Rome: 1569, January-June

Pages 291-310

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Vatican Archives, Volume 1, 1558-1571. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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1569, January–June

Vat. Lib.
Ottob. Lat.
ff. 270d–212d.
561. Extract from Commentaries of Michael Soriano, Venetian Ambassador. Reflexions on the Misfortunes of the Queen of Scots.
“The Queen of Scotland is now an object of compassion. In the days of her grandeur—perchance because the Queen of France had a spite against her, deeming that she had been slighted by her—soon after the death of King Henry, whether because the French are by nature apt soon to forget benefits received, or whether it was her fate to be subject to sudden changes of fortune, suffice it to say that she was held in very little account in France. And indeed whoso examines her life, which is yet short of twenty-seven years, will see that from her birth to the present time it is so full of notable occurrences that their grandeur excites wonder and their chequeredness pleasure in the hearer; but as they are matters chronicled as they occurred, I pass them by, and content myself with saying that, while she had the fear of God before her eyes and regard for her honour, she maintained her position and reigned to the exceeding great admiration of all; and it seemed a thing marvellous above measure that a young woman, nurtured in delights, unused to govern herself without the advice of confidants, should be able to resist all the great people by whom she was surrounded, and whose sole aim was to detach her from the Catholic religion. However, she, for politic reasons drew towards the other faction, who, to spite their opponents, made common cause with her, and conceded all that she demanded. Thus it was that she procured the baptism of her son according to the Catholic rite and the admission of the Papal Nuncio, who after all did not come to the kingdom; and thus daily she gained some point in favour of our religion: and infinite commendations she got thereby on all hands, and most of all from the Pontiff, who wrote to her frequently, exhorting her to persevere, and promising her all manner of help, and had already begun to send her money, when, of a sudden, she made manifest to him and to all the world that statecraft is no business for ladies, by yielding to spite and appetite so far, they say, as to be privy to her husband's murder, and to marry a man that was already married, and that too according to the Calvinist rite, albeit by her showing she did so under constraint and against her will. However, she had little reason to congratulate herself upon the event, seeing that of a sudden and all but in the same instant she was deprived of the sight of her son, of husband, crown and liberty, and for more than a year that she spent in prison she had the misfortune to wear a sorry dress of coarse green stuff, called frieze, and eat such little food as they gave her. This I know that all Lent she had no other fish than salted eels, though that kingdom abounds more with fish than with aught else, insomuch that in some of the neighbouring islands they make bread of powdered fish. But although she have merited all the evil that she now endures, yet does she deserve some measure of pity, since all are apt to err, not to say a lady, and a young lady, and meet for pleasure as she was. And leaving the Queen quite out of account, it needs must be that we commiserate her dependants and the Catholic religion, which by her imprisonment is daily being brought nigher and nigher to extinction in that kingdom, for the Bastard [Moray] punishes severely in life and property all that think to exercise it, and has the little prince brought up as a Calvinist, so that, unless the Queen should be reinstated, one may give the realm up for lost so far as religion is concerned. We must also consider what an evil example is set when subjects presume to lay hands on their prince, and would fain usurp the prerogative of God, by whom, not by men, princes are appointed; and assuredly his Most Christian Majesty, were he but free from the impediments that now restrain him, ought to undertake the cause of that unfortunate Queen, seeing that the House of Stuart did many a signal service to his ancestors in the way of diverting the English from meditated attacks upon the realm of France; and this he might well do, because, though Scotland is so poor in money that the king has a revenue of no more than 70 to 80,000 crowns, it is at least rich in men; and he can at any moment put into the field from 25 to 30,000 soldiers, all bound to serve him at their own charges, and all stout men and fierce and cruel, that upon slight occasion and with a light heart imbrue their hands in blood; nor spare they their own king when they are in the mood for bloodshed, insomuch that out of 105 kings that have reigned in Scotland before this Queen, so goodly a series as is not found in any other dominion in the world—the kings of France number but 61—thirteen died violent deaths, of whom but few were slain in battle, the rest despatched by conspiracy and the hands of their own subjects. Wherefore the marvel is not that they have imprisoned the Queen, but rather that they have not put her to death.
“Of whom in conclusion we may say that, if affairs go prosperously in France, there will be good hope for her also, because her supporters, taking heart from the successes of their friends, would combine to better purpose for the abasement of her enemies, who would proceed with more caution lest they should offend the King of France; and the Queen of England would also walk more warily than she does at present; but if on the contrary the affairs of his Most Christian Majesty should suffer some reverse, the Queen of Scotland would have reason to apprehend that the Queen of England—instigated by the Bastard of Scotland, and some great English personage that would gladly see her [Mary] dead by reason of her pretensions to the crown of England, and impelled, moreover, by the enmity she bears her for having, as she thinks, treated her as a bastard when she assumed the arms and style of Queen of England — would resolve to rid herself of her some day by some decisive syrup; and so her life, which till now has been compounded of comedy and tragi-comedy, would terminate at length in pure tragedy.”
[1569.] Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. ff. 2d–4.
