by his good brother and perpetual ally, the Most Christian king of France, on account of the treaties of league and confederation existing between them both, to assist and help him against Your Majesty, who, in full contravention of former treaties, was now making war upon him, and had been the aggressor; and that the King, his master, being, as he was, a virtuous and honorable prince, and wishing to do his duty and keep his promises, as he had hitherto done,—wishing, moreover, to attend at the same time to the old treaties and confederations he had with Your Majesty, which he could not derogate, or in any wise prejudice you,—had summoned both the French ambassador and myself that we might lay before the Council the required information for him to act upon. After which exposé of the King's wish, Master Cromwell, well, addressing the French ambassador, said to him, "Since you are the actor, 'demandeur et provocateur,' it is for you to speak first, and lay before us your complaints and demands." Upon which the French ambassador said that his master could never have believed that the matter in question was one of controversy and contest, and therefore that he (the ambasdor) was not prepared, nor had he instructions, to discuss it before the Council. He fancied he had already said enough to the King to convince him of his master's justice. Yet, since it was the King's pleasure that he (the ambassador) should repeat his former statements, he had no objection to reproduce them before the assembled Council. He then entered into the subject at large, making, both in his speech and in his replies to my arguments, a number of statements, more or less false, with which I will not trouble Your Majesty now, contenting myself, in order to avoid prolixity, with a summary account of what he himself said on the occasion. And firstly he began by stating that the King, his master, by offering to accept most unreasonable terms, such as those stipulated by the treaty of Cambray, had only in view the recovery of his children's patrimony, namely Milan, which Your Majesty (the ambassador pretended) could not alienate, owing to certain laws, which he then and there quoted,—though I must say very erroneously, for the ambassador maintained that the duchy of Milan could not legally be given away to another, inasmuch as the Madrid convention had been signed and ratified by the King, his master, for the express purpose of being released from such a grievous captivity as no king ever suffered from the hands of another. That the treaty of Cambray had equally been concluded and ratified for the express delivery of his sons, kept as hostages,—which detention, legally speaking, was also the same as his, since the father in civil law represents the sons. The ransom demanded and paid up, to say nothing of the many titles and signories his master had been compelled to give up, had been notoriously excessive; and yet king Francis had faithfully observed that treaty in all its parts, though there was nothing in it to prevent him from following up his rights and quarrels against any prince whatever, as, for instance, against Monseigneur de Savoie (Carlo III.) This he had done without infringing any treaty; for although that duke had been comprised in that of Cambray, he had not been named therein as principal contractor, but merely as accessory, and in Law the accessory cannot hurt the principal party. King Francis, moreover, might well have been unaware at the time, that Monseigneur de Savoie was the vassal of the Empire, and, therefore, was not bound to apply to Your Majesty, his lord, for redress. Even if he had positively known that Your Majesty was his feudal lord, yet, observing what little attention Your Majesty had paid to Merveilles' case, and your own flat refusal to look into it, and have his assassins punished, he (king Francis) had no occasion to apply to Your Majesty for redress in his contention with the duke of Savoy. Besides which, France was not in the habit of applying to others for the redress of injuries done to her; she did that for herself. There was no need of appealing to Civil Law in a case of that sort, for the King, his master, was not subject to such laws. It was not he who had commenced war, but the Duke himself, who was the cause of it by refusing to restore to the king of France what belonged to him; and then the Frenchman quoted a rule of common law, which says, Qui causam dat damni, damnum fecisse videtur. The ambassador ended his peroration by stating that, without regard to the treaties and to the close affinity which united you both, Your Majesty had, without previous declaration of war, invaded the dominions of the King, his master, and laid siege to Fossano, and obliged the marquis de Saluzzo, notoriously a vassal and subject of France, and not of the Empire, to recognise you as his lord and master, when his elder brother, as is well known, had been all his life in the service of France without Your Majesty having ever made any complaint, or thought of giving his estate to another prince. No mention, he remarked, had been made in the preceding treaties of the said marquis of Saluzzo.
