Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1535 Volume 8
826. Chapuys to Charles V.
After the two first communications between the deputies of these two Kings, lord Rochford left Calais, and arrived here on the 25th ult. Before speaking to the King he went to the Lady, his sister, and conversed with her a long time.
He could not have brought back from Calais anything agreeable to himself; for, as I am told by the Grand Esquire, both then and several times since she has been in a bad humour, and said a thousand shameful words of the king of France, and generally of the whole nation.
On the 25th and on the 27th, Corpus Christi Day, the King and his Council were exceedingly busy, consulting, as it is supposed, on the message brought by Rochford, and were unable to dissemble their great dissatisfaction.
The French ambassador has had his share of dissatisfaction also, because Rochford did not bring him any news, and because he was not called to Court, although on Corpus Christi Day he waited at Cromwell's lodging till 10 at night, expecting that Cromwell would return from Court and tell him the news. Indeed, Cromwell himself informs me he dispatched him in two words, [the second of which was off,] and he left greatly dissatisfied.
On the 28th Cromwell came twice to my lodging, not having found me the first time; and, anxious and troubled as he showed himself, he told me that when the French came to Calais they began by protesting that they would not speak of war, and they continued this language till Rochford left; but afterwards, as the duke of Norfolk wrote, they entirely changed their tone, and were very desirous of war.
He said he would not specify in what quarter; not withstanding he immediately observed to me that it was for Milan. Further, in the way of confidence, Cromwell showed me a writing, which, he said, had been enclosed in a letter sent to him by the admiral of France, although it bore no signature or appearance of being an inclosure. He allowed me to read it in full. The purport was that Francis, having carefully examined the question of the validity of the two marriages of the king of England, found the first unlawful and the other valid, and promised to defend the latter, and procure revocation of the sentence given to the contrary by the Holy See.
On reading it I smiled, and said the French knew well what they were doing, and did not promise things without knowing for how much an ell, and, having obtained what they wanted, knew how to wash their hands of their promises. And for this they had several means sufficiently apparent, especially as there would be time enough, before they were called on to fulfil their promises. I added that since the said king of France had taken so much trouble in examining matrimonial questions, this King had no occasion to send lately to Calais; and that, having the promise of such a prince as the king of France, who is not only so great but allied to the Queen, this King, who alleged the fear that princes entertained of the kindred and affinity of your Majesty, ought to make no difficulty in submitting to the determination of the Council. To this he made no reply. In truth I should doubt that the said writing had been drawn up by the English, who want to impute it to the king of France, for otherwise it would not agree with what a very good person has sent to inform the Princess, i.e. that the French insisted on having her for the Dauphin; and this is said commonly at the lodging of the French ambassador. It seems the more probable from what the King said lately, that the Admiral had written on his arrival at Calais, that there was nothing so true as that your Majesty had previously offered them the said Princess.
As to what Cromwell said to me about war against Milan, I told him that it was not likely that Francis would disturb your Majesty's holy enterprise; that the conquest of Milan was more difficult than it had ever been; that the French professed that they meant to keep treaties; and that, even if Francis did conquer Milan, he would have more need of your Majesty's friendship to keep it than he had now, and that he would refuse no condition for that purpose. This I said that they might not imagine you would be moved by such menaces to do whatever they wished. I used every means I could to ascertain the conditions asked in return for the aforesaid offers; and, among other things, I asked him if the French did not require hostages, seeing that the girl was still young, or a cessation of their pensions in the meantime. He said as to the first nothing had been said; as to the second, "Yes, indeed!" en grondissant, without saying more; but next day he added that if the French wanted to cheat them of their pension (ses jouoyent de vouloir avoir leur pension) they would presently have "la passion," i.e. war. I talked about hostages, because I had been told that the French demanded the Princess as a hostage. To give me to understand that there was no fear of the French not complying with all their demands, Cromwell told me they would never think of doing otherwise, seeing they were excluded from the friendship of all other princes, and that they had lost all hope on the side of Germany, and did not know how they stood with the Swiss. I confirmed all that he said, saying that as God had given him so much sense and intelligence it would be the more shame to him if he did not know how to use successfully such an opportunity.
This I said to him for the mystery which your Majesty will very well understand. Afterwards he told me that, notwithstanding the offers made to them by the French, if there appeared any hope of a renewal of amity with your Majesty the French should have a very short answer, although they always wished to preserve the friendship of the French, and that, awaiting news from your Majesty, he had caused the said Rochford to stay here, to the great regret of the French admiral; and finally, hoping for some good fruit of the things we had discussed together, he would take care that Rochford did not return so soon to Calais, and especially that nothing was treated to the disadvantage of your Majesty or to the hindrance of the new alliance; telling me what their ambassador in France had notified to the King his master, that Likerke, having heard the answer to the overtures made on behalf of your Majesty, had sent to you in haste, and hoped for a favourable answer, provided that your Majesty had not left Barcelona before the 26th ult.; and that this King and those of his Council (who were, in this matter, at their wits' end) desired that meanwhile I would consider the terms and means for this noble and necessary work, the restoration of amity, giving me to understand that I could do it very well, and better than the whole of them, and that I would in this show myself a good and true counsellor of the King.
