Spain: May 1523, 1-15

Pages 208-222

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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May 1523, 1-15

5 May.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Margaret Of Savoy.
After I, Marnix, reached London May 2nd, we consulted on my charge. We were not able to see Wolsey until today. We told him what you were able to do to assist the English army which is to land at Calais, that is to say that you could send to join them two thousand horse and four thousand foot with twelve pieces of heavy artillery, by May 15th. Wolsey refused brusquely, saying that we offered too little, and that the English, who were only making war to please the emperor, would have fifteen thousand men in the field and a train of siege artillery. He said that to reach an agreement we must furnish at least three thousand horse and eight thousand foot and half the artillery, munitions and wagons ; the English would then furnish fifteen thousand infantry and agree to take the field by June first. We replied as best we could, pointing out the great expenses which the emperor was bearing, and those which the Low Countries had already borne because of the great extent of the frontiers we had to defend, and because of the war with Gelderland. Wolsey said that Henry was making war only to please the emperor ; he had been very comfortable before the war, and his expenses last year had been very heavy. This year, he said, there were costly preparations against the Scots and it was rumoured that the king of Denmark, who has a powerful fleet in Zeeland, intends to cross to Scotland, marry his daughter to the king of Scots, and assist him against England. Nevertheless, if we would furnish three thousand horse and five thousand foot and half the artillery, etc., without fail, Henry would furnish fifteen thousand troops and the rest of the artillery. Also, it should be agreed to spend at least fifteen days besieging Boulogne. He wished us to come to terms with him in this fashion at once.
We replied that we were not authorized to increase the number stated and asked him to be content with it. He then advised us to write you at once, saying that Henry would not be satisfied with less than three thousand horse and five thousand foot as he had said. Therefore, Madame, as the emperor has this affair much at heart, as he has written to me, de Praet, we thought best to send this courier at once.
It seems to me, de Praet, that, since, as the emperor has written me, he is sending M. Môqueron with letters for a hundred thousand crowns to raise more troops, our offer might be increased to three thousand horse and five thousand foot, in order to meet the wishes of the English, We should consider that, unless some notable exploit is performed by this army, the expense for it would be useless.
It has been proposed to me, de Praet, that if the English grant our present wishes, the "Great Enterprise" shall be postponed until 1525. I do not know whether the emperor will consent, or whether the English will insist if you agree to their present request. I can say nothing on this point without orders from my master, to wait for which would consume a good deal of time. Nevertheless, we shall do our best to achieve the emperor's wishes. A prompt reply from you will be most helpful.
London, 5 May, year '23.
P.S.—We have an appointment to see the king tomorrow, but Wolsey says we must not hope for a different reply from him from that we have already received. We shall not therefore delay this courier.
Signed : Loys de Praet and Jehan de Marnix. To Madame.
Copy. French. pp. 3.
8 May.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
As I wrote on March 18th, I have no doubt that the bishop of Badajoz has fully informed your majesty of the state of affairs here up to the date of his departure, so that I shall not repeat his news.
On March 26th Bernardino de Bertolotti arrived here with briefs from the pope and the college of cardinals to the king and Wolsey, exhorting them to accept a peace or truce, and commanding them, on the obedience which all Christians owe the see of Rome, to send an ambassador to the papal court empowered to conclude a truce for at least three years, during which time a lasting peace might be arranged, and Rhodes and the other recently captured places be recovered from the Turk. Wolsey is sending copies of these briefs to the English ambassadors at your court for your information. I had several conversations with Bernardino ; he told me that the pope had addressed similar briefs to your majesty, and hoped that you would not make difficulties. Bernardino had also presented similar briefs on his way through France and found King Francis inclined to be quite reasonable. In fact, Bernardino said, the pope had reason to be very pleased with Francis on account of the good reception he had accorded papal messengers, and his prompt obedience. Francis, he said, had sent the necessary powers to Rome two months ago, and shown greater conformity to His Holiness' wishes than any other Christian prince. By talking in this fashion to Wolsey, Bertolotti has drawn such suspicion on himself that the cardinal will not trust him to take the English answer to Rome, but is sending it instead by Dr. Clerk.
