Spain: December 1548

Pages 319-326

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

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December 1548

Dec. 1. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 22. The Emperor to St. Mauris.
(Marriage of Jeanne d'Albret, etc.)
About five days ago the French ambassador went to see M. de Granvelle, and showed him a long letter he had received from the King, in which he ordered him to pursue the matter of the assistance given (by us) to the English against the Scots, as not being included in the peace of Crépy, endeavouring to persuade him that they should be held to be included. The reason he puts forward is that within the time stipulated in the said treaty (fn. 1) during which new allies and confederates might be included on both sides, the King of France had named the Scots. He affirmed that the clause contained in the said treaty, to the effect that new allies and confederates might be included by common consent of the signatories, should be interpreted with wisdom and good sense; and that no nomination could be objected to unless there were some strong reason against it. If this were not so, he said, the clause in question would be an empty and useless one. He asserted that no objection could be made against the Scots, who had been content to observe the conditions of the said peace. M. de Granvelle answered that the wording of the treaty was perfectly clear, and the words: “by common accord” had no doubtful meaning; that unless it were with the intention of altering the whole spirit of the treaty, it must be interpreted literally and exactly and take full effect. Such an interpretation could not fit the case under discussion, as it had been repeatedly proved that at the date of the treaty the Scots were our declared enemies, and enemies of the English; and this was so even from the time we were still in Germany, before our journey to France. The King's letter, he observed, made no mention of this fact. Moreover (he reminded the ambassador) when the Treaty of Crépy was signed the inclusion of the Scots was expressly refused, for the very cause mentioned above, unless they first made reparation and satisfied all claims for depredations and damage committed by them, with interest accruing thereto. The words: “by common accord” were inserted in the treaty at the time it was signed, particularly with reference to the Scots.
The ambassador could make no answer to this, except to ask if we had been informed, and what our interpretation of the matter was, and if this had been done he must acquiesce in the answer that should be given to his master the King.
The ambassador attempted to minimise the outrages committed by the Scots, and the support given them by France. M. de Granvelle replied that he had no authority to go beyond what had been said and repeated several times already; but that he would remind him in a friendly spirit, entirely on his own account, and merely from a desire that things generally might be clearly understood, that the violence and hostilities practised by the Scots against our subjects before war was declared were matters of common and certain knowledge, and neither excused nor denied by the Scots themselves; that these acts appeared all the more strange to us, because of the friendship and fair treatment we had always extended to the Scots. As to the support which we claim is given to the Scottish pirates in France, all he could say was that no satisfaction nor compensation whatever had ever been obtained, neither from the Scots, nor from any other variety of private robbers. We were always paid in promises and assurances that the guilty should be severely punished, or transferred before a higher court, the cases being always prolonged and extended without any effect. So much was it so, that the said M. de Granvelle had several times regretted that any attempt should have been made to obtain redress, the matter being evidently importunate and disagreeable to the French, while on our side we expected some effect and result. The ambassador expressed great regret and sorrow, and showed astonishment that matters should so fall out. M. de Granvelle was pleased to be able to slip in the assertion here, that the Treaty of Crépy should be effective in this capital matter too, with respect to the Scots, for the King of France was obliged to render (justice) by making reasonable redress and compensation.
Dec. 3. Paris K. 1488. News of Scottish Events.
On the third of December, Douglas, Earl of Angus, and the Rhinegrave, with 50 lances and 200 light horse, showed themselves before the castle of Broughty Craig. Sir John Luttrell, seeing that they were out for sport, came forth to skirmish with 30 horse, but nothing of importance happened. After a certain time the Rhinegrave withdrew with his men, and Sir John Luttrell followed him a good way from the castle. The Rhinegrave had posted a number of foot soldiers in ambush to cut off the retreat of the English if they ventured out some distance from their castle. When they saw things happening as they hoped, they came out of hiding and attempted to cut the English off; but Sir John Luttrell had foreseen the event, and left orders with the garrison of the castle, which stands fairly high, that they should send word to him if they saw any of the enemy approach besides those who were in sight (to begin with) and he had also arranged that in this case a certain number of men should conceal themselves behind a hill on which he had determined to withdraw if the necessity arose. This he did, when the warning came. The ambushed soldiers came forward quickly, but being on foot, they could not prevent him reaching the hill. The reinforcement was approaching it quickly, and unnoticed by the enemy. When the Scottish ambush reached the hill they charged Sir John Luttrell's men violently, and he sustained the charge bravely with his few men; and very soon help arrived, so unexpectedly for the enemy, that they took fright, turned and ran. Sir John Luttrell pursued them to Dightie Water; but having few horsemen, only 30 in all, and the Rhinegrave a great many, the engagement did less damage than it might have done to the Rhinegrave's people. Sir John Luttrell attempted to stop their flight several times, and make them turn and face the English; but they were so thoroughly frightened that they never stopped till they were safe in Dundee. By the bank of the river where the engagement took place, a French gentleman, who had dismounted to give courage to his foot soldiers, was found dead. He still wore his spurs. Eighteen more men who fought under the Rhinegrave were drowned in the river or killed; and on the other side of it too were some dead, but the number is not yet known.
