Spain: March 1537

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

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'Spain: March 1537', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538, (London, 1888), pp. 328-348. British History Online [accessed 13 June 2024].

. "Spain: March 1537", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538, (London, 1888) 328-348. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024,

. "Spain: March 1537", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538, (London, 1888). 328-348. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024,

March 1537, 1-31

1 March.
S. Pat. Ra. Div.
de Ita., 593, 38.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 222.
135. The Emperor's Instructions to the Marquis de Aguilar or Count de Cifuentes on the affairs of Florence.
You must have heard of the murder committed on the person of the duke Alessandro de' Medici, and the services rendered to Us by cardinal Cibo, (fn. n1) Alessandro Vitello, and other friends of the deceased duke, by managing to keep possession of the castle of Florence and others in that state. You know that the Florentine "fuorusciti," either of their own accord or induced by others, took no part whatever in that murderous deed, and were at the time quiet; that Cosmo de' Medici was immediately after elected chief and head of the Government; that the Spanish and German troops entered the place under the command of the marquis d'Aguilar; that by the advice of prince Andrea Doria the marquis del Gasto sent thither further reinforcements; and, lastly, that after the assassination of her husband, the Duchess, Our daughter, had to fly for security to the castle of Florence.
We need not repeat these things, because We consider you sufficiently well informed of all that passed in that city. Since then Cosmo de' Medici, and those who had him elected, sent Us the bishop of Forli, (fn. n2) who, conjointly with Giovan Bandini, the late Duke's agent at this Our court, made his excuses for Cosmo's hasty election without consulting Us thereupon, alleging that the attitude of the "fuorusciti," and especially of the Duke's assassins, who joined them immediately, was such that, had there been the least delay in the election of a fit person to hold the reins of government, there was no knowing what might have happened at Florence. As it was they wrote lately that the country was quiet and entirely at Our devotion; all fortresses and castles completely at Our command, and Cosmo himself ready to abide by Our resolution should We not approve of his election.
Our answer was that, however inclined We might feel to confirm and ratify the said election made on the pressure of the moment, and with all appearances of its being calculated to ensure tranquillity and good government in Florence, We could not really do that until We had reliable information from that city. Our men, both Spaniards and Germans, must by this time have entered Tuscany, but when the Bishop arrived here they had not yet done so. We did not know then whether the "fuorusciti" had undertaken anything, and whether they had or had not intelligences within the city. Nothing was known as yet of the marquis de Aguilar, especially charged by Us with the management of Our interests there, and the protecting of the Duchess, Our daughter. For these reasons We deemed it opportune to delay the said confirmation and ratification until We should be informed by you of the real state of affairs in Florence. We told the Bishop to write home in that sense, assuring him in general terms of Our intention to favor the family of the Medici, and Cosmo in particular, and do anything else that might tend to the welfare and prosperity of the Florentines. In the meantime, We said, the government of the place might remain in Cosmo's hands, provided all fortresses and castles should be placed in those of trusty captains particularly attached to Our service.
One named Cherubino, once ambassador of duke Alessandro, near Our person; came also to Us, sent by the Duchess, as well as by cardinal Cibo and Alessandro Vitello. He assured Us that the castles of Florence, Pisa, and Leghorn, and others in the Duchy, were entirely at Our devotion, so much so that should We refuse to approve of the election made of Cosmo de' Medici they would still remain tinder Our sway.
We have, therefore, come to this determination, namely, that the marquis de Aguilar, your colleague in that Roman embassy, repair as soon as possible to Florence and inform himself there of the state of affairs, so as to report to Us the result of his investigations. The Marquis is to bear in mind that our principal aim is the peace and union of the Florentines, and that every effort should be made to recall the "fuorusciti," and redress their wrongs, if they have any. Should it be found that in order to attain that desirable object it is needful to reform the constitution of Florence, as set down by the late Pope (Clement VII.) with the aid and intervention of Giovan Antonio Muxetula, let it be done in the proper way.
Though it is generally believed that the Duke's assassination was perpetrated at the instigation of the "fuorusciti," yet, if the reconciliation and union to which We allude could not be effected in the aforesaid manner, We would still consent to no mention being made of Alessandro's death in the deed; provided, however, Laurencio (fn. n3) de' Medici, and others who took so active a part in it, should be verbally excluded in the said capitulation; for so atrocious a crime, so enormous a scandal, could not be looked over or pardoned without great injury to Our honor and reputation; nor could it be tolerated that Lorenço de'Medici should again appear in Florence or its territory, wherever the widow of the last duke might be residing.
But, at the same time, care should be taken that in reforming the Florentine constitution no real offence should be offered to Cosmo and those who have elected him, for fear they should in despair look out for alliances in another quarter, and, withdrawing from the fealty and devotion promised to Us, take part with the French, to whom the city of Florence, and particularly the commoners and low people, are naturally inclined.
But though the reform above alluded to, be, in our opinion, if carried out, the most convenient as well as the fittest means of bringing about the union of the "fuorusciti," you will all the same hear, investigate, and learn what sort of a person the said Cosmo is, (fn. n4) what his character and condition are, and whether he is, or is not, a fit man to be at the head of a state; what credit and popularity he enjoys at Florence; what are his resources, and whether his revenue will be sufficient in case of emergency to defend his territory against aggression, &c.
By looking at the "privileges" and other deeds in your possession you will see that in many places it is expressly stipulated that the authority granted to the house of Medici over Florence is under the proviso that the Duke and the Florentines shall remain faithful to the Sacred Roman Empire, as otherwise that family shall lose its authority and Florence its privileges. That this point is applicable to Cosmo and the Florentines We need not tell you, as you will see in the instrument drawn after Muxetula's negociation.
Besides the above, as long as the Duchess, Our daughter, remains in Florence, you will see to her being well treated and escorted according to her rank. We have decided to send her to Naples under the care of the dowager duchess of Sulmona, (fn. n5) with whom she staid when a child. Orders have been issued for her to go by sea in Doria's galleys, which are to touch at Leghorn, for We understand that she is poorly lodged in the castle of Florence, and besides that it is unfit for her to live at a place where troubles may arise any day.
