Spain: August 1526, 26-31

Pages 850-870

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, 26-31

26 Aug. 520. Vespasiano Colonna to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
f. 375.
Has written to his agent at Court, Marcello, all that has occurred ever since Don Ugo [de Moncada's] arrival in Italy. Begs that full credence be given to the said Marcello.
Addressed: "To His Imperial Majesty."
Indorsed: "Relacion de las cartas de los Coluneses."
Italian. Copy. p. 1.
26 Aug. 521. Secretary Perez to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
ff. 197–8.
His last was of the 17th inst. Encloses duplicate. Wrote on the 18th to Secretary Soria, informing him of the Duke of Sessa's demise.
The only news of importance is the agreement recently made between the Pope and the Colonnese. As provisions for the support of his small army could only be obtained from the lands of the Church, which was tantamount to waging war on the Pope—an undertaking which seems not to be to Don Ugo's taste, or to that of the Neapolitan Council—that general gave the said Colonnese permission to treat separately for themselves. In consequence whereof Vespasiano Colonna came over [to Rome] and made the following agreement with His Holiness. The Cardinal and all his relations and adherents to be pardoned by the Pope; they (the Colonnese) pledging their faith and giving securities not to wage war from the estates and lands they hold in fief of the Church, but to be allowed notwithstanding to aid individually and with their persons and troops wherever the Emperor may want their services. The Pope accordingly issued two briefs to that effect. Vespasiano returned [to Marino?] on the 24th, and Don Ugo has since given orders for his men, horse and foot, to retreat to the frontiers of Naples. The Pope has issued, besides, another brief allowing two or three of the Siennese to repair to Don Ugo and discuss with him the best means of coming to terms with the emigrants (foraxidos), which is what the Pope desires most; for although the said emigrants are wasting, as usual, the territory of Sienna and doing all the injury they can, the Siennese, on the other hand, have recovered a place called Orbitello, which the enemy took some time ago from them. The Pope promises on the agreement being signed to give back to the Siennese Porto Hercole and Talamon, but only on condition of Nania (Anania), which the Colonnese took, being restored to him.
Thirteen Venetian galleys have entered the port of Civitta Vecchia. They are expected soon to sail for Genoa in conjunction with those of the Pope. This is asserted so publicly that no cipher is needed to report the intelligence. It is added that the French fleet under the Archbishop of Salerno (Fregoso) and the Marquis of Saluzzo with his land force are to attack Genoa by sea and land simultaneously. They are not to attempt taking the city by force, but merely to surround it on all sides, so as to stop communication and cut off the supplies, that the Genoese may be obliged through famine to accept the enemy's terms. It is now rumoured that the Pope is about to pay off and dismiss his troops, with the exception of 500 only, and that the gates of this city [Rome] leading to Naples are to be left open for the people to go in and out freely. It is even asserted that His Holiness has told Vespasiano [Colonna] that, if Don Ugo agrees to it, he has no objection to allow the trade between Rome and Naples to continue as before, by sea as well as land. Does not know what Don Ugo's answer will be. He and Cardinal Colonna have left Marino, and gone to Subiaco, on account of the plague having broken out in the former town.
Everyone here is amazed (espantado) at His Majesty not having once written to his ministers since the war broke out. Most people, however, think that help is at hand, and that the Emperor cannot fail to send us instructions. May it be so! His Imperial Majesty must be well informed by way of Genoa of what passes in Lombardy. No need, therefore, for him (Perez) to repeat such intelligence as reaches Rome, generally from the opposite party. Suffice it to say that there can be no doubt about the rout of the enemy at Cremona. The Venetians have lately reinforced their camp with 2,000 Switzers. They give out that upwards of 10,000 have already arrived in Italy, and that they expect 4,000 more, besides 500 spears, with which forces they intend to take the offensive.
(Cipher:) About the Germans there is great variety of opinion, some saying that they are already in Italy, whilst others assert that they are not coming at all. A good number, however, are already at Trent and Bolçano under George Franspergh (Fruntsperg) and other captains, waiting for orders to come down to the lowlands. But, on the other hand, [Juan de Castro] a servant of the Archduke's (Ferdinand) writes from Trent, in date of the 13th inst., that the Germans will not come unless provided with money [from Milan], the Arckduke having none to give them. Even the 2,000 [Germans], already enlisted with so much difficulty, could not well make their way into Italy, except in company of a larger force.
(Common writing:) A gentleman has come here from the King of France to make offers to the Pope, and to ask him for the concession of the tithes (decimas). It is said that the Pope is to grant the King's request, and that the King promises to send down his men-at-arms and Switzers, though he wishes the thing not to be made public at once. In the meantime he (the King) will try to make an agreement with His Imperial Majesty, and if unsuccessful, will then publish his intentions and side entirely with the Pope.
(Cipher:) His Holiness is very proud of his last covenant with the Colonnese, believing his power to be so great that even those who could harm him come of their own accord to implore his mercy. He has great confidence in the arrival of the French troops, and that the army before Milan, reinforced as it has been and will be by Switzers, will achieve great things.
(Common writing:) The Duke Francesco Sforza remains at Crema. He hopes that Cremona will soon be taken from us, and that he will be able to fix his residence there.
(Cipher:) The Duke of Camerino has just sent one of his men to Don Ugo de Moncada, in all secrecy, to offer his services to His Imperial Majesty.
The Duke of Ferrara perseveres in his attachment to the Imperial cause; he has written to Don Ugo about it, and sends him (Perez) frequent advices from Milan and from other places.
(Common writing:) It is rumoured that the Pope has granted the tithes (decimas) to the King of France.
His Holiness has dismissed all the troops he had here (at Rome) with the exception only of 500 infantry that he keeps, in order that the captains, each of whom is to have 60 men under his orders, may be well satisfied. Pisa is the place where the seamen and soldiers are to be recruited for their intended Genoese expedition. Hears it stated that the Germans are coming at last; cannot say it for certain.—Rome, 26th Aug. 1526.
