Spain: April 1545, 1-15

Pages 81-89

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

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April 1545, 1–15

6 April. Vienna Imp. Arch. 38. L. Schore (Président of the Emperor's Flemish Council) to the Emperor.
Your Majesty may say to Paget that since his coming you had informed him, that in order to avoid disagreements in future between your subjects and those of England, it would be necessary to take measures whereby your subjects might navigate the sea, even for the purpose of going to France without molestation from the English. Paget had replied that the King could not consent to this, so far as regarded their going to France, but he would connive at your subjects going to that country without molestation, on condition that they carried no victuals or munitions of war; and he would give you his assurance to this effect by the King's authority. Your Majesty had consented to this, supposing that no difficulty would be raised to a general clause being inserted, providing that your subjects might frequent the sea without hindrance, since the King is bound to this by the treaty. Without such a clause your subjects would have no security, and any objection to it appeared captious; since no mention whatever is made of France, and you are willing that the article should be so worded as to avoid prejudicing any of the King's pretensions.
Paget excuses himself from agreeing to this, on the ground that he has no authority, but your Majesty may tell him, that as he sent to England the draft we gave him here, which contained the general clause, the King's objection to it was only so far as regarded the part relating to France, respecting which part we are now agreed; and that the King cannot refuse that to which he is notoriously bound to consent by treaty.
6 April. Vienna Imp. Arch. 39. Memorandum of Agreement concerning Contraband of War.
The commissioners of the Emperor and the ambassadors of the King of England having this day, 6 April, 1545, agreed that during the war between England and France the subjects of his imperial Majesty are not to be allowed to convey to France or other countries inimical to the King of England any munitions of war or victuals; the said commissioners and ambassadors, in order to avoid all misunderstanding, have agreed that the subjects of his imperial Majesty shall not convey to France or other inimical country any of the following articles.
Armour. Iron or steel mail, mail or woollen jackets.
Lances. Pikes. Halberds. Falcon beaks. Mallets. Swords. Daggers. Poignards or any other fighting blades.
Military saddles. Headpieces (i.e. for horses).
Steel or leather bards. Targets or Roundels.
Artillery, either of wrought or cast-iron. Harquebusses.
Culverins or any fire-arm.
Crossbows or bows.
Copper or other metal which may be used to forge or cast artillery.
All sorts of gunpowder. Saltpetre and sulphur.
Bullets and projectiles of iron.
Pitch, etc.
It is agreed that in the prohibited victuals shall not be included Spanish or other sweet wines, spices, sugar, succades and other drugs, nor any syrups or other compositions of honey or mead. (Signed) Schore, Cornille Scepperus, Bave, William Paget, Nicholas Wotton.
N.D. April ? Vienna Imp. Arch. 40. L. Schore (President of the Flemish Council) and Scepperus (M. D'eick) to the Emperor.
We went yesterday to see Paget who said that he had no authority to alter the note formerly handed to your Majesty, (fn. 1) but that the King would be willing (on condition of his retaining Boulogne) that your Majesty should make whatever arrangements you thought best. He showed us the King's letters to this effect. Paget also said that he had no instructions about a truce; but he was of opinion that if your Majesty would induce the King of France to accept a truce, the King (of England) would consent thereto and he (Paget) would do his best with that object.
This morning we went, by order of the Queen, to see the French ambassadors and persuade them to put an end to this war, and we suggested that it would be well to agree to a truce; urging upon them several reasons in favour of this course. At the same time we assured them that your Majesty had no other end to serve than that of the peace of the world, and would not interfere further, until you heard the King's pleasure on the point. They (the ambassadors) took it in very good part, promising to convey what we had said to the King; and if they found him at all inclined to it, they would endeavour to bring about an understanding. They had, however, received despatches which made it necessary that they should ask for audience; and they trusted that your Majesty would be willing to listen to them, as their mission did not touch the King's interests but those of your Majesty, in which the King was as much concerned as if they were his own.
Morette afterwards said that they would speak to your Majesty of another truce, which makes us think that their business may he about the Turk. They said the affair was pressing and begged your Majesty to signify an appointment.
