Rome: 1571, November-December

Pages 469-481

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


1571, November–December

Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm. ii.
vol. 100.
(Polit 99.)
f. 205.
847. [Jerome Rusticucci, Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia] to [John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain].
“Touching English affairs it is surmised that for all the great noise which that Queen ceases not to make, to judge by what reaches us through the channel of our friend Ridolfi, particulars of the plot have not as yet been discovered, though a general suspicion is excited, which is the occasion of further arrests being daily made; and that which in the course of so many months has not been discovered, perchance will never come to light, because God of His grace will preserve so many nobles to guide the enterprise to its desired conclusion. Wherefore his Holiness has bidden me to write to you that in every audience you are to be at pains to keep his Majesty in that good frame which he has hitherto evinced, and to induce him to bid the Duke of Alba to let slip no opportunity that may present itself; for it was by a great blunder that the first despatch that was written after the arrival of Ridolfi there [at Madrid] to announce to those nobles his Majesty's good resolution, was kept back by the Duke of Alba; and to this hour no communication whatever has been made to them; whereas, if by the despatch they had had notice of such resolution of the month of July, they would not have suffered themselves to be taken in that manner. And this might be remedied by inducing his Majesty to entrust the management of the whole affair to his Ambassador resident in England, so that, as opportunities occurred, they might make known to their friends what they ought to do, and the Duke of Alba meanwhile, having instructions to succour them conformably to the decisions taken, might without discovery be able underhand to afford them some aid on the side of Scotland; and, moreover, if there be not a good understanding between the Duke of Alba and the said ambassador, the business can never terminate successfully; and so on this head your Lordship will be able to make it plain to his Majesty that a remedy must be found; and if the Duke of Alba, by reason of his excessive desire to return to Spain, should grow cold in regard to the matter, as it is feared he may, the Pope would have his Majesty be, in some adroit manner, warned thereof, and a remedy be found by procuring the despatch of the Duke of Medina Celi. Your Lordship will also be at pains to acquaint yourself daily with the advices touching these affairs that are received at that court, and send particulars thereof.”
[November ?] 1571. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Pii V. Epp.
ad Princ.
Arm. xliv.
vol. 19. f. 429.
848. Pope Pius V to Peter de Monte, Master, of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
“Dear son, greetings, &c. Placed by the good pleasure of God for no merit of ours in this watch-tower of the Supreme Apostolate, We thither turn our eyes whither the Prophet bids Us, saying oculi mei ad fideles terrae, among whom We mark their eminence who in the cause of the Christian religion and the safety of this Holy See fear not to confront death; and sedulous are We, that, as well for their confirmation as also for the incitement of the rest to follow their example, they be requited with all manner of guerdons and honours. Among these men We note the superlative merits of our dear son, Brother Maturin Lesent (fn. 1), otherwise known as Romagas, a man most illustrious as well by the religion which he professes as also by his prowess which oftentimes, but most signally in this last naval battle (fn. 2) he has displayed, and indefatigable in his antagonism to the foes of the Christian Church, whose valour We doubt not in the Lord will wax day by day. Him therefore, We desire you, to whom We willingly leave the distribution of these honours, to decorate with the grand cross of the office of Tricoplier (sic) (fn. 3), the head of the English tongue; whereby you will reap a triple recompense of obedience, to wit, from God reward, from a most meritorious brother gratitude, from Us commendation. This We would do by our own act but that We had rather abide by our determination to abstain from the distribution of these honours, as We purpose to do, so long as We shall find you compliant with our wishes in regard to such men. Meanwhile, We doubt not that you will by our authority set aside all opposition on the part of those who, perchance, might deem that they have a better claim to this honour, and that to Romagas, whom, through you, We desire to enjoy this our guerdon, you will not fail, so far as you may, to show favour and lend aid.”
10 Nov., 1571. Rome. Latin. Draft.
Another draft of the same date and to the same effect addressed to the Master and Council of the Hospital on f. 424. Cf. f. 164.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxiv. f. 76.
849. John [Delfino], Bishop of Torcello, Nuncio at the Imperial Court to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
… “By letters from Flanders received this evening the Queen of England is reported to have caused the Duke of Norfolk, whom she kept in prison, to be beheaded.”
13 Nov., 1571. Vienna. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xiii.
ff. 80–83.
850. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal Bishop of Sinigaglia.
“I need not reply to your letter of 6 Oct., as it is in answer to mine. As to English affairs the Pope may derive ample information from the writings which the Legate sends herewith, information very different from that which I had hoped for. As to the question of the dispensation in France, &c., the said Legate will write in cipher, and in regard to all other matters there is nothing which I could write that would not be a repetition of what you will read at large in the Legate's letters.
16 Nov., 1571. Madrid. Italian.
—“I write on the 17th, and still we are without confirmation of the victory (fn. 4), which causes us to marvel and all but to doubt.
“Herewith there will be a little in cipher.”
Borgh. I.
vol. 607.
f. 434.
Nunt. di
N.S. vol. v.
f. 14.
851. “I am inconsolable that so goodly and important a plot should have come to grief: I mean the English plot. It is a great mortification to the King. Ridolfi arrived in Flanders, and is there in hiding. Here we are in the utmost suspense, for it is well known that the Admiral [Châtillon] is not asleep, and in the end all their designs will converge against the States of the Catholic King. Hope there is none but in the League, and that this victory may also serve to keep passions in check, considering that it may be that the leaguers against the Turk will also combine for joint defence against the Huguenots. I perceive that for this reason the King is disposed to unite with the Pope in some scheme to disconcert their plans if it be possible, or at least for defence in case of need. I know that there is nothing that the Pope more desires than to hit upon a method of humbling the heretics and their fautors; and the Legate has given the King a very good account of his Holiness' intentions; and so I shall ever continue to fortify the King in the hope that, if he should make a clean breast of it, and declare his mind to the Pope in regard to this matter, he will find his Holiness in all respects as responsive as he could desire. Nevertheless I should be glad to learn whether in course of time his Holiness will be desirous that some further step be taken to give the affair more life, either by proposing something, or discussing some method or other of dealing with such a matter. This I say because this, methinks, is the time in which to meet with a very good understanding here in this matter.”
17 Nov. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 234.
852. Ugolino Gualteruzzi (fn. 5) to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated the 18th of last month to the Cardinal, who approves the advice given in the enclosure. As to Ridolfi, this very day came news that he has arrived at Florence, so that he is in safe quarters for the present.”
19 Nov., 1571. Rome. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxiv.
f. 81d.
853. John [Delfino], Bishop of Torcello, Nuncio at the Imperial Court to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
… “By letters from Flanders the news of the 13th is confirmed with the addition that the Queen of England had also put the Queen of Scotland to death, together with many other Catholics.”
28 Nov., 1571. Vienna. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Pii V. Epp.
ad Princ.
Arm. xliv.
vol. 19. f. 437.
854. Pope Pius V to Lady Joanna Dormer, Duchess [Dowager] of Feria.
“Beloved daughter in Christ, noble lady, greeting. When first We received the tidings of the death of your husband, the Duke of Feria, blessed be his memory, We took it sorely to heart, by reason as well of your personal loss, which in our fatherly tenderness towards you affects Us not a little, as also of that loss which We too have sustained by the death of such a man, ay, and one so eminently endowed with virtue and religion. But as We know well the ensamples by which you rule your life and all your feelings in accordance with the Divine will, We doubt not that you have derived no little consolation from your pious meditations. And if there be any need of admonition on our part, We earnestly entreat you to be of a good courage, and thereby stablish yourself yet more in that virtue and that religion of which in other matters you have given such signal proof. For the rest, that pledge left to you by your husband, his son and yours, entrusted and committed to your charge by the Lord God, continue, as you do, with all care and diligence to guard; teach him the fear of the Lord, and make him worthy of yourself, his sire and his ancestors: be sure that you cannot do aught more acceptable to God, more gracious to the memory of your husband, or better befitting yourself.
“For Ourself be sure that for the love with which We cherish the memory of your most illustrious husband, whatever fatherly affection towards children most dear may prompt, We have in store, and ready to be conferred upon you and your son in unstinted measure.”
28 Nov., 1571. Rome. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 275.
855. [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia] to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino.
