Spain: February 1547, 21-28

Pages 37-44

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

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February 1547, 21–28

Feb. 22. Vienna Imp. Arch. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We have received your letters of 24th ultimo and by their contents have been amply informed of the occurrences in England.
As it has subsequently pleased God to take to Himself the King of England we consider it now unnecessary to dwell at length upon your remarks touching affairs that happened before the King's death. We need only advise you as to the address made to us by the gentleman sent by the young King and his Council to inform us of the event. The substance of what he said was to the same effect as the contents of your letters, namely, that shortly before his death the late King had very expressly recommended and charged his son and the members of his government to maintain always and increase the friendship existing between himself and us, and to fulfil with the utmost exactitude all the treaties of the strictest confederation, which injunction the young King was determined to follow without any contravention whatever. He also begged us to act similarly towards him, and to be to him as a good father and protector of his realm, which he was most confidently convinced that we would.
We replied to this that we learnt with much sorrow of the death of the late King, as we had thereby lost so good and affectionate a brother and friend: but it had given us satisfaction to hear of the goodwill and affection expressed by the young King and the members of his government, and their intention to maintain the treaties of strictest friendship concluded between the late King and ourselves.
We for our part entertained the same desire, and we would at all times exert ourselves most willingly in favour of everything which we saw would forward the interests and welfare of the realm of England, whose prosperity we desired as ardently as that of our own dominions. We went no further than this with regard to the young King, in order to avoid saying anything that might possibly prejudice the right that our cousin the Princess (Mary) might advance to the crown of England. The gentleman who came, and also the English Ambassador resident with us, nevertheless appeared to be quite satisfied with our answer, and in order to further please the Councillors we have written to the young King in similar terms, as you will see by the copy of our letter herewith.
We have in addition to this decided to send thither the Sieur de Chantonnay, one of our Gentlemen of the Mouth, in order that he may in our name visit the young King and express to him our condolence for the loss of his father, and also to assure him of our goodwill as regards the maintenance of the treaties, in conformity with the contents of our letter abovementioned. We also write to the Earl of Hertford in credence of M. de Chantonnay and yourself, and you may make what use you think best of this credence, declaring to him (Hertford), in accordance with what is here set forth, whatever you and Chantonnay consider will be most conducive to confirming him in his attachment and devotion to us.
Chantonnay will give you an account of affairs here, and will inform you also of our intention to go to Frankfort for the convenience of our affairs in general, and especially those referring to the Saxons, and to be within easy communication of our brother the King of the Romans, with the object of completely expelling the ex-Elector. (fn. 1) We need not therefore enter into any of these matters with prolixity, but refer you to Chantonnay for all information.
Ulm, 22 February, 1547.
Feb. 26. Simancas E. 75. Cobos to the Emperor.
Prays for reply to his last letter. Affairs in Spain are in such a condition, especially as regards finance, that every expedient must be taken. The means he proposed in his letter will provide some funds towards the many needs but, there are, as he wrote, difficulties in the matter of the plate and the fabrics of the churches, and some similar course to that taken in other times of pressure must be adopted; that is to say as regards the sales (of ecclesiastical property) and the other expedient for raising money.
The news of the French warlike preparations cause anxiety in Spain. The King of France is well aware of the poverty prevalent in Spain, and it is feared may seize the opportunity of causing trouble. The writer is at a loss to know how or where means can be found to remedy the distress. Congratulates the Emperor on the issue of the campaign in Germany; Augsburg having submitted and the Emperor being at Ulm. God grant complete success there, so that regard may be had to the need for the Emperor's presence in Spain where the necessity is unimaginable. The writer's health. He came to his home from Madrid by slow stages, and though now without fever is still very weak. Juan Vasquez is looking after affairs very carefully in the writer's absence. Prays urgently that the Emperor will take Spanish financial matters in hand without losing a moment, and will answer his last letter on the subject, and also about the Archbishop of Seville: if he is to take charge of the affairs that the late Cardinal of Toledo attended to jointly with the President (i.e. of the Council of Castile) and the writer. The writer recommends this course. The Inquisition brief has arrived and the Patriarch President is most anxious to serve his Majesty faithfully. When the Emperor left he ordered the decrees of the Council of war to be signed by his Highness (i.e. Philip) the Duke of Alba, and the writer. The Duke of Alba being now absent, the writer alone has signed as minister. Recommends that the Marquis of Mondejar should be authorised to sign in place of the Duke of Alba. Refers to a lawsuit given against Dona Anita de la Cerda, about which she appeals to the Emperor. Begs for reply to his remarks as to the need for increasing the sum allowed for the household of the Infantas, everything being so dear and the Infantas spending more in dress than before. The enmity of the Archbishop of Toledo towards the writer. The later defends himself, and enlarges upon the Archbishop's ill will.
