Spain: February 1539

Pages 108-119

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 1, 1538-1542. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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February 1539, 1-28

7–21 Feb. 38. Luis Sarmiento de Mendoza to the Same.
S.E., Port, Leg. 371,
f. 288.
B. M. Add. 28,591,
f. 21.
Is in receipt of the Emperor's letters ordering him to levy the embargo on merchant ships and storeships (urcas) belonging to Biscay, and allow them to go tree; which has been done, having first taken security from two of them [of 300 tons] that they shall be at Cadiz towards the middle of March. (fn. n1)
He did right to inform Us of the event, and try to set them at peace. At the entrance of the port of Lisbon upwards of XX. English and seven or eight French merchant vessels were anchored. Their crews happening to land they quarrelled, and came to blows; the English being the more numerous got the better of the French, upon which the latter began to cry at the top of their voices, "Empire! Empire!" Then the Biscayans joined them and fought the English, many of whom were wounded. The King's officials having interfered and put an end to the quarrel, each nation returned to their ships, though the English were not allowed to sail until three days after, when the Biscayan and French had left.
Dom Aleixo, the ambassador, has been recalled, and is to be succeeded at the Imperial Court by Dom Francisco Lobo, the same person who accompanied the Infante Dom Luyz to Barcelona.
In future, whenever the matter is important, the ambassadors' letters should be ciphered. A most abominable event has occurred here. In three churches of this city placards have been affixed, containing the most detestable heresies that could be imagined. To judge from the scandalous allegations against the Church, the author of the placards must have been a literary Jew. A most strict inquiry has been made, the King (Joaõ III.) having promised a reward of XV. thousand ducats to whoever should give information respecting the writer. Notwithstanding that, and the imprisonment of a number of newly converted Christians, fresh placards appeared the other morning in the markets and other public spots of this city, with a quatrain under them stating that all inquiries would be vain and fruitless, as the placards were the work, not of a Castillian, French, Italian or Portuguese subject, but of an Englishman. The placard, however, has given such great offence to the inhabitants of this city, that had not the King been here (at Lisbon), certainly there would have been a massacre of the new Christians, (fn. n2) like that under the reign of Dom Manoel for a lesser cause. All this proceeds from there not being in Portugal a Holy Inquisition. It is not the King's fault; but His Holiness has granted so many breves in favor of the new Christians, and especially the one lately issued, that the King's hands are tied and he can do nothing.
By letters of the 10th of February the arrival of a ship from New Spain is announced, bringing home some gold. The merchants to whom her cargo was consigned have asked him (Sarmiento) to procure that they may not be obliged to pay the tithe upon the gold, alleging that the ship was originally bound for Seville, but was compelled to put into Lisbon by stress of weather and by a storm that caught them at sea. That is their excuse; but in his (Sarmiento's) opinion the reason is, that besides the registered gold on which a tithe is due, they have on board a quantity of the same precious metal. Will ask the King's permission to allow the owners to send the gold to Seville by land.
News has come that the Empress (Isabella) had been dangerously ill; she was better then, but had not entirely recovered. The King is writing to his ambassador to visit her in his name.
The King asked him (Sarmiento) if he knew anything of a message which it was reported the queen of France (Eleanor) had sent to the Emperor, proposing the marriage of her daughter (Maria) to the eldest son of the queen of the Romans. Suspecting that some of his late despatches had been opened, he [Sarmiento] thought it better to speak the truth on the subject. He, therefore, owned having lately received a letter from the Emperor, in which it was announced that a marriage of that sort had really been proposed by the Most Christian queen of France; and that both she (the Queen) and the king of the Romans (Ferdinand) had requested him (the Emperor) to promote it with all his might. But that, although the latter considered that marriage fitting and beneficial to the parties concerned, yet he would do nothing in the matter until he knew his (the King's) will. That when the Most Christian Queen again proposed the marriage of her daughter (Maria) with the duke of Orleans (Charles), the Emperor had flatly refused his consent.
The King's answer was that ho knew of that by letters from France; the Infanta, his daughter, was already a grown woman, and it was quite natural to look out for a dowry and a husband for her. His own sister, besides, was not so old that she could not wait four or five years more. If, however, she were to be married now, it would be better for her and for all parties that the duke of Orleans should be her husband, especially after the late events and his own relations with France. (fn. n3)
The queen (Catalina) spoke to him (Sarmiento) in the same mood, and in almost similar words; in fact, most probably she was instructed by her husband, the King, to do so, adding that her interest in the matter was evident; she would be justified in procuring a husband for her own daughter, already a woman, rather than for the King's sister. (fn. n4) His [Sarmiento's] argument was the difference of ages, the Infanta Maria being already a woman (muger), whereas the other is but a girl Thinks, on the whole, that the King will put off the Infanta's marriage as long as he can, to avoid having to pay the money of her dower.—Feb. 1539.
