Spain: August 1536, 1-15

Pages 218-231

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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August 1536, 1-15

1 Aug. 83. The Emperor to King Henry.
S. E., L. 806, f. 5.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 9b.
Most high, &c. Two days ago your ambassador delivered to Us your letter of the 22nd ult., exhorting and trying to persuade Us to make peace with the French king. Our ambassador at your court (Eustace Chapuys) must have fully explained to you how We have of late received all manner of provocations from king Francis, and how, notwithstanding most honourable conditions offered by Us, he has wilfully commenced war. We are sorry, therefore, not to be able to do your pleasure in this instance; yet should you at any time feel inclined to help Us against the said king of France—as the old treaties existing between you and Us, treaties of much older date than those which bind you to France, seem to recommend —We shall feel most grateful; that being, in Our opinion, the only way in which you can effectually interfere in the present quarrel, since king Francis, to judge from his words and deeds, will not listen to any other arguments.—Written in our camp before Farioux (Frejus) in Provence, xi . . . . August 1536.
Spanish. Original minute. pp. 6.
11 Aug. 84. The Emperor to King Henry.
P. Arc. Nat. Most high, &c. Two days ago the ambassador who resides here for you put into our hands your letter of the 22nd ult. trying to persuade Us to make peace with the king of France, and offering your mediation to that effect as the friend and ally of both parties.
Many other things has your ambassador said to Us verbally, all expressive of your good wishes in this matter, for which We gratefully thank you. But as before the receipt of your letter you must have heard from the lips of Our ambassador at your court a summary of the many wrongs done Us by king Francis, who, besides provoking Us in various ways, has at last commenced war, attacking Our allies and Ourselves under false pretences, We need not recount all the injuries and wrongs received at his hands. Neither is there need for Us to enumerate them, for Our ambassador in England has frequently spoken of the many sacrifices We were ready to make in order to arrive at the said peace, and the conditions, all honourable and advantageous for him, which We did then offer, in order to ensure its blessings. None of those were accepted by king Francis, who still persists in asking for things quite impossible, &c.
For this reason, most high Prince, We trust that, when you come to consider how obstinately king Francis adheres to his former unjust pretensions, how he has provoked Us to war, and is actually waging it against Us and Our allies and kinsmen, and likewise that the treaties you have with Us are older and more binding than any you may have since made with him, you will openly declare in favor of Us and against the said king. That will be the only sure path to follow, and the only efficient means of interfering in Our present quarrel. Written at Our camp at Frejus, in Provence, 11th of August 1536. (fn. n1)
3 Aug. 85. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Rep. P. C.,
Fasc. 229, No 38.
Last night the King returned from his expedition to Dover, during which he would never consent to the French ambassador or myself accompanying him, although I had repeatedly made the offer, and the Frenchman himself had earnestly requested to be one of the King's suite, before and after his departure from Greenwich. Indeed, I know for certain that immediately after the King left for Dover, the ambassador, having received letters from France, wrote asking for an audience, which was not granted to him until this morning. In the afternoon, after the ambassador had seen the King, secretary Cromwell sent me a message that the King desired me to be next morning at 8 o'clock in the Chancellor's rooms, where the greater part of the privy councillors would be assembled; begging me at the same time, in the most affectionate terms, for his own sake and his credit with the King, to state before the councillors how most efficiently he had worked for the good issue of the affair in hand, losing no time in promoting my overtures, and suggesting others still more acceptable and advantageous for the King, his master. Such was the Secretary's request, and therefore, I intend, when before the Privy Council, to make the desired statement. I shall not fail to be there at the appointed hour, and inform Your Majesty of the result.
Meanwhile, and in order to profit by the departure of the courier, bearer of this despatch, I cannot help giving my own private opinion on the whole affair, and telling Your Majesty what I think of it. Whatever I may say or do, I am persuaded that this king will not conclude a treaty of alliance with Your Majesty till he sees that your affairs take a good turn, and that your undertakings succeed. Though he thinks, nay firmly believes, that everything has already turned, and will ultimately turn, to your advantage, and that king Francis has no chance against you—as I have been informed by the Princes and others that he said in his own chamber the other dayyet I have my misgivings that there is no sincerity at all in his words.
