Spain: May 1540

Pages 235-240

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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May 1540, 1-31

15 May. 108. The Emperor to Monsieur de St. Vincent and Monsieur de Pelu. (fn. n1)
S. Pat. R1. Cap. y
Trat. co. Pont.
L. 2, f. 59.
B. M. Add. 28,592,
f. 97.
In order to inform both of you of Our opinion respecting the proposals lately made by the Most Christian king of France, We have ordered the following memorandum to be drawn up for your guidance—which memorandum, however, is private and confidential, and must not be shown to any one.
You will begin by telling the King and his ministers that there is nothing We wish for so much as to establish and settle a lasting peace between the Royal Family of France and Our own, to the satisfaction of the friends and allies of both parties, through reciprocal means, and with proper securities for the future.
Having said thus much—though the terms and wording of the King's instruction to his ambassadors are unusually grave and acrimonious, and differ considerably from those used by the King to yourself, and again to Mons. de Pelux (Peloux) at his departure from that court—you will represent to him or to his ministers, with suitable courtesy and moderation, that the instruction sent to his ambassador, a copy of which has been put into Our hands, is by no means what We expected of him after Our interview at Aigues-Mortes and Paris. That you may better reply to the arguments which the King himself or his ministers will, no doubt, bring forward, We have caused the following instructions to be prepared for your guidance. You will absolutely conform to them, but in doing so you will use all possible moderation, as otherwise any intemperate language might aggravate the present state of things, and bring on a rupture between the Most Christian King and Ourselves, which is, no doubt, the thing which those parties who have interfered, and are now interfering, are looking for.
The French instruction sets forth that Milan is henceforth to become the sole, exclusive, and perpetual patrimony of the king of France and of his sons, as if it belonged to them by right of inheritance, and as if there was no right whatsoever on Our side, and as if the ways and means through which Our house and the Holy Sacred Empire acquired the fief thereof were illegitimate and nul; and, lastly, as if We were not obliged by oath to defend its authority, constitution, and laws, just as he, the Most Christian King, is in duty bound to observe those of his own kingdom, &c. Should, therefore, the King still insist on the terms of the memorandum once given to the bishop of Therbes (Tarbes), and to Monsr. de Brisach, you will tell him that all the above points, and a great many more, were duly declared and specified in Our answer to the various French memoranda on the subject.
In the second article, equally exorbitant, it is said that, immediately after the marriage of the duke of Orleans (Charles) to Our daughter, the Princess (Maria), We are to make over to him the Low Countries, as well as the counties of Burgundy and Charolois, with exclusive and perfect dominion over them, as if the said territories belonged to him de facto, and were a thing of Our exclusive right and dominion to be given away unconditionally, and not as a dower of Our daughter. We have not alluded in Our instruction to this most preposterous demand, because We consider it unnecessary, having already declared elsewhere what We deem just and honest. But should the French ambassadors still insist upon knowing what Our intentions on that point are, you will tell them that, wishing, as We do naturally wish, to proceed in this affair with complete sincerity, owing to the love We bear to Our daughter, the Princess, as well as the affection We feel for the duke of Orleans, and Our desire for king Francis' alliance, We are willing to grant them, immediately after the consummation of their marriage, such power and authority in the Low Countries, under Our own paternal sway and superiority, as seems just and natural under the circumstances, and to act towards them as a good father would do, guiding and advising them for the good government of the said States; and that, moreover, it is Our intention to render the investiture still more secure by causing the inhabitants of the said Low Countries to swear fealty to the duke of Orleans and Our daughter, the Princess, and acknowledge them for their lord and lady in the manner We have already proposed, or in any other more convenient and reasonable way that may be agreed upon.
Since Our terms are so reasonable, We, of course, insist upon king Francis and all his family renouncing at once, and in the most positive manner, all their claims, such as they are, on the State of Milan, with the exception of those which the said Mr. d'Orleans may personally have in case of Our daughter, the Princess, dying without children of her marriage.
