Spain: July 1549, 16-31

Pages 403-422

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

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July 1549, 16–31

July 18. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
(Extract from a letter written in cipher.) Sire; The King of France, having heard from his Ambassador Marillac part of Paget's negotiation, and that it would all come to nothing, and having had news also of some fresh revolt in England which is said to be spreading, has given his consent that the commission accepted long ago both by France and England should proceed to business, and examine the question of the frontiers in the Boulonnais, and with whom the responsibility for the first breach of the treaties lies, so that whichever of the two belligerents is found to have been in the wrong may make good the damage. He hopes to take advantage of the English at this juncture and get all he can out of the negotiation. Nevertheless he is getting ready an army of fifteen to eighteen thousand foot-soldiers, and 600 men-at-arms, together with 500 light horse, which are to assemble at Abbeville on the 10th of next month. He is conducting this move as secretly as possible, and intends to throw them into the Boulonnais to attack the English and lay waste the countryside in the Terre d'Oye.
Carneseque told me, when he last came to visit me, that if the King came to terms with the English it was to be feared that he would make war on your Majesty, instigated to this by the Pope, urged by the maritime towns and their allies; with the purpose of deflecting your journey through Germany, of perturbing the community and leading your Majesty into expense. He feels convinced that your Majesty intends to make war on him next year, and if he can gain that much for the present (the offensive) he hopes the future may be seen to by the Shareef, the Turk, the Pope, the maritime towns, or the children of John Frederick (of Saxony) and of the Landgrave (of Hesse), in the hope that by means of one of these some revolt or commotion may rise to save him. I know that talking is easy enough and that in reality the King fears your Majesty; but I am impelled to refer to you this speech of Carneseque by my knowledge of the practices set on foot by the King, of his desire to recover Milan, of his ill-will towards the peace and tranquillity of Christendom, and of the fickleness and dishonesty of the French, always most to be feared when they make most vehement protests of friendship. Your Majesty will provide for the best and for safety, with the certain knowledge that the King is laying by a great quantity of stores, and that he intends to invade the Terre d'Oye, which your Majesty is bound to defend if the English demand it; and so I leave it to the judgment and prudence of your Majesty to set your frontiers in order.
Yesterday five banners taken by the French and Scots from the English were presented to the King. They were surprised and defeated in an ambush on the island they call Horse Island (fn. 1) towards Scotland. The King has made a great fuss and rejoicing over it, and given 100 crowns each to the soldiers who brought him the banners, and three payments of 12 crowns each a year for the rest of their lives. The captain received 100 crowns.
There is an Italian who has come to this court, whom I judge to be an impudent deceiver. He offers to burn the castle of Boulogne by means of some artifice and invention which he proposes to reveal to the King. Carneseque told me the King suspects him of having robbed a document from the Roman treasury in the time of Pope Clement VII.; a capitulation between your Majesty and Pope Leo X. on the business of Piacenza and Parma. It appears to be so far true, that during Giulio Ursino's negotiation with your Majesty, the Pope's ambassador at this court approached Carneseque several times to try and find out if he had seen the capitulation on which rested the chief pretentions of the Pope to the said towns, as he informed me. But when Giulio Ursino left Brussells without settling anything, Carneseque, knowing that the business was not running smoothly, desired to warn me so that I might assure your Majesty that if the Pope produced the capitulation in question the document could not be the original, and that the extract made from it and inserted among the arguments put forth for your Majesty's consideration was drawn up from information and by advice of those who had a recollection of the original terms agreed upon for the expulsion of the French from Italy. They have spread the rumour once more that your Majesty wishes to elect the King of the Romans Pope, and transfer the candidature to the Empire to the person of our Prince (Philip); and that your Majesty will take him to Germany on that account.
I have heard for certain that all the Swiss cantons have not joined the league, but only the 8 cantons that made a treaty with the late King, I am doing my best to secure a copy of the articles of the league.
The courier arrived yesterday at seven o'clock in the morning and set off again immediately with my letters to Don Fernando (Gonzaga). The matter in them is not what I have written to your Majesty, as I had not yet spoken to the Navarrese. I will obey your Majesty's orders as to sending messengers to Italy and elsewhere to your Majesty's ministers when business of the nature you mention comes to light. But Sire, I am ill-provided with money, not having yet received any of the salary which your Majesty assigned to me from Spain, and which is now six months overdue. I beseech your Majesty very humbly to provide in some way, and let me have money for the expenses I am put to, and for keeping on good terms with certain people whose services cannot be secured without paying for them.
The Silversmith told me it would be difficult to keep the King from going in person to this campaign in Picardy. The Constable was doing his best to deflect him from it and take charge of it himself. . (News that the King of France is doing all he can to persuade the King of Navarre and M. de Vendome to attempt to recover by force the Navarrese fortresses and places held by the Emperor. . . .)
Paris, 18 July, 1549.
