Spain: October 1523

Pages 276-282

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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October 1523

6 Oct.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. l.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
‖Since my last letters by Richard the courier, Wolsey has ordered Dr. Knight to pay over the money for the ten thousand Germans. They will be paid for a month and from month to month thereafter. After much persuasion on Wolsey's part, Henry has finally agreed to abandon the siege of Boulogne and ordered the army to march forward. I heard this evening they had reached Saint-Pol and I think the captains intend to go by Corbie, from which point the English expect to advance straight to Paris. That there may be no further delay in paying the Germans, this king has ordered Russell to leave to-morrow with the rest of the hundred thousand crowns, so that payments may be made when due.
In letters dated September 25th Madame informs me that she has news that the pope died on the 14th. She ordered me to tell Wolsey and to offer him from her all possible assistance in securing his promotion to this dignity. I did so at once, making the same offer also on the part of your majesty. Wolsey replied graciously and amiably, thanking Madame for wishing to raise him to a position of which he had always felt unworthy, and recalling how your majesty and the king, his master, had first suggested this to him at Windsor and exhorted him to think of it. He said he wished to comply with the wishes and advice of you both. He asks Madame that, in case his election seems to her desirable for the good of Christendom, she will write to your ambassador at Rome and to his friends to that effect. He promised me that if these efforts came to anything, he would so act that your majesty and the king of England should know that your favour and recommendation had not been ill bestowed. He asked me to write your majesty at once about this matter by one of my own couriers, and he is inducing the king to write you about it in his own hand. Although it seems to me unreasonable to send a courier at your majesty's expense about the cardinal's private affairs, and although I think the courier will hardly reach you in time, I have decided to comply with the cardinal's request, for I can see that he has this affair much at heart. He has great hopes of success by means of the aid of your ambassador and the English one and of that promised him by the Cardinal de Medici, who has promised his influence in case he cannot be elected himself. Wolsey told me that the choice lay among three principal candidates, de Medici, Farnese, and himself.‖
I gave Wolsey a copy of a letter Madame had received from the president of Burgundy, enclosing one sent the president by a gentleman of the personage's suite, saying that immediately after he had seen Russell, the personage had gone in haste to your majesty through Auvergne. Wolsey found this very strange and said it seemed to him the personage ought not to have gone so far from the Germans. If he has done, I hope that it was with good reason. I also gave Wolsey the instructions your majesty sent me by Marnix about a peace or truce, which I had not been able to do before on account of my illness. Wolsey said that at first sight these instructions seemed strange since this was not the time to think of such things, but only of the total extirpation of the common enemy. Nevertheless, he said he would consider the matter and give me his opinion as soon as he had news of the election of the new pope, according to the outcome of which he thought your majesty should act. In this it seems to me he is right.
News has come from Scotland that the admiral has taken a large town there, plundered it, burned it, and razed it to the ground. Also that the duke of Albany reached there a few days ago with a considerable body of troops to help the Scots and to give battle to the English. Wolsey is making great preparations for this campaign, and the king has sent most of the young men of his court north to the battle, which the English seem greatly to desire. The Marquis d'Aerschot has not yet reached here, and I think he is hardly to be expected because of the unfavourable winds of this season, but if he comes I shall give him every assistance. I have already notified Wolsey of his coming and Wolsey has promised to act as you wish.
‖In my last dispatch I sent your majesty a note of the English pensions. In accordance with it, I paid Wolsey for the half-year due May 30th last, and told him that your majesty had ordered me to pay the other lords as far as I could with the remaining money. He said that since there wasn't enough money to satisfy the entire payment, and since most of the other pensioners were absent on the king's service, it would be better to wait, since the matter was not particularly urgent. I shall take his advice until your majesty pleases to order otherwise, or to send me the rest of the necessary sum.‖
I should not omit to inform your majesty that ten or twelve days ago the king and the cardinal published throughout the realm the declaration of the personage of whom you know, with all the circumstances and conditions contained in their treaty with him. Why they did this I cannot imagine ; it hardly seemed necessary for some time to come, and I was very puzzled and surprised when the ambassador of Milan, and merchants and others came to me with this report. I pretended ignorance as long as I could, but when I was certain that the news came from the king and the cardinal, I thought it better not to deny it. I have therefore told the Milanese ambassador something about the matter in general terms without going into particulars.
I hope your majesty will grant me leave at some opportune time in November and December to go and take possession of my office of bailly of Bruges, as I wrote you before.
I have just received letters from Madame, enclosing a copy of one to her from Count Felix, which I am forwarding. You will see that Count Felix is determined to march Saturday, September 19th. I hope by that time that Jean-Jacques [Bourbon] will have finished his business with your majesty and found some means of joining them, so that things may go as planned. There are no difficulties now except the lateness of the season. To hasten the payment of the troops, I have sent the cardinal a copy of Count Felix' letter, and asked him through my secretary to see that Russell leaves at once with the rest of the hundred thousand crowns. Wolsey promised that Russell would go to-morrow, but added that the king did not intend to make any payment until Jean-Jacques had joined the troops and unless your majesty furnished an equal share. I hope to go to him at Hampton Court to-morrow or the next day to try to talk him out of these scruples, and I thank God that your majesty's affairs are as far advanced as they are, for these people are marvellously annoyed by having to spend money, so that if matters were not so well along, it would be hard to get it out of them. It seems to me that your majesty should take any favourable opportunity to bring your present enterprise to a speedy conclusion.
