Spain: August 1522

Pages 141-148

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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August 1522

6 Aug.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Henry VIII to Charles V.
We have received your letters written from Santander, and the news in them has given us the greatest pleasure. We shall always be delighted to hear of your prosperity and shall consider your affairs as our own, as we have said more at length to your ambassadors who have fulfilled your charge to them. Let us continue in our good communication to the confusion of the French.
From our manor of Newhall, 6 August, 1522.
Signed, Henry. French. pp. 2.
6 Aug.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Wolsey to Charles V.
To my great joy I have received your majesty's letter announcing your prosperous arrival at Santander, by which, and by what you wrote the king, my master, and to your ambassadors, I have been delighted to learn of your loyal reception and the success of your affairs in Spain. The ambassadors will write in detail of the replies to the matters with which they are charged. Pray command me as one whose chief pleasure is to obey you.
Westminster, 6 August, 1522.
Signed, Thomas, Cardinal of York. French.
11 Aug.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. 4.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We wrote you by Richard, our courier, of our arrival in Spain and have since written by Captains Lescano and Picharro whom we sent there in command of the Spanish troops, from whom you will have heard of the capture of the castle of Beobia [Béhérobie] and the victory of our people at St-Jean-de-Luz, and of the capture of the castle of Maya from the French by our viceroy of Navarre. By the advice of our captains here, we have sent the three thousand Germans who accompanied us to join our army at San Sebastian. The joint force, with the artillery, will be strong enough for some notable feat, though whether or not we shall besiege Fuenterrabia, a very strong place, so late in the year, is undecided. But we shall do the French all the harm we can, since my subjects here are very inclined to war.
Spies report from Guienne that Francis has been very alarmed at my arrival, and is doing his best to garrison, fortify and victual the frontier towns, while all Guienne is in great fear. A report from the captain of Salsas, and one from one of our spies is enclosed for your further information. We were delighted to learn of the capture of Brest by the English and their burning of sixty great ships there, and of the capture of Couquet where the English won another victory. We have recently executed ten lanzknechts who were taken prisoner serving the French at Beobia. All others like them whom we may capture, we shall treat the same, so that their comrades will be afraid to serve against us.
So far we have received only two posts from Italy, but the state of affairs there is very perplexed, and, no matter what victories we win, it will be impossible to keep the army in the field much longer without help, or to do much more without an understanding with the Swiss and Venetians.
Since our arrival at Santander we have passed through the cities of Arenosa, (sic) Melgar and others and arrived here in Palencia, being everywhere received with great popular rejoicing. The Admiral and the Constable of Castile, our viceroys, and the dukes of Medina-Celi, Najera and Albuquerque, several marquises and counts, the presidents and members of our great councils, and many other grandees, nobles, prelates, and important persons of these realms have come to our court, displaying as much humility and devotion as we could desire, and all, great and small, have shown themselves our loyal subjects and servants. We have already begun to bring order into these kingdoms, and shall continue, that all may see that our arrival here was for their benefit and that of all Christendom. The news from all sides is excellent, and we are grateful to Henry and Wolsey for their advice to come here. We intend to hold the cortes, and then to go to Tordesillas to see our mother, in order to keep God's commandment and to satisfy the common people.
11 August, 1522.
18th century copy. French. pp. 3.
A contemporary draft of this letter (not final) H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2. has the following additions :
The Pope is at Tarragona where the galleys of Castile, Naples, and Sicily, and his own galleys, and the soldiers and others who are to accompany him, were in such a state of preparation that His Holiness hoped to leave the 7th or 8th of this month, although our people with him think it will not be before the 15th. Had it been advisable to delay his departure, we should gladly have visited him, but he himself, on account of the shortness of the time and the pressure of our affairs, wrote excusing us. We believe that he will not sail near France, but follow the coasts of the islands and kingdoms belonging to us. We have written him fully by the Sieur de Zevenbergen, and are in such friendly correspondence with him as cannot but advance our affairs and Henry's.
The archbishop of Bari, the papal ambassador in France, seeing the extremity to which the French have been reduced, has put forward a proposal for peace or truce. No attention should be paid to it, for we are determined not to enter any negotiations with the enemy without the advice and consent of the king of England. Francis, who more and more desires a peace or truce, has sent an ambassador to the pope. This person is now at Narbonne, and we have been asked by His Holiness to grant him a safe-conduct, which we have refused.
A third (final?) draft of this letter, also contemporary, H. H. u. St. A., England, f. 2, omits the paragraph about the archbishop of Bari and has the following postscript :
Since writing the above, we have had certain news that His Holiness embarked from Tarragona, Tuesday, the 5th of this month, and was able to set sail the same day, so that it is to be hoped he is now very near to Rome.
Palencia, 15 August, 1522.
French. pp. 4.
12 Aug.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
As soon as your majesty set sail from Southampton we returned to court, presented your letters to the king, the queen, and the cardinal and gave them your last messages. Henry then told us of the admiral's exploits in Brittany, of which we believe you learned while at sea.