Signed: "Perez."
Addressed: "To His most Sacred, Imperial, Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. From Secretary Perez, 26th Aug." (By triplicate.")
Spanish. Holograph. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 3½.
27 Aug. 522. Prothonotary Caracciolo to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
f. 206.
Since the taking of the castle [of Milan] the enemy has been encamped one mile (miglio) from this city. They have since detached forces against Cremona, which has made, and is still making, a stout defence. The Duke of Bourbon and the rest of the captains of this Imperial army are very vigilant and full of spirit, waiting only for the arrival of reinforcements to march against the enemy.
Has duly received the Emperor's letters of the 21st July last, announcing the remittance of the bills, &c.—Milan, 27th Aug. 1526.
Signed: "El Protonotario Caracciolo."
Addressed: "To His most Sacred, Imperial, Catholic Majesty."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. From Prothonotary Caracciolo, 27th of Aug."
Italian. Original. pp. 1¼.
27 Aug. 523. The Abbot of Najera to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
ff. 210–14.
Wrote on the 28th last, announcing the surrender of the castle of [Milan], and enclosing copy of the capitulation; also an account of the infantry and artillery sent by the Pope against Sienna. Has since to report that on the very same day the castle surrendered (St. James' Day) the Siennese sallied out against the besiegers, 8,000 in number, and routed them completely with the loss of 700 men and 14 guns.
The enemy's camp is still two miles from this city, so strongly fortified with trenches and redoubts that there is no possibility of attacking it, though there are daily skirmishes. They have within the last few days received reinforcements to the amount of 7,000 men, Switzers and Valesians, on the arrival of whom the Venetians detached to Cremona a force consisting of 5,000 of their troops and seven guns. On the 3rd inst., after battering the walls for some hours from the river side, between the castle and the gate of the Pò, they made the assault, but were repulsed. On the 7th the enemy made another unsuccessful attempt, and lost 400 men. Lastly, on the 15th, our Lady's day, having received a reinforcement of 2,000 men brought from Brescia and Verona, they again attacked our positions, and lost upwards of 700 men (fn. n1) and six captains, among whom was one named Julio Manfron (Giulio Manfrone?), a Venetian (de la Señoria). That very night, at three o'clock, upwards of 100 feet (pasos) of the city walls, between the castle and the enemy's batteries, gave way (se cayeron); but before the enemy became aware of it the breach was repaired.
Meanwhile the Duke of Urbino, their Commander-in-chief, perceiving that his troops made no progress at all in the siege of Cremona, detached a second division of 2,000 men and four heavy guns, with which the enemy battered the walls of that city incessantly. On the 20th a fourth and last assault was made, which ended like the others. The enemy's loss in all these encounters has been so great that they begin to despair of ever being able to reduce Cremona, and are seriously thinking of raising the siege. The loss of the garrison consists only of 30 men, among whom is Pedro Mercado, the brother of Juan Mercado. There are inside, the companies of the Adelantado de Granada, under the command of captain Pedro Osorio, mustering in all 250 spears; that of Pedro Çapata, under Captain Rodrigo de Vargas; the spears under Vespasiano and Ascanio Colonna; 250 light cavalry; 2,000 Germans under Captain Corradin; and three more companies of Spanish infantry, all men of courage and experience, who served once under Antonio de Leyva at the siege of Pavia. The whole force is under Field-master Urrias, the Knight Commander of Montesa. (fn. n2) The enemy expect from France 500 spears and 10,000 infantry, under the Marquis of Saluzzo and Frederigo Bozano (Bozzole), both of whom are said to have already arrived in the Saluzzo, at a castle called Rebelo, though with 150 spears only and about 700 foot. It is reported that the Pope has sent them money to levy 4,000 more men in that locality.
Juan (Giovanni) Birago with upwards of 1,000 men of the Marquis (of Saluzzo) has lately been committing ravages in the neighbourhood of Alessandria; but the Imperialists have surrounded him, and he is now shut up in a town called Valencia [di Po], belonging to the Grand Chancellor (Mercurino Gattinara), where Fabricio Marramaldo with 2,000 Neapolitan and Italian infantry, Diego Ramirez de Guzman, Juan Cerbellon, and Captain Clavero, with their respective companies of Spanish infantry, and one more of the Germans stationed at Pavia, keep him closely invested. The Imperialists have with them four guns from Alessandria. The place itself not being very strong, and the men not much disposed to fight, hopes are entertained that it cannot hold out long, and that those inside will be properly chastised. If so, this will teach the Marquis and Frederigo [Bozzolo] to come down another time in greater force and with less fury; though it must be said that their marching to the field of war is anything but quick, owing probably to some device of the French King, who wishes to gain time and see if he cannot in the meanwhile make an arrangement with His Imperial Majesty.
Has already mentioned in one of his last despatches how the Marquis del Guasto and Antonio de Leyva, before the arrival of M. de Bourbon, had sent to the Grisons a gentleman from this city (Milan) expressly to ask for 2,000 troops and free passage for the Germans; and how a captain of that nation, named Theguene, had offered to grant the said passage and raise, besides, for the Emperor 2,000 or even 4,000 of his own countrymen, at the rate of one gold crown (escudo) for each man, engaging to bring them as far as Como or Leco, where they were to receive the remainder of their pay. Since then the Duke of Bourbon has sent one of his own gentlemen, named Tamis, to bring this negotiation to a close. He is provided with 2,000 crowns for as many Grisons; but although the Duke's agent and the above-named Milanese agent started on their mission a fortnight ago, no news has been received of them, which is the cause of some anxiety, as the rumour in the enemy's camp is that the enemy has secured the services of the said Grisons.
