Spain: June 1541

Pages 329-334

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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June 1541, 1-30

1 June. 165. King Francis to his Ambassador in England.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
ff. 33–7.
I have perused the account of the conversation you have held with the duke of Noirfock (sic) respecting the affair of which I wrote to you, and although I have no doubt of your having followed strictly my instructions, and having also spoken to the Duke so cautiously as not to let him imagine that the overtures come from me, yet, as the English are naturally suspicious—more than any other nation in the world—the Duke's words, as reported by you, make me think that the King, from whom the Duke never conceals anything that passes between you two, may have conceived some suspicion that the overtures in question come directly from me. If so, you must use all means in your power to dissuade them thereof, and should you be called upon by the Duke to repeat the overtures that you made to him, I beg and entreat that on no account is the Duke to tell the King that those overtures come from me, for that would be tantamount to making a fool of yourself, and turning the affectionate regard which you profess to have for that king, as well as your own desire of being useful to him, into such appearance of incapacity and want of power that would preclude your being employed and trusted by them in future. You must tell the Duke that the overtures you yourself have made to him are principally founded upon the kind and honest proposals which from time to time have been made to you, and that you are very desirous of doing something in your life that may be equally profitable for the king of England and for me, and likely to foster and increase our common friendship. That bearing a true and brotherly affection for him, and knowing besides what little trust can be placed on the Emperor—who thinks of nothing short of waxing greater and greater every day, and aspiring to that odious universal monarchy so detrimental to Christendom—you have been encouraged to make the said overtures. In saying so you will, of course, make use of the most gracious and flattering language possible, assuring the Duke that one of my greatest wishes in this world is to live in perfect harmony and everlasting friendship with the king of England, his master, who will always find in me his best friend and brother. Should the Duke wish to enter into more particulars, and ask you what means you would propose for the sake of rebinding and strengthening the said friendship, you might remind him, as if the idea originated entirely with you, of the proposal made at the last assembly of Calais, at which both he (the Duke) and the Admiral (Brion-Chabot) were present, and of which you must have heard something in that country. It was then and there said, in the course of conversation, that marriage was the surest means, as he (the Duke) knows, of-cementing and fortifying alliances between princes, and accordingly an offer of one was then made. You will then tell him, by way of advice, and as coming from you, that as the king of England has a daughter, who is considered legitimate, and I myself have a son, the duke of Orleans, on whom I am ready to devolve my rights on Milan, and who is one of the best matches in all Christendom, a marriage might be arranged between the two. By means of that marriage many goad things might be accomplished for the common advantage of both kingdoms, as by reason of that union the king of England might no longer insist upon the payment of the annual pension which France owes him, and of which they are continually reminding you there, and I could besides offer him in return many advantages, &c.
The King might consider these things, as well as the advice propounded by you, for I would not for anything in this world let the English think that the proposition came from me. It will be for you to let me know as soon as possible what answer they make to it. (fn. n1)
French. Contemporary copy. pp. 2.
10 June. 166. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
ff. 23–9.
Your Majesty's letter of the 28th ult. came to hand, as well as the copy of this king's letters to Your Majesty, and the answer to them. I shall not fail, if the affair is mentioned, to follow Your Majesty's commands in every respect. This, I fancy, will tike place soon, for there is a talk of my being summoned before the King two days hence, at which summons, however, I am exceedingly vexed, inasmuch as not having yet received the copy of Your Majesty's answer to this king, which, as stated in my dispatch of the 26th May, (fn. n2) had no doubt been left behind, I shall not be able to answer these people's arguments in conformity with Your Majesty's letter to the King. On my return from Court, I shall not fail to acquaint Your Majesty.
Since my last of the 26th May, the news of this place is that on the 27th following three of the chief promoters of the last conspiracy in the Northern counties—an abbot and two gentlemen—were hung and quartered. (fn. n3) About the same time, the very strange and lamentable execution of Mme. de Salisbury, the daughter of the duke of Clarence, and mother of Cardinal Pole, took place at the Tower in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London and about 150 persons more. At first, when the sentence of death was made known to her, she found the thing very strange, not knowing of what crime she was accused, nor how she had been sentenced; but at last, perceiving that there was no remedy, and that die she must, she went out of the dungeon where she was detained, and walked towards the midst of the space in front of the Tower, where there was no scaffold erected nor anything except a small block. Arrived there, after commending her soul to her Creator, she asked those present to pray for the King, the Queen, the Prince (Edward) and the Princess, to all of whom she wished to be particularly commended, and more especially to the latter, whose god-mother she had been. She sent her blessing to her, and begged also for hers. After which words she was told to make haste and place her neck on the block, which she did. But as the ordinary executor of justice was absent doing his work in the North, a wretched and blundering youth (garçonneau) was chosen, who literally hacked her head and shoulders to pieces in the most pitiful manner. May God in His high grace pardon her soul, for certainly she was a most virtuous and honorable lady, and there was no need or haste to bring so ignominious a death upon her, considering that as she was then nearly ninety years old, she could not in the ordinary course of nature live long. When her death had been resolved upon, her nephew, the son of Mr. de Montagu, (fn. n4) who had occasionally permission to go about within the precincts of the Tower, was placed in close confinement, and it is supposed that he will soon follow his father and grandmother. May God help him!
