Spain: September 1523

Pages 268-276

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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September 1523

3 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. l.
Louis De Praet To Margaret Of Savoy.
At five o'clock this evening a courier arrived from Spain. He brought me no letters except one from Lalemand, and a copy of that being sent to you, which is full of news. From the contents of your letter I expect to have more news soon, and shall inform you at once.
London, 3 Sept., 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French.
7 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgion, D. D. Abt. B. f. 6.
Wolsey to Margaret Of Savoy.
You have been informed by Hesdin and others that in accordance with the treaty the king, my master, has sent to Calais his cousin and lieutenant-general, the duke of Suffolk, with a great army, in the hope that six thousand horse and foot, to be raised in your countries there, will be ready to join him to invade the enemy's territory and lay siege to Boulogne. The king is informed by his lieutenant, however, that these troops have not yet arrived, and are not ready to join him, so that he has been obliged to keep his army idle at Calais, which is a great expense as you know. Also favourable weather for campaigning is passing, and our delay is greatly to the disadvantage of the personage of whom you know. In order that great affairs and important shall not be further delayed, the king, my master, begs you to command Lord Iselstein, your captain, to join Suffolk at once, so that they may proceed quickly to lay siege to Boulogne.
Hampton Court, 7 Sept., 1523.
Signed, Thomas cardinal of York. Copy. French. pp. 2.
8 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
From your letters of August 9th by our squire, Hannibal, and of August 16th by the present bearer, we have learned of all your negotiations in company with Beaurain's man about the affairs of a certain personage, and about the English invasion of France. In all this business you have behaved prudently and well. You may say to Henry and Wolsey that we quite approve the articles they have drawn up and the purpose of Russell's mission, and we hope the person in question will accept. Send word here as soon as you know what success Russell has had.
Say also that we have sent the Sieur de Bissy to the personage to assure him that we will keep our promises made through Beaurain, and to say that, since no gens de robe longue took part in drawing the treaty, because of the dangers of the road, and the articles about the marriage, the offensive and defensive alliance, and the other articles involving us, the king of England, and our brother, the archduke, present certain complexities, it would be well if he would send his ambassadors here, via Genoa and Barcelona, armed with the proper powers. On their arrival they will find here persons provided with the proper authority, and all the articles of the treaty can be put in correct form. Meanwhile such points as concern the immediate conduct of the war and the payment of the two hundred thousand crowns, must be settled at once. Therefore, ask Henry to send his share, one hundred thousand crowns, as he has promised, and to send powers to his ambassadors here to treat with the representatives of the personage in question.
As to the eighth article of Henry's demands that the personage recognize him, etc. [as king of France] and his insistence that this point is essential, say that in this, as in all other things, we will uphold his interest as our own, but if it cannot be agreed on now, we do not think the whole affair should be broken off, since the principal point is, by the aid of this personage, to overthrow our common enemy, and win the crown for the king of England.
You have done well to approach Wolsey about paying the Swiss, but since it is not to be expected that he will do so, you need not press him further. Thank him for his services to the common cause, which we shall remember, and ask him to see that the English army marches at once, prepared to winter in enemy territory. It is to be hoped that they can do so easily, in view of the trouble that Francis will have on all sides, particularly from the friends and adherents of a certain personage. Our army is now well prepared, and we hope that you will soon have good news of them, and that our common efforts will put an end to the war to our common honour and benefit.
Thank you for forwarding Madame's news from the president of Burgundy. We have heard from other sources that the ten thousand lanzknechts are ready to march, under the command of our cousin, Count Felix. We do not know whether they have yet joined with the prince, or what road they have taken. Everything now depends on the English doing their part.
We should prefer our fleet to remain here as you write. There are several enterprises in which we can make good use of them. If these do not mature, the fleet will cruise along the coast of Guienne, Poitou, and Brittany and do all the damage it can. As to the three banners engaged by Lescano, do with them as you think fit. We wish you to recover the artillery, whatever it costs ; you may use for this purpose the money you know of. Send the recovered artillery to Flanders, and see that it is properly inventoried. If Diego de Vera's ship is not yet free, attend to it, for it is not to our honour to leave our goods engaged in a foreign land for want of money. It is true, as you have heard, that some gold from the Indies was lost. It amounted to about sixty thousand gold castilians and some jewels of small value. The trouble was that our fleet failed to meet the ships that were bringing the gold. You may tell Henry and Wolsey the truth of this matter, so they may know the bad news with the good. Tell them, however, that to compensate this loss, we understand that another ship has arrived at Seville from the new-found Indies with eight hundred thousand castilians in gold, by which means God has sent us a great aid in our present affairs. As to the matter of peace or truce, continue to act on the instructions which we sent you and Marnix.
