Spain: May 1526, 26-31

Pages 710-719

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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May 1526, 26-31

28 May. 436. Alonso Sanchez, Imperial Ambassador in Venice, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 37,
f. 313.
Since his letter of the 21st, the Milanese ambassador (Taverna) has had three secret audiences, each one hour long, with this Signory, and yesterday he was again with them for half an hour. (Cipher:) What the object may be, he (Sanchez) does not know for certain; but it is publicly asserted that it is none other than to ask succour for the castle of Milan, reduced, as it is said, to great extremity by want of provisions. Has been told that the Signory had decided to grant the Duke's request, and that the Pope had done the same, and that they have despatched the Bishop of Lodi (Ottaviano Sforza) to bring down a number of Switzers without first holding a diet, as is customary in such cases, but by paying them part of their stipend beforehand. The plan is, whilst the Imperial army is advancing to attack these Switzers, for the Venetians to introduce men and provisions into the castle. Has been informed that the Bishop was, the other day, in Venice, and saw the Doge (Duce) at four hours of the night, and that the Milanese ambassador (Taverna) was present at the conference. The information must be correct; for on that very day these people held their Council (Consejo de Pregay), and adopted the above resolution. The Pope, it is added, has offered to contribute one half of the money required for the Switzers; others add that he has actually sent his share of the expense, and that the money passed, the other day, through Bologna.
(Common writing:) The Imperial generals at Milan having received intelligence of a certain number of troops, about 4,000 men, being levied on the lands of the Signory, and besides that, all the refugees (foraxidos) of the Duchy had been admitted in these lands and placed close to the Milanese frontier, wrote to him (Sanchez) to go to the Signory and remonstrate. Accordingly, this last week, the ambassador called at the College, and inquired what could be the object of those armaments. The senators seemed to be taken by surprise at the ambassador's inquiry, and assured him positively that the whole thing was an invention. No levies were being made in the Duke's name, and they themselves had no larger forces than usual. The Milanese refugees (foraxidos) were not in their territory, with the exception only of a few who had taken up their abode in older times and were living peaceably with their families. This they asserted with so much earnestness (tan afincadamente) that the ambassador made no reply to their asseverations, and contented himself with excusing the Imperial generals at Milan, who, out of zeal for the service, had considered it their duty to ask the question.
(Cipher:) Was told on this occasion by the Doge that the Signory expected shortly to hear of an agreement between the Emperor and the King of France, as he had had letters from Andrea Rosso, of the 17th, stating the fact. He (the Doge) only wished that the agreement was such as to bring on a permanent and general peace.
Has since been told that the Doge has really received letters to that effect, and that the news they contain is not much to their taste. It appears that at a Council which the French King held on the 15th it was decided that the Emperor's terms should be accepted. One of the Councillors had asked the Nuncio (Capino) and the Venetian secretary (Andrea Rosso) how it was that they were not satisfied with the blood already spilt, but wished for another war, in which the whole of the nobility of France or Spain would perish. It is further related that whilst reading the draft of the treaty sent from hence—one of the articles of which stipulated that His Imperial Majesty's journey should be prevented at any risk—the French King observed that it was sheer madness to think of impeding the Emperor's visit to Italy; upon which Andrea Rosso replied that this Signory and the Pope would be satisfied if the Emperor did not come in force. Has also heard that, on the excuse that the King wanted their powers to be examined, they had been taken away from them, and that Capino and Rosso had consequently lost all hope of their negotiations coming to a satisfactory issue, and the latter had despatched a messenger post-haste to the Papal Legate at the Imperial court.
Has tried to ascertain what truth there was in the report about the Bishop of Lodi's dealings, and has found out that he really departed from this city yesterday morning, accompanied by one of his servants, which, coupled with the information received from the Imperial generals that troops were being levied in the Signory's territory, makes him (Sanchez) suspect that, notwithstanding all the assurances these people have given him to the contrary, there is a plan for succouring the castle of Milan. Can hardly believe that they will dare to take up arms without the avowed co-operation of the French King; and yet such is their fear of the Emperor's aggrandisement, and of his keeping to himself the duchy of Milan—which will be easily accomplished by taking the two castles of Milan and Cremona—and so great their hope of assistance from the inhabitants themselves, exasperated, as they are, by the excesses of the soldiery, that it is to be feared they will soon attempt to relieve the castles and make war.
