Title: Henry VIII. to Wm. Knight, ambassador with Lady Margaret.
[Backing for Bourbon against France]
Instructions for treating with the duke of Bourbon.
The Emperor and the King desire not to lose the opportunity which has now arisen by the communication of the Duke, who has expressed the loving mind which he bears towards them, as the only succour and refuge from the present evil governance and wild demeanour of the French king.
The Duke has offered, on condition of receiving one of the Emperor's sisters in marriage and the invasion of France, to declare himself an enemy to the French king, and join the invaders with 500 men-at-arms and 10,000 foot. For this purpose, the Emperor has despatched into England the lord Beawreyn, to advertise the King of the negotiations of the Duke, and with the King's consent to open a treaty with him, as Knight will learn by the enclosed.
As this is a delicate negotiation, Knight is to take leave of Lady Margaret, pretending he is sent into Switzerland, and join Beawreyn in disguise at Burgus.
He is to stay at Basle, and from there intimate to Beawreyn his arrival, guiding himself by the instructions he shall receive from Beawreyn. If any difficulties arise, Knight shall be further instructed. If he hears that the negotiation is broken off, and Beawreyn leaves for Rome, he shall stay, or return to the lady Margaret, as shall be deemed expedient. Arrangements have been made for secret conveyance of letters. If the Duke be come to Burgus, Knight must be on the alert to discover if there be any treaty on foot between the Emperor and the French King.
In the treaty he is to observe the following order:
1.He shall learn from Beawreyn the Duke's disposition touching the points stated in his memorial. He shall ascertain in what state the Duke stands with the French king, and what party he can bring with him, and whether he follows this cause of sheer necessity, and can be of great advantage to the confederates. 2. In regard to the Duke's army he shall so arrange that, in event of a peace to be made with the French king, the Duke shall not be able to prevent it; and yet the Duke shall not be led to think that, having declared against France, he will afterwards be sacrificed.
3. That the Duke may not pretend hereafter that the war is contrary to the common weal of France, is to get him to recognize the King as the rightful inheritor of the said crown, and have the recognition published, that other nobles may be induced to join.
4. Is to arrange the most convenient times for the Duke's declaration, and the sums to be paid his army: the money not to be more than one month in advance, so that in case of any sinister dealing the King shall suffer less. 5. Above all things to provide against any indirect craft in the event of the Duke joining his army with Prospero Colonna in Languedoc, for if he were the stronger he might overthrow Prospero, and recover Milan for the French king. There is greater suspicion by the closeness of Mons. de la Motte, who, being at this time with the lady Margaret, has seen all the preparations in the Low Countries, and, by discovering the Emperor's secrets, might turn them to the advantage of the French.
6. Is to arrange with the Duke, in case of an invasion, what parts it would be best to attack. The King is informed that the Emperor wishes to secure the services of the Duke for the conquest of Languedoc, which will only be for the benefit of the Emperor, and no reward to the King for the expenses incurred by him. The King therefore thinks it desirable that by this treaty "some good peace may be recovered to the King's benefit and behoof, whose army shall be greatly strengthened by joining with them of the said duke of Bourbon," if it may conveniently be. He is to advertise Wolsey in case it is the Duke's opinion to make a decent upon Normandy, managing that the King's excessive charge may be spared. The conditions upon which he shall finally conclude the arrangement without digressing materially from his instructions.