Spain: October 1548

Pages 293-309

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

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October 1548

1–9 Oct. Simancas Estado 806. Advices of events in Scotland from the 1st October to the 9th October, 1548.
Advice of 1st October.
The Regent of Scotland with a considerable army of Scots and their auxiliaries marched yesterday towards Jedburgh: and a captain of some cavalry troops which were in the town, recognising that the place was not in a good state of defence and that he would be unable to hold it against the force coming to attack it, abandoned the place and retired to Kelso.
Advice of 4th October.
My Lord Grey being informed that the Scots and their adherents were at Jedburgh, marched to attack them. He sent forward an advance guard of light horse, and these gave the alarm to the enemy at a place called Ancrum, (fn. 1) where a certain number of the enemy were lodged. These enemies were so overcome with fright at the surprise that they all fled and sought refuge in the woods that surround the place.
On the following day Lord Grey marched onwards in the direction of Jedburgh, but the Scots and their adherents did not dare to wait for the arrival of the English, all of them flying precipitately in the greatest disorder and astonishment, running night and day until they had retired towards Peebles on the side of Edinburgh.
Advices of 6th October.
The Regent of Scotland having retired towards Peebles as has been related, the English captains Fisher and Francis Haselby (Aslaby ?) with the German captain Courtpenninck, marched as far as Tantallon, where those who guarded the place did not spare their powder. But, notwithstanding all the efforts of the defenders, the English and Germans managed to burn a good part of the town of Tantallon with the farms and homesteads in the neighbourhood, containing a great deal of property. They afterwards burnt a town belonging to the Earl of Angus, called Redsyde, and a village called Thelough (?) and Whytekirk, belonging to Oliver St. Clair, and also his own house where he was at the time. They then burnt a place called Pinkerton, belonging to George Hume, and his own house which he had recently built. They then proceeded to burn Little Pinkerton, Biropmonte (Broxmouth?) and Belhaven, so that not a single town or village remains intact around Dunbar. (fn. 2)
After having effected this devastation the captains above-mentioned returned to their camp, bringing with them a great booty of horned cattle, horses, mares, sheep and excellent furniture. Lord Grey himself marched towards the source of the rivers Teviot, De Galle (?), Borthwick and Liddersdale, burning and spoiling a great circuit of country through which he passed and carrying away with him also so vast a number of cattle as was never seen the like; for this is the richest land of the realm of Scotland and the people had not the slightest apprehension of the coming of the English, seeing that the Regent of Scotland and his adherents were so near to them. The people who suffered most by this spoiling were the friends of Buccleuch (fn. 3) and those who had revolted on the coming of the Regent and his adherents.
Advices of 7th October.
The commander of the fortress of Haddington, learning that the Regent had marched away towards Jedburgh, sallied from the place with a band of horse and footmen and took the road to Dalkeith, of which town he burnt the greater part and shot some cannon balls against the castle, which, however, he did not capture. From there he marched along the river Esk (fn. 4) to within a league and a half of Edinburgh, burning and ravaging all the country through which he went and its neighbourhood. He burnt a part of Newbottle, and all Smeaton before the eyes of Lord Borthwick himself, who, with four thousand foot and five hundred horse, had come to oppose the English, the river only being between them.
On Tuesday the 4th October the force from Haddington sallied from Reches (?) and burnt Fisher Row, Musselborough, Hemskirk and other villages in that neighbourhood, so that along the river Esk, which reaches almost to the Tweed, right up to the seashore, nearly every place has been burnt.
On the 6th October one of the captains in Haddington called Captain Raby marched out of the town and burnt the town of Borthwick and several other farms and homesteads in that neighbourhood. But this Raby would have had plenty of work to do on his homeward march if another force had not sallied from Haddington to succour him if he needed help.
Advices of 8th October.
Yesterday afternoon between four and five o'clock there happened a quarrel and skirmish in the town of Edinburgh between the Scots and their French allies. The cause of this in its origin was that a Frenchman sold a harquebuss for a crown to a Scotsman, who duly paid the money to the seller. The latter, as soon as he had received the crown, ran away with the money and the harquebuss as well. On this the injured Scot went to lay a complaint before the Provost of Edinburgh, who is a member of the house of Hamilton and a kinsman of the Regent of Scotland, and of the commander of the castle of Edinburgh.
The Provost ordered the Frenchman either to give up the harquebuss or else return the money he had received for it; but the Frenchman, who was now accompanied by many of his fellow countrymen, refused to do either. The Frenchmen then entered into a wordy dispute with the Provost and went so far as to defy him and his authority. The end of it was that the Frenchmen fell upon the Provost and wounded him in the head, arm and thigh. The alarm was sounded in the town and the people rose in numbers to come to the aid of their Provost; the Frenchmen similarly flocking to help their compatriots in the affray. The two parties met and fought so desperately that twenty-seven Scotsmen were killed on the spot, some of them people of position, such as young Hamilton, the eldest son of the Provost, William Stewart, brother of my Lord Methven, Robert Hamilton, a brave and hardy young gentleman, son of the captain of Dunbar, who is now a prisoner in England confined in the Tower of London, Robert Chisholm and the Town Clerk, who is much mourned. (fn. 5)
The rest of the Scotsmen killed were good burgesses, and in addition to them there were some thirty or forty Scotsmen wounded by harquebuss shots, of whom most of them it is feared will die. There were eight Frenchmen and one French captain killed. At this quarrel and affray Otterbourne behaved gallantly on the Scottish side. At last the Regent and Monsieur D'Essé after much difficulty prevailed upon the combattants on both sides to lay down their arms.