Two couriers from Spain reached here on March 31st with your letters from Valladolid of Jan. 11th, Feb. 7th, and March 8th. I am somewhat puzzled by their contents. In your letter of February 7th your majesty seems quite inclined to a truce, and sends me powers to be shown the king of England and then forwarded to the duke of Sessa at Rome, provided Henry agreed to send similar powers to his ambassador. In the same letter there is a power to reach agreements with Henry either about a joint invasion from the side of Spain by May first, or for separate invasions by each of you as you find convenient. In your most recent letters, those of March 8th, your majesty seems entirely bent on war, and orders me to try to persuade Henry to put the greatest army possible in the field against the French. There is no word in this letter about powers for the duke of Sessa, and I have been in grave doubts whether I should speak of them to Wolsey or not.
To describe matters in the accustomed order, I notified Wolsey immediately on the arrival of the couriers, but, since it was Holy Week, I was unable to have audience with him until Easter Sunday after dinner. I then gave him your letters and he seemed very pleased, particularly by your majesty's wish that your cordial regards be given to the princess, your future empress. At these words he was marvellously rejoiced. When he had read all the letters Wolsey began to complain that someone must have been slandering him to your majesty, since in spite of all the efforts he had made to preserve this alliance and friendship, the English ambassadors with you were no longer received as of old, and people in Spain seemed very cold to him and to his king. I said that he must not lightly credit such reports, and that when he had heard my charge he would see that the contrary was true. I then told him that your majesty had sent payment of the pensions, with excuses for their delay. Wolsey took this in good part, especially since the money was ready, and asked me to have de Berghes send it to London so that he might receive it.
Wolsey then began to speak to me of my charge, saying he understood that your majesty was now quite bent on war, particularly since the taking of Fuenterrabia, with other remarks which showed me that he had been informed by the English ambassadors of the greater part of what I had to say. Therefore, although I had first decided to conduct myself according to your most recent letters without mentioning the earlier ones, fearing that I might otherwise thwart your majesty's real desires, particularly since Wolsey already seemed inclined favourably to the pope's proposal, I now decided to conceal nothing of my various charges since in your last letters you had not expressly commanded me to suppress anything and since Wolsey, informed by his own ambassadors, might otherwise conceive some suspicion. Therefore I told him the whole contents of all of your letters, but in such a way as to make it clear that your chief desire was to continue the war this summer.
Wolsey replied that what I said agreed exactly with what his ambassadors in Spain wrote him. He thought it strange, however, that he had not been told sooner of your plans for war. It was very late now, he said, for Henry to get together a large army to attack the French, since he had so far expected to do nothing of the sort, but to bend his main efforts against Scotland in order to be ready for the "Great Enterprise" next year. Wolsey also said that he himself believed firmly that, in view of the fall of Rhodes and the great danger to Naples and Sicily from the Turks, your majesty would change your mind and be willing to agree to the pope's proposal. I answered as well as I could, trying to persuade him to the main effect of your majesty's letters, so that he promised to think over the whole matter and to undertake that Henry would conduct the war according to your wishes as far as was possible. He appointed the following Tuesday for me to have audience with the king.
On this day, after I had delivered my charge at length, Henry himself replied. He said my charge was so long, and contained so many different articles, that he could not reply to everything at this time, but he was willing to speak to some of the principal questions.
In the first place, he said, the Bourbon conspiracy had been too long drawn out, and the secret badly kept. English spies advised him that Bourbon had come to terms with King Francis and was to marry Madame Renée, so that there was no more hope of him. Even if Bourbon persevered in his desire to serve your majesty, the king said, he, for his part, would not promise him any money, for after he had received payment from your majesty and the king, he might go back to the French, so that your money would only help Francis to make war on you.
To what your majesty wrote about the war this summer, Henry replied substantially as Wolsey had done. He added that he was surprised that you had changed your mind so suddenly, for according to what Badajoz and I had been telling him all winter, he had understood that your affairs in Spain would not permit any important operations against the French this year. Moreover, his ambassadors had written on February 6th that your majesty had expressly told them that you would not be able to put into the field this summer more than the ordinary Spanish gensdarmerie, that is to say 1,700 men-at-arms equipped in the Spanish fashion, with one horse to each lance, nine hundred light cavalry, and about three thousand foot. In proof of this Henry insisted on sending for his ambassadors' letters and showing me that they had written as he said. Henry said your majesty had taken him off guard, and that it was no small matter to set on foot an army capable of a serious invasion of France. He had a good many complaints on this subject, caused, I think, by his feeling ashamed that your majesty had taken him unprepared, after all he had told us last winter of his great plans, both on the side of Scotland and on that of France, by land and by sea. Henry also took it very ill that the fleet, which your majesty has fitted out in Biscaya to sweep the sea in those parts, has not come to join the English in the Channel, as, he said, it ought to do according to the treaty, and he repeated his complaints that the whole burden of the war rested on him, reminding me how little Lescano had done on account of his lack of provisions and payment, and of the slight assistance which the English had received in Flanders.
