Henry VIII,the Reign
On the 28th inst. received your despatch of the 21st, by which I see that the practice of the peace is of as weak foundation as Francis and Madame have always believed. This has given great satisfaction to Wolsey;—not for any ill will towards the peace, which is the thing he and his master wish most to advance, but because he sees you are more alive to the designs of the enemy than he supposed.
Wolsey also has so many who bear him ill will, that it has not been without cause that he has urged you through me and through Suffolk to make the greatest possible efforts in every place where the enemy can possibly press you, especially in Italy, which is the principal pillar of the prosperity or ruin of either side. He advises that Francis should make even now a great effort in Lombardy in aid of the King his good brother, and above all things endeavour to take Milan, which will give you a greater advantage when you come to treat of peace. Wolsey also says it is an idea of the King his master, that meanwhile, by indirect means, especially by Mons. de St. Pôl, the towns of Parma and Piacenza should be got to surrender, and that while they were discussing whether St. Pôl had done well or ill, they might make the Pope speak in another tone, as is due in consideration of the great benefits he has received from the two Kings. Wolsey is very glad to understand that the affairs of Lombardy and Naples are in such good condition, and desired me to send an extract from your letters to the King his master, who, he is sure, would take great pleasure in it.
Further, after enlarging on the indissoluble alliance between the two Kings, he told me how much Henry was concerned about his present matter, not only for the discharge of his conscience and his desire to have issue, but for the security of the succession, and that he does not wish it to be said that he forbore to have the subject cleared up in consequence of the threats of his enemy. He had, therefore, desired Wolsey to petition Francis with all urgency to send a gentleman of his chamber to the Pope, to set forth the cordial friendship that existed between the two Kings, showing that whatever hurt the one must hurt the other also, and that if, in an affair so maturely considered by good men and great clerks, the Pope do not act according to honor and gratitude to the two Kings, he should consider what a blow to Christendom would be the loss of two such powers,—adding in this matter the arguments in my last letters, and showing clearly that he has this affair quite as much at heart as the deliverance of his children.
Such a demonstration would augment, if possible, the great amity. Thinks all this had better be communicated to Francis and Madame by Le Menu, who will convey it even better than Du Bellay's letters.
Jean de la Sauch has been here with the King and Wolsey, with letters of credence from Madame Margaret, which I have seen. In the letters to the King she says he may be assured she will never think of doing anything prejudicial to their ancient amity. The credence was that Des Barres being on his way to France for the prolongation of the truce, and from thence going to the Emperor on her business, Madame (Louise) had said that it was great pity mortal war should take place between these Princes; and that on his answering he was equally sorry, Madame had said to him that if the Emperor and she were sorry, nothing was easier than a remedy, considering the good disposition of Francis, whom she had continually admonished and persuaded.
On this Barnes asked if he might give the Emperor full assurance of it; and she said, yes. He had related all this to the Emperor, from whom he had brought ample powers to his mistress to treat of the said peace, and that she wished consequently to meet Madame and see what could be done about it, but thought it right to inform the king of England beforehand in consideration of their ancient amity. La Sauch returns today with a most honorable answer from the King and Wolsey. On this subject Wolsey says he thinks we ought to listen to what they wish to say, but in the manner which follows: Let Madame come to Paris with fair professions that she wishes nothing but peace, and by this means (par ceste pratique) send to know the conditions, and find little difficulties on behalf of the King and the confederates. Nevertheless, let the King know, in Italy, "ce que dessuz." Also during the said time let the King his good brother despatch the affair of his marriage.
Meanwhile September will come, and before matters have been concluded October will pass. The Emperor, who will have been engaged in these practices of peace all the summer, and will have put off his passage on that account, will fall in the esteem of all the world from the failure of his vaunted passage, while you will be fortified with friends and with conquests, and the king of England will have gained his object. The Emperor will then be very glad to make peace on honorable conditions. Meanwhile Wolsey thinks you should urge the Pope to come to some meeting, either that proposed or some other; and his presence cannot fail to do good if the said meeting be in France, for he well knows that whatever language he would like to speak, they will teach him to talk French. London, 28 May.
French, from a transcript, pp. 7.