On the following day, which was the 8th October, the Regent, M. D'Essé and others held a Council together, and as it had two weeks before been decided that on the next day an attempt should be made to surprise the English at Haddington, M. D'Essé accordingly marched out of Edinburgh with all his troops that day and effected a rendezvouz with the Rhinegrave and his force at the place previously agreed upon. Together the united bodies then marched towards Haddington, in the hope of being able to surprise the place.
As soon as the French troops had marched out of Edinburgh, the townspeople shut the gates and began to hunt out every Frenchman that was left in the city. Every Frenchman they could lay their hands upon, the sick and others who had remained behind were at once despatched, and their bodies cast into their private places so that they should not be found.
Advices of 9th October: from the Captain of Haddington.
At dawn to-day all the French and German troops approached the town along the river bank, and for want of a proper vigilance on the part of the sentinels they were allowed to reach very near to the lower court before the alarm was given. The enemy delivered their assault on the gate of the lower court immediately, whereupon the guard abandoned their officer and retired to the last ditches, enabling the enemy to penetrate and take possession of a part of the lower court, where they killed nine of our soldiers and hurt three gentlemen of ours named Stafford, Calverley and Tardrey (Audrey ?), all of whom showed themselves good and valiant gentlemen, for they did their duty splendidly.
They are, however, very grievously wounded, and it is feared that they will not survive. The enemy having thus entered the lower court, immediately delivered their assault upon the town, making two or three charges. But the men inside defended themselves so stoutly that at last the assailants were entirely repulsed, and when they were going out of the lower Court a band of foot soldiers from the town followed them, killing and wounding a large number of them. The French and Germans thus retreated, leaving one hundred and five of their men dead upon the field of action, most of them Germans. The number was ascertained by actual counting of the bodies. (fn. 6) The common report in Edinburgh amongst the French is to the effect that in this assault upon Haddington they had dead and wounded together some four or five hundred men, and there is no great hope of saving the wounded.
The news reached the Regent the same day as he sat at dinner that the French and Germans had captured Haddington by assault and storm, and had killed all the soldiers in the place except certain gentlemen. There was, it was reported, only one bulwark called the Vidame Bulwark that had held out, it being defended by some gentlemen who offered to surrender it if their lives were spared, which the Frenchmen, it was said, refused and demanded unconditional surrender. The Regent when he received this news had the trumpets sounded, and mustering all his horse soldiers, he at once set out on the road to Haddington; hoping to arrive there in time to aid in the capture of the bulwark.
When, however, he had ridden as far as Lasswade, one league out of Edinburgh, he met a messenger bringing him very different news, to the effect that their men had been repulsed and beaten. At first the Regent refused to believe it and continued on his road as far as a hill not very distant, from the summit of which he perceived the French and Germans returning in full retreat. Overcome with astonishment, he lowered his head and returned hastily by the road he had come.
When the defeated French and Germans had re-entered the city of Edinburgh, M. D'Essé and the Rhinegrave, as soon as they had taken off their armour, went to the Regent's house, in order to confer with him, but the Regent declined at the time to receive them.
On the following day he did so, and held a conference with them, in which none of the parties looked very amiably upon each other. The Regent in a loud voice said that he would make enquiries as to those who had committed the outrages upon his kinsmen and the burgesses of Edinburgh, and they should be punished as justice and reason demanded.
The Scots are very glad that the French have been so thoroughly well drubbed at Haddington, the members of the house of Hamilton especially, who are much incensed at the loss of their kinsmen in the affray.
4 Oct. Vienna Imp. Arch. Secretary Jehan Dubois to Loys Scors (Louis de Schore, President of the Flemish Council of State).
Monseigneur, In accordance with the orders of the ambassador, my master, to send reports to your Lordship of all occurrences here during his absence from his post, I have the honour to inform you that on my return from Dover, whither I had accompanied my master, and at his orders had come back hither, I found here a secretly printed paper, in which all Scotsmen having houses or lands in the parts of Scotland now under subjection to the King of England, are given free permission to return to their possessions, where they will be heartily welcomed and treated as friends, and as English subjects are.
