Spain: December 1541, 21-31

Pages 425-456

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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December 1541, 21-31

24 Dec. 218. The Marquis de Aguilar to the Same.
S. E., L. 870,
ff. 93–4.
M. Add. 28,593,
f. 104.
After his despatch of the 26th ult. the Emperor's letters of the 2nd and 15th came to hand, advising the events of his voyage from the day of his sailing from Mallorca up to the landing at Bugia. On the 18th inst. he (Aguilar) heard from High Commander Covos that 22 rowing galleys had been signalled off Cartagena, and that no doubt they were the Imperial fleet, and the Emperor was on board one of them. God be praised!
His Holiness was glad to hear the Emperor's offer to help with all his power now that Barbarroja is said to be coming to Italy. Told him that the Emperor was now more in want of money than he was when he last spoke to him at Lucca, and that he hoped His Holiness would now help and assist him and his brother, the king of the Romans, in their wars with the Turk by sea and land more effectually than he had done on the last occasion.
Letters from the bishop of Fossombrone (fn. n1) have been received, in which he gives an account of the first audience he had from king Francis. It appears that the latter's answer was anything but satisfactory. On the subject of the truce he would not declare whether he would keep it or not. As to the peace, he said that having once refused the offer of a marriage with the dominion of Flanders for his son, the duke of Orleans, unless the marriage contract were signed by the parties inside Milan, he would in nowise hear of it. He (king Francis) knew very well what His Holiness was aiming at by sending to him the bishop of Fossombrone; it was merely for the sake of amusing him with words, and in the meantime making him lose his friends. In short, the bad treatment to which the Avignon prisoners have lately been subjected, after the ill success of the Algiers expedition—already well known in France—shows that king Francis is more obstinate than ever; so much so, that in the Bishop's opinion there is very little chance of his consenting to keep the truce, much less concluding peace on reasonable terms. Of the bishop of Valence (fn. n2) there was no time to talk, for in the midst of the audience the King withdrew, saying that on the next day he would again receive the Papal Nuncio.
As to the Avignon prisoners, he (Aguilar) learns from a letter of Don Miguel de Çanoguera to D. Alvaro de Luna that they were taken in the following manner:—On the night of the very same day on which the Papal vice-legate took leave to return to Rome, the gates of his palace and the door of his own apartment were forced all of a sudden by a squad of armed men. The inmates defended themselves as long as they could, but the assailants, being in greater number, got inside, sacked the palace of its contents, and went away, taking with them as prisoners Don Carlos de Luna, son of D. Carlos, Don Juan de Aguilon, and two or three more such as Marradas and D. Miguel Çanoguera, the writer of the letter, who after being taken with the others, managed to bribe the very man who had charge of him, was set free by him, and advised to leap from a window. So he did, and though he was nearly killed by the fall—the height of the window above the ground being considerable—he managed to run away. After this Çanoguera went to the abode of the new vice-legate, the bishop of Bologna, (fn. n3) who had just arrived at Avignon. The bishop, who is the son of cardinal Campeggio (Lorenço), received him well, sheltered him, and attended to his cure. It was not known for certain where the other prisoners had been lodged, nor what had become of them. Some say that they have been taken to Marseilles, others that they are in Lyons, but cardinal Carpi has had a letter from a friend in France advising that they are kept in one of the High Constable's (Montmorency) castles.
The above-named Cardinal (fn. n4) shows attachment for the Emperor, and brings occasional news from France, where he has many friends, having long resided in Lyons and Paris and other places as Papal Nuncio and Legate. Among other things he says that king Francis has lately sent for count Petillano (Pitigliano), and for Paolo de Ceri, telling them both that he intends employing them at Sena and in other cities. The former has accepted, and will most likely do some mischief in that city, where he has friends and partisans. The latter has answered that he is solely and simply a military man, and that this is not the time to make war; that in a month or two he will consider king Francis' offers.
The Emperor's agent in Switzerland happens to have been once the Cardinal's servant, and, therefore, the information he has procured in the Swiss cantons may be relied upon, The Cardinal (Carpi) has letters from him announcing that king Francis pretends that the duke of Clèves ought to be included in the old league and confederacy which the Catholic Cantons had of old with France; but this the Swiss have flatly refused. Then the King, in order to make sure of them, asked them whether they would not give him the men he required, but their answer has been that since he himself is recruiting thousands of Germans, he has no need of their services. With all this it is generally believed that the cantons, whether Catholic or Lutheran—for in this matter Francis makes no difference—will in the end furnish him as many men as he may want; and, indeed, there is at present among them a treasurer of the King to that effect.
A cardinal's hat for the bishop of Viseu. (fn. n5) Three French ecclesiastics who want them are also on the list. One is the present ambassador in Rome, recommended by Mme. Labrit; 2, the nephew of Mr. Sambaut; 3, the grand chancellor of France himself.
The decimas granted to Venice.—
Don Juan de Luna writes from Milan that as long as the defences of that castle are unfinished he cannot answer for the security of that city, and that it would not be amiss to increase the garrison under his orders.
Count Santa Flor (Sanctafiore) has arrived, and brought news that the duke of Camarino Ottavio Farnese has been appointed "capitan de la Casa." His Holiness has rejoiced at it, because there is nothing he likes so much as to see all the members of his family promoted.
Mma. Margarita is doing well, and seems much pleased with the services of commander Valençuela.—Rome, 24 Dec. 1541.
Signed: "El Marques de Aguilar."
Addressed: "To the Sacred Imperial and Catholic Majesty of the King our lord."
Spanish. Original. pp. 12.
27 Dec. 219. The Same to the Same.
E. Roma, L. 870,
f. 97–8.
B. M. Add. 28,593,
f. 111.
After writing on the 22nd and enclosing my letter to Mr. de Granvelle, I received Your Majesty's of the 4th inst. from Cartagena, which I was glad to receive in order to contradict and defeat the lies of these Frenchmen at Rome, who for some time past have been saying that the letters from Spain announcing Your Majesty's return were pure invention, and had been expressly forged for the purpose of keeping matters in statu quo.
As no answer is needed to that letter—since both Mr. de Granvelle and I have fully and in detail informed Your Majesty of the state of affairs here at Rome, as well as in the rest of Italy—I will only add that no sooner did His Holiness hear of Your Majesty's safe arrival at Cartagena than he sent for Juan de Montepulchano, his chamberlain (camarlengo), and told him to prepare for a journey to Spain, for the sole and exclusive purpose of congratulating Your Majesty, and at the same time informing you more particularly of the result of his Datary's mission to France. (fn. n6) Having been obliged to stop on the road on account of illness, the Datary had sent an express, who entered Rome yesterday, giving an account of his commission, and so forth, &c. His Holiness, however, would not wait for the arrival of his Datary, who is expected shortly, and decided that Montepulchano should leave, which he has perhaps done already.
From what His Holiness himself and cardinal Farnese tell me, king Francis' answer has been rather unsatisfactory. [As in Granvelle's despatch of the 14th.]
I shall not fail to urge on His Holiness to take action in this case as befits his authority, insisting upon the archbishop of Valencia and the Avignon prisoners being set free. Should Montepulchano be still in Rome before closing this despatch of mine, I will inform Your Majesty of the Pope's answer to my application. The bishop of Fossombrone is also expected within six days, and we shall hear from him all the particulars. Methinks that all these threats on the part of the king of France have no other origin than his believing that this is the opportunity for him to get Milan, but when he hears that Your Majesty is back in your Spanish dominions, he will no doubt change his tone.
I have written to the viceroy of Naples (D. Pedro de Toledo) to be on the alert for fear the French should undertake something in those parts in combination with their ally, Barbarossa.
Cardinal Farnese tells me that His Holiness is very anxious for the proposed marriage between his grand-daughter and the son of the duke [Carlo] of Savoy to be effected at once. Though His Holiness knows through Mr. de Granvelle that Your Imperial Majesty will be glad of that marriage taking place, he wants more than that, and would like to have your own personal consent. Told the Cardinal that I knew nothing about it, but that as Montepulchano had gone to Spain, there could be no delay.
He (the Cardinal) told me to thank Your Majesty for the treatment which the duke of Camarino had received at your hands. He wished above all things that Your Majesty should employ him in military matters, for which, he said, the youth showed great inclination and taste. Having inquired from the Cardinal what post he wanted for his nephew, he replied, General of the Spanish or the Italian infantry, or of the Imperial light horse, and that in the event of a war no one could as well as he himself raise an army in Italy. To advise him in the duties of his office, Allessandro Bitello (Vitelli) Giovan Battista Sabelli, or some other veteran and experienced captain, might be appointed. My answer was that I had no doubt, when Your Majesty knows His Holiness' wish with regard to his grandson, he will be employed according to his rank and station, and I am also certain that Madame, the Duchess, his wife, wishes him to be in Your Majesty's service.
At this very moment I hear that an application has been made to relieve the Duchy of Camarino from the payment of about 1,000 ducats or more owing to the Apostolic Chamber, and that His Holiness has granted the petition owing to the last duke (Varana) having accompanied the expedition against the Infidels of Algiers.—Rome, 27 Dec. 1541.
Signed: "El Marques de Aguilar."
