Spain: April 1524, 1-15

Pages 329-341

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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April 1524, 1-15

7 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Since I wrote last, April 3rd, I have been again to see Wolsey to finish the business of which I wrote you. Wolsey is very pleased at the prompt granting of a safe-conduct for his wines. He said that, though he had sometimes spoken sharply in discussing the affairs of the alliance, nevertheless he was devoted to maintaining it, and he recognized your great good-will towards the king, his master, and himself, and held you in the highest affection and esteem.
As to the affair of the Domprevost of Utrecht, I found Wolsey much more bitter than he had been when we spoke of it on Sunday at Greenwich. At that time he had not seen your answer given in writing to the English ambassador, with which he was very dissatisfied, particularly article twelve. Of this he said that no one in the world could charge him with being a good Frenchman or a good Burgundian, but only with being a good Englishman, who desired above everything to serve his master, and, after that, to maintain the alliance with the emperor, because he knew that that alliance was more to the advantage of this kingdom than any other. He then said that, as for the Domprevost, he could see by your reply that you took the affair seriously, and it was not for his king and much less for him, to correct the servants of others. He would be satisfied, he said, with whatever you pleased to do, whether you recalled Naturelli to your council or kept him absent, and he was writing his ambassador to this effect. I replied as appropriately as I could, justifying the language of the article in question, and he seemed content with my explanation.
Since the rumour of which I wrote you is still current here, strengthened by other news as you may see by my letter to M. de Hoogstraeten, I talked it over yesterday with the papal envoy, who is a good imperialist, and agreed with him that he should go to Wolsey and try in a roundabout fashion, to find out what was up. When the subject had been finally raised, Wolsey said emphatically that he hoped no one had so low an opinion of his king as to believe he would engage in secret negotiations with the French, staining his honour and breaking his treaties, abandoning his love for the emperor, and showing disrespect for the pope, who, it was well known, was undertaking to arrange a truce through the archbishop of Capua. He said that he and his king intended to observe scrupulously all their treaty obligations, and he asked the nuncio to write to His Holiness at once to that effect, adding that Henry and he were willing to listen to honourable offers from the French through the mediation of the pope, provided such offers were also acceptable to the emperor. I have thought it my duty to inform you of this. I believe Wolsey is speaking the truth. Nevertheless, when he returns to this town from Hampton Court in a few days, I shall call upon him to see what he has to say about the matter, and advise you at once. London, April 7, 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 3.
12 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
I wrote you day before yesterday what Wolsey said to the papal ambassador about the rumour current here of the coming of a servant of Queen Louise. At the time, I certainly believed him, but I have since seen that the contrary was true. Yesterday I was secretly informed by a friend of mine at court, that the Frenchman in question would be here within three days. And so he was. He arrived yesterday morning, conducted by the English spy who brought the news I wrote you on March 29th. To-morrow I shall go to Wolsey and try to find out everything, after which I shall send a special courier to you with the news. It seems to me that this sort of conduct is not only dishonourable, but likely to come to little good, and least of all to the persons who began it.
London, 12 April, 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French.
15 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
I last wrote your majesty fully by Richard, who left here on Easter. On March 30th, while I was at Greenwich with the king and the cardinal, one of their spies returned from Paris with the following news. King Francis has assembled several of the estates of his kingdom to consult them about the continuance of the war. The queen and the queen dowager are both at Blois, both very ill, the queen of the great pox, of which she is not expected to recover, and the dowager of pleurisy. Francis suffers a good deal with his throat on account of the pox, but is well except for that, and lives as usual. The spy says that, while he was at Paris, news arrived of the capture of Fuenterrabia and the surrender of the citadel of Cremona, by which Francis and all his court were much disturbed. According to what Henry told me, it was the loss of Fuenterrabia which most disturbed them, but Wolsey, who loves to be contrary, said it was only the surrender of the citadel of Cremona, and that they made little account of Fuenterrabia. The spy also reports that the young duke of Longueville and the Sieur de Tremouille have been sent with 300 men-at-arms to reinforce the army in Italy, and were to give battle to your army on March 15th, on which account the king and his court made a solemn procession in Paris. The spy also reports that Francis is very unpopular, and the people blame his sins and evil life for the failure of the crops this year, which is the worst that has ever been known in France.
