Rome: January 1573

Pages 80-86

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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January 1573

Documents of Uncertain Date.
1573 ?
Vat. Lib.
Lat. 2366.
f. 219.
136. English Exiles to Pope [Gregory XIII].
“Representing the reduction of England to the bosom of the the Church as now less difficult to accomplish than in the time of Pope Pius IV, inasmuch as all attempts to break the spirit of the Catholics have failed, and the Tridentine Decrees have arrested the progress of the Reformation in France and Scotland.
“Suggesting as the means to be employed the Ridolfian remedy of a general suspension by the Catholic powers of commercial and diplomatic intercourse with the country pending the admission by the Queen of a nuncio accredited by the Pope and approved by the princes. If reconverted the country would be no less beholden to the Pope than to his predecessor, Gregory the Great, who converted it from Paganism.”
[1573?] Latin. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. lxiv.
vol. 28. f. 164.
137. [Sir Richard Shelley] to Pope [Gregory XIII].
Scheme for the reduction of England to the obedience of the Holy See by the good offices of the Catholic King, with whom the Queen has recently made an “accord,” and the subsequent marriage of the Queen to some near kinsman, e.g. Lord Charles, (fn. 1) brother of the late King of Scotland.
[1573 ?]


Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 7.
138. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “In La Rochelle there is neither chieftain nor warrior that has much authority with the rest; succours from the Queen of England are manifestly at present not to be had; not all that are there are resolved to brave the extremity of peril to satisfy a few that, to make what belongs to others their own and busy themselves with piracy, as they have ever done in former wars, are fain of perpetual garboils; to whom, moreover, great offers do not and will not fail to be made, as well that the place may be recovered by the readiest means, as also that Monsieur, to whom has been committed the charge of the enterprise, may have the more credit.”
5 Jan., 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. lxii.
vol. 33. f. 138.
139. Edmund Tanner to [John] Cardinal Moroni.
Though provided by Cardinal Borromeo with a canonry at Milan, he yearns to return to Ireland to minister to the souls that there “sit in darkness and the shadow of death;” and encouraged by Moroni's previous kindness, he craves his good offices to that end.
6 Jan., 1573. Milan. Latin.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 197.
140. News Letter.
“It is understood that Monsieur, the King's brother, was making ready to go to the assault on La Rochelle, as the place held out obstinately, and that all the needful arrangements were now made; and that the other brother of the King was to go to Sancerre to assault that place also. It is said that the folk in La Rochelle had armed some ships whereby to make their escape if they should find that they could not hold out, as they had resolved to do to the best of their power, perchance because they expected some succour from the Queen of England, though she sought by all means in her power to make believe to the contrary.”
10 Jan., 1573. Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 199.
141. News Letter.
“Three days ago there passed by Flushing some corsair ships that came from England flying the Spanish colours, and the better to cloak it the folk of Flushing, who understood the treachery, made a feint of cannonading them, firing in the air; and when they came to Middelburg, purposing by this device to raise a rebellion there, M. de Beauvois, who is governor there, having discovered it, caused them to be cannonaded in such a sort that they hastily withdrew, and made a descent in the neighbourhood of Bergas [Bergen-op-Zoom], landing artillery and men, and after sacking some unfortified places they re-embarked.”
13 Jan., 1573. Brussels. Spanish. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi.
pp. 14–16, 20.
142. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop of S. Papoul, Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “The Cardinal of Lorraine, having been at Gianli [Joinville] to see his mother before coming to Court, did not arrive until the 12th. He had no speech of Cardinal Orsino, as Orsino had already made up his mind to depart on the following morning, and had made all arrangements to that end, so that he could not tarry longer without inconvenience to himself and all his suite. The evening after Lorraine's arrival passed so as to facilitate his purpose, because Lorraine, having dismounted in the King's palace and being almost all the time with his Majesty, could not visit Orsino, and he (Orsino) was loath to return to the King's palace after taking leave of his Majesty, and for no other purpose than to pay a mere visit, as all business of more importance had been already brought to a point at which there was no longer any good result to hope for, as I was also informed to-day by Lorraine when I went to do him reverence. As to his stay here, he spoke in a sort that showed that he purposes that it shall be brief, which accords with some gossip that I have heard on the part of those that enter the King's Council chamber, to wit, that Lorraine, being much suspect to the Queen of England, might, if he tarried at Court, do harm by the umbrage that she would take; and in truth, apart from Lorraine's particular case as being one that involves many other considerations, I tell you that the Queen of England must be more than ordinarily apprehensive of machinations by the Pope to her disadvantage, because, while Cardinal Orsino was here, his actions were observed by the servants of England so closely that there was no degree of impertinence from which they shrunk, so that even on the very last morning, when he was about to mount his horse, an Englishman, secretary to the embassy, lingered long in his ante-chamber, accompanied us to Mass (although a Huguenot), remained throughout on his knees, and then returned to the ante-chamber. This I observed and reported to the Cardinal to his astonishment that inquisitiveness and fear should reach a point at which matters of no relevance are considered note-worthy….
