HENRY VIII, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts



Home | Archive | Facsimiles | Forgeries | Back


HENRY VIII (1491-1547). King of England and Ireland.
Fine Diplomatic Letter Signed and subscribed ('Vester bonus amicus Henry R') in Latin to Antonioto Adorno, Duke of Genoa, London 14 July 1524. 1 page large 4to, 385 x 335 mm. (15 x 13½ inches), the text in the fine italic hand of the king's Latin Secretary Peter Vannes, and signed by him at the foot ('petrus vannes').
Address-panel on the reverse in Vannes's hand, with docketing in Italian; papered seal; slight wear in the folds affecting only one line of the text. With a full translation into English.

Remarking on Adorno's long friendship and wise counsels, of which he has been reminded by letters from his secretary Richard Pace, and hoping for the successful outcome of a negotiation involving Cardinal Wolsey.

Henry's motive for writing this letter may well have been connected with the first, secret peacemaking visit to England of John Joachim Passano (sometimes described as a monk, sometimes as a Genoese merchant) in June 1524. The previous year, Henry had engaged in an abortive attack on France in alliance with the Emperor Charles and with the disaffected constable of France, Charles, Duke of Bourbon. The offensive had failed disastrously and Bourbon had retreated to Genoa, where Richard Pace (1482?-1536), Henry's secretary, had pursued him to try to make terms for a further joint attack on France. Although Bourbon swore allegiance to England (one of Henry's conditions for taking part in a further offensive), and although Pace was enthusiastic about the prospect of conquering France, Henry's own enthusiasm was on the wane. At the same time Wolsey, Archbishop of York, appealed to the pope to ask the French to send a peacemaker to England. Passano (known simply as John Joachim) is supposed to have been an envoy from Louise of Savoy, the French Queen Mother; yet the tone of Henry's letter implies that the Genoese government, Bourbon's allies, were also parties to the peacemaking move. The letter additionally mentions Brian Tuke, the king's French secretary (and Wolsey's former secretary) as a source of information about Adorno.
'Henry by the grace of God King of England and France defender of the faith and Lord of Ireland. To the most illustrious lord Antonioto Adorno Duke of Genoa etc., our very dear friend and ally, Greeting. We have most profitably learnt, through letters from the Reverend Master Richard Pace, our first secretary, of the longstanding goodwill which your Excellency bears towards us, and of the occurrences which have taken place with you. And therefore, since he set out with the most faithful and sincere desire to deserve well of us, and both your Excellency and our secretary (who is very assiduous in frequenting the camp) have quite favourable and ample powers to inform us about whatever is happening (as we have most vehemently requested), he should most diligently perform the function of drawing up regulations, which will always be most useful and convenient for us in our negotiations with one another. Then we have learnt from the Reverend Lord Cardinal of York [Thomas Wolsey], our intimate in everything, and from Master Bryan Tuke our dear secretary and councillor, how greatly your Excellency has decided to support our understanding of what is fair to our secretary in his recovery of the taxes on woollen goods, and in the matter which we have often commended from our heart. In the hope of which, and confident of [your] goodwill, he freely requests the favour of submitting the whole question to be judged and decided by your Excellency; and we have openly indicated our great desire for this through the Rev Lord of York. In connection with which we have repeatedly approved this negotiation with your Excellency with all our heart, and when you have shown a certain zeal and humanity in settling this once, we will consider what has emerged from this agreement with a man who is very dear to us; for the sense of duty towards us of our said councillors is one such as we would always, for one reason or another, show towards your law. And may your Excellency flourish. From our palace in London, 14 July 1514.'

[Address on verso]'To the most illustrious and Excellent Lord Antonioto Adorno duke of Genoa etc., our dear friend and ally.'
[endorsed in Italian above the address]
'1524 14 July'
[Below address]
'Letter of thanks from the King of England'

One of the finest and most important letters of Henry VIII to have appeared on the market in recent years.
[No: 25575]


The first image shows the upper part of the page.

The image links to a larger or more detailed version.

This is the archived description of an item that has already been sold. Please contact me if you would like any further intormation.