Spain: January 1525, 11-25

Pages 12-26

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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January 1525, 11-25

15 Jan. 3. The Same to the Same.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof. u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 3.
In conformity with his letter of the 9th inst., sent by special messenger to Mons. du Rœulx, who was still at the port of Falemme (Falmouth), he (Praet) waited on the Legate, explained the substance of the mission entrusted to him by letters of the 20th of October last, and showed him the note which the Emperor had sent to the English ambassador (fn. n1) in reply [to his memorandum].
The Legate swore that the ambassador had sent him no such note, but only a summary of the Emperor's answer to his (the Legate's) proposals. He added that any written communication which he (Praet) would make to him on the subject should be immediately answered, and begged also for a copy of the said note. This Praet promised to send, but has not yet done so, firstly, because the Legate has not applied for it again; and secondly, because having on a former occasion explained to him its contents by word of mouth, he did not sue the necessity of sending him a copy. Thinks there is very little chance of the Legate acting more honestly in future.
In answer to the ambassador's mission the Legate touched incidentally on Jean Jockin and his prolonged stay in England, and said that both the Emperor and his Chancellor (Gattinara) had used very harsh words respecting him to the English ambassador, at which he (the Legate) was very much amazed, for (said he) if the Emperor could not trust the King, his master, and him, who had always done him friendly service, no living soul was to be trusted. The retreat (he added) of the Emperor's army from Provence, and the march of the French King into Italy were not owing to Jockin's practice, but to the bad management of the Emperor's own ministers and generals. Jean Jockin, he maintained, was an able, frank, and well-intentioned man, more disposed to favour the Emperor than the French themselves. The Legate had never conversed with him except on general matters, as he had on more than one occasion informed him (Praet). The King, his master, would never be satisfied with the French until they had given the Emperor his due, and restored to him the amount of territory claimed; Thought it very hard and unjust that the King of England should be blamed for keeping at his court a mediator, by whose means an honourable peace might be concluded, equally advantageous to himself and to the Emperor, especially as he (the Legate) had been informed that the Emperor, or his agents, were all the time in secret communication with the French. If the Emperor was only looking for an opportunity for a rupture with his ally, the King of England, they would stand the blow with patience and resignation, since neither the King nor himself had done or would ever do anything to deserve it.
After which the Legate went on enumerating, though in milder terms, and with great courtesy, the many infractions of the existing treaties which, he alleged, had been committed by the Emperor, such as the money borrowed and not paid in due time, the pensions, and so forth, adding "the King, my master, would have more reason to complain, since after so much expenditure and trouble he gets such a reward. Had the Emperor written once in his own hand, pleading his cause and excusing his conduct, the King, my master, might have waited in patience for the payment of the sums due to him, but the Emperor had not, and therefore there was ground for complaint." He (Praet) was not to wonder if the Legate spoke so warmly about such matters. He felt the Emperor's want of faith so deeply because he considered himself responsible for having made this alliance and dragged the King, his master, into so long and expensive a war. He had trusted to the promises which the Emperor made him at Bruges, (fn. n2) and never dreamt that he would so soon break through the conditions of the treaty. He ended by stating his opinion, as he has on many other occasions before, that the Emperor's unaccountable obstinacy in defending the estate of Milan would one day greatly turn to his prejudice, since in order to secure that one object, he neglected all his other territories, friends, and allies.
The Legate then complained most bitterly about Madame (the Governess of the Low Countries), and those of the Emperor's councillors who were near her person, as His Imperial Majesty will be able to judge by the enclosed copy of Praet's letter to her. (fn. n3) Nor was the ambassador forgotten in the long list of the Cardinal's complaints and recriminations, since the whole blame of the Jockin affair was cast on him. But for his (Praet's) letters to Madame and to the Emperor, the latter would never have harboured any suspicion about that agent's protracted stay in England.
After such open declaration of the Legate's sentiments and views, he (Praet) thought the time was come for carrying out the Emperor's instructions and vindicating his acts. Having besought him not to take into bad part anything he might say in vindication of the Emperor's conduct, the ambassador proceeded to enumerate in detail all and every one of the events that had happened since the arrival of Jean Jockin in England, the evils that had ensued, and the mischief done, taking care to meet and answer every one of the Legate's complaints against the Emperor and Madame. So effective was the ambassador's answer that the Legate had nothing to say in reply, except that when the matter came to be closely investigated, it would be found that neither the King, his master, nor himself, had in any way infringed the treaties, but, on the contrary, had done as much as they could in behalf of the Emperor, who would never find a more faithful friend and ally.
He (Praet) did not dispute the above point any longer, and took leave of the Legate, who was marvellously kind at parting. This notwithstanding he could not induce the Legate to promise either to dismiss Jean Jockin (fn. n4) from court, or give a categorical answer respecting the expected arrival of the President of Rouen, (fn. n5) and whether he would be received or not. In his (Praet's) opinion had not the Legate already granted his safe conduct to the said President—as he has undoubtedly done—he might have sent the former back and refused to admit the latter. He fears, however, that the Legate, for reputation's sake, will try to carry through what he has begun, and that the said President will be allowed to proceed on his mission, notwithstanding the instructions which, it is said, have been sent by the King to Calais, forbidding his passage until further notice.
The topic of conversation over, the Legate entered on the state of affairs in general, and particularly on those of Italy, repeating the very same words and arguments whereof he had made use on previous occasions, as the ambassador has duly informed the Emperor in most of his despatches. After which the Legate proceeded to announce how the King, his master, and himself, bearing in mind the long distance from Spain to Milan, the unfriendly and, in his opinion, ungrateful behaviour of the Pope and the Venetians towards the Emperor, and the obstinate refusal of the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) to listen to any terms of truce proposed by His Holiness, had determined to send Messire Gregory Casal into Italy, with instructions to bring about, if possible, between the Pope and Venetians on one side, and the Viceroy on the other, some sort of mutual agreement to put an end to the war. The instructions given to the said Casal are to be in the abstract as follows:—
Firstly,—He is to use every endeavour to persuade His Holiness, for the reasons fully detailed in his instructions, to declare openly and at once in favour of the two Majesties (the Emperor and the King of England). Should this not be feasible, to procure, at least, a declaration from the Pope that he will not sanction any invasion of the kingdom of Naples, but will resist such an invasion to the uttermost. In case of the Pope pleading poverty as an excuse for not adopting either of these courses, and of the French King invading Naples with an army, to place every possible impediment in the way of such army, refusing him supplies, and so forth. Messire Gregory is to give the Pope warning that should he refuse to comply with their request on this point, and any injury be done to the said kingdom of Naples, the King and the Cardinal, being pledged to assist the Emperor in the defence of his patrimonial estates, and to consider his enemies as their own, will be obliged to look upon him as unfriendly to the Imperial cause, to the great detriment of the Papal authority, since the whole of Germany, and even this kingdom of England, might perchance be induced to withdraw the customary allegiance to the Roman See, a matter well worthy of His Holiness's serious consideration.
As regards the Venetians, the King and Legate empower their ambassador, Messire Paceo (Richard Pace) to demand from the Signory to send at once to the Emperor's camp the money and supplies which they are bound to furnish by treaty, even more, if possible. Failing in this the King will hold the Signory for his enemy, and from that very moment stop all their trade with England.
The above measures and others contained in Messire Gregory's instructions the Legate thought were well calculated to further the Emperor's interests.