562. News Letter.
“The two ‘zabre’ (fn. 1) and a ship that were on their way from Spain with moneys, and put into harbour in England, are understood to have been a fortnight without a fair wind; and as it seems that the sea is infested with pirates, the Queen had, it was said, offered them a ship of war by way of escort; however, at Christmas, the wind being fair for their departure, the said Queen had them arrested and disburdened of the moneys, which, by what we gather, amounted to the sum of 150,000 crowns belonging to merchants mostly Genoese, but intended for the service of the King of Spain, whose ambassador resident in London could get no audience at that festal season. Tidings of this affair arrived here on the 28th of last month, and on the morrow were matter of common knowledge in the town; so all the English were forthwith arrested and their warehouses sealed; and they in their houses are all guarded by detachments of the German troops under the command of the Count of Lodrone by order of the Duke of Alva. There is, however, no man among them of much account, and the goods are of very little value: but it is believed that the like has been done at Bruges, where the merchants are people of more consequence, and throughout the country, and will be done throughout Spain. Yesterday came letters from London, for the most part of the 29th, to the effect that the ambassador had not as yet had an audience, but was to have one that day; it is not known what answer he may have had, and it is anxiously expected, so that the departure of the Venetian post is adjourned. The rumour in London was that the Queen wished to have the use of the money for some time, paying interest thereon; how his Catholic Majesty will take this, we know not. Some think that, as the money does not belong to him, he will not think fit to quarrel about it; howbeit the course taken with these English here has been somewhat rigorous, which augurs evil rather than good it seems that some English and Flemings have been at Court to represent that this affair may occasion no little loss to the country, apprehending that what has happened here will have the effect of hindering business with this country; an appeal for the release of the men, to which we know not what answer they may have. In fine, great trepidation prevails here, considering that Princes are not wont to meddle in such matters without reflecting on the possible result; and the alarm is the greater because the Queen, it seems, is not much to be relied upon, and it is held for certain that she gave aid to Orange, and may next give aid to Condé; and that ship which sailed hence for Leghorn laden for the most part with wares of Mechlin (?) and Guines, and was taken by French corsairs and brought to England, the Admiral has adjudged to be lawful prize, and allowed the sale of the wares. And furthermore they write from Germany, that the Queen was raising cavalry in those parts for Condé. May God Almighty provide against the evil, and save us from bankruptcies, for it would be no marvel if some failures of importance should result. It is said that the Duke of Alva will send 2,000 horse and some foot soldiers to the assistance of the King of France, and there is much talk here of the Catholic King taking to wife the other sister of the King of France.”
3 Jan., 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy. (fn. 2)
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. ff. 6d–7d.
563.News Letter.
“It was understood at the Court of France that the Queen of England was prosecuting the Queen of Scotland on a criminal charge, to wit, the murder of her late husband, the Earl of Leno' [Lennox]; and that she had convened the grandees of the realm to apprise them of the fact, and that they were greatly distressed at the pitiful plight of the said Queen of Scotland.”
11 and 15 Jan., 1569. The French Court and Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1040. f. 622d.
564. News Letter.
“As yet we have no advice from England as to what the Queen has decided touching the moneys and ships that she has detained for some days; there are indeed those come from thence who say that she affirmed that she did not admit that she had done King Philip any wrong thereby, the ships not being his, and moreover there were Italians and foreigners that he too had caused to be arrested. We await advices as to the whole matter.
“The Duke of Alva, at the instance of many merchants here, has authorized the sale of all the goods that are in the English ships that were arrested of late in Zealand, the money to be kept until further order of his Excellency; this in order that the goods may not be depreciated.
“It seems that no more than 40,000 crowns were found with the English merchants that were arrested here by order of the Count of Lodrone.”
15 Jan., 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. v. f. 73.
565. [John Antony Facchinetti,] Bishop of Nicastro, Legate at Venice to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
… “We have here letters from France confirming the advices which you had to the effect that the Queen of England had made reprisals upon the Spanish ships, a matter to be deplored in the interest of the poor merchants, but involving little loss if the Catholic King should resolve to treat that Queen as an enemy. I am waiting to hear for certain what Orange was doing.”
19 Jan., 1569. Venice. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. ff. 9d–10.
566. News Letter.
“We have as yet no news from England of what has been done by the commissary that was sent from the Court to treat for the release of the moneys, &c., arrested. However, we are in hourly expectation thereof, the wind being favourable; and we are also hopeful, although the Queen has made a proclamation in her defence, and declaring herself aggrieved by the slight respect shown to her subjects in these parts, though she had never the least thought of doing aught that would be offensive or prejudicial to his Catholic Majesty, but was rather minded to keep the wonted peace and accord between her realm and the House of Burgundy; and though she bade disburden the ships of the moneys, that was to save them from falling into the hands of the French corsairs, as she had great reason to fear that they would not hesitate even to enter her own ports, in which the ships were, for the purpose of robbing them. Accordingly her purpose was to have them brought to London, whence their owners would have been able without risk to have them navigated to these parts, albeit she certainly desired to have the command of a great part of the moneys for certain occasions of her own on honest terms, paying a reasonable rate of interest; but the ambassador and others too precipitately gave sinister accounts of the matter to the Duke [of Alva] here; and greatly astonished and offended was she that her subjects and their goods were so suddenly laid under arrest in all parts of these countries; whereby she in her turn was so incensed that she could not refrain from doing the like to the subjects of his Catholic Majesty; making of this also her excuse for the detention of the ships that come and go to and from Spain, with much more to the like effect.
