Rome: 1571, July-August

Pages 431-457

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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1571, July–August

Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di.
vol. ii. ff. 459,
460, 491.
793. [Robert Ridolfi] to Mary, Queen of Scotland and [Thomas Howard,] Duke of Norfolk.
“I wrote to your Majesty and your Excellency from Italy on the 6th and 20th of May: and it is now for me to apprise you of my arrival here on the 28th of last month, and how both there and here I have found such ease and convenience in transacting my business that I could not have desired anything better; and I anticipate a result prosperous and speedy in every respect, as you will learn more at large from the person that will deliver you this letter. Nay more, in the course of a few days an express messenger, that will be sent by way of Flanders, will bring you tidings of the satisfactory and final settlement of all my business. In the meantime I earnestly entreat you to have a care that nothing rash and inopportune be done, because in a few days, as I have said, you will be apprised of the complete settlement of the business, which I am sure will be greatly to the satisfaction of all. This is all I have to say at present. God grant you all just desires.”
[July, 1571.] Madrid. Italian and Latin. Drafts.
f. 449.
794. [The Same] to [John Leslie,] Bishop [Elect] of Ross.
“The enclosed letters I have resolved to send to your Most Reverend Lordship unsealed, that therefrom you may learn all that I should otherwise have written in the present sheet. Nevertheless I am very desirous, and it is in the last degree expedient, that the enclosures be delivered to the Queen and the Duke as soon as may be.
“For the rest you know better than I what circumspection, what prudence the affair demands: use then that prudence, of which I know you have abundant store, to good purpose. You must know, however, that nothing is more likely to damage, nay, ruin the cause than a rash, inopportune and ill concerted movement: but since, as I have said, all that I had to write is already comprised in the enclosed letters, I make an end. God keep you safe, and daily strengthen you to cope with adversity.”
July, 1571. Madrid. Latin. Draft.
The enclosures referred to are apparently the two following letters:
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
Spagna, vol. ii. ff. 450
et seq.
795. Robert Ridolfi to Mary, Queen of Scotland.
“From Rome on the 6th and 20th of May I wrote to your Majesty how gratified and delighted the Supreme Pontiff was with all that he learned to have been concluded between your Majesty and the Duke of Norfolk and other nobles of that realm. He commended the instructions and approved the design; and the prayers which that most holy father, knowing as he does that every good and perfect gift comes from God, offers in aid of your desires and enterprise can hardly be described; and a marvel it is with what fatherly sympathy he cherishes in his heart the weal of your Majesty and your confederates. Hence it was that he forthwith sent me with credentials to the Catholic King. These letters I have presented to his Majesty in person, and have laid before him all that your Majesty and the said Duke bade me, imparting to him the instructions and expounding their purpose and design. It is scarce credible with what benignity I was received and with what attention heard by the King, and how he deplores the sufferings of your Majesty and the oppressed nobles, and with how pious and brave a spirit this King truly Catholic has espoused the cause of religion, your Majesty's relief and restitution in right, and the succour of the Duke of Norfolk and the other oppressed nobles. His Majesty said that there was nothing he had more at heart than to see those realms a second time by his aid brought back to the true faith, and therewith your Majesty's wrongs redressed, for, as you know, he has ever borne himself affectionately and to the extent of his power obligingly towards you; and you have his most loving sympathy in your sufferings. And so he bids your Majesty meanwhile be of good cheer, for that in the course of a few days he will by another courier notify all his mind and will to his Ambassador Don Gherau.
“In the meantime your Majesty with your wonted prudence should leave nothing unpondered, undetermined, keep the nobles true to their duty, check all movements, and on no account or occasion, even though the Queen of England's marriage treaty should proceed apace and be on the point of conclusion, omit any precaution against precipitate action. Let nothing be done hastily or untimely and without due deliberation and concert. Nevertheless your Majesty should consider, and with the utmost secrecy ponder in your mind, by what method and means your own royal person and that of the Prince your son may be safe, free and disposable by your Majesty as may be deemed meet. And of this above all you must be mindful that neither you, nor the Duke, nor the other nobles in any jot or tittle come short of aught that they have promised in writing, and through me by word of mouth, to the Supreme Pontiff and the Catholic King. In fine, let matters be so ordered that neither in your Majesty, nor in the Duke, nor in the other nobles there be any reason to complain of lack of gratitude for the favour, and, as I confidently expect, help of so great a King. For the rest, your Majesty will learn the decision from the later courier, nay, rather from the Catholic King's ambassador, God Almighty grant that the event may be in all respects consonant with your desires.”
[July, 1571.] Madrid. Latin. Draft.
“For the Queen of Scotland.”
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii.
ff. 532 et seq.,
and 537.
796. Robert Ridolfi to Mary, Queen of Scotland.
Somewhat discrepant versions of the foregoing in Italian. [July, 1571.] Madrid.
ff. 534–5, 538.
797. The same to [Thomas Howard,] Duke of Norfolk.
“No sooner had the Supreme Pontiff received your Excellency's letter, and read your and the Queen of Scotland's instructions, and listened to my requests, than, full as he is of most holy zeal, and in the last degree sympathetic with the said Queen and your Excellency and others that are oppressed, he commended and approved their design, and promised that there should be nothing which he would not do and contrive that might subserve the restoration of the true religion in those realms, and the relief and complete deliverance of the Queen of Scotland, and your Excellency, and others, from the oppression and violence to which you and they are subject. To this end he sent me, and by my hand a letter, to the Catholic King, to whom I betook me as fast as relays of horses could carry me. I found the Catholic King very lovingly disposed as well to the Queen of Scotland as to your Excellency, and the more zealous for the restoration of the true faith that by the same succour, the same forces, the same expenditure he now seems to hope that soon by his aid you and other nobles of your realm will be reinstated in freedom and the peaceful tenor of your life, and the Queen of Scotland safeguarded in her right. For the result, as he hopes, and as I in the said Queen's name and yours strongly assured him, will most certainly be the immediate re-establishment by your Excellency's pious aid of the true faith and Catholic religion in those three kingdoms. The King therefore bade me write to your Excellency, and apprise you of his most benignant disposition towards you and your well-being, and of his desire to lend you succour and aid. Meanwhile he bids your Excellency be of good cheer, for but few days, nay, very few days will elapse before his Majesty by a certain courier will have made known to his ambassador, Don Gherau and through him forthwith to your Excellency, all his policy, his mode and method of procedure, and in fine his determinate plan of action. It will therefore be your part, most Illustrious Lord, to employ the interval in arranging all things secretly and wisely, that, as the affair demands, there be no sort of confusion: on no account, on no occasion, even though the marriage treaty of the Queen of England be manifestly drawing to a conclusion, let anything rash be attempted. Hazard nothing, but let all things be done in concert with the King's said ambassador, and with all possible zeal and care see to it that all promises made, as well by you in writing as by me in your Excellency's name, be fully, loyally, and most faithfully kept. You are also to know that the King is aware of the detention of the Bishop of Ross, and of the imprisonment of his servant, and of his unduly explicit confession; but his Majesty seems to be in hopes (which I have confirmed) that this has not upset the affair, or utterly deprived us of our opportunity. Your Excellency may therefore expect, as I said, in the course of a few days a courier, who, I doubt not, will be most welcome to you, for from him, unless I am mistaken, you will learn, what must be done, and how much you owe to God, who deserts not your cause, and how grateful and beholden you should ever be to the Princes and most of all to the Catholic King. May God graciously answer your prayers and keep you safe.”
