Spain: February 1547, 11-20

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

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'Spain: February 1547, 11-20', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912), pp. 22-37. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

. "Spain: February 1547, 11-20", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912) 22-37. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

. "Spain: February 1547, 11-20", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549, (London, 1912). 22-37. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,

February 1547, 11–20

Feb. 11. Simancas. E. 644. The Emperor to Don Diego de Mendoza.
M. Girone Bertano has come to us from the Pope, bearing letters also from Cardinal Farnese, urging us by the usual arguments to make peace with France: and with this end suggested, (1) that we should propose terms upon which a closer friendship with France might be made. (2) That we should arrange an interview with the King of France, at which the Pope might be present, for the purpose of promoting such friendship, or at least that we and the King of France should send representatives to Rome in order that the Pope might reconcile if possible the differences between us.
We replied saying that his Holiness knew better than anyone that our great desire had always been to live in peace with France, and this feeling had been expressed many times, but (the reasons are given at length in the letter) we were unable to accede to the suggestions submitted to us by Girone Bertano. The latter fell back upon his last suggestion (i.e., that representatives should be sent to Rome) saying that really that was the object of his mission, and his instructions went no further. It was far, he said, from his Holiness' thoughts to set himself up as an arbiter between us and the King of France. He knew well how dangerous such an office is between two powerful sovereigns, one of whom he would probably offend. He only aspired with the most perfect impartiality to bring about a good and durable peace. In any case no harm could be done by hearing what each side had to say, and perhaps if we would send a person there, some means might be proposed to bring about so righteous an object as our supremacy over the whole world, for if we were reconciled with France no one would be able to stand in our way.
We stopped him at this, and said that everyone knew, and our acts all proved, that we did not aspire and had never imagined for ourselves such universal supremacy. If we had done so it is quite likely that some people would have grieved more than they do now. We were, we said, entirely favourable to peace; and would very willingly discuss means to that end, if fitting conditions could be proposed. But at present our answer must stand as we had given it.
We then went on to express our surprise at the long delay that had taken place in the giving by his Holiness of the reply to Don Juan de Mendoza, and, after all, that the answer sent was such a dry one as it was, and so regardless of the position in which we were. We had commenced this holy enterprise on the persuasion of his Holiness, and when we had brought it to the point it had reached it seemed to us unfitting that the answer should be coupled with this talk of peace. It was also unfitting that his Holiness should take his stand upon his desire to remain neutral in order not to avoid giving the French an excuse that he had departed from neutrality by aiding this enterprise in which we are engaged. We could not believe, moreover, that the King of France, being a Christian monarch, could consider that his Holiness was departing from his neutrality in helping forward so saintly an enterprise as ours. If his Holiness did not do so we should have much greater reason to complain of his departure from neutrality, and from his high duty. We added that it had been asserted that the French had solicited his Holiness not to furnish any further aid; and even that his Holiness had promised not to contribute anything further but we had refused to believe such a thing, until this reply (to Don Juan de Mendoza) gave signs that there was some truth in it. This was not the way, we said, to bring about a closer peace and friendship. We had told the French ambassador the same a few days before; and we had said that if the King was anxious to break with us, which we could not believe as he had assured us so emphatically of his intention to keep the peace undisturbed, we should be obliged to make the best arrangement we could here (i.e., in Germany) looking after our own interests without thinking of other people's. This matter, we said, was already so far advanced that if the Pope would not help us any further, and we saw ourselves pressed, we should take the course most advantageous to us. This, we continued, would be perfectly easy to settle; and if we joined with these people (i.e., the German Protestants) against France, in case the latter power moved against us, God might carry into effect the saying of the Psalmist, “Vindicabo inimicos meos de inimicis meis.” The Pope would have a better excuse for his action if we were asking him to do anything beyond reason; but in fact all we were asking him was that he would fulfil the capitulations he had agreed upon. The delay in paying the subvention, now that affairs have been brought to their present favourable position by our success, could not fail to appear most extraordinary to the world, and especially that the Pope after so long a delay should give us this curt answer now. We were, we said, not accustomed to do things by force, or by any other means than by good will and reason. To this the Nuncio replied that the Pope had already fulfilled the agreement as to the subvention, and if the contingent had dwindled in number that was not his fault. His decision to discontinue it (i.e., the armed contingent) had been adopted because winter was coming on when we should not need an army. We answered that as the contingent had been weak for a long time past, it had been of little or no service to us, and had done more harm than good. The Duke of Camarino (fn. 1) had been told that the harm they did might be put up with if the number of men were large, because they might be of some use; but notwithstanding their reduced numbers they still continued to commit their numerous outrages without being of any use at all. We should, indeed, prefer that they had gone home, only we thought that such a course would have been disagreeable to his Holiness. The Pope, however, ought to have brought their number up to the full strength agreed upon, and have had them paid more regularly; or, at least, he should have made up the deficiency of men by a money payment, in order to fulfil the undertaking. With regard to his remark about not needing an army in the winter, we said, we should like to see the countries surrender as they were doing if we had no army; above all those that have still to submit. Nevertheless, as we had said, we should take good care of our own interests, without regard to those of others, if we found we were being pressed in the present circumstances.
