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Wolsey to the English Ambassadors in Spain.
You will say to the emperor that the king (Henry) is very
sorry to have heard no news from Spain for some time and he
hopes, now the great storms of winter are past, that he will hear
Say that the king, in order to be ready at all points for the
grand invasion of France next year, has summoned parliament
for the 15th day after Easter, in order to put the affairs of this
realm in order and to provide for its safe-guard during his absence,
as well as for the troops, money, provisions and artillery necessary
for his expedition. Since the Scots always invade this kingdom
in the king's absence, Henry, seeing their great preparations and
their ill will, has sent to the Scottish border the earl of Surrey,
his treasurer and admiral, to act as his lieutenant in these parts,
and the lord marquis to be warden of the west and middle
marches, with four thousand men-at-arms from the south to add
to the great number of captains and men-at-arms of the north.
He will devastate the border at once, and also prepare for the
invasion of Scotland with thirty thousand men by land and five
thousand by sea. Thus Henry hopes soon to make an end of the
Scottish danger. He has learned that Francis is preparing to
send Albany and the king's rebel, Richard de la Pole, to Scotland
with a great army to invade England. Henry hopes to give him
such a reception as he will little relish. You will assure the
emperor that it is impossible to diminish these preparations
against Scotland, expensive as they are, if anything is to be done
against France the following year.
The king is also preparing a great force at sea to guard the
Channel and the Straits of Calais, which Francis is very anxious
to control. Francis has come in person to Normandy to inspect
his ships, and given order that all his great ships should be ready
this summer. Therefore it is very necessary that the emperor
should send his naval force of three thousand men promptly, for,
if the French get the upper hand at sea, they can do much damage
to the Low Countries and to the town and territory of Calais.
The king does not doubt that the emperor and his council have
a vigilant eye on Italian affairs. On account of certain letters
which Henry has received from Rome and elsewhere, he is moved
to send the emperor his advice. The pope has written urging
the king to accept a three years' truce with France. So that the
emperor may fully understand our position, I am sending copies
of my letters written by the king's command to our ambassadors
at Rome and Venice. From them the emperor will see the king's
desire to be of assistance, and you will point out to him the
desirability of winning over the Venetians, as set forth in my
letters to Pace. It is to be hoped the emperor will not lose this
opportunity, for if the Venetians return to their obedience he
can be sure of Italy for ever. As to the papal proposals for truce,
it is clear that such a truce would be very prejudicial to the
common interest at this time. It would only give the French a
breathing spell, and the emperor may be sure that their pride
and ambition will not be bridled by any treaty, but only by the
application of force. If the advantage which the emperor and
the king now have is lost, there may never be another time
equally favourable, for all Italy seems likely to be secured, and
the kingdom of France is so impoverished in captains and money,
and the king and the emperor are so strong by land and sea that,
once the Scots have been dealt with, King Francis can soon be
brought to reason. Two things would be very helpful : first, to
win over the Swiss, for which purpose the king is sending Pace
to Switzerland to co-operate with the emperor's ambassador ;
second, to arrange a treaty among the Italian powers for an
invasion of France by way of Provence. If possible, the Swiss
should be induced to join this army. If the enemy is invaded
simultaneously, from three different sides, he will never be able
to resist and, since Provence and Languedoc are weak, having
no such fortresses as there are in Picardy and Guienne, it is
probable that the French king, assailed thus on all sides, and
seeing his frontiers toward Italy without defence, will choose to
give battle there rather than in territory which he may think
capable of resisting the enemy because of its fortresses. Therefore
a powerful invasion of Provence will make him draw off a
great part of his forces, so that the emperor and the king will
find less resistance and the enemy's strength will be fatally
divided. The expense of this third invasion can be easily met,
since the emperor and the king will, if it takes place, be able to
reduce the armies which they will lead. Instead of thirty
thousand infantry each, twenty-five thousand will be enough and
instead of ten thousand men-at-arms, five thousand. Thus the
greater part of the expenses of the third army can be met with
no greater cost.
