Spain: December 1526, 1-10

Pages 1028-1038

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 3 Part 1, 1525-1526. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1873.

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December 1526, 1-10

4 Dec. 626. Alonso Sanchez, Imperial Ambassador in Venice, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 39,
f. 159.
(Cipher:) Wrote last on the 10th of October. The enclosed for the Viceroy (fn. n1) will inform His Imperial Majesty of what has occurred since his arrival. Has written to ask for instructions and inquire whether he is to remain at Venice or go away. Is waiting for the Viceroy's answer. — Venice, 4th Dec. 1526.
Signed: "Alonso Sanchez."
Addressed: "To His Sacred, Imperial and Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. Venice. Sanchez, 4th Dec."
Spanish. Original entirely in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet (.. 171). pp. 1½.
4 Dec. 627. The Same to the Viceroy of Naples.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 39,
(Cipher:) On hearing of his (the Viceroy's) arrival in Corsica he (Sanchez) wrote by way of Rome, and sent a duplicate of his letter to Genoa. Sends now a triplicate of the same, in case the two former have not reached him.
There is a report [in Venice] that the Imperial fleet has anchored on the coast of Sienna, and landed at one of the Siennese ports, which, if true, is by far the best and most advantageous course to be pursued under present circumstances, since by marching immediately upon Florence, that city may again have its liberties restored, and a good sum of money may be obtained from the citizens by way of monthly contribution for the support of the Imperial army. This being done His Excellency will have no difficulty whatever in marching on Rome, now without defences, since the whole of the Papal army is on the frontier facing the Colonnese, and the forces lately sent from Naples for their support. This being accomplished, the Imperial generals might turn their attention towards the Venetians, by far the most powerful of the Emperor's enemies in Italy, not only on account of the strong places they hold, but also of the assistance they expect to receive from France, if it be true, as reported, that they have lately made overtures to King Francis and promised him the duchy of Milan. But even granting that France were to help Venice with a powerful army, there can be no doubt that the League being virtually dissolved, Florence, Sienna, Mantua and other countries siding with the Emperor, and the Duke of Ferrara being at the head of the Imperial forces, the Imperialists can successfully cope with those of France and Venice united. Takes God to witness that he (Sanchez) is averse from war, but if peace cannot be obtained on conditions suitable to the Emperor's dignity and greatness the best course to be pursued is to strike a decisive blow at once.
The agreement with the Duke of Ferrara could not happen at a better time; both the Pope and this Signory fear it more than the reinforcements just received from Germany and Spain. The Duke is a very wise politician, understands Italian affairs better than anyone else; has much influence, considerable treasure at his disposal, and is undoubtedly the best weapon that could be selected against the Venetians. Could His Excellency secure also the services of the Marquis of Mantua (Federigo Gonzaga) he might be useful. The mere promise of restoring to the Marquis the territories which the Venetians last took from him, and still retain, would be a sufficient incentive for him to declare in our favour, especially if the Duke of Ferrara wrote to him on the subject. Both the Duke and the Marquis could easily keep the Venetians at bay (los ternan los dedos en los ojos).
Hears that the Signory have lately held four or five of their councils called preghay, in consequence of the Pope being in great fear of these German reinforcements, and having sent to implore their help. It was thereat discussed whether orders ought not to be sent to their general the Duke of Urbino to cross the river Pò with part of the confederated army, and hasten to the defence of Parma and Piacenza, threatened by our troops. Has been told that the result of their deliberations was not to send such orders to the Duke, but to desire him to remain in the Mantuan territory, where he is at present, and try at any risk to prevent the march of George Fruntsperg. This, however, could not be accomplished, for he hears that the Germans crossed the river the other day. The rest of the army of the League, under the Marquis of Saluzzo, is still in the Milanese territory, quartered in the districts round the city. It is chiefly composed of Frenchmen, Switzers, Frantopins and Grisons.
Respecting His Holiness this must be said of him, that having first pardoned, or promised to pardon all those concerned in the last outrage (insulto), he has since deprived Cardinal Colonna of all his offices and dignities, and is about to do the same with his relatives and adherents. He has, according to information received from Rome, wrought such damage on their territory, destroying their crops, burning their villages, and demolishing their castles and strong places, that the Turk himself has not acted more cruelly towards the Hungarians than he (the Pope) has done towards Christians living in the dominions of the Church.
