Spain: September 1522

Pages 148-153

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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September 1522

5 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
Since we wrote you by the courier who left here August 15th, we have received a letter from His Holiness, the original of which we are sending herewith, saying that the secretary of the king of France to whom we refused safe-conduct to His Holiness in order to prevent his speaking to the pope about a peace or a truce has nevertheless reached the pope at Villefranche in Savoy, and given him letters from the king of France, the contents of which you may see by the pope's letter. A copy of our reply is also being sent you, in order that we may observe exactly our treaty obligations toward the king of England. You will show them this correspondence at once, and report their answer.
The archbishop of Bari, the pope's envoy in France, has sent us his maître d'hôtel with credentials, the originals of which we are sending you. The archbishop's message was that Francis is inclined to a peace or truce with us, and with the king, our uncle, and would be willing to accept the pope as mediator. He would be willing to agree to a truce on both sides of the Alps, leaving the castles and state of Milan in the hands of the pope. If this proves impracticable, he wishes, at least, an armistice in the Mediterranean, so that Rhodes may be relieved, and the Turks repulsed. In such a cause, Francis offers to assist with men or money, equally with ourselves, suggesting that the fleet collected to escort the pope to Italy be employed against the Turks. We are enclosing a copy of our reply to these proposals, which you will communicate at once to Henry and Wolsey, reporting their reply by this courier.
We are advised by one of our most reliable spies that this is the time to press the war more warmly than ever, for King Francis is very weak in men and money, unable to recruit abroad, and so straightened for funds that he has been obliged to coin the plate of St. Martin of Tours and to seize and melt up the golden images of the apostles in an abbey near there, which were thought to be of great value. The plate and the apostles yielded only 18,000 crowns. The French people are discontented and so oppressed that they are incapable of further effort. The gens d'armes who have returned from Italy have been disposed along the frontier around Narbonne and Bayonne, as if for defence. The command at Bayonne has been given to La Palice, since the duke of Bourbon refused it. The king and his mother are now eagerly seeking a reconciliation with Bourbon. Francis himself spends his time in hunting and other sports with the cardinal of Lorraine, leaving the cares of state to his mother, to the admiral, and to the chancellor. He is little attended, and is said to intend to leave the vicinity of Paris on the 18th of August, going toward the frontier, leaving the ladies of the court at Blois.
On the 27th of this month we made our entry into this town of Valladolid, accompanied by the constable and admiral of Castile, the dukes of Medina Celi, Segorbe, Alva, Najera, and Albuquerque, the counts of Benevente and Astorga, and other nobles and prelates of the kingdom, and were well received by the people of the town, high and low. In general, these kingdoms seem as well disposed toward us as could be wished, for those who were involved in the late rebellion now recognize their error and seek only to be reconciled. We are busy with affairs here daily and hope to arrange our finances so that we shall be well provided for the "Great Enterprise" at the appointed time, or earlier, if possible. Everything will be ready here in accordance with the treaties, and Henry will be notified in good time as we agreed in our conversations at Waltham Bishop.
Thomas Spinelly, the English ambassador, fell ill at Palencia, and died here at Valladolid. He was a good servant to Henry and zealous for the preservation of our friendship. We have ordered that he be buried with the greatest honour. Beg Henry and Wolsey to hasten the arrival of their ambassadors. Meanwhile we have asked Wolsey's secretary [Thomas Hannibal], who is here, to take charge of Spinelly's cipher so that our correspondence with Henry may be uninterrupted. We are astonished at not having received a single dispatch from you since we reached Spain, although this is the third courier we have sent you, besides letters by Lescano and Picharro, the captains of the Spanish infantry. Be more diligent in writing, for constant news is essential to the success of our affairs. Give to Henry and Wolsey the credentials herewith enclosed, and write us immediately by this courier their exact replies on all points.
Valladolid, 5 Sept. 1522.
Contemporary draft. French. pp. 5.
22 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Henry VIII to Charles V.
