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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April 1536, 1-20
|1 April.||43. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.|
Rep. P. C.,
Fasc. 230, 1–4.
|Having three days ago received letters from the Queen Regent of Flanders, (fn. n1) addressed to this king, in answer to his application for the extradition of the two rebels escaped from this kingdom, (fn. n2) about which Your Majesty has no doubt been already informed, I sent to inquire from Master Cromwell when it would be agreeable for the King to receive me, that I might then present my letters to him. Cromwell's answer was that the King would like to see me at any time, but that if it suited me better, or if it was more convenient for me to communicate to him (Cromwell) the substance of the said letters, I was quite welcome to do so at any hour I liked, and would then get an immediate answer. Yesterday morning, and again in the evening, Cromwell sent me another message to this effect,—that if I wished to avoid the trouble of going to him, he himself would willingly call on me, as it was his duty to do. Not choosing, however, to abuse the Secretary's courtesy on this occasion, and yet considering it my duty to present the said letters, I thought it better and more expedient to address myself to him rather than to the King. My purpose in so doing was twofold; I did not wish in the least to countenance the King's assertion to the French ambassador the other day, namely, that a courier had come with despatches, which I had not made known to anyone, and that Your Majesty had sent that courier expressly for the purpose of soliciting from him (the King) a loan of money, and making, besides, a number of fine offers. As Cromwell, in appearance at least, seems very desirous of the preservation and increase of friendship of his master's with Your Majesty, and is daily doing good offices in that respect—not only pointing out those measures which he considers most fit under the circumstances, but advising also of his own accord, and working for the accomplishment of our mutual wishes —I thought I had better go myself and see him at his own rooms, when I might perhaps find out what he has in his head, since for some time back he has been saying that he wants to see me in private.|
|Accordingly yesterday, after dinner, I called. Cromwell found the Queen's letter excellent, and expressed his approval of it by repeating, five or six times, "This is indeed a very good commencement for the guidance and successful issue of the affair in hand, namely, the consolidation of the friendship between the Emperor and the King, my master. I can assure you that my master is now more inclined than ever—and so are all the members of his Privy Council, without exception—to foster and increase that very friendship; and that for a long time back there has often been in that body some idea of dispatching a considerable embassy to the Emperor. The King, however, I must say, has always been of a contrary opinion; he thinks that until a categorical answer comes to the overtures he himself made to me, about Christmas of last year, no such embassy should be sent" Cromwell went still further; he assured me on his faith and honor that the King, his master, whatever he might have done in past times, had of late entered into no treaty in France, Germany, or elsewhere likely to prejudice the alliance and friendship he now has with Your Majesty. Even lately, having been requested by two agents of the duke of Ghelders, sent to this country for the purpose of contracting the same sort of league and alliance as king Francis had made with his master, king Henry had answered that since both parties were now at peace with each other, he saw no necessity for such a league; and that even if it were required, the keeping and preservation of former alliances, principally those which he himself had with Your Majesty, had to be attended to previously. With which answer, short and concise as it was, the two personages sent by the Duke (fn. n3) had returned home without obtaining further hearing.|
|Cromwell has confirmed the information he gave me some time ago respecting the interview which this King and he of Scotland intended holding at York next summer, adding that most likely, after the meeting, both would come together to London. I imagine, however, that if king James ever did agree to the said interview, it was in the hope of persuading this one to grant him the hand, of the Princess, his daughter; and that now that he has heard from his ambassadors in France that his marriage with the daughter of Vendosme (fn. n4) is already settled—of which James knew nothing when he dispatched his ambassador, who is now here for the purpose of arranging the interview—I should think that he must have changed his mind in that respect.|
|The other day, as the young marquis [of Dorset], the dowager countess of Childra (Kildare), Monsieur de Montague, and several others, were dining with me at this embassy, the last-named Lord, after complaining of the bad state of affairs in this country, (fn. n5) went on to say that this King's mistress and Secretary Cromwell were on bad terms just now, and that there had been a talk of a new marriage for this King. Which rumour agrees well with my own news from the court of France, where, according to letters I have received, courtiers maintain that this king has actually applied, for the hand of Francis' daughter. Hearing this, and for the purpose of procuring information, and, if possible, learning what truth there was in the report, I called on Cromwell, and told him that I had purposely avoided visiting him many a time for fear of arousing his Royal mistress' suspicions, owing to the reasons he himself had explained to me. I