Venice: 1498

Pages 267-276

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 1, 1202-1509. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1864.

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1498. Jan. 12. DeliberazioniSenato Seereta. 761. Decree of the Senate.
For some months past the nobleman Andrea Trevisan has been ambassador to the King of England. His parents have lately deceased, to the serious detriment and inconvenience of his affairs, and a very great suit is made to the Signory by his kinsfolk to give him leave to return. Having regard for the great misfortune which has befallen the ambassador, most especially as he remains in England at excessive cost and with small profit to the Signory,—Put to the ballot, that he be written to, to announce to the King of England the unexpected death of his parents, and the necessity for him to return home; and that he do also tell the King that for such business as it may be necessary to transact the State will employ the Venetian consul in England, and that his Majesty may do the like; after which, having taken gracious leave of his Majesty, he is to return.
Notice of this resolve to be given forthwith to the Duke of Milan.
Ayes, 84.
Proposed amendment,—That considering the statement now made to the Senate, this matter be for the present adjourned.
Ayes, 54. Noes, 3. Neutral, 2.
[Latin, 14 lines.]
Jan. 31. Sanuto Diaries, v. i. p. 610. 762. Despatches from England.
Receipt of letters from Andrea Trevisan, ambassador in England, stating that King Henry was on terms of great friendship with the Venetians, and well impressed for the maintenance of the League; in short that that legation was to be held in small account: so he strongly solicited for permission to return home. Therefore on the——in the Senate, he was authorised to take leave of that King, and, after the visits, &c., to come back at his pleasure.
Feb. 14. Sanuto Diaries, v. i. p. 622. 763. Despatches from England.
Receipt of letters from Andrea Trevisan, ambassador in England, dated London, 11 January, stating that affairs there with the King of Scotland were well nigh pacified, nor was there any longer any talk of war, through the mediation of the Spanish ambassadors. As Sanuto heard, the King of Spain wished those disputes to be adjusted. Both in Scotland and in England there was a Spanish ambassador—in Scotland Don Pedro de Ayala; in London a doctor (De Puebla). (fn. 1)
Also that the Duke of York remained with the King, and that an accident had occurred. King Henry and his wife Queen Elizabeth, having gone out of London to a palace at a short distance called Westminster, fire broke out in the Queen's chamber, and that palace was burnt; the loss to the King, according to his own statement, amounting to 50,000 ducats.
Also that the permission to return home was not yet arrived, and he had heard of the death of his father and mother.
April 11. Sanuto Diaries, v. i. pt. ii. p. 32. 764. Despatches from the Ambassador in England.
Receipt of letters from the ambassador in England, Andrea Trevisan, dated February. On the — of that month, at Westminster, the King had knighted him. He had also obtained certain concessions in favour of Venetian merchants. The ambassador most especially requested the repeal of the duty of four ducats on each butt of wine, which formerly was but one ducat; whereupon the King replied that, if the Signory would take off the prohibition against the loading by English ships of wines in Candia, he would reduce this duty, The ambassador rejoined, that the Signory did not make the prohibition against England, but because of the danger from corsairs who came to load.
The King then added that he would confer with his Council, and would talk with the ambassador before he left.
April 12. Sanuto Diaries, v. i. pt. ii. p. 33. 765. Despatches from the Ambassador in England.
Receipt of letters from the ambassador in England, Andrea Trevisan, knight, dated (sic) Dover. How he quitted London on the 15th March, having taken leave of the King and Queen, and had been knighted as already mentioned. The King had given him a collar worth 500 ducats, and a horse, very handsome and small, belonging to the King himself: and with regard to the wine duties, he had obtained from the King a diminution of 1,000 ducats in favour of the ship “Pandora,” belonging to the Pisani firm, which was already gone to load wine in Candia.
Also how he had quitted the island, and had crossed from Dover to Calais for Flanders, where he intended to remain some days at Antwerp, and then set out on his way home.
Mem.—Heard lately, through Hironimo Donato, our ambassador at Rome, that an ambassador from the King of Spain being on his voyage by sea from England, the ship foundered, and he was drowned; his name was—(Fernan Perez de Ayala). (fn. 2)
May 18. Sanuto Diaries, v. i. pt. ii. p. 55. 766. Arrival of the Venetian Ambassador from England.
Arrival on that day in Venice of Andrea Trevisan, knight, late ambassador to the King of England for 11 months and 15 days. He came with beard and in mourning for the death of his father and mother, and on the — June reported his legation in the Senate, having previously reported it in the College on the morning of his arrival.
