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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January 1522, 1-15
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
Although by our instructions given to you, souverain de Flandres [Jacques de Caestres], about matters to be presented to the king, our uncle, by you both, you were, among other things, to ask him for a loan of 200,000 ducats to be repaid within six months, nevertheless, having since consulted with the merchants as to whether they would undertake to guarantee repayment out of the revenues of Naples, due within six months, the receipt of which is certain, I have been unable to find any merchant who would undertake to make the payment in less than a year. Therefore I have dispatched this courier to advise you at once that, if you have not already spoken of this matter, you should not promise repayment in less than a year.
In case you have already asked for the loan, return at once to court, and say to the king, our uncle, that, although money will be at hand from the revenues of Naples in six months, we have been unable to find a merchant who will guarantee repayment in less than a year on account of the exchange and re-exchange involved. Ask him, therefore, in our name, to make the loan for one year, begging him to consider the great expenses we have already borne in the common cause, and not to refuse an aid which will redound to our mutual benefit, particularly since the security offered is such that he is protected against loss.
Draft in Gattinara's hand. French. pp. 2.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
On the last day of December, I, de Caestres, arrived in London and was met at once by the cardinal who had just disembarked and was on his way to see the king. Wolsey received me cordially and asked after your majesty's health. On leaving him I went at once to De Mesa, and we examined together your instructions and took counsel as to what we should do. The following day, January first, we presented your letters to the cardinal, and asked for an audience which he granted for the next day, January 2nd, before dinner.
As the custom is, a nobleman was sent to conduct us to his majesty. We arrived at Greenwich, and presented ourselves first to Wolsey, who received us cheerfully. After an exchange of compliments I, de Caestres, showed him my credentials, and we acquainted him with the tenor of certain articles in our instructions so that he might inform the king and prepare our way. He listened attentively, and from his comments it seemed likely that we would get favourable answers. Our conversation was interrupted by dinner, which had been prepared for us at the cardinal's orders. At Wolsey's suggestion we drew up summaries of the contents of your majesty's instructions and of your various letters. For the sake of brevity we report now only the gist of the answers we received in our first audience, since we were promised a second audience in which, after mature reflection, all the points we brought forward are to receive a more complete answer. By our present account, however, your majesty may gather something of the disposition of the king and the cardinal.
First, the king and cardinal said they took de Caestres' mission in good part. As to the preparation and equipment of the fleet, they said they had already begun to provide for it before I, de Caestres, had come, but they promised we should see everything with our own eyes and be fully advised of all the preparations, sitting in Henry's council just like his own councillors, for all matters concerning naval affairs. The cardinal said the king was determined to provide for everything, as we should find more in detail in our second audience. Henry desires that his ambassador with your majesty shall be treated similarly, and acquainted with all the details of the equipment of the fleet for your voyage.
The king and cardinal were very much pleased by your majesty's proposal to strengthen the fleet still further, for they believe that when the enemy penetrate our secret, they will seek to intercept and defeat your fleet and prevent the crossing. Therefore they believe six thousand men, rather than three thousand, to be desirable. They approve your majesty's opinion that the English fleet will be sufficient to guard the Channel and protect your crossing to England. There is some question, however, whether it would be adequate should the enemy attack on the high seas, especially if the Spanish fleet had not yet arrived, so that it seems to them the Spanish ought to be sighted before your majesty embarks from Flanders. This is to be discussed further in our next audience and a decision reached. Please advise us of your pleasure on this point. The king and the cardinal wish you to understand that they prize your safety as much as their own lives, for which reason they had already decided to increase the strength of their fleet to six thousand fighting men.
They freely promise to send spies to the several places in France and Aquitaine, as suggested. Indeed, they already have a number of spies there, and their resident ambassador is expected to learn and communicate everything he can about the French fleet, which information will be transmitted at once to your majesty.
As for placing the Calais ciphers in the hands of the Treasurer, they judge it preferable that all letters should be sent here to be deciphered. Your majesty will be informed of everything through us.
Your majesty already knows by Richard Pace, and by De Mesa's letters, the intention of the king and the cardinal about the envoy to the Swiss, and in this they seem to persevere. In reply to our urging, Henry opened his mind somewhat, and said that although the king of the French had violated his oath by sending the duke of Albany to Scotland, and by failing to pay the pensions, which the French had not yet paid to the king, the cardinal, or others, and although they have broken faith in many other respects, nevertheless, at this time it would not be honourable to contrive injury to the French by an English embassy to the Swiss, or by any other act of open hostility before a similar open hostility was seen on the part of the French. The king and the cardinal were discussing this very point, i.e., whether it would be more fitting to hasten an open declaration against the French or to injure them without such declaration, when we entered. The matter was undecided, and will be discussed later in council. We should be glad to have your majesty's opinion, especially since an open declaration by this king would bring great aid to the common cause with small inconvenience. We shall labour diligently to hasten such a declaration, especially in view of your majesty's letters of the 27th, 28th, and 30th of December, which we have not yet shown Henry or Wolsey.