(Common writing:) The Pope has recalled from hence his Legate [Tomasso Campeggio], a brother of Cardinal [Lorenzo] Campeggio, and appointed in his stead the Bishop of Pola (Altobello Averoldi), who was here before.—Venice, 28 May 1526.
Signed: "Alonso Sanchez."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial and Catholic Majesty of the Emperor and King, our Lord."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. Alonso Sanchez, 28 May."
Spanish. Original partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet. pp. 6.
29 May. 437. The Duke of Sessa, Imperial Ambassador in Rome, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 37,
ff. 319–22.
On the 26th, at the first hour of the night, he (Sessa) wrote, pointing out the motives, which, in his opinion, had induced the Pope to prepare for war. (fn. n1) He purposely delayed his visit to His Holiness until yesterday, at an hour when he thought the post must have passed Florence, or at least that orders could not be sent to have his letters stopped.
In the evening of the 28th, therefore, the ambassador called on His Holiness, and told him of the rumours that were afloat; viz., that he had engaged with certain captains to have a force raised in Romania and in the Marches, and that he was determined, in concert with the Venetians, to relieve the castle of Milan. In order the better to secure this object, Andrea Doria was to invade the coast of Genoa with the Papal galleys and those of the Order of St. John, numbering in all eleven, whilst the Venetian fleet was to stir up rebellion on the coasts of Apulia, and oblige the Imperial army to separate for the defence of one or other of the points attacked. The ambassador went on to say how amazed and concerned he was to hear of such proceedings; because, besides his earnest wish for the union and harmony between His Holiness and His Imperial Majesty, he felt much grief, as a Christian, for the evident danger in which the Apostolic See was about to be placed; not, indeed, by the Emperor's fault, but by that of those who had brought about the rupture.
The Pope's answer to the ambassador's remonstrances was thus conceived: After many of his usual protestations and oaths, that the fault was not his, and that until then he had done nothing against the Imperial interests in Italy, he concluded by saying that, in future, he purposed to act as time and circumstances should require. The ambassador's reply was, that, in view either of the present or future, he considered it his duty to remind His Holiness that the step he was about to take was a very serious one, not so much as concerned the castle of Milan—which might be won or lost for the Emperor—but because His Holiness, being openly and publicly the originator of the strife, people would certainly think it a most strange conduct on his part. Everyone would naturally wonder how the Vicar of Christ, instead of preserving peace, as was his duty, had suddenly become the abettor and promoter of war, besides failing in what he himself had promised only a few days ago, namely, to wait until the arrival of Don Hugo or any other person whom His Imperial Majesty might send to arrange matters in the manner preconcerted with his Legate. He could not be unaware that the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) had gone to the King of France, or for what purpose he had gone. The conferences were necessarily to result in one of two things, either in the entire conformity and agreement of both parties, or in a rupture. In the former event, His Holiness could no longer impose the law, but would, on the contrary, be compelled to receive it. (fn. n2) In the latter, it was for him to consider, as Pope and Vicar of Christ, whether it was right for him to side with one of the contending parties and thus kindle the war again, instead of remaining neutral and trying with prudence and sagacity to bring about a lasting peace. Were he to take part with one of the two Princes, it was for him (the Pope) to consider which would be better for his interests, to side with France, a nation in which he could not and ought not to trust, or with His Imperial Majesty. In the former case he was sure to have war as long as his Pontificate lasted; in the latter, hostilities could not last, for France was entirely without means and could not carry on war long.
