H. H. u. St. A.
Abt. B. f. 8.
Louis De Praet to Seigneur De La Roche.
Your letter of August 22nd arrived very opportunely while the
papal envoy and I were at Windsor. We went at once to Wolsey
and told him as much of it as seemed likely to serve our purpose.
He grew very heated, and began to utter his customary reproaches
of the pope, the emperor, the grand chancellor, and the viceroy of
Naples. These latter, he said, were the cause of this overture for
a truce, and he added flatly that the king and he would not agree
to any truce, long or short, even if Bourbon's army were defeated
and all Italy in danger. He said, how truthfully I do not know,
that he was informed that in making this truce the emperor
intended to charge the duchy of Milan with two hundred thousand
ducats a year, one hundred and fifty thousand to repay the king
of England, and fifty thousand for Bourbon, who would thus be
enabled to go to Spain and marry the emperor's sister. These
and other charges equally unlikely he made in the presence of the
papal and Milanese ambassadors, who will no doubt report them.
He also said that since matters were handled thus, Henry would
rely entirely on the execution of the "Great Enterprise" next
May, according to the treaty of Windsor, and if the emperor did
not do his part therein, he would be breaking his oath to the
treaty, and Henry would take measures accordingly, and if he
was obliged to make war alone, he hoped that he was strong
enough to do so. In spite of everything we could say, Wolsey
continued to pour out similar threats. Finally, however, he grew
calm enough to say that if the pope could begin negotiations for a
good peace and induce King Francis to offer terms satisfactory to
the emperor and to his king, so that the general peace conference
could be held, he would willingly go there to represent Henry.
Meanwhile an armistice could be granted.
In my opinion, however, all this talk is meant only to colour
his refusal of the truce, and I am more and more of the opinion
which I last wrote you, i.e. that Wolsey wishes the honour of
conducting all the negotiations himself, and is bending all his
efforts in that direction. If he persists in this, it seems to me that
Bourbon's army, and all Italy, will be in grave peril, for there is
little likelihood of successful peace negotiations without a preliminary
truce. Yet I hesitate to advise the emperor to negotiate
separately with the French, anticipating English action. Whatever
the French offer him, he can hardly trust them, and he may
fall into still graver dangers. Jehan Jockin is still here, and in
daily touch with Queen Louise, and we cannot find out anything
about what is being negotiated, for Wolsey says no more about it
than if Jockin were not here. I fear he will lend Jockin a more
favourable ear now than formerly. Also I have learned that not a
single English soldier will cross the sea until Henry is sure Bourbon
will march through Auvergne on Lyons. I do not know whether
that will be possible, and even if it is, it will be the end of this
month before Henry can be notified of Bourbon's decision, and the
end of next month before the English army can be in France, and
by that time the weather will be too unfavourable for campaigning.
On the whole, I do not think there will be any English invasion
of France this year, whatever they say. What is worse, they
have sent Bourbon only 150,000 crowns, which must be nearly
all spent now, and the cardinal shows no disposition to send any
more money. He will excuse himself, I suppose, by the viceroy's
failure to send the promised reinforcements, which Wolsey now
maintains should be entirely at the emperor's expense. In fact,
it looks as if the emperor would have to support the entire expense
of Bourbon's army, which he can hardly do without ruin, particularly
if Henry insists upon the execution of the "Great Enterprise"
next year. But I am not wise enough to offer my advice
in these matters.
London, 11 Sept., 1524.
P. S.—I should not omit to say that Wolsey exhorted the papal
envoy to urge the pope to contribute, at least secretly, to the
defence of Italy, and to summon the Italian princes to contribute,
according to their former agreements, 300,000 crowns to the
defensive league. In doing so, Wolsey certainly did good service,
but he spoiled everything at the end by breaking out into his
accustomed threats, and saying that if the pope did not do as he
advised, King Francis would invade Italy and make the pope of as
little account as a poor chaplain. He added that it was in Henry's
power to reinstate Francis in Italy whenever he liked. I have no
doubt the papal envoy here will report this strange language.
