Title:WOLSEY to SAMPSON [De Praets Bags, Wolsey’s Explanation]
Wrote by De Rieux of the offers made by Bourbon, and the King's resolution for the common affairs, in the event of no peace being formed. Considering the time of year, we are anxious for the Emperor's answer. Meanwhile the King makes the best preparations to advance the Emperor's affairs in Italy. Are surprised that no word had come from the Emperor into Italy. Are surprised that no word had come from the Emperor into Italy since the descent of the French king into the Milanese. The King had despatched Sir Gregory Cassalis to Bourbon, and Pace, then lying at Trent, to Venice, appointing Russel to reside with Bourbon, to prevent the Pope and Venetians from siding with the French, who had sent Albany to Naples. The French had made their boast, under color of Joachim's being here, that they were assured of the king of England. Is to explain these proceedings to the Emperor, by translating the copies of the letters sent into French or Latin.
Regrets he has to inform the Emperor of a matter which, if not duly explained, might be detrimental. It has been frequently reported that De Praet, his resident here, had made sinister and false reports, ascribing to himself "the gratuities showed by the King's highness." I have remonstrated with him at various times, in perfect confidence. On the 11th inst. I showed him Pace's letters dated Trent, 26 and 28 Jan., touching the news of Italy, in the presence of the duke of Norfolk and others; and in speaking of the state of the armies in Italy, I observed that the coming of Cassalis would be advantageous in bringing comfort and money to the Imperial troops; and I alleged that as Cassalis left when the Emperor's affairs were apparently desperate, the Pope would "change his copy"; with other conversation. On the 11th, at night, one was taken by the ordinary watch riding to Brentford, and on being searched a packet of letters was found upon him, broken open, brought to the King's solicitor, sent by him to Sir Tho. More, and by him to me, sitting in Chancery the next morning. Perusing the same, and finding their falsehood, I countermanded the Ambassador's letters sent by one of the Fulkers the day before, and a packet also to the lady Margaret, which I here with send, that the Emperor may understand that De Praet has contrived no few and false matters, both in Spain and in Flanders. I leave the Emperor to judge what the King will think of the Ambassador's letters directed to Allemayn, condemning the King's amity as being only faint and slender. Had the King not put great trust in the Emperor, he would long since have objected to De Praet as inexpert and unmeet for his office. As for myself, his malicious words touching myself and the Pope are little to be regarded.
After the discovery, I sent for De Praet, and in the presence of Norfolk, the lord Marquis, the bishop of London, Sir Ric. Wingfield, and others, explained these circumstances, taxing him with untruth for imputing remarks to me derogatory to the Florentines and the Pope; likewise objecting another expression in his letter to this effect:—"if we should gain the battle all will be well; our master will escape the danger of such friends and confederates as he has had hitherto; and let me say that he is little obliged to any of them, whoever they may be." And elsewhere:—"when matters succeed well, he (Wolsey) knows not what to say (il ne scet que dire), and when otherwise he talks wonders. I hope one day to see our master avenged, for he is the main cause of all his misfortune," &c. What suspicion he would have the lady Margaret conceive by the King's coming to Bridewell, because John Joachim was lodged near it, will be seen also by his letters.
To these remonstrances De Praet, being not a little abashed, made exception, complaining of his letters being intercepted, and saying that ambassadors wrote what they thought good; that hitherto he had made no ill report, and had written thus in consequence of John Joachim having been here eight months; that the King refused to contribute to the defence of Italy, &c. Among other arguments, I replied that on the return of the archbishop of Capua, Joachim, who was a merchant, had come here for his own affairs, and as soon as I found that he had a political purpose I apprised De Prate of the same, and have always made him privy to the communications with Joachim, who is lodged in a house within the Black Friars, belong- ing to Mr. Larke. I advised the King not to consent to the truce proposed at Rome before the decease of De la Roche, as I considered it prejudicial to the King, and for other reasons; and when at last the King, postponing his own interests, sent a commission to Rome for concluding a truce till May twelvemonth, it was for the Emperor's sake. Wolsey then proceeded to answer the other objections of De Praet:—one, that the King had refused to send over an army into France; the other, to contribute to the affairs in Italy. De Praet could make no reply, and said that, whenever the Emperor commanded, he would explain. I ordered him to forbear writing, "saying that the King's highness and I would advertise the specialties whereof, with the original letters and writings of the King's titles and rights." Modern copy. 2. Modern copies in Harl. MSS. 297 (f.221), 6260 (f.39), and 6345 (f.22 b, dated 13 Feb. 1525); and one in Lambeth MS. 245. 3. Draft, corrected by Tuke, imperfect, the last sentence ending at the word "advertise." A leaf evidently lost. 4. Draft of the same, in Latin. (fn. 3) Pp. 11, mutilated. Endd.: Extracta quibusdam literis missis a D. de Prat ad Cæsarem.