May 21. Senato Mar. Decree of the Senate, which—after reciting that by a decree dated Aug. 17,1490, all Venetian vessels loading wines for the West receive a bounty of two ducats per butt—awards compensation to the owners of the ship “Foscara,” of 2,500 butts, which perished off the coast of England, at the mouth of the Flanders channels, with a cargo of wines of Candia and other merchandise for the West.
Ayes, 107. Noes, 40. Neutrals, 4.
[Italian, 22 lines.]
June 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. i. pt. ii. p. 67. 767. Report of the Ambassador Trevisan.
Report of England made in the Senate on that day by Andrea Trevisan, knight, whose legation had lasted nearly a year. The King of England was aware of the good disposition of the Venetians, and meant to maintain a great friendship with them. Much honour had been paid the ambassador; his legation had lasted 11 months and 15 days, and he had expended in all 4,300 ducats. He then mentioned many details, which pleased everybody. (fn. 3)
July 30. Sanuto Diaries, v. i. pt. ii. p. 103. 768. News from England.
Receipt by the western merchants of advices from England, that King Henry, apprehensive of some insurrection, had placed Perkin, who called himself Duke of York, under arrest, and this because the King arranged with some of Perkins attendants that they should suggest to Perkin to escape out of his Majesty's hands; and thus did this youth do: so the King had him put in prison, where he will end his days.
Aug. 28. Sforza Archives, Milan. 769. James IV. King of Scotland to Don Pedro de Ayala, Prothonotary of the Apostolic See, Ambassador from the King and Queen of Spain.
Were we not moved by the love of peace, and by the oath taken to that effect, we should wish to punish the recent intolerable outrages perpetrated by the enemy, in violation of that peace solemnly sworn to, by the sword rather than by prayers; but as we will in the first place try our utmost before violating that peace and confederacy, we appeal to you who mediated for the truce and peace, and had cognizance of the attacks made subsequently on our lieges, of our wishes and envoys sent so often on this account to our very dear brother the King of England, and how his Highness sent them back without satisfaction. Being aware of the care and exertions bestowed on our beloved attendant Lion King-at-arms, bearer of these presents, we now, as a third effort for the preservation of peace and amity, send our said attendant with letters to his Highness, recommending him to your prudent guidance, appealing to you to stand by him as witness of all past proceedings, should any point be gainsaid.
From our town of Stirling, 28th day of August, [1498].
Signed: “James Rex.”
[Copy, Latin.]
Sept. 12 Sforza Archives, Milan. 770. Raimondo [de Soncino], Milanese Ambassador in England, to Ludovic Sforza, Duke of Milan.
Has arrived safely in England, not without great anxiety, as the French considered him a spy, and lay in wait for him between Dunkirk and Gravelines. Had already determined not to pass until he knew the road to be safe, when he was met by Marc Antonio da Fighino, the vicar of Monsr. San Severino, who also gave him warning. Believes it would have been well nigh impossible to have passed had not a nephew of the postmen the Fulcos, who resides at Gravelines, by his prudence and authority caused provision to be made at the passes, and obtained an escort from the captain of Gravelines. whither an escort of 40 English horse was sent him, with which he arrived safe at Calais, where by advice of the captain, he hired a ship of war, and crossed on the eve of the Virgin's Nativity in September.
Has not found the King, who is gone to his devotions, and never stays in any place. By advice of the Duke's Genoese subjects sent a messenger to the court to learn where the King was, and when he should go to him. He will immediately acquaint the Duke with everything.
London, 12 September 1498.
Signed: “Raimundus.”
Sept. 19. Sforza Archives, Milan. 771. The Same to the Same.
Crossed over to England on the 7th instant. At Dover found the courier of the Genoese merchants, sent by them to accompany him to London, where he was met by all the Genoese, who took him to a house prepared for him by Agostino Spinola, who had furnished it with his own plate and tapestry. Spinola gave him a handsome dinner, made all suitable offers of service, and left him there, visiting him daily with the greatest kindness.
Was recommended by these Genoese on no account to go to the King without giving him previous notice, and therefore sent a messenger to the court. By commission from the King, Carmeliano wrote to him that if his business was important, he might come to Woodstock on the 24th instant. Was subsequently visited by Master Peter Penech (?Pinnock), who showed him a letter from the King, whereby his Majesty desired him to remain in London, as his Majesty would be there after Michaelmas.