July 19. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 17. Van der Delft to the Emperor. (fn. 2)
Sire, the revolt of the peasants has increased and spread, so that now they have risen in every part of England, asking for things both just and unjust: that they may enjoy the land that used to be public property once, that all victuals shall be sold at reasonable prices, and that the land hired out to them on leases (en ammodiation) shall be considered to be of the same value now as in the time of King Henry VII. This last request is very difficult to meet. In Kent and Essex the risings had subsided because victuals had been taxed at a reasonable price, and the King's proclamation to that effect printed and posted up, with a pardon for past offences; but they have risen again now, because a few of the prisoners were kept in the Tower, and they seem more dangerous than before. They have come as far as Elton near Greenwich and pulled down (the enclosures of) one of the King's parks. They are threatening to come to London to get their prisoners; and this would be disastrous, considering that the town is over full of people who ask for nothing better than an opportunity of, sacking it. In Norfolk, where the Lady Mary is now, there are over eight thousand of them. They partly pulled down the enclosure of her park, but did not molest her in any way. On the contrary, they asserted that she was kept too poor for one of her rank. There is no mention of religion made among them, except in Cornwall and Norfolk, where they are in greater numbers. The Council are in great perplexity, as is clearly shown by the printed answer they made to the Cornishmen, who asked for the mass, matins, confirmation and other observances to be restored to the condition they were in at the time of the late King's death, because, they said, nothing should be changed during the King's minority. The Lord Privy Seal who was sent out to them, has not succeeded in quieting them. It is said that if the threats contained in the printed answer made to them referred to above, to treat them as Turks and infidels unless they disband, has no effect upon them, then my Lord Grey who is gone to assist the Lord Privy Seal with a great number of noblemen and foreign troops, such as Germans and Albanians, (fn. 3) and some field artillery, will fight them. Things are in a very bad way here, and all the worse because the people are angry that Dimock's infantry and other foreign troops are employed against the English; and they are so resentful that they say they won't leave a foreigner alive in England. Heaven watch over us! London is very closely guarded; there is artillery at the gates and outlets, and Hacfort's band, which was to remain at Guines, and in the Boulonnais, was suddenly sent for to come to England. Presumably it is intended to guard the King, who has been at Richmond up to now and, they say, is going to Windsor to-day.
Sire, I wrote lately how certain servants of the Lady Mary had been sent for to go to court, and that I was expecting to hear from them an account of what took place before the Council, to inform your Majesty of it immediately. The Lady Mary has since written to me, confirming what her controller had told me himself, that great pressure was put upon him to undertake to persuade the said lady to accept the new laws and religious practices, and conform with the King. He refused to accept such a task, and made application to be relieved of it; for it was nowise suitable that a servant should act otherwise than in obedience to his mistress's orders, and discharge of his domestic duties. I put off writing to your Majesty until I might hear what was happening about the lady's chaplain who was sent for at the same time, and was detained longer. He has at last gone back to the Lady Mary, with letters of which she promised to send me a copy. I am expecting it hourly. But as it seemed to me that she was being worried over much by the pressure put upon her old servants, and by the inhibition made to other worthy people not to join her service, under pretext that they (these people) were the King's servants, and all because of her religion, I determined to speak to the Protector, not on her behalf, but on account of the common reports about the affair: for in truth people are talking a great deal. I went yesterday to see him. I told him I had heard the rumour that he intended to worry the Lady Mary and induce or compel her to change her religion. This I said, would be in absolute contradiction to his former assertions, and could not fail to displease your Majesty; who, by your last letters, had charged me again to make the observation to him that because of the close relationship between you and her and the perfect friendship that your Majesty had always borne her, you could not desist from attempting to encompass her immunity from vexation, and her freedom to practice and observe the old religion. I urged him to consider how much better it would be to leave the Lady Mary her liberty in religious matters until the King came of age, as he had formerly told me he intended to do, though rumour now affirmed the contrary. He might well suppose, I said, that your Majesty and the King of the Romans would be displeased if she were either openly or indirectly pressed to change her religion; for as I had told him before, I knew well that even if she were wholly inclined to change, your Majesty would look for means of preventing her, and not see the spectacle of so near a relative falling away from our holy faith and the general practices prescribed by the Church. I added that I had had letters from your Majesty on this subject the very day Paget came to bid me farewell, but I had put off speaking to him, believing I should have no necessity to do so, particularly as I put my trust in his (the Protector's) word. But as things were going differently, according to public rumour, I could not forbear from fulfilling my duty and laying what I had just said before him, so that the matter might be arranged without bitterness; for your Majesty would undoubtedly be greatly displeased to see the Lady Mary in distress in the cause of religion. To this he answered. “I remember well what I said to you on this subject;” and he repeated everything he had said to me on other occasions; but, slurring over the point I have so often made, that your Majesty would not countenance her changing her religion through inducements or other means, he repeated that he hoped her prudence and wisdom would make her yield to the arguments of learned and lettered men, and conform her practice with the King's, and with his laws. He said that since our last interview, the Chancellor and Secretary Petre had been sent to see her; and he gave me an accurate account of all that passed, as I had heard it from her, and written it to your Majesty. He told me what happened with her servants, and quite lately with her chaplain. He first asked him, he said, whether he held the King's laws to be good laws and in conformity with Holy Scripture; and the other answering, “Yes,” he was asked why he had broken them by saying mass. The chaplain replied that he was the Lady Mary's servant, and had obeyed her orders in her own house, but that it would be found that he had not broken the laws at the place where his living was, and whence his income came, and begged that what he had done might not be taken in bad part. I observed: “I see that you are trying to deprive the Lady Mary of mass by taking her servants away from her.” He replied: “We have not forbidden the Lady Mary to hear mass privately in her own apartment; but whereas she used to have two masses said before, she has three said now since the prohibitions, and with greater show;” and went on to say that the chronicles of the time would give evidence that all the mischief in the kingdom came from the differences between him who wore the crown and those who were nearest to him; inferring that as the Lady Mary is nearest to the crown she ought to obey the laws all the more strictly. I made the reply that appeared suitable to me, taking my ground on what your Majesty had written. He could not quite swallow what your Majesty said, that nothing should be altered till the King came of age, for that was one of the points maintained by the Cornishmen. The answer that was made to them was compelling enough. The same answer being made to me, I said what appeared suitable; and finally: “You see what comes of all these divergencies in religion,” said he; “not that I wish to accuse the Lady Mary in any way; but still, the fact remains that the head of the Cornish rebels was her chaplain once, as I heard four days ago.” I replied that if matters had been left as they were before, none of the present evils, which I had often foretold him, would have happened. He did not acknowledge that I was in the right; on the contrary he said he had foreseen these trouble two years ago, because of the price of victuals, and that if the people had not risen in revolt matters would have been put right. He ended by saying “I have told you all that has happened with regard to the Lady Mary; we must hold by the King and enforce his laws, and if she does not wish to conform with them, let her do as she pleases quietly and without scandal.” The interview came to an end here; and as far as I can see they do not propose to leave the lady alone and unvexed unless your Majesty sees to it in some way or other. The good lady is sorely troubled and distressed, perceiving herself and her household to be in so dangerous a pass, and she has written to me this very hour, sending at the same time the translation made by her own hand of the instructions given to her chaplain with the object of persuading her. She would never have listened to them at all, as she affirms, were it not that she wished to show no partiality. I shall send my man to visit her and comfort her to-morrow, if he can get past the rebels; and according to the condition he finds her in I will send him to M. de Granvelle so that your Majesty may be more amply informed of everything. I do my best always to dissimulate the intelligence between us to save her from all suspicions. I am sending word to her not to write again to me in these troubled times, for fear the letters may be intercepted. The Protector made no mention to me of the success of Controller Paget's mission, and your Majesty may consider whether by these means it might be possible to help the Lady Mary and set her mind at rest once and for all, by speaking to Controller Paget and so obtaining an assurance in her favour.
