Spain: December 1525, 16-20

Pages 520-537

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

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December 1525, 16-20

16 Dec. 298. The Duke of Sessa and Miguel de Herrera to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 36,
f. 334.
The present despatch being of such importance they have decided to send it by three different routes. The bearer of one is a gentleman-in-waiting to the Grand Steward (Mayordomo Mayor) of the Emperor, named Paquilon, who takes the road of Lyons, passing through Lombardy. The other has been intrusted to a servant of the Duke's, whose name is Pero Hernandez; he is a man of trust, and is to go to Genoa, and thence to Lyons. The third goes straight to Genoa, addressed to Lope de Soria, who will forward it to Spain by sea. If not received within 20 or 25 days at the most from the date of this letter, it may be inferred that all of them have been intercepted, and the bearers detained in France. In such an event it would be advisable to have a certain number of Frenchmen arrested in Spain and detained until our messengers are allowed to proceed unmolested on their journey.
Have borrowed 280 gold ducats for the expenses of the couriers, and drawn bills on the Chancellor.—Rome, 16 Dec. 1525.
Signed: "El Duque de Sessa," "Herrera."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1525. From Rome. From the Duke of Sessa and Herrera, 16th of December."
Spanish. Original. p. 1.
16 Dec. 299. Commander Herrera to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 36,
f. 352.
Arrived at Rome on Wednesday the 6th inst., at the hour of Vespers. The cause of the delay was a fall from his horse. The next day he and the Duke of Sessa waited on His Holiness, by whom they were well received.
(Cipher:) Having read the Emperor's letter, the Pope showed much satisfaction at its contents, saying that if he had listened to certain overtures of the confederates it was only owing to the Emperor's answer being so unusually delayed. On that occasion and in consequence of his cipher not having yet been made out, he (Herrera) did not fully explain his commission or exhibit the draft of the proposed treaty, but on the next day he did so, when the Pope, finding many objectionable points in it, refused to sign, promising, however, to have a memorandum drawn out of the articles from which he dissented. His principal objection is respecting the Milan article. He says that the Duke being still alive, ought to be peaceably maintained in his estate; whilst he (Herrera) and the Duke both allege that the Duke being guilty of the charge brought against him, is civilly dead, and the Emperor at liberty to appoint anyone he pleases in his place.
His next objection is the article about Rezzo (Reggio) and Rubbiera. "The Emperor" he says, "promises fair, but I want something more solid and substantial than a mere promise. I want him to fix a time for the giving up of those fiefs which belong to the Church."
A few more objections did His Holiness offer, which are contained in the enclosed memorandum.
When he (Herrera) came to Rome things were in such a state that had he tarried a few days longer, the Pope would infallibly have made a league with the French. Meanwhile His Imperial Majesty is much indebted to the Duke of Sessa for having prevailed upon the Pope not to take a final decision in this affair, for, surrounded as the latter is by more enemies than friends to the Imperial cause, he might long ago have yielded to the solicitations of the confederates. The Archbishop of Capua is working hard in our favour, but he is alone) and the enemies are many and possess greater influence.
Agustin Folleta (Foglieta) is not in favour now, that being the reason why the Emperor's general affairs have not made any progress for some time.
Such being the state of things at Rome, he (Herrera) and the Duke have thought that the only means of bettering their position was to ask for a suspension of the negotiations in the form specified in the enclosed memorandum. (fn. n1) After some slight discussion, the Pope granted it for two months, thus giving the ambassadors time to send home for advice. He on one occasion addressed them in the following words: "I am aware that in granting this suspension I am acting against my own interests, for the danger lies in the delay; but still I prefer placing my trust in the Emperor to losing his friendship and alliance altogether."
The Pope's intentions seem to be good, and yet he is so terribly frightened at His Majesty's greatness that he would rather see him less powerful in Italy. The French, the Venetians and the rest of the Italian confederates have so worked upon his mind and exaggerated the danger, that had it not been for the Duke of Sessa, he would already have joined the confederates. The plans of the leaguers are substantially these: The Pope, Florentines, French, English, Venetians and Switzers to contribute men, money, or ships as follows:—The French are to furnish 800 lances and 40,000 or 50,000 cr. every month, wherewith to pay 10,000 Switzers; Venetians, 600 lances and 10,000 infantry; the Pope and Florentines an equal number; the King of England to contribute 25,000 cr., paid monthly. The confederates to furnish, besides, a considerable naval armament. With these forces they intend to oblige the Imperial army to concentrate in the duchy of Milan, thus giving them the opportunity of falling upon the kingdom of Naples. Unless the Emperor make up his mind to leave the Duke of Milan at his place, or, in case of deprivation of his estate, appoint a successor agreeable to these people, there is every probability of the Pope still joining the Italian league and of war breaking out. In that case there will be much need of money for the Imperial army and reinforcements wherewith to defend that kingdom. Sienna also wants a strong garrison of Imperial troops, as it will, in time of war, become a most important post to hold. The galleys are now at Genoa, and will be of great use for sending succours to Sienna and Naples when required.
