Spain: January 1547, 16-31

Pages 544-559

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 8, 1545-1546. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.

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January 1547, 16–31

31 Jan. Vienna. Imp. Arch. 379. The Queen Dowager to Van der Delft.
We have received from the hand of your Secretary, who is the bearer of the present, your letter of 23rd instant; and have heard what Secretary Paget proposed to you, as a means of pacifying German affairs: that the King would willingly act as intermediary if he had reason to believe that the Emperor would accept his help towards a settlement, but that he (the King of England) is anxious not to expose himself to the slight of a rebuff. We have no doubt that this proceeds from the sincere affection which the King bears to the Emperor, and from a desire that the affairs of the latter may prosper; and you will accordingly thank him for it, in our name, when opportunity offers. We know well that the intervention of no prince in Christendom would be so welcome to the Emperor as that of the King of England; but since your wish for our opinion as to whether his Imperial Majesty would at present accept his intercession, and Paget reposed confidence in you, we will inform you of the present state of affairs in Germany, according to our advices. Since the submission of the Duke of Wurtemburg and the cities of Ulm and Frankfort, the people of Augsburg have become reconciled, submitting themselves to his Majesty's clemency, and accepting the conditions prescribed to them. The Strasburg people have also sent their representatives to make a similar arrangement; although some have striven to prevent them from doing so. The ex-Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse are seeking by every possible means to become reconciled with his Majesty; the Landgrave having even prayed our brother the King of the Romans through the Landgrave's son-in-law, Duke Maurice, to agree to an an arrangement; but as. our brother the Emperor has no intention of treating these two (i.e. the Landgrave and the Elector of Saxony) as princes; regarding them as his vassals, and rebels who, by means of false libels and other writings, have declared him to have forfeited the Imperial crown, and to be no longer their liege lord and sovereign, with many other shameful insolences, too execrable and hateful to be repeated, his Majesty has caused them to be informed that he will not deal with them unless they submit to his mercy, or as it is called in their language, “ingnade” In such case, his Majesty will make known his pleasure to them. Others whose offence has been less grave than theirs have thus made their submission: and, having regard to their great transgression and injury towards their sovereign, we do not see how his Majesty can possibly act otherwise, without a sacrifice of his dignity. Now that the cities that supported them have submitted, it may be hoped that it will be easy to punish their great insolence; and although we know that the intercession of the King of England for the Landgrave and the Saxon would be very agreeable to the Emperor, yet we are not without fear that the latter would decline to enter into any capitulations with them if they did not first submit to his good pleasure. We do not believe that, considering the King's sincere friendship for the Emperor, he would advise him to act otherwise, particularly bearing in mind the condition and quality of the offenders; who are but rebel vassals. You will communicate this to Secretary Paget, in the same strict confidence with which he addressed you, assuring him that, beyond what we have said, we are quite ignorant of the Emperor's intentions, but if we can discover anything further with regard to it, we will, with due secrecy, inform you of it. Thank him also for the good offices he performs in his Majesty's affairs.
If the French attempt to sustain the rebels, or mix themselves in this war, we trust that the Emperor will find means to resist them, and that they will be unable to avail themselves of the aid of the Turk, who, during the coming year, will not invade Hungary. According to the latest news we have from the east, the third son of the Turk, who had been sent against the Persians with a great force, was defeated, and consequently the Turk, who had come from Constantinople to Adrianople for the purpose of preparing his army for the attack of Hungary, had returned to Constantinople, and had thrown the whole of his forces against the Persian and his adherents. The Turk had also immediately sent back the ambassador of the King of the Romans, with most gracious messages, whereas before the said ambassador had the greatest of trouble even to obtain an audience. This gives us hope that, by this means, God may afford time and opportunity for a beneficent union of Christian princes, for the purpose of jointly directing their forces against the Turk.
The Emperor, in his latest letters to us, repeats what you wrote to him about the impending change of government in England, in order that we may consider what can be done to improve the way in which his interests are dealt with there and to preserve the good friendship now existing. It is desired also to know whether it would be advisable to take any fresh or special steps in this direction, for the purpose of influencing those who are at present in the Government, or those who may succeed to the charge of the young prince and the realm after the death of the King. You will please send us your opinion on this point, as soon as possible, and all else that may occur to you, with the object of keeping England friendly, and if there is any way of preventing the country from further surrendering itself to sectarianism.
Binche, 31 January, 1547.
17 Jan. Vienna. Imp. Arch. 380. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We have received your letters of 14th and 24th ultimo and have noted what you say, especially in the latter, with regard to the probability of changes taking place in England. You have done us very acceptable service in writing this, and as the matter is of the highest importance, needing mature consideration, we have sent a copy of your letters to the Queen Dowager, although doubtless you will already have done so. After the question has been fully discussed by the Queen Dowager and our Flemish Council, the former will instruct you as to how you are to proceed. You will carefully fulfil the orders the Queen may send you; and as the matter is referred to her, we need not deal with it at length here.
