Venice: April 1523

Pages 310-315

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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April 1523

April 4. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 204, St. Mark's Library. 659. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Arrival this day of a Papal messenger, who quitted the French court on the 14th ult. He confirms the surrender of Rhodes, and is also the bearer of very urgent, nay, threatening briefs from the Pope insisting on peace or truce being made with France, in order to resist the Turkish power, which now menaces the destruction of Christendom, especially of Italy.
An ambassador from the Prince of Muscovy has also arrived here.
Valladolid, 4th April 1523.
[Italian, 1¾ page.]
April 10. Mantuan Archives. 660. Henry VIII. to Federigo Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua.
Will not omit any opportunity for testifying his affection and goodwill towards the Marquis. Is now sending his well-beloved counsellor the Rev. John Clerk as ambassador to the Pope on most important business. Addresses these credentials to the Marquis in case Clerk go out of his way to visit him.
Richmond, 10th April 1523.
Signed: Henry R.
Countersigned: Petrus Vannes.
[Original. Latin.]
April 13. Mantuan Archives. 661. Gregorio Casal to Federigo Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua.
Received the letter delivered to him from the Marquis by the falconers, and did his best to comply with its contents. The King was very well satisfied with the falcons, and much pleased with the loving letter, and with the present which he had been so anxious to receive. The Marquis will hear from the falconers themselves how well the falcons flew. The Marquis can dispose of the King as much as any Prince. The King pledges himself to demonstrate this by experience, and requests the Marquis in case of need to make the trial. Refers him for further intelligence to the falconers.
London, 13th April 1523.
Signed: Gregorio Casale.
[Original. Italian.]
April 13. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 205, St. Mark's Library. 662. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Dined with the Chancellor today. In the middle of dinner the English ambassador (fn. 1) made his appearance, and seating himself at table, said he had just then been sent for by the Emperor, who, in the course of conversation, referred him to the Chancellor, with whom after dinner he drew aside. I passed with certain Sicilian barons into another chamber, and conversed with them until the conference ended.
When the ambassador came forth he accompanied me homewards. We are neighbours, and frequently converse together. I said I had waited for him, especially because my servants were much behind time in returning to fetch me. Commenced discussing the truce. The ambassador said with much warmth, “Know this for truth, that the Turks are not greater enemies of Christendom than the French; nor do they ever negotiate save with fraud and deceit. (fn. 2) They want a truce, but they want Milan; then they want the truce to continue four months, so that in the meanwhile the Turk in one direction and they themselves in the other may invade Christendom. I tell you that there will be a greater war than ever.”
Inquired whether he should soon be despatching a courier to England. The ambassador replied, “The Emperor would fain have me send one tomorrow, the 14th instant, but it is not possible.”
Valladolid, 13th April 1523.
[Italian, 2 pages.]
April 16. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiv. p. 103. 663. Antonio Surian to—.
Today the mass of the Holy Ghost was celebrated for the inauguration of the High Court of Parliament. I went to accompany the King, and in truth it was a very handsome ceremony. First of all, I went to the King in his chamber, and presented my masters of the Flanders galleys to him. He wore a long gown of plain crimson (de pian cremesino), (fn. 3) lined with ermine, with rather narrow sleeves well nigh in our fashion, and also a lined crimson cape precisely like an abbot's, save that the pendant over-hood behind was rather long. Over this he put a crimson mantle lined with ermine, open in front, precisely such as our Doge wears, with a long train borne by the Lord Chamberlain and by Lord Marney, lately created a baron. The order of procession was as follows:—First went the lawyers, who are here called “men of the coif;” they wore gowns, with scarlet hoods and single mantles, (fn. 4) and a white linen coif on their heads, fastened under the chin, well nigh in the fashion of the sisters of humility (al modo quasi humel donna). Next walked the abbots of the kingdom, all dressed in their black cardinal's cape, with the hood (capuzo) as worn by the Patriarch of Venice; this hood being open, spread to the breast from the shoulders, and displaying a lining of black satin.
The bishops followed, arrayed also in their cardinals' capes, lined with ermine, and the hood, which in like manner when their heads were uncovered spread itself out, and displayed the ermine lining.
The barons, earls, and dukes came next, clad in scarlet gowns and mantles lined in the same fashion as the King's, save that their mantles are divided and open above the right shoulder, they have no trains, and on the breast and shoulders they bear three bands of ermine.
