Spain: April 1522, 16-30

Pages 124-132

Calendar of State Papers, Spain: Further Supplement To Volumes 1 and 2, Documents From Archives in Vienna. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1947.

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April 1522, 16-30

16 April.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Charles V to Henry VIII.
I am sorry that, for the reasons you know of, I am unable to be with you for the Feast of St. George. I had intended then to beg you to bestow your Order of the Garter on Sir Richard Wingfield, thus filling the place left by the death of Sir Edward Poynings, and rewarding Wingfield for his great virtues and the loyalty toward you which I have found in him and for his faithful services. If I could be with you on St. George's Day I would give Wingfield my voice. I beg you to bestow your order on him, and to permit him to accept the pension which I am assigning him, which is the same as Poynings formerly received.
16 April, 1522.
Contemporary draft. French.
19 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
We wrote you last on the 15th, by special courier. The next day Wolsey and Henry sent to request our presence at court the day following. On the 17th, then, we waited on Wolsey, who was in council, and discussed many matters, the four principal heads of which we wish to report at once. First, in the presence of six most secret councillors, Wolsey told us that his spies reported Francis was diligently preparing a great fleet, and, although its object could not be learned, it seemed likely that it was intended to prevent the junction of the English and Spanish fleets, which would be the only French hope of controlling the sea. The French, he thinks, will try to encounter one or the other of the fleets before they can unite, since the united fleets will amount to about 20,000 fighting men, Spanish, English, and the German infantry you are taking to Spain, a force which might easily destroy the French navy, at sea or in port, and make a serious invasion of France. Therefore, the French appear to be making strenuous efforts to fit out their ships and provide them with victuals and fighting men, of which they have a sufficient number. Although the French fleet may total 150 sail, they will have only eight or ten great ships, and the English do not much esteem them. It is heard they will be ready in about twenty days.
Second, Wolsey said he heard from a source close to the French king, and to which Wolsey lent, if not absolute credence, at least a certain weight, that Francis intended, as soon as you set sail for Spain, and the English and Flemish coasts were bare of armed ships, to make an attack on Zeeland. Half the French fleet is to hold the Straits of Dover to prevent English action, and the other half will descend on Zeeland, which will be easy enough, unless we are prepared to oppose them. Wolsey and the council suggest that, as soon as the Spanish fleet joins the English, the combined fleets ought to place themselves off Brest, where the whole French fleet will be gathered. The French will not dare offer battle, and so will be held helpless, while your majesty may proceed safely to Spain with the ships from Flanders. If this seems too risky a course, they advise that the combined fleets accompany your majesty only to within sight of the Spanish coast, returning thence as quickly as possible to guard the sea. We expressed the opinion that these matters could be settled more conveniently while your majesty was in England, but Henry and Wolsey wish you to be informed, at least, of this plan.
The third and principal suggestion of Wolsey's was that, besides the ships you are bringing with you from Flanders, your majesty should have some great ships fitted out in Holland and place aboard them 4,000 fighting men with provisions for two months. Henry will raise an equal additional force. With this strength added to the rest of the navy, the French could be attacked and their entire fleet destroyed while your majesty is in England, so that Francis will never in his lifetime again have a fleet capable of serious action. In addition, ten or twelve thousand men could be landed in Normandy or Brittainy which are weakly defended, where they could devastate the country, and perhaps take some castles. It seems to all the English that such a victory would enable your majesty to enter Spain with great prestige, and that it need not be very expensive, for they estimate that the additional cost would not be above 40,000 crowns on each side, half to find the ships and half to pay the men. In the end such a victory would mean a great saving for, with the command of the sea assured by the destruction of the French fleet, a large naval force could in future be dispensed with and the French king would be half ruined since his subjects, impoverished by the loss of their seaborne commerce, would be unable to grant him large supplies. Meanwhile your majesty and the king of England would be lords of the sea. We asked where the money was to come from. Wolsey said that was really a small matter. It would be enough to pay the soldiers for a month in advance, and the pillage of the French towns and the capture of their fleet would more than recompense the whole cost. The French fleet alone, with the equipment on it, is worth ten times as much money. Henry and Wolsey are very keen for this scheme, although they are willing to put off the final decision until you reach here. Once it is decided on, they hold it as good as accomplished. They say it is the true way to subjugate the French, and that it need not delay your voyage to Spain by a single hour.
