Spain: March 1522, 11-20

Pages 78-95

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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March 1522, 11-20

11 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Eng., f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
On March 7th we found Wolsey in council, occupied with musters of all men fit for war in England and estimates of the available arms and goods throughout the realm, and we sat with him among the councillors. Wolsey said to me, Lachaulx : "We are doing what we can to hasten your departure, knowing how important it is that you should see the pope and the king of Portugal as soon as possible, and we are getting ready the instructions for our ambassador who is to accompany you. He is empowered to conclude a treaty including England, the emperor, the pope, and Portugal, and other powers if there is occasion to add them, forming a defensive league covering all the territories now possessed or to be occupied by all the signatories, and providing for a joint war against any invader without exception, similar to the late treaty with Pope Leo X except insofar as concerns his relatives, the Medicis, whom it is now no longer necessary to consider. Jointly, with the master of the rolls and with the ambassador who is going with you, you will examine a copy of the former treaty and decide what should be deleted and what should stand in the interests of the pope and their two majesties. Our ambassador will also go with you to congratulate the king of Portugal on his accession, and to let him know the close and sincere union between the emperor and the king of England. He will advise him to avoid marrying in France or elsewhere before the emperor arrives in Spain, and will offer the king of England's condolences to the Lady Eleanor. Having done so, the English ambassador will either remain with you in Portugal, if you prefer, or return to the pope whom he will urge to hasten his departure for Italy."
We, the ambassadors, praised this decision and asked that matters might be hastened so that I, Lachaulx, might return to wait upon your majesty. Wolsey agreed, and it was decided that I should take my leave of Henry on Sunday, March 9th, and set out on Monday or Tuesday.
Wolsey then told us that Poillot, the French ambassador, who had been with him the day before, had presented letters patent from the king of France addressed to the king of England, asking for his aid, under the treaty of London, against your majesty. The cardinal showed us the letters and told us his reply to the French ambassador which, as he gave it to us, as was follows : "Ambassador, a little while ago I wrote to the mother of your king, stating what I thought ought to be done for the peace of Christendom, and advising a truce between the emperor and your king. To this a vague, pointless reply was returned, and the affair continues to be delayed. Now your king asks us for support against the emperor. I do not know whether pride or malice has blinded the eyes of your king and his councillors, but it seems to me that you are rushing to ruin. You know that, when I was at Calais, where I undertook so much labour for the common good, I heard the arguments on both sides, and told the chancellor of France that my judgment was against your king, all of which I later faithfully reported to the king of England. Therefore, if your king had been equally well informed, he would rather agree to honourable conditions of truce with the emperor, than urge my king to declare in his favour, for by rights the declaration should be on the other side. If your king and his mother do not behave otherwise, I cannot see how my king can avoid declaring himself against you, for truth and justice fight on the side of the emperor, as, indeed, I have fully informed my king. Also, both the common people of England and the nobility love the emperor because of their ancient friendship for the house of Burgundy, because of his relationship to us, and for commercial and other reasons, of which the chief is that the emperor is an honourable and virtuous prince. And our people, and even the nobility, hate your king for the many injuries he has done us, especially on account of the arrival of the duke of Albany, who, with the aid of your king, has come to Scotland to seek the crown, and the death of the young king, and to seduce the queen, our king's sister, and also because the pensions due us from you have not been paid, and because of French depredations and spoliation of our people by land and by sea, and for many other reasons. Since all this is known to your king, I do not know what spirit has led him to reject a truce with the emperor and to send these letters. Your blindness appears by your false hopes of recovering Milan, and by the little account you make of the friendly advice and labours of my king and me, who have been seeking to compose your troubles with the emperor. Therefore I must tell you frankly that, if you refuse a truce with the emperor, simple and commercial, things to remain as they are on both sides of the Alps, or on other honourable conditions, my king will declare himself against you without delay. I advise you to inform your king of this at once."
Wolsey told us that he intended to write to Francis in the same words he had used to the ambassador, adding three points : (1) if Francis refuses the truce, Henry will accept the protection of the Netherlands and undertake to safeguard them from all invasion, as Henry, himself, will write to Francis so that your majesty's request will be thoroughly satisfied ; (2) Wolsey will offer to take it upon himself to induce your majesty to except the duchy of Milan from the general truce ; (3) that Henry's declaration will not be longer delayed, and that this was the last letter he, Wolsey, will ever write to the king of France or to his mother, and the last warning he will send them, adding that his courier, who brought this letter, will remain two or three days in France and then, if given no reply, will return without one, and that, on his return, Henry intends to declare himself openly in favour of your majesty. Henry will also write to Francis in these same terms. We, the ambassadors, approved this language, and begged that the plan be put into execution at once. Wolsey promised that it should be done, and gave us copies of the letters which we are forwarding to your majesty.