No objection was made by the Pope to the Viceroy of Naples (Charles de Lanoy) being appointed Captain-General of the projected league. Respecting the Cruzade and the Cardinal's hats, he has promised to give the Emperor full satisfaction. As far as he (Herrera) can judge from appearances and words, the Pope is well disposed to enter into this treaty, though he would much, prefer for the duchy of Milan the Marquis of Mantua (Frederigo Gonzaga) to M. de Bourbon. This last (he says) might receive in fief the estates of the former. Of all these transactions due advice has been sent to the Marquis del Guasto and to Antonio de Leyva, as well as to the Imperial ambassadors in Venice, that they may be acquainted with the state of affairs and shape their conduct accordingly.
1525. (Common writing:) His Holiness has taken into consideration the Emperor's request concerning the Archbishop of Barri (Bari), (fn. n2) and Secretary Soria, both of whom have had their own private affairs settled much to their satisfaction. A few days after he (Herrera) left Milan the Marquis of Pescara died. His widow [Vittoria Colonna] has felt his death so much that she has shut herself up in the nunnery of Santa Chiara, there to remain, as it is said, to the end of her life. The Emperor ought to write to console her for the great loss she has sustained.
(Cipher:) After finishing the business he has in hand, he (Herrera) intends to go to Sienna for the purpose of inquiring into late events, as well as into those of older date. There is certainly need of much reform at that place, but His Imperial Majesty ought to consider that the Community of Sienna is, under the present circumstances, the most important auxiliary he can have, as the citizens are strongly inclined to the Imperial service and great enemies both of Florentines and Romans.
(Common writing:) Writes by the Pope's desire in favour and commendation of the Bishop of Salamanca, (fn. n3) whose claims (he says) are conducted in Spain (fn. n4) with too much rigour. His case being purely ecclesiastic ought to be referred to his own court.
(Cipher:) The French and Venetian ambassadors having heard of the suspension agreed to with the Pope cannot conceal their disappointment and rage. The Venetians called the other day on the Pope and threatened to treat with His Imperial Majesty, whose goodwill, he asserted, the Signory might easily gain by offering him the duchy of Milan, to dispose of at pleasure, whilst the French ambassador is evidently doing all he can for the projected league to fall to pieces. So the Pope told him (Herrera) and the Duke [of Sessa] the other day.
The Legate's father (Jacopo Salviati) has been very serviceable of late. His Imperial Majesty ought to thank the Legate himself, and write to the father in his (Herrera's) credence, for certainly he has done such service to the Imperial cause as to bring on himself the animosity and hatred of both French and Venetians at Rome.
His Imperial Majesty is no doubt aware that Cardinal Columna (Colonna) is not in Rome, having left this city some time ago on the plea that, being on bad terms with the Pope just now, he could not forward the Emperor's interests as he might have wished. He did not intend returning until he was able to do something for the Imperial service. That the Cardinal may have an honourable pretext for coming back, it would be advisable that if the articles of the convention are to be discussed here [at Rome], he should be appointed to conduct the negotiations in union with the Duke of Sessa.
The Pope has again told him (Herrera) that on no account should he like to see M. de Bourbon in Italy, and that in case of the duchy of Milan being given away by the Emperor, he would very much prefer the Marquis of Mantua, whose brother, now in Spain, might be appointed to succeed him in the marquisate.
(Common writing:) Has found at Rome such an account of Secretary Perez' talent and abilities in everything relating to his office that he (Herrera) cannot help commending him to the Emperor's notice. Some time ago his services were rewarded with the priory of Osma [in Castille], but an annual pension of 500 ducats having since being assigned upon its revenue, he (Perez) has scarcely anything left for his own support. The Emperor might easily relieve him from that burden on the provision of the first vacant see, or by granting him a second benefice, which would be a great boon for one who, like Secretary Perez, has no fortune of his own and is entirely devoted to the Imperial service. A large sum is now due to him for arrears of pay and gratuity ever since he took charge of his office, as Secretary Soria, at home, will testify.—Rome, 16 Dec. 1525.
Signed: "Herrera."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial and Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1525. From Rome. Commander Herrera, 16 Dec. Answered."
Spanish. Original partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet pp. 5½.
16 Dec. 300. The Duke of Sessa, Imperial Ambassador in Rome, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 36,
f. 337.
On the 6th inst. Commander Herrera arrived here. (Cipher:) He came at a time when the plots of the confederates were very active, and when the Pope, despairing of getting an answer to his letters, had almost decided to join them. The French and the Venetians were soliciting his co-operation harder than ever; the former to improve thereby their own affairs and obtain better terms from the Emperor; the latter to engage in a war away from their own territory, which has always been the chief aim of their policy. It must be said however, that the Pope, notwithstanding the pressing solicitations of the confederates, has hitherto been very well inclined.