To these objections the Pope answered, by way of vindicating his acts, that His Imperial Majesty had shown no affection whatever for him, and though he had oftentimes tried to place himself under his protection, he had been constantly repulsed (refutado); so that, despairing of ever being able to obtain that which he most desired, he had no other alternative left to him but to seek assistance and help wherever he could find it, and not leave his affairs at the mercy of fortune, as they had been hitherto. That in Don Hugo's arrival, he (the Pope) had little or no confidence, for the news from Milan was that, up to the 2d instant, that ambassador had not left the Imperial court, nor had the day of his departure been fixed; he was to pass through France, where he would meet the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy), who would either have already made an agreement, or have relinquished the hope of making one. (fn. n3) In the latter event, the King of France would not allow him (D. Ugo) to prosecute his journey [to Italy], so that there was nothing to expect from that quarter. If he (the Pope) had any hope, it rested principally on the chance of the King of France negotiating not only for himself but for all the other Princes in general, which would be by far the best and most advantageous plan for the Emperor's interests. At this stage of the conference, he (the Pope) brought in an anecdote which His Imperial Majesty must already have heard through another channel. It is said that two days after the Viceroy's arrival at the French court, the ratification of the English convention was duly solemnized with a mass, (fn. n3) and that after the ceremony was over, the English ambassadors went to the Viceroy (Lannoy), and said to him: "This is a good commencement for universal peace;" and that the Viceroy answered them: "Had not your King been an obstacle, peace would already have been concluded in a much better way." To which they replied: "Our King has always been desirous of peace, but the Emperor wants everything for himself, and leaves nothing for others;" upon which the ambassadors departed.
Seeing the Pope so determined, he (Sessa) told him that since he could not be convinced that Don Hugo would soon arrive, he must at least allow him three months' time to send an express and get an answer from Spain. His reply was that in three months' time the state of the world might change (el mundo tomaria nueva condicion), and that he (the Pope) would gain nothing by remaining at a standstill. "Give me your promise that the Emperor will grant my request and agree to my conditions, and I have no objection to wait three months more; but on no consideration will I again expose myself to be hoaxed, (fn. n3) as in the last treaty." He (Sessa) objected that he had no powers to take any such engagement; but that, in order to obviate the difficulty, he would reduce the term to one month, during which he undertook to procure the Emperor's answer. Even this offer was rejected by the Pope, on the plea that full powers having been sent to the Florentine ambassador, and he being expected back from his mission in three or four days, it was not prudent for him to make any engagements just now. On the arrival of that ambassador, he (the Pope) would see what news he brought from the French court; and as he was not otherwise bound by engagements with the Italian league, would consider what was best for him to do. In the meantime, he could not help thinking that the best and most advantageous plan for His Imperial Majesty was that the Duke of Bourbon should have the duchy of Milan, and give in return all his French possessions, an arrangement with which (he added) the King of France could not fail to be pleased and satisfied.
Seeing the Pope so obstinate, he (Sessa) went on remonstrating with him and expatiating on His Imperial Majesty's greatness and power, which had permitted him, without any assistance from him (the Pope), and even against his will, to conquer so many enemies. Told him that the difficult position (necesidad) in which he (the Emperor) was represented to be was not so much caused by the malice (malinidad) of his adversaries, or by any desire of his own to deprive other Princes of their Estates—which he might, if he chose, have accomplished long ago, having had sufficient time, force and opportunities for it—but by his own generosity and virtue, which had prompted him to release his prisoner and trust to his honour. That it behoved His Holiness, as the head of the Church, not to encourage those who wished to break their word and faith. He was to bear in mind the state of Germany and of Hungary, and the innumerable applications that had been—and were still—made to His Imperial Majesty to take the affair into his own hands, reduce the extent of the Papal estates, and bring about the reformation of the Church, as the Prince most called to take charge of it. (fn. n4) That His Imperial Majesty had neither taken possession of Parma nor of Piacenza and Modena, nor fostered rebellion in Bologna, nor obliged Florence to comply with its duty (ni puesto á Florencia en el debito). and that if the said cities and others took up arras against the Emperor, it was not from any serious motive or from any injury done to them, but from a mere child's complaint (cosas de niños). He (Sessa) was compelled thus to speak in plain terms, and remind him (the Pope)—since he seemed to have forgotten it—of the Emperor's good deeds towards him, and of the bad treatment he (the Pope) had always experienced at the hands of France.