The English ambassador in Rome, the bishop of Bath, is not
helping matters. He writes the strangest little fancies in the
world, and often makes things seem a great deal worse than they
are. For instance, he recently wrote to Wolsey that the pope
almost compelled him to agree to a two years' truce, saying that
he would answer for the king of England's consent, and also when
the French ambassador did not wish to speak first, the pope had
tried to get him to do so. He also wrote that Pace had sent him
word not to consent to any truce for Bourbon's campaign was
going very well, and the truce was a French practice.
The papal envoy here thinks that, notwithstanding all Wolsey's
protests, he will send the bishop of Bath powers to conclude the
truce. Certainly that would be a reasonable course, for should
the emperor lose Italy, I cannot see what the English could
expect to gain, unless they abandon him and ally themselves
with his enemies, which is hardly credible. I do not think, however,
that Wolsey has sent any powers yet ; he has his own plans
about the negotiations too much at heart.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 6.
H. H. u. St. A.
England. f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
We have received your letters by Richard, considered them
carefully, and are grateful for your prudent advice. Continue in
your present line of conduct and send us frequent news.
Although the English ambassador here has had no general
instructions from the king, his master, he has come to us, acting
on a private letter, and told us news of Scotland, substantially the
same as you wrote, and spoken in general terms of the unofficial
negotiations with France, assuring us that the king and the
cardinal will observe the treaties scrupulously.
We replied graciously, without showing we had information
from you, that we were glad Henry's affairs, which we regarded
as our own, were going well in Scotland, and had no doubt that
Henry and Wolsey would observe the treaties as we always
intended to do. We said the king and the cardinal knew we had
always refused to enter into separate negotiations with the
French, and had always sent them copies of all communications
with the enemy, and we thought they ought to do the same, as
no doubt they would. We felt confident they would have no
secret practices with the French, particularly now the whole
affair had been placed in the hands of the pope, to whose arbitration
they should submit all their differences.
In speaking to Wolsey, you will conform to the tone of our reply
to the English ambassador. Point out to him amicably that the
light-hearted fashion in which he has continued to keep Jehan
Jockin in England has considerably damaged our affairs and
reputation, particularly since he has gone so far as to arrange
for the coming of Robertet or Villeroy. The news has reached
Rome, and run through all Italy. We could have retaliated by
similar actions had we wished, for the French have made us many
separate offers, but if Queen Louise had sent to us, as Wolsey told
you she was going to do, we should never have granted the envoy
a safe conduct, without first informing Henry and Wolsey.
We have known for a long time of Wolsey's desire to get the
negotiations into his own hands, but everything has now been
committed to the pope. You must dissimulate your suspicions,
and say, as of your own motion, that it would prejudice the common
cause to display any distrust of His Holiness at this time, but
Wolsey may be assured that we shall show the love and confidence
we bear him at the appropriate time. So far there is no news of
the coming of the archbishop of Capua, except that the pope will
send him as soon as His Holiness has heard de la Roche, who
ought to reach Rome by the middle of August.
Contradict flatly Jockin's tale about the intercepted letters
from the archduke Ferdinand. We have received duplicates,
as well as originals, of all the archduke's letters, and there is no
mention in any of them of any such matter. It is true that the
French are spreading this rumour in Italy to arouse the duke of
Milan's suspicions, but he has complete confidence in us, and we
shall treat him in a way with which he will be entirely satisfied.
We have no doubt that you have frequent news of our army in
Provence, and know that Francis is moving south to hearten the
garrison at Marseilles. Point out the importance of the present
crisis to Wolsey, and show him how necessary it is that Bourbon's
army be maintained in order to bring the French to reasonable
terms. Solicit the English contribution to the army as urgently
as you can, according to our last letters.
Do not mention the "Great Enterprise" unless Wolsey speaks
of it, and then reply, as if without instructions. It is not in our
power to execute the "Great Enterprise" next year, but you
must not say so, and you must seek to refer all negotiations here.
Try to persuade Wolsey not to press for the payment of the
indemnity and the loan at the present time, and assure him that
England will lose nothing by the delay. We shall try to pay the
pensions to Wolsey and the others as soon as possible, and your
back salary will not be forgotten.
