Spain: November 1523

Pages 282-290

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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November 1523

7 Nov.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
When I wrote last, over a fortnight ago, I thought Chasteau, the bearer of this, would leave at once, but the cardinal detained him so that he might be the bearer of certain news of importance which was expected.
Since then I have received letters from Madame of Oct. 12th, containing news from Rome, as your majesty will see by the enclosed copy, and advising me of the arrival of Bourbon at Besancon, Oct. 3rd, and of the mission of one of his gentlemen to England. I went at once to Wolsey with the Italian news and met there Bourbon's envoy, one Pouvoyre, a Savoyard, first cousin to the Sieur de Verjon. This person, expecting to find me with the cardinal, had already gone to him and without speaking to me first, delivered his charge, which was, in substance, that Bourbon sent him with letters to Henry and Wolsey to inform them that his plans had been divulged to King Francis by his servants, the Sieur d'Escars and the chancellor of the Bourbonnais, so that he had been obliged to flee and remain in hiding for some time. Also his castle of Chantelle, in which he had placed all his goods and money, had been delivered to King Francis by the gentleman to whom he had entrusted it. Therefore he begged Henry to send the hundred thousand crowns, promised for the payment of the Germans, at once, so that he might join them, and, if the king thought good, march with them to join the English army because he had no cavalry for a separate campaign. In addition, he attempted to persuade Wolsey to send another hundred thousand crowns because the Germans were owed two months' wages and wished to be paid before they would march. It seemed to me that Wolsey would find all this unexpected and unreasonable, since he had been informed that your master of the posts had received from Dr. Knight money that Knight had been given by the king of England, and with it had paid the Germans up to the 9th of October. I went at once to hear Wolsey's reply. He told me very angrily of this new request, and began to make his customary complaints, saying that he knew now that your majesty and Madame did not intend to keep their promises, but were trying to ruin the king, his master, and that this effort to get another hundred thousand crowns from the king came from Madame alone and not from Bourbon, whose letters spoke only of the hundred thousand crowns promised him, which sum Russell was already charged to pay. Wolsey spoke of many things very wrathfully, recurring to the failure to pay the indemnity and other matters in which he says your majesty has failed the king, his master, and particularly of the fact that so far he has not heard that any money of your share has been delivered to Bourbon. He thinks you should contribute equally with Henry, since Bourbon has no other troops than the Germans. He also complained that he had no news of your Spanish army, and made it plain that he did not believe you had one in the field, or at least not such a one as had been agreed. Finally he said that if you and Madame intended to throw all the burdens on the king, his master, it would be better for this kingdom to be at war with you than with the French, and that if, through your failure, the campaign this year failed, you would repent of it. I thought your majesty ought to know of these words, although it is true that when Wolsey is angry he says very bitter things that he would not say were he calm. He has repeated the substance since, however, and expressly ordered this bearer to deliver such message to your majesty.
I was very confused and ashamed, for the cardinal spoke so loudly that Bourbon's envoy could hear every word ; he was angrier than I have ever seen him. I did my best to soothe him, saying that he must not believe that the envoy's message came from Madame, since she had written me nothing about it, and showing him her letters. He then called Bourbon's gentleman, and said he was astonished that he should have asked for another hundred thousand crowns when his master's letters asked only for the hundred thousand which he had been promised. The envoy was confused and did not know what to say except that he had, himself, thought of this proposal to avoid delay, since the money being sent by your majesty might not arrive soon or safely. Here I put in that he might be assured your majesty's promises would be kept, and that I was sure your contribution was already at Genoa, though they had had no news of it on account of the troop movements in Lombardy. I said I was sure Wolsey would be satisfied about your Spanish campaign, although bad weather had delayed the news. Finally Wolsey said that the king and he would furnish all the hundred thousand crowns they had promised, and Russell would commence to pay the Germans from September 24th, the day on which Knight had delivered a month's payment to your master of the posts. Thereupon Wolsey sent Bourbon's envoy to have audience with the king, who received him well and spoke affably of the duke, promising both orally and in writing that, if Bourbon would bring the Germans at once to his army, he (Henry) would never abandon him, and would give him all the aid and favour possible. Wolsey is writing Bourbon in a similar vein. I asked the envoy what Bourbon had done when his plans were discovered, and where he had been for such a long time before he joined the Germans. He did not know what to say except that he understood the duke and two companions had been as far as the marches of Salsas, but seeing that he could not cross the frontier without great danger, had returned, and passing within three or four leagues of Lyons, where King Francis was, reached Saint-Claude in your county of Burgundy, where the bishop of Geneva gave him horses and an escort, and accompanied him to Besançon.
