H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
When I wrote last, over a fortnight ago, I thought Chasteau, the
bearer of this, would leave at once, but the cardinal detained him
so that he might be the bearer of certain news of importance
which was expected.
Since then I have received letters from Madame of Oct. 12th,
containing news from Rome, as your majesty will see by the
enclosed copy, and advising me of the arrival of Bourbon at
Besancon, Oct. 3rd, and of the mission of one of his gentlemen to
England. I went at once to Wolsey with the Italian news and
met there Bourbon's envoy, one Pouvoyre, a Savoyard, first
cousin to the Sieur de Verjon. This person, expecting to find
me with the cardinal, had already gone to him and without
speaking to me first, delivered his charge, which was, in substance,
that Bourbon sent him with letters to Henry and Wolsey
to inform them that his plans had been divulged to King Francis
by his servants, the Sieur d'Escars and the chancellor of the
Bourbonnais, so that he had been obliged to flee and remain in
hiding for some time. Also his castle of Chantelle, in which he
had placed all his goods and money, had been delivered to King
Francis by the gentleman to whom he had entrusted it. Therefore
he begged Henry to send the hundred thousand crowns,
promised for the payment of the Germans, at once, so that he
might join them, and, if the king thought good, march with them
to join the English army because he had no cavalry for a separate
campaign. In addition, he attempted to persuade Wolsey to
send another hundred thousand crowns because the Germans
were owed two months' wages and wished to be paid before they
would march. It seemed to me that Wolsey would find all this
unexpected and unreasonable, since he had been informed that
your master of the posts had received from Dr. Knight money
that Knight had been given by the king of England, and with it
had paid the Germans up to the 9th of October. I went at once
to hear Wolsey's reply. He told me very angrily of this new
request, and began to make his customary complaints, saying that
he knew now that your majesty and Madame did not intend to
keep their promises, but were trying to ruin the king, his master,
and that this effort to get another hundred thousand crowns from
the king came from Madame alone and not from Bourbon, whose
letters spoke only of the hundred thousand crowns promised him,
which sum Russell was already charged to pay. Wolsey spoke
of many things very wrathfully, recurring to the failure to pay
the indemnity and other matters in which he says your majesty
has failed the king, his master, and particularly of the fact that
so far he has not heard that any money of your share has been
delivered to Bourbon. He thinks you should contribute equally
with Henry, since Bourbon has no other troops than the Germans.
He also complained that he had no news of your Spanish army,
and made it plain that he did not believe you had one in the field,
or at least not such a one as had been agreed. Finally he said
that if you and Madame intended to throw all the burdens on
the king, his master, it would be better for this kingdom to be
at war with you than with the French, and that if, through your
failure, the campaign this year failed, you would repent of it. I
thought your majesty ought to know of these words, although it
is true that when Wolsey is angry he says very bitter things that
he would not say were he calm. He has repeated the substance
since, however, and expressly ordered this bearer to deliver such
message to your majesty.
I was very confused and ashamed, for the cardinal spoke so
loudly that Bourbon's envoy could hear every word ; he was
angrier than I have ever seen him. I did my best to soothe him,
saying that he must not believe that the envoy's message came
from Madame, since she had written me nothing about it, and
showing him her letters. He then called Bourbon's gentleman,
and said he was astonished that he should have asked for another
hundred thousand crowns when his master's letters asked only for
the hundred thousand which he had been promised. The envoy
was confused and did not know what to say except that he had,
himself, thought of this proposal to avoid delay, since the money
being sent by your majesty might not arrive soon or safely.
