Spain: August 1538, 1-25

Pages 6-13

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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August 1538, 1-25

14–22 Aug. 4. Abstract of Letters from the Imperial Ambassador in France of the 14th and 22nd of August, 1538.
P. Ar. de l'Empire.
S. 1,484, No. 32.
Having communicated to king Francis the contents of Your Majesty's letter of the 28th July, describing the conferences with the English ambassador, both he and the High Constable (Montmorency) listened to him attentively, and seemed very much pleased.
The King first, and the High Constable afterwards, told him (the ambassador) that Brian (Sir Francis Briant) had come, and in his master's name expressed wonder at his having made a treaty with Your Imperial Majesty, inasmuch (said Brian) "as the King, my master, would have secured for him (Francis) the friendship of Flanders, and arranged that the fair of Antwerp should have been at once transferred to Roana (Rouen)." Hearing this, the King asked Brian: "If so, how is it that your master did not say as much while the war lasted? Now it is too late; I am the Emperor's sincere friend; and, although you are reported to have said to someone at Aigues-Mortes that the agreement would not hold good for six months to come, I must tell you that on that occasion you were not a true prophet."—"What does Your Highness mean?" exclaimed Brian, "are you no longer my master's friend?" To which the King replied: "I am still the king of England's friend, but the Emperor's also."
After this Brian went on to say that his master, the King, wished for a fresh and still closer alliance with France, which he then and there proposed, offering to cross the Channel and come to Calais, whither the Most Christian King might send the queen of Navarre, (fn. n1) accompanied by 7 or 8 damsels of Royal blood, especially of the houses of Lorraine, Vendôme, and Nevers, to visit him, when he would choose one of them [for his wife]. The King's answer was, "It is not the custom in France to send damsels of that rank and of such noble and princely families to be passed in review as if they were hackneys for sale; besides which, were one of them to be selected, the rest would lose in estimation. If, however, the King wishes to marry one of the number, he may at once, and in the proper manner, apply for her hand, with the certainty that he will get a speedy and favourable answer to his request."
Hearing this, Brian suggested an interview of the two Kings at Calais, to which proposal king Francis said that nothing, in his opinion, had occurred to necessitate a conference, and entail such trouble on the parties concerned. Upon which, Brian, greatly astonished, replied: "And should the King, my master, resolve to come over and ride post to see you, would you shut the gates of your kingdom in his face?" "It is not my habit" (retorted the King) "to shut the door in my friends' faces, and yet I see no reason for the king of England taking so much trouble on this occasion. If, however, your master comes to me, he will be well received; but he must avoid speaking on politics, for I shall not listen to him." This last sentence king Francis uttered very dryly, as if he wished the subject to be dropped altogether.
After this Brian said: "At any rate, sire, you will not henceforward refuse to pay my master the pensions you owe him?"—"There can be no question about that" (replied the King); "I am pretty sure that should I refuse to pay my debt, it is not your master who will compel me to it; but you may still be sure that I am his friend and brother, as also the Emperor's."
Then Brian, lest Your Majesty and the king of France had, as he feared, come to some agreement to his master's prejudice, asked: "Sire, I know that you do not intend making war upon my master."—"Surely not" (answered king Francis); "I give you my word of honour that nothing has been said against him at our meeting at Aigues-Mortes. On the contrary, the Emperor has always spoken of your master in the highest and most honourable terms;" hearing which, Brian withdrew, saying that he would write to his master and let him know the whole.
The Imperial ambassador goes on to say that king Francis told him: "I believe this interview proposed by the king of England is for no other purpose than to cause jealousy between the Emperor and myself. That seems to be his only object, and my reason also for speaking as sharply as I did to Brian, whose intemperate and high-flown language at first required correction.
The constable (Montmorency) had likewise told the Imperial ambassador that Brian had complained to him of his master, the King, not having been included in the truce; and that his answer had been, though expressing Your Majesty's sentiments at the same time as his own, "I refer you to the contents of the fourth paragraph of the Emperor's letter, where mention is made of the king of Portugal." (fn. n2)
The King, moreover, said to the Imperial ambassador: "On the xiith inst. I received the ambassadors of the new king of Denmark, (fn. n3) of the duke elector of Saxony, and of the Landgrave of Hesse, who proposed to me two things—'The first, that I should not consent to the Council being held, and the second, that I should send money to Germany for the defensive war.' My answer to the former was that it would go against my oath and profession, as Most Christian King, to impede in any manner the celebration of the General Council. That I consider myself obliged, on the contrary, to forward the same with all my power, being under the impression that they themselves ought to have promoted it, or, at least, made as if they had. As to the second, namely, that I should remit money to Germany for the defensive war, the answer was: 'I (the King) am now at peace with the Emperor. The Germans have been in general terms included in the truce, and, therefore, there is no occasion for me to send them money for the defensive war; besides which I have spent too much at other times, my treasury being now so exhausted that I could not, if I chose, dispose of any for that object.'"
