Venice: September 1521

Pages 173-181

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1869.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


September 1521

Sept. 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 335. 322. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Mouzon has been taken by the Imperialists, and the garrison marched out with white sticks in their hands, which was a mark of their having surrendered. The Chancellor [Duprat] said that the King of France will have the Governor of Mouzon beheaded, he having surrendered the place because he was the kinsman of the Count of Nassau.
Is told by Cardinal Wolsey the King of France has no money.
Calais, 1st September. Registered by Sanuto, 16th September.
Sept. 2. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 358. 323. The Same to the Same.
Today Cardinal Wolsey and all the ambassadors assembled at the Conference. (fn. 1) After discussing the four proposals made by him about the Flemish (fn. 2) fishermen, the forays, provisions, the prohibition against seizing ships in port, &c, the ambassadors took time to answer him. Some words then passed about deciding who was to speak first, and Cardinal Wolsey determined that the Frenchmen were to commence.
Thereupon the Chancellor [Duprat] accused the Emperor of having infringed his agreement to marry Madame Charlotte, the daughter of the King of France, by endeavouring to make a marriage with others, and to obtain a dispensation accordingly from the Pope. Moreover, that the Emperor had not given the kingdom of Navarre to Don Henri d'Albret, to whom it by right belongs, in conformity with the stipulation made at La Diense [Liege?]. (fn. 3) That he had not paid the 100,000 ducats per annum for the kingdom of Naples; had not done homage to the King of France for Flanders and Artois; had given harbour to the enemies of France, namely, the Cardinal of Sion and the Duke of Bari [Francesco Maria Sforza], who are kindling war against King Francis; had sent an envoy to defy the King; and that he had also taken the castle of Mensancourt (sic) (fn. 4) and lately Mouzon. Cardinal Wolsey therefore should declare that the Emperor had been the first aggressor, and condemn him to indemnify King Francis for his expenses, according to the articles of the treaty of Noyon and Lodiense [Liege?].
The Imperial Chancellor [Gattinara] answered charge by charge. First, that the marriage was not binding, because it was contracted with the deceased Madame Louise, or with her sister, who is still alive; but that the present Princess was born subsequently.
To this point Cardinal Wolsey also replied, that the Emperor had never asked him for the daughter of his King, as she was promised to the most Christian King. (fn. 5)
Touching the kingdom of Navarre [Gattinara said?] that it would be requisite to ascertain whether it belonged juridically to Albret, as the articles purported. That with regard to the tribute for the kingdom of Naples, the Emperor owed nothing to the King of France, Naples having been given as dower to King Ferdinand [the Catholic] for his French wife, the kinswoman of the King of France, and the Emperor was King Ferdinand's heir. That the Emperor had not done homage because none was due; whilst on the other hand the King of France had omitted to tender homage for the duchy of Milan. Gattinara denied that the Emperor had favoured the enemies of the King of France, or sent to defy him, though the King of France had assuredly been the first aggressor. He said that the captured castle was the Emperor's own; that as to his recalling the Switzers from the service of France, they were his subjects; that the castle of Messancourt, taken by him, had belonged to the late Duke Charles [of Burgundy], his predecessor; and, respecting the homage, that it had been rendered since the reign of Philippe le Hardi [1270 to 1285], but not previously.
The Conference then adjourned.
Calais, 2nd September. Registered by Sanuto, 23rd September.
Sept. 2. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 359. 324. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
The Count of Cariati has circulated a report that the 600 lansquenets on their march from Trent towards the Papal camp had passed, the Signory having allowed them to do so to oblige the Pope and the Emperor, with whom the State has a good understanding. The Chancellor Duprat was much perplexed by this. Assured him of the goodwill borne by the Signory to France. News of the loss of Mouzon. The King of France is in need of money. The French have routed the 300 men-at-arms.
Calais, 2nd September. Registered by Sanuto, 23rd September.
Sept. 5. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 359. 325. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
The Conference (dieta) has sat during the last three days. Today the matters already proposed were discussed. Cardinal Wolsey told him that the French ambassadors had consented to the truce, and that the agreement would not take place on account of the Pope. Letters received here from the King of France give notice that the Duke of Alençon had inspected 15,000 Switzers, and the Constable [the Duke of Bourbon] 10,000 lansquenets, so that the King has now a powerful army.
