Spain: June 1527, 1-15

Pages 228-245

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 3 Part 2, 1527-1529. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1877.

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June 1527, 1-15

4 June.
K. u. K. Haus-
Hof-u. Staats Arch.
Wien. Rep. P. C.
Fusc. 227, No. 21
83. Don Iñigo de Mendoça, Imperial Ambassador in England, to the Emperor.
As his letters sent by the ambassador's servant (Blue- mantle) and by Master Poynings (Poyntz), and also by the Spanish courier, Juan Viscayno, must already have been received, and contained full report of affairs in England, he (Mendoça) shall herewith be brief.
(Cipher:) As soon as the King of France heard that the Pope had returned to the League, he sent back the Bishop of Tarbes (Gabriel de Grammont), travelling post, to see whether he could induce this King to take up arms even before the embassy started for Spain. Has been assured that the King adheres to his original plan of first offering the conditions of peace to the Emperor, and then, should he refuse, acting as has been settled by their mutual treaty.
By letters from Venice of the 12th of May, the tidings came to this Court of the taking of Rome by the Imperialists. The King and Legate were sadly put out by the intelligence, having, as is well known, given money to assist in the war. Some think that this event will make the King suspend his declaration in favour of the League; others, on the contrary, maintain that it will hasten it; for besides the malevolence (la ruyn voluntad) with which the King regards the Emperor, he is much afraid of his growing power, and of the prosperity of his arms, and thinks that now, under the sanction of the Church, he may better carry out his design. (fn. n1)
It is confidently expected that the Cardinal will very soon set out for France. It is said also that the King of that country will come to meet him at Abbeville, and that they will there settle certain articles which were omitted in the treaty here, and also confirm other articles previously agreed upon. Suspects also that the Cardinal is the bearer of certain moneys for the King of France, in compensation for which Boulogne is to be given up to England, and that the Legate hopes by this acquisition of territory on the continent to remove the dislike borne him by the English. It is also thought that this giving up of Boulogne may possibly take place, because the most strenuous efforts have been made to obtain it, and because also the state of things in Italy places the King of France in daily-increasing difficulty. The Legate moreover has been frequently heard to say that a great extension of the kingdom of England was soon about to take place. Cannot, however, arrive at the real nature of the articles lately stipulated between England and France, as the very persons who swore to the treaty assure him that they do not know its contents.
(Common writing:) The prohibition for English ships to lade for Flanders or Spain still continues, but is not extended to foreigners, not even to the Flemings or Spaniards. The English murmur loudly against this prohibition, as well as against the prospect of war with the Emperor; they have publicly rejoiced at the news of our successes in Italy as if they were their own. It is asserted that the reason why the Legate has not yet declared war against Flanders is that no contribution of money towards such war can possibly be obtained, and that even if a levy of troops should be decreed, the very captains who raised them could have no confidence in them. No great reliance can be placed on popular opinion, but there are many who think that, should this King declare war, it might perchance with the Emperor's help break out here, especially if this business of the Queen should be proceeded with; for as she is much beloved, and the Cardinal most intensely hated, should the matter become public some disturbances must necessarily follow. In order, however, to maintain this friendly disposition of the people of this country towards (the Emperor), Mendoça has written to Madame to say that until she actually sees preparations for taking the field she should not make any change in her treatment of the English merhants, but, on the contrary, show them even greater favour than before; for should this King push matters to extremity, it is evidently with these very English, his subjects, that he will have to contend.
For the last few days active preparations have been going on, repairing and fitting up certain vessels that were lying almost forgotten in the dockyards of this kingdom, and drawing besides into the royal service two large ships that were intended for the spice trade. There has also been a great inspection of the artillery of those vessels, and of their supply of ammunition. The French galleons are still in the English ports, and it is said that they are soon to join the ships which this King has ordered to be fitted out for sea. Of other signs of war, such as raising subsidies or levies, there are none as yet. The general belief is nevertheless that should the Emperor reject the proffered terms, this King will at once place either his money or his troops, perhaps both, at the disposal of France.
Hears whilst writing this that the ships now being fitted out for sea do not amount to more than six or seven, and are merely intended to escort the Legate in his passage to France, and that the two ships which he (Mendoça) has mentioned as having been pressed into the service, whilst fitting out for the spice trade, are now allowed to follow their former destination. There is no sign at present of any movement of artillery, only that that which is in the Tower of London has been inspected, to be ready in case of need.
The death of the Duke of Bourbon is considered as quite certain at this Court, and seems to have somewhat consoled the King and Legate for the taking of Rome. Most awful accounts are circulated here, with a view to exciting the people, of the unheard-of cruelties said to have been perpetrated by the Imperial soldiers; the King himself stooping to speak of the Duke of Bourbon and of the whole Imperial army in terms very unworthy of so great a Prince.
Has little news by way of Germany, though it would be a great advantage if he could have some just now. Thinks the supply of couriers from that quarter is very insufficient. The Bohemian ambassador (fn. n2) being quite in his interests, gives him (Mendoça) all the information he can, and he does the same in return, for the interests of both countries [Spain and Germany] being now at stake, the same information might do for both ambassadors.
