Three Letters from Henry VII to the Dukes of Milan

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Medieval Academy of AmericaThree Letters from Henry VII to the Dukes of MilanAuthor(s): Curt F. BhlerSource: Speculum, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Jul., 1956), pp. 485-490Published by: Medieval Academy of AmericaStable URL: .Accessed: 17/02/2014 14:46Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact .Medieval Academy of America is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access toSpeculum. This content downloaded from on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:46:13 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsI ThREE LETTERS FROM HENRY VII TO THIE DUKES OF MILAN BY CUJRT F. BtHLER THE collection of historical documents in the Pierpont Morgan Library' contains three letters from King Henry VII of England to the dukes of Milan, one being addressed to Gian Galeazzo Mllaria Sforza, the other two to Lodovico Maria Sforza, known to us more familiarly as "II Moro." Extremely summary accounts (two being (qite inaccurate) of these letters have previously appeared in print, but no detailed discussion of these letters now in the MIorgan Library has so far b)eefn publislle(l. I'he first of the three letters was acquired by the library very recently, having been sold at a Sotheby auction on 12 October 1954.2 The document is slightly damaged oni the right hand margin, with the result that the date is defective so far as the year is concerned. Fortunately this can be determined from outside sources, and the document may thus be dated 21 December 1490. Save for one other instanice, where the supplied details can hardly be questioned (C[elsitu- dine]), the editor lias made no attempt to provide the missing letters; it was deemed preferable to indicate lacunae by dots rather than to supply conjectural readings of dubious value. The texts are printed in the normal fashion, all con- tractions having been expanded with the use of italics; punctuation and capitali- zation of the original have been retained in the transcripts. [A(ddress, on verso]: Illustrissimo ac Potentissimo principi Domino Johanni galeaz Maria Sfortia Vicecomiti: 11 Duci Mediolani &c / PapiQ anglerihque Comiti: ac genuQ & CremonQ || domino: Consanguineo et confQderato nostro Carissimo. / || [Text, on recto]: Illustrissimo ac Potentissimo principi Domino Johanni galeaz maria sfortia uicecomiti Duci mediolani &c / PapiQ angleriQque comiti: ac genuQ et cre-iimofll (lomino, conmanguineo et confQderato nostro carissimo Ilenricus dei gratia rex angliQ et franci~: ac dominus hyberniQ Salutem: et prospera uotorum || incrementa. Intelleximus tam ex litteris uestris quam etiam ex relatione nobilis uiri benedicti spinulQ, uestro nomine nobis facta, quam beni|lgne quamque humaniter et amice dominus dauid gulielmus orator noster a(I sedem apostolicam missus istuc diuertens a uestra Celsitudine fuerit || SllS- ceptus: nec minus etiam cognouimus / quam grato animo et quam iucunda mente mutuam nostram redintegratam necessitudinem uestra Sublimitas || acceptarit: quQ sane omnia licet antea al) eodem oratore nostro litteris fuissent nobis demonstrata summa tamen curn nostra uoluptate atque animi || dulcedine ex litteris uestrQ Celsitudinis et eius nuncio benedicto spinola, uiro nobis admodum grato audiuimus Equidem Illustrissime princeps non || possunius imprimis non ingentes gratias uestrQ Sublimitati habere quod oratorem nostrum istac transeuntem nostro intuitu et precipuo nostro amore tam || libenter uiderit: tanque honorifice susceperit. Vestra nanque Celsitudo tot nobis et tam manifesta in- tegerrimi sui erga nos amoris indicia || sQpe antea et nuper quoque nobis ostendit: ut I For a similar discussion, compare the writer's "A Letter from Edward IV to Galeazzo Maria Sforza," SPECULIJM, XXX (1955), 239-240. 2 W, Westley Manning sale, p. 40, lot 21 1, with reproduction of the letter. 485 This content downloaded from on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:46:13 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions486 Three Letters from Henry VII to the Dukes of Milan maiori declarationi uix pateat locus. Quod autem ueteris nostrQ coniunctionis redint ... 