Spain: December 1540

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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'Spain: December 1540', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 1, 1538-1542, (London, 1890), pp. 294-303. British History Online [accessed 26 June 2024].

. "Spain: December 1540", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 1, 1538-1542, (London, 1890) 294-303. British History Online, accessed June 26, 2024,

. "Spain: December 1540", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 1, 1538-1542, (London, 1890). 294-303. British History Online. Web. 26 June 2024,

December 1540, 1-31

5 Dec. 143. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc.
C. 232, ff. 10–2.
Though nothing important has occurred since my last, (fn. n1) yet not to be taxed with negligence in my official duties, I would not let the opportunity of this messenger pass without writing to Your Majesty, and advising that two days ago this king's privy councillors prayed me as affectionately as possible to beg and entreat His Imperial Majesty that in Spain, at least, the servants and subjects of their master should be treated with a little more favor and kindness than they had been for some time back by the officers of the Inquisition and others. At the same time intimating that the good fellowship, long and continuous friendship between the two crowns—which they expected to see shortly as flourishing and close as it ever was—demanded better and kinder treatment on the part of the Emperor's officers; and, certainly, I must say that until now I have found these privy councillors very affectionately disposed towards His Imperial Majesty, and asking for news of the bishop of Winchester, (fn. n2) whose good qualities and inclinations they are continually praising to me, without, however, saying one word about the charge with which he has been intrusted.
The Princess, having heard from me that the attempt lately made to take away from her two of her maid servants proceeded entirely from this new Queen, who was rather offended at her not treating her with the same respect as the two preceding ones, has found some means of conciliation with her, so that she thinks that for the present, at least, her two maids will not be dismissed from her service. The Princess, however, enjoys at present good health. May God be praised for it!
The ambassador of France sent me word by his cousin that the King, his master, had written to say that the Turk, whom the ambassador called almost always "le Grand Seigneur," had concluded a peace with the Venetians, for the purpose of being more disengaged, and thereby able to undertake the invasion of Hungary, and help the son of king John, (fn. n3) to whose assistance he had already dispatched various sangiacs. The pleasing countenance with which the ambassador's cousin communicated the above intelligence to me, makes me fear that he had previously been sent to the King on a similar errand, under the impression that the latter would be pleased to hear the news. London, 5 December 1540.
P.S.—I forgot to inform Your Majesty that this King has sent to Calais some soldiers and many of his own pioneers, and that there is a rumour that he intends having a fortress erected close to Ardres, on the river side, not far from the spot where the French themselves had a few months ago built a bridge, which was afterwards demolished by the English. (fn. n4)
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Indorsed: "To the Queen." Received at Valenciennes on the xvi. of December 1540.
Indorsed: A la Royne. Reçue a Valenciennes le xvi. de Decembre XVC,XL (1541).
French. Original. pp. 2.
23 Dec. 144. The Same to the Same.
Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc.
C. 232,
f. 118.
The day before yesterday (the 24th) this King caused a letter to be written to me from his Privy Council stating that he had many things to say, and would be glad to see me next day at Anthoncourt (Hampton Court), where I should be welcome. I made no delay in obeying the King's summons, and presented myself at the place, where I was, as the King had said, welcomed and favorably treated; for not only was I most comfortably lodged at a house plentifully provided with every convenience, and all the necessaries of life, but by the King's express commands one mule of his own riding, handsomely caparisoned and harnessed, had been sent to a village half a league from Anthoncourt, and a barge also in case I should choose to travel by water, though neither was wanted, for I was already provided with both those means of conveyance. (fn. n5) From the village I was accompanied to Anthoncourt by Mylord Park, and by another gentleman, the same who had once been this King's ambassador to the queen of Hungary in Flanders. Arrived at the place, I was received by the King's privy councillors, with whom I conversed for a length of time, until a message came from the King to say that on his way to the Queen, with whom he was to dine, he would pass by the hall where I was, though merely to greet me, and that as it was late in the day, and I must be hungry, he would not then and there fatigue me with a long conversation, nor would he accompany me to the Queen's apartments, but that the count of Harfort (Seymour) would keep me company whilst the privy councilors were with him.