Is also informed that the King of France has sent a message to the commander of those galleons who lately plundered the Spanish ships to give up immediately all the goods and property taken on board of them. The merchants and masters of the vessels have received orders to that effect from the said commander. Does not know whether they will recover anything.
The letter which brought the news of the taking of Rome was written at Venice on the 12th of May. It stated that on the 6th of that month Rome was taken, and the Duke of Bourbon killed by a cannon ball. Has heard nothing direct from Rome, but confirmation of this news has since come from Venice. The death of the Duke of Bourbon has not yet been officially confirmed, though it is said that he is dangerously wounded. The Emperor will no doubt have more reliable information about these matters than can be sent from hence, where the news so change with the times, that hardly anything can be believed.—London, the 4th of June 1527.
Signed: "Don Iñigo de Mendoça."
Addressed: "To His Imperial and Catholic Majesty."
Spanish. Original. Mostly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet, pp. 4.
5 June 84. The Capitulation of Rome.
M. B. N. E. 50,
f. 162.
B. M. Add. 28,576,
f. 246.
Al nome di Dio à di 5 di Giugno 1527 Poi che il felicissino exercito Cesareo e intrato in Roma, et il Smo. N. S. Papa Clemente Settimo con multi Rmi. Cardinali, Prelati cortigiani, servitori, et anco capitani et gente de guerra, alcuni mercanti et cittadini Romani et altri, si sono retirati, in Castello Sanct Angelo, persudendosi SSta. che la Cesa. Mta. non sia per mancare di conservare et protegere di ogni violentia Sua Beatitudine, Cardinali et altri anteditti et la Sede Apostolica, si come essa SSta. ha havuto et ha animo di stare et perseverare in amicitia et quiete et tranquillità con sua Mta., ha fatto chiamare il magco. Miçer Gio. Bartmeo. Gatinaria, Regente nel Regno di Napoli, acciò che in nome di SSta. offerirse al 1' Illri. et Magci et molto strenui Sigri. Capitani di detto felicissimo essercito, et detto essercito le subsequenti condicioni da essere oservate inviolabilmente de ambe le parti:
1. The Pope, the cardinals, prelates, captains, soldiers, and all other persons now residing with the Pope [in the castle] promise to surrender themselves to the captains of the Imperial army, who on their part promise to respect their persons and their property. They will be conducted to the kingdom of Naples, or further still, wherever there may be convenience for them to go freely to His Imperial Majesty without violence or hindrance of any sort. They will be treated as befits His Holiness' dignity and their own. Should His Holiness, however, or any of the undersigned cardinals and hostages wish to remain at Rome, or go elsewhere, they may do so in perfect liberty.
2. The Pope is to surrender Castel Santangelo "per tutto el di de domani" with all its ammunition &c.
3. The Pope promises to give 100,000 "scudi d' oro' del Sole" for the pay of the army; that is to say, 40,000 on signing this present capitulation; gold and silver [plate] worth 40,000 more "scudi"; the remaining 20,000 "scudi" to be paid within six days.
The Pope is further to pay within 20 days 50,000 "scudi" in each of these places, Genoa, Sienna, or Naples, into the hands of the Abbot of Najera or of his proxies; these 150,000 "scudi" being considered as the ransom (riscatto) of the persons inside the castle and of their property.
The Pope will lay a tax on the subjects of his estates to the amount of 250,000 "scudi." He is to collect it as soon as possible, in order that the hostages may be the earlier set at liberty.
The Imperial army will, if necessary, render aid to the Papal tax gatherers.
The following persons to be hostages for the 50,000 and for the 250,000 "scudi" as above said:—
The Archbishops of Siponto and Pisa.
The Bishops of Pistoya and Verona.
Micer Giacomo Salviati, Lorenzo Ridolfi, and Simon de' Ricasoli.
The territories which the Pope is to consign to the Emperor, besides further Latio and the Campagna, to be exempted from the above tax, and no burden of any kind to be imposed on them.
4. That the Imperial army may soon leave Rome and the estates of the Church, the Pope promises to consign into the Emperor's hands or those of his ministers Ostia and Civittà Vecchia, together with Il Porto, (fn. n3) Modena, Parma, and Piacenza.
Should these cities offer any resistance the Emperor is at liberty to take them by force.
It is to be hoped that the Emperor "per sua benigna natura" will defend the Pope and the Apostolic See.
5. The Colonnese to be reinstated in all their property and rights.
Cardinal [Pompeo] Colonna to have back all his ecclesiastical honours, dignities, and property.
6. The Pope begs the [Imperial] captains to do their best to liberate the cardinals who are now [prisoners] in Rome.
7. The Pope promises to revoke all censures, excommunications, &c. in which the Imperial army may be implicated.
8. The Prince [of Orange?] will be present when the soldiers of the Pope, other persons, and women leave the castle, and see that they are not injured or dishonoured.
9. Three bands of Germans and Spaniards, besides 100 light horse, to accompany the same four or five leagues from Rome.
10. Safe-conducts to be given.
11. Soldiers not to go up into the Pope's apartments. (fn. n4)
12. Ostia and Civittà Vecchia to be surrendered to-morrow —Rome, ut supra. (fn. n5)
Follow the Signatures : —
"Philibert de Chalon, Prince of Orange."
