July 1547, 16-31


Institute of Historical Research



Martin A. S. Hume and Royall Tyler (editors)

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'Spain: July 1547, 16-31', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9: 1547-1549 (1912), pp. 125-130. URL: Date accessed: 16 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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July 1547, 16–31

July 23. Simancas E 1193.Fernando de Gonzaga to the Emperor.
In a long letter in Italian of this date referring entirely to the project of the Emperor to obtain possession of Parma and Piacenza, it is made clear that the murder of Pier Luigi Farnese Duke of Castro, Piacenza and Parma, which is usually ascribed to Gonzaga personally, was committed with the knowledge and connivance of the Emperor. As the interest of the letter is purely Italian and unconnected with English affairs and the Reformation struggle it is not transcribed here. The terms arranged with the conspirators in Piacenza headed by Count Giovan Agostino, are appended to the letter. The city was to be offered to Gonzaga for the Emperor on a certain day, the offer to remain open for 24 hours only. Parma and the other territories of Pier Luigi were to be forced into obedience by the Emperor's troops under Gonzaga, the person of Pier Luigi was not to be “disposed of” by Gonzaga until the citadel had surrendered, and all homicides and other deeds of violence committed in carrying out the conspiracy were to be condoned. On the 8th August Gonzaga writes that the conspirators, to whom he had communicated the Emperor's approval, need the bridle more than the spur, though they are uneasy at the presence of Duke Ottavio Farnese, the Emperor's son-in-law in the town. Gonzaga advises them to defer the execution of the plot until Ottavio has left at the end of the month.
July 24. Vienna Imp. Arch.Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager.
Since receiving your Majesty's letters of the 3rd instant I have had an interview with the Protector, the purport of which I have thought necessary to convey to your Majesties. I therefore dispatch this special courier, and your Majesty will see by the copy of the letter I send to the Emperor all that has happened here.
London, 24 July, 1547.
July 24. Vienna Imp. Arch.Van der Delft to the Emperor.
I was summoned yesterday by the Protector, in order that he might give me an account of certain colloquies that had passed between him and the French Ambassador on the subject of the differences now existing: namely, the limits and fortifications at Boulogne, the amount of money due to the King of England from France, and the inclusion of the Scots in the treaty of peace.
With regard to the first points mentioned the King of France demanded that they should be settled in his presence, and that with this object the English should send Commissioners to France. This the Protector refused, having regard to the honour and prestige of his King, and maintained that the said point should be discussed by Commissioners on both sides, in accordance with the treaties in force, or else submitted to impartial arbitrators. The dispute went so far, owing to the construction of the wall at Boulogne harbour by the English, that the French Ambassador declared plainly that the annual pension paid by France to this country would not be so promptly forthcoming.
With regard to the inclusion of the Scots in the treaty, the Protector repeated the arguments so often brought forward by the English on other occasions, to the effect that all their agreements must be without prejudice to the existing treaties with your Majesty: they having been expressly reserved in the treaty with the French. The Protector, however, finally said that he would be satisfied if they would send to your Majesty to learn your wishes on the matter, as without your consent and satisfaction they neither could nor would agree to anything. To this the French Ambassador had made no other reply but that he would communicate what the Protector said to his master the King.
The Protector then told me that since this interview he had received news that the Scots, to the number of eighteen thousand men with seven thousand savages in addition, had entered the King of England's territory and had captured the place he had mentioned to me previously. This place, he said, was not at all strong or commodious to fortify, but had nevertheless withstood several canon shots. (fn. 1) As it had been taken by the King of England since the signing of the treaty of alliance the matter did not touch your Majesty if the Scots went no farther than they had already done. In case they did, however, your Majesty well knew the obligation that rested upon you (fn. 2) and he (the Protector) begged me to give notice to your Majesty. I said it was very early days yet for that matter, and probably your Majesty yourself would think so. He then said: “Well, I will tell you the secret so that you may communicate it to the Emperor. As the Scots are not fulfilling the treaties they have with us, and have never ceased to injure both the subjects of the Emperor and ours, besides which they have now attacked us again, we have decided to go against them both by land and sea, and we are in hope of being able to avoid the necessity of troubling the Emperor or asking him to provide us with the aid stipulated by the treaties.” He added that for the purpose of dealing with the French galleys that had gone up to Scotland he had already twenty-four well armed ships, fully equipped, which would sail very shortly to take up their position either at the mouth of the Forth leading to Edinburgh or else at Saint Andrews, which still holds out for the King of England, and thus to prevent the French galleys from getting out so easily as they got in.