He (the Pope) was much pleased with the arrival of Commander Herrera, whose prudence, tact and discretion he has singularly praised ever since. The negotiations have been conducted in the most business-like manner. The principal difficulty lies in the article relating to Milan, because what His Imperial Majesty therein promises to do in case of the Duke's natural demise, the Pope would like to have extended to his civil death, imagining, no doubt, that when the present instructions (to Herrera) were drawn up, the Emperor, if not fully acquainted with the Duke's guilt, must at least have had notice of his doings and have prepared the punishment beforehand. In vain did he (Sessa) and Commander Herrera try to persuade the Pope that the Emperor had then no knowledge of the Duke's intrigues, offering to prove the fact by comparing dates, &c., he would not hear of it.
Although a memorandum on this head is soon to be forwarded to the Pope's Legate at the Imperial court, he (Sessa) considers it his duty to state his own opinion on the subject. There can be no doubt that His Holiness sincerely wishes for the Duke to remain in office, declaring that his guilt—which he tries to diminish as much as he can—is not of a nature to deserve such punishment. He was evidently dragged into the conspiracy by Hieronymo Moron, who, enjoying great authority near his person and knowing the precarious state of his health, easily worked on his mind and awoke his fears for the insecurity of Italy in the event of his dying or being dispossessed. Even in the case of the Duke deserving such a severe punishment as the total deprivation of his dignity and estates, the Pope asks that an Italian Duke be put in his place. He (Sessa) thinks that if the Pope and the rest of the Italian powers could be certified that the Emperor did not intend to keep the Duchy for himself, they would not object to his appointing any other Prince—though not an Italian—provided, however, the negotiation was properly conducted. Knows for certain that were M. de Bourbon to be chosen, they would accept him without difficulty, for when they heard that the Emperor was likely to appoint him after the Duke's demise, they offered no opposition.
Were the Emperor's choice to fall upon his most Serene Highness the Archduke (Ferdinand), the affair would offer great difficulties. Still, such is their actual fear of the Emperor taking the Duchy for himself that, in his opinion, they will accede to anything short of that. Indeed, they publicly declare that until a formal declaration in that sense be made, they do not intend to treat, but will rather wait and face the approaching danger.
They likewise complain of the exorbitant character of the proceedings against the Duke, who, they say, has not been allowed proper means of defence. On the whole, both he (Sessa) and his colleague, the Commander, were, and are still, of opinion that since the article relating to Milan could not be adjusted according to the Emperor's instructions and orders, the best thing they could do was to leave the negotiation in suspense and refer the matter home, that being a more expedient and a wiser course to follow under the present circumstances than to accept of the proposed modification. For there can be no doubt that the wording of the said article is ambiguous and subject to misinterpretation, as people might very well conclude from it that the Emperor, though thoroughly convinced of the Duke's guilt, chose still to indulge and forgive him. Such, at least, was the Imperial lawyers' opinion when consulted at the time that the league with the Venetians was talked of.
His Holiness solemnly protests that the only wish of his life has been to be so closely united to His Imperial Majesty that nobody may hereafter dissolve their union; to obtain which, though the article in question might be differently construed, so as to give rise to much scruple and doubt, he (the Pope) has no objection to sanction and sign the whole treaty, provided matters are made quite clear between him and the Emperor, as between father and son, without the interference and mediation of doctors-at-law and others consulted for that express purpose.
Such being the Pope's views and intentions, as well as his aim in the present negotiation, it is to be considered which is best for the Imperial service. If, according to the opinion and wishes of most of his servants and ministers in Italy, the Emperor decide upon keeping the duchy of Milan to himself, the Imperial army must be immediately reinforced and provided with money, its present numbers and means being insufficient to occupy the whole country and also to defend the kingdom of Naples, which would otherwise remain at the enemy's mercy. It would be necessary to make such a provision that everywhere and at any time there should be a considerable standing army. At Sienna an armed force ought to be fostered and kept up, ready to forward the Imperial interests, and wholly devoted to the Emperor. A sufficient force might also, in case of need, be detached to the support of the Siennese, who are naturally inclined to change, when insufficiently protected.
The ambassadors have likewise considered it of the highest importance for the Imperial service to obtain some sort of security from the Pope that, whilst they referred home, no change should be made in their actual relations, and that all negotiations should be suspended for a time; not so much as regards the conclusion of the present treaty as to prevent his treating with the confederates and ultimately joining the league, no small an achievement indeed, considering the pressing solicitations of both French and Venetians, who might ultimately have persuaded His Holiness to take their part, specially as there is a clause [in their projected treaty] compelling him to take up arms against any innovator in Italy.
Three objects are, in the opinion of the ambassadors, to be gained by leaving matters as they are at present and waiting for the Emperor's final resolution. The first is that this suspension of the present negotiations is almost equivalent to the Pope's declaration in favour of His Imperial Majesty, since he will thereby be obliged to defend his rights, and in the estate of Milan all that could be done has already been accomplished. The castles are not to be taken by assault, but reduced by blockade, and all the rest of the Duchy is held by the Imperial troops.