“There will be joined with the said commissary a person of importance and great authority; and it is hoped that matters will be arranged, though it is supposed that she will want to have the command of the moneys, or a good part of them, on the terms aforesaid; others think that a general release might be made. Something will soon be known; but in the meanwhile it is said that arrest has been made of five more ships that were on their way from Seville with cargoes of cremisi [cramoisy] and other merchandise, and were driven into her ports by stress of weather and dread of the French corsairs, unaware that there was such a dispute pending in England; and that the Queen was minded to discharge the merchandise as she did the woollens that were in the ships that carried the moneys; which are very evil omens. As for the Italian merchants it is said that she has but forbidden them to quit the island, allowing them otherwise to do their business. The Flemings and the few Spaniards that are there are said to be kept indoors closely guarded, as also their goods, which procedures are extremely irksome and inconvenient to merchants; but the losses would be grievous indeed if war should ensue; but war is not expected, rather there is hope of the accord.”
23 Jan., 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. f. 11.
567. News Letter.
“The King of France's secretary, whom he has sent hither to make known to the Pope the travails and calamities of that realm, has had several audiences, and his Holiness evinces much readiness to afford him help of every kind; and as for the present the King seems to be more desirous of men and horses than of aught else, as well from his Holiness as from the other Princes of Italy, the Pope has sent couriers to all the said Princes to learn what they are prepared to do; and he lets it be understood that he is disposed to give him 3,000 foot and 300 light horse, mercenaries ready for any war; and when the answer comes we shall hear the beat of drums; and it is believed that all the Princes will furnish contingents. As to who is to command the troops there is much discussion, and although the King has nominated M. Adrien Baillon, (fn. 3) who is now in France, nevertheless it seems that the matter is still quite undecided. The gentlemen from the surrounding country have flocked into the city, and most readily offer the Pope their services in this business of the King, who, it seems, has plainly indicated the Queen of England as his enemy, and also many German Princes.”
29 Jan., 1569. Rome. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. f. 20d.
568. News Letter.
“The answer from London as to the affair of the moneys detained by the Queen of England has not yet arrived; nay, they say the Queen is not minded to treat of this affair with the Duke of Alva; but that she has sent a commissary to Spain to explain it all to his Majesty, being much aggrieved by the arrest so suddenly made by the Duke of her English subjects and their goods that are in these parts.
“The arrest lately reported of five ships that put into her ports laden with cremisi [cramoisy] and other merchandise from Spain is confirmed.”
31 Jan., 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Ibid. f. 21d. 569. News Letter.
“His Catholic Majesty is reported to have taken much umbrage at the Queen of England's detention of the ‘zabre’ and the moneys, and to have sent a courier express to Flanders with instructions for the Duke of Alva how to act in the circumstances. His Majesty is said to have evinced a great disinclination to be at any further expense by way of indemnity, and even less disposition to take up arms on behalf of Flanders, being much incensed against his rebellious subjects there.”
6 Feb., 1569. Madrid. Italian. Copy.
Ibid. ff. 23d–24. 570. News Letter.
“The Queen of England published at Hampton Court on the 6th of last month a proclamation, which was afterwards printed in London, bidding all her subjects to refrain from trafficking in the King of Spain's countries, &c., this upon receipt of intelligence of a sudden order issued by the Duke of Alva, as Governor of the Low Countries belonging to the King of Spain, pursuant to which on the 29th Dec. all her subjects aforesaid in the said countries, and their merchandise, were laid under arrest. And so by that proclamation she not only forbade her said subjects to traffic in the said King's countries until more should be known of his intention, but also bade the greater officials of towns, places, cities and ports within her dominions to cause all subjects of the King of Spain that should enter her ports or places to be arrested with their vessels, and detained by way of security for her said subjects detained in Flanders, and to deal in like manner with those that are already in the country, so that they be kept in good custody, but yet in reasonable manner without violence or personal injury done to the said King's subjects, unless provoked by resistance, and without spoliation, waste or damage of their goods, the Queen's sole intention being to keep them until she know the King's purpose, and how he will treat her own arrested subjects; and meanwhile the Queen exempts those artizans who at the beginning of the troubles came to dwell in her realm for conscience' sake, provided they do not aid or abet the concealment of the goods of the other merchants. As to the Spanish ‘zabre’ that were arrested in her ports in the West country with the moneys, the Queen was willing to restore so much of the money as belonged to the King of Spain, but as to that which belonged to merchants she purposed to keep command of it, satisfying the merchants by payment of interest at the current rate and the assignment of good security. She had been asked by the King's ambassador to succour the said vessels and moneys, that they might not fall into the power of French corsairs, which would have happened had not her forces opposed the said corsairs; and such would also have been the fate of another ship laden with woollens and moneys, which was in great peril of capture by the French pirates, but the Queen sent the Captain of the Isle of Wight to its aid, and he saved it.
“Subsequently by letters from London of the 29th [Jan.] we learn that, as to the other ships that have been arrested in the Queen's ports, no part of their cargoes has been taken from any of them, or any other harm done by her orders; and that the commissary of the Duke of Alva was to have audience of her on the following day, and was going freely about London without the least apprehension of insult; but that the King of Spain's ambassador kept close and well guarded, being detested by the populace because he it was that brought about the arrest made in Flanders.”
7 Feb., 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol v. f. 80.
571. [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino to [John Antony Facchinetti, Bishop of Nicastro,] Legate at Venice.
“The insurrectionary movements that we constantly hear of on the part of the Princes of Germany, and the assistance and encouragement openly afforded to the Huguenots of France by the Queen of England ought to awaken all the Princes of Italy to the need of succouring the Crown of France, instead of concerning themselves merely with the defence of their own houses, while their neighbour's house is in manifest jeopardy, and if it fall, it must, of political necessity, bury us beneath its ruins.”