Burgos, 8 September, 1523.
Draft. French. pp. 5.
9 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Day before yesterday at nine in the evening when I had already retired because of my fever, I received two letters from you by the present bearer, together with others addressed to the cardinal, and others from Russell and Chasteau. They hope soon to have a final decision.
Since the matter of the payment of the German troops is urgent, and since my illness prevented me from visiting the cardinal, I sent your messenger with my secretary to take your letters and those of Russell to Wolsey. I sent him also a copy of some sections of your letter to me, and one of Chasteau's letter in cipher, omitting the paragraph in which Chasteau wrote that the Germans were paid for six weeks from the 15th of last month, which is contrary to the purpose of your letters. Your gentleman tells me this is a mistake, and the payment of the Germans is due on the 9th of this month, according to his instructions. I fear Russell may have written to Henry and Wolsey in the same terms that Chasteau wrote me, which may arouse some suspicion in them as to our good faith. I shall see Wolsey as soon as possible, and try to remove any such impression.
Your gentleman, and my secretary, delivered your letters and my excuses to Wolsey at Hampton Court. He retired for a time to read over the letters, and then sent for your gentlemen and said it seemed that everything was going well, except the matter of the payment of the German infantry. As remedy for this he had nothing to advise beyond the steps already taken. He had already sent Dr. Knight money for a month's payment, which would be handed over as soon as Knight had favourable news from Russell. The cardinal said he would soon see the king, and tell him all the contents of this latest communication. When asked whether your gentleman should await the king's reply, he said it was unnecessary, since Henry would have nothing to add. In effect, Madame, not much can be done here, and I see no other hope unless you can use your credit to borrow the necessary money, or can manage to draw it from the funds in the hands of Dr. Prantenar.
In accordance with your instructions, my secretary said to Wolsey of the paragraph in your letter concerning Boulogne, that what you wrote was merely intended as advice, and not meant in any way to break off the enterprise in case it was found unacceptable. He answered shortly that he understood that very well. He also told him that the archduke had written you asking you to provide for the payment of the Germans, and that you had forwarded the whole correspondence to him since he was your only hope. He merely replied that he was unable to do more than he had already done. I hope soon to be rid of my fever, and to be able to see the cardinal and endeavour to obtain a happier solution of this difficulty, but I think success unlikely. These people grow suspicious when they are pressed too hard.
In the last packet of letters was one from Haneton, asking me to forward a packet addressed to the emperor. But I found no such packet, nor any letters otherwise unaccounted for. The emperor's letters must have been omitted by mistake. If you will send them to me, I will forward them at once. Some time ago his majesty sent me letters patent, promising me the office of bailly of the town and liberties of Bruges on the death or resignation of my uncle, M. Doulêde. I have since been informed of my uncle's death, and I am therefore sending you the emperor's letters patent with my humble petition for appointment to the said office.
London, 9 Sept., 1523.
P.S.—Since writing the above, the Squire Marnix has come to me from Spain with the emperor's letters of the 18th of last month. Since Marnix has letters for you also, I shall not repeat the emperor's news. I have also received yours of Sept. 5th, but have been unable to do anything about them as yet, since I have been very ill as Marnix will tell you.
There is news here that the pope has been extremely ill ; should his illness turn out badly, it will be a blow to our plans. Nevertheless the doctors are said to have hopes of his recovery.
I have just received yours of the 6th, with a packet from Beaurain's man, the news in which agrees with yours. I shall do my best, but since Beaurain's man sends word that King Francis is at Lyons, on his way to invade Italy, I do not think it would be wise to draw on Dr. Prantenar's funds for the payment of Bourbon's Germans. If it should happen that the duke of Milan failed to receive the six thousand Germans who are to be paid from these funds, the emperor's affairs might be in great confusion, and those who had withdrawn the money from Prantenar would be blamed. I shall send a courier to Spain as soon as possible.
Dated as above.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 5.
