Spain: May 1541

Pages 319-329

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 1541, 1-31

1 May. 158. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C.
232, ff. 11–12.
Though nothing new or important has occurred since my last, (fn. n1) I will profit by the departure of this messenger to inform Your Majesty that this king has sent to the North for about 100 men-at arms, who have arrived here within the last week, accoutred and armed in the old fashion, that is to say, with their jacks or coats of mail, and their secrettes under their steel caps, and who, instead of long lances, are armed with small spears. (fn. n2) It is said that a still larger number is expected from those districts, and that the whole force is to cross over to reinforce the garrison of Guisnes.
The day before yesterday this King's privy councillors sent for the ambassador of France, in order to notify to him that their master, having had knowledge of the taunts and bravadoes with which the garrisons of Ardres and Guisnes are continually addressing each other, had deliberated to send thither his Lord Privy Seal to put a stop to such disorderly acts, and the ambassador has been requested to write to his master and persuade him to do the same on his side.
In France, as it appears, much notice has been taken of, and great sensation produced by, the landing of the 2,000 men, of whom I wrote in my despatch of the 17th of April, so much so that the French ambassador here says that in France the rumour is that upwards of 20,000 Englishmen have crossed the Channel and actually landed!! Some think that suspicion and fear of the English are the only causes of such exaggerated reports, whilst others imagine that the whole of it is a stratagem devised by this king for the purpose of having a better plea for reinforcing his garrisons and provisioning his towns and fortresses on that frontier, and, as the opportunity occurs, giving employment to his army. (fn. n3) At any rate, the better to color his sentiments, king Francis has, in writing to his ambassador, shown disappointment and discontent at his not having warned him of the great number of Englishmen who had crossed the Channel besides the 2,000 mentioned in my last despatch, in order that he may show his letter to this king, as he has done since. There is the more reason to think the whole of this to be a ruse of the French that, although their ambassador at this court has been continually sending couriers to France—sometimes his own cousin—to apprize the King of the said armaments, the latter has not ceased sending to that frontier, and has employed marvellous diligence to complete the fortifications of Ardres, where, if this ambassador's word is to be credited, no less than 3,000 pioneers are now working day and night.
For a long time back no one has rendered a greater service to this King than the man who detected the conspiracy mentioned in my last despatch (fn. n4) for, as stated, it was far more dangerous than the former, not only because the people's indignation against the King has risen to a higher pitch since then, owing to the cruelties and exactions that followed the rebellion in the North, but because the season of the year was far more propitious and the opportunity more favorable for men to assemble together in arms, for there was to be a great fair at Pontfret (Pontefract)—the town in which the last rising took place—and the 40 or 50 conspirators, nearly twelve of whom were gentlemen, men of substance and mature age, or priests holding benefices from the English Church, purposed attending the said fair with their ordinary servants and retainers to the number of upwards of 300. Their plan was to gain over as many people as they possibly could to their views, and then denounce, and declare openly against, the King's bad government and tyranny, and after that attack and slay all those who should rise in defence of the commonwealth. The conspirators were not without some hope of being aided by the king of Scotland, who, if he would only nowadays make war on this king, would not meet on the part of the English with the resistance he has met with at other times. Most likely this king suspects something of that sort, for, not trusting much on the fidelity of his officers in the Northern counties, he has decided to have the border towns strongly fortified.
Some one has just come to tell me that during the last 10 or 12 days a good number of Scotchmen have crossed the river and penetrated far enough into England, where they have taken, sacked, and set fire to a town, for no other apparent reason than that of recovering certain prisoners whom the inhabitants refused to give up, as the Scotch pretend they ought to have done according to the treaties and conventions between England and their country.—London, 1st May 1541.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Indorsed: "To the queen regent in Flanders."
French. Original. pp. 2½.
1 May. 159. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
f. 20.