9 Feb., 1569. Rome. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. f. 26.
572. News Letter.
“The news from our Court is that the King will go on Monday towards Mez [Metz] the more frequently to receive tidings of his army. M. d'Umale [Aumale] has occupied the mountain pass, which is held in such manner that the enemy will have to go elsewhere to seek pasture; and the King has posted good guards all about the neighbourhood, and it is hoped that in a few days' time he will have 10,000 horse and 18,000 foot, for they say that the enemy are fortifying themselves near Saverne [Zabern]. The King will not be over timorous. The English are so far avowed friends, and the avowal was confirmed by the ambassador within the last few days; but this morning there came a courier from M. de Milere [La Meilleraie] with information to the contrary, averring that the English were minded to seize Alve de Gras [Havre de Grace] in Normandy, in concert with certain Frenchmen within the place and others that are outside, among them a certain Captain Vafinitr and one Duduray, who had the chief conduct of the affair. However, they made off, and there remain about sixty under arrest in the place; and after the discovery of the plot there appeared in the offing forty English ships, all men-of-war, which put to sea to their great disgrace.” (fn. 4)
12 Feb., 1569. Gianville [Joinville]. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. ff. 21–22.
573. News Letter.
“By letters from London of the 7th inst. we have intelligence that the commissary sent by the Duke of Alva to the Queen had had an audience touching the affair of the moneys and ships that were detained; but that he had as yet got no answer, as the Queen was awaiting the answer from Spain to what she had written to the Catholic King in regard to this matter; still it was thought that the question would be settled without recourse to arms. Meanwhile the French and English corsairs scour these seas, doing great damage. Twelve of the Queen's ships laden with merchandise, were sailing to Hamburg and Edem [Emden], free cities of Germany, there to discharge their cargoes: the Italian ships were daily expected to sail from England.”
13 Feb., 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Ibid. f. 29. 574. News Letter.
“Letters from England have not yet arrived; but there is little hope of the restitution of the moneys, and people that have come from thence report that the Queen found herself in possession of about forty-six foreign ships, great part of which she had caused to be unloaded for the purpose of arming them, and that six English ships had put out to scour the seas, so that war is more probable than not. And here we are able neither to send goods thither nor receive them thence, nor yet by way of France or Italy, the passes being occupied and unsafe by reason of the many soldiers that go to and fro. A month is allowed in which to make the payments; but they are already being made by many. Some will have it that these countries will shortly receive, if they have not already received, the general pardon from Spain.
“We have letters of the 14th inst. from Argentina [Strassburg] to the effect that Duke Wolf[g]ang [of Zweibrücken] had not been joined by the cavalry from the parts of Saxony, about 3,000 horse raised, it is said, by a gentleman of Pomerania, Ernest Vereer by name, coming by way of Franconia, the same by whom the Frankforters feared to be besieged. It was said that Duke Augustus of Saxony caused them to be levied to secure his election as King of the Romans; but it is discovered that he did so for the behoof of Duke Wolfgang; and it is said that the Queen of England has promised to furnish their first two stipends, and that she sends them in aid of the Prince of Condé.”
27 Feb., 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. f. 17.
575. News Letter.
“To-day letters are to hand from Genoa, reporting that letters of the 4th inst. had arrived from Spain; and that two couriers, one in great haste, had passed through for Flanders, being despatched thither by the Catholic King upon receipt of intelligence of the detention of the ships by the Queen of England, which greatly incensed his Majesty, so that he wrote in great heat to the Duke of Alva in regard to the matter.”
28 Feb., 1569. Venice. Italian. Copy.
Ibid. ff. 32–32d. 576. News Letter.
…“Letters are to hand from Genoa, reporting letters from Spain of the 16th Feb. with intelligence that the Catholic King was disposed to fall in with the opinion of the Court as to his remarrying; but that nevertheless there was no clear indication that his Majesty had as yet any inclination towards the Princess Anne, daughter of the Emperor, who is the Catholic King's niece.
“All the ships, goods and subjects of the Queen of England were laid under arrest, and the like was to be done in Portugal; many argued that this would lead to an outbreak of hostilities.”
5 March, 1569. Augsburg. Italian. Copy.
ff. 35d–36.
577. News Letter.
“It is reported that the Prince of Condé (fn. 5) was straining every nerve to join his forces with those of the Viscounts of Gascony, and had therefore evacuated Poitou; but that his march was still obstructed by the army of M. [d'Anjou], the King's brother, that two companies of foot that Condé sent with a quantity of cattle to succour the town of Angoulême had been routed by the Duke of Montpolier [sic Montpensier] with loss of the victuals and succour; and that the only fortresses left in Condé's hands were Angouléme, La Rochelle and Sanser [Sancerre]; also that the Duke of Umale [Aumale] and the Duke of Nemours were still in the neighbourhood of Argentina [Strassburg] with about 24,000 foot and horse and much artillery, so that it was supposed that they purposed attempting something; and accordingly the three Electors of Saxony (sic) had given the three Ecclesiastical Electors to understand that they ought to concert measures to make common cause against the King's forces in case of need; and it was therefore believed that a Diet would be convened at Frankfort.
“It is also reported that the Queen of England had declared that she was minded to aid the Prince of Condé, and also the Count Palatine of the Rhine, and was raising troops in Pomerania and Mecleburgh [Mecklenburg] to send to Condé's support; and that the King, wherever he passed, all the way to Metz, had encountered extreme dearth, insomuch that his foragers had difficulty in finding bread, not say other viands, in the inns.”
6 and 11 March, 1569. The French Court [at Metz] and Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
ff. 38d–39.
