Rome: September 1573

Pages 126-131

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Vatican Archives, Volume 2, 1572-1578. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.

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September 1573

Vat. Arch.
Arm. xliv.
vol. 22. f. 58.
No. 111. Epp.
Greg. XIII.
Lib. iii. f. 120.
241. Pope Gregory XIII to Philip, Catholic King of the Spains.
In commendation of Nicholas Sander, priest, accredited to the Catholic King by the English exiles in the Low Countries.
4 September, 1573. St. Mark's, Rome. Latin. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xv. f. 318.
242. [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como to [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain.
“The bearer, Nicholas Sander, an English priest, is to treat with his Majesty, on behalf of the Catholic nobles of that nation who are in exile in Flanders, of certain matters that concern the service of God, the Catholic religion, and the weal of that realm, and in particular of those poor exiles.
“The Pope, therefore, not only writes a commendatory brief to his Majesty in aid of the business, but has directed me to accompany it with this letter to bid you also not to fail to lend aid and support to the said business, doing with his Majesty and everyone else all the good offices in your power, and making liberal use of the name of his Holiness, that some sound policy may be adopted in view of the needs of that nation and realm, which, besides redounding so greatly to the service of God, will also be of no little advantage to his Majesty by the security that it will afford his States, and on both accounts will be very gratifying to his Holiness.”
4 September, 1573. Rome. Italian. Draft.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. lxii.
vol. 33. f. 186.
243. [John, Cardinal Moroni] to [Louis de Berlaymont, Archbishop of Cambrai].
Acknowledging his letter of 17 July: thanking him for what he has already done in the interest of Richard Hall, and praying him to see that he suffers no wrong in his contest with the rival claimant of his benefice, as he has the better title to the canonry, and has deserved well of the Christian commonwealth by his zeal for the Catholic faith and observances, by his virtues, and by the hardships which he has endured in the cause of religion.
5 September, 1573. Rome. Latin. Copy.
f. 184.
244. A[nne, Countess of] Northumberland to [John, Cardinal Moroni].
Thanking him for his beneficence to herself and Antony Bulmer.
7 September, 1573. Brussels. Latin.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. cclxxxiii.
ff. 224–5.
245. [Ptolemy Galli, Cardinal of Como] to [Louis,] Cardinal of Lorraine.
“As to getting the King of Scotland out of the island.—The Pope has seen your answer as to the business of Scotland; and, considering the great peril in which the young King is, not only of his life and state, but, what is more important, of the salvation of his soul if he should be reared among the heretics, his Holiness is of opinion that by all means an attempt should be made to bring him away. He knows that the Baron [Alexander Erskine], that is at present his governor, is a Catholic, and a good man; and while the boy is in his hands, there is no danger of his being ill brought up; but the point is, that as the Baron has little power, it would be an easy matter for the heretics to take the boy away from him by force. And therefore we must think about bringing him away as soon as possible, to which end his Holiness is offered an instrument and means very meet for negotiating the matter with the said Baron, without whose consent and aid no good can indeed be done. But since you say that you and the Duke of Lorraine do not lack the forces and the means of accomplishing this design, provided his Holiness' authority be on your side, the Pope prefers that it should be done by you in concert with the Duke; and I warrant you that you will not lack the Pope's authority in every shape in which you shall desire it. And therefore you may begin to make your dispositions and arrangements for the undertaking, and advise me when and how you think you will be able to set about it, and what you would wish to be done on our part, for it shall be done promptly, his Holiness being also well pleased that it be all done in the name of the illustrious house of Lorraine, and to that house pertain the glory thereof. Furthermore, as it seems unmeet to enter upon a business of such importance without first communicating it alike to the Most Christian and to the Catholic King, the Pope will take it upon himself to apprise the Catholic King thereof, and will do so as soon as ever you shall deem the time ripe; and you at your discretion will meanwhile be able to impart it to the Most Christian King, the Queen Mother, and the King of Poland, and then to do your endeavour to get their consent not only to the journey which the boy must make through his Majesty's country, but also to his residence in Lorraine until it shall be God's will that he return home.
“And if to this business you could anyhow hitch on that other of uniting the Most Christian and Catholic Kings in aid of the Catholics of Scotland and Ireland and England, his Holiness will never fail to do all that he may in furtherance of so holy and glorious a work, as from time to time he may be requested by you. …”