July, 1571. Madrid. Latin and Italian. Draft and copies.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di.
vol. ii.
f. 499.
798. Robert Ridolfi to [John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain ?].
“Secretary Çayas has sent me word that he is well satisfied with the Minutes, but that the King, having with him only the Duke of Feria and Prior Don Antonio, will find it simpler and more satisfactory to see the Minutes in Italian, and that he ought to have them betimes this evening. The Minutes have therefore been returned to me, and I enclose them, begging your Reverend Lordship to bid your secretary busy himself with perusing and translating them as best he may, for having a slight headache, I cannot write; and perchance later on I shall feel better, and be able to come to your assistance; and meanwhile it is best that no time be lost; and so I kiss your Most Reverend Lordship's hand.”
July, 1571. [Madrid.] Italian. Holograph.
f. 500.
799. The Same to the Same.
“Not to waste time, since I left your Reverend Lordship I have visited the Duke of Feria, who was very glad to see me. We discoursed at length of the business, which is now beyond a doubt decided upon. Our sole concern now is with the arrangements to be made to enable it to be safely carried out; and in regard of many details that we have discussed this visit of mine has proved very opportune, for I have quite confirmed his Excellency's purpose, and done good service to the Holy Apostolic Sėe, rendering it impossible that it should be involved in embarrassment, as I will explain to you by word of mouth; and for no other purpose than finally to complete this business the Duke goes this evening to visit his Majesty, whose sole reason (except the Jubilee) for retiring is, so he has told me, that he may with more celerity and better judgment despatch this business; but as I have just returned in this heat, you will excuse me for not coming to you forthwith to give you account of everything, as I will do before nightfall. Meanwhile, that I may comply with all my obligations to the secretary, I desire you to send me as many of the already projected letters as may be ready, in order that I may prepare myself for any emergency; and it is necessary that for some days you should lay aside all other business, for this is urgent, and fully resolved upon with the consent of his Holiness.”
July, 1571. [Madrid.] Italian. Holograph.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di.
vol. iv. f. 186.
et seq.
800. [John Baptists Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano. [Nuncio in Spain to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“Having had no earlier opportunity of sending the enclosed despatch of the 25th of last month, I send it with this letter; and as, though I have had no further advice, I am nevertheless disposed to believe or suspect that, by the time you receive this, Cardinal Alessandrino will have quitted Rome, I have decided to address it to your Illustrious and Reverend Lordship, who will open the letters to communicate their contents to the Pope in the usual way; and so referring you to the said letters, I conclude this, with which you will find a sheet of cipher.”
3 July, 1571. Madrid. Italian.
Ut supra and
vol. xiii.
ff. 7–9.
“I know not any business with which I could occupy myself more willingly and zealously than this of England, on which my heart and soul have ever been set; and though the advices I have sent you might have been more frequent, nevertheless I have not omitted to keep the negotiation alive with the King. I had already learned from his Majesty that some one was expected; and lo! he has arrived, to wit, Ridolfi in very good time, because a few days ago an agent of the so-called Queen of England departed hence in great dudgeon. The affair of the restitution of the goods seized goes not on well. Marquis Chiappino Vitelli, who has been in England, is here, and by his reports is of service to the business. It is already settled that the Duke of Medina Celi depart at the end of the month with such commissions as it shall please his Majesty to give him in regard thereto.
“It is but a few days since, apropos of the departure of that Englishman, his Majesty told me that he returned with but one letter in his hands, and I conversed with his Majesty as to the match that is in treaty between the said Queen of England and the Duke of Anjou, and of the faithlessness and ingratitude of that lady, and the slight account that she had made of his Majesty's friendship. Such, I say, was the position of affairs when lo! Ridolfi arrives. Whereby I hope in God that perchance of His mercy He will afford the Pope some great comfort. Upon his arrival I spoke with his Majesty, but only for a short while, not having then made out the ciphers. I did but beseech him to give Ridolfi an early audience, certifying his identity, and that he was charged with matters of much consequence, and tending greatly to the service of God and his Majesty. The King was disposed to go a little into the business, saying that he had recent intelligence, that the plot had been discovered in England through the arrest of one of the servants of the Bishop of Ross, who had made a full confession. However, as I had not yet read the ciphers and made myself well acquainted with the matter, and because the moment was not opportune, I said no more than that his Majesty would do well to give Ridolfi a hearing, because, even though the plot were discovered, the conspirators are so great and so powerful and so numerous that the Queen, albeit she has long known their disposition, is, by what I learn, unable to cope with them to purpose. His Majesty replied gaily that it would be well indeed if so it be, and that he would hear Ridolfi forthwith. His Majesty will give the audience to-day, and Ridolfi will give him both the instructions, to wit, that of the Queen of Scotland and that of the Duke of Norfolk, all except a few words in regard to Don John of Austria which he has deleted, for so it seemed expedient.
“He has besides spoken several times with Secretary Zayas who has this matter in hand; and thus it stands at the present moment. I will speak again, perhaps to-morrow, at more length, with his Majesty in consonance with the tenor of the letter which Cardinal Alessandrino has written to me, and then in due time I will apprise you thereof.
“Ridolfi has returned from the audience and has spoken at large. He was received and heard most graciously, and he reports good hope of the result. The business is such that his Majesty could not give a definitive answer on the spur of the moment, but it is enough that he has evinced a disposition to consider it favourably. The said Ridolfi does not write, because he deems this letter will suffice; and he will write when the affair has made more progress and there is something of substance to report.”
Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xiii. f. 12.
801. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“Now that I have just sealed the packet that goes herewith Secretary Vargas has communicated to me his Majesty's decision in the matter of the tenths (fn. 1) in these words:— ‘His Majesty is content that of the portion which falls to him of the tenths that were imposed in the Kingdom of Naples and the State of Milan his Holiness may dispose to the amount of 40,000 ducats, 20,000 for each of the said States. Given at Madrid, 3 July, 1571. Vargas, &c.’
“Whereof I am minded to lose no time in apprising you, in order that, if his Holiness be satisfied with this decision, he may advise me to that effect, so that the royal letter and order may be despatched forthwith.”
3 July, 1571. Madrid. Italian and Spanish.
ff. 13–23.
vol. iv. ff. 187
et seq.
802. The Same to the Same.
…“I have received no letter from Rome of the last month of June, so that I have nothing to write except to apprise you that I, on the other hand, wrote on 5 June, though perhaps by mistake May was written instead, and likewise on 6, 14, 25 and 30 June, and 3 July; and I desire to know if the letters arrived safely.
“There has been so much irregularity in regard to the galleys, which it was thought were already equipped in Barcelona, that the delay will be so much greater than was expected that I do not think any reliance can be placed on them for this year.
“I know not what has since happened in regard to the despatch of legates. I now think that Cardinal Alessandrino is not to leave for these parts, seeing that he does not send me a courier, that I may report it to his Majesty, and it may be known what route he takes, and whether anything is to be done in the way of provision or preparation or the like.
“I sent with my last letters a sheet of cipher, and another will accompany this. I desire an acknowledgment of the receipt.”