He (Praet) did not desire the above conclusion, but suggested that in his opinion it was far better to try gentle means before using threats, and that the only way of inducing the Pope and the Signory to act with energy in the affair was for the said Messire Gregoire to take with them to Italy some sort of contract binding his master (the King of England) liberally to contribute towards the expenses of the Imperial army. This the Legate would not hear of. The King, his master, had already refused to do so on many an occasion. He would honourably acquit himself of his engagements towards the Emperor, and help him with his influence and his money, at the right time and place; but as to spend too much money at present, for the defence of Milan—which seemed to be the Emperor's favourite object—that he never would do. Such, the Legate added, was the King's final resolution, and he declared it once for all. Fears there is no hope whatever, at least he (Praet) has none, of the King and Legate changing their determination on this point. Hopes to God he is mistaken on their account, but his impression is that the most that can be got out of them is very fine promises for the future, no assistance for the present, and that even if they should grant any, it would come too late and out of season. If the Emperor cannot find better means to support his army than the vague hopes thrown out by the Cardinal, his (Praet's) advice is to bring the war to a close, and make peace on the best possible terms.
Messire Gregoire's instructions, as regards the Viceroy, are said to be as follows. He is to say to him that the King and the Legate fully authorise him to suggest to the King's ambassadors, both at Rome, Venice, and elsewhere, any other measures that he may consider profitable to his master's interests, the said ambassadors having been previously instructed to do whatever is just and reasonable in the matter. The King and the Legate beg the said Viceroy not to be too obstinate in refusing to accept the truce proposed by His Holiness, unless he feels confident and strong enough to be able to oppose the French King with success, in which case they will rejoice to see the common enemy beaten and crushed. Otherwise their opinion is that it would be far more advantageous for the Emperor to accept the said truce—giving up to the Holy Father whatever he possesses in the estate of Milan, as proposed—rather than place the kingdom of Naples in jeopardy. Should the Viceroy object that he has not sufficient powers from the Emperor to conclude such a truce, he is to be told that the King of England, as the Emperor's good father, will take all responsibility on himself, and cause the conditions of the said truce to be duly ratified [in Spain], all this under the supposition, as before stated, that the said Viceroy has not the means of driving the French out of Italy.
The Legate further said that in order to advance the Emperor's interests in Italy, instructions had been sent to Casale to make the Viceroy the following propositions in the King's name. Should he decide to give the French battle, the King, his master, would provide, somewhere in the vicinity of Milan, a considerable sum of money to carry on the war, if victorious, or to raise a new army if he came to be defeated. In vain did the ambassador inquire what would be the amount of the sums destined for that object; the Legate would not tell, adding that the person to whom the mission to the Viceroy was to be entrusted, would in due time inform him of the King's pleasure, and name the sum, according to the turn the affairs might take. He (Praet) does not place much confidence in the Legate's promises. There is no sign at present of any large sum of money being remitted [to Italy], and as to the 50,000 ducats which this King has there in the hands of bankers, it is too insignificant a sum for such a matter as this; besides winch an Italian merchant has told him (Praet) that part of that sum has already been given on bills of exchange upon England, for return here. Has informed the Viceroy of all that has passed, word by word, that he may be prepared, and act accordingly; he will know best how to use his information.
Doubts not that the Emperor will be as much surprised as he himself is at this sudden change of the Legate's sentiments and views. After due consideration the ambassador is of opinion that the Legate really wishes to save from invasion the kingdom of Naples, to the defence of which he is bound by solemn treaties, but he hopes to do that without any further expenditure or trouble to himself than a, few fine words thrown out here and there. The Legate knows that every one suspects him and this King of being in secret understanding with the French, and that in the end all the odium of this affair is likely to fall on him and work his ruin. He is, therefore, trying as much as he can by fine words and protestations of friendship to allay the suspicions of the people, and give them a different direction. Perhaps too, he hopes by these means to influence the French and make them give up all interference with the affairs of Scotland.
News of a raid across the borders by the combined forces of the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Anguir (Angus), have been received in this town. The Duke's party is still very strong in Scotland. His followers have been joined by the said Earl, whom the Queen will not see, and who, since the last Christmas festivals, has crossed the borders, taken much booty, burnt many villages and houses, and done great damage to the neighbouring counties. An ambassador of the said Duke of Albany has lately arrived in Scotland, and gone straight to the young King. The Legate did not mention the affair to him (Praet); the news at first was kept secret, and he (the ambassador) had it from one of his regular informers. Since then the whole thing has exploded, and the people are terrified at the intelligence. They may make as many new alliances as they please, the hatred between the two nations will subsist for ever.
Has no news to forward either from Italy or Flanders. The last letters received from the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) were dated 8th of December 1524, and from Madame the 20th. Imagines that the Duke of Albany cannot have found the road to Naples quite as free and open as the French described it to be. It would be, indeed, a thing to marvel at if 5,000 or 6,000 men only could conquer such a kingdom, for even supposing that the Pope offered no resistance to their passage, and that they had some friends in that country, the united forces of the Colonnese and those of the Germans and Spaniards which might be raised at Rome, would be more than sufficient to fight and put to rout such an assemblage of people as the one described.—London, the 12th of January 1524 (old style).
P.S.—Antonio de Cysenros, the courier, has just arrived with the Emperor's letters of the 20th December last, the contents of which he (Praet) has forthwith communicated to the Legate, or at least such portion of them as seemed to him most conducive to the promotion of the Imperial interests. The said letters, in the ambassador's opinion, bear on three different points, which he is to represent as earnestly as he can both to King and Legate; namely, 1st. the opportunity which now offers itself for the Emperor and King to strike a decisive blow against their common enemy. 2dly, the military preparations now being made by the Emperor, by sea and land; the money required for the support of his Italian army; the transport by sea of 6,000 Spaniards; the operations contemplated on the frontiers of Languedoc and Bayonne; and the contingent of 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot to be furnished by Flanders. He understands that the King of England is to be persuaded to take the field at once, and invade the French territory, the said contingent from Flanders to join the English army and co-operate the undertaking. Is to express the Emperor's opinion that more can be accomplished by the said armies united than by the great enterprise, and to state the reasons which the Emperor has for doubting the success of the latter, without, however, abandoning it altogether or seeming to agree to it.
The ambassador has not thought it necessary or convenient to acquaint the Legate with the last paragraph in the Emperor's letter relating to the said matter. His reasons for doing so have already been mentioned in his despatch sent by Mr. de Rœulx, besides which he (Praet) begs leave to say that he does not recollect having ever written so plainly on the subject as the Emperor's letter seems to indicate. All he has said is that the Legate was desirous, in the event of the Emperor being unable to undertake the great enterprise, or any like campaign, this next summer, that the King, his master, should be properly informed of it in time. And as the Legate's opinion seems to be that no such enterprise can for the present be contemplated, he (Praet) has thought best not to mention it, and when spoken to on this matter, has answered vaguely without taking any engagement, as will hereafter be declared.
The third and last point relates to the overtures made by the Archbishop of Capua, and to the contents of a certain note, also referred to, wherein the Emperor states his opinion about the conditions of the truce put forward by the Legate. He (Praet) is to say, in the Emperor's name, that, far from trusting to the said overtures and negotiations for a truce, and going to sleep in consequence, he intends to prepare for war.
In answer to the above points, which the ambassador took the earliest opportunity to expound and declare to the Legate,—as prescribed in the said letter brought by Cysneros,—the Legate made the following declaration. With regard to the first point, that the King and himself agreed with the Emperor that the present was the most favourable opportunity of striking a good blow and crushing their common enemy; the season, however, must be propitious. They had instructed Mons. du Rœulx, on his return, to propose a war with France the ensuing summer.
