Spain: February 1522, 16-28

Pages 53-68

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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February 1522, 16-28

18 Feb.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We have received your letters of February 4th containing a long discourse by Wolsey. Since we have already written you fully about the matter of Wingfield's mission, and stated all our arguments, we shall only repeat that you are to follow our express instructions regarding the presentation of the letters patent, the loan, and all other unfinished business.
To reply, therefore, to Wolsey's new proposals. We cannot agree that his suggestion that we should keep the papal court for some time in Spain, as it was formerly kept in Avignon, is wise, or would really increase our power and prestige, and we think that on further consideration Wolsey will agree with us. Such action would greatly disturb Italy and ruin the papal states, to the grave detriment of the papacy and of the republic of Christendom. We would not, for any personal advantage whatever, shoulder so grave a responsibility, and should others undertake such a course we should do our best to prevent it, in discharge of the duty God had laid upon us. It seems to us that to avoid such misfortunes we should rather hasten the departure of His Holiness, and we wish that he were already at Rome.
As for the difficulties about our voyage to Spain and visit to England on which Wolsey touched, the dearness of provisions, the poverty of the port, and its inability to receive so great a company, the approaching session of parliament with which our visit might interfere, the lack of horses and wagons, and the long journey of a month or six weeks by land, for all which reasons it seems to him that we ought to disembark at Southampton or Portsmouth, and order the Spanish fleet to join the English at one of those ports to escort us, you may say that, nevertheless, it seems to us that we ought not, on this account, to change what has been agreed upon by treaty. It even seems that there would be greater difficulties in collecting our fleet at Southampton or Portsmouth, both because the harbour is not large enough, and because the place is dangerously near the enemy, so that we would be obliged to sail too near the French coast, and remain too long exposed to attack. Moreover, the ships from Spain which we have ordered to Falmouth could not reach Southampton or Portsmouth so quickly, and our fleet would be divided for some time, thus inviting attack on the weaker part. Also the winds are not usually as favourable from the ports Wolsey suggests, either for Spain or for the rendezvous of the two fleets. Therefore, we prefer to keep to the terms of the treaty in spite of Wolsey's advice, and to undertake a long and tiresome journey by land in order to avoid the other difficulties noted. Nevertheless, continue to discuss this with Wolsey, and find out how he thinks the difficulties he mentions may best be met.
It seems to us that the points raised by Wolsey about the maintenance of the fleet and the manner of its revictualment are sufficiently covered by the treaty of Bruges in which there is no occasion to make any change. On the other hand, if no truce is negotiated, his proposal to restrict the soldiers in the fleets to 3,000 each, according to the treaty of Bruges, seems unwise. Their number should certainly not be less than 6,000 each, the figure we subsequently agreed upon, at least during our voyage to Spain. For our part we shall have at sea, not only the 6,000 German infantry which we are bringing from here, and the ordinary men-at-arms of our household, but also the 4,000 Spanish foot which we have ordered to Falmouth. In such dangerous times as these it seems that Henry, on his part, should rather increase the complement of soldiers with the fleet than diminish it, and although the treaty of Bruges speaks merely of 3,000 infantry in each fleet, it does not restrict the strength to that or any other number. It seems quite clear that, failing a truce (which you should continue to seek) 3,000 on each side will not be sufficient. The cardinal himself was of this opinion, and suggested the increase to 6,000. We have followed his advice, and thought this matter closed, especially since by the treaty of Bruges the responsibility lay entirely with Henry to safeguard our passage to Dover or Sandwich, and, while we are in England, to send his fleet to Zeeland to escort ours to Falmouth, not an easy task in such times as these with a force of only 3,000 fighting men. Insist, therefore, on the agreement that the English strength shall be not less than 6,000 and shall be maintained at sea at least until our arrival in Spain. After that both fleets can be reduced to a strength of 3,000 each, as the treaty says. You replied very well to Wolsey's suggestion that the combined fleets might attempt something against the enemy while we are in England. It would be unwise to risk the fleet at this time, or let it be drawn away so that it would not be available for our escort. In this we find Henry's opinion admirable, and we agree entirely.
We rejoice at what you have written about the solemn publication of the bull granting to Henry the title of Defender of the Faith. We are as glad of this increase in his honour and dignity as it if were our own. May we both defend our Faith as stoutly as we wish to do, and as the times require. We have received the documents recording the oath to the treaty of Bruges, and find them to be in order. As to the news that the king of France has ordered that none of his ships shall leave port without permission and is preparing ten great ships of which the smallest is 500 tons, it seems desirable to keep good watch on the enemy through spies so we may be on our guard. We were very sorry to hear that three of Henry's ships had been damaged. Refer to our preceding letters for other instructions.