(fn. n5)
The conference ended by the Pope assuring him (Sessa) that his only aim was the tranquillity and peace of the world, and that he felt very grateful for the advice tendered; but he neither said yes nor no, and did not grant the time demanded for communicating with His Imperial Majesty. Such being the state of things, he (Sessa) has despatched the present messenger in all baste, that His Imperial Majesty may be fully informed, and take such steps as may be deemed necessary under the present circumstances. In his opinion, these people rely greatly on the King of France, believing that, whether he makes peace or declares war, he is sure not to forget them. It might also be that all these demonstrations on their part are only intended to bring about an agreement [between His Majesty and the King of France] such as they themselves wish it to be; or, in the event of war breaking out, to succour the castle of Milan, in which case the French King could enter Italy as peace-maker, and take that Duchy for himself, which was their original plan when he last laid siege to Pavia; for it is generally believed here—and no mystery is made about it—that the Pope would much prefer to see the King of France at Milan and the Emperor at Naples, as he might then consider himself more secure and obtain better terms. (fn. n6) It behoves His Imperial Majesty, in view of the above considerations, to decide at once what steps are to be taken in case the Viceroy's negotiations in France should ultimately fail.—Rome, 28 May 1526.
He (Sessa) had written thus far when intelligence reached him that the Pope had received letters from France, in date of the 17th instant. Applied immediately for an audience and inquired for the news. The Pope's answer was that the King of France was still endeavouring to have the general convention discussed and signed at the same time as his own, and that the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) had again written to his Court for fresh instructions. Perceiving that he (the Pope) was very close, and would not tell him anything more, and that the rumour in Rome was that the convention had already been signed, he (Sessa) said he was about to despatch a courier to the Emperor, and wished very much to know if the Pope had anything to say. Upon which the Pope turned towards him, and said: "If you have powers to treat with me, I am willing at once to sign the treaty with such articles as I asked in the first instance; but as to giving time, even an hour, that I shall never do, for there is danger in irresolution. I can clearly see that the Emperor does not wish for my friendship, since he has so long declined it, delaying the answer from day to day;" to which he added that he had no news of Don Hugo's arrival in Italy.
He (Sessa) fancies that the Pope and his confederates have started this new mode of negotiation only to gain time and prepare for war. His Imperial Majesty may rest convinced that the chief article of their convention with the French King is the promise of the duchy of Milan to him. Such is the wish of the Venetians, though they dissemble on that score; and His Holiness, though aware of it, allows himself to be deceived. He (Sessa) has stated what his opinion in these matters is; he may, perhaps, be mistaken in some of the details, but is sure that the true and real design of the confederates is the one he has announced.
The other day, whilst His Holiness was stating his fears that the Viceroy (Lannoy) might come to an agreement with the King of France, he added: "Such being the case, I cannot but be contented with what they offer me, to make up in part for past mistakes." He also told him (Sessa) that a gentleman had lately arrived at the King's court, as ambassador from the Turk, and professing to be a brother of Count Frangipane, but that he believed him to be an impostor.—Closed and sealed on the 29th.
"El Duque de Sessa."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, Catholic Majesty. Duplicate of the 29th May."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. From Rome. The Duke of Sessa, 29th May."
Spanish. Original mostly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 6¼.
29 May. 438. Lope de Soria, Imperial Ambassador in Genoa, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 37,
f. 329.
Wrote last on the 24th instant; and on the 27th the Imperial letters of the 12th came to hand. Has duly forwarded the enclosures for Milan and Venice. As the courier who brought these letters goes to Rome in great haste, to the Duke of Arcos, (fn. n7) he (Soria) will be brief. (Cipher:) No news yet from Don Ugo, who is daily expected with remittances in money. All the Imperial ministers in Italy are very anxious for his arrival, as the army is on the point of mutiny for want of pay; besides which, the country people cannot endure their sufferings any longer. The Pope, the Venetians, Florentines, Switzers, and the Duke of Savoy himself, are the Emperor's declared enemies, and sure to invade the duchy of Milan if proper measures are not speedily taken.