“The Scottish ambassador seems to be in great anxiety, having received intelligence from Scotland of some edicts made at the instance of the Queen of England against the Catholics with intent to drive them out of the realm, as to which he had speech of the Queen, and I, happening to be present, thought her Majesty made no account of what he said, nay, I saw that she was rather impatient.”
14 Jan., 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 28.
143. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop of S. Papoul, Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“There has returned from England one of the ambassador's (fn. 2) suite, who brings tidings that the man deputed to assist at the baptism of the King's daughter had embarked, and will be here within a few days; he brings also confirmation of the ambassador at present resident at this Court, notwithstanding that he desires nothing more than to quit it. Which ambassador is so full of suspicion—not to say that it is of his Queen's engendering—that for some days past he has sent and received all despatches by express messengers, nor yet are they of the meanest sort.”
19 Jan., 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 200.
144. News Letter.
“They say that the Queen of England gives audience to the Catholics more readily than was her wont; and that on the day of the Kings (fn. 3) she made her Milord Robert Duke of Lancaster (sic) and her Secretary Cecil Marquis of Cambux (sic), and that she had relaxed the imprisonment of the Queen of Scotland: also that seven Jesuits of the north of Scotland are working miracles and converting many under the protection of a great lord of those parts.”
20 Jan., 1573. Brussels. Spanish. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vii.
pp. 12–13.
145. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “I spoke [to the King] of the Queen of Scotland, and his Majesty answered me in these words:—‘Write to his Holiness what you know of our mind towards the Queen of Scotland,’ i.e. that his Majesty has told me by word of mouth several times, and also sent me word by his secretaries that the Pope should learn from me in writing the consideration that should be had for this holy lady, who has suffered and still suffers so much for the Catholic religion; nor have I neglected to write thereof. This action has been prompted by the Scottish ambassador in France, who has his suspicions that the Duke of Alva is making peace with the pretended Queen of England, and therefore bestirs himself to this purpose. And I have already written to you apprising you that Mgr. Salviati was instant with me that I should do this office with the King here, and of the answer that I gave the said Mgr.; and his Catholic Majesty has told me that his ambassador in France has written as much to him.”
24 Jan., 1573. Madrid. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vii.
pp. 15–19.
146. “I have spoken to the King in regard to the defensive league between him and the King of France in accordance with what you wrote me by your letter of 20 Nov. His Majesty told me that for his part he will never fail to do whatever shall be for the service of God and the well-being of Christendom; but that it behoves us to be on our guard lest we thereby draw upon us the heretic princes of Germany, who will become very suspicious, and construe the defensive as offensive, and the move as made against them. I answered that, as things stand in France and Flanders, the object for which the League is being made is patent to everyone, to wit, that it is against those heretics that raise disturbances in those States. He rejoined: ‘I fear we shall cause a commotion and excite suspicions to no purpose, for I do not believe that France will consent to this League, as every thing is done on that side to evince a desire to abide by these friendships,’ adding: ‘See, they have invited the Queen of England to hold at the holy font the daughter that is just born to the Most Christian King; they have also invited my sister, the Empress, but if she shall know of this company, I do not think she will be present at this baptism. The Pope may make that attempt, but I have deemed I should not omit to lay this consideration before his Holiness.’
“I have also adverted again to the enterprise of England, upon occasion of the movements that we understand to have been initiated in Ireland, pointing out the ease with which the enterprise may be accomplished with the army in being in Flanders and the good understanding which we have with the Catholics of the kingdom. His Majesty evinced a desire to undertake this enterprise with great zeal while there is good hope thereof; and he is in the right, for he will never restore peace in Flanders until he remove this obstacle from which France also has suffered, besides that the result will be the salvation of so many souls. But he fears that France may take action to thwart the enterprise for the rivalry that is betwixt States.