As above said the King was heard to say to his courtiers that king Francis would have to rue his being the aggressor in so iniquitous a war, and having provoked and irritated Your Majesty, adding that he himself held you in such estimation, and took you for so virtuous and catholic a prince as to be incapable of waging war, unless actually compelled, against another Christian king. If the King has really uttered those words, and means what he says, it is quite plain that all the arguments of the French to try and make him lean to their side fall to the ground; yet it must be observed that up to the present, if the King has such an idea of his neighbours, certainly he never before did express it in his own chamber: the most he has done is to profess neutrality.
In this same strain did the King speak to the Princess the day that he went to see her, declaring that he was continually pressed by Your Majesty and by the king of France to declare for the one or for the other of the parties; which he did not intend to do, inasmuch as neither Your Majesty nor the French king had ever done anything for him. This he said to the Princess after telling her that her obstinate resistance to his will had been encouraged and strengthened by the confidence and trust she had in you; but that she ought to know that Your Majesty could not help or favor her in the least as long as he (the King) lived, and they tell me that, having said so, he took the opportunity of inquiring whether Your Majesty or myself had ever written to her on the subject.
I must say, however, that the treatment of the Princess is every day improving. She never did enjoy so much liberty as she does now, nor was she ever served with such solemnity and. honor as she is at present; and although her estate and household have not yet been fixedwhich I hope will be settled in a few daysyet she is well attended and served, even by the little bastard's maids, who henceforward will have to pay her court to the Princess of Wales. Indeed, nothing else will the latter want in future, except the name and title of such Princess; all the rest she will possess in greater abundance than before; though, on the other hand, it is of no great consequence for her, for nowhere, that I know of, is the title of princess given to a king's daughter as long as there is hope of male descent. It was the cardinal of York (Wolsey) who, for some whim or other of his own, did break through the rules, and caused Henry's daughter by Katharine to be called Princess of Wales. This notwithstanding, if Cromwell's words and promises are to be relied upon, the Princess will shortly be called back to Court, and if so, is sure to obtain, owing to her matchless beauty, grace, and wisdom, that title or anything else she may wish for. Then I am persuaded Your Majesty's affairs will go on much better; at least it will not be the Princess' fault if they do not turn out as prosperously as her own, considering the almost filial affection she bears you. Having the other day sent her a message warning her to be on her guardas there was a rumour at Court of the King, her father, intending to marry her here, in England, to some personage or other not at all suited to her rank and stationshe sent me word that on no account would she ever marry any one unless it were with Your Majesty's consent and will; I might be sure of that, and have no fear whatever on that score; adding that unless it were for the sake of peace and tranquillity, and the welfare of Christendom at large, she cared not whether she married or remained single.—London, 5th (fn. n2) August 1536.
4 Aug. 86. Count de Cifuentes to the Same.
S. E., Sec. dc. G.,
Mar y Tierra, L.9.
B. M. Add. 28,589.
f. 13.
After much deliberation on this point a letter was written to the ambassador, enjoining him that in case of imminent danger of death, not to be avoided in any other way, the Princess might remit the affair entirely into the King's hands, because such remission and consent under threat of imminent danger could never impair her rights for hereafter. With regard, however, to the dispensation or absolution, if he (Sylva) thinks that His Holiness is likely to object, and that if solicited it is sure to be bruited about, it is better not to mention the thing at all, and suspend all proceedings till a better opportunity; since, after all, by such suspension, neither is the Princess' right in the least impaired, nor is there any hurt done to her conscience; besides which the ambassador in England (Chapuys) has orders to make any protests that may be needed. He (Sylva) ought to preserve Chapuys' letter, in order that, should the Pope speak to him on the subject, or show discontent at the Princess for having acted as she has, he may for her justification exhibit the original in Chapuys' hand. The Imperial ambassador in England (Eustace Chapuys) writes that king Henry, having insisted upon his daughter, the Princess, renouncing her right to the succession, and swearing to obey the statutes made against the Pope, which set him (the King) down as Head of the Church in England, he excused herself with fair words. The King then tried by means of third persons to make her write him a letter, which she did, stating that she had never erred knowingly against him in the least, and that if she had, she asked his blessing and forgiveness.
Though the King approved of the Princess' letter, yet he insisted upon her owning that she had erred by her obstinate refusal to call the Pope the bishop of Rome, as he was. Seeing that he could not make her own that, the King sent some bishops and knights to persuade her to say so; still she remained firm, and prepared to die rather than make such a confession. Whereupon the King ordered the judges to decide whether the Princess was thereby guilty of misprision, and deserved death on that account; and because the judges, after deliberating there-upon, expressed some doubt as to that, the King was terribly incensed against them.