9 July, 1571. Madrid. Italian.

“By my previous letters I wrote that Robert Ridolfi had had an audience, and had been very well received and heard by his Majesty. I now apprise you that I have again discussed the same matter at length with his Majesty, representing to him the importance of this business of England not only in regard of the service of God and religion, and the Pope's satisfaction and his Majesty's honour and reputation, but also of many other interests temporal, manifest, and most important, which especially concern his Majesty and his States, which I had set down on paper, and read to him one by one. Not only were they apprehended, but many of them were discussed, and his Majesty spoke at far greater length than is his wont, and entered into many particulars as to the manner, place and men; and at length, saying that all these interests that I had noted were substantial, but that nevertheless there was nothing that moved him more than the Catholic religion and the satisfaction of the Pope, he ended by averring that he had long desired and looked forward to a favourable opportunity of endeavouring with God's help to reclaim that realm a second time to the faith and obedience of the Apostolic Roman See; and that he believed that the opportunity had now come, and that this was the moment that he had looked for, and that he kissed his Holiness' feet for that with such confidence as I had described he had committed so important a charge to him and his control; but that, as it was not meet that so weighty an undertaking should be handled save so as that it must needs succeed, this would be thought of, and very soon resolved. In a word his Majesty did not as yet say: ‘Write to the Pope that I promise to carry this enterprise into effect’; but what he said seemed to show that he was disposed to do so, but desired first to consider the manner and form of his action.
“We observe also that daily, nay, hourly his Majesty has recourse to Ridolfi for information, and that Ridolfi satisfies him in all particulars, so that in fine we are in good hopes.
“I deem it well to advert to two matters: first, that Ridolfi told his Majesty that the Pope will afford the enterprise all possible aid, and that his Majesty should know the burdens which the Apostolic See bears in providing for the League and so many other public causes; and all things considered the Pope will not withdraw from any, if it be possible: being asked by Secretary Cayas, who has the business in hand, what aid his Holiness would contribute, I answered that I had no particular commission as to that matter, but I knew his Holiness to be ready to do all that he could for the reduction of that realm, because it is patent that the Pope spends all that he has on nought but public works for the service of Christendom; so that as he cannot do more than he does, all that might be put into one undertaking would be taken from the rest, which are all public and in the end result in advantage to his Majesty, to whom he had just given financial accommodation so considerable that he might well be at this expense, productive as it will be of so much advantage, even pecuniary, to his Majesty, who will thereby purchase security in Flanders, where it now is necessary to keep so great a garrison at so great a cost. The second matter is that there is nothing that should more occupy his Majesty's thoughts touching this enterprise than apprehension lest it should give rise to some irritation in France, where it is certain they will not be well pleased to see his Majesty's soldiers in England; so that we are casting about to discover some means and at least a colourable method of rendering the affair palatable to the King of France, and for the present we find nothing better to say than that we are acting at the instance and in the name of his Holiness in execution of his sentence. Now Ridolfi has said that his Holiness will be agreeable to this; and I have said that I likewise so believe, because, though I have no other warrant than my faith in Ridolfi who affirms it, I deem that his Holiness will not dissent from what his Majesty shall deem expedient, especially as it is not a question of subjugating the country, but only of effecting the reinstatement of the Queen of Scotland in her rights, and the restoration of religion, and this in the end will redound to the most signal benefit of France and her King. I use this sort of language because, on the one hand, it is necessary that the Pope do his part in facilitating the affair, while, on the other hand, I desire to bind myself by word as little as possible until I have more express authority to do so. And though I hope that, before I receive the answer to this letter, a decision will have been come to here, for methinks his Majesty is very hot; nevertheless, if the Pope shall be pleased to furnish me with a full declaration of his will on these two points and others of a like sort that may arise, I shall tread more securely. And since there is nothing that weighs more on his Majesty's mind than to note the progress that is made with the treaty of marriage between the Queen of England and the Duke of Anjou; though he has not yet come to believe in it, and perchance the Pope does not deem it very opportune, especially considering the conditions that are contemplated; if his Holiness shall see fit to give some commission to the Nuncio of France to advise me point by point of what passes in regard thereto, I give you to understand that I am in possession of the same cipher which Ridolfi uses in regard to English affairs, and the said nuncio is likewise in possession of it. “I have suggested that it would be well to despatch forthwith a courier to afford the Queen of Scots and the Duke of Norfolk at least so much hope as may prevent them in any event from making any untimely and rash move, as they did on the former occasion, because, methinks, this is the greatest risk which this plot runs of being disconcerted, especially as it is impossible speedily to make the necessary arrangements. If this courier be sent, (fn. 2) it will be a manifest token that his Majesty has decided upon the enterprise. Marquis Chiappino Vitelli has been questioned of this matter by his Majesty; and as he treats it as a matter of great importance, he exhorts the King to undertake the business, and does excellent offices, the more so as he well knows and understands that it is a great service to God and his Holiness. Ridolfi also gives, by what they evince, full satisfaction.
“Secrecy in this matter is of infinite importance on all accounts: so I shall always use cipher in writing about it.”
Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 461.
803. — to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“By order of Secretary Cecil a Flemish servant of the Bishop of Ross was upon his arrival from Brussels at Dover detained and carefully searched. They found upon him divers books in support of the Queen of Scotland's right of succession to the realm of England, and four letters in cipher written by Robert Ridolfi to the ambassadors of the Catholic and most Christian Kings, to the Queen of Scotland and to the Bishop of Ross.
“The contents of the said letters, it seemed, were to the effect that the said Ridolfi had conferred with the Duke of Alva, and told him that the liberation of the Queen of Scotland could not come to pass without the help of the Kings of Spain and France, and that it would be well to negotiate the marriage of the said Queen with Don John and that of a daughter of the King [of Spain] with the King of Scotland.
“No sooner were the letters in hand than the Bishop of Ross was put in prison; and being threatened with torture and death, he confirmed their substance.
“The Queen of Scotland was also examined, and pretended to know nothing of these matters, and even to be unacquainted with the said Ridolfi.
“They have also examined the ambassadors of the Catholic and Most Christian Kings, but have been unable to get anything of consequence out of them.
“The French ambassador spoke very frankly to the Queen, pointing out the error that she committed in causing her ministers so evilly to entreat the Queen of Scotland's ambassador, and the great prejudice she might incur if she should persist in her purpose of treating him with such indignity, and in particular of putting him to the torture, which, if inflicted, would be resented not only by his King but by all other Princes.
0 “This affair has occasioned the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Arundel to be closely watched, and the utmost pains are being taken to discover if they have received letters.
“The Queen of England has made much complaint to the French ambassador of his King's sending artillery and munitions to Scotland, and the ambassador has affected to know nothing whatever of the matter.
“Pending the negotiation of the truce between the Catholics and the Protestants there was a dispute between the two armies as to which should first lay down arms, and a great fray ensued in which the Catholics were routed and about 600 of them killed; among them, it is said, were the new Archbishop of St. Andrews and a cousin of the Duke of Cestellerio [Châtelherault] who took refuge in the fortress of Dalbenborg [Edinburgh]. Baron Dumes [Hume], a very valiant man and a Catholic, an abbot and three or four gentlemen were made prisoners.
“A week since there arrived a gentleman from M. d'Anjou on the business of the marriage; and though they are in the thick of the negotiation and make as if they were very much in earnest, it is thought that it will all turn out to have been a farce, because they daily propose fresh articles.
“On the 5th inst. the said gentleman received his congé and a chain worth 500 crowns and a cup worth 200 crowns. He is accompanied by Cavalcanti and is charged with a message inviting hither M. de Montmorenci and M. Paul de Fois [Foix], who it is thought will not come.
“Still there is more show than ever of earnestness about the marriage, all occasioned, it would seem, by the sorry satisfaction which Henry Cuban [Cobham] brings back from the Court of Spain.
“It is understood that Ridolfi had been at Rome, and had quitted Florence to post thence to Spain: that the Queen has given the French ambassador to understand that she was informed of all that the said Ridolfi had negotiated with the Pope; and that they keep the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Arundel under closer surveillance than ever.”