Touching the second point, the Legate highly approved of the preparations which the Emperor was making to reinforce and supply his Italian army, but he thought that the Emperor would find some difficulty to provide money for so considerable a number of troops, perhaps, too, to raise the 6,000 Spaniards, and the 200,000 ducats. He deemed it unreasonable that the Emperor should make these projected armaments the excuse for abandoning the great enterprise, and expect that the King of England should send a large army to the field with no other help and assistance than a small contingent of 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot to be furnished by Flanders. Even admitting the occupation of Milan by the French King to be a most favourable opportunity to attack him, the King of England, his master, has not the means of sending an army into France before the end of April next, owing to the inclemency of the weather at this season, and the want of forage for the horses, besides which, the defence of the duchy of Milan, which the Legate observed did not form part of the Emperor's dominions, did not seem to him a sufficient excuse for his thus giving up and abandoning the great enterprise, which was the chief article in the treaty of Windsor. The Emperor (he said) would do better to help the King to conquer what was his own than to assist the Duke of Milan; after which he repeated his wonted threats and misgivings, namely, that the estate of Milan was likely to become a source of trouble and danger to the Emperor. He (the Legate) had often foretold the King, his master, as he had also told him (Praet), that the very first letters from Spain would be full of exhortations for war, for he had observed that the very moment the French King devised any plan against the peace of Italy, the Emperor wrote to the King, his master, urging him on to declare war and invade France so as to draw the enemy out of that country; but no sooner was Italy pacified than the Emperor exhorted him to peace.
To the above remonstrances and charges preferred by the Legate, the ambassador made a suitable reply, reminding him of his own words and promises, which, transmitted from time to time to the Emperor, as it was his duty to do, had led him to expect that in consideration of the late very important events, he (the King) would feel disposed to agree to the postponement of the said great enterprise.
The Legate's answer was: "I may have told you words to that effect, but words uttered on such occasions cannot hold good now, since the great preparations the Emperor is making are a sufficient proof that it was not out of fear for the issue of the war, or any real want, that the present withdrawal from the enterprise was hinted at, but merely out of the wish of keeping possession of the duchy. If the Emperor, for want of means, as he asserts, cannot carry out the projected enterprise by placing on the frontiers of Spain the number of men agreed in the capitulation, he can, at least, as I suggested to Mons. du Rœulx before his departure, make common cause with us, and share the expenses of an army to invade France at the end of April next."
Such was in substance the Legate's reply, as far as he (Praet) can recollect his words. After which he went on saying: Were the ambassador empowered to treat on these matters, he (the Legate) would willingly agree to the Emperor's proposals on certain conditions. The ambassador was to exact a promise from the Emperor to maintain and keep his Italian army during the whole of the ensuing summer, and even after it, unless the French evacuated the country by truce or otherwise. During that time he (the Legate) would persuade the King, his master, to share with the Emperor the expenses of the said army, perhaps, too, to pay the greater part; but to suppose that the Emperor, by the small contingent of 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot, and without a new and express capitulation to that effect, was to consider himself free from other engagements, that was an idea not to be entertained.
With regard to the third point, viz., the Archbishop's overtures for peace, and the Emperor's answer to them, the Legate observed that both the articles and the answers seemed to him very cold and unmeaning. If there had been no other transaction made between the Emperor and the said Archbishop of Capua than what appeared from the note communicated to him, very little had been effected. He wondered, however, how it was that the Archbishop had not yet arrived in England, for he had been expected long ago. On the whole (he added), the King should be consulted, and he (Praet) would get an answer as soon as possible. The ambassador, however, expects no good result from this matter, principally as regards the Emperor's wish for a speedy invasion of France. Of one thing he is sure, that even if the differences of opinion now existing between the Emperor and this King were adjusted, the English would never cross the channel before the end of April next.
The above is the substance of the Legate's answer, as made to the ambassador. It now remains for the latter to refer to conversations held with him at other times on various topics, such as Messire Gregory Casale and others. And first with regard to that agent and his instructions, the Legate spoke of him in general terms, and would not be more explicit than he had been on former occasions. The ambassador then tried Sir Gregory himself, and asked him, point blank, what his mission was, but found that the agent was not better informed. Has since advised him to call upon the Legate and say, as if it came from him (Praet), that no attention is likely to be paid to his mission by the personages to whom he is sent unless he takes with him the King's engagement to contribute substantially towards the expenses of the Imperial army in Italy. The Legate's answer to this message was that all matters connected with the disbursement of moneys would be entrusted to the Bishop of Baden (Bath), the King's ambassador at Rome. (fn. n6) But of the Legate's final decision, and of the progress of this affair, the ambassador will not fail to inform His Imperial Majesty by the very first opportunity. Meanwhile he has considered it his duty to draw out the present report, which young Du Rœulx will take straight to Spain, and not addressed as the preceding ones to his father, from fear that the wind turning favourable, the latter may have left the port before the arrival of the despatches.
The ambassador cannot pass over in silence the conversation he had with the Legate a few days since respecting the Imperial councillors in Flanders. On this occasion the complaints were louder than usual, as he said he had just heard from the King's ambassador [at Brussels] that in the opinion of those gentlemen the King of France would never have gone into Italy without the previous knowledge and consent of the King and Legate. This he asserted was a complete falsehood, and took the most extraordinary oaths upon it, making ail manner of professions of his constant devotion to the Emperor's interests, adding: "I have not the least doubt that under the present circumstances, and the state of things at Milan, the Emperor will find many people ready to advise measures unprofitable to his cause." He was not one of those; he thought that if the Emperor would not maintain his Italian army to the end, it would be far preferable for him to make a truce at once than to risk everything by further delay, since the enemy, seeing the Emperor's apparent ruin, might no longer be inclined to listen to reason.
The above is a summary account of the ambassador's negotiations up to the present. Has not yet received letters either from Flanders or Italy in answer to his; but is expecting them every day, and will not fail to advise their arrival.—Date ut supra.
Signed: "Loys de Praet."
Addressed: "To His Majesty the Emperor."
Indorsed: "From Louis de Praet, Ambassador in England. Jan. 1525."
French. Original, pp. 15.
17 Jan.
Arch. d. Royme.
de Belg. Doc.
Hist. III. No. 56.
4. Charles de Lannoy to Margaret of Austria, Governess of the Low Countries.
As she must have heard of the state of affairs in Italy, both by his letter of the 7th and by the copies of those of the Duke of Sessa, he (Lannoy) need not be long. Encloses more letters received from Sessa, and a copy of what he (Lannoy) answered the Pope. Negotiations for a league are still going on, and the Pope is trusted as if he had had nothing to do with the French King. Believes the Pope loves the Emperor, but the Datary (Giovanni Matheo Giberti) is the man who leads him to mischief.
As all Italy seems to think that the Emperor wants Milan for himself, and not to give it up to Francesco Sforza, the Emperor has sent the investiture deed to him (Lannoy) bidding him conclude matters with the Duke, and thus reward him for his expenses and trouble during this campaign. The Duke, on his part, has promised Lannoy to do whatever the Emperor pleases, but wishes him to keep the investiture deed till the end of the present war. As the Venetians might not believe in this, and be inclined to go on with their intrigues, he (Lannoy) has sent the investiture deed to Prothonotary Caracciolo and Alonso Sanchez, Imperial ambassadors there [at Venice], that they may show it to the Signory, and then return it to him.
Mr. de Bourbon is now in this town. Count Samme (Salm) arrived a week ago with the German infantry sent by the Archduke; and Messire George Fransperg is shortly expected with the remainder. Considering the heavy expense of the Imperial army, and the great inclination to fight shown by Spaniards and Germans, he (Lannoy) is determined to take the field on the 21st or 22nd of this month, and give the enemy battle. Every one in Italy considers the Emperor's cause as his own, and publicly say that if money is wanted for the Imperial army, it shall not be their fault. Bourbon is very anxious to do service. He (Lannoy) will do him all possible honour, for he deserves it well.—Lodi, 17th Jan. 1525.