Before opening my negotiations with the Protector I inquired about two cases, one concerning a certain Sebastian, a Frenchman, the other Sebastian Cabot, the pilot in your Majesty's service. The Protector has broken his word, which he gave to me personally and not fulfilled promises he made to me indirectly, with respect to both these men. The French Sebastian's business is of a private nature, as he is suing for the restitution of his goods in virtue of an agreement made in the year '45 when Paget was with your Majesty in Brussels, and I have not pressed the Protector beyond what his temper will stand. Paget has always furthered the business, and just before his departure recommended it to the Protector, who had come to a reasonable decision. He wished me to enter into certain recognisances that he was doing it all, because the man is your Majesty's subject and because I pushed the affair personally, and then as far as I can see repented of it, after I had presented my thanks to him; for he now denies that he ever granted anything, and denies too that he gave me the answer I wrote to your Majesty about Sebastian Cabot, though I tried to bring it back to his memory by producing circumstantial evidence. Being disappointed in his belief that Cabot would never admit it to be a matter of importance to your Majesty that he should deliver his letter of credence in person, he now wishes to find an excuse out of all reason and likelihood. I said as much to him and added: “As you say you never gave me the answer I claim, I acquit you entirely now; but give me my answer, and let it be suited to the friendship between his Majesty and the King of England. His Majesty asks that a servant of his, a man who was in his service for forty years, being the bearer of a letter of credence from his Majesty on business of great importance, may be free to go and deliver the said letter without hindrance from the King.” I got nothing from him except a statement that he would repeat to me then briefly what he had said on the earlier occasion to make me understand that the King wanted to employ Cabot himself, and that had he not been required he would have been entirely at your Majesty's disposal. I could not really let that pass, and I challenged the unworthy retort, affirming that neither he nor Cabot's secretary who came to me several times at his request, had ever said that Cabot was being detained here on service duty; on the contrary I had always been told that he was here because he needed rest, being an old man, and I had replied to this that the receipt of your Majesty's letter could not have aged him much. But I now perceived, I said, that all the excuses that had been made were frivolous, and intended to frustrate you Majesty's wishes since they refused to allow Cabot to be sent to Paget, and receive his discharge from your Majesty, while his person would be answered for to their (the Council's) satisfaction. I could get nothing out of him except that your Majesty could send somebody to the said Cabot, who would give all the information he had to give. I then proceeded to speak about the Lady Mary, as I have set forth already. On all three counts he (the Protector) broke his promises to me, as I have said, and I thought it best, not knowing how matters were progressing over there, to go no further for the present; but meanwhile inform your Majesty of everything. I am astounded to find that men nowadays can be so tough and so slippery.
London, 19 July, 1549.
July 26. Simancas E. 80. The Marques de Cortes (Governor of Galicia) to Juan Vazquez de Molina.
I have written many letters, and long ones too, to your Grace concerning the affairs of this kingdom (fn. 4), and have received no answer to any of them. I wish you had told me what is to be done, in the service of his Majesty which I have so much at heart, especially with respect to the guarding of the coast; for pirates are robbing and plundering while we, open-eyed, cannot assist ourselves. I have done all that it was possible to do, as your Grace must have heard from me; for I have given you full accounts of everything. I proposed the remedy which seemed to me opportune; and I began to negotiate with this kingdom about the share of assistance they were to furnish. But seeing no interest is taken in the matter at the court of Castile and receiving no particular orders from headquarters, they are not setting about it as earnestly as the case requires. I beseech your Grace to read the report I have sent, and to send orders as you think well, because promptness is what is needed most. A worthy man, domiciled at La Coruña, wrote me the letter I enclose. He is master of a ship and trades to and fro between La Rochelle and other ports as his business requires. He is a Fleming born. The letter sets forth that the robbers are Frenchmen; but we can get no further information until their prisoners return home. This sea-coast will soon be peopled with French and English pirates, and I live in daily apprehension of their assaults. I have had two English ships seized in two separate harbours: they were too well armed. One of them, as it turns out, provisioned herself from a Spanish vessel without paying for what she took, and it may be inferred, did other damage as well. The other comes from the Canaries and is laden with goods from those countries. I expect something fresh every day. I shall conclude the collection of evidence on all that has occurred, and forward it immediately to your Grace.
