7 December 2015
HENRY VIII. Manuscript letter signed (“Henry R”), to Sir Edward Poynings, Greenwich, 25 January . Oblong 8vo , laid down, paper losses at top corners, lower portion of recto shaved (costing docketed text on verso).
HENRY ORDERS THE PAYMENT OF THE ENGLISH GARRISON AT TOURNAI IN PREPARATION FOR THEIR EVACUATION
England’s seizure of the French town in 1513, in conjunction with the forces of Emperor Maximilian I and Ferdinand of Aragon, was ratified by the Anglo-French Treaty of 1814. But maintaining the garrison proved a costly proposition. Economy, combined with Cardinal Wolsey’s policy of détente with the French, led Henry to evacuate his troops. The text of the letter (in modern spelling) reads in full: “Trusty and right well-beloved, we greet you well: and signify unto you that notwithstanding the order and direction by us and our Council lately taken (that the soldiers of the garrison of Tournai should at their arrival at Dover receive their wages for one month beforehand to be paid to them by our servant Robert Fowler as in our instructions given to you was contained) – yet nevertheless We, upon great considerations and respects have now ordained that our said garrison shall have paid unto them at their departing from Tournai as well as their wages unto the day of their discharge, as for one month beforehand. So that at Dover nothing shall be paid unto them except their conduct money, according to the distance to their dwelling places, by the said Robert Fowler: whereof we thought convenient to certify you. And in all other things we ye shall order yourself according to our said commission. Given under our Signet at our manor of Greenwich, the 25th day of January.” The following year Henry would meet with the French King Francis I at the field of the Cloth of Gold to seek an improvement in relations.
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