Spain: August 1538, 26-31

Pages 13-31

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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August 1538, 26-31

30 Aug. 5. Luigi Gonzaga (fn. n1) to the Emperor.
S. E. Sicilia,
L. 113, B. M.
Add. MSS. 28,590.
f. 212.
Is in receipt of his letter from Agua Morta (Aigues-Mortes) of the xviii. of July.
Prince Andrea Doria anchored here the day before yesterday with his 20 galleys, and 2 more of the Pope's. Yesterday morning, the galleon and the rest of the ships that had remained at Genoa came in. Finding on his arrival that everything was in order, the Prince would not stay and lose time; so after taking on board some wine for his own table, he resolved to set sail, which he did this very afternoon.
He (Gonzaga) is aware of the Emperor's intentions, and is, therefore, of the same opinion as the Prince, namely, that something ought to be done this year to facilitate the future undertaking [on Algiers].—Messina, 30 of August 1538.
Italian. Original. pp. 3.
11 Sept. 6. The Same to the Same.
S. Estado Roma., L. 114.
B. M. 28,590. C. 214.
The Most Christian King has written to the dowager queen of Hungary, regent in Flanders, a letter of excuses for his not being able at present to meet her, as proposed. The Queen has graciously accepted his excuses, telling him not to over-fatigue himself, or take too much trouble unless business is pressing and absolutely requires it. She will wait on the frontier as long as necessary.
The Imperial ambassador has heard from a very authentic quarter that king Francis had said that it was the Queen, his wife, not he, who had solicited the above-mentioned marriages, (fn. n2) and other things. He would not for anything in this world make a demand, which, in the event of its being refused, might make Your Imperial Majesty suspect that his friendship and esteem for you was diminishing; for whether Your Majesty grant or refuse his application, he is sure to continue Your Majesty's sincere and disinterested friend.
Strong measures are being taken against those who once held office under the admiral of France (Brion-Chabot). Mr. Des Barres, receiver-general of France, has been imprisoned, and the provost of Dyon (Dijon) has taken to flight; the president of Toulouse has been appointed commissary to conduct the proceedings against them. The Admiral, however, is still at Court, and the duke of Guise has come from his estates, for what purpose the ambassador either does not know or does not say.
The High Constable of France asked him the other day whether he had any answer concerning Philippos Strozzi's business, or that of the admiral of France (Brion), with the sieur de Rye. (fn. n3)
The four French galleys which took the queen of Scotland [to Eder Glascow] had returned from that country, and were getting ready to proceed to the Levant. It would appear that in his contention with the sieur de Rye, the Admiral was getting the better of him; for the latter has shewn letters from that officer to the effect that the overtures complained of did not in any way originate with Your Majesty, or were uttered by your commands; they had their sole origin in his (Rye's) wish to be useful. Indeed, had he had the opportunity, he would have tried to win over the Dauphin himself. (fn. n4) With all that, there is no news of the Admiral being sent back to his government.
The King is very glad at the dowager queen of Hungary being so long on the road, as that delay has given him time and leisure to make more ample provision, determined, as he says, to go as far as Cambray, there to meet the Queen, and then bring her over with him to Champigna (Compiegne?). He has ordered many pretty things from Portugal, as well as from Germany, Paris, and Anveres (Antwerp), declaring that since Your Majesty was so liberal to the ladies of his Court, when they met at Nizza and Aigues-Mortes, he wishes to be so with the Queen's ladies at Cambray. September 11, 1538.
French. Original. pp. 13.
31 August. 7. Eustace Chapuys and Don Diego de Mendoza to the Emperor.
Wien. Imp. Arch.
Rep. P.,
Fasc. C. 231,
ff. 41–62.
Waiting to be able to report news of some importance, we have purposely delayed writing to Your Majesty, lest our joint despatch should worry you with the narrative of insignificant events in this country. Yet of those events, such as they are, we have not failed, from time to time, to inform Mr. de Granvelle; more particularly of this King's discontent, as Sir Cromwell has assured us, at his not having been expressly named in the last truce, and at Your Imperial Majesty wishing (as he says) to give the king of Portugal precedence to him. Such, indeed, have been the King's complaints, as profferred by the Lord Privy Seal in his master's name, which complaints we have answered in almost similar terms as your Imperial Majesty's ministers did [at Barcelona] to the English ambassador. (fn. n5)
We have also acquainted the sieur de Granvelle with the fact that the French ambassador at this court (Marillac) had sent us his excuses for having made no public manifestation of joy on account of the truce, or peace, as these people will call it, which is said to have been concluded at Aigues-Mortes, in as much as he (the ambassador) had not been officially informed of it, and besides that it seemed to him unreasonable to speak of peace before it was quite certain; for it appears that the gentleman sent by the king of France after the meeting at Aigues-Mortes, as well as the one who went first to the queen dowager of Hungary, to come afterwards here, and then go to Scotland, had already passed through this city. Indeed, the French ambassador had accompanied this latter gentleman to Court, and the King had treated both of them fairly well (qui leur fist assez raisonable chière), having after dinner conversed with them for a length of time. Immediately after their taking leave, the King despatched to Flanders a servant of Master Huyet (Wyatt) and another man, without, however, having informed, as we have been given to understand, the French ambassador of their departure, as is customary in such cases.
