Rome: November 1572

Pages 64-71

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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November 1572

Vat. Lib.
Urb. lat.
1043. f. 174.
108. News Letter.
… “We have had no letters from London for a fortnight, though we usually get them in ten days; and it is already rumoured that the Queen of England is dead, and that many of those by whom she was governed are cast into prison; but as to this we shall soon know the truth.”
2 Nov., 1572. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. cclxxxiii.
p. 123.
109. [Ptolemy Galli, Cardinal of Como] to [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late Bishop of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France.
… “Likewise his Holiness approves the offices done with the Nuncio of Spain and at that Court on behalf of the Queen of Scotland, whose interest and welfare the Pope desires you to have at heart, and to omit no opportunity of being of service to her Majesty in her sore afflictions and calamities; which fresh instruction you may communicate to the Queen's ambassador.”
3 Nov., 1572. Rome. Italian. Draft.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. v. f. 250.
110. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late Bishop of S. Papoul,] Nuncio in France to Ptolemy Galli, Cardinal of Como.
… “The Queen of England is understood to be equipping 45 ships; and it is supposed that they are for the merchant service, and that they have a larger complement of seamen than is usual to secure them against the corsairs.
“The Duke of Alva has sent the King word that Casimir (fn. 1) was arming; and that, unless it be for the King's service, or with his knowledge, it must without doubt be with intent to do him a mischief.
“As to all these matters I have sought to get speech of some of the great personages of the Court who know the inwardness of things: I refer to Count de Res' [Retz'] visit to the Count Palatine, to the ships that are being armed in England, and the troops that Casimir is raising: and therein I have succeeded. The person with whom I conversed has told me frankly that the King's affairs will take the very course that he desires; that if Count de Res, who knows all the business, were not sure that the facilities desired by his Majesty are to be had from the Palatine, and also his friendship, he would not have undertaken the journey, and run the risk of losing in the eyes of the world that reputation which he has acquired for wisdom, prudence and ability in the negotiation of great matters; and also that by the last letters from England the King is reassured as to the Queen's disposition towards him, and that the ambassador that is expected to arrive in 20 days, to succeed the other English ambassador that was resident here for so many years, bears commissions of a kind to satisfy his Majesty in all respects: however, he denied that Casimir was arming, making out that this was an invention of Spaniards bent on estranging the King from the Protestants in view of the gain that may result to France, and the loss that may be averted from her, if the King keep on good terms with the Protestants, which is displeasing to the Spaniards, seeing that they account whatever is beneficial to France as hurtful to them, and whatever damages her as profitable to them; besides which, he will have it that they are somewhat suspicious of what might befall Flanders, as it is known that the Prince of Orange is quartering 4,000 horse for the winter in the places that he holds in Gelderland; which points to a renewal of the war next season, and this is to be dreaded on account of the German support that the Prince has, and the aid which the Spaniards are always apt to think he might receive from France so long as she remain at peace and without civil strife.”
4 Nov., 1572. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 177d.
111. News Letter.
… “Letters are to hand from England of the 28th of last month, which contain no news save that many refugees from Flanders constantly enter that realm.”
8 Nov., 1572. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xvi. f. 157.
Ibid. f. 159.
112. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“In regard to the arrangements proposed as to that marriage of one of the daughters of this King with M. d'Anjou I will omit no means of persuading his Majesty to embrace one of them; but I deem the matter difficult of accomplishment. As to the first they have already adroitly intimated as much to me both by Zayas and by Antonio Perez, when English affairs were talked of. As to the second one can judge by the expressions ever used and repeated when the marriage has been mentioned; i.e. arrangements that concern the public weal being proposed, the demand of particular States belonging to this King will be interpreted as a matter of private interest. And should his Catholic Majesty conceive that the County of Burgundy would be a State sufficient to satisfy the desire of the King of France, perchance there might be some hope; but it is to be suspected that with this encouragement they [the French] would ever enlarge their hopes and thoughts; and there have been so many rows and wars in times past about these claims to Burgundy and the Low Countries, which the Emperor, of happy memory, would never cede, that there is the less reason to hope that this King will do so, now that he enjoys that tranquillity in his affairs which is the result of their re-adjustment upon the basis of the last peace made with King Henry. However, as you say, though great affairs, and especially those of great Princes and States are wont to present difficulties, yet one must not give them up, for God many a time comes to their aid for the public weal and the salvation of souls: and therefore, despite my own judgment, I shall not fail vigorously to carry out whatever instructions I may receive: one should never neglect to cast the seed upon the land, that it may bear its fruit in due season…
“It is surprising that the nuncio of France has never said aught to me about the legate, neither that he was to go, nor that he has been stopped, nec ullum quidem verbum unquam de ipso. Among other reasons that may have prompted the King to this stoppage, it has occurred to me that the Queen, being a blood relation of Mgr. Salviati, may have taken it amiss that, so soon after the arrival of Salviati in France, there should have been sent after him a legate to take the business out of his hands and supersede him. I say not that this my surmise is worth taking account of; but I shall never fail to write what occurs to me, and in truth it has seemed to me strange that the nuncio, writing to me as he does, has never said a word about the legate.”