Should, however, Mr. d'Orleans pass away from this life before the Princess, Our daughter, with children or without them, We intend the said renunciation to take effect all the same, so that neither the Most Christian King nor his sons and heirs may put forward pretensions of any sort. For should there be any sons of the Duke and Princess, they will be amply and sufficiently provided for by the tenure of the said States; and if they left none, though Mr. d'Orleans might have been invested with Milan, the Duchy must necessarily revert to the Sacred Roman Empire, according to the nature and quality of the fief. In nowise would We prejudice to its rights, as We once declared to the sieurs de Therbes and de Brissach, and have done since in all the conferences held on that subject; ever since the restoration of the fief of Milan to the Sacred Roman Empire, it has been our constant aim and purpose that the fief thereof should never be possessed by a French prince to the great injury of the Sacred Roman Empire.
You will, of course, use much discretion in propounding the above arguments, speaking in your own name, or in Ours, as you may think convenient.
Should the duke of Orleans survive his wife, the Princess, and yet have sons by her, he is not to lay any claim whatever on the State of Milan, since the Princess' sons, as above said, are to inherit, and he himself remain their legitimate guardian during his life. The case of the sons becoming of age and the father having to give up the administration of their property, must also be looked into, he (the Duke) being indemnified by some estate or pension for life in the Low Countries.
As to the Most Christian King refusing to ratify the treaties of Madrid and Cambray, though there are many urgent reasons in favor of their ratification, you may say, as if it came from yourself, that should the most important clauses in those treaties, such as the renunciation of pretended rights and claims, and so forth, be substantially included in the new one, We shall be satisfied.
Respecting that article of the last French instructions, as well as of the previous one, stipulating that the Most Christian King will take no engagements, or make promises, beyond his natural life, with regard to the sovereignty over Flanders and Artois, and, moreover, that on account of the proposed marriage We are to make over to him Hesdin, St. Pol, besides waiving Our claims on Tornay, Tornesis and Sant Amand, you will say that you believe there will be no difficulty at all in the restitution of those towns, since the Most Christian King himself and his ministers have repeatedly, before and since the liberation of the sons of France, written that they were ready to observe the treaties of Madrid and Cambray in every respect save their claim on Milan, and more expressly that he (the King) approved of and ratified the renunciation of the sovereignty of Flanders and Artois, as well as of Tornay, Tornesis and St. Amand, and that whenever there has been a question of peace between king Francis and Us there has never been the least difficulty raised as to the restitution of Hesdin. As to St. Pol. Our right is clear and indisputable, owing to Our long possession of that town, as has frequently been said and demonstrated. (fn. n2) For it would be a strange and preposterous act, and quite contrary to the peace We wish to make, as well as to the good We intend to do him and his family by disposing of the Low Countries in favor of his son on the marriage of the duke of Orleans with Our daughter, the Princess, were he to make the least difficulty as to the restitution of Hesdin, and waiving of his claim on St. Pol, &c.
With regard to the provision and dower of the duke of Orleans, We expect that the King, his father, will do as befits his quality and the rank of the Princess.
You should bear in mind that whenever the conversation turns on Milan, or on the above-mentioned suzereignty over Flanders, Artois, Hesdin, Tornay, Tornesis, St. Pol, and other towns, you are always to stipulate as an indispensable condition sine quâ non the restitution of the duchy of Burgundy, giving the French commissioners to understand that Our right to the latter is indisputable, whereas their master's pretended right to the above-mentioned places is far from being so. Should they argue that by the treaty of Cambray that restitution remained undecided, to be afterwards settled by law, you will tell the commissioners that if that be the ground they stand upon, they themselves must observe the stipulations of the treaty of Cambray establishing Our sovereignty over Tornay, Tornesis and Sant Amand.