Girone was either unable or unwilling to reply to this, and asked that we would leave that branch of the subject and deal with the question of peace, which was so holy and necessary an object to aim at. We answered that we had no more at present to say on that point, but would give it our consideration.
Alexander Vitello then came forward to say that he had letters from Cardinal Farnese, who was much grieved that his Holiness would not proceed further in the granting of our request, which was so just; but, in effect, the Pope was old and had his own opinions, though the Cardinal had done all he could, as befitted one so deeply attached to our service and so desirous of pleasing us. He added that, as he was young and very well intentioned, he could still be of much service to us. Fifteen hundred good Italians might yet be raised, and if they were brought to proper discipline they might be made very useful.
We expressed our thanks to the Cardinal for his offer and good wishes, but deplored that his influence with the Pope to forward so holy a cause had been so small. As for the Italians, there were so few of them, and they daily deserted and did much harm and no good, we very often wished they were all in Italy instead of here. Indeed we should have dismissed them already only we did not wish to give offence to the Pope.
During Candlemas, the Nuncio sought audience of us, and came to see us before Mass. Handing us a brief from the Pope he commenced his address by saying that his Holiness was recalling his contingent in consequence of the expiry of the period for which he had agreed to furnish it, and the winter was so far advanced. His Holiness had also been moved to do so by the compassion he felt for the condition of the men and to avoid their perishing altogether to the detriment of Italy, where they might be needed. His Holiness congratulated us upon the happy issue of the enterprise, at which he rejoiced and for which he had heartily thanked God, celebrated Masses, and ordered processions, praying also that the victory might be fruitful as to the results desired.
The Nuncio then expressed his regret that he could not avoid saying certain things which his Holiness had charged him to say, but he was obliged to obey the command given to him. He had, he said, been forced to inform the Pope that we had deferred giving him audience, and his Holiness was displeased thereat as he considered that more respect should be shown to his ministers, especially when they were entrusted with public interests and matters related to this enterprise. The Pope himself, notwithstanding his age, did not fail to give audience to our ministers, he said, whenever necessary, as they would inform us. His Holiness, nevertheless trusted that we, as a Catholic Prince would not neglect to utilise the victory, which God in His mercy had sent us, for the due establishment of religion, though he much regretted that so little information was sent to him on the matter. Territories were submitting every day, and treaties were being negotiated and concluded with them, and yet no express mention of his Holiness was made in them, as he thought there ought to be.
Seeing by this where the shoe pinched (considerando el pie de que se cojeaba), we thought best to speak more plainly than we had previously done. It was quite clear that suavity was thrown away upon these people, and that however amiable we were they did not abandon their designs, as was seen by the short answer the Pope gave to Don Juan de Mendoza's mission, which was submitted so respectfully and was of itself so reasonable. The assurances conveyed to the Pope by Don Juan, of our good-will towards him produced, as we know, only a curt reply after a long delay, notwithstanding the anxiety and difficulty in which we were at the time, as the Pope's own brief acknowledged. Having regard to all this we replied to the Nuncio as follows. With regard to the recall of the troops, we were very glad of it, since as we had already said they did a great deal of harm, and were of no use at all. We should be much pleased if they were already in Italy: but as for the reasons alleged for the recall we declined to discuss them as they were pure fictions (frasquerias).
