Spain: March 1525, 6-10

Pages 62-88

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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March 1525, 6-10

[7] March. 28. The Vindication of the English. (fn. n1)
Arch. d. Royme.
de Belg. Pap.
d'Ang., Vol. I.,
f. 32.
In order that too long a silence may not disturb the sincere friendship and good understanding existing between His Imperial Majesty and the King of England, his faithful ally, the following statement of facts concerning the accidental arrest of one of the Imperial ambassador's servants and consequent seizure of the letters whereof he was the bearer, is now submitted to the Emperor's consideration. It is well known that very often, and for the greater security of the citizens of this town, patrols are sent out to walk, the streets in search of burglars, thieves, and other criminals who generally come out in the hours of darkness.
On the 8th of February last a general watch and patrol of this sort was ordered for the 11th. (fn. n2) On the preceding day the most Reverend Cardinal [of York] sent for M. de Praet, Imperial ambassador at this court, as he wished not only to impart and communicate to him, in the presence of most of the King's councillors, the good news he had just received from Italy through the Viceroy of Naples (Charles de Lannoy), the Duke of Bourbon, the Marquis of Pescara, Maître Pace, and others who had written to him, but also to talk over and discuss with the said ambassador the affairs of His Imperial Majesty and of the King, his master, and devise means to forward the same to their common honour and profit. The conference took place accordingly, and Mons. de Praet, after warmly thanking the Cardinal for his good intentions and for the interest he showed in the Emperor's affairs, took his leave and went away, apparently much satisfied with his reception, and pleased with what he had heard.
On the night of the 11th, close upon the hour of twelve, a man on horseback (fn. n3) endeavoured to cross the line of patrolling watchmen, by whom he was at once arrested. Being asked who he was, and what his business could be at that late hour of night, he answered hesitatingly,—as if conscious of his guilt, — that there was no one among those present who could bring a real charge against him; which evasive answer having naturally raised the suspicions of the watchmen, he was immediately searched, when a packet of letters bearing an address in French, was found on him. Not knowing the French language, and thinking the man might be a spy, the watchmen opened the packet and handed it over to one of their comrades who happened to be a clerk (ecrivain), that he might say what was inside. Finding the contents of the packet to be written almost entirely in cipher, of which he knew nothing, the clerk passed the papers over to an advocate (fn. n4) who was close by in another patrol. The advocate, however, was not better acquainted than the clerk himself with the secrets of diplomacy or the affairs of Princes, and, therefore, the packet was forthwith sent to Maître Thomas Morus (Moore), the King's councillor, who chanced to form part of another patrol a little further off. Maître Moore saw at once that the packet was addressed to His Imperial Majesty by his ambassador residing at this court; but observing that the seals had been broken and the letters read or very much tumbled, he kept them by him until the next morning early, when he placed them in the hands of the most Reverend Cardinal [of York]. The letters being, as before stated, unsealed and opened, the Cardinal had no scruple in perusing them, when, to his great astonishment, he found their contents to be the most absurd, false, and malicious reports that could be imagined about his own person, thus confirming the many warnings which he (the Cardinal) has from time to time received respecting the person of the said ambassador (Mons. de Praet), who has been represented to him as a wicked and treacherous man, always prone to do mischief, and by false and calumnious accounts to spread dissension and mistrust between Princes so closely united as the Emperor and King are. Finding, however, by the perusal of the said letters to the Emperor that the ambassador had sent others the day before, through an agent of the Fulquers (Fuggers), and not expecting to be better treated in them than he was in those he had before him, the Cardinal gave orders for the said letters to be also seized. For the first batch having been intercepted owing to a fortuitous accident, or rather to an act of Divine Providence, and the ambassador's wicked intentions having thus become manifest, it was desirable to lay hold of the second, in order the better to discover the secret of the ambassador's blameable behaviour, that Princes so closely allied to each other, as the Emperor and the King of England are, might guard against the insidious acts of so wicked a personage, and that the machinations originated in his hot brain might never disturb so sacred a union, now stronger than ever. No greater injury indeed could be done to the King of England than to presume or hint that the alliance and friendship so firmly established between the two said Majesties, and which is the only one the King maintains, and is daily trying to increase, can be anything but true and sincere.
The most Reverend Cardinal having, by the perusal of the said letters, discovered the ambassador's malicious intentions and practices, has deemed it necessary to inform the Emperor, as soon as possible, of the whole affair, from fear that the said Mons. de Praet, who has since been desired to abstain from communicating with the Imperial court until further order, should in the meantime invent some new lie, to the prejudice of the Princes' mutual alliance, and thereby damage the interests of Christianity at large.
The intercepted letters above alluded to contain, among other paragraphs equally injurious to the Cardinal, the following one relating to the Pope and the Florentines:—The most Reverend Cardinal of York said to me that if the Pope and the Florentines refused, by fair means, to comply with the proposed terms, they were to be compelled to accept them by force, especially the Holy Father, who might be threatened with deprivation of his dignity and other similar threats. In answer to which false and calumnious report of his sentiments and words the Cardinal states that from the time he was appointed to his present dignity until now he has always considered it a crime lœsœ Majestatis to speak disrespectfully about the Pope.
In another of his letters to the Emperor, Mons. de Praet introduces certain obscure and ambiguous sentences concerning Gregory [Casalis], now an envoy to the Imperial camp, by which it might be inferred that the Cardinal had publicly boasted of his doings, and said that in case of victory all the glory ought to be attributed to him, a sort of idea which never by chance has crossed his mind.
In one of his letters to Jean Lallemand, the Emperor's secretary, the ambassador says: If we can only gain this battle all will go well with the Emperor, our master, provided, he can afterwards disengage himself from the ties of his friends and confederates, to whom, I do not hesitate to say, he owes but little gratitude, &c., which words seem very much opposed, and contrary to the great friendship hitherto subsisting between the two Princes.
The ambassador further says in his letter to Mr. de Hooghstrate: When things fall out well the Cardinal does not know what to say; if they turn out otherwise he tells me wonders about his own doings and exertions, as if he and his subordinates had done everything, and the efforts made in another quarter were good for nothing. I hope to live long enough to see our master properly avenged of this man, who is, in a great measure, the cause of all the evil now befalling His Imperial Majesty; and if ever I get an opportunity, I will not fail, with the Emperor's permission, to lay the whole affair before this King, and show him what injury the Cardinal has done to the common cause, for I can assure your Worship that I keep every circumstance in my memory. The Cardinal really thinks that his unlimited affection for His Imperial Majesty deserved a better treatment than the revengeful spite thus shown in the above words. When these and similar expressions are found in the intercepted letters, it may be safely concluded that the writer has not spared all manner of injurious qualifications when describing the acts of the Cardinal, as if he could, in such delicate matters, have acted contrary to the wish and orders of his master, who, besides being a Prince full of wisdom and experience, is as much, or perhaps better, inclined to favour the interests and promote the welfare of his ally, the Emperor, than his own.
The Imperial ambassador, therefore, could not have conceived anything more injurious or dishonourable than such false and malicious reports sent to the Emperor or to his councillors respecting men and things of this country, tending, if believed in, to create suspicion and mistrust between two friendly Princes, and in the end to break their alliance asunder.
If His Imperial Majesty, after such an exposure of his ambassador's conduct, wishes that a man of so suspicious a character, or rather a declared enemy of both Princes, should still continue to represent his person in England, the Cardinal begs leave to state that nobody here will dare to transact business with a man of so pernicious a character and so bad an interpreter of people's words and sentiments.