The second object gained is time to make a peaceful arrangement or prepare for war, as it may be deemed more advantageous. Meanwhile these Italian potentates—who are at present plentifully provided with men and money—may be prevented from undertaking anything against His Imperial Majesty. For there is in this country a common saying full of wisdom, namely: "The door of a house is not to be given up for the hope of entering it at the windows."
The third and last, and, in his (Sessa's) opinion, the most substantial and profitable of all, is that the Pope will thereby become suspected by the rest of Italy; the confederates will lose the confidence they had in him, and it might also happen that—through mistrust of the Pope and through fear of not finding help and assistance in the quarter they most expected it,—the French would be induced to accept the conditions imposed by Emperor. Even if His Holiness were to give them his word and most solemn promise the French would not believe in him now that they have been again deceived when they were almost certain of gaining their object. Alberto di Carpi himself publicly shows his discontent at what he calls the Pope's indecision. May he and those who detest His Imperial Majesty's aggrandisement long continue in that state of mind!
Encloses copy of the memorandum, as well as an abstract of the objections made by the Pope to various other articles. Compared with the above most important one, they are of little or no consequence. Everything has been done by the advice of Commander Herrera, whose prudence, activity and zeal he (Sessa) cannot sufficiently commend.
With regard to the contribution in money, the Pope refers entirely to his Legate at Court. He consents to pay 150,000 ducats, and in his (Sessa's) opinion no great effort will be required to make him increase that sum to 200,000. Each article of the memorandum has the Pope's own observations and notes on the margin. They are substantially the same as those which he (Sessa) announced before the arrival of Commander Herrera, in his despatch of the 30th November last, and which the Pope also communicated to his Legate. It now remains for His Imperial Majesty to have them well considered, and to decide which are to be accepted and which are not. The Legate, however, has been instructed to make all manner of concessions, provided the article about Milan be modified in the manner he (the Pope) has pointed out.
(Common writing:) Has felt the loss of the Marquis [of Pescara] more than he can describe, not only on account of his stanch fidelity to and love of the Imperial service, but from the particular friendship and love they bore each other.
(Cipher:) Respecting the Duke of Ferrara it is worth observing that His Holiness does not appear quite satisfied with the articles relating to the restitution of Rezzo and Rubbiera. Instead of the words Promittit sua Maiestas se operam daturum cum effectu, &c., he (the Pope) proposes an alteration in those words so as to make the sentence less vague and open to misinterpretation than it is now, because, he says, operam daturum does not sufficiently bind the Emperor. Also, in the eleventh article, where mention is made of an expedition against Turks and Lutherans to be undertaken with the aid and assistance of the Switzers, he objects to the following words: Non solum hii sed etiam dominium Venetorum ut Duces Sabaudie et Ferrarie, &c., because he says that having, as he has, other claims against the said Duke, such as the investiture of Ferrara and the restitution of certain castles which he took during Leo's [the Tenth's] vacancy, it is not proper that the Duke, his feudatory, join the confederation of his own free will, without first obtaining his permission and the Emperor's.
If the Pope's objections on this point are to be attended to, the article should be modified so as to give the Duke no offence, for if means can be found for keeping him quiet and contented it is but just that they should be employed.
The negotiations, in short, have been suspended for two months, during which His Imperial Majesty will have time to decide on the best course to follow. The Pope has since told him (Sessa) more than once: "I am perfectly aware that if the Emperor makes an agreement with the French, my ruin is certain; but the more I see that danger, the more glad I am of being able to show to the world that I have always been, and am still, desirous of the Emperor's friendship and alliance, without any regard to my own private interest. I know that by doing so I place my sword in his hands for him to cut my throat with, but I trust entirely in his magnanimity and innate kindness."
There can be no doubt that the Pope's intentions are good. What Jacopo de Salviatis—who is a good servant of His Imperial Majesty—has been able to accomplish during this arduous negotiation is looked upon as a sort of miracle; so much so, that Alberto di Carpi and the Venetian ambassador speak of him and of the Pope in the most abusive terms openly accusing them of being the ruin of Italy and of having placed it at the Emperor's mercy, to be sacked by his troops. The Legate's good offices cannot be improved upon. He has done all he could to forward the negotiations, and is sincerely attached to the Imperial cause.
His Holiness has lately written to the Emperor in his own hand respecting the above and other particulars. With regard to the captain-generalship [of the Imperial troops in Italy], he will not object to a clause being introduced appointing the Viceroy [of Naples] to that post. As to the indulgences of the Crusade, he fully promises to grant them immediately after the signature of the treaty, though with some modification and reform as to the manner of their publication in Spain, about which he (the Pope) seems to have been strangely misinformed. With respect to the Cardinal's hats he says that whatever turn affairs may take he shall not fail in his promises to the Emperor.
(Common writing:) In the affairs of private individuals, he (Sessa) has not been able to make much progress, his time being entirely taken up with matters of much greater importance.—Rome, 16 Dec. 1525.