Finally you will say that the king has learned from several
sources that Francis will not invade Italy this summer, but will
turn all his power against the Low Countries and the marches of
Calais. Therefore the emperor should see that the Low Countries
are well provided with captains and soldiers and all the necessities
of offensive as well as defensive war, and should make provisions
for the prompt payment of their wages, lack of which hindered
last year's expedition very much. The emperor should see that
he has trustworthy paymasters. If he will advise the king how
many men he is putting in the field in Flanders, Henry will
provide an equal force as our contribution. You may say also
that to assist the emperor in obtaining the necessary aids from
the Low Countries, the king is sending his ambassador, Dr.
Knight, to Madame, with instructions to be present at the
meetings of the commissioners of the estates, so that he may
exhort them in the name of the king to grant liberally what the
emperor asks. In this, as in everything, Henry is willing to take
every pains to help and please the emperor.
Contemporary translation. French. pp. 7.
H. H. u. St. A.
England. f. 2.
Powers from the Emperor Charles V to Louis De Praet.
His Holiness, Pope Adrian VI, having, as a good pastor should,
observed with alarm the attacks and encroachments of the
Turkish infidels on Christendom, their capture of Belgrade, and
their later capture of Rhodes, so that they threaten the whole of
Christendom and the apostolic see itself with ruin and destruction,
has bestirred himself to arrange peace among all Christian princes,
and especially between us and our ally the king of England on
the one side, and the king of France on the other. The pope has
written us, exhorting us to agree to a truce for three years, and
asking us to send our ambassador to Rome, empowered to arrange
a truce so that the arms of all Christian princes may be turned
against the Turks. We, however, feel ourselves so straitly
bound by ties of alliance and friendship to the king of England
that we cannot send this embassy except with his consent and
jointly with him. Moreover, we have been attacked by the king
of France and cannot omit to defend ourselves. Nevertheless, in
order to show our good will for the peace of Christendom, we are
willing to do everything in our power to promote a peace or
truce, with the consent and active co-operation of the king of
Therefore, confiding in the probity and capacity of Louis de
Flandres, Sieur de Praet, our councillor and chamberlain in
ordinary and our ambassador to the king of England, we hereby
create him, in virtue of these presents, our special representative
and commissioner, empowering him, if and when the king of
England sends an ambassador with powers and instructions to
conclude a peace or truce with the representatives of the king of
France, to act with such an ambassador, in person or by deputy,
to conclude the said truce for a term of three years or otherwise,
and to make all agreements, treaties and compacts relevant to
such a truce, and to settle all differences between us and the
king of France, or any other princes represented, and to arrange
for the co-operation of a common army against the Turks, and
to make all promises in our name necessary for the preservation
of the truce under the guarantee of His Holiness, the pope, as if
we were ourself present. It shall be provided that all the
signatories to this truce shall promise to take arms against
anyone who breaks it, and especially that the pope shall declare
such a violator the enemy of the Christian religion, and pronounce
against him apostolic censures with the invocation of the secular
arm. We promise to agree to whatever shall be concluded in
our name in virtue of these powers, and to perform any acts, and
give any necessary special authority required for the success of
Valladolid, 12 April, 1523.
Contemporary copy. Latin. pp. 5.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 2.
Margaret Of Savoy to Louis De Praet.
By your letters, both jointly with Badajoz and alone, we
understand that Henry and Wolsey are informed that the French
and the subjects of these countries are engaging in trade in wine,
cloth, herrings, and other merchandise, just as in time of peace,
and that the Scots continue to trade in this country, particularly
at Middleburg in Zeeland, and that the citizens of that town have
guaranteed their safety. Believing these things, the king and
the cardinal are, you say, much disturbed, and they adduce, as
proof, the fact that a ship from Middleburg, bound for Scotland,
was driven into Newcastle by the weather, and was found to be
loaded with goods from this country.