The Emperor, in short, must feel convinced that the seizure of the ambassador's letters, which, as aforesaid, was not owing to any deliberate scheme or preconceived purpose, but only to the natural wish of discovering the origin and extent of the above malicious reports, must be held as providential, since it will stop the venomous influence of such wicked counsels, tending to destroy the alliance between the two Princes, and to work the ruin of the universal Christian republic. (fn. n5)
French. Contemporary copy. pp. 6.
Arch, du Royme.
de Belg. Neg.
d'Ang., p. 64.
29. Justification des Anglois. (fn. n6)
Notwithstanding the French King's crafty design (ruse) to have Naples invaded by a body of troops under the command of the Duke of Aliban (Albany), it is quite evident that his intention was to oblige the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy), to quit the neighbourhood of Pavia, and hasten to the defence of the threatened kingdom. These plans of the French King, however, were defeated by the Viceroy, who, collecting together all his forces, decided to attack the French in their camp. The King of England was delighted to hear of this, as it was a sign that the Viceroy's courage and tactics would ultimately prevail against the common enemy. Yet there is a rumour afloat that there exists a secret agreement (convention) between His Holiness and the French to act in common, and so manage their respective forces that they may obtain the success of their enterprise, from which it may safely be concluded that the French King would never have undertaken the above-mentioned invasion [of Naples] had he not made with the Pope a previous engagement to that effect.
The motives generally attributed to His Holiness for thus making common cause with the French King, and behaving so insincerily towards the Emperor and the King of England, are, among others, the permission granted to the French to pass through the Piacentino, the duration of the present war, and perhaps, too, his own kind nature (bienveillance), or his personal ambition. Meanwhile the King, my master, confidently believed in my words, when I assured him that no reverse whatever, not even the loss of his capital, Rome, no interest or ambition, whether personal or national, would ever induce His Holiness to desert the Emperor's cause. This language of mine, and the assurances that came continually from Rome that the Pope was friendly to the Imperial alliance, prevailed upon the King, my master, to treat and conclude certain stipulations which he now finds impossible to carry out. (fn. n7)
Time has come to speak to His Holiness in plain terms. For if it be true, according to general report, that for many years past his consummate experience of affairs, great discretion, and particular love of Catholic religion made people augur favourably of his pontificate, and expect he would do more than any of his predecessors for the peace and tranquillity of the world at large, as well as for the honour and exaltation of the Holy See, there can be no doubt that the people's hopes have been baffled. For the path which His Holiness has chosen to take is likely to lead to the ruin of the Christian commonwealth, as well as to the destruction of the Holy See. In view of so many dangers as surround the Pontiff, I cannot refrain, out of love and affection to his person, from declaring, with due humility, the reasons I have for doubting whether his conduct in the present state of affairs is either wise or prudent. I beg you to take the first opportunity to remonstrate with His Holiness, and inform him of my sentiments, as expressed above. You will tell him that the King, my master, has always been inclined to a lasting peace among Christians, and tried everything in his power against the disturbers of the said peace, so that he might afterwards turn his arms against the Infidel.
Nobody knows better than myself the extreme joy of the King, my master, when first he heard of His Holiness' exaltation to the pontificate, and when I assured him that his love of peace would by no means be inferior to his own, and when I intimated that God had evidently vouchsafed in these troubled times the election of a Pontiff equally sound in soul and body (sain de corps et d'esprit) who might, conjointly with the Emperor and King, labour during many years in so grand and meritorious a work. In short, there is no need for me to enumerate the services and merits of the King, my master, when he stemmed by his writings the torrent of heresy, at a time, too, when the demon was likely to split and divide the whole Christian republic, he being ready still, if required, to employ his sword and his pen in defence [of Catholic religion].
It is with extreme sorrow that the King has heard of the havoc and ruin achieved by the Infidel in the island and capital city of Rhodes, as well as in Belgrade, which may be rightly considered as the two great bulwarks of Christendom. One may easily imagine to what dangers Christian Princes may hence forwards be exposed through the growing power of the Turk. This is precisely one of the reasons for the King, my master, to push the war with vigour, having always preferred a slight advantage over his enemy and an honourable peace, so that all Christian Princes might turn their arms against the infidel, to the continuation of the destructive war amongst Christians. All wise people are already feeling the chains and miseries (les fers et misères) that are likely to come down, not only upon Hungary, but upon Naples, Italy, Rome, and upon the whole Christian community, if the Turk is allowed to profit by the dissensions of the Christian Princes. It is also much to be lamented that, when the Lutheran sect is making such progress in Germany, and is likely soon to spread over Flanders, France, Spain, Scotland, and England, and over all the rest of the Christian world, and when people expected that His Holiness would apply a prompt remedy to such enormous, pernicious, and execrable evil, their hopes should be frustrated; for certainly, if that be the case, as reported, there is no knowing what will happen.
All things considered, neither His Majesty the King nor myself can persuade ourselves that a Pope whom God has gifted with prudence, courage, and other fine qualities may so forget himself as to treat, either through fear or moved by his own personal interest and those of his family, with a Prince who, by his boundless ambition, is keeping up war instead of risking his life and substance for the weal of Christianity. Should His Holiness entertain the above sentiments—which it is to be hoped he does not—and ally himself to a Prince who may well be called the origin and cause of this present war among Christians, the following results may be anticipated: In the first place, since there has been some hope of peace by the intermediate agency of His Holiness, had he been firm in his determination, and brought it about, or rather had he, for the sake of religion, opposed the plans and designs of those who are the principal disturbers of that peace, His Holiness may be sure that had the enemy, by his mediation and assistance, gained possession of Naples and Milan, the Emperor would never have been persuaded to listen to proposals of peace, and the King of England, on the other hand, would have employed all his forces to prevent the enemy from reaping the fruits of his victory, and to have the Emperor re-established in his honour, rights, and possessions; (fn. n8) a thing which the King, my master, besides the love he bears the Emperor, is the more bound to do that when the treaty of Windsor was signed he (the Emperor) was sole master and supreme lord in those countries [Naples and Milan]. So that, instead of putting an end to the war, the King, my master, would prosecute it with greater vigour, and make it, if possible, more ruinous than it is at present. The responsibility of such an act would entirely rest upon His Holiness, as it would be disagreeable to God, dangerous to the Christian republic, dishonourable for the past, and execrable not only in present times but for the future.
Secondly. Were the King of France, a prince so ambitious of territorial aggrandisement (ambitieux de l'Empire et des roiaumes), to become the master of Naples and Milan, all the rest of Italy would soon fall under his rule, partly from fear, partly by stratagems and deceit, and he would thus become the true lord of the Roman Empire. Meanwhile the Pope, seduced by his promises, would only act by his orders, and be, perhaps, a little better treated than one of his ordinary chaplains, (fn. n9) whereby the humiliation of the Holy See would be accomplished. His Holiness the Pope has too much wisdom not to see that such dishonourable policy would always be remembered in the annals of history, and that people of future ages would say he (the Pope) was the cause and origin of all the evil that ensued.
Certainly it is a matter of serious consideration, the cowardice and fragility of the greater part of the Christian community, in thus allowing the Lutheran heresy to spread over Germany, and infest a country belonging almost entirely to the Emperor or to his brother the Archduke. And if it were found that the Pope, by his ingratitude to the Emperor, had contributed to increase the spreading of the said heresy, is a matter which he and his brother (the Archduke) have done everything in their power to arrest, it will be an excuse for the subjects of those two Princes to do and say what they think most detrimental to the Church and to its chief. Whence it will naturally follow that all those countries of Germany now-a-days so inclined and leaning [towards the said heresy] will embrace that abominable sect, and shake off entirely the yoke of obedience to the Roman Church, which, once shaken in its foundations, will never get assistance from Italy or France, however friendly those countries may show themselves. In fact, to say the truth, I perceive the same inclination in several ecclesiastics of this kingdom, secular as well as regular, who, I am afraid, are inclined to follow so deplorable an example.
