European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies to 1648

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

17.
Articles concluded between France and Portugal at Lyons, July 14, 1536.

INTRODUCTION.

As early as 1512 King Ferdinand of Spain complained that the King of Portugal sheltered in his ports French vessels lying in wait for the Spanish ships from the West Indies.1 A few years later the French corsairs became a terrible plague to both Spanish and Portuguese mariners, who in turn made reprisals on French shipping.2 When the Emperor and Francis I. renewed war in 1536, they both desired the friendship of Portugal, situated near the pathway of their ocean commerce. Portugal, fearing the overgrown power of the Emperor, needing the good-will of the French in order that her spice-fleet might sail safely to Flanders,3 and hoping that the French king

____________________
1
C. Fernández Duro, Armada Española ( 1895- 1903), tom. I., app. 14, pp. 420, 421. Later complaints, which throw light on the meaning of the articles of Lyons, are printed in Cal. St. Pap., Spain, 1538- 1542, vol. VI., pt. I., p. 294, and in T. Buckingham Smith, Coleccion de Varios Documentos para la Historia de la Florida ( 1857), I. 116, translated in J. P. Baxter, Memoir of Jacques Cartier ( 1906), p. 359.

"I see . . . . no chance for the present of the Portuguese consenting to join their fleet to that of the Emperor, and should the war with France break out . . . . I fear these people will do everything they can to keep neutral, though on the other hand, should the Emperor put some pressure upon them they will hardly dare to decide for the French.

"If a vessel from France happens to meet with bad weather at sea she makes for the coasts of this kingdom, shelters and takes in provisions. The same thing they do as if they were the friends and confederates of Portugal in the lands and territories which this king has on the other side, such as the Terceiras and the island of Madeira, and there prowl about for Spanish vessels returning from the Indies. Should it be known and published that these Portuguese are the friends and allies of the Emperor, the French would not venture on such expeditions." Cal. St. Pap., Spain, loc. cit.

In 1541 in a "Statement of what was agreed upon in the Council of the Indies in regard to the fleet to be fitted out to resist that of the French which is said to have set out for the Indies the following passage occurs: "The most important thing to provide for at present, it seems, is that your Majesty ask the Most Serene King of Portugal not to allow the French ships to take shelter in any of the ports of his kingdom or in the Azores; and that if they should enter port they be treated as enemies of your Majesty and his enemies too, since it is well known that for no other purpose can they sail in that sea than to do injury to your Majesty and his Highness; and that with reference to this matter there should, on your Majesty's part, be shown the king of Portugal all the urgency the case demands." J. P. Baxter, loc. cit.

2
For accounts of the French corsairs in the early years of the sixteenth century, see Ch. de La Roncère, La Marine Fronçaise, III. ( 1906) 243 ff.; Fernández Duro, op. cit., tom. I., C. 15; Guénin, Ango et ses Pilotes; Paul Gaffarel, "Jean Ango" in the Bulletin of the Société Normande de Géographie, tom. XI. ( 1889) ; G. Marcel, Les Corsaires Français au XVIe Siècle dans les Antilles ( 1902).
3
Cal. St. Pap., Spain, 1536- 1538, p. 318. Cf. Doc. 15, introduction, note 8.

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