To encourage them in these communications, I did not insist that there was no other means than that which was indicated in the said overtures, but told Cromwell, after excusing my insufficiency, that I would give it full consideration; but that I did not see as yet how they understood matters, seeing that there was no amendment in the treatment of the Queen and Princess, and that the King his master always showed himself colder than he had done heretofore; and that I remembered that when the earl of Wiltshire went in embassy towards your Majesty, the duke of Norfolk declared that this King was ready to make himself, so to speak, a slave of your Majesty if you would consent to the divorce; and that to get rid of the blame and doubt that might be attached to it, the King, for the service of God and benefit of all Christendom, would have been glad to spend part of his goods; and now that the cause was settled at Rome, and they ought to make greater offers, I did not see that stricter alliances ought to be spoken of.
Moreover, the last time I spoke to the King his master, when I alluded to his predecessors, who had formerly conquered Rhodes and done a thousand brave things in the conquest of the Holy Land, saying that he also was able to do like them, he had made me a very cold answer, that he had not the same advantage as his predecessors, who were nearer at hand because they held Guienne. Nevertheless I had not cared to inform your Majesty of this answer, but rather of what the King his master had affirmed publicly, not only to the admiral of France, but also to several of his company, viz., that the money that he took and meant to take from churchmen he intended to apply against the Infidels or in some other pious works. Cromwell answered, that as soon as he had some hope of this re-establishment of cordiality, the Queen and Princess would be most favourably treated; and that, with regard to what the King had said to me, that it was too far to send against the Infidels, the King remembered very well having said it, as the King himself had lately told him; but one must not think too much of that, but rather believe that, matters being accommodated, he is as ready to go in person against the Infidels as anyone in the world, and would moreover bring a very great company, for he had taken measures to get an inestimable treasure, as Cromwell assured me that, besides what he had received from the benefices which he has bestowed since January last, he had bonds for more than full payment, which amounted to more than 500,000 ducats; and, to be frank, his master had become very greedy, and unless some other way were found to spend his money he would collect in his treasure all the money of the kingdom, to the great injury of private persons.
Moreover, not only England, but also Flanders and France, were sore about the money which the King his master spent in his wars with France, and for this reason he and the other counsellors wished to find means to make him spend it for the general good, thinking this would also moderate his greediness. Cromwell also told me that the German of whom I lately wrote was sent hither by the duke of Mecklenburg, and that for his despatch he had given him a letter of credence to the said Duke, and the present which the King had ordered to be given him for his trouble in coming, but had never wished to speak with him. He also told me that the secretary of Lubeck was despatched at the same time, as the King would no longer trouble himself with the business of the Lubeckers, which could not go on well, seeing that the town was divided into three parties. The King afterwards told me that he did not properly know whether the said German was despatched (uyde, qu. vuidé?), and he immediately changed the subject of conversation.
On Saturday, 29th ult., I received your letters of the 10th, with those addressed to the King. I immediately informed Cromwell, who would have liked me to go and present them at Court next day, but I excused myself, saying I required to take medicine. I did so because everybody is at Court on Sunday, and most of those present, seeing me present letters from your Majesty, would have been easily induced by those about the King to believe that your Majesty was reconciled to the said King, and treated the interests of the Queen and Princess as secondary. I presented the letters on Monday after dinner. The King received me most kindly, and, after reading them, asked me if I had any other news. I said only that your Majesty had commanded that his ambassador and that of France, for their greater convenience, should have a galley. At which he showed great pleasure, saying he was surprised that his ambassador had not mentioned it in letters of the 12th. After these and other conversations, the King spoke about the news received of the defeat of the Turk by the Sophi, saying he considered all that I had published to be fables, and that he had heard the contrary, both from Venice and from France and Spain; moreover, that it was not likely such a powerful prince could have been subdued by the Sophi, and that, even if the Turk had lost two or three hundred thousand men, he would not feel it, he was so rich and powerful.