It would, therefore, be far more advantageous for the Pope, if, with his usual prudence and tact, he were to deal with Princes in a manner to increase the esteem and honour of the Apostolic See, by securing the friendship of the Emperor,—one of the most powerful Princes in Christendom, and whose dominions are more widely spread,—rather than making a bitter enemy of him, and be the cause of the ties of obedience to Rome being loosened or perhaps entirely broken; which last eventuality is well worth consideration, since at the time I write the danger is very imminent, and I know His Holiness is aware of it. (fn. n10)
Respecting Germany, the Pope's wisdom, on one hand, and the ability (industrie) of Cardinal Campeggio on the other, give hopes that the Lutheran heresy will be little by little weakened and ultimately extirpated. But if the people once become aware of the Pope's present sentiments and leanings, if the report be true that he is in league with the French against the Emperor, besides the danger which Cardinal Campeggio himself is exposed to in that country, (fn. n11) it is impossible to say what harm may not be done; for the Turk, whose power is very formidable, will have a fine opportunity, seeing the forces of Christendom divided, to attack Hungary; that kingdom being weak and surrounded by Princes at war with each other (whether they be the vassals of the Emperor, or his allies,) will be unable to resist so fierce an invasion, and France itself, engaged in other wars, will not be in a condition to defend Italy or Rome. His Holiness, therefore, as a good father who wishes to procure the tranquility and welfare of the Christian family, and to apply a remedy against the said heresy (peste), ought to put aside his own private interests and devote all his attention to the increase and spread of Christianity, or, rather, to its preservation, at the present time, for, to say the truth, and confessing it to His Holiness with all due respect, I think there can be nothing so displeasing in the eyes of God as to see his ministers and the supreme head of our religion engaged and implicated in the terrible feuds of Christian Princes. For it seems to me that it was precisely after similar treaties of defensive and offensive alliance, concluded between Christian Princes by the mediation of the Holy See, that God sent down greater calamities (accabla) upon the Christian religion. As a general rule, such conventions, originating in the private interests of the Popes or in those of their relatives and friends, have never to this day been successful, and have only contributed to vilify the Holy See; since all the efforts which one single man made at great cost were in his lifetime, or soon after his death, completely destroyed, to the great detriment and loss of the Holy See, and I need not observe that such treaties and conventions have been the cause of the Lutheran and other sects rising against the Apostolic See.
I am fully convinced that all and every one of the evils above enumerated is known to His Holiness, and that he is very far, as reported, from embracing the cause of the French King; and yet the matter is so important that, as a devoted friend of the present Pope, I consider it my duty to declare my sentiments to him, point out the great dangers by which we all are surrounded, and to which I trust he will soon apply a remedy much more efficacious than what we ourselves could devise.
Therefore, in order that you (the ambassador) may know what the King and myself think of this matter, I will tell you that there are three means to be employed to deter the French King from his ambitious projects on the kingdom of Naples, by which means all obstacles will be easily surmounted. I beg you to expound them to His Holiness on the King's part and my own, as a friendly advice, always supposing that affairs are in the state they are reported to be.
The first and most important is for the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) to persist in his intention of collecting as large a force as he can, and give the enemy battle before they have time to strengthen their position; for the King, my master, hears from different sources that the French King has not only sent orders to Mons. de Lautrec to join him in great haste, but also for all the infantry and cavalry in the Duchy to collect round him, as he is fearful of the Imperialists giving him battle. This is the time for action, and not let such opportunity slip, for, if successful against the common enemy, not only the kingdom of Naples and the whole of Lombardy would be sheltered from his insults, but the Duke of Albany's expedition would be totally defeated. The French King, unable to hold the duchy of Milan, would abandon it, and probably consent to any terms of peace that might be proposed to him. And although this Italian quarrel does nowise concern the King, my master, either by treaty or particular convention with the Emperor, yet such is his sincere affection for His Imperial Majesty, that, provided the battle be fought, he will give immediately to his army, by way of reward, 50,000 crowns (ecus) already destined for that purpose, and which are in the hands of Sir John Russell, now on the spot.
2ndly. The second means may be reduced to this; In case of the said Viceroy deeming it necessary to abandon his present position, the better to defend Naples, threatened by Albany's forces, the King's advice is that Lodi, Cremona, and other strong places in the Duchy should be provided with numerous and well-appointed garrisons. This, coupled with the foregoing instructions, which you are requested to communicate to His Holiness, might induce the Pope to abandon the cause of the King of France and pass over to the Emperor, since he will easily perceive that every event has been provided for, and that he need no longer fear the King of France. Similar steps are to be taken with regard to the Venetians, who will be induced to join their forces to those of the Emperor, so that the Pope may, if not openly, at least tacitly, give his help and concourse to the Imperial cause, stopping the defiles of the Bolognese, so as to prevent the French couriers from reaching the royal camp. If so, the King will be unable to go to Naples, his army will be in want of provisions, and easily defeated, or at least so much molested that the King will be compelled to raise his camp and return to France, to his shame and dishonour.
3rdly. If neither of the above plans can be easily executed, the opinion here (in England) is that recourse must be had to the expedient proposed by the Pope some time ago, namely, that the Viceroy and the Imperialists place in his (the Pope's) hands all the strong places they hold in the Milanese, during the time of the truce, and whilst the preliminaries of the peace are being settled, since the King of France, according to the Pope's own statement, is willing to do the same with such towns and territory as he holds in the Duchy, and promises, besides, to evacuate Italy and retire with his troops the moment the truce is signed. In case, however, of this last condition not being stipulated in some other form, it is, I am told, His Holiness' intention to have the agreement renewed. In this manner, the truce, once accepted on both sides, the kingdom of Naples is sheltered from insult (a l'abri de toute insulte), and the duchy of Milan will not be lost, but, on the contrary, restored to His Imperial Majesty after the truce or such treaty [of peace] made in consequence as will ensure the Emperor its full possession. The French King, no longer in a condition to conquer Naples or keep his footing in the Milanese, will be enabled to retreat into France safely, and without great personal dishonour; and in the meantime, before the expiration of the truce, a treaty of peace may be concluded between the belligerents.
That the King's intentions in this matter may be better understood and appreciated, Mons. Pace, the King's first secretary, has been despatched to Venice to exhort and encourage the Signory to join their forces to those of the Emperor, as agreed between them; and Sir Gregory Cassalis is to go to the Viceroy's camp and communicate to him the nature of his charge according to his instructions, a copy of which is appended. The King has likewise sent Sir John Russell to the Duke of Bourbon to help him with his counsel and advice, if he should stand in need of it; also to inform him as soon as possible of the course of events. The King would see with pleasure Mons. de Bourbon at his court, that they may devise together—in case of the truce not being concluded—the best means of harassing and molesting the common enemy.
You will remark also that, among other things contained in Master Pace's instructions, one is that he is to tell the Signory that unless they do observe their treaty with the Emperor, and refuse the French passage through their territory to invade the kingdom of Naples, the King, my master, will no longer consider them as the Emperor's friends and allies, but as his declared enemies, and will treat them as such on every occasion.