“I answered that the French are now occupied with their own affairs; and he rejoined that he thinks they would be more apt to attend to this than to any other matter; but that he will see how affairs go in Flanders, where they are not as yet well settled; and that he will not fail to ponder the matter carefully. I said that in this matter prompt action is to be contemplated, because it is evident that the Queen of England is taking steps to be rid of all the Catholics, and there is reason to be apprehensive about the life of the Queen of Scotland, and that there is a rumour that the said Queen of England is straining every nerve to get the young King of Scotland into her hands; so that, if this lady be allowed time, she will so settle and establish her affairs that it will be very difficult to give effect to this enterprise when one would fain do so.
“There is no doubt that if the enterprise could be made jointly by France and Spain, it would be more likely to succeed; and so much was acknowledged by his Catholic Majesty; but to maintain this union will be no easy matter, unless it should be resolved to make the enterprise by M. d'Anjou, as has been already thought of; but, for my part, I am of opinion that the Catholic King might yet make it unaided; nor do I think that France would be discontented, if the crown should fall to the Queen of Scotland, whose interests are so closely connected with France. As to the match with M. d'Anjou, I marvel not that at the outset the Catholic King spoke with so much reserve, considering the nature of the affair and the manner in which negotiations are conducted here, and what is thought of the French method of procedure. But after pondering what the King said to me of late, I think there is no reason to deem the affair so desperate; and the fact is what I have already written, to wit, that his Catholic Majesty cannot enter upon this negotiation, or give an answer as to arrangements, until France craves of him his daughter; and that when meet arrangements are proposed, he will not fail to consider them, and make a proper answer; and that he is also well pleased that his Holiness should do those offices that beseem a common father in prompting France to make the offer of marriage and joining with him in the negotiation, in which, should difficulties arise, his Holiness might interpose to remove them and in aid of the business.
“All those that are well versed in affairs and zealous for the public weal deem that for the successful conduct of the negotiations it is essential that the Catholic King go to Flanders, considering that his presence would forthwith appease the disorders of that province, whereby it would be possible to enter at once upon the enterprise of England, and that proximity would facilitate the negotiation for bringing the Emperor into the League, and have the same influence upon the negotiations in France, besides compelling the Germans to put more restraint upon themselves. This journey was a matter considered by Pope Pius V, of holy memory, who strongly urged it here at the beginning of the disturbances in Flanders, but without success. They also assign the cause which then prevented the King from going, a cause which no longer exists. I believe that this journey would be opportune for the reasons which weighed with the person aforesaid [i.e. Pope Pius V], were it not that one must take into consideration the suspicion that might be aroused in England and among the Germans by this move.
“I would not omit to write thus much, leaving it to his Holiness to decide as he may see fit: as regards the League the proper time would be this year, but, should it not be possible to induce the Emperor to enter it at present, some other time would serve for the journey. I also deem it hard to believe that the Catholic King would make up his mind to move hence, for many reasons, which for the present I leave undiscussed.”
24 Jan., 1573. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 39.
147. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop of S. Papoul, Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “The Queen of England, I understand, was well on her way to some composition with the Duke of Alva.
“I see no sign of the appearance of her ambassador that was to come to the baptism, though I wrote the other day that a secretary of the ambassador of England, who had returned, announced that he had embarked. Signor Cam, who is here with commission from the Emperor for the same purpose, is in the last degree vexed by the delay, and has begun to evince his annoyance even to the King, and in all but discourteous terms.
“A certain M. Sore, a Frenchman, who has fled from France and joined the English corsairs, is understood to be now out with a number of vessels, and to have done much damage on the coasts of Brittany, and to be at the service of the people of La Rochelle, and able to afford them succour of victuals if they should need it.”
26 Jan., 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. lxii.
vol. 33. f. 144.
148. Richard Hall to [John] Cardinal Moroni.
Thanking him for having procured his designation to a canonry in the church of Cambrai, and craving his further good offices to secure him indisputable possession thereof.
28 Jan., 1573. S. Rictrude's Abbey, Marchiennes. [Flanders.] Latin.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 201.
149. News Letter.
“The gentleman sent by the Queen of England to France to hold the King's daughter at baptism has been attacked by the pirates, French, English and Flemish, who are at present in very great plenty in that sea, and have killed seven of his gentlemen and badly wounded ten. It was with great difficulty that he got safe into Boulogne. We now are expecting to see in what manner the slight respect in which they have held him will be resented, for they are fostered in her [i.e. the Queen of England's] ports.”
31 Jan., 1573. Antwerp. Italian. Copy.


  • 1. He married Elizabeth Cavendish, and was father of Lady Arabella Stuart.
  • 2. Cf. p. 86 infra.
  • 3. i.e. the Magi, 6 January.