They (the English) have already there all the needful stores for their camp, and have resolved that their force shall consist only of men of their own nation near the Scottish border: but the cavalry, which will consist of about four thousand horse, will be raised principally in the neighbourhood of London. The Protector told me in confidence that although the Earl of Warwick was amply sufficient a personage for this enterprise, he (Somerset) had nevertheless decided to be present in person, with the hope that by God's blessing he would be able to perform such a service as should assure this country for the future against both Scots and French in that direction.
Sire; in the course of the long conversation that passed between us he declared to me emphatically that he plainly perceived the intention of the King of France to be, not only to help the Scots, but rather to bring them into entire subjection to him: for the Protector assured me that it was quite true that the French had demanded that the two principal fortresses of Scotland should be delivered to them, to which demand, however, no reply had yet been received by them from the Governor (i.e. the Regent Arran). “Besides,” he said, “You well know Bishop Paniter who was here as Scottish Ambassador and is now in France. We know him too, and how artful he is. But nevertheless I am certain that when he begged for assistance the King of France replied that he had already spent large sums of money upon them (the Scots) for which up to the present he had not seen any result, and he had found great difficulties raised to his demand. The galleys, moreover, he (Somerset) said, had left port for Scotland before Paniter had been informed of it. When I expressed doubt as to the probability of this the Protector said. “You need not hesitate to believe it: I am as certain of the truth of what I say as that you and I are here together; and you can well consider from this what the real object of the French is, namely to set their foot firmly in Scotland, which will not be to the advantage of the Emperor's dominions or ours. For this reason it is necessary for us to be beforehand with them, and stop their proceedings in such a way that, however much they may attempt in future to interfere there they may not find means to succeed in their object, or even to be able to give assistance to the Scots if they want to do so.”
I have thought Sire that it was advisable to give your Majesty with all speed an account of this conversation.
It is not known here yet that the Protector will go with the army in person, and he will not leave before the end of August; so that your Majesty will doubtless consider whether it is desirable that something should be said to him before his departure as it may be supposed that all business will be suspended during his absence.
People here are very enthusiastic about this war and every one is busy in trying to take part in it. I plainly perceive that they have no doubt that the French will make war upon them at the first opportunity but they appear to be very cheerful.
The changes in religion are proceeding more modestly than hitherto.
Madam Mary has not yet started for the North country and it appears to me that she has no desire to hasten her journey.
With regard to the man sent hither by the Duke of Ferrara, I have been able to discover nothing about his negotiations, except that he has come for the purpose of renewing the amity, and also to learn the state and condition of the Boulognais, in which by reason of his wife (fn. 3) the duke will have some interest.
London, 24 July, 1547.
July 27. Vienna Imp. Arch.Van der Delft to the Emperor.
Just at the moment I had sent to Hampton Court for a passport for the letters I had written to your Majesty, one of the secretaries of the Council came to me, sent by the Protector to inform me that the English Ambassador in France had written that, having requested audience for the purpose of fulfilling his instructions respecting the questions at issue between them, he had received from the Constable a reply on behalf of the King, to the effect that there was nothing more to be said about it, and that the King would insist positively upon the matter of the five hundred thousand crowns mentioned in the treaties being settled in his presence; and as for the annual payment he meant to suspend it and would make no further payment on that account until Boulogne was restored to him.
With regard to the first of these points the Secretary of the Council told me, the Protector and the English Council were absolutely disinclined to listen to it; both in order to safeguard the prestige of their master and to fulfil their treaty rights. The suspension of the annual payment by the King of France he said, moreover, plainly exhibited the wrong that the French were inflicting upon them; and it was clearly evident to them (the English Council) that peace could not be very long maintained between them, although they themselves had given no occasion for war, and would give none. They begged me to advise your Majesty of all this, in the confident conviction that you would always remain their true defender and friend of their young King, whose childish years perhaps were the real reason of these menaces on the part of the French.