7 April. Imp. Arch. 41. Paget's verbal undertaking that the King will connive at the carrying on of trade between the Netherlands and France.
Sir William Paget, knight, Councillor and First Secretary to the King of England, has declared in the presence of the Queen (Dowager of Hungary, Regent of the Netherlands), and certain members of the Emperor's Council, that the King, his master, is willing, for the sake of his imperial Majesty, to connive at the subjects of the latter carrying on navigation, traffic and business to and in France, without hindrance or injury; on condition that they may not convey to France any victuals or munitions of war. This he declared in the presence also of M. de Sempy, knight of the Order (i.e. the Golden Fleece), Loys de Schore, knight, President of the Privy Council, and Cornille Scepperus, knight, Councillor of State to his Majesty, on the 5th March, 1545, before Easter.
This day the 7th April, Secretary Paget read this memorandum, and confessed, that he had made to the Queen the declaration set forth herein, in the presence of the undersigned. Schore, Cornille Scepperus.
10 April. Vienna Imp. Arch. 42. The Queen Dowager to Chapuys and Van der Delft.
Since our letters of the 8th ultimo and receipt of yours of 11th, 12th, and 15th of same, Secretary Paget, in an audience requested by him before he received the King's reply concerning his negotiations here, complained of the arrest of an English ship by the captain of the Sluys, the said ship having broken the embargo placed upon it in Zeeland. The arrest was afterwards raised, although the master of the ship was liable to serious consequences. During this audience Paget said that he had power from the King to ascertain from the Emperor whether, placing aside past events, his Majesty would in future observe the stipulation of the treaty of friendship. As the point was a purely captious one, brought forward simply to justify the King's demand for the declaration against France, Paget was told frankly and openly, that if he asked the question for the purpose of leading up to the declaration against France, his Majesty had no intention whatever of placing aside any past events; but on the contrary would keep them fittingly in view. He would, nevertheless, observe the said treaty, so far as he was bound to do, as he had already replied to the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester. Paget thereupon broke out into great lamentations, saying that his Majesty was bound by the treaty to make the declaration, no matter what was said to the contrary; and even if the King had consented to the treaty with France (which the King still insisted that he had not done), was it to be understood that the Emperor was for ever exempt from making the declaration or from fulfilling the article in the treaty (of friendship) which dealt with the subject ? He was told in reply, that if he wished to persist in the demand for the declaration, it would be better to go over past affairs, and such explanations would be given to him as should satisfy him. To conceal nothing from him, we might say that the Emperor did not consider that after he had arranged with France with the King of England's consent, he was bound, or to be expected, to declare against France during the present war; and so to violate the treaty of peace, to which the Emperor is as much bound as he is to his treaty with England; although the latter treaty provides for a closer alliance between the parties. His Majesty has always declared that he would comply with all his obligations towards both powers, but if after this present war was over, another war should break out, the Emperor would act in a way which would satisfy the King of England. Finally the Secretary (Paget) endeavoured to persuade us that the Emperor should, in order to please the King of England, send word to him that, although the present state of Christendom rendered it inadvisable for him now publicly to declare himself against France, yet if the war continued, he would show his friendship for the King of England by declaring against France later. The Emperor's commissioners did not like this suggestion, and declined to convey it to his Majesty; as they were sure he would not listen to it.
After Paget had received the answer from his master, he had a second audience, and declared that the King, having been informed of the communications that had passed, thanked his Majesty for his kindness and goodwill to bring about peace for England. If his Majesty could induce the King of France to come to terms, the King of England would also willingly do the same; and he suggested that with this object the conditions formerly laid before the Emperor by Wotton might be brought forward again.
Having regard to the expense incurred in conquering, and subsequently in fortifying, Boulogne, the King could not, out of respect for his own reputation, surrender the place, and he begged the Emperor, as a good ally and true friend, to satisfy the French.
He also thanked the Emperor for the intimation sent to him of the mission of the Scottish envoy and of the answer given thereto. The King begged that the envoy might promptly be sent back.
