Spain: April 1523

Pages 202-208

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 1523

H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 6.
Wolsey to the English Ambassadors in Spain.
You will say to the emperor that the king (Henry) is very sorry to have heard no news from Spain for some time and he hopes, now the great storms of winter are past, that he will hear more frequently.
Say that the king, in order to be ready at all points for the grand invasion of France next year, has summoned parliament for the 15th day after Easter, in order to put the affairs of this realm in order and to provide for its safe-guard during his absence, as well as for the troops, money, provisions and artillery necessary for his expedition. Since the Scots always invade this kingdom in the king's absence, Henry, seeing their great preparations and their ill will, has sent to the Scottish border the earl of Surrey, his treasurer and admiral, to act as his lieutenant in these parts, and the lord marquis to be warden of the west and middle marches, with four thousand men-at-arms from the south to add to the great number of captains and men-at-arms of the north. He will devastate the border at once, and also prepare for the invasion of Scotland with thirty thousand men by land and five thousand by sea. Thus Henry hopes soon to make an end of the Scottish danger. He has learned that Francis is preparing to send Albany and the king's rebel, Richard de la Pole, to Scotland with a great army to invade England. Henry hopes to give him such a reception as he will little relish. You will assure the emperor that it is impossible to diminish these preparations against Scotland, expensive as they are, if anything is to be done against France the following year.
The king is also preparing a great force at sea to guard the Channel and the Straits of Calais, which Francis is very anxious to control. Francis has come in person to Normandy to inspect his ships, and given order that all his great ships should be ready this summer. Therefore it is very necessary that the emperor should send his naval force of three thousand men promptly, for, if the French get the upper hand at sea, they can do much damage to the Low Countries and to the town and territory of Calais.
The king does not doubt that the emperor and his council have a vigilant eye on Italian affairs. On account of certain letters which Henry has received from Rome and elsewhere, he is moved to send the emperor his advice. The pope has written urging the king to accept a three years' truce with France. So that the emperor may fully understand our position, I am sending copies of my letters written by the king's command to our ambassadors at Rome and Venice. From them the emperor will see the king's desire to be of assistance, and you will point out to him the desirability of winning over the Venetians, as set forth in my letters to Pace. It is to be hoped the emperor will not lose this opportunity, for if the Venetians return to their obedience he can be sure of Italy for ever. As to the papal proposals for truce, it is clear that such a truce would be very prejudicial to the common interest at this time. It would only give the French a breathing spell, and the emperor may be sure that their pride and ambition will not be bridled by any treaty, but only by the application of force. If the advantage which the emperor and the king now have is lost, there may never be another time equally favourable, for all Italy seems likely to be secured, and the kingdom of France is so impoverished in captains and money, and the king and the emperor are so strong by land and sea that, once the Scots have been dealt with, King Francis can soon be brought to reason. Two things would be very helpful : first, to win over the Swiss, for which purpose the king is sending Pace to Switzerland to co-operate with the emperor's ambassador ; second, to arrange a treaty among the Italian powers for an invasion of France by way of Provence. If possible, the Swiss should be induced to join this army. If the enemy is invaded simultaneously, from three different sides, he will never be able to resist and, since Provence and Languedoc are weak, having no such fortresses as there are in Picardy and Guienne, it is probable that the French king, assailed thus on all sides, and seeing his frontiers toward Italy without defence, will choose to give battle there rather than in territory which he may think capable of resisting the enemy because of its fortresses. Therefore a powerful invasion of Provence will make him draw off a great part of his forces, so that the emperor and the king will find less resistance and the enemy's strength will be fatally divided. The expense of this third invasion can be easily met, since the emperor and the king will, if it takes place, be able to reduce the armies which they will lead. Instead of thirty thousand infantry each, twenty-five thousand will be enough and instead of ten thousand men-at-arms, five thousand. Thus the greater part of the expenses of the third army can be met with no greater cost.
Finally you will say that the king has learned from several sources that Francis will not invade Italy this summer, but will turn all his power against the Low Countries and the marches of Calais. Therefore the emperor should see that the Low Countries are well provided with captains and soldiers and all the necessities of offensive as well as defensive war, and should make provisions for the prompt payment of their wages, lack of which hindered last year's expedition very much. The emperor should see that he has trustworthy paymasters. If he will advise the king how many men he is putting in the field in Flanders, Henry will provide an equal force as our contribution. You may say also that to assist the emperor in obtaining the necessary aids from the Low Countries, the king is sending his ambassador, Dr. Knight, to Madame, with instructions to be present at the meetings of the commissioners of the estates, so that he may exhort them in the name of the king to grant liberally what the emperor asks. In this, as in everything, Henry is willing to take every pains to help and please the emperor.
Contemporary translation. French. pp. 7.
12 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England. f. 2.
Powers from the Emperor Charles V to Louis De Praet.