Here I put in that he might be assured your majesty's promises
would be kept, and that I was sure your contribution was already
at Genoa, though they had had no news of it on account of the
troop movements in Lombardy. I said I was sure Wolsey would
be satisfied about your Spanish campaign, although bad weather
had delayed the news. Finally Wolsey said that the king and he
would furnish all the hundred thousand crowns they had promised,
and Russell would commence to pay the Germans from September
24th, the day on which Knight had delivered a month's payment
to your master of the posts. Thereupon Wolsey sent Bourbon's
envoy to have audience with the king, who received him well
and spoke affably of the duke, promising both orally and in
writing that, if Bourbon would bring the Germans at once to his
army, he (Henry) would never abandon him, and would give him
all the aid and favour possible. Wolsey is writing Bourbon in a
similar vein. I asked the envoy what Bourbon had done when his
plans were discovered, and where he had been for such a long time
before he joined the Germans. He did not know what to say
except that he understood the duke and two companions had been
as far as the marches of Salsas, but seeing that he could not cross
the frontier without great danger, had returned, and passing
within three or four leagues of Lyons, where King Francis was,
reached Saint-Claude in your county of Burgundy, where the
bishop of Geneva gave him horses and an escort, and accompanied
him to Besançon.
The king asked Bourbon's envoy to return to his master at once.
Since his departure I have received letters from Madame, transmitting
a copy of one written her by the president of Burgundy,
all enclosed herewith. I have also received a letter from M. de
Buren, informing me of the good success of the campaign so far ;
this is also enclosed. In consequence of Buren's letter the king
and the cardinal are sending at once reinforcements of six
thousand English infantry. I understand that Buren and Suffolk
intend marching against Lens and thence straight on to Paris.
Since writing the above I have received from Cilly, maître d'hôtel
of the grand master, and from one of my couriers, both of whom
have just arrived, your majesty's letters of the 8th, 9th, 18th,
and 21st of September, and 3rd October. These letters seem to
me to contain eight principal points : (1) Your majesty has sent
Bourbon your quota of 100,000 crowns and asks Henry to do
likewise. (2) You ask this king to order his army to march
deeply into enemy country. (3) You ask that the army be
equipped to winter in enemy territory and suggest that it march
through Normandy, where it will find secret friends and little
resistance. (4) You suggest the English army be strongly
reinforced and that it waste no time in besieging towns. (5)
You report the arrival of an envoy from Savoy. (6) You ask that
English ambassadors be empowered to complete in Spain the
formal treaty with Bourbon, first drafted by Beaurain and
Russell. (7) You ask the king of England to order his captains
not to accept ransom for important French prisoners, but to hold
them for exchange against certain gentlemen of Bourbon's party
who have been taken. (8) You explain why your army did not
take the field at the agreed time.
After Wolsey had talked to me and to Cilly, whom I had
instructed what to say, he seemed delighted with your co-operation
and good-will, by means of which he held it certain that the
enemy would soon be subjugated, or at least brought to offer
favourable terms. He said that since for the most part he and I
had discussed the points in your letters, he need reply only
briefly, subject to his king's pleasure, as follows.
Your first and second requests have been satisfied already.
As to the third, in view of your majesty's great preparations and
the good hope of success in the campaign, Henry will send the
necessary money and supplies for the army to winter in France
and order it to do so, provided that the three thousand cavalry
and three thousand German infantry under Buren, paid by your
majesty, keep them company. But it is now too late for the
army to march through Normandy. Fourth, he has already
arranged to reinforce the army with six thousand English infantry,
and will send further reinforcements if necessary. Fifth, about
Lambert's mission, Wolsey thinks that Lambert is more a spy
than an ambassador, and that you ought not to listen to his
proposals, for with the aid of God and your armies, you will soon
bring King Francis to make you a proper offer through his own
ambassadors. He thinks that you ought to detain Lambert and
not permit him to write any news to France or Savoy which might
prejudice the common cause. Sixth, Henry will send the powers
asked for, by a special courier to Spain, in seven or eight days.
Seventh, orders have been sent to Suffolk in accordance with
your majesty's wishes, and I, de Praet, have informed Buren of
them. Eight, the king and the cardinal find your majesty's
reasons for delaying the invasion of France quite adequate, since
they give hope of greater success now the campaign has been
begun. They are gratified that your majesty expects to fulfil
your agreements at all points, as I have assured them you will,
and have no doubt that you will do your part as they will theirs.
From their actions it really seems that these lords are now full
of good-will and without dissimulation. Wolsey is very earnest
in pressing affairs forward. I think that the payment of his
pensions and what your majesty wrote about the pensions on
Palencia and Badajoz have had a very good effect.
