Spain: June 1523

Pages 229-248

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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June 1523

1 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
I wrote your majesty by the courier Domingo d'Aguyerro, who left here May 9th, a full account of my activities since De Mesa's departure, of my conversations with Henry and Wolsey about the contents of the dispatches brought by d'Aguyerro, by Francisco Frias, and by the Sieur de Montfort, of the difficulties which they raised to prevent any agreement about war this year, and of the arrival of the treasurer Marnix. Marnix and I will write you jointly about our negotiations in pursuance of his mission by this courier, Francisco de Frias, whom we have detained until we could send a full account. The present letter is in reply to yours of April 16th, which I received May 15th by one Penyagna, a servant of the archbishop of Bari.
Penyagna also brought letters to the king, to the cardinal, and to me from his master, the archbishop, saying that the king of France was sending ambassadors to Rome with full power to treat about peace or truce on certain conditions, the chief being that Francis will not make a truce for a long term, which proposal, he says, is merely to keep him out of Italy, but will agree to a truce of two months, giving his ambassadors power to prolong the term from time to time if that seems necessary, in order to arrive at a good peace. Penyagna told me by word of mouth from the archbishop, that it was the archbishop's opinion that Francis sought so short a truce for two reasons. First, he hoped the Turk would attack Naples during that time, thus obliging you to abandon the defence of Milan. Second, he expected, by a short truce, to prevent you or the king of England from taking any action against him this summer, so he could again attempt to capture Milan during the late fall or winter, when he would only have to leave his ordinary garrisons in the frontier towns.
It seemed to me better that Penyagna should declare his charge to Wolsey in my absence. This he did on May 16th. The next day I went to Wolsey and declared my charge, setting forth at length the dangers to Christendom from the capture of Rhodes, and the pope's exhortations for peace, and using what arguments seemed desirable, without, however, mentioning that your majesty merely wished to please the pope, and to serve the common good without thought of personal advantage.
At what I said Wolsey seemed more overjoyed than I can write, and, raising his hands to heaven, he cried out that no prince had ever been better advised than you in taking up this matter. He begged me to state my charge to Henry as strongly as possible, and to beg him, as from you, to agree to this proposal. It would more influence the king, he said, if I were to let him know that Naples and Sicily were in danger, and also if I were to tell him that your majesty was not, at present, well prepared for war. Wolsey promised for his part to work with all his might for the good of Christendom and the preservation of your realms in Naples and Sicily. He told me that although Henry might receive the matter coldly at first, he would not be really displeased if I urged these arguments strongly and that there was good hope that in the end he would consent. From all that Wolsey said I gathered there was nothing he wanted more than the truce, but that he wished the request for it to come from our side, for the greater reputation of his master. I replied that I would conceal nothing of my charge from the king, but would not exceed the truth, which was that your majesty was willing to obey the pope in view of the great need of Christendom, and had sent powers and instructions to your ambassadors at Rome to treat jointly about a peace and about the formation of an army against the Turks, with the English ambassadors, and added that Henry, as Defender of the Faith, should be willing to do as much. As to the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, I said, they were in no particular danger from the fall of Rhodes, since there were many Christian countries which the Turk was more likely to invade, and if the Turk did conquer them, it would not injure your majesty alone but be great shame and danger to all Christian princes. I said you regretted being unable to attack the French this year, and had been induced to agree to the truce only by the grave present danger to Christendom.
After a long discussion, Wolsey took me to the king, and the two talked together for some time. Henry then gave me audience, and heard my charge very attentively. He pretended to desire to press the war, and to be very disappointed at the proposal for truce, in which he said there were several difficulties. He said it would be a great shame to you both to be the first to make this proposal, for although you did it for the common good of Christendom, the French, as usual, would boast that they had compelled you by force and by fear of them, particularly as there was no great appearance that the Turk would attempt anything this year. Moreover, the truce might not accomplish its object, for if the Turk did invade Naples, or some other Christian land, this year, Francis, as was his habit, would immediately break his word and attack Milan, which he could not do if he were brought low before the coming of the Turk. Therefore, he thought it would be better if your powers, when they were sent to Rome, were accompanied by a message to the pope that they were to be kept secret until King Francis had made some offer. The king took this occasion to complain that you did not proceed with him as frankly as you ought, now exhorting him to war, now proposing a truce. It would be better, he said, if you confessed frankly that you were not ready for a war instead of taking cover behind the Turkish danger which anyway concerned you more than others, because of Naples and Sicily. To hear him talk one would have thought these kingdoms lost already.
In reply it seemed necessary to vindicate your honour, since I saw that Henry wished to take all the credit himself, and to delay the negotiations while he made war on the Scots, as I wrote you before. I said no good Christian could think it disgraceful to yield to the pope's request. Moreover, you would not be the first to offer a truce, for the king of France had several times raised the matter, and had already consented to a two months' truce, with provision for its being extended. I also pointed out that to achieve what the pope desired, the Turkish preparations would have to be anticipated. If we waited until the Turk was on Christian soil, it would be too late. I said I did not think Francis would be so dishonourable as to break his word, and if he did, it would be in vain, for all Christendom would turn against him. Moreover, by the plan proposed, Francis would contribute his share to the war against the Turk, and would be as much weakened thereby as your majesty.
Of Henry's alternative proposal I said that, in my opinion, it did not meet the need for immediate action or comply with the pope's request, for even if Christendom were not in danger, a Christian prince ought to accept a reasonable offer of peace. I pointed out that if Francis consented to a truce, you and he would, by your compliance, have won the good will of the pope and of all Christendom, and if he refused the pope would be obliged to declare against him and bring to the alliance all his power, temporal and spiritual, which would be a great accession of strength to the common cause.
