Spain: March 1522, 21-31

Pages 95-112

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, 21-31

22 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
We wrote last on March 15th, and have since received your majesty's letters of March 10th and 15th. As soon as we received the letters of the 10th, we went to Wolsey who, we found, had that day been stricken with tertian fever, and had taken to his bed, so that we could not discuss anything with him. We did not see him during the three following days, although we constantly solicited an interview. On the second day following we decided that, since it was most important that the cardinal should know the time of your majesty's arrival in England, we should write him, telling him that you would be in Calais on April 10th, and that, if we got no reply, we should go directly to Henry. When Wolsey received our letters, notwithstanding his infirmity, he gave us an appointment for March 20th, on which day after dinner we saw him and laid before him the contents of your majesty's letters of the 10th. He said that he could not make a decisive answer at once because of his illness, and asked us to dine with him on March 23rd, at which time he would have an answer prepared on all points. He did reply in part during the interview, asking us not to take what he said as final. Nevertheless, we think we ought to write you now to send you the draft of the bond for the loan, to inform you that the money is in London awaiting your majesty's commissioner, and to send you the papers for Wolsey's pension about which I, De Mesa, am writing more at length to Master Jehan Lalemand, from whom your majesty may learn more of this business. Also we thought we ought to let your majesty know what we had learned from the cardinal as nearly as possible in his own words.
Of the announcement of your majesty's arrival, Wolsey said he was surprised the time was so short, and that the whole English fleet would hardly be ready by April 10th. After a little thought he added, "Just the same, we shall be able to hold the Channel, and safeguard the emperor's crossing to England, and although the entire fleet will not be ready, we shall have enough ships at sea for this purpose, for we shall put such diligence into our preparations that the navy at sea will be strong enough to defeat the whole French fleet. The emperor's person is as dear to us as that of our own king, and we shall keep it as safe, which we can do the more easily since the French fleet will not be ready to put to sea for three months. There is no doubt, therefore, that we shall have enough armed ships to convey the emperor in safety, and we shall provide others for his baggage and household. We shall undertake the whole expense of this since his majesty asks it, and it is a small thing, but we shall not be able to provide for the transport of the horses. Therefore we must ask for some of those ships of Flanders called hoys ("quas hoias vocant") for the horses, since these ships are much more commodious than ours. If the emperor will provide transport for the horses, we will provide for the men. We are all delighted at the emperor's friendship and confidence, and we shall transport him in perfect safety. Three or four hours after he reaches Calais and takes ship there, he shall be in Dover where I shall meet him. I shall conduct him at once to Henry, at Canterbury, and we shall then escort him to London where he shall see how delighted our people will be at his arrival and what a place he holds in English hearts.
"Since his majesty very prudently wishes to keep the time of his crossing a secret, and to let it appear that he will take ship in Zeeland, we shall for our part, dissimulate as much as possible and for that reason it will be better that we should not send to Calais the persons whom we had decided ought to receive his majesty there. We had been going to send the archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Marquis (fn. 1) and other prelates and nobles, but, to keep the matter secret, we shall now send only trustworthy persons who can be of service to his majesty. As to the number of persons whom he should bring with him, although there is a great shortage of food here at present, we wish the emperor to appear to our people not less than Cæsar. It should be enough if he has with him some 500 nobles and gentlemen with their servants." (We, the ambassadors, did not question this estimate, though it hardly seemed likely that your majesty would wish to bring 500 gentlemen from Flanders since many of your household would have to be left in those parts.) We are to confer further about the number of your suite on Sunday.
Wolsey then called the Vice-admiral (fn. 2). and interrogated him in English about the disposition of the ships, and whether they would be ready by April 10th, especially those necessary for your majesty's crossing. He said they would, and Wolsey enjoined him to bring on Sunday a list of the ships nearly ready, that we might choose those on which final preparations could be hastened, so that they would certainly be able to put to sea at the appointed time, and your majesty could be advised concerning them.
This is the substance of all that has been decided so far. To-morrow, Sunday, when we have seen Wolsey again, and had his final decisions, we shall write further details. We gave Wolsey the news we had of Swiss and Italian affairs. He said he had heard elsewhere that the French and Swiss were being successful in Italy, but that he had lent it no credence, since the same news which your majesty wrote had also come to his ears from other trustworthy sources. He asked for copies of the news letters, which we gave him.
Lachaulx having departed when your majesty's letters of the 10th and 15th arrived, we sent a courier after him with the packets addressed to him, and copies of your letters and of all the news from Italy and Switzerland, including the letters of the duke and of the city of Milan to your majesty, so that he might be fully informed and able to inform the pope of all these.
Wolsey told us that immediately after Easter Henry is sending an army of 16,000 men against the Scots, to burn and ravage, and to prevent them from sowing their fields. In August he intends to invade Scotland with 30,000 men by land, and 5,000 by sea ; Wolsey showed us the writs for the mustering of this army.