Fourth, If your majesty is willing to agree to this plan, the king of England offers to declare war on the French as soon as you put foot in England, instead of waiting for a month as the treaty provides. If the plan pleases you, he urges you to order the necessary ships in Holland at once, and make all preparations without delay, since in an enterprise of this sort there are two prime requisites : speed and secrecy.
If a truce is concluded all these plans, of course, will be suspended. In spite of what we wrote your majesty, the French ambassador's first proposal to Wolsey was that Francis would be willing to make a truce on both sides of the Alps, provided Milan were restored. Henry refused abruptly, saying that he would not even communicate to your majesty a proposal which he knew you were too wise to accept. Wolsey thinks the French will not return to their first idea, that is to leave Italy at war. Apropos of the new naval plans, Wolsey said Henry would not be disappointed if you were obliged to delay your departure eight or ten days to arrange matters. He begs your majesty to order the Spanish fleet to make a junction with the English as soon as possible. The council thinks this should be at Dartmouth rather than at Falmouth. Wolsey added that he would be heart-broken if so great a concentration of forces did not perform some notable exploit.
Since to-day is Holy Saturday we shall write no more than is necessary, but we wish to repeat that Wolsey and Henry both seem very favourably disposed toward your majesty, judging both by what we have ourselves observed and by information from secret sources. Your letters of the 12th have just arrived. The delay in your arrival is taken in very good part. The English will not lend the duke of Milan 50,000 ducats. Wolsey says that if Henry could spare them he would rather lend them to your majesty, and the best we could get from him was that you might use 50,000 of the 100,000 you have here, for the duke if you pleased.
It is really very desirable that the bonds for Wolsey's pension should be dispatched at once ; he is content that they should be conditional upon the failure of the French payments. I, De Mesa, am writing more fully to Lalemand about this matter.
The English ambassador in France writes from Lyons April 12th, that the duke of Milan is in Milan, at which Francis is very chagrined ; the French intend to besiege Pavia, and there is great mourning in France for the many nobles killed at Novarra. Against the advice of his whole council Francis wishes to go to Milan, where it is reported your majesty has 50,000 men. It does not seem that he can be ready to start in less than forty days. He has recalled the 12,000 infantry whom he had in Picardy.
London, 19 April.
Contemporary translation. French. pp. 8.
23 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
We should have liked to reply earlier to your majesty's letters of April 16th which Anthoine de Bedia brought on Easter Eve, but on account of the Easter festivities we were unable to see Henry or Wolsey until Tuesday. We saw Henry on that day, and presented all the points in your letters, adding arguments of our own. Henry replied in general with assurances that his devotion to your majesty was unchanged, and that he intended to do more for you than ever before. Among many other pleasant things he said : "I am certain that the emperor has always been able to know by my deeds and words, both during his minority and afterwards, the cordial love I bear him. Now that there is greater need, I wish it to appear more fully. To show it without delay I am sending Sir Richard Wingfield, who is fully instructed in everything and will inform the emperor how we hold his affairs. I have no doubt the emperor will be pleased with what Wingfield has to tell him."