Has endeavoured to learn the cause of this delay, and the general opinion is that it proceeds from the King's having made this progress with few attendants, and that he does not choose to be seen with so email a court. Raimondo is inclined, however, to credit those who tell him that it is by reason of a private messenger from the King of France, who crossed almost at the same time as himself, and is now at the court for the purpose of negotiating a compromise for a heavy ransom contracted of yore by the Duke of Orleans, the father of the present King of France, when prisoner of the Duke of Somerset, the maternal grandfather of King Henry VII. (fn. 4) Is also of opinion that the peace being so recent, the King of England did not wish to give umbrage to the King of France.
The King of Scotland has sent a herald to England with a letter addressed to Don Pedro de Ayala, the copy of which he encloses. Says mischief will ensue between the two crowns, unless provision be made, and that the King of England has nothing at heart but the Scotch war.
Master Adrian of Corneto (Castellesi) has not arrived, nor, according to report, is he expected, either because such is the will of the Pope, or because he dares not come, as Raimondo understands that he has to give account of a considerable amount of crowns expended in the King's name at Rome, and with the mode of whose distribution the King is not satisfied. On the other hand a Minorite friar, Bishop of Callij (Cagli), in the service of the Cardinal of Perugia and perhaps of the Pope, has made his appearance and conferred with the King. He seems to have come to obtain possession of the bishopric of Worcester, to which Adrian has been promoted (sic). (fn. 5) Cannot ascertain what he is doing.
The courier for Scotland has not yet departed, as Raimondo purposes taking him in his company to the court, to obtain a passport signed by the Royal hand, without which he cannot cross the borders. Don Pedro de Ayala (whose return to Scotland never takes place) has written for this passport, and on its receipt the courier will proceed on his way.
London, 19 September 1498.
Signed: “Raimundus.”
Sept. 19. Sforza Archives, Milan. 772. The Same to the Same.
By his letter of the 12th informed the Duke of his arrival in England, and of the danger from the French which he had escaped, and although now in a safe place, is more afraid of them than when at Dunkirk, the peril having been much greater than he imagined. Has received a letter from the Duke's most faithful servant, Giovanni Gabriel Bonconti, the Bolognese, dated Brussels, telling him that the French who lay in wait for him, were charged to rack him, and after eliciting all his secrets to hang him. Should this be true, has no doubt but that on his return they will endeavour to capture him, wherefore the Duke's goodness must aid him. Is of opinion that the best course will be the following: to thank the Archduke (Philip) for the good greeting he gave him (the ambassador) at Brussels, for the safeconduct, and for the care taken of him by his captain of Gravelines, who conveyed him thither in safety from Dunkirk; and in short to request the Archduke to command the captain and his other officials to do the like on his return. These things will be facilitated by the Duke sending to the Archduke (Philip) the suit of armour which he is very anxious to have. The Archduke's ambassador, the Bishop of Cambrai, is in London. The Bishop wishes for the Duke's assistance, that he may obtain the red hat at the next promotion. Raimondo is of opinion that the Bishop will cause the King of the Romans to write on this subject to the Duke, to whom the Bishop addresses an enclosure in the present despatch: has promised to execute the commission well. As this Bishop is the brother of Mons. de Bergies, who is powerful at the court of Flanders, Raimondo beseeches the Duke to make a loving reply, that he may obtain protection on his return.
London, 19 September 1498.
Signed: “Raimundus.”
Oct. 6. DeliberazioniSenato Secreta. 773. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassadors in France.
Inform them that in the treaty with Lewis XIL, the Republic rejects the clause stipulating the reciprocal defence of the two territories, on account of the King of the Romans, of the Archduke of Burgundy, and of the Kings of Spain and England.
Ayes, 97. Noes, 45. Neutrals, 6.
[Latin, 89 lines.]
Oct. 11 Sforza Archives, Milan. 774. James IV., King of Scotland, to Ludovic Sforza Duke of Milan.
Was much rejoiced by the letters lately delivered to him by the Duke's attendant. With regard to the Duke's thanks for having been mentioned by him as his confederate in the treaty made by him last year with the King of England, does not consider himself entitled to them, as what he did proceeded from mere honest friendship, but declares that the well nigh Godlike wisdom and innate courtesy of the Duke caused him to long for future opportunities of doing what may prove to his honour and advantage.
Is deeply impressed with the many honours which for his sake were afforded by the Duke to Robert, Archbishop of Glasgow, his councillor and ambassador, when the King's affairs were in course of negotiation with the Duke.
From Edinburgh, 11th October.
Signed: “James.”
[Original. Latin.]
1498. Nov. Sforza Archives, Milan. 774. Report of the Apostolic Nuncio, the Bishop of Cagli, of the Order of Friars Minor, on his way back from England.