Signed: "Charles de Lannoy."
19 Jan. 5. Louis de Praet, Imperial Ambassador in England, to the Emperor.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof. u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 4.
On the 16th inst. he (Praet) received by Richard letters from Madame, of old date, and in the evening of the same day some more from the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) of which copies (fn. n7) are enclosed. Madame says in her letter that Richard has been sent hither for the express purpose of obtaining information respecting the progress of the negotiation and conveying the same to the Emperor. This, as may be judged from the ambassador's despatch of the 15th inst., might be more satisfactory; but such as it is, a duplicate of the ambassador's memorandum has been drawn out for the courier to take to Spain. As Madame's commands bear that the said Richard should be pent back without delay, he (Praet) has persuaded the Legate to allow his immediate departure [for Flanders] without waiting for the King's letters, which would have occasioned a delay of at least eight days. Will inform the Emperor at the earliest opportunity of the decision taken by this King and Legate respecting the contents of the Emperor's last letter.
Messire Gregoire Casal has started on his mission, but no further money is being sent to Italy, which, in the ambassador's opinion, is a bad sign, for certainly the 50,000 crowns which this King has in that country will be insufficient for any great undertaking. Gathers from the letters of the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) that a great battle is soon expected, or else that some agreement must soon be made to stop the war, for the Imperial army is in want of money. Much good might be done if the 200,000 ducats, whereof the Emperor writes in his last, should arrive in time. May God inspire the Viceroy that he may decide for the best, for certainly it is high time that the war should be brought to an end by some means or other, the whole burden of it falling as it does on the Emperor. The Pope and the Venetians do nothing but talk very fine words but no deeds one way or the other, and, what is still worse, if the intelligence which the ambassador has just received be true, they (the Venetians) are in treaty with the enemy. Jean Jockin tells him that by letters from Lyons of the 11th inst., it is positively asserted that both the Pope and the Signory have lately entered into a league with the King of France against the Emperor and his allies. He (Praet) can hardly credit so sudden and rapid a change, for the Viceroy's letters do not mention the fact, and besides the Papal Nuncio [in England] has heard from Rome, in date of the 26th of December last, that His Holiness is determined never to forsake the Emperor and King, or do any thing to their prejudice, that he intends to remain neutral, &c. The Milanese ambassador residing at this court has re-received similar intelligence, and both have been entrusted to acquaint the King and Cardinal with their master's resolution. Time will show what truth there is in the report. If any fresh intelligence arrives the ambassador will immediately advise.
On the other hand these gentlemen here show great unconcern about the Emperor's affairs; worse still, for, instead of aiding the Imperial army, which is at this very moment preparing to give the enemy battle, this King and Legate have allowed and consented to the arrival of the French ambassador, (fn. n8) who reached Canterbury last night, and will be here to-morrow. Has been informed that the said ambassador is to take up his quarters near the Cardinal's palace, and at the house of his treasurer, whilst Jean Jockin is lodged at the confessor's. So matters stand at present. He (Praet) is sure that the Cardinal owes him a grudge for having warned the Emperors against his doubtful practices. Augurs no good from present appearances. Fears more and more that if a truce be not concluded soon, the Legate will get things into his own power, so as to derive both honour and profit from the transaction, whilst the Emperor will find it very difficult to satisfy and please every one. Has often written to say that the Cardinal's vanity and ambition have caused, and will cause, much evil. Many people believe, not without foundation, that the Legate has been in secret understanding with Madame the Regent of France all throughout this war. Sees no remedy for all this unless the Emperor puts an end to the war at once. If, moreover, His Imperial Majesty wishes to remain on friendly terms with this country, the payment of the Cardinal's annual pensions must be ensured, and gratuities granted to the Lords [of the Council] and other influential persons, as he (Praet) has suggested in his former despatches. In the ambassador's opinion, there is no other course to be pursued, unless the Emperor can make up his mind to form a close and firm alliance with the French, and settle all differences by marriage alliances and otherwise. For to continue at war against so powerful an enemy, single-handed, and forsaken by all those who promised their help in Italy, to be subjected to perpetual reproach from those who give us no aid at all, and to be getting daily deeper in debt, owing to the enormous cost of the war, would be in the end the Emperor's ruin and perdition. Besides which, the unsatisfactory state of Germany, Flanders, Spain, and other countries, whose inhabitants are weary of war, is a very strong argument in favour of the course recommended. This and other like admonitions so often repeated in his ordinary despatches, the ambassador takes the opportunity to reproduce here, out of devotion to the Emperor, as his most faithful and humble subject that he is, under the impression and full confidence that his poor advice will be taken into consideration.
Must not forget to mention that yesterday (the 18th) he (Praet) waited on the Legate and gave him copy of the letters the Emperor had received from Scotland, though appearing not to believe in their contents. (fn. n9) The Legate took this in very good part at first, and seemed pleased with the attention, but suddenly changing the conversation and blushing slightly, said he would examine the letters at leisure, and give his opinion on their contents. On this occasion, it must be observed, the Cardinal used more moderate language about the Emperor than he is in the habit of doing lately, but, nevertheless, he is not to be trusted. The Emperor is too well acquainted with the Cardinal's character and manner to require further explanation.—London, 19th Jany. 1525.
Signed: "Loys de Praet."
Addressed: "To His Impl. Majesty."
Indorsed: "From Louis Praet, 19th of January."
French. Original. pp. 2.
20 Jan. 6. The Same to the Same.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof. u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 5.
Was about to despatch Richard with his letter of the 19th when he (Praet) received the visit of several Italian merchants who showed him advices from Lyons of the 11th and 13th instant, sent through Jean Jockin. Every one of the letters contained word for word the same astounding intelligence, namely, that on the 10th a truce, defensive and offensive, had been proclaimed at Lyons, to the sound of trumpets, between the Pope, the King of France, the Venetians, Florentines, Siennese, and Luccans. These, if true, are undoubtedly the worst tidings that could have come for the Emperor's interests, and certainly show a shameful treachery on the Pope's part. He (Praet) can hardly believe in such news, and imagines that if the report of the league be true, it must be one between His Holiness and the Viceroy [of Naples], in the Emperor's name. Positive information, however, cannot fail to arrive in a few days.
The same letters state that on the 8th instant the Duke of Albany was before Lucca with an army consisting of six or seven thousand infantry and about 500 men at arms. The Duke had compelled the Luccans to pay him a sum of 20,000 ducats, and had then marched straight on Naples. His army is certainly not large, but should the Duke, as asserted, have understandings in that country, and the Pope and Venetians openly aid him with their forces, it is to be feared that the kingdom of Naples may be conquered before His Imperial Majesty or the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) can come to its assistance. It is also reported that by the terms of the league said to have been proclaimed at Lyons, the duchy of Milan is to be restored to France, except Cremona and its districts, which are to fall to the share of the Venetians. The kingdom of Naples to be equally divided between the Pope and the King of France, except three or four towns which the Venetians claim as having belonged of old to the Signory, and which are consequently to be returned to them.
It is likewise stated that the Archbishop of Capua was at Lyons on the 13th instant. The said Italian merchants, to whom he (Praet) owes this information, though strongly attached to the Emperor's cause, have been taken by surprise at the receipt of such bad news, and expect to hear also from day to day of Genoa and its Doge (Antoniotto Adorno) going over to the French.
