Spain: August 1526, 21-25

Pages 843-850

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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August 1526, 21-25

22 Aug. 517. Alonso Sanchez to Lope de Soria, Imperial Ambassador in Genoa.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
f. 182.
Has had no news from Spain since he wrote on the 18th ult.. He continues, however, to write through Micer Julian (Giuliano?), as he considers that the safest channel.
News at Venice are that 500 French lances and 4,000 foot have already entered Italy. If true, he (Soria) must already have heard of it. The Archduke (Ferdinand) still persists in his resolution not to move from where he is until he has received both orders and money from Spain; yet if provided with sufficient means from Milan, he will send any number of men. The diet is closed. He (Sanchez) cannot say whether any resolutions favourable to the Imperial cause have been taken there. Has written to the Archduke begging him come to Innspruch, as he will be better placed there than anywhere else for acting when the Emperor's orders arrive.
This Signory, it is reported, have had intelligence from Civita Vecchia stating that their galleys had entered that port and that their proveditor was going to Rome to have a conference with the Pope. If the report be true, the Venetian fleet must be already in those seas. It is to be supposed that they will have a warm reception, for by this time Genoa must be well prepared.
It is said here that the Duke of Sessa is dead. Has received no letters from Rome announcing his decease; on the contrary, when he heard last, on the 11th, the Duke had been dangerously ill, but was better and almost out of danger.
The Venetians stormed Clemona (Cremona) on the 16th. They were repulsed with a loss of upwards of 3,000 men in killed and wounded, besides a great many fugitives who left their camp in consequence.
Castro writes from Trent on the 16th that a good number of Switzers had been engaged by the Pope and the Venetians as well as by the King of France, and were soon to come down to Italy.
Cremona is making a stout defence and cares little for the enemy. The Turk has at last taken the castle he was besieging, though with great slaughter of his own people. The King of Hungary (Louis II.) had taken the field with a powerful force and was about to offer him battle.
Has heard from Pablo Monfron (Giampaolo Manfrone (fn. n1) ), father of one of the three captains slain at Cremona, that the total loss of the Venetians on that occasion was 2,000, and that the company of men-at-arms commanded by his son was entirely destroyed. Castro writes to say that the Switzers are coming down in greater numbers than ever.—Venice, 22nd Aug. 1526.
Signed: "Alonso Sanchez."
Addressed: "Al muy magnifico Señor Don Lope de Soria, Embajador del Emperador en Genova."
Indorsed: "Copy of letter of Alonso Sanchez to Lope de Soria."
Spanish. Contemporary copy p. 1.
23 Aug. 518. Lope Hurtado de Mendoza to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
f. 184.
(Cipher:) Wrote by express on the 20th inst., and directed his letter to the Imperial ambassador at the French court (Praet), hoping that he would find the means of forwarding it to Spain. If that ambassador can also manage to send him (Hurtado) those from home His Imperial Majesty is sure to be informed of the progress of the war, and to receive news from the Infante (Archduke), Mons. de Bourbon, Genoa, &c. He (Hurtado) on his side can always find means to communicate with Don Ugo and the rest in cipher, as he has done on late occasions, and let them know the Emperor's wishes.
The Archduke has written to him in date of the 8th inst. complaining that he had no news whatever of what was going on at Milan. Has answered him, and sent him his own cipher to use.
Don Pedro [de Castro?] (fn. n2) writes that the Turk is very powerful in Hungary and that the Diet will soon be closed.
The Abbot of Najera writes from Milan on the 8th that the enemy's camp was three short miles from that city, very numerous and strong. An agreement had been made with the Grisons to give passage to the Germans, and furnish, besides, a contingent of 2,000 men. Provisions were plentiful in the Imperial camp, but the Spaniards were discontented owing to M. de Bourbon having given the command of the castle of Milan to a Frenchman. The Germans were grumbling for their pay, and unwilling to advance against the enemy unless their arrears were paid.
The Duke [Francesco Sforza] was at Crema on St. James' Day. The Siennese had gained a great victory over the Florentines, and taken 16 field guns from them.
The Marquis of Saluzzo crossed the passes on the 11th; brings with him 500 lances and 4,000 infantry; has encamped in the vicinity of his city (Saluzzo). On the 18th he had not advanced beyond Turin.
Letters from the last-named city state that a Venetian captain, with 60,000 ducats for the Marquis' camp, had passed through with an escort of 50 horsemen. So provided, the Marquis is to march on Genoa immediately.