You are absolutely to insist upon the marriage of Our nephew, the eldest son (fn. n3) of the king of the Romans, with Margaret, king Francis' daughter. Should you, however, find that the king of France shows reluctance to the said marriage, then, in that case, you will propose, as of yourself, that of Our said nephew, son of the king of the Romans, Our brother, with Our niece the Infanta of Portugal [Doña Maria], which marriage king Francis approved of and praised above all things in previous instructions to his own ambassadors, saying that he loved the Infanta as if she were his own daughter. But, with all that, it seems to Us as if the best means of carrying on the negociation would be for the Most Christian King to hold an interview with Us somewhere, and then the affair might be discussed privately between us. Should this be so, malicious spirits would refrain from any interference in so good and meritorious a work, the intrigues of the opposite party (fn. n4) would be stopped or altogether defeated, &c. However, as king Francis, if We are rightly informed by letters of the king of the Romans and the dowager queen of Hungary, declines holding the proposed interview, it is for you (St. Vincent and Peloux) to talk this matter over with the Most Christian Queen, Our sister, and see what can be done for the purpose of obtaining the King's consent; all suggestions to be made in your name, and in virtue of the joint credentials which Mr. de Peloux is to take, so that the Queen herself, the cardinal of Lorraine, or the High Constable Montmorency, may lay Our proposal before the King, whom they might at the same time remind that when We were last in France he actually promised to come and visit Us this next summer, by which visit he not only will do Us great pleasure, but will stop the mouths of malicious people who may take the King's change of mind for a proof that no sincere friendship does exist between Us.
In short, should king Francis decline to accept Our offer of the Low Countries of Flanders in the manner above specified, and insist on the terms of the memorandum given to Messieurs de Therbes (Tarbes) and Brisach, (fn. n5) you will say, as stated in the preamble to Our last instruction sent by Mr. de Pelux (Peloux), that We do not intend contravening in the least what We then offered and promised in answer to the above-mentioned memorandum with regard to the investiture and delivery of the duchy of Milan, or in anywise go against its substance and form; but, on the contrary, that should any difference arise as to the latter, We fully intend to have the same removed. This much you both can say as coming entirely from yourself, and also that you firmly believe that We shall insist on the fulfilment of the treaties of Madrid and Cambray and the ratification of the same, as well as on the restitution to be made to Our cousin of Savoy (Carlo III.), and the securities for the devolution to Us and to the Sacred Roman Empire of the duchy of Milan in case of Mr. d'Orleans dying without legitimate heirs, &c.
Should, however, the Most Christian King say that he prefers to let matters stand as they are, rather than choose between the two offers made to him,—namely, the state of Milan, or Our Low Countries of Flanders, on the terms and conditions above and elsewhere specified—then you will declare to him, in your name or in Ours, as you please and may think most proper and convenient, that Our offers have been made for the sake of obtaining a lasting peace between his heirs and successors and Ours; that he ought to look at Our good intentions and to the securities We offer for the continuance of peace.
Should the King still persevere in his determination, you will tell him that We will do all that can be done to please him, and that, in the meantime, whatever may be the issue of the negociations, We shall not fail to observe that sincere and perfect friendship towards him which We once promised and again confirmed at Our last interview before We left France.—Amberes (Antwerp), 15 May 1540.
Spanish. Original draft. pp. 17.


  • n1. Elsewhere Pelux, a Frenchman; his true name was Anne de Peloux; he had been in the Emperor's service since 1532.
  • n2. "Y que quaudo se ha platicado do paz no se [h]a jamas hecho dificultad en la restitucion de Hedin, y en lo de San Pol nuestro derecho esta todo claro con el gozamieuto, segun que muchas vezes esta dicho, y demostrado."
  • n3. Maximilian.
  • n4. "Porque si esto se encamina los malinos espiritus se retraerian de atrave-sar[se] en esta tan santa ó buena obra, y assi se dexarian, e yrian mag retenidas las platicas contrarias a las cosas publicas."
  • n5. Antoine de Castelnau and Mr de Cossé Brisaach. See above, pp. 75, 203.