After them came Cardinal Wolsey, and last of all the King, looking very handsome and grand with his fine presence (il tutto hello e grando con la sua bellezza).
He was preceded by the sceptre, carried by the old Duke of Norfolk, the royal lieutenant. The Earl of Exeter bore the sword, and the Earl of Devonshire carried a gold baton, with a hat at its extremity, said to be the one with which the Kings of England are crowned. It is of crimson velvet, surrounded by an ermine border (balzo), the crown being covered with certain long gold bands tied together at the summit, forming in the centre as it were well nigh a straight horn.
The ambassadors present were those of the Archduchess Margaret, myself, and the one from the Duke of Milan. On the way to the church we were placed between the abbots and the bishops, and on the return took our usual places. The mass was sung in the church of St. Dominick, the site of this new palace of the King's [Bridewell]. The Bishop of Lincoln [John Longland], the King's confessor, said the mass, on the conclusion of which the procession returned to a hall prepared for the occasion, with three rows of benches; and for a fourth, in the centre, were placed four long wool sacks covered with red cloth, as were all the other benches likewise.
At one extremity of the hall a platform was raised with a royal throne covered with cloth of gold. This the King ascended by four steps, and seated himself; Cardinal Wolsey being at his right hand, but on a lower level. The ambassadors were placed to the left, not seated, but standing against the wall. The dukes and barons sat according to their grade on the King's right hand, and on the benches to his left were the prelates, and last of all the lawyers on the wool sacks. Including barons and prelates, we numbered 80 persons.
On the right hand, near Cardinal Wolsey, and from the same bench, Dr. Tunstall, the Bishop of London, rose, and made a fine speech, in English, but so embellished and abounding with Latin quotations, that they enabled me thoroughly to comprehend the discourse; and we ambassadors had persons with us who interpreted the whole, which contains two principal parts. In the first, commencing with the words of the Psalmist, “Deus judicium tuum Regi da et justitiam tuam filio Regis,” he dilated scientifically on the requisites needed for lawgivers, and subsequently he also discussed the spirit of the laws to be enacted by them.
The second part contained a definition of justice and its ends, “unicuique reddere quod suum est;” and he thence proceeded appositely to explain in a few words the cause of the present war in which the King of England is engaged against France. He commenced with the League of London, remarking that the King of France had violated it in several particulars, and was the first to attack the Emperor. He narrated in detail all the charges usually made by England against France, adding that, nevertheless, the King had not chosen peremptorily to proceed to war, but endeavoured in the first place by all means to bring the King of France to peace with the Emperor, even by sending the Cardinal last year to the Diet at Calais, and also as far as Bruges, where Wolsey underwent endless fatigue, and at length sacrificed his health to the peril of his life. Being unable to obtain any good result in this matter, the King was compelled to observe his oath, and for the maintenance of his rights most justly to embark in the present war.
In conclusion, Tunstall said, the King had therefore convoked the present Parliament, in order that after hearing the just causes which had made him undertake the present war, they, the Lords, and finally the whole kingdom, might be united and unanimous with his Majesty, who intended to prosecute this war with all his might, to the glory of the realm of England, most especially because good war at length produces good peace. Having spoken thus very learnedly for a fall hour, the Bishop of London ended his speech. The King descended the throne, and came and spoke with us ambassadors, praising the speech made by Tunstall, who is in truth a very learned person. His Majesty apologised for the Cardinal (whose duty it was to perform this office) on the score of ill health, but said he would make a good speech in Parliament (in conclave) on the subject, and not fail in his duty.
We then accompanied the King to his chamber, it being nearly 2 p.m. when this ceremony terminated.
London, 10th April. Registered by Sanuto, 8th May.
April 16. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiv. p. 105. 664. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
The galleys are being repaired. The French fleet has effected no landing in England.
Dated 16th April. Registered by Sanuto, 9th May.
April 19. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 206, St. Mark's Library. 665. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
When conversing yesterday with Monsieur de Roeulx concerning the truce proposed by the Pope, was told by him that the King of England had expressly charged his ambassador at Rome not to assent to it unless the King of Scotland was excluded.
For the last few days it is reported that the Emperor's sister, the Queen of Portugal, is coming to the court.
Valladolid, 19th April 1523.
[Italian, 1 page.]
April 20. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. 1. p. 10, tergo. 666. The Doge and Senate to Antonio Surian, Ambassador in England.