He quitted Paris on the 18th October 1498, and arrived in Turin on the 4th of November.
He crossed over to England, together with Monsieur Raimondo, whom the King, being 100 miles off, caused to remain in London, while he (the Bishop) was admitted to audience. Urged the reception of Raimondo, but the King answered that he did not yet well understand the intentions of the Italian powers, so mutable were they, and that he was about to return shortly to London. The King forwards all the letters received by him from Italy to the King of France, so great is his wish to maintain friendship with that sovereign.
On returning to Paris, Mons. de Rouen (George d'Amboise, Archbishop of Rouen) showed him letters from the King of England, announcing the arrival there of Raimondo. Mons. de Rouen talks much more of the Milanese expedition than the King himself.
The King of France, expecting always to be deceived by the Pope, did not believe in the coming of Valenza (Caesar Borgia) until he heard of his landing at Marseilles. Even now he is not satisfied, as the Pope still insists on the marriage (? of Valenza) to the daughter of the King (? of Naples).
The truce has been made between France and Naples, and Mons. de Ligny is gone to conclude it.
The Venetian ambassadors are much caressed by the King (Lewis XII.), and transact all their business through Mons. de Ligny, but nevertheless it is not said as yet that they have made any special agreement with France.
The King never gives aught to any one in the world, and devotes himself to lascivious pleasures to his utmost.
The King was to quit Paris for Blois, and hoped for the settlement of the divorce from his wife that he might espouse the Duchess of Britanny, with whom it is affirmed that he consummated marriage before she quitted France.
The Florentine ambassador, the Bishop of Arezzo, not being treated respectfully at the court, departed, but having reached Lyons received letters from his Signory, and returned to Paris.
Nov. 14. Sforza Archives, Milan. 775. Ludovic Sforza, Duke of Milan, to Raimondo de Soncino, his Ambassador to Henry VII.
Although informed of his arrival in England, has not received any account of his having had audience of the King. Understands from several quarters that the King has come to terms with the King of France. If this report be true, no good can result from Raimondo's mission.
Charges him to ascertain upon what terms the Kings of England and France have agreed, and if, being agreed, the former should nevertheless entertain the mission upon which he is sent, he may remain; but should he perceive that he is fed with words and subjected to delay, he is then to take leave courteously and return home. He is to act as he may deem best, and to beware that the King of England do not take offence.
Milan, 14 November 1498.
Nov. 17. Sforza Archives, Milan. 776. Raimondo [de Soncino] to Ludovic Sforza, Duke of Milan.
The King of England sent for him on the 11th instant, and replied according to the accompanying note. That he might understand thoroughly what he was to write, the King, with his natural condescension, repeated his words the second time. Thereupon he (Raimondo) said he would draw up a minute of the message, and present it for correction to his Majesty. This pleased the King, to whom he took the draft in Latin, on the 10th instant when the King said, that although it contained the sense of the reply, he wished, it written more fully, and that he would order a draft to be prepared in such form as seemed fitting to him.
Accordingly last evening, the 16th, Messer Pietro Carmeliano, who had drawn up the minute in his own hand, the King correcting it, delivered the document to him, requesting him, in the King's name, not to alter the words. Promised obedience, and then copied it verbatim. Encloses it, and would gladly have sent the original, but Pietro Carmeliano said the King chose that should be returned to him. Deems it requisite to make the following remarks concerning this reply:
On the King's becoming acquainted with his arrival in London his audience was delayed for about forty days. Is of opinion that this was solely to avoid giving umbrage to the King of France, from whom he understands that his Majesty extorts more money than from the late King, most especially on account of the arrears of ransom for the late Duke of Orleans. Although he had had four private audiences, the King never repeated any of the expressions uttered by him last year, as for instance, that “he was to write to the Duke that should the French King choose to invade Italy there would be remedies,” and when he charged him to tell the Duke that he “held his alliance in account, as it might aid him vastly by way of Genoa,” together with other similar expressions.
Is aware, partly from the King's conversation, and partly through inquiries made by him in other quarters, that the changes in Italy have altered the King's opinions vastly: he is not so much disturbed by the discord between the Venetians [and the Florentines] about the affairs of Pisa, concerning which he daily receives advices, as by this tacit yet manifest confederation between the Pope and the King of France, which he expects the Venetians will join, to the Duke's detriment; nor can he believe, even should they lose Pisa, (which he considers a difficult matter,) that they will fail to attack Milan.