Brussels, 18 February, 1522.
Draft in Gattinara's hand. French. pp. 5.
18 Feb.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
After sending our letters of February 4th enclosing Henry's ratification of the treaty of Bruges, we received your majesty's of the 5th and 9th of Feb. in reply to ours of the 17th, 24th and 27th of the preceding month, together with the news from Milan, Trent and Switzerland. We communicated everything to Wolsey, except the final conditions for peace, since it seemed better to find out first what the French offer.
Before the arrival of your letter we had already begun to write you of several conversations with the cardinal about the negotiations for peace or truce, as will be set forth more at length by the next post. At present, for the sake of brevity, we shall write simply of the chief points covered in these discussions.
First, as to the loan. We have been answered, although gently, that the sum of 100,000 crowns could not be augmented, but that your majesty was free to apply it to any desirable use, subject to its being secured by pledges of jewels, as has been said. As to the term for the repayment of this sum, the cardinal was vexed by what we said, and by what Madame Margaret has written, feeling that his services to your majesty were not appreciated. Indeed, we do not know how this misunderstanding can have arisen, since the conditions proposed for this loan were only two : that your majesty should give a quittance in which the jewels should be mentioned as security, and that in this document a clause should be inserted saying that, notwithstanding the treaty of Bruges, which should otherwise remain in full force, the king of England should not be obliged to begin actual hostilities before he was repaid. Henry did not mean to attempt to escape the obligation to declare war against the French on your majesty's arrival in England, nor to postpone the naval war according to the treaty, but only to have it understood that he was not bound before repayment to lead, personally, the great invasion which is set for the year '23. By these conditions the cardinal thought he was giving your majesty a more convenient time for repayment than if the term was fixed at exactly a year, since many things may happen during the interval, the "Great Enterprise" may be postponed for some months, and your majesty would thus have an equivalent extension of time for repayment. The cardinal expected these conditions to be agreeable to your majesty, especially since we have said, in your name, that the money should be repaid before the time of the "Great Enterprise." We do not know whether what we wrote on January 24th was interpreted in this sense or otherwise, but certainly we intended to describe the conditions as above. We wish to repeat them clearly here, and to say that no other condition whatever has been added by Wolsey, nor have we written of any other, as will appear by an examination of our letters. While Wolsey has been hitherto willing to leave it to your majesty whether the term of the repayment should be set for a year, or simply before the beginning of the "Great Enterprise," he is now inclined to insist on repayment within a year.
As to the presentation of the letters patent : although, as we wrote on the 4th, we gave these letters to the cardinal to be sent to France, we did not formally present them, being dissuaded therefrom by the arguments of the cardinal, which seemed to us good and sufficient, and believing that we were thereby serving your majesty's best interests. Now, in view of your majesty's instructions, we are very sorry not to have made the solemn presentation, and we protest that we have nothing at heart except your majesty's service in which we are willing to give our lives. We have, therefore, informed the cardinal that we must present the letters to the king, and begged him to take our action in good part. He endeavoured by many means to dissuade us, alleging that the step would impede negotiations for the common good, especially those begun by his letter to Louise of Savoy, a copy of which is attached herewith, as well as those which he means to conduct with Francis. He also said, and this he deemed his most potent argument, that Henry would not feel himself bound to any action by the presentation of the letters, since that section of the treaty of London had been abrogated by the treaty of Bruges. After much discussion we finally replied that, whatever question there might be as to Henry's obligations, we could not do otherwise than present the letters. Wolsey, believing we had no other copy of the letters than that we had given him a few days before, said the king would be willing to consider that he had received them, and would acknowledge their presentation either by public notarial act, or by letters signed with his own hand. We accepted this offer gladly, but said we had another copy of the letters which we wished, as an additional precaution, to present to the king. At this, Wolsey was considerably disturbed and said, "Indeed I cannot understand why the emperor should be so insistent on this point when he knows that the king of England no longer holds the relevant section of the treaty of London to be in force, and that he is not therefore obliged to admonish the king of France. If you insist on presenting these letters to the king himself, he will receive them publicly, but he will also make public protestation before the same notary that he does not consider them binding, and you will, at the same time, make a declaration that you do not intend in presenting them, to depart in any way from the treaty of Bruges."
We replied that we were not empowered to make any such protestation, but that we were certain your majesty did not intend to weaken the force of the treaty of Bruges in any way, and therefore, although we had no powers on the point, we would say freely that your majesty did not intend to derogate the said treaty or any other, between him and the king of England. We said this to avoid arousing any suspicions on Wolsey's part. He then assigned Sunday, Feb. 16th, for the formal presentation of the letters.
