Rome: July 1572

Pages 19-32

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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July 1572

Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm. ii.
vol. 100.
(Polit. 99.)
f. 193.
43. Sir Thomas Stucley to Philip II, King of Spain: Offer of Service.
In primis with your Majesty's aid, and that very slight, I make bold to pledge myself to reduce all the realm of Ireland to your Majesty's obedience; and I engage to quarter all the people that may be with me, as soon as I disembark, in excellent ports, cities and towns, and within forty days to set there a Viceroy in your Majesty's name, and establish him as firmly as in Naples, Sicily, or any other of your Majesty's dominions.
Item, my Lord Dacres offers for the hire of 6,000 soldiers, 1,000 being foreign arquebusiers, in six months to wrest the kingdom [of England] from the pretended [Queen], or at least to wrest from her, despite all her forces, the six following provinces, to wit, Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, and Lancashire, and make of them a safe refuge and, as it were, a realm free and independent, whither all the Catholics of England may repair, and ever abide at your Majesty's obedience and service.
“Whereby it is clear that the pretended [Queen] of England and the King of France will be compelled to withdraw and turn against me and my Lord Dacres all the forces which they keep in these parts [the Netherlands]; and assured as we are of our superiority, we already know that we shall at least bring them to accept the terms that we shall desire and your Majesty dictate.
“And for pledge hereof, and of our obligation to accomplish all that is proposed, I will leave my son, and my Lord Dacres will leave his brother, who is here, as hostages, that it may so be done to them as your Majesty shall command, should we not faithfully do as aforesaid.
“And these enterprises of Ireland and the North of England are neither difficult nor costly; and it would be safe, and at your Majesty's option, to go about them openly or secretly, in your own name or that of another, as of his Holiness, in execution of his sentence. (fn. 1) But if your Majesty desires to be more energetic and carry it out all at once, and make a complete conquest, then the expense will be much greater, and a much greater force and armament will be required; and in that case, methinks, the occupation in the first instance of the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and [Sout] Hampton would be of capital importance, because these places are in that part of England where there are many Catholics, and where, better than in any other part, the rest can come to their aid from all parts of the realm, and whither succours can more speedily arrive from your Majesty's lands. I engage to take all three places at a stroke in a single night, and in less than twelve hours; and from thence to London is not a two days' journey, and one can march straight upon the city.
“Methinks that any one of these operations demands that one set about doing something at once and make no mistake about the cause of all the evil, to wit, the pretended [Queen] of England, for cessante causa cessant effectus, and the cause remaining, there will never lack worse consequences; and as the people in your Majesty's Low Countries are ready to harbour her rebels, so, neither more nor less, the peoples of Ireland, Scotland and England are ready and on the look-out for the timely arrival of your Majesty's succours.
“Whereby is manifest the remedy which your Majesty can in an instant apply to all the mischief, as did Scipio Africanus, who by the same device forthwith drew Hannibal from Italy, and overthrew him that menaced that empire with ruin, against the judgment of Fabius Maximus, who conducted the war in a dilatory fashion and at great cost, fostering perpetual fear at home, and the serpent, as the proverb is, in the bosom.
“Thus I have done because so I was bidden by your Majesty, in whose service, had I a thousand lives, I would gladly spend and sacrifice them all, in this or any other enterprises in which your Majesty might be pleased to put me to the proof.”
[July, 1572. Louvain.] Spanish. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm. ii.
vol. 100.
Polit. (99).
ff. 203 et seq.
44. [Sir Thomas Stucley] to —.
“Discontent is, as I have heretofore said, so general among all the peoples in these States that I fear it will be many a day before they revert to their wonted tranquillity; for, including even the ecclesiastics of all sorts, they are so irritated that it seems to them that it would be safer to stake their fortunes upon one hazard by closing with the terms that might be offered them by the heretics than to live in continual suspicion and dread of perpetual servitude.
“Here in Louvain, the most Catholic and best affected place in all the country, I may say that there were not even two men who would have had the will and the courage, as true men and loyal vassals, to side with their king when some days since there was a rumour that a garrison of Spaniards or Walloons was to be sent hither, but all the town was in revolt about it.
