Spain: September 1548

Pages 290-293

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

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September 154–8

7 Sept. Vienna Imp. Arch. Van der Delft to the Emperor.
I have delayed for four or five days to write to your Majesty the information that the Protector had sent to me. This was to the effect that his people had forced the French to raise the siege of Haddington, which they had undertaken, and that the place had been revictualled. This led him to hope that in the course of a very few days he would be able to send me still better news.
Since then, however, he has failed to send me any fresh advices, except that his people had burnt a great ship belonging to the King of France, called the Cardinal, which they found high and dry aground at the mouth of the river of Edinburgh, which is called the Firth (of Forth).
As I am at present lodged so near to the Protector's country-house, I went yesterday to call upon him, with the special object of discovering the reason for the long conference he held a few days since with the French ambassador. After conversation on various other subjects, the Protector told me, in strict confidence, that the whole interview had been concerned with three points only, which the French ambassador had demanded. These demands were: first, that certain French vessels on their voyage from Scotland having been captured and detained by the English should be restored; secondly, that certain French prisoners now in the hands of the English should be liberated; and, thirdly, that proclamations should be issued here that the French fishermen should not be interfered with.
The Protector informed me that he had given an unqualified refusal to grant any of these requests. Reason demanded, he said, that the French who were aiding their enemies the Scots against them should also be treated as enemies, especially as Peter Strozzi on his voyage to Scotland had fallen in with three or four little English merchant vessels and some fishing smacks on the English coast and had pillaged and burnt them, declaring that he was then a Scotsman. With regard to the prisoners, whose release the ambassador demanded, the Protector said that they should be treated in every way as the English prisoners in France were treated. As to the proclamation about the fishermen, he said, there was no need for such a step as that requested between friends, as the King of France professed to be towards England; although his actions in many respects certainly did not bear out his assertion.
The Protector told me that he had reminded the ambassador of many instances of this, and, amongst others, pointed out that the King of France was not paying the annual pension so justly due to the English; that the French were constructing new fortifications in the Boulonnais in contravention of their treaty obligations. The King of France, he pointed out, was not only supporting and helping their enemies the Scots, the King of England having a better right and title to the realm of Scotland than the King of France had to several of the countries that he held, but now the King of France had carried into his own realm the young Queen of Scotland who had been destined to be married to the King of England. The Protector was at a loss, therefore, to understand what sort of friendship that of the King of France could be towards England, and said emphatically that he would rather have open war than such a friendship.
So far as I could understand from the Protector, he had spoken very plainly to the French ambassador, without the least dissimulation; so that it may be said that there is no appearance that the English are seeking a closer friendship with the French, unless they are driven to the utmost extremity. It seems to me that they are anxious to render the alliance with your Majesty closer; for Controller Paget continues to ask me whether I have not received any response from your Majesty to the remarks made to me by the Protector recently about strengthening the alliance.
The Protector also related to me how he had been misled about Haddington. He had been given to understand when the French had first laid siege to the place that the defensive fortifications had been completed and supplied with everything necessary; but according to a letter, that he read to me, from the commander of the place, giving a long and detailed account of everything from the commencement up to the day that the place was revictualled recently, it appears that though the defenders fought valiantly, they were very badly provided and their resources few: there being neither flanks nor fosses finished, and not one of the bulwarks really completed. Their artillery was very scanty, they were short of ammunition, and there were many other things lacking. Nevertheless, the defenders of the place had striven incessantly day and night, and although the French battery had been so heavy that not a single house in the town remained intact and the breach in the defences was wide enough to admit sixteen men abreast, the enemy had not gained the advantage after all, but had left many of their men on the ground. The English have now reinforced the place with two thousand infantry men and over two hundred horse.
The two armies are still in the field, and the French are boasting that they intend to give battle. The French are still continuing the fortification of Leith, and there has arrived there the Sieur de Cumbas, a French gentleman who was formerly the ambassador in Scotland. He is said to have brought with him a great sum of money to pay the wages of the men-at-arms. The Protector also told me that he had been informed that the French galleys were making ready to return to France. It might be that Peter Strozzi, seeing the small results he had attained, would himself return in the galleys. He (the Protector) feared that they might get away without meeting the English squadron.
Sire, In accordance with the consent of your Majesty, the Queen Dowager has been graciously pleased to grant me leave of absence to return home for my own little necessary private affairs, always on condition that the Protector is willing that I should go, and the members of the Council see no objection to it. I am leaving here to look after affairs my secretary, Jehan Duboys (Dubois) and I shall only be absent as long as I see that your Majesty's affairs will permit me to be without detriment. No shortcoming in this respect shall take place.
Kew, 7 September, 1548.
20 Sept. Vienna Imp. Arch. The Protector to the Emperor.
Sire, I very humbly desire to be commended to your good grace and favour by these presents. Whereas Monsieur Francois Delft, your Majesty's ambassador resident at the Court of my Sovereign, having represented that his private affairs necessitated his presence at his own home for a time, he is about to return thither for the space of one month; he having, as we are informed, permission so to do. It has seemed fitting that I should address a few words by letter to your Majesty that he may carry it with him, recommending him to you for his many good qualities. His wisdom and loyal services I doubt not are already known to you, but the experience that I have had of him in the exercise of his mission, both in the time of the late King Henry, whom God pardon, and since I have by God's grace occupied the place I now hold, make it incumbent upon me to write at least these few words to pray that your Majesty will deign to consider him specially recommended by me; and that you will receive him with such favour, in addition to your own benignity, as his worth deserves, so that he may have the satisfaction of seeing that this letter of ours has not been ineffectual. With regard to myself, Sire, and also in consideration of the long and unbroken alliance and understanding that exists between the two houses, I feel myself bound to wish you heartily every welfare and good issue in your affairs. In my private capacity also I have so strong an inclination and devotion towards your Majesty, that you may be assured of always finding me, to the extent of my small power, ready to render you all service, pleasure and gratitude; not limiting myself to doing my simple duty in maintaining the firm and cordial amity, which, by God's grace, always exists between the King my master and your Majesty, but endeavouring by every means in my power to increase and strengthen it according as opportunity and necessity require. Of my devotion to your Majesty and to the alliance the bearer of this letter will be able to assure you truthfully, as I hope and believe he will do. And so, refraining from troubling you with a longer letter, I pray the Creator, Sire, to give you good health and a long life.
Written at Windsor, 20 September, 1548.
Your very humble servitor,