We thanked his Holiness humbly for his congratulations, but we could not believe the statement that he rejoiced at our victory Indeed, as time went on we grew more convinced of the truth of the previous view of his Holiness' intentions and aims; and of the desire attributed to him, namely that of entangling us in this business and then to leave us in the lurch for his own ends. We called to mind the saying in Italy, that for young men to catch the French malady was excusable, but it was unpardonable in old men. The Nuncio interrupted us to say that we were speaking of something quite new to him, and he had up to the present not understood anything we had said. But we continued our speech, saying that no doubt, however, it was a long standing disease, and in a subject naturally disposed to the malady from his youth. This was said in a way that the Nuncio could not fail to understand, because, we continued that, although the Pope and others might be displeased, we hoped with the help of God, even failing that of his Holiness, to be able to bring this enterprise to a favourable issue. As for the Masses and processions, of which he spoke, they were good enough in their way, but they did not suffice to fulfil his obligations. In the matter of the delay in giving audience to the Nuncio, no one, we said, knew better than the latter, how reasonable were the causes of the delay. After the great heavy work we had had, the pain of the gout from which we had suffered had prevented us from taking the necessary rest. The reference made by the Pope to his age, and his statement that he always gave audience to our ambassadors was beside the mark. It was well known that the only things that interested him were the prolongation of his own life and the promotion of the advantage of his family. These things blinded him to everything else and led him on to the false paths he followed. We were aware that the Nuncio, moreover, brought nothing but empty words, and for the business we had in hand something very different was needed. To tell the truth, if we had known that the Nuncio was going to open up the questions he had done, we should have deferred still more giving him audience, and thus have avoided the necessity of saying what we had been obliged to say in reply to him. In reply to the remark of his Holiness that he hoped that we should as a Catholic Prince make fit use of our victory, and to his complaint that his name was not mentioned in the treaties, we said that his name had been omitted because it was so odious not only here in Germany, but in many other parts of Christendom for his evil deeds. The inclusion of his name, moreover, could serve no good purpose, and could only result in trouble; such, for instance, as a repetition of the evil caused by the divulging of the clauses with regard to the Swiss, which, as is now evident, was done maliciously for the Pope's own ends. With regard to our fulfilment of our duty as a Catholic Prince, we hoped that we should fulfil that and comply with all the calls imposed upon us by our dignity, better than his Holiness did with his, serving as he does his own aims, and pursuing the course he does, as we hoped some day to tell him face to face.. Notwithstanding his refusal to continue his aid to the enterprise, we hoped to carry the latter to such an issue that, by God's grace, we shall be able, complying with that which our duty and dignity demand, to attain a result that some people will be sorry to see.
The Nuncio wished to reply on this point but we left him, saying that it was time to go to Mass. We thought better not to reply specifically to the points alleged by the Nuncio as forming the Pope's reasons for the recall of his contingent, especially the remark about saving the rest from perishing; the whole of the evil and disorder having arisen through his Holiness's fault, by reason of his having failed to provide for the payment of the men in due time. These wages, in any case, were so small that they would have been insufficient to keep the men, who have thus been in a manner forced to commit outrages, and themselves to suffer privation. Alexander Vitello again addressed us in justification of Cardinal Farnese, dwelling much upon his attachment to us and the good offices he had already performed to his own detriment. We replied that if the Cardinal had been so anxious to serve as he said, we wish that his influence with his grandfather had been stronger than it appeared to have been. We could only judge by results. As his grandfather treated us we should treat him and his house, now and hereafter. In addition to this, the subvention of 200,000 crowns was of very little use to us, because we had counted upon it for the pay of the army, and as it did not arrive until very late and then in driblets, our arrangements were all upset. We dwelt much upon the heavy interests we had had to pay, and upon the fact that 6,000 crowns were still wanting to make up the sum promised.
With regard to the Nuncio's complaint about the audience, we said that he had requested the audience at a time when we were occupied in taking up the position which forced the enemy to retire, and after that nothing more was seen of the Nuncio until we had so bad an attack of gout, as to explain fully our refusal to receive him.
The Nuncio afterwards conversed with Granvelle, and said that he could not avoid informing the Pope of the substance of our remarks but he would omit what he thought might exacerbate matters further. Granvelle gave him a fitting answer favourable to his doing this. The Nuncio then tried to justify the Pope: saying that he had given considerable help to the enterprise, and that the answer given to Don Juan de Mendoza was not prompted by any lack of goodwill towards the business, nor was it out of consideration for the French, but simply to gain some respite from the expense he had been at, and in the meanwhile to promote the peace with France. To this Granvelle answered, unofficially as he said, not having spoken of these matters to us, that not we alone but everyone who knew of Don Juan's mission and its great urgency, were surprised at the long delay in the reply, and at the curt answer eventually given, heedless of the peril and need in which affairs in Germany were at the time, and of our strenuous efforts. The answer, said Granvelle fully confirmed the news that had reached us for some time past both through France and Italy, that the Pope had promised not to continue his aid to the enterprise. As for the expense incurred by his Holiness, continued Granvelle, it was quite evident, that in the circumstances it had been of very little use; and it had not been so large as to justify the Pope in saying that he was unable to do any more, the opposite being notoriously the case. The excuse he gave for discontinuing the aid, and his talk of discussing an understanding with France, would not hold water. There was no reason why the King of France should not treat directly for an understanding if he wished, since he knew very well that we were favourable to it, and the intervention of a neutral party, which the Pope spoke so much about, was quite unnecessary, especially considering how deeply the Pope is pledged to this enterprise, and that we were drawn into it by his persuasion and promises of co-operation. The Nuncio hereupon took his leave, and we told Granvelle to summon Girone to receive a reply to the proposals for peace, negotiations with France.