15 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
I wrote last by Martin Nuñes who left here August 28th. Since then I have had two letters from Beaurain's secretary, written from Bourg-en-Bresse, one from a servant of a certain personage, and another from the treasurer of Bresse, copies and originals enclosed. As you may see, things are going very well, although the delays of the personage in question are somewhat regrettable because of the lateness of the season. The reasons he gives seem adequate, but one could wish that he had been able to send back Russell with messages that would encourage the king of England, and help us pay the ten thousand Germans who may otherwise fall into great disorder. Three weeks ago Count Felix wrote Madame, asking her to furnish payment for the second month, since that for the first month expired September 9th. Madame, being unable to do so, and fearing that, if unpaid, the Germans might go over to the enemy, ordered me to explain the matter to Wolsey, and ask him to furnish payment for a month, deducting it from Henry's contribution.
I went at once to Hampton Court, told Wolsey of the danger which threatened, and asked him for the money. He replied that the king, his master, was determined to furnish no money for this affair until the personage accepted the articles brought by Russell, and the lanzknechts were actually in his service. He persisted in this resolution a long time, but finally said that he would send Doctor Knight, at Madame's court, fifty thousand gold florins, which' would be available as soon as the personage had accepted Russell's articles, and the infantry were under his command. This is the best I could do ; I have advised Madame. Since then, the archduke, having been informed by Count Felix of the danger, sent one of his gentlemen to Madame to ask her to find the necessary money. She sent him on here, ordering me to try again to persuade Wolsey. I have been suffering for some time from the fever, and was obliged to send my secretary with the gentleman to Wolsey to make what arguments we could. Wolsey, however declared that he would do no more than he had agreed with me, and that Doctor Knight had already been sent the money. I was obliged to send the gentleman back to Madame with this message.
I have since received other letters from Madame to the same purpose, ordering me to beg Wolsey to help avoid the total ruin of our affairs, and to promise him letters in your name for the repayment of the sum, in case Russell's mission failed. I sent my secretary to tell Wolsey this, and wrote him appropriate arguments, enclosing a copy of your majesty's letter of August 18th, which seemed particularly to the point, especially what you wrote about not wasting time before Boulogne or other impregnable towns. After reading the letters, Wolsey said to my secretary that only two points required immediate reply. As to the request for money, he would say once for all that no more would be done than had been done. Dr. Knight had money for the month's payment, and the rest of the 100,000 crowns was at Calais, ready to be used if things came out as he hoped, and all to be paid from month to month. He added bitterly that we must be mocking him, and that everyone tried to get money out of his king, with other words which indicated that if their army were not already at Calais we might have more serious difficulties. As for invading France instead of besieging Boulogne, the king, his master, was quite bent on the siege, according to your agreement with Jerningham. If, however, it appeared that there was a chance of conquering more territory by marching further into France, they would certainly take advantage of it, though no such opportunity seemed likely at present. Your majesty ought to provide, if possible, I think, for the payment of the ten thousand Germans, for it seems unlikely that anything can be got from these people, and there is no apparent means of raising the money in Flanders or Germany, since I understand that the German merchants who were to furnish Beaurain 50,000 florins by your order, would furnish only 18,000, and obliged the archduke to give security for the rest.
The English army has all crossed the sea, and Madame writes that the Count de Buren has joined them with the troops from Flanders and that they are ready to begin the invasion.
In your letter of August 18th your majesty writes that in case Henry refuses to provide 100,000 crowns for Bourbon in ready money, he be asked to give a quittance for this sum against the amount due on the indemnity. I have not presented this request, since the English will only advance the money under certain conditions, and if these are met, it will be in ready cash and without interest.
I told Wolsey of your military preparations, of what you decided to do about Danish affairs, and of your good treatment of La Motte. As you ordered me, I promised him the payment of the half year of his pension which fell due May 1st last, and also the payment of the other pensions as soon as possible. It would have been impossible to pay them all out of the money your majesty has sent me, even if I had not used some of it to redeem the banners and for the other purposes you authorized. Of the remainder I shall retain, as you order, my payment for six months since the departure of Badajoz, and I thank your majesty for remembering my needs, and for ordering that my salary as chamberlain be paid me in my absence. I shall make use of the warrant given me by your council of finance of the Netherlands as best I can, although it will not be paid for some time.
As soon as my fever is somewhat abated, I shall go to Wolsey, show him the powers and instructions you sent, and act as you ordered. I shall do my best to see that the Marquis d'Aerschot has an honourable reception on his arrival here, and in your secret matters I shall act as you direct. There is news here that the pope is seriously ill. Also that recently, when the duke of Milan was riding in advance of his bodyguard to escape the dust, one Bonifazio Visconti, a member of his suite, mounted on a Turkish horse, dashed at him and drove a dagger into his shoulder, hoping to murder him. It is said that the duke is in no danger, but that Bonifazio was able to ride off into Venetian territory, escaping pursuit.
