Rome: February 1573

Pages 86-95

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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February 1573

Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 51.
150. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “To-day his Majesty's daughter has been baptized in the church of S. Germain, hard by the King's palace, in the presence of the English ambassador resident and the English Lord Vuestervellant [sic Worcester (fn. 1) ], who came express for the purpose. The ordinary ambassadors resident were summoned with the nuncio, who yesterday evening, when he received his Majesty's invitation, replied that as all such things were done in France by night and with tumult, and he had a cold, he saw not how he could be present without manifest risk of falling ill, as well by reason of the discomfort that one suffers in a crowd as of the hurt that the night air would do him, with which answer the gentleman, who brought the invitation, departed, saying nought in reply, and evincing no dissatisfaction.
“True, indeed, it is that, if I had not known that the English ambassadors were to be present, and that one of them was to be godfather, the cold would not have sufficed to prevent me from coming; but knowing the Queen of England to be a heretic and as such declared and excommunicated by the Church, I deemed it unmeet that a nuncio of his Holiness should by being present along with them at such a function seem to countenance the admission of the Queen of England by her ambassadors to such a spiritual function. Whereby also I should by my example have taught these people, who, moreover, are not the most zealous in the world, that one may freely consort with heretics, be present with them at their spiritual functions and without offence invite them to be godfathers, so that, when the priest says Quid venisti ad Ecclesiam petere, it may be theirs in the name of the child, who has not as yet the use of reason, to answer, Fidem, though they are rebels against it.
“The Cardinal of Lorraine has censured my conduct, showing himself slow to believe that I absented myself from the baptism by reason of the cold, but assuming that it was because of the English; and a little while ago by Signor Girolamo Gondi, who also came at the instance of the King and Queen to see if I would go, (fn. 2) he sent me word that my decision was ill advised; but that, as there were here three cardinals so illustrious as Bourbon, Guise and himself, it was my duty in such a case not to make up my mind without their counsel and opinion, but to consult him, for he would enable me to go. That they might not succeed in taking me by stratagem, and that the people might not see me in the streets or about the King's palace, my cold still served as excuse, and I have appointed to-morrow for my visit to the cardinal, if the cold shall permit: as to which I also thought that to go to the King's palace, whereby I should be compelled to tell them to their face that I was not minded to be present at the said solemnity, would be far worse than staying at home.
“In regard to what the Cardinal of Lorraine says, to wit, that, as there are cardinals here, it was my duty in such a case to confer with them, I recognize that what he says is true, were but the cardinals here such as you and some others of our Court, but as to whether I should go to a baptism at which English ambassadors are present, I should have deemed it great folly to ask counsel of French cardinals who had already resolved to go.
“It must be three days since, touching this baptism and the banquet which the King purposed to give, there conversed with me a great personage of the Court who was in perplexity about the questions of precedence that might arise, and from him I likewise learned that they meant to give a supper to all the ambassadors on this wise: the Emperor's ambassador and the two ambassadors of England and M. de Nemours, who represents the Duke of Savoy, to eat at the King's table, and all the rest at another table by themselves. Thereupon I let it be understood that I regard the inviting ambassadors of heretics to the solemnities as a sign that Catholics are not welcome; and that I disapprove this procedure on the part of France, where they violate the convenances, and vainly think to make us believe that they do so for reasons of State; and, likewise, I said that in my opinion it would be a great affront to the ambassadors that have precedence (fn. 3) of those of the Emperor, England and Savoy, if, being all at the same solemnity, and all invited by his Majesty, those of the Emperor, England and Savoy were set at his Majesty's table, and the rest made to eat at another table by themselves, adding that for myself, were there nought to prevent me from attending such a solemnity, and I went there, nothing that all France could do would make me eat at a lower table while the ambassadors that are wont to sit below me ate at that of the King. Nor were my words spoken altogether in vain, for they have had this effect, that as to the invitation to the supper a change has been made: i.e. only the ambassador of the Emperor, the newly arrived Englishman and M. de Nemours are invited, and the rest have returned to their quarters without an invitation. If by thus bearing myself I have acted to his Holiness' satisfaction, I thank God that He has inspired me to do my duty; if otherwise, may the Pope at least do me the grace, and you the favour, to attribute all to my extreme zeal to be of good service; and you may rely upon it that I have not thereby made myself odious to their Majesties or incensed them against me, as those that are fain of an excuse for censuring my conduct will find occasion to say, whom may God pardon their error, and endow with a just, good and discreet spirit.