To all these complaints I replied as best I could. I pointed out how much might be hoped from Bourbon, and how unwise it would be to lose so great advantage for lack of a little care. I said that if he sent his powers to the ambassadors in Spain, it was not necessary to assume that any of the unfortunate consequences he predicted would follow, since the ambassadors could use their discretion and act, or not, as prudence dictated. I tried to persuade him that he ought not to take your majesty's requests about the war this summer in bad part, and said it seemed to me that you could not have acted more sincerely than in telling him openly the whole state of your affairs. You had always pointed out the advantage in pressing the war vigorously this summer, and the disadvantage of giving the enemy a breathing spell. You had not thought to take him unaware, since no doubt you relied on the report of Jehan de le Sauch, and on our letters of January 20th, in which Badajoz and I had described the great English preparations by land and sea. In view of these, you must have hoped that Henry would be willing to seize the present opportunity (since the conquest of France was a greater affair than that of Scotland), and would be glad to employ all his power against the common enemy, postponing the Scottish war. At least, I suggested, Suffolk and his army might cross the sea without any danger, either joining with the troops in the Low Countries, or invading France without them if that seemed better. I advanced all the arguments in your majesty's letters, and Henry finally promised to think things over and give me his opinion through Wolsey both on this point, and on the rest of my charge.
By Wolsey's advice, I also spoke to the king about the indemnity, asking him in your behalf to raise the money at your expense for a year. Henry replied that he really could not say anything about this, and that Wolsey would discuss it with me. I replied as gently as I could to the king's grievance that your navy in Biscay had not joined his in the Channel, since I did not wish to irritate him and impede more important affairs. I said that considering everything, especially the great expenses which your majesty had sustained for so long a time in this war, you did not appear to have failed in anything agreed on by treaty except the indemnity and that on this point you wished to offer present satisfaction, This was the substance of our negotiations that day.
The next day I went promptly to see the cardinal, to hear what the king had decided, for I had been informed that after he saw me he had at once held a meeting of the council to discuss my charge, and his answer to the pope. I found the cardinal in quite a different frame of mind from that of the past weeks, and strongly decided to follow your majesty's wishes in the matter of the war. He told me that the king, having considered what I said and the reports of his ambassadors, found it impossible to comply entirely with your request, since there were only twenty-two days left until the beginning of May, which was too short a time to form so large an army. Moreover, not expecting such a request, Henry had made all his preparations to invade Scotland, and was still determined to finish with the Scots this season, for there was not a man in his council who would advise him to cross the sea in person as long as Scotland remained unconquered, Also, even if Henry were ready to invade France at once, there was no assurance so far what help could be expected from Flanders, your majesty's envoy with the hundred thousand ducats to pay the troops not having arrived. Nevertheless, to show his love for you and his desire to please you in everthing, Henry had decided to make ready a strong army with artillery, to invade France by the beginning of June, provided that Madame would equip in Flanders as large a force as possible of horse and foot, the joint army to besiege Boulogne or Thérouanne, or to go farther into France if that seemed desirable. He asked me, therefore, to write Madame at once to find out what power she could furnish, so that an agreement could be reached promptly on the number of troops and artillery which Henry should supply for the common army. Wolsey did not neglect to remind me that your majesty was very much indebted to Henry for this good will, and that he, himself, had done his utmost to persuade the king, his master, to an invasion this year. He added that, although he (Wolsey) had sometimes spoken to me frankly and sharply about our common affairs, I should not believe he did not have them at heart. He assured me that all his life he would remain your majesty's servant, and would maintain the work he had done, which was the alliance and friendship between you and the king of England, with many other fine words for which I thanked him, saying that he would not find your majesty ungrateful. The time appointed for the mobilization of the common army seemed to me a little late, since a part of the good weather would already be over, nevertheless, because I was afraid the negotiations in Flanders would take a long time, since I had no news of what Madame would be willing to do, and since, even if the two armies were ready at once, the cavalry could hardly keep the field until the end of May for lack of forage, I raised no objections but sent a courier at once to Madame.