We should have been glad to prefer the brother of Dr. Jerome
to the bishopric of Malta, but he claims it in virtue of provision
by the pope and we have the right of patronage in that bishopric
as king of Sicily and have bestowed it elsewhere. We shall be
glad to prefer the person to some future vacancy. Tell Queen
Catherine that the son of her physician shall have the first suitable
vacancy, and beg her to excuse our failure to reply in our own
hand to her letter. For some days we have been ill of a quartain
fever ; we are now somewhat better, and, even when the fever is
most intense, it does not trouble us too much, while on other days
we are able to attend to ordinary business, and we hope soon to
be entirely well. Be sure to give this news to Henry and Wolsey,
lest our enemies attempt to make capital out of misrepresenting
the seriousness of our illness.
Our Germans have now reached the frontier of Languedoc,
where the enemy have gathered in considerable force to oppose
them. We are eager to send them to reinforce the army in
Provence, although that army seems strong enough, and the only
danger now is lack of money. We have had very good news of
the army's progress, but your news should be later than ours.
As to the marriage of our sister, the queen of Portugal, to King
Francis, you may say that we have never even heard it spoken
of, except as a rumour current in France, and give our solemn
assurance that we shall never do anything contrary to the treaties.
Valladolid, 20 September, 1524.
P. S.—Since writing the above we have received a courier
from the pope, who came by land through France, and one by
sea, from the duke of Sessa. The papal courier brings news from
France, a copy of which is enclosed. Both couriers bring the
announcement of the death of M. de la Roche. We have provided
that our other ambassadors in Rome shall have the power
to act just as if he were present. The conference of ambassadors
at Rome has already agreed for the passage of couriers by land,
a copy of the agreement is herewith enclosed to be communicated
to Henry and Wolsey. If they accept it, they and we will have
fresher news of Italy, and be able to keep in closer touch with the
pope. Given as above.
Draft. French. pp. 6.
H. H. u. St. A.
England. f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
I wrote last on August 31st. On September 8th, with a view
to learning Henry's final decision, I went to Windsor, where the
king and the cardinal were that day receiving the Rose sent the
king by the pope, with very solemn ceremonies. After these
ceremonies, the king, at Wolsey's instigation, I believe, began to
make great complaints to me about your majesty. He said from
the beginning to the end you had not kept one of your promises to
him, and in acting so you would lose your reputation among
princes. He said you had done so to a great extent already, and
the German princes were talking of making the duke of Saxony
king of the Romans, and would not stop there. He fell to abusing
your majesty's ministers, and said you were so badly advised
that no one would trust you, and it would have been better had
you never undertaken such heavy commitments and such adventures,
but been satisfied with what your ancestors had left you, at
least until your realms were in some good order. He required
me to write this to you, and said he would also instruct Dr.
Sampson to speak to you at length on the subject, as a father
should advise his son.
I replied as gently as I knew how, and indeed in the course of
the conversation I could not see that Henry bore your majesty
anything except good-will, as far as he, personally, is concerned.
But it would be a mistake to rely too much on this, for this king
is always changeable, always agreeing with the cardinal, and, in
fact, always whatever the cardinal wishes him to be. As for
Wolsey, he does not seem so fond of your majesty as he used to be.
After these preliminaries the king and the cardinal began to
speak of the invasion of France, saying definitely that their army
would not cross this season unless Bourbon passed the Rhone and
marched on Lyons, and Jerningham would recruit no German
infantry until Henry was assured of Bourbon's plans. They said
they had spent too much for the benefit of other persons, and they
would be careful not to do so in future. All my arguments could
obtain no other answer, and the king dismissed me, saying Wolsey
would tell me his further pleasure. This the cardinal would not
do at once, but gave me an appointment for three or four days
The following morning, just as the papal envoy and I were
leaving Windsor, I received a letter from M. de la Roche, dated
August 27th, recounting his negotiations at Rome about a truce,
and asking me to get the cardinal to send a power to the English
ambassador there to conclude a two years' truce. Copy of the
letter enclosed. Although I was sure this news would be unwelcome
to the cardinal, I decided to go to him at once, accompanied
by the pope's envoy, who had received, by the same courier,
letters from the archbishop of Capua, substantially the same as
mine. Capua added that he found the French ambassador, the
count of Carpi, so favourably disposed that he did not doubt, if
the English ambassador would join the others, truce could be
concluded in three days. Capua ordered the envoy here to urge
this strongly upon Wolsey, particularly since the pope was
informed by Pescara and other persons in Bourbon's camp, that
the duke and his army were in danger of being completely destroyed,
thus endangering all Italy. Capua also wrote that he was
leaving for France within a week, and would go from there to
Spain and thence here, to arrange the peace conference. He said
Francis had written very graciously to the pope to inform him
that he would soon be in Italy with a great power, and to tell him
to fear nothing, for he would be honourably treated, and the
Adorni would be left in Genoa if he wished, and he would send
one of the French princes, his sons, to Rome as security for his
good conduct, with many other soothing words to which the pope
would give no ear, being determined to continue to work for
peace among all Christian princes.