"Ferrando Gonzaga."
"Ludovico, conte di Lodrone."
"Jo. Bartmeo. di Gattinara."
"Fr. [Hernando] Marin, called the Abbot of Najera."
"Hyeronimo Morone."
"Luys Gonzaga."
"Po. (Pietro?) Ramias?"
"Andreas de Herrera."
"Alonso de Gayaço."
"Andrea Mendoza."
"Co. de Valas (Velasco?)."
"Hieronymo de Montoya."
"Migell (Miguel) D' Artieda."
"Co. de Almansa?"
"Rodrigo de Tripalda (Ripalda?)."
"Joan de la Pen. (la Peña)."
Italian. Contemporary copy. pp. 3.
11 June. 85. The Abbot of Najera to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 40,
B.M. Add. 28,576,
f. 249.
Wrote on the 27th ulto., (fn. n6) announcing the taking and sack of Rome, the death of Bourbon, &c. Since then, on the 28th, the Viceroy of Naples, with a safe-conduct obtained from the Pope arrived here, having passed close to the camp of the League. But as the men were rather angry with him (estaban algo mal con el), owing to the [former] capitulation made with the Pope, he would not stay, and determined to go to Naples, against the vote and advice of most of the Imperial servants here. As he was on his road thither he met coming out of the gate of San Giovanne the Marquis del Guasto, Don Ugo, and Alarcon, besides the Duke of Malfa (Amalfi), Ferramosca, and others, who persuaded him to return. Here he remained until the 6th inst., when part of the Spanish infantry having risen in mutiny against him, and the rest of the officers above named, he with most of his men left Rome that very night, and took up their quarters at a place in the Colonnese territory, called Cevittà Labina (Città Lavinia), 18 miles from this city. There has been since much writing and negotiating, both Don Ugo and Alarcon as well as himself (the Abbot) insisting upon the Viceroy coming back to Rome, as he is the only man of sufficient credit and authority to keep the soldiers in order. This, however, the Viceroy obstinately refuses to do, on the plea that the Prince of Orange, without any special mandate from the Emperor, is acting as commander-in-chief. Humbly requests His Imperial Majesty, in case of the Duke of Ferrara not accepting the command of this army, to give it to the Viceroy as Bourbon had it, since all the Spanish and Italian captains are willing to serve under him, whereas it is not likely they will do so under the Prince.
On the 31st of May, about noon, as the latter was inspecting the trenches he was wounded, &c.
On the 1st inst. the Spanish infantry from Naples made their entrance into Rome. The Germans remained at Terracina. There they will be until they are wanted here, as the plague has broken out most fiercely, and there is besides great scarcity of provisions.
The very same day, the Pope having shown a desire to reopen negotiations, Bartholomé di Gattinara, and himself (the Abbot), accompanied by two captains of the Germans (tudescos), went up to Sanct Angelo, aad a capitulation was arranged, of which a copy is enclosed, the same which the Pope and the cardinals who are with him signed on the 5th. Immediately after the Marquis Don Hernando de Alarcon entered Sanct Angelo with a force of 300 infantry, half Spaniards and half Germans.
His Holiness is very much troubled (está harto offlicto) in consequence of his having to procure within a very short period of time the 150,000 ducats now wanted for the pay of the Spaniards and Germans. He is very desirous of going to Naples, or wherever there may be less danger of the plague than there is here at present, and talks of sending one of his cardinals, most likely Campeggio, to Spain.
On the 8th the fortress of Ostia was delivered according to stipulation into the hands of a captain of Spanish infantry called Rodrigo de Ripalda. Civittà Vecchia is still occupied by Andrea Doria, who writes to say that as soon as the Pope has paid or given security for 14,000 ducats, which he says are owing to him for his services, he will surrender that force, and as there can be no difficulty about this, we hope that the city and port will be given up in three or four days, when we shall be able to obtain provisions in abundance from that quarter.
Some overtures have been made to the said Andrea Doria with a view of attaching him to the Emperor's service, and we are in hopes that he will accept our offers. He and other naval captains of the same stamp are much wanted to secure to the Emperor the supremacy of the sea, as he has already that of the land.
Modena, Parma, and Piacenza, which are to be delivered to us in virtue of the capitulation, shall be cared for, and proper persons appointed to take charge of them.
On the 2nd the confederates raised their camp at Insola, and retreated 13 miles. They are now close to Viterbo, at a place called Betrala? It is believed that when they hear of the capitulation that has been signed by the Pope they will disband and go home.
The Count of San Segundo, a native of Lombardy and nephew of Giovanni de' Medici, and one Alessandro Vitello came over this day to the Imperial camp with 200 horse and 500 foot. Upwards of 2,000 more have deserted in a similar manner, and would be followed by many more if we chose to admit them.
Milan is in danger unless Antonio de Leyva be speedily supplied with money.
Florence expelled the other day the party of the Medici, and is now entirely free, more devoted to the Emperor than to the Pope. (fn. n7) The Florentines are mightily afraid of this army.—Rome, 11th June 1527.
