Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: Volume 4
589. PACE to [WOLSEY].
On 12 [August received] his letters dated 17 July, with the King's and his letters to Bourbon, the Viceroy, the marquis of Pescara, Beaurayne and the count de Pontievers.
Wolsey must have misunderstood one clause in his letters, in which Pace said he should impute the loss of the French crown to Wolsey.
Did not mean it as seriously as Wolsey took it, but only to stir Wolsey to that end.
Desired Wolsey to regard that letter above all others, because Bourbon had never spoken so substantially and circumspectly as he had just before Pace's writing.
Is not so foolish as not to know Wolsey's continual desire for the King's honor, and that the King might lose France if he spent his treasure out of time. But, so far are we from such an "inconvenient," that by Wolsey's wisdom and Pace's service the King will either obtain his rights entirely, or such conditions of peace as will be to his honor and profit, of which Pace never saw so great a chance as now. In his letters from Savilian he confessed that he was but one person, and that the matter required mature counsel, fully intending that Wolsey should take the best and leave the worst, and order everything according to his own wisdom, not Pace's opinion.
Will make a more special answer, to show the King and Council that he did not write without reason.
The first thing he tried to find in the Duke was his inner mind, excluding all craft and simulation, to the King and the recovery of his rights, and whether he would so act as to show that he regarded the King's profit, and not his own only. Always intended to advise the King to contribute according as Bourbon's progress was to his purpose, and to restrain the payment if he perceived anything to the contrary.
As to the conquests in Provence, Languedoc and Burgundy being for other men's profit, at the King's expence, this is a great error, and the fy[ne] man whom Wolsey mentions cannot deceive Pace about that.
Does not trust him much, nor esteem his wisdom. Marseilles, which Wolsey separates from Provence, is but one of its head cities. When the Duke, on his solemn oath, in the most serious manner promised that he would go straight to Rienes to crown the King, thought this was some ground to build upon. Considers him a substantial man.
If Wolsey thinks he will not keep his word or oath, is sorry he was sent to treat with him, and that the King intends to spend his money to restore him. Hopes no one will charge him with being in love with or corrupted by a Frenchman. Loves this man because he is good, noble and faithful. As to the recovery of the French crown, has trusted no one except Bourbon, noting circumspectly his substantial communication and faithful promise.
Wolsey wonders that in his last letters he advises the King to cross the sea, as there were not more than three or four days between that and his former letter, within which space he could have little further knowledge, the general hatred to Francis and goodwill to Bourbon not appearing to be as he wrote.
Whatever he advises, Wolsey and the Council can dissuade. His reasons were that he thought the King was more prepared than he is, and that if he and Bourbon attacked France jointly, the Emperor being bound to do the same or send an army, Pace did not and cannot now see how France could defend himself. Since they have entered Provence, has hourly seen that his opinion was not all vain.
Thought also, that Francis intended, as he does, to send all his power against Bourbon, so that the King would meet no resistance. Had credible information from the French council that Francis could not raise more than 24,000 foot and 1,200 men-at-arms, with all of whom Bourbon would not refuse battle, and, if divided, they would be but feeble.
Bourbon had daily news from his secret friends, which moved him to proceed in haste, and gave him great hope of victory. Has seen also the Emperor's letters to the Viceroy, commanding him to obey Bourbon in everything, and to pledge the whole crown of Naples rather than lack money.
These reasons made him write more vehemently in his last letter than he had done before; but he merely suggested it to the King and Council, considering himself as only one, and the most unwise.
Now that he sees from Wolsey's letters that the King cannot so easily pass the sea, it is his duty to accommodate himself to their deliberation, which he will do without further disputation, and work here as he is commanded. As to the hatred to Francis, and the goodwill to Bourbon, has heard less of it from Bourbon and his adherents than from men of other nations in France, and from Frenchmen themselves, who all confess that the persecution of Bourbon is the maddest thing the King ever did.
In all the parts they have passed through, the hatred to the King appears openly, and he is called a tyrant; the instances of which are too shameful to rehearse; and they complain universally that the Duke did not come sooner. If the Viceroy had not kept back the men-at-arms, contrary to the Emperor's command and his own promise, they would have been in such a place that the King would have been contented with them. Thinks Wolsey will hear of the Viceroy's shameful acts from Clerk, who tells Pace that Master Pasquyll is making verses against him. Are secretly informed that he favors the French, and it is thought he seeks Bourbon's ruin, that he may have no superior about the Emperor.