Granvelle informed him (Girone) that after due consideration, and our talk with the Nuncio and Girone himself, we did not see how we could go any further than the declarations we had already made. Our intention was well known. We desired to keep the peace with France and improve our relations whenever a fitting opportunity occurred; but in the present circumstances we did not see our way to send envoys to the Pope. As you (Mendoza) were going to Rome we said to reside as our ambassador you would be able to learn if there was good ground for the suggestion made and report to us.
Subsequent to this Girone and the Nuncio jointly sent to ask for audience on the 7th instant in the morning. We offered to receive them in the afternoon and they came. Girone began by saying that he had been told our answer to the peace suggestions he had been instructed to submit to us, and that he hoped we would do what we could to cement the peace which was so necessary to all Christendom, to which end he promised he would strive his utmost. We repeated our previous reply that we desired to keep the peace with France, and upon fitting opportunity to render it more intimate. Nothing should be wanting on our part to effect this, consonant with our dignity and honour; and as you (Mendoza) were going thither (to Rome) as our resident ambassador, you would report from there what seemed desirable. He replied that he was sure that so just a person as yourself would do so efficaciously.
The Nuncio then opened by saying that we had given him no opportunity of replying on Candlemas day, to the whole of our remarks, and begged permission to do so now, which we gave him willingly. He began by referring to our remarks in the previous audience about the French malady, saying that he had been pondering why we had said it. He could assure us that the Pope was so much attached to us and to our interests that he had never done anything to cause us to hold such an opinion of him. He had never had any other desire but to maintain his neutrality, which he thought was most consonant with his dignity, but still helping us as he had done in the past. He hoped we would not give credit lightly to sinister reports circulated by persons who wished to raise discord between the Pope and us. We replied that under cover of this neutrality, of which the Pope was so fond, it could not be denied that he had been much more anxious to please the King of France than us, both in great matters and small. Our affairs were so fully justified that it was unnecessary to say anything on that point, as anyone could judge for himself. With regard to what he said about past events, of which we principally complained, we remarked that the Pope might recollect that, although the King of France had recommenced war against us after the truce of Nice, which was made by the influence and in the presence of his Holiness, the latter had never consented to depart from his neutrality, although there was ample reason why he should have helped us; and we mentioned other instances of his demeanour at that time which were very far from repaying our goodwill to him. There was, moreover, no present reason why he should take such a stand upon his neutrality, since we were now at peace with France, whilst this German enterprise, which his Holiness ought to help for his own honour's sake, had nothing whatever to do with the question of our relations with France. To the Nuncio's request that we would not lightly give credit to rumours about his Holiness, we replied that we were slow in our own affairs, but even slower in believing things to other people's disadvantage. But his Holiness' proceedings were so notorious, that it was not a question of hearing and believing, but of seeing and believing; as witness the defection of his contingent for lack of pay, and the delay in sending the subvention in money to our heavy loss in interest. If we had not been popular with the troops the loss and danger might have been much greater. To this we would add the Pope's action in making known the clauses of the agreement, which rendered the enterprise more difficult and costly than it would have been; and this at a time when his Holiness was in duty bound to aid strenuously so saintly a cause as ours, which we had so auspiciously commenced. The Pope's answer to Don Juan de Mendoza's mission, moreover, was so curt and so long delayed; and all this seemed to argue that his Holiness' intention from the first had been to draw us into this business and then leave us in the lurch at the critical moment. Confirmation of this may be found in the universal belief both in Italy and elsewhere, that some time before Don Juan's arrival in Rome on his mission, his Holiness had assured the King of France that he would give no further aid to our enterprise. This we could not believe, nor could we credit for a moment, in view of his obligation and the saintliness of the cause that his Holiness would discontinue the promised subsidy or fail to provide his contingent. But we see the proofs now too clearly to disregard them. If they were insufficient, however, there was also the case that had since happened at Argentina (Strassburg), where the townspeople were desirous of submitting to us as the other towns had done, and they were told on the part of the King of France that they might stand firm, since his Holiness would on no account help us any more in the enterprise. We might adduce, we said, many more such instances if necessary, such as the delay in the brief for the sale of the monastic manors, but we had said enough to explain why we were offended with his Holiness, and the Nuncio and all the world might appreciate the justness of our reasons.