In view of this news, and of the rumour current in the court that the French army had retired on Vercelli in Piedmont, and your majesty's toward Milan, I at once laid before the king and the cardinal the great good that could be done if your two majesties were to maintain the army of Italy for an invasion of France, pointing out that if your army had retired, it could only be for lack of money. Nevertheless, I was unable to persuade them to change their former decision, which was that if they had favourable replies from what they had written your majesty, and if the army of Italy really proved to be in a position to invade France, they would make no difficulties about contributing within reason.
On March 31st Henry had letters from Rome dated March 14th, reporting that the French army had retired to Vigevano and your army had advanced as far as that town, and encamped between it and Mortaire ; also that the duke of Milan was so hard pressed for money to pay the army that he had pledged the town of Cremona to Venice, and the pope, fearing a failure from this cause, had sent the bishop of Capua to Francis about a peace or truce. Capua is charged first to interview Francis and then to go to your majesty's court and thence here, or at least to send persons to your majesty and to this king, to acquaint you with his negotiations with Francis.
When I heard this news I went at once to the cardinal to verify it. He told me in substance what I have written above, and added that there was a rumour that the army had concluded an armistice for forty days, though he had no certain news. He seemed surprised and alarmed by this rumour, fearing, I suppose, that some treaty was being negotiated by the pope without his knowledge. I therefore brought up again the question of a contribution for the army of Italy, hoping that he might do from fear what he would not do from good-will. But he replied as before, and I have almost despaired of getting any favourable answer on this point. It seems very unlikely, also, that any important campaign will be undertaken here this season, for there are no more signs of preparation to-day than there were at Christmas. It is true that Wolsey boasts that his master is entirely ready, and is only waiting word from you, but I am convinced that if you grant everything that Henry asks, he will still be unable to equip an army to invade France in less than two months.
Wolsey has talked to me several times about peace or truce, giving me to understand that although Henry had not intended to make any peace, and felt himself strong enough to invade France without aid, as he had done before, nevertheless, since the pope had sent the bishop of Capua to open this matter, he was willing to send his powers to Rome as one who loved your majesty and the common good of Christendom. By such speeches as these, Wolsey is always trying to get me to confess that your majesty desires a peace because you are unable to continue the war. I have always replied that you instructed me to ask him and his master to send powers and instructions to treat of peace only because you wished it to be plain to the pope and to all Christendom that your two majesties were pious and peaceful princes, but that you did not lack power to continue the war as was clear from the offers contained in your letters of January 18th. To this Wolsey can only reply that he hopes soon to have a favourable response from you to the overtures made you through the English ambassadors. I do not think he really hopes anything of the sort ; he says this merely to close my mouth, for in several of the conversations in which I have asked Wolsey for help for your campaign, he has begged me to say nothing about it to Henry for fear of angering him, and added that at least he would have no part in such a proposal to the king, and if I persisted in it I must speak to Henry alone or with the assistance of some other English lord, since he, Wolsey, feared Henry's displeasure too much to say anything more on the subject. I have not pressed the question therefore, for fear of retarding rather than advancing your affairs. Wolsey also asked me whether, if the French made a reasonable offer to both your majesties here in England, I would be willing to make use of the powers I had, to treat in your name. I replied that I would not, and that your power was for use only in case the king of England sent a similar power to his ambassadors with you. I think I ought not to use your power except in this case, otherwise it will appear that it is only your majesty who is seeking a peace because of your inability to sustain the war. It would be much more honourable for you if matters were to be arranged by the bishop of Capua. I beg your majesty to let me know your pleasure on this point, on which I have no definite instructions. If your majesty wishes me to comply with the request of the king and the cardinal, you should let me know whether I am to treat and conclude, according to the terms of the powers and instructions, finally and without reservations, or weather I shall expressly stipulate that everything is subject to your majesty's pleasure, according to the seventh article of your letters dated August 18th last.
