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Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Since I wrote on February 21st in reply to yours of the 5th,
nothing of importance has occurred here except that the papal
ambassador, in fulfilment of his instructions, has asked the king
and the cardinal whether they and the emperor were prepared to
press the war this year, or whether they would prefer the pope to
arrange a peace or truce. Henry and Wolsey replied coldly that
they could not discuss the matter, because they had no certain
news from the emperor. The papal envoy told me yesterday that
he was much taken aback by this reply, and was writing at length
to the pope the impressions he had gathered here.
Last Wednesday, February 24th, I received letters from your
maître d'hôtel dated the 18th, informing me of his return, and of
the defeat of 250 French men-at-arms in Italy, and referring me for
further details to a letter you were writing. I have not received
this letter, and Brian Tuke says he has received nothing from
Flanders except letters from Dr. Knight to Wolsey, and others,
dated February 19th. In these there is no mention of the news in
question, and I do not know what to think. I beg you to question
your master of the posts, Baptiste de Taxis, and let me know
whether their failure to arrive is his fault ; otherwise Brian Tuke
must be to blame.
London, Feb. 27, 1524.
P.S.—Since writing the above I received yours of February
18th, and duplicates of letters from the emperor and Beaurain
which you had opened. I gave them yesterday to Wolsey, and
told him the news of Italy, at which he seemed very pleased. The
emperor's letters are so confusing as not to be very serviceable ;
they speak of instructions given Beaurain, and refer to other
documents, none of which I have received. As far as I can make
out, they contain three principal points : (1) a request that Henry
furnish the remainder of the hundred thousand crowns promised
Bourbon ; (2) a request that, after the French are driven from
Italy and Bourbon invades Dauphiny or Provence, Henry contribute
an equal share of the expenses in return for equal benefits ;
(3) a request to know Henry's intention about the war this year,
and about the terms for a peace or truce in case such arrangement
To these points Wolsey has replied : (1) Henry has decided to
furnish no more money to Bourbon for any such purpose as the
emperor suggests, since it would be unprofitable to England ;
moreover, he is informed that the emperor has not paid his share.
(2) The suggestion that Henry pay half the expenses of the Italian
army he found unreasonable, since it was entirely for the emperor's
advantage, and moreover the campaign in Italy had not yet been
decided. (3) If the emperor will place a large army in the field on
the Spanish side at the beginning of next summer, and if you,
Madame, will provide troops paid at the emperor's expense, in at
least as large numbers as last year, Henry will send a large army
beyond the seas to invade the enemy. If this is impossible, the
emperor should inform the king of England frankly, and the
English will then announce their intentions and assist in the
negotiation of a truce. I could get no further reply from Wolsey
during that interview, but he asked me to state my whole charge
at Greenwich in the king's presence next Sunday. I shall inform
you of my success, but I have little hope that it will be great.
The rest of the emperor's letter concerned the reasons why his
Spanish army had not gone farther into France. Wolsey had
nothing to say to this, except that he had heard that the campaign
had failed for lack of money, and that the emperor had retired into
Aragon because his Castilian subjects were not as obedient as
they should be.
I also spoke to Wolsey about his complaints, communicated
to you by Hesdin, saying that now that his ambassador knew the
truth, he must have written acquitting you. He replied that
his ambassador had only written that you had done justice in the
matter of Wolsey's sale to the admiral, and that he was willing
to be patient for a time, though he gave me to understand that
if the goods were not restored, he was determined to recover them
by the capture of ships of your subjects. He has a new complaint
in this connection. He says he sent his cellarer to Calais for
French wine, and that in returning from Calais the cellarer and
his purchases were captured by a Fleming and taken to Flanders.
Wolsey said, tragically : "This is the way I am rewarded for my
services to the emperor." I hope you can find some means of
restoring his wine.
I then gave him the letter written in your hand which he asked
me to read to him, and then replied as before, saying that he would
forget the matter and that he would always remain your devoted
servant. Of your excuses for your council of finance he only
said in general terms that there was nothing he desired more than
to see the affairs of the emperor well conducted. While I was
talking to Wolsey, Brian Tuke brought me your letter of February
22nd, and in reply to it Wolsey said that the ambassadors about
the Danish matter should leave next week without fail. I cannot
send you the instructions to Beaurain and other documents
mentioned in the emperor's letter, for I have received no letters
from him, except those you sent me, since October 4th, a circumstance
which surprises me greatly.
2 March, 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 6.
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Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Following my letter of March 2nd, I went on Sunday to have
audience with the king at Greenwich, but to the emperor's requests
and my persuasions he only replied that he would consider the
matter and Wolsey would tell me in a few days his final decision.
I went yesterday to Wolsey, who said Henry was unwilling, for
the present, to come to any decision, until he had a reply from
the ambassadors whom he had recently sent to the emperor, and
until he knew whether the French could be driven out of Italy,
for it seemed to him that their army was as strong as the
emperor's. If they were driven out, Wolsey said, and if the
emperor would make an invasion on the Spanish side, and if you
would provide the necessary auxiliaries, Henry would invade
France with the best army he could get together, and would make
no objection to contributing to Bourbon's army. This was all
he would add to what he had said before, and in my opinion he
intends to drag this matter out until the outcome in Italy is
I am writing this news to Beaurain at once so that he may
ask the pope to urge Henry to contribute to Bourbon's army.
Please forward the letter promptly. Wolsey now says that
Albany's secretary who was here recently, came only to spy out
the country, and to persuade the English to make a truce until
St. John's day, at which time Albany intends to try to take them
unprepared, and do them all the harm in his power. This Henry
says he will prevent.
The king and the cardinal have sent a bishop to Germany
about the Danish affair.
