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Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
I have received your letters written to M. de Baygem, your
maître d'hôtel, and me on February 4th. I can assure you that,
if you have received no letters from us since December 20th, it is
not due to our negligence. We have written you twice since that
time, as Baygem will tell you when he returns, and given the
letters to Brian Tuke, who said that he had forwarded them to
Flanders. I do not know whether he did so.
I have communicated to the king and the cardinal the news you
received from Spain, with which they were very pleased, although
they somewhat doubt its accuracy because they think, were it
true, they would have been informed by the emperor.
Both the king and the cardinal are much disappointed by your
reply to the English ambassador, and particularly by your request
for a certain number of English troops to guard your frontiers.
They think this unreasonable in view of the assistance they have
given to the emperor in the past, and, in fact, the request seems to
me very unlikely to be granted, and I think it would be better if
you did not insist on it, as doing so will only irritate them. Your
maître d'hôtel will give you their reply in detail. The envoy from
the pope, who passed through your court, was received here yesterday.
As far as I can find out from him, the pope is determined to
aid the alliance with all his power if the king and the emperor are
disposed to make war. If they are not, he offers to arrange a
favourable peace. It is, indeed, an advantage for their two
majesties to be able to choose whichever means of action seems
best, but I think the English will not disclose their intention until
they hear that of the emperor, and it seems likely that this delay
may throw our affairs into something of the same disorder as has
afflicted them in past years.
I suppose that your maître d'hôtel will report to you the complaints
which the cardinal and the admiral have made of the
seizure in Flanders of certain goods which Wolsey sold to the
admiral. I hope that you will be able to make restitution, otherwise
both lords say openly that the admiral will recoup himself
through letters of marque issued against your subjects in the Low
London, 16 February, 1523 (O.S.).
Signed, Louis de Praet. French. pp. 2.
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England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Last Wednesday I received your letter of February 5th, and
went at once to Wolsey and told him word for word what you had
written about the words in the letter from Hesdin and me to you
on January 18th. I asked him if this was not what he had said,
and he admitted that it was substantially correct. He said that
Dr. Knight had written him something on the subject, but that he
esteemed you too highly to wish to continue such a dispute. He
asks you to forget this matter and take to heart the advancement
of the common cause, and give a more co-operative reply to the
proposals of the English ambassadors. Your request for four or
five thousand English troops to join your men-at-arms seems to
him unreasonable, both because one should not ask too much of
one's allies and because such a force would be too weak for any
serious exploit against the enemy. He said if you would give the
king's troops a reasonable amount of assistance, and if the emperor
would also make a serious effort, Henry would be willing to send
across the Channel not merely the number of men you asked for,
but twenty thousand or more, at need.
I tried to induce him to put this offer in writing, but he said it
was unnecessary, since he had already written as much to the
English ambassador. This was Wolsey's final reply, and I beg you
not to believe that we have added anything to it, as Hesdin will tell
you when he returns. You have proved Hesdin by long service,
and, though I have never served you, I hope that you do not think
me so ill advised as to write untruths which could not in any way
redound to my honour or profit. If you are still dissatisfied with
Wolsey's reply, I beg you to send someone here in whom you have
entire confidence, who can find out whether any blame attaches to
Hesdin's conduct and mine.
I told Wolsey your news of the arrival of Beaurain at Genoa,
and of the agreement between the emperor and the prince of
Navarre, and showed him the viceroy's letters from Milan. He
seemed very pleased with this news, and said if the emperor would
push on vigorously from Spain, we should soon bring the enemy
to reason. He told me his ambassadors at Rome reported that,
on hearing of the election of the new pope, King Francis had sent
very cordial congratulatory letters, urging the pope to undertake
to arrange a universal peace, and promising to favour such efforts.
He offered to send his admiral to Rome whenever the pope wished,
and if the pope would ally himself with him, to restore Parma and
Piacenza and marry his second son, the duke of Orleans, to one of
the pope's nieces. His Holiness communicated all this to Lannoy
with a secret admonition to push on and give the French battle
if he felt strong enough, but if he did not, to say so, and His
Holiness would send for Bonnivet, hear him in the presence of the
allied ambassadors, and seek to arrange an honourable peace or
truce. This news was very agreeable to Henry and Wolsey, for
whatever they pretend they are very anxious for an end of the war,
and in truth this kingdom cannot long sustain its present burdens.
One of Albany's secretaries has been here, seeking to arrange a
truce which would include the French. Henry refused, but
granted the secretary a safe-conduct to go to France, when he said
he wished to do so in order to tell King Francis that the Scots
were going to make a separate peace. I suspect that this excuse
covers some other intrigue.
Wolsey then began to speak to me at length of the love which
the king, his master, and he have long borne you, and in which
they are determined to persevere. In view of this, he asks you to
accept his advice on one point. In discussing the emperor's
affairs, and particularly those which involve England and the
alliance against France, he asks that you admit into your council
only a few of your greatest nobles, and those who have proved
themselves constant and loyal servants of the house of Burgundy.
He says that the king and he have learned that you have in your
council one person, the Domprevost of Utrecht [Philibert
Naturelli], who is entirely pro-French, and Wolsey gave me
to understand that if this person remained in your council, the
king and he would feel obliged to cease to inform you of confidential
matters. He said he was reliably informed that most of
the great lords had openly and unanimously declared to you a
short while ago that as long as the provost remained in your council
they would have no part in it. He asked me to point out to you
how important it was that the affairs of the alliance should not be
known to the French, and he said he was instructing Dr. Knight to
communicate with you on this subject. I write this because it
seems well that you should be informed in advance, so that you
will know how to reply to Knight.