“Sir Thomas Stucley was of late at the Pope's feet to apprise him of his design, which your Lordship will understand better from his own word of mouth than by letters; and also to crave of his Holiness some aid towards starting the enterprise; and as the Pope is unable to succour the enterprise with those forces which Stucley would have wished by reason of the heavy burdens which, as you know, he ordinarily carries, the Pope would have you tell the Catholic King in his name that by the accounts which he has received of Stucley's personal qualities he deems him worthy of his Majesty's favour in such enterprises as he might design; in which if the King had rather not be named, His Holiness will consent to the use of his own name, leaving it to his Majesty's wisdom to determine both the plan and the mode of operations and the forces that he shall think fit to furnish.
“And as Cardinal Spinosa (fn. 6) will be able by his authority to help the business forward, the Pope also consents that you should speak with him touching the said matter in such manner as you shall deem helpful to the said gentleman's design. And so I humbly kiss your hands.”
1 Dec., 1571. Rome. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii.
f. 337.
856. [Fabius Mirto,] Bishop of Caiazzo, Nuncio in France to [Michael Bonelli,] Cardinal Alessandrino, Legate in Portugal.
… “There appeared at his Majesty's audience at Douretel on St. Andrew's day a new ambassador from England, who is to tarry at Court until the other, who is resident there, and sick, shall be pleased to recover or do something else. The new-comer is a kinsman, and, they say, a brother-in-law of Secretary Cecil, and therefore he has been accorded a great welcome.
“As to the affairs of the Catholics of that realm what we gather from the latest advices is bad news indeed, all Ridolfi's plot having been disclosed by a secretary of the Duke of Norfolk who was made prisoner, and Norfolk having had so little sense as that, though he knew that his secretary (fn. 7) was taken, and that by means of torture they could, as they have done, make him tell everything, he took no precautions whatever, not so much as to remove some writings; so that, though the secretary had spoken of certain ciphers that Norfolk kept in his chamber under a tile or stone of the pavement, which he could and should have taken away, and burned or bestowed elsewhere, the Duke left them there till the ministers of the Court came to his chamber, and in his presence removed the tile or stone, and found there the writings, as the secretary had confessed. The Duke was put under restraint in such a place and manner that it is feared he will die. The Scottish ambassador, the Bishop of Ross, was confined in a tower in London whence no man is wont to come out alive: more than three hundred gentlemen are taken, and they go on imprisoning and torturing and condemning men to death. They have also put the Queen of Scotland under close restraint, and deprived her of many of her household, and of all facilities of converse or writing. God forgive Ridolfi and the Bishop of Ross that they listened not to my advice not to make the venture, predicting as I did all these suspicions and perils as the result of the said venture. Thus instead of being able to alleviate the evil they have aggravated it. Perchance God—blessed be His name!—will Himself, in His goodness, come to our aid when our power is least. And as, methinks, I have said enough for the present, I will make an end, humbly kissing your Lordship's hands.”
5 Dec., 1571. Tours. Italian. Copy.
Endorsed in the Archbishop of Rossano's hand:
“Received in Madrid on the 23rd of the same month.”
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxiv. f. 84.
857. [John Delfino,] Bishop of Torcello, Nuncio at the Imperial Court to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
… “It seems that neither the death of the Queen of Scotland nor that of the Duke of Norfolk is verified.”
5 Dec., 1571. Vienna. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 137.
858. Ugolino Gualteruzzi (fn. 8) to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“During these last few days that Sir Thomas Stucley, the Englishman, has spent here, I have formed so hearty and loyal a friendship with him that I make bold to say that I might answer for him with my own life, for which cause, and also for that I deem him a royal man and a true Catholic, he seems to me to merit the favour of all, and of you in especial who aforetime gave a good and sincere account of him. He might easily have induced the Pope to embark on that enterprise of which you may have heard, had he found his Holiness in possession of forces commensurate with the sincerity and ardour of his zeal to succour the Christian commonwealth. However, it is just this and nought else which is the obstacle at this juncture, and perchance at another time we shall either lack opportunity or men like his Holiness. And now for the purpose of this letter: it is to pray you to give this gentleman, in his need, some signal token of your favour exceeding your wonted politeness and benignity towards all men, thereby at the same time doing me also a favour by showing him that my service with you has not been without advantage to him, whereby you will do me a signal grace, and that the greater that I so earnestly crave it of you, to whose behoof and service I on the other hand, devote myself entirely, and so I end, kissing your hand and begging you to remember my poor fees.”