Wolsey writes that Pace will daily find more and more difficulty about the French crown. The two greatest, to which he can find no remedy, are, the falseness of persons whom no one would suspect, the other, that Bourbon ... "which thing I would never have believed till now that I see it, ne he would have comen hither without promise of the Emperor of further aid, and hope of the King for their common profits." His acts hitherto correspond to his promise and Pace's writing; and, in spite of the detention of his men-at-arms, and the embezzling of the Emperor's money, he has taken most of Provence, and does not intend to desist till the princes who have sent him order him to do so.
Gave his opinion that the King should proceed to Calais, for Wolsey to consider; but thinks that as he does not intend to invade France personally or by deputy, he had better stay in England, for the reasons Wolsey alleges.
As to Bourbon's demand of money, and Wolsey's surprise that the Emperor's and the King money was spent about the 20th inst., cannot prevent the Duke from writing what he wishes, but perceives that he asks much ex superhabundante cautela, as he that asked 1,000 oaks and was content with 100.
On leaving St. Laurens, 10 or 11 July, there was at Genoa 108,000 ducats of the Emperor's at least, so that matters are better than they made out, and, with the King's money, there will be sufficient for a whole month more. Hope to make shift till the end of September, by which time the Emperor will have, as his agents say, and as word comes from Spain, 100,000 ducats more at Genoa, besides the 200,000 which, as Pace wrote from Montcalier, were truly sent. Did not take this on trust, but saw the bills of exchange.
Part of this was spent in the preparations for war; but that is no wonder. The Viceroy spent some of it on Italian affairs, notwithstanding the Emperor's orders to use the revenues of Naples for that purpose. All their vexation during the long absence of the King's money has been the payment of the Emperor's money by parcels, and not in one sum; for which they have this remedy, that many of the Spanish soldiers are well off, and can wait ten or twelve days for their wages; and the captains are rich, and, from love to Bourbon and Pescara, pay the men themselves.
This will show Wolsey how ready they are to serve. They would fain be at Lyons as Wolsey desires. He may be quite sure that the King's money is not spent, for none of it is come; at which others marvel, and Pace despairs; for reports arise that none will come, and that Pace is sent to deceive them. If they only had half the sum promised, they would do some notable acts. In all their difficulties no one intends to sleep, but to do all they can to annoy the enemy. If from any reason they do not get the money, does not know what will become of them, save that they are all determined to die in battle rather than return with shame.
Every man here takes the cause for his own, and studies not only to serve his prince, but to save his own life; for Francis is at Lyons, and says he will come in person with all the power he can. Never intends, saving the King's pleasure, to go to war again without ready money, for money paid as it now is, is rather wasted than spent. The enterprise has been sustained only by the goodwill of the army and this country to the Duke, without which they would have died of hunger. Has noted what Wolsey says about the expence of maintaining the army all the winter. In the first place, all war must be measured by the purse.
Secondly, is in great perplexity, for the charge is very great, unless one can be sure of the result. But there is no fear of the army being scattered for want of money, for they would all be slain; the great danger is lest they should desert to the enemy for wages, which would place the leaders in great jeopardy, and hinder the enterprise next summer. The marquis of Pescara says the Spaniards are too honest to do so, and trusts they would rather suffer death; but they can have no like certainty about the lanzknechts. Tells him this, that he may consider how the army may continue in France this winter, or retreat with honor and safety.
If Bourbon does not receive the aid promised by Henry and the Emperor, it is hard to judge to what he will be driven by the force of the enemy and the unseasonableness of the year.
If he is not slain, he must either proceed prosperously, or must lie in garrison. If the latter, the King should not give so much aid as he now does, but save for the war next summer. Advises a truce, if it can be obtained by means of the Pope, to last while the army is in garrison; part can then be discharged, and only the Spaniards, a few lanceknights, and the best horse retained, at the cost of 40,000 or 50,000 cr. a month.
Meantime the King and Emperor can make provision of money, and procure a declaration and contribution from the Pope and the dukes of Milan and Genoa. Francis will perhaps refuse a truce unless Bourbon leaves France. Leaves it for Wolsey to consider.
The Duke is desirous of knowing the King's intention. When Pace gave him the King's and Wolsey's letters, and told him why the King had not crossed the sea, by reason of lack of victuals, &c., he was somewhat abashed. He said the King was a very wise prince, and could order his matters better than he could devise; and immediately sent for Beaurain.