We are satisfied that Henry really intends to declare war on France, and is anxious for your co-operation. For instance, he asked what we thought you would do if the French refused any truce, and we replied that, in that case, you would be willing to make peace rather than expose yourself to manifest perils. Henry said : "I can see no possibility of a satisfactory peace, since it is unlikely that the French would agree to anything except the terms of Noyon which the emperor would not accept. Even if they would forgo these conditions, it is incredible that they would not stipulate that the emperor should not marry my daughter, to which neither he nor I could possibly agree. So, if a truce fails, peace will probably fail also." We replied, in accordance with your majesty's instructions, that then it would be necessary to consider other measures to meet the grave difficulties set forth in your letters, which we explained at length, and to lighten the burdens which you could no longer bear without assistance. Henry replied, at once and frankly : "Certainly it is just for the emperor to have recourse to us, and for us to procure him an honourable peace or truce, or else provide for his necessities. I shall never permit him to lose anything in either event, and it is indeed necessary that I assist him in one way or the other. If, however, I declare war on France immediately, and the emperor, for lack of money, is not able to assist me, either we should both be compelled to seek truce from the French in a short time, or I should have to bear the burden of war alone, which I could not do for long. Also, after my declaration, I should no longer be in a position to act as mediator. What do you think of that?" We replied that your instructions did not contemplate such a contingency, and went on to say that an immediate declaration of war would so distract the French that your majesty would be able to finish matters in Italy, which, once it was pacified, would be a fountain of gold to provide for the continuance of the war. The declaration alone, we said, would be a great blow to French prestige, and would make your majesty's subjects more eager to serve you in Spain, in Flanders, and in Italy, and thus it would not be we, but the French who would have to ask for a truce and who would be glad to have Henry as mediator, even though he had been their enemy. The king replied : "I do not believe they will ever do that, for from the hour I declare myself we shall be perpetually enemies." Further discussion of this point was referred to your majesty's conversations with Wingfield.
Henry and Wolsey both said that it was not fitting that your majesties, being both at war against the French, should not make them feel at once the weight of your enmity, especially since it would now be easy to destroy the entire French fleet. Yesterday reports received from Brittany and elsewhere showed that the French fleet was unprepared and scattered in several ports, so that it could easily be destroyed. Wolsey and the admiral are especially eager for such an exploit.
We then informed Henry of your majesty's suggestion that, if Henry would agree to applying a part of the money which you would both have to spend for your triumphal reception in England, to the maintenance of the Italian army, then you would come straight to Southampton by sea, meet Henry, Catherine, and the Princess Mary, finish your conversations in that place, and sail at once for Spain. Both Henry and Wolsey seemed very pleased, and the king said that this was well thought of, since a great expense would be avoided, and he would be better able to assist you. You would hear from Wingfield, he said, how apt this proposal was. Your majesty may see from this the favourable state of mind here, of which you will hear more from Wingfield, to whom we hope you will speak frankly. Henry and Wolsey are confident that, on your arrival here, the last difficulties will be settled.
It is agreed that Richard Pace shall remain in Italy and serve the common cause there. Although Henry still hopes you will expel the Scots, he did not press the point. He believes that, when you have talked to Wingfield, all difficulties on this point will be solved. The king and the cardinal thank your majesty for what you say about the gunners, and Wolsey hopes you will show your gratitude to Henry by this small favour. We found it unnecessary to say anything to Wolsey about his pensions, since he had already said he was satisfied with the terms you mention, and it will be enough if letters are sent in that form. Wolsey shows a very friendly and cordial disposition towards your majesty ; he has been earnest and vehement in his protestations of devotion, and told us repeatedly that the king of England thinks of your affairs as of those of his own son. As far as we can judge, the councillors and the whole kingdom love you.
We presented your letter in favour of Richard Wingfield with which the cardinal was pleased ; he promised to intercede with the king in Wingfield's favour. Henry also received your recommendation gratefully. He said he was glad to have a servant who pleased your majesty so much, praised Wingfield's merits and promised to reward him. He said that, under the rules of the Order of the Garter, which he had sworn to observe, there were several difficulties about conferring the order on Wingfield. First, there were several noblemen who had been named in previous elections and who might be insulted should Wingfield precede them ; second, Wingfield has a lame right arm, which might be a legitimate objection ; third, some time ago the archduke Ferdinand had already been named on your majesty's nomination ; nevertheless he will convoke the order, and do what he can. He freely agrees to Wingfield's pension, and hopes your majesty will dispose of his servants as of your own. Wingfield was overcome by your majesty's kindness, shed tears, and promised that you should see his gratitude. We commended Giovanni Matteo, the Medici's secretary, to Henry and Wolsey, and Henry said : "It would be unworthy of us if such a person should lose at the hands of the emperor and myself, and we would show ourselves ungrateful, for he has been true and faithful to us. Now more than ever should we do what we can for him, because he has borne many perils for us, and the emperor should certainly reward him. His secretary is therefore most welcome." He warns your majesty not to trust Cardinal Colonna, who is thoroughly pro-French, disturbs Rome, and seeks to procure a schism in the church and the election of a new pope. We are sending Anthoine de Bedia back with this so your majesty may be thoroughly informed before Wingfield's arrival.