Not content with asserting this as if it had been certain, to show his inclination he told me that many were much deceived in thinking that it would be easy to conquer the countries held by the Turk in Europe, supposing that there were some Christians in those countries; which was a lie, for he was told by many of his subjects who traded there that if there had been any Christians in Coron or thereabout it might have been much more easily kept. I replied that as to the news of the Turk, they had come from so many quarters that there must be some truth in them; and whether they were true or not was needless to debate; and that I was sure, whatever he said, that he wished the said Turk to be defeated, knowing well that the matter concerned not only your Majesty but all Christian princes; and for the rest, whoever informed him that there was not a Christian in Greece deserved to be very well punished; and as to the loss of Coron, I told him what your Majesty was pleased to write to me, adding that, if there had been no other cause for it, it was owing to the fact that many men and even princes said it would be a useless irritation of the Turk. To this he did not know what to answer, but went on to speak of the quadrireme of your Majesty with 27 benches, saying he would make one with 100 benches, and in a shape unknown to prince André Doria. I asked how many oars he would allow to each bench; and he replied, one, insisting obstinately that in a galley there could not and ought not to be more than one oar to each bench. He was, in short, for the time, quite fixed in paradoxes. The King made a great deal of these legions which had been raised in France, and of the fortifications the French were daily making on their frontiers, saying that the said legions had been principally appointed for the keeping of the kingdom in case the king of France should be occupied in Italy or elsewhere, and that the said ordinance had been projected at the interview in Calais. He spoke also of the unrivalled fortification which he has constructed at Calais, and of that which he has begun at Dover, with the most triumphant air imaginable; which words only caused me to give the greater faith to what has been reported to the Princess, that the King was reckoning that if he were left in peace this summer, winter would secure him, and that next summer he hoped to be provided in such fashion that he need fear no one.
The King also told me that your Majesty had thought it better to go to Naples than to Tunis, and that the latter was too great a risk to your person, on whom so much depended. Perceiving that he avoided speaking of the proposed negotiations, I touched upon them myself, saying I had no doubt that Cromwell had informed him of our conversations, and therefore I would only say that he would find your Majesty fully inclined to listen to any proposed alliance as far as honor and conscience would allow. He then told me he wished he could be assured of being able to make arrangements with your Majesty, and in confidence of some favorable answer he had detained Rochford, but that he could not keep him longer, for the Admiral was in despair from the great delay, and that the French bragged that they meant to make war on the duchy of Milan, and pressed him strongly to join the dance; to which he had refused to listen. He wished also to make me believe that what the Pope was doing against the duke of Urbino was not without an understanding with the French; and on my showing him, by the reasons I had declared to Cromwell, and other arguments, that it was not likely the French would move war, he said to me that the truth might be anything (que tout pouvoit estre); nevertheless, they (the French?) expressed it as above. Hereupon he asked me what the cardinal of Liege was doing, and if the duke of Gueldres was on good terms with your Majesty (estoit bien de vre. Mate); and on my telling him that I knew nothing but good, he said the French boasted that the said Duke had revoked all the treaties made with your Majesty, and intended to make the king of France his heir; and though it would be difficult for Francis to take possession of the duchy, it would be always a matter of contention.
I told him that as your Majesty held the country of Utrecht and Over Yssel, the duke of Gueldres had no mind to be fractious ((regipper, qu. regimber?), and in order to be paid some arrears the Duke will have advanced the said practises. The King replied that if other news did not come from your Majesty he feared he could not avoid treating with the French. I said that as they were both princes of virtue and honor, it was not to be feared that they would treat matters in prejudice of the treaties made with your Majesty. At which reply he remained astonished, thinking I was going to beg him to break off their negotiations, and give him some hope of obtaining from your Majesty what he demanded.
As to what your Majesty wrote to me about gaining time with the English, and keeping up practises skilfully during the assembly at Calais and the voyage of your Majesty, I will take all possible pains; likewise to reply in conformity with your Majesty's letters, if I am asked about the disturbances in Ireland, without forgetting to inquire about means of carrying away the Princess. She and the Queen, her mother, have been much consoled by hearing of the prosperity of your Majesty, and of the thought you have given to their affairs, for which they do not cease to pray God for your welfare.
I forgot to write that, having occasion to speak of the marriage of duke Frederic, Palatine, he said he wondered what title he meant to take in the kingdom of Denmark; for, since that kingdom was elective, his wife could make no pretension thereto. I said that if the Duke desired to obtain the kingdom he had a better title than those of Lubeck, doing everything as administrator for his father-in-law; and in elective kingdoms the election commonly does not take place when there is issue capable of succeeding.
He kept silence.
Cromwell told me that if the King's lady knew the freedom with which we conversed together she would procure some trouble, and that only three days ago they had had words together, and that she had said she would like to see his head cut off, but he had such confidence in the King, his master, that he thought she could do nothing to him. I suspect he invented this to raise the value of his goods; for I told him all the world regarded him as her right hand, although I am informed on good authority that the said lady does not cease night or day to procure the disgrace of the duke of Norfolk, whether it be because he has spoken too freely of her or because Cromwell, desiring to lower the great ones, wishes to commence with him.
About a score of Dutch Anabaptists have been taken here, of whom 13 have been condemned to the fire, and will be burnt in different parts of the kingdom, as the King and Cromwell have informed me. The others, who have been reconciled to the Church, will be sent into Flanders to the Queen to be dealt with as seems right. London, 5 June 1535.
Anne wants Cromwell's head off below
Anne wants Cromwell's head off