Henry is prepared to swear to the treaty of Bruges whenever we receive from you a commission to ask for and receive his oath. Your majesty should send us such a commission at once. Wolsey says that a special commission is also necessary before arrangements for the payment of the three thousand infantry can be completed.
Finally, as to the loan of the 200,000 ducats, which we urged on the cardinal and on the king, with the arguments set forth in your letters and instructions : Wolsey was at first inclined to postpone this question until your majesty should come to England, but in view of the arguments we advanced, he somewhat changed his opinion. When we discussed the matter with Henry, he said : "Domini oratores, I have treated and concluded with the emperor a number of things, which I shall not fail to carry out to the last detail. To fulfil these agreements much treasure must be expended, and I do not wish to alter them in any way, or to disburse the necessary funds unless they can be replaced. Therefore, you will say to the emperor, my brother and ally, that, feeling his interests to be mine, and desiring their safety and advancement, I am determined to safeguard them fully, and to treat them as my own. Our treasure shall be in common, and shall be expended wherever I see that the emperor needs it, nor do I wish his business in Italy or elsewhere to be in any way imperilled. Therefore I say that you both, with the cardinal and my council, shall have declared to you by my councillors the complete state of my finances, and you shall estimate among you what money I need for current expenses, what for Scottish affairs, what for the fulfilment of my promises to the emperor. The remainder, whatever it may be, I shall transmit to the emperor, so that he may see that I do not wish to desert him in his necessity, but to make common cause of our common safety."
Your majesty may be assured we shall do everything in our power to persuade the king to make the loan promptly. It is agreed that on Epiphany or the next day we shall discuss this matter with Wolsey and the council. Meanwhile, for your majesty's information, we see in this king a zeal in your majesty's interest very favourable to the advancement of our negotiations and the success of the common cause. We should be glad to know your majesty's pleasure, and how we ought to conduct ourselves in the light of these developments. We expect shortly to be able to advise you of more definite conclusions, and shall do so as promptly as the speed of the posts permits.
After the audience Henry drew me, de Mesa, aside to ask me to thank your majesty for the kind reception given his secretary. Pace, in whom he had the greatest confidence, and whom he thought the properest man to carry out this business, in which success would mean complete security for your majesty and for this king himself. I declared to the king that your majesty regarded his friendship, his authority, and his servants with the greatest affection, and wished to satisfy him and the cardinal whom you loved as a son. Wolsey was also extravagant in his protestations of devotion to your majesty, and in your praise. We were naturally delighted to see this disposition in him and hope your affairs may profit by it, if deeds conform to words.
Your majesty's most recent letters will be placed to-morrow in the hands of the king and the cardinal, along with your latest news from Rome and Italy and Switzerland.
London, 4 January, 1522.
Signed, The Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, and Jacques de Caestres. Latin. pp. 8.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors In England to Charles V.
We wrote last on January 4th, telling your majesty, among other things, that we expected to see the king and the cardinal that day or the next to reach a fuller conclusion in the matters already discussed with them, and to present your majesty's letters of the 27th, 28th, and 30th of December. On the 5th of January we had audience with the king, who received us very graciously, and took in good part your majesty's communications and the news we had to give him. He considered that your news demonstrated your majesty's sincerity, and exposed the tricks of the French, and he gave us many gracious words. Both the king and the cardinal show themselves so well disposed, that if their deeds correspond to their words, no more can be desired. The king said that he had your majesty's happiness and prosperity at heart above all else, and added that he hoped this would always be so, and that you both would always see with the same eye. He spoke a great deal on this point to give us to understand his zeal for your majesty's welfare and his earnest desire to make war on the French as soon as he should be prepared.