“A great chastisement of God is this without doubt for the sins of the peoples, and our Lord grant that it fall not for the most part on his Majesty, who alone had the power, and so many good opportunities, of destroying the enemies of God in that realm of England, wherein are the roots of all these evils, to his Majesty's great dishonour, to his and his vassals' loss, and the enhancement of the enemies' great insolence, pomp and profit; profit, I say, because I know for certain that the enemy not only lures the King into these embarrassments at little cost, but also reaps infinite gain thereby, coming in for her part in all the spoils and great depredations.
“I mean that his Majesty would more speedily and at much less cost terminate all this if he grappled very seriously with the cause of it all, more speedily, I say, than if he should be minded merely to recover his own and leave the enemy to live in peace, for cessante causa cessant effectus, and, contrariwise, while he allows such evil causes to exist, he will ever experience worse effects.
“All those of us that know most are at one in thinking that much less will suffice for this enterprise than many suppose, and that as the people here are ready to harbour her rebels, so the people there in England, particularly in the North, are prepared to admit any one who should come in the cause of the Catholic faith.
“And for this service there volunteers, as I have already said, my Lord Dacres, a nobleman so sage, powerful and zealous in this cause of God that all credit should readily be given him; nor does he ask for more than six months' pay for 6,000 soldiers at 2 reals per man per day, and that of this number 1,000 may be foreign arquebusiers.
“With them, and some store of munitions, he would in fair weather make the passage from Holland or Friesland to the intended place in the North of England in twenty-four hours; and in the course of the next few days he would collect more than 14,000 fighting men, ay, and their pay, though the King would pay but the 6,000 as aforesaid.
“And with this force he is very confident that within the said six months he will wrest the realm from the pretended[Queen], or at any rate wrest from her for the space of a year, and despite all her forces, the six following provinces, to wit, Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire and Lancashire; nay, he might perhaps with this force alone keep them for many a year and make them a safe refuge and as it were a free kingdom, to which all the Catholics of England might repair.
“His brother will remain as hostage for the performance of all that is proposed, and that the said moneys be not given to him, but be placed in the hands of whoso shall be appointed by his Majesty to see that they are employed in manner aforesaid.
“And as these matters cannot well be explained on paper, it would be well that his Majesty should direct the Duke of Medina Celi to call before him the said Lord Dacres to justify and expound in detail his entire scheme.
“On a former occasion I wrote that, if the scheme should appear too big, my Lord Dacres likewise offers, for the pay of 600 horse, with them to compel the enemy to spend six times as much, and keep them always too busy to think of aught else, inasmuch as my Lord Dacres has all the border country, and even the outlaws thereof to the number of 3,000 horse, more at his service than at any other's, and besides he would have the assistance of all those of the Queen of Scotland's faction that are in the neighbourhood, nor would he lack friends in plenty in England; and having pay for his party to the number aforesaid, he would guarantee as many more troops as would suffice to effect his purpose.
“My Lord Dacres is also very desirous that your Lordship should be employed in Ireland, because those parts of the North of England in which are his forces are near to Ireland, and therefore he would gladly join with your Lordship in some good enterprise.
“The bill which was passed by the Parliament of England against the Queen of Scotland has been revoked by the pretended [Queen] at Montmorency's intercession, (fn. 2) for which reason the Catholics there begin to be well affected towards her and the French party.
“M. Jan Lis [Genlis] has been in England to crave succour for Montz [Mons in Hainaut], which was refused in public; but nevertheless secret orders were issued that 4,000 soldiers should forthwith be put in fighting trim with for their colonel Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and hold themselves in readiness day by day for disembarkation either in Zealand or in Holland or on the coast of Flanders.
“From Antwerp comes intelligence, though this I affirm not for certain, that many Englishmen have come to Flushing under the command of John Haquines [Hawkins] and Winter. If it be true that Winter is in command of them, it plainly appears that the pretended [Queen] is resolved no longer to shroud her movements in clouds: they carry much powder and iron balls.
“Other four great ships have arrived at Bruges in Blank[en]berg[he], and there are many conjectures, but as yet it is not known whence they are.”
[July, 1572.] Louvain. Spanish. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Misc. Arm. ii.
vol. 100.
(Polit. 99.)
f. 197.