George Fruntsperg is now with upwards of 4,000 men on the frontiers of the Baltelina (Valtellina). He writes in date of the 24th of July last, wondering how it was that the Emperor's generals did not advise him how and when he was to pass [into Italy]. The said Tamis was charged to give the order as soon as the Grisons had granted the passage. On the 3rd inst. the Duke sent a Spaniard of his own suite, called Pedro de Burgos, to inform the Archduke of the above arrangement, and beg he would at once send reinforcements by way of the Grisons, as the required permission had been obtained. Pedro de Burgos and a French gentleman whom the Duke sent on this mission had been arrested at Lugano, released, and again taken prisoners at Velinçona (Belinçon), and lastly directed on to Lucerna (Luzern), where the Switzers were at the time holding their diet. As an ambassador of the Archduke resides at this latter place, it is to be hoped that he has already procured their release, and a safe conduct to prosecute their journey.
(Cipher:) The Archduke's reinforcements are more wanted than ever. Our numbers are few, and we have upwards of 1,500 men on the sick list, though none die. The enemy has in front of us upwards of 20,000 infantry, Switzers and Valesians together, besides 1,000 Lutheran peasants (villanos) escaped from Germany. Against such numbers we cannot, unless reinforced, take the offensive.
(Cipher:) Geronimo de Espinal, Don Ugo's secretary, arrived here on the 21st inst. with the draft of agreement about to be made with the Duke of Ferrara. We all think here that the conditions, as stipulated between Don Ugo de Moncada and the Duke cannot be improved, and yet the Duke [of Bourbon] says that they so greatly touch his honour and reputation, he being reduced to the rank of lieutenant-general, that he cannot possibly accept them, unless he has express orders from His Imperial Majesty. He, therefore, has sent on the bearer of this despatch, to be followed in a couple of days by Espinal himself, who is charged to make certain representations in the Duke's name. He (the Abbot) begs His Imperial Majesty to consider that, such being the situation of affairs, nothing short of victory can extricate us from present difficulties, and that so important an auxiliary as the Duke of Ferrara cannot and must not he despised. At the earnest request and solicitation of the Marquis (del Guasto) and of Antonio de Leyva, M. de Bourbon has consented to write him a letter. We all wait for His Majesty's answer.
(Common writing:) Juanin [de Medicis] and another of the Pope's captains (Count Guido Rangone) have had words together, the Count having written to His Holiness that Juanin (Giovannino) was receiving more pay for his men than he was entitled to (tomaba muchas pagas demasiadas); upon which they have had such altercation together, that if they survive the present war they are sure to fight a duel. Nor is the Duke of Urbino much in harmony with the Pope's generals, for very often the Venetians want one thing and the Papal troops another.
The Duke Francesco Sforza is still at Crema. If what Esforcin (Sforzino), his near relative and best captain, said a week ago to the Duke of Bourbon, to the Marquis del Guasto and to Antonio de Leyva be true, the Duke [of Milan] has openly declared himself the friend and ally of the Pope and of the Venetians. The said Esforcin wishes to remain in the Emperor's good graces, that being perhaps the cause of his not accepting the mission which the Duke offered him some time ago to the French King, and yet he wants also to be on good terms with the Duke, his kinsman and natural lord. He holds a castle and estate called Pontremoli, a very strong and important pass on the frontiers of the Florentines and Genoese, which may be worth 1,000 ducats a year or thereabouts. For greater security the Duke of Bourbon, after consulting the Marquis [del Guasto] and Antonio de Leyva, has given the tenancy of the said castle to Count Synebaldo de Flisco, (fn. n3) who used to have it in old times. The Count resides at Genoa, and is a good servant of His Imperial Majesty; he possesses many vassals and lands bordering upon Pontremoli, and has therefore undertaken to reduce that castle with his own men and artillery, after which he may, if properly reinforced, be a thorn in the side of the Florentines.
Prothonotary Carachiolo (Caracciolo) is still busily engaged in the examination of Juan Angelo Riccio, the Duke of Milan's secretary.
The Duke of Bourbon, after consulting the Marquis del Guasto, Antonio de Leyva, and other captains zealous for the Imperial service, has restored to the emigrants (foraxidos) of this estate of Milan all the property in houses and lands which they possessed before their departure for France, and likewise conferred on them the same charges and posts they held in the French army. (fn. n4) This he has done for two different purposes; first, to bring these people over to the Imperial service and detach them from the bands (conductas) of the Marquis of Saluzzo; the second, to promote by means of the said emigrants certain plans devised by Antonio de Leyva, and of which more will be said hereafter.
The names of the said emigrants (foraxidos) and the number of their followers are: Count Lodovico Beljoyoso (Belgiojozo), Count Pietro, and Count Alberigo, all three brothers, with 30 men-at-arms each; Count Antonio de Gaui with 50 light horse; Cavalier Birago with 40 men-at-arms; Captain Juan Geronimo di Castion with 50 light horse; Marco Antonio Cusano with 50 do.; Pietro Botichela (Botticella), captain of 1,000 foot, besides all other emigrants (foraxidos) of this place serving in the said companies, all of whom, after the inspection and approval by the Duke, are to be reinstated in their houses and property. (fn. n5) Galeaço de Virago (Birago) with his sons, Cesare Birago (sic), Guarnero Guasco, Fioramonte di Castion, and Antonio de la Cruz (della Croce) are also to regain possession of their estates. The Duke of Bourbon has promised compensation to Vespasiano Colonna for Belgiojozo, and also to Lope de Soria, Imperial ambassador in Genoa, for Gavi, besides reimbursing him his expenses in taking that castle from a vassal of the Duke Francesco, and holding it ever since for the Imperial service. Nothing can be more just, since it was granted to Soria by the Marquis del Guasto and Antonio de Leyva, before the arrival of the Duke of Bourbon, on condition of his defending it against the enemy, as it commands a very important pass to the Genoese territory. The Doge and Community pretend to have a right to it, and say that it ought never be given to an enemy of the Emperor. It is probable that the Duke, not to discontent either of the two parties (the Count and the Doge), will keep the castle and estate of Gavi, until the suit be tried by law, or His Imperial Majesty decide in the case. In like manner the Duke talks of offering compensation to Captain Hieronymo Pechio, governor of Alessandria, who possesses a village called Occhiobianco, once belonging to Galeaço Virago (Birago). A similar indemnity to be given to all those who may be in possession of property once belonging to the said emigrants (foraxidos) of Milan.
