Spain: January 1538

Pages 415-425

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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January 1538, 1-31

4 Jan.
173. Commander Covos and Mr. de Granvelle to the Marquis De Aguilar.
S. E., Roma,
L. 867, f. 1.
B. M. Add. 28,590,
f. 55.
By a courier who left this town of Salses on New Year's Day, we wrote to you on this business of the peace. We have had no answer yet to the letter we wrote to His Majesty consulting on various articles of our instructions, but we are hourly expecting that answer, and should it came tomorrow, as we expect, we will immediately start for Leocata, where the French commissioners are already installed. We will take care that you are daily informed of the progress of the negociations, though, to tell you the truth, we are very much afraid that they will be anything but successful should the difficulties, which the commissioners have already started in granting things previously settled, and which, in our opinion, were not subject to discussion, be taken into account. Since then your Signory's letter of the 20th December, brought by the courier sent for the Strozzi business, has come to hand. The letter has been forwarded to Barcelona for His Majesty's perusal. When the answer comes, we will not fall to apprise your Signory of the result; but in the meantime we will give you our private opinion of the affair.
Respecting the dispatches sent by Micer Fabio, and those which Micer Adam Centurione afterwards took, we have no remark to make. We are glad to hear that His Holiness is completely satisfied with the manner in which he is treated both here and there in all matters concerning this peace. His Majesty assured the Papal nuncios at Monçon that nothing would be done without his intervention, and we need not tell you that on our part everything shall be done to please His Holiness.
As to the cardinal legates whom His Holiness thought of sending to His Majesty and to the king of France, the better to facilitate the peace and persuade both parties to it, we entirely approve of the diligence used by your Signory in preventing the intended legation with the dexterity and good manners which distinguish you; yet until we hear what His Majesty has to say to that, or what direction the affair takes, our opinion is that your Signory in the best manner, and without giving umbrage, try to delay as much as possible the departure of the said cardinal legates, without, however, approving or disapproving their coming here, as very shortly we will inform your Signory of His Majesty's commands in this respect.
We agree with you that all matters concerning the league against the Turk must needs be discussed at Rome; otherwise His Holiness might be shocked and offended. That is also how His Majesty views it, and so, notwithstanding the full powers sent to Lope de Soria—principally for the purpose of obviating any difficulties raised by the Signory of Venice,—His Majesty has given orders that the whole matter should be treated at Rome.
With regard to the 30 galleys, which His Holiness is thinking of arming and fitting out in the arsenal of Venice, it is a very good idea. Your Signory is to lose no opportunity of convincing him of the necessity of doing this, were it for no other reason than that of impeding the negociations the Venetians are at this present moment carrying on with the Turk.
We are glad to hear that what His Imperial Majesty wrote concerning the Council as well as the announcement of his own return to Italy, if there was really need of it, have caused satisfaction and pleasure in His Holiness' mind, and that in order the better to attend to these affairs he proposes after these festivities to go to Bologne. We think, however, that if His Holiness' departure could be delayed until something was known of the probable issue of the negociations on foot, it might be far better. You are, therefore, to try and persuade him with your usual tact and discretion, and without arousing his suspicions, to pat off his journey for the present, that is if His Holiness has mentioned his intention to you.
Respecting the Novara affair, we believe that His Majesty has ordered the privilege deed to be drawn out under the date of the day in which it was granted; but we advise your Signory not to say anything more about it until you hear from His Majesty.
Before your Signory's letter came the son of Filippo Strozzi made his appearance in this town. At first we made some difficulty about listening to him, or allowing him to go to the Emperor; but since it appears that His Holiness takes a hand in the affairs of Florence, and shows interest for Strozzi and his family, we have received him, heard what he had to say, and allowed him to proceed [to Monçon], telling the Emperor what in our opinion had better be done.
Spanish. Original draft. Partly in cipher, pp. 5.