Yesterday evening I received letters from Madame, containing
such news as she had of Italy, of Bourbon, and of Rome, copies
enclosed. It seems very strange that the ambassador of Milan
has had no letters from his master since the last of August, and
that we have heard nothing as yet of the election of a new pope,
for Pope Adrian died eight weeks ago, and the cardinals went into
conclave the first of last month. Nevertheless, we continue to
hope that there has been no election contrary to your majesty's
interests. News of less importance here this bearer will give you
by word of mouth.
London, 7 November, 1523.
P. S.—I have tried to recover the letter your majesty wishes
about the county of Carpi, which you have given to Prospero
Colonna, and Wolsey has promised to have the letter searched for
with diligence, but so far it has not been found.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 12.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
We have received your letters of September 15th and 20th,
containing an account of Russell's negotiations with Bourbon,
and of Bourbon's acceptance of all the English articles except
the second. Say to the king and the cardinal that we are very
pleased at Russell's success, and ask them again to send powers to
their ambassadors here, in order that the articles of the treaty
may be put in proper form. Ask them again, as you were
instructed to do by Cilly, to give all the aid in their power to
Bourbon and his party, which will be the best means to bring the
enemy low. For our part, we shall keep all our promises to
Bourbon, and hope that the English will do likewise. As we
wrote, we have already provided letters of exchange in Italy for
the 100,000 crowns which is our share of Bourbon's expenses, and
we have reimbursed the Welzers for the sum borrowed of them for
this purpose by our brother, the archduke. You will continue to
see to it that the English provide their share, a duty which you
have so far discharged very well. Use the new cipher to communicate
with Bourbon, addressing your letters to Bissy, our maréchal
de logis, whom we have sent to him, and who, we have reason to
believe, has arrived. See that we have news of Bourbon as often
We are writing by this bearer, to Bourbon for the purpose, and
in the terms which you may learn from the enclosed copy. Communicate
the whole matter to the king and the cardinal, and let
them speak with the bearer, after which he should go on to
Bourbon at his best speed. By this means you may try to
discover whether the king and the cardinal are inclined to continue
the war, in case we cannot have a good peace or truce, and
you will advise us at once, so that we may order our affairs
Present our excuses for the delay of the Spanish army more or
less as follows. As we first agreed with Henry, we had ordered
our captains to have everything ready for August 10th. Then
the English ambassadors here told us that Henry wished Bourbon's
rising to be delayed until the date for the "Great Enterprise"
next year, and that he had given Beaurain a memoir asking
him to negotiate with Bourbon to this purpose. Beaurain's
return was delayed by bad weather at sea until the end of August,
and not knowing what he had agreed with Bourbon, we were
uncertain what day the army should assemble. As soon as
Beaurain returned, we ordered our captains to be at Logroño
before the end of August, and when we left Valladolid on the 24th,
we had already sent all the money necessary to pay the troops.
Two circumstances, however, delayed the assembly of the army.
First, we wished to wait until Bourbon's plans could be announced
to the grandees here without risk, so that we might say why
we wished to undertake this enterprise in person to assist him,
and thus incline them to be more ready to aid and accompany us.
The other was that we hoped to take advantage of secret reports
and to surprise Bayonne, Fuenterrabia, and certain other towns
before the French had garrisoned and provisioned them. To this
end we ordered our forces by land and sea to take Bayonne at the
end of August. They would have done so had not the wind
prevented our ships from entering the river by Bayonne, so that
the enterprise failed, and the land forces, seeing that they could
not complete it without the co-operation of the ships, retired with
great booty. This expedition and the news of Bourbon's rising
alarmed the other towns, and since Bourbon's conspiracy had been
discovered and some of the principal participants captured, and
no one knew what had become of him, and since we had no news
from Picardy or Italy, for no ships had crossed the sea to this
kingdom for more than two months, some of our councillors
endeavoured to persuade us to put off the campaign until next
spring, since the mountain passes would be closed by snow,
preventing us from provisioning and reinforcing the army.
