Spain: March 1513

Pages 97-104

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

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March 1513

6 March.
S. E. Var. 1554. f. 53.
88. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Ramon De Cardona, his Viceroy Of Naples and Captain-General of his Army in Italy.
Has received his letters of the 22nd January. As his Italian allies are so intractable, he is to return with his army to Naples, except in case the allies give him enough money to maintain the troops in such a state as to make it possible for them to conquer the French in Italy. But whether he remains or returns to Naples, he is always to do what he can to reconcile the members of the league with one another.
In case the Pope dies he is not to detain the cardinals on their way to Rome, but to see that, without delay, a holy election be made.—Medina del Campo, 6th of March 1513.
Spanish. Draft. pp. 4.
(end of)? S. E. L. 4. 806. f. 21
89. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Luis Caroz De Villaragut, his Ambassador in England. (fn. 1)
Told him in his letter of the 18th of January his opinion and his will concerning the league which the Pope and the Emperor have lately concluded, and from which the Venetians are excluded. Sent that letter by a special courier. Wrote another letter to him afterwards, in answer to his despatch which was brought by Muxica on his return from England. He will find the second letter enclosed in this despatch.
When the second letter had been written, the Provincial of the Observant Friars of St. Francisco in Aragon went by land to England, where he was to fill the place of confessor of the Queen. His health did not permit him to go by sea. He was taken prisoner in France. As he is a very religious person, and of exemplary conduct, the Queen of France wished to see him. She then persuaded the Provincial to return to Spain with the following message.
The King of France, she said, was inclined to do justice to all Christian princes who had differences with him, in order to restore peace to the whole of Christendom, and especially to the Church, which is in danger of being rent asunder by schism. The conclusion of a definitive peace, however, requires some time. The King of France, therefore, wished that a truce of one year should be concluded without loss of time, between him, on the one part, and the Emperor, the King of England, and him (King Ferdinand), on the other part. The Queen of France added that the Emperor had already reconciled himself with the King of France. Nevertheless, she said, the King of France wished to have the Emperor included in the truce, because, if the truce were a general one, it would afterwards be easier to concert general means for restoring peace to the universal Church. The Queen implored him, for God's sake, not to reject the offers of the King of France, and to do all in his power to persuade the King of England to accept the proposal of a truce. On the King of England and on him (King Ferdinand) depended the woe and weal of Christendom. She sent at the same time to Bayonne a power of the King of France to conclude a truce.
He is to tell this to the King of England, adding, however, that he (King Ferdinand) is still willing to undertake the conquest of Guienne and Normandy at such a time and in such a way as to secure that the enterprise, being once begun, shall be thoroughly carried out, and that the conquered provinces shall not be lost again. The draft of the treaty which he has sent from England does not contain conditions which are likely to ensure success. The end of June is fixed for the beginning of the war. Actual hostilities would, therefore, not commence before the month of July, that is to say, at a time when summer is approaching its end. Little could be done in a campaign begun so late. The conquest of Guienne and Normandy is so great an undertaking that it will be necessary to begin it on the 1st of April, when the whole summer can be employed in the war. It would be unreasonable to spend so much money, as a serious war with France would cost, when winter is near at hand, and warlike operations must soon be interrupted. Moreover, the arrangements which must precede the invasion of France are not yet concluded, and it will require some time before all the details can be agreed upon. Sends him a project of a treaty concerning the conquest of Guienne and Normandy, with such clauses and conditions as he thinks are necessary.
The Emperor is about to conclude an alliance with France against the Venetians, excluding from it the King of England and him (King Ferdinand). The Pope and the Emperor have concluded an alliance from which Venice is excluded. Secret negotiations between the Pope and Venice have been discovered, the object of which is to expel both the Emperor and him from Italy. Such is the gratitude of the Italians for all the services he has rendered them. The Pope and the Venetians are only waiting for an opportunity to carry out their plans, and no better opportunity for doing so could be offered to them than that he and the King of England should be engaged in a war with France. Knows from the best authority that the Italians have prevented all such measures from being carried out as would have secured peace to Italy, for no other reason than that they desired to deprive him and the Emperor of their Italian dominions. It is owing to them that the French have been left in possession of the citadels of Milan and Cremona. It is owing to them that the army of the league is not permitted to invade France, and to help him and the King of England in a war with France. They well know that if France were humbled peace and order would be restored to Christendom. They do not want peace and order, but desire to profit by disorder. The Pope has gone so far as to give advice to Juan Jacobo, (fn. 2) and he entertains a secret understanding with the King of France through the Cardinal of Finale. (fn. 3)