About the proposals brought by Bertolotti, Wolsey said the king had decided that, to meet the pope's wishes and let him know that neither of you was an enemy to peace, Dr. Clerk should go to Rome, within two days, with ample instructions, and powers to treat, jointly with the duke of Sessa, for a truce or peace. Wolsey showed me Clerk's powers, which were quite similar to yours, except that the preamble was based on the capture of Rhodes and the consequent danger to Christendom, as you may see by the enclosed copy. In view of Clerk's imminent departure, and because this matter was a subject for joint negotiation only, Wolsey then asked me to give Clerk your majesty's powers, addressed to the duke of Sessa and carefully sealed. He promised that Clerk would guard them safely, and deliver them to Sessa as soon as he reached Rome. I did as he asked, since there seemed no harm in complying, and refusal might have aroused his suspicions. In my opinion, the sending of these powers to Rome may turn out to be very helpful to your enterprise this summer. Dr. Clerk will not be at Rome before the beginning of July ; he is not the man to travel fast, and he is charged to stop in Flanders on his way, and also to have audience with the duke of Milan, with whom he will remain for some days, communicating with Pace, and with the princes of Italy. During this time your armies by land and sea, in Spain and Italy, and the army of the king of England, in conjunction with your troops in Flanders, can assail the enemy stoutly and continue their attack without giving the pope the least cause to complain, since the powers he asked for are being sent to his court. Also your majesty may write your pleasure to the duke of Sessa, and instruct him as you please, for, in view of your apparent wish to press the war this summer, I did not state the terms contained in your letter of February 7th very clearly, in order not to dampen Henry's and Wolsey's enthusiasm for the war. Indeed, I feel that Wolsey is much inclined to follow the pope's lead, especially since, to win him over, His Holiness has continued Wolsey's legation in this kingdom for another five years, and sent him the bulls for Durham almost without charge. These things are very much to Wolsey's personal honour and profit and the real way to his heart. I did my best to find out what terms Henry wants to make about peace or truce, but the cardinal put me off, promising to tell me before Clerk left, and to give me a copy of his instructions to send you. Clerk left this town on April 13th, taking with him your power addressed to the duke of Sessa.
It has been impossible to reach a definite agreement about the army for Flanders this summer without further information from Madame, whom my dispatches did not reach until the third of this month. Meanwhile, I tried my best to keep Henry and Wolsey and the other lords of the council in a good humour, especially since for a good many reasons I have felt that this king and his council were not much inclined towards your plans, having decided to push the war with the Scots to a conclusion, while your majesty kept the French too busy for them to be able to give any help to Scotland. It seemed to me that we might be sorry for any further delay in the pensions, so, as Lalemand suggested, I approached certain merchants in this town who, for a small charge, were willing to find the money for the bills of exchange for 8,500 crowns. I used this money to pay the pensions, and I am sending you receipts from the lords to whom they were paid.
While I was still waiting for Madame's decision and instructions, on April 28th, during a conversation with Wolsey, he showed me a papal brief dated April 7th, a copy of which he is sending to his ambassadors to show you. The tenor of this brief was the same as the former ones on the subject of a truce, but in addition the pope informed the legate that your majesty had sent the duke of Sessa a power to treat about peace or truce, forbidding him, however, to use it until the king of England had sent a similar power to his ambassador, so that the two of them might treat jointly. His Holiness also wrote that, in his opinion, King Francis had been brought very low, and despite the high tone he had taken so far, refusing to agree to any truce unless Milan were restored, he would now agree to a truce on condition that each side should retain what it now held, castles and strong places in dispute to be placed, during the truce, in the hands of the pope. The language of the pope's letter indicated that he is beginning to be aware of French intrigues, and that he will willingly declare against them in case they refuse reasonable terms. Wolsey seemed very satisfied with what the pope wrote, except that he gave me to understand by indirection that he was somewhat taken aback that you had sent powers to Rome without his or his master's knowledge, and thought it strange you should send one power here to show the king, saying that it would be used or not as he advised, and send another to Rome without Henry's knowledge. I hastened to make what excuses I could for fear this incident should be used to justify their coolness toward the war. I said I hoped they did not believe your majesty had intended to negotiate anything without their knowledge, since according to the pope's own letter, the power you sent was useless unless the English ambassador had a similar power, and, even if the pope's information was entirely accurate, the fact that your majesty had sent your power on this express condition, showed that you did not wish to contravene the treaties in any way. Henry and Wolsey conceded that your majesty had not in any way violated the treaty, but they said that, in view of the sincerity and frankness of conduct they had always found in you, they found the information in the pope's letter strange.