The King, however, being fully determined to rid himself of the Princess, she, fearing the inconvenience to which her death might have given rise, gave her assent in this way: she declared and signed a paper to the effect that she submitted entirely to whatever her father had disposed or might dispose respecting the succession to his crown.
The ambassador further asks me to procure from His Holiness the absolution from this oath made by the Princess, because (says he) she did not take it out of her own free will, but only under compulsion. He, moreover, requests me to keep the matter secret, as otherwise the life of the Princess would be endangered, were it known that she had made the application. I have not yet spoken to the Pope about this, because I am told that, unless the Princess herself does retract or abjure before the very persons in whose presence she took the oath, and who know that she approved it, the Pope's absolution will not profit her or her heirs. I will not move a step in this matter until I hear from Your Majesty. Meanwhile, I have written to the ambassador in England (Chapuys), telling him that I fancy an error has been committed against the Princess' conscience, and even against her just right. Please Your Majesty to send me instructions on this point, which I consider to be of the greatest importance. (fn. n3)
Ascanio had charge of showing his instructions to the Pope, but since he has not done so a fresh copy of those instructions is now sent. The ambassador is not to resent that, nor tell Ascanio that he has also a copy of the instructions. The latter has written that the Pope wants to consult the Venetians as to the best manner of disposing of Milan, which, after all, is a step with which the Emperor cannot find fault, and is besides a convenient one, for in that way we shall learn what His Holiness' real intentions are, and how things turn out. Let the ambassador take care. Ascanio Colonna has arrived [in Rome]. Both he and Sylva called on the Pope, and found him ready and willing to maintain the peace of Italy, and much better disposed to that than at other times. As to the manner in which the duchy of Milan is to be disposed of, and the best means of securing peace, His Holiness says that he will consider, and let the Emperor know later on his views in that respect. The Pope ended anyhow by praising the Emperor's laudable intentions. —Rome, 4 August 1536.
Spanish. Original draft.pp.3.
1 Aug. 87. The Same to the Same.
S. Sec. de. G., L.9.
B. M. Add. 28,589.
f. 22.
Wrote on the 23rd by Juan Pedro Capharello, and advised also the arrival of Tello de Guzman. The day before yesterday he (Sylva) again wrote that a courier from France had arrived with letters of the 26th ult., mentioning the reception by king Francis of an Imperial agent, (fn. n4) which reception, he said, had been extremely kind.
Hears also that the papal nuncio in France, or the French ambassador here resident (cannot positively say which of the two), has told His Holiness that viscount Juan Henart (Jean Hannaërt) had gone to Francis' court, and obtained an audience from him, in which he asked in Your Majesty's name to be allowed to speak about peace. The King listened to him with attention, and making sign to the papal nuncio and to cardinal Triulzo to approach, told Hannaërt to repeat before them both what he (Hannaërt) had just said to him. This Hannaërt at first refused to do, but at last, pressed by the King, he repeated word for word what he had said to him. Whereupon the King concluded by saying, "I will not treat of peace." I would not lay stress on this point were it not that the French boast that Your Majesty has solicited their master to make peace in another channel than through the Pope.—Rome, 5 August 1536.
Signed: "Conde Cifuentes."
Spanish. Original. pp. 3.
12 Aug. 88. Eustace Chapuys to the Same.
Rep. P. C.,
Fasc. 229, No 39.
The day after the date of my last despatch, which was of the 3rd instant, though erroneously dated the 5th, secretary Cromwell, the dean of the [Royal] chapel, now bishop of Chichester, (fn. n5) and myself, met in the Chancellors presence to examine my powers and the matters mentioned therein. After a careful and scrupulous examination of which powers, and perceiving that there was no error or flaw in them, at which, as it seems to me, the councillors would have been very glad in order to find fresh causes for delay,—I was asked pointblank what was it that Your Majesty wanted of their master, the king of England. My answer was that your request was that he should declare at once against France, owing to the reasons and causes I had alleged and specified on former occasions; all of which I then and there again submitted to their consideration more freely and, I should say, effectively than before, as there happened to be no one among the councillors present who received a pension from France, or was otherwise attached to the French party.