London, 11 March, 1524.
P.S.—My servant, Richard, arrived to-day with your letters,
which I have not yet given to Wolsey. I shall send Richard to
the emperor in three or four days. A courier has come from
Rome with the news that the citadel of Cremona has surrendered
to the emperor, and that his army has advanced to within a mile
of the French, seeking battle.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 4.
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Abt. B. f. 8.
Penthievre to Charles V.
I wish to thank your majesty for your letter to me, and to
assure you that I shall not spare my life or goods in your service.
M. de Bourbon sent me here to aid your army should this king
order his to press on into France, but since I am unable to do
great service here, for reasons known to your ambassador, and
since I have completed the delivery of my charge, I shall return
to M. de Bourbon, where I hope to be of service to you. The king
and the cardinal have told me that they have the best will in the
world for the war, provided your armies will attack the enemy
from all sides. I hope your majesty will accept my humble
advice and do so.
Canterbury, 13 March, 1524.
Signed, Penthièvre. French.
H. H. u. St. A.
Abt. B. f. 8.
Powers for Louis De Praet from Charles V.
Commission to Louis de Praet, the emperor's ambassador in
England, to treat and conclude in England about the invasion of
France and about a subsidy to the duke of Bourbon.
Burgos, 22 March, 1524.
Copy. Latin. pp. 2. Calendared in L. & P., IV., 69, from
the original in the Public Record Office.
H. H. u. St. A.
Abt. B. f. 8.
Charles V to Henry VIII.
Your ambassador, Jerningham, will communicate to you at
length what I have told him about our common affairs. I intend
to do everything in my power to bring the enemy to reason, and
hope that you will do the same. It seems to me that there has
never been a more favourable opportunity, as I am writing to my
ambasasdor, by whom and by this sign ... you may know the
good hope in which I write this.
Burgos, 23 March, 1524.
Copy. French. Calendared in L. & P., IV., 69, from the original
in the British Museum.
H. H. u. St. A.
Abt. B. f. 8.
Charles V to Wolsey.
The Sieur de Praet has written me of your great exertions in
my behalf, for which you will find me grateful. I have communicated
fully with Jerningham about our common affairs.
They require nothing now except diligence, so that this exceptionally
favourable opportunity may not escape. I shall do everything
that I can, and hope that you will do likewise, to bring
matters to a happy conclusion this year. So that you may know
how much I have this matter at heart, I am putting here a mark,
the meaning of which you will know.
Frais-del-Val. 23 March, 1524.
Copy. French. Calendared in L. & P., IV., 69, from the
original in the British Museum.
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Charles V to Louis De Praet.
We have received from Cilly your packet of letters dated
January 25th, reporting among other things, the arrival of
Hesdin in England to explain that the break up of the allied army
in Picardy was not Madame's doing, and was not caused by lack
It will be unnecessary to refute at length the report which
Henry and Wolsey have received that we have had no army in
the field here. The capture of Fuenterrabia is answer enough,
and Jerningham was himself with the army, and can give an
account of it. It is notorious that we kept our army in the field
until the beginning of March, and that they did not lack a single
day's payment. Now our troops have suffered so from cold
and bad weather, and are so impeded by the weather and by the
lack of provisions, that it seems unlikely they can do anything
further against the enemy without some rest.
As to the articles which the archbishop of Bari brought here,
we have had no further news of his activities, and need make no
further reply to what you write, except to assure Henry and
Wolsey that we will keep them informed.
We are grateful to Wolsey for the good-will which you report
he shows toward us, and we are writing by Jerningham to thank
him. We shall send you, by the first courier, letters of exchange
with which to pay the pensions. Your arrears will not be forgotten,
nor what we owe to Brian Tuke. It is not our fault that you
have not had more frequent news. The last three zabras have
been kept in port by unfavourable winds.
You may assure Wolsey that his information that the pope is
inclining toward France, and holds Cardinal Soderini in high
favour, is mistaken ; we have reliable news that the pope has
shown himself, by his actions, our true friend. Jerningham will
make further report on this subject. The king and the cardinal
also have reason to be grateful for the manner in which the pope
has favoured our common affairs. We have not neglected to take
steps to preserve the friendship and service of the archbishop of
Capua, and of Giovanni Matteo [Ghiberti]. We are replying to
what the count of Penthièvre wrote us about his coming to
England and the rights which he claims in Brittany, as you will
see. Promise him our favour and assistance, for we know that
our brother, the duke of Bourbon, loves and esteems him, and that
he deserves it.
We have already written you that your services in England
are more important than your office of bailly of Bruges, and that
you must stay where you are. We have written to them of
Bruges and hope they will give you no more trouble, since we
have told them that your absence was on our service. If this
does not serve, you may resign the office. We shall do everything
in our power to favour Vivaldi's suit against Rinaldo Strozzi, but
he should have someone here to represent him.
The principal affair is, of course, the war for this year. The
English ambassadors here have proposed four points to us :
(1) The duke of Bourbon is asked to come to Flanders to command
the English army which is to invade Picardy. (2) We are asked
to furnish three thousand horse, three thousand foot, and half
the cost of wagons and artillery as we did last year. (3) We are
to invade France, entirely at our own expense, either by way of
Bayonne or by Narbonne. (4) We are to maintain our army of
Italy, expel the French, and pursue them into France. In return,
Henry promises to place in the field in Picardy, twenty thousand
horse and foot, with which army he expects to take Paris,
following last year's route. The English will then march against
We replied to the ambassadors that these proposals were too
much at our expense, and we asked them to agree to a more equal
arrangement, for instance to contributions to an invasion of
France by our army of Italy. They replied that they were unable
to treat except on the terms they had stated. Since Jerningham
was about to return to England, and since we saw that no agreement
could be reached here, we summoned the ambassadors and
replied as follows : that we knew that Henry's offers proceeded
from his zeal for the alliance, and were grateful. We would be
happy if Bourbon had gone to England instead of to Italy, and
if it were in our power to grant at once all Henry's requests,
without neglecting Italian affairs, which are of the utmost importance,
as he knows, since the enemy is making his principal effort
there, and we are obliged to sustain alone the burden of opposing
him, as we have done during the entire war. This burden,
however, makes it impossible for us to accede to the ambassadors'
proposals for several reasons. Bourbon is already in command
of the army of Italy as our personal representative, ordered to
expel the French from Italy and to follow them with his victorious
army of fifty thousand men, commanded by experienced captains.