11 uestrQ Celsitudini tantopere grata accesserit: et eadem proinde litteris suis sit nobis gratu- lata ex animo: gaudemus profecto supra quam litteris ... 11 ri possit, hoc nostrQ societatis et amicicie fQdus initum tantopere gratum et iucundum aduenisse. Nos autem quantum ad nos. . . || plane intelligimus eam ipsam contractam inter nos amiciciam, non posse gratiore unquam animo aut placabiliori mente a uestra C[elsitudine]* || accipi, quam a nobis ipsis: Tantus est noster amor erga uestram Celsitudinem et tam feruens gratificandi uoluntas: Faxit deiis ... II hQc nostra f dera sicuti ab optimo animo profecta sunt ita indies magis et magis coalescant: fecundentur et exube ... 11 fiant immortalia. Id uero nos pro uirili nostra contendemus semper: atque ita in officio perstabimus: ut uel facile omnes . . . || possint Illustrissimum dominum ducem mediolani consanguineum nostrum carissi- mum, usque adeo intimum esse nobis et propinquum: ut ... 11 non mediocri iniuria nemo in eum aliquod aduersum moliri possit. Reliquum est ut fQlicissime ualeat ad uota uestra Celsitudo ... || sui beniuolentissimos esse: ac perpetuo fore sibi firmiter persuadeat. Ex Regia liostra WindesorQ die .xxj. decembris M[CCCCLXXXX]* || [signed] Henricus R || In the Calendar of the English state papers preserved in Milan,' the letter now in the Pierpont Morgan Library (MA 1578) is iioted under date 21 December 1490 together with this brief summary: "Returns thanks for the honourable recep- tion given to Sir David Williams, English ambassador to Rome, on his passage through Milan." Even if this entry had not been available, it would have been relatively easy to supply the correct year for the letter from other records. On 26 July 14904 Henry VII wrote to Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza that he was sending "Dominus David Gulielmus" to Rome with instructions to stop in ATilan on the way. David Williams was identified as the \laster of the Rolls ("rotulorum nostrorum custos"). In the king's letter, it was further set forth that Williams would be accompanied on his trip by Johannes de Giglis (Giovanni Gigli),' the collector in England for the pope; some years later, Gigli was identified as the "Orator regis Angliae in Rom. Curia"6 and subsequently became bishop of Worcester.7 On 4 October of the same year8 Giacomo Gherardi, the papal nuncio in 1\iilan, wrote to the Apostolic Secretary Giovanni Pietro Arrivabenie that the (unnamed) "legatus ab Anglia, clericus, ut mihi refertur" had indeed arrived in Mlilan that day, tlhough his colleague Giovanni Gigli, having been seized by an attack of * Letters supplied where text is certain. 3Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts, existing in the Archives and Collections of Milan (London, 1912), p. 272, no. 428. The letter had previously been cited in the Calendar of State Papers and Manu- scripts, relating to English Aff irs, existing in the Archives and Collections of Venice (London, 1864), I, 202, no. 602. When Allen B. Hinds prepared the Milanese calendar, he reported that he was unable to locate the document and quoted the contents from the Venetian calendar. 4Calendar of State Papers ... Milan, p. 262, no. 411. 5 For a short account of his career, compare the Dictionary of National Biography, xxi, 311. 6 Conrad Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi (Milnster, 1913-23), ii, 1268, Wigornien., n. 4. 7Pope Alexander VI appointed him bishop of Worcester on 80 August 1497, and he was conse- crated in Rome. Giovanni Gigli died in Rome on 25 August 1498 without ever having visited his see. He was succeeded by his nephew, Silvestro Gigli. Cf. Eubel, loc. cit., and Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum ecclesiae catholicae (Leipzig, 1931), p. 200. 