April 1536, 21-30


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'Spain: April 1536, 21-30', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2: 1536-1538 (1888), pp. 85-104. URL: Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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April 1536, 21-30

21 April.43a. The Same to the Same.
Rep. P. C.,
Fasc. 229½, 1–4.
On the 15th inst., the eve of Easter, Your Majesty's letter of the 28th ulto. came to hand; a few days previous, that is on the 11th, I received those of the last day of February only.
In fulfilment of the commands and instructions contained in the latter, I at once wrote to the Princess what seemed to me most advisable under the circumstances; but, as Your Majesty must since have received several despatches of mine, giving an account of the situation of affairs here, and as nothing, moreover, has happened since that time to alter my views concerning the negociations now pending, I will not trouble Your Majesty with a repetition of my own sentiments in that respect There only remains for me to give my opinion as to what ought and might be stipulated in favour of the Princess in case of Your Majesty coming to treat with the French; yet as in the event of the latter agreeing to some of the articles specified in Your Majesty's letter of the 11th my own opinion and advice would hardly be required, I will also abstain from giving it here until I hear what the real intentions of the French are.
The night of the day on which Your Majesty's letter of the 28th came to hand, was entirely spent in deciphering its contents, which being done, on Easter Day, after dinner, I went to call on Master Cromwell at a very fine house, which the King has presented him with, completely furnished, three leagues from this city. Before communicating the news received from Your Majesty, or showing the letters I had for him, I reminded him of our frequent conversations with respect to mutual friendship and amity, and especially of our conference on the eve of St. Mathias. Finding him as firm and constant as ever in his purpose, and as determined to bring the negotiation to an issue; hearing from his own lips, and without any allusion on my part, that his indignation at French behaviour had lately increased, I did not hesitate to hand over to him Your Majesty's letter, which he kissed and received most reverently, assuring me over and over again that he really knew not how to acknowledge the immense favour and honour you did him by deigning to write to such an insignificant person as he was. (fn. 1)
Having thus fully declared to him what Your Majesty's views and intentions were respecting the four points, as contained in your last letter, I found the secretary more opposed than ever he was on the first point, and raising much greater difficulties, objecting, among other things, that the offence given to his master, the King, by the Apostolic See was so fresh, and the statutes promulgated against him so recent, that it would be very difficult, not to say impossible, to undo suddenly what had been done so deliberately; but that, nevertheless the friendship between Your Majesty and this King once consolidated, you might in time have greater authority and credit to persuade his master to a reconciliation with the Apostolic See. On the other hand, observed Cromwell, "the Pope is doing all he can to bring about that reconciliation. Not many days ago his son (fn. 2) requested a great personage of the Roman Court to write me a letter, to say that for the honor of God he (Farnese) intended to take the affair in hand, and that should the King, my master, feel inclined, to treat, he would find the Pope disposed to gratify and please him as much as he possibly could. The, Pope's son further said to him, that should the King refuse to listen to his proposals, His Holiness would be obliged to give up altogether the friendship of France." After these words, Cromwell sent for the secretary, who had the said letter in his keeping, that he might show it to me. The secretary, however, happened not to be in the office, at which Cromwell was much displeased and disappointed, telling me, as he again did the day after, which was the 10th, that he wished me above all things to see and read the letters he had received from Rome, which would he sent to me for inspection. However, having asked him what the writer of that letter meant by saying that should king Henry refuse to listen to his overtures, he (the Pope) would be obliged to forsake the friendship of France, Cromwell at first gave some sort of evasive answer. I insisted and said that it seemed to me highly improbable that the Pope, having already lost the obedience of the, English, should be so careless of French friendship as to run the risk not only of alienating that kingdom, but also of losing its co-operation in any plan he might have conceived for the restoration of his authority. This I said to Cromwell for fear this king, who is credulous enough in all matters that are agreeable to him, should attach faith to the words of the letter, and incline to the said reconciliation under the impression that were the Pope to lose the friendship of the French, he himself might prevail on Francis to adhere to his opinion on religious matters, and make use of him at will. To this last argument of mine Cromwell made no reply, save say to that he really could not understand what was meant by those words; and yet, said he, they were in the letter, as I should soon have occasion to see. My own interpretation of this curious enigma is that the Pope's son, as I fancy, wishes to imply tacitly that His Holiness has hitherto abstained from making a league with Your Majesty, and has rather shown partiality towards Francis through the latterhinting to him that it was in his power to make king Henry return to the obedience of the Holy Apostolic See.
I did not fail on this occasion to appear exceedingly glad that such gracious, humane, and honourable offers had been made. I told Cromwell that it seemed to me as if the King, his master, could not expect more, after their doing his pleasure in all matters, than to be kindly solicited and requested by those very parties whom he had mostly offendednamely, His Holiness and Your Majestyto acquiesce in so just and necessary a demand for the discharge of his (the Kings) conscience, and the tranquillity, not only of his own kingdom, but of all Christendom at large. By which means the troubles and commotions now afflicting Christendom would be appeased, and its forces turned against the infidel, in doing which, I added, the King could really boast of being pater patriæ et pacis, and the conqueror both of His Holiness and of Your Majesty, since they had actually come to beg and entreat him for a reconciliation (fn. 3)
After these and other similar representations, which Cromwell confessed were quite true, he added that he sincerely hoped all would be set right in time, and that for the present he would continue to work strenuously in promoting the said affair, and would not let any opportunity slip of bringing it before his master.