Spanish. Original. pp. 8.
29 Dec. 220. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
f. 84–6.
Madame,—Last Monday I went to the King, and had a long conversation with him on several affairs, and principally on the one mentioned in your letters of the 4th and 15th inst. On Wednesday morning, as I was about to close and seal my letter to Your Majesty, in came the clerk of the Privy Council to request me to go to Court, as the King's councillors (he said) had some important communication to make, and begged me to delay the departure of this courier until I heard from their lips what they had to say. Accordingly, this morning, Tuesday, I went to Greenwich, and had a long conversation with the privy councillors respecting the intercourse of trade and other matters relating thereto. I must say that on this occasion I have found the King's councillors much better informed than on former ones, owing, no doubt, to my having sent them, at their own request, copies of ail the papers I have in my possession. Indeed, that they might better meet my application, I have not hesitated to send them transcripts of Your Majesty's reply to their ambassadors at Brussels, as well as of your own letters to me on the subject. They, in the meantime, have promised to send to Calais for the registers of the "tonlieu," in order to ascertain whether at the time mentioned in Your Majesty's letter—the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries—the Flemish did not pay more duties than the English, as asserted. (fn. n7) And although the King had taken medicine on that particular day, and felt somewhat indisposed, yet, in the afternoon, hearing that I was in the Council room, he made a point of coming and having a long conversation with me on various subjects, which I will report in my ensuing despatch.
In coming back to my lodgings I found at my door the courier, bearer of this, and of whose departure I had only been informed one half-hour before, already in the saddle and about to start. Though I begged him to stop two or three hours more that I might finish this letter and seal the packet, he would not, and hardly gave me time to write these few words in a great hurry, lest Your Majesty should think that the delay had entirely been caused by me. (fn. n8)
The King, in fact, communicated to me one part of the conversation that the French ambassador had with him on Tuesday last, and the offers and promises he had made him. With regard to the chief affair, Your Majesty will hardly conceive the quantity and quality of persuasive and remonstrative arguments of which that ambassador made use to induce this king to make some overture or other, and advance the treaty of closer alliance with France. But I still persist in my opinion so often declared; no one, however shrewd, will suceeed in detaching this king from his fantastic humour, which is not to communicate, impart, or let anyone know what his ideas and intentions are on a given subject, unless he can see and ascertain that ambassadors have full powers to that effect, and that not before he himself has heard what they have to say. Otherwise there is no chance of knowing how he thinks on the matter; he will use the most gracious and flattering language, but will not let you divine his thoughts. He now seems to desire most ardently His Imperial Majesty's friendship; but I apprehend that it is only for the sake of gaining time, and selling himself at a higher price, as Your Majesty will judge by the contents of my despatch to the Emperor that will go by next post.—London, 29 December 1541.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
French. Holograph partly ciphered. pp. 4.
30 Dec. 221. The Same to the Same.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc. C. 232,
ff. 87–160.
Madame,—As this king did not return to Greenwich before Christmas-Eve, I was unable to speak to him as soon as I expected at the date of my last. Immediately on my hearing that he was back, I sent to Greenwich to inquire when I could go thither to present my respects to him. My secretary addressed himself to the Lord Privy Seal, who immediately and with very good will went into the King's room, and came out of it asking whether I had news from His Imperial Majesty or letters to deliver, and upon my secretary answering in conformity with the instructions I had given him, that is to say, that he could not exactly tell, the Lord Privy Seal went again into the King's room, and coming out of it after half-hour's conversation with the rest of the privy councillors, said to him that I might go to Court the second day of Easter, which was yesterday, and that I would be welcome to the King and to his councillors. Meanwhile, on the night of the very day on which this king arrived at Greenwich, Your Majesty's letters of the 15th, as well as the Emperor's of the 4th inst., with the very pleasing news of his much-desired landing in Spain, had come to hand. I failed not early in the morning of the next day to apprize the King of it, who together with his councillors seemed glad at the intelligence, and sent me word to attend the appointment fixed for Easter Monday, and that I should be well received at Court.
Yesterday, the 29th, at the appointed hour I was at Greenwich in the presence of the King, who, to say the truth, made me on this occasion the most gracious and kind reception that could be imagined. After inquiring about my health, asking me for particulars of the illness I had this last summer, and congratulating me on my recovery, the King thanked me for the very pleasing and agreeable news I had sent him on the previous day. He then inquired about the Emperor's health, wishing to know in what part of Spain His Imperial Majesty intended to pass the winter, whither the men and war material had been sent, &c., which questions I answered according to the information contained in the Emperor's letters to me, and my own private correspondence. With regard to his own ambassador, about whom the King seemed to be in some apprehension and fear, I told him that had anything happened to him His Imperial Majesty would no doubt have written to me, but that I myself had heard nothing concerning him.
Very few people of note (I said) had perished in the undertaking. "And yet," replied the King, "I am told that in the very sight of Cartagena the galley of the Master of the Artillery, with all hands on board, did founder." Then he added: "I have no doubt that the Emperor was almost obliged to undertake that expedition of Algiers, owing to the importunities of his Spanish subjects, but yet it would have been far better and wiser to send thither some lieutenant of his own in command of his army and fleet, rather than risk his precious person. In the meantime he might have attended to several other affairs, no less important for the peace and prosperity of his own dominions in Spain, as well as Italy and Flanders."
My reply was that it was a matter of the greatest importance for His Imperial Majesty first to recover Algiers and devote himself entirely to that undertaking; that his presence at the head of the expeditionary force was much needed and required, since he would have to pass through Spain anyhow, and that I was sure that had not His Imperial Majesty promised in the German Diet to hold a conference with His Holiness respecting the affairs of that country; and had he not been engaged at the time, and occupied with the preconcerted expedition to Africa, he would certainly have taken his route through here before he returned to Spain. As to me (I said) I would willingly have lost the very small fortune I possess that such a voyage had taken place, for he (the King) being such a wise prince, and one so experienced in matters of State administration and general politics, having besides great literary attainments, would, I had no doubt, have made several suggestions to the Emperor's profit and honor, and that, although my master was also a very wise and experienced prince, yet I maintained that no lawyer, however good, would in a case of this sort omit asking for assistance and counsel from his colleagues. By means of which, and other equally flattering remarks, and by following in all its parts the advice given to me by the Lord Privy Seal, who, by the way, never scruples to say that such incense is always agreeable to his master, I succeeded, as Your Majesty will presently see, in putting the King in very high spirits.
After talking on various matters, and having thanked the King for the occasional messages he had sent me by the Lord Privy Seal informing me of the French intrigues, I told him that such courtesy and confidence on his part, besides the friendship existing between the Emperor and him—which I hoped would ere long become greater and closer—required that in return for his confidences I should in like manner inform him of certain particulars which had come to my knowledge, and which I would communicate under such reserve as might be anticipated from so virtuous and prudent a prince as he was, but that, as it was time to attend mass, I would beg him to remit the conference to a later hour in the day, which prayer of mine he readily granted, saying, "Well, then, immediately after dinner I will attend to whatever you have to say to me."
The dinner over, the King sent for me, and I was again introduced by the Lord Privy Seal to the Royal chamber, with no other attendance than the above-mentioned personage, and two more privy councillors, also gentlemen of the King's Chamber, namely, the Admiral and the Grand Squire. Having sat down at the King's request, I addressed him in almost similar words to those I had used in the morning, thanking him for the confidential information repecting the practices and intrigues of the French, to which the King replied: "You may talk to me as confidently and unreservedly as you wish, and be sure that nothing you may say to me in this room will ever be reported in French quarters." I then began to speak about the letter which king Francis had caused his Queen (Eleanor) to write, almost by force, in favor of a marriage between his own son, the duke of Orleans, and the Infanta Maria of Portugal, and of the mission of the bishop Dade (fn. n9) to that effect. At which the King seemed somewhat surprised, and changed color, and although he had perfectly understood, yet, not knowing what answer to make quickly, and wishing for a delay in order to prepare it, he made me repeat my statement two or three times, and then said: "That may well be; most probably the king of France would have wished to have the Infanta of Portugal in his power, not indeed in order to marry her to the duke of Orleans, his son, but for other purposes and intentions of much greater consequence than people imagine. As to the marriage itself, there can be no question at all, inasmuch as the Infanta is not yet of marriageable age." Such were the King's words, and although I did my best to persuade him that he was in the wrong and that the Infanta was already old enough to be married, he still persisted in his opinion. Nor was he likely to give in, considering that at this present moment, as Your Majesty must know, the French are soliciting the hand of the Princess for the Duke [of Orleans], and would already have sent from France an embassy composed of very high personages had this king only permitted one of his privy councillors to enter into negociation with the French ambassador residing here, a thing which the former would certainly have resisted as long as the French ambassador did not possess sufficient powers to carry on the negociation. The ambassador, said the King, was to come next day to him furnished, as he thought, with the said powers; he (the King) would listen to what he had to say, and then, not before, would decide whether to accept or refuse the French offers. "I am perfectly free and without obligations towards anyone whomsoever (said the King to me); this is merely a matter of giving and taking, and I am not bound to declare my intention to king Francis or to his ministers, without knowing first, and weighing afterwards, the conditions offered for that marriage."