Your ambassadors here have reported the good news of your triumphant reception in Spain, the loyalty of your subjects there, the favourable state of your affairs at present, and your preparations against the enemy, for all of which we praise God, since we could have had no more pleasing news. Since we wish to have news of you constantly, and for you to have the same of us, we have not only asked your ambassadors to write you of our affairs in Scotland and elsewhere, but we have written fully to Thomas Spinelly to whom we ask you to give credence.
Newhall, 22 Sept., 1522.
Signed, Henry. Contemporary copy. French.
25 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 3.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
On September 6th we received your letter dated at Palencia August 15th, and went at once to Wolsey to tell him the good news in your letter of Spain, Italy, France, and the pope. Wolsey told Henry immediately, and they expressed to us their pleasure at hearing of the complete submission of your kingdoms, the execution of the chief rebels, and your good intelligence with the pope. All this they are writing in congratulatory letters, and in instructions to their ambassador. They thank you heartily for refusing to listen to proposals from France without their knowledge and consent, and promise that you will find the same loyalty on their side. It seems to them that the French offers are slight, since your majesty is already free of all the provisions of the treaty of Noyon, because the French were the first to break the peace. They only offer Fuenterrabia because they know they cannot hold it much longer. Their real object is to induce your majesty to abandon Milan, the key to Italy, so that they may in time recover not only what they have lost, but Naples as well, and make themselves masters of Italy as they have long wished to be. Henry and Wolsey think that, if Francis is pressed, he will soon offer much more favourable terms. They gave us to understand that if the French made a really advantageous offer, they felt it should be discussed. We think that if the French had made the same proposals through Henry and Wolsey, they would be more favourably regarded here.
To sound out Wolsey, and discover if his master would be willing to pay a part of the Italian army, and to spend something to win the Swiss, we replied that we agreed with his opinion of the French offers, always supposing that your majesty could meet the expenses of paying the army of Italy and the Swiss, which was, however, almost impossible without help, as they had seen from your letters. Wolsey replied guardedly, and we do not think there is much hope of drawing money from here, either by a loan or by other means, so that we said nothing further on this subject.
Wolsey told us that the Venetian ambassador had asked for an audience in which to deliver the reply of the Signory to the recent remonstrances presented jointly by your ambassador and the English one in Venice. Wolsey said that, since there was now no division between your majesty and the king, his master, he would not hear the Venetian ambassador except in our presence. We thanked him, and pretended to believe him, although we know that he frequently deals with the Venetian ambassador without our knowledge. Wolsey then summoned the Venetian who, after many fine words about the ancient friendship between Venice and your majesty's predecessors, said that his government desired nothing more than peace with your majesty. He then proceeded to reply in detail to the articles handed to the Venetian ambassador (in Spain) by the chancellor, a copy of which he offered us in case we wished to discuss them with him further. As to the summons delivered to Venice in virtue of the treaty of London, the Venetians are in difficulties, both because they are now at war against the Turks, and also because they fear to incur the anger of the pope who, by his letters, a little while ago exhorted and ordered the Signory not to mix in any wars between Christian princes, but to seek peace and union by all means.
Wolsey, having heard all the Venetian had to say, replied that, although we had no special power from your majesty to treat in this matter, he felt we should hear the reply of the Signory, since there was no division between the affairs of the king, his master, and those of the emperor. Henry, he said, would not mix in this affair without being fully informed of the Signory's offers, but if he found these reasonable, he would intercede with your majesty to accept them. Wolsey said the Venetian refusal to accept the summons under the treaty of London was not reasonable, and asked the ambassador to urge his government to fulfil its treaty obligations. The Venetian replied that he was charged with no further answer on this point than what he had already delivered.
Next day the Venetian ambassador came to our lodging to repeat his arguments of the day before, and say he was sorry we had no authority to treat with him, since the offers of the Signory were so reasonable that he had no doubt that all difficulties could be settled in two hours' conversation. He hoped, however, the Venetian ambassador at your majesty's court, who was charged with an exactly similar message, would find a favourable reply there. Since it appeared by your majesty's last letters that you were inclined to treat with Venice, we thought we ought to encourage the ambassador, and replied that even if we were empowered to treat in this matter, we would be unwilling to proceed except in the presence of Wolsey since such was your majesty's pleasure. Although Wolsey had seemed a little angry with him the day before, we said, he ought not to be discouraged, since we knew the cardinal was really kindly disposed toward the Signory, and he might be sure that if Venice did its duty toward your majesty it would be treated with humanity. The Venetian left us more content than he had been the day before, and intending to ask Wolsey for another joint conversation on the following day. Of this we have so far heard nothing, although we informed Wolsey at once by letter of this conversation, during which, among other things, it was expressly said that Venice did not intend to abandon its allies and make war on France without being sure of peace with your majesty.