The Nuncio answered point by point, doing his best to meet them and justify the Pope, by throwing the blame on our ministers who professed themselves satisfied. Girone, who was present, putting in a word now and then to help the Nuncio. We ended the discussion by saying that, as our ministers said they could squeeze no more juice from his Holiness, they were obliged to be satisfied with what they could get; and we should soon have an opportunity of seeing what his Holiness would do, as we proposed to proceed in that way in future. (After some paragraphs relative to the fortification of the Romanese by Pier Luigi Farnese against the Emperor's wish, and other affairs in Italy of small present moment, the Emperor records the departure of the Nuncio and Girone. His instructions to Diego de Mendoza then proceeds thus.)
By your practice and experience of affairs and the information contained in this letter and that which you will have learnt from Juan de Vega and Don Juan de Mendoza, etc., you will be able to justify the replies given to the Nuncio and Girone, and also to maintain the good reasons we have for being offended with the Pope. Having regard to the fact that mildness has been thrown away, the kindness and services done to the Pope have been ineffectual, the long patience we have exercised in awaiting the still unfulfilled engagement with regard to the contingent and the subvention, and the curt answer to Don Juan de Mendoza given after so long a delay, you will consider whether it will not be best to pursue in the Rome the other course which we have adopted here.
If you think that by these means and God's help any thing can be obtained, or other advantage you will proceed with the dexterity and skill you usually exercise in such matters. At the same time you will endeavour to learn the objects that the Pope and his friends are aiming at, giving them to understand that, notwithstanding the terms in which we had addressed the Nuncio, the matter is still entire, and that if the Pope does his part we shall not fail to do ours as we have hitherto done; but that otherwise we shall be obliged to take the course most advantageous to our own interests and our own dignity. We trust that you will already be in Rome when this letter arrives, but if this should not be the case, you may give to Juan de Vega information as to the parts of it that you may consider necessary, in order that, pending your arrival he may act as may be necessary.
Ulm, 11 February, 1547.
(There is a postscript of a page referring entirely to Italian affairs, Pier Luigi (Duke of Castro) the Galleys of Count Fiesco, etc.)
12 Feb. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Since my last letters advising your Majesty of the decease of this King I have received your letters of 18 January (fn. 2); and, as your Majesty directs me therein to follow precisely the instructions that may be transmitted to me by the Queen (of Hungary) with regard to the matters dealt with in my dispatches of 24th December having relation to the changes that may apparently occur here after the death of King Henry, her Majesty the Queen has desired me to send her my opinions thereon. I have therefore written her what, according to my poor understanding, appears important, in view of the condition into which affairs have fallen.
In order not to trouble your Majesty unnecessarily I have sent a copy of this report to Sieur de Granvelle, and also a copy of my last letter with regard to the conversation I had with the Bishop of Durham (Cuthbert Tunstal) and Secretary Paget, who is, for the present at all events, the person most in authority, and not without reason, since he assures me that the late King three or four days before his death insisted upon having him (Paget) with him alone, they passing entire nights in conversation together; and that at his (Paget's) request the other Councillors were admitted to the King's presence, he having urged in the first place that the Earl of Hertford should be summoned, whereafter the earl was closeted with the King and Paget for at least two or three hours before the other Councillors were called in. It would therefore seem that the whole body of Governors are to some extent under obligations to Paget, as indeed they appear to recognise by the great consideration in which they hold him.
On Sunday last the prince received the order of Knighthood at the hands of the Earl of Hertford, who has been called and appointed Protector. He produced certain letters-patent sealed with the great seal of England under the late King, granting authority to him (Hertford) to assume the position, but these letters-patent were not examined by anyone. Directly after the ceremony the prince dubbed the Lord Mayor of London and other knights.
Parliament is prorogued until after Easter, although those (members) who had come to attend it still remain here, not being allowed to return home; which may well be in order to prevent them coming back with changed opinions, owing to some influence of popular feeling.
The Chancellor of the late Elector of Saxony (fn. 3) and Dr. Brun of Strassburg are still here, but they have not yet been admitted to the King's presence, nor has a certain doctor, sent hither by the King of Portugal as ambassador. This doctor has been once to see me, and, as far as I can discover, though he has told me nothing, his mission is on private affairs.
London, 12 February, 1547.
Feb. 12. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
Just as the enclosed letters were ready for despatch the courier arrived with those of your Majesty dated 7th of the present month, to which was attached a credential letter in my favour addressed to the Lords of the Council. It appeared to me important that this should be presented without any loss of time. As, however, I was confined to my rooms by gout I thought best to send to ask Secretary Paget whether it would be more advisable to have the letter presented to the Council at once or to retain it for two or three days when I hoped to be able to deliver it myself in person.