recollected very well his telling me that she (Anne Boleyn) would like to see his head off his shoulders. Such a threat, I said, was constantly before my eyes, causing me great care and anxiety, and I sincerely wished him a more gracious mistress than she was, one more grateful for the immense services he (Cromwell) had rendered the King. He ought to take care not to offend or over-irritate her, or else he must renounce all hope of that perfect reconciliation we both were trying to bring about. I therefore begged and entreated him, in such an event, to guard against her attacks more effectually than the cardinal (Wolsey) had done, which I hoped his dexterity and prudence would be able to accomplish. If it were true, as I had been told, that the King, his master, was now thinking of a fresh marriage, that would, no doubt, be the way of preserving him (Cromwell) from many inconveniences, and likewise the best thing for the King to do, disappointed, as he had hitherto been, of male issue. Whatever might be said or preached on that score from the pulpit, the King knew very well that his marriage to Anne could never be held as valid, for many reasons, which I left to his consideration; and although from another marriage, more legitimate than his last, the King might possibly have male issue, which would eventually turn out to the Princess' prejudice, yet the love and affection I bore the King, and him in particular, as well as my earnest desire for the peace, honour, and prosperity of England, made me wish that he (Cromwell) should have another royal mistress, not out of hatred of Anne Boleyn, for she had never done me any harm, but for his own sake.|
|Cromwell seemed to take my words in good part, and thanked me for the affection I professed to him, &c., saying that he was well aware of the precarious nature of human affairs, to say nothing of those appertaining to royal courts; he had for a long time back known this, having had continually before his eyes several examples of it of a domestic nature. He had, however, admitted to himself that the day might come when fate would strike him as it had struck his predecessors in office: then he would arm himself with patience and place himself for the rest in the hands of God. True, it was, as I had hinted to him, that he would have to implore God's help if he wished to escape from dangers and inconveniences of that sort; and that he did, and he would, besides, do his utmost to avoid danger. After that Cromwell began to excuse himself for having promoted the King's marriage [to Anne]. True, it was (he said), that seeing the King so much bent upon it, and so determined, he (Cromwell) had paved the way towards it. Although the King, his master, was still inclined to pay his court to ladles, (fn. n6) yet it was generally believed that in future he would lead a more moral life than hitherto—a chaste and marital one with his present Queen. This Cromwell said to me in such a cold indifferent manner that I had a strong suspicion that he meant just the contrary. Indeed, I observed whilst he said so, that not knowing what mien to put on, he leant against the window close to which we were both standing, and put his hand to his mouth to prevent the smile on his lips, or to conceal it altogether from me should it come on; adding, shortly after: "of one thing, however, you may be sure, namely, that should the King, my master, want another wife, it is certainly not among the French that he will look for one." After which he said that upon the arrival of Your Majesty's answer to the overtures that had been made to me, we would treat of all those matters, and come to an understanding upon the whole. At last, when I was about to depart, he said that although I had once refused to accept a horse, which he wanted to present to me, now I could not, without suspicion of anger or ill-will on my part, decline the gift of one which the earl of Sussex had presented to him the day before; and I must add that, whatever my excuses, I was literally obliged to accept the present.|
|It would seem to me as if the agreement made by the Lubeckians with the duke of Olsten (Holstein) has not pleased the English, for, happening to mention it in the course of conversation, Cromwèll called the people of that town (Lubeck) villains and scoundrels, (fn. n7) adding that notwith standing the said agreement lately made by them, and that the duke of Holstein was himself king of Denmark now, yet his master, the King, having lately had occasion to write to him on the release of certain English ships captured by his people, had addressed him as duke, not as king, telling him, besides, that he knew very well that there lived another legitimate ling of Denmark, (fn. n8) who had daughters, on whom the crown might rightly devolve one of these days.|
|Whilst on this subject, Cromwell complained to me that very lately Dr, Adam, about whom I wrote to Your Majesty, and a servant of this king, who accompanied him, had been arrested in Flanders, just at the time when they were returning from Lubeck and Denmark. Cromwell begged me to write again for their liberation, a thing which I could not well refuse, and have already done, though, at the same time, I have stated my own private opinion to the councillors in the Low Countries, namely, that without previous consent from the Emperor, and the close examination and confession of the prisoners, they ought not to be liberated. The doctor is a very sharp fellow (ung tres fin galant), who has been the cause of a good deal of mischief.|