I immediately went to the Court, which is at present with the King at Oatlands, in order to learn what was going on, but as I heard on the road thither that the Lord Protector was at his own house at Syon I went to see him there. After having fulfilled my master's orders in thanking his Excellency for the good company he had ordered to escort my master to the seaside, I continued that as he was accustomed to communicate to the ambassador his good news from Scotland he would be doing me a great pleasure if he would kindly continue to do so to me, and to inform me now whether anything of importance had happened there since my master's departure, in order that I might report it.
The Protector replied that there had been no change, except that their (the English) ships had been obliged to return in consequence of bad weather. Their troops, he said, were still at the same place, busy working at their new fort; but that he expected fresh news in two or three days.
In order to come to my point, I replied that, nevertheless, I had heard that he had granted some license or permission for the Scots to return to their possessions in the parts of the country in English occupation, promising that they should be well received and treated as friends. I noticed that on hearing this he became pensive, and I continued that I had been told that the offer to which I referred had been printed.
On this he drew me aside into a window recess. “It is quite true," he said, “and I will tell you how you must understand it. We have had a certain enterprise in hand, and in order to carry it through successfully, I have ordered such a paper as that which you mention to be printed. The country on this side of the place where we think of effecting our enterprise (fn. 7) is so completely burnt and spoiled of inhabitants; and the enemy has his fortresses so near that it would be very difficult for us to furnish provisions to our men but for the Scots themselves. For this reason we have thought well to circulate amongst the Scots the document to which you refer, inviting them to return to their homes and possessions conquered by our King so that we may have their assistance. We mention certain other points against the Regent of Scotland for the purpose of sowing as much dissension as possible amongst our enemies." When the Protector had pointed out to me by signs the situation of the place referred to, where they hoped to effect their scheme, and also the positions of the enemy's fortresses which hindered them, he continued; “but it has all fallen through now because our ships were not able to remain there." He seemed much annoyed at this, and I am of opinion that the document abovementioned will not be put into force on this occasion.
Public orders have been given prohibiting all preachers, both those recently licensed and others, from preaching any more until some general order has been decided upon, which shall be observed all over the country. There are assemblies of bishops and other learned folk every day to confer upon this subject. It is asserted that the Mass will be retained, which does not please many of the common people, who cannot tolerate any of the ceremonies of the Mass as they call them, such as the elevation and the Ave benedicite.
The Lady Mary is returning from the north country, where she has been to inspect her estates and possessions. She is expected next Saturday to arrive within six miles of her house at New Hall, at the house of the present Lord Chancellor about a day's journey from London. I understand that some other members of the Council are to be there with her. I will do my best to discover what is the reason of this. I am given to understand that she was much welcomed and well received in the north country, and wherever she had power to do it she has had Mass celebrated and the services of the Church performed according to the ancient institution.
Nothing more is said about France. London is still so dangerous that those who frequent it are not allowed to go to Court, or to the Protector's house.
Old Ford, 4th October, 1548.
15 Oct. Vienna Imp. Arch. Secretary Jehan Dubois to Loys Scors (Louis de Schore, President of the Flemish Council of State).
Since I wrote to your Lordship last, on the 4th October, the French ambassador has visited the Protector at his house at Syon, and from there he was escorted by a gentleman of his to the Court at Oatlands, about ten miles away. There he had a conversation with the King in a garden, none of the members of the Council being present, or even at Court at the time. At the end of about half a quarter of an hour the ambassador kissed the King's hand and retired, and the spectators of the interview conceived various suspicions about it and the reasons for it.
So far as I can gather, the English are not by any means easy in their minds about the French, and at this instant the Protector is setting out to inspect the ports of Dover, Rye, and others, and for the purpose of taking all necessary measures for their security. It is asserted that the reason for this is that the French are arming certain ships, and that they have intimated to the English that if the latter will not restore to them the French ships they are detaining, they (the French) will seek a remedy of another sort. It is confidently reported that the Protector will be back again within fifteen or twenty days; but there are rumours that that he will cross over to Boulogne.
The French ambassador immediately after his audience of the King sent off one of his own servitors to France, who has not yet returned hither. Although I have no other trustworthy information as to their communications, I think it is my duty to send your Lordship advice of the above facts, and doubtless you will be better able to understand than I the conjectures that arise from them, conjoined with the circumstance that four days ago they revoked all licenses for the export of victuals of any kind from the realm, strictly forbidding the sending out of beer and other things of the sort.
Almost every day there arrive gentlemen of the royal household and others from Scotland going to their own residences, the rest of the armed forces being distributed in the various garrisons, the Spanish and German (mercenary troops) being placed into winter quarters in the same way. Courtpenninck will have a fixed residence here with regular pay for a certain number of his men, so long, it may be conjectured, as the war with Scotland may last.
Various fugitives indoctrinated in the new sect are constantly arriving here, but they no longer receive the welcome they expect and desire. Only a few days ago Brother Pierre arrived here; the same man that some years ago used to preach in the Court of her Majesty (the Queen Dowager of Hungary, Governess of the Netherlands), and who fled from Brussels prison. The Archbishop of Canterbury (Cranmer) is their great patron here.