We cannot omit to tell you that both the bishop of Forli and Micer Cherubino have hinted to Us that Cosmo has some intention and wish of marrying the dowager duchess, Our daughter, and that should Our answer be at all favorable he will at once dispatch an agent to treat of that affair. Should the latter give you a hint as to that, you will excuse yourself as honorably as you possibly can from entering into the subject, unless you think that an alliance of this sort is a good provision for the settlement of Florentine affairs, and that a flat refusal on our part may drive Cosmo to despair; because, considering the great instability of things at Florence, and the fickleness of its inhabitants; considering that should Cosmo retain the government of the place, he may perhaps be as much, if not more, hated than duke Alessandro himself, We are disinclined to entertain such overtures. Besides, the disparity of lineage is another cause for our refusal; for when the other Medici marriage was agreed to and made, it was entirely to please pope Clement and his family, in which were several cardinals, whose adhesion at that time was very convenient and even necessary. If to this be added that Cosmo has not much personal property—that which the duke Alessandro left being appropriated to his widow's dowry, and to the payment of his debts, which We hear are considerable—it is evident for all these reasons that it would be better for the advancement of Our affairs to have her married elsewhere. In short, you are to take no obligation or engagement whatever on the subject. If, however, you should be much pressed, and could not do otherwise, you may say that you will communicate with Us and let him know. You may even, if you deem it advisable, give him some hope, and offer him the hand of some marriageable lady at the time depending upon and subject to Our will, with whom he (Cosmo) may get both honor and money. Not forgetting, however, to make inquiries and try to ascertain how Our said daughter, Alessandro's widow, is to be paid in future the money and revenue to which she has a right by the marriage contract made at Barcelona, as well as by its confirmation at Naples, copies of which and other papers are now sent to you. If requisite, you will put yourself in communication with Our viceroy of Naples (Don Pedro de Toledo), concerning the property which the Duke, her husband, owned in that kingdom, as well as with Our ambassador at Rome respecting his right to the inheritance of cardinal De' Medici. (fn. n6)
You will see what can be done at Florence in favor of cardinal Cibo, Alessandro Vitello, and other servants of the late Duke. The last-named having, as he has, in his power the castle of Florence, and being besides very popular among the citizens, must at any cost be retained in Our service. After promising him in Our name that his services will be amply rewarded, you will offer him an annual pension of two or three thousand ducats in the meanwhile; and if you think that it is better not to go into such details, or that Vitello will not be satisfied with such a reward, then you will refer him to Us, assuring him all the time that he will be remunerated in a manner to satisfy completely his wishes. The same language to be held with cardinal Cibo.
As long as you remain in Florence you will communicate with cardinal Caracciolo, Andrea Doria, and marquis del Gasto, that they in their turn may write to Us and keep Us well informed.
(fn. n7)
Doctor M. Bernardo de Ariete, whom we had appointed to reside at the court of duke Cosmo, was already at Casale when We last heard of him. Should he have not yet gone to Florence, We now command him to hasten on his journey and place himself entirely under your orders. He is wise, well versed in political affairs, especially those of Italy, and can be very useful in adjusting those of the Duchess, Our daughter, and attending to other business of State, whilst he represents Us with the new Duke.
This instruction was already drawn, and on the point of being addressed to you (the Count), when Francisco de Aceves arrived with your letters. In the present state of affairs, whilst there is a good hope of bringing His Holiness to Our terms, it would be a pity if there was no one at Rome to prosecute the negociations. We, therefore, beg you should this letter find you still at Rome, to delay for some days your departure [for Spain] until you again hear from Us, and We take a final resolution on the affairs to which your last despatches refer. We have no doubt that upon your leaving that embassy the Marquis will come immediately from Florence and fill your place, and yet the business he has to transact in Florence is of such importance that We should like to see him there, just as We should like to see you at Rome till the conclusion of the political business in both places.
We have no doubt that you, the Marquis, know how important it is to keep Vitello in good humour, and reward him for his past services. You know his power and influence in Florence, and what services he has rendered Us up to this day. You may at once offer him, a salary (entretenimiento) of from two to three thousand crs. payable by Our treasury at Naples, besides that the company of men-at-arms vacant by the death of the marquis de la Padula, and you will offer him for the future any vacant post of a certain standing. If by means of such grants and concessions you could persuade him, without arousing his suspicion, to give up the command of the castle to some trusty vassal of Ours We shall be more at rest. If you saw that he did not seem satisfied with the above sum and captainship you will try to ascertain what else We can give him in that estate; for, to tell the truth, to take away the command from Italians and Spaniards to give it to him, that is a thing unheard of in our armies, and which We do not like to do, nor are We aware of there being at present in our army of Lombardy anything that can suit him.
The duchy of Penna and its appanages, it was Our intention, when We heard of the Duke's demise, to reserve for his widow. Should Alessandro Vitello, or any one else speak to you about this, you will stop him at once by saying what Our intentions were from the beginning.
There is a rumour that the late Duke left some money behind him. You will inform yourself as secretly as possible what the amount is; not that We want any of it for Ourselves, but in order that the whole may be spent in public works, or given to Our daughter on account of her dowry. At the same time it would be advisable to pay to Mr. Dariscot the 50,000 crs. owing to him, and which the duke Alessandro had offered to pay, his creditor at Our request having waited until now, trusting in Our promise that he would soon be paid. Though Dariscot himself holds as pledge for that sum the Rocha Guillerma, as Il Guizardino (Guicciardini) and Cherubini know, it would be highly creditable to the memory and reputation of the deceased duke that the money was paid and the mortgage cleared.
Enclosed are letters in your credence for bailiff Urries and the others who are already in Florence, for the viceroy of Naples, for count de Cifuentes, and marquis del Gasto. Valladolid. 1 March 1535.
Spanish. Original miunte, partly ciphered. pp. 35.