You will remonstrate with His Holiness, and tell him, in my name, that since the danger is so great and so imminent, I entreat him, if he loves God, and wishes for the welfare of Christianity, to accept the advice I tender him, and set to work with all diligence, or rather, if he prefers it and finds it more convenient, to make at once close alliance with the Emperor and my King. Should he reject my counsel, and were some great calamity to ensue, neither the King nor myself nor any of those who are sincerely attached to His Holiness will be responsible for it before God and man, and all the fault, dishonour, and penalty likely to follow will fall on the authors. You will, however, explain this to His Holiness with all possible prudence and circumspection, and if you find him so devoted to the French cause that it is impossible to separate him from it, it will be perhaps better and wiser not to disclose to him the King's secret intentions, from fear he should immediately apprize the French King of them; but you will nevertheless make him understand, by solid argumentation and potent reasons, the dangers which, as before stated, threaten the Holy See and the whole Christian community.
By letters from the Emperor to his ambassador at this court (Praet?), of which a copy is enclosed, we learn that he has remitted bills of exchange to Italy to the amount of 200,000 ducats. The King of France, on the other hand, is very confident of success, not so much by force of arms, as by the long duration of the war, and the want of money and provisions, which, he thinks, will in the end oblige the Imperial army to break up and disperse. Some bills of exchange which the Emperor was remitting to his army have, it appears, been intercepted, which, it is added, is a very serious loss for the Imperialists, and may greatly contribute to the success of the enemy, unless provision be made in another quarter. And as the King, my master, is unwilling that such brave army should disperse and be destroyed for want of funds, he has decided, with the advice of his Council, to remit certain sums in Italy. As money, however, cannot be easily transported from one place to another without great risk and danger, and as bankers, who are very timid,—not knowing how the affairs of Italy will end,—hesitate to give bills of exchange, an agreement has been entered into with Antonio Vivaldo of Genoa, and Nicolas Dodo of Venice, to furnish 40,000, 50,000, and even 100,000 ducats on the conditions and at the rate of discount agreed between the said Secretary Pace, now at Venice, and the agents and partners [in Italy] of the said Vivaldo and Dodo.
The ambassador must be well convinced that the King's intention has always been to succour the Imperialists to the utmost of his power, so that the army, otherwise fatigued by the length of the war, should not lose courage, but rather be in a condition to fight the French. It is for that purpose that the King orders and commands you to distribute at once and without loss of time, whether there be battle or not, and provided you consider the sum sufficient to prevent the breaking up of the Imperial army, the 50,000 ducats which have been promised to the Viceroy. Moreover, if you saw that the success of the enterprise depended chiefly on such assistance in money, and that 30,000, 40,000, or 50,000 ducats would be required, you will also give them, over and above the said sum of 50,000 above mentioned, borrowing the same from merchants, if they can be found, to be reimbursed [by the Emperor]; or if you still saw that the necessity was very urgent indeed, you may give them even without any such stipulation and as a gift. (fn. n12) And in order that the Emperor's affairs may be better conducted, Master Pace, now in Venice, has been ordered to communicate with you the progress of his negotiation with the Signory.
You will perceive by the Emperor's letter that he is determined to defend Italy against the tyranny and oppression of France. This would be of great weight with His Holiness, if his intentions were good, for he need no longer be in suspense at the least vain appearance, and be influenced by fear or despair, for it is evident that during this present campaign the French King has not conquered one single strong place or achieved anything of importance, besides which the Pope must be fully convinced that neither the Emperor nor his allies are wanting the means and the courage to defend from the common enemy their estates, their honour, and their glory, even if the present campaign were lost.
Lastly, you will try to persuade His Holiness that whatever the French or other people may say respecting an agreement already made, or about to be made, with their King through the agency of the person lately sent by the Queen Regent, or through any other, nothing shall be done without the consent and approval of the Emperor, or without the knowledge of His Holiness, to whom all the honour and glory of the negotiation, if successful, will be attributed.
French. Copy. pp. 20.
Arch, du Royme.
de Belg. Neg.
d'Ang., p. 64.
30. A Latin Translation of the above Paper.
Indorsed: "Couleur soubz le quel les Anglois veullent justiffier la saisie des lettres du Sieur de Praet, luy estant ambassadeur de l'Empereur XX. XXV."
Latin. Contemporary copy. pp. 19.
8 March. 31. The King of England to the Emperor.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof- u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 11.
My most beloved Son:—After my most cordial commendations and thanks to God for your happy convalescence, about which and other good news concerning your person I shall be glad to hear from time to time, the object of the present is to desire and request that you will give favourable audience and as firm a credence as you would to my own self, to my ambassador, Doctor Sampson, now residing at your court; who, among other charges respecting the many important matters now pending between us, has that of representing to you the indiscreet, unloyal, and ungrateful proceedings of Mons. de Praet, your resident ambassador at this my court, whose conduct has been very different from my paternal affection, acts, and proceedings towards you and your affairs, and from the equally goodwill and intention of my most beloved Cardinal. Which business is such, and so nearly touches on the continuance of the good understanding and harmony existing between you and me, that I have not the least doubt that you will see to it, and have the said Praet punished as our mutual amity demands, and in such a manner that I may be made certain that the conduct of your ambassador has been so displeasing to you as to myself. And that you may know, my most beloved son, how much I take this affair at heart, I here place my signature and seal, which are well known to you, begging our Lord to keep you under his safeguard.—In the hand of your good father, brother, and uncle, "Henry."
Addressed: "A mon mieulx aime fils et frere l'Empereur."
Indorsed: "Henry the VIII., King of England, to the Emperor."
French, Holograph, p. 1.
8 March. 32. The Cardinal of York to the Emperor.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof- u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 10.
Sire:—After my most humble commendations, and my daily prayers to God, on my knees, for your convalescence, as well as for the continuance of your good health and prosperity of your affairs, the object of the present is humbly to beseech that your Majesty will take into consideration my services, poor and insignificant as they are, and the unchanging affection which I have always borne, and still bear, towards your royal person and the advancement and good issue of your affairs, about which I can assert upon my honour, faith, and loyalty that I take as much interest as if they were my master's own. Neither have I ever done anything, that I know, to the prejudice of those very affairs, or the person of your Majesty, as some ill-intentioned people may have had the boldness to surmise, which assertion, most confidently put forward, gives me courage humbly to request that your Majesty, for the purgation and discharge of my poor honour and reputation, will cast off and reject the indiscreet, disloyal, false, and abusive reports and advices of the Sieur de Praet, your resident ambassador at this court, whom I have all the time, and for your sake, treated as favourably and affectionately as if he were my own brother, causing the said Praet to be so far reproved and punished that the King, my master, and all the Princes of Christendom may be convinced that if I have well shown my services, goodwill, and affection, your Majesty, as a noble and virtuous Prince, cannot fail to consider my cordial good wish, zeal, and intentions to be pure. I doubt not, Sire, that you will not allow your very loyal servant to be thus treated and made a subject for scandal without any cause or for it. And that your Majesty, Sire, may fully understand and appreciate my present petition, I hereby append the signature that you know. R.—In the hand of your most humble servant, "T. Cardinalis Eboracensis."
Addressed: "To the Emperor, &c."
French Original, pp. 2.
9 March. 33. The Commissioners to Madame.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof- u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 14.
Tuesday, the last day of February, the Commissioners wrote from Calais advising their embarkation, which took place soon after, having crossed the Channel to Dover on the same day; whence, and under the attendance of the Treasurer of Calais, (fn. n13) who had orders to accompany and escort them, the ambassadors reached London on Sunday the 5th inst.