Sixteen of the Rhinegrave's lansquenets were taken prisoners, and two Scotsmen. There were many wounded, among them the said Rhinegrave, who was wounded twice in the leg with an arquebuss.
3 December, 1548.
Dec. 17. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 26. St. Mauris to the Emperor.
Sire; I have received the letters it pleased your Majesty to write to me on the first of this month. . . . I have had audience of the King, and before seeing him I spoke to the Constable, who was in the King's apartments, and congratulated him on his safe return and the successful issue of his mission. He drew me aside and began by telling me that the King had received from Marillac a full account of the interviews with your Majesty and M. de Granvelle about the inclusion of the Scots in the Treaty of Crépy, and the assistance furnished against them by your Majesty to the English. The King had been compelled to draw attention to these points because of the necessity of defending the kingdom of Scotland, whose King he now was by the marriage of the young Queen with the Dauphin his son, planned and settled by the consent of the Estates of Scotland. The King entertained the hope that when your Majesty should be fully informed of his just request, should weigh and examine it thoroughly, you would yield to reason; for being King of Scotland, the King must necessarily speak in another tone than heretofore on matters concerning Scotland. Once he had spoken as protector of his old friends and allies, the Scots, but now he spoke as their King, not indeed overlooking the points of the alliance, but joining (the interests of) his two kingdoms, the better and with greater efficacy to urge the righteous claims of the Scots. The Constable enlarged on this theme, saying that the situation would be uncomfortable, and indeed intolerable if, whilst your Majesty and the King remained on friendly terms, there should still be a difference with respect to Scotland. Such a situation, he said, would not be accepted here; and he gave me a parallel case, that your Majesty, being now master of Siena and holding the town in your obedience, should be attacked by the King, who should nonetheless propose to remain on friendly terms with your Majesty in Picardy, Champaign, and his other dominions. The same, he said, applied to Scotland, but the King was willing to abide by what should be eventually agreed upon by your two Majesties. He added that the Admiral, who was at court at the time, constantly affirmed that when the Treaty of Crépy was passed, your Majesty had consented to the inclusion of the said Scots, with some remark to the effect that you would not allow the King of England to give up Scotland; and that the matter had not finally been settled then and there because on your Majesty's behalf it was affirmed that the point could not be passed without the consent of the King of England, but that it should be put off for some time, to see if he could come to an understanding with the King of France. Whether the understanding could be arrived at or not, the definite assurance of the (ultimate) inclusion of the Scots was given, he says, on your Majesty's behalf.
My answer, Sire, was as follows: I said that I had heard it asserted several times during the life-time of the late King that the Admiral affirmed what had just been said. Equally, I had heard it denied by the Ministers of your Majesty who took part in the negotiation. The Lord Fernando (fn. 2) in particular had flatly denied what the Admiral affirmed. The matter went so far that the Admiral asserted he would challenge him to fight, but no one had taken his repeated threats to that effect seriously, as they appeared manifestly unjustifiable. The truth was that it was never proposed to include the Scots except on the terms declared (again lately) to the French ambassador. These were, that the Scots should make good the amount of the depredations and robberies committed against your Majesty's subjects; for reason demanded that this should be done by the Scots, our declared enemies, before treating of peace.