Not knowing what to add to the news conveyed in my letter to the Emperor, (fn. n5) of which I enclose a copy, I will only remark that most of the packets of letters addressed to me either by the Emperor or by Your Majesty, as well as those which come from the Imperial ministers and ambassadors in Italy, when delivered at Envers (Antwerp), are generally detained in that town much longer than is necessary, and that very often private letters from merchants of the said town are received here several days before my own official correspondence. The fault, as far as I can learn, does not lie in the post-master, Anthoine de Taxis, but consists entirely in the faculty which the people of that town have of keeping post-horses and hiring them out to private couriers, the consequence being that several merchants send their letters on without letting the post-master know of it, and that official packets and other correspondence remain behind until there are enough letters to fill a bag. It seems to me, under correction, that the only sure remedy to obviate that inconvenience would be to order that no one in Antwerp should keep post-horses except the said Anthoine de Taxis.—Londres, 1 May 1541.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original. p. 1.
13 May. 160. The Marquis de Aguilar to the Emperor.
S. E. Roma, L. 870,
f. 53.
B. M. Add. 28,593,
f. 1.
I hear that the Pope has recently held more frequent and familiar conferences than usual with the Venetian ambassador, and although I have not yet ascertained what the object and purpose of those conferences may be, I suspect that the fear he has of Your Imperial Majesty coming to Italy, and likewise his dread of the Diet, may be the cause.
I hear also that on the arrival here of the news that the English have crossed the Channel to Calais, he (the Pope), of his own accord, said to the French ambassador that if the king of England made war upon his master, he himself would assist France with all his power. The ambassador thanked him for his offer, and begged him to put it down in writing, that he might show it to a secretary of king Francis, who resides with him. This the Pope declined to do, saying that there was no necessity for that, but that if he (the ambassador) chose to write home and communicate his offer, he might do it with his entire approbation. Meanwhile, there came a courier from France stating that the king of England had answered the inquiries of a gentleman of Francis' Chamber, dispatched purposely to that effect, that the troops sent to Calais were not destined for an attack on his dominions, but merely to work at certain fortifications, &c.
His Holiness is now sending to France Hieronymo Capo di Ferro, (fn. n6) his recently appointed Datary, who belongs to the Orsini faction, and although it is said that he goes thither merely to reside as Papal Nuncio, the fact is that his removal from such a prominent office as that of Datary, makes people here suspect that he must be going to France on some pressing and highly important business. I will try to ascertain what his mission may be.
Last week a letter was read in Consistory from the Papal legate at the Imperial court, purporting that should the deliberations of the Diet be unusually prolonged without coming to a decision, Your Imperial Majesty was thinking of coming over to Italy, leaving the king of the Romans, your brother, to preside over the Diet in your room; and that he (the Legate) wished to know whether, in case of your coming to Italy, he was to remain at the Diet, or come over. After the reading of which letter in Consistory, the cardinals present decided that should the matters of the Diet be at Your Majesty's departure in a fair way of settlement, he (the Legate) might remain behind. If, on the contrary, some delay was apprehended, he might come over in the Imperial suite; but that in either case he was to obtain Your Imperial Majesty's consent and approval.—Rome, 13 May 1541.
Signed: "El Marques de Aguilar."
Addressed: "To His Sacred Imperial and Catholic Majesty."
Spanish. Original, mostly in cipher. pp. 2 1/2.
17 May. 161. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
ff. 18–9.
Since the receipt of Your Imperial Majesty's letters of the 31st of April the account of recent occurrences in this country must have reached and be known at the Imperial court. I mentioned in my last despatch that this King, in order to avoid complications with France on account of any broil or dispute arising between the English garrison of Guisnes and the French one of Ardres, had determined to send to the former town his Lord Privy Seal, to see that nothing took place there likely to bring on war between the two nations; the principal cause of which determination being, as I have since heard, that the resident ambassador of this king at the court of France had written lately that certain French courtiers were saying publicly that it was possible that some cause for discontent and hostility might spring up soon between the English garrison of Guisnes and the French of Ardres, which might eventually be the cause of a war against this country. That was the thing they (the French) mostly desired, not only on account of the hatred, deeply rooted from times of old, which they bore against the English, as for the sake of God's service, as they would have to fight infidels worse than Turks, with considerable hope of success and profit.
