Spain: September 1547, 1-15

Pages 145-150

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.

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September 1547, 1–15

Sept. 2. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
In fulfilment of the orders sent to me by the Queen Dowager, I was at Hampton Court a few days ago; the members of the Council having returned thither from accompanying the Protector some way on his road to Scotland. Whilst I was there I had some chat with Paget, who, although he intended to withdraw from the active management of business, is still in charge of everything.
He asked me if I had not any news of your Majesty's health; and I told him that I had received private letters saying that your Majesty was in better health than the rumours asserted. Paget was rejoiced to hear this, saying how important it was, not only for your own subjects but for Christendom at large that God should preserve you for a long life. “For,” said he, “yesterday I had a long conversation with the French Ambassador, who told me as news, of the indisposition of his Majesty; and in such a way as clearly showed which way their thoughts were running. The subject of their conversation, as Paget told me, was that the King of France said he had no other desire than to preserve peace, but complained, nevertheless, that the English should continue to fortify Boulogne; by which they proved that they had no intention ever to restore it. He complained also that the Scots had not been allowed to enjoy their inclusion in the treaty of peace. Paget said that he had replied to these representations that the English were carrying on no fortification works at Boulogne except those which were allowed to them by the terms of the peace treaty.
With regard to the Scots, he said that the clause in the treaty concerning their inclusion was so worded that it expressly reserved all existing treaties. Nevertheless, even if the Scots had been included unconditionally and the great seal had been attached to it as the Scots had requested, they would still be in their present position because they had since come and invaded the lands in the occupation of the King of England, and had assailed his places.
After some more conversation, Paget asked me whether the Protector had not told me something in secret, and I then communicated to him (Paget) what the Protector had said about the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, though I concealed from him that I had written an account of it to your Majesty. He then said: “It is very necessary that his Majesty should know of it, and it was by my advice that the Protector spoke to you on the subject. Besides that, when you write to his Majesty about it tell him also what is of more importance still, namely that the said Duke is entering into an arrangement with the King of France to resign to him the duchies of Parma and Piacenza in exchange for Avignon and the surrounding lands, both those belonging to the Pope and those belonging to the King of France, which the Duke (Pier Luigi) is to enjoy in perpetuity.” Paget requested me very urgently to keep the matter quite secret and again repeated to me his wish that I should write an account of it to your Majesty as an actual fact. Whatever truth or otherwise there may be in this I presume that your Majesty will be better informed than anyone else. Paget still shows on every occasion his devotion to your Majesty. I also entertain him to the best of my ability, seeing that everything here goes through his hands, and that there is not one of them who can excel him in the management of affairs.
So far as I can learn from Paget, they are much in fear of the French, as they think they (the English) are quite able to defend themselves if any attempts were made to invade the territory they hold in the Boulognais. Paget told me that the Protector was to march into the enemy's country on the first day of this month, and he had no doubt that, by God's grace, he would perform some worthy exploit.
London, 2 September, 1547.
Sept. 2. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
Madam: The same day that I despatched my last letters to your Majesty dated the 25th ultimo, I received by the bearer of the present, the letters addressed to me by your Majesty on the 13th August, respecting the Flushing ships of war which had been brought into the port of Harwich by the armed vessels belonging to the King of England. I had already written to your Majesty at length on the 17 August giving an account of all that had happened in the matter, and had reported that the ships had been released unconditionally, the property seized on both sides being mutually restored.
I thought therefore that the whole matter had thus been peacefully settled, especially as our people had not been at all blameless. One of our captains was confronted, first at Harwich and subsequently in my presence in London, with the principal Commander of the English vessels, and I was put very much to shame at having cried out too loud about it, depending on the word of our captain, who when he was face to face with the other failed to support his statements. I nevertheless extricated myself from the business as well as I could, maintaining all through that a great wrong had been done to our men. After the release had been granted by the Protector this captain of ours left to join the ships again and sail with them to Zeeland; but meeting on the road another captain, a comrade of his, he learnt from him that the vessels had already sailed, but that the restoration of the property seized had not been entirely completed. They had therefore left him (the second captain) in England to solicit the return of the remainder.