They were unable to persuade us, however, and we ordered our
artillery and our troops to concentrate at Pamplona, whence
they were to cross the mountains. At this time certain people
managed to spread a rumour that we would invade France by
way of Italy or Flanders, and would not come back to Spain and
that Fuenterrabia would never be retaken. This rumour was the
cause of grave delay, because the subjects of this kingdom do not
wish us to leave them and greatly desire the recapture of Fuenterrabia.
A large number of the infantry, who had been already
paid, on hearing this rumour, went home with their money, so
that we were obliged to raise and pay other infantry in Navarre,
Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia, to reinforce the army, and were
put to much greater expense than we had expected. In spite of
all this we have reduced to our obedience the whole land of the
Basques, which is of great extent and can furnish a large number
of fighting men, and we have recaptured Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port,
which has been in the hands of the French ever since their invasion,
and the Germans are in San Sebastian with the other
cavalry and infantry on this frontier and have with them the boats
and pontoons that we ordered. They are already crossing from
San Sebastian to French territory, near Bayonne, beyond the
Pyrenees and they will join the rest of our army at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port,
where most of the Spanish infantry has already
arrived under the command of the prince of Orange. By this
hour the artillery is on its way there with the greater part of our
men-at-arms and light horse, under the constable of Castile, and
in three days we shall set out in person with the rest of the Spanish
nobility, all our household and the remainder of the army. We
intend to march as far as possible into France and shall command
the army in person, both because our Spanish grandees will follow
us more willingly than they would another, and because the
army will be encouraged thereby. Also we hope that Henry
will maintain his army in France this winter, and that since we
have invaded France in person, he will do likewise. If he will
go as far as Calais it will be of great use to the common cause.
You may ask him to do so, telling him of our resolution, and
saying that we expect to make up for lost time by remaining
longer in the enemy's territory to achieve some conquest upon it,
or at least to compel the enemy to a favourable peace. If we do
this it would be well if Henry would send his powers here to be
ready for negotiations. Ask Henry, in view of the above, not
to be offended by our past delays or to blame us, since we hope to
make up for the past in the future and always to remain his friend
Say to Henry that in the present favourable state of affairs, it
will be better for us to carry out our present enterprise and to
abandon our plans for the "Great Enterprise," for things are going
so well that we may hope to achieve either the total ruin of the
French and the recovery of all the territory which they unjustly
hold, or at least their reduction to such extremity that they will
accept an honest and reasonable peace. The news from Italy is
so good that we may make use of the army of Italy for this
purpose. This veteran and constantly victorious army, by
invading France, will distract the enemy's forces and greatly
weaken them. We plan to have the army invade Provence or
Dauphiny or by whatever route seems best to M. de Bourbon,
supported by the fleet which is at Genoa under Don Hugo de
Moncada, which will be very useful in reinforcing him. If,
however, the army of Italy enters France, the contributions of the
Italian league to its support will cease, for the league is purely
defensive and not obliged to assist in operations outside Italy. We
shall not be able to maintain such heavy additional expenses alone.
Therefore if Henry wishes the army of Italy to invade France as a
substitute for the "Great Enterprise," he should contribute as
much as he formerly offered through Boleyn and Sampson.
We should like to know what Wolsey and Henry said about the
powers and instructions which we sent you some time ago to treat
of peace or truce. You may tell them that the archbishop of Bari,
former papal nuncio in France, came here recently with instructions
signed by King Francis, to make such proposals about peace
or truce as you may see by the enclosed copy. We heard the
archbishop in the presence of the English ambassadors, and with
their advice and consent gave him a written reply, unsigned, a
copy of which is also enclosed. Give these copies to Henry and
Wolsey, ask their opinion, and advise us at once.
We have had several packets of letters from Italy, delayed by
the stormy weather which has lasted so long. These we are
sending you, among them a letter of the cardinal of Como, who, you
will see, hopes to elect a pope of the French party. In the matter
of the English pensions you have done well. We shall be glad
to have news of the army in Picardy, and shall keep you constantly
informed about the one here. The office of bailly of
Bruges we give you gladly, and we are writing Madame, asking
her to see that it is peaceably enjoyed either by you or by your
deputy. We cannot give you leave to go to Bruges ; the affairs
on which you are now engaged are too important. But the office of
bailly can be filled by your deputy, and we trust to your discretion
to arrange the matter.