Moreover, Bourbon has already sent word to his friends
to join him when he enters France, so that it would now be
impossible to alter these plans without grave delay and danger of
failure. It is probable, too, that Bourbon, in command of so
excellent an army, in touch with his friends, and with so favourable
an opportunity to give battle to the French near his own
territories, would not consent to the change. As for furnishing
three thousand horse and three thousand foot, etc., for Picardy,
and an army here, and sustaining the Italian army at our own
expense, we replied graciously and frankly, that we could not do
so because of our great expenditures last year here and in Italy,
the great expense of the army of Picardy last year, and the
constant necessity of defending the Low Countries. To accede to
the king's requests would oblige us to abandon Italy entirely ;
and the defence of Italy seems to us the principal point, since on it
depends the safety of Naples and Sicily, and of all the empire, and
that of the holy see and all Christendom. Therefore, we said, we felt
obliged to apply all our resources to Italy for the present. Any
other great charge would be insupportable, and by dividing our
efforts we should fail in everything. We asked Henry to consider
the great good to the common cause which would come from the
defeat of the French in Italy and the successful invasion of
France from that quarter, and not to ask us to promise things we
could not perform.
We therefore proposed to the English ambassadors three alternatives
for the war this year, and gave Jerningham a copy of the
proposals in writing. A copy is also being sent to you. Ask
Henry and Wolsey to be content with what we can do, and to
choose whichever alternative best pleases them. Since speed is
essential, we hereby authorize you to treat and conclude, without
further reference to us, in virtue of the power sent you herewith.
Inform us at once of your conclusion, without regard to expense,
by this zabra.
If you find that the English will not accept any of these alternatives,
and will take no part in the war on these terms, ask them
not to abandon their present preparations, but to tell you what
they will do, so that you may inform us immediately. It is true
that this would involve serious delays, so you must make every
effort to obtain a more prompt agreement to avoid our having to
make war in the winter as we have done in past years.
Burgos, 26 March, 1524.
Copy. French. pp. 9. A MS. in the British Museum,
calendared in L. & P., IV, 77, appears to be a copy of this document
given by de Praet to Wolsey. It omits several paragraphs.
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Louis De Praet to Charles V.
Since I wrote last I have received a letter from M. de Beaurain,
who has reached Italy, enclosing copies of three of your majesty's
letters to me, the last dated December 15th. Neither by
Beaurain's letters nor by these copies have I been able to understand
perfectly your majesty's intentions, since the copies
are full of references to certain instructions given Beaurain and
to other documents, none of which I have so far received. The
most recent letter I had received from your majesty until this
time was that of October 3rd, brought by Cilly. As far as I can
make out these copies of your letters contain four principal
points : (1) Bourbon's affairs, the payment of the rest of the
100,000 crowns and the regularization by treaty of the agreement
between him and Russell ; (2) the causes of the delay in your
military operations on the Spanish frontier ; (3) the advisability
of maintaining the army of Italy by joint contributions should it
invade France ; (4) your desire to know this king's mind about
the further conduct of the war in case no peace or truce has been
arranged. Since some of these points require a prompt answer
because of the lateness of the season, and since I understand that
there is some danger of the army of Italy falling into disorder for
lack of money should it invade France, I decided to present
these questions to Wolsey as well as I could.
He replied first to the suggestion that the English contribute
half the cost of an invasion of France by the army of Italy. He
made his accustomed complaints about the expense to which
Henry had been put for the sake of your majesty, and said that
it did not seem reasonable that his king should be asked to pay
half the cost of an enterprise from which he would derive none of
the profit. He said it was too soon to speak of such an invasion,
since the French army in Italy was still undefeated, and that if
Henry agreed to this proposal he would lose any opportunity of
invading France himself, since by it your majesty was quit of any
obligation to maintain an army in Spain or in Flanders, and if
Henry wished to invade France he would be obliged to go to the
expense of equipping a great army of horse and foot at his own
cost, without any co-operation either from you or from Madame.
After many words to this effect Wolsey spoke of the Bourbon
affair, replying briefly in the same manner as I have indicated in
my former letters. In my opinion it would be better for Bourbon
to send an envoy of his own here about his own business ; otherwise
these lords will suspect that all proposals emanate simply
from your majesty.
Wolsey also replied as before about their intentions regarding
the further conduct of the war, that is to say that if your majesty
would put a good army into the field on the Spanish frontier, at
the beginning of the summer, and if Madame would furnish at
your expense at least as many troops from Flanders as was
agreed last year, Henry would willingly send overseas an army
large enough and well enough equipped to give battle to the enemy,
and would cross in person if your majesty would likewise take the
field. If your affairs in Spain and Flanders are such that you
cannot support such burdens, he said, your majesty should advise
him frankly and they would then say what they would be able to
do, and he (Wolsey) would undertake to negotiate the best peace
or truce possible under the circumstances. This was the only
answer I was able to get at this interview. Wolsey said, however,
that the following Sunday he would be with the king at Greenwich
and I might then discuss everything in the king's presence.