Respecting the second point, which related exclusively to the Princess, Cromwell said that there could be no doubt that the King would behave towards her as the virtuous and magnanimous prince and father that he was; but that being a thing which depended entirely upon the King's own good feeling, it was not an article to be included in the treaty, nor one to which the King ought to be compelled to agree; it should be left entirely to his own discretion. The King, he said, was only waiting for some opportunity to show the affection he bore to the Princess; he (Cromwell) had made, and was still making, every possible and fit representation to him on the subject, and what could not be done immediately would be accomplished whenever the said friendship was fairly established.
With regard to the third point, Cromwell answered as fully and liberally as he had done on a former occasion.
He assured me, with regard to the fourth, that the King, his master, disapproved highly of Francis' inhuman behavior towards Monseigneur de Savoie, and described his undertaking against Milan, in spite of sworn treaties, as highly inconsiderate and wild. The conduct of the French in Italy, the King had remarked, would bring shame and discredit upon them, besides alarming all the princes and powers in Christendom. The King, his master, Cromwell assured me, had written this much to Francis. Notwithstanding the secretary's last asseveration, I do not know what to believe of all this, for happening to speak twice to the King on the subject, praising him on both occasions for his views of the affair, and for the letter he had written to Francis, I found him rather vacillating and irresolute, telling me, in the first instance, that he had actually written blaming the conduct of the Most Christian, and then again that those were matters with which he did not intend to meddle. And as Cromwell himself now said that, if I desired it, the King, his master, would dispatch a personage of his court to France, to tell the Most Christian to desist at once from his enterprises in Italy and elsewhere, against the letter of existing treaties, as otherwise he (Henry) would be obliged to adhere closely to those he had with Your Majesty, I had very good reasons to disbelieve Cromwell's former statement. However this may be, I took no notice of it, accepted gladly the offer made, and earnestly requested Cromwell to do his utmost towards gaining that point, and preparing the King for my next interview with him, which he faithfully promised.
This being settled, Cromwell began again to descant on the determination of the members of the Privy Council, without a single exception, to establish the said friendship, as well as on the little affection they professed for France, so much so, he said, that for some days past all and each of them in particular have been unanimous in telling the King that not one of them is now in favour of the French, but would openly declare against them were they not aware that he (the King) still clings to their King. Were it not for that consideration the Privy Councillors (added Cromwell) would not hesitate to declare that they cared more for one single hair of Your Majesty's head than for king Francis and all his people put together. Cromwell then hinted that the King, his master, already considered the French army as defeated and broken up, owing to Your Majesty's superior military power, and that if he (the King) were in your place, he would remain longer in the neighbourhood of Rome and dissemble, thus allowing the French to penetrate further into Italy with their armies, and then and there fall suddenly upon them and prevent their doing further mischief. (fn. 4)
Among other opprobrious things which Cromwell said of the French on this occasion, one was that king Francis has now an ambassador residing at the court of the Grand Turk. As a proof thereof he said to me:—"I am not in the habit of concealing from you news tending to increase our mutual confidence, and therefore I will disclose to you a wickedness (merchanterie) of the French, such as you yourself have no idea of" Upon which he went into his private chamber and brought out a letter, which he showed to me, stating that the Turk at Constantinople had feasted and entertained very handsomely the French ambassador, who had already concluded in his master's name a treaty of defensive and offensive alliance with him. "If the report be true" added Cromwell, "the King, my master, will not cease to incite, or make war against the king of France until his total ruin;" for since he has so cruelly and unjustly attacked his own uncle, Monseigneur de Savoie, what can be expected of him with regard to those princes of whom he might better make his profit, especially if he knew that they could, if they chose, invade his kingdom ? (fn. 5) In saying which, Cromwell no doubt meant that had the French as much power of doing harm to England, as the English now have of harming France, they would not leave them alone, but that seeing the house of their neighbour on fire they wished to take care of their own first. He then added that certainly this was the time, as I had told him, before the effects of French alliance with the Turk were felt [in Europe], to apply a remedy to the evil. "The King, my master (Cromwell said), ought on no account to let the opportunity slip of rendering such a signal service to God and Christendom, and such a pleasure to so good, a friend of En gland as the Emperor is. That opportunity, I fancy, the King, my master, will not let pass; all Francis' pretensions are evidently centred on Milan, to obtain which he would readily grant anything that was demanded of him, without refusing any of the conditions imposed." To avoid prolixity, I will say nothing about the means and suggestions of which I have made use to engage Cromwell to work on the above lines; suffice it to say that I am confident that he cannot take any unfair advantage of what I have told him. (fn. 6)
Upon the whole, Cromwell repeated to me many a time that the news I had imparted could not be more agreeable than they were; I could not have afforded him greater pleasure by giving him 25,000 crs. in money than by communicating the said information. It had arrived just at the fit time, before the arrival of the gentleman who was shortly to return from France, and that, although he himself had determined not to go to Court for the next three days, he would certainly go as early as he could for the purpose of announcing the news to his master.
At the end of our interview I informed him of the answer that the queen regent of Flanders had sent respecting the release of the two Germans detained there; but scarcely would he attend to my excuses, saying that it was an affair of no importance at all, and that there was no need for mixing it up with the principal one, on which all the others depended; although it must be said that only three days before he had spoken to one of my men in very haughty and irritating terms.
I was hardly in the saddle to return home than Cromwell sent one of his clerks to inform the King in all haste that I was the bearer of wonderfully pleasing news. Next day, which was Easter Monday, Cromwell himself went to Court, before the King's levee, and in the afternoon of that day sent me word that he had shown Your Majesty's letter to the King, and literally recited all our conversation. The King had heard the account with pleasure, and desired that I should appear at Court on the following Tuesday, at about 10 o'clock in the morning, where I should be welcome, and get such an answer as would greatly please me.