The ambassador further complained of the Spaniards having taken a French merchant vessel within the very port of Aigues Mortes, as well as of certain incursions of your own people on the frontiers of Picardy; and, what is more, (he said,) Your Majesty boasted of being now about to invade Provence, and go even beyond,—a thing which this king ought to consider and bear in mind, for certainly such an invasion of French territory by Your Majesty's army could only form part of a project of universal monarchy which you had for a long time cherished and entertained, notwithstanding your disguises and affectations, just as other princes had in ancient times. It was well worthy of consideration (added the ambassador) that monarchies having such a beginning could be easily dissolved and annihilated by the very same means which had made them powerful. In the end things would return to their natural state and pristine liberty. Saying this the ambassador did not allude to any particular prince or quote examples of ancient history; for although he seemed to disapprove of the policy of usurpation practised by the ancient Romans, yet he, nevertheless, made use of the argument in his attack on Monseigneur of Savoy, alleging that as his master was not subject to Civil Law, he could, according to the light of nations, as the ancient Romans had done, forcibly exercise his own against Savoy without any more ceremony than sending a king-at-arms to declare war formally. From which arguments, and others equally futile, the ambassador drew the following conclusion; namely, that the King, his master, had not been the aggressor, but had on the contrary been attacked, and consequently that king Henry was bound by treaty to assist and defend him in his legitimate quarrel with Your Majesty.
After this conclusion of the ambassador I myself was requested to speak. I said that it seemed to me a sufficient excuse, though I did not intend to allege it in the least as far as I was concerned, that of the French ambassador, who being the real pursuer and claimant of this action, and ought to have come with full powers to that effect, saying that he had no charge of discussing the matter in question before the King's Privy Council. If the party most interested in this affair made such a statement, much less could I be prepared to meet the ambassador's arguments. I thought the case was so notoriously evident to this king and his Privy Council, that any concealment, palliation, or dissimulation of it was altogether impossible. It was certainly a very unpleasant thing for me to have to notice that the French had not applied sooner for this king's interference before things had come to such an extremity, and especially before commencing war against Monseigneur de Savoy; for had the French asked for the King's advice and counsel in the affair, I had no doubt their course of action would have been very different from that which they had pursued and were pursuing. Yet since it pleased the King and the members of his Privy Council to hear what I had to say in answer to the French ambassador's arguments, I would obey, though reluctantly, and under protest that what I was about to say and state was entirely on my own private account, not in obedience to instructions received from home, for in reality I had none. I would for the present limit myself to answering the ambassador's accusations in as summary a way as possible, reserving for another occasion to draw up so full and categorical a memorandum on the subject, that, after submitting it to the King, all his councillors would be satisfied as to Your Majesty's justice.
After this preamble I began my peroration by demonstrating Your Majesty's great love of peace, and how very desirous you were of it, as could be proved by the offers you had lately made in the Papal Consistory, and before that [in writing], offers which had astonished everyone; people wondering how Your Majesty could surrender so valuable an estate as the duchy of Milan, which, besides being reckoned as powerful and rich as many kingdoms in Christendom, was considered by all parties to be the bulwark, and at the same time the suburb, of the kingdom of Naples, besides being most conveniently situated for Your Majesty's political plans. "The offer (I said) was a most liberal and voluntary one on the part of the Emperor, my master, who was in nowise obliged to make it; nor could king Francis ever expect it, for even, supposing that the Madrid convention was invalidated by the subsequent treaty of Cambray,—which it was not, as was thoroughly proved in a book I had shown to Master Cromwell,—France having never replied to the argument, the whole thing was too clear and manifest, and that whatever may be said to the contrary, the treaties of Madrid and Cambray cannot be invalidated and annulled, as the ambassador pretends, especially after their ratification by king Francis. Such, indeed, was until now the opinion of the King himself; for very lately, on Mr. de Nassau's passage through France, he declared that he considered himself bound to observe those treaties, and that such was his intention. It would appear, however, that such words in the mouth of the king of France were anything but sincere; they did not express his real sentiments, even with regard to the articles mentioned in Your Majesty's reply,—which I began then and there to specify on my own account, and without saying that I had received instructions from Your Majesty to do so,—since they remained unobserved, or had been for the most part infringed."
To this argument of mine the French ambassador made no other reply, save that in what concerned the heirs of the duke of Bourbon the King, his master, was perfectly justified in confiscating the property of a traitor, whom the ambassador then and there abused immensely. As to the rest of the articles, the Frenchman tried to diminish the force of my arguments by saying that Your Majesty had positively declared to his master's ambassador [at Rome] (fn. n6) on the third day of Easter, that what Your Majesty had said the day before in Consistory was not meant as a challenge or defiance of his master, much less as a formal declaration of war; from which words, supposed to be uttered by Your Majesty, the French ambassador concluded that before that time there had been no cause or reason for a rupture, and therefore that all previous acts ought to be put aside, and the provocation and rupture, if any, counted as it were from the third day of Easter. And the better to enforce his argument and convince the assembly, the French ambassador took out of his pouch a letter from his master, which he showed to the councillors.
