Spain: July 1539

Pages 167-175

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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July 1539, 1-31

3 July. 73. The Emperor to the Marquis de Aguilar.
S. E., L. 868, f. 124.
B. M. Add. 28,591,
f. 124.
We wrote to you on the 21st ulto., announcing the arrival here of cardinal Farnese. Since then We and Our Councillors have had several conferences with him on present political affairs, the substance of which is as follows:—
After condoling with Us in the Pope's name on the death of Our dear wife, the Empress (whom may God have in his glory), he (the Legate) told Us how very desirous His Holiness was of seeing a good friendship and lasting peace fairly established between Us and the king of France, for no other purpose, as he said, than Our own private convenience and the welfare of Christendom, especially at a time when We were engaged in war against the Turk, and of clearing up certain doubts and scruples still darkening the prospect of a solid and well-founded peace between Us and the king of France, &c.; in saying which the Cardinal touched, though slightly, on the proposed marriage between Mme. Margaret, the king's daughter, and Us. (fn. n1)
Our answer by mouth of Our councillors was to praise and commend His Holiness' good intentions, assuring his Legate that We were determined to surmount every obstacle likely to stand in the way of that peace, so as to render it at once solid and lasting, with his full authorization, as We both were bound to do as Christian sons of his that We were. These very terms were used by Our councillors, owing to the suspicion there is that His Holiness is somewhat jealous, suspecting that the few points not yet cleared up between Us and His Holiness may ultimately be settled without his intervention—which sentiment on his part it is important for us not to take any notice of at present.
With regard to Our marriage the answer was that, although a widower, We had sons, and had resolved not to marry again; but that We hoped that between Our progeny and that of the Most Christian King, Our relatives and friends, matrimonial alliances might be formed so as to render the peace firm and lasting (indissoluble).
The prorogation or suspension of the Council.—On this point the Legate said that, considering the state in which matters of Faith were in Germany, Our own representations and those of Our brother, the king of the Romans, he (the Pope) had made up his mind to suspend indefinitely the meeting of the Council until the affairs of Christendom were in a more favourable condition, in which case he would act by Our advice. As the suspension, in Our opinion, was justifiable and convenient, yet, lest it should be said hereafter that it had been decreed at Our own request or with Our approval, the answer was that We found it suitable and opportune, under the circumstances, to suspend the meeting of the Council, but that We still strongly recommended, as on former occasions, its speedy assembly as the only remedy in matters of Faith and Religion.
With regard to Germany, as the archbishop of Lunden has lately returned therefrom, and brought a report in writing minutely detailing the state of affairs in that country, We need not enter into particulars, save to say that a copy of the said report was put into the hands of the Legate, and he was told to urge upon His Holiness the sending of a good sum of money with which to help the Catholic League.
England.—The Legate spoke also about English affairs, which His Holiness seems to take much to heart. We have insisted on the very same words contained in Our answer to Cardinal Pole. Our opinion is that good provision must first be made for Germany, and in the meantime ambassadors of Ours and of the Most Christian King be sent to that country to remonstrate with king Henry and exhort him to return to the obedience of Pope and Church, the Cardinal [Pole] himself going to the court of France to determine what sort of instructions the ambassadors are to take conjointly. Though the Cardinal seems to have made his excuses as to that, it is very important for the good issue of the affair that he should go thither in person and take a hand in it; otherwise people might think that the commission was exclusively Ours, and that if the Most Christian sent also his ambassador, it was only by way of ceremony and in order to please His Holiness and Us. Hearing this the Legate replied that His Holiness would accordingly order Cardinal Pole to repair immediately to the court of France.
The Legate spoke also of his own and Ottavio Farnese's sister's (fn. n2) marriage with the Prince of Piedmont (Emmanuele Philiberto), asserting that the duke of Savoy [Carlo], his father, wished for it, and that there was nothing wanting save to know Our will, without which (added the Legate) His Holiness would not allow that or any other alliance of his own family to take place. Our councillors' answer was that the Duke had formally written about another marriage; that he was rather inconstant and flighty in such matters; and that His Holiness knew very well how little he could be depended upon, yet that, if His Holiness wished for it, We should be delighted to employ Ourselves on his behalf. Should the Duke write Us a letter expressing such a wish on his part, he shall be answered, and it shall be done as convenient, &c.