With regard to events in Germany, you will have already heard that, since our last letters, Ulm has surrendered unconditionally to our clemency and that the Frankforters have done the same. We have lodged in the latter city 4,000 foot and 300 horse. We have also pardoned the Duke of Wurtemburg, who submitted absolutely to us, and has promised every assistance to us. He has, moreover, pledged himself never to allow any subject of his to serve against us in any way, and to punish rigorously those who dare to do so; he will not permit any of our enemies to oppose us in his dominion; and has undertaken all this on behalf of both himself and his son. He has bound himself to pay us within forty days (of which some have already expired) a sum of 40,000 ducats. In order that we may be still further secured in the land we have retained in our own hands the three principal fortresses in his territory chosen by ourselves. The other towns in Germany are rapidly surrendering themselves. This week Kempen, Meiningen, Ravensburg, Vivrac, and others, have done so, and we have forgiven them. We are now preparing to leave here and go to Ulm, where we shall be in touch with all affairs, and shall be able from thence to attack and bring the Augsburg people to reason; our army having already marched on the way thither. Having news that the ex-Elector had still an armed force with him in the territories of Duke Maurice of Saxony, with the intention of attempting to regain what the King of the Romans, our brother, and Duke Maurice have taken from him, we have sent reinforcements thither, which with those contributed to Duke Maurice by the King of the Romans, and the contingent of Marquis Albert of Brandenburg consisting of 1,200 horse and 8 standards of German foot, all excellent troops, will, we are confident, be sufficient to defeat the enemy entirely, and to deal with him in such a way as will render him incapable of further mischief there.
Duke Maurice will also be aided by the troops we are mustering in Westphalia, whither we have sent M. de Grüningen to prevent the towns there from aiding our enemies.
We will continue to give you an account of all that happens, so that you may convey the information to the King, and to such other persons as you consider advisable. It is also of the highest importance that you should keep us constantly informed of occurrences in England.
Heilbron, 17 January, 1547.
17 Jan. Simancas. E. R. 874. 381. Juan de Vega to the Emperor.
(The Turk's general, Belerbey of Babylonia, defeated by the Sophi and the Georgians, which will give the Turk plenty to do for the present and prevent him from interfering elsewhere.)
I am informed that the publication of the decree of “Justification” will not at present be ordered, as the Pope received this news a week ago, but as the period he had spoken of for the publication will have expired by the time the present letter is received, we shall soon see if my advices are correct or not. My principal reason for writing this to your Majesty is that it should be understood that if he does not publish the decree it will probably be in consequence of this news having been added to the doubts already entertained about it, and having together brought him to a better state of mind. God grant that it may be so.
A letter has been received here from Antonio Bocio, a Genoese adherent of Count Fiesco, in which he relates to one Franco de Achavari, also a Genoese and Fiesco's agent in this Court, a remark of the Count (Fiesco) shortly before he made his attempt. He was urging upon his hearers how easy of execution the plan would be, and said in confirmation of this that Pier Luigi (Farnese) would send him from Placencia (Piacenza) a thousand foot soldiers before any other troops could arrive in Genoa to oppose him. Adding this expression to several other indications and words that have fallen, especially from Cardinal Farnese, my suspicions daily increase that the events that have happened in Genoa (Fiesco's conspiracy) were connived at by the Pope.
His Holiness has been in the country for some days, but it is said that he will soon return to Rome; and I will then endeavour to ascertain his intentions, with regard to sending the aid that he seemed inclined to contribute when the news of the surrender of Ulm was received. I will also try to expedite the other points contained in Don Juan de Mendoza's instructions. I am very sorry for the delay that has taken place in this respect; because it is causing Don Francisco de Toledo's arrival here to be deferred, and especially as no instructions have been received from your Majesty since Don Juan's arrival, as to what course should be taken in the matters at issue. Cardinal Farnese declares that he is entirely devoted to your Majesty, but at the same time he says that he has no influence whatever over his grandfather, at least so far as regards recent affairs. This appears to be the case, for nothing has been obtained through him. In addition to the fact that the Cardinal is a person upon whom small reliance can be placed, I am of opinion that his professions of devotion to your Majesty increased recently, in proportion with the Pope's intentions to act in a way displeasing to your Majesty. As an instance of the small influence of the Cardinal, he has been unable even to obtain any settlement of the trifling sum of five or six thousand ducats, representing the exchange on the monies deposited with D. Diego de Mendoza.
Rome, 17 January, 1547.