Several days later there arrived here the maître d'hôtel Hesdin, sent by Madame Margaret to say that she was ready to fulfil all the terms of the treaty of Waltham, except the payment of half the cost of the supply train. She said scarcity of money prevented this, and begged Henry to undertake the whole cost, offering in return fifty gens d'armes paid for three months. If Henry refused, Hesdin was to ask for a loan of the necessary sum and promise surety for repayment within a year. Henry and Wolsey expressed surprise at this request, especially since there was as yet no news of the arrival of the 4,000 troops that your majesty was to send to take part in this enterprise, lacking whom Henry had had to send to Calais 13,000 men and to keep 7,000 fighting men with the fleet so that he was carrying both at land and at sea, much greater burdens than the treaty laid down. And all this for your majesty's benefit, since Boulogne could not be taken at this season, while Francis had been obliged to abandon Italy, the frontiers of Flanders were safe, and the French so pressed on all sides that they were inclined to an honourable peace, which, under the circumstances Henry thought very advisable. Therefore, they asked Margaret not to make any such request, and told us they had decided to send their troops and artillery to Calais, and then, if our part were not fulfilled, withdraw them at once. This would be a great misfortune and ought at all costs to be avoided.
We tried for several days to get Wolsey to consent to Madame's request. He begged us to write to her to fulfil the treaty, since his prestige was completely engaged in this war. He added that he had already been accused in the king's presence of serving the emperor rather than his master, and to calm Henry he had been obliged to make a gift of 20,000 angels to the war chest. Hesdin carried this reply back, and we hope the four thousand Spaniards will arrive, and there will be no other lack on our side. Henry is already behind time. It will be the 12th of this month before all the army is at Calais. Indeed the English have their hands full. Wolsey has heard that the French are collecting transport in Normandy for 25,000 men, with the intention of invading this kingdom and he seems to fear that the duke of Suffolk, [Richard de la Pole] who is still at Metz, will be with them. Also the duke of Albany has got the young king of Scots into his hands, and they fear that he may do away with him and make himself king. He has assembled a great force which, he gives out, is to besiege the castle of Berwick, which is the key to England and Scotland. But Wolsey has been warned that Albany really intends to make a great invasion of this country, and is to be reinforced for this purpose by a large number of French troops. Henry and Wolsey have been detained here in London for some days, preparing against these dangers.
Richard, your courier, arrived on July 29th, with news of your majesty's fortunate arrival in Spain, of the coming here shortly of the Spanish troops, of the victory of St-Jean-de-Luz, and of your preparations for invading France, at all which news the king and the cardinal were greatly pleased.
Since writing the above we have heard the Spanish troops have arrived at the Isle of Wight. Wolsey, delighted, sent at once for Captain Lescano to arrange the details of the co-operation of the Spanish who will remain at sea with the English. Lescano was ill with fever, but sent Captain Picharro, with whom we have visited Wolsey, and arranged as follows : First, the Spaniards are to go at once to Calais and land two thousand infantry under Picharro, who will proceed to Gravelines or elsewhere as Count de Buren, the captain general, may order. The remainder of the force will stay on the ships, being divided among fifteen vessels, and join the English in three places : Lescano, with eight Spanish ships and eight English ships, will be stationed between Calais and Dover ; four Spanish ships and six English ones will patrol between Ireland and Wales ; and three Spanish ships and as many English will cruise from Plymouth as far as the Bay of Biscay to guard the route from Spain. In addition to these squadrons, Henry has sent ten warships north to protect the fishing fleets, both Flemish and English, and to prevent the French from fishing this season. Of the thirteen ships fitted out by the towns of Flanders, Holland and Zeeland, ten will join this squadron.
We are obliged to report that according to Picharro, and to Lescano's letters, the Spanish have arrived here without money or provisions, so that they cannot leave the Isle of Wight without being provisioned for some days. They brought provisions from Spain for only one month, and these they began to consume eleven days before their departure from Laredo, the 23rd of July. Although there is no arrangement for raising money here in your majesty's name, and although neither of us has more than enough for our daily needs, nevertheless we have managed to find six hundred ducats which we have lent them to revictual for a week or so, during which time they hope to get to Calais and thence to Dunkirk, where they will be obliged to wait to be reprovisioned by Madame before they can take the sea. Moreover, the two thousand infantry who are to be landed are quite without money, although your majesty paid them until the 7th or 8th of September. Picharro says that the fault lies with the paymasters, who let them have the money before they were on board, so that most of them lost or spent all of it before they sailed. If they are not provided with at least a ducat apiece on landing, there is no doubt that they will be guilty of gross outrages in English territory or wherever they pass. We have written to Madame begging her to provide money and provisions, since according to what we have heard Wolsey say, it is unlikely that we can raise anything here, and something must be done to prevent serious disorders and disgrace. Wolsey tells us that de Buren and Surrey held a council of war at Gravelines, and decided it was too late in the year to lay siege to Boulogne, Montreuil or any such town, and the best thing to do would be to lay waste the open country as far as Amiens, if possible, taking all the strong places in their way that could be carried by assault, a course which will do great damage to the French and prevent an invasion of Flanders.