8 Enrico Carusi, Dispacci e lettere di Giacomo Gherardi, Studi e Testi, xxi (Rome, 1909), pp. 550- 551. This content downloaded from on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:46:13 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsThree Letters from Henry VII to the Dukes of Milan 487 podagra, had remained at Lyons. He also reported that the ambassador had previously conferred with the duke, who had been attending a hunt near Somma Lombarda, province of Varese.9 Three weeks later (25 October)'0 Gian Galeazzo himself wrote to Henry, explaining that Williams had been there and had received from the duke letters setting forth the nature of the business which had been transacted; furthermore, the duke stated that he had asked Benedetto Spinola to report directly to the king on these matters. [Spinola, as the Morgan letter shows, duly perfornmed this service.] Finally," we learn from a letter written by Giacomno Botta, bishop of Tortona, to the duke on 31 October that the English ambassador had at last arrived in Rome but that his companion had fallen ill en route. Clearly, the ambassador here referred to was David Williams. All these details, then, make it evident that the king's letter to Gian Galeazzo printed above was written on 21 December 1490. II The secondl letter (Pierpont Morgan Library, R. of E., Vol. I, No. 40), written slightly more than six years later (10 February 1496/97),12 deals with an event of greater historic significance.'3 It concerns the English entry as participants in the League founded in the summer of 1496 to combat the threat of French aggres- sion.'4 [Address, on verso]: Illustrissimo ac Potentissimo principi Domino Ludouico Maria Sforcia anglo || Dei gratia Duci mediolani &c / PapiQ anglerihque comiti: ac genuQ et || CremonQ Domino: amico nostro carissimo. / . [Text, on recto]: Illustrissimo ac Potentissimo principi Domino Ludouico maria Sforcia anglo Dei gratia Duci mediolani &c / Papih anglerihque comiti. ac genuQ et cremonQ || Domino amico nostro carissimo Henricus eadem gratia Rex angliQ et francic ac dominus hyberniQ Salutem et prospera uotorum incrementa. Vidimus perlibenter || litteras uestrQ Celsitudinis quintodecimo decembris mediolani datas / quibus intelleximus litteras nostras fuisse uobis redditas / quibus continebatur Instrumentum confirmatio-||nis et ratifi- cationis fQderis rome initi: Item et nomina colligatorum adherentium ac commendatorum pro parte uestrQ Celsitudinis fuisse nobis reddita. Insuper || fQdus ipsum solemniter processionaliterque nos esse in festo omnium sanctorum celebraturos (quod et re ipsa effecimus prout Sanctissimo Domino Nostro tamquam capiti totius ligQ || multo antea litteris nostris latissime declarauimus) LQtamur autem quod huiusmodi nostra fQderis publicatio uestrQ Celsitudini iucunda extiterit. Quod uero eadem uestra || Celsitudo Ora- torem ad nos suium propediem sit missura: Expectabimus illius aduentum / quem sane 9 "Audio honorifice et amanter receptum" as Gherardi observes (Carusi, p. 551). 10 Calendar of State Papers ... Milan, p. 265, no. 417. 11 Ibid., pp. 265-266, no. 418. 12 The English legal and official year began on Lady Day (Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March) until the reform of the calendar in 1752. 13 The document bears the suggestive, modern note: "Enrico VII dal 1485 al 1509." This notation in Italian points strongly to the conclusion that the document was once in some Italian collection. The letter came to the Morgan Library as part of a collection entitled "Royal House of Tudor," which seems to have been acquired by the Library in the early years of the present century. The letter is listed by Seymour de Ricci, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York, 1935-40), II, 1578, with the date "10 Feb. 1496." 14 For a concise account, see the Cambridge Modern History, i, 118 ff. This content downloaded from on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:46:13 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions488 Three Letters from Henry VII to the Dukes of Milan / ubi applicuerit nihilominus hilari uultu quam grato et iu-j|cundo animo uisuri sumus et audituri. Ex Palatio nostro luxta Westmonasterium die x februarii. M0cccclxxxxvj0. /. [signed] Henricus R || This letter is, as the text implies, a reply to one written by I1 Moro on 15 December 1496 ;15 a draft of this communication is preserved in the Milan archives. Furthermore, the letter from Henry VII to Lodovico Sforza printed above, forms part of the correspondence dealing with the English entry into the