11 July, 1571. London. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 87d.
804. News Letter.
“It is understood that the two matches, that of the King's sister with the Prince of Navarre, and that of the Queen of England with M. d'Anjou were making progress, and that the Prince of Navarre would come to La Charité on the way to Blois, where the nuptials are to be celebrated.
“Also that M. d'Anjou's Captain of the Guard had gone to England to get a passport from the Queen for Marshal Montmorenci, who is to go to that island to arrange the alliance, which being done, the King would accompany his brother as far as Calais.”
14 July, 1571. Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 458.
805. Robert Ridolfi to [John Leslie,] Bishop [Elect of Ross].
“I could have wished to be able to apprise you more at large of all that I have done, and of the very good hope which I have come to entertain of a speedy and excellent adjustment of all the affairs which occasioned my departure: but it is neither expedient nor needful, for you will hear from him that will deliver this letter to you what has so far been done, and what remains to be done that my cause may be so managed as to be completely determined. Meanwhile I implore you to spare no pains to prevent anything hasty, inopportune and ill-considered being done, but let our affairs be ordered in silence and with prudence and patience. For but a few days will elapse before you receive tidings of the final decision. God grant you your desires.”
14 [July], 1571. Madrid. Decipher. Latin.
f. 479.
806. — to [John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain].
“His Majesty has seen your note and is of opinion that the safest course was indicated in that of Ridolfi, to wit, to write nothing to the Nuncio of his Holiness in France; and so the courier has gone, but another is to overtake him at Burgos; and if you desire aught, he goes straight to the Court of the Emperor by way of Flanders.”
July (?), 1571. Spanish.
f. 458.
807. Robert Ridolfi to [Don Guerau de Spes, Spanish Ambassador in England].
“While I was in Italy I wrote to your Excellency such matters as the occasion demanded. Since then impediments by the way and other unavoidable circumstances prevented my arrival here before the 28th of last month, to wit, June. In both provinces I have been very lovingly received, so that I confidently expect for all my negotiations, which have occasioned me to make so many journeys, the desired prosperous conclusion. But since it is not expedient to set forth in this letter at greater length and with more explicitness the detail of all my business, and to relate matters which your Excellency will learn from another source, to wit, from him from whom you will receive this letter, by whose aid you will in a few days be more fully apprised of the complete plan and ultimate decision, which, I doubt not, will be to you as, to us all, gratifying in the extreme—. (fn. 3) But during the brief while which is yet to elapse, there will be need of the utmost prudence and patience, that nothing inopportune, nothing premature and ill-considered may be done. By using diligence and all possible secrecy to this end your Excellency will serve my cause; and so I am confident of soon attaining its desired consummation with the help of Almighty God, Whom I pray to favour your projects, and have you in His protection and safe keeping.”
14 July, 1571. Madrid. Latin. Decipher.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. xliv.
vol. 19. f. 486.
808. Brief authorizing proceedings for a Decree of Nullity in the matter of the pretended marriage of Mary Queen of Scotland with James Earl of Bothwell.
“Be it had in remembrance: whereas, as We are informed, James, Earl of Bothwell, did per verba de praesenti lawfully in the face of the Church contract marriage with Jean Gordon, sister of the Earl of Huntly, notwithstanding the impediment of the fourth degree of consanguinity, from which they were lawfully dispensed by the Apostolic See; and whereas they lived together as man and wife in mutual conjugal affection for sixteen continuous months, or thereabouts, immediately thereafter ensuing; and therefore the said Earl James, being bound in lawful wedlock, ought not to have set his heart on other nuptials; nevertheless, during the said marriage the said Earl James, careless of his own salvation and in contempt of laws human and divine and public decency, surrounded by a great number of friends and soldiers in arms, did, at the instigation of Satan, while our very dear daughter in Christ, Mary, Queen of Scotland, his most illustrious Sovereign, attended by her wonted small retinue of nobles and familiars, after visiting her son, the Prince of Scotland, at Stirling, was on her way thence toward Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, make bold violently to attack and seize her, unwilling and utterly unsuspecting as she was, and did cast her captive with the Earl of Huntly, Chancellor of Scotland, and Lord Lethington, the said Queen's secretary, into the dungeon of the fortress of Dunbar, and there and thereafter in Edinburgh Castle did for some time keep her likewise unwilling and reluctant, until, having instituted a process of pretended divorce between him the said Earl James and his said wife, and having purloined the apostolic dispensation aforesaid, he caused a most unjust judgment in rescission of the said marriage, regardless of every rule and requirement of law, to be pronounced in hot haste; and thereafter the said Earl James, shrinking not from the avowal of his own turpitude in committing, as alleged on his part, adultery with a low-born woman, caused the judgment and process, such as they were, to be produced before certain schismatic pretended commissaries and published, and at once without a moment's delay unlawfully by force and fear constrained the said Queen Mary, to her grief and in her own despite, to appear before the schismatic and apostate Bishop so called of Orkney, to give her consent to the pretended marriage then to be with him de facto contracted.
“Wherefore We, who under God have the care of the universal Church on earth, considering in the first place that marriages validly contracted can by no human being be dissolved; for it is written ‘Whom God hath joined let no man sunder’; and that, contrariwise, enforced and unlawful dispensations are to be held utterly worthless and invalid; and that laws are to be observed by all, and most of all by those by whose transgression the scandal is the graver, and the evil engendered by their example in the people the greater; and being minded in the premises, as far as by God's help We may, in the exercise of our pastoral office to devise a suitable remedy, do, of our own motion and positive knowledge, and in the plenitude of Apostolic power, cite to Us and the Apostolic See the cause and causes respectively of the said pretended divorce and dispensation, and all the process and all the sequel thereof, and do hereby commit and refer the said cause and causes to our venerable brothers, the Archbishop of St. Andrews and the Bishop of Aberdeen, and our dear sons, the Dean of Glasgow, the Chancellor, and the Treasurer of Aberdeen, and each of them severally, and also summarily and simply, without ceremony or notoriety or judicial formalities, to be by them heard, tried, adjudged and duly determined, with all and singular the matters incident thereto, dependent thereon, arising thereout annexed to and connected therewith.”
Full powers of citing the parties and all others interested in the premises, of inhibiting ordinaries and delegates pretending to possess judicial authority, of interdicting the disobedient and invoking the aid of the secular arm, and of declaring the said Earl James's divorce from Lady Jean Gordon and his subsequent marriage with Queen Mary null and void, all technicalities whatsoever, though sanctioned by the most recent Apostolic or conciliar or royal authority, notwithstanding.
15 July, 1571. Rome. Latin. Minute.
Printed in Historisches Jahrbuch, Bd. vi. Heft i, s. 157. Munich, 1885.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 457.