“The order of the procession to the church was as follows:—
“From the Louvre to the church of S. Germain all the way was decorated with tapestry.
“The King at four o'clock in the afternoon, having summoned many nobles, sent Marquis d'Humena [du Maine] to call the Emperor's ambassador, and Marquis d'Elbeuf and M. d'Antraga [Entragues], to do the like office for the Englishman and the Duke of Nemours.
“When they were all assembled in the King's Chamber, the three Cardinals of Lorraine, Bourbon and Guise went forth to betake them to the church, vested in their pontifical copes and attended by four bishops, those of Paris, Sisteron, Digne and Senlis.
“The German guards also began to put themselves in motion. And then followed many of the nobility with lighted torches.
“The officers of the King's household, the hundred Gentlemen of the Guard, and the ambassadors of Venice, Scotland, England and Spain.
“A great number of musicians and players on divers sorts of instruments, and the King's heralds.
“Marquis d'Elbeuf bore the wax candle.
“Marquis d'Humena [du Maine] bore the cushion and a cloth to cover the girl's head.
“The little son of the Duke of Nemours with the little brothers of the Prince of Condé.
“M. d'Antraga [Entragues], Governor of Orléans, bore the salt-cellar.
M. d'Haumon bore the basin for washing the hands with the cover down. His brother, Count de Brion, bore the ewer of water.
“The Emperor's ambassador bore the girl, having on his right the ambassador of England lately arrived, and on his left the Duke of Nemours for the Duke of Savoy, who were attended by M. de Lansac and M. de Torsi.
“There followed the Queen of Navarre, the wife of the Prince of Condé with the widow of the deceased Prince, the wife of the Duke of Guise with Madam of Nemours, followed by a great multitude of ladies and populace.
“The church reached, and all the ceremonies performed by the Cardinal of Bourbon, one of the King's heralds said in French in a loud voice: Serenissima et Nobilissima Domina Elisabet, Christianissimi Regis Filia, nata est.
“The child being brought to the Queen her mother in the same order, the Emperor's ambassador approached the Queen, and said some words of compliment.
“The Englishman was about to follow to do the like, but the Spaniard intervened and anticipated him, to his infinite disgust and his likewise who is resident as ordinary; wherewith I end, ever commending me to your good grace.”
2 Feb., 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vii.
pp. 84–85.
151. [Antony Gaspar Rodriguez de S. Michaele,] Archbishop of Lanciano to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “In the matter of the Queen of Scotland and in the other matters belonging to that article of my instructions, his Majesty told me that there was no one that had the liberation alike of the Queen and of her realm more at heart than he, and that when the opportunity presents itself he will not let it slip; but the troublous condition of affairs in Flanders is a very great hindrance.
“And as you will learn from the nuncio what other matters have been dealt with, I shall say no more than that to-morrow I shall depart for Portugal.”
10 Feb., 1573. Madrid. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 67.
152. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “What I wrote you on the 4th as to the English ambassador and Calais (fn. 4) was not true; likewise in the order, which I sent you, of the baptism of Madam, for so they call his Majesty's daughter, there was an error, to wit, that in the procession to church the Spanish ambassador had precedence of the English ambassador ordinary, for the English ambassador ordinary went not with the other ambassadors but with the godfathers.