We do not know how matters will now fall out. We have observed that the cardinal has been very hesitant and thoughtful about this affair, and, for the reasons we have already written, we have delayed presenting the letters, since, in the present state of your majesty's affairs, it is of the highest importance to induce Henry and Wolsey to assist you with money, on which everything depends just now, and since this cardinal is the kind of person whom we may reasonably fear to irritate lest he be less inclined to your majesty's service. Therefore, we hoped to delay the presentation until the money was in your majesty's hands, and so followed the method suggested by the cardinal of transmitting the letters to Louise of Savoy. Nevertheless, in view of your majesty's explicit instructions, we shall act as we are ordered without any deviation.
About the truce, concerning which we have full instructions from your majesty, we shall write now only the main points, amplifying later. Wolsey declared that both he and Henry were convinced a truce was highly essential in the present state of affairs, that they did not doubt that the French were inclined to it, and that they would both work diligently for its speedy conclusion. The cardinal and all the members of the privy council would be very pleased if your majesty would consent to be more explicit about what terms you would accept, both for this side of the Alps and the other, should an agreement on the present status quo be impossible. So far we have made no other overtures, in the hope of learning the French proposals. Wolsey believes the French are not likely to agree to a simple, general truce, especially if Francis feels himself strong enough to recover Milan. He believes, however, that all other territory can be included in the truce, and, if your majesty will consent to this arrangement, he hopes for success. He insisted that the French want a truce, and urged us to write your majesty asking what other terms would be acceptable. We have been unwilling to say anything more, however, until we have seen the powers of the French ambassadors. If it appears that they are instructed to refuse a general truce, we shall then follow the line of your majesty's instructions, and agree to the exclusion of Milan. If the discussion turns to a peace, we shall likewise follow your most recent instructions, and hope to arrive at a speedy conclusion. We have asked Wolsey to press on the negotiations as quickly as possible, and he seems no less eager to hasten them than we.
In the midst of our conversation with Wolsey and the privy councillors, there arrived an ambassador from the king of France with instructions for the court of Scotland, but also empowered in passing through England, to join himself with the other French ambassadors here resident, of whom the chief, Sieur de la Bâtie, died six days ago. The new ambassador, de Barrois, produced a commission for the ambassadors here resident to negotiate for peace with your majesty's ambassadors resident here, through the mediation of the king of England and the cardinal. These powers, however, prove to be void on account of the death of one of the persons named, since they had been given for the ambassadors jointly and not severally. Wolsey, therefore, asked to see all the powers on both sides and found both defective, ours because we were instructed to do nothing except in the presence of the papal nuncio and with his consent, and, since the nuncio's powers were given by Leo X who is now dead, there is now no legal nuncio in England. Also our commission is cast in general terms, merely empowering us to negotiate a league or alliance with any prince whatever, and it seems desirable to Wolsey that we should have specific powers to treat for a truce or peace with France under stated conditions. The commission of the French ambassadors, on the other hand, speaks only of a peace and not of a truce. We took this opportunity of telling Wolsey that your majesty was informed the French king preferred a peace to a truce as this commission proved, and hoped Henry and Wolsey would not reject such an offer. This idea did not displease the cardinal, especially since he thought a truce might be more quickly obtained by beginning negotiations for peace, and thereby drawing the French to consent to an armistice. We later learned from Henry's own lips that he much preferred a truce to a peace, and thought that if the French refused honest terms there should be further consultation on the next step.
Wolsey, to show his desire to hasten negotiations, consented to hear the French ambassadors that very night, late as it was. The following day he showed us the powers of the French, which, except for the defect mentioned, seem ample. He also showed us the instructions which the new ambassador had for the conduct of his negotiations in Scotland with the duke of Albany and other great nobles of that kingdom, which instructions seemed to the cardinal and to us also, full of fraud and trickery, as we shall write later more at length. Wolsey then went from us to the French ambassadors to move them to send a courier at once to Francis to persuade him to accept an immediate truce with your majesty, unless he wished to be exposed to an immediate declaration by the king of England in your majesty's favour and to the consequent ruin of the kingdom of France. Meanwhile, Wolsey undertook to re-draft the French powers and ours into suitable form and send his drafts to your majesty and to Francis, so there should be no defects or inequalities in the powers for the negotiation. To save time, he offered, meanwhile, to discuss terms with the French himself, so that, if he saw them inclined to reasonable conditions, we could then meet them in his presence and, if possible, conclude a truce as soon as our powers arrive.