To his complaints I replied as before, but gently, so as not to irritate him. I said he ought not to be surprised if your majesty had changed your mind, since it was reasonable to change one's plans as circumstances altered. I repeated that the change did not arise from your being unprepared for war with France, but from your concern for the good of Christendom, and to reinforce this point I urged him to invade France at once, if he wished to do so, without waiting for your reply, and assured him that you would not fail also to make an invasion in force.
The king, the cardinal and I had a good deal more talk on this topic, they insisting that you made this proposal because you were unprepared for war, and were anxious about Naples and Sicily, I maintaining the contrary. Finally I said that your majesty did not wish to press this proposal on the king, and that if he knew a better means of satisfying the pope, resisting the Turk, and subduing Francis, you would be glad to have his advice and to act on it. He replied that he would think the matter over and let me know his decision.
Next day I went at once to Wolsey. He told me the king had consented to a three years' truce on approximately the same terms your majesty had written, and he tried again to get me to admit that the cause was your unpreparedness. Either this king and he are very badly informed of your preparations, or they wish to drag out the negotiations until good weather is over, so as to escape from their obligations without dishonour. However this may be, my efforts about the truce have been successful, and yesterday, the 30th of May, Wolsey told me of Henry's agreement, and said that powers and instructions would soon be sent to Rome to be used on two conditions. First, Henry insisted that the truce, as far as he was concerned, must be quite separate from any obligation to contribute to an army against the Turk, which point he would only discuss after its conclusion. Second, your majesty is to sign and seal a bond, which will be sent you by Jerningham, promising to pay the king the sum due him for the indemnity, according to the treaty of Windsor. When he receives the bond, Jerningham will write at once to the English ambassador at Rome, who will then sign the terms for truce, but not before. The other English conditions are similar to yours, except that Henry demands that Francis pay the dowry of his sister Mary, and that it be agreed that Albany shall not go to Scotland during the truce.
I did my best to point out to the cardinal that these terms would much retard the negotiations, and that there was no doubt your majesty would keep his promise and that you could not be more straitly bound than by the treaty of last year. But my words were in vain. Wolsey only said that he did not doubt your majesty's good faith, but he could not expose himself to the charge of neglecting his master's interests.
After this Wolsey drew me apart and began to remonstrate with me, in friendship (as he said), for having been too stiff in insisting before the council that your majesty's expenses this year had been so much greater than those of the king, his master. Even if this were so, he said, I ought to remember that the king had gone to war out of friendship for you, and had spent a great deal of money last year without an equal expenditure on your part. He begged me to speak more gently, both for the sake of reason and for the sake of his (Wolsey's) honour and credit, for he had been the one who had got his master into this war and he would gladly get him out again honourably and without great loss. I thanked him for his good advice, and said that I had not intended to reproach the English, but only to let them understand that your majesty was not so much to blame as they believed, and that I was obliged to justify you before the council, otherwise it would appear that I admitted things which were not true. I begged him not to let small causes of disagreement sunder the friendship, and I think I soothed him before we parted. After this he called Marnix apart and spoke to him about his report to Madame, recurring to much the same terms that he had used to me. In fact, Wolsey would like to be free to charge your majesty with faults, just as he pleases, not only in private conversation but before the council. I several times noticed, while Badajoz was here, that he plumed himself before the council, saying that, since we did not contradict him, it was clear your majesty was in the wrong.
After much solicitation the king of England has finally given Jerningham power to treat about the Bourbon affair at your court, and to agree to pay half the expenses of the troops, if matters seem in good train. In my poor opinion, however, your majesty ought not to place too much reliance on the English offers, since it is to be feared they have complied with your request only in the hope that nothing will come of the negotiations, as I wrote you before. *In truth, this secret has been kept badly. By whose fault I do not know, but it will soon be common property. At this court more than ten persons know of it, and day before yesterday the cardinal spoke of it in the presence of the duke of Suffolk, Talbot, Wingfield, three English bishops, and Marnix, and let out the whole matter including the fact that Madame had sent word that a French gentleman, the Sieur de la Motte, had come to her secretly from Bourbon on his way to your majesty with a message from the duke that this June offered the most favourable opportunity which had yet arisen to invade France. I strongly suspect that this la Motte has been sent either by King Francis or Madame to see whether, by his means, the truth of this matter can be found out. Your majesty ought to be advised of these things, and I shall write as soon as possible of what follows. Many people in Flanders know the secret as Badajoz and I knew at the beginning of last January, although we did not mention it to the king or the cardinal until your majesty ordered us to do so.* It has been the same about the three year truce, which Wolsey first revealed to Marnix as a great secret, and then afterwards recounted in the presence of the whole royal council.
Henry and Wolsey have as yet reached no decision about contributing to the pay of the Swiss and lanzknechts to serve in France and about your brother, the archduke's making his headquarters at Ferrette or Wurtemberg, although I have given them several memoirs on the subject. I have not insisted on this point for fear of irritating them, since they are already making enough difficulties about much more reasonable and important requests.
A letter came from Pace yesterday, saying that the treaty with Venice was as good as concluded, and would have been signed already had it not been for the death of the doge. As soon as it is, Pace will join your ambassador and those of the pope and the duke of Milan, in Switzerland, but he will promise no money, as I wrote you. Badajoz will have told you how Henry set free the Venetian galleys without saying anything to us.
