Spain: February 1536, 1-15

Pages 30-39

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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February 1536, 1-15

1 Feb. 14. Count Cifuentes to the Emperor.
S. E., Sec. de
Guerra, M. y T.,
L. 9.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 165.
Wrote the day before yesterday, enclosing a letter from the Empress. On the same day arrived the Emperor's marechal des Logis and the rest of the quarter-masters, who went to kiss His Holiness' feet. To-day they visited part of the Transtebere; to-morrow they will see the rest of the sights in this city, and choose a proper place for the lodgings of the Emperor and suite.
The French residents of this city have been so busy and active (solicitos) ever since the arrival of this last courier, who came on the 29th ult. from a place on this side of Lyons, where their King's court is now, that he (Sylva) has endeavoured to ascertain what news the courier may have brought. All he has been able to learn is that king Francis has sent in haste for the 4,000 German infantry, who had already arrived at Lingone, and that he (Francis) had made great offers to this Pope, and among others that of a large estate in Brittany for Pier Luigi [Farnese], besides the hand of his daughter (fn. n1) for a son of the said Pier Luigi. This information was furnished to him (Sylva) by the former, who added that the negotiations between the Emperor and the French king were very slack just now, and that it was generally believed they would lead to nothing at all. Having learnt as much from Pier Luigi himself, he (Sylva) called on His Holiness, and remonstrated against the doings of the French king, who, instead of aiming at peace, and waiting, as he had promised, for the Emperor's arrival at Rome, was arming and offering provocation, as if he were determined to commence war at once. His Holiness answered that he had heard the very same news, which Pier Luigi had communicated to him (Sylva) ; he had sent for the French ambassador, and had plainly told him his mind respecting his master's conduct. Yet the ambassador somehow or other excused king Francis, saying that the 4,000 Germans were intended for the defence of his own kingdom rather than for any other purpose. He (Sylva) is rather inclined to believe this, having heard as much from a gentleman of some importance and credit, who happens to be in constant communication with the French. Perhaps the King fancies that in this manner he will get what he wants. However this may be, the Pope said to him (Sylva) in secret that there was a talk of sending here [to Rome] the Admiral (Brion), that he may be present at the proposed conferences between him (the Pope) and his Imperial Majesty.
Go on temporizing with Pier Luigi, and follow strictly your instructions on this point. Pier Luigi has gone twice to see His Holiness; he shows good will, and is as well disposed as ever to serve the Emperor. He says that His Holiness is equally well disposed, but both father and son give one to understand as clearly as they can, that if they serve the Emperor they must also be attended to. Until now (they say) there has been nothing but offers and promises; they want something more tangible and substantial. Lately the Pope hinted at a marriage with the house of Savoy. If there be any talk of that, he (Sylva) should be glad to hear.
One of the ambassadors who resided at this court has gone to the duke (Carlo) with an errand respecting that marriage. He is to go to Borne as soon as he hears of the Emperor's arrival in that city. We shall then hear what the Duke has to say, and whether he is willing or not to accept. Was trying to procure the publication of the executory letters against the king of England in the manner prescribed, when a letter from the Imperial ambassador in France, Juan Henart, (fn. n2) came, announcing the death of Her Most Serene Highness the Queen (now glorified in Heaven). Immediately set about obtaining it, and kept the whole affair as secret as possible; to which end he bade the postmaster, (fn. n3) who is here for the Emperor, to retain all the letters coming from France or England. By this means the news was kept secret during five or six days, until the night of the . . . . . when an express from the king of France arrived with the news. The French, thinking that he (Sylva) was ignorant of the event, tried all they could to have the executory letters suspended, but on the very same night of the arrival of the French courier they were in his (Sylva's) possession.
Is in receipt of the Imperial letter of the 29th, which he proposes answering by the next post. —Rome, 1 Feb. 1536.
Signed: "Conde Cifuentes."
Spanish. Original, pp. 5
1 Feb. 15. The Emperor to Luis Sarmiento, his Ambassador in Portugal.
S. E., L. 35,
ff. 99—100.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 168.
Wrote last on the 18th. ult. The object of this present is to relate what has passed since then, that you may inform the King, our brother, thereof.
The cardinal legatee sent by His Holiness proposed to us the negotiation about Milan. King Francis having manifested the same desire through his ambassadors, We condescended to entertain it. The King having since applied to Us to dispose of the duchy of Milan in favour of the duke of Orleans, his second son (Henri), We have refused his application, on the plea that, with such an arrangement, the required securities for the future peace of Italy could not be taken. Should the King propose other means of bringing about that peace, We were prepared to take the same into consideration, being as desirous as ever of his friendship, &c. This, of course, was purposely said, that We might unravel what his real intentions are, and justify ourselves before the World. We added that when the subject came under discussion we would not forget the matrimonial alliance of our niece, Doña Maria.