45. Memorial for the King of Spain.
“It seems that nothing can happen to check the accomplishment by our Lord the King of the designs upon Ireland and England, unless the King of France in close alliance with that Queen should make war upon us openly: for at present, though he makes war covertly, yet he permits us more latitude for the affairs of Flanders than if he should unequivocally make war. This is the main point which most needs to be made good.
“And therefore it must be assumed that the King of France lacks moneys to warrant his undertaking a war of such importance. And his realm is split into factions of religion, so that if he were to make open war, there might be a fresh crop of abundant troubles; the more so as there are animosities between the grandees of France and of his Council, which it is by no means easy to allay, such as those of the Guises and Montmorency. Also the King is by nature given rather to pleasures than to military exercises, nor in that respect is there much difference between him and his brother, the Duke of Anjou, though the Duke had commands in the late wars against the Prince of Condé and the Admiral [Châtillon]. The Duke of Alençon is still a youth; and though the Queen Mother, in whose hands is now, so to speak, all the administration of affairs, seems to have come to terms with the factions of Montmorency and Châtillon, and to have been as active as any in plotting the disturbances in the Netherlands, it is not credible that she should welcome with a good courage the burden which a rupture with our Lord the King would lay upon her, aware as she is of the perils in which France stood in the battle of St. Laurence. (fn. 3)
“It might be supposed that they would get money from England, but in that country there is little to spare for such wars, and upon the least disturbance arising in that island or Ireland they would have no means of getting any money there.
“Likewise it might be apprehended that the Turk might furnish them with money, as some suppose that he has just now done, to pay the troops that Count Louis [of Nassau] led to Flanders; but it is not the wont of those barbarians to give money, especially in great quantity.
“‘Then,’ some will say, ‘is the King of France to suffer our Lord the King to possess himself of England and Ireland or of one of those countries? Nay, rather than that this should happen, it would seem that he ought to take all that his vassals possess, will they nill they, and not allow so great a prince to make himself master of realms so great and important—to the ruin of France.’ As to this, it is said that these wars of England and Ireland must needs be of brief duration, because there are neither fortresses to take nor mountains nor perilous passes to cross. The troops disembarked, the struggle is wont to be short in these islands, as is manifest by all the wars that have occurred in them.
“As Ireland as well as England is concerned there would be especial reason to begin in the name of the Pope. As regards Ireland it is manifest that it must be so done, seeing that the island is within the Pope's jurisdiction, and he alone has the power to dispose of it, and upon him falls the burden of recovering it from the power of the heretics, especially at a time when in that country they so rigorously oppress the Catholics, who have recourse with such piteous appeals to the feet of his Holiness.
“The same reasoning is valid as to England, seeing that there is the same and even greater persecution there than in Ireland; and such as was never yet seen perpetrated by any heretic prince; for they are minded to eradicate the Catholic worship by edicts and the last resources of violence, enacting to that end most ruthless laws, each containing an express repudiation of the authority of the Apostolic See; to which it accordingly belongs to seek a remedy for such grievous evils and give the island security in the service of God by a temperate government, making an end of the depredations that they perpetrate on all the world, and dispersing the horde of malefactors, apostates, heretics, rebels, robbers and pirates; so that it would be for our Lord the King to undertake this enterprise at the instance of his Holiness, notified by ambassages and a special brief; and given such a title, it would seem that the King of France would not dare to make it a casus belli, for the Apostolic See is respected in France.
“Our Lord the King might give the King of France an assurance that he would not abide in possession of the State of England, and might by proper methods convince him that he was willing that the enterprise should be conducted to the end aforesaid, and as a matter pertaining to the Apostolic See.
“And the Emperor, the King of Portugal, the Republics of Venice, Genoa and Lucca, the Dukes of Savoy, Lorraine, Florence, Ferrara and Mantua might, at the instigation of the Apostolic See, by identical arguments at the time of the campaign be instant with the King [of France] to keep quiet; and likewise his Majesty might communicate with those Swiss Cantons that are Catholic, that they, and through them their associate Cantons, if at that time the King of France should be minded to raise troops among them to harass the States of our Lord the King, or impede the said enterprise, might, being notified thereof, hinder it: and the like might be done by the Princes Electors Ecclesiastical at the instance of the Pope.