Nothing further has been said about payment of the indemnity, and I have not raised the question. I am sending herewith the receipts of the lords for their pensions and my accounts for the 8,500 crowns. I have not paid Sir Richard Wingfield nor the bishop of London for lack of money and instructions. The bishop was omitted from the list, and when I wrote Madame about Wingfield she replied that she had no money to pay him and I would have to write to you. It would be well to pay these two lords as soon as possible, for they are highly esteemed by their master, and the bishop of London is now privy seal, taking the place of Marney who died May 24th. By this death, and that of the bishop of Durham, the amount due on the pensions has been reduced by two thousand crowns. Your majesty ought to look to the other pensions also. There is a half year owing to Wolsey, and I have heard he prefers ready money to promises. A payment will be due the other pensioners on the 26th of this month. These payments are the principal means of maintaining and assuring your influence here.
I have spoken to the queen about the son of her physician, and about her confessor. She took what I had to tell her in good part, and begs your majesty to keep her confessor in mind for a future occasion. She is pleased with what you offer to do for the physician's son, and thanks you very much, asking that he may be placed in some honourable post near your majesty, since she highly esteems his father, who is, moreover, of gentle birth. Indeed, sire, he seems a worthy gentleman, and he is daily busy in your service.
The king is sending you, by Jerningham, letters in his hand and copies of briefs from the pope and the college of cardinals and of Henry's and Wolsey's answers. Jerningham is a worthy gentleman, and very much in his master's favour. I think your majesty will not be the worse when he replaces Boleyn.
I have been advised by certain persons worthy of credence, that a treaty is being discussed between the king of England and the Scots, since the Scots, seeing themselves abandoned by the French, and their land invaded, are in great perplexity. I have no more certain news, for although I have several times tried to ascertain the facts from the cardinal, he has told me only that there was great dissension among the Scots, most of whom desire peace, and said nothing about a treaty. Parliament has been postponed from the eve of Pentecost to the 10th of this month, because there are divers opinions and several difficulties have arisen, as I have been informed by knowledgeable persons. What is worse, it seems likely the opposition will be greater this time than before. Wolsey is incredibly unpopular here, and matters will not go so easily as he and Henry seem to believe.
News has come from Rome that the pope has arrested Cardinal Soderini, because he has proof that Soderini was plotting a rebellion in Sicily, and urging Francis to invade that kingdom and conquer it with the help of the rebels. The discovery is due to the activity of the duke of Sessa, who intercepted a messenger whom the cardinal was sending to France, with the letters which incriminated him. It is to be hoped that this episode will further cool the pope toward the French. Cardinal de Medici has asked the king of England to write the pope, urging condign punishment for Soderini, which Wolsey promises to do. This event, and the compliance of your majesty and the king of England to the pope's request about the truce, may well lead His Holiness to declare against the French.
From this dispatch your majesty will have learned what has been decided about the truce, and about the war for this summer (which in my opinion cannot have much success since it is to be begun so late), and about the siege of Boulogne (which there is little hope of taking). Your majesty will be put to much greater expense than the king of England. It seems to me, for these reasons and others, that you ought to accept a truce, if Francis will be reasonable, or otherwise simply stand on the defensive, which should not be very expensive, since the Low Countries are in a position to defend themselves, and matters are going well enough in Spain, and in Italy also, since the Venetians have come over. The pope will probably declare himself, and enough money should accumulate so that the "Great Enterprise" can be executed next year, to which Henry will have to contribute. Then the campaign can be begun at a favourable season, and some profitable use may be made of Bourbon, as can hardly be done this year, since the summer will be nearly gone before he declares himself. Marnix and I are expecting today Madame's reply about military co-operation in Flanders. As soon as we have delivered it, Marnix will return. I am sending herewith a duplicate of my dispatch by Domingo d'Aguyerro. My dispatch about the truce and war is going through France, addressed to the pope to avoid the dangers of the road, as I am secretly advising the archbishop of Bari.
London, 1 June, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French, pp. 20. The paragraph marked * ... * is printed by Bradford and calendared in L. & P., III, 1287.
1 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet and Marnix to Charles V.
From our last letters your majesty will have learned what we offered the king and the cardinal on the part of Madame by way of assistance to the English army which is to invade France. We explained that more could not be done because the frontiers of the Netherlands, which had to be defended, were very long and very open to the enemy, and because your majesty was assembling an army at great expense in Spain. We said that they should not, therefore, look for an effort in Flanders equal to theirs, but should merely regard what could be done there as aid to their army. They refused our offer, and insisted that we furnish three thousand horse and five thousand foot, with half of the artillery, munitions and transport. At their request we wrote Madame, and having consulted M. de Buren, she replied that it would be impossible to increase the force offered, two thousand good horse, four thousand foot, and fifteen pieces of light artillery, but if the English crossed they would be given all possible assistance, and ten or twelve thousand Flemish foot would be ready to act as a reserve.
Although we presented this reply as persuasively as possible, these lords were not satisfied, but raised the difficulties of which we have already written, asking that the "Great Enterprise" be postponed for a year or two, saying that their troops could not be ready until the end of June, although I, Marnix, assured them that our forces would be ready on the 15th, as is indeed true, speaking of besieging Boulogne, which seems an unprofitable undertaking, insisting on knowing the results of Jerningham's mission before they would act, and again asking that we increase the extent of the aid offered.
In view of this attitude we urged that Jerningham be sent at once, and since they had proposed so many conditions, to which neither Madame nor I, de Praet, could agree, we suggested that Jerningham be empowered to treat of this whole question with you. This seemed the more desirable because they are building great hopes on the money which Môqueron will bring, which they think should easily provide the horse and foot which they ask, and more. They intend to put only about fifteen thousand infantry in the field, with some artillery, under the command of the duke of Suffolk as the king's lieutenant.