The King still remains at Oatlands without holding any Court, this being in consequence of the death of some of his officers very suddenly. The Protector also has recently lost some of his household, and Controller Paget some of his neighbours in the village where he was living. When the Protector desired, once a week or so, to hold a Council he caused the members to come to his house.
Old Ford, 15th October, 1548.
P.S.—Another copy of this letter is addressed to Secretary Granvelle for the information of the Emperor.
24 Oct. Vienna Imp. Arch. Secretary Jehan Dubois to Loys Scors.
The day after I wrote last to your Lordship on the 15th instant, I went out to meet the Lord Protector on his road towards Dover at one of the houses of the Archbishop of Canterbury, (fn. 8) where he was to dine.
The reason for my visit was to lay before the Protector the complaints of a courier from Antwerp, who had been plundered of his letters and everything else he carried, as were three other merchants with him, by a pirate speaking English on the way across the sea from Nieuport to the English coast. The Protector replied very favourably to my representations, and really seemed to take the matter very much to heart. He made the courier come with him to Dover, in order that the enquiries after the thief might be facilitated.
He promised to make every possible effort to capture and punish the offender, and then gave me the intelligence that he had received from Scotland, to the effect that the French troops in Edinburgh had made a secret sortie intending if they could to surprise the fortress of Haddington by night. Their enterprise had succeeded to the extent of their having killed the English outposts and sentries and gained possession of the lower court before the garrison inside the place perceived them. But the latter being aroused by the noise on the ramparts, made by the French in loading a certain cannon they had found mounted there, immediately sounded the alarm; whereupon the defenders of the place flocked so hastily to their posts that many of them came not only unarmed but half dressed or naked. The shot that the French discharged from the said cannon missed, in consequence of the haste with which the operation was performed, and the projectile passed over the heads of the defenders; whereupon these latter were the more easily able to hold their own. They immediately loaded with grapeshot a cannon they had and aimed it between the closed gates before which the French were assembled. (fn. 9) This discharge killed about forty Frenchmen, but the latter persisted with all their might in their efforts to gain an entrance, storming the said gate three times. But at last they recognised that their efforts were of no avail, as the defenders inside were being constantly reinforced and continued to kill many of the Frenchmen with their grapeshot and otherwise; whereupon the assailants were obliged to give away and retire, unloading the waggons which they had previously filled with the ploughs they had found in the lower court, in order to place in them their wounded men.
They left on the ground where the fight had taken place about one hundred and ten or twelve dead, well armed and accoutred, and lost a still larger number during the retreat, the English following them up to such effect that the French assailants entered Edinburgh with seventeen carts loaded with dead and wounded. This, the Protector informed me, he had heard from a prisoner whom his people had taken and who had returned from there. He also learnt, he said, that the attacking force consisted of four standards; and that the day before the attempt, or camisade as he called it, the French and Scots had had a great affray inside the town of Edinburgh, at the end of which there were many dead on both sides, although the greater loss had fallen upon the Scots; several gentlemen of theirs having been killed.
With reference to this news, I said it was surprising that after such a serious quarrel as this they had so soon made it up sufficiently for them to undertake the camisade on the very next day. He replied that I must bear in mind that the surprise attack upon Haddington had been agreed upon ten or twelve days before, and that the French having crowed over the Scots on one day, thought to carry off the glory of the camisade on the next, in order that they might bring more pressure to bear upon the rulers of Scotland, and carry matters through themselves independently of the Scots.
Nevertheless, I am given to understand that the Scots, and not the French, found means to slip through and kill the English outpost. I have also been assured that if it had not been for the affray in Edinburgh the French would have had that town delivered to them on the next day, as they have Dunbar. The English have lost there (i.e., in Haddington) a couple of good captains; but at this point Controller Paget, who alone with a secretary accompanies the Protector, came and told the latter that it was time to start on the road, and he consequently broke off the conversation, and told me no more except that his people had made a great raid to spoil the country on the other side (of Haddington ?).
I could not at the time learn anything more of the negotiation carried on with the French ambassador, who had had a conference with the Protector on the day before the departure of the latter from Syon, after which the ambassador despatched another of his household to France. Since then, however, I have learned from a trustworthy source that the reason for the ambassador's conference with the King, as I wrote to your Lordship in my last letter, was simply to fulfil his King's instructions, to the effect that he was to inform the Protector, the members of the Council and also the King personally, that if he could not obtain the restitution of the ships which the English were withholding from him and his subjects, he could not avoid adopting similar measures, and seizing English vessels wherever he could until satisfaction were given to him.
They delayed giving the French ambassador an answer to his representations until the day aforementioned (when the French ambassador last saw the Protector); the Protector's reply being to the effect that he intended to hold as fair prizes of war all ships captured that were found to have been to aid or succour the Scots, the enemies of this country. The other merchant ships, he said, he was willing to restore, on condition that the similar course was adopted by France, the perishable merchandise in them, being, however, sold and the proceeds deposited for the benefit of the subjects on either side to whom the merchandise belonged. If the King of France was willing to appoint a commission to settle this matter, he, the Protector, would do the same.
