|1. Louis de Praet, Imperial Ambassador in England, to the Emperor.|
|K. u. K. Haus-|
Hof. u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 225. No. 1.
|Encloses copies of his letters to Madame [the Governess of the Low Countries], and to the Viceroy of Naples; also of theirs to him. They will acquaint the Emperor with every occurrence here since the departure of Mr. du Rœux (fn. 1) , the new line of politics which the Pope seems inclined to follow, and the arrival in this town of certain ambassadors from Scotland, besides one from France, who is shortly expected.|
|Since then he (Praet) went by the King's invitation to Greenwich, there to witness the usual Christmas festivities, at which the ambassadors of the Pope, Milan, and Scotland were also present. After a. most splendid entertainment, which lasted for two whole days, as the guests were taking leave, the Legate happened to say, within hearing of the Pope's Nuncio, (fn. 2) that he had received from Rome, in date of the 12th December last, the following news:—The Viceroy of Naples, hearing the King of England's advice respecting the proposed suspension of hostilities, was not disinclined to accept of a truce till the 26th May following, each partly holding his own. But the Pope, it would appear, showed a most decided leaning towards the French, and was trying to persuade the Viceroy, for the better accomplishment of the said truce, to place in his hands all the Duke of Milan's possessions in Lombardy, promising that the King of France would do the same on his side. Besides which, His Holiness had lately granted the French army passage through the Church Estates to go to Naples, greatly to the prejudice of the Emperor's interests. If the French army had not gone thither, it was entirely out of fear of the Germans lately arrived in the Viceroy's camp, not, indeed, from any hindrance or obstacle offered by the Pope; in consequence of which the Emperor's agents and ministers in Italy, who had hitherto felt disposed to refer the whole matter to His Holiness, would rather not hear now of a truce made on such terms. The Legate then went on to say that he thought this proceeding of the Pope very strange indeed, and quite the reverse of what both the Emperor and the King, his master, expected at his hands. He concluded by stating he had found a way of smoothing down all difficulties, and bringing about a truce between the belligerents, which was for the Emperor and King of France to place their possessions in Lombardy, not in the Pope's hands, as proposed, but in those of the King, his master, on condition of each party retaining the towns and castles whereof they are masters at present, by means of garrisons, appointed by mutual consent, and supported by each side. Both the Emperor and King [of France] might take a solemn engagement to refrain from all mutual aggression during the said truce, whilst the King, his master, would bind himself, in case of peace not being made in the meantime, to restore to each party the said towns and castles at the expiration of the truce, so that each should find himself in exactly the same position as he was before. This, the Legate added, was his plan for settling all present difficulties. He had no doubt the French King would agree to it at once, and therefore was about to submit it to our consideration.|
|To the above overtures the Pope's ambassador made no answer, on the plea that he had no despatches from Rome, which was then perfectly true. He has since received them, and told him (Praet) that they do not differ much from the Cardinal's statement. His Holiness, in granting free passage to the French troops, had acted from fear, rather than otherwise. He saw that the Imperial army was not sufficiently strong to resist the enemy. Nobody could doubt his sentiments. He was as firmly attached as ever to the Emperor and King, and would further their interests in every possible way. He had no reason to love the French King, who, besides many past offences, had just now detained at Narbonne the Archbishop of Capua, whom he (the Pope) was sending to the Emperor, under a safe-conduct. Could not tell whether the Archbishop had since been allowed to proceed on his journey [to Spain]. If he had not, it was surely a very dishonest trick on the part of the French, considering that a safe-conduct had been applied for and obtained in time.|
|The above is the substance of his (Praet's) conversation with the Papal Nuncio; from which His Imperial Majesty will naturally gather that the aspect of affairs is anything but encouraging. He (Praet) fancies that the detention of the Archbishop is only a scheme connived at by the Pope, who knows him to be a staunch Imperialist.|