Signed: "El Abbad de Najera."
Postscriptum.—News has just come that the camp of the League left Betrala yesterday, the 10th, and was marching towards Montefiascone. Also that the Venetian fleet of galleys was observed to pass in front of Terracina, bound for Venice; they were disarmed and had the plague on board. (fn. n8)
Addressed: "To the most Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty."
Spanish. Original, pp. 6.
11 June. 86. Secretary Perez to the Emperor.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A.40,
f. .
B.M. Add. 28,576,
f. 240..
On the 31st of May, as the Prince of Orange was inspecting the works at the trenches before Sanct Angelo, he was wounded in the cheek by a hackbut ball. All the men, and especially the Germans, felt this very much. Fortunately the wound seems not to be dangerous. The better to attend to its cure, he has been brought from the Pope's Palace, where he had taken up his quarters, to Cardinal Sancti Quatuor (Pucci) at Rome.
On Saturday, the 1st inst., ten companies (banderas) of Spanish infantry arrived from Naples. As they passed before Palazzo Colonna, where the Viceroy was staying, they fired their hackbuts and matchlocks (escopetas) as a salvo in his honour. Micer Agostino Foglieta went to a window to see them pass, and was so unfortunate that one of the balls struck his right arm, and he died the day after. His Majesty loses in him an affectionate servant, for certainly, though he, like many others, had sustained heavy losses by the sack of this city, no one showed so much joy as he at seeing the Emperor master of Rome. He was a native of Genoa, where he leaves a brother and several nephews, to one of whom he had transferred the pension of 1,000 ducats, which he enjoyed on the bishoprics of Mazzara and Granada, besides another of 500 on the abbacy of Santa Marta, in the diocese of Astorga.
Begs for himself the rent-dues, known as "Porto di Piacenza," which the deceased formerly enjoyed, that he may repay with them the money borrowed from his friends at the time of the sack.
The army of the League went back to Viterbo on Sunday last. It is not known what direction it will take. Some say that it will be divided into three; one division to remain there [at Viterbo], the other to go to Corneto, and the third to Perugia. Others say that the whole of it will march on Sienna.
No sooner did the Pope hear of the retreat of the army of the League than he resumed negotiations. The captains of the lansquenets, owing to the Prince being disabled and unfit to take the command just now, will no longer agree to the former terms, and demand, besides, seven or eight hostages from among the most influential people in the castle, that they may be sure of being paid.
They are now negotiating to that effect, and although neither the Viceroy, nor Guasto, nor Alarcon interferes at all, except by occasional advise, it is to be hoped that an agreement will soon be made, as the Pope wishes very much to get out of his present position. The game is now entirely in the hands of the lansquenets, who, not contented with having sacked the houses of the Roman citizens, are plundering those of the Spanish and Italian captains under the excuse of looking for wheat, flour, and wine, which they carry away whenever they find it. Many, and he (Perez) among the rest, will Lave to be content with water in future.
Wheat has begun to arrive from Naples, and yet famine and pestilence prevail at Rome. Unless an agreement of some sort be soon made and the Imperialists leave for some other place, great calamities are in store for this devoted city.
The army is so strong, and the soldiers animated by suck a spirit, that, wherever it may go, the enemy will be overpowered, and Italy subjected to the Imperial rule. Upwards of 300 infanty and 300 horse have lately come over to our camp under Counts Anguilara and Sanct Segundo. The latter is from Parma; the former, who belongs to the family of the Orsini, from a place close to Rome.
Had written thus far when intelligence was brought to him (Perez) that on the 6th inst. a capitulation was concluded and signed, and that on the ensuing day (the 7th) the garrison of the castle began to come out with their arms and colours flying, led by Oracio Ballon (Baglione), by the English ambassador (Gregorio Casale), and by a son of Cardinal Farnese. They were escorted by four companies (banderas) of Spaniards and Germans till within three miles out of Rome, and took the road to Perugia. Those who remained behind are to choose their place of destination. Renzo da Ceri, Langes (Langeay), and Alberto de Carpi intend going to France.
On the 7th Alarcon (fn. n9) entered Sanct Angelo with one company of Spaniards and another of Germans. Don Ugo also went thither twice, at the Pope's request, and had a long conference with him. What passed between them Perez cannot say, but he earnestly prays God that the upshot of all this may be that, peace being made throughout Christendom, the Emperor may turn his victorious arms against the Infidel, and conquer their country until he reaches the holy shrine of Jerusalem, as is said in the prophecies.
For the sudden departure of the Viceroy, Guasto, and Cesaro Ferramosca for Naples, he (Perez) can in no manner account. Has no doubt that Alarcon and Don Ugo, who saw them go and spoke with them, have sufficiently informed the Emperor of their motive in doing so.
The hostages demanded by the Germans were six in number; the Datary (Gianmatheo Giberti), Giacopo Salviati, the Archbishop of Manfredonia (Sipontinus), nephew of Cardinal Monti, the Bishop of Pistoya, nephew of Cardinal Sancti Quatuor (Pucci), the Archbishop of Pisa, and a Florentine called Simon de Ricasoli. Cannot say whether any change will be made, their number diminished or increased.