We began by urging the king to send an ambassador to the Swiss without delay, as the necessity of the case and the practices of the French required. It seemed to the king that there was not enough time for such a move ; we insisted that there was, if someone were sent at once ; we added that, if they preferred, you had such confidence in Henry, that you were willing to instruct your ambassadors now in Switzerland to make the Swiss, in the names of you both, whatever offers would keep them from joining the French and incline them to your wishes, since you were certain that the king of England would not refuse to fulfil any promises made for the sake of the common cause. The king discussed this with his privy council, having first gone over it with Wolsey, and it was decided that the present safety of the common cause depended entirely on securing the Swiss, and that, if the French should get ahead of us, it would be all over with the allied army. Therefore, his majesty praised your diligence in this matter, and wished to lend a hand in it. He decided to send an ambassador to the Swiss with all speed and appointed Dr. Queint [Dr. William Knight], who was formerly ambassador to your majesty, and has spent some time among the Swiss. Since the doctor cannot be ready for six or seven days, it seemed advisable to the king to write letters to the Swiss announcing Knight's mission, and asking them not to reach a decision until his arrival. The English ambassador will co-operate with ours in seeking to separate the Swiss from the French and in securing their services for your majesty. The king will do this openly, and, if the French feel themselves injured, he intends to reply that, hearing that all princes were sending ambassadors to the Swiss, and seeing that affairs might take a turn which concerned him, he has sent his own ambassador to find out what is going on, and to preserve the influence which he believes he has with the cantons. Henry will give us the letter he intends writing so that your majesty may forward it to the ambassadors in Switzerland. We hope to enclose the king's letter with this ; if we cannot we shall send it as soon as possible by another courier. Henry said that this step ought to insure the success of our negotiations with the Swiss, in which case the French would be unable to send any considerable army into Italy. Therefore he thought it unnecessary for him to make a formal demand that the French abstain from invading Italy, since such action would be tantamount to a declaration of war, which would be premature. We disputed this point, pointing out that a demand that the French king should cease making war on your majesty and make due reparation, etc., was not the same as a declaration of war. The king persisted in his opinion, however, and added that if he made such a demand on the king of France, France might reasonably ask him to make a similar demand on your majesty. We replied in accordance with your instructions, pointing out that your majesty had been attacked first, and that, consequently, the French deserved to lose what they had lost. The king replied : "I know that very well ; however this is not the time for our declaration against the king of the French, nor is this the manner in which we wish to begin hostilities against him, for when we appear openly as his enemy, as we shall shortly do, he will be put on his guard against us, which is undesirable now, especially on account of these negotiations with the Swiss." This was the final decision of the king and the cardinal on this point.
About Venetian affairs, Henry agrees that it is desirable to detach them from the French by deft diplomacy which, he hopes, his secretary Pace will be able to do. Pace will make little or no delay in Rome, and will lose no time. Meanwhile, the king and the cardinal expect to exert their influence through the Venetian ambassador here resident, letting the Signory understand that Henry thinks Venice would do well to join your majesty. The king believes that when the Venetians see his ambassador in Switzerland co-operating with yours, they will be more easily drawn to our side. He said also that if the Venetians refused to hear reason and to join your majesty of their own accord, then they might be compelled. For the present it seemed to Henry and Wolsey advisable to soothe their feelings by releasing the galleys now detained in Spain, and the two now held here in England. Later, if Venice does not join the alliance, it will be easy to detain the galleys again, in England.
We came then to a discussion of the loan. We urged that your majesty be allowed to have the money as soon as possible, in view of your present necessities, to meet which no other means were available. The king replied as before, but added certain words which make it clearer what may be expected. He said : "I want to tell you clearly, without unnecessary words, that I cannot grant the emperor as large a sum as he asks ; however, after you know the state of my affairs you will see that I am doing my utmost for him, and that I am not trying to put him off in this matter which concerns his honour and position ; and both he and his councillors will see that they have good cause to be content with me." It was thereupon decided that Thursday or Friday, the 9th or 10th of January, we should visit the cardinal and learn the state of the king's resources, and what amount would be left over for the assistance of your majesty. At present we can only add that it seems the king will give a considerable sum ; we shall endeavour to get one large enough for your majesty's present needs. Meanwhile, the commission to ask and receive the payment for 3,000 foot soldiers, and also that for the loan, and another to receive in your majesty's name the king's oath to the treaty of Bruges ought to be provided. In all these affairs the cardinal has shown himself eager to serve your majesty, and, as far as we can learn, has honestly advanced your cause both with Henry and with the council. Since the king reposes so much confidence in him, there is good hope that our negotiations will be successful.