The above were the reasons the French ambassador had, as he said, for avoiding any public demonstration or rejoicing at the truce, knowing very well how disdainful and disappointed this King would be on hearing of it, and how inopportune it was for himself, owing to the numerous affairs of his master's he had to pursue in this country, for the negociation and final settlement of which he would be obliged again to attend the King's Court sixty miles away from this city, whence he had just returned. Indeed, the ambassador was obliged to go thither again, though he did not make a long stay. On his return to London, he happened to say to one of his most confidential servants, who repeated his words to us, that they might recall him to Court as they pleased, they should do so three or four times before he should think of obeying the summons, thus indicating that ho had not been treated as he expected. Coming, moreover, to the subject of the marriages, he positively declared his firm belief that neither of the two matrimonial alliances this King was conjointly negociating in France and in Flanders would be granted.
About that time, that is, on the 13th inst., Your Imperial Majesty's letters of the 29th ult. came to hand, together with the copy of those addressed to the queen dowager of Hungary. On the receipt of which we wrote to the French ambassador, congratulating him on the very good peace and affectionate understanding existing between Your Imperial Majesty and the King, his master; telling him besides that for the consolidation and effectuating of the said peace it was convenient, nay necessary, that between the ministers of both princes there should be that correspondence, understanding, and mutual trust, which we ourselves intended to keep and observe on our part, especially towards him, whom we had always understood to be much inclined to peace; and that on our return from Court, whither we both intended going for the sole purpose of my (Don Diego) taking leave of the King, we would both call on him. The ambassador answered that he was marvellously glad at the news he had received through us, and that he would be delighted if we ourselves would publish this news at Court, as if it were in confirmation of the hints he himself had from time to time thrown out respecting the truce; adding that he very much wished he had at his command some trusty messenger to inform the King, his master, immediately of the good-will we had manifested in the affair, and the courtesy used towards him.
On the 17th we left this city for the Court, (fn. n6) fifty miles hence, in the neighbourhood of which the King was hunting from place to place, without staying at any particular spot. No sooner did he hear of our arrival, than he sent us a message appointing the 21st inst. for the audience at a manor belonging to Sir Cromwell. We stayed two days at a place distant about three miles from that manor, and were visited in the name of that official, who at the same time caused such abundance of provisions to be sent thither, both on our arrival at and at our return from the King's Court, that nothing better could be desired. (fn. n7) On the road to Court, half-way between our lodgings and Sir Cromwell's house, we were met by Sir Feris, Knight of the Garter, and by Sir Coban, and taken straight to Sir Cromwell's apartments, who, according to his laudable custom, received us with great kindness and cordiality. After the usual courtesies, and whilst we were changing our travelling costume [to put on a more suitable one], Sir Cromwell came into the room and began to interrogate us rather abruptly (fn. n8) as to whether we had any news to communicate respecting the peace, as he called it, concluded between Your Imperial Majesty and the king of France. "Some people" (said he) "will have it that the peace has actually been made; but I cannot believe the report, for my master's ambassadors [in Spain] only write of a truce." Our answer was that we had not been particularly informed of what had passed at the meeting of Aigues-Mortes; and that the English ambassadors at Your Majesty's Court ought to know better than we did; the only thing we knew about it was that there existed now between you two a much better understanding and closer friendship than ever. This answer of ours did not then elicit any reply or observation whatever on the part of Sir Cromwell; but at the dinner table, and when the repast had begun, the Privy Seal did not forget to allude again to the news about the peace, not denying or contradicting it in any wise as we might have expected, but counterbalancing it, as it were, with intelligence by no means so agreeable from other quarters, such as his having heard from Germany that the Turk was already in Belgrade at the head of a very considerable force with the avowed intention of invading Hungary; that the son of the duke of Clèves was already in peaceful possession of the duchy of Ghelders, &c.
Our reply was that the the news of the Turk's progress concerned Christendom at large; the danger was common to all; those among the Christian princes who refused to help and assist against the Infidel, would, henceforward, he reputed not only as bad Christians, but as people actually out of their senses, since they disregarded the almost inevitable danger and calamity to which they were exposed. With reference to the other intelligence, we observed that the duke of Clèves could not do less than accept on account what had been offered to him, considering that "whoever takes without right, is bound to restitute in full," (fn. n9) and that he imagined that the Duke, on hearing of the Emperor's pretensions and titles to the Duchy, and of the expences of the suit itself, would soon come to reason, (fn. n10) and not risk losing the certain for the uncertain, besides which, even in the event of his resisting the legal sentence, we were sure that the Duke would never be helped and countenanced by France, without whose assistance the last duke of Ghelders (Charles d'Egmont) had never dared to undertake anything whatever. It was also to be considered that Your Imperial Majesty could bring a much greater pressure to bear on the duke of Clèves, inasmuch as most of the property left by Monsr. de Ravestein, which the Duke has inherited, happens to be situated in the Low Countries, and consequently under Your Majesty's dominion. As to the duchy of Ghelders itself, he (the duke of Clèves) had not the least right to it, which premise We then and there proceeded to prove by declaring only a portion of Your Majesty's positive rights and titles to that duchy.
No answer came from Sir Cromwell to our statements on this subject; but after a time he began to praise the disposition, temper, and good qualities of the young Duke, for no other purpose, as we suspect, than to rouse our jealousy and make us suspect that the King, his master, may have cast his eyes on him as a husband for his daughter, the Princess.