On the appointed day, however, Henry, having heard my
charge, added nothing to what Wolsey had said except some
further complaints about your majesty's failure to repay the
indemnity and the loan. He said he would consider the whole
matter, and that Wolsey would tell me his decision in a few days.
Several days later I again saw Wolsey and he gave me their final
reply as follows. Henry is unwilling to enter any agreement
about the points raised until he hears from his ambassadors with
you, and until the French have been driven from Italy. This,
Wolsey thinks will not be easy since their army seems at least as
strong as yours. If, however, the French are driven out, and
your army is fresh enough and well enough equipped to undertake
an invasion, and if your majesty will invade France from Spain
this spring with a good army, and if Madame will furnish the
same number of horse and foot as before, Henry will invade
France with the best army he can get together. If your majesty
is unable to invade France from Spain, it is suggested that you
send back to Flanders the 8,000 Germans you have with you, to
be joined with the horse and foot to be furnished by Madame,
and thus form a common army. In this case Henry will make no
difficulties about a reasonable contribution to the army of Italy.
He added nothing to his former reply about Bourbon. It seems
to me the English will make no final reply until they hear that
your army of Italy has been victorious, and know what co-operation
they may expect from you. If the news is satisfactory,
however, they will be very glad to invade France. Henry, in
particular, has a great desire to do so for, having seen his army
cross the Somme last year with so small a force, he now believes
firmly that he can conquer all the frontier provinces, and even
Paris. If your majesty can agree to one of the alternative proposals
made to me and also to be made to your majesty by the
English ambassadors, I believe that Henry will not only invade
France but agree to contribute to the army of Italy. Otherwise
there is no hope of his doing so. Even if your majesty is able to
bear the great expenses involved in an acceptance of the English
proposals, there remain two difficulties. One is that the season
is now so far advanced, the other that communications are so
uncertain between England and Spain as to make co-operation
I have thought best to write Beaurain at once of my success
here, suggesting that he move the pope to urge upon these lords a
contribution to the army of Italy. They may prove more
susceptible to the pope's persuasions, particularly Wolsey may,
since his legation here has been confirmed for life with greater
powers than before.
Since it is now past history, Henry and Wolsey had little to say
about the reasons for the ill success of your Spanish campaign,
but they did add that they had heard from Rome that your army
had broken up at the end of December for lack of money, and that
your majesty had withdrawn into the kingdom of Aragon because
of the disloyal conduct of the Castilians. I told Wolsey everything
you have written about his election to the papacy, and he
asked me to convey his thanks to your majesty. I was unable to
say much about Bari's proposals and your reply, for lack of the
copies of these documents referred to in your letter. This is particularly
unfortunate, for, in my opinion, these lords are much
inclined to a peace or truce, and are only waiting for your majesty
to make the first overture in that direction. By what I can see
of the disposition of this people, the king must soon have either
peace or victory, otherwise there is danger, either that he will
not be able to raise the money granted him, or that some part of
his people will revolt.
I wrote your majesty of the coming here of the duke of Albany's
secretary, and of the pretext under which he had procured a safe-conduct
from Wolsey. Since then Wolsey has shown me certain
letters from Albany to King Francis and the queen dowager,
which have been captured by the English. Albany wrote that
the negotiations for a truce were intended merely to deceive the
English and to suspend military operations until St. John's Day
next, at which time he intends to take the English by surprise,
invade their kingdom with a great army, and do all the damage he
can. Wolsey is sending copies of these letters to the English
ambassadors in Spain. There seems to be little hope of the
treaty between this kingdom and Scotland which Wolsey had
expected to include.
I thank your majesty for the office of bailly of Bruges.
Although my presence there is required. I shall obey your
majesty's command and remain here at my post. Madame will
have written you the news of Flanders and Denmark.
London, 12 March, 1524.
P.S.—Since writing the above I have received two couriers
with your letters of the 15th and 19th of December, and of the
18th and 26th of January. Also the good news of the surrender
of Fuenterrabia. I have already acted on your letter of December
15th. The other three letters contain three principal points :
(1) I am to try to persuade the king and the cardinal to pay
Bourbon the rest of the 100,000 crowns and to contribute to the
invasion of France by the army of Italy ; (2) I am to learn their
views on Bari's proposals and your reply, and to ask them to
send powers and instructions to their ambassadors in Spain for
peace negotiations there ; (3) I am to ask them to send powers
for a formal treaty with Bourbon.
Although their reply to your letter of December 15th, recorded
above, gave me little hope of success, I went at once to the king
and the cardinal and delivered my charge. I found them already
informed of its contents by their ambassadors. To the first
point they replied that they would give no further money to
Bourbon, nor would they agree to contribute to the army of Italy,
for several reasons. First, invasion of France from that quarter
could bring them no good, and they had decided it was time for
Henry to think of conquering something for himself, instead of
always making war for the benefit of his allies. Second, by this
agreement your majesty would not be obliged to give them any
aid in the invasion of France should a favourable opportunity
offer, while they would be bound to maintain the army of Italy
entirely for your benefit. Third, even if Henry were willing to
agree to your proposal it would be too early to do so, for the pope
has written him that the army in Italy is in great danger of breaking
up for lack of money, since the contributions of the Italian
league extend only to the 15th of this month, and are not likely
to be renewed on account of the poverty of several of the members,
particularly the papacy, so that the army is more likely to break
up than to drive the enemy out of Italy and invade France.
