Venice: January 1522

Pages 197-204

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.

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January 1522

1522. Jan. [6 ?]. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii. p. 274. 384. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Cardinal Wolsey departed from Calais and returned to England with him (Surian) and other ambassadors and great personages (signori).
An ambassador from the King of France is expected, the negotiation for the agreement being still on foot.
On receiving news of the Pope's death, the King immediately despatched his secretary “Richard Pace, post to Home, to effect the election of Cardinal Wolsey as Pope. Pace was invested with great authority to promise money, &c.; and the King has written to the Emperor to promote Wolsey's election.
After the death of the King of Scotland, the Duke of Albany assumed the government, and the Scotch ravaged the English territory. For this the Duke sent to apologize, assuring the King and Cardinal that the raid had taken place without his consent. The King, however, is fitting out his fleet, some say against Scotland, others that it is to convoy the Emperor, who means to cross over to Spain.
Announces the arrival in England of two of the Flanders galleys on — December, and what befell the third galley. Went to the King and complained of this violation of the safeconduct. The Cardinal and his Majesty caused stringent letters to be written to the Emperor for the release of the galley and observance of the safeconduct, as the galleys were bound to the King's dominions.
Since the death of the Pope, the French ambassador who was expected has not come, which Cardinal Wolsey resents.
The above are extracts from several letters, the last dated-January. Registered by Sanuto, 24th January.
Jan. 6. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 120, St. Mark's Library. 385. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Receipt of letters from the ambassador Surian in England, giving an account of the storm encountered by the Flanders galleys in the Bay of Biscay. Surian also enclosed letters addressed to him (Contarini) by Antonio Donato, master of one of the galleys, narrating the gale, and how his vessel had been seized at St. Sebastian's by Don Beltrame of Castile, captain-general and governor of that town. His two consorts were free at Corunna, but apprehensive of Don Pedro Bobadilla, a sea captain, who was gone to fit out a squadron with intent to capture them.
Applied for redress to the Chancellor, to the Emperor, and to the Bishop of Palencia, in observance both of the truce and of the Imperial safeconducts; and requested that orders might be given to Don Pedro de Bobadilla, and the galleys be enabled to proceed in safety to Flanders.
Ghent, 6th January 1522.
[Italian, 3 pages.]
Jan. 7. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii. p. 226. 386. Embassy to England.
Scrutiny for an ambassador to the King of England, in lieu of Marco Antonio Venier, LL.D., who has refused [the post], and taken his seat as sage for the Mainland. Ambassador appointed in his stead, Lodovico Falier.
Note by Sanuto that all canvassed most diligently, “standing by the stairs,” &c (fn. 1)
Ayes. Noes.
Hironimo Polani, LL.D., late of the Senate 104 111
Silvestro Memo, late of the “Raxon vechie 77 135
Francesco Morosini, LL.D. 87 117
Carlo Capello, late “auditor novo 65 137
Marco Gradenigo, LL.D., late of the Senate 94 115
Marco Antonio Contarini, late “avogador 99 107
Marco Contarini, late “camerlengo di comun 94 111
Cristofal Capello, late of the Senate 50 152
Zuan Antonio Venier, one of the X sages 127 74
Giustinian Contarini, of the Senate 78 115
Andrea Loredan 64 124
Bertuccio Soranzo, late “auditor vecchio 92 116
Nicold da'Ponte, LL.D., late of the Senate & Lecturer 87 128
Lorenzo di Priuli 112 90
Lodovico Falier 140 66
Zuam Basadonna, LL.D., late of the Senate 124 92
Andrea di Priuli, LL.D. 102 96
Agustin da Cha da Pesaro, late “auditor nuovo 106 99
Jan. 7. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 59. 387. The Doge and Senate to the Proveditor-General Gritti.
The Emperor has demanded free passage through the Venetian states for 8,000 or 10,000 lansquenets to join his army in the Milanese. This demand requires consideration, as the Emperor is allied with England.
Ayes, 172. Noes, 11. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 28 lines.]
Jan. 9. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 121, St. Mark's Library. 388. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Does not cease urging the release of the Donata galley. The two galleys, its consorts, and the other two Venetian ships were allowed to proceed.
Ghent, 9th January 1522.
[Italian, 4 pages.]
Jan. 9. Misti Consiglio X. v. xliv. p. 105. 389. Motion in the Council of Ten and Junta for communicating to the Senate their reply to the Imperial ambassador on the proposal made to them for a confederacy with the Emperor, and the letters of their ambassador in England, stating what Cardinal Wolsey said on this subject,
Ayes, 19. Noes, 7. Neutral,].
[Italian, 13 lines.]
Jan. 10. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii p. 231. 390. Conference at Calais.
