Spain: August 1524

Pages 367-384

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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August 1524

16. Aug.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
According to my last letters, dated June 21st, I should inform your majesty of what Wolsey said to me about the coming of Jehan Jockin and the news from Rome, and what followed.
The cardinal said he understood your majesty was somewhat annoyed by the coming here of the French monk, which annoyance he supposed must be the result of something I had written. He said I had not done well to write more than the truth, and that I knew he had told me all there was to tell of this incident. Your majesty would see, he said, that neither he nor his king intended to break the treaties. I replied I had written nothing but the truth and had told your majesty exactly what he had said, but I had written you that the monk had been here some days without my knowledge, and that I had been obliged to go to him and raise the question myself.
He then said that, as he had told me before, he thought certain details of peace, peculiar to individual countries, should be settled by special negotiations before the general peace was concluded with due solemnity by the pope. In accordance with this opinion of his, Capua had arranged for Madame Louise to send Jockin here. Jockin, he said, had first approached him merely for a safe-conduct to bring French merchandise into England. Later Jockin had announced that Queen Louise, hearing from Capua of Wolsey's desire for peace, had sent him [Jockin] to say that if Wolsey was still of the same mind, she would send a discreet person to England, to see if the differences between the king of England and her son could not be arranged. Wolsey replied that he would hear what such an envoy had to say, and that he thought Robertet or the general of Normandy or another of Francis' secretaries, one Villeroy, would be a suitable person ; Jockin had then sent a courier to France, who had returned with Robertet's letters, saying in substance that Queen Louise was pleased by Wolsey's good will for peace, and desired no other mediator than himself. She said she would like to send Villeroy, but he could not leave without the consent of Francis, who so far knew nothing of this matter. Also it was possible that Wolsey's terms would be so harsh it would be useless to put them to Francis. She therefore suggested that Jockin inquire what terms Wolsey would offer, and advise her at once. Meanwhile, she would be on the watch for a favourable occasion to persuade her son to enter these negotiations, so that as soon as Jockin's reply was received, Villeroy might be dispatched with proper instructions. Wolsey said he then told Jockin that Henry claimed the throne of France, and showed him documents to substantiate the claim, and insisted on this point a long time. Finally, he said, that notwithstanding the justice of the English claims, he hoped that he would be able to induce Henry to accept some honourable compensation instead of them. He added that, since the king, his master, was the emperor's ally, he would conclude nothing without the emperor's knowledge and consent, and, since communication by land was easier than by sea, it would be well if Queen Louise sent with Villeroy the safe-conducts necessary for couriers between England and Spain. Jockin sent his courier to France with this reply, and expects an answer in eight or ten days.
This is what the cardinal told me the first time we spoke of Jockin, and he swore upon his cardinalate that, up till July 21st, this was all that had been negotiated. He asked me to write your majesty this at once, and to assure you Henry had no intention of contravening the treaties. He also let drop that he heard from Rome that the pope already knew of Jockin's mission, having been told about it by Capua. I suspect that Wolsey is gulling me, for two reasons : in the first place, Capua wrote none of this to the papal envoy here ; in the second place, in speaking of the safe-conduct Wolsey said that it would be very useful, for by this means, even though Queen Louise had sent no one to negotiate with you, you could be informed speedily and surely of everything that went on here. He added that, if you liked, you could send me powers and instructions to arrange the particular difficulties between your majesty and Francis, so that the universal peace could more easily be concluded by the pope. Whatever he says, I can not believe that no one has been sent from France to you. As far as I know Wolsey's mind, the thing he wishes most is to get the management of this peace entirely into his own hands. This is something which your majesty should look to, for, if Francis and Louise take advantage of this inclination, they may win over the cardinal by sending no negotiators to you, and suggesting that all difficulties be settled in England, empowering Villeroy to that effect. If this happens, I see no way by which you can avoid negotiating here without arousing bitterness and suspicion in Henry and Wolsey, for they would be able to say, should you refuse, that their friends trust them less than their enemies. You would not be able to base your refusal on the fact that you have sent powers for this negotiation to Rome already, for they would say that the conversations here are merely preparatory, and do not clash with the final arrangements at Rome. If, however, matters are as far advanced as Wolsey insists they ought to be before he will set foot out of this kingdom to attend the general peace congress, Wolsey may change his mind, and decide that everything should be finished, concluded and published in the same place in which it was arranged, and for such a decision he will always find plausible reasons. Your majesty should beware of this possibility, and take account of it in any decision you may make.