A messenger of the Prince of Orange (Philibert de Chalon) passed through this town, Chamberi, on the 18th. He had landed at Savona, and was going to Milan accompanied by a courier.
Count Vara (fn. n3) and Mons. Falconer have written to say that the [Venetian] galleys are going towards Barcelona or Valencia. If such be the intention of the enemy care must be taken that the ships now being fitted in those two arsenals be protected against their attacks.
The Duke has intelligence from Villafranca [de Niça] that on the 12th Count Pedro Navarro was there with 16 galleys and three brigantines.—Chambery, 23rd Aug. 1526.
Signed: "Lope Hurtado."
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. From Lope Hurtado, Chamberi, 24th (sic) of August."
Spanish. Original wholly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 1½.
24 Aug. 519. Lope de Soria, Imperial Ambassador in Genoa, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
ff. 187–90.
His last letter, of the 4th inst., went by a Barcelona frigate. Sends the duplicate now. Received, on the 16th, the Imperial despatches of the 21st and 28th July, together with the powers for the Duke [of Bourbon] to receive the 100,000 ducats lately remitted. The bills of exchange were presented, and accepted; will be paid when due. Has likewise received the despatches addressed to M. de Bourbon, the Marquis del Guasto, to the Abbot of Najera, Lope Hurtado, Alonso Sanchez, Duke of Sessa, &c. Has forwarded them all to their address; that to the latter by sea, for the Pope and the Florentines keep such a close guard on the passes that it is impossible to send anything by land. Even by sea there is much danger, for Andrea Doria is cruising about. Had the Council of Naples sent the six galleys they have there to join those of this Signory, this coast might have been made safe, and much good done, God forgive the Neapolitans for their negligence!
(Cipher:) Has read the paragraph in cipher concerning the Imperial mandate for M. de Bourbon to receive the 100,000 ducats. As some of the merchants here knew of the said mandate already, it being next to impossible to keep such matters secret; as the wants of the Imperial army were so great, and it was so difficult to have the bills cashed here, owing to the scarcity of money; as some change might be apprehended in this city owing to the appearance of the enemy's fleet on the coast, he (Soria) thought it advisable to inform Mons. de Bourbon of the arrival of the said mandate, and yet to delay its remittance on the plea that the roads were unsecure, &c. Has done so, and sent the Duke a copy of it, which will naturally cause some delay in the payment.
(Common writing:) It is to be hoped that with this money much may be done for the Imperial service; for, according to the last news from Milan, of the 16th inst., 6,000 Germans, under George Fransperg (Fruntsperg), and 3,000 Grisons were to arrive on the 20th. The enemy was still encamped at about one league from Milan. Though the Imperialists provoked them every day, the confederates remained within their fortified camp, and refused to fight. (fn. n4)
The enemy has suffered a great check at Cremona. Letters from the Marquis del Guasto and the Duke of Bourbon, of the 13th inst., announce that their army under Malatesta Vallon (Baglione) has retreated from before its walls. The Duke Francesco Sforza is still at Crema.
Another commander of the confederates, Damian Corço by name, who with 800 men subsidized by the League was to join Juan de Birago and other captains under the Marquis of Saluzzo in an attack upon this city, was the other day completely routed at Novara. It appears that whilst crossing that district with three companies of infantry he was attacked by Fabricio Marramaldo, who killed nearly 200 of his men, and despoiled (desbalijó) the remainder, taking from them three banners that were sent to Milan. The junction of Corço and Birago was thus prevented. Hearing of his comrade's discomfiture the latter betook himself to Valencia, where he resides at present, having, as they say, been pardoned by Mons. de Bourbon, together with all his relatives and several more emigrants (foraxidos) belonging to that city, and among the rest the late Lord of Gavi. Mons. de Bourbon has since ordered all property confiscated from the said Birago and others to be restored to them, as likewise the castle of Gavi, which the Marquis del Guasto gave him (Soria) to hold as a fief of the Empire. Is ready to obey the Duke's orders, but cannot help thinking that a measure of this sort must prove highly detrimental to the Imperial service [in Italy]. The castle being strong, and commanding the road to Genoa and to Lombardy, ought not to be given up except to persons of great trust. He (Soria) was put to great expense in gaining it from the Duke of Milan, and keeping it ever since, without the least remuneration or assistance. Begs His Imperial Majesty to order the Duke not to disturb him in the possession of the said Gavi.