|However this may be, there can be no doubt, from the Nuncios very cold and unmeaning answer [at Greenwich], as well as from his more recent communication, and his late despatches, that the Legate [of England] is likely to assume the entire conduct of the negotiations for peace—a thing which he (Praet) has long suspected to be the Cardinal's chief aim, as may be seen by his former despatches. The ambassador, therefore, waited a second time upon the Legate, and told him, as graciously as he could, that he hoped His Holiness would never behave so ungratefully to the Emperor, who had done so much for him in times past, as to deliberately espouse the French cause at the present conjuncture. After which, and in order to please the Legate, the ambassador took him apart, and said: "Should the Emperor be compelled by circumstances to give up the duchy of Milan your Reverence may be sure that he would rather place it in the hands of his good father, the King of England, than in those of the Pope, or of any other living person, were it not that this would entirely alienate the Pope's affections from him, and have the most disastrous consequences on the kingdom of Naples, which might be irretrievably lost thereby, besides doing considerable injury to the Emperor's credit and reputation; for people would naturally say that when the French King entrusted such mighty matters as these to the King of England, he was sure to be well treated, and perhaps, too, had entered into a previous agreement with him." In short, the neutrality of England, under the present circumstances, would be anything but advantageous or useful for the advancement of their common affairs.|
|Many other arguments did the ambassador use then in the very presence of the Pope's Nuncio, to show the impossibility of the Emperor ever agreeing to such terms, and he ended by begging the Legate to spare His Imperial Majesty such ignominious arbitrage, and bring about a truce in which each party should independently hold his own.|
|After this conference, at which, as above-stated, the Pope's Nuncio was present, the Legate took both the ambassadors to the King's antechamber, who, having soon after sent for them, spoke more or less in the following terms. After repeating the same news from Rome that the Cardinal had communicated to them on a former occasion, adding that but for the good offices of his ambassador the Pope would have gone over altogether to the French, the King touched upon the above expedient, proposed by the Legate, and said in reference to it: "Even if the Emperor and the French King agreed to place in my hands all their possessions in Milan, I would not accept of such responsible charge; and if compelled to do so, it must be clearly understood, that I am not to support the garrisons, or be at any expense through it." To which he (Praet) replied in nearly the same arguments as he had used in his conference with the Legate, begging the King so to negotiate that in concluding the truce the whole of the Duchy of Milan should remain in the Emperor's power, or, at least, that each party should hold his own, which would be far preferable to the expedient now suggested. Hearing which the Cardinal owned to him (Praet) that he had made that proposal off hand, and without much consideration. He would reconsider the matter, and on his return to town discuss it again with him. This he has not yet done; when he does His Imperial Majesty shall be duly informed.|
|The King then proceeded to explain the nature of the proposals made to the Legate by the Scotch ambassadors. (fn. 3) These were: 1st. To make a marriage alliance between the Princess and the King of Scotland. 2nd. To have the French King included in any peace made between England and their country. The Legate's reply to the ambassadors had been thus conceived. With regard to the first point: that the King had promised the hand of the Princess to the Emperor, and was therefore bound not to give her away without his full and express consent, the King besides thought it rather strange that people who were actually at war with him should come and ask his only daughter in marriage without previously making peace with him. Respecting the second article, the Legate said, that the King was so firmly attached to the Emperor that he neither could nor would undertake anything without his consent. That the points at issue between the French King on one side, the Emperor and the King of England on the other, were of such magnitude that the Holy Father himself had not been able to settle them, and it was great arrogance in people from such remote parts (au boult du monde) to presume they could accomplish what the Pope could not. If, however, they would treat for peace, and make suitable offers, showing the King, his master, due honour and respect, and acknowledging his pre-eminence, he would deal with them in all fairness for the love he bore their King, who was his nephew. If not, they might at once return to Scotland, and the King would send after them an army that should invade that country, ravage it, and put the inhabitants to the sword. Upon which the ambassadors begged the Legate not to take what they had said in bad part; owned they had been very ill-advised to bring such proposals to England, and prayed him to obtain permission from the King that one of them might return to Scotland, and procure fitter conditions from their States. The permission has since been granted, and one of the ambassadors (fn. 4) is shortly to start by post, and return here in twenty-four days time. The King seemed to think that the whole affair would turn out well, although he had late news of the arrival of four of the Duke of Albany's galleons on the Scottish coast. He was confident he could frustrate all the Duke's schemes, and prevent his doing any mischief. He, moreover, took his oath to the ambassador—as he did also the Legate—faithfully to keep his engagement to the Emperor.|
