Spain: July 1523

Pages 248-254

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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July 1523

3 July.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
By Jerningham and by my letters, including those written jointly with Marnix, your majesty will have been informed of events here up to the first of this month (June). We have written, since, on the 12th, I also wrote you by way of France, and Beaurain is writing jointly with me by the present courier, one of his servants.
I have received your message by Môqueron, but have said nothing to the king or the cardinal about it, relying on your subsequent instructions to Beaurain. As to the great honour paid to the bishop of Badajoz by Henry and Wolsey on his departure, I suspect that he has not told your majesty all the truth. Certainly he was treated very coldly here, and not as his merits called for. Nevertheless I thanked the king as you ordered me, and he was quite pleased. I am grateful for Badajoz's good report of me and for your majesty's praise ; I know that my deserts are less than your goodness, and I can boast of nothing to serve you except my loyalty and good-will. As to the payments due me, I have written your majesty before ; I have been unable to get anything from Flanders and unless your majesty will make some other arrangement, I shall be unable to continue in your service here. I shall obey you, and wait for the increased aid in meeting my expenses in the hope that you will have my small services in mind in future, but I beg you to order that my salary as chamberlain be continued ; it would be a great help to me in meeting the expense to which I am put.
La Motte will soon be with your majesty. He seems a wise and honourable gentleman, and, by what he says, has a great mind to serve you, as Beaurain is writing you. I hardly know what to think. He seems full of good-will, and your majesty will be able to judge after his coming. It is true the cardinal did not get on with him, and he was somewhat deceived in Flanders, with the object of learning from him more of the affairs of your majesty and the king of England. You ought not to trust him with anything of importance until you know him well.
I have had several conversations with Wolsey since Beaurain's departure about the Bourbon affair, in which the cardinal perceives many difficulties and dangers. These he is writing to his ambassadors in Spain, but he wishes me to report them to you also. In the first place, he does not believe that Bourbon, who has been paid such honour in France, and has such large estates there, really intends to serve you. He fears that he is acting in collusion with the king of France and that either, when the two hundred thousand crowns are paid him, he will join Francis with his troops, or he will entice Colonna into attacking the French with him, and then turn sides in the battle. Even if Bourbon is now behaving frankly, Wolsey does not believe he will be able to draw many French gentlemen to follow him against their own country and natural prince. He thinks the money should in no wise be given him merely to support his rebellion for the sake of the public good, but only if he declares himself Henry's subject, for otherwise he might, having avenged himself on Francis, defend France against our invasion, still on the ground of serving the public good. Besides these difficulties Wolsey alleges another, which I can see is the one which really disturbs him. That is that after Bourbon's declaration, your two majesties will be bound to defend him and his lands and subjects and to make no peace with Francis without including him. This, he thinks, will involve you in perpetual war, since Francis is a stubborn man, and would rather risk the destruction of his whole country than include Bourbon in any peace. For these reasons Wolsey thinks that your majesty and the king, his master, ought to consider very carefully before risking your affairs in this fashion, for in the long run your subjects may grow tired of war and, in addition, a long war will involve great dangers for all Christendom. He says further that he presumes the cruzada and the church revenues granted your majesty were intended by the pope to be used against the infidels, and not against Christians. All these remonstrances, which duty requires me to forward to your majesty, seem to me only devised to persuade you to agree to the articles given Beaurain, and thereby to delay this matter and avoid the cost of it. He particularly fears that it may prevent a peace or truce, for which he is very anxious, and Henry is, too, although he pretends otherwise.
The king and queen of Denmark reached Greenwich May 19th, and were met at the waterside by Wolsey who conducted them to their lodging. Next day, a little before dinner, they were received by the king and queen of England and the reine Blanche (fn. 1), who went halfway down the great hall of Greenwich to meet them, and I with them. After many salutations on all sides, the king of England took the king of Denmark by his left hand and led him to dinner. The queen did likewise, placing the reine Blanche below herself and above the queen of Denmark, which I found very strange since the lady Mary is now married to the duke of Suffolk. They dined with great good cheer, but with much ceremony. As far as I can see, the king of Denmark has not changed. He is much under the influence of his herald and two or three of his servants of the same sort, just as he used to be if not more. He has recently taken into his service a young man of Dunkirk, an astrologer and a demi-cleric who is beginning to have great influence over him. The queen, your sister, brought with her to Flanders only a lower class Dutch servant and her children's nurse, so that Madame was obliged to give her M. de Martigny and his wife and three or four ladies-in-waiting from the court at Brussels to keep her company. It is a great pity to see this poor lady so ill accompanied and so badly treated, and I marvel at her virtue and patience. She is always hoping that the king will change his habits, especially since he has abandoned his old mistress, although she suspects that he was only driven to do so by his present necessity, and that, if his luck changes, she will be as much in favour as ever. The queen would like you to write to her husband that if he does not get rid of the lady altogether you will not assist him. There may be a better way of accomplishing the same end. The lady is no doubt somewhere in Flanders or Germany, and your majesty might have her arrested and brought to justice, which would be a meritorious act. I am commanded by Madame to ask Henry to speak to the king of Denmark on this point, and I undertake that before he leaves someone will speak to him plainly.