However, as the king of France threatens that as soon as the negotiations will be entirely broken, he will certainly declare war, and that he has under arms 7,000 Germans and two legions of his own kingdom ; as he is, moreover, threatening to invade Savoy, and it is a known fact that on the borders of Germany levies are now being made for him, We have decided not to be taken unawares, and have given orders for a good number of Italians to be raised, besides 4,000 or 6,000 Germans; and if need be, that the 10,000 men of that latter nation ready to start for the Algerine (fn. n4) expedition remain for the defence and protection of Italy. Don Alvaro de Baçan has received orders to come to Genoa with his 25 galleys, on board of which will be 3,000 Spanish infantry, &c.
You will inform the king of Portugal of these particulars. —Naples, 1 Feb. 1536.
Spanish. Original minute, pp. 4.
1 Feb. 16. The Emperor to the Empress.
S. E., L. 35,
ff. 83-5.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 171.
Expatiates at length on the state of affairs, and orders certain military preparations to be made in Spain against the contingency of a war.
Five or six days ago the news of the demise of her most Serene Highness the queen of England arrived, which I felt deeply, as you may imagine. May God receive her in Paradise, which she certainty deserved on account of her extreme goodness and virtue, and the excellent life she led. About her last illness and death the accounts differ. Some say that it was produced by a painful affection of the stomach (dolor de estomago), which lasted upwards of 10 or 12 days; others that the distemper broke out all of a sudden after taking some draft, and there is a suspicion that there was in it that which in similar cases is administered. I do not choose to make such an affirmation, nor do I wish to have it repeated as coming from me, but nothing can prevent people from judging and commenting (fn. n5) upon the event according to their own feelings. Of the Princess, my cousin, (fn. n6) I hear only that she is inconsolable at the loss she has sustained, especially when she thinks of her father's past behaviour towards herself, and of the little favor she can expect for the future. I trust, however, that God will have pity on her, and will not permit the great injustice which has been shewn her to remain with- out some reparation. I have put on mourning, and ordered all the grandees around me, the high officers of this household, as well as the gentlemen of my chamber and table, to do the same, and I myself intend wearing it until I go to Rome The exequies have been performed here as is customary in such cases; there, whore you are, the same ought to be done, as this is but fitting.—Naples, 1 February 1536.
Signed: "Charles."
Spanish. Original, pp. 17.
3 Feb. 17. Eustace Chapuys to the Same.
V. Imp. Arch.,
Rep. P. C.,
Fasc. 228, No. 7.
The bishop of Llandaff, confessor to the late queen of England, perceiving that he could not live a Catholic life in this country without endangering his conscience, fearing likewise lest, by refusing to swear to the new statutes of this kingdom, he should be treated as the good cardinal of Rochester and many others were, determined on the very day of Your Majesty's last letter, that is, on the 25th ult., to leave England secretly, retiring to Flanders or to Aragon, of which latter country he happens to be a native, (fn. n7) for the purpose, as he assures me, of visiting first Your Majesty and afterwards His Holiness [Paul III.] He was, however, so clumsy about it, and took so little precaution, that he was discovered, arrested, and sent to the Tower. Nobody seems to know what will be the end of this affair, but I very much fear that he will be kept in close confinement for fear he should leave England now, and report, or otherwise act against this King and his ministers. For the same reason, the former, suspecting that the late Queen's physician is also wanting to go away, is now trying all he can to prevent his departure by engaging him to take service in his household, or at least keeping him in England for some time to come. To this end Cremuel (Cromwell) this very morning sent me a polite message desiring me to send the said physician to him, and, when in his presence, requested him most earnestly to accept service in the Royal household. And upon the said physician answering that, were he to accept so suddenly the offer made, there might be cause for people to think and speak badly of him, and that besides, he being Your Majesty's subject, could not say how his entering this King's service so soon after the late Queen's death might be interpreted, Master Cremuel (Cromwell) replied that there was no difficulty in the way of his accepting the charge, for he was certain that within three months' time, counted from that day, there would be between Your Majesty and his own master as good an understanding and amity as ever there was, to accomplish which he (Cromwell) should avail himself of every opening, and that in the meantime, whatever his resolution might be, the King intended to treat him munificently. This the physician, however, refused to accept, referring entirely to me as to his line of conduct in the future.