Spanish. Original. pp. 5.
13 Feb. 39. The Marquis De Aguilar to the Same.
S.E., L. 868, f. l.
B.M.Add. 28,591,
Wrote on the 19th ult. reporting the arrival of prince Andrea Doria, and his conversation with the Pope on the future campaign against the Turk. On the 24th, and after the Prince's departure for Genoa, Capt. Juan Doria arrived with despatches from the Emperor, who went immediately to call on His Holiness, and confirmed in full all that the Prince and I myself had previously told him respecting the military preparations for the enterprise, &c. His Holiness seemed perfectly satisfied with the Emperor's conduct in the affair, and yet could not help feeling certain scruples and apprehensions concerning the attitude of England and of the Lutherans, and principally of king Francis himself, whose wavering and inconstant humour could not be depended upon; "For (said he to Capt. Doria) it is worth considering that the very moment the king of England and the Lutherans had knowledge of what had been done at Nizza, and afterwards at Aigues Mortes, fearing lest a peace between the Empire and France should be concluded, he and they were terribly frightened at it, and the latter, without being asked or solicited, made through the elector marquis of Brandanburque (Brandenburg) certain overtures indicative of their wish to come to some agreement on matters of faith with the king of the Romans; whereas nowadays not only do they refuse to be spoken to respecting that, as cardinal Brusino, (fn. n5) the Legate, and my Nuncio in Germany write, but are actually stirring and making levies of men, and I am certain that the king of England is helping them with money." (fn. n6)
His Holiness further thinks that this last would not be a sufficient reason for the English Lutherans to help the German, were it not for some old understanding with France, which, though suspended for a time, is now going on again, upon which they (the German Lutherans) no doubt found their chief design. King Francis not wishing to help in the expedition against the Turk, which he would otherwise be obliged to attend as the Most Christian, will naturally do his best to prevent the same, knowing very well that all the personal reputation and glory to be gained by the Emperor will result in detriment to his own estimation and honor, and in greater and more anxious fear of His Imperial Majesty's power.
Venice.—Comendador Giron.—Lope de Soria.
The bishop of Transylvania, ambassador of king John, (fn. n7) has called upon him [the Marquis] with the assurance that his master is not only willing to observe the truce with the king of the Romans, but has particularly commanded him to communicate to him his business at Rome and elsewhere, consult him, and follow his advice in every respect. He says he came by way of Venice for the purpose of exhorting and persuading the Signory to continue in the Holy League, and of asking their help for the war which the two kings, Ferdinand and he, intend carrying on against the Turk in Hungary. He (the Bishop) comes also for the purpose of procuring the confirmation of several of his own colleagues in Hungary, alleging that should His Holiness refuse his master's application, it might perhaps become an excuse for the introduction of the sect of Luther into those parts. A cardinal's hat for the archbishop of Collocia (fn. n8) is also one of the ambassador's charges; but to judge from his words the Archbishop and he cannot be great friends.
Three days ago a nephew of Mr. de Velly, the ambassador, arrived here from France. He came immediately to inform me of the purpose of his mission. It is to ask for a cardinal's hat for the archbishop of Orleans, (fn. n9) a relative of Mme. de Tampas (Etampes), and he is prepared to say, in his master's name, according to a memorandum he has with him, and which he showed to me, that he [king Francis] expected to be treated in this particular as other Christian princes have been. Xalon's (fn. n10) hat ought not to be set to his account, inasmuch as the Pope himself had promised it to the cardinal and duke of Lorraine, both persons in favor of whom His Holiness was bound to do something. Neither was that of the archbishop of Milan, (fn. n11) for that hat was granted not at his request, but in virtue of the agreement made with the Duke, his brother, a person of quality and merits well deserving of such dignity. If His Holiness did not do him that favor, he could not do less than resent it. The Pope's answer was, by way of excuse, that the Emperor had once noticed the great number of hats given to France. Hearing this I could not but start and say: "I wonder much that His Holiness can make an assertion of that sort, because neither during the last war, much less since the truce, have I spoken to His Holiness about it, nor have I received instructions from the Emperor to that effect" ....
On the 10th His Holiness had an answer from Miçer Latino, his chamberlain, respecting the affairs he had negociated in France.