Santiago de Compostela, 26 July, 1549.
July 26. Vienna Imp. Arch. E. 18. The Emperor to Van der Delft.
We have delayed writing to you during Controller Paget's negotiation, because we desired to put off doing so until we could inform you of the conduct and the result of it. He is now dismissed, and yesterday took his leave of us before his departure, and we do not wish to defer any longer writing to you to give you information on the substance of the business, so that you may conform you answers, if you are spoken to on the subject, with the answers made by us to him.
The said Paget came to Brussels, where we first gave him a public audience; and, without entering into details, he certified the good-will of the King his master and his chief ministers to the preservation of our friendship and increase of it, adding that good grounds for alliance would be found. He declared that, because of the terms they were on now with France, and in consequence also of the fact that our friendship was theirs, skirmishing and attacks had become matters of daily occurrence on all sides. He gave as his opinion that the present state of affairs was altogether unsuitable, and that it would be greatly preferable to be openly at war or wholly at peace.
The Council had considered the appointment of commissioners deputed by France and England to settle the differences between them, in order that the situation might be cleared up; and he believed they had met already. He assured us that in no case would anything prejudicial to the amity between us and the King of England, directly or indirectly traversing the treaty of closer friendship, ever be done; and, after touching lightly on the King his master's desire to profit by our advice, he stated that if we would show him a certain degree of favour, the means whereof should be proposed later, he might uphold his rights against France and lose nothing, whereas on the other hand, if we refused, they (the English) would be compelled to look after their own interests as best they could.
We replied to the general statement in general terms, with gracious professions of the affection we bear the King, of our desire to grant him all things that might favour and prosper him, of our trust that he and his ministers would give all due heed to the treaties signed, and commit no breach of them. We extended ourselves in enquiries on the health of the King, of the Lady Mary, and such like courtesies, and concluded by saying that he (Paget) might communicate with our ministers, and that our good-will towards the King his master would be plain to him in all respects except where fairness and duty forbade. Paget presented at the same time the letters he carried for the Prince our son, and visited him as he was charged to do, his courtesies being duly returned.
We afterwards commissioned the Duke of Alva, M. de Granvelle (fn. 5) and the Bishop of Arras to negotiate with Paget, and hear more particularly what his mission was, and the means he wished to propose for making the friendship closer. The next day they met by appointment Paget, and the English ambassador resident here. Paget kept to the same general terms without entering further into details than he had done with us, except with regard to the marriages. He professed a strong desire that the marriage between our cousin the Lady Mary and the Infante Don Luis of Portugal should take place, repeating what he had touched upon to you of the good repute enjoyed by the said Don Luis as prince of a house so closely allied to us, and as so virtuous a lord. It was replied to him that Don Luis was indeed possessed of all the qualities for which he was renowned, and for this reason we had always borne him great affection and held him as dear as if he were our own brother or son. Paget and the ambassador were requested to mention the dowry and allowance the English would give to the Lady Mary, for we necessarily must be informed on that point in order that the marriage might be favoured by us. It was declared to be entirely in accordance with our wishes, as it had been said already and desired by us for the good of both parties, to whom we were closely related. It was affirmed that we desired it particularly for the welfare of England, the bridegroom-elect being a personage entirely suited to the interests of the country; and as they well knew, the first point to be discussed in this negotiation would be the dowry. They (Paget and the ambassador) went over the same courtesies again, paying homage to the virtue and high accomplishments for which Don Luis is renowned; and praised the Lady Mary, saying she deserved the best of marriages for her virtues alone. Paget then declared that the late King had made but scanty provision for the lady, but that he had left to the executors of his will power to increase her portion, according to the quality of the marriage she might make; and he desired to know what possessions Don Luis had, and what provision he would be prepared to make for the Lady Mary.
He was answered that we had no information on that point; but as Don Luis was brother of the King of Portugal, we supposed his means were suited to his condition, and that his brother would treat him all the better for his dutiful conduct and the assistance he had always given in the affairs of the realm, giving a good account of himself in all matters entrusted to him to the entire satisfaction of the King, the people his subjects, and everybody concerned. We might write to the King of Portugal and ascertain the extent of Don Luis' means; but the negotiation would be more above-board if they would first openly declare the dowry. Paget replied that he could give no particular information until the means of Don Luis were ascertained; but he did not mind saying that 100,000 crowns as dowry (fn. 6), or in place of it the income now enjoyed by the Lady Mary, which according to the English ambassador amounted to 40,000 crowns, seemed a likely proposal. The negotiation went no further; it was set aside on the understanding that we should do our best to obtain information about the means at the disposal of the said Don Luis; and if these could not be ascertained indirectly, we should write to Portugal. Nothing more could be done until we knew what they on their side had to say: and the English must reflect meantime whether the dowry could not be increased.
After this point was disposed of as above, they reverted to the conference on which the French and English were both engaged, expressing in general terms their willingness to enter into closer alliance with us, confirming the existing treaties and amplifying them to include that which might seem most suitable and advantageous to both sides, according to certain proposals which the English were about to make. They enlarged on the scanty reliance we could place on the French, on the ease with which England could hold out against France, and concluded by saying that at any rate the treaties might be ratified by the Prince our son. Before actually doing this it would be well to clear up certain points which, in spite of the declaration made at Utrecht, still seemed obscure. This involved an inspection of the actual treaty. So the matter was put off till the following day when the text of the treaties was to be produced and examined.
The following day, we ordered the said Bishop of Arras, the two Presidents Viglius and de St. Mauris, to meet Controller Paget and the English ambassador with the treaties, so that after reading them over they might declare what they had to say about them, the terms of the proposed ratification, and the nature of the elucidations they desired to make.