Today, May 21st, we went to Wolsey to receive the reply which I, Marnix, have been awaiting for twenty days, and which I, de Praet, expected to your majesty's letters of April 16th. In the presence of the privy council, Wolsey told us that if we wished to treat about the army your majesty was preparing for Guienne, and the assistance which Madame is to give in your name, they were ready ; meanwhile, while their troops were being prepared, they would send Jerningham to you, and as soon as they had news of him, send the army to Calais. They said that your majesty would make no difficulty about postponing the "Great Enterprise," since your last letters showed that you wanted a three years' truce.
It seemed to me, de Praet, that Wolsey hoped thus to take us at a disadvantage, since he has shown no real willingness to further the English invasion. I replied that I would be glad to treat of Madame's co-operation according to Marnix's instructions, and that there would be no failure in it, since our people would be quite ready by the 15th. I said I was also quite ready to treat about your invasion of France, according to letters I had had from you, in which you had said, among other things, that I was not to make difficulties over details. And I handed Wolsey a schedule, a copy of which is enclosed. Since, however, they appeared to distrust your preparations, I said, and were therefore sending Jerningham to Spain, it would be better if all agreements were negotiated there, since their object seemed to be to bind your majesty while Henry remained free, and since, whatever they said, their preparations here were so tardy that they were likely to be fruitless. Saying this, to put the right on your side, I handed Wolsey the schedule, and said I was ready to treat in virtue of the powers your majesty had sent me. At this Wolsey drew back, and after saying that Madame's offer was too slight, and blaming your majesty as is his habit, he said it would be better to wait until Môqueron arrived, and postponed any answer until today, in the king's presence at Greenwich.
We presented ourselves at the appointed time and place. Henry told us that he had good news from Scotland, that his people had already burned and devastated two great swathes of the best land on the Scottish side of the border, taken and razed several strong castles, and found no resistance. He said to me, Marnix, that Madame's offer was insufficient, and that without more than two thousand horse, his army could not take the field safely. We replied to him as we had replied to Wolsey, that the defence of the Netherlands would not permit Madame to furnish a larger force, and he seemed to take our answer kindly enough, but Wolsey cried out that it was impossible, and drew the king apart for a long consultation with the council. After this Wolsey returned to us and began to tell us all over again how his master had gone to war for your sake, how he was abandoning his certain conquest of Scotland to please you, and how nothing equal had been done on your side. He said the Netherlands would have to furnish three thousand horse and three thousand foot, though they might be excused from the rest of the artillery and munitions. He asked that this be communicated to Madame at once, and that I, Marnix, remain here until she replied. Meanwhile, he said, he would treat with me, de Praet, leaving the article about co-operation blank until Madame's answer arrived. Not to irritate him, we promised to write to Madame, and have done so. For the rest, I, de Praet, will gladly treat with him on the terms I handed him, but not otherwise, for I do not intend to bind your majesty more than this king is bound, and. whatever they say, they have no intention of doing anything until your majesty begins, and they insist on sending Jerningham, who will start, they say, in two days. Considering the uncertainty of the voyage, we can see the whole summer passing and nothing done, as we have told them.
Moreover, your army in the Netherlands is only paid until the end of September, and after that we do not know how it will be able to keep the field, as we have told them. Their reply was that the money that Môqueron was bringing would settle this difficulty, and they were astonished that he had not come already. Finally Wolsey said he would be in London on the 28th of this month, and would treat with us further then.
On that day we found Wolsey with the council and asked him for some decision, since time was passing and your majesty ought not to be kept longer in suspense. He then asked me, de Praet, to show him my power to treat, notwithstanding the fact that he had had it in his hand more than six weeks ago. I showed it at once, and he then asked if I was ready to treat. I said I was, according to the note I had given him, but not otherwise. He replied that to treat in such general terms was useless, and that we should agree about the actual number of infantry and cavalry and of artillery that you would put in the field, the precise time, and the support of your invading army by another army as you wrote on March 8th. He added, as a rebuke, that I ought to have said nothing unless I was ready to agree on details. I answered that it was true your majesty had intended to form such armies by land and sea, and no doubt you would do so, and in such fashion that Henry would be quite satisfied, nevertheless it was not in my power to bind you to furnish these great armies besides two thousand horse, four thousand foot and fifteen pieces of light artillery in Flanders, when Henry was furnishing only fifteen thousand English infantry and some artillery and munitions. Such an agreement would not be reasonable ; the expense was too unequal. I reminded him that sometimes it happened that an ambassador or servant of a king said, on his master's part, many things to which he could not bind his master, as indeed had been the case when he had told Badajoz and me last winter about the great armies Henry was preparing to invade Scotland, nothing of which had as yet been done. Wolsey made no reply but began to speak again of the inequality in expense, and the failures in the war by land and sea last year, and the little aid the English had from you, adding that your majesty did not observe the treaties by which the fleet with three thousand men was supposed to be in the Channel, which was the true "sea of France," and that so the article in the treaty should be interpreted.