For the rest, namely, that the King as King of Scotland expected other terms than heretofore, I replied that I had no doubt your Majesty would give him all satisfaction in reason when the matter should be laid before you; and that in my opinion the matter rested in his own hands in this case. He himself contended that he could not be both at peace and at war with your Majesty; and the fact that the war with Scotland had been raging for some time was an important point. I added that by his accession to the crown of Scotland he assumed the care of the country and took over its burdens too, so that if he wished to end the hostilities between your Majesty and the Scots he must adopt other measures than to claim that the friendship and peace he enjoyed with your Majesty should be extended to the Scots at his command. I was about to enlarge on the subject, and make their want of reason in this matter more apparent, when the King sent for me. The Constable on taking leave of me said that he would merely postpone the end of the argument till after I had seen the King, when I was to rejoin him in his apartments, adding that the King was little satisfied with the progress of Scottish affairs. Hearing this I thought it suitable, Sire, to let the King know the simple truth about the way things are going; for I am persuaded that the Guises, who have this affair greatly at heart, have disguised the facts. I told him also that I had heard a popular rumour that your Majesty was assisting the English against them, coupled with such scandalous and seditious comments as one may hear from an ill-disposed populace; so that if the King was not aware before of what is happening and how it is happening, he knows it by now. . . .
(St. Mauris in speaking to the King goes once more over all the points of the Scottish question which have already been fully illustrated by the above and earlier letters. The King replies in the tenor of earlier conversations on the subject denying, moreover, that his officers had ever committed any abuses or attempted to shelter the piratical depredations of the Scots. The King gives St Mauris a memorial touching the seizure of a Dutch ship by the Scots.)
This memorial, Sire, I gave to the Constable whom I met soon afterwards for the purpose of finishing our interrupted negotiation. I told him what I had said to the King. He went over the old ground again, and added that some time ago M. de Lestrange, M. Lyvio, (fn. 3) and lately, M. de Biron, had pressed and argued the question of the inclusion of the Scots in the peace, offering to make good all the damages, with interest; but it had been impossible to come to definite terms, dwelling merely on generalities, which was proof enough that there was little intention of including the Scots in the peace of Crépy even though the damages and interests were made good. The negotiation had been suspended and postponed in consequence (of this attitude), until a more favourable opportunity should present itself. This opportunity seemed, in the King's opinion, to have come now that he was King of Scotland; and in the hope that his arguments might be well received, he wished to reopen the question; for although harm had been done in the past, that was no reason why matters should be still more embittered in the future. He added that the whole Scottish nation should not be made to suffer for a gang of pirates and scoundrels they flatly disovowed, and would punish in a harsh and exemplary manner if they ever came into their hands. He declared, Sire, that it was provided in the treaties that the contravention of one particular point settled therein did not invalidate the treaty as a whole; the transgressor being punished, the matter ended there. Let this, he said, apply to the Scots.
It was not meet that the doings of pirates should retard their inclusion in the treaty, and disturb the peace; but, on the other hand, the pirates should be punished with the utmost severity. He brought it in that the French were well aware that England was doing her utmost to prevent the inclusion of the Scots, so as to bring Scotland to the ground, and in the hope that your Majesty might take up her quarrel against that country. Still the King hoped your Majesty would practise moderation in the assistance you gave England. For his part he would spare nothing to save Scotland from the English (il luy couteroit cuysse et aisle ou il preserveroit ledit Escosse desdits anglois), and he wished me to know that he had sent a good number of men from Bordeaux to Brittany for the purpose of sending them to Scotland, and would send more if necessary.
I answered him, Sire, that I knew for certain that an unvarying answer had been given to the King's ministers in Flanders when the inclusion of the Scots was discussed: namely, that the Scots must first make full amends for the injuries inflicted upon your Majesty, giving compensation for the robberies committed, with damages and interest besides; when this should be done, it would be time to discuss your Majesty's intentions as to the said inclusion.
The Scottish ambassador had more than once declared to me that they would send messengers to the Queen for the purpose; but nothing had been done, and the matter was shelved by the Queen of Scots. Since then fresh robberies had been committed; and they must realise that your Majesty could not fail to be greatly incensed thereby. I added that the clause in the treaty to the effect that the offender should be punished (and no breach of the treaty ensue), could not apply to the Scots. Their ease was different, as they could not claim to enjoy the advantages of the peace, being in a position of applicants for their inclusion. The above is all that passed between us, Sire, in this business.
(Here follows an account of smaller matters of dispute between France and the Empire; more talk of the arrest of imperial ships by the Baron de St. Blancart; protestations that the King of France, though sollicited often enough, had never sought to create fresh difficulties for the Emperor in Germany, desiring as he did most warmly to continue in friendship with him. Some very vague talk about the advisability of a better understanding between France and the Empire, and the possibility of furthering it by means of a marriage.)