Calais, 5th September. Registered by Sanuto, 23rd September.
Sept. 7. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 360. 326. The Same to the Same.
Details what was said in the Conference on the preceding day by the French Chancellor, Duprat, and by the Imperial Chancellor, Gattinara. In conclusion Cardinal Wolsey said that they should not dispute who had been the first-aggressor, but consult respecting the difficulties. It has accordingly been arranged to commence this question on Monday.
Calais, 7th September. Registered by Sanuto, 23rd September.
Sept. 7. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 360. 327. The Same to the Same.
Yesterday in the Conference the Count of Cariati spoke to him about the 6,000 lansquenets, and asserted that the march took place by consent of the Signory. Replied that the State would never desert the King of France, and that they had not passed by the will of the Signory.
(Note by Sanuto, that the Senate did not approve of Surian's having said so much.)
Cardinal Wolsey spoke to him subsequently, and commended the State for having allowed those lansquenets to pass. Replied that if they had passed it was against the Signory's will. The Cardinal then said he should try to stipulate a truce for some time, as the agreement would be difficult on account of the Pope. The French ambassadors apparently now consent to it, but the Imperialists refuse. Wolsey, however, hopes it will be accomplished.
The Imperial Chancellor told Cardinal Wolsey he had received letters of recall from the Emperor, and therefore departs tomorrow. The French Chancellor wished also to do the like, but the Cardinal chose him to remain, as well as the other Imperialists, to negotiate the truce.
Gives an account of the attack on Ardres by the Imperial troops. The captain of Boulogne marched with forces and relieved it.
Calais, 7th September. Registered by Sanuto, 23rd September.
Sept. 7. Deliberazioni Senato Secretav. xlix. p. 26, tergo. 328. The Doge and Senate to Gasparo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor.
On the day before yesterday received his letters of the 22nd and 24th August, announcing the receipt of their reply to the Emperor's demand for the passage of 6,000 infantry.
The Pope had complained to the King of England of their favorable reception of Francesco Maria della Rovere. Their ambassador in England having written this, they answered that after the Marquis of Mantua was taken into the Pope's pay, Francesco Maria, not considering himself safe in that city, retired to Verona, as to a free town, and being a Venetian nobleman the Signory did not think proper to dismiss him, but he received neither favour nor pecuniary assistance, nor any military commission. Whilst residing in Venetian towns the Pope may consider him in the Roman States, by reason of the filial respect borne towards his Holiness by the Signory, who will never cause any revolution or disturbance. As the Emperor may allude to the same subject, desire him to reply in conformity with what they wrote to England.
Ayes, 155. Noes, 7. Neutrals, 0.
[Sept. 8?] [Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 371. 329. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Announces what they had discussed in the conferences (diete), and that they talked of making a truce. Cardinal Wolsey is ill. Notifies the loss of Ardres, and how it occurred. Conversations held by him with the French Chancellor, who said that should the Imperialists choose to make the truce and include the Signory, exacting the same sum annually as paid at present, it would be well for him (Surian) to have instructions on the subject.
Undated. Registered by Sanuto, 25th September.
Sept. 9. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 376. 330. The Same to the Same.
Conversations held by him with the Chancellor Duprat. Apprehends that should the truce be effected, the Imperialists will not include the Signory, unless the annual payment of 20,000 ducats be made. Reminds the State of the terms stipulated by the former quinquennial league, and therefore requests instructions in this present matter.
Chancellor Duprat told him the agreement would not take place, for three reasons: 1st, the Pope is opposed to it; 2ndly, the King of France has incurred the expense [of military preparations], and will not choose to desist now for a truce; 3rdly, his Majesty would be angered by the loss of Mouzon, and desire to avenge it.
Has received the Signory's letters of the 26th August. The State was publicly reported to have allowed the 6,000 lansquenets to pass, and to have an understanding with the Pope and the Emperor; yet the French ambassadors have shown no signs of believing this.