We shall add here whatever news we have been able to gather, either from the mouths of the king and the cardinal, or from private persons who seem friendly. The cardinal said that he was willing to be frank with us, and to reveal freely all his king's affairs, and he hoped we would, in return, give him the fullest news of your majesty's. "You may tell the Catholic king," he said, "that the duke of Albany has come to Scotland full of ill will, and contrary to our treaties with France. He is provided with the means of waging a considerable war, a thousand Gascons, engineers and gunners, and fifty pieces of artillery of which eight or nine are great siege guns. On his arrival he has practised with the queen, the king of England's sister, so that she has been seduced from us, and is already almost inclined openly to his party. There is a rumour that the young king is dead. As far as we can discern the intentions of the duke and the French party, it is that the duke shall marry the queen of Scots, and, in case the marriage of the Dauphin with our princess is without issue, and Henry dies without male heirs, the duke will lay claim to the kingdom of England in the name of the king's sister and her heirs. All these plans are known to us, and we know that the French have behaved in this worse than Turks. Notwithstanding these intrigues, the duke has sent his secretary here to ask the king to intercede with the emperor to obtain an order for the release of a Scottish ship detained by the emperor's subjects. The king refused an audience to this secretary, but I, in his name, answered that he would sooner obstruct the duke's suit than favor it."
The cardinal also told us that the truce between the king of England and the Scots would terminate on the day of the Purification [2nd February] this year, and that the king of England did not intend to accept any truce or peace with the Scots, but to make war against them. Therefore he requests your majesty to expel all the Scots in your territory and not to permit them to have commercial relations with your subjects.
A certain Scottish bishop (fn. 1) has come here, the uncle of the queen's husband, asking the king of England to provide for the protection of the life of the young king of Scots, who is in danger. Through this bishop, the cardinal has entered into communication with certain factions in Scotland, and begun such practices that shortly there will be great discord in that country. By this means the king of England hopes easily to expel the duke, or to come to some understanding with the Scots.
Henry told us that he had learned through trustworthy spies that the French fleet, a large number of great ships, would be quite ready by the end of January. On this account your majesty ought to provide for the arrival here of the Spanish fleet as soon as possible, both in order to protect your crossing, and so that, joined with the English ships, they may keep the sea and defeat the enemy wherever they find them.
Certain letters which your majesty sent to Spain some days ago are still here in England, and also the duplicates sent after them. This delay is the fault of the Venetians. The cardinal has offered some English ships which cannot sail, however, without a favourable wind. Should the cardinal not provide these ships promptly, I, De Mesa, will send the letters by a fine Spanish ship now in the Thames, and your majesty may be assured that they will leave with the first favourable wind.
The king has ordered that the magnificent residence begun five years ago (fn. 2) shall be finished promptly, and everyone says that it is for the reception of your majesty. Great stores of wine and victuals have been laid in, so that everyone can see that your majesty is expected. The king of England has ordered all his ships put in readiness, and carpenters, joiners and shipwrights are busy about them. To-day I, de Caestres, joined the king at his invitation in inspecting his arms and horses. We hope this week to inspect the artillery and the fleet. The king will soon assemble all the magnates of the realm, ordering them to come prepared for war against the French.
London, 9 January, 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, and Jacques de Caestres.
It is the opinion of the king of England about the overtures of
Michael Abbatis that your majesty ought to reply that, in the
beginning of these differences, you chose the king of England as
mediator between yourself and the king of the French, and that
you cannot now with honour pass over the king of England and
accept other mediators ; therefore, if the king of France wishes
to make proposals for peace through the king of England, you will
hear them, and make fitting reply, but not otherwise. Henry says
that by this means you may know whether the French king is in
earnest, for he believes the present overtures have no purpose
except to sow suspicion between you and him.
Dated as above.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne. Latin. pp. 10.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We have received the letters of the Bishop of Badajoz of the 24th and 29th of last month, and those you wrote jointly on January 4th, containing an account of your conversations with the the king and cardinal both before and after de Caestres' arrival. Before the arrival of your letters we had already requested Sir Richard Wingfield, the English ambassador, to return to Henry and tell him what he had learned of our present needs, according to the instructions, copies of which are enclosed herewith. He is perfectly familiar with the position of our affairs here and in Italy, and can explain them fully and familiarly to the king, our uncle, and to the cardinal. We believe that Wingfield, who is zealous to preserve and increase the present friendship between us and the English, will do as much in this matter as if he were a member of our own council. You will therefore consult with him daily and instruct him in the management of whatever affairs it seems to you can be best handled through him, and in the answers to whatever objections he may meet.