“All such exhortations would have to be made when the enterprise was already on our part begun, and just then the Guises might be apprised by his [Catholic] Majesty that, this war being for the liberation of the Queen of Scotland, they would do well to use their influence in France to keep the King quiet until the campaign should be ended. And if the King of France should, neither for admonitions nor for entreaties, nor for any other good reasons see fit to keep quiet, but must needs make war, such, it is supposed, would be the celerity with which our operations would be conducted as that they would either be finished, or at least be in a position very advantageous or advanced, before he would be able to check them with sufficient forces; nor should I deem the transference of the French war to England, a country hostile to the French, a great misfortune admitting of no counterpoise; nor is the power of that King now such that he could hurt us both there [in England] and in Flanders, so that we should gain the advantage of diverting his attention to a quarter where he might more easily be routed, considering the deep-rooted antipathy which there is between the French and English nations.
“The King of France would also have reason to fear that if he withdrew many soldiers from his realm, some disaster would result therefrom, our Lord the King being beyond dispute stronger in the Mediterranean Sea, and able with little difficulty to make himself so in the Ocean, which would render our victory certain, and assure us of the preservation of our conquest.
“And furthermore I say that the course now taken by the French of perturbing the Low Countries, arming our own rebels, and sending thither French troops in the guise of disbanded men who go without their King's cognizance, is worse and more disastrous to our Lord the King than open war with them would be, for in open war all men run the hazard of loss and gain, whereas the French by their procedure cannot lose and have the chance of infinite gain. And were it but that they compel our Lord the King to spend so much money without France being at the hazard of a fortress, it is a matter very prejudicial to us; and the long continuance of this artifice of the French could not but be very disastrous to our Lord the King's affairs, for at last the French, seeing him to be harassed and without money, and the Low Countries to be so distracted and ruined, even though neither they nor any of them should be lost, the French, I say, their treasury replenished, would at some very suitable conjuncture fall upon us, waging great wars in divers parts, while the Turk would in the meantime have recovered strength at sea.
“All which, it seems, would be prevented if our Lord the King should reduce England and Ireland to his obedience; and if the North be kept quiet, there is nothing to fear on any side from the French nor yet from the Turks.”
[June–July, 1572.] Spanish. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 90.
46. News Letter.
“By letters from Paris of the 27th of last month we understand that the King had set out from Madrid (fn. 4) to hunt the stag, finding nothing so little to his mind as making war, as it was rumoured he meant to do. They are expecting soon to see the solemnization of the marriage of the King of Navarre, who had already arrived at Tours and would be at Court all the month. The English Admiral had departed for England. The King had given him a silvergilt buffet, worth from 8,000 to 10,000 crowns and the Duke of Anjou had given him a hunting-horn all bedecked with pearls and jewels to the value of 2,000 crowns; so that what with the compliments and honours paid him in France and the presents which he has received, the Admiral departed very well satisfied, being attended by his Majesty's orders for part of the way by Marshal Cosé [Cossé] with more than 300 horse.”
2 July, 1572. Lyon. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxix. pp.
47. John [Delfino], Bishop of Torcello, Nuncio [to the Emperor] to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
Giving account of an audience of the Emperor on the preceding Saturday, in which the nuncio dilated on the solicitude of the Pope for the maintenance of peace between France and Spain, and the Emperor, after expressing cordial approval of the end in view, added that “nevertheless, as there lacked not many that sought to sow discord between brethren, there must be no relaxation of effort to maintain this good friendship, whereon depended the weal of Christendom, which being preserved, he hoped for a prosperous issue of the affairs of Flanders; in which regard he spoke of the arrival of the Duke of Medina Celi at Zealand with the loss of three or four ships burned by the Gueux; and how that he had with him about 3,000 Spaniards; and that the Prince of Orange, with money gotten from the Queen of England, was enlisting cavalry to the number, it was said, of 10, 000, but it was not believed that there were so many; that the Admiral [Châtillon] was collecting other 2,000 to succour the rebels; and that the Landgraves of Hesse had forbidden their subjects to enter the service of the Duke of Alva, and had also prevented others that were minded to enter it from passing through their country; and that the Elector of Saxony was said to have done the like; but this he knew not for certain.”