Soon after the date of my last despatch, the Lord Privy Seal took his departure for Guisnes, accompanied by the earl of Surrey, son of the duke of Norfolk, and by the Admiral of England, who, however, did not remain long there, for they all came back about six days ago. Neither of them seems to have gone beyond Guisnes. True is it that some gentlemen of their suite, and among them the brother of the earl of Hartford, (fn. n7) disguised as civilians, went as far as Ardres, where the governor received and entertained them well; but, on the other hand, that of Boulogne refused to let them pass on to Calais, though he offered them good cheer if they would only visit him at Boulogne.
This King and Queen went a week ago to visit the Prince [Edward] at the request of the Princess (Mary), but chiefly at the intercession of the Queen herself. Upon that occasion the King granted the Princess full permission to reside at Court, and the Queen has countenanced it with a good grace.
About one month ago a German from Nüremberg, named Joachim Goderfinguer, agent of duke Philip, the Palatine, who had some business to negociate with this king, arrived here. It appears, however, that he has been unable to obtain an answer until now. It would appear, as the agent himself says, that these people, who do not like to play at cards unless they see those of their adversary, have purposely delayed their answer until they see that the affairs of Germany have decidedly turned out well for Your Majesty. I am given to understand by those who are about the Princess that the answer to the agent has not been at all unfavorable, and that there is some chance of the duke Philip being recalled.
Four days ago news came that in Spain the ordinance (pragmatique) forbidding foreign ships, and especially the English, to lade in the ports of the Peninsula, and elsewhere in Your Imperial Majesty's dominions, arrived here; hearing which the English merchants who have ships in Spain have been so disagreeably surprised that two of them have said to a person, who reported it to me, that they would much prefer losing part of their fortune, and even having their ships burnt and wrecked, than be obliged to quit this country. And I suspect that unless these merchants be allowed to lade in the ports of Your Majesty's dominions, there will soon not be in this kingdom one-tenth of the ships they now have, but that, on the contrary, the ships and seamen of Your Imperial Majesty's subjects will greatly increase, and become a source of considerable profit.—London, 17 May 1541.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original. pp. 2.
17 May. 162. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien., Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
f. 22.
Your Majesty will see by the enclosed copy of my letter to the Emperor a summary account of late events in this country. I have scarcely anything to add to it, except that some of the mutineers in the northern counties, of whom I wrote in my last despatch, have already been executed, and also that very lately this king has conferred the Order of the Garter on four noblemen (fn. n8) of this kingdom, namely, on the earl of Sorrey (Surrey), son of the duke of Norphocq, the earl of Harfort, the Comptroller of the Royal Household, and the captain of the Royal body-guard.—London, 17 May 1541.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original. 1 p.
26 May. 163. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
ff. 24–7.
Yesterday Your Majesty's letter of 18th inst. came to hand, together with the copy of this king's missive and note to Your Majesty, though that of Your Majesty's answer to him has not been received, owing, no doubt, to forgetfulness or some other cause. I therefore beg and entreat Your Majesty to cause it to be forwarded to me, that I may be able at all hazards, if necessary, to reply to this king or the members of his Privy Council in conformity with your answer, should any of them speak to me on the subject, although I do not believe that they will, considering that for one claim they may bring forward against us, I can produce endless ones on-the part of the Emperor's subjects, as I failed not to do some time ago, when this king's privy councillors asked me to write to Your Majesty, and request the release of the fourteen ships on which an embargo had been laid at Neufport (Newport). Neither the King nor his privy councillors did on that occasion speak so loud and boastingly as they have now done in the letters to Your Majesty, and I do really believe that had then the pains mentioned in Your Majesty's placard been executed on the masters of the said ships, this king would have used milder language in this fresh instance; for thinking, no doubt, that the release of the said ships had been effected through fear of his retaliating, and that the placard once infringed it would be easy to have it revoked altogether, he has now written in harsher terms about it.
