Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: Volume 1
On the 28th Aug. it was resolved in the Council that he and William Kingston should be sent into England to excuse their return.
Sir William Sands and a few opposed it, saying Wolsey was the cause of all this mischief, that Knight was in his favour, and if he went to England he would so represent matters to the King as to cause their further abiding there.
He and Kingston had forthwith taken shipping at St. Sebastian, but after a tempest of 6 days had been compelled to return, and, hearing that letters were come from England, had returned to the Marquis. Found letters for himself from the King and Wolsey, both opened. Little regard is paid to the King's letter. News has come from the King of Aragon that his army awaits ours at St. John Pie de la Porte. On this the Council assembled at Renteria, where my Lord Broke lies, when Knight argued against their departing, and the displeasure they would thereby incur.
"Whereupon, like a noble man, my Lord Howard said that in case he might have a meetly company with him he would endure this winter war, and gladlier he would die for the honor of his master, the realm, and himself, than, contrary to the King's commandment, with rebuke and shame, return into England." Hearing this, one stole out of the chamber, and told Lord Broke's company that if the commonalty did not resist they would all have to go into Bierne. Great uproar ensued. Knight's life was threatened. Lord Howard and Sir Maurice Berkley, at their coming, can explain all. Things are out of order. The King unlovingly served by certain parties.
Great dissimulation is required, "for I promise you, in my mind, here be many light men." On returning to the sea he and Kingston were obliged again to put back from stress of weather. Has therefore told the Marquis that he cannot endure the seas and intends to tarry till summer in the court of the King of Aragon. Does not in truth like to bring the message to England; for their departure and the winter's abstinence will give the French King commodity to "break the league between some of King's confederation and him."
Begs Wolsey to procure him some occupation here or in Italy. Has lost all his provisions by salt water, and in all his ridings has received no recompense. Entreats Wolsey not to notice to those inculpated what he says in his letters; he can learn the truth from Lord Howard, Mr. Hatticlif, and Richmond Herald. The Spaniards have shown great readiness, and passed their artillery across the mountains. The King of Aragon intreated the noblemen to stay, saying he only wanted their names as Englishmen,—he had troops enough of his own.
The King must be comforted in the disappointment, for he has obtained the chief of his wishes, the deliverance of the Church from the French, the assurance of the kingdom of Navarre, without which Guienne could neither be taken nor held, the title of the Most Christian King, and great experience. Their enemies were men of long continuance in war, full of policy, and privy to all our deeds, "and we clean contrary." Discipline was so badly kept they might at any time have been crushed. Victuals were untruly served. Heard Sir Henry Willoughby say that of 8,000 bows not 200 were sufficient. It is no use blaming anybody, as it would end in mutual recrimination, which is not expedient at this time. Sends a letter he had received from Edward Hatticlif.
The great men of England say that Wolsey is the author of the war, and the ill success of it must be attributed to him. Begs him to be cautious. The bearer of this letter is son-in-law to John Style. The army will soon be on their way, as ships are provided, and biscuit is almost baked. Thinks their proceedings very rash, and it would be well if they met with Sir Edward Howard, as the French fleet is great. In August 47 ships had started from Brest for the west of England, 15 for Ireland, 15 for Gallicia, and 10 remained on the coast of Brittany. The 47 have since returned to Brest and 6 galleys have lately come from Italy, bringing "gay artilliarie owte of Italie, as there was none in all Fraunce." A knight of the order of St. John is their captain. The Spanish fleet appeared at Fontarabia on our Lady Day the Assumption and is thought to have since joined the English.
St. Sevastian's, 4 Oct.