As for the news from Rome, Wolsey said the pope entirely approved the plans for negotiating peace which Wolsey had laid before Capua. These were that, after particular difficulties had been settled separately on both sides, there would be no better way to insure a universal peace and the safety and repose of Italy than to marry Madame Renée, Francis' sister [sic], to the duke of Bourbon, and let your majesty and Francis each cede to Bourbon your rights and claims in the duchy of Milan, and put him in possession of that duchy, on condition that to Francis and his heirs forever be secured a revenue of one hundred thousand ducats a year, more or less, from Milanese funds. As for the present duke of Milan, he could be made a cardinal. Wolsey further suggested that the pope might sell to Bourbon, who would then be duke of Milan, Parma and Piacenza, and to the duke of Ferrara Modena and Reggio, and give this money to your majesty in return for permission to annex Siena to Florence. In case these arrangements could not be made in Bourbon's favour, they might be arranged for the present duke. Since Wolsey says he has ordered Dr. Sampson to explain all this to you, I shall not dwell on it, but I cannot imagine who has been stuffing him with this sort of thing. In part, I think, it must have been suggested from France, for he told me Jehan Jockin had said that the French had lately intercepted letters to you from the archduke, in which the archduke said he understood you intended to make a new duke of Milan, in which case he, as your brother, ought to have the duchy. As to the time and place of the assembly, Wolsey said, the pope was sending Capua immediately to Francis to arrange it, and Capua will go from France to your majesty, and thence here, arriving before the end of August. This is about what Capua told me.
Wolsey also said that the pope, as a neutral person, wished to keep negotiations with the Swiss entirely in his own hands, without the intervention of your ambassadors, and that he was sending for the archbishop of Verulan, (fn. 1) who is to undertake this matter.
I mentioned to Wolsey the Scottish affairs of which I spoke in my last letter. He said he hoped that, through his practices, and the influence of the Douglases, the young king was by this hour crowned and declared of age, and given the government of the kingdom. By this means, he said, the power of the French in Scotland would be broken, since it depended upon the duke of Albany's claim to be governor of the kingdom during the king's minority, and thus the wars between the two kingdoms would be at an end, for, he said, Henry intended to live at peace with the king of Scotland, and show him all possible friendship and favour. Whether Wolsey really expects to manage this with the assistance of the French is more than I can tell your majesty, but in any case I fear two consequences : first, that the English will not wish to contribute any longer to Bourbon's army, having obtained so much of what they desire ; the second, that they will be able to get the king of Scots into their hands, and in the course of time marry him here, thus uniting these two kingdoms. This is what everyone in this realm desires, and has much more at heart than their quarrel with France, for all classes are weary of the war on account of the heavy taxes. As for Henry and Wolsey, they ought to be well enough satisfied with this war, for they are collecting a great deal more money than it is costing them, and they seem likely to be able to arrange matters in Scotland as they wish, which they would never have been able to do had they not taken part in the war. I replied to what Wolsey said about Scotland in amicable terms, being careful not to let him see my suspicions, as your majesty ordered. Indeed I think this caution of your majesty's very wise, for these people are constantly on the alert for some excuse to put an end to the war.
In accordance with your letters of June 30th and July 3rd, I have frequently solicited Wolsey for the money to be sent Bourbon, and for some definite agreement as to what contributions or what military activity may be expected of the English. He has replied that the additional one hundred thousand crowns for Bourbon will be furnished without fail. He said Dr. Knight has already been instructed to negotiate with the agents of the Fuggers, or the Welsers, in Antwerp for the transfer of the money. He begged me to inform your majesty that the English payments will be punctually made, and to ask you to see to yours, for, although you have already furnished two hundred thousand ducats, he supposes that this money will have been spent before Bourbon's army entered France, and he intends that the English contributions shall only begin at that time. I have informed Madame and the viceroy of what he says, so that they may expedite the sending of the English money.
I have been unable, however, to extract from him any assurance about further English contributions or military operations. He says that before the four hundred thousand crowns of your two majesties have been spent, we will see what Bourbon is able to do in France, and make arrangements accordingly. Although he would not be more definite, he has given me to understand that Henry would make no further contribution unless Bourbon won some victory so great as to threaten the total ruin of King Francis. I cannot get him to say anything more favourable, and I have been impeded in my efforts to do so by my failure to receive news of Bourbon's entry into Provence. Your majesty's letter announcing this occurrence has not arrived, and the last letter I received from Lannoy was dated June 25th.
Wolsey says Henry relies on carrying out the "Great Enterprise" according to the terms in my letter of June 4th, and he pretends to be very surprised that you have not yet sent me a power to treat on these terms. He finally promised, however, to send powers and instructions to Dr. Sampson. Wolsey has remonstrated with me privately several times about the large sums of money which, he says, are now owing to the king, to him, and to the other English lords.
He asks me to write your majesty as follows : First, he supposes that your majesty will remember the bond which you gave the king of England, promising to pay annually the sum stated in the indemnity treaty. Two years have now elapsed without any payment. Second, you will remember that Henry lent you 150,000 crowns, to be repaid within a year, for which sum you were to give security in jewels. At your request, the security was returned to you, and Henry was content with your word. Payment is now overdue, and Wolsey says that Henry insists on being repaid this sum, or a large part of it before the time of the "Great Enterprise." Third, after telling me a long story of the complaints that he heard daily from the English nobles about the failure to pay their pensions, and reminding me of the many services that he had done you, which he said it seemed to him you did not value since he had had so little reward, he said that of his pension of nine thousand crowns, an entire year was due, and of the pensions which he was supposed to get on Palencia and Badajoz, he had received little or nothing. He said your majesty ought either to pay him what was owing him or to say frankly that you did not intend to pay him, so that he would no longer entertain false hopes. It would indeed be very helpful if your majesty could pay Wolsey and the other English lords, for they are not to be satisfied with promises, and the sum due is becoming large as you can see by the enclosed note. Your majesty will also see that on the 17th of next September you will owe me almost three thousand ducats.
