Spain: March 1523

Pages 531-537

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 2, 1509-1525. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1866.

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March 1523

2 March.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Salazar. A. 27. f. 174.
532. Pope Adrian VI. to the Emperor.
Has received his letters of the 8th of last month, and of the 2nd of the present month. (fn. 1)
Thinks that neither of his letters are well digested.
The College of Cardinals and he (the Pope) are of opinion that Modena and Reggio belong to the Church. Is not willing to accept a compromise. A compromise would be acceptable only in case the rights of the Church and his (the Emperor's) rights were doubtful. Such, however, is not the case.
Would to God that the Duke of Milan were so good a man as he describes him to be ; but he must observe that he (the Pope) has not judged the Duke or any other person from suspicions only.
Has sent the Bishop of Veruli to Switzerland. This mission has cost him much money ; but as he (the Emperor) says that he will gain the Swiss over to his party by other means, as soon as the alliance (of the Emperor and the King of England) with Venice is concluded, there is no necessity to speak any more about this subject.
The alliance which he (the Emperor) proposes (between the Pope, the Emperor, and the King of England) would not open the way to a general peace of Christendom, but, on the contrary, would be the cause of a general disturbance of the Christian world.
Bishopric of Pamplona and military orders in Spain.
The event has shown whether his advice to conclude a truce was wise or not. Rhodes is lost, and public affairs in Genoa are in a precarious state.
He (the Emperor) says he is displeased with the enormities (fn. 2) perpetrated in the states of the Church at the command of Juan Manuel. If these are not empty words, he will punish Juan Manuel. Has shown him nothing but love, whilst he and his ministers have repaid him with contempt.
He (the Emperor) favours the pretensions of the Duke of Milan, and disregards the just claims of the Church.
Has defended his subjects with his spiritual weapons, and has driven the Imperial army out of the states of the Church. Was right in doing so. It is bad policy to threaten and not to execute the threats. Would have excommunicated Prospero Colonna, when he surprised the castle of St. Giovanni, in the territory of Piacenza, had he not been inclined to mercy from his love for him (the Emperor). Besides, Prospero has restored the castle.
Is treated worse by the Imperial ministers than by the French. Parma and Piacenza are still withheld from him, although they have belonged to the states of the Church ever since the time of Charlemagne and even of his predecessors, as is manifest from authentic documents which are preserved in Rome.
If he (the Emperor) has just claims on Modena and Reggio, he may make use of them. Whoever makes use of his rights only commits no injustice. Is ready to examine the title deeds which he has sent to his ambassador, the Duke of Sessa, but will show him other title deeds of much higher authority.
He (the Emperor) has lately invested the Duke with the duchy of Ferrara, although Ferrara does not belong to the Empire.
It would be interesting to him to learn through what channels he has been informed of the services Juan Manuel has rendered him (the Pope) during his election. The Duke of Sessa knows in what the services consisted, and knows also the affair of the 100,000 ducats which the Cardinal Farnese promised to Juan Manuel. The son of the Cardinal was sent as hostage to Naples. When Farnese had lost all hopes of carrying his own election, he determined to give his votes to a third person. In this manner his (Adrian's) election took place. Juan Manuel did not even know it, and was "terrified" when he heard that he (Adrian) had been elected. Begs God to preserve him from such friends as Juan Manuel.
The servants of the Cardinal of Auch have been made prisoners in spite of the safe-conduct of Juan Manuel. Begs him to take care that this misdeed does not lead to his excommunication and to reprisals.
Has never asked him (the Emperor) to release him (the Pope) from the payment of what he owes to the Swiss, but from the payment of what he does not owe to them. If he (the Emperor) does not pay the Swiss, they will soon be the allies of the King of France. Does not know whether his ambassador has ill informed him on this subject, or whether he has read his letters incorrectly.
Given in our Sacred Palace in Rome, the 2nd of March 1523, 1° Pont. (fn. 3) A. VI.
A P. P. VI.
Addressed : "To our most beloved son Charles, King of the Romans and of Spain, Emperor elect."
Indorsed : "To the King. 1523. Rome. From the Pope, the 2nd of March. Answered."
Spanish. Autograph in cipher, apparently in the handwriting of Cisterer. Deciphered by the Secretary Quintana. pp. 2.
3 March.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Salazar. A. 27. f. 176.
533. Pope Adrian VI. to the Emperor.
