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Henry VIII to Charles V.
We have received your letters written from Santander, and
the news in them has given us the greatest pleasure. We shall
always be delighted to hear of your prosperity and shall consider
your affairs as our own, as we have said more at length to your
ambassadors who have fulfilled your charge to them. Let us
continue in our good communication to the confusion of the
From our manor of Newhall, 6 August, 1522.
Signed, Henry. French. pp. 2.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 2.
Wolsey to Charles V.
To my great joy I have received your majesty's letter announcing
your prosperous arrival at Santander, by which, and by what
you wrote the king, my master, and to your ambassadors, I have
been delighted to learn of your loyal reception and the success of
your affairs in Spain. The ambassadors will write in detail of the
replies to the matters with which they are charged. Pray
command me as one whose chief pleasure is to obey you.
Westminster, 6 August, 1522.
Signed, Thomas, Cardinal of York. French.
H. H. u. St. A.
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Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
We wrote you by Richard, our courier, of our arrival in Spain
and have since written by Captains Lescano and Picharro whom
we sent there in command of the Spanish troops, from whom you
will have heard of the capture of the castle of Beobia [Béhérobie]
and the victory of our people at St-Jean-de-Luz, and of the
capture of the castle of Maya from the French by our viceroy of
Navarre. By the advice of our captains here, we have sent the
three thousand Germans who accompanied us to join our army
at San Sebastian. The joint force, with the artillery, will be
strong enough for some notable feat, though whether or not we shall
besiege Fuenterrabia, a very strong place, so late in the year, is
undecided. But we shall do the French all the harm we can,
since my subjects here are very inclined to war.
Spies report from Guienne that Francis has been very alarmed
at my arrival, and is doing his best to garrison, fortify and victual
the frontier towns, while all Guienne is in great fear. A report
from the captain of Salsas, and one from one of our spies is
enclosed for your further information. We were delighted to
learn of the capture of Brest by the English and their burning of
sixty great ships there, and of the capture of Couquet where the
English won another victory. We have recently executed ten
lanzknechts who were taken prisoner serving the French at
Beobia. All others like them whom we may capture, we shall
treat the same, so that their comrades will be afraid to serve
So far we have received only two posts from Italy, but the
state of affairs there is very perplexed, and, no matter what
victories we win, it will be impossible to keep the army in the
field much longer without help, or to do much more without an
understanding with the Swiss and Venetians.
Since our arrival at Santander we have passed through the
cities of Arenosa, (sic) Melgar and others and arrived here in
Palencia, being everywhere received with great popular rejoicing.
The Admiral and the Constable of Castile, our viceroys, and the
dukes of Medina-Celi, Najera and Albuquerque, several marquises
and counts, the presidents and members of our great councils,
and many other grandees, nobles, prelates, and important
persons of these realms have come to our court, displaying as
much humility and devotion as we could desire, and all, great
and small, have shown themselves our loyal subjects and servants.
We have already begun to bring order into these kingdoms, and
shall continue, that all may see that our arrival here was for their
benefit and that of all Christendom. The news from all sides
is excellent, and we are grateful to Henry and Wolsey for their
advice to come here. We intend to hold the cortes, and then to
go to Tordesillas to see our mother, in order to keep God's commandment
and to satisfy the common people.
11 August, 1522.
18th century copy. French. pp. 3.
A contemporary draft of this letter (not final) H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 2. has the following additions :
The Pope is at Tarragona where the galleys of Castile, Naples,
and Sicily, and his own galleys, and the soldiers and others who
are to accompany him, were in such a state of preparation that
His Holiness hoped to leave the 7th or 8th of this month, although
our people with him think it will not be before the 15th. Had
it been advisable to delay his departure, we should gladly have
visited him, but he himself, on account of the shortness of the
time and the pressure of our affairs, wrote excusing us. We
believe that he will not sail near France, but follow the coasts of
the islands and kingdoms belonging to us. We have written him
fully by the Sieur de Zevenbergen, and are in such friendly
correspondence with him as cannot but advance our affairs and
The archbishop of Bari, the papal ambassador in France, seeing
the extremity to which the French have been reduced, has put
forward a proposal for peace or truce. No attention should be
paid to it, for we are determined not to enter any negotiations
with the enemy without the advice and consent of the king of
England. Francis, who more and more desires a peace or truce,
has sent an ambassador to the pope. This person is now at
Narbonne, and we have been asked by His Holiness to grant him
a safe-conduct, which we have refused.