The Imperial forces went to Ardres 1,500 strong. The place was garrisoned by 250 infantry, who, with the reinforcement sent to them by the captain of Boulogne, defended themselves, and killed some of the Imperialists, amongst whom was a captain.
A captain of three French ships has captured an Antwerp vessel on its homeward voyage, freighted with martens and sables [fur?] to the amount of 50,000 ducats. The captain of Boulogne wrote to the [French] ambassadors [at Calais?] that the King of England was fitting out a fleet, destined for the French coast, in favour of the Emperor. Of this Cardinal Wolsey complained, saying it was untrue that his King showed himself in favour of one side or the other. It seems that the captain of Boulogne has also written that the Imperialists mean to seize Tournai.
Calais, 9th September. Registered by Sanuto, 20th September.
Sept. 9. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter No. 71, St. Mark's Library. 331. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Has been told by the Hungarian ambassador, that he is going to Calais to speak to Cardinal Wolsey, and represent to him the vast detriment which the Christian commonwealth would incur through the loss of that kingdom [Hungary] and its seizure by the Infidel, endeavouring to induce Wolsey to adjust matters between Christians, in order that they may turn their weapons against the Turks.
Understands on good authority that three ships freighted with powder and ball, sent by the King of England to the Emperor, arrived at Antwerp four days ago.
This morning, the Imperial postmaster delivered to him a packet from the ambassador Surian, open, and merely containing two blank sheets; and a second cover likewise, also in the hand of [Surian's] secretary, addressed to Bonvisi at Lyons.
Infers that the letters, both private and public, for himself and for the State, have been detained, the covers alone being forwarded.
Brussels, 9th September 1521.
[Italian, 3¾ pages.]
Sept. 9. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 322. 332. Alvise Gradenigo to the Signory.
Told by the Pope that he had received letters from Bruges purporting that Cardinal Wolsey had made his entry with great honour. The Emperor went to meet him, and accompanied him to his dwelling. The marriage in course of negotiation between the Emperor and the daughter of the King of England will take place. The parties [the Pope, the Emperor, and Henry VIII.] will also re-constitute the league made between them.
Rome, 9th September. Registered by Sanuto, 13th September.
Sept. 9. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi, p. 346. 333. Giovanni Badoer to the Doge and Signory.
Was told today by King Francis that the Cardinal at Calais was excellently disposed to make peace. Mons. de la Palice, who has come from Calais, dissuades the King from joining the camp at present, and Mons. d'Aubigni and other commanders did the like, so that he will not go.
Troyes, 9th September. Registered by Sanuto, 19th September.
[Extract, Italian]
Sept. 10. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 377. 334. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Yesterday the third conference was held. The Imperialists read two intercepted letters, one dated the 19th of July from the King of France to the Pope, the other addressed to his most Christian Majesty by Mons. de Lautrec. The entire letters, however, were not read, but only certain paragraphs,—to show that the most Christian King had been the first aggressor,—desiring to make a league with the Pope, and confessing that he had given assistance to Robert de la Marck.
The French Chancellor [Duprat] replied that these letters were written after the defiance sent by the Emperor to the King.
The Imperialists also said that the Signory had violated the articles of agreement; whereupon Cardinal Wolsey rejoined that all had infringed the treaty, and that nothing must be said about first aggressors. He (Surian) stated the arguments in favour of the Signory, and the Imperial Chancellor answered in opposition to the State.
The conference then adjourned until Thursday. This was done, it is supposed, to gain time, the Imperialists expecting some letter.
Sends a letter to the Signory from the King of England, congratulating the Doge on his creation. (fn. 6) Secretary Pace wrote a letter to him (Surian), of which he sends a copy, purporting that the Signory's letter to the King was very dry, and that Cardinal Wolsey moreover wished a letter had been written to himself.
Ardres has been taken by the Imperialists.
Calais, 10th September. Registered by Sanuto, 26th September.
Note by Sanuto.—The letter from Pace to Surian was in Latin, and dated Guildford, the 1st of September. Pace writes that the Signory's letter was very dry, and not such as written to the King heretofore; that it lacks the “Vale,” and that the Venetian secretaries do not choose to say “Valete;” so Pace sealed with the same seal as appended to the said missive (from the King). (fn. 7)
Sept. 11. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 377. 335. The Same to the Same.