There is a rumour current in London, said by many to come from France, that La Palice and Captain Bayard and ten or twelve thousand Frenchmen have been killed by your army. (fn. 3) Whatever the news may be worth, the victory was celebrated here in England with great alacrity and rejoicing and an extraordinary amount of noise, as your majesty may learn more at length from Juan de Barzia.
London, 22 March, 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, and Jacques de Caestres. Latin, contemporary decipher. pp. 5.
23 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien D. D. Abt. B. f. 4.
Henry VIII to Charles V.
On the 20th of March we received your letters dated at Brussels, 10th March. We are very happy to learn of your eagerness to visit us, and of the diligence with which you are preparing your voyage to Spain, in the course of which you intend to visit us in England according to the treaty of Bruges. You therefore ask us to be ready to guard the Channel and to transport you from Calais on April 10th.
Although your early arrival in this kingdom is the thing we desire most, and which will most rejoice all our nobles and subjects and most advance our common affairs, nevertheless, greatly to our regret, we cannot be ready on so short notice ; the town of Calais will not be prepared for your reception, and the nobles whom we wish to greet you cannot be at hand, because we have sent them out to view the musters of all our people, and to put everything in order for the defence of the kingdom, the war against the Scots, and our great invasion of France. Should we recall them now, our common affairs would be impeded, and all these labours of preparation lost, since no time is so convenient for them as this present Lenten season.
We were unable to learn in all our conversations with your ambassadors that you had decided to be with us so shortly, and we are therefore completely unprepared, since, not having had the full month's notice agreed on, we have allowed our nobles to depart, and have not collected sufficient provisions suitable for Lent. We beg you, therefore, to delay your arrival in Calais till the 26th of April, the Saturday after Easter, at which time we shall be ready with ships to guard the Channel and to convoy you and your suite. We shall then be happy to welcome you in England as our well-loved son should be. By this time we may also have learned what the French king intends about a truce, information which would be very useful for many reasons. All this will be explained to you more at length by our ambassadors for whom we beg credence.
Whitehall, 23 March, 1522.
Signed, Henry ; countersigned, Meautis. French. pp. 3. Calendared in L. & P. III, 908 from a draft in Ruthal's hand in the British Museum.
23 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
We wrote last on March 22nd, inclosing drafts of the bonds for the loan and for Wolsey's pension, and reporting Wolsey's tentative reply to the principal points in your majesty's letters. As had been arranged, we dined with Wolsey on the 23rd, having just received your majesty's letters of the 19th.
When we came in, Wolsey immediately showed us a draft of a letter which the king of England is writing to your majesty in reply to yours of the 15th, excusing himself for many reasons for being unable to receive your majesty in his kingdom before the 16th of April. In discussing this letter, we noticed among other things, that Henry had said he could not be ready on April 10th, since he had not been able to learn that your majesty would be here before Easter. It seemed to us that this point touched our conduct of the negotiations, and we wished to have the clause removed, although we felt certain that, whatever was written, your majesty would have no doubt of our faithful services. During a considerable discussion, we urged that for the sake of the plain truth it should not be said we had reported that your majesty would not be here before Easter, but merely that Henry had been unable to learn whether you would be here before Easter or not, and that he had asked for a month's notice of your departure, which we had promised. On this understanding, Wolsey, to avoid unnecessary expense, had postponed certain preparations until after Lent, so that for this and many other reasons, the English preparations were not quite complete.
After dinner Wolsey told us he had just had letters from Wingfield and Thomas Spinelly, who wrote that your majesty intended to keep Easter in Bruges and would be in Calais on the 26th or 27th of April, of which he was very glad, since the English could not be ready to receive you on April 10th without considerable inconvenience. We replied that there was nothing in your majesty's letters to indicate any change of plans. Wolsey said he was surprised there should be a discrepancy between our statement and that of his ambassadors, and that he was inclined to trust the latter, since the English ambassadors would write only what had been plainly told them. We insisted, however, that we had not been charged to speak of any date except April 10th. Wolsey then told us that, some days before, all the magnates of the kingdom had, by the king's order, gone out through the various counties to enroll the people, and examine the arms and all the households in the kingdom, a task of great importance for future business, which could not be done in time unless during Lent. The reason was, he said, that immediately after your majesty's departure from England, Henry intended to hold parliament, in which he was to ask his subjects for the subsidies and services necessary for his great affairs, especially the expedition against the Scots, to be made this summer by land and sea, the invasion of France, and many other things. If, before parliament was held, the king did not know the state of the kingdom, he could not ask for a suitable amount (quantitatem convenientem a populo), especially since he intended to manage affairs so as to leave no cause for popular discontent, and even, as far as possible, to proceed by free and voluntary contributions. Now, he said, it would be extremely inconvenient for the king's affairs if the nobles and gentlemen scattered through the kingdom on his commission, should have to abandon this business and return to court to welcome your majesty, leaving their tasks incomplete, since immediately afterwards parliament would convene, and the war against the Scots, which is to be begun by Talbot, the Grand Master, with 15,000 or 16,000 men, would, during the summer, be pressed by Henry in person leading 30,000 men. The success of this campaign is of the greatest importance, since the Scots will have to be completely defeated in order that Henry may afterwards turn his entire attention to the invasion of France. Therefore Wolsey, on Henry's part and his own, prays your majesty to delay your arrival at Calais until the 26th of April. No unfortunate results, he said, could arise from so short a delay, and he added that the necessary ships for your majesty's crossing could not be ready by the 10th, and even if, by almost impossible diligence, the ships were ready, the provisions would not be. He also said that neither in Calais nor in England would the preparations be completed, before the 26th, to receive your majesty with due honour. The city of London, which is especially anxious to show its love for your majesty, needs more time to get ready. Among other reasons for delay, he urged he had not received your majesty's announcement until March 20th. That is very true, since for four days we had besieged his antechamber, and not been able to have an audience in which we could present your majesty's letter. He also pleaded the illness, which would prevent him from hastening the preparations as fast as he would like, and said he hoped your majesty would take this in good part, and understand that no one was more desirous of your presence in this kingdom than he. He said he knew that a person of your majesty's prudence would also give weight to another reason for delay, which was that the holy calm of Lent would be unduly disturbed if Henry were obliged to receive your majesty during that time. We promised to write all these things to your majesty and deliver your response.
