Rome: August 1572

Pages 32-40

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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August 1572

vol. v. f. 83d.
60. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “I know that you are aware of the negotiation pending now for some months for the marriage of the King's third brother, the Duke of Alanson [Alençon], with the Queen of England, who has just bidden him to visit her, following almost exactly the course taken in the case of M. d'Anjou, which perchance for the like and other reasons will have the same result, although his servants are of another opinion, deeming (by what they say) that if it be agreed to settle a revenue of 300,000 ducats upon him in case he should survive the Queen, all the rest should go smoothly.”
1 August, 1572. Paris. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
Venet. vol. xii.
ff. 52–6.
61. [John Antony Facchinetti, ] Bishop of Nicastro, Legate at Venice to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“I am in receipt of your letter of the 26th of last month. The news of the order given by the Catholic King to Don John to proceed with the rest of the Fleet to the Levant gave so great satisfaction to all that their mind is made up, so that the Pope may now well await time and opportunity to bind the Emperor to the resolution of the League, especially since, if the Fleet should make some progress, the Signory would with all the more alacrity and firmness of purpose be bent upon war. The ambassadors send them word from Vienna that his Imperial Majesty, having got early tidings of Don John's going by a courier from Genoa, said to them that now the negotiation for his Majesty's accession to the League might be continued; and it is certain that the zealous offices of the Catholic King may be of great service. It is indeed true that the Emperor, as the Pope will have been apprised by Mgr. Dolfino, the nuncio, was mightily offended, deeming that a slight was put upon him by the tardiness of Don Pedro Zappata, who ought to have been here five months ago about the business of Finale.”
Decipher.—“The Emperor has just written a note to the Catholic King's ambassador resident at his Imperial Majesty's Court, so charged with resentment of the tardiness of Don Pedro Zappata, that some of the King's ministers here are disposed to suspect that his Imperial Majesty may have some understanding with the French in regard to Flemish affairs. It would be an easy matter for the Venetian Signory, Signor Sforza being at Zara, to essay once more the enterprise of Castelnuovo [Cattaro], but with better order, and a larger number of troops than they had before.”
2 August, 1572. Venice. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. v. f. 92d.
62. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [Late] Bishop [of S. Papoul] to [the Same].
… “It was also understood that his Catholic Majesty was in treaty to give a daughter to the son of the Emperor with, for dowry, the States of Flanders, which the French do not think very probable, and are by way of believing that the King of Spain is introducing this negotiation in order thereby to make more certain of the mind of the Emperor, as if those daughters had been born but to excite in the rest of the princes illusory expectations or rivalries, as befell as soon as ever there was talk of the marriage of the Queen of England with Monsieur, and they tried to put one of them in treaty for the said Monsieur and to keep both sides in rivalry.”
5 August, 1572. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xvii. f. 46.
63. [John Baptista Castagna,] Archbishop of Rossano, Nuncio in Spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“I am bidden by the King to say that the rout suffered by the Huguenots in Flanders is of more importance than is believed, because the most valiant captains of the Huguenots of France were there (fn. 1) slain or taken in great number; and if one considers it well, it will appear that its results are more to that King's advantage than to his; and if his Most Christian Majesty should desire to purge the realm of his enemies, now would be the time, because by means of a secret understanding on the part of that King with him, the Catholic King, it would be possible to destroy the rest, especially as the Admiral is at Paris, where the people are Catholic and devoted to their King, so that there he could readily, if he wished, rid himself of the Huguenots for ever; and his Catholic Majesty would employ all his force and power ever most loyally to deliver that realm and restore it to its pristine security and splendour, whereby there would also result safety for his own dominions; and it seems to his Majesty that it would be a good conjuncture if the Pope would endeavour to persuade his Majesty of France to this course, so that at one and the same time he might compass the deliverance of that realm from that pest, and reduce it to his obedience.
“By what I understand the Catholic King will not fail to make this same representation and overture to the Most Christian King; and the Duke of Alva has written to him, that, having killed so many enemies of that crown, he offers him all his forces for his deliverance from the rest; so that it seems that, if on his Holiness' part a like office were done, God perchance would be pleased to elicit from evil a great good, the more so that the said Most Christian King is at present armed and strong, and the Huguenots greatly inferior. This in substance is what his Majesty has communicated to me in regard of the affairs of France; and so I have seen fit to write to apprise the Pope of this his Majesty's mind, in order that, with better information to aid his most prudent judgment, he may decide as he may deem best.”