On February 16th we again saw the king, having kept this letter open to add anything we might then learn. He received us very graciously, but would do no business of importance before dinner. After dinner he spent an hour in discussions with his privy council. Then he sent for us and, dismissing all his councillors except Wolsey, spoke to us at length. At first he complained, rather stiffly, of the conduct of the negotiations, saying, however, that he had no cause to complain of your majesty, whom he knew to love him as tenderly as he was loved by him, but of certain councillors whom he did not wish to single out. His first complaint was that your majesty showed no gratitude for the 100,000 crowns, but rather seemed annoyed that the sum was so small, and that you had taken a high tone, and threatened, unless the sum were increased, to come to an understanding with the French. We offered excuses to the best of our ability, and there was considerable conversation on this point, in which your majesty was in no wise blamed, but letters written by others. We omit, for brevity, a detailed report, and will only say that Henry seemed satisfied. He also complained of the reply to his request for the expulsion of the Scots, which, he said, he had not asked as a matter of treaty obligation, and we did our best to satisfy him on this point. Henry continued to speak of it further, but without reproaches, and to urge that your majesty comply with his request, because, he said, Francis had only sent Albany to Scotland because he feared the English would declare in favour of your majesty. The king has heard that the French are preparing a force of five or six thousand men to be sent to Albany's assistance, and this notwithstanding the fact that war with Scotland was publicly declared by the king's herald last week.
Henry expressed his wonder that your majesty wished him to declare himself immediately against the French, but after considerable discussion he was content that we should present your letters patent, which we did. Before Henry received them from our hands, however, Wolsey said, "I protest in his majesty's name that he is not obliged to do anything in this matter nisi amore, and that these letters will be used for the benefit of the common cause and not otherwise." He later made a notarial attestation to this effect.
At the end of a long speech full of most friendly phrases, Henry said, "Lord ambassadors, you must take what I say as proceeding from my love for the emperor, and my frankness as proof that our councils should be in common." He then said that your majesty should be careful not to neglect Italian affairs, where a small additional expenditure might be of great importance, and that if you wished to use the loan for that purpose you might do so. It might be best, he said, to send a noble embassy to Spain to persuade the Spanish that your majesty was forced to a certain delay on account of Italian affairs. He offered to send an English embassy with that sent by your majesty. The English would declare the union between the king of England and your majesty, and thus the Spanish would be more easily contented. Henry said he was willing to contribute to the subsidy for the Swiss, but it seemed to him better not to threaten them with war in order to keep them at home, but to continue negotiations in the hope of drawing them away from the French. We asked him to write speedily to his ambassador in Switzerland, directing him to co-operate with the imperial ambassadors. He agreed at once. We then asked what news he had of France. He replied that although Francis was making considerable preparations, he did not think he could do much at sea this year. Henry and Wolsey also said that Louise of Savoy had received Wolsey's letters, and that she and her son had been so intimidated by them that they were sending an intimate councillor, fully instructed and authorized, to conclude a truce with your majesty, and to beg Wolsey to prevent Henry from sending his defiance to the French. They expect news from France in a few days. Henry is writing again to Francis urging him not to lose this occasion to make a favourable truce with your majesty. Henry also said that the customary French pensions had not been paid, and that he had no hope of getting anything but words from the French. Our next letters will contain further details.
London, 18 February.
Contemporary decipher. Latin. pp. 14.
22 Feb.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien P. A. 2.
Lachaulx to Charles V.
I have been here since last Wednesday, but have been unable to leave for lack of a ship. If I take a poor one I risk being captured on the way, for the French watch the harbour continually, and are informed of my arrival. The deputy marshal and the other officers here have received me honourably and displayed the greatest possible affection toward you.
Last night two small ships belonging to the marshal arrived. He is having them fitted out to take me to Dover on Monday. They all tell me it will be impossible to sail earlier and I am obliged to believe them. The deputy or governor of Calais told me that a courier came through here yesterday going to England from the English ambassador to France. He had no news except that the king of France is at St. Germain-en-Laye and that there are three thousand Swiss at Abbeville. I have no doubt that as soon as the courier reaches Wolsey your ambassadors will send you all the news. The deputy also told me that all men capable of bearing arms had been summoned at Montreuil for the end of this month and, he believed, at other places as well.
Calais, 22 February at six o'clock in the evening.
Signed, Lachaulx. French.
23 Feb.
H. H. u. St. A. England. f. 2.
Charles V to Lachaulx.
You may know that when the bishopric of Pamplona fell vacant some time ago, we wrote to the late pope, Leo X, asking that no one be provided to the bishopric except by our nomination, as was right, since our realm of Navarre had been conquered in the service of the church, at the expense of Spanish treasure and Spanish blood. Pope Leo agreed to our request. Later, however, he provided Cardinal Cesarini to this bishopric, subject to a pension to Cardinal Colonna. These persons several times asked us for possession, which we were unwilling to grant. In view of their friendship for us, however, and of their offer to surrender their claims upon the bishopric, we agreed to recompense them.