Pedro Navarro and the Archbishop (Fregoso) have arrived at Savona with 16 galleys, two galleons, and four brigantines, but with no troops on board to effect a landing. Their object is to intimidate the Genoese and provoke a rising of the people. It is reported that they intend to take on board a portion of the forces under the Marquis of Saluzzo and Frederigo Bozano (Bozzolo). The Doge is sufficiently provided with men for the defence of his city. However, should the enemy's fleet take troops on board, orders have been sent to the Spanish and Italian infantry now before Valencia [di Po] to go to the assistance of that port, whenever summoned by the Doge or by Lope de Soria, in any numbers that may be required.
(Cipher:) Supposing the enemy's intention to be, by remaining encamped before this city, to stop our supplies, oblige us to raise our camp and go somewhere else, all their efforts will be in vain, for in spite of all their vigilance provisions come in daily.
The Duke of Bourbon and Antonio de Leyva are determined to content this army by distributing among the soldiers the whole of the 100,000 ducats lately remitted, and on the arrival of either of the reinforcements promised by the Emperor and Archduke to march out [of Milan] and take up positions wherever we may stop the enemy's supplies and oblige them to abandon their fortified camp. Should this not put them on the move, the generals intend sending to Piacenza 4,000 or 5,000 Italians of the said bands (condutas) belonging to the emigrants, as that city, being but scantily guarded, may easily be taken. Should the enemy, as is most probable, raise his camp, the rest of the Imperial army is to go in pursuit, meet them before they pass either the Adda or Po, and make them pay the cost of the provisions they have consumed whilst remaining in this district. Urgent orders ought to be issued for the fleet now fitting out [at Barcelona] to come as soon as possible, and for the Infante (Archduke) to hasten the promised succour.
(Common writing:) Received on the 19th inst. the Imperial letter dated the 21st of July last. Since his despatches of the 2nd and 9th of June, which he finds have reached their destination, he has written home twice; once on the 27th June by Lope Hurtado de Mendoza, who left this on a mission to the Duke and Duchess of Savoy, at Chambery, and is still detained there for want of a safeconduct, and again on the 10th of July. Lope Hurtado, the bearer of the former, being unable to pass through France, entrusted his despatches to a gentleman of Count Gayaço's suite, who was taken prisoner in France. Of his letter of the 27th he (the Abbot) now sends a duplicate, but as the express who took that of the 10th July met on the road to Spain, and not far from Court, the courier who has since arrived with the Imperial letters of the 21st July, there is no occasion for a repetition of the same. The Pope and the Venetians keep such careful guard by land and sea on the frontier passes, that there is no safe road for letters from Rome or Venice, notwithstanding which he (the Abbot) purposes writing home and elsewhere as before.
Addressed: "To the most Sacred, Imperial and Catholic Majesty, &c."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. Milan. The Abbot of Najera, 27th Aug. Answered."
Spanish. Original partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet. pp. 8.
28 Aug. 524. The Marquis del Guasto to Captain Joan Baptista Castaldo [Y Gutierrez] (fn. n6)
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
ff. 228–31.
We have frequently written to the Archduke, who makes us all manner of promises, and yet the expected reinforcements do not arrive. We doubt not, however, that he will soon help us. Never could his assistance be so welcome as at the present moment, for certainly our position is very critical.
Our troubles and sufferings are such that I cannot describe them to you in a letter. Antonio de Leyva, though almost continually bedridden, owing to the bad state of his health, works as much as four of us.
But since you wish to know the true account of late events, and complain of not receiving letters from me, I will, as summarily as possible, inform you of all that has occurred since the beginning of this war. And first about Lodi. The town and castle were only victualled for three days, firstly because the movements of the Venetians had already begun, and secondly because the Pope's army compelled the peasants to fly with their valuables, and let their corn rot in the fields. Three companies of Spanish infantry who garrisoned the place, hearing that their comrades had been ordered to concentrate in Milan, would on no account stop there, and abandoned their posts, upon which nothing was left for Antonio de Leyva and myself to do but send thither the Italians, on the excuse of giving them employment, for 15 or 20 days more, till a better expedient could be thought of. That traitor Ludovico Vistarini, who was in command of the Italians, and whom we had described in our letters to the Emperor as the head of certain treacherous intrigues at Lodi, played his cards so well by informing us of the sudden retreat of the Spaniards that we thoroughly trusted him, and sent him thither at the head of his Italians. The traitor was already in treaty with the Duke of Urbino to deliver the place to him. Accordingly, one night, as the said Lodovico Vistarini was on guard at one of the gates, and the Venetian army close by, he secretly sent for them, and upwards of 2,000 approached the walls and entered the city. Fabricio Marramaldo, (fn. n7) who commanded there, considering himself lost, fled to the castle with a few gentlemen (gentiles hombres) who followed him.