809. Robert Ridolfi to Pope Pius V.
“Your Holiness will have already been apprised of my safe arrival at this Court on the 28th of last month, and that I arrived in the nick of time, to wit, shortly after the departure of the gentleman sent by the Queen of England [Henry Cobham], by whom it had been by no means well that I should be found here; indeed the King's ministers have assured me that they had already made arrangements to detain me on the way until they had got rid of this gentleman, who goes back with no result of his mission and very little satisfaction for his Queen; whereas the King has accorded me a most gracious reception, and striven in every way to show that I am welcome, and that the business which I bring him affords him the utmost satisfaction, as well by reason of his natural desire to comfort those realms, and reclaim them a second time to the Catholic faith, as also because he would fain do as your Holiness exhorts him, and yet again because for divers reasons it is very meet that he give his mind to the accomplishment of such an enterprise, and that with much assiduity and ardour. Daily since my arrival he has been pleased to discuss these matters, conferring solely with the Duke of Feria and Secretary Çajas; and already it seems that it is absolutely decided to aid and promote the enterprise in all ways, and that it now remains but to devise the means of accomplishing it without mishap; and in the meantime, lest the friends in England should make some premature and ill concerted rising, and especially because he learns that the Queen of England is pushing on the marriage treaty with France, he has despatched an express courier with my letters for the friends to assure them of his Majesty's and your Holiness' good will, and to admonish them on no account to make any insurrection or move of any kind until they are provided with all that is needful for the enterprise, promising them within ten days to send another courier to Flanders with the complete scheme, order and method of their action. And the event I feel sure will be even so, for his Majesty seems to me to be quite afire with zeal for this enterprise for divers reasons, among which the prevention of the match with France, and the consequences thereof, has the first place. I shall therefore be on the look out for the final decision, which, as I am told, is promised within ten days; and then your Holiness shall forthwith be advised in detail of all particulars. It should be added—I think I have effected thus much good that there will be no need for your Holiness to spend more of your money, or but a trifling sum—that Marquis Vitelli is here, whom they think to employ; and, informed as he is of all these designs, he has done many good offices, and evinces great readiness to undertake the conduct of the enterprise, of which, if it be for the best, God grant us the desired success. Daily in all my negotiations I consult with your Holiness' nuncio, who has laboured most zealously, doing all sorts of good offices for the furtherance of the business. This is all I have to say for the present. And so, craving of your Holiness your wonted holy favour and benediction, and praying God to prolong your life and happiness, &c.
17 July, 1571. Madrid. Italian. Draft.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 457d.
810. The Same to [Jerome Rusticucci, Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia].
Briefly announcing his initial success and referring his Most Illustrious Reverend Lordship to the foregoing letter for further information.
17 July, 1571. Madrid. Italian.
vol. xiii.
ff. 26, 29.
vol. iv. f. 188d.
811. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to the Same.
“I hoped to be able to send the enclosed despatch of the 9th (fn. 4) by a courier who was said to be about to depart. But as he has tarried until now, I have decided to add this with a little in cipher.” …
17 July, 1571. Madrid. Italian.

“A courier is despatched with a letter from his Majesty to his ambassador resident in England, bidding him encourage the Queen of Scotland and the Duke of Norfolk, that they may be resolute and take no ill-timed action, and assuring them that within a few days order shall be given to communicate to them all the intention of his Majesty. They have also resolved that Ridolfi write to the like effect to the said Queen and Duke and the Bishop of Ross. The ‘few days’ they speak of will in my opinion be eight or ten, because on Ridolfi's arrival they sent a courier to the Duke of Alva to learn what he says of this matter, and it is in so many days that the answer is expected. And as, by what one can gather, his Majesty is very keen upon this matter; if he be not discouraged by the Duke of Alva, I take it for certain that effect will be given to the enterprise. And if they believed that the marriage of the Queen of England with the Duke of Anjou was to come about, they would wait no longer, but would endeavour by means of this treaty to obviate it, even though the result must needs be war between Spain and France: but this they do not believe, for it is believed neither by the Duke of Alva, nor by the ambassador in England, nor yet by the ambassador in France, who with one accord write that they do not suppose that the Queen of England will ever renounce her freedom; and that all that she does is merely for the purpose of amusing the realm with this hope of her marriage, as formerly she played with the Archduke Charles. But should they receive intelligence from there that the affair has taken a serious turn, they will, I believe, do all they may to stop it.”
Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
vol. i. f. 82.
812. Vincent Lauri, Bishop of Mondovi, Nuncio at the Court of Savoy to [Jerome Rusticucci, Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia.]
“By the last advices from the Court of France we learn that they are very busy with the negotiation of the English match; but that all the difficulty is about the restitution of Calais, which the King is very reluctant to make except in the event of Monsieur having a son, while the English show themselves also loath to conclude anything without Calais, so that by God's grace we may hope that it will come to nothing. Yet it is to be feared that the French, to content the Duke of Alençon (sic), and enticed by the English with some hope of advantageous compensation, might agree to the said restitution, especially by reason of the dissatisfaction which they evince with the Spaniards; touching which our main object should be not only to obviate a rupture, but by some new tie to knit more closely the friendship between the two Kings; which union would have the further result of placing an obstacle in the way of the marriage, promoted with extreme assiduity by the Huguenots, of the King's sister with the Prince of Navarre, who, perchance with this in view, has with the [Queen] Mother's consent, as we understand, assumed the title of King.
“We are awaiting with the most vehement desire the arrival of Mgr. Alessandrino; and his Highness, who is sorely distressed about this journey by land in so hot a season, would be mighty glad to keep him here until the rains of mid-August, and accord him the honourable entertainment that befits the great reverence and devotion with which he regards the Pope, and the great respect and affection which he has for his Illustrious Lordship. It only remains for me to acknowledge receipt of your Illustrious Lordship's letter of the 2nd inst.; and so I reverently kiss your hand.”
18 July, 1571. [Turin.] Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 91.
813. News Letter.
“It is understood that in Ireland there had been some risings against the Queen of England, and that in Scotland the Catholics and the Huguenots had come to blows; and that MM. Montmorenci and Foix had gone to England about the business of the marriage of that Queen with M. d'Anjou, in regard to which there was some difficulty.”
19 July, 1571. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. i. f. 82d.
814. Vincent Lauri, Bishop of Mondovi, Nuncio at the Court of Savoy to [Jerome Rusticucci, Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“As the Legate [Alessandrino] must needs on his way to Spain pass by the Court of Savoy, I have deemed it incumbent on me in the discharge of my duty to shift my quarters to this city, which I reached this morning shortly after the arrival of his Most Illustrious Lordship, whose zeal for the service of God and the Pope enables him to bear in good heart and health the discomforts of travelling in the dog days.…
“Now by this courier I will take the opportunity of apprising you that, affairs in France being in so sorry a plight as to threaten discord in the League to the very grave detriment of religion and the public, it would be no difficult matter by God's grace and the sage policy of the Pope to apply a corrective, especially if his Holiness should propose some arrangement that would be of notable advantage to the King and that realm; and perchance the Pope would not deem unsuitable the marriage, of which I have on divers occasions written, of the Duke of Anjou with the Catholic King's sister, the Princess of Portugal, accompanied with a grant [by the Pope] of the regal title and investiture of the kingdom of England to husband and wife alike in such wise that either should succeed the other.
“The said marriage would establish a perpetual alliance between the two Kings; it would be an easy matter to draw the Most Christian King into the League, and detach him altogether from his understanding with the Turk and the heretics of England and Germany; the French arms would be turned against those islands, where (as I have it from a good source) two thirds of the nobility desire to live as Catholics; and there are not in all the realm more than two or three fortresses, whereby the difficulty of the enterprise would be the less. It should find favour with the Catholic King in his own interest as well as in that of the public weal, seeing that his sister would be Queen with equal authority with her husband; besides which, as evinced by the history of the houses of Burgundy and Bourbon, Princes of the blood royal, when they are neighbours and powerful, are wont to bring loss and trouble to France rather than increase of might and majesty.