Wolsey protested earnestly that no one in the world was more attached to your majesty, or more anxious to serve him, than he or Henry. He said, however, that when all the king of England's resources were calculated he could not lend your majesty more than 100,000 crowns, which sum was now ready for payment in London in good and legal gold money. We discussed the danger of sending it, and Wolsey suggested two methods, protesting, however, that the king of England would not be liable for risks in transmission. One device was to send the money in many small shipments. The other was that your majesty's subjects who have ready money in Flanders should advance it to you in return for bills on London. We said, in accordance with your majesty's instructions, that your majesty had not declared his gratitude for the loan sooner because the conditions attached to it had not been well understood, and that our obscure and incompetent method of writing should be blamed, and not any ingratitude. Now, knowing the true conditions and perceiving Henry's and Wolsey's affection, your majesty offered great thanks both to the king and the cardinal. This Wolsey took in good part. We then asked Wolsey to use his influence to obtain another 100,000 crowns when your majesty should arrive in England, for the payment of the fleet and other expenses for the common good. To this Wolsey, very indignant and disturbed, replied, "I see that you never think I act in good faith, you suspect me of haggling with the emperor like a merchant. You must believe that if it had been possible to give the emperor any more we should have given it at the beginning. You ought not to ask us for more than we can possibly do. All that we can we shall give freely. Nevertheless, although I protest that the emperor cannot count on any larger sum, I repeat that, when his majesty is in England, and we know how much money the people will grant to us, the emperor may consider any surplus over and above our own urgent needs as absolutely his own. But we must first provide for our own necessities ; we cannot promise the emperor anything more ; and there is no use talking about it any further." In spite of all our persuasions this was all we could get Wolsey to say. Therefore, seeing how decided he was, and knowing that he was not a good man to irritate, we broke off the conversation, and even decided to say nothing about the money you had assigned to him on the second hundred thousand crowns, lest he might think your majesty either wished to revoke your former promises, or to use the gift to compel him to grant a second 100,000 crowns. For the same reason we said nothing about not sending the jewels as you suggested in your letter of the third of March, although I, Lachaulx, before my departure, will mention the subject to Wolsey, in spite of the fact that, in our opinion, there is no hope of getting any money without the jewels.
All this discussion had gone on before the privy council. Afterwards Wolsey took us into his private chamber so we could speak more freely of other things. There we told him of the hopes your majesty had conceived of a truce through Wolsey's plans although, we added, you did not yet know how empty Louise of Savoy's reply was, and we urged him to press the negotiations. We told him frankly that, if a truce were not arranged, your majesty's affairs were in such a state that you would prefer peace, since you could no longer support your present burdens. All this Wolsey took in good part, and thanked your majesty for being so frank with him. He said that under the circumstances, if no truce could be arranged, it might be a good idea to listen to proposals for peace, to which the French were more inclined, especially if a peace could be arranged for five or six years. The end of this time would be best for consummating our plans and, everything being prepared for a war, conquering our own terms. Meanwhile, he said, if your majesty found himself too weak to expel the enemy from Italy, it might be better to abandon the campaign in Milan and seize Fuenterrabia, but, if possible, the French should be driven from Italy before the conclusion of the treaty. Nothing was added about the other terms beyond what we have already written. It seemed to us that Wolsey was more inclined to peace than usual, since he has never been willing to discuss it before, although the last instructions from Francis to his ambassadors here spoke only of peace and not of a truce. Wolsey repeated that if the French were unwilling to conclude a truce, and could not be brought to make peace at once under honourable conditions, with an immediate armistice, Henry would declare war on them. It does not seem to us, however, that much reliance should be placed on this talk of peace, or that the king of England will consent to it unless there is no hope of a truce at all.
We told Wolsey what your majesty had said about the French ambassador to Scotland, and he replied that, judging by the ambassador's words and instructions, Henry was certain that he had been sent for no good purpose, and that the duke of Albany had gone to Scotland with the knowledge and consent of the French king. We then told him of the offers of peace made to you through the ambassadors of the duke of Lorraine and the cardinal of Metz, all which you had referred to Henry and Wolsey. Of this he had already been informed, and thanked your majesty for dealing so sincerely. We said nothing of the expulsion of the Scots from your domains, and Wolsey did not mention it, so that matter sleeps for the present.
In view of the reasons set forth in your majesty's letters, Henry and Wolsey have now changed their minds about what they said about the priority of Italian needs, and they highly praised your intention of going to Spain at once. They even approved your majesty's suggestion that you would withdraw the men-at-arms to Naples and disband the infantry, if your present army proved unable to expel the enemy from Milan. Wolsey feared, however, that if your army proved too weak to defeat the enemy, it might be difficult to get the men-at-arms off safely. Henry and Wolsey still cannot agree that it is wise to threaten the Swiss. They think gentle means to be preferred, and the most that they will concede is that perhaps some force might be collected on the Swiss border as an indirect threat. We conveyed to Wolsey your advice that the English ambassador should be well provided with funds, since nothing could be done with the Swiss without money. He said he was acting on that assumption.