The facts are these. My nephew, the emperor, at the request
of the count of Geneva, granted a safe-conduct to a Savoyard
merchant to trade in France and in the Low Countries. This
was without our knowledge. We have learned that under this
safe-conduct the merchant brought a small quantity of wine and
other French goods here, and took away herrings to France. I
have written the emperor asking that this safe-conduct be revoked,
but I have so far had no reply, nor indeed any news of him since
December 12th. In addition, our soldiers at sea captured a
great quantity of French wine six weeks ago. The distribution
of this booty may have caused the rumour that the French were
sending wine here. Six days ago, some of our ships from Zeeland
captured more wine. For our own part, since the war began,
we have had no French wine except a dozen bottles sent from
Cambrai without our knowledge. These we distributed in our
court, to Sir Robert Wingfield among others.
It is true that during the truce between the king of England
and the king of Scots, the city of Middleburg made a treaty with
the Scots merchants, permitting them to reside in Middleburg in
time of peace. They did so only during the duration of the
truce. Those who have come here since have been held prisoner,
and their goods sold as enemy property. When the Scottish
secretary came to Bruges we had him arrested as soon as we
learned of his presence. We have made inquiry about the ship
of Middleburg which was driven into Newcastle, and have been
reliably informed that it was loaded with goods during the truce
by Scottish merchants, who sailed in the hope that peace would
be made and that they would be able to return. The merchandise
in this vessel belongs to good citizens of Middleburg, who are
quite innocent of any wrong-doing against the king or against
the emperor. Their relatives and friends have asked us to write
to the king and the cardinal, requesting that their property be
restored. Please take this matter up with Henry and Wolsey.
Since the ship sailed during the truce, and with the hope of
returning before the truce expired, these goods ought not to be
We received yesterday letters from the emperor dated February
3rd, referring us to Jehan de le Sauch whose arrival we are hourly
Malines, 13 April, 1523.
Contemporary copy. French. pp. 3.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 2.
Charles V to the Ambassadors in England.
Since we wrote you by de Montfort, a messenger has arrived
here from the archbishop of Bari with two packets, one addressed
to the papal nuncio here, the other to us, the contents of which
we wish to communicate to Henry and Wolsey, in order to
preserve scrupulously the friendship and alliance between us.
We trust your discretion to conduct the ensuing negotiations
according to the tenor of these letters.
We are sending you special credentials addressed to Henry and
Wolsey, which you will first give them, announcing the arrival
of Bari's messenger here. You will then give them Bari's original
letters to us, which we are sending them as a mark of our complete
confidence. The letters to the nuncio consisted of a brief from
His Holiness and one from the college of cardinals, with instructions
as to what the nuncio was to say. Of these we are enclosing
authentic copies, although we believe that they will have received
similar briefs from Bertolotti.
You will point out to the king and the cardinal the great
danger to Christendom which has arisen from the fall of Rhodes.
The Turk almost certainly intends to attack Christendom this
year, either in Italy or in Hungary, or on both sides at once. It
is very likely that his first blow will be at Italy, and will fall on
us and our kingdoms at Naples and Sicily, and consequently on
the states of the church, and so on all Christian princes, but
wherever the Turk attacks Christendom, it will be little to our
honour as emperor and protector of the church, or to that of our
brother, as Defender of the Faith, to permit such attacks in our
lifetime, and if we do so it will be to our eternal shame, besides
the present evils we may suffer. For our part, however, we
cannot adequately resist the Turk and make war with the French
at the same time, and we must abandon one or the other, or our
own affairs and those of our brother, and indeed those of all
Christendom, will be in great danger of complete ruin. For these
reasons, and others which you will know how to advance, you
will say to Henry and Wolsey that we hope to have their prudent
advice. For our part, we are very reluctant to abandon the war
which we have prepared against France, but, in view of the great
present necessity of resisting the Turk, and the peril to all
Christendom for which we would be responsible, we ask them to
consider whether the best expedient would not be a truce for a
considerable period of years, leaving everything as it is on the
day the truce shall be concluded, according to the terms set
forth in the document herewith attached. On the conclusion of
this truce, a treaty should be arranged if possible for the defence
of Christendom against the Turk, each of the signatory princes
to furnish his share according to the attached memoir.