In my humble opinion the only way of lowering the pride and mitigating the frenzy of this king in the matter consists in making suddenly, and at once, some provision which may put a check to, and stop the exorbitant statutes lately made in this country, respecting which both the Emperor and Your Majesty can allege more honorable and conscientious reasons than this king can. (fn. n9) As I once wrote, were it possible to forbid entirely the export of hops (houbelon) from the Low Countries, the measure would be highly beneficial in the end to the natives of those parts, for the English would then be obliged to buy their beer in Flanders, and pay for it in corn or in money, which transaction would be highly beneficial for the natives of the Low Countries, besides which, if the hops could not be exported without a license, as is the case here, Your Majesty could make a good sum of money through it. The same thing might be said of the grain (garance) if the export of that article without a license were forbidden.
Since the King in his letter talks of honor and conscience, it seems to me as if both the Emperor and Your Majesty ought in conscience to enact that woollen cloth woven and prepared as it is generally in this country, and then sent to those parts, should not be allowed to come in. That would be a very just measure, as well as a very profitable one, for the inhabitants of those countries, who would no longer be deceived, as well as for Your Majesty, who might profit by the confiscation of such woollen cloth. It would be at the same time the greatest blow (bastonnade) for these people if their woollen cloth were thoroughly examined, as has been suggested there. And if a duty of one gold florin were imposed upon each piece of cloth of the right sort introduced, from England into the Low Countries, that would be, in my opinion, as good a revenge for the iniquitous measure lately adopted in this country, and so frequently enforced, of making the Emperor s subjects pay double duties on the goods they buy in England, besides the price of the cloth they take from this country, which amounts to one ducat more than the English themselves and the Easterlings (Austrelins) pay, without counting other exactions and taxes, though these people pretend that they have a stipulation and treaty to that effect. (fn. n10)
With regard to the King's threat that unless the placard is revoked he will be obliged to adopt such remedy as he may deem convenient or opportune, I cannot imagine what else he can do against the Emperors subjects, or how he can treat them worse than he has done up to the present time, unless he thinks of declaring war, which, in my opinion, is the thing in this world which he desires the least, for if he knew of any other country where his subjects could barter their merchandize, except the Emperor's dominions, he would willingly send them thither to sell their goods, even if his own revenue were diminished through it; he would find other marts where his people could take their goods, rather than suffer the retaliations to which the English merchants trading with the Emperors dominions must and will be subjected. As a proof of this statement, about two months ago there was a deliberation in the Privy Council as to the expediency of sending two ships to the Northern seas for the purpose of discovering a passage between Islandt (Iceland) and Engronland (Greenland) for the Northern regions, where it was thought that, owing to the extreme cold, English woollen cloths would be very acceptable and sell for a good price. To this end the King has retained here for some time a pilot from Ciuille (Seville) well versed in affairs of the sea, though in the end the undertaking has been abandoned, all owing to the King not choosing to agree to the pilot's terms, so that for the present, at least, the city of Antwerp is sure of not losing the commerce of woollen cloth of English manufacture.
Some days ago a deputation of the weavers and merchants of woollen stuffs in England appeared before the Privy Council against the shearers, (fn. n11) asking for the revocation of the statute forbidding the export of woollen cloth exceeding the price of three pounds sterling unless it were accoustré (dressed), and alleging that the shearers did their work so imperfectly that the people of the Low Countries would no longer buy English cloth; at any rate cloth accoustré (dressed) in this country fetched two ducats apiece less in the Low Countries than the undressed, owing to which merchants and dealers lost thereby two ducats on every piece, besides the two which they had to pay for the apprest (dressing) here. It appears that the majority of the privy councillors, taking into consideration the demands of the wool weavers and cloth merchants, are inclined to the revocation of the statute; but I doubt whether the King will consent to it for the sole and exclusive reason of not benefitting by it the people of those countries; and, therefore, English merchants and dealers would be glad that some proclamation should be made in Flanders and the Low Countries forbidding the importation of English woollen cloth, and see whether this king would not then accede to their request.