‖Commending myself humbly, etc.
London, 6 October, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet.‖ French. pp. 7. The parts enclosed in ‖ .. ‖are printed by Bradford, p. 83, and calendared in L. & P., III, 1420.
6 Oct.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien, D. D. Abt. B. f. 6.
Henry VIII to Charles V.
My best loved son : No doubt you will have learned before this of the death of the pope. It seems suitable to remind you of our former plans to advance our common counsellor and servant, my cardinal of York, to this dignity. For his merits we both thought him worthy to be pope, for the honour and good of the church, the benefit of all the world, and the advancement of our common affairs. The time is now come for us to employ our authority and that of our friends to this end. I beg you to do your part, as I have no doubt you will have begun to do before receiving this letter, and I shall do mine. Besides the advancement of our common affairs, and the great pleasure it will give me, you will, by acting in this matter, deserve the love and gratitude of the cardinal.
Signed, Henry.
Copy. French.
10 Oct.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
In my letter of October 6th, I informed your majesty of certain difficulties raised by Wolsey about the payment of the Germans under Count Felix. Since that time Russell has departed. I saw his instructions and he is ordered not to furnish money unless [Bourbon] (lit. "Jean Jacques du Pork") shall join the Germans, and unless your majesty also furnishes a hundred thousand crowns. I hope that time will clear up these difficulties, that Jean Jacques has by this time joined the Germans, and that your majesty will be able to meet the payments. The third inconvenience remains. According to Russell's instructions, the time at which the Germans are paid is to begin when he makes the first payment, which will put your majesty to considerable cost, for you will have to furnish payment for three weeks from September 9th. I have informed Madame, and asked her to write a line to Wolsey and to tell me how to conduct myself with him, so that we may bring him to reason if possible, and Russell may be properly instructed. Things will still be very difficult unless Wolsey hears that Bourbon has joined the Germans, bringing with him a good force of horse and foot, for whose payment you are bound to provide with the other hundred thousand crowns.
Chasteau, the present bearer, arrived here yesterday on his way to Spain with dispatches from Madame. He showed me a copy of a letter she had had from Count Felix, which it did not seem to me advisable to communicate to Wolsey, for the news is not such as we could wish, and might lead him to recalling Russell. Therefore, hoping for better news in three or four days, I sent Chasteau to Hampton Court to say from Madame, by word of mouth, that just before his departure she had received letters from Count Felix saying that he had as yet no news of Bourbon, and that if he received none in a few days he intended to march to join the English. He was not to tell him that Count Felix was already on the march. Wolsey said that if Bourbon did not appear, it would be better for Count Felix to march than to keep the troops idle, but that he was amazed at Bourbon's conduct since, relying on him, your majesty and the king, his master, had put themselves to such great expense. Chasteau can report this conversation amply.
London, 15 Oct., 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 3.
23 Oct.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Last Tuesday I received yours of the 12th with the copy of the news from Rome, and went the same day after dinner to the cardinal's house in this town. I first introduced Bourbon's gentleman, mentioned in your letter, who said he had already declared his charge to the cardinal. This was to ask for a second hundred thousand crowns to pay the ten thousand Germans two months' back wages, without which it was to be feared they would not march now that Bourbon had reached Besançon. Although this message seemed to me very inconvenient for our affairs and quite unreasonable, since we had assured Wolsey that the Germans had been paid by the money brought by the master of the posts, until the 8th or 9th of this month, nevertheless, since Wolsey had already had the message, I thought I might as well hear the answer. As soon as I saw him, he did not fail to give me a long account of what this gentleman had told him, and to make his customary complaints, saying angrily that now he knew that neither you nor the emperor intended to keep your promises, but were trying to ruin his master. He ordered me to write to you that he believed this whole matter proceeded from you and the emperor, and not from Bourbon, who had never asked Henry for more than the hundred thousand crowns sent by Russell. Like a man in anger, he poured forth many grievances, reminding me of the non-payment of the indemnity, among other things, and adding threats. He ended by saying that if the emperor and you wished to cast all the burdens on his master, it would be better to have you for enemies than the French.
I was very perplexed, for since I have had dealings with the cardinal I have never seen him so angry. I made what excuses I could, saying he must not believe that this message came from you, since you had written me nothing about it, in proof of which I showed him your letters. He was a little better satisfied and, to test matters, called Bourbon's man and said he did not believe that the duke had made this request. The gentleman knew not what to respond, except that Bourbon had hoped by this means still to make some good use of the Germans, although the money sent by the emperor had been delayed by the difficulties of the way.
I do not know, Madame, who may have advised this person to present such a request, which is the best way to cool the English toward us and give them false suspicions of the emperor. I tried my best to persuade Wolsey that there had been no fault on the emperor's part, either in effort to provide payment, or in the invasion of Guienne, although we had had no news because of the bad weather. Finally Wolsey said that they would abide by their former agreement, which was to pay one hundred thousand crowns for the maintenance of the Germans as soon as Bourbon joined them.