London, 23 April, 12 o'clock at night, 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, and Jacques de Caestres. Latin. pp. 8.
24 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We have received yours of the 16th and 19th of April. Thank Henry and Wolsey for the news contained in yours of the 16th, and beg them to continue to take the same friendly interest in our affairs. We mobilized a force of horse and foot on the border of Picardy to oppose the French concentration, but we have since learned that the French were merely making a demonstration to enable them to revictual Thèrouanne, as they have done. The greater part of Picardy is now so denuded of troops that we could greatly injure the enemy in that quarter if we could spare the necessary force, but we can carry no further burdens in this war, as we have written several times, and especially in our last by Anthoine de Bedia. We are still waiting for your reply from which we hope to learn clearly what aid we may expect of England in truce, peace, or war.
Tell Wolsey that we have already ordered the fleet to hasten from Spain, as he asked, and it should reach England in a few days. It will probably go to Falmouth as ordered ; from there it can sail to join the English wherever Henry and Wolsey wish.
We thoroughly approve Wolsey's suggestion about adding some great ships of Holland with 4,000 fighting men, to the fleet, the English to increase their navy equally. It should be very useful to seize the Venetian galleys, as Henry suggests, and use them in naval operations. There is excellent excuse for doing so, since the Venetians are doing everything they can to help the French, and often intercept our couriers in their territory. Manned by trustworthy men, the galleys could be a great aid to the enterprise, since they are not dependent on the wind. We hope something glorious and profitable to the common cause may be performed along the coast of Normandy or of Guienne. We have no doubt that it would be possible to destroy the entire French fleet, and although this enterprise is more for the security of England than of our lands, since their safety depends on the sea, and they will be aided by it in any future attempt on Normandy or Guienne, and although we really should devote our forces to Italy which is the critical point in the war for us, nevertheless, since Henry wishes it, we shall willingly join in this enterprise. It ought to be easy, acting swiftly and secretly, to surprise Bordeaux or Bayonne, and perhaps take both, and a good deal more as well, especially if our viceroys are ordered to invade Guienne at the same time, as if they were attacking Fuenterrabia, since all the power of the king of France has been drawn off toward Italy, so that Guienne and Normandy are weakly held. Bordeaux and Bayonne are both vulnerable to surprise by sea, and their capture would be a very good beginning for the "Great Enterprise" ; Francis would thus be crippled by the loss of his best revenue, the tailles of Languedoc, and Henry would begin the recovery of his own territory. We cannot, however, intermit our efforts in Italy, whither Francis is directing all his forces, and where he may be trapped and ruined most easily, so that he will be incapable of defence in any quarter. Therefore ask Henry and Wolsey whether they cannot give us some help in maintaining the Italian army ; for 100,000 crowns will do more good there than a million of gold at another time. We really can bear no further burdens ; we have already sold the whole revenue of several cities and towns in our kingdom of Naples, and alienated many of our royal rights and jurisdictions there and elsewhere. Now, in order not to fail in this enterprise advised by Henry and Wolsey, we are using all our means ("nous employons le verd et le sec et tout ce que avons"), and even alienating a part of the customs of Naples, the surest revenue we have in that kingdom, which our predecessors never touched, however great their necessity. We cannot, therefore, divert any money, lest our plans in Italy be ruined. Beg Henry and Wolsey, therefore, to add the 40,000 crowns necessary for the naval undertaking to the 100,000 which they are already willing to lend us. If they can do this, we shall still support the naval enterprise to the utmost, and do not doubt its success. Without this assistance, however, we shall be unable to do anything more, since our means are now stretched to the utmost. Use your best diligence in this affair and report at once.
We are still waiting for your reply about the truce, although we do not see how such negotiations can be compatible with the contemplated naval enterprise which, once undertaken, should not be abandoned. We are sending the bond for Wolsey's pension in the form you suggest.