9 Jan. 174. The Emperor and King to Lope Hurtado de Mendoza.
S. E., Roma,
L. 867, f. 3.
B. M. Add. 28,590,
f. 60.
By letters from Genoa We have been informed that you and Doña Margarita, your wife, arrived there safe, and had gone to Niça (Nizza). Though We are sure that by this time you have written giving us news of the Duchess, Our daughter, yet in case you have not, We request you to inform Us as soon as possible of her health, and so forth.
We have received intelligence that sometimes the Duchess goes out hunting, and remains in the fields two, three, and even four days, without returning to Niça (Nizza), and although We are sure that during such absences nothing is done contrary to the respect and consideration due to her birth and rank, yet as her age and condition, besides her being Our daughter, might make people judge differently of her absences, you will take care that in future she does not indulge in such amusements and sports, and that if she still wishes to go out hunting, it must be arranged for her to return to Niça (Nizza) and to her own house at night, not, as they tell Us, to remain, as she is in the habit of doing, two or three days in the forest. If necessary, you will tell her in Our name that We shall be glad that she conforms to Our wishes in that respect.—Barcelona, 6 Jan. 1538.
Spanish. Original draft, pp. 2.
9 Jan. 175. The Same to the Marquis de Aguilar.
S. E., L. 867, f. 78.
B. M. Add. 28,590,
f. 58.
The High Commander's and Mr. de Granvelle's joint letter from Salses must have informed you of the progress of the negociation, and the difficulties started by king Francis' ministers concerning the restitution of Savoy and other matters. Since then secretary Idiaquez, whom We had dispatched [to France?] with Our answer to certain questions asked by Our commissioners, has come back saying that the French are every day starting fresh difficulties, insisting on the immediate delivery of the duchy of Milan, without their simultaneous restitution of the duke of Savoy of what they once took from him.
Respecting the meeting of the Council, and the offensive alliance against the Turk, the French commissioners showed at first some amount of good-will; but in Our opinion these are mere words without corresponding effect. Though, for the most ample justification of Our views and conduct in this matter of the peace, We had lately offered that should king Francis go to Narbonne, We would willingly come to Perpignan, his commissioners, it seems, were not at all pleased with Our offer, alleging that they did not think the step would lead to anything, but would let their king know of it.
So that in point of fact the state of the negociation is anything but promising, and it is to be doubted whether it will ever come to a good issue. We are disgusted at it, for We sincerely desire peace for the good of Christendom, and to avoid the evils caused by war. Yet, with all that, We are determined to go on with the negociation as long as possible, and during the present truce try and bring the king of France to reason. To that end, should king Francis go to Narbonne, We have again offered to go to Perpignan. If that does not suit him, We have no objection to embark here and land at Nizza; the Pope might also go thither, or if the journey seems too long for him, to some place in Lombardy. King Francis is now master of Turin, and, therefore, an interview might be easily arranged, and with the intervention of the legates, whom His Holiness is now sending, peace might be adjusted.
His Holiness' Nuncio has been informed of all this under reserve that he may advise to Rome. He is now writing and about to send a servant of his with the letter.
Your letters of the 6th and 24th November have been received.—Barcelona, 9 January 1538.
Spanish. Original minute, pp. 4.
11 Jan. 176. The High Commander and Mr. de Granvelle to the Marquis De Aguilar.
S. E. Roma,
L. 867, f. 4.
B. M. Add. 28,590,
f. 61.
On the last day of December 1537, 3rd and 9th inst., we informed your Signory of what had occurred in the negociation of the peace for which we came here. (fn. n1) The enclosed from His Majesty will acquaint you with his answer on the points consulted.