On April 30th the Sieur de Montfort, Jehan de le Sauch, and Richard the courier arrived in London with your letters of March 22nd, replying to the messages Henry and Wolsey sent you by Beaurain, and to what Badajoz and I had told him when he last passed through this kingdom. Montfort and I agreed, on consultation, that it would be better for him not to seek an audience with Henry, but to go on at once to Flanders, leaving me to make his excuses.
On May 2nd I called on Wolsey, presented your letters, declared my charge, and made Montfort's excuses. Wolsey replied little to the purpose during that interview, saying that he would have to talk to the king first. He interrogated me sharply about Spanish affairs, asking whether the nobles and commons of those countries were really obedient to you and whether your preparations by land and sea were really so great as I had told him. He gave me to understand that Henry and he had information to the contrary. After this conversation he took me to Henry, who said he had read your letters and considered my charge. Since it seems of great importance, I shall set down his further reply, word for word, as nearly as I can :
"Ambassador, I have considered the messages you gave me from the emperor about the war this summer, about the indemnity, and about the Bourbon affair. As to the first, as I have already told you, the emperor's request has come too late, nevertheless I shall comply with it as far as possible without more delay than may be necessary to find out what co-operation Madame can offer. When I know that, I shall be ready to put in the field 15,000 English infantry, a good number of cannon with the necessary munitions, under the following conditions : First, the emperor shall maintain in Spain, Roussillon, the Mediterranean, and the Bay of Biscay the forces he has described. Second, since to please the emperor I am putting off my invasion of Scotland for this year, he shall, in return, consent to delay the 'Great Enterprise' until May, 1525. I may tell you frankly that if I send an army into France this year, I shall not be ready for the 'Great Enterprise' next year. Although I am now treating with the estates of this kingdom, and expect them to grant me the largest sums of money ever granted in this kingdom, it will be impossible to have all this money in hand for almost two years. Third, since last year Hesdin was besieged at Madame's request, this year the joint armies shall besiege Boulogne for at least fifteen or twenty days, during which time I hope it may be captured. If it is not, the allied captains may then consider what use to make of the rest of the season. Fourth, this year there shall be no such safeguards as there were last, and the troops shall burn all the enemy's country, even places belonging to the emperor's subjects, if they are not strong enough to be defended, so that it may not happen again as happened last year, that as soon as our army breaks up, the French are able to capture castles and strong places, and do great damage to our territory.
To be frank with you, I am informed that affairs are not going as well in Spain as the emperor writes and that he will probably not be able to carry out the plans he has outlined. If this happens I shall have been betrayed ; the chief cost of the war will fall on me alone, and this without hope of any considerable victory ; my prestige among my own subjects will be seriously impaired, and my treasury exhausted, for there is no prince in the world who makes war at such great cost as I. I am also concerned because the gentleman whom the emperor was to send with a hundred thousand ducats to pay the troops in Flanders has not yet arrived. I am therefore sending at once a special ambassador to explain my plans to the emperor, and to say that if he persists in his present intention, there will be no failure on my side, but that I do not think we shall be able to do anything much this year.
Please write the emperor what I have told you, and ask him to be more open with my ambassadors henceforward, without changing what he tells them from day to day. It seems to me that he should choose one road or the other and keep to it. I feel sure that he is now so strongly inclined to war, only in the hope of taking Fuenterrabia. I understand, also, that the emperor has been told I am trying to take advantage of our common affairs for my own profit, which is false.