17 Jan. Simancas. E. R. 644. 382. The Emperor to Juan de Vega.
(Notes that no progress has been made in settling the points entrusted to Don Juan de Mendoza, and can only hope that a resolution will be arrived at after the arrival (in Rome) of Cardinal Farnese, as it is hardly to be believed that they (the Papal ministers) will continue their procrastination in the face of recent events here, a summary of which is sent herewith for publication, as may be considered most advisable.)
If matters are still pending when you receive this, you will not fail to let his Holiness know how perplexed we are by the delay in the sending of his decision. He may well consider what has been written on this subject, and the great need we are now experiencing, more than ever before, for a prompt reply and the means for finishing so important a business, which by God's grace has been auspiciously commenced.
We note your information, to the effect that previous to the arrival of Cardinal Farnese, Cardinal Santa Flor intimated that the Pope would concede the 500,000 crowns demanded (on the Spanish ecclesiastical property), on condition that this should also cover the amount for the supplementary troops, and the additional 100,000 crowns that he had always given us hopes of our receiving if the enterprise went forward. You did quite right in refusing to accept this offer and in adhering to the instructions, and we feel sure you will have acted similarly in the other pending matters, whilst doing your best to obtain the prompt decision which we so much need. From what we know of the Pope's feelings, and the small amount of satisfaction at our success displayed by him and his friends (the exact opposite of what their attitude should be, considering that our principal object is God's service and the interests of religion) it will be best to appear not to notice his attitude, but to dissemble and hide your feelings until the pending questions are settled. At the same time you will express great confidence in Cardinal Farnese, in order to encourage him to aid us, as he promised us when he was here.
With regard to their talk about the peace with France, and the difficulty in continuing the assistance (i.e. the Papal aid to the Emperor) if the peace question is not settled, this has nothing whatever to do with our present request to his Holiness, supported by such powerful reasons; and you need say little about it, but will adhere to the answers you have already given on the point. Since we are mentioning this, we may also say, for your own information, and for use as you may find advisable, that the Nuncio came the other day to Granvelle, and told him that he had received letters from Rome, entirely on this matter of peace; adding that, as the troops would now go into quarters, it was a good time for peace to be settled. Granvelle then asked him whether he had anything to say with regard to the points contained in Don Juan (de Mendoza's) instructions, to which he replied that he had not; and Granvelle then remarked that he (the Nuncio), being so acute as he was, might easily guess what we must think of this, and what good reason we had to be offended that he should come to us expressly to talk about the peace (with France), without mentioning a word as to the business now in hand, important as it was. He had not a word to say to this, except that he hoped a reply would soon come from his Holiness.
17 January, 1547.
23 Jan. Vienna. Imp. Arch. 383. The Queen Dowager to Van der Delft.
Since writing our letter of 10th instant, we have received yours of the 9th. We learn from Germany that the Duke of Würtemburg has accepted the terms arranged by his envoys, who have publicly asked the Emperor's pardon for their master's misdeeds, and have promised that in future he will be a good and loyal vassal to his Imperial Majesty. The Duke will have to pay 300,000 florins as a penalty, and the Emperor retains in his own hands four of his principal fortresses. The towns of Ulm and Frankfort have also, through their representatives, prayed for mercy, and have obtained the grace of his Imperial Majesty, and thus the whole of Upper Germany, from Frankfort towards Italy, is at the present time submissive to the Emperor, except the towns of Strasburg and Augsburg, which (latter) has sent Fugger to intercede with the Emperor, and to pray for his forgiveness. We think that Strasburg would do the same but for the intrigues of the French. The King of Denmark has sent to inform the Emperor of the endeavours that the rebels have been making to induce him (the King of Denmark) to take up arms against his Majesty. This he resolutely refused to do, but, on the contrary, had restored two vessels which had been captured from the Emperor's subjects by a pirate, on the pretext of bearing the authority of the Landgrave. The Emperor was much gratified at this, and has sent back the King of Denmark's envoy very graciously, requesting, amongst other things, that the Scots should not be allowed to frequent Denmark, or to sell their booty there until they have satisfied the Emperor and the King of England for the injuries they (the Scots) have done to their subjects. When you have an opportunity you may communicate this to the English ministers.
We are sending you herewith duplicate of a letter sent to us by Olaus, Chancellor of our brother the King of the Romans, and formerly our Councillor, from which you will learn what is being said in the East, and that the King of France divulges to the Turk everything that passes in Christendom. He has even communicated to him what has been done about Boulogne; and it will be advisable for you to let some of the English ministers know the first paragraph of the letter touching Constantinople.
The French also report that, owing to a rising at Genoa, all of Prince Doria's galleys have been lost. We have since received another account of the affair which represents it as not so bad as was represented by the French.
We again recommend you to follow up actively the question of the reinstatement of the Emperor's subjects in their properties in the Boulognais. Do not allow the affair to drag, but make every possible effort to obtain the reinstatement.