Which words the King, immediately after his coming out of the Council room, repeated to me, saying, after a most gracious welcome and greeting, that he was sorry he should have to speak to me, not indeed of pastimes and pleasure, but of matters of serious import. He could not do less than communicate certain matters which did not sound well to him, as I should hear after dinner.
On his return from the Queen's apartments the King was still more amiable, and taking me by the hand he led me into his chamber, where, in the presence of his councillors, he began to say that a good number of his subjects had complained most bitterly to him against a certain edict or proclamation of Your Majesty lately issued in the Low Countries forbidding goods or merchandize of any sort to be exported from the ports thereof in English vessels, which he much wondered at, as the measure was in direct contravention to the treaties, leagues, and confederacies between Your Majesty and him. He wondered still more at Your Majesty not having previously written to him, and remonstrated against the injury which Your Majesty's subjects in the Low Countries had, or pretended to have, sustained through the ordinances lately framed by his Parliament, nor had Your Majesty announced to him what sort of provision you intended making in order to redress the pretended injury.
My answer was that, as to the last point touched upon, Your Majesty had sufficiently acquitted yourself, as the Lord Privy Seal and the Admiral there present could testify, who, as honourable and upright gentlemen, would not fail to confirm my statement and repeat my very words. This answer of mine by no means pleased the King, for as one of the above named councillors (the Lord Privy Seal) attempted to produce a testimony in my favor, the King interrupted him twice or three times, without letting him finish what he had to say.
As to the second point (I continued) there was no great difficulty, for Your Majesty had perfect right to do so, since his Parliament, in virtue of the above mentioned edicts had been the first to innovate and alter the sense of the general treaties, wherein it is expressly said that Your Majesty's subjects may come to and reside in this country, negociate, trade, and send wherever they please their own merchandize in vessels of their own or of other people, neither more nor less than if they were natives of this kingdom, and living in Spain, Flanders, and other dominions of the Emperor. Yet (said I) notwithstanding those express articles, already a good many of the said merchants, subjects of the Emperor. have been expelled from England, and such among the rest who choose to live in this country are prevented from negotiating and trading freely, as is notorious; nor can they export their merchandize, as before, according to the letter of the treaties. So that on all these three points, I maintained, there had been contravention to the said treaties, and, therefore, Your Majesty had been perfectly justified in issuing the said ordinance about the shipping, especially when the bishop of Winchester (Gardiner) had sent me a message in the King's own name, and in answer to the communications I had with the Lord Privy Seal and the Admiral, that Your Majesty could do exactly the same in your dominions, and that if that was done, neither the King nor his Privy Council would find fault with it, resent or complain of the measure.
I further said to the King that if his arguments rested only on that treaty of commerce, which was evidently greatly in favor of the English, His Imperial Majesty held such like treaties to be null and void, inasmuch as your own deputies had at the last meeting resolutely protested against it. Upon which the King would forcibly give me to understand that by the treaty of Cambray it was stipulated and declared that all previous commercial stipulations would remain in vigour, force, and value as they had been before the challenge and war that ensued, unless deputies from both sides assembled for its amendment. But although I told him that there had been an assembly of deputies on both sides, and I pointed out to him the time and place of that assembly, and who the English and Flemish deputies were, naming them one by one, he would not hear of it in the least, and we disputed for some time, until he said that he declined to debate any longer on matters which his Privy Council could and would explain to me more fully than himself. He was sure that his councillors would not be displeased and find fault with what Your Majesty had ordered, yet he expected me for many considerations to interpose my good offices, so that it should be known on what side justice and reason were. He hoped also that Your Majesty would have the said proclamation and edict revoked. Having said which, he again begged me in the most gracious and flattering words to try and procure as soon as possible the revocation of the "edict," for the English merchants (said he) were so astonished, and in such a state of perplexity and doubt, that they did not know what to do nor how to employ their capital, to their great damage and injury.