A third (final?) draft of this letter, also contemporary,
H. H. u. St. A., England, f. 2, omits the paragraph about the archbishop
of Bari and has the following postscript :
Since writing the above, we have had certain news that His
Holiness embarked from Tarragona, Tuesday, the 5th of this
month, and was able to set sail the same day, so that it is to be
hoped he is now very near to Rome.
Palencia, 15 August, 1522.
French. pp. 4.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 1.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
As soon as your majesty set sail from Southampton we returned
to court, presented your letters to the king, the queen, and the
cardinal and gave them your last messages. Henry then told
us of the admiral's exploits in Brittany, of which we believe you
learned while at sea.
Several days later there arrived here the maître d'hôtel Hesdin,
sent by Madame Margaret to say that she was ready to fulfil all
the terms of the treaty of Waltham, except the payment of half
the cost of the supply train. She said scarcity of money prevented
this, and begged Henry to undertake the whole cost,
offering in return fifty gens d'armes paid for three months. If
Henry refused, Hesdin was to ask for a loan of the necessary sum
and promise surety for repayment within a year. Henry and
Wolsey expressed surprise at this request, especially since there
was as yet no news of the arrival of the 4,000 troops that your
majesty was to send to take part in this enterprise, lacking whom
Henry had had to send to Calais 13,000 men and to keep 7,000
fighting men with the fleet so that he was carrying both at land
and at sea, much greater burdens than the treaty laid down.
And all this for your majesty's benefit, since Boulogne could not
be taken at this season, while Francis had been obliged to abandon
Italy, the frontiers of Flanders were safe, and the French so
pressed on all sides that they were inclined to an honourable
peace, which, under the circumstances Henry thought very
advisable. Therefore, they asked Margaret not to make any
such request, and told us they had decided to send their troops
and artillery to Calais, and then, if our part were not fulfilled,
withdraw them at once. This would be a great misfortune and
ought at all costs to be avoided.
We tried for several days to get Wolsey to consent to Madame's
request. He begged us to write to her to fulfil the treaty, since
his prestige was completely engaged in this war. He added that
he had already been accused in the king's presence of serving the
emperor rather than his master, and to calm Henry he had been
obliged to make a gift of 20,000 angels to the war chest. Hesdin
carried this reply back, and we hope the four thousand Spaniards
will arrive, and there will be no other lack on our side. Henry
is already behind time. It will be the 12th of this month before
all the army is at Calais. Indeed the English have their hands
full. Wolsey has heard that the French are collecting transport
in Normandy for 25,000 men, with the intention of invading this
kingdom and he seems to fear that the duke of Suffolk, [Richard
de la Pole] who is still at Metz, will be with them. Also the duke
of Albany has got the young king of Scots into his hands, and they
fear that he may do away with him and make himself king. He
has assembled a great force which, he gives out, is to besiege the
castle of Berwick, which is the key to England and Scotland.
But Wolsey has been warned that Albany really intends to make
a great invasion of this country, and is to be reinforced for this
purpose by a large number of French troops. Henry and Wolsey
have been detained here in London for some days, preparing
against these dangers.
Richard, your courier, arrived on July 29th, with news of your
majesty's fortunate arrival in Spain, of the coming here shortly
of the Spanish troops, of the victory of St-Jean-de-Luz, and of
your preparations for invading France, at all which news the
king and the cardinal were greatly pleased.