7 September, 1573. Rome. Italian. Draft.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 683.
246. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul] to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “Likewise the Irish Bishop of Meath had, before you wrote to me as to his case, called upon me, and besought me to commend it to the attention of the Cardinals here; but although this has been done, nevertheless, I doubt the Bishop will hardly be relieved of the straits in which he finds himself; and, indeed, he is unfortunate in having come to France at this time, when the needy are so numerous, and the dearth of all commodities is so great that all the world complains; and, to instance ecclesiastics, I assure you that the Sandalled Friars of Paris, unable to meet expenses any longer, have been compelled to give up study, and dismiss some 300 friars that were here for that purpose, notwithstanding that they were provided with recommendations to the King, the Cardinals and all the Princes of the Court, and that their monastery at Paris is of good repute and accounted throughout the realm the seminary of the virtuosi of the Sandalled Brotherhood.”
14 September, 1573. Paris. Italian.
pp. 691–2.
247. The Same to the Same.
… “The President of Torsi [Tours],who is curator-in-chief (fn. 1) here of the revenues of the Queen of Scotland, has of late been in England to render the Queen account of her affairs, and was allowed by the Queen of England to resort to and converse with his mistress freely enough. Now that he has returned, he tells me that the Queen sent me word by him, that, being thoroughly apprised of the Pope's good will towards her, and of the good offices that his ministers daily do for her liberation, she kisses his most holy feet, and is infinitely obliged to him. As to how her Majesty fares the President brings me pretty good tidings, saying that her confinement is so far relaxed that she is permitted to go to certain baths for the better preservation of her health. I have it also from him that all those that are kept in prison by the Queen of England on account of the Catholic religion have for some time past received rather better treatment.”
19 September, 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 703.
248. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul] to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “Marshal de Retz has returned from England and from Canterbury, where he had his audience of the Queen. The matters he discussed were, I understand, as follows:—
“He endeavoured to confirm the Queen in her purpose of abiding by the league already made with the French, about which there was some doubt, as it seemed that since St. Bartholomew's day the Queen of England had begun to be somewhat mistrustful of France.
“And as the English merchants by reason of their westward (sic) (fn. 2) trade are wont to resort either to the Polish port of Danzig or to the Muscovite port of St. Nicolas, the Marshal has treated with the Queen of England in the name of this King for the total abandonment by the English of the port of St. Nicolas and their exclusive resort to Danzig, alike for the benefit of the Polish nation as for the convenience of the English, the voyage being much shorter.
“Finally, the Marshal has treated of the marriage with the Duke of Alençon, of which I have written many times.
“As to the first matter, the league, the Queen has made answer that, though she might reasonably have doubts of the good faith of the French and the observance of their promises in view of what happened on St. Bartholomew's day, nevertheless she purposes to abide by the league and observe all her obligations.
“As to the other two matters, the Queen has told the Marshal that, as both are of great importance, she could not come to a decision without her Council, and (the Council not being at Canterbury) she must await their advice; and afterwards by a courier she would let the Most Christian King know her mind. It seemed, indeed, that she held out some hope of the restriction of the trade of her merchants to Danzig, and that as to the marriage she said that it would be much to her satisfaction if before going further the Duke of Alençon would come to England, that she might see him. (fn. 3)
“Great honours have been paid to the Marshal and all his train, and the Queen graciously accepted from him a timepiece that he presented to her, worth 2,000 crowns, and at his departure gave him four cups of gold, worth 1,000 crowns apiece, and some English geldings. And of his own accord the Marshal has agreed to purchase of the Vidame of Chartres, who is in England, 500,000 francs' worth of his property.
“While the Marshal was in England, the English ambassador resident here has, I am informed by persons worthy of credit, more than once given out that his nation can hardly trust the French, and in confirmation thereof has adduced certain articles which, he says, were proffered and subscribed by M. de Valence and young Lansac in Poland, but are still unfulfilled here, to their great dissatisfaction. Of these articles, such as they be, I send you enclosed a copy, knowing not whether they may have come to your knowledge by some other way or not.