1 March. 136. The King of Portugal to the King of England.
S. E. Port.,
L. 371, f. 198.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 240.
The Emperor wrote to me some days ago that, for the better service of God and advantage of the parties concerned, it seemed to him as if a marriage between my beloved brother the Infante Dom Luyz, and the Princess, your daughter, would be a fit and desirable one; and I, considering the mutual benefits and advantages to be derived from such a union, and the peace in which the Kings, my predecessors, have lived with yours, did not hesitate to answer that I should be glad for the above reasons and considerations that such a marriage was concluded. And as the Emperor writes to inform me of the steps already taken, and how he is now sending, or has already sent, to England a special ambassador to settle with you the preliminaries of the said marriage contract, I need not say more about it than refer you entirely to what the Emperor's ambassador may say in my name. Evora, 1st of May 1537.
Signed : "Eu o Re."
Portuguese. Holograph. pp. 2.
3 March. 137. Luis Sarmiento to the Emperor.
S. E. Port.,
L. 371, ff. 78-80.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 241.
I received by Alvaro Mendes [de Vasconcellos], this King's ambassador to Your Majesty, copies of the instructions and papers given to him in your name. He tarried on the road 10 or 11 days. We agreed that he ought to call alone on the King first, and deliver the substance of his charge, and that on the ensuing day both of us should go to the King and to the Infante [Dom Luyz] and explain more fully what our joint mission amounted to. So it was done; and though I have already written what the King's answer was in the first instance, I deem it necessary to add a few more particulars.
With regard to the Infante's marriage, the King began by expressing his gratitude for all Your Majesty had done in that affair; but he said he feared there was no security about it, inasmuch as the king of England was considered most inconsistent and volatile in his political relations with other princes. He himself thought that a marriage alliance with France would be a safer and more advantageous plan. Should Francis' daughter be married to the Infante Dom Luiz, and should Your Majesty bestow on the latter the duchy of Milan, that would be, in his opinion, the surest means of establishing a durable peace in Christendom. "The duchy," said the King, "would be much better in the hands of my brother than in those of any of Francis' sons, none of whom is to be relied upon."
Since then the King has attended Council for several days, and, as far as I am aware, accepted the proposed marriage of his brother with the daughter of the king of England. He consents to the ambassador or gentleman Your Majesty is about to dispatch taking a letter of his to the king of England, but wants first to know what amount of dowry her father chooses to give her, what state she is to live in, &c. And I hear from good quarters that even to grant this there was some opposition and much discussion in the Council.
The same thing has happened with regard to Your Majesty's very just demands concerning the French privateer vessels. The privy councillors are generally of opinion that it is a very hard thing to deprive Portugal of the benefits of foreign trade merely on account of two or three privateers having appeared on the coast and robbed Your Majesty's merchant ships. The Infante Dom Luiz said the other day to me, whilst talking of this matter, "The Emperor has been misinformed; there is a great difference between a French vessel of war and a merchant ship. It will be found, upon inquiry, that at no time has a French war vessel taken shelter in our ports, whereas merchant ships are carefully visited and inspected before they enter or go out, so that they may do no harm to merchantmen. The remedy proposed by the Emperor against privateers capturing or robbing Spanish vessels returning from the Indian Main is not efficient. And again the Emperor is misinformed on this point, for when the French privateers sail on such piratical expeditions they go out with settled weather and provisions for several days, so that they need not touch at any of our ports; they proceed on their voyage until they arrive at the latitude of 37⅓ degrees, which is the line of passage of all the vessels coming from the Spanish Main and bound for Seville. In foul weather they go back to certain desert islands, called Las Berlingas, 20 leagues from Lisbon, and if the weather continues bad they return to their own ports on the coast of France, which, after all, is not so far away as to oblige them to take refuge in the ports of Portugal or Castille."
"The mischief might be avoided (continued the Infante) by causing all merchantmen from the Spanish Main or from Peru to collect at Santo Domingo or in some other port of the West Indies, and then send us notice how many there are in all. If considered strong enough they can undertake the voyage and sail for the Peninsula; if not strong enough, We can send some war vessels to escort the convoy home; very few being required for that sort of service, if the merchant fleet keeps together, such is this King's practice whenever he expects merchantmen back from the East Indies."
The King is expecting every hour the courier he sent to his ambassador in France more than six weeks ago. I presume that he is waiting for news of that country before he returns a categorical answer to Your Majesty's propositions. In three days hence one of his factors is to leave for Flanders. He will, according to orders, pass by Your Majesty's court. In his company goes another courier, who, the moment he has arrived at the court of France, communicated with the Portuguese ambassador, and delivered the dispatches of which he is bearer, will also start for Flanders. In fact, there is every reason to believe that either through the Portuguese ambassador in France, or through Honorato, who still resides here (at Evora), negotiations in England will be prosecuted, for, as I said above, the marriage of the Infante Dom Luiz with the daughter of Francis is still in contemplation.—Hebora, 3 March 1537.
Signed: "Luis Sarmiento."
Addressed : "To the Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty of the Emperor and King, our Lord."
Spanish. Original. pp. 14.
4 March. 138. The Same to the Same.
S. E. Port.,
L. 371, f. 73.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 214.
Asked the King to levy the embargo on the money deposited as security for the tithe and duties to be paid on certain bars of gold coming from Peru. His reply was that the case was in the hands of Justice, and that he would answer by his first messenger.
The Infanta (Dona Maria), daughter of the queen of France (Eleanor), has been for some days confined to her rooms owing to a spot (mancha) on her cheek. Wishes to know whether he is to go and visit her in the Emperor's name.
Dona Maria de Velasco has done and is doing much service; she deserves any favor on the part of the Empress.
The Infante Dom Luiz has arrived. — Evora, 4 March 1537.
Spanish. Original. p. 1.
9 March. 139. The Same to the High Commander.
S. E. Port.,
L. 371, f. 74.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 215 b.
Respecting the French privateers the Infante Dom Luiz has charge to say that the King, his brother, will do anything the Emperor wishes.
With regard to Milan, he (Sarmiento) has been told that Alvaro Mendes [de Vasconcellos] went a little beyond his instructions, and said more than he ought.
The said Alvaro wishes for a letter of recommendation for the Infante (Dom Luys).—9th March 1537.
Spanish. Original. p. 1.