Even if financial difficulties do not prove disastrous, the issue of
battle is in God's hands, and the powerful reinforcements which
the French army has received make it doubtful. Therefore they
will enter into no agreement until they have further news from
Italy, and until they hear from their ambassadors in Spain
whether your majesty will accept terms which they regard as more
nearly equal. In spite of all my arguments I was unable to get a
more favourable reply. I can see that they take it very ill that
your majesty will give them no assistance from Flanders in case
they wish to invade France, for, as I wrote, Henry is very much
attached to this project, and believes that if your army is
victorious in Italy he would have an excellent opportunity to
achieve something substantial.
If the army of Italy is indeed as short of money as the pope has
written to the king and the cardinal (and the viceroy and M. de
Beaurain have written me much the same thing), I fear it will be
in grave difficulties. Even if it is victorious I do not see how it
can be kept together to invade France, for it is likely that several
of the members of the league will refuse to contribute, and money
from here could not arrive in time. If it must wait until news
of a victory reaches here, and an agreement has been reached with
the king and the cardinal about their contribution, two months,
at least, and probably three will have elapsed before the army in
Italy would get a penny of the money. I have pointed this out,
but without effect. I suspect that, even if a victory is won,
these lords will make difficulties about contributing, preferring to
use all their powers to capture towns here, and thus leaving all
the cost of Italy to be borne by your majesty and your allies
there. In that event, Italian affairs will be in great danger ; the
pope and the Venetians and the other princes are likely to despair
of success and seek means for their own safety. Even now the
pope will not declare himself for the defensive league, in spite of
the efforts of the duke of Sessa and the English ambassadors.
He insists that he will aid your majesty all that he can without such
declaration, on the excuse that the declaration would do your
majesty more harm than good, since, if he takes sides, he could
not mediate a peace or truce, or aid you in many of the ways that
he now can use as a neutral. But your majesty will have been
informed of all this by your representatives in Italy. I hope that
God will shortly give us good news of the army, for two such great
hosts cannot long remain facing each other without the issue being
decided either by battle or by a lack of money and provisions.
In view of all the above considerations, I placed before Henry
the contents of the penultimate article of your letters, in the hope
that he might at least be induced to make some invasion of
France this year and distract the forces of the enemy. He was
not satisfied with your proposal ; he still insists that you should
pay for cavalry and infantry from Flanders to accompany the
army ; otherwise he is determined to make no invasion this
I did not see Wolsey again until yesterday when we went over
all the above matters in the presence of the papal envoy. Wolsey
began by protesting that what he was going to say proceeded from
no ill-will toward your majesty, but only from the hope that past
errors would be corrected. He said the king and he were surprised
at your unreasonable requests, particularly since they had
been put to such great expense by land and sea in your service,
while you had not fulfilled any of the things you had promised.
He said that, by their means, you had been delivered from the
disadvantageous treaty of Noyon and from your obligation to
marry in France and to pay 100,000 ducats a year for Naples,
and by their aid you had conquered the duchy of Milan and
afterwards Tournai, and more recently Sauveterre and Fuenterrabia,
and other places, entirely to your own profit without
regard to that of the king, your friend and ally. On the contrary,
he said, your Spanish commanders had shown themselves indifferent
to Henry's interests in that, on leaving Sauveterre, they had
laid siege to Fuenterrabia instead of to Bayonne, which, he has
been informed, could easily have been taken and which should
have been assailed, according to your agreement with Jerningham.
As if he had not said enough, Wolsey then recurred to the matter
of the Germans under Count Felix, maintaining that they had not
received a penny of other than English money, that there had
been only six thousand of them instead of twelve thousand, and
that he understood the break-up of the army was due, not to
French opposition, but to the sinister intrigues of those who
manage your majesty's affairs in Italy, for immediately after the
army disbanded, the greater number of the captains went with
their men to Milan to serve under the viceroy and the duke.
I hardly knew what to reply to such words, but, since they had
been spoken in the presence of the papal envoy, who will surely
report them to his master, with the result that Clement, learning
that nothing is to be expected from this country in the way of a
contribution, may not only grow cooler toward your majesty, but
blame you for the failure here, I felt I should say something in
your defence. I said I did not wish to engage in comparisons or
recriminations, and that it was very true that Henry had acquitted
himself very well toward your majesty, nevertheless, things had
not fallen out quite as he had said. For example, at the beginning
of the present war, your majesty had indeed conquered the duchy
of Milan, Tournai, and the territories of Robert de la Marck, but
this had been alone, before Henry had declared war against the
French. Nor did you owe the reduction of Fuenterrabia to his
assistance, since, when it was taken, Henry had not a single
soldier in the field, and had not contributed a penny to its expense.
As for his statement that Henry had borne the chief expense of
the war since its declaration, I said it was notorious that your
majesty had always borne, and was still bearing, by far the
greatest share of the expense, by land and by sea, in Italy and
elsewhere. I said that he ought not to think that your majesty
was by any means indifferent to English interests, nor look so
closely into the exact fulfilment of promises, since in wartime
things change constantly, what is agreed on cannot always be
performed, and the issue is in God's hands. I said he ought not
to blame you for the failure to besiege Bayonne, or for the ill
success of Bourbon's Germans. The siege of Bayonne had been
deferred for the reasons set forth in your letter of the 18th of
January, which I begged him to believe, rather than any reports
to the contrary. I said he should not harbour unworthy suspicions
of the honourable persons who managed your Italian affairs,
but that, even if they had acted as he suspected, it would have
been quite contrary to your majesty's wishes and orders, since
the formation of Count Felix' army had been your idea, and
in paying them until the English were ready to begin the first
payment, you had spent much more money than they.