coalition formed to protect Italy from French invasion. On 12 August,'6 the duke of Milan wrote to the king of England expressing his satisfaction at the English (lecision to join the League. This was followed two weeks later (27 August)17 by another letter from the duke, informing King Henry that M1ilan had ratified the English participation and that he was sending herewith all the pertinent information concerning the articles and agreements together with a detailed list of allies and adherents to the League. On 29 October'8 henry acknowledgedl receipt of this material, adding the note: "We ourselves intend to celebrate this league publicly within three days, on the feast of All Saints, in the church of St. Paul's, the metropolitan of the realm, with a state procession, making public declaration of our joy; and there we shall receive the Sword and Cap of Main- tenance, sent to us by his Holiness with all due respect." I1 Moro, in turn, ac- knowle(dged receipt (on 15 December)19 of the king's letter of 29 October, express- ing the usual cordial greetings of friendship and warm affection. rF'he entry in the Calendar of the English state papers in Venice, which first described the M\1organ letter, reads :20 "[Henry VII] has received the names of the Duike's colleagues and adherents and of those recommended by him." hlere is no mention, however, of the king's report concerning the promulgation of England's entry into the League, and the nature of and reason for the events which took place. h-Ienry's letter is, of course, largely a recapitulation of his note of 29 Octo- ber. It is not at all clear why Henry waited so long before informing Lodovico Sforza of the events of 1 November. As early as 5 December, the forthcoming pul)Iication of England's participation in the League was known to the Venetian statesman Mlarino Sanuto,2' and the report was duly entered in his diary. By 19 January 1497,22 an account of the English promulgation had reached Venice through the republic's ambassador in Spain, Jacopo Contarini. Certainly the 15 Calendar of State Papers ... Milan, p. 310, no. 519. 16 Ibid., p. 302, no. 500. 17 Ibid., p. 303, no. 501. 18 Ibid., p. 309, no. 51.5. 19 Ibid., p. 310, no. 519. 20 Calendar of State Papers ... Venice, i, 252, no. 734. Again the editor of the Milaiiese calendar, Allern B. Hinds, was uniable to discover the original in the Milan Archives (Potenze Estere. Inghilterra) and simply repeated the description in the Venetian inventory. The letter is listed on p. 310, no. 520. 21 I diarii (Venice, 1879-1903), i, 420: "Vene lettere de Ingeltera de 17 novembrio, dil piacer liavea abuto il re di la dem-lostration fata per i confederati di la publication di la liga. E dovea publicarsi de 1i a Liondra al primo dil mexe presente di dezembrio, et il re scrisse a la Signoria in responsion di una lettera congratulatoria de eadem materia, la qual 6 avanti scripta." Sanuto seems to have mis- understood the dates, for the letter could hardly have reached Venice thus quickly. The letter was probably sent from England oni 17 October and refers to the events of 1 November. 22 Ibid., i, 470. This content downloaded from on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:46:13 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsThree Letters from Henry VII to the Dukes of Milan 489 duke of Milan must have been just as fully informed of what had taken place by his own representatives in England. In view of these facts, it is strange indeed that the king of England delayed until 10 February before forwarding the official statement to Milan. Possibly Henry thought that his letter of 29 October setting forth what he planned to do was sufficient notice - until the arrival of the letter from I1 Moro of 15 December required an acknowledgement and a more complete and formal account. III The third letter (Pierpont Morgan Library, MIA 1346-125) is dated 16 June 1498 and is not listed either in the Venetian or in the Milanese inventories of state papers relating to England. Nevertheless it seems highly probable that this document too must once have formed part of the Sforza archives. [Address, on verso]: Illustrissimo ac Potentissimo Principi domino