6 August, 1572. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. lxii.
vol. 33. ff. 134,
64. Thomas Harding, Charles Parker, William Allen, Richard Hall, Thomas Stapleton, Henry Joliffes, Giles Capel, Gilbert Burnford, William Tailer, Thomas Hide, Thomas Baley, Laurence Webb and Edmund Hargate to John Cardinal Moroni, Protector of England.
Enclosing a letter to the Pope praying him to undertake by means not indicated the reduction of England to the unity of the Catholic Church, and craving the Cardinal's good offices in aid of the petition.
10 August, 1572. Louvain. Latin.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. v. f. 101.
65. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “I showed the ambassador of Scotland what you write me as to the affairs of the Queen, his mistress, whereat he evinced great satisfaction, returning infinite thanks to his Holiness.”
18 August, 1572. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xv. f. 38.
66. [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como to [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain.
… “I know that his Catholic Majesty and all the Court are in expectancy to learn the decision of his Holiness as to the dispensation that is craved by France for the marriage of M. de Vendôme (fn. 2) with the sister of the Most Christian King. And as the Pope has already made up his mind as to his duty in this case after consulting the theologians and canonists and other experts in these matters, and it is possible that the decision might there be otherwise reported than it is, I have resolved to advise you thereof, that, if need be, you may stand for the truth, which is that his Holiness, being, on the one hand, most resolute never to grant the dispensation, so long as there remain the impediments that to-day hamper it; and deeming, on the other hand, that it is not well to drive the Most Christian King to despair, has resolved to make a judicious compromise in this matter, authorizing his nuncio, Mgr. Salviati, to grant the said dispensation, subject to three conditions: to wit, first, that the said M. de Vendôme crave it himself, and that also with great urgency; secondly, that he abjure and abhor in the hands of the nuncio himself all the heresies and false opinions that he has hitherto held, and make and confirm with oath the profession of the Catholic faith according to the form sent him from hence; thirdly, that he contract and solemnize the said marriage according to the rite of the Holy Roman Church.”
22 August, 1572. [Rome.] Draft for cipher.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xii. f. 73d.
67. John Antony Facchinetti, Bishop of Nicastro, Legate at Venice to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “His Holiness will do well to consider whether, to cheer his Imperial Majesty, it might be to the purpose to find out whether in the event of his son Prince Ernest not being elected King of Poland, he might marry the Queen of Scotland with for dowry the realm of England, because if the Emperor and the Most Christian and Catholic Kings were all, for their particular interests, to concur in such a convention, the realm would be acquired speedily and without difficulty, to the incredible advantage of Christendom and the Catholic religion, seeing that the disturbances in Flanders are chiefly fomented by the present Queen of England, and heresy has no greater base than in that realm, that Queen being the chief enemy of the Catholics.”
23 August, 1572. Venice. Italian.
Pub. Rec. Off.
Arch. di
Stato di
Carte Farnes.
Fasc. 186.
68. Guido Lolgi to [Alexander] Cardinal Farnese.
“Were I able to give you a complete account of the doing of this execution upon the Huguenots in this Court, and how such a decision came to be taken, and whence it originated, I would do so, but as my information is confined to the effect, and is not complete even as to that, I have no more to say but that yesterday this city had the appearance of a city that is being sacked; for after the Admiral Châtillon and a good number of other principal men of the sect had been slain, the soldiers of the King's guard betook them to the houses of the Huguenots resident in Paris, killing those whom they had in view, and taking what they would of their goods, leaving the rest as a prey to the baser sort of the citizens.
“The affair went pretty briskly on till towards evening: the night, it seems, passed without any robbery. This morning in some parts some houses have been sacked, but they are few, and some few have been killed, and some taken prisoners. The affair began in the morning, very early, at the Louvre, where those that were with the King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé were turned out and put to the sword and arquebus fire. Among them were Piles, Bricmor [Bricquemault], (fn. 3) and several others of the bravest, of which sort several more were killed at the Admiral's lodging, where M. de Guise went to do the execution.
“Afterwards Monsieur and the said M. [de Guise] went to the Faubourg of St. Germain to take Montgomery, the Vidame of Sciartros [Chartres], Colombier and others; but as they found the gates of the place closed, and were losing time in opening them, many betook them to crossing in boats, whereby so much delay ensued that Montgomery, and the rest that lodged in the said Faubourg, had time to take to flight, pursued a long way by Monsieur and M. de Guise: however, at last they distanced their pursuers so far that they resolved to return, and so last night they did. La Rosciafucaule [sic Rochefoucauld], who lodged near the Admiral, was killed with his young son. Téligny, the Admiral's son-in-law, was also despatched not far off. There is still some hope that Montgomery may have been taken by his pursuers.