After the above colloquy the papal envoy withdrew. Wolsey
then turned to me very gently, and said that the king his master
and he loved and honoured me because they believed that I was
devoted to maintaining their alliance with your majesty, and that
I ought to continue to do my utmost in that direction. He begged
me not to take his words in bad part, and not to inform your
majesty of them, since they had been well meant, and he swore
to me on his priesthood that his service to your majesty had
endangered not only his position but his life, so that sometimes
he was obliged to speak to me as he had done, to prevent the
council from regarding him as a traitor. I replied that, for my
part, my actions would be such as I could answer for to God, and
the thing I would regret most in the world would be to see the
alliance between your two majesties suffer, but that it was my
duty to advise you of everything that happened here, particularly
since what had been spoken had been in the presence of the
pope's ambassador. I begged him in future to be more careful
before whom he spoke, and on these words our conference closed.
It is indeed true that the cardinal has been so far your very good
servant, and has been useful in maintaining the alliance ; also I am
sure that for some time past he has had to suffer on this account.
Nevertheless, he should avoid such language at inappropriate
times, for were the papal envoy other than an honourable man
and a good imperialist, he might make use of Wolsey's words to
the serious disadvantage of the king of England and of your
majesty, by insinuating a suspicion of your disagreement into
the pope's mind.
Later Wolsey replied to me formally about the principal
points in your letters. First, Henry will make no agreement
about contributing to the army of Italy at present, for the
reasons I have already given you. As to the proposal in the penultimate
article in your letter of the 18th of January, though it
seemed neither reasonable nor possible, nevertheless, if Henry
had a fruitful reply from his ambassadors in Spain and good news
of the progress of the army in Italy, he would do his best either
to contribute to that army, or to invade France himself, or to do
both. As to sending powers to his ambassadors in Spain to
arrange a peace or truce with the French there, Wolsey said that
Henry was determined to agree to no truce and to send no powers
to treat for peace, since the differences between him and King
Francis were so many and divers that they could not be settled
except by negotiation here. In case, however, your majesty
finds peace necessary, and is willing to arrange for the French to
send ambassadors here for that purpose, Henry is willing to meet
them on reasonable terms. Wolsey added that it seemed reasonable
to Henry that your majesty should undertake to open such
negotiations for two reasons : first, to recompense his great
expenses in a war by which you alone have profited ; second,
because many of the matters in dispute nearly concern your
majesty, since you are bound, on pain of the censures of the
church, to continue to pay the indemnity to Henry until all his
claims against Francis are satisfied. These claims, including the
arrears on the pensions and the money for the re-sale of Tournai,
Wolsey estimates at more than six million crowns, and he assures
me that Henry will insist on complete payment.
Wolsey says that if Francis or the queen dowager sends to you
again through the archbishop of Bari, or by other means, to ask
you to send delegates to a conference on the frontier, Henry will
be satisfied if you hear the mission of the French ambassador in
the presence of his ambassadors, and should the French offer
satisfactory terms, ask them to send an embassy here, saying
that you will make no peace or truce without the knowledge and
consent of the king of England. If they refuse to send here, he
wishes you to ask them what terms King Francis offers the king
of England, and inform his ambassadors so that they may report.
Henry will do the same, if the French make offers here. If your
majesty prefers to have these matters arranged at Rome, as
Wolsey has been informed that M. de Beaurain has powers to
treat there, Henry will send his ambassadors there similar powers
and instructions to treat under the mediation of the pope. This is
all that I could learn from Wolsey of the English intentions,
though your majesty may be more fully informed by Henry's
ambassadors in Spain.
I should not neglect to inform you that, according to the papal
envoy here, Henry and Wolsey have said openly that they will
enter no negotiations at Rome, and I believe they intend to
remain at war with the French, regulating their action on yours,
on account of the treaty about the indemnity, until they see a
better course, or until the French offer them satisfactory conditions.
In my opinion this decision of theirs is likely to prevent
anything being done soon, as I pointed out to Wolsey in an effort
to persuade him to send powers and instructions to the English
ambassadors in Spain, as your majesty asked six months ago.
He has always refused. It seems to me that he and Henry chiefly
resent the fact that Francis has made so many proposals to your
majesty, and has never approached them, and shows in the
articles brought you by the archbishop of Bari that he makes
little account of them. I am convinced that if King Francis had
made here the offers he has made to your majesty, they would
have been very puffed up. I don't know, however, whether they
would have communicated the matter to me, as your majesty has
done with their ambassadors. At least, such is not their present
custom. Since my arrival here I have never been asked to be
present at any of their discussions with foreigners, either with
the king of Denmark, or with M. de Penthièvre, or, recently, with
the duke of Albany's secretary. All I have known of these negotiations
is what Wolsey told me in conversation after they
As to the remainder of the sum due Bourbon, I have been able
to get no answer from Henry and Wolsey, other than that in the
beginning of this letter. Nor will they say anything about
sending powers to Spain to complete the treaty, except that
Henry intends to keep all his promises. As to this, Henry
promised young Lurcy and me before Christmas that he would
send all the necessary documents to Spain by Lurcy. He has
changed his mind so often about this Bourbon affair, that one no
longer knows what to think ; he sent Russell back to Besançon
and later told Penthièvre that Russell was on his way home and
had got as far as Calais ; later he told me that Russell was still
at Besançon, and there is still no news of Russell's return, although
I cannot imagine why they keep him there, since he is not allowed
to pay Bourbon the rest of the money.