Some time after this and other like familiar conversation, Sir Cromwell asked us point blank whether we had any knowledge of the news current here in England, i.e. that Your Imperial Majesty had an idea of passing through France to go to Flanders, and what we ourselves thought of it. Our answer was that we had not been officially informed of Your Majesty's determination as to that; but fancied that if the sea were not navigable at the time, Your Imperial Majesty would not hesitate to journey through France, and that since Your Majesty had done so once under very different circumstances, as they well know, now that the Most Christian King was his friend, he would do it without scruple of any sort. As to their remark that they wondered how Your Imperial Majesty—after what had passed between You and the French king, when the pretensions of the one and of the other were still on foot, and far from being defined and settled—could consent under cover of a simple truce, or even of a peace perhaps as fragile, as experience has often shown, throw himself, as it were, into the hands of a prince, who for the last few years had been his sworn enemy, we told him and the rest of the privy councillors that they ought to consider that Your Imperial Majesty and the king of France, as very Christian and wise princes, knew the immense damage and injury which they themselves, and in fact the whole of Christendom, had received, and would in future receive, through war, were it to continue. That the rival pretensions put forward by each of the parties were not worth the hundredth part of the damage already caused, and that they were fully convinced that God would in time find ways and means to arrange and settle all quarrels, if any still remained, to the satisfaction and content of both parties, and that as far as we ourselves were concerned, we were willing to engage that neither on one side nor on the other would there be quarrel, dispute, or scruple likely to disturb the sincere, perfect friendship and good understanding between Your Imperial Majesty and the Most Christian king of France.
To the above manifestation of our sentiments on that point neither Sir Cromwell nor the rest of the privy councillors round the dinner table—such as the earl of Derby, the young marquis of Dorset, the earl of Wiltshire, the bishop of Duram (Durham), the Grand Esquire, and Master Valop (Wallop)—made any reply; they lowered their heads, and remained, as it were, stupefied and astonished, without uttering one single word more about that or any other affair.
The dinner over, Sir Cromwell, and the rest of the above-named privy councillors, went to the King, their master, and remained nearly one hour with him, after which we ourselves were admitted to the Royal presence. He received us kindly enough, when, without ceremony, preamble, or preface of any sort, or the usual commendations on the part of Your Majesty, we proceeded to tell him, that believing him to be in possession, through his ambassadors, of fresher news from the Imperial Court than we ourselves could furnish him with, we would not enter into particulars, but would limit ourselves to announcing that Your Majesty had already transmitted to the dowager queen of Hungary the powers he (the King) had asked for, and that since the affair of the marriages was henceforth to be treated and discussed by the said queen, Your Imperial Majesty had recalled one of us (Don Diego) for employment elsewhere, though with the understanding that I (Don Diego) am to go first of all to Flanders, and reside there as long as the Queen may deem it necessary for the good issue of the affairs to be treated of there. And, therefore, that I (Don Diego) begged him to say whether I could be of any use to him in Flanders or in Spain.
After thanking me for my offers, the King asked me (Don Diego) how I intended going to Spain, by land or by sea. I answered resolutely and at once that my intention was to make a land journey, and pass through France. This the King was astonished to hear, as also that we (Don Diego and Chapuys) had no other express charge but that of asking him what was his final resolution respecting the principal affair, that we might at once communicate it to the Queen, who had also written to us on the subject, inquiring how and by whom were the negociations to be conducted in the Low Countries.
Upon which the King asked us whether we were named or not in the Emperor's powers to the Queen. Our answer was that he ought to know better than ourselves, since his own ambassador at the Imperial Court had seen and examined them. We ourselves could not tell positively, though we fancied that we were not named. "How then" (said the King) "are the marriages to be negociated between me here and the Queen Regent in Flanders? I always thought, and so I was told, that some person would be appointed who, residing for the Emperor here in England, might at any time consult with the Queen Regent on any case of importance that might occur, since the distance from Flanders is not such that an answer cannot be obtained within a few days, whereas it will take weeks to have one from Spain." We replied: "That is no fault of ours, nor is it the Emperor's. It was for the English ambassador at the Imperial Court to start the objection, since he had in his hands the original powers, and plenty of leisure to read and examine them."
At first the King attempted to ignore the communication of the powers to his ambassador, but at last, seeing that such an excuse would not serve his purpose, he had recourse to one of his usual sophistical arguments, saying, that the powers, though read aloud to his ambassador, had not been placed in his hands, and therefore could not have been thoroughly examined; besides which he (the King) had been given to understand that they were altogether insufficient even respecting the marriage of the Infante Dom Loyz (Luyz), which was the principle point, in as much as Your Imperial Majesty had not yet obtained the reliable information required concerning the said Infante's property, nor what estates or revenues he possessed as security for the dower. Another scruple did the King start in the matter, namely, the want of powers from the Infante himself, without which, he maintained, no steps could be taken by the Queen Regent for the marriage of Dom Luyz and the Princess, in as much as Your Imperial Majesty (said he) could not take any engagements in the Infante's name without his consent, nor could the Infante frankly disavow any thing done in his name without vilifying or casting discredit on Your Imperial Majesty and on all those concerned in the affair. At last, however, the King waived his scruples in the matter, and made no further objections, owning that our arguments in favor of the validity of Your Majesty's powers were convincing and could not be contested.
Coming then to more precise terms, we told the King that in our opinion, as good servants of his, had he sent forthwith some one to treat of the affair without loss of time, as he ought to have done, the whole matter would have been settled long ago to his complete satisfaction. Now he ought to put aside all ideas likely to cause delay, and at once declare openly his intention, for the affair has been too long in hand (en terme et sur le bureau), and that if he only would return to the old path, he would find Your Imperial Majesty ready to meet him as frankly and openly as could be desired. The difficulties intervening were of no great importance, though up to that hour, to speak the truth, he himself had done little on his side to remove them. We, therefore, begged him to decide and declare to us his intention, that the affair might no longer remain in suspense, for by doing so, means might easily be found to conclude the whole to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.