The king asked Bourbon's envoy to return to his master at once. Since his departure I have received letters from Madame, transmitting a copy of one written her by the president of Burgundy, all enclosed herewith. I have also received a letter from M. de Buren, informing me of the good success of the campaign so far ; this is also enclosed. In consequence of Buren's letter the king and the cardinal are sending at once reinforcements of six thousand English infantry. I understand that Buren and Suffolk intend marching against Lens and thence straight on to Paris.
Since writing the above I have received from Cilly, maître d'hôtel of the grand master, and from one of my couriers, both of whom have just arrived, your majesty's letters of the 8th, 9th, 18th, and 21st of September, and 3rd October. These letters seem to me to contain eight principal points : (1) Your majesty has sent Bourbon your quota of 100,000 crowns and asks Henry to do likewise. (2) You ask this king to order his army to march deeply into enemy country. (3) You ask that the army be equipped to winter in enemy territory and suggest that it march through Normandy, where it will find secret friends and little resistance. (4) You suggest the English army be strongly reinforced and that it waste no time in besieging towns. (5) You report the arrival of an envoy from Savoy. (6) You ask that English ambassadors be empowered to complete in Spain the formal treaty with Bourbon, first drafted by Beaurain and Russell. (7) You ask the king of England to order his captains not to accept ransom for important French prisoners, but to hold them for exchange against certain gentlemen of Bourbon's party who have been taken. (8) You explain why your army did not take the field at the agreed time.
After Wolsey had talked to me and to Cilly, whom I had instructed what to say, he seemed delighted with your co-operation and good-will, by means of which he held it certain that the enemy would soon be subjugated, or at least brought to offer favourable terms. He said that since for the most part he and I had discussed the points in your letters, he need reply only briefly, subject to his king's pleasure, as follows.
Your first and second requests have been satisfied already. As to the third, in view of your majesty's great preparations and the good hope of success in the campaign, Henry will send the necessary money and supplies for the army to winter in France and order it to do so, provided that the three thousand cavalry and three thousand German infantry under Buren, paid by your majesty, keep them company. But it is now too late for the army to march through Normandy. Fourth, he has already arranged to reinforce the army with six thousand English infantry, and will send further reinforcements if necessary. Fifth, about Lambert's mission, Wolsey thinks that Lambert is more a spy than an ambassador, and that you ought not to listen to his proposals, for with the aid of God and your armies, you will soon bring King Francis to make you a proper offer through his own ambassadors. He thinks that you ought to detain Lambert and not permit him to write any news to France or Savoy which might prejudice the common cause. Sixth, Henry will send the powers asked for, by a special courier to Spain, in seven or eight days. Seventh, orders have been sent to Suffolk in accordance with your majesty's wishes, and I, de Praet, have informed Buren of them. Eight, the king and the cardinal find your majesty's reasons for delaying the invasion of France quite adequate, since they give hope of greater success now the campaign has been begun. They are gratified that your majesty expects to fulfil your agreements at all points, as I have assured them you will, and have no doubt that you will do your part as they will theirs.
From their actions it really seems that these lords are now full of good-will and without dissimulation. Wolsey is very earnest in pressing affairs forward. I think that the payment of his pensions and what your majesty wrote about the pensions on Palencia and Badajoz have had a very good effect.
