Spain: May 1523, 16-31

Pages 222-229

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, 16-31

18 May.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng., f. 2.
Charles V to Sir Thomas Boleyn.
You already have my oral instructions and those I gave you in writing on your departure concerning the common affairs of the king of England, my good father, and myself, both about the war and our common or several enterprises this year, and about the truce, and you have seen the dispatches I sent my ambassadors by the last four couriers. From all this you know how strongly I desire to have some decision in England according to which I may make plans, so that there may be no failure in anything on my side.
When you first spoke to me about a truce it seemed to me a holy object, and for our common good. I have since heard from my maréchal de logis, who has just returned from Rome with letters from the pope, that the French show little disposition toward a truce, making unjust and unreasonable demands which it would be neither honourable nor profitable for Henry and me to grant. There seems little likelihood of a truce, therefore, until we can force the French to accept one. They are often fickle, and may change their minds, but the surest course is to be ready to compel them to see reason. There will be no failure on my part, since my maréchal has brought me what I most need to supply my finances. Therefore, so as not to lose time, and because I am informed that Francis is making great preparations to attack Henry or me if he sees us unprepared for war, I am writing my ambassadors to hasten the agreement about the campaigns for this summer, and asking them to beg Henry and Wolsey to make some good exploit against the French.
Although there seems little hope of bringing Francis to reasonable terms, I have written my ambassador to ask Henry to send his powers and instructions to Rome in order that the pope may see there is no lack of good will on our side. Also, if the enemy decide to see reason, there need then be no loss of time in the negotiations for truce, which our ambassadors may conduct jointly.
I am writing as above to M. de Praet, my ambassador, but I have found you so good and loyal a servant of the king of England, and so zealous for the common cause, that I wish you to be fully informed of all these things, which your prudence will know how to bring to a good conclusion.
Valladolid, 18 May, 1523.
Draft. French. pp. 3.
18 May.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng., f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
Since Boleyn left our maréchal de logis has returned from Rome. For your fuller information a copy of the letter we are writing to Boleyn is enclosed. He is going to speak to Henry and Wolsey about these matters, and to ask them for a decision about the war this year and about the truce. You will continue diligently to solicit decisions on these points, if you have not already had them, as we hope you may have.
Valladolid, 18 May, 1523.
Draft. French.
21 May.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng., f. 1.
Margaret Of Savoy to the Ambassadors in England.
We have received your letters of May 8th, setting forth various conditions proposed by Wolsey. The English know as well as we that it is not in our power to grant that their envoy may go to Spain to satisfy himself about the emperor's preparations and return while there is still time for a campaign this summer. They also know that to besiege Boulogne is a waste of time, for the reasons we have written you. We find this conduct very strange. It seems to show that we shall do best by relying on ourselves alone. We have no further instructions to write you this time. We hope the emperor will be informed that it has not rested with us that affairs did not take a more favourable turn. You have done well to write him everything that Wolsey said.
As to Wolsey's statement that he has two thousand men at Guines as the treaty requires, we have had no estimate that puts them as many as a thousand, nor have we heard of their doing anything against the enemy all this winter and spring, nor have they given our people any assistance. Ascertain whether there really are two thousand men at Guines, and if you find that there are not, try to persuade Wolsey to furnish at least that many and to order the captains to co-operate with our people.
The king of Denmark is here with the queen and their children. He says that the duke of Holstein, his uncle, in alliance with the Lubeckers, has raised his people in rebellion against him, so that he has been obliged to take refuge here. He has asked us to give him help to return to his country and reduce his subjects to obedience, or to write to the archduke and the other princes of the empire, asking them to take cognizance of his case and help him obtain justice. Also he has asked for letters to the emperor and the king of England, and for safe-conduct for one of his servants who will come to tell them of his wrongs. We are unable to provide him with any troops, but we have given him the letters he has asked for. It is not yet decided whether he will go himself to speak to these princes, or whether he will send someone. The queen and her children will remain here. You may tell Henry and Wolsey, then, that the king of Denmark has come here without hostile purpose, and we find him very well disposed towards the king of England. His ships are anchored at Zeeland ; there are only a few people on them.
You have managed well about the safe-conducts, and about Hungarian affairs. We wrote you as we did about Hungary in compliance with letters from the king and queen of Hungary asking for immediate response to their request for aid, which we showed the English ambassador here. We have written openly about the king of Denmark, but you will use the information as seems best for the emperor's service.
