Spain: February 1524

Pages 598-606

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

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February 1524

5 Feb.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Salazar. A. 30. ff. 130-133.
617. Lope Hurtado De Mendoza to the Emperor.
The Pope is very well satisfied that Monsieur de Beaurain is to come to Rome. Hopes his presence will exercise a good influence on affairs in general, and will especially contribute to persuade the Pope to send more money for the pay of the army. As money is so much wanted, the smallest contribution will be thankfully accepted.
His Holiness wishes his (the Emperor's) aggrandizement and the annihilation of France, because he is persuaded that he (the Emperor) would repel the attacks of the Turks, suppress the heresy of Luther, pacify Italy, and protect the house of De Medicis. But considering the great efforts he (the Emperor) has made, and the little damage the French have suffered, the want of money, and the immense expenses which the continuation of the war renders necessary, he (the Pope) fears that he (the Emperor) will be unable to continue the war, and that the King of England will soon be tired and make peace. If that were done, the French would again be the masters of Italy. The Pope himself and the Archbishop of Capua have spoken to him in this sense.
The Pope desires that one of the following two things should be done, viz., either that France should be entirely ruined, or that a truce or peace should be made before the resources of the allies are exhausted. If he (the Emperor) chooses war, he must not count on the assistance of the Church, which is impoverished and indebted. Although the Pope says this, he (Lope Hurtado) still hopes that he will secretly contribute something towards the maintenance of the army. Thinks it necessary that the King of England should give money for the invasion of Provence, and should directly and openly declare that he will do so, as that would much encourage the Pope and the other allies of Italy.
Monsieur de San Marsau arrived two days ago, with advantageous offers from the King of France, and Count Carpi is very active. It is necessary to gain over the cardinals, offering them bishoprics, &c. The money he had is already spent.
The Archbishop (of Capua) wishes to be made cardinal.
Monsieur de Bourbon.
Begs that his salary may be paid to him.
Letters from England, dated the 20th of December, have arrived. The King of England has ordered his troops to return to England, although he had promised that they should remain on the frontiers of France. It is also said that the English are inclined to make peace. The French show a letter from Monsieur de Lautrec, according to which the Imperial army has retreated with the loss of 60 carts.— Rome, the 3rd of February 1524.
Postscriptum.—News has arrived from the army in the north of Italy. Monsieur de Beaurain has not come. The Pope is by no means satisfied.—Rome, the 5th of February 1524.
Addressed : "To his Sacred, Catholic, and Imperial Majesty the Emperor, our Lord."
Indorsed : "To the King. Rome, 1524. Lope Hurtado. The 5th of February. Answered."
Spanish. Autograph in cipher. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 6.
8 Feb.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Salazar. A. 30. f. 135.
618. John, Bishop Of Bath, Ambassador of the King Of England, Richard Pace, Ambassador of the King Of England, and Thomas Hanibal, to the Duke Of Bourbon.
Have received orders from their King to tell him that he (the King of England) is fully resolved to persevere in the enterprise against the common enemy. On the 27th of January the King commanded them to tell this to the Pope, who was very much pleased to hear it.
The King of England intends to undertake, besides the public enterprise, a secret one, and, wishing to hear his advice and to make use of his person, begs him to go as soon as possible to England, where he will be received with all the honours due to his rank and to the Emperor. Beseech him to do what the King of England wishes, and to send an answer to them, in order that the King of England may see that they have executed his orders.—Rome, the 8th of February 1524.
Jo. Bathoniensis.
Ri. Pacius .. Oratores Angliæ.
Tho. Hanibal.
Postscriptum—Had the King of England known that he was in Italy, and that he had not gone to Spain, he would have written to him direct.
The King of England, being resolved to trample under foot the French, thinks it very necessary that he (the Duke of Bourbon) should go to England as soon as possible, where he will be received in the most cordial manner, and be entertained in the most splendid style, as becomes his dignity and his person. The King of England wishes to consult him about a secret expedition of the greatest importance against the common enemy.
Addressed : "The English ambassadors to the most illustrious Duke of Sessa." (fn. 1)
Indorsed : "From the ambassadors of the King of England."
Italian. Copy made by Juan Perez, First Secretary of the Imperial legation in Rome. pp. 1½.