Upon which, after many humble protestations that my language was that of a devoted servant of his, and that I spoke only subject to correction, as coming from the prince best versed among those now living in political affairs in general, and particularly in the stratagems and intrigues of the French—a nation naturally inclined to deceit, as Mr. de Montreull (Montreuil) asserts, and amongst whom "the stronger the assertion the greater the lie"—I said to him that he might hold for certain that the French did not expect in the least his royal consent to the said marriage, even under conditions to which they themselves would never subscribe—such as declaring the legitimacy of the Princess, and certain others which need not be mentioned. Indeed, I thought that even if he were to grant all the conditions they (the French) wanted, the latter would never entertain sincerely the idea of such a marriage on many considerations.
Then, without letting me proceed with ray argument, the King remarked that I was greatly mistaken as to that; for the French, considering the quality of the person, the help and importance of the alliance, and the hope that the Princess might one of these days succeed to the crown of England—considering also that he (the King) had only one son, who might perhaps die, and that though the Princess was not his legitimate daughter, yet there was some chance (should he himself come to die without legitimate children) of her becoming queen of England—since he himself could, in virtue of the faculty and powers granted to him by both Houses of Parliament, enable her to succeed to the crown—were strongly in favor of that marriage.
My reply was that since he founded himself principally on this last consideration, I would lose no time in alleging several others, which in my opinion were equally important, and would, with his permission, limit myself to opposing his argument. I assured him that I had often heard from the lips of Frenchmen—men of quality and experience, and who, from their position and rank, ought to be acquainted with State affairs—that on no account would France wish that the duke of Orleans should arrive at the crown of England through such means, for that would be tantamount to reviving the old feuds and wars between the two countries. For the French (I added) know very well that there is at present no chance of the Princess succeeding to the crown of England, and yet causes for war might arise from the said marriage, inasmuch as, putting aside the preservation of the Princess' rights to legitimisation and so forth, they might flatter themselves with the idea that he (Henry) would not consent to his son-in-law being frustrated of the duchy of Bretagne, which belongs to him, and other estates of his own, which however promised or made one of the conditions of the marriage could not be realised, not to say anything of the payment of the pensions, and divers other promises. I much regretted that the French personages, of whom he (the King) had spoken, had not yet arrived in England, as he might then, without further argumentation on my part, have been the sooner convinced of the fallacy and deceit of the French, who are persuaded that without the payment of the arrears of pension—now amounting to upwards of one million and two hundred thousand ducats—all attempts they may make to obtain help or at least tokens of closer friendship and alliance with the English must be vain. Nor could they, if they chose, in the bad state of their finances, at present redeem their debt to him, and place themselves in a condition to undertake a war and recover their losses, which, please God, they will never be able to do.
Upon which the King again replied that there was nothing so certain as the fact that the French were now having fair play with him; (fn. n10) in proof of which he would, under reserve, mention to me one single fact, among others, namely, that king Francis was at this very moment soliciting an interview with him. I told him that I was already aware of it, owing to the disclosure of a merchant from Gascony, a familiar friend of the French ambassador, who had assured me that the interview was already a settled thing. "As to me (I added), I cannot imagine how king Francis' offer of an interview at the present time can be taken as a proof of the sincerity of his words and professions or the integrity of his intentions; for it strikes me that the French could not, under the circumstances, have chosen a better expedient to colour and disguise their present attempt to mar the negociations between Spain and England than the one they have hit upon." I further said to the King, that knowing him to be a remarkably prudent and wise prince, I refrained from making any more allusions to the subject, and would content myself with praying God that those with whom they (the French) were now treating for a closer alliance had better success than had the good duke of Savoy, against whom they had no just cause or reason for quarrel.
Of one thing, however, I wished to inform him by way of advise, namely, that at the very same time that the abovementioned bishop had been dispatched [to Portugal] to ask for the hand of the Infanta (Doña Maria), king Francis had sent to Scotland the Sieur de Morvilliers, with express orders to go thither directly, and not touch at any port of England, by which it might be inferred what his general commission was, as he (the King) with his great sagacity and wisdom could well understand.
Hearing these last words, the King visibly changed colour, and after some minutes of thought, said to me: "As to the Scotch, they are now wonderfully humble and supple; they are afraid of me, if I am to judge by the embassy that their King [James] sent me when I was in the Northern counties." I replied that he must know, as well as myself, that the frequent visits of the Scotch to France had lately rendered them subtle and crafty, and that perhaps king James believed, or had been persuaded, that the marriage of the Princess to the duke of Orleans was already a settled thing. This the King granted, and upon my remarking to him that Mr. de Morvillier's embassy would probably cause king James to change his mind and purpose, he replied: "That may be; but I have taken my measures and fear no one."
After this, I informed him of the agreement entered into by the king of Sweden (fn. n11) and the duke of Holstein, (fn. n12) who entitles himself king of Denmark, which agreement king Francis or his ministers had promoted and procured for the sole purpose of obtaining the supremacy in the Northern seas, and preventing the vessels of the Easterlings and others navigating the Germanic Ocean unlading their goods elsewhere than in France, and not taking on board woollen cloth, salt and other commodities, except from France, and that although they might at first, for his sake, and not to over-irritate him, exempt the ports of England from that prohibition, and allow the Easterlings to take their goods thither, it was quite evident, as he might well understand, that the permission would not last long, and the English traders would be ruined by it; the upshot of which would be that France would ultimately have the command of those seas, and place under subjection all the maritime powers [of Europe].
The King's answer was that the king of Denmark was his great friend, and upon my remarking to him that the other could not do less than be his friend also, or at least dissemble for the present and act as if he were such a friend; and yet that I had been told by one of his own people, whom I named, that whilst at Lubeck, where he was at the time residing for this king, he had heard him of Denmark say in public to certain soldiers (soudards) he was then enlisting that very soon he would make them all rich with the spoils of this country, which he intended to recover as belonging to him—and that he had oftentimes repeated that assertion and taunt, especially at the storming of a castle that a captain of Lubeck, named Mark, once held for this King—the King replied that though the king of Denmark might not be his friend just now, and there might be a defensive and offensive league between him and the king of France, yet he fancied himself so well provided that neither the king of Sweden nor he of Denmark could do him much harm, besides which the latter (he said) was already so old that he could not do much. It was of no use my telling him that he was mistaken, and that the present king of Denmark is a young man, and son of the uncle of old Christiern; he would not give in, and persisted in his opinion.
When I came to mention the way in which king Francis had snatched Astenay from the duke of Lorraine, the King shrugged his shoulders, and shortly after began to say that he wondered much how, after the political considerations and reasons he himself had laid before me, Your Majesty could have consented to the marriage of the dowager duchess of Milan to the Duke of Bar.
As to the herald sent to Liege, the message which that herald delivered in king Francis' name to the Municipal Corporation, and the intrigues the French were carrying on in that town, when I mentioned them, the King replied: "That is a mere quarrel about a certain lady," whose name he did not declare. (fn. n13)
As to Francis' intelligences with the duke of Lorraine, the King would scarcely listen to my remarks, saying that it was a thing hardly worth talking about; there were (he said) many other matters of much greater importance, such as the King's practices in Germany, where, notwithstanding the orders issued at the last recess of the Reghensburg Diet, king Francis will be able any day to recruit as many men as he chooses; whilst in Italy he will not only secure the services of many a captain and "condottiere" of his own party, but he will also have in his favor both the Pope and the Venetians. "In short (continued the King), I firmly believe that king Francis will this next spring invade Flanders, and I have no doubt that had I shown more docility in accepting his daughter's hand, he would have offered me a share in the conquest he meditated, as he did a few years before That is the plain fact (added the King), though he (Francis) had given it to be understood in Spain that I was the promoter of that war—as the Emperor told Maistre Hoyet by way of reproach." That to judge from the delay and procrastination used in the Low Countries (de par de la) in the transaction of public and political business, affairs there must be disorderly and out of condition, specially as there were few men capable of commanding an army in time of war. Indeed, he (the King) doubted whether there was in the whole of Flanders and the Low Countries one single man to whom the management of affairs in such an emergency could be trusted. "Had the Emperor whilst in Spain listened to the message and advice sent him through my ambassadors, all directed to the preservation and insurance of his own succession and that of his realms; had he consented to treat with me of closer friendship and alliance, surely it would have been much better for him, and his affairs would not be in the bad and dangerous state in which they are just now." After which words, pronounced in emphatical tone, he lifted his eyes to heaven in a piteous manner, and raised his shoulders. "God knows the answer I received (fn. n14) to so amicable and cordial piece of advice as the one I sent to Spain through Philippe Hobin. But, alas! I presume that it was all owing to the Emperor's councillors in Spain, who, owing to their immeasurable pride, do not care a fig for the rest of the World put together. Indeed, the said councillors would wish their muster to get rid of the Low Countries anyhow, rather than have him go thither so often and spend so much treasure. That is why the Emperor, acting on their advice, had made the offer of Flanders to king Francis in order to make him relinquish his claims on the duchy of Milan. Indeed one of the Imperial councillors had positively made such an otter to the French ambassador, and that king Francis had refused, saying, 'I shall not abandon the right which I possess already for the sake of what I may get at any time I choose.'" My reply was: "Those who made such a report to Your Highness were really making a mock at God and the World, for to attribute that saying to king Francis is equivalent to declaring that heat and cold are one and the same thing. Had all the Emperor's privy councillors, nay, the Emperor himself, made such an assertion I should attach no faith to the report, and wait for the result; for the Emperor, my master, would rather give away ten Milans than renounce his possession of the Low Countries, which, after all, are not so easy a conquest as king Francis' answer seems to imply, considering that he has been unable to retain two such strongly fortified places as Tournay and Saint Pol, which he took in a former war. Perhaps the French boasted that they had been offered the Franche Comte in the county of Burgundy."