As soon as the King, as I informed Your Majesty in one of my despatches, heard of this last conspiracy in the Northern counties, he announced his intention to go thither in person and visit the districts where the rising had taken place. Having lately had news that the affair might grow worse still unless he was personally on the spot, he has now decided to undertake the journey, and has already issued orders for stores of provisions, intending to repair to the Northern counties in pompous array (pompeusement), followed at least by 5,000 horse, to which end several lords and gentlemen have been summoned. His idea in thus marching with so considerable a train seems to be to gain reputation in provinces of his kingdom which he has never visited, and also that a good portion of the money spent will remain in the country, for it appears that the chief grievance of which the people of the North complain is, that there is no currency among them in consequence of the King having seized the rentals, not only of the abbeys and monasteries in those provinces, but likewise those of the principal lords in the land, like Nortamberlan (Northumberland) and various others, by which means all the money which formerly circulated in the Northern counties now comes here to this City of London.
I hear from a good source that this queen being some days ago rather sad and. thoughtful, and the King wishing to know the cause, she declared to him that it was all owing to some rumour or other afloat that he (the King) was about to take back Anne de Clèves as his wife. To which the King replied that she was wrong to believe such things [of him] or attach faith to reports of the kind; even if he had to marry again, he would never retake Mme. de Clèves, which is, in my opinion, most likely, considering the King's natural condition, which is never to feel affection for a person he has once loved and then abandoned, although it must be said that many here seem to think that for fear of king Francis making war upon him, at the solicitation and with the help of the duke of Clèves, as well as of the king of Scotland, this king might possibly some time or other effect his reconciliation with Anne. (fn. n12)
The post-master at Anvers (Antwerp) makes difficulties about paying the wonted two ducats for each packet of letters coming or going from this embassy. The couriers are daily importuning me with their complaints, and asking me to pay them their due, which is exceedingly inconvenient for me to do at this present moment, my funds being now exceedingly low. Even if I wished I could not do it, having no money for my own maintenance, merchants being tired of lending it me. That is why I beg Your Majesty to give orders that my arrears of seven months' pay, and something more in advance, be remitted to me as soon as possible.—London, 26 May 1541.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original, partly in cipher. pp. [...].
29 May. 164. Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza to the Emperor.
S. E., L. 1317,
f. 149.
B. M. Add. 28,593,
f. 3.
Has received the Emperor's letter of the 16th inst.
This Signory is still firm in her purpose not to assist any other power in a war against him (the Emperor). They are now reforming their administration, and have commenced by eliminating out of the Council of Pregay no less than one hundred and twenty of its members, who had got in merely by paying certain sums of money. These have been repaid, although the Signory is nowadays so poor that the money required could not be obtained except through a loan at 13 per cent.
The enclosed summary of news from the Levant will inform him [the Emperor] of the state of affairs in those parts.
The Pope, according to letters received from Rome, is seriously thinking of renewing with the Swiss the old treaty which Pope Julius made once with them, and is about to send to Switzerland an Italian captain who has lately been in the habit of recruiting men in that country. He (the Pope) had sent a message to these Venetians intimating that the Emperor was now so situated, and had such a work in hand, that he might easily, if he chose, become master of all Italy, and that it was prudent to be on the alert and try and prevent by all possible means such a contingency. He himself would do everything in his power to thwart the Emperor's ambitious designs provided they (the Venetians) helped him.