My answer was that the words uttered, as he said, by Your Majesty in the Papal Consistory were obscure, enigmatic, and capable of various interpretations as coming indirectly from Your Majesty's mouth, and having been repeated by the French ambassador. It was quite evident that their meaning was this: namely, an open declaration by Your Majesty that unless the offer of the duchy of Milan for the third son of France (Charles) were accepted, (fn. n7) the duke of Savoy (Carlo III.) reinstated in his dominions and fully compensated for his losses, defiance and war might come out of it. Besides, the words "break into war (rompre la guerre) in Italy" can only mean to declare and publish it. No inference (said I) could be drawn from such words that Your Majesty considered yourself contented and satisfied with regard, to other wrongs specified in the articles, and which had not yet been redressed.
If the ambassador meant that, in the opinion of lawyers, injuries and wrongs were remitted and annulled through dissimulation, and that by those words Your Majesty meant all the contraventions alluded to in the speech you made in Consistory, my reply is that the text of the Law applies to the utterance of verbal infamy or any other contumelious injury, not persecutive rei familiaris, as those very lawyers call it, according to the interpretation of whom one might infer that Your Majesty did not intend warfare, for the French having already broken the peace and commenced war, the words "to break into war" could not be applied to the Emperor, for whatever has begun cannot begin again.
I will not omit that in alleging as a further proof of my assertion the treaties which king Francis had concluded with the duke of Ghelders, I invoked the testimony of master Cromwell, who had seen them, and who did in this instance fully confirm my statement.
With regard to the ambassador's assertion that the duke of Savoy had really been the aggressor, I replied that his case might be appended as a supplementary note to that fable of Æsop of the "wolf who accused a sheep of having troubled his water," and that I was astonished to hear the French ambassador quoting Civil Law whenever it suited his purpose, and on the next occasion contradicting that very law. It was notorious, according to the words of one of our most experienced doctors at Law, that Frenchmen accepted Civil Law, not as founded on reason and equity; for even if there was no question of Civil Law at all, it could never be admitted in divine or natural right, or even in that of nations, that parties could be judges in their own cases, except perhaps in certain instances, which I quoted, at the same time proving my assertion dogmatically and by way of examples, telling him that the Law "Servius," of which he had made use in his allegation, as purporting that a lord could by his own authority seize his fugitive slave wherever he found him, had nothing to do with the present case, for Monseigaeur de Savoie was not the slave nor the vassal of king Francis. The said law, on the contrary, told marvellously against him, for the wording of it is that a fugitive slave cannot be declared free by the lord of the place where he takes refuge without first requesting the governor or tutor thereof to restore him. "King Francis himself (said I) could not in his own kingdom proceed against one of his subjects without cognizance of cause and previous sentence; and since the ambassador himself owns that Savoy is a fief of the Empire, as I took the opportunity to affirm, it was quite evident that his master, the King, was duly bound to observe the Imperial laws, as otherwise he would inevitably forsake his right; the more so that by contravening Civil Law he might be deprived of his pretensions. For, according to written law, though sentence may be given in favor of a claimant, should he attempt to have it executed without express mandate from the judge, he would thereby lose all right he might have; the more so in the present case, in which there had been neither sentence nor decree that I was aware of." I, moreover, protested that what I said was the exact truth, and, therefore, that I considered the king of France free from all danger of losing his pretended rights on Savoy, for really he had none to claim. All I knew in the matter was that about 30 years ago the Swiss, threatening war on Monseigneur de Savoie on account of certain sums of money claimed by them on the strength of an instrument avowedly false, Madame the Regent (Louise) (fn. n8) instead of assisting her brother the Duke (Carlo III.), asked from him what indemnity she pleased. On the exhibition, however, of receipts and other documents constituting the Swiss claim, the pretensions and demands of the latter were disregarded in full After that, perceiving that the adoption of that course was not likely to have effect on the Duke and his estate, the duke of Nemours (fn. n9) was invited to go to France, where he did reside until his death, of course always on bad terms with Monseigneur de Savoie, and waiting for an opportunity to do his worst against him. Yet the chief cause of resentment against him was the possession of Asti, which Your Majesty had once given him in reward for his services, of which donation Your Majesty had just reason to complain according to Law. This I said because the ambassador had stated his opinion that, had the Duke been a prince who in time of war had assisted Your Majesty, and rendered some great service, people might imagine that the invasion of his estate was caused by revenge and disappointment, in which case you would have been perfectly justified in helping him in his present difficulties. I asserted that Nice (Nizza) belonged to the house of Savoy one century before Provence came into the hands of the French kings; and that had the dukes no other title than that of legal prescription, that title would be sufficient to exclude all other claims and pretensions; besides which, "Nizza (said I) is not within the limits and boundaries of Provence, but of Italy, which commences at the river called Varo (Var), and that although the counts of Provence pretend to have a title to it, yet my opinion is that their claim, if any, ought not to be brought forward by the king of France, but by Your Majesty on account of your succession from the counts of Barcelona, as well as by your descent from the House of Bourbon, and other legitimate titles." This I said with intention owing to the French ambassador having alluded in his speech to our threats of invading Provence. (fn. n10)
With regard to the marquis de Saluces (Saluzzo) I observed by way of remonstrance that the emperor of Germany, Otho of Saxony, had given one of his nieces on her marriage the marquisates of Monferrato, Saluces, and Ibrea, and that the duke Carlo of Savoy, using, as I believed, the authority of vicar of the Empire, had afterwards conquered and appropriated the whole of those estates; that the marquis de Saluzzo had then had recourse to France, and that Your Majesty, being legally informed that Saluzzo was an Imperial fief, had granted its investiture to the late Monsieur de Nemours, who, owing to some familiar acquaintance existing between him and Mr. de Saluzzo,—a refugee in France,—when both were young, refused to accept the grant until his proctor and lawyers told him that you had a perfect right to dispose of the marquisate as you had done.