During the last six or eight days there has been a persistent rumour here that the king of England has sent a safe-conduct to France for a servant of the queen dowager's, who is to come here secretly to treat about a peace or truce. I do not know what to believe. It hardly seems likely that such a step would be taken unless this king and all his council have lost their minds. On the other hand, neither the pope's envoy nor I have been able to induce the king and the cardinal to make any contribution to the army of Italy, and there are no signs here of any preparations for war. Moreover, this persistent rumour appears to have its source in certain confidential servants of the cardinal's. On account of the natural fickleness of these English, the avarice and ambition of the cardinal, which your majesty knows only too well, the dissatisfaction of Henry at your failure to pay the indemnity and fulfil other promises, and the discontent of the English lords at the non-payment of their pensions, as I have written you, I am inclined to fear the worst.
I determined to try to verify this rumour, particularly since the papal envoy had also heard it and was very much astonished and alarmed by it. Since I had no other excuse for seeing the cardinal I went to him and laid the rumour frankly before him. After a long conversation Wolsey replied that I should not believe such stories for three reasons. First, neither the pope, nor your majesty, nor any mortal man was entitled to think so meanly of the king, his master, as to believe that he would betray his faith and corrupt his honour by treating secretly and wickedly with his ancient enemy, King Francis. Second, even if he were free so to treat, Henry would not do so for the love he bears you, and because he values your alliance more than that of any prince in Christendom. Third, even if these reasons were not taken into account, Henry reverenced the pope too much to enter into secret negotiations without his knowledge, when he had actually sent the bishop of Capua to arrange a peace with France. Wolsey said Henry intended to observe scrupulously his treaties with your majesty and his friendship with the pope, and he begged the papal envoy to assure His Holiness that the king and he would be willing to listen to a reasonable offer from the French made through his means, provided your majesty also agreed. I do not know whether the event will prove his words true. I have thought it best to warn Madame, and to ask her to send a trustworthy person to Calais, someone who can remain there without suspicion on the pretext of private business, and find out whether anyone passes through from France. If these lords wish to conduct secret negotiations, they can do so very easily at present without my knowledge, for I am seldom at court, and now the king has withdrawn to a place some thirty miles from London and the cardinal is at Hampton Court, and, as you know, it would be contrary to custom for me to call on either of them without being sent for.
I suppose that your majesty has been informed by Madame of Wolsey's language concerning the Domprevost of Utrecht, so I will not trouble you further about this, especially since Wolsey said yesterday that he did not wish to meddle with other people's servants, and that if Madame was satisfied of the Domprevost's loyalty, that was sufficient. I find it strange that the king, his master, and he thrust themselves so far into your affairs as to try to compel Madame to remove from your council one of your servants against whom they can charge no misdeeds. It would be an ugly affair indeed if it proved that this had come about through the intrigue of some of your own subjects, as some people believe. Even if the Domprevost were other than loyal, charges ought to be preferred only to your majesty, his prince and master. But these high matters exceed my capacity.
London, 9 April, 1524.
Since I wrote the above, the papal envoy here has received two letters from the pope, of the 14th and 22nd of March. In these the pope informs him that he has sent Capua to France for three reasons. First, as the universal father of Christendom he feels he ought to exhort all Christian princes to peace. Second, the king of Hungary wrote him on March 8th that the Turk, seeing the dissension of Christendom, was preparing to invade Hungary in great force this summer. Third, the break-up of your army in Italy for want of money seems imminent, because the king of England has refused to contribute, and the holy see and the other potentates of Italy are so impoverished that they cannot continue their contributions, and your majesty will be obliged to bear the whole burden alone, which the pope does not think you can do long. Should the army break up, the French will remain victors in Italy, and this His Holiness desires above everything to avoid. He writes the envoy that he thinks your majesty will be much better off if you can possess in peace what you have so far conquered, rather than risk further war. He has therefore ordered Capua to seek to arrange a peace or truce with Francis, representing the overture as coming from the pope alone. Meanwhile the envoy is again to solicit a contribution for the army of Italy from Henry and Wolsey, so that it may give battle to the French, or, at least, by its continued existence, incline them to offer more favourable terms.