After this the King bade his Privy Councillors withdraw, and taking me by the hand led me to the embrasure of the next window, made me sit down near him, and said, among other things: That Your Majesty cared very little for your own affairs, and was rather unlucky in your choice of friends, since, after observing the deceitful practices of the French to obtain such an end, you were quite indifferent to their doings. They (the French) had already suborned and won over to their side not only almost all the princes in Christendom but even the Turk, through whose means they have secured the co-operation of the Venetians, as well as of the king of Poland, who lately accepted the guardianship of the Wayvode's son. (fn. n3) The French, continued the King, had serious intrigues in Germany and in Switzerland, and Your Imperial Majesty was much mistaken if you thought that you could ever be at peace unless Milan was restored to them; much less after that restoration, as they call it, for then they would also attack Naples and Florence, which they pretend belong to them. "For my part (added the King) I have always laughed at those who imagine that the means of securing a solid and firm peace between the Empire and the French can ever be found. Even now their King is soliciting a marriage between Mons. d'Angoulême and the grand daughter of the Pope, with what intentions God only knows. He is at present fortifying his frontiers, as the Emperor knows, whether against him or against me I cannot exactly say. The Emperor is obliged to return to Spain, and if so, God knows in what state the Low Countries will remain if left without friends and allies to defend them; whereas if there was real, sincere, and intimate friendship between the Emperor and me, king Francis would think twice before he undertook anything against Your Majesty." The King ended his speech by saying that he could not do less than remind me of the above-mentioned facts, but that he dared not, and would not, go beyond that or interfere in the affair, for fear people should think that his wish was to sow dissension between Your Majesty and the king of France, and also for another reason, which was that he fancied that all the king of France or he himself said was immediately reported. On the whole, he thought that it was for those who were in need of friendly assistance and help to look out for themselves. Had he (the King) chosen to listen to French proposals, he might long ago have made the best of bargains, and when once he reproached king Francis for his friendship and dealings with the Turk, his answer was that he could not help it, inasmuch as no other Prince had tendered him help in times of need.
(fn. n6)
Should Your Majesty think seriously about these things (the King went on to say) you might confidentially declare yourself, under the security that the most profound secrecy shall be kept in the matter, and that even if the French get scent of it, that will be rather beneficial to Your Majesty than otherwise, for that the fear of him will render the French more tractable.
To the above remarks and observations of the King my answer was the same as when, some months ago, the Lord Privy Seal and the Admiral of England spoke to me in almost similar terms: I begged him to express candidly his opinion, and tender his advice as to what Your Majesty had better do under the circumstances, and that, although he said that it was only in times of great tribulation and affliction that his words had been listened to, whereas in prosperity no notice whatever had been taken of him and his advice, he (the King) knew as well as I did that men ought never to be tired of doing good to their fellow creatures; and that even in one's own private affairs advocates and friends were always wanted; that in less than half a day men's opinions might change, and that he himself, who feared no one, and had knowledge and experience, as well as leisure and opportunities enough to look at and watch the game of others, could better than any other prince in Christendom work for its general peace and welfare. The King then replied that he thought so; but that Your Majesty had at this juncture, and in a bad hour, caused an edict and proclamation to be made public in the seaports of your dominions, which made people believe that there is no good-will and amity between you and him, though he thought by what the bishop of Winchester (Gardiner) had written to him, that Your Majesty had not decreed the measure of your own free will, but at the importunities of the people of the Low Countries, whom Your Imperial Majesty wished to favor on that score in reward for the substantial aid they had given you at other times.
After that the King said to me that he wondered why it was that neither his ambassadors at the Imperial Court, nor those who represented him in France, had written a word to him about my return here with an important charge, and that I had not yet made any overtures. Owing to that, and perceiving that I had nothing particular to say for myself, he had dispatched the bishop of Winchester (Gardiner) to Your Majesty, firstly to ascertain Your Majesty's inclinations, and according to that attend to the proper direction of mutual affairs, and secondly to wash out the calumnies cast on his conduct concerning his last divorce as well as his views on religious affairs. He had not written to the Bishop to ash for the revocation of the edict, because he trusted more to my own letters than to any remonstrances or prayers of that ecclesiastic, his ambassador, and he again begged me most earnestly to write in that sense and recommend the revocation.