By the above your majesty will have discerned the prospects
here for peace and for war ; neither seem good. There is no hope
of their aid in the war unless your majesty has already agreed to
the proposals made to you by their ambassadors, for before I can
get any answer from them what is to be done in Italy will be done,
and there is no appearance of any military preparations here for
the season which soon will be passing. Nevertheless, if your
majesty wishes me to treat with them on the basis of your letter
of January 18th or otherwise, you will have to send me adequate
powers. Looking over all the powers you have sent me, I find
that all of them refer to military operations during the year 1523,
and if I had been treating with Wolsey of these matters, the whole
negotiation might have fallen through for want of adequate
powers. Wolsey is a great stickler on these points, and would
not have hesitated to suspend the whole negotiation if my documents
were not in order. It is true that we have not got as far
as this at present.
I shall not trouble your majesty further with my advice about
peace or truce, except to say that it seems to me you should keep
on good terms with the pope, and co-operate with him. He seems
to wish to remain your ally, knowing that this is for the good and
peace of the holy see and also for that of Florence, of which state
he is head. His Holiness can do more with these lords here than
anyone else, particularly in a matter of truce or peace, and likewise,
if necessary, with King Francis. I think he will do his very
best, both for the good-will he bears you and for the advancement
of his private interests.
Henry and Wolsey rather belittle your conquests in Bearn.
They say that Sauveterre was a feeble place, and was surrendered
to your captains on terms little honourable to you. They say
also that Fuenterrabia was taken more by treason than by force,
on account of the treachery of certain Navarrese in the town.
They are not as pleased with the news as I had expected, fearing,
I suppose, that after these successes the Spaniards will not be
so hot to continue the war, but will try to persuade your majesty
to make some peace or truce without much regard for English
interests. Wolsey has often said that he is quite sure your
majesty will do nothing contrary to your treaties of alliance,
but he has asked me to write you on the king's behalf and his
own, begging you affectionately to continue to observe the
treaties, as they will do, for their part. Certainly I believe that
they are anxious to preserve your majesty's alliance, and not
without cause, but they are so bitter sometimes in their speech,
and have so little regard to the company in which they speak,
that they might easily lead people to suppose that their hearts
are worse than perhaps they are. Your majesty will know how
to handle them, but you should particularly note one point.
This king is very discontented at having received so far no payments
on the indemnity nor on the loan of the 150,000 crowns.
He has uttered loud complaints before his household, and matters
have gone so far that the queen sent her confessor to me in secret
to warn me of Henry's discontent and ask me to write to you
and advise you to remedy matters. She is very sorry that your
majesty ever promised so much in this treaty, and she fears that
it may one day be the cause of a weakening of the friendship
between you two. I beg your majesty to keep this communication
of the queen's secret ; it would be regrettable if it came to
the ears of certain English.
From the copies of Beaurain's and the viceroy's letters, you
will see what news there is of Italy. We are expecting news of
the battle daily. I suppose your majesty has heard that the
castle of Cremona surrendered on February 22nd, to the duke
of Milan. I have found the pope's envoy here a frank and honest
person, and I am credibly informed that he is a good imperialist.
I see him frequently, and assure him of the great desire your
majesty has to safeguard Italy, and of your complete devotion
to the pope and the church. I hope he reports what I say. He
has likewise communicated to me his affairs without any dissimulation
that I could perceive. The arrangement between
us seemed very desirable, especially as Wolsey had told him
of all Henry's affairs with you, and in a manner not much to your
advantage. I thought it better, then, that he should know what
your majesty was now proposing to the king of England, so that
he would see that it will not be your fault if Italy is not
I have asked your majesty before to order that my regular
wages, and those due me as chamberlain, be paid me, as you
consented that they should during my absence. I beg your
majesty again to order that I be paid, unless you wish me to
retain what is owed me out of the money sent here to pay the
pensions, which amounts to 490 crowns, which would be very
useful to me.
London, 26 March, 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 29.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
Since I wrote you last by the courier from Spain, I have
delivered to the king and the cardinal all my charge according
to the emperor's most recent instructions. They replied, coldly
enough, and in a vein similar to their earlier replies. Nevertheless,
since the emperor may gather from a report of our conversations
what is in the hearts of these people here, I have
written him a lengthy account by Richard, who left yesterday.
As a precaution, and because he asked me to see that Lannoy
and Beaurain were kept fully informed of matters here, I am
sending you a copy, from which you may learn the whole course
of the negotiations. I beg you to forward it at once to the
viceroy, who will send it to the emperor by way of Genoa. I
must not omit to advise you that Wolsey and Henry are very
much upset by the emperor's refusal to promise any assistance in
the way of cavalry or infantry for their invasion of France,
except what they pay for. Wolsey still hopes that the English
ambassadors in Spain may procure a more favourable answer
on this point, but if I know my master's mind, he will not discuss
the matter further, or at least will refer entirely to you and to
what you feel able to do.
I have received your letter of March 15th, but Wolsey has not
mentioned the matter of the Domprevost to me since, nor I to him.
I should prefer that he speak of it first, but if he does not I shall
mention the matter in a few days to hear what he has to say.
The duplicate of my letter to the emperor, herewith enclosed,
is partly in cipher. Either Marnix or La Roche can decipher
it for you ; I believe they both have keys. May I remind you
of the difficulties about the exchange of monies which impede
the Calais wool trade, and of the desirability of restoring the
goods of the cardinal and the admiral, about which they have
complained? They have spoken to me of the matter again,
and to be frank with you, they both seem so convinced that
they are in the right that, if sentence is given against them in
Flanders, they will certainly recoup themselves out of the goods
of our merchants here. I have told them several times what
you wrote me, but they refuse to be satisfied.
Thank you for your very kind assistance in the affair of my
office of bailly of Bruges. The deputies of Bruges have come
here and received my oath, according to the letters patent which
you issued in my favour.
London, 29 March, 1524.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 2.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 1.