Wolsey asked us to request your majesty, in his name and Henry's, to send to England, as a favour and act of friendship, a hundred gunners or footmen accustomed to manage artillery. There were many such men, he said, in the Netherlands. We promised to write the request, though we expressed a doubt that so many could be found. Juan de Barzia has been here, and has been diligent in your majesty's service as you may learn from him in person. Just as de Barzia was leaving, there arrived in London some Spanish sailors who had escaped from a shipwreck of several Spanish ships on the English coast. It seemed desirable that he should take them with him to Flanders to serve in the fleet which, it is said, is short-handed. We hope your majesty approves, and will reimburse the expenses incurred ; there are sixty or seventy sailors and the expense will be about twenty ducats.
Wolsey said that, no matter what came of the negotiations for peace or truce, Henry intended to finish with the Scots. He means to begin war this spring and, as soon as there is enough green fodder to supply the army's horses, to invade Scotland with thirty thousand men by land under the command of Lord Talbot, and ten thousand by sea, and to make such war upon the Scots that, when the time comes, Henry can safely give his whole mind to the invasion of France.
The next day, Sunday, we returned to court as had been arranged, so that Lachaulx might take his leave of Henry, and we might learn what had been gathered from the French ambassador, who, we had been told, had received letters from Francis. As soon as we arrived, immediately after mass, we learned from the king himself that Francis' letter had been full of threats and complaints against the king of England. It set forth that the English ships now in the Channel were despoiling French ships and even hanging about outside French ports waiting for prizes to come out. Of this Francis spoke bitterly, as your majesty may see by the enclosed copy of his letter to the French ambassador. Henry replied that if the French warships were not first withdrawn from the Channel, and restitution made for their depredations, he would rather increase the number of his ships than diminish them, and that if Francis persisted in increasing his navy in the Channel, the full strength of both fleets would soon confront each other. Besides giving us copies of the instructions to the French ambassador, Wolsey also showed us a letter he had written to Louise of Savoy, as credence for Henry's ambassador resident in France, in which credence he declared that if Francis refused to accept a truce or to follow the cardinal's advice, the friendship between the kings of England and France could not be preserved. A copy of this letter is promised us, and we shall forward it. Wolsey also showed us the instructions for the English ambassador who is to go to the pope, which conformed to those given Lachaulx, with certain additions. We shall send them to your majesty as soon as possible, and I, Lachaulx, beg that you will let me know as soon as possible whether they have your entire approval, especially as concerns the proposed treaty.
After dinner we had a long interview with Henry in the presence of the cardinal, during which we spoke of matters which we had first discussed with Wolsey, and Henry, himself, repeated very cordially what Wolsey had already told us. One thing he said is worth repeating, namely, that though he earnestly desired to see a truce between you and Francis, nevertheless he did not intend to agree to any truce or peace prejudicial to your honour, but would rather expose himself to any danger. This seems important because Henry seemed to us to be speaking quite sincerely and wholeheartedly. He also said he hoped to compel the king of France to accept a truce, even if it had to be for two years, and, if that was not possible, he would discuss peace ; failing either, he would proceed to declare war, although it made him somewhat anxious to see that neither your majesty nor he, himself, was as well prepared for war as one ought to be against the French. He also told us that the French had been made very suspicious by English threats, particularly on account of the military preparations against the Scots, whom the king of France counts as Frenchmen, holding any war against them a war against himself, and on account of the close relations between Henry and your majesty. Henry also repeated Wolsey's opinions about your majesty's plans for Spain and Italy, adding that if your men-at-arms could not reach Naples in safety, they might throw themselves into Rome. He said he was obliged to confess that all his ships would not be ready for at least a month. Those, however, which are necessary for your safe passage from Calais to England, would, he said, be ready in fifteen or twenty days, and he asked your majesty to give him as much notice as possible of the time you wished to cross so that everything should be ready. He said that, as soon as the Spanish fleet reached Falmouth, he would order all his ships to join them and that if, before that time, your majesty wished to cross the Channel, he, himself, would have at sea not only enough ships to safeguard your crossing, but also enough to conduct the Flanders squadron to Falmouth, where all his own navy and both your majesty's fleets could unite to conduct you safely to Spain. Henry intends to send a man at once to learn the disposition of your ships, and the state of their preparations. He is still convinced that it would be wiser for you to sail from Southampton, but in view of what you have written, he will offer no further persuasions on this point. He said that not only was he eager to receive you here in England, but that he wished his daughter was ready to give your majesty in marriage. Wolsey said that your majesty should see her, and judge not only of her beauty but of her nobility.
Thereupon I, Lachaulx, begged Henry's leave to depart, which he granted with many affectionate words for your majesty, and final messages to the pope, and dismissed us to the queen. We found Catherine with the Princess Mary, who seems to me, Lachaulx, beautiful and prudent far beyond her age. The princess danced for us and played for us on musical instruments, and I do not think that any child of her age could equal her either in skill in music, or in grace and beauty. After we left the queen, we arranged with Wolsey that we should visit him after dinner on Tuesday, at which time final arrangements for Lachaulx's departure will be made, and a final decision taken on the matters in your majesty's letters. It seemed wisest to us to say nothing of what your majesty wrote on March 3rd about Henry's complaints of some days before, or about the Lady Margaret's letters, since the king and the cardinal are now fully satisfied on these points, and Wolsey seems to us thoroughly content with your majesty, and with the duchess whom he venerates above all ladies. We hope, however, that we have fully carried out the intention of your letters of the 27th of February and the 3rd of March.