Paget came to see me at once with the Bishop of Durham, and on their entrance they expressed their sorrow at the loss of their King, to present your Majesty's condolence on which sad occurrence, I said, was the special mission now entrusted to me. I did this in the most appropriate words I could find, and I then went on to assure them of your Majesty's earnest desire to maintain the good friendship that at present existed between the countries. They replied that they made no doubt whatever of this, and they hoped sincerely that the Emperor would remain always their good and true friend, as the long standing amity between the crowns required. They dwelt at length on this, recalling the affection that the late King Henry always bore towards his imperial Majesty and his dominions. This, they said, continued to the very last act of the King's life, and this brought them to the statement that the personages to whom by his dying dispositions the King had entrusted the administration of the realm would strive their best to keep it in peace and tranquility. But, they continued, if this proved impossible they hoped to be able so to conduct their affairs that with the help of their friends they should have no fear of their enemies. In order to give me to understand that they regarded the Emperor as one of their friends Paget added the following words: “What I have always assured you, you will find to be as true as the Gospel. We know perfectly well that the Holy Father (i.e. the Pope) is our enemy and wishes us all the harm he can. He has sent an envoy to the Emperor, a man whom he (Paget) named as having been formerly here to negotiate with him, and afterwards in France, but they had such complete confidence in his Majesty the Emperor that they were not in the least alarmed at this intrigue.
After much discourse I told them of the progress of events in Germany, which were going on excellently still, and said that to such an extent had affairs altered there that the former inimical cities now reconciled, as well as all the people at large, acknowledged that their welfare depended upon the victory of the Emperor's arms, seeing the clement treatment that his Majesty extended to them. Thus, I continued, his Majesty was gaining on all sides not only the towns and territories of those who had opposed him but their hearts as well. I then went on to express to Paget in confidence what your Majesty wrote to me about the proposed mediation to terminate the war in Germany, and pointed out the many difficulties in the way. Paget seemed extremely pleased with your Majesty's message, especially as he recognises now that the instrument he hoped to use has failed him. He therefore did not speak any more on the point of the proposed mediation, but reverted to the confidence he felt in the Emperor's friendship with many other amiable expressions.
At length I asked him whether he knew to what end the warlike preparations in France were directed. I asked him as an attached friend in strict confidence if there was any certain information as to these preparations being intended against us. He replied that he knew nothing whatever about that. I then asked him if there was any assurance or certain opinion as to the preparations being really directed against them (the English) whereupon he affirmed most emphatically, and calling upon God as his witness, that he had no knowledge at all of what the King of France intended to do, but that it might well be concluded that he had his eye fixed either on the dominions of the Emperor or else upon them (the English). He recounted to me the great jealousy that Paulin had demonstrated upon my despatching my secretary to your Majesty, knowing that on the previous day I had been in close conference with him (Paget). Paget said that he had told Paulin that the subject of our communications was the complaints made by private subjects of the Emperor in regard of certain ships. I remarked that this would give to Paulin a plausible ground for claiming some advantage of privacy with him (Paget) seeing that he (Paulin) was jealous of my having conferred confidentially with him. To this Paget replied in the words I have already quoted textually about their friendship with the Emperor, making a solemn declaration that I might take as Gospel what he said, and adding the following words cum cretensibus cretisandum; “for that reason,” said he, “no matter what rumour or appearance may be made, you may rest assured that we shall never separate from our friendship to the Emperor; come what may we shall remain always good loyal friends and colleagues.”
Although, Madam, I did not fail to reciprocate these expressions with honest words, yet I did not quite penetrate exactly what they wished to convey by what they said. But I verily believe that they wish for nothing else but to continue in amity and alliance with the Emperor. I suspect nevertheless that the French are courting them for the purpose perhaps of misguiding them or else to bring them in reality to their side, whilst these people (the English) think to entertain them with words in order as Paget says, cum cretense cretisare.
The two Councillors when they finally took leave of me pressed me earnestly to do my best as a good minister to preserve the ancient friendship of your Majesties for them as I had done in the time of the late King, although they said they had no mistrust about me. I have thought well to convey details of this interview to your Majesty.
London, 12 February, 1547.
Feb. 12. Paris K. 1487. St. Mauris (fn. 4) to Prince Philip.
(A long letter in cipher informing him that there is a rumour at the French Court to the effect that Albret (fn. 5) had begged the King of France to help him to begin war in Navarre this year. He represented that he had already some fortresses on a war footing on the Bearn frontier. The writer does not think there is much probability of the proposal coming to anything, as the King of France is not in a position to begin war on the Spanish border.)
