Spain: July 1527, 1-10

Pages 261-267

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 3 Part 2, 1527-1529. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1877.

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July 1527, 1-10

2 July. 103. The Emperor to Secretary Perez.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 41,
f. 7.
B. M. Add. 28,579,
f. 290.
Has received no letters since the 13th of June, when an answer was sent to all his despatches. Is anxious to hear from Rome and the rest of Italy.
The death of Monsieur de Bourbon at the storming of Rome has caused him (the Emperor) great sorrow, as lie may well imagine.—2nd July 1527.
Spanish. Original draft. ..1.
2 July. 104. The Same to Alonso Sanchez.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 41,
f. 7.
B. M. Add. 28,579,
f. 290.
No dispatch of his has come by the last messenger. Wonders at it, as the rest of the Imperial agents in Italy have written. Presumes that the roads between Venice and Genoa are occupied by the Leaguers.—2nd July 1527.
Fiat proutin alia Joannis Perez.
Spanish, Original draft, .. 1.
2 July. 105. The Same to Prothonotary Caracciolo.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 41,
B. M. Add. 28, 576,
f. 290.
Hopes that his letter appointing him Lord Chief Justice at Milan has arrived. Is very anxious for news of that locality. —2nd July 1527.
Spanish. Original draft, .. 1.
2 July. 106. The Same to the Abbot of Najera.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 41,
f. 7.
B. M. Add. 28, 576.
f. 290.
His despatch of the 13th, brought by Knight Commander Gomez Suarez de Figueroa, has come to hand. Is glad to hear that a capitulation has been made with his Holiness. Is expecting further news.—2nd July 1527.
Spanish. Original draft, .. 1.
4 July.
S. E. L. 1454,
f. 133.
B. M. Add. 28, 576,
f. 275.
107. The Marquis of Astorga's instructions to Don Francisco Osorio.
Begs him to wait on the Emperor and report verbally to him many things he has observed during the last war, and since the sack of Rome by the Imperial troops. Let the Emperor hear the whole truth, that His Majesty may take effective measures. He is so young that he might have been excused from giving advice on such important matters; but his love of the Imperial service prompts him to do so, even were he to suffer thereby, or be in any way hindered from attaining the object for which he has come to Italy. (fn. n1)
The Emperor must already be informed of the events at Rome, after the sack, and of the state in which his Holiness remains. Should more information be required, he (Don Francisco) had better refer to the report taken by Fortuna, his (the Marquis') servant. To wipe out the blot of infamy which must fall on our nation, in consequence of the cruelties and atrocities committed at Rome by the Imperial troops, His Majesty the Emperor is bound to do something in favour of that city, and alleviate the heavy taxation (pechos y tallas) to which it is now subjected, appointing such a governor as may follow his (the Emperor's) orders and instructions. The governor must be a Spaniard, a person of rank and authority, free from avarice (avaricia), the want of all these qualifications in most of the Imperial ministers having been the cause of all the mishaps (inconvenientes) that have arisen.
With respect to the Pope, the Emperor must needs show by his deeds that he has had no other object in view than the reformation, for the benefit and pacification of Christendom at large, of all the abuses (desordenes) in the Church, since to no other cause can the schism and heresy of Luther be ascribed, as well as the wars and dissensions which have disturbed the Christian world, and given the Turk occasion to invade Hungary. For from such abuses have arisen the scanty justice shown, and the bad example given [by the Imperialists] to all Christian nations. (fn. n2)
If the reformation is to be obtained by means of a general Council, no great uniformity can be expected therein, but, on the contrary, much discord and difference of opinion. The meeting together of so many prelates [from various and distant lands] could not be convened in a short space of time. To keep the Pope here (acà) so long in suspense would not look well, and besides would have the effect of encouraging the enemies of the Church in their evil passions. It would be far move advisable for His Imperial Majesty to come over to Italy as soon as possible, as his presence would then be the best remedy for these difficulties. Should the Emperor be unable to come, it is worth consideration whether it would not be better to have the Pope and his cardinals conveyed [to Spain] ; for although it might be said that they went as prisoners, surely, when once in Spain, they might be treated as if they were perfectly free ; for although it stands to reason that whilst His Holiness is in Spain, and before the Emperor has satisfactorily arranged matters with him, he (the Pope) ought not to be left in entire freedom, but the greatest possible care to be taken of his person and life, yet the other expedient seems the wisest. His Imperial Majesty must be well informed of the licentiousness of this army, their little regard for justice or fear of their captains, and the many evils which this relaxation of discipline has hitherto caused, and may cause hereafter if not remedied in time. The principal cause of the soldiers' insubordination is their not being paid, and their being commanded by people who neither understand their language nor their habits, but who in order to keep them together tolerate their excesses, thereby bringing them to the state of lawlessness in which they now are. As the men themselves are maliciously inclined (tienen espiritu del diablo) and know all this, they have become quite unmanageable.
So it is that at the sack of Rome the Imperialists suffered most because, being our friends, they trusted to us. People of the opposite party fled, and hid their valuables, whilst most of the cardinals and rich citizens attached to our cause had their houses plundered, or were themselves imprisoned, being unable to pay their ransom. As there has been flagrant injustice and cruelty in these doings, His Imperial Majesty should in his (the Marquis') opinion remove the scandal thus caused, by ordering that all obligations and bills signed by such parties, and now in the hands of soldiers, be considered null and void, or else he should provide sufficient compensation for their losses by means of ecclesiastical endowments in Spain or Naples.
Were it possible to obtain from the Pope by way of composition (composition) his absolution to the Imperial army for the crimes and excesses of the sack, the writer has no doubt that a considerable sum of money might be got out from the soldiers, whilst they are rich, for although the roads are well closed by plague as well as war, yet those who have money are fast going away from the camp.
The Emperor should soon appoint a Commander-in-chief for this army, and consider well first who is to be such commander, because among the common soldiers, as well as among the officers, there is already much difference of opinion, no one looking beyond his own particular interest.
Much time has been lost in reaping the fruits of this last victory. If immediately after the surrender of the castle of Sanct Angelo the army had been sent out of Rome, and had marched against the enemy, much good might have been effected. It is to be hoped that it will soon take the field, and begin operations, for to wait for Florence to get in her harvest (coja pan), for the Switzers to come down, and the Frenchmen to invade Lombardy, would be out of the question. Some agreement might be made with Florence, and money obtained to pay these Imperial troops, for no very great reliance is to be placed on the Pope's promises, and besides the tax imposed on the lands of the Church will not be easily or quickly collected.
