21 June 1496 – Henry VII to the Archduke’s Council

Most clear and good friends, since our other letters that we wrote to you by our subject John Pickering, touching the agreement newly made in your countries about the woollen cloths which our subjects merchants convey or cause to be conveyed thither out of this our kingdom, we have been again duly informed that, notwithstanding the treaty and appointment lately made and concluded between us and the ambassadors of our cousin the archduke, our said subjects merchants are daily compelled to pay the florin with the cross of St. Andrew on each piece of cloth, or deliver sufficient security for the provision thereof; that their cloths are even unpacked and sealed with a leaden seal ordained by our said cousin and his council for this purpose, and taken by force and violence and removed from their booths ; and, moreover, when the officers engaged in this matter know where the said cloths are, they go and shut them up with two or three locks, because they will not consent to pay the said florin ; which things are directly contrary to our said treaty and appointment, and to the very great prejudice and injury of all our said subjects frequenting the said countries there. We being much surprised how among you will suffer and tolerate such novelties to be imposed on our subjects, seeing that it is expressly said by our said treaty, that nothing new shall be imposed upon them otherwise than has been the custom for fifty years past ; but they should by the same our treaty be as well and favourably received in the said countries of our said cousin the archduke as they ever were.

And therefore, most dear and good friends, we pray you that you will put other order in the matter, and see our said subjects merchants to be treated according to the contents of our said treaty, and inform us at this time truly by writing of that which shall be done and ordained hereupon, to the end that we may know how we should conduct ourselves further for the good and surety of our said subjects merchants, for we could not suffer them to be otherwise treated than is said and concluded between our said cousin the archduke and us. And so, most dear and good friends. our Lord have you all in his good keeping.

Written in our manor of Shene, the 21st day of June, the year ’96.

Signed: Henry R.

Source – Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII (ed. J. Gairdner, London, 1863)