The Saturday before Mons. de Praet came out 12 miles from town to receive the ambassadors, who, after exhibiting their credentials, asked his advice as to the best way of fulfilling their charge. He (Praet) was very glad at their coming; their mission, he said, was very necessary at the present time for the common interest of the Emperor and King. He hoped everything would turn out well, but was in great perplexity owing to the King and Legate having taken a dislike to him, and otherwise showed their indignation for the reasons fully detailed in his last despatch.
On the same Sunday the ambassadors were met three miles from town by Monseigneur de Lille (Lisle) the King's bastard uncle, (fn. n14) at present Admiral of England, followed by a suite of gentlemen, who paid them all manner of attention and courtesy, though he (the admiral) intimated to Mons de Bevres that he had orders from the King not to allow the said Praet to appear before his presence, or come to town. He might go forward or remain behind, as he liked best, but on no account was he to be allowed to enter London at the same time as the embassy. He (Bevres) was rather perplexed at this intimation, but wishing not to displease the King on this matter, went up to Mons. de Praet, and in the best manner he could, declared to him the King's intention and wish, when the Imperial ambassador prudently withdrew on one side and remained behind, the ambassadors continuing their journey [to London] and being conducted by Mons. de Lille to their lodgings opposite to St. Pauls, close to the King's residence.
That very day the ambassadors, wishing to show their diligence and zeal, begged the Treasurer of Calais to call on the Cardinal now residing at court, and request he would appoint an early hour for them to pay their respects and acquaint him with their charge. The Cardinal, however, had anticipated the ambassadors, for immediately after their arrival [in London] he sent them a message by the said treasurer, to appear before him the next day, at nine in the morning. The order having been countermanded owing to certain pressing business of the Legato, the ambassadors then decided that the President [Laurens] alone should call after dinner and inquire when it would be the Cardinal's pleasure to receive them, which he did, as agreed. After the usual compliments, and Mons. de Praet's late affair being brought under discussion, the Cardinal failed not to show his anger and displeasure, in such violent terms that he (the President) cannot see really how he and the King are to be reconciled and satisfied thereupon, unless His Imperial Majesty and Madame take up the affair, and send new instructions to that effect, for any excuses they (the ambassadors) might offer in his (Praet's) behalf would only irritate them and make them quite unmanageable. The Cardinal fixed Tuesday next for an audience of the King, but when it came to be settled whether the audience should be public or secret, the Cardinal remarked that a secret audience was far preferable, because at a public conference all the ambassadors would be present, and hearing what they had to say, could not fail to apprise their respective governments. Besides he could not say whether the ambassadors would leave the council chamber in perfect agreement, and therefore, all things considered, thought that the audience had better be held secret.
On the evening of Tuesday the ambassadors were conducted to the King's presence by certain noblemen and gentlemen deputed for that purpose. They were affably received by the King, when, after the usual presentation of their letters and credentials, the President (Laurens) began to expound his charge in the following manner: He described the many services which Madame had done to the common cause by maintaining the alliance between her nephew, the Emperor, and the King of England; the distress in which the Imperial army in Italy was for want of means; the inconveniences and dangers likely to ensue, as well as the loss of reputation to both the Emperor and King, if the said army should be obliged to abandon its present positions. He concluded by requesting the King, in Madame's name, to lend his assistance to their common cause by sending a, large army across the sea, to which she would add 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot, wherewith to invade the kingdom of France, on both sides, so as to compel King Francis to come to terms, and make some agreement equally advantageous to both Majesties.
After which the President proceeded to request that the time fixed for the Princess's delivery should be anticipated as much as possible, giving the many reasons Madame had to express such a wish in the Emperor's behalf and for the better issue of their common plans.
The answer made by the King and Cardinal to the above requests was: That the former point was no doubt of great importance for both monarchs, deserving great attention, and one which ought to be the subject of future conferences. Notwithstanding what ill-intentioned people might have said to the contrary, he (the King) was in the same steadiness of purpose as heretofore. It would not be his fault if some good enterprise were not made, at a convenient time, and provided His Imperial Majesty did the same on his side. The season had not yet come to take the field, as the time appointed by treaty was the end of May. He considered the most urgent necessity now-a-days was to succour Pavia or compel the enemy to raise the siege.
With regard to the second point the King said: The Princess, his daughter, was still young; she was his own treasure, and that of his kingdom; she was not of age to he married; and, besides, he had reasons to believe that the Emperor had not charged the ambassadors to make any such request. He concluded by saying he was much pleased to see them at his court; that enough had been said on either side for a first interview, and would refer the Commissioners to the Cardinal for the ensuing day (Wednesday the 8th), when the above two points and any others they might bring forward should be discussed at leisure.
Accordingly on the appointed day, the Commissioners called on the Cardinal, at his lodgings in town, when having placed in his hands the letter which the Seigneur De Carmonailles, Madame's ecuyer tranchant, had brought that very morning, Praet's affair fell under discussion; for no sooner had the Cardinal read Madame's letter, which turned exclusively on that subject, than he began to complain in the most bitter terms of the said ambassador, who (he said) had been writing in very improper terms about him, not only to the Emperor and to Madame, but likewise to Mons. de Hoochstraete and Maistre Jehan Lallemand, the Emperor's secretary, adding that neither the King, his master, nor himself would have any more to do with the said Praet. Hearing which, and remembering what the King himself had said to the same purpose on a previous day, the Commissioners inquired, as graciously as possible, whether he [the Cardinal] considered it necessary that another ambassador should be sent in his room; his answer was, "If the Emperor and Madame wish to have an ambassador at this court, they must needs send a new one to represent them, for certainly the King, ray master, shall never again admit Praet to his presence, or consider him as the Emperor's representative." After which declaration the Cardinal went on reproducing his accusations in a manner that would take too much time to transcribe.
Nothing was then left for the Commissioners but to express their deep regret that matters had come to such a pitch, as well as the hope that some expedient might hereafter be found to calm his irritation. Such was Madame's wish, and, determined as she was to do the King's pleasure in this particular, she was about to recall the said Praet and order him go to Spain, where the whole affair would be properly looked into.
To the above declaration and promise the Cardinal made no answer whatever. The Commissioners own that their perplexity is daily increasing, as they see no possible remedy to the evil, for this very day, when, after the receipt of such rejoicing news (fn. n15) as those conveyed in Madame's letter to the King, the Commissioners applied for an audience, they were dryly told there was no necessity for them to see the King, and that if the letter was sent to him (the Cardinal) it would be quite sufficient. The Commissioners then communicated with Mons. de Praet, who perceiving that he will never recover the King's grace, and cannot here be of use either to the Emperor or to Madame, has decided to withdraw from this court, and quit England, as soon as he has orders to do so, in which case the Commissioners need scarcely point out the urgency of having some honourable man to fill his place as soon as possible.
After this the Commissioners went on expounding, as above, the three principal objects of their charge, namely, the sending of an army across the sea, the anticipation of the period at which the Princess is to be given away, and, lastly, the means that could be employed to allay the suspicions and do away with the mistrust at present existing [in our mutual relations], begging the Cardinal to declare whence the said suspicions and mistrust originated, and who was the cause of them.