Of other affairs relating particularly to Spain and to Us—such as the half fruits, the dispensation applied for to the Commanders of the Military Orders to contract marriage, Indulto Quadragesimal-hat for the archbishop of Geneva—there was the usual talk between the Papal Legate and the councillors, the latter having opportunely reminded the former of the many services We have hitherto done to Christendom.
Cardinals.—While on this subject the Legate said that His Holiness was thinking of creating a few, and, among others, some of his own servants, and though not positively told that His Holiness ought to avoid such creation under present circumstances, yet he was properly warned by Our councillors not to raise to the purple ecclesiastics of the stamp of the cardinal of Paris, a restless and ambitious man, opposed to all public welfare, and that in case of a creation His Holiness should select people sincerely attached to Him and to Us.
At the same time We have insisted upon a Cardinal's hat being bestowed upon the archbishop of Geneva, and should you (Aguilar) be pressed to name the ecclesiastic whom We should recommend for another hat, you may point out the archbishop of Rossano, the brother of Camillo Colonna.
The Duchess' dower—Camarino—Roca Guillerma—Duchy of Penna.
Respecting Ottavio Farnese's coming here the Legate said something. Our answer was that We should be glad to see him, and would treat him as he deserves. Then the Legate added that if it was Our intention to visit Italy this year, he would wait for Us there; Our reply was that he might either wait for Us in Italy, or come here to Spain, as he pleased.
With regard to His Holiness' intentions about Siena nothing was said, and yet it is evident from the Legate's words that His Holiness has not yet abandoned his projects.
This is in substance what has passed in Our various communications with the Papal Legate. He and his secretary, Marcello, whom We are glad to have known, have been honorably treated whilst at this Our court, and We should think that he is satisfied with the reception he has had.
Confirmation of the Hungarian bishops—Ascanio Colonna and his suit with the prince of Sulmona.—Should this be placed in Our hands, We should at once put an end to it, and then the talked-of marriages might be effected. You must try and persuade Ascanio Colonna to send his son here, and look to the provision of the Duchess' dowry in conformity with Our letter.
Lope Hurtado is to be helped and favored by you, so that he may maintain his position until the arrival of a person whom We propose sending from Madrid to replace him. That person will be the bearer of instructions from Us as to the manner in which he (Lope Hurtado) is to behave. To the Duchess and him We write by this post announcing Our determination and referring them to you.
Provisions for Leon and Astorga.
In a private letter, which will be handed over to you, the Duke of Bronszuich (Brunswick) and his lawsuit before His Holiness with the bishop of Hildesen in Germany are warmly commended to you. The Duke is so good a servant of Ours that, having applied for a letter of favour to you, We could not well refuse it, and yet We do not wish that the bishop receive any harm or injury through it. We, therefore, intrust to you the management of this affair, so that neither the one nor the other may have occasion to complain.—Madrid, 3 July, MDXXXIX.
Spanish. Original minute. pp. 13.
4 July. 74. The Marquis de Aguilar to the Emperor.
S. Sa. de G. M. y.,
L. 15.
B. M. Add. 28,591,
f. 191.
After writing on the 29th ulto., the Imperial letter of the 21st came to hand.
Hearing that a factor or agent of the Belzers, now here, is about to dispatch secretly a courier with news he has received from Augusta (Augsburg), and that the said courier purposes to embark for Spain at Genoa, he [Aguilar] is determined to send an estafeta after him, that he may give him this his despatch before he embarks [for Barcelona].
The steps which His Imperial Majesty orders him [Aguilar] to take here to prevent, if possible, the Venetians from concluding a separate truce with the Turk, are no longer required, inasmuch as by letters of Don Lope de Soria from Venice itself, as well as by others the Pope has received from that city and from Ragusa, it appears almost certain that a truce has already been negotiated and concluded between the Signory and the Grand Turk. Enclosed is a summary of the news contained in those letters, which he [Aguilar] has likewise communicated by express messenger to Prince Doria, already in Naples, as well as to the viceroy of that kingdom (Villafranca) and that of Sicily (Gonzaga), informing them particularly of the news conveyed in those letters, and principally of what concerns Tunis, since, if the report be true, there can be no doubt that the Turkish fleet is destined, not for Castilnovo, as was said at first, but for La Goleta, where Don Francisco de Tobar is now commanding.