Today the fourth diet assembled. The [Imperial] demands were repeated, and the Emperor's ambassadors declared that the King of France had given assistance to Robert de la Marck, and allowed his son Fleuranges (fn. 8) to raise troops in Paris. Chancellor Duprat replied that this was contrary to the will of the King, and without his knowledge, and that on hearing of it he issued a proclamation forbidding any one to join under very heavy penalties. The Imperialists also spoke about the marriage, and the kingdom of Navarre; and said that according to the articles of agreement they were allowed six months' time wherein to restore the kingdom of Navarre to Dom. Henri d'Albret, who, however, had no right, and whose claims must be investigated by the Emperor according to the articles stipulated. The Frenchmen, namely the Chancellor and the President of Paris [Jean de Selve], answered sagely. Then the English Bishop of Ely [Nicholas West] spoke in lieu of Cardinal Wolsey, who for the last three days has been ill of fever, having had two fits, and he is expecting the third tomorrow. They then adjourned the conference.
Has received the Signory's letters of the 24th and 26th August, and will comply with their contents when able to speak with Cardinal Wolsey, who suspects he has been poisoned, and is afraid of his malady. (fn. 9)
Calais, 11th September. Registered by Sanuto, 26th September.
[Sept. 151] Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii. p. 6. 336. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Cardinal Wolsey is still indisposed. The armies of the Emperor and of France have each taken a castle.
The Cardinal may be pronounced convalescent, and hopes to adjust matters if the two crowns will make truce, but waits to hear the result of the affairs of Italy.
Calais, —. Registered by Sanuto, 5th October.
Sept. 15. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 375. 337. Giovanni Badoer to the Signory.
Has received orders from King Francis to join him at Pheims. Was told by Madame, that she had heard from Calais that the Chancellor Duprat would soon return. She confirmed the news of the capture of Ardres, and said the King of England was the cause, as he would neither allow the place to be fortified, nor even let the French make the moats. (fn. 10)
Troyes, 15th September. Registered by Sanuto, 26th September.
Sept. 18. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 72, St. Mark's Library. 338. Gasparo Contarini to the Council of Ten.
Details a long controversy held by him with the Bishop of Palencia, concerning the ties by which the Signory was bound to the Emperor and to France.
The Bishop inquired, “Is not Venice a party to the treaty of London, (fn. 11) which the King of France was the first to violate? Are you not bound to oppose him?”
Replied that the treaty of London was general, whereas the one between the Signory and the King of France was special, and speciality invalidates generality. Moreover, the Signory was not a chief party to the treaty of London, but merely named by the principals, among whom was the King of England, who did not consider it clear who was the first infringer of that treaty, and the affair was then being discussed at Calais. No one could blame the Signory.
Brussels, 18th September 1521.
Sept. 22. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 74, St. Mark's Library. 339. Gasparo Contaiuni to the Signory.
The Bishop of Palencia showed his (Contarini's) secretary a letter from the Chancellor [Gattinara] at Calais, to the effect that the packet from the ambassador Surian, which was opened, two blank sheets being alone transmitted, had been consigned to the royal postmaster of England, so that the Emperor's officials had committed no fraud. The Bishop added that the Chancellor offered to forward Surian's letters in safety. Had received a similar announcement from Surian himself.
Brussels, 20th September 1521.
[Italian, 2 pages.]
Sept. 26. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 76, St. Mark's Library. 340. The Same to the Same.
On the evening before last, among the viands placed on the Emperor's table was a dish of meat dressed to his taste, but of which he did not partake. When brought to the table of those who eat the remains of his Majesty's meals, this meat was found to contain a small bladder filled with powder, hair, and other mixtures; so his cook and three others have been arrested to ascertain the author of this artifice. Some persons maintain that these rascally ingredients (simel ribaldarie) were inserted for the purpose of poisoning his Majesty, but others pronounce them to be some love charm.
Spoke with the Emperor's physician, Master Liberal, (fn. 12) who told him he was unable to ascertain what these ingredients were, though he rather agreed with those who considered them a philter than with those who were suspicious of poison, but endeavours would be made to come at the truth. Will acquaint the State with the result.