“I send you also the declaration made to the articles sworn by the Most Christian King and the King of Poland, and a copy of the passport received from Germany, as Mgr. of Mondovi tells me that he has sent you neither writing. He is still here, and this morning has told me that he will write you fully by this ordinary.”
26 September, 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 404.
249. News Letter.
“In these parts we are not without trouble by reason of the prevalent sects, which have been ever on the increase. Some have gone by night and broken in pieces a crucifix of stone that stood outside Antwerp; and it is said that they also make some preachments in the woods; but they take the utmost precautions everywhere; and though they are ruthlessly punished, they will not desist. Six Anabaptists were taken of late in Tournay and burned there, also four in Cortrasi [Courtrai]; likewise in Ghent four women were beheaded and three men burned.
“In France, the course of affairs has been pretty prosperous for the Catholics. It is now understood that 3,000 foot and 3,000 horse from Germany are coming to the aid of the Huguenots; and from England his Catholic Majesty's ambassador at that Court writes (19th inst.) that 10 ensigns of soldiers, which may mean about 3,000, were being embarked for Normandy to land at the ports of Dieppe and Havre de Grace, and others were ready to embark. The said ambassador has done his utmost with the Protestants to induce them to disarm, as he has done on former occasions, but this time, it seems, he has not prevailed with the Queen and her Council; and it is said that about 15,000 foot are ready, among them numberless Scotsmen, and that they were going, some under the command of the Earl of Rutland, others under the Earl of Warwick, to wit, Milord Ambrose [Dudley], with, as his lieutenant, [Lord] Sydne[y], and as Camp Marshal, Milord Gr[e]i, Master Piclerin, with other lords for the rest of the commands; and it seems that part is to embark at the Rea [Rye] and other part at Portsmouth for the said two ports of Dieppe and Havre de Grace; the Queen, it is said, having furnished the Prince of Condé's men with a great sum of money, and received these two places in pawn, to remain, so say the English, in her hand until the surrender to her of Calais and repayment of the said loan. All which cannot, but cause great trouble to France. (fn. 4) They say that the King and Queen [Mother], being with the army on its march towards Normandy to repel this attack by the English, passed by Montalgis [Montargis], where the Duchess of Ferrara [Renée de France] is, and that she had a long conversation with the Queen Mother and the lords of the Council, and, it seems, she has undertaken to go to Orléans with a deputation of counsellors to treat of an accord with the Prince of Condé.
“Letters from Augsburg of the 3rd report that 1,000 horse and 3,000 foot, Germans, had crossed the Rhine to support the Huguenots.”
27 September. Brussels. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 726.
250. [Louis,] Cardinal of Lorraine to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
Owing to the King's preoccupation with the affairs of Poland, the Cardinal has not been able as yet to confer with him as to the action contemplated in the interests of the Prince of Scotland. He hopes, however, to take the matter in hand as soon as he joins the King at Fontainebleau, and will write word of all that passes. The business is very difficult and by no means hopeful; but they will see what can be done by the methods proposed by the Pope. One of the Cardinal's people has been sent to England to visit his niece, the Queen of Scotland, and has spent a whole month there in free and unrestricted converse with her. He has now returned, bringing most satisfactory tidings of her condition; and inter alia he affirms that she is most fervent in the holy faith and Catholic religion, though totally precluded from the practice thereof, having no means of hearing Mass. Could she but be allowed a priest, so that she might confess and communicate sometimes, she would find in her prison abundant liberty, but, to judge by the bearing of the Queen of England, there is no hope of such a favour being soon granted her. It is known that the Queen of England is making great military preparations with intent to get possession of the Prince's person and conquer the rest of Scotland; and in France no one moves except for his own particular interest; but nevertheless their Majesties promise to make every exertion to effect the liberation of the Queen, and perhaps some day she may be able to do his Holiness and the Holy Apostolic See some signal service, as she desires beyond measure to do.
29 September, 1573. Paris. Italian.


  • 1. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1572–74. pp. 344, 359, 374; Teulet, Papiers d'Etat relatifs à l'Histoire d'Ecosse (Bann. Club), vol. i., p. 734.
  • 2. ‘verso Ponente,’ where we should expect Levante.
  • 3. Cf. p. 136, infra.
  • 4. This document, which is dated merely 27 September, accords better with the expedition of 1562, than with any operations in 1573 or 1574. Cf. pp. 141–3, infra, and vol. i. of this Calendar, Preface.