Yesterday, the 10th inst., which was Thursday, at the usual place we met with the cardinal of Lorraine and the Grand Master of France (Anne de Montmorency), when, according to the instructions newly received from the Emperor, We again repeated the offers once made, (fn. n2) as your Signory will see by the enclosed copy of the memorandum which we put into their hands some days before The commissioners' answer was that they had orders from the King, their master, not to begin negociating unless the duchy of Milan was fairly delivered to him immediately or within a very short period of time, telling us at the same time, in courteous terms, that there were many justifiable reasons for their king to ask such a condition, and, although in one way and another we tried to convince them that the Emperor's demands in that particular were perfectly justifiable, and that he asked for nothing unjust or exclusively profitable to himself, all our arguments proved vain, the commissioners insisting that unless Milan were given up to France, they could not accede to any of our demands. Should the delivery be effected (they added) king Francis would see his way to please us. (fn. n3)
Perceiving, however, that there was no security of the King fulfilling his promises respecting the Council, and assistance against the Turk, since his commissioners' offers on those two points were extremely vague, we passed on to the affairs of the duke of Savoy, which king Francis is in conscience bound to settle, as without it the Emperor cannot possibly come to terms. The commissioners' answer was as unsatisfactory as could be, for they said that their king could not and would not restore anything before he himself had been put in possession of Milan,—even then asking to retain two or three fortified places until the cause between him and the duke of Savoy was determined in a court of Law.
With regard to Hesden (Hedin) the commissioners asked for Tournay in return, and when we called upon them to restore to the duke of Savoy his estates, they hinted that we in return ought to give up Navarre to the prince de Labrit, or some good pension whilst the right to that kingdom is legally discussed!!
Nor do they make less difficulty in ratifying the treaties of Madrid and Cambray. We have promised them in the Emperor's name that Milan shall be delivered to France at a fixed time, and when the King himself has fulfilled all and every one of the stipulated conditions, offering of course to furnish any securities that may be asked, since it appears just and reasonable that whilst His Majesty gives the French King such a Duchy as Milan—which is entirely his own—on certain conditions, the Emperor should have to trust the King rather than the King trust the Emperor as to the fulfilment of those conditions.
We again offered them an expedient. We said that should the two princes meet personally, some means might perhaps be found of securing such a blessing as peace. We thought that His Majesty would have no objection to come as far as Perpignan if king Francis himself went to Narbonne, and then we hoped all difficulties might be overcome. They replied, as on a previous occasion, that it was useless for the two princes to meet before their respective commissioners had come to an agreement. We represented to them that, since His Holiness was now sending two cardinals as his legates, who might be the means of helping the negociation and preventing its failure, they ought to wait for the arrival of those cardinals, which was shortly expected. They replied that they did not see the advantage thereof, because the King, their master, persisted in his determination and was not likely to change; and, although both of us did our utmost to persuade them to follow one of the above courses, they obstinately refused and remained firm to their opinion.
We likewise pointed out to the commissioners that should the King refuse to come to these parts, His Holiness would most likely, for so meritorious and laudable purpose as the establishment of peace between Christian princes, take the trouble of going as far as Nizza. His Imperial Majesty then would cross the sea and go to Villafranca, whilst king Francis might repair, if he pleased, to Antibes. Should, moreover, His Holiness consider Nizza too far away from Rome, he might go to Lombardy, and king Francis, who is now in possession of Turin, might meet him. The Emperor, in the meantime, might choose a convenient spot near them, where the interview might take place. In this wise (we said) His Holiness might listen to them both, hear what each had to say, and decide who was right and who was wrong, and then confer on Christendom the great boon of universal peace.
This last proposition was also rejected, the commissioners all the time using the kindest and most flattering words, and saying how much they loved peace, and how ardently they had always tried for it.
As it had been settled between us beforehand that should peace not be concluded at least a truce should be agreed upon between the contracting parties, during which truce the conferences, now about to be suspended, might be renewed, we both agreed to the cessation of hostilities by land and sea, but asked for three days' time to consult His Majesty as to its duration, &c., in the hope that in the meantime the cardinal legates might arrive, and matters improve, the French commissioners remaining at Leocata and we ourselves at Salses. Even so simple a thing as this rendered the French suspicious, and, although the three days' delay was readily granted, the French commissioners would not wait at Leocata as proposed, but went to Narbonne. This is what has occurred up to the present; please inform His Holiness of it.