Since the emperor has the Bourbon affair so much at heart, I am sending my ambassadors in Spain the instructions he asks. Nevertheless, in my opinion, nothing will come of these negotiations, for Bourbon has already been reconciled with the French government by marriage with Madame Renée, and there is no misunderstanding between him and the king except, perhaps, on account of his refusal to marry Louise of Savoy, who is very much in love with him.
"As for the indemnity, as I have already told you and the bishop of Badajoz, I am astonished that the emperor has not been more careful to keep his agreements, since I undertook this war for love of him, and have borne its expenses out of my own treasury. My people know that the emperor owes me this indemnity and believe that it will be paid ; they may not help me in the war unless it is. Moreover, the French may legitimately complain that I broke my alliance with them because they defaulted payment, but continue that against them although the emperor does the same. If I were the councillor of any prince, I should advise him to keep his promises."
Hereupon Wolsey began to speak, saying not less than the king had said, and adding that this question of the indemnity touched no one more closely than him. Default would make him lose all his credit with his master and with the lords and people of this kingdom, who had agreed to abandon the French alliance only on his assurance that the indemnity would continue to be paid. Henry said, bitterly enough, that this was true.
I replied as gently as I could, reminding them that matters often moved so fast in war time that elaborate precautions were hardly feasible if they expected to make a good war this summer, and if they insisted on refusing to put their army in the field without first having news of your envoy, and knowing about your preparations in Spain, and receiving your consent to putting off the "Great Enterprise" to 1525, summer would be almost over, and your majesty would be left all this season unable to make either war or peace, which was the thing most likely to work your ruin. I begged them, therefore, not to delay the invasion of France, assuring them that their envoy would find your majesty's preparations satisfactorily advanced, but I could not persuade them to change their minds. I thanked Henry for what he said about Bourbon, and asked him to agree to pay half the expenses, but he would give me no final assurance, and would only say that he would tell me more in a few days. I advanced the best arguments I could about the indemnity, reminding them of the expenses your majesty had to bear, and of your offer to pay the interest if they wished to borrow the sum in England, but this they refused. I then begged them to have patience for a short time while I wrote your majesty for further instructions, but Henry was very impatient and said this was a matter which should be settled at once. I did not wish to say anything further on the subject to Wolsey in Henry's presence, but afterwards I reminded him of his conversation with you at Bruges, when you made the first treaty. He said he had no recollection of it, and I am sure it is something he does not wish to remember.
I could not make final arrangements about this summer's campaign without hearing from Madame, and she kept writing me that the answer would come on the arrival of her treasurer, Marnix, who would inform me of her intentions. Marnix finally reached here May 3rd, charged to explain to Henry and Wolsey, jointly with me, the assistance that the Low Countries could offer in troops and artillery. Although I might have felt somewhat in disgrace on account of Marnix' mission, since it seemed to indicate that Madame had little confidence in me, I did not wish to make any difficulties, and felt that Madame had meant well, taking my insufficiency into account and also, as for several reasons seemed probable, wanting to find out what really was being negotiated about a peace or truce, since she seems to have learned from the English ambassador on his way to Rome of the sending of your majesties' powers there. Since Marnix' arrival, therefore, I have always communicated with Henry and Wolsey in his company, and I shall write no more here of our negotiations about the campaign, leaving these matters to the joint letters which we shall soon write you.
I trust your majesty has been able to gather from this letter the state of your affairs here, and the assistance you may expect from the English, which, in my opinion, will be as much as is laid down in the treaties and no more. Henry's and Wolsey's present language, their excuses, and the difficulties they are making, all seem to mean that they are trying to avoid putting the army you ask for into the field so that they may make an end to the Scots this season, since they are on such terms with Scotland that Henry could not otherwise cross the sea to invade France according to the treaty. The payment of the indemnity, and the repayment of the loan will be a heavy burden for your majesty, but there is no doubt the English will insist on it before Henry makes a personal invasion of France. I greatly doubt whether Henry will give much help in money in the Bourbon matter, and I think his pleasant offers proceed from his certainty that the whole business will come to nothing. I have been unable to persuade them to alter their former decision about the negotiations with the Swiss, which was that, as soon as Pace had finished in Venice, he would be sent to assist the papal and imperial ambassadors in Switzerland by his advice, without promising any money. Henry and Wolsey approve the idea that the archduke Ferdinand should stay in Wurtemberg this summer to prevent the Swiss and Germans from serving the French king, and that he should raise an army there, but they will make no contribution to assist him.