21 March. 140. The Emperor's Instructions to Don Diego de Mendoza and the Sieur d'Arbes, (fn. n8) of his Chamber.
S. E. Port.,
L. 371, ff. 184–7.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 248.
Firstly, you will cross over to England as quickly as you possibly can, and, once there, will call on Dr. Eustace Chapuys, Our ambassador in that country, to whom you will communicate the substance of these instructions, asking him whether he has, or has not, anything to add to his last report concerning the good disposition of king Henry to bestow the hand of the Princess of England on Our cousin, the Infante Dom Luiz of Portugal, and likewise establish a good and firm alliance between him and Us. You will also ask him what has happened since the date of his last dispatches, and what state England is in at present; whether the people are quiet, or inclined to rebellion; whether England and France are politically satisfied with each other; and, in fact, any other information likely to lead to the good issue of the commission intrusted to you.
We understand that some time before your departure the letters which We wrote last year from Genoa and Savigliano (fn. n9) to Our ambassador, as well as the latter's answers respecting the said offer of marriage, and establishment of firm alliance, were duly put into your hands for perusal, most particularly the two last despatches, wherein that ambassador says that all the members of the Privy Council, without exception, agreed that the King, their master, was wonderfully well inclined towards the said marriage.
You must also have in your possession a copy of the instruction given to the Portuguese ambassador residing at this Our Court, when he went back to Portugal, (fn. n10) and likewise of all the letters that passed between Our ambassador in England (Chapuys) and the one We have in Portugal (Sarmiento), besides those of the King (Dom Manuel) and Infante [Dom Luiz], all of which testify their gratitude for what we have already done, and intend to do, in this matter of the marriage of Our cousin of England and the said Infante Dom Luiz of Portugal, Our brother-in-law.
The holograph letter of king Dom Joaõ for king Henry of England you have already with you, as well as a copy of the one We ourselves are now writing to him on the subject. After the careful perusal of which, in the presence of Our ambassador (Chapuys), as well as of all the papers and correspondence on the subject, after communicating with the said ambassador and learning from him how affairs stand at present in England, you shall all three go to the King, and deliver into his hands both the letter of king Dom Joaõ and Ours, after which you will explain in the best possible terms the object of your joint mission, and how glad We should be if the marriage could take place. And if you deemed it necessary to apologise for the most illustrious Infante of Portugal not having written on the occasion, you will allege as an excuse that his excessive modesty, and his respect for the King, his brother, and for Us, has been the cause of his not writing; but you will take care to testify verbally to the Infante's perfect readiness to marry the daughter of the king of England, whose dutiful and obedient son he promises to be.
Should the King, as Our ambassador writes, feel inclined to entertain this matter, you will do your utmost to ascertain what are the King's intentions, what conditions he is likely to offer or ask, and, in short, conduct the whole negociation in the most advantageous way for Our cousin and brother-in-law, rejecting with all possible mildness and courtesy whatever stipulations may be proposed to their prejudice.
You will expressly bear in mind the points touched on in the instruction which the ambassador of king Dom Joaõ took with him, principally those bearing on the authority of the Roman Church and Apostolic See, or likely to impair the Princess' right to the succession. Neither she nor the Infante (Dom Luiz) are to subscribe or swear to any laws or statutes injurious to the points above specified.
Should king Henry show reluctance respecting some of the conditions you are not to break off the negociation on that account; on the contrary, you will go on with it, unless, however, you know for certain that he is unwilling to treat, and that the prosecution of the affair in question can only result in harm and disrepute to the parties concerned, the King intending it solely as the means of making his profit in another quarter. But before abandoning the negociation altogether you will take care to inform Us how far you had proceeded in it, what are the King's terms and conditions, and, in fact, anything else appertaining to it; for the delay cannot be for long, and sooner or later We must hear whether the King is or is not in earnest.
As without positive information respecting the King's views in this matter, the provision he intends making for his daughter, the Princess, as well as what he expects to have from the king of Portugal, and from his brother, the Infante, there can be no definite settlement, nor can We advise in the affair, you will do your utmost to procure the information required on those points.
Should the King wish to know what property the Infante of Portugal owns, and what income he has for the support of his daughter's princely state, you will answer that you have no doubt the king of Portugal [Dom Joaõ], who bears him more than brotherly affection, and desires the said marriage extremely, will do for him all that is required. In fact, you will try to ascertain as discreetly as possible what the King's views on the subject are, and with how much dowry he would be contented. You might dissuade him, as if it came from yourself, from asking too high conditions from the Infante, giving him to understand that all he ought to aim at is to have a good, virtuous, and obedient son, as We have no doubt the Infante will be to him. Yet this must be said in a tone of praise, as if you wished to magnify the King's great power and riches as compared with those of the Infante, and must be expressed in terms so as not to give the King occasion or pretext to reject altogether the proposals made.
Should the King or his councillors remark that they could get much better conditions from France in case of his accepting the duke for Orleans for his son-in-law, you will say to them that, even if it were so, England would remain, as it were, at the mercy of France, and at the will of whomsoever succeeds to the crown of that country; besides which, some attention ought to be paid to the difference of the ages, the Duke being a mere boy, likely to follow the advice and the will of his father and brother; which inconvenience king Henry would not feel with the Infante, with whom, indeed, he would be much more happy, respected, and secure, the latter being of mature age, sedate, prudent, and virtuous, as he himself knows.
You will also tell him that, considering the old enmity and rivalry between England and France, and, on the contrary, the friendship and alliance which has always existed between his predecessors on the throne and those of the royal families of Portugal and Spain, there is no reason why he (the King) should not follow the path of tranquillity and peace rather than one strewn with dangers of all kinds.
Though the present king of Portugal (Dom Joaõ) and his brother, the Infante Dom Luiz, like their predecessors, are princes of truth and good faith, incapable of false dealing and deceit, yet, should the king of England want a security for the fulfilment of the conditions of the marriage, We, the Emperor, engage Our most solemn word that, whatever the conditions of the treaty be, We will see that they are fulfilled and executed, and that, the marriage once effected, We shall be glad, conjointly with the King and the Infante of Portugal, to make a league and confederacy with him for the mutual defence of Our respective dominions, bringing into it, if necessary, Our brother the king of the Romans.