Your despatches to the Emperor shall be answered shortly. The bearer is the Nuncio's own servant.
Indorsed: "Salses, 1538. To the marquis de Aguilar 11th January 1538. This is the letter which the High Commander and Mr. de Granvelle wrote to him."
Spanish. Original minute. Ciphered, pp. 4½.
17 Jan. 177. The Emperor to High Commander (Cobos) and Mr. de Granvelle.
K. 164, D. 5.
B. M Add. 28,590,
f. 64.
Your letter of the 13th inst., giving an account of the negociations for peace during the present truce has come to hand. No answer is needed on Our part until We hear of the truce having been prorogued according to agreement. The present is merely to inform you of what has passed at this Our court (fn. n4) with the English ambassador whom We received four or five days ago. After putting into Our hands a letter of credence from the King, his master, the ambassador said many things to Us, the substance of which was that he (the King) was and is very desirous of Our friendship and confederacy, and that if We would but respond to his goodwill and wishes in this particular, he, on his part, would not be a defaulter. Among the subjects touched upon by the English ambassador, that of the King's marriage was one. Our answer to that was satisfactory, though couched in general terms, putting off until the next audience the consideration of what concerned the King personally. Again has the ambassador, this very day, addressed Us on the subject, trying to persuade Us, in his master's name, that papal authority and that of the Apostolic See have been mere usurpations since the time of Constantine, and that the donation made by that Emperor was false and never took effect. Which arguments from the ambassador's lips We would not hear of, having dismissed the subject, (fn. n5) though in moderate terms and without asperity of any kind, telling him that whatever Constantine's donation might have been, We were unwilling to introduce novelties in such matters, preferring to leave things as We had found them. The ambassador, moreover, attempted to read to Us certain allegations in writing, which he brought with him, but We declined to hear them, saying that no doubt they were scholastic compositions, and that he had better reserve them until your return home, when you would hear and perhaps also answer them.
After this the ambassador took up the subject of the proposed peace with France. He said he had letters from his colleague (fn. n6) at the court of France, purporting that the French were giving out that, although We had offered to put them in possession of Milan, and to settle the affairs of Savoy to their complete satisfaction, besides other matters in which they were decidedly the gainers, yet they had refused to help to the meeting of the Council, giving people to understand that their refusal was exclusively founded on the respect and esteem they professed for king Henry, his master.
Hearing this, We deemed the opportunity a favourable one to inform the English ambassador of the real truth, which We did then and there, in the very same terms which We had used a few days before with His Holiness' Nuncio and the Venetian ambassador.
Then the ambassador said that in order that the King, his master, might get reliable intelligence of what was going on, he was thinking of sending his own secretary to France with a message to Henry's ambassador at that court for him to forward his letters to England; and, although We suggested that he might wait until your return, and then write more fully on the subject, and at the same time enclose Our answer to the overtures he himself had made in his master's name, yet the ambassador has insisted upon sending his secretary to France with the letters, that he may from thence forward them to England, and return here with an answer. So strongly has he insisted upon this, that We have at last told him to do as he pleases, and, at the same time, entrusted to his secretary this present letter for you, and another for Our ambassador in England, requesting him to see that the one which you will write to Chapuys, in London, reaches its destination. The ambassador accepted on condition that your letter to Chapuys is couched in general terms, without entering into particulars, since his own is to be so conceived, leaving all private matters to be discussed on your return here, so that he himself may have time to get an answer respecting the King's offer of marriage.
Although the English ambassador, as We have already told you, declares that he only intends writing about the peace in general terms, yet he might well be tempted to give details of Our conversation with him. It is, therefore, fit that Our ambassador in England be informed of it; I command you to write at once to him, if you have not done so already, in order that he may be on his guard, and do what is most fit and convenient in the affair.—Barcelona, Thursday the 17th of January 1538.
Signed: "Yo el Rey."
Countersigned: "Idiaquez."