We have just had news that the pope has had the cardinal of Volterra arrested and imprisoned in the castle of St. Angelo. He is suspected of plotting a revolt in Sicily. You may inform Henry and Wolsey.
Malines, 21 May, 1523.
Signed, Margaret ; countersigned, des Barres. Copy. French. pp. 2.
26 May.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng., f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Margaret Of Savoy.
We have been at Wolsey daily since I, Marnix, recovered from my tertian fever, trying to persuade him to come to some decision about the emperor's affairs. He finally told us that we should have our decision today in the king's presence at Greenwich. At that time we had a long discussion with Henry and Wolsey and told them what you wrote about military affairs, about the king of Denmark, and about the cardinal of Volterra. Henry and Wolsey, however, recurred bitterly several times to your military offers, saying that they were neither equal nor suitable, especially since Henry was making this effort, in addition to his war with Scotland, merely to please the emperor. Finally they said that, since we had no authority to offer more, we should write you at once, saying that you need furnish only three thousand cavalry and three thousand infantry and no artillery, carts, or munitions, on condition that the army should first go to besiege Boulogne. They hope to have a prompt response from you, which we beg you to send, and it seems to us that you should further provide a thousand horse as they hope you will, since by this you will be excused from all the expense of artillery, carts and munitions, which would cost a great deal of money, and need furnish only three thousand infantry instead of four thousand.
I, Marnix, then asked for leave to return to you, my mission being at an end, but they asked me to remain until your answer came. Meanwhile they have begun to draw up the treaty with me, de Praet, leaving the clause in question open until we have your response. They have also asked me to promise, in the emperor's name, that he will invade France from Spain with a great army such that he might accompany in person. To this I have agreed, relying on the emperor's letters, and knowing how anxious he is for the English to cross the sea. It is unlikely they will be able to do so very soon, whatever they say, and in spite of whatever we may say to them.
They are sending Jerningham to the emperor about delaying the "Great Enterprise" until next year, and other matters not within our power to treat. Jerningham will leave within a few days, and the English have no intention of doing anything unless they see an equal effort on the side of the emperor. They say that you, Madame, should be equally insistent on this point, so that all the burden of the war may not fall on the Low Countries. We can assure you that things are sometimes managed sufficiently strangely here, and words said about the emperor which we would not willingly hear, but we have tried to be patient, so that everything may be as amicable as possible. The king really seems friendly enough to the emperor, and willing that matters should be arranged much as he desired, but the cardinal irritates and incites him.
We hope, Madame, that you will reply clearly and frankly at once. There seems to be no way to avoid the clause about Boulogne, refusal of which might produce a rupture. The English may also wish some agreement as to how long the army shall remain in the field, and may propose a term so long that it will be necessary for it to winter in the Low Countries, in case no truce is arranged. The payment of your troops stops, we know, at the end of September, and we think it would be little honourable to us were the English to remain in the field longer than we. Since we do not wish to exceed our powers on this point, it is referred to your pleasure.
We have had no information whatever about the Sieur de la Motte who has come to you from M. Bourbon, and so we have not known what to reply to questions about him. Had it pleased you to write us two words on this subject we might have used them as discreetly as the persons to whom you did speak of it. We have no desire to know anything, except in order to serve the common good, but when the English perceive that we appear distrustful of them, it does not advance mutual good will.
Henry had good news from Scotland today. His people have already devastated a good part of the country, and taken and razed several castles and strong places.
London, 26 May, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet and de Marnix. French, pp. 4.
28 May.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Instructions for Adrien De Croy.
Give your credentials to the king of England and the cardinal and say that since the departure of Master Boleyn, a gentleman named Gracien has come to us from the duke of Bourbon. Give him a full account of Gracien's mission, and let him talk to Gracien if you think it advisable.