Raimondo is also of opinion that the King of England esteems the present King of France more highly than he did his predecessor, either because he extorts more money from him, or because he rates his personal qualities more highly, or else by reason of their ancient mutual friendship, when they jointly defended the Duchess of Britanny against the French. Moreover, the peace stipulated between the Sovereigns of Spain and France makes him act with more reserve; and above all the large pensions paid in the English court with the King's knowledge have much influence.
The King of England, who, in addition to his other good qualities, is very communicative, complained and expressed surprise that the League formed with so many ties should have been thus dissolved.
Is of opinion, and the English themselves say so, that the King has need of no one, and being at pence with all, and perceiving so much disunion, believes he will not compromise his reputation. Considers it certain that the King will never stir against France until he sees it in confusion; neither will he ever cause her any suspicion unless for his own security and advantage.
There will be no change in England whilst the present King lives. It is understood that the King of Scotland, whom the English hold in very great account, is on excellent terms with the King of England, and that some negotiation is on foot for marrying him to the eldest daughter of England (Princess Margaret), who is not more than eight years old, the project with Mons. de Rohan, of Britanny, being at an end. The King of England, however, is more inclined towards the eldest son of Denmark, who is fourteen years old. Is of opinion that the King is right, not only on account of the respective ages of the parties, but because England has more to fear from Denmark than from Scotland.
The English and Flemings are angry with each other, by reason of fresh duties laid by the Flemings on English cloths, and the English public threaten war against Flanders, under which name of war, possibly by way of fifteenths (quindena), a certain sum of money may find its way to the King's purse; but the sovereigns are certain to come to terms, and the losers will have to bear their their loss.
London, 17 November 1498.
Signed: “Raimundus.”
Dec. 6. Sforza Archives, Milan. 777. Henry VII. to Ludovic Sforza, Duke of Milan.
Has heard from his esquire and attendant Anthony Spinola, how much favour the Duke afforded him in his suits. Is thankful to the Duke, and should an opporunity offer for reciprocating similar favours, will always respond.
Westminster, 6th day of December 1498.
Signed: “Henricus.”
[Latin, 1 page.]
Dec. 8. Sforza Archives, Milan. 778. Raimondo [de Soncino] to Ludovic Sforza, Duke of Milan.
Although all French affairs are perfectly well known to his Excellency, informs him that Richmond herald, lately returned from France, affirms that all the fortresses of Britanny are in free possession of the Queen widow, who is not inclined towards the marriage (with Lewis XII.) should she be able to avoid it, and that already in Britanny they have determined on the despatch of three stately embassies to his Cæsarean Majesty, to the Sovereigns of Spain, and to Henry VII., which last may, it is said, be expected daily; should it come, will endeavour to learn the cause.
In like manner King Henry is sending a stately embassy to his Cæsarean Majesty, namely a knight and a doctor [of laws], with a herald, who are to depart next week, as told him by the King, who, he is certain, would not wish for peace between Germany and France.
The King of England thanks the Duke for favours shown to Antonio Spinola.
London, 8 December 1498.
Signed: “Raimundus.”
Dec. 14. Sforza Archives, Milan. 779. Raimondo [de Soncino] to Ludovic Sforza, Duke of Milan.
In reply to the Duke's recent injunctions to favor Antonio Spinola, writes that Spinola has no thought but to show himself the true servant of the Duke. Has written twice that King Henry thanked the Duke for what he had done for Antonio. Beseeches the Duke to favor Antonio and Antonio's brother Francesco, for Antonio will be most grateful for any good done him.
London, 14 December 1408.
Signed: “Raimundus.”


  • 1. See Bergenroth's Calendar, passim.
  • 2. The name may be read in Bergenroth's Calendar, p. 141, No. 190. It there appears that this ambassador was on his way from Spain to England, and not from England to Spain, as erroneously stated by Sanuto.
  • 3. Marin Sanuto does not give “the details which pleased everybody.” But some of the materials from which Andrea Trevisan partly compiled his report from England were translated for the Camden Society by Miss Charlotte Augusta Sneyd in 1847, from a MS. of the Canonici collection, now the property of the Rev. Walter Sneyd, of Denton.
  • 4. The Duke of Orleans was captured at Agincourt in 1415, and did not recover his liberty until 1440, when the ransom demanded was 300,000 crowns. (See Pere Daniel, pp. 211–400). He seems to have been captured by Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, who died A.D. 1426, December 27, and to have stipulated his ransom with Edmund Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, in 1440.
  • 5. The see of Worcester was conferred in 1498 on Sylvester de Giglis, nephew of Giovanni de Giglis, his predecessor in that see. (See Ellis's Original Letters, series 1, vol. 1, p. 113).