And inasmuch as the English seem to fear that Your Majesty may all of a sudden fall upon them, king Francis assured Brian that there was no danger at all of that, since Your Majesty, to his certain knowledge, was glad that they should remain the friends and allies of the Empire just as he himself was. That Your Majesty's intentions towards them were good, holy, and righteous; you only aimed at the reconciliation and union of Christendom, without asking them or other people if they were willing or not to conform to reason, in which case they (the English) knew well what their interest and convenience was. (fn. n4)
It was Your Majesty's purpose and his own (added the King) to mediate between His Holiness and the Lutherans, with which they (the English) ought to be satisfied, especially as there had been faults on both sides. As to matters of Faith, the same ideas were substantially prevalent in France as in England. (fn. n5) Saying which, the King expatiated greatly in praise of Your Majesty, and ended by assuring Brian that the English had nothing to fear on that head: at which assurance from the King's lips Brian was much pleased.
King Francis also told Brian that he himself had lately received intelligence from a groom of his chamber, named Marillach, who left Constantinople on the 16th of June last, that the Grand Turk (Solyman) was very glad to hear of the peace between Your Majesty and himself, and wished to remain the friend of France, having given orders that French merchant vessels should be freely admitted into Alexandria and other ports of his dominions. Solyman, moreover, had hinted to Marillach that he was glad to make peace with Your Majesty to the exclusion of the Venetians, whom he intended to punish, and that he (the King) was to be the mediator of that peace. (fn. n6)
Barbarossa had lately been engaged in various enterprises against the Venetians. He had lost at Candia 4,000 janizaries, and as many, or perhaps more, of other soldiery. The Candiotes, believing that his intention was to storm the castle, had suddenly attacked and defeated him; and it was with great difficulty that the corsair could escape to his galleys. The plague had since broken out among them, and he himself had enough to do with the provisioning his fleet, and replacing the men who had been slain by the Candiotes.
The Sophi [of Persia] (fn. n7) had made a covenant with the Tartars of the green-caps, and bestowed upon their lord or khan his own sister in marriage. Both the Sophi and the Tartar khan, with both of whom the Georgians had made a league, had collected a large army and taken the field. They had already seized on Tauris, and were marching on Bagdad. The Grand Turk, however, had sent two armies against them; he himself was to leave Constantinople and invade Hungary at the head of upwards of 200,000 men. His plan was to march on Buda with a train of light artillery, which was to be ready for him at the frontier, and lay siege to the city, and, if possible, take it. After that he was to return to Constantinople. Should he be unable to reduce that fortress (Buda), he would overrun Moldavia and lay it waste. The bashaws were trying to dissuade him from that undertaking; but Solyman was still bent upon it, and had resolved to invade Hungary.
The above, as the King told him (Scepper), is in substance the news brought by Marillach, who, he says, is much attached to Your Imperial Majesty, and always speaks of you in the highest possible terms, especially to the ambassador of the Waywode (Zapolski) residing at his court. The latter has heard with pleasure the affectionate and friendly terms used by this King with regard to Your Majesty, and sincerely hopes that the present union will powerfully contribute to the welfare of Christendom, as the ambassador himself will personally declare whenever he has an opportunity.
The King was very glad to hear from Mr. de Cossey, (fn. n8) whom he had sent on a mission to the dowager queen of Hungary, that she had expressed a great desire to see him. He had also heard of the handsome reception given to his ambassador, and had arranged to be by the end of August at Compiegne, and take his Queen with him. He was in very good health, and had ordered [the ambassador] to send Your Majesty his most affectionate commendations. The queen of Navarre (Margaret) has done the same, begging him to remember her kindly to Your Majesty.
They say that when Brian, Henry's ambassador, made the proposal of an interview at Calais, the queen (Eleanor) said to him that she was not the keeper of harlots (madre de moças), (fn. n9) and that the daughters of the Royal blood of France never went out except in company with the queen of that country. In all other things she approved of, and confirmed the King's decision, thus showing that neither would she accept the charge of taking the damsels [to Calais], nor did the King propose it to her.
Charles de Bourbon has conveyed to Mr. de Vendôme the message brought by Selva (fn. n10) respecting the journey to Levant. The former kisses Your Imperial Majesty's hands for the favor, and says he is very desirous of employing himself in your service.