6 Dec., 1571. Rome. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 134.
859. [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia] to John Baptista Castagna, [Archbishop of Rossano,] Nuncio in Spain.
“Sir Thomas Stucley has lately craved of the Pope a grant of the titles of the States that he possessed in Ireland. But his Holiness, having no knowledge of his request save by his own ipse dixit, and being uncertain whether his Catholic Majesty may not have some pretensions in this regard, would not afford him any hope, but took time to make himself well acquainted with the matter. It will now be for you with your wonted address to discover his Majesty's intention in this case, and if you find that he has no interest, and that he would be content that the Pope should grant Stucley's petition, to procure of his Majesty a declaration to that effect by special letter, so that the said Thomas may then solicit the grant for himself. This is as much as I need say on this matter.”
15 Dec., 1571. Rome. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1042. f. 458d.
860. News Letter.
… “The world is still busy with divers speculations about the League, which is understood to have been or to be about to be concluded between France, England, and the Protestant Princes of Germany. Many are confident of its being effected, alleging that, besides the natural enmity of the heretics to the Catholics, which is likely to induce them by no means to let slip this opportunity, the apprehension which they may have of being attacked as soon as the Catholics have gained a few more victories, and, in fine, reasons of state may incite all in general and France in particular against the Catholic King, seeing that it is not for France to wait until the King of Spain, after the other victories and conquests that he is likely to make if he be not stopped, have further strengthened his position, and made himself yet more secure of the means of one day doing her an evil turn. Others reason otherwise, saying that it is not probable that a league should come to pass between France and England during the captivity of the Queen of Scotland, whose kingdom is, as it has almost always been, if not at open enmity with, at any rate suspect to England; besides that it is notorious that France has almost always been hostile to England, by reason of natural and, as it were, hereditary hatred: witness the lively recollection which the French still have of the great losses which they sustained at the hands of the English, under whose sway at divers times all France was within an ace of falling; and how they remember that in the time of their forefathers the English built the loure [Louvre] to bridle the populace of Paris, in which place many of the nobility of France ended their days by deaths diverse and appalling, so that the name of England at once excites in France a new suspicion and revives an ancient dread by reason of the many calamities she has suffered by that country, in particular the rout at Poitiers where King John was taken prisoner. To this it must be added that the King of France is not on such good terms with the Huguenots as that he can trust them, or they rely upon him, and this for two reasons; first, that the edict to raze the cross that was set up in Paris upon the ruins of Châtillon's house, a matter which more than aught else affects the Huguenots even to the quick, has not yet been carried into effect by reason of the open opposition of the Catholic gentlemen, and the populace of Paris, though the King with his own mouth gave the order; and secondly that the Huguenots doubt, whether, for all the outward manifestations that he makes of favour and esteem towards them, he be not pursuing one of the following two policies, to wit, either temporizing thereby to catch at last the more part of their leaders in the net, or following the example of Louis XI in the time of the rebellion against him, to sow among them distrust, jealousy, and suspicion. Others reason in other ways according as their particular passions sway them, and in general the utmost suspicion prevails.”
19 Dec., 1571. Rome. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 211.
861. [Fabius Mirto,] Bishop of Caiazzo, [Nuncio in France] to [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain.
“By the courier, whom I despatched on the return journey on the 5th, I addressed to your Lordship a letter for Mgr. Alessandrino by way of answer to that dated the 18th of last month, which by the same courier I had received from him, which letter, I suppose, arrived safely; and as I have now to apprise his Lordship of some other matters which his business requires him to understand, I have again addressed the letters to your Lordship, having no better or safer way of sending them hence. Wherefore I pray you to have them transmitted to him as soon as possible, whether he be in Portugal or on his journey, for the nature of the business requires it; and as I feel sure that you will not fail of your good diligence, I will say no more than that in case, on the arrival of this courier, there is no courier ready by whom to forward them, you should forward them forthwith by express courier to wheresoever his Lordship may be.
“The perpetual motion of this our Court has come to a stop for a little at Amboise, where they are to keep the Christmas feasts, but they are so straitened for lodgings, the place being small, and the Court great, that it is in the last degree inconvenient, and there is also a scarcity of food, especially for the horses.