At this juncture all the members of the Privy Council pricked up their ears, and seemed glad at my last statement. Having then asked the ambassador if he had anything to oppose to my argument, his answer was that he was unwilling to make statements or affirmations unless perfectly sure of them, and that if he was to answer me at length, some delay must be allowed to give him time to prepare them.
Respecting the siege of Foussan (Fossano), the capture of the French vessel, and other incidents of war since the invasion of the Duke's territory, (I said,) they were to be imputed solely to the French themselves, who had been the aggressors.
As to the rumours of an invasion of Provence by the Imperial arms, I said that I knew nothing about that. Even if it were so, Your Majesty (I observed) would not invade save what was or had once been your own; and if you entered countries on which you had no claim whatever, who would have anything to say? "Besides (said I), is not the Emperor justified as every other prince is, and has been, in molesting his enemy in all quarters, and assailing his frontiers wherever he thinks proper? Indeed, were I to look at the question under a legal point of view, I should say that king Francis, having clearly contravened the treaties, Your Majesty is in no wise bound to observe any of the stipulations contained in them; whereas he (the king of France), being bound to the observance of those very treaties could not allege any excuse, for the law is the same in France as elsewhere, it being generally admitted that the contractors of a treaty fall under the rule of the laws of the country where those treaties are concluded and made."
Hearing this reply of mine it seemed as if the majority of the privy councillors gave signs of approbation, especially the Chancellor (Audeley) and Cromwell.
With regard to the universal monarchy which the ambassador said Your Majesty aimed at, I maintained that no possible suspicion of that could hang over Your Majesty after the many declarations you had made from time to time, and your own concessions after victory. The idea could only enter the head of those who really aspired to it, and who, for fear they themselves should be charged with overweening ambition, hastened to accuse others. "Certainty (said I) the Emperor must be very far from aiming at universal monarchy, seeing that he has lately restored the kingdom of Tunis to its legitimate owner, (fn. n11) dispossessed and expelled therefrom by Barbarossa; that he formerly refused Florence and Monego (Monaco), of which he might have taken possession; that he gave away the duchy of Milan, (fn. n12) and again offered it to another prince; and last, not least, that he has allowed the formation of the city of Genoa into a republic; all that after considerable exertions, trouble, and expense, and without having acquired one single foot of land through it." And upon the ambassador replying that if Your Majesty had done all that, it was through excessive caution and dissimulation; for it was more prudent and wise to put at the head of such estates people in whom you could trust, and who would serve you faithfully, and pay you besides heavy pensions, than subject them entirely to your rule, which was equivalent to, nay better for Your Majesty than, holding the estates in your own hands, since, after all, when all your affairs were settled and in good order, you might well retake possession of them; my answer was that I wondered why those who certainly did aim at universal monarchy had not used that subtilty and caution towards king Henry, for they might just as well have made him their vassal by restoring to him the duchies of Guienne and Normandy. At this remark of mine, the assembled councillors began to laugh loudly, making to each other signs of approbation, so much so that the ambassador in a passion, and out of spite, exclaimed, "Let us set that aside; it is quite enough for me that the assembly approve of my reasoning in general."