Post data (in cipher).—The Archbishop of Toledo's solicitor has already begun to negotiate indirectly for a Cardinal's hat. He has brought large credits from Spain, which fact being generally understood, the Cardinals give him hopes of success, that the Archbishop may not oppose the College in the affair of the 10,000 ducats annual pension on that see. He (the ambassador) has this intelligence from a trustworthy source, and knows also that unless the Archbishop is strongly supported both here and at Court, he has very little chance of gaining his object.
Encloses the Pope's holograph letter and answer to the Emperor.
(Common writing:) On the death of the Archbishop of Taranto, chief chaplain at Naples, the Pope immediately granted that ecclesiastic dignity to Cardinal Armelino, who, it appears, had in his possession a letter from the Emperor to His Holiness, begging his promotion to the first vacant benefice in the kingdom of the two Sicilies.—Date ut supra.
Signed: "El Duque de Sessa."
Addressed: "To the most Sacred and Invincible Emperor, King of Spain and of the two Sicilies, our Sovereign and Lord."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1525. From Rome. From the Duke, 16 Dec. Answered."
Spanish. Original mostly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet. pp. 8.
16 Dec. 301. Pope Clement VII. to the Emperor.
S. E. L. 1174.
Has received with great pleasure the Emperor's holograph letter brought by Commander Herrera, who appears to be a good and discreet person (huomo bono et prudente). Protests that his love of peace is great. Just when his object was about to be gained with the Emperor's assistance and exertions, this unfortunate Milan affair has come to damp his hopes. Hears that the Emperor's generals in Italy have seized on the duchy of Milan, besieged the Duke (Francesco Sforza) in his castle, and compelled the Milanese to take the oath of allegiance to the Empire. Such proceedings have naturally alienated the Emperor's friends, and given a pretext to his enemies to league themselves together for common defence. As Pope, and as one of the Italian Princes, he is bound to use every endeavour to save Italy from servitude and oppression. Though his prayers have been disregarded, he would still have listened to the Emperor's professions if his just claims had been recognised and admitted; but, far from it, he and his vassals have received all manner of injuries at the hands of the Imperial generals. Has, therefore, decided to take part with the confederates, who, in his opinion, are perfectly justified in their acts, rather than follow his own inclination and believe in words and promises that might not be fulfilled. Wishing, however, to do everything in his power to ensure peace and promote the welfare of the Christian world, he has made an agreement with the Duke of Sessa and Knight Commander Herrera, and will wait two months for the Emperor's answer to his proposals. This he (the Pope) has done against the advice of the rest of the confederates, who are of one opinion, viz., that no time is to be lost in saving Italy from its present dangerous position. (fn. n5) —Dal nostro Palazo à di xvi. di Dicembre MDXXV.
Addressed: "Carmo in Christo filio nostro Carolo Imperatori, Hispaniarum &c. Regi Catholico."
Italian. Holograph. pp. 8.
19 Dec. 302. Prothonotary Caracciolo to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 36,
f. 380.
By their joint letter [of the 20th Dec] His Imperial Majesty must have understood the state of ambiguity and doubt in which all matters concerning this Signory are at present. The ambassadors have often alluded in their despatches to intelligence received from reliable sources and yet so startling in their nature as to make them waver in their acceptance of them.
(Cipher:) Their usual informers generally tell the truth, but sometimes they are themselves deceived, and lead [the ambassadors] into error, that being the reason why the sentiments and intentions of these people [the Venetians] cannot be distinctly stated. On thing, however, is certain; nothing can be more disagreeable to them than to see the Emperor master of Milan. They will do anything to prevent this, imagining that the very moment that happens they will lose their importance as an independent state, and perhaps, too, become vassals of the Empire. In his (Caracciolo's) opinion, the Venetians will never consent to the Emperor getting possession of Milan.
It is therefore very needful to come to a final resolution on these matters. The ambassadors should receive such instructions as may guide them in the present negotiation, Spain being too far off for them to refer there for every little detail, and the negotiations being often influenced by events at Rome and Milan.
(Common writing:) Cannot but commend to the Emperor's notice the petition of his colleague (Alonso Sanchez), who has served with great zeal and untiring activity for many years.—Venice, 19 Dec. 1525.
Signed: "Il Prothonotario Caracciolo."
Addressed: "Sacræ, Cæsareæ, Catholicæ Maiestati."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1525. From Venice. Prothonotary Caracciolo, 19 Dec."
Italian. Original partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 4.
19 Dec. 303. Alonso Sanchez, Imperial Ambassador in Venice, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Madrid, Salazar,
A. 36, f. 377.
(Cipher:) His letter of the 7th, in common with Prothonotary Caracciolo, contained the news up to that date. The Bishop of Lodi (Ottaviano Sforza) has since written to say that the Duke of Milan had lately sent two messengers to France, another to the Switzers, and a fourth to his own ambassador residing in this city, all of them to ask for help and assistance. Whether this report be true or not, he (Sanchez) cannot say, but he has received the same intelligence from another quarter.
(Common writing:) He (Sanchez) is engaged to be married to the daughter of Simon Roiz, of Naples. As the expenses attending the ceremony must be great, begs the Emperor to grant him what is usual in similar cases when his servants are to be married.—Venice, 19 Dec. 1525.