578. News Letter.
…“The Flanders ordinary has arrived with letters from London of the 27th of last month, announcing that the Queen had caused the moneys from the Spanish ‘zabre’ to be placed in the Tower, so that it is supposed that she no longer intends to restore them; and that the commissary sent by the Duke of Alva had not as yet been able to get an audience; also that the Catholic ambassador went about the town in great terror, lest he should be attacked by the people, and that the Queen had bidden all her troops to be on the alert. The Duke of Alva had laid all the English ships in Zealand under arrest, and caused all their cargoes to be brought to Antwerp, there to remain in charge of the police until further order.”
12 March, 1569. Augsburg. Italian. Copy.
ff. 42–43.
579. News Letter.
“… English affairs go from bad to worse, for the Queen of England ceases not to cause ships coming from Spain and other countries to be taken; and there is little hope of arranging matters, and the Duke has not seen fit to take any further step pending fresh advices from his Majesty in Spain. The Queen is also understood to have armed some ships to serve as an escort for those that she was sending to Hamburg in Holland [Holstein] with merchandise. Councillor Sonville [d'Assonleville], who was sent by the Duke [of Alva] to England, has arrived at Deben [Dover], purposing thence to cross to Calais, having never been able to get an audience of the Queen, who still keeps the Catholic ambassador sequestered, and no courier may carry his letters. Such part of the merchandise of the arrested ships as is damageable the Queen causes to be sold by merchants, and deposits the moneys; the rest remains untouched. The people of London are opposed to war, and so also, and especially, are the people of the north of England, who follow their own way of life as Catholics, though in the Queen's despite. Cardinal Sciatiglion [Châtillon] is still in England, and induces the Queen to follow his lead, and is the cause of all these strange proceedings.”
13 March, 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Ibid. f. 46. 580. News Letter.
“Councillor Sonville [d'Assonlevile], the Duke of Alva's envoy to the Queen of England, to negotiate the restitution of the moneys and ‘zabre’ of Spain, has arrived at Brussels, having been unable to get an audience of the Queen, who refused to treat on that matter save with the Catholic King; whence we augur evil rather than good.
“The four ships laden with the woollen goods have been unloaded here, and placed in charge of the police until further order. It is understood that the English have made good prize by the detained ships.”
19 March, 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. f. 55d.
581. News Letter.
“Here there is much apprehension of war with England by reason of an order made in this town on the 6th inst. by command of his Catholic Majesty; which is as follows: That no ship is to quit these ports unless provided with men, artillery and other munitions for defence against corsairs pursuant to the order of his Majesty's Vice-Admiral: that any person may fit out ships for war against corsairs upon security given that he will attack none other than the said corsairs under pain of body and goods if he should do contrariwise; that no insurance is henceforth to be made upon any sort of vessel till further order of his Majesty, pending which time other means will be found of enabling navigators to proceed upon their voyages in safety; that no person, whether a subject of his Majesty or a foreigner, is to do any manner of business in his Majesty's dominions with Englishmen, or their factors, or to export or import goods to or from any dominions in which Englishmen, dwelling here or elsewhere, may have any manner of dealings with his Majesty's subjects, on pain of confiscation of the merchandise or the value thereof, and the ships, carts or horses, and forfeiture of his Majesty's favour, one-third of the proceeds to be given to his Majesty, one-third to the accuser, and the remaining third to the officer that executes the order. It is said that like orders have also been made by the Kings of France and Portugal.”
8 April, 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
f. 64.
582. News Letter.
“We have letters from London of the 28th of last month to the effect that the Queen had accorded the [Catholic] King's ambassador somewhat more liberty; and though she persisted in having the ships detained in her ports unloaded, she had said with her own mouth that she did not desire war with his Catholic Majesty….
“The English fleet, which should have arrived at Hamburg, has, they say, not yet set sail; and many English merchants that are at Hamburg have sent word to their creditors here that if they send or come, they will pay their debts. But our merchants here dare not do so by reason of the proclamation published here some days ago in the name of his Catholic Majesty, prohibiting dealing or doing any manner of business with the English.”
16 April, 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm. i.
vol. 17. ff. 99
et seq.
583. [Robert Ridolfi] to Pope Pius V.
“I suppose that your Holiness will not have forgotten the scheme submitted to you by me last summer. And as an opportunity now presents itself of evincing the affection and good will that many chief lords of this realm bear to your Holiness, they, prompted by zeal alike for religion as for your Holiness' reputation, are minded that I further apprise you that they are proceeding with the enterprise of re-establishing here the Catholic religion, in which they and I strive might and main and toil incessantly, that we may speedily see some good result, for there has never been so fair an opportunity as that which now offers, provided the Most Christian and Catholic Kings agree to abet this enterprise, which they can do with little inconvenience and loss to themselves, if they resolve to pursue the methods which I have suggested to their ambassadors, whom I have made to apprehend the ease and security with which it can be accomplished, if I be not disappointed of the countenance and loyal aid promised me by certain chief lords of the realm.