With regard to the partition of the territories to be conquered in the next campaign in the Low Countries, I did really believe that the offer had been made by the French, but I also suspected that it was in hope of expelling the English therefrom as easily as the Spaniards had driven out the French from the kingdom of Naples. "Indeed, I added, I do really believe that the partition has already been projected beforehand, perhaps, also with Princes who would rather think of taking away land from others than helping them to increase their patrimonial estates"—meaning the dukes of Holstein and Clèves.
After this the King returned to the subject of the Algiers expedition, the failure of which he imputed entirely to the Spaniards, very much regretting that His Imperial Majesty had not with him some experienced sailor to warn him against the danger of sailing to the African coast, where in case of a storm at sea his galleys and ships could find no port of refuge; and that since there was then a rumour afloat that His Imperial Majesty and the king of France wished to make war upon him, his chief hope consisted in the fleet retreating in disorder and danger to the very ports of Sicily whence it had sailed, or else that it should be wrecked on the coast of England, and by God's mercy place itself under shelter of the bulwarks and forts which he himself had erected on his coast. No arguments or remonstrances on my part were powerful enough to convince him that the ships (navires) which Mr. de Bossu had fitted out in Zeeland had never been intended for an invasion of England in connection with France, which he maintained had been planned, and only delayed when it was found that the fortifications along his coast and his own warlike preparations had rendered the attack impossible.
After this, Madame, this king went on to say that he wondered why, perceiving the state of politics in Europe, and the danger in which the Emperor's dominions in Spain and Italy, and even in the Low Countries, might have been placed had the expedition to Algiers completely failed, as it had, you did not at the time try to come to a closer alliance and friendship with him immediately, instead of putting off the thing till ten months later. And that he also wondered why it was that His Imperial Majesty had not since then, and after the above-mentioned ill-success, written a single word or made the least application on the subject. That the ten months would expire next March, and that if by that time no movement was made, he should be obliged to look out and provide for his own affairs.
After making all manner of excuses in the name of the Emperor, who, I said, had been prevented from writing by the expedition [to Algiers] and other urgent business, as well as by the non-arrival of Granvelle, who was still in Italy, I begged and entreated him as humbly and persuasively as was in my power to be pleased, for the sake of gaining time and pushing on the negociation, to declare to me summarily what his intentions were, promising that if he did so I would immediately write a letter to the Emperor announcing his determination. But all efforts I made to persuade him were in vain; he would not say whether he wished or did not wish for a treaty of defensive and offensive alliance with His Imperial Majesty, persisting that he would not speak out unless he saw full and ample powers, for fear he should be treated as on former occasions, when people boasted that he was looking everywhere for friends and found none. "I am quite independent and want no one. If people want me let them come forward with proper offers. I am solicited on both sides, and I will choose that which seems to me the best."
I replied that if his choice were to be determined by convenience, I was sure he would rather lean to our side than to that of France, This the King would not admit at first, no doubt in order to render his merchandize dearer and sell it at a higher price; but towards the end of the conference, unable to keep up his dissimulation, and after my again begging him to disclose part of his mind, inasmuch as the urgency of public affairs required immediate attention, he began to be more open with me. I told him that the state of political affairs in Europe admitted of no delay; the Turk, for instance, as he himself had stated, had already begun to make incursions into Austria, and was now preparing a much larger armament by land and sea than he had ever done before. The King might easily imagine that those princes who keep up an understanding with the Turk, nay, who have for some time past been soliciting him to invade Christendom, will not let the opportunity pass, and that whilst the Infidel attacks on one side they will excuse their damnable and diabolical undertaking, which consists in taking possession of the Low Countries, and after that of any other kingdom or country in the neighbourhood, especially England, the conquest of which would, without comparison, be more profitable for Francis than that of the Low Countries; for, putting aside the great spoil and treasure to be gained by it, they (the French) would marvellously increase their power as a nation through the riches thus acquired, and the numbers of men they might in future be able to raise and put in the field. Besides which they would get rid of the continual fear in which they have always been—and are still—of an English invasion supported by the people of the Low Countries and their confederates. And that as the French foresaw that they could never have a bite at this country unless they first took possession somehow of the Low Countries, on that and other considerations, which he (the King) might appreciate much better than I could, it was urgent for him to decide against the French and openly espouse His Majesty's cause. It was not the first time that under various pretences the French had tried to take possession of England, as, for instance, in the time of Louis the dauphin of France, who, in the lifetime of king John, was here crowned King, they (the French) fancying all the time that if one of their kings, when they had hardly power enough to keep and maintain possession of their kingdom, had the courage of invading England, it would be much easier for them to attempt the same thing now-a-days. "And indeed (said I) I could desire, at the risk of losing that which I might miss during the rest of my life, that you, the king of England, should know as much of the plans and intentions of the French as I myself happen to do." It ought to be considered (I added) that the Grand Turk, whenever questions of war and conquest over the Christians have been treated in his presence, has almost always declared that there ought to be no other powers in Europe but an emperor and a king; that he himself ought to be the Emperor, and Francis—his good brother, friend and ally—the King, whom he would elevate and magnify to the utmost of his power.
On the other hand king Francis had boasted that he will subdue and unite to his crown all the country lying between France and the Rhine, as having once, according to Julius Cæsar's description, made part of Gaul over which he now ruled, and there is little doubt that if he (Francis) cannot carry his plan into execution—which I hope by God's help he never will—he will continue, as Charlemagne's successor, molesting and making war on his neighbours until he becomes emperor of the West. Indeed, I am certain that such is his aim, and that at this present moment both he (Francis) and his councillors are busily engaged in looking out for the means of his becoming at once the supreme ruler and monarch in Christendom.
That in order the better to disguise his own insatiable ambition and lust of power, and conceal his envy of the Emperor, he is now accusing him of aiming at universal monarchy, which is the last thing he (the Emperor) thinks of, as every one knows; for had he aspired to it he would not have given away twice the duchy of Milan, nor many a time afterwards offered it to the duke of Orleans; nor would he have given away Florence, notwithstanding the pressing requests of the Florentines, who begged him to retain it in his power, offering him a large sum of money on that account. A further proof of the Emperor's generosity is the grant of liberties to Genoa, and his refusal of the castle Monego (Monaco), for which place king Francis would willingly have paid any price that might have been asked of him. And yet king Francis, not satisfied with keeping in his possession so many towns and lands virtually belonging to the Empire, or forming part of his own patrimonial dominions, such as the territory belonging to the duke of Savoy, as well as the usurped duchies of Guienne and Normandy, and lately Avignon, is still trying to seize what belongs to others! Notwithstanding such exorbitant and aggressive conduct on his part, king Francis knows well, with his sweet and flattering words, how to lull (endormir) people to sleep—words against which one ought to guard more than against the songs of the syrens; for, after all, the sweeter a Frenchman's words are, the more one ought to be on one's guard against them. "Indeed (said I to the King) one of the things which makes me suspect that the French are now meditating some harm against the Emperor is this, that they never cease protesting that their intention is to keep and observe the truce, and that is why I suspect that under cover of their sweet and amiable words some mischief is latent against this kingdom."
The King's reply, beginning at the last point, was that he knew the French well of old, and would guard against their words as against their deeds; they might stop and lay an embargo on such English ships as might be found in French ports at the end of January next, but he would take care that not one of them should remain behind by that time. That respecting Avignon, he would maintain that the town and castle had always belonged to France, adding that Francis could not be blamed for having seized it, owing to the suspicious people who had been found inside wearing masks or disguised, and who were still kept prisoners. With regard to king Francis' accusation that Your Majesty was aiming at universal monarchy, he could not say that there had not been some semblance of it in past times, though he owned that of late some of those signs had been effaced. That as to king Francis himself, he would be on his guard, and if he was not to invade England before the conquest of the above-mentioned countries, or until he had taken possession of the Low Countries, he would by that time be so low in money and men as to be scarcely able to do England any harm. And upon my telling him that if it came to pass—which I hoped it never would—that the French invaded and took possession of the Low Countries, they would find there riches enough, for in such cases it is only the frontier towns and fortresses which offer resistance that are sacked, not the whole of the country. Even if it were so, those who would thus lose their property would promote a war against England as the best chance of recovering what they had lost. The King's answer was: "Then we will see what is to be done." (fn. n15)
With regard to the Turk, the King said that he should have thought it his duty to contribute towards the expenses of the war, and help and assist against him, had His Majesty consented to treat of closer friendship and alliance with him; but since those most concerned in the affair did not care for it, or were looking out for the best means of engaging others to contribute and help, it was not for him, who was far away, and perhaps the last to be affected by an invasion of that Infidel, to provide the means. He had no occasion to rack his brains about it, and as to declaring to me, as I seemed to desire, what aid and assistance he was prepared to give in such an event, that he would never do, nay, he would not answer one of my questions without having first examined the powers I had from His Imperial Majesty, and seen whether those powers did or did not agree with my words. Unless those powers arrived at a fixed date, were in due form, and to the point, he would act as above stated; "for (said he) I have already been cheated once, and turned into ridicule by the Emperor and by the king of France, owing to my having spoken and declared beforehand part of my will and intention, and I will take care in future not to be cheated, but try to have the basis of all negociation put down in writing, so that there should be no breaking of faith, as in past times, when it was evident to me that His Imperial Majesty was acting in contravention to the treaties."