|The above statement was afterwards privately confirmed by the Duke of Norfolk, who of his own accord came to the ambassador to say he was aware that the Emperor had seen letters from Scotland, wherein the said marriage alliance was mentioned as likely to take place, but the Duke swore upon his honour that the King, his master, was too loyal a Prince, and too much attached to the Emperor, ever to break his faith in that manner, and never would marry his daughter in Scotland, or elsewhere, without his (the Emperor's) consent. On the whole the prevailing opinion at court, which is also his own, is that this embassy from Scotland, as well as the preposterous demands made by the ambassadors, have been secretly contrived by the Legate, with a view to lead to a peace between England and Scotland; and, perhaps too, to show to the world that every one fears and respects the King and himself.|
|After this the King took the ambassador apart, and said a good deal to him about his great love and affection for the Emperor, and how much he regretted that his councillors were so unwise as to make him risk the loss of all his friends for the sake of keeping Milan. Which statement was further confirmed by the Legate, who, joining in the conversation, began to recount in detail the many remonstrances by him, addressed to Mons. du Reux on this subject, and how often he had complained to him of infractions of the existing treaties; of the Emperor's extravagant affection for the duchy of Milan; of the disorder prevailing in his dominions, and the little love borne him by his subjects. It would be far better for the Emperor to try to restore order at home, than with so weak and ill-appointed an army—as his was at present—to seek the conquest of the world.|
|To the above remonstrances of both King and Legate he (Praet) replied as best he could, avoiding all unnecessary recriminations, as he has been ordered to do. Many things might he have said in answer, but he refrained, from fear of irritating them, and making matters worse. Having, therefore, changed the subject of conversation, he (Praet) asked the King about the French ambassador, shortly expected here and gave him his reasons—as he had previously done to the Legate—why the said ambassador ought not to be received at court. But the King—evidently well instructed by the Legate as to the answer he was to give—replied immediately that the Emperor could not reasonably reproach him on that head, since the French King might probably make, through him, fairer proposals than through His Holiness the Pope, and that at any rate he (the King of England; would never break through the treaties of Windsor. There was no occasion therefore, on such an account, for the Emperor to doubt his friendship, since the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) had often received a gentleman sent by the King of France, and Mons. de Savoie had .sent another to Mons. de Bourbon, to try and bring about a peace between the Emperor and the French, and yet he (the King of England) had conceived no suspicions about it, knowing as he did the constant love and affection the Emperor bore him, and that he was incapable of doing anything against his interests.|
|Perceiving that his observations would be of no avail, the ambassador offered no contradiction, and let the matter drop. The French ambassador is daily expected in town, and those from Scotland are still here. On the other hand it is asserted that the Duke of Albany's people, immediately after their arrival, went up straight to the young King; a strange coincidence of events, which affords him (Praet) matter for serious consideration, and makes him suspect that the whole of this is a preconcerted plan. Indeed the followers of the Scottish ambassadors, now residing in this town, make no mystery about it, and say openly that their country will never abandon France, and that should the Duke of Albany return to Scotland the government of the whole country will be in his hands. Whatever may be said to the contrary, and notwithstanding all their assertions, be (Praet) firmly believes that the matter which the Legate has now nearest at heart is to conclude a solid peace with Scotland, by means of a marriage between their young King and this Princess, and that he (the Legate) hopes in course of time to find some means of liberating this King from his promise. Fears much that should the Legate continue to throw the whole burden of the war on the Emperor, as he has done hitherto; should he enter into some secret compact with the French King for the Emperor not to receive any help in the duchy of Milan; should he insist on the payment of the stipulated indemnity, or the execution at the ensuing season of the great military enterprise; or, in default of this, of the equipment of a joint army [to invade France], neither of which he thinks the Emperor can do at present, it is certain that—as Mons. du Reux cannot have failed to inform the Emperor's ministers—the Legate will get His Imperial Majesty so into his hands as to oblige him to give up the intended marriage, and accept such conditions as may best suit the King of England and himself, thereby, becoming, as it were, the arbiter of peace, and increasing his own reputation, and that of the King, his master. His Imperial Majesty will observe that the Holy Father and the Italian Princes begin to look coldly on him; that the Venetians are seeking for a delay in the fulfilment of their engagements. Two are said to be the causes of their discontent: one of them the Emperor's tardiness in granting the investiture of Milan, and the fear that he (the Emperor) wishes to retain for himself the possession of that duchy, in which case the Italian powers think he may become their master after being their neighbour; the other is, that from the excesses and atrocities said to have been committed everywhere by the Imperial troops—whether German or Spanish—every one in Italy is anxious for their departure.|