The envoy has also heard that Messer Giovanni de Medici has withdrawn his company from your army at Pavia. When the viceroy sent to ask him whether he did not wish to continue in the service of the Italian league, he replied, willingly, provided he was paid what was owing him. Meanwhile his company is camped between Lodi and Biagrassa guarding the viceroy's lines of communication. The pope also writes that some French partisans, near Piacenza, carried off by force ten thousand ducats intended for the payment of your army in Italy. The pope was very displeased, and has ordered the governor of Piacenza to inquire into the affair, punish the guilty, and reimburse your majesty out of the goods of the church.
I asked the envoy what he had heard about the arrival of Beaurain at Rome, and he replied that it was not mentioned in his letters. I do not know what can have happened to Beaurain. I have had no letters from him since the 13th of last February, nor from the Viceroy since the 24th of that month, although I do my best to keep them advised of news here, sending my letters through Madame, and I am sure they do the same. I do not know why I have not heard from them before this, unless Wolsey is detaining my correspondence. He recently held up a letter of mine for ten days, a dishonest trick in my opinion, although he swore afterwards that it was quite inadvertent. This is all the news I could extract from the envoy except that the bishop of Veroli had written him some news from Switzerland, enclosing a note from one of his friends at the papal court, which said that in order to pay the army of Italy your majesty had been obliged to sell peerages in the kingdom of Naples to the value of 100,000 ducats. It appears that your majesty will have to bear all the burdens and expenses in the end, since the pope and the Italian princes can do no more, and these lords in England have no mind as far as I can see to risk a single penny in this business.
Since I wrote the above and just as I was about to dispatch this courier, I learned for certain that the servant of the queen dowager of France, whom I mentioned, reached here escorted by the spy whose news I have given you. I am astonished that the cardinal and the king have given me no signs of his coming, and that the cardinal denied it day before yesterday with such vehemence, in the presence of the papal envoy. I was at first uncertain whether to pretend to be ignorant of the French agent's arrival and see whether the cardinal would speak of it to me, or to go to him and ask him the truth of this matter, and remonstrate with him that these were not right or honourable proceedings, in view of the sincerity with which your majesty has always behaved toward him and the king, his master. I finally decided to go to Hampton Court on the pretext of other business, to see if he would speak of the matter himself, and if he did not, to speak to him about it amicably, and give him to understand, without showing any anger, that I was astonished to learn that things were being managed thus. I intended to say that, in view of his virtue and loyalty and of the love which he and his master bore your majesty, I did not doubt that they had no evil intent, and still intended to observe the treaties.
I sent one of my servants to Hampton Court to ask for an interview, which Wolsey granted for the next day, yesterday, April 12th, saying I need not take the pains to come and see him since he would be in town. It happened that my servant found the pope's envoy at Hampton Court and, as I had ordered him to do, informed him of the Frenchman's arrival so that he might speak of it to Wolsey at once if the opportunity occurred. This, as he told me later, he did, and Wolsey pretended to be surprised, saying that he did not know to whom he was referring, unless it was to a person sent here by the king of France to bring money and other necessities to four French hostages here, because King Henry had sent word that unless the French hostages were provided for he would cut off their heads. Wolsey said if this person had been charged to make proposals about peace or truce, he would not be allowed to do so except in the presence of the papal envoy and myself, for Henry had no intention of treating except openly, and in accordance with his agreement with your majesty, whom he loved as his own son.
This reply seems to me neither true nor even plausible. I have been informed that the English spy went to seek Louise of Savoy's servant at Boulogne, bearing a safe-conduct from the king, and waited for him there eight or ten days. Moreover, the person is, according to the spy, Louise's confessor, a Cistercian, and he has been lodged here in the house of one of Wolsey's most confidential servants. Another man who travelled with him from Calais told me that he had heard him say he was coming to England at the instance of only two personages here. In view of all these facts it seems to me obvious that his coming was managed by the English spy in question, with the knowledge and at the direction of the king and the cardinal, and a person of his importance has certainly not come just to bring money to the French hostages, as your majesty knows as well as I do.
I went to the cardinal's house here at the time he had appointed, and waited a long time for his arrival from Hampton Court. Finally one of his servants came to ask me to excuse his delay, saying the cardinal would not be able to return until late the next day, the 13th, and asking me to visit him then. I did so after dinner on that day, and we had a long conversation substantially as follows.