“This brave resolution of the King to deliver himself and his realm from such a pest has thrown every one into a state of stupefaction; and it is doubted whether it was premeditated, or a sudden idea suggested by some accident. This is known for certain, that the Admiral having been wounded two days before by an arquebus shot, the Huguenots spread the rumour that, if the King should not do them justice thereof, they would do it themselves any how and in any place they could, even though it were necessary to do it in the presence and in the very arms of the King, hinting at M. de Guise; insomuch that as these madmen said, even so they would have machinated some villainy; and the King, being forewarned thereof, resolved to forestall them, keeping them all in his power to such good purpose. It is said that just before he gave order for the operation he sent for the King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé, and that he so keeps them that they are not at liberty, either by reason of some plot to which they are found to be accessory, or for his own security against them; and because, as I have said, some hold that the Huguenots had made a plot. As to the truth of this, and of some other particulars, that are added, we shall day by day have more light.
“It is certain that if the Admiral had been killed by the arquebus shot that he received, the Huguenots would hardly have allowed themselves to be caught in the net, because of the suspicion they would have taken—I mean if the Admiral had been killed at once—but seeing that afterward the King by all the offices of affection that could be imagined not only gave it to be understood that there was no reason to think that he had been consentient thereto, but made as if he was mightily displeased thereat, they were thus reassured. So it was for the best that he was not hit athwart the body, as, it is supposed, was the aim of the man that shot him; but it chanced that just as the piece was being discharged the Admiral, for some reason or another, stopped, whereas the assailant had thought he would have gone on walking, and so the hand of one arm, and the arm of the other hand received the shot; whereof, nevertheless, it is supposed that he died. He that fired mounted forthwith a very fleet horse in the Cloister of S. Germain, opposite which was the house from which he had discharged the arquebus.
“This is all that I have to tell you as to this matter, the bruit of which will set many cities upon doing the like and much more, insomuch that it may be hoped that henceforth there will be no more heard of this accursed sect. So grant it God, whom I ever pray to preserve you. Most humbly I kiss your hands, not omitting to tell you that M. de Montmorenci was at Equan when the Admiral was hit, and was not here when the said execution took place; nor, I think, were his brothers summoned to the execution, by reason of their relationship—of blood, not of spirit.”
25 August, 1572. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xv. f. 48.
69. [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como to [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain.
“As there is nothing to-day that weighs so much upon his Holiness as his solicitude to draw the Christian princes into league against their common enemy, the Turk, so he will not omit to do all that he deems necessary to bring this business to the desired end, to the glory of God and the weal of Christendom. And as it is now a year since for this purpose Cardinal Commendone was sent as legate to the Emperor, and his Holiness has just given him instructions that, as soon as the election of the new King of Poland shall be accomplished, which, by what we understand, will be on 8 Sept., he is to return to the Imperial Court, there to remain until all this business shall have been finished; it has seemed to his Holiness expedient and necessary to send yet another legate to France, that thereby his Most Christian Majesty may see that the Pope is regardful of him, as of the other Christian princes, and from the employment of such a personage may realize how much it imports the common weal, and how much it also concerns the particular interests of his Majesty, that he should enter this league, his Holiness hoping that, by means of the honourable terms which he will propose, it may be possible to overcome all the difficulties which have hitherto prevented the King from entering it. To which end his Holiness has deemed the choice of Cardinal Orsino very proper.”
29 August, 1572. Rome. Italian. Draft.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xv. f. 53.
70. [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como to [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain.
… “Next Wednesday, 3 Sept., the cross will be given to the legate for France, and on the day following, or, at the latest, the next day thereafter, he will start by the demi-post and will do all his diligence to arrive as soon as may be at the Court of his Most Christian Majesty.” …
31 August, 1572. Rome. Italian. Draft.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xvi. ff. 31–45.
71. Nicholas [Ormanetto], Bishop of Padua, [Nuncio in Spain] to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“On Sunday the 24th inst., towards evening, the King gave an audience, at which, after Mgr. of Rossano had presented me to his Majesty with some words very appropriate to the occasion, I, without delay, after briefly premising what is wont to be said at these first interviews, proceeded to explain to his Majesty the reason that prompted the Pope to send me hither. I began with the business of maintaining the peace and the good understanding between his Majesty and the King of France, setting forth the reasonable apprehension which his Holiness had conceived of some risk, or beginning, of rupture by reason of the disturbed condition of Flanders, and the great ruin that would result therefrom to Christendom; which was the occasion of his sending Mgr. Salviati to France and me hither. I touched on the reason why my departure from Rome was subsequent to that of Salviati; and premising the satisfaction and confidence which the Pope derived from the good and sincere disposition of his Catholic Majesty, hitherto manifest, towards peace and cordial friendship with the King of France and all other Christian princes, I exhorted and besought him in the name of his Holiness to abide and persevere therein.