Signed: "Alonso Sanchez."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial and Catholic Majesty of the Emperor and King, our Lord."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1525. From Venice. Alonso Sanchez, 19 Dec."
Spanish. Original partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering. p. 1⅓.
20 Dec. 304. Lope Hurtado de Mendoza to the Emperor.
M. D. Pasc. d. G.
Pa. r. a. l. Hist.
d. Esp. No. 56.
The Marquis del Guasto has already advised through the Imperial ambassador at the court of France the escape of Enrique de Labrid (Henri d'Albret) from prison on the 14th instant. A valet de chambre and a page of his, both arrested at Pavia, have declared that one of the halberdiers of his guard, named Coymbra, a Portuguese, helped his escape in the following manner: He made three large holes to get out of the prison chamber and ascend to the top of the castle, and provided, besides, a rope ladder to descend into the moat, where four of the prisoner's servants were waiting. The Prince left the castle accompanied by Coymbra and another man, leaving his valet de chambre behind to prevent anyone from approaching his master's bed until he should be at some distance from the town. It is not known yet what route he has taken. Three days before the death of Pescara the governor of the castle, named Clavero, had been removed and replaced by Nofre del Monte. For greater security the person of the Prince had been intrusted to one Loaysa, a servant of Pescara's, who having repaired thither with the Marquis del Guasto's permission, happened to be within the castle when the Prince effected his escape. He has been arrested, as well as the governor (Nofre del Monte) and the Prince's valet. All three are about to be sent to Genoa and embarked for Spain, to be examined on their arrival and brought to justice. In his (Hurtado's) opinion, the Portuguese halberdier, for his treason, and the governor for his negligence, are equally responsible; but great blame is also to be attached to the late Marquis [of Pescara] for allowing the prisoner so much liberty, and not placing him under the guard of people of higher rank in the army. The loss sustained by the Prince's escape is so great that all are in despair, and the Marquis has felt the blow almost as much as he did his uncle's death.
He (Hurtado) was on the point of leaving for Piedmont—as announced in his despatch by Giovanni Battista Castaldo—there to execute the Imperial commands, when he received a letter from Commander Herrera bidding him not to move, as he might be more useful here [at Milan] than in that country. The Marquis and Leyva being of the same opinion—as well as one of the Duke's agents who happens to reside in this town—he (Hurtado) has decided to stay, and written to the Duke and Duchess [of Savoy] informing them that owing to the above reasons and to the greater facility of attending to the settlement of their claims here than there, he will postpone his journey until further orders.
(Cipher:) The wants of this Imperial army are increasing at such a ratio that when the 60,000 ducats announced in bills of exchange come to hand every farthing will be spent in advance, and the army as much in debt as before. Whilst His Imperial Majesty is lavishing his treasures to keep up this army, the Italian Princes are saving their money and making friends. The disorderly habits of the soldiers, quartered as they are among the inhabitants, daily robbing them of their property and committing all manner of excesses, have reached such a pitch that it is really wonderful how the people of this country, poor and exhausted as it is, can bear it any longer. Has been told that out of the 10,000 cavalry in this army not 300 pay for what they eat. Formerly, when money was plentiful and the men got their regular pay, they paid for their food honourably; now they say provisions cannot be obtained at any price, and as they have no pay, that they must rob the inhabitants or starve. The men-at-arms are naturally those who clamour most for their wages, and they must be paid anyhow, if called upon to do service in the next campaign; as to the light horse and Italians, they are of less consequence. Most will go away and leave the service with only a small portion of their arrears paid.
If money for these people cannot be procured immediately, it is quite plain that matters cannot go on much longer in this way. There is no difficulty at all about the Germans, since they are paid almost up to the day; it is with the Spaniards and the men-at-arms that the difficulty lies. It would be far better for His Imperial Majesty to order that these men receive part of their stipend from the countries where they are quartered, and perhaps, too, from the very hosts themselves with whom they are lodged, than to allow them to search the houses and plunder the inhabitants in quest of food, for though a man-at-arms is not satisfied with half a denier (dinero) per day, as long as he receives that he will not complain of his host and rob the country.
His Imperial Majesty has no overseers (veedores) in this army. The whole business of provisioning goes through field-masters and commissaries, who are suspected not to have very clean hands. In his opinion such offices ought to be filled by people having great reputation for honesty. The country would thereby be relieved and the Imperial service much better done.
After Pescara's death the Marquis del Guasto sent a message to Frederigo di Bozano (Bozzolo), a prisoner under parole, summoning him to appear at this camp. He has refused to do so, alleging that by the death of the Marquis he considers himself free from his engagement. The Duke of Bourbon ought to be asked how this matter stands, since the affair went through his hands, and he must know what sort of a compromise was made at the time. It is reported that the Venetians have appointed the said Bozano to be general of their infantry.
Captain Nofre (Onofre) and the rest are being conveyed to Genoa to be embarked.—Milan, 20 Dec. 1525.