Pace meanwhile told him that the King was contented with his oath, and asked him the questions contained in Wolsey's letters, to which the answers are given in the book of articles sent from Montcalier. When Beaurain was come, the Duke said that he was true servant to both their princes,—that he was sent into France by them, hoping that they also would be there this summer. But as he saw he was not sure either of their persons or their armies, he wished them to write to their masters the state of affairs, and to ask whether they would continue the war, or make peace or truce, and whatever they commanded he was ready to do:—he especially wished that the army might not be lost.
Beaurain answered that he had so written to the Emperor that he was sure he would rather spend all than allow the army to miscarry. Pace promised to write to the King, encouraging Bourbon to prosecute his enterprise, and assured him that the King would perform all he had promised. Reminded him that when the King and Wolsey wrote last, they did not know of his successes in France: told him of the great preparations made by the King, and that, as he knew where Russell was on St. Magdalen's Day, he could not be long absent, and then he would have money for a season. He answered that the provision for the army touched Pace and Beaurain; that he would proceed as long as they had one crown; that if the King's money came, he would cross the Rhone, unless a battle prevented him, and then "araise all his intelligence," and provide for money in his own country, where he will obtain enough for two or three months.
As to going to Lyons, he says nothing could be more to his interest, and he will be content to execute the King's command. Beaurain also said that the army should pass, as the King commanded. Three rivers must be crossed to reach Lyons,—the Lisier, Durance and Rhone, one of the greatest in Christendom. There are no bridges, and none could be made on the Rhone without great difficulty, and the passages could be easily defended.
In his last letters acknowledged the receipt of Wolsey's of May 28, with the new treaty between the King and Emperor, the articles of truce, and copies of letters to Clerk and others. Could not obtain the Duke's oath and homage, as the King wished, but did not think it wise to waste time in demanding it, and so took the same oath in the most available manner, and set forward the enterprise.
He does not intend to do homage to any prince, and he says he never did any to the French king, wherein he has a thing to show the King and Emperor that they may see he is a better servant to them than they now know.
Wolsey writes that what the Duke speaks of was never promised in any treaty on the King's part. Is surprised at this, for he constantly affirms that it was promised. Never was privy to any treaty with him, and does not know what to say. As to the qualifications of the oath, is sure the Duke intends truly, for he is free from subtilty and craft.
Has written, as Wolsey desired, to the Italian powers for money, "sed narrata est fabula surdis." Has also written from time to time to Clerk, who says that they will have good minds and fair words from Rome, but no contribution, except after a manifest victory, when they will not need it. The King's and Emperor's intended enterprise for next summer is necessary for both, and he hopes it will have the desired effect, which will be more likely if this army also attacks. Bourbon also approves of it; but he says the present summer was the right time, when the French were driven out of Italy, as his friends cannot declare themselves until the King and the Emperor, or at least their armies, enter France.
Mentioned in his letter from St. Laurens the capture of the prince of Orange, by reason of his neglecting the viceroy of Catalonia's advice to go another way and stronger. The report of the retreat of the Genoese army (fleet), and that the Duke was in Nice, in Savoy, is untrue; for the army was not there, and there were only 17 galleys of the Emperor.
The Duke never entered Nice, merely passing it on his way to St. Laurens. Nice is not in Savoy, but on the other side of the mountains. They will never lack news of that kind to injure the expedition, which is displeasing to persons whom he has already mentioned.
On leaving Italy they esteemed the said army but little, but soon found that without it they could have neither victuals, nor artillery, nor money conveyed to them, as the French fleet was strong, and was cruising for the purpose of intercepting their supplies.
All had been lost if it had not been for the 17 gallies and the help of the lord of Monago, who has openly declared for Bourbon. For this reason the fleet is needed, as well as for the taking of Marseilles. The Genoese do not maintain it for their own advantage and the defence of Italy; it was prepared more by the Emperor's command than their own will.
The Duke paid his money to the Emperor's agents, and imputes the lack to them. Does not expect any assistance from the army either in Provence or Languedoc. His other letters give the news since Gregory Casale left. Asks Wolsey to write in duplicate or triplicate, on account of the danger of the roads.
At the siege of Marseilles, 26 Aug.
Would have sent this long before, if he had had sure conveyance. Signed.