23 Feb.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Salazar. A. 30. 208.
619. The Duke Of Sessa, Imperial Ambassador in Rome, to the Emperor.
Has not written to him since the courier Bernardino de la Barba left, as he has been waiting for an answer from him. Fears that neither Bernardino de la Barba nor Bernardino Albornoz have arrived in Spain. The last news he had from them was from Genoa, where they were waiting for the arrival of the Duke of Bourbon. Has at last been informed that Monsieur de Beaurain has arrived at Genoa with a despatch from him, dated the 14th of December. That despatch arrived in Rome on the 21st of January. Monsieur de Beaurain (fn. 2) has written from Genoa and Milan, that he is coming to Rome to congratulate the Pope.
Has informed him of the death of Pope Adrian, and of the election of Pope Clement. It is a very serious inconvenience that the correspondence between Rome and Spain is almost interrupted. All good Imperialists in Italy consider the election of the Cardinal de Medicis as the best and most holy that could be made.
The Cardinal Colonna, when he saw that he had no chance of being elected, and when he was informed that he (the Emperor) so greatly desired the election of the Cardinal de Medicis, rendered the most signal services, and deserves reward.
Next to God the Pope owes his election to him. He is fully entitled to the gratitude of the Pope. Begs him, however, not to forget that he had "elevated Pope Adrian from the dust to so high a position that he was inferior only to heaven," and yet had been repaid with ingratitude. It would, therefore, be wise not to count on the gratitude of the Pope, and to provide against all contingencies.
Sees what passes in Rome, and is not without suspicion. The Pope is very reserved, irresolute, and decides few things for himself. He loves money, and prefers the persons who know where to find it to any other kind of men. He likes to give himself the appearance of being independent, but the result shows that he is governed by others. He loves him (the Emperor), but is continually coquetting with the French.
The Archbishop of Capua is the person who stands nearest to the Pope. He is more able to write a fine letter than to act and provide for the necessities of the state. He is a good Imperialist, but he unites levity with the pride of a friar, and passionately desires to have the cardinal's hat. He is easily imposed upon by any one who speaks of his elevation to the rank of a cardinal.
Johan Matheo is very much dissatisfied, and publicly complains that he (the Emperor) has broken his promises to him. For some days past he has been on friendly terms with the French.
Agostino Folleta is faithful. He deserves special favour.
Count Carpi avails himself of his old friendship with the family of De Medicis. He offers the Pope Modena, Reggio, Cremona, and even Ferrara. To the servants of the Pope he promises money and church preferment. Ignores intentionally the practices of Carpi.
Monsieur de St. Marsau has arrived to congratulate the Pope in the name of the King of France. The King of France makes an offer to the Pope to conclude a general peace of Christendom, or a truce. As the Imperial and the English armies have retired, it is clear, he says, that he does not offer peace from fear of them, but from love of the Pope. Monsieur de St. Marsau added that his king was fully aware that neither the Emperor, nor the King of England had empowered their ambassadors in Rome to conclude a peace or a truce with France. The King of France being, therefore, the first to declare himself ready to do the will of the Pope, he expected that the Pope would declare himself against the Emperor and the King of England, should they reject his overtures of peace.
The same day the Pope sent for him and the English ambassadors, told them what the King of France had offered, and added that on no account would he forsake him (the Emperor) and the King of England. He asked them what answer he ought to make to the King of France. After long deliberations it was resolved that his Holiness should reply to the French ambassador that neither he (the Emperor) nor the King of England had ever refused to make peace with France on just and acceptable conditions, nor had they begun the war. When Pope Adrian endeavoured to make peace, he (the Emperor) and the King of England had sent their powers to Rome to conclude it but France would not listen to any reasonable proposals. When the Pope answered Monsieur de St. Marsau in this manner, the French ambassadors begged him once more to try the work of peace. It was at last settled that the Pope should send a nuncio to France and another to England, in order to see whether peace or a truce could be concluded.
The Pope said to him that if he (the Emperor) and the King of England concluded a new league, it was his intention to be a member of it, but he wished to know how much money he (the Emperor) had, as the Apostolic See was so poor that he could give little aid in a war with France. The English ambassador has already received the power of his King to conclude a new league with the Pope, and it is desirable that he (the Emperor) should also soon send his authorization. The Pope has contributed 20,000 ducats towards the expenses of the league since his elevation to the Papal throne.