The Cardinal thanked the Commissioners for the frank and open manner in which they spoke, saying he was ready to answer, but would begin by the third and last article. He then asked, "What causes have you to mistrust us?" The Commissioners' reply was, that there were, among others, three different and chief causes to mistrust the sincerity of his professions. One was the protracted stay in England of this Jean Joackin, a servant of Madame, the Regent of France, who had now been in England seven or eight months. Another was the arrival (in London) of the President of Rouen (Jean Brinon), a person of quality and rank, who could not have left his country except for legitimate and important reasons. His answer was, "I have never treated with the said Joackin, or concluded anything with the President, though I have often conferred with him. True it is that when the Bishop of Capua (Schomberg) came to this country, there was a talk [between them] of the said Bishop writing to the King of France to advise that he should send a man to this court and another to the Emperor. In case of the French King accepting the proposition, he (the Bishop) was to write a letter bearing a cross at the top by way of signal, which the Bishop did, and Joackin thus came [to England] in virtue of the said letter. But as he had no letters or powers from the Regent, no attention was paid to his suit. The President [of Rouen] then came, properly instructed and with sufficient powers to treat, offering, in the Regent's name, an annual pension of 50,000 crowns, besides all arrears due on the said pension, and some territory for the King, my master, (which, however, was not designated), provided he would consent to treat."
The Commissioners' reply was, "Even supposing the affair to have passed as described, it seems to us as if the King of France ought to have sent another agent to the Emperor, and as if he (the Cardinal), in due observance of the treaties, ought not to have listened to any overtures before that formality had been complied with."
The second cause for mistrust was that although from the beginning of the war the Emperor had always kept his army at great cost—the Commissioners mentioning the sums that had been spent in the service,—although Pavia had been closely besieged for upwards of six months, and the Imperial army had been in great distress, the King of France absent and his kingdom without defenders, yet the King of England had not stirred or made any sign of invading France.
By way of a reply to the above accusation, the Cardinal enumerated several blunders and faults which he said had been committed by us in Spain, as well as in Flanders and Italy, which would take too long to relate, and to which they, the Commissioners, made a suitable answer.
With regard to the third cause of complaint and mistrust the Commissioners urged that although Madame had often been requested to grant safe-conducts to merchants and ship-owners, who had offered very large sums of money for them, she had constantly refused, notwithstanding that the Low Countries had suffered so much for want of salt that the price had lately risen from six or seven livres to 60 and 80. Meanwhile what was the King doing? He was granting safe-conducts to all those who applied for them, either to Englishmen to visit the French ports, or to Frenchmen to frequent his own, just as if there had been no war between the two nations.
The Cardinal's answer was that we had begun first by granting them to the Piedmontese, seeing which, the King, his master, had done the same. After a good deal of argumentation on either side, the conversation again fell on the first point, viz., the army to be sent across the channel into France, and the Cardinal said at once: "The King, my master, is quite ready to cross over under the following conditions:
1st. Madame is to furnish 3,000 horse and 3,000 foot.
2nd. The army to enter France by way of Normandy.
3rd. The Emperor to procure sufficient money to keep up his Italian army.
4th. The King of England to be made certain that the said Italian army will be kept and maintained until his own passage into France, and even during the time he may be there, without [the Emperor] making peace or truce with the enemy in the meantime, but, on the contrary, attending to the war in person."
Upon which the Commissioners' answer was thus conceived: "We came here to ask for succour and help. If the King's intention is to grant our request, it must be on such conditions as we can accept in the Emperor's name. The first is altogether unacceptable; the people of the Low Countries have, been so heavily taxed for the last five years, on account of the war, that it will be next to impossible to get anything more out of them. Were the 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot to be furnished, according to agreement, there would still be the necessity of providing for the defence of our country against Mons. de Gueldres and the French, besides raising a large number of troops to cover so extensive a frontier as that of France, Holland, Brabant, Luxembourg, Namur, Haynaut, Artois, and Flanders."
With regard to the second point, the Commissioners observed that even in case of the said contingent being furnished, a force consisting of 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot would not be able to join an English army descending into Normandy, owing to the great distance between that country and their own, the difficulties of the road and the passage of such rivers as the Somme, the Ardeche, and the Seine. But the Cardinal replied that the King would send 10,000 English infantry as far as Vallenchiennes (Valenciennes), there to meet our forces, and accompany them through France until they effected their junction with the King's army in Normandy, which proposition the Commissioners offered to refer home for consultation, although in reality they saw no chance of its being accepted.
Respecting the fourth point, the Commissioners stated that although the bills of exchange for 200,000 ducats which the Emperor was sending to his army in Italy had fallen into the hands of the enemy, yet the money had not been lost, and it was probable that similar bills had been sent through another way. If the King would remit a decent sum of money the Commissioners had no doubt the Imperial army in Italy would be maintained on a war-footing. The Cardinal's answer was, that if Madame agreed to make remittances to the amount of 50,000 crowns, the King would contribute with an equal sum, to which the Commissioners replied unanimously: "Madame has not the means to do that; nobody will lend her money, though she is willing, for the stipend of the said 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot, to sell or pawn her own rings and jewels."
To the fourth and last point, concerning the securities and pledges to be given by the Emperor of keeping up his Italian army and not making peace with the common enemy, the Commissioners observed, in reply, that since the Emperor had hitherto rejected all the overtures and solicitations made by the French King, it was not to be presumed that be would now grant what he had constantly refused.
Respecting the delivery of Princess [Mary] the Cardinal having said, as above, that she was too young, that the English people looked upon her as the treasure of the kingdom, and that we had no hostages to be sufficient security for her, the Commissioners naturally inquired what hostages the King would want. Upon which the Cardinal said, "You might give us some towns and fortresses in the Low Countries." The Commissioners cut him short by saying, "That could never be; and we think that, even, if offered, your Eminence would not accept of them. He then asked for Monseigneur (l'Archiduc), and he was also answered in the negative, on the plea that Monseigneur was already emancipated and his own master.
The conference this day ended by the Cardinal giving his assurance that an early day should be appointed again to discuss the above points, when he would do everything in his power to persuade the King, his master, to grant the Emperor's requests. He then invited the Commissioners to attend mass at the Franciscan convent with the King, and dine at court. They might, after dinner, pay their respects to the Queen and Princess, all of which was done according to orders.
To-day Madame's letters of the 6th instant have been received, containing the glorious and happy news lately arrived from Italy. After giving thanks and praises to God for so signal a victory, the Commissioners have celebrated that happy event by lighting bonfires in front of the Embassy, and opening casks of wine for every one of those who passed by. Calling afterwards on the King—who had just received the news through a courier of the Duke of Milan—the Commissioners found him in very high spirits, with his countenance beaming with joy, and expressing his joy in a manner that no Prince in the world could do better. "Now is the time" (he said) "for the Emperor and myself to devise the means of getting full satisfaction from France. Not an hour is to be lost."
It must not be omitted that when, after dinner, as above said, the Commissioners went to pay their respects to the Queen and Princess, they again met the King, who, in her presence, told them all manner of complimentary and affectionate regards to be conveyed to Madame. That with the Cardinal's permission and advice they addressed the Princess a short peroration in Latin, to which she replied in the same tongue, with as much assurance and facility as if she were 12 years old; and she did and said many other gracious things on the occasion, of which they purpose giving an account at a future time.
On the previous day the Commissioners had received Madame's letters of the 18th and 27th February, as well as those of the 1st instant, enclosing copies of those written by the Duke of Milan and Viceroy of Naples. Respecting the particulars mentioned therein, the Commissioners will not fail to do their duty, and bring them forward at the earliest opportunity, firmly believing, as they do, that these glorious events will lead to the settlement of many affairs upon which the Cardinal seemed rather untractable.—London, Thursday, the 9th of March 1525.
Signed: "Adolf de Bourgoigne," "J. Laurrens," "Jehan de Lesauch."
Addressed: "A Madame la Gouvernante des Pays-Bas."