London, 11 March, 1522.
Contemporary decipher. Latin. pp. 16.
13 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien P. A. f. 2.
Lachaulx to Charles V.
I have received yours of March 9th with the enclosures mentioned, by means of which, and by the copy of the answer sent to the viceroys of Castile, I shall be better instructed for your service. When I reach the pope I shall tell him as best I can of all the matters you have charged me with, without forgetting the affair of the bishop of Palencia or that of the lord chancellor's brother. I did not, however, receive a copy of the whole answer to the viceroys, but only of one article of what you wrote to the Constable, and certain articles written to the (commendador major) and the licentiate Zapata. I have also had a copy of another letter of yours to the viceroys carried by a courier who passed through this city yesterday, expressing your wish that the archbishop of Sens (fn. 1) should not be allowed to enter your kingdoms. I think you may remember, sire, that there was considerable discussion of this point and the opinion was expressed, by the bishop of Palencia among others, that such a course might turn out badly, and it was decided to give me a letter saying that notwithstanding what you might have written your viceroys, you wished the ambassadors of the king of France to be permitted to have access to the pope on such and such conditions to be set forth in the letter, and you also gave me two similar letters addressed to your viceroys in Aragon and in Catalonia. Now, since this new letter is of a date subsequent to mine, I do not know what I am expected to do, and beg you to inform me of your pleasure at once, since the case is urgent. As was said when this matter was discussed in council, the king of France may have reason to complain that you refuse him access to His Holiness, and take the occasion to attempt to have another pope elected, in which certain other Christian powers may be inclined to favour him.
I would not have believed that persons who were ambitious of being pope and who, I suspect, still have some hopes in that direction, could have brought themselves to speak other than the truth. I shall follow my usual habit toward His Holiness, that is to say, I shall tell him the truth, and I hope that, both on account of the love which he has always borne you and the things that I shall tell him, he will be better informed than he is now.
When I get to Portugal I shall charge myself with everything contained in your letters, but it would be helpful if you would write two words in your own hand, dated Feb. 12th, the date of my departure, which would serve me as further credentials with that king.
The English ambassador who is going with me has, as I have seen, been given a complete copy of the treaty of Bruges to show to His Holiness. Possibly it would be better were His Holiness to be advised of this treaty by you. On this point please write me your pleasure. I have also received letters you have written in favour of the bishop of Geneva and shall do my best in presenting them.
Captain Guiod, who accompanied me from Brussels, has proved very serviceable and I hope you will remember to reward him. I have written very little about the reception accorded us by the king, the queen, and the cardinal, but Anthoine, your usher, saw most of the festivities and can recount them to you. I am sending Lalemand the letters Wolsey wrote to you, and the other letters and enclosures mentioned in the joint ambassadorial letter. The articles for the treaty with the pope ought to be closely scrutinized.
You will have to forgive me if I write two words as a father. I beg you to instruct your ambassadors here that, should a truce or peace be concluded, they will put in a word for the return of the nephew of M. LeGrant, and of my two sons, who have been held prisoner without reason, as your majesty knows.
The king of England has given me a letter addressed to the queen of Hungary, in reply to the one I brought him, but I have had no reply as yet to the one I gave Queen Catherine.
London, 13 March, 1522.
Signed, Lachaulx. French. pp. 4.
13 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien P. A. f. 2.
Lachaulx to Charles V.
I write this, sire, only to thank you for the honour you have done me in writing me with your own hand, and for your words in appreciation of my services. Thank you, also, for ordering that the bishop of Palencia, Lalemand, and Cobos keep me advised of events as they have hitherto done.
You will have learned from our joint letter the issue of affairs here, which I could wish more according to your desire. I have heard you, in the past, praise two of your ambassadors, Don John Manuel and the bishop who is here, and not without reason, for without doubt they are good, wise and loyal servants. As I have seen, if it were not for his devotion to your service, this bishop could hardly bear the pain and illness he is suffering, for there is hardly a day in which he does not suffer from the gravel and pass some stone. He lives in hope that, as you have promised him, you will take him with you to Spain where he hopes to recover his health, and certainly, sire, you would do well not to lose such a servant. Would God you had many of them.
When we were last with Wolsey, after he told us the things written in our joint letter, the cardinal drew me apart and said that he praised God that he now saw that for which he had laboured so long, i.e., a true and perfect friendship between you and the king, his master, and that now he would not rest until you had achieved all that you ought to have as emperor. He said many fine things on this subject, and begged me to write you assuring you that, except for Henry himself, there was no one more earnest in your service than he, and that he put his person and goods entirely at your disposal. I think, sire, that you would do well to write him in friendly fashion from time to time and to send him frequent cordial messages by your ambassadors, since, in my opinion, you will in that way have from him and his master the greater part of what you wish. As I have said before, however, you must not place too much confidence in the above, but keep a close watch on your affairs. When we took leave of him, Wolsey said to me that he would send me the letters from the king and from him to you, and also the cipher. If he does not send them all, this evening, I shall ask the bishop to forward them to you. I wish to thank you for the handsome present which Henry gave me through the cardinal on my departure. He then led me into a room where there were displayed, on a buffet, about eighty pieces of plate, most of them beautifully gilt, which he presented to me.