The queen, your sister, is writing you all about her affairs, and the king's position. It could hardly be worse, for his whole land is in rebellion against him, nobles and commons. Some of his party still hold Copenhagen, and a few small places, and he has promised to succour them between now and Michaelmas. Otherwise they will surrender and he will lose all hope of recovering his kingdom. As far as I can learn, he has come here to ask the king of England's aid and counsel in his quarrel with his uncle, the duke of Holstein, and to try to negotiate peace between the English and the Scots, whom he promises to seduce from the French alliance. To his request Henry has replied that he is unable to assist him with men or money, but that he will send an ambassador to Denmark, if your majesty will do likewise, to persuade the Danes to come to an agreement with their natural prince. He proposes that you and he offer to be joint arbiters, promising the rebels a full pardon and the redress of grievances. This seems to him better than to proceed by force, especially since Denmark is an elective kingdom. He is writing to your majesty to this effect, and the king of Denmark is sending a herald to ask your assistance. Personally, I do not think such action likely to have any results, and there seems to me no hope for the king of Denmark unless your majesty takes pity on the queen, your sister, and acts in this affair for love of her.
The kings of England and Denmark have drawn up together terms for peace with Scotland, and sent them thither by one of the king of Denmark's servants who is a native of that country. They hope he will persuade the Scots to send ambassadors here to negotiate a peace. Since the king of Denmark is obliged to leave before that can happen, he has asked me to act as his representative, a position I was unwilling to accept without your majesty's consent. The king of Denmark promised to obtain this, and Henry and Wolsey have both asked me to act, so I have accepted, since in doing so I can see that your majesty's interests are completely safe-guarded. I beg you to let me know your pleasure at once and send me the necessary powers.
This is all I have been able to find out about what the king of Denmark came here to do, for I have not been present at any of his conversations with Henry. I suspect that he has made promises to the king of England which will hardly redound to his advantage, and I have tried to find out more from the queen, your sister, but she knows a great deal less about her husband's affairs than I do. Your majesty may be able to discover the truth from the Danish herald. I do know that they have exchanged sealed letters, although I do not know what the letters contained. Wolsey recently showed me Henry's instructions to his ambassadors in Spain. They were in Latin. I caught several words which seemed to say that no new alliance was to be made between Henry and the king of Denmark. Perhaps your majesty will find means to see these instructions.
The viscount of Haerlebeke is here. I have helped him accomplish his charge to the king and the queen and to the princess. The latter was very pleased at the present you sent her, as the viscount will write to Lachaulx. Hannibal has not yet arrived. I shall notify your majesty at once when he returns.
I suppose your majesty remembers how the bishop of Badajoz and I re-victualled Lescano and his men last August by borrowing from a Genoese merchant here, Antonio Vivaldi, 3,589 ducats to be paid at the fair of Medina del Campo the following November, and how your majesty ordered the treasurer Vargas to see that Vivaldi's letters were paid. Vivaldi's agent in Spain, one Rinaldo Strozzi, did his best to obtain payment, but did not get the money until last March. This delay not only cost Vivaldi the use of the money, but has put him in danger of losing the whole sum, for it seems unlikely that Strozzi, who was involved in the recent bankruptcy of a number of Italian merchants, his partners, at Lyons, will ever be able to pay his debts. Therefore Vivaldi begs your majesty to order that he be reimbursed out of certain assets which Strozzi has in Spain, in view of the services he has rendered you, and the fact that he would not have lost this money had not payment been delayed.
In my last letter I wrote that the queen was satisfied to have your majesty place her physician's son in a Spanish post or otherwise, as you pleased. Since then the physician has asked that his son be placed as a page, paid in the fashion of Flanders. The queen says that if your majesty cannot so place him at present, and cannot find some equally honourable post for him, it would be better for him to wait until an opening of that sort is available, but she would be very pleased if you can grant the physician's request. It seems to me you ought to do so if you can. The doctor is high in favour of his master and mistress, and has a very good will toward your service.
London, 28 June, 1523.
P.S. The king and the cardinal have just received letters from Dr. Clerk, their ambassador at Rome, and from Pace, who is still at Venice, which report that, in spite of all the arguments which Clerk advanced in the presence of the duke of Sessa and the cardinal de Medici, and in spite of his having seen your powers and those of the king of England to treat about a truce, the pope will hold out no hope of his declaring against the French, making his poverty his excuse, and saying that wrath without strength is useless. It is also reported that the negotiations with the French have been broken off because, when Francis heard of the arrest of the cardinal Soderini, he withdrew his ambassadors.