On the whole, I find your majesty's affairs here very perplexing, and I can see no means whereby your majesty can persuade the king and the cardinal to make either a good war or an honourable peace. The obstacles they have raised will delay their invasion of France until after July first, even if your majesty agrees to the postponement of the "Great Enterprise," and meets all their other objections. If they then begin by besieging Boulogne, it is to be feared that the whole summer will go by with little or no profit, in which case your majesty may be sure that they will throw all the blame on your army in the Low Countries and on Madame as they did last year, and perhaps on your majesty also, thus excusing to their own people the expenses of the war, and endangering your reputation in this kingdom.
As to a truce, as far as I can understand from the cardinal's words, Henry will drag matters out as long as he can, at least until he knows the result of his efforts against Scotland. It is consistent with this view that Henry has instructed Clerk that, although His Holiness wishes to arrange peace among all Christian powers, the Scots should not be included, since they are his rebels and disobedient subjects. Clerk has been given certain ancient documents to show His Holiness, documents which seem to prove the truth and legality of the English contention. Even if Scotland is conquered, I doubt very much whether Henry will really assist the negotiations for a truce ; he will rather let himself be besought by you on the one hand, and by the French on the other, in order to increase his own reputation, and to be able to say that he would never have agreed to make peace except at the earnest solicitation of your majesty and the pope. This he can do easily enough, since the war between King Francis and yourself cannot last many years without the total destruction of one of you, and the great enfeeblement of the other, while the English, if they can avoid the "Great Enterprise," will be put to little danger or expense, since their territory on the continent is so small. You and Francis, on the other hand, have such long and open frontiers that defensive warfare is as costly as offensive,— but your majesty knows all these things better than I. Although I wrote you that I was sending the receipts of the lords to whom pensions were paid, I am keeping them with me at present, for I have not been able to get receipts from the marquis, or the admiral, or Compton, who are on the Scottish border, as Badajoz will have told you. The copies of the papal briefs and other documents Wolsey is sending by the English envoy of whom I spoke, one Jerningham, a groom of the bed chamber, an honourable gentleman, formerly English ambassador in France.
The king, the queen and the cardinal have been in London since April 13th and there is no news yet of their intention to depart. They are treating daily with parliament for supplies and hope to bring the matter to a good end. Some days ago the king sent to the Tower a bishop of this kingdom and some of his adherents because, as the story runs, they have been in correspondence with Richard de la Pole, called "White Rose." It is said that a hundred thousand crowns in gold for the furtherance of this intrigue were found in the bishop's coffers. I cannot tell you what truth there is in the rumour, since neither Henry nor Wolsey has said anything about it and it did not seem becoming to ask.
London, 7 May, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 31.
8 May.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng., f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Margaret Of Savoy.
Yesterday I, Marnix, received your letters of May third and communicated them to de Praet. This morning we went together to Wolsey to tell him that the citadel of Milan had been taken, and, on this account, the Low Countries were threatened by the French, and to ask him that, while the English army was being made ready, a sufficient number of troops be sent at once to help guard the frontiers, since he had said himself that the English would not be ready before the end of June, during which time many things could happen. We also told him of the arrival of the king and queen of Denmark and their children, and of what the king of Denmark had said to you, and of the perplexed state in which you found yourself, and asked his advice on this point.
Wolsey replied that there was no use talking about further assistance in guarding the frontiers ; there were two thousand English troops at Guines in fulfilment of the treaty, and no more would be sent until their army crossed. He again asked us to increase our force, as we have written. Even if we meet the English terms, it seems to us that things can hardly turn out well, because they insist on three further points not in our power to concede : first and most important, that the "Great Enterprise" be postponed for a year ; second, before their army crosses, they intend to send an envoy to the emperor to see whether his preparations are as far advanced as he has said, a point on which they insist, we suppose, because of something written by Master Boleyn ; third, they wish first to take Boulogne, and after that Thérouanne or whatever the captains may decide. Moreover, they say the army will not be ready until the end of June. So it seems very difficult to manage matters as you and the emperor wish. We shall do what we can, however ; a prompt reply from you will be of great assistance. When such a reply arrives I, Marnix, should like to withdraw, for I am of no use here.