I spoke first of a matter which Madame had mentioned in one of her letters. Some merchants of your town of Ostend had been made prisoner at Dover at the instance of some English merchants who said that they had obtained from the king of England letters of marque and reprisal against the citizens of Ostend. This, in spite of the fact that their cause was still pending before your council of Flanders. I asked Wolsey if this report could be true, saying I hardly believed it, but that if it was, I begged him, for the sake of the friendship between his master and your majesty, to have the letters of marque and reprisal revoked, and the merchants of Ostend freed and their goods restored. He replied at once that he was sure no such letters had been issued, since no one had the power to issue them except himself as lord chancellor and I ought to know him better than to believe that he would try to make bad blood between the subjects of your two majesties. He promised to inquire into the matter of the Ostend merchants and to give them speedy justice.
I then asked for news of Rome and Lombardy, and he told me substantially what I have already written above, adding two bits of news. First, that the pope was very dissatisfied with your captains in Lombardy because they had failed to use several opportunities to bring the French to battle, and the pope now feared that in view of the scarcity of money they might not have as good an opportunity again, and matters might end badly after all. Second, that the pope, having heard Henry's and Wolsey's views on the negotiation of peace, the substance of which was that Francis should send an envoy to your majesty and another to England to make preliminary proposals and settle particular differences, after which you could communicate with each other and make a good peace, had approved this plan, and sent a courier after Capua to ask him to propose it.
I commented only on the first of Wolsey's two bits of news, and on that only so far as to say that I did not believe your captains would neglect any favourable opportunity to give battle to the French, since there were so many persons with the army, like the viceroy of Naples, for instance, who were entirely devoted to your majesty's service, to say nothing of M. de Bourbon, who was more vitally interested in a successful campaign than anyone else. Though I did not say so, I have no doubt this story of the negligence of your captains is quite false, (the papal envoy says nothing of the sort has been written to him) and proceeds entirely from the English ambassadors at Rome, who, to please the king and the cardinal, have continually been urging your army to give battle to the French. They do not care very much whether your army has a favourable opportunity to fight or not, for they think the French will certainly lose heavily in the battle, whatever its outcome, and thus an English invasion of France will encounter less resistance. As to the courier which the pope is supposed to have sent after the bishop of Capua to order him to follow Wolsey's advice, your majesty may consider whether the pope would adopt this advice, the whole object of which is to get for Wolsey himself the honour and profit arranging a peace, or whether His Holiness as a neutral person, and the universal father of Christendom, would not prefer to keep this honour and profit to himself. And indeed, in my opinion, it would be much better for your majesty for the pope to act as negotiator, since these lords will be principally interested in arranging matters with Francis to their own liking, and your affairs will get only secondary consideration.
When we had finished this much of our conversation, I said I would take my leave, just to see whether he would let me depart without saying anything about the queen dowager's servant. He gave every evidence of intending to do so. Thereupon I asked him in the most amicable fashion, about the truth of the rumour, and who the French agent was, and why he had come. He answered, reddening slightly, that he did not know why the Frenchman had come, except that the captain of Calais had written to him that a person was coming from France with money for the expenses of the French hostages. I answered that it was strange that this person had come for so little a matter, which could be more appropriately arranged by merchants than by ecclesiastics, particularly such a one as he, who was said to be an abbot and the confessor of the queen dowager, but all that I could get out of him was that he would talk to this person, and in case he found that he was bringing any overtures for peace or truce, the pope's envoy and I should be summoned at once, according to the treaties, which he and his master intended to observe scrupulously. He said it was only reasonable to hear such proposals, as your majesty had heard those of the archbishop of Bari, and the Savoyard Lambert. He then asked me if I thought it improper to have permitted the dowager's servant to come to England. Since it was reasonable to suppose that the king and the cardinal would not have let this person come so far without intending to hear what he had to say, whether I was present or not, and since it was certainly better that I should hear him, and unwise to provoke Wolsey's anger or suspicion, and since, also, no article of the treaty of Windsor had been directly contravened, although they certainly would have acted more honestly had they