I went on to say that cupidity and ambition had always caused innumerable evils in Christendom, for not only had the French occupied the said duchies of Guienne and Normandy, which did not belong to them, but their king Louis, son of Philip, had been crowned king of England without any title whatever to it. As to the ambassador's declaration that his master recognizes no other law than that of the sword, and his allegation of Roman grandeur and conquests, they were (I said) to be taken as so many proofs of king Francis' ambitious projects, or of some other passion which I dared not name before that assembly. In my humble opinion if the wings of the Constantinopolitan eagle which Pope Leo is said to have given as blason to France; the practices with Ghelders for the annexation of Lorraine and Liege, and those of Montbelliard, directed no doubt to the acquisition of Franche Comté, are not evident proofs of king Francis' overweening lust and ambition, what else can they be called?
After arguing for a while in the above manner without one single angry word, but on the contrary with proper moderation and courtesy, as befitted the place and occasion, and as if we were discussing matters of pleasure and pastime, the Chancellor and two or three more members of the assembly addressed the French ambassador, and said that respecting the articles of the treaties, which he said Your Majesty had contravened, there was still some doubt in their minds, as his arguments did not seem sufficiently clear to them, but that with regard to the invasion of Savoy there seemed to be no legitimate cause whatever for it, since the King, his master, could have no just complaint of the Duke. Even if he had, the duke Carlo being Your Majesty's vassal, king Francis could in no wise wage war against him. The ambassador tried hard to upset the reasoning of the councillors, but, say what he would, he could not convince the assembly; upon which the duke of Norfolk said to him, "You had better put down your allegation in writing that we may reconsider the matter; the Imperial ambassador will do the same." To this proposition the Frenchman did not assent, and I am very glad of it, for it will spare me the trouble of again refuting his arguments.
After this I again addressed the assembly, and said that since I had been summoned before the Privy Council to defend my master against the accusations of the French ambassador, I considered myself entitled to address a prayer to the King, namely, that he would, in conformity with the old treaties existing between Your Majesty and him, help you with men and money. Thereupon Master Cromwell answered that the King, his master, was disposed to observe all his engagements towards one as well as towards the other. Having said this he went to the King, and after a good while came back, and said that his master would take counsel on the whole, and send for us again in a couple of days. As it was already late in the evening and time for supper when the conference was over, there was no opportunity to show him Your Majesty's letter to this king, after king Francis' answer to the Roman manifesto. (fn. n13)
The two days of the appointment over, perceiving that no message came from Cromwell, I failed not to remind him of his engagement, and beg he would procure me an audience from the King or from his Privy Council, that I might then and there exhibit the letters of Your Majesty, and solicit this king to declare in favour of one or other of the parties according to the text of the treaties, inasmuch as the French ambassador himself had paved the way for that. But I must say that until to-day, the first of July, it has been impossible for me to get an audience. True is it that all this time Cromwell has been sending me almost daily most gracious messages and excuses for his not having been able to see the King and so forth, begging me not to take the trouble of visiting him, but to send him a copy of Your Majesty's letter; which, however, I have politely declined to do on certain considerations. At last, to-day, he has sent me a message to say that to-morrow he will speak to the King on my affair, and ask him for an audience, but that he begged a favour of me, which was to ask again for a categorical answer to my overtures respecting the friendship and alliance in question, for fear the King should suspect that, as I had not alluded to the subject, we no longer insisted on it. This request (Cromwell assured me) proceeded entirely from himself out of the interest lie took in Your Majesty's affairs, though I fancy that he has done so by the King's commands. I sent him word that Your Majesty's wish had not changed or cooled in the least. On the contrary, it was more ardent than ever; that I had many a time and on various occasions fully explained to the King what your wishes were, and that until Your Majesty sent some sort of an answer to the overtures made, I could add nothing to the instructions I had received for the purpose, as appeared from your last letter; that unless the man I had sent to Italy was detained on the road, I expected him back in a very few days; and, moreover, that I had written home announcing that my next despatch would contain and enumerate the conditions which this king asks for the renewal of the friendship, and alliance in question, and that on the arrival of the said secretary I should not fail to apprise the King immediately.
It seems to me as if these people have been very much pleased with my overwhelming refutation of the French ambassador's specious arguments and most preposterous demands. I believe that they would like to see the French in perplexity, that they may the better bring them over to their enmity to the Pope, and that their object in delaying the King's audience as long as they can is only for the purpose of gaining time, waiting for the answer they expect from France, and seeing how affairs will turn so that they themselves may win the game. (fn. n14) Cromwell, who some time ago kept saying to me that the French ought to be severely punished for their misdeeds, holds now another language; he only speaks of peace and of the best means of ensuring it.