Our confidence in Wingfield is complete, but, in addition to the
information contained in his instructions, we are replying to your
letters as follows :
First, as to what De Mesa writes about the elevation of Wolsey to the papacy : we are glad that the cardinal is content with the dispatches we sent on this point, which we hope may be useful to him, provided they reach the conclave in time. You may assure him that what aid, favour and assistance we can give him will not be spared, for we desire nothing more and, as we have already written you, we could wish to be in Italy now, in person, in order to give effect to our intentions and show him by deeds the great good will we have for his advancement. We should be glad to order our army to advance [toward Rome] as you suggest, if such a move could assist our purpose, but it would be more likely to injure than to advance it, and it would ruin our other plans in Italy as well, for we should thereby be obliged to abandon Milan, and our recent conquests, thus giving the French an opportunity to unite and obtain reinforcements, and inclining the Venetians and the Swiss to assist them, so that they would soon be stronger in Italy than we. There is no danger of this while our army is in its present position, for it is so posted that the French can neither escape nor be relieved unless they are succoured by a force sufficient to defeat or dislodge our army. At present the French are in no condition to affect the outcome of this election. Therefore our army will serve our purpose in this election as well, and our other plans much better, by remaining where it is, and pressing the reduction of Milan. Nevertheless, to create a favourable atmosphere in Rome, and hearten our party, we have given orders that the five hundred men at arms and five hundred light cavalry serving as a garrison for the kingdom of Naples shall advance as far as the frontiers of the papal states. We understand by letters from the viceroy of Naples (fn. 3) that this movement has been carried out under the command of the duke of Sessa. Also our constable of Naples, Ascanio Colonna, has joined our ambassador in Rome to add his influence in this election, so that it seems to us that the French in Rome will be powerless. And if among the multitude of cardinals in Rome, those of the French party attempt to create some schism, we hope that with the help of God and the king, our uncle, and the other kings, princes and powers, our allies, we shall be able to hold a general council and put affairs in good order, by which means we shall more easily accomplish our desire for Wolsey's advancement.
As to the instructions to the Swiss, and the measures we have taken to secure them : we are glad that our plans are approved in England, but we wish that the steps which we have taken had been supported by equal activity on the part of the English, for without their help it may not be possible to hold the Swiss. As for waiting for Pace's return, we might as well wait for the Day of Judgment. This does not seem to be the time to stand on ceremony, or consider whether the envoy should go to the Swiss before or after a formal declaration, for while time passes the whole affair goes to ruin and will soon be past remedy, unless we act promptly by the means I have suggested. If the Swiss join the French it will be our fault, and we shall have no excuse before God or before the world.
As to our letters patent, asking aid against the French as the original aggressors : You write that to please Wolsey, who does not wish them to be presented, until it is time for the king, our uncle, to send a formal admonition to the king of France, you have not delivered them, but have merely declared orally to the king that you have received these letters. According to you, Henry said that we had done well to send them, but that it was not yet time to present them, because, when they were presented, if he did not at once declare himself against the French, on the one hand, such delay would reflect on his own good faith, and on the other, it would be thought that he was not really inclined to our side, so that our authority and reputation would be diminished ; therefore it seemed to him more politic that the letters patent should be delivered only a little before his declaration. We are quite displeased at this delay in presenting our letters, which cannot be of any advantage, and can only injure us and encourage our enemies, who will think that the king, our uncle, is unconcerned by the violation of treaties. We can think of no readier means to hold the French in fear and make them see reason and daunt their spirits, so that they will not dare undertake new invasions, than to let them know the contents of our letters patent, and to address them formally in the terms stated. The reasons alleged for delay seem quite insufficient, for to wait to present the letters patent until the very time of the declaration or a little before, would be to pervert the contents of the treaty and the procedure which it dictates. The treaty lays it down that after the presentation of the letters patent requiring aid, their recipient shall admonish the aggressor in due form, and if, after this admonition, the aggressor does not repair his breach of the treaty, another month may still elapse before the verbal declaration, and two more before an actual declaration of war. Therefore, since, according to the treaty of Bruges, Henry is supposed to declare war when we arrive in England, which should be about the end of February, even if our letters had been already presented and the king of France already warned, an actual declaration of war on Henry's part would still not be due according to the form of the earlier treaty. Therefore the excuse alleged by our uncle seems empty ; he would not appear to be failing to keep his word, since there is no obligation in the treaty requiring an immediate declaration. On the other hand, should he declare against the French immediately on receiving the letters patent, it would raise in people's minds a suspicion that he had already prejudged the issue. Nothing could make more strongly for the diminution of our authority and reputation than for people to see that we have been engaged so long in this war, and to know that the king, our uncle, is bound by treaty to aid us against aggression, and yet has made no move to do so beyond offering to negotiate a truce. At present people think that our uncle cares nothing about our affairs and is only trying to remain at peace, leaving the burden of