The Prince of Orange is much better, which, as far as the Germans under him are concerned, is a great blessing, for he may perhaps be able to keep them in order.
Don Ugo went to the Viceroy's to try and persuade him to come to Rome. He was unsuccessful, and has come back without him. It is rumoured that he, himself, wishes to go away, and if he does, this Imperial army will be without a commander, and the city without a governor, for though Alarcon is a reliable person, and can do much, he is the only one, and has to keep guard over Sanct Angelo and the Pope, which is no sinecure, considering the many importunities by which he is continually assailed, one way or the other, without counting the responsibility of his charge.
Yesterday, the 10th, the second day of Easter, there was a great brawl (rumor) between the Germans on one side and the {Spaniards and Italians on the other. The Germans ran to arms and entrenched themselves in Campo di Fiore. God permitted, however, that their officers should succeed in quieting them down ; had it not been so, many lives would have been lost, such is the animosity of both Spaniards and Italians against them, for their late behaviour, and for their having again sacked, not only the houses of Roman citizens, but those also of many of the Emperor's subjects. As the Prince was not well enough to leave his room, the outbreak might have assumed formidable proportions; as it is, several Germans were killed. As Bauberi, the Prince's gentleman in waiting, is now going [to Spain] with the news of this late occurrence and of the insubordination prevailing in the army, he (Perez) need not dwell on this subject further than to say that the men-at-arms were yesterday on the point of leaving for Naples, owing to their arrears not having been paid, and no notice taken of them in the Pope's last capitulation.
The councillors here (fn. n10) excused themselves as well as they could, and advised them to write a letter to the Viceroy stating their complaints, which they have done since, deputing two of their number to be the bearers of a message to the Viceroy. Cannot say what they will do to-morrow, for they are very discontented indeed. Yesterday all went out and formed in Campo Hagon, which is a large square (plaza), the finest in the world before the sack. They say that the Germans are greatly afraid of the men-at-arms and cavalry in general.
The Pope has given permission for the celebration of mass in four churches of this capital during these Easter days. After this the cleansing and reconsecrating (desenviolar) of the churches will take place, and general absolution will be granted according to one of the articles of the capitulation.
Every effort is being made to procure money with which to pay the men, that they may march out against the enemy still encamped at Viterbo, but very much reduced in number by desertion and other causes.
Venice, they say, has ordered a levy of 8,000 infantry to reinforce their army, and from France a large body of Swiss are expected, with which forces the League intends to invade Lombardy, whilst the Imperialists remain at Rome. Similar armaments are being made by sea, the Venetians fitting out no less than 50 galleys under a proveditor-general. After joining the fleet which they and the French have on this coast, they are to invade Naples.—Rome, 11th June 1527.
Signed: "Perez."
Addressed: "To His most Sacred, Imperial, and Catholic Majesty."
Spanish. Holograph parity in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on separate sheet pp. 8.
11 June. 87. Francisco de Salazar to Chancellor Gattinara.
S. E. L. 847,
f. 181.
B. M. Add. 28,576,
f. 224.
By the last paragraphs of his letter dated the 18th May (fn. n11) the Emperor has no doubt been informed of the agreement made with His Holiness. He was pen in hand, ready to sign the army, when an informer (espia) came to tell him that the army of the League was 40 miles from Rome, and would arrive in three or four days to relieve the city; upon which the Pope believing that the confederates were really coming in great force, and that the Imperial army was almost broken up owing to the death of its commander-in-chief, Mons. de Bourbon, that the men, having become rich through the sack, would no longer serve, decided not to sign the agreement, and again asked for a delay. If within six days the army of the League came to his assistance, he (the Pope) should not be bound to fulfil any of the stipulated conditions. This produced so much indignation and discon- tent among the Imperialists, that when the Archbishop of Capua (Fr. Nicolas Schomberg), who had been treating in the Pope's name, came to announce this decision, our people gave him no answer, and would not allow him to return to the castle. Indeed, had not the Archbishop been considered, as he rightly is, a good servant of the Emperor, he might have fared much worse, for the men suspected that he had purposely delayed the negotiation that the Pope might gain time, &c. There was another circumstance to increase suspicion. The Pope had frequently granted safe-conducts for the Abbot of Najera to go backwards and forwards to the castle, that he might treat about the Viceroy coming from Sienna [to Rome], without being stopped by the army of the League, for which end a messenger was despatched with one of the Pope's chamberlains. This made the Imperialists so angry with the Abbot, that some of the commanders, and particularly the Prince of Orange, told him in a great passion, "Had it not been for you, Abbot, we should be masters of the castle, having already been inside Rome 12 days."
Things, however, are getting more quiet. New trenches are being opened round the castle, not only to besiege it in due form, but to be ready for the enemy in case he should attack us. We are expecting some artillery from Paliano (Pagliano) in the land of the Colonnese, &c.
The camp of the League has arrived at Ynsola (Isola), eight miles from this city. Their light cavalry, which is the best and most efficient force they have, has begun to overrun the neighbouring districts. Every day they skirmish with our light horse, and are generally worsted in the engagements, for although now and then some of our men are taken prisoners by the enemy, owing to their being, as it were, disbanded (desmandados), their numbers are very few when compared with those brought in by our men.