The cardinal and several other lords have asked me to commend to your majesty's favour the suit of the papal auditor, Gerolamo Ghinucci. I understand that your agents at Rome are making some difficulties about a bishopric given him by Pope Adrian VI, in your island of Malta. Both the king and the cardinal ask your favour for Ghinucci, who is, they say, an intelligent man and one much esteemed by the pope.
London, 31 July, 1524.
Since writing the above, letters have come from Pace, written from Bourbon's camp at Saint Laurens in Provence, on July 16th. Since the courier brought me no letters from Bourbon or Lannoy, but only one from M. de Penthièvre, I went last Saturday to Hampton Court to see if the news Wolsey had received would incline him further toward meeting your wishes. Instead of finding him in a better humour, as I had hoped, I found him very angry and discontented with the news, which he recounted to me as follows. Bourbon entered Provence at the beginning of July and was very well received by the people, who swore to him everywhere as their lord. He had taken five or six small towns and castles, but had been unable to advance farther than Saint Laurens, much to the prejudice of his hopes of ultimate success, because of several difficulties. In the first place, he lacked money. Of the two hundred thousand crowns which your majesty wrote me were ready at Genoa and of which your majesty was supposed to deliver one hundred thousand to Bourbon at once, only 34,000 have been paid so far, a small sum to supply so great an army. It is said that were it not for his hope that Russell would soon bring money from England, Bourbon would despair of holding the army together. He said to Pace that if the army broke up he intended to throw himself into one of the towns he had captured, and await the arrival of King Francis and his power and whatever event God might send. Besides the failure of the money to arrive, the Neapolitan men-at-arms, whom Lannoy was to send to serve with Bourbon at your expense, have not come, but have been unreasonably detained by the viceroy. Finally, the reinforcements of German infantry had not yet arrived, and were not even expected for eight or ten days. Wolsey complained that the viceroy had kept his maître d'hôtel waiting at Trent for two months to get from Russell some of the money he was bringing to raise and pay these Germans. Wolsey said that not only had the viceroy no right to meddle with the king of England's money, but, according to agreement, the Germans were to be raised and paid by your majesty alone until they entered France.
I did my best to excuse your majesty, and the viceroy, but Wolsey became very heated and said the failure of your money to arrive was just what he had expected, and either you had never had any money in Genoa at all, or the Genoese merchants had detained it as payment on your former debts, or because they favoured the French. He then recommenced his old story that your majesty never kept anything you promised, and said that had the king, his master, taken the field this year, he would have been much abused, for if you could not find a hundred thousand crowns to pay part of the expense of the present army, how much less would you have been able to pay them all. For the other two causes of Bourbon's delay he chiefly blamed the viceroy. On this score he told me some strange things, the truth of which I cannot believe, and which I will not repeat, especially as Dr. Sampson will report them to you. He told me to tell you expressly that, if Bourbon's campaign failed, the king and he would hold responsible you, as master, and Lannoy, as your servant. By what he said, it appeared he thought Bourbon's army should winter in enemy territory, and I tried to find out whether, in this case, he would do as you wish, but he would give me no better answer than before. He did say, however, that he had sent Pace the other hundred thousand crowns. I believe he told the truth in part, for I have reliable information that more money has gone to Pace, though according to my informant it was only fifty thousand crowns. I was obliged, however, to appear satisfied. In my opinion two things will be necessary before I can come to any agreement with Wolsey about the further maintenance of Bourbon's army at common expense. First, before the four hundred thousand crowns are spent, Bourbon will have to win some striking victory. Second, your majesty will have to send at once to Genoa some considerable contribution, over and above the two hundred thousand crowns which should be there now. Otherwise I see no hope of any favourable agreement, for ever since the break-up of their army last year, these people have accumulated so many causes of complaint against you that they are quite determined to put themselves to no further expense without plain proof of full co-operation on your part.
As to the "Great Enterprise," Wolsey appears to have it much at heart. Although he strongly urged me to write your majesty, asking for powers and instructions to treat about it in England, he finally agreed to send the necessary powers to Dr. Sampson in Spain. Should he fail to do so, however, as seems not unlikely, and should your majesty decide to empower me to negotiate the matter here, I beg you to give me full and ample instructions so that I may in no way exceed your wishes, as I did last time. If your majesty is adequately supplied with money for the "Great Enterprise" next year, and, meanwhile, can keep Bourbon's army in the field, I suggest that you should see whether this king will agree to furnish half the sum necessary to support Bourbon until the end of next May, at which time the English army will be bound to take the field, and Bourbon's army will be entirely at your expense. Bourbon's army could be brought up to a strength equal to that of the English army, according to the new agreement, and thus your majesty would not be obliged to invade France from Spain, which you might find not easy to do, on account of lack of provisions and bad roads. If your majesty cannot bear so much expense as this, it seems to me you will have to make a peace or truce before the end of the winter by means of the conference the pope suggests. In this case, it would be well for your majesty to write in your own hand to the king, suggesting that you may not be able to execute the "Great Enterprise" next year, but you should make this only a suggestion and couch it in dubious phrases, for if you say so flatly, the king and the cardinal will be able to charge you with breaking the treaty.