Hearing which the King manifested plainly a certain inclination to get out of the affair altogether, bringing forward the very same arguments adduced on former occasions, adding that since we had not sufficient powers to treat with him, it was useless to discuss the matter any longer. His ambassador in Spain (he said) had particularly, and in detail, declared to Your Imperial Majesty his intentions in the matter, and, therefore, there was no further declaration needed on his part. To this we replied that if his ambassador had acted in compliance with his orders and instructions, we had not the least doubt that Your Imperial Majesty would have answered him on all points, and that if he himself was satisfied with it, there was no excuse for not proceeding with the affair. Should there be in Your Majesty's answer anything that he (the King) disliked or objected to, he might tell us that we might at once inform you and the Queen Regent.
No immediate reply came from the King; but having requested us to have a little patience, and wait until he had conversed with some of his Privy Councillors, he left us, and went to the embrasure of a window at one end of the Council Hall, where he talked for a few minutes to them, and then returned, saying to me (Chapuys), "I am very glad to hear that you are to remain with us. As there will be hereafter plenty of leisure and time to treat of this and other affairs with you, I will not go on now with the subject. As to you, Don Diego, I must talk awhile with you that you may hear my confession." Having said which, he took me a little apart, and began to explain how the good inclination he had always noticed in me towards the settlement of the affairs in hand gave him full hope and confidence that I would in future do my best to bring these affairs to a satisfactory issue. Of that he was sure; but at the same time he begged me most earnestly, when in the presence of Your Majesty in Spain, to be the interpreter of his sentiments. "After my most cordial commendations (he said) you are to remind the Emperor of the old and almost uninterrupted friendship which has existed between the two houses of Spain and England, as well as of the many favors I have rendered him. On that account, as on many others, I think that the Emperor ought to condescend to treat with me frankly, deliberately, and openly. This much I will beg and entreat you to represent to His Imperial Majesty, as well as to the queen regent of Hungary, towards whom I have always borne the most sincere affection, taking singular care of her affairs, and doing her pleasure on all occasions." He ended by begging me (Don Diego) to write to him from Flanders, and also from Spain, and communicate with his ambassadors as often as I could.
I (Don Diego) answered that I was sure Your Imperial Majesty would consider it good service if I could do anything for him (the King) in this and other affairs, and that on this occasion, especially, I should have the greatest pleasure in obeying his commands. But as to writing to him, or communicating with his ambassador, there was no need of that for the present, since I had the means of corresponding surely and secretly with me (Eustace Chapuys), who, second only to Your Majesty's interests, was as desirous of doing him service as his own ambassador or any other subject of his, and that he (the King) would do an injustice in confiding his secrets to anyone else but me.
After this the King returned towards the centre of the room, and began to address us, saying, that he begged both of us to do good offices in the affair, and try to make the queen of Hungary communicate to him directly, or by means of a proxy, the substance of the powers she herself had received from Your Majesty. Otherwise he knew not (he said) how the thing could be managed; and notwithstanding our joint representations that as that was the very thing the Queen Regent had charged us to ask from him, a similar demand on his part seemed to us, therefore, calculated to impede all kinds of negociation, we could not prevail upon him to change his opinion in the matter, or say one word more. After which, taking gracious leave of us, he retired to his apartments.
We must not forget to say that two or three times during the above conversation the King assured us that he was getting already too advanced in years to wait much longer, and that it was necessary for him to press this matter of the marriages as much as he could; which assurance on his part we can in no wise explain, considering his cool behaviour in the affair, than by the desire he has of colouring his dissimulation, of which however he furnished us with a further proof; for after telling us plainly that the Infante's marriage was the principal topic of the negotiation, and one without which it was impossible to proceed any further, it was evident that whereas some time ago he only sought to conclude his own marriage and postpone the other, nowadays what he is aiming at is to negociate that of the Princess only, and not say a word of his own, for no other purpose, as we think, than that of drawing from Your Majesty some declaration or other respecting the duchy of Milan, of which he himself may profit, by sowing discord and jealousy between Your Imperial Majesty and the king of France, which conjecture of ours was afterwards fully confirmed, as will be said hereafter, by the conversation we had with Cromwell.