“The presents given on occasion of the baptism are as follows:—
“By Signor Cam, on behalf of the Empress, to the Queen a carcanet worth 12,000 crowns; to Madam a jewel of about the same value; on behalf of the Emperor, to the Queen two coaches, of the Hungarian sort, covered with black velvet, with four Hungarian horses apiece.
“To him silver to the value of 3,000 crowns and a jewel for his wife of the same value.
“By the Englishman, a vase of gold worth about 5,000 crowns; to him 2,500 silver crowns.
“By [the ambassador of] Savoy to the Queen, an oval ruby to wear on the neck, very beautiful by what they say; to the Ladies of the Chamber, 1,000 crowns, in two portions; to the governess and under-governess of Madam, jewels and chains worth 200 crowns apiece; to the nurse 100 crowns.
“But neither to him, nor yet to M. de Nemours, who represented the Duke at the ceremonies, has aught as yet been given.
“Signor Cam departed on the 9th; the Englishman will depart to-morrow, and the ambassador of Savoy the day after, but will soon return to reside.
“Count de Res [Retz], summoned by reason of the despatch from the Palatine, conferred with the man that brought it; and by what I gathered matters pursue the course of which I wrote you, abundant promises of good friendship, but no new capitulation arrived at. Casimir will receive the present promised by Count de Rest [sic Retz], which, I am disposed to think, was the reason why there was so much urgency about giving him his letters; and there will be paid to the smiths 300,000 [crowns?] owing to them pursuant to the convention as to pay made when they came to France these last years.”
10 Feb., 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 80.
153. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “As to a league which I understood to be in negotiation between the english, the Swiss and the Germans, I wrote to you the other day, promising to send you the capitulation, which the ambassador of portugal had promised to give me. intimating that he had it from the agent of his King in England; but it was taken from him by the padroni, from whom he has not been able to recover it, though they craved it but to read it once through. Since then from La Rochelle there has been sent me the enclosed capitulation, very different, as one may see, from the other that [the ambassador of] Portugal had, nay, made, if I mistake not, by the leaders in La Rochelle to beguile the baser sort with hopes and sustain their loyalty; nevertheless, I send it you, because it is safer so, notwithstanding that the translation is none too careful.”
15 Feb., 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vii.
pp. 100–3.
154. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to the Same.
… “As to English affairs the difficulties certainly are great by reason of the rivalry between these two Kings, neither being minded to see the other possess himself of that kingdom; and true it is that the enterprise would be more readily accomplished if it were carried out jointly, and the conquest would be more secure; but the matter of moment is to bring them into agreement; for I believe that the French aim at making M. d'Anjou King with intent to wed him to the Queen of Scotland, an arrangement which would not be agreeable to these Spaniards. In this matter I find no other idea here than to make the Queen of Scotland Queen of England, and may be, upon further reflection, to have the boy King of Scotland here in tutelage by way of security, and that they may nurture him in the Catholic religion and afterwards give him to wife a daughter of this King, but only supposing the Queen of Scotland to be set upon the throne of England and married to some neutral, whether Englishman or foreigner.
“I am disposed to believe that this King will agree to this, even though he should make the enterprise unaided [by France]; for I do not credit him with spirit enough to occupy that realm and make himself master thereof, as indeed he could not do, because the English Catholics, without whose help it is all but impossible to accomplish the enterprise, desire no such foreign aid as might subjugate them, but only so much as might suffice to enable them to depose the pretended Queen and set in her place the Queen of Scotland. This, they let it be known pretty freely, is their mind; as the recent instance of Calais shows; for the English preferred to lose it than to admit the Spanish garrison that was, so to speak, at the gates, for fear the Spaniards should make themselves masters of the place, although the Catholic King then bore the title of King of England, and was wedded to an English Queen.
“Moreover, the French might well be content to join in the enterprise though none of their nation was to be King, but only she of Scotland Queen, with for husband a neutral; for by the dethronement of the pretended Queen they would secure themselves against her dominions, the King having ever there his commissioner, as he has at present in Flanders.
