Spain: June 1524

Pages 359-364

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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June 1524

4 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
Since my last letter I have been to see Wolsey to learn what was decided about Capua's mission. He told me that, having heard Capua's report and read your majesty's letter, the king, his master, and he had decided to send a special courier to Rome with their powers and instructions, to treat for a peace or truce. They agreed that if Francis would not make peace, a truce should be arranged as the pope wished, but since, like your majesty, they prefer a peace to a truce, they advise that during the negotiations Bourbon should cross the Alps to see what friends he can find in France. It seems likely to the king and the cardinal that such an invasion may greatly disturb the kingdom of France ; if it does, the king of England is determined either to cross the sea in person or to send a lieutenant with a good army, unless Bourbon's invasion constrains Francis to offer advantageous peace terms. If, however, Bourbon is unable to invade France, or if, having done so, he has no further success, it seems to the cardinal that the king, his master, and your majesty ought not to spend more on the war. In that case a truce should be concluded and published by the pope, to last until next April, and during the time of the truce an assembly of the Christian princes and their deputies should be held to arrange a peace. If no truce can be arranged, Wolsey thinks that your two majesties should proceed with the "Great Enterprise" without further delay.
He is sending powers and instructions to his ambassadors in Spain to agree about the numbers of troops and other details. He suggests that, if no peace can be arranged, your majesty and the king, his master, should, both of you, invade France before the end of May, 1525. each leading twenty thousand infantry, not including pioneers and gunners, and five thousand cavalry, with such artillery as the treaty of Windsor lays down, neither of you to abandon this enterprise before the end of November, unless some peace be made by your mutual consent. It seems to the cardinal that the above numbers will be sufficient, since the two armies will enter France simultaneously, and, moreover, such forces will be easier to maintain. Should your majesty wish to reduce the numbers of your army, the cardinal would be willing, provided you maintain, at your expense, a number of mounted men-at-arms from the Low Countries with the English army. You could then reduce your Spanish army by an equivalent number, that is to say, mounted man for mounted man, or two footmen for one horseman. In this fashion, as your army was diminished, that of the king of England would be proportionally increased, for he would still be bound to maintain the numbers agreed upon. It seems to me that such an agreement would not be to your majesty's disadvantage, for by furnishing the English with three thousand Flemish cavalry, you could be quit of the pay of a thousand horse and four thousand foot, and your army would still consist of sixteen thousand infantry and four thousand cavalry, which force should be adequate, and easier to maintain in view of the scarcity of provisions in Spain.
Wolsey then made a long tale of the profitable exploits which your majesty had been able to perform with the aid of the English, all for your own good, without any advantage to Henry. He said it was clear that Bourbon's invasion was also entirely for your benefit, since you had a claim on the territories Bourbon would enter. He said that, since by your approaching marriage with the princess you were the heir apparent to this realm, and would inherit all the lands the king might conquer in his lifetime, it was only reasonable that you should aid this king to some conquest, either of the whole or of some part of what he claimed in France, either by force or by negotiation. Thereupon he began to speak of the peace, giving me to understand that, in his opinion, your two majesties should make peace if possible, in order to save the expense of the "Great Enterprise," for he and the king, his master, knew very well that it would be impossible to expel King Francis from his kingdom in so short a time, unless great civil dissensions arose there, as did not so far seem likely. He said that he and Henry were agreed that they should accept a peace honourable to your two majesties, provided Francis gave them full reparations for the pensions and other money that he owed them, in the form of the cession of territory adjacent to Calais. He said they would not accept the former arrangement, for such pensions were at the pleasure of the French and might never be paid. It is clear enough that Wolsey and his master would be glad to accept honourable terms of peace, and I should not be surprised if they had asked Capua to mention the matter to Francis, and to try to find out what territory he would be willing to cede.
I replied with assurances that Henry would find your majesty willing to do your utmost for the advancement of his power and honour. I did not want to throw cold water on Wolsey's hopes for peace, though I do not think Francis will grant such terms unless he is much harder pressed than at present. It would certainly be an excellent thing if they could obtain them ; the people of this kingdom would rejoice thereat, and your majesty would be rid of the burden of the indemnity. Also the French and the English would both be much easier to deal with in the future, and much more anxious for your alliance, the French because, seeing their ancient enemies again advancing into their kingdom, they would constantly fear to be invaded by them, with the aid of the Low Countries, and the English because they would fear to lose their conquests should your majesty favour their enemy. History proves that the English can never hope to do much in France without the alliance and aid of your Low Countries, and that they will always be in great danger of losing what they have conquered whenever they lose that alliance.