Whilst the King was talking to me (Don Diego), Sir Cromwell was making similar statements to me (Eustace Chapuys) in a corner of the hall, telling me, among other things, that Your Majesty, as the rumour went, was actually treating of a marriage between the young duke of Clèves and the dowager duchess of Milan; which rumour, he said, was injurious to his master's reputation, inasmuch as he had been the first in the field, and that in future people might say that either the Duchess' hand had been refused to him, or that it had been granted after the Duke's refusal. My answer was that I knew nothing of such negociation, nor did I believe that it had ever existed; and yet that Your Imperial Majesty, perceiving the terms and manner of conducting the negociation, would in my opinion be justified in doing so. At the same time I was astonished to hear him say that his master would fall into disrepute through it; I did not see that at all, although I refrained from pointing out to him the many considerations which prevented me from adhering to his proposition, for he knew them as well as I did. "Now is the time" (I added) "to take away the mask of dissimulation, and proceed speedily to business, and since the difficulty in the King's marriage rests chiefly on the cession of the right of the Palatine Duchess to her sister of Milan, let the matter be referred to His Imperial Majesty's arbitration, as well as that of the Princess' dowry, if there be any difficulty about it, for the Emperor is without comparison more partial towards the King than towards any other of the parties concerned." Sir Cromwell's reply was that the coldness I (Chapuys) complained of proceeded from Your Imperial Majesty, not from the English. There was no difficulty (he said) about the dower, if there were any the King, his master, would gladly give twenty thousand ducats out of his own purse. (fn. n11)
Shortly after our departure from the King's presence, and whilst we were putting on our riding costumes, (fn. n12) Sir Cromwell came to us, and said that the King had just ordered him to give me (D. Diego) four hundred pounds sterling, equivalent to sixteen hundred ducats; and he then and there repeated in substance all that the King had said to us, and especially to me D. Diego, on the affair of the marriages, earnestly requesting us, both in the King's name and in his own, to do our best to promote the affair in question, sure as his master was (added Cromwell) that by means of the duchy and state of Milan everything could be arranged and settled. This he (Sir Cromwell) said half between his teeth, whilst we on our side, making as if we had not taken the hint, replied that he might be sure of our good-will, and that it seemed to us that if the King, his master, had really suggested that Your Majesty's powers should be sent to the queen of Hungary, it was for him to send thither a personage of his kingdom to gain time and at once commence the negociation. This proposition of ours was immediately rejected by Sir Cromwell, who said: "It would never do for the King, my master, to send an embassy to Flanders on such an errand as that. After so much trouble to conclude nothing at all, would be disparaging to his reputation. As to sending thither a private person, as you suggest, that is out of the question, for my master has not at this present moment with him anyone to whom he can entrust a negociation of that kind." (fn. n13) In vain did we represent that Your Imperial Majesty had sent me (Don Diego) from a much greater distance than that which lies between England and Flanders, and that if the King was so scrupulous as to distances, he ought to have been doubly so when he asked that the ladies should come to Calais. (fn. n14)
We must not omit to say that our joint, opinion is that this King is at present very much surprised, bewildered, and perplexed at what has happened, and that he has evidently lost a good deal of his former bravery and buoyancy of spirits, showing at present greater mildness of temper and even simplicity than was his wont before, which change, as we take it, does not proceed from any honest feeling or good-will towards Your Majesty, but has its source in the state of uncertainty and doubt in which he has been ever since the interview at Aigues-Mortes, not knowing exactly what turn Your Majesty's and the Most Christian's affairs will take. As a proof thereof, he has lately resented beyond measure the mission of the above-mentioned gentleman, Monsr. de Cenys, (fn. n13) sent to Scotland by king Francis, as well as certain words rather sharp and incisive (griefues et piccantes parolles), which the resident French ambassador addressed to him on the occasion of introducing Monsr. de Cenys, for on the very same day, and immediately after the audience to the two Frenchmen, Master Huyet's secretary was sent to Spain with despatches, as above stated. But that is nothing in comparison with the King's disappointment and anger at hearing the French ambassador's observations at the last audience of the two, as we will explain hereafter.
In corroboration of our argument, to prove that the coldness and dissimulation shown by the King and his minister in the matter of the marriages proceed chiefly from the above causes, as well as from the hope the King has, that the Most Christian king of France will do him the pleasure of sending to Calais, or its immediate neighbourhood, Monsr. de Guise, with his niece of Lorraine, his two daughters, and that of Vendosme; but, as Your Majesty will presently hear, he was mistaken, and this might make him change his purpose and conduct.
The King granted us permission to visit the Prince and the Princess, though we perceived that had we not applied for such permission, he himself would have requested us to go, for he evidently wished the latter to speak to us as prescribed in a letter of Sir Cromwell, addressed to her in his (the King's) name. The substance of the letter was that she (the Princess) had heard from an authentic quarter the dissimulation employed by us, Your Majesty's ambassadors, in the discussion of the affair concerning her individually, and that from the fact of Your Majesty being her good lord and cousin, all people would have thought that your kindness and friendship towards her would have been of greater magnitude. Being a woman, she could not help saying so much to us; not, indeed, that she felt any particular desire or anxiety for the issue of the matter in question (since she only obeyed in that respect the commands of her most gracious and loving father, the King, in whom, after God, she placed all her trust), but because, after so many overtures and fine words, nothing had been concluded, as she heard; and also because when merchants were in the habit of bestowing as a dower on their daughters one-fourth of their annual revenue in cash, we Imperial ministers should only have offered 20,000 ducats, and even those so uncertain as to the manner of settlement, that had misfortune obliged her to leave England and have recourse to her dower, she might, perhaps, never have known upon what her revenue was settled. Sir Cromwell, as it appears, had besides written to her to use the very words of the letter, coupled with such gentle terms as her own wisdom and natural discretion might suggest, and immediately inform him of what passed at the interview with us.
(fn. n15)
We must observe that the contents of Sir Cromwell's letter to the Princess had been duly communicated by her to us the day before we called, that we might be prepared to shape our answer in writing; which we did accordingly that she herself might transmit it to her father, the King. The answer, as we flatter ourselves, is courteous and satisfactory for both parties. We omit it for fear of lengthening this despatch of ours, already too prolix perhaps.