Will not conceal from His Excellency that in his opinion there is now an opportunity for resuming the negotiations commenced after the victory of Pavia by means of the Milanese ambassador in this city (Taverna). His Excellency must recollect that the mere offer made at the time of some of the Pope's lands was sufficient to make the Signory listen to our proposals. The same expedient might now be tried with success, though on the other hand it may perhaps be imprudent to help the Venetians to an increase of territory.
By letters of the Regents at Hispruch (Innsbruck), and of the Captain of Trent, which the ambassador of the Archduke, now King of Bohemia, has lately received, in date of the 18th of November, we learn that the Prince of Orange (Philibert de Chalon) has arrived, by post, with six gentlemen of his suite, and is shortly to be followed by 1,000 Burgundian horse. Finding on his arrival at Trent that George Fransperch (Fruntsperg) had already crossed the frontier, he wrote to inquire where he had better pass. In his (Sanchez') opinion the Prince will not be able to come down unless his forces be increased by 6,000 foot at least, especially as the Duke of Urbino (Francesco Maria della Rovere) is occupying in the Mantuan the positions which he has at present.
There is a report here that Juanin (Giovannino) de Medicis has been mortally wounded in the leg by a hackbut shot (tiro de polvora), in the Mantuan. His Excellency knows too well the military qualities (virtud y bondad) of such a captain to make it needful for him to expatiate on the importance of this intelligence.
(Common writing:) The Hungarians are now holding their diet at Albarregal (Alba Regia) for the purpose of electing a King. Great hopes are entertained that just as the Bohemians have elected Archduke Ferdinand, the Hungarians will do the same, although the King of Poland (Sigismond) and a Vayvod of Transylvania (John Zapolsky) are also competitors for the Crown. The Archduke, however, seems determined to enter Hungary either by the consent of the people or otherwise with 25,000 fighting men, and the Bohemians have promised him 15,000 more. He has sent to Cita Nova (Newstadt) in Austria for his artillery, and is only waiting for the result of the Hungarian diet to march into that kingdom. The Turk, it is said, has been obliged to return to his dominions in consequence of a cousin, or near relative of his, having revolted in Suria (Syria) and Egypt, assisted by the Sophi of Persia.
(Cipher:) Wishes very much to know whether he is to quit Venice or not. His Excellency must certainly have brought orders from Court to that effect. Both Don Ugo and the Duke of Bourbon, whom he (Sanchez) has consulted on this particular, are of opinion that he may still be of use at Venice.
(Common writing:) Hears from Naples that on the 23rd or 24th of last month four ships and one caravel belonging to His Excellency's fleet, and which were compelled by stress of weather to separate and run in for Sicily, had safely reached that island. They are reported to have on board 1,800 Germans and 400 Spaniards, under a brother of the Marquis of Mantua and a colonel of the former nation.
(Cipher:) Having written thus far, intelligence has been received that the Signory has letters from France of the 18th Nov. enclosing bills of exchange to the amount of 10,000 gold cr. (escudos) and promising 30,000 more at a short date. The French King is, moreover, very lavish in his offers. The Marquis of Saluzzo with 350 French lances, 6,000 Switzers, 4,000 Fantopins and 1,000 Germans, recruited among the rebellious peasants (villanos), were to pass the river Pò, so as to protect (fazer espaldas) the lands of the Church. This Signory is now levying 5,000 foot more.
The Pope is said to be in such fear of the Imperial arms as to have written to this Signory announcing that the moment he hears of an attempt being made upon his estates, or of a revolution in Florence, he will leave Rome for Ancona, there to take ship and come to Venice for safety. He has also requested this Signory to have certain ships stationed at that port (Ancona) ready for his passage, and is only waiting to receive an answer to a letter which he is said to have written to His Excellency, inquiring whether there is any chance of truce or agreement whatever. Should the answer be negative or slow to come the Pope is to carry out his determination and come to Venice. Hears also that the Signory is about to send one of their secretaries to the Emperor to exculpate themselves from their late acts, and throw the blame upon others, protesting, as is their habit, of their affection, &c., for the Emperor. Indeed, both the Pope and the Venetians are sure to use very fine words in order to avert, if possible, the danger that threatens them, and gain time for the defence of their territory, and for the French King to arm in their favour.