After this the cardinal outlined to us the plans for your majesty's crossing, and for your reception in England, and for the whole time of your stay here : ten warships (names and descriptions of which will be brought by the present courier) manned by 1,400 men, will sail from the Thames on April 12th, and go up and down the Channel, sweeping it and the adjacent sea clean of all enemies, as far as the French coast. Since the admiral and the vice-admiral do not wish many ships to show themselves off French ports, spies will be sent by land to ascertain the extent of the French preparations. Besides the navy, a sufficient number of ships will be provided to transport your majesty's household and baggage and your entire train. These ships will be sufficient for a thousand persons. For the horses, the number of which the cardinal estimates at 500, without any intention of limiting your majesty to that number, although that number seems to him sufficient, your majesty is to provide some of those Flemish ships called 'huas.' When we expressed some doubts as to the safety of those ships on their way to Calais, the cardinal said that if they did not sail before the 14th or 15th of April they would be quite safe and could proceed to Calais, confident that the English warships had command of the sea. Should your majesty arrive in Calais at any time after Easter, all the transport will be in readiness, and if winds are propitious you may cross on Saturday or wait, if you prefer, until Monday. By that time the entire English fleet will be between the French and the line of your crossing to Dover, ready to meet any attack, so that your majesty may proceed safely to Dover or, if necessary, return to Calais. It is intended, however, so to dispose the English fleet that all the ships now in France will be unable to attack your majesty. As soon as you have crossed, the English fleet will go to Zeeland to convoy your fleet to Falmouth, being joined, as they return through the Channel, by the other great ships of the king of England now in the Thames, which will be ready by that time. The combined fleet will then proceed to Falmouth, where they hope to effect a junction with your majesty's fleet from Spain. This is the plan of the cardinal and of the English council for safeguarding the Channel. When we observed that 1,400 fighting men was not a large number to keep the Channel, Wolsey replied that according to the report of his spies, a much smaller number would suffice.
Your majesty will be received at Dover by the cardinal, who will be there to await you on Friday or Saturday, and you and your suite will be lodged in the castle as you were before. (fn. 4) If you prefer, you may wait there the following day while the horses are disembarked, a whole day's work, or you may go at once to Canterbury where Henry will meet you ; thereafter he will bear you company constantly until you say good-bye to each other, and dine with you daily unless you prefer to dine alone. You will then be conducted to Greenwich, to the royal palace where Henry lives most of the time and where he was born, and thence to London where both your majesties are to be welcomed. Thereafter you will go to the queen's palace at Richmond, and then to that of the cardinal, called Hampton Court. From there to Windsor, where the Order of the Garter was founded, and so on to a seaport. On this point, Wolsey added that Henry would be grateful if you would say good-bye to him before you reached Falmouth, since he would then be able to return in time to open parliament on the date set.
It is the thought of the king and the cardinal that your majesty and all those who customarily attend you when you are at Brussels, shall live, all the time you are in England, at Henry's expense, as his guests. The other nobles and gentlemen who accompany your majesty may buy what they need, and Wolsey will see that there is no lack of necessary provisions or of wagons and horses for those who need them.
We have thought it best to advise your majesty of all these details, and we must transmit also two requests of Wolsey's : first, that your majesty will be good enough to send him a list of all the persons who will accompany you to England, their stations and dignities, and the number of their servants, so that everything necessary may be provided to receive them ; second, that your majesty will let him know as soon as possible when you will make the crossing. It seems to me there is not much question on this point, since they have said they will not be able to receive you before the 26th of April. As another argument for the delay, Wolsey said that perhaps by that time something would be known about the truce, which it would be better to have settled before your arrival. You will doubtless be acquainted with all these points by the English ambassadors at your court.
To reply to your majesty's letters of the 10th and 15th. As to the money for the loan, Wolsey said it is ready in London and at your majesty's disposal. If you wish it to be kept here, it will be ready promptly on your arrival.