the war on our shoulders, but if it were known that he has warned the king of France according to the treaty, even though a declaration does not immediately follow, nevertheless, our influence would be increased as much as by a declaration. Two consequences would follow : first, thus warned, the enemy would consider themselves already in danger, would restrain their enterprises, and be more ready to negotiate a truce, so that our voyage to Spain could be made without danger ; second, our friends and subjects in Italy, Spain, Germany, and the Low Countries would be heartened in their defence, since they would know that our uncle intends to aid us, which they doubt at present. Therefore, we require and order you that, in the form we have laid down and without any further delay, you shall make the formal presentation of our letters patent, and prosecute their execution as diligently as possible. This is the surest way to make the French agree to a truce. We may add that our present news from Spain resolves our doubts about concluding a truce without consulting our Spanish subjects, for they themselves believe that a truce should be made to facilitate our voyage. Our subjects here are also of the opinion that we should conclude a truce, even if it must be without the intervention of the king, our uncle. Such a step we are anxious to avoid. We advise you of these matters, not that we wish you to propose a truce, but that you may be prepared to discuss one if the proposal is made.
As to the payment of the three thousand foot : you say that it will be made on demand, but that we must send special powers to receive it, and give a receipt. We have asked this payment often enough, and been told that the money was all ready to be paid over at Calais. It seemed, and still seems, that since we have no promise in writing of this payment, we ought not to give a power in writing for the receipt. For our own security we cannot give such a receipt without mentioning Wolsey's promise to grant Madame the money for three thousand foot in case no truce should be concluded. We do not believe the cardinal wants this put in writing ; nevertheless, if he insists, we shall send a power for this purpose, which you may use if necessary. You will use all diligence to obtain letters drawn on Antwerp for this money and send them by this bearer. We earnestly wish that we could satisfy your request for the payment of your back salary out of this sum, but our affairs are such that at present every ducat is worth ten in getting rid of the expense of our superfluous troops, who cannot be disbanded without payment. You may, however, keep out, for your expenses, one thousand ducats.
Since the king of Portugal (fn. 4) is dead, we shall have to find other means to attach his successor (fn. 5) to our cause. As we have written you, we shall soon send an envoy, who will pass through England, communicating his charge and taking counsel there about steps to win over this young king. You have done well to arrange for the sending of an English envoy to Portugal, on a mission of courtesy. He should remain there, since these negotiations can best be conducted in that kingdom.
As for what the French say about their great successes in Italy, and about the cities which have promised to provide thirty thousand men for their service, time will show the truth. If things were really thus, they would pretend otherwise. You may see their great success by the letters recently arrived from Lombardy, copies of which are enclosed herewith to be shown to Henry and Wolsey. We are also sending an original letter addressed to Hannart, our secretary, by which the English may know what trust they should put in French friendship.
We have had no news of the Hungarian ambassador (fn. 6) since his departure except a letter from him to Hannart saying that he is going to France to prosecute his mission and will afterwards return here.
Now to reply to your joint letters : We are pleased that de Caestres was received so warmly, and we are grateful to the king, our uncle, for including him in the discussions about naval preparations. We shall, in turn, see that the English ambassador here is fully informed about our preparations. We have already increased the fighting strength of our fleet to six thousand men. You say that the king and Wolsey are not satisfied with our plan to have the Spanish fleet proceed no farther than Falmouth ; they believe that it would be dangerous to entrust the protection of the Channel to the English fleet alone, and they wish to discuss these plans further. We shall not alter our decision about the Spanish fleet. To protect our crossing to Dover we shall have, besides six thousand fighting men of the English fleet, the forces which we are assembling here, three thousand soldiers, not counting our household, which includes a considerable number of seasoned soldiers, used to the sea, and as ready to fight as the others. It is unbelievable that the French would dare engage a force of nine or ten thousand men, particularly in the Channel. You say that our commission is necessary to receive the oath to the treaty of Bruges. We swore at Bruges without any commission from Henry, and you have nothing to do except to be present as our ambassadors, for it is unnecessary to insert any power in the act registering the oath ; it will be sufficient to say that the oath has been taken in your presence, as ambassadors, on our authorization. Therefore you will continue to insist that the treaty be sworn to without delay and in the same manner that we swore, so that both sides may be equally bound. We note the encouraging reply made by the king and the cardinal to our request for the loan of two hundred thousand ducats. You will pursue this matter with all diligence. Our chancellor tells us you write that, according to what you could understand of the king's conversation in English, two hundred thousand ducats seems too much, and you doubt whether he will lend such a sum, and wish further instructions ; you also wish to know the details of security to be offered. You will try to obtain the whole sum mentioned, without which we cannot undertake our voyage. It is unnecessary for Henry to consider his total needs for the war, since we intend to reimburse him in plenty of time for the "Great Enterprise." You may offer him a choice of the three kinds of security already mentioned, pledges of jewels, or bonds of towns, or of merchants, so that he will be quite safe, and may be assured that the money will be employed for the common good.