If Councillor Van der Burgh has not yet set out, let him return at once, with or without farewell audience of the King. This is necessary to safeguard our dignity, as he has remained in England too long already since their Commissioner went back, and the present procrastination is only for the purpose of delaying his departure.
We have previously written to you, as also has M. d'Eick several times, instructing you to complain to the King's Council that a certain Cornelius Bellin, residing at Calais, is daily robbing the subjects of these dominions. This man's accomplices have been executed in the town for the depredations they have committed at sea. You have never sent us any reply on this subject, and we send you herewith a memorandum from the Zeelanders, complaining of the constant menaces of this Bellin, which we order you expressly to communicate to the English Council. Inform us when you have done so.
Binche, 23 January, 1547.
25 Jan. Simancas. E. 75. 384. Prince Philip to the Emperor.
(Letter of 28 November received, and also one from F. Gonzaga of 26 December, giving an account of events. His rejoicing at the favourable progress is tempered at his sorrow to hear that the Emperor is again suffering from gout. Begs for constant news of the Emperor's health. He is very anxious.) I note your Majesty's observations, with regard to the necessity for carrying forward the enterprise upon which you are engaged, and of keeping afoot a part of the army, for the purpose of completing matters as your Majesty desires and the interests of Christendom demand. I also note the mission of Don Juan de Mendoza to his Holiness, to request the latter to complete the sum of 500,000 ducats he had granted on the Spanish monasteries, etc. Even this amount being so inadequate to the needs, I note that another means of obtaining further funds had been discussed; namely, to request the Pope to consent to your Majesty's appropriating half the gold, silver, and jewels of all the churches and monasteries of these realms, and half (the value) the cathedral fabrics; the churches, etc., that have already contributed being only called upon to pay as much as will bring up their share to the same as the rest. If his Holiness refuses this concession, I note that your Majesty's Confessor is of opinion that in so good and holy a cause you would be justified in taking this contribution on your own authority, and that your Majesty wishes us here to discuss secretly the best means for putting this plan into execution, pending the receipt of instructions from your Majesty after you had learnt the Pope's decision. In accordance with this I summoned to my presence the Marquis de Mondejar, the Archbishop of Seville, and the Council of Finance; and informed them of the substance of what had been written to Rome, at the same time informing them of your Majesty's need of help, instructing them secretly to consider the matter well, and report to me for your Majesty's information. They met several times in a room in the palace; and, finding the matter so weighty, they wished to consult the Royal Council, which, in any case, would have to intervene before the matter could be executed, and might at that juncture object because they had not been informed previously. The Archbishop of Seville therefore undertook to convey the matter to the Royal Council, and the whole of them fully discussed it in my presence, with the following result. They recognise the great importance of the enterprise in which your Majesty is engaged, and the urgent need of maintaining the army, for the purpose of completing the settlement of Germany; and the whole of them wish that your Majesty should receive the aid you require. But, though this appropriation of the treasure of the churches may be justifiable on the ground that the aid is required for the extirpation of heresy and the defence of the faith, the Council are of opinion that the measure proposed offers so many grave objections and difficulties as to render it almost impossible. Even if the Pope were to concede the permission to your Majesty, the Council believe that it would not be advantageous to your Majesty's service to adopt the course suggested, nor would it redound to the benefit of these realms, for several reasons which they submitted. Much less would this be the case if his Holiness refused his consent, seeing the evil name it would bring to your Majesty throughout Christendom, especially bearing in mind the action of the King of England towards the churches in his realm. The example cited of the King of France was not considered a sufficient justification for your Majesty's proposed step; since throughout the world your Majesty's devotion and fidelity to religion are notorious, and the difference between the actions of the one monarch and the other is recognised everywhere. In addition to this much scandal would be caused throughout Spain to see that, even before the collection of the half first fruits granted by the Pope, and whilst the clergymen who came about the congregation were still here, and so soon after the execution of the Bull expected for the 300,000 or 500,000, ducats, another for taking half the treasure should arrive. Consider, your Majesty, what perturbation would thus be caused in all people's minds, not only to the clergy, who are so influential (que son tanta parte) in these realms, as your Majesty knows, but still greater trouble would be caused to laymen, who would conclude that no security existed anywhere; since even sacred property devoted to divine service was not spared from attack. Charity and devotion, too, would be lost, and the people would discontinue to benefit the church, in the belief that whenever pressing need occurred a similar course to this would again be adopted. The measure moreover would be impossible of execution, because it would have to be carried out on the authority either of the Pope or of your Majesty and the Pope jointly, for your Majesty's authority alone would not be sufficient. Directly they (the clergy ?) knew that the step was pending on your Majesty's authority only, not a single church or monastery in Spain would fail to hide, bury or transport everything valuable they possessed; and the clergy would claim great credit for doing so. There would be no means of compelling them to reveal what they had, or discover the treasure, and they would not hesitate to perjure themselves, if necessary, to protect it. This would result in the arrest and imprisonment of ecclesiastics, the maltreatment of religious persons, and the commission of violent and grievous acts by the officers entrusted with the execution of the measure; and it would be impossible to prevent it. Much disturbance would thus be caused in all religious circles, and perhaps even greater dangers.