I replied to these observations as I had done before, laying the failure to provision Lescano to the fortunes of war, and saying that as far as I understood, your majesty was not obliged by the treaty to keep a fleet in the Channel. Wolsey replied that he had drawn the treaty, and knew the intention of the article in question. Finally I offered to treat with him on the basis of your letter of February 7th, and said that I was willing to bind you to put in the field an army strong enough to invade Guienne or Languedoc or whichever French province seemed best to you, to besiege great towns, give and await battle, and be such that you might accompany it in person. Since the ways of communication were uncertain, I said I was willing to fix the time according to my former memorandum, or twenty days after your majesty had been given notice of the treaty. I offered to treat about the assistance to be given by Madame in the manner of which we had spoken, and said that I did not wish to bind Henry more particularly than you were bound, but only to oblige him to take the field with a good and sufficient army to be reinforced from Flanders on the terms declared. At this Wolsey commenced to grow warm, and to insist that I treat according to his pleasure, and bind your majesty further than my charge, and more than Henry was bound, and particularly that you should be obliged to invade France expressly by Guienne and also by Languedoc, without giving you any choice, so that if you found one place more favourable than another you would be unable to take advantage of the fact without a second army. He wished the campaign to begin August 1st.
I replied as gently as I could that I was unable to go beyond my commision, and, since they would not be ready before August first, and since they insisted on having a reply to Jernignham's mission before starting, it would be better to refer the whole matter to your majesty. The council then decided to draw up certain articles of this treaty which they will give me on the last day of this month (May), to send you, so that you may agree on them with Jerningham and Dr. Sampson, if they pleaase you, and advise me promptly. This seemed the best solution, for your majesty will be able to see by these articles what the English are aiming at. In our opinion, they seek their own particular profit, hoping the delay will last until the truce, so that they will not have to put a man in the field, and will be quit of the "Great Enterprise." They wish you to conquer Guienne for them, while they use their army and your help to conquer Boulogne.
Today, May 31st, we kept our appointment with Wolsey, who showed us the articles he had drawn up. In these your majesty is obliged to equip an army of twenty thousand men, horse and foot, to invade France by Bayonne or elsewhere in the duchy of Guienne. Henry is obliged to furnish only fifteen thousand horse and foot, and this army is to besiege Boulogne. Madame is to grant him three thousand horse and three thousand foot, which we have never been authorized to offer, and what is worse, nothing is to begin until August first. We said frankly and amicably that we did not find these articles very reasonable for several reasons which we alleged. Wolsey replied in his accustomed manner, repeating from beginning to end everything that he says he has done for you and, rebuking us for making difficulties, although he finally offered to revise the article about twenty thousand men in your army. He would change nothing else, and since arguments seemed useless, we agreed to send your majesty these articles.
To sum up. The English preparations are so tardy that it hardly seems likely they will do much against the enemy. According to their terms, they will be in the field only three months, August, September, October, most of which season is unpropitious, and they wish to lose most of this time before Boulogne, although not only Madame's privy council, but many English lords, including the treasurer of Calais, believe it impregnable. They wish to conduct this siege with the assistance of our troops from Flanders, so that your frontiers in those parts will be quite exposed to attack, since Boulogne is so situated that it is of no use to protect them. Also the pay of your gens d'armes ends in September, and it seems unlikely that they can keep the field longer unless your majesty pays them yourself. You will also have to pay for the extra thousand horse unless Madame changes her mind. Therefore we think your majesty ought to dispense with the English army for this year if possible, and to tell them that they may accomplish their purpose in Scotland, doing your best in your own defence for the remaider of this year, and putting off the rest until the "Great Enterprise," when the English will have to do their part and share expenses equally with your majesty. This is our best advice. I, Marnix, was not charged with any of these matters, and have often asked to be allowed to withdraw, but the cardinal has wished me to be present at all the negotiations.
Madame writes that the king of Denmark, who is in the Low Countries, has asked three things of her : first, to help him reconquer his kingdom ; second, to furnish a passport for one of his gentlemen who is coming to you and to write to you in his favour ; third, to write to your brother, the archduke, and the prince electors, asking them to intervene in his quarrel with the duke of Holstein and the city of Lübeck to see that justice is done. She has complied with the second and third requests, but refused the first. The king of Denmark has sent a herald here, asking a safe-conduct for his ships in some port in this kingdom. By what Wolsey tells us, he was sent a safe-conduct to come here without armed ships, or more than one hundred persons, provided that he did not go from here to Scotland or any enemy territory. They hope he will not come at all on these terms.
By our remonstrances we have persuaded Wolsey to delete the article about the invasion of Languedoc, but he still does not intend to agree to anything unless your majesty will postpone the "Great Enterprise" for at least a year. There is no mention of this in the articles, but Jerningham is instructed to obtain this concession before concluding the treaty, and has a special power for this purpose which we have seen. He leaves here tomorrow, and, since he is unlikely to travel as fast as this courier, we thought we ought to warn you that it is no use accepting the articles unless you agree to the postponement.
We expect to have Madame's reply to the most recent English demands in three or four days ; thereafter I, de Marnix, shall return to her court.
London. 1 June, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet and Jehan de Marnix. French. pp. 15.
Printed in part only by Bradford and calendared in L. & P., III, 1287.
7 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Margaret Of Savoy.
This morning we received your letter of June 2nd and went at once to Wolsey to ask him to agree that you should furnish only 2,500 horse instead of the three thousand for which he asked. He was quite dissatisfied and, not to irritate him, we said that, in the hope that Môqueron would come shortly, we would agree to three thousand as he wished. We said we hoped that when the English had lost their time before Boulogne for fifteen or twenty days, as it was to be feared they would, they would then assault Thérouanne. Wolsey made no difficulty about this, provided the captains thought it wise at the time.