Accordingly, on Tuesday morning, I left for a house which I hire between London and Greenwich, and where Cromwell, coming from one he has in the neighbourhood, met me, and fully confirmed the message he had sent me on the previous day. Among other things I said to him, one was that I again prayed him, as I had done the day before, not only to work with me for the success of the affair, but likewise to instruct and guide me as to what I ought to say to the King, what I ought to do and solicit, and against whom. I said that Your Majesty trusted in him fully, and that he ought to consider what honour it would be for himself to contribute to the good issue of the affair in hand, so important to public welfare. Cromwell's answer was, that although he thought I had no need of such advice, he would, nevertheless, tell me his opinion, for me to make such use of it as my discretion might dictate.
At Court I had from the Privy Councillors and other lords such a cordial and honourable reception that nothing better could be wished for, all and every one of them coming up to congratulate one upon the prosperous news just received, praising, above all things, the good offices which they presumed I had rendered, for the accomplishment of so desirable a work. The concubine's brother, lord Rochefort, among the rest, signalised himself most particularly by his hearty congratulations. I could not help hinting to him that I had no doubt he was as much pleased as any other of the King's courtiers at the favorable prospect of affairs, and believed he would co-operate as well as the rest to ensure the success of one which could not fail to be beneficial to the community at large, and especially to himself and family. Rochefort seemed particularly pleased at this hint of mine, and I myself dissembled as 'much as I could, avoiding all occasion of entering into conversation with him or discussing his Lutheran principles, of which he is so proud that he cannot abstain from boasting of them in public. (fn. 7)
Before the King left his apartments to go to Chapel and hear mass, Cromwell came to me, and asked in the King's name whether I did not wish to visit the concubine in her rooms, and kiss her hand; the King would be particularly pleased by my doing so, yet if I had the least objection, he referred entirely to my will. My answer was that for a long time back I had professed to be the King's slave, and had no other wish than to execute his commands; but that it seemed to me that for many reasons, which I would tell the King himself the very first time I had an audience from him, my visit to the lady under present circumstances would be highly inconvenient. I begged Cromwell to make my excuses, as though from himself and try to dissuade the King therefrom, as, in my opinion, it could only be detrimental to the negociation in hand. Cromwell went away, and soon after returned, saying that the King had taken my excuses in good part, and hoped that very shortly all matters would be speedily settled to the satisfaction of the parties. He then said to me that after dinner I could speak with the King at leisure, and that on leaving him, I should, according to custom, go into the Council room, and explain my charge. I replied that it seemed to me as if the matters under discussion were so honest and reasonable, and had been so long ago anticipated, that the King might take at once a resolution upon them; or else he (Cromwell), to whom Your Majesty's credentials had been addressed, could report to the Council much better than I myself could. I added that until I had heard what the King's intentions and will were respecting the whole or part of the proposed negociation I strongly objected to appear before the Privy Council, though I purposed addressing each of them in particular, and doing anything else they might advise.
Soon after this I saw the King pass; he made me a most gracious bow, holding his cap in his hand, and not allowing me to remain longer uncovered. He asked me how I was, and how I had passed my time since the last time he had seen me. He added that I was welcome, asked for news of Your Majesty, and seemed delighted to hear you were in good health. After that he asked where Your Majesty was, and on my answering that the courier stated that at his departure from Rome he had left you close to that city, he replied that to judge from the date of Your Majesty's letter to his secretary it would appear that on the departure of the courier from Rome you were at Gaeta. He then asked me whether Your Majesty intended making a long stay at Rome, and on my answering that I did not think so, unless thereby you could be of use to him and do his pleasuresure as I was that for such a purpose and end Your Majesty would have no difficulty in making a longer stay, or doing other things for Ids honor and for love of himhe smiled and made another bow. He then said that he imagined it would have been far better for Your Majesty's plans and interests not to have gone so soon to Rome, but to have remained longer in the kingdom of Naples, in order to throw the bait to those who wanted it, and catch them more securely within your nets. (fn. 8) My answer was that there was still plenty of time left for dissimulation, thereby meaning that I was sure Your Majesty in this, as well as in other matters, would act conformably with his advice, as that of his oldest friend, brother, and almost father, as he would gather by what I should have the honor to tell him more at leisure. "Certainly" replied the King, "We will talk of that and other matters." I was conducted to the Chapel by lord Rochefort, the concubines brother, and when the offering came a great many people flocked round the King, out of curiosity, and wishing no doubt to know what sort of a mien the concubine and I should put on; yet I must say that she was affable and, courteous enough on the occasion, for on my bring placed behind the door by which she entered the chapel, she turned round to return the reverence which I made her when she passed.
After mass the King went to dine with the concubine in her apartments, all the courtiers accompanying him except myself who was conducted by lord Rochefort to the Royal presence chamber, where I dined with the principal courtiers. As I afterwards learned from a distinguished officer of the Royal household, who was there present, the concubine asked the King during dinner why I had not come as the other ambassadors had done, and that the King had answered that there were good reasons for it. Nevertheless, another courtier affirms that he heard the concubine say to the King after dinner, that it was a great shame for the king of France to treat his own uncle, the duke of Savoy, as he was doing, and make preparations for the invasion of Milan for no other purpose, as she said, than to prevent and mar the enterprise against the Turk, and that it seemed as if the Most Christian, weary of life owing to his sufferings and bad health, wished to put an end to his days as soon as possible.