informed me in advance of the whole matter, I simply replied that I had no doubt that the king, his master, intended to act sincerely and that I was only doing my duty in begging him (Wolsey) to see that everything was so managed, since he was the person who had drawn the treaties, and knew better than anyone else in the world what was permissible under them. I pointed out, however, that there were differences between Bari's mission and Lambert's on the one hand, and this present affair, since Lambert was your majesty's subject, and Bari the subject and servant of a neutral prince, while this emissary was a subject of an enemy country. Since he had asked me what I thought of receiving this emissary, I replied that I was bound to say I thought it a mistake for one simple reason. A clever and wary man, travelling from Calais to London, would be certain to notice what preparations were being made for war, so as to regulate himself accordingly in the discharge of his mission, since it was notorious that Francis would never be brought to offer reasonable terms except by force or fear. Now that the French agent had seen that there were no more martial preparations here than if the country was completely at peace, it was to be feared that he would make no proposals, even if he had been charged with them, but would try to return at once to inform Francis, who, seeing that there was no danger from England, would be prouder than ever, and would boldly reinforce his Italian army with the garrisons from this frontier. Wolsey replied shortly that the king, his master, asked nothing better than to make war, and that he was not doing so was not his fault. I said it was apparent by the news from Italy that your majesty was certainly doing so, and that, according to your letter of the 18th of January you did not seem to be holding Henry back, and with these words we parted. I thought your majesty ought to be informed at once of this strange conduct on the part of the English ; you will know what to think of it better than I can tell you.
April 13.
After I had written the above and before I had closed it, Wolsey sent for me to come to his house in Westminster. He began immediately and of his own volition to tell me how he had talked with Louise of Savoy's servant, and given him his congé. First of all he swore to me with his hand on his heart, by his priesthood and his cardinalate and the faith he owed the holy see, that he would tell me truthfully every word that had passed between the Frenchman and himself. He said that immediately after our conversation of the day before yesterday, he had sent for the person in question, and asked him on whose behalf he had come and for what purpose, and whether he had brought letters, powers, or instructions for any negotiation. The person replied that the queen dowager had recently been given to understand, both by the spy I mentioned before, and by Albany's secretary, that in case she sent a trustworthy person here she would find Wolsey ready to treat for an honourable peace, and that he would make proposals which would further such a purpose. Therefore the queen, who desired peace above everything, had sent her servant to come here to hear what the cardinal had to offer, and to report to her. He said he had no letters, powers, or instructions, nor other charge beyond the oral instructions that he had reported. Thereupon Wolsey, according to what he told me, said that neither the spy nor Albany's secretary had spoken the truth, for the spy had had no such instructions. He thereupon called the spy and asked him, in the presence of the French monk, whether he had been commanded to say anything of the sort. The spy answered no. Wolsey then said it was true that a Scottish secretary had passed through here, and tried to arrange negotiations for a peace or truce between England and Scotland, France to be included. The Scot had been told that Henry had no intention of mentioning the French in any terms he made with Scotland, but that if Queen Louise wished to be the mediatrix of a good peace, and wished to send here a trustworthy person instructed in her wishes and those of King Francis, he (Wolsey) would undertake to persuade the king, his master, to listen to the French offers. Having heard this much, the French monk swore that he had no other charge than he had said. He then asked Wolsey what quarrel the king of England had against King Francis. Wolsey replied that his quarrel was the whole kingdom of France, and he charged the monk to say expressly to Queen Louise that until the king of England had conquered that kingdom, or at least compelled King Francis to accept honourable terms of peace with him and with his allies, Henry would hold Francis his enemy, and do him all the harm he possibly could. Then, according to what Wolsey told me, he told the monk to go back to France, and he has sent instructions to the officers at Calais to relieve him of his safe-conduct, so that the French may not exhibit it and boast of it hereafter. Wolsey then asked me to write your majesty at once everything that had occurred, because he feared that the French intend to spread the report that they can make peace with the English whenever they please, in order to sow suspicion among the allies. Not to widen the difference between us, I promised to write as he asked, though I gave him to understand that his conduct would seem strange and unsatisfactory to your majesty.