An agreement with Florence under the present circumstances is highly desirable for the Imperial service, that the army may pass on before the enemy finds out its strength. Has reasons to believe that the Florentines wish for it, and that the circumstance of this army being without a commander has hitherto prevented their sending to the camp a fit person to treat. The Duke of Ferrara has lately interfered in this affair; cannot say what he will achieve, but this he knows for certain, that the Florentines would have liked the negotiation in any other hands but the Duke's.
His Imperial Majesty must know what the nature of these Italians is. Though for their own particular ends they may wish for a political change, when this is once accomplished they begin to look out for other masters or protectors; so that, although the fear they have of this Imperial army, and of a repetition of the severity with which they have been treated, together with the increase of the Emperor's power, makes them now appear devout Imperialists, they begin already to give signs of their fickle nature and disposition. His Imperial Majesty knows how selfish they are, and that they never render service except by force, or in the expectation of a reward. Lucca, for instance, has conducted herself lately in entire submission (con voz sumisa) to the Imperial commands, but without making any demonstration or open service, and, on the contrary, carefully concealing all her acts.
Sienna, from fear of being subjected to the Florentines, has hitherto faithfully maintained her devotion to the Emperor; but this has been done principally to defend herself against the attacks of her enemies. She is very much exhausted, because her revenues are few, and there has been little or no trade of late. In fact she would have been reduced to great distress, had she not seized the property of emigrants (foraxidos). This is the reason why that Signory has lately been unable to help us with men or provisions. It is very important that it should be governed in future by people devoted to His Imperial Majesty. So great has been the change that the government does not work well, fox evil passions (muchas pasiones escandalosas) are rife among them, and they are like most popular communities, very obstinate and adhering doggedly to their own opinion. (fn. n3)
They ought perhaps to be indulged in some of their present claims. One is the county of Petillano (Pitigliano), which adjoins their territory near Rome, and which they say the Count holds unjustly, as it belongs by right to them. This is a sort of thing which, as he (the Marquis) has written to them, they had better place in the Emperor's hands for him to decide who has the best right, rather than press their suit as they are doing at present.
As well for this reason as on account of the designs the Duke of Ferrara (Alfonso d'Este) is known to have entertained [about Sienna], the greatest attention should be paid to secure his friendship, and prevent his taking engagements with our enemies, for it is rumoured that they are now trying to turn his brains (levantarle el cervelo), and it is always highly imprudent to let time slip (dar lugar al tiempo). (fn. n4)
Spanish. Original, pp. 6.
6 July. 108. The Same to the Emperor.
S. E. L. 1,454.
f. 136,
B. M. Add. 28,576,
f. 291.
Has not written before because he was not sufficiently informed, and thought besides that the Emperor's agents and ministers might have written home. Came from Flanders when he heard that the Italian League had been concluded, and that the army of the confederated powers was marching on Milan. Reached Savoy with great difficulty, and was obliged to stop, all the roads being occupied by the enemy. Wrote to Mons. de Bourbon, asking for an escort to conduct him to Milan ; "but this could not be done. Fell ill (in Savoy), and, still unwell and much weakened by disease, embarked for Genoa, which he reached with great difficulty. Though the enemy raised the blockade of the port and withdrew he was still unable to join the army. After this, hearing that the Imperial forces had gone out [of Milan] and taken the offensive, he determined to quit Genoa and join them; when perceiving the difference of opinion between Mons. de Bourbon and the Viceroy, and that the latter recommended that the army should not proceed on its march, but respect the truce he had made with the Pope, he (the Marquis) decided to join the Viceroy at Florence, as he thought he might be of use there. Was detained on the road to that city and obliged to go to Lucca, which he reached with great difficulty. There he heard the news of the sack of Rome. Communicated the intelligence to the Imperial ambassador at Genoa (Lope de Soria), that he might without loss of time inform the Emperor. During this time the army of the League, which had marched upon Rome, retreated, and came to the frontiers of Sienna, with hostile intentions. As the Imperial army could not take the field soon, and it was very important to prevent the attack of the confederates on Sienna; as the Siennese, though brave, are not much experienced in matters of war, and were then badly provided [with troops and ammunition], he (the Marquis) determined to go to that city, and inform the generals of the Imperial army of the enemy's projects. This done, he despatched his uncle, Don Antonio, (fn. n5) though a clergyman, with some forces to make a reconnoissance, and though warmly received by the enemy, was ultimately successful, obliging them to take the road to Perosa (Perugia), instead of coming [to Sienna] as they had intended.
As the Emperor knows, he (the Marquis) came [to Italy] to attend to business of his own, touching his conscience and his honour, as well as to wait for His Imperial Majesty's much-desired visit to this country. Such have always been the services of his ancestors to the Royal Crown of Spain that he was justified in thinking that the Emperor would have rather taken occasion to employ and honour him than to do him injury, as has been the case. But as nothing can make him swerve from what he considers his duty, he will persevere in the course which his honour dictates to him ; but cannot nevertheless refrain from uttering his complaints. He hears that at the instigation of a person (fn. n6) who, in such matters at least, ought not to enjoy more favour at Court than himself (the Marquis), an order has come for his leaving Italy, and abandoning the affairs which brought him hither. He feels this the more, because his uncle, the bishop, having accom pained him at his own request, will naturally be involved in a measure that must be injurious to his reputation. The order has never reached him, but if it had, he could not at the time have complied with it, because the business he had in hand, though private and concerning his own person and family, is of such a nature that His Imperial Majesty could not but rejoice at its issue. (fn. n7) Could not then, for the sake of his conscience and honour, give up his journey [to Rome]. Had the Emperor insisted on it, he (the Marquis) would have sufficient cause to complain of the injury done him. Has delayed the execution of this order, expecting the Emperor's arrival [in Italy], and hoping that, the service of his family and ancestors being taken into account, the Emperor might think of him and give him employment. But since this could not be done, and the Emperor's journey is postponed, he himself is preparing to go [to Spain], there to serve in whatever branch of the administration may be thought fit for him. The better to end this his journey, which has been undertaken for the Emperor's service, he now sends to court his uncle, Don Francisco Osorio, bearer of this present, to whom he has given written instructions about the state of affairs of Italy, that he may answer all questions put to him.—Sienna, 6th July 1527.
Signed: "El Marques de Astorga."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty of the Emperor."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1527. From the Marquis of Astorga, 6th July."
Spanish. Original, pp. 3.