His Holiness, Pope Adrian VI, having, as a good pastor should, observed with alarm the attacks and encroachments of the Turkish infidels on Christendom, their capture of Belgrade, and their later capture of Rhodes, so that they threaten the whole of Christendom and the apostolic see itself with ruin and destruction, has bestirred himself to arrange peace among all Christian princes, and especially between us and our ally the king of England on the one side, and the king of France on the other. The pope has written us, exhorting us to agree to a truce for three years, and asking us to send our ambassador to Rome, empowered to arrange a truce so that the arms of all Christian princes may be turned against the Turks. We, however, feel ourselves so straitly bound by ties of alliance and friendship to the king of England that we cannot send this embassy except with his consent and jointly with him. Moreover, we have been attacked by the king of France and cannot omit to defend ourselves. Nevertheless, in order to show our good will for the peace of Christendom, we are willing to do everything in our power to promote a peace or truce, with the consent and active co-operation of the king of England.
Therefore, confiding in the probity and capacity of Louis de Flandres, Sieur de Praet, our councillor and chamberlain in ordinary and our ambassador to the king of England, we hereby create him, in virtue of these presents, our special representative and commissioner, empowering him, if and when the king of England sends an ambassador with powers and instructions to conclude a peace or truce with the representatives of the king of France, to act with such an ambassador, in person or by deputy, to conclude the said truce for a term of three years or otherwise, and to make all agreements, treaties and compacts relevant to such a truce, and to settle all differences between us and the king of France, or any other princes represented, and to arrange for the co-operation of a common army against the Turks, and to make all promises in our name necessary for the preservation of the truce under the guarantee of His Holiness, the pope, as if we were ourself present. It shall be provided that all the signatories to this truce shall promise to take arms against anyone who breaks it, and especially that the pope shall declare such a violator the enemy of the Christian religion, and pronounce against him apostolic censures with the invocation of the secular arm. We promise to agree to whatever shall be concluded in our name in virtue of these powers, and to perform any acts, and give any necessary special authority required for the success of this negotiation.
Valladolid, 12 April, 1523.
Contemporary copy. Latin. pp. 5.
13 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Margaret Of Savoy to Louis De Praet.
By your letters, both jointly with Badajoz and alone, we understand that Henry and Wolsey are informed that the French and the subjects of these countries are engaging in trade in wine, cloth, herrings, and other merchandise, just as in time of peace, and that the Scots continue to trade in this country, particularly at Middleburg in Zeeland, and that the citizens of that town have guaranteed their safety. Believing these things, the king and the cardinal are, you say, much disturbed, and they adduce, as proof, the fact that a ship from Middleburg, bound for Scotland, was driven into Newcastle by the weather, and was found to be loaded with goods from this country.
The facts are these. My nephew, the emperor, at the request of the count of Geneva, granted a safe-conduct to a Savoyard merchant to trade in France and in the Low Countries. This was without our knowledge. We have learned that under this safe-conduct the merchant brought a small quantity of wine and other French goods here, and took away herrings to France. I have written the emperor asking that this safe-conduct be revoked, but I have so far had no reply, nor indeed any news of him since December 12th. In addition, our soldiers at sea captured a great quantity of French wine six weeks ago. The distribution of this booty may have caused the rumour that the French were sending wine here. Six days ago, some of our ships from Zeeland captured more wine. For our own part, since the war began, we have had no French wine except a dozen bottles sent from Cambrai without our knowledge. These we distributed in our court, to Sir Robert Wingfield among others.
It is true that during the truce between the king of England and the king of Scots, the city of Middleburg made a treaty with the Scots merchants, permitting them to reside in Middleburg in time of peace. They did so only during the duration of the truce. Those who have come here since have been held prisoner, and their goods sold as enemy property. When the Scottish secretary came to Bruges we had him arrested as soon as we learned of his presence. We have made inquiry about the ship of Middleburg which was driven into Newcastle, and have been reliably informed that it was loaded with goods during the truce by Scottish merchants, who sailed in the hope that peace would be made and that they would be able to return. The merchandise in this vessel belongs to good citizens of Middleburg, who are quite innocent of any wrong-doing against the king or against the emperor. Their relatives and friends have asked us to write to the king and the cardinal, requesting that their property be restored. Please take this matter up with Henry and Wolsey. Since the ship sailed during the truce, and with the hope of returning before the truce expired, these goods ought not to be detained.
We received yesterday letters from the emperor dated February 3rd, referring us to Jehan de le Sauch whose arrival we are hourly expecting.
Malines, 13 April, 1523.
Contemporary copy. French. pp. 3.
16 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
Since we wrote you by de Montfort, a messenger has arrived here from the archbishop of Bari with two packets, one addressed to the papal nuncio here, the other to us, the contents of which we wish to communicate to Henry and Wolsey, in order to preserve scrupulously the friendship and alliance between us. We trust your discretion to conduct the ensuing negotiations according to the tenor of these letters.