Ludouico Maria Sfortia || Anglo Duci mediolani papiQ AngleriQque comiti ac genuQ || et CremonQ Domino amico nostro carissimo. [Text, on recto]: Henricus Dei gratia Rex AngliQ et franciQ ac dominus hyberniQ &c. Illustrissimo ac Potentissimo principi Domino Ludouico Maria || Sfortia anglo Duci Mediolani: papiQ Anglerihque Comiti ac genuQ et CremonQ Domino. amico nostro carissimo. Salutem et prospera || votorum Incrementa. Legimus perlibenter litteras vestrQ Celsitudinis xvj Maij mediolani datas / quas presentium lator vester Nunciuslinobis reddidit / quibus quidem primum cognouimus dominum Raymundum oratorem vestrum istuc applicuisse et nostram quam || gerimus erga vestram Celsitudinem affectionem Demonstrasse / quod sane non mediocriter nobis gratum extitit / eoque magis accep-|ltum quod huiusmodi Relatio vestrQ Sublimitati fuerit non Iniucunda: Quod vero eadem vestra Celsitudo ipsum dominum Raymundum oratorem || suum sit propediem ad Nos remissura / gratus nempe erit Nobis eius aduentus quotienscumque applicuerit / Cui quicquid paulo antea Im- pendimus / id profecto vestrc Celsitudinis Intuitu libenter fecimus / habemus autem gratias non mediocres vestrQ || SublimiPati quod sua omnia tam libere nobis offerat / nos- tramque amicitiam adaugere cupiat. CQterum audiuimus quQ Augustinus || Spinola pro parte vestra nobis exposuit / a quo mentem superinde nostram intelligere poterit vestra Celsitudo quQ felix semper vale[at]* || ad vota. Ex Palatio Nostro luxta Westmonasterium xvj Die Junij M0cccclxxxxviij0. / || [signed] Henricus R || The summary given in the catalogue of a former owner of this document is very misleading,23 viz.: "He [Henry VII] has read with pleasure his correspondent's letters of May 16th brought by Signor Ramondi, with whom he was before acquainted, and who has assured him of the Duke's affectionate sentiments to- wards him." For example, it is clear from the Morgan letter as well as from docu- ments still preserved in Milan that, far from Raimondo de' Raimondi's having brought anything to England from Milan, he had actually returned to Milan, having been summoned thither by Lodovico. The events that ac-tually occurred are these: According to a draft in the Milanese archives, dated 11 May 1498,24 Lodovico Sforza wrote to his agent in England, Agostino Spinola, that he had receivecl the * Lacuna as result of a tear in the paper; letters supplied. 23 Catalogue of the Collection of Autograph Letters and Historical Documents formed ... by Alfred Mforrison (London, 1888-1897), II, 256. 24 Calendar of State Papers ... Milan, pp. 348-844, no. 559. This content downloaded from on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:46:13 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions490 Three Letters from Henry VII to the Dukes of Milan report of Raimondo de' Raimondi and that the duke wished Spinola to congratu- late King Henry on his "well-being and prosperity." Spinola was also to inform the king that the duke had written to his brother (Cardinal Ascanio Maria Sforza) on behalf of Giovanni Gigli, bishop of Worcester, whose promotion to the cardinalate the king was anxious to secure. Another draft of a letter, dated 16 May,25 indicates that Lodovico wrote to Henry informing him that Raimondo hacl arrived in Milan with good news and kind greetings from the king of England. The duke wished Henry to know that Raimondo had been recalled for the sole purpose of discussing matters of mutual interest to England and Milan. The AMTorgan document is clearly a reply to this letter from I1 Moro, though it is no less certain that, even prior to this, Henry had urged that Raimondo be sent back to England. On 11 June,26 Lodovico Sforza wrote to Ambassador Raimondo de' Raimondi that he had wanted him to attend to some diplomatic functions in Italy, but that the king of England had so strongly urged the return of Raimondo to Englan(d that the duke had decided to accede to Henry's wishes. Raimondo was to inform the king that II Moro would be happy to accept the Order of the Garter. However, a letter of 15 June from Raimondo to Lodovico makes it clear that the ambassador was then still in Milan.27 As a sequel to Lodovico Sforza's letter