The Cardinal, who is now residing at Hampton Court, was acquainted two days ago with the above news, as conveyed in a letter of Jehan Jockin to him, and yet has made no communication to him on the subject. He (Praet) is the more surprised at it as the Legate is well aware of the ambassador being about to despatch a courier to the Emperor. He (Praet) will detain this courier until to-morrow, in the hope of obtaining an audience from the Cardinal, and endeavouring to ascertain the truth of this matter. Should he succeed and gain information at the interview, he will send a special messenger to overtake the messenger at the port and deliver to him a second despatch.
Persists in his opinion, so frequently expressed in his former letters, that the best course to be pursued under the present difficult circumstances is for the Emperor to get out of this war as soon as possible, and by whatever means he can. It would have been wiser had this been done sooner, but better late than never.—London, 20th of January 1525.
Signed: "Loys de Praet."
Addressed: "To His most Sacred Majesty the Emperor."
Indorsed: "From Louis de Praet, Ambassador in England. 20 Jan."
French. Original. pp. 3.
28 Jan. 7. The Same to the Same.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof. u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 4.
Regrets that he could only send bad news by Richard. Has since received letters from Madame [Marguerite] which speak less discouragingly than the Cardinal had done. Trusts that, with the help of God, and the speedy succour, both in men and money, which the Archduke is now preparing for the Viceroy, the French King may yet be overpowered, as the Emperor may see in enclosed copy of a letter from the Archduke to the said Viceroy. Encloses another letter written to the Audiencier (fn. n10) by the Archduke's maitre d'Hotel, Cornille d'Espagne; also copies of two more which he (Praet) has addressed to Madame, and which will inform the Emperor of all that has passed here since the departure of Richard and the arrival of the President of Rouen. Hopes that as neither he (Praet) nor the Legate has yet heard anything of the league said to have been made between the Pope, Venetians, and French, it may turn out an idle tale.
(Cipher:) If a battle is to be fought, let it be before the money fails altogether. The Emperor's army is a better one than the French, and by God's help the result might be favourable for the Emperor. Doubts whether the state of defence in which the kingdom of Naples has been lately placed will prevent the French from attacking it—a point well worthy of the Emperor's serious consideration, if, as it would appear, there are many reasons to mistrust the Pope and the Venetians; but at any rate, whether they do or not, the Imperial army is sure to do its duty, and if a victory is gained it will be an easy matter to bring about an honourable peace, or at least such a truce as would allow the Emperor to breathe, and conduct matters to his greater glory and reputation. He (Praet) deems it prudent in the present condition of affairs not to disclose one's sentiments to people so uncertain and fickle as our present allies are, unless, indeed, the Emperor is sure of getting a better bargain from his enemies.
Has frequently, since Richard's departure, asked the Legate for the King's answer as to the descent of his army into France. Hears that the King is waiting to learn the truth of this reported league between the Pope and the French, but that in no case could his army set out before the end of April. The Legate, indeed, asked him the other day—perhaps to give some colour to the delay—whether, in case of the King deciding to invade Normandy, Madame would furnish him 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot, with ships and provisions, according to the words of the second paragraph of the Emperor's letter to him of the 20th of December last. He (Praet) replied that he did not think the Emperor's words would bear this construction. In his opinion the King's request could not be granted; but if the Legate wished, he would immediately consult Madame about it. This the Legate declined, assuring the ambassador that there was no necessity, and had only mentioned the matter by way of suggestion (par forme de devises).
(Common writing:) With regard to other matters in the Emperor's letters the Legate made no observation, excepting that they had given the King great pleasure, as he saw by their contents what goodwill the Emperor bore him, and what extensive preparations he was making for waging war on the common enemy. Not a word was said about the great enterprise, nor did he (Praet) allude to it, thinking, as he does, that whatever is said about it must come from them. The memorandum which the ambassador has lately placed in the Legate's hands shows too clearly what the Emperor's intentions are; he will co-operate or not to the said enterprise and invasion of France, according to the help he receives from his ally in other quarters.
The President of Rouen arrived here last Sunday, and had an audience of the Legate on Wednesday, St. Paul's Day. Believes that if the news about His Holiness proves true, the Legate will press him (De Praet) to write at once to the Emperor and ask for powers to treat for peace or truce here in London. The Legate knows full well that without the Emperor's express commands he (Praet) would never take part in their doings. Should such order come, the ambassador will obey and attend the conferences, when he will follow to the letter the instructions received, as well as the eighth paragraph of the Emperor's letter to him, in date of the 20th October last.—London, this 28th day of January 1525.
Signed: "Loys de Praet."
Addressed: "To the Emperor, &c."
French, Original. Pp. 3.
28 Jan.
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u. Staats Arch.
Rep. P. C. Fasc.
223. No. 32.
8. Instructions given by the Archduchess Margaret to Adolph de Bourgoyne, Sieur de Bèvres, Knight of the Golden Fleece, Chamberlain and Admiral of the Sea; to Josse Laurens, Sieur de Tardeghen, President of the Great Council; Louis de Praet, Imperial Ambassador in England; and to Secretary Jean de le Sauch, concerning their mission to the King of England.
After offering Madame's humble commendations and greetings, and presenting their credentials, the ambassadors are to say to the King, how Madame, considering the vicinity of England and the Low Countries, the ancient, friendship and intercourse prevailing between their Princes and people, the peace and prosperity mutually resulting therefrom, devoutly thanks God, our Creator, who of His great goodness has permitted the said friendship to continue.
That for the better cementing of this friendship and alliance, Madame has constantly begged the Emperor to admit into it such Princes and persons as might help to the consolidation of the same; in consequence whereof the Holy Father, the Venetians, and other Italian potentates, had entered into as firm and close alliance as possible with the Emperor and King.
That Madame has lately heard, by letters from the Viceroy of Naples [Charles de Lannoy]; by a duplicate brief of the Holy Father himself, as likewise by letters from the Duke of Sece (Sessa) to the said Viceroy (and she doubts not the King has also heard through the Pope's ambassador, at his court, and through his own servants and followers in Italy), that the Holy Father, for the better security of the Church, and other reasons contained in the said brief, has proposed to the Venetians, Florentines, Genoese, and others, an alliance or defensive league with the French King, the Holy Father never supposing, as his brief states, that he was acting prejudicially to the Emperor and King, or that the other contracting parties would thereby be led to join the French King against them (the Emperor and King).
That the French King purposes sending the Duke of Albany with 3,000 or 4,000 men-at-arms, and 5,000or 6,000 foot, to the kingdom of Naples; to effect which the said Duke had already entered the estates of His Serene Highness the Prince of Lucca. That the object of the French King in this movement is said to be rather to divert the Emperor's army in Italy than to attempt the conquest of that kingdom; the forces which compose the expedition being comparatively small whilst the defences prepared by the Viceroy are very strong.
That Madame knows full well that the Emperor will think it very strange that His Holiness, for whom the Emperor has done so much, and whom he has never once wronged, should ally himself with the French King, their enemy. That though His Holiness states in his brief that in making this alliance he has been actuated solely by his care for the welfare and prosperity of the Church, and means no wrong whatever to the Emperor and King, yet other Christian Princes, and especially the Italian Potentates, have joined it in total ignorance of His Holiness's real motives, as stated in the said brief, and without knowing whether the said alliance is to be for the interest of the Emperor and King, or not. Madame leaves the King to judge whether a defensive league of this sort, made in Italy for such avowed purpose, is likely to be beneficial to the Emperor and the King of England, his ally, and although the confederates are willing to admit the Emperor and King into their league, those who are acquainted with Italy, and the Italians, think this proposal very strange and equally fraught with danger to the Emperor and King.