7 July, 1572. Vienna. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxix. p. 41.
48. John [Delfino], Bishop of Torcello, Nuncio to the Emperor to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “This will be merely to tell you that to-day by the Flanders ordinary we are certified that the Duke of Medina Celi has arrived with little more than 1, 500 Spaniards, and with extreme peril and the loss of 4 or 5 ships by the knavery of some pilots, who are responsible for the death and capture of many Spanish gentlemen, and other leaders who were aboard, with a great quantity of artillery and munitions of war; and that the fleet of Portugal of about 27 ships, all except three that were saved and three that were burned, has fallen into the clutches of the Gueux, whereby they have gotten extreme riches, as well in money as in merchandise, estimated at about 2,000, 000 of gold; which capture, besides the loss that will be felt by merchants without number, will facilitate the prolongation by the enemy of the war. We also learn that the Duke of Alva is making ready to address himself to the recovery of Mons before he attempt aught by sea.
“His Majesty has the gout in both feet, but is not so incommoded by it as to be unable to attend to business.”
8 July, 1572. Vienna. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. xliv.
vol. 21. f. 89.
No. 129.
49. Pope Gregory XIII to Philip II, Catholic King of the Spains.
Commending John Neville, Englishman, now for three years an exile for the faith, to the charitable consideration of the King.
9 July, 1572. St. Mark's. Rome. Latin.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 98.
50. News Letter.
… “M. Montmorenci has returned from England: he is one of those who will on no account consent to war with Spain.”
12 July, 1572. Paris. Italian. Copy.
Vat Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxix. p. 84.
51. News Letter.
… “The Duke of Alva was collecting all his forces for the siege of Mons; whither he had sent his son Don Frederic with part of the army, by whom, it was understood, 2, 500 English and Huguenots of other sorts, that were marching to the relief of Mons, had been routed; but this intelligence is deemed doubtful. We also understand that the Count of Nassau's occupation, is not satisfactory to the citizens of Mons; and it is thought at last that some treaty has been made against him which has no chance of leaking out, especially since we cannot as yet be certain that France is in touch with it, albeit there is much sending of persons to and fro between France and England, which is in touch with it.
“The three regiments of the Catholic King were still on their march through Flanders for the neighbourhood of Trier and Köln.
“At last we have learned for certain that the Duke of Norfort [Norfolk] has been beheaded, and that the Queen of Scotland is in consequence in great peril.”
12 July, 1572. Augsburg. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xvii. ff.
25, 26.
Ibid. N.S.
vol. v. f. 63d.
Borgh. I.
vol. 607. ff.
Corsini Palace,
33. E. 15. f. 327.
52. John Baptista Castagna, Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “Intelligence is to hand that the third brother of the Prince of Orange has entered Flanders on another side towards Germany, and has been received by some towns, and by others repulsed. And albeit thereby it seems that the rising has not all energy that the rebels hoped and flattered themselves it would have, yet it cannot but occasion much perturbation and anxiety. May God set hand thereto, and grant his Holiness long and prosperous life and to you all happiness. With a little bit of cipher.”
12 July, 1572. Madrid. Italian. Original and copies.
—“The matter of importance is that here it is suspected that, though the King of France would be loath to involve himself in a war with so powerful a king [as Philip], nevertheless he is trying to amuse the Huguenots (as also England and the rebels of Flanders) with hopes, and perhaps shutting his eyes, that they may with all possible secrecy get men et cetera from his dominions, and that thereafter he may shape his policy according to the progress they may make; and that in like manner he is not at any rate disinclined to amuse the Turk also, who would fain see a check given to the League; and this mode of proceeding is deemed most perilous and unlikely to be long undiscovered, because the same Huguenots that will give the King of France to understand that the transactions are secret will be fain and solicitous that they should be discovered here, in order that by all means a rupture may ensue, because wars and jars make in their favour; and therefore this King is making ready might and main for action.”
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 100.
53. News Letter.
“Some days ago there arrived at Flushing some English vessels with about 1, 500 or more English and French foot soldiers; but as they were not admitted by the people of the fortress they went to Chiusa [Sluys ?] and took Erlinghen, where they fortified themselves, but the Duke of Alva sent thither the Count of Reus [Reulx] to dislodge them.”