Since I wrote you on April 28th about the rings and presents sent here from France, I have made further inquiries. I now learn that the jewellery was not of such value as I was told at first, nor was it sent by the queen regent. It was a bribe from a great French merchant, by means of which he has got a safe-conduct to bring into this country wines, and other French merchandise in great quantity. It now seems to me that Capua's mission has quite broken off any practices this king and Wolsey may have had with the French. You majesty is very much indebted to Capua ; he completely refuted the bad reports current here of your Spanish affairs. But you are chiefly indebted for the change here to your victories in Italy, without which matters would certainly have taken a much different course. It seems to me that your majesty should embrace this opportunity to make the best peace you can, lest there be another change here less favourable to your affairs.
London, 4 June, 1524.
Michel Gillis has reached here from Germany. He reports that everything is going well there, as your majesty will learn from him on his arrival in Spain.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 7.
18 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
I recently wrote your majesty in full about my negotiations and those of the archbishop of Capua, and forwarded letters from Flanders and from Italy. Henry and Wolsey are now making feverish preparations for a great army which Henry will lead into France in person, if Bourbon's campaign seems likely to succeed. Whatever they say, and however much they exert themselves, I do not think that they will be ready to invade France until well into the month of August.
The archbishop of Capua has written Wolsey, from France, a letter which does not contain any particulars of Francis' intentions about peace. Capua also mentioned that M. de la Roche would go through France on his way to Rome. Wolsey was surprised and I think alarmed, but finally said that your majesty's constant sincerity and la Roche's probity prevented him from entertaining any serious suspicions.
The cardinal told me ... [cipher—undeciphered and illegible] ...
Francis showed himself unwilling to consider any cession of territory to recompense the English for the money due them. He said that if the king of England wanted any land in France, he would have to take it by force. I cannot assure your majesty of the certainty of this, since I did not hear it directly from the king or the cardinal, but I believe the information to be accurate.
I hope your majesty will take steps to pay all the pensions here, according to Capua's advice and my own. May I also remind your majesty of the wages due me, both as your ambassador and as chamberlain? Unless I am paid something soon I shall not be able to meet my daily expenses here, and if the king crosses the sea in person, and I as your ambassador accompany him, I shall hardly be able to do so in a fashion honourable to your majesty.
London, 18 June, 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 4.
26 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
We have received your letters of April 29th, May 31st, and June 4th, and the documents enclosed. We have no doubt that you have done your best in these negotiations, but we are somewhat surprised that the articles agreed on are so ambiguous and confused. Nothing in them is certain, neither the contribution to our army in Italy, nor the English invasion of France, and the promise of the hundred thousand ducats is so qualified that nothing may come of it. Moreover, we hardly think Madame will be able to furnish the troops agreed on, and we shall not be able to assist her to do so, as we have already written you. Henry appears not to appreciate how favourable is this opportunity to make an end of the war.
Therefore, not to lose further time, since we are informed that Bourbon's army is already in Provence, and is meeting with little resistance, go to the king and the cardinal, and ask them at once to agree either to invade France before the end of July, or, if they cannot do so by that time, or if Chasteau reports to you that the money would be of more use to Bourbon than an English invasion so late in the year, ask them to contribute promptly to the army of Italy. We have already contributed two hundred thousand ducats, so that Henry, in addition to the hundred thousand which we hope they have sent by this time, should send another hundred thousand. You must go to work at once ; it is of the greatest importance that you inform us definitely as soon as possible. We are sending this courier specially on this account.
As for the "Great Enterprise," you may say that it is foolish to wait another year when we now have so good an opportunity to bring the French to their knees. The English ambassador has already delivered to us his charge about the war this year, and also about Capua's mission. What he says agrees with what you wrote. He has said nothing to us, however, about the "Great Enterprise," nor mentioned that he has any power to treat about it, but has inferred that he expects the agreement to be made in England and that we should send powers for that purpose. It seems to us that, since we have sent so many powers to treat in England, the English might, this time, do us the courtesy of sending powers to treat here. From what we can learn from the ambassador, they are much more interested in a peace or truce than in the "Great Enterprise." We have dissimulated our surprise and resentment at the English conduct, for we wish to conserve their friendship and give them no occasion of altering it.
In general, we are very grateful for the good and loyal service that you are doing in England. We have replied to most of the points in your letters. Please ask Madame not to keep the zabras waiting so long in England. This is not only expensive but a great impediment to our affairs.
Burgos, 26 June, 1524.
Draft with corrections by Gattinara. French. pp. 3.