I am told that when he said this the Protector added the following words, “Sir ambassador, I would speak frankly to you and declare to you emphatically that the way in which you are treating us is intolerable"; and he then brought up the affair at Fiennes, the construction they are erecting near Boulogne, against the terms of their treaty, the failure to pay the yearly pension as stipulated, the seizure of English vessels, and other complaints, the last of which was the deportation of the Queen of Scotland, whom they (the French) had taken away from the King of England; notwithstanding the good claim that the latter possessed to the realm of Scotland. So that, as your Lordship sees, the Protector talked to him very plainly, and, as I am told, certainly not without anger.
Old Ford, 24th October, 1548.
Oct. 26. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 26. St. Mauris to the Emperor.
(News about the salt pits revolt in Guyenne. The rebels are going back and making their submission, but a great number are still in the field and the Constable is going to march against them, partly for fear that the English may give them support, especially after their success in re-victualling Haddington.) . . . As to the money lately sent to Scotland, your Majesty will have learnt from my preceding letters the confirmation of its having been despatched; though it is not so large a sum as the Fleming of Condes had told me. According to Touchet the amount is 200,000 crowns, to meet all the expenses of the winter, including the payment of pensions granted to several Scottish lords to nourish their affection for France and turn them from friendship or understanding with the English. Through the said Touchet, Sire, I have heard that the King is short of ready money, having had to bear great expenses in the last Scottish war; but by the end of this year he will have in hand over 1,500,000 crowns from a new tax of two-tenths, over and above the four-tenths he has already levied. He has assured me further, Sire, that the King owes a capital sum of one million in gold to the merchants, borrowed at sixteen per cent. He owed them 1,300,000, but paid back 300,000 after the last Lyons fair. There is no prospect that he may succeed in collecting more money without greatly provoking his people; so that he is mortgaging the property of the crown right and left at ten per cent. to get money in hand, and borrowing privately on all sides. In conclusion, Sire, Touchet affirms that although the King has squandered money to excess during the first two years of his reign, he is now determined to economise all he can. It is a fact that his hand is slow to confer gifts nowadays, and all acknowledge it. The King laments the necessity that compels him to appear mean. From time to time he makes particular enquiries into the condition of his exchequer, and Bertrandi who has charge of his finances is often summoned to furnish explanations to him. . . .
The marriage of the young Queen of Scots to the Dauphin is being gradually settled among the powerful and high personages of the Court. The Scottish ambassador, Paniter, having received a handsome present from the King over the business, and a further gift from the Governor of Scotland, spoke of it openly.
The Ambassador of the Duke of Ferrara has assured me that he has heard from their (sic) Cardinal that the Scottish marriage is made, adding that his master would not otherwise have lent his ear so readily to proposals of marriage for his eldest daughter, but consented more willingly because of the close kinship of the Guises with France established by the Scottish marriage. He also told him that the chief Scottish lords had accepted the marriage, the young Dauphin for their King, and the King his father as Protector of Scotland, thanks to the large pensions bestowed on the said lords to increase their fervour and constancy. Some of them have been created Knights of the King's order, (fn. 10) and by these means none doubt that Scotland will become entirely devoted to him. They propose to pick out in Normandy and Brittany a good number of lawyers, and send them to Scotland, where the said King has a mind to establish a Parliament. A Council for Scottish affairs is already formed here, of which Bertrandi and Paniter are members; all of which are evident proofs in support of the Scottish marriage. An incident also confirming it occurred when the young Queen of Scots lately visited Nantes. She made answer to those who addressed a welcome to her, that she believed they honoured in her person the daughter of their King. The King has often repeated this speech since, finding it flattering and agreeable, and he always adds these words: that he holds her as his true daughter. Some assert that the Scottish marriage is a feint to make the English King finally despair of success, and so withdraw from his undertaking in Scotland, and having achieved this the King will bestow the Scottish Queen elsewhere, this plan being more conducive to the general good of his kingdom than the other, which would lead him into a maze of endless difficulties with the English and their allies on account of Scotland. Yet, Sire, whatever may be said privately against the marriage, public rumour and the evidence of facts point the other way at present. Time may mend matters. The son of the Governor of Scotland follows this Court, and the King has assigned him a post in Guyenne worth 10,000 francs a year, and 50 lances once belonging to the late M. de St. Vallier. It is said that another son of the said Governor is coming here on the King's invitation, who gladly accepts such like forfeits whereby he can make sure of keeping the said Governor well in hand, firm in his own devotion, and willing to foster it among the other Scottish lords. The King entertains no doubt but the King of England is trying his best to draw them to his side with presents and by all the means in his power, and he is doing his best to cross his designs.