Returning to the letter that you wrote me, I find the things told His Holiness very strange, and find it even more strange that he should believe any of them. It is true that when we were ambassadors together in Castile, before he was named cardinal, he often complained to me of M. le Marquis, whom you had stirred up to act in his favour, and after he had been made cardinal he was unwilling to acknowledge this help. But I never saw him bear other than good will toward you, and I expect to find him in the same mind still. Please trust me to remove from his mind all the false ideas which people have given him, as soon as I have crossed the sea, after which I promise you, sire, that for all my fifty-six years I shall ride post until I reach him. Really I hope that he will have no trust in the French, and that what has been written him will refresh his memory of the past. Long as I have known him I have never known him to be inclined in that direction.
The bishop of Ciudad Rodrigo might easily have said less than he did, and if he was charged with so much, his charge was unreasonable, for it is for you alone to dispose of your person in this world according to God's will, but you know very well, as everyone does, what the wish of all Castile is in this affair. (fn. 2) When I reach the queen, who still has not deserved to lose by her conduct toward the bishop the title of your best sister, I shall try to find out what all this is about, and conduct myself according to your orders. I have received a copy of the letter which your sister wrote you, and I have your answer which I shall use as you have ordered. She will be very glad of your decision to leave the Netherlands, of which I suppose she will have learned from the licentiate Maldonado before I see her.
I am very pleased, sire, with the assurances you were kind enough to give me about your visit here, which I find better than any other. You write to me in a way that would spoil a younger man completely, but I confess that the greatest pleasure I have now is to have some part in your good grace. Leaving, then, any discussion of my greatness aside for another time, I wish to advise you that, by what I have seen here, Roboan has a sect here as great as Luther had at Worms (sic). If you had not so often scolded me for writing my letters over again when there was little need, I should have re-written this one on account of the frequent blots which you must excuse since it is on account of you that I fail thus in my duty.
Thank you for speaking kindly to Guilford. You will be the better served thereby. Please do as much for the ambassador Wingfield, for on my faith, his brother has served you as well as possible, and has not misused your favour. The ambassador did not omit to write about your jeu de cannes and how you made him sit down at table with you. Such gracious little acts will win you many good servants.
It occurs to me that the pope or the queen of Portugal may say something to me which it were better that only such persons as you select should know. Therefore, since I have only such ciphers as are regularly used by the secretaries of your council, it seems to me that there is no harm in my sending you one which I made myself, and I beg that you will not consider this presumption on my part.
This evening I was brought a letter which was said to be in Henry's hand, for you. I showed it to the bishop of Badajoz, and when he saw that it had no superscription he asked Wolsey about it. Wolsey said he never put any superscription on letters written to you in the king's own hand. The cipher from Wolsey is herewith enclosed.
I have with me a clerk who has served me for six years and whom, with your permission, I should like to use to encipher and decipher correspondence, a task which I find very difficult. I shall not, however, make use of him without your permission.
Anthoine, who has acted as courier for you to the English court, has come with me this far. I have found him wise and diligent and I think you will be well served by him in your chamber if you have a place for him. He has never spoken to me on this subject, nor I to him, but I do my duty to you in saying that he seems to me better fitted for that place than most.
London, 13 March, 1522.
Signed, Lachaulx. French. pp. 6.
13 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Wolsey to Charles V.
I have received the letters it pleased you to write me, by Lachaulx, and, as you asked, presented him to the king, my master. I have no doubt that you will be well content with Lachaulx's report of the sincere and loyal affection which my king bears toward you. For my part I shall do everything in my power to maintain and increase your friendship, and to advance your affairs speedily against the common enemies of my master and you. In this service I shall not spare my body, my goods or my blood, as God knows.
From my palace of Westminster, 13 March.
Signed, Thomas, Cardinal of York. French.
13 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Wolsey to Charles V.
Having discussed with your councillor, Lachaulx, and your other ambassadors what they had to tell me of your affairs, I can think of nothing more necessary for your safe and honourable voyage to Spain, for the security of the Low Countries in your absence, and for the preparations against France which you expect to make in Spain, than a truce or armistice between you and France. I have drawn up two plans, one for a general truce, everything to remain as it now is, the other excluding only the duchy of Milan. I shall do my best to advance a truce according to one of these sets of terms, and I am now writing to the English ambassador in France, from whom I hope to have a favourable reply. Nevertheless, if King Francis makes difficulties about a truce and prefers a treaty of peace and friendship, it seems to me, considering the present state of your affairs, that some sort of treaty should be arranged without, however, impairing the important points of the treaty of Bruges. I have told the ambassadors of my opinion, which I beg you to take in good part, as proceeding from my zeal and devotion for your affairs.
From my palace at Westminster, 13 March.
Signed, Thomas, Cardinal of York. French. pp. 2.