Instead of copies I am sending you the original of Chasteau's letter to me, since it is written in a cipher which Beaurain has. So that you may understand the other two letters written to the president of Burgundy, I am sending a key to the cipher of persons' names. In giving these letters to Wolsey, I corrected them, and wrote the names between the lines, but it seemed safer afterwards to delete the interlineations.
Your majesty will remember that you promised me the reversion of the office of bailly of Bruges on the death of my uncle. The office is now vacant and I have written to Madame, enclosing your letters, and asking for formal letters of appointment. I do not believe Madame will make any difficulty, but I shall be grateful if your majesty will write her again, expressing your will so that there may be no mistake. This office would be very suitable for me, for what few possessions and relatives I have are in the neighbourhood of Bruges, and when it is your majesty's pleasure that I should retire from more active service, I could in that quarter continue to serve you as well as any gentleman in the neighbourhood.
London, 15 Sept., 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 9.
20 Sept.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. l.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
Since I wrote last Russell has returned, as you will have learned from Madame, through whose court he passed. He reports that the matter is going well. He reached the personage, not without danger, in the middle of France and agreed with him on the king of England's articles, except on the second, by which the personage was to bind himself to help the king of England recover all his rights and titles in France. Of this article he said that it would be enough to consider it included in the first, nevertheless he would submit its further effect to your majesty's pleasure. Russell was satisfied since the personage agreed to all the other articles, even though he refused to sign, because Russell might be captured on his way back. Despite this danger, Russell returned safely here on the 18th.
After hearing his report two things seemed necessary to me for a successful outcome : to provide for the payment of the ten thousand Germans at once, and to make sure that the English wasted no time in besieging towns, but marched as far into France as possible. I pointed out to Russell how necessary these things were, and asked him in presenting his report to Henry and Wolsey to emphasize them. He promised to do so, and went at once to Wolsey, accompanied by my secretary since I was still too ill to go myself. I instructed the secretary to say that since Bourbon had bound himself as strongly to the king of England as he had to your majesty, although your majesty had given him a sister in marriage, no difficulty should be made about furnishing 100,000 crowns or about abandoning the siege of Boulogne to march to his assistance. Wolsey was satisfied of the personage's good faith, by Russell's report, and ordered Dr. Knight to turn over the money for a month's payment of the Germans, payment to be made thereafter from month to month. Wolsey is sending Russell to the king and hopes that, having heard him, Henry will agree to give up the siege of Boulogne and let the army invade France. Meanwhile he has ordered Suffolk to spend his time before some enemy castle until he receives further orders from the king. I believe that Wolsey will persuade Henry to abandon Boulogne and let the army march, so that it seems to me that our affairs may soon have favourable issue. But we must act quickly. Russell tells me that Francis has already got wind of the conspiracy and has arrested the Sieur de Saint-Vallier and another lord whose name Russell did not know, both friends of Bourbon's, who were at Lyons with Francis. The personage thinks the plan has been discovered, but he told Russell that he would declare himself just the same. He is summoning his friends and subjects to go with him to join the Germans, and he has sent word to them to march at once. Russell said the Germans should be in Franche Comté by this time on their way to join the personage, who, as soon as he joins them, will march to give battle to King Francis or to besiege him.
Wolsey told my secretary that he heard from Rome that the pope was still very ill, although he continued to attend to business. He said he had also heard that although the French army had passed the mountains, the members of the Italian league were not ready to defend themselves. He seemed quite dissatisfied with them. The Milanese ambassador, however, tells me that according to letters from his master, dated August 30th, the duke hopes that he and Prospero, who have matters well in hand, will give the French no cause to be glad they are coming. He says the Venetians are acquitting themselves very well in furnishing the quota to which they are bound by the league, and the other princes are also acting with great diligence. I should attach more confidence to this news than to that which Wolsey has received.
In my last letter I informed your majesty that the office of bailly of Bruges had fallen vacant. Since then Madame has sent me my commission for it, but has written to me, and to the count de Gavres, that I must take possession of the office in person and take its oath in the presence of the collegium of Bruges and of its liberties, or appoint a deputy. I beg your majesty to permit me to go to Bruges for several weeks next November or December, when military operations are over, to take possession of the office, and to perform its customary duties, and thereafter to return here to my post until your majesty pleases to relieve me, for if I appoint a deputy I shall not have the revenues of the office, nor will your majesty have my service in it.
London, 20 Sept., 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 5.