I have written your majesty what Wolsey told me ; I do not know how much truth there is in it. The more I think of it, the stranger the conduct of the English seems ; from beginning to end they have acted covertly and with dissimulation, and, I think, unwisely. I shall say no more because I do not wish to be the cause of any further estrangement between your two majesties and you will know how to take this without my advice. I find it hard to believe that the king and the cardinal intend to act in bad faith, but if they do, it will be on account of the indemnity, the money for which they may expect to get out of your Low Countries, cancelling the French obligations in return for their military assistance in conquering territory there. In that case, the Low Countries will be endangered from all sides, since the French could not ask for a better opportunity to achieve an end they have long desired. I am sending a duplicate of this letter by way of Flanders and Italy, in case the present bearer fails to reach you, and also to inform Madame, Lannoy, and Beaurain, as you have ordered me to do.
April 15.
As I was about to send this, Jehan Glannet arrived here with your majestys' letters of March 26th. I shall follow your instructions, but I am afraid that the affairs mentioned will have no speedy issue, particularly since you refer for several things to Jerningham who has not yet reached here, and whom the wind may not have permitted to land in England. Meanwhile I shall do my best, and I shall send Glannet at once to Madame to find out what power your Low Countries can provide. I fear it will be but slight.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 28.
15 April.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
Since the letters we sent you last by Fusil, we have given much thought to the common plans for this year, which we believe will be very helpful in finishing the war and arriving at a good peace. This result, which is what we most desire, is already on the way to be achieved by means of the pope. Therefore, we wish to exert all our power to aid Henry's proposals for the war this year in France, particularly his invasion of Picardy. We are particularly anxious not to promise anything that cannot be fulfilled. Therefore we are writing to Madame, our aunt, that, if you cannot persuade the English to march at once and in good time into France, and find that they will not agree on the basis of the terms we sent you, which you will do your best to get accepted, and if they insist on being furnished three thousand horse and three thousand foot paid for six months, in this case we are authorizing Madame to borrow at interest up to 50,000 gold ducats, to be paid in Spain, for the longest term she can manage. A copy of our letter is enclosed. Madame will tell you what terms you may offer, and since the affair is of so great importance, we are sending this courier expressly to authorize you to conclude agreements with the English for the invasion of Picardy, in virtue of the powers sent you by Fusil, without further sending back and forth. You will not mention this article to the king and the cardinal or commit us farther than you are authorized to do by your instructions brought by Fusil, except as Madame may advise. In the matter of the invasion of Picardy, however, you will regulate your negotiations by what she tells you, since she knows what can be done on our side.
We are sending you a copy of the letter we are writing to our viceroy of Naples, for your information. You will not communicate its contents elsewhere, except as it concerns peace and war, the failure of the contributions, the 200,000 ducats we are sending to Italy, and the sales we are making to assist the army of Italy in invading France. These matters you may communicate to the king and the cardinal at your discretion. Discover their opinion and reply by this bearer, whom you will send back with the news of the conclusion of the treaty as soon as you can. Urge them to begin the invasion as soon as possible, so that time may not be lost as it was in former years. When the archbishop of Capua comes here, we shall inform you fully, so that you may tell the king and the cardinal everything that occurs, as we shall also give you the particulars of our instructions to our chancellor, whom we are soon sending to Italy.
We have heard from Rome that the English ambassadors there are soliciting a dispensation for our marriage to the princess Mary, our future wife. This is pleasant news, and we suppose that only bad weather at sea prevented us from hearing it from England. Since this marriage is our greatest desire, we promptly ordered the duke of Sessa to give our consent to the dispensation, and to co-operate with the English ambassadors in soliciting it. We wish the princess were old enough to be married now, and expect that you will write us of her good health and other news as often as you can.
Burgos, 15 April, 1524.
P.S.—Since writing the above, Richard, the courier, has brought your letters of February 21st and March 26th. We are pleased with your diligent service. We find nothing in your letters which calls for a change in our instructions, so we are ordering this courier to depart at once and we shall write you again by Richard when we hear that you have concluded the treaty with the English.
Draft. French. pp. 4.