Post data.—Antonio de Leyva has been lying in bed for the last ten days ill with fever. The physicians attach no importance to his illness, but nevertheless his services are very much wanted at the present moment.
(Cipher:) Don Ugo's man arrived yesterday. Out of the 60,000 ducats in bills which he brings with him 58,000 are already spent. Further remittances are required. Captain Nofre leaves to-morrow or later for Spain by way of Genoa. Most of the Imperial generals and agents write by him. This duplicate goes by a sea route, addressed to the Duke of Savoy, who will take care that it reaches Mons. de Prat's (Praet) hands before the expiration of the truce.—Date ut supra.
Signed: "Lope Hurtado."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, Catholic Majesty of the Emperor, our Lord."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1525. From Milan. Lope Hurtado, 20th of December."
Spanish. Original partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 6.
20 Dec. 305. Prothonotary Caracciolo and Alonso Sanchez, Imperial Ambassadors in Venice, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 36,
ff. 386–94.
Wrote on the 7th inst., detailing in full the proposals made by them to the Signory in consequence of the receipt of the Imperial letters of the 31st of October last. (Cipher:) On the 9th, having previously received a message that an answer was prepared, the ambassadors called at the College Hall and were informed:—
That the Signory were very desirous of confirming their last treaty with the Emperor, but the Duke of Milan and his Estate being, as it were, the basis of that confederation, they could not move one step in the affair until they knew the Emperor's intentions towards him. To which they (the ambassadors) replied that although it was but just that the College should answer first certain questions and particulars mentioned at their last interview with the deputies, they had no objection to state their view of the affair. If the Duke (they said) was innocent of the charges brought against him, the confederation might stand good and remain as it is, wholly in his favour. If, on the contrary, the Duke was found guilty or were to die a natural death, in that case the appointment of a successor belonged by right to His Imperial Majesty, as sovereign Lord of that Estate, who could not fail to make such a nomination as would ensure the peace and tranquillity of Italy, which had always been his constant and chief aim. Whilst explaining their views on this particular subject, the ambassadors did not forget to record the many benefits conferred on the Duke of Milan by the Emperor, who, among other signal favours, had not hesitated to put his own dominions at stake for the preservation of the Duke's estate.
The College having taken time to deliberate and make a suitable answer, the ambassadors were yesterday invited to hear it read. The substance of which, after their usual complimentary addresses and many protestations of their affection to the Emperor, was this: They were greatly in suspense and doubt at hearing the ambassadors' representations, for notwithstanding their wish to make a suitable answer to the Emperor's proposals, they really could not do so unless they first knew who was to become Duke of Milan, and with whom the confederacy was to be made. They were aware that the affair had lately been discussed at Rome, and doubted not but the Pope would soon make some agreement with the Emperor equally suited to all parties. They, moreover, begged the ambassadors to render all the good offices they could in favour of the Duke, since they knew what interest the Italian Princes felt in his behalf.
The ambassadors' reply was: That they had fully declared, as they thought, the Emperor's views and intentions without any circumlocution or ambiguity, his only wish being either to enter into a fresh league with them or to renew the old one, which, as they might recollect, had been made for the Duke's protection and advantage at the Emperor's own request.
Notwithstanding these and similar arguments adduced by the ambassadors, the Councillors insisted upon knowing who was to be Duke of Milan in the event of the present one dying or being deprived of his estates; and as the ambassadors could not tell, they absolutely declined giving an answer.
To judge from certain expressions uttered during the conference, the Signory are not so dissatisfied with the Pope just now as they seemed to be some time ago; but as respecting the Pope's real sentiments and views His Imperial Majesty is no doubt well informed through the Duke of Sessa, they (the ambassadors) need not offer here any conjectures of their own.
A person from whom they (the ambassadors) get now and then most valuable intelligence, has just informed them that this Signory have lately received letters from the Duke of Milan—the date of which is not stated—announcing that he is in better health than he was three years ago, and that he has within the castle numerous adherents ready to defend his person and rights, besides provisions for one whole year. Trusting that neither the Pope nor the Venetians will fail in their engagements when required, he (the Duke) is ready to prolong the defence and give them time to mature their plans. He, moreover, offers to give up Cremona and the Geradada (Ghiara d'Adda) to this Republic, provided they help him in his present difficulty.
This last piece of intelligence, the truth of which the ambassadors cannot warrant, was communicated immediately to the generals at Milan, to put them on their guard against any designs of the Duke, although, on the other hand, it is very improbable that this Republic would dare to assist him single-handed and without allies.
(Common writing:) Juan Antonio de Preda, whom the Milanese ambassador residing in this city caused to be arrested the other day, has been set free, and, as it would appear, dined at the said ambassador's on Friday last. Concerning this man and his doings the Imperial ambassadors are unable to give more information than that contained in their despatch of the 7th. The whole affair is a mystery to them. The said Juan Antonio called at the Embassy and voluntarily declared that before leaving Milan he had tried, though in vain, to see the Duke, but that one of Sforza's relatives had told him he would greatly serve his country and the Duke also by taking charge of the commission which he had brought to Venice.