Say that the king and the cardinal know we are sparing no pains in this matter. Since our dispatches, we have heard that Francis has done his best to be reconciled to Bourbon, but in vain, for the duke is entirely determined to serve us. Remind Henry and Wolsey that they have always shown themselves favourably disposed to accept this opportunity to achieve our common wishes. Point out to them the present weakness of King Francis and the discontent of his subjects. In taking from Francis five hundred men-at-arms and ten thousand foot, and ranging them against him, Bourbon will weaken him much further. Also several towns, and the friends, relatives, and principal vassals of Bourbon will support him against Francis, and the general discontent will probably draw many others to his side. You will particularly emphasize Bourbon's popularity, and the fact that he is acting of his own motion for the public good, offering the French liberty, and peace, and an end of excessive taxation. The present opportunity to put a favourable end to the war seems so advantageous that every soldier in the field will be worth thirty at any other time. We are, therefore, determined to support this rising with all our power. Beg the cardinal to persuade the king to do likewise.
To show them that we do not wish to act alone in this, Beaurain will hand the king and the cardinal his powers and instructions, and ask them to give him similar powers and instructions for negotiations in their behalf. For the present these need only concern the payment of Bourbon's troops and the time and manner of beginning the campaign, since the marriage and other matters touch us alone.
Say also that, as they know by the messages brought by our last three couriers to which we have had as yet no reply, we think the king of England and we ought both to invade France this year with the best armies we can manage, so as to give the enemy no rest. Explain that we are assembling our cortes at the beginning of July, and do not doubt that they will grant us large supplies. Moreover, we have just received a new cruzada, with a fourth part of the first fruits, and the goods of the excepted benefices, which we may sell, and from this and other sources we expect to raise enough money to put a large army in the field. We shall have our seventeen hundred ordinary gens d'armes, a thousand light cavalry, three thousand German mercenary infantry, now here, and another four thousand which we are sending for, a large number of veteran Spanish infantry, and, in addition, new levies of cavalry and infantry promised us here. We shall not fail to put a powerful army in the field, and we hope the king of England will do likewise.
Say that the pope has begun to recognize the treachery of the French, and has already declared against them by the arrest of the cardinal of Volterra. He now shows himself inclined to join the defensive Italian league, which circumstance will influence the Venetians in our favour. If the king mentions our sending the army of Italy into Picardy, you may say that, if we agree with the Venetians and if the king of England will contribute half the expense of the infantry and artillery, we are willing to pay the rest, with all the expense of our gens d'armes, and to order the army of Italy to invade Languedoc, which will greatly dismay the French and assist Bourbon. If Henry asks, say that a half share of these expenses will be at least one hundred thousand ducats, and that persons may be appointed to make certain that the contributions are equal on both sides. If the king seems willing, you may treat about this matter at once.
Although the plans this summer are such that the greater part of the expense is to be borne by us, and although we have borne for a long time the chief burden of the war, nevertheless it seems better to give the enemy no rest, and not to lose the advantage of Bourbon's rising. Delay is dangerous for several reasons. Bourbon's plans may be betrayed, which would ruin everything ; even if they are not, the present trial may deprive him of his estates, so that his power would be much diminished. A respite would permit the French to grow stronger, and they might be able to attack us and prevent the execution of the "Great Enterprise." We have certain news that the Turk will not stir this year, but is preparing to invade Italy next year, so that we may not be able at that time to make serious war on the French. Therefore we wish to take advantage of Bourbon's rising, for we shall accomplish more in one summer with him than in many without him. Both our armies should invade France by August first. Urge Henry and Wolsey, therefore, to furnish payment for Bourbon's troops, and to invade France promptly in Picardy or wherever they like. For our part, we shall invade France wherever it seems the enemy can be most damaged and Bourbon best aided.
If Henry wishes to invade Picardy we shall give him all possible assistance in the matter of provisions, etc., and order our gens d'armes d'ordonnance and the garrisons of Flanders to join him ; we shall help him to find horses in Cleves, Julich and elsewhere in Germany, and to raise German infantry, as many as he can get for his money, and give him all other possible assistance.
Since we have had no reply to our last three couriers, we are now writing de Praet to come to some agreement with the king on one of three courses of action, an army here at our common expense, or an army in Flanders on a similar footing, or separate armies with which each of us is to invade France on his own side. We have no information as to what de Praet has so far agreed on. Inform yourself from him, therefore, and if you find that an agreement has been reached for a common army, try to persuade Henry and Wolsey to accept, instead, the plan for separate armies, since we have already completed our plans for a great army here in Spain, and cannot furnish another one in the Netherlands, and the method of separate invasions will most aid Bourbon and dismay the enemy.