The councillors' answer was, that, granting all I had asserted against the French to be perfectly true, though the French themselves denied the assertion completely, yet the King, their master, considering the treaties existing between France and England, and his own particular affection and friendship for king Francis, did not see sufficient cause or motive to declare against him, and leave the certain for the uncertain; that, before deciding one way or the other, it was proper that the King, their master, should know what reciprocal advantage Your Majesty was prepared to offer in exchange for a declaration so important to you, and at the same time so injurious to the King and kingdom of France. Their master, they said, desired very much Your Majesty's closer friendship and alliance, and was willing enough to treat of the terms and conditions of that friendship, provided his own honor wets safeguarded, which could not well be if he declared lightly and without sufficient consideration running the risk of harm and damage to himself without any hope of adequate compensation by means of a corresponding declaration. Their King (they added) would wish that, were the said friendship and alliance to be reformed and confirmed, nothing should be spared to render it firm, inviolable, and perpetual, and generally speaking so universal that there should be no cause nor excuse for dispute hereafter; and that the alliance should not be merely against the French king, but against all those whom Your Majesty and their master might respectively consider their enemies. This much the councillors said, meaning the Pope, whom they did not at first name, though towards the close of the meeting they expressly said that Your Majesty ought not only to declare openly against His Holiness, but was bound by honor and conscience to do so, inasmuch as His Holiness, as they asserted, was the common enemy of all Christian princes in general, and more particularly of the Empire, whose power, seat, and innumerable prerogatives the Popes had at all times usurped.
To this last proposition I replied that I could not believe they were in earnest when they spoke of such a thing, and alleged my reasons for such disbelief I said to them that I read on their countenances that they themselves looked upon this as a stray shot, for they could never imagine that it would be of any use to ask Your Majesty for things which they themselves could not obtain from king Francis or from the king of Scotland, when last year they treated with both of them to that effect.
As to the reciprocity to which they alluded, and which strictly speaking might also be called a "recompense," I told them that if they only brought to mind what I had so often told them, of the immense service they might render to God, and the great obligation under which they would place the whole of Christendom, and particularly Your Majestyin whom the King, their master, would always find sincere and perfect reciprocity, not only in affectionate goodwill but also in good deeds and cordial offices, together with a dutiful and almost filial observance of the treaties, as I had on many occasions had the honor of explaining to them and to the King, his masterthey might see that no further or specific offer of reciprocity was needed. They ought likewise to consider that our request was simply reduced to this, that they should call to order their own enemy, the king of France, who had never ceased deceiving the King, their master. If the latter only did what he was asked, he might at least be sure of bringing down the pride of the French, and preventing in future their machinations and intrigues with the Pope, and compelling them to own their many wrongs towards England, and at any rate ensure the payment of the pension due, in which they have been for some time defaulters.
After various remonstrances on my part, and a good deal of altercation and dispute on the above two points, especially on the last; after my trying, though in vain, to particularise the form and quality of the assistance they intended rendering to Your Majestythey themselves endeavouring by various indirect ways to extract from me the promise in Your Majesty's name that no peace should be made until this king had recovered that portion of France to which he has a claim,—the conference ended by my telling the councillors that should their master, the King, declare his readiness to assist and help in the manner required, Your Majesty would condescend to treat with him on all points save on what concerned the Pope and the authority of the Holy See; Your Majesty promising not to make peace nor confederacy with king Francis without the intervention of this king, besides which, your regard and consideration for his honor and profit would be such that he would have every reason to be completely satisfied.