When, after writing several good letters to the King, her father, and to the new Queen, the Princess thought that all her troubles, worries, and captivity were at an end, as she had reason to expect from the kind words and encouraging hopes addressed to her, she has found herself to be just now in the greatest perplexity and the most dangerous position that ever she was, not only herself but all her friends conjointly; for Your Majesty must know that seven or eight days after the departure of the man, who took my last despatches, (fn. n15) this king suddenly took it into his head again to press his daughter to swear to the statutes, threatening that unless she did so he would have her punished with all the rigour of the Law. To induce her to obey his commands and accede to his wishes, the King sent to her a deputation composed of the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Sussex (Robert Ratcliffe), the bishop of Chester (Roland Lee), and several others, whom she literally confounded by her very wise and prudent answers to their intimation. Upon which, finding that they could not persuade her, one of them said that since she was such an unnatural daughter as to disobey completely the King's injunctions, he could hardly believe (said the interlocutor) that she was the King's own bastard daughter. Were she his or any other man's daughter, he would beat her to death, or strike her head against the wall until he made it as soft as a boiled apple; in short that she was a traitress, and would be punished as such. Many other threats of the same sort did the said deputies utter on the occasion, assisted in their task by the Princess' governess, who happens to be the same as before, (fn. n16) having then and there received orders not to allow the Princess to speak a word to any one, and to watch over her so that she should never be left alone by night or day. Notwithstanding all these precautions, the Princess has found the means of communicating with me, and letting me know her present dangerous situation, begging me not to leave her entirety unprovided with counsel and advice under the circumstances. I have written to her fully and in detail, advising, among other things, that, should the King, her father, obstinately persist in his determination, should she herself hear from friends at Court or elsewhere that her life was really in danger through ill-treatment or in some other way, my opinion was that she ought to obey her father's commands, assuring her at the same time that such was Your Majesty's advice and wish. That in order to save her own life, on which the tranquillity of this kingdom and the reform of the many great disorders and abuses by which it is troubled entirely depended, it was necessary that she should make all manner of sacrifices, and dissemble for some time to come, the more so that the protest previously signed and the cruel violence used were quite sufficient to preserve her inviolable right, and at the same time relieve her conscience, inasmuch as there was nothing in it against God nor against the articles of Faith. That God looked more into the intentions than into the deeds of men, and now she had a better opportunity than when the King's concubine was alive, since there was a question of depriving the bastard (Elizabeth) and making her (Mary) heir to the Crown. I was certain that, should she go to Court, she might by her prudence and wisdom be able to lead the King, her father, to the right path, availing herself of Your Majesty's valuable intercession after your probable reconciliation with him. Many other similar things have I written and inculcated upon the Princess in order to persuade her that the best course for her to pursue in case of unusual violence is to yield for the present to the King's wishes.
Meanwhile, the deputies having reported on the ill success of their commission, the King was singularly displeased and almost in, despair at the Princess' steadiness; and that on a double ground, firstly, on account of her obstinate refusal, and, secondly, because he suspects that several of his courtiers may have encouraged her to do so. To defeat which intrigue, if there really is one, he has caused the most careful and minute inquiry possible to be instituted, the Chancellor himself, and Master Cromwell, having first called on certain ladies of the Court, who have since been summoned before the Privy Council and there made to swear to the statute. One of them, the wife of one of the King's chamberlains, herself issued from a noble house, and one of the most virtuous women in England, has actually been sent to the Tower, where she is still in confinement. The Princess' chief servant, who knows all her secrets, has also been arrested and kept for forty-eight hours at Cromwell's lodging. Since then the Privy Council has met during a whole week, sitting daily from morning till evening, and deliberating, so much so that it has been utterly impossible for me to have audience from the King or from Cromwell, as I might have wished. Nor was this either the right moment for me to apply for one, as I then suspected, and now know for certain; for the King has been all the time furious, and Cromwell himself in some danger of his life, owing to his having communicated with me respecting the Princess' affairs, and having shown sympathy for her. Indeed, as Cromwell himself has since told me, for four or five days after that, he considered himself a dead man. At the same time the marquis [of Exeter] and the treasurer [Fitz-William], being suspected of favouring the cause of the Princess, were dismissed from the Council. Things went so far that, notwithstanding the prayers and exertions of the present Queen, who was rudely repulsed, the King sent for the judges, and bid them proceed at once to the legal inquiry, and sentence the case by contumacy, as usual in the culprit's absence. And I have received messages from more than one quarter of the King having been heard to say and swear in a most tremendous passion that not only shall the Princess suffer through it, but likewise the marquis, Cromwell, and many others. (fn. n17) Thank God that the judges, notwithstanding all manner of threats were unwilling to take a resolution in the affair, and advised that a paper should be sent to the Princess for her to sign, and if she still refused that legal proceedings should then be instituted against her; otherwise I do not know what might have happened. At last the Princess, hearing from several reliable quarters how matters stood, signed the paper without reading it, which will be in future one of the best excuses that she can offer. I need scarcely tell Your Majesty that I had beforehand sent her the formula of the protest for her to write down, and sign separately. I had likewise warned her to make sure first that by complying with her father's wishes she will be quickly restored to his grace and favour; that I should never have advised her to sign the paper in question save with the perfect understanding that she was not acting against God and her conscience, or again that she could very well promise not to contravene the statutes without in anywise granting them her approval. I do not know yet how the Princess has come out of the difficulty, but whatever has been done I am confident that she has not disregarded my advice. Indeed had she allowed this oportunity to pass there would have been no remedy in her case. As soon as it was known that the Princess had actually signed the paper, there was incredible joy throughout the Court, save in the case of the earl of Essex, who said to the King, "That is a sort of game the playing of which will in time cost me my head, were it for no other reason than the injurious words I addressed to her on the occasion." Innumerable people, moreover, have sent me their congratulations at the reconciliation of the Princess with the King, her father.