My audience at an end, I went to the Privy Council, where a memorandum was put into my hands of the substantial points contained in their statutes for the regulation and intercourse of trade, of which a copy is enclosed, (fn. n7) and after debating the matter for some time, the members begged me to insist on the revocation of the edict. I answered that, affectionately inclined as I was to their master's service, my advice was that they themselves should revoke their statutes—which proposition, by the way, some of the members, the wisest and most experienced among them—owned to me was not only admissible but perfectly just. It will be Your Imperial Majesty's pleasure to decide what is to be done in reference to this affair, taking into account what I myself have written for the last three months.
About a week ago the Admiral came to dine with me, and after dinner we had a long conversation respecting this King's reconciliation with the Apostolic See. He told me plainly that, as far as his master was concerned, there was no chance at all of such reconciliation; it was all lost time, the King would not hear of it. I must say, however, that no one in this kingdom advocates the said reconciliation more strongly than the said Admiral, and yet I am determined not to speak to the King on the subject save incidentally, and the opportunity being favorable; for, according to the opinion of the said advocate, were I to make any proposal to that effect it might be badly construed, and delay the conclusion of some other good affair in hand.
Your Majesty, with your incomparable good sense and clearsightedness, will easily conceive the state of confusion and perplexity in which this king and his ministers now are on account of Your Majesty's edict, especially by its having come at such a juncture, when the King wishes to persuade the French that he is on better terms than ever with Your Majesty, and has a great influence over you. No doubt he imagines that the French will laugh and sneer at his going to the expense of sending such a solemn embassy to Your Majesty, and only, after all, to hear the proclamation of the edict which took place at Anvers (Antwerp) on the very same day that the bishop of Winchester and his colleague reached that town. The more unfavorable and inopportune was that embassy, that this king's differences with France respecting the limits of Guynes (Guisnes) and Ardres are still unsettled, since I hear that two arbitrators, one on each side, are soon to be deputed to define the same. Indeed, I take it, that the King and his Privy Council would have paid a very large sum of money that the said ordinances had never been issued here, thinking no doubt that Your Majesty might have endured that, as you have endured many other wrongs from them, without attempting to retaliate. That is why I have not pressed more for the revocation thereof, nor insisted any longer on the justification of the measures adopted by Your Majesty. My reasons for acting thus are twofold, namely, to court this King's benevolence and gain credit with him; otherwise he might have imagined that I was one of the chief promoters of the affair, and wished to continue in opposition to him as heretofore; and, secondly, it seems to me more profitable and convenient for Your Majesty that they do not for the present revoke their statutes, since Your Majesty's subjects will ultimately be the gainers, as I once wrote in one of my despatches.
Nor have I for the same two reasons disputed with the merchants residing here, and who are Your Majesty's subjects—who, after all, are no more than six—as to the urgency of the revocation or the non-payment of the tax imposed upon them, considering that Your Majesty will thereby be justified in doing the same in your dominions, and in confiscating the property of Englishmen residing in Spain or in the Low Countries, who are without comparison in much greater number, especially if the present commercial treaties remain a dead letter owing to the many infractions of them.
In my opinion the time and opportunity to solicit and demand the abolition of the commercial treaties to which I allude is now or never; and I venture to say, under correction, that it would have been preferable not to have made the edict than to have to revoke it entirely, unless it was thought expedient to mitigate and amend the same according to the prohibition contained in the English statutes, for if so, these people would become too proud and arrogant through it, and would go on doing worse, and once launched in the midst of the dance we must have gone on with it. It might be that these people made some show of discontent, and bragged and threatened to put a stop to it in some way or other; but my opinion is that if we keep firm all will end in smoke, and they will knock under, especially when they hear that equal prohibitions are posted up in Spain, which is what concerns them most. I must own, however, that hitherto I have not seen or perceived that the King or his privy councillors have used in this matter any but the most gracious prayers and entreaties, as people who know well what they are about.
The king of Scotland, after the Parliament of his kingdom had terminated its labours, sent Sir Jehan Camail (Campbell?) as ambassador to the court of France, and to other courts also, as it is generally reported Sir John is expected here in a couple of days. I have yet been unable to learn what the object of his mission may be, but should I obtain any reliable information, I will apprize Your Majesty thereof, as well as of any other political event worth mentioning.—London, 23 December 1540.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
23 Dec. 145. The Same to the Emperor.
Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
f. 13.