Wolsey told me that Scottish matters have come out as he expected, and the young king was proclaimed and sworn to, at Edinburgh last week. Wolsey has sent the king some cloth of gold, and money to pay a guard of 150 men to be always about him. He says that, since his coronation, the king has ordered the arrest of all the French servants of Albany in the kingdom, and of some of Albany's Scottish partisans. Wolsey says Jehan Jockin has had no reply from Queen Louise about Villeroy's coming, although she did write to him on the 21st of last month that the affairs of the king, her son were going well, and did not seem to be endangered by Bourbon's invasion, so that Jockin need not be so eager for English friendship. Wolsey says he told Jockin that if the queen wished to behave in this fashion he would revoke his safe-conduct and send him back to France. Jockin has written this to the queen, and is expecting her reply daily. The letters also said that immediately upon the death of the queen consort of France, Queen Louise had begun negotiations with your majesty to marry the king, her son, to your sister, the queen of Portugal. Wolsey did not seem very pleased with this news. I do not know whether Jockin told him this merely to make him easier to manage, but it seems important news. According to Wolsey, this is all that he has had to say to Jockin, but I hardly believe he told me everything, for since I returned to this town I have had certain information that Jockin was at Hampton Court that very day and the day before, and remained there until the following Tuesday, very well lodged and treated with great cordiality. I am also informed that he had letters from France, dated the first of this month, which Wolsey did not mention to me. Jockin goes about this town as he pleases, and is feasted in the houses of Italian merchants, particularly Genoese and Lucchese, supposed to be of the French party. In such a fashion he might easily get valuable information. I have warned Wolsey of this, but he gave me no reply.
Wolsey has heard from Rome that the pope, alarmed by the halting of Bourbon's army and by the great preparations which he hears the French are making to oppose him, has sent the archbishop of Capua to visit the French court, then your majesty's, and then this one, to hasten the assembly of the peace conference. I do not know what reception he will find in France and with your majesty, but I am sure that this cardinal will greet him very coldly. He has said to me that no good can come of Capua's mission, for the king, his master, is determined never to consent to the conference, unless the difficulties between him and the French are settled in advance. As for himself, Wolsey says, he will never cross the sea to such a conference unless he is able to see things so well arranged that there is no fear of failure. He says his journey to Calais, three years ago, taught him how he ought to behave in such affairs in future.
Judging from his conversation, I have no doubt Wolsey will make all the difficulties he can about the assembly to discuss peace, in the hope of bending matters to his own wishes. He will continue to behave in this way, unless he sees that everything is likely to be arranged without him. But if your majesty and King Francis agree to the assembly, and send Madame Margaret and Queen Louise to it, I do not see how Wolesy can refuse to go, for Henry will certainly wish to be represented. Therefore, it seems to me, it would be wise for you to have a complete understanding with Capua, before he leaves, so that he will know how to meet any difficulties that may arise.
The Milanese ambassador here has had a letter announcing the arrival of M. de la Roche at Asti, and other matters of which your majesty no doubt is informed.
8 August.
The day following the above date the bearer, Richard Boulangier, returned from Flanders. We agreed he should wait here for Wolsey's decision, but, although he remained eight days, he has little to tell you, as you will learn from his oral account of what Brian Tuke told him from the cardinal. I am afraid this delay may damage your majesty's affairs, and I am inclined to think that Wolsey created it deliberately so that I should not be able to write you what is going on here, and so that he may have further opportunity to manage affairs to his own advantage and your majesty's detriment. I am sure Jockin has had more recent letters than Wolsey has told me of, for he said to a merchant of his acquaintance that he had heard Bourbon was still at Saint Laurens on July 27th. Moreover, last Friday, Henry was with Wolsey at Hampton Court and Jockin was there also. I sent word to Wolsey that I should be glad to visit him if he had anything new to tell me, but he answered that he had not and would send me word at once when he had. He has not done so, but only sent me a little note this morning, very strangely worded. Since there are no other affairs of importance being discussed, as I have learned from Brian Tuke, it must be that Wolsey is deliberately neglecting the common interests. Your majesty will be wise enough to know how to act on this information ; as for me, the matter is too deep for my poor wit, and I can advise you no further than I have already done. In obedience to your majesty's orders, I have given no sign of being aware of Wolsey's little game, which is perhaps why he continues to play it.
There is news here that the king of England has been declared protector of the king of Scotland and the Scottish king is to visit some English town about All Saints to meet the king and queen of England. I understand that Jockin is saying, among his friends, that the Douglases did not leave France without King Francis' knowledge. This is what I suspected, but I cannot assure you of it, as it is merely common rumour. Your majesty will know more than I about the plague said to be prevalent in Lombardy, and about the preparations of the king of France. I wish to beg your majesty again to see to the payment of Wolsey's pension, and that of the other lords here, and to do something for Brian Tuke. That is the only way to keep friends with these people. Your majesty should also see to the benefice for Dr. Vittoria's son. The queen is also writing you in favour of her confessor ; his merits, and the love the queen bears you should incline your majesty to grant her request.