Thinking that by such accusation the King meant the edict on the Navigation, and what had happened since with his ambassadors residing at Your Majesty's court, I told him that if he meant that, he had been misinformed, and that I would, whenever he pleased, meet his Privy Councillors and discuss the affair with them. His reply was that there was no need of renewing old quarrels and causes for complaints, especially since Monsr. de Granvelle had lately spoken on the subject to the bishop of Winchester (Gardiner), and to his resident ambassador at that Court [Bruxels]. And upon my remarking to him that I did not mean that disagreeable business for which the bishop went to Brussels, but only the one for which he lately sent his ambassador to Your Majesty's court, (fn. n16) he replied that he would be glad if I met his privy councillors on the first available opportunity, inasmuch as his ambassadors bad frequently written from the Low Countries, begging him to have a letter written to me on the subject. "I am sure (said the King) that had the Emperor ministers like you in those parts, I should have got a much better answer, and the affair between us would have been settled long ago. However that may be, perceiving that my ambassadors did nothing, and were merely losing their time, I have now recalled them." After which he began to praise me in such terms that he actually made me ashamed of myself, saying, among other things, that his eulogy and praises of me were not dictated by flattery, which he would not use whilst speaking of the Emperor or of any other prince, much less of me, from whom he had nothing to expect, and who had occasionally caused him the greatest possible annoyance. (fn. n17) And upon my apologizing on the nature of the business itself, its intricacy and gravity, besides the prevailing custom at his court not to decide in cases of that sort unless they had gone first through the Cardinal's hands, he seemed more satisfied. No sooner, however, did he hear the Cardinal's name, than he began to sigh, and exclaimed: "I never in my life did, or expect to, see a more able or wiser man than the Cardinal was in matters of government and administration." I fully assented and confirmed his opinion, attributing however the honor and glory of it all to his own direction and tact. This the King granted, adding that the Cardinal did nothing by himself, but in obedience to his royal commands, after consulting him. The above remark of mine the King took in very good part, as he also did what I said about the annoyances (fascheries) which had happened to him, which was equivalent to telling him, as the Privy Seal advised, that his countenance and his acts testified enough to his great prudence and wisdom. (fn. n18)
In short, I begged him not to tax me with importunity for having made so long a discourse, nor with temerity for having, as it were, undertaken to preach to the franciscans, and argued with the doctors of La Minerva, (fn. n19) but to take my words as if coming from the mouth of one of his humblest and most devoted servants, imputing my faults, if I had committed any, to my ardent desire of doing him service, which I considered myself bound to do on innumerable accounts. As I bad not yet had an opportunity of speaking to his privy councillors on the affair in question, I begged the King to give orders that I should be summoned to their presence whenever they were at leisure, and had examined the papers from Flanders relating to the affair. This the King readily granted, saying that he would not forget it, adding besides that he took in good part everything I had told him as coming from a good friend of his. After which, having taken leave of him, I went into the next room, and exchanged a few words with the Privy Seal, the duke of Suffolk, the Admiral, and the bishop of Winchester on the affair in question, all and every one of them promising to consider it and do good offices. But whilst I was thus engaged a message came from the King requesting them to go into his rooms, which they hastily did, and our conversation was thus cut short.
The day after the French ambassador went also to Court, and was received more coldly than usual (plus maigrement quil ne souloit). On the following day, which was Wednesday, in the morning, just as I was about to close and seal this despatch, the clerk of the king's council came to request my presence there at eight o'clock of the morning of Thursday, at the same time begging me to delay the departure of the courier till I had communicated with them.
Yesterday, as agreed, I appeared before the King's Council, when one of its members read a paper on the edict lately promulgated by Your Majesty, forbidding English vessels to lade goods and merchandize in the ports of the Low Countries and Flanders. Besides the reasons and arguments which the privy councillors and this King's ambassadors to Your Majesty had previously alleged, and which on this occasion were again reproduced, if possible with greater force, to prove that the said Navigation edict was unjust and uncalled for, the paper went on to say that since the cause and pretence on which the edict rested was evidently untrue and false, it ought to be at once declared null and void. That I ought to know that the assertion therein contained, of the King having forbidden foreign vessels to lade goods in the ports of England, was a false one; and, moreover, that the manifest iniquity of the Imperial edict was coupled with a gross inadvertency as regards the general principles of trade, inasmuch as the edict not only injured the English merchants in their commercial transactions, but threw also a stain on the King's honor and reputation, by supposing and affirming that their master had made statutes and ordinances in violation of his promised word, and against the commercial treaties existing between him and the Emperor. Such an infraction of the treaties had not taken place, and could not be proved. True, the statutes and ordinances promulgated by the King forbade the transport of victuals, but that was no infraction of the commercial treaties existing between the two nations—England and the Low Countries—as we pretended; for although in most of the treaties it was stipulated that the inhabitants of the Low Countries might buy all sorts of merchandize [in England], yet it had been declared and specified in one of the treaties with the late king Don Philippe, (fn. n20) as the privy councillors afterwards showed me, that notwithstanding that general declaration, each of the contracting parties might—a legitimate cause supervening—forbid the export of victuals from their respective dominions.
That with regard to the expulsion from England of a great number of Flemings and other subjects of Your Majesty, that was no contravention at all to the treaties, inasmuch as though the letter of one of the articles is that it will be allowable for the merchants of Flanders and the Low Countries to come to England to reside and go away at pleasure, this must be understood of those merchants who may come to this country for the purpose of bartering or negociating, and who may remain as long as their business retains them in England; not of those who, like mechanics and workmen of every denomination, come to take up quarters in London and other towns of the King's dominions, for these last might, in the course of time, so multiply and increase that they might end by driving away the natives of this kingdom, and calling themselves Englishmen.
And that although by the commercial treaty of 1506 it was stipulated that, after proper declaration by letters-patent or through the public crier, and after giving notice one year before, king Don Philippe might revoke and annul the said treaty, yet that clause was virtually derogated by the treaty of 1520, which, as these people maintain, rendered the said article perpetual until a fresh treaty be made and a derogatory clause introduced in it. That nothing was so certain as that the [Flemish] commissioners who intervened in the treaty of 1520 had not the least idea of introducing such a clause, being old people, and that they thought only of making the treaty perpetual. (fn. n21) Yet to remove all occasion for the Flemings to grumble, as was their wont in such cases, the deputies had couched the affair in rather obscure and enigmatical words; and that, although the Flemish Commissioners had not special powers to treat and conclude on the sald articles previously granted by them, yet the ratification which followed, expressly as well as tacitly confirmed by subsequent treaties, fully established their validity. (fn. n22)
To the above allegations, and several others of the same sort, I replied that though in such matters as those I was considered rather open to suspicion in Flanders, yet I had received for my guidance instructions which I was bound to follow and observe. I then made use of such arguments in favor of the Imperial edict as my knowledge of the matter suggested, and have reason to believe with some effect, for not one of the privy councillors knew how to contradict them. The debate lasted from before dinner time till four o'clock in the afternoon, so that it would take me four and twenty hours to describe what passed at the conference. Nor is it necessary that I should dwell more on the business till I hear from them at our next conference what course they are likely to pursue. Nevertheless, I must say that this first conference ended, as I had yesterday the honor of informing Your Majesty in haste, by the privy councillors begging me to give them a copy of the advice and direction which Your Majesty's privy councillors gave me on the subject, that they might be better informed on the affair, and that if they thought that an answer was needed they would have their books or registers and tonlieux examined, and ascertain what duties the people of Flanders and the Low Countries had been in the habit of paying for the preceding 60 or 70 years, and that after that a mighty resolution should be taken on the affair, and perhaps also on the expediency of framing a new treaty, and that they would not fail to report to the King the remonstrances which I addressed to them.