12 Nov., 1572. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. Germ.
vol. lxix. p. 229.
113. [John Delfino,] Bishop of Torcello, [Nuncio at the Imperial court] to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “By letters from Flanders of the 26th of last month we learn that [the Prince of] Orange, as I wrote you by my former letters, has retreated towards Zealand, and that his brother, Count Louis [of Nassau], was in Gelderland in the County of Zutphen, whither the Duke of Alva was marching, having disbanded the Reiters with the intention of completing the victory, at his leisure, with the infantry; that the Queen of England had recalled all her subjects that had gone to Flanders to the help of the rebels, and that she had written to the said Duke that they had done so without her leave; also that the Spaniards had succoured one of those places that were short of victuals with 800 foot and a quantity of powder and other munitions.”
12 Nov., 1572. Vienna. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xvi. f.
168. 114. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to [the Same].
“I have spoken about the match between the daughter of this King and M. d'Anjou, and, as best God has inspired me, I have propounded the two arrangements. His Majesty listened, and said that these being matters of great importance, he would be glad of advice therein. I deem it a matter of great difficulty to accept either the one or the other. As to the first I have already written; as to the second, Princes are not disposed to dismember their States, particularly their ancient and hereditary States; and I cannot but suspect that there is no mind to go further. The seed is sown; one must now till the land, and we shall see what fruit it will bear. As to the first arrangement, I perceive the difficulty of at one and the same time making the conquest and attending to the affairs of the League, the more so, that matters have not as yet assumed an altogether peaceful complexion in France and Flanders.
“I take also into account the question of justice, to wit, whether we should oust the rights of the reversioner of that kingdom, i.e. the rights of Scotland, and give it to another that has nought to do with it. I fear that if neither of these arrangements should commend itself to his Catholic Majesty, the affair will drag on under the pretext that no express negative should be given; and to this I think it will be well to advert, that the legate in France may not miss the opportunity of doing what good he may, by awaiting this decision. There shall be no failure to press the matter, and in a little while we shall know by the answers we get what is to be hoped. His Majesty here is well pleased that on all accounts nothing should be left undone to draw his Most Christian Majesty into the League, and estrange him from the Turk; believing that, should he join us, the accession of the Emperor will thereby be greatly facilitated.”
15 Nov., 1572. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol., xvi. f. 172
115. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio Spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como. “His Catholic Majesty has to-day by Secretary Antonio Perez given me to understand that, by the courier that departs to-night for Germany and will leave at Genoa the despatches for Rome, order is sent to Don John to tarry in Sicily, there, with all speed, to provide for all the needs of the fleet, and make all necessary preparations for war; and that by our courier will go a duplicate of the despatch treating with greater particularity of all matters, and of the preparations, in making which no possible effort is to be spared, and orders are to be given to his Majesty's servants, that to this end they fail not to execute all the commands of the said Don John; and (I am informed) that this is to be the answer to my two principal points, to wit, touching the equipment of the fleet and the person, i.e., Don John [to command it]; and that the day after to-morrow the courier will be despatched with the duplicate and other matters pertaining to this business, which courier will have no difficulty in reaching Rome before this letter. Thanks be to God for this speedy despatch, prompted by the good will of his Catholic Majesty, in whom I have observed, now as ever, a very good disposition, and readiness to make every exertion for this holy enterprise.”
16 Nov., 1572. Madrid. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. v. f. 272
116. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [the same].
… “It was said the other day that the Governor (fn. 2) of the Prince of Scotland was dead, which report emanated from the house of the English ambassador, there being no letters to that effect either to the Scottish ambassador, or to any other whom the matter might interest. Should it prove true, there would be ground rather to hope some good than to apprehend evil, seeing that from being a Catholic when he was assigned to the prince by the Queen, his mother, he had turned Huguenot and had taken the Queen of England's side, far from friendly though she is, for all her blood relationship, to his mistress, the Queen of Scotland.
“The Queen of England, we understand, has had the smallpox, and has prorogued the meeting of the Estates to the 12th of January next.”
16 Nov., 1572. Paris. Italian.
Vat. arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xvi.
ff. 178d–80
117. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to [the same].
“Yesterday evening Secretary Zayas was with me, and told me that by his Catholic Majesty's orders he was to learn from me all that I had said to his Majesty at the Pardo (fn. 3) in regard to England I therefore repeated to him all that I had said to his Majesty as to the first proposed matrimonial arrangement; whereupon he replied that one must take care to do no injustice to the Queen of Scotland, the rightful successor to the realm of England; and that to take it from her, to give it to another, would be to do her grievous injustice, especially as she is so Catholic, and has suffered so much for the true religion, which, perhaps, I did not know. I told him all the grounds upon which this arrangement was proposed, and that as to the pretensions of the Queen of Scotland, I had heard enough of them while I was in England and since; but that I had also understood that the English averred that by the laws of their realm, as the Queen of Scotland was born out of England and was thus a foreigner, she could not succeed; but that I was ready to learn the truth, being none too well informed of the matter. Whereto he replied that the Catholic King knew her pretensions, and that as to her inability to inherit the realm by reason of her foreign birth, that is what the English are wont to say, but it is without foundation. Whence it is in every way manifest that there is no inclination towards this arrangement; and they take this way of giving me to understand that they will never openly exclude M. d'Anjou.