Juanin (Giovannino) de Medicis died of his wounds at Mantua.
Had it been possible to send this letter by a trusty person he would certainly have done so, but he has no one here whom he can trust at present; sends it through the Duke of Ferrara.
The Pope wants the Signory to send their army across the river Pò. They suggest that the Marquis of Saluzzo can easily do it with the forces under his command. It is not known, however, whether the Marquis will do so.—Venice, 4th December 1526.
Signed: "Alonso Sanchez."
Addressed: "To His Excellency Charles de Lannoy, viceroy of Naples."
Spanish. Contemporary copy, mostly in cipher. Deciphering on separate sheet (f. 172). pp. 9.
4 Dec. 628. Secretary Perez to the Emperor.
M. D. Pasc. d. G.
Pa. r. a. l. Hist.
d' Esp.
Encloses duplicate of his letter of the 28th Nov. Since then news has come of the arrival of the Viceroy's fleet at a port on the coast of Sienna, called Santo Stefano, on the receipt of which intelligence the people both here and at Florence were so alarmed that they already considered themselves as lost and ruined (perdidos y saqueados). Their fears, however, were somewhat calmed when they heard that the Viceroy, after anchoring for four days on the coast, had sailed for Gaeta. Knight Commander Peñalosa, whom Lannoy had sent to the Pope with letters from His Imperial Majesty, &c. was detained on the road, and the letters taken from him and brought to His Holiness, who, hearing of the Commander's detention, immediately despatched a chamberlain of his with orders for his release. Peñalosa arrived in Rome on the night of the 1st inst. and was lodged at Belvedere, in the same apartments as the general [of the Franciscans?], whom His Holiness thought of sending to Santo Stefano, when he heard of the Viceroy's arrival there. The Archbishop of Capua (Schomberg) was the person first appointed for that office, but the Pope afterwards changed his mind and his appointment was revoked.
Peñalosa had an audience from His Holiness, which lasted upwards of two hours. Perez saw him the day after, and learned from him that the Viceroy had really sailed for Gaeta. His coming to Santo Stefano was not a matter of choice, but of necessity, since the whole fleet had on the previous day met with very stormy weather and had to run before the wind (corrido un dia fortuna à arbol seco). At Genoa a ship (nao) was attacked and sunk by the galleys of the League, having on board a captain named Sayavedra and 200 men. None of the other ships received any injury, and although that of the Viceroy was more furiously attacked than the rest, no one was killed on board, and but few were wounded. The Pope had been very much pleased with the messages brought to him by Peñalosa; he had offered to do wonders for the service of the Emperor, in whose hands, he said, he had placed all his affairs. Next day (the 2nd) Peñalosa started for Naples, accompanied by the general [of the Franciscans] and by one of the Pope's chamberlains.
(Cipher:) Told Peñalosa to warn the Viceroy not to allow himself to be duped by the Pope, for it is quite evident that whatever demands are now made upon him he is sure to recognize, such is his consternation at the Viceroy's arrival, and the state of his mind. Indeed, had Lannoy, without sending him a peaceful message at first, as he did, commenced hostilities against the Florentines at once,—as everyone here feared he would—there can be no doubt that the Pope would have taken to flight. Peñalosa's visit, however, calmed his fears and those of the cardinals most attached to his person, who confidently expect a settlement of the present questions at issue. But, as he (Perez) has told the Commander, unless proper securities be obtained from His Holiness, no negotiation, however advantageous, can secure the Emperor's interests, for the Pope is sure to do again what he has done hitherto on so many occasions, namely, break his most solemn promises. His Imperial Majesty must rest assured that the Pope will now act in the same manner, for such is his habit. Besides, the doctrine is openly professed here at Rome that no compulsory act need be regarded as valid. This is the excuse they allege when taunted with their late doings in the lands of the Colonnese, though they pretend that in this instance the Pope was perfectly justified in what he did.