Immediately after his dinner the King, passing through the presence chamber, where I was, showed me the same marked attention as in the morning, and, taking me by the hand, conducted me to his private room, followed only by the High Chancellor and Master Cromwell. Once inside, he took me apart to the window, where I failed not to remind him of the many conferences I had held with his secretary, as well as of those which Your Majesty's ambassador in France had had with master Waloup (Wallop) there residing for him. After which, the King having also reminded me of the old friendship and affection which Your Majesty had once borne him, I commenced to explain what your wishes were respecting the four points under discussion, taking care, of course, to express myself as mildly and courteously as possible, so as not to irritate him or give the least ground for altercation. I must say the King listened to me calmly, and without giving the least sign of impatience or interrupting me until I ended my speech by saying that in your desire for the peace and tranquillity of Christendom Your Majesty had purposely waived all claims to the county of Bourgoyne, which in point of fact belonged to you, as you could prove, not to those who were now invading the duchies of Savoy and Milan. Hearing this, the King burst out laughing, and said that Milan belonged to Francis, and the duchy of Burgundy also, inasmuch as Your Majesty had formally renounced both by the treaty of Cambray, which load superseded that of Madrid, which he described as a most unreasonable and cruel convention. "Had Milan," he said, "fallen into the hands of the Emperor, that would in no manner invalidate Francis' right to it, since treaties of defensive alliance refer only to those possessions and territories which the contracting parties hold at the time." My reply was directed to make the King feel that he was misinformed concerning the rights of Your Majesty to the duchies of Milan and Burgundy, and that at the date of that treaty Your Majesty was the real and true owner of the duchy of Milan, since he who then held it was only a feudal lord, after whose death the duchy had not been acquired by you afresh, but merely consolidated in your former possession of it, making, as it were, a direct and useful whole of the dominion. Which reasoning of mine, as Master Cromwell himself has since told me, was afterwards weighed and maturely considered, so as to obtain the approbation of the King and of his Privy Council.
Perceiving by the above words that the affection this King professes to have for Your Majesty is neither sincere nor disinterested, I did not insist further on the subject, and contented myself with asking whether in case of the king of France infringing any other articles, such as those relating to the duke of Ghelders and others, he himself would not take part and act in conformity with the treaties made with Your Majesty. He answered that if those treaties imposed any obligations upon him, he should certainly fulfil them much better than many other princes had done with respect to himself, and that in all other matters not obligatory, he should naturally lean to the side of those who should show him the greater affection. Coming then to the subject of the war against the duke of Savoy, he tried to persuade me, notwithstanding my previous explanation of its motives, as instructed, that the invasion of that duchy by the French was not entirely against your wish, and that the Duke (Carlo) had formerly offered to go personally to the French Court, an argument, of course, which I did my utmost to defeat.
After this the King sent for the Chancellor and for Master Cromwell, and begged me to repeat before them what I had said to him. That I did as summarily as I could, and having accomplished my task without interruption or contradiction from him and the other two, all three conferred for some time together in a corner of the room. During this time I made the acquaintance of, and conversed with the brother of the damsel whom this King is now courting, all the time keeping my eye fixed on the King and those who were with him. There was no doubt much altercation, and angry words seemed to be passing between the King and Cromwell, for after a considerable interval of time the latter came out of the embrasure of the window whereat the King was standing, on the excuse that he was so thirsty that he could go on no longer, and this he really was from sheer annoyance, for he went to sit on a chest out of the King's sight, and asked for something to drink. (fn. 9) Shortly after the King came out of the recess,—whether to approach the place where I was, or to look for Cromwell, I cannot say,—but the fact is that he came up to me, and said that the matters proposed were so important that unless I wrote them down it would be impossible for him to communicate them to his Privy Council and make an answer thereon. I replied that though I had no positive orders on that point, I dared not comply with his wish on many accounts; first of all because it was an innovation to which I had never before been subjected. No one had ever asked me to put down in writing, much less found me vacillating in, my sentiments or opinions, so as to suspect that I could suddenly change my line of conduct. I had learnt from his own ambassadors, who went once to Bologna, to make such a refusal, although they by no means had such an excuse as I myself now had. I had likewise taken pattern by Cromwell himself who had never given me anything in writing. If he (the King) wished to have my proposals in writing in order to guard against any dissimulation on the part of Your Majesty, he might have my ears cut off, if he liked, but I would certainly cause greater annoyance than all the writings in the world put together. Which speech of mine, "than all the writings in the world put together, should there be any accusation of insincerity on the part of Your Majesty," (fn. 10) as Cromwell afterwards assured me, had the effect of inspiring the King with confidence, and leading him to take my offer seriously. Yet I must say that at the time the King insisted most pertinaciously on having my statement in writing, repeating several times, in the most obstinate manner, that unless I did so I should get no answer.
At last, notwithstanding his obstinate refusal to take any notice of what I had previously said to him, the King proceeded from one thing to another to make some sort of an answer, though vague, confused, and rather passionate, the substance of which was: Respecting the first point and the Pope, that affair, he said, did not concern Your Majesty in the least; you ought not to meddle with it unless you wanted to revindicate authority over all the world. Should he (the King) feel inclined to treat with His Holiness, he had plenty of means at hand and friends who would help him thereto, without having recourse to Your Majesty's intercession.
With regard to the Princess, the King said that site was his daughter, and that accordingly as she was obedient or disobedient he would treat her; nobody had anything to do with that.