Touching the release of the seizures, after expressing sorrow at the delay that had taken place in the release on this side, and saying that it was not necessary to draw up any documents on the matter; since the King of England had already released everything, he (Paget) finally produced a paper founded upon the draft which had been handed to him here (and of which duplicate was sent you). Some alterations had been made, and the mention of free navigation for his Majesty's subjects had been omitted. This Paget explained by saying that the provision was contained in the treaty of friendship, and the King could not consent formally to the Netherlanders trading with France. The imperial Commissioners were not satisfied with this, and maintained that after all the wrongs and troubles that had been inflicted upon us in violation of the treaty, the seizures could not be released until we had some assurance fox the future that our people would be better treated, and allowed to sail the sea without molestation. We were ready to omit all special reference to France, on receiving the verbal assurance which Paget had formerly proposed.
Paget replied that he had no orders to change the terms of the document sent from England; but he was quite willing to declare on behalf of the King in the presence of the (Flemish) Council and anyone else that the King of England would not hinder the subjects of the Emperor in their navigation, and would even connive at their going to France. He was told by the commissioners that this was not sufficient. They insisted upon the general clause assuring unmolested navigation being inserted in the agreement. Paget complained bitterly of this, taking his stand on the point of honour, and resenting the refusal to accept his word; given, as he said, in the King's name in virtue of his credentials. The Emperor himself then sent for Paget, and told him that the agreement could not be accepted without the insertion of the said general clause; Paget's reply being that he could not agree to this without further instructions. He begged that, pending the receipt of these, the persons of English subjects might be released: but seeing the objections which his Majesty raised to this, he asked that certain merchandise might be released, these goods he said having been sent for the purpose of repaying the loans which he had raised in Antwerp. His Majesty consented to this.
Having communicated with England, Paget received further instructions, and finally the agreement, of which a copy is enclosed, was made with him. By this, apart from the prohibition of the conveyance of food and munitions to France, the subjects of the Emperor are in future secured against molestation at sea. An agreement has also been made with him as to the articles coming under the head of munitions of war, and the articles of consumption of which the export to France is permitted. In order that no future misunderstanding shall occur with regard to the liberty of the subjects on this side to sail to France, we have drawn up a statement of the words pronounced by Paget, which statement has been shown to him and confirmed by him, as you will see by the document enclosed. (fn. 2) After Paget had seen the orders given for the release, he departed in apparent contentment. You will see that all seizures made subsequent to the 20 June last are to be released, if anything else remains. This was the best we could get from Paget.
With regard to the intervention between France and England, his Majesty, having heard Paget's message, as given above, replied that he feared that the French would insist very strongly in the recovery of Boulogne, and would probably decline to entertain any negotiations, until that point was conceded. His Majesty therefore considered that the best way to open negotiations would be to treat for a truce, during which the King of England would not be prejudiced, because he held Boulogne and could even in the meanwhile strengthen his position there. Paget replied that he had no instructions respecting a truce, but he would willingly inform the King of the suggestion. He subsequently announced that the King approved of the Emperor's advice, and would be glad to agree to a truce for such period as his Majesty thought best.
His Majesty also caused the French ambassadors to be sounded, with the object of inducing the King (of France) to accept a truce with England; and several reasons were given to them why the King of France should not refuse. If he (the Emperor) learnt that the King (of France) was inclined thereto, he promised to approach the King of England and endeavour to obtain his concurrence. The ambassadors promised to communicate with their King; and Morette, on his departure from here with the declaration as to the marriage alternatives, promised to speak to the King about the trace and to send word hither. No communication from him has yet arrived.
The agreement taken by Paget provides for the meeting on the 1st May of the representatives of both monarchs, for the purpose of enquiring into and arbitrating upon all questions and claims at issue made by subjects on both sides. This is understood to refer, not only to assaults at sea or to the seizures, but also to all other complaints and grievances, as to the infraction of the treaty of commerce and the wrongs daily committed in England in violation of the treaty. You will therefore inform us of what you can ascertain of the ill-treatment of our people by the English, in order that instructions may accordingly be drawn up for the Commissioners who are to be sent. We think of sending to the joint arbitration some gentleman and two masters of requests, as we informed Paget before he left.