(Common writing:) It is rumoured that His Holiness is again levying troops, and has sent some of his captains for that purpose to Perosa (Perugia) and Romagna. He has likewise sent for all the forces he had on the frontiers of the Colonnese, but the Romans met the other day and decided to send a deputation to His Holiness, begging he would give counter orders, as they (the inhabitants) were afraid of being sacked by his troops. Ten of the chief inhabitants waited upon the Pope, who told them he had not yet made up his mind to bring the said forces to Rome; when he did, he would answer them. This notwithstanding, he (Perez) finds that troops are secretly entering Rome, in small detachments, that more vigilant watch is kept at the gates of the city, and that the Borgo is being fortified, though at the same time valuables are being hastily removed from the Borgo as well as from the Papal Palace, for fear of the Neapolitans coming and sacking the place, as they did on a late occasion; for they know very well that the Viceroy's forces are numerous and well appointed, and that it is not their habit to be idle and gain their pay without work. What the Viceroy's intentions may be he (Perez) cannot say for certain, but from the military preparations now being made at Naples it is natural to conclude that the Colonnese with his help will sooner or later retaliate on the Pope the injury he has done them. Indeed it is reported that Ascanio Colonna has already begun to set fire to, and demolish certain castles of the Orsini bordering upon his territory. His Holiness has been the first to set the example that in future no war is to be carried on except by fire and plunder, and yet he complains of Ascanio's system of warfare. That Abbot of Farfa (Napoleone Orsini) mentioned in one of the Secretary's former despatches, (fn. n2) has pushed his hatred of the Colonnese much further than any other of the Pope's partisans. It is to be hoped that he will repent one of these days.
The Duke of Ferrara's declaration in favour of His Imperial Majesty has been much resented here. The Duke's ambassador communicated it to the Pope, who answered, "Your master's determination does not take me by surprise; I knew of it already; but since the Duke wants to make the Emperor master of all Italy, let him, and may it do him much good."
The Germans crossed the Pò, notwithstanding the Duke of Urbino's opposition, and that of Juan (Giovanni) de Medicis, who lost 700 or 800 men in the attempt, and was besides wounded in the leg by a hackbut shot, of which he is likely to die, or at least to lose his leg. The German lansquenets were encamped 12 miles from Ferrara, at a place called Albondin, distant 30 miles from Modena and Bologna, which circumstance naturally keeps those districts in continual alarm. The Pope has ordered levies of men for the protection of those cities, but finds none willing [to enlist under his banners]. Cardinal Cibo, his legate at Bologna, and his brother Lorenzo Cibo, who is captain of the Papal bodyguard, have gone to the threatened districts with plenty of money; but the general opinion here is that they will do no good. The Duke of Ferrara, on the other hand, has sent the Germans 18 pieces of field artillery (artilleria de campo), ammunition and other warlike stores, and he himself has taken the field with a competent force, and is now marching upon Modena, which cannot offer resistance.
Miçer Juan Antonio Muxetula, who was here [at Rome], on hearing of the Viceroy's arrival at Santo Stefano, started for that port, thinking he would meet Knight Commander Peñalosa on his way to this city. It happened, however, that as the Pope's chamberlain in charge of the latter had instructions not to allow anyone to approach the Commander for fear of his inducing him to change or modify the message whereof he was the bearer, altered the route, and Miçer Muxetula went on without meeting him on the road. Peñalosa then wrote to him to come back, as the Viceroy had already sailed for Gaeta. Muxetula returned, and after holding a conference with the Pope, started for Naples on the 2nd, to inform the Viceroy, Don Ugo, and those of the Collateral Council of everything he had seen and heard at Rome.
(Cipher:) Miçer Agustin Folleta (Foglieta) had a conversation with Peñalosa. He is a good and loyal servant of the Empire; has great experience of state affairs, &c.; ought to be consulted, as he knows the Pope's intentions better than anyone here.