You will give this memoir to Henry and Wolsey and also a
copy of the powers we are sending you, which we intend shall be
sent to Rome where the peace and the league against the Turks
may be concluded. By these powers Henry and Wolsey will see
that we do not intend to do anything without their knowledge
and consent, or without the co-operation of their ambassador at
Rome, according to all our treaties. You will ask Henry and
Wolsey to send similar powers to their ambassador at Rome,
with instructions to act jointly with ours, the duke of Sessa,
safeguarding their interests, which we hold as dear as our own,
in any way they deem necessary. Do your best to see that
Henry's powers are sent promptly, without any further communication
from us, since this whole matter requires the greatest
If Henry and Wolsey object that a truce for three years is too
long, point out to them that to make difficulties about the terms
will expose us to the danger of war with the Turks and the
French at the same time. If the truce is short, it will merely
give the French a breathing spell. If it is longer, the French
will provide their quota for the Turkish war and, even if we do
not succeed in arranging a permanent peace for the sake of some
grand offensive against the Turks, King Francis will, for the time
being, be put to equal expense with us, and have no special
advantage from the truce, so that, afterwards, we may still
undertake the "Great Enterprise" according to the form of our
treaties. Do your best, therefore, to see that Henry and Wolsey
send powers and instructions to Rome conformable with ours, as
we have said. Do not allow them to believe that we are specially
moved in this matter by our fears for Naples and Sicily, which
kingdoms were in almost as great danger before the fall of Rhodes.
Rhodes is a long way from Naples, and there are other Christian
countries much nearer to the Turk. Our concern is for the whole
of Christendom, and to avoid the blame which will attach to us
if we permit it to be destroyed.
Say to Henry and Wolsey that, notwithstanding the above
considerations, we do not intend to slacken our preparations
against the French, so that, if a truce is concluded, the appearance
of these preparations may win us more favourable terms, and if
the truce fails, we shall not be unprepared to continue the war.
We intend, in any event, to regulate our conduct according to
the wishes of the king and the cardinal. We feel, however, that
a truce is very necessary and that resistance to the Turk is the
common obligation of all Christians. This obligation we wish to
undertake not only to guard our own realms and private interests,
but because it is the duty of every Christian prince, and, if the
opportunity offers for some good exploit against the Turk, we
shall devote to it our own person, with all our power and that of
our friends and subjects.
You will ask Henry and Wolsey, notwithstanding these
negotiations for truce, to hasten forward their preparations for
war, and to make a descent on France according to our last letters,
for it will be more honourable to us to conclude a truce when we
are clearly the stronger, than simply to stand upon the defensive,
be attacked by the enemy, and perhaps lose the truce. Therefore,
without delaying the treaty that we have ordered you to conclude
for the conduct of the war this year, but without waiting for its
conclusion, you will ask Henry and Wolsey to make some attack
on France at once in whatever manner seems best, and we for
our part shall do likewise here, if we have time. By this means
we shall have more honourable and reasonable conditions of truce,
and in the end a good peace. We are sending duplicates of these
letters and instructions by a special courier who will cross the
sea with Môqueron, and at the same time we are sending other
powers and instructions directly to Rome. The originals sent
you are only to show Henry and Wolsey, as a mark of our perfect
confidence in them and proof that we do not wish to do anything
without them. Reply at once in cipher by the bearer of this,
Bari's secretary, and send a duplicate of your reply by sea so
that one or the other may arrive as soon as possible.
Valladolid, 16 April, 1523.
Contemporary draft. French. pp. 8.