We told Wolsey that if he would send his own agents into Flanders or Germany to recruit the engineers or master gunners which he desired, your majesty would give them every assistance. He replied in about these words : "We had certainly hoped to have another sort of response in this matter. If we had wished to hire these men ourselves, there would have been no reason to trouble the emperor about it. We could raise a thousand if we needed them, but we had thought that the emperor would be glad to oblige the king in so small a matter by sending him the men." We replied that not every prince could raise such troops, and that, if your answer was unsatisfactory, the fault was ours, since we had not understood nor written that the king of England wished to have these men at the emperor's expense, and not at his own. Wolsey replied, "Even if we had said nothing of the sort the emperor should have offered to provide the men, or if not as many, at least half of them, or some part of them, and if the very best men of such kind could not be found, at least mediocre ones, and he might send them to us, paid for at least a month or two, after which we would not dismiss them to beg, or to depart. We are paying 3,000 infantry for the emperor, and doing everything possible for him ; it would be pleasant to see some signs of gratitude on his part, and the sending of these men would more rejoice us than a greater thing." We thought your majesty ought to know about this.
We told Wolsey that you had specially instructed us to convey your warmest thanks to Henry for his promise not to arrange a truce prejudicial to your honour. Wolsey was pleased and said that Henry was as firm in that intention as he was himself. We also said that if the French were more inclined to a peace than a truce, your majesty would not r efuse to make peace. Wolsey seemed very pleased at this, more openly pleased indeed than we have ever seen him. He said his heart rejoiced at this prudent decision, which squared completely with his own intentions, and for which he would give his very blood if necessary. He said : "I have never desired anything so much as that the emperor should have our friendship, for which I am now laying the foundation. I hope to see his sons before my death. Now if we can find some good means of getting along with the French, and dissimulate with them until our friendship is assured forever and we are well prepared for war, then the emperor and we together can fall upon the French and wipe them out. Nothing would please me more. Meanwhile we can continue to draw the French pensions, and the emperor will not have to pay this large sum. If things work out that way, I shall be best pleased, and I shall omit nothing which might lead to it."
We then asked him to hasten these negotiations, since your majesty could not much longer sustain so great a burden alone, and would be compelled to rid himself of it by one means or another. He replied that to win Heaven he could not use more diligence than he was now employing in this affair ; that he was hourly expecting a reply from France ; and that, if the French were not inclined to a truce, he intended himself to propose a peace, and, if the French were so unreasonable as to refuse both, war would follow. We, the ambassadors, cannot see how all these negotiations can come to anything, since the French delay matters continually, and, on the arrival of your majesty in England, everything will be cut short by Henry's declaration of war, unless both parties agree otherwise.
We conveyed to Wolsey your praise of his reply to Poillot, and our own thanks for speaking so sharply. He replied he would treat the French ambassador more sharply still, until the French agreed to a peace or truce. We also conveyed your thanks for the decision to declare in your favour should the French refuse to heed his admonition. Wolsey said he was firm in this intention, and added that, although he would first try peace, if the French did not accept promptly, Henry intended, on your majesty's arrival, to fulfil all his promises. Of Louise of Savoy's letter Wolsey spoke harshly, and said it was clear that the conscience of the French was hurting them, and that the letter showed they were the first violators of the treaty.
As to the Hannart affair, Wolsey has not made up his mind. It seems to him full of suspicious circumstances. He said he wanted to think it over, and he advised your majesty to keep your affairs to yourself and to your most secret councillors, and to exclude all those of whom there can be any suspicion. We have certainly not got to the bottom of this matter ; if we hear anything we shall let your majesty know. Secretary Abbatis Wolsey considers a spy and a worthless person of whom your majesty should beware.
We shall do our best to see Wolsey frequently and write your majesty at least twice a week, but we cannot always do as well as we would, since the cardinal is always busy, and our own affairs sometimes compel delay. We have instructed Juan de Barzia to inform your majesty about the English naval preparations. He has seen everything, and your majesty has been well served by him. Lachaulx left March 14th ; he should have reached his port to-day and if the wind is favourable be now on board ship. It seems doubtful, therefore, whether your majesty's last letters will be delivered to him in England. I, De Mesa, sent my own courier with the letters. May I remind your majesty that, at the beginning of January, I sent another courier of my own, an Englishman, with letters of your majesty's to the regents in Spain, and spent a considerable sum on the ship? I hope your majesty will be pleased to order that I may be paid what I owe the merchants on account of these couriers ; I have sent Lalemand an account.
A few points in your letters remain to be replied to in our next.
London, 23 March, 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne and Jacques de Caestres. Latin, contemporary decipher. pp. 13.
24 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien P. A. 2.
Lachaulx to Charles V.