It appears, however, that after signing the paper as above said, the Princess fell suddenly into a state of despondency and sorrow; but I have since removed all her conscientious scruples by assuring her that not only will the Pope not condemn her action, but will highly approve of it under the circumstances.
Cromwell said to me about a week ago that the great and almost excessive love and affection that the English have always shown for the Princess has so increased of late, especially since the arrest of the concubine, that they are determined to risk every thing for her sake. Yet as matters concerning princes and their state are here looked upon with great jealousy and suspicion, Cromwell, I find, no longer gives her the title of Princess as he did some days ago. Not only does he avoid naming her by that title, but he has since requested me not to use it when alluding to her; from which I imagine and even believe that she will not be declared Princess [of Wales], and there is a talk of her being henceforward called duchess of York, which is the title of the second sons of the kings of England. I must add that the last time but one that I spoke to Cromwell on the subject, he told me to be particular, and not say one thing for the other before the King. "Considering (he added) the King's versatility, and on the other hand the rumours current among the people, I hesitate to say what the Princess' future is likely to be; but this I can assure you, that the whole business will be conducted to her honor and profit;"—giving me to understand thereby that she will be appointed heiress to the Crown should the King have no [male] issue.
After the Princess had signed the paper which the King sent her, the deputation was ordered to go back, accompanied by other fresh commissioners, among whom was Master Cromwell himself, who had particular charge of presenting her a most gracious letter of the King's, and besides that, as is the custom of this country, a countersign (entreseigne), with the paternal blessing. The commissioners, and Cromwell in particular, paid their respects to the Princess in the most marked manner, almost all the time addressing her on their knees, and begging her pardon for the harsh terms and rude conduct on their former visit. (fn. n18) This the Princess was glad enough to grant, knowing, as she now knows, Cromwell's good intentions and affection towards her, and that he has been, and is still, working for her welfare and the settlement of her affairs. But with all that the Princess still retains some of her former sadness and sorrow, reflecting how Your Majesty will take her late act; for although I have repeatedly assured her in writing that in doing what she has done, she has complied with your wishes, some scruples and suspicions still lurk in her mind; to remove which entirely a letter from Your Majesty, approving of her conduct on the occasion, would be a most efficacious remedy. She has also desired me to write to Your Majesty's ambassador at Rome to obtain and procure from him a secret absolution from the Pope, as otherwise, she says, her conscience would not be perfectly calm at what she has done.
I need scarcely add that I have acted on this occasion as a good camarade towards Cromwell, and shown joy and satisfaction at what the Princess herself has done. Various considerations have moved me to do that; the first has been my desire to save him and the rest of the Princess' friends from the danger in which they were of losing their lives, for having as I have, since I knew how low the Princess' affairs had fallen, frequently offered my services, and promised to do every thing in my power to persuade her to obey her father's injunctions; having since then assured him (Cromwell) that I would make him feel, before two months were over, that no man in his position could have behaved better than himself in the matter, I could not but show content and satisfaction at the issue.
All this have I thought fit to say to Cromwell for the sake of the advancement and progress of the negociations for the establishment of the friendship and alliance.
The French ambassador had the day before yesterday letters from his master. He called yesterday on Master Cromwell, and went this morning to Greenwich, where he has remained a good space of time. To-morrow he and I will again appear before the Privy Council for the business of the other day: I have this very moment received the summons.