Should the King or his ministers inquire whether you have, or have not, powers from the King and Infante of Portugal to conclude and ratify the aforesaid treaty of marriage, confederacy, and league, you will answer that We have expressly sent you to England for that purpose, and that, should the preliminaries of the treaty be settled and the King and Infante of Portugal individually approve of it, We shall send ambassadors to England with such express power as king Henry cannot fail to be satisfied with. That We have not done it on this occasion because We could not tell what the basis of the treaty would be, nor on what terms the said league and confederation was to be concluded, but that as soon as that becomes a certainty We will send an embassy with full power, &c.
We must, however, warn both you and Our resident ambassador [in England] that should the king of that country, or those among his ministers deputed to treat with you, attempt to make you maintain the treaties before made between him and Us, you are to resist and refuse that as much as you can, inasmuch as the said treaties contain many onerous conditions, principally in the part relating to offensive measures against France and the defence of Our dominion of Flanders, which conditions are totally different now-a-days. You will plead, as an excuse, that the inclusion in the treaty of league of the King and Infante of Portugal renders it necessary for Us to make a new treaty and put older ones aside. You will inquire from Our ambassador what effect the news, now being confirmed, of the descent of the Turk on Christendom, at the express call and bidding of the Most Christian, the king of France, has had in England; what is there said of a treaty concluded between Francis and that Infidel, according to which the Grand Turk (Solyman) has requested the Signory of Venice to declare in favor of king Francis and of himself, as well as of a fresh embassy from the Grand Turk to king Francis. Should this news of the alliance and confederacy between the Infidel and the Most Christian king of France serve your purpose for the progress of the negociation you are about to undertake, We trust that you will let no opportunity pass of calling king Henry's attention to those most inexplicable doings of king Francis, and stopping any understanding he may have in that country. If you saw that king Henry shows any inclination to counteract in some way and defeat king Francis' wicked designs in combination with the enemy of Christendom, then you can declare to him, if you deem it advisable, that We are now making all manner of warlike preparations and stores of provision for the defence of threatened Christendom, and that We hope, with God's help, that in proportion as the above plans and purposes are wicked and damnable, so will the result be for them both—the Most Christain King and the Infidel.
If you saw, however, that king Henry was disinclined to take part against the king of France, you will still try to convince him of the high disrepute and scandal which king Francis' conduct is likely to cause throughout Christendom, as well as his stubborn obstinacy in keeping up war notwithstanding Our efforts to maintain peace. You will forcibly represent all this to king Henry, the more so that We are informed that since he has heard of the military preparations the Grand Turk is making, and the embassy he has dispatched to France and Venice, he [king Henry] has flatly refused to assist him in his unchristian plans. You can also tell him, should you deem it opportune, that king Francis cannot be trusted in, for in addition to the many breaches of faith in past times, he has now given his own daughter in marriage to king James of Scotland, with a view, no doubt, to exercise a certain pressure on him and his kingdom; king Francis knowing that to be one of the causes why at the present moment Henry is angry with him, and knowing also that the offender, as the proverb says, never forgives. (fn. n11)
Of the letters and credentials which you take for the queen of England and principal statesmen, as well as noblemen of that court, privy councillors, and so forth, you will make such use as Our resident ambassador, who has great experience of those things, will recommend as most profitable for Our present undertaking. You may assure the Queen in Our name that the said marriage between the Infante Dom Luiz and the Princess, our cousin, once effected, the former will be to her the best and most cordial of sons, and that his brother the king of Portugal (Dom Joaõ) will likewise consider her (and so shall We) as his own sister. As to the other noblemen and officials, for whom you have letters, you will hint to them that, should the aforesaid marriage and league be made, they will not find Us ungrateful, and that We shall reward them for it. This, of course, to be said more or less openly according to the quality, credit, and proofs of attachment of each individual.
You will also consult with Our resident ambassador as to the best means of putting into the Princess' hands, without raising suspicion, the letters you have for her, in which We recommend and exhort her to keep firm as regards the said marriage, and say that We shall always take care of her affairs as if she were Our own daughter. Mind, the letters are two; one in the hand of Our secretary, to be given to her in public; the other in Our own, to be delivered in private.
Yet as, owing to the versatility of character and fickleness of king Henry,—so often manifested in his or his minister's dealings with Our resident ambassador, it might happen that he had in the meantime made closer league and alliance with king Francis, principally on account of the proposed marriage, or that he had made up his mind to have the Princess married in England or elsewhere, you will try as much as possible, by yourself or through other influential people friendly to Us, to counteract and defeat any such plans, taking care to inform the Princess thereof, and instructing her how to act in order to prevent the said marriage. And should the King, her father, still insist upon the Princess marrying any other person than the said Dom Luiz of Portugal, and use violence, you will first consult Our resident ambassador as to the best means of parrying the blow; and, if none can be found, inquire whether the Princess could not be taken out of England in the same way that was once devised and agreed upon between her and Our ambassador, or in any other that may seem hereafter most sure and convenient; although it must be said that the above and other means of escape proposed have always seemed difficult and dangerous, not only for the Princess herself but also for the persons interfering, and chiefly for those [of Our ministers] who might be in England at the time; besides which, the attempt, whether successful or not, might be the cause of open and lasting enmity between the king of England and Us, by which king Francis would not fail to profit. At any rate it would be advisable to wait for an opportunity, and see whether the state of affairs in Europe, and especially in England, rendered the undertaking easier and less dangerous.
That nothing may be omitted likely to help you in your mission you will be provided with letters of credence for the Estates General of England, as well as for the particular ones in the kingdom, of which letters and credentials you will make most convenient use, either in favor of the King himself—if there should be a good chance of negotiating—or secretly against him if you see that he refuses to treat with the King and Infante of Portugal, and rejects the proposals of marriage for his daughter. In the former case, should the King approve of your intervention, and give you permission to act, you might hold private conferences with the members of such assemblies, his vassals and subjects, so as to induce them to forward the marriage. If you saw, on the contrary, that the King was obstinate and refused his consent, and knew besides that the majority of his subjects were in favor of Our proposal, and that the letters you have might be of use to gain the hearts of the English, you might try what could be achieved by the exhibition of such letters to the representatives of the country in order to facilitate the Princess' marriage by, or against, the King's will.