|This King and the members of his Council are at present very much engaged in making regulations and appointing officers for the administration and collection of the lands as well as revenues confiscated from the Church, and formerly belonging to the monasteries and abbeys that are to be suppressed and pulled down. I am told that the number of religious houses thus suppressed exceeds 300, and the amount of revenue to be collected is upwards of one hundred and twenty thousand ducats, (fn. n9) besides the silver plate, chalices, reliquaries, vestments, and other church ornaments, the bells and leaden roofs of the houses, the "catle" and furniture belonging to them—all of which will fall to the King's share—and will amount, as they say, to an incalculable sum of money. (fn. n10)|
|Meanwhile, all these lords are trying to farm out Church lands, of which the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk have already had a good portion allotted to them. I am told, besides, that although Cromwell was at one time the adviser and promoter of the demolition of the English convents and monasteries, yet perceiving the great inconveniences likely to arise from that measure, he has since made attempts to thwart it, but -that the King had resolutely declined to make any modification of it whatever, and has even been somewhat indignant against his secretary for proposing such a thing.|
|The prelates here are daily meeting in the archbishop of Canterbury's rooms, to discuss certain articles, as well as the reformation of church ceremonies. I am given to understand that they do not admit of Purgatory, nor of the observance of Lent and other fasts, nor of the festivals of Saints and worship of images, which is the shortest way to arrive at the plundering of the church of St. Thomas of Canterbury and other places of resort for pilgrims in this country. And I am told that the above-mentioned prelates are now busily engaged in framing an answer to certain writings of Luther and of his followers, which this King's ambassador [in Saxony], a bishop, has sent them, in which writings the said Luther and his disciples maintain that this king's first marriage was permissible, (fn. n11) but that whether or no, that the legitimacy of the Princess can in no wise be questioned. And, moreover, it is an ascertained fact that the said ambassador bishop, in order, no doubt, to please the King, his master, has written to say that he fancies Luther and his followers are of a different opinion, but dare not say so openly for fear of Your Majesty.|
|Just at this moment I receive a message from the marchioness [of Dorset], (fn. n12) confirming the information I once had from Master Geliot, (fn. n12) namely, that some days ago, the King being here in London, and, the young Miss Seymour, to whom he is paying court at Greenwich, he sent her a purse full of sovereigns, together with a letter, and that the young damsel, to whom he is paying court, after respectfully kissing the letter, returned it to the messenger without opening it, and then falling on her knees, begged the royal messenger to entreat the King in her name to consider that she was a well-born damsel, the daughter of good and honourable parents without blame or reproach of any kind; there was no treasure in this world that she valued as much as her honour, and on no account would she lose it, even if she were to die a thousand deaths. That if the King wished to make her a present of money, she requested him to reserve it for such a time as God would be pleased to send her some advantageous marriage. (fn. n13)|
|The marchioness also sent me word that in consequence of this refusal the King's love for the said damsel had marvelously increased, and that he had said to her that not only did he praise and commend her virtuous behaviour on the occasion, but that in order to prove the sincerity of his love, and the honesty of his views towards her, he had resolved not to converse with her in future, except in the presence of one of her relatives, and that for this reason the King had taken away from Master Cromwell's apartments in the palace a room, to which he can, when he likes, have access through certain galleries without being seen, of which room the young lady's elder brother and his wife have already taken possession for the express purpose of her repairing thither. But I hear that the young lady has been well tutored and warned by those among this King's courtiers who hate the concubine, telling her not in any wise to give in to the King's fancy unless he makes her his Queen, upon which the damsel is quite resolved. She has likewise been advised to tell the King frankly, and without reserve, how much his subjects abominate the marriage contracted with the concubine, and that not one considers it legitimate, and that this declaration ought to be made in the presence of witnesses of the titled nobility of this kingdom, who are to attest the truth of her statements should the King request them on their oath and fealty to do so. The marchioness wishes that I or some one else, on Your Majesty's part, would take this affair in hand, and certainly, if my opinion on such a point is needed, I do not hesitate to say that whoever could help in its execution would do a meritorious work, as it would prove a further security for the person of the Princess, a remedy for the heretical doctrines and practices of the concubine—the principal cause of the spread of Lutheranism in this country—as well as be the means of clearing the King from the taint of a most abominable and adulterous marriage. The Princess herself would be glad of this, even if she were eventually deprived of her rights to the English crown by the birth of male children. I shall again inform her to-day of what is going on, and, with her advice, will act in such a manner that if we cannot gain, at least we shall lose nothing by the event—London, 1 Apr. 1536.|
|Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."|
|Addressed: "To the Emperor."|
|French. Original. pp. Almost entirely in cipher.|