14 July, 1572. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. v. ff. 60d.–62.
54. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [Late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Philip] Cardinal Buon- Compagno.
“From the Levant there came on the 13th a gentleman of the pretended Bishop of Axe [sic Dax (fn. 5) ], the King's ambassador to the Turk, and forthwith it was rumoured that he had leave to speak in Constantinople with the Bailo (fn. 6) whenever he so required, having put the negotiation for peace between the Venetians and the Turk upon an excellent footing. At Court, as they feign not to have yet read the letters or spoken with the man, one can get no light on any thing; but for all that I have it from an authentic source that Mgr. d'Axe was sent to the Turk as being among the King's ministers much in the confidence of the Venetians; that in Constantinople with the consent of the Turk he had thrice spoken on business with the Bailo, and that there had been discourse of the conditions to be observed by the Venetians if the Turk should restore Cyprus, it seeming equitable to both parties that the fortresses should be dismantled, the Venetians to be bound to keep them so, and to pay a very substantial tribute. And as it seemed to me that both the resolution to move the fleet, and what little further insight is afforded by the arrival of this man of Mgr. d'Axe ought as soon as possible to be communicated to the Pope, I have determined to despatch an express courier, observing, as indicative of peace, that no considerable provision of money is being made, and that their Majesties are profuse in their assurances of peace, but yet doubting thereof, by reason of the conferences which go on all day long with the English ambassadors, with those desirous of war and with the Admiral, to whom the King sent the letters from Constantinople as soon as he had read them.
“It is difficult here to make out in detail the course of affairs in Flanders. We are daily supplied by the Huguenots with intelligence to their advantage, while the Catholics concern themselves little with the matter; and from the country itself letters are hardly to be had by reason of the prohibitions issued by the Duke of Alva, who takes the utmost care to prevent people from writing; so that one must judge by many external signs which show that to-day they are fighting in Flanders with extremely small forces on either side, both being aware that they need more help, the Duke of Alva straining every nerve to get the Walloons and Germans that he has bidden levy, and the rebels to induce the King of France to say when it will be possible for him to raise all the Huguenots, and some Germans, in their interest, and to get accommodation from the Queen of England, persuading her to lend moneys and furnish troops upon securities, and the promise of some neighbouring island; and already it is understood by what has fallen from the lips of the English ambassador resident here that she has lent Count Louis [of Nassau] 300, 000 crowns, receiving in pawn part of the jewels taken from the fleet of Portugal (fn. 7); and that in Flushing there is an English captain with 200 infantry.
“When the Admiral of England came here to swear the peace on the part of the Queen, you must know that the ceremonies took place in church and according to the fashion of the Catholics, and when MM. de Montmorenci and Fois [Foix] went to England to do the like in the name of the King, it is said that prayers were chanted and ceremonies performed in celebration of the act after the Huguenot fashion; for the rest the treatment they met with was flattering in the extreme: they and the four hundred horse they had with them were entertained at the public expense in all parts of the realm; Montmorenci was presented with a cup of gold worth 2,000 crowns, a buffet worth 6,000 crowns, six jennets and the Order of the Garter, and Fois with a buffet worth 1,500 crowns….
“Notwithstanding all the misfortunes of the Queen of Scotland, here still in residence has remained her ambassador, a person of great diligence who won the favour of the Pope's predecessors, having been found to be serviceable; and he, desiring and hoping the same favour of his Holiness, has besought me to write to that effect, that he may be able to command me to be with him and ever to say what may be necessary to the King and Queen, and to whomsoever else it shall be expedient, on his behalf, in regard whereto I will conform to the instructions that I shall receive from you.”