Before I left London I wrote you, jointly with the Bishop of Badajoz and M. de Caestres, about everything we had been able to do in furtherance of our mission, and I have no doubt you have received the letter by the hand of Anthoine, your usher. Since then I sent you letters by Don Alonzo de la Cueva, but nothing of importance. I have made such speed since, that I reached here yesterday ; the English ambassador who is to go with me will arrive to-morrow, so he writes, and with him the nuncio who represented the late pope in England. Had I reached here two weeks earlier I should still be no farther on my journey, for yesterday when I got here, one could still see, four leagues from the haven, the courier whom I sent from London on the 10th of this month, and with him he who passed through London on the 12th. Twice they have got as far as eight or ten leagues from port and then the wind failed them. It has been so bad that I do not know whether they have been able to get farther or not, but the sailors here think the wind will not change until the new moon.
Yesterday I met two couriers on the road, one a gentleman named Gracien with messages from the queen of Portugal, your sister, and the other, one of the archbishop of Tarragona's couriers with letters for you. They both gave me letters, the queen's being simply credentials for Gracien, whom I hope your majesty will please to hear (my letter merely asked me to aid him) and speed his business, for as I understand from him, the princess has need of being consoled by you, in whom she places all her hopes. Gracien told me that I should need a certain power of a kind he will describe to you ; if that already given me is insufficient I hope your majesty will send me another and instructions with it. I know, sire, that your love for the lady concerned is such that I have no need to beg you to hasten the conclusion of Gracien's mission. The letter which the archbishop of Tarragona's courier gave me likewise said only that he was being sent to your majesty on affairs of importance, and begged me to help him dispatch them promptly.
I received yesterday two letters from you of the 10th and 15th of this month, which the bishop of Badajoz forwarded by his own courier. As for what you have commanded me to ask of the pope for Wolsey, that lord, on taking leave of me, said that he would give a memoir of his affairs to the English ambassador, and asked me to support the ambassador on the part of your majesty. I replied that he had seen your instructions to me on this point which I would fulfil. He was quite pleased with this reply, as I wrote you, and I shall do whatever I can.
It was well done on your part to thank Henry for the cordial reception he gave me. I wish that my labours and those of your other ambassadors had been more effectual.
I have received the letter written to Monseigneur, your confessor, which the Chancellor sent me, and also the one to the bishop of Palencia. I shall carry them to the pope myself, for I hope not to be passed by anyone on the road. I suppose that the bishop will have advised you of what I wrote to the pope by the two couriers mentioned. His Holiness, according to what I learned yesterday, has shown great diligence in pressing his departure from Spain, and if God wills he should be in Rome shortly, as daily becomes more necessary.
I believe that in your letter of the 9th to your viceroys in Castile, you asked them to send you a hundred seamen. I said to the bishop that it would be a good idea to find out whether you still wanted them, since Juan de Barzia sent you, while I was in London, that number or more. Please let me know your will in this matter, for if the sailors that de Barzia sent were kept, it would be superfluous expense to send others, and, unless your majesty writes me otherwise, it will be believed that you still want them.
Plymouth, 24 March, 1522.
Signed, Lachaulx. French. pp. 4.
27 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgien P. A. 2.
Lachaulx to Charles V.
I wrote you of my arrival here on the 24th. Yesterday evening the former nuncio and the ambassador arrived. The English ambassador tells me that, since Adrian is shortly to go to Rome, he will have to accompany him, and will therefore be unable to go with me to Portugal. He says that Henry will send someone in his place, but I have my doubts, since when I talked to Wolsey shortly after I reached London, he did not seem to think it important to send anyone to Portugal.
Since I shall need to spend several days with your viceroys in Castile to discharge your commissions in that quarter, I am thinking of risking passage on the zabra which brought Juan de Barzia, if I can do so without displeasing the other ambassadors. I have spoken of this plan, and I do not think it will be taken amiss. I told the Englishman that I was charged with a good many of your affairs and that, if I could reach the pope some days ahead of him, I could finish with most of them and be ready to discuss the alliance when he arrives. I did not want him to think that I intended to take any advantage of his absence. I even offered to share with him the meager accommodations of the zabra ; he asked to be allowed to think it over for to-night, but I do not think he will accept. In this way I should make better speed, for when I reach Spain I intend to ride post.
Plymouth, 27 March, 1522.
Signed, Lachaulx. French. pp. 2.
28 March.
H. H. u. St. A. Belgion D. D. Abt. B. f. 3.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We have had no reply from our last several letters to you. Since writing we have had news from Jerome Adorno, who is with the duke of Milan, and also some original letters of the king of France, intercepted in Italy. We have heard further from our ambassador in Switzerland, who incloses a copy of the reply made to the English ambassador. Having been unfurnished with money, the English ambassador has had no success as you will see. Communicate all this news as usual to Henry and Wolsey.
You will see that the French king intends to go shortly to Italy. We have given considerable thought to what you wrote about the proposal made through Wolsey to exclude Milan from the general truce. We cannot agree to such a proposal unless it is clearly understood that neither we nor the king of France are to enter Italy in person during the truce. Should Francis go to Italy our position would be very precarious, so that we should prefer to continue the war with Henry's assistance rather than to run such a risk. Explain this to Wolsey. Nevertheless, you are to continue negotiations for peace or truce, but are not to conclude anything without our approval.