|Presumes the Emperor to be well acquainted with the state of things in Germany, which is not very flattering just now. The Low Countries also are so impoverished that they can hardly provide for their own defence. Hears from a letter of the Datary to the Pope's ambassador at this Court that there has lately been a revolt in the kingdom of Naples, and that the Duke of Ferrara has lent the French King 50,000 ducats, besides one hundred waggons of artillery ammunition. Fears that should the ambassador now expected from France flatter the Legate's pride by telling him that the King and the Queen Regent of France would much rather refer the settlement of their differences with the Emperor to the King of England and to him, than to the Pope, that the Legate will at once write to the English ambassador at Rome, forbidding him to agree to any truce made in that city by His Holiness's mediation; but will try to transfer to London the settlement of matters, and consequent negotiations for peace, which he (Praet) need not say would be highly disadvantageous to the Imperial cause. For should the Emperor refuse their offer, the King and Legate are sure to be offended, whereas if he accepts, it will be the cause of alienating completely the Pope, so that either way the measure proposed can only have the effect of depriving the Emperor of one of his allies. Thinks that unless His Imperial Majesty feels strong enough to reconquer and hold the duchy of Milan at his sole expense, and undertake at once the great military enterprise [in which England is to join] the wisest plan would be to send orders to the Imperial agents and generals in Italy, either to conclude an immediate truce, as little disadvantageous as possible to the Emperor, or to attack the common enemy so vigorously on all sides as to compel him to accept his terms, and make some sort of compensation to these people for their claims on France, and, perhaps too, discharge the Emperor from the payment of the indemnity money.|
|Calls the Emperor's serious attention to the payment of the said indemnity. The sum, already very considerable, becomes every day more so, and as long as it remains unpaid, the King and Legate will have an excuse to withdraw at a moment's notice from the Emperor's alliance; perhaps too, they might be induced, through French intrigue, to seek for reimbursement by making war on the Emperor's subjects in the Low Countries and elsewhere, and although such conduct on their part would be highly improbable and unwise, for the reasons which the ambassador has given in one of his former despatches, yet it is always good to be on guard against all events, especially if the natural condition and propensities of these gentlemen, and of the Legate himself, be taken into consideration. The latter is now all-powerful in England, and never enjoyed so much favour with the King as he does now. His Imperial Majesty knows better than him (Praet) how the Legate is to be dealt with. Whoever wishes to retain his services must needs pay ready money, not with promises. He (Praet) has often written to the Emperor on this subject, and is now more convinced than ever that the non-payment of the pensions to the Legate and other great Lords is seriously affecting his interests. If the Emperor wishes to preserve their goodwill, means must be found of paying the Legate and the other pensioners their due. Some present might also be offered to two or three persons now coming into repute with the King and with the Legate, such as Brian Tuck (Brian Tuke), and Master Moore, and also to four or five gentlemen who are the King's favourites (mignons). Immediate attention should be given to the payment of arrears of the Legate's ecclesiastic pensions on the bishoprics of Palencia and Badajoz, and likewise to the designation of time and place where the above-named and other pensions are to be paid in future. If His Imperial Majesty could only consign the Legate's annual pension, amounting to 9,000 crowns, as well as the two others, on one of the rich bishoprics in Spain, which in his (Praet's) opinion is very easy, and if the Legate had the security of being punctually paid in future, he (Praet) has not the least doubt that two objects might be gained thereby, to free the Imperial revenue of such a burden as 9,000 crowns per annum, and to secure the adherence of the Cardinal, who, from fear of losing his pensions, would readily do the Emperor's pleasure. Should he act otherwise there was plenty of means of stopping the payment thereof. Assures the Emperor that, large as those sums are, they would be well spent upon