Hearing of this next morning, at the break of day, I rode to Lodi, followed only by a few Spaniards, as the remainder, not giving credit to the news and believing it to be a feint of ours to take them away from Milan, refused to accompany me. At Marignano I took up 200 men, with whom, added to my small force, I at once marched to the relief of Fabricio. I entered Lodi by the castle gate, before which the enemy had already erected bastions. This notwithstanding, I sallied out against them, followed them up the streets to the piazza or market-place of the city, and there fought with them, Herrera the warder (alcayde) being wounded by a hackbut shot through the lower jaw. (fn. n8) He is not dead, but will remain horribly mutilated for life. Fabricio Marramaldo received a sabre cut in the arm, and was, besides, shot in the shoulder. Had not the Duke of Urbino come up at this moment with the rest of his force, we should certainly have retaken possession of the city, for we had defeated the enemy and gone in pursuit of him as far as the gate of the bridge on the Adda. But on the Duke's arrival we were compelled to re-enter the castle. I would willingly have passed the night at Lodi, but hearing that the Venetian army was close upon us [at Milan], that the Pope's had already crossed the Pò, that Lodi itself could not be retaken without employing all our army in the siege and abandoning Milan, I resolved to quit Lodi that very night, leaving within the castle a Spanish captain with 20 men (con veinte hombres) to defend it for two or three days, until I should send him succour. The captain did his duty so well that when compelled to give up the castle he broke through the ranks of the besiegers, slew many of them, took two of their banners, and retreated [to Milan] without losing one man. In this manner Lodi was lost, as I wrote to you at the time by Donato de Targis (Taxis?), and afterwards by Lope Hurtado, but perhaps both my letters were intercepted by the enemy.
The fears which you, Joan Baptista [Castaldo], seem to entertain about the fate of Carpi are groundless; for the two companies of Spanish infantry under Vargas and Luys de Viacampo (Villacampo?), besides your own of horse, are more than sufficient for the security of that town. I have letters from those commanders every day assuring me that they are in no want of provisions; that they have excellent artillery and plenty of ammunition, and that their men are in such high spirits that there is no fear whatever, and they will hold the place against the whole world. Your own brother, besides, is making daily incursions and doing much injury in the enemy's territory. I have just now sent him 150 horse as a reinforcement, so that you need not be anxious, for with God's permission everything will turn out well.
What you tell me about Commander Herrera having said that all the fortresses we hold in Italy had six months' provisions, and that we are now victualled for a whole year [at Milan], is not true, and I am astonished how a man who saw everything with his own eyes, and heard all the reports in Council, can publicly make such an assertion, knowing, as he ought to know, that not one of the fortresses has provisions for more than one month. I cannot help thinking that if Commander [Miguel de] Herrera has considered it necessary to make such a statement at court, he must, nevertheless, have told His Imperial Majesty the plain truth.
The enemy, as I wrote to you by Donato [Taxis], is still close upon us, encamped half a mile from this city. We go out almost every day to skirmish with him, trying to draw him out of his positions, stronger even than the Rocca of Milan itself. Meanwhile we are consuming whatever small provision there is in this city (comiendo lo que no hay). Our hearts are moved to compassion at the sufferings of these people, who, poor and distressed as they are, must necessarily find also the means of feeding our army. We only wait for the promised reinforcements to sally forth and attack the enemy. Should they fail, or tarry on the road, we are still determined, after distributing among the troops the money lately received from Genoa, not to let this opportunity of relieving the distress of the Milanese pass, but to attack the confederated army, wherever it may be. To that effect we are about to order the concentration here [at Milan] of the entire garrison of Pavia, of a portion of that of Alessandria, and of all the Italian infantry, about 3,000 strong, now besieging Valenza [di Pò], where Joan [Giovanni] Birago is actually shut up with his 1,500 men. I hope that by the time I write Valenza is taken, and that we shall be able to dispose of the besieging forces. However this may be, we intend to draw the enemy out to a spot where, through the superior discipline and courage of our men, and the weakness of the enemy, greatly reduced in numbers by the detachments sent to the siege of Cremona, we may gain as complete and decisive a victory as those of old times. Indeed we should already have accomplished this part of our military plan, had it not been that a considerable portion of our men are actually disabled by sickness. So great is their number that I could hardly believe it, had I not seen it with my own eyes. Very luckily the disease is not a dangerous one; very few die of it, and most have already returned to the trenches, whence we make daily sallies on the enemy, who, surrounded as he is by strong bastions and all manner of earth-works, may be fairly said to be besieged in his own camp, as nothing will induce him to come out of it.
Fifteen banners of Italian infantry, who went the other day to Cremona with competent artillery to help in the siege of that city, were almost completely destroyed by a sally of our garrison. Giulio Manfrone, Pietro di Longena, both captains of Venetian men-at-arms, Marco Correggio, captain of infantry, and several other officers of note were slain in the encounter, and had not the confederates retreated in haste they would all have perished to a man.
The other day, as 1,000 of the enemy were escorting a convoy of arms and ammunition on the road to Novara, Fabricio Marramaldo, who happened to be there with his Italians, and who had previously received information from me, fell suddenly upon the enemy ten miles from the above-named city, and routed them most completely with great loss in dead and prisoners, besides taking three banners from them.
There was at Sanct Angelo another force of the enemy, consisting of 1,000 Italians, besides two companies of men-at-arms. One night Count [Giovanni Battista] Lodrone, who is at Pavia, went out with 1,500 Germans, killed an immense (infinitos) number of them, and took many horses.
The Florentines, by the Pope's orders, had marched on Sienna with 4,000 men and a number of guns. On St. James' day the people of that city went out, routed them most completely, and took the whole of their artillery, at which the Pope is very much disgusted, and the confederates in general not a little disheartened. His Imperial Majesty, indeed, ought to be much obliged to this Republic of Sienna for its constant fidelity to and affection for the Imperial cause.
Genoa is in great danger. Count Pedro Navarro with the French fleet and that of the Pope and Venetians, is two miles from the port. The Doge has raised some infantry, and we have sent him two companies of Spaniards who were at Alessandria. We have also decided, with the Doge's consent, that a fleet should be armed within the port, for which purpose the Duke of Bourbon has lately consigned 10,000 ducats out of the sum that is to come from Spain. I hear that the fleet is being fitted out with all diligence. May God be pleased to preserve that city, the loss of which might be highly detrimental to the Emperor's interests in Italy!
We have been lately negotiating with the Grisons, but as they are people of low nature (gente bestial), little reliance is to be placed on their promises. We wished for their friendship, more as regards the passage of the Germans through their territory, which they are expected to grant, than for any assistance they could give us. I cannot say what will be their decision.