French. Original. pp. 9.
9 March. 34. Clement VII. to Mercurino Gattinara.
S. Pat. Re. Bul.
Suelt. L. 1, f. 114.
Congratulations in consequence of the victory at Pavia. Has given commission to Baldassar Castiglione, his Nuncio at the Imperial court, or in his absence to Giovanni Cursio, the Florentine ambassador, to be the interpreters of his sentiments.—Rome, 9 March 1525. "Sadoletus."
Addressed: "Dilecto filio Mercurio de Gattinaria, carissimo in Christo, filii nostri Caroli electi Imperatoris Hispaniarum Regis Catholici magno Cancellario."
Latin. Original.
9 March. 35. Clement VII. to the Emperor.
M. D. Pasc. d.
G. Pa. r. a. l.
Hist. d'Esp.
Carissime in Christo fili noster et.. Etsi diebus superioribus, cum bellum in Italia maxime arderet, nos miserantes duram huius nobilissimæ regionis conditionem, ac gregi nostro dilecto pastorali cura affecti, aliquamdam viam ad communem pacem tendebamus, sublatisque inter Serenitatem suam et Regem Francorum dissidiorum causis concordiam suadebamus; tamen postquam Deo Omnipotenti aliud visum est, atque eius nutu ac numine arma nuper propter compositionem dimissa sunt, super victoriam detracta, id quod evenit evenire nos quidem lætamur, ut ad arbitrium et providentiam tuam cum magna tua gloria bello feliciter confecto, ipso Francisco Gallorum rege capto, et in tuorum ducum potestatem redacto, salutis et quietis omnium spes et ratio delata fuerit. In qua constituenda hoc tibi magis elaborandum est quæ sunt in te divina beneficia majora, &c..—Datum Romæ, die nona Martii mdxxv. Pontificatus nostri anno secundo. "Ia. Sadoletus."
Addressed: "Charissimo in Christo filio nostro Carolo electo Imperatori, Hispaniarum etc.. Regi Catholico."
Indorsed: "1525, 9 March. Gratulatoria de victoria quam Cæsar adeptus est de Rege Gallorum apud urbem Papiæ."
Latin. Original in vellum. p. 1.
10 March. 36. Joos. Laurens to Audiencier Philippe Hanneton.
Arch. d. Royme.
de Belg. Neg. d'Ang.
Tom. II.
President (Laurens) is not in the humour to write news, which you may besides see by our joint despatch to Madame [Margaret]. This is merely to say that I entertain hopes of soon making good cheer with you.—London, 10 March 1525.
Signed: "Laurens."
Addressed: "A Monsieur Philippe Hanneton, Audiencyer et premier Secretaire de l'Empereur."
French. Original. p. 1.
10 March. 37. The Cardinal of York to the Emperor.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof- u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 14.
Sire, etc.—The King, his master, has by the same gentleman bearer of the present, received letters from the Archduke, announcing, among other news, the battle fought by the Emperor's Italian army against the French, in which the Imperial arms have been completely successful, and the King of the French made prisoner. Whereat the King, his master, and he (the Cardinal) have experienced the greatest pleasure and satisfaction, and congratulate the Emperor on so signal and important a victory, likely to result to the common advantage of both Majesties; whereby they shall be able not only to recover all their rights, most unjustly detained by the said King, but to establish also on a firm and solid footing the peace and tranquillity of the Christian world, as the King has expressed in his letter, and Doctor Sampson, his ambassador, has been entrusted to say and report on his part.—From my Palace at Westminster, the 10th of March 1525.
Signed: "T. Cardinalis Eboracensis."
Addressed: "To the most Sacred and Royal Majesty of the Emperor, etc."
French. Original. p. 1.
10 March. 38. Louis Praet to the Emperor.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof- u. Staats
Arch. Wien.
Rep. P. C. Fasc. 22.
Soon after writing his letter of the 25th February last, intelligence reached the capital that the agent of the Fouchers (Fuggers), to whom he (Praet) had entrusted part of his official correspondence, had also been arrested at one of the ports by the Cardinal's express orders. After seven days' detention the agent had been released and allowed to prosecute his journey, a fit passport being provided for him. The ambassador's letters had been returned to him unopened, as far as he could judge from their outward appearance.
(Cipher:) Nevertheless he (Praet) has not yet obtained permission to write home, except on condition of his letters being examined first, which, of course, he has refused to comply with; but as the said agent of the Fuggers, and a servant of the Abbot of Mydelbourg (Middleburgh), who left soon after, must by this time have reached Spain and fully informed His Imperial Majesty of the above said occurrence and of other matters, he (Praet) will no longer dwell on the subject, except to say that the whole affair has now been by the Cardinal's fault divulged throughout the Christian world. In fact he (Praet) would never have thought that a statesman of the Cardinal's abilities and experience could have been so fickle and inconstant [in his affections]. The more he thinks about it, the greater is the injury which, in his opinion, has been done to the Emperor's honour and reputation; for the moment has arrived for his faithful servants and ministers to learn what favour and help they are to expect at his hands, when attacked, as he (Praet) has been, and wounded in the most sensitive part, which is his honour. This is exactly what the Cardinal is now aiming at, since he is confident, or appears to be so, that upon his own report of the case, and without hearing the arguments of the opposite side, the Emperor will decide in his favour, and leave his ambassador at the Cardinal's mercy, to be punished as he may think proper. He (Praet) cannot say whether these threats of the Cardinal's are only intended to overawe him, or whether he really believes that the Emperor will pronounce in his favour; certain it is that he expresses full confidence in his success. However this may be, he (Praet) trusts in the Emperor's prudence and wisdom, that he will not allow the arguments of these people to get the better of his reason. Indeed, if the King and Cardinal held the Emperor's honour and reputation in such esteem as they profess to do, they would never have made the aforesaid application, for it will be more to the Emperor's honour to have him (Praet) punished, than to leave that punishment at their discretion, for were it so, all people would say that it was passionately done, and in order to satisfy their own private revenge; whereas if, after hearing his excuses, the Emperor pronounces against him (Praet) and inflicts the deserved punishment, it will be made public and notorious that the Imperial ambassador has committed a fault and is punished for it.
He (Praet) has also heard that the Cardinal intends to take advantage of a short note of his to Jehan Lallemand (the Emperor's secretary), pretending that it contains expressions highly injurious to this King's character. He cannot say for certain what a private and confidential communication of that sort, written to an absent friend, may say respecting the Cardinal's behaviour on this occasion, but this he can confidently assert, that there is nothing in the said note that can be deemed injurious to the English monarch. People, when writing to friends, are in the habit of expressing their thoughts and opinions about men and things in a lighter manner than they would when addressing their superiors. His (Praet's) words and sentiments may also have been misinterpreted by his enemies, but even if they have, the ambassador will be able to prove, when in the Emperor's presence, that his note to Secretary Lallemand, as well as his other letters and despatches, contained nothing untrue or injurious, considering the time and circumstances.
Since the above was written, Mons. de Beures and the President have arrived [in London], and, according to the instructions they bring from Madame, held a conference with the Cardinal, wherein the ambassador's case was introduced. Not having, however, obtained any answer to their overtures, he (Praet) is thinking of undertaking the journey to Spain, as soon as he has obtained Madame's permission. Hopes that his departure from the English court will turn out to the Emperor's profit, as his stay would only prolong his own sufferings and bring discredit on the Emperor.