(Cipher:) The intelligence respecting Cremona and the Geradada (Ghiara d'Adda) having been offered to this Republic by the Duke of Milan has since been confirmed by the same person who gave it at first. He says that the Duke of Urbino, the Venetian Proveditor, and one Guido Bayno by name—who is said to make common cause with our enemies—are now making great offers to this .Republic, pretending that they can at any moment create a revolution in Milan and have the Imperial army cut to pieces in the said Geradada. Although this news, as stated above, seems very improbable, and there is little fear of these people undertaking such a thing—at a time, too, when the Emperor is about to make his peace with France, and the Pope is negotiating—the ambassadors have considered it their duty again to write to the generals at Milan, that they may take what military precautions their prudence shall dictate. Having also heard from the same source that on the following day the Council was to meet and discuss these very particulars, the ambassadors applied for an audience, and being admitted, proceeded to say: That they had received letters from the Imperial generals at Milan announcing the discovery in that city of a certain conspiracy in which the Republic was concerned, a sort of behaviour which did not tally at all with their constant protestations of friendship and wish for universal peace.
(Cipher:) The ambassadors thought that as the Republic was on the eve of deliberating on the affairs of Milan no better opportunity could offer itself to let them see that their secret negotiations and dealings against the Emperor's interests were perfectly known to them (the ambassadors). Upon which, and after many thanks for the sincerity and frankness of the above declaration, the Councillors denied the fact altogether, adding that no minister or ambassador of their own would ever dare to entertain practices without their express consent, and that the Imperial generals had, no doubt, been deceived on this occasion, as their sentiments towards the Emperor had always been—and were still—the same, namely, those of a faithful and well-meaning ally.
Received from Rome on the 13th inst. a copy of the agreement made between the Pope and the Duke of Sessa to suspend all negotiations for a term of three (fn. n6) months, in order to consult His Imperial Majesty. His Holiness, besides, is to ask this Republic whether they wish to be included in the projected league or not. In the opinion of the ambassadors it would be far preferable that the Venetians should not be comprised in the new treaty with the Pope, but allowed to remain as they are, bound by their own special league with the Emperor. In this manner were some of the Italian powers to fall off from the projected league,—as there is every reason to fear,—the Venetians would not be able to plead that excuse, and say they were not obliged to keep their word; besides which, in the event of the Pope's death, they might no longer consider themselves bound by treaty. But as His Imperial Majesty must already have been made acquainted with all this through the Duke of Sessa and the warder of Pamplona, (fn. n7) the ambassadors need not say anything more about it.
The Republic held their prega as announced. According to information derived from the same quarter mention was made of certain projects of the Duke of Urbino concerning the estate of Milan, the details of which, however, have not transpired. The motion, it is said, was not taken into consideration, and, in the opinion of the ambassadors, will never be discussed. During the pregha letters came from Rome announcing that the deed of suspension had been actually signed by the Pope and Duke of Sessa, and it is added that the Senators were anything but pleased at the intelligence.
Yesterday the ambassadors of France were closeted for upwards of one hour and a half in the Council Chamber, for what purpose is yet unknown.—Venice, 20 Dec. 1525.
Signed: "El Protonotario Caracciolo," "Alonso Sanchez."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial and Catholic Majesty of the Emperor and King, our Lord."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1525. From Venice. The Ambassadors, 20 Dec."
Spanish. Original partly in dither. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet. pp. 8.


  • n1. A copy of the deed itself, signed by the Pope and by the Duke, is to be found annexed, under fol. 368, entirely written in cipher, and with the deciphering on separate sheet at fol. 370. The deed is in Italian. It stipulates that the negotiations are to be suspended for a term of two mouths, to begin on the 16th of December and to end on the 16th of February 1526, any agreement entered into with the rest of the Italian powers by the Pope, the Emperor, or the Florentines being considered as null and void. During the said time no armaments to be raised by sea or land, and no direct or indirect assistance to be given by any of the parties to those whom they might consider as their friends and allies. The Venetians to be also comprised in the said convention, unless they gave notice to the contrary within 20 days' time. The garrisons of Milan and Cremona to be also included, provided they ceased firing on the besiegers, who would likewise abstain from further hostilities. The force to be raised conjointly by His Holiness and His Imperial Majesty to consist of 400 lances and 4,000 foot, each to be paid for the said two months, &c.—12 Dec. 1525.
  • n2. Estevan Gabriel Merino.
  • n3. Don Francisco de Bobadilla, from 1511 to 1529.
  • n4. "Que las cosas del Obispo no sean tan crudamente tratadas, pues lo que pide es justicia."
  • n5. A copy of this letter is in Bergenroth's collection, vol. iv., ff. 41–4. It is he same alluded to in Sessa's despatch of the 16th, p. 527.
  • n6. Thus in the original, but it must be a mistake of the ambassadors, for the term appointed was two months.
  • n7. Commander Herrera, who was alcayde or warder of the castle of Pamplona, the capital of Navarre.