With respect to the condition of affairs between the French and the English, whether they are treating of peace, reconciliation, or suspension of arms, I have heard nothing up to the present except that hatred and ill-will are rife between them, springing from the differences over Scotland and Boulogne. The last negotiation between the King and the English ambassador took place on the subject of some English vessels seized by the Normans. The King complained of the seizure of French vessels in the open sea by the English, and he went as far as to say that his subjects would ask for leave to make reprisals, and he would not forbid them unless the vessels were handed back. The negotiation was carried on with some show of bitterness on both sides, although the King made no mention of his galley seized in the Straits of Calais, nor of the twelve burned in a Scottish port. The following day the ambassador, giving me an account of the negotiation, declared to me that the Protector and Council of England were determined not to put up with so much from the King in future as they had put up with in the past, and would let no opportunity slip by of setting on to the French by land or by sea, enlarging upon what had passed between them concerning the wall they are erecting in Boulogne harbour and commenting with indignation on the treacherous attempt made by Chatillon to take it by surprise. He was smartly repulsed in the engagement, but the English are anxious about another low jetty they are building in the said port on the French side, which is faulty and might be easily destroyed if a serious attempt were made. The King of England will order the work to be abandoned, and in its present condition it is of no use for the purpose for which it was originally intended. It is absolutely certain, Sire, that the King of France and his principal ministers feel most deeply the small success they have obtained in Scotland and take the matter more to heart because they see themselves being supplanted by a nation which they hold to be inferior. Thus the ambassador of Mantua has told me that unless he be prevented through your Majesty, the King's present intention is to attack the English in Scotland, sending a powerful army over next year. He realizes that his fault in the past lay in sending an insufficient number of troops. Personally I have no doubt at all that the King is very ill-disposed towards the English, but I am not so sure about his resolve to make war on them. I say this because he is half convinced, and all his ministers are too, that your Majesty intends to declare war next year. Touchet assures me of this, and that the riots in Guyenne make him anxious to pacify his subjects generally so that they may not in time return to their vomit and interfere with his plans. When the winter is over and some time has passed, we shall see more clearly into all this. At present there is nothing to guide one except outward facts, and, especially, we must enquire whether there are any signs of getting ready for war along the sea-board. The English ambassador has often assured me that the Protector asks nothing better than to live in peace and amity with France, out of consideration for their young King, and that the English will place no difficulties in the way of giving up Boulogne, abiding by the letter of the last treaty if only the King will fulfil it too. Hence one might possibly deduce that the Protector would not require much persuading to come to some better understanding, but I have not heard that he has condescended to it up to the present. I shall not fail to enquire into this from time to time. I will add, Sire, something else that the English ambassador told me; that in speaking to the King he again remonstrated about the assistance given to the Scots against the King his master, grievously offending him thereby as sovereign lord of Scotland, who was waging war upon them (the Scots) to compel them to recognise him as such, his right being unimpugnable, a matter of universal knowledge, and established by many solemn treaties between England and Scotland. The ambassador asked the King whether he would consider it suitable that the English should aid and abet his own rebellious subjects; whereupon the King answered that if the reference was intended for his subjects in Guyenne, it was greatly misplaced, for the riots would be very shortly quelled, and the English had better not reckon upon them. He said, moreover, that he could not for his part leave Scotland unprotected, being bound by treaties between the two countries to give aid. He left the matter of the sovereignty to be debated by the English and Scots, believing them to be very well able to argue it out among themselves. I gather from these and other remarks that the ground for war with Scotland is now the sovereignty claimed by England, and no longer the Scottish marriage, since the person of the Queen has been withdrawn. The ambassador could not help himself saying that with time the Scottish would find the marriage had been a bad one; that the young Queen's coming to France had done them more harm than good; and he hopes the people will rise, or at least will refuse to fight when the time comes, their Queen being out of the country.