Since writing the above we have heard the Spanish troops
have arrived at the Isle of Wight. Wolsey, delighted, sent at
once for Captain Lescano to arrange the details of the co-operation
of the Spanish who will remain at sea with the English. Lescano
was ill with fever, but sent Captain Picharro, with whom we have
visited Wolsey, and arranged as follows : First, the Spaniards
are to go at once to Calais and land two thousand infantry under
Picharro, who will proceed to Gravelines or elsewhere as Count de
Buren, the captain general, may order. The remainder of the
force will stay on the ships, being divided among fifteen vessels,
and join the English in three places : Lescano, with eight Spanish
ships and eight English ships, will be stationed between Calais
and Dover ; four Spanish ships and six English ones will patrol
between Ireland and Wales ; and three Spanish ships and as
many English will cruise from Plymouth as far as the Bay of
Biscay to guard the route from Spain. In addition to these squadrons,
Henry has sent ten warships north to protect the fishing
fleets, both Flemish and English, and to prevent the French from
fishing this season. Of the thirteen ships fitted out by the towns
of Flanders, Holland and Zeeland, ten will join this squadron.
We are obliged to report that according to Picharro, and to
Lescano's letters, the Spanish have arrived here without money
or provisions, so that they cannot leave the Isle of Wight without
being provisioned for some days. They brought provisions from
Spain for only one month, and these they began to consume
eleven days before their departure from Laredo, the 23rd of July.
Although there is no arrangement for raising money here in your
majesty's name, and although neither of us has more than enough
for our daily needs, nevertheless we have managed to find six
hundred ducats which we have lent them to revictual for a
week or so, during which time they hope to get to Calais and
thence to Dunkirk, where they will be obliged to wait to be reprovisioned
by Madame before they can take the sea. Moreover,
the two thousand infantry who are to be landed are quite without
money, although your majesty paid them until the 7th or 8th of
September. Picharro says that the fault lies with the paymasters,
who let them have the money before they were on
board, so that most of them lost or spent all of it before they
sailed. If they are not provided with at least a ducat apiece on
landing, there is no doubt that they will be guilty of gross outrages
in English territory or wherever they pass. We have
written to Madame begging her to provide money and provisions,
since according to what we have heard Wolsey say, it is unlikely
that we can raise anything here, and something must be done to
prevent serious disorders and disgrace. Wolsey tells us that
de Buren and Surrey held a council of war at Gravelines, and
decided it was too late in the year to lay siege to Boulogne,
Montreuil or any such town, and the best thing to do would be to
lay waste the open country as far as Amiens, if possible, taking
all the strong places in their way that could be carried by assault,
a course which will do great damage to the French and prevent
an invasion of Flanders.
The cardinal still shows himself very eager to serve you, but
it seems to us that he has not the war so much at heart as he had,
for he has given us to understand that if Francis offers reasonable
conditions of peace, he thinks they ought not to be refused.
He believes that overtures could be made through the pope, who
might express himself as anxious to bring peace to Christendom,
and he has written to His Holiness to suggest as much. We
thought your majesty ought to know this so that you may look
to your own interests.
London, 12 Aug., 1522.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Elne, Loys de Praet.
French. pp. 8.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 2.
Wolsey to Charles V.
The king, my master, never lets more than four hours pass
without speaking of you. He cannot be at ease unless he has
frequent news from you and of the success of your affairs in
Spain, which we all hope are improving as you wish. So that he
may have such news and you may have news of him, he is sending
to your majesty his councillors, Sir Thomas Boleyn, treasurer of
his household, and Doctor Richard Sampson, dean of his chapel,
to act jointly with Master Thomas Spinelly, who is ambassador
now with you. I have given these ambassadors certain messages
to you from me and I beg credence for them as for myself.
Westminster, 27 August, 1522.
Signed, T. Cardinal of York. French.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 3.
The Ambassadors in England to Charles V.