On the 6th letters arrived from the King of England, in which he states that he is as resolved as ever to continue the war with France, and that he has lately concluded some new articles with him (the Emperor) concerning the war. He says he intends to send two armies to France ; of which one, consisting of 20,000 Englishmen with a corresponding number of horse and artillery, is to invade France publicly. The destination of the other army is to be kept secret. As Monsieur de Bourbon is staying in Italy, the English ambassadors begged him (the Duke of Sessa) to ask the Duke of Bourbon to go soon to England, and to speak with the King about the secret expedition, which is of the greatest importance.
The King of England, they said, would have written himself to Monsieur de Bourbon if he had known where he was, and that he had not already gone to Spain. Sent a courier directly to the Viceroy, (fn. 3) whilst the English ambassadors went to see the Duke of Bourbon. Does not yet know what answer the Duke of Bourbon gave to them. Wrote also to the Duke of Bourbon, telling him that he was of opinion that he (the Duke of Bourbon) should go to see the King of England. The Pope was informed of the whole affair, as the King of England had ordered he should be. His Holiness had written to Monsieur de Bourbon, advising him to undertake the journey. Suspects the Pope is not much pleased with the presence of Monsieur de Bourbon in Italy, thinking that it is of no great advantage. Others, however, praise Monsieur de Bourbon very highly, and have a great opinion of him.
The King of England begs the Pope to aid him to recover those provinces which belong to him by right, but are unjustly occupied by the French. He says that he and the Emperor are strong enough to sustain the war, and that they are not in want of money. The King of England says he intends to occupy the French in such a manner that they will be content to defend themselves at home, and will not think of conquering the states of others. The Pope has not yet answered, expecting the resolution of the Duke of Bourbon, but it is clear that he was much pleased with the message of the King of England. Since he has received the letter from the King of England he speaks much more courageously than formerly.
Is persuaded that the Viceroy has informed him of what he has done to get the army in Lombardy into effective order.
Payments of the republic of Florence.
Cardinal Piccolomini.
The Duke of Milan has worked a miracle. He has paid his contribution towards the expenses of the league. If the King of England and the Italian allies do what they promise, the advantage to the whole of Christendom will be so great that all those who weep now will be glad.
The French say that the English army has returned to England, and that the King does not intend to send it back to France. They likewise pretend that the Imperial army in Lombardy has been forced to retire with the loss of a certain number of carts, and that the King of France is in a position to send new reinforcements to Italy.
Modena. Cruzada. Quarta. Cardinal Colonna.
The pension of the Cardinal of England on the see of Palencia is not yet transferred to the see of Toledo. New difficulties are raised on all sides. The English ambassadors asked the Pope to have both the pensions of the Cardinal, that on the see of Badajoz as well as that on the see of Palencia, paid in England.
The Cardinal of Volterra has been pardoned.
Church preferment, &c.
Count Carpi cannot be gained.
Thanks him for the Order of the Golden Fleece, &c.
Showed his last letter to the Pope, who highly approved his plans concerning the humiliation of France. If he and the King of England carry out their designs, the Pope will be still more satisfied. A truce or peace is impossible so long as the French remain in Italy.
The French have not a high opinion of the Duke of Bourbon, but if the King of England with his assistance carries out what he intends, the Italians will have much more courage. If the King of England is determined to continue the war, he should plainly write to that effect to the Pope, and send an army to Italy, in order that the Italians may see that he does not forget them.
Church preferment.
The English ambassador who accompanied the late Pope Adrian on his voyage from Spain to Rome has spoken two or three times with the new Pope, asking a license or a dispensation for his (the Emperor's) marriage with the Princess of England. Hopes that that marriage would render his subjects and servants happy, if it should take place. As he, however, is utterly ignorant of his (the Emperor's) intentions with respect to this marriage, he has thought it necessary to proceed with the greatest caution, and not to say much about that subject. The English ambassador gives him to understand that he has a separate power, authorizing him to negotiate with the Pope about the marriage, independently of the other English ambassador in Rome. The Pope has given an evasive answer in general terms. Begs him (the Emperor) to send him instructions how he is to behave with respect to this question.
The Turks intend to invade Hungary.
The pensions to be paid from the see of Toledo amount to 27,500 ducats. 4,500 ducats are not assigned to any special person. They are reserved for the Cardinal of England, as indemnity for his pensions on the sees of Palencia and Badajoz. Waits for further instructions. The Cardinal of England, as well as the other persons concerned in this transaction, refuse to pay one half of the annates which is due to the Apostolic Chancery, and it would be quite impossible to give security on any banker in England for the payment of the pension. The English ambassador insists on it.