In France people may tolerate such things, owing to the fact that the King of France rules rather as a despot than as a natural overlord (señor natural) and follows his whim rather than his reason, which your Majesty will not do; and, besides this, the French people, as your Majesty knows, are willing to put up with anything, and the difference between the two nations in this respect is very great. These realms and your subjects in them expect to be treated in a different fashion, in accordance with their character, their valour and their merits in your Majesty's service. The amount that would be obtained by executing the proposal would, moreover, be small, for the reasons stated above, as it would be quite impossible to prevent the treasure from being hidden or transported; and also in consequence of the extreme poverty and want in these realms, which would render the execution even more impossible. With affairs in their present condition here, the country so utterly exhausted, and every device or means for raising money even for daily needs and for defence being at an end, as your Majesty was recently informed, there being insufficient even to pay the officers of justice, galleys, guards, etc., the adoption of the measure proposed would drive the people to complete desperation. It is true that the enterprise in which your Majesty is engaged concerns all Christendom and the general public zeal, but it is thought that your Majesty ought to look first to the preservation of your Spanish dominions, that have served you so generously, so constantly, and so well, even though only out of obedience to our holy mother church and respect for the Holy See. For these and other reasons which were fully discussed, but need not be repeated here, although they would be manifest if an attempt were made to carry the proposal into execution, it was the unanimous opinion of all present that even if the measure were much more justifiable than it appears to be, the difficulties and obstacles to it were so many and grave as to make its execution almost, if not quite, impossible; and none of those present at the conference could see any honest way of adopting it.
It was resolved that your Majesty should be advised of this with all speed, in order that you should not continue to depend upon this means of obtaining funds. The reason that the matter has not been dealt with earlier is that the proposal, being a novel one and of grave importance, it was necessary that it should be maturely discussed and considered from all points of view; so that a decided opinion should be sent to your Majesty. It was also desired that the clergyman who came to settle with the churches about the subsidy should depart from here before the question was settled. We do not set forth here the means by which it might be possible to carry the proposal into effect, because after thus placing before you the difficulties and objections to the proposal itself, we shall be satisfied to obey your Majesty's further orders in this respect. We pray your Majesty to consider it well, in view of the state of things here, and send your instructions. Your Majesty, it is true, did not request advice from Spain on the matter; but the whole of the persons consulted, as faithful servants and subjects, deemed necessary thus to lay before you what they thought, in order that your Majesty, in view of all the facts, and having consideration to what is due to your repute, your Christian character, your respect to the Apostolic See, and the preservation of these realms, might arrive at a final resolution worthy of your Catholic spirit. Whilst all those present were of this opinion, they desire, nevertheless, to say that they cannot imagine the reason why the Pope did not grant to your Majesty the concession for the sale of the monastic manors, since they (the monasteries) were to receive an equivalent revenue, and they would thenceforth be free from the jurisdictions and lawsuits attached to the possession of the manors; and would thus be more at liberty to attend to their sacred duties. It is thought that your Majesty should urgently renew your request for this concession; since the intention was already known in Spain, and no objection was raised to it. It was, moreover, a better looking way of obtaining funds, and touched the interests of fewer people in general; besides which an equivalent was to be given, and even though the net amount to be got by this means might not be great, it would to some extent meet your Majesty's needs.
Having in view the urgent necessity that your Majesty should be relieved somehow, I summoned the Council of Finance, to consider what other means they could devise for raising money. They have met for this purpose several times, and their recommendations are contained in a separate report. There are objections to the means they suggest, but still some funds may be got together by them. Your Majesty will please consider the whole question, and send us your commands. In order to prevent the church property from being appropriated, any other device should be welcomed, though it may not of itself be without objection.
(The Papal brief recently sent for the pardon of the Moriscoes of Granada is not worded as requested. Prays the Emperor to write to Rome, in order that it may be drafted as was required. This may be a means of raising money.)—Madrid, 25 January, 1547.
25 Jan. Simancas. E. 75. 385. Cobos to the Emperor.
(Has had a relapse and has been at death's door. His successive attacks of fever have lasted five months, during which he has hardly left his bed. Is now better, but so weak as to be unable even to sign a letter. The doctors tell him he may be strong enough soon to move from Madrid, which he does not wish to do, but the physicians say he will not recover until he has a change. He has never ceased from labouring in the Emperor's service during his sickness, and Juan de Vargas has worked well and zealously in his place, and will do so in his absence from Madrid. Congratulates the Emperor on his successful campaign, especially the surrender of Ulm, of which he had recently heard from Fernando Gonzaga, and previously from the Queen of France. Is glad the 200,000 crowns and the other funds arrived so opportunely. He has done his best in this respect, and to hear of his success is the best medicine for him.)