As I was closing this letter, the papal commissioner, who had just returned from seeing Wolsey, came to see me to tell me that Wolsey had told him all the above news of Scotland and of Jehan Jockin and of Bourbon's campaign, and had asked him to write the pope that Henry would never make peace except according to the treaties, and would continue to support Bourbon's army as long as your majesty did his part. Wolsey also said that, so far, Jockin had refused to be specific about terms, waiting, he supposed, to see what the outcome of Bourbon's invasion would be. Wolsey said he had decided to send Jockin back to France, unless Villeroy comes within ten days. Certainly, if he has done no more with Jockin than he says, it was very unwise to keep him here, a licensed spy, for more than two months.
August 16.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 29.
Aug. 23.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Richard Boulangier brought me your letters dated the 4th and 6th of this month, and since then I have received two others, one by Jehan de Bourgogne and the other by Master Gregory Casale. Richard was kept waiting here eight days for dispatches which Wolsey was supposed to be sending, only to be told at the end of that time that there was nothing for him. I have advised the emperor of these strange proceedings.
As to the chances of this king's landing with his army, I am still of the same opinion, and according to what Wolsey said to me day before yesterday, I think Casale will not obtain the principal object of his mission, which was to hasten the English invasion. If, in passing through this town, Casale had stopped to speak to me, I could have warned him of a number of things which have happened here since he left, but he went straight on to see Wolsey. This has been rather awkward ; in his letters to me Bourbon referred me to what Casale would tell me, begging me to hasten the English invasion. But I am now ignorant of Bourbon's reasons, and do not know what to say. It is a mistake to think this king will invade France in person, or send any large army there, merely to divert a part of the French concentration against Bourbon. Wolsey told me flatly that unless he saw some likelihood of exploits redounding greatly to his master's personal profit, he would not advise him to send an army into France this year.
I have reliable assurance that the further supply of money which the cardinal was to send to Bourbon, is now in Germany, or at least fifty thousand crowns of it, and if it is possible to have any faith in men at all, the cardinal will send another fifty thousand crowns to make up Henry's quota at once. To hear him talk, there is nothing in the world he desires so much as to maintain Bourbon's army according to the form of the treaty, until the end of the war. The truth should appear before Casale departs.
In Scotland everything is going surprisingly well. The young king has been sworn to by his subjects, and has written the king of England a very honest letter, asking him to take him and his kingdom under his protection. So far, there is a simple armistice between the two kingdoms, without arrangements for commerce. During the armistice, ambassadors from Scotland are expected to treat and conclude a final peace.
I have spoken to Wolsey as you have instructed me to do, about the prince of Orange's affairs, and he replied very favourably, promising that Henry and he would do what they could.
London, 22 August, 1524.
P.S.—Since I wrote the above there has been an astonishing change in the course of affairs. Last night I received a summons from Wolsey to appear at Hampton Court this morning. He told me that, after having heard Casale, and read a letter from Pescara, which set forth the dangers which would beset Bourbon's army if Henry did not invade France, he went at once to the king, who, when he was acquainted with the matter, decided to order his army to cross at once, in great force, according to the former agreement. Wolsey asked me to present to you the following requests from him :
First, he begs you to prepare at once three thousand good cavalry and a thousand infantry to assist their army. The troops should be well mounted and equipped, and payment for the whole time agreed on should be provided, so that no such confusion as last year's may arise. All the troops should be ready by the end of next month, by which time Wolsey hopes the entire English army will be in France. Second, Jerningham leaves to-morrow on a mission to your court. Wolsey begs you to assist him, through M. de Buren, to hire at once three thousand good German infantry to join the English army along with your troops. He is also instructed to hire draught animals and wagons for the artillery and munitions, all at Henry's expense, according to the agreements. Wolsey also begs you to see that an ample supply of provisions is available for the army at a reasonable price. Third, Wolsey begs you to write to the viceroy at once, ordering him to send to Bourbon's assistance the men-of-arms of Naples, as the emperor agreed by treaty would be done. The viceroy should also provide at once for the payment of Bourbon's army, which will be entirely at the emperor's expense from the day the English land. He also asks you to write to inform the emperor at once of these matters, and I hope you will let me know your intentions as soon as possible.
Wolsey says Suffolk will command the English army, although he intends to spread the rumour that Henry will command in person. He told me in confidence, however, that he does not intend that Henry himself shall cross this season, unless some great opportunity offers. He begs you to keep this secret. He said the route to be taken by the army had not been settled, but I do not think he has changed his mind about it.
I am informing you of all this at once so that you may be prepared to receive Jerningham. It seems that by God's grace, through the marquis of Pescara's letter and Master Casale's diligence, things are working out as you and the emperor have wished. It is unfortunate the season is so far advanced, but better late than never, especially since the destruction of Bourbon's army is much to be feared unless the French are kept busy from this side.