Co-operate with de Praet in these negotiations. As soon as they are completed, solicit for yourself, or for a separate English ambassador, powers and instructions to treat with the duke of Bourbon about the payment of his troops and the alliance with him. As soon as these are given, go as secretly as possible to Bourbon and fulfil your instructions. Before you leave England see that I am informed of what has been agreed upon, so that I may not fail to fulfil my part.
Communicate these instructions to de Praet, and tell him that they contain our true intentions at present, since matters have changed for the better since we wrote him by Môqueron. In general, you will use your discretion in carrying out these instructions, modifying details as circumstances dictate. Make our excuses to the king of England for the tardiness of the fleet, due to an error of our treasurer Vargas, as you know, and tell him that it will be ready by July 3rd.
Valladolid, 28 May, 1523.
Draft, with corrections by Gattinara. French. pp. 9.
28 May.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f.2.
Secret instructions for Adrien De Croy.
Although your general instructions for negotiations in England and with the duke of Bourbon inform you fully of what you have to do, we are adding this private advice as to your proper course in certain contingencies. You will not communicate it to anyone.
If the king of England is unwilling to invade France in force this year, or to contribute to the support of the duke of Bourbon, and if you see that, in spite of the fact that he has seemed favourably inclined to this enterprise, he will not now agree to military operations this year, or grant powers to negotiate with Bourbon, and if he wishes to delay, and to persuade Bourbon to delay, until next year, in this case you will delay in England as little as possible. On the excuse that it is desirable to retain Bourbon's attachment, and to persuade him to wait for our enterprise next year, you will depart, and go to him at once.
If, however, you are unable to persuade Bourbon to delay until next year, you will say that the choice is his, and that we are willing to treat with him, alone, without the intervention of the king of England, for war this summer. For we wish you to conclude an agreement with Bourbon before you leave him. If necessary, therefore, you will sign a treaty with the duke according to your instructions, in spite of the fact that these instructions say that nothing is to be concluded without the king of England. In this case you will not agree to advance, for the payment of Bourbon's troops, more than one hundred thousand crowns.
You will treat for the marriage to the duke of one of our sisters, either Eleanor, queen of Portugal, or Catherine, at our choice. Since Queen Eleanor has not yet reached our court, we do not know whether she will agree to remarry, although we hope to persuade her to do so. If we cannot, the Lady Catherine, our sister, will take her place. In either event you will discuss with Bourbon our proposal to raise him to the dignity of king of the Bourbonnais. You will tell him that the queen of Portugal's dowry will be sixteen thousand ducats a year, plus eleven thousand ducats a year as a gift from us, to be paid in Spain.
You will tell Bourbon that he may have the lanzknechts if he wishes, and if he does, you will make use of the letters we have given you to the Archduke Ferdinand, the count of Fürstenburg, Count Felix of Werdenberg, and the lord of Rubempré, to facilitate raising these troops.
When the treaty has been signed, you will find out from the duke what part of France he would advise us to invade, and in what manner, when he will declare himself, and where and how he will join our army, how long he intends to keep the field, and where and by what means he wishes payment delivered for his troops, and in all these things you will agree as he wishes. You will also arrange with him the details and time of the proposed marriage, and you will agree on a cipher and means of communication, so that we may keep in touch with him. You will also discuss with him what other princes and towns of France may be drawn to our party, with the object of giving peace and order to the kingdom, insuring the liberty of subjects, and lightening the burdens of taxation.
Write through the treasurer Vionet in the cipher we have given you, and return here as quickly as possible. (fn. 1)
Valladolid, 28 May, 1523.
Copy. French. pp. 4.
28 May.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f.2.
Full powers for Adrien De Croy.
Charles, emperor of the Romans, etc. appoints Adrien de Croy, Sieur de Beaurain, his ambassador, and empowers him to treat with Charles, duke of Bourbon about the marriage of the duke to Eleanor, queen dowager of Portugal, or to the infanta Catherine, and also to conclude an alliance between the emperor and the king of England, on the one hand, and the duke of Bourbon, on the other, to make war in France, and to agree with the duke about the payment of his troops, and all other matters connected with the marriage or the alliance. Sealed with the great seal and signed in our hand.
Valladolid, 28 day of May, 1523.
Copy. French. pp. 2.


  • 1. There are interesting differences between this document and Wolsey's memorandum, "Secret Instructions of the Sieur de Beaurain," printed in St.P. VI, 151.