On the third point, namely the subvention towards the Turkish war, it was necessary (he said) before he himself took any engagements, that there should be a renewal of the old friendship, for it would not do to entail unreasonable expense upon those who had scarcely anything to do with the affair.
Concerning the fourth,—which under present circumstances I consider as the most important, and as requiring a speedy settlementthe King answered that he was not at all inclined to break through promises he had or might have made, or refuse his friendship to those who desired it, provided it were on convenient terms; but that he was no longer a child to be whipped in the first instance, and then caressed and, petted, and urged to come back and called all manner of sweet names. Saying which., and in order to show me practically what he meant, the King began to play with his fingers on his knees, and do as people who want to appease and call back a crying child. (fn. 11) Before asking favor and help, continued the King, from one who has received injury, it was necessary that the past should be acknowledged. And upon my observing that for a long time back I had been treating of the re-establishment of friendship between Your Majesty and him, and that I had many a time pressed in vain for an answer as well as for his decision respecting Your Majesty's proposals, he replied that it was not for him to make overtures, but rather for those who sought his friendship; and on my replying that unless the wounded man exhibited his wound to the surgeon it was imposible to apply a remedy to it, he suggested that Your Majesty ought to write him a letter requesting him, in case there had been in past times an appearance of ingratitude, or any failing towards him on your part, to forget and forgive the same, thus proving to the World and to him that the root of the old friendship was not entirely dead; there might be then the chance of a settlement. I told him that the request was unreasonable, upon which he became more moderate, and said, "Let at any rate the Emperor write me a letter asking that no further mention be made of the past." My answer was, that no letter to that effect was needed, since I myself had made such a request in Your Majesty's name; but the King still insisted that such a letter was wanted; it was of no use reminding him of what he himself had told me many a time, namely that delay is the ruin of every good work.
After this, without my giving any cause or occasion, unless he himself purposely made it (since I had all the time spoken in the mildest possible way, and listened most patiently to his arguments), the King got very excited, and began to speak of what he called Your Majesty's ungrateful behaviour towards him, asserting that without him you would never have become Emperor, nor peaceably enjoyed your Spanish kingdom, and that the very moment that Your Majesty had been elected to the Empire, not only had you forsaken him altogether, but had tried, to have him declared contumacious by Pope Clement, and deprived of his kingdom. Not only that, Your Majesty had not fulfilled the promise you once made, never to make peace with France until you had helped him (Henry) to get possession of the French crown. Nay, when the most Christian king Francis was in Your Majesty's power, you had told him that you could not make war on your own prisoner. In saying so, the King intentionally omitted the second part of the answer, namely, that when his message came to Spain, Your Majesty had already capitulated with the chancellor of Alençon, as I failed not to remind him. As to the declarations of which he spoke, I said that he knew very well it was the Pope himself who had advised, nay proposed to you, the aforesaid measure and declaration. If he took the trouble to inquire, he would find that, when the Admiral of France [Chabot] departed in disgust at the bad issue of the Calais conferences, other parties solicited from the Pope that same declaration. I went on in this way entreating the King to put all that on one side, saying that if there had been in times past misunderstanding or error, the greater ought now to be our care for the preservation of peace, and re-establishment of the old friendship. In confirmation of which argument I alleged certain authorities, and made quotations from ancient history. I afterwards told the King that if he declined to give a formal and cathegorical answer to my proposals, he had better write to his ambassador near Your Majesty to say so. He remained some time in suspense, and then said: "If you wish it, I have no objection; I will write to that effect, but then my verbal answer must be considered as not given at all." Then, he added, "my ambassador with the Emperor is unfit for that task (trop inepte), and you yourself had better. nay, ought to undertake it, You began the negociation your's ought to be the honour of bringing it to a close."
During the above dialogue the High Chancellor and Cromwell looked sad and dejected; whatever signs the King made encouraging them, as it were, to support his reasoning and applaud his arguments, neither of them said three words to the purpose. In conclusion the King said that on the following day he would cause the old treaties between Your Majesty and himself to be again examined, and that I should be informed of his resolutions.
After this meagre and unsatisfactory answer from the King's own lips, and having particularly recommended the affair to the duke of Norfolk and the other councillors, I left the royal palace and repaired to meet Cromwell at the very place where I had seen him in the morning. There we mutually condoled and, communicated our sorrow and disappointment, which was very great, especially on the side of Cromwell, who seemed so affected that he could hardly say one word. Never in his life (said he) had he been so much taken aback as on hearing the said answer. I suggested to him the idea of dropping the business altogether, or else delaying it for an indefinite time, attending only to what could be done respecting the fourth point, and the marriage of the Princess. Hearing which, Cromwell suddenly recovered his wits, and said that the game was not entirely lost, and that he had still hopes of success.
Next day, which was Easter Wednesday, the King's Privy Council met again and sat for upwards of three or four hours, and, as I am informed by Cromwell, there was not one among the councillors who did not go on his knees to the King, and, remain long in that position praying and entreating him for the honor of God not to lose so good an opportunity of establishing this desirable and close friendship between Your Majesty and himself; yet, Cromwell said: "We have been unable to make him change his opinion; he said that he would rather suffer all the evils of this world than have to confess tacitly, much less expressly, that he had offended Your Majesty in any way, or consent to ask for the said friendship. Should, however, the application be made in the manner he (the King) had pointed out to me, he would be glad to accept it."