The enemy's forces are said to amount to 30,000 men, but he (Salazar) has reason to believe that number exaggerated, and that it does not exceed 25,000 in all. Of these nearly 1,000 hackbutiers and a whole company of light horse have lately deserted, and come over to our camp. Many more would follow their example if they were sure of being admitted. Most of these deserters are outlaws (foraxidos) from Naples, who have come over on the promise of having their crimes and offences pardoned. Were we to open our hands many more would come to us, as they are actually starving, but the generals are not much inclined to favour the application, as they are suspicious people.
The camp of the League, as I have said, is without provisions. At Rome they have become so scarce and dear that I do not exaggerate when I say that the russo of wheat sell for 30 or even 40 ducats. Had it not been for the grass, the green corn, and other herbs which men give their horses, barley would be at the same price as wheat, or little less. Fowls are not to be had even for sick people, and when procured cost two ducats; one pair of eggs six julii, and sometimes one carlino and one julio. Indeed it may be asserted that, as far as articles of food and dress are concerned the sack of Rome still continues, especially on the part of the lansquenets, who plunder everything they find, and will not listen to reason on this score. Your Lordship cannot imagine the atrocities that are committed daily, and the number of people who are either slain, tortured, or otherwise illtreated without any regard to rank, profession, or nationality. Everyone of us is utterly ruined, for besides being plundered of our money, our clothes, and other valuables, we have been taxed (tallado) at sums which it is impossible for us to pay. Those who cannot pay are imprisoned, and then taken to the public market to be sold as so many slaves. The other day the Bishop of Terrachina (Terracina), a German (tudesco) by birth, who is clerk of the Apostolic Chamber (clerigo de Camara) and abbreviator, and was on the eve of being appointed Cardinal, was sold in this way to the best bidder, as he has the reputation of being a rich man. If the parties themselves cannot procure the money for their ransom, or find purchasers to bid for them, in that case the prisoners, whether they be Spaniards, Germans, or Italians, and whatever their rank or profession, are played for at dice.
Such was, Sir, the state of affairs on the 29th May when this present letter was begun. On the previous day, the 28th, in the afternoon, the Viceroy of Naples arrived from Sienna with a very slight escort (casi solo). He passed through the city without speaking to anyone, not even to the Prince of Orange, only to those he happened to meet in the streets, whom he could not help addressing. At Transteberi he halted at the house of the lieutenant of his own company, merely to change post-horses. He left Rome for Naples, but he had scarcely ridden one mile when he met Don Ugo de Moncada, the Marquis del Guasto, Alarcon, and other barons and gentlemen of Naples, by whom he was stopped, and persuaded to return to Rome, where they all are at present.
When our men heard of the approach of the enemy they went out of Rome to meet him. Until now the confederates have not dared to attack us, nor is it likely that they will, for our soldiers are so elated with their last success, and so anxious to fight, that they are capable of conquering the whole world (el mundo todo). They loved Mons. de Bourbon on account of his bravery; they greatly regret his loss, and it does not seem as if the appointment of any other commander, whoever he may be, in his place could give them satisfaction. It was through his courage and by his means that the Roman expedition was undertaken, attended with so much trouble, and so much personal suffering from hunger and thirst, without artillery of any sort, for they had left behind at Sienna all their field pieces that they might march more expeditiously so that it may well be said that this conquest of Rome has been achieved in a most wonderful and unexpected manner. (fn. n12)
After the above was written, on the 30th of May, the Prince of Orange was wounded in the face by a hackbut shot, as he was inspecting the trenches and the works now being made round the castle. The ball entered the cheek, and came out behind the ear, as it was travelling obliquely. It is to be hoped that the wound will not be fatal. It is a great blow for the men, who like him exceedingly.
The enemy, without having approached nearer than Insola, on Monday, the 2nd inst., began to retreat to Viterbo, and although nothing certain can be said about their intentions, it is presumed that they are going to defend their own territory, not so much because they dare not attack us, but because they see our forces increasing daily, so much so that in a very short time all the armies of the world put together will not be strong enough to resist us. Besides the 8,000 infantry lately come from Naples, besides many men-at arms and light cavalry, it is really wonderful to witness the masses of armed people, Spaniards, as well as Germans and Italians, who have joined us since the taking of Rome, so that the Imperial array musters at present upwards of 50,000 men.
