Spain: January 1525, 26-31

Pages 26-39

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, 26-31

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. n1) 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.
K. u. K. Haus-Hof.
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. n2) 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. n3)
French. Original corrected draft. pp. 6.


  • n1. Philippe Hanneton, Treasurer of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
  • n2. Gerard de Pleine, Seigneur de la Roche.
  • n3. The date at the beginning is 12 Feb. 1525, being no doubt that in which the instructions were sent to England.