That Madame knows also that as soon as the Emperor hears of this, he is sure to send for help to his good father, brother, and uncle, the King of England, in whom he has perfect confidence; and that she, therefore, considering the great importance of this event, and the prompt action necessary upon it, sends this embassy to the King, whom she holds as one and the same with the Emperor, begging him, for her own sake and that of the Emperor, to come to their aid in the present crisis. The ambassadors are to urge this point upon the King in every possible way.
Should the King reply that there are but two ways of meeting this emergency, the one to drive the French King out of Italy; or, that being impossible, to conclude some treaty—which last means the King is sure to propose—should he add that it would have been wiser for the Emperor or the Viceroy, in his name, to have accepted the overtures made by the Pope, and placed in his hands the whole of his possessions in Italy at the time, the French King consenting to do the same, than to wait till things had come to a crisis, risk the loss of Lombardy, and endanger the kingdom of Naples: then the ambassadors are to represent to the King that, when the Holy Father made that said overture all the fortresses in the duchy of Milan were, as now, in the possession of the Emperor, the French King holding nothing but the bare city of Milan, which the Emperor's troops had abandoned for the better preservation of the rest of the country, and that even had the duchy been equally divided between the Emperor and French King, the Viceroy could not, as a loyal subject, have placed any of the Emperor's possessions in the hands of the Holy Father without his (the Emperor's) express commands. That there is now less reason than ever there was for entertaining such a proposal after the Holy Father has formed an alliance with the French King, and that the Emperor's honour and reputation being so nearly concerned, Madame is sure that the King of England, from the love he bears the Emperor, will never advise him to listen to such a proposal, just as the Emperor would if he were in his place.
The ambassadors are to inform the King of the state of the Emperor's army, of its numbers, of the severe losses inflicted by it on the French at the siege of Pavia, and wherever else it has been engaged. That Madame considers the Imperial army sufficiently strong and quite willing to give battle to the French, and that if the King (of England) will but now assist the Emperor the French King will easily be driven out of Italy, and forced to make terms with the Emperor and King. The ambassadors are to place this most strongly before the King.
Should the King ask them what help Madame wishes to be sent to the Emperor (and in case of his not doing so they themselves are to suggest it), the ambassadors are to reply that in conformity with the treaties between the Emperor and King, and especially the last one concluded by M. de Praet, the King is bound either to send at once a powerful force into France, or to contribute liberally to the support of the Emperor's Italian army. Either measure would produce the desired effect.
Should the King prefer the former of these two expedients, the French King would be forced to withdraw the whole or the greater part of his forces from Italy; if the whole, the Emperor would then be at liberty to enter France with all his power; if only a part, then the Emperor's army, which is strong, could easily drive out the remainder and march upon France. If the latter expedient, namely that of a contribution towards the support of the Emperor's Italian army be adopted, the power of the French could also be greatly reduced thereby. The former, however, would be far more effective.
The better to induce the King to adopt the former of the above means the ambassadors are to offer in Madame's and the Emperor's name, to furnish a contingent of 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot, according to treaty, and in order to hasten the King's preparations, they will do well to remind him, that he is bound by the said treaty to contribute to the support of the Emperor's Italian army, until his own is ready to take the field.
Should the King object that last year Madame made him a similar offer, but neither then nor now could she carry it out, the ambassadors are to reply, that though Madame may not have now ready money in her treasury, yet at such a crisis as this she will find means to obtain it. That she has frequently told Mr. Jerningham so, begging him to write to the King and say that as she would not fail him (the King) in the smallest matter she certainly would not do so when his honour, that of the Emperor, and indeed her own is at stake.
Should the King observe that the army which he once sent under the Duke of Suffolk was obliged to retire owing to the Emperor's troops being without either pay or provisions, the ambassadors are to reply that it has since been ascertained that Count Bueren (Buren) who commanded the Emperor's forces on that occasion had often assured the Duke of his readiness to maintain the Emperor's army, both in field and garrison, as long as the Duke would maintain his own.
Should the King further object that the Emperor's troops in the Low Countries could not be ready against the descent of his army on the west coast of France, the ambassadors are to say that owing to the long delay in the fitting out of the intended English expedition, Madame, to save the Emperor unnecessary expense, has been unwillingly obliged to keep back her contingent, which would not have happened had she known exactly the time when the King's army would set out, besides which should her troops be a little later in the field they shall remain longer in compensation. If, however, the King will now fix the exact date for the descent of his army into France, Madame's contingent shall be ready. The ambassadors may also remind the King that last time the King's army was so behindhand, that the Emperor's troops were a whole month on the frontier before military operations could be commenced.
Should the King complain of the difficulty of finding baggage waggons in the Low Countries, of the high price charged for them, and of the scarcity of provisions, the ambassadors are to reply that horses and waggons shall be found for the King at the same rate as that charged to the Emperor, that prices indeed will vary with the season, but that it will be found that the Emperor's agents have never charged higher prices to the English than to her own people. Provisions are not wanting, yet as Madame does not wish her provinces to be entirely drained of corn, she begs the King to have some sent from England, where there is plenty just now.
Should the King excuse himself from sending either men or money on the plea that the Emperor did not supply the army with sufficient troops or money when his own went to France, that the campaign had therefore been unsuccessful, and the Duke of Bourbon compelled to retire from France to Italy, the ambassadors are to answer that the Emperor held sent quite an adequate number of troops to the Duke of Bourbon, and that if all were not ready at the first moment, it was no fault of his, but of the bankers who were to supply the funds. No blame could attach to the Emperor from this circumstance, neither had any disadvantage arisen from it, to the common cause.
The ambassadors are also to represent to the King that though the treaty did not stipulate that the said contingent was to be at the Emperor's sole charge, yet he had readily supplied the 400,000 ducats for the maintenance of the Duke of Bourbon's army from the time of its entrance into France till its retreat to Italy, besides other considerable sums of money spent before and afterwards on account of the said expedition to France, whereas the King [of England] had only sent 100,000 crowns. That, in addition to this, the Emperor, the more to harrass and molest the common enemy, had sent a large number of German and Spanish troops, both horse and foot, to Languedoc, to which service he (the Emperor) was nowise compelled by treaty, and that for all these reasons, chiefly because the King of England has as yet sent neither men nor money, the ambassadors urge upon him to prepare his army for immediate warfare, and until it shall have crossed the channel to send succour in money to the army of Italy, as before stated.
Should the King say that the former invasion of France [by Picardy] had been a mere loss to him, and should he propose another quarter for the one now contemplated, requiring Madame to supply also the stipulated contingent of 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot, the ambassadors are to reply that there is no clause in the treaty to that effect, as it would be impossible for her to transport so many horses by sea; but that in the event of a different province being chosen for the invasion Madame will send to the frontier of France the same number of horse and foot as if the King's army were to descend in Picardy; and should the ambassadors find the King favourably disposed towards this, they may propose to him, by way of suggestion, and choosing their opportunity, to send over some 3,000 or 4,000 foot to join her troops on the frontier, where they might all together inflict some serious damage on the enemy.
Should the King reject all these overtures, and propose the great enterprise, the ambassadors are to represent to him that the speedy descent of 15,000 or 16,000 men, now that the French King and his army are absent from France, will accomplish a good deal more than double that number, when he (the French King) is in his own country. The ambassadors therefore are to urge the King in every possible way to the prompt expedition of his army, without taking any engagement respecting the said great enterprise, which they may refer to the Emperor.