Send a duplicate of their former letter, containing instructions to be followed by him touching the guns of the Signory's galleys demanded by the King.
Note the words uttered by the King and Cardinal concerning the disputes between the Signory and the Imperial agents at Venice, and the wish of the King and Cardinal for an amicable adjustment. Were also informed of this through the copy of the King's letter to his ambassador [Pace].
The present state of the negotiation is as follows:—
After many conferences with the Imperial agents, the Signory gave an ultimatum, replete with equity and fairness, respecting such concessions as could be made to the Emperor, one of whose agents, Hieronymo Adorno, fell grievously sick and subsequently died.
The negotiations were then thwarted by the arrival at Venice of two ambassadors from the Archduke [Ferdinand]. It was supposed that they came merely to ratify in his Majesty's name what had been arranged with the Imperial agents; but the Archduke's ambassadors made demands so much at variance with the [previous] negotiations as not only to surprise and disturb the Signory, but also the Imperial agents themselves.
Do not doubt but that the King will have been fully assured of this by his ambassador [Pace].
The adjustment was thus impeded, the Signory's firm intention being that the treaty with the Emperor should include the Archduke (as they had been assured in his name), for the universal quiet of their mutual territories, which object alone induced them to take these steps, and not make other separate treaties with him, as now desired by his ambassadors.
The Pope, having been acquainted with these demands, has written an autograph letter to the Archduke, dissuading him from them, and exhorts the Signory to await the reply. Should it be such as hoped for by the Pope, and as always promised to the Signory, they will proceed to the completion of what has been commenced, in conformity with their wish for universal quiet, and to gratify the King of England, to whom and to the Cardinal he is to announce this good intention of the Signory's.
Enclose Turkish newsletters received yesterday from the Venetian ambassador in Hungary, for inspection by the King and Cardinal as usual.
Ayes, 184. Noes, 4. Neutral, 1.
[Italian, 48 lines.]
April 20. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiv. p. 82. 667. Pace's Negotiations.
The English ambassador came into the College today, still urging the Signory to make the agreement with the Emperor, and not to attend to the words of Signor Renzo, now come from France.
April 24. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 207, St. Mark's Library. 668. Gasparo Contarini to the Council of Ten.
Receipt of news on the morning of the 23rd, that the Bishop of Badajoz, (fn. 5) late Spanish ambassador in England, has arrived in Spain by sea, and is coming to the court; whereupon Sir Thomas Boleyn will go back.
Valladolid, 24th April 1523.
[Italian, 1 page.]
April 28. Lettere Sottoscritte, Capi Consiglio X. 669. Council of Ten to Gasparo Contarini.
We received your letter of 31st December, touching your conference with Sebastian Cabotto; also your letter of the 7th March, acquainting us with his determination not to come hither until the expiration of three months. According to his desire, we enclose a letter drawn up in the name of Hieronimo de Marino, the Ragusan, touching his private affairs, in order that it may appear necessary for him to quit Spain. This you are to deliver to Cabotto, remotis arbitris, urging him to come hither. Marino is not in Venice now, nor do we know where he is, although the letter is dated here.
Andreas Fuscarenus, C.C.X.
Jacobus Michael, C.C.X.
Andreas Fosculus, C.C.X.
April 28. Lettere Sottoscritte, Capi Consiglio X. 670. Hieronimo de Marino to Sebastian Cabot, residing in Spain.
Some months ago, on arriving here in Venice, I wrote to you what I had done to discover where your property was. I received fair promises from all quarters, and was given good hope of recovering the dower of your mother and aunt, so that I have no doubt, had you come hither, you would already have attained your object. I therefore exhort you not to sacrifice your interests, but betake yourself here to Venice. Do not delay coming, for your aunt is very old.
Venice, 28th April 1523.


  • 1. Contarini does not give the name either of Boleyn or Sampson.
  • 2. “In verity sapiate questo, che li Turchi non sono maior inimici della Christianity di quello sono Franzesi; ne tratano cosa si non cum fraude et cum ingano.”
  • 3. Qu. with an unraised pile ?
  • 4. “Et mantelli di scarlato ugnoli.”—Qu. unlined.
  • 5. Bernard de Mesa quitted England at the beginning of April 1524, and died soon after his return to Spain. (See Mr. Brewer's Calendar, vol. iii.)