The papal envoy and I each gave Wolsey our news in a separate
interview, and he then replied to us jointly, in the presence of the
Milanese ambassador. At the beginning he grew very warm
against the pope and your majesty, and against the chancellor
and the viceroy of Naples, as the persons who were responsible for
this talk of a truce. He said that your majesty and the others
were so fearful for Italy that you took no account of the interests
of the king, his master, and were willing to make a truce very
disadvantageous to England which had conquered nothing in this
war, and lost what it had peaceably possessed. As for your
majesty, he said, you had reason enough to desire a truce, for
you had conquered all Italy, Tournai, and Fuenterrabia, all of
which you expected to retain, so a truce was as good or better
than a peace as far as you were concerned. Wolsey persisted in
this bitter tone until the end of the interview, as your majesty
may see by the enclosed copy of my letter to de la Roche. I fear
Wolsey's obstinacy and vainglory will be the ruin of Bourbon's
army, after which the enemy will certainly not make peace, and
your majesty and the king of England will both be the losers.
At the end of our interview Wolsey drew me apart and said, as
if it were a great secret, that he was informed that the pope's
efforts for a truce were inspired by the French, and the pope was
of their party and preferred their rule in Italy to that of the
Spaniards ; this is quite contrary to what he had said a little
before, and seems to be intended merely to create suspicion
between your majesty and the pope.
On Saturday, September 17th, I called on Wolsey by appointment.
It happened that the courier had just brought Madame's
reply to Jerningham, a copy of which is being sent you, and I
spoke first of this matter to Wolsey. He said in a quarrelsome
tone that it was now easy to see that Madame had no desire to
please the king in anything, since she was only willing to furnish
the troops in question according to the terms of the treaty, that is
to say, for only two months, when it was notorious that the
English army could hardly be in France before the end of October.
If disaster overtook Bourbon's army, Wolsey said, a part of the
blame would rest on your majesty, because Lannoy had not sent
the expected money and reinforcements, and the rest of the blame
on Madame, who had refused to assist Henry when he wished to
come to Bourbon's aid. I hardly knew what to reply ; it was
clear that Wolsey was trying to shift the blame for any possible
failure onto your majesty, so as to excuse himself to his king, but
if I replied as he deserved, I should certainly anger him, and this
your majesty has forbidden. I offered what excuses I could, and
pointed out that Madame did not refuse to continue her assistance
to the English army after the end of December, but merely
asked what Henry's intentions were about the continuation of the
campaign, so that she could reply accordingly.
After a long conversation on this point, Wolsey gave me a formal
reply to Madame as follows : First, Henry expects Madame to
assist his army with three thousand horse and one thousand foot,
paid for at least five months, counting from the day the army
lands, and longer if on the expiration of this term the army seems
likely to win further successes, providing,-of course, that when
the time comes for the "Great Enterprise" she shall be quit of
this obligation. Second, as for Madame's request that Henry
furnish ten thousand English infantry and a thousand horse, and
four thousand German infantry and two thousand German horse,
in addition to her reinforcements, Henry refuses to state the
numbers which he will bring into the field, except that he will
have no German men-at-arms, but will have an army capable of
offering and accepting battle. Third, Jerningham, who has
returned from Malines, reports that neither Madame nor the
Count de Buren will agree to the army's marching through
Normandy, or by whatever route the king's lieutenant pleases,
nor will they agree that Buren is to be subordinated to the
English command. Jerningham says Buren expressly told him
that he wished to be at liberty to do whatever he and the king's
lieutenant decided was best under the circumstances, while the
army was in the field. To this Henry replies that, since he is
bearing the principal expense of the army, he intends that the
Count de Buren or whoever may command Madame's contingent,
shall be bound to obey the English commander, and all towns and
castles shall be surrendered to the king of England, and all acts
and proclamations shall be in his name. Fourth, Henry will not
inform Madame of the date when his army will be landed in
France until he knows that Bourbon has passed the Rhone and is
marching on Lyons. Unless Bourbon does so, not an Englishman
will cross this season.