the Legate, if he would only make good offices as long as His Imperial Majesty chooses to have this King for his friend and ally, and help to crush down, or at least to arrest, the power of the French King, and defend Naples, the Low Countries, and even Spain, from his aggressions, for in what regards the duchy of Milan, he (Praet) thinks there is no hope whatever of this King and Legate being ever persuaded to contribute to its defence. Far from it, he has frequently heard the Legate say that the King, his master, had done so much for us throughout this war, that were the Emperor to get peaceful possession of the whole of the duchy, he ought generously to give it up to the French King in order that he, in his turn, might do justice to the English claims. Fears that sooner or later the Emperor will be compelled to give up Milan, unless, as aforesaid, he can hold it against the enemy at his sole expense, make the great [military] enterprise agreed to with England, and pay the whole of the indemnity due to this King.|
|The above are important points, which require speedy decision, inasmuch as the communications between the King and Legate on one side, and the French on the other, are daily increasing. Fears the arrival of this new French ambassador bodes no good, for although it is to be hoped that these gentlemen (the King and Legate) will not openly violate the Windsor treaties, they can indirectly do great harm, for they are evidently weary of the war, as he (Praet) has often had occasion to report home, and all seem to think that Milan is the sole hindrance, not only to peace, but to any favourable settlement of the English claims which the French King might offer, were he to be placed in possession of that disputed duchy. To all appearances these suggestions emanate from the French; nevertheless the King and the Legate have adopted them, and the scheme has so far hit their fancy that they are not likely to give it up so soon.|
|Begs the Emperor's indulgence, if, stimulated by his zeal, he dare give his opinion on such important matters. His only object is to acquaint the Emperor with the intentions of these people, and what may be expected from them.—London, 3rd January 1525.|
|Signed: "Loys de Praet."|
|Addressed: "To the Emperor."|
|French. Original, pp. 10.|
|9 Jan.||2. The Same to the Same.|
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Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 2.
|The Emperor will learn by the enclosed despatches what has passed since M. du Roeux left. The annexed copy of the Ambassador's letter to the Viceroy will tell the rest. The return of one of the Scotch ambassadors has been expected for the last twenty or twenty-two days, as also the arrival of the French ambassador. The latter was at Lyons when the safe-onduct was sent him; should the affairs of France go badly, he will probably come over; if the contrary, he will remain in France, and laugh at the people here.|
|Has induced the Pope's Nuncio to have a communication with one of the Queen of Scotland's chaplains, (fn. 5) who accompanies the embassy. Being asked what hope the ambassadors entertained of peace or war with England, the said chaplain stated at length the proposals that had been made to this King and the answers he had given to each. The ambassadors' mission had three points in view; 1st, that on the conclusion of peace the Princess (Mary) should be given in marriage to their young King (James); 2d, that the French King and his kingdom should also be included in the treaty; 3d, that at the peace, and after the said matrimonial alliance, the King of England should give up certain castles belonging of right to Scotland, but latterly held by the Kings of England, the ambassadors representing that these castles cost England more than 8,000 pounds sterling yearly, and did her no good.|
|The first of these proposals was at once rejected by the King, on the ground that having promised his daughter's hand to the Emperor, he could not marry her elsewhere without his consent; but the chaplain thought that if this could be obtained there would be no other difficulty made, to which the Nuncio objected that in case of the Emperor consenting, and the matrimonial alliance being made, the French King would not be much pleased, as he had long been wishing for a marriage between the young King of Scotland and one of his own daughters, but the chaplain seemed to think the French King would not heed it much.|
|Respecting the second point, the chaplain said that the French King had lately intimated to the Scotch that if he could not be included in the treaty of peace between England and them, he was willing to be left out, provided only that in making the said peace nothing should be concluded in breach of the ancient treaties and confederacy existing between France and Scotland; the chaplain, moreover, thought the Cardinal had pretty well agreed to this point, although one of no small importance to the English, unless they intend for over after to abstain from war with France, for, as His Imperial Majesty knows well, the principal article in these ancient treaties is that the Scotch are to attack England whenever this country attempts to invade France.|