Poissy, 17 December, 1548.
Dec. 27. Simancas E. 503. St. Mauris to Prince Philip. (fn. 4)
I am sending to your Highness a certain writing containing news from here; nor can I add anything except that Dux (Henry II), is continuing the jousts in which he has had little luck up to the present, whereas it was hoped he would do far better, being held to be a good horseman, and of a good figure. He usually rises early, plays tennis the greater part of the time, rides a great deal, taking all this exercise so as to avoid getting fat. He is beginning already to fill out and take on a paunch.
He is going hunting for about a fortnight, and will return to St. Germain in time for the christening of the son he hopes to have. A few days ago, 2,000 soldiers were shipped to Scotland from La Rochelle. There is a loud rumour here that next year he will send over a large army, if he can feel sure of keeping the peace with his Majesty. The English are pressing the Scots so close that unless assistance is sent to them they might well rise in revolt and be lost to France.
They are greatly disconcerted about the turn events have taken in Siena, because the greatness of his Majesty is grievous to them. (Here follows an account of the marriage of M. d'Aumale with the Princess of Ferrara.)
Poissy, 27 December, 1548.
Dec. 27. Paris K. 1488. News sent by St. Mauris.
(Extract.) Peter Strozzi has been with the King in St. Germain; and very ill-received, as they say, because he allowed a galley to be lost on the way back from Scotland. He has exonerated himself by saying that he sailed in front of the fleet, and so was not aware of the seizure of the vessel. The captains of the fleet have certified that she was a very old ship; and had it not been for this she could easily have repulsed the attack. It is generally understood that the King's dissatisfaction is really caused by a quarrel between Peter Strozzi and d'Andelot, and the complaints made against his arrogant ways by several gentlemen and especially by the Governor of Scotland. Anyhow, whatever the cause may be, he is not as often in the King's company as he used to be. . Villegaignon, Knight Commander of Rhodes, had a difference with Peter Strozzi. He accused him of having traduced the Queen's (fn. 5) relations, whom he hates. The house of Guise backed Villegaignon in the quarrel as they hold him in great favour for the service he rendered them in carrying safely over the sea the little Queen of Scots. . They were much afraid here that the Emperor might propose a marriage between the King of England and one of the daughters of the King of the Romans. But many of the chief people here opine that his Majesty would ill consent to the match, the King of England being scismatic.
The King keeps his children, whom he would like to have always near him, as much about his person as he can. The young Dauphin has a separate suite and household equal to that of the King. This is described here as French magnificence. The young Queen of Scots is being taught her lessons, and they say she is gifted and already knows French quite well. .
There is a rumour here that the King of France has declared to the Protector of England that if he cares to make an exchange of the prisoners taken on board the galley, the King will give up a man for a man and a gentleman for a gentleman to an equal number according to the quality of the prisoners.
Poissy, 27 December, 1548.
Dec. 30. Paris K. 1488. St. Mauris to Prince Philip (?). (fn. 6)
(Extract.) Ten days ago, Sire, the King gathered together all the garrisons from Picardy and the Boulonnais, both foot and horse, and made them pull down two places which the English had appropriated and were fortifying, the King affirming this to be a breach of the last treaty. They say the Council of England is extremely incensed; but he was so prompt and so thorough in his action that there is nothing left for the English to say. The places are near Ardres, on the Guines side. The King declares that they are on his territory, while the English affirm the contrary. Lately the King took a fort named Fiennes about which there was some contention, and fortified it well. The English claim this stronghold, which overlooks Guines and Calais, both of which belong to them. In short, Sire, the common proverb, that two words “meum" and “tuum" are at the bottom of every quarrel, is receiving fresh illustration.
It is being said that the Pope has refused to restore the Council to Trent and that the Cardinal of Trent has left Rome greatly dissatisfied.
Melun, 30 December, 1548.


  • 1. Two months. See letter of 22 November, 1548.
  • 2. Don Fernando Gonzaga.
  • 3. Livio Crolto, at one time French envoy to the Queen Dowager of Hungary.
  • 4. A duplicate of this document exists in Paris, Arch. Nat. K. 1488.
  • 5. Catherine de'Medici.
  • 6. Probably an extract from a letter to the Emperor copied and sent to Philip.