Shortly afterwards the pope died, and the new pope was elected. Now the cardinals in question are among the prelates coming to Spain to apprise the pope of his election. Cardinal Cesarini has again asked for the possession of the bishopric or the satisfaction of his claims. Since he has displayed a friendly spirit toward us, has been serviceable to us in the past, particularly in the matter of the last election, and promises to be so in the future, we are willing to grant him possession of the bishopric of Pamplona, subject to the following conditions. We expressly reserve all our royal rights in the said bishopric. Before possession is granted the pope shall issue a bull, promising that, if Cardinal Cesarini should die at Rome, no advantage of that fact will be taken to provide any person to the bishopric except upon our nomination. In this bull, or, if a bull cannot be obtained, at least a brief, the pope shall recognize our rights, and those of our successors, the kings of Navarre and Castile, in the said bishopric. We trust your discretion to see that our rights are safeguarded in this matter.
[Dated in margin, February 23.]
Contemporary draft. French. pp. 3.
26 Feb.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng. f. 2.
Full powers to Bernardino De Mesa, Bishop of Elne, and to Charles Poupet de Lachaulx, and to Jacques Sieur de Caestres, jointly or to any two or any one of them, to negotiate with the ambassadors of the king of France in England a truce, armistice, or peace through the mediation of the king of England and the cardinal of York, with the object of procuring the peace of Christendom and the union of all Christian powers against the Turks.
Brussels, 27 February, 1522.
Signed, Charles. Latin. pp. 4.
27 Feb.
H. H. u. St. A. England. f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We have received yours of February 17th, and although your letters do not require any extended reply, nevertheless, to maintain the usual forms, we are answering briefly as follows :
First, as to the loan of 200,000 ducats : you say that it will not be greater than 100,000 but may be employed as we please, provided security in jewels is given. As to the date of repayment, you say it was fixed simply "before the beginning of the 'Great Enterprise'" in order to allow us more time, and that Henry's intention about declaring war at the time of our visit and about the navy was otherwise than you formerly wrote us. This is now said to be an error ; nevertheless, the English are now resolved on fixing the term of the loan at one year. We are pleased that the conditions have thus been mitigated ; it is better that the English should allege a mistake than that they should persist in their former terms. However, according to your first letters on this subject, the conditions were unmistakably phrased so as to prevent a declaration of war during our visit and obviate the obligation to maintain the navy. Therefore it is not surprising that we did not thank Henry for the offer of 100,000 ducats under these conditions, especially, since we had often written you that we intended to make repayment before the "Great Enterprise." At that time we would of course be able to repay the money, otherwise we should hardly be in a position to undertake an invasion ourselves. Now that the former conditions are relaxed, you will thank Henry for his offer and arrange the time and place at which the money will be delivered and all other details, sending us a draft of the bond required so we may consider it, and send it to you in final form. Nevertheless, since 100,000 ducats is not enough for our voyage to Spain, you will continue to try to obtain another hundred thousand, at least upon our arrival in England, so that we may continue our journey. Of this sum Wolsey may keep, as we have already written, the money already due him, and an advance against future payments.
We are glad you have presented our letters patent, and wish you to send us the document acknowledging their presentation with a note of their tenor. As to the protests, you answered the cardinal very well. These things must go as they may, but for our side the treaties remain in full force, and we do not intend to contravene them in any way.
We are glad to hear that Wolsey hopes to conclude a simple truce, and wish he had already done so. We quite agree that a simple truce would be more advantageous than a peace, but if we cannot have a truce on honourable terms, it would be better to discuss peace than to remain in our present hazardous position, with no help from anyone. It is easy to see by Louise of Savoy's reply to Wolsey that she and her son fear the presentation of our letters patent, and that it is the best means to induce them to make honourable terms. It was for this reason that we insisted on the presentation ; we knew what the result would be.
Since new powers are expected for the French ambassadors, we have also drawn up new ones for you according to Wolsey's suggestions. Along with you we have named Lachaulx, who is to take part if he is still in England. The powers are so drawn that they may be used by three negotiators, or two, or one, as the occasion demands, Continue, therefore, to press for a conclusion of the truce, and should this prove difficult, as we do not believe it will, let us know at once, in order that we may make other plans.
We are not surprised that you and Wolsey found the instructions and powers which the new French ambassador is taking to Scotland full of fraud and trickery. In this the French are behaving according to their usual custom. The person they are sending is well chosen to make use of such instructions. We had some experience of him when he was the French ambassador at our court during the Diet of Worms. He did nothing then, night and day, but conspire with everybody to embroil the business of the Diet. It will be a good idea to keep an eye on him, and to beware of the fruits he brings back from Scotland.