15 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
After we had written your majesty on March 11th, we dined with Wolsey as we had been invited to do. He showed us at once the instructions for the English ambassador going to the pope, with which we were much pleased, for they seem to be well calculated to advance your majesty's affairs. The instructions relating to Portugal, which he also showed us, were likewise satisfactory. We hope to send copies in the next post, and also copies of the terms of the league to be concluded with the pope, and of Francis' letters to his ambassadors here.
After dinner we discussed the negotiations for the truce, in which Wolsey intends to proceed zealously, as we have written. He showed us the new instructions for the English ambassador in France, a copy of which has already been sent you. He expects an answer in twelve or fifteen days. If Francis then refuses honourable conditions, Henry will at once send him letters requiring and admonishing him to desist from hostilities and to make reparations. If the French refuse this, Henry intends to recall his ambassador at once and declare war unless, by that time, war has already been declared on account of your majesty's arrival in England, or unless they have shown willingness to accept a truce, general except for Milan. On this point we begged the cardinal to consider your majesty's interests, which we did so that he might think this proposal was his own rather than yours.
Wolsey told us that all the English ships in Bordeaux, with all the merchants and sailors and English goods, had been arrested by the French king, and that none of them would be permitted to return to England unless the ship taken by the English some days ago from French subjects, was returned. Wolsey takes this as an open breach of relations. He intends to treat all French subjects in England in the same manner, unless the English in Bordeaux are released, and reparation made.
Wolsey again asked us to ask your majesty to let him know when you would be ready to cross the Channel, so that the English preparations could be completed without unnecessary expense. If your majesty is unable to designate the precise day, Wolsey asks that at least you will indicate a time within fifteen days of which, more or less, you will be ready. In any event, provisions are being speedily collected for the fleet, for 5,000 men for three months here in London, and for the same number also for three months at Southampton. Wolsey still thinks that it would be far better for your majesty to sail from Southampton than from Falmouth, but he defers to your majesty's opinion.
Wolsey said he hoped that before you left the Netherlands you would hear of the conclusion of the truce, but that, in any event, you would not cut short your stay in England, for which so many preparations have been made. We digressed at this point to speak of entertainment to be offered you in England, and of the expenses for clothes, etc. which the nobles and gentlemen who accompanied you would be put to. Wolsey said some people thought that excessive expenditures on both sides should be strictly limited, but that, as far as the king of England was concerned, he could not agree, and he thought that Henry should celebrate the arrival of so great a friend with as great magnificence as he used in other festivals. Indeed, he intended much more than his customary display, and the people wished to show openly the joy in their hearts at your majesty's visit, as you will see. Wolsey said it seemed to him, however, that there was no occasion for great pomp on your majesty's side, since you ought to think of yourself as coming home. He explained that the English people ought to regard your majesty as the heir to the throne of England, should Henry fail to have a son.
We asked the cardinal whether the French ambassadors had presented Francis' letters patent to Henry, summoning him for aid against your majesty. He answered that Henry had refused to accept the letters, and they had not been presented except informally, to himself. I, De Mesa, asked Wolsey for a draft of the letters of provision which should be sent on his behalf, and it is to be given to me in three or four days. He said to me that he was not so eager for this, or for anything else, as for the destruction of the French, toward which he was leading the people of England by many devices.
We then spoke of the expulsion of the Scots from the Low Countries, for which Wolsey did not seem so eager as before. Therefore we did not repeat what your majesty had said about keeping to the letter of the treaties, but only your gracious words about being willing, as an act of friendship, to do anything just and reasonable for the king of England. We were the more inclined to pass over this point because the French will shortly be expelled from England and then, as an equivalent, the Scots may also be expelled. If anything more emphatic is said later on this point we shall reply as your majesty has directed. I, Lachaulx, took my leave and am to depart to-morrow for Plymouth where a ship awaits me.
London, 13 March, 1522.
Signed, De Mesa, Lachaulx, J. de Caestres.
P.S. After we had written this much on the 13th it seemed to us that I, De Mesa, should see Wolsey again to find out whether the courier had been sent to France with the letters for Francis. Wolsey replied that he had been sent after dinner on the 11th. He told me that the French ambassador had been with him the day before. He had then told the ambassador that the king of France gave these negotiations nothing but empty words, both as regards reparations to English subjects for goods seized by the French, and as regards the truce for which the king of England had laboured so hard. The French ambassador was so cast down that he withdrew to his lodging in tears. Wolsey told me that he had just treated the Venetian ambassador in a similar manner, and indeed I saw him coming out looking very gloomy. Wolsey told me he had just said that the Venetians hatched every war in Christendom, and that just now their senate was debating whether to join your majesty, or the Turks, and that if they went on in this fashion, supporting the enemies of the church and disturbing Christendom, and did not join themselves to your majesty, they would make enemies not only of the king of England, but of the whole world.