With reference to what Paget wrote about a remark which he said had been made to him by some of the Councillors here, to the effect that the Earl of Hertford and the Bishop of Winchester had been unable to find any reply to our arguments about the declaration against France, and that they would have agreed if they had had power, we understand that the remark was not made in that sense. Paget was told that if the King intended to persist in his request for the declaration, it would be necessary for us to repeat the arguments we addressed to the Earl and the Bishop; which reasons were sufficient to demonstrate that the Emperor was under no obligation to make the declaration, whatever might be said to the contrary.
These arguments had subsequently been repeated to the King who had not yet given his decision on the subject; and it had consequently been concluded that he was satisfied and convinced. Nothing was said about the Earl and the Bishop not having been able to reply; but it was certainly said that the arguments they urged were not sufficient to induce his Majesty to make the declaration. As to the Earl and the Bishop's assertion that they felt sure that at the expiration of the 10 weeks his Majesty would make the declaration, we can only say that they must have very badly understood what was said to them to have gained such an impression. . You know well from your own instructions that his Majesty never had any intention of declaring war against France, and thus suddenly to violate the treaty which he had only just made with the consent of the King of England, The Scottish ambassador is still here. Although no answer has been given to him beyond what was communicated to you, and you can assure the King of England of this if he mentions it, still we are desirous of so dealing with the (Scottish) ambassador, as to prevent our relations with Scotland from growing more unpleasant than they are; and to enable the subjects here to sail the sea without molestation from the Scots, so long as we abstain from active hostilities against them. This is the reason for the ambassadors continued sojourn here; and we inform you in confidence, knowing that you will keep the secret. If you hear that people on that side are offended at the ambassador's stay here, you must let us know, so that we may instruct you what excuse to make. Brussels, 10 April, 1544.
12 April. Paris Arch. Nat. K. 1486. 43. Extract from Letters from the Emperor's Ambassador in France (St. Mauris) to the Emperor.
Your Majesty enjoined me to enquire closely whether the French galleys returned to Marseilles, if the intention of sending them out still continued, and if so who was to command them. I have done so and learn that, if peace is not made with the English, the galleys will not go to the Levant this year, but will proceed to the port of Etaples, which the King is having deepened to receive them, in accordance with the plan I have already sent to your Majesty. From this port they will attempt to prevent the revictualling of Boulogne. The King of France reckoned that, taking into consideration the garrison that the English were maintaining at Boulogne, they could not put into the place more than three months' provisions, after which time further supplies would have to be sent. They (the French) therefore decided to send the galleys thither about the middle of May, with 20 armed vessels to hold the passage and hinder the revictualling. The galleys will accordingly go to Etaples for this purpose, so as to be near Boulogne, and the King of France does not intend to send them to the Levant unless this war (i.e. with the English) ceases. Even after that he will retain them (the galleys) outside the Mediterranean; saying that they are too much knocked about to go so long a voyage, and he will rather break them up, keeping about half-a-dozen for his own needs, and sending the convicts overland by way of Lyons, near which place on the Rhone they will take the water again. The King has fitted out nine new galleys at Marseilles, though they are not yet armed. In order to secure the coast in that direction, a certain Genoese named Fiesco had bought, or was to buy, the Pope's ships, and bring them into the French service. All this depends upon whether peace be made or not between England and France, but as soon as I learn that such a peace is settled I will endeavour to discover what is to be done with the galleys. Some of them have already left (Marseilles) and I learn on good authority that they are all to be at sea by the end of April; but only for the purpose of scouring the seas and committing their usual pilfering and depredations. It is positively asserted here that, as nothing was settled at Cambrai about maritime matters, when the French commissioners returned the captains of the galleys were told that they might continue their captures as before, and that, if necessary, aid should be given to them. The Admiral was quite willing; and indeed had endeavoured to bring this about, as he receives a tenth of the value of the prizes. This, Sire, is a matter of so much importance to your poor subjects, that I have thought necessary to bring it before you, in order that, in some way or another, it may be remedied. Truly I think these people are more bent upon this passion for plunder than ever I saw them before, as they have a lively recollection of their past gains from it. To judge by their own talk, it will be very difficult to persuade them to modify their orders. In case they capture prizes it will be useless for us to depend upon my remonstrances or claims, here, as they insist upon referring everything to the Admiralty, to be dealt with according to their maritime laws, which are iniquitous. I write thus minutely to your Majesty, because I have, of my own action, already declared to the Chancellor and the Admiral that by some means or another their orders must positively be reformed. I have, however, got nothing from them, but remarks that clearly show their intention to sustain and protect these people in their robberies. It is true that if peace were to be declared all these difficulties would cease, but so long as the war continues, and your Majesty's subjects have no safety in their navigation, they will be treated as badly as can be by these people, who bear them no goodwill.