Ubeda, 26 February, 1547.
Feb. 28. Vienna Imp. Arch. The Queen Dowager to Van der Delft.
The gentleman sent by the governors of England to his Majesty the Emperor has visited us on his way to Germany, and has delivered two letters to us bespeaking credence for him. One was to explain his mission to the Emperor, and to beg us always to do our best towards the observance of the good and perfect friendship between his Majesty and the young King of England, his realm and his subjects. The second credence was to announce to us that the English Ambassador at present resident with us had been granted a new commission to continue in his functions here.
We replied to these communications courteously and in general terms, in accordance with what we had instructed you in our last letters to say to those who are carrying on the government of England. The English gentleman in question on his way back from Germany was anxious to expedite his voyage, and therefore did not go the long way round by Artois in order to see us. We have consequently not been able to send by him our replies to his messages, but we are writing to the young King, as you will learn by the Sieur de Chantonnay, who is going thither for the purpose of condoling with him on the death of his father, the late King, and to congratulate the young King on his accession in the names of his Majesty the Emperor and ourselves.
Since then we have received your letters of the 10th and 12th of the present month, and by them have learnt what had passed between you and the Bishop of Durham and Secretary Paget, as well as the opinions you express with regard to keeping the heads of the English government on favourable terms and attachment towards the Emperor. You will in this respect do all that is necessary and advisable. You are already aware from his Majesty's own letters, and will also learn from M. de Chantonnay, who is being sent, as I say above, to congratulate the new King, what are the Emperor's intentions in this respect, so that it is not necessary to repeat the instructions here: but you must have special regard to the French intrigues and watch them vigilantly.
Although, as you say, it is unlikely that they (the English government) would make any alliance to the Emperor's prejudice, yet it possibly might happen that by reason of diversity of opinion they might allow themselves to be persuaded by French cunning. In any case, it is quite certain that, inasmuch as during the late King's life even, the French tried to reopen the question of Boulogne, they will in the present circumstances make even greater efforts, and will press it much more warmly. They will certainly not fail to take advantage of this opportunity and we hear that they are already talking about it. At all events it will be very desirable that you should discover what they (the English government) mean to do about Boulogne, as the French will certainly try by one means or another to recover the place. Upon this point, indeed, depends the principal problem of how English affairs generally will turn out. If the English give up Boulogne it may be fairly assumed that in future they will tend rather to the side of France than hitherward; whereas if they retain it the contrary will be the case. You will therefore take great care to let us know promptly if any division or dissension is rumoured to exist amongst those who are managing the government of England. It may in such case happen that one faction of them may look towards France, for the sake of the support they might obtain, whilst their opponents would tend towards us; although we hope that they will be prudent and well advised enough to keep on good terms with each other, both for the sake of their young prince and the welfare of their country. . . . . (fn. 2)
You had also better tell him that in the hope of receiving a favourable reply from the late King to the request made for the restitution to the subjects of the Emperor of the properties belonging to them in the Boulognais, you had by his advice refrained from urging the matter forcibly upon the King; and you now fear that this tardiness may be laid upon your shoulders. You therefore pray him earnestly to endeavour to obtain for you a favourable answer to avoid your having to press the matter again officially. You may say that, according to all reason and equity, they cannot refuse to make the restitution requested to their friends and allies, above all to those who had actually been in their service at the conquest of Boulogne; and you may add, that as all things in the world are liable to change, and they may at some future time consent to return Boulogne to the French, the subjects of the Emperor in such an event would lose their possessions without any profit or advantage to the English. By these means and others that will occur to you, you will endeavour to find out as far as possible what they intend to do with Boulogne, always bearing in mind that, so long as they retain the place there can never be any good understanding between them and the French, whereas if they give up Boulogne they will be made much of by the French and will not prize so highly as at present the friendship of the Emperor.