The Florentines are discontented with the Pope, owing to the large sums of money he has drawn from them. They are desirous of coming to terms with His Imperial Majesty exclusively of the Pope, who, they say, has upon every occasion made his own conditions and left them in the lurch. He (Perez) has written to inform the Viceroy of this circumstance, requesting that he will send a proper person to treat with them and give them hopes of their being admitted under the Imperial protection, for certainly they consider themselves in this instance the Pope's dupes.
Cardinals Frenesis (Farnese) and Monte, (fn. n3) who are the Pope's advisers on this occasion, have removed their quarters to the Palace, where they are staying at present. Both have offered to follow His Holiness should he quit Rome; but it is added that Frenesis (Farnese) is now sorry at having made the offer, for he has considerable temporal estates in Rome and its immediate neighbourhood, and is afraid of losing them.
(Common writing:) It is asserted that Juan (Giovanni) de Medicis has had his leg amputated, as otherwise he might have died of his wound.
The Germans are reported to be somewhere between Parma and Rezo (Reggio), not far from Mirandola. Fears are entertained of their marching against Florencia (Firenze), whither a Bohemian or German bishop has been sent to compound with the said Germans, in case of their going thither, for the preservation of the city from plunder. All money and valuables in the country are, however, transferred to the city; a tax of 30,000 ducats has been imposed upon the ecclesiastics by way of a loan, and considerable levies of men besides are being made for the defence of the territory.
Prothonotary Bentivolla (Bentivoglio) has been arrested, and sent to a castle on suspicion that he was in secret correspondence with the Bolognese.
To-night, most of the artillery which the Pope had in the lands of the Colonnese has arrived, and there is a report that the galleys of the League, with Pedro Navarro and Andrea Doria in command, have anchored at Civittà Vecchia.
(Cipher:) Cannot say what the Viceroy's projects are, but whatever he intends doing must be done quickly, or the opportunity may pass away. The Pope is arming as fast as he can. The confederates have sent for a considerable number of Switzers. This is the time for striking a decisive blow, through which His Imperial Majesty may become master of Italy; whereas, if Fortune be slighted (desdeñandose la Fortuna), no such opportunity may again offer itself.
(Common writing:) Giovanni de'Medici died at last from the results of the operation.
The courier who came from Mons. de Bourbon, after delivering his message, returned [to Milan]. An order for post-horses was issued to him.—Rome, 4th Dec. 1526.
Signed: "Perez."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. Rome. Secretary Perez. 4th Dec."
Spanish. Original partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet. pp. 4.
5 Dec. 629. The Abbot of Najera to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 39,
f. 175.
Wrote on the 19th of November last. (Cipher:) As the sea route is both long and dangerous at this time of the year, this present goes by land. What he (the Abbot) has to advise is in substance as follows: George Frenespergue (Fruntsperg) with his Germans crossed the river Pò, on the 27th, at a place called Ostia. The Duke of Urbino and Juan (Giovanni) de Medicis had molested him during three consecutive days, but on the 24th he (George) arrived at a village called Borgo Forte, and on Sunday next began to cross the river in three boats (varcas) and one rafter (puerto). Captain Corradin, who accompanies Frenespergue (Fruntsperg), had already passed the river with the vanguard, consisting of 3,000 Germans, when the enemy made a furious onset on the rest of the force. They were, however, received with such steadiness that upwards of 300 remained dead on the field, and among the number one Benedetto di Mondolfo, lieutenant to the Duke of Urbino, the bravest and most experienced officer in the army of the Confederates. Juan de Medicis also received a musket shot, which very much shattered his leg, at the same place where two years ago he was wounded at Pavia. (fn. n4) He was removed to Mantua, where he has since died, on the 29th. He was without question the best captain in the enemy's army, and the Duke of Urbino has greatly felt his loss. After this Fruntsperg crossed the Pò, without further opposition, on the 26th. He has with him a number of horses for dragging his artillery, with which he is well provided. The Duke [of Urbino] had boats prepared, and a bridge thrown across at Cremona, intending to pass the Pò and meet the Germans on the other side, but he has since thought better of this, and gone to Casalmajor, near Cremona, and thence to the Marquisate of Mantua, where he now is with his wife, (fn. n5) waiting, as is reported, for new orders from the Signory. The bridge was not thrown over the Pò at Cremona, and it is added that the idea has been altogether abandoned for the present.