With regard to your Majesty's last letter respecting the fabrics of the churches, etc., his Highness (Prince Philip) has consulted the Council of Finance and the Royal Council, etc., and writes separately to your Majesty on the subject. I therefore can only refer your Majesty to his letter, though I cannot help confirming the opinions there set forth; for in good truth affairs here are in such a condition that I do not see how it would be possible to carry out the proposal. Great pains are being taken to devise some other means for obtaining money; and your Majesty may rest assured that no point shall be overlooked.
A report is being sent to-day of an agreement for a loan from Arias Pardo. If it is carried through I expect it will be possible to get from that quarter over 160,000 ducats payable at short notice. Other sales are also being attempted, and I pray your Majesty to reply promptly on the point, as it will not be a bad way to obtain some relief by this means. Efforts should also be made there (in Germany) to get the Bull for the monasteries (i.e. the sale of the monastic manors) despatched, as there will be no great difficulty in putting that into execution . . . . . . . . . . . Since the Prince (Philip) came from Guadalajara I have been so ill as to prevent me from seeing him and talking to him about the business your Majesty knows of. What I said and agreed with him previously I should like to write to your Majesty, but I have been, and still am, unable to do so in my own handwriting, and I must leave it until I am better. As soon as I can write, I will, before I leave here, let your Majesty know all that has passed; but I may say here only, that I trust in God that all will go well, and that nothing bad has taken place really. It was all simply boyishness, as I wrote to your Majesty.
The Infantas are well, and I hear that the Marquis Don Bernardo treats them well. As your Majesty knows, it is usual at the end of the year to check the cost of their establishment, in order that if the estimate has been exceeded the amount required may be provided. Owing to the great dearness of everything during the past year, and the cost of the Prince's maintenance for the four months he has stayed there (i.e. with the Infantas), the estimate has been exceeded in the steward's department by 50,000 ducats, and the Infantas' own expenses, with their dresses, etc., which were estimated at 2,000 ducats have risen to 24,000, because as they abandoned their mourning they were obliged to spend money on new dresses, in addition to their usual expenditure. The choristers in the chapel have also to be paid out of this account, and several extraordinary charges have fallen upon it, so that altogether the estimate for this establishment has been exceeded by 74,000 ducats. This sum must be obtained from a ready-money source, as it cannot be avoided. If your Majesty had replied about the wheat, the amount, or part of it, might have been raised from that. I expect the Prince and the Marquis will write separately to your Majesty on these points, and in the meanwhile I am urging the Marquis to be very careful not to inour any avoidable expense. As soon as the Queen (Dowager of Hungary's) letters arrived measures were taken to meet the Flemish bills. It was hoped that, as they were secured on the half first fruits, they would be met as all the others had been, but it seems that this is a fresh arrangement, and the holders claim to receive the amount there in money and will not accept consignments of revenues. The two merchants interested have been sent for, as they are not here. Every effort shall be made to get the bills met somehow, as I expect they will be.
Madrid, 25 January, 1547.
29 Jan. Vienna. Imp. Arch. 386. Chapuys to the Queen Dowager.
I received yesterday afternoon your Majesty's letters of the 27th instant, commanding me to give my poor opinion on the subjects dealt with in the two extracts sent to me. These subjects from their nature and importance demand far more wit and activity of mind than I possess at present, tormented and unhinged, as I am, with the gout, which has again attacked me in the last two days. To give a valuable opinion on them, moreover, needs recent communication with the people concerned (i.e. the English), who are so changeable and inconsistent that they vary, I will not say from year to year, but every moment; and no other set of affairs, in my opinion, so urgently needs personal consideration on the spot, or upon which an opinion is so likely to be wrong if given without recent observation. This your Majesty has foreseen by sending thither (i.e. to England) the present ambassador resident, a discreet and prudent man, who must now know the English well. Still, in obedience to your Majesty's orders, I will give my humble opinion, under the due correction of your Majesty and your Council. If the King of England gives his countenance to his stirrers-up of heresy, the Earl of Hertford and the Lord Admiral (which may be feared for the reasons mentioned by the ambassador, and because, according to report, the Queen, instigated thereto by the Duchess of Suffolk, (fn. 1) the Countess of Hertford, (fn. 2) and the Admiral's wife, (fn. 3) is infected by the sect, which she would not be likely to favour, at least openly, unless she knew the King's feeling) it would be quite useless to attempt to turn him from his fancy by words and exhortations, even if they were addressed to him in the name of the Emperor. On the contrary, they would be more likely to give him a pretext for hurrying on the enterprise and harden him in his obstinacy, in order that he might show his absolute power and his independence of anyone. This again might bring about a certain irritation or coolness on his part towards the Emperor, which at the present time is undesirable in the interests of Christendom.