We wrote last on the 20th, announcing the arrival of the
Spanish forces at Southampton. Since that time Lescano and
Picharro have managed so well on the 600 ducats we gave them
that Picharro landed at Calais on the 21st with eleven
"standards" of foot, two hundred men each, and the rest of the
army, 1,587 soldiers and 569 sailors, has reached the Dunes under
Lescano. Lescano passed the vice-admiral of England at sea,
and told him that the Spanish force was in such need that unless
it were provided for it would have to disband. The vice-admiral
reported this at once to Wolsey who sent for us and asked us to
see that this force did not break up for want of provisions. We
said we had no commands on the point from your majesty, that
our credit was too small in this town to enable us to raise so large
a sum, and that we hoped that Madame, who had been informed
of the state of affairs, would provide for them shortly. Wolsey
insisted that he was sure your majesty would wish us to provide
for this matter, and he pointed out the bad effect on Henry and
the people of this kingdom if so fine a force broke up for want of
pay and provisions, contrary to the treaty of Waltham. Therefore,
considering these things and also fearing lest, on this account,
Henry and Wolsey might weary of the war, toward which it
seems to us they have grown colder since the departure of your
majesty, we have managed, by the greatest efforts, to raise 2,750
ducats. We could not have found so great a sum among the
Spanish merchants in this town and the business would have been
very difficult had not Antonio Vivaldi, a Genoese merchant, come
to our aid. A short time ago your majesty did this person some
favour in Genoa, for which he showed himself not ungrateful, for
by his means we raised the above sum on bills to be paid at Medina
del Campo at the October fair next, along with the six hundred
ducats which Vivaldi lent us before for Lescano and Picharro, as
we have said. These two sums amount to 3,350 ducats at 375
maravedis each, for which your majesty is to pay at the fair 400
maravedis each, which is a very small discount as the rate of
exchange now is in this city. Since this money has been used
for the re-victuallment of your troops from the twelfth day of
this month to the end of September, and since we have obliged
ourselves to payment on the day and place named with all the
losses by exchange and re-exchange which Vivaldi may suffer
if payment is defaulted, we beg your majesty to have this money
paid according to the letters of exchange which we have given.
Although Lescano and your other captains will report to you
about the Spanish forces at sea, it seems wise to send our report.
We fear they will do little service at sea, for there is not a captain
or soldier among them who has any experience of war except on
land, and they seem the kind of troops who may be expected to
mutiny on the slightest occasion. There has been trouble with
them two or three times already because they saw their comrades
disembarked while they were obliged to remain at sea. In our
opinion, if your majesty can find some other means of satisfying
the king of England, it would be better, after the end of September,
to employ these troops on land. If this is not done, it is
to be feared from what they have said, that they may do something,
in spite of their captains, which your majesty will regret.
In our letter of August 12th we wrote what Henry and Wolsey
said to us because of the non-arrival of the Spanish. Now, however,
your majesty's preparations are more advanced than those
of this king, and for the time being he has no cause for complaint.
The admiral of England left Calais on the 30th of this month and
marched on St-Omer, where he will find Iselstein (fn. 1) with your
majesty's army, intending to besiege Thérouanne. Wolsey hopes
they may take it, by cutting off the water supply of the town, in
a few days. It is quite true that the duke of Albany has made a
great levy to invade this kingdom at the beginning of the coming
month. Wolsey has sent a great power to oppose him, but the
matter is not without danger. We have reason to believe that
the Scots have already done some damage in this kingdom, for
although we have several times asked Wolsey for news of the
campaign, he has given us none.
In our daily conversations with Wolsey he is always talking
of the treaties between your majesty and his king, reciting to us
by heart, first one article and then another, much to our confusion,
for although it seems sometimes that he understands the words of
the treaty other than as they sound to us, we do not dare to
contradict him, for we have no copies of the most recent agreements.
We beg your majesty to assist us by sending us such
London, the last day of August, 1522.
P.S.—We have several times reminded Wolsey about the posts
and the zabras, but so far have been unable to get any final reply.
This is unfortunate, for in the present state of affairs your majesty
should be frequently advised of what goes on here. At present
we have to wait on Wolsey's pleasure.
Signed, Bishop of Badajoz and Loys de Praet. From de Praet's
letter book. French. pp. 5.