Letters from Rome, of the 10th, state that the Duke of Sessa was seriously ill at Marino, in the territory of the Colonnese. The better to support his army, the Pope had seized, for a month, the revenues of all offices at Rome, and imposed besides a tax (talla) of 150,000 ducats at Florence. Vespasiano Colonna had been wedded to the daughter of Ludovico (Luigi) Gonzaga, a thing very much to be wondered at, considering he (Vespasiano) had asked for the hand of the late Viceroy's (fn. n5) widow.
Encloses copy of last letter received from Alonso Sanchez. (fn. n6) Nothing is yet known about the Venetian galleys which threatened to come to these waters. Those of Rhodes are still at Civitta Vecchia, disarmed.
An order came yesterday from the Duke of Bourbon to borrow 10,000 ducats in this city, to be spent in military and naval preparations. (fn. n7)
(Cipher:) According to advices lately received from Rome, the Pope and Don Hugo were still negotiating for a suspension of hostilities between Bologna and Naples. The Pope is said to take much interest in the negotiations; firstly, that he may be safe at Rome; and secondly, that he may concentrate all his forces against this city.
(Common writing:) Hears that all his late despatches have reached their destination, with the exception of one, dated the 28th June, which was intercepted in France, and the bearer imprisoned. Encloses duplicate of his intercepted despatch, but fancies that the best way of communication in future, as long as the present war lasts, will be by sea. 2,000 Switzers have joined the enemy's camp, and more are expected. Fabricio Marramau and other Imperial captains keep Juan Birago closely surrounded in Valenza.
At Savona the French flag has been hoisted, and three Genoese merchant vessels coming from Iviça [in Spain] seized; thus clearly showing the hostile intentions of the Savonese against this Community.
Letters have come from the Duke [of Bourbon], announcing that two companies of Spaniards, under Cerbellon and Diego Ramirez de Guzman, had been detached for the defence of this city, and would shortly leave Milan. Fabricio Marramao had been ordered to keep in readiness, and march to the assistance of this Community if required. He [Soria] feels confident that with such provision the safety of Genoa is now ensured, and victory over the enemy certain.
The Abbot of Najera has written to him (Soria) as follows: "The day before yesterday we had letters from Lecco, announcing the arrival of George Franspergh (Fruntsperg) in the land of the Grisons and the Valtellina passes with about 10,000 German foot. Captain Teguen [of the Grisons] had written, begging him to stop three or four days where he was, till he could join him with 2,000 Grisons he had raised for the Imperial service. We are daily expecting to hear of their arrival at Lecco or Como. The enemy here are in great confusion, and their generals do not agree. Juanin (Giovannino de' Medici) and Count Guido [Rangone] are at variance. The Venetian proveditor (Pesaro) is gone to Cremona with four or five guns and 2,000 men. I fancy that this movement of the Venetians is rather intended to get their heavy artillery out of the way than to use it against Cremona, in the last assault of which Julio Manfrone, a captain of the Venetians, and four more were slain. (fn. n8) I consider that the city is in no danger for the present. Immediately after the arrival of Jorge Fruntsperg and his Germans we intend to pay a visit to these gentlemen, our neighbours, and if they only wait for us—which I very much doubt—they will get a nice drubbing. Respecting the castle of Gavi, and other points in your letter, I will answer you by next post. The courier now about to be sent to the Infante (Archduke Ferdinand) will take the route suggested by you."
Intelligence has come from Pavia that part of the Imperial garrison made a sally one night, and surprised at Sanct Angelo some 150 foot and 100 horse of the enemy, defeated them, and took their baggage (y los desbalijaron todos). Advices have also come from Plasenzia (Piacenza) that the enemy had again stormed Cremona, but had been repulsed with great loss, thus confirming the Abbot's news. According to Don Jayme de Requesens, who is now in this port, the two Sicilian galleys under his command are badly provided with fighting crews, slaves to man the oars, artillery, biscuit, and so forth. It is most needful to have them placed in a serviceable condition.