The Signory's answer about the 15,000 ducats on account of the sum required for the pay of the garrison of Castilnovo has not yet been received; but he (Aguilar) expects it in a day or two, although it must be said that, according to the statements which the Venetian ambassador himself made to the Pope some days ago, the Signory pretends not to owe so much money.
Two days ago the Venetian ambassador went to the Pope and showed him Gritti's letter of excuses, denying his having ever treated with the Turk respecting a particular and separate truce with the signory of Venice; and upon that ambassador requesting him to send money to that city for the arming of the galleys he has there, His Holiness answered that since, according to Gritti's account, the Turk had given assurances that, pending the negociations for the truce, no harm would be done to the Venetian possessions—the Venetians themselves being similarly bound to suspend all hostilities—how could he (the Pope), in case of an attack from the Turk directed against Naples or Sicily, make use of his galleys now being fitted and armed in the port of Venice? To this observation the ambassador made no reply, and the Pope has declared that he will recall his galleys, send for the commander, and dismiss the crews (galeotes).
His Holiness has likewise observed that in the copy of Gritti's letter, which was sent for his perusal, he himself is not named, for the words are that "the Grand Turk positively refuses to negociate with His Imperial Majesty or with the king of the Romans, his brother," whereas Ayás Bashaw really and truly said "with the Pope and the Emperor." Which change of words seems to him (Aguilar) as if done on purpose to create jealousy and mistrust between the parties concerned; and it must be added that, all things considered, His Holiness is under the impression that king Francis' ministers have been at work and have done some mischief in view of preventing the general truce.
Will shortly propose to His Holiness the appointment and nomination of the cardinal archbishop of Toledo (Tavera) to the post of Inquisitor-General of those realms. (fn. n3) —Rome, 4 July 1539.
Signed: "El Marques de Aguilar."
Addressed: "To His Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty of the Emperor and King, our Lord."
Spanish. Original. pp. 4½.
4 July. 75. The Same to the High Commander.
S. E., L. 15,
B. M. Add. 28,591,
f. 190.
Thanks him for the news of the arrival of cardinal Farnese at the imperial Court, and the good reception he has met with. His Holiness is in good health, and very much pleased with the intelligence, which he began to think was tarrying long. His Holiness does not wish it known that the summary of that contained in Gritti's letter comes from him.—Rome, 4 July 1539.
P.S.—Hears that commander Rybera is dead. He leaves three things, either of which might do for commander Valençuela. Recommends him.
Signed: "El Marques de Aguilar."
Addressed: "To the very Illustrious Lord the High Commander of Leon, lord of the town of Sabirote."
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 2½.
20 July. 76. The Marquis de Aguilar to the Emperor.
S. E., L. 868,
f. 5.
B. M. Add. 28,591,
f. 194.
Wrote last, on the 4th inst., that the Signory's answer respecting Castilnovo was expected hourly. That answer came at last on the 7th, the substance of which is that the Venetians are content to take charge of Castilnovo at once, but that their own expenses had been so enormous during this war for the defence of their own territory that they could only contribute with 10,000 ducats; adding also as an excuse His Imperial Majesty's words to their ambassador when the Spanish infantry went into the place, &c. Such has been their offer, which they have since supplemented by that of several transports (vassellos) for the conveyance of part of the Spanish garrison, ammunition and luggage to whatever port of Naples or Sicily they may be destined. After making the Venetian ambassador understand, in His Holiness' very presence, how small that sum was in proportion to the enormous expence incurred by the Emperor in the keeping of Castilnovo, he (Aguilar), knowing that prince Doria had left Civita-Vecchia in disgust, through his not having found there the money he expected for his galleys, accepted at once the offer of 11,000 crs. on bills upon Ragusa, besides a number of vessels to bring the garrison back to Naples, so that the consignment of Castilnovo to the Venetians may be considered as effected.