We are sending you special credentials addressed to Henry and Wolsey, which you will first give them, announcing the arrival of Bari's messenger here. You will then give them Bari's original letters to us, which we are sending them as a mark of our complete confidence. The letters to the nuncio consisted of a brief from His Holiness and one from the college of cardinals, with instructions as to what the nuncio was to say. Of these we are enclosing authentic copies, although we believe that they will have received similar briefs from Bertolotti.
You will point out to the king and the cardinal the great danger to Christendom which has arisen from the fall of Rhodes. The Turk almost certainly intends to attack Christendom this year, either in Italy or in Hungary, or on both sides at once. It is very likely that his first blow will be at Italy, and will fall on us and our kingdoms at Naples and Sicily, and consequently on the states of the church, and so on all Christian princes, but wherever the Turk attacks Christendom, it will be little to our honour as emperor and protector of the church, or to that of our brother, as Defender of the Faith, to permit such attacks in our lifetime, and if we do so it will be to our eternal shame, besides the present evils we may suffer. For our part, however, we cannot adequately resist the Turk and make war with the French at the same time, and we must abandon one or the other, or our own affairs and those of our brother, and indeed those of all Christendom, will be in great danger of complete ruin. For these reasons, and others which you will know how to advance, you will say to Henry and Wolsey that we hope to have their prudent advice. For our part, we are very reluctant to abandon the war which we have prepared against France, but, in view of the great present necessity of resisting the Turk, and the peril to all Christendom for which we would be responsible, we ask them to consider whether the best expedient would not be a truce for a considerable period of years, leaving everything as it is on the day the truce shall be concluded, according to the terms set forth in the document herewith attached. On the conclusion of this truce, a treaty should be arranged if possible for the defence of Christendom against the Turk, each of the signatory princes to furnish his share according to the attached memoir.
You will give this memoir to Henry and Wolsey and also a copy of the powers we are sending you, which we intend shall be sent to Rome where the peace and the league against the Turks may be concluded. By these powers Henry and Wolsey will see that we do not intend to do anything without their knowledge and consent, or without the co-operation of their ambassador at Rome, according to all our treaties. You will ask Henry and Wolsey to send similar powers to their ambassador at Rome, with instructions to act jointly with ours, the duke of Sessa, safeguarding their interests, which we hold as dear as our own, in any way they deem necessary. Do your best to see that Henry's powers are sent promptly, without any further communication from us, since this whole matter requires the greatest possible celerity.
If Henry and Wolsey object that a truce for three years is too long, point out to them that to make difficulties about the terms will expose us to the danger of war with the Turks and the French at the same time. If the truce is short, it will merely give the French a breathing spell. If it is longer, the French will provide their quota for the Turkish war and, even if we do not succeed in arranging a permanent peace for the sake of some grand offensive against the Turks, King Francis will, for the time being, be put to equal expense with us, and have no special advantage from the truce, so that, afterwards, we may still undertake the "Great Enterprise" according to the form of our treaties. Do your best, therefore, to see that Henry and Wolsey send powers and instructions to Rome conformable with ours, as we have said. Do not allow them to believe that we are specially moved in this matter by our fears for Naples and Sicily, which kingdoms were in almost as great danger before the fall of Rhodes. Rhodes is a long way from Naples, and there are other Christian countries much nearer to the Turk. Our concern is for the whole of Christendom, and to avoid the blame which will attach to us if we permit it to be destroyed.
Say to Henry and Wolsey that, notwithstanding the above considerations, we do not intend to slacken our preparations against the French, so that, if a truce is concluded, the appearance of these preparations may win us more favourable terms, and if the truce fails, we shall not be unprepared to continue the war. We intend, in any event, to regulate our conduct according to the wishes of the king and the cardinal. We feel, however, that a truce is very necessary and that resistance to the Turk is the common obligation of all Christians. This obligation we wish to undertake not only to guard our own realms and private interests, but because it is the duty of every Christian prince, and, if the opportunity offers for some good exploit against the Turk, we shall devote to it our own person, with all our power and that of our friends and subjects.
You will ask Henry and Wolsey, notwithstanding these negotiations for truce, to hasten forward their preparations for war, and to make a descent on France according to our last letters, for it will be more honourable to us to conclude a truce when we are clearly the stronger, than simply to stand upon the defensive, be attacked by the enemy, and perhaps lose the truce. Therefore, without delaying the treaty that we have ordered you to conclude for the conduct of the war this year, but without waiting for its conclusion, you will ask Henry and Wolsey to make some attack on France at once in whatever manner seems best, and we for our part shall do likewise here, if we have time. By this means we shall have more honourable and reasonable conditions of truce, and in the end a good peace. We are sending duplicates of these letters and instructions by a special courier who will cross the sea with Môqueron, and at the same time we are sending other powers and instructions directly to Rome. The originals sent you are only to show Henry and Wolsey, as a mark of our perfect confidence in them and proof that we do not wish to do anything without them. Reply at once in cipher by the bearer of this, Bari's secretary, and send a duplicate of your reply by sea so that one or the other may arrive as soon as possible.
Valladolid, 16 April, 1523.
Contemporary draft. French. pp. 8.