After dinner the Lord Privy Seal came to tell me that the King had just heard that I was still within the palace, and that though he had taken medicine that very morning, and did not feel quite the thing, yet he would not let me go away without speaking to me again. Upon which I entered the King's apartments, who received me as graciously as the last time I saw him, and after some familiar conversation asked me whether I knew what His Imperial Majesty intended doing after holding the Cortes of Castille, the prelates and the nobility of which, he had no doubt, would urge His Imperial Majesty to repeat the expedition against Algiers. That if the Emperor was well advised he ought never to return thither; the enterprise was too hazardous for such a prince as His Imperial Majesty, besides which Algiers was but a small town, and it would be quite sufficient to send against it one of his own lieutenants with a proportionate force. Under that excuse his Imperial Majesty might get a large sum of money from the Cortes of Spain. "This done (added the King), my opinion is that the Emperor should come to Flanders, after appointing a number of notable councillors—part of whom ought by no means to be natives of Spain—to surround the Prince's person; on condition, however, that neither the Prince nor his Council could conclude anything important without his consent or Imperial seal. The Prince to have besides a body-guard of his own—a good number of gentlemen attached to his person, and a division of regular troops (gens d'ordonnance) to defend him against the insolence of the Spanish grandees, keeping them in order and under subjection, and should any of the latter raise his head have him punished at once. The better to show the discreet tendency of his speech, the King made use of two arguments—God knows to what end! One was that an organized force round the Prince's person was for the purpose of preventing or removing all causes and opportunities for rebellion in Spain, as well as any attempt to raise the Prince his son to the throne of Spain and shut the Emperor out of it. The other was that in order to avoid disturbances and confusion (garboilles), the Emperor ought to bring with him secretly to Flanders his own mother. It was in vain for me to tell the King that no such dangers were now-a-days to be apprehended in Spain; he persisted in his fantastic idea, and was, as I presume, induced to make me the above speech owing to my having from the very beginning answered his question rather hesitatingly, and telling him that I did not know what route the Emperor had decided to take, nor what he intended doing next spring; that most likely he (the Emperor) would act according as the pressure of time and public affairs required, and with due regard to the advice of his good friends, in whose number he counted him as one of the best. I fancy that this king's wish, so delicately and cunningly expressed, is that the Emperor in coming to Brussels or Germany may touch in England, and perhaps hold an interview with him, and such, I believe, was the principal motive for his questions and advice. However this may be, I did my best to discountenance any ideas he might have on that score, by representing to him the length, difficulty, and great cost of a voyage by this sea when compared with the Mediterranean; besides which, in order to receive from Aragon the usual grant of 600,000 ducats which the Aragonese have to pay as part and portion of their subsidy or grant, he (the Emperor) would have to go to that kingdom—the nearest point to his Italian dominions.
The King then went on to say that he gathered from the words of the French ambassador, when he last came to him, that he must suspect something of what is going on between his Imperial Majesty and himself, that matters are far advanced, perhaps, too, on the eve of some treaty or other; "for (said he) I found the ambassador so low and dejected that scarcely could he utter one word in my presence, or speak to my privy councillors, whom he avoided as much as he could. Indeed (said the King) I hear that this very morning in the Council room, if one of the councillors happened to approach him, he would immediately get up and change his seat." And upon my remarking to the King that, in my opinion, such "grimaces" on the part of the ambassador proceeded more from hurt pride than from low spirits and sadness, he replied: "On my faith, I believe you are right in your conjecture, and that you have guessed aright (fn. n23) what the Frenchman's ailment must be; for when he came to me he at first was grave and composed, then became more excited and boisterous, and ended by saying, dryly and curtly enough, that notwithstanding the very great and almost incalculable loss which the Emperor had just sustained [in Africa], the King, his master, was no less desirous now than he had been before of becoming his friend."
After expressing himself in this manner, the French ambassador imparted to the King the news contained in the duplicate of my letter to his Imperial Majesty. Yet it seems to me that, notwithstanding the information brought to me by his secretary, he has no powers from his master to treat of the duke of Orleans' marriage, for had it been so the King would scarcely have failed telling me. Indeed, not only did the King not mention the subject, but he said something that persuades me to the contrary, which is, that the ambassador had offered to produce a letter of credence from his master to this King authorizing him to negociate the said marriage, which letter of credence (the ambassador observed) would be equivalent to plein powers; but that he (the King) had answered that he had some experience of what letters of credence meant in a country like France, where the King was not ashamed to disavow his own ministers whenever he pleased, and deny that he ever had given such a commission, nor his own ministers to contradict what they have written in his name. (fn. n24)
After this the King complained to me and lamented that the Emperor, with the formidable army he had taken against Algiers, had not attacked the Grand Turk [Solyman] in his Asiatic dominions, for (said he) the Infidel would certainly have been defeated and utterly destroyed, whereas he is now as formidable as ever, all owing to the Emperor not having listened then to his advice, conveyed by his ambassadors, and disbelieving that the Turk might personally come down and invade Europe.
The King also said to me: "Had I been on such good terms with the German Lutherans as I was some time ago, I might have assisted the Emperor wonderfully in his work for the pacification of Germany, but, unluckily, I am no longer in a situation to do so, owing chiefly to the Clèves affair." "Methinks (said I to the King) that the Duke can feel no great concern about his own sister (Anne) having been divorced, as otherwise he himself would not have found in France so advantageous a marriage as the one offered to him. Indeed (I added), had not the French known beforehand that he (the Duke) was a sworn enemy of Your Highness, they would never have cast their eyes on him, nor would they have made so ignominious an alliance with Pope Paul had they not known beforehand that His Holiness was also your irreconcilable enemy." That knowing by experience, as he no doubt knew, the bragging and gesticulations (braverie et grimasses) to which the French were accustomed, and whence that bragging proceeded, he should, with his good sense and long experience, consider how he himself would be treated if the French ever succeeded in their attempt; and that, as I had told him on other occasions, if they had not offered him part of the spoil, I believed it was because they had, on the contrary, already disposed of part of his kingdom, (fn. n25) and that if I had as many gold crowns in my possession as undertakings the French had planned against England for the last three or four years, I should certainly be one of the richest men [in Europe]. The King replied that he believed in my words, but that he had taken his measures, and was so prepared to meet the French under any circumstances that he was not the least afraid of them. He only wished that all countries on the other side of the Channel were as well prepared as his own kingdom was to meet an enemy; but that from the intelligence he had received, and the delay and procrastination in making such military preparations as were needed, he feared that an invasion of Flanders and the Low Countries by the French might at first be attended with disorder and confusion. That the people of Gand (Ghent) also might do some foolish act unless great care was taken with regard to them and to the personages to whom the government of that city was to be entrusted.
To the above piece of advice I replied as I thought best, and, finding the opportunity at hand for again alluding to the commercial treaty between the two countries, I begged the King to make some sort of overture towards the progress of the negociations, or to declare at least whether he was or was not disposed to enter into a league both defensive and offensive, or merely one of the two, between his Imperial Majesty on one side and England on the other. This I did request and beg of him in such terms, and with such supplications and entreaties, that were I to attempt to reproduce one half of them in this my despatch, I might be writing from this hour till to-morrow morning without accomplishing my task. And yet I could not, with all I did and said, prevail on the King to give me any other answer than the summary recapitulation of what he had said during the audience. Indeed, I do not hesitate to say that were the angels to come down from Heaven to solicit and press him, he would not declare a jot of his intentions and purposes unless he saw in my hands sufficient powers from his Imperial Majesty, accompanied by reasonable overtures on my part. (fn. n26) In short, it seems to me that he will temporize with the one and with the other as long as he can, so as to see how affairs will turn out and if he can escape having to spend his money in preparations for war. I must say that in order to persuade him I have made use of every possible argument, telling him that this is the fit and proper time for the consolidation and strengthening of that closer friendship and alliance with his Imperial Majesty which he has so warmly solicited; but all in vain, as I said above—much talk, innumerable devices, which it would take me too much time to put down in writing, and substantially nothing at all.
To put an end to this long despatch, it appears to me that should His Imperial Majesty desire and wish to gain over the king of England to his side, it is not only expedient but necessary that a personage able and fitting (propice) to take charge of this negociation be sent at once with full powers and sufficient instructions, for as to myself I do not feel strong enough to carry it on. It would also be advisable that His Imperial Majesty caused letters to be written in his name to all the members of this king's Council, thanking them for their good offices in this affair, as well as in all others connected with the preservation of friendship and alliance between His Imperial Majesty and this king.
I forgot to say that the councillors asked me the other day what Your Majesty and the inhabitants of the Low Countries would think if the King, their master, were to promulgate a general edict on Navigation similar to the Emperor's. (fn. n27) My answer was that I did not hesitate to say, on my own responsibility, that both the Emperor and Your Majesty would be glad of it, and that I begged them to procure the same from their master, sure as I was that such an edict would at once put an end to all disputes and contentions on matters of trade; and, moreover, that the people of the Low Countries would be safe from the dangers to which they were now frequently exposed, since, not knowing exactly—owing to the ambiguity of the wording of the treaties and subsequent ordinances—what goods they could or could not lade or bring here, and whether those goods would be subject to seizure or not, they might venture to bring to England articles of trade neither tolerated nor forbidden in this country, and consequently incur the penalties thereof. Such, at least (I said), was the impression of the Flemish traders at the present moment, or at least what their correspondents from England wrote to them, and, therefore, the measure above alluded to would be by far the most equitable.
They also asked me whether, if the King, their master, should wish his subjects' ships to navigate the seas, and offer to take freight (voiture) one-half cheaper than the Flemish, by which means the latter could no longer lade in the ports of England, the merchants of Flanders and the Low Countries would complain? I answered that they would not provided the English limited themselves to diminishing the price of freights without expressly forbidding the lading here, since they had plenty of means in their hands of indemnifying the shipowners for their loss. (fn. n28) —London, 30 December 1541. (fn. n29)
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Queen of Hungary, Regent of the Low Countries."