From the beginning of his reign he has constantly exhorted him (the Emperor) and the other princes of Christendom to make peace with one another, and to wage a common war with the Turks. All his exhortations have been fruitless, and the Turks have conquered Belgrade on the one side, and it is said that they have taken Rhodes on the other side. There is no doubt that the Turks will continue their conquests in Hungary (where the Emperor's sister is Queen) as well as in the Mediterranean, till they have rendered themselves masters of the whole of Europe. This danger can only be averted by a reconciliation of all Christian princes.
Had hoped that he (the Emperor) would be the first to obey his exhortations, but was deceived. He and the other Christian princes preferred to indulge in their private passions, inordinate cupidity, and lust of power, neglecting their duties to the Christian religion.
Tells him, his beloved son, that if he, the King of France, and the King of England do not postpone their personal quarrels, conclude a truce of at least three years, and undertake a common war against the Turks, God will probably permit the Infidels to drive him (the Emperor) out of his empire and kingdoms. This danger is the greater, as many of the Christian princes oppress their people, whilst the Turks allow them to live according to their laws, asking only obedience, and a tribute which is often smaller than the taxes inflicted by the Christian princes.
Begs him to arrange an interview between his ambassadors and those of the King of France and of the King of England, in order to conclude a peace, or at least a truce.
Has written in the same sense to the King of France and to the King of England. (fn. 4)
Rome apud Sanctum Petrum, under the ring of the Fisherman, the 3rd of March 1523, Pontif. 1°. (fn. 5)
T. Hezius.
Addressed : "To our most beloved son Charles, King of the Romans and of Spain, Emperor elect."
Latin. Original brief, written on a large sheet of parchment.
4 March.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Salazar. A. 27. f. 190.
534. The Duke Of Sessa, Imperial Ambassador in Rome, to the Emperor.
Has just learnt that the Pope has written to him, the King of England, the King of France, and the King of Portugal, informing them of the loss of Rhodes, and exhorting them to conclude peace with one another, and to make war with the Turks. The matter has been kept so secret that neither Cisterer nor any other person has told him a word about it. Begs him to send a very explicit answer to the Pope, who has not thought it advisable to speak with him (the Duke of Sessa) on this subject.
[Written on the margin by the Chancellor Mercurino de Gattinara :] No answer is to be given.
Has been to Sessa to see his wife, who is very ill.
All his (the Emperor's) letters have been delivered to the Pope, who was extremely angry when he had read them. He is now calmer.
Spoke with the Pope about the alliance (of the Pope with the Emperor and the King of England). The Pope said he had nothing to add to his holograph letter to him (the Emperor).
His Holiness pretends that he did not say he would conclude an alliance with the King of France if he (the Emperor) tried to force him to conclude an alliance (with him and the King of England).
[Written on the margin by Gattinara :] His Majesty did not write to the Pope that he had said such words. It would be well to find out who writes such things.
The Pope has sent Cardinal Colonna as nuncio to Hungary, and has given him the bishopric of Catania, in prejudice of the prerogative of the Emperor.
The Infante (fn. 6) has sent a power to Venice, which is very different from the instructions which he (the Emperor) has given to his ambassadors. The Pope has written to the Infante, and asked him to act in all things in conformity with him (the Emperor). As far as the alliance (of the Emperor and the King of England) with Venice is concerned, the Pope has behaved uncommonly well. He has not refused to write any brief to the Signory which he (the Duke of Sessa) has asked of him.
Begs him to order that the servants of the Cardinal of Auch be set at liberty.
The news from France is not favourable. The French are exceedingly haughty since they have succeeded in succouring Fuentarabia and Térouanne.
Church preferment, &c., &c.—Rome, the 4th of March 1523.
The Pope has just sent his secretary, Theodoric, to tell him that he writes to him (the Emperor), the King of France, the King of England, and the other princes of Christendom, exhorting them to conclude peace. His Holiness is persuaded that the whole of Christendom is exposed to imminent danger.
Indorsed : "To the King. Rome, 1523. From the Duke of Sessa, the 4th of March."
Spanish. Autograph in cipher. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 9.
10 March.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. C. 71. f. 57.
535. Martin De Salinas, Ambassador at the Imperial Court, to the Infante Ferdinand.
The King of France has sent the Bishop of Varrio, (fn. 7) who is nuncio of the Pope in France, to Rome, declaring that he is ready to make peace on condition that the duchy of Milan and Tournay be given back, and that the pension from the kingdom of Naples be paid to him, in which case he promises to deliver Fuentarabia and Navarra into the hands of the Pope. The King of England has been informed of these offers of the French.