Nevertheless, in case of any doubtful tendency or change on the part of the King, it would not be bad for the ambassador to speak to him, as if of his own accord; praising and reminding him of the decrees promulgated by him some months ago for the extinction of heresy, and expressing the belief that he intended to persevere in the same virtuous direction. He (the ambassador) might say that so sharp and dangerous a malady (as heresy) needed to be well watched with ceaseless vigilance on the part of those whose duty it was, since everything could not be brought to his (the King's) personal cognisance. He (the ambassador) might then proceed to lay before the King the evils that may grow out of religions innovations, as he (the ambassador) writes that he has already stated to some of the Councillors. As the King is in the habit of at once communicating to his council what is said to him, the ambassador might confer on the subject with some of the members, with whom he is on most confidential terms. Although several of the councillors are well inclined, I much doubt, however, that that he will find many of them disposed to join in the dance or to undertake anything against the earl (Seymour) and the admiral (Dudley), seeing the violent and injurious words used recently by the former towards the Lord Chancellor (Wriothesley) and by the Admiral towards Winchester (Paulet). When I was last in England Winchester would have been sent to the Tower by the orders of the earl and the admiral, if the Duke of Norfolk had not interceded, and informed the King, to whom Winchester justified himself and escaped for the time. In order, as the saying is, to hold a candle to the devil, the ambassador, after he has spoken to the King, might communicate his discourse to the earl and the admiral. It is out of the question; of course, that he could convert them from their accursed affection; the malady being one of those incurable mental ones into which they have fallen by natural inclination, and besides this, they are the further confirmed in it by their plans to obtain the government of the prince. As they lack league or assistance they have determined to drag the whole country into this damnable error, to which there exists no counteracting influence amongst the secular nobility, except the Duke of Norfolk, who is against them and enjoys great power amongst the people of the north; this being, in my opinion the reason for his detention and that of his son, who also is considered a man of great courage. There is nothing else to stand in' their way except the wealth and authority of the bishops, who are men of wit and experience. It is therefore to be feared that in this coming parliament the bishops will be divested of their, property and authority, and will thenceforward receive' nothing but certain pensions from the King's coffers. The Earl of Hertford first conceived this plan through the teaching of Cromwell, who, as soon as he doubted his ability to reconcile the Emperor with the King, adopted the expedient of entering into this heresy, and so to place the whole of the realm at issue with his Imperial Majesty. But for this plan, the whole country was so devoted to the Emperor that anything he had cared to undertake there in favour of the Queen (Catharine of Aragon) would have succeeded almost without effort. They (the English) fear no other force than that of his Majesty; neither French nor Scots, owing to the natural hate of Englishmen towards the latter; and recollecting, as they do, the ample cause that the Emperor had to attack them for the advancement of the Princess (i.e. Mary) nothing his Majesty says now will have any effect upon them. On the contrary, they will turn it to their own profit and advantage. It is, moreover, not proposed to employ other than fair or cool words to them; and we may well fear as Seneca says “Qui frigide rogat docet negare.” And if (which God forbid) the King should die, which would be more inopportune for us than it would have been twenty years ago, it is probable that these two men (i.e. Seymour and Dudley) will have the management of affairs, because, apart from the King's affection for them, and other reasons, there are no other nobles of a fit age and ability for the task. It is quite true, and probable from appearances, that disturbances might take place; and in that case the ambassador should employ his dexterity according to the circumstances, which, as one cannot forsee, one cannot now advise upon. I will, however, just hazard one remark. If the King's decease should happen before the injuries inflicted by Englishmen on his Majesty's subjects have been redressed, a perfectly licit, honest, and just means “will be ready at hand, not only to secure compensation but also to arouse the ire of a portion of the (English) people against the Governors; and consequently to hold affairs somewhat in check. This would be to decree an embargo similar to that effected by his Majesty two years ago; and, with this end, it will be advisable to avoid arousing any distrust or doubt amongst the English merchants as to the safety of their coming hither to trade, and to show them the usual favour and kindness. There is no doubt that the Governors would be much perplexed by such a seizure, since the King himself the last time was so much upset by it, and by the complaints of the people.