From all these undoubted facts it is clear that, as the King of France is an ally of the Pope and the Emperor, he and the King of England cannot make war with him as easily as if he were without allies. Nor would it be possible for them to continue a war with France if, after its commencement, he (King Ferdinand) should be attacked by the Italians. But the consideration which has more weight with him than all the dangers to which he could be exposed is this, that the Holy Catholic Church stands in the greatest need of purification and of reformation. The King of England and he cannot render any greater service to God than to carry out the reformation of the Church. The reformation would at once put an end to the schism, to oppose which was the principal object for which he and the King of England began war with France.
John Stile has told him that the King of France is keeping 300 armed vessels ready to put to sea, by means of which fleet he can inflict great losses on England. Regards it as his first duty to fulfil his obligations towards God by bestowing benefits on His Church, but next to that comes his desire, as a prudent prince, to prevent a war between England and France, until he and the King of England can undertake it with a well-founded prospect of victory. That would soon be the case, if the Pope, the Emperor, and the Venetians were no longer to be their adversaries. If he and the King of England were to begin war now with France, the Pope, the Emperor, and Venice would openly or secretly be their enemies.
Summer being so near at hand, it is impossible for them any longer to delay their decision on the line of conduct they intend to observe. A truce is not a peace. This truce has been concluded with the intention of better preparing for war, and, also, to put a pressure on the Italians. It is very important to him and to the King of England that the Venetians should be forced to make peace with the Emperor, and afterwards to enter into the league, which is to comprise the Pope, the Emperor, the King of England, him (King Ferdinand), the Venetians, and the other states of Italy. The object for which the league is to be concluded ought to be the preservation of the Church, the extinction of schism, and the defence of Italy. The Italians could easily be persuaded to pay the Emperor the expenses of an army of 8,000 German troops wherewith to invade Burgundy. If the league with the Italians is concluded, and the Emperor, thus subsidised, invades France, he and the King of England can, without any danger to themselves, and with an almost certain prospect of success, undertake the conquest of Guienne and Normandy.
On account of all the reasons he has mentioned, he thought the best he could do was to conclude a truce with France in his own name as well as in the names of the Emperor and the King of England. The truce extends only to this side of the Italian mountains.
Did not extend it to Italy, for the following reasons. In the first place, he wished thereby to compel the Venetians to make peace with the Emperor, and to declare themselves members of the general league. His second reason for not extending the truce to Italy was, that he wished to preserve to himself and to the King of England the right to assist the Italians in case of need. If the Italians were to be left unassisted, the King of France would soon conquer them.
He is to tell the King of England that he (King Ferdinand) would on no condition whatever have concluded the truce had he not been fully convinced that it was highly advantageous to the King of England as well as to him. Begs, therefore, the King of England most affectionately, for his sake, to consent to and to ratify the truce with France. Had been animated by the best intentions and by love towards his son, the King of England, when he concluded the truce. As for a treaty of peace with France, he is to declare to the King of England that he (King Ferdinand) would never conclude it without the knowledge and consent of the King of England, even if he knew that all his other allies would desert him. Nor would he consent to conclude peace before the interests of the Church were provided for and the schism extinguished.
It seems that very strong pressure must be put on the Italians, otherwise they will refuse to enter into the general league. It would, therefore, not have been prudent to have rejected the offers made by the Queen of France. The most advantageous course for himself and for the King of England will be to carry on at the same time two different negotiations, the one separately from the other. In the first place, the Venetians ought to be forced by all possible means to make peace with the Emperor : and the Pope and the other Italian states ought to be persuaded to enter into a league with the Emperor, the King of England, and him (King Ferdinand). The other negotiation, which ought to be carried on at the same time, is the following. The ambassadors of the Emperor, the Kings of England, and of Spain ought to be instructed to see what advantages can be obtained from France, in consequence of the offers made by the Queen of France. The negotiations with France would exercise a strong pressure on the Italians. They are very well calculated to force them sooner to enter into the league. When that result is obtained, the negotiations with France ought to be discontinued, and the enterprise against her could then be undertaken with a certain prospect of victory. If, however, the Italians should refuse to conclude a league with them, then the Emperor, the King of England, and he (King Ferdinand) might try toobtain the best conditions they could in a treaty of peace with France. He is to tell the King of England that God has made him a great and powerful king, and that with the assistance of his relations, of whom he (King Ferdinand) is one, he can perform very great deeds in this world. Advises and begs him most affectionately to consider that, if his first great achievement is performed in the service of God, God will afterwards give him many great victories and great prosperity. There is no greater service to God which the King of England can perform than to join his efforts with those of the Emperor, the King of France, and him (King Ferdinand), to avoid the schism, and to bring about a good and holy reformation of the Church. This, however, can only be done if, without delay, he ratifies the treaty of truce with France, which will have the additional advantage for the King of England that the French will pay him the crowns owing to him. (fn. 4) The same messenger who brings the ratification of the King of France to England must take back the ratification of the King of England to France.