This proposition of mine seemed to obtain the approval of the councillors, to judge from their countenances; it was then agreed that they would go to the King and report, and that, should they get an answer, they would let me know the King's will and intention on the whole. I have since heard from the Venetian secretary that immediately after my departure the councillors went to Court, and that the King himself seemed singularly pleased at what they reported. The Venetian might perhaps have wished the King to have shown less joy on the occasion; for, as far as he himself was concerned, it was turned into petulancy. Indeed, having shortly after entered the royal presence with letters of congratulation from the Signory both for him and for the Queen on the occasion of their marriage, instead of making a present to the ambassador, the King began to abuse him, saying, without the least provocation or excuse, that his countrymen, the Venetians, were vainglorious, unchristian, and worse than infidels. Cromwell, who was present, added that they never kept their word, and the Chancellor (Audeley) observed that their political aim consisted in always holding by the strongest. Though all these remarks were uttered with a smile, the Venetian secretary was nevertheless much displeased to hear them; and though he tried hard to learn what cause had induced the King thus to speak against the Signory, he could not find it out (fn. n6)
The day after, I was again summoned to the chancellor's rooms, where, according to Cromwell's message, the Privy Council was to meet. Yet on my repairing thither I found that only the three above-named councillors attended, namely, the Chancellor, the bishop of Chichester, and secretary Cromwell, who told me that the King had taken in good part their report of the preceding conference, and was well disposed to admit of the renewal and amplification of the treaties of friendship and alliance with Your Majesty; and yet, though his wish was to declare against the king of France, the season was so far advanced that it would be impossible for him to prepare a suitable armament before next spring, inasmuch as a whole year would be spent in the necessary preparations, there being no ships in England to transport his men across the Channel, or to guard the coasts of his kingdom. Should the French, moreover, become aware of that, and hear that he was under a treaty with Your Majesty, they might very well, being masters of sea, stop their trade with Flanders and Spain, and cause irreparable damage to the towns on the coast. It was, therefore, necessary before all things that the King, their master, should be provided with ships of war in order to attend to the defence of the coasts; and, besides that, it was due and proper for the satisfaction of the King's honor that he should wait for some favorable, opportunity, as well as some just and legitimate cause, of breaking through the friendly confederation and alliance with France. Nevertheless, Your Majesty (they said) might in the meantime make such overtures that, the King's honor being perfectly safeguarded, he could at once decide in favor of Your Majesty.
My answer was that it was quite true that the season was too far advanced to prepare an army on this side of the Channel, but that, considering the large number of men Your Majesty had under your banners, there was no need for that. It would be far better if instead of raising an army in England, the King, their master, would hand over to Your Majesty the necessary funds to raise and keep that army, as by doing so there would be no time lost; besides, which, England would be benefited by it, since the army would be kept in case of emergency for the defence of the coasts. As to the dangers apprehended to the shipping and trade of this country, there were, in my opinion, two remedies equally efficacious for guarding against such contingency; one was to do the thing so secretly that the French might not become aware of it; or else to order, as had already been done in Flanders, that traders having merchandise to ex/port should arm ships to accompany and escort theirs. There was no fear, I said, of king Francis, assailed as he would be on so many points, sending a powerful fleet to the Channel; if he did, the King, their master, would have the means of saving or recovering a good number of vessels belonging to Your Majesty's kingdom and countries, which somehow or other were in the hands of the French. There was besides another thing to be taken into account, namely, that should the King declare at once in Your Majesty's favor, the war would not be so long or dangerous as people might think; for such was the fear and consternation caused throughout France by your arms that the very moment it was known that the king of England took part for you, discontent and revolt (garboille) would break out in many towns; which, to make the matter short, would be one of the most efficacious punishments that French insolence could receive. There was, I added, no fear whatever of their King receiving any stain on his honor inconsequence of the said declaration. On the contrary, he would get immortal fame by making it on the strength of the above causes; he would wonderfully please his own subjects, who resented the King having been so frequently deceived by the French, the hatred of whom had always been so very strong in England that king Richard had actually been dethroned owing to his having too much affinity and alliance with them. I ended by telling the councillors that they were not to expect from Your Majesty other overtures than those I had just made; those were quite sufficient for the justification of the King's honor, since I had proved that there was a peremptory cause and reason for his conduct, and that besides the case did not rest on the overtures.
This and other similar arguments evoked no reply from the councillors, save that, after holding a consultation together in English, and again pressing me to make fresh overtures, they began to say to each other that there was no need for them to declare further than they had done what their master's intentions were in the matter, which was in substance that he wished that in case of his declaring for Your Majesty, no truce or peace should be made with king Francis, unless the King recovered the duchies of Guyenne and Normandy; whilst he himself would make a reciprocal engagement not to come to terms with our common enemy until Your Majesty had obtained the whole of Provence, the Dauphine, Burgundy, and other territories and lands belonging to you. My answer was, that it seemed to me as if the offer I had made on the preceding day comprised nearly all that in general terms; they might trust to me and be sure that Your Majesty would in every respect be careful of their master's honor and profit.