With regard to the question of whether it will be advisable to take any fresh steps in English affairs, I can only say that, after what I have written above, I think not. It is true that if the parliament were celebrated with the same amount of liberty as was anciently enjoyed, when the parliament met to punish the Kings, some remonstrances might be addressed to Parliament. But at the present time there is no way of doing this; for if St. Peter and St. Paul were to return to earth, and seek to enter, the King would not allow them to do so. He openly told me this himself once, at the time that I was insisting upon entering the House, when the legitimacy of the Princess Mary was under discussion. No man present at the sittings dare for his life's sake open his mouth, or say a word, without watching the will of the King and his Council. Still it seems to me that no harm could be done by M. de Granvelle addressing a remonstrance to the Bishop of Winchester, in the sense I have mentioned above, to be employed by the Emperor's ambassador in England, with whatever additions his (de Granvelle's) great experience and ability may dictate.
In conclusion, Madame, I beg to say that I am of opinion that at present it would be advisable for his Majesty to avoid any further action, either spiritual or temporal. Our doctors tell us that, even if the Pope or other prelate is right in fulminating censures against anyone, in cases where the adoption of such a course threatens to aggravate the malady the censure should be withheld, and if already issued should be revoked. The aphorism of physicians with regard to certain maladies should be borne in mind. They say that the best and quickest cure that can be adopted is to leave the evil untouched to avoid irritating it further.
Louvain, 29th January, 1547.
1546–7(?) S. D. (fn. 4) Vienna. Imp. Arch. 387. From the Queen Dowager. Document headed: “Draft memorandum for Van der Delft.”
Disputes and differences having formerly arisen between the Governing body of the English merchants in Flanders, etc., on the one hand, and the Burgomasters, Sheriffs, and Town Council of Antwerp on the other, the said merchants complained that the Antwerp authorities failed to observe the privileges, contracts and agreements existing between the said parties. The Antwerp authorities denied that this was the case, and as a consequence of the dispute the English merchants by order of their Governor withdrew from the city of Antwerp and refused to return. Certain communications thereupon took place; but as the matter touched the authority of our brother the Emperor, and the English merchants contended that reparation was due to them for certain dues which they had paid, not for the profit of the city of Antwerp but for the Emperor's treasury, we, the Queen Dowager of Hungary and Bohemia, Regent, ordered the Antwerp authorities not to enter into any negotiation with the Governor and merchants of England without our consent. Dr. Smith was then sent with the said Governor of the merchants, bearing letters of credence from the King of England to the Queen Regent, and instructions to settle the points in dispute. Her Majesty had several conferences held with them, and finally, in the interests of the perfect and sincere amity between the Emperor and the King and with the object of avoiding similar disputes for the future, it was agreed that the Queen should give strict orders to the Burgomasters, Sheriffs and Council of the city of Antwerp to observe scrupulously the agreements and conventions that they had with the English merchants. The first of these agreements is dated 1 June, 1543 (?) and the second 22 December, 1537. These treaties were ordered to be strictly carried out, and reparation made for any attempt that might be discovered to evade them in the past; the English on their side also being pledged to fulfil the same treaties without fraud or malfeisance. The Governor of the English merchants, moreover, is not to be allowed, in case of any similar dispute in the future, to compel the merchants of his nation to withdraw from the city of Antwerp, or to cease their operations there, without first giving notice to his Imperial Majesty, the Queen Regent or the Governor General of these dominions, or else to the King of England's ambassador here resident for communication to the aforesaid, in order that measures may be taken for settling the question at issue before it reaches the extreme stage which the recent dispute has done; the same being inconvenient, as between friendly and allied sovereigns. It must be understood, however, that no hindrance must, by reason of this agreement, be offered to the English merchants to frequent the fairs of other towns in these dominions whenever they please, nor must they be prevented from carrying on their business anywhere in accordance with the commercial treaties existing; which treaties are in nowise prejudiced or abrogated. As the principal blame for the recent trouble is attributed to the new Court-master or Governor, Thomas Chamberlain, the King of England will remove him from the position of Court-master, and will appoint thereto a peaceful, discreet man, who will seek the welfare, repose and tranquillity of business.


  • 1. Catharine. Baroness Willoughby D'Eresby. widow of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who, although a goddaughter of Catharine of Aragon and daughter of a Spanish lady, Maria de Sarmiento, was a devoted adherent of the Protestant reformation, for which she and her second husband, Francis Bertie, suffered exile and confiscation under Mary.
  • 2. Anne Stanhope, also a devoted Protestant.
  • 3. Jane, daughter of Sir Edward Guildford, wife of John Dudley, Earl of Warwick.
  • 4. Although this document bears no date it is apparently of the period here assigned to it, as it marks the conclusion of one point of the long-drawn negotiations for the elucidation of Paget's agreement made at Utrecht in April, 1545, which had kept Councillor Van den Burgh in London until the end of January, 1547. The special point dealt with in this document is the unauthorised levying of dues on English goods by the Antwerpers, in violation of the treaties of commerce. Although in one of his letters Van der Delft expresses an opinion that the English complaint was justified, it will be seen that the President of the Court of English merchants in Antwerp, Thomas Chamberlain, was made a scapegoat to save appearances.