This step, however, not to be taken in any way till after mature deliberation. No declaration to be made against the king of England unless it be well founded, and there be sufficient ground to believe that the thing can be obtained through force or rigour, for owing to the reasons above specified, and considering that popular movements generally, and those of England in particular, never do last long, that the mighty affairs in which Christendom is now engaged claim Our personal attention and energies in more quarters than one against king Francis and Turk, as well as against other Infidels, We really could not afford the help and assistance required to bring the English king to reason.
As to waiting for His Holiness' interference, and cardinal Pole's journey to England—of which We have received due notice—there is great fear of His Holiness excusing himself from it altogether, or at least delaying it, on account of the Turk's threatened invasion, or, if that Cardinal is really sent, of his arriving too late in England; besides which there is little or no appearance of his taking with him money or men, which is what the rebels want most. There is, therefore, no trust to be placed in that unless We know for certain of the Cardinal's arrival in that country with such provision as to make the King's rebellious vassals superior in force to him, and well determined to hold out to the last.
Owing to the above considerations We have written to Our sister, the Queen Regent of Flanders, that the Pope has actually asked Us for help and favor to the Cardinal on his passage through Flanders, and that We should help him with means for his undertaking. We have told her to inquire well and consider how matters stand in Flanders, what are the relations of the English with their king, and, according to the information she receives on this latter point, either to excuse herself from the Cardinal's passage, or else help it with all her power. And, therefore, you, and Our resident ambassador as well, are requested from time to time to send reliable information of what is passing in England.
But, above all things let the negociation be conducted in such a manner that We may not be called upon to do anything against the authority of the Roman Church or the Apostolic See, or make Pope Paul suspect that We intend to act otherwise, or that We purpose derogating from the old confederacy and alliance that We and our predecessors have always maintained with the kings of Scotland, because, though he who now reigns over that country has lately taken a wife in France, yet We trust that this circumstance will not make him forget that the aforesaid confederacy and alliance is as profitable for the Scotch as it is for Us. Whilst treating with the king of England things might be said in such a way that We may be friends to both countries [England and Scotland]: this declaration, however, to be reserved for the end of the treaty if one should be made.
P.S.—After the above instruction explanatory of what you, Don Diego de Mendoça and sieur d'Orton, are to do in England was finished and closed, the Infante of Portugal [Dom Luyz] arrived, and having communicated to him its contents, We have thought fit, for the greater clearness of the subjects therein treated, to add a few remarks, as follows:
We have the Infante's assurance that nothing could be more agreeable to his brother, the King, or to himself [Dom Quir], than the marriage proposed by Us between him and Our cousin, the princess of England. We should have liked him to have arrived before your departure, for then you would have heard him declare how grateful his brother, the King, and himself were to Us for thus promoting the interests of their family. We sincerely hope that the marriage will be soon effected, if any credit is to be given to the last letters received from Our resident ambassador.
As, among other points relating to the negociation, the most important perhaps is that relating to the reserve, declaration, and insurance of the Princess' right to the succession of England in case of the King dying without legitimate male children, as contained in your instructions, and likewise that of the dowry which the Princess is to have, you will do your utmost to have that reserve and declaration expressly mentioned in the marriage contract. And with regard to the Princess' dowry you will try to have it fixed at once, in conformity with the means, riches, and dominions of Our uncle, the king of England. You will also take care that the said dowry be expressly and particularly settled on estates, lordships, or lands suitable to their rank, and yielding a sufficient revenue for their leading an honorable and comfortable life, as appertains to princes of Royal blood, with a good sum of money as large as you can get for them, since, as the ambassador informs Us, it is the King's intention that Dom Luyz go and reside in England.
You will insist upon the aforesaid estates, lordships, or lands being valued, in order that, should the King have a male heir, and should the Princess thereby lose her right to the succession, it may be optional for the Infante and Princess, our brother-in-law and cousin, to go on receiving the rents thereof, or have possession at once of the sum specified in the contract to be hereafter made, as value of the said lands and estates; the King giving to that effect such securities to the Infante and Princess that they and their heirs and successors may peaceably enjoy the rents of their estates, or receive in full, if they choose, the sum at which they were valued so that, should the King have a male heir, the Princess may have in her own hands the stipulated money of her dowry.—Valladolid, 21 March 1537. (fn. n12)
Spanish. Original minute. pp. 24.
24 March. 141. Copy of a paragraph of letter from the Emperor to Luis Sarmiento de Mendoza, his ambassador in Portugal.
S. Arc. Gen. E.,
L. 371, f. 180.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 269.
The Infante (Dom Luiz) arrived when the person who is going to England had been three or four days on the road. A copy of the instructions and other papers of which the ambassador was the bearer was shown to him, telling him that if he wished it an addition should be made. He said he was perfectly satisfied, and had nothing to add.
The person started as above stated, and will arrive at the proper time and opportunity; for, after his first letter to Us, the ambassador wrote again to say that the King continues to favor the idea; and as nothing shall be omitted on Our part likely to bring the matter to conclusion, We must entertain every hope of success.—Valladolid, 24 March 1537.
Addressed: "To Luis Sarmiento de Mendoza, our ambassador in Portugal."
Spanish. Original. p. 1.
27 March. 142. The Emperor to the Queen of Portugal. (fn. n13)
S. Port., L. 371,
f. 181.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 270.
Wrote by the Infante Dom Luiz. Will now answer another letter of hers, forwarded by Luis Sarmiento de Mendoza. There is no need for Us to repeat what We once said to the ambassador, Alvaro Mendes, concerning the Infante's proposed marriage in England, as well as the investiture of Milan in his favor. In this strain did We speak to the Infante Dom Luiz. Let Her Highness rest assured that, the peace and welfare of Christendom allowing of it, there is no prince on whom We should so gladly confer the investiture of Milan as on the said Infante. Every effort shall be made on Our part to attain those two objects, but let the thing remain a profound secret between us.—Valladolid, 27 March 1537.
Signed: "Yo el Rey."
Addressed: "To the queen of Portugal, mi sister."
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 2.