After my answering in these general terms, secretary Cromwell inquired, "Do you think that the Emperor will agree to an article of that sort being introduced in the treaty of defensive and offensive alliance?" I have no doubt (said I) that if the King, your master, engages to contribute a proportionate part of the war expenses, he will have no objection whatever." Then they began to discuss among themselves who it was who asked more from France, Your Majesty or the King; and although some of them were at first inclined to include in the account Savoy and the marquisette of Saluzzo, they put those countries on one side, and owned that the claims of their master were by far more extensive than your own. Upon which they told me in great joy that the affair was taking a very good turn, and that after communicating the day after with the King I should be informed of his final determination.
Before quitting the assembly room I took Cromwell apart, and asked him whether he thought the King felt well disposed to entertain our overtures. He assured me that he could not be better prepared, and that, as regards the Princess, his daughter, he had lately told her that he felt he was getting old, and feared he would have no children by his present Queen, and that owing to that he had deliberated on having her in a few days' time declared heiress to his crown, adding that then would be the proper time to think of her marriage to the Prince Dom Luiz [of Portugal]. Apropos of this, Cromwell told me under reserve that the French had eagerly solicited the Princess' hand for their Dauphin, and after that, on the King's refusal, for the duke of Angoulesme. This last application of theirs the King had feigned to entertain for some time, giving the French fine words to that effect, but that was all they would ever get from him. I might be well sure of that, and trust him. Nothing would be done with regard to the French likely to be in any way detrimental to Your Majesty's interests, whatever the duke of Norpholc and other pensioners of France might say or do.
I did not fail on the occasion to remind Cromwell of the article concerning the Pope, of which there was once a talk, making at the same time several observations about the convenience and utility of the measure, and, among others, that it would greatly facilitate the undertaking against France, since, besides helping the inhabitants of Guyenne and Normandy to shake off the yoke of king Francis and return to this king's allegiance, to which they already felt some inclination, means might possibly be found of making His Holiness declare against France, provided the hints thrown out in the letters from Rome were at all true (fn. n7) Hearing this Cromwell exhibited those he had received from the English ambassador with the Pope, and began to read in English to the Chancellor and Bishop passages from them, and for the greater confirmation thereof begged me to repeat the information I myself had received, and what I knew of the Pope's intentions; and having done so all approved of it.
On his return from Court Cromwell had no time to speak to me, but the day before yesterday he sent me word by one of my men, that he had been unable on the last Sunday to conclude the affair on which we had spoken, owing to there having been no councillors at Greenwich, but that they had been all summoned, and hoped that next Sunday he would be able to return such an answer to my proposals as would completely satisfy me.
I am given to understand that after the battle of Pavia, when king Francis fell a prisoner into Your Majesty's hands, the English offered you "mons et merveilles." Should I be sufficiently informed of the details of that affair I have no doubt that any information bearing the stamp of authenticity would be of help towards getting better conditions and a more plentiful assistance in the way of funds. Should the information not arrive in time I shall still make use for that purpose of that which I have obtained here.
Secretary Cromwell having on these last days received intelligence of the arrival of cardinal Tribulcio and of Mr. de Likerke at the court of France, began, half sighing, to lament himself that were peace to be concluded between Your Majesty and the king of France, many who were expecting to see the game played out and pass their time at it, would be astonished and sadly disappointed; from which I conclude, nay, I can almost vouch, that Cromwell himself is in that predicament Indeed I believe that for fear of that peace being made these people are alluring the French with the hope of the Princess' hand, (fn. n8) and that if they have hitherto shown signs of being inclined to the said peace and willing to intervene in favor of it, it has been merely to make their own particular profit out of it, or at least prevent the Pope's mediation, which certainly could not turn to their advantage.—London, 12 August 1536.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Original. Ciphered. pp. 14.
12 Aug. 89. Count de Cifuentes to the Same.
S. E., G., Mar. y
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 30.
The other day, conversing with His Holiness on private affairs, he said to me that Ascanio Colonna had assured him that there had been lately a question in the Emperor's Privy Council of granting the investiture of the Duchy [of Milan] to his grandson, and that Your Majesty was inclined to do so. (fn. n9) He hastened (he said) to tell me, under reserve, that I might, when I wrote, thank you in his name, &c. "The Emperor's kindness to me is (he added) no doubt very great, and the offer a magnificent one; yet I cannot possibly accept it, for in this case, as well as in others, I do prefer the common weal to my own. I have frequently told French ambassadors, when discussing these matters, that were the Duchy mine, I would willingly make it over to the duke of Angoulême, for the sake of peace being insured."