Concerning the league with the Pope, Sire, it has been made public here that his Holiness has refused to pass it, giving as a pretext that on this side the conditions laid down by the Cardinal Guise have not been observed, especially that the said Cardinal promised in writing, in the name of the King of France that the leagues (Swiss confederations) would join the said league to provide for the eventual need of offence on the side of Como. He declares that except for this consideration he would never have listened so far to the proposal. Obviously the league would have been of far greater consequence in that case, and would be proportionately weaker if made only between the King and the Pope, the Venetians having refused to join it. As a matter of fact it has been imputed to the said Cardinal that he gave his word about the Swiss confederations without any authority whatever. He is excused on the ground that, although he acted without waiting for further instructions from the King, he did so in the hope that the King could easily prevail upon the Swiss confederations to join by exerting all the influence he possesses; but if the Switzers proved obdurate then the King, having done his utmost should (they say) be exonerated from all blame, and the Pope cannot withdraw now on such a flimsy pretext as this. I have heard, Sire, that the Holy Father refused to join the league because the King had pretensions on Parma for the Lord Horatio, and intended to occupy the town at once, offering territory in the Bourbonnais in exchange. The Holy Father refused the proposal. This has been told me by Olsacius as a certainty, and that if this point had been carried, all the rest was as good as settled. He added that the negotiation is not considered here to be at an end and that M. Dorfey, their new ambassador, has charge to introduce it again dexterously, by remonstrating with Cardinal Farnese on the advantages that might accrue to their house through the marriage of the Lord Horatio, hinting that the alliance will not take place without the cession of Parma. To put it briefly, it is clear that the King's main wish is the possession of Parma. Moreover, Olsacius confided to me, assuring me of the truth of the statement, and under seal of secrecy, that when the nuncio's secretary, who returned to Rome with l'Aubespine, took leave of the Pope, the Holy Father said to him secretly that he was to tell the King from him that he would be ready to sign the league at any time when they could come to an agreement about the terms, and that the delay was not caused by any intelligence he might be suspected of having with your Majesty nor by any hope of an understanding with your Majesty, that the King must believe this, be assured of it, and that he desired his friendship as much as your Majesty's, and more; that he was not on such good terms with your Majesty, as some people wished the King to believe, so that he felt he could do no better than consider the means by which the league might be negotiated; but that in no circumstances would he relinquish Parma. If such messages as these were really sent it is not likely that these people will break off the negotiation, even if they are merely dallying with the Pope who has always declared through Dandino, as Olsacius assures me, that he wishes the league to be offensive and defensive, and urges unceasingly that war shall be declared upon your Majesty next year, planning that the leaguers shall enter through Como, the King through Piedmont, and the army of the Church through Piacenza, to drive your Majesty out of Milan. I know this as a certainty through others too, and that the Holy Father has constantly urged war, advocating that matters shall not stop at a merely defensive league. . . .
(The marriage of Jeanne d'Albret; more news from Guyenne.) They affirmed here a short time ago, that their former leagues with the Switzers were to be confirmed for the King's lifetime and for two years of his son's, but that a high price would have to be paid. I have been told by Olsacius that the Bernese for their part made a condition that the King should be bound to assist them in any war of religion and that he must mitigate the punishment of evangelical preachers, their good brothers, in his kingdom. The King has refused to subscribe to these two points and will never do so. Perceiving this, the Bernese have given way and are now about settling the terms of a new league for mutual assistance in the defence of the lands taken from the Lord of Savoy. This new negotiation seems to be on its way to success. I do not know what to make of it all, Sire, but it is certain that an ambassador from Berne is here at the Court on some secret piece of business. I shall try to get to the bottom of it in a short time; it must be something of a very suspicious nature. . .
Choisy (?), 26 October, 1548.
Oct. 29. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 22. The Emperor to St. Mauris.
The vessels manned and equipped for war and for the protection of the fishermen of our countries against the Scots and the pirates, lately came across an English vessel on the high seas being carried off by the French. They passed close to the escort, and the vessel being English and the escort French, they came at once to the conclusion that they had come upon sea robbers, as it appeared most probable indeed. They seized the vessel and brought her in to one of our ports. The Frenchmen were examined and explained their capture of the English vessel by an ingenious lie, to wit, that they had knowledge that war was to be declared on England immediately upon the arrival of the young Scottish Queen to a French port, and believing this to be true, they had seized the English vessel as a lawful prize. You are at liberty to mention this to whomsoever you please, so that all may hear how their own countrymen bring dishonour to the name of France by affirming that without fresh cause or reason the King proposed to declare war after having succeeded in getting the Queen into his hands. It is probable that if the French vessels that sailed to Scotland flying the Scottish colours (as it has been certified to us since our return) met any of our ships insufficiently protected the gallants would have fallen upon them too as they did on the English vessel. It is high time that such practices be stopped, and that the French cease to afford protection in their ports to Scottish vessels laden with plunder pillaged and robbed from our subjects. Good friendship and mutual understanding are not strengthened by the refusal to listen to complaints and to punish the guilty. On the other hand, although the above-mentioned vessel and those on her were taken perfectly justly and for a good reason, the Baron de St. Blancart has used great pressure here to obtain their release; and we had determined to grant it promptly to gratify the wishes of a minister of the Most Christian King, although the said Frenchmen deserved exemplary punishment as pirates, but we were informed that the said Baron had taken upon himself, (for we cannot believe that the King would approve such a step) without awaiting our answer, and totally disregarding all treaties, nay, deliberately infringing them, to cause several vessels belonging to our subjects to be seized. This conduct appears to us most strange. The person who pursues the matter here on behalf of the said Baron has been informed that we cannot admit such proceedings, and that we shall see fit to follow our first counsel and set the prisoners free when the said Baron frees the vessels of our subjects, warning him not to attempt any like pranks in the future, as we are not of a mind to suffer such insolence. Should the French persist in their course, we will take such ample revenge that the Baron and all who are responsible shall have cause to regret it, and we to feel that nothing is owed to us by them. It seems incredible that such deeds as these should go hand in hand with the fair speech they offer us and their reiterated desire to earn our friendship. You may warn the Constable that unless he prevent and punish such acts, we shall provide a remedy to the constant complaints made to us by our subjects, for it is not our intention to suffer fresh insults.