28 March, 1522.
French. pp. 2.
31 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
We thought we ought to write your majesty for two reasons : to let you know that the French are proudly spreading the news of the capture of Milan and the slaughter of your army, and to report that nothing has come from France about peace or truce, greatly to our surprise.
Poillot has exhibited letters from Francis inclosing copies written to him from Milan, certifying that on March 15th the French, Swiss and Venetians stormed and captured the city. This news has greatly saddened the English. Wolsey refuses to believe it, both because Francis did not write the news directly to Henry as his custom is under such circumstances, and because the abbot of Najera wrote recently that the French had retreated from Milan on the 12th. Also the English ambassador in France has written nothing on the subject and, so far, during the week since the French ambassador made this news public, there has been no confirmation of it from any source. These considerations have moved us to declare the news false. We are eagerly awaiting reliable news from Milan with which we may calm the agitation of the king and the cardinal.
Wolsey says that, according to the report of the English ambassador in France, the delay in the negotiations for truce is being caused by the fact that Francis is now living at some distance from Louise of Savoy, and messengers have to go back and forth, taking to her for approval all the proposals about the truce. The son, he says, will follow the mother's advice. Wolsey is expecting some sort of reply hourly.
We received your majesty's letters of the 20th and 24th of March, and went immediately to see Wolsey at Hampton Court. We found him somewhat perplexed by the news about Milan, though still constant in his devotion to your majesty. In truth, we have never seen him more resolute in your service, and we take it as a good omen that, despite the bad news, he received us cheerfully and spoke with great affection of your majesty. He heard your latest news of Milan and told us his, and replied very graciously to all our points.
As to your approaching visit, Henry asks affectionately that you will postpone your arrival at Calais until the 26th of April, when everything will be ready for your fitting reception. Wolsey does not doubt that you will take this request in good part for the reasons in our last letter, and that you will understand the only consideration is a desire to welcome your majesty as the king's own son and heir. Wolsey is glad to hear that your majesty will discuss the choice of a port of embarkation when you get to England, and he assured us that Henry has no intention of doing anything in this matter except as you decide. He agrees that the conclusion of a truce before your departure would be very advantageous, but that you ought not, on this account, to delay your crossing for a single hour. He urges you to continue your journey to Spain, leaving the protection of the Low Countries to Henry, who will no more suffer them to be harmed than if they were his own. Wolsey emphatically repeated that Henry was thoroughly determined to defend Flanders and all your lands there, and that the people and nobles of England were all constant in this cause, so that if necessary they would all go, even the women, to defend the Low Countries, moved not only by their love of your majesty, but also by their own interest, since the English could by no means suffer the ruin of Flanders and the predominance of France in those parts. Wolsey added that, at need, the king would go in person, even if he had to strip himself of all his goods.
As to the pomp of your reception, Wolsey said it need not be excessive on our side, but the English expected to celebrate it with great solemnity, since the nobles and people of London wish to show their love for your majesty. Wolsey himself is making magnificent preparations at Hampton Court for your reception.
As to your praise of Wolsey's reply to the French ambassador when he wanted to present Francis' letters patent, Wolsey said that he would continue to treat the French more and more bitterly, and also the Swiss and the Venetians, and he hoped his threats that Henry would declare in your favour unless the French agreed to a truce would be effective. He thanked your majesty for your care about his pensions, but he protested that he could not serve you more diligently on that account than he was doing out of pure love and his desire to see the friendship between his master and your majesty firmly knit, so that nothing that might happen in the future could ever injure it. In this connection he said that, if the French had really taken Milan, there was no cause to be too cast down or to exaggerate the loss, since we could hope to recover it easily by the united powers of your majesty and England. If Milan were really lost, he advised you to look speedily to the defence of Naples, and to get at once to Spain. While you are in England the measures to be taken can be fully discussed. If the French have not agreed to a truce, Henry will declare war on them promptly on your arrival. Then he said to us very seriously : "Ambassadors, tell the emperor to hold two things for certain : first, that our hearts are his and that we love him not merely as an old friend and ally, but as the son and heir of this kingdom. He will scarcely believe how great and constant is my king's affection for him now and always, and I, for my part, deem myself most happy to see this friendship firmly established for which I have laboured so long, and I only wish that our daughter were now ready to be married. Second, that, without doubt, we are determined on war against the French, and think night and day of nothing except how we may destroy and humiliate them, for which reason we are hastening the conclusion of Scottish affairs, so that we shall not have them upon our backs. It is for this reason that we shall begin major operations against the Scots immediately after Easter, and Henry is prepared to go against them in person if Talbot cannot carry the campaign through successfully. We intend to have them entirely in our hands so as to be free to turn all our forces against the French." Wolsey added many words tending to confirm your majesty's friendship with the king of England and your hostility toward the French, and we find him more devoted to your majesty and more hostile to the French than ever.
We showed Wolsey the letters of M. de Lafayette, the governor of Bologna, in which Wolsey was disparagingly mentioned. Wolsey said that he intended to avenge the insult, not on Lafayette, but on his king, and in such a way that Francis would know who his enemy was. He said, however, he would be glad to have a copy of the letter, and we gave it to him, so he would have something else with which to belabour the French ambassador.