“Now supposing the Pope were to adopt some such corrective policy, it would be necessary as soon as possible, in order entirely to preclude the treaty of marriage with the Queen of England, to send to France some person of authority and ability, to insinuate the policy privily into the Queen Mother's mind; and then, pursuant to the decision thence forthcoming, the substance of the business might be entrusted to the Legate to negotiate it in Spain, and afterwards, God willing, upon his return journey through France to conclude both the match and the common league, whereby the Turk and the heretics would be stricken with the utmost terror, and all Christendom would reap immeasurable advantage, so that it would be many a year since by God's help a legation had been conducted with more credit to his Holiness and the Holy See.”
23 July, 1571. Alessandria. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 159.
815. [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia] to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“I wrote on the 22nd by the Naples courier as much as was required, acknowledging receipt of your last letter, to wit, of the last of last month, and sending you a certificate, authenticated under the hand of Mgr. Maffei, Vicechamberlain of the State, of this year's plenty, which should rather be called dearth, as you may see by the enclosed certificate made by M. di Torres for Mgr. the Chamberlain, bidding you in his Holiness' name to do your office as soon as may be with his Majesty, that the provision may come without demur in due time because the distance of the places is so great that, to ensure the despatch that is required for the Pope's service, it is necessary to expedite it with diligence. (fn. 5)
“I send you herewith some advices from England, that you may discuss them with Ridolfi, and inform him that, the plot being discovered, as he knows, he must not, as he values his safety, think of returning thither. Which advices you should above all discuss with his Majesty.”
26 July, 1571. Rome. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 158.
Intelligence from England.
“By letters from London of the 23rd of June it is understood that the Queen of England had made known the reason of the imprisonment of the Scottish ambassador, the Bishop of Ross, and one of his servants, and of the restraint she had likewise put upon the Queen of Scotland, to wit, the certain knowledge that she has had by information of an accomplice. And she says that she has deciphered and read the letters of a certain Ridolfo, a Florentine, to the said Bishop touching a plot which, by order of the said Queen of Scotland and other persons subjects of her, the Queen of England, whom for the present she will not name, the said Ridolfo has in hand for invading and convulsing that kingdom. She also says that the said Ridolfo quitted England in March and repaired to Flanders and the Duke of Alba, and got from him a promise to send during the month of July a number of soldiers to a certain English port, who, being joined by subjects were to have taken by surprise the city of London and the person of the Queen, and, raising the whole kingdom, to have liberated the Queen of Scotland, whom they call the true heir and Queen of that realm. And moreover she says that the said Ridolfo after concerting matters with the Duke of Alba went to Rome to bring the Pope into the said scheme, which done, he was to go to Spain. And furthermore she says that she has had the said Bishop examined whether it was true that he was privy to the said plot, and in particular whether he had received from the said Ridolfo after his departure two letters, one signed with the number, 30, and the other with the number 40; and that the Bishop had confessed having received them, and being asked to whom they were addressed, said that one was to the Queen of Scotland, and the other to the Spanish ambassador; and that she, as he said that he had burned the letter for [the Queen of] Scotland, and delivered the other to the ambassador, asked the said ambassador if this were true, and he denied receipt of it: and as to the negotiations with the Duke of Alba, the Pope and King Philip, the said Bishop of Ross says that he engaged in them for no other purpose than to solicit their aid for his Queen.”
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
Francia, vol. iv. f. 105d.
816. [Fabius Mirto,] Bishop of Caiazzo, Nuncio in France to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia.
… “As to the English match, besides what we learn by other channels, the Cardinal of Bourbon has told me as a matter which I need not hesitate to report to the Pope as true and certain, but not to be divulged, that Monsieur has no mind to it, and by consequence both the King and Queen Mother have no mind to it, and have resolved that it shall not be made, but for form's sake they purpose to keep the negotiation alive yet a while, and so they must needs send Cavalcanti back again with M. de Foys [Foix] to England; on which journey they set forth from Fontainebleau precisely yesterday evening the 1st of August; and in regard to this matter Monsieur has evinced and continues to evince a right good and Christian spirit.
“Their Majesties are still at Fontainebleau, though there is daily talk of their going to Orléans, and whether they mean it or no, I know not. We have still no tidings of Mgr. Alessandrino since his departure from Rome; and I pray God to keep him in good health during this great heat, which is felt as extraordinary even here in France.
“That succour of arms and moneys, which I wrote had been already sent to Scotland, has been captured at sea by the rebels, the Queen of Scotland's man that was in charge of it, and a Frenchman despatched by their Majesties, being taken prisoners.
“Ridolfi's plot is already divulged as well in this Court as in that of England.”
2 August, 1571. Melun. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 306.
817. News Letter.
“By letters of the 2nd inst. from Avignon we learn that the marriage treaty between the Queen [of England] and M. d'Anjou had taken such a chill that there was little hope of a conclusion.”
8 August, 1571. Rome. Italian. Copy.
f. 98d.
818. News Letter.
“As to the marriage of the Queen of England and M. d'Anjou it is understood that some differences of view have arisen, and it is doubted whether it will come to pass; and the like is said of the match between the King's sister and the Prince of Navarre.”
10 August, 1571. Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 210.
819. [Jerome Rusticucci, Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia] to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“Your letters of the 9th and 17th of last month touching the English business afforded the Pope much consolation, showing as they did that the business promises well by reason of the King's great zeal and readiness to subserve the cause of religion to the Pope's heart's content, which he fails not ever to commend as they deserve. Now in answer to those points that you mention I say that the Pope is satisfied with all that to the present moment has been said in his name in regard to that matter both by Ridolfi and by you, and with the answer in specie which you have given touching the aid which may be anticipated from hence; which will be the utmost that his Holiness can possibly afford, even with, if necessary, an express pledge; but considering the incessant and various expenditure that is ever of necessity being made in the service of this Holy See and of Christendom, he sees not how it can fail after all to be but slender and precarious. As to using the Pope's name in this enterprise he consents thereto, and if to give it more prominence the King would have his Holiness appoint the Captain General by his patent, his Holiness agrees to that also, although he be nominated by his Majesty, and that, while his Holiness gives his name to the enterprise, the General obey the King for its better service.
“For intelligence of the progress point by point of the treaty of marriage with M. d'Anjou, we shall write to-morrow to the Nuncio of France, that he is to advise you regularly of all that goes on, and you will also do the like on receipt of this with your wonted diligence.
“Herewith there will be a letter for the King in the Pope's own hand with a copy for your own instruction, not that you are to betray to him the least knowledge of the business that is in negotiation, or ever to speak of it, but merely that you may be prepared how to converse and answer to the purpose touching this matter.”
12 August, [1571]. Rome. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 528.
820. Don Guerau de Spes, Spanish Ambassador in England, to Robert Ridolfi.
“I have nothing to tell you in this letter but that the Duke of Alba hampers me unduly (fn. 6); and therefore I would have you adroitly, and without betraying that it is at my suggestion, be instant that ample scope be given to my instructions, and that the Nuncio also, if need be, make without further delay a declaration touching the negotiation, for this the business requires; and leave the rest to me; and as to yourself I hope to make known to the Catholic King and the Pope the good offices which you have done in this great business; and you will find me evermore your good friend. Let this be kept secret, et vale ut optas.
17 August, 1571. [London.] Decipher. Italian.
—“Cipres (fn. 7) prays you that he be ever in your good graces.”
f. 471.
821. Memorial of the Principal Matters elicited from the Papers of Fray Gironimo Despes.
“12 Feb., 1571. Make no great account of the brother of Albornos, and place no great trust in him.
“The heretics rage like mad dogs bent on preventing the resettlement of the world and even on revolutionizing it again; and if thought be not given to it betimes, as I advise his Majesty, they will cause some great disaster.
