Henry VIII,the Reign
25 June 1524
Sent a special courier on June 16th with an account of the number of the army, 20,000 foot, 1,100 men-at-arms, 1,800 light horse, besides the 4,000 men at sea under Hugo de Moncada. In three days the army will be at Nice. which is offered to Bourbon by the duke of Savoy, the lord there. As soon as they were informed by the Emperor's ambassadors that it was agreed that Bourbon should swear the King's grace king of France, the Duke came to Pace with a loving countenance, said he was no longer lord of his own person, but was bound to obey the King and Emperor in everything; and asked that the secret matter between him and Pace might be concluded without delay by them, the Viceroy and Beauren.
He, however, refused to do homage as Pace asked, saying that the King had granted him his duchy free; and in such case he could not ask for homage. Had a long discussion, but he would only consent to the oath, alleging the treaty. Considering that the King is bound by this treaty, that longer discussion would only hinder their enterprise, that the Duke is thoroughly determined to serve the King, and that his word is as good as an oath, thought it better to take this oath at once before the Viceroy and Beauren's secretary, as Beauren had gone on with the light horse.
Encloses the form of the oath. It shall be drawn up in authentic form as soon as possible. Encloses also a declaration from him as to what is needed for the army here, in case the King does not personally invade France; and he wishes the King and Wolsey to consider it, for he has no doubt that he will be able to expel the French king, if they will only put their hands to it. He makes sure of the King's gaining the whole of France, by reason of his intelligence there. Does not know whether he says this merely to induce the King to invade France personally, but he speaks upon his faith.
The King's personal invasion is a matter of high importance; and Pace is troubled to find that they leave everything to his advice, as he is here alone, and such a matter requires many councillors. Writes nothing on light evidence or for private affection. Finds Bourbon a very substantial, wise and virtuous prince. If he is deceived by the Duke, every one else is. He is determined to serve the King faithfully, and neither to be made King himself, nor to allow any other. Sees that the army is strong and valiant, the captains wise, and every one determined to serve the King. The French power is very feeble, for the Duke hears by his spies that there are not in Provence more than 3,000 Gascons, and that the French king does not believe Bourbon will or can enter. When the King considers this with his Council, doubts not he will see what may be done in three or four months.
If nothing is done on the side of England to separate the French army, fears that this army, after recovering the duchy of Bourbon and winning Provence, will make no further progress; whereas Bourbon has promised that if the King passes the sea, he will join him.
If Henry does nothing he will lose much reputation here; for he is now thought more able to do great acts than any other prince, and is expected to do something at once. it must also be considered how the army is to be entertained in France, if the King sits still this summer; for the King's money now coming, and the Emperor's, will not last more than two months, as the Duke and all the captains tell him. There is little or no hope of contributions from Italy, except from the dukes of Milan and Genoa; and the former cannot do much, as the duchy is exhausted.
The Duke and city of Genoa give great help, and keep the fleet entirely. Bourbon hopes to get money in France; for if the army is compelled to retire, it would be great dishonor to the King and the Emperor; and if it were dissolved, does not know where such another could be found. Says this that it may be provided against in time. Doubts not they will do some great thing; for, once past the mountains, they must be valiant, as there is no hope of fleeing, and he needs not declare what mercy Bourbon and the Spaniards expect from the French.
They desire nothing more than to meet their enemies; and whatever chances, even if they weep, the enemy will not laugh, God being indifferent. If they are overcome, the King will have a victory on the other side; and if they are victorious, all France is beaten.
Advises Henry immediately to go to Calais and lie there, to frighten the enemy and encourage Bourbon; and besides, he will be nearer to hear from Pace, and to do what is necessary.
Savilian, [Savigliano]Piedmont, 25 June