Enclosed is a copy of the report which ambassador Rincon is said to have sent to the achbishop of Ragusa (fn. n12) concerning the armaments of the Turk for this present year. It was forwarded to the Pope by cardinal Trivalzio, brother of the bishop of Ragusa. But it seems as if the faith to be attached to the report ought to be measured by the intentions of the writer and those of the Cardinal who forwarded it to His Holiness, both of whom have hitherto shown themselves more Turks than those of Anatolia.
Signora Costanza Trenes has often applied to me to remind the Emperor of a petition of her's. She wants the bishopric of Pamplona for her son, the bishop and camarlengo of the Pope.—Rome, 13 Feb. 1539.
Signed: "El marques de Aguilar."
Spanish. Original. Partly ciphered. pp. 6.
15 Feb. 40. The Answer to the English Ambassador concerning the proposed Marriage alliances.
S. E. L. 806, f. 81.
B. M. 28,591, f. 41.
The Emperor, willing to attend to the pressing requests which the English ambassadors have made, and are now making, both to His Imperial Majesty and to the dowager queen of Hungary in Flanders, that a definitive answer be given respecting the closer friendship and alliance between the said Emperor and King, as well as respecting the marriage of the above-mentioned king of England and the illustrious dowager duchess of Milan, the Emperor's answer is as follows:
With regard to the closer alliance and friendship it would seem as if the treaties existing between the said king of England and His Imperial Majesty were so good, efficient, and well established for both parties as to require no innovation or change, especially now that the circumstances under which the negociations began have materially changed, owing to the indissoluble friendship since made between His Imperial Majesty and the Most Christian king of France, in which friendship and peace both monarchs wish the king of England to participate.
Respecting the proposed marriage, His Imperial Majesty has always wished, and would still wish, that it could be effected with, sufficient security. Such is, for instance, the Papal dispensation for the marriage, owing to the close affinity and relationship between the king of England and the lady in question, without which dispensation the marriage, as the king of England knows full well, would not be legitimate or lawful.
The King ought also to consider the gravity and importance of the case, for although it has been put forward that, owing to the ecclesiastical superiority now recognized in England, the King himself might dispense, it stands to reason that such a dispensation could satisfy neither the Duchess, nor her parents and allies; for even in the event of her trusting entirely in the honesty and good faith of the King, and believing that no difficulty would arise during the King's lifetime, yet a thing so important ought to be made permanently secure, not only as regards the scruples arising from the very signature of the treaty, but owing also to the many inconveniences likely to result for the Duchess, and the children of her marriage especially, should the king of England die before her.
Should the above-mentioned difficulty be removed, as required by the above considerations, and as being indeed well worthy of attention, then, in that case, the affair might at once be proceeded with, and all minor points settled, provided, however, the King himself became more tractable, and His Imperial Majesty were to respond with sincerity. The latter begs to be excused if—in duty bound towards the said Duchess, and her allies, and desirous also of the King's welfare, fearing the contentions and disputes that might arise should not the marriage in question be effected and secured, as is fit and proper—he has felt himself obliged to make the preceding statement.—Toledo, 15 Feb. 1539.
Spanish. Original corrected draft. p. 1½. (fn. n13)
25 Feb. 41. Lope de Soria to the Emperor.
S. E., L. 1314,
ff. 144–7.
B. M. 28,591, f. 45.
Relates his negociations with the Signory accompanied by Commander Giron. Is sorry to hear that the latter, who took his despatches of the 3rd inst., had not yet quitted Genoa, but had given them in charge to Camillo Colonna. Had the Commander embarked at Genoa, as proposed, he might have given a more detailed account of the Signory's excuses for not proceeding with the armament of her galleys, and so forth, as briskly as they promised and as it was expected they would do.
The Signory has appointed another captain-general of the sea, one Giovan Moro, who is at present governor of Candia, and is, as they say, a brave man. The cause of his appointment is that Vicencio Capelo, who formerly held that charge, has returned here [to Venice] so weakened by disease that he cannot do good service. He (Capelo) has lately spoken very disparagingly of prince Doria, adding that the captain could not possibly have acted so badly as he did [in the affair of Castilnovo] unless it were with the consent and will of the Emperor. The Signory for many reasons has given orders that Capelo's report should be kept secret; but that general before coming here had already spoken his mind to so many persons that the precautions taken will be useless. Some who hate the Prince for no other reason than his being a Genoese, believe in the accusation. Has done all he could in defence of the Prince, and will continue to do so.