22 Aug. In conversation with the High Constable the other day he (the ambassador) was told: "The King forgot to relate to you a curious anecdote with regard to the Calais interview. Among the damsels, whom Brian designated for the journey to that town, is a daughter of Mr. de Vendôme, now a nun in a convent. Upon which the High Constable remarked: "I have no doubt that as the king of England considers himself a Pope in his own kingdom, he would have preferred the nun to any other daughter of the Royal blood in France." (fn. n11)
That the queen dowager of Hungary (Mary) having forwarded to the Imperial ambassador various questions, to which an answer was required, such as the marriage of Clèves and others, the ambassador wrote them down and transmitted them to the King's ministers, whose answer was as follows:—
"The marriage will not take place. The King is unwilling to help, or favor the duke of Clèves, in that affair; on the contrary he is ready and prepared to fulfil all and every one of his promises and engagements towards the Emperor in that, as well as in other matters." Besides this categorical answer on the King's part, there was another from the High Constable to various points touched upon by the Imperial ambassador. The King (said Montmorency) has suspended all the taxes newly imposed, and revoked the statute made in May of the year 1537, forbidding the importation of silks and taffeties manufactured in Your Majesty's dominions, which prohibition, if continued, would have been of great loss and damage to Your Majesty's subjects of Arthois, and other provinces.
That the King has ordered the immediate restitution of such towns and fortresses in the counties of Calmont, (fn. n12) Luiny, and others, as he had taken possession of during the last war; in short, that the memorandum forwarded by the queen dowager of Hungary to Your Majesty concerning those points was comprehensive, and sufficiently well specified.
That nothing has been said concerning St. Paul (St. Pol), in as much as the King's ministers have not spoken of him, nor has the ambassador broached the subject in obedience to the Queen's commands. (fn. n13)
The King told him, another day, that he had heard from another servant of his, who returned, after Marillach, (fn. n14) from the Turkish camp on the frontier of Hungary, that the Grand Turk in person left for Constantinople on the 10th of July, and was journeying towards that capital with his face uncovered, and showing himself to his people. He had with him 200,000 men, including in that number 10,000 young janizaries, inexperienced in war. His army was in bad order, and the men so overcome with fear, that in the opinion of the said royal servant, they would not get half way without breaking up and disbanding, and yet (he added) the Grand Turk persists still in his determination to come next spring to Buda and Moldavia.
The Turk, nevertheless (added Marillach), was willing to make peace with Your Majesty, even to the inclusion of the Venetians, a thing to which he had never agreed before.
That almost all the Christian slaves in Barbarossa's galleys had died of the plague, in consequence of which the fleet under that captain's command was badly appointed and manned. The Frenchman above alluded to had been nine days in the Turkish camp; he left Constantinople with the army on the 10th of July. Not only did he confirm the news brought by Marillach respecting the Sophi of Persia, the green Tartar, (fn. n15) and the Georgians; but he had brought further intelligence concerning the East, at which king Francis was exceedingly pleased, having ordered the man to communicate with Your Majesty's ambassador in France, and say that measures will be taken, &c.
The Constable also told the Imperial ambassador that it would be advisable to establish regular postal communication between the two countries [France and Spain] so as to avoid the cost of express messengers.
The duke of Savoy (Carlo III.), as it would appear, has not yet ratified the truce; the prorogation for one month granted to him will expire four or five days hence, and, therefore (says the King), should he not fulfil his engagement in that respect, and ratify the same within the term fixed, I shall be obliged to make sure of his person anyhow, so as not to have 5 or 6 thousand men continually on the frontiers of his duchy for no good at all.
The marquis del Gasto (Alfonso Davalos), on the other hand, induced by the ambassador from Savoy, and believing, no doubt, that the Duke (Carlo) had already ratified Your Majesty's truce with France, had written a rather sharp letter to Montejean. (fn. n16)
No one knows where the Duke is now; but it is reported that he has not received one farthing from Your Majesty for his daily wants, and that he is about to pawn or sell his jewels.
The King has told him that he is about to send a gentleman of his chamber to Your Majesty to report what he has heard about the Duke, and to complain of him, and of the revolutionary movements in Savoy and Piedmont, which he is determined to stand no longer.
Aug 30. In date of the last day of August the ambassador says that he has nothing new to report, save that the High Constable (Montmorency) said to the bishop of Vincestre (Winchester) (fn. n17) at his departure for England: "Tell your master, the King, that if he wishes to marry in France, he can choose among the damsels of Royal blood except the nun (fn. n18) (meaning one of the duke of Guise's daughters) that one he shall not have. The daughters of Lorraine and Vendôme are under the guardianship of their respective fathers, uncles, or kinsmen; and there is no means of making them go to Calais. This answer the Bishop is to take soon to England; but the ambassador imagines that he will stay a little longer in Paris, in order to see how the interview between the king of France and dowager queen of Hungary turns out.