We are very pleased with what the cardinal said to the French, and that he has put such fear into them that they have written Francis that if he does not accept a truce at once he runs the risk of Henry's declaring in our favour. Assure Wolsey of our gratitude, and say from us that the best means of bringing the French to reason is to let them know that if they do not accept a truce Henry has promised to take the Netherlands under his protection, and guarantee them against invasion. We have no doubt that by his means Francis will be brought to accept whatever conditions for a truce Henry and I agree on. Wolsey's idea that the treaty should be ready to sign on the arrival of the powers is a good one.
As to the complaints of us which Henry made to you, saying that he imputed the fault not to us but to our councillors that, not only had we not thanked him for the offer of 100,000 crowns, but that we had taken in bad part the smallness of the sum, and had said or written threatening words to the effect that if it were not increased we would give an ear to other offers, meaning by that that we would turn to the French : we do not believe that Henry has any just cause of complaint either of us or of our councillors. We have always found our councillors good and loyal and devoted to the common interest, and should they prove otherwise we are not so young that we would follow their advice in anything that might alter the friendship between Henry and us. Although we did not thank him before for his offer for the reasons written above, we certainly did not take it in bad part, but used the gentlest means possible to remonstrate against the unsuitable conditions, which have since been changed, and to point out our need for a larger sum. It will not be found that we have ever used any threats, or suggested that we might turn to the French, as the king, our uncle, may clearly know, since we have rejected all the French offers, and have continually declared that we would not treat with them at all except under the mediation of the king of England. Henry has been advised daily of all the offers the French have made us.
Henry says that he did not demand the expulsion of the Scots from our realm as a matter of treaty obligation, but as a favour, just as he, on his side has done many things to which he was not obliged by treaty. It hardly seems that he has a just cause for complaint here. In matters not covered by the treaty there is nothing we would not do to please him, but in matters on which we have a reciprocal engagement it does not seem just that we should expel Henry's enemies from our lands, and he should not expel our enemies from his, since there is equal reason and occasion on both sides, and treaties should be observed equally by both parties.
We are grateful for Henry's affectionate and cordial advice that we should by no means neglect Italian affairs, but keep them on the same footing, and increase our Italian army even at a little expense, and for his suggestion that the money he is lending us be applied for this purpose, and that, if Spanish affairs seem endangered, it would be possible to provide an embassy of noble and worthy persons who could persuade the Spaniards to agree to our remaining here for some time on account of Italian affairs. We are also grateful for his offer to send, on his part, a notable embassy to Spain along with ours, to tell the Spaniards of our league so they may be more easily content with our absence. Tell Henry we are sure this advice springs from his affection for us and his zeal for the common cause. But this is a very important matter, on which may depend the ruin or the salvation of all our efforts, and we find the question so perplexing, with so many difficulties and risks on all sides, that we must consider further before following his advice. On the one hand, we know that the longer we remain here the worse matters get in Italy and Spain, so that we are anxious to leave as soon as possible. On the other hand, it is clear that difficulties in Spain cannot be remedied without our presence, nor Italy made safe without a great power, which is not so inexpensive as Henry thinks, since we have against us the French, the Swiss, and the Venetians, besides the duke of Ferrara, the duke Francesco-Maria, (fn. 1) and other rebels, and have not yet finished the conquest of Milan. Everything is in such a parlous state that we know very well we have not money enough to be safe on all sides, not with the loan Henry is granting us, nor with all the other money we can raise. Therefore we may be obliged either to lose Spain altogether, or to abandon the Italian enterprise, in which case it seems more reasonable to preserve our hereditary lands than to go about conquering what belongs merely to the imperial dignity, and from which we get more expense than profit. Consequently, if the reinforcements which we are now sending to Italy are insufficient to repulse the enemy in a short time, not having means to maintain them longer, we shall be obliged to dismiss our infantry and withdraw our men-at-arms to Naples. So it does not seem that we should tarry here, and we are hastening our departure for Spain as diligently as may be. We cannot apply the money of the loan to any other purpose. This is our resolution, taken by advice of all our council, from which we do not expect to depart.
Henry says he is willing to contribute to paying the Swiss, but does not think we ought to threaten them with war, suggesting that we continue to negotiate with them, and take some into our service, by which means they may be brought to adhere less to the French, and be drawn to our side. As to this, we are very glad of the contribution, and hope that it will be in ready money for immediate payment. But if the Swiss remain obstinate, the best way to keep them at home will be to put fear into them, and to employ against them that money which we would otherwise pay them, for, things being as they are, we cannot be confident of raising any number of troops among them ; they could not serve us against the French, and the expense might be useless because of the risk of their being recalled by their cantons, as happened before. Nevertheless, it will be well for Henry to write to his ambassador in Switzerland to associate himself with ours there, remembering that, if he hasn't the money to pay the expenses of the Swiss diet, he will not be able to assemble it, and be heard by all the cantons at once, since the diet we paid for is over. He will hardly accomplish much by going about from one canton to another, and there is no way to get anything done in a hurry among that nation without money. They take no account of anything else, and without it his mission will be fruitless.