I am in receipt of Your Imperial Majesty's letter of the 26th of last month, and the documents attached to it, of which I shall not fail to make use according to my instructions. With regard to the continuation of this King's will in the matter, which he has lately proposed to Your Imperial Majesty through his ambassadors, it is my opinion that there is neither coldness nor change in him, and that there is nothing he desires more in this world than to be entirely reconciled to Your Imperial Majesty, so as to be sure of your friendship, by removing the obstacle of two great causes for scruple and fear, which stand in the way of that sincere friendship, which he has good reason to dread he will never surmount; (fn. n8) the divorce and its immediate consequence is one, and his disobedience to the Apostolic See the other. This last is, in my opinion, the one which annoys and stimulates him the most, knowing perfectly well, as he does, that with regard to matters concerning the Holy See Your Imperial Majesty is not bound by any of the preceding treaties. Notwithstanding this, I will take all possible care to guess what his real intentions are, and what conditions he is ready to grant, although I am afraid that it will be rather a difficult task to bring him to reasonable and equal terms, if I am to judge by precedents in other important negociations. Had it not been that since his return from the Northern counties, he has given his privy councillors leave to go for change of air to their respective country houses until All Saints, I would have looked out for some good excuse to go to Court for that very purpose, and see whether the King himself or those of his Privy Council who are there broached the matter to me, principally that of Your Imperial Majesty's conversation with the Pope with regard to him, for that is a thing he will not hear of, as he would, I am sure, like to treat with Your Majesty without the Pope being mentioned at all. There will be always time to inform him of the steps taken by Your Majesty with His Holiness at Rome after Mr. Grandvelle has heard what the King's resolution is in pending matters, without, however, giving him (the King) any cause for displeasure; for when this last summer he ratified the promise made to Your Imperial Majesty by his ambassadors, he protested strongly and expressly against it, saying that had he known that Your Majesty made the foundation stone of the treaty with him his previous reconciliation with the Pope, which you yourself would propose and recommend, he would certainly not have been the first to solicit such a treaty. Should he make inquiries about that, he must be told that Your Imperial Majesty had really a conversation with the Pope respecting him, but that Mr. de Grandvelle is the man who really knows of it; otherwise he might think that Your Majesty has no wish to treat with him.—London, 26 December 1540.
French. Original. pp. 3.
Indorsed: "Copy of Chapuy's letter to the Emperor."
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Indorsed: "From the ambassador in England."
26 Dec. 146. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
f. 15–29.
By the enclosed to the Emperor, Your Majesty will be apprized of late occurrences in this country.—London, 26 December 1540.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To Her Majesty, the queen of Hungary, Regent in the Low Countries."
French. Holograph. p.¼.
26 Dec. 147. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
f. 13.
The copy of my despatch of this date to the Emperor will acquaint Your Majesty with the latest occurrences here.—London, 26 Dec. 1540.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the dowager queen of Hungary, Regent of the Low Countries."
French. Holograph.


  • n1. Chapuys' last letter is dated the 16th.
  • n2. "L'evesque de Vuynchestre," that is Stephen Gardiner, often mentioned in the pages of this Calendar. About his mission to the Emperor, see above, pp. 12, 205.
  • n3. Zapoli or Zapolsky died in this very year.
  • n4. Qui leur fust desmoli.
  • n5. Comme de menvoyer jusques a ung villaige aupres du dit Anthoncourt une sienne mule tres bien arnachee et caparisonnee, et oultre ça une barge, si je voulois aller devers luy par eau, oires quil nen fust besoing, car jestois pourvu de lung et de lautre."
  • n6. Upon the death, in 1540, of John Zapoli or Zapolsky, the Waywode of Transylvania, his son John Sigismund succeeded him, under the tutorship, as above stated, of the king of Poland, Sigismund II. (1506–48). See above, pp. 103, 113, 118.
  • n7. Not to be found in the packet.
  • n8. "A sçavoir le dyvorce, et la substraction du siege apostolicque."