Since writing last we have had several conversations with Wolsey, at his request, but have found that there were many points which had to be referred to the emperor. We have been able to draw up several articles of the treaty, however, a copy of which I, Marnix, will bring you. I had hoped to leave day after tomorrow, but Wolsey has asked me to remain four or five days longer, so that I may take my leave of the king who is not here at present.
Briefly, the treaty provides that the emperor shall put in the field from Spain an army so powerful that he might safely lead it in person, and this army shall invade Guienne by Bayonne before August first. The king of England undertakes also to provide an army such as he might lead in person. This army will cross to Calais and invade France by Picardy or elsewhere, by August first, provided that news arrives fifteen days earlier that the emperor accepts the treaty. The two armies are to remain in the field until the end of October. You, Madame, are to reinforce the English army with three thousand horse and three thousand foot, who are to be at Calais within three days after the English land. The whole army, commanded by the duke of Suffolk, is to go first to besiege Boulogne. The king does not intend to accompany the army in person, nor is the emperor bound to accompany his. Jerningham has left. Of this and many other things, I, Marnix, will tell you on my return ; two days would not suffice to write the whole of our negotiations.
We have told Wolsey your news of the king of Denmark and he is expected here. Lord Daunce (fn. 1) and Lord Mountjoy have gone to Dover to receive him, but we understand that he is still at Malines, and we can assure you that his presence is not much desired here, and it seems to us unlikely that he will be successful if he comes. La Motte is expected here. We have warned Wolsey to be on his guard, and he promises to worm out La Motte's secrets.
M. de Gavres has written the treasurer of Calais that Bourbon's people have suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the company of six thousand diables and Bourbon has been mortally wounded. In accordance with your request that the garrison at Guines should assist our troops, the cardinal has written to the treasurer of Calais to furnish M. de Gavres five hundred men. I, de Praet, have not been able to carry out exactly your order to forward the packet of letters from the pope to his collector here. The master of the royal posts receives all letters, and has already re-addressed the packet as you wished. I shall ask the collector to reply, and I hope you will hear from him in two or three days.
London. 7 June, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet and Jehan de Marnix. French. pp. 3.
12 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
Since writing you by Francisco Frias, who left here June 1st, we have received Madame's reply. She writes that she hopes the king and cardinal, in view of the great extent of the frontier which the Low Countries must defend, will be content with 2,500 horse and three thousand foot as her quota, but if they insist on three thousand, she will agree to furnish them, in the hope that the other five hundred can be raised when Môqueron arrives, though without the help he is bringing, she will be unable to keep her promise. When we gave Wolsey the first part of her message he was quite dissatisfied with the number of 2,500 horse and we were obliged to promise three thousand. We told him Madame hoped that, after Boulogne had been besieged for fifteen or twenty days, the army would attack Thérouanne, and about this he made no difficulty. We thought it well for your majesty to be advised of these details before you discuss them with Jerningham, who left here for your court on the first of this month.
We have written you of the arrival in the Low Countries of the king and queen of Denmark and their children. The king has sent here asking for a safe-conduct to visit these realms, which was granted him for three months, on condition that he come with no more than a hundred followers and without any war ships. Henry is now informed that the king does intend to visit him and has sent Daunce and Mountjoy to receive him at Dover, but he will not be very welcome here, and is unlikely to be successful.
Madame writes that she is sending the Sieur de la Motte to your majesty, and that he will pass through here, conducted by Simon de Vauldray, to satisfy the king of England. She writes that she thinks him unreliable, and fears that he has come to do ill rather than well. We have warned Wolsey to act cautiously with him. The cardinal replied that he knew how to conduct himself, and hoped to worm out la Motte's secrets, but we fear that Wolsey will say too much as often happens when he grows angry.
M. de Gavres wrote recently to the treasurer of Calais that there had been a battle between the band of six thousand French infantry and some troops raised by Bourbon in which Bourbon had been mortally wounded. Wolsey showed us de Gavres' letter, but we cannot believe its news.
Wolsey has told us that the pope has sent here a bull commanding all Christian princes to a three years' truce on pain of the censures of the church, and without including any honourable or reasonable conditions for a truce. The cardinal is greatly surprised, and indeed we find it strange that His Holiness, ignoring the good will of your majesty and the king of England, has endeavoured to constrain you in this fashion, especially since you were not the first to break the peace, but have been forced into war in self-defence, and will now be more troubled by this bull than before. Wolsey has written to remonstrate with the pope, and we thought your majesty should be informed of what action is being taken here, since you will probably receive a similar bull.
I, Marnix, took my leave today to return to Madame.
London. 12 June, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet and Jehan de Marnix. French. pp. 4.
17 June.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng., f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet and Adrien De Croy.
As we wrote to you, Beaurain, we have received two letters from you, de Praet, dated May 9th, containing a full account of your negotiations with the king and the cardinal, in all of which we find that you have done well. You say that Jerningham is coming here soon, and that you will send us a special courier as soon as your negotiations are completed. Therefore, until the arrival of this courier, we need say no more on this subject. We are anxiously awaiting news from you, Beaurain, in the confidence that you will be diligent in this affair, the importance of which you understand.
The present courier is being sent to Germany on matters concerning the government of the empire, and we have taken the opportunity to inform you that the fleet, manned by three thousand men, will set sail during July, as you may tell Henry and Wolsey. Ask them to order that the fleet may purchase in England its necessary provisions at a reasonable price. For this purpose we are sending you a letter of exchange for nine thousand ducats which will buy provisions for the 2,400 fighting men, not counting the sailors. These provisions you, Sieur de Praet, will purchase in England, and send to the fleet in supply ships, under the charge of some responsible person, from whom you will take a complete accounting to be forwarded to us. Our complete confidence in you, and your experience of last year lead us to entrust you with this important service.