We are sending you all the news that we have of Switzerland and Italy, which you will communicate as usual. Write frequently.
Brussels, 27 Feb., 1522.
Draft in Gattinara's hand. French. pp. 9.
28 Feb.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
On February 18th we wrote your majesty a succinct account of the progress of negotiations up to that date, and enclosed a copy of Wolsey's letter to Louise of Savoy. We have since received yours of the 18th, with Swiss and Italian news, which we at once communicated to the cardinal, and we have discussed several matters with him.
Wolsey has now changed his mind about the advisability of the pope's remaining some time in Spain, and even before the arrival of your majesty's letters he said it was necessary that the pope should go to Rome as quickly as possible, so as to avoid the dangers mentioned in your majesty's letters, and several others he had thought of. In all this Wolsey was full of praise for your majesty's zeal for the Holy See and the Christian commonwealth.
We told Wolsey of your majesty's unwillingness to change the itinerary of his journey to Spain, and adduced all the arguments in your majesty's letters and several others which occurred to us. Wolsey seemed considerably vexed, for, as we understand it, he is, himself, convinced that your majesty should be satisfied with the change suggested, and when he heard of your unwillingness to depart from the exact terms of the treaty of Bruges, he replied, as if somewhat disturbed, that your majesty and we constantly professed to seek his advice but never took it. "Certainly," he said, "I have not proposed this change in order to alter the treaties, but only for the common good. The emperor will see all the difficulties and inconveniences of this journey by land which I have mentioned, and many others. His objections to the longer route, increased danger of attack, and the dividing of the fleet, are of little weight, for he will spend much less time by ordering the fleet to Hampton or Portsmouth than by going on land to Falmouth, and Hampton and Portsmouth are far safer ports and have more prosperous winds, as any experienced sailor knows. The voyage to Spain from Southampton can be as short as from Falmouth. Nevertheless, since the emperor insists on the strict letter of the treaty, that is what he shall have ; we shall not depart from it a nail's breadth."
Wolsey is now more or less of your majesty's opinion as to the proper complement of fighting men for the fleets, and would fix it at about 5,000 men each. He is insistent that the ships should be provisioned for three months, in order that they may keep the sea without interruption. We remarked that, according to the treaty, the English fleet alone was supposed to convoy your majesty across the Channel, and that this could not be done safely without considerable force. Wolsey replied that the English fleet would immediately join your majesty's ships on the coast of Flanders, and that these should be instructed to this effect, and supplied with men and arms. Henry intends to send a proper person to your majesty to see that appropriate preparations are made on both sides, and we, the ambassadors, do not doubt that Henry and Wolsey will increase the fighting strength of the English fleet as occasion demands, and that the English will keep the sea and secure your majesty's safe passage to England and to Spain.
As to a descent on the French coast while you are in England, Wolsey is now inclined to your majesty's opinion, particularly since that is Henry's also. However, a final decision on that point is postponed until your majesty shall be in England, since an opportunity may arise to surprise and destroy the greater part of the French fleet.
After discussing these matters, we gave Wolsey the news from Switzerland and Italy. He was very pleased by the copy of Mettenye's letter from Switzerland, and conceived from it great hope of a successful issue in Italy, about which both the king and the cardinal are greatly concerned, so much so that they desire to see Italian affairs settled even at some risk to Spain. They do not believe the risk would be great, since in their opinion your majesty is stronger in Spain than elsewhere. In view of the letters we showed him, and of other news that he has from Italy, Wolsey believes that if your majesty displays diligence in providing for Italian affairs, the enemy's army may easily be defeated and expelled, after which it would be much easier to arrange a favourable truce. We took this opportunity to beg the cardinal to hasten the formal admonition to the king of France, according to your majesty's letters patent, to which he replied more gently than usual, that Henry, in the best of faith, would make use of the letters for the common good. He added that he was hourly expecting not only Louise of Savoy's reply to his letter, which he thought had been most efficacious, but also the agent sent by Francis and his mother with instructions and full powers to conclude a peace with your majesty, on whose arrival we should certainly know whether we could arrange a truce.
The cardinal gave us a draft of the commission in the form which seemed to him necessary for negotiating and concluding a truce, which we herewith enclose, in the hope that, if your majesty approves, such powers may be transmitted to us.