For this reason, Madam, and because your Majesty's instructions are so explicit, I travelled to Hampton Court as soon as I learned that the members of the Council had returned thither from accompanying the Protector some distance on his way to Scotland. When I saw them at Hampton Court I laid before them your Majesty's instructions, and insisted upon full satisfaction being given. They replied that our people had been the aggressors, having begun the trouble by plundering English subjects, and had even captured and held in their hands for four days the King's pinnace, which was of the utmost importance to them. They dwelt upon this with many words, but they concluded by saying that, notwithstanding all this, the restitution of the property seized had been made, as I was well aware: and the King, moreover, had been put to much expense in maintaining these men here for so long a time as they were in port. As for the restitution, they had ordered that it should be effected, and if there had been any shortcoming in this respect they would enquire into it when the English captain who had brought the Flushing ships into port had returned from Scotland where he now was. I think it necessary to report this to your Majesty as the present state of the affair.
London, 2 September, 1547.
Sept. 6. Vienna. Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
Since I wrote my last letter of 2nd instant, nothing of importance has happened here, except that on Friday last six French galleys and two brigantines encountered in the Straits between Dover and Calais a well equipped vessel belonging to the King of England. After the galleys had one after the other cannonaded it for a long time they took possession of the English ship and carried it off. This has caused a great commotion amongst the people here, although the Council itself appears to attach no great importance to it. But the rumour is current that certain galleys with some fourteen or fifteen great ships full of fighting men have sailed toward Scotland from France to aid the Scots. It is asserted that the affray between the galleys and the English vessel arose out of the question of lowering the sails and saluting, which has so often been the cause of disputes between the English and the subjects of the Emperor. In these disputes the stronger party always seeks to carry off the glory though they often suffer for it.
There is no news yet from Scotland, although I have heard that on the arrival there of the earl of Warwick some of his men who were in too great a hurry to penetrate into the enemy's country did not all return. I am also given to understand that even if the English do not succeed entirely in their enterprise this year they intend to construct two fortresses on Scottish territory and in such a position as will enable them to make themselves masters of the rest of the country with ease. In his conversations with me the Protector himself made much of this plan. The English have disseminated certain printed letters with the object of persuading the Scots not to defend themselves against the English, promising entire liberty to those who join with them for bringing about the marriage of the King of England and the Queen of Scotland agreed upon by the Parliaments and estates of the two realms. Everything, they (the English) say, shall be without prejudice to the kingdom of Scotland, which united with England will assume a joint name and the people be called Britons.
Some time ago these people (the English) drew up certain articles in the form of an ordinance, according to which all persons should conduct themselves in matters of religion. As this ordinance was not officially published, but on the contrary so long deferred that it seemed as if it would never be put into operation, I hoped that everything would continue in the same position as before. (fn. 1) But since the departure of the Protector for Scotland the ordinance in question must have been issued, the effect of it being already apparent in the abolition of the sacred images in the churches. For the last two days these images have begun to be taken down and cast away at Westminster, and they will not even leave room for them in the glass. They have also suppressed some of the lessons in the Mattins service and have substituted for them the exposition of two chapters, one from the Old and one from the New Testament.
Mass is still celebrated, but in future it is not to be allowed' on behalf of the dead. The Holy Sacrament is held in all reverence, and the Confession is observed; whilst in all the churches will be placed and kept the Bible, with the paraphrases of Erasmus Rotterodami. In the said ordinance there is a clause enjoining the citizens to hold the clergy in due respect, but four Commissioners are appointed to examine the clergymen and enquire into their knowledge, manner of life and income. All this has not been done without great murmuring amongst the people, but the worst of it is that the populace around London are too much attached to the sects and clamour for novelties of all sorts. It may well turn out that the question of incomes is the principal one.