Wolsey has said to you that we ought not to go to Spain until we have made careful provision for Italian affairs and reached some agreement with the new pope about Naples, adding that a month's delay will make little difference, and that he hardly hopes we shall be able to be in England before the end of March, much as he desires it. You may reply that our greatest wish is to make the voyage to Spain as soon as possible, and that there will be no delay by our fault. Our remaining here will not help matters in Italy except by the faint hope it holds out that we may go there before going to Spain. Except for that, it does not matter where we are as long as our army keeps the field until its objectives have been attained. An agreement with the new pope can be made wherever we happen to be. Circumstances permitting, we do not intend to change our decision about the voyage.
Our Flemish subjects have begged us to arrange for the fishing fleet to go out safely, since the greater part of our subjects have no other means of livelihood than fishing. The capitulation made at Calais on this point expires at the end of the month ; you may discuss with the king and the cardinal means of assuring the fishery for another year. If they can find such means, they will do a great favour to us and our subjects otherwise it will be necessary to equip warships to guard the fishing fleet, and to prevent the French from fishing more safely than our own people.
Draft in Gattinara's hand : dated in margin, 10 Jan., 1522.
French. pp. 14.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Wolsey to Charles V.
Conveys to the emperor his pleasure at the letters of Margaret of Savoy and of the emperor himself, expressing their confidence in him and affection for him, assures the emperor of his continued devotion and asks credence on his behalf for the English ambassadors at the emperor's court.
Westminster, 10 January, 1522.
Signed, Cardinal of York. French.
H. H. u. St. A. England. f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
Since writing we have learned that King Francis is negotiating to raise from fourteen to sixteen thousand Swiss. There are still some cantons inclined to favour him. The levy will be made the last of next month, and Francis intends to send the Swiss into Italy where they would give us a good deal of trouble. It seems more than ever necessary, therefore, that the king of England should notify Francis of his intention of assisting us by reason of the treaty of London, as we have requested in our letters patent, and that he should send the king of France a copy of these letters, admonishing and warning him, according to the form of the treaty. Such action would cause Francis to hesitate to send so large a force into Italy for fear of attack on this side. You will say as much to the king, our uncle, presenting letters of credence which we are writing in our own hand.
We are sending you also a copy of a request presented to us by our subjects of Flanders, petitioning for a prolongation and amplification of the safe conduct for the fishing fleet guaranteed by the treaty of Calais, and also of our response. You will, therefore, discuss this matter with the cardinal and ask him to write to the English ambassador in France to obtain the extension of the safe-conduct, in order that the fishers on both sides may continue to earn their living for another year.
Draft in Gattinara's hand : dated, Jan. 10.
French. pp. 2.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
We wrote last on January 9th. That day, just as we were ready to meet Wolsey, we received your letters of the 5th with the news from Rome, Milan, and Switzerland. As soon as we had read the letters we communicated their contents to the cardinal. He seemed familiar with most of the news through the letters of the English ambassador at your court, but we omitted nothing in order to fulfil our instructions.
Since Henry and Wolsey had already replied to most of the points contained in your majesty's letters, we did not press them, as we should otherwise have done. Your majesty writes that you are surprised at our failure to reply to your letters. I, De Mesa, wrote your majesty on the 24th and 28th of December, and after the arrival of de Caestres we both wrote on January 4th and 9th. We fear that our letters and messengers may have been delayed or intercepted at sea, and beg your majesty to believe that we have not been remiss in negotiating or in reporting.