“10 March, 1571. Here I already know the people, and they will not do me more harm than they have done, nor can the [Duke] of Alva do me more harm than he has done.
“What I most lack is a trusty secretary; I have none such, and am in consequence put to much inconvenience.
“The troubles here are great, and if good care be not taken, there will be some great misfortune.
“Beware of Bishop Albornos. (fn. 8)
“26 March, 1571. And understand that the Duke of Alva has mismanaged this business of the Commissaries, which they now altogether upset here; and though a settlement be reached, it will be very vague; and he has written to his Majesty that all was arranged, and then to find himself tricked!
“27 April, 1571. From here I let you know that I believe that all affairs will go ill, and that in Flanders the Duke negotiated very badly.
“If his Majesty does not take care, he will lose Flanders. I write but what is meet.
“7 (sic) April, 1571. The Duke of Alva has mismanaged this business of the Commissaries; it will be all abroad and God grant it get into port: and Albornos perpetrates great robberies, and grants licences to bring thither stuffs, from which and other corrupt practices he derives more than 100,000 crowns, and to him it is due that the accord is not made, and all Flanders fares ill.
“14 June, 1571. I am right glad to hear of your conversations with Curjel: continue them, for he is a worthy man, and knows all the rogueries practised by Albornos here, how they carry corruption into the exchanges also, notwithstanding that since he quitted Antwerp he has granted licences that have enriched him to the amount of more than 100,000 crowns; and he has an understanding with [Thomas] Fiesco and also with the English, and affords them information that suits their purpose; and the King's service goes to ruin.
“You may also say how that by reason of Albornos' jealousy the Duke will not allow me to do anything, nay, he is even loath that I should report what happens.
“7 July, 1571. I obey the Duke of Alva even as the King himself; but Albornos has cause for apprehension because he knows that I know all his malpractices, and so he must needs privily hinder my advancement and honour.
“8 August, 1571. I replied to Sr. Bernat Sanchinet on the last of May, but Albornos detains my passports, which is a shame.
“18 August, 1571. I have already written at large by the last couriers and by way of France, because six or seven packets belonging to me are detained in Flanders.”
Feb.–August, 1571. Spanish. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iv. f. 118.
822. [Fabius Mirto,] Bishop of Caiazzo, Nuncio in France to [Jerome] Rusticucci, [Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“Since I wrote on the 14th I have received your letter of the 30th of last month with the brief for the Queen of Scotland, of which I will assure the delivery to her as I did that of the last ciphers, the one for her into her own hand, and the other to the Duke of Norfolk.
“I will thank the Queen Mother for the information which she has furnished and continues frequently to furnish as to English affairs; but I do not think I ought to advert to that, which by your said letter of the 30th I am instructed to say to her touching the Grand Duke, in attestation of his Highness' good faith, and the profession which he has made and makes of ever endeavouring to promote the union and friendship of Princes, and not their disunion, because their Majesties not only entertain no suspicion of the Grand Duke as bent upon wronging anyone, but rather are inclined to surmise, and that to their regret, that he may have been wronged: and perchance an error may have been made in writing; or, by inadvertence, due attention may not have been given to my letters, in which I informed you that the said suspicions were entertained not by their Majesties but by the Catholic ambassador, from whom they came to my ears in the shape of complaints, which I thought myself bound to report, deeming that he would not fail to send much longer indictments to the Court of Spain, where I deemed it proper that Mgr. Alessandrino should be informed thereof.”
19 August, 1571. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ix. f. 78.
823. [John Antony Facchinetti, Bishop of Nicastro,] Legate at Venice to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“The secretary of the French ambassador, who quitted the King's Court on the 3rd inst., and arrived here the day before yesterday, has told me that M. de Fois [Foix] was going to England upon the business of the match between that Queen and his Majesty's brother M. d'Anjou: also that his Majesty had made some Huguenots knights of the Order; and that his intentions seem to be good, but that he has few counsellors about him that are more than forty years of age.”
22 August, 1571. Venice. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xiii. f. 40.
N.S. vol. v.
ff. 4–5.
Borgh. I.
vol. 607. ff. 405
et seq.
Corsini Palace,
33. E. 15. f. 116.
824. [John Baptista Castagna], Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to the Same.
“Your last letters of the 22nd and 26th of July were received on the 14th inst. I have already made arrangements for the import from Sicily of 10,000 rubbia of grain, and hope soon to have delivery, though it will be subject to the investiture, i.e. to its not being needed in the kingdom itself.
“The advices from England have been communicated to his Majesty; and little account is made of them, as we have much more recent advices here. Enough that they are still treating about the restitution of the goods taken on either side, and they write that they were already on the point of sanctioning the articles.
“There are also advices that they were trying hard to conclude the marriage treaty between the Queen and the Duke of Anjou, which, it is here surmised, if it should come to pass, albeit that is not anticipated, might prove to be very injurious to France herself. God order matters for the best.
“Signor Chiappino Vitelli has returned to Flanders high in the King's esteem, and his Majesty has shown that he regards the occasion as of much importance: he has given him 4,000 crowns for the journey, and has promised him much both substantial and honorific. This gentleman has shown himself a most devoted vassal and servant of the Pope and ready to hazard his life in his Holiness' service. He is also in the last degree beholden to the Pope for what he has done at his instance in regard to the Castle of Montone, and all his thought and desire are centred in the success and advancement of his most dear nephew Mgr. del Monte, the Referendary, who, I think, is now Governor of Benevento: and so I cannot omit to tell you, that by reason as well of the great zeal which this gentleman has shown for the Pope's service, as also of the personal qualities of the said Mgr., who, I am informed, is, and by what I have known of him has seemed to me to be, a good and worthy prelate, your influence would be well employed in keeping him in the Pope's good graces; and all the favours that his Holiness shall confer upon him while he is in his employ will so touch the heart of Signor Chiappino Vitelli that no favour that he could receive would gratify him more.
“The King told me this morning that as the Articles of the League were not in the first instance sent to him in an authentic form, he has hitherto delayed sending the ratification, but that it is now being made, and will be sent by a courier in the course of a few days.
“As the Legate, Cardinal Alessandrino, travels by a long and unwonted route, we have as yet no news of him by the way; nevertheless, considering that he may now be near to Spain, his Majesty has sent Don Hernando de Borgia, son of Father Francis, General of the Jesuits, to meet him at Barcelona, or wheresoever he may find him, and attend him hither, rendering him and his train all necessary services. Here it is already declared that his Majesty purposes to give him quarters in the house in which dwelt Don John of Austria, and pay him all due compliments and other courtesies, to his content, I doubt not. A long while indeed it seems to me for the desire I have to see and serve him.
“I entreat you to have me ever in your good graces, and so I make you my obeisance, and conclude with a little in cipher, humbly kissing your hand.”