Yesterday evening I received letters from Madame, containing such news as she had of Italy, of Bourbon, and of Rome, copies enclosed. It seems very strange that the ambassador of Milan has had no letters from his master since the last of August, and that we have heard nothing as yet of the election of a new pope, for Pope Adrian died eight weeks ago, and the cardinals went into conclave the first of last month. Nevertheless, we continue to hope that there has been no election contrary to your majesty's interests. News of less importance here this bearer will give you by word of mouth.
London, 7 November, 1523.
P. S.—I have tried to recover the letter your majesty wishes about the county of Carpi, which you have given to Prospero Colonna, and Wolsey has promised to have the letter searched for with diligence, but so far it has not been found.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 12.
15 Nov.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
We have received your letters of September 15th and 20th, containing an account of Russell's negotiations with Bourbon, and of Bourbon's acceptance of all the English articles except the second. Say to the king and the cardinal that we are very pleased at Russell's success, and ask them again to send powers to their ambassadors here, in order that the articles of the treaty may be put in proper form. Ask them again, as you were instructed to do by Cilly, to give all the aid in their power to Bourbon and his party, which will be the best means to bring the enemy low. For our part, we shall keep all our promises to Bourbon, and hope that the English will do likewise. As we wrote, we have already provided letters of exchange in Italy for the 100,000 crowns which is our share of Bourbon's expenses, and we have reimbursed the Welzers for the sum borrowed of them for this purpose by our brother, the archduke. You will continue to see to it that the English provide their share, a duty which you have so far discharged very well. Use the new cipher to communicate with Bourbon, addressing your letters to Bissy, our maréchal de logis, whom we have sent to him, and who, we have reason to believe, has arrived. See that we have news of Bourbon as often as possible.
We are writing by this bearer, to Bourbon for the purpose, and in the terms which you may learn from the enclosed copy. Communicate the whole matter to the king and the cardinal, and let them speak with the bearer, after which he should go on to Bourbon at his best speed. By this means you may try to discover whether the king and the cardinal are inclined to continue the war, in case we cannot have a good peace or truce, and you will advise us at once, so that we may order our affairs accordingly.
Present our excuses for the delay of the Spanish army more or less as follows. As we first agreed with Henry, we had ordered our captains to have everything ready for August 10th. Then the English ambassadors here told us that Henry wished Bourbon's rising to be delayed until the date for the "Great Enterprise" next year, and that he had given Beaurain a memoir asking him to negotiate with Bourbon to this purpose. Beaurain's return was delayed by bad weather at sea until the end of August, and not knowing what he had agreed with Bourbon, we were uncertain what day the army should assemble. As soon as Beaurain returned, we ordered our captains to be at Logroño before the end of August, and when we left Valladolid on the 24th, we had already sent all the money necessary to pay the troops. Two circumstances, however, delayed the assembly of the army. First, we wished to wait until Bourbon's plans could be announced to the grandees here without risk, so that we might say why we wished to undertake this enterprise in person to assist him, and thus incline them to be more ready to aid and accompany us. The other was that we hoped to take advantage of secret reports and to surprise Bayonne, Fuenterrabia, and certain other towns before the French had garrisoned and provisioned them. To this end we ordered our forces by land and sea to take Bayonne at the end of August. They would have done so had not the wind prevented our ships from entering the river by Bayonne, so that the enterprise failed, and the land forces, seeing that they could not complete it without the co-operation of the ships, retired with great booty. This expedition and the news of Bourbon's rising alarmed the other towns, and since Bourbon's conspiracy had been discovered and some of the principal participants captured, and no one knew what had become of him, and since we had no news from Picardy or Italy, for no ships had crossed the sea to this kingdom for more than two months, some of our councillors endeavoured to persuade us to put off the campaign until next spring, since the mountain passes would be closed by snow, preventing us from provisioning and reinforcing the army.