“Intelligence is to hand that a male child is born to his Catholic Majesty, which must verily be accounted a gift of God, blessed be His name!—complementary of that other, the victory over the Turk; and we must believe that His Divine Majesty has by this most auspicious birth meant to make to that Crown one of those requitals which He is wont to make in abundance to those that are His and defend His holy name.
“Their Most Christian Majesties here with all possible deliberateness of action, but assuredly with a very ready good will, are endeavouring to heal the wounds of this kingdom, great as they be, and great is the address and great the patience which they bring to the task.
“That accursed woman of Navarre also lets it be understood that she purposes to visit their Majesties after the feasts; and if she comes and is bent on effecting the marriage of the son, I am strongly of opinion that it may be done, so made up are their Majesties' minds that in this way they may divide and weaken the rebels, and, by the acquisition which they expect to make of that Prince for the King and God, establish peace in the realm, and restore at once justice and religion. Their Majesties certainly mean well; but I much misdoubt me of their advisers, that they are not trustworthy, for were they honest, these evils, believe me, would long ago have been ended: they have no religion neither Catholic nor Huguenot, and these two designations are but two pretexts of their accursed discords and their evil intentions.
“And with this I will end by way of prognostic of good, that it is well that your Lordship should understand that, despite all the bad offices, that have been persistently done and still are being done about their Majesties by the perverse for perverseness' sake, and by others for their private ends, promoting insurrections, thereby to retard the improvement that may be hoped for in Christendom, their Majesties continue so resolute in their determination to do no evil, and not to be seduced by these wiles, that of their own impulse there is no reason to apprehend any evil; and so firm are they in their resolve to maintain their good understanding with his Catholic Majesty that of such good will every good and happy result may be anticipated, not only in the particular interest of these two crowns, but also in the public interest of Christendom at large. Nay, in opposition to that which, perchance, others have written and said, I will further inform your Lordship of this particular, that while of late I was conversing with the Queen Mother in the presence of the Queen Consort à propos of the recent departure from this Court of the Catholic King's ambassador, and was exhorting the Queen Mother to cherish the Catholic King as her son and the brother of her other sons, she said, as many a time before she had said to me, that while she lived there would never be discord between him and her sons, adding, ‘So will I do while I live, and so will this my daughter do after I am dead’; and she said she had written to his Catholic Majesty to the same effect, in a letter under her own hand which she gave me, and which I sent addressed to your Lordship, by the returning courier. This little bit of information I have seen fit to send your Lordship, in order that, being apprised of the good feeling that exists here, you may, as occasion serves, attest the same there, doing your best there to keep his Majesty true to the public interest, as I do my best for the same purpose by his Majesty here; and so I kiss your Lordship's hand.”
19 Dec., 1571. Amboise. Italian.
“Received 5 Jan., 1572.”
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. f. 220.
862. [Fabius Mirto,] Bishop of Caiazzo, Nuncio in France to Michael Bonelli, Cardinal Alessandrino, Nuncio to Portugal.
“Their Majesties after a long tour have at last stopped at Amboise, and have summoned the Council and the ambassadors, being minded to make some sojourn here, if indeed such a sojourn shall prove to be compatible with the perpetual motion of this Court.
“I arrived here last evening, and to-day I went to their Majesties' audience to intimate to them the new legation assigned you, to this Crown, whereat both the Queen Mother and the King evinced much gratification. The occasion gave rise to a good deal of discussion in regard to the League; in which both mother and son manifested the same good will, hampered, however, by the difficulties caused by the troubles in the realm, the heavy debt by which they are burdened, money, and the means of raising it, being alike exhausted, and the like embarrassments of which they have at other times spoken to me. After which the Queen Mother began telling me that she thought that, with the confidence that is due to the Pope as father of all, she ought to communicate to his Holiness through me a plan and a method of forming a very solid league whereby Christendom should be well served and the Pope get much praise: to wit, that à propos of the male child (fn. 9) born to the Catholic King, his Holiness, as if prompted by fatherly affection, and as if it were his own particular project in the interest of the common weal, should propose to the King the marriage of one of his daughters with M. d'Anjou, as in this way it would be possible to reconfirm and re-establish upon a fresh basis a solid and sound alliance between that Crown and this, wherefrom all good results might be anticipated as well in their particular, as also in the public interest of Christendom at large; and to the same effect the King also afterwards spoke with me.