We have received more letters for Lachaulx, dated March 24th, which we are not sending him, since we believe he will have embarked by this time, although we have heard that so far the winds have been contrary. If we hear that he is still delayed, we will forward the letters, otherwise we shall hold them for the next courier to Spain. Yesterday and to-day several Spaniards passed through here on their way to your majesty among them Don Pedro Velez de Guevara, Don Felipe de Castile, sent by His Holiness, and Doctor de Melgar, a physician. I, De Mesa, had letters from His Holiness, copies of which are enclosed. I have communicated their contents to the king and the cardinal. I cannot find words to thank your majesty for the kindness shown me in your letters, especially for my leave to depart to Spain. I do not think my life would last much longer in England, though I have vowed to spend it in your majesty's service. I am also grateful for the arrangement about the pension on Badajoz, and I thank your majesty humbly for freeing me from servitude in a foreign land and remembering my services. I can hardly advise your majesty about my successor, since I have been so long absent from your court that I know very little of the clerics there, but I beg that my successor be sent quickly.
I am forwarding Lachaulx's answers to your majesty's letters, and hope hourly for replies to the more recent ones sent by the second courier. I beg your majesty to order payment for the last two couriers sent from here, a matter about which I have written at length to Lalemand. The king of England has ordered two more ships to be added to the naval forces, as your majesty may learn from the letters of Juan de Barzia, who has been most assiduous in these matters. We are both certain that everything will be ready for your crossing by the 26th.
London, the last day of March.
Contemporary copy. Latin. pp. 6.
31 March.
H. H. u. St. A. England, f. 1.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We wrote last on the 28th, enclosing what news we had of Italy and the Swiss, and copies of the letters of the king of France to Venice and to his captains in Italy. We received the same day yours of the 22nd and the 24th, from which we were sorry to learn of Wolsey's illness. We may hope that it will prove only a slight one and, since it is tertian fever, which purges the system, that he will afterwards be stronger than ever. We have received the draft of the bond to be given for the 100,000 crowns, and also that for Wolsey's pension, but since the loan is postponed until we reach England, and Wolsey's pension does not begin until the French payments stop, it seems better to defer executing these documents until we reach England when it can be done as Henry and Wolsey wish.
We are glad that Henry and Wolsey are making such adequate preparations for safeguarding the Channel and transporting our household, leaving to us only the transport of the horses for which we are collecting the necessary hoys. The war horses will be embarked at Zeeland with the fleet and will not have to be landed in England, where we will need only palfreys and mules of a number not greater than is set down in the enclosed schedule. Although our approaching visit cannot be kept secret, the exact day of our arrival at Calais can, whereafter we may embark speedily as a further precaution. Therefore, the cardinal's decision not to send notables to receive us, but only persons who may assist in the embarkation, seems wise. (Marginal note : The treaty provides for at least 2,000 fighting men to guard our passage and more if necessary, the same force to be ready to escort our fleet from Zeeland. We hope that Henry will make the necessary provisions so we shall not be obliged to put back into Calais, a reverse which would do little honour to either of us).
You do not have to excuse yourselves to us for not having made clear to Henry our intentions. We are certain that you have omitted to communicate nothing which we have written, and all our letters declared our intention of crossing as soon as possible, according to the treaty of Bruges ; in one we expressly stipulated April 11th, giving the English more than a month's warning. They should not have depended on the advice of their ambassadors that we intended to keep Easter at Bruges, since we had never said anything to the ambassadors on this point, and their letters were based on rumour, not fact. Nevertheless, we are glad to please Henry by postponing our passage, and you need not pursue this matter further unless in reply to English observations.
We approve the general order for our reception as outlined by Wolsey, but wish to point out that the treaty stipulates at least 2,000 fighting men to hold the Channel, not 1,400. We leave the form of our reception entirely to Henry and Wolsey, and although, according to the form of the treaty, Henry is supposed to meet us in person on our landing and to accompany us to Falmouth, that shall be as he pleases.
We are glad to hear that the forces intended against Scotland are so powerful as to give promise of complete success. If we were as free as Henry, and had not so many great affairs on our shoulders, both in Spain and Italy, we should like nothing better than to assist him with all our power, so that we might unite to extirpate our common enemies.
