Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: Volume 4
11 March 1525
1175. RUSSELL to [HENRY VIII.]
[Received a letter] from Wolsey, ordering him to go to Bourbon. Would have been here long before, but could not pass Albany's company. When he heard of the battle, went thither by post. Bourbon is determined to follow up his enterprise, and says, if Henry pleases, he will set the French crown on his head shortly; that more may be done now with 100,000 cr. than before with 500,000 cr., because the King and most of the nobles and captains are slain or taken. He asks Henry to promise payment for 12,000 foot and 500 men-at-arms for two months, which will amount to 200,000 cr., and he will find one month's wages when in France. He will then enter by Dolfine, for he cannot bring the artillery out of Italy by Savoy and Bourgoigne; and if Henry wishes him to invade France, he will trust the King, but no one else; for if the money is to be paid by the Viceroy or others in these parts, he will be treated as he was in Provence, and he would rather die than suffer such dishonor again. He will, however, observe his promises to the King and Emperor to the best of his power; but if he passes by Bourgoigne he does not know how his artillery will be able to follow, unless the Archduke allow him to have some from Brisack in countie Ferrat, where he has good store. If the Archduke grant it, men must be levied there to convey it; he, therefore, wishes the King to ask the Emperor for some of the pieces taken from the French, with which he can enter through Dolfine. He has with him the men who have already beaten the French, which will be a great advantage, as they are much feared. He is anxious to know where Henry's army will enter, that he may meet it, and he thinks the King's own person would do much. Diligence must be used that the French may have no leisure to provide, and they are now without good captains.
The Imperialists intended to have attacked Francis in his camp early in the morning, each with a white shirt over his harness; but the King heard of it before mi[dnight], and drew up his army in the plain outside the camp, so that the Imperialists, instead of finding them encamped, met them marching towards them in good order, with for[ty] pieces of artillery, which did much hurt. The King blames his Swiss for losing the battle, by not doing their duty. The lanceknights fought very well against their own nation, and but few escaped. Ric. de la Poole, their captain, was slain. Of 1,400 men-at-arms, not more than iiij[c.] escaped. It is said that 1,200 men were slain, besides many who were drowned in the Tyzyne. There are 10,000 prisoners. To the "rascalls" Bourbon has given passports, but he has bound the gentlemen and captains not to bear harness in France for twelve months, the other men of war for five months, and the rest for three. As to the great persons, it is agreed that none shall be put to ransom until they know the pleasure of the Emperor and King. Of the Imperialists, not more than 1,500 men were lost. Bourbon is highly praised for his manly conduct. If he had not been there a truce would have been taken.
Bourbon says that now is the time for the King to obtain all his inheritance; he does not say this for the recovery of his own, but he considers that Henry will get by a peace some part of his right, and doubts not that he shall also be restored to his; but still he thinks it better to take and enjoy all. Mons. Dalazon is the only French nobleman escaped, and very few French besides those who were in Milan. The Spaniards pursued them nearly 100 miles, killing without mercy. Would have written before, but he is waiting for the departure of Sir Gregory, who has a safe-conduct to pass through France with the Pope's ambassador. For greater [safety] sends a duplicate by post through Almaine. Endorses the na[mes] of the great personages taken or slain.
Milan, 11 March. Signed.