All this Cromwell has come to tell one this very morning, Thursday. Yet at the same time he has thanked me in the King's name for my good offices in the matter, begging me to go on striving for the accomplishment of the said friendship, also declaring to me in his master's name that this point once gained all others would be settled to Your Majesty's satisfaction. That he earnestly requested me, for the honor of God, to obtain from Your Majesty at least a letter of credence in my favour addressed to this King, who, he said, would, largely reward me for my trouble. He, moreover, gave one to understand that he had told the King, his master, that had he known what was going to happen in the business, he certainly would not have been any party to it, not for all the gold in England, and that in future he would not treat with foreign ambassadors unless he had with him one of his colleagues [in the Privy Council]. He went still further. He declared to me that although he had all the time dissembled and made me believe that what he said to me was his own private view of the affair, not the King's, he could assertnay swearthat he had done or said nothing without his master's express commands. And upon my asking him what could be the cause of such radical change in the King's mind, he answered that he did not know in the least, nor had the King said anything to him to enable him to form a conjecture. On the contrary he had been much pleased with the modest terms in which I had addressed him. Cromwell ended by observing that princes were endowed with qualities of mind and peculiarities unknown to all other people, by which assertion and many others of the same kind, he (Cromwell) openly manifested his discontent at the strange nature of the King's character, adding that not only had he written to his ambassadors in France to represent to the Most Christian the necessity of at once desisting from his enterprises in Italy and elsewhere, but had, no later than yesterday, spoken in that sense to the French ambassador, who, as Cromwell himself informs me, returned from Court as disappointed and sad as I myself was the day before.
At last, seeing no other remedy, and upon Cromwell's positive assurance that all remonstrances before the Privy Council would be time lost, I have, for the sake of temporizing, and not giving these people occasion for negociating in another quarter, put the best possible construction on the King's conditional refusal and Cromwell's explanation of it, (fn. 12) accepted them and promised to employ all my efforts and those of my freinds at Court to obtain from Your Majesty the desired letter of credence. Upon which Cromwell rather doubtfully remarked: "whoever trusts in the words of princes who one day say one thing and on the next retract it, relies on them, or expects the fulfilment of their promises, is not a wise man, as I myself experienced last Tuesday." (fn. 13) After which, with many recommendations and prayers, prayers that I myself would do my utmost to promote the affair, and the positive assurance on his part that no favorable opportunity should be lost of bringing it before his master, I took my departure and left him.
Since then Cromwell has sent me word that he had received letters from France, which made him, suspect that there is now some sort of treaty being negociated between Your Majesty and king Francis, and requesting me, if I happened to know anything about it, to inform him thereof confidentially. Should the report turn out true, said the message, I was to advise him how to act in order to prevent the suspension or falling off of the negotiations on, foot here. My answer was that I knew nothing about it; my own impression was that if Your Majesty wished to gratify the French in any wise, a settlement of your differences would soon be made; yet I saw no signs of it at present, for, although matters might be very much advanced, there was no probability of anything being concluded before the return of this courier, whom I was about to despatch to [Italy]. As to the advice he asked for, he was too wise a politician to require it; he knew very well how to act without it, and that I could not tell him more on the subject than I had said at our last interview. He has since sent me another message to the effect that, owing to the sudden and hasty arrival of the French courier, he had no time to prepare the letters which his master was to send. He, therefore, begged me to delay, as long as I could, the departure of mine. At first I made some difficulty about complying with his request; but on his sending me a second message with the same prayer, I acceded to it on consideration, as Cromwell hinted to me, that after the news brought by the French courier, the King might feel inclined to return a different auswer to my proposals.
I beg Your Majesty to believe that one of the greatest annoyances I have experienced in this country has been my total inability to treat of this matter according to Your Majesty's wishes. I could not have used more vigilance, care, and dexterity than I have done, and have purposely refrained from entering into minute particulars for fear of being over prolix; I humbly beg Your Majesty to pardon me if I have not done what may seem best.
As it might well happen that, setting aside all further negociations with these people, Your Majesty considered it expedient to treat with the French, I will, come what may of it, and in obedience to Your Majesty's commands, state in two words my own private opinion concerning the Princess' business, and what we ought to ask in her favour. With all due deference to Your Majesty's consummate prudence and innate wisdom, I think, under correction, that having to treat with such a faithless nation as the French are, and with people who wish to make their own profit out of everything, if would be advisable that the entire negotiation should be put into the hands of the Pope, or of his ministers, or else conducted through their intermediate agency. It ought to be stipulated that Your Majesty and the king of France are to promise to obey implicitly the provisions and commands of His Holiness and, of the Apostolic See, principally those emanating from, arising out of, or consequent on the matrimonial sentence. It ought also to be stipulated that in the event of this King obstinately refusing, as he has done hitherto, to obey the Papal injunctions, the sentence of deprivation shall be absolutely proceeded with, and the right to the crown of England entirely reserved to the Princess without prejudice, title, or pretence of anyone whomsoever; and that with a view to prevent her claims being hereafter frustrated, or damnified by the pretensions of France. (fn. 14) In order to afford better opportunity to provide for the careful preservation of the Princess' life, some, stipulation ought also to be made in favour of her legitimate successors, as well as concerning the assistance to be given to Your Majesty in the pursuit of quarrels originating in injuries done to her and others, though I fancy that Your Majesty will perhaps not hear of that. (fn. 15) There ought to be in the treaty a clause expressly stipulating that neither Your Majesty nor ling Francis is to consider as legitimate any descendants of this king by his concubine (Anne) or any other woman he may have during the Princess life, the said clause being in conformity with the words of the Papal sentence and civil law, unless the Pope himself chose to grant a dispensation, which, however, it would be necessary to warn the Pope not to grant. I do firmly believe that should this king know that a treaty of this sort had been concluded, he would immediately, without waiting for further pressure, be brought to reason; and if peradventure it was Your Majesty's pleasure to pursue the affair here, it would be useful to write letters to this king's chancellor, and to the duke of Norfolk, thanking them for their good will, and begging them to persevere. (fn. 16)
The French ambassador, as I have hinted above, went to Court the day after me, without being called, when this king, after complaining of the various grievances specified in the former part of this despatch, spoke seriously to him of certain "galeaces" newly built in France, which had lately come to the English coast to watch, and if possible capture, a Venetian ship. The said "galeaces" had touched at certain harbours of this kingdom; inquiries had been made as to the merchandize stored in them, &c. At which this king was by no means pleased. He was still less so at the answer which the French ambassador returned to him on the occasion, for he said that the fustes and galeaces above alluded to had not come for the purpose of reconnoitring vessels within the English harbours, but merely to ascertain if any English ones had brought corn from France in contravention of the ordinance prohibiting its exportation. The ambassador, as Cromwell afterwards told me, did not gain much credit by the answer, and on the other hand seemed highly displeased at my having gone to Court on the preceding day, and been well received there.