Of the Scottish war Wolsey told us that the duke of Albany with eighty thousand men, forty-five great cannon, and a large number of smaller pieces of artillery, had come as far as the border, where he was opposed by a great English host. The two armies were entrenched about five miles apart and the English intended to give battle on the morrow, when the duke sent to the English commander asking for a parley between the two hosts and offering hostages. At first, the English commander, Lord Dacres, would not reply, but when a second messenger came with a similar message from the queen of Scotland, he consented to meet Albany and several other Scots lords. During the parley, these other lords, without regard to the duke of Albany, who was present, and against his will, asked Dacres for a month's truce, which was granted, and both armies broke up, on the promise of the Scots to send their ambassadors to the king of England before the end of the month with powers to make a perpetual peace, and to renounce forever the French alliance, with which they have always been dissatisfied, as they now confess. If these negotiations are successful, it will be a great blow to the French and no little addition of strength to this kingdom. We have never seen Wolsey so delighted as he is over this affair. We have reminded him that according to the treaties, nothing should be concluded without your majesty's consent.
We have already written you that Captain Picharro landed at Calais with two thousand Spanish infantry, the rest, two thousand one hundred soldiers and sailors, remaining at sea under Lescano. This force we were obliged to revictual for one month at a cost which, as your majesty may see from the enclosed accounts, exceeded by 234 ducats, the amount we had estimated, partly on account of the dearness of food, which increases daily in this country, partly because the captain general was very hard to satisfy, although we had thought to provide rather too much than too little. We beg your majesty to order some other person to take charge of these matters in the future, for we understand nothing about them, and we cannot leave this town without neglecting matters of greater importance. Whoever pays the Spaniards next time (payment is due October 14) should scrutinize carefully the rolls of the captains and shipmasters. According to our reports their numbers will be found much less than the original lists, since the force is daily diminishing, on account of those who desert in order to join the land army. We have spoken of this matter several times with Wolsey, and he has finally agreed that naval operations shall be discontinued at the end of October, except for four or five small English warships and as many of yours, each having from one hundred to one hundred and twenty fighting men. We should be glad to know your majesty's pleasure on this point.
According to our news of the allied army in Picardy, they have burned all the Boulonnais and are marching toward Doullens, devastating the open country. Wolsey tells us that they have taken the town of Hesdin, but the castle still holds out. Madame, we suppose, will have informed your majesty more fully. On the coast of Brittany, according to what the king tells us, the admiral has taken by assault and sacked a town called Morlaix. The English reckon their booty at two hundred thousand angels, and they burned besides, fourteen great ships and a large number of small ones. They have since burned two small towns, Conquest and Saint-Pol. They were, it is true, before Brest, but met such resistance that it was not levelled to the ground. They lost there fifty or sixty men by the fire of the cannon in the castle which had the range of the ships. There is a rumour here that the English loss was much larger, but we have been unable to be certain of anything beyond what Henry told us. As to the three zabras which your majesty has put at our disposal so that we may send you news every two weeks, we shall not fail to send dispatches at least that often, and more frequently if occasion arises. We beg your majesty to order the masters of the zabras to arrange that when one leaves here another will arrive, so that our couriers may always find one in port ready to sail.
We are unable to inform your majesty about the king and the queen except by report. We have not seen them since our last letters, because the king remains about forty miles from here, accompanied only by a few persons, but making great cheer and taking his pleasure. War and business are not discussed in his court. A little while ago the cardinal retired to Hampton Court ; he has been somewhat ill but is recovering, although slowly.
London, 25 Sept., 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, and Loys de Praet. De Praet's letter book. French. pp. 10.