I have written very often to the Collateral Council of Naples, and to all my friends and relatives in that kingdom, informing them at length of the state of things. I still continue to advise them of any new occurrence, though I have had no answer to my letters for upwards of one month. Perhaps they are intercepted by the enemy.
This very day the Secretary of Don Ugo de Moncada (Geronimo de Espinal) arrived in this city, with the draft of the treaty made with the Duke of Ferrara, and in truth, as far as I can judge, the Duke [of Bourbon] resents the whole thing as an injury done to his honour and reputation. Had Bourbon known at first what the Duke's intentions were, and been consulted in the matter, I think he might not have taken it so much to heart. As it is, he is very much hurt. I have entreated him to write a letter to the Duke of Ferrara, which he has done, expressing his approval of, and consent to, the treaty lately made with Don Ugo, whose secretary is now going to Court to procure its ratification by the Emperor. In my opinion this is a most important step, because until the answer [from Spain] comes, the Duke of Ferrara will entertaim hopes of his proposition being accepted, he will not join the confederates, and we shall profit by the delay. With regard to Carpi, as far as I am concerned, I imagine that the Duke [of Ferrara] will not confirm the aforesaid agreement, and openly declare for us until he gets a binding promise from me. (fn. n9) I have written to him to say that not only am I ready to give up that estate, but anything else His Imperial Majesty may want of me, for my life and property are both at his service. I send you a transcript of the letter I have written to the Duke [of Ferrara] on this particular, the substance of which this secretary of Don Ugo, now going to Court, is also charged by me to communicate verbally to His Majesty.
Respecting the Dukes of Bourbon and Ferrara I can only repeat what I have told you in my previous and longer letter, namely, that His Imperial Majesty must needs ponder this affair well, so as to put a stop to the dilatory proceedings (dilaciones) of one of the parties, and the annoyance (enojos) likely to result to the other. You must recollect how earnestly the Marquis of Pescara, my honoured master and uncle, and myself have endeavoured to gain such a friend as the Duke of Ferrara might prove to the Imperial cause, and God only knows what I have gone, and am still going, through to procure such an arrangement of this matter as may satisfy both parties.
The sea forces of the confederates have effected their junction, but as this news must be already known at Court, I will say no more about it, save that the enemy is likely to do everything in his power to prevent the Viceroy's fleet coming over to Italy.
People say that the Duke of Urbino is rather unwell, and has had words with the proveditor of the Venetians. The Duke Francesco [Maria Sforza] is still at Crema; he refused to live at Como whilst our troops were there, although they offered to obey his commands and do his pleasure.
French spears, they say, are coming down. From all parts the enemy's army receives reinforcements. Were we to have only one of those so often promised us, either from Spain or Germany, though in small number, I can assure you that we would make the most of it. But if they do not come soon, we have decided, in order not to waste our money, to advance against the enemy.
I have also been told that Juanin de Medicis and Count Guido [Rangone] are continually quarrelling with each other. Please God that with the speedy arrival of reinforcements we may at once put an end to their quarrels.
The above account, perhaps a little too long, of our doings here, I am pleased to send you, because I know how sorry you are not to be here with us. I am no less so that you are away at such times as these.—Milan, 28th of August 1526.
Indorsed: "Deciphering of letter from the Marquis del Guasto to Captain Joan Baptista Castaldo y Gutierrez, dat. Milan, 28th Aug. 1526."
Spanish. Copy. pp. 6¼.
30 Aug. 525. Lope de Soria, Imperial Ambassador in Genoa, to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
ff. 224–7.
Wrote on the 24th inst. in answer to the Imperial letters of the 21st and 29th July last, duly received on the 16th of August. The Duke of Bourbon has applied for the first third of the 100,000 ducats lately sent from Spain, saying that as soon as the money is sent, the Imperial army will quit Milan and meet the enemy. Intends to remit the money to-morrow, although the roads are by no means secure, owing to Juan Birago being still inside of Valenza, and the brother of the Marquis of Saluzzo with Federigo de Bozol (da Bozzolo), having taken up positions near Asti with some infantry and cavalry. He (Soria) has further heard that French men-at-arms had crossed the Alps to join the army of the League, and that some of them were already in Piedmont. Fabricio Marramaldo and some of the Guelphs, with about 600 Germans from Pavia, and some guns, had attacked Joan de Virago (Giovanni da Birago) at Valenza, but unable to take that fortress, had retreated to Basiñana (Bisignano). Thinks the troops now coming from France will join Birago at Valenza. The report is that Mons. de Guise will first undertake this city (Genoa), and then Naples.
Things at Milan are in the same state. The Duke of Urbino in bad health, and wishing to go to Brescia to recover. Cremona still besieged by 10,000 of the enemy with good artillery. They attacked it twice on the 27th inst., but were repulsed with considerable loss, especially among the captains and officers of the army, no one daring to approach the walls, with the exception of two companies (banderas) of Switzers, of whom very few escaped. Such was the spirit of the defenders that it may be safely asserted the enemy will never take the city by force. It is said that the camp of the confederates has been reinforced by 5,000 Switzers; that the whole army of the League amounts to 40,000 men receiving pay, and that the King of England has already contributed 80,000 ducats to the expenses of the war during the last two months.
The Duke of Sessa died on the 18th inst., as appears from the enclosed letter of Secretary Perez to him (Soria). He has named his mother-in-law [the Duchess of Terranova] to be the guardian of the one son and the daughters that he leaves behind. (fn. n10) Don Ugo is still at Marino with the Colonnese.