After visiting the Prince, who is the prettiest child we ever set eyes upon, we returned to the Princess, and began again to speak about Sir Cromwell's letter, and our own answer to it. After a good deal of conversation on the subject, the Princess said to us that all her hopes centered in God and in Your Imperial Majesty, and that she held you in the room of father and mother, and was so affectionately attached to you that it seemed almost impossible to her to have such an affection and love for a kinsman. She knew perfectly well that it had not been your fault if the affair of her marriage had remained in the state in which it is. That she really believed what we had told her to be the exact truth, in spite of the efforts made to persuade her to the contrary. Indeed, she owned to us that about last Lent the King, her father, had tried to convince her that Your Imperial Majesty proceeded in the affair with the utmost dissimulation, and without any wish whatsoever to treat of it, so much so that it seemed as if the whole thing had been planned in order to bring discredit (desextimation) upon him (the King). She (the Princess) had before and after her father's representations experienced that the contrary was the case, and, therefore, she was now ready to act one way or the other, whichever your Imperial Majesty decided respecting the marriage proposal.
This seemed to us a fair opportunity to ask her, as we did, then and there, whether, in case of a favourable opportunity presenting itself, she would have courage enough to leave England by stealth. To this question of ours, the Princess, from modesty, as we presume, did at first show some reluctance to reply. Then she said that she could not say yes or no, for things might arrive at such a pitch, and the occasion for her departure from this country might become so propitious and favourable, that she would have no scruple or difficulty at all in leaving anyhow. She would let me (Chapuys) know her intentions on that score; for it might happen after all that the King, her father, might hereafter show greater consideration for her, or cause her to be more respected and better treated than she had been until now, in which case she would much prefer remaining in England, and conforming herself entirely to her father's commands and wishes, obeying him implicitly, and so forth, though still acting by my (Chapuys), advice. Such was the Princess' language in the two long conferences we held with her. In short, she begged us to present Your Majesty her most humble commendations until she herself did so by letter.
The day before we visited the Princess for the second time, as above said, the ambassador of France sent word that he wished to call on us; but we, considering it a greater honor for your Imperial Majesty, as well as a courtesy on our part likely to flatter the French—who are, generally speaking, proud and vainglorious—anticipated the ambassador's visit, and started one day for his hotel by the riverside. Scarcely had we commenced our journey than we saw him riding fast to join us, and making us signs to stop, which we did. The place where the ambassador overtook us was one midway between his lodgings and ours, not far from the hotel of Mme. de Monstreul (Montreuil), late governess of the deceased queen of Scotland, and now on the point of returning to France, at whose house the French ambassador had just been dining. This being the case, we asked him to introduce us to her, as he might then and there, without going farther off, tell us at his leisure whatever he had to impart. This seemed to us an act of courtesy towards the lady, to whom we made a present of venison and wine in consideration of the favor she seems to enjoy with the King, who, knowing she was to pass through London, had sent two gentlemen of his chamber to accompany, entertain, and feast her, not only in this city, but also on the road to Dover, where the King himself is to meet her by appointment in order to entertain her. (fn. n16) The lady, as we hear, fully intended to leave next day, yet, on the ambassador representing to her that he wished to entertain us at dinner, and that it was very important that she should delay her journey to Dover, that she might attend it, and thus give more publicity to the entertainment, and make people talk about it, she agreed to wait until our return from the Princess, whom we were to visit the day after. And so it was, for on the following day the French ambassador entertained us all most magnificently, the Venetian secretary being one of the party. No politics, however, were discussed at table; nothing but amiability and cordiality reigned during the repast.
On the two occasions that we have been with the French ambassador he has given us full hope of a lasting and indissoluble friendship being soon made between Your Imperial Majesty and the King, his master. He, himself, as far as we can judge, has given signs of trusting in us most implicitly, so much so that he has declared that on the two last audiences he has had from this King—the first of which was for the purpose of introducing the French ambassador, who was going to Scotland, and who has since returned in company with Mme. de Montreuil—he had had high words with this king, and gone so far as to tell him that it was uncourteous of him to ask Monsr. de Guise to come to Calais, or thereabouts, with his daughters and nieces, and propose sending thither a personage of equal rank and quality as the said Monsieur de Guise, or some of his own privy councillors, to chose the fittest damsel of the lot for him; for in the first place he (the ambassador) did not think that there was in the whole of England a prince of Royal descent to be compared to that duke; and secondly, because it was a most strange novelty, likely to throw discredit on the ladies themselves, to make them come and present themselves before him, to be afterwards ignominiously rejected and sent away. Indeed (continued the ambassador) were such assembly and meeting to be granted, the King might ask to try every one of the damsels in order to know which suited him best. (fn. n17) The ambassador told us that the King became very angry when he heard the above remarks, and began to magnify his own power, declaring that his rank and quality were such that whatever he asked might be conceded; he had given plenty of occasion to justify his being gratified in things of much greater importance than that. The ambassador (he said) was not justified in holding such arrogant language, and assuming so much on the strength of a mere truce between his master, the king of France, and Your Imperial Majesty, since, after all, that truce was not of such nature and duration as the King, his master, and he (the ambassador) perhaps imagined. Experience would soon show them how feeble its foundations were, and that in spite of whomsoever should oppose him, he (the King) would, before many days had passed, have become master of Milan for his daughter, the Princess. That was almost a certainty, for Your Imperial Majesty had often offered the duchy to him, even after the meeting at Aigues-Mortes, and the offer had since been renewed to his own ambassador at the Imperial Court. The French ambassador replied that those were mighty words indeed, but that the things themselves were almost impossible, especially with reference to the duchy of Milan. That he could never have, except by sheer force, and against the will of Your Imperial Majesty and of the King, his master, both of whom were now so united together, and so closely allied, that their interests were identical.