“The Pope has therefore every reason alike of religion as of State to negotiate this concert; and this King has on his part very carefully considered the difficulty of accomplishing the enterprise unaided, being apprehensive lest the Most Christian King should move to the assistance of the pretended Queen, as I have already written. As to the question whether the Catholic King could accomplish the enterprise alone without prejudice to that of the Levant, I should think it might be done when matters were quieted in Flanders, if he availed himself of part of the army that is already in being [in Flanders], part, I say, because the English would not brook the whole of it, nor could the English game be long protracted. The point is to come, either jointly or separately, to some decision, because delay may be attended by such prejudice as to render the enterprise desperate, as it would be should something sinister befall the Queen of Scotland, or if they should go on extirpating the Catholics, or if those that are abroad, tired of exile and straitened circumstances, should take some evil counsel, and leaving the affairs of the realm to go as they may, should but concern themselves to live as they can; and the discontent which they feel at this delay is apparent in certain advices which I send you from a good and sagacious Englishman, which advices for good reasons I have seen fit to send in cipher.
“As to the enterprise of the war against the Turk and the affairs of the League, I do my endeavour to the best of my power to procure an increase of the forces and their speedy despatch, that they may be punctually in array; and this is deemed the main business; and albeit, besides the public interest, I have some particular liking for the enterprise of England, having spent much time in that realm, and being desirous that its reduction to the unity of the Roman Church should be associated with the name of the present saintly Pontiff Gregory; nevertheless, no other passion or desire shall ever sway me than altogether and everywhere to subserve the behests of his Holiness: to which, and no other end, I shall be instant with his Catholic Majesty to send an express messenger to the Imperial Court upon the business of the League; but little hope I have of success by reason of the costliness and the dearth of suitable persons; especially as they must travel in haste, and delay would ill serve the end in view for this year.”
19 Feb., 1573. [Madrid.] Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Lib.
Urb. Lat.
1043. f. 206.
155. News Letter.
“By letters from Paris of the 12th the news was that on Candlemas day [2 Feb.] the baptism of the King's daughter was solemnized, the ambassadors of many princes being there with most beautiful presents, among whom was he that the Queen of England had sent with silversmith's work of exceeding great value. The ambassador of the Empress had named the child Marie. (fn. 5)
“That the King was going towards Blois and Angers, to be near La Rochelle.
“That the Queen of England was getting ready a great fleet; and that by way of pretext her ambassador would make believe that she had intelligence that the King of Spain was coming to Flanders this summer, and that she therefore was not minded to be found unarmed; but that it was suspected that the fleet was meant for the succour of La Rochelle.
“That the Queen of Navarre and other princesses were going about from church to church in Paris praying God to keep their husbands safe.
“That the folk of La Rochelle, having a very good garrison, were awaiting not only blockade but battery, and as the investing force was not yet sufficiently numerous, they made frequent sorties.
“That M. de la Nua [Noue], who departed from Mons, and was pardoned by the King, and sent to La Rochelle to persuade those men to return to his Majesty's devotion, seems to have stayed there and to be in command, notwithstanding that he left his sons at Court as hostages.
“That it was said that twelve persons had been put to death in La Rochelle for being concerned in some treaty.
“That of seven English ships that were on their way to La Rochelle, Baron de la Garde had sent two to the bottom.
“That President Birague had resumed his former office of Keeper of the Seal.
“That the Cardinal of Guise, as he quitted St. Mary's Church after vespers, was entangled in a fray between the Queen's pages and some taverners, and received a sword wound in the arm, and that many other gentlemen were wounded.”
20 Feb., 1573. Lyon. Italian. Copy.
Vat. Arch.
Arm. lxii.
vol. 33. f. 148.