23 August.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 4.
Aug. 25.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
In my other letters, (fn. 2) written by my secretary, your majesty will have seen that I referred to a certain person who had given me information of the secret negotiations going on between Queen Louise and Wolsey through Jehan Jockin. I did not wish to mention the person's name in anything not written with my own hand. The person is the archbishop of Capua, who wrote the papal envoy here that, according to reliable information, a secret treaty is being negotiated between the cardinal and Jockin, in the terms set forth in the 18th paragraph of my other letter. Capua ordered the envoy to give me this information only after I had sworn not to reveal its source to any living man, not even to your majesty. I beg your majesty not to let this go any further, for I have no doubt that when Capua arrives he will tell you himself what he had learned, and that he had communicated it to me. It seems to me that the terms as Capua gathered them are obviously incorrectly stated, and the archbishop has not penetrated the whole secret of the negotiations. That is no reason, however, for ignoring the news. Capua is very close to the pope, and may have learned from the count of Carpi or some other papal official of the French party, some part of the secret. Moreover, Jockin has been here two months, and sent five or six couriers to France and received replies, so that I strongly suspect that Wolsey has gone farther with him than he says, and is not acting in good faith. Capua's letter also shows that Wolsey did not explain to the pope his plan for negotiating peace, and receive the pope's approval, as he ordered me to write you he had done. If Wolsey had spoken the truth, Capua either would not have warned me of what was going on, or he would have given the same account of matters as Wolsey. It is clear to me that Wolsey is trying to get the entire negotiations of a general peace into his own hands, for if he were merely concerned with points of dispute affecting English relations with France, there would be no need of discussing making Bourbon duke of Milan and marrying him to Madame Renée, or making one of King Francis' sons king of Tuscany, since these are matters that touch your majesty, and the other allies, more than they do him. The most honourable means of negotiating a truce, and that most in conformity with the treaty of Windsor, would be to have everything settled at Rome, under the mediation of the pope, or at least at such an assembly as Capua proposes. Otherwise, I feel that the French may be able to take advantage of the divergences in interest between your majesty and this king.
So far I have obeyed your majesty's orders and shown no distrust of Wolsey. I am sure he has these negotiations more at heart than anything, and there is no way in the world by which your majesty could please him and Henry more, than to give him complete charge of the arrangements for peace. You ought to think carefully of this, for if the French, for their part, put the peace negotiations into his hands, as, according to Capua, they have already begun to do, your majesty will have to do likewise, making a virtue of necessity.
London, 25 August.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 4.
Aug. 30.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien DD Abt. B. f. 8.
Henry VIII to Margaret Of Savoy.
We have recently received letters from the duke of Bourbon and the marquis of Pescara, and from our ambassador, Richard Pace, reporting the continued prosperity and success of Bourbon's army, and its progress in enemy country, and advising us of the great advantages to the common cause to be expected from its continued advance. To assist this victorious campaign, and make the best use of this prosperous occasion, it is highly necessary to attack the enemy at once, in considerable force and at various places, and not to give him leisure to make himself stronger in one place than another.
We have therefore decided to raise a powerful army at once, in order to invade France from this side, and to penetrate into French territory as far as possible, and do the enemy all the harm we can. It has been agreed by treaty between us that, in such a case, you are to contribute a certain number of infantry and cavalry, and make certain necessary provisions in the Low Countries. We are now sending you our councillor and vice-chamberlain, Sir Richard Jerningham, who, jointly with our ambassador Dr. Knight, will tell you at length of our decision in this matter, and of what preparations are necessary for our army. In view of the importance of this matter, we beg you to give them every assistance.
Fernay, 30 August, 1524.
Signed, Henry ; countersigned, Tuke. Copy. French. pp. 3.
Aug. 31.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
The day after I sent my last letter, an Italian servant of the king of England's named Gregory Casale, arrived here, having ridden post from Bourbon's camp. He had credentials from Bourbon and Pescara, and reported that by August 4th Bourbon had conquered the whole of Provence, with all its towns and castles except two, Arles and Marseilles, which he hoped to reduce shortly, provided he was reinforced by the men-at-arms of Naples, and by the Germans which your majesty was to raise for him, according to the agreement I recently concluded. Bourbon and Pescara have reliable information that King Francis, seeing that he is not being attacked except by Bourbon's army, is concentrating all his forces, horse and foot, Swiss and lanzknechts, at Lyons, and has already arrived there in person, intending to employ all his strength against Bourbon. Bourbon and Pescara write that, in such a case, it seems unlikely that the imperialist army can be successful, and point out that their defeat would be a great dishonour to both your majesties, and would involve the loss of all Italy. They beg Henry not to neglect the present favourable opportunity, but to make some considerable invasion of France at once, in spite of the lateness of the season.
As soon as I had learned of Casale's arrival, and some part of Bourbon's wishes, from his letters to me and from the viceroy's letters, I went at once to Hampton Court. I found Wolsey delighted with Bourbon's success, but very angry at the tardiness of the Neapolitan men-at-arms and the German infantry, and also at the failure of the money which your majesty was sending, to arrive. He said Casale reported that so little of the money had come that the army was kept together rather by God's grace than by men's will, and Bourbon had told Pace, with tears in his eyes, that your majesty had failed him in many ways. Wolsey then told me the substance of Casale's mission, as related above, emphasizing Pescara's letter, which set forth at length the peril to which the army, and consequently Italy, would be exposed unless the king of England made some effort against the French, and your majesty did likewise from Spain. Pescara wrote that unless your majesties could bring armies into the field, it would be better to make a truce or peace, and accept whatever terms you could get, without founding too many hopes on Bourbon, since any victories he might win in this campaign would be reversed during the winter.