Four letters read in the Senate, namely,—
(1.) From Antonio Surian, ambassador to the King of England, dated Calais, 14th November, narrating conversations with Cardinal Wolsey, who complains of having been unable to make the agreement.
(2.) From Gasparo Contarini, ambassador to the Emperor, dated Ghent (sic), 14th of November, (fn. 2) about conversations held with the Papal Nuncio, Stafileo (sic). (fn. 3)
(3.) The reply to these letters, made by the Council of Ten with the Junta.
(4.) Another letter from Gasparo Contarini, dated Oudenarde (sic), 25th December. (fn. 4)
Jan. 11. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 122, St. Mark's Library. 391. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
On the 9th received letters announcing the arrival of the captain of the Flanders galleys (Vincenzo Priuli) at Portsmouth.
Surian forwarded to him (Contarini) a missive from the King of England for the Emperor, demanding the release of the Flanders galley. As the Emperor was absent, sent his secretary to read the letter to the Bishop of Palencia, with a request that in the letter to the Governors of Biscay mention might be made of the King of England's demand. The Secretary Covos sent the minute for his inspection. Remarked in it a clause that if the Governors were acquainted with any fresh circumstances rendering it inexpedient to abide by the safeconduct in favour of the galley they were to transmit an account of them to the Imperial Court, and in the meanwhile to preserve all the effects intact. Sent back his secretary to the Bishop, requesting this clause might be expunged.
This morning presented the letter from the King of England to the Emperor. Conferred with the Chancellor (Gattinara) respecting the said clause, and was referred to the Emperor.
The Imperialists are apprehensive that, as the port of St. Sebastian is near to Fonterabia, the galleys have gone thither on an understanding with the French, for the purpose of exciting revolution.
Ghent, 11th January 1522.
[Italian, 3 pages.]
Jan. 11. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii. p. 267. 392. Mission of Richard Pace to Rome.
Letter dated Trent, 11th of January, forwarded to the Signory from Brescia by the Proveditor-General Hironimo da Ca da Pesaro.
On the 8th instant there passed through here one Richard Pace, ambassador from the King of England, on his way post to Rome, and according to report be will also go to Venice. It seems that if not the first in authority with the King of England, he is at least the second. He held a long conference here in Trent with the Duke [Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan], so we are of good cheer, persuading ourselves that the King of England is closely allied both with the Emperor and with the Duke.
The Emperor is intent on raising money at Ghent, whither he has caused the conveyance of a number of jewels of very great value, the property of Maximilian of Austria, of blessed memory.
From Trent, 11th of January 1522. Your good consort. (fn. 5)
Registered by Sanuto, 20th January.
Jan. 15. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii. p. 304. 393. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Four ambassadors have arrived from the King of France. They are charged to apologize for his not having, during the last few years, sent the pension which he is bound to pay to the King of England. He attributes the delay to the wars, and promises to send it. He excuses himself, secondly, for the Duke of Albany's having crossed over to Scotland, as this took place neither by his desire nor with his knowledge. Thirdly, the ambassadors assert that the French ambassadors who went to Calais did their utmost to effect an adjustment with the Emperor. In the fourth place they stated they were come to negotiate a truce and peace with the Emperor, but chose to see whether his ambassador had an ample mandate to that effect.
It appears that Cardinal Wolsey told them they [the King and Cardinal ?] had sent for the Duke of Albany, (fn. 6) the governor of Scotland, to make an arrangement, if the King of France pleased. If on the contrary the King wished for war, it should be waged. The Earl of Angus, husband of the Queen of Scotland [Margaret], has sent a messenger to the King of England to complain of the Duke of Albany.
London, 15th January. Registered by Sanuto, 11th February.
Jan. 15. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 123, St. Mark's Library. 394. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
On the 12th was told by the Chancellor that the Emperor could not believe his ministers had detained the Donata galley and the wine ship, save in consequence of some fresh event, and his Majesty had therefore inserted the clause. The Emperor was willing, however, to issue the letters without the clause, provided he (Contarini) gave the security of persons there in Flanders for full payment of the value of the vessels if, after their release, it should transpire that there was good reason to annul the safeconduct.
Offered to give any security in the Signory's name. The Chancellor said the Emperor declined the Signory's guarantee, as he could not exact it, but would take the pledge from merchants and private individuals. Proposed that the security should be given in London by the Venetian merchants. The Chancellor objected that, under a foreign jurisdiction payment could not be enforced, and security should be given either in Flanders or in Biscay.
Replied that in Flanders and Biscay there were no merchants of Venice all of them being established in London. The Chancellor said the Venetian merchants in London could easily find persons in Flanders to promise in their name, and that such was the Emperor's firm resolve.