Wolsey said he supposed the king of Denmark must have come for one of three reasons. He may have been driven to do so in order to ask aid against his subjects, and in this case it is unlikely that he would be up to mischief, although the safe-conduct he was asking for partly discredited this supposition. Or he might have come with malicious intent to complain that his wife's dowry had not been paid, and to make unreasonable demands, the refusal of which he would avenge by a descent on the Low Countries with his fleet. In this case he should be treated gently, and delayed with the excuse that you were sending to the emperor. During this time he would consume his supplies, and not be so capable of doing harm. Or he might have come to leave his wife and children on account of some quarrel, and to go with his ships to France or Scotland to make war on the emperor and the king of England. In this case the emperor and the king of England would have to unite their fleets and attack the Danes. He asked us to write you at once, and added that it was unnecessary to speak to Henry about the king of Denmark since he had already been informed by the English ambassadors. He also said in connection with the king of Denmark that if the straits of Dover were unsafe, not an English soldier should cross, by which you may see how slight is the confidence we may have in these people.
We said nothing about the safe-conducts because they were not mentioned, but we shall be ready to discuss them if the subject arises.
We have twice discussed the question of Hungary with the cardinal. He has promised to take the matter up with Henry, but it would be better to approach him through others than through us, for reasons which I, Marnix, will tell you when I return.
London, 8 May, 1522 [sic].
Copy. French. pp. 3.
9 May.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng., f. 1.
Margaret Of Savoy to the Ambassadors in England.
We have received yours of May 5th and do not find what Wolsey told you very hopeful. He fails to consider the great expenses being borne by the emperor and by us, and that we can furnish no more than we are granted by these countries. As I told you, Marnix, before your departure, the war here must be conducted according to the grants of the estates, and the number of the gens d'armes d'ordonnance. We have offered to get together as many men as possible in order to assist the English, leaving our frontiers very lightly protected. Should you agree to increase the number, we could not possibly furnish the troops. It is better not to rely too much on Môqueron's mission, since we do not know when he will get here, or how much money he will bring, though we understand that it will be less than at first stated, since a part will be used to raise the lanzknechts which Montfort will take back with him to Spain. We understand that Môqueron is to spend this money according to instructions the nature of which we have not learned, so that should we promise anything, relying on him, we might fail in it, to our great shame and confusion. We hope, however, that he will stop in England, so that you may learn the details of his mission and tell Wolsey. You may say to Wolsey that he knows that were it in our power to furnish greater assistance we should do so gladly. If he wishes to follow the route set forth in your instructions, or to attack Thérouanne, a part of the frontier garrison could be sent to join him, and our cousins, de Buren and de Gavres will order the people of the country, to the number of ten or twelve thousand infantry, to be ready to assist the army if necessary. According to this plan, the supply of provisions would also be much easier than it would be around Boulogne, as you know, since that town is too far from our frontiers. There is hardly any likelihood that Boulogne will be taken according to the opinion the English themselves, the officials of Calais and other servants of Henry, expressed to de Buren last year. Such a siege would certainly be unprofitable from our point of view, and would play into the enemy's hands.
Therefore you, Marnix, will follow the course laid down in my earlier letters ; you will stand on your earlier instructions and if there is no hope of agreement on those terms, you will advise the emperor to that effect, and seek to have some additional English troops to help guard our frontiers this season. As for artillery, we can furnish that described in your instructions, with the necessary munitions, pioneers and wagons, and for the rest things should be managed as they were last year, some wagons provided, and the rest hired, but expenses should not be in common, since the English costs are always higher than ours.
Only the emperor can decide about the postponement of the "Great Enterprise" until 1525. The king of Denmark does not appear to have any intention of going to Scotland. He will be here tomorrow, and we will let you know what he says. We have already written you what we know about his coming, and told the English ambassador the same thing. We have heard nothing further.
So far, the estates of Brabant have not been willing to grant anything, but we hope that they will end by consenting, and we are going today to Bois-Le-Duc with our cousin de Buren to get the consent of that town. It seems to us they are only haggling to gain time in England. You should press for some kind of agreement, for the season is already well advanced, and it will be impossible to be in the field before half the summer is past, so that the whole campaign will be no longer than three months, and little will be done, just as it was last year.
Malines, 9 May, 1523.
Signed, Margaret ; countersigned, des Barres. Copy. French. pp. 3.