I had considerable conversation with Wolsey on the subject of Pescara's memoir, but he insisted that it was too late for the English to invade France this year, and the most that he could do would be to send more money to Bourbon. He said, however, he would think the matter over, and discuss it with Henry before giving me a final answer. Late the next day Wolsey sent Casale to me, to ask me to come the following morning to Hampton Court. He said he had considered Pescara's memoir, in which he had great confidence, since Pescara was a very experienced and prudent soldier, and it seemed to him that since so fine an army and so many noble gentlemen were risking their lives in the service of your majesties, you were bound to succour them. Otherwise, the army would be defeated, and Francis could easily turn all his forces against Milan, where he would find little resistance because of the plague, and because the duke and the viceroy had but a small force there. Thus, not only this duchy but all Italy would fall into his hands, and it would be hopeless to expect an honourable peace. Moreover, the shame to both your majesties and your loss of reputation would be irreparable.
Not to have such disasters and the butchery of so many men on his conscience, Wolsey said, he went to Henry and succeeded in persuading him to send a considerable army into France under the duke of Suffolk, before the end of next month, according to the last agreement I sent you. He said he did not doubt that your majesty and Madame would do your parts, as you were bound by the agreement, in case the English invaded France. He asked me to inform you at once so that you would be prepared to bear the whole expense of Bourbon's army, as you were bound to do from the time the English army set foot in France ; and, also, so that you would invade France as soon as possible with the largest force you could assemble. He said he had no doubt you would be able to do so, since he was assured that you had an army already assembled at Perpignan so large that you could honourably lead it in person. He asked me to warn Madame to have ready three thousand good cavalry and a thousand foot, to join the English army, and to be prepared to pay them for the time agreed. Jerningham will go to Flanders in the next two days to see that the cavalry are ready according to the treaty, and to raise three thousand German infantry at Henry's expense. I am to ask Madame to assist Jerningham in this, to see that provisions for the army are available, and to write to the viceroy ordering him in your name to send the Neapolitan men-at-arms to Bourbon at once, and to get together money to pay Bourbon's whole army.
Wolsey says Henry does not intend to cross the sea in person this season, unless the opportunity seems unexpectedly favourable, but he asked me to keep this a secret from everyone except yourself and Madame.
I thought I ought to send a courier to inform your majesty at once of this sudden decision of the English, particularly as only a few days ago I had written you to quite the contrary effect. Indeed, matters have changed so fast here I hardly know what to think or say. I do see several difficulties. Even if these lords can get their army into the field as soon as they say, the season will be so far advanced that it will hardly be able to do much. In this case, they will certainly throw the blame on Madame as they have done before. An English invasion now will hardly divert the French army from attacking Bourbon ; it is more likely that the battle will be fought before the English are ready to cross the sea, and even if it is not, Francis is likely to do as he did last year when, in spite of an English invasion and the menace of the Germans on the frontiers of Burgundy, he invaded Milan with his main army. It is also to be feared, in view of the difficulty which, Lannoy writes, there is already about paying the Neapolitan men-at-arms, and of the slowness of the Genoese merchants in finding ready money for your majesty, that your majesty will be unable to pay all of Bourbon's army, as you will have to do from the time the English land. If there is any failure on your part, it is easy to foresee what Henry and Wolsey will say. I said nothing of these difficulties to Wolsey, however, but praised his spirit, and gave him every hope that you and Madame would do your part.
Besides the obvious reasons for Wolsey's sudden change, I can see two others. In the first place, transferring the money to Bourbon's army has proved very difficult ; Russell was detained at Geneva, and there was great danger that the Swiss would take the money from him. In the second place, Wolsey may hope by this means to frighten Queen Louise and get all the peace negotiations into his own hands to the profit of himself and his master, as I have already written you I believe he intends to do, and as I now think it will be very difficult to prevent him from doing.
I have several reasons for believing this. In the first place, Jehan Jockin is still very well treated here and goes everywhere he pleases ; it seems incredible that he should stay here for two months without more business than Wolsey has told me. I believe he is negotiating secretly with Wolsey and either the French have changed their minds about sending Villeroy, or the whole story of Villeroy's coming was merely intended to lull our suspicions. I am more inclined to believe the second of these, for I was informed yesterday by a person who has some part in these affairs, and whom I know to be wise, and believe to be your servant, that Jehan Jockin has secret powers from Queen Louise to treat with Wolsey, and matters are so advanced that Wolsey has undertaken to persuade Henry to renounce his claims on France in return for compensation which has been agreed on. He has proposed to Jockin that, as a part of the general peace terms, Bourbon shall be given the duchy of Milan, and that the present duke (fn. 3) of Milan be married either to Madame Renée or to the French king's daughter. Also that a kingdom be created in Tuscany for a son of the French king. It is true that, according to my informant's reports, Wolsey has always insisted to Jockin that he would conclude nothing without your majesty's knowledge and consent, and that the final negotiations should be public, but in the opinion of my informant, it is clear that, whatever Wolsey says, once the French and English reach an agreement, your majesty will be obliged to do as they please, and take what they give you, since in these matters, the latest comers always get the smallest share. My informant also writes that King Francis is really keeping Jockin here to amuse the king and the cardinal and make them less eager to succour Bourbon, so that he may destroy Bourbon's army and advance into a defenceless Italy.