29 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
From the separate letter written by me, de Courrières, your majesty will have learned of my journey to this town. In the execution of my instructions we called on the cardinal on St. John's Day and several days later on the king, who is hunting about twelve miles from here. In spite of all our arguments for an immediate invasion of France, they still stand on the treaty which I, de Praet, recently sent you, although they hold out great hope that, if Bourbon wins some notable victory in France, they will then do everything they can to crush the enemy, either by invading France, or by contributing to Bourbon's army. In fact, Wolsey said he had already begun to arrange for letters of exchange for another hundred thousand crowns, to be used in this eventuality. In our opinion, this is the only aid to be expected, for whatever they may say about an invasion we have seen no signs of preparations for it, and we understand that their army will not cross this season unless there is a great revolt in France, so that they may easily conquer the whole kingdom. Otherwise, they prefer to trust to the "Great Enterprise" next year.
After considerable persuasion Wolsey has promised to send to Switzerland as Henry's ambassador, Michel Sanderin, a former servant of the cardinal of Sion's, to co-operate with your ambassadors and those of the pope and the other Italian princes. He has not said whether Sanderin will be authorized to make any contribution. We believe that he will have no power except to assist the other ambassadors by his advice. This is all we have been able to accomplish, even with the aid of an envoy of Bourbon's, sent here for the same purpose, as your majesty will have learned from Lurcy. Everything depends on what Bourbon may achieve.
As we write this I, de Praet, have had a letter from Bourbon relating the preparations for his invasion, as your majesty will see by the enclosed copy. Knowing that Richard Pace had written Wolsey equally good news, we went to him to see whether he could be induced to do something more. He would not change his mind, but we found him somewhat warmer ; he said that not for anything would he permit Bourbon's army to be disbanded through lack of money as long as it was doing well, even if that meant keeping it in France all winter, provided Henry had not by then invaded France himself.
I, de Praet, have received your majesty's letters of 21 May. They require no reply other than the above, except that I again wish to urge your majesty to pay all the pensions here, and to see that Wolsey is paid the arrears on his pensions on Badajoz and Palencia, about which he makes great complaints.
London, 29 June, 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet and J. de Montmorency. French. pp. 3.
29 June.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
De Courrieres to Charles V.
I suppose your majesty is informed of our voyage and how I disembarked the Sunday before St. John's Day at five in the morning, at St. Ives in Cornwall, 250 miles from London. I arrived on the eve of St. John (Thursday), very tired, at the house of M. de Praet. He informed Wolsey of my arrival, and the next day, after dinner we paid our respects to him. He said your majesty would be very well satisfied with him and his king when you had read the treaty he had recently concluded with de Praet, by which a hundred thousand crowns were to be sent to Bourbon. Before this was spent, it would be seen whether Bourbon was likely to do good service, and if so they would spare nothing. He said another hundred thousand crowns was being got ready even now, on the strength of Pace's news of Bourbon's diligence. Pace's news must have been good, since the cardinal had no complaints to make, and replied to one of Bourbon's gentlemen, who had come here on the same mission as ourselves, much as he did to us.
Two days later we went to pay our respects to the king and the queen, twelve miles from here. Henry replied much as Wolsey had done, and said that he would cross the sea in person if he saw occasion. I have seen no signs of preparations for such an expedition, however, and I think he would prefer to contribute to Bourbon's army. Your majesty should therefore advise Bourbon that he must not rely on the French being distracted by an English invasion, for there is no likelihood of it this year, unless there are more troubles in France. Even then the English probably will not be ready.
M. de Praet has served you very well here, and I promise you he has had many pains and headaches with these people. I beg you to remember how long he has already been here. It is not that he does not desire to serve your majesty, but he chafes at being so long in one place. He has been very patient under Wolsey's reproaches, since it is your majesty's wish.
This king makes little account of the Swiss, but Wolsey said he is sending a man to Switzerland. He has been informed by their ambassador with Bourbon that the king of France has tried to induce Bourbon to return to his service, and has been repulsed. Wolsey was very elated at this news.
When I gave the queen your letters, she asked in detail about your health and the progress of your affairs. I recommended to her your interests here, and she said that you would always find her your good aunt and friend. Henry, she said, was as preoccupied with the war as your majesty was. She hoped everything would go well and said she would write you. The princess is not here, nor with the king. She has been sent some sixteen miles away for fear of the pest. I said to the king and queen that you had expressly ordered me to visit the princess, but they said it was unnecessary, that she was in very good health and growing fast. The queen said she would be a tall woman, and the king had many good things to say of her, among others that now she played better on the spinnet than her father, and was beginning to play the lute.
I am sorry that I have not been able to serve your majesty better in England.
London, St. Peter's Day, 1524.
Signed, J. de Montmorency. French. pp. 4.