(Cipher:) Since the above was written Spinal (Espinal?), Don Ugo's secretary, has arrived. He left Marino on the 22nd of July last, and has come to have an interview with the Duke of Ferrara (Alfonso d'Este), and to induce him, if he can, to declare for the Emperor. He (Soria) has seen Don Ugo's instructions to his secretary, and also the answer made by the Duke, which is in substance as follows: The Duke is willing to become the Emperor's servant under these conditions; 1stly, he is to be appointed commander-in-chief of the Imperial armies in Italy; 2ndly, his eldest son (Hercole d'Este) is to marry the Emperor's daughter, and receive as dower the county of Carpi; 3rdly, he is to be acquitted of the 125,000 ducats owed by him to the Emperor, out of the 200,000 he promised for the investiture of the duchies of Ferrara and Modena; 4thly, His Imperial Majesty is to take him for ever under his protection. The Duke asks besides for other minor concessions easy to grant, and promises, in case of his offers being accepted, to serve the Emperor with all his forces against whomsoever may be his enemy. As the recent appointment of M. de Bourbon to the command of the Imperial army stands in the way of the Duke's nomination, which is the very first condition stipulated, the said Espinal is now going to Milan to treat of the matter with M. de Bourbon himself, after which he is to return here with the answer and embark for Spain.
(Common writing:) The said Duke [of Ferrara] has forwarded to him (Soria) the enclosed despatch of Alonso Sanchez for the Emperor.
Has since received letters from Milan of the 21st instant. announcing that the vanguard of the Germans was already at Lecco; also that part of the French succour to the army of the League had arrived. Two companies of men-at-arms, one of them commanded by Federico Bozol (di Bozzolo), were already on this side of the Alps. The Venetians still insisted on the siege of Cremona, and were doing all they could to reduce that city. Lastly, the Duke of Sessa had gone to Rome to get cured of his tercian fever.
Last night the French fleet passed before this city. Six of our galleys went out and kept up a brisk cannonade with it. At day-break 13 large and small merchant vessels (navios cairos) were discovered at sea. They come from Sicily laden with corn and other provisions for this city; and as there can be no doubt that the aforesaid French fleet is after them, and, if attacked, they will become an easy prey to the enemy, he (Soria) has in union with the Doge (Antonioto Adorno) taken all possible precautions. Four caracks are being armed, which, added to the six galleys now in port, will go out to their relief, (cipher:) for were the enemy to get hold of them, the Genoese would be highly dissatisfied, and perhaps induced from the scarcity of food and other causes to accept the enemy's terms. There is therefore urgent need that the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) come here as soon as possible with his fleet of galleys; for once united to the naval forces in this port, success can no longer be doubtful.—Genoa, 24th of August 1526.
Post data.—Advices have been received, stating that the troops which left Alessandria to attack Juan (Giovanni) Birago had returned home without accomplishing anything, owing to the said Birago having received assistance in time. (fn. n9)
Addressed: "To the Sacred, Imperial, Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. From Genoa. Lope de Soria, 24th of August."
Spanish. Original. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 7¼.


  • n1. His name was Giulio Manfrone. He was killed in one of the assaults together with "Il Capitano Macone, e molti altri soldati di condizione." See Guicciardini (Istoria d' Italia, lib. XVII., ed. Friburg, 1776, p. 163), who relates the affair in all its details. Sandoval calls him Manfredonio (Manfredone?): "Quedando muertos en el Iulio Manfredonio y Alexandro Marcello, y otros principales capitanes Venecianos, de lo qual quedaron tan mal parados y deshechos que no se atrevieron á acometerlos otra vez."—Lib. XV., cap. XXII.
  • n2. His name was Juan (John), and not Pedro; but perhaps another of the Archduke's secretaries, also a Spaniard, is meant, unless it be Don Pedro de Cordoba, Sessa's brother, who about this time was in Ferdinand's service.
  • n3. Also written Bara. Count de Beer? If so, he is the same individual mentioned in No. 516 as being in Burgundy.
  • n4. "Aunque los de V. Magd. van cada dia a ponerles los dedos en los ojos."
  • n5. Who this Viceroy [of Naples?] can be it is not easy to determine, for Charles de Lannoy did not die until 1527. His predecessors in that office were Don Juan de Aragon conde de Ribagorza, 1507–9; and Don Ramon de Cardona, conde de Alventos, 1509–22.
  • n6. No. 518.
  • n7. The words in italics are in cipher.
  • n8. See above, p. 844.
  • n9. "Tengo aviso como la gente de Alejandria que estaba sobre Juan de Virago son vueltos en Alejandria sin hacer nada, porque ha venido socorro al dicho Virago."