“A fortnight since Cardinal Du Bellay met the Nuncio at Court, and with great outcry said to him. `What do you think of the news the King has just received, that the Emperor was in treaty with the protestant towns to let them live in their own erroneous way without interference'? It is even said, he continued, that the Emperor had ordered that no change should be made in religious affairs. Du Bellay asked the Nuncio whether it was not circumventing the Pope and the apostolic chair to make terms with the protestants in violation of the convention with the Pope, which provided that this should not be done without his Holiness' consent. The Cardinal was quite scandalised that these things should happen, and that the Emperor should have begun war on the pretext of religion, whereas it was evident now that it was against the rebels.
“They are spreadnig a rumour here (in Paris) that the present war in Germany will result in greater injury than benefit to Christendom, since the end of it is to be that protestants are to be allowed to remain obstinate in their errors. If the Emperor, they say, had taken the course now announced at the beginning they would all have submitted to him at once without bloodshed. It is only evil disposed people, however, who speak in this way. Persons who are reasonable and clear in their judgment recognise the just and holy intentions of his Imperial Majesty, and are sure that he will direct matters to a good issue that will eventually serve the true interests of Christianity. It is, in fact, the Cardinal himself and those of his kidney (ceulx de sa farine) who are desirous of embroiling the Emperor with the protestants and of keeping up the irritation of the latter.
“It is just current that the King said not a week ago that if the Emperor made any future move to get the protestants to consent to the Council (of Trent) he (the King of France) knew that all the protestant towns would at once rebel. Even if they did not do so immediately they certainly would in time, when the Emperor was absent from Germany. They would, he said, enter into a secret pledge not to consent to the decisions of the Council unless the latter was free, as they had always demanded that it should be, and that they should not be forced into it. If these sayings of the King be not true, the wish is evidently the father of the thought, as in his present humour he has little desire that the Council should effect anything. His aim is that everything that has been done at Trent up to the present should be fruitless, and it is even asserted that he is inclined to recall his ambassadors from Trent if he sees that the Council looks as if it were going on well. As, however, he still professes his intention to adhere to the last treaty, it is possible that he may not recall his ambassadors. He was recently informed of the resolution of the Council in the point of justification, but he said that was a matter that needed not to be dealt with. There were plenty of others to consider, and it would have been better for the Council to have proceeded otherwise. Dux (the Dauphin) and his wife have gone to pass twenty days at Remorantin, and are expected back shortly with M. Albret and his lady. When Dux departed, it was rumoured that he had other objects in view, and that he would take post at Remorantin for Lyons, in order to inspect the warlike preparations there. But there was nothing in it. In fact he could just as well learn what was being done by the reports of officers, so that the rumour was improbable on the face of it.” (The rest of the letter, two pages is occupied by news on the internal affairs of France, the defence of Piedmont, and other unimportant subjects unconnected with the Reformation or with English interests.)
Feb 15. K. 1487. St. Mauris the King of the Romans.
In a long letter entirely written in cipher, in which the writer repeats the assurances of the King of France that his warlike preparations are purely defensive and not directed against the Emperor, the following passages referring to England occur:
“Nor, Sire, can I believe it probable that the King (of France) will commence war against his Imperial Majesty this year, seeing the uncertainty which still exists as to his position with regard to the King of England. Paulin, who went for him to England has been able to make very little way. It is even considered certain that the King of England will commence war against the Scots this year, and the King of France says that he shall assist the latter. It is therefore believed that he will send twelve of his galleys to Scotland, and Messieurs de la Valrounne and L'Orge (i.e. Montgomerie) are already raising men in Brittany to send to the aid of the Scots. This will hinder these people (i.e. the French) from interfering elsewhere..... It is rumoured in this Court that the King intends to go towards Normandy and pass Easter at the Abbey of Bec or Vatteville, his intention being to visit all his fortresses and frontiers in that province. This, Sire, will certainly increase the distrust in England. It is said that the (English) parliament are assembled to take the oath of allegiance to the young Prince and provide for the government of the country on the death of the King.”
15 February, 1547.
Feb. 19. Simancas E. 874. Juan de Vega to the Emperor.
Since my last letter, of the 10th instant, the Pope and his friends have been complaining loudly at what the Nuncio wrote to them on the 3rd, giving an account of his interview with your Majesty. They have been exhibiting some of the paragraphs of the letter in order to throw difficulties in the way of Don Francisco de Toledo's mission and to justify themselves for other unreasonable proceedings as your Majesty will see by Don Francisco's letter.
The day after the Pope's displeasure was made known at the above letter from the Nuncio, the French Ambassador went to the Pope, not on that business, as I am informed, but because he had received instructions from France to urge the appointment of the Cardinal of England (fn. 6) to be sent thither (to England) as Legate, as they feared that the English were about to take up arms either against them (i.e., the French) or against the Scots. He also wished to speak of the marriage of Horatio (Farnese) with the daughter of the Dauphin. Although the Pope knows very well that they lie to him in this matter, he is so greedy and self-seeking that he is delighted in any case to hear talk of such things. No decision was arrived at in either of these matters. The question of sending the Legate they agreed must stand over until they saw better what the English were going to do, and the marriage business was confined to haggling over the amount of money the Pope was to give to the bridegroom.