The second thing the King of England ought to do is to write to the Italians that in consequence of their continual dissensions he (King Ferdinand) and the King of England have postponed their invasion of France. As soon, however, as the Italians establish peace among themselves, and conclude a league with the Emperor, the King of England, and him (King Ferdinand), Spanish and English troops will be ordered to enter the territories of France.
He is to see that the King of England chooses an intelligent and faithful person, who has the reformation of the Church much at heart, for his ambassador. He must provide him with full power, and detailed instructions as to what he is to do. That done, the English ambassador must proceed without delay to the place where he will meet the Imperial and Spanish ambassadors who will be provided with equal instructions and powers. The three ambassadors will afterwards be joined by the ambassador of France. In one of their first conferences the ambassadors of the Emperor, of the King of England, and of him (King Ferdinand) must deliver, each of them, a memoir to the ambassador of France, containing the special complaints of their sovereigns. As soon as these separate differences are disposed of, the four ambassadors ought to conclude a general peace and alliance. Promises to instruct his ambassador to conclude nothing without the knowledge and consent of the English ambassador. It will be necessary to watch the Imperial ambassador, and see that he does not conclude a separate peace with France. The subject of the alliance ought to be of a twofold character. In the first place, the four confederate princes ought to see that a general and radical reformation of the Church be carried out, with the co-operation of the whole of Christendom, by a general council, and by the Pope himself. In the second place, a common war of all Christians with the Infidels ought to be decided upon, and the necessary arrangements made. It is absolutely necessary that the ambassadors of the Emperor, of England, and of Spain should not treat separately with France. If they were to do so, they would only render a great service to the King of France. All treaties with France must be signed at the same moment by the ambassadors concerned in these negotiations.
Sends this courier by land and with post horses in order to gain time. Will soon send another messenger, likewise by land and with post horses, to tell them at what place the ambassadors are to assemble. Has so much at heart a good and holy reformation of the Church which is in the highest degree necessary that he is ready to sacrifice his life and his states in order to obtain it. Thinks the other princes of Christendom are animated by similar feelings. Is persuaded that if he and his allies render such a signal service to God, God will afterwards render greater services to them than they can imagine. He is to employ all his dexterity with the King of England to persuade him to do what he begs of him.
If the King of England ratifies the truce with France, the truce must be published without delay in the English seaports which are next to France. He must write to him, and say whether the King of England and his council prefer a peace with France or a league with the Italians.
Although, in consequence of the truce with France, no warlike operations will take place in the present year, he sends the treaty concerning the common invasion of France. It is always desirable that he and the King of England should be prepared for this enterprise.
Should it be decided upon to conclude the league with the Italians, and to make war with France, he and the King of England would have nothing to do but to sign the treaty (concerning the invasion of France). Thus no time would be lost.—No date. No signature.
Indorsed : "Don Luis Caroz."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 14.
March (?)
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist. Salazar. A. 9. f. 24.
90. King Ferdinand The Catholic to Hieronymo De Cabanillas, his Ambassador in France.
Has received his letter of the 10th inst., in which was enclosed a copy of the letter which all the members of the league were to write to the Pope respecting the summons to be sent to the Venetians.
Is of opinion that, if the Venetians declare themselves ready to restore to the Emperor his cities and territories, they ought to be accepted as members of the league. Has ordered 400 men-at-arms from Naples to go to the assistance of the Emperor, in case the Venetians do not give him satisfaction. They are to meet the army of the Emperor at the latest before the end of the month of April. He is also ready to send six galleys in aid of the Emperor. Can do no more, as the payments he has to make to the Emperor and to the King of France, together with his wars with the Infidels in Africa, entirely absorb his pecuniary resources.
Has written to Luis Caroz, his ambassador, and ordered him to do all in his power to promote peace and friendship between the King of England and the King of France. He is to employ his good services in the same direction.—No date. No signature.
On the margin, written by Almazan : "Fiat."
Spanish. Draft. pp. 6.


  • 1. The whole purport of this long and elaborate despatch of King Ferdinand is to justify himself for having concluded a truce of one year with the King of France. This truce can scarcely be any other than the truce concluded at Orthez, on the 1st April 1513 ; and it is therefore probable that the despatch was written about the same time, not after the signature of the treaty, but shortly before it.
  • 2. Gian Giacomo, French ambassador.
  • 3. Carlo Dominico Caretto, Marquis of Finale, Archbishop of Tours, and a cardinal.
  • 4. "Escudos." that is to say, the annual payments.