The Bishop of Arras and the two Presidents met the Controller and the ambassador. The treaties and the declaration of Utrecht were read out from end to end. Controller Paget and the ambassador took up only four points: first, the 6th article of the treaty, asking for a definite reply to an imaginary case they would submit to us, which, according to them, was within the range of possibility, so that they might know what would be expected of them and how we should interpret the obligations imposed upon us by the treaty. The case was the following one: if the Scots were to invade England with an army of over 8,000 men,—England being a contracting party in the treaties—and if the French were to help the Scots with say, 100 or 200 men, or give them assistance of any kind whatever, would we, according to the terms of the declaration of Utrecht, consider ourselves bound to declare war on France or not?
The second point had reference to the 7th article of the said treaty, in which it was specified that if assistance were granted against an invasion, and if the invader withdrew and the invaded decided on pursuit, he might use the troops originally granted for the purpose of defence, conditionally on the pursuit being carried on in the manner set down in the treaty. Now the terms of the treaty allowed the invaded nation to demand assistance either in men or money; but if the troops might be kept indefinitely, the stipulation which provided for an alternative grant equivalent to four months of the troops' pay was an empty form.
The third point he touched upon was the article concerning reprisals. He desired to obviate the possibility of their being undertaken too lightly, and asked how the clause concerning the withholding of justice should be interpreted. He had a doubt, he said, that if increase of business caused them to delay and on occasion they were unable to administer justice to our subjects after the receipt of a particular request to do so, we might authorise reprisals on the grounds that justice had been delayed or withheld. He proposed as a remedy that ten members of the Council of England should be deputed to hear any complaints our subjects had to make and that we on our side should name ten persons to concern themselves with the redress of injuries and compensation for losses claimed to have been sustained by English subject from our own subjects.
The fourth point dwelt upon by the said Paget was the confirmation of the treaties. He desired that the treaties might be confirmed by the Prince our son and the King of England, and also by the various states under the dominion of both parties. It was objected to him that such a course would entail delays and be a very unequal proceeding, if our states, as separate fiefs, were to confirm the treaty; for they were numerous, diverse in their customs, and each negotiated its own affairs separately, whereas the English had one Parliament for all. It was further objected to him that it was not suitable that subjects should be so particularly informed of the negotiations of princes; that the various lords and princes were in possession of the treaties, approved them and adhered to them, so that there was no fear of any hitch in their execution, and no need to obtain further consent from the various states. It seemed unsuitable to make an attempt to bind the said princes by diminishing their authority, and we saw no cause to ask that this should be done, since all treaties made by the princes of our dominions with all and sundry had been scrupulously observed, this being exemplified by the hereditary league with the Switzers, and other instances; while the English had seen how enduring was the nature of such treaties by our inviolate observance of all that had been arranged between us.
Paget admitted the reasonableness of all this. He said plainly that he had urged his points with the earnest wish that the matter might be made so safe that the friendship should endure inviolate for all time; and he left it to us to seek the best means to that end, with the confirmation of the treaties by the King his master and the Prince our son. The Bishop of Arras and the two Presidents undertook to report his words, and his remarks on the other three points, as mentioned above. They gave no definite answer on the first point and entered into no long argument over it, holding it to be a delicate one, and giving ground for something more than a mere negative or affirmative. For that reason they preferred to wait until we had been informed.
At the outset of the negotiation Controller Paget took the Bishop of Arras aside and said to him, that as he knew him personally better than the others because of the various affairs they had transacted together before, he wished to address himself to him and tell him that the French and English commissioners were to meet and settle those differences which, treaties notwithstanding, caused them daily to resort to arms. This he had declared on his arrival; and the Bishop might remember, he added, that he had incidentally mentioned that their course of action would depend on the support we were prepared to give them, though they would not act, directly or indirectly, against the existing friendship, as they were bound by the treaty of close amity. He would go further, he said, and make plain his wish that we might be requested to apply the treaties of close amity, and include Boulogne on the same footing as the other territories and places specified in the said treaties. He offered, as a counterpart, to accept on the same terms another town equivalent in importance to Boulogne, to be named by us. He made use of all the persuasions in his power, revealing the evil intentions of the French, enlarging on their jealousy of our might, and how they were only waiting for an opportunity to manifest their ill-will, asserting that they were intriguing on all sides to traverse both public affairs and our private business; that they had broken their treaties with us, and particularly the Treaty of Crépy, in several ways; that with good reason and fair cause we might show resentment of the help they had given the Scots for the invasion of England with 8,000 men, adding too that sooner or later war would be forced upon us by their attitude which it was hopeless to expect they would alter; and that the English wished to see it done now, with the help of the King of England, who would be able to hold his own and retain Boulogne. He pointed out that by acting in concert we should bring the French to reason more easily; and he added that if we would not accept the (proposed) inclusion of Boulogne, the English would be compelled to give it up to purchase peace and save the expense of guarding it, and that when the King their master came of age, they would exonerate themselves by saying that they had to give it up to purchase peace for lack of help and assistance.
By the letter of the treaties, as he very well knew, he said, we were not bound to undertake the protection of Boulogne; thus his master would have no cause for complaint against us, but rather good cause to rejoice at what we might do for him. The English would look upon it as all the greater favour, and laying a greater obligation upon them, because of the present tender age of the young King.