to Agostino Spinola, we find a report from the latter to the former, dated 20 June,28 informing the duke that Spinola bad proceeded to Westminster immediately upon the receipt of instructions from Milan and had been granted an audience by the king. Henry was most pleased at Lodovico's efforts, especially with the help of Cardinal Sforza, on behalf of Giovanni Gigli. Henry was indeed very anxious for the bishop of Worcester to be madle a cardinal, and the king hoped that the duke would continue to work for the successful conclusion of this worthy cause. This meeting between King Henry VII an(I Agostino Spinola is clearly the one referred to in the Morgan letter of 16 June 1498. It is also certain that Henry was successful in his insistence upon the speedy return of Raimondo de' Raimondi to England, as noted in the text un(ler discussion. On 12 September 1498,29 Raimondo wrote to the duke of Milan that he was now in England, having safely arrived there despite the considerable dangers and difficulties encountered in the course of the journey. 'I'lce three Morgan documents, here printed in extenso for the first time, thus correct previous statements as to the contents of the letters and provide addi- tioiial facts of historic interest. The first two letters were written by Pietro Car- meliano, Latin secretary to King Henry VII.Y0 These will be of particular in- terest to students of calligraphy, for they are fine examples of writing from the pen of the man who brought the Italian hand into England. PIERPONT MORGAN LIBRARY 26 Ibid., pp. 344-845, no. 563. 26 Ibid., pp. 845-846, no. 565. 27 Ibid., p. 346, no. 567. 28 Ibid., pp. 347-348, no. 571. 29 Ibid., p. 352, no. 583. 30 In the summary of a letter from I1 Moro to Pietro Carmeliano (Calendar of State Papers. ... Mfilan, p. 344, no. 561), the latter is described as "Latin Secretary of the Duke of Milan." This is aii accidental slip by the editor, for Carmeliano was certainly secretary to King Henry at this time. Compare DNB, ix, 127-128. This content downloaded from on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:46:13 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsArticle Contentsp. 485p. 486p. 487p. 488p. 489p. 490Issue Table of ContentsSpeculum, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Jul., 1956), pp. 433-580Front MatterIsidore Glabas and the Turkish Devshirme [pp. 433-443]The Establishment of the English Wool Staple in 1313 [pp. 444-453]Royal Support of Students in the Thirteenth Century [pp. 454-462]Historical Revision: The Causes of the Hundred Years War [pp. 463-477]Present Status of the Controversy over Francisco Imperial [pp. 478-484]Three Letters from Henry VII to the Dukes of Milan [pp. 485-490]ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 491-492]Review: untitled [pp. 493]Review: untitled [pp. 494-495]Review: untitled [pp. 495-496]Review: untitled [pp. 496-497]Review: untitled [pp. 498-499]Review: untitled [pp. 499-500]Review: untitled [pp. 501-503]Review: untitled [pp. 503-504]Review: untitled [pp. 504-506]Review: untitled [pp. 506-507]Review: untitled [pp. 507-508]Review: untitled [pp. 508]Review: untitled [pp. 508-509]Review: untitled [pp. 509-513]Review: untitled [pp. 513-514]Review: untitled [pp. 514-516]Review: untitled [pp. 516-517]Review: untitled [pp. 517-518]Review: untitled [pp. 519]Review: untitled [pp. 520-522]Review: untitled [pp. 522-523]Review: untitled [pp. 523-526]Review: untitled [pp. 526-532]Review: untitled [pp. 532-534]Review: untitled [pp. 534-536]Review: untitled [pp. 536-538]Review: untitled [pp. 538-541]Review: untitled [pp. 541-543]Review: untitled [pp. 543-546]Review: untitled [pp. 547-549]Review: untitled [pp. 549-550]Review: untitled [pp. 550-552]Review: untitled [pp. 552]Review: untitled [pp. 552-553]Proceedings of the Thirty-first Annual Meeting of the Corporation [pp. 554-568]Memoirs of Corresponding Fellows of the Mediaeval Academy of America [pp. 569-570]Fellows of the Mediaeval Academy of America [pp. 571]Corresponding Fellows [pp. 571]Announcements [pp. 572-573]Bibliography of Periodical Literature [pp. 574-576]Books Received [pp. 577-580]Back Matter


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