Pace writes that negotiations with Venice are at a standstill, because the archduke Ferdinand has not yet sent his powers in the form asked for, and that they will come to nothing if they are dragged out much longer. On the other hand, I have heard from Flanders that Ferdinand's maître d'hôtel, Bouton, who is now at Madame's court, says the archduke sent powers long ago in the form your majesty asked. I do not know which to believe. There are many other matters in these letters from Italy, but your majesty will see copies which Wolsey is sending the English ambassadors. The ambassadors also have word for you about the English intentions concerning war this year. What they will say is much like what I have written. It seems to me that they still hope to stand on the defensive for the rest of this year, in order to accumulate money and munitions for war in the spring, although they will be obliged now to act in accordance with whatever Jerningham negotiates. They still have no confidence in your majesty's preparations ; I do not know who has been misinforming them.
Yesterday I had a letter from Flanders informing me that if I wished to be paid there my salary up to Badajoz's departure, they would give me a warrant for the sum on the receiver of the desmene of Flanders for the year beginning next January first. I have refused this offer, since more than a year would thereby elapse before I am paid and I need the money at once.
London, 3 July, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 14.
3 July.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
We received your letters and those you wrote jointly with Marnix, May 7th and June 1st, and conversed on the same subject with Dr. Sampson and with Master Jerningham, the king of England's envoy. Although we find the terms of the treaty very strange and unequal for the reasons which you so ably pointed out, nevertheless the war this year is so important to us to keep the French out of Italy, win over the Venetians, and avoid the apparent dangers to Christendom, and seems to us so easy and so likely to succeed, particularly if Bourbon declares himself promptly, as we hope, and as Beaurain is ordered to urge him to do, that we are quite determined to invade France this year, and have therefore agreed to the English terms, as you may see by the enclosed copy, in which there is no change except in the time at which the invasion shall begin. We have also agreed to postpone the "Great Enterprise" until 1525. The English ambassadors here have declared that they had no instructions to treat about Bourbon's rising this year, but only to keep him in readiness to rise in the year of the "Great Enterprise." We do not know whether Bourbon will consent to this delay, nor what Beaurain may have agreed on with Henry. We said, therefore, that we would be glad to sign the agreement for this year, subject to Bourbon's reply, about which Henry should be informed during July, but they said they had no power to make this concession. We have therefore accepted the articles in their present form, and you will inform Henry at once of this fact, so that he may not be able to pretend ignorance. According to these articles he must be notified before August 1st in order to have his troops in France in time.
Since both by what you have written, and by what the ambassadors here say, we understand that Henry would prefer to postpone operations in France this year in order to finish with the Scots and be freer next year for the "Great Enterprise," and since we should be glad to comply with his wishes if we were not constrained by Bourbon's affairs, you are hereby instructed and empowered that, if before the end of July you hear from Beaurain that Bourbon is willing to delay his rising, you may say to Henry that notwithstanding the conclusion of this treaty, he need not invade France this year unless he wishes. If he wishes to delay he is in that case to be free to make war as he likes, and we are to be equally free, and the treaty of Windsor is to remain in full force and the "Great Enterprise" to take place in 1524. But if Henry's preparations are in such a state that he does not now wish to postpone the invasion of France, or if Beaurain advises you that Bourbon will declare himself this year, and that he has concluded an agreement to this effect, in either of these cases you will do your best to see that there is no failure in fulfilling these articles, either on Henry's part or on that or our aunt.
In any event, we are obliged to maintain our army and to invade France wherever we find the most favourable opening. We are therefore hastening all our preparations, just as if we were certain of Bourbon's reply. For this campaign our fleet is necessary, particularly to prevent Bayonne and Fuenterrabia from being re-victualled by sea, and to blockade them if necessary. There is great hope that we may take one or both of these towns, and we cannot therefore spare the fleet to serve in the Channel as Henry desires. We shall retain it in the Bay of Biscay, where we hope it will do the enemy as much harm as it did last year, and as much and more than it could do in the English Channel. You need say nothing about this unless Henry or Wolsey raises the question, in which case you will reply as above. Inform us at once of the state of your negotiations by this courier.
Valladolid, 3 July, 1523.
Draft. French. pp. 4.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Penthievre to Charles V.
I have received from M. de Praet, your ambassador, the letter which you did me the honour to write me in your own hand on March 22nd. I hope to be able to show in the future more effectively than in the past, my gratitude for your interest in my affairs. I hope with your aid to avenge the wrongs that have been done me, and to regain my rights and serve you with my person and my friends. You may be sure that I shall obey your command to obey and serve the duke of Bourbon as we shall both serve and obey you. I beg you to continue to consider me your servant and permit me, as far as I am able, to execute your commands.
Signed, René de Bretagne. French.


  • 1. Mary, duchess of Suffolk, the widow of Louis XII.