In view of all the difficulties that Wolsey is raising, I see little
hope that the English will cross this year, and am obliged to
believe that, whatever Wolsey says, he does not intend them to do
so, but wishes merely to throw the blame of their failure on
Madame, and to use the projected expedition as an excuse for
sending no more money to Bourbon. I tried to persuade him
that, since it was possible that Bourbon might be unable to act as
the English wished, or might see a much more favourable opportunity
in another direction, he ought to send a further supply of
money to Bourbon's army, to keep up the English contributions,
according to the recent treaty. He said angrily that he would
certainly not do so, and that no more English money would be
spent to aid Bourbon in Provence, and that, unless his army
entered a part of France to which Henry laid claim, he would not
send him another penny. He added that Henry would base his
actions hereafter entirely on the execution of the "Great Enterprise,"
according to the treaty of Windsor, without admitting any
diminution of the armies or any further delay. He garnished this
declaration with threats such as he had uttered a few days before
in the presence of the papal and Milanese ambassadors. I then
spoke to him about Jehan Jockin. He said at once that he had
nothing new to tell me, and when I pressed him, took refuge in
vague and general terms. I said I was surprised that Jockin
was permitted to stay here, and Wolsey promised to send him
home unless he made new proposals shortly. I suspect, however,
that things are going quite otherwise than Wolsey says, for I am
credibly informed that Jockin had a long conversation with
Wolsey that very day, and sent off another courier in haste to
While I was with Wolsey, I heard the sad news of the death of
M. de la Roche. It was reported in Madame's letters and also in
news Wolsey had from Rome. The English ambassador at Rome
wrote that the pope and the duke of Sessa had immediately
informed your majesty by special courier of la Roche's death.
The marquis of Pescara, the same letter said, had written asking
the pope to conclude some sort of truce at once, since Bourbon's
army was in grave danger. I took this opportunity of urging
Wolsey to avoid the loss of so many brave men, by sending a
power to his ambassador at Rome to treat for a truce, but he
absolutely refused, and said that he and his master would not
consent to a truce even if Bourbon's army were to be wiped out,
and all Italy lost. He said the king insisted on the execution of
the "Great Enterprise."
Wolsey then drew me apart and, after rehearsing his customary
complaints, became more and more angry and excited, saying that
he could see that your majesty had no love for him or for the king,
his master, and treated them like dependants, but they would
show you the contrary, for it was within their power to ruin you,
not only in Italy but in all your other realms. He swore with a
great oath that he wished he had broken his arms and legs when
he stepped on shore to go to Bruges, and he added that, if you
reduced him to desperation, he would embroil you in troubles
worse than any within the memory of man. All the discredit
of this affair, he said, had fallen on his shoulders, because he had
tried to do your majesty service, by which weakness he had
involved his master in war and great expense and loss of reputation.
As he spoke there were tears in his eyes, and his face was
distorted with grief. In the end he calmed himself somewhat,
and begged me to tell your majesty everything he had said, saying
that he would write the like to Dr. Sampson. I think you should
weigh his words carefully, and if it is at all possible to extricate
yourself from this war to the satisfaction of these lords, you
should do so. If you cannot, you should refrain in future from
promising them more than you can fulfil, and do your best to pay
what is owing them. These seem to me the only ways to retain
their friendship, and avoid unpleasantness in future. I can see
that this is almost impossible, since there is little hope of concluding
a peace without the preliminary armistice to which these
lords are unalterably opposed, and it will be beyond your means
to constrain the French by force, and pay all the pensions at the
same time. As you can see by the recent treaties, the English
want to throw the whole burden of the war on your shoulders,
and at the same time oblige you to the execution of the "Great
Enterprise" without any moderation of terms. I think they
really take this line in order to compel you to give first place to
their demands, and I do not think they would be nearly so eager
for the "Great Enterprise" if they saw that your majesty was in
a position to carry it out. But these matters are too high for
When I last wrote you Wolsey reported that all was going well
in Scotland. Since then I have learned from him that there have
been many tumults there, stirred up by Albany's adherents, and
it is impossible to know what the outcome will be. The Sieur de
Bredain, who is on his way to your majesty's court, has stopped
here, charged by your brother, the archduke, with some mission
to this king, the nature of which he has not told me.