16 July, 1572. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxix. f. 57.
55. John Delfino, Bishop of Torcello, Nuncio at the Imperial Court to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“I have it from a pretty good source, though it is very hard to believe, that the ambassador of Florence, that is in France, has with moneys of the Grand Duke of Tuscany furnished the Huguenots with aid for their operations in Flanders, and that, as soon as intelligence came of the capture of Mons and Valenciennes, Signor Giovanni Galeazzo Fregoso quitted France for Germany incognito with two horses upon a mission from the said Grand Duke to offer certain German princes money to join forces with the Prince of Orange against the Catholic King in Flanders. I have not been able to learn further particulars; but if it be true, I doubt not that the Pope will find it confirmed through another channel, nor shall I fail to be on the alert, although in these parts it is with the utmost difficulty that one can get intelligence, this nation being by nature far from communicative and very suspicious, and, what is more important, infected with heresies. However, I shall not fail to use all diligence, though it seems impossible that this news can be true, considering the proposals and moneys that the Grand Duke is said to have sent to the Duke of Alva.”
16 July, 1572. [Vienna.] Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. iii. ff. 5–6.
56. [Vincent Lauri, Bishop of Mondovi,] Nuncio at Turin to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“The day before yesterday there arrived here Signor Antonio Tiepoli sent by the Signory of Venice to Spain; and the day following came Signor Giovanni Michele, (fn. 8) with both of whom I have discussed current affairs at length. I have gathered that Tiepoli's mission is to express resentment and to endeavour to keep the League intact, and obtain some aid for the present year, and that the other is to try to keep France and Spain at peace; and in default to see if by means of that crown [of France], he cannot obtain an adjustment of the differences between his Republic and the Turk. Now since, on account of the ill feeling that subsists between these two kings, there is more reason to apprehend a rupture than to hope for a good accord, it would be well with the utmost possible diligence to obviate the manifest peril that threatens all Christendom, to say nothing of Italy; and it seems that no readier and more opportune remedy can at present be found than the marriage of a daughter of Spain to Monsieur, the brother of the Most Christian King. All the difficulty consists in the question of the dowry, because Spain would never readily consent to the alienation of any of her States.
“No hope therefore remains but in the acquisition of some kingdom, which, if it were at a distance and under some powerful prince, such as the Turk, would afford France no satisfaction whatever by reason not only of the uncertainty of acquiring it but also of the difficulty of keeping it when acquired. It would therefore be necessary to propose the acquisition of a neighbouring country, provided the enterprise were not difficult of accomplishment, as perchance would be the case of England, which, besides that it is under an heretical Princess, held in little account by her vassals, and already deprived of the realm by Pius V, of holy memory, finds herself, by what we learn from a good source, in this plight: i.e. two-thirds of the nobility desire to live Catholically; there is neither cavalry nor any fortress of consequence in the country, which so far as the record of past events extends, was never attacked by any Prince with any show of just title who failed to occupy it; and in this regard it suffices to instance in ancient times the Bastard of Normandy, and in those of more recent memory King Henry VII, who with but slight aid from the King of France in a little while made himself master of that island without much difficulty.
“Add to this, that the Pope may justly invest any prince he will with the said island by reason as well of heresy as of the said deprivation by Pius V, and also because the said island is under the jurisdiction of the Apostolic See; so that, if his Holiness should condescend to invest alike the said Monsieur and the Princess of Spain, so that in the event of the husband dying without heir the wife should remain mistress and Queen, he would deprive the Catholic King of all occasion of suspicion. Nor would the Catholic King have ground for jealousy in regard of this new aggrandisement of the House of France, knowing, as he does, very well by the example of the houses of Burgundy and Bourbon, both of the blood royal of France, that the Princes of that blood, being, as a rule, actuated partly by their own interest, and partly by envy and hope, are wont, when they are neighbours, to be opposed to France, to aim at the acquisition of that realm, and by consequence to impair rather than to augment the strength of France; for which reason some sagacious persons have deemed that Charles V, of most happy memory, would gladly, pursuant to the accord already made, (fn. 9) have given the Duke of Orléans (had he lived) his daughter to wife, with the State of Flanders, to throw France into discord, as, save that kingdom, he had no longer any obstacle to the prosperous course of his affairs.
“As to France, the government of the realm being in the hands of the Queen Mother and Monsieur, her son, it will be easy by their means to persuade the King to engage in this enterprise; for the King also should desire it, in order to provide for his brother outside of the realm; and though he has of late concluded the defensive league with England, he may still find an excuse [for being false to it] in that as a Catholic prince he ought in no wise to have intelligence with infidels and heretics; but the difficulty is how to remove from one side and the other all suspicion of deception.