French. Original. Almost entirely in cipher. pp. 16.
30 Dec. 222. The Same to Mr. de Granvelle.
Wien, Imp. Arch.
Rep. P.,
Fasc. C. 232,
ff. 93–5.
"Monseigneur": I should be sorry if the Queen Regent [of the Low Countries], who lately commanded me to communicate with this king, should not have particularly informed His Imperial Majesty of the result of the conference I held with him on the 29th inst., as otherwise my despatch in answer to those commands would not be thoroughly intelligible, and His Imperial Majesty might take in bad part the freedom and frankness of my speech to this king. I also regret that want of health and leisure has hitherto prevented me from writing fully to His Imperial Majesty without referring to my ciphered despatch to the Queen Regent; but not having by me a secretary to keep my cipher—and, indeed, had I one I should never entrust it to him—it would have been quite impossible for me to cipher the contents of my long letter to the Regent. That is the reason why I have contented myself with sending you by duplicate the substance of my despatch to the queen of Hungary, begging you, Monseigneur, to excuse me with the Emperor if necessary.
Your Lordship will thus learn all the events of this country since I last wrote to His Imperial Majesty, with the single exception, however, of the imprisonment of Lord William [Howard], of which I said nothing to the Queen. On the Thursday before Christmas, Milord William, his wife, his sister, two other gentlewomen, three female servants, and three gentlemen of no very high rank, were sentenced to have their property confiscated, and themselves confined to prison for life, for only having (as my man, whom I sent to the Privy Council to inquire, tells me) been cognisant of the Queen's misconduct (mauvays gouvernement) before the King married her, and not having revealed it. The duchess of Norfforq (Norfolk), mother of the said Milort, (fn. n30) has not yet been tried and sentenced, but it is thought that her trial, as well as that of the Queen, will take place before the two Houses of Parliament, (fn. n31) which are to assemble on the 16th of next month. The Queen is still in confinement within the convent mentioned in one of my previous despatches, under the usual guard, and the duke of Norphocq (Norfolk) is already at his house in town, having no doubt received orders from the King not to quit it nor attend Council until the Queen's case be looked into and judicially investigated, as I have already informed Your Lordship, and now repeat here for fear my letter should not have reached its destination.
I have no words to describe to Your Lordship the many praises and commendations uttered by this king on the two occasions he has spoken to me about you, being quite convinced, as he said to me, that not only had my explanation of the reasons Your Lordship had for remaining in Rome after the Emperor's embarkation for his Algiers expedition, satisfied him, but that there was, as he said to me, another, namely, that of Your Lordship not being present at such an inconsiderate and rash enterprise as the African one, which he would bet had been altogether planned and carried into effect without Your Lordship's advice.
Should there be a question as to the political course to be followed in the future, that is to say, were His Imperial Majesty to feel inclined to abandon these people altogether, and prevent them from making alliances elsewhere, I would recommend, as I lately wrote to the Queen Regent, that within a fixed period of time full powers and instructions should be sent, and a personage appointed expressly for carrying out those instructions, that personage being so qualified as to be able to replace me and remain in my room; for, besides that the air of this country is bad and disagrees with me, living here is exceedingly costly; and since His Imperial Majesty has not been pleased to increase my salary, I ought at least to be paid the arrears thereof, as well as what is due to me on my ecclesiastical pension in Flanders, as His Majesty promised me at Brussels. That alone would have given me more pleasure, and, indeed, rendered me more grateful than if I had received 10,000 ducats as a gift, and is the reason why, if my petition cannot be granted, I would most humbly beg His Imperial Majesty to do me that favor, or recall me altogether and take me away from this country, where I am daily losing both health and spirits besides honor and reputation, unable as I am to pay my debts or keep up my rank and state as Imperial ambassador.
As the bishop of Osma (fn. n32) does not reside in his bishopric, and I am obliged to go from him to his receptors, and from his receptors back to him, it naturally follows that whenever I come to touch part of my ecclesiastical pension the amount is so reduced by agency expenses, change of money in Spain—which costs me generally ten per cent.—powers of attorney, and so forth, besides what the bishop himself or his agents deduct at will from the total amount as due on the ecclesiastical subsidy, that really it is as if I had no pension at all. That is why, Monseigneur, I would humbly request Your Lordship to have a letter made out for the said bishop commanding him, in His Imperial Majesty's name, to write to the receptors of Osma not to delay the payments of my pension when due, and not wait every quarter, as they are in the habit of doing, for the usual certificate of life (certiffication de ma vie), since my agents and proctors in Spain, being all men of substance, faith, and probity, are ready to engage to refund the money, in case I should die before the date of payment.
With regard to my pension on the archbishopric of Toledo, there is not the same difficulty. The most reverend archbishop Cardinal, (fn. n33) as the most virtuous and considerate prelate that he is, has sent orders to his receptors and accountants (auditeurs des comptez) to pay me regularly the amount of my ecclesiastical pension on his archbishopric, but his officers and paymasters, in order to make their profit out of it, delay as long as they can the payment thereof, on the plea that the certificate of life has not come in time.
As to the bishop of Malaga, (fn. n34) a letter for him will also be required, since the same difficulties exist there as in Osma.
In my despatch to the Queen Regent I suggested that the personage who is to come here might bring letters of commendation for these privy councillors. I perfectly understand that there is no question of presenting those letters offhand and at once (du prime sault), as that might have the effect of cooling down rather than warming up the feelings of these people if they once saw us pressing them so hard. The letters, however, might afterwards be of use if the negociation took a favorable turn.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To Monseigneur de Granvelle."
French. Holograph. Partly ciphered. pp. 4. (fn. n35)
n. d. 223. Memorandum and Report on French intrigues in England. (fn. n36)
Wien. Imp. Arch.
Rep. P., Fasc.
C. 232.
The French ambassador, by his master's command, though apparently in his own name, has suggested to the duke of Norfock (Norfolk) the convenience and advantage of a marriage between the duke of Orleans, his son, and the princess of England, daughter of queen Katharine, which proposal the Duke has found good and acceptable, and has accordingly communicated with the King, his master, on the subject. The King also has found the proposal to be both honorable and advantageous for the Princess, his daughter; yet he has declared to the French ambassador, through the Duke, that without his having previously obtained full powers from his master to enter into negociations, it was useless to speak about it or discuss the preliminaries of the contract. If, however, the ambassador exhibited such plein powers, he (the King), forgetting the old quarrels between king Francis and himself, would be glad to entertain such a marriage on honorable conditions.
After the French ambassador had written home how his overtures concerning the marriage had been received in England, a letter came from the King, his master, instructing him how to act in the matter. The ambassador was to say that he had communicated officially with the admiral of France (Brion-Chabot), who had informed the King, and that the latter, hearing what had passed between his ambassador and the duke of Norfolk, had approved of the marriage, only that before proceeding further in the matter he wished to be informed respecting two points; firstly, in what quality and under what title the Princess would be given in marriage; and, secondly, what advantages he himself might reap through it, thereby implying the total or partial extinction of all debts and pensions owed by France to the king of England, (fn. n37) begging at the same time that the negociations, if commenced, should be kept a profound secret between the parties.
But when the French ambassador had communicated with the duke of Norfolk respecting the two above-mentioned points, the latter, though he held daily conferences with him, delayed answering for a long time. At last he said that though he had long deliberated on the subject with the King, his master—who, he said, had always been affectionately inclined to the proposed marriage alliance—he (the Duke) could not give a categorical answer to the point relating to the quality of the Princess until the fathers of the contracting parties had first agreed on the other conditions, such as the dower, the marriage portion, and so forth, the duke observing—as if it came from himself, not from his master—that the legitimisation of the Princess would offer no difficulty, as it was evident that it would be insisted upon on the side of France, though in his own private opinion, as long as the prince of Wales and other children this king might have—male or female—lived, they ought to and would be preferred to the Princess for the succession to the Crown, with the one only exception of the daughter of the beheaded queen, Anne Boleyn. And that with regard to the dower and so forth, the King, his master, wished to see, before answering, the King's powers to his ambassador under the Grand Seal of France.
The ambassador has taken upon himself to transmit home the substance of the Duke's answer. Meanwhile, many are the difficulties standing in the way of the said marriage. First of all, on the part of France, that the duke of Orleans (Charles) is too great a lord with respect to England; and, secondly, on the part of England, that the English will hardly consent to grant the Princess' hand to the duke of Orleans (fn. n38) and appear as if they received a favor with it.
With regard to the Princess' legitimisation, even supposing there was no difficulty about that, it is not probable that, as regards succession and inheritance, the French will ever consent to have her claims postponed to those of all the King's other children, male or female, with the sole exclusion of Anne Boleyn's daughter, especially as far as immovable property and chattels are concerned. Respecting the succession to the Crown, Parliament will not willingly consent to the Princess ever having it, inasmuch as by the statutes passed some time ago it was expressly forbidden to call her mother otherwise than Madame Katharine.