After that the Pope launched out to the ambassador in great complaints of your Majesty, mostly of a general character, such as that your Majesty was ungrateful, and that you only remembered your friends when you needed them, and many other things of the same sort and as unfounded. He ended by saying that he loved the King (of France) and desired his success and aggrandisement, towards which he (the Pope) would help to the full extent of his ability.
The ambassador thanked him for what he said about the King, but observed that they were scandalised that Cardinal Farnese, a grandson of his Holiness and in charge of important affairs, should publicly proclaim his imperial leanings. The Pope laughed at this, saying that Farnese was one of his limbs, it is true, but that he (the Pope) was the head, and the limbs would have to move as the head directed. Farnese, he said, would be either French or Imperial as he (the Pope) wished. I know this for certain.
The talk of the League still goes on, but I cannot hear that much progress is made, for there are many difficulties in the way of concluding such an agreement, even if the Pope should decide to do it, which in my opinion he will not, no matter how much they may talk about it. He would like to get others to enter into the League whilst he kept outside, giving a little help secretly to it, whilst he watched events and adopted the course most advantageous to him.
(Some paragraphs follow giving an account of the remonstrances made by the Imperial agents against the French warlike preparations, and the King of France's explanations and excuses. The Pope is much annoyed at this weak attitude on the part of France.)
The Pope has news from France confirming the death of the King of England, and attaches great importance to it, saying that this opportunity must not be allowed to slip of endeavouring to bring the country to submission again. He sent me the news by Maffeo, saying that he thought of sending Legates and taking other steps, showing himself vigilant in the interests of religion. I replied that the care of his Holiness in this matter was praiseworthy, but whilst he declined to aid your Majesty in the extirpation of heresy in Germany, everything else, however good the intention might be, would be untimely. Maffeo met this by complaining of your Majesty, and saying other impertinent things. I stopped him by saying that even if some of these allegations were true, they would not be sufficient to excuse the Pope's non-fulfilment of his engagements, and of his duty to God and his position. Your Majesty, I said, had better reason to complain of his Holiness. Here was Pietro Strozzi swaggering about Rome after having passed three days in the Lutheran camp, having gone thither with information and advice in direct prejudice to the Christian cause.
His Holiness subsequently held a consistory on the 18th instant, and as the date was so near Carnivaltide it was considered an innovation. He spoke about the reformation of the church, especially with respect to the Cardinals. They have got alarmed at what they learn your Majesty said to the Nuncio on this point, and also at the news they have received from Trent, as to the way in which the bishops have begun to talk there. The Pope also referred to English affairs, and the proposal to send a Legate thither, and two other Legates to your Majesty and the King of France. No decision was arrived at, however; indeed I learn that the discussion was confused. (Here follow some paragraphs respecting the efforts of the Pope to bring about an arrangement between the two factions at Siena, of no present importance.)
Don Diego de Mendoza is still at Pomblin. I am most anxious to get away from here as so little can be done here to serve your Majesty just now, because the Pope is acting in such a way that unless matters are remedied by the Council, very little can be hoped for from him and his friends, whilst affairs in Germany must remain insecure. This (the Papal power?) is the true bridle and remedy for all the evil. Even my small intelligence can perceive this much, and I presume to speak thus boldly about it, in the conviction that otherwise I should fail in my duty.
Rome, 19 February, 1547.
Feb. 20. K. 1487. St. Mauris to Cobos.
(Extract.) The King of France is fitting out his galleys in the harbour of Rouen, and the rumour is that he is going to send them into the Mediterranean, although I have no certain knowledge of the truth of this, and will make further enquiries about it. The Admiral is still much annoyed about the detention of his ship, (fn. 7) and it is possible that if the galleys pass the coast of Spain they may commit some reprisals, which will afterwards be disavowed. There is no news that the King of France intends to make war against the English, on account of the death of the King; but it is certain that he is still fitting out ships on the pretext of sending them to Brasil and to pillage the Emperor's subjects on the high seas.
20 February, 1547.


  • 1. Ottavio Farnese, the Pope's grandson, who commanded the Papal contingent.
  • 2. See Calendar, Vol. VIII., p. 546.
  • 3. John Frederick.
  • 4. Imperial Ambassador in France.
  • 5. Titular King of Navarre.
  • 6. i.e., Cardinal Pole.
  • 7. See Calendar, Vol. VIII.