Nothing more has been heard from Calais, save that they were debating “de rupturâ fœderis” Believes that the King of England is awaiting some event, most especially in Italy; and that thereby he will regulate his policy.
Brussels, 26th September 1521.
[Italian, 2 pages.]
Sept. 27. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 385. 341. Conferences at Calais.
Motion made in the Senate by the Sages for a letter of reply to the Ambassador Surian, authorizing him, should it be decided to make a truce, to include the Republic, which will pay the Emperor the 20,000 ducats annually.
Note by Sanuto, that concerning this there was some murmuring, and as the Signory opposed the measure, the letter was not sent.
Sept. 28. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii. p. 32. 342. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Announces the recovery of Cardinal Wolsey, who is rather angry with France, because King Francis will not agree to a truce in Italy, but only north of the Alps; and on this condition he will consent to one for two years.
The French ambassadors have received orders to return to France, because the King wrote that the Chancellor's absence put him to inconvenience. But Cardinal Wolsey, not choosing them to depart, wrote about this to their King, who accordingly directed them to remain. Thus the Cardinal has ceased to be angry with France, and he seems to have addressed the Imperial ambassadors in strong language, saying he insisted on making this truce under any circumstances.
Calais, 28th September. (fn. 13) Registered by Sanuto, 20th October.
Sept. 29. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 77, St. Mark's Library. 343. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
The majority of the Court, including the English ambassadors Spinelli and Wyngfeld, has proceeded to Mons, but although i-llodged he (Contarini) will not separate himself from the Emperor, both for the sake of paying him court, as his Majesty is very fond of being accompanied, and also because he prefers being where he can hear news and transmit it to the Signory.
Nothing farther has been heard from Calais. The indisposition, or feigned indisposition, of Cardinal Wolsey seems to suspend all negotiations there, as the State will have been much better informed in detail by Surian.
Binche, 29th September 1521.
[Italian, 2½ pages.]


  • 1. “Dieta,” in the original. Wolsey also used the word “Dyet” in a letter to the King. (See “State Papers,” I. 55; 15th September 1521.)
  • 2. “English,” in Surian's letter of 29th August.
  • 3. Qu. Leodium (Leodiensis), i. e., Liege? Varillas wrote that the treaty of Noyon was followed by another secret treaty. The fact is denied by Pere Daniel and Amelot de la Houssaie. To me it seems probable that this supplementary treaty was signed at Liege, and that Duprat quoted it to Cardinal Wolsey at Calais in September 1521.
  • 4. Messancourt. (See père Daniel, vol. IX. p. 101.)
  • 5. In date Bruges, 19th August 1521, Wolsey wrote to Henry VIII., giving account of his negotiations for the marriage of the Princess Mary to the Emperor. (See “State Papers,” vol. I, p. 89.)
  • 6. The election of Doge Antonio Grimani on the 6th of July 1521 is described in Sanuto's Diaries, vol. xxx. p. 330.
  • 7. “Scrive in la lettera di la Signoria, è sta molto ieiuna, et non come si ha scrito al Re altre volte, et mancha il ' vale,' et li secretary Veneti non vol dir 'valete,' etc., perho lui a bola con el bollo ha ditta lettera, etc.”
  • 8. The eldest son of Robert de la Marck was married to Madame de Fleuranges. (See Père Daniel, vol. ix. p. 104.)
  • 9. “Et teme il suo mal.”
  • 10. The capture of Ardres is also mentioned by Gasparo Contarini, date 16th September but it is not alluded to in Wolsey's correspondence, “State Papers,” vol. I., nor vet by Pere Daniel.
  • 11. 19–20 October 1518.
  • 12. Master Liberal Was a Venetian subject, a native of Treviso. In 1505 he was in attendance on Philip the Handsome and Queen Joanna. Few persons were better acquainted with the infancy and youth of Charles V. than Master Liberal, who, according to the Rutland papers (p. 04), accompanied the Emperor to England in 1522.
  • 13. Sanuto states that there were four letters from Surian of this date, but he gives a summary only of the last.