I hear that a number of French cruisers, with the intention, no doubt, of capturing or plundering Your Majesty's merchant vessels, are continually stationed on the other side of the Channel, watching the coast of Flanders and others in Your Majesty's dominions; and likewise that the armed men, who from time to time make incursions across the frontiers of Picardy, take refuge in Calais, and there sell the booty and spoil they have taken. (fn. n19) I shall not fail to speak to the King to-morrow whilst I receive instructions as to what is to be asked from him in case of his keeping neutral. I already said something about it to Cromwell, the other day, who assured me that the King had mentioned the fact to the French ambassador, and that his answer had been upon the whole that the war-vessels on the coast of Dover were there for the purpose of escorting the Bailiff of Troyes (fn. n20) on his return to France, but the contrary has been proved to be the case.—London, 1 July 1536.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Original, mostly in cipher. pp. 19.


  • n1. See above, No. 48, pp. 107-8.
  • n2. Jean Dinteville; about whom see part i., 543-4, 549, &c.
  • n3. Fossano in Sardinia.
  • n4. Still Antoine de Castelnau.
  • n5. See above, No. 69, p. 169.
  • n6. The bishop of Macon? Hèmard Denonville.
  • n7. "Je luy diz que quant [aux] parolles quil disoit [elles] estoient obscures d'interpretation a la forme du droit et seroit (seroient) du proferissant et non dautre; bien quil ny avoit que doubter en ditz propoz, que declaroient ouvertement vostre maieste no vouloir par tels-propoz indite (?) la guerre ne duelle en cas que loffre du duche de Milan pour le troisieme filz de France fust accepte," &c.
  • n8. Louise de Savoie, the Duke's sister, had married Charles d'Orleans, the father of Francis I. During the latter's captivity in Spain she became queen regent of France.
  • n9. Philippe de Savoie, third son of Philip I., Sans terre, who in 1528 was married to Charlotte d'Orleans-Longueville, daughter of Louis duke of Longueville. He died in 1533.
  • n10. "Et quant bien les contes de Provence pretendroient tiltre au dit Nyce ie pensoye que la demande nen appartiendroit au roy de France ains plustost a vostre maieste tant par la succession des contes de Barcellonne que pour la descendance de la maison de Bourbon et autres legitimes tiltres, lesquelz propoz avançay pour la querelle que le dict ambassadeur avoit fait des menasses de linvasion de la dicte Provence."
  • n11. Muley Hassan.
  • n12. In 1526 Milan, which was a fief of the Empire, was taken from Francesco Sforza, though he was again in 1530 reinvested with it on the payment of a fine amounting to 100,000 ducats. See vol. iv., part iii.
  • n13. "Et pour ce quil estoit desia heure de soupper quant achevames ce que dessus. il ny eust lieu de monstrer les lectres de Vostre Maieste sur la reponce au roy de france a ce roy."
  • n14. "A fin que selon le progrez des affaires de France ils puissent jouer a boutes de veue."
  • n15. "Le cas est que ce roy sept ou huit iours apres le partement de lhomme quenvoyai a vostre maieste, se mist en fantasye, ou reverye, de vouloir resoluement que la princesse consentit a ses statutz ou autrement proceder par rigueur de justice contre elle."
  • n16. Lady Mary Shelton, a sister of the earl of Wiltshire.
  • n17. "Et vint la chose tant avant que quoy quon sçeut prier et supplier ceste royne, quest une tres rude repulse, ce roy feit appeller les iuges pour selon la loy proceder a lanqueste et sentence, la quelle se donne, absente la part, et me lon envoya dire de plus dung lieu que le dict roy en tres grand courroux avoit dit et jure que non seullement la dicte princesse souffriroit mais aussi le marquis, Cremuel, et pluseurs autres."
  • n18. "Entre les quelz estoit maistre Cremuel, que eust charge de la part de ce roy luy porter une fort gracieuse lectre du dict seigneur roy, et davantaige a la coustume du pays une entreseigne avee la benediction paternelle, et luy ouffrirent trestous tant dhonneur que merveilles luy parlant presque tousiours le genoux en terre, speciallement luy, suppliant pardon des termes et façon de faire que luy avoyent tenu autrefois."
  • n19. Et que aussi que les françoys que vont faisant courreries sur les frontiers du pays de vostre majeste ont leur reffuge a Calais, et la vendent leurs buttins."
  • n20. About the bailiff of Troyes, whose name was D'Inteville, see vol. v., part i., pp. 549, 626.