Addressed: "To the High Commander and Mr. de Granvelle, of our Privy Council."
Spanish. Original pp. 3.
19 Jan. 178. The Same to the Same.
1642, D. 5, No. 44.
B. M. Add. 28,590,
f. 68.
On Thursday, after going to bed, your letter of the 16th was delivered to us. Yesterday evening that of the 17th was received, together with those of Our ambassador in Venice. The cardinal legate (Jacobacis) himself arrived on Thursday late in the evening, to whom We gave audience yesterday.
The commission you gave to Councillor Cornelis We approve of; when he himself returns with the answer, or writes from where he is, it will be time to take a resolution in the matter.
(After describing the conference with the legate in almost the same terms as in the letter to the marquis de Aguilar (No. 163) the Emperor continues :
On the same day (the 17th) We gave audience to the Venetian ambassadors, who spoke long about the League in conformity with Our ambassador's despatches. (fn. n7) We answered them in general terms, saying that We would do on our part what was just and convenient, and that We never failed in fulfilling Our engagements.
They spoke also about the peace which is now being negociated. Having explained to them how matters stood, they observed that their Signory, having ordered their secretary (fn. n8) in England to inform the king of that country of the league and confederacy against the Turk formed between His Holiness, Ourselves, and Venice, and exhort him to join it, or at least to intervene in some way, the King seemed offended at its having been made without his participation. The ambassadors, therefore, begged Us to try and see what could be done towards inducing king Henry to join the said league.
Our answer was that certainly We would do so with great pleasure and good-will, as We fully intend, and that should peace with France not be made,—which We apprehend may be the case,—We think that by disposing of the duchy of Milan in favor of the infante Dom Luiz of Portugal, and having him married to the princess of England, We might be in a position to conclude some treaty of alliance with king Henry to the prejudice and damage of France.
For the above reasons, and because We are unwilling at present to express Our ideas on the subject until We entirely lose the hope of peace, We avoided being more explicit as regards the League; nor did We give a categorical answer on this and other points to the ambassadors for transmission to their Signory, waiting for your return here, which, We hope, will take place shortly.
At the duchess of Savoy's decease We have been sadly grieved, as vou may well imagine, for many reasons, and principally because the Empress, to whom she was closely related, (fn. n9) will feel her death immensely. Yet as such things are natural, and death cannot be avoided and must come sooner or later, We ought to conform to God's will. Don Enrique de Toledo (fn. n10) last night received orders from Us to go to her immediately, and after consulting the cardinal of Toledo, the High Commander of Castile, (fn. n11) the marchioness of Lombay, and the Mistress of the Robes, (fn. n12) impart the melancholy news to her in the best manner possible so that she may be sooner consoled. Don Enrique will afterwards go to Portugal, and condole equally with the King and the rest of the family. The new Portuguese ambassador (fn. n13) has arrived; he has been informed in general terms of the progress of the negociations for the peace. The person who is to go to Savoy to condole with the duke Carlo III. has not yet been chosen. When the Duke's ambassador arrives We will take care to have one appointed.—Barcelona, 19 Jan. 1538.
Signed: "Yo el Rey."
Countersigned: "Idiaquez."
Spanish. Original, pp. 3½.
Jan. 179. The Emperor to the Marquis de Aguilar.
S. E., L. 867,
f. 192.
B. M. Add. 28,590,
f. 66.
Cardinal Jacobacis, His Holiness' legate, arrived here, at Barcelona, on the 17th of January. His Majesty granted him audience on the following day, the 18th. Spoke at length of his commission, and of the conversation he had held with the king of France. The legate had warmly exhorted him, in His Holiness' name, to put an end to his waverings and hesitation, &c.