“I also touched in its place on the matrimonial affair exactly as it stands in my instructions.
“I then entered on the business of the fleet, intimating the great displeasure felt by the Pope at the letter written to Don John for the recall of the fleet, by reason of the many evil consequences that might result from so severe a wound inflicted upon the League, and the general well-being of all Christendom, and that his Holiness, by reason of the great importance of this matter, deemed that it should be to me as main an object as the other: and as in this particular his Majesty had already done almost all that he need by the order given, now so many days since, to Don John to join the fleet of the Confederates, I thanked his Majesty therefor, commending this holy resolution, and failed not also to exhort and beseech him to send to the said Don John the remainder of the ships that were kept back, the more plainly to signify his purpose to maintain the League, and to afford therein as much satisfaction as possible to the Pope. I also submitted to his Majesty's consideration the advantage that would accrue to the affairs of the League if Don John should be authorised by his Majesty to tarry this winter in the ports of the Levant, should it seem good to him and the Confederates.
“This I craved not absolutely in his Holiness' name for lack of express commission; but by virtue of the general commission to propose all such expedients as might subserve this holy enterprise, and of the good understanding that I was to maintain with the Venetian ambassadors, who insist thereon, I took this via media of submitting this point for consideration and explaining upon many grounds the advantage that may result from this resolution. I concluded by urging him to send a man express to the Emperor to accelerate his accession to the League, dilating on the great consequence to the League of the acquisition of so much additional energy and support.
“His Majesty replied in few words that he kissed his Holiness' feet many times for the favour that he had done him in sending to apprise him of all these matters, as to which, so important as they are, he would speedily give him his well-weighed answer. …
“The next day we went to Cardinal Spinosa, to whom I explained all that I had said to the King, commending to his attention these matters, of such importance to Christendom, which so weighed upon the Pope's mind, saying that I was indeed certain that he must have them much at heart by reason alike of his piety and of what was to be expected of one that holds so high a position in the Church of God, and of the known uniform tenor of his action on all occasions to the present hour. His lordship replied in terms so indicative of the utmost readiness to aid in this and all other exigencies that they could not be bettered; and as to the peace with the King of France he went on to say that he would wager his head that there would never be breach thereof by his Catholic Majesty save under compulsion: nay, that he would be intent by all means to keep peace and amity with that Crown, so closely connected as it is with this in blood, mentioning the two daughters of the late Queen [Elizabeth], the [Most Christian] King's sister as two pledges. He did not indeed fail to note signs that boded ill for friendship, and untoward procedures on the part of France, e.g., in sending soldiers from France into Flanders to the injury of the Catholic King, intimating that on that side, not on this, there was need of more care: as to which he got a satisfactory reply from Mgr. of Rossano, who in these matters has done his part to excellent purpose. He [Spinosa] spoke also about the League, excusing the King for sending Don John orders to tarry by instancing the case of those that see their own house afire, and are more concerned to deal with that emergency than to prevent their neighbour's from burning; and yet, he said, for all these troubles in Flanders the King had resolved to send the fleet to the Levant; as to which matter he discoursed copiously and convincingly to the effect that the King would maintain the League, in the hope that God in His goodness would aid him in these his straits, as the cause of His Divine Majesty was the occasion of all these enterprises; adding that the King is concerned about these movements in Flanders not so much for reasons of state as because of the loss which they entail to religion, for which he is minded ever to risk not only his substance and his States, but his life.”…
31 August, 1572. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. ff. 138,
72. News Letter.
… “In Ireland some places have rebelled against the Queen, for which reason she has recalled all her subjects that were in the service of our rebels, making, we understand, pretence to his Catholic Majesty and the Duke of Alva of having believed that her said subjects were in his said Majesty's service and not that of the rebels, and that that was her reason for recalling them.”
31 August, 1 September, 1572. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.


  • 1. i.e. before Mons, which Genlis was attempting to relieve. Cf. p. 51 infra. For the sequel at Paris, see p. 36 infra.
  • 2. Henry of Navarre.
  • 3. Cf. Lettres de Catherine de Médicis (Docc. Inédd. sur l'Hist. de France), vol. iv. 118.