My own observations confirm this warning. Recently I showed Wolsey a letter from M. de la Roche, asking for powers and instructions similar to his for some English representative at Rome. Wolsey said coldly that Henry had already sent all the powers he intended to send for this purpose, and had no intention of concluding anything until the particular differences between him and King Francis had been adjusted. He said Henry would not submit himself in advance to the pope, since the pope might decide for the French, and using all the arguments written by de la Roche, I was still unable to presuade him. He said, then and afterwards, that you and Henry ought to think twice before trusting yourselves so completely in Clement's hands, for he had recently learned that, without the assistance of the French, Clement would never have become pope, and he added remarks which indicated that he has no high opinion of His Holiness.
I beg your majesty to instruct me as to the line I should follow if Wolsey comes to some agreement with Jockin, and then asks me to hear what terms the French propose to your majesty. By your letters of May 21st, I am ordered not to treat or conclude anything, but to insist on negotiations being referred to Rome. Wolsey may say, however, that there is no question of treating or concluding, and that last year the English ambassadors listened to Bari's proposals. I have reason to believe that Wolsey may take this very step. He went far towards it in his conversation with me day before yesterday, saying that Jockin had asked him whether he and Henry could arrange a marriage between Francis and the queen of Portugal, to which he had replied that if his king and your majesty were offered honourable terms, Francis could no doubt marry where he chose. All these things seem to indicate Wolsey's desire to get the whole negotiation into his hands, and I am strengthened in this opinion by his refusal to tell me whether the French have sent any envoy to your majesty.
The papal envoy here had letters day before yesterday from the archbishop of Capua, dated from Rome August 6th. He expects to leave there in three or four days, when M. de la Roche arrives. The pope has also discussed Swiss affairs with the bishop of Veroli, but this bishop has little hope of the Swiss for the present, and thinks that most of the cantons could not be kept loyal even if they were won over. He thinks efforts should be concentrated on the cantons which are inclined to favour your majesty, and that once you have a sure footing there, the others might be won over little by little, always with ready money. In Capua's opinion it would be better to apply what money you can spare to the war than to risk it in so costly and uncertain a business.
Capua also writes that Messer Bernadino de la Barba has recently come to Rome, and told the pope that Francis sends him word that he will soon be in Italy with a powerful army. The pope fears that this may indeed be true, unless the king of England can distract the French power.
Wolsey says Scottish affairs are going well and an armistice has been agreed on, during which the king of Scots will send ambassadors here to arrange a permanent peace. I have been unable to get any response from Wolsey about the "Great Enterprise" other than I have already written.
Your majesty will learn from the present bearer, Rougier de la Verriere, the reason for his coming here, and what mission he was charged with by the prince of Orange. Henry and Wolsey seem inclined to favour it, and although the chief suit is to your majesty, it seems as well to keep them favourably disposed. I have had no better bearer for these letters, for the last courier to come is still in Flanders.
London, 25 August, 1524.
Since writing the above, I have detained the courier because, in spite of what Wolsey promised me, neither Jerningham nor Casale left, and I suspected some change of plans. Yesterday Jerningham and Casale arrived in London and left again immediately, Jerningham for Flanders, Casale for Bourbon. Casale tells me that Henry and Wolsey show the best will in the world and are sending Jerningham to raise five thousand German infantry and two thousand horse, at Henry's expense. Fourteen thousand English troops will cross the sea, and these, with the Germans and with Madame's gens d'armes will make a powerful army, twenty thousand foot and five thousand horse. Nevertheless, in spite of everything Wolsey says, I see few military preparations here, and Jehan Jockin is still about. Jockin has told some of his friends that Wolsey swore to him that, unless Queen Louise offered better terms than she had done so far, he would move the king, his master, to invade France with forty thousand men. A trustworthy person has informed me that the king is sending Casale to Bourbon to persuade him to cross the Rhone and march through his own country of Auvergne, straight against Lyons. I suspect that Jerningham and the mercenaries will wait at Valenciennes until Casale returns with Bourbon's reply, and the king will merely hold his English troops ready around Dover until it comes, thus wasting a great deal of time. I cannot, of course, affirm this for certain, and I shall try to get more information from Wolsey as soon as possible.
Dr. Knight wrote Wolsey yesterday that the bishop of Puys, Marshal de Chabannes's brother, has fled from France to Bourbon, and also that two hundred gentlemen and about eight hundred French avanturiers, on encountering Bourbon's army, went over to him ; excellent news if true. Madame has written nothing about it, but a Genevan merchant, who arrived in this town yesterday from Dieppe, told me that the news of the bishop's defection was current more than a week before he left. He said that Francis was in Dauphiné, waiting for the rest of his army, which was rumoured to be very great.
August 31.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 17.


  • 1. Ennio Filonardo, bishop of Veroli.
  • 2. See below, de Praet to Charles V, Aug. 31, p. 379.
  • 3. sic but of. p. 369.