The cardinal still shows himself very eager to serve you, but it seems to us that he has not the war so much at heart as he had, for he has given us to understand that if Francis offers reasonable conditions of peace, he thinks they ought not to be refused. He believes that overtures could be made through the pope, who might express himself as anxious to bring peace to Christendom, and he has written to His Holiness to suggest as much. We thought your majesty ought to know this so that you may look to your own interests.
London, 12 Aug., 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, Loys de Praet.
French. pp. 8.
27 Aug.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Wolsey to Charles V.
The king, my master, never lets more than four hours pass without speaking of you. He cannot be at ease unless he has frequent news from you and of the success of your affairs in Spain, which we all hope are improving as you wish. So that he may have such news and you may have news of him, he is sending to your majesty his councillors, Sir Thomas Boleyn, treasurer of his household, and Doctor Richard Sampson, dean of his chapel, to act jointly with Master Thomas Spinelly, who is ambassador now with you. I have given these ambassadors certain messages to you from me and I beg credence for them as for myself.
Westminster, 27 August, 1522.
Signed, T. Cardinal of York. French.
31 Aug.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 3.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
We wrote last on the 20th, announcing the arrival of the Spanish forces at Southampton. Since that time Lescano and Picharro have managed so well on the 600 ducats we gave them that Picharro landed at Calais on the 21st with eleven "standards" of foot, two hundred men each, and the rest of the army, 1,587 soldiers and 569 sailors, has reached the Dunes under Lescano. Lescano passed the vice-admiral of England at sea, and told him that the Spanish force was in such need that unless it were provided for it would have to disband. The vice-admiral reported this at once to Wolsey who sent for us and asked us to see that this force did not break up for want of provisions. We said we had no commands on the point from your majesty, that our credit was too small in this town to enable us to raise so large a sum, and that we hoped that Madame, who had been informed of the state of affairs, would provide for them shortly. Wolsey insisted that he was sure your majesty would wish us to provide for this matter, and he pointed out the bad effect on Henry and the people of this kingdom if so fine a force broke up for want of pay and provisions, contrary to the treaty of Waltham. Therefore, considering these things and also fearing lest, on this account, Henry and Wolsey might weary of the war, toward which it seems to us they have grown colder since the departure of your majesty, we have managed, by the greatest efforts, to raise 2,750 ducats. We could not have found so great a sum among the Spanish merchants in this town and the business would have been very difficult had not Antonio Vivaldi, a Genoese merchant, come to our aid. A short time ago your majesty did this person some favour in Genoa, for which he showed himself not ungrateful, for by his means we raised the above sum on bills to be paid at Medina del Campo at the October fair next, along with the six hundred ducats which Vivaldi lent us before for Lescano and Picharro, as we have said. These two sums amount to 3,350 ducats at 375 maravedis each, for which your majesty is to pay at the fair 400 maravedis each, which is a very small discount as the rate of exchange now is in this city. Since this money has been used for the re-victuallment of your troops from the twelfth day of this month to the end of September, and since we have obliged ourselves to payment on the day and place named with all the losses by exchange and re-exchange which Vivaldi may suffer if payment is defaulted, we beg your majesty to have this money paid according to the letters of exchange which we have given.
Although Lescano and your other captains will report to you about the Spanish forces at sea, it seems wise to send our report. We fear they will do little service at sea, for there is not a captain or soldier among them who has any experience of war except on land, and they seem the kind of troops who may be expected to mutiny on the slightest occasion. There has been trouble with them two or three times already because they saw their comrades disembarked while they were obliged to remain at sea. In our opinion, if your majesty can find some other means of satisfying the king of England, it would be better, after the end of September, to employ these troops on land. If this is not done, it is to be feared from what they have said, that they may do something, in spite of their captains, which your majesty will regret.
In our letter of August 12th we wrote what Henry and Wolsey said to us because of the non-arrival of the Spanish. Now, however, your majesty's preparations are more advanced than those of this king, and for the time being he has no cause for complaint. The admiral of England left Calais on the 30th of this month and marched on St-Omer, where he will find Iselstein (fn. 1) with your majesty's army, intending to besiege Thérouanne. Wolsey hopes they may take it, by cutting off the water supply of the town, in a few days. It is quite true that the duke of Albany has made a great levy to invade this kingdom at the beginning of the coming month. Wolsey has sent a great power to oppose him, but the matter is not without danger. We have reason to believe that the Scots have already done some damage in this kingdom, for although we have several times asked Wolsey for news of the campaign, he has given us none.
In our daily conversations with Wolsey he is always talking of the treaties between your majesty and his king, reciting to us by heart, first one article and then another, much to our confusion, for although it seems sometimes that he understands the words of the treaty other than as they sound to us, we do not dare to contradict him, for we have no copies of the most recent agreements. We beg your majesty to assist us by sending us such copies.
London, the last day of August, 1522.
P.S.—We have several times reminded Wolsey about the posts and the zabras, but so far have been unable to get any final reply. This is unfortunate, for in the present state of affairs your majesty should be frequently advised of what goes on here. At present we have to wait on Wolsey's pleasure.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Loys de Praet. From de Praet's letter book. French. pp. 5.


  • 1. Florent d'Egmont, seigneur d'Iselstein, Count de Buren, Captain-General in Flanders.