The two gentlemen from Ghelders who came here last, one of whom is a burgomaster at Nymegue (Nimweghen), left this city four days ago. I hear that they have not obtained a definite answer to their overtures, but have been told that when the form and wording of the treaties and alliances between king Francis and their Duke have been carefully inspected here, then, and not before, a resolution will be taken in conformity with them.
Two uncles of the earl of Childra (Kildare), one brother and another relative of his, who had hitherto held out firmly, have at last surrendered to this King's officers. Most people here think that the King was only waiting for that to have the Earl [Thomas FitzGerald] executed ; for, had his kinsmen and friends heard of his execution, they would never have laid down their arms, and that in order to hasten their surrender they were told that he was well treated in the Tower, and would soon be set at liberty. The Irish noblemen I speak of are shortly expected in this city, and there is a rumour afloat that they will, as soon as they arrive, be lodged in that very prison where the Earl now is, whatever promises may have been made to them.
Master Cremuel (Cromwell) sent a message the day before yesterday, and again yesterday, for me to meet him to-day or to-morrow morning, adding that if I could not come he would certainly call on me. I cannot guess what may be the object of the proposed interview, perhaps he intends making overtures on the subject of his conversation with the Queen's physician, for the latter tells me that yesterday, happening to mention the Princess' name in the presence of Cromwell, the latter put his hand to his cap, in sign of respect,—a thing which he very seldom does except when Your Majesty's name is mentioned. May God permit, by His infinite mercy, that such respect to the Princess may prove the precursor of some good treatment, and amendment of the ill-will that has hitherto guided these people in their dealings with her. —London, 3 Feb. 1535.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original, pp. 3.
4 Feb. 18. Count de Cifuentes to the High Commander
S. E., Sec. de
Guerra, L. 9,
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 185.
To-night I purpose answering your Lordship's letter of the 29th inst., just received. Cannot do it at present for fear of detaining the gentleman courier, who has come from Antonio de Leyva, and is proceeding to Naples (fn. n8) at full speed, having only spent two hours here [at Rome]. That captain's despatch, which I have perused, will acquaint you with the last news from France. At the same time I beg to enclose another news-letter from that country which I myself have received that your Lordship may put them together and compare them. —Rome, 4 Feb. 1536.
P,.S,.—I must, however, observe that the news-letter enclosed is from the same person whose communications, as Your Lordship says, must always be received with caution. I send it nevertheless.
Spanish. Original. p. 1.
4 Feb. 19. News from the Court of France.
S. E. S. d. Ga,
Mar. y Tierra, L. 9.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 185.
The king of France has, through his ambassador here, the Pope informed that although he himself has written to Paris announcing the arrival in France of 7,000 Germans (Tedeschi), yet his deliberate intention is to procure a lasting peace with the Emperor. To that sole end are his efforts directed. He himself had gone to Nanci (Nancy), and the captains of a very large band of Swiss, on whom he counted, had already assembled in the Dalphinato (Dauphinois). He begs His Holiness to secure the neutrality of the Venetians in the event of their not siding with him in the approaching contest.
The King also encloses to His Holiness the copy of a letter received from England, in which the king of that country informs him of the death of the Queen his wife (dame), and begs for his congratulations on the event, telling him that now he can obtain much better terms from his adversary than at first. King Francis, on the other hand, swears on his faith that he will never forsake his friendship and alliance, for he has always found him a good friend and a brother in the midst of his troubles. He has again offered him his life, his estate, and all his forces.
Of this news, such as it is, His Holiness takes no notice whatever, thinking, as he does, that the Queen's death will be the cause of separating the interests of those two kings, and rendering them enemies (fn. n9) in the end.
Italian. Original, pp. 2.
4 Feb. 20. Count de Cifuentes to the Emperor.
S. E., Sec. de
Guerra, L. 9,
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 189.
Could not answer His Majesty's letter of the 29th ult. received the day before yesterday, owing to the departure of the courier who brought letters from the Empress.
Has done, and is doing, all he can to temporize with His Holiness and with Pier Luigi, but he (Sylva) cannot help saying that the sooner the Emperor comes to Rome, the better for the affairs in hand, unless, however, the French change their mind, which is not likely.
With regard to Geneva His Holiness assures him (Sylva) that he has told the French ambassadors here, and written also to his own Nuncio in France, to represent to king Francis how wrong he is in interfering in the affairs of Switzerland, and especially of a town whose inhabitants are Lutherans. (fn. n10) For his own part he had no objection to the money once deposited at Milan for the use of the Swiss Catholics being destined to that other purpose.