Then said to the Chancellor, “The Emperor has perhaps some particular suspicion, in which case let him insert an especial clause to the effect that if the galley and ship have done any damage to his Majesty's places or subjects, or plotted against his territories, then their cannon and sails be placed under embargo; for the clause objected to is so vague that it would authorize the detention of the galley by persons who perhaps seek an excuse for doing so, and prevent the galley from taking its turn (muda),—thus ruining both these voyages, and commercial interests in England.”
Explained to the Chancellor the importance of these turns (mude), and what they signified. He replied, “It is impossible for us to know the cause, and therefore the Emperor does not choose the letters to be sent in any other form.”
Finding further remonstrance useless, transmitted the Imperial mandates to the Ambassador Surian, in England, as no one could be found at Ghent to convey them through France into Biscay. Wrote also to the captain of the Flanders galleys, acquainting him with what had been done in the matter, and sending likewise the form of security required by the ministry at Ghent before they would give letters without the objectionable clause.
The mandates were addressed to the Council of Castile, and not to the captain and governors of Biscay, because that province depends on Castile.
Ghent, 15th January 1522.
[Italian, 4½ pages.]
Jan. 22. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 124, St. Mark's Library. 395. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Arrived at Brussels on the preceding Friday.
On Saturday morning the Emperor, while at mass, received an express from the Duke of Milan, with a letter dated at Trent, the 12th instant, announcing the arrival there of a courier from Rome, who had performed the journey in 50 hours, and brought news of the election of the Cardinal of Tortosa as Pope; wherefore the Duke congratulated the Emperor.
Having read the letter, the Emperor gave it for perusal to the bystanders, saying, “Master Adrian is made Pope. (fn. 7)
Three days then elapsed without any confirmation of this intelligence, so that the Emperor and the whole Court began to think it untrue, and that the Duke of Milan had been deceived, but on the evening of the 21st at 9 p.m. the Emperor was assured of the election by a letter from Don Juan Emanuel, his ambassador at Rome.
Instantly on that evening the Emperor caused all the bells in Brussels to be rung as a mark of rejoicing; and this morning he went to the Cathedral, where he had high mass chanted as thanks giving for this boon; a Pope having been elected more devoted to his will than he himself could have desired.
Pope Adrian VI. was born at Utrecht, of the lowest parentage, and reared at louvain, where he applied himself to literature. He subsequently became the Emperor's preceptor, and Dean of Louvain. Seven years ago he was sent ambassador to the late King Ferdinand the Catholic, in Spain, where he obtained the bishopric of Tortosa, and subsequently the red hat.
Considers it a miraculous circumstance that by so great a number of Cardinals assembled in conclave choice should have been made of one who was absent and scarcely known to them. The Pope is reported to be very religious and to abound in all good qualities. He celebrates mass daily, and performs all the duties of a virtuous prelate.
This morning he (Contarini) and all the other ambassadors went to congratulate the Emperor and the Infant [Archduke Ferdinand].
The Imperial ministry are despatching to the Pope an individual who transacts his affairs at the Emperor's court.
Transmits letters from the Ambassador Badoer in France addressed to him (Contarini) by Surian, and received through Spinelli, the English ambassador—Sir Richard Wyngfield—having gone back to England. Spinelli said the bearer of the letters came to Brussels in the company of a herald from the King of England. Has ascertained that the herald is on his way to the Switzers, probably to prevent them from helping the French to recover the Milanese. An ambassador from England to the Switzers is expected at Brussels in a few days.
The Hungarian ambassador has returned from England, where he was unable to obtain any aid; whereas the Imperialists have promised to succour Hungary with one-half of the troops voted to the Emperor for his coronation by the Diet of Worms, though nothing is decided about their immediate march.
Brussels, 22nd January 1522.
[Italian, 4 pages.]
Jan. 27. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii. p. 341. 396. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
News has arrived of the election of Adrian VI, which Cardinal Wolsey takes amiss, as the Emperor did not aid him (Wolsey) to obtain the popedom. France and England have been [hitherto] ill disposed towards each other, but now, owing to this election, it is supposed that the King of England will attend to his amusements, by so much the more as the King of France has sent to tell him that he will not interfere with Scotland. In England there is a very great scarcity of bread and wine, which cost double the usual price, when any can be obtained.
Dated 27th January. Registered by Sanuto, 28th February.
Jan. 28. Deliberazioni Senato Secretav. xlix. p. 62, tergo. 397. Doge Antonio Grimani to Henry VIII.
Thanks for the King's letter to the Emperor, requesting the release of a Venetian trading galley and a ship seized at St. Sebastians. Compliments the King on his royal and heroic endowments, moral and physical; as also on the wealth and military repute of his kingdom; and requests protection for the Venetian traders and their goods in England.