They were unable to persuade us, however, and we ordered our artillery and our troops to concentrate at Pamplona, whence they were to cross the mountains. At this time certain people managed to spread a rumour that we would invade France by way of Italy or Flanders, and would not come back to Spain and that Fuenterrabia would never be retaken. This rumour was the cause of grave delay, because the subjects of this kingdom do not wish us to leave them and greatly desire the recapture of Fuenterrabia. A large number of the infantry, who had been already paid, on hearing this rumour, went home with their money, so that we were obliged to raise and pay other infantry in Navarre, Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia, to reinforce the army, and were put to much greater expense than we had expected. In spite of all this we have reduced to our obedience the whole land of the Basques, which is of great extent and can furnish a large number of fighting men, and we have recaptured Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, which has been in the hands of the French ever since their invasion, and the Germans are in San Sebastian with the other cavalry and infantry on this frontier and have with them the boats and pontoons that we ordered. They are already crossing from San Sebastian to French territory, near Bayonne, beyond the Pyrenees and they will join the rest of our army at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, where most of the Spanish infantry has already arrived under the command of the prince of Orange. By this hour the artillery is on its way there with the greater part of our men-at-arms and light horse, under the constable of Castile, and in three days we shall set out in person with the rest of the Spanish nobility, all our household and the remainder of the army. We intend to march as far as possible into France and shall command the army in person, both because our Spanish grandees will follow us more willingly than they would another, and because the army will be encouraged thereby. Also we hope that Henry will maintain his army in France this winter, and that since we have invaded France in person, he will do likewise. If he will go as far as Calais it will be of great use to the common cause. You may ask him to do so, telling him of our resolution, and saying that we expect to make up for lost time by remaining longer in the enemy's territory to achieve some conquest upon it, or at least to compel the enemy to a favourable peace. If we do this it would be well if Henry would send his powers here to be ready for negotiations. Ask Henry, in view of the above, not to be offended by our past delays or to blame us, since we hope to make up for the past in the future and always to remain his friend and ally.
Say to Henry that in the present favourable state of affairs, it will be better for us to carry out our present enterprise and to abandon our plans for the "Great Enterprise," for things are going so well that we may hope to achieve either the total ruin of the French and the recovery of all the territory which they unjustly hold, or at least their reduction to such extremity that they will accept an honest and reasonable peace. The news from Italy is so good that we may make use of the army of Italy for this purpose. This veteran and constantly victorious army, by invading France, will distract the enemy's forces and greatly weaken them. We plan to have the army invade Provence or Dauphiny or by whatever route seems best to M. de Bourbon, supported by the fleet which is at Genoa under Don Hugo de Moncada, which will be very useful in reinforcing him. If, however, the army of Italy enters France, the contributions of the Italian league to its support will cease, for the league is purely defensive and not obliged to assist in operations outside Italy. We shall not be able to maintain such heavy additional expenses alone. Therefore if Henry wishes the army of Italy to invade France as a substitute for the "Great Enterprise," he should contribute as much as he formerly offered through Boleyn and Sampson.
We should like to know what Wolsey and Henry said about the powers and instructions which we sent you some time ago to treat of peace or truce. You may tell them that the archbishop of Bari, former papal nuncio in France, came here recently with instructions signed by King Francis, to make such proposals about peace or truce as you may see by the enclosed copy. We heard the archbishop in the presence of the English ambassadors, and with their advice and consent gave him a written reply, unsigned, a copy of which is also enclosed. Give these copies to Henry and Wolsey, ask their opinion, and advise us at once.
We have had several packets of letters from Italy, delayed by the stormy weather which has lasted so long. These we are sending you, among them a letter of the cardinal of Como, who, you will see, hopes to elect a pope of the French party. In the matter of the English pensions you have done well. We shall be glad to have news of the army in Picardy, and shall keep you constantly informed about the one here. The office of bailly of Bruges we give you gladly, and we are writing Madame, asking her to see that it is peaceably enjoyed either by you or by your deputy. We cannot give you leave to go to Bruges ; the affairs on which you are now engaged are too important. But the office of bailly can be filled by your deputy, and we trust to your discretion to arrange the matter.