23 August, 1571. Madrid. Italian.

“Ridolfi after all will go neither to England nor to Flanders, but the King has decided that he consult his safety by staying here. The Queen of Scotland and the Bishop of Ross were already discharged; and by the last advices, just to hand, it is understood that the plot was penetrated and discovered but only in genere not in specie. The son of the Earl of Arby [Derby], who counted for much, was taken. But, nevertheless, the plot is not given up. I have spoken at length on this matter this morning, and his Majesty has confessed in confidence that the Duke of Alva is a hindrance and a discouragement to the enterprise, and for all that it is not possible to dispense with him in this affair: I do not mean that he is to go in person to the island, but that he must manage all the rest, and make all the necessary dispositions. To this end Signor Chiappino Vitelli has already departed for Flanders, being assured that he is commissioned for this enterprise on the terms that either the Duke of Alva shall be there in person, or he himself shall have the chief command. Thus assured, he has gone with a mind all afire with zeal, not so much by reason of the importance of the enterprise as because he believes that thereby he will most signally serve and solace the Pope, to whom he has here shown himself most devoted, conferring with me about everything, and ever speaking to his Majesty and the rest in such wise as by common consent has been deemed apt for this service. His Majesty has in a manner shown me that for all I have said above touching the Duke of Alva, he himself is not discouraged, for he says that all the while that he has been away he has attended to nothing else than this, and that in the course of a few days he has despatched two couriers on this business, and will soon be despatching the third. He has sent money in plenty, and he said that he would like to have the affair in order before writing the Pope word of his determination. Nevertheless, he is awaiting further advices. In a word I cannot say for certain, ‘so it will be’; but I say that I have great hope of this business. The Most Reverend [Cardinal] of Siguenza heartily espouses it, and in fine it is approved by every one except the Duke of Alva and his followers here. Let the secret be kept, and the Pope be of good hope that in this and other matters God will grant him his heart's desire.”
Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 340a.
825. Account of the affair between his Majesty's Fleet and the Corsairs off Dover.
“After scattering the sixteen sail of corsairs (fn. 9) off Hemdem [Emden] Vice-Admiral Boscussem scoured these coasts clean and made the fishing safe; and then, the flagship having broken a mast, he put into Holland to refit, and sent four of the fifteen ships of his command to scour the east coast of England, because from that side they would be no less serviceable as escort to those that remained at the fishery. He had intelligence that twenty-two corsair vessels were at the mouth of the channel on the look-out to make some prize, and that thirty Flemish and Easterling hulks, that had put to sea from those States, had fallen into the hands of the said corsairs. And the Vice-Admiral, deeming that the said hulks were in peril, cruised in quest of them about the said Channel with the eleven ships that remained with him, and having spoken them, learned that the said corsairs had made prize of the said hulks. And when they sighted one another, the corsairs, seeing that it was his Majesty's fleet, put part of their people on the thirty hulks, for they were much afraid; and with fifty-two sail in all bore down upon the fleet, which likewise encountered them with great determination, as well they might, for they are very well armed. The corsairs, seeing that the fleet was resolved to fight, mustered the men on their twenty-two ships, and advanced to the attack. The fleet by no means avoided them, but rather went for them; and when the fight began, the corsairs stood towards Dover; and as they did so, great part of them began to throw themselves into the sea, deserting their ships, and the fleet gave chase, firing upon them till they reached Dover, where they were resolved to take refuge. The townsfolk, perceiving what was happening, began to defend them with their artillery, which was of such strength in number and weight that the fleet was compelled to discontinue the action; and at length Boscussem wrote a letter to the Governor of Dover Castle, telling him that he much marvelled that he should aid and abet these men, robbers as they were and enemies to every Prince. Whereto he replied that on the high seas it was do as you please, but that there he would not suffer any to lay hand on them. Boscussem then recovered the hulks, which the corsairs had abandoned, and suffered to go their way; he also collected other sixty ships that were coming from Andalucia, and from the coasts of Biscay and Galicia, and with them put into Gelenda [Zealand ?] where he now is; and of late the Spanish soldiers that garrison these coasts have taken in divers parts thereof three ships of the said corsairs, all of whom have been hanged. The world be witness that it is his Majesty's fleet that keeps the sea safe and open to all nations.”
28 August, 1571. Spanish.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 106d.
826. News Letter.
… “New imposts are proclaimed here, and also in Ghent, but not as yet in Antwerp: to wit, that merchandise exported from these countries shall pay 10 per cent. and immovables, and incomes, and food stuffs 20 per cent.
“The Count of Fiesco is expected from England, and it is believed that he will bring tidings of the conclusion of the accord.”
29 August, 1571. Brussels. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iv.
ff. 119d–120d.
827. [Fabius Mirto, Bishop of Caiazzo,] Nuncio in France to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“Since my last of the 19th nothing of moment has happened….
“That M. de Foys [Foix], who was despatched to England, and in my opinion is a great malignant, is vamping up again that negotiation, as all these malignants do, their object being to withdraw from the King and the kingdom his brother [the Duke of Anjou], so addicted as he is to the Catholic religion, and in his place to introduce him of Navarre; but I have faith in this young man's goodness and religion, that in this new negotiation he will display the same virtue which he displayed in the first; nor do I fail to co-operate by means of very good instruments, his servants and those who are of authority with him, who keep him steadfast in his good purpose; and though they have their own private reasons for not desiring to quit this realm, wherein they have founded their designs and most sure hopes of gain and aggrandisement, especially as they know that in England they would enter upon a life of servitude and impoverishment, yet their exertions are not without good result, and are the more persistent that they are founded in their own interests.
“As to that succour of moneys and arms that was sent to Scotland and was lost, it so fell out that, while the rebels were bent upon carrying it from one place to another, the people of Edinburgh, who are for the Queen, encountered them and recovered it; but not being able to take the whole of it with them, they took what they could, to wit, the third part, and threw the rest into water, that the enemy might be able to make no use of it; and of 6,000 crowns that were sent in specie, 2,000 were saved; and they are not without hope that their Majesties will send them perchance yet greater succour, and safeguard it better.
“It is understood that fresh risings of the people have occurred in Ireland, with much mustering of men in arms, and much loss inflicted on those that are loyal to England, who were reduced to a few garrisons. Thus God—blessed be His name!—revives the spirits of distressed peoples to the confusion of the Christian Princes who stand by, idle observers of an evil woman who so wantonly offends both God and them.
“There has arrived here to-day from Spain Signor Chiappino Vitelli, who lodges with the ambassador of the Grand Duke [of Tuscany], and says that he purposes to depart to-morrow for Flanders, it being his Catholic Majesty's will that he return to that service. He has visited me, and among other matters has told me much of that King's good disposition in regard to the affairs of Italy, and of the good hope that he has that the journey of Mgr. Alessandrino will be very fruitful of good, and that his arrival at that Court will be very opportune and welcome.”
31 August, 1571. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. ii. f. 478.
828. Robert Ridolfi to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“After I parted from you I had a long conversation with Cayas, and discovered that they are very sensitive in regard to the match with the Duke of Anjou, being apprised that M. de Foys [Foix] had arrived in England, and was lodged in a palace, and made much of; and though they cannot believe that the marriage will take place, yet they are apprehensive of some league against them, Foys [Foix] being a devil and a man of much importance; and so they push the business forward, the more so that they understand that the French at the request of the Queen of England, for further assurance of the Anjou marriage, had craved of the Queen of Scotland one of her principal fortresses for three years, which she had refused. (fn. 10) This they did because they knew not what greater favour they could do. So be vigilant and confer with the French nuncio; and may God help us all.”
August (?), 1571. Italian.


  • 1. Cf. pp. 370 supra and 462 infra.
  • 2. Cf. pp. 444–5 infra.
  • 3. Sentence unfinished.
  • 4. Cf. p. 439 supra.
  • 5. Cf. p. 452 infra.
  • 6. Cf. pp. 464–65 infra.
  • 7. The ambassador's secretary. Cf. Cal. State Pap., Foreign, 1569–71, p. 431.
  • 8. Alva's secretary. Cf. p. 465 infra.
  • 9. Cf. p. 457 infra.
  • 10. Cf. Lettres de Maric Stuart, ed. Labanoff, vol. iii. p. 348.