“Here there has been talk of M. d'Anjou aspiring to the realm of Poland. I know not but it would be well to await the result of this matter, because it would be necessary to take some other method of managing these negotiations if the election should fall upon him.”
18 Nov., 1572. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Epp. Greg.
xiii. Lib. i.
f. 379.
118. Pope Gregory XIII to Philip II, King of the Spains.
Commending to his charitable regard two English exiles for the faith, Thomas Copley and John Gage, who are in extreme destitution, the former being a married man with six children.
19 Nov., 1572. Rome. Latin. Draft.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xvi.
f. 187.
119. Nicholas Ormanetto, Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“I conferred again with his Majesty on the two matrimonial arrangements proposed by the Pope. As to the former, that of England, we had some discourse; and his Majesty said to me, that as touching the facility of the undertaking one must have regard to the fact that all the Catholics desire the Queen of Scotland, both as being a Catholic and as having the first claim to the succession to the crown; and that no substitute would have their favour; and without an understanding with folk in the kingdom the enterprise would be too difficult. He also showed that he had not forgotten the other arrangement, repeating in substance all that he had said to me about it; but he was without any settled policy.”
20 Nov., 1572. [Madrid.] Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. v.
ff. 275d, 277
120. [Antonio Maria] Salviati [late] Bishop of s. PapouL, Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “I Have done the office that you bade me with the Scottish ambassador, renewing my offer of aid in the service of the Queen, his mistress, and have certified him that he shall ever have all possible aid and favour on the part of the Pope…
“The Queen of England is to be invited to be godmother at the baptism of the daughter born to his Majesty.”
21 Nov., 1572. Paris. Italian.
ff. 280–1.
121. [Flavio] Cardinal Orsino, Legate to France to [the Same].
“From Avignon and Lyon I gave you account of all that had befallen me to that time, and of the journey. By this I purpose to tell you of my arrival at Paris, which was not until the day before yesterday, the 22nd inst., which was later than might have been and than I desired, because by the very same gentleman that was sent to meet me by the King I was purposely, and by his Majesty's orders, kept back until that day precisely. Here I have found neither his Majesty nor the Queen Mother, nor, by what I am given to understand, will they be here until next Friday. I had little mind to enter Paris in state; but as the people desired it and were very instant for it, rather than give occasion for disturbance and dissatisfaction, I allowed myself to be persuaded to do so.
“Immediately upon my arrival a letter from you of the 2nd inst. was delivered to me by the nuncio, and yesterday there came one of the 3rd inst. by the ordinary….
“Your first letter gives me the impression that the Pope supposes that since my departure from Rome affairs have daily improved in France and been restored to a condition in which his Majesty may be at rest in mind; and that consequently one may hope that negotiation will be easier. Now, being here, I deem it is in every sense meet and opportune that the Pope should receive more recent or at least more certain information as to the state of affairs here.
“His Holiness must know, then, that not only, since I have been in this kingdom, does there seem to be no such improvement, but both by that which, more closely in the places in which I have stayed, and on the journey, I have observed, and by that which I have found here, I deem that there yet remains much to be done before matters can be restored to a condition in which his Majesty may be free from anxiety. In Languedoc and the neighbouring countries, many places are held by this accursed sect, and some are of no small importance. Not far from here, and—whereat I marvel, yet more—in the heart of the kingdom [they hold] likewise a place [Sancerre] of no little importance. La Rochelle, which they deem of more consequence than you suppose, not only holds out no hope, for all the pains expended upon it, of a disposition to submit, but has begun to take the offensive, has captured in these seas a galley from the King's people, hoisted, by what they say, the ensign of England, and so remodelled her Government as to enable her to make a more united resistance, and shows, in fine, in common with the other places aforesaid so stout a courage that, though the extirpation of the chiefs seems and is a feat of the utmost importance, it nevertheless seems on the other hand impossible to extirpate the remainder, at any rate without notable difficulty and delay, particularly as there is no certitude that they have not assurance or at least hope of foreign aid; so that if one is without reasonable warrant for affirming that there is an end of the anxiety that occasioned their Majesties' reluctance, to say no more, and averseness to receive a legate, especially considering that of which he came to treat, I see not how it should have been replaced by any likelihood of bringing this crown into the League, especially as the League is fraught with consequences which carry the mind beyond this year. This same consideration applies, I think, to the matrimonial alliance.”
24 Nov., 1572. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. lat.
1043. f. 180d.
122. News Letter.
“There is bad news from France, for it seems that at that Court everything goes as the Huguenots would have it, but the French will not let it be seen.
“It is understood that the Queen of England is sending one of the first personages in the kingdom to be present at the wedding of the King's sister; but here it is surmised that he goes to treat of some vexatious matter.”
24 Nov., 1572. Rome. Italian. Copy.


  • 1. John Casimir, Count Palatine, second son of Frederic III, Elector Palatine.
  • 2. The Earl of Mar.
  • 3. Philip's hunting-box a few miles north of Madrid.