Has been told by an honourable English gentleman that the Cardinal would give anything not to have acted as he has done in this affair, especially since the arrival of the grand and most happy news just received in this capital. The Cardinal has, indeed, reasons to repent of what he has done, but His Imperial Majesty is wise and prudent, and cannot fail to make good use of his victory according to time and circumstances.—Date ut supra, 10th March 1525.
Signed: "Loys de Praet."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Holograph, mostly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on the same sheet. pp. 2.
10 March. 39. Adolphe de Bourgogne, J. Laurens, and Jean de Lesauch, Commissioners in London, to Madame.
K. u. K. Hans-
Hof- u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fasc. 223. No. 13.
Called after dinner on the Cardinal, who was with the Pope's Nuncio and the Scottish ambassador. On their departure the Commissioners were introduced into the council chamber, where, in the presence of the Duke of Norfolk, of the Bishop of London, of Milord Tallebault, and Messire Richard de Wingfeld (Wingfield), besides a secretary called Maistre More, the Cardinal asked them their advice as to what he had better do in view of the happy news lately received in England. The Commissioners replied they had not come to give advice, but to receive it, yet since the Cardinal wished to consult them on the subject, they would openly declare their opinion.
Their advice was, that as the victory lately gained [in Italy] was for the King's and Emperor's common interest, they were bound to make [in England] the same religious demonstrations, thanksgivings, &c., that the Emperor had ordered to be made in Spain and in his other dominions.
2ndly. That in order to remove all cause of suspicion they ought to send away the French ambassadors residing in London.
3rdly. That the King ought to send immediately a large and well-appointed army into France, to conquer and subdue part of that kingdom before the French had time to breathe and recover from their last disaster.
The Cardinal's answer, in reference to the first of the above points, was that bonfires and other rejoicings had already been ordered throughout the country, and that the King in person would, on the ensuing Sunday, go to Saint Paul's for the purpose of thanksgiving. The Cardinal himself would officiate and chant at the mass, after which he would grant full and complete absolution from sin to all bystanders.
With regard to the second point, the Cardinal stated he had no objection to dismiss the French ambassadors, if we wished it. Without any further remark, the Commissioners declared themselves satisfied with the Cardinal's answer on the above propositions in the form of advice but would not insist on the latter, preferring to wait for the instructions which Madame will no doubt send them, since they have no doubt that, by insisting upon it, the point can easily be carried out.
Respecting the third point, the Cardinal said that the King, his master, wished to land at the end of May on the coast of Normandy, provided we assisted him with 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot; that the Duke of Norfolk was first to cross over, at the head of 10,000 men, march on Valenciennes, where the English artillery was, and thence proceed to those places on the coast where the King's landing might better be effected.
The better to know the Cardinal's intentions, and without appearing to approve or disapprove the march upon Normandy of the said 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot, the Commissioners asked whether it would not be better that the said Duke of Norfolk, with his 10,000 men, during and before the King's landing, should lay the French territory waste, and get possession of some fortified towns and castles such as Guise, St. Quentin, and others.
The Cardinal's answer was, that that could not be done for several reasons: 1st. Because the country to be invaded could not afford sufficient food for men and beasts; 2nd, were the King to land on the coast at the time that a town was being besieged by the allied forces, one of two things would happen, either the English army would be obliged to raise the siege, a thing likely to bring dishonour on his arms, or else the King might be exposed to great danger from want of cavalry to precede him and guard his flanks during his march into the interior; 3rd, were the cavalry to overrun the country before the King's arrival they were sure to be fatigued and exhausted, so as to be of little use when wanted.
Upon which the Commissioners inquired, "Would not the King give us 4,000 or 6,000 foot, under the command of Mons. de Bueren (fn. n16) to make some good enterprise in France?" "He could not" (the Cardinal replied), "because having already spent a very large sum of money, the King has need of all his resources to defray the present undertaking. Yet if you will be satisfied with 2,000 men, I have no doubt the King will send them towards Easter."
Such was the Cardinal's formal declaration on this point, hearing which the Commissioners took leave of him, under the excuse that they wanted to consider his proposals, and would soon return an answer. They are now waiting for instructions, and will not in the meantime allude to this or to any other point under discussion until they hear from home. Should the English agree to send over the said Duke of Norfolk, with his 10,000 men, one month or six weeks before the King's landing on the coast of Normandy, the Commissioners wish to know whether the 3,000 horse and 1,000 foot demanded shall also go that way. Should they refuse, and Madame object, as it is most probable she will, to our men going into Normandy by themselves, the Commissioners must be instructed how to act, and what to say in reference to that question and others that might arise from the same cause.—London, Friday, 10 March 1525, at 11 o'clock of night.
Signed: "Adolf de Bourgoingne," "J. Laurence," "Jehan de Lesauch."
Addressed: "A Madame la Gouvernante des Pays d'en Bas."
French. Original. pp. 3.


  • n1. This memorandum, entitled "Justification des Anglais," bears no date, but must have been sent to Spain and the Low Countries soon after the occurrence and Praet's despatch on the subject. See above, No. 20.
  • n2. It will be observed that there is a slight difference as to dates, &c. between this statement and De Praet's letter of the 25th February. See above, No. 20, p. 50.
  • n3. "Riding after midnight to Bryneford." See Knight's letter to Wolsey, ibid, p. 508.
  • n4. Said elsewhere to have been a King's solicitor. See Knight's letter in Brewer, vol. 4th, p. 508.
  • n5. A note at the end of this memorandum, in a contemporary hand, adds the following:—"The Emperor, in his letter, dated Toledo, 26th of March, tells Praet not to trouble himself about what the King and Cardinal have written on this subject. That he always held him as a loyal and faithful councillor, and had written to the King [of England] complaining of the breach of hospitality committed on his person. That he shall be avenged of the Cardinal in proper time and place, but must wait and have patience."
  • n6. The same paper as the above, to which is appended the following memorandum, without title or date. It is probably the same to which Dr. Sampson alludes in his letter, dated Madrid, 1st of April 1525, and which was forwarded by the Cardinal in vindication of his conduct towards De Print. As it refers entirely to the affairs of Italy before the battle of Pavia, and to his efforts to detach the Pope from the French alliance, it may be safely concluded that it contains the substance of despatches addressed to Dr. John Clerck, Bishop of Bath and Wells, at that time ambassador in Rome. See Brewer, Letters and Papers, &c., vol. iv. pp. 444 and 544.
  • n7. "C'est duns cette confiance de sa Saincteté que le Roi, mon maistre, a resolu de traiter et conclure ses affaires, qui presentement ne paroit point pouvoir s'observer, comme l'on avoit souvent ecrit et promis."
  • n8. This passage, as appears in the copy before me (f. 68 vo.), is rather obscure; it stands thus: "Premièrement comme il y a eu apparence d'une paix prochaine par l'entremise et l'autorité du souverain Pontife, s'il eut resté ferme et constant, ou s'il eut été Pauteur de la paix, ou plutot si de toutes ses forces pour le bien de la Religion, il eut resisté aux desseins des pertubarteurs de la paix, sa Sainctete doit ester asseurée, etc."
  • n9. "Et setait traicte un peu plus honorablement que quelqu'un de ses chapelains.'
  • n10. "Car dans le temps que j'ecris le peril est pressant et je sçais mesme que sa Saincteté le prevoit."
  • n11. "Oultre le dangier que court le Cardinal."
  • n12. "A charge de restitution, sinon il faudra les donner librement, pour secourir cette necessité presente."
  • n13. William Lord Sandys.
  • n14. Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, natural son of Edward IV.
  • n15. Those of the victory at Pavia.
  • n16. Floris d'Egmont, Seigneur d'Isselstein and Count of Buren.