A, bill has passed in Parliament ordering the sequestration of all the personal property of the bishop of Norwich, and confirming the grant which the King made of it to the earl of Wiltshire, to whom two of the suppressed abbeys have likewise been allotted. Parliament, which, owing to various prorogations, had sat ever since I myself first came to this country, has now been dissolved, to the great cost and annoyance of its members and of the English in general; and what is worse, though all the lords of the kingdom, both ecclesiastics and laymen, besides upwards of 300 gentlemen representing the Commons sat in it, yet the whole of its authority and power has by statute been transferred to a body of 32 personages to be chosen and elected by the Crown, which is one of the points which this king has most desired to accomplish. (fn. 17)
The ambassador of Scotland tells me that nothing has yet been decided respecting the interview of the two kings, and that he himself had come purposely to learn the cause why this one did desire so much to see his master. Having made the inquiry, the answer wan that king Henry would not declare his reasons to any living soul except to James himself. It appears, moreover, that immediately after this ambassador's arrival at Court, Cromwell intimated to him that on no account was he to take the liberty of asking for the Princess' hand for his master, nor to bring forward religious matters at the projected conference. Therefore the ambassador himself thinks the interview will not take place at all, though this king seems still very desirous of it, and has lately sent to Scotland the brother (fn. 18) of the duke of Norfolk to promote and hasten the meeting in London.—21 April 1536.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Original. Entirely ciphered. pp. 8.
24 April.44. Pope Paul III. Engagement to keep neutrality.
P. Arch. Nat.
Neg. Pap. D. Sim.,
k. 1642.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 253.
Desirous, as His Holiness is, to put a stop to the differences and quarrel now existing between the Emperor and the king of France, he has of his own free will, and not urged by either of the two contending parties, resolved to observe before and during the war, which seems imminent, the strictest neutrality.
His Holiness engages, as long as the war between the two princes lasts, not to help directly or indirectly either of the two; not to assist either of them with money, artillery, ammunition, or any other implements of war, not to allow levies of infantry or cavalry in the Estates of the Church, nor receive recruiting captains within them.
Not to allow captains to reside in the towns, castles, and fortresses of his dominions, whether they be vassals of the Emperor, or of the king of France, but, if necessary, to provide for the defence of the said towns, castles, and fortresses with his own forces and provisions, so as to be able the better to keep and maintain the said neutrality.
As long as the said neutrality lasts His Holiness will not prevent the Italian powers from forming any league or confederacy whatever for the defence of their country. He will not, however, counsel or advise the same, or in any wise prevent the confirmation or extension of the existing one.
All questions between His Holiness and the duke of Ferrara (Alphonso d'Este) to be suspended for one year, to begin at the date of this present engagement.
The same suspension to take place with regard to the duchy of Camarino, and the suit-at-law instituted against the duke of Urbino (Francesco Maria della Rovere), against his son (Guidobaldo), and against the dowager duchess and her daughter. (fn. 19) All sentences fulminated against them on that account being now suspended for a term of six calendar months at the express request and desire of the Emperor.
His Holiness will continue to help and assist the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, as in the times of his predecessor Clement VII., and according to the stipulations agreed upon between them and the Verulan. (fn. 20) To this end a large sum of money is now ready to be remitted thither.
All and each of these conditions His Holiness the Pope pledges himself to observe and fulfil.—Rome, 24 April 1536.
Latin. Contemporary copy. pp. 2½.
26 April.45. The Emperor to the Empress.
S. E., L. 35, f. 64.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 255.
Since my departure from Rome cardinal de Lorraine has been sent by king Francis to treat, as they say, of peace. On his arrival at the camp of the King the French troops had already passed the "Riviera d'Oyra," and were on their way to Vercelli. The Cardinal ordered them in the King's name to retreat, which they did. They recrossed the river, and returned to Turin by the same road they had followed in coming, which, as I imagine, was done owing to their having found that Vercelli was strongly fortified, and well provided with men and ammunition, so as to make a stout defence; and besides that, Antonio de Leyva was in the neighbourhood ready to succour them, if needed. The French, however, retreated in obedience to their King's orders, and on the plea that the Cardinal was bringing offers of peace.