27 March. 143. The Emperor's answer to the bishop Aviete when he came to Valladolid, sent by the Pope.
S. E., Roma,
L. 866, f. 120.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 272.
The Emperor thanks His Holiness for his good-will and intentions, as well as the zeal he (the Nuncio) is showing, for the welfare of Christendom. There can be no doubt that one of the measures which are most likely to promote the union of all good Catholics is the meeting of a General Council. The Emperor has hitherto done everything in his power as a Catholic Prince, head and chief of the Sacred Roman Empire, to promote the same; it is no fault of his, but of others, that the General Council has not met.
Respecting the defence of Christendom threatened by the Turk, the Emperor has already done by himself and singlehanded, as it were, the utmost he could. He is ready now to repeat his efforts; but he cannot refrain from observing that had the rest of the Catholic princes done their duty, and were they now ready and willing to join in the attack, the Infidel would soon cease to be a bugbear to Christendom.
As to the peace, His Holiness is well aware of the terms first offered by His Imperial Majesty at Rome, and since then renewed at Nizza and Genoa. Nothing could be more reasonable than those terms, and yet the king of France has never condescended to return an answer. It is, therefore, quite useless again to discuss that point, since it is evident that king Francis is now less disposed than ever he was to entertain it. Indeed, that is a fact generally known in France and elsewhere; God knows, and people may guess, what king Francis' object is, and what his hopes of success are.
With regard to the proposals made by the two nuncios, namely, that two or three of the strongest places in the Duchy should remain in the hands of His Imperial Majesty for greater security and guarantee of the conditions stipulated in the future treaty of peace, or else that in every one of them, trusty commanders devoted to him, should be placed as governors, that is, indeed, a condition which cannot be accepted, for various reasons; and, above all, because the said king of France has always been trying to set his foot in Italy for the sole purpose of doing the Emperor harm, and, if possible, getting possession, by force of arms, or otherwise, of the duchy of Milan. That such has been his constant aim has been proved by the fact that ever since the expulsion of the Visconti from that duchy king Francis has never ceased plotting and intriguing to establish himself at Milan and in other parts of Italy. And since the experience of the past proves that, even while the Duchy was in the Emperor's hands, several treacherous attempts were made with a view to getting unlawful possession of it, how can it be expected now that, if placed in more hands than one, or divided as once proposed, the Duchy shall be safe from intrigues ? Besides which, it would be highly discreditable to His Imperial Majesty, and contrary to his well-known liberality, and the trust which all people can and ought to place in his word, faith, and promises, were he to put into the hands of a third person that which belongs exclusively to himself. Suffice it to say that the Emperor does not want to reserve any part of the Duchy until the fulfilment of the conditions to be stipulated in the treaty. His sole and exclusive aim is the welfare of Christendom and the peace of Italy; and, if that is attained, he need offer no more security than His Imperial word, and the papers and deeds signed at Rome, Nizza, and Genoa.—Valladolid, 27 March 1537.
Spanish. Original minute. pp. 6.
29 March. 144. Luis Sarmiento de Mendoza to the Emperor.
S. Ar. Gen. E.
Portugal, L. 371,
ff. 60–1.
B. M. Add. 28,589,
f. 275.
By Garnica, the quartermaster, bearer of this present, he (Sarmiento) received His Majesty's letter. Garnica related what passed on the road between him and the ambassador of Priest John, as he calls himself. Though the former cannot fail to report on his arrival, yet he (Sarmiento) is in duty bound to say what he knows respecting the Abyssinian ambassador. Soon after his arrival at this court he (Sarmiento) went and told the King that an ambassador of Priest John had come, and wished to see him in private audience without any one else being present. (fn. n14) This the King granted, and accordingly the ambassador went to the Royal palace, and said how Priest John, his lord and master, had sent him on an errand to His Majesty (the Emperor) as well as to him the king of Portugal. That his mission consisted in asking why an ambassador of his, sent 12 years ago, had not yet been dispatched, since his object, as well as his own, was to renew certain negociations still pending respecting the Portuguese dominions in India, to treat about an alliance, &c.
The King asked the so-called ambassador where he came from, of what country he was a native, and so forth. The man answered that he was a Portuguese by birth, born in the island of Tercera in the Azores, and that as early as the year 1512 he had gone to the East Indies under a captain whom the king of Portugal at the time (fn. n15) was sending thither. That his name was Master John, surgeon and physician, both which of professions he had practised on board during the voyage. That from the East Indies he went to Abyssinia in the suite of a Portuguese ambassador whom that King sent to Priest John, which embassy he (the surgeon) and other Portuguese now residing here [at Evora], wishing to see the interior of that country, joined the embassy. Then Priest John fell ill, and Master John cured him; at which the former was so grateful that when the Portuguese ambassador was about to take leave of him and return to India, he begged of him to leave the surgeon of the embassy behind; which he did, the surgeon himself willingly assenting, for he had seen the land, and liked it much. Indeed, so pleased was Priest John with the surgeon, that he bestowed many favors on him, and ultimately married him to one of his royal relatives. After that Master John's wife died, and he (the surgeon) took the frock of a monastic order, although Priest John had given him plenty of land to settle in. The man added that as soon as he got an answer from Your Majesty and from the king of Portugal, and had communicated with the ambassador who resides here, he intended returning to Abyssinia. He will not go by a land route, but by sea, in one of the King's ships bound for the East Indies.
After this, His most Serene Highness the King [Dom Joaõ] summoned to his royal presence two of the men who had attended the embassy to Abyssinia in 1512, by whom the man was immediately recognised, both declaring that he was really and truly the Master John, the surgeon, who had made part of the embassy from the East Indies to Abyssinia; besides which, several other people still living in Lisbon have identified him, so that there can be no doubt of his being really the person he represents himself to be; nor is there any fear of his being an impostor or a spy of the Turk. Such are this King's words; he desires him (Sarmiento) to say this to His Majesty (the Emperor), and recommend the said ambassador, as well as the one who came 12 years ago. There can be no harm (he says) in listening to the overtures those people may make in their master's name; Abyssinia is a rich and thickly populated country, and a brisk trade with India might soon be established.