That Your Majesty will soon hear by the sieur de Lordres the message of the Most Christian queen of France (Eleanor) respecting the marriage of Mme. Marguerite, the King's daughter, with the prince of Spain (Philip), and that of the duke d'Orleans (Charles) with the daughter of queen Eleanor. (fn. n19) King Francis, his father, to have the usufruct of Milan, whilst his son will have the direct possession thereof. This settlement the Most Christian Queen has much at heart, and she has recommended to her ambassador to do the utmost to make Your Majesty consent to it. The Imperial ambassador, however, writes that no hint on this subject has been thrown out to him by the King's ministers, and yet he is pretty sure that they would be highly pleased if Your Majesty would confer on the duke of Orleans the title of king of Lombardy.
The princess of Navarre, (fn. n20) so called, has been at Bles (Blois). She is well made and pretty. Her mother (Marguerite) wishes very much that she should marry some prince of Your Majesty's blood, whilst the Most Christian Queen (Eleanor) thinks she might do for one of the sons of the king of the Romans; her own mother would much prefer that she married the prince of Spain (Philip). (fn. n21)
The Most Christian Queen (Eleanor) has moreover charged him (Scepper) to recommend to Your Majesty the suit of one Mr. de Hedam, who is now claiming the lordships of Florenges, Loigny, Bullon, and others. The ambassador's answer has been that the last named town belongs to an abbot and to the Church of Lieja; but the Queen has replied that she will be glad of the case being tried and justice done with respect to them; but that she begs Your Majesty's favor for the other two (Florenges and Loigny), intending them for Mr. de Hedam, who is to marry Da. Beatriz Pacheco.
King Francis wishes very much, as Mr. de Lordres will explain, that cardinal Gaddi's pension on Naples should be restored to him, firmly maintaining that he (the Cardinal) took no part at all in Philippo Strozzi's conspiracy, or in any other against the government of Florence.
The High Constable has further told him (Scepper) to write home, and say that very shortly the King, his master, will have at his disposal a considerable sum of money, which he will place at Your Majesty's commands, for he (the King) has nothing that is not your own also.
That the Lutherans have sent ambassadors to England, who are actually preaching in German, and that the daily destruction of churches and abbeys in that country continues.
That the King is sending to king John of Hungary (fn. n22) a gentleman of his Chamber, to inform him of the friendship now existing between Your Majesty and himself, and at the same time exhort the latter to make peace with the king of the Romans, if he has not already done so. This the ambassador has induced the High Constable to procure at the instigation of the Waywode's resident ambassador in this Court.
Indorsed: "Summary of letters from the Imperial Ambassador in France."
Spanish. Original minuta. pp.


  • n1. Margaret of France, the King's sister, married to Henri d'Albret.
  • n2. "A lo qual él havia hecho respuesta como en nombre de Vuestra Magestad, no dissimulando quato podia dezir como de suyo, lo que se contiesne en el quarto capitulo de la letra de Vuestra Magestad sobre lo de Portugal, y que no sabria perjudicarle."
  • n3. This new king of Denmark could be no other than Frederic II., son of Kristiern III.; who, however, must be distinguished from the Palatine Frederic, married to Dorothea of Denmark.
  • n4. "Y que la intencion de V. M. no era sino buena y sancta y inclinada á unir la Christiandad syn demandarles á ellos ny á nadi syno si querian ó no conformarse con la razon, en el qual caso ellos mesmos sabian lo que [les] convenia."
  • n5. "Y que Vuestra Majestad y el rey de Francia querian ser medianeros entre su santidad y los lutheranos, de lo qual ellos se devrian contentar y señaladamente haviendo faltas de la una y de la otra parte, y que quanto á lo substantial de la fé se entendera tambien acá como allá."
  • n6. "Y desseaua que el dicho rey fuesse medianero en ello."
  • n7. That is Thamasp, who reigned from 1523 to 1576.
  • n8. The original has Cancy; but it must be a mistake for Coucy, i.e., Jacques de Coucy, sieur de Vervins.
  • n9. Padre ó madre de mozas ó mancebas was at this time the appelative of those who were at the head of a mancebia or house of prostitution.
  • n10. Jean Odet de Selve, sieur de Conyères, president of the Parliament of Paris.
  • n11. See above, p. 7.
  • n12. Caumont and Loigny.
  • n13. Eleanor?.
  • n14. Charle de Marillac (1510–60), see above, p. 8.
  • n15. By the Grand Turk Solyman, the Magnificent is here meant, for he reigned until 1566; by the shah of Persia, Thamasp I. (1523–76).
  • n16. See Vol. V., Part II., p. 237, 251, 297.
  • n17. Stephen Gardiner.
  • n18. See above, p. 10, where the nun is said to have been Vendôme's daughter.
  • n19. Mary or Maria, daughter of K. Dom Manoel of Portugal and Eleanor, the Emperor's sister.
  • n20. Jeanne, daughter of Henri d'Albret and Marguerite de Valois, sister of Francis I.
  • n21. Then 11 years old, since he was born on the 29th of May 1527.
  • n22. Zapoli or Zapolsky having died in 1538, his son Jean or John succeeded him.