The viceroy of Naples (Marquis de Villafranca) having requested him (the Pope) to disarm, the latter has sent Capo di Ferro to France for the purpose of hastening, as much as possible, the marriage of his grand-daughter, and at the same time procuring a defensive league between himself, France, and Venice, which league any other prince or potentate who chooses may join.
Of the invasion of Hungary by the Turk there is no talk at present. It is believed that he will not pass beyond Andrinople, and, therefore, that his land forces will not be so considerable as was thought at first.—Venice, 29 May 1541.
Signed: "Don Diego de Mendoza."
Indorsed "Paragraphs of a letter from the ambassador at Venice to the Emperor."
Spanish. Original, partly in cipher. pp. 2.


  • n1. See above, No. 156, p. 315.
  • n2. "Comme ce roy a puys huiat jours faict icy venir du cartier du Nort enuiron de cent hommes de cheval armez a lantique, a sçauoir de leurs jaquez et petites secretes soubz leur bonnetz, et au lieu de lances portent picques."
  • n3. "Et ont faict courir le bruyt, selon quaffirme le dit ambassadeur quil descendoient plus de vingt mille, et pensent aucuns que la souspeçon et craincte a t engendre tel rumeur, mais aussi se pourroit il croyre que cela a este dressé par ruze pour avoir plus juste occasion les françois de renforcer leurs garrisons, et fournir toutes leurs places, et selon loccasion que se pourroit addonner employer leurs gens."
  • n4. See his letter to the Emperor, No. 156, p. 318, where the news of the conspiracy is given in almost similar terms.
  • n5. Most likely the preceding, which, though addressed to the Queen, might very well be a copy only of that sent to the Emperor.
  • n6. Elsewhere called one of Paul's "camarlenghi."
  • n7. Robert Seymour?.
  • n8. Henry Howard, Edward Seymour, Sir William Paulet, and Sir William Fitzwilliam.
  • n9. "En quoi vostres maiestes peuvent trop mieulx pretendre lhonneur et conscience que ne fait le dit roy que se y fonde."
  • n10. "Contre l'iniquite quilz usent de faire payer double impost si souvent aux subjetz de sa mate oultre ce quilz payent pour chacun drap quilz tirent dicy ung ducat daivantage plus que les Anglois et austrelins. sans diverses autres pilleries et rongeries, bien que ceulx cy pretendent avoir traicte sur le dit florin."
  • n11. "Il y a desia quelques jours que les faiseurs et marchands de drapz diçy estoient venuz devant le Conseil contre les tondeurs pour faire revocquer le statut que lon ne puist tirer de ce royaulme drapz passant trois livrez sterlins de pris quil ne soit accoutre, et alleguent les ditz marchands que les dits tondeurs les accoustroient si tres mal que ceulx de par de la ne les vouloient acheter, et que a tout le moings il ny avoit piece de drap accoustre de par de ça que ne se vendit de par de la deux ducats moings que si elle nestoit accoustrée, et venoient a perdre oultre les deux ducatz autres deux que leur coustoit les apprester içy."
  • n12. "Madame, il me este donne [a] entendre de bon lieu que, se trouvant ces jours [derniers] ceste royne ung peu pensive, [et] le dit roy voulut sçavoir dont cella procedoit, elle luy declaira estre pour quelque bruyt que courroit quil y avoit suspicion quil ne voulsist reprendre celle de Cleves, a quoy lui responda (?) icelluy seigneur [roy] quelle auoit tort de penser telles choses ny dy adjouster foy, et [que] quant il seroit bien a marier si navoit il garde de reprendre la dite de Clèves, ce quest a croire considerant sa nature de non retourner en affection de personne, quil aye habandonnee depuis lavoir une foys aimee, si estoit ce opinion de pluseurs que pour craincte que le roy de France ne luy esmeuve guerre avec layde et sollicitacion du duc de Clèves et aussi du roy descosse quil se reconcilleroit avec la dite de Clèves."