Portugal. Money, &c.—Valladolid, the 10th of March 1523.
Addressed : "To the most serene Infante."
Spanish. Register. p. 1.
16 March.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Muñoz. 56. f. 67.
536. The Emperor to the Duke Of Sessa, his Ambassador in Rome.
Has answered all his letters up to the 17th of December.
Answers by this despatch his letters of the 29th of December, the 10th of January, and the 8th and 15th of February.
Prospero Colonna has taken and pillaged a small place called San Giovanni, in the territory of Piacenza, and the Pope threatens to fulminate ecclesiastical censures against Prospero and Don Juan Manuel. Begs the Pope not to do so, and promises to punish Prospero.
The secretary of the Pope, Theodoric, will soon be paid.
The King of France proposes an invasion of Italy ; the money for this enterprise to come chiefly from the revenues of the Church.
Has sent Doctor Prantner to Switzerland with money, and has written to the Cardinal de Medicis, the Duke of Milan, the Florentines, the Marquis of Mantua, Siena, Lucca, and Genoa, asking them not to lose courage. Begs the Pope instantly to prepare himself to defend the states of the Church.
Swiss. Modena, &c.
Intends very soon to assemble a powerful army in Flanders, to take the command of it, and to invade France in person from that side. In Catalonia he is assembling 500 men-at-arms, and 500 light horse. These troops will join the 300 lances and the 5,000 or 6,000 foot which are on the frontiers of Rousillon, ready to invade France on that side. Sends a fleet to sea with 3,000 armed men on board, which will sail to the English Channel and join the fleet of the King of England. Another fleet will attack the coasts of Languedoc. Thus, it will not be easy for the French to carry out their plan for conquering Italy.
Don Juan Manuel. Cardinal of Auch. Money affairs, &c. —Valladolid, the 16th of March 1523.
Spanish. Draft, signed M., the sign of the Chancellor Mercurino de Gattinara.
16 March.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Muñoz. 56. f. 68.
537. The Emperor to Lope Hurtado De Mendoza.
This despatch is an answer to his letters of the 3rd and 13th of January.
Does not approve of Prospero Colonna surprising St. Giovanni. He is to tell the Pope this, and to assure him that he (the Emperor) wishes to live with him on the most friendly terms. Will inquire into this case. If St. Giovanni is a dependency of the Empire, and if it belongs to the heir of Christoval Pallavicini, Prospero Colonna was, perhaps, not wrong.
Thanks the Pope that he has sent Campegio to Venice. It would have been better if the Pope had done his duty earlier. When the Pope exhorted the Venetians to conclude the alliance (with the Emperor and the King of England) the greatest difficulties bad already been removed.
Bishop of Lugo, &c.
Has seen the memoir of the Archbishop of Bari which he has sent him. What the Archbishop writes about the Scots and English is very favourable, as the tidings justify the King of England if he undertakes to carry out his plans on Scotland. He is to ask the Archbishop of Bari not to leave his post as nuncio in France.
As the King of France taxes the revenues of the Church without the permission of the Pope, and employs the money in his wars with the princes of Christendom, the Pope should not make difficulties about granting him (the Emperor) a cruzada for the war with the Turks.
Swiss ambassadors in Rome, &c., &c.—Valladolid, the 16th of March 1523.
Postscriptum.—Gaspar Argilles, &c., &c.
Spanish. Draft. pp. 4.
23 March.
M. D. Pasc. d. G. Pa. r. a. l. Hist. d. Esp.
538. The Abbot Of Najera to the Emperor.
Hieronymo Adorno died on the 20th in Venice. His death is a great loss.
Doctor Prantner has arrived.
The French and the Swiss are making no preparations for war.
The Duke of Milan has received letters from his ambassador in England. The Cardinal of York has told him that he thinks it would be a very good thing if the Italian army were to invade France at the same time that he (the Emperor) and the King of England attack her on the north. Is glad to hear that the English understand, at last, how advantageous an invasion of the south of France would be. Thinks the right moment has come to ask for 200,000 ducats from the King of England for the Italian army. He can easily spare them, by reducing the armaments in England, which are greater than is necessary. If the King of England sends 200,000 ducats for the Italian army, the invasion of France can take place as soon as the treaty with Venice is concluded. Victory is certain.—Milan, the 23rd of March 1523.
Indorsed : "To the King. 1523. Milan. From the Abbot of Najera, the 23rd of March. Duplicate. Answered."
Spanish. Autograph. pp. 3.


  • 1. This letter was written in the month of February, although dated and despatched on the 2nd of March.
  • 2. The conquest of castello St. Giovanni.
  • 3. Sic.
  • 4. Cf. Rymer's Fœdera, &c., pridie Kal. Maii 1523.
  • 5. Sic.
  • 6. Ferdinand.
  • 7. Archbishop of Bari.