London, 20 September, 1524.
One of Pace's couriers has just arrived ; he left Bourbon's camp
August 31st and brought me a letter from de Roeulx, which was
so short and vague that I really do not know how affairs stand
there. It is impossible for me to negotiate here successfully
unless I have full information, but at present I am obliged to rely
on what Wolsey tells me. He said yesterday that Pace wrote
that Bourbon and Pescara had laid siege to Marseilles and bombarded
it for some time until the shortage of powder obliged them
to give over. Since then they have mined the walls in several
places. Wolsey says Jockin heard that, on the 11th of this month,
Bourbon had given up the siege and was in retreat. He also said
that Bourbon and the other captains complained greatly of your
majesty, and even more of your agents in Italy, saying they
could not have managed affairs more to the advantage of King
Francis had they been his servants. He said the three hundred
Neapolitan men-at-arms had not arrived when Pace wrote, and
only 34,000 crowns had come of the money you had promised,
while the Germans had arrived late and very badly paid. Wolsey
also said that, if Russell had not reached Bourbon when he did, the
infantry would have mutinied. Bourbon and Pescara, he said,
sent a gentleman to tell you this, and to ask you to make a diversion
around Perpignan. Wolsey said, in conclusion, that, by
these failures Bourbon had not only lost the opportunity to
conquer a great part of France, but had been reduced to such
extremity that Pace wrote the army now had to fight, not for the
interests and reputation of princes, but to save their own lives.
I hardly knew how to reply to Wolsey's reproaches except to say
I had no information or instructions, and to suggest that, if what
he said was true, the truce ought to be accepted. He said he
would never consent, but added that if Bourbon was really in
danger and unable to pass the Rhone, it might be well to make a
truce until the end of April, and disband his army except for
garrisons in the towns that he had taken. These garrisons, he
said, could be paid at common expense, and by May a good army
could be organized to permit Bourbon to continue his advance.
Meanwhile your two majesties could carry out the "Great Enterprise"
according to the treaty of Windsor.
We had considerable conversation on this point, and I think
Wolsey would have been glad to have me admit that your majesty
would be unequal to such an effort. I did not do so, though I did
say it would be a heavy burden. Finally he said to me that, if
you could not do so much, you should tell Henry frankly and in
good time ; he would then advise his master that Bourbon's army
next summer should be at common expense, and, in addition, you
should each put a convenient number of troops in the field without
leading them in person. He asked me to write this proposal to
I can see little hope in what he has said. Such a truce as he
suggests would not be to your advantage, and although a simultaneous
invasion of France next May by three armies would be a
good plan, it would lay almost impossible burdens upon you.
But your majesty will be able to consider all these things when
you hear the English ambassador.
I then asked Wolsey whether the English contributions to
Bourbon's army would be continued, in case Bourbon continued
to be successful but the English army did not cross the Channel.
He said they would. Suspecting that these were merely words
to put me off, I then asked him whether he would not send some
further supply of money at once, since the 150,000 crowns already
sent would be exhausted by the end of this month. To this he
would not agree, alleging your majesty's failures, and saying that,
even if the English army did not cross, Bourbon would not be
sent a penny until it was known that your majesty had also sent
him a considerable sum.
I again asked him what news there was of Jehan Jockin,
whereupon he took a solumn oath that matters were still in the
same state as before. He said he had recently found Jockin much
more reserved, and the enemy would have to be pressed still
harder before they came to reason. I do not know how matters
are really going, but it is strange Wolsey should let Jockin stay
here unless there is some understanding between them. Jockin
is well treated, and goes wherever he likes, and lodges with
Wolsey's confessor, and goes to the cardinal or sends to him whenever
he wishes. This has kept up for three months and more.
Moreover, I understand that however friendly Count Carpi seemed
at the outset to the proposals for a truce of two years, he has since
been much more reserved, refusing to show his powers, and making
such excuses as may reasonably arouse a suspicion that there is
some understanding between the French and these lords.
London, 28 September.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 20.