Brussels, 29 October, 1548.
Oct. (No date.) Paris K. 1488. News from St. Mauris to Prince Philip. (fn. 11)
Since the last news, during the whole time spent by the Scots and their adherents at (illegible), few days passed without some skirmishing, in which those outside were always worsted with loss. They say that a thousand of their men have been killed or wounded. Those inside the town have taken several prisoners and among them one held in great esteem.
An Englishman named Jerningham, who had been taken prisoner, while going from Edinburgh towards the English Border to get his ransom paid, met several wounded who were being carried to Edinburgh, and one corpse. An ensign in a foot regiment and several captains walked beside it mourning the death loudly. And after the party had gone by the said Jerningham asked who they were, and was told they were Frenchmen who had been killed and wounded in a skirmish near Haddington, where eighty Frenchmen are said to have been killed, and not above nine or ten killed of those within the town.
One of the largest of the French vessels named the Cardinal has been destroyed and sunk near a place called Saint Combe Jucht (?) (fn. 12). The greater number of their vessels have lost their hatches and have been compelled to cut their masts. One of their galleys is sunk below Tantallon, and the shot that sank her is believed to have been fired by one of the English ships.
The first officer in command of the Germans, after the Rhinegrave, is dead and M. D'Essé's lieutenant is a prisoner in Haddington. My Lord Clinton has burned in a place called Burntisland twelve vessels laden with victuals such as wine, bread, biscuit, fish, butter, cheese and cider, four of which were intended for the re-victualling of the galleys and the rest for the camp. One of the said vessels was of three hundred tons at least, and six of the others were of 140 tons each; the rest were smaller.
Peter Strozzi's lieutenant was killed in the attack on the galleys when one of the said galleys was so damaged that it is doubtful if she can serve again; and two more were greatly damaged also. Nine galleys chased an English vessel, but a galleon and two pinnaces came to its assistance, and drove the galleys back. Sir John Luttrell, captain of Broughty Craig, has skirmished several times against the garrison, the inhabitants of Dundee and Lord Funtre (?), who has a castle near by. A good number of the people of Dundee were killed besides soldiers of the garrison; and on one occasion he took the son of Lord Pameneires (?) and his brother's son, with ten of his arquebusiers and twenty arquebuses and other weapons, besides a great number of beasts, over 700 head of sheep and twenty-six head of cattle.
My Lord the Protector, hearing that the Scots were still encamped in the neighbourhood of Haddington, ordered an army to go forth and fight them, and gave the command of it to the Earl of Shrewsbury, otherwise Talbot, who marched into Scotland to look for the enemy. But the enemy, warned of his approach, dislodged and abandoned the siege. The Earl re-victualled the town at his ease, and seeing no likelihood of getting any fighting, returned to England, after having seen to the requirements of Haddington and other places, without losing a single man. Some English war-ships had been ordered to guard the Straits between Dover and Calais, and after hanging about for some time, it happened that a fleet of ships laden with wool came along on its way from England to Flanders, and the war-ships were told off to guard and escort it. Meantime, about the 12th of this month, the French galleys returning from Scotland passed through the Straits without hindrance; but one of the English ships that had lagged far behind the others spied the French and went after them, taking one of their galleys called La Noire Galere. If the other ships had been in the Straits at the time, all the French vessels would have been undoubtedly seized, for although the wind was with them, it was too strong and they could not have used their heavy guns; and having the wind behind them, they could not have turned. As it was they escaped.


  • 1. Throughout this document the names of places and persons are greatly disfigured, and in most cases have had to be conjectured. Only two or three of them, however, are really left in doubt.
  • 2. Dunbar itself was held by a French garrison.
  • 3. The Laird of Bucclouch, like most of the chiefs whose lands were exposed to the English incursions, had played fast and loose with the invaders; but on the proposal to marry the young Queen in France he had strongly supported the Scottish party and had threatened with war anyone who should oppose it. Naturally therefore his lands were not now spared by the English raiders.
  • 4. Tina is the small river Esk that empties itself into the Forth near Musselboro, and not the large river on the Dumfries side running into the Solway.
  • 5. The French historian De Beaugue, who was present at this serious affray, passes it over as lightly as possible and speaks of only very few as being killed.
  • 6. A very spirited account of this attempt to surprise Haddington is given by De Beaugue, who confirms, though from a different view, most of the details given here.
  • 7. Probably the projected capture of Leith.
  • 8. Croydon.
  • 9. De Beaugue says that this cannon, which enfiladed the narrow lane through which alone the town could be entered, was discharged by a renegade Frenchman, a native of Paris, who, having passed over to the English side a few days before, feared to be recaptured and punished by his former comrades. De Beaugue attributes the repulse of the French entirely to the ravages of the grapeshot from this gun.
  • 10. The Order of St. Michael.
  • 11. Probably just after the preceding letter.
  • 12. In an earlier letter (see p. 168), mention is made of a little island, called Saint Colmes, in the river near Leith.