|As to the third point, viz., the restitution of certain castles to Scotland, the Legate would give no definite answer and allowed difficulties about it, owing to which one of the ambassadors had returned the day before to Scotland for instructions in good hope, so the Nuncio affirms, that peace would be soon concluded [between England and Scotland] especially if the expected ambassador should arrive from France. This is substantially what passed between the Nuncio and the Queen's chaplain. Heard yesterday a report that the Bishop (fn. 6) of Baden (Bath), the King's ambassador in Rome, had written to his brother in London to say that he should not leave Rome before Midsummer, and should then bring with him the dispensation for a marriage between the King of Scotland and the Princess, which would be arranged in the meanwhile. Does not vouch for the truth of this report; thinks such a marriage would be, in time, the ruin of England, for the Cardinal cannot flatter himself by such means to destroy the ancient friendship between Scotland and France. The Scotch might for a time dissemble, and appear as if they courted the alliance of England, but in the end would be more closely united than ever to France, in order to keep England under subjection, a sort of undertaking for which they are always sure of having the co-operation and assistance of France.|
|Thanked the Nuncio for his information, and assured him that whatever reports might be spread here of the Holy Father's leaning towards the French, the Emperor would never believe them, certain as he is that he will not forsake him. Pressed him to write frequently to Rome in the Emperor's favour, which he has done hitherto. Is convinced that should the Holy Father be unfavourably disposed towards the Emperor, this would not be owing to the said Nuncio, who is a staunch Imperialist, but to the machinations of Giovanni Matheo Giberti, the Datary, who, as he (Praet) has often heard from the Legate himself, bears great ill-will to the Emperor, who, he says, has not sent him the promised gifts and hates the Spaniards above all things, asserting that at the last taking of Genoa the Spanish soldiers did great injury to himself and family. He (Praet) considers the motives alleged by the Datary very trifling, for, in the first place, the pension of 2,000 ducats which he is known to receive from the Emperor is no bad beginning, in the way of presents, and on the other hand, the excesses committed by troops at the taking of a town are inevitable in war.|
|Received yesterday at dinner the Emperor's letters of the 20th October, the duplicates of which he has forwarded to Madame. Though the letters are old, and things much changed since, will, as far as possible, follow the Emperor's directions. Will also forward the Emperor's remonstrances concerning John Joachim to the Legate, though with all possible caution, deeming it unwise to irritate the Legate just now, as he might easily do the Emperor a bad turn. Rejoices in the permission to speak frankly; has feared to do this hitherto, but will now say more for the Emperor's vindication than he has been able to do before. Certainly the King and Legate have this great advantage over the Emperor, that all the treaties, not only that of Windsor, but those made since, are greatly in their favour, and very difficult to be observed by His Imperial Majesty, which fact renders a truce the more necessary under the present circumstances, in order that the Emperor may have time to consider what course to pursue most consistent with his own dignity and the maintenance of a firm alliance with those who may remain faithful to him, since to be carrying on war with France and Italy, receiving no help but in words from England, and be subject besides to perpetual reproaches and recriminations, must in the end work his (the Emperor's) ruin both in money and reputation.|
|Has just seen the ambassador of the Duke of Milan. (fn. 7) The news he has are, thank God, pretty good, were it not that both the Venetians and the Holy Father are delaying as much as they can to fulfil their engagements, which is by no means a good .sign. Expects soon letters from the Viceroy; if not detained in Flanders they must be already in the hands of Master Brian Tuke, who always gives him his correspondence last of all. Not so to John Joachim, who is a favourite of his, and knows well how to win the hearts of these people. The report is that he has lately laid out 500 gold crowns on New Year's Day in presents to the confessor, the physician, and other servants of the Cardinal, besides what be must have secretly given their master.|
|Has been for some weeks expecting the arrival of Richard Boulengier. As he has had no news from Madame for 20 days, and as he hears that M. du Reux is still detained by contrary winds on the coast [of England], has made up his mind to send by him [Du Reux] these two packets of letters with their corresponding inventory by duplicate, one for himself, the other for Lallemand, the Emperor's secretary. Has left them open in order that the said Du Reux may examine their contents at leisure and report to the Emperor. Hopes that Richard [Boulengier] or some other messenger will soon come from Flanders, so that he may send him back [to Spain] with intelligence.—London, 9th Jan. 1525.|
|Signed: "Loys de Praet."|
|Addressed: "To the Emperor."|
|French. Original, pp. 5.|