Seeing that no help was to be expected from the army of the League, the Pope wrote on the 1st inst. a letter to these generals requesting they would send him a person to speak to, or else be pleased to hear what he had to say, that they might together seek a remedy for his (the Pope's) present tribulations. The generals, after holding counsel together, refused to send an envoy to the castle as requested, but said they should be glad to receive any message His Holiness might send them. He, therefore, sent on the same day his chief steward (maestro de casa), a bishop, begging for the former convention to be ratified, as he was now quite willing and ready to sign it. After much discussion on this point, the Imperialists being very angry, not only at the Pope's first refusal, but because the Prince of Orange had been wounded in the interval, it was decided to offer the Pope the same terms as before, the Spaniards and the lansquenets having been previously consulted thereupon, as without their consent and approval no one would have dared to conclude anything in the matter. Two captains of this nation and two more of the Spaniards have therefore taken part in the deliberations of the Council, and the result has been that the articles of the first convention have been slightly modified in the following manner: "The Pope is to deliver as hostages eight or nine persons of rank as security for the 250,000 ducats which he engages to pay within two months, as complement of the stipulated 400,000. Among the hostages there is the Pope's Datary, Renzo da Ceri, general of the Pope's army, Alberto di Carpi, with other persons of high rank, and as the three above named are the Pope's principal ministers and advisers, and those who have brought things to the state in which they are, it is generally believed that should the above condition be accepted, it will prove that they are reduced to the last extremity and cannot do otherwise."
My house, where Secretary Perez is also residing, was again visited on the 2nd inst. by a party of soldiers, who took among other things six butts of wine and some few trifles. Very hard that after paying 2,500 ducats for our ransom we should be subjected to such ignominious treatment as to have our rooms searched at every moment. The scarcity of provisions at Rome may be an excuse for this, but the fact is that the soldiers are not contented with getting hold of provisions wherever they can find them; they seize clothes and other valuables, so that we may rightly say that the sack still lasts. Since the death of Bourbon the soldiers are complete masters of the city; they disobey their officers, and have no respect for anyone. Even the Emperor's best servants may any day be deprived of bread (pan) and clothes (ropa), and starved to death. The very day that the confederates began their retreat Count Anguilara and Count San Segundo, besides one Baron Vitelo, all of whom may be considered vassals of the Church, came over to us with 300 horse and 300 hackbutiers.
On the 6th inst. the treaty was finally concluded and signed. The terms are, 150,000 ducats to be paid down immediately, the remaining 250,000 [in two months]. Securities for the payment, the Datary (Gianmatheo Giberti), Jacopo Salviati, the Bishop of Pistoya, a nephew of [Cardinal] Sanctiquatuor, and three more bishops, all men of substance and wealth, besides a rich Florentine merchant, in all seven persons, who are to remain as hostages. Renzo da Ceri and Alberto di Carpi, and the rest of those who took refuge in the castle, to get their persons and property scot-free, though the cardinals and the Pope himself are to remain here or at Gaeta, at the Emperor's disposal. The army besides has made the Viceroy promise that on no account shall the Pope leave Gaeta, even if the Emperor should allow it, until the whole of the 250,000 ducats be paid, or a larger sum still, should that not be sufficient for the settlement of all arrears. (fn. n13)
On the night of the same day, when the articles were signed, and all people allowed to go in and out of the castle freely, the Spaniards began to mutiny (alterarse), saying that the Viceroy of Naples had deceived them, and that they desired to be paid immediately [at Rome]. The Pope was to deliver himself up into the hands of the Prince of Orange and of Juan de Urbina, not into those of the Viceroy or any other person, as they, not he, had taken Rome, owing to which the said Viceroy and the Marquis del Guasto left secretly that very night at 2 o'clock, and took the road to Naples, not wishing to stay and hear the clamouring of the soldiers.
In truth, the army is very discontented with the Viceroy, and especially with the Marquis del Guasto, who is colonel of the infantry, because they say he came from Lombardy at the bidding of his superior, as soon as the Pope made the first agreement (concierto). They are also very angry with the councillors of Naples, for their not allowing the nobility of Naples and the Colonnese to come to their assistance with artillery at the taking of Rome. And in truth had the Colonnese come the sack of this city and its atrocities might have been spared, for with the arrival of such powerful auxiliaries the people (populo) of Rome would have taken courage, and headed by them capitulated with Mons. de Bourbon, even against the wish of the Pope; whereas they dared not do it from fear of the Pope and of the Orsini faction. This has been the real cause of the ruin of Rome, as it might also have been that of the Emperor's dominions [in Italy] if the enemy had had the uppermost. For although it might appear to the councillors that Bourbon had outstripped his instructions in marching on Rome contrary to the agreement made between the Pope and the Viceroy, yet seeing the Imperial army advance with such determination, and that a defeat might endanger the Emperor's dominions, [in Italy], seeing the soldiers march without artillery, they (the councillors) ought to have sent reinforcements, and allowed these Colonnese to come. Rome then would have surrendered without the Imperialists losing one single man, and there would have been no excuse for a sack; the victory would have been won with glory, and without the shade (escrupulo) of infamy with which future generations are likely to brand Spain, since neither the Holy Sacrament, nor the relics of saints, nor the images themselves have been respected by the soldiery. So that it may be said that bad counsel causes much evil (un mal consejo causa muchos males). In short, Your Lordship may believe me, the Council of Naples to which I allude is a corrupt body, incapable of governing that kingdom. If they exercise justice it is only to rob and plunder the whole kingdom. The thing is so public that I do not hesitate to make this statement.
On the 7th the whole garrison (gente de guerra) evacuated the castle, and Alarcon went in with two companies (capitanias) of infantry, one of Spaniards, the other of Germans, for the Pope's guard. The former are commanded by Felipe Cervellon, who, it is said, is to remain as governor, having been named for that post by Mons. de Bourbon, before the Imperial army reached Rome.