The Bishop of Arras answered, point for point, in general terms, acknowledging us to be bound by our promises and treaties to all alike, as we had ever considered ourselves to be. The proposed inclusion of Boulogne would involve a specific breach of our treaty with France, to which England had given her consent, and would plunge us suddenly into war, thus raising fresh turmoils in Christendom. The invasion of England by the Scots with an army of 8,000 men would provide a meagre excuse for overt acts of hostility, considering that the invasion was not of such a nature, nor had matters come to such a point, that it was deemed necessary to ask for our assistance, particularly as the English were now at peace with France, and had undertaken nothing on the Scottish Border or elsewhere which might be interpreted as a declaration of war. The Bishop of Arras supposed therefore, that merely (two illegible words) would pass between them. But Controller Paget, without discussing the answer made to him by the Bishop, said he was not using mere (two illegible words); but as it was one of the principal points of his mission, on which great hopes rested, he had laid it before him for the purpose of obtaining an answer from us.
Soon after this negotiation was held, the date appointed by us for the taking of the oath by the Prince our son arrived, and with this opportunity we excused ourselves from giving our answer to Paget until our return to Brussels. But having heard from him that he wished to go to Antwerp, and that, as rumour had it that we were proposing to stay only a short time at Brussels, he would go as far as Ghent, which was on his way, we gave him an appointment for that place, where we stayed six or seven days only, and were continuously occupied with the Flemish Parliament. We were compelled, therefore, to put him off till the present time. He showed some resentment of the long delay to the Bishop of Arras and President de St. Mauris, who were sent by us to offer him our excuses. On our arrival here, after having held several communications upon the matter, and debated it thoroughly, especially the points put forward by the said Paget concerning the treaty, we commissioned the Bishop of Arras and the two above-mentioned Presidents to transmit our answer to him, for which purpose they met him yesterday together with the English Ambassador.
Concerning the first point we replied that the letter of the treaties was plain, and having made a plain statement at Utrecht during the lifetime of the late King, we should not willingly consent to make any declaration about the treaty during the minority of the present King. The suppositious case put forward by Paget, to find out whether we would or would not assist them if the Scots were to invade the country with the help of 100 or more French soldiers or otherwise, had no application, for no such event had taken place in reality; and considering how faithfully we had adhered to the treaties in word and letter, they should rest with the assurance, which we repeated and confirmed, that in any eventuality we would be strictly bound by what was written down.
With regard to the second point, we replied that it was self-evident that the side called upon for assistance was bound to provide it in both contingencies, whether men or pay were asked for, the option of the nature of the assistance being arranged in favour of the applicant. Paget replied that he had construed the meaning in that sense.
As to the third point, dealing with reprisals, and the expedient proposed by Paget (to obviate delay), we replied that it seemed likely that the proposal to bring before a new body the complaints already formulated in England, would bring about fresh delays in prejudice of those who had suffered, and who had sued for compensation so long without obtaining any. It would be much better, in our opinion, to satisfy the just demands of our subjects before entering into fresh devices of a different nature for obviating reprisals. We requested him most particularly to do his best to ensure the granting of the compensations applied for.
With regard to the confirmation of the treaties, we sent this answer, that they were undertaking an office which would more suitably have been ours, seeing that by the grace of God we who had signed the treaty enjoyed life, whereas the late King—(might God forgive him)—was dead; and the ratification of the treaty might well have been sued for by us from the new King.
The intention here was not, we said, to excuse the Prince our son from signing the proposed ratification. We were assured that they (the English) shared our determination to observe the treaties of perfect friendship inviolably, and there was nothing to fear, therefore, if abundant assurances were required of us. But it was our intention to prove that the beginning should have been made by us. Nothing had been proposed concerning the surest means of clinching the ratification, and considering that their King was so young, Parliament should, we thought, confer sufficient authority on the King's governor and guardian to enable him to ratify the treaty (in the King's name) notwithstanding his tender age. When this was done, our son, whose age was sufficient, would willingly ratify the treaty too.
As to what concerned the inclusion of Boulogne, having signed a peace with France by the Treaty of Crépy, with the consent of the late King of England, we could not outstep the bounds of honourable conduct by acting contrary to it. The inclusion of Boulogne would constitute a direct breach of the treaty; and our present circumstances did not warrant a declaration of war on France. Beyond this, Paget might assure the King his master that we would do everything in our power for him, where honour and our duty to others did not interfere, and that we bore him the same fatherly affection we had borne him until now, as towards a son and our good brother. It was our wish to see him at peace with France; and Paget ought to know it, for he had knowledge of the good offices we undertook during the lifetime of the late King to bring about a friendship between them. We trusted that the King of England, for his part, would make good the assurances Paget had given us on his behalf, and keep his word honourably, and would not negotiate anything which could, directly or indirectly, be termed a breach of good friendship. We hoped rather that when they (the French and English) came to terms, some consideration might be taken of the damage sustained by our subjects from the Scots for their sake, all the more because of the courtesy shown to them by us. It was mentioned incidentally that the Scots daily solicited our friendship.
Paget said that he would make no reply, but on his return to England would diligently and particularly inform them (the Council) of the answers he had received on the five above-mentioned points. But he could not forbear from expressing a wish that we had spoken more openly, and if we were desirous of ratifying the treaties to some good purpose, he thought more light might conveniently have been thrown on those points which were still doubtful, in his opinion, although the sense, taken literally, seemed plain enough. He found it strange that the minority of the King should be mentioned in connection with the confirmation of the treaties, as if implying that he was powerless to accomplish anything, whereas by the laws of England the King had the same authority to pass laws and treat affairs whether he were one, or forty-five years old. With respect to the damages sustained by our subjects, he had always done his best, he said, as we must be aware; but on the other hand it must be remembered that if satisfaction was given to each within the other's dominion, still it could only be done according to the laws of the country in which they (the subjects) found themselves, and the occurrences must be judged in the light of such laws.