Ayes, 161. Noes, 17. Neutrals, 0.
[Latin, 27 lines.]
Jan. 28. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 63. 398. Doge Antonio Grimani to Cardinal Wolsey.
Can hear no more agreeable news from England than that Wolsey, who rules the country so prosperously, perseveres in his good disposition towards Venice; a fact recently confirmed by the readiness with which he had addressed letters to the Emperor for the release of the Venetian galley and ship detained at St. Sebastian's.
Considers it a source of congratulation to possess the goodwill of one who not only enjoys authority with his own King, but is also courted by many other potentates.
Ayes, 161. Noes, 17. Neutrals, 0.
[Latin, 27 lines.]
Jan. 28. Deliberazioni Senato Secretav. xlix. p. 63, tergo. 399. The Doge and Senate to Antonio Surian, Ambassador in England.
Have received his letters of 6th January, and commend the form in which he negotiated with the King and Cardinal.
Regret to hear of the accident which befell the Donata galley and the ship its consort in Biscay. Have seen the copy of the letters written by the King of England to the Emperor for their release, for which they enclose letters of thanks to the King and Cardinal.
Should the galley and ship not have been released when the ambassador receives the present missive, he is to inform the King and Cardinal that it was at their invitation that the Sate sent the galleys to England, and with the firm belief that the voyage would be made under their protection, as notified by the Cardinal heretofore to the Signory through the Venetian Ambassador [Sebastian Giustinian ?].
Should any outlay be needed for this release, to desire the Venetian consul in London to assemble the Venetian merchants, and persuade them to disburse the sum required, placing it to the account of average payable by the said galley and ship.
Ayes, 31.
Amendment to the foregoing letter:—Should the ambassador understand that the Biscayans refuse to release the ships, he is to suggest that the King should declare to such Biscayans as may be in England with their ships and goods that he will make an hostile demonstration against them.
Ayes, 141. Noes, 0. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 47 lines.]
Jan. 29. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxii. p. 292. 400. The Governors of Brescia and the Proveditor-General Pesaro to the Signory.
Transmit advices; also news received at Mantua from the Imperial Court, that the Duke of Albany had entered Scotland pacifically as King, and that a matrimonial alliance would be contracted between the Emperor and the King of England.
Brescia., 29th January. Registered by Sanuto, 30th January.
Jan. 30. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 125. St. Mark's Library. 401. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Details a long conference held by him with the Chancellor Gattinara about the negotiations for an adjustment between the Emperor and the Venetian Signory. In the course of the conversation Gattinara said to him:—
“Let the Signory be convinced that the Duke Francesco Sforza will remain in Milan, and of this (as written by us to our ambassador in Venice) we are willing to give the State valid security—even that of the King of England if they choose; and I, who am an Italian, seek and desire this for the liberty of Italy, for which the Emperor will hazard all he has, as likewise for the support of the interests of the Church, which is now suffering through spoliation.”
On quitting the Chancellor, went to the Bishop of Palencia, who told him that the Emperor's voyage to Spain would certainly be made; that in a fortnight the Court would move hence to Bruges, then to Calais, and from Calais to England, remaining there a month, and then proceeding to Spain. The Chancellor, on the other hand, had said this was doubtful.
Brussels, 30th January 1522.
[Italian, 6½ pages.]
Jan. 30. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 126. St. Mark's Library. 402. The Same to the Council of Ten.
Told by the Bishop of Palencia that the Emperor has it in his power to make terms with the King of France, who is already weary of his present position of dependence on the King of England, the Signory, and the Switzers.
Informed today by the Papal Nuncio that the King of France has sent commissioners to Cambrai, and invited the Emperor to do the like, for the purpose of making an adjustment, which the Imperialists reject, solely on account (the Nuncio believed) of the King of England.
Brussels, 30th January 1522.
[Italian, ½ page.]


  • 1. I transcribe the names, as they are all historical, and, together with Sanuto's comment, show the political importance of England at the moment of the death of Leo X
  • 2. On 14th November 1521 the Imperial Court was not at Ghent, but at Oudenarde.
  • 3. The Nuncio at the Imperial Court in the year 1521 was the prothonotory Marino Caracciolo, who remained there in that capacity until September 1522, when Pope Adrian appointed as his successor Don Bernardino Pimentel. In May 1523 Caracciolo, being still at Madrid entered the diplomatic service of the Emperor, who sent him immediately to Venice.
  • 4. On 25th December 1521 Charles V. was at Ghent
  • 5. “Consorte,” qu. gossip ?
  • 6. In the original,—” Et par il Cardinal li diccsse haveano mandato per dito Ducha di Albania.”
  • 7. “Maistro Adriano è fato Papa,”