Encloses a letter from the Archbishop of Monreale (fn. n11) advising that 13 galleys of the Venetians had passed by the pharo of Messina. They had since arrived at Liorna (Leghorn), where they have been joined by 16 of the French. These last had captured in the gulph of Spezzia, and within the very port of Leriso, belonging to this office (oficio) of San Giorgio, nine ships coming from Sicily to this city laden principally with corn; among the rest one with biscuit, gunpowder, tallow and other articles for the Sicilian fleet of galleys. It was the fault of the governor of Leriso, who would not give the ships proper help, wishing no doubt to favour the enemy, as he happens to be a Fregoso, as are most others belonging to this office of San Giorgio. He (Soria) has, with the Doge's consent, told them his mind about it. Their answer was that they would have the governor of Leriso properly chastised for his negligence; but the truth is that this office is very corrupt, and the fortresses and castles belonging to it are in bad hands. The Doge knows it all, but pretends that he cannot help it. Reform is indispensable in this particular, and must come from His Imperial Majesty.
Encloses copy of letter from Alonso Sanchez.
Our fleet here, being chiefly composed of caracks, could not give chase to the French galleys, by whom the above-mentioned ships laden with corn were at last captured. The caracks came back to this port, where they now are, with six more galleys. Some galleons are now being fitted out, with which and the above there will be, it is hoped, a respectable fleet.
A galleon of the King of Portugal has just arrived in port with a numerous and well-appointed crew, and mounting very fine artillery, owing to which circumstance, and to the want of a fleet to defend this city against the enemy, this Doge and Community, with his (Soria's) advice and consent, have decided to take her into their service, and offer the captain, whose name is Hernando Yañez, and crew, the usual stipend. The captain refuses this offer, and the Doge is determined to seize the ship by force. The King of Portugal should be written to not to take this proceeding in bad part.
Leonardo Grimaldo arrived this morning with the Imperial despatches. Has forwarded those for Venice and Milan. Intends to send those of Rome and Naples to Spain by the first opportunity. Has delivered to the Doge and Community the letters that came for them. All are very much gratified, and very thankful to hear that the Viceroy of Naples is coming here with his fleet, and that the Emperor is sending them 3,000 ducats for the expenses of the naval armaments to be equipped in this port. This has revived them, for the fleet of the Confederates, amounting to 37 galleys, is now seven leagues from this port, and, as may be supposed, the Genoese are rather alarmed at its presence in these waters. They have sent to the Duke of Bourbon for the 30 pieces of heavy artillery which His Imperial Majesty granted them by his last letter, and also for the bills of exchange for 30,000 ducats, out of which they intend to return the 10,000 which the Duke of Bourbon formerly advanced them. Should Don Ugo [de Moncada] come over with the Neapolitan galleys, our security here would then be complete, but it is to be feared that the death of the Duke [of Sessa] will be an impediment, or that the galleys will not dare to come, knowing the enemy's fleet to be in front of our harbour; although, if the galleys went to Corsica first, they could with a fair wind come here easily, and without danger. The same may be said respecting the four galleys now coming from Spain, and even the Viceroy's fleet; they might all come in safety as far as Monego, Corsica, or Sardinia, meet there, and decide upon the best point at which to attack the enemy.
Has written to the Duke [of Bourbon] at Milan for the 30 pieces of artillery. Leonardo Grimaldo is to take the letter.
Whilst writing the above [Geronimo] Espinal, present bearer, arrived from Milan on his way to Spain. From him the Emperor will learn the news of that city as well as of this locality. The 16 galleys of France passed this morning in front of the port bound for Savona. Those of the Pope and Venetians are on the other side, at Portofino, about seven leagues off, so that the intention of the enemy is evidently to blockade this port from east to west, so as to prevent any supplies coming in. May the Viceroy arrive soon with the fleet!
Last night a boat (barca) was captured, in which were letters from the King of France to Count Pedro Navarro, the substance of which is that he is to do his utmost to get possession of this city, or to prevent the Viceroy from landing in Italy. The Doge is about to send copies of the letters.—Genoa, 30th August 1526.
Signed: "Lope de Soria."
Addressed: "To His most Sacred, &c."
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. Lope de Soria, 30th August. Duplicate."
Spanish. Original. pp. 7½.
31 Aug. 526. Secretary Perez to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 38,
ff. 232–3.
Sends triplicate of his letter of the 26th, the duplicate of which went by Don Ugo de Moncada. Courtiers at Rome are daily expecting the news of the fall of Cremona, whither they have lately sent reinforcements in men and artillery. Hopes, however, that their expectations will turn out vain, for the Cremonese, he hears, are making a stout defence, and have turned out of the city all useless and suspected persons, to the great disappointment of the besiegers.
No news from Milan; if any, His Imperial Majesty must already have had it by way of Genoa.
The Papal and Venetian galleys left Civitta Vecchia on the 24th inst., bound for Genoa. They were to take troops on board at Pisa. The infantry the Pope had here has been dismissed; most went of their own accord to join the camps (campos) about Milan; only 500 men remain, whom His Holiness wishes to retain near his person.
A courier has arrived from Genoa, bringing letters which another courier from Spain handed over to him; the dates are Granada, 29th July, and Barcelona, 7th of August. All announce the immediate embarkation at Cartagena of the Viceroy [Charles de Lannoy] with 7,000 men, counting the Germans [of the Rousillon], a piece of intelligence which has caused no small uneasiness and fear among these people.
(Cipher:) His Imperial Majesty may be sure that if the Viceroy really comes here with such forces he will have his own way wherever he goes, for the Pope fears him greatly, believing that independently of the harm he may do him in execution of the Emperor's commands, he will try to inflict on him all possible injury on his own account, as he considers him his own personal enemy. That is the reason why the Pope fears him more than one can imagine.
(Common writing:) The news is that the Pope's legate (Cardinal Salviatis) is still at Valencia, and that afterwards he is to be appointed to France. Some go as far as to say that he has already been appointed to that post.
Don Ugo is at Subiaco with Cardinal Colonna, waiting for orders from Court; the troops are on the frontiers of Naples.