The Marquis of Saluzzo, who had taken up positions on this side of the river Adda with the French and Swiss forces, and five pieces of artillery, at a place called Babari, so as to watch this Imperial army, and prevent its junction with the Germans under Fruntsperg, marched yesterday in the direction of a district called Trebi (Trebbia), beyond the Adda, intending no doubt to join the Venetian camp, and cross the Pò with them. There are, therefore, no enemies on this side of Adda, except those of Lodi. On the other hand the Papal troops have abandoned Piacenza, too large a city and not strong enough to be effectually defended, in order to protect Parma and Modena, where they greatly fear an attack of the Duke of Ferrara and Franespergue's Germans. There is a report to-day that Parma has also been evacuated by the Pope's troops, but this is hardly credible, unless it be for the purpose of succouring Florence, which appears to be threatened by the Viceroy, for we hear, by merchants' letters from Genoa, that the Imperial fleet, after defeating Doria's galleys in sight of that harbour, had gone to a seaport town on the coast of Sienna. Of the Imperial fleet's doings in Genoa we have no official accounts yet. All we know is that on the 22nd of November last the Viceroy arrived in sight of the enemy, 20 miles out at sea, and began cannonading (bombardeando) them. The engagement lasted all day, but there was a very dense fog, and such a boisterous sea that our fleet could not enter the harbour. It was much better that it did not, since for all purposes the fleet is much better where it is now, and can certainly do greater execution.
The Pope has lately been trying to gain over the Duke of Ferrara to his side, making him all manner of promises, and Guizardino (Guicciardino), his lieutenant-general, went to him from Modena for that purpose. The Duke has answered that it was too late, as he had already taken service with the Emperor, in consequence of which the Pope's lieutenant returned to Modena, and has since gone to Rome. It is believed that the Duke will persist in his determination, although the despatches brought by Espinar are not so full and explicit as he might have wished. The Duke of Bourbon is daily expecting to hear from him what his plans for the future campaign are.
No other news from Rome except that the Pope had lately taken possession of certain territories and towns belonging to the Colonnese, and that the latter and Don Ugo were preparing to retaliate and expel him from Rome. It is to be hoped, however, that His Holiness, who is a prudent (sabio) and wise man, will not again willingly expose himself to danger, but will rather come to an agreement with His Imperial Majesty, so as to bring about a general peace.—Milan, 5th Dec. 1526.
P.S.—Jorge Frenespergue writes in date of the 27th of last month how [at the crossing of the river Pò] he lost one of his captains and a few men.—(Data ut supra).
Addressed: "To the most Sacred, Imperial and Catholic Majesty, &c."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. Milan. Abbot of Najera, 5th Dec."
Spanish. Holograph partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet. pp. 5.


  • n1. See the following number.
  • n2. See above, Perez's despatch of the 5th Nov., No. 600, p. 994.
  • n3. Alessandro Farnese, Cardinal di San Damiano and Santo Eustachio, who in 1521 had a good chance of becoming Pope. Again, in 1523 he was supposed to be with Valle and Campeggio, one of the Imperial candidates. Monte (Antonio Ciocchi di) was Cardinal di San Vitale and Sancta Praxede, Archbishop of Liponte, &c.
  • n4. At Governolo. Ireneo Affo, in his Vita di Luigi Gonzaga detto Rodomonte duca di Trajetto, &c., relates whilst alluding to another Luigi Gonzaga, commonly called Luigi da Castelgiffredo from an estate so named: "Trovossi poi nella baruffa succeduta a Governolo el Novembre dell' anno stesso (1526) per impedire á Tedeschi el passaggio del Pò, e fu in gran rischio della vita per essergli stato ammazzato sotto il cavallo. Toccò un colpo di falconetto a Giovanni de'Medici, che militava in compagnia di lui, ed egli tosto lo condusse a Mantova nel suo palazzo, ove mori."
  • n5. Eleonora Hippolita Gonzaga, daughter of Francesco, Duke of Mantua. See Genealogies Historiques, vol. II., p. 484.