Should the King further excuse himself on the ground that the Emperor has not returned the money lent him, nor paid the promised indemnity, the ambassadors are to dwell upon the extraordinary expenses brought on the Emperor by this war, the armies he has had to maintain for the recovery of Fuentarabia; in Guienne; on the sea off Bayonne; in Italy; on the seas of Levant; for the invasion of Provence under the Duke of Bourbon; in the duchy of Gueldres, for the support of his men-at-arms, twice sent with the King's army in the Low Countries, &c. They shall beg the King to take all this into consideration, and to be assured that, but for these inevitable expenses, the Emperor would not have postponed his payments to the King, who, God be praised, is not, as the Emperor knows, in need of money at present.
Should the King still dwell upon his grievances against the Emperor, the ambassadors are to say, with all courtesy, and in the best possible terms, that for some time past Madame has had news from England as well as from the Emperor's court in Spain, showing that some ill-intentioned people, badly disposed towards the Emperor and King, envious of their friendship and alliance, and consequent prosperity, have, under pretence of good will and devotion, made many false reports of the Emperor and herself to the King, at which she is much concerned, fearing, lest in spite of their barely concealed hypocrisy, such reports should somehow influence the King. The ambassadors are, therefore, most earnestly to entreat the King to specify the charges brought against the Emperor and herself, and to declare in the most emphatic terms that neither the one nor the other has ever broken faith, but has always entertained the same love and affection for the King.
Should the King mention individual cases, such as the passage of the late M. de la Roche (fn. n11) through France on his way to Rome, or the coming of certain Franciscans (Cordeliers) to the Low Countries, the answer is simply this: that M. de la Roche went through France to avoid the sea passage; that the King and Legate know perfectly well his integrity; that they will find upon inquiry that he never said to the King or people of France a word that could in any way do injury, then or hereafter, to the treaties of alliance between the Emperor and King (of England) as, indeed, subsequent events, and the energy with which the Emperor has made war on France, have sufficiently proved. That the Cordeliers' had been altogether a foolish business, and that notwithstanding Madame had through her ambassadors in London immediately informed them (the King and Legate) of their arrival and mission.
The ambassadors may also observe to the King and Legate that whatever reports, if any, have been made to the Emperor respecting their conduct towards him, neither the Emperor nor Madame shall ever be persuaded to mistrust them in any way.
Should the King say that the Emperor has not fulfilled all the conditions of the existing treaties, the ambassadors, who have a copy by them, can easily clear the Emperor and Madame from the charge of having failed in the observance of some of them. With regard to any other complaints, if they should be made, they (the ambassadors) are to report them at once to Madame. They are, moreover, to pray the King, as the true father and brother of the Emperor, to, pay no heed to any such evil reports as have been, or may be, made to him, but rather to bear in mind the good faith and honesty with which the Emperor and Madame have always behaved towards him.
It is most likely that the King, to please the Legate and the Admiral, will refer to a ship captured some time ago, and which is said to belong to the latter. Should the King or the said Legate and Admiral allude to the judicial proceedings now being instituted, in that case the ambassadors will answer that both the Emperor and Madame have done all they could in the business, and recommended it to the Court now sitting. That Madame had paid out of her own pocket certain sums as caution money which the owners of the ship or their agents had been called upon to pay. Should the ambassadors find out that the Legate really takes great interest in this affair, in that case they are to offer to discharge the Admiral's agents from the payment of the said caution money.
The ambassadors are also to speak to the King and Legate concerning the granting of safe-conducts for trade between the Low Countries, France, and Scotland, and for obtaining permission from the King of France for the herring fishery; this last point is especially entrusted to the Sieur de Bèvres, in his capacity of admiral, and he is especially to state that this said fishery is the sole means of existence for many of the inhabitants of the Low Countries. The ambassadors are also to treat of the rate of exchange, of which the King and Legate are sure to complain, asserting that gold being more valuable here than in England, all their coin gets out of the country. Should the King, the Legate, or other persons speak about certain safe-conducts which we have refused to grant to one Thomas Barnaby, an Englishman by birth, and to Eustace le Doyen, a Frenchman, to bring wine and salt to this country, the ambassadors will answer that as the Emperor and the King of England had respectively engaged themselves not to allow the French or their allies to trade with their dominions, she (Madame) had refused the safe-conducts.
The ambassadors will inform the King, in the best manner they can, that Madame having since heard that the Legate has granted several safe-conducts both to Frenchmen to trade with the ports of England, and to Englishmen to go to France, with wine, salt, and other articles, she also, after consulting the Emperor's pleasure, and for the greater comfort and happiness of her subjects, has allowed them to do the same. Should the King show regret at this measure, which is not very likely, considering that he himself has done and is doing the same, in that case the ambassadors might ask him, as graciously as possible, whether he would wish all safe-conducts to be revoked and cancelled, and all intercourse with the enemy suspended, and if the King showed that intention, take at once an engagement in the Emperor's and Madame's name, on condition, however, that the said revocation be duly proclaimed in all ports at the same time, so that French vessels trading with England, or ours with France, have equal leisure to regain their ports, and that the King of England furnish us with salt, wine, corn, and other articles in which his kingdom abounds, the Emperor and Madame promising to provide him with the produce of their respective countries. To remedy this inconvenience, which we fully acknowledge to exist, Madame has appointed a committee to look into this affair, which is as disadvantageous to England as to the Low Countries.
In short, the ambassadors will do their utmost to obtain from the King substantial help at this present moment. They will assure him that Madame will endeavour to follow his advice in all things, just as she would the Emperor's. Should, moreover, the King make any overture or proposal on matters depending on the immediate authority of the Emperor, in that case the ambassadors are to report the same to the Emperor and to Madame at once, the King of England engaging himself not to do anything to the Emperor's detriment until his answer should be known, the Emperor making a similar promise and declaration.
Should anything be said to the ambassadors touching the Emperor's marriage to the Princess, they are to say that the Emperor knows full well that the Princess's hand has been sought from France, from Scotland, and from other places; that he too has been solicited to form other alliances; that he has never, on this or any other occasion, mistrusted the King and Legate, but has relied on them to keep the same faith with him as he has always observed towards them; that such reports will never cease until the Princess is either married to the Emperor or placed under his care; and, should the moment seem opportune, the ambassadors may suggest to the King and Legate that for the entire removal of all cause for suspicion, and for the strengthening of their mutual alliance, the Princess should be placed under the Emperor's care until old enough to be married. The ambassadors can add, as if it came from themselves, that Madame and the Legate having already been match-makers in two different cases, there is no reason for not promoting this one. She herself desires this marriage more than any other thing whatsoever, and will leave nothing undone that can bring it about.
The ambassadors are to obtain from M. de Praet all particulars respecting the state of affairs in England, and to treat him as such ambassador holding equal powers with themselves.
Thus ordered by Madame in Council, in the presence of the Cardinal of Liège, Messire Philip of Cleves, the Sieur de Rauestein, the Archbishop of Palermo, Elder (Chief) of the Privy Council, the Count of Hoochstrate, Messieurs De Bèvres, De Berghes, De Rosen bois (Rosymboz), the Sieur D'Aigny, President of the said Privy Council, the Sieur de Noeufville, Treasurer of Finances, and others.—Mechlin (Malines), the 28th of January, 1524 (old style).
Signed: "Margaret."
Countersigned: "Du Blieul."
Addressed: "To Messrs. De Bevres and Jos. Laurens."
Indorsed: "Instructions for England in the year 1524 (1525)."
French. Contemporary copy, partly in cipher. pp. 21.
31 Jan. 9. The Emperor's Instructions to Louis de Praet and Claude de Cilly.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof. u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P.C.