I asked Wolsey for a draft of the bond to be executed by your majesty in return for the loan. He said that he had begun to draw one up, and it should be given us at once. At this point, as we had all agreed I should, I broached the subject of the possibility of omitting the security in jewels, mentioning among other reasons, the risk of transmission. He said that, whenever the jewels were to be expected, he would instruct the English officials in Calais to have several armed ships guard them in transit. I also asked him for a draft of the grant of his pension from your majesty, which he promised should be ready at once. In this connection he showed me two similar grants from the king of France, one in recompense for the bishopric of Tournai, and the other for two abbeys which Wolsey used to have near that town. One of them was for 12,000 francs, the other for 8,000. We hope to send copies. One can calculate Wolsey's pensions, then, from the French, and also the thousand angels from your majesty, as amounting to 11,500 crowns, to which should be added his pensions on Palencia and Badajoz from your majesty, which would make 16,000 crowns and more. All this, however, Wolsey remits to your majesty's pleasure, and we hope that for 12,000 crowns a year he will not only be pleased with your majesty, but willing to forgo his pensions on Palencia and Badajoz. I, De Mesa, am writing at length to Lalemand about all this.
Wolsey said that although preparations were going on with the greatest diligence for your majesty's reception, he wished to have a month's notice instead of fifteen days, as has been said before, so your majesty should notify Wolsey promptly if you wish everything to be ready. We also, by common agreement, asked Wolsey for a prorogation of the treaty about the fisheries, but he put that off until the business of the truce should be settled. Should it succeed, he said, it would render the other treaty unnecessary. Should it not, he hoped that we should all go fishing for Frenchmen. We also urged Lady Margaret's Burgundian affair, about which the cardinal has not only written to France, as your majesty may see by the enclosed copy, but also expostulated vigorously with the French ambassadors.
At this writing I, Lachaulx, am leaving London in fine and favourable weather.
London, 15 March.
Contemporary decipher. Latin. pp. 7.
15 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
You will already have learned, from our letters, our decisions on all the points about which you have written. Nevertheless, your efforts, both to negotiate a truce and to arrange for a loan, are so necessary to the success of our affairs, that we are writing you again to urge you to be diligent and work by all means for a peace or a truce.
You will ask at once for a draft of the bond that we are to execute for the 100,000 crowns, and try also to arrange matters so that we shall not have to pledge jewels, but that the English will be content with the bond. This would be a real act of friendship on their part, and would avoid the inconvenience and risk of sending the jewels. Do not, however, let a refusal on this point interfere with the granting of the loan. Do your best to arrange for another 100,000 crowns to be lent us when we get to England.
We have made further inquiries as to the cause for Henry's complaint that we used threatening words to his ambassadors. We find that no threats were used, but only that his ambassadors wrote that they had been informed, as a matter of friendship, of the very advantageous offers made us by the French, and been further advised that, if Henry and Wolsey could not arrange an honourable truce, and would not grant us further assistance, we could not much longer support the expense of the war, and feared that we should be constrained to find some other solution of our difficulties. In this frank communication from one friend to another there was no intention of suggesting a threat. It is, as you know, exactly what we told Sir Richard Wingfield, what we have often written to you, and what we included in the instructions given to Lachaulx. We wish to make this clear now, so that neither you nor others may think that we have ever said anything else, or have in any way altered our intentions, for we intend in everything to remain constant to what we have promised.
Apparently the letter which Madame Margaret wrote to Wolsey has been the immediate occasion of all this fuss. We honour our lady aunt as if she were our own mother, and we are sure of her loyalty, good faith and affection for the king our uncle. On inquiry, we find that her letter contained the same words that we have mentioned above as spoken to the English ambassadors and written to you. That was all she said, and there was no reason to take it amiss.
We are sending you as usual our latest reports from Italy and Switzerland.
15 March.
Contemporary draft in a secretary's hand. French. pp. 3.
19 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England. f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We have received your letters of March 11th, and are thoroughly satisfied with your report.
We have read what Lachaulx had to say about the matters with which we entrusted him for negotiation in Spain, and we have examined the instructions given to the English ambassador, both for Portugal and for the pope, and we find them quite satisfactory. We are confident that you, Sieur de Lachaulx, will manage these affairs with your customary dexterity in accordance with our instructions. We are willing to leave details to your discretion. Should you already have left London, your colleagues will forward to you the packet herewith enclosed. Should you have sailed, they will see that it is sent by the first ship to Spain. We are entirely satisfied with your report of what Wolsey said about the presentation of letters patent by the king of France, and with his answer to Poillot. We are equally pleased with what Wolsey wrote to Louise of Savoy, and with Henry's intention to break off relations with France unless he gets a favourable reply.
As to the loan, we hope that when we reach England, and the king and the cardinal thoroughly understand our position, they will aid us all they can ; therefore, do not press them further for an increase in the amount. Wolsey's plans for the transmission of the 100,000 crowns seem wise, and we should be glad to follow them were it not that we are leaving so soon. As it is, ask Wolsey to keep the 100,000 crowns until we reach England, which will be the safest time of all to pay them over. What you said to Wolsey about peace in default of truce, was well thought of, and, if truce seems unlikely, you should persevere in negotiations for peace, for all delay is dangerous, and if the French insist on a peace rather than a truce, we shall not refuse it. Tell Wolsey that we are eager to do anything to please him, not only in the matter of the hundred gunners, but in much greater things. We are afraid, however, that it will be difficult to raise so large a number of really good gunners, since most of them are already enlisted in our service for the voyage, and we expect to take them with us into Spain. But if Wolsey wishes to send an agent here to recruit them, we shall do everything we can to help him, both here and in Germany. We are satisfied that Juan de Barzia is acting in our interest [in the matter of the Spanish sailors] and he shall be reimbursed.