Cardinal de Lorraine arrived here at Siena this morning. I received him well and have already held a conference with him. Tomorrow, on my leaving this city, where I have taken two days' rest, the Cardinal will most likely speak again on the road. I shall not fail to apprize you of the result. I do not choose to delay this post any more, because it is important that you should know as soon as possible that some offers have been made. In the meantime I am almost sure that the Count (Henri de Nassau) will traverse France in security and without any impediment.
You may be sure that if any honorable means can be found to put an end to the present war, I will do on my side all that is just and reasonable. Matters, however, are so far advanced that no great hopes can be entertained of a peaceful settlement. Meanwhile I am getting every day more and more prepared for any emergency. The 4,000 lanskenets from Germany are already on the road to Milan.
I calculate to reach Florence on Friday next.—Siena, 26 April 1536.
Signed: "Yo el Rey."
Countersigned: "Idiaquez."
Addressed: "To the Empress, our Lady."
Spanish. Original. Pp. 2.


1 "Que davoir daingne luy escripre, que nestoit que ung petit compaignon."
2 Pier Luigi Farnese.
3 "Et que par cc moyen se rappaiseroient les troubles et emotions de la dicte chrestiente et se convertiroient les forces dicelle ailleurs, et se pourroit venter (sic) le diet seigneur roy destre pater patriæ et pacis et voire [même] triumphateur de sa sanctite et de vostre maieste," &c.
4 "Et que sil estoit au lieu de vostre maieste il suriourneroit (sic sejourneroit) quelque temps environ Rome pour dissimuler les affaires pour arbitrer et donner opportunité aux françois dentrer bien avant en Italic avec leur puissance et richesses pour leur donner la bastonnade toute entiere et les garder de ruer çy apres comme vouldroit la raison."
5 "Questce quil feroit contre ceulx dont il auroit trop plus de prouffit que de sçavoir seulement quils eussent pouvoir de linvader."
6 "Tant il y a quil ne sçauroit faire son proffit de choses que luy aye dit."
7 "Et eatre autres le seigneur de Rochefort, frere de la concubine, au quel donnoy assez entendre que ne doubtoye quil neust aussi grand plaisir des choses quo se demenoient que nul autre, et quil y tiendroit main comme a chose redundante a honneur et proffit de tout le monde mais specialement de luy et des syens. Il me moutra fort grosee chiere, et ie dissimulay de mesmes avec luy, evitant toute occasion dentrer en plusieurs propoz lutheraniques dont il ne pouvoit se taire."
8 "Et quelle se fust entretenue au royaulme de Naples pour donner lamorse ceulx quen avoicnt besoing [et] pour les envelop per tant plus auant aux filetz.
9 "Ayant tousiours loyel aux mynes du dict roy et ceulx questoient avec luy, et la y eust de la dispute et courroux assez aigre comme il sembloit entre lo diet roy et cremuel, et apres un grand espace de temps le diet cremuel romphant et grandissant se partit du concave de la fenctre ou estoit le dict roy prenant excuse quil estoit faict altere quil nen pouvoit plus, comme aussi il lestoit vrayment et de pour enuyt, et se alla asseior sur un coffre hors de laspect du dit roy, et la se feit apporter a boyre."
10 "Quil me feit copper les oreilles que ie donnerais trop plus enuy que tous les ecripts du monde en cas quil y eust de la fiction du couste de vostre maieste."
11 "Et en ce disant le dict roy pour monstrer quil estoit praticque pour ce faire commença iouer du doiz sur ses genolz, et faire comme lon rappele et appaise les enfans."
12 "Pour entretenir les matieres, et ne donner occasion a ceulx cy de traiter ailleurs iay interprete les choses avec Cremuel tout de la meilleur part promectant," &c.
13 "Et eu asseurant a demy il me dit que celluy qui se fye a parolles des princes que ont leur dire et desdire, et que se promect aucune chose deulx il nest par trop saige."
14 "Et quil soit dit que en cas que pour lobstinacion de ce roy convienne proceder a la promulgacion de la privacion de ce royaulme, que le droit du royaulme soit entierement reserve a la dicte princesse sans prejudice quelconque ny de tiltre, ne de pretence quelle puist avoir nulle part, et ce pour obvier que la dicte princesse ne soit frustree et dampnifiee de la pension et pretension de France."
15 "Ou lassistence a vostre maieste pour la poursuite de ses quarelles iniur icuses ou autres, bien que pense que vostre maieste ny vouldra entendre."
16 "Et si daventure il est le plesir de vostre maieste de poursuivre le demene dyci il ne pourroit que servir de mercier par lectres le chancellier et le duc de Norphoc de leur bonne volunte, et les prier y continuer."
17 "Le dict parlement [qui] a dure par diverses prolongations dois le temps que suis yçi a la grande coustangeet fascherie de tout le royaume, a este conclud et dissolut, ayant premier[ement] par ung statut transfere lauctorite et pouvoir du dict parlement, ou tous les seigneurs tant ecclesiastiques que seculiers se trouvoient, et plus de trios cens seculiers de la part des communaultez, en la main de xxxii. personnaiges, telz que le dict roy vouldra eslire et choisir; quest lung des grans poinctz que le dict roy eust sçeu dusirer."
18 Lord William Howard.
19 That is Isabella Cibo, widow of Geo. Maria Varana, duke of Camerino, and their daughter Giulia, whose marriage to Guidobaldo della Rovere has been recorded. Part I., pp. 278, 292–3, 342.
20 Ennio Filonardo, bishop of Veroli.