“And as the ambassadors were, I think, fully informed, and have already as good as disposed their Kings and the Duke of Alva to give the scheme their attention, since, as I have said, it may easily be carried out, and that without making war or incurring any expense, if only they resolve to declare openly by public proclamations, that they prohibit traffic of any sort between the subjects of their States and this realm until such time as on both sides compensation shall have been given for the goods detained these months past, and concord in religion be established with them, that proximity be not the daily occasion of fresh disturbances in their States; and seeing that it is impossible for this realm to restore the value of the goods detained, the greater part thereof having been already distributed among the people; nor yet can they long put up with the loss of open traffic with the States of the two said Kings, as the more part of this nation lives by the merchandise that goes out of and comes into the realm, and inability to export the one or manipulate the other will certainly cause an insurrection—at present the gentlemen are straightened in their revenues, and the Queen herself would lose great part of hers, the customs ranking among her chief and most fruitful sources—therefore, should the suspension of traffic continue, the lords doubt not that it will afford them the aid they need for the conduct of their enterprise; for the people, being unable to dispense with the open traffic, and being for the most part inclined to the Catholic religion, and perceiving the reason of the suspension, will rise, and, to improve their chances, will seek by all means to secure the removal of certain counsellors that are about her Majesty, and are the cause of all the evil, and to commit the government to the hands of those that are chief among the good Catholics, to which end active negotiations are ever proceeding.
“And considering how greatly your Holiness' influence with the two said Kings may subserve this enterprise, I, albeit they both seem to me to be already very well disposed, supplicate you to give your attention to this affair, and for God's honour and glory with all diligence on the receipt of this letter to quicken the business with both Kings, letting it be known everywhere that you also will unite with them in all that shall be undertaken, and also inciting the King of Portugal, who has suffered no less wrong than the other two Princes, to make common cause with them, as I think he will gladly do, in prohibiting traffic with his State in retaliation for the robberies which he has suffered at the hands of these men; for, his ambassador being no longer here, I have not been able to do my office with him as with the others, and he may be moved by your Holiness' appeal.
“This is all the aid these lords desire, for they ask neither men nor money, but only such aid as may enable them to count upon the favour of the people; and for the rest, be they but free to act, I make no doubt but the enterprise will be crowned with the speedy success that is desired. And to obviate the inconvenience that might result, if in the prosecution of this undertaking one of the two Kings should so far outstrip the other in the demonstrations as to occasion him jealousy, the result of which might be more untoward to Christendom than the reclamation of this realm to your Holiness' devotion would be beneficial, be instant, if so you be minded, by your nuncios with both the Kings and the Duke of Alva, that they be of one accord in this enterprise, and agree upon a certain limit for the demonstrations, so as to avoid any jealousy touching the conquest of this realm, such as heretofore has arisen. Thereby the business will make surer progress; and already I have broached the matter to the ambassadors of both Kings, and they seem disposed to come to an understanding. But it behoves that all proceed from your Holiness' authority, and above all that you ensure that the same proclamation be made in France as in Flanders; then you will see what success our friends there have.
“And furthermore I should be disposed to think that against emergencies your Holiness should at the lowest estimate make secret provision here of some thousands of crowns, to be disbursed in gaining for your side some person that may be very helpful, and by any other method it would be difficult to secure him; and to those who know this nation such a thing should not seem strange; and to this end you may, if you approve, make use of [ (fn. 6) ] bidding him make secret provision here of such sum of money as you may think fit, without letting him know the purpose it is to serve; the money to be under my control, and under his name, or mine, as may seem best, that it may not be known whose the moneys are; of which moneys your Holiness will instruct the Spanish or French ambassador, as may seem best to you, to dispose, as occasion shall arise, in aid of the enterprise, for as all must pass with their cognizance, they can jointly with me render account thereof to your Holiness.
“And as I know not how daily to apprise you of what passes, seeing that it behoves that I walk very warily, lest I prejudice all the business that is in my hand, I must rely upon such advices as reach you by way of Flanders from the Duke of Alva and the French Court, assuring you that, when possible, I shall not fail by letter under my own hand to communicate to you what occurs; and I entreat your Holiness that, when you have aught to advise me of, you direct that it be done in this very cipher, a copy of which shall be sent you by the Nuncio of France, and that there be no superscription on the fold of the letter, for it is not meet that I ever be named, but let them be countersigned with nought but S. M.; and under the King's packets they will come more safely than in any other way; and in all that shall fall to me to do here in furtherance of the business your Holiness may rest assured that I shall, as hitherto, omit no possible exertion, leaving to God's will all else; whereof may He grant us, as I hope He will, a prosperous issue in answer to the holy prayers of your Holiness, whose holy feet I kiss, supplicating for you all felicity and contentment.”
18 April, 1569. London. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. f. 22d.
584. [John Antony Facchinetti,] Bishop of Nicastro, Legate at Venice to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
“Among rumours that are rife much capital is made of one piece of intelligence which is known for certain, to wit, that the Duke of Alva has assured the Most Christian King, that as to the movements reported on the part of the Duke of Zweibrücken and the Queen of England he need have no apprehension, because in the event of the result being disastrous to the Catholics and France, he would come to the succour of his Majesty with 20,000 foot and 10,000 horse; which offer is supposed to have been due to the interests of the States of the Catholic King and the Duke of Alva's own piety, but also in great measure to the vigilance and zeal of the Pope; and loudly is his Holiness praised that he fails not to keep these Princes united and enthusiastic for the joint defence of this most holy cause.”
20 April,.1569. Venice. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. i. f. 19.
585. [Vincent Lauri,] Bishop of Mondovi, Nuncio at the Court of Savoy to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
“During some months that of late I spent in Paris, being commissioned by the Pope to go to Scotland, I availed myself largely of the advice of certain Scottish gentlemen, among whom very Catholic and devoted to the Holy See was one James Buing, who is now in Rome, and being desirous of dedicating himself to the service of God in the Religion of Malta, has by letter earnestly besought of me a recommendation to you. And, knowing as I do that he is a noble youth, and an exile from his country for the Catholic faith's sake, I cannot omit with all due humility to suggest to you that it would be a very pious work, and mightily edifying to the Catholics of that realm, that he, under your protection, should be sent to Malta and made knight of that militia, since it might be hoped that by his means, and God's help, some relief might some day be afforded to his poor country.”