Let the ambassador insist. Showed him the papers and letters relating to the duke of Orleans (Francis' second son), and the many reasons there were for His Majesty refusing him the investiture of Milan, since no security at all was offered for the future peace of Italy. The Papal legates (fn. n11) had also spoken to His Majesty of a marriage between the dowager duchess of Milan and the duke of Angoulême (Charles) as likely to promote peace, and satisfy king Francis. He (Sylva) inquired whether the proposal came from him. His Holiness' answer was, ''That seems to me a novelty; such a marriage can- not be made for many considerations, the first and principal being that the dowager Duchess cannot be disposed of in that manner, being, as she is, the Emperor's own niece. The second is the claim which the duke of Orleans (Henri) pretends to have on the duchies of Urbino and Florence in right of his wife (Caterina de' Medici), which, though virtually nul, the French are sure to allege as an excuse to set foot in Italy. 3rdly, that the duke of Orleans is Francis' second son, and, were the Dauphin to die, would in- herit the crown of France, which would not be a good thing for the peace of Italy."
Such were His Holiness' sentiments, real or affected. With respect to Francis' military preparations he (the Pope) said that he could not believe in them, at least in the number of men which it was said the King had got together. The armament might be intended as a sort of bugbear to the Italian princes. There was no necessity (he maintained) for the Emperor to arm. He hoped at the next conference to produce a good effect, and bring all questions to a satisfactory issue.
Everything has been provided for in those parts. With regard to the castellan of Milan, and the motives which the duke of Savoy may have in view, nothing more has been said. As to Geneva His Majesty thinks that the affair by this time has dwindled away. His (Sylva's) private opinion is that the French cannot be trusted. If Commander Cicogna's report of the havoc done in Savoy by the force which the canton of Berne professes to send to the help of the Genevese, and the levies of Germans in the pay of France, be true —and there is no reason to doubt either fact — king Francis must be thinking just now of invading Italy. Some imagine that he may have a secret understanding with the castellan of Milan, or of some other important castle of the duchy; but, however this may be, we must be on our guard.—Romæ, quarto Februarii mdxxxvi.
Should an Italian force be required he (Sylva) recommends Marzio Colonna and Girolamo (Ursino), each in his office. Though Ottaviano (fn. n12) has not so high a repu tation as the two above named, he is nevertheless an officer of distinction.—Rome, 4 Feb. 1536.
Spanish. Original minute, pp. 5.


  • n1. At this time Francis had only two daughters living, Madaleine (Magdaleine), whose hand was often offered to Henry, and who was ultimately married to James of Scotland, and Margaret (Marguerite), born in 1523, and who in 1559 became the wife of Emmanuel Philibert, duke of Sayoy.
  • n2. Jean Hannaërt.
  • n3. One of the Taxis family.
  • n4. At this time the Emperor was already making military preparations against Algiers, where Barbarossa was still all powerful.
  • n5. Su enfermedad escriven variamante ; unos que fué de dolor de estomago, y que duró mas de 10 ó 12 dias; otros que el mal tuvo principio de uua vez, que bebió, no sin sospecha de haber bebido en ello lo que en tales casos suele [heberse] ; no lo queremos nos dezir, ni que por nueptra parte se diga; pero no se podrá quitar el juizio de las gcntes, que cada uno no lo hapa segund lo que sintiere. De la Princesa, nuestra sobrina, no nos escriben otra cosa sino que queda con el dolor, desconsuelo y perdida que se puede considerar, mayormente con las obras que le han hecho, y espera de su padre. En Dios se deve confiar habrá piedad della, y no permitirá que tan grande sinrrazon quede sin ser remediada. Yo me he puesto luto," &c.
  • n6. Niece (sobrina) says the original, by a "lapsus calami," for certainly she was his prima (cousin).
  • n7. Ateca (Fr. Jorge de), for such was the bishop's name, is a small town of the province of Zaragoza, in Aragon.
  • n8. The Emperor was still at Naples, where he arrived on the 25th of November 1535.
  • n9. The above is enclosed in the preceding letter from Cifuentes to the High Commander (No. 17). Though containing news from the court of France it is evidently written cither by the Papal Nuncio in that country, or by some Italian in Paul's pay.
  • n10. The people of Geneva, on whose territory the dukes of Savoy held just claims since the fifteenth century, had suddenly thrown off the yoke, and were at this time efficiently helped by king Francis.
  • n11. The papal legates, that is, cardinals Sena and Cesarino, who visited Charles at Naples. See above, p. 9.
  • n12. Marzio and Ottaviano were both Colonnese; Girolamo Orsino belonged to the rival family of the Orsini, at this time at peace with the Colonna.