My answer was that Ascanio had said nothing to me besides what he himself had heard; I had since written home to report his conversation, and should there be an answer I would not fail to inform him.
Some one tells me His Holiness has requested the Venetian ambassador to write a letter to the Council of the Ten for them to designate the person they wish to have as duke of Milan, thinking, no doubt, that if the Signory agree to that the appointment may perhaps fall on his grandson, Farnese; but it is held as certain here that the Venetians will never consent to that, though they may wish it, for fear of offending king Francis.
Your Majesty's letter of the 4th instant has since come to hand, together with the autograph one for the Pope, which I gave him, and he read in my presence. He raised no objection to Caracciolo going back to Milan as governor, and said to me that Your Majesty could dispose at pleasure of him, and of six more of his cardinals, if wanted.
Read to him the passage in Cobos' letter referring to the defeat of the French at Brignola, and he was pleased to hear of it.
Bulls for selling or exchanging property belonging to the masterships of the Military Orders—Crusade—Strozzi, the banker, has withdrawn his proposition—Count Guido Rangone and his levies.
There is a rumour that the king of France is raising in various parts of Italy no less than 12,000 men, and that, besides these, he is about to take into his pay 13,000 Grisons, the whole of that force to be under the command of the above-mentioned "condottiero," as his captain-general of the whole army. But though the rumour in question originated with the French ambassador at Venice, as Lope de Soria informs me, I do not believe one half of it.—Rome, 12 Aug. 1536.
Signed: "Conde Cifuentes."
Addressed: "To the Sacred Majesty of the Emperor and King our Lord."
Spanish. Original. pp. 8.


  • n1. There are two copies of Henry's letter and the Emperor's answer in Bergenroth's collection. One is in the National Archives of Paris, K. 1642, and proceeds from Simancas; the other is in Spain. Neither of them is original.
  • n2. De Londres le vc daoust 1536; but it is evidently a mistake for the 3rd.
  • n3. "Y que escribio al embajador que le parescia que se havia hecho error contra la consciencia de la Princesa y aun contra su justicia; asi que mande V. Md provcer en todo lo que es servido, porque es de mucha importancia."
  • n4. Most probably Scepperus, or some minor agent of the Emperor.
  • n5. "Le doyen de la chappelle, maintenant euesque de Chichestre, et moy"(that is Richard Sampson).
  • n6. "Et combien que tout cela fut dit en riant, si ne le prenoit trop bien le dict secretaire le quel instat bien dentendre la cause que mouvoit le dict roy a prorompre a telz propoz, mais il ne sçeut tirer autre."
  • n7. "En oultre luy remis en avant larticle iadis pratique touchant le pape, luy faisant sur ce pluseurs remonstrances mesmes que cela serviroit merveilleusement pour lemprinse de france, car oultre que les subiectz et de Guyennes et de Normandie seroient plus enclins a se declairer pour le dict roy, il y pourroit aussi auoir quelque moyen de faire deciairer sa sanctite contre les françois par les indices que pieça en auoit este escript dois Rome au diet Cremuel."
  • n8. "De quoy ie cuyde pouvoir bien testifier comme de ceulx questoit (?) en tel predicament, et crois que pour crainte de la dite paix ceulx cy entretiennent les françois en espoir de la princesse, et que cc quilz se sont monstrez enclins a vouloir traicter a este pour en faire leur proffit particulier ou du moings empescher que le pape ne fut le mediateur, que ne pourroit estre a leur advantaige."
  • n9. "Que Ascanio Colonna le vino á hablar y [le] dixo como V. Md ó en su Consejo se havia platicado de dar el estado de Milan al meto de Su Sd Esforza, y que V. Md ge lo daria." Esforza (Sforza) is no doubt a lapsus calami for Farnese; for Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, had died without posterity in Oct. 1535. It was to Pier Luigi Farnese, or to his son Ottavio, that the Emperor may have promised the duchy of Milan. It is remarkable enough that in an affair of this importance Cifuentes' secretary or clerk may have committed such a gross blunder as to mistake, no less than three times in the same despatch, a sforza for a Farnese.