Continue to act in these matters with the diligence you have so far shown, and be sure of our continued gratitude. If, in spite of everything, you find that you cannot get the additional 40,000 crowns for the naval enterprise, and the English suggest that we use that much of the 100,000 already advanced, tell them that such a course would make our voyage impossible, since the entire sum is already pledged for that purpose, and indeed we shall need more than that to meet all the expenses payment of which has been deferred until we reach England. If Henry and Wolsey take this amiss, remind them that we have hitherto borne all the expenses of the war alone, and that we are now supporting alone the cost of the Italian campaign, which, if it succeeds, will give us not only safety and honour, but the necessary means to finish victoriously the 'Great Enterprise,' while if it fails, because we have used the money elsewhere, we shall lose not only honour and reputation, but our kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, and all the states of the church, so that the French will be able to make a new pope at their pleasure, and put us in such danger and necessity as we shall not escape from for a long time. Remind them that for our present voyage we are equipping, besides the 6,000 fighting men which each side is to provide, 8,000 more, that is to say, 6,000 Germans, 4,000 Spaniards and 4,000 men-at-arms of our household, 14,000 in all, so that even if Henry adds another 4,000, making 10,000 on his side, our part will be more than equal. We suggest that the 4,000 Spaniards be counted as our contribution, since they will be better equipped for such an enterprise than any navy we could raise in the Low Countries, and in this way our voyage will not be retarded at all. If, however, they wish to lend us the money for the additional 4,000 men, we shall be doing a great deal more than they, for we shall have 8,000 men more, which in view of our other burdens is no small charge. If we undertake this attack on the French navy, it would seem an excellent opportunity further to confound the enemy. Suggest to Henry that if he will send another 4,000 infantry to Calais, as if to safeguard our passage, they might remain there until the naval enterprise, and at that time join with our army in Flanders to make such an invasion in the north that the enemy will not know where to turn. This would so much encourage our Spaniards that they would have better heart to invade France all along the frontier without waiting for our arrival, and thus complete the ruin of the French. This last proposal, however, should not be advanced until you have had a reply on the others.
Given in council, etc., 24 April, 1522.
Draft, apparently in Gattinara's hand. French. pp. 8.
30 April.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Charles V to Henry VIII.
This is to assure you that all our affairs go well, and that we expect further to dismay the enemy before our departure for Spain and our visit to you to which we are looking forward. Nevertheless, for the good and repose of Christendom, we are content to accept at your hands a simple, general truce with France, of which you are to be the mediator and conservator, as we have written more at length to our ambassadors, so that during this truce some secure peace may be arranged. If the king of France refuses to accept such a truce, we summon you to observe the terms of the treaty of London.
Brussels, 30 April, 1522.
Contemporary copy. French. pp. 2.
30 April.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Draft of a project for truce drawn in council 30 April, 1522, and mentioned in the instructions to the ambassadors.
There shall be complete abstinence of war between the emperor and the most Christian king and all their estates, territories, vassals and subjects, wheresoever they may be, including commerce and intercourse, by land and by sea, for two years from the time of its conclusion. During this time both parties shall remain in peaceful possession of whatever territories they may occupy on the day of the publication of the truce, which shall be fifteen days after its conclusion, at which time it shall be published at court and to the armies of both sides. All the allies, confederates and subjects of either party shall be included in the truce.
As allies the emperor names now, besides others who may be named hereafter, the pope-elect, the states of the Church, the kings of England, Hungary, Denmark, Portugal and Poland, the archduke Ferdinand, lieutenant-general of the empire, and the other electors and princes of the empire, Madame Margaret and her county of Burgundy and her other lands and subjects, the dukes of Savoy and of Cleves, the duke Francesco Sforza of Milan and whatever lands he may possess in Milan on the day of the publication of the truce, all other persons of the party of the emperor or of Milan, the Cardinal de Medici with the state and government of Florence, the Cardinal, church and state of Liege, the Cardinal of Syon, the Marquis de Vegennes, the bishop, church and state of Utrecht, the Marquis of Mantua, the Swiss cantons, the Lords Antonio and Geronimo Adorno, and the cities of Siena and Lucca. The king of England and the cardinal of York shall be conservators of this truce.
Draft. French. pp. 2.