  • n1. Don Pedro Alvarez de Osorio, Count of Trastamara and fourth Marquis of Astorga, had gone to Italy on some private business of his own, and to obtain from the Pope permission to marry Da Luisa de Acuña y Portugal, who became in time Duchess of Najera by her marriage to Dn. Juan Estevan Manrique de Lara, third duke. The Marquis had been first engaged, nay betrothed, to Doña Maria Pimentel y Velasco, daughter of the Count of Benavente.
  • n2. "Y de aqui nasció la poca justicia y el mal exemplo e consequencia para todos los Christianos."
  • n3. "E son como villanos recios e tiessos en sus opiniones."
  • n4. These instructions are neither signed nor dated, but being placed in the bundle after letters of the 2nd of July, and close to one of the Marquis to the Emperor, in date of the 6thr which will be abstracted hereafter, there can be no doubt that they were drawn at Sienna about that day.
  • n5. Don Antonio (Alvaro?) Osorio, Bishop of Astorga, uncle, not brother of the Marquis, as stated at p. 161.
  • n6. D. Alonso Pimentel, Count of Benavente, to whose daughter, Da. Maria Pimentel y Velasco, the Marquis had been formerly betrothed.
  • n7. "Por que lo que yo tenia que hazer en mis negocios son cosas de calidad que mirandolasbien, V.M. se deve servir dellaa, y yo no podia por lo que tocaba à mi conciencia y à mi honra dexar de cumplir mi jornadea y romeria y quando V. M. no lo hiciese asi me debuia mucho sentir y agraviar de V. M."