Encloses letters of the viceroy of Naples (D. Pedro de Toledo) advising news of Barbarossa and his fleet, sent by the Venetian proveditor of Corfu. The news at first was exceedingly alarming, for it was reported that the Turkish corsair had passed by La Bellona, and it was apprehended that he might have gone to attack captain Juan Doria. Indeed, there were not wanting ill-intentioned people, who spread the news that the latter had fallen a prisoner into his hands. This, however, turned out to be untrue, for on the 12th inst. a letter came from Andrea Doria relating that Juan (fn. n4) was safe at Messina with his 20 galleys after revictualling Castilnovo. Barbarossa had not approached La Bellona; he had done no harm on the coast of Chefalonia (Cefalonia), as stated, nor captured three Venetian galleys under proveditor Contarini; on the contrary, on the 9th, the Turkish fleet, numbering 200 galleys, had entered the canal of Corfu on the Levant side. True the Turkish fleet had been at Zante, though without doing any harm to the inhabitants, treating them, on the contrary, as friends. If late reports be true, it is most probable that, though Barbarossa's first intention may have been to come to Castilnovo, yet on hearing that captain Juan Doria had already relieved it, and also that there was inside a numerous and well-appointed garrison, he would not lose his time there, the more so that up to the present time there is no news of any land force marching to the siege of that place. It might also be surmised that the Venetians, for fear Barbarossa should come to the Gulph, may have sent him a message that Castilnovo is at his disposal, and that after withdrawing its garrison they are ready to deliver it up. If so, it is natural to conclude that Barbarossa will come to the coast of Pulla (Puglia) or Sicily, or perhaps to Tunis, to do all the harm he can. Prince Doria and the viceroy of Sicily (Gonzaga) write that they have done their best towards provisioning and fortifying La Goleta and Bona.
Had a conversation with His Holiness, and told him that by his not having armed galleys this year, neither at Venice nor elsewhere, should the Turk come down upon Naples and Sicily, His Imperial Majesty would be compelled to defend those countries alone, whereas it was the duty of the League to provide conjointly to their defence. That His Imperial Majesty had had, and would have, to support during the present year considerable expense in galleys and infantry, both at Castilnovo and in Sicily, and could not possibly make further disbursements. His Holiness' answer was that if, according to reports from Venice, it was true that Barbarossa had been at Zante as a friend, the League must be considered as broken and dissolved, and that if he and Your Majesty are to remain in it, a new treaty is needed. My reply was that, even if that were required, he was bound to fulfil his engagements and contribute to the defence of Naples and Sicily, &c.
Cardinal Farnese wrote on the 21st ult. about the handsome reception he had met with at the Imperial court, and also about his conference with the privy councillors on the three points of his mission, viz., Camarino, the Cardinal's hats, and the half fruits. The paragraphs of his letters relating to the impending creation of cardinals by His Holiness have been read to me. I cannot say whether it is by mistake or by a mere oversight that the Cardinal's letter alludes only to the hat for the bishop of Geneva; not a word is said therein concerning that reserved "in pectore."
The Pope has upon the whole showed satisfaction and pleasure at the contents of the Cardinal's letters; shortly after the secretary of the latter, Antonio, who left Toledo on the 27th, arrived in Rome, bringing news of Your Majesty's departure for Madrid on the same day, and adding that the Cardinal would quit on the 28th, as he had already taken leave of Your Majesty. I cannot say what the Cardinal may have written from Toledo, or what his letters of credence in favor of his secretary contained, but the fact is, that since then His Holiness' good humour and apparent complacency, has been changed into disappointment and sorrow. That I could very well see in his manner when I last, spoke to him about the Turk and the Venetians, especially towards the end of the audience, when he told me, with visible signs of discontent on his countenance, what the Cardinal had written to him respecting the English business, for he did not conceal to me at the time his disappointment at what he called Your Majesty's evasive answer when interrogated on that point. Indeed, he was sorry to hear (he said) that Your Majesty had not made up your mind to stop the intercourse of trade between your dominions and England. King Francis had offered, and was still offering, to do in that affair whatever Your Majesty would agree to. The king of England (he said) went on with his wicked doings and cruelties. Lately he had sentenced to death the mother of cardinal Pole, and Your Majesty, as head of the other Christian princes, under the circumstances was bound to obey the commands of the Apostolic See. If, for political or other reasons, any of those princes wished to excuse himself with the king of England, he had an urgent plea at hand, by saying that he could not justly or honestly refuse to obey and execute the mandates of the Church were that King to persevere in his perfidious disobedience to the Apostolic See; the more particularly so, that the stoppage of trade did not mean making war upon the country. My reply was in accordance with Your Majesty's commands. I told him, as I have done on other occasions, that Your Majesty never lacked the will to remedy that evil, or fulfil and execute the commands of the Apostolic See and of His Holiness; but a stoppage of trade was equivalent to a declaration of war, and would furnish the Lutherans and the king of England with a specious pretext to unite their forces against Christendom, at a time, too, when the Turk was all powerful, and Barbarossa had so formidable a fleet under him. Even if the trade of Flanders and the Netherlands were taken away from him (I said), the king of England would carry it on with other distant provinces of Germany, such as Gueldres and others, where Luther's doctrines predominate.