I shall keep you informed as well as I can of the intention of these
lords about the further conduct of the war, although I do not think
they will say anything definite until they have heard from the
London, 21 Feb., 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 6.
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England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Charles V.
Although little has happened here worth reporting, since I
wrote your majesty by Cilly about a month ago, I shall take
advantage of this courier sent by Madame from Flanders to give
you the latest news.
After Cilly left, one Melchior, formerly in the service of the
cardinal of Sion, and now a confidential servant of the pope's,
arrived here, bringing briefs addressed to the king and the cardinal,
exhorting them to peace. By his credentials Melchior was charged
to inquire into Henry's plans for continuing the war against the
French, and, if he and your majesty wished to continue it, to offer
you all the secret aid in money and otherwise, that the pope could
give you. If your majesties preferred a peace or a truce, the pope
offered his mediation.
Wolsey told me yesterday, in discussing Melchior's mission,
that the English ambassadors at Rome reported that King Francis,
as soon as he had heard of Clement's election, had sent him congratulatory
letters, couched in very friendly terms, asking him to
arrange a universal peace among Christian princes, and declaring
that the pope would find France ready to listen to his proposals.
Francis offered to send his admiral to Rome whenever the pope
wished. He also offered to restore Parma and Piacenza if His
Holiness would join the French, and to marry his second son,
the duke of Orleans, to one of the pope's nieces. These offers the
pope at once communicated to the viceroy at Milan, saying that
if he were strong enough, he should press forward and give battle
to the French, if he were not, the pope, on being advised, would
send at once for the admiral of France to hear what he had to say,
and to open negotiations for a peace or truce, with the co-operation
of the English and imperial ambassadors.
Such conduct seems to me to prove that the pope is acting in
good faith, even though his principal concern is to defend Italy,
and he does not wish to enter an offensive league against the
French. It does show that he hopes to see the French brought to
reason, as they may briefly be, according to letters which I
received from the viceroy, dated January 22nd, in which he writes
that he hopes to effect a junction with the Venetians in three days,
and thereafter advance to the Ticino and force the French either
to give battle or to retreat for lack of provisions. I have no other
news of Italy, except that Wolsey told me that Clement had asked
for an English contribution to the maintenance of the army in
Lombardy, but had been refused.
To the rest of Melchior's mission Henry and Wolsey would make
no final reply until they had received an answer to the letter which
they have just written to their ambassadors in Spain. In this
they have asked what your plans are for the war, saying that they
are quite ready, and that nothing will be lacking on their side,
provided that your majesty co-operates in Spain, and Madame
furnishes at least as many troops from Flanders as last year.
Their reply seemed cold enough to the papal commissary, and so
he is advising His Holiness. It seems to me that what they ask is
much to your majesty's disadvantage, but your majesty will hear
their requests in full from their ambassadors.
One of the duke of Albany's secretaries arrived here recently.
He had been in Scotland on the pretext of arranging an exchange
of prisoners. Wolsey said that, while he was here, he asked for
safe-conduct for ambassadors to come here to negotiate a truce
for a term of years, or at least till next St. John's Day, on condition
that the truce should include the French. Wolsey replied that the
king, his master, would not treat in any fashion with the duke, nor
make any mention of the French in any treaty with the Scots, but
if the young king, his nephew, and the estates of Scotland wished
to send an ambassador, at the same time expelling Albany for the
duration of the king's minority, the king would be glad to hear
him. Because he wished nothing but his nephew's good, Henry
offered an armistice with the Scots during negotiations. Albany's
secretary, disappointed, then asked for safe-conduct to go to
France. He said he had been charged, both by the duke and by
the estates of the kingdom, to ask King Francis to consent to their
making a separate truce with England, and in case he refused, to
tell him that the Scots had decided to make a truce without his
consent if necessary. Wolsey gave him the requested safe-conduct
in the hope that this negotiation might come to something,
which seems to me very unlikely, though all these goings and
comings to and from France may cover some other intrigue.
I could not debate the point with Wolsey since Albany's secretary
had left before I knew of his arrival, but I begged the cardinal to
continue to deal as openly with your majesty as you always did
I have already written you of the arrival of M. de Penthièvre
and of the purpose of his mission. He was here for two months
without being able to get any definite reply. Finally Henry and
Wolsey have given him letters of credence to Bourbon, authorizing
him to say to the duke that they will keep their promises, and will
not fail to make war on the enemy provided your majesty
co-operates in Spain and Flanders, but, until they are assured of
this co-operation, they will commit themselves no further. This
seems to me a rather discouraging reply, particularly as Penthièvre
several times asked the king and the cardinal to give Bourbon the
rest of the 100,000 crowns, to which request they would only reply
that they would fulfil all of their obligations when they were due.
I believe that Wolsey has been informed that your majesty has not
paid your quota of the 100,000 crowns. Since Bourbon has not
mentioned any payment from you, and has not asked in his letters
for the rest of the English payment, Wolsey believes that
Penthièvre's request has been inspired by your majesty, and that
you intend to use the money to support your army in Italy.
London, 27 February, 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 7.