“The result of the conclusion of this accord would be that the arms of both these most powerful kings would be turned against the heretics: the conflagration that is still growing in Flanders, which, without the privy collusion of the French, would be but a blaze of straw, would be put out, and there would be little difficulty in detaching France from her friendship with the Turk, and inducing her to join the Holy League; whereby his Catholic Majesty, freed from suspicion in regard to France, would be able at one and the same time to furnish the aids necessary for the design against England, and to fulfil his obligation to the League, to the general advantage of Christendom, not to say of Italy.
“From the German heretics there would be little to fear; because those princes have no more money than suffices to protect themselves one from another; and unless they were hired by the pay of these two kings, they would be scarce able to set foot out of Germany; and the English would have trouble enough to keep the soldiers of that kingdom in pay. And by the like and other remedies it is confidently to be expected that the Pope with his great prudence, authority and immense reputation, graven in the minds of all men from the beginning of his most auspicious pontificate, would bring true grandeur, peace and tranquillity to Holy Church and all Christendom.
“I would not neglect with due humility to submit all this to your consideration by reason of the concern that I am bound to have for the public weal and the Pope's service, albeit I am sure you understand what is necessary for the weal of Christendom much better than I could conceive, not to say utter it.
“I reverently kiss your hand.”
16 July, 1572. [Turin ?] Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. lxii.
vol. 33. ff. 130–
57. Giles Capel, Canon of Wells, Gilbert Burnford, Chancellor of Wells, John Martial, S.T.B., late Undermaster. of Winchester of College to Pope Gregory XIII.
Craving relief as exiles for the faith and in extreme necessity. Enclosed in letter to Cardinal Moroni.
17 July, 1572. Louvain. Latin. Copies.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. v. f. 67d.
58. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [Late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Philip] Cardinal Buoncompagno.
… “Since Montmorenci's return from England three couriers have been despatched thither; and the Admiral (fn. 10) would fain induce the Queen to declare herself by exciting in her a desire for one of the islands between Flanders and England, negotiating rather as of his own accord than giving her to think that he is entirely cognizant of the mind of the King, and failing not to make use of his opportunities, and to get as deep into affairs as he possibly can: and the other evening the King, saying that he was minded to retire to rest, and already undressing to go to bed, as soon as the attendants were gone, entered the Admiral's room, and remained there with him tête á tête for a very long time.”
21 July, 1572. Paris. Italian.
vol. cclxxxiii.
p. 39.
59. [Philip] Cardinal Buoncompagno to [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France.
… “The Pope desires that favour be shown by you in his Holiness' name to the Queen of Scotland in her every need, as in the time of Pius V, of holy memory; and so, whenever you shall be solicited by the said Queen's ambassador, you will not fail to exert yourself with the same zeal and diligence as in the affairs of his Holiness himself.”
28 July, 1572. Italian. Draft.


  • 1. i.e. the sentence of deprivation promulgated by Pope Pius V. It is evident, however, that this paper was written after the league between England and France had made itself felt in the Netherlands, i.e., in the pontificate of Pope Gregory XIII, the sentence of deprivation being treated as his by inheritance.
  • 2. The bill was passed by Parliament on 26 June, 1572. It would seem that the proposal was that Mary should be treated as an English peeress in the event of any infraction by her of the laws of England. See Lords' Journals, i. 717, 723. Commons' Journals, i. 102. Cobbett, Parl. Hist i. 779.
  • 3. i.e. the rout of the French at St. Quentin on St. Laurence's day, 10 Aug., 1557. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1553–8, p. 327.
  • 4. Cf. pp. 10, 13 supra.
  • 5. François de Noailles, formerly ambassador at Venice. Cf. Lettres de Catherine de Médicis (Docc. Inédd. sur l'Hist. de France), vol. iv. p. 62.
  • 6. The Venetian ambassador at the Porte bore this title.
  • 7. Cf. p. 26 supra.
  • 8. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Venetian, 1558–80, p. 460.
  • 9. i.e. the peace of Crépi, 17 Sept., 1544. The Duke of Orléans died on 8 Sept., 1545.
  • 10. Cf. pp. 23, 28 supra.