This much did I say on the subject to His Holiness, though it seems to me that his discontent proceeds from another source, perhaps from some private affair of his own, which has not taken the course he desires, because such is His Holiness' nature, that unless his own private and family affairs go on prosperously, and according to his wishes, there is no expecting from him anything like favor in ecclesiastical or political matters. (fn. n5) Indeed, the other day, in conversation with the duke of Castro, he told me openly that the cause of His Holiness' discontent was a private and personal one, and had nothing to do with England. I cannot guess what this may be, unless it be some marriage which the Cardinal has proposed there, in Spain, for his own sister, because the Duke, before the Cardinal, his son, left, spoke to me respecting the prince of Orange, and I took no notice, not knowing how the thing would be taken up in Spain. If it be the affair of Siena, they must by this time know that it cannot be done as they propose.
His Holiness told me also that letters from Spain announced Your Majesty's journey to Italy, and thence to Germany, this very year. Said to him that I knew nothing about it; but, notwithstanding that, I hear he has given order, in case Your Majesty should come, as private letters assert, for every preparation to be made for a meeting with Your Majesty in some commodious place in Lombardy.
The bishopric of Monopoli in the kingdom of Naples is now vacant; (fn. n6) it is one of the twenty-four of Your Majesty's presentation.
After the above was written, the Venetian ambassador called to thank me, in the Signory's name, for the resolution taken respecting Castilnovo. The Signory (he said) has appointed Valerio Ursino to receive it, and given him a number of transports to bring the Spanish garrison back; but it appears that when they were about it, the news of Barbarossa's movements came in, and nothing was done, except withdrawing the 25 galleys they themselves had there. They have written to their proveditor, as well as to that of Candia, to join together all their naval forces, and have ordered him (the Venetian ambassador) to urge the Pope to arm his. But I hold that unless this turns out to be a farce, the cause of the movement must be looked for in the first news that reached us from that corsair, and which, as above stated, have proved untrue.—Rome, 20 July 1539.
Signed: "El Marques de Aguilar."
Addressed: "To His Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty of the Emperor and King, our lord."
Spanish. Original. pp. 14.


  • n1. See above, where Paul's suggestion of such a marriage was repeated to the Emperor.
  • n2. Vittoria Farnese, daughter of Pier Luigi and Ottavio's sister. The cardinal (Alessandro), the Legate, was also her brother. Vittoria was married to Guidobaldo della Rovere, duke of Urbino.
  • n3. On the 7th Sept. 1539. Cardinal Tavera, then archbishop of Toledo, and president of the Council of Regency, was appointed Grand Inquisitor in the room of the archbishop of Seville, D. Alonso Manrique y Castañeda, who had died the year before.
  • n4. That is Joannetino, his kinsman and lieutenant.
  • n5. "Porque quando su particular no se haze, ninguna cosa de las otras se puede bien acabar con Su Santidad."
  • n6. Thedore Pio since 1513, who died in 1561, but according to Gam's Series Episcoporum, &c., he was bishop of Monopoli until 1544, when he was removed to Faenza.