“And bethinking me that I had aforetime maintained as my own idea this very same thesis in converse with the Pope, I told them so, and likewise apprised them of the good disposition that I had found on the part of his Holiness, who did but crave a meet occasion of speaking thereof; whereat how great was the satisfaction evinced by the Queen Mother to learn that she had been anticipated in this project for the good of her children, I could not describe; and she added that there was meet occasion enough, now that God, blessed be his name! has bestowed upon his Catholic Majesty a male child, and therewith assurance of the Crown, and proper occasion enough there would also be in your Lordship's presence in Spain, where you might treat of this matter with his Catholic Majesty in his Holiness' name very meetly, especially since you must needs on your return pass through this Court, where you might also meetly treat of the same business; and very urgent the Queen Mother was with me, that I should do this office with the Pope before your departure from Spain, for though, as I told her, you had already departed for Portugal, you might yet on your return, upon a sudden occasion of this sort, pass again through the Catholic Court. Now, as the business is of a character of which your Lordship will be a better judge than I am, and as it is strictly limited by the time within which you must needs depart that realm, I have deemed it my duty with all possible speed by express courier to apprise the Pope thereof; and I have likewise resolved to apprise you of the same, addressing the letters to the Nuncio in Spain, that, forewarned of the business that might ensue, you may, according to circumstances, determine whether it will behove you to defer your journey for a little while.
“Should this business go through, methinks it might be productive of so much good, as well in the particular interest of this realm and these two Crowns as in the public interest of all Christendom, by putting down all the insolence and pride and evil designs of these rebels against God, and also setting an impassable barrier in the way of those wretches who fail not to go about inciting to disorder, thereby to retard the salutary progress that may be anticipated in Christendom, that I deem it, against these miscreants, a labour no less worthy of the Pope than that other against the Turk; and this young Prince has evinced so much virtue and religion in not consenting to the English match that he richly deserves that the Pope should entertain this paternal regard for him, to say nothing of the public benefit that may be hoped therefrom.
“There has been also at this time not a little discussion of that accursed affair of Vendôme, ever with the same vindication on their Majesties' part of their good intent and aim, to wit, to gain that Prince, and thereby the ability to quiet the realm and restore justice and religion, as to which they have so made up their mind that there is no argument that may convince them to the contrary. And when I rehearsed to them in more express terms the difficulty that there was with the Pope, in that his Holiness could and should in no wise allow the said marriage, beseeching them as I did for the love of God to consider among other matters the awkward situation in which these rebels might place them by representing them also as estranged from the Catholic Church, with intent to weaken them by depriving them of so good an arm as in these present straits they have proved the Holy See to be, they answered me on this head with infinite protestations that they are, and are minded to abide, and ever to live and die in the Catholic Church, and that there is nothing in the world that will ever separate them from that Church, and that of this particular affair they will not fail at the proper time to give account to the Pope, and attest their true faith and good intention and the good end at which, they say, they aim, to wit, the service of God, endeavouring by all means in their power to merit his Holiness' approval. And so many things of this sort they tell me, none of which I can deem to be said but of good purpose, that to repeat them all would be impossible, so that I pray the Lord God to add to their good purpose good counsel.
“That wicked woman of Navarre, she too, lets it be understood that she purposes to be at Court after the feasts: as to her mind we are in the same incertitude which I described fully enough in my letter of the 5th, which I sent by the returning courier; however, these heads are inconstant and very variable, and when they forgather, are as apt to post to evil as to good: I shall not fail to be vigilant and combat them incessantly; and I pray God to grant me the victory; wherewith I make an end, and kiss your Lordship's hand.”
19 Dec., 1571. Amboise. Italian.
Endorsed in the Archbishop of Rossano's hand:
“From the Nuncio of France to Cardinal Alessandrino, Legate, who had received the duplicate of the same as I am advised by him; and he has sent me a copy thereof from a place called Borciguellas on the way to Burgos. The Nuncio's letter is of 19 Dec., 1571. Received by me in Madrid on 5 Jan., 1572.”
Vat. Arch.
Germ. vol. lxiv.
f. 100d.
863. John [Delfino], Bishop of Torcello, to [Jerome] Rusticucci, Cardinal [Bishop of Sinigaglia].
“Here there is much talk of this league of France with England, the Duke of Saxony, the Count Palatine and the Grand Duke [of Tuscany], but it is not credited; and they add that the Duke of Saxony and the Count Palatine give earnest money to many captains to be at their command in case of need.”