It was replied to him that the answer made on our behalf was so entirely justified that we hoped that he, and those to whom he made his report would be satisfied with it. The King's tender age had not been mentioned, we said, with the intention of diminishing his authority by one particle; but he must know well that English laws, though in full vigour within the country itself, were without effect in the case under discussion, the custom being to abide by special laws (fn. 7) (lois communes) when treating affairs with a foreign prince.
With regard to our subjects' wrongs, we were aware that in intercourse (with a foreign country), they must abide by the laws of the country in which they found themselves; but nevertheless we requested that more alacrity might be shown in making inquiries into the damages and wrongs inflicted upon our subjects, and that judgment and compensation might promptly follow.
Although Paget suggested that unless help from us were forthcoming, they might hand over Boulogne as the price of peace, yet we could not believe, we said, that they would do any such thing, considering how solemnly the late King had enjoined them to keep it, and that the country wished it to be kept.
In any case, even if Boulogne is given up, we desire you (i.e. Van der Delft) to keep close watch, and send us information on the trend of affairs in England, because, whatever promises the French may make, they will never abandon the Scots, but will go on helping and bolstering them up to the bitter end; and we desire you to be warned on this point.
The Bishop of Arras met Paget again, to attempt to get out of him something more concerning the marriage between Don Luis and the Lady Mary, and induce him to mention a higher sum as dowry. But as he remains firm in his reply, that he will mention no definite sum until the means of Don Luis, and the provision he would be prepared to make for his bride, are ascertained, the matter now stands thus; that we are to write to Portugal, and inform the English of what we hear.
Paget has since come to take his leave of us. He asquiesced in the answers given him on our behalf in the matter of his negotiation, saying he would make a careful report. We did not think fit to discuss the subject further with him, as he did not request us to do so. After excusing ourselves for not having been able to despatch his business sooner (which he seemed to take in good part), we repeated in emphatic terms our assurance of good-will and affection towards the King his master, together with our unconditional determination inviolably to observe the treaty of closer amity, and our trust that in this matter we should find them of the same mind as ourselves, remembering the assurances he had given us on his arrival here, in case they came to terms with France, and on which our ministers had dwelt with sufficient insistence. We found an opportunity of speaking to Paget about the subject of your last letters, concerning the Lady Mary our cousin, and the religious question too, as Paget had expressed a wish that we should do so, and insisted specially on it with the Bishop of Arras at Brussels. We began by saying that we had heard the resolve he had expressed to the Bishop concerning the marriage of the said lady with the Infante Don Luis of Portugal; and as he could go no further in the matter of the dowry and the allowance they could give her until the means enjoyed by Don Luis could be ascertained, we would undertake to write and obtain the information as soon as possible and would let them know. Then we proceeded to express our great astonishment at the pressure which we heard from you had been put upon our cousin to accept the changes in religion made in England; for we held for certain that if the late King, her father, had lived he would have left her undisturbed in the practice of the old religion, and we trusted that if the King her brother were now of age he would do the same. Were she inclined to accept the change, we assured him that we would do our utmost to dissuade her, our close relative; for we and those of our blood would grieve execeedingly if she were to change, and we resented all the more that attempts should be made to induce her to be untrue to the faith she had held up to this day, in which her forebears lived in holiness. We desired to be reassured, in writing or otherwise, that she should not be included in the regulations made by Parliament about religion or be kept in suspense on the matter. He might gauge for himself, we said, whether we could suffer the (new) laws to be applied where the Lady Mary was concerned. Paget interrupted us here, saying that this was not their intention, and that nothing more should be attempted. We replied that we had spoken thus, because we had often seen it happen, particularly in England, that some made laws and others, who came into power afterwards, applied them; and he must not find it strange that we should ask for some further statement and assurance from the English, who had been known to execute their queens. We desired to inform Paget ourself, of the great danger lurking in religious changes, danger to the soul, greatest of all, and danger of another kind also, for the people became insolent and disobedient, as their own experience must teach them; and that we were moved to speak by the affection we bore the young King of England, the Protector, and particularly for the good memory we kept personally of him (Paget) from other days, since when our affection towards him had remained undiminished. We would urge them to consider the odium they would have to bear for attempting so much during the King's minority. Their neighbours kept watchful eyes upon them, planning to take the first opportunity to wreak their ill-will; the Almighty was wroth when thus defied, as had been made manifest lately in Germany. We spoke of what had been accomplished in that country as being rather the work of His hand than the outcome of human effort and counsel, and exhorted him in the name of God to profit by the example, and to remedy all that was wrong as promptly as possible.
We spoke, recommending to him the Knights of Rhodes, praising their order and the good work they continually did among the Infidels, devoting their riches to it, wherefore all Christian princes held them in great respect. We adjured him to bring it about that they should be favourably treated in England, and their property restored to them. His answer to everything was, that he would report all we had said, and do his best to further our wishes. Our above-mentioned ministers spoke to the Controller about a bulwark the English are building again near Gravelines, along the river, a great part—almost half—of which is built upon our territory, so that they could cut off water from us and dam up the water from Lower Flanders, to the detriment of our country and ourselves. The ministers of the King of England have repeatedly been warned that they have no right to, and should not put up the encroaching bulwarks; and our cousin, the Comte de Rœulx sent in a protest to this effect by the captain of Gravelines, the Lord of Vandeville; but no answer has been received, beyond a general assurance that nothing should be done to our detriment. But the building proceeds in the meantime. We requested Paget to see that the matter be put right immediately after his return. We also told him of the just complaints of our subjects, to whom wool is being sold in England at much higher rates than is fair, contrary to the intercourse, (fn. 8) while we on our side observe the rules strictly. He put off giving us an answer on either point, saying he had no information on the subject. He promised to satisfy our just demands as soon as he could get to the bottom of the matter. You will press it with the Council, and use this detailed account of Paget's negotiation if perchance they speak of it to you.