Valladolid, 17 June, 1523.
Draft. French. pp. 2.
21 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
In accordance with your majesty's orders, I, Beaurain, hastened to London, arriving here on the 19th, and having consulted with me, de Praet, we asked at once for an interview, since Beaurain should hasten to Bourg-en-Bresse. We could not see the king and the cardinal until yesterday at dinner. At that time we had a long conversation with the king, the cardinal, and several members of the council, showed them Beaurain's powers and instructions and added every possible persuasion. Wolsey raised a good many difficulties, particularly about the hundred thousand crowns which Henry was expected to disburse at once, speaking at length of the heavy charges to which the king had been put as, your majesty knows, is his custom. Finally he said that if your majesty wished to pay Bourbon two hundred thousand crowns at once, Henry was willing that a hundred thousand should be charged to him to be deducted from what is owed him from the indemnity and for the loan of 150,000 crowns which is due on the 26th of this month. We replied that we had no instructions on this point, and Wolsey postponed any decision until to-day. He alleged several reasons for postponing Bourbon's declaration until next year, at which time the "Great Enterprise" could be begun, pointing out that a great part of the favourable weather this year had passed, and saying that before Henry concluded anything he wished to have Bourbon's agreement to several articles, the chief of which was that Bourbon should acknowledge Henry as his sovereign lord and pay him homage, which, in our opinion, Bourbon will not easily consent to do.
After dinner we had a long conversation with Wolsey, in the course of which he raised several further difficulties. In the first place, he objected to putting so much money into Bourbon's hands at once, and said it would be better to pay Bourbon's troops from month to month, since if he received 200,000 crowns, he might turn against your majesties and do you much mischief. In the second place, he said that the article whereby your majesty agreed to make no peace or truce in which Bourbon was not included, and to defend him against all his enemies, needed more careful consideration. Such a promise, he pointed out, would prevent you from making any truce or peace as long as there was any cause of difference between Francis and Bourbon, unless the French king were completely defeated and ruined. Thirdly, Wolsey said that Bourbon's declaration would turn largely to your majesty's profit, since it would withdraw the French from Italy, and you might easily conquer Languedoc and Provence, and he thought that, if Henry were to share the expenses, he should share in the profit by a declaration on Bourbon's part that he was Henry's subject, and would pay him faith and homage. Fourthly, he said the season was now so far advanced that no advantage could be taken of Bourbon's declaration without spoiling all our other plans, and it would be better to postpone it until your two majesties were ready to invade France in person and execute the "Great Enterprise."
So that Bourbon may be sounded out on these points Wolsey is giving me, Beaurain, a written memoir concerning them, and I shall inquire about them as soon as I arrive at Bourg-en-Bresse. Meanwhile, he will send Dr. Knight, the English ambassador in Flanders, to follow me in great haste. Knight will take his leave of Madame on the pretense of going to Switzerland on the king of England's business, and make for Basle. As soon as he arrives there, he will advise me by courier, and then join me at Bourgen-Bresse, if I find Bourbon inclined favourably to the English proposals. This has been the whole course of our negotiation on this point. We shall forward a copy of Wolsey's memoir, but we think the king and the cardinal have raised these points rather to delay negotiations than for any other reason.
When we opened the question of the war this year, Wolsey began at once to speak of the postponement of the "Great Enterprise," and to require that your majesty be bound to invade France through Guienne and not elsewhere, and to raise so many other difficulties that we were obliged not only to show him our instructions, but to leave them in his hands all yesterday. After he had seen them, his only decision was to await the result of Jerningham's mission.
When I, Beaurain, told him of my going to Rome he seemed well enough satisfied with the reasons I gave him, nevertheless it seemed to me, de Praet, that I heard him say in English to the councillors present, that Beaurain's going was probably to advance the truce by some secret means. I, Beaurain, am leaving for Dover and hope to be in the appointed place on the date set.
London, 21 June, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet and Adrien de Croy. French. pp. 5.
21 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Adrien De Croy to Charles V.
As your majesty ordered I had audience with the king and the cardinal at Greenwich and told them all my mission, and had from them a very long and very cold reply, as you may see from my letter jointly with de Praet. It seems to me that it will be impossible to keep on good terms with these people here for long, for, as far as I can see, they wish to keep you in need of them without making either peace or war. If you wish my foolish counsel, your majesty will go on as you have begun, to make a good war, and if it seems to you that you cannot carry it on alone, I would try to arrange a good peace, so as not to fall between two stools (ne demeures entre deux selles le cul a terre). I can assure you that it would be impossible to reply more coldly than the king and cardinal have done ; one can see them commencing to grow suspicious, and their friendship diminishing. I would give something handsome if this present affair had never been broached to them, for they will tell everyone of it while I am on the road, and I fear that it will all end as M. de Nassau has always predicted.