The Duke of Sessa writes, in date of the 26th, that the Pope had determined to attack Genoa. He (Soria) and the Doge have despatched a courier to Milan to ask for three companies of infantry for the defence of the city.
Has had misgivings for a long time that the Pope and the Venetians intended to relieve the castle of Milan, for which purpose they have been in treaty with the King of France and the Switzers.
The Abbot of Najera left, three days ago, with 10,000 ducats, borrowed with great difficulty from these bankers.—Genoa, 29 May 1526.
Signed: "Lope de Soria."
Post data.—After the above was written and signed, he (Soria) heard from Count della Mirandola, who is now in Genoa, that advices from his country have been received stating that four horses laden with money had passed through from the Pope to the Switzers. Believes the report to be true. (fn. n8)
Addressed: "To the Sacred, &c."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. Genoa. Lope de Soria, 29 May."
Spanish. Original mostly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet (.. 333). pp. 3.
29 May. 439. The Duke of Sessa to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 37,
f. 303.
After despatching the present courier and sealing the packet, (cipher) he (Sessa) heard from a very reliable source that in consequence of letters brought yesterday by a Venetian courier, His Holiness has made up his mind to arm. Orders have been sent to various captains to make levies with all possible speed (à furia); and others have been sent for. Hears that this determination of the Pope is principally owing to Andrea Doria's actual residence in this city and to the instigations of the Signory. All seem to be convinced that the French King will not abandon them, but will espouse their cause. Their plan is to attack Genoa by sea, for which purpose they are now arming four galleys, besides the eight which are at Civittà Vecchia. By assailing that city or creating a revolution (reboltando) there, they imagine that a portion of the Imperial army may be sent in that direction, and that in the meantime they will have an opportunity to relieve the castle of Milan.
Such is the intelligence he (Sessa) has received. As to the Pope's preparations for war, there can be no doubt of them. Has written in all directions, to Milan, to Genoa, to Naples, and elsewhere, that they may all be on their guard. In the latter place (Naples) the defences by sea, as well as land, are few and unsatisfactory. Intends to speak to the Pope tomorrow; and according to what his answer may be, will judge what steps he (Sessa) had better take in the present emergency.—Rome, 26 May 1526.
Signed: "El Duque de Sessa."
P.D,.—Letters from the court of France have been received here, in date of the 13th instant, stating that everything these confederates wished for has been granted [by the King], though they have announced the contrary.
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial and Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. Rome. Duke of Sessa, 26 May. Answered."
Spanish. Original entirely in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet (.. 307). pp. 2.


  • n1. This letter of the 26th is not in the volume. The Duke's last despatch (No. 435) bears date of the 25th, and no allusion is made in it to the Pope's armaments.
  • n2. "Que resultando acordio ya Su Santidad no era legislador, que le convenia recebir la ley que le diesen."
  • n3. Lannoy reached Cognac on the 8th of May, accompanied by Alarcon and the Duke of Traietto (Gonzaga), and two days after, on the 10th, the peace with England was solemnly proclaimed and sworn to by the King, after a mass sung by the Cardinal of Lorraine. See Rosso's despatches and a letter of Countess Somaglia in Rawdon Brown, Venetian Papers, vol. III., pp. 547–9.
  • n4. "Y que viese que ni faltaban ni habian faltado infinitos que importunaban y habian importunado á V. Mag. para que le abaxase en el estado, y entendiese en la reformacion de la Iglesia, como á quien principalmente tocaba el cuidado de esto."
  • n5. "Pero que de ninguno manera queria hallarse en la burla de la capitulacion pasada."
  • n6. "Que al Papa convenia que él tuviese aquello y V. Mag. á Napoles para conservarse mejor o para el un fin o para el otro, o para acordarse con Su Santidad."
  • n7. This Duke was no other than Luis Christoval Ponce de Leon, who was then at Rome on certain family busidess.
  • n8. This postscriptum is only to be found in the duplicate, fol. 305.