The garrison of Sanct Angelo mustered about 300 men, who went out with their arms and furled banners (cogidas) escorted by two companies of Spanish infantry, until they were two miles out of Rome.
The very same day (the 7th) Civittà Vecchia and Ostia were surrendered. The lieutenancy of the former is to be given to Don Alonso de Cordova, and that of Ostia to another Spanish captain. The general impression is that, as soon as the men are paid, the Pope and the Cardinals will be sent to Gaeta, but if the Imperial generals do not speedily take this army out of Rome, there will inevitably be a plague, as the poor are dying by hundreds in the streets, principally from want of food. I can assure Your Lordship wheat is now so scarce at Rome that a loaf of bread, as brown as pitch, costs at the rate of sixty gold ducats the "ruso."
Money is being coined in great haste to pay the men and take them out of Rome as soon as possible. Unless this is done quickly, we shall all die of hunger and plague. It is presumed that they will go to Florence, or to Urbino, which duchy, they say, is to be given to Ascanio Colonna, who has a claim upon it; it is indeed generally asserted that the Emperor has already granted it to him in compensation of the losses he has sustained. But wherever this Imperial army goes, it is quite clear that they will meet with no resistance, for besides being so powerful, that of the confederates has vanished completely, most of the men having gone home in quest of food (á buscar de comer).
The cardinals in general are so reduced by poverty that they are sending away their household servants, as they cannot feed them.
On Monday, the 10th, went to the castle to see the old Datary and the new one, who is a friend. Was very well received by them. Obtained through their influence part of the benefices of Siguença, vacant by the death of Doctor Juan Fernandez, the last incumbent; no. small chance, as they were greatly desired by other parties. Was so moved to pity by seeing the Pope and the cardinals that he could not refrain from tears, but wept profusely in their presence; for although it must be said of them, that they have brought this misfortune on themselves, it is heartrending to see the head of the Christian Church so fallen and crushed (abatido y destruyda). But if this trouble should lead, as is much to be hoped, to the future reform of the Church, which is now entirely in the hands of the Emperor and of the Spanish prelates, all our sufferings will soon be forgotten.
May God enlighten the minds of the said prelates, so that, putting aside all private interests and passions, they may work together for the good of the Church. (fn. n14)
Spanish. Holograph, pp. 5.


  • n1. " Y con voz de la Iglesia parcele que tiene mas occasion para precipitar su proposito."
  • n2. Though the deciphering of this passage bears, "El embaxador de Francia me avisa, como buen servidor de Vuestra Magestad todo lo que puede, coo el qual yo hago lo mismo en lo que de aqui se ofrece, porque al presente toda es una materia y cl un cargo sirve al otro," I have translated Bohemia instead of France, because the ambassador of Ferdinand is no doubt meant. Evidently the deciphering clerk mistook one for the other.
  • n3. Called also Città Portuense.
  • n4. Another copy of this capitulation, L. 2016, f. 57, has, "Item, che nell' atto del partire di detti genti dal Castello entrino le genti della Mta. Cesa. chc ordinara il prefato Signor Principe, quali tengano la fortezza in sigurtà, et non di meno non havranno d'ascendere nelle parti superiori senon le persone degh capitani con quattro o sei compagni per uno per fare la guardia conveniente."
  • n5. Though drawn on the 5th, the capitulation was not signed until the 6th, appears from the despatches of Perez and the Abbot.
  • n6. See No. 78, p. 211.
  • n7. "Florencia hechó la parte de Medicis y está en su libertad á la devocion de V[uest]ra Mt. mas que á la del Papa."
  • n8. This postscriptum is holograph.
  • n9. In Gattinara's Relazione, Il Sacco di Roma, &c. (Genevra, 1866), p. 59, Alarcon is called Marcone by mistake, and at p. 57 Don Ugo di Alarcone, thus making of Moncada and him one person.
  • n10. That is, the members of the War Council formed after the" death Bourbon.
  • n11. See above, No. 70.
  • n12. Literally "with cloak and sword " (a capa y espada), which expression was afterwards used to designate certain plays on the national stage of Spain.
  • n13. "Ecepto los Cardenales que juntamente con el Papa aqui ó en Gaeta los ternan á dispusicion del Emperador, y tambien, sefior, todo el exercito quiso que el Visorrey prometiese de no sacar el Papa de Gaeta, aunque el Emperador lo mandase, sin que primero fuesen pagados," &c.
  • n14. "Y si dello se ha de conseguir algun buen efecto, como se deve esperar en la reformacion de la yglesia, todo se teraá por bueno, lo qual principalmente está en manos del Emperador y de los perlados de esos Reynos, y asy plega á Dios que para ello les alunbre los entendimientos de manera que pospuesto todo interese y pasiones particulars, solamente, atiendan a lo sobre dicho pues tanto con . . . . ." The last sheet of this private letter, addressed to Mercurino di Gattinara by his agent at Rome, Francisco de Salazar, is missing, therefore its exact date can only be fixed by approximation. It appears to have been begun on the 29th of May, and not finished until after the 10th of June.