The English ambassadors, in virtue of special powers which they presented to us, have asked us to expel the Scots from our kingdom and forbid them residence or commerce in all our lands, according to the treaty of Bruges, alleging that we should do this even though the French are not expelled from England, since the Scots come under a different article of the treaty and are in the same class with the Gelderlanders, Frisians and other rebels against us. We replied merely that we intended to observe the treaty scrupulously, and proceed reciprocally as it provides. You may speak more amply of this affair to Henry, in virtue of the credence herewith enclosed, and of our present letters. So that you may be better informed of our duties under the treaty of Bruges in the matter of the expulsion of the Scots, we are also sending you an extract of the article in question, by which you may see that, to obtain our expulsion of the Scots, Henry is bound reciprocally to expel from his kingdom the rebel Gelderlanders and Frisians and all our other enemies whatsoever, a phrase so general that it comprehends all without exception. Now it is notorious that we are at open war not only against the Gelderlanders and Frisians, who are making war on us in Friesland, but also against the French and against the Venetians, Genoese, Milanese of the French party, and other lordships, cities and princes of Italy, who are all rebels against the empire. All these nations have merchants resorting to and trafficking in England. It seems to us that if we are to expel the Scots from our realms the same should be done there with all our enemies, so the treaty may be reciprocally observed, otherwise our lands here, which are founded on commerce and fishing, and have already lost the trade of many nations which now resort to England, might, if we expelled the Scots without reciprocal English action, be ruined and moved to rebellion. (Marginal note : especially since our principal towns of Flanders have granted safe-conduct to the Scots, which we cannot revoke without warning and without giving them time to put their affairs in order according to the form of the safe-conduct granted by Duke Philip the Good, and confirmed by his successors and by us.) And since we were the first to be at war, it seems just that Henry should expel our enemies first, or, at least, the expulsion should be simultaneous, so that our subjects may not have cause to complain. If it is said that the article in question cannot include the French, since their case is disposed of differently in the article which provides that there should be no declaration against France until our arrival in England, you may reply that the declaration, and the prohibition of commerce and intercourse are quite separate matters. There seems no doubt that the French and all subjects of France are included in the article in question exactly like the Gelderlanders and Frisians. But since we shall so shortly be in England, at which time Henry is bound to declare war on France, so that there will be reciprocal expulsions on both sides, the less discussion there is on this point for the present, the better.
Copy of Charles V's reply to Henry VIII :
Very high, excellent and powerful prince, etc. We have received your letter of the 23rd and conferred with your ambassadors in virtue of the credence given them. They have requested us in your name to defer our crossing to England until April 26th, in order that all may be prepared for our reception and for guarding the Channel, and that we may have time to hear the results of the proposals for peace or truce. Although we had decided to cross sooner, in order not to keep our navy, which is ready, in idleness, and in order to have a longer time to discuss our affairs with you on our journey to Falmouth, and to avoid being delayed at sea on our way to Spain by the summer calms, and because of our great desire to see you, nevertheless, to please you, we shall delay our arrival at Calais until April 26th, hoping that all will be ready at that time. It would be very useful if we could have definite assurance of a truce before that time, so that we may know how we should arrange affairs here and in Italy. As to what your ambassadors told me orally, we are writing at length to our ambassadors to whom you will please grant credence in this and in everything that they may say on our behalf. Praying God to grant you long life, etc.
Copy of article in the treaty of Bruges concerning mutual expulsion of enemies.
Letter to the ambassadors resumes. The arrangement about paying for provisions and transport in England suggested by the cardinal is quite satisfactory. In compliance with his request we are sending a list of our suite, their servants and horses. We have limited the horses to one each wherever possible, leaving the others with the fleet at Zeeland.
What Wolsey says about the desirability of a truce or peace before our departure, is very true. You are urged to act in this matter with all diligence, without, however, exceeding your previous instructions. You should note that, if Francis invades Italy in person, a considerable change in our plans will be necessary unless Henry can suggest some remedy.
We were very surprised at what Wolsey said to you about the gunners, in view of the fact that he had said nothing about our paying them, in whole or in part, before this. Had he asked it, we should gladly have paid for more than a hundred, however pressed for money we were. But the principal difficulty is not to pay them, but to find them. We have been unable to raise enough for our own army, and we doubt whether Wolsey could find in all Christendom so large a number of good master gunners as he wishes. It is not so easy to find good gunners as he seems to think. He ought not, therefore, to take amiss our offer to help him in this task. In being willing to aid him throughout our realms, and in preferring his interests even to our own, we thought we were doing him a great favour. It seems unreasonable to reproach us with the infantry that he is paying, since that was agreed on and is to continue until our arrival in England. Wolsey would not charge us with ingratitude if he considered all that we have done at his request, assuming the whole burden of the war, and excusing Henry from his obligation to declare against the French.
As to what Wolsey says about accepting a peace if no truce can be concluded, we are still willing, under the conditions which we wrote, but we are surprised that Wolsey thinks it desirable to dissimulate with the French until our friendship is confirmed by the consummation of the marriage. We have complete confidence in Henry's friendship as he should have in ours. The marriage could not strengthen it, and it seems hardly expedient to delay so long the accomplishment of the "Great Enterprise." Therefore, find out more clearly what Wolsey intends about the peace, and what means and what proposals he intends to employ, and advise us of these things with the utmost diligence, insisting meanwhile on the admonition of the king of France as requested by our letters patent.
[31 March, 1522.]
Draft in Gattinara's hand. Marginal dating. French. pp. 8.


  • 1. Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset.
  • 2. Sir William Fitzwilliam.
  • 3. A false rumour. The French were at this time advancing on Milan. They were severely defeated at Bicocca on April 27th.
  • 4. In 1520.