Pamplona, 15 November, 1523.
Signed, Charles ; countersigned, Lalemand. Contemporary copy. French. pp. 10.
19 Nov.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Marquis D'Aerschot and Louis De praet to Charles V.
In accordance with your majesty's orders to me, Aerschot, I tried for some time to cross the sea but was unable to set sail, on account of storms, until October 24th. I reached Plymouth the 27th, though the weather was still stormy. From there I sent word to M. de Praet to meet me so that I could tell him my charge. He did so, and we went together to London. We had audience with the cardinal the day after our arrival, Henry being at the time about sixty miles north, on the road to Scotland. We presented your letters to Wolsey who was very glad to hear of your prosperity, and delivered our charge to him at length, saying that you did not wish to conceal anything from him, since you had the most perfect confidence in his willingness to maintain the amity between you and his king, as he had always done, and to advance your great and urgent affairs. He took this very well, and said he had already provided for the army and its reinforcement in case you provided likewise for your contingent in Flanders under the count de Buren ; otherwise it would be impossible for their army to keep the field. He asked news of the campaign on the Spanish frontier, and I, Aerschot, told him that after I had left court I had had certain news that your army was in enemy territory and that you intended to lead it in person. He was delighted, and said that now the enemy would be hard pressed.
Wolsey told us that we should go to the king with our news, and to go lightly attended, since the king was in a small manor called Woodstock. This is in very fine hunting country. Henry received us there very cordially, and replied to our charge much as Wolsey had done. He asked me, Aerschot, to write to your majesty and also to Madame, asking that there be no failure to pay your troops in Picardy, for in that case the English would be obliged to return without wintering in France. This we humbly advise you to do, since this seems the time to risk all in order to gain all, and you ought not to spare anything, provided Henry does his part.
We returned to London, where we found Wolsey very troubled by news that the army of Picardy had re-crossed the Somme and your majesty's troops had retired to Valenciennes for want of payment. He made his customary complaints, and said that if the news were true, the English army would be obliged to retire, which would be quite contrary to the will of both your majesties, and a grave check to your plans. He begged me, Aerschot, to urge Madame and her council to find means to pay the troops for at least six weeks or two months more, during which time the army might take Corbie or Doullens to serve as winter quarters, and then advance in the spring. Without doubt the cardinal has the good of this enterprise entirely at heart. Therefore, in our opinion, your majesty ought to order Madame to see that the troops are paid, or, still better, send her some money for this purpose. I, Aerschot, am leaving at once for Flanders, and I, de Praet, will keep your majesty constantly informed.
London, 19 November, 1523.
Signed, Charles de Croy and Louis de Praet. French. pp. 3.
27 Nov.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
Since we last wrote we have received your letter of October 6th. It was a long time on the way, only arriving here November 24th. We are surprised that Chasteau is so long in coming. Because of his delay, and because we were waiting to see what route the French would take into Italy, and because our army has entered France and had some successes there, we have delayed this courier until now.
To reply to your letter of October 6th : We have always desired the promotion of the cardinal of York to the papal dignity and intend to aid him with all our power, as we told him when we and Henry exhorted him at Windsor to think of this matter for the good of Christendom. Therefore you have done well to send a special courier. We are likewise sending you one with copies of the letters which we wrote in Wolsey's favour to the duke of Sessa, our ambassador at Rome, both before and after we had received your letter. You will read the copies to Henry and Wolsey, and tell them that they were sent by special courier as promptly as possible, as the English ambassadors here know. Say also that we are very sorry that we did not hear sooner of the pope's death. Certain news came only November 4th. We had not believed an earlier rumour which we thought had been spread by the French. We have no doubt that de Medici will throw his strength to Wolsey, for we are informed that he can hardly hope to obtain the election himself. We are grateful to Madame for her prompt action, and we trust that her efforts, Henry's, and ours will obtain what we all desire.
Pamplona, 27 November, 1523.
Copy. French. pp. 2.