Francis' threatening and complaining letter to Henry, and the pointless letter which Louise of Savoy wrote Wolsey, particularly the remark that the conduct of the duke of Albany does not violate the oath of the king of France because of previous violations of the treaties by English subjects, ought to be sufficient to show that the French hold their treaties with Henry already broken, and that he should now distrust them thoroughly. Assure Henry that he has our complete confidence as mediator with the French and that we know the love and sincerity with which he and Wolsey are acting toward us. They may be assured that they will find corresponding actions on our side.
You may also tell them that ships ought to be ready at Calais for our crossing in fifteen or twenty days, and the king's great ships should be at sea to safeguard our passage. Please see that this is done, and, although our departure is so close at hand, continue to carry out your ordinary negotiations, see Wolsey frequently, and write to us at least twice a week. You have not yet replied to what we wrote about the Netherland fisheries. Write fully on this point in your next, whether or not the final decision has been postponed, until we know about the truce.
Thomas Spinelly has said to Madame that we are supposed to provide hulks for the voyage. Find out exactly what ships the English will have at Calais to transport us to England, so that we may be able to supply any deficiency. Also we wish to be constantly informed of Scottish affairs, since we consider that anything that touches the king, our uncle, touches us as well.
Brussels, 19 March, 1522.
Contemporary draft. French. pp. 5.
20 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We have received yours of the 13th and 15th of March. Your reports, and the copies of the instructions of the English ambassador to the pope, of the terms for the treaty with the pope, and the instructions to the English ambassador in France are all very satisfactory. It is pleasant to learn that Henry and Wolsey show a frank and friendly disposition, and you may assure them that they will find the like on our part.
You have done well to arrange that Wolsey should propose the exclusion of Milan from the general truce as if it came from himself. By this time, you have already had our letters setting the date for our crossing, as Wolsey asked us to do. We shall hold to it as closely as possible. We note that Wolsey still thinks we should sail from Southampton. We shall be glad to discuss this with him in England. It would indeed be pleasant if truce or peace could be concluded before we leave the Netherlands, as Wolsey says, but we do not wish to tarry here until an unfavourable season for sailing, when there are many calms, and this is another reason for hastening the conclusion of the truce. We are rather of the opinion that no great display or pomp should attend our visit to England, and for our part intend to use none. We would rather go privately to visit the king, our uncle, as if to our own house, and desire friendship and familiarity rather than great pomp, for the money could be better spent for other objects. Tell Wolsey our opinion, so that he may proceed as he thinks best. We are pleased with Henry's reply to the French ambassador. Francis had no right to ask for aid under the treaty, since we were the first to be invaded, and the first to present letters patent. You have managed things well about the expulsion of the Scots. We are glad to have a draft of the bond for the loan although, as we wrote you, we are putting off the rest of that negotiation until we reach England.
You did well to forward the necessary papers about Wolsey's pension, and we shall try to see that he is satisfied. We shall also take care of the matter that Lalemand has referred to us about the pension on Badajoz, for we know you, bishop of Badajoz, to be a true Christian and our true and loyal servant. We shall provide a man to take your place in England, as you write, and would be glad of your advice as to the person to be chosen.
Thank Wolsey for what he said to the ambassadors of France and Venice, and ask him to continue in this fashion so that the Venetians, and the Swiss as well, may perceive our friendship, and the slightness of the understanding between England and France.
In communicating these letters, as is your custom, to Henry and Wolsey, you will add on our part whatever good words you think conducive to the preservation of our friendship.
We are sending you a packet containing our reply to Lachaulx, which we hope may reach him before he sails. Please forward it with diligence. We are also sending you the latest news of Milan.
Brussels, 20 March, 1522.
Draft in a contemporary hand. French. pp. 4.
20 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 2.
Charles V to Wolsey.
I have received two letters from you dated March 13th, and by these and by report of the Sieur de Lachaulx and my other ambassadors, I have learned of the great pains and labour that you are taking in my affairs, and the sincere and cordial affection you bear me. I thank you, and I am assured by my experience of your integrity and virtue that, wherever you are, the common affairs of the king, my uncle, and myself will prosper and our friendship increase. Therefore, my good friend, knowing your goodness and prudence, so that I hold you for my first, chief and most faithful councillor, I need say no more than to beg you to continue as you have begun, and to repeat that my complete trust and hope are in you, as I have written to my ambassadors more at length, whom you may believe as myself until I arrive, when I shall say more. Always your good friend, etc.
Brussels, 20 March, 1522.
Contemporary draft. French.


  • 1. Antoine Bohier Duprat, cardinal, archbishop of Sens, chancellor of France.
  • 2. i.e. the emperor's marriage. The bishop was charged by the council in Castile to negotiate for his marriage to a Portuguese princess.