Such was the ambassador's reply to the King, as he himself gave us (Chapuys and Don Diego) to understand, laying much stress on certain points which he did not specify in detail, though he uttered the whole with considerable emphasis and some amount of acrimony. At last it appears that the ambassador, who has always professed to be this king's servant, and to have once enjoyed his full confidence, availing himself of that circumstance, said the other day to him: "Methinks this is not the time nor the season for bravadoes and arrogant speeches (ne faire du fier). Your Majesty ought to believe firmly that whatever your ambassador in France may have written concerning the friendship and good understanding between the Emperor and my master, the bonds that unite them just now are so close that all the world put together would be powerless to sow dissension between them, much less dissolve their alliance, fresh as it is."
On the hearing by king Francis of this conversation, he wrote to his ambassador a letter, which the latter has read to us from beginning to end, in which he tells him, without dissimulation of any kind, that he has received his despatch of the 10th ult., and that he considered it a great service his having answered the King on the above-mentioned occasion as he had done, mixing together the sweet and the bitter. He (Francis) perceived that the vainglory and arrogance of these people had taken such deep root in their hearts that it would be difficult to extirpate it altogether. That with regard to the assembly of ladies, which the King asked for, he was to make the King understand that Lorraine was not under his sway, and that he would have to apply for the hand of the damsel to her father and mother; and as to the two daughters of Guise, one had already professed as a nun, whilst the other, as well as the daughter of Monsr. de Vendosme, could not be disposed of. He (the King) wanted them to accompany the Queen, his wife, to the interview with the dowager queen of Hungary, which interview had been arranged beforehand for the sake of merriment, pleasure, and festivity, not to treat of political affairs, as he (the ambassador) might further explain if the King asked him for particulars.
In addition to this, king Francis wrote to his ambassador that the friendship and good understanding between Your Imperial Majesty and himself was daily increasing, and getting closer and firmer, with every appearance of growing and successive improvement, notwitstanding all the reports of those who had written the contrary to him.
In precisely the same terms does the Grand Master and High Constable of France (Anne de Montmorency) write to this ambassador on those points, adding only that the English one at the Imperial Court had at one time well-nigh overturned the whole of king Francis' plans; but that there was now no danger whatever of that; things went on so prosperously that neither he nor any one else could spoil their game.
Yet with all that, and notwithstanding the above and other confidential reports of the French ambassador, he has not forgotten to ask, whenever he has had an opportunity, when we thought peace would be concluded between Your Imperial Majesty and his Royal master, for (said he) though there is every appearance of it, peace is not yet made. (He added) I firmly believe, however, that all matters will be satisfactorily adjusted in the end, and that in case of arbitration there ought to be no other arbitrators nor mediators than Your Majesty and the King, his master, or, perhaps, the Queen (Eleanor), who had been the chief instrument in bringing about this and former interviews. It was acknowledged throughout France that no one knew better the ways of gaining over Your Imperial Majesty than did she, who had always declared you to be unconquerable, except by courteous and gracious means. That all those who were jealous of the close alliance between Your Imperial Majesty and his master, the King, were no doubt disappointed and sorry at the interview held at Aigues-Mortes, particularly the Pope, notwithstanding the mien he had put upon it. And on our remonstrating and giving our reasons for believing or presuming the contrary, the ambassador replied that though His Holiness was perhaps of the condition and temper that we represented him to be, and what we said of him had the appearance of likelihood, yet His Holiness, after all, was only a man; his goodness and inclination could not be so strong and constant as to resist and encounter the malice and wickedness of his cardinals and other people by whom he was surrounded. This very observation about the Pope the ambassador made at Mme. de Montreuil's, and in her very presence, and afterwards repeated it at his own lodgings, adding that the Venetians were anything but pleased at the prospect of a closer friendship between Your Imperial Majesty and his master, the King.
This last assertion of the ambassador respecting the Venetians we thought fit to contradict, saying that we found it very strange, considering their efforts to promote that alliance, without which they knew very well they could not be preserved from Turkish violence. They themselves were now hard pressed by the Infidel; it was their interest to have him expelled from Europe, by which they would profit more than any other Christian nation in Europe, since they themselves were his closest neighbours. This last point the ambassador refused to grant, alleging that Your Imperial Majesty had greater occasion and necessity for defending the coasts of Epirus and Morea than the Venetians ever had, since after all both those countries were close to Naples and Sicily. While discussing this point with the ambassador, we found an opportunity of telling him that letters lately received from Venice and Ragusa announced the death of the Grand Turk, though the news required confirmation. This piece of intelligence was not to the ambassador's taste; we could very well perceive that from his manner and countenance, from which, as well as from other phrases that escaped him during the conversation, we are convinced that king Francis confidently hopes to have Milan in the end.
Of other news we have little to say, except that the ambassador of the duke of Saxony, and of the Landgrave of Hesse are still here [in London] in continual and almost daily communication with the prelates deputed by this King, and that a priest, who has come in their suite, is now preaching every feast day at the cloisters of the Austin Friars. The King goes on with the demolition of convents (cloistres) and monasteries, and two days ago sent to the Tower of London the stepbrother (frere mainsne) of cardinal Pole, owing to his having, as it is thought, corresponded with or received letters from him without showing them to the King, which is here considered a crime of lèse Majesty.