Juan de Barzia has arrived with credentials from your majesty, and, although the cardinal was absent, we gave him an order to visit eight or nine of the greatest ships now on the Thames, among them the Mary Rose which Henry intends for your majesty's personal use. I, de Caestres, conducted de Barzia over several ships, and since he is returning at once, your majesty may refer to his opinion. It is important to note, however, that, whatever diligence the English may show in the preparation of the ships, they will hardly be ready before Easter. It might be said that they are proceeding somewhat more slowly with these preparations because your majesty promised to warn them a month beforehand. It might be helpful if they were tactfully requested not to delay too much, lest the business be finished later than would be convenient. We have also received your letters about certain ships of Ostend, but we have not yet seen the cardinal about this, or attempted to do anything about it. Early to-day (February 27th) we received letters from Lachaulx, saying he had reached Dover on the 26th, and hoped to be with us to-day after dinner. We shall arrange an interview with Wolsey for Saturday or Sunday, and conduct him to court ourselves if the cardinal does not return to his house here. Before the end of the next two weeks we shall have a ship ready for him at Plymouth, though we do not know whether he will wish to sail from this port.
So much in reply to your majesty's letters. Certain observations follow for your information. The most important is that in our last interview with Wolsey, the cardinal, for what reason we do not know, before we had said anything of the contents of your letters, said to us with great emotion, his face deadly pale : "Ambassadors, say to the emperor from me that I, with a profusion of sighs, and as his good servant, beg him to act sincerely with this king, who is the faithful, useful, and good friend of his majesty. If he does so he will find here true and sincere friends, ready to do their utmost in his service. But he should remember that we are friends, not subjects." We sought to discover what was troubling him but he changed the subject abruptly, and would say nothing further. It may be guessed, however, that he was disturbed by a suspicion (of which we wrote in our last letters and which he must have gathered from the English ambassadors with you, or from some other source), that your majesty has suggested that unless Henry increases the loan to 200,000 crowns, you will negotiate in another quarter. This the cardinal took very much amiss. We do not know that this was the cause of his disturbance, which may perhaps have been merely an effect of his natural temperament which is somewhat emotional (natura propria qua aliquando solet sic turbari). Afterwards he chatted very affably with us of your majesty for some time.
At parting, Wolsey drew us apart and asked, smiling, whether your majesty had decided to go to Spain or to Italy. We replied you were constant in your intention of going to Spain, had made all preparations to do so, and to visit England, as had been agreed. Wolsey answered that he had not asked us this without reason, since much was told him that went on among your majesty's councillors. We replied that no doubt all Italy clamoured for your coming, offered infinite treasure on your arrival, and promised victory and glory, nevertheless your majesty would put off everything in order to complete the business to be done in England, and would then go on to Spain. We did not know, however, whether your majesty, warned by the king of England, and compelled by urgent necessity, might not change his mind, but we had no information except about the journey to Spain and could say nothing further except that all preparations had been made by land and sea for your coming to England.
We have learned from a secret source that two days ago Wolsey's messenger to France returned bringing secret letters. Nevertheless, Wolsey has so far said nothing to us about this, to our great surprise. We believe it must be either because the French reply was unfavourable, or because a reply was referred to the person to be sent by the French king. Nevertheless, we cannot but be uneasy about the cardinal's silence, and we hope he will have more to tell us on Saturday.
About the loan, Wolsey said one thing of importance in our last interview. His words were : "Although we cannot at present lend the emperor more than 100,000 crowns, nor can we promise more, nor should he count on more from us, nevertheless we shall do everything in our power to show that his majesty at need may rely on Henry as on a father, uncle and friend." On the same subject Henry himself said : "You may know us well enough to believe that in this business the emperor's prosperity is our prosperity. Let the emperor do his best to gather funds for his Italian affairs, and we shall do our utmost to give him part of our substance." Henry also said that he advised your majesty to make use of the German subsidy promised by the empire, for this Italian business, and that you could answer the objection that in this case you were bound to lead the army to Italy in person, by saying that you already had an army there. We mentioned certain objections to this course and the king spoke more frankly. To our remark that the imperial coronation would require your majesty's presence with this expedition, Henry replied, "His majesty can say if he likes that he will follow the army, and can afterwards allege the impediment of other business, and if the Germans grant him something handsome for the purpose, as seems likely, then go to Italy, but not otherwise."
Wolsey asks you to beg two favours for him of the pope : first, that he may receive freely the Abbey of St. Albans which the king gave him a few days ago ; second, that his legatine authority which he holds for five years, may be confirmed to him for life.
London, 28 February, 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, and Jacques de Caestres. Latin. pp. 9.


  • 1. Francesco-Maria della Rovere, duke of Urbino.