Cardinal Santi Quatuor. Milan, &c. Comuneros, &c.— Rome, the 23rd of February 1524.
Addressed : "To ... Cœsar ... Spain ... our Lord."
Indorsed : "To the King. Rome, 1524. From the Duke of Sessa, the 23rd of February. Answered."
Spanish. Autograph, partly in cipher partly in common writing. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 38.
23 Feb.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Salazar. A. 30. f. 191.
620. The Duke Of Sessa, Imperial Ambassador in Rome, to the Emperor.
This document is a duplicate in cipher of the preceding despatch.
24 Feb.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. A. 30. f. 242.
621. The Duke Of Sessa, Imperial Ambassador in Rome, to the Emperor.
Informed him in his other despatch of the contents of the letter of the King of England to his ambassadors. Encloses a copy of the letter which the English ambassadors wrote to the Duke of Bourbon, together with the answer of the Duke. If he does not misunderstand the answer, the Duke begs the King of England to write more clearly what he intends to undertake, before be goes to see him. Thinks the Duke is right not to leave Italy unnecessarily. The despatch containig the answer of the Duke is sent to Flanders, and the answer of the King of England is impatiently expected.
Some time afterwards he and the English ambassadors went to the Pope, and urged him to declare his will concerning his entry into the league. Told his Holiness that be (the Emperor), as well as the King of England, desired very much that he should be allied with them. After a very long conversation, the Pope answered that he would send envoys to him (the Emperor) and to the King of England, in order to learn what their real intentions were. As soon as his envoys should have sent him his (the Emperor's) answer and that of the King of England, he would decide upon the best means to carry their plans into effect, protesting that he never would forsake him (the Emperor) and his ally. It was impossible for them to obtain any other answer from the Pope.
He (the Duke of Sessa) and the English ambassador begged the Pope to pay, during the interim, his share of the expenses for the maintenance of the army. The Pope answered that he had no money, but would try to persuade the Florentines to give some, although Florence is also exceedingly poor. It is true that the Pope cannot without great difficulty find money for his daily expenses, and that the Florentines no longer possess anything to sell wherewith to obtain money. Thinks, nevertheless, that the Pope should show more zeal in so important a work as the expulsion of the French from Italy. Is afraid the Pope, as a good Italian, wishes to wait until he sees what turn affairs in Italy will take. The only danger which he fears is that the Imperial army, not being paid, will disband.
The Imperial army is encamped three miles from the French, who have fortified Biagrassa. The French expect a succour of 5,000 Swiss, 4,000 lansquenets, and more men-at-arms. The captains of the Imperial army, however, are not afraid of them, if they can only get the pay for the troops for two more months. If he (the Emperor) and the King of England would attack the French on the frontiers of Spain and in Picardy, the French would most probably be entirely ruined.
Will get 17,000 ducats from Lucca and Siena, and send the money within four days to the army. Tries to obtain as much money from Naples as possible, and begs him to send him an authorization for the sale of crown lands in that kingdom. All will be, however, insufficient if he and the King of England do not send money. Hopes that the army of the Duke of Bourbon will be prosperous in the field.
Venice. Swiss.
His Holiness expects that the pension of 10,000 ducats which he received as cardinal from the see of Toledo will not be suppressed. He says he receives a similar pension from France, which he divides amongst his servants.
The English ambassadors are greatly dissatisfied with the answer the Pope gave them, whilst the Pope confidently opes that the King of England is not disinclined to begin negotiations of peace.
News has arrived that the King of France is going to Lyons.—Rome, the 24th of February 1524.
The Infante (Ferdinand) wishes to be placed at the head of the Italian army.
Addressed : "... most sacred ... King of Spain ... Lord."
Indorsed : "24th February."
Spanish. Autograph in cipher. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 5.


  • 1. Although the address of this copy is to the Duke of Sessa, it is clear, from the contents of the letter, that it could not have been written to him. It is most improbable that the ambassadors would have told the Duke of Sessa that the King of England did not know whether he was in Italy or not, nor could the King of England have asked him to come to England without mentioning that the Emperor had given him permission to leave his post in Rome. Should there, however, remain any doubts, they will, I think, be removed by the letter of the Duke of Sessa dated the 23rd of February 1524.
  • 2. Beore in the original.
  • 3. Charles de Lanoy, Viceroy of Naples, was at that time in Lombardy with the army.