I understand from the secretary that the galleys (i.e. of the French) were before Saint Andrews, and much haste is being made here for the departure of the ships. The assembly of the Scottish forces, it appears, could not be maintained any longer owing to the lack of victuals, and at present the number of men in the field did not exceed some ten thousand. They had razed the place they had captured.
With respect to the number of troops these people (the English) will have, so far as I can understand, it will not exceed sixteen thousand, inclusive of about four thousand horse and a good force of harquebussiers; whilst about three thousand fighting men will be carried in the ships. They think that this force will suffice for the exploit they aim at, knowing, as they do, that the Scots hurried into this enterprise because they were quite convinced that they ran no risk from this quarter. These people (the English) will take care not to leave their own country undefended in view of the necessity that may come to them from elsewhere.
London, 27 July, 1547. (fn. 4)
Postscript.—Sire: By the man whom I sent to Hampton Court for the passport for the letters, the Protector has sent me word that he has received news that during the last ten days the Scots have captured seventeen vessels, Spanish, Flemish and English.
July 30. Vienna Imp. Arch.The Queen Dowager to Van der Delft.
We have received your letters of 10th instant, informing us of the concession you have obtained in the matter of the Flemish subjects who claim the restitution of their estates situate in the Boulognais, and who took no part on the side of France during the last war, the restitution being promised on condition that the owners do homage and take the customary oaths of fidelity, it being also provided that the claimants must not pretend to more than they possessed and enjoyed previous to the war.
You have done excellently in this matter, and we are much obliged to you for it. Please also thank the Protector on our behalf for the concession. The only thing now remaining is to put the promise into execution; and for the restoration of the estates to be carried out it seems necessary that the order for this to be done should take the form of Royal Letters Patent under the Great Seal of England, or by Act addressed to the English Government of the Boulognais, as otherwise the authorities there will have good reason for pretending ignorance of the concession and refusing to make the restitution to the owners of the estates they claim. You will therefore endeavour to obtain such Letters Patent or Acts, in order to avoid the raising of any difficulty on the spot when the claims are presented. We, for our part, will take the necessary measures to prevent any of the subjects here from demanding any other property but that which they enjoyed previous to the late war.
If the Protector again addresses you on the subject of the English cloistered churchmen who have taken refuge here, but not otherwise, you may point out to him unofficially and as if of your own motion, that it is permitted here for anyone who likes to enter a monastery and embrace a religious life. If any person does this he is not regarded a delinquent, a criminal or a rebel, but on the contrary is praised and held up as an example for having followed the ancient traditions of the Church which we here profess. If therefore, they (the English Government) wish to make this a pretext for requesting us to deliver up these persons as rebels and criminals, and should claim by virtue of the treaties that they should be surrendered or expelled as such, you may say that it is probable that they would not be so regarded here, and consequently would not be held to be included in the clauses referring to the surrender of criminals in the treaty. You will see how the Protector takes this, and let us know.
You will do your best to confirm him in his trust of the Emperor, saying in general terms that he will find in the future no falling away on the Emperor's part in the due observance of the treaties and good neighbourship, as in past there has been none.
Buichs, 30 July, 1547.


1 Probably Langholme is the place referred to as the re-capture of that place was one of Somerset's excuses for his invasion of Scotland.
2 By the treaty of 1543 between Henry VIII and the Emperor both parties were bound to help each other to a specified extent and for a limited time in the case of any of the dominions then held by either of them being invaded by a third party. As the portion of the Lowlands of Scotland then held by the enemies of Mary of Guise and the Regent Arran with the aid of the English had been occupied by the latter subsequent to the treaty of 1543, the Emperor was not bound to aid Somerset if the Scots invaded it, but if the Scots crossed the English border the terms of the treaty became operative upon Charles V.
3 The celebrated Renee of France, the Protestant daughter of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany married to the Duke of Ferrara.
4 In the same parcel as the above letter is another in very similar terms of same date addressed by Van der Delft to the Queen Dowager of Hungary. As the variants between the two letters are merely verbal the latter despatch is not transcribed here.