156. Maurice [Chauncey], Prior of the English Carthusians, Anne, Countess of Northumberland, Leonard Dacre, Christopher Neville, and Sir Francis Englefield to [John] Cardinal Moroni.
Craving his good offices with the Pope for the promotion of Nicholas Sander, and enclosing a letter to the Pope by way of testimonial.
22 Feb., 1573. Brussels. Latin.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 145.
157. James [Beaton], Archbishop of Glasgow to Pope Gregory XIII.
A prolix and perfervid appeal to the Pope to take steps at the earliest opportunity for the removal of the young King of Scotland from the country, and his nurture in the Catholic faith.
22 Feb., 1573. Paris. Latin.
to the effect that a favourable answer be returned by brief.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. pp. 88–90.
158. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “There seems to be an idea that the Cardinal of Lorraine, in the interest of his niece, the Queen of Scotland, would be glad to bring about a misunderstanding between the King and England; but as he is more than ever minded to have the Queen of England for Monsieur, the Duke, and has turned his attention again to that matter, there can hardly be any improvement of the Queen of Scotland's affairs by such a method….
“It is understood that La Rochelle has received succour in victuals and men by way of the sea and by means of English corsairs.”
25 Feb., 1573. Paris. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. xv. f. 200.
159. [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como to [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain.
“As to the match with M. d'Anjou, we have written several times to France that, if they are minded to concern themselves with the business, they should be at the pains to address themselves in that regard to his Catholic Majesty, and we shall do so again, that some decision may be reached.
“The action contemplated against England would be very proper and relevant to the plan of the enterprise against that realm, if it could be carried out at once. But we do not believe that his Catholic Majesty will attend to this business save in concert with the King of France, as he must be sure that that king will not be content that that realm should come into the power of Spain, or trust the King of Spain, after expelling the pretended Queen, to place there a third party: so in our judgment, before making war, it behoves us to find some means whereby France also may be satisfied; and this must needs be a work of time and prolonged negotiation. Besides which, we do not see how his Majesty can afford at present to incur this expense, having to meet the demands of the enterprise against the Turk, and to think also of aiding the Emperor, if he should make up his mind to enter the League. However, if, notwithstanding the considerations aforesaid, his Majesty should be minded to embrace this opportunity which now presents itself, his Holiness will be delighted in the last degree, provided that he be not so engrossed with this enterprise as to fail to prosecute with all ardour that against the Turk.
“You should therefore be very careful in doing this office with his Majesty in aid of the affairs of England not to do harm to those of the League, to which you must give your main attention, ever striving to keep his Majesty zealous to increase the forces as much as possible, to direct a speedy advance, and to strive might and main to bring the Emperor to a decision. In regard whereof God grant that this last courier, who, you say, was to be despatched to his Imperial Majesty, has been verily sent for this purpose; for the other, who two months ago, it was reported, as you wrote, was being sent for the same purpose, went, as we learn from the Imperial Court, for any purpose, one may say, rather than that, and chiefly to bring Don Pietro Fassardo orders to go to Poland to support the election of one of the Emperor's sons to that realm, and also on the business of Finale. However, there must be no neglect on our part to be instant with his Majesty that he be verily in earnest in this matter of the Emperor's decision, and to this end you will never relax your exertions.”
[February—March, 1573.] Italian. Draft for cipher.


  • 1. Lettres de Catherine de Médicis (Docc. Inédd. sub l'Hist. de France), vol. iv. p. 161; and Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1572–4, p. 247.
  • 2. i.e. to the subsequent festivities.
  • 3. i.e. the representatives of the Holy See.
  • 4. Salviati had written on the 4th that the ambassador extraordinary that represented Elizabeth at the baptism was reported to have been privy to an intrigue recently discovered in Calais. Nunt. di Francia, vol. vi. p. 61.
  • 5. Lettres de Catherine de Médicis [Docc. Inédd. Sur l'Hist. de France], vol. iv. p. 161.