We found the cardinal busy about two matters, Swiss affairs, and the sending of the ambassador (fn. 7) who is to go in Henry's name to the French court. He showed us drafts of letters which the king will write to the Swiss cantons, asking them to wait for the arrival of his ambassador, who is to leave next Monday. These letters will be delivered by the personal herald of the king of England, who will stop at your majesty's court and submit the letters for your approval. Wolsey also showed us the instructions for the ambassador to the Swiss, who will also pass through your majesty's court and hand you his instructions, which may be altered at your pleasure. They are, in substance, to induce the Swiss to join themselves with your majesty and the king of England, and to treat jointly with your ambassador for the pay of Swiss troops and the pensions to be distributed. Since your majesty will see these instructions, we did not ask for a copy.
The instructions for the ambassador going to France contained four chief points : First, he is sent as the custom is, to inquire about the health of the king of France and the news of his affairs, and to replace the previous English ambassador who is recalled for his majesty's service. Second, he is to inquire why the payments of the pensions have been delayed for more than two months past the customary date, and whether Francis intends to pay them or not. Third, he is to announce that the king of England is preparing his ships to escort your majesty to Spain, that this is without prejudice to his treaties with France, but that, if the French attempt to prevent your voyage, he will be obliged to assist you with all his power. Fourth, the king of England having heard that the duke of Albany has arrived in Scotland with troops and munitions, contrary to the existing treaties between France and England, and knowing that the duke could not do this without the aid and permission of the king of France, requests the king of France to recall the duke at once, or to aid the English and the Scots of their party to expel him.
In accordance with your majesty's instructions, we asked Wolsey either to grant the loan promptly in view of the French preparations to invade your territory, or to take steps to compel the French to keep the peace. Wolsey replied as before that after the reckoning of Henry's treasury had been completed, your majesty should have a part of all, according to reason and friendship. He added something more to the point, that is to say, that the king of England would send your majesty at least a sufficient sum to insure the equipment of your fleet and your voyage to Spain. This, he said, would certainly require no small sum, but Henry would lend a still larger sum if possible. He added that your majesty would do well, in his opinion, to make some sort of truce with the French before your departure for Spain, provided they would agree to honourable conditions. To obtain such a truce, he said, he and his king would employ all their authority with the French ambassadors who have come to England. As soon as Wolsey has interviewed these ambassadors he will advise your majesty of the tenor of their instructions. He believes that your majesty should accept a truce in order that you may go peacefully to Spain, and that the Netherlands may be protected by a truce instead of remaining at open war. During this truce, your majesty would have an opportunity to settle affairs in Spain and your other territories. Therefore the cardinal will work zealously for it, and if it seems that it can be arranged by the king of England under honest conditions, he will be happy if your majesty will accept it.
Henry and Wolsey approve your intention to send an envoy to Portugal, and a ship has been prepared, and letters drawn up in favour of your proposals. The cardinal is pleased that the conclave for the election of the pope is to be delayed, hoping that Pace may get to Rome in time. The French are continually plundering English ships as if there were a state of open war ; they not only molest shipping, but we have heard that three days ago a party landed on English soil and carried off cattle and other spoil. Their ships are lying off the English coast, watching the harbours for departing vessels, and recently took an English merchantman of great value. Henry has ordered several armed ships to put to sea at once against them. Peace cannot last much longer.
Several days ago when I, De Mesa, was talking to the cardinal about his pension and "circa rem pensam favendam per maiestatem vestram" [Wolsey's desire to be pope] and speaking of your majesty's feeling for him, he replied to me with a very disturbed expression, "I can see that these are all words, and I may properly suspect that I am being played with. It was not thus that I risked many thousand crowns in going to Calais for the sake of his imperial majesty. Indeed, I have already lost what I used to draw from France, both my pensions, and the money due on account of the treaty for the surrender of Tournai, and the other sources of income which I had in France. All these I freely risked and lost for love of his majesty. I may well complain, therefore, of this conduct toward me which pays me with words only. I have letters patent from the emperor for a thousand angels which have been long unpaid. If I do not see another sort of behaviour shortly I will send his majesty back his letters and bulls, and he may do what he likes with them."
I, De Mesa, said what I could to satisfy him and promised that I would be given letters recompensing him for his French pensions. It is to be hoped that, as soon as your majesty has read this, you will send suitable letters at once. It is of the utmost importance, not only to send such letters promptly, but to add something more, for the cardinal has often spoken to me about his losses, which he expects your majesty to recompense. He has not mentioned a definite sum, but I can estimate them to be around ten thousand ducats, more or less.
We shall write again shortly. Meanwhile your majesty will please send commission to receive the oath to the treaty, and that for the payment of the three thousand foot. Defects in our powers for the loan are delaying negotiations.
London, 11 January, 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, and Jacques de Caestres. Latin. pp. 6.