Madam Mary has already returned from her journey. There is nothing more said about the former Lord Chancellor (Wriothesley Earl of Southampton). This week the Great Master of the Household (Lord St. John) is to come hither from Hampton Court to finish off the business of the Spanish merchants who were plundered by Renegat. The Controller Paget is also to come and see me about the arrangement of Lope de Carrion's claims. In this and the other various pending questions Paget displays his extreme willingness to get rid of all points of difference between us by some means.
London, 6 September, 1547.
Postscript.—Madam. Just as I was closing this letter I have been informed that a herald from France has arrived here and is proceeding in this very hour to Hampton Court. I have not been able to detain this courier to send your Majesty information as to what his mission may be, but I will do so with all possible speed as soon as I can learn.
Sept. 6. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
I received yesterday the letters from your Majesty dated 23rd ultimo, with a letter for the Protector. As the latter has now gone towards Scotland, I will, with your Majesty's permission, retain the letter until his return will allow me to present it personally, which I will do on the first opportunity. By my penultimate and latest letters your Majesty will have learnt what the Protector, and subsequently Paget, had communicated to me with regard to the conduct of the Duke of Parma and Piacenza. Nothing of note has occurred since then except that six galleys and two brigantines from France were seen between Dover and Calais. . . .
(The rest of this letter is in substance the same as that from Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager of the same date.)
London, 6 September, 1547.
Sept. 12. Paris K. 1487. Ferrante Gonzaga to St. Mauris, Imperial Ambassador in France.
On Saturday the 10th instant certain gentlemen of Piacenza rebelled against the Duke and killed him. They thereupon sent advice of the occurrence to Pavia, Cremona and other neighbouring places, begging these to send a number of troops to them. Don Alvaro de Luna, commander of the fortress of Cremona, did so, and also decided to go himself. From Pavia there came also a captain who had been summoned. I, having heard of these events, came as far as Lodes, in order to ensure that this occurrence should not cause any injury to his Majesty or disturb the tranquillity of Italy, especially of Milan. When I was at Lodes, the aforementioned conspirators approached me by one of their number, Count Jehan Angusol, and informed me that they had delivered themselves from the hands of a tyrant, and would rather surrender the town to the Emperor than to anyone else, or else to restore it to the rule of the church (fn. 2) if I would concede certain articles to them, with the object of placing their country in a better condition, as they desired, this indeed having been their motive from the first. I replied that I would grant them everything they wished, if I was assured that they would not make any (further) innovations, it having been with this conviction that I had left Milan. I took this course because they were willing to give themselves over to the power that offered them the best terms, and the rivals of his Majesty were amongst those to whom they thus held out the hand; and I thought best to offer them as much as the others would, in order to avoid the obvious disadvantages that otherwise might ensue.
On the return of Count Jehan to them they held a general Council, and after deliberation decided to submit to his Majesty the Emperor, and to me on his behalf. This resolution was conveyed to me, and I was informed that the troops they had summoned had entered the city (Piacenza). It was agreed that I myself should come hither, which I did this morning, having been received by everybody in the most gracious manner. I now remain here in peaceful possession in the name of his Majesty, to whom I have sent an account of all that has passed and await his commands. This is all that has happened hitherto, and I will duly put you into possession of what may occur in the future.
Piacenza, 12 September, 1547.
Note.—Although this letter has no direct bearing upon English affairs it is interesting to the history of the Reformation, particularly as coming from the prime mover in the murder of Pier Luigi and the annexation of Piacenza to the dominions of the Emperor. It need not be added that the events here briefly recorded vitally influenced the relations between Charles V. and the Papacy for years.


  • 1. The Royal visitation referred to had been, in fact, decided upon in April; and in May mandates had been issued by the Council suspending the ordinaries from their customary jurisdiction, and dividing ecclesiastical England into six circuits, each with a Registrar and other officers for the purpose of reporting upon the actual condition of the Church of England. The intended visitation was, however, indefinitely postponed shortly afterwards; and, as Van der Delft reports, the order upon which the visitors eventually proceeded in the discharge of their functions were not issued until 1 September.
  • 2. It will be recollected that Paul III, had instituted his son Pier Luigi Farnose, Duke of Castro, Duke of Piacenza, which place was a Papal fief.