With regard to your Majesty's observations respecting the Scottish pirates, I beg to say that these pirates after having worked their will in the ports of Normandy upon your Majesty's Flemish subjects retired to Brittany when they found that the merchants were prosecuting them at law for the return of their property. They subsequently committed some fresh depredations on the Spaniards frequenting the Brittany coast. I complained of this to the King, without waiting for special instructions to do so, as the matter was so pressing and outrageous, and the French had received the Scots so differently from what the King had assured me they would. The King replied that he had sent the Scots to Brittany, in order to drive away the English, who were committing all sorts of incursions there, but that he had prohibited the Scots from touching your Majesty's subjects or their property, on any account, and had not heard that they had done so. In conversation with me on the subject, he admitted that they could do much more damage at sea on the Brittany coast than off Normandy, as they could command a certain Strait, by which every ship sailing between Flanders and Spain must necessarily pass; and he added that, if he chose to construct a fort near this Strait, he might command the whole high sea. He said that on your Majesty's voyages to and fro, you had passed through this Strait. After all this, he told me that he considered these robberies of the Scots to be perfectly scandalous and pernicious, and so he had declared to M. de L'Orge, who had endeavoured to excuse them, when the King told him it was quite enough for Scotland to be at war with England, without seeking to quarrel with your Majesty as well. The King ended by promising to write at once to M. d'Etampes, ordering him to lay hands on all the ships captured by the Scots from your Majesty's subjects, and return them to the owners immediately, forbidding these pirates from doing such wrong for the future, and punishing them severely if they disobey. I know for certain that those letters have been written, the King having in my presence given directions about them to the Dauphin, to whom he complained of such proceedings, and told him that it was for him (the Dauphin) to provide redress, as he exercised the sovereignty of Brittany. The Dauphin replied that he knew of two Spanish ships having been captured by these pirates, but as soon as he heard of it he had ordered the vessels to be restored, and he believed this had been done. He would, moreover, take steps to prevent such outrages for the future, and I earnestly begged him to bear the matter in mind. I know he has done so, and I believe that M. d' Etampes will scrupulously carry out the orders sent to him. I have also written to M. d' Etampes to the same effect. I feel sure that when your Majesty lets the King know that the Governor (i.e., of Scotland) (fn. 3) disavows these pirates, he (the King) cannot avoid doing the same, and turning them out of his ports or at least taking care that they do nothing against your Majesty's subjects, and insisting upon the restitution of their plunder, of which hitherto little has been recovered. As soon as they took their plunder into the Norman ports they sold it to Frenchmen, with whom they had already arranged. I hear from worthy merchants that their plunder off Normandy was worth thirty or forty thousand crowns, of which hardly anything will be recovered, unless the Governor (i.e., of Scotland) requests this King to seize it. But if peace is declared all these troubles will cease.
Melun, 12 April, 1545.


  • 1. This refers to the note handed to the Emperor by Wotton during the negotiations for peace in the previous year setting forth Henry's claims against France.
  • 2. All the documents referred to will be found in the preceding pages.
  • 3. The Regent Earl of Arran.