Fasc. 223. No. 7.
De par l'Empereur.—Instructions to our beloved and faithful councillor, chamberlain in ordinary and ambassador in England, the Sieur de Praet, and to our beloved and faithful squire and gentleman of our household, Claude de Cilly, concerning what they will have to say in our name to our good father and brother the King of England, and to Monseigneur the Legate, Cardinal of York.
The said Cilly, whom We now send to England, shall wait upon the Sieur de Praet, there residing as our ambassador, and show him the present instructions, as well as the letters of credence whereof he is the bearer to the said King and Legate, as also to the Queen, our aunt. He shall in every particular follow the advice of the said Sieur de Praet, who being, as he is, on the spot, will know best how to explain and work out our intentions according to circumstances, and to the state of affairs at the time of his (Cilly's) arrival. And in order that the said Sieurs de Praet and Claude de Cilly may better know our designs and intentions, as well as the cause of this present embassy, the following exposition of our motives shall be attended to:—
1st. Although the affairs of Italy are in rather a precarious state just now owing to the alliance made by the Pope and other powers with the King of France, yet We have not lost courage, but intend to prosecute the war as vigorously as We can against the French King, until an opportunity be found of attacking him in his own dominions, and compelling him either to the restitution of what he holds unjustly from us, or to a good and honourable peace, equally advantageous and profitable to the said King of England and to ourselves.
To this end the said Praet and Cilly shall represent to the King and Legate, that although it would appear that our said enemies are prospering in Italy, yet as the French King has remained so long before Pavia without being able to take it, and has lost for the last three months so much treasure and so many men, the resistance there offered to his arms, and which is sure to continue, will place him and his kingdom in much greater peril and danger than they have ever been. Indeed, the King himself, being now in Italy with all the forces of his kingdom, with his knights and nobles, the grand masters of the orders, &c., is not in a condition to defend his own dominions, if invaded, much less to make a vigorous war outside, since his own efforts would soon consume and annihilate him. The better to accomplish this ultimate object and obtain satisfaction from our enemy, it would be requisite to assail and distress him everywhere, and specially in those countries and regions wherein he is most weak. If this be done quickly, and without losing such a fine opportunity as the present, it is most likely that, though the Pope and other Italian powers may openly declare in his favour, he may be obliged to evacuate Italy with great loss, or fall on the kingdom of Naples, whereat we have ordered such provision to be made both in men and ships, that in case of his going thither, he is sure to meet with a warm reception. We hear, indeed, that our Imperial fleet in those parts and at Genoa amounts now to fifty ships of war, between caracks, galleys, and other smaller vessels, well provided with men and stores, and superior to any force the French may now put to sea. Our common enemy might thus lose a portion of his kingdom, wherein, as stated, there is scarcely a man left effectually to defend it. It is, therefore, evident that such being the position of affairs in France, We and the King of England, our ally, might now-a-days do more against it with a comparatively small force than at another time with a very powerful army.
2nd. With regard to our preparations for war, the said Sieur de Praet shall take care that his colleague, Mons. de Cilly, announce to the King and Legate, as if it came from us and from our own mouth, that in addition to the 4,000 Germans and 3,000 men-at-arms now ready on the frontier of Languedoc, without including in that number the country militia, both horse and foot, we have given orders to collect in that locality six or seven thousand Spanish infantry, with 500 men-at-arms and some light cavalry, besides the Catalonian irregulars and some good artillery; with which force it is our intention to lay siege to Narbonne, and thence march into Languedoc. Meanwhile our Spanish galleys are getting ready for sea to join our Italian fleet at Genoa; so that what with the above military preparations and others we intend to make in various quarters, we shall soon be in a condition to undertake some good and profitable enterprise against the common enemy, specially if our good brother, the King of England, give us his assistance, which We doubt not he will, since he has now so fair an opportunity of recovering what belonged to his ancestors.
3rd. To attain which object, as desirable to us as to our brother the King of England, the said Praet and Cilly are to request the said King and Legate, in our name, immediately to send across, and to any part of France that may suit them best, a strong and well-appointed army, wherewith to take and regain their old inheritance, as We have lately advised them through the said Praet, our ambassador; promising, in case the said King considered it necessary to invade France by Picardy, that We shall furnish him out of Flanders the same number of men, horse and foot, as stipulated in our last treaty, on condition, however, of the said armament and invasion being made immediately and without delay, so that our said armies may profit by the proposed diversion. On our side We fully promise not to lose one hour, and to get our forces ready so as to be able to attack our common enemy at the appointed time; for if the King, our brother, tarries, great injury might be done to us particularly, and to our common interests in general. The King and the Legate cannot fail to appreciate our endeavours to promote our common cause. We cannot do more than keep up a large army in Italy against all the forces of France commanded by the King in person, besides another army in Languedoc, and a considerable fleet to scour the seas, in addition to which We still propose to assist and help our good brother on the side of Flanders; all this without any aid whatever except that of our brother the Archduke [Ferdinand] who will no doubt make some good enterprise on his side, as he has promised and has actually begun to do.
4th. Should the King and Legate talk about want of funds to prosecute the war in the manner above described, the Sieurs de Praet and Cilly will inform them that, although it be true that owing to the enormous expenses We have been at, We have now no money at our disposal, yet so extensive are our dominions, and so rich and opulent our subjects, that it will be found, when required, that We are able not only to defend and protect our own, but to offend our enemies and oblige them to do reason to our claims.
5th. The said Cilly will deliver our letters to the Queen, our aunt, and such verbal messages besides as the said Praet may advise. He will tell her that We hope soon to be free from the fever and ague that has lately troubled us, though it has not prevented our attending to business. He will tell the King and Legate so, and in short adhere strictly to the first article of these instructions.
6th. With regard to the answer which the said King and Legate are sure to make to our request, the said Sieur de Praet, our ambassador, will take care that it reaches us as quickly as possible through his colleague Mons. de Cilly, that We may know what our ally intends to do, and be prepared in due time.
7th. The said Sieur de Praet is to take care that his colleague, Squire Cilly, on his return [to Spain], bring an answer to the letters We are actually writing to Flanders, and, if possible, that he may not be detained in England more than eight or ten days; for We are anxious to hear the King's reply to our proposals, and also to receive news from Flanders.—Madrid, on the last day of January 1525. (fn. n12)
French. Original corrected draft. pp. 6.


  • n1. Richard Sampson.
  • n2. In 1521 and during the conferences held at that town between the Emperor and the Cardinal Legate of England.
  • n3. Not extant in the Vienna archives, as probably it was forwarded to Spain.
  • n4. Giovanni Gioachino, or Joachino, called Jocquin by the French, and of whom a fuller notice will be given in this correspondence.
  • n5. Jean Brinon, Chancellor of Alençon and President of Rouen.
  • n6. John Clerk, already mentioned in page 10.
  • n7. The copies of these letters are not in the Imperial Archives at Vienna.
  • n8. Jean Brinon, President of Rouen, mentioned in a former letter.
  • n9. Among the papers preserved in the Imperial Archives at Vienna is the minute of a letter of the Emperor, addressed to his ambassadors in Scotland, and dated the 22nd of June 1522, wherein he declares that he cannot listen to any proposals of alliance by marriage made by the Duke of Albany or the enemies of England. These, however, must have been in reference to the overtures made by the Scotch ambassadors, as detailed in Nos. 1 and 2.
  • n10. Philippe Hanneton, Treasurer of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
  • n11. Gerard de Pleine, Seigneur de la Roche.
  • n12. The date at the beginning is 12 Feb. 1525, being no doubt that in which the instructions were sent to England.