In obedience to Your Imperial Majesty's orders, I (Don Diego) will start to-morrow, the 1st of September. Would have done so before had I not been waiting for this King's letter to Your Imperial Majesty, and to the queen of Hungary, which together with my passport I have just received. And with regard to me (Eustace Chapuys), in compliance with Your Majesty's instructions, I will continue to reside here with the charge you were pleased to intrust to me, and will try to fulfil its duties to the best of my abilities.—London, 31st of August, 1538.
Signed: "Chapuys."—"D. Diego de Mendoza."
Indorsed: "Copy of the letter of the Imperial ambassador in England to the Emperor."
French. Copy. pp. 12.


  • n1. At this time Ferrante (Fernan, Ferdinand) Gonzaga, count of Guastalla, third son of Francesco II., fourth marquis of Mantua (1484–1519), was viceroy of Sicily. Luigi, the writer of this letter, must have been a natural son of Ferrante, or some kinsman of his, for although there was another Luigi Gonzaga, third son of Frederic, fifth marquis, and first duke of Mantua, he was not yet born, since his birth is placed by the most accurate genealogists in 1538. In 1565 the latter became duke de Nevers and Rethel by his marriage with Henrietta of Clèves, daughter and heiress of François, duke de Nevers and Rethel. He followed the party of France; was taken prisoner at the battle of St. Quentin in 1557, became ambassador at Rome for Henri IV. of France, and died in 1595.
  • n2. Those above alluded to between Margaret's daughter and prince Philip of Spain, the duke of Orleans and Mary, infanta of Portugal.
  • n3. Gerard de Rye, sieur de Valançon.
  • n4. "Diciendo el tal dicho Rye que las tales platicas procediera no por orden ni mandamiento que tuviessa de Vuestra Magestad, syno solamente por la buena voluntad que él tenia de hazerla servizio, y que hubiesse querido ganar al Dolphin, si pudiera."
  • n5. See Vol. V., Part II., p. 522.
  • n6. Ampthill (?).
  • n7. "Et venant a la Court nous vindrent rancontrer a my chemin de la dicte maison et de nostre logis le sieur de Feris, chevalier de lordre de la garretiere, et le sr de Cobar, les quelz nous conduyrent tout droit a la chambre du dit sieur Crumuel, lequel selon sa bonne coustume nous reçeust tres humainement." Feris must be Sir Walter Devereux Ferreys. As to Cobar (sic), which is probably an error for Coban, I find no other gentleman whose name bears some similarity to Coban but that of Sir George Brooke, Lord Cobham.
  • n8. "Ainsi que nous nous deshabillions il nous vint interroguer assez brutement (brusquement?) si avions quelques nouvelles que la paix fust faicte."
  • n9. "Bein considerant que a mal prendre ny avoit que bien rendre."
  • n10. "Et que pensions que ayant le dit duc de Cleves entendu les pretenses littres (sic tiltres?) et frais de vostre maiesté quil se rangeroit a la raison."
  • n11. "Et si nestoit la difficulte sur le dit douaire, pour le quel il seroit content de donner du sien propre xx. mil escuz."
  • n12. "Ainsi que prennions nos accoustrements a chevaucher."
  • n13. "Car le dit roy navoit personne quil puist envoyer si confidente quil sen voulsist repouser sur luy. Et ne servist en riens luy remonstrer comme vostre maieste mavoit moy, don Diego, envoye de bien plus long quil nestoit dicy en Flandress, ne aussi que le dit sieur roy estoit si respectif a ce que dessus, et trop plus par honnestete le devroit il estre, avoir lespreave de toutes pour sçavoir la quelle luy satisferoit mieulx, demande[r] que les dames vinssent a Calais." Henry had from the beginning shown disinclination to go as far as Brussels to see Sforza's widow, and asked that she should be taken to Calais. See Vol. V., Part II., p. 432.
  • n14. That is to say, the dowager duchess of Milan, Christina of Denmark, and Mary, queen of Hungary. See Vol. V., Part II., p. 433.
  • n15. Jacques de Coucy, sieur de Vervins. See above, p. 9.
  • n16. "Et pour ce questions assez loing de son logis et des nostres, et que estions voisins de celluy de Mme. de Monstreul, jadis gouvernante de feue la royne descosse, la quelle sen retourne en France, ou le dit ambassadeur avoit disne advisames de prier le dit ambassadeur quil nous menast visiter la dite dame, et la pourrions deviser a nostre plaisîr. Et nous sembla user de ceste courtoisie envers la dite dame, et luy faire present de vin et de venoison, considerant entre autres choses le cas que faisoit delle ce roy, le quel avoit içy envoye ung gentilhomme, depuis envoya ung autre pour laccompaigner, entretenir, et faire festoyer en ceste ville, aussi la guyder jusques a Dovres, la ou le dit roy se avanceroit daller pour la festoyer."
  • n17. "Que cestoit ung peu de descourtoisie quil deust demander venir a Calaix ou la aupres le sieur de Guyse avec la compaignie surnommee, la ou il disoit vouloir envoyer de sa part personne conforme á la qualite du dit sieur de Guyse et quant et quant les plus confidens de son conseil prive, pour choisir la femme que sembleroit plus sortable a luy, car outtre quil ne pensoit, que içy sen trouvait personne royale et de l'Ecosse (et de l'estoffe?) du dit sieur de Guyse, cella estoit bien nouvelle et estrange chose de vouloir donner ceste desreputation a tant de femmes que de les faire venir comme[a] se presenter et soubtenir une ignominieuse repulse, et quil pensoit que apres que icelle assemblee luy seroit accordee, quil demanderoit, &c."