The mission of this gentleman has so annoyed him that Wolsey has now returned to his former decision to count the time from which the Germans are to be paid from the day on which Knight paid over the money, although he had earlier agreed that it was to be counted from the 9th of last month. This is a difference of fifteen or sixteen days to our disadvantage. I still hope when I see him again to persuade him that the payments should begin on the ninth.
Bourbon's gentleman went afterwards to have audience with Henry, give him the duke's letters, and declare his charge. I understand that Henry talked with him affably enough, and so afterwards did Wolsey, as he will tell you.
London, the 23rd day of October, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 4.
29 Oct.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Last Sunday I received yours of Oct. 17th, with a copy of the letter you wrote to Wolsey asking him to change Russell's instructions. Since that time, on account of the mission of Bourbon's gentleman, I have written you that I thought there was no hope of such a change. Nevertheless, since the recurrence of my fever made me unable to go in person, I sent my secretary to Wolsey with the best arguments I could muster, asking him not to hesitate over so small a matter as fifteen days' payment when things were going so well. Wolsey replied that, once for all, the king and he would do no more than they had already done, and that you and the emperor ought to be ashamed to importune them so much for fifteen days' payment, which you said you thought was such a small matter, particularly since (as they seem firmly to believe) the emperor has not spent a penny on this enterprise. In a great rage, Wolsey said he now saw clearly that you and the emperor tried to turn everything to his disadvantage, so that if the English were allied to the Turks they would be better treated. In proof of this, he said with great contempt and bitter anger that although you had begged him to have Russell hurry, you had detained Russell six days at your court, and finally your treasurer Marnix had told him that his safety on the way, with the money he carried, could not be guaranteed unless he first handed over two hundred gold crowns. Nothing my secretary could say could induce Wolsey to change his decision, though he did say that in spite of the emperor's behaviour they would still furnish the hundred thousand crowns since they had agreed to do so, and that it would be paid to the Germans beginning on the 23rd or 24th of last month, up to the last penny, but if the emperor did not furnish an equal amount, Henry intended to recover the sum with interest.
After writing the above, I received yours of the 21st with a copy of the president of Burgundy's letter. His news of Bourbon and the Germans seemed so good that I went at once to Wolsey and showed him the letters, with those which M. de Buren had written me with the news of the capture of Ancre, Roye, and Nesle, and how the Spaniards, assisted by the English and some artillery, had taken Bray by storm, and how they hoped that Montdidier would soon surrender. With this news Wolsey and the king, to both of whom Buren had also written, were very pleased, and at the request of Buren and the duke of Suffolk, they are sending at once four thousand English to reinforce the army. Nevertheless Wolsey complained that although the Germans to be furnished by the emperor were indeed with the army, they had not been paid, so that they pillaged and robbed on all sides, which might lead to grave consequences. He asked me to write to you to ask you to see that the troops were furnished prompt payment, so that they would have no cause to continue pillaging. Also, since the time the army is supposed to remain in the field expires at the end of this month, he wishes you to use every possible means to maintain your troops for some time further, since matters are beginning to go well, and if the army is kept up, the war may be successfully finished this year.
I was not able to argue much with Wolsey on this point, in view of what Buren had written both to me and to him and Henry, but I did say that in view of the great expense to which you were put on account of the war with Gelders, it might be impossible for you and the council of finance to keep up your present aid to the army, unless Henry would undertake to pay the troops himself henceforward, in which case I was sure everything could be satisfactorily arranged. At this Wolsey began again to complain, and to speak of the great expense to which Henry was put and the little the emperor had done, swearing that it was impossible for the king, his master, to undertake more expense than he was bearing at present. He asked me to write to you at once and I promised to do so, although I held out little hope that you would be able to comply with his request.
I have not wished to go any farther than this with Wolsey without instructions. It seems to me that if the English army continues to be successful, and if Bourbon does his part, and if Henry and Wolsey are assured that the emperor is doing as much on the Spanish side as he promised to do, and has paid Bourbon his quota of a hundred thousand crowns, although the king and the cardinal may make some difficulties, they will pay all the troops with Buren from the end of November on, rather than break up the army. It is certainly unreasonable that the emperor should be put to an expense so much greater than theirs, and I think it will satisfy them if you pay our troops for another month.
As I was leaving, Wolsey told me that according to news from Surrey, it was to be hoped that the English had given battle to Albany yesterday and that they expected news shortly.
In spite of all our efforts, Chasteau and I have not been able to get from Wolsey leave for his departure, and it may be that Wolsey is detaining him hoping soon to have news who is to be the next pope so that he may use Chasteau for a message to Spain. In fact, Madame, had Chasteau left this town at once, he might still be in this kingdom, for I am informed that the courier I sent on his arrival, on Wolsey's private affairs, is still in an English port waiting a favourable wind, and it is possible that Chasteau will be able to sail with him. If not, Wolsey promises to provide a vessel for his voyage.
London, Oct. 29, 1523.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp, 6.