The King's answer was that he felt grateful for His Holiness' interference in the matter, as well as for his good offices in procuring a peace between him and Us. He (the King) knew already of his coming, for the High Commander and Mr. de Grandvelle had announced this to the Grand Master at Perpignan. No one (the King added) was more desirous of peace than he himself was, and therefore he felt very glad at his arrival, though he feared that unless We gave way in certain things, peace would not be made. King Francis' chief objections, as it would seem from the legates report, were: 1stly. That the delivery of the duchy of Milan ought to be made within a shorter period than that of the three years specified in the memorandum, with such securities in the way of castles and fortresses as might be agreed upon between Us two. 2ndly. That neither the meeting of the Council nor the undertaking against the Turk could possibly take place or be of real service in so short a space of time.
Our answer to the above objections is: That it would be an imprudent act on Our part, and one which all parties would blame and condemn, and might moreover be the cause of greater evils in future, to dispossess Ourselves of what is Our own and is actually in Our hands, except on such terms and with such securities for insuring the peace and welfare of Christendom as the King himself pretends to wish for. Neither His Holiness nor any other prince desirous of peace could advise king Francis to follow such a course, much less to ask for a shorter period in the delivery. That period, in fact, ought to be extended instead of shortened, inasmuch as the present year is as good as lost and no invasion of Turkish territory can take place before the spring of the next.
That is, in Our opinion, the reason why the period of the delivery ought to be lengthened instead of shortened. The king of France ought to trust Us, for otherwise no proper security could be found or taken elsewhere, otherwise it might come to this, that whilst We were laboring to confer a boon on Christendom, We ourselves should be cheated and the Christians thrown into greater confusion and danger than before. Peace during our lives, or at least for a long period of time, seems to Us in the present state of things the only beneficial course for the parties concerned to pursue.
Many other things did king Francis say to the legate, which We need not repeat here. We did Our best to refute the former's arguments, at the same time begging the legate to write home arid acquaint His Holiness with the whole. That you yourself may, when an opportunity occurs, do the same, I have ordered that a copy of this "memorandum" be sent to you.
PS.—We forgot to say that after a good deal of argumentation king Francis concluded by saying to the legate: "You may write to His Holiness that in order to prove my readiness to treat of peace, I declare that a suspension of hostilities seems to me preferable to the present state of things; the truce ought evidently to be prolonged or extended, as the Emperor has proposed. During the prorogation the affair of Savoy may be looked into and discussed between His Holiness, myself, and the Emperor's friends."
Spanish. Original. Almost entirely in cipher, pp. 4.


  • n1. That is at Salses in the Roussillon.
  • n2. Here follow three lines crossed over in the original minute, as follows: "Which is to give the investiture of Milan to the duke of Orleans, on condition of his marrying the daughter of the king of the Romans, and of the King, his father, helping in the meeting of the Council.
  • n3. Again some lines crossed over: "offering that were that done he (king Francis) would be ready to stir himself, and promote the Council, as befitted a most Christian king; and that respecting the Turk he would do the same and help with all his power against him. If he knew what contingent in men and money he was expected to furnish, he would give securities," &c.
  • n4. The Emperor was still at Barcelona. The ambassador was Sir Thomas Wyatt.
  • n5. "A lo qual todo por Nos le fué cortado el bilo, echandole fuera con palabras blandas, sin aspereza."
  • n6. Sir John Wallop.
  • n7. Those of Lope de Soria.
  • n8. Secretary Hironimo Zuccato, since January 1535. See Part II., p. 492.
  • n9. The duchess of Savoy (Maria Beatriz) was the daughter of Dom Manuel, king of Portugal (1495–1521). She was born in 1504, and married to Carlo III. duke of Savoy, in 1520. Isabella, the Empress, was her sister.
  • n10. A son of Don Pedro, the viceroy of Naples. His name was D. Fadrique de Toledo Osorio (not Enrique, as in the text), third marquis de Villafranca.
  • n11. As to the High Commander of Castille his name was Gutierre Lopez de Padilla.
  • n12. The marchioness of Lombay, Doña Leonor de Castro.
  • n13. The successor of Alvaro Mendes de Vasconcellos as ambassador to the Emperor.