20 Dec., 1571. Vienna. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
(N.S.), vol. v.
f. 26.
Borgh. I.
vol. 607.
ff. 463–65d.
Corsini Palace,
33. E. 15.
f. 204.
864. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to Philip II, King of Spain.
“Yesterday I got the answer of the French Nuncio as well to the Legate's letter as to my own of the 18th of last month. As to the matrimonial affairs the Nuncio's reply is to the same effect as your Majesty already knows, to wit, that their Majesties are at heart bent upon the Vendôme match, believing, in the Nuncio's opinion, thereby to do a good thing for their kingdom, and also to make it possible to secure that young man (fn. 10) for their party; which purpose, being penetrated by the Huguenots, causes them to incline to the opposite side and evince disapproval of the said match. But for all that the Nuncio is very apprehensive that, if it should be supposed that the said match is disallowed by his Majesty and the Roman Church, this would operate as a stimulus to the Prince's mother and the rest of the Huguenots to set their hearts upon it by way of opposition to the Pope and the Apostolic See, thereby to sow discord between the crown and the Apostolic See, which is the one aim and endeavour of these miscreants.
“He says that this match was dangled before the Huguenots together with that of England with the Duke of Anjou; but now that they perceive the English match to be out of the question they are disposed to back out of this affair; and the Prince's mother has ever been seeking to back out of it, and feigning divers obstacles to her going to court as she had promised, and has just caused herself to be reported unwell by way of further postponement of her going thither: that by reason of their incertitude as to whether they will be able to get the dispensation, the Queen Mother, he thought, was in no little anxiety, reflecting on the invalidity of the marriage and the illegitimacy of the offspring, and the possible consequences thereof; that as to the rites and ceremonies of the Church they were casting about for expedients, and hoped that the marriage might be contracted by proxy, the husband providing himself with such a proxy in the person of some Catholic of the blood royal, nominating for the office a son of M. de Montpensier; and that as his uncle and a Prince of the blood royal, the Cardinal of Bourbon might officiate at the marriage ceremony, which Cardinal was the only person against whom no opposition or cavil could be made; and in this way they deemed the impiety and obstinacy of this wicked mother of the Prince of Vendôme might be circumvented, and also the Catholic rite retained; that [he] the Nuncio had been apprised of this matter by the said Cardinal, and had answered with spirit and as it behoved him, and that the Cardinal had promised him to take no part in that function.
“The Nuncio, then, holds that it is the settled purpose of their Majesties to conclude the said match, and not to think of that of Portugal, and that the negotiation is so far advanced, and the Queen Mother affirms it so expressly, that the Legate should have nothing to do with the negotiation and treaty with Portugal. Nevertheless, the Nuncio has not given up all hope that in some way or other God may prevent the said unjust and pernicious marriage treaty.
“This, in fine, is what the French nuncio writes in several letters; but the Legate has followed the alternative advice that has been given him, and has already treated with the King of Portugal, and has reported in a sense better known to your Majesty than to me, because, as I still await the said Legate's courier, I know not what answer he may have received from that King; and though I believe that your Majesty will have received advices to the same effect as these from France, nevertheless I have thought proper to communicate them to you; and I would have sent the very letters written to the Cardinal Legate, but that they are too lengthy and deal besides with other business. And so I humbly kiss your Catholic Majesty's hands, &c.”
[December, 1571. Madrid.] Italian. Copy.


  • 1. i.e. Sir Andrew Wyse of Lyssent, now Lysselty, Ireland, afterwards Grand Prior of England.
  • 2. That of Lepanto, 7 October, 1571.
  • 3. Otherwise Turcopolier. Cf. p. 36 supra.
  • 4. Off Lepanto, 7 October, 1571.
  • 5. Secretary to Cardinal Rusticucci.
  • 6. President of King Philip's council.
  • 7. Robert Higford: as to the discovery of the cipher, cf. Burghley State Papers, ed. Murdin (1759), p. 89.
  • 8. Cf. p. 471 supra.
  • 9. Ferdinand b. 1571, d. 1575.
  • 10. Henry, Prince of Navarre. Cf. pp. 457, 463 supra.