With regard to Sebastian Cabot, your answer was quite right. You will insist that he may be allowed to go to Spain to deliver his letter and fulfil the mission he has received from us. Repeat your instances to this effect, and inform us of the answer you receive from the Council.
Brussels, 26 July, 1549.
July 28. Vienna Imp. Arch. F. 28. Simon Renard to the Emperor.
(Extracts from a letter written in cipher.)
Sire, since my last letters to your Majesty, the King has given as pretext a pretended discovery that your Majesty is secretly raising troops to help the English against him, to sound the drum all through his kingdom, and is ordering part of the legionaries to assemble at Abbeville by the 10th of next month. He has put Sipières, Humières, Count de la Chambre and Entragues in command of the light horse, and from the preparations he is making it seems that he is forming an army of 20,000 or 30,000 foot, 1,000 men-at-arms and 800 light horse, which he declares he intends to lead against the English if they refuse to give him back Boulogne and all of their new conquest they hold on this side of the sea. However, he proclaims that he will do nothing against your Majesty, though if you help the English he will take care to defend himself. In this frame of mind he is making for Compiègne, where he will leave the ladies and ambassadors, and will himself proceed to Abbeville to hold a general muster. It is believed that the King will lead his army in person to avoid rivalry between MM. de Vendome and d'Aumale, and some say that the Constable has persuaded the King to act thus in order that he may rule, and nothing be done without him. I have observed that the said lord (i.e. Vendome) has no great share in this undertaking, and is displeased with the Constable; so much so that it is said that the marriage between Mile, de Nevers, his niece, and the Constable's son has been broken off by him. He arrived here on the 26th of this month on his way to meet his wife, for whom he has sent to visit Mme. Vendôme, (fn. 9) who is ill and cannot be moved. So, though Vendôme is Governor of Picardy, all business goes through the Constable's hands. During these preparations the English ambassador has twice held communication with the Constable on possible means of peace or truce, but the Constable answered him that the King was well aware of Paget's mission, the object of which had been to put the town of Boulogne into your Majesty's hands and negotiate something to the King's hurt, which he could not pass by without resentment. Then, turning his talk into general statements, without making any definite reply to what the ambassador had proposed, he said that the King of France had always desired, and still desired peace with all Christian princes, on the condition that each one should act reasonably towards him, and that as often as the King of England cared to behave in such manner he should learn how ardently the King of France desired peace. However, he went into no details about the commissaries' task, nor did he settle anything. It is true that the King has been afraid that your Majesty might accept Boulogne town, and now, with the frivolous character natural to the French, he is arming against the English because he sees that their kingdom is a prey to sedition on account of religious disputes and the seizure of common land by the nobles. According to information Chevalier Marino (fn. 10) sent me, it all may vanish into smoke unless the King is able to take some forts, especially Boulemberg, or perhaps the King, after making a few raids and revictualling his frontier fortresses, may abandon the war with the same frivolity with which he undertook it; and Marino asked me to tell your Majesty that the King will not turn his arms against you, whilst the Navarrese, on leaving Paris, told me that the King was sending express instructions to Count de Tendes to continue his preparations and plots against Nice until he received news from the King, and keep himself ready to carry out the enterprise in case he should hear that the campaign against Boulogne had been successful. The Navarrese also said he could find an opportunity for speaking to Count de Tendes before going to Milan in order to obtain better information. However, as your Majesty has long known French faith, I will leave your Majesty to draw what conclusions you please from their plans.
The Lyons man says he has heard that, if your Majesty takes any share, open or secret, in the English war, the King has decided to make part of his forces winter in Lorraine, fearing that M. de Granvelle, on his way through those parts, may brew some trouble for next year or try to occupy strongholds and passes in your Majesty's name. I do not consider this likely, nor have I been able to find out anything more about it from other persons. . . .
About three days ago the Constable proclaimed that he had heard from Beccaria that all the Swiss cantons had granted the league, and that the King of the Romans had refused to renounce the Empire in our Prince's (i.e. Philip's) favour, and resented your Majesty's request that he should do so. These are the news that Christopher Truchemant brought back from Germany, whither he was sent to put the Elector Palatine and the Duke of Wurttemberg on their guard, through them to find means of placing obstacles in the way of your Majesty's journey, and to raise soldiers in their countries. Whether these princes grant what is asked of them or not, it is quite certain that a number of lansquenets are being sent to Wurttemberg and are taking their wives and children with them, for I am informed of it by one of my men whom I am keeping at the Iron Cross inn in the Rue St. Martin, where they lodge.
To-day the King has had a solemn mass sung in the Sainte Chapelle for the success of his journey; and he is taking a piece of the true cross and one of Our Lord's thorns to carry on his person. . . .
Paris, 28 July, 1549.


  • 1. There is a tiny island of this name just off the south point of Shetland Mainland; but it is more than doubtful if this is the Isle des Chevaux meant here.
  • 2. This letter is partly written in cipher; the rest is autograph.
  • 3. Arbannois in the original, possibly Albanian mercenaries, or perhaps a secretary's mistake for Almains.
  • 4. Galicia.
  • 5. Nicholas Perrenot, Seigneur de Granvelle, father of the Bishop of Arras afterwards Cardinal de Granvelle.
  • 6. Jeanne d'Albret received this sum as her dowry.
  • 7. Laws made by common consent of both parties.
  • 8. Commercial convention.
  • 9. Presumably Vendome's mother.
  • 10. In a minute of instructions from the Emperor to Simon Renard of the 17th December, 1549 (Vienna, F. 32.), it seems that Marino and Ippolito, two informants often mentioned by Renard, were brothers.