27 April, 1569. Turin. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. f. 52.
586. News Letter.
“There are no tidings here of the Duke of Zweibrücken having as yet passed the Saône, but it is held for certain that he is not making much progress. We have letters from London of the 24th of last month which report that the fleet for Hamburg was ready to set sail as soon the weather should be fair; and that many merchants that had carisee [sic kerseys] and other merchandise aboard wished to warehouse the goods rather than face the long voyage and the other risks; and albeit the Queen still gave out that she did not desire war, it is said here that she has sent abundance of victuals and munitions to La Rochelle, and that she was also sending money to [Duke] Wolf[g]ang to pay his troops.”
1 May, 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Ibid. f. 75. 587. News Letter.
… “It is said that the Queen of England and the King of Denmark are secretly in league, and furnish the Huguenots, who are steadily gaining strength, with money, and that of late English vessels arrived at La Rochelle with reinforcements.”
6 May, 1569. Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Ibid. ff. 78d–79. 588. News Letter.
…“We have letters from England of the 1st inst. which report that Milord Cobham, who was Governor of Calais when it was taken by the French, (fn. 7) has been put in prison on a charge of treason; also that the Queen had issued an order that a detailed account should be given within a fortnight of all the goods detained upon the Spanish ships, and that she had authorised all her subjects freely to deal with the French; and that a similar order had been issued by the King [of France] in Calais, empowering all Frenchmen to deal with Englishmen; but it was believed that it was done craftily on the Queen's part, to the intent that it might be supposed that she was not aiding the Huguenots against the King.
“It is also reported that the fleet for Hamburg deferred its departure not only to await fair weather, but because there was little desire to sail, and that it would be accompanied by foreign ships of war.”
8 May, 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. xliv.
vol. 3. f. 217.
589. — to [James Beaton,] Archbishop of Glasgow, [Scottish Ambassador at Paris].
“The Pope highly esteems and extols the constancy of your Queen and the piety and zeal with which you confirm and console her. And so, as he hopes that by Almighty God's beneficence and grace she will abide in the Catholic faith until she give up the ghost, and for its sake alone will gladly suffer all manner of bitterness, so likewise he trusts that you will labour by counsel and exhortation to the utmost of your power, that day by day she may be of better courage and go from strength to strength; for all things are easily possible to her in Him who comforts the afflicted and persecuted. ‘Blessed,’ He says, ‘are they who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.’ For you, of all men, know best that there is nothing sweeter, nothing more glorious than for the Gospel's sake to endure bonds, whence many mortals, and among them many Kings, have winged their glad and exultant flight to Heaven. And as by what you have read, heard and seen you are well furnished with such examples, the Pope doubts not that you will make use of them for the Queen's consolation, whereby you will well and laudably discharge the office of a good man and a great prelate. You will, I trust, believe me when I say that all that concerns the Queen the Pope has most seriously at heart and in mind. For whatever shall be in his power he will himself do, and he will also enlist the zeal of Christian Princes in her favour, and implore their aid. Indeed, of the benignity of the most merciful and Almighty God he confidently anticipates for himself and the Queen fulfilment of joy.”
9 May, 1569. Rome. Italian, Draft.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
Savoia, vol. i.
f. 22.
590. [Vincent Lauri, Bishop of Mondovi,] Nuncio at the Court of Savoy to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
“Herewith I send advices received since the 10th inst. as to the progress of the Duke of Zweibrücken. He and the Viscounts of Burnichel [Burniquel] and the Admiral [Châtillon] are expected to join their forces, and thereby to introduce yet greater confusion into French affairs, especially since they will act in concert with and be supported by England. Howbeit, we must trust in the infinite goodness of God, that when men least expect it, He will stretch forth His holy hand to chastise them yet more severely than He did the Prince of Condé, (fn. 8) especially as we now count on the aid of this army of the Pope, for which with God's help we may augur all success.”
12 May, 1569. Turin. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. clxxi. f. 39.
591. [Michael. Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino to [Vincent Lauri,] Bishop of Mondovi, Nuncio at the Court of Savoy.
“A letter from you in recommendation of Mr. James Buing, a Scotsman, has been delivered to me. He shall not lack my favour so far as he may have need of it, both because of what you write, and because I have a particular desire to gratify you.”
23 May, 1569. Rome. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iv.
ff. 71d–72
Borgh. I.
vol. 607.
ff. 52d–54.
592. [John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano,] Nuncio in Spain to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
…“The Cardinal of Guise, as I wrote, has departed with his business well done, and with words, signs and manifestations that seem to portend great friendship and affection between these two Kings, and with an assurance that in case of need the Duke of Alva would afford all possible assistance, even with his proper person, to France, and that in case of need the King of France would do the like for Flanders, and that in the course of four months the two daughters of the Emperor will be at Marseilles, thence to depart, the one for Spain, and the other for France.