It will also be very advisable for you to keep a keen eye upon what negotiations they may carry on with the Scots. The King of France on former occasions endeavoured to persuade the Scots to consent to the marriage of the young King of England to the Queen of Scots, thinking by this means to bring about the restitution to him of Boulogne, not, indeed, that the marriage should actually be effected but simply to gain time and obtain advantage for himself. It may therefore be conjectured that he may now attempt to renew these negotiations, and that the (Scottish ?) Governors, in order to temporise and remain in authority may consent to some such arrangement, under less exacting conditions than would have been insisted upon by the late King (Henry). They may, indeed, give way on the point which formed previously the principal difficulty, namely the immediate sending of the young Queen into England.
We have thought well to advise you of these considerations, in order that you may keep them in mind, adopting as your guide and maxim that the men who are now the leaders of the government will endeavour by every means in their power to gain time and consolidate their position. They will have a difficulty in doing this so long as they remain at issue with all their neighbours, as the late King did by holding Boulogne against the French, by keeping on bad terms with the Scots, and by doing nothing for the Emperor but smoothing him over with fair words. By continuing in such a course now their government can have but little stability, and they will be in grave danger at the first movement of the people, whilst they will, on the other hand, find no prince willing to extend any support to them. All these considerations cause us to doubt lest they should negotiate with the French or the Scots in a way that would not suit the interests of the Emperor.
We are also desirous of being informed whether they (the English government) have peradventure sent an envoy to the King of France to notify him of the death of the late King, in the same way as they have done with the Emperor, and also if they have sent anyone to Scotland.
We are sending you herewith the duplicate of certain protests made by an English commissioner against the Receiver of Zeeland, and the counter protests made by the Receiver against the commissioner. By these documents you will see that the commissioner claims to have all the prisoners restored to him, which is not reasonable considering the faults committed. With regard to those now detained, the Receiver, in accordance with our regulations, is willing to surrender all of them except the captain and the ship-master, who have both been condemned to death. It is true that the Emperor has commuted the death penalty upon these men, but they have been committed to the galleys, which is no less a penalty than death. With regard to those who have escaped and are fugitive, the Receiver is not bound to deliver them, but the gaoler who had them in his charge, and against him we are willing to administer justice. As his Majesty (the Emperor) however has been put to great expense on account of these prisoners, we have ordered the Receiver to release them, so as to avoid the expenditure of any more money on them, unless the said English commissioner comes and asks for them and pays the expense of them in prison. We perceive, however, quite clearly that they do not really want these prisoners who are poor sailors; but that the solicitation is made to get the release of the captain and the ship-master, as we had the English Ambassador here informed, since when he has declined to press the matter further.
Arras, 28 February, 1547.
Feb. (?) Paris K. 1486. Advices from St. Mauris to the King of the Romans.
(The writer has made formal complaints of the constant outrages committed at sea upon the Emperor's subjects by the French rovers. If these did not cease the Emperor would authorise his subjects to arm and repel any such outrages against them. The King of France promises prompt redress.)
Complaints were also made to the King that certain Scottish pirates after robbing Flemings and Spaniards were allowed to enter French ports. The Emperor was much annoyed at this and especially as out of consideration for the King of France he had consented to allow the Scots, although they were at war with him, to frequent the Low Countries for trade under safe conducts. The Emperor must, therefore, now insist that these pirates should not be allowed to take refuge in French harbours.