The duke of Urbino (Guidobaldo della Rovere) has sent here two ambassadors to negociate with the Signory for the charge of captain-general; but he (Soria) hears that the Signory has no intention at present to appoint him or any other person to that office. They have, nevertheless, offered him a condotta of men-at-arms and light horse if he will accept it, of which they have some doubt, knowing that the Duke has sent a gentleman to His Imperial Majesty, begging to be taken into his service. Has told those who have come to him on the Duke's behalf that he ought to accept the "condotta" of these people, for the Emperor has no post to give him at present.
The dowager marchioness of Mantua died on the 14th.
On the 3rd the archbishop of Colocia (fn. n14) arrived here and remained until the 17th, suffering from gout. He left this for the court of the king of the Romans, and will thence return to his master [king John of Hungary]. He professes to be a good servant of the Empire, and has begged him [Soria] to recommend him for a cardinal's hat, besides speaking to him of his master, of the kingdom of Hungary, and of three more affairs of which he spoke to him at Milan. The hat, he fancies, the Emperor is actually obliged to procure for him; he has naturally exaggerated the importance of Hungary, which he says ought to be defended against the Turk; but has said nothing about the particulars of the peace between his master and the king of the Romans.
Lorenzo Gritti, the bastard son of the late duke Andrea Gritti, left for Constantinople secretly at the beginning of this month, some say for the purpose of recovering the property left by his two brothers Luigi and Giorgo deceased; others for fear of being sent to gaol, because, whilst his father Andrea was living, they found his own wife hung in a room of his palace, and her parents would not pardon him. This departure of Lorenzo for Constantinople is differently talked of by others, who maintain that he has secret orders from the Signory to treat of peace or truce with the Turk, and as this might reach the Emperor's ears, he (Soria) has thought it fit to inform him. It must, however, be observed that the Dux himself and some of the Dicci have assured him that there is no truth in the report, and that Lorenzo is going to Constantinople exclusively for his own private affairs.
Nevertheless he (Soria) has been told by a trustworthy person that Lorenzo Gritti bears a commission from the Signory and Council of the Ten to negociate with Ayás Bassá, and if vox Populi be Vox Dei, as is generally understood, it must be said that peace is likely to be concluded somehow between this Republic and the Turk. Yet it must be observed that the rumour has its origin in the desire all here have of peace, and in the departure of Lorenzo Gritti for Constantinople at this present juncture, rather than in any overtures that may have been made in certain quarters. Wishing to ascertain the fact, I myself called the other day on the Doge and asked him on what business Lorenzo had gone to Constantinople, telling him at the same time of the rumours that were afloat. The Doge answered as above—Lorenzo had no commission whatever from him or from the Council of the Ten; he had gone to Constantinople exclusively for his own affairs, &c.
Taxes imposed by the Signory to defray the expenses of the armament against the Turk, &c.
Cannot guess how the report has originated, and taken deep root here, that Your Majesty, in connexion with the king of France, with His Holiness' consent and will, is about to take charge of the undertaking against England, and bestow that kingdom, on the duke of Orleans after having him married either to the daughter of the king of the Romans (Ferdinand) or to the princess [Mary] of England, That the Most Christian King and his sons are to renounce their titles to the duchy of Milan, whilst Your Majesty will take possession of the rest of Italy beyond the Alps. Is continually asked what he knows about these matters. His answer is that he knows nothing, and, although he does not say so to them, he fancies that Your Majesty would not like to aggrandize France more than it is. The rumour, he believes, has originated in the departure of cardinal Pole, who has gone to Your Majesty on a mission from His Holiness, and many think that owing to that the undertaking against the Turk will not take place this year. Has considered it his duty to say this much, for ambassadors are in duty bound to report all they hear and learn.
Received Your Majesty's letter of the 24th, to which no answer is needed. Both commander Giron and he (Soria) called on the Doge, and communicated to him Your Majesty's wise and prudent remarks. His answer was in general terms that the Signory will not be in fault when required.