“Some days ago the Cardinal of Siguenza told me, that by his Majesty's authority he notified me, that I might write to his Holiness that the Cardinal of Guise had treated with him of these marriages; and that his Majesty, perceiving how very necessary they are to these realms, and how instant his councillors are with him in this regard, had resolved to marry again, and deeming it for the reasons aforesaid expedient, proposed, that the Emperor's eldest daughter should become his wife, his second daughter the wife of the King of France, and (to provide for all) that the King of France's sister should be bestowed upon the King of Portugal; and that the Cardinal of Guise, having reported all this to his King, had received an answer expressive of his entire satisfaction; and so the matter was settled; whereof his Majesty would fully apprise the Pope as soon as he was advised of the assent of the Emperor, on which, as it concerns the disposal of his daughters, all depends, until the receipt of which advice it seems unmeet that he should write to his Holiness thereof. This is the substance of what the Cardinal then told me; but he has since said that, to save delay, it is resolved that by this same courier his Majesty send the Pope a full account of the matter.
“By reason of the detention made and continued till now by the Queen of England in her ports of money and merchandise to the value, they say, of four millions, it is here suspected that she purposes to declare herself altogether in league with the heretics, and hostile to all the Catholic world, and by consequence to the King of Spain, with whom she has ever made profession of great amity, the more so that she has of late imprisoned the Catholic King's ambassador, albeit in his own house, quartering guards there; which has given occasion to many conferences here, and at last it has been resolved to write, and perhaps send an envoy, to represent to the Queen that, if she abandon not the course she has taken, and restore not the goods she has seized, the King must needs be her enemy, and do her the mischief he may. And from certain of the Council I have understood that the despatch which is now being sent to England is the King's final effort to induce her to desist and restore the goods seized; and if it should avail not, he knows not how he can avoid making war upon her.”
23 May, 1569. Madrid. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat
1041. f. 89.
593. News Letter.
…“The Queen of England still persists in making specious denials of any desire to stir up any one against our King, but the facts are to the contrary.”
28 May, 1569. Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Ibid. f. 94. 594. News Letter.
…“There is no news from England save that on the whole they would fain arrange matters and restore the trade; but there is no belief that this will actually come about, because things take their wonted course, the more so that the fleet has set sail for the new port at Hamburg.
“The only intelligence from France is the passage of the Loire by the Duke of Zweibrücken, who sorely devastated the country, and the design of the King to unite all his forces to expel the Duke from the realm.
“The Duke of Alva is sending another ambassador temporarily to represent the Catholic King at the Queen of England's Court, and on his return his Excellency will make such provisions as shall be necessary.
“We learn from Germany that 3,000 horse are to be sent to the confines of France to prevent the Duke of Zweibrücken from doing mischief in case of retreat.”
6 June, 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iv. ff. 75d–76.
Borgh. I.
vol. 607.
f. 64d.
595. [John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano,] Nuncio in Spain to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
“The Moors of Granada remain in statu quo; and though Don John of Austria has gone [to the front]; yet, as the Duke of Sessa is still unable to collect men enough to take the field against them, and little reputation, it seems, is to be gained by summoning foreign soldiers into Spain for this purpose, and few Spaniards are practised in such warfare, it is suspected by many that the Moors may maintain their position on those very strong mountains, expecting aid, till next summer. God scatter their forces and avert action by the Turk, as his fleet could not but cause great trouble.
“The French ambassador and many others are amused at Court with the story that his Majesty is awaiting the courier from Germany with the Emperor's answer as to the matrimonial affairs; but the truth is that a privy courier has already arrived, bringing the King a message from the Emperor that he will do as his Majesty desires.
“It is here understood that the course of affairs in France is none too prosperous, for they say that the Queen of England now exhibits open hostility to that kingdom, and ceases not to incite the Germans against it. This causes some to wonder whether, if the German Princes should resolve to make war in France, the Emperor could consistently at the same time give his daughter to that King. But this is mere gossip.”
9 June, 1569. Madrid. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1041. ff.
596. News Letter.
“It was said that of late the English ships that went to Hamburg captured on their return thence to England some Dutch ships laden with corn to supply their own lack thereof; but hitherto the affair is not certified. Of late also about 30 ships laden with corn left Danzig, and are reported to have arrived at Amsterdam in Holland.
“From England we learn that M. Benedict Spinola, who is high in favour with the Queen and the Council was one day summoned by her, and conversed at length about the accord; that he afterwards wrote an account of the whole matter to M. Thomas Firsio [sic Fiesco], who lives here in Antwerp; that Firsio forthwith went to Brussels to impart it all to the Duke of Alva; that his Excellency afterwards despatched him to England in an express bark, and that on his return it will be known whether it will be necessary to send an ambassador to handle that business, and that good hope of the accord is entertained.”
25 June, 1569. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. f. 44d.
597. [John Antony Facchinetti,] Bishop of Nicastro, Legate at Venice to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
…“By letters from England of the 2nd inst. it is understood that the Queen, notwithstanding the good words she gives the French ambassador, daily evinces that she is in league with the Huguenots of France.”
29 June, 1569. Venice. Italian. Copy.


  • 1. Rendered ‘barkes’ in Elizabeth's proclamation of 6 Jan., 1569.
  • 2. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1569–71, pp. 8–9.
  • 3. Cf. Lettres de Catherine de Médicis (Docc. Inédd. sur l'Hist. de France), vol. iii. p. 50.
  • 4. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1569–71, p. 32.
  • 5. As to this Condé's last march cf. Lettres de Catherine de Médicis (Docc. Inédd. sur l'Histoire de France), vol. iii. pp. 227–31, and Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1569–71, pp. 41, 45.
  • 6. Erasure.
  • 7. William Brooke, Lord Cobham, is here confounded with Lord Wentworth, Governor of Calais in 1557–8.
  • 8. Condé fell at the battle of Jarnac, 13 March, 1569.