I have, within a packet of letters from Venice, found the enclosed for Your Majesty.—London, 10 June 1541.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph. pp. 6.
18 June. 167. The Same to the Same.
Wien, imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
ff. 30–2.
Your Majesty has no doubt been informed that this King's ambassadors [at the Imperial Court] have lately been soliciting that a treaty of closer friendship and confederation with the Emperor be made within a period of six, eight, or ten months, at the will and pleasure of the latter, provided in the interval neither of the two parties should treat to the prejudice of the other, and that His Imperial Majesty had condescended and made such a promise to the English ambassadors, on condition that their master would also do the same before me. To that effect on Sunday last I repaired to this king's court, who with very good will and grace made the reciprocal declaration and promise in my presence; and, the better to manifest his ardent wish for the treaty in contemplation, requested me to go to his Privy Council, where (he said) the draft of his letter to the ambassadors would be shown to me in order that my own despatch and his should be in conformity, lest the dissonance between them should give rise to scruples, mar, and impede the projected closer alliance. For this purpose I again yesterday went to Court, where, as on the previous day, more caresses were made to me than I can possibly describe, the privy councillors telling me all manner of sweet things, thus showing their ardent desire that the treaty in question should be concluded, whilst the King held a conversation with me, the substance of which is as follows:—
The King said that he wondered much how His Imperial Majesty could have agreed to the marriage of the dowager duchess of Milan with the marquis de Pont (fn. n5), inasmuch as the Emperor could never expect any assistance from Lorraine against France, the cardinal of Lorraine and Mr. de Guise being both too partial to Francis, as was well known, and, therefore, most unfit for the redress of political affairs and the preservation of the friendship between the Emperor and king Francis. They (the Cardinal and Mr. de Guise) had lost reputation and authority by working the ruin of the High Constable of France [Anne de Montmorency], to whose fall they had chiefly contributed, together with cardinals Tournon and Ferrara, besides the admiral of France, and principally Mme. Destampes. "In addition to that (the King said), I hold that Anne de Clèves is the real and legitimate wife of the said marquis [de Pont], for I myself have never seen or heard of any deed or authentic document breaking through their mutual marriage engagement, that being the chief reason and cause of my separation from her. I am sorry not to have heard before that the Emperor was sanctioning such a marriage; otherwise I would not have failed to mention to you the above facts that you might have informed your master." After this, the King told me in confidence that he doubted whether the duke of Lorraine (Antoine) had not beforehand made some agreement to make over to king Francis the rights which he himself pretended to have to a portion of the duchy of Ghelders.
In two days time Dr. Carne, who was the colleague of Urisle (Wriothesly) at Brussels about two and a half years ago, and Master Vagan (Vaughan), once English ambassador at Your Majesty's court, will take their departure. They are sent by this king to Your Majesty for the purpose of adjusting the differences in trade matters caused by the disputed innovations on both sides, and the king has requested me to write in their favor, that they may be treated by Your Majesty with your usual benevolence, and according as reason, justice, old friendship, good neighbourhood, and especially the old commercial treaties between the two nations, demand. It is for Your Majesty to take in this affair the course which your great prudence and wisdom may dictate, only I beg Your Majesty to make the English ambassadors understand that besides my not being well acquainted with the mercantile affairs of the Low Countries, when touching or connected with those of England, I am considered to be rather partial to this king.
I enclose the copy of a letter (billet), which came inside another of king Francis to his ambassador here, by which Your Majesty will see what amount of affection these people profess to have for your person. (fn. n6) I beg and entreat that it may be kept secret, as otherwise I shall be unable in future to get more information from the same quarter respecting the present relations between this country and France.—London, 18 June 1541.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Original, partly in cipher. pp. 2.


  • n1. If this be the letter alluded to in Chapuys' following despatch of the 18th of June, the passage or passages concerning Mary of Hungary must have been omitted or not transcribed by Chapuys, otherwise the sentence underlined in that despatch: "par ou vostre mte verra le bon zesle (zele) quilz portent de ce couste la a sa mte," has no meaning. If, however, instead of vrē mate, as in the copy before me, sa mte is substituted, the observation may apply to the Emperor, who is there accused of aiming at universal monarchy.
  • n2. See above, No. 163. p 325.
  • n3. The execution took place on the 17th of May. Neville and five priests were hung and quartered.
  • n4. Sir Henry Pole.
  • n5. Pont à Mousson, that is Francois de Lorraine.
  • n6. "Par ou vostre mate verra le bon zesle quilz portent de ce couste la à vostre (sa?) maieste." See the preceding letter, No. 166.