With regard to the Papal Nuncio and his formal declaration of His Holiness' fears that the undertaking against the Turk could not be carried out this year owing to several causes, and therefore, that it was fit to look out for the means of obtaining a suspension of arms or a truce with the Infidel through the intervention of France, he (Soria) answered that he wondered at such a proposal, and wished to know from whom it came. Having consulted Aguilar as to this, he writes that His Holiness is as well disposed as ever he was, and that no consideration, not even that of an attack on England, will prevail on him to propose the suspension of the expedition against the Turk. This is what Aguilar writes; but he (Soria) knows for certain that the Pope has written to this Signory that it will be impossible to carry out the enterprise this year, even in case of Your Majesty attending it personally, and as these Venetians are aware of His Holiness' wish that the enterprise against England be carried out before all things, the common belief is that Your Majesty will not go thither in person, nor will the expedition take place; whilst the hatred, which they know the Pope bears the English King, makes them suspect that something or other will be done against the latter. He has not deemed it prudent to say anything respecting a truce with the Turk, much less what the Papal Nuncio is reported to have said to Your Majesty on the subject for fear these people should catch hold of it as a pretence. Nevertheless, whenever he speaks to them on the subject, they keep saying in general terms that they will not be in fault at the appointed time, &c His (Soria's) impression, however, is that, notwithstanding their asseverations, they are only waiting for the Turk's answer to their proposals, or Lorenzo Gritti's report of what he may have negociated respecting the peace; when that comes they will speak out openly.
Letters from Vienna of the 14th inst. announce that on the ensuing day the marriage of king John [of Hungary] (fn. n15) with the daughter of the king of Poland was to take place at Buda, whither the king of the Romans had sent count Salm with a numerous suite and some fine presents for king John and his wife: namely, one gold cup of 23 marks, two silver-gilt cups of 20 marks each, one silver casket of 110 marks, two balasses (balaxes) of 500 florins each, a horse trapping embroidered with pearls valued 1500 florins, &c.
Geronimo Lascher (fn. n16) had arrived two days before in Vienna; but no one knew what his mission could be, except to say that the Grand Turk was at Constantinople making military preparations on a large scale to come down next summer upon Transylvania and Hungary. That on the first week of Lent a diet of Hungarians, subjects of the king of the Romans, as well as of king John, would be held at Possonia.
Canon Gomaga offers his services to Your Majesty, and would like to be employed anywhere.—Venice, 25 Feb. 1539.
Signed: "Lope de Soria."
Addressed; "To the Most Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty."
Spanish. Original. pp. 15.


  • n1. To be used as transports for the intended expedition to Algiers.
  • n2. That is Mohammedans and Jews newly converted to Christianity.
  • n3. "Que la Infanta, su hija, estaba ya tan muger que era major entender en [a]llegarla su axuar y casamiento, y que más cerca estaba la carnisa que la sabana; quanto más que la Infanta, su hermana, no era tan vieja que no pudiesse esperar quatro ó cinco años, y que quando se hubiera de casar agora por las cosas que han passado entrél y et rey de Francia, le estuviera mejor casarla con el Duque de Orliens." Dom Joaõ's daughter (Doña Maria) was born at Coimbra on the 15th of October 1527, and therefore was not yet 12 years old at the date of this letter. She became, in 1543, Philip the Second's first wife, and died in 1568. As to the Infanta Doña Maria, Eleanor's daughter, she eventually married Maximilian, king of Bohemia and Hungary (afterwards Emperor), at whose death she withdrew to Spain, and died in 1602.
  • n4. "Que las necessidades que tenia eran tan grandes qne la convenia mas allegar el casamiento para su hija, pues era ya muger que no para su hermana."
  • n5. Thus in the original, but it must be an error for Brundusino, or the Bishop of Brundusiiun, i.e. Brindisi
  • n6. "Y aunque sabe cierto que el Rey de Inglaterra ayuda con dineros para los dichos movimientos, no paresce á Su Santd que sea esto bastante fundamento para los Luteranos de Inglaterra sino interviniese alguna platica vieja de Francia."
  • n7. Joannes II. Statilius, 1538–42.
  • n8. Colloccza or Kolotscba, or Klausenburg in Hungary. The bishop was Francesco II., Frangipani, from 1530 to 1543.
  • n9. Anton Sanguin, from 1535 to 1550.
  • n10. Xalon is here meant for the bishop of Chalons.
  • n11. Ippolito d'Este.
  • n12. Philippo Trivulzi. from 1521 to 1543.
  • n13. A note on the dosse has the following: "Let this be copied literally with all corrections and emendations"; and immediately under it: "It has been copied fair, according to orders." And so it is, for in Bergenroth's collection (Vol. XX., p. 43) there is another fair copy of the same document, in which a few words have been changed and others suppressed, as for instance, "como tarapoco le dañará al dicho Señor Rey y á los suyos la que se truxere de Roma," meaning, no doubt, that the Papal dispensation, if procured at Rome, might contain injurious terms of the King and the English.
  • n14. See above p. 113 n.
  • n15. Son of the Waywode of Transylvania, who had died a few months before. See above p. 103.
  • n16. Lasco, about whom see Vol. IV., Part II., and Vol. V., Part I., p. 272.