Pamplona, 15 November, 1523.
Signed, Charles ; countersigned, Lalemand. Contemporary
copy. French. pp. 10.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 1.
Marquis D'Aerschot and Louis De praet to Charles V.
In accordance with your majesty's orders to me, Aerschot, I
tried for some time to cross the sea but was unable to set sail, on
account of storms, until October 24th. I reached Plymouth the
27th, though the weather was still stormy. From there I sent
word to M. de Praet to meet me so that I could tell him my charge.
He did so, and we went together to London. We had audience
with the cardinal the day after our arrival, Henry being at the
time about sixty miles north, on the road to Scotland. We
presented your letters to Wolsey who was very glad to hear of
your prosperity, and delivered our charge to him at length, saying
that you did not wish to conceal anything from him, since you
had the most perfect confidence in his willingness to maintain the
amity between you and his king, as he had always done, and to
advance your great and urgent affairs. He took this very well,
and said he had already provided for the army and its reinforcement
in case you provided likewise for your contingent in Flanders
under the count de Buren ; otherwise it would be impossible for
their army to keep the field. He asked news of the campaign
on the Spanish frontier, and I, Aerschot, told him that after
I had left court I had had certain news that your army was
in enemy territory and that you intended to lead it in person.
He was delighted, and said that now the enemy would be hard
Wolsey told us that we should go to the king with our news,
and to go lightly attended, since the king was in a small manor
called Woodstock. This is in very fine hunting country. Henry
received us there very cordially, and replied to our charge much
as Wolsey had done. He asked me, Aerschot, to write to your
majesty and also to Madame, asking that there be no failure to
pay your troops in Picardy, for in that case the English would be
obliged to return without wintering in France. This we humbly
advise you to do, since this seems the time to risk all in order to
gain all, and you ought not to spare anything, provided Henry
does his part.
We returned to London, where we found Wolsey very troubled
by news that the army of Picardy had re-crossed the Somme
and your majesty's troops had retired to Valenciennes for want of
payment. He made his customary complaints, and said that if
the news were true, the English army would be obliged to retire,
which would be quite contrary to the will of both your majesties,
and a grave check to your plans. He begged me, Aerschot, to
urge Madame and her council to find means to pay the troops for
at least six weeks or two months more, during which time the
army might take Corbie or Doullens to serve as winter quarters,
and then advance in the spring. Without doubt the cardinal
has the good of this enterprise entirely at heart. Therefore,
in our opinion, your majesty ought to order Madame to see that
the troops are paid, or, still better, send her some money for this
purpose. I, Aerschot, am leaving at once for Flanders, and I, de
Praet, will keep your majesty constantly informed.
London, 19 November, 1523.
Signed, Charles de Croy and Louis de Praet. French. pp. 3.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 2.
Charles V to Louis De Praet.
Since we last wrote we have received your letter of October 6th.
It was a long time on the way, only arriving here November 24th.
We are surprised that Chasteau is so long in coming. Because of
his delay, and because we were waiting to see what route the
French would take into Italy, and because our army has entered
France and had some successes there, we have delayed this
courier until now.
To reply to your letter of October 6th : We have always
desired the promotion of the cardinal of York to the papal dignity
and intend to aid him with all our power, as we told him when we
and Henry exhorted him at Windsor to think of this matter for
the good of Christendom. Therefore you have done well to send
a special courier. We are likewise sending you one with copies of
the letters which we wrote in Wolsey's favour to the duke of Sessa,
our ambassador at Rome, both before and after we had received
your letter. You will read the copies to Henry and Wolsey, and
tell them that they were sent by special courier as promptly as
possible, as the English ambassadors here know. Say also that
we are very sorry that we did not hear sooner of the pope's death.
Certain news came only November 4th. We had not believed an
earlier rumour which we thought had been spread by the French.
We have no doubt that de Medici will throw his strength to
Wolsey, for we are informed that he can hardly hope to obtain the
election himself. We are grateful to Madame for her prompt
action, and we trust that her efforts, Henry's, and ours will obtain
what we all desire.
Pamplona, 27 November, 1523.
Copy. French. pp. 2.