The king of England, on the other hand, wishes to know beforehand how the French intend treating the duke of Orleans. No more has been done since September last, except that the king of France has ordered his ambassador to make inquiries as to what he, of England, thinks of the Cesare Fragoso and Rincon's case, and whether be approves or disapproves of the French King's conduct in that affair, and of his having, in retaliation for their arrest, ordered that of Mons. de Valence. (fn. n39) Without an answer to the above questions, the king of France refuses or apparently declines to treat of the marriage. The king of England at first excused himself from answering by saying that the king of France is better versed in these political affairs than he himself is; but, at last, being pressed to state his opinion on the matter, he has answered that he cannot conceive how Rincon, who is a Spaniard, could possibly have sinned against his master; (fn. n40) and, respecting Fragoso, who, according to the ambassador's statement, was neither the Emperor's subject nor his vassal, he found his apprehension rather strange.
The king of France is spreading the rumour that the Emperor is making this journey of his because he is unable to resist the Turk, and that he knows the towns and fortresses on the frontiers of France to be so well provided and garrisoned that he dares not touch them, and that he (the Emperor) has actually solicited his friendship and alliance, and is now trying to procure an interview, though he (Francis) will not do anything before having first consulted the king of England on the subject. (fn. n41)
Indorsed: "Advertances des practiques que les franchois mesnent en Engleterre." (fn. n42)
French. Contemporary copy. pp. 2.


  • n1. Nicolas Andrighelli, from 1541 to 1547, created cardinal in 1544.
  • n2. Archbishop of Valencia in Spain, George of Austria. See above, pp. 369–70, 421.
  • n3. Alessandro Campeggio, 1526–53.
  • n4. The bishop of Fossombrone, or cardinal Carpi ?
  • n5. Miguel de Silva, 1527–47.
  • n6. Andrighelli, the bishop of Fossombrone, and Papal Datary. See above, p. 422.
  • n7. "Sil se trouvera que du temps allegue ausd. (aux dites) responses la, sçavoir XIIIIc XV., ne paiassent les flamans non plus que les Anglois."
  • n8. "Doubtant que lattente de mez lettres ne semble par tropt longue a vre. mate."
  • n9. Et de l'envoy et charge de levesque Dade. Could it be d'Agde in the dep. of Herault (?). If so, the bishop's name was Claude la Guiche.
  • n10. "Quil nestoit riens si certain que les ditz françois alloyent avec luy a ung bon jeu bon compte."
  • n11. Gustav Vasa from 1523 to 1560.
  • n12. Frederic III.
  • n13. "Il me dit que cestoit quelque querelle pour certaine dame quil ne me sçeut declairer."
  • n14. Et sur ce il leva la teste contre le ciel assez pitieusement serrant les espaules. Dieu sçait quelle response me fut donnee.
  • n15. "Et lui disant que sil venoit, que Dieu ne veuille, que le dit roy gaignat les pays, il trouveroit assez richesses, car en tel cas il ne se butineroit tout comme il disoit, ains seulement les places des frontieres, que veullent resister, et quant bien ainsi seroit, ceulx qui se trouveroient destruitz procureroient la guerre contre ce royaulme, pour se pouvoir restaurer, il me respondit que lors pour lors."
  • n16. "A quoy il me dit quil nestoit besoing refreschir vielles querelles, mesmes en ayant Monsr de Granvelle requis dernierement a leuesque de Wyncestre et son aultre ambassadeur; et laduertissant que nentendoie de ses dites fascheries, ains seulement des affaires pour les quelz il avoit envoye ses dits ambassadeurs a vostre maieste ...."
  • n17. "Et pour mieulx le coulourer il dit que ce nestoit pour me flatter car a sa mesme mate ne a aultre prince il ne useroit des flatteries, et tant moins a moy, de quoy (de qui?) il nattendoit riens et auoit este fasche plus que dhomme du monde."
  • n18. "Il que je luy confirmay attribuant toutesfois lhonneur et gloire au dit Sr roy, questoit lenchemineur et directeur de toutes les actions du dit cardinal, ce quil madvoua estre vray, disant que le dit cardinal ne faisoit riens sans son sçeu et commandement. Et print les dits propos en tres bonne part, si fait il cela que je luy dis quant aux facheries que luy estoient survenues que ne fut sinon luy dire par laduis du priuesel que son visaige et ses œuvres tesmoignent tres euidamment de sa grande prudence."
  • n19. Ne de temerite, con me lon dit, de prescher aux cordeliers et instruire la mineruie (sic, la Minerve?), which must be meant for the University of Rome.
  • n20. Charles' father married to Doña Juana since 1495, and therefore king consort of Castille since the death of Isabella in 1504.
  • n21. "Et quil nestoit riens si certain que lez commis que entrevindrent au dit traicte de lan XX. ne pensissent oncques autre chose, comme gens caigez (?) quilz estoint, sinon de perpetuer le dit traytte."
  • n22. "Et que orez que les dits commiz neussent special povoir de traicter et conclure lez articlez par eulx accordez, toutesfois la rattification sur ce ensuyvie tant expressement que tacitement par les subsequens traictez validoient le tout."
  • n23. "Car il avoit trouve le dit ambassadeur tant sombre et triste que a peyne vouloit il parler, mesmes a ses conseilliers, desquelz, comme il avoit entendu, il sexlonguoit (sic) le matin, et dez ce que quelcun deulx sapprochoit de luy il changeoit de place, et disant a iceluy seigneur que telle grimasse debvoit plustot proceder de bravete que de tristesse, le dit seigneur roy me respondit que sur sa foy il pensoit que jauoye bien conjecture et divine la maladie."
  • n24. "Mais quil avoit respondu quil avoit desja assez este travaille de leurs lettres de credence que en France le maistre navoit nulle honte de desauouer le ministre, et nyer dauoir donne telle commission, et moins les ministres de se desmentir et nyer ce quilz ont dit."
  • n25. "Et considerer par son grant sens et longue experience quil a de leurs conditions comme il seroit repute et traicte deulx silz parvenoyent a leurs ententes, et que comme je luy avoyt dit a laultre fois, ilz ne sauançoyent de luy presenter part au buttin mais que croyois plustot que desja ilz auoyent dispose de son royaulme."
  • n26. "Mais comme sommairement et pour toute conclusion, si les anges du ciel venoyent pour len presser et solliciter, il ne declairera ne dira riens en cela quil ne voye pouvoir suffisant de la part de Sa Mate avec ouvertures raisonnables, et quant tout est dit il me semble quil temporisera avec lung et laultre pour non se mestre en frais."
  • n27. "Comme lon seroit content de par dela que le dit Sr Roy faist (fist) ung edict aussi general quant a la navigation que celluy de Sa Mate."
  • n28. "Je leur diz que non porvehu quilz ne feissent aultre que amoindryr le fletz sans prohiber expressement la charge aux navyres de par dela a lindempnite desquelles avoit assez moyens de proveoir."
  • n29. Two copies of the same letter—one holograph, the other in the hand of Chapuys' secretary—are in the same packet.
  • n30. Second wife of the second duke of Norfolk.
  • n31. See above, No. 213, p. 412.
  • n32. Pedro Alvarez Acosta, from 1539 to 1563.
  • n33. Still Cardinal Tavera, from 1534 to 1545.
  • n34. Bernardo Manrique.
  • n35. There are two copies of this memorandum in the Imperial archives—one of them holograph, the other in the hand of Chapuys' secretary, though signed also by that ambassador. This last, which evidently was intended for the Emperor's inspection, is the more correct, as occasional errors in the ciphering have been corrected.
  • n36. Probably drawn up by the secretary or clerk of the French embassy (Jean de Hons), about whom see above, pp. 341–2, 367–8, 409, 419, 421.
  • n37. "A sçavoir en quelle qualite on vouldroit bailler la dite princesse, et quel avantaige on luy vouldroit faire, entendant le dit sieur roy que on debvroit estaindre (eteindre) les pensions que le roy dengleterre a en france."
  • n38. "Premiers que le due dorleans est trop grant seigneur pour respect du dit Engleterre, que du coste d'Engleterre on ne voul iroit guerres donner a la dite princesse, mais la payer de faveur."
  • n39. The archbishop of Valencia in Spain, about whom see Vol. V., Part 2, pp. 589. His name was George of Austria, a natural son of Maximilian the Emperor, and therefore uncle of Charles. He was appointed to the archbishopric of Valencia in 1539, and upon the resignation of Cornelius van Berghen was promoted to the coadjutorship of Liege.
  • n40. "Et pressé de respondre dit quil ne sçavoit comment Rincon qui estoit Espagnart povoit avoir delinque contre son souverain." Rincon was a Navarrese, and had served in Africa under count Pedro Navarro.
  • n41. "Le dit roy de France fait courir bruyt que lempereur fait son voyaige parcequil ne peult resister au Turq, et quil vuyoit (voit) les places du dit sieur roy si povres (pourvues?) quil ne oise (n'ose) y touscher. Et quil a recharge (recherche) le dit roy damitie et de ceulx (se) entreveoir, mais quil ne vouldroit riens faire sans conseil du dit roy dengleterre."
  • n42. The memorandum is undated, and has no signature, but most likely it was drawn up by the clerk of the French embassy, who was in Chapuys' pay.