The last courier who came from Genoa brought news that a gentleman of the Emperor's bedchamber had landed there from Spain, bringing despatches and bills of exchange for the Archduke (Ferdinand), which intelligence, as may be supposed, has not been much to the taste of the Emperor's enemies. Up to the present we have no certain news of the German lansquenets having come down, though we hear from different quarters that they are already in Italy. On the other hand the enemy has publicly announced the immediate arrival at their camp of a considerable number of Switzers and of French men-at-arms, as well as the presence of 16 of their galleys at Genoa. Of this last fact there can be no doubt, as His Imperial Majesty must already have been informed, it being worthy of remark that since the presence of his fleet in these seas the King of France has completely thrown off the mask and declared against the Emperor, whereas heretofore he has sought to conceal his movements, though his real intentions were known to us all.
(Cipher:) The Pope appears to be in great want of money. Not only has he obliged his familiars to give him the net produce of their ecclesiastical benefices, but he has distributed several among them, to be sold immediately to other parties, and for him to touch the amount. He has borrowed from them all the money he could, and asked 20,000 ducats from the Chapter of Saint Peter, who, in order not to lose the whole, have already given him 5,000. The friars of Saint Paul have presented him with 10,000, besides which he has taken from them considerable landed property, which is to be sold. In this manner it is believed that if this war lasts he will go on little by little alienating the patrimony of the Church until nothing is left, and that he will put up for sale the whole of the ecclesiastical benefices, as he has recently done with the deanery of Cordova, lately vacated at Genoa.
(Common writing:) Up to the present no one has gone from Sienna to negotiate with Don Ugo de Moncada, as agreed. The citizens mistrust the Pope, though they hold a brief from him promising security to their persons, free passage through his dominions, &c. Meanwhile the exiles (foraxidos) continue their ravages, doing all the injury they can to the subjects of that Signory, especially in the towns and villages of the coast. It is even reported that all the corn they can find in the villages and farmhouses (cipher) is by the command of the Pope handed over to the Florentines, to keep them in good humour, so that they may accommodate him with more money. The Florentines grumble and declare that they have no money left, and that they spent upwards of 200,000 ducats in the last unprofitable attempt on Sienna. This notwithstanding, there is a rumour that both infantry and cavalry are being enlisted at Florence for a second attack on that Signory.
(Common writing:) According to advices from Lombardy of the 26th inst., there is great dissension in the camp of the Pope and of the Venetians before Milan. The lieutenant-general of the Pope's army, Il Guicciardino, has sent in a protest to this effect, that unless the Duke of Urbino changes his plan of campaign he will not co-operate with the Papal forces, as he does not wish to spend more money. The Duke and the Venetians, on the other hand, pretend that the Pope's troops have not done, and are not doing, their duty.
The Cremonese do wonders in the defence of their city, and it is a very good sign that up to the 26th inst. the enemy, with all their boasting and fanfaronades, had achieved nothing. On the 23rd they had established their batteries and begun the attack with 12 large guns, besides other artillery.
(Cipher:) The Duke of Ferrara is still favourably disposed and sends us news from time to time. It was he who forwarded the said advices from Cremona of the 26th ulto.
(Common writing:) The news from Palermo is that on the 19th inst. eight ships left for Genoa, laden with corn. God grant that they reached their destination in time, uncaptured by the enemy! He (Perez) has heard that two vessels with a cargo of corn had lately been taken by the French, but hopes they are no part of the same.
Whilst writing the above, news has come from Genoa stating that the above eight ships had been signalled on the coast, and that the galleys of France were trying to prevent their entering that port, and to capture them if possible.
(Cipher:) Firmly believes that if the Viceroy (Charles de Lannoy) comes in force the Pope will not dare to remain at Rome, being, as he is, very much disliked by the people, not only on account of what he has already done, but of what he is likely to do if the war goes on, for they all think he will prove a greater destroyer of the Church than Pope Leo [the Tenth] himself.—Rome, the last day of August 1526.
Signed: "Perez."
Addressed: "To the most Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty." (Triplicata ultimi Augusti.)
Indorsed: "To the King. 1526. From Secretary Perez. From Rome, last of August."
Spanish. Holograph partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet. pp. 3.


  • n1. "Dia de nuestra Señora dieron otro asalto de cinco batallas muy grande, y duró mucho, donde no hicieron mas de perder 700 hombres."
  • n2. "Y el Comendador Urrias, Maestre de Campo." This Urrias, whose name is more generally written Urries, was an Aragonese nobleman related to Secretary Urries. His Christian name was Pedro, and he was commander of the military Order of Montesa; a different person from Pedro Jurdan de Urries, abbot of Monte Aragon, whose letter addressed to the Emperor from Rome is at page 244, under No. 136.
  • n3. Thus in the original, but there can be no doubt that Senibaldo da Fiesco is meant, whose occupation of Pontremoli is mentioned by Guicciardini, lib. XVII.
  • n4. "Y los ha admitido con las mismas conductas que tenian en Fráncia."
  • n5. "Y mas todos los foragidos deste Estado que fueren soldados en las dichas compañias, de quienes despues de vistos el Duque de Borbon se contentare, que sean restituidos à sus casas y bienes."
  • n6. Giovambatista Castaldo, a great friend of Pescara, and who, according to Bernardo Navagero, wore always on his breast the image in gold of that celebrated captain. It was he who was sent to Spain in 1525 to reveal to the Emperor the Milan conspiracy and the proposals made by Clement VII. He greatly distinguished himself in the campaign of Hungary against the Turks. His mother was a Castillan lady of the name of Gutierrez (perhaps the daughter of Gutierrez, the treasurer at Naples).
  • n7. Also called Marramao, and Maramus by Guicciardini.
  • n8. Felipe de Herrera.
  • n9. One of the conditions stipulated by the Duke of Ferrara was that the county of Carpi, then possessed by Guasto, should be given over to one of his sons. See above, p. 848.
  • n10. Not in the volume. The Duchess of Terranova mentioned in this passage was the widow of Gonzalo de Cordova, whose daughter, Elvira, the Duke had married. The Duke left one son (Gonzalo), who succeeded him in the estate, and two daughters.
  • n11. See No. 512, p. 834.