Louis De Praet to Margaret Of Savoy.
I went today to see the king and the cardinal at Greenwich.
They told me that one of their spies, who had just come from
Paris, reported that Queen Louise was ill with pleurisy and
Queen Claude was said to be dying of the pox. News had
reached the French court of the surrender of Fuenterrabia and
of the citadel of Cremona, and Francis is sending Longueville
and Tremouille with three hundred men-at-arms to reinforce
the Italian army. The spy also reports that Francis is very
unpopular. In view of this news, and the further rumour that
the French had retired on Piedmont and the Imperialists on
Milan, I tried to persuade Henry and Wolsey to contribute
to the emperor's army in Italy, but received the same qualified
refusal as before.
In a private conversation with me recently Wolsey asked me
not to take amiss any apparent bitterness in what he or Henry
spoke of the emperor and the affairs of the alliance, but to believe
that it proceeded from frankness and their desire to maintain
their friendship and alliance with you and the emperor. He
asked me to do my best toward the same end. I replied as
graciously as I knew how, as you may see by the enclosed copy
of my full report to the emperor (fn. 1) .
Wolsey then spoke of the Domprevost, saying Dr. Knight had
written that in his opinion the charges against him were ill
founded, and that he was a loyal servant. He then spoke at
length of M. de Hoogstraeten, who is as much in his good graces
now as he was formerly in his bad, as you will see by the letter
I am writing him. This seemed an opportune time to ask Wolsey
to reply to your letter about the provost, which he promised to do.
The cardinal shows signs of wanting to return to the good way
and being willing to listen to reason, but in my opinion his friendly
words are moved largely by his fear that now that the emperor
has recovered Fuenterrabia he will make terms with the French,
for I understand the spy from Paris reported that the hatred
of King Francis and all the French for this cardinal and his king
is unbelievably great, and Francis has sworn that while he lives
he will never make peace with this king, but will try, instead,
to make peace with the emperor, and afterwards serve Henry
such a turn as shall be talked of forever. The spy also reported
that at the French court King Francis' eldest daughter is called
"Madame the Empress," and that King Francis swears he will
manage to marry her to the emperor so as to break the English
On my return from Greenwich I received your letters of March
21st. Since I had not received those of March 2nd which you
mentioned, I sent to Brian Tuke to ask whether he had heard
anything about them, but he said he had not. If you really
wrote me at this time, either your master of posts did not forward
the letters, or this one has not delivered them. I beg you to
make inquiries on your side and I shall make further inquiries
here. I think I have already replied sufficiently to what you
wrote about Naturelli. I shall communicate to Wolsey what
you say about the safe-conduct for his wines, and about his
suit at Malines, and inform you at once.
London, 29 March.
P.S.—Since writing the above I have heard that the king has
had letters from Rome dated March 16th. They say that the
French have retired across the Ticino, followed by our army,
and that the duke of Milan has been obliged to pledge Cremona
to the Venetians to get money for the troops. The pope, fearing
that the emperor's army may break up for lack of money, has
sent the bishop of Capua to France to arrange a peace or truce.
After he has negotiated with the French, Capua will go or send to
the emperor and to this king on the same mission. The armies
are said to have arranged a forty day truce. I shall try to find
out the truth of this news from Wolsey, tomorrow, although I
think that the pope cannot have acted without the knowledge
of the emperor's ambassadors at Rome, and Capua has shown
himself very devoted to the emperor's service.
Signed, Loys de Praet. French. pp. 4.
H. H. u. St. A.
England, f. 2.
Memorandum from Charles V to Louis De Praet.
The first point is that the king of England shall make ready
an army to invade Picardy or elsewhere in France, by the beginning
of June. If he prefers this to contributing to the army
of Italy, we are willing to assist him with our ordinary gens
d'armes and infantry in the Low Countries, so far as that can
be done without leaving the frontiers unguarded, and with such
artillery as we have there. We will also assist him to procure
cavalry, German infantry, wagons, provisions and other necessaries
at reasonable cost. For our part, we undertake to drive
the French from Italy, and to send our army of Italy into France
without expense to the king of England, and to do the enemy all
the damage we can in that quarter in order to assist the English
The second point is, if the king of England prefers, he may
attack Bayonne. This enterprise is considered to be easier
than was the capture of Fuenterrabia, and by it all Guienne will
fall into his hands. If he chooses this, we are willing to aid him
at our expense with fourteen hundred men-at-arms, six hundred
light cavalry, and three thousand infantry. We will lend him
all the artillery and munitions necessary, provided he will furnish
powder, wagons, and other things necessary to the artillery,
and send the rest of the force necessary to assail Bayonne by land
and sea. If he wishes to hire Spanish troops other than those
ordinarily in our pay, which will serve him at our expense, we
will see that he is able to do so at a reasonable price, and that
he is able to have provisions and other necessaries for his money.
For our part, we will drive the French out of Italy and invade
France, as is said above.
The third point is, if the king does not wish to accept either
of the above proposals, that he will furnish equally with us the
expenses of an invasion of France by the duke of Bourbon.
Since, in adopting any of these alternatives, the king of England
and we will both be put to considerable expense, we are willing
that the "Great Enterprise" shall be delayed, or that the number
of persons to take part in it shall be diminished, at the king of
We have declared these three points to the English ambassadors
here and given them in writing to Jerningham, from whom they
may inform themselves.
Since this is a matter for the greatest haste, we authorize you,
de Praet, to solicit that the king of England choose one of these
means at once, and empower you to treat and conclude with him
upon them. Inform us at once.
Burgos, 31 March.
Copy. French. pp. 3. Cf. Jerningham's copy calendared in
L. & P. IV, 8.