The only contradiction he (Sarmiento) finds in the above account is that when this man had audience of the Emperor he was distinctly heard to say that within a short period of time another ambassador from Priest John would come to Portugal and visit this king, and that he was to be the bearer of letters patent, credentials, &c. both for His Imperial Majesty and for this king, and that both were to meet here at Lisbon. Now he (Sarmiento) has interrogated the man about it, so has the King, and he positively denies that any ambassador is coming from his master except himself, and the one who was here before him.
Must say that when he (Sarmiento) first saw the man, and ever since, the idea struck him that he might be a Jew. Enquiries made about his family and antecedents give rise to suspicion. The more he investigates the man's previous life, the more he believes there is something wrong about him. Has been told by many that the man is a converted Jew (confeso), and that he was held as such at the place where he formerly resided. Said so to the King, and that his (Sarmiento's) impression was that the man's business is more with the Jews and newly converted Moors of this kingdom than any on behalf of Priest John; for he carefully goes through the same practices and ceremonies as that priest, and those who, like him in Abyssinia, profess Christianity, though he attends several others more consonant with Judaism, such as keeping Saturdays as well as Sundays, fasting on certain days, circumcision, &c. True is it that, with regard to the latter practice, the man himself, being questioned by the King, denied being circumcised at all; but as he never has offered to prove his assertion, as he ought to have done, his (Sarmiento's) suspicions are considerably increased. Has frequently told the King so; but he will not believe him, saying, on the contrary, that he holds the supposed ambassador to be an honest and upright man, and a good Christian, greatly given to devotion, and fasting very rigidly, as Garnica, who has travelled with him, can testify. This is as much as he (Sarmiento) has heard about the man; should he learn more particulars about him, he will not fail to acquaint His Majesty.
Since this subject has been touched upon, he (Sarmiento) considers it his duty to state that the other Abyssinian ambassador, the one who has resided at this court since 1524, is a man of great authority and rank among his own people, and that this king has never allowed him to take leave and return to his country, treating him all the time splendidly, providing for his wants and those of his followers plentifully, and commanding him to reside always at Lisbon. Since my arrival in Portugal the ambassador has only appeared once at Court (Evora), and spoken to the King. (fn. n16) The reason the latter has for retaining him near his person, and not allowing him to depart, is, as far as he (Sarmiento) can gather, that he may not go back to Abyssinia and report on the scantiness and poverty of this kingdom [of Portugal], as that would greatly contrast with the language of the Portuguese themselves in those parts of the East Indies whither the Abyssinians resort for the sake of trade; for as they know of no other prince or nation save the Portuguese, they naturally imagine that there is not a more powerful king in the whole world. Takes this to be the cause, and that in order to keep up the delusion of the Abyssinians and other nations bordering upon the East Indies, king Dom Joaõ is retaining as long as he can the said ambassador, lest the people of that country should barter their merchandize elsewhere.
One thing, however, Sarmiento recommends, which, in his opinion, might be of great service to His Majesty, and by no means unprofitable to this king. (fn. n17) Since a Portuguese fleet sails annually to those distant regions, and returns within the same year, the Englishman, who went thither some time ago, and several more, might be sent to those parts and bring yearly news of the Sophy and of the Turk, as well as of the negociations and intrigues which the king of France might be carrying on with the latter, for the Sophi might easily be persuaded to make war on his adversary, &c. Hebora (Evora), 29 March 1537.
Signed: "Luys Sarmiento de Mendoça."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty of the Emperor and King, our Lord."
Spanish. Original. pp. 7.


  • n1. Innocent, cardinal since the 13th of December 1513, whose brother Gian Battista was bishop of Marseilles.
  • n2. Bernardino de' Medici from 1528 to 1551.
  • n3. Laurencio or Lorenço, generally called Laurençino, was the son of Pietro Francesco II., gonfaloniere of Florence, who died in 1516.
  • n4. Cosmo was the son of the celebrated Giovan de' Medici, the captain of the Black Bands in the war of 1526, who was killed at Borgoforte. He was the first grand duke of Florence and died in 1574 at the age of fifty-five, having been married to Eleanor of Toledo, daughter of the marquis de Villafranca, the viceroy of Naples.
  • n5. The widow of Charles de Lannoy.
  • n6. Ippolito died in 1535.
  • n7. "Despues que vos estareys ynformado y havreys sentido y entendido en florencia, desseamos que lo mas pronto que pudieredeis nos escribays distintamente lo que os paresciere con mensagero propio, pero si no fuesse que os pareciesse que vos mesmo podriades venir sin hacer falta en Florencia, ni que la dilacion y tardanza de vuestro viage fuesse danvie."
  • n8. I suspect that Arbes in the heading of these instructions is for Arbois, a place in the department of Jura. That is the reason why the name of the town was written and pronounced Arbés.
  • n9. See above, No. 64, p. 165.
  • n10. See above, No. 137, p. 335.
  • n11. "Que el que offende nunca perdona,"
  • n12. A note in Idiaquez's hand states that three copies of these instructions were made; one in Spanish, the other two in Latin or French. The copy of this last follows immediately (f. 261), being a transcript of the one preserved at Brussels.—Negotiations d'Angleterre, Tome I.
  • n13. Doña Catalina, the Emperor's sister, married to Joaõ III., king of Portugal.
  • n14. "Y por que este embaxador me dixo que queria hablar al Rey sin mi."
  • n15. Dom Manuel or Emanuel, the Fortunate, from 1495 to 1521. The passage reads thus :—"Y que desde la India, con cierto embaxador que el Serenissimo rey [de aquet tiempo] havia mandado que desde allli fuese al preste Juan, avia ido este hombre y otros questan en este reyno [á] acompañarle y á ver aquella tierra, y que asi fué este. Y que estando alli el Preste Juan, tuvo cierta enfermedad."
  • n16. "Ha venido aqui despues que yo estoy aqui una vez á hablar al Rey." Aqui is meant for Evora, where Dom Manuel held his court at the time."
  • n17. "Que pues todos los años parte armada del Sermo Rey para la India y vuelve otra, que al yaglès que la otra vez fué ó á otros muchos V. Md podrá ynbiar muy facilmente y traer platica y saber todos los años del Sufi."