I have talked with M. de la Motte here. He left France to offer his services to you, going toward Madame. She, instead of accepting his proffers, had him arrested and taken to Vilvorde and there interrogated by the bishops of Liège and of Palermo and by the president of Malines, who questioned him about the Bourbon affair. They said everyone knew why he was going to your majesty, and that he would never get out of prison until he had told them the whole truth of the affair. He replied that he was going to offer you his services, and that he would give you all the information a good servant could give his master. As to Bourbon, he said, he only knew that like many people in France, he was very discontented. To this the councillors replied that Madame was astonished that a prudent person like the duke of Bourbon should entrust such high matters to such young men as la Motte and I. They left him in this fashion for 17 days, making him pay double for everything, so that when I met him he had not a sou, and did not know how he would finish his journey. I borrowed 250 ducats and gave him 200, which he refused until I insisted that he ought to take them if he intended to serve you. As far as I can see he will be uncomfortable until he reaches your majesty. He seemed to me a prudent gentleman, and much inclined to serve you, and he spoke to me of many ways in which you might injure the enemy, which he will explain when he sees you. In my opinion he ought to be well treated to encourage others who might be inclined to enter your service. I beg your majesty to order repayment of the 250 ducats which I borrowed from Augustino Pinelli. Otherwise I must arrange to pay them myself in order to maintain my credit. I gave the other fifty to the courier ; they are less than he needs for his voyage.
I found here the king of Denmark and the queen, your sister, who has spoken to me freely about her affairs. Among other things, she said she knew that you had not been pleased with certain letters she had written you, but that you should remember she had to obey her husband and not take them amiss. She said the king had treated her very well recently, and begged her to forget his past neglect, and admitted having been in the wrong. She is an honest and virtuous princess, and it is regrettable that she is not so placed that she can serve you better, for she would be very glad to do so.
Yesterday Henry drew me apart and said he had something to tell me which I was not to disclose to anyone. He then said that he had been told it was a fact that M. de Praet had an understanding with the French. I said I thought he was ill-informed, and that you held de Praet your loyal servant, but that I hoped he would permit me to write this to you for I knew you would not wish to be served by any one of whose faith there was the slightest suspicion. He said that for himself he did not believe it true, but the king of Denmark had assured him that it was, and he would be glad if I would let you know about it, but he asked me to say nothing of it to anyone else. I am writing this, then, at his bidding. I can promise you, sire, that these are strange people here, and for all the wealth in the world I would not be in de Praet's place except at your express command. M. de Praet serves you very well, and shows a great deal of patience in your service. He is at great expense here, and could not spend less to do you honour, and he is very badly paid, so that unless your majesty can improve matters for him, he will be unable to go on on the same footing. I beg you to see that he is better paid for the sake of your own great affairs to which he is rendering loyal and zealous service.
Greenwich, 21 June, 1523.
Signed, Adrien de Croy. French. pp. 4.
21 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Adrien De Croy to Charles V.
I gave your letters to the queen and she was very glad to have news from you. It is impossible to describe the great love she bears you. I was unable to give her the messages you confided to me, because Wolsey was present throughout our interview, but she will send her doctor to me, through whom I will convey the messages, and he will give her reply to M. de Praet, who will advise you.
Greenwich, 21 June, ten o'clock in the evening.
Signed, Adrien de Croy. French.
21 June.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 6.
Copy of the articles given by the Cardinal Of England to M. De Beaurain.
Beaurain shall urge the duke of Bourbon to defer his declaration until next year, when the two sovereigns will invade France in person. If the duke cannot be persuaded Beaurain shall weigh matters carefully and discover what party Bourbon has in Normandy and Guienne. He shall provide that money for the payment of the troops be given Bourbon only from month to month. He shall obtain the duke's acknowledgement that Henry is the rightful king of France. He shall provide that Henry be not involved in perpetual war for the duke's sake. He shall arrange the channels through which payment is to be made for the troops. He shall discuss with Bourbon plans for carrying off King Francis when that person is hunting and slightly guarded. He shall try to ascertain from Bourbon what King Francis is plotting against the emperor and the king of England, and where invasion of France will be most likely to succeed, and advise the cardinal of all these matters speedily.
Signed, Thomas, Cardinal of York. Copy. Latin. pp. 3. Printed in St. P., VI, 153.
21 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Margaret Of Savoy.
M. de Beaurain arrived here June 19th, having come from Spain with instructions to negotiate jointly with me, de Praet, to have an English army cross the sea promptly and join with the ordinary garrison of the Low Countries, which is to be reinforced at the emperor's cost. We therefore sought the king and the cardinal yesterday at Greenwich. They finally said that since Beaurain's charge involved the same points as their memoir, which I recently sent to the emperor, they would have to await a reply to that. They also hope to hear shortly from Jerningham, who had favourable weather for his voyage, and should now be at court. We can do nothing, therefore, at present.
London, 21 June, 1523.
Signed, Adrien de Croy, Loys de Praet. French.
21 June.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien, D. D. Abt. B. f. 6.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
Since we wrote last, we received your letters of June 1st. Final decision about the war and the truce having been referred here, we have only three things to say at present. First, we shall do our best to conclude matters with Jerningham as soon as he arrives, and will let you know promptly. Nothing will be lacking on our side, even though the English conditions seem very disadvantageous and unreasonable. Second, if you, Beaurain, have not yet left England when you receive this, you will try to get from Henry his power to treat with Bourbon, which he should grant without difficulty, since according to de Praet he has already conceded the principal points involved. If you cannot get the English power you must leave there at once anyway, for you know how important this business is. There is no change in your instructions. Third, as you, Beaurain, have been informed by de Praet, a Frenchman, the Sieur de la Motte, is at Madame's court, and it is suspected that he has been sent by Francis or the regent to smell out our affairs. Therefore, have your eyes open for any tricks, and if you find la Motte to be such as is suspected, have him held prisoner and made to talk. Jerningham has not yet arrived. We shall advise you of what decision is reached with him as soon as possible.
Tordesillas, 21 June, 1523.
P.S.—Since writing this we have had news that Jerningham has reached Valladolid and we shall hear him there to-morrow.
Copy. French. pp. 2.


  • 1. Sir John Daunce.