The King replied to this complaint on several occasions that the act was most unfortunate, and was not done with his support. He knew that the Queen of Scotland disavowed these men. On one occasion he said that he would have them all hanged. When attempts were made to obtain a decree embodying this the Council (of France) said that as soon as the Emperor included the Scots in the peace, as had been agreed to when the last treaty was under discussion, the King (of France) would have all these pirates arrested and their plunder restored. This is a very different thing from that which the King himself promised, through his Council. The latter, however, still insist that the King intended what they now allege. This proves clearly that they themselves have invented these fictions, and that they support the unfortunate action they pretend to deplore. This is really the truth, and they seek by every means in their power to trouble the Emperor until he includes the Scots in the peace with him. The King recently told the Emperor's ambassador that he wished to keep strictly to the last treaty of friendship with the Emperor, and he swore to do so. He would not, he said, either by himself or his people, allow anything to be done to contravene it. The Emperor caused him to be told in reply that he himself was also desirous of preserving the good relations between them, hoping that he (the King of France) would keep his word. If either of them, he continued, did otherwise, the other would easily perceive it, and would be justified in retaliating. The King was not at all offended at this, appearing to be quite unconcerned, as if there was no probability of affairs taking that course.
The report spread here of the surprise of Turin is now known to be untrue. It was only founded on the Italian who was taken saying to the Secretary of the Marquis de Logaste that he knew a way of delivering Turin to the said Marquis, to which the Secretary had answered that he knew that his master would not listen to such a thing, as they were at peace with the King. So that these people, who have been boasting and swaggering so much about it now say nothing.
The King of France still insists that he will not give up Piedmont: we would rather lose two battles, he said. He is, however, more fervently desirous than ever to bring about the marriage of Madam Margaret with our Prince (Philip).
The Jacobin, who was sent to the Emperor by the King of France about peace was instructed to say that if the Emperor consented to the King keeping the part of Piedmont now held by him, and the said marriage was agreed to, he would recompense the Duke of Savoy in France with the Bourbonnais and Auvergne, would surrender Hesdin and would induce D'Albret to abandon his claims on Navarre.
The Emperor refused to enter into communication with the Jacobin on these points, because he bore no written instructions from the King, and the man was sent back. At the same time he sent a message to . . . (the Admiral ?) by his ambassador, to the effect, that in consequence of his illness from gout he had been obliged to send the messenger home: this messenger, however, did not bring any written instructions . . . replied to the ambassador that the King himself had not sent certain overtures of peace but they were made by the confessor to the Jacobin. Since then the confessor declares that he said nothing whatever about it, and the Jacobin roundly asserts that the King himself had specially authorised him to go on his mission to the Emperor.
Dux (the Dauphin) is making renewed efforts to bring the Constable back to court, and has set Aquila (the Duchess d'Etampes) to persuade him to come, promising her favours if she succeeds. She is doing her best, and they are playing their pieces so well that they have got the King even to listen to it, and he now quite willingly allows himself to be led that way. As soon as Tris (Cardinal Tournon) and the Admiral (?) heard of the intrigue they stopped it, as they have the whole favour now.
The Emperor recently sent a representation to the King on the report that was spread that the King had made a league with the Protestants, and that he was egging them on against his Majesty. The latter said that he could not believe this, which if it were true would be quite against the present friendship. The King replied that all he had done was to renew the old league he had had with these Protestants. This was all, and it was permissible for anyone to keep his friends. The King was also told on the part of the Emperor, that the latter having withdrawn his prelates from the Council, for some unknown reason, his Majesty sought for a declaration on the subject. The King replied that he had withdrawn them because he knew that the Pope thought of bringing the Council from Trent to Rome. But as he had since learnt that this was incorrect he had decided to send thither again such of his prelates as had returned home, and had appointed twenty-five more to accompany them. The prelates it appears are soon to leave here.


  • 1. The intention of the Emperor to go to Frankfort was not carried out. His sister-in-law, the Queen of the Romans, had died shortly before this letter was written, and the Emperor attended her funeral ceremonies at Ulm on the 25th February. The cities and the south were rapidly surrendering to the Emperor, but John Frederick of Saxony had overrun the territories of his rival Maurice, and at this time preparations were being made by Ferdinand, King of the Romans, to confront him with imperial